May 2, 2022

Newbie in Victoria, BC

 

Moving to a new city or town is always daunting, no matter how old you are. I recently moved from Quebec to Victoria, and let me tell you that having to start over again is no easy task. Moving to a new city has always been romanticized but I am here to tell you that it is normal to feel completely lost, in both a literal and emotional sense. Don’t be discouraged though as there are many ways to get to know your new town and the people that come with it. 

Maybe you moved for a new job, school, family, or simply because you are on the hunt for a new adventure or as they say, “to grow as a person”. Whatever your reason for moving, having a positive approach to meeting new people and discovering your new home will make all the difference. I have moved to a new city three times now, and surprisingly enough, it is always just as nerve racking. But whether this is your first move or your fifth, it’s not easy packing up everything you own and pointing your compass in the direction of the unknown. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from constantly moving, it’s that the experience is truly what you make of it. Getting to know your new home can be one of the best parts of the adventure, as long as you have an open-minded approach.

 

Five tips for getting to know your new town:

1. Clubs! No, not night clubs…I mean recreational clubs. Whether it be reading, cycling, gardening, golf clubs etc whatever interests you or doesn’t interest you. You will have to put yourself out there and leave that oh so comfort zone of yours. Joining a club is a great way to meet new people and feel part of a community. When I first moved to Victoria, I joined F45 Langford, and I can say that I have met some of the most amazing people there. The F stands for functional training, a mix of circuit and HIIT style workouts and 45 is the total amount of time of the workouts. What’s better than getting fit and being social at the same time? https://f45training.ca/langford/home?lang=en-ca 

 

2. Go to Farmer’s Markets! One of my favourites in Victoria is the Esquimalt Farmers Market https://www.esquimaltmarket.com/ You can become a member, sponsor, volunteer, vendor or simply be someone who shops locally. The volunteer program is a great way to meet new people, where you will be recognized for your contributions whilst having the opportunity to indulge in all the deliciousness the vendors have to offer. You’ll probably see some of your own neighbors there too, and you’re likely to have fascinating conversations with the diversified vendors. 

 

 

3. Take your dog to the dog park (if you have one that is)! Your dog is a huge part of your family so why should they miss out on making new friends too? Whilst they get to play with other dogs at the dog park, you can meet new people who have a shared love for pets. Dogs are a great conversation starter and Victoria has some of the greatest dog parks. However, dog parks are not the only place to meet new people, Victoria has beautiful beaches, dog friendly patios and hiking trails. One of my favorite (dog friendly) patios in Victoria is ILuka Espresso. Located on the Gorge in Esquimalt https://www.ilukaespresso.ca/ a perfect spot to drink your morning coffee, chat with locals and take your dog for a long walk along the Gorge Waterway. 

 

 

4. Do something way out of your comfort zone! You will surprise yourself when you simply start saying yes to opportunities, saying yes to the next time someone asks you to do something may be the biggest way to an unexpected friendship. Getting out and trying new things is the key to building your new social circle in your new city. Just remember, you won’t make new friends by turning down every opportunity and staying in your comfort zone! 


5. Shop local! Not only are you supporting locals, it’s a great way to connect with store owners as they love to build personal relationships with their customers. You will also bump into regulars who shop locally too and don’t be afraid to ask them for any recommendations. These local businesses are owned by your future friends, and neighbours. You will feel a sense of community when shopping locally. Market square in downtown Victoria offers lots of local stores and restaurants. https://www.marketsquare.ca/

Posted in Office Talk
March 17, 2022

PETS & HOME SELLING:

It’s official, pets are a factor into home sales!

We love our pets..and we love yours too. Most people consider their animals members of the family! They’ll always be a part of our households, smells and all. So, how does our love affair with furry friends affect how we buy and sell homes? 

 A recent study by the National Association of Realtors found that a pet’s needs are important to buyers. Pet-friendly features such as fenced yards and pet doors were among those on many a buyer’s wish list. So, when doing outdoor landscaping or adding features to your home, it’s important to think about how they can function long term. Some of the most requested pet home features include a Fenced yard, large enough home for household and pet, hardwood flooring rather than carpets, Mudroom, animal washing station, built-ins for food dishes / animal beds and so on. 

When it comes to selling, just remember that not everybody like pets, and some are even allergic! It’s never good when potential buyers start having a full on allergic reaction during the showing and go running out. Just because you love your furry friends doesn't mean everyone will. It's important to erase evidence of pets when showing homes. That includes removing the pets themselves, in addition to their toys or beds that harbor odors, and any wear they’ve caused. Pet damage is never attractive when selling a home. 

 

Here are some tips & tricks we recommend:

 

-Unless you’ve got a hairless cat or a non-shedding dog, you’re going to have fur in the house. Make sure that you’re staying on top of vacuuming and sweeping.

 

-Keep cat litter boxes and doggie pads clean and out of sight and impeccably clean – always. Nothing turns off buyers faster than opening the door to a full or stinky cat box. Make sure you have a litter box with a cover or a lid so that  will help to contain the smell. Hide it away as best you can!

 

-Imagine viewing a home to notice you've just stepped in dog poop in the front yard… YUCK! When you're showing your home, and when you move out, make sure the yard is super clean, and keep on top of it!

 

-Before listing your home for sale you should give it a thorough clean from top to bottom and eliminate anything that gives out any pet related odor. Here are some suggestions: Get the carpets and upholstery cleaned and thoroughly wash the floors. If your pet has history of accidents on a particular area rug, get rid of the rug. Feed dry food instead of canned (the smell lingers longer than you know). Put away the dog and cat beds, any pet rags / blankets, toys, or anything that may look less appealing. The litterbox... keep it clean, and not out in the open. Pack up cat trees and all cages / carriers.

 

If your furry friends cannot be relocated, then make sure that they are not present at the showings and open houses. For example, take your dog for a walk during all showings and gain some extra steps on your fitbit at the same time!

 

Just remember, the key is to highlight the pet-friendly positives while eliminating the negatives when you show your home!

Posted in Tips and FAQs
March 17, 2022

BRAND NEW LISTING - Don't miss out on this one!

 

Located minutes from downtown and looking onto the Inner Harbor is The Bayview, one of Victoria’s most luxurious developments! This open concept suite has the perfect layout and is complete with HW flooring, granite countertops, laundry, spa-like bathroom w/soaker tub & shower. Take in the view on your balcony while sipping your morning coffee. Take advantage of building amenities including; a common hot tub, sauna, and steam room . A beautiful lobby with concierge service, fitness center, business center, media lounge and games room. Having a social gathering? Take it to the common outdoor deck! Complete with roomy lounge chairs, a center fire-pit, and BBQ area. The perfect atmosphere for those warm summer evenings. This unit comes with a secure underground parking stall and your own oversized storage locker. There’s even fully-equipped car washing and dog washing stations, as well as bike and kayak storage. Don’t miss out on this, a rare opportunity to own in the heart of the city!

Call now to book your viewing!

 

The Agency Oak Bay (250) 592 1042

Posted in Market Updates
March 17, 2022

Scents that Sell

When you’re selling your home, there are many things that will appeal or not appeal to potential buyers. One of them is the way your home smells!  You do not want to be remembered as the “house that smelled funny." ​​Getting rid of bad odours in your home is important but, instead of covering up the scent with potentially harmful chemicals or using a scent that is obviously trying to mask another smell… you should start with understanding why your home smells the way it does. Once you know where the odour is coming from, you can take action to eliminate the source entirely.

Give your home a good clean!

 

How to Clean a New Home

 

The biggest contributor to odours is dust. Dust is made up of all kinds of gross things: dead skin, pollen, pet hair and dander, insects, insect droppings, and dirt. And that’s just the start. Not only does dust make your house  look and feel dirty, it also affects the quality of your air and can cause a musty smell.  This will also help to determine where the odours are coming from, and if it was just needing a good dusting, then you have solved the problem.

 

Open your windows!

 

The Best Window Styles for Optimizing Natural Ventilation

 

Inside your home, there is a plethora of pollutants, all confined in a relatively small area. Despite what many people think, the air from outside can be a lot healthier than the air inside your home — even when you consider outdoor pollutants like pollen and smog.  Opening your windows allows fresh air to break up any stagnant air that’s trapping unpleasant odours in your home. If you have allergies or live in an area with high levels of smog, maybe check the Allergy Index for Victoria first.

 

Add something fresh and fragrant!

 

95 Potpourri Ideas | potpourri, potpourri bag, potpourri recipes

 

Adding fragrant plants like jasmine, lilies, or roses is a nice touch and always assists with staging. Or, you can make potpourri or herbal sachets from natural ingredients like rose petals or lavender. Another recommendation is to use organic or natural essential oils like peppermint or orange. 

You can make your own scents with these Simple Room Spray Ideas

Any one of these ideas will help in getting your home ready to receive potential buyers!

 

For more information, please check out our Sellers Guide!

Posted in Tips and FAQs
July 15, 2021

Easy Interior Design Cheats

So you’ve put in an offer, subjects have come off, and now you can let yourself daydream. Or have you just decided it’s time to move on and are staging to sell? Just because you don’t fully own your home yet, or if you are in those initial stages of selling, doesn’t mean you can’t think of the best way to show it off!

When planning how to decorate any space it’s essential to start by choosing a few key pieces, aiming for adaptability, low-maintenance materials, and neutral tones. Here are a few of our tips around making the house feel and look its best for anyone who may be coming by:

 

 

1. Greenery

A space filled with the different textures and hues provided by plants can actually allow you to personalize rooms without leaving a mark. Choosing ones with various maturity levels, heights, and the pot colours and designs can do the same job as walls full of art. The placement really allows you to stylize each room and make it feel spacious.

 

 

2. Rugs

If you’re lucky enough to have floors in great shape that act as a focal point of their own accord, then use that to your advantage. But, usually, putting down area rugs (not full carpet) can do wonders for a space. They add warmth, colour, ambiance, and depth. They tie with your furniture to create spaces within bigger spaces, protecting your floors, soundproofing between stories, and grounding you to that particular place.

 

 

3. Modular Furniture

Furniture does not need to be expensive, formal, heavy, or remotely permanent! Nowadays, most homes have open concept floor plans and modular furniture really allows you to flex and customize when your lifestyle needs change. Additionally, if you’re planning to make structural changes at any point you’ll have the ability to modify your setup time and time again.

This type of furniture can be easily built and taken apart, is often affordable, environmentally friendly, and cost-efficient! You can easily find pieces that are to your taste, look good, but suit the space and make potential buyers feel at ease with how they might live in the same space.

 

 

4. Lighting

This one is pretty obvious, but it also tends to be something a lot of us don’t focus effort on. Invest in stand out pieces that give that “homey” feeling and tie the other elements of the room together without being too unique or attention-grabbing. Light is something that soothes and balances–it sets the tone or mood of a space and helps us feel more comfortable. It can also be used to showcase the best features of any room, and can generally be done at a fairly reasonable cost. The bonus? You can move it around and take most of these fixtures with you.

 

 

With that, you have a good start. These elements can make a room feel lived-in without being saturated by personal mementos and collectables. You can tell a story that has an unwritten ending, and invite visitors to imagine how they would finish it off. Most especially when you know you’ll be living here for some time, the best advice we can give is to start with some key bigger items that are practical, and then only add pieces as you come across them that really, truly, bring you joy.

Posted in Tips and FAQs
June 21, 2021

Here Comes The Summer

As summer kicks off, we can’t help but relish in the many options that Victoria, BC offers for a lakeside weekend, be it a getaway or an easy breezy lake day, we have lakes near wineries, hiking trails, and some of the dearest towns north of Victoria.

Having spent as much time exploring outside as we could this year, we thought you might want to know a little more about our favorite lakes to cool off in during the Summer.

 

 

 

1. Shawnigan Lake

An easy 30 minute drive out of Victoria, BC this is a great spot to rent a home for a week or two during the summer season. Most homes feature private docks and allow motorized sports so get out those water skis, wakeboards, and even a trendy SUP (Stand Up Paddle Board)! If you want to treat yourself or the family to some top-notch dining, the local go-to is The Lakehouse.

 

  

Pictured: Our newest listing at 2415 West Shawnigan Lake Road | $1,499,000

LEARN MORE

 

 

2. Cowichan Lake

This one is a little bit further out from Victoria, BC but it’s another top spot for locals to head to. In the centre of town, many folks like to rent a tube at The Tube Shack and dedicate the day to floating casually down river. The lake and river are mostly great for kids, but there are parts of the river that are notoriously tricky and even dangerous so it’s best to do a little bit of research to be safe. We always love jumping in just by Jakes at the Lake, which is also a perfect spot to break for lunch too. Homes can be rented in Cowichan for a holiday right on the lake and you’ll be a hop, skip away from Duncan, BC!

 

 

3. Day Tripping

If what you really want is a day spot to visit, there are some absolute classics in Victoria, BC. Elk Lake, Beaver Lake, and Thetis Lake all offer some beach area to throw a blanket down and that can be in or out of the shade–your call. These are well maintained public areas, often with bathrooms, fountains, parking, and bordering trails to walk about if you wish! All are relatively close to the city centre, and Sophia herself often walks around them with her pups as the loops range from approx. 5K to 10K and are used by many locals. Some other classic hotspots include Durrance Lake, Pease Lake, and the Sooke Potholes.

 

 

June 9, 2021

We Love Our Local Magazines

There are so many incredible publications in Victoria BC, and they can usually be found in shops and cafes all over the place. Why? Because small businesses here are each other's biggest supporters–one of the many reasons we choose to operate here. 

Every community in Victoria has honed in on the art of shopping locally, most locals leading by example for their family and friends. But especially in the last decade, there has been a clear social movement toward slow food, craft brews, artisanal products, and the like. As such, local publications have welcomed the breadth of brands, goods, and services, to advertise and promote. One of those, is our own. 

We are proud to be featured four times a year in YAM Magazine. The local expertise, and passionate drive, of the team at Briggs & Stratton and Associates is regularly showcased in this high quality and popularly read magazine. YAM celebrates the vibrant personalities, trends, and tastes that make Greater Victoria such a desirable place to live. Produced by independent media company Page One Publishing, the magazine shares the expertise of some of Victoria's most prominent and successful residents and also documents current trends and new haunts to experience through features, profiles, and how-to articles.

 

Front cover of YAM Magazine, May/Jun 2021

If you haven't received or picked up a copy of your own yet, you can click the cover image above to see it on Issuu along with our other publications for more information on how we can help you in your Real Estate endeavours!

For another great read, Page One also publishes SPRUCE Magazine–a content-rich, beautifully photographed read that publishes thrice per year (Spring, Summer, and Fall/Winter). The magazine showcases Victoria's most interesting and innovative homes, as well as ideas and resources around home and design that make this unique region a sought-after place to call home.

Read Spruce Magazine Spring 2021 on Issuu

Posted in Press
June 8, 2021

We Love Our Local Magazines

There are so many incredible publications in Victoria BC, and they can usually found in shops and cafes all over the place. Why? Because small businesses in Victoria are each others biggest supporters–one of the many reasons we choose to operate here. 

Every community in Victoria has honed in on the art of shopping locally, most locals leading by example for their family and friends. But especially in the last decade, there has been a clear social movement toward slow food, craft brews, artisanal products, and the like. As such, local publications have welcomed the wide breadth of brands, goods, and services, to advertise and promote. One of those, is our own.

We are proud to be featured six times a year in Boulevard Magazine, and in Tweed Magazine as well. The local expertise, and passionate drive, of the team at Briggs & Stratton and Associates is regularly showcased in these high quality and commonly loved magazines.

Boulevard is a leading lifestyle magazine published bi-monthly throughout Greater Victoria for over 26 years. Boulevard Magazine is designed to capture the personality, culture and vitality that is Greater Victoria by focusing on the Arts, People, Trends, Food, Architecture and Design.

Front cover of Boulevard Magazine, April/May 2021

Tweed Magazine tells the stories of our unique and eclectic community here in Oak Bay. Readers look forward to an amazing narrative that explores not only local businesses and their owners, but also all the nooks and crannies of the neighbourhood including it's great cafes, shops, restaurants, and other amenities! In short, what makes Oak Bay great.

 

Tweed Spring 2021 on Issuu

If you haven't received or picked up a copy of your own yet, you can click either of the cover images above to see them on Issuu along with our other publications for more information on how we can help you in your Real Estate endeavours!

Posted in Press
May 27, 2021

Ask Your Realtor | Terms & Conditions

This may not be a particularly “fun” blog, but it’s an important one. For folks writing offers on a new property there are things that you will need to find out about to ensure it's a property that fits your needs and the needs of your family. Our Buyer's Guide does a deeper dive into defining your goals.

 


 

When you view a property (and like it) you can write an offer, but you still have the opportunity to make sure it really is the right property overall. Whether you are searching for a single family home, duplex, townhouse, or a condo, each property will include different pros and cons you should be clear on before moving forward.

In a standard Contract of Purchase and Sale, there is a section referred to as Terms and Conditions. The terms can refer to how much you are offering to pay, the date you want to take possession, how much of a deposit you are going to be able to put down, etc. Though decided upon at the time of writing, they can sometimes change down the road, so long as all parties agree to the changes being requested and made.

Conditions (AKA. Subjects) are often considered to be the potential “deal breakers” of an offer. Also decided upon at the time of writing, you’ll usually have about 10 days to waive or remove them if you wish to–it is referred to as “our due diligence”. If any of the subjects demonstrate that the home is not what you want after all then you can be “released” from the offer and walk away without penalty having put no money down.

 

 

The two most common subjects or conditions you’ll hear of, though there are more, include:

 

Financing

By the time you’ve reached this point, you should already have a pre-approval. Once an offer has been accepted, we then inform the bank to get their official approval. The bank needs to feel confident about the value of the property and be sure that it isn’t worth less than what they’ll be lending, so they may seek an appraisal and request an appraiser go look at the property.

 

Home Inspection

This is an important subject, especially if you are buying an older home, as you’ll want to know what condition the property is currently in and answer some key questions: How old is the roof? Is the foundation in good shape? Are there any signs of water damage? Find out all you can about the larger components of the home, because these are the aspects that could cost you big money if they need to get dealt with. When something needs to be repaired or replaced right away, there may be options for you as a buyer because Nancy and Sophia can ask the sellers to take care of the issues as part of the conditions. If it’s something that is too great an expense to remedy, we could instead opt to walk away from the offer altogether.

 

 

Depending on what you are buying: condo, single family home, or investment property, there are many parts to making an offer to purchase. What is key for you to know is that we will put the terms and conditions into an offer that make the most sense for your needs, goals, and plans!

This intro. was just a start, but we hope it gives you a better idea of some of the most important aspects of making an offer and all that comes with the process of buying a home.

Posted in Ask A Realtor
May 18, 2021

Our Handy Guides to Buying & Selling

We recently revamped our free, wisdom-filled, tip-packed guides on the process of buying and/or selling homes. If you've ever wondered about all the different steps involved, or if you wish you'd been given a list of key contacts involved in relocation, you'll find thorough and essential advice in these informative booklets!

 

 

Using Issuu, a great platform that allows you to share publications online, we've been sharing them across our social channels like Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. For even more great advice and to learn about our agents' day-to-day real estate adventures, give us a follow there too!

 

 

We recommend browsing in fullscreen mode, but feel free to download each guide here and then use your favourite viewing software to fill in the interactive pages, annotate key ideas you wish to remember, or highlight the advice that most speaks to your situation and goals!

Want to learn even more from our agents? Subscribe to our YouTube channel and Ask A Realtor playlist for regular, easy to digest tips from the experts.

Posted in Tips and FAQs