I know I know, this may be just a little bit early, but I'm really getting excited for Christmas! Laughing


Christmas 2013


I thought i would give you some links for local events to get you into the Christmas spirit with me!


In Langley:



In Abbotsford:



In Chilliwack:



Wishing you a wonderful weekend ...


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Honey Stop The Car!



Large Open Concept with Classic Elegance at Garibaldi Lane. 9' Ceilings, gorgeous crown mouldings. Great size master bedroom with walk in closet 5 pc ensuite has a large spa like soaker tub with in floor radiant heat, spacious shower, kitchen features granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, great working space for the cook, not to mention large size great roon/living room has a stone surrond fireplace to enjoy on a cozy winters evening/day! Best Priced Unit for the size. Nothing to do just move in!


Call Today for Your Private Tour!


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DIY Christmas ...



Well, here it is already, Christmas is only one month away!  Some days it almost seems surreal how quickly time flies by!


I thought, in light of Christmas being that close, that I would share some crafty and cute DIY ideas with you today!


First of all, have you looked at Pinterest yet for ideas?  Pinterest is a wonderful place to gather useful, and often really fun, ideas from!


Here is one item from my PInterest board on Holiday Ideas:


Hot Chocolate Stir Sticks


Click this link to get a BUNCH of DIY Christmas ideas from Pinterest!


There are also some really great websites, like the DIY Network.  They have an amazing section on Christmas ideas!


I hope these are a good start for you in your DIY ideas for Christmas this year!!


Till next time ...


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Most December and early January buyers are serious about purchasing and likely facing some sort of deadline.


January is the biggest transfer month of the year and job transferee’s use the holidays to house hunt.


Many people want to buy before the end of the year for financial and tax reasons.  Investors usually want to close by year-end for tax purposes.


Homes show well when decorated for the holidays creating a sense of family and people are much more emotionally drawn to the house, emotion sells.


Many people take vacation around the holidays allowing more time to look for a home.


Remodelling, decorating, appliance installation and other services are more available and at less of a premium. Lenders aren’t as busy and can process mortgage loans faster.


Showings will be fewer and less intrusive, but more likely to be fruitful with motivated, qualified buyers.


Buyers are a bit more emotional during the holidays which can work positively in your favour.  Historically, there are FEWER homes for Buyers to choose from during the holidays, so those homes ON the market generally have less competition.


You can sell now, but specify a delayed closing or extend occupancy until January, if you so desire.


By selling now, you will have an opportunity to buy during the Spring, when MANY homes are on the market and price will then become more negotiable for you as the Buyer.


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From vancitybuzz.com:



REALTORS across the region are asking the public to round up their warm winter woollies for donation to help those in need in their communities.The REALTORS Care Blanket Drive – the longest-running and largest warm clothing and blanket drive in B.C. – starts Monday, Nov. 18 and will run until Nov. 25.


“This Blanket Drive started many years ago by helping the homeless in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Since then, even though this event has grown enormously, we’ve always kept the donations local,” says Tri-City REALTOR® and Blanket Drive volunteer P.A. (Doc) Livingston.


“Donors can be sure their donations of blankets and warm clothing will stay in their community and will be given directly to those who need them most by charities in the area.”


This annual eight-day event collects enough gently used blankets, sleeping bags, warm clothing and jackets, in addition to new socks and underwear, to help protect about 20,000 vulnerable people in our region from the cold, wet winter. Since 1995, the Blanket Drive has supported at least 200,000 people.


Of the 35 charities in the region that benefit from the REALTORS®\ Care Blanket Drive, NightShift Street Ministries in North Surrey is amongst those that receive a significant volume. Since 2004, it has received enough donations to help provide emergency warm clothing during the winter to the 100 clients it serves on average every night. MaryAnne Connor is NightShift’s founder and president.


“Your support helps us tremendously. We hand out the blankets, coats, gloves and new underwear and socks directly to our street family members from our mobile clothing truck. Extra clothing items that aren’t warm enough are distributed through our Sisters Thrift Boutique. Everything is accepted and greatly appreciated.”


Drop off your donations to any of the 100 plus participating real estate offices spread between Whistler and Hope. REALTORS collect the donations, separate clothing from blankets and deliver them to local charities.


To see a list of drop-off locations, charitable recipients and items most needed, go to:



www.twitter.com/FVREB or www.twitter.com/REBGV  (#RCBD)


Donations stay within the communities in which they are donated, or, if the volumes are too large, they go to charities in greatest need in neighbouring communities. Since 1995, the Blanket Drive has supported at least 200,000 people.


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Change is in the air!  I've made a WONDERFUL decision that is going to enable to serve YOU, my valued client, in a much better way!



I have decided to join with the amazing team of HomeLife Benchmark Realty in Walnut Grove where my clients can expect continued personal attention and expertise in both buying and selling property.



I can still be reached at michele@michelecartwright.com and 604-832-8229.  Nothing has changed, except the ability for me to serve YOU better!


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Realty Watch

Realty Watch is a community crime prevention program operating across the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada, from Whistler to Hope and every community in between.


Over 14,000 REALTORS® assist police as extra "eyes "in their communities.



For more information on Realty Watch please visit www.realtywatch.net.


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Lower Mainland real estate markets so far aren't keeping pace with this year's gains in the stock markets.


The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said its composite benchmark price for all residential properties was $600,700 in October – a 0.5 per cent drop from a year ago. Attached duplexes and townhomes were virtually unchanged, while detached houses were down 0.5 per cent year-over-year and apartments were down 0.9 per cent.


The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB), which includes Surrey, White Rock and North Delta, reported its benchmark detached house price was up 0.8 per cent to $546,900 from a year ago, while townhouses were down 0.5 per cent and apartments are down 2.2 per cent.


“What we’re witnessing is a return to a balanced residential market indicated by prices remaining unchanged or down slightly compared to a year ago," said FVREB president Ron Todson, who also cited stable inventory levels and the current two-month average wait for a home to sell.



The broad Canadian stock market index is up 10 per cent from one year ago, while the U.S. S&P 500 is closing in on a 30 per cent year-over-year gain.



Reposted from the abbynews.com.

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With Remembrance Day coming up I wanted to honour someone very important in my life, and that is my father.  Remembrance Day is significant, no matter, what, but it is always so special for me as my father was so involved in the Armed Forces when I was growing up.  He served our country well, along with so many many others.


I'm so proud of him and all of the things he accomplished during his time or service. 




Here is a picture of my father, Senator Gerry St. Germain.


Thank you dad, and all of you who have served our country so selflessly. 



We are all truly grateful.



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"The longer it (low interest rates) goes on, the more people can start to think this is normal and it's not normal; it's very, very far from normal." - Julie Dickson, OSFI Superintendent


At the very least, it gets a whole lot of people wondering, "What are normal interest rates?" If you ask many economists, "normal" is an overnight rate that's 2.00 percentage points higher than today.


If you ask a lender, "normal" may be the 20-year average of 5-year posted rates (i.e., 157 bps higher than today) or the 20-year average of prime rate (which is 207 bps higher than today).


If you ask the Bank of Canada, its answer is: "We can expect that short-term interest rates, as is normal, will be above inflation." Given that it tries to keep inflation near 2% long-term, a 2.50%-3.50% overnight rate seems plausible (we're at 1.00% today).


Someone could reasonably look at all this and conclude that rates may rise up to 2.00 percentage points from here.


Does that put us "very, very far" from normal? You can decide for yourself. But an equally valid question is:


How can one compare today's normal with the norm from 20 years ago?


Long-term economic growth has never been so low. Central bank inflation targeting has never been so diligent. Nor did we (20 years ago) have the modern Internet, widespread global outsourcing and free trade, energy independence and so many other anti-inflationary mechanisms.


As a result, one could argue that long-term inflation risk (the #1 threat to low mortgage rates) has permanently diminished vis-à-vis the 1970s, 80s and 90s.


Unquestionably, there will be inflationary spikes at some point. But long-term, the fundamentals support rates that are lower than their long-term averages.

So, while it's unquestionably good public policy to discourage complacency with low rates, the side effect is that it also encourages more people than necessary to lock into higher fixed rates.


If one assumes the following:

  • A well-qualified borrower
  • Deep discount rates (e.g. a Prime - 0.55% variable, a 2.89% 3-year fixed, etc.)
  • 200 basis points of rate increases spread over 2+ years
  • That the first Bank of Canada rate increase will occur late next year or early 2015

...then it's easy to make a mathematical case for a 2- to 3-year fixed instead of a 5-year fixed.


Even a 1-year fixed or variable could be appropriate for people with decent equity and a short amortization. (Ask a mortgage professional to analyze different term scenarios based on your personal circumstances).


In sum, we have to put the spectre of rate normalization into perspective. Some people completely discard the possibility of years of flat mortgage rates, or even eventual rate cuts. That's a mistake.


When planning a mortgage strategy, all scenarios must be considered and weighted appropriately based on your risk tolerance. We must allow for things like the possibility that rates won't increase in 2014. Bank of America Merrill Lynch, for one, pegs the first Bank of Canada hike in 2016. If you simulated that scenario, 5- to 10-year fixed mortgages would get roundly trounced by most short-term rate strategies.


Experts have been warning for years now that rates are well below "normal." If it turns out that rates are not so far from normal as we thought, billions of needless dollars will be spent on long-term mortgages. If you're a financially strong borrower, you might try to avoid being part of that statistic.



Article from Canadian Mortgage Trends

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One of my main objectives is to get your listing sold for you, and sometimes that comes down to how the home is staged for your viewers.  Some of the fastest sales I have ever made for my sellers have been because the home was staged well.


diyhomestagingtips.comis a great resource for home staging.  This week she answered a question about what to do with empty closets, to fill or not to fill, that was the question.  Her response:

"I would leave closets empty because they look bigger. But not entirely empty. I would add a few props to dress them up and give a little personality.

In a bedroom closet I would place some pretty boxes on the shelves. In a linen closet I would stack a few fluffy towels, and perhaps a folded blanket. In a coat closet, I would add some wooden or padded hangers.     
These little things will help buyers on tour remember your house as the one with attractive closets, where people (that's you!) live clean, enviable lives. Buyers buy the lifestyle when they buy the house, and women particularly are interested in closets. So, stage them to look gal-friendly. 
Remember to clean any light fixtures in the closets and to maximize the wattage."



What amazing advice!!


I was also looking on Pinterest today for staging inspiration.  There are some great ideas over there as well!  Make sure you connect with me over there too!


I've personally staged dozens and dozens of homes, so if you have any questions about home staging please don't hesitate to ask!


Make sure you check out my most recent listings as well by clicking here!


Until next time ...



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It's that time of year again ... don't forget to fall back!  This weekend before you fall asleep on Saturday night turn your clocks back one hour!  Hurray for extra sleep!



I love fall, it's such a beautiful time of year with the colours.  Activities are rampant in the fall as well, Thanksgiving has come and gone, Remembrance Day is next and of course Christmas is just around the corner!


This season's Customer Appreciation Event will not be at Christmas time, but rather in two weeks, November 16th!  I am excited to host my wonderful customers once again as we have a great time together bowling and having some fun! 


For all the details please visit our Facebook event, and make sure you get in touch with me to RSVP as I'll need to know you are coming!


Wishing you a wonderful weekend, especially with that extra hour of sleep you're going to get!


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