Oct. 15, 2020

Neighbourhood Knowledge | Rockland

 

When you look at a map of Victoria, it can confuse even a life-long local.

The big districts are broken into many smaller neighbourhoods, and most neighbourhoods have their own central hub that locals will usually reference as though that part is its own neighbourhood! As such, we thought we would start sharing some of what we know about each part of our fair city–both in terms of history and what makes each place great to visit or live in today!

 

 

 

First off the docket is Rockland. Fittingly, one of the oldest parts of Victoria and easily one of the greenest, there is a sense of old-world grandeur and opulent elegance lingering here.

Developed in the 19th century, it was once a rocky hilltop home to glamorous mansion estates and dotted with Garry Oak trees native to the Pacific Northwest.

 

 

Popular at the time was the Arts & Crafts style, perpetuated throughout Victoria by famed architect Samuel Maclure. Many of these properties have been designated heritage homes, their different owners in time having restored or maintained their varied stylistic traits. Around Victoria you’ll find a variety of buildings with similar designations that look totally different! This speaks to the many changes that Victoria has undergone in its 158 year-old history, and to the blend of people and mixed social classes that lived in it’s different neighbourhoods as it slowly changed from fort to city.

 

 

Where Joan Crescent and Craigdarroch Road meet, you’ll find the area’s only official park (and the neighbourhood association’s pet project), known as the “Rockland Woodland Garden”. But, a touch more remarkable, and perhaps world-renowned, are two nearby national heritage sites that we all take for granted far too frequently: Government House and Craigdarroch Castle.

Situated an easy walking distance to the downtown core and a few different sections of coastline, there is nothing you’ll miss by living here–talk about location, location, location!

 

 

To this day, Rockland is primarily a residential and extremely peaceful neighbourhood, with a few spots of commercial activity to the West and North. Deer roam freely, as do the locals that you can find strolling down hidden paths and winding roads as they go to and from other parts of town. Most of the old properties have been revived and converted into character apartment suites, townhouses, care facilities, or single family homes. With a range of great schools nearby, community and recreation centres, shops, cafes, and the like, Rockland sits well with all!

For information on our current listings in Rockland, click here. For more detailed information about relocating to Victoria, click here. Stay tuned for our next neighbourhood post!

 

Sept. 18, 2020

Cowichan Valley | Napa of the North

Known for its mild climate and thriving artisan communities, there's always a variety of fun experiences to have when you live on Vancouver Island. It's a great gift to live in a part of the world that sees just enough of every season, offers easy access to mountain peaks and meandering shorelines, and boasts some of the best libations and culinary cognizance in the country.

 

Rocky Creek Winery

 

Amidst picturesque vistas of valleys and vineyards, forests and farmland, sits a place of incredible beauty, timeless traditions, and tidal rhythms. Just a short drive North of Victoria are some incredible wineries, cideries, and breweries to frequent when you live here.

Exploring the area is easy by car or bicycle, and can make for a memorable excursion from bigger close-by cities. However, if you’re looking to settle into a place where the living is easy, awesome, and steeped in a special sort of mystique, consider moving to Cowichan.

 

Bottle holding collection of cork stoppers.

 

The rolling fertile valleys of this “land warmed by the sun” have attracted hobby farmers and organic crop growers for a long time. Living well is a lifestyle here, and nowadays there’s an abundance of local eateries inviting you to sip, savour, and splurge on local favourites.

Not exhaustive by any means, here's a quick list of our top picks:

WINERIES

Rocky Creek
Blue Grouse
Cherry Point
Unsworth
Averill Creek
Zanatta

CIDERIES & DISTILLERIES

Merridale
Tod Creek
Valley Cider

BREWERIES

Red Arrow
Riot
McBarley's

EATS

Bridgeman's Bistro
Cow Cafe
Ma Maison
The Ainslie
True Grain
Villa Eyrie Resort

 

Handful of grapes

 

Life in this region is full of outdoor adventures too! Explore nearby communities rich with wildlife to watch, freshwater lakes to swim and paddle board, hills to hike, old-growth trees to feel tiny under, and so much more. It’s pretty hard not to slow down and savour life here.

 

July 31, 2020

Best of Bear Mountain | An Ecoasis

Bear Mountain, Canada’s urban resort community, is an Ecoasis resort & golf community, and is one of the few places in Greater Victoria where you can golf, hike, bike, play tennis, spa, dine out, or shop, all within a charming village atmosphere and only steps away from our featured property

Just 20 minutes away from all that Victoria and area has to offer, Bear Mountain and #401-1400 Lynburne Place, will capture your heart and imagination. One of the best addresses on the island, living here truly embodies the “Westcoast” lifestyle.

Bear Mountain is one of the most luxurious and sought-after communities in the area. Breath-taking West Coast architecture and lush landscaping is anchored by the only back to back Nicklaus golf courses in Canada. As well, Ecoasis and the community are dedicated to sustainability and to creating a connected and progressive community. Part of this plan includes creating and preserving much of the area’s green spaces. Parks and green space reduce pollution, raise property values, and provide a venue for the entire community to stay active. Many of the parks throughout the municipality are connected by the City's award-winning Trail network.

We really love the juxtaposition of nature in the Highlands, with urban vibrancy in Langford. It’s a truly unique combination and each offers highly desirable lifestyle choices that enrich the character of the overall community.” – Dan Matthews, Managing Partner and Founder of Ecoasis

Besides boasting an abundance of parks and trails, Bear Mountain offers several options for boutique shopping, inspired dining and luxurious pool and spas, frequent cultural events, plus enough recreational activities (golf, tennis, hiking, cycling, running and swimming) to satisfy even the most active outdoor enthusiast. There truly is something here for everyone.

Featured Bear Mountain Attractions

There are so many pretty, different, unique places to live in Victoria and Bear Mountain is one of them. My husband and I have lived on Bear Mountain for the past 4 years and we love it.

Being a Realtor means I’m out and about most of the time, but when I’m home, I like to enjoy what the Mountain has to offer! The peacefulness and mountain air… ahhhh!

These are some of our favourite things to do:

Dining and Entertainment

Jack’s Place

After a good hike around the mountain, we work up a thirst! We will often head over to Jacks Place, a great neighbourhood Pub… feels a little bit like Cheers - when you walk in there, everyone knows your name! It’s awesome!

They have all the favourite things on the menu, including a savory selection ranging from wings, burgers, wraps, pizzas, pasta and the biggest surprise? They offer the best Sushi... yup I said Sushi!

Jack’s Place also offers a sampling of specialty beers from draft to bottled plus a large selection of wines and a fabulous outdoor patio. It’s also become a popular spot for special functions, BBQs and weddings. Inside, you’ll find large screen TVs and a games room that includes a pool table and various other games. During the summer months, there is a white sand outdoor beach volleyball court. And for when you just want to hang out on your patio with friends, there are of course several beer and wine store options.

#jacksplacebearmountain

Friday Night Flights in The Cellar at Westin Bear Mountain Resort

Every week the Westin hosts an intimate gathering where their experienced Sommelier handpicks a wine region and features a well or not-­so­-well known vintage. This is when you get to feel sophisticated! Get dressed-up and head down to the wine cellar to sample wines from all over the world! The wines are always different and the sommelier is very knowledgeable! Complete with cheese and canapés this fun evening makes for an unforgettable experience! A great way to spend a Friday night.

#westinbearmountainresort

Music on the Mountain

In support of live music in Victoria, the Masters Lounge and Westin Patio hosts live music featuring local, renowned or up­-and­-coming artists.

Salons and Spas

Twist Hair Salon is a full service hair, nails and waxing salon provided in a unique, relaxing and elegant atmosphere.

Amatista Spa at Bear Mountain, a spectacular new spa at the Westin, combines the natural serenity of the area with state-of-the-art technologies to create an idyllic mountain escape.

Local Markets

Mountain Market

On Saturday mornings, we enjoy taking the dog to head over to the Mountain Market. It’s a little coffee shop and market in the village that offers fantastic coffee and fresh sandwiches. We like to pack a little lunch and go for a hike… could be the best way to work off the wine headache from the Friday night wine….yikes! #mountain.market

Goldstream Farmers Market

Just a short drive off the Mountain, located in the heart of Langford, is the Goldstream Farmers Market. Every Saturday, from May to October, you’ll find locally-grown and locally-processed agricultural products and creative, artisan crafts.

Recreation

Golf

Easily, the most popular attractions here are the two world-class Nicklaus Golf Courses: the rugged, challenging Mountain Course and the more serene Valley Course. Combined, these two courses represent the only 36-hole Nicklaus Design golf experience in Canada. All fees for both courses include power cart with GPS, club valet and club cleaning services, and warm up balls on the practice facility.

Tennis

Another popular recreation amenity, is Canada's largest indoor/outdoor red clay court tennis centre.

Mountain Biking Park

A mecca for trail and cross country riding and chosen by Cycling Canada as their year-round training grounds for the National Mountain Bike Team, the bike park at Bear Mountain is open for riding every day of the year. Experience the network of intermediate to advanced west coast single track, sweeping flow lines, and scenic climbs.

Fitness and Swimming

The North Langford Recreation Centre provides premium amenities and a variety of health and wellness opportunities for all levels of fitness. Featuring ladies only & co-ed gyms, group classes tennis, year-round heated outdoor pool and hot tub and more. During the Summer months, you can relax cabana-style at the poolside restaurant.

Bear Mountain is also just a short 10 minute drive to two beautiful swimming lakes: Thetis Lake and Langford Lake.

Adrena LINE Zipline Adventure Tours

Soar amongst the treetops in this exhilarating zipline park and eco-adventure destination. Plus, learn about the wildlife, history, and natural beauty of Sooke.

Outdoor Winter Ice Skating

During the wintertime the outdoor skating rink is transformed into a beautiful and romantic Winter Wonderland. This is a magical place to spend time with family, friends and loved ones.

Featured Bear Mountain Listing

Our featured listing at 401-1400 Lynburne Place on Bear Mountain is an outdoor enthusiast's dream! This stunning condo boasts first-class resident amenities - tennis & squash courts, gourmet entertaining kitchen, lounge and gym. The large wrap-around deck overlooks, world-renowned Jack Nicklaus mountain golf course, Finlayson Mountain, and the village. Just steps away from all that Bear Mountain has to offer, living here is like being on permanent vacation!

Bonus: All homeowners will receive a complimentary Homeowner Card that entitles them to a minimum 10% discount* at select resort venues. If you want to take advantage of a wider range of offerings, there are two additional levels of membership for a monthly fee. See the chart below:

Come live the Westcoast lifestyle - for a day, for a decade, or for always!

For more information or to arrange a viewing of this property, click here - Or call us at:

📲 Sophia: 250-418-5569

📲 Nancy: 250-857-5482

Useful Bear Mountain Resource Links:

Posted in Market Updates
June 2, 2020

COVID-19 | Real Estate Activity Picks Up As Restrictions Ease

The Coronavirus may have slowed things down slightly, but home sales and listings continued to take place. Now that restrictions are lifting and we're allowed more places are starting to open, we're seeing a surge in activity as many home buyers and sellers who have been eagerly waiting on the sidelines, are now are jumping into action.

Victoria BC Real Estate Market Update: June 2020

June 1, 2020 A total of 457 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this May, 46.1 per cent fewer than the 848 properties sold in May 2019 but 59.2 per cent more than the previous month of April 2020. Sales of condominiums were down 55.7 per cent from May 2019 with 108 units sold. Sales of single family homes were down 42.9 per cent from May 2019 with 254 sold.

"Our market continues to respond to the current health crisis," says Victoria Real Estate Board President Sandi-Jo Ayers. "Activity in real estate right now echoes the activity in our broader community - as restrictions gradually begin to lift - so too have our sales and listings numbers. Of course, like any industry, we do not expect a sudden shift back to any kind of normal. That said, one theme that persists in our market is that well-priced properties in high demand areas continue to see multiple offers. Demand exists and we continue to have motivated buyers searching for their perfect home."

There were 2,544 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of May 2020, 15.7 percent fewer properties than the total available at the end of May 2019 but a 10.4 per cent increase from the 2,305 active listings for sale at the end of April 2020.

"If you're considering buying or selling a property right now you will find the experience different than pre-pandemic," adds Ayers. "REALTORS® are doing our part to ensure that there is not a resurgence of COVID-19 in our community by following government health and safety guidelines, by leveraging technology to facilitate many aspects of the real estate transaction virtually and by implementing various clean showing protocols. Your Realtor will navigate the new processes and requirements to keep you, your property and our city safe and healthy."

The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in May 2019 was $863,000. The benchmark value for the same home in May 2020 increased by 2.6 per cent to $885,400, 0.1 per cent more than April's value of $884,600. The MLS® HPI benchmark value for a condominium in the Victoria Core area in May 2019 was $516,400, while the benchmark value for the same condominium in May 2020 increased by 3.5 per cent to $534,300, 0.1 per cent more than the April value of $533,600.

Victoria BC Real Estate Market Update: June 2020 Statistics Overview

Victoria-Real-Estate-Market-Update-June-2020

To see the full report, click here.

Posted in Market Updates
June 2, 2020

COVID-19 | Office Re-Opening Protocols

Briggs and Stratton Realtors Office Re-Opening and Covid-19 Protocols

Business As (un)Usual

We're excited to be back to work in our Oak Bay office! With that, to protect everyone's safety, we have a few protocols in place. Please continue reading to ensure you understand how we will be operating in this "new normal".

Office Re-Opening & Protocols

1. Limited Hours

Limited hours for the time being are: Monday - Friday: 9am - 3pm

2. Appointments Required for Office Visits

Please call or email ahead if you plan to visit our office and we will schedule a visiting time for you.

3. Office Sanitization

We have a sanitizing station at our front door. Please use it when you visit and remember to maintain social distance of 6ft.

For added measure, we regularly wipe all handles & surfaces with professional grade sanitizer.

4. Home Viewing Protocols

Prior to viewing a property in person, we will require you to sign a Covid-19 release form.

While visiting the property, please:

  • Masks are not required, however we invite you to wear them if it makes you feel more comfortable
  • Use provided sanitizer and wipes
  • Practice 6ft social distancing
  • Do not touch anything (this includes not opening cupboards, doors, windows, etc.). Your realtor will turn on all lights and will ensure doors are opened

Thank-you in advance for respecting these protocols and understanding why we must follow them. The health and safety of you, our clients and our team, are very important to us.

Posted in Market Updates
May 8, 2020

Top Tips | Landscaping & Sustainable Gardening

Landscaping and Sustainable Gardening Tips

Landscape

A well landscaped garden can make the difference between an aesthetically pleasing home brimming with curb appeal and one that looks like it’s been let run wild. It can also save you money in the long run by working with a budget, planning for the future and can also require less maintenance.

Here are some tips to help you create a beautiful garden space that you’ll want to spend all your sunny days in.

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Posted in Market Updates
April 29, 2020

Top Tips | Home Workspace Ideas

Home Workspace Ideas and Tips

These days, more and more people are starting to work remotely. For those used to working in a formal office setting, working from home is a new experience that may require a few adjustments. Having a dedicated work space in your home - especially one away from such temptations as bed, as TV and snacks - will help avoid distractions and focus on work.

In this article we'll share some of our favourite work from home hacks as well as some inspiring ideas from Sotheby's to set up the perfect home office.

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Posted in Market Updates
April 16, 2020

Top Tips | Moving During a Pandemic

As you might remember, I recently blogged about selling my house! Well, that happened, it sold and I moved! Yay!

Since no one could have ever predicted this pandemic and certainly no one knows when it will end, we're all forced to find new ways to cope with regular activities and one of those is moving! 

Whether you're renting, selling, or looking to buy (or recently bought) a new home - we have some tips to help you navigate the process as seamless - and safe - as possible. This is what I did and it worked out pretty well!

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Posted in Market Updates
April 14, 2020

How To | Show a Property Virtually

How to Show a Property Virtually - Video Shooting Tips for Home Sellers

Although it’s trickier for buyers and sellers to make a transaction on a home that has not been seen in person, it has been going on for years. People are still buying and selling properties.

In some cases, usually if a property is currently vacant, it may still be possible for us to show a property in person (maintaining social distance & providing lots of sanitization options of course). However, for the most part, properties are now being shown virtually - by video.

If you are wanting to sell your property, there are a couple options to show it without having people physically present.

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Posted in Market Updates
April 9, 2020

How To | Tour a Property Virtually

How to Tour a Property Virtually

Doing virtual tours and meetings isn’t something new for us. Being an International company, Sotheby’s has clients from all over the world. We have often sold a house or condo completely via virtual communications.

Of course, now we have other challenges that go with it! Fortunately, Sotheby’s International Realty is a strong brand with a large marketing team and we’re constantly coming up with new ways to help home buyers view properties - even during unprecedented times like these.

Here we have some resources to help you to tour our homes… from your home!

Where to go to View Virtual Property Tours

If you want to see a video tour of a house, here are a few different ways:

Briggs & Stratton and Associates Virtual Home Tours

*this isn’t required to see the virtual tours button, but it’s helpful for you to keep your favourite houses in one place for easy access & comparison.

 

You can also view some of our listings on YouTube here: Brigg’s & Stratton and Associates Listings on YouTube

Sotheby’s International Realty Virtual Home Tours

  • Go to Sothebysrealty.ca
  • Choose the area you want to look for houses
  • On the top left, click “Refine”
  • In the drop down list, select Video and/or 3D/VR
  • Make sure to save your favourites!

 

Other places to view Sotheby’s Property Videos:

 

Here you can see us testing out our open house virtual tours!

Remember to save your favourite properties with notes and questions on each. Stay safe and enjoy your virtual house hunting!

Posted in Market Updates