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:


Rocky Creek
Blue Grouse
Cherry Point
Averill Creek


Tod Creek
Valley Cider


Red Arrow


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.


June 2, 2020

COVID-19 | 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


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


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
  • 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
April 8, 2020

Creating Your "Dream Home" Shopping List

Creating Your Dream Home Shopping List

Everyone needs a roof over their head. And just because this pandemic has put a halt to most things, people still need to move for various reasons. Whether a recent divorce, estate sale, downsizing, change of job location - or change of job income - many people are finding that moving is still necessary. Which is why Realtors have been government mandated as an essential service.

The need for social distancing can make these interactions a bit tricky, but as long as we all act with the 3 C's - Common sense, Courtesy & Compassion - showing a place is completely doable.

So we've put together a 4-part mini-blog series providing a few tips and ideas to help safely sell or buy a property during this time:

  1. Creating Your Dream Home Shopping Wishlist
  2. How to Tour a Property Virtually
  3. How to Show a Property Virtually (Tips for Sellers)
  4. Moving Tips During a Pandemic

Create Your Dream Home Shopping Wish List

This is always the fun part! And since everyone’s been ordered to stay home, our online property viewings have gone through the roof (no pun intended)!

Whether looking for a place to buy now, or in the future when this is over, people are looking at homes for sale online more than ever. And March 2020 saw almost as many sales as March 2019.

So people are still buying and selling properties. We expect that, come the end of this lockdown, the market will likely become flooded with both buyers and sellers.

  • The best way to create your dream shopping list is to create an account on our website.
  • When you find a property that meets your criteria, simply click the heart button: Add to Favourites at the top of the listing.
  • Now that you’ve selected a few favourite properties, you can now go to your account to see them all in one easy place.
  • Go through as much detail about the properties as you can: photos, virtual tours, information, Google Maps, etc, & write down any questions you may have.



Home Shopping Checklist:

Often price is the number one thing people look at first when considering a new home. Followed closely by style and size. While most people have an idea of the area they want to be in, we usually encourage prospective buyers to consider their lifestyle wants and needs first. This will result in narrowing down what you really want in a house and its location - hence, enjoying your new home so much more.

Some things to consider when looking to buy a new home:

  • House location and positioning
  • Neighbourhood
  • Size of the house and lot
  • Style and features of the house
  • Age of the house (and appliances)
  • What you would want included in the house (appliances, lighting, blinds/curtains, etc)
  • Purchase price, your credit score and monthly mortgage 
  • Maintenance requirements and how they align with your lifestyle and goals

Use these considerations to make your Home Shopping Checklist. This will help narrow properties down and help you prepare questions to ask your realtors.

Contact a Realtor to Represent You as Early as You Can

Once you have your new home shopping wishlist and checklist, now is a good time to contact us to get more details about your favourite properties.

Even if you’re not planning to buy just yet, these days, everything takes longer - and while we’re still hard at work, we do have more time on our hands than we normally would this time of year.

Plus, by getting an early start, you’ll be better positioned to make a move (ok, pun intended this time), once things swing back into action and the market gets flooded with offers again.

Posted in Market Updates
April 6, 2020

Market Update | Victoria, BC

Sunset as seen from Mount Tolmie. – Heather K Jones Photography

(Sunset as seen from Mount Tolmie. – Heather K Jones Photography)

So the month of March has been interesting for most part. We have gone into almost lock down due to Covid-19 which has been deemed a Global Pandemic. No one knows how things are going to really look after all this but I can tell you one thing, I am damn excited to see everyone and get back to working at our office! In the meantime, my wine rack is slowly looking slimmer each day and I don't think I like my TV anymore but hey, we are safe, healthy and have a roof over our heads.

Our Victoria Market March stats are in and we had a pretty good month considering the times, with a total of 608 sales. Last year for March we had 640 sales which was in non-Covid times. It will be interesting to see how April holds up, however Realtors are deemed an essential service and we are still seeing homes sell daily.

As for the home prices our average single family home in the core of Victoria is $877,700 which is up from last year which was $836,100 in March of 2019. We also saw an increase in the average sales price of a condo coming up by 4.8% from last year at $507,700 to $527,400 for this March of 2020. You can read the full update from our real estate board here.

Posted in Market Updates