While Fall is already upon us and Thanksgiving is just around the corner, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite decorating ideas. Whether you’ll be celebrating the holiday in your new home, or staging it for potential Vancouver home buyers, we’ve got some simple yet stunning ways to add fall flair, courtesy of the experts.

Pumpkin Power

Cluster small pumpkins and gourds of various colour for impact: in the kitchen, on the front hall table or as Thanksgiving table centerpiece spilling out of a traditional cornucopia. For a twist, slice off the top and hollow out flat-bottomed, small pumpkins as vases. Place a block of wet floral foam in the bottom, then arrange fall blooms and berries into it. You can even add a battery-operated votive to the center for an illuminated touch. Another option is to cluster candleholders of varying heights and place small pumpkins or gourds on top in lieu of candles, perfect for your:

Harvest Mantel

If you’re in the selling phase, replacing those family pictures with a gorgeous fall display will easily take the ‘home out of your house’ and inspire a stylish welcome. Add vintage blackboards with inspirational Thanksgiving quotes among an arrangement of pumpkins and bouquets of dried wheat. “We’re thankful for this fabulous house…”

Go Seasonal

Layer corn kernels, nuts, green dried hops, and brown oak leaves in glass vases or clear candle holders. These ingredients are indicative of the season, and add a pop of colour to an arrangement of the traditional orange, gold and brown. Top off the layers with a rust or berry-coloured candle, and you’ve got a warm

Corn Husks

Who knew these veggie cast-off could be so pretty? Fashion rustic floral napkin rings by first cutting a spiral out of a soaked corn husk so that it has at least four rings. Roll it up, outside first, then let dry to form the rose shape. Secure with gel glue, then glue an additional circle to the base. This will attach to the ‘ring’: cut a rectangle out of another soaked corn husk and hot glue the ends together. Voila! Alternatively, for a tutorial on corn husk votive holders, see

Vintage Appeal

Repurposing the old is one way to be thankful for everything we have. Turn unused china into display trays by layering plates of descending size onto overturned tea cups. Wooden bowls make amazing centerpieces when filled with seasonal bounty such as pumpkins, pinecones, and flowering branches.

Feeling inspired? is always a good place to start when searching out inventive new ideas to spruce up the home.

Photo from

Vancouver evening downtown

If you ask a dozen so-called real estate experts and financial planners on whether it's the right time or how to invest in real estate, you’ll receive a dozen different opinions. It’s all about your personal needs and how you invest. If you play your cards the smart way, investing in real estate can lead to a nice, passive income stream for your retirement. It's also an ideal way to leverage and borrow against when values rise so you can buy more property.


Three ways to owning real estate are a) sole purchase and ownership of property, b) form a limited partnership to pool resources and enable the purchase of more expensive property, as well as share risks and returns, and c) indirect ownership of property by investing in REITs where you own shares. Today, I'm focusing on direct ownership of real estate and what options you have. Whether you're a seasoned investor or a novice, there's never really a better time to begin long-term investing because the market always shifts.


Before setting off down this path, speak with your bank or a trusted mortgage broker. Rules for down payments on investment properties differ from if you're buying a principal residence. In Vancouver, a minimum 50% down payment is required to generate a break-even monthly cash flow. With property prices so high in the lower mainland, the idea of buying a property and generating cash flow is a challenging feat unless you have a sizeable down payment. The biggest question to consider is: if I buy this property today, do I need an immediate income stream or am I fine with a break-even or possibly a negative cash flow for the first few years? If you do generate a rental loss, this can be used as a tax write-off at year’s end.


In the current financial climate, a lot of real estate investors in the lower mainland are buying with the expectation that property values will continue to rise, and not for current cash flow. This mind-set makes them more “real estate speculators”. If you’ve bought property in the lower mainland over the past 15 years, you've most likely seen a sizeable increase in its market value. Speculators, for the most part, have done very well. It's all about timing. If you bought a property in Vancouver in mid \-2007 and then sold it when the market fell by 20% in 2008/2009, you may have taken a loss. Buying real estate with a longer time horizon is a safer bet, allowing you to ride any market downturns. Short term investing is a lot riskier.


Buying property in Vancouver right now will typically generate a 2-4% Cap Rate depending on a number of factors. Many investors say this return is too low considering the risks and aggravation of owning a rental property. Other investors are just fine with these returns as they’re more focused on the expectation of rising market values. In the end, it’s your perspective that matters and is a personal decision.


If real estate is an attractive addition to your investment portfolio, we’re always available to offer professional perspective and tailored advice to your needs. Contact us to schedule a personal consultation and let's see how, together, we can create wealth and passive income for you and your family.


Here’s to a healthy and prosperous Spring 2016!


Andrew & Jill Hasman


(Photo: Alex Costin)


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