British Columbia real estate is incredibly dynamic, which is why it’s very important to stay up to date with the latest trends and developments. We spoke with expert agent Kent Armstrong about Kelowna, Millennials, and small homes. His insights paint a vivid picture of the city, and of the local challenges for homebuyers. Interested in Kelowna real estate? You’ll love this agent advice!
Have you noticed a rising interest in a particular property type?
I find there’s an equal interest in all types of properties. People are drawn to single-family homes in Kelowna, for space for their families, or to particular neighborhoods, or the privacy/views/space these options offer.
Many people are drawn to condos in Kelowna for the simplicity of having little to maintain, allowing them to spend their time out, enjoying all the activities that our region offers.
I have worked in other markets earlier in my career, but Kelowna is my favorite and I am proud to call it home. I feel we have something to offer for absolutely everyone, and I’m always excited to take people exploring on their home search. Even people that have called Kelowna home for many years are often surprised to find little pockets of neighborhoods or condo buildings they didn’t know existed!
Have you spotted any trends in the Millennials’ attitudes towards home ownership? Are parents also involved in their home buying process?
Millennials that I encounter believe strongly in home ownership. Of course, I do tend to meet most of them once they have started their process of looking for a home!
I find in a lot of cases they are not worried about having a steady career to start the process (rather they expect they will change jobs and/or career fields, and are not worried about it). Quite often it’s starting their young families that kick-starts their house hunting.
They believe strongly in the long term value of home ownership, and understand the long term financial benefits. Many have grown weary of the hassles of renting.
Are there any particular struggles that your clients complain about in the home buying process?
In our market, over the last 12-18 months, the biggest struggle for any home buyer has been the lack of options of properties to buy! This is true for most property types, whether it’s a single family home, condo, townhouse etc., and this is even more amplified in the most popular neighborhoods.
Multiple offers, and needing to be ready, willing, and able to write offers within the first day or two after a new listing hits the market has become the norm. I spend time with clients upfront, to make sure they are completely organized with financing. I prepare them on what to expect in the marketplace.
This has gone a long way to ensure my clients are winners in competitive situations, as they are ready for what we encounter, and are not overwhelmed.
Are your clients interested in buying homes that need restoration, or do they prefer buying renovated homes?
The majority of my clients are interested in having the bulk of renovations complete. They are interested in doing small, personal touches, but it’s a smaller percentage that’s looking to do major renovations.
Finances have a lot to do with this. I find people are more willing (and able) to roll the cost into a mortgage, than to have to come up with the extra finances to do renovations. Even with renovation options on mortgages, this amount is usually not nearly enough for extensive renovations.
Do you think the current mortgage system in Canada is actually discouraging prospective home buyers from considering smaller homes? Is getting a loan for a small home more difficult?
In our marketplace, small homes, or micro-homes, are something that only exists on HGTV. We are a large volume team (176 transactions last year), and we’ve often talked about how we have never once had a client inquire about a small home. They simply don’t exist.
Finding land that would even permit such structures would be a challenge, as community guidelines are in place to maintain the integrity of neighborhoods.
A licensed REALTOR® since 2011, Kent Armstrong maintains consistent reliability and honesty, which are the keys to thriving as a real estate agent in Kelowna. Affiliated with Neufeld-Jones-Marshall, RE/MAX Kelowna’s #1 team from 2012-2015, he consistently sells homes as quickly as possible, at top dollar, while also matching home-buyers with their dream properties for sale in the Okanagan real estate.