No Stone Left Unturned  

Always think resale

Buying a home is an exciting time, especially when it's a market like we are seeing now in Kelowna with the market geared favourably towards buyers.  There is a lot to choose from and generally speaking, you can take your time to ensure you find the ideal home.  Something to always keep in mind however, is Resale Value.  The time to make money in real estate is when you buy, not when you sell.  You may be planning to purchase this home and live in it for the next 20+ years... but keep in mind how the next buyer will view your home.
People frequently ask us what the top features are in a home.  When we analyze our website statistics, we find that the number one feature people are looking for is a lake view.  People moving to Kelowna from outside the area usually dream of having a glimpse of our stunning Okanagan Lake.  Once they start viewing homes and neighbourhoods, the importance of a lake view is often superseded by other amenities and features.   Location (as we've all heard a million times) is a key factor when deciding which home to purchase.  Some people want to be near schools, others want to be close to amenities like a coffee shop, the beach and groceries (walk scores are being talked about more all the time).   A well appointed kitchen is another highly sought after feature as is a nice en-suite bathroom and ample closet space.
What are the biggest deterrents in a home?  I thought long and hard before writing this down as I am bound to upset someone.... but busy roads and steep driveways are the biggest challenges we see when selling a home.  In a Seller's market where there isn't much to choose from, then all homes are easier to sell.  But in our experience, if a house is on a busy street or if it has a steeply sloped driveway, it will be more challenging to sell.  The price of a home with negative factors must be priced lower than homes without those factors.  A steep driveway can reduce the value of a home by $15,000 to $20,000 and a busy road can cost you between $20,000 and $30,000.  Everything will sell if the price is right -but depending on the market, that can make the home much more difficult to sell.  
The role of your Realtor is to stay impartial and see your potential new home from an unemotional point of view.  No one can predict what kind of real estate market it will be when the time comes to sell, so if you buy the home you love - and keep the resale in mind for down the road, you will do well.  
The Stone Sisters Group would love to help if you have any questions or comments.  Please visit our website at http://www.stoneteam.com


Planting an Okanagan garden

Well Spring is officially here and now it’s time to think about planting a garden here in Kelowna.

You shop in the organic aisles in the produce section, always scrub your vegetables, and keep a list of pesticide’s “dirty dozen” on your refrigerator door. You are a responsible and educated consumer for both yourself and your family. But, why not take it one step further? Planting a vegetable garden is a great way to go green in a health-conscious and super economic manner.

It’s true; the idea of cultivating a vegetable plot from scratch is a daunting one. However, what you may not know is that you and I, inhabitants of the Okanagan Valley, have a fabulous advantage. The location and climate we love about this place we call home is ideally suited to creating a successful and abundant vegetable garden. Our proximity to Okanagan Lake contributes to a hardy and nutrient rich soil quality. And the combination of a long summer season and short, mild winter season provides the opportunity to grow a copious variety of fruits and vegetables. By simply following a few guidelines, you can without a doubt create your own thriving Okanagan Valley garden.

First, those gentle seasons we enjoy year after year have created a mild and sometimes dry climate that makes efficient water retention necessary. Routinely picking weeds and mixing your gardening soil with a generous amount of peat moss or soaker hoses and drip lines should do the trick. Fertilizer is also important for optimum growth potential. Our local abundance of dairy farms offers a great supply of bovine manure, one of nature’s most resourceful fertilizers.

Next, when choosing the location for your garden, take into consideration the amount of sunlight and shade different areas of your yard receive. The Okanagan Valley has no absence of sunlight during its long summer season, and plants such as tomatoes, bell peppers, and cucumbers thrive in extended periods of sunshine. By comparison, other plants, like broccoli for example, grow best in a more shaded environment. During the cooler seasons, crops such as lettuce, cabbage, beets, and onions prosper best. However, no matter what you decide to grow, stick to north to south rows for optimal sunlight exposure.

We hope to have helped you with your future gardening ventures, and we wish you a flourishing and fruitful plot. Please feel free to contact The Stone Sisters Group at http://www.stonesisters.com for all your real estate needs.

Family Friendly Kirschner Mountain

We were kindly invited to join Alan Kirschner on a guided tour of Kirshner Mountain recently and I was really impressed with what I saw.  There are some incredible views from many of the homesites and yet the neighbourhood has level driveways and yards which makes it very family friendly.
As Kelowna continues to grow, a lot of our new communities are getting further and further away.  That's not the case with Kirschner Mountain.  They say the official centre of town is now located approximately at the intersection of the highway and Banks Road... and it can take a long time to drive there from many parts of town.  I was impressed with how quickly I arrived at Kirschner Mountain (took 10 minutes from our REMAX office) and yet it feels like you are far away from the hustle and bustle of town.  I loved seeing the well used toboggan hill where kids from around the neighbourhood play and there is also a steep set of stairs going from one street to the upper level and two women were getting a great workout climbing those! 
There are a lot of different choices in Kelowna if you are looking to move to a new neighbourhood, or build a new home.  Kirschner Mountain is definitely worth looking into.  You get views of Okanagan Lake, downtown Kelowna and out to the runway at Kelowna International Airport (for all the people we have who live here and commute back and forth to Northern Alberta for work).  The lot prices start at under $200,000 and you have the freedom to choose your builder and design.  It's a beautiful neighbourhood in Kelowna that you'll be happy you explored.


Kelowna Real Estate Tour

We just recently returned from a trip to Scottsdale for a conference and wanted to take a real estate tour of the town we were visiting.  It got us to thinking that people likely come to Kelowna and want to do the same thing.  Whether you are wanting to get a sense of the  community and different neighbourhoods or just get some great design ideas, here's what we suggest to see some great homes in Kelowna.

    1)  Start downtown and drive South along Abbott Street.  The tree lined streets with wide pedestrian paths is absolutely gorgeous! The homes range from the early 1920's to modern waterfront palaces.

    2)  Then continue along Okanagan Lake making sure you take a drive down Hobson Road where some of Kelowna's most magnificent waterfront estates are located.

    3)  Head up Lakeshore Road towards Kettle Valley (one of Kelowna's most family friendly neighbourhoods).  There are some incredible neighbourhoods that surround Kettle Valley so give yourself time to explore.

    4)  If you want to see some beautiful estate properties set on acreages, head through South East Kelowna and you'll see an eclectic assortment of architectural styles on large properties.

    5)  To see some beautiful modern homes, drive through Highpointe Estates (off Clifton Road).  This gated community is usually open during the daytime and well worth a drive through.

    6)  Your next stop should be Wilden as they have some gorgeous new showhomes worth touring through.

    7)  Drive through Carrs Landing in Lake Country and then through the Lakes.  You will see some beautiful properties and different building styles and ages of homes.

    8)  There are also some spectacular homes and neighbourhoods on the West side of Kelowna.  Give yourself some time to explore West Kelowna Estates, Lakeview Heights and Shannon Lake.

Whether you take the whole tour, or just part of it, you're sure to enjoy yourself and see some of Kelowna's most beautiful areas.  If there is a particular style of home you'd like to see, send the Stone Sisters Group and email and we can give you a customized driving guide.

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About the Author

Tamara & Shannon grew up in a real estate family and learned problem solving and negotiating skills around the dinner table.  They are lifelong residents of Kelowna and are passionate about the lifestyle that Kelowna offer.

Whether buying or selling a home, the Stone Sisters understand how large a decision it is, and their goal is to help every client feel comfortable throughout the entire process. 

Tamara has been licensed since 1995 and has a broad range of experience in different markets.  After obtaining her marketing degree, Shannon joined her sister in 2005 and together this sister duo loves to market Kelowna to the world.

The Stone Sisters can be contacted at [email protected]

Visit their website http://www.stoneteam.com/

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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