April 23, 2021

Ask Your Realtor | Credit Scores


We work with lots of first time buyers and people just starting to think about buying a home. Along with many other factors that make up the purchase of a home, financing (the funds you are able to borrow from lenders) is a significant part.

Your credit score is one of the biggest markers lenders will look at, and it’s worrisome as realtors when so many people are confused as to how credit scores work and how to maintain a good score! In an effort to clear up the confusion, let’s review three easy starting points to getting you that great score:



1. You actually need to have a little debt! 


We know this seems contradictory and totally backwards, but you need to have at least a few credit lines that act as proof of your ability to pay off monthly debt consistently. Having no debt is definitely still a good thing, but it can be even better to go into a little debt and demonstrate how you pay it off because it gives lenders the confidence in you to loan you funds and trust that they’ll be paid back. 

Examples include: loans, credit cards, lines of credit, or even your phone bill! If you don't have any of these pieces in play, you can easily sign up for a low limit credit card. All you have to do is use it once and a month and pay it in full for a regular period of time.



2. Do not be late! 


This might be the key piece of the puzzle. No matter what you do, make your payments on time and in full. Being a day late on your cell phone bill might not seem like an issue, but that gets reported to the credit bureau and it can affect your score in a bad way! We set our banking to auto-pay our cell phone bills–believe it or not, we’ve been there and done that...lesson learned.



3. Never approach the limit!


If you’re one of those people that often toe the line with your credit card or line of credit, just stop now. If you want to reach your home buying goals, or really any financial goal, you have to start keeping your balance at around 50% or less than your limit allows. Part of having debt is showing you have enough self-control not to go blow it all every month on “things”.

Okay, so now that we’ve made you stop and smell the dollars, we want to make sure you know it’s not just us that have your best interests in mind! Your score can change quickly so start making small mental notes to yourself every time you pull out your wallet. Focus on what that purchase could ripple into, this kind of attention will most certainly pay off in the long run!


Here are some great resources that you should delve into:

Government of Canada: Improving Your Credit Score

TransUnion: How To Improve Credit Score

Equifax: How To Improve Your Credit Worthiness

Find Me A Mortgage: A List of Canada’s Key Financial Bodies

Posted in Ask A Realtor
April 1, 2021

We Could All Use A Little Staycation


Lets face it, we all need a little break from the go, go, go, and media messaging of today's world. Thankfully, it’s easy enough to book a staycation on the lower portion of Vancouver Island, and with ready access to great outdoor activities year-round, any time is the right time to get a change of pace, or breathe some different air!



Without disregarding the public health orders, you can still safely treat yourself to a mini-adventure in your community and show support for local travel businesses! We thought we’d give you our top picks to consider visiting this month:


1. Point No Point | 250 646 2020

Bring along that stack of books you never get to, a kit of craft supplies to work that long-ignored side of your brain, or a disposable camera to document your experience with. That’s right, go analog, get off the grid.

Just past Sooke sits a haven for travellers on the remote West Coast. Venture into the wilderness and take a moment to meditate on the natural beauty of the place we all call home. Mere minutes driving, you’ll have a multitude of beaches and park trails to explore from dawn to dusk right nearby!

This is a uniquely coastal experience, and you’ll be able to choose from 18 different fully-renovated, and enviously cozy, log cabins on the water. You’ll be able to order in from the restaurant and really settle in, and even pamper yourself at the hands of Sooke West Coast Wellness (book ahead). Take our word for it, you’ll have no regrets.



2. Brentwood Bay Beach Resort | 250 544 2079

If it’s luxury with more than a splash of zen, you’ve found your spot. Though offerings may vary now that new public health orders have come out, the resort offers you the perfect mix of all things: live music, stunning views, fresh food, and “joyfully graceful” service as they put it.

Want to jot down your thoughts or dream big new ideas over a delicious cup of coffee? Do it.
Want to call your family or listen to a great podcast while the sun goes down at the pub? Do it.
Want to connect with others over a meal, like really tune out the tech and look each other in the eye? Do it,
but over one of the most nourishing and wholesome meals from The Arbutus Room.

Hole up in beautifully appointed rooms after getting out on the water or soothing your soul at the spa. Right now, there’s even special Mother’s Day and springtime offers that local residents should absolutely take advantage of!



3. Oak Bay Beach Hotel | 250 598 4556

This is our team's favorite place to stay in town. Located just a few blocks from our office, the hotel offers 100 different rooms with panoramic views of the ocean and also residential Oak Bay. Three great restaurants, one of which is Faro–a favourite for their wood fired pizzas–boast quality service and individual charm. The best place to relax though, is in their seaside heated pool, hot tubs, or at the spa. It's a great place to unwind and enjoy a glass of wine as the sun sets.

The hotel is still close enough to town that you could even walk into Oak Bay village for a patio meal at Vis-a-Vis or stroll down to Estevan Village in the morning for a spot of brunch at your leisure!



Honestly, it was hard even to pick just three places to share with you but there you have some incredibly luxurious, unique, dreamy staycation spots to check out!

If you aren’t comfortable leaving your home, you can still create the feeling of being on vacation right where you are. Consider ordering food to pick up or have delivered from the above-mentioned restaurants! Or, click this list of Victoria’s finest to order treats from. Pick out some movies, bury your tech, and more important than ever: get outside!



Feb. 25, 2021

Ask A Realtor | Preparing For Sale


That saying that’s been passed down to us since grade school, “You only have one chance to make a good first impression,” is as applicable to selling a home as it is to making a connection. 

The market in Victoria continues to move quickly, and the competition is fierce. You really only have one shot at leaving a good impression on current buyers, and we just thought you might like a hand figuring out where to begin when it comes to getting your home listing-ready.


Sparling Living   Moss Bedroom


As realtors, we love when homeowners ask us to help them build out a to-do list before hitting the market. Obviously, each home is different, but here are seven of our top tips for every home:


1. Half Pack. As you’re already “on the move”, why not get a jump on things?

This step not only helps you declutter your home (less is always more), but it gives you a great excuse to finally clear out and hone in on what you want to take with you into your new space.

When it comes to selling your home, you need to keep rooms minimalistic and tidy (but not empty), so that buyers can clearly see the space and envision themselves in it


2. Clean, clean and clean some more. Having a clean home goes a long way.

This means giving your home a deep scrub inside and out. We know it can be hard keeping your space “show ready” but it really does go a long way! Some sellers like to book a getaway that first week so that they don’t need to take on extra cleaning duties.


3. Paint! Painting, along with cleaning, is a brilliant way to clean up your space while giving it a crisp “like-new” look. 

Remember to use neutral color. It’s important to realize your personal preferences need to take a back seat until you move into your new home. When selling, focus your efforts on what will help a new buyer visualize their belongings and personal style in your home.

A fresh coat of paint on the exterior could carry significant weight in their first impression. It also has potential to add a lot of curb appeal, so make sure you leave time to paint!


4. Hire help. Get a handyman to come and fix all those small issues you’ve put off. Things like the front door lock sticking or a leaky kitchen faucet should be fixed before you put the home on the market.


5. Curb appeal. Try and help your home to stand out from the neighbours. By adding a few plants or giving the driveway a good pressure wash, you’ll turn heads. Keep your front yard looking neat and tidy, then add in a pop of colour or texture using a few unique plants in the garden or even in spectacular pots to draw eyes to the front door.


6. Light it up! Shine a light on your homes best features.

Make sure you’ve changed out any burnt out lightbulbs and see if there are better ways to configure lighting or make it more efficient. Installing simple lighting along the front path, or sconces on the garage are the small finishes that add comfort outside.

There’s nothing worse than a home that sits in the dark, or poorly lit rooms that bring your mood down (especially if the room is already fairly dark). People, like plants, need light to feel energized and proactive, so if you have some darker rooms bring light in!


7. Set the stage. Is your home vacant? It might be smart to look into some staging options. 

Buyers can’t always visualize a room without furniture in it. Bringing a couch into the living room, or a table into the dining area really goes a long way when imagination just won’t cut it. At Briggs & Stratton and Associates we can happily assist with a “light” level of staging, but if your space is completely empty we can connect you with some great staging teams right here in Victoria.


Staged Study   Kitchen


These are some of the most essential steps you ought to take when preparing to sell your home. Of course there are many other things you can do although they will likely depend on your particular home’s condition, layout, and level of wear. Realtor® Sophia elaborates further in our latest “Ask A Realtor” vlog!



Comment below with your own recommendations and best experiences prepping a property for sale, that way we’ll pool all the best advice for selling well here for future readers!

If you, or anyone you know is thinking they might be ready to get listed, reach out to our experienced all-star agents today by phone or email. Be sure to download our free Seller’s Guide for more #expertadvice on the process of preparing your home for sale and listing it!

Feb. 12, 2021

The Value of Representation

Before you disclose confidential information to a real estate professional regarding a real estate transaction, you should understand the type of business relationship you have with that individual.

Many people are under the impression that to buy and sell property you need to be represented by a real estate agent. Although we feel that this really should be the case, we want to clarify that you actually don’t have to be a client–you have the option of choosing to act without representation if you so wish. This would mean that you want to view properties on your own and not be shown around or assisted in any other ways by a real estate agent, which is fine as long as you assume the risks!


4246 Gordon Head


In this type of relationship, anything discussed with the realtor(s) is not protected or confidential. You've decided to go unrepresented, which means that on the day you view a property, the real estate agent (on either the listing or selling side) can only discuss the details pertaining to the property itself with you–they cannot advise you on any other matter.

Facts to do with a property include finer points like: dimensions, any changes made, grounds and maintenance, its particular ins and outs, etc, but nothing else! You may wish to see multiple properties, and a realtor will always be able to grant you access, but they’ll help with little else. Things tend to get tricky when you end up loving a house and want to move forward writing up an offer.

Because that real estate agent is working for the seller, it follows that they cannot advise you on anything in regard to your offer. Not how much, what subjects/conditions you should go in with, or anything else! They can only act as a scribe, writing what you say into the contract and then presenting it to their clients.


Consider the following case study as an example:


Team of agents, Max, Penelope, and Finn list a property. Max is the principal listing real estate agent, but his fellow team members, Penelope and Finn get a call from some potential buyers: Sam and Lynne. 

Sam and Lynne are savvy buyers. They’ve written offers before and are confident that they can write their own offer on this property. They write a very well-written offer, however, this is a crazy market and other offers start to come in at the same time. Now, they find themselves in a situation where there are multiple offers. The other offers are being presented by experienced real estate agents, who know how to negotiate amid this scenario.

Unrepresented, they can't ask Max for advice and he can't offer suggestions or help in any way, just as he can't help buyers putting in those other offers either! Agents presenting offers on behalf of their clients are assisting them, and using their skills to try to be the winning bid. What ends up happening is that Sam and Lynne miss out, which is so sad because they had a great offer but they just didn’t know all the rules of the game or have experience with actually negotiating an offer!




Typically, a Disclosure of Representation of Trading Services is provided to clients at the outset of a transaction. It’s a document outlining the duties of a real estate agent to you, the client, that also enforces a sense of security. When you become a client, you may be asked to sign a written agreement setting out the responsibilities of each party.


As a client, you can expect a real estate agent to: 

  • Work on your behalf.
  • Legally bound to be loyal and act only in your best interests.
  • Fully disclose everything they know that might influence your decision in a transaction.
  • Avoid conflicts of interest or any situation that would affect their duty to act in your best interests.
  • Not reveal your private, confidential information, without your permission (even after your relationship ends). This includes your reasons for buying, selling or leasing, your minimum/maximum price, any preferred terms and conditions you may want to include in a contract, and so on.

As a non-client (or unrepresented individual), you can expect a real estate agent to give you limited services and demonstrate: 

  • No legal duty to you.
  • No loyalty. They may be representing a client with competing interests to yours in a transaction, which means they must be loyal to their client and not you.
  • No duty of full disclosure. They do not have a duty to give you all relevant information.
  • No duty to avoid conflicts. They are not acting in your interests.
  • No confidentiality. They must share any information you tell them with their clients in a transaction.


That all said, whenever a real estate professional works with you in a real estate transaction (whether you are their client or not) they have a responsibility to act honestly and with reasonable care and skill.


Nancy working


More often than not, opting out of representation can end up costing unrepresented buyers a lot more money. Listing agents work on behalf of the seller, so they’ll want to afford their client as much money as possible. When you let an experienced real estate agent negotiate on your behalf, you’ll be able to rely on the expertise and understanding of someone who has been through this process many times and can ensure you pay a fair price for your dream home.

Reach out today to speak with one of our exceptionally talented agents. They are available anytime and really want to help you understand your place in Victoria’s crazy hot Real Estate Market!


Posted in Tips and FAQs
Feb. 4, 2021

Ask A Realtor | Multiple Offers


Today’s real estate market is a fast-paced, competitive one. If you are buying a home in Victoria in 2021 you need to be ready to move quickly and compete. There can be more than one offer submitted on properties that you are interested in. When this happens, it’s known as a “Multiple Offer”, and there are very specific ways of dealing with these offers. Here’s our tips on how to be prepared!



Probably the most significant step when submitting for a Multiple Offer is putting your best foot forward. There is usually no opportunity to negotiate back and forth with sellers. Your Realtor will NOT be told what the other offers are, which means we need to go in with an offer that you, as a buyer, will be happy to get the home for. That said, it should also be a number with which you feel that you did your best even if someone put in a higher offer you couldn’t compete with.



Additionally, with multiple offers, you’ll need to be prepared to jump some other hurdles.

To start out:

  • Read our buyer's guide, in which we go over the process of putting together a competitive offer.

    Be ready to go see a home as soon as it gets listed! For many homes listed these days, sellers are holding off offers with a set date and time, while other sellers may not. If you are able to view a home right away, and the owners are holding off offers for a few days, it will give you the time to:
    • See the home a second time
    • Review Title and any charges on the title
    • Go over property reports from the city and any associated permits
    • Do a pre-home inspection
    • Get your financing started
    • Review strata documents (if applicable)
  • If you’ll need to take on a mortgage, get pre-approved for a mortgage and be sure to communicate with your broker when you are about to submit an offer.

    If you are considering submitting an unconditional offer, keep in mind you must have cash at the ready to ensure you can close on the home (that is, if you cannot get financing).
  • Give yourself time to review and sign a contract you plan to submit.

    On the day you submit, you need to be ready, willing, and truly able to sign that contract making an offer on that home. It's important for your Realtor to be able to reach you at any point, and for you to be able to review and sign off on your offer. Sometimes, last minute updates or unexpected changes arise, so this flexibility is very important!
  • Review offers with your Realtor beforehand; so you can go over the terms and conditions of each contract.

    All required documents should have been submitted to your mortgage broker ahead of time, as there won't be time to waste! Though it really depends on your particular situation, these required documents can often include:
    • Proof of employment
    • Tax reports and/or pay stubs
    • Proof of downpayment
    • Credit Check



Our very own Sophia made this clip to give you her best advice for tackling MO's. With the help of an expert team that’s always a phone call away, you’re off to the races!



Posted in
Dec. 11, 2020

Twelve Days of Giving Back


From November 23rd, to December 4th, we organized the collection of monetary and dry good donations for the charitable Mustard Seed Food Drive!

We simply asked our followers and clients to let us know if they wanted us to come by and safely pick up food donations from their doorstep, but also suggested they choose to make a monetary donation this year, and to like, follow, and share our campaign amongst their friends to spread the word! Needless to say, it paid off, and we even gave away an amazing prize to the winner of our December 5th draw for #TwelveDaysOfGivingBack!

Using FundRazr, an online tool that allows folks to donate directly to the organization, we created a social campaign that ran for two weeks. The realtors at our downtown and Oak Bay offices helped with cross-promotion, and now we are so proud to announce that in total we raised $7,147.00 and 88.4 lbs of food to give back to those in need in our community this year!

Now, this campaign actually also forms part of an annual Oak Bay Business Association friendly competition between the Realty offices. Though not all the offices participated this year, those who did worked hard to bring in donations! This effort, in addition to 513.3 lbs of food donations from the public directly to the Mustard Seed resulted in a grand total of $18,647.00 and 758.3 lbs of food pouring in.

We feel very proud of what was achieved, especially in a year that has been as hard and tough on most folks as any year can be. We look forward to doing even better next year, and hope you'll help us give back more!

Nov. 6, 2020

Neighbourhood Knowledge | Bear Mountain

Bear Mountain may be best known for its golf courses and resort accommodations, but it is also one of Langford's most luxurious neighbourhoods.

Bear Mountain View

Just 20 minutes away from all that Victoria (and its surrounding areas) has to offer, Bear Mountain is one of the most sought-after communities in the area. It’s the perfect hub from which to explore Southern Vancouver Island. Most attractions are just a short walk or quick drive away and can be enjoyed in a single day. Best of all, when you live here, you will have a tranquil home to look forward to at the end of your adventure!

Canada’s urban resort community, Bear Mountain is an Ecoasis resort and golf community. Live here and experience the rugged nature of the west coast! This 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. Breathtaking west coast architecture and lush landscaping is anchored by the only back-to-back Nicklaus golf courses in Canada. This community is 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 pools and spas, frequent cultural events, and enough recreational activities 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 the newest!

Here are some of our recommendations for when you live there:

Dining and Entertainment

Jack's Place Jack's Place Volleyball


Jack’s Place #jacksplacebearmountain

After a good hike around the mountain, you’re bound to work up a thirst! Located by the second mountain green, in the heart of the Bear Mountain Resort Village, we’ll often head over to Jack’s Place, a great neighbourhood pub that feels a little bit like Cheers. When you walk in everyone knows your name and it’s awesome!

The menu boasts all your classics, and a savoury selection ranging from burgers, pizzas, and pasta, to THE BEST Sushi! They offer a sampling of specialty beers–from draft to bottled–and a large selection of wines. There’s a fabulous outdoor patio, and it’s 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 liquor store options nearby.



Friday Night Flights in The Cellar at Westin Bear Mountain Resort #westinbearmountainresort

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. 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 and sophisticated experience. It’s truly a great way to spend a Friday night.

Movies & Theatre

Cineplex Odeon Westshore Cinemas

Isabelle Reader Theatre




BM Music


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.

Events in Langford



Great Canadian Casino


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.




Millstream Village

Westshore Town Centre


Local Markets

Mountain Market #mountain.market

Though open from 6 AM – 9 PM daily, on Saturday mornings we like to head over to the Mountain Market with the dogs–it’s a little coffee shop and market in the village that offers a wide variety of groceries, including local and craft products, fantastic coffee and fresh sandwiches! Pack a light lunch and go for a hike after, it’s the best way to work off the wine-ache from your Friday flights….yikes!

Goldstream Farmers Market

Just a short drive off the Mountain, located in the heart of Langford, is the Goldstream Farmers Market. Every Saturday from 10 AM to 2 PM, from May to October, you’ll find locally-grown and locally-processed agricultural products and creative, artisan crafts.

The Market supports and promotes a sustainable and vibrant local agricultural industry and craft community by providing an outlet for the farmers and artists of Langford and the West Shore. Local musicians and entertainers provide atmosphere throughout the day and non-profit groups share their community stories. If you grow it, make it, or bake it, come sell it!




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.




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


Mountain Biker BM


Mountain Biking

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.


Sporting Events

Westhills Stadium (Rugby Canada, Rebels Football, Highlanders Soccer)

The Q Centre (Grizzlies Hockey, Shamrocks Lacrosse)

Pacific FC


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 the famed Sooke Potholes and two beautiful swimming lakes: Thetis Lake and Langford Lake.



Amusement Parks & Racing

All Fun Amusement Park

Eagle Ridge Centre (bowling, water park, Kids Play Zone, mini golf, ice rink)

WildPlay Element Parks

Adrena LINE Zipline Adventure Tours


Learn about the wildlife, history, and natural beauty of Sooke and Colwood while having fun! Soar amongst the treetops, tackle different obstacles, or go for a bumpy ride.


Running Woman


Parks & Trails

No matter what the activity, the City of Langford has a park for it. Green spaces abound in Langford, from the lush Goldstream Provincial Park to Veteran's Memorial Park. Public spaces promote healthy living and a sense of place and community. Serene lakes and green spaces raise property values, reduce pollution, and provide a venue for sport and activity. The City continues to develop their award-winning pedestrian trail network and bicycle transportation routes within the growing town, working to make places where every resident and visitor can create positive memories. From accessible playgrounds and facilities to wilderness areas, there is something for everyone in Langford's parks!



Goldstream Provincial Park

Mt. Finlayson & Gowlland Tod Provincial Park

Francis King Regional Park

East Sooke Park


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.


The City of Langford shines with amenities for families and individuals. From annual and seasonal events that draw thousands to amazing facilities with something for everyone, Langford is southern Vancouver Island's playground.


Oct. 29, 2020

Neighbourhood Knowledge | Oak Bay


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!



Something that visitors often find confusing, is that Victorians will refer to neighbourhoods that are actually in different municipalities or cities! A good example, which we’re about to dive into, is the Municipality of Oak Bay.


Widely regarded as upscale, green, and peaceful, this idyllic part of Victoria boasts great public and private schools, community centres, and some of the finest character and new-build homes in the city!



About a ten minute drive, a twenty-minute bike ride, or a one-hour walk from downtown, the District of Oak Bay has a few commercial centres worth spending time in on a regular basis. The main village situated on Oak Bay Ave. is picturesque, friendly, and one of the most iconic remaining Tudor-inspired architectural hubs in Canada. Many films have come to this location for a perfect backdrop, and during the spring and summer the avenue turns pedestrian-only for market nights, which most locals frequent religiously for a spot of fun.



Famously, the Oak Bay Marina caters to sailors wanting to moor in a convenient port to the city. The district boasts many points of historical and cultural interest, including top shops and restaurants (follow our Instagram @theagencyoakbay to see some of our go-to’s), art galleries, gorgeous green parks, and sandy beaches for families to play in. Willows Beach is understandably ranked #1 by most locals, but a close second and third are Gonzales Bay and the walk from there to Dallas Road (a pebbly beach with crystal clear waters and some of the best promenade in the city). Of course, that takes you to Fairfield, which though similar to Oak Bay is actually considered to be part of Greater Victoria.



Bordered by the University of Victoria and the Municipality of Saanich to the North, and a beautiful stretch of coastline bending South from the Haro strait along the East towards the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Near the aforementioned Willows Beach, you’ll find a few other commercial centres that round out anything a resident could need. Estevan Village, and the hubs at Foul Bay and Cadboro Bay Road will surprise and delight you year-round!

Oct. 22, 2020

Office Talk | Bringing Your Pets


Between the five members of our team, we have four dogs–that’s nearly one human per pupper. Bringing them to work with us is great because not only do we worry so much less about them, they are also a welcome reminder to take breaks throughout the day and feel home comforts!


There are many benefits to having a pet and bringing them to the office, and since it’s changed our work and home balance for the better we thought it could be interesting to compile a list!


Penelope, a French bulldog, looking over the edge of a sofa.


Benefits for our people:

  • Periodic distraction from screens and tension reduces stress and increases productivity
  • Playing with pets relieves hypertension and is known to lower blood pressure
  • We take more breaks because they need to go for a walk or two, eat, and drink water...much like how we ought to be breaking up our workday anyway
  • Eliminates the possibility that neighbours could be annoyed by barking or whimpering when you’re gone


A girl sitting on her couch at home feeding her dog a treat.


Benefits for our dogs:

  • Stop missing us when we’re gone
  • Get even more love, encouragement, and attention than you normally give them
  • Don’t miss out on any walks (if they’d get more in a typical day at home)
  • Grow accustomed to being around more strangers and visiting clients


A meme with Emma in the backdrop, looking lonely, and wondering where people are at the office.

Now, obviously some care must be taken if you’re considering allowing furry friends to start visiting your workplace. We recommend you offer a survey that can tell you how your people feel about pets, especially their sensitivities based on allergies or fears.

Minor costs are associated with having pet food/bowls, beds, cleaning supplies, and a handful of toys for them to use. Also, it’d be wise to look into the legal considerations involved in case a pet goes rogue, which does happen on occasion even with the most well-behaved of pets.

We’ve always been fortunate in that most who visit Briggs & Stratton and Associates love dogs or already know Emma, Penelope, Marley, and Finn. Besides that, they are well-trained and pretty docile dogs, but depending on who actually is in the office with you and how much traffic you normally see bringing doggos in might not be the best for you, your employees, or clients!

Bathtime for three puppies.

It’s been nothing but positive for us so far, so we’re not going to change their visitation rights anytime soon, but you’ll realize soon after making the change that your work days fill with joy. Weigh out your options and all the pros and cons so you make the best decision for you, your team, and your business!


Posted in Office Talk
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!