These days, most people want to do their bit to help the environment. Unfortunately, not everyone is willing, or able, to install solar panels on their roof or implement an in-ground heat recovery system.


Luckily, there are many smaller things you can do that can make a big difference. Here are some ideas that can help you "go green" easily and inexpensively.

Get a recycling bin and learn how to use it. Most jurisdictions have a recycling program. You may be able to get a rebate on your recycling bin or even get it for free. Keep a list of items that can be recycled on your fridge door, so that everyone in the family can participate.

Get a kitchen compost bin. Find out if your jurisdiction has a compost pick-up program. If they do, get a kitchen compost bin. Composting can reduce landfill waste by as much as 32%.

Use energy-saving light bulbs. Low energy light bulbs have come a long way in recent years. Their consistent glow and brightness now rival their incandescent counterparts. By replacing regular 40-watt bulbs with energy-saving 8-watt bulbs, you could save nearly 50% of the electricity you used for lighting. Results may vary by brand.

Shop for local produce. Many grocery stores and supermarkets offer produce – fruits, vegetables, – that are grown within a 100 mile radius. The short transportation distance, means significantly less fossil fuel is required to get the produce delivered to your local store. Keep in mind that some non-local produce, such as apples in the off-season, often need to be transported thousands of miles.

Let nature do the work. As an alternative to air conditioning, open windows and block out the passive heat gain from the sun with curtains. Do the opposite in winter. Strategically using curtains and windows can lower your energy bill by as much as 20%.


As you can see, you don't have to do much to have a "greener" home. Just a few little changes can make a big difference.



  1. Searching for houses without getting pre-approved by a lender:


Do not mistake pre-approval by a lender with pre-qualification.  Pre-qualification, the first step toward being pre-approved, will point you in the right direction, giving you an idea of the price range of houses you can comfortably afford.  Pre-approval, however, means you become a cash buyer, making negotiations with the seller much easier. 


  1. Allowing “first impressions” to overly influence your decision:


The first impression of a home has been cited as the single most influential factor guiding many purchasers’ choice to buy.  Make a conscious decision beforehand to examine a home as objectively as you can.  Don’t let the current owners’ style or lifestyle sway your judgment.  Beneath the bad décor or messy rooms, these homes may actually suit your needs and offer you a structurally sound base with which to work.  Likewise, don’t jump at a home simply because the walls are painted your favourite colour!  Make sure you thoroughly the investigate the structure beneath the paint before you come to any serious decisions. 


  1. Failing to have the home inspected before you buy:


Buying a home is a major financial decision that is often made after having spent very little time on the property itself.  A home inspection performed by a competent company will help you enter the negotiation process with eyes wide open, offering you added reassurance that the choice you’re making is a sound one, or alerting you to underlying problems that could cost you significant money in both the short and long-run.  Your Realtor can suggest reputable home inspection companies for you to consider and will ensure the appropriate clause is entered into your contract.


  1. Not knowing and understanding your rights and obligations as listed in the Offer to Purchase:


Make it a priority to know your rights and obligations inside and out.  A lack of understanding about your obligations may, at the very least, cause friction between yourself and the people with whom you are about to enter the contract.  Wrong assumptions, poorly written/ incomprehensible/ missing clauses, or a lack of awareness of how the clauses apply to the purchase, could also contribute to increased costs.  These problems may even lead to a void contract.  So, take the time to go through the contract with a fine-tooth comb, making use of the resources and knowledge offered by your Realtor and lawyer.  With their assistance, ensure you thoroughly understand every component of the contract, and are able to fulfill your contractual obligations.


  1. Making an offer based on the asking price, not the market value:


Ask your Realtor for a current Comparative Market Analysis.  This will provide you with the information necessary to gauge the market value of a home, and will help you avoid over-paying.  What have other similar homes sold for in the area and how long were they on the market?  What is the difference between their asking and selling prices?  Is the home you’re looking at under-priced, over-priced, or fair value?  The seller receives a Comparative Market Analysis before deciding upon an asking price, so make sure you have all the same information at your fingertips.


Thinking of buying or selling real estate? Call the Dion-Ivans Group today....



If you haven’t heard of “staging”, it’s a fairly straightforward concept. It simply involves cleaning, organizing and decorating your home in such a way as to make it look its best for potential buyers. 


One of the most difficult rooms to stage is the kitchen because it’s one of the most used. It’s not like you can set it up to look nice for tours and then never go in it! Yet, an effectively staged kitchen can help sell your home because it’s the room that buyers often scrutinize and remember most.


Here are some basic kitchen staging tips:

  • Be relentless when decluttering your kitchen. Stow or get rid of any unnecessary items.
  • Clear the countertops. Leave no more than two appliances in view. This will give the impression that there’s lots of surface space available.
  • Make sure the sink shines. If regular cleaners don’t work, there are a number of specialty products available for cleaning sinks of all kinds, including stainless steel.
  • Consider making upgrades. This could be as simple as replacing cabinetry hardware to as involved as installing a new countertop. Your decision to make upgrades depends on the age and condition of your kitchen. Talk to your REALTOR®. It may be worth the investment.
  • Paint and stain. One of the most affordable improvements you can make to the kitchen is painting. A new coat of stain or other finish can make older, worn cabinets look like new.
  • Fresh flowers in a vase brighten up any room, especially the kitchen.
  • Make it double-duty. Not enough space for a kitchen table? If there’s room, put in a small table with a couple of stools.  Buyers like to see that there’s at least the option to eat-in. 

Need more tips on making your home show well, so it sells faster and for the price you want? Call the Dion-Ivans Group today!!


Do you sometimes review the real estate ads in your local paper? Do you drive by an open house sign and feel the urge to stop and check it out? Those are common indications that, at least on some level, you’re thinking about the possibility of making a move.


But how do you decide if you should actually move? 


The first step is to consider whether there are any practical reasons to consider buying a new home. What’s pushing you in that direction?

  • Is your current home too small for your needs?
  • Is the commute to work, for you or your spouse, too long?
  • Are there property features you would now like to have, such as a larger backyard or a more spacious kitchen?
  • Has the neighborhood changed in an undesirable way?
  • Do you have personal reasons for wanting to move, such as a desire to be closer to relatives in another area?  

Carefully consider those things that can’t change unless you move. For example, if a major highway was recently built near you, the ongoing sound of traffic isn’t going to go away. It’s now part of the neighborhood.


If there are no practical reasons for moving, there may still be other reasons for wanting a new home. You may want to move your family to a better neighborhood, with better schools or you may simply want a bigger home, with a larger backyard, more rooms, and a wider driveway.


There’s absolutely nothing wrong with simply wanting a better place than the one you have now. In fact, that is a common reason why many people make a move. 


The point is, if you’ve been thinking about a new home for awhile, perhaps now is the time to take the next step. A good REALTOR® can help you understand your options. 


Looking for a good REALTOR®? Call the Dion-Ivans Group today!!


When shopping for a new home, one of the most important considerations – yet one most people don’t pay enough attention to – is the lot type. Selecting the right one can significantly increase your enjoyment of the home. Picking the wrong one can have the opposite effect. 


There are three special types of lots that homeowners tend to find most desirable. Yet, even though they are considered desirable, each has its pros and cons.


Here’s the rundown on each one:


1. Cul de sacs

These are lots located on dead end streets that often feature homes positioned around a large circle of roadway. For obvious reasons, a cul de sac is a popular choice for buyers with children. There’s less traffic and, often, the only cars on the street are those of neighbors. However, homes on these lots often come with a higher price tag than other comparable properties in the area. But, from a lifestyle standpoint, that extra price may be more than worth it.


2. Quiet streets

Who doesn’t want a home on a quiet street? The benefits are obvious. However, don’t dismiss properties located on or near a busy street. They often sell for less and the noise from traffic might not be as bothersome as you might expect. In fact, some neighborhoods in these areas feature special soundproof fencing. If the home is otherwise ideal, schedule a viewing to judge the noise level for yourself.


3. Corner lots

These are often larger and therefore provide you with more space.  Plus, with the look of two front lawns, there’s twice the potential for curb appeal, and therefore the opportunity to increase the property’s value. On the downside, kids may shortcut across your front lawn to get to the adjacent sidewalk!


Want more tips on what to look for when shopping for a new home? Call the Dion-Ivans Group today!!


Property Type:
26.6% of purchases were by Move-Up Buyers
16.2% by First Time Buyers
15.3% purchasing Recreation Property  (up from 9.7% in July)*
9.9% buying Revenue/Investment Property 
8.6% moving from Single Family Home to Strata Unit
6.8% moving into Retirement Home/Seniors Community (up from 3.9% in July) *
2.7% moving from Strata property to Single Family Home

* During the month of August, there was a noticeable jump in sales to Buyers of Recreation Property (15.3% compared to 9.7%) and to Purchasers of Retirement Home/Seniors Community Units (6.8% compared to 3.9%) over July.

Buyer Type (Family Dynamic):
33.0% Two Parent Family/Children (from 26.4% in July)**
24.6% Empty Nesters/Retired  
20.5% Couple without Children 
11.6% Single Male
6.3% Single Female 
3.6% Single Parent with Children

** In August, there was a significant increase in purchases by Two Parent Families with Children -- 33.0% compared to 26.4% in July.

Moving From: 
58.7% from Within OMREB Board Area  (47.2% in July)***
19.1% from Alberta 
9.8% from Lower Mainland/Vancouver Island 
4.9% from Other Areas in BC 
2.7% from Saskatchewan/Manitoba 
2.2% from Eastern Canada/Maritimes 
1.3% from Outside Canada  
1.3% from NWT/Yukon (12th month reported)

*** Compared to July, there was more movement within the Board Area in August -- rising to 58.7% of purchases from 47.2% in the previous month.

Information provided by 



When you’re putting your property on the market, you want to make it seem as big and comfortable as possible. Let’s face it.  Buyers are attracted to space.


However, you probably have at least one room in your home — and perhaps even more — that feels small and a little cramped.


Of course you don’t want the buyer’s first impression of the room to be its size. But it isn’t practical to be knocking down walls and renovating. So what do you do? 


Here are some ideas for making small spaces seem larger and more comfortable:

  • Remove any items and extra furniture that make the room feel smaller than it really is.
  • Remove any obstructions near the entranceway. You should be able to open the door fully and walk in without banging into a desk or bookshelf.
  • Don’t use heavy curtains on the windows. Let the light in.
  • Use soft light bulbs with enough wattage to fill the room with full and pleasant (but not blinding) light.
  • Less is more. Keep knickknacks, pictures and other décor items to a minimum.
  • Keep the door fully open during viewings.
  • Make sure there’s enough space for two people to walk in and move around without bumping into each other.
  • Give the room a purpose. “This is the home office.” Or, “This is the comfy reading nook.” If a small room doesn’t have a reason for being, it will seem like wasted space.

 Want more ideas for preparing your home so that it will sell quickly and for the best price? Call the Dion-Ivans Group today!!


In a widely anticipated move, the US Federal Reserve announced today that it will conduct a third round of quantitative easing (QE).  The primary difference between QE3 and the Fed’s previous two quantitative easing programs is that QE3 asset purchases (which will amount to $85 billion per month, including $45 billion in mortgage debt) are open-ended and, most importantly, will continue until there is a substantial improvement in US labour market conditions.  That is, the Fed has tied the duration of its latest program of asset purchases to an explicit macroeconomic objective. The Fed also extended its commitment to keep its target Federal Funds rate at near zero levels through at least mid-2015.

The theory underlying quantitative easing is that asset purchases will stimulate the economy by lowering long-term interest rates, including interest rates on mortgage debt, thus encouraging investment while giving a much needed jolt to the US housing market.  While the evidence for the impact on growth and employment from past QE programs is mixed, pairing open-ended asset purchases and a commitment to keep interest rates low for an extended period with a specific objective has much support in academic literature.


The implications of the Fed’s announcement for Canadian interest rates are two-fold. One, the commitment by the Fed to keep interest rates at near zero levels until mid-2015 further constrains the Bank of Canada’s ability to raise interest rates over the same period. Particularly as Canadian exports have already softened under the weight of an appreciating loonie. Second, already low long-term bond-yields will likely price-in a continuation of very low short-term rates and will therefore likely remain at historically low levels for an extended period which should keep Canadian mortgage rates well-anchored to current historically low levels.


Information provided by 


Smoke alarms are an important defense against injury or death in house fires. The National Fire Protection Association states that nearly two-thirds of home fire fatalities happen in homes with non-working or missing smoke detectors. Most building codes now require smoke detectors in all residential structures, which has resulted in a steep drop in fire- and smoke-related deaths. Homeowners should check with their local public safety office or fire department for specific information on these requirements.

  • As in real estate, location is important! Smoke alarms should be in installed every bedroom, outside every sleeping area, and on each level of the home.
  • Alarms should be placed high on a wall or on the ceiling. It's best to follow the manufacturer's instructions for placement. High, peaked ceilings have dead air space at the top; smoke alarms should be placed no closer than 3 feet from the highest point.
  • For areas close to the kitchen, use a detector with a hush button that can be used to silence nuisance alarms triggered by cooking smoke or steam. Alternatively, consider installing a photoelectric alarm, which is better at detecting smoldering fires (vs. flames) near the kitchen. Never remove the unit's battery to stop or prevent nuisance alarms.
  • There are two primary types of smoke alarm technology: ionization and photoelectric. According to the National Fire Protection Association, ionization alarms are more responsive to flames, while photoelectric alarms are more sensitive to smoldering fires. For the most comprehensive protection, both types or a combination unit should be installed.
  • Test the alarm monthly. Put a reminder in your calendar to do this on the first or last day of the month, for example. The units have a test button that will sound the alarm for a brief time when pressed. Any alarm that fails to sound should have the battery replaced. If the test button fails with a new battery, replace the entire detector immediately. Monthly testing is also an ideal time to dust off the unit.
  • Replace the batteries at least once a year. A common rule of thumb is to do this when changing to or from Daylight Saving Time in fall and spring. Some alarms come with 10-year batteries; for these, follow the manufacturer's recommendations for battery replacement. Remember, a non-working alarm is no better than no alarm at all.
  • If the alarms are hard-wired to the home's electrical system, make sure they are interconnected for maximum effectiveness - meaning that if one alarm is triggered, all of the others will sound as well. Any hard-wired alarms, interconnected or not, should be installed by a licensed electrician.

Information provided by Craig Hostland at Pillar to Post. kelowna   / vernon


Shopping for a home is a little like shopping for a car.  Unless you know what to look for, you risk being swayed by first impressions and buying something that does not truly meet your needs.


For example, you might fall in love with the basement recreation room — complete with a bar and a dartboard —and unconsciously overlook the fact that the home doesn’t have enough bedrooms to accommodate your growing family. 


So when you’re viewing a potential new home, or checking out a property during a weekend “open house”, what should you look for?


Here are some suggestions:

  • Is there enough room for your family, now and in the future? 
  • Are there enough bedrooms, bathrooms, closets and storage space?
  • Is the yard big enough?
  • Will your furniture fit the space?
  • Do you like the neighborhood? Always take a walk around and explore the area.
  • Does anything need to be repaired or replaced? If the seller won’t be taking care of such issues, repairs or replacements could add hundreds or even thousands of dollars to the true cost of buying the property.
  • Will you be as happy there in the winter as you will in the summer and visa versa? Imagine the home in all four seasons, good weather and bad.

Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions when viewing a home. After all, it’s a major purchase. You want to get it right! 


Need help finding homes to view that meet your requirements? Call the Dion-Ivans Real Estate Group today!!


We just listed a new property located at 211 3739 Casorso RD in Kelowna.
Wonderful 2 Bed + 2 Bath Unit in the Desireable Mission Meadows! It has the perfect flow with the bedrooms separated by the living space to give ultimate privacy. The deck offers peaceful views of the mountains and beautiful green pastures. The building has secure underground parking with a storage unit directly in front of the stall making it easy to load and unload your skis and golf clubs. Amenities include a clubhouse, exercise room, and a guest suite for your out of town visitors! You will also enjoy its central location to shopping, the beach, recreation and the Mission Greenway Trail. Call the Dion-Ivans Group today for your personal viewing!!

Please visit our Open House at 342 1260 Raymer AVE in Kelowna.
OPEN HOUSE: Sunday September 9th from 2:00 to 4:00PM
Completely renovated home in SUNRISE VILLAGE!! This 2 bedroom unit has a park like back yard that backs onto the CREEK and features; a new kitchen, new 3/4" oak hardwood throughout, new tile in the bathrooms & kitchen, new paint & baseboards, new lighting & fixtures, new windows, and a newer roof & furnace. Over $35,000 has just been spent on reno's for you to enjoy!! Call the DION-IVANS GROUP today to book a personal tour!!
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