The Importance of Home Inspections

Vancouver Island has seen a change in the real estate market. Rising home prices have contributed to a seller’s market, meaning more people are competing to buy a home. Instead of hoping for a single offer, sellers are now faced with several offers to choose from.

With a hot real estate market, it can be tempting to make your offer as desirable as possible to a seller. Besides, you want them to choose your offer over the others, right? Sometimes cutting costs in an attempt to give a seller a better deal does more harm than good. Passing on a home inspection can cost buyers thousands of dollars they didn’t anticipate spending in the first place. Purchasing a home is a costly investment, so being informed about the pros and cons of something like a home inspection is worth considering.

Reasons to get a home inspection

So why bother getting a home inspection? We outline ten reasons below why skipping out on this condition may do more harm than good.

    • Safety: A home inspection can identify potential safety hazards such as faulty wiring, damaged foundations, or mold growth. This can influence your home insurance premiums, especially as homes on Vancouver Island are susceptible to earthquakes, flooding, and damp conditions.
    • Cost-effective: A home inspection can help you identify potential problems before they become costly repairs, saving you money in the long run.
    • Negotiating power: If the inspection reveals any significant issues, you may be able to negotiate with the seller to lower the price or make necessary repairs. An issue estimated to cost $10 000 is often a valid reason to reduce your offered price or put in a condition for that issue to be fixed in full or partially by the seller before the deal goes through.
    • Peace of mind: Knowing the condition of the home and any potential issues can give you the ability to relax and help you make an informed decision. It is one less thing to worry about.
    • Disclosure: An inspection can reveal any undisclosed issues with the property that the seller may not have been aware of or disclosed.
    • Insurance: Many insurance companies require a home inspection before they will provide coverage, and some may offer discounts based on the results of the inspection.
    • Future planning: Understanding the condition of the home and any necessary repairs or upgrades can help you plan for future maintenance and renovations. If a home inspection reports that the roof should be replaced within the next five years, then that gives you a bit of breathing room to plan for that expense, for example.
    • Legal protection: A home inspection can help protect you from any legal issues that may arise from undisclosed problems with the property. This is especially important if you are planning to use the property as a rental unit.
    • Professional assessment: A professional home inspector can provide an objective assessment of the property, giving you a better understanding of its condition. Sometimes our emotions can cloud our judgement, making it so we unintentionally make decisions we later regret. An objective third-party is a great way to add an unbiased opinion to your purchase.
    • Education: A home inspection can be a valuable learning experience, helping you understand the various components of the home and how they function. It may uncover things about your home you didn’t pay attention to previously, allowing you an opportunity to become a better-informed homeowner.

Nanaimo News

Desperate to get into the real estate market, more and more Canadians are making riskier offers. On Vancouver Island, news stations like Chek News and the Nanaimo Bulletin have revealed people are starting to forgo home inspections when purchasing a new home. The fear of missing out on a property due to high interest has led many families to skip home inspections, and then dealing with a myriad of problems to follow. Instead of walking through a home and being the center of attention by the real estate agent, Vancouver Island residents are finding that they are now the ones competing for the attention of the real estate agent because so many more people are trying to – literally – get their foot in the door.

A creative shot of a bathtub showing a brassy/copper-like faucet.

What do home inspectors typically look for?

Home inspectors are on the lookout for several issues around a property. These are places and things you may see but are unable to identify as being problematic. The question of “how bad is it, really?” can be the difference between $5 at the hardware store or $20 000+ to replace a foundation.

Some areas of concern include:

      • Structural issues with the foundation, roof, walls, or other structural elements of the home. Did the previous homeowner renovate to code, or are you potentially moving into a death trap?
        The electrical system including wiring, outlets, and circuit breakers are all inspected to make sure they are safe and up to code.
      • Got some old lead pipes? Inspectors will check your plumbing for leaks, corrosion, and other issues. Some insurance plans will not provide a policy if certain features are not up to code, plumbing included.
      • HVAC systems for heating, ventilation and air conditioning can have costly repairs if they aren’t functioning properly.
      • Roofing materials like shingles, tiles, and flashing are inspected to ensure they are in good condition and not at risk of leaks. Replacing a roof is a very large expense that often takes years to plan ahead for.
      • Does your home contain asbestos? Checking the insulation in walls and attics are up to code is also important for your health.
      • It might be exciting that the home comes with appliances like the refrigerator, oven, and dishwasher but what if they are broken? Knowing ahead of time if you should pack your appliances in your new house or not is a considerable cost.
      • Smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and other safety features are examined to ensure they are installed and functioning properly.
      • On Vancouver Island, water damage can be a big issue. Stains, mold, and mildew can indicate underlying (costly) issues with your home that can effect your health.
      • Inspectors are also on the lookout for signs of pests such as termites, rodents like rats and mice, and other insects.

A Nanaimo builder you can count on

What does it take to feel comfortable knowing you are in good hands? Integrity, hard work, and a strong reputation go a long way. Ballard Fine Homes are Nanaimo builders that specialize in building custom homes that put these values up at the forefront. We understand the importance of care, trust, and transparency between builders and clients. As part of our business profile, inspections at all levels are a guaranteed part of the process. Take a look at our available homes for sale in Nanaimo, Comox, Courtenay, and Parksville regions to view our craftsmanship. If you are looking to start off on the right foot, contact the team at Ballard Fine Homes to discuss your next renovation or custom home project.

Common architectural (exterior) home designs

Have you ever passed by a home and thought “that looks really nice, I wonder what that style is called?” Maybe you are considering building your own custom home and know of features you have seen and liked, but might not necessarily know what they are called.

Home architectural styles have evolved over the years and are influenced by various factors such as geography, climate, religion, and culture. Each architectural style has its unique features and elements that make it stand out. In this article, we will discuss different home (architectural) styles and their main features like porch designs and roof shapes. There are many more than what we have listed here, but we find these to be commonly seen around British Columbia.


A classic rectangular (box) shaped home with steep roofs, and a symmetrical exterior house design defines the Colonial style of homes. The front door is typically centred and the porch design is simple, contains minimal decoration, and is usually covered and supported by columns. The windows are also symmetrical and often have shutters. The interior of a colonial home is usually divided into rooms with a central hallway. These homes are basic but function very well.


Elaborate, ornate details are often seen in Victorian homes along with steep, pitched roofs, multiple gables and dormers, and an asymmetrical front-of-house design. Victorian homes are often two or three storeys tall, with impressive bay windows, towers, and highly decorated porches. Homeowners are often drawn to the porch design of Victorian homes, as they are usually found with decorative railings and wraps around the front of the home. The interior of a Victorian home is usually divided into smaller rooms with high ceilings and highly-detailed mouldings.


Craftsman-style homes originated in the early 20th century and are characterized by their simple, natural materials and handcrafted details. Often, a combination of wood and stone elements can be found in this style. Craftsman homes are typically one or two storeys tall and have low-pitched roofs with wide eaves and exposed rafters. The front of the house design is asymmetrical with a simple front porch supported by tapered columns. The interior of a Craftsman’s home is usually open, with natural materials such as wood and stone appearing both indoors and outdoors. This has been a popular choice for many newer builds within British Columbia, as it ties in nicely with current trends using organic, natural materials.

Front yard of a luxury home.


Sometimes a little piece of the Mediterranean can be found right here on the west coast. These homes are known for their warm colours, stucco walls, and tiled roofs. They are typically one or two storeys tall and have flat or low-pitched roofs with red clay tiles. Arched windows and doorways are prominent features. The exterior living spaces often contain covered patios with metals like wrought iron. Inside you will usually find wide, open spaces, high ceilings, and tiled flooring. These homes aren’t as common in BC as other designs, but they are still a beautiful home design to consider.


Tudor-style homes originated in England during the Tudor period in the 16th century, and have made their way to Canada. These homes are known for their steeply pitched roofs, half-timbered walls, and ornate details. They are often easily distinguished by the asymmetrical half-timbered pattern on their exterior, usually dark wood against a light home colour, stucco, or brick. These designs are found in either vertical, horizontal, or crisscrossed designs. Typically, Tudor-style homes are two or three storeys tall and have steeply pitched roofs with multiple gables and dormers. Porch designs for the front of the home often contain a covered entrance with stone details. The timber influence extends inside the home, with many rooms containing exposed wooden beams and stone fireplaces.


Ranch-style homes are one-story homes that originated in the United States in the 1930s. Also known as “ranchers” these homes are known for their low-pitched roofs, wide eaves, and open floor plans. Ranch homes are typically rectangular or L-shaped and have a simple design. The simplicity and “no fuss” design and layout of ranchers have made them a popular choice for those with mobility issues or those that simply prefer not to climb stairs. As they are single-level, many ranch-style homes contain large windows and sliding glass doors that lead to the backyard. If a porch is present, it is usually very minimalistic and on the smaller side.


Clean lines, flat or low-pitched roofs, and large windows create the modern, sleek designs behind contemporary-style homes. Generally, one or two storeys high, these homes contain a bit of character with their asymmetrical exterior designs, covered entryways, and small patios. Interior designs are open and spacious with minimalist furnishings and decor.

West Coast contemporary is a sub-style of this home design. These homes usually have vaulted and angled roof lines and oversized windows for allowing more natural light to enter the home. Black and orange wood tones are often used in exterior home designs.

Front door of a luxury home.


Modern-style homes are known for their innovative design and use of new materials. These homes are characterized by their simple, geometric shapes and flat roofs. Modern homes can be one or two storeys tall and are typically asymmetrical in design. The porch design is usually minimal and may be integrated into the home’s design with a covered entryway or a small patio. A minimalist design with clean lines and simple furnishings can be found indoors.


Originating in the Swiss Alps, Chalet-style homes are known for their rustic, alpine design. These homes are characterized by their steep, sloping roofs and exposed wooden beams. They are similar to log cabins but on a more upscale level. Chalet homes are typically one or two storeys tall and are symmetrical. The front of house design usually contains a covered front porch with wooden railings and exposed wooden beams. The interior of a chalet home is usually cozy and warm, with wooden furnishings and decor. These homes are often found near ski resorts and in areas surrounded by plenty of natural west coast nature.

Cape Cod

Cape Cod style homes are originally a 17th-century New England design and are known for their simple, colonial design. A symmetrical design with steep, pitched roofs and a central chimney are the most prominent exterior features. Often seen as one or two storeys high, Cape Cod homes are also similar to original Colonial styles with a similar rectangular shape. One feature that differentiates Cape Cod from Colonial styles is the inclusion of white columns and railings, often seen in the front of the home around the porch. Inside the home, features lean towards cozy and traditional, utilizing wooden furnishings and decor most of the time.

Driveway of a luxury home.


Another English style of homes that found its way to Canada is the Georgian style. These homes are also rectangular, contain a central entryway, and have evenly spaced windows. They are tall, often two or three storeys high, and have a flat or low-pitched roof. Columns are often found within the covered porch design, too. A formal and luxurious interior design hints at the Victorian style, with its use of ornate mouldings and chandeliers.

What designs do you prefer?

Whether you prefer the rustic charm of a chalet home, the sleek modern design of a contemporary home, or the traditional elegance of a Georgian home, there is a style that will suit your taste and lifestyle.

The benefit of building your own custom home is that you can pick and choose the architectural features you prefer and make your home into something truly unique. If you are interested in exploring your interior and exterior design options, contact the team at Ballard Fine Homes to discuss turning your ideas into a new custom home. If you are leaning towards a renovation, our team of professionals is more than happy to assist you in choosing the perfect finishings and designs for your updated look.

Celebrity Homes

Wouldn’t it be great to live in a mansion like celebrities do? It sounds nice, but what exactly provides the “wow factor” of a celeb’s home versus our own humble abodes? We may not have $29 million dollars hanging around to buy Jim Carrey’s mansion, but we can take a peek inside celebrity homes like his for design features we like, and then put them in our own homes to add just a little bit more luxury to our lives.

Examples of Famous Celebrity Homes

It can be fun to look at photos of celebrity homes to get inspiration for colour schemes, furniture styles, and decorative elements. Check out these celebrity mansions and their glamorous design choices.

  1. Graceland is the former home of legendary musician Elvis Presley, located in Memphis, Tennessee. The estate features a large mansion, a museum, a meditation garden, and other attractions.
  2. Neverland Ranch is the former home of the late pop star Michael Jackson, located in Santa Barbara County, California. The estate features a large mansion, a zoo, an amusement park, to name a few.
  3. The Playboy Mansion is the former home of Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner, located in Los Angeles, California. The estate features a large mansion, a grotto, a zoo, and other luxury amenities.
  4. Although it might not be the first one you think of, The White House is the official residence of the President of the United States, located in Washington, D.C. The historic mansion features a multitude of rooms, including the Oval Office, the Lincoln Bedroom, and the East Room.
  5. Versailles is the home of billionaire businessman David Siegel and his family, located in Windermere, Florida. The massive estate features a 90,000 square foot mansion, a bowling alley, a skating rink, and other opulent amenities.

These famous celebrity homes are often open to the public for tours or have been featured in movies, TV shows, and other forms of media, making them cultural landmarks in their own right. If you’re able to pay a visit in person, it just might be worth your while.

Celebrity design with Ballard Fine Homes

Exterior and interior designs influenced by celebrities can help our homes feel more luxurious and glamorous. There are several ways you can bring some celebrity style into your home, based on looking at their homes for their design choices. Having expensive taste means more than just buying the priciest items – there also needs to be a flow behind the design. Some features within celebrity mansions get repeated time and time again, indicating they are usually in good taste.

Don Ballard and his team have first-hand experience building luxury vacation homes for celebrities. Singer and actress Marie Osmond raved about Ballard Fine Homes, stating “I met Don as a Builder and was unbelievably impressed with his work, ability and personality. His quality of build was second to none. I had Don customise my residence and I trusted him enough to finish my home to his taste and fully furnish my home.” Experiences like these have ensured that Ballard Fine Homes is a trustworthy company, in both building and designing custom homes.

So what features are commonly seen in celebrity homes?

Size and grandeur

Many celebrity homes are often large and impressive, with multiple bedrooms, bathrooms, and expansive living spaces. Selling your home and purchasing a larger one is one way to add size and grandeur, but a home renovation can do the trick, too.

A minimalist design can go a long way, especially in smaller spaces. Less clutter can make rooms look and feel larger. As many celebrity homes are designed by a professional interior designer, you can bet piles of paper and clutter are not high on the recommendation list! Tidy up your space and consider each piece carefully. In many cases, the phrase “less is more” may contribute to spaces getting closer to mimicking celeb styles.

Luxury amenities

Luxurious faucet and sink.

Celebrities often indulge in luxurious amenities such as home theatres, indoor and outdoor pools, gyms, saunas, and spa facilities.

In your own home, transforming a bathroom into a spa room can make your home look and feel more indulgent. Deep soaker tubs, heated floors, thick plush towels, and high-end features like touchless faucets are some ways you can transform your bathroom.

That dusty, old recreation room could use an upgrade, too. Modify it into a home theatre or go in the opposite direction with a home gym complete with a built-in sauna. Often these larger rec rooms are found in older homes, making them a great blank canvas to transform into whatever you’d like.

High-end finishes

High-end finishes and materials, such as marble countertops, hardwood flooring, and designer fixtures, are commonly found in celebrity homes. Consider investing in a statement piece, such as a designer sofa or antique dining table, to add a touch of luxury to your own space.

Celebrities also often display art and sculptures in their homes to add visual interest and sophistication. You can add similar pieces to your own space to create a high-end, curated look.

Statement lighting fixtures

Lighting can add drama and elegance to any room. Consider adding chandeliers, pendant lights, or other statement lighting fixtures to create a Hollywood-style ambiance.

Chandeliers are common in dining spaces, while a row of pendant lights often looks great above a kitchen island. Master bedrooms are an excellent place to display other statement lighting fixtures.

Smart high-tech features

Many celebrities opt for high-tech features, such as home automation systems, security systems, and sound systems.

Smart appliances are becoming more and more popular, too. These appliances work with home automation systems like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant to dynamically adjust settings for your appliances. Smart refrigerators are equipped with features like touchscreens, built-in cameras, and Wi-Fi connectivity. They allow you to see what’s inside your fridge remotely, create grocery lists, and receive alerts when food is expiring. Smart thermostats can learn your daily routine and adjust the temperature in your home automatically. You can control them remotely using a smartphone app or voice commands, and they can also provide energy usage reports. Smart coffee makers can be programmed to make coffee at a specific time and can be controlled remotely using a smartphone app. Some models also have built-in grinders and can adjust the strength and flavour of your coffee.

Patio design and other outdoor spaces

The space beneath a backdoor patio.

Many celebrity homes feature expansive outdoor spaces, such as large yards, patios, balconies, and gardens. There may even be something unexpected like a tennis court. There is no limit!

In your own yard, you may opt for luxurious amenities such as a hot tub, swimming pool, zen garden, or a fully furnished patio with beautiful outdoor furniture under a gazebo.

Home security

Due to their high-profile status, many celebrities place a premium on privacy and security, often investing in gated entrances, home security cameras, and other measures to ensure their safety and privacy.

Fencing your property is usually a desirable way to increase the value of your home. As it defines your property line, adding a little bit of extra care to how it looks can make a world of difference. Automatic gated driveway entrances mean that you won’t have to leave your vehicle to open and close your gate. This is a practical and safe improvement to consider.

Are you inspired to build your own custom luxury home?

Those looking for a luxury custom home builder need to look no further than Ballard Luxury Homes. Get inspired with celeb designs used by Kourtney Kardashian, Dwayne Johnson, or Joanna Gaines to name a few. Create your own modern farmhouse living room, personal spa, or upgrade to smart appliances to make everyday life a little easier.

You now have an idea of what celebrity homes look like, so now you can design your own home just the way you like it using only the best features. Our Vancouver Island home builders are highly experienced and knowledgeable about exterior and interior design trends and functionality. As Marie Osmond mentioned, “I’ve known Don Ballard for almost 10 years now and had an instant connection with him.” The team behind Ballard Fine Homes is intuitive when it comes to design; it isn’t about simply copying trendy celebrity designs. We know first-hand what design features celebrities request and can assist you in making smart design choices to bring your vision to life. Go beyond the dream, and start living in your own custom luxury home.

Kitchen design trends for 2023 you won’t want to miss

As the heart of the home, the kitchen is one of the most important rooms in any house. It’s a space where families gather to share meals, entertain friends, and create memories. As we move into 2023, kitchen aesthetics are evolving to meet the changing needs and desires of homeowners. From colours and textures to technology and functionality, here are some of the top kitchen design trends to watch out for in 2023.

Natural and Organic Materials

Natural and organic materials are likely to be a dominant trend this year. Homeowners are looking for ways to bring the outdoors inside, and raw materials like wood, stone, and metal are perfect for achieving this look. Wood kitchen cabinets

and floors will be popular, as will stone countertops and backsplashes. Metal accents like copper, brass, and gold will also be on-trend, adding a touch of warmth and luxury to the kitchen.

Modern white and grey kitchens complement the organic trend very well. The neutral palette is the ideal choice for the softer greys and subtle markings of stonework, as well as warm earth tones as accent options.

Wood Cabinets

There’s a new kitchen cabinet trend you might already be familiar with. As homeowners look for ways to create a warm and inviting atmosphere in their kitchens, wood cabinets are often a perfect choice. From light, natural woods to rich, dark stains, there is a wide range of options to choose from.

One trend to watch for is the use of mixed woods in kitchen design. Rather than sticking with a single wood type, homeowners will mix and match different woods to create a unique and personalized look. For example, light wood cabinets can be paired with a darker wood floor to create an agreeable contrast.

Stone Countertops and Backsplashes

Stone countertops and backsplashes are continuing to be on-trend. From classic granite to modern quartz, there will be a wide range of stone options to choose from.

One difference in 2023 is the use of textured stone. Rather than a smooth, polished finish, stone with a more natural, textured surface will be the more popular design. This can create a more organic and natural look in the kitchen.

Luxury kitchen sink.

Bold Colours

While neutral colours like white and gray have continued to dominate kitchens, we will also see a return to bold, vibrant hues. Colours like navy blue, emerald green, and deep purple will be popular choices for cabinets and walls, while brighter shades like lemon yellow and coral will be used as accents. These colours can be used to create a dramatic statement or to add a pop of colour to an otherwise neutral kitchen.

Navy blue cabinets can create a dramatic statement in the kitchen, especially when paired with white or light-coloured countertops. Emerald green, a rich, jewel-toned choice, pairs beautifully with natural and organic materials. When used correctly, these bold colours draw positive attention towards a statement piece, accent wall, or as minimal ways to increase colour in a space.

Open Shelving

Are you looking for the next kitchen cabinet trends? Instead of traditional cabinets, homeowners are opting for open shelves to display their dishes, glasses, and cookbooks. Open shelves create a more airy, open feel in the kitchen and allow for easy access to everyday items. They also provide an opportunity to showcase beautiful dishes and decorative items.

Smart Kitchens

Technology is changing the way we live, and it’s also changing the way we design our kitchens. Smart appliances like refrigerators, ovens, and dishwashers will be connected to the internet, allowing homeowners to control them from their smartphones or other devices. This technology will also allow appliances to communicate with each other, creating a more seamless and efficient cooking experience.

Touch-screen refrigerators, automatic sensing trash cans, temperature control coffee mugs, and voice-activated microwave ovens (via Amazon Alexa) are a handful of smart kitchen appliances you will start spotting in stores.

Mixed Metals / Metal Accents

In 2023, mixing metals and using them as accents will be a hot trend in kitchen design. Mixing and matching different metals like brass, copper, and stainless steel creates unique and personalized looks. For example, a copper range hood paired with brass hardware and stainless steel appliances can create an eclectic and pseudo-steampunk appearance. The use of mixing metals can add depth, texture, and character to an otherwise plain kitchen.

Multifunctional Islands

Kitchen islands have been a popular trend for several years, partly due to how convenient and functional they are. Multifunctional islands that serve as both a workspace and a dining area will be a top trend. These islands can include built-in appliances like stovetops and ovens, as well as seating areas for casual dining. They can also be used for prep work and storage, making them a versatile and essential element in any modern kitchen.

With more open-concept designs trending year after year, multifunctional spaces like kitchen islands are looking to stick around for the long term, especially for homes with larger families.

Statement Lighting

Lighting is an essential element in any kitchen, and in 2023, statement lighting will be a top trend. These fixtures can add a touch of glamour and drama to the space, making it feel more sophisticated and luxuriously designed. They can also be used to highlight other design elements in the kitchen, such as a beautiful countertop or a statement backsplash.

When incorporating statement lighting into your kitchen design, it’s important to consider the overall style and aesthetic of the space. A modern chandelier may look out of place in a traditional kitchen, for example. Similarly, a rustic pendant light may not fit in with a sleek and contemporary design.

It’s also important to consider the placement of your statement lighting. Statement lighting should be positioned in a way that draws the eye and creates a focal point in the space. This could mean hanging a chandelier over a dining table or clustering pendant lights over an island.

Sconces are another option. While they may not provide as much light as a chandelier or pendant, sconces can be used to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. They can be mounted on the walls above cabinets or on either side of a range hood.

Custom Home Designs

What are your thoughts on 2023’s upcoming kitchen design trends? With an emphasis on natural, raw materials mixed with bold colours and smart appliances, it appears this will be a year to remember for kitchen aesthetics. If you feel a little overwhelmed, don’t worry. We are here to help.

At Ballard Fine Homes, we provide clients with a showroom demonstrating many of our designs. Our example of a white modern kitchen is the perfect blank canvas to experiment with mixing metal finishes, exploring stone backsplash options, and seeing in person what design samples look like in natural lighting. If there is something you are curious about but don’t see on our website, our friendly staff are more than happy to accommodate your ideas. Reach out today and experience the Ballard Fine Homes difference.