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Don’t miss out on these must-have features for your new custom home

Whether you are browsing or in the planning stage, your custom-designed home should reflect your personality, lifestyle, and daily needs. Ballard Fine Homes is a Vancouver Island custom home-building company, with years of experience and an abundance of happy clients to show for it. We have talked to people from all walks of life and have taken note of the most requested features, which we are happy to now share with you.

In this article, we will reveal several must-have features in a new house so you can pick and choose the best ones for your custom build. If you want more inspiration, feel free to visit our showroom in person, or browse our website to see what is currently available.


Table of Contents:

Canadian house designs are fresh, modern, and high-end

When choosing what to include in your custom home, it’s hard to go wrong when you aim for a new, modern, and luxurious look. If cost is a concern, you can still have several high-end designs on a smaller budget by choosing your fixtures and finishes wisely. Other techniques, such as the general tone of a room make a large difference, such as the moment you step through the front door.

A Cathedral entrance is the perfect first impression for your home. Immediately upon walking through the front door, cathedral entrances usually contain high ceilings and an elaborate lighting fixture. This space feels open, airy, and inviting. There is usually more than enough room for storing footwear and outerwear and often contains a wide hallway that opens up into the rest of the main living areas.

An open floor plan is a modern trend that will last generations. This style allows for bright, expansive spaces allowing more customization and decorative options for the homeowner.

Instead of trying to purchase a specific piece of furniture to fit an oddly shaped wall, you are presented with a blank canvas where only your imagination can hold you back. This style is also great for large families and gatherings, as it encourages conversations and interactions that aren’t hiding behind a wall.

Kitchen design trends you can’t ignore

You’ve looked at backsplashes, countertops, paint, flooring – what else is there? Oh, there’s more!

A relatively newer feature for kitchens is the option to have soft-close cabinets and drawers. Drawers in kitchens have become more popular because of their functionality for storing large items like pots and pans. However, closing a heavy drawer usually means a loud noise and extra wear and tear. Soft-close (also known as soft-touch) drawers automatically “slow down” the closing of the drawer just before it finishes, so you won’t hear any loud bangs in the kitchen from that.

A hidden butler’s pantry helps separate the bulk of your kitchen storage away from the main space, while still being easily accessible. This ensures everything stays organized and less cluttered out in the open. This is a feature that used to be popular in homes many years ago and now it is making a modern comeback. If you aren’t handy in the kitchen, others have used it as a place for a mini bar, extra storage for linens and appliances, or as a place to run a dehydrator or slow cooker as strong smells (like onions) can be contained to the one room.

Other handy features include sturdy granite or quartz countertops, LED under cabinet lighting, and the option to have both electric and gas appliances in case you change your mind down the road.

Quality appliances, such as a French door refrigerator and electric glass top range, look great and are easy to maintain. If you prefer a gas range, that option will be available anytime.

A traditional living room design, popular generations later

The main living space is one of the best rooms to showcase a feature. For cozy and sophisticated looks, a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace is an absolute must. A thick, wooden mantle adds another element of natural decor to the space, giving it a true Canadian house design feel.

To maintain the openness presented by the Cathedral entrance, consider vaulted ceilings accented with beams that match your fireplace mantle. We offer maple mantles with your stone fireplace.

Most of all, don’t overcomplicate the look of your family room. This is a space to gather and focus on each other, not the decor.

What’s a bedroom without a walk-in closet and master bathroom?

When designing a master bedroom, make sure you include two things: a private bathroom and a walk-in closet. Having your own space for your items is essential, even if you don’t have curious guests. The peace of mind that comes with having enough private space for your items can’t be understated.

If possible, consider having both a shower and a soaker tub in your ensuite. While you may already have that in your guest bathroom, having a relaxing bath in your ensuite adds an extra layer of privacy and peacefulness that mimics a spa-like experience. If you prefer a shower, the addition of a small bench or place to sit within the shower itself is a nice touch.

When it comes to bathroom design ideas, less is more. Stick with a minimalist design, choose a small amount of high-end finishes, and accent lightly with a consistent design.
Your energy-wise heat pump and Navien on-demand hot water system ensure you stay comfortable throughout the day.

A designated laundry room on the same floor as the bedrooms

When you were a child, do you remember your mother carrying up loads of laundry from the basement? Day after day, the routine never seemed to change, but you can believe her joints sure felt it. By having a designated laundry room on the same floor as the bedrooms, you can bet the bulk of the laundry will never have to leave that floor.

If you chose a rancher floor plan – even better. No stairs immediately make that process easier. Also, a designated laundry room allows enough space for washing, drying (via a machine and/or drying rack), folding, and perhaps a chair to have a few moments to yourself. It sounds like a small thing to move your laundry room upstairs, but these small adjustments in your home can have a positive impact on your daily or weekly routines.

Don’t forget your exterior spaces

Many people focus on the interior when designing a new custom home, but the exterior is just as important.

It is essential to have some sort of space outdoors to relax – whether that is a concrete patio or a balcony off the bedroom, it needs to be part of the package. If your home is using natural elements such as wood or stone, then tying these into your outdoor space will bring it all together. Hardi-plank and cedar shake siding, wooden beams, and stone accents complement the interior designs while adding exceptional curb appeal. Plus, natural decor elements such as these tend to have a calming effect which is perfect for your outdoor relaxation space.

For larger lots, fencing adds privacy while an irrigation system makes daily outdoor chores far easier. Consider designing not just for looks, but for making your everyday life a little easier and less stressful.

Good choices when building can have long term benefits. At Ballard Fine Homes, we offer 30 year shingles, an insulated front entry door, roughed in central vacuuming, 200 AMP mian service panel, and much more. Your forever home should be beautiful and function for years to come, including the flexibility to adapt to your growing needs.

Attached garages are superior features

An attached garage has several perks. Once you experience having one, you’ll never want to live without it again.

Even though you may not be heating it directly, it does receive some residual heat from the rest of your home. This makes it just warm enough to help with the maintenance of your vehicle, plus it makes the transition from your home to getting into your vehicle seamless. As it is out of the elements, you won’t have to worry about shoving snow off the roof, deicing the windshield, or cleaning pollen and dirt off the exterior as often.

Oh, did we mention bringing groceries home just got a lot easier? Gone are the days of your kids throwing on any old pair of shoes to haul groceries up the steps to the front door. With an attached garage, you can easily transport materials from your car into your home without getting a drop of rain on you. That’s more like it.

Outdoors you can expect an exposed aggregate driveway and walkways, rain screen technology, solid Douglas Fir timber beams, and natural rock accents. We go beyond the garage doors and ensure your home is beautifully landscaped.

Custom floor plans invite potential investment opportunities

As costs keep rising in the real estate market, why not bank some of that for yourself? A common tactic, especially for retirees, is to build a legal suite either in the basement or as an add-on. This helps bring in reliable, passive income year-round. If you have great tenants, a bonus can be that you’ll have someone around to keep an eye out while you are on vacation.

If you plan on living in your home for many years to come, it is worth considering what features you can include in your design that will help you later in life.

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Your Nanaimo Builders

Building a custom home is both an exciting and potentially overwhelming experience. Thankfully, the professionals at Ballard Fine Homes have been helping clients turn their dreams into beautifully custom-built homes through a positive and exciting experience. Our fine selection of features paired with our expertise, streamlined building process, transparency, and respect for our clients make each project enjoyable.

If you are curious about what steps are involved in building a custom home and how Don Ballard and his team can help, please reach out to our office. We look forward to hearing from you and learning more about how we can help turn your visions into a beautiful home.

Custom Built Luxury Homes

Are you looking for the perfect house features for your new home? Perhaps you are looking for house renovation ideas or you’re starting from scratch. In this article, we will share some of the designs we have implemented in our custom-built homes. Take a look around and give us a call at Ballard Fine Homes if you are interested in our services.

A beautiful water feature in the backyard of a home on Vancouver Island.

Water Features and Fountains

At Ballard Fine Homes, we understand the importance of creating a truly personalized and luxurious living environment.

Water features and waterfront homes are highly desired elements for a home.

That’s why we offer expertly crafted water features to enhance the beauty and tranquillity of your custom home. Whether you envision a stunning fountain as a focal point in your garden or a serene waterfall cascading into a natural pool, our skilled craftsmen will work closely with you to bring your vision to life.

Water features in a backyard.

From design concept to installation, we are committed to creating water features that enhance your home’s appeal and create a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere for you to enjoy for years to come.

An immaculate bathroom featuring a large tub, shower, and his and hers double sinks. Designed by Ballard Fine Homes.

Are you considering a bathroom renovation?

Our bathroom designs are luxurious and functional.

Our expert team specializes in installing stunning features such as elegant chandeliers and timeless white finishes to create a sophisticated design for your bathroom. If you’re looking to create a spa-like retreat or simply update the look and feel of your space, we will work closely with you to bring your vision to life.

A gorgeous bathroom seen in one of Ballard Fine Homes' show homes.

We take extra care to hand-pick the perfect finishes to complete the look of the room. At Ballard Fine Homes, our attention to detail ensures that every aspect of your bathroom renovation is executed with precision and style.

A high-end, custom designed kitchen by Ballard Fine Homes.

Kitchen Design Ideas

When it comes to any area of your home, we take pride in creating stunning spaces that blend functionality with style. Our custom features include popular requests and quality features you may not have been aware of before.

Our designs include custom shaker cabinetry with soft-close doors and drawers, ensuring a lifetime of smooth and quiet operation. The 1 1⁄4” granite or quartz countertops provide a durable and elegant surface for meal preparation and dining. These features are both practical and modernly designed.

A walk-in pantry, LED under cabinet task lighting, and tiled backsplash add convenience and sophistication to your kitchen. The undermount stainless-steel double bowl sink paired with a single lever faucet with pull-out spray, makes kitchen tasks a breeze.

Custom islands encourage socialization with bar seating, elegant light fixtures, and an open-concept design for the living and dining areas.

Dining are with white chairs and metal fridge

Further features such as two sets of pot and pan drawers, 4” LED recessed pot lighting, and rough-in gas and electrical to the stove ensure that your kitchen is not only beautiful but also highly functional. Let us help you create the kitchen of your dreams at Ballard Fine Homes.

Another view of the front exterior for 1168 Silversmith

New Homes in Parksville, French Creek, Nanaimo, and the Comox Valley

As a Parksville home builder, we build custom-built homes in mid-central Vancouver Island.

Additional features, such as hardwood flooring throughout the main floor, custom porcelain tiles in key areas, and brushed nickel lever-style hardware, create a modern and sophisticated living experience. With views of the ocean or forest, your new home in Parksville, Nanaimo, Courtenay, or Comox is a dream come true.

One of Ballard Fine Homes' beautiful living rooms.

Our attention to detail ensures statement pieces, such as a stone fireplace with a maple mantle, are done to perfection.

With 9’ ceilings on the main floor and the option for vaulted, trayed, or raised ceilings, our homes provide a spacious and airy feel. Explore our current homes for sale and find your ideal retreat on mid-central Vancouver Island today.

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Your Dream Home Builders, Ballard Fine Homes

From daydreaming ideas to walking through the doors for the first time, your experience with our team will be nothing short of exceptional. We take pride in going above and beyond for our clients, often establishing long-lasting relationships.

If you are interested in the features noted above, we invite you to visit our showroom in Parksville. There, you will find many options for fixtures and samples that you can hold and view in person.

When planning how to build your new home, we will walk you through the process to make it as seamless and enjoyable as possible. Please contact our team if you are interested in building with Ballard Fine Homes.

Moving Tips and Checklist

Moving to Vancouver Island is an exciting new chapter, but it can also be intimidating at times. To help you navigate this transition smoothly, we’ve created a moving checklist.

If you are choosing to move to Parksville, Nanaimo, Comox, or Courtenay, this guide will ensure you’re well-prepared for every step of the journey. From planning your move to settling into your new home, we’ve got you covered.

Jump to grab your free, downloadable checklist


Children playing in their backyard with the family's dog.

Section 1: Pre-Move Planning

Set a Moving Date

Choosing the right moving date is crucial for a smooth relocation.

On Vancouver Island, rainfall should be taken into account when planning your moving date. April and November are usually the heaviest for rainfall, while the rest of the winter experiences fairly consistent precipitation.

Waiting until the warmer months sounds good, but you’re not alone in that thought. Peak moving seasons can cause delays caused by personal schedules, vacation plans, and waitlists for moving trucks.

Create a Budget

Moving can be costly, so it’s important to create a budget to help you manage expenses.
Estimate costs for transportation, packing supplies, and any additional services you may need. Don’t forget to budget for unexpected expenses that may arise during your move. On the island, U-Haul and self-storage services are quite popular.

Research Your New Home

Before you move, take the time to research your new community. Learn about the neighbourhoods, schools, and amenities available in Parksville, Nanaimo, Comox, or Courtenay.

Try to think outside of the box when it comes to daily living. If you are moving from elsewhere in Canada, you may want to revisit the basics, like your fall yard checklist to ensure you’re well prepared ahead of time.

Declutter and Donate

Moving is the perfect opportunity to declutter your belongings. Sort through your items and decide what to keep, donate, or discard. Consider donating gently used items to local charities and thrift stores. The SOS in Parksville is a popular choice, as well as many auxiliaries for health care after you’ve settled in.


focus on duct tape close up in storage room

Section 2: Packing and Organization

Gather Packing Supplies

Collect all the packing supplies you’ll need, such as boxes, tape, bubble wrap, and markers. You can purchase these items or find free supplies from local stores in Vancouver Island. Grocery and liquor stores usually have an abundance of boxes you can grab for free – just ask.

Create a Packing Plan

Develop a packing plan to organize your move efficiently. Start by packing non-essential items first and label each box with its contents and destination room. This will make unpacking much easier once you arrive at your new home.

Pack Essential Items

Pack a separate box with essential items you’ll need immediately upon arrival, such as toiletries, a change of clothes, and important documents. Keep this box with you during the move for easy access. That way, there will be less stress trying to unpack everything all at once.

Arrange for Storage (if necessary)

If you need temporary storage for your belongings, research storage options. Ensure the storage facility is secure and offers the space you need for your items. PQ Self Storage and Valley Self Storage are a couple of examples.

A key is inserted into the door of a new house, inside the room are cardboard boxes

Section 3: Moving Day

Confirm Moving Details

Double-check your moving arrangements, including the moving company’s schedule and any other services you’ve booked. Make sure utilities are set up at your new home to avoid any interruptions.

Finalize Packing

Finish packing the remaining items in your home, disassemble furniture if necessary, and prepare everything for the move. Ensure all boxes are properly sealed and labelled for easy identification.

Moving Out

Before you leave your old home, do a final walkthrough to ensure everything is packed and clean. Leave behind any necessary keys, garage door openers, and other items for the new occupants.

Cheerful young family smiling and unboxing their stuff while moving into a new home.

Section 4: Settling In

Unpacking and Organizing

Once you arrive at your new home, start unpacking and organizing your belongings. Follow your packing plan to unpack room by room, and set up essential items first, such as beds and kitchen supplies. Don’t forget to order take-out for dinner – cooking is the last thing you’ll want to be doing!

Explore Your New Neighborhood

Take some time to explore your new neighbourhood and familiarize yourself with the local amenities. Go for a walk to unwind from your busy day.

Update Your Information

Update your address with relevant organizations, such as banks, insurance companies, and government agencies. Don’t forget to update your driver’s license and vehicle registration to reflect your new address.

Printable Moving Checklist

Moving to Vancouver Island can be a smooth and stress-free experience with the right planning and preparation. By following our moving checklist, you’ll be well-equipped to handle every aspect of your move, from packing to settling into your new home. If you are interested in building a custom home, please reach out to our team for more information.

Click to download a PDF version of this checklist.

The Ballard Fine Homes Difference: Our core values as a home building company

When choosing a trustworthy home-building company, it is important to do your research first. At Ballard Fine Homes, we take trust and client satisfaction very seriously.

In this article, we will share our core values and the importance of those in our business, along with feedback from our clients.

We treat our clients like family

Don Ballard built Ballard Fine Homes on the premise that our handshake and our word are as important to our clients as our own families. For this reason, we operate our business rooted in principles of trust and integrity.

With over two decades of experience, we specialize in crafting exceptional custom homes tailored to our client’s unique visions. Our dedication to quality craftsmanship and meticulous attention to detail is evident in every project we undertake because it is being crafted for your family. As such, we understand the significance of creating a home that is comfortable, beautiful, and stress-free.

At Ballard Fine Homes, we approach each project with the same level of care and commitment as if it were our own, ensuring that every home is constructed to the highest standards.
A brilliant team of highly efficient perfectionists who went above and beyond to bring my dream shop to life! I had what I would consider a challenging project and they made the process so comfortable and simple for me. There’s nothing they can’t do. I am beyond pleased with my new shop and would recommend Ballard Fine Homes to everyone. – Client Review

Living room with white couch

Trusting your home builder is paramount

Trusting us as your custom home builder is a decision rooted in our unwavering commitment to integrity and excellence. With a legacy spanning over 20 years, we’ve built a reputation for crafting exceptional homes that surpass expectations.

Our clients’ trust is paramount, which is why we approach every project with transparency, clear communication, and a dedication to exceeding their vision. That’s why we prioritize establishing trust from the outset, ensuring that every step of the building process is guided by our clients’ needs and aspirations.

As reflected in our testimonials, our clients’ satisfaction is the true measure of our success, and we take pride in delivering homes that stand the test of time. Our team promises to bring your dream home to life with integrity, craftsmanship, and a commitment to your complete satisfaction.

Building a house is a massive undertaking, and we are so lucky to have put our trust in Ballard and his team. 5 stars without hesitation; knowledgeable, dependable, timely, responsive, eye for detail and puts quality first. A finished project I’m proud to call my home! – Google Review

Dining are with white chairs and metal fridge

We always deliver excellent craftsmanship

At Ballard Fine Homes, we take pride in our commitment to using only the highest quality materials and finishes in every custom home we build.

In Parksville, we invite you to visit our in-person showroom, which showcases several sample selections of our preferred materials and finishes. This allows our clients to experience firsthand the level of quality and craftsmanship that goes into every Ballard Fine Home. Contact us as your custom home builder for a personalized discussion about your vision.

Don Ballard built my first home on Vancouver Island. I picked an existing Ballard Fine Home Plan and Don helped me to customize it until I was completely satisfied. The home was completed on time as promised. Don’s professionalism and amazing team provided exceptional quality and craftsmanship which made building my new home a breeze. I highly recommend Ballard Fine Homes to anyone wanting to build an exceptional quality home on Vancouver Island. – Client Review

Rock decoration in back yard of house

Customer satisfaction must exceed expectations

Exceptional customer service is the cornerstone of a successful home-building experience.

Our team is dedicated to providing transparent communication, personalized attention, and a commitment to exceeding your expectations. We recognize that building a home is a significant investment, both financially and emotionally, and we approach each project with empathy and respect.

With our hands-on approach and dedication to customer satisfaction, we strive to make the home-building process as seamless and enjoyable as possible. With us guiding the way for your custom home building experience, expect your needs to be prioritized with exceptional results.

It has been an amazing experience and we are just thrilled with our new home! The Ballard Team has provided us with outstanding customer service and the high quality of construction is exactly what we were looking for. The project management has been first class and every concern is immediately addressed. Thank you so much! – Google Review

Rock decoration in front of house

Dream building should be an enjoyable process

Designing and customizing your dream home should be an enjoyable experience, and with Ballard Fine Homes by your side, it can be just that.

We believe in making the home-building process as stress-free and exciting as possible for our clients. As we focus heavily on customer satisfaction, we handle all the heavy lifting. This leaves our clients free to focus on the creative and enjoyable aspects of building their dream home. We work closely with you every step of the way to ensure your dream becomes a reality.

Renovating with Ballard [Fine Homes] has been a dream. I have been consistently impressed with the ideas and thorough knowledge the team has offered throughout the entire process. No challenge that came up was viewed as a negative problem and every step, especially the unforeseen ones, was smooth and dare I say fun?! I enjoyed the journey ALMOST as much as the superior product. When you live in the space and are surrounded by these efforts daily it is so important to have this kind of experience. I am forever grateful. – Google Review

Our reputation for quality sets us apart from other Parksville home builders

When it comes to custom home building, reputation for quality is everything.

Our team has established ourselves as a trusted name in the industry, known for building custom homes using premium materials, high attention to detail, and craftsmanship. Every home we build is of the highest quality, built to last for generations.

Our dedication to excellence is evident in our meticulous selection process and commitment to perfection for each project. From luxurious hardwood flooring to elegant fixtures and fittings, every element is chosen with care and precision to ensure lasting beauty and durability.

We purchased our first Ballard home in 2020 and we’re thrilled with the high quality of the home, turn-key and the professionalism of Don Ballard and his staff. In 2021 we decided to move and build our forever home. There was no question who we wanted to built this home, and that was of course Ballard Fine Homes. We were involved in every aspect from design start to completion. We would highly recommend Don Ballard and his team. Thank you Don, for our beautiful home! – Client Testimonial

Grey house with wooden details

We offer luxurious custom homes on Vancouver Island

Ballard Fine Homes specializes in building high-end luxury homes that radiate elegance and sophistication.

Our team is passionate about creating exceptional living spaces that cater to the most discerning tastes. From custom architectural designs to exquisite interior finishes, every detail is carefully planned and executed to perfection.

Visit our Ballard Luxury Homes website to experience upscale living firsthand on Vancouver Island.

Excellent quality, just finished a build with Ballard Fine Homes and the home is spectacular. Ran in to delays but it’s to be expected when dealing with the City of Courtenay and all the nonsense but the house itself if fantastic. Good quality builder with good quality trades. Very distinctive looking and West Coast style homes, would absolutely build with Ballard again. – Customer Review

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Choose Ballard Fine Homes as your custom home builders

Ready to turn your dream home into a reality? Look no further than Ballard Fine Homes.

Our team is here to make your custom home-building experience smooth and enjoyable. Whether you’re envisioning a cozy cottage or a luxurious mansion, we’ve got you covered. If you can dream it, we can build it. Contact us to get started.

The Best Places to Retire on Vancouver Island: A Guide for Seniors

Retirement often brings the opportunity to choose a new place to call home, one that suits your lifestyle and offers the amenities you desire.

Vancouver Island, located off the southwest coast of British Columbia, is renowned for its stunning natural beauty, mild climate, and vibrant communities, making it a top choice for retirees. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you where on Vancouver Island is the perfect retirement destination for you.

Vancouver Island Has Comfortable Weather

Vancouver Island enjoys a temperate climate, with mild, wet winters and warm, dry summers. Towns like Parksville and Comox boast some of the mildest year-round temperatures in Canada, ideal for those seeking to avoid extreme cold or heat.

The beaches in Parksville have long tides, allowing the sand to warm up for ideal swimming conditions. Some areas experience summer high temperatures of 30C, so being next to the beach or one of the several lakes comes in handy. Rathtrevor Beach in Parksville is one such favourite place to swim.

During winter, rain and snow do fall on Vancouver Island. While the island sees a lot more rain than snow, some snowfalls can bring in between 6 – 12 inches at a time. Victoria, at the southernmost tip of the island, sees far less snow. If you want as little snow as possible, Victoria is a great choice.

Portrait of smiling young nurse in uniform smiling with healthcare team in background.

B.C. Health Care Options

Health care is a crucial consideration for retirees. Vancouver Island is home to several top-notch hospitals, clinics, and specialised care centres. Places like Nanaimo and Courtenay offer comprehensive healthcare services, ensuring you’re well cared for in your golden years.

While a doctor shortage has been apparent all over British Columbia, it may be worthwhile to view Comox’s options first, as they have hired a large number of doctors within the last couple of years.

Major hospitals can be found in the Comox Valley, Nanaimo, and Victoria. Sometimes travel to these places is required for special tests or treatments.

Health visitor talking to a senior woman during home visit

Home Care and Assisted Living

For those requiring additional support, Vancouver Island offers a range of home care services and assisted living facilities.

Here are some examples for you to browse through:

Health visitor and a senior woman during home visit.

Don’t Forget: Pharmacies and Medical Supplies

Access to pharmacies and medical supplies is essential. Vancouver Island towns have a plethora of pharmacies and medical supply stores, ensuring you have easy access to medications and health care products.

Some popular chains include Shoppers Drug Mart, Save On Foods, Walmart, Pharmasave, Rexall, The Medicine Shoppe, and Loblaw Pharmacy. Prefer an independent pharmacy? There are many of those sprinkled throughout the island. If you have active prescriptions at your pharmacy, most can be transferred to a new pharmacy of your choice (this excludes controlled medications like narcotics).

Group of four cheerful senior people, two men and two women, having fun sitting at table and playing bingo game in nursing home

Active Living Groups and Recreation Centers to Keep Your Golden Years Thriving

Staying active and engaged is vital for a fulfilling retirement. Vancouver Island offers numerous senior-focused community groups and recreation centres.

Water aerobics is a popular choice among seniors. Often, aquatic centres will have water aerobics and lanes open for laps during the same session.

Some communities have special groups, like the Sunshine Club in Port Alberni, where an assortment of activities and excursions are available at a low fee. These senior centres are a great way to stay socially and physically active in a supportive environment.

Transit and Transportation

Public transportation and easy access to amenities are crucial for seniors. Most of the island uses BC Transit for the bus system. Larger towns tend to have more routes and buses running. Courtenay and Comox are side by side and share some of the same routes. Parksville is between the Comox Valley and Nanaimo, which does have some buses that extend out into the neighbouring communities. Each town contains taxi services, as well.

Comox, Nanaimo, and Greater Victoria contain ferries to the nearby islands and the Lower Mainland. There are also airports available at these locations. The Royal Canadian Air Force has a base in Comox, too.

What you won’t find are subways or SkyTrain systems. The reason? These cities aren’t large enough to accommodate that sort of infrastructure. Most communities on Vancouver Island are walkable, or you can drive end to end in a matter of minutes.

Nanaimo is one of the largest cities and has a wide variety of amenities. Victoria, the capital city, has more to offer. However, smaller towns like Parksville have everything you need, usually within walking distance. The bonus is that these smaller towns (Parksville, Courtenay, Comox) are surrounded by nature, offering a lovely balance between necessities and beauty.

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Ballard Fine Homes is a Parksville home-building company

Are you looking for your dream home, a place where it feels like you’re on vacation 365 days of the year? Dream building is what we do at Ballard Fine Homes. Our custom homes are known for their exceptional craftsmanship, along with our commitment to full customer satisfaction.

A custom home means that you have more control over the size, finishings, location, and house plan. If you’re looking for a home that is simple, low maintenance, and on the smaller side, we can do that for you. Conversely, we also build luxurious homes that are only restrained by what you can imagine.

Don Ballard and his team build custom homes on Vancouver Island. Our preferred areas include Parksville, Comox, Courtenay, and Nanaimo because we feel they offer the highest quality of life on the island. Our main office is located in Parksville, containing a beautiful showroom you are welcome to browse. Contact us today for more information.

Home inspection costs and what to expect

Should I get my home inspected?

Home inspections are extremely important for those that value legal protection, safety, and avoiding costly issues that come out of nowhere. Check out our other article, The Importance of Home Inspections for a deeper dive into why you shouldn’t skip this step.

What do home inspectors look for?

A professional inspector will tour the property, room by room, and identify any problems that relate to structure, functionality, pests, and more. Both the interior and exterior of the home will be examined, allowing for a thorough inspection.

Side View Of A Shocked Young Woman Looking At Mold On Wall

Examples of what a home inspector might find

So what kind of problems could a home inspector discover? Here are some examples.

  • A sinking foundation will need to be redone for the home to be safe and insurable
  • A rodent problem that has resulted in them chewing your electrical wires, creating a fire hazard
  • Roof shingles will need to be replaced due to age or a leak in the attic
  • Inconsistent water flow from the kitchen faucet
  • Drainage problems in the kitchen or bathroom
  • Broken cabinets
  • Mould or mildew in the basement

As you can see, some of these problems are minor and can be via a quick trip to the hardware store. However, the others can cost thousands of dollars in repair costs.

If you are about to purchase a home, would knowing that you need to spend thousands of dollars to make it safe and habitable affect your offer price? For many people, it makes a big difference. In this way, shelling out the costs for a home inspection can potentially save thousands of dollars down the road, or avoid headaches completely.

A man standing on steps inspecting house roof

What to expect from a home inspection

A home inspection typically takes between 2-4 hours, depending on the size of the home. The home inspector will look at exterior features of your home such as your roof, the structure of your porch, condition of the stairs, and anything else that can get damaged over time. Evidence of rodents and other pests are looked for both outside and inside.

Once inside your home, expect the inspector to crawl up into your attic, take note of slow running faucets, broken light fixtures and windows, and other cosmetic problems. They will also inspect the quality of your fixtures, look for water damage (especially in basements), check for single-paned windows, and other similar potential problems.

A home inspector writes down his findings.

Once the inspection is complete, it can take a bit of time for the report to be written up. However, many companies can accommodate this within the same day. The report will contain a thorough breakdown of what the home inspection revealed for its major systems, along with images and graphs. Sometimes approximate repair costs are included for major items, as it can affect offers within real estate listings.

If you are about to purchase a home, would knowing that you need to spend thousands of dollars to make it safe and habitable affect your offer price? For many people, it makes a big difference.

Having a pile of work to do on your potential new home can make or break the deal. If you’re still planning to buy, you now have more leverage for a lower offer.

On the flipside, if you are selling your home and a potential buyer gets an inspection, they might uncover problems you didn’t know you had.

In this way, shelling out the costs for a home inspection can potentially save thousands of dollars down the road, or avoid headaches completely.

What is the cost of a home inspection in BC?

Someone looking for a home inspection in Nanaimo, for example, should budget around $500 to have it done, depending on how large the property is and if there are any extra amenities that take a considerable amount of time to look over.

A small condo will likely cost less, while a larger single-family home may cost a little more. Extras like a workshop, guest suite, or pool will increase the cost. The rest of the province follows this trend, with the typical home inspection cost ranging from $300 to about $700.

Home inspector examining windows for a new home owner.

Below are some home inspectors that either advertise their prices online or provides estimates upon request:

All home inspectors in BC are required to be educated and licensed. As these inspections can carry weight in a court of law, make sure you are hiring a licensed home inspector before payment.

Get peace of mind by building a custom home

Purchasing a home can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. On one hand, you’re excited to move into your new home, but on the other, you may be wondering how big the repair bill is going to be just to make it safe to live in. One of the best ways to move into a home worry-free is to have it custom-built by a reputable building company.

One of the best ways to move into a home worry-free is to have it custom-built by a reputable building company.

Ballard Fine Homes specializes in building custom homes on Vancouver Island. Our clients, including celebrity Marie Osmond, describe working with our team as a trustworthy and pleasurable experience. Our homes are fully customizable and built with high-quality materials by trained professionals. If you want to have a beautiful home without compromising on quality, contact Ballard Fine Homes today to get started.


This article was originally posted on August 2, 2023. We have since updated it with more valuable information for our readers.

Explore Wembley Woods, Parksville Real Estate

Beautiful, sunny oceanside Parksville is known for its quaint community, vibrant downtown, and as a great place to raise a family. While many are drawn to the beach, the lush Vancouver Island forests carry their own charm.

Join us, as we explore what living in Parksville is like from your home in Wembley Woods.

Parksville is one of the best places to live on Vancouver Island

You wake up in the morning, open your bedroom window and breathe in the fresh air.

Children playing in their backyard with the family's dog.

The view is of your large backyard, private from the many trees in the area. Beyond the treeline is Morningstar Golf Course, but the trees are so thick you don’t notice it at all.

Most of the properties in your neighbourhood have large lots, ranging between 7000 to 10000 square feet each. It’s perfect for your family – a place for the kids to play, a place for you to relax, and a place for everyone to spend time together outdoors.

A beautiful bathroom renovation/remodel

Your custom-built home was designed in your dreams and built to perfection by Ballard Fine Homes. From simple pleasures like a designated laundry room on the same floor as the bedrooms to elaborate luxuries like your floor-to-ceiling fireplace, a chandelier in the bathroom, vaulted ceilings, and an immaculate modern farmhouse kitchen, you have zero regrets about your purchase.

Life is for living and you feel like you are living life exactly how you imagined, except better.


Your new home is private but still close to main amenities, like Wembley Mall

Tucked away within the trees, you are only a few minutes away from Wembley Mall, Oceanside Place Arena, grocery stores, churches, elementary schools, and the high school. In less than a 10-minute drive, you can find yourself in Parksville Downtown where you have immediate access to an assortment of shops, restaurants, and the Parksville Community Park.

There are many things to do in Parksville besides shopping. Visiting one of the many sandy beaches, fishing, boating, hiking, and cycling are all popular activities.

Paradise Mini Golf and Fun Park in Parksville


Live the dream with Ballard Fine Homes every step of the way

If you’re looking for Parksville homes for sale, you’ll want to get in touch with the professionals at Ballard Fine Homes. We offer an alternative to shopping MLS listings trying to find the gem in the rough – build your home exactly the way you want it with a reputable Parksville home builder at your side.

Our showroom provides an opportunity for you to see some of our available finishes and designs in person. We invite you to browse and talk to our friendly staff with any questions that you may have.  Or, ask us about our available luxurious homes in other communities.

We are dedicated to making your dream home come to life in a supportive and exciting environment. All our clients are treated with respect, exceptional customer service, and a promise that we will do our part to deliver perfection when building your new home. If you are interested in learning more about our process and how we can help, please drop by our office or contact us for more information. We look forward to helping your family live the dream in Parksville.

Ballard Fine Homes building

Explore living on the coast: Bayview Estates in French Creek

Do you dream of living near the ocean? Reach out your hands to the professionals at Ballard Fine Homes, where we will show you how you can live the dream right on the beach at Bayview Estates. Located in French Creek, this is one Vancouver Island town you won’t want to miss.

Site plan of the Bayview Estates development

Site plan for Bayview Estates

Waterfront homes for sale near Parksville: French Creek Real Estate

Can you hear the waves gently rolling along the shoreline? At your home in Bayview Estates, you’ll be able to hear and see the ocean because it’s right at your doorstep. This subdivision has several lots available, with several right on the shores of the Strait of Georgia. The rest are literally across the street, so you can enjoy the ocean no matter which property you choose.

From your custom-built waterfront home, the possibilities are endless. Imagine waking up not only to the sounds of the waves but to fresh air instead of city-polluted air from high traffic. This subdivision offers a peaceful home that fits your lifestyle and helps you get away from the busy and hectic life.

Steps from the marina means that fishing for fresh salmon and other fish can happen on your own terms, whenever the desire strikes. Nothing compares to fresh seafood for dinner! Even if you aren’t the type to go out on the ocean, nothing beats reading a good book on your personal beach. For properties that don’t have a beach, there’s a seaside park that everyone can enjoy.

You designed your home exactly how you dreamed. Your walk-in closet, ensuite, cathedral entry, covered deck, and two car garage enhance your daily routines for convenience and pleasure.

Downstairs you have a legal suite that is currently bringing in extra income, which is coming in handy for your son’s college courses. Knowing there is a place for family to stay during visits when it isn’t rented out makes you feel good.

And what about that kitchen? You can’t beat granite countertops, top grade hardwood flooring, soft-touch drawers, and a view of the floor to ceiling fireplace. A beautiful and functional kitchen is a dream come true.

When you walk outside, you are greeted by smiling faces because everyone is living their dream life, right here on Vancouver Island. It’s a relaxed, social, and positive environment. Whether you have a small family or are a retiree, French Creek is a perfect place to call home.

Two people on the beach with arms outstretched looking at the sunset.

A stone’s throw from Parksville: Things to do near French Creek

The community vibe extends to the local businesses and amenities, too. French Creek Bistro and Sam’s Sushi are good restaurants. There are churches, a pharmacy, a pub, a seafood store, and lots of parks and beaches to visit. A small community, but one filled with friendly faces.

Since it is a small and private community, many residents rely on the amenities in Parksville. No need to worry, it’s just a short drive to restaurants, medical buildings, shops, mini golf, and more beautiful beaches. The best part? Your home is steps away from the French Creek Marina, making going out on the ocean a breeze.

If you love the outdoors, you will not get bored. The ocean, forests, and greenery offer chances for peaceful walks, energizing hikes, and refreshing swims. Golf is a popular sport in French Creek, too.

One of Ballard Fine Homes' show homes, view from the living room.

Design your dream home with professional home builders Ballard Fine Homes

Getting into French Creek real estate can be difficult because it is a smaller area with limited listings. When there are homes for sale, the choices can feel quite limited. Ballard Fine Homes has a solution for that.

We are a top home builder in Oceanside. Our development, Bayview Estates, offers the opportunity to buy or customize your dream home. We can design your waterfront home with many custom features to fit your lifestyle and budget perfectly. We also offer model homes with our top designs. This allows you to make fewer decisions while still feeling confident about having a beautiful home.

To see our current listings, please view our Parksville homes for sale. If you are curious to learn more about making your dream home a possibility, contact our team at your convenience.

Explore Edgewood Estates in Comox

If you were looking for Comox homes for sale, you’re in the right place. The Comox Valley is a gorgeous, family-friendly place to live on Vancouver Island. We do have Comox MLS listings if you’re interested, but we bet you want a bit more information before putting in any offers.

So, let’s explore how it feels to live on Vancouver Island, starting from your new home in Edgewood Estates.

Another view of the front exterior for 1168 Silversmith

What is it like to live in Comox?

On a beautiful summer day, you gently wake up and greet the day. Attached to your bedroom is your personal walk-in closet and ensuite, allowing you to take the time to care for yourself before entering the rest of the home.

1168 Silversmith Place bedroom

After you are showered and dressed, you leave your room and quickly sneak some laundry into the machine. You think to yourself how convenient it is to have a dedicated laundry room so close to your bedroom as you walk towards the kitchen. Gone are the days of clothes piling on top of furniture.

As you enter the main living space, you see your spouse is in the kitchen preparing a delicious breakfast displayed on the white marble kitchen island. A plate is already waiting for you at the breakfast table, where you have a view of the fireplace from the open concept design. The home has soaring vaulted ceilings, making even the most mundane parts of your day feel more exciting and grand.

1168 Silversmith Place view of dining and kitchen areas

During your conversation over coffee, you see your teenager has finally joined the living from their bedroom downstairs. They have their own bathroom downstairs, so you can keep the main powder room clutter-free. Also in the basement is a full legal suite, which is currently rented out to generate some passive income. It is being rented by a couple of international students that are attending the nearby North Island College. In later years, it will be nice to have a place for your aging parents. Family is important to you, afterall.

1168 Silversmith Place second bathroom with another large shower

After everyone has had a bite to eat, your spouse ducks into the study for a Zoom meeting, your teen heads out the door, and you decide to visit Goose Spit Park to catch the ocean breeze before heading to work. You have plans with your family to relax at Kye Bay’s sandy beach later in the day, but it doesn’t hurt to visit the ocean multiple times in one day. With the ocean surrounding Comox on three sides, it’s just too hard to pass up the opportunity to enjoy it when you can see it almost wherever you go.

chairlist near Comox

Exploring Comox: things to do

On most days, you enjoy an evening stroll around the block with your spouse. Comox has a relatively low crime rate, so you feel much safer here than when you were living in Vancouver as a student at UBC. The high number of cul-de-sacs helps keep traffic at a minimum, too. You see plenty of greenery and natural treelines during your strolls.

When the inspiration hits, you extend your workout to the Comox Community Centre’s gym and many fitness classes. When the weather is fair (which is most of the year), your family enjoys riding their bikes, swimming in the ocean, or having a few rounds of pickleball at Highland Park.

Several home businesses help keep Comox neighbourhoods pristine. Your spouse works remotely from home, which makes it so much easier to plan trips and outings together. Other local businesses include massage and athletic therapists, reflexologists, and estheticians within walking distance of your home. You don’t feel the same sense of traffic congestion or pollution as in larger cities due to less people commuting.

The strong sense of community can be felt at the local farmers’ market, breweries, beaches, and general atmosphere. Comox feels like a small town but has access to a large number of amenities. Its sister city, Courtenay, is located on the western border and provides even more things to do.

At the end of the day, you are thankful that you were able to build your own piece of paradise in the Comox Valley, with help from the professionals at Ballard Fine Homes.

1168 Silversmith Place living space with kitchen in background

Ballard Fine Homes is your trusted dream house builder

Building dream homes is what we do at Ballard Fine Homes. From luxurious mansions to practical family homes that help you reach your goals faster, we are here every step of the way.

Many of our clients have been retirees looking for luxurious homes, small families seeking a quality home in a safe neighbourhood, and dreamers looking for that perfect home.

Working with us is an enjoyable, stress-free experience. We take pride in committing ourselves to our clients by building trusting relationships and ensuring you are completely satisfied. When it comes to details, we strive for nothing less than perfection so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your new home.

1168 Silversmith Place alt view of bathroom showing double sinks and bath tub

More information about Comox homes for sale

Comox is a largely residential city located in the Comox Valley, east of Courtenay. It’s a great place to find larger homes making it highly desirable for families. The local airport and ferry routes are convenient for travellers, though there are plenty of reasons to stay! White sandy beaches, lush forests, and gorgeous mountains create a scenic atmosphere complimented by a community of friendly residents. You can read more about Comox in another one of our articles.

We are privileged to have built several homes in Comox. View our Comox real estate listings or contact us for the opportunity to start building your custom dream home. We look forward to hearing from you!

Explore Northridge Estates in Courtenay

Courtenay, BC is one of the best places to live on Vancouver Island. Never heard of it? Let’s take a moment to imagine a typical day in the life of someone living in Northridge Estates.

3321 Klanawa Crescent bedroom

What is it like to live in Courtenay?

On a quiet morning, you wake up gently from the natural light coming through your window. The temperature is just right, not too hot nor too cold. Slowly, you get up, put on your favourite slippers and light housecoat, then walk down to your open-concept kitchen to make a fresh cup of coffee.

You enter a luxurious, modern white kitchen complete with an island, stainless steel appliances, and a view into the living room where your spouse has already turned on the gas fireplace, not because it’s cold but because it’s beautiful. Ample storage and a smart design means you walk into a serene, uncluttered kitchen and can enjoy the ritual of getting your morning cup of coffee together without any stress.

3321 Klanawa Crescent kitchen view from living area

With your choice of seating options at the nearby dining room table under a high-end statement lighting or in the living room in front of the cosy fireplace, you decide to instead go out the French doors into the back patio. Here, you have a comfortable chair where you can relax to the sounds of birds chirping and soft sunrays on your face. The sun is shining and you can’t help but want to breathe in the fresh air.

back exterior of 3321 Klanawa Crescent home

Your backyard is small, private, and fuss-free. A beautiful rock wall lined with small cedar bushes allows for all the privacy you need, while providing enough green space to not burden yourself with extraneous yard work. Above the rock wall is natural flora and fauna, providing even more of a beautiful view. It’s a peaceful place of solitude or to share with loved ones with a backyard BBQ.

3321 Klanawa Crescent alternative view of large bathroom, view from doorway

Once you have emptied your cup, you head back inside to get ready for the day. Of the two bathrooms, you choose the one with the free standing bathtub under an elaborate chandelier. Starting your day as relaxing as possible is what it is all about. Once you are fully relaxed, you return to your bedroom and explore your large, walk-in closet for the day’s attire. There’s a large collection of fashionable, smart clothing options. As Courtenay has a moderate year-round temperature, you have more freedom to dress for style instead of functionality.

Small room with washer and dryer

Before heading out for the day, you step into your large laundry room to start a quick wash behind closed doors. It’s easy to keep your home neat, tidy, and a sanctuary for relaxing when you have a layout this well thought out.

Streetview of Klanawa Crescent (Northridge Estates) in Courtenay, BC

Exploring Courtenay: things to do

As you pull out of your attached garage and turn onto the street you can’t help but notice and appreciate how safe and quiet your neighbourhood is, along with friendly neighbours that take pride in keeping their properties nicely landscaped. It feels good to call such a place home.

After a short few minutes’ drive, you find yourself on one of the main roadways in Courtenay, Lerwick Road. In no time at all, you are conveniently located near a Costco, Home Depot, several grocery stores, and the respectable North Island College. From your home, it’s only a 10 minute drive to the heart of downtown where even more amenities are available.

Today, you don’t have any reason to go downtown so instead you head north for a short 5-10 minute drive to your favourite golf course to meet your best friend for a few rounds and lunch. During your visit, you learn that your friend is considering spending the next day at Mount Washington Alpine Resort and passes along an invitation to you. It’s a warm day, but you already know that there are year-round activities available, not just skiing and snowboarding.

After your visit, you drive home to Northridge Estates and think to yourself how lucky you are to live in such a beautiful home. With rising real estate prices all over British Columbia, you are thankful you found your little spot of paradise built with perfection by Ballard Fine Homes.

Living room with 2 grey couches and 2 red seats

Ballard Fine Homes builds beautiful Vancouver Island homes

As a premier custom home building company on Vancouver Island, Ballard Fine Homes has helped families build the life they deserve. With our strong dedication to hard work, perfection, and building relationships with our clients, we have delivered on our promises time and time again.

Our speciality is building custom homes based on the dreams and desires of our clients, but we also build model homes from time to time. These homes are turn-key, move-in ready and feature some of our best floor plans, design choices, and highly sought after locations.

1168 Silversmith Place view of kitchen and living spaces from dining room

More information about Courtenay & Homes For Sale

Courtenay, BC is a city located on Vancouver Island within the beautiful Comox Valley. It has it all – mountains, ocean, forest, and a great community. Retirees and small families equally enjoy the benefits of living here. View Ballard Fine Homes’ real estate listings for Courtenay.

You can read more frequently asked questions in our other article about this lovely city. We also invite you to browse our website, read our other Vancouver Island articles, and contact us for any specific questions about the area. Ballard Fine Homes builds custom homes in the best places on Vancouver Island, so if you have your heart set on another location, give us a call to get started on building your own luxurious dream home.