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You’ve lived in your home a little while and you think you sort of understand how it should flow. You’re starting to see the warts and little bits of rough that people tend to gloss over when the neighbours pop by to borrow the lawnmower. It’s not that these things make your home flawed — all homes are flawed, they’re made from flawed materials, after all — it’s just that your home could be better and like a skilled craftsman, you’re starting to see places where you could bring out greater potential.

But, which projects make the most sense to do first? Will any of them actually pay for themselves in gained home equity, or are these changes things you’ll have to consider sunk costs in your home and investments strictly in your own enjoyment? And furthermore, are there even changes you can make yourself that will be worth the bother? (Check out our downloadable guide for help in determining which projects are best left to the pros!)

Say Hello to Renovation Magazine’s Cost Vs. Value Report

For the past 31 years, Renovation Magazine has been trying to answer these and other questions by performing a national survey about home renovations and the resell values that tended to accompany them. It comes out early in the new year, giving everyone in the industry something to look forward to after the holiday season. The 2018 report was no less exciting than any other year has been, though there were few surprises.

Whats My Home Worth -HudsonHomeTeam

For example, the top returns in 2016 and 2017 came from midrange fiberglass attic insulation, at 116.9 percent and 107.7 percent, respectively. This year, the number one spot went to another small project: upscale garage door replacements, recouping 98.3 percent of the job cost. In fact, this year’s Top 10 is almost entirely made up of smaller, more simple projects, just like the last two years have been, many of them the same projects, just in different slots.

There’s a helpful chart below to show what I mean.

What does this mean? Well, it means two things, especially if you dig deeper into the data. As a national average, the same projects have been worth making the investment in for the last few years and secondly, there are very few things you can do to your home and get the full cost back out.

Your home is like a piggy bank, but it has some sort of containment issue. You put in a dollar, it only manages to hold on to 90 cents. But, you can think of that loss as the price you pay for getting to use all that cool new stuff while you’re there. Maybe that’ll soften the blow a bit.


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Ok, So What Bigger Projects Will Help My Home’s Value?

Again, according to the data provided by Remodelling Magazine’s well-respected survey, bigger projects that should get you some attention (and recoup decently on their own costs) this year include:


  • #4. Adding on a wooden deck. (82.8 percent)

  • #5. A minor midrange kitchen remodel. (81.1 percent)

  • #7. Replacing your windows with vinyl thermo-panes. (74.3 percent)

  • #8. Upgrading your bathroom to a universal design. (70.6 percent)

  • #9. Just upgrading your bathroom, period. (70.1 percent)


You may notice a trend here. Kitchens and bathrooms are a big deal. They’re always a big deal. In fact, for most houses, it’s the kitchen and the bathroom that really sell the house. You can have the best curb appeal possible, but if your bathroom is difficult to use or your kitchen has no cabinets or non-functional work spaces, you put your money in the wrong places.

Curb appeal does matter, otherwise, that garage door and the stone veneer wouldn’t appear in the chart above so many times. People want to buy a nice looking home, which is what your home values are really based on. An appraisal is nothing more than a complicated calculation that determines what an average buyer would give for your house in its current condition in the current market, after all.

When you’re thinking about putting money into your home to increase the equity you hold or to improve its value for a sale down the line, just ask yourself if the thing you’re about to do is something that a random person off the street could appreciate. For example, do not paint your ceiling blood red. No matter what HDTV says. Do paint an accent wall red if you really need to paint something.

How Do I Get Started on Bigger Projects?

If you’ve never been part of a larger remodelling project, you will most definitely need the guidance of a pro, at minimum. There’s a lot of planning and a whole box of tools (both literal and metaphorical) that it takes to put together an effort like that. After all, you want your project to look like it does in your mind’s eye, don’t you?

Don’t worry, the pros at  HudsonHomeTeam are there to help.

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Staging Tips - HudsonHomeTeam


We all have one chance at making a great first impression and it’s no different when it comes to selling our house. Potential buyers will often base their opinion on the first thing they see, and you need to make sure that your house is impeccable.

It goes without saying that you’ll want to stand out from the competition and every little trick can add a plus to your side. You need to show your house in its best state and these staging techniques can help you to bring out the best side of your home.


There’s no way you’ll be able to sweep your clutter under the rug when you hear the doorbell, so do this thoroughly before you welcome a realtor into your home. Even if your house is beautiful and furnished in the latest modern trends, messy rooms can destroy the good reputation.

To prevent this, go through every room and try to create a natural flow so people don’t step on your kid’s toys when you’re showing them your home. Apart from that, remove all unnecessary items from every corner of the house – extra blankets from under your coffee table, magazines in the living room, funny notes in the kitchen and other things.


It’s great to see how you’ve furnished the house, but this can have its negative sides as well. People who are trying to visualize their family in your house won’t be quite able to accomplish that with your pictures hanging everywhere. Having something here and there to make it look comfy is great, but try not to overcrowd the space with too many personal items.

This can be hard for many people, as they can’t wrap their mind around the fact that they need to depersonalize their own home, but this is the right time to start thinking about the next place. Of course, this doesn’t mean there’s a need to remove some of the accessories and small furniture pieces potential buyers won’t mind.


Although you feel your current layout is the best, take into consideration that someone else may have another opinion. Most realtors suggest to home sellers that symmetrical arrangements work well with the buyers and this can come in pretty handy once you start staging your home. J

Just pull your furniture off the walls and create a great conversational area which is warm and welcoming. Tie the furniture together with some comfy round rugs and encourage everyone to sit down and imagine their life in your living room.

Small things like these can make a real difference and create a cozy feeling when people try to visualize themselves in a new home.

KEEP IT CLEANStage Your Home -HudsonHomeTeam[3]

You don’t need to be obsessed with cleaning everything, but it would be nice if you could pay more attention to dust in every room. Shining floors, clean counters and sparkling windows will make your house more appealing, and it will look like you’ve paid close attention to every detail. Before showing your home, just run your finger across all surfaces and clean them.

It would only take a minute, and you wouldn’t have to do that behind everyone’s back or have to avoid their looks when they see dust everywhere. Toss away all items that aren’t useful and create clutter, or just store them in your closet so at they’re out of sight.


If you have a big walk-in closet, open up the doors to create the illusion of a much bigger space. This will also show every asset of your house and all the additions to your rooms.

Before the meeting, open all the doors and curtains to let the light in – extra natural light will show your house in the most beautiful way and everyone will be able to see its glory.

Having great barn doors is a great option to connect your rooms in an interesting and creative way. This will create a natural flow and every potential home buyer will be able to see how your house functions. Making this connection throughout the house will also make the prospective buyers realize what they can change in every room and how they can add their own personal touch.

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After you’ve cleaned everything, don’t forget about the smell – buy some fresh flowers and place them in the living room and the kitchen. Apart from that, add some scented candles in every room but don’t light them up.

With everything set in the house, think about the outside too – mow your lawn, clean your driveway, de-clutter your porch and remove everything from your backyard. The most important thing when it comes to the outdoors is to make your entrance clean and simple. This is the first thing everyone sees and something that will strongly influence their first impression.

When you make everything sparkling clean and well-organized, leave your home. Leave it up to your realtor to walk the buyers through your house and answer their questions. You can pinpoint some major issues and advantages of the house so that your realtor knows how to make the pitch and market the property.

If you’ve done everything right beforehand, this is the time to sit back, relax and wait for the results. Try to accomplish everything from this list in advance and you’ll probably think of something else along the way.  And, make sure you home is fully show ready before the listing photographs are taken to give your home maximum web appeal.

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By Julie Sprankles|Jan. 2nd, 2018



If you're in the market for a house, first of all, congrats! Buying a home is one of the most rewarding — albeit at times exasperating — things you'll do in your life. By the time you're ready to buy, you likely have a sufficient grasp on the basic necessities: a solid foundation, a roof that doesn't leak, wiring that won't cause your new home to spontaneously combust, and so on. But what about the other stuff you should be mindful of? You know, the considerations not covered during your home inspection?

These more personal assessments may not be as "dear-god-get-me-out-of-here" detrimental as a crumbling foundation, but they could likewise affect your quality of life for the foreseeable future. So here are a few things to watch for, as well as the ones you shouldn't sweat.


3 Things to Pay Attention To:

1. The amount of natural light

Unless you're particularly partial to living like a cave-dweller, you want your home to have ample natural light. Besides making everything inside look better, it just makes you feel better. Yet this is often glossed over by some buyers during the house hunt. If you have your sights set on a house, schedule viewings at different times of the day to get an accurate picture of the natural light situation.

If you need secondary motivation outside of how beautiful natural light is, consider this: The amount of natural light in your home could indicate bigger (read: more costly) issues. Too little and you may have to add or modify existing windows, which could run upwards of $15,000.

2. The driveway and parking situation

You may be thinking, "Really? The driveway?" To which the answer is, "Yes. Really, really." The dimensions of your driveway could very well determine how quickly your new-home infatuation fades. It may seem silly in the grand scheme of things, but consider your parking spot like an extended part of your entryway. If the drive is too narrow, you'll spend countless hours playing musical cars to squeeze vehicles in. Alternately, if it's too long and you live in an area prone to snowdrifts, you may never want to leave home during the winter months. Street parking may seem like a viable option, but some cities have strict regulations regarding visitors and even overnight parking. Be sure to ask!

3. The neighbourhood

This is the epicenter of the house hunt for many people for one readily apparent reason: You want to like the area where you live. But there are a few less obvious things to consider before you hit the local coffee shop in preparation for your first early Saturday open house. Are there ample sidewalks in case you want to take a leisurely stroll or go for a bike ride? Is it in close proximity to public transportation? If you have kids, there's little doubt you looked into the local school district. Even if you don't, though, keep in mind a better school district equals a better resale value. And, finally, read any HOA documents before you sign on the dotted line. It will be tedious beyond belief, but doing so will alert you to restrictions, bylaws, and other issues that could be unwelcome surprises down the road.

3 Things to Ignore

1. The seller's style

Don't let that Day-Glo paint in the kitchen be a deal breaker. For that matter, don't let any paint color put you off of a home you like. You can always repaint and, let's be honest, what first time home-buyer doesn't want to hand-pick their own hues anyway? Similarly, if the seller's fuzzy toilet seat cover stresses you out, don't worry — they'll take it with them when they go. It can be hard to envision your stuff in a home that currently clashes with your personal style, but try to remember decor is easily changed and offers you the opportunity to tailor things to your own tastes.

2. Clutter

Hey, life is busy, you know? Sometimes a seller just can't find the time to pack up the plethora of tchotchkes littering their living room before a showing. Cut 'em some slack (selling is just as stressful as buying) and think outside the box. Just bring a tape measure to make sure there actually is enough room for your belongings and focus on the condition of the house as opposed to its clutter.


3. Unsolicited opinions

You'll soon find that everyone and their brother has an opinion about your potential new home, from the color of its exterior to the quality of the finishes inside. If you feel as though a particular piece of unsolicited advice may be helpful, by all means cull that wisdom. Fortunately, though, you can simply ignore anything else. You're the one who'll be living there and paying the mortgage. Ultimately, the only person you need to please when you pick your house is you.


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The due date for dog licence renewals is February 2, 2018.

Take advantage of the early renewal discount, which is available up until February 2, 2018. Renew your dog licence by mail, in person, or online.

Dog Licences are valid from January 1 to December 31 annually.

All dogs over the age of 3 months living in Surrey must have a current licence. Dogs are required to wear their dog licence at all times. It must be affixed to a collar around the dog’s neck. Any unlicensed dog can be impounded for failure to have a dog licence.

Go to the Dog Licence Renewal Online Service


Dog Licence Fees

Fees for licences differ depending on whether:

  • The dog is spayed or neutered
  • The owner is a senior citizen (65 or older)
  • The dog is a registered service dog
  • The dog is considered guard, aggressive, vicious or dangerous

Proof of spay/neuter and/or senior citizen status must be provided to the City of Surrey to receive the reduced fee.


Dog Information


Annual Fee


Dog Male/Female



Dog Neutered Male/Spayed Female



Owner Senior - Dog Male/Female



Owner Senior - Dog Neutered Male/Spayed Female



Dog Deemed Guard/Aggressive



Dog Deemed Vicious



Dog Deemed Dangerous





Getting a Dog Licence

Submit your Dog Licence Application Form and payment by mail or in person.

By mail

Submit your completed Dog Licence Application Form and payment by mail.  Payments by cheque are accepted and made payable to City of Surrey.

Surrey City Hall - 13450 104 Ave, Surrey, BC V3T 1V8

In person

Take your completed Dog Licence Application Form and payment to Surrey City Hall, Surrey Operations Centre, or Surrey Animal Resource Centre. Payments can be made in cash, by cheque, Interac or credit card.

    • Surrey City Hall - 13450 104 Ave
  • Surrey Operations Centre - 6651 148 St
  • Surrey Animal Resource Centre - 17944 Colebrook Rd

Renewing a Dog Licence

By mail

Submit the bottom portion of your notice with your renewal payment by mail.  Payments by cheque are accepted and made payable to City of Surrey.

Surrey City Hall - 13450 104 Ave, Surrey, BC V3T 1V8

In person

Take the bottom portion of your notice and payment to Surrey City Hall, Surrey Operations Centre, or Surrey Animal Resource Centre. Payments can be made in cash, by cheque, Interac or credit card.

  • Surrey City Hall - 13450 104 Ave
  • Surrey Operations Centre - 6651 148 St
  • Surrey Animal Resource Centre - 17944 Colebrook Rd
By phone

Call 604-592-2601 to pay by phone for dog licence renewals. Payments by credit card are accepted.

If you have questions about obtaining a dog licence, please contact us by phone at 604-592-2601 or e-mail doglicensing@surrey.ca.

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Jan. 23rd, 2018

Surrey LRT


A rendering of Surrey’s planned LRT line. (Photo: surrey.ca)

Surrey Board of Trade CEO makes case for light rail in a letter to Mayors’ Council chair Derek Corrigan

The Editor,

This is an open letter to Mayor Derek Corrigan, chair of the Mayors’ Council:

I am writing in support of Surrey’s Light Rail Transit project.

In fact, the Surrey Board of Trade would like to see all 27 kilometres of the proposed light rail to be built as soon as is feasible. In our most recent Surrey Road Survey, more than 80 per cent support to strongly support the building of the “City Centre-Guildford-Newton” and over 85 per cent support LRT along Fraser Highway through to Langley City.

Surrey is growing rapidly, and as it grows, the opportunity exists to shape it into a world-class destination in its own right. With nearly 1,000 new residents coming monthly, the need for a vision has never been more necessary. The LRT provides an opportunity to consider how to manage the growth, where to densify, how to move people, and how to create commercial space while achieving an attractive streetscape.

Businesses are on board with creating an economically viable city that is attractive to clients, customers, and employees alike. LRT sparks development along its corridors, a mid-rise, medium density, mixed-use type of development that will attract both families and business to the area while also maintaining affordability.


Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade.


We have done our due diligence and read through all available reports. We have had roundtables and panel dialogues. We have had all of our advocacy team members review material and provide feedback (12 teams with over 400 volunteers). We’ve reviewed the number of technology and route alternatives that were examined using multiple metrics to evaluate their effectiveness.

The Surrey Board of Trade has taken the position that the project should be completed in one phase to capitalize on lower construction costs and LRT fleet vehicles, and the simple fact that waiting for phase 2 will unnecessarily delay needed transit through Surrey.

We are concerned that those who oppose LRT in favour of increased buses and a SkyTrain down Fraser Highway are not fully considering what they are saying no to, or conversely what they would be saying yes to, if they in fact succeed to influence decision-makers.


Three things we know will occur if there is no support for LRT:

  • Increasing B-line buses will very quickly increase congestion on those routes as more and more would be required to move commuters, but they would still not be sufficient to meet anticipated future population growth as quickly as the LRT on its dedicated lanes — and within 10-15 years would need to be replaced with LRT to meet the demand.
  • The cost of the Surrey-Langley line is nearly a billion dollars more to build SkyTrain than LRT, money that can be spent elsewhere on needed infrastructure and services.
  • The ability to quickly adapt to growing town centres and expand the system through the large Surrey geography will be severely compromised by putting all available and future funding into one option.

We have observed that where the SkyTrain has gone, it encourages development only around the station, not along the line. The stations are relatively far apart and the ability for riders to view commercial options is minimized. The purpose would be to move people from one far distant point into the City of Vancouver Hub.

As it turns out, this is not necessary. Over 70 per cent of our survey respondents like to work and live south of the Fraser; and LRT encourages that liveability by also promoting affordable housing strategies along existing corridors.

Although the Pattullo Bridge and other crossings need to be improved to accommodate commuters, more are staying South of the river. Over 50 per cent live and work in Surrey, unchanged from 2016, and an additional 24 per cent commute into Surrey for employment.

Our businesses and our residents deserve a system that encourages growth along the corridors, the creation of liveable streetscapes, and the flexibility to add stops as required with the minimum of cost and disruption in the future — as well as extending the lines to loop through the city as it ought to be. We need a system that moves people around Surrey and South Fraser, with links to cross the river where appropriate to minimize congestion on river crossings.

With over 400 LRT systems worldwide, we know that this is a system that has proved itself many times over. We anticipate TransLink to release its business case very soon, so that all can likewise be assured of the value of the LRT and not rely on out-dated documents to put forward erroneous positions in the media.

We have determined that Surrey is the destination, not a thoroughfare to somewhere else. The demand for more transit increases annually, as reflected on our own surveys. Surrey is becoming the hub of the south Fraser Region. Businesses are moving here. People are moving here.

It makes no sense to build a system that by-passes the opportunity to develop and grow a city of our choosing to meet our own vision.

Without doubt, the LRT is the best system, dollar for dollar, for Surrey and South of Fraser. The Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce has also indicated their support of the Light Rail Transit transportation system, which includes the Fraser Highway line.

Anita Huberman is CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade.


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VANCOUVER — An upward trend in housing prices isn't expected to significantly change in British Columbia despite an anticipated slowdown in sales this year, economists say.

The B.C. Real Estate Association's chief economist said Wednesday that new housing stock, slightly higher interest rates and tighter mortgage regulations will result in about a 10 per cent decline in sales compared with 2017.

But demand continues to outpace supply in most markets from Vancouver Island to the Okanagan, which spurs rising prices, Cameron Muir said.

"We would need a combination of a pretty substantial decline in demand as well as significant increases in overall residential supply in order to get to the point in which prices would decline," Muir said.

Nationally, the Canadian Real Estate Association has said tighter mortgage regulations imposed on Monday, including a stress test for uninsured mortgages, would result in fewer sales and reduced prices by about 1.4 per cent to an average selling price of $503,100 this year. 

Bryan Yu, economist with Central 1 Credit Union, said the changes may slow the pace of first-time buyers entering the market or lead to adjustments in what people choose to buy.

While this may slow sales, particularly in the first quarter of this year, he said B.C.'s growing economy and jobs will maintain a strong demand.

"I think the overall economic drivers are still there to support rising prices through 2018," Yu said.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said Wednesday the benchmark price for all residential properties was $1,050,300, in 2017, a 15.9 per cent jump from December 2016.

Sales of detached homes, townhomes and apartments reached 35,993 last year, the third highest total in a decade.

The board considers the sales total more "historically normal," marking a 9.9 per cent decrease from 2016 and down 15 per cent from the sizzling pace of 2015.

A key aspect of last year's housing market was a decline in the number of available listings, a trend the board has said can put upward pressure on prices.

Board president Jill Oudill said 54,655 properties were listed for sale in 2017, a dip of 5.1 per cent from the year earlier.

She also said market activity across the Vancouver region differed considerably in 2017 based on property type.

"Competition was intense in the condominium and townhome markets, with multiple offer situations becoming commonplace," Oudill said in a news release.

The benchmark price of condominiums leaped 25.9 per cent in the Vancouver area last year, while townhomes increased 18.5 per cent and the price for detached homes climbed 7.9 per cent.

Prices have also soared in the neighbouring Fraser Valley with the benchmark price of condominiums jumping 40.5 per cent last year to $388,600.

The Fraser Valley Real Estate Association said the benchmark for single detached homes reaching $976,400, an increase of 14.2 per cent from 2016. The price of townhomes increased by 23 per cent.

Yu said rising prices means people will increasingly be left out of the housing market.

"We're going to see an increase in renters in proportion to the population," he said. "I think that's going to be the natural evolution of this market over time."


University of B.C. business professor Thomas Davidoff said governments could improve affordability by encouraging the development of more units in single-family home neighbourhoods and reforming taxes.

"We have high income and sales taxes and low property taxes and that says we encourage people not really to make a living and sell stuff here, but buy property. That's the worst recipe ever for affordability," he said.

Other factors, including political instability, interest rates or natural disasters, could drive down prices, Davidoff said. More likely, a major driver of prices will be what people are willing to pay.

"I do think in the long run, Vancouver will continue to be a very difficult place to buy or to rent unless you're really rich," he said. 

Linda Givetash, The Canadian Press


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We are pleased to have sold a property at 1202 163A ST in Surrey.
EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY!South Meridian 3 bed, 3 bath, large 7036 corner lot, very private backyard with a covered cedar deck. Only a block from elementary school, Earl Marriot French Immersion HS, sports fields and park! Fabulous hand-scraped hardwood floors on the main, tiled kitchen & foyer, 2 gas fireplaces, skylights & vaulted ceiling in living room & family room. Excellent neighbourhood! Perfect family home or for those looking to downsize! Very central location with easy access to HWY, only 5 minutes to the beach, shops, restaurants & the border.
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We are pleased to have sold a property at 844 KEIL ST in White Rock.
Look no further!! This stunning custom built White Rock home with ocean views has it all! 7 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms with a LARGE WALKOUT suite leading to a magnificent backyard for your entertainment on the lower floor. This home boasts newer appliances, a very open and bright layout and a master bedroom with a 180 sq ft deck with a breathtaking ocean view. What a wonderful thing to wake up to every morning! Walking distance to Marine Drive and the beach.
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We are pleased to have sold a property at 1202 163A ST in Surrey.
EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY!South Meridian 3 bed, 3 bath, large 7036 corner lot, very private backyard with a covered cedar deck. Only a block from elementary school, Earl Marriot French Immersion HS, sports fields and park! Fabulous hand-scraped hardwood floors on the main, tiled kitchen & foyer, 2 gas fireplaces, skylights & vaulted ceiling in living room & family room. Excellent neighbourhood! Perfect family home or for those looking to downsize! Very central location with easy access to HWY, only 5 minutes to the beach, shops, restaurants & the border.
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