Visions of the valley await your voices and views

There was quite a buzz around the boards set up near the Lynn Valley Mall centre court today, as district planners toured visitors around several graphic displays that gave glimpses into the future of Lynn Valley Town Centre.

Since the Official Community Plan was approved last June, planners have been hard at work developing implementation plans for different town centre sites around the district. For more information about the process, and the tools that will help you contribute your own views about the latest proposals, visit the purpose-built District website, here.

The Lynn Valley plan calls for a variety of housing, street-level storefront shopping plazas, community amenities (an arts facility of some sort is under discussion, for example), parkland features and pedestrian/cycle-friendly trail networks. It promises walkers protection from our infamous local rainfall – and even a ‘rain garden’! It’s quite a change from the current town centre layout, and gives residents plenty to ponder.

If you want to give an opinion, now’s the time – don’t leave it until the last minute. If you want to shape the future, you have to pay attention to the present! The Open House will continue at the mall tomorrow (Sunday, April 29), and in the LV Village Community Room on Tuesday afternoon (1 – 6 p.m.) and at Karen Magnussen Wednesday from 1 – 8:30 p.m.

To view the displays online, go here; to fill out a “report card” with your thoughts (which can be saved or printed), check in here.


LV realtor featured in fractional real estate story

We were delighted here at LynnValleyLife when local writer Gail Johnson asked our sponsoring realtor Jim Lanctot to share his experience in fractional real estate ownership.

Her article was recently published in Yahoo! Canada‘s Finance section, and gives insight into the possibilities – and pitfalls – presented by the shared ownership of recreational real estate.

Here in our Lynn Valley residential market, Jim draws on his extensive experience with alternative ownership structures to find solutions that work for homeowners wanting to upsize, downsize, or trade homes.

“I enjoy finding solutions for people who have a real estate dream they think is impossible,” he says. “It’s amazing what can happen when you get different people talking together and looking for win-win solutions.”


Gail Johnson is an editor at the Georgia Straight newspaper and award-winning journalist who writes for Yahoo! Canada, the Globe and Mailalive magazine, and other publications. She’s a mom of two young boys and loves living in Lynn Valley. We look forward to reading more of her work!

Quiz: Who’s the patron saint of real estate?

If you answered Joseph, father of Jesus and husband to Mary, you’re right. Here at LynnValleyLife, we discovered that today (March 19) is the traditional feast day of Joseph so thought we should mark the occasion with some interesting information (which may even help you sell your home!)

Though it isn’t officially sanctioned by the Catholic church, many people have adopted the long-standing habit of burying a small statue of St. Joseph in the yard of the home they are trying to sell. The practice has become so widespread that it is now catered to by retailers who stock purpose-made plastic statues for realtors and homeowners. (Fortunately, a more eco-friendly alternative made of clay is now available as well!)

An article on this curious practice was written by Ontario realtor Brian Madigan, who notes:

Prudent realtors also recommend the following advice in addition to burying Joe: “For this practice to be fully effective, the seller must, of course, first do such practical yet all important chores as completing all necessary fix-up, properly staging the home and finally, adjusting the price so as to exactly reflect market value.” 

We would concur – and, of course, recommend the services of good real estate agents who are willing and able to put in a great deal of earthly toil to make your heavenly homeowner dreams come true!


Doctor gives Lynn Valley clean bill of health

BY ANDREA WINTERBOTTOM, Contributing Writer: A recent talk by Dr. O’Connor, Medical Health Officer for the North Shore, helped a group of Lynn Valley residents gauge the health of their neighbourhood.

The talk and slide show (depicting the transformation from Esso Station to Community Square with library, coffee shops and farmers market) centered on building communities that provide healthy choices for all. To achieve that, he said, we need trees, parks, trails, green spaces, libraries, shopping centres, recreation centres, services and jobs nearby. Diversity of housing for all stages of life is another hallmark or a healthy community.

Farmers Market, Lynn Valley

After the talk, participants walked the walk to look at their neighbourhood through a healthy lens. Everybody who joined the social planners and urban planners from the City and the District kept an eye on the key components that Dr. O’Connor had talked about.

After the walk, participants indicated their findings on a ‘rate your community’ thermometer. Categories such as well-lit pedestrian walkways, wheelchair accessible sidewalks, and covered bus stops received high scores; Lynn Valley Square as a safe meeting place for all ages received many accolades.

If you look around Lynn Valley, you will notice that it features most if not all of the components needed to make it a healthy community. Most participants indicated that Lynn Valley is a friendly, bustling community that has climbed high on the ‘rate your community thermometer’ and definitely falls into the category of being a healthy community.


House sold – and it wasn’t for sale!

It’s always good news when someone buys a home they’ll love. It’s even more exciting when the house wasn’t on the market to start with!

Jim and Kelly had clients who couldn’t find anything in Lynn Valley that seemed just right for their growing family. So these realtors rolled up their sleeves and combed through months of expired home listings to see what they could come up with.

Sure enough, Kelly and Jim found a house on Tourney Road that sounded like it might be just the ticket for their buyers. They contacted the homeowner and managed to strike a deal that left everyone happy and ready to move on to the next stage in their lives.

Here are some comments from the happy buyer as seen on Facebook

“It was if it was written in a story book, the idea of purchasing a house that was not even on the market seemed almost unbelievable to me, how would we even do that? How would we find the owners? How do we even make an offer? “Leave it to me” is all Jim said. When he called back 6 hrs later we had a deal in the works. Believe me that was actually what happened with the purchase of our new home. No stone left unturned, that is the best way to describe how this one went down.”  Dave C.

So if you’re contemplating a residential change and want the advice of committed realtors, consider Kelly Gardiner and Jim Lanctot, sponsors of LynnValleyLife. They can produce results you might not expect!

Thirteen Lynn Valley home sales in January

These are the latest figures on the Lynn Valley housing market. If you’d like monthly market updates and neighbourhood highlights sent directly to your inbox, please sign up to become a member of the LynnValleyLife Network to enjoy these and other benefits.

Single Family Homes:

  • There were detached homes sold in January with an average sale price of $918,925 (median = $935,000).
  • The average sale price achieved was more than list price by 0.6%.
  • Detached homes that sold in January took an average of 62 days to sell (median = 18 days).

Apartments & Townhouses:

  • There were 4 attached homes sold in January with an average sale price of $432,900 (median = $443,800).
  • The average sale price achieved was less than list price by 2%.
  • Attached homes that sold in January took an average of 95 days to sell (median = 61 days).

We continue actively working with many different people trying to move into or within the neighbourhood.  If you ever hear of anyone looking to sell their home, please let us know.

Have a great week!

Jim Lanctot & The LynnValleyLife Team
[email protected]

Here’s what sold in LV in December, and for how much

These are the latest figures on the Lynn Valley housing market. If you’d like monthly market updates and neighbourhood highlights sent directly to your inbox, please sign up to become a member of the LynnValleyLife Network to enjoy these and other benefits.

December Sales Update 

Here is your monthly snapshot of sales that occurred in Lynn Valley during the month of December. As always, if you would like specific details on any of these transactions please contact Jim Lanctot or Kelly Gardiner of RE/MAX Crest at 778.724.0112.

Single Family Homes:

  • There were detached homes sold in December with an average sales price of $775,400 (median = $809,000).
  • The average sales price achieved was less than list price by 2.98%.
  • Detached homes that sold in December took an average of 62 days to sell (median = 63 days).

Apartments & Townhouses:

  • There were 3 attached homes sold in December with an average sales price of $440,333 (median = $414,000).
  • The average sales price achieved was less than list price by 2.86%.
  • Attached homes that sold in December took an average of 58 days to sell (median = 45 days).

We are actively working with many different people trying to move into the neighbourhood.  If you ever hear of anyone looking to sell their home please let us know.

Have a great week!

Jim Lanctot & The LynnValleyLife Team
[email protected]

Hastings Manor restoration unveiled

From the desk of Jim Lanctot:

I was out walking my kids to school one morning in mid-December when I stopped to look at the renovations just finishing up at Hastings Manor, across the street from Lynn Valley Elementary. Like many people in the neighbourhood, I had wondered what had been happening underneath the blue tarps over the preceding number of months. I struck up a conversation with one of the foremen and he spoke highly of the project and the level of professionalism shown by the strata counsel. Curious, I tracked down strata Vice President Brian Kroeker and asked him to tell us more about the building’s rejuvenation. Here’s an edited version of our Q&A.

JL: What prompted the council to initiate the project?

BK: Every building will at some time experience water ingress issues. While Hastings Manor was built before the time of the leaky condo construction issues in Vancouver, nothing is invulnerable to the ravages of nature and time. Owners were beginning to see visible signs of the breakdown of their supporting balcony beams in some cases, while there were other signs of frequent water ingress at building corners and entry doors. Small areas of visibly degraded siding (from both sun and rain) were also apparent.
Luckily, two owners, one an engineer and one who works with engineers, prodded Council to get an engineering assessment done on the building envelope. This turned out to be a great move…. given our level of ignorance about construction, we needed leadership from people who knew what they were doing, who could be trusted.

JL: Once you’d had engineering reports done, what was the next step?

BK: The owners approached Levelton Engineering for a targeted repair project, and Levelton was indeed interested in working with Council on our proposal. For us, this made all the difference, and after the formulation of a formal proposal, Levelton was chosen by owners who accepted an assessment at one third of the cost of the first engineering firm’s proposal.

JL: What further decisions were made?

BK: We decided to prioritize work according to advice from Levelton into high, medium and low-priority work, so that owners better saw what they were paying for. Our top priority all the way through the project was to fix all visible rotten structure. If siding was removed from any wall and rot was discovered, it would have to be properly remediated. Council felt that leaving any rotten inner wall components would have been wasting owners’ money.

JL: Why did you feel having an engineering firm engaged was a good idea ­ was it worth the extra investment?

BK: Our overall ignorance of construction and who the “good guys” were made hiring engineers an easy decision. Plus, we wanted a document that the engineers would sign off on at the end of the project, assuring that the building was properly fixed. They also steered us toward the “good guys” in selecting appropriate bidders for our job.
Levelton’s frequent status reports (with lots of pictures!), along with their attendance at a number of owner meetings, were invaluable in providing owners with a sense of where their money was going. Seeing a rotten wall exposed, then seeing it properly fixed is a very comforting feeling.

JL: What construction firm did you end up going with?

BK: Our contractor was Ocean West Construction. Their personnel on site were very friendly, courteous and respectful of the owners’ privacy. They went the extra mile for us a number of times, giving us good value for our money and top-quality work.
They always seemed to work well with Levelton,  and were great at working out unique solutions to any challenges that arose.

JL: How do you feel the project has gone?

BK: Fantastic! Although we have not been able to accomplish every little thing, our project has met all of our initial expectations and then some. We were even able to do a few upgrades, and every owner got something to show for their money.
As with every complicated project … there were adjustments to be made, mostly correcting previous construction deficiencies and the extent of the rot discovered within our walls. We overspent the original budget by a long way, but in the end, we have many more walls fully rainscreened than was initially planned.

JL: What kind of investment has been made by the current ownership group?

BK: We spent about $1.7 million, or $50K per owner.

JL: What’s the general feelings of the ownership group about the work that has been done, and what the future holds for Hastings Manor?

BK: People have commented over and over that the building looks fantastic now! The future looks bright for Hastings Manor after many years of owner neglect. People are looking forward now to sprucing up the grounds and enjoying their new decks and patios when the weather brightens up and gets warmer this Spring. With the success of this project, more owners have a “we can fix that!” attitude.
Some owners will feel ready to sell now, but they do so knowing that there is much better value in their building now that all the hard work is done and the building looks so much better.

JL: Is there anything that stands out that makes Hastings Manor a great place to live in your opinion?

Lynn Valley has it all, and Hastings Manor is within walking/cycling distance of so much of it. Shopping, schools, the new library and great bus service straight to downtown Vancouver make Hastings Manor perfectly placed for everyone, both young and old.
There are great, friendly people in our buildings. Some have been here only a short time, while others are long-term residents who know a good thing when they see it. People are now volunteering to serve on committees to improve their buildings even more. Council is very proactive and is motivated to keep up the process of incremental investment in Hastings Manor that is sensitive to owners’ needs and situations.

Talking to Brian, I could tell that all the owners are feeling great now that the investment has been made and the hard work is done. Some of the owners who had put their real estate plans on hold for the duration of the project are now starting to revisit their plans to put their homes on the market. If you are interested in knowing more about ownership in Hastings Manor, please contact me or my RE/MAX colleague Kelly Gardiner at 778-724-0112. We’d be delighted to help you explore the opportunity.