Harrison Hot Springs is currently undergoing a housing needs assessment, to see where the community is lacking and what its specific needs are. (Grace Kennedy/The Observer) [Harrison Hot Springs 2019]

REAL ESTATE: Finding the right property in a low inventory market

Real estate columnist Freddy Marks shares how buyers can make the most of a low inventory market

By Freddy Marks

Cold weather hasn’t put a damper on the red hot real estate market in the Fraser Valley. January home sales in Chilliwack and District posted a 102 per cent increase in year-over-year monthly sales, as inventories fell to record lows amid the tightest market the area has ever seen.

The number of new listings saw a slight increase, but did nothing to calm the unprecedented frenzy of sales activity, which pushed the benchmark single-family home price to $661,300, up 13.7 per cent on a year-over-year basis.

RELATED: B.C. residential real estate prices have gone up by 16% since last January: report

With so many people seeking a limited number of listings, multiple offers are inevitable.

Listings are sometimes sold before the signs even go up; detached homes are on the market for an average of 65 days in the Okanagan and the North, and a mind-bending 31 days or less in the Fraser Valley.

Buyers want to remain in the southern province where mild winters are the norm, and this had lead to the expansion of upper Fraser Valley communities once thought to be too far out.

If the goal is to sell your home, it is an exciting time. But the biggest challenge is yet ahead, and clients are unsure how to find a new home on the other side of the close in this fast-paced market.

So, how can you locate, vet and purchase a property in such a low inventory market? A qualified realtor can help improve your odds of successfully finding property in this low inventory market, especially when it comes to some unconventional alternatives.

Building your next home

Building your dream home can take longer than moving to an existing dwelling, but, when faced with only a handful of listings in your price range and area, it can be a very satisfying process.

If you plan to build, you will be seeking bare land or land with older dwellings and existing services. Assessing and buying vacant land has different down payment requirements and you need to be aware of the extra financial requirements of a bare land loan or mortgage.

RELATED: B.C. takes over homeowner grant applications, raises eligibility

There are rural development subdivisions in many communities in the Interior that offer one to 10 acre plots with pre-planned access to outdoor activities and spaces.

Finding a rural development subdivision can make vetting a property easier, as the developer would have had to comply with subdivision title regulations that can eliminate some of the steps needed before buying.

Buying a resort or recreational property

After a year of travel restrictions, purchasing a property in a resort area can offer some great options for full-time living.

Many resort development properties will feature upgraded finishes, pools, spas, saunas and other features that make them particularly desirable for a full-time living space. Resort communities often have both summer and winter activity draws: downhill skiing for winter and golfing or hiking in summer.

Remote and rural properties, on and off the grid.

With the permanence of work from home solutions, crime in urban areas and our ongoing health crisis, rural markets are being sought after for their safety and security, and affordable prices.

Living remote and rural is not what it used to be with the modern conveniences of satellite internet, solar and renewable energy sources, and the opportunity to raise your own food.

RELATED: ‘Hope for the best, prepare for the worst:’ More Canadians interested in survivalism

Even before the pandemic began there had been a resurgence in remote living, a trend that has continued to gain popularity.

It all comes down to planning, as well as using alternate forms of heating, food storage, water pumping and access. Some remote residents use alternate modes of transportation in the winter months for access, such as snowmobiles. Solar energy can be augmented with water and wind turbines to provide a year round off-grid power supply.

If being off the grid sound like too much work, consider finding land that has power at the lot line and budget for bringing in power to your home.

Having a flexible strategy will ensure that selling your home won’t leave you scrambling in a tight market. If you are not sure what your plan is, then line up a rental to buy yourself some time after your sale: then you won’t be under pressure to make a rash decision or settle on a property that doesn’t meet your needs.

Buying a home in a low inventory market takes patience and, above all else, a flexible attitude. Be willing to make some concessions and keep an open mind about what changes you can make later with renovations and repairs.

RELATED: OPINION: Are investors coming to Chilliwack to create bidding wars for local real estate?

Always leave some negotiating room at the top of your budget in case you run into a multiple offer situation.

Some buyers end up outbidding each other and paying well over asking price, so don’t max out your budget on your initial offer to allow you to improve the deal if someone else jumps in.

In conclusion, you can also make your home bid offer more appealing to sellers by limiting the number of contingencies and being open to working with the sellers needs for possession dates.

As always, the most important asset will be your relationship with an experienced Realtor to guide you through your options and make timely decisions to successfully navigate your next purchase.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Environment Canada says the Eastern Fraser Valley will enjoy plenty of sunshine this week. (Black Press News File)
Sunny weather to stay around all week in Eastern Fraser Valley

Chilliwack, Abbotsford and Hope all forecasted for a week free of rainfall

Chilliwack school trustee Barry Neufeld has called for the resignation of B.C.’s Minister of Education, Jennifer Whiteside. He made the call during a speech in Vancouver on April 10, 2021, in a rally for a parent embroiled in legal battles surrounding his child’s transition.
Chilliwack school trustee calls for B.C.’s minister of education to resign

Barry Neufeld spoke at rally for jailed father in Vancouver, calling SOGI 123 a ‘dangerous experiment’

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

People stroll through rows of tulips in bloom during the Tulips of the Valley Festival on May 2, 2017. The colourful spring event, now called Chilliwack Tulips, opens on Sunday, April 11, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Chilliwack tulip attraction open this weekend after being closed last year due to COVID-19

More than 6.5 million bulbs in all at this year’s colourful Chilliwack Tulips event

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
UPDATE: RCMP investigating after child, 6, dies at motel in Duncan, B.C.

The BC Coroners Service is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances around the child’s death

RCMP display some of the fish seized from three suspects who pleaded guilty to violating the Fisheries Act in 2019, in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - RCMP
3 banned from fishing, holding licences after overfishing violations near Vancouver Island

Mounties seized the group’s 30-foot fishing vessel and all equipment on board at the time

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

Most Read