Free Real Estate Seminar In Sooke: Buying Your First Home

Log Cabin In Sooke

Is 2016 The Year?

Learn all about mortgages, real estate, and how to buy your first home

Coming up Wednesday, January 27, 2016, you can spend a couple of hours with three of Sooke’s real estate and mortgage professionals learning about strategies you can use to get into your first home in 2016. The seminar is free, but you must pre-register, as there’s limited space. Continue reading “Free Real Estate Seminar In Sooke: Buying Your First Home”


Sooke Real Estate In Review 2015

One of the 300 sales in Sooke in 2015
One of the 300 sales in Sooke in 2015

Overall, 2015 was a great year for real estate in Sooke. Sales were up markedly, and prices also increased across the region. I’ve compiled a few statistics, and also the top five most-and-least expensive single family homes in Sooke this year. Finally, I’ll talk about predictions for 2016. Read on…Continue reading “Sooke Real Estate In Review 2015”


Sooke Christmas Lights Map 2015

Christmas Lights in Sooke
Christmas Lights in Sooke

Last night, I piled the family in the car and went out in search of the best Christmas lights displays in Sooke. While I didn’t have time to drive every street in Sooke, I think I covered a lot of ground, from up Otter Point Road, over to Broomhill, down Whiffen Spit, and Sunriver Estates. I’d love to share what I found with you! Continue reading “Sooke Christmas Lights Map 2015”


82% of Sooke Home Sales Unaffected By Federal Mortgage Insurance Rule Changes

6201 Hensbro Place, East Sooke.
Starting February 15, you’ll need a $37,500 down payment to buy this home, instead of $31,250. http://TimAyres.ca/167

This morning, federal finance minister Bill Morneau announced changes that his Liberal government is making to CMHC-backed mortgages in this country. The changes were hinted at by well known Canadian Mortgage Trends blogger Robert McLister back on December 1st. The actual changes aren’t quite what he had predicted, but are pretty close.Continue reading “82% of Sooke Home Sales Unaffected By Federal Mortgage Insurance Rule Changes”


Hallowe’en 2015 In Sooke

Happy Hallowe'en
Happy Hallowe’en

Happy October, and Happy Hallowe’en! The big night is almost here, and it’s nice that it is on a weekend so we can all enjoy it. I’m not sure the weather is going to cooperate for the little ghouls and ghosts trick-or-treating, but there are still lots of fun family activities going on. Read on… if you dare… Continue reading “Hallowe’en 2015 In Sooke”


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?

Continue reading “Sooke Real Estate Update – Fall 2015”


A Return to a Seller’s Market in Greater Victoria?

Photo credit: zedzap on Flickr
Photo credit: zedzap on Flickr

Yesterday, the Victoria Real Estate Board released statistics for February 2015. While the rest of the country contended with a seemingly never-ending winter, the cherry blossoms were out early in Victoria and vicinity, and so, apparently, were the buyers. Continue reading “A Return to a Seller’s Market in Greater Victoria?”


Sooke Real Estate Market Update for February 2015

Gorgeous February Weather in Sooke
Gorgeous February Weather in Sooke

Well – it’s been a while. Between being a busy dad, REALTOR®, 2014 president of the Victoria Real Estate Board, and a few other things, I certainly have neglected this blog. I’d like to start posting regularly again, even if it’s short bits and pieces. Let’s take a quick look at how the market has been performing in the last year or two. Continue reading “Sooke Real Estate Market Update for February 2015”


SOLD | Natural, Healthy Home in Sooke

Click the picture for complete details on TimAyres.ca
Click the picture for complete details on TimAyres.ca – MLS® 340255

This gorgeous, luxurious home has been built from the ground up using all natural materials to protect the health of the environment, and its inhabitants. Read on to find out more about it, and more about natural homes. Although this home is now sold, you can find out more about the builder and his upcoming projects at KCNaturalHomes.com.Continue reading “SOLD | Natural, Healthy Home in Sooke”


Take a Trip Back In Time Down Sooke Road With Google Streetview

Back to the Future Delorean Time Machine

Recently, Google added a neat little feature to its Street View product – the ability to go back in time by displaying their previously-captured images of the streets and towns in its Street View database. Street View was launched in 2007, so for many areas you can see how they’ve changed over the past seven years. For Sooke, most of the community was first captured in 2009, then again in 2011 and 2012. Continue reading “Take a Trip Back In Time Down Sooke Road With Google Streetview”


Sooke Real Estate Statistics – Now With 100% More HPI!

IMG_6622 (1800x1200)
Evening Street Scene in Sunriver Estates, Sooke

In November of last year, the Victoria Real Estate Board released its MLS® Housing Price Index, or HPI. This is a statistical measurement that paints a more accurate picture of housing prices, by examining sale prices each month and using a data model to scrub outliers from the data set. Simply put, it is more realistic because it goes beyond the simple mathematic measures of average and median. Keep reading to learn more.Continue reading “Sooke Real Estate Statistics – Now With 100% More HPI!”


SOLD | Sooke House For Sale – Sunriver Estates – 2085 sqft 3 bedroom 3 bathroom Family Home – 2367 Sunriver Place

Sunriver Estates Sooke 2-level home for sale Stonewood Plan
2367 Sunriver Place

 SOLD | MLS® 328391 $439900 – New Price!

The original Stonewood Plan show home at Sunriver Estates could be yours! A rare floor plan in the development, this one is rarer still with all its upgrades and recent improvements! Continue reading “SOLD | Sooke House For Sale – Sunriver Estates – 2085 sqft 3 bedroom 3 bathroom Family Home – 2367 Sunriver Place”


Sooke Real Estate Statistics – August 2013

Waterfront property with dock
49 Seagirt Sold in August 2013

August was much busier this year than in 2012 – not only in Sooke, but all over the Capital Region. Personally, most of the business I did was carried over from July, and was finished by the first week. From there on it was rest and relaxation the rest of the month, while managing the listings I have. One of the most relaxing Augusts I can remember in recent memory. The Thursday before the Labour Day long weekend, my phone, like clockwork, started ringing for appointments for the first week of September. It is those appointments which kept me from posting August stats until now. Let’s have a look at the numbers:Continue reading “Sooke Real Estate Statistics – August 2013”


Sooke Beaches: Fishboat Bay Park

Sandy beach
Beautiful Sandy Beach at Fishboat Bay

I know summer is drawing to a close and school is back in next week, but I noticed this morning that the forecast had changed – where rain was called for on the weekend, it now looks like the sun will be out on Saturday and Sunday. This could be one of the last weekends of the year to enjoy some beach time on our beautiful island. While sandy beaches seem to be few-and-far-between in the Sooke Region, when you find one you’ll want to return again and again.
Continue reading “Sooke Beaches: Fishboat Bay Park”


Sooke Real Estate Statistics – July 2013

A living room of a home in Sooke, BC
2220 French Road sold in July, along with 25 other properties in Sooke

Sales activity in Sooke was nearly the same as it was in 2012, with prices remaining fairly flat overall. It is still my opinion that while prices seem flat, they are actually declining. This is to say that although the average and median prices seem to hover in the high $300,000s and low $400,000s, a buyer in 2013 is probably getting a nicer, larger and/or newer home for the same money as in 2012 or 2011. Sales activity continues to be better than last year in most cases, and it is good to see the number of houses for sale continue to decline.

Continue reading “Sooke Real Estate Statistics – July 2013”


SOLD | Reflections Langford Condo – 856sqft 2 bedroom 2 bathroom – 308 – 2745 Veterans Memorial Parkway

Relfections Condo for Sale In Langford, Victoria, BC
308 – 2745 Veterans Memorial Parkway

SOLD MLS® 326712 – $244,900

Live in the centre of it all at Reflections in Langford! This conveniently located building features many extras, like a rooftop deck, running track, and small pool, as well as numerous shops and restaurants right there on the ground floor. Continue reading “SOLD | Reflections Langford Condo – 856sqft 2 bedroom 2 bathroom – 308 – 2745 Veterans Memorial Parkway”


Sooke Real Estate Statistics – June 2013

Deck Season. From http://TimAyres.ca/113
Deck Season. From http://TimAyres.ca/113

Here we are, a third of the way through July and I’m just getting around to posting the June stats! I’ve been a bit busy lately, with listings and with buyers. The market seems to be ticking along, though no sales records are likely to be broken. The weather in June was the best in recent memory, despite a rainy period mid-month. How did the real estate market stack up? Read on…Continue reading “Sooke Real Estate Statistics – June 2013”


Sooke Waterfront Townhouse For Sale – 1360 sqft 3 bedroom 3 bathroom Sooke Harbour Resort Unit 141

Sooke Harbour Resort - Townhouse for Sale
Unit 141 at Sooke Harbour Resort and Marina

MLS® 325769 $279,499

Resort-style living, year round, at one of Vancouver Island’s premier ocean front properties! Sooke Harbour Resort and Marina offers guests comfort and adventure, but there is also the opportunity to buy a unit and live there all year long! Continue reading “Sooke Waterfront Townhouse For Sale – 1360 sqft 3 bedroom 3 bathroom Sooke Harbour Resort Unit 141”


SOLD! Sooke House For Sale – 1775 sqft 3 bedroom 3 bathroom Family Home – 6711 Nott Place

House for sale, 6711 Nott Place, Sooke
6711 Nott Place, Sooke

SOLD! MLS® 325417 | REDUCED! $344,900 $339,900

Awesome, tidy family home on a quiet cul-de-sac just a short walk from downtown Sooke, schools, shops and recreation. At 1775 sq ft it’s just the right size for your growing family Continue reading “SOLD! Sooke House For Sale – 1775 sqft 3 bedroom 3 bathroom Family Home – 6711 Nott Place”


Sooke Real Estate Statistics – May 2013

IMG_4223 (1800x1198)
In May, the sale of the old golf course building completed.

May 2013 overall was a relatively busy month for real estate in the greater Victoria region. While the number of sales for the whole area was exactly tied with May of 2012, Sooke did better than in 2012. Let’s take a look at the numbers!Continue reading “Sooke Real Estate Statistics – May 2013”


SOLD! Sooke Waterfront House For Sale – 2825 sq ft – 3 bedrooms 3 bathrooms – 49 Seagirt Road

Waterfront home in Sooke, BC

SOLD! $749,900

Imagine waking to the sunrise over the Sooke Basin in your tranquil waterfront retreat! Currently used as a vacation rental home, this gorgeous, updated, 1993-built residence has left nothing to do but move in! Continue reading “SOLD! Sooke Waterfront House For Sale – 2825 sq ft – 3 bedrooms 3 bathrooms – 49 Seagirt Road”


SOLD! Sooke Half Duplex For Sale – 1543 sqft 3 bedroom 3 bathroom Great Starter Home! – 2220 French Rd

Half Duplex For Sale In Sooke BC

SOLD! $287,900

Amazing value in this gorgeous, updated strata duplex at the end of a no-through street on a private lane. Nothing to do but move in and enjoy the summer in your new family home. Continue reading “SOLD! Sooke Half Duplex For Sale – 1543 sqft 3 bedroom 3 bathroom Great Starter Home! – 2220 French Rd”


Sooke Real Estate Statistics – February 2013

With Spring coming, our thoughts turn to gardening at outdoor activities

Ah February, we hardly knew ye! The shortest month of the year has come and gone – and not including my trip to Winnipeg, I didn’t see a single snowflake – it looks like we’ve escaped winter this year in Sooke. But how did the real estate market do this month? Continue reading “Sooke Real Estate Statistics – February 2013”


30 Days Left To Claim Your $10,000

Yeah, there’s $10,000 there. I counted. Really.

This is going to sound like a pitch – but I promise there are no balloons, streamers, or wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tube men here. If you’re a first-time buyer, there has never been a better time to buy a new home…Continue reading “30 Days Left To Claim Your $10,000”


Hikes in Sooke – Bluff Mountain Ridge Trail

Bluff Mountain Ridge Trail
Bluff Mountain Ridge Trail

What a beautiful day we had in Sooke this past Sunday. Sunny, warm, and still just mid-February. It’s no wonder my Saturday was spent showing folks from Alberta around our gorgeous region! My wife (who is 8 months pregnant), our 2-year old daughter and I decided we’d get outdoors and do a hike.Continue reading “Hikes in Sooke – Bluff Mountain Ridge Trail”


Valentines Day in Sooke – Top 5 Ideas For Romance

Sunset at Otter Point by Jason van der valk
Sunset at Otter Point by Jason van der valk

It’s Valentines Day – are you stuck for ideas for romancing your sweetheart? Here are 5 top places and activities to ignite the candle of romance in your life. Even if you’ve already got plans, bookmark this page for the next time you’re looking to impress that special somebody.

Continue reading “Valentines Day in Sooke – Top 5 Ideas For Romance”


Strong Start to 2013 for Sooke Sales – Sooke Real Estate Statistics – January 2013

Ahh, Winter on the West Coast!
Ahh, Winter on the West Coast!

It’s been a busy first month of the year for local real estate agents – myself included! After a very quiet last quarter of 2012, I’m hoping this means that we can look forward to a year marked by robust sales yet affordable prices here in Sooke. Let’s see how the numbers break down:Continue reading “Strong Start to 2013 for Sooke Sales – Sooke Real Estate Statistics – January 2013”


Rural Living In Sooke: Heating With Wood


When I bought my house in Sooke – in the Otter Point area, one of the things that attracted me to it was its cozy Pacific Energy wood stove. Having never heated with wood in the past, it was a bit of a learning curve to figure it out. I learned that a modern wood stove isn’t just a steel box you burn wood in – it is actually a complex system with many variables that need to be accounted for in order for it to function safely and efficiently. Luckily, my stove came with a fairly detailed manufacturer’s manual from which I was able to learn some valuable information.Continue reading “Rural Living In Sooke: Heating With Wood”


SOLD! – Gorgeous Acreage And 4 Bedroom House For Sale In Sooke – 3750 Otter Point Road


SOLD! MLS® 318314 – $399,900

A place to get away from it all and raise your family in peace and serenity. This awesome faux-Tudor style 4 bedroom, 2100 sqft home sits on an absolutely lovely 1.26 acres of lush forest that has been selectively logged to open it up to the south-east sunlight. Continue reading “SOLD! – Gorgeous Acreage And 4 Bedroom House For Sale In Sooke – 3750 Otter Point Road”


Sooke Real Estate Statistics – November and December 2012 – Year End Wrap

Another year, another Green Christmas for Sooke.
Another year, another Green Christmas for Sooke.

I guess December got away from me – as it turns out I was quite busy during the last half of the month with two separate buyers, and of course that little holiday and all the associated eating and drinking that goes along with it! I actually compiled all the November stats early in December and they sat on my desk all month because I kept forgetting to post them. So here is a double stats post and a year-end wrap up – let’s see where we’re at…

Continue reading “Sooke Real Estate Statistics – November and December 2012 – Year End Wrap”


New Sombrio Bridge is Now Open – Watch Its Construction [Video]

Image Courtesy of Ministry of Transport

In 2009 the Provincial Ministry of Transport announced an improvement project on Highway 14 between Jordan River and Port Renfrew. Since then, there has been about 22 km of new roads, bridges, and other improvements on the Pacific Marine Circle Route. The Route, which allows motorists to travel between Sooke, Port Renfrew, Lake Cowichan, Duncan, and Victoria in either direction, is a major driver of tourism and local economic growth. It is one of the reasons Port Renfrew is quickly developing as a getaway destination similar to other West Coast ports like Tofino and Ucluelet.Continue reading “New Sombrio Bridge is Now Open – Watch Its Construction [Video]”


Take a Gorgeous Flight Over Southern Vancouver Island [Video]

With all this dreary, wet, rainy weather, it’s hard to believe that scarcely 2 months ago it was still gorgeous and sunny. I watched this video last night and was instantly warmed as I smiled from ear to ear at the sheer awesomeness of this rock we call home. This video is from a Nanaimo-area pilot and is an 18-minute account of his one-and-a-half-hour flight from Nanaimo airport, south over the Gulf Islands, up the Saanich Peninsula to Victoria, out over the Strait of Juan de Fuca past Sooke and Jordan River, and finally hanging a right at Nitinat Lake and following it towards Cowichan Lake and Copper Canyon towards home.Continue reading “Take a Gorgeous Flight Over Southern Vancouver Island [Video]”


Sooke Real Estate Statistics – October 2012

Photo Credit: RichardBowen on Flickr

Were buyers spooked in October? Maybe. Overall across Greater Victoria, it was not a great month for real estate sales outside the core municipalities. Outlying areas, especially the West Shore experienced serious declines in sales, including Sooke, which saw roughly 33% decline in overall number of homes sold of all types, and 28% fewer single family homes than October of 2011…

Continue reading “Sooke Real Estate Statistics – October 2012”


Sooke Real Estate Statistics – September 2012

http://TimAyres.ca/100 sold in September

September 2012 brought with it some great, dry weather, and also a bit more activity in the Sooke housing market than both August 2012, and September of last year. Prices remain fairly stable year-over-year. While it’s not booming, there was a noticeable uptick in activity and 50% more single family dwelling sales than last month. Let’s dive in and look at the numbers.Continue reading “Sooke Real Estate Statistics – September 2012”


What is a Back-Up Offer And How Does It Work?

While it doesn’t happen too often in the current Sooke real estate market, occasionally, you might find a property that you love which already has an accepted offer on it. Or, maybe you saw the property a few weeks ago, and finally decided to make an offer and were too late. At this point, you have two options: wait and see if  the first offer becomes unconditional (and the property is sold), or you can sometimes write a back-up offer.Continue reading “What is a Back-Up Offer And How Does It Work?”


SOLD – East Sooke Duplex on Acreage For Sale – 6006 East Sooke Road

Well-maintained Full duplex on 2.5 acres

SOLD! $399,900 – MLS® 313726

Looking for something different? This is a rare opportunity to purchase a full duplex (not a strata) and rarer still to find it on a tranquil, sunny 2.5 acre parcel with lots of flat land. With 5 bedrooms (2 in one side and 3 in the other) this older home could use some cosmetic upgrades, but it has been well looked after over the years. Continue reading “SOLD – East Sooke Duplex on Acreage For Sale – 6006 East Sooke Road”


Manufactured/Mobile Homes and CSA/Electrical Safety Stickers

Currently for sale – http://TimAyres.ca/104

In British Columbia, you cannot legally sell a manufactured/mobile home (sometimes known as a trailer) without either a CSA (Canadian Standards Association) or BC Electrical Safety Authority (BCESA) certification. When a trailer is manufactured in Canada, its manufacturer applies a decal, usually on the exterior near the front door, with its CSA number, and sometimes inside the home in the kitchen or electrical panel. Read on to find out what to watch out for if you’re buying or selling a manufactured home. Continue reading “Manufactured/Mobile Homes and CSA/Electrical Safety Stickers”


Sooke Parks in Profile: China Beach (Juan De Fuca Provincial Park)

At low tide there is plenty of sand to play on.

It’s been way too long since I posted about parks in Sooke. My wife’s sister is in town for a few day and we took advantage of the great weather we’ve been having lately for an excursion out to China Beach. Located at the trailhead of the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail just a few kilometres west of Jordan River, China beach is a bit of a hike from the parking lot, but is well worth it!Continue reading “Sooke Parks in Profile: China Beach (Juan De Fuca Provincial Park)”


Victoria and Sooke Real Estate Photographer: Jason van der Valk

Jason captured the best of my listing at 7760 West Coast Road

One of the many things that I believe sets me apart from other REALTORS® is that I am very concerned with the visual presentation of a property to discerning buyers. With so many properties on the market these days, it is crucial that my listings stand out and are presented in the best way possible to maximize the number of people who want to view the property in person…Continue reading “Victoria and Sooke Real Estate Photographer: Jason van der Valk”


Stick Fest 5 – The Stick In The Mud Celebrates 5 Years In Sooke


Congrats to The Stick on Five Years in Business Here in Sooke

Coming up this Saturday, July 7, starting around 11:00 is Stick Fest Five, put on by David Evans and his coffee crew down at The Stick In The Mud Coffee House in Sooke. David officially opened the stick on 07/07/07, and every year since he’s thrown an anniversary party to celebrate and give back to his loyal following of caffeinated customers. I had a chance to ask David a few questions about coffee, success, and celebration, and he was kind enough to step away from the roaster for a few moments to answer.Continue reading “Stick Fest 5 – The Stick In The Mud Celebrates 5 Years In Sooke”


Acreage Building Lot For Sale – 1.06 acre in Sheringham Estates, French Beach West of Sooke

Click the Pic to Visit This Property’s Page

$159,900 – MLS® 311480

Unbeatable value in the established acreage neighbourhood of Sheringham Estates! With precious few lots not already built on, this lush, green lot nestled right next to the ocean and French Beach Provincial Park is rare indeed! A sunny corner location with towering trees and lots of wild vegetation, this lot offers many easy-to-build-upon sites for your rural getaway or full time home…Continue reading “Acreage Building Lot For Sale – 1.06 acre in Sheringham Estates, French Beach West of Sooke”


SOLD! Commercial Land and Building For Sale In Sooke – Former Mulligans Restaurant 2197 Otter Point Road

2.16 Acres of C-2 Zoned Commercial Property

SOLD! $699,000 – REDUCED!

Amazing opportunity to buy one of the last large commercial properties available in Sooke. At just over 2 acres, this C-2 zoned property is centrally located within walking distance of hundreds of single family homes, and a newly-approved 127-lot subdivision across the street (Nott Brook Estates). What a location for a neighbourhood commercial centre!
Continue reading “SOLD! Commercial Land and Building For Sale In Sooke – Former Mulligans Restaurant 2197 Otter Point Road”


Manufactured/Mobile Home For Sale in View Royal – Affordable In-Town Living

14 – 1521 Cooper Road, View Royal

$149,900 MLS® 309861

Just a short drive or cycle to CFB Esquimalt or downtown Victoria – you just can’t beat this location. This well maintained and updated 3 bedroom 2 bathroom single-wide manufactured home with addition boasts nearly 1300 sqft of flexible, comfortable living for you and your family…Continue reading “Manufactured/Mobile Home For Sale in View Royal – Affordable In-Town Living”


Sooke Waterfront Development Acreage For Sale – 1 Acre Low-Bank Waterfront With Older Home – 6107 Seabroom Rd

1 acre of low-bank waterfront on the Sooke Basin

$749,900 MLS® 307762

What an amazing opportunity for a quiet seaside lifestyle and an incredible future development. This one acre parcel has a charming, rustic 3 bedroom cottage set at the rear of the property amongst towering fir trees, overlooking a flat, level, grassy field that fronts right on to the Sooke Basin…Continue reading “Sooke Waterfront Development Acreage For Sale – 1 Acre Low-Bank Waterfront With Older Home – 6107 Seabroom Rd”


Sooke Mariner’s Village Waterfront Condo For Sale – 1 bedroom, 1 bath, 650 sqft

The View from Mariner’s Village

$349,900, MLS® 309431

Live the lifestyle you deserve at Mariner’s Village. This multi-phase waterfront community within a community is already attracting attention from all around. This beautifully-appointed one bedroom condo in the newly-completed Phase I – Navigator’s Pointe – boasts all the extras like extra-thick granite countertops, automatic window shades, and more…Continue reading “Sooke Mariner’s Village Waterfront Condo For Sale – 1 bedroom, 1 bath, 650 sqft”


SOLD! Sooke House For Sale – 1900 sqft 3 bedroom 3 bath on 2 levels – 6696 Acreman Place

 SOLD! $349,900

Wow – so much house for such a great price! This immaculate, 2003-built family home boasts 1900 sqft of well-laid-out family living space. Set on a quiet cul-de-sac, the home is just steps away from elementary and middle schools, and convenient walking distance from Sooke village, shopping, trails, parks, and more.

Continue reading “SOLD! Sooke House For Sale – 1900 sqft 3 bedroom 3 bath on 2 levels – 6696 Acreman Place”


What Is Your Home Worth?

If you want to start an argument on the Internet, or anywhere else, for that matter, start talking about the pros and cons of owning vs renting your home. It’s guaranteed to get people fired up on either side of the argument. Of course, depending on your level of debate, you might never get invited out with that group of friends again. There are points on both sides that make a lot of sense. Let’s take a look:Continue reading “What Is Your Home Worth?”


Population of Sooke Now 11,435 – Growth of 18% Since 2006

The data from the 2011 Canadian Census was released this week, and, not surprisingly, the greater Victoria region continues to grow. Also not surprisingly, growth tended to centre on areas with available land for new houses to be built. Continue reading “Population of Sooke Now 11,435 – Growth of 18% Since 2006”


Three New TV Spots Encourage People To Discover Sooke

If there’s one guy who loves the Sooke region as much as I do, it’s my pal Jason at Discover Sooke. Jason was the first friend I made when I moved to the Island 6 years ago. He and Mrs. Discover Sooke eventually decided to move out here from Langford and haven’t looked back.Continue reading “Three New TV Spots Encourage People To Discover Sooke”


Rural Living In Sooke: Well, Well, Well – All About Your Water Supply

Photo Credit: congvo on Flickr (click photo for link)

Chances are, if you live on an acreage in Sooke, or anywhere else in greater Victoria for that matter, you have a well. If you’re considering buying an acreage property, this may be your first experience with your own water supply. Water in our region is plentiful, thankfully, and we enjoy abundant, cheap, good-tasting municipal water supply from the CRD. How is it different to own a well and what considerations do you need to take to ensure a reliable, safe, and tasty water for decades? Read on to find out!

Continue reading “Rural Living In Sooke: Well, Well, Well – All About Your Water Supply”


How Do Property Taxes Work, And When Are They Due In 2011?

First, the easy part: your 2011 property taxes are due July 4, 2011. If your property is in the District of Sooke, you can pay in myriad different ways. There is a drop box for your cheque at municipal hall, or you can visit and pay in person. You can pay in person or online with most banks, or you can mail a cheque. If your property is in the Juan de Fuca Electoral Area (Otter Point, Shirley, Jordan River, Port Renfrew, or parts of East Sooke), your taxes are payable to the provincial Minister of Finance and can be paid in person at a Service BC office, dropped off at the Surveyor of Taxes in Victoria, or online or in person at most financial institutions.

Many home owners will have their taxes paid automatically by their mortgage lender. Lenders will estimate your taxes owing and you’ll pay, along with your mortgage payment, into a side account from which the taxes are paid every year. Lenders do this because they want to be sure the taxes are paid – property tax debt takes priority before mortgages should the borrower default!

However, even if your lender pays the taxes, you’ll want to apply for the Home Owner Grant. The Home Owner Grant is a yearly grant from the provincial government to help offset your property taxes. If you qualify, that’s $570 off your property taxes! You’re eligible for the grant if :

  • you are the owner (or spouse/relative of the deceased owner) of the property;
  • you are a permanent resident of British Columbia
  • you occupy the building on the tax notice as your principal residence
  • you have not applied for or received a home owner grant on any other property in the Province during the calendar year; and
  • no other person can have received a home owner grant on the property for the calendar year.

Most property owners in Sooke will qualify as long as it is their principal residence. The grant is less for properties over $1.15M in assessed value. There is also an additional grant for seniors and other groups.

The thing that confuses people the most is the timing of your taxes. Even though you pay your taxes on or about July 2 of every year, you’re paying for that whole calendar year (ie, January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011, not July 2, 2011 to July 2, 2012). Where this can come up is when you sell your house. People sometimes assume that if they sell their home in the spring, they’ve already paid their property taxes. Not true, because they haven’t been levied yet. When you sell your home, no matter what time of year, your lawyer or notary will have to adjust for the taxes on the statement of adjustments at closing.

For example, If you sold your home and it closed on March 31, 2011, the adjustment would be negative (a debit) to compensate the buyer for the time you occupied the house in 2011 (90 days) – since they will be responsible for paying the property taxes in July. If you sold your home and it closed on August 1, 2011, you would have already paid the taxes, so the adjustment would be positive (a credit) with the buyer compensating you for the time the buyer enjoys the house in 2011 (152 days).

Where does your tax money go? In the District of Sooke, it is interesting to note that only 42% of your tax bill funds municipal services directly. The rest is paid on your behalf to other taxing authorities, including BC Transit, Vancouver Island Health Authority, the Capital Regional District, schools, hospitals, and fire and police service. In the Juan de Fuca Electoral area, it depends on which unincorporated community you live in.

Some other Sooke property tax tidbits:

  • Sewer parcel tax is $515, included in the total payable taxes on your property tax notice, if you live within the sewer specified area.
  • Taxes in Sooke remain among the lowest in the Capital Regional District
  • The District of Sooke has a 5-year financial plan which it updates yearly




What Do I Do If I Can’t Afford To Renew My Mortgage?

With interest rates skyrocketing since March of 2022, if your renewal is looming this year and you’re worried – read on.

It seems that the times of historic-low interest rates are behind us – for the foreseeable future anyway. So what happens if your mortgage is due for renewal in 2023? Maybe you are one of the lucky ones to lock in a 5-year rate at 2.0% or less over the last two years, and you don’t have to worry about it yet, but there are plenty of homeowners who have a deadline looming this year.

Let’s look at the numbers. If you have a $500,000 mortgage you took out 5 years ago at a rate of 3% (about the best rate you could get in early 2018), your monthly payments would have been around $2366 (assuming a 25-year amortization). Your outstanding balance on your mortgage in 2023 when the term comes up for renewal would be around $427,000, with 20 years remaining on your amortization. At today’s rate of around 5%, your payments would be around $2800. Obviously every situation is unique and this is for illustration only, but there are some people that are right to be worried about an upcoming renewal in this interest rate environment.

For some expert advise, I reached out to local mortgage professional James L. James of Dominion Lending Centres – Modern Mortgage Group. I asked James if he had some ideas for homeowners worried about how they would afford their payments.

  • “Extend your amortization: I know the thought of extending an amortization can be scary as no one wants to take longer to pay down their mortgage but you should keep in mind that the amortization length is an arbitrary time frame used to determine monthly payments. Most lenders do permit annual lump sum payments or increased monthly payments, both of which essentially reduce amortization length. You can also reduce the amortization back down at a later date when rates have improved. For example, if your current remaining amortization is 20 years, by extending to 30 years you could save approximately $125 per month per every $100,000 of mortgage funds.”

This seems like the most logical. You’ve just paid off 5 years of your mortgage – why not just extend out the amortization to lower your overall payments. You can always refinance if rates eventually fall, or make lump some payments as you have available cash to do so.

  • “Switching your mortgage type: If you are currently in a variable rate mortgage, it might be advisable to switch to a fix term. Currently fixed rates can be up to one full percent lower than variable. And this may increase further if variable rates continue to increase, which is expected. However if you are going to opt for this option, it might be advisable to take a shorter term so that you are not locking into historically higher fixed rates for a long period of time. This all comes down to your level of tolerance for uncertainty though and you definitely want to speak to your mortgage professional about which option is the best for you”

Here in January 2023, the Bank of Canada is expected to make at least once more increase of 0.25 or 0.5% to the overnight rate, which affects variable rate mortgages, so switching to a fixed rate product, in addition to peace-of-mind, might save you some money, too.

  • “Reverse Mortgage: If you have built up a decent amount of equity in your home and are at an age where you do not necessarily want to deal with mortgage payments and all the turmoil we are sure to see in the rate market moving forward, a reverse mortgage might be the best option for you – especially if you live in an area that has a long term trend of increasing property values. These mortgages will eliminate your payments entirely, as they will simply be taken from the existing equity in your home. You can also opt for a lump sum payment to be issued to you, or receive a monthly stipend, from certain reverse mortgage options.”

There’s an interesting and creative idea I am sure not a lot of people have thought about. Being a guy in his 40’s a reverse mortgage isn’t something I could or would consider, but seniors, especially those on fixed or limited income, could definitely take advantage of such an option, assuming it aligns with any estate planning in place.

  • “Flex Mortgage or Home Equity Line:   Flex mortgages and home equity lines of credit offer a way of reducing your monthly payments by making a portion of your mortgage interest only payments.   With a home equity line, you can also use this as an option to assist with your monthly payments on months you might be a little bit short – as you can draw from it and pay it down any time you like.  However, home equity lines of credit do tend to come with higher rates than standard closed options and are not for everyone.”

One must be careful with HELOCs – besides the higher rate, if you’re not disciplined, you can end up dipping into your home’s equity too much – and in a market where property values are dropping – you don’t want to end up underwater (owing more than the home is worth).

  • “Talk to a mortgage broker: Unfortunately we see this far too often. Clients open up a savings account with a lender when they are a child and for the rest of their life, that is their bank. I did it myself until I got in this industry. Banks are often the least competitive for people they assume are “theirs”. I have been able to save clients tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest by shopping around their mortgage, and the vast majority of the time, if they so choose, the clients can keep all their existing day to day banking exactly the same. At the end of the day, banks make more than enough money and your goal should be to keep as much of your money as possible in your own pockets. So make that quick call to me or your mortgage broker and see what other options are available to you before you sign on any dotted line.”

This is the best advice here – your bank’s job is to make money for its shareholders. Your mortgage broker’s job is to find you the best deal and to support you in your mortgage decisions. They’re not just brokers – they are advisers – and who among us couldn’t use sound advice when dealing with financial matters?

  • “Can any other loans be paid down?   Often additional debt loads can be reduced through a refinancing of your property.   If you have any high payment credit cards or other loans, by amortizing them into the mortgage your overall monthly payments will drop significantly.   In the future, if your disposable cash increases, you can always use this to pay down to principle to reduce the overall long term interest you would be paying by doing this.  In the past we have saved clients thousands in overall monthly expenses by consolidating additional loans into their mortgage, which generally is at a much lower rate than any other type of borrowed capital.”

If your problem is available cash flow – this option may work for you. One thing to remember is that refinancing higher-interst debt into your mortgage is not a “get-out-of-debt-free card.” If you don’t possess the financial discipline to avoid running up the credit cards again, this option is not for you.

  • “Finally, you might want to look at utilizing unused space in your home. I know we all value our privacy, but being someone that works with numbers and finance, I always encourage clients to consider their long term financial health.  Sure, that friend or family member that is currently paying too much for rent somewhere might get on your nerves occasionally, but maybe that annoyance is worth the monthly sum you could be receiving from them to stay in an otherwise vacant room.   Building your inner circle and sense of community is always a good thing and something we probably need more of nowadays.”

Another option related to this is a homestay/exchange student. If you already have kids that you care for, a student can not only enhance your childrens’ cultural awareness, but the marginal effort and cost of providing an extra helping at the table is often well worth it. I know families that have made lifelong connections with the students they host – and continue to keep in touch as they become young adults.

As you can see – there are always options when it comes to mortgages. So have a chat with your trusted financial advisers and make a plan before a plan is made for you. If you bought or renewed in 2020-2022 at a super-low rate, you also need to make a plan for what happens when you renew a few years from now. Rates may come down, but it’s unlikely we’ll see below-2% mortgages. Set aside some extra cash to make a lump sum payment to reduce your balance, make extra payments as you can afford them – so that when your time comes to renew you aren’t left in a sticky financial situation.

I wish you all the best for a happy and successful 2023 – don’t hesitate to get in touch with any real estate related questions, I am here to help.

-Tim Ayres, REALTOR® 250-885-0512 (voice/text) tim@timayres.ca

5 Reasons To Go See Camelot This Weekend and Next

Sooke Harbour Players presents Camelot – Nov 25-27 and Dec 2-4

Hello (again) world. It’s been a long time since I posted anything on this blog, despite having it completely redesigned many months ago. What better reason to write than to promote the upcoming Sooke Harbour Players production of Camelot The Pantomime!

  1. It’s a fun, family-friendly show.
    This is a production for all ages, with lots of laughs and gags galore. The classic story of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table turned on its head by the inimitable Ben Crocker.
  2. Unbelievable local talent!
    With a cast of nearly 50 people as young as 8, you probably know somebody in this show! Sooke Harbour Players is an all-ages, all-experience-level community theatre group. Many of the performers in this production are on-stage for the first time. This is my second go around with the stage, and this year I get to play one of the villains (and had to grow a moustache as a result).
  3. The singing and dancing!
    Our talented musical director Marian Schols has assembled a repertoire of contemporary numbers, ably performed live by our cast, with dances chorerographed by Callie Rae and Nicole Rae that will have you wanting to join in (and will, admittedly, be stuck in your head after you go home!)
  4. Boo the villains and cheer on the heroes!
    Being a traditional English pantomime, the audience is expected to particpate in the fun by cheering on the good guys and showing the baddies what you think of them. “Pantomime, what’s that?” you say? French guys with striped shirts and white make-up? And what’s with singing and dancing, I thought it was silent!? No – Pantomime is a style of production that retells a classic tale using (often) slapstick comedy, stock characters and audience particpation.
  5. Kick off the Holiday Season
    If you are from the UK, you’ll definitely know that a panto is one of the many traditions of the holiday season across the pond – so why not take it in and start a new tradition with your family? Live theatre only works if you support it – so come out and show the hardest-working performers on Vancouver Island your support! You’ll be glad you did!

Tickets are just $22 for adults, and $16 for seniors (65+) and youth (6-17). Kids under 5 are free. You can buy tickets online here (be sure to select the date you want first), with cash at Stick In The Mud Coffee House, or by calling Susan at 250-415-9410. Buy your tickets early to ensure you get to go to your preferred performance! There are only 6 shows: 7:00 Fridays and Saturdays (Nov 25, 25 and Dec 2, 3) and 2:00 Matinees on Sundays (Nov 27 and Dec 4).

I hope to see you there!

Sooke Real Estate Information Night – Come and Learn!


Is this the year you buy your first home?
Is this the year you buy your first home?

Get educated about buying and selling real estate.

Hear from three local experts about buying your first home, moving up, and more!

When: Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 7:00pm

Where: Best Western Premier Prestige Oceanfront Resort, 6929 West Coast Road, Sooke [map street view]

I’ll be joined by Sooke’s dynamic mortgage team, Kerry Reid and Kari Stauble of DLC Modern Mortgage group. Our seminar will be a fun, interactive, and informative evening, arming you with the tools to bring your real estate goals within reach.

Topics covered will include:Continue reading “Sooke Real Estate Information Night – Come and Learn!”