Whitehorse Winter

yukon dog sledding teamWe understand why snowbirds head south for part of the winter. It’s because they want to feel some sunshine, take in some blue skies and relax by the water. For some of us, winter in Whitehorse offers a completely different adventure, yet some of the same refreshing benefits, and we make the most of them at every opportunity we can. For those who are snow lovers, living in Whitehorse offers no shortage of activities at your back door. So for those of you who might be weighing the pros and cons of becoming a Yukon snowbird, we’d like to make some suggestions.

We could start by just mentioning the beautiful scenery that as locals we never get tired of. Here in “the wilderness city”, natural beauty is in every direction including up! Aurora Borealis viewing is a spectacular natural phenomena that we get to appreciate on starry nights. It’s a vibrant and majestic spectacle of colour with fabulous hues of green, red, purple, and yellow all waving like a mysterious curtain across the sky. Whether you appreciate it for the scientific aspect, witnessing solar energy interacting with earth’s atmosphere, or you love to contemplate days of myth and legend, it’s a shared experience that you’ll always remember. Even more so, when it’s part of your winter lifestyle.

Dog sledding is a winter activity enjoyed here in Whitehorse and availing yourself to the special relationship with a dog team at least once, can open your imagination and ignite the spark of exploration. The Takhini Valley offers the perfect terrain for a guided outing and the opportunity to share some special family memories. After spending the day mushing, you can warm up at the Takhini hot springs.

Some of Canada’s best lake fishing can be enjoyed in the Whitehorse area, where you can catch rainbow trout, northern pike, and Arctic grayling. Like everything else, those who live in north make the most of every season and if that means a snowmobile trek to cut a hole in the ice, there’s nothing seasonal about the phrase “catch of the day”. If you like the idea of living on the edge, (or the edge of town), we have real estate listings in some great neighbourhoods and outskirt areas to consider.

If you do decide that sunshine is a requirement to your winter happiness, a sunny beach is only a day away, with flights from YXY in Whitehorse to YVR in Vancouver that connect to any sunny destination you have in mind. So you can have it both ways, and enjoy seasonal extremes. Maybe it’s just the adventurer in you. Give us a call and we’ll introduce you to the locals.


Listing Your Home


If at First You Don’t Succeed
You’ve listed your home on the market and the listing agreement has expired, so now what do you do? Not every real estate deal goes through, and there are a variety of reasons. If your house hasn’t sold, it’s important to stand back and get an objective opinion. Was the lack of sale due to your home or the market? Was it the real estate agent you chose to represent you? As you reflect on the time your home was on the market, we recommend reviewing the process and asking yourself some questions.

Choosing the Right Agent: Was the agent someone you knew? Were they referred to you by someone you know and trust? What is their professional track record? Were there reviews available? Did they communicate with you during the process? Did you feel that they represented your best interests? Are they current in their approach? When people who viewed your home weren’t interested, did your real estate agent offer constructive feedback? As you consider the answers to these questions, decide whether or not you want to list with a different agent. It’s okay to ask them what their strategy will be, and what methods they plan to use. At Urban Realty Group we provide prompt responses to your questions, keeping you up to date, and work hard to bring qualified buyers to view your property.

Was it your home? Every buyer has a different vision of the perfect purchase, so it’s impossible to please everyone. However, there are ways to make your home more attractive to buyers and that has everything to do with preparation. Whether it’s taking photos to list your home or preparing for a personal viewing, making the time to properly prepare your home is the only way to make a lasting positive impression. Go through your home room by room and ask yourself these questions. Are repairs needed? Is it clean and tidy? Are the best features of the room noticeable? Is it clean and inviting? What is the ambiance? Does it feel comfortable? Are you inspired? If you’re serious about selling your home, turn the answers to these questions into a room by room to do list and commit to getting them completed. Our team can provide you with helpful tips on getting the most value for your home.

Was it the ambiance? Maybe you lost a little enthusiasm after preparing for the first showings with no result. Don’t be discouraged. Make a pre-showing to do list that can include things like snow removal, turning on lights, adjusting the temperature, opening the curtains, and taking out the trash.  Have a couple of empty laundry baskets ready to remove clutter at a moment’s notice and a place to store them where they’ll be temporarily out of sight. Try to create an ambiance that communicates a feeling of optimism as you move from room to room.

Was it the price? It’s natural to want to make the most  on your investment, and pricing to high or too low can prevent homes from selling. Pricing that’s inflated by circumstances or sentimental value will not move. Pricing that’s deflated in hopes of a quick sale can have the opposite effect and cause feelings of suspicion or trepidation. Consider that the best price is one that reflects what the current market will bear for homes of similar size with similar features in a similar condition, regardless of what you originally paid for your home, or how much your renovations cost. We understand the Whitehorse real estate market and can help you price your home for the most realistic outcome.

Our team knows the Whitehorse real estate market and can help you price your home to offer the best returns for the current market conditions. We have excellent track records, are great communicators, and take our commitment seriously. We offer a proven sales strategy that gets results. While we can’t guarantee the sale of your home, we can guarantee that we have your best interests in mind in all of our recommendations. Customer service is our top priority. Give us a call, we’d love to go to work for you!

Cigarette Smoke Could Affect The Sale of Your Home

hand holding burning cigaretteA few years ago, a group called the Clean Air Coalition was formed, and decided to declare the month of June to be Smoke Free Multi-Unit Housing Month. This coalition is a partnership between the BC Lung Association and the Heart and Stroke Foundation BC & Yukon with the goal of raising awareness about the harmful effects of second hand smoke. These days people are generally pretty conscientious about this, and awareness has certainly increased substantially from a decade ago. But what about smoking in your own home? The goal of this coalition would like to see all multi-unit housing become smoke free. The Federal Government is also considering banning smoking in shared housing such as condos and apartment buildings. While this initiative is being debated more strongly in some provinces than others, it’s something to think about regardless of which province or territory you call home. Here are a few issues the coalition have identified and changes they are working toward.

The health risks of second hand cigarette smoke have been well researched. With more people living in apartments, condos, and other forms of shared housing, drifting cigarette smoke from a neighbouring unit can cause health concerns, especially in children. So the concern is that even though the neighbours in Unit A are non-smokers, they are still affected by the second hand smoke of their neighbours in Unit B. So whose rights should be legally defended, the right to clean air for the people living in Unit A, or the rights of the people in Unit B to pursue lawful activities in the privacy of their home?

The coalition is also asking that buildings be given a smoking status. If landlords and strata corporations were required to provide tenants or buyers with a building’s smoking status, people would know where the smoking units were located before they moved in and they could be spaced or grouped accordingly.

For new strata properties, some proposed changes would include possible amendments to legislation requiring that all new shared housing buildings be smoke free, unless owners pass a 3/4 vote to allow smoking. Incentives to this end could include lower insurance, or possible tax credits.

Stale smoke odours can be a real turn off for non-smoking buyers. Smoking can reduce the resale value of a property by as much as 29% according to a 2013 survey published by CBC, Smoke particulates are so small they can cling to any surface including wall surfaces, carpets, and furniture. Before you spray air fresheners, read this blog post, which offers some helpful tips for getting the smoke smell out of your home in preparation to sell.

If you’re considering selling you home, talk to our Urban Realty Group. We can provide you with more tips to get your home clean, staged, and ready for market. Let’s get started!

Commercial Properties in Whitehorse

Every city  has a unique business community in it’s downtown core. No matter where you live, you often find the richest sense of history right downtown. Though the types of businesses may change over time, the buildings themselves become local landmarks. We thought we’d show you a few of the commercial properties currently listed with us to show the diversity of opportunity in Whitehorse.

commercial office space for sale in Whitehorse

Trendy Office Space

This particular office space is a great location downtown and right across the street from a walk in the park along Yukon River walking trails. The building has large windows for potential displays and plenty of space inside for your dynamic team. There are multiple offices spaces, 2 boardrooms and a full kitchen, partitioned with soundproof glass walls, and the best of dedicated fibre connectivity.  Check out the listing here.



A commercial property listing available in Whitehorse
It All Happens Here

If you’ve always dreamed of having a part in building the local scene in Whitehorse, then the  Kopperking might be just the highway business opportunity you’ve been looking for. Steeped in local history and tradition, this 6 acre property on the Alaska highway is close to downtown Whitehorse and the Canada Games Centre. There’s plenty of room for your ideas in this complex which includes a popular lounge/pub, highway gas and minimart, 30+ stall mobile park, staff housing complex, leased restaurant and several additional storage buildings. With good financial returns in the present there is potential to increase revenue and development too. Check out more details here.

Industrial space for sale in Whitehorse YTRoom For Your Ideas
They say it’s what’s inside that counts.. and that’s especially true when it comes to having a facility that will meet the needs of your business. In this case, it’s a turn-key property that ready for a large commercial or industrial operation, in the Marwell subdivision. True, it needs a little TLC on the outside, but if you’re looking for long term value this is a great investment for a trucking business or auto repair service. With over 22000 square feet of warehouse and shop space, it’s ready for your ideas. Get started by taking a tour with Dave!



Commercial space for lease in WhitehorseLeasing Retail Space
Now you don’t come across this kind of commercial building very often! It’s right in downtown Whitehorse in a highly visible location that can’t be missed! You can buy approx. 10,000 sqft of leasable space that’s situated on a 24,500 sqft land plot for 995,000. It’s just minutes from large national franchises located in Whitehorse, so the right creative investor can find a way to benefit from the customer traffic and activity. Here are the details!


(Listing prices and details are based on date of publication.)

Reducing Your Mortgage Faster

making a mortgage payment onlineGetting out of debt is a common goal and we look forward to the day we can host our mortgage burning party or frame our accomplishment. Back in October the TD bank announced it was raising the variable rate mortgage in response to new mortgage rules announced by the federal government. These rules were meant to ensure people can afford the homes they buy, even if interest rates go up. Who wants to pay more interest than they have to? Here are some tips that will help you get your home paid off faster.

1. It’s tax time and for many Whitehorse residents, that northern residents deductions are having a positive impact on how much personal income tax they have to pay.If you lived or received travel benefits for working here in Whitehorse, there are some specific deductions you’re entitled to. If this means a tax rebate is coming to you, consider using your refund to help pay down your mortgage.

2. If you haven’t yet, consider a bi-weekly mortgage payment instead of monthly. You’ll make half of your mortgage payment every other week instead of monthly. This schedule allows you to make 13 payments a year and can shorten the length of your mortgage by approximately 6 years.

3. Most of us use online banking and it’s pretty simple to set up a transfer from the account you normally use, into a savings account. Divide your monthly payment by 12, and start saving up for an extra mortgage payment. If you don’t want to do the bi-weekly payment, this is another option. Even adding an extra $25 to each payment can add up to big interest savings over the term of your mortgage.

4. We’ve all heard that it’s best to live within our means, which practically speaking means calculating a monthly budget based on your actual income, re-evaluating the essential payments and reducing the amount you spend on the non-essentials. Whatever you’re able to not spend each month can be applied to paying down your mortgage. Budgeting sounds about as much fun as the word “diet”, but it doesn’t take long before the monthly statements are showing an impressive difference to your debt and that can be very motivating. It’s the financial equivalent to admiring the new you in the mirror. Imagining what you can use your income for when you no longer have to apply it to your mortgage can also be very motivating.

Be sure to check your own mortgage terms to avoid prepayment penalties. If you happen to win the lottery, receive a windfall of some kind, you’ll want to know how much you can pay down without penalty. Or, maybe the penalty will be worth it, and that will be the least of your worries.

Moving Tips – 6 Ideas for Smoother Packing

Woman packing and getting ready to moveMoving is a big job and if you’re lucky you have people offering to help. The right pre-planning can make things go smoother and can actually make it easier for your helpers to pitch in to get the job done. If you have a move coming up, consider these 6 tips for packing smart and delegating the work.

  1. Weight! There’s more! Be sure to pack your heavy items at the bottom of the box. It’s a good idea to use small boxes for heavy items and to mark them with a bright coloured sticker so that the boxes will be loaded onto the moving truck accordingly. If you can pack heavy boxes closer to the front of the truck, your load will have better balance and a smoother ride.
  2. Where did I pack the… If you pack your boxes by room you can keep similar items together. Chances are you remember where you used to look for things, so unpacking boxes by room will help narrow down the search when you’re looking for items. It also makes it easier for your helpers to pitch in if they know they can focus on one room at a time.
  3. Advance Planning – Think of what you’ll need to access first when you get to your new home and mark those boxes as “last to load” for easy access later. That way you easily unload them first to have all the essentials in one place.
  4. Impulse Packing – If you can, try to finish all of the packing before the day of the actual move. That’ll let you avoid impulse packing, and adding things randomly into boxes. It’ll also let you get a good rest so you can focus on moving boxes not filling them to help reduce stress.
  5. Multi Size Approach – Choose a variety of box sizes so that you can pack your load more securely. Larger boxes are great for lighter items, or to place smaller boxes inside to save on packing chips and extra filler.
  6. Put it in writing – Label your boxes clearly listing key items, the room you want to box to go to, which side is up, whether the items are fragile and whether or not it’s heavy. The advantage of a good labeling system is that it will make it easier for your helpers to be actually be helpful. They’ll know exactly which person should be moving the box and where it’s going.

If you’re planning a move to or from the Whitehorse area, here are some companies that can help you get your belongings from Point A to Point B.

U-Haul Moving Truck Rental
K&K Truck Rentals
Pacific Northwest Moving
Kluane Freight Lines
Budget Car and Truck Rental

Fraud Prevention Tip

fraud prevention in land titlesOctober was cyber security month, which got us thinking about fraud and how it can pertain to real estate transactions.There are people who consider real estate commissions to be an added and unncessary cost, and who would prefer to sell their home through a private sale. Working with an experienced real estate agent is the easiest way to notice any unusual activity in your transaction. Because these transactions are familiar to us, it’s easier to spot read flags that could be trouble.Here are a few examples of how identity theft can be a threat to home owners and potential buyers.

If the identity of a legitimate property owner is stolen, the fraudster may gain access to financial and personal information. Pretending they are the homeowner, they can list the property for sale and even pose as the owners to potential buyers. The buyer is not expecting any fraudulent activity and so obtains the financing they need to purchase the home. Once they’ve moved in, they later face the cost and stress of defending their right of ownership to the legitimate owners. Not only is that bad news for the buyer who has obtained the financing, but the legitimate owner may also be subject to the debt of the new mortgages that have been added to the land title. Both are stuck with legal bills to defend the damages resulting from the fraud.

Another circumstance of real estate fraud includes using a stolen identity to obtain financing against the equity of a property, rather than trying to sell it. This can involve including an accomplice to impersonate a spouse. It’s important to monitor your statements each month to ensure that you’re fully aware of all transactions that affect your home and title. Though not as common, there are those who pose as professionals committing fraud as well. While the title to the property may have been transferred to the purchaser, it is still bound to the prior mortgage until the mortgage is discharged. So, if the lawyer or notary absconds the funds, the previous owner remains liable.

You can reduce your risk of land title fraud with a few simple steps:
1. Ensure that the land registry office in your area lists you as the owner of your home.
2. Obtain a residential title insurance policy. It can protect homeowners and lenders from the costs and stress of land title fraud.
3. Ask for references. You can reduce the risk of being affected by choosing to work with reputable professionals who are licensed to work on your behalf.
4. Retirees who have paid off their homes and have a good credit rating may be more at risk as they may be less familiar with the odious nature of cyber crime.

The insurance bureau of Canada recommends these additional tips for safeguarding your online identity. If you have questions about land title insurance give us a call. You can also learn more about land titles at the Land Title Office here in Whitehorse.

Why Choose Urban Realty Group

urg-fbads-sellersSelling real estate is much like any other professional service that’s offered. It takes time to build a reputation as an agency that will consistently provide great results. One of the ways that has happened for us is through client referrals. People only refer family and friends if they feel confident that the experience will be positive. When we started in 2015, Urban Realty Group was the new name in town, and although there have been real estate sales in Whitehorse as long as there have been properties for sale, we feel that what we bring to our clients is still unique in several important ways.

1. We’re not a nationwide franchise, so the work that we do is within the community of Whitehorse. Housing is vitally important to all communities, but even more so here in the North. We have built relationships with the people who live here because we live here too, and have invested in the community ourselves.

2. We believe that your experience with us as a client begins when you enter our office, give us a call, or send an email. You can expect us to show a keen interest in getting results for you in the shortest timeline possible. We work hard to ensure that we are always available to answer questions because our reputation depends on it.

3. As a smaller agency we have greater flexibility than a national real estate company, so we are able to find creative ways to market your property. We aren’t limited by what works best for the corporation. Like every other agency across Canada, we still have the same access to national MLS listings to meet the needs of our clients.

4. Every home we list has been personally viewed by our team so that we can answer your questions from a first hand experience. We can answer questions about the community of Whitehorse and its neighbourhoods because we know them personally. Some of us have lived here so long we can even tell you where things used to be.

5. Competing for sales is a common environment within franchise agencies and can result in a stressful work environment, and a less personal experience for the client. Our team prefers to work together, and we meet regularly to review and meet the needs of our clients.

The highest compliment we receive is a referral to your family and friends. When friends of friends ask us to help them buy or sell a home here in Whitehorse, we know it’s only because they’ve had a positive experience themselves. It’s very rewarding to know that we are successfully meeting and often exceeding our clients’ expectations. If you want a real estate experience you would want to refer to others, give us a call.

Winter Listings

winter real estate listings

Winter isn’t here yet, but we know it’s on the way. Those who choose to live in Whitehorse expect to see snow, so don’t be worried about putting your home on the market during winter months. There is still an active real estate market in the winter months, and online listings can still provide a great first impression of your home. Here are a few more tips for making the most of your winter listing.

1. Showcasing the outdoor features of your home can be more challenging in winter months so if you’re considering putting your home on the market you can plan ahead by taking photos before any long term weather changes happen. If you’ve done a fabulous job of landscaping your property, it will be hard to appreciate that when your yard is covered in snow.

2. If you have outdoor pets, ensure that they are properly restrained before viewers arrive. Not everyone appreciates the exhuberance of a friendly canine, especially one they’ve never met. If they’re indoor pets, take the time to regularly freshen the areas where they sleep so that odours are kept to a minimum.

3. Make it as easy as possible for people to find and access your home during the winter months. That will mean keeping the walkways and driveway cleared, and minimizing the risks associated with icy conditions. Don’t be disappointed if shoowings have to get rescheduled due to weather conditions.

4. When viewers come to view your home they’ll be coming in from the cold, and dressed for it. You can make the viewing experience more pleasant by lowering your home thermostat an hour before they arrive.

5. Make sure your home is as well lit as possible by turning on all of the lights prior to a showing. First impressions are powerful, and being able to easily move from room to room will create a positive feeling of ease and relaxation.

6. Plan ahead for the indoor traffic flow by placing an absorbant floor mat by the door to protect the flooring in your entry way. Provide an area for people to comfortably remove their boots, and hang up their jackets. You don’t want their first impression to be wet socks and a front closet exploding with hats and scarves.

Ready to list? Our team is ready to get started! Give Urban Realty Group a call and let’s talk about the next steps to selling your home.

Time to Move? You’ll Know It When..

sofaWe thought we’d share something on the lighter side this month. If you’ve lived at the same address for a long time, there are a few of these signs that may sound familiar.

You know it’s time to move when…

1. The house you bought on the outskirts of town, is now located in the downtown area.
2. The answer you most often hear on the repair help line is “they stopped making that years ago”.
3. The backyard swing set has roots, and it isn’t a tree.
4. The plumber is the first number in your phone’s speed dial directory.
5. The handyman just comes by twice a month now.
6. You have disproportionate number of guest rooms.
7. There’s a picture of Romanian gymnast Nadia Comăneci from the Montreal summer Olympics on the newspaper drawer liner in your garage.
8. You have two tone carpet in the family room.
9. You need to have the approval from the heritage society before you can renovate.
10. You haven’t even been upstairs this year.

On a more serious note, we understand the stress that can accompany making a move. For many families, putting down roots is more than a geographical connection. It’s deciding to leave a neighbourhood, community resources and connections, and the comfort of familiarity. For others, changing addresses is an adventure around the corner, or the next step in an evolving career. One of the most satisfying aspects of being a real estate agent is working to understand our clients’ needs and helping them to meet their goals. If you’re looking for a new place to call home in Whitehorse, give us a call. We have listings in a variety of neighbourhoods including Riverdale, Whistle Bend, and Copper Ridge.