Do you ever find yourself looking at life more introspectively, more thoughtfully?  That’s where I find myself this Christmas. The imminent end of another year reminds me again of the year’s events; the joys of life, the immensely difficult times, the passage of friends and family, and new life brought to some in the way of newborns or recovered health.  Our business brings us into very close contact with our Clients circumstances, family troubles, successes, growth, injustices and more. I’ve learned and continue to learn to empathize and have found that empathy comes more quickly with the years as I experience more of life, both the good and the bad.

I was recently reading some of the writings of the great philosopher Facebook, and one particular post rang well and deep with me.  Be kind. In the day to day we cross paths with so many people that are likely facing ‘something’; a job loss, a misunderstanding with a colleague, a sick child, financial distress, relationship battles or break up, a broken car that overwhelms or a health matter that just can’t be beat.  And the very least we can offer to each other on our journey through life….is kindness.

The Christmas Season of course, is about the kindest gift of all as we remember and celebrate the birth of the Saviour, Jesus.  Certainly Christmas has also become about gifts, celebration with family and friends, festivals, concerts, food (sign me up!), lights and music………but perhaps take a moment and consider the two thousand year old root of Christmas.  And as you enjoy Christmas, but are maybe feeling the pressure of the season, a long checkout line, ‘your’ parking spot taken, the perfect gift that sold out….remember kindness; first given to you, easily shared with others.

This Christmas we remember again the kindness of our Clients, past, present and future: Clients that have trusted us with life’s circumstances, Clients that trust us with big things, and small things.  You are the lifeblood of our business and we’re thankful for the opportunities you give us to serve. So this Christmas, from our homes to yours, we wish you the very best Christmas, amid life’s challenges or joys, and a healthy, prosperous and introspective New Year!

-Art & Nathan

2019 Market Wrap Up & 2020 Market Thoughts

The 2019 market offered up downward pressure (see what I did there?) on prices and RECORD low sale months, but values that ‘feel’ as if they might have reached bottom. (Subject to whatever new taxes the GreeNDP may pound the market with.)  Market values have proven more resilient than governments might have wanted as the lower one goes in price, the less values have changed.  As in any market adjustment, the ‘top of the triangle’ has taken the greatest hit, making ‘now’ a tremendous time to upgrade, to pick up acreage, or actually shop for the right home.  There is choice today, something not available in recent years.  So, we’re in a somewhat balanced market, a market we prefer for our Clients.

2020 Market Thoughts

2020 may start to perk a little more urgently as downward pressure on already low interest rates remains and the reality of 50,000 people moving into the Lower Mainland every year cannot be ignored.  Despite the record low sale months in 2019, we have seen sales pick up significantly towards the tail end of the year, setting us up for an always interesting turn into the new year. The constant in real estate is ‘don’t wait to buy real estate, buy real estate and wait.’  The market will always move up in the Lower Mainland (and more than ever with population growth) as Canada becomes one of the most attractive places on the planet to live.

Never hesitate to call when you need a current, professional opinion of your real estate situation or needs.  No pressure, no obligation, no baloney.  Ever.

Hello Fall!

…and just like that, the leaves are falling, the mornings are crisp, the pumpkins are up, pumpkin spice everything is at your favourite coffee shop, and the colours of Fall are here. It’s a favourite season of mine for many of the reasons listed above (you can’t go wrong with a half sweet extra whip pumpkin spice latte walking along the dykes in Pitt Meadows on a clear, crisp Autumn day….), though I do believe I attribute my fondness of the season to the nostalgia I get thinking of ‘Back to School’ as a kid. It seems there’s a distinct change in the weather that first week following the Labour Day long weekend that helps everyone get back into their ‘new’ routines. This year, for the first time, both my boys have gone ‘back to school’ – both living the dream at Maple Ridge Elementary – Isaiah is settled into grade 3 and Lukas is taking the school by storm in kindergarten. It’s a whole new world for Hannah & me, as for the first time in 8 years, we don’t have one of our kids at home during the day. Between 8:30-2:30 Monday-Friday, our house is cleaner than it’s ever been – but it’s an adjustment, understanding that we’ve moved into a new season in our lives.  But I digress.

Halloween is also a time that I loved as a kid (candy, candy, candy…), and I now get the enjoyment of seeing the excitement in my own kids. They started out as the cute, cuddly lion, monkey….or a lobster (Hannah’s choice)….and now have designs this year on dressing up as Monster Hockey & Soccer players. I’m a proud dad. I also get to use Halloween as an opportunity to teach key life lessons, like what it means to have to pay tax. Candy is a great teaching substitute for money. 

One of our family’s favourite Fall traditions is heading to the Laity Pumpkin patch. I’ve grown up in Maple Ridge, and it’s amazing to see how much of an attraction it has become for those throughout the Lower Mainland. We are so fortunate to have local farms doing things like this in our backyard! If you’ve never been, or haven’t been in awhile, it’s a great way to spend a Fall afternoon – take the kids, grandkids, nieces or nephews and enjoy a pretty unreal setting close to home!

The Fall season also breathes new life into the real estate market! September sales stats show we’re headed towards a more ‘balanced’ market, with sales starting to rebound and prices showing signs of stabilizing. While the market is balanced, Sellers are having to price competitively due to the amount of supply available. For Buyers, it’s an interesting time to consider getting in or moving up as interest rates remain among historically low levels, and real estate today is ‘on sale’ – don’t wait for the sale to end! 

Dad & I have proudly been serving Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows & Mission for a combined 45 years, and we love being able to offer honest, experienced, sincere, local real estate advice to our clients! Thank you for your continued trust and referrals! If you or someone you know is considering a move this Fall or as we look ahead to turning the corner to 2020, we’d love to hear from you!

With that, our best to you this Fall – take the time to enjoy the sights, sounds & smells – and don’t forget to collect your candy tax before the kids spend it all!

-Nathan & Art

Family Matters

A year ago we announced that Josh had joined the team after working hard to get through the UBC Sauder School of Business Real Estate Course. Under great duress, Josh did WELL on the exam when an amazingly high percentage weren’t passing the test at all. We took Josh under our wing and many of you experienced the pleasure of meeting Josh for the first time or renewing your acquaintance. After taking a hard look at life, his family needs and direction, Josh has chosen to step away from the business. As of this writing Josh is considering his many options and will land well with some lucky employer! Josh shows up, works hard, is an amazing father and I’m proud to be his Dad. – Art

Wrapping up 2018.

Well it’s been another whirlwind year in the real estate business! A ridiculously hot market finally petered out in late spring after showing significant signs of softening in 2017. The two senior levels of government have successfully tag-teamed against a market that was adjusting downward already, softening it further, pushing values and sales down in our market area.

Today’s market adjustment is creating buying opportunities for first time Buyers, those needing a larger home, folks wanting to buy acreage, or investors looking to add a piece to their portfolio. If you’re a Buyer, it’s a time to be patient, but not foolhardy. If you’re a Seller, it’s a time for smart pricing, getting ahead of a downward trend, thereby putting more $$$ in your pocket in not chasing the market, hoping for ‘that one Buyer’ that is likely sitting on the sidelines.

While values are adjusting downward, there’s never a promise any trend will continue. A softening market always creates the unintended consequence of the next ‘super-hot’ cycle. I can never predict specifics, but I’ve seen enough cycles in my thousand or so years as a Realtor to know this will occur. In my mind, when the next upswing hits, it will be other worldly, even beyond what we saw with the recent market insanity that is now in our rearview mirror……..or backup camera, if you’re that trendy.

One of my favourite quotes is by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The years teach us much, which the days never knew.” The years continue to teach me appreciation for my profession, for the loyalty and trust of Clients, appreciation for folks that know us, trusting us to be honest and honourable with their real estate and their lives. Real estate involves us intimately in our Client’s lives, whether with growing families, end of life situations or special housing needs, you honour us with your trust and your personal referrals. Thank you! You are the lifeblood of our business.

From our homes to yours, we wish you the very best of the Christmas Season and into the New Year!

Neufeld Christmas Rewind

“One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas Day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.” – Andy Rooney

‘The Stair Picture’ – An annual Christmas morning tradition in our house growing up. While mom got the stockings & presents arranged, we were banished to the basement. When mom was ready, Dad was waiting with the camera every year for this picture. While you can’t see my face, rest assured I was showing leadership amongst the family, keeping order & calm before the upcoming Christmas morning chaos. 25 some odd years later, not much has changed……there’s just more chaos, and we love it. – Nathan

The Littlest Hobo. A cruel exercise in teaching us patience on Christmas morning. Or so it seemed. We didn’t have cable TV, so we watched whatever the bunny-ears would pick up on the 3 channels available. I grew to have a love/hate for that show. A Christmas staple, that I couldn’t stand because it was incredibly boring, but that’s what we had to pass the time. So, we waited, and watched. After what seemed an excruciating eternity, we would get the call to come up to the tree. – Josh

The Sign Said “Eight Items or Less”….

…so I changed my name to Les and got into line.

Change is so everywhere and everything these days.  But you know what doesn’t change?  Pumpkins.  Pumpkins don’t change.  At Thanksgiving, I virtually inhaled a pumpkin pie, conservatively (I was going to say liberally….but that would never do…) covered in whipped cream.  Why virtually inhale a pumpkin pie?  Because pumpkin pie doesn’t change.  I have it once a year, baked at the loving hand of my dear spousal associate Barb, and the taste is awesome….unchanged from previous years, an annual constant in my life.

Change in the real estate market however, is a daily, sometimes moment by moment thing.  Our last newsletter spoke to the changing market, and the last several month’s stats have proven out significant change with rising inventory and lessening (catch the tie-in to the title?  This is awesome stuff…:c) sales, even stagnating sales in some market segments.  The fundamental market remains stable however; we just have to keep working hard with our Clients to find the right price point to list at, or buy into, always with our Client’s needs our top priority.

Like pumpkins, another thing that doesn’t change is us.  Our effort for our Clients, our ethics in caring for our Clients and those you refer us to, our professionalism in carrying out our business. We value our clients, knowing we cannot do what we do without your trust, and your interests are our top priority!

Celebrate the Night 2018!

The 3rd annual Celebrate the Night festival & fireworks! This free, family-friendly community festival on October 28th will transform Memorial Peace Park on 224th Street into a wonderland of lights, lanterns, artwork, storytelling, pumpkins, crafts, games, food trucks & fireworks finale!

The Year was 1990….

I had just become a licensed Realtor. In 1990, communication was limited to land-lines, fax machines, a walk down the block to the Notary’s office, or a yell down the hall to the next Realtor’s office to see what hot leads they might have.  Cell phones were a BIG deal then, both literally, figuratively & certainly economically, costing thousands of dollars for a unit that could do duty as a door stop, a structural support or a defensive weapon.  The MLS was only in the hands of Realtors, fresh tear-off sheets were couriered daily and then came The Big Move to weekly catalogues that cost and weighed a ton. Yup, those were the days. Continue reading