15 September 2023

Preparing Your Home For Fall & Winter

As the weather begins to cool and the leaves start to change, many people start thinking about how they can prepare their homes for the change in seasons and upcoming colder months. Taking the time to properly prepare your home for seasonal changes is a great way to check if there are any repairs that need to be made or equipment that needs to be replaced before the snow settles in.

If you’re wanting to prepare your home for fall and winter but aren’t sure where to start, we’ve put together this blog post to help you out.

Patio furniture in fall

Clean Your Gutters

To avoid running into blocked gutters during the spring snow melt, taking the time to clean out your gutters in the fall is a great way to get rid of any debris that might cause issues down the road. Things such as leaves, twigs, and other debris that get blown around have the potential to clog up your gutters and downspouts, so being proactive and cleaning them routinely will help keep them clear and avoid potential water damage to your home.

Test Winter Tools & Equipment

There is nothing worse than waking up to the first snowfall of the year, only to find that your snowblower isn’t working properly or your snow shovel isn’t where you thought you left it last year. Taking the time to test your winter equipment in the fall months is a great way to ensure that when the snow falls, you can efficiently clear it from your sidewalks and driveways. It might also be a smart idea to install any Christmas lights before the snow begins to fall.

Outdoor patio furniture

Clean & Store Outdoor Patio Furniture

While it might be tempting to just pull in the cushions from your outdoor patio sets for the winter, it’s always a good idea to give your outdoor furniture a thorough cleaning before the cold months set in. It is also recommended that you store your furniture properly to help minimize the environmental wear and tear that comes with cold Canadian winters.

Drain Outdoor Faucets

Before the cold winter months set in, it’s always a good idea to disconnect any outdoor garden hoses and drain outdoor faucets. This will help prevent any water that may be stuck in the pipes from freezing and potentially damaging the water pipes within your home. In some instances, you may want to look at installing outdoor faucet covers to help protect them from the cold winter elements.

Whether you’re a first-time homeowner looking to protect your new home from the elements or looking to establish more of a fall/winter maintenance routine, following these steps will help you better prepare your home for the upcoming cold weather.

Are you looking to buy your first home? We can help! Contact Max Carbone today to be put in touch with one of our experienced real estate agents.

Consumer Tips For Real EstateHome BuyersHot TipsSellers Advantage 27 January 2022

How Are Property Taxes Calculated?

How are property taxes calculated?

It is January, the start of a new year, and everything is fresh, covered in pillows of white snow and you have wandered out to grab your mail and find your BC Assessment Notice. You open the letter, and your eyes scan quickly to the middle of the page to find the assessed value and the percentage increase from last year until now. WOW! You cannot believe your eyes, a 48% increase in value (this is what I saw on my property assessment this year!).

Now, if you are thinking of selling your home, this is fantastic news, you just doubled your money and equity from last year, right? Not quite. And if you were thinking about staying in your home, does this mean that your property taxes just went up by 48%? Not quite on that front either.

Here is what you need to know about what the BC Property Assessment means for a. market value if you’re thinking of selling, and b. your property tax bill if you are thinking of staying in your home. Firstly, what does your BC Assessment mean in relation to the market value of your home if you are thinking of selling? Assessment values DO NOT equal market value. The BC Assessment Authority is an independent organization that determines the assessed value of your property based on grouped data, the median price value and determines values at one point in time, July 1st of each year. Grouped data means that they pull data for homes with similar characteristics, such as location, view, size, age, beds, baths, garages, recent similar sold data in the area, etc., and lump all those homes into a similar group and then look at the median value.

Often this means that the individual homes and characteristics are not accounted for in determining the specific value of one home because there are not enough bodies to physically go and walk through every home in the province. Think of the assessed value as more of a general value of what some homes of similar specifications might be valued at in a specific area, but YOUR actual market value could be higher or lower depending on the condition of your specific property. You will often find variation between your assessment and your neighbors, and between homes that you know are the same as yours that have recently sold. Having said that, your assessment value should not be dramatically far off from the market value (plus or minus either side) and the best way to determine true value is to get in touch with your REALTOR® to have a comprehensive market analysis done for your specific home.

What if you are not selling your home and want to know how this incredible jump in property assessment is going to affect your annual property taxes? Well, good news, you can breathe a sigh of relief, a 48% increase in property values does NOT mean a 48% increase in your property taxes. Phew!

In January, you get your assessment in the mail, which tells you what the BC Assessment thinks your property WAS worth ON JULY 1st of the previous year, your property classification (ie. Residential, farm, commercial, etc), and any tax exemptions you get (ie. homeowner grants, old age exemptions, etc.).

In the early spring, your local taxing authority (regional, municipal, township, etc) sets its property tax rates for each of the nine property classes that the BC assessment categorizes all homes into and then applies the applicable tax rate, also known as the “mill rate”.

The mill rate is determined based on your taxing authorities’ annual budget and how much revenue they need to raise to cover the budget that year and it must be set before May 15th. If you want a say in your property taxes and the mill rate, you might consider getting more involved in following your local authorities’ budgets each year.

There is a different “mill rate” for each of the nine BC Assessment property classes and, since BC Assessment is a third-party organization, it has no part in setting the property tax rates. Local property tax rates are applied to each $1,000 of taxable assessed value; a higher assessment equals higher taxes.

Here’s an example of what the numbers could look like for a residential home in Kelowna, BC:

Assessed Value Property Tax Rate Property Taxes

So, while an increase in property value does not equate to the exact same percentage increase in property taxes, it does, inevitably, mean an increase in your annual costs, if we assume that your municipality has an increasing annual budget and not a decreasing one.

I hope this blog helps to clarify what your BC Assessment means in relation to the current real estate market, to your property tax bill and alleviates some of your concerns about any huge spikes in your annual property taxes. If you would like to know the details of how your local authority sets the mill rate for each property class, you can take a deeper dive into that subject on the BC Government site by clicking HERE or connecting with your local municipality’s taxation department.

Justina LeeStolz

REALTOR®, Personal Real Estate Corporation

CENTURY 21 Assurance Realty Ltd.




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In The Community 2 November 2021

Another one of our “High Performing Realtors “ at Century 21 Assurance Realty. Go Emily, go Emily!

The life of an elite athlete can be comparable to that of a real estate agent: The competition is fierce, the future is uncertain and he/she has to be playing their “A” game 24/7. Due to these similarities many high-performing athletes have made the transition to the real estate industry.



In The Community 28 September 2021

Easter Seals BC/Yukon: Drop Zone 2021 Video

A big THANK YOU to our brave rappellers and generous supporters of our drop zone fundraising event in support of Easter Seals Yukon/bc.  Together we raised over $10,000 for individuals with disabilities. #C21CaringForOurCommunity

Home BuyersHot TipsHot Tips 20 September 2021

How Do You Market A Property?

How do you market a property?

The best way to market a property is really to take a multi-faceted approach; having a professional photographer, high-resolution pictures, is a must. Secondarily, something we’ve been doing for over two years with all of our listings is to have a virtual tour. Watch to learn more.


Home BuyersHot Tips 27 August 2021

Who Is Buying Property?

Who is buying property?

So many people are asking, who’s buying now in the marketplace? The market consists of a whole bunch of different groups of demographics. The millennials are buying and you’ve got the baby boomers…. Watch to learn more.

Home BuyersHot TipsRealtor Knowledge 20 July 2021

Why Is Kelowna So Popular?

Why is Kelowna so popular?

Kelowna is a very entrepreneurial environment and it’s based on multiple industries and activities. Obviously, there’s the agriculture, there’s the wineries, the tourism activities, but we also have a strong aviation industry.

Watch to learn more!

Check out our other Blog Posts or take a look at our YouTube Page for more videos like this one.

Hot TipsRealtor Knowledge 19 July 2021

Tuesdays and the Power of Local Market Knowledge

Traditionally on Tuesdays mornings across the Okanagan, local agents gather at their real estate offices to share a coffee, learn market stats, local issues, new listings and tips and tricks from their esteemed managing brokers and leaders. Some offices hold these meetings, and some do not. This week, I am reminded of the importance of Tuesday Team Meetings.

July 13, 2021, marks the return of my brokerages’ weekly in-office meetings for agents and support staff. Since March 2020, my office (Century21 Kelowna) has diligently held zoom and or hybrid zoom and in-personal meetings when allowed by the health order. Each week we did our best to connect our agents to fellowship, education, local knowledge, and inspiration. Yet, something is missing from internet webcam meetings.

Realtor® local knowledge and connection to local colleagues, business practices benefit consumers. Agents who attended these meetings, in my opinion, learn more, learn faster and often give their clients better service. To me, Tuesday morning meetings are part of our “great agent recipe.”

What are the benefits for agents and consumers who work with these agents? There are many, and here are my top five.

5) Better problem-solving. I am not talking grade nine math here. Agents are professional problem solvers, and every transaction, home, contract, negotiation or client need can present a unique challenge. Consistently I have been assisted by a comment, habit or suggestion from a colleague during a Tuesday morning office meeting.

4) Motivation. Real estate can be lonely work. Showing homes and writing contracts is exciting work but hundreds of hours organizing paperwork and conducting research and due diligence is more common. So a weekly boost of energy by sharing time with motivated colleagues is essential.

3) Regulatory and Ethics. Each week, it seems, agents in BC have a new rule and a new form. Yet, these rules and forms protect consumers and give the public trust that they will be treated fairly during a transaction. In addition, weekly meetings are one of the best places for my managing broker to impart her knowledge and ethical guidance to our team of agents.

2) Recent Selling and Buying Trends. My office gives agents a chance to share their new listings. We tour a selection of hi-def photos while the agent pitches the unique features of the property. It’s common for most of our office to be exposed to 30 or more new listings each week on Tuesdays alone. Afterward, we talk about buyer needs, upcoming listings, unique clients requests and troubleshooting. Client information stays private, yet knowledge and wisdom are shared.

1) Better Negotiation Skills. I believe our Tuesday morning meetings help make our agents the best negotiators in the valley. Information is power, and up-to-date and accurate information gives our agents an added advantage at the negotiating table for their clients.

Real estate trading (buying and selling) is complex. Realtors are human. Humans need connection. Tuesday are back! Let’s get it on!

Happy negotiating!

Dean Desrosiers
Associate Broker | REALTOR®

CENTURY 21 Assurance Realty Ltd
Agent Development & Recruiting, Commercial


Real Estate Coach (NORE®)

Home Buyers 19 July 2021

Increased Stress for your Stress Test!

There are a lot of different stressors in the world of real estate right now, particularly for those who are
trying to “get in the game” to buy their first home or investment property. On June 1, the Canadian
government will be adding a little more stress to the lives of those looking to purchase real estate.

**Disclaimer: this is not professional mortgage advice. For particulars of your own financial situation,
you should consult with your mortgage broker.**

Now, onto the good stuff.

What is the Stress Test?

The Stress Test was introduced by the Canadian Government in late 2017 as a market control and
mortgage-default prevention measure. Essentially the premise was this, ‘make Buyers qualify at a
higher mortgage interest rate than what they will actually pay so that if/when the interest rates
increase, homeowners won’t suddenly find themselves underwater and defaulting on their mortgage
payments.’ Some logic there, arguably.

Now there are plenty of opinions for and against this move, but that is neither here nor there for today’s
discussion. Today we are talking about what the changes to that stress test are and how they might
impact you.

So, what are the changes?

The current stress test requires that you qualify for a mortgage at your rate plus 2% or 4.79%, which
ever is higher. As of June 1, 2021, all borrowers will have to qualify at the new stress test levels of either
your rate plus 2% or at 5.25% — whichever is higher.


What does this actually mean for YOU?

Clearly, these changes will have a large impact on borrowers and their capacity to enter the market.
According to the Green Mortgage Team, this change to the Stress Test will “decrease borrowing power
by approximately 4% to 4.5%,”1 depending on the purchaser’s specific situation.

What should you do?

You could buy a bucket of ice cream, close all the blinds in your house, put on some Adele and eat your
sorrows away… or you can call your mortgage broker and find out exactly how this will affect you and if
there are any measures that you can take to counteract the increased Stress Test rates.

If you don’t currently have a mortgage broker and are thinking about getting into the market, call me or
your Realtor and we will be able to direct you to some stellar Mortgage Brokers who can help give clarity
to what these new rules mean, specifically, for you!


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Written by: Justina LeeStolz, PREC2

Connect. Local. Community.

1 https://www.greenmortgageteam.ca/mortgage-stress-test/
2 Personal Real Estate Corporation

In The Community 10 July 2021

Clubs For Campers Charity Golf Tournament | July 15

Are you ready to swing your clubs for Easter Seals campers?

The Clubs For Campers Charity Golf Tournament presented by CENTURY 21 Assurance Realty is happening on Thursday, July 15 at Black Mountain Golf Club.

“Proceeds from this tournament will give local children, youth, and adults with disabilities the opportunity to experience Easter Seals summer camps,” said James Gagnon, director of camp programs and facilities at Easter Seals BC/Yukon based out of Lake Country.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been particularly difficult for children and youth with disabilities, many of which have faced increased feelings of isolation and anxiety. This is why this July, we are excited to welcome back our Okanagan community of campers with augmented programming, including day camps and family camps at Camp Winfield, virtual camp programming, and a new Kelowna-based City Adventure Camp.”


The Clubs For Campers Charity Golf Tournament features 18 holes of golf, food, beverages, activities, and prizes throughout the course.

“We wanted to help raise awareness and funding for Easter Seals expanded camp programs in the Central Okanagan. It also happens to be a fabulous excuse to play golf at an exceptional Okanagan course while having fun with Realtors, clients, and partners in support of individuals with disabilities in our community,” said Anna Carbonne, Managing Partner of CENTURY 21 Assurance Realty.

For more information on the charity tournament and to register online go to www.bit.ly/ClubsForCampers, or contact the tournament coordinator Michelle Webber at 604-612-5086.



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