Quick Tips

1.       Good Photos Make A Big Difference*

Properties listed using photos taken with digital single lens reflex (DSLR) cameras sell faster and for more money than those taken with amateur point & shoot cameras:

  • Sellers in the $400,000 to almost $500,000 range earned an average of $11,200 more with DSLR camera photos.
  • In the $400,000 range, DSLR photographed properties sold, on average, 21 days faster than point & shoot ones.

2.       What do the January real estate statistics tell us?**

  • It is still a Buyer’s Market
  • The market is showing early signs of shifting to a more balanced market with the number of active listings reducing and the number of sales increasing.

3.       What are we finding?

  • This time of year, when there is less competition, (fewer listings) is proving rewarding for sellers. In January, we sold 75% our listings above full price.
  • This is a great market for those considering moving up to a larger home or a better area. Interest rates are still low (& forecast to rise), selection is good (& is getting better each month now) and prices are down (so you may sell for less but buy for less also)
  • This is also a good market for investors looking for a well-located buy in good condition while low mortgage rates are allowing better returns. Some properties are providing positive cash flow with the added potential of capital appreciation.

*Study by Redfin

**Victoria Real Estate Board MLS statistics

Creeping Mortgage Rates

For those fortunate enough to have secured their mortgage financing when 5 year fixed, 25 year amortization rates were 2.74%, their payments are now just $1,380.04 per month for a $300,000 mortgage. That was several months ago now.


Rates have risen to 3.69% for the same type of mortgage: that payment is now up to $1,528.05. The extra $148.01 each month is all interest


Who knows where or when interest rates will rise to but the Federal Government has made it clear they intend to raise rates as soon as they are able.

For this who haven’t secured financing by the time rates rise the same amount as above, monthly payments for them will be $1,683.85….on the same mortgage amount! The additional $303.81 each month will be all interest!

If you have been thinking about making a real estate change that includes a larger mortgage:

  • we suggest you seek out the best mortgage broker
    • ask for mortgage financing pre-approval and
    • lock-in the best discounted mortgage interest rate while you shop for a property
    • then call us so we can set you up to receive the new listings that meet your search criteria, start showing you the best listings and chat about the best marketing strategy for your property.

If you’d like the name and contact information for one of Victoria’s best mortgage brokers, call or e-mail Kerry today.

This is a great time to make a move….waiting will be expensive.

Call Kerry Couvelier today to get started: 250-477-0921 or soldbykerry@shaw.ca

Fall Market

The selection of exciting value properties on the Greater Victoria real estate market is enticing many to make a real estate change.

First time buyers are finding fabulous modern condominiums in fun ‘lifestyle’ areas of the city.

Move up buyers are taking advantage of the current low interest rates to secure a larger, better located home and, in some cases, using a basement tenants’ rent to help pay down their mortgage. These new landlords are often finding their monthly payments are lower with the larger property because of the rent they now receive!

Seniors are downsizing and finding convenient one level townhouses, condominiums or apartments at prices that work well for their budgets and fixed incomes and provides them with surplus cash that gives peace of mind. No sense being house rich but cash poor: that can cause unnecessary stress.

The selection of properties for sale is fabulous right now. This is an excellent time to find a great property.

If you’d like to talk about your plans, the value of your property, the typical costs when you buy and sell, and what hot new listings might work well for you, call Rick Couvelier to arrange a confidential consultation. 250-477-0921.

Mortgage Rates Alert!

Royal Bank of Canada, the country’s largest mortgage lender, is raising its interest rates. Analysts say other banks are likely to follow.

A Buyer’s Solution

For those buyers looking to complete a purchase in the next 120 days, we recommend you investigate locking in the ‘best discounted’ mortgage interest rate with your mortgage broker as soon as possible. This benefit should come at no costs to you but you’ll need to confirm this.

If you need the names of some of Victoria’s best mortgage brokers, give us a call or send us an e-mail.

Forewarned is forearmed.

Rick & Kerry Couvelier





As is typical at this time of year, the number of MLS real estate sales continues to rise as we progress through spring.

For those who have been waiting until the sales activity improved and their yards are looking their best, now may be a good time to look at putting their property on the market.

For buyers, the selections of properties for sale is now the best its’ been all year.

We set our buyers up so they receive the newest listings by e-mail the moment they are listed. Call if you’d like to be set up to receive these new listings.

This is a great market!

This is a great market for young families who want to ‘move up’. With historically low mortgage interest rates, they can finance their larger mortgage, find a larger home in good condition in a good school area for much less than if they had purchased 18 months ago. Waiting may cost them more when interest rates are higher.

This is also a great market for seniors who feel they are ‘house rich but cash poor’ and want to either cash out and rent or downsize to a smaller property and have some surplus cash left over to make life a bit easier.

 Every Penny Counts

We know you need every cent you can get from your existing property. Our proven marketing and negotiating program is enabling us to sell most of our listings at or above the List Prices our clients choose. Imagine full price or more in this market!

No other Realtor® in Victoria is achieving our Couvelier results! *

If you’d like to arrange a confidential appointment with Rick Couvelier to discuss your plans, call 250-477-0921 or e-mail Rick at rick@couvelier.com

 *VREB MLS Residential Sales statistics for 2013

Condo and townhouse buyers need expert help!

Strata management and maintenance in BC is about to improve

In the meantime, buyer due diligence will be more challenging

By December 13, 2013 every strata condominium and townhouse complex of 5 units or more must either obtain a Depreciation Report or pass a ¾ vote to defer obtaining the report.

Depreciation reports are used to establish long term planning for common property and common assets to determine:

1) What assets a complex owns ( an inventory )
2) The asset condition ( evaluation )
3) When things need to be replaced ( the anticipated maintenance, repair and replacement )
4) How much money a complex currently has (contingency reserve report )
5) What it is likely to cost for future replacement (a description of the factors and assumptions in projecting costs)
6) How a complex is going to pay for the costs ( the cash flow models projecting 30 year replacement periods )

Depreciation Reports will not only make it easier for stratas to maintain their properties and investment values but will also make it easier for buyers to ascertain how well maintained and funded stratas are and how likely future Special Levies/Assessments or strata fee increases will be.

In many complexes, monthly strata fees will increase.

Stratas will need professional input to carefully plan how to fund their Depreciation Report findings without damaging values by imposing exorbitant monthly fees or large future Special Levies

While we help house buyers and sellers too, a large part of our real estate practice is helping buyers investigate and purchase good condominium and townhouse properties.

If you are thinking about a strata purchase this year, call to arrange a confidential, no-obligation meeting with Rick Couvelier.

For those wishing to sell a strata property, we are considered experts at that also.

Rick Couvelier

Pemberton Holmes Ltd.
#150-805 Cloverdale Ave
Victoria, B.C.
V8X 2S9

The Carpenter Ants have returned!

Now that the hot weather has arrived, Victoria’s carpenter ants are active again.

Inspect and protect!

They are large ants, 6-12 mm long (3/8-1/2 inch); the flying queen ants may be nearly 2 cm long (7/8 inch). For brief periods in the spring and early summer the winged ants swarm into the air on mating flights. The queens are easy to see as they settle, shed their wings and search for decaying wood to begin their nest. Very few of them will find an ideal site, which is usually outdoors. Their presence does not mean that your house is infested. Carpenter ants are actually beneficial predators that feed on small insects, honeydew and dead and decaying material.

Carpenter ants make two types of nests. If the queen finds moist, decaying wood, she tunnels into it to begin the main nest. This site must be permanently moist or the eggs and younger larvae cannot survive. Old nests can contain thousands of ants, but it takes several years for a new nest to build up to a few hundred individuals. Main nests are usually outdoors in rotting stumps, trees or in decaying landscape timbers. They can become established in houses where wood in the structure has begun to decay. Although carpenter ants do not eat wood, they do tunnel into it to make their galleries. Once they establish a nest in damp wood they will eventually damage the structure by tunnelling from the decaying wood into the sound wood. Carpenter ants also make satellite nests where they care for the older larvae and pupae that tolerate drier conditions. These nests are often in wall voids and eaves, ceilings or under insulation in attics or crawl spaces. Most nests in houses are satellite nests that maintain communication with the main nest.


The best protection is to maintain dry conditions with proper construction and maintenance, remember that anywhere wood is in contact with soil there is a risk of carpenter ant infestation.

  • Repair wood damaged by moisture, ventilate damp areas, clean gutters to avoid clogging, which leads to water damage to siding or roof.
  • Store firewood on raised platforms, well away from the house.
  • Prune trees so branches don’t touch the house.
  • Remove all nearby rotted stumps or logs. Check for rotting landscaping wood.
  • Ensure that wood of the siding or structure isn’t in contact with soil at any point around the house foundation.


The key to control is finding the main nest, where the queen is laying eggs. This requires thorough inspections and an effort to follow foraging ants back to their nest. If you see ants inside your house in an evening, it is worth hiring  professional to investigate for a nest inside your  house. While you can inspect and treat on your own, some chemicals can be harmful and my experience is that if the queen sees the effects of your treatment, she may relocate her nest. You see dead ants and think you killed them all….without realizing the rest have relocated

Carpenter ants use the same trails over and over and are most active at night.

Professionals will look for signs of nesting activity, such as mounds of loose shavings or sawdust beneath a crack in a wall or eave space. Sometimes you can hear rustling sounds in the walls (use an inverted glass or rolled up paper tube to amplify the noise).

Choose a service that will conduct a thorough inspection for the main nests and that is willing to discuss with you, in detail, the various treatments. To prevent the problem from recurring after treatment, replace or repair any damaged timbers and correct moisture problems.

If your treatment professionals offer a warranty it may make sense to have them back again for an inspection before the warranty expires

(Source for most of this article: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/epd/ipmp/publications/brochures/carp_ants.htm)

Staging: What is it and why is it so important?


Research shows that well-staged homes sell approximately 32% faster than non-staged homes AND they sell for approximately 3 to 10% more.
As a seller, you have a few different options. You can hire a professional home stager or stage your home yourself.

In addition to her many other qualifications, Kerry Couvelier has her Staging Certification. As part of our extended service, we offer our listing clients a FREE 1 hour consultation with Kerry to help get their property in ‘show’ condition.
This consultation typically takes place after your initial listing meeting with Rick where you will discuss:

  • Current market trends;
  • Recommended cheap & easy fixes;
  • The market value range of your property, and;
  • The best time to bring your property to the market

To discuss getting your property ready to sell, call or e-mail Rick Couvelier at: