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Sooke Real Estate Update – Fall 2015

One of the many properties that sold in Sooke this summer

One of the many properties that sold in Sooke this summer

Sales up, listings down. Prices…?

It has been a busy spring and summer market for real estate in Sooke and all over the greater Victoria region. In the overall Victoria Real Estate Board trading area, sales as of August 31 showed a 21.7% increase in number of sales for August 2015 over August 2014, and the highest number of single family sales in August since 2007. At the end of the month, there were 3688 active listings on the MLS® system, representing nearly 15% fewer than were available in August last year. All of this is pushing the overall market into sellers’ territory fairly strongly. Prices in Victoria overall are on the rise, with the benchmark home up nearly 7% over the same home last year.

So how is Sooke looking this year?

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Wild Coast Cottages Port Renfrew is Nearly 70% SOLD OUT!

Wild Coast Cottages, Port Renfrew, BC

The onset of our rainy and windy fall weather has not deterred excited buyers from making the trip out to Wild Coast Cottages in Port Renfrew. This intriguing development is truly unique on southern Vancouver Island and offers 40 ‘micro-cottages’ on their own lots in a waterfront recreational property at affordable prices. I had an update from the developer last week and there are now 25 firm sales and 3 conditional out of the total of 40 cottages!

Amazing Views from the Property

There are still some great lots available, including my listing of Lot 16, one of the largest and most private lots in the development.

If you’d like more information, please contact me for a quick response! Please see below for an updated price list:

Wild Coast Cottages Price List Nov 1 2010

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Still Alive and Kicking: An Update from Tim

Wow. It’s been a long time since I’ve updated the blog. I’ve had a tremendously busy summer, both with work and in personal life. Most of my spare time lately has been dedicated to projects around the house. Over the August long weekend, we had a minor flood in the kitchen from the dishwasher that’s turned into a major project. Thankfully, insurance covered the damage, but it’s taken a really long time to get things back to normal and it’s nowhere near over yet.

The floors in the kitchen were laminate, which does _not_ take well to water, especially water from below – the dishwasher leaked underneath the cabinets, so the water went underneath the flooring material, necessitating a complete removal of the flooring in the kitchen, dining room and hallway. The carpet in my office also got soaked, and we had water in the crawlspace. While insurance covered those floors, we decided to replace the aging carpets with the same laminate, for a more uniform look throughout the house. The cabinets were also damaged, and rather than repair the old ones we opted to replace the whole kitchen, as the cost difference was not that much. You can see how these things tend to snowball.

The flooring was installed this week and it looks great, and I finally got my office back together last night. The kitchen should be installed this weekend, and then it’s the home stretch for the arrival of Baby Ayres, due late October. Speaking of said new arrival, obviously lots of our time has also been dedicated to preparing for him/her.

So that’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.

Look for more updates this week about some exciting projects I’m involved with in the region. I can’t believe how 2010 has turned out so far, both personally and professionally, and I’ve never been more excited about the future!

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Tim Ayres at NAR Conference 2009 San Diego – Day 1 – Social Media and Gender Differences [Video]

Day 1 of the NAR Convention in San Diego was very productive – I saw two sessions today and unfortunately was shut out of a third due to it being full. The Introduction to Social Media session was great. As a REALTOR® who puts himself out there online using social media like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc, I was very pleased with the session. It was facilitated by three practicing agents, just like me, and they nailed it. Ginger Wilcox, Kelley Koehler, and Mariana Wagner were excellent – it was refreshing seeing a social media presentation by three working real estate professionals who actually, as they put it, do this to feed their kids.

Check out my video update from Day 1:

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Tim Ayres at NAR 2009 Conference in San Diego with VREB [Video]

We arrived today in San Diego for the NAR (National Association of REALTORS®) Conference 2009. There will be approximately 20,000 delegates from all over the world at the convention, which is bound to be exciting, fun, and informative.

I am here as part of the delegation from the Victoria Real Estate Board. I am a director on the board, and we are here to represent our board and to attend conference sessions and the trade show on behalf of the membership. When we return, we will be reporting on the sessions we attended and posting them to REALTORlink, and using what we’ve learned to plan the future direction of our board. Here is a quick video I shot this afternoon. I hope to shoot several videos each day and post the content nightly to the blog.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Think Realtor.ca Sucks? It Will Get Better Soon

Actual Users, Maude and Bill

Actual Users, Maude and Bill

Since the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) replaced the much-loved MLS.ca with the (so far) much-maligned REALTOR.ca last month, they’ve had nothing but complaints from everyone who uses it (consumers) and everyone who benefits from it (REALTORS® in Canada).

I can understand the domain name switch. Since its inception, MLS.ca has never been all that clear that it is a service provided by REALTORS® in Canada, and the switch to REALTOR.ca takes care of that. And I do believe it was time for a technology update – MLS.ca was pretty old-school.

But it worked, and it was simple. CREA threw the baby out with the bathwater on this one.

Yesterday, I noticed an update on our REALTOR® intranet, which outlined a few changes that will take place later this month, which should help to improve the overall user experience.

Users may have noticed that there is a limit on how far you can zoom into the interactive map. You can zoom only so far, and then it sort of bounces back to the limited zoom level. Effective November 20th, this restriction will be removed. This should help alleviate the “500 property” warning because you will be able to zoom down to reduce the number of properties displayed on the map. The map will also stop “yo-yo-ing”  as users reach the zoom limit and it snaps back to a wider view.

A big complaint has been the clunky way that neighbourhoods are handled. CREA assumed everyone would enjoy zooming down into the specific neighbourhood that they were interested in. This is in contrast to the old static MLS.ca maps where you could drill down to the specific MLS zones set up by the various real estate boards. For example, you could click BC–> Vancouver Island/Smaller Islands –> Victoria–> Sooke–> Broom Hill to see all the listings in that MLS zone. The Realtor.ca experience so far has been limited. The site was launched before many of these neighbourhoods could be defined in the database. So when somebody searched for Broom Hill, they might get the actual geographical feature rather than the MLS zone of the same name – clearly a problem. CREA has identified and added some 3500 of these areas since October 2nd, and will continue to add more as the local real estate boards provide the data. The Victoria Real Estate Board has been on this since day one and many of our MLS sub-areas are already in the CREA database. This is probably the largest issue with the site, and it will get better.

The issue of limited/no compatibility with non-Internet Explorer web browsers (Firefox, Safari, etc) is also being worked on. Thank-you, CREA, for no longer excluding some 47% of browser market share 😉

2008 IE7 IE6 Chrome FireFox Moz Safari O
October 26.9% 20.2% 3.0% 44.0% 0.4% 2.8% 2.2%
September 26.3% 22.3% 3.1% 42.6% 0.5% 2.7% 2.0%

There have also been complaints that photos are too small (I agree!), thumbnail information that pops up when you mouse over a property on the map is insufficient (probably), and that the listings are just too hard to find. There are changes that are being tested to address these issues as well.

Specifically in our marketplace, one of the problems has been that too many listings have appeared in the “not mapped” column which makes them extremely hard to find. This was caused by our previous MLS back-end software, which had an antiquated procedure for placing properties on a map. Also, the default data setting was to not supply an address to MLS.ca. With our new MLS system, the default is reversed, and all of the old listings were automatically mapped by address and postal code as they were imported into the new database, so that should solve most of the problem.

We want REALTOR.ca to work. Believe me. CREA spends millions of our (the REALTORS®) dollars to create and operate that site for the benefit of consumers. Canada is lucky to have it. There is no equivalent in the U.S., where MLS data is sometimes split across different websites for one city, let alone the entire country like we have here. I believe that once the bugs are worked out, REALTOR.ca will be far superior to MLS.ca

Questions? Comments? Post them below (or click through to the post if you’re reading this in a reader).

If you’re still having trouble with REALTOR.ca or would like more detailed information than it provides,  I can set up a private client portal for you to view the Sooke or Victoria MLS listings. Give me a call any time at 250-885-0512, fill in my buyer’s form, or shoot me an e-mail at Tim@TimAyres.ca. My services are available to buyers at no cost.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

Your comments are welcomed and encouraged!
Just use the form or link below this post.

You can bookmark this post using the button below,
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Lots to Talk About

I’m having lots of fun with the Horrible MLS Photo of The Day. Thanks to all who have commented on the posts. I consider it my duty to get other agents educated about good photography and visual presentation.

That being said, I do have a few “serious” post ideas in the pipe, and will write/post them as soon as I can. I’m hoping to be able to spend a good chunk of Friday morning blogging.

Topics may or may not include:

  • Recent CMHC Housing report
  • Green Real Estate with West Hills in Langford, BC
  • The closing of West Corp.’s Central Saanich office
  • B.C. condo project financial woes

Stay tuned!

Tim Ayres


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