Royal LePage Port Alberni News

We hope you find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local real estate information to Port Alberni community happenings. That’s because we care about the Alberni Valley and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Nov. 30, 2019

First-Time Home Buyer

Buying your first home can be nerve-wracking and perplexing, as you don’t necessarily know the market and the real estate lingo. Are there programs aimed towards First-Time Home Buyers or any incentives out there? 

First Time Home Buyer Programs

As of September 2nd, 2019, the new federal First-Time Home Buyer Incentive program (FTHBI) came into effect. This program does not replace the existing RRSP Home Buyer’s Plan (HBP), it is an incentive to help first-time homebuyers reduce their monthly mortgage costs without increasing their down payment. Through this program, there is no interest in the loan and the loan does not require ongoing repayments. This incentive is aimed at young Canadians who desire to get their foot on the property ladder, without paying a high mortgage; as well as a high down payment.

The First Time Home Buyer Incentive (FTHBI) program offers:

●5% towards the down payment of a resale home;

●5% or 10% towards the down payment of new builds.

The First-Time Home Buyer Incentive program will provide funding as a “shared equity loan” which means that the Government of Canada fundamentally becomes part owner of your home (5% or 10%) sharing in the ups and downs of the property value.

You can repay the incentive at any time in full within the 25 years without a pre-payment penalty. You must repay the incentive after 25 years or if you sell the property, whichever comes first. The repayment is based on the property’s fair market value. 

●You receive a 5% incentive of the home’s purchase price of $200,000 or $10,000. If your home value increases to $300,000 you would pay back 5% of the current value of $15,000.

●You receive a 10% incentive of the home’s purchase price of $200,000 or $20,000 and your home value decreases to $150,000, you would pay back the 10% of the current value of $15,000.

The types of properties that you can purchase through this incentive are: 

●New construction 

●Re-sale 

●New and Re-sale mobile/manufactured homes

Residential properties can include 1 to 4 units: 

●Single-family homes

●Semi-detached homes

●Duplex

●Triplex

●Fourplex

●Town House

●Condo 

So how do you qualify? First, you must have the minimum down payment to be eligible. Secondly, your maximum household income is no more than $120,000. Lastly, your total borrowing is limited to four times the qualifying income. 

Please Note: that the property must be in Canada and must be suitable and available all year-round. You can not use this incentive if you are planning on renting the property. The Government of Canada has allocated $1.25 billion over three years and more details will be released later in the year.

This incentive program is unlikely to help first-time buyers purchase a home in an expensive city like Vancouver or Toronto; as your household income needs to be higher than $120,000 to afford a home in one of these expensive cities. The average price per sq. meter to buy an apartment in the city center in Vancouver starts at $12,401.13 and outside the city starting at $9,400.89 per sq. meter. In Toronto the average price per sq. meter to buy an apartment in the city center starts at $10,658.43 and outside the city starting at $8,506.95 per sq. meter. This makes it impossible for renters and young adults still living with their parents to afford their first home. 

This incentive program would help immensely in areas like Port Alberni on Vancouver Island, BC where the average price per sq. meter is $1,300 to buy in the center of Port Alberni and $1,200 per sq. meter for outside of Port Alberni. An incentive program like this would help the first-time homebuyers in Port Alberni purchase their first home without a large mortgage and down payment hanging over their heads and in time bringing more first-time homebuyers to Port Alberni as our housing prices are one of the lowest and most affordable in BC and Canada.  As an average single-family home costs $322,000 in Port Alberni Vs an average single-family home in Vancouver costs $1,200,000.  Now that’s something to think about!

 

 

Nov. 6, 2019

Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day, where millions of people pay their respect to the men and women who sacrificed their lives in World War I for generations ahead to live in a world with freedom.  As a sign of respect countries in the British Commonwealth take a moment on the 11th month, on the 11th day and at the 11th hour to pay their respect and remember all the brave men who died in the line of duty and the brave nurses who tried to save these men. It has been held since the end of the First World War and is held on Armistice Day the day the treaty to end World War I was signed.Remembrance Day

 

The tradition of honoring those lost was started by King George V in 1918, and a poem written by a Canadian Doctor for the funeral of his friend who died in 1915, in the First World War that introduced the Poppies. The poem, “In Flanders Fields”, John McCrae wrote about the Poppies, that blossomed over some of the most horrific battlefields of Flanders, France.  Poppies symbolized death and bloodshed. 

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields, the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

 

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie,

In Flanders fields.

 

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

BY JOHN MCCRAE

Remembrance Day is a day to feel gratitude for these brave men and women who lost their lives; so, we could have the freedom that we have today. It is a day to appreciate and honor all those who fought for us and remember the sacrifice and bravery that our freedom cost them. 

Let’s remember that the war is over for our Veterans, but their battle often continues with their mental health. As many of their wounds can’t be seen and we can’t imagine what they went through; as many young soldiers were only 18 years of age when they were sent to the front lines and few returned home. Imagine this! Most of these young men lived at home, never married, no life experience and they sacrificed their lives; so, we could have ours. Many of the nurses where young nurses and what they experienced was gruesome; having to save the lives of multiple soldiers with limited or no medical tools and medicine. Imagine trying to save a soldier when his legs have been blown off from a bomb and having no medical tools or medicine. 

We are responsible to do whatever we can to help these brave Veterans to overcome challenges and provide mental health support to help them move on from what they witnessed and survived. These men and women are the last of the bravest generation that ever lived, and they should be treated and remembered like the Heroes that they are because without them the world we live in today would not be the same. Imagine if the Japanese or Germans won either war, what our reality would be today! 

Please join us on November 11th at 10:15 am at the Glenwood Centre in Port Alberni to Remember our Heroes of Port Alberni. Lest We Forget!  

 

Posted in Remembrance Day
Oct. 31, 2019

Royal LePage Shelter Foundation

In 1998 Royal LePage founded its charity The Royal LePage Shelter Foundation. This outstanding Foundation raises money in support for women’s shelters and violence prevention programs and to date is the only Canadian real estate company to have its own charity. Royal LePage Shelter Foundation

 

So far over $27 million has been raised for approximately 200 women’s shelters and other charities determined to end violence across Canada. Royal LePage has over a 20-year partnership with the Canadian Women’s Foundation making us one of their largest corporate donors. Each year Royal LePage has helped to support 30+ programs across Canada dedicated to helping women and children rebuild their lives after violence and programs that help to develop and evolve a healthier lifestyle.

Royal LePage has been recognized for its commitment to “giving back” to the community through the Shelter Foundation and has received the 2015 Outstanding Corporate Citizen Award from the Canadian Franchise Association, a 2016 Canada’s Volunteer Award in the category of Business Leader, and the Association of Fundraising Professionals (Toronto Chapter) award for Outstanding Corporation.

Royal LePage is a founding partner of sheltersafe.ca, which is an online clickable map that helps women to identify a shelter quickly and it also provides a 24-hour emergency phone number. This online resource helps women and their children who are escaping violence and abuse to find a safe haven; as well as their concerned family and friends. 

Every year, the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation hosts several special events such as gala dinners, golf tournaments, and its signature fundraiser event, the National Garage Sale for Shelter which takes place in May each year.

An upcoming event that will be occurring in a few short weeks is the Sahara Desert Challenge for Shelter, 120 Royal LePage professionals from across Canada, including one of our own Port Alberni Realtors, who will head to Morocco to participate in this once in a lifetime experience and each step taken will help women find safety and move forward after experiencing abuse. During this adventure, the Realtor’s will trek over 100 km in just 5 days. To participate, each agent has to raise at least $5,000 in support of the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation.

Another event that was held by Royal LePage in Port Alberni was the recent Burger and Beer (and Pasta and Wine) fundraiser hosted by Boston Pizza in support of ACAWS – Alberni Community and Women’s Services. A total of $1,317 was donated and will help the Transition House for local women and children escaping domestic violence. Each Royal LePage Realtor in Port Alberni donates a portion of their Commissions to the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation.

To make a bigger difference at a local level, the Shelters use our funding to provide critical services such as trauma counseling; job training and placement; emergency transportation to the shelter; play therapy for children; homework help for youth; renovations to existing shelters; and building new shelters. In some cases, the funds are used to help women and children after they leave the shelter and move into their accommodations. This ensures that women and children receive the help needed as quickly as possible and most importantly they feel safe.

If you would like to join Royal LePage in ending violence against women and children by donating to the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation all proceeds go to local charities. 

 

Oct. 16, 2019

Festivals and Events in Port Alberni BC

Port Alberni has a wide variety of festivals and events that are held throughout the year for the whole community young or old.  Below is just a small taste of some of the amazing, fun and exciting events that our awesome Port Alberians organize for our great community.Festivals and Events In Port Alberni BC

In August the Salmon Derby is held over Labour Day Weekend. Prizes are presented for the biggest Salmon, lots of raffles, food trucks, live music, arts and crafts. The Salmon Derby runs for the whole weekend. This year the biggest Salmon caught was 32.40 pounds. You should taste their world-famous Salmon Barbecue or enjoy a beer in their beer garden and listen to some great live music like the Joe Cocker Experience. At dusk the firework show starts on the first night of the Salmon Derby. If you love fishing this is the event for you, mark your calendar! Their volunteers create a fantastic and fun event each year. 

Another amazing festival is the Five Acre Shaker which is a music festival held over three days with a variety of different House DJs, Rock and Roll bands, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s live music. The Five Acre Shaker also hosts workshops such as Sex Positive Talk, Hatha Yoga Class, Pole Demo and much more. The festival is for the whole community to participate and enjoy. They do cater for families, some of the activities are face painting, rock painting, dance party, juggling competitions and lots of games. There is a bouncy castle and playground for the children to enjoy; while you dance and enjoy the live music.

In early September the Fall Fair runs for 4 days. This is a fun time not just for children but adults too! There are lots of entertainment from live music, agriculture shows, logger sports, parades, tractor pulls, to the horse show.  Not to forget the scary fun rides like the Zipper and Cliff-Hanger or take a ride on one of their two Ferris Wheels and take in the breathtaking views of our beautiful home Port Alberni.  There is also a raffle to win a new car and lots of other competitions to enter.  Why not try win the biggest teddy?

The last weekend in October at the McLean Mill the Jeepers Creepers Halloween event is held over 3 days. This event grows each year and has so many fun festivities. There are lots of activities for children, scary haunted houses for children and adults. Hop aboard their haunted train and listen to some scary stories. Then visit one of their two haunted houses in the Old Town. Where you can warm up with some delicious hot coco and watch the spectacular bonfire. Enjoy making memories! 

In January the Polar Bear Swim, is held on New Year’s Day at Canal Beach where hundreds gather to welcome in the New Year with a refreshing dip in the Alberni Inlet.  

In March the Paper Chase a 15k trek through the Cherry Creek area, which includes a detour though the McLean Mill National Historic Site.

In July there are a lot of festivals and events going on in Port Alberni such as the Okee Dokee Slo-Pitch Tournament which is an annual ball tournament with music at night and all proceeds raised go to local charities in Port Alberni.  The Canada Day Parade features many beautiful and creative floats, which starts on Stamp Avenue. The Parade starts at the sound of the Steam Whistle, once the floats reach the Harbour Quay the party starts with lots of music and fun activities. 

The list goes on, no matter what interests you; the numinous festivals and events been held throughout the year will keep your social calendar full and fun! How lucky are we to live in such an amazing place! 

 

Posted in Local Events
Oct. 11, 2019

Buying a Home in Winter in Port Alberni

Often, many people purchase their homes in the Spring and Summertime in Port Alberni, especially people with children: they want to ensure that their children are settled before the school year starts in September. Which means that the housing market heats up during these months and can potentially drive demand up in Port Alberni.  It can be frustrating when you make an offer on your dream home but there are multiple offers on that house.  Do you increase your offer or move on?  

Buying a Home in Winter in Port Alberni

Why not wait until the Winter! When the housing market slows down a little due to weather, there will be a decrease in homes on the market for sale but the buyer gains advantage facing less of a competition from other buyers.  The buyer’s chances on purchasing their dream home in Port Alberni for the right price may increase, due to the fact that some sellers are more motivated to sell knowing that the market is less active.  As well, it is rare that there would be multiple offers on the same home, this alone takes a lot of financial pressure and stress away. 

Wintertime is a great time to look at homes that are on the market in Port Alberni,  as the weather conditions are harsher during this season and this can help you evaluate the conditions on the home before you make an offer and pay a home inspector to inspect the home.  Some issues are more likely to appear in the Winter such as; leaks from roof shingles, foundation cracks from the cold, unlevel grading around the property, unsealed windows, water pooling at the entrance of the home, is the home insulated properly do you feel a draft?  You will also get to experience the heating system firsthand in Winter and you will be able to feel the air vents and ensure that the hot air flows throughout the home and to ensure that the wood fire operates correctly. 

Buying a home in Winter provides you with an opportunity to discover these repairs or replacements that you wouldn’t discover during the Summer and Spring months.  Being aware of these repairs or replacements now will help you make better decisions, potentially saving you thousands of dollars in the long run.

Winter weather may prevent you form getting a good essence of the yard, if it is covered in snow, you should ask your Realtor if photos are available of the yard from the previous Spring or Summertime. If gardening is important to you then ask your Realtor to find out if the current owners maintain their yard and with what type of plants or vegetables. 

Another aspect is that arranging a mortgage may go more smoothly in the Winter because your mortgage specialist will not be as busy during the Winter.

Hiring movers is easier in Winter, as during Spring and Summer they are booked solid. So, if you shop around you may get a cheaper price than during the Spring or Summertime.  As well, the movers may be more flexible with your schedule too as there will be less of a demand for them. 

Let’s face it when Spring rolls around you want to be settled in your new home ready to enjoy the sunshine not unpacking and moving furniture. Winter is a great time to consider buying a home, especially when you can save time and a lot of money.

 

Sept. 25, 2019

Sunshine Club in Port Alberni, BC

 

Port Alberni in BC have a 5 Star Social Club for the over 50’s and Seniors.  The Sunshine Club in Port Alberni began in 1967, today it has over 1000 members.  The Sunshine Club is powered by Volunteers and is a membership-based organization. The membership fee is $70 per person and operates from September to August. Their Volunteers strong commitment to Port Alberni BC increases the value of life for the over 50’s and senior communities.  For those of you that are widowed, retired, children have moved away, or on your own.  The Sunshine Club does not only provide activities and events; they provide a sense of belonging, knowing you are not on your own, that there is a whole community behind you and around you.

Sunshine Club events and activities for the over 50's and Seniors

The Sunshine Club offers a lot of social events in Port Alberni BC such as the Annual Sunshine Club Tea & Bazaar, which is an event that is held in October and is open to the public.  This year it is being held on Saturday, October 19, 2019 from 1:00 to 3:00 pm at the Echo Center. It is a fundraiser for the Club; there are raffles, hampers, and lots of baked delicious goods, different crafts, jewellery, plants, books etc. that can be purchased.  Another big social event is the Dinner at the Casino and Rim Rock Restaurant.  For more information, please click : {http://playinpa.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/ESC-Newsletter-September-2019.pdf}

The Sunshine Club offers a wide range of activities all year round, such as Table Tennis, Carpet Bowling, Bridge, Spanish, Pottery, Painting, Tai Chi; the Sunshine Club has over 50 activities to choose from.  For more information, the below link is the Sunshine Club September event calendar. {http://playinpa.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/SC-Calendar-of-Events-September-2019.pdf} 

The Sunshine Club in Port Alberni have two fantastic biking groups: Easy Riders Biking Group and Happy Trails Biking Group.  It is a fun experience and a great way to exercise.  If you prefer to walk, then their walking club is a great way to enjoy fresh air with the company of others. If fitness is your passion, then try the Line Dancing or Limber Up classes.

If you love to read books and discuss with others, look no further as both book clubs are amazing Turn the Page Book Club and Second Book Club; or do you love to write short stories, children’s stories, poetry etc. Then visit their Writing group on Tuesday morning’s from 10:00 – 12:00 pm at Echo Centre. 

The Sunshine Club in Port Alberni offers a daily Friendly Phone Call to anyone in Port Alberni that lives alone. The Sunshine Club will check in with you to ensure that you are safe and not alone. Their calls are between 8:00 am to 9:00 am, 365 days of the year.  Another amazing service they arrange is Hospital visits, their astounding Volunteers will visit you in hospital and send you a get-well card.  You just need to inform the admitting Clerk at the hospital and let them know you are a Sunshine Club member.

If Hobbies and Crafts are your desire, the Sunshine Club in Port Alberni will keep you busy with their Sunshine Garden Club and Hobbies and Crafty Wool. The Sunshine Club has a fully equipped Woodwork shop and is open to their members for a fee of $1 per visit. All members must provide their own wood. It is a great place to meet new friends and to share your knowledge and to learn from others.

Meeting new Friends at the Sunshine Club Lunch Brunch, once a month the Sunshine Club Volunteers organise a delicious meal in one of the local restaurants.  Great to catch up with friends and enjoy some local food.

Port Alberni is blessed to have such a well-organised Club and it is only possible because of the passionate, creative and hard-working Volunteers.  You are like a light in the dark, to so many people in this great community of ours, Port Alberni.

Posted in Local Events
Sept. 18, 2019

Relocating to Port Alberni, Where to Begin?

Have you ever dreamed of relocating to Port Alberni or another part of BC? Relocating can be stressful, buying a home can be confusing: is it in a good location, near schools, transit, parks, shopping, is there crime in that area, so many questions? Where to begin?    

Relocating to Port Alberni

The first step is Research, a tip would be to Google Map the different MLS listings in Port Alberni and Alberni Valley, such as Sproat Lake, Cherry Creek, Beaver Creek, Bamfield, and the Alberni Inlet to utilize the Google Street Maps to virtually walk the streets in that specific community of Port Alberni or  Alberni Valley , this will provide you with a sense of what is important to you , maybe schools, near shopping, hiking trails, waterfront views, mountain views, privacy, etc. 

Once you have completed your research on the different neighbourhoods in Port Alberni and Alberni Valley, the fun part starts looking for a new home to buy. The first step would be to contact a Realtor to help you search for new MLS listings in that neighbourhood maybe Sproat Lake, Salmon Beach, Bamfield, Cherry Creek, Beaver Creek. Your Real Estate Agent will have lots of knowledge and experience in all aspects of Real Estate, whether it’s buying bare land, manufactured home, single family, strata etc.  especially if they are from the area of Port Alberni or Alberni Valley. Narrowing down your research to what is important to you like rancher, two level home, home with a finished basement, lakefront property, condo, manufactured home and the list goes on. This will help you build a strong relationship with your Realtor and help them assist you best when making one of the biggest purchases of your life, your new home.  

How to decide on which home to buy? Visit the neighbourhood in person, look at the other homes on that street, is it a noisy street?  Do others keep their homes neat?  Does it look like a safe neighbourhood? Are there many homes with “for sale” signs?  The home itself meets your criteria, does it have the bedrooms and bathrooms that are on the wish list, the fenced yard, the big gourmet kitchen, the granite countertops, finished basement, lots of natural light, vaulted ceilings, is it near dog parks, is it near a lake, near hiking trails, near a hospital, near schools?

Talk to the neighbours and get a feel of the neighbourhood. Ask the neighbours the cons and pros of buying and selling a home in that area of Port Alberni or Alberni Valley.

If you have children you would need to review the schools, creches, any activities and bus routes in that area of Port Alberni or Alberni Valley. 

Also, another important factor is your commute from your home in Port Alberni or Alberni Valley, BC to work. Are you happy with the length of time that it takes you to get home? As many people desire a happy balance with work and home. 

Another method of connecting with Port Alberni and Alberni Valley is finding out more information is to search for social media groups from the Port Alberni and Alberni Valley and ask questions. You may make some new contacts before you arrive. Most Realtors advertise their open houses through social media too.  One thing to note is to take some peoples personal opinions or anecdote with a grain of salt, as all parts of Vancouver Island, BC and the rest of the world have their own cons, but in my opinion the pros out number them, especially in Port Alberni, BC .  

Talk to the people that work in the local restaurants, grocery stores, gas stations and other local stores. Visit the local tourism centre and ask for free maps and magazines of the different neighbourhoods in Port Alberni and Alberni Valley, which are Sproat Lake, Cherry Creek, Beaver Creek, Bamfield, and the Alberni Inlet.  Read the free local papers as a lot of different MLS listings and open houses are advertised in them. You will get a sense of what types of homes are for sale in Port Alberni or Alberni Valley, BC and the different styles i.e. Contemporary, Country, Rancher, West Coast, Victorian etc.  

Relocating doesn’t mean you are on your own, there are plenty of resources to help make the move to your new home a success and stress-free experience.   

Posted in Real Estate Tips
Aug. 13, 2019

Royal LePage Burger & Beer Fundraiser Update

We just wanted to give an update on our recent Burger & Beer (and Pasta & Wine) fundraiser in support of ACAWS - Alberni Community & Women's Services.  Today we presented a cheque to ACAWS on behalf of Royal LePage Port Alberni-Pacific Rim Realty and the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation. 

Royal LePage ACAWS Fundraiser 2019

The money raised went to support the local, Port Alberni, Transition House for local women and children walking away from domestic violence. This is such an important cause in Port Alberni and every community across Canada. 

A big Thank You is in order for: everyone who came out to support the evening; our Realtors who organised the fundraiser; our host Boston Pizza; and every person who works at the Alberni Community & Women's Services Society.

Posted in Local Events