The Fenton Team Real Estate News & Advice

Vancouver Island Real Estate BlogWelcome. This section of Just Listed Vancouver Island is meant as an information centre where you will find article written by professional real estate agents with The Fenton Team. 

It is our sincere hope that you will find our articles to be in-depth and useful, and not simply another real estate blog. We will be sharing articles about: the Vancouver Island real estate market; real estate news; community information for cities and towns across Vancouver Island; and information for other real estate agents wanting to learn. 

Please let us know if you have a question about a topic not yet listed in this section, and we’ll be happy to post an in-depth article for you on the topic right away.  

April 20, 2019

Vancouver Island Real Estate Stats - April 2019

At The Fenton Team we believe it is important to provide both investors, and homeowners, useful information about the Vancouver Island real estate markets. This information should serve as a key pillar in any real estate decision making process, whether it be buying or selling. 

Using data provided by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board we have broken down what we believe to be key metrics for good real estate decision making on Vancouver Island. We have separated the information into the communities of Port Alberni, Ucluelet, Tofino, Parksville/Qualicum, Courtenay, Campbell River, Nanaimo, and Duncan . The statistics below are for single family homes only, excluding waterfront home sales, and compare year to date 2019 (January 1-April 15) to the same time frame last year.

We believe that Median Sale Price best represents the value of a typical house (rather than Average Sale Price). The average days on the market tells us how quickly homes are typically selling if priced correctly. The Sale : List Price ratio tells us how closely homes are selling to their asking price. Finally, comparing the number of homes listed, and the number of homes sold, gives us a picture of supply and demand, which is critical in understanding where the market is at, and where it might be going. 

The statistics are provided below. If you would like an interpretation from The Fenton Team’s CEO Chris Fenton on any given statistic, please comment below and he’ll be more than happy to help.  

Port Alberni Stats

  2019 2018
New Listings 133 138
Sales 68 104
Median Sale Price $305,000 $306,000
Average Sale Price $321,776 $345,281
Sale : List Price 97.5% 97.5%
Average Days on Market  48 44

Ucluelet Stats

  2019 2018
New Listings 10 14
Sales 7 10
Median Sale Price $645,000 $510,000
Average Sale Price $603,357 $471,850
Sale : List Price 93.0% 84.6%
Average Days on Market  114 36

Tofino Stats

  2019 2018
New Listings 6 7
Sales 2 3
Median Sale Price $1,250,000 $940,500
Average Sale Price $1,250,000 $940,500
Sale : List Price 89.3% 98.1%
Average Days on Market  93 11

Parksville/Qualicum Stats

  2019 2018
New Listings 353 342
Sales 161 214
Median Sale Price $550,000 $570,100
Average Sale Price $632,164 $636,759
Sale : List Price 98.2% 99.5%
Average Days on Market  41 29

Courtenay/Comox Stats

  2019 2018
New Listings 346 338
Sales 157 264
Median Sale Price $572,000 $510,000
Average Sale Price $608,754 $538,894
Sale : List Price 98.4% 99.0%
Average Days on Market  48 37

Campbell River Stats

  2019 2018
New Listings 216 176
Sales 120 144
Median Sale Price $449,000 $418,000
Average Sale Price $469,733 $435,277
Sale : List Price 98.7% 99.1%
Average Days on Market  27 40

Nanaimo Stats

  2019 2018
New Listings 655 648
Sales 296 401
Median Sale Price $539,000 $530,000
Average Sale Price $565,687 $552,692
Sale : List Price 98.6% 99.8%
Average Days on Market  33 23

Duncan Stats

  2019 2018
New Listings 360 396
Sales 190 304
Median Sale Price $520,000 $505,000
Average Sale Price $537,700 $539,545
Sale : List Price 99.1% 99.8%
Average Days on Market  47 35
Jan. 9, 2019

Vancouver Island Property Tax Information

Well, it's that time of year again - the time of year when the dreaded tax assessments have arrived in the mail. This year's assessments have been a bit of shock to most of us homeowners. To say they went up a little, would be like saying the Titanic hit an ice cube! 

The silver lining is that there is no reason to panic. Just because the assessed value of your home has gone up, does not necessarily mean that your property taxes will go up. I'll explain why. 

Your Property Taxes are calculated according to the following formula:

BC Property Tax Equation


There are two ways your Property Taxes can increase:

1. If your property's Assessed Value increases MORE than the average property; or

2. The Property Tax Rate is increased by your Taxing Authority.

The average home in Port Alberni had an increase in Assessed Value of 18% according to the Mayor of Port Alberni. 

While the Assessed Value is an important part of the equation, you can see that the Tax Rate is also important. Last year, the City of Port Alberni increased the Tax Rate by 3%. At the time they indicated a plan to do the same in 2019. However, we have a new Major and City Council this year, so we'll have to wait and see.

Let's look at an example - If you live in Port Alberni property's Assessed Value increased by 18%, and the average increase for Port Alberni was 18%, than your Property Taxes won't increase (unless the City of Port Alberni increases the Tax Rate).

Now that we have looked at how taxes are calculated, and hopefully taken away some of our original knee jerk reaction, let's look at when and how to appeal. A property's Assessed Value is based on what the property was worth in July of the previous year. If you believe that the 2019 Assessed Value does not reflect the true value of your property in July 2018, you should absolutely appeal. The deadline to appeal your 2019 Assessed Value is January 31, 2019. The BC Assessment authority outlines how the appeal process works. We have helped a number of Clients win appeals over the years, by providing comparable sales data. They key is to enter the processed prepared. If you are a client of The Fenton Team, and you think you should appeal your Property Assessment, please don't hesitate to reach out to us for help with real estate information. 


Posted in Real Estate News
Dec. 18, 2018

Homes for Sale with Cozy Fireplaces

Looking for a new place to call home in the Alberni Valley? With a range of nice homes available in the Alberni Area anyone house hunting will surely encounter the home they are looking for here. A fantastic addition and a welcoming home feature are cozy fireplaces in a new house.

An inviting fireplace is a truly cherished component in a home. With the upcoming holiday season there is nothing quite like gathering around the warm blaze with cookies and eggnog while reminiscing about the year that has quickly passed by.

#1 3644 Argyle St, 4 Bedrooms, 3 Bathrooms, $359,900

3644 Argyle, Port Alberni, BC

This updated home sits on a large 62’ X 187’ lot in a Upper South Alberni neighbourhood. In addition, this home has a ground level in-law suite, updated kitchen and adjoining dining room that has sliding door access to the wrap-around deck. This home boasts cozy vibes, which you will notice from the first moment you step inside the inviting spacious living room and with the attractive feature gas fireplace. A lovely rustic modern white brick fireplace blends right in, coming to life when the flames are burning! Another bonus in this home is that the downstairs includes a family room with classic brick gas fireplace. A great focal point in the family room a rustic brick and black metal from and matching hearth tiles in front of it.


#2 7350 McKenzie Rd, Port Alberni, 3 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms, $699,900

7350 McKenzie Road, Port Alberni, BC

This gorgeous example is in the heart of the Beaver Creek area. It is basically peace in paradise on the main floor of the home you will find a spacious oak kitchen with access to the four season sun room along with the adjoining dining room that has slider access to the sundeck and last but not least the comfy living room with a feature fireplace. This elegant crisp white mantle with polished metal doors makes for a beautiful focal point in the main living area. An additional bonus with this home is that the downstairs family living room includes a wood stove the natural flame tends to bring people together. It's a warm cozy setting perfect room for the children to play in while the adults socialize upstairs. 


#3 991 Chatsworth Rd, 3 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms, $449,900

991 Chatsworth, BC

This 1,750-square-foot rancher home sits on a half acre. With beautiful mountain views the homes main floor includes a nice oak kitchen with plenty of cupboard and counter space, the adjoining dining room with a bay window along with the spacious living room that features a brick fireplace with woodstove. This wood-burning stove is an attractive aesthetics and adds charm to the home, along with creating the perfect ambiance for cuddling up next to the warm fire during the cold winter months.


#4 2729 Anderson Ave, 5 Bedrooms, 4 Bathrooms, $379,9002729 Anderson Ave, Port Alberni, BC

Next up home with a suite, this home was built in 1994 and sits on a 44’ X 124’ lot in a great South Alberni neighbourhood. The upper main floor enjoys an open concept dining room and a well laid out kitchen with a feature island. Along with an elegant living room with a feature natural gas fireplace. The comfy living area here has one right at its heart, forged in black and polished gold this mirrored gas fireplace is perfectly in harmony with the surrounding elements adding to the overall cozy effect.


#5 2953 5th Ave, 3 Bedrooms, 2 Bathrooms, $244,9002953 5th Ave, Port Alberni, BC

Lastly, this split-entry home is located in South Alberni within walking distance to shopping, parks and nature trails. The main floor enjoys an adjoining dining room with sliding door access to the covered sundeck, along with an open living room with a feature fireplace. The attractive fireplace can be found in the airy living area and is nicely in harmony with the laminate flooring and the neutral shades on the walls. Thanks to the room’s generous size, this will likely become a favorite spot for entertaining guests.


Dec. 15, 2018

Things to do in the Alberni Valley in December 2018

With the Holiday Season just around the corner, there is plenty to do in Port Alberni in December! Check out the information below provided by Port Alberni’s Community Website. And visit the link below for more information. Get out there and have fun!

Dog Photos with Sanata Naesgaards Market

Where: Naesgaard's Farm Market 5681 River Road at Mary Street

When: Sunday, December 16, 2018 - 12:30pm to 3:30pm

What is it: Photos with Santa and your dog - or not - on Sat, Dec 16. & Sunday Dec 9  -- 12:30 to 3:30.  $10 min donation per photo goes towards the SPCA & dog adoption agency. Download & print your photo. Photos by professional photographer, Courtney Naesgaard. Facebook Event

AVTTS Mtg + Film: Voices of Transition

Where: Char’s Landing, 4815 Argyle Street, Port Alberni

When: Wednesday, December 19, 2018 - 6:00pm to 9:00pm

AVTTS dedicated to a resilient, low carbon society.  Cycle Alberni, AV Gleaning Project, AV Food Directory. Facebook Event


AV Chamber of Commerce Christmas Pary

Where: Char's Landing 4815 Argyle Street, Port Alberni

When: Thursday, December 20, 2018 - 6:00pm - 9:00pm

What is it: Looking for a Christmas Event with engaging guest speakers? Enjoy two guest speakers, live music and wine and cheese! Facebook Event


Uncle Wiggly's Tribute to the Blues Songs of Christmas

Where: Char's Landing 4815 Argyle Street, Port Alberni

When: Saturday, December 22, 2018 - 7:30pm to 9:30pm

What is it: Blues, Swing and R&B classics from the 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's. The most unique Christmas Show you will ever see! Band Website


Wildegreen at Char's Landing

Where: Char's Landing 4815 Argyle Street, Port Alberni

When: Sunday, December 23, 2018 - 7:30pm to 9:30pm

What is it: Wildegreen is a West Coast-inspired smooth rock group formed in January 2018.


Writer's Workshop - Cynthia Sharp

Where: Char's Landing 4815 Argyle Street, Port Alberni

When: Thursday, December 27, 2018 - 3:00pm to 5:00pm

What is it: Sensory writing: Polish your work for performance and publication. Facebook Page

Dec. 6, 2018

Toasty Tips for Staying Warm this Winter

Cold Much? Winter temperatures are often in the single digits. Here are some resourceful ways to help you warm up. Stay warm no matter how frightful the weather outside gets. Keep the Winter Chills Out!

Warm Yourself First

It’s easier to change your body temperature than room temperature. Instead of turning up the heat, put on another layer of clothing.

Dress in Layers

Bundle up. Wear sweaters, long underwear, and even hats indoors to keep your head warm. Wearing layers helps you from getting overheated indoors. The key is to keep your body warm and dry.

Keep Your Feet Warm

“House Slippers” having the rubber sole makes such a difference for keeping your feet warm. Warm socks are key, a soft, cozy pair keeps the feet toasty warm and keep changing your socks! Everyone forgets that your feet sweat and this can make you cold even if you are layered up. Wool socks or “smartwool” keeps your feet from sweating. For the outdoors insert foam liners in your boots or hiking shoes to give your toes an extra layer of insulation.

Heat Up Your Bed

Don’t turn up the heat in the entire house. Use an electric blanket. Or, an even cheaper and safer option is a hot water bottle with a wool or fleece cover. Fill the water bottle with hot water before going to bed and slip it into the foot of the bed between the sheet. When you’re ready for bed your feet will be all toasty! Believe it or not the water bottle stays warm all night long.


Block Drafts

Keep heat in and cold out but blocking any drafty areas in your home, you can buy a fancy roll or just use a blanket or towel. This will save you money on heating bills. Dress your windows up, replace thin curtain with heavier wool or fleece drapes in the winter. Insulated windows are helpful but awning, casement and fixed windows provide the tightest seal.

Harness the Sun

During the day, open the blinds and curtains and let the sun warm you up! At night, close the blinds and curtains to better insulate your home. Another idea is to use roller blinds every night for windows, which saves money, energy and they are easy to use.

Stay Active

Get your body moving! The cold months are great for cleaning out closets, garages, etc. Anything to keep active. If you get a chill just sitting get up and move around, the movement not only warms you up but will stir the heat in the house.


Posted in Real Estate News
Nov. 29, 2018

Tips to Winterize your Home

Winter is right around the corner. Do you know how to prepare your home for the cold weather? These tips and tricks will help prevent any unfortunate wintertime mishaps and get your home winter ready!

Tips to Winterize your Home

Nov. 16, 2018

Real Estate Appraisal vs. Home Inspection: What’s the Difference?

During a real estate purchase you will come across two types of services prior to the sale of a home: Real Estate Appraisal and Home Inspection. Although similar in some ways, home appraisals and inspections do in fact serve very different purposes. It is well worth knowing the difference between the two processes and when you might need one, the other or both as a buyer.

Real Estate Appraisal vs. Home Inspection: What’s the Difference?

Real Estate Home Appraisal

A real estate appraisal is a detailed report on the monetary value of the property based on the elements of the home. It is a financial report, that is usually ordered by the Buyer’s financial institution for the purposes of obtaining a mortgage. An appraiser will carry out a home inspection checking the condition of the home, though it’s far less detailed than that carried out by a home inspector.

Generally, an appraiser will visit the home for 45 minutes or so, checking numerous elements such as square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, major systems and structures etc. They compare their findings to the information on the property records to ensure everything is current. Then they then evaluate comparable homes in the neighbourhood and on the market in order to make an accurate estimation of the true value of the property.

Home Inspection

A home inspection is a detailed look at the home and property condition. Areas of interest typically include a home’s:

  • Foundation
  • Roof
  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • Floors and ceilings
  • Built-in Appliances
  • Site Drainage
  • Chimneys
  • Deck and patios

A home inspector's role is to inform the buyer of the condition of the property and highlight any required repairs. Using the home inspectors report, the buyer can review the report and make a decision whether to continue with the transaction or request the seller makes the repairs prior to purchase or potentially lowering the offer. Home inspections allow buyers to avoid expensive surprises, they are not mandatory, but it’s in the best interest of the buyer to have one. They will be more informed as to the true condition of the property decision.

Appraisal vs. Inspection: Similarities and Differences

They both involve a professional visiting the home and conducting an examination of many of the same elements. Similarly, both occur prior to the sale of a home, and they both end in detail reports regarding the property. The potential buyer will typically pay for both a home inspection and appraisal process.

The main difference between an appraisal vs. inspection is that appraisal deals with the value of real estate, while an inspection deal with the condition of the house. The primary purpose of a real estate appraisal is to determine the market value of the home. An appraisal will allow the lender to decide whether or not, while an inspection will help the buyer assess the pros and cons of investing in a certain property. While the home inspection process ends once the inspector examines the details of the home, an appraisal takes more information into consideration than simply the condition of the home. An appraiser aims to formulate an unbiased accurate opinion of the value of a property. Using comparables on the properties to value the home, this takes into factor nearby school zones, crime rates and lot size. 

Does a Buyer need one or both of these real estate services?

As a buyer, you will notice that on most real estate checklists include both a home inspection and a real estate appraisal. Regardless of how you go about purchasing a property, no one requires you to have a home inspection. Both are processes that are important in protecting a real estate investment, however if neglecting to carry one out you may find that the home you have just bought is in need of some unforeseen major repairs which could cost far more than what the budget.

Home inspections are generally voluntary for buyers, while appraisals might be mandatory if a buyer works with a mortgage lender or home loan company. If you are in the market for a new home, pay for both an inspection and an appraisal for total peace of mind before you buy.


Posted in Real Estate News
Nov. 9, 2018

Reasons to Buy and Sell with a Real Estate Agent

Know what it takes to handle the largest financial transaction of your life? Many individuals do not know what a real estate agent can do for them and prefer to rely on the web instead. If you are uncertain and want to make more informed decisions, check out the following reasons Why to Buy and Sell with a Real Estate Agent.

Stakes are High

Buying or selling a home is not as simple as putting in an offer on the asking price and getting the keys. There are multiple procedures that follow and legalities to conform to. There is a high risk for individuals who privately sell their home because it is easy to make mistakes or be misinformed, which can result in losing money. Many people have concerns with realtor fees and paying a commission, but these fees can soon pay for themselves with time and money saved.

What do you know about the Market?

There are many factors that affect the constantly changing housing market. An excellent agent will educate you about “real estate reality” keeping you aware of all the pitfalls and potential risks that could happen while buying or selling. Local agents are always up-to-date watching the market evolve and keeping tabs on all the new developments. Benefiting both the buyer and seller, agents are immediate when establishing facts and determining the true value of a property. Real estate agents know what types of individuals are buying property in your neighbourhood and leveraging you to better market your home to a precise audience. 

Insider Knowledge - An Agent Sees All

Agents have access to information and listings that are not publicly advertised, which means they will provide you with valuable information from trusted experts. So, what happens when the inspection reveals a roof leak or that there are plumbing concerns? These are issues real estate agents face daily. Real estate has its own language. Buying or selling a home requires lots of forms, disclosures, and reports. Agents have intimate knowledge of the housing industry and are expert problem-solvers while figuring out issues efficiently. They know who to speak to and what to do to fix the majority of problems that could arise. Without an agent, each participant would be forced to deal with one another directly, and if each partaker is not used to negotiating it is possible that individuals can be taken advantage of. 

Network and Connections

One of the most valuable assets an agent can bring to your property transaction is people. The real estate industry is made up of extensive network of individuals and service providers, each offering their own particular skill. From mortgage brokers, contractors to home inspectors’ agents are connected to them all. When you hire an agent, instantly you gain access to their trusted contacts. If you were going it alone, you would have to rely on your own judgement and build a team from scratch, which is time consuming and risky.

Negotiating Skills: Communication is Key

Realtors are incredible communicators and expert negotiators. You can rely on them for the complex conversations that always arise in the buying or selling of real estate. Effective communication for sales is a technique that takes time to learn and develop. Realtors can guide you through complicated scenarios and will be able to recommend and implement strategies that can close a deal without losing money.

Marketing Expertise 

Image is everything especially when it comes to real estate. There needs to be an analytical eye for what kind of marketing collateral will attract the right buyers. Quality photography is an essential element when selling homes, along with video production and social media marketing. Investing in a quality Real Estate Team who understands how crucial marketing is will produce substantial benefits. Marketing collateral ultimately strengthens business and helps client’s homes get sold!


Posted in Real Estate News
Oct. 24, 2018

Discover Alberni Episode 1: Sproat Lake


Welcome to the Alberni Valley, home of Vancouver Island’s premier warm water lake. The waters of this popular British Columbia vacation destination are so clear that you can easily see thirty feet down. Waterfront homes, cabins and lots dot the shoreline, but the majority of Sproat Lake’s 140 kilometers of foreshore remains uninhabited, and is lined by beaches and beautiful Douglas fir forests. Road access to Sproat Lake is a short distance from Highway 4, the highway that connects the rest of Vancouver Island to world famous Ucluelet, Tofino and Long Beach. Thousands of tourists stop to enjoy the waters of Sproat Lake every year on their way to the Pacific Rim. Needless to say, Sproat Lake offers top-notch warm water swimming, water skiing, boating, house boating, fishing, camping, nature watching and even wind surfing.

Thanks for reading - I'd love to answer any questions or receive any comments you may have.

Oct. 19, 2018

What is important to remember when you are looking to sell during the cold months?

Tips for selling your home in the fall and winter

Posted in Real Estate News