With Spring Break and Summer vacation in sight, you might be dreaming of escape to other climates. While your Vancouver home is where your heart is, vacation is a good way to rest and recharge so you can tackle that To Do List with a fresh, clear mind. Whether it’s prepping your Eastside house or Westside condo for the spring real estate market, or unpacking those last few boxes into your new home; a little holiday could be just the thing. But first, choosing the right destination can make or break your next family vacation.

How to Choose the Right Resort for All-Ages

It might not even be a resort! Be it a campground, all-inclusive, or Air BnB, choose your vacation ‘home’ carefully. It’s not just you (and your partner) anymore! Paying that little extra for a 1- or 2-bedroom suite so you and the kids --or grandparents!-- have your own sleeping areas is well worth the money to ensure everyone is well-rested for the days ahead. Whether you’ve got children, teens, or seniors along, researching ahead of time what amenities your hotel has for those age groups or are in the vicinity will save you wasting precious vacation time later.

Use the big sites like,, and as a jumping off point, then visit the hotel’s website directly for room options, availability, and amenity details.

Keep Your Options Open

If an all-inclusive sounds like heaven to you, keep in mind that you’ll want to keep your options open. While it’s fine to simply sit by the pool day in-and-out, the others in your group might not feel the same. There’s plenty of fun to be had beyond the hotel wall: do a little leg-work on what’s available for sightseeing around the property. Most destinations have kid-friendly parks, and make sure there’s something for adults, too! Choosing a vacation that’s solely for one age-group won’t be much fun for everyone.

Direct Is Best

Choosing your perfect family vacation spot can be as simple as picking one with a direct flight. Long travel days wear on everyone; little ones to unaccustomed adults alike. Also, by choosing a home-away-from-home that’s central to all the things you want to do, you’ll save on the hassle of transporting multiple people--and the possibility of meltdowns. Keeping your expectations low and daily To See list short are also key.

#1 Way to Ensure Family Vacation Bliss

BE FLEXIBLE. Over the years as airport and border security have tightened with more stringent rules and international destinations come with a whole new set of tricky obstacles to maneuver, it’s become key to plan ahead. However, unexpected things will crop up. Also, take into account traveling with more people automatically means things will take more time and it’s important to keep that in mind. Sometimes, it’s best to just go with the flow, keep your cool, and everyone will have a better time for it! Remember the cardinal rule of travel: it’s supposed to be fun.

Let us know your favourite family vacation destinations in the comments below! 

Forget Canada Day and the 4th of July; if there’s one National ‘holiday’ that’s gone international, it’s St. Patrick’s Day! Despite its Irish Catholic origins, the deeper meaning behind March 17th festivities has given way to a reason to let loose and party like the Irish. So in celebration of all things Celtic, here’s a list of the Top 5 things to do around Vancouver for St. Patrick’s Day.

Pick a Pub

Vancouver isn’t short on good watering holes, and when it comes to Irish pubs, we have a few of the best on the West Coast. So in keeping with tradition, raise a pint to St. Patty at one of these fine establishments:

Doolin’s Irish Pub (654 Nelson St) features live music.

The Irish Heather (210 Carrall St) is a Gastown landmark and also has a Whiskey bar

Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub (1601 Main St) will have an all-day St. Patty’s day party with live music and Irish dancers

Mahony & Sons Pub for a good Irish time, choose from its 3 locations.

St. Patrick’s Day Eve Party + Festival at The Blarney Stone

Just like their poster promises, be the first person at The Blarney Stone for the big day by spending St. Patrick’s Day Eve partying with live music and a balloon drop at midnight. Then, join their St. Patrick’s Day Festival from 9am - 3am, March 17th. The Blarney Stone will be serving up fun for the whole family. Live music, face painters, entertainment and Irish inspired food.

Catch a Play for St. Paddy’s Day

For something a little different, forgo the drinks in favour of entertaining stage plays--with an Irish twist. Catch the darkly comic Almost a Stepmom at the Havana Theater and Belfast Girls at the Cultch as part of Celtic Fest.

CelticFest 2017

This annual tradition brings East and West Vancouver together with various celebrations going on around town. From pub crawls to plays, and a Celtic Village in Robson Square Friday the 17th - Saturday the 18th, check the official CelticFest website for a complete schedule of the 9-day event and to get your tickets.

St. Patrick’s Day 5K

It’s not too late to sign up for the BMO St. Patrick’s Day 5K Saturday, March 18th. Save your drinking plans for a toast post-race and feel good about those extra pints you plan to have!

Cheers! Or as the Irish say, Slainté!


It seems winter just doesn’t want to quit this year! As the colder weather persists in Vancouver, so does the drain on your wallet as we use more electricity to heat our homes. Looking for ways to offset your climbing heating bills?

If you’re thinking of listing your Vancouver house for sale, then we’ve rounded up our top tips to curb your electricity usage and prevent you from pouring more money into it while you wait to sell.


Window + Door Coverings

Keep window coverings closed to avoid heat-loss through windows. Conversely, when the sun decides to arrive for the season, this will keep indoor temperatures regulated and reduce your need for an air conditioner! Storm doors will do the same for doors.

Invest in a little weather-stripping, or a lot in proper insulation. Both will help prevent heat-loss and high energy bills.


Consider replacing your bulbs with LEDs, which use approximately 90% less energy than incandescents. Don’t forget, nightlights count! The high cost of LED lightbulbs can be a deterrent, but long-term they will save you money. Another trick is to install dimmer switches. That way, you’ll only use the amount of light you need.

Your Fridge + Freezer

Stock your fridge and freezer well; food acts as insulation so your refrigerator doesn’t have to work so hard. Also, only store covered food and dishes that have already cooled off so your fridge doesn’t have to do double-duty.

Those Other Appliance Drains

You know all those TVs and accessories, kitchen appliances and computers that glow with the time and other settings? They’re draining your electricity. Consider plugging them into a power strip, then switch it off between uses.

Other ways to stop the drain is to turn off the “Heated Dry” on your dishwasher, only do dish and laundry loads when you have a full load, and always wash laundry on cold. Also, check when your off-peak hours are and only run appliances then for cheaper electric rates.

Hot Water Tanks

Insulate it well and drain it twice per year of sediment to keep it running at top efficiency. If you install a water heater timer so the tank only runs when you need it most, you have the opportunity to see a 5 - 12% reduction in your hot water heater’s energy costs.

If you’ve just bought your dream house on Vancouver’s Westside or are calling the East Side home now, these money-saving tactics will also help you ease into homeowner bliss!


Why save all the hearts and flowers for just one day? Tell whomever you love that you do--and often. Love is what makes a house a home, after all! But if you’re keen to celebrate this February 14th and recently buy a house in Vancouver, we’ve compiled a list for those of you new to the Mt. Pleasant neighbourhood where to splurge on your favourite person (and yourself!).

Vancouver Harbour Cruise for Two

Cruise the harbour for a three-hour dinner and dance. Featuring a live DJ, cash bar and complimentary glass of champagne, Spirit Cruises’ annual Vancouver Valentine’s Day Cruise is a memorable way to spend the most romantic day of the year, gliding along the water with the twinkling city lights as a backdrop. Ship off at 6:30 on Valentine’s, get your tickets here.

Indulge in Vancouver’s Annual Hot Chocolate Festival

Toast to the day of love and friendship with a steaming mug of cocoa, devised by some of Vancouver’s best chefs especially for the Hot Chocolate Festival. February 14th marks the last day of this annual event; a must-do on the list for new residents. Indulge at Mt. Pleasant institution French Made Baking, then download the free walking map to check out the rest of the best.

Valentine’s for One at the Last Crumb Bakery

Get cozy at the Last Crumb Bakery. Nostalgic baked goods and savoury treats await at this Mt. Pleasant cafe, and everything is made fresh and in small batches with no preservatives. So you can feel good about eating out for 1, because you are your best first love! Treat yourself well.

Romantic Dinner for Two at Burdock and Co. in Mt. Pleasant

Enjoy an elegant, candle-lit dinner for two at one of Mt. Pleasant’s most delicious restaurants. A celebration of what makes the Canadian Pacific Northwest so special, Burdock and Co. offers up an artisanal feast of natural West Coast flavours, craft beers and local wines.

Where’s your favourite local spot to celebrate Valentine’s? Share with us on Facebook!


As Vancouver residents deal with one of the snowiest winters in decades, we’ve collected our favourite tips to keep your East Vancouver real estate protected from the unexpected wintery onslaught.

Shovel Early and Often

This is your #1 best bet to keeping your walkways, driveway, drains and landscaping safe and skid-free. As snow compacts, you’ll be facing ice that needs taking care of as well as slushy times ahead.


Slow Down It’s Slippery Out There!

Beware of slush! Whether you’re walking or driving around Mt. Pleasant and beyond, it has the potential to freeze so keep your front walk area free of this hazardous winter by-product. Same goes for Black Ice; this invisible peril is the result of snow melting as temperatures rise, then rapidly drop especially in shaded areas and as the sun goes down. Be aware, and go slow!

Clearing Snow Will Save your Cement

While the City of Vancouver is doing it’s best to clear roads and walkways, doing your part to keep your corner of the neighbourhood relatively snow-free is beneficial to everyone. Not only will you avoid a possible fine, but keeping walkways in front of your home and driveways clear will save the cement they’re made from. Ice can get into fine cracks and as it expands and melts, create craters in the material which will have to be filled in the Spring. So grab a shovel and enjoy the fresh air!

Salt Vs. Sand

Rock Salt lowers the freezing point of water and is traditionally used to keep snow from turning into ice. This mineral form of table salt is a relatively inexpensive and easy-to-get option. However, the salt residue can be harmful to your grass and shrubbery that line the drive and walkways. It can also eat away at concrete and steel over time, which isn’t good news in the long run for your driveway.

Sand on the other hand provides traction at any temperature without physically melting the ice. So if it gets buried by more snow, you’ll have to reapply this option more frequently. Be mindful when shoveling as the sand can clog drains which will be a problem later in the spring rainy season. Sandbox sand is your best bet for size of grain and availability.

Icicles and Ice Dams

Icicles may look lovely, but these frozen daggers pose a serious threat of injury as well as harm to your home. As it gets warmer out, they’ll start to melt and potentially break off; puncturing anything beneath them. They can also create ice dams which could lead to meltwater getting inside your home if there are any air leaks or inadequate insulation.

Share your best snow and ice coping methods with us on Facebook and from your Vancouver real estate experts: Be safe out there!


Dine Out Vancouver 2017

Besides the beautiful scenery, happening cultural scene and healthy lifestyle that makes our city so covetable, annual traditions like Dine Out Vancouver January 20th - February 5th is what makes Vancouver real estate so hot. We love this particular tradition that allows us to taste and savour some of the best cuisine the Lower Mainland has to offer, for all budgets and palates. Did you recently buy a home in Mt. Pleasant? You’re in for a treat: here’s our favourite Dine Out options right on your doorstep.

Vegetarian Restaurant Acorn’s Fresh Offering For Dine Out Vancouver

One of Scout Magazine’s Top 25 Restaurants of 2016, award-winning Acorn offers up seasonal vegetarian plates and cocktails in a fashionable atmosphere. Check out their special Dine Out menu here, and don’t forget to book ahead! Space is limited, but the service makes up for it. 3995 Main St.

Grab a Pint and Dine Out at the Historic Steel Toad Brew Pub

Limited seating is never an option at the Steel Toad Brew Pub & Dining Hall. The 200 seat pub and adjacent 75 seat restaurant beside the Olympic Village may be large, but this converted steel fabricating plant isn’t short on fresh pints, good food, and pleasant staff. Book now for your hearty Dine Out experience. 97 East 2nd Ave.

Chicha Serves Up Peruvian Fare with Flair

Small share plates and a casual modern ambiance epitomize the creative flavours inspired by Peruvian culture at Chicha. Named after the popular purple corn, spices, pineapple and citrus Peruvian drink, the Chicha Morado, Chicha is the quintessential Date Night place, sure to become your go-to place for good eats in a fun atmosphere. Their Dine Out menu does not disappoint. 136 East Broadway.

Exotic Flavours from the Far East Spice Up Date Night

East is East, Chai Lounge captures the vibrant energy of the ancient Silk Road and its colourful eateries (dhabba’s) and vendors. The East side’s locale of this Vancouver institution’s extensive Dine Out menu of diverse flavours including gluten-free and vegetarian options. 4433 Main St.

For more Mt. Pleasant restaurants participating in Dine Out Vancouver, see their official site. Enticed to check out the neighbourhood? As your east side realty experts, we’re always available for a consultation.


We all do it. Every year, the clock strikes midnight on December 31st and we’re flooded with hope: this year will be different, better. This year, you’ll be able to buy that dream home despite Vancouver’s resilient real estate market. Perhaps you already own a condo and want to upgrade to a detached house, or purchase an investment property to add to your portfolio. Whatever your real estate goals, there are a few ways you can make your financial resolutions stick for 2017.

Make A Budget

Tried and true, the oldest way is the best way. Tedious, yes, but your best chances at succeeding at your financial goals is to create monthly budget, and stick to it. And what’s the best way of doing that? Paying in cash. In our digital age it’s far too simple to spend too much money; online, via plastic, it’s almost like it’s not real. Designate your cash allotments and it’ll be much easier to keep track, and harder to part with, your hard-earned cash.

Put It In Writing

Making a plan is great, putting it on paper for constant reference is a proven way to succeed at achieving your goals. Create a list of financial resolutions--be as detailed as possible--and post it somewhere that you can’t miss. Include deadlines, as well. Even if they’re self-imposed, the idea that there is outward pressure can have a positive impact.

Be Accountable

Get your spouse or partner involved for accountability; finances can be a tricky conversation, but worth it to be on the same page if you’re saving for something like a down payment together. Telling someone else your plan to financial stability puts it on you to follow through on your goals.

Start Small

Create momentum by doing what you can, as soon as you can. Don’t wait for that elusive, “perfect day” to start a Tax Free Savings Account or RRSP. No matter how small, watching it build will be incentive enough to continue. Along those lines is another goody: keep it short and simple. Sure, it’s always good to visualize big, broad dreams like owning a home or additional investment property. But break it down; start by opening a special savings account. Then, lay out new steps at the start of each month, and before you know it, that big goal will be achieved.

Leave It To The Professionals

If navigating the Vancouver real estate market is on your list of resolutions, as always we recommend consulting with an honest, dependable realtor to ensure your financial stake from the sale or purchase of property goes smoothly, and happens at the greatest benefit to you.

As one of Vancouver Westside’s top realtors, we’re always happy to sit down for a consultation; Contact us today. Wishing you all a very happy and successful New Year!


The changing Metro Vancouver real estate market dynamics that started to see a decline in homes sales earlier this fall continued last month. Less homes were listed, and fewer sales were made, resulting in a 38.8% decrease from 3,646 sales in October 2015 to 2,233 in October 2016. It’s also a marginal 0.9% decrease from September 2016. Overall, October sales were 15% below the 10-year average for the month.


“Changing market conditions compounded by a series of government interventions this year have put home buyers and sellers in a holding pattern,” Dan Morrison, Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) president said. “Potential buyers and sellers are taking a wait-and-see approach to try and better understand what these changes mean for them.”

Morrison went into further detail by stating the detached market has seen the largest reduction in homebuyer demand. He concluded with the tip: “It’s important to work with your local REALTOR® to help you navigate today’s changing trends.”

October Real Estate Market Stats:

New Listings (detached, attached, and apartment): 3,981
3.5% decrease from October 2015
17% decrease from September 2016
9.5% below 10-year average for October

Total Active listings on MLS®: 9,143
4.5% decrease from October 2015
2.3% decrease from September 2016

Sales-to-Active-Listings ratio: 24.4%

Benchmark price for all residential properties: $919,300
24.8% increase from October 2015
0.8% decrease from September 2016

Benchmark price for a detached property is $1,545,800
28.9% increase from October 2015
1.4% increase from September 2016

Detached property sales totaled 652
54.6% decrease from October 2015

Benchmark price for an apartment property is $512,300
20.5% increase from October 2015
0.3% increase from September 2016

Apartment property sales totaled 1,178
23.7% decrease from October 2015

Benchmark price for an attached unit is $669,200
25.7% increase from October 2015
1.1% decrease from September 2016

Attached property sales totaled 403
39.5% decrease from October 2015

For a complete comparison, Want to sell, buy, or require a consultation? Contact me today.

Correction notice:

Altus Group, provider of the national MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI), miscalculated in their September 2016 reporting which resulted in variances of between 0.1% and 5% in the benchmark prices the REBGV released last month. Click here for the updated report.

*REBGV Editor’s Note:  Areas covered by Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver include: Whistler, Sunshine Coast, Squamish, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond, Port Moody, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, New Westminster, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, and South Delta.


While a lot of speculation still looms around the proposed Vacancy Tax that Vancouver’s Mayor Gregor Robertson first pitched back in the Spring, the goal is clear: open new rental spaces. Hand-in-hand with the recent Foreign Buyer Tax, the proposed Vacancy Tax aims to make Vancouver a more feasible place to live again. Affordable? Not so much.

The Details

Current Vancouver homeowners and future home buyers should be aware that the tax could be up to 2% of the property’s assessed value; a measure hoped to encourage speculators to rent out instead of leaving a home empty. Based on a recent BC Hydro study (with addresses blacked-out for privacy), there are 10,800 homes and condos in the Metro Vancouver area that are sitting empty. The flip side of that is our city’s vacancy rate of less than half a percentage point. Could this new tax help the rental market? Time will tell.


It is still unclear how the city will proceed with enforcing the tax, other than on good faith. Robertson has cited random audits and complaints to catch tax evaders, while others contest how this will affect privacy issues and the sense of community in Vancouver when everyone is expected to keep an eye on their neighbour’s whereabouts--and how long they’re home for.

What If You’re Away?

Homeowners whose Vancouver properties are not their primary residence and short-term rentals such as AirBNB may fall into the realm of taxation. Reasonable occupancy is still to be determined, and Robertson claims he will ask for public feedback before implementing rules surrounding secondary residences and vacation homes.

Counter Propositions

Regional mayors suggested a non-resident tax in lieu of Robertson’s proposal, but it appears this measure is on hold for the time being. Robertson himself has also proposed a new municipal business tax on investment properties as a way to bypass provincial government authority. Enforcement issues are key in the success of either of these programs, and have yet to shown without being at great cost to the city.

The bottom line: whichever direction the new tax takes, housing prices are unlikely to drop as a result. As real estate professor Tsur Somerville from UBC’s Sauder School of Business states, “It’s a good first step that would help renters, but ultimately, it is not going to make Vancouver more affordable.”

What are your thoughts on the proposed vacancy tax? Share with us on Facebook!

Photo: John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail


Getting your house ready to list doesn’t have to be a daunting experience. A few simple things can go a long way to making it more desirable to potential Vancouver home buyers--and getting you top dollar on the sale!


We know this #1 tip sounds self-serving, but the rewards to home sellers is unbeatable. Hiring Vancouver’s top realtor ensures you have someone who will champion your best interests throughout the process. An informed real estate agent will keep on top of MLS, know your home’s comparables, and embrace technology to get your house sold. They’ll also help you to:

Price It Right

A good realtor will help you determine where your house fits into the Vancouver real estate market, and help you price it accordingly. Consider pricing it a little lower than what it’s worth, and you’ll encourage a multiple-offer situation which often means home sellers walk away with a selling price over asking!

Make A Good First Impression

We live in a digital age, so when your potential buyers are searching for a new home, chances are online is the first place they’ll see it. This means that taking high quality pictures [no cell phones allowed!] or having professional photos of your place done is worth it.

Stage Your Home

Don’t underestimate the power of simplicity. Light it up! Proper lighting, no burnt-out lightbulbs, and even the occasional candle illuminate the possibilities for walk-through buyers. Adding spa scents to bathrooms and fresh flowers does a lot for the ambience as well. Half-empty closets will give the illusion of spacious storage, while areas under the sinks and in cupboards should be tidied because let’s face it, buyers are snoopers! Lastly, taking the ‘home out of the house’ will depersonalize the space so your buyers can imagine it as theirs from the moment they walk in.

Make Quick Fixes

Quickies are the best way to maximize the pay-off. Don’t expect to put exhaustive time and money into a makeover, because chances are you won’t get your money back. If you have to choose between projects, focus your energy and funds on the kitchen. Make sure this is a place you’d want to enjoy a meal in! Even a quick spruce-up of the laundry area/room, a fresh coat of paint, and clean clear shower curtains in the bathroom to give the illusion of more space are just a few of the ways to accomplish satisfying first impressions.  

Inspect Your Home

Consider getting your home inspected or the status certificate on your condo prior to listing. This can save unforeseen issues cropping up during the negotiation stage with your potential buyers, ensuring you get the most money from the sale.

These are just a few of the ways you can prep your home for a successful run on the Vancouver market. We are always available for a consultation as well!

Reciprocity Logo The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Greater Vancouver REALTORS® (GVR), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the GVR, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the GVR, the FVREB or the CADREB.