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Market Insights - BC Waterfront Real Estate

There are a lot of "how-to" articles online that regurgitate the same advice about real estate related topics such as getting a good mortgage or prepping your home for the market. While those things are obviously very important, we want to write articles that are enlightening and valuable for visitors to our site. Rather than write about the same-old, same-old, we endeavour to create interesting and compelling articles specifically for people interested in (BC) waterfront real estate.

Thanks for reading.
Sharleen Kneeland
Publisher, Waterfront West

Vacation Rentals a Great Way to Evaluate Waterfront Locations

Finally we got some long awaited (if short lived) summer weather last weekend. My family and I decided to take a short trip to Hornby Island to take advantage of it and rented a vacation rental cottage for the weekend. After spending a thoroughly relaxing and enjoyable weekend, it occurred to me that renting a vacation property is an excellent way to test out the location of your future real estate.

Even if you can't rent out the property you plan to purchase, you can make some observations you normally might not think of by renting out a nearby home for a couple of nights. Here are some considerations you might not think of until you actually stay at the location:

  • Public Access: Family or Party Beach?

When you stay at a vacation rental, you can get an idea of the public foot traffic to expect on your waterfront. During the day at our rental there were only a couple of passers by so the beach was almost completely private, but due to the fantastic sunsets, small family groups would set up for a barbecue or campfire at the end of the beach. The property was still quite private though as no one seemed to venture within 100 metres of the beachfront in front of the cabin. Moreover, the property was the last one before the beach turns into high bank waterfront so there are miles of quite private beachfront to walk on from the property heading north.

  • Exposure

Although the exposure can tell you a lot about the sun a property will get, don't forget that tress, hills and other natural obstacles may cause a site to get less sun than you would expect. Staying at a location will enable you to see where the suns falls at all times of the day. Do you prefer sunsets or sunrises? You will be able to see which part of the bay/beach gets the exposure you prefer.

  • Wind/Wave Activity

Although you cannot always forecast this, staying at vacation rentals on a few different beaches should give you an idea of how much storm activity they get. Our little place at the beach at was noticeably less windy than other beaches on Hornby and the water was quite calm most of the time. Perhaps you want to hear the constant lapping of waves on the shore so you want a beach with a constant wind. In many cases, this is something you won't know until you've stayed at the beach you plan to buy on.

  • Neighbours and locals: A Valuable Information Source

Staying at a vacation rental allows you to interact with neighbours and locals. Asking questions about the neighbourhood will give you invaluable insight into the area. Perhaps there is a grow op a few houses down or a problem neighbour. These are things you will not find out from a regular house viewing.

  • Noise: Quiet Tranquility or Ambulance Route

Ok, so most of the waterfront locations in B.C. will not be on an ambulance route but staying at a property will give you an idea of noise nearby. Things to consider might be traffic noise, noise from nearby heavy industry (shake mills, logging, etc...) and plane traffic (seaplanes or jets as many airports are located close to water).

  • Smells

Love the smell of a sun baked sandy beach? Spend a couple of days on the beach to see if your dream will come true there. Perhaps the smell from a local mill or seafood plant will put a damper on that dream.

Although most of the above disaster scenarios will be out of the norm for waterfront properties in B.C., it is definitely worth the time to check out your neighbourhood or beach before buying. As a bonus, you have an excuse for a nice relaxing vacation!

hornby cabin

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Luxury Marina Slated for Victoria's Inner Harbour

A 48-berth marina designed for owners of luxury yachts should be open for business in Victoria's Inner Harbour by this time next year. Alberta based Western Asset management Development Group is developing the $20 million marina which is designed for yachts between 65-140 feet long. The marina is being built partly in response to an increase in these types of yachts being built (770 last year alone). Developers of the project expect some of the owners to be from Victoria but many international "mega-yacht" owners as well as Victoria is increasingly becoming a real estate haven for the ultra-rich. Some approvals are still pending on the project including a provincial water lease.

Have a great long weekend!

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New Changes to Our Site

Some of our regular visitors may have noticed that we have made some navigation changes to the site this week. These include the following:

  • Deleteting the drop down menus from the top menu. (Now, when you click one of the top menu items, a new menu will appear to your left with all of the options previously available in the drop downs. We hope these will be easier to navigate than the previous drop down menus.)
  • Addition of large search buttons to our four main areas (Search Page, Find an Agent, etc...) on the home page.
  • Changes to our main search page, find an agent and find a development pages making the text links to different regions easier to find.

All of these changes have been done to improve the user experience and make it easier to find properties and information on our site. Any comments are welcome!

Have a great holiday weekend!

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Going in for Surgery Tomorrow

Some of you may have noticed I did not write a blog last week. I have been "under the weather" since November and am going in for surgery to hopefully fix me tomorrow! I will try to write something next week, pending a speedy recovery. Cheers!
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New! View Virtual Tours Directly from Search Pages

Yesterday, one of our members requested a new function on the site. She asked that we place a link to any virtual tours available for properties on our site directly in the search results.

Results from a site poll taken last year showed virtual tours as one ofthe most popular ways of viewing properties so I had been contemplating how to incorporate them onto the site. The initial thought would have been to provide virtual tour production as an extra service and host them directly on our site: quite a big undertaking considering most of our members already work with virtual tour providers and have their tours hosted online through these companies. We have always allowed our members to post links to these tours from within the actual ad content; however, until yesterday, it had never ocurred to me that we could easily make these more visible with a quick change to the site.

So we decided to add the new feature "View Virtual Tour" with a direct link to these tour as a special feature. Now, when buyers are searching the site, they will see the list of properties along with the thumbnails and basic information (price, city, etc...) and a direct link to the virtual tours (if available). 

Please keep in mind, that at the time I am writing this, most of the properties will not have this link as it has just been implemented, but you should sart to see this option more and more as time progresses. Happy house hunting!

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Market Insights - Waterfront Real Estate

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