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Westhill Consulting British Colombia, Hong Kong, Jakarta, USA - House Hunting This Spring? 5 Tips From Real Estate Experts Across The Country

Spring and all its glory is right around the corner—just take a look at the signs all around you.

No, we’re not talking about the budding flowers or the chirping birds—we’re referring to those “For Sale” signs that start popping up on lawns across the country as the weather starts heating up.

And once the home-buying season commences … so do the bidding wars and mad dashes from one open house to another.

Since the housing market can be a tricky one to suss out, we asked agents across the country to give us their assessments for this season’s real estate landscape.

Their overarching observation? This will be a competitive home-buying season—so if you snooze, you may lose out on that four-bedroom colonial you’ve been eyeing.

“The major pitfall is lack of preparation,” says David Yocum, a Redfin real estate agent based in Chicago. “The [housing] recovery appears slow due to a lack of inventory and a low participation rate among first-time buyers, but it’s still a competitive seller’s market.”

This is the following tips for Spring House-Hunting:

Spring House-Hunting Tip #1: Close That Laptop—and Canvass Old-Fashioned Open Houses

These days, using real estate sites to explore your options is par for the course: 90% of people search for listings online during their home-buying process.

Kicking off your search online is a good move, but don’t dawdle too long behind the computer screen—inventory is expected to be tight in many major markets, so you literally want to hit the ground running.

“In our market we hope for a burst of new inventory in the spring, but that doesn’t always happen,” says Richard Seaton, vice president at TTR Sotheby’s International Realty in the Washington, D.C., area. “Even if that burst comes, demand will outstrip supply, so buyers have to be in a position to make a decision quickly.”

Spring House-Hunting Tip #2: Educate Yourself on Market Values and Trends

“Buyers need to get up to speed quickly on market values so they know the right decision when it presents itself,” Yocum says. “The more quickly buyers can educate themselves, the more successful the home search will be.”

This, of course, is where it’s really all about location, location, location. According to the Case-Shiller 2014 home price index, San Francisco saw the largest annual regional gain at 9.3%, while other major markets—like New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C.—saw less than 2%.

Spring House-Hunting Tip #3: Nab Low Mortgage Rates—Now

Another reason not to dawdle too long? You want to take advantage of low interest rates while they last.

“Mortgage rates are still historically low, allowing buyers to wrap up the most house their money will afford them at payment levels that should be affordable for decades,” Yocum says.

In fact, interest rates are so low that, in many markets, monthly mortgage payments are less than rent, adds Seaton. “Most predictions are that the fabulously low interest rates will stay that way through the spring, and that the variety of loan packages available to buyers will continue to multiply,” he adds.

Spring House-Hunting Tip #4: Build Your Home-Buying Dream Team Before You Bid

If spring-cleaning season has you in a hyper-organized mood, channel some of that spirit into your house hunting—in order to be a serious frontrunner in a bidding war, you’ll need to have all of your ducks in a row.

So not only will you need a savvy real estate agent, but you’ll also want your lender, inspector and attorney at the ready so you can act fast, says Yocum.

Spring House-Hunting Tip #5: Keep Sweeten-the-Deal Moves in Mind

So you’ve finally found that dream Tudor on a half-acre—but you’re stuck in a bidding war with another equally prepared buyer. How do you win by a nose?

For one, include an escalation clause, along with your offer, suggests Seaton. This is an amount that you’d automatically be willing to pay above a competing bid.

For example, let’s say you add an escalation clause of $3,000 to your bid of $200,000. If a second offer comes in at $205,000, your bid would get bumped to $208,000. If you’re in a hot market, a significant escalation factor could really pique seller interest, Seaton adds.

More related info? Westhills Consulting ( ) will here for you. Westhills offers a wide variety of innovative housing styles and options. Whether you’re looking for a 3, 4 or 5 bedroom home with or without a suite, a townhome or our new and innovative small footprint home, you’ll find it at Westhills ( ). Follow us on Twitter @ for more updates.

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There is a lot of talk about “going green,” global warming, ice caps melting and rising sea levels. At the same time we are investing millions, if not billions, of dollars to improve and widen roads and bridges so we can accommodate even more vehicles.

Aren’t vehicles the very things that contribute to the above-mentioned problems?

Instead we should be investing in modes of transportation that are green — like trains. Here on Vancouver Island we have the fantastic opportunity to bring a railway back to life that has been neglected for decades. The infrastructure is already in place (like tracks, bridges, crossings and stations). I know it needs upgrading and it will cost quite a bit of money, but it will be money well spent.
It’s almost certain that the cost of energy is going up over the coming years, and owning a vehicle will get more expensive. An improved train system would be good for commuting, tourism and business. Anyone in doubt should drive to Victoria in the morning and experience the “Colwood Crawl.” Then try to imagine what it will be like in 10 years.

Let’s look into the future and support this train before it’s too late.

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The Westhills lands encompass 209 hectares (517 acres) of rolling sloped lands, knolls, and rocky outcroppings and are located in the City of Langford. Originally comprised of two large parcels, the properties were held for decades by two local families. In 2006, the owners of the westernmost lands formed the Westhills Land Corporation (WLC) to develop the site. Westhills subsequently acquired the second parcel, which was already zoned for residential development and a lakeside pub.

By adapting these strategies to meet the unique requirements of the Westhills site, the developers have created a warm and welcoming community that honours their foundation principles of sustainability, affordability, design excellence and quality construction.


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Westhill Consulting British Colombia BC Day Celebration

The Westhills BC Day Celebration has passed us by and what a celebration it was! With well over 3, 500 people attend and at one point over 800 children on the field playing and running about, we welcomed a number of musical talents to the Westhills stage over the course of several hours.

The well-organized event brought out friends and family, as well as neighbours throughout Westhills and the surrounding community, to listen to live and local musicians, while the kids had a safe, fun place to play. It was a fantastic atmosphere as everyone enjoyed the afternoon.

This particular event has identified support from the local community for an alternative venue and opportunity for live music, right here in Langford! Clearly, from the number of families that attended this year’s event, it was an appreciated convenience to have a family-friendly, FREE event that was close to home for those that live in the West Shore.

In reflecting on the day, this event could not have taken place without the support of the City of Langford and many local businesses that contributed resources. Volunteers, musicians, artists and artisans, as well as those that attended the Westhills BC Day Celebration had a blast! You’ll have to look forward to next year’s event, as it promises to be just as fun as this year!

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Westhill Consulting British Colombia Fall Landscaping Maintenance

After the pleasant busyness of the late-summer and early-autumn harvesting crunch, and before the winter rains truly set in, youll enjoy a window of fine weather and working conditions to do a little garden and landscape maintenance. Part of the joy of the season on Vancouver Island is its calm, its meditative quality—the unhurried preparation for shortening days, cooler temperatures, maritime rains, all on the heels of heat and produce bounties.

First off, clean up your spread. Remove the above ground husks of any perennials that have browned and died back, and gather ground litter like dried leaves and twigs. Such detritus—as well as big weed patches and discarded equipment—is excellent for cultivating slugs, which you most certainly don't want in your garden beds. On the subject of slugs, autumn is a great time to apply some anti-slug defenses such as beer traps. Baiting out slugs in early autumn, before they've laid eggs, can save you much hassle later on—and doing another round of bait later on in the season can target the hatchlings you missed. Westhill Consulting British Colombia

Nows a good time to transplant, because plants you get in the soil in autumn have time to adjust to the ambient conditions and develop root systems ahead of next summer water stresses. You should also get spring bulbs like tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths into the ground now. You can prune back most hardy species this time of year as well.

If your a garlic fan—and few aren't given the plant's impressive culinary, homeopathic, and ornamental properties—mid-to late fall is an excellent time to get some cloves in the ground. In our climate—and, really, most temperate climates, save for those with truly severe winters—bulb development seems to proceed best by overwintering. The plants are thus exposed to stimulating cold and are ready all the earlier to produce stalks and leaves in late winter and early spring. Place the cloves upright—that is, in the vertical position they were in the bulb—with their tips a couple of inches below the surface.

Perhaps you've planted garlic and other vegetables to be overwintered—kale, lettuce, carrots, and the like—this fall. Buffer the fluffed-out and amended soil they're now nestled in against the pelting winter rains with a mulch of some kind. Dried leaves, straw, and even cardboard are examples. If using organic material as your mulch, try to make sure it's free of weed seeds; otherwise, you may be causing as much trouble as your saving.

Speaking of weeds, a proper layer of mulch will help smother some of the next generation. To make your life easier, be sure to conduct a thorough weeding in the autumn to knock back as much as you can those species that may lie dormant or, worse, flourish in the wintertime. Wedding can be an absolute chore, tough on the knees, the back, and the hands, but it's a necessary one, and your future spring and summer incarnation—the one readying all manner of edibles and ornamentals to go into the ground—will thank you for your autumn labours. If you simply can't attend as fully as you'd like to all corners of your property, at least make an effort to remove any remaining seed-heads (This can be as simple a process as swiftly clipping them off and hauling them away, without worrying about excavating the root system.) It isn't a perfect solution, but you will be making some kind of headway against those opportunistic non-desirables that—in between bouts of cursing and back spasms—we sometimes ruefully honor for their absolute tenacity.

If you've got irrigation installed, blow out your hoses to avoid freezing ruptures. Pressurized air can rid your system of residual water. Nows also a good time to do a general inspection of all of your landscaping infrastructure—fences, edging, raised beds, and the like—ahead of potentially damaging winter storms and the odd freeze.

So, get out there on these pleasant autumn days and get your hands dirty! Above all else, youll be communing with your garden and your larger yard during a special time of year and thus deeply perceiving the seasonal cycle.

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