experts: real estate column Friday, November 09, 2012

Zen And The Gentle Art Of 'Renesting'

By Alan  Skinner

A week or so back I received a request for a few "checklists" I created some years ago. It put me in mind of an Update I sent out in 2006. Here is a revised version of that communication which is just as pertinent now as it was then.

People buy and sell for a multiplicity of reasons. Over the years I have assisted many clients whose families were expanding and many whose families were contracting. Of late, I have seen more and more (or maybe I am just more aware of them) who are planning for (or reacting to) the oft referred to "empty nest syndrome". This proliferation prompted me to develop a program tailored to address the exercise (and yes, it is an exercise that warrants much thought and careful planning). Simply put, it is the process of taking existing Real Estate and converting it into the desired next home (sometimes, retirement dwelling) and ideally, maximizing proceeds and minimizing outlay.

We hear the term "timing is everything" and I'm sure we believe it, but, alas, oft times we fail to make the effort to ensure that we take advantage of that "timing". In our busy, personal lives too, we often allow action-time to arrive, making these decisions in what is likely a less than optimal manner and moment. Think about the tax and estate planning we know we should be doing! This "shelter" part of the equation isn't rocket science and can actually be most enjoyable. Truth is, that with our "busyness" we often just don't really know where to start. To help in creating a "road map" I have developed a program incorporating some checklists designed to simplify the process and act as an aide memoire. Hopefully it enables us to get our ducks, kids, parents, pets, jobs etc. in a row.

I have entitled the first part of the exercise "The When & Where Check List". This is really a memory jogger which highlights the many necessary considerations - our present family position, financial situation, employment and so on, and enables a considered creation of the action plan (or plans) necessary. E-mail me at and I'll be only too happy to forward a copy to you (I have done this in "word™" format for ease of customizing and printing). I will also attach the "New Home Checklist". Or if you wish just visit my website and you'll find these and others.

While many favour a "do it yourself" approach, I am totally happy to pop around and discuss the process with you over a cup of coffee [glass of wine ;)]. Some parts of the process are pretty standard but what I have learned is, that with our different situations, some "customization" is invariably necessary. Just call and set up a time.

So, what of our North Shore. North Van detached homes sold are down 'year to date' by 22% from this time last year, attached (t/hses) sold - down 20% and apartments down 11% from 2011. Detached - average price is 6% higher than 2011 and inventory Oct 31st, 2012 up 37% from 2011. Average prices up 4% (t/hses) and up 1% (apts). Inventory (t/hses) up 33% from Oct 31st, 2011 and (apt) up 4% from 2011. In West Van, detached number of sales to date 2012 is down by 48% from last year. Average price up by 8% and inventory Oct 31st, 2012 up 20% from last year. On the condo side - sales of attached (t/hses) are up, at 60 vs. 52 units; average price is now 20% higher. Active listings as at Oct 31st, 2012 (66 vs. 40). Apartments sold are down from 2011 (143 vs. 184), with average price 13% lower than' 11 (remember the small sample size) and active listings up 35% from Oct 31st, 2011 (129 vs. 95).

The 'SnapStats' (what price ranges are selling and which are not) is being extremely well received. I am now forwarding the past 12 month trend for not only N and W/Van but including ALL metro neighbourhoods as many were requesting. Just fire off an e-mail to me at asking for SnapStats. If any locations are not of interest, please ignore those areas.

Again, visit my website to see and "hear" the new developments. I continue my commitment to keep you... - the "go to" site for North Shore Real Estate analysis and jumping-off point for FULL market listing information.

To join those wishing to get the e-mail version of this "update" and SnapStats - send a request now to and you'll be assured receipt; phone me at (604) 988-7368 or visit

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Recent Articles by this columnist:

Keeping Realtors Honest
Tuesday, August 12, 2014

How well do we stack up?
Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Resistance to change and compliance delay
Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Of urban planning and municipal wisdom
Thursday, April 17, 2014

Yes, it's official - demand is rising
Tuesday, March 11, 2014

All articles by Alan  Skinner

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