Vancouver Island Real Estate and Community News

 

July 19, 2021

3750 Ross Road | $499,900 | Centrally Located Uplands Family Home w/ Great Layout

Located in the family neighbourhood of Uplands, you will find this incredible 4 bedroom 3 bathroom home with a great open layout, living and family room, private back yard, and plenty of parking. Walking in on the lower floor you are greeted to an open entry way leading upstairs to the spacious living room with beautiful fireplace, a great dining space for the whole family and a stunning kitchen with stainless steel appliances and plenty of storage space. Enjoy having your family together in this space whether it’s for homework sessions or movie nights. Downstairs is a family room, laundry and the 4th bedroom. Outside take advantage of the privacy with a large deck and yard, a fire pit area, storage shed, and space for a garden. With plenty of parking out front you can also accommodate all your vehicles & friends & family. This home is close to all major amenities including schools, Country Club Mall, parks, restaurants, transit and more. Check it out today! Msmts approx., pls verify if important.

July 12, 2021

What the Heck is a Cistern

Ever wonder what that big plastic green tank sitting on properties as you drive by?  This big ugly thing is called a cistern and is a holding tank for water.  This can be used for a catch basin for rainwater that is collected off of your roof down your gutters, an extra holding tank pumped out of your well if it doesn’t have a quick refresh or fill rate, or if you don’t have enough water in your well it could be a holding tank for water that you have trucked in.

Let’s start with a collection tank for the rainwater off of your roof.  This is a pretty cool idea to use the rainwater for either your watering or filtered for your household water.  Being on the island we sure have enough rain to capture and putting it to good use is a smart idea.  It is easy to do as your rain is collected anyways from your roof and gutters and then the downspout will just feed into the top of the cistern and done.

If your well has a slow refill rate, you can use the cistern as an extra holding tank so that if you are second in the cue to have a shower, you don’t run out of water.  The holding tank will be pumped from the well when it gets below the line that you set up or when the well gets enough water in it to pump some out.

 

Getting water trucked in is not the best, but it's what we have to do if we have a shortage.  This is pretty simple a big truck backs up and pumps the cistern full.  Normally people don’t have to do this often, maybe just in the hot month or months is when it is needed.  If this is a more common issue then a second cistern to collect the rainwater would be a good idea to keep the costs down in trucking it in.

There are a few other reasons that someone would have a cistern that are above my paygrade but for some of the sediment and sulfur in your water a cistern can filter some of that out before it hits your house system.

Are there any other options other than the big green tanks?  Some tanks go into your foundations now when you are building which is pretty cool.  These would be to collect the rainwater for use of your toilets, dishwasher, and any other item other than drinking which wouldn’t have to be filtered as much, and then your well would be just for drinking and cooking with.

Water is a pretty important item in your quality of living so make sure you talk to the water guys who are much more knowledgeable in what will work best for you but I hope this helps you understand just a bit more about what a cistern is and used for. 

 

*This blog made available by The Jim Grieve Group is for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of real estate, not to provide specific real estate advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no Realtor-client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for competent real estate advice from a licensed professional Realtor. 

July 5, 2021

Heating Sources

There are a few different heating types and the advances over time have made them much more effective and efficient.  

Let us start with good old wood stove heat.  If you have ever got in from outside and had a fire going you just feel it in your bones and it warms you very quickly.  An open wood stove doesn’t push the heat around as a sealed unit will.  Normally they will have a damper that will adjust the air ratio to burn faster or slower and must be vented outside of course. 

If you have a sealed unit they must be wett certified which means it meets the regulations of the manufacture so it doesn’t start a fire.  A woodstove sealed or open doesn’t push the heat around like other sources, but you can put a heat-regulated fan on top, giving it a bit more distance on heating.

Baseboard heat is the cheapest to install as most of the heaters are only about $20 apiece.  They normally have a thermostat on the wall by the light but sometimes will have a small turn dial on the end of the heater itself to regulate the heat.  The great thing about baseboard heat is that you can regulate the heat per room.  If you don’t need the heat on in the bedrooms you leave them off costing you nothing and just turn the heat on for the rooms as you need it.  

There are a few problems with baseboard heat.  The main one being that there is no airflow and you get stagnant air in your house which may cause other issues.  The other issue is that baseboard heating is more expensive as hydro increases and will also take a bit more breakers in your panel and could be an issue if you have a smaller panel.  

Forced air heating sources mean exactly what it says, heat that is forced through pipes throughout the house.  

Oil forced air is the oldest type normally we are seeing around and the most expensive to run. If you have an oil system make sure you have it checked out because it more than likely is nearing its end of optimal function.

Electric forced air and gas forced air work the same but with the gas pricing now it is a bit cheaper to run the gas forced air.  With the gas forced units, it is easy to tell if they are a high-efficiency unit by a PVC or white or grey plastic pipe running out of its top.  

Heat pumps can be attached to any forced air units as they work through the ductwork systems.  You must have the original system as a backup in case the system needs help normally due to too cold outside.  The systems are much better and work well below 0 but start needing help around -5 which hopefully we don’t see very often.  A heat pump is great as it will give you air conditioning as well.  

If your home doesn’t have ducting and maybe just has baseboard heat you can get a ductless heat pump which is a box unit outside and then a large rectangular box or fan unit on your wall.  They need an open space to push the heat, making it not as effective but a great alternative.

Forced air units give you the air circulation that your house needs.  Air movement will keep the moisture off the windows and that stagnant air smell you can sometimes get in your house.  

I hope this helps explain a bit more about the different heating sources that can be found in your home and when you are looking.  It's always an option to upgrade and if you have an older forced air system the best option is to add a heat pump to take the stress off of the older system.  There is always a solution to every problem.

 

*This blog made available by The Jim Grieve Group is for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of real estate, not to provide specific real estate advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no Realtor-client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for competent real estate advice from a licensed professional Realtor. 

June 28, 2021

Rodents

Rats!  A swear word that comes out of an inspector's mouth every time.  I haven’t found anyone that has heard they have little furry creatures in their crawlspace or attic and was happy about it.  

Let’s start with rats in the attic.  It is common but harder to deal with them than in the crawl. They like it up there because it's like tunneling through a huge pillow and they can get all around peacefully.  One of the largest problems with those little guys is their feces. They poop and pee everywhere and on everything and that can cause smells and it's just not good to ingest.  If it's really horrible then the best option is to remove the insulation with the pee on it and put fresh stuff up there. Finding out how they got in and sealing it up so they can’t get back up to the pillowy playground again.

The crawlspace is the most common as there are many easy spaces for them to crawl into from the outside and come and go as they please.  You would be amazed at how small of a space those little guys can squeeze their bodies through if they want to get somewhere.  If your floor in the crawl is insulated, it is an amazing place for rats to hang out.  Cleaning the feces up and then keeping them out is the best fix for there as well. Steel wool is a great option for small holes around plumbing pipes as our furry friends don’t like sticking their noses against it and will stay away.  

It will seem like a gross mess to clean up and a lot of work but a shop vac, some steel wool, and a bit of insulation if needed will take care of them.  An exterminator can also come and assist in letting you know where they are coming in from and to help move them from their current home to a new one. 

Everything that comes up can be taken care of and the more we know how to fix the problem the less of an issue they seem.

 

*This blog made available by The Jim Grieve Group is for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of real estate, not to provide specific real estate advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no Realtor-client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for competent real estate advice from a licensed professional Realtor. 

June 23, 2021

402-3040 Pine Street | $229,900 | Beautiful Chemainus Condo w/ Ocean Views

Welcome home to the quaint town of Chemainus where you will find this 2 bedroom 1 bathroom unit at Lockwood Villas, a quiet and yet highly accessible complex. This bright unit features ocean views, a galley kitchen with open living room that can include a dining space, a covered deck that overlooks the ocean and is centrally located close to all shopping, restaurants, parks and schools. The well-run strata allows for pets & rentals and there is no age restriction. Whether you are looking for a new home for yourself or are an investor, this will definitely be one you won’t want to miss. Msmts approx., pls verify if important.

June 21, 2021

Slabjacking

What is slabjacking and why would you ever buy a house with issues like that?

To know why and how this may be an issue for you we need to know how the house is built a little bit. The normally concrete foundation is like an upside-down T all of the way around the house and then inside where the load-bearing walls are. If your house is on a slab, the easiest way to tell is to stomp on the floor. If it sounds hollow then you know it is on a crawl but if it is solid then you are on a slab.

The inside of the house is filled with sand and here is where the issue can arise. If the sand isn’t packed down or tamped, it can wash away and cause a weak or hollow spot and crack or drop. This normally will show closer to the edges where the tamping machine they use can’t get too close. You may see a drop in the flooring and a gap under the baseboard a couple of years after its built. If it’s not too much sometimes the flooring guys will float/spread more concrete to level it out again or if a larger issue, then there are other options.

I have seen some floors that have dropped a few inches from front to back and some with some large cracks in them. The cracks can be filled and taken care of and if dropped too much you can do a process called slabjacking. This is where they come in and drill holes in the slab and pump the floor back up to the level it off. This can be done inside the house as well as outside for walkways and patios.

Walkways and patios are easy to spot and drop all of the time. You can see the mark on the foundation wall where it originally was and then see how much it dropped. You don’t want it moving at an angle that will drain water to your foundation wall. You will see the walkways and patios move up and down and they put the crack lines in the slabs because of this. Cracks happen with the movement so be careful of a tripping hazard and in winter you may enlarge it when the water gets into it and freezes and expands. Very common to see these issues in houses of any age.

Remember the slab inside isn’t a structural issue so take a step back and see that it can be fixed pretty easily when the right guys get at it. It probably also took a lot of time for this to happen and moves very slowly so not a rush and just fix it when you are redoing the floors. Walkways and patios are also poured after the foundation goes in and isn’t attached to the house in any way so it can move up and down as the weather does its thing. 

Take a look when you are taking a look at the house and the more information you know the better.

*This blog made available by The Jim Grieve Group is for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of real estate, not to provide specific real estate advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no Realtor-client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for competent real estate advice from a licensed professional Realtor. 

June 14, 2021

Underground Oil Tank

An oil tank beside a house isn’t the most decorative item nor does it enhance the look of the house. At one time they used to find it better and easier to bury the large tank in the ground hiding it from view and allowing for a larger tank to fuel your house. Now, of course, we realize that it could and has caused all kinds of environmental issues if they get a leak in them spilling the old oil into the soil and water sources. Most of the time you and I will never know that there was or is a tank in the ground at your home but there may be a few ways we can investigate and then call in the professionals to scan the ground. 

I always look for evidence as the buried oil tanks needed a few things to connect, fill and vent them so we need to look for these clues. The location in town and the age of the house is a good one. If you are buying in an area known for underground tanks there is a larger chance you may have one as well. The hardest one to find is the fill cap. This was a round screw-on cap that will be above the tank. Normally this gets buried over time and grass growing overtop but if you are lucky you might find one.

Next is an air vent. This is normally a 2-inch metal pipe that released air from the tank allowing it to fill and empty without burping or gurgling. It’s the same concept as putting a hole in the apple juice container or shotgunning a beer. The pipe would be normally be attached to the house with a few straps and sometimes you would see just the holes for the straps after it has been removed.

The last one I have found multiple times is the lines into the house to the furnace. If the furnace has been replaced most of the time they cut the lines off but leave them in the foundation just cut at the wall. Keep a lookout for that and follow the lines out if you can. 

Underground tanks can cause huge financial costs and I have seen expenses of as little as $8k and up to $150k just in our local market. Out of our local market, I have heard of double and even triple that number. When the tank is getting removed the larger the tank normally the stronger the walls are and the less likely the tank was to have leaked so don’t worry too much about the size of the hole afterward when you see it. The biggest thing is the soil sample after the tank is out and the clean bill of health for the soil. I’ve never seen it as well but I have heard of there being more than one tank buried so if we have any question that there might be a tank we need to have the property scanned by the professionals to make sure before we move forward with the purchase. The most interesting buried oil tank I did find because the feeder lines had a gas line over the top of the oil tank. I’m not sure if they saw the oil tank as it was only about 6 inches above the top of the tank but it sure made for a more difficult removal.

A scan is the only way to ensure a there is no tank and for the $550-800 it might cost you to have one done its well worth it if removal at the least is $8000. Again, there is a solution to everything but If we find a buried oil tank or evidence there might be one, stop, and let us come up with a game plan on how to move forward or away.

*This blog made available by The Jim Grieve Group is for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of real estate, not to provide specific real estate advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no Realtor-client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for competent real estate advice from a licensed professional Realtor. 

June 7, 2021

Types of Plumbing

There are a few types of plumbing you might see in your home, or may not depending on the type of build, but if you can see the type of plumbing take a look and be careful of a few of them. 

Most common in a house 5 years or older is copper. Copper piping is, yes you guessed it, copper in color and has soldered joints in most cases. This process and type of product have been a very long-lasting product and in my opinion, is one of the best options in an older home and I would feel very safe having this in my house. Leaking can happen most normally where the solder joint is. Sometimes you will notice a green color at the joint. Keep an eye on this and if needed replace and resolder the joint. 

Pex is a newer product and is being used in newer houses. This product is a good option as it has better flexibilities to reduce the number of connections, which are the weakest point in plumbing, and installation is much quicker. Installation is done with crimping tools rather than solder and a torch which leaves less room for human or installation error. You may see some upgraded Pex piping merged in with your previous copper which they have made easy to do. Another great option and a good thing to see in your home. Let’s take some time and talk about poly b. Poly b is the big swear word out there right now and the insurance companies are driving this car. Poly b is normally a grey pipe and at the joints, you will see either a copper ring around each side of the joint and hopefully a coper connector or you may see a plastic connector. The plastic connections are a bad idea. If you crimped the connection too much it would surely crack. Not the best option as it could slowly leak after you cover the walls up and will keep leaking till it comes through the walls. This is sometimes called stage 1 poly b. Stage 2 poly b is the metal joints which is by far the best option in poly b. Some insurance companies are not a fan of any poly b in homes and it seems like they are getting more and more careful about this product. 

If your home or a home that you are interested in has poly b, it can be replaced and a plumber can do some amazing things to fix the issue with as little damage to your walls as possible. If you have a crawlspace they will have full access to the majority of work to be done. Before you worry too much about it have a plumber in to see costs and assess it first. Everything can be taken care of and the right plumber will have you taken care of with little interruption.

You may see some black abs pipes or cast larger normally 4 inches. Cast pipes in older homes should be replaced as they, over time will build up from the inside causing restriction on flow. It is fairly easy to replace this but be careful when you take it out as it's way heavier than you think. Abs is a black plastic piping and is most used. They glue the joints and it seems to be the best product out there for this application.

A good inspector can see most issues but again can’t see inside the walls. They will be able to tell you what type of plumbing is inside the house and what issues may come up as well. It is common to have a few plumbing issues to take care of but having a plumber in they can take care of a lot of things in only a few hours.

*This blog made available by The Jim Grieve Group is for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of real estate, not to provide specific real estate advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no Realtor-client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for competent real estate advice from a licensed professional Realtor. 

May 21, 2021

Perimeter Drains

Perimeter drains are a very boring thing to talk about and spend money on but are very helpful to keeping water out of your house.  A perimeter drain runs around your house and then sends the water to the storm drain in most cases.  They collect the groundwater and also the rainwater from the roof through the gutters and downspouts and send it away from your foundation.  Your perimeter drain is below the dirt by the footing of your foundation.  It is put in place before you put your sidewalks or landscaping so properly fixing the whole thing will normally cause a mess and a bunch more work to put things back together after your repair.

Older homes had a single perimeter drain made of concrete tiles which as you can imagine after time will collapse causing a break in the flow of water around the house to the storm drain.  This can cause a water pool where the break is and could cause some water ingress to your crawlspace or somewhere in your house it shouldn’t be.  Any time water sits beside your house over time can do bad things and should be fixed.  

The next stage in perimeter drains is big O piping, a normally corrugated black pipe.  This pipe has holes in the top and solid on the bottom so that your roof water through the downspouts, if not too much, will stay in the big o pipe, and then the top holes will collect the surrounding rain/groundwater.  The problem with this design is if there is too much water the pipes will be releasing the water back out through those holes.  Normally that is when you need them to be working at their best. 

Although it is stronger than concrete tile, this pipe can collapse as well over time, causing water intrusion issues.  Normally this is an easier fix as it would fail in spots of the perimeter, not the whole distance.  Dig it up and fix the broken piece then you are ready for the next rain.

If you have a single system either concrete or big O sometimes it helps to divert some of the water from overrunning your perimeter system or if there is a break in the line somewhere move as much water from the issue spot as possible.  A solution to this is simply diverting the downspout pipe water as far away from the foundation of the house as possible.  The way to do this is easiest by an extension onto the downspout to take the water away at least 4 feet from your house.

There is a small roll-out hose that attaches to your downspout that rolls out when it rains moving the water away from your house.  When the rain stops and the water stops running down the downspouts it rolls back in. 

They are only about $10-20.  Half of the water going to the issue will help a lot.

The newest way they are doing it is a 2 pipe system.  They are using a single solid white pipe without any holes to take only gutter/roof water to the drains.  No way dirt can clog the holes or over-filling the pipes.  The second pipe is the same size but has holes to collect the groundwater and is all covered with gravel to help the water find its way to the drains and away to the road.

Not the most interesting thing to talk about but if an issue comes up it's always better to know what’s going on and how to fix it.

*This blog made available by The Jim Grieve Group is for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of real estate, not to provide specific real estate advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no Realtor-client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for competent real estate advice from a licensed professional Realtor. 

May 17, 2021

Crawl Space

The hole, normally in your laundry room or bedroom closet, that leads to the dark space under your house. 

A crawl space is a great thing in my opinion as it allows you to access plumbing, keeps your flooring warmer rather than a slab floor (concrete), and a good place for your furnace and some storage.  

Let's start with a slab floor compared to a crawl space under your feet.  Standing on concrete as you know is much cooler than standing with shoes on.  Your crawlspace gives an air gap between your feet and the ground.  

Accessing the electrical and plumbing from the crawl is a really good thing.  You will be able to see if there is a leak or move anything if you want or need to.  If you have a slab floor you are breaking the concrete up and digging the plumbing out. 

The crawl space is called a crawlspace for a reason.  I have seen a crawl with as little as a foot and a half to 6 feet.  Normally a craw is 3.5-4 feet and has a concrete or skim layer on the flooring of it.  The furnace can be in it on its side, mounted to the floor joists out of the way.

You will see the foundation wall and then normally a footing or center wall in the middle if needed. 

On the floor between the footings, you will often find a skim layer of concrete.  Normally there is a layer of poly and then a thin layer of concrete approximately 2 inches.  Don’t worry if there are cracks in it as it is just to keep poly down which keeps the dirt and moisture away from getting into your house.  If your house has a crawlspace without a concrete skim coat you want to ensure it has a poly/vapor barrier covering the dirt.  If you have a dirt crawl, the moisture that will come up in the dirt can enter your house and cause it to have an odor also.  You will want the poly to completely cover every inch of the dirt.  Normally there is a mastic putty or glue/tape to the foundation walls and then tape for the joints in the floor.  Any hole will release the moisture through so tape them all up with a red tuck tape is best.  

Sometimes you will find gravel covering the poly just to keep it down as well.  

Efflorescence will show as a white powder or white staining on your foundation walls or the floor of your craw.  That is the calcium deposit left after the water has evaporated showing you have a water intrusion.  It is very common so don’t worry too much unless it is a large area or very thick but it may mean there is an issue somewhere else you want to deal with so it doesn’t get worse.  It could be a problem with your perimeter drain which I will discuss further in another blog.

Storing items in your crawlspace is possible but I feel it is best to keep things in totes just in case there is a sneaky water issue you won't see till you go to get something in it once a year or to change your furnace filter.

Give me a crawlspace to climb into over an attic any day.  I don’t feel like I am going to fall through the ceiling in a crawl and it tells us all kinds of things about the house.  It is like a peek under the hood or looking inside the walls so the more we know the better it is to make an informed decision and protect our investment.

 

*This blog made available by The Jim Grieve Group is for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of real estate, not to provide specific real estate advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no Realtor-client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for competent real estate advice from a licensed professional Realtor.