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Your real estate translator

JP Letnick has seen just how difficult the home-buying experience can be for Canadians who don’t speak English fluently.

His Letnick Estates Group acted as real-estate agents for a mother and son, recently, whose first language was Mandarin.

While the son could speak English well enough, his mother could not and neither of them felt comfortable with contracts.

They chose Letnick Estates Group because it offers residential and commercial real estate transactions in French, Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese, Korean, and Russian.

Letnick and his wife, Joanna Wang, helped the family navigate Kelowna’s real-estate market. They helped them purchase a half-duplex under construction and even arranged for customization since the home wasn’t completed.

It was an especially rewarding moment for Letnick, who said the family had been working with another agent that couldn’t communicate with them.

“It’s almost like a sigh of relief,” Letnick said of the moment a client can speak in his or her native tongue. “It’s not like Vancouver or Calgary, where buyers can find agents who speak their language. They find it helpful and refreshing. They’re happy.”

It’s not just foreign buyers, either, who are coming to Kelowna looking for help buying a home.

Letnick said the vast majority of his customers—he estimates 90 per cent—who request help in a language other than English are Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

That could mean new Canadians who have rented for long periods and now want to buy, or it could mean someone from Quebec who is retiring to the Okanagan.

“When people hear ‘second language’ they think ‘foreign buyer,’” Letnick said. “But that’s not necessarily the case.”

With the introduction of a speculation tax in BC, the Letnick Estates Group has noticed a slow down in Canadians from other parts of the country looking to relocate to the Okanagan Valley.

“This is a sad situation,” he said. “Many of our clients from outside the Okanagan bring unique talents and business ideas to the Valley which is now being suppressed by the NDP provincial government.”

Letnick said his agency will also strive to help someone who might speak another language—be it German, Hindi, Spanish, or another—by offering translation services.

It’s all in an attempt to offer all-in-one marketing for listings and developments with clients at the forefront, he said.

Letnick’s seen at least three instances, personally, where a foreign-language buyer had signed an Exclusive Buyers Agency agreement without understanding what it entailed.

One case has even landed in court, Letnick said.

Letnick said not only does that not sit well with him in general, he also realizes his Letnick Estates Group and its eight teammates carry with them a name built on honesty and trust in the Okanagan.

JP is the son of Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick.

“We have a strong reputation to maintain,” JP said.

The Letnick Estates Group is a Kelowna Real Estate Team here in the Okanagan; to learn more please visit https://BC-Real-Estate.com.


Become a property investor

Kelowna housing prices are increasing all the time and the city’s continued growth suggests that these increases will continue for the foreseeable future. It will become more challenging to enter Kelowna real estate market.

But for those who would like a more affordable way to participate in acquiring a Kelowna home, there might be another option: become a limited partner in the project development and use the partners profits toward the purchase price to create significant savings.

By investing now not only do you lock up a home at today’s prices you also ensure your ability to choose one of the best units.

One of the city’s major new housing projects is offering the opportunity to get in, so to speak, on the ground floor.

Promontory is located in the sought after area of Highpointe just 5 minutes from downtown and accessible to all parts of the city.

You can become a real estate investor today with as little as $25,000 and get access to a unique development project. You will profit alongside an experienced developer and have an option to acquire real estate at a discounted price when you come in as a Limited Partner.


Limited Partnerships open the door to safe and reliable real estate investment with a low entry point.

For locals looking for more information on this investment opportunity, the development team is
hosting information sessions.

The first will be at the Coast Capri Hotel, May 30 at 7.p.m. The second, at the same location, on June 15.

More information about the project is also available by downloading the Promontory’s online information package, or by visiting the project’s website.

The spots are filling up fast, and we encouraged anyone interested to sign up as soon as possible.


If you are interested in participating in this offering, please act quickly as we expect the project to be fully subscribed soon


Spinning for Strong Kids

At the end of this month, a pair of Olympic athletes will join local bike and ski shop Fresh Air as it throws its support behind the YMCA’s Cycle for Strong Kids.

The event is the Y’s biggest fundraiser of the year and sees teams from local businesses saddle up on a peloton of spin bikes for a boisterous day of cycling and team building—all so thousands of kids get the chance to take part in YMCA programs.

For Jim Bates, Fresh Air’s owner, getting involved with Strong Kids was a no-brainer. As a cycling event it sits squarely inside Fresh Air’s wheelhouse—but, more importantly, he says the cause is a vital one.

“I knew Fresh Air was going to be a part of Strong Kids almost from the moment the YMCA approached us all those years ago,” he says. “I didn’t realize that one in five local families can’t put their kids into sports, and that really resonated with me.”

“We believe every kid should have the chance to be active and develop skills, confidence and self-esteem. Places like the Y do that, but also give them a place where they feel like they belong and are encouraged to discover their full potential," he adds.

The YMCA’s Margo Buckley says Bates and his wife's passion for the cause is evident in the work they do for the fundraiser.

“Fresh Air is a huge part of this event,” she says. “Jim and Karen are just so involved—they’re over the top about Strong Kids.”

Fresh Air has now been a title sponsor of the event for more than five years, shelling out significant cash to support it, donating products for raffles and silent auctions, and entering a team every year.

This year, the shop is even pulling out all the stops for that team, recruiting Olympic athletes Kelsey Serwa and Julia Ransom to hop in the saddle in its name.

The two will be among the group that starts off the day, May 27 at 8 a.m. outside the H2O Adventure and Fitness Centre.

Along with rides happening all morning and into the afternoon, Buckley says the YMCA Cycle for Stong Kids will also feature a silent auction, food, drinks, and prize giveaways.

The goal will be to raise $100,000. She says all the money stays in the community, helping kids who otherwise couldn’t afford it to join YMCA programs.

“The swim lessons, the proper childcare, day camps, even just having a Y membership so they have a safe place to go if they’re home alone after school. This is vital stuff, and Strong Kids allows us to give it to them,” she says.

Bates encouraged anyone interested in supporting the event to check out Fresh Air’s team—and consider signing up or donating—on their website.

We’re so fortunate to be a part of an event that helps so many kids in the community,” he says. “Any money our team raises does some really great stuff."


New local swingers club

Have you and your partner ever wanted to spice up your sex life? Have you ever thought about bringing new partners into your bed, or maybe sharing your spouse with someone else?

You might find the idea terrifying, titillating, or even intriguing, but a Kelowna businesswoman says it’s happening all the time—right in this city—and she wants to capitalize on it.

She goes by the pseudonym Paulina Austin, and her plan is to bring the city’s swingers out from their key parties and shag-carpeted basements and into the mainstream.

“As far as I’m concerned, swinging is just another form of recreation,” Austin says, “why can’t the community, or just the curious, have a safe place to come and play, too?”

Austin explains that the Playhouse’s main draw will be a fully licensed bar and lounge—spiced up with features like a dance pole, themed rooms, and a dance floor—where couples interested in swinging can gather to meet other, like-minded folks.

A separate section will feature cozy and discrete private spaces people can rent by-the-hour to enjoy some more intimate time with their groups or partners.

Finally, The Playhouse will offer a singles lounge of sorts that will operate like an in-person Tinder, giving people looking for love (or something else) a more personal way to connect with potential partners.

While all these services will be housed within the Playhouse, each will operate in its own separate section, allowing patrons more discretion in their choices.

Austin says the Playhouse will be a private club, charging patrons a small membership fee (much like a cover charge) to ensure only the sincere come out for the fun.

“Swinging isn’t really a new idea. As long as there have been couples there have been couples who like to share. And if two consenting adults want to invite someone else into their relationship, why shouldn’t they be able to do that?” Austin asks.

“The Playhouse will mean they can do that—and do it both safely and discretely.”

Austin says The Playhouse is entirely above board—not long ago she got confirmation from the city she can get a business license, as well as the all-clear from law enforcement.

All she needs now, she says, is a few savvy investors to get the project started.

So, how would you feel about a swingers club in your city? Do you think it’s immoral, or do you support it? Would you ever attend? Austin wants to know, and she’s set up an anonymous survey to suss out how you feel.

To give her a piece of your mind check out the survey here. For more information on The Playhouse, check out their Facebook page.

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