landscaping tips 1

5 Landscaping Tips To Increase Home Value

Essential Landscaping Tips and Tricks

Details such as landscaping designs and quality craftsmanship in a home can make a dramatic first impression on prospective home buyers. D. Fritz Appraisals Inc. has decades of experience and ideas to help homeowners increase the curb appeal of their homes. 

Industry experts agree home landscaping provides an excellent return on investment. From simply edging your front walkway to creating a luxurious backyard paradise, carefully planning your project will yield the best results. 

Don’t overlook the power that landscaping can have in a competitive real estate market. Join us as we cover 5 standout landscaping tips and backyard landscaping designs to increase your home’s appeal (and value!) and make a lasting impact.

1. Planning Is Paramount

A simple plan keeps you on track and inspires you to dive into your outdoor transformation. Carefully considering your landscaping goals will help you keep your project on time and within budget.

Let’s start with a bit of elbow grease:

  • Cleaning up broken pots and planters, removing dead plants, trimming overgrown trees and pulling weeds will go a long way to help get any landscaping project started. Best of all, they’re free. 
  • From here, move on to repairs, like replacing rotting deck boards and loose railings, fixing anything that could raise red flags with real estate agents & prospective buyers.
  • Finally, when ready, you can tackle the more significant projects on your checklist.

For more complex aspects of your plan, hire a professional landscaping company to ensure your design is accurate and achievable. Their expertise will ensure your outdoor design is well-balanced and elevates your property’s overall style. 

Prefer to keep it simple? Here are a few straightforward backyard landscaping designs that will have a significant effect without being overwhelming.

  • Plant evergreen shrubs and low-maintenance grasses for year-round colour 
  • Create captivating borders with potted plants
  • Position cozy seating to highlight viewpoints
  • Define an eating area with a fun all-weather rug
  • Add trailing vines to a pergola or arbour for shade 

From potted plants to luxurious patios, landscaping design options are limitless. Let your budget, timeline and imagination guide your backyard renovation.

2. Plant Trees Strategically To Create A Private Oasis 

Potential home buyers highly seek trees and privacy. Why not combine them and reap the benefits of both features? Trees, specifically mature trees, are an excellent way to create low-maintenance privacy barriers that offer shade, filter the air, and, when positioned correctly, can reduce your home’s energy consumption.

When planting trees, you’ll want to keep the following in mind: 

  • Avoid planting trees too close to your house, driveway, plumbing or septic systems. This will prevent encroaching root systems from causing damage and stop branches from brushing against rooftops, siding and windows.
  • Contact BC 1 Call before you dig to locate buried power lines and save yourself from costly and dangerous power line strikes. It’s free!
  • Plant as early as possible. Some tree species require several decades to reach maturity.

Check out your local nursery or seek advice from a landscaping expert to ensure that you’re choosing native plants and trees that are low maintenance and are most likely to survive in your specific climate.

3. Brighten Your Outdoor Living Space With Landscape Lighting

Imagine your outdoor oasis backlit with soft lighting while guests gather around your patio’s fire pit. Outdoor lighting is the perfect way to extend your time on your beautiful backyard deck or patio.

Not only does it create an atmospheric entertaining area, but lighting also improves safety along walkways, stairs and steep drop-offs. Targeted lighting enhances home security, highlights architectural features and can help showcase landscaping.

With a wide range of options from solar to LED to hard-wired, there’s sure to be a light that will fit your style.

4. Give Your Front Walkway a Facelift

Potential buyers are judging a home from the moment they set foot on the property, and an attractive front walkway could make or break a future sale.  These simple and affordable landscaping tips will help create a welcoming front pathway to ensure buyer interest.

  • Ensure your pathway is weed-free
  • Replace broken pavers
  • Power-wash the grime away
  • Add fresh mulch to gardens
  • Remove dead plants lining walkways
  • Add a clean edge to walkways and gardens

If you’re looking for design inspiration, Better Homes & Gardens is a great jumping-off point for garden pathway ideas. 

5. Add An Eye-Catching Pop Of Colour

A bold pop of colour in the garden will undoubtedly draw a prospective buyer’s eye. Shrubs that bloom with brightly coloured flowers such as red or pink can be impactful.  Red is often the first colour the human eye notices and stands out nicely against a backdrop of green leaves. 

A carefully planned garden with plants that flower at different times throughout the year will brighten your walkways and garden beds year-round. Adding large plants will anchor your garden design as they are noticeable from a distance. However, don’t let the foliage overflow and crowd around doorways or windows. 

Consider consulting with a landscape designer to select flowers and plants that accentuate your home’s colour palette. For example, with the proper lighting, white, cream and pastel blooms give the illusion that the flowers glow at night.

Don’t forget the greenery, after all, what’s a garden without green? Green shrubs, grasses and tree foliage are the foundation of a memorable garden.

D. Fritz Appraisals Valuations Will Optimize Your Landscaping Dollar

A home valuation with D. Fritz Appraisals will help you determine which landscaping designs will increase your home’s value the most. Our recommended listing prices result in quick home sales and command top-dollar returns.

Serving Victoria to Nanaimo and the Gulf Islands of British Columbia, our professional appraisers prioritize understanding the West Coast marketplace trends.

Let our team of expert property appraisers, certified by the Appraisal Institute of Canada, guide your landscaping design decisions with a comprehensive, accurate valuation.

Contact D. Fritz Appraisals Inc. today for a professional and tailored appraisal report to meet your lending, selling, and appraising needs.

community features

Property Appraisal Insights: 4 Community Features that Matter

Analyzing Community Features That Impact Property Value

When deciding what adds value to a home, today’s savvy property owner thinks beyond an impressive house amenities list.  It may surprise you to discover exactly what things add value to a home in today’s competitive housing market.  Community features and neighbourhood amenities are topping the modern buyer’s wish list. With increasing real estate prices, property owners are demanding more.

Does a neighbourhood have sidewalks, mature trees, hiking trails or a dog park? Beyond the conveniences of a house, these community features should also be considered when assessing a property’s value.

As one of Victoria’s longest-standing appraisal firms, D. Fritz Appraisals Inc. can provide detailed valuations highlighting the community amenities to look for when buying or selling a property. 

Read on to learn about which community features have the most significant impact on property values. 

What Makes A Location Desirable?

Homes in major cities where land is scarce tend to hold more value than homes in smaller towns with room to grow and develop. With that in mind, it’s also important to note that homes on larger pieces of property tend to increase more in value over time.

Let’s break down the five components of a desirable location.

  1. Community Features – Does the neighbourhood have grocery stores, a reputable school, restaurants or cafes? These are just a few essential amenities that will help boost a home’s value.
  2. Future Development And City Plans – Maybe at this very moment, the chosen community doesn’t have all of the desired amenities, but often, the future city plan includes improvements and more amenities down the road. Hospitals, civic infrastructure, and public transportation are just a few development types that could be in the works and should be considered when determining current and future property values.  At D. Fritz, we can help you research which properties have the most potential to increase in value over time.
  3. Position – Is the home on a busy road or near a loud commercial building? Is it exposed to transient traffic or popular community events? Homes in busy areas tend to be less expensive overall, and initially, their lower prices might be attractive. However, it’s wise to consider that the resale of homes in busier areas can be more difficult and lengthy. In contrast, homes purchased in quiet communities with mature trees and charming historic homes can often increase and maintain property value.
  4. Lot size – When deciding between two homes at similar price points, you need to consider where the value of a property comes from. For example, if a shiny new house on a small lot and a fixer-upper on a large lot are both on the market at a similar price, one should note that the land a house sits on will often hold the most value, making the home on the larger lot a better choice.
  5. Safety – Security measures foster trust and lower the risk of property damage. Gated communities with automatic gates or gates operated by security guards tend to have lower crime rates, which is attractive to potential buyers.

When considering what things add value to a home, we suggest including the following items on your checklist: Esthetics, Amenities, Plans For Expansion, Perceived Safety and Accessibility.

The Value Of Community Groups

Organized groups such as the Condominium Home Owner Association of BC can help maintain the character and appearance of buildings and neighbourhoods, adding value. Community groups are not just for condos. They exist in many areas, including single-family homes and townhouses. Some of the community features and benefits that an organized community group can offer include:

  • Neighbourhood watch
  • Clean-up programs
  • Amenities such as fitness centers and swimming pools
  • Maintenance, snow removal, and landscaping services
  • A platform for social events and activities
  • A mediator for disputes

While the limitations of a homeowner’s association may deter some buyers, a well-managed HOA can be an asset and help boost a home’s value.

How’s Your View?

It comes as no surprise that an unobstructed ocean view will increase property value. But did you know that even a low-quality ocean view can add significant returns to your investment? 

Lake, river, and mountain views are also in high demand. A nice view combined with community features such as water access, an impressive house amenities list or outdoor recreation opportunities become even more enticing to a future buyer.

Look for property information and trends at BC Assessment.

Parks And Playgrounds 

Neighbourhoods with clean, accessible green spaces for seniors, kids, families, and pet owners tend to be highly desirable, allowing all community members to safely access the outdoors. Parks impact communities in several positive ways:

Providing a Gathering Space

As more people spend money on their pets, homes near dog parks and walking trails have become a huge draw. In neighbourhoods with small or no yards, buyers will spend more to live near these community features. They provide the space for community members to congregate for everything from family picnics and birthday parties to school events. Want a space to play ultimate frisbee, stargaze, bird-watch and everything in between? Pick a neighbourhood with a park or playground.

Filter The Air

Mature trees do much more than filter the air. They supply oxygen, improve air quality, and provide shade and wildlife habitat. Well-landscaped, water-smart yards with defined outdoor spaces can boost curb appeal.

Encourage Movement

Walkability scores are now commonplace in real estate listings and are a new factor for evaluating properties. Homes in walkable neighbourhoods with desirable community amenities usually have higher property values. Walking just twenty minutes per day can positively impact health and quality of life by lowering stress, boosting moods and increasing creativity.

With outdoor spaces in high demand, we should consider them as thoroughly as a house amenities list when determining which property has the most value.

D. Fritz Appraisals Inc. – Take The Guessing Out Of Valuing Property

D. Fritz Appraisals Inc. is your home for professional real estate appraisals for properties in Victoria to Nanaimo and the Gulf Islands of British Columbia.

Let our team of expert appraisers, certified by the Appraisal Institute of Canada, guide you in highlighting the community features you’re looking for with a comprehensive, accurate valuation.

With outstanding service dating back forty years, D. Fritz Appraisals Inc. can meet all your appraisal needs. Contact us today for a quote.

home appraisal cost

8 Home Appraisal Cost Factors in BC: What You Need to Know

What Can Impact the Cost of a Home Appraisal

Whether you are buying, selling or looking to refinance your home, you will most likely need a home appraisal. 

While an appraisal fee is something you will need to add to your budget or closing costs, the good news is the cost of a home appraisal shouldn’t be a deal breaker.

A home appraisal is a key part of the financing portion of any new or refinanced mortgage or loan agreement. It is something most financial institutions will insist on before releasing funds.

It’s worth knowing that some factors can impact your final home appraisal costs. According to the Appraisal Institute of Canada, the house appraisal cost is generally determined by the complexity of the review and the length of time it takes to complete it. An appraisal fee is NOT determined by the declared value of the property being appraised.

Below, we’ll explore some of the factors that may cause your appraisal fee to be higher than average. Read on to find out why appraisals are important, who pays for them and how much you are likely to pay in British Columbia.

What is an Appraisal, and Who Pays for it?

A home appraisal is a legal document that determines fair market value for a property. The appraisal process includes an inspection of the property and research of comparable properties in the local area by a qualified professional.

Appraisals are not only important for the house-buying process, but they are also used for financial loans, property tax appeals and some legal processes.

During the home appraisal process, the appraiser reviews the structure of the property, including size, number of rooms, exterior amenities and the lot the property sits on, amongst other things. For more information on what a home appraisal inspection consists of and how value is determined, see our previous blog post – ‘Home Appraisals – What They Look For.’

Usually, the buyer will be responsible for the cost of home appraisal with the fee considered part of the closing costs. However, if the appraisal is for refinancing, the current owner will be required to pay. Occasionally, a seller will foot the bill if they are looking to incentivize the sale or demonstrate the potential for subdivision of the plot.

If you need to hire an appraiser, it is acceptable to get quotes from several appraisal companies, especially if you have a particularly large, unique or complex property. Look for a company like D. Fritz, with an experienced and qualified professional team of appraisers that is familiar with your community.

8 Home Appraisal Cost Factors

According to, the average cost of a house appraisal in BC is usually in the region of $350 to $500 plus tax, though there are several reasons why your final fee may end up higher than that. Factors that can increase the final bill are generally related to the time and effort required to produce the appraisal report and include:

  1. Size of property – Generally, the more time an appraisal takes the higher the cost can be, so it stands to reason that a larger property may result in a higher fee than a smaller one. For example, a 6,000 sqft home with a large garden will take longer to review than a 1,000 sqft condominium.

Equally, a multi-family property will cost more to appraise than a standard single-family home.

  1. Complexity/detail of property – A home with intricate architecture or an unusual layout will take longer to appraise and will have fewer market comparables to refer to. Generally, any additional time spent assessing complex homes will lead to an increased fee.
  2. Location – Easily accessible homes in residential communities are likely to cost less to appraise than those that are hard to reach. It is harder to find comparable recent sales for homes in more remote areas, so additional research may be required to conclude the correct valuation. Additional travel expenses may also be added if the home is outside the appraiser’s usual area.
  3. Season – Luckily it doesn’t snow too often on Vancouver Island, but severe weather or heavy snow can increase the time it takes to perform an appraisal and therefore impact the cost. 
  4. Condition of the home – If the house has any structural issues, obvious signs of damage or disrepair or is extremely cluttered, it will take longer to perform the appraisal than it would in a well-kept property. 
  5. Unique features – Is the property on the waterfront with a dock attached? Does the land have subdivision potential or is the home designated a heritage property? Any ‘out of the ordinary’ homes may take longer to review and compare to ensure the final report is accurate potentially resulting in a higher fee.
  6. Additions and upgrades since previous appraisal – If significant additions, such as an extension, home lift or creation of a legal suite, have taken place since the property was last appraised, it will take longer to assess. This is because the appraiser has to inspect any upgrades thoroughly to determine their impact on the final valuation.
  7. Short notice requests – Sometimes appraisals are needed very quickly to accommodate an urgent purchase and avoid closing delays. Some appraisers may charge an additional fee for short notice or fast turnaround reports.

How to Minimize Additional Costs for Home Appraisals

There are some things you can do to help your appraiser complete a timely assessment and reduce the chances of additional fees. For example:

  • Plan ahead – but not too far. Plan early enough that you avoid rush fees and have time to shop around for your appraiser. But remember, an appraisal report is only considered to be accurate for about 3 months, so don’t do it too soon and risk having to get it re-done.
  • Be prepared – As the homeowner, you can help make the appraisal process faster by providing all relevant and required information about the property at the start of the assessment.

D. Fritz for Appraisals in Victoria, BC

If you need an appraisal for a home in southern or central Vancouver Island, look no further than D. Fritz Appraisals Inc. Our experienced, professional team has over 40 years of experience in delivering expert appraisals throughout the area.

Whether you need an appraisal for a home purchase, re-financing or settling an estate or division of assets, our team will be glad to help. Call us today, and we’ll be glad to give you a quote for our appraisal service.

renovations that increase home value

Renovations That Increase Home Value in BC: Our Top 8 Picks

Major Home Renovations & Home Appraisals:  What You Should Know

Are you planning house renovations and want to know the best home improvement investments? Or maybe you are planning to sell your house and are wondering about renovations that increase home value the most.

Whether you are planning to sell in the near future or not, most people want to be reassured that any major renovations they invest in will be reflected in an increased home valuation.

While any renovations that improve the function or look of your home are a good idea, some have a better return on investment value than others. If you are looking to sell quickly or have a limited budget, it is worth researching the renovations that increase home value the most.

As Vancouver Island’s home evaluation expert, D. Fritz Appraisals Inc. knows which renovations can add market value – and which will make your home more valuable to you but won’t necessarily increase the selling price.

Read on for our top 8 picks for renovations that increase home value in BC.

How is Home Value Measured?

When considering home value and how to increase it, are we simply talking about market sale price? According to the Canadian Appraisal Institute, value can be recognized in three ways:

1 – The Value of an Increased Sales Price – Renovations are done primarily to maximize value and profit from a sale.

2 – The Value of Getting to Enjoy or Benefit From a Renovated Space – Renovations are done primarily to improve your lifestyle in the home for the time you live there, which may also add market value in the future.

3 – The Value of Maintaining Your Property – Renovations that keep your home in a condition where it retains its market value. 

If we focus on increasing the market sale price, the value of renovations is usually measured by the possible Return on Investment (ROI). 

  • For example, if you spend $20,000 on a renovation and the valuation of your home goes up by $20,000, that is a 100% ROI. On a home valued at $500,000, that would be a 4% increase in home value.

Renovation ROI will be influenced by the current value of your home, your local housing market, how soon you sell after renovations and how much you spend.

A good home appraiser can help you decide what home renovations will provide the best value return on investment in your area.

Our 8 Top Picks for Renovations That Increase Home Value

When deciding what renovations to complete, consider the following 8 home renovations which have historically proven to bring the biggest return on investment:

  • Kitchen Remodel: 75% – 100% ROI 

At the heart of the modern home, a kitchen can make or break a sale. A functional and neutral refresh will increase value and saleability. Consider new appliances, backsplash, cabinetry or hardware. 

*Unless you plan to live with it for a while, don’t go too high-end, as the return will not be worth it. 

  • Bathroom Refresh: 75% – 80% ROI

Buyers appreciate a fresh, clean and modern bathroom. Consider adding double sinks, upgrading the shower unit and refreshing the paint for the best return on investment.

  • Interior and Exterior Painting:  60% – 75% ROI

Fresh paint gives a high return and increases buyer appeal. Keep colours neutral inside and in keeping with your neighbourhood outside.

  • Structural Upgrades: 75% ROI

Buyers will be put off homes that are badly maintained. If your roof, windows or heating system needs upgrading, prioritize those over cosmetic changes. 

  • Flooring: 100%+ ROI

Remove wall-to-wall carpeting and replace worn flooring for maximum ROI. No need to install expensive hardwood. Buyers are looking for flooring that is clean and easy to maintain.

  • Energy Efficient Additions: 50% – 75% ROI

Such as upgrading your heating and cooling or adding solar panels. Anything that reduces energy use and costs will attract buyers and increase value. For the best ROI, enjoy living with these upgrades for a few years before you sell to reap the benefit of lower bills. 

  • Create More Living Space: 75% – 100% ROI

Buyers are looking for the most usable square footage for their money. Add extra space with an addition or basement renovation, but keep the finish neutral so buyers can choose how to use it. If you remain in the home, a basement rental suite can help you recoup the costs of the reno.

  • Curb Appeal: 80% – 90% ROI

First impressions count. Add value by painting or replacing your garage and front doors. Clean siding and replace any damaged sections.

TIP: Keep receipts and details of any renovation work done to prove the value and quality of the changes.

If your time and budget don’t allow for larger scale renovations, but you want to do something to increase both market value and saleability, this list of 11 easy renovations to increase the value of your home from HGTV star Mike Holmes is a good starting point.

How Your Appraiser Can Help You Choose the Best Renovations to Increase Value

Property appraisers understand the local housing market. They know what investments are giving good returns, can help you understand what your home may be missing compared to local comparative properties, and can give you an idea of what the value may be once improvements are made.

Appraisers can also provide post-renovation evaluations – so you can see what value you’ve added to your home from the work you’ve completed.

In addition, if you’re looking to get financial support for major renovations through a bank loan or mortgage extension, appraisers can provide the valuation your financial lender may require.

Call D. Fritz for Your Appraisal Needs

At D. Fritz, we pride ourselves on being on top of the local housing market, including understanding what buyers are looking for and what renovations will add value and attract buyers’ interest.

Our team can help with valuations for home renovations, mortgage financing and new construction, as well as for the division of assets and estate requirements.

We offer professional real estate appraisals throughout southern and central Vancouver Island from Nanaimo to Victoria and the Gulf Islands.

Contact us today to order an appraisal or for more information on our services.


missing middle housing

Is Missing Middle Housing the Answer to Victoria’s Housing Issues?

Uptake of the Missing Middle Housing Initiative is Off to a Slow Start

Victoria, BC, has been hailed as ambitious for its adoption of the progressive Missing Middle Housing Initiative in early 2023.

The initiative, which was approved in January after more than two years of research and consultation, aims to make it easier for developers to create multi-home developments that bridge the gap between apartments and single-family homes. The ultimate goal is to enable young families that are currently priced out of the single-family home market to achieve the dream of home ownership and remain living in and contributing to the city.

The Missing Middle Initiative removes the requirement for City approval for multi-unit plans on land previously zoned for single-family homes only, streamlining the process for these types of development to create a gentle density increase within residential areas.

As BC Government looks to introduce similar rules province-wide to help with the ongoing housing shortage, it seems, on paper anyway, that this initiative could make a positive impact on increasing the variety of housing available to buyers.

So why, a few months into the initiative, have no missing middle housing projects broken ground?

As Victoria’s premier appraisal service, D. Fritz prides itself on being up to date with all the housing market changes and developments in Greater Victoria. Missing middle housing promises to increase the pool of housing options for families who otherwise may feel they have to move away to achieve homeownership.

Read on for more information about what missing middle housing is, what the missing middle initiative aims to achieve, and what’s next for the missing middle in Victoria, BC.

What is Missing Middle Housing?

Missing middle housing is defined as a range of multiple-unit homes that are located in and are compatible with existing single-family home neighbourhoods.

Missing middle houses can be multi-plexes (duplex, triplex or fourplex) or townhome developments and are designed to bridge the gap between apartment living and single-family homes. These types of homes provide more diversity in the range of homeownership options, especially for young families who cannot afford to get into the single-family home housing market in Victoria.

According to the City of Victoria’s Missing Middle Housing Initiative, data shows that young people are leaving Victoria when they choose to start a family, in part because they cannot find affordable housing to meet their changing needs. By creating low-level, sympathetic density infill, missing middle housing will provide these families with the opportunity to enter homeownership and remain in the city.

Missing Middle Housing Initiative Purpose

The Missing Middle Housing Initiative was approved in January after two years of consultation, with the aim of making it easier to build alternatives to traditional single-family housing in Victoria.

The purpose of the initiative and its policies, which came into effect in March of 2023, is to:

  • Make it easier and faster to build multi-unit developments on what was previously single-family zoned land by removing the requirement for re-zoning applications.
  • Protect heritage or future heritage buildings by allowing low-density in-fill on the same plot.
  • Provide more housing choices within walkable, family-oriented neighbourhoods without impacting the aesthetics and feel of the area.

The initiative allows house-plexes, corner townhomes and heritage in-fill housing to be built on traditional single-family plots. Up to 6 houses can be built per plot without the need to re-zone. Missing middle developments must meet certain design and bylaw criteria, but overall the process will be faster and cheaper for developers.

Is the Initiative Showing Signs of Success?

The City of Victoria council has admitted that take up of the initiative has been slow so far, with some early feedback suggesting that this is because the cost to purchase land and develop multi-unit homes is too high for the projected return. It remains quicker and easier for developers to replace an older single-family home with a new one and also make a bigger profit than they would with a multi-home development. While this remains the case, missing middle housing may never expand as hoped.

However, while costs seem prohibitive currently, there are signs that developers want to divert to this type of project. Some recently completed multi-family developments, such as this one in James Bay, are positive examples of infill projects similar to those being encouraged by the Missing Middle Housing Initiative. 

This particular project was started before the initiative was passed and, as such, would have gone through many more bureaucratic loops before approval than would be required now. As the Missing Middle Housing Initiative takes a lot of these steps away, the future could be positive for developers with forward-thinking ideas like this.

What’s Next for the Missing Middle?

With the principle behind missing middle housing being lauded as one solution to the housing crisis and the likelihood of provincial uptake of some parts of the initiative, it is unlikely this approach will be completely rescinded. However, some additional changes and support may be required on a local and provincial level to help ensure its success.

Victoria City Council is already planning a review of the initiative, and further consultation with developers will likely be required to ensure processes and procedures support them in choosing to invest in and build this type of housing.

In June, Council also passed a motion tasking staff to track city policies that disincentivize the building of new ‘attached homes’ rather than single-family homes. This work will overlap and possibly feed into the future development of the Missing Middle Housing Initiative.

D. Fritz Appraisals for All Your Home Appraisal Needs

Whether you are looking to sell a home, purchase a new home, or are considering investing in a missing middle development, D. Fritz can help with all your appraisal needs.

With over 40 years of experience in the Victoria housing market, we can provide accurate and current valuations based on what the market is doing now and where it might go in the future.

We provide professional real estate appraisals from our home base in Victoria to Nanaimo and the Gulf Islands, and our team is approved for most banks, credit unions and private lenders. Contact us today to request your real estate appraisal.


victoria bc real estate market in five years

Victoria Real Estate Market 5-Year Predictions

Victoria Real Estate Market Update Spring 2023

Victoria Housing Market Predictions for 2023 and Beyond

So far, 2023 has seen Victoria, BC’s housing market stabilizing from the extremes of 2022. While sales remain slow and prices have dropped from last year, both are increasing steadily as more inventory comes onto the market.

However, experts predict a strong recovery for Victoria Real Estate in 2024, when sales numbers will pick up again as a result of increasing inventory, an easing of financial restrictions and ongoing demand for homes. 

Victoria house prices are also expected to start to increase slowly through late 2023 and into 2024, although they likely won’t return to the highs of early 2022.

Low inventory – especially a lack of new builds – and high demand are anticipated to continue to drive the housing market in Victoria, BC in the near future. The number of people wanting to move to the city does not seem to be waning, and this high demand for homes could result in a return to higher sales prices in the medium term.

Read on for more information about the Victoria, BC, real estate market in 2023 and our predictions for the housing market in Victoria in 2024.

Interest Rate Hikes Cooled Record Highs of 2022 Housing Market

Interest rate hikes put in place by the Federal Government during the second half of 2022 to reduce inflation cooled the housing market in Victoria and across Canada by limiting the number of buyers in the market. 

According to the CBC, these interest rates reduced demand by limiting the amount buyers could borrow. They quote the Bank of Canada as stating that economic actions so far ‘have raised the carrying costs of mortgages significantly enough already that much of the excess demand for housing has now gone.’

Fewer buyers resulted in fewer bidding wars and a subsequent reduction in the average sales price. As this chart from the Canadian Real Estate Association shows, by the beginning of 2023, the average selling price had fallen from an all-time high in mid-2022.

home prices victoria

By the fall of 2022, there were strong signs that for real estate, Victoria, BC, was returning to a more balanced market. The Times Colonist noted demand for inventory was almost back to normal, stating: 

  • A balanced market usually sees sales numbers at 15-20% of the available inventory. In 2021 Victoria had sales levels at 94% of inventory. However, by August 2022, this had fallen back to 28.1%.

Spring 2023 – The Start of a Housing Market Bounce Back?

According to the Victoria Real Estate Board, the first few months of 2023 saw slow sales, with April 2023 sales down 22.7% compared to April 2022. However, sales were 8% higher than in March 2023, showing positive signs that the traditional spring market boost may have returned.

House prices also followed the same trend, with April 2023 prices for an average single-family home in the Victoria core being down 11.3% from April 2022 but seeing a slight increase over March 2023.

Although the Canadian Real Estate Board reported that active listings in Victoria had increased significantly in March 2023, when compared to the same month in the previous two years, it noted that more inventory is still needed to balance demand.

home listings victoria

Overall, there are several positive signs that confidence is starting to return to the Victoria housing market in 2023, such as:

  • Buyer demand is starting to bounce back.
  • Active listings are increasing.
  • Interest rates remain high, but buyers have more choice and less competition. 
  • The high-pressure sales market seen a year ago seems to be easing.
  • The home buyer rescission period, which was bought into effect in BC in Jan 2023, has given buyers more confidence.

BCREA Expects Strong Housing Market Recovery in 2024

So where do commentators think the Victoria housing Market will go over the rest of 2023 and into 2024?

The Vancouver Sun notes that BCREA is forecasting a province-wide 7% drop in sales by the end of 2023 as buyers struggle with high interest rates, but suggests this will reverse in 2024 with a rebounding 24% increase in sales.

For Victoria specifically, the BCREA suggests market changes will be more modest, with home sales falling by 3% and prices dropping by 5.7% on average by the end of 2023. These numbers are reflected in the table below, published by Real Estate Magazine.

Prices May Increase Again if Demand Outpaces Supply

While slow economics and elevated mortgage rates will continue to limit market growth during the rest of 2023, BCREA predicts that in 2024 we will see a strong recovery boosted by lowered interest rates and high immigration.

Mortgage Sandbox agrees that over the next year or so, the housing market will be impacted by: 

  • Federal immigration targets – which will bring more home seekers into communities.
  • Interest rates – while variable mortgages rose from 1.7% interest in January ‘22 to 6.4% in March ’23, many forecasts suggest interest rates will likely be lowered during 2024 once inflation is more under control. This will boost buyers’ confidence, leading to higher sales.

However, it’s worth noting that any significant increase in demand may be an issue for Victoria. CMHC, in a housing report for 2022, predicted that supply constraints would continue to impact major Canadian centres in the medium term for new housing supply.

If Victoria’s market returns to one where demand outstrips supply, prices could swiftly increase again. VREB Chair Graden Sol has noted that ‘If listings do not pick up…. there is a risk that the price stabilization could turn, and we could see prices increase.’

In summary, during the remainder of 2023, the Victoria real estate market will likely experience prices that are lower than in 2022 but slowly increasing. Sales will also increase as seller confidence returns. The ongoing demand for homes in Victoria, coupled with easing financial pressures is predicted to lead to a rebound in both sales and prices during 2024.

Trust D.Fritz in a Changing Property Market

In this ever-changing housing market, you can rely on D. Fritz Appraisals to provide a fast and accurate home appraisal that reflects the current situation.

We make it our priority to understand the Victoria, BC, housing market so we can provide up-to-date and helpful property appraisals, whether you are looking to sell, buy, remortgage or need a valuation for another purpose.

To arrange a property appraisal from a certified member of our team, contact us today.


*Posted June 28, 2022

What do Experts Think the Victoria, BC Housing Market Will Look Like by 2027?

The state of Victoria’s housing market is never far from anyone’s mind, especially for first-time home buyers, those moving to a new area or for people looking to sell.

Between 2021 and 2022, house prices in the Victoria, BC region rose by an average of 20%. This significant increase came about due to the unprecedented combination of:

  • All time low mortgage rates
  • Higher disposable household income 
  • Significantly reduced housing inventory

While low mortgage rates created higher demand, the lack of available homes led to price increases and over-bidding.

Now, many people are asking when the market will correct itself. Although accurate predictions are impossible to make, it looks possible that there will be some slowing or reduction in house prices over the next five years.

Victoria’s House Prices are Up Over 20% Year Over Year

So says a report by who also noted that prices on Vancouver Island as a whole rose by a whopping 32.8% in 2022 compared to 2021, putting homeownership further out of reach for many.

At the same time, inventory of available homes dropped significantly and BCREA Chief Economist Brendon Ogmundson is quoted as saying ‘While sales are not keeping pace with the unprecedented levels seen [in 2021], demand remains strong’.

Experts seem to agree that the accumulated gains from 2020-2022 are not sustainable and at some point, housing prices will fall. In a bid to control that reduction and avoid a crash like that seen in the US in 2008, the Bank of Canada increased interest rates throughout 2022 and it is predicted there will be further increases into 2023.

So, what impact is that likely to have on the Victoria, BC housing market in the coming 1, 2 and 5 years?

Pace of Real Estate Market Steady into Spring

In the Victoria, BC housing market, low inventory has continued to result in record low sales numbers. According to the Victoria Real Estate Board statistical round up for May 2022, sales were down 26.2% from 2021 – notably low for spring. And while they say that the recent interest rate increase and inflation have cooled demand slightly, there is still a lot of competition for each home on the market – especially those in lower price ranges.

Some good news came in a June 2nd piece in the Times Colonist – Victoria real estate market finally cooling off, but too late for some, which notes that housing inventory is finally picking up, with the number of houses available at the end of May up 30% compared to a year ago.

Opinions differ on what difference this will make to house prices though.

In their March 2022 article, Bubble burst risk: Canadian home prices predicted to fall by 24%, states that the accumulated gains from 2020-2022 are not sustainable. They quote UK based research group Oxford Economics as predicting Canadian house prices could fall by 24% between the summer of 2022 and 2024.

This fall in prices isn’t likely to happen in Victoria though according to Mortgage Sandbox, who report values will continue to rise in 2022 across all housing categories. Although the rate of increase in price is slowing, there will still be a modest year on year increase of 8%.

An article from supports this claim, listing Victoria as one of Five BC housing markets forecast to see the most price growth in 2022, and predicts house price increases of around 11% in the region by the end of 2022.

One thing most commentators agree on is that a sustained increase in inventory is the biggest influence on slowing or reversing price increases.

BC House Prices Forecast to Dip 3.8% Next Year

According to CTV News, RBC economists are predicting a moderate price correction in British Columbia in 2023, with average house prices expected to drop by 3.8%. They have suggested this will happen as a result of buyers being pushed out of the market as interest and mortgage rate increases shrink their available budget by up to 15%.

In turn, this reduced purchasing capacity will dampen some of the demand for available homes and reduce competition.

In their article ‘Will housing prices ever drop! Here’s what homebuyers should expect for the rest of 2022’, the agrees with this prediction. They quote Moody’s Analytics as saying the Canadian Market likely won’t see any price correction before the end of 2023.

What Canadian Home Buyers Can Expect in the Next 5 Years

Unsurprisingly, long or even medium-term predictions are hard to come by, as no-one really knows what the impact of increased interest rates might be over time.

Narcity, in its article ‘Here’s what Canadian homebuyers can expect in the housing market over the next 5 years’ says that supply is the biggest issue affecting the housing market, and this might not change any time soon thanks to high material costs and construction labour shortages.

A recently released report by Leger and ReMax, titled– Unlocking the future, 5-year housing report, states that 61% of Canadians still see real estate as a good long-term investment, and 37% of people want to live in suburban areas, suggesting demand won’t be going away any time soon, especially for areas like greater Victoria.

It certainly seems like increasing home inventory is the only way to a market correction when it comes to price. As indicated by in its report, Speeding Up Development in BC Key to Calming Home Price Growth, in which it quotes a BCREA report as stating ‘If a flood of new completions (builds) were to enter the market and drive down the price of new homes, this will impact prices in the resale market (too)’

To summarize, in the short-term, Victoria, BC home prices will continue to increase but not at the same pace seen in the past year, while the chances of a longer-term correction appears to rely on more homes becoming available to buy.

Whatever the Market, Choose an Appraiser You Can Trust

At D.Fritz Appraisals Inc, we pride ourselves on staying up to date with the ever-changing housing market to ensure we offer accurate appraisals to sellers and buyers.

Based in Victoria and offering appraisal services across Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, we offer appraisal services to support mortgage approval, new construction valuation and inspections. Contact us today to book an appraisal.

using equity to buy a second home

Using Equity To Buy A Second Home

How to Use Home Equity to Buy Another House

Are you dreaming of owning a second home? Using equity to buy a second home can make your dream a reality.

Taking equity out of your home to buy another house can be a financially advantageous option, as it allows homeowners to tap into the built-up value of their primary residence without worrying about saving up for a second mortgage.

Home equity is like having money in the bank, but it’s tied up in your real estate. This article will discuss the definition of home equity and taking equity out of your home to buy another house in Canada.

What Is Home Equity?

Home equity is a homeowner’s financial stake in their property. It represents the difference between what they owe on their home and its current market value. Homeowners can access this equity through refinancing, taking out a second mortgage or HELOC.

Using equity to buy a second home can be attractive for those looking for additional real estate investments. Using existing funds from your first property, you can avoid taking out a large loan with high interest and a lengthy term. Plus, any future profits generated from rental income could simultaneously offset costs associated with owning two properties. 

How To Calculate Home Equity

Calculating home equity is essential in using it to buy a second home. Home equity is the difference between how much your house is worth and what you still owe on your mortgage loan. To calculate your current home equity, subtract the amount of money remaining on your mortgage from the estimated value of your property. 

Refinancing Vs Home Equity Loan Vs Line Of Credit

There are several options available for using equity to buy a second home. However, each option offers different advantages and disadvantages that need to be weighed when considering the best option for your particular situation.

Refinancing to Buy a Second Home

Refinancing involves replacing your existing mortgage with another, larger mortgage. This can provide access to lower interest rates and extended repayment periods, potentially saving money on mortgage payments. However, refinancing will also incur additional closing costs, such as appraisal fees and legal expenses, which the borrower should consider before making a decision.

Using a Home Equity Loan to Buy Another House

A home equity loan is similar to any other loan where you borrow a set amount from your lender at a fixed interest rate against the value of your property. Often referred to as second mortgages, home equity loans typically have shorter terms than traditional ones and require regular monthly payments until the balance has been repaid entirely. The downside is that because this type of loan uses your home as collateral, you risk losing your house if you default on repayments, so careful budgeting is essential.

Using a HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit) to Purchase a Second House

A line of credit works differently than refinancing or getting a home equity loan. Borrowers get flexible access to their funds through the ability to draw funds up to the agreed-upon limit without having to reapply every time they need more money. This makes it ideal for ongoing projects but may come with higher interest rates than other borrowing forms of borrowing so make sure you understand all the details before signing any contracts.

*Regardless of what method you choose, always check if there are government subsidies available which could help reduce costs associated with buying your second home – these incentives vary depending on location, so do some research first!

Tips For Making The Most Of Home Equity Investment

Making the most of home equity investment requires careful consideration of various factors, including understanding your home equity, evaluating financial goals, and seeking expert advice to make informed decisions. Here are some tips to guide you in maximizing your home equity investment:

  • First, know how much equity you have in your home
  • Evaluate your financial situation to determine if using equity to buy a second home is the right choice for you
  • Compare different lenders and their offers to get the best interest rate and terms
  • Consider the length of your loan – longer loan terms can lower monthly payments but also increase the amount of interest you pay over time
  • Be mindful of borrowing more than your current mortgage balance, as this can increase the total amount of interest you pay over time
  • Taking out a home equity loan or line of credit can impact your credit score, so it’s essential to understand the potential consequences
  • The interest you pay on a home equity loan may be tax deductible, but consult a tax professional to understand the implications
  • Explore ways that you might reduce expenses like insurance premiums or maintenance costs so that more of your income is going towards increasing ownership stakes in both homes
  • Stay on top of regular payments to ensure that you keep building positive equity in both investments over time

D. Fritz Appraisals Can Help You With Your Next Home

Using equity to buy a second home in Canada can be an advantageous financial move for many homeowners. Considering all the pros and cons before investing in this (or any) loan or mortgage product is essential. 

Calculating your home equity is the first step.  Then you’ll need to decide between refinancing, taking out a home equity loan, or getting a line of credit. Finally, make sure you understand what you’re signing up for and how it will affect your bottom line before making any commitments.

D Fritz Appraisals has the skills and expertise to appraise your property at fair market value to get considered for a second home. We have provided reliable real estate lending, sales, and appraisals for four decades in Victoria, BC. 

We provide fast and accurate mortgage financing appraisals to homeowners, lenders, mortgage brokers, and real estate agents who need knowledgeable assessments of the local market. So, if you’re eager to move and buy your second home, give us a call. 

property tax appeal

Need a Property Tax Appeal?

What to do When Your Property Tax Assessment Seems Too High

In early January each year, every home in British Columbia receives its property tax assessment notice through the mail from BC Assessment. Some property owners may be surprised and possibly even concerned with their home property assessment amount.

Between 2021 and 2022, house prices in BC rose by an average of 23.3% with the increase even steeper in Victoria.  With BC Assessments predicting that property assessments will rise between 5% and 15% for 2023, it’s no wonder homeowners are concerned about how these cumulative increases will affect their BC tax assessment.

The good news is, if you think your BC Property Tax assessment is too high, there is an appeals process that you can follow.

Read on for more about how your property tax assessment is calculated, what to do if you think your assessment is too high and how a professional appraisal company can help you with your appeal.

How Do BC Property Tax Assessments Work?

Every year, BC Assessment creates property tax assessments for over 2 million homes in BC. These assessments provide a valuation of each property as of July 1st in the previous year (So 2023 tax assessments are based on the value of homes on July 1st, 2022).

These assessments are used by local municipalities to calculate your annual property taxes. While the actual dollar valuation of the property is not the basis for your tax bill (i.e. an increase in property value doesn’t always mean an increase in taxes), if you’ve seen a larger-than-average increase (based on the average change in home values within your community), your bill could be affected.

BC property tax assessments are calculated using a variety of information sources, including:

  • Land title
  • Real estate transactions
  • Aerial and street view imagery
  • Building permits
  • Property visits

BC Assessment’s team of appraisers take this information and look at it alongside property market data from July 1st. Sales of comparable homes in the local area are analyzed along with specific features of each home to establish market value.

Things that may affect your BC Assessment valuation include:

  • Type of property
  • Location
  • View
  • Size of home in square feet
  • Number of rooms
  • Any recent additions / improvements
  • Age of home
  • Garages / carports / decks
  • Comparable sales prices

Did You Know? Changes to land zoning could impact your assessment. However, if you have owned and occupied your residential property for over 10 years, the valuation must remain based on current use, not potential use of the land. Therefore, any potential development due to zoning changes would not be valued. 

How to Appeal Your Property Tax Assessment

In their 2021 Annual Report, BC Assessment notes it received 4,427 appeals that year, 10% of which were from Vancouver Island. According to the Times Colonist, this number is well below the approximately 20% of homeowners who should be appealing their property assessments each year.

If you think your property tax assessment is too high, there are some steps you should take to decide whether you should appeal.

  • First, use the online assessment search tool to see what other homes in your area, and homes comparable to yours, have been assessed at. The important thing to look at is the % increase. You may find that although your value has increased a lot, it is in line with the average for your area and so there is no case for appeal.
  • However, if you feel your home has increased significantly compared to your neighbours and other comparable homes, then you may have a case for appeal.
  • BC Assessment suggests anyone with concerns should contact them to have an informal discussion with an appraiser. If both sides agree a change is needed it can be done without having to go through a formal appeal process. 96% of cases were solved this way in 2021.
  • If following this initial discussion, you are still not satisfied with the assessment, you can lodge a formal appeal and request an independent review by the Property Assessment Review Panel (PARP). The PARP has the authority to investigate and adjudicate assessments and can make rulings to amend the issued assessment.

Remember: You must submit your appeal by January 31 – late appeal submissions will not be considered.

Once you have submitted your appeal:

  • Appeal hearings take place between February 1st and March 15th. You will receive a notice of hearing time and date. It is important you start to gather support information as soon as you submit your appeal. (See below).
  • PARP may issue a decision at the hearing or by April 7 at the latest.
  • If you remain unhappy with the decision of the PARP you may refer your appeal to the Property Assessment Appeal Board. The deadline for appeals to PAAB is April 30.

How to Prepare Your Supporting Evidence Package

One of the most important things to do after submitting an appeal is to prepare your supporting evidence package. At the PARP panel hearing, you will be given 6 to 10 minutes to present evidence to support your claim that the tax assessment is incorrect.

This evidence package should include:

  • Comparative properties
  • Evidence of real home sales in your neighbourhood 
  • Photographs of your home and comparable properties
  • Evidence of views, condition of the home and any damage requiring repair 

For more information on the appeals process and what to include in your appeal evidence see this useful guide.

How an Independent Appraiser Can Help Your Appeal

The key to a good property tax appeal package is to be concise and include relevant and clear information.

Not everyone has the time or ability to do this, but did you know you can get assistance from an independent qualified appraisal company to create your BC Assessment appeal package? Appraisers are experts in the local market and can pull together comparison information and an accurate valuation to support your appeal.

While an appraisal for the purpose of a property tax dispute is somewhat different to a regular appraisal, because it has to reflect the market as of the previous July, a good appraisal company will be able to help.

Get Support in Your Property Tax Dispute From D.Fritz Appraisals Inc 

At D Fritz Appraisals Inc, we have over 24 years of experience appraising homes in the Victoria, BC, region and consider ourselves to be experts on Vancouver Island housing market conditions.

Not sure whether you have a good case to appeal property tax assessment? For a nominal fee, D.Fritz offers a telephone or online consultation to offer direction on whether you should proceed with your appeal or not.

If you decide to go ahead with an appeal, contact us at D. Fritz as soon as possible to book a time to carry out your appraisal.

home appraiser

Home Appraisals – What Do They Look For?

How Home Appraisers Decide on the Value of Your Property

There are many reasons you may need to know the value of your property and for this, you need a home appraisal.

Home appraisers are trained to inspect and measure your property and perform comparisons that result in an accurate valuation for the current housing market.

Home appraisals are a vital part of the home buying process as they have a big influence on the amount a lending institution will loan the buyer. They are also used to assess the value of the home for home improvement loans and insurance evaluations.

Read on for more information about how a home appraiser determines the value of your property.

What is a Home Appraisal and Why is it Important?

A home appraisal is a legal document containing information that determines the current fair market value of a new or existing property. Financial institutes or mortgage lenders will require an appraisal to ensure the home is worth the amount of money being requested in the loan or mortgage.

Home appraisals are not just for when someone is buying or selling a home for themselves however, they are also important for:

What is Checked During a Home Appraisal?

There are two main parts to a Home Appraisal:

  • Inspection of the property
  • Research and analysis of comparable properties

Property inspection: As part of the appraisal process, your home appraiser will conduct an on-site inspection of the property. During this inspection they are looking at:

  • General characteristics of the home:
    • Size of home – square footage, number of rooms – especially bed and bathrooms
    • Functionality of design and layout
    • Any exterior amenities such as garage, deck, pool
    • Type of foundation
    • Whether a basement or attic are present and their state of finish

Note that appraisers are not looking for any signs of damage to the foundation, basement, attic or mechanical equipment – that would be done by a home inspector as part of the conditions of sale.

  • Quality assessment:
    • Current condition of internal and external aspects of the home – including material and state of walls, floors, roof, windows
    • Type and age of plumbing and other systems (condition would be determined during a home inspection)
  • Any improvements that have been made:
    • Updates to kitchens and bathrooms
    • New efficient heating and cooling systems
    • Recent replacement of major ticket items like windows / roof
    • Energy efficient features such as HVAC, energy star appliances

Note: Home appraisers only look at the fixed features of the home. They are not assessing décor or any feature that is considered removable.

  • Lot:
    • Size and topography of the lot
    • View (including negative views)
    • Vehicular access
    • Any existing easements or zoning issues
  • Location:
    • How well does the home fit in with the surrounding neighbourhood?
    • Local amenities – how close is the home to hospitals, schools, shops and public transport corridors?
    • Crime levels and general condition of the neighbourhood

Comparison to similar properties: As part of the research involved in a home appraisal report, the appraiser will compare the home with others that have recently sold that:

  • Are in the same or similar neighbourhood 
  • Have comparable features such as size, number of rooms, age

The appraiser will review the sale price of these similar homes and make adjustments to account for any differences between them and the home being appraised.

How Does a Home Appraiser Determine Value?

When compiling their final report, home appraisers will determine the final value using a combination of two out of these three methods:

  • Direct comparison: Value is determined by analyzing comparable properties.
  • Cost approach: Value is derived from the cost to replace or rebuild the property and its associated land minus any age-related depreciation.
  • Income approach: Value is determined based on the rental income potential – usually only used when the property is being purchased for this purpose as an investment property.

The final appraised value of your home may be affected, either positively or negatively, by:

  • The location of the home
  • Current real estate market conditions
  • Size of home and number of rooms
  • Zoning in the neighbourhood
  • Future potential for development of the home

Things that can negatively impact the value of your property in a home appraisal include:

  • Delayed maintenance
  • Dated or undesirable features
  • Undeclared repairs
  • Inexperienced appraiser – make sure you choose a professional appraiser who is in good standing with the Appraisal Institute of Canada and who has a good understanding of the local market conditions where your property is located.

How Can You Help Improve the Appraisal Value of Your Property?

If you are preparing for an appraisal on your home there are a few things you can do to help improve the final appraised value, such as:

  • Prepare – treat an appraisal the same as a house viewing – present your home in its best light.
  • Simple fixes – repair minor damage, paint over marks on walls etc.
  • Paperwork – gather any relevant paperwork that supports the valuation of the home such as property tax bills, HOA fees, receipts and permits for any improvements or upgrades.

This pre-appraisal checklist for homeowners is a great starting point for anyone looking for the best ways to positively influence their final appraisal value.

Get Expert Help from a Local Qualified Home Appraisal Team

If you need an appraisal on your property for any reason, make sure you use an experienced and qualified appraiser like the team at D.Fritz Appraisals Inc. Based in Victoria, BC and offering home appraisals across Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, our team of appraisers are all in good standing with the Appraisers Institute of Canada and have superior knowledge of the local market.

Whether you are a property owner, real estate agent, mortgage broker or lawyer, we can provide quick and accurate home appraisal services. Contact us today to let us know how we can help with your home appraisal needs.

buying real estate online

Buying a House Sight Unseen – What You Need To Know

Online Home Buying Tips For Remote Purchasers

The real estate market has changed dramatically in recent years. Due to demand for homes being higher than supply, buyer preferences and buying methods have had to change and more people are resorting to buying real estate online or sight unseen.

When demand outweighs supply and quality homes enter the market, they often sell fast. This sometimes generates bidding wars and buyers need to move as quickly as possible, otherwise, they could miss out.

In a hot real estate market, you may even have to submit an offer before you get the chance to tour the house in person. 

This is why buying a house sight unseen has become an increasingly popular choice for buyers. 

While this may be a great strategy in a competitive real estate market, buying sight unseen can have its own set of challenges. 

What Does “Buying a House Sight Unseen” Mean?

Purchasing a home sight unseen means buying it without visiting the property first. 

Typically, home buyers will have looked at pictures and videos online. They’re likely to take a virtual tour as well. 

It may sound strange to buy a home without having set foot in it, however, buying sight unseen is becoming commonplace within the real estate market

Why Buying Sight Unseen Has Become Popular

As more people are choosing to relocate to BC and Vancouver Island from out of province, more homes are getting bought sight unseen. 

We know that prospective home buyers have to move quickly in a competitive housing market, but there are a number of reasons why buying a house online has surged in recent years.

  • Physical distancing – these past couple of years have played a tremendous role in how prospective buyers make offers on properties. Why risk going into other people’s homes when it’s safer to limit physical contact?
  • Modern technology can give us higher quality photos and videos than ever before. This can give a much better sense of what the home looks like. 
  • If you are moving from out of the area, It can be costly and time-consuming to travel to view potential homes. A remote buyer can rely on an experienced real estate agent or broker to find the best property and receive their own personal virtual tour of the home via a video chat app.

Even with a trusted real estate professional on your side, you should always choose to get a professional inspection and appraisal of the home to give you peace of mind during the process. 

How To Make A Sight Unseen Home Purchase

Buying sight unseen isn’t that different in comparison to a traditional home purchase.

Instead of an in-person tour, you’re using online photos, videos, and virtual tours to help you make an informed decision. 

It’s a good idea to hire an experienced real estate agent who knows the area well. Always communicate exactly what you’re looking for, and keep your list of must-haves for your dream home as refined as possible. 

Think about the size, location, and house style you’re looking for. Leave out any minor details that can slow down the search process. 

If there are any deal-breakers, let your real estate agent know early on. This is so they don’t waste any time looking at the wrong properties. 

An experienced real estate agent will be able to deal with any issues should they arise. 

Steps to buying a property sight unseen:

  • Evaluate the property remotely using photos, videos, facetime or video tours and descriptions provided by your real estate agent
  • Get pre-approved for a mortgage to show the current owner/seller you can afford to finance the home
  • Make an official offer to purchase the property from the seller
  • If the seller likes the offer and accepts it, you and the seller (or the lawyers) prepare the contract
  • Both parties sign the contract
  • You make a non-refundable deposit on the house
  • You have the property inspected and appraised before you remove conditions (Note that buying a home sight unseen often means not even having the opportunity to do an appraisal or home inspection. This is NOT advisable in most cases!)
  • If you’re satisfied with the inspection and appraisal, the sale continues and you finalize the details with your lawyer and the bank.

As with any home purchase, you’ll schedule a closing date to sign your final loan documents.

Once the mortgage is finalized, your lender pays the home seller, and the home title transfers over to you. Congratulations! You’re now the official homeowner. 

Pros & Cons Of Buying A House Sight Unseen

Pros of buying a home sight unseen:

  • You may purchase the property for less because you moved quickly enough to avoid a bidding war
  • Virtual home tours can be helpful when buying an out-of-province home
  • Virtual home tours can save money on costly travel expenses

Cons of buying a home sight unseen:

  • You won’t have the privilege of an in-person tour
  • You’ll have to rely on photos, videos, virtual tours, and the advice of your real estate agent and (possibly) a home inspector
  • There’s a higher chance of failing to see issues with the property
  • You may offer more than you’re willing to pay just to secure a home sale

While everyone wants to save money during the home buying process, don’t be tempted to cut corners on home inspections and appraisals. 

It’s always going to be in your best interest to get a professional inspection, especially when you’re buying sight unseen. 

Keep a close eye on the inspection report and the seller disclosures so there aren’t any surprises later.

Remember to ask a lot of questions before you purchase a home. When buying sight unseen, you’ll need to ask even more. It may feel like a burden but think of questions you normally wouldn’t ask. 

Take Extra Steps To Protect Yourself  When Buying a House Online

A professional inspection and appraisal is your one chance to get the current owner to cover repair costs. Or walk away if the issue is a deal-breaker. 

This is why a home inspection and appraisal are so important, especially when you’re buying sight unseen. This is your best defense against any major issues the current owner may have neglected to disclose.

While sellers might not like having conditions attached to the sale, it’s a good strategy which allows you to ask for more time, negotiate repairs, or back out based on findings from your home inspection and appraisal. 

Purchasing a home sight unseen is certainly riskier than the “normal” way of buying a home (i.e. doing a walkthrough and getting a home inspection and appraisal done). This is why it’s important to hire an experienced real estate agent and get a professional inspection and appraisal.

If you need an inspection or appraisal on a home in the southern and central Vancouver Island area, Contact D. Fritz Appraisals, who can provide an expert assessment of your future dream home.