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Even more home renovation tips and ideas

Join us down the rabbit hole for more home renovation ideas to spruce up your house, featuring your home office, bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and gaming room.

While we have already covered some basic tips and tricks for renovating your home, we thought we would continue by answering a few commonly asked questions for each room. Read on snag some ideas for your next home remodel!

How can I make my home office look expensive?

As more people are working remotely or in a hybrid situation, having a home office is becoming more of a necessary addition to your home. During those online meetings, you will want to ensure your background looks just as professional as what you are seeing from your desk.

Tailoring your home office to look more expensive suggests that you are a successful professional. Success is appealing to potential clients who meet with you through video consultations, plus it just feels good to work in a beautiful office.

Here are some ways you can make your home office look more expensive and professional:

  • Adopt a minimalistic style. Clutter makes you look unorganized and can be distracting when trying to work.
  • Along with minimalism, a clean environment goes a long way.
  • A bright workspace through ample lighting or white paint can work wonders to brighten any space. Use small pops of colour to add accents.
  • Tastefully display credentials or statement pieces (choose only one or two to avoid overcrowding the space)
  • If you have enough space, adding a tasteful rug or a small chair with a decorative pillow can help pull together the room

How do you modernize an outdated bedroom?

Is it time for a bedroom refresh? While you have the option for a full bedroom renovation, you can still get away with several budget bedroom decor ideas that pack a punch.

Purchase new bedding, curtains, rugs, and accent pieces in the same colour palette. If you are choosing something with a pattern, try to isolate it to just one piece (bedding, curtains, rug, or cushions) to not overwhelm the space.

A clean, minimalistic style instantly transforms any outdated space into a more modern look. Declutter your bedroom and focus on only a few accent pieces. Invest in storage options to hide clutter and create a seamless look through the room.

Don’t have the budget for new furniture? Try swapping out the hardware instead. Most wardrobes and doors can easily have their handles swapped out for updated pieces, saving you a pretty penny.

When in doubt, a new coat of paint on the walls usually doesn’t hurt!

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

What do buyers look for in a bathroom?

Are you trying to remodel your home because you want to put your house on the market?

Understanding your buyers can help you sell your home quickly. If you aren’t on the market to sell, these tips will still help you upgrade your bathroom into a more beautiful and inviting space.

When people walk into a bathroom, they don’t want to be stressed out by all the cleaning and remodelling that needs to be done. For this reason, having a spa-like atmosphere can be very impactful.

A clean bathroom with a calm, neutral colour palette and natural decor items is one of the most effective ways to transform your bathroom into a relaxing, spa-like room.

When it comes to bathrooms, less is more. Keep it clean and simple.

3321 Klanawa Crescent large kitchen with island

How to design an affordable kitchen that looks luxurious?

Kitchens are one of the most expensive rooms to renovate. It is also one of the most used rooms in the house. So how can you make your kitchen look more luxurious on a budget? We have covered several kitchen remodelling ideas already, so here are a few more to consider:

Invest in statement lighting. An elaborate light fixture draws your attention towards that piece and becomes the focal point of the room.

If you are unable to swap out your cabinets, consider upgrading the hardware. Just like our tip above for your bedroom, you can also swap out the hardware in your kitchen. A collection of expensive handles is a cheap renovation idea for every budget.

Do you still have a kitchen faucet from the 90s? For a couple of hundred dollars, you can have a beautiful new kitchen faucet that not only looks great but also functions better than your old one. Touchless or smart faucets are other options.

How can I make my gaming room better?

We all need to sit back and relax, so having an awesome gaming room is the perfect solution. Depending on your situation, you may want to focus on only a couple of systems or hobbies in the room. For example, are you a PC gamer or do you want a home theatre? Will there be enough room for your XBOX and a PC in the corner? Choose what type of gaming room you’d prefer, then expand outwards from that.

Ambient lighting through the use of LED strips behind furniture and around the perimeter of the room is a new trend seen in 2023. Dim lighting helps get into the gaming zone, as it allows you to focus on what you are doing while still having some light in the room aside from your screen.

Are there others living in your home? Soundproofing your gaming room, even a little, will emphasize your own experience and lessen it on others. While you’re at it, add in some cool decor pieces such as neon clocks, neon lights, or statement pieces like a Triforce, Nuka Cola mini fridge, or a vintage movie poster.

Choose furniture that is appropriate for the space. If you have multiple people over, make sure they can all sit comfortably without feeling cramped. Extra perks such as a mini fridge, personal bar, or space to play a tabletop game are always a good idea.

Looking for a professional opinion for your next home renovation? Contact Ballard Fine Homes

Are you inspired to make some positive changes to your home? Ballard Fine Homes is a professional home-building company that also helps clients with home renovations. From small to extravagant, we help clients turn their dreams into real, tangible experiences to be enjoyed for years to come.

We invite you to browse through our showroom and get inspired for your next home renovation. For any questions or concerns, our team is here to help and guide you through your next home renovation or custom home-building experience.

Pros and cons of moving to a small community like French Creek

Have you heard about the community of French Creek on Vancouver Island, BC? As more and more people look towards Vancouver Island as an affordable option compared to Vancouver, small communities such as French Creek are gaining popularity. Will French Creek be your new home? Read on to find out several reasons why people love to live in French Creek, as well as a few considerations that may not be the perfect match for everyone.

Advantages of Living in French Creek

French Creek is located on the eastern side of Vancouver Island, along the Strait of Georgia. It is a waterfront community found north of Nanaimo with a small population of around 1000 residents. So what kind of perks can be found in this tiny part of Vancouer Island?

Laid-back island lifestyle

Similar to the rest of the island, the pace of life is a bit slower compared to the mainland. Most amenities are within walking distance and residents are friendly and welcoming. If you are looking for a small-town lifestyle, then French Creek is a great place to consider.

Near established towns

French Creek is sandwiched between two larger towns – Qualicum Beach to the northwest and Parksville to the southeast. Both of these towns are well established, growing, and are each about a ten minute drive to visit.

Parksville and Qualicum Beach provide additional amenities such as a greater selection of shops, grocery stores, and recreational facilities like Ravensong Aquatic Centre. Residents enjoy the ample privacy and quiet vibe within French Creek, while still having convenient access to these additional amenities.

Surrounded by nature

Long, sandy beaches on one side and access to the wild west coast forest on another, French Creek is in an ideal location for outdoor enthusiasts. Along with several options for hiking and walking trails, residents have easy access to watersport activities via the French Creek Marina or other open areas along the shoreline for canoes and kayaks.

A golf lover’s paradise

Whether you are a beginner or well-seasoned, the high-quality golf courses within and near French Creek can’t be ignored. The climate in this region provides an unique opportunity for year-round golfing in Canada. Morningstar Golf Club, Pheasant Glen Golf Resort, and Arrowsmith Golf & Country Club are local gems. These courses benefit from ocean views, beautifully forested areas, and peaks of Mount Arrowsmith.

Site plan of the Bayview Estates development
Site plan of the Bayview Estates development in French Creek, BC showing waterfront properties.

Opportunity for waterfront homes & cottages

One of the best places to find waterfront homes is within French Creek. Many subdivisions line the shoreline or are within walking distance to it. Bayview Estates is a newer development by Ballard Fine Homes found right along the shoreline, just steps away from the marina.

These waterfront properties are perfect for those that enjoy fishing, relaxing on the beach, and falling asleep to the soothing sounds of waves lapping on the shoreline. A little farther inland you will find densely forested areas, offering the perfect amount of privacy for your own vacation cottage.

Considerations about living in French Creek

While there are plenty of wonderful things about French Creek, this lifestyle isn’t necessarily for everyone. What is great for one person might be a downside for another.

Limited things to do

Are you a city girl or gal? Do you enjoy exploring a new restaurant or venue each night of the week? As expected, a small community like French Creek does not carry that same level of variety for things to do. Most activities are well suited for outdoor enthusiasts, with a few options for indoor activities in the region. Essentially, French Creek is for nature lovers, not city dwellers.

Less infrastructure & job opportunities

If you are someone that is used to rapid transit, convenience stores on every corner, and hitting up a large stadium for a hockey game or concert, then you will have to leave French Creek for that kind of lifestyle. As a small community, there is a smaller demand for infrastructure compared to places like Vancouver and Nanaimo. This also means that employment options are quite niche, usually relating to fisheries or tourism.

Many people tend to live in French Creek yet work in Qualicum Beach or Parksville, so it is worth considering the prospect of job opportunities in those towns for reliable, steady employment. However, the laid back atmosphere is a haven for remote workers and retirees.

Looking for more information?

Are you excited about adding French Creek to your list of potential places to live? This is a great place to live and build your own custom home on Vancouver Island. Relatively affordable real estate options allow the opportunity to renovate an older home or start anew with a fresh build.

Ballard Fine Homes is a custom home building company located in Parksville that builds beautiful homes in places like Nanaimo, Parksville, Comox, Courtenay, and French Creek. If you are interested in building your own custom home or selecting from one of our model homes, please contact our office for more information.

We also have an extensive showroom in our Parksville location that allows our clients to see in person some of our materials and finishes to use when designing their own home. If you are just looking for more information about French Creek, we are happy to help you with that as well!

Building trust with your home builder

Building a custom home on Vancouver Island is a substantial investment, so you will want to make sure it is built exactly the way you want it to look. So how can you trust your builder to deliver on all your dreams, expectations, and customer satisfaction?

At Ballard Fine Homes, we take pride in our building process and develop meaningful relationships with our clients. In this article, we will introduce you to a few of the reasons we feel we are a trustworthy custom home-building company in Nanaimo and surrounding areas. If at any time you have questions or concerns about our values, and procedures, or want more information, please feel free to give our office a call at 250-586-9077. Transparency and trust go hand-in-hand at Ballard Fine Homes.

Importance of trust in the home building process

Choosing an untrustworthy homebuilder can lead to a myriad of potential risks and negative consequences throughout the homebuilding process. This can be seen through compromised construction and workmanship, resulting in structural issues and costly repairs down the line. Untrustworthy builders may cut corners, use substandard materials, or disregard building codes and regulations, putting the safety and durability of your home at risk.

Additionally, untrustworthy builders might engage in dishonest pricing practices, leading to hidden costs and financial surprises. This can also lead to poor communication and a lack of transparency, which may leave you feeling frustrated and anxious, as important details are withheld or misrepresented.

Moreover, these builders may fail to honor warranties and provide proper post-construction support, leaving you with unresolved problems and additional expenses. Ultimately, the decision to entrust an unscrupulous homebuilder can turn what should be an exciting and fulfilling experience into a daunting and regrettable one.

Don Ballard and his team strive for perfection and customer satisfaction. Read on to learn how we take special care for our clients to feel confident in trusting Ballard Fine Homes.

We take client satisfaction very seriously

One of the first things people do when trying to find out if a product or service is any good is to look up some reviews. So, we invite you to have a look at what our clients have said about working with us.

a screenshot showing a testimonial by Marie Osmond.

Our testimonials page lists several home-building reviews, including one by celebrity Marie Osmond. When it comes to trust, she said “I have met millions of people throughout my career and have never felt so close and trusted anyone, outside my family circle, as I do Don Ballard.” Other clients have commented on our commitment to delivering on our promises and allowing our clients to feel comfortable and welcomed throughout the entire process.

Other places where you can view our reviews include our Google Business Profile and Houzz profile.
(To view our Google reviews, type “Ballard Fine Homes” into a Google search, then click on the review link on the sidebar.)

A screenshot of a Google search result showing where to click to find Google reviews for Ballard Fine Homes.

Our strong portfolio speaks for itself, have a look

After looking for good reviews, evidence of a job well done is often the next step. We would like to share a few more links for you to peruse at your convenience.

First, we post all homes for sale on our website that are not custom-built for clients. These model homes include interior and exterior photos so you can get a feeling for the types of designs and materials we prefer to use. We also have a list of several custom features available for our clients to choose from, available on our website.

Next, we invite you to read a wonderful article by the Business Examiner called “There’s No Stoppin’ Ballard Fine Homes.” This article is a miniature interview with Don and provides a good level of insight into the company’s mission and values.

Additionally, Ballard Fine Homes has been granted the “Best of Houzz” award for client satisfaction for 2019, 2021, and 2023. Houzz is a hub for professionals and customers to seek out home builders, inspiration, and purchase products. It is a one-stop shop for everything related to building a home. This award is based on customer reviews and feedback left on that website. We are very proud and privileged to have accepted this award several times.

A screenshot of Don Ballard's website showing the awards section.


The Ballard Fine Homes Difference

At Ballard Fine Homes, we see our clients as people with dreams, needs, and high expectations for professionalism and a job well done. Our old-fashioned family values mean that we treat our clients as if they were our own family, giving them the respect they deserve.

Building a home is a substantial investment, and often the most expensive purchase some people will make in their lives. We are there for you while the home is just a dream, during the building process, and long after you’ve moved in. We do not churn out homes for profit and then disappear – we are available for our clients to address any modifications, concerns, or general questions. Building an exceptional home is only part of the process. Ensuring our customers are completely satisfied is another level of perfection we strive to achieve every time.

Transparency and trust are at the heart of our company, followed closely by professionalism and our strong attention to detail for our designs and craftsmanship. We invite you to visit our Parksville office to meet our team, learn about our building procedures and practices, and browse through our extensive showroom where we have on display several high-quality finishes and materials used often in our homes. We look forward to meeting you!

The only fall home maintenance checklist you’ll need

It’s that time of year again. Kids are going back to school, the leaves are changing to beautiful hues of orange and red, and you have another list of things to do. We want you to feel proud of your home, and one way to do that is through proper maintenance. We’ve created a handy checklist to help you through the next couple of months.

If you prefer, you can download a printable version of this checklist from our website.


Fall Yard and Home Maintenance Checklist

Tidy up your veggie garden

Pull out plants that have served their purpose and toss them into the compost bin. If you need to repair your above-ground planters, this is a good time to do that task.

Apply mulch to garden beds

Are you mulching over the winter? Don’t forget to put a layer of your preferred mulch after you’ve pulled out any weeds and dead plants. This is also a good time to put on a layer of compost.

Plant your fall bulbs, like tulips

Fall bulbs such as tulips or fall plantings of vegetables like garlic usually go into the ground around September/October. Check the recommendations for your area and mark on the calendar when it is time to plant.

Prune your trees

Is your maple tree creeping a little too close to the power lines? Prune hard-to-reach and dead branches and trim back the shrubs before they flower in the spring.

Tidy up yard debris

Take down the pool, clear the leaves and dead plants out of your flower beds, and anything else lingering in your yard that shouldn’t hibernate over the winter.

Clean gutters

Clean out the gutters and rinse with the hose to make sure they are working properly before that first major storm hits.

Inspect the roof and repair shingles

Walk around your home and look up at the roof. Does anything look “off”? If you have an older roof, consider inspecting your roof for repairs. Hire a professional to stay on the safe side.

Change filters on your furnace or schedule a technician for your heating system

To keep your home safe and warm, make sure your heating system’s maintenance is up to par. If you use an oil furnace, call ahead to fill it up. Chances are, the first cold snap will have the oil delivery companies busy so be prepared ahead of time.

Clean the chimney and fireplace

Do you use a wood-burning fireplace? Have it properly cleaned before your first fire of the season. If you were not able to grab a load of firewood earlier in the spring to dry out, seek out a source so you’re well prepared.

Drain and disconnect hoses

Drain and disconnect your exterior hoses. This will prevent them from expanding when frozen, which causes them to burst. To maintain the quality of your hose, disconnect it and bring it indoors for the winter.

Rake those leaves

Rake your leaves, throw them in the compost, or bag them up for disposal. Don’t forget to jump in the pile!

Change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

With the cooler weather, you might be more likely to use your oven and fireplace. Once a year is a good time to make sure your safety detectors are in working order.

Clean and store outdoor furniture

Give your outdoor furniture a good scrub, then properly store it in a shed or crawlspace to protect it from the elements. If you have linens such as throw pillows or an outdoor rug, wash them before you put them away.

Clean and store outdoor decorative items that may be damaged during a freeze

Fragile lawn decorations, wind chimes, and anything else that is prone to cracking after a freeze should be cleaned and brought indoors.

Drain irrigation system

If you have an irrigation system for your garden, you will want to disconnect and drain it before freezing temperatures.

Inspect your home’s exterior for cracks

Walk around your home for a visual inspection for any cracks or issues that you may want to get checked out by a professional.

Make sure your sump pump still works

If you’re in an area that is prone to heavy rainfall, having a functional sump pump is critical during an emergency. Don’t wait until your basement is flooded before you realize your sump pump doesn’t work.

Clean your dryer vents

Some households tend to use their clothes dryer more frequently in the fall/winter than in the spring/summer because they are relying less on an outdoor clothesline. Lint buildup can potentially cause fires, so make sure your main vent is clean in addition to cleaning the filter after each use.

Schedule HVAC maintenance

If you use a heat pump or other HVAC system, now is a good time to have it serviced.

Check to weatherstrip around doors and windows

As the seasons change, drafts and cooler air can enter your home. Check your windows and doors for weather-stripping repairs. Tip: BC Hydro may still be offering their free Energy Saving Kit

Check storage areas like crawl spaces and the attic for insulation and potential problems

Once a year, give these areas a thorough check for critters, invasive plant growth, leaks, and mold growth.

Stock up on winter supplies for deicing, snow removal, and emergency supplies

If you already have winter supplies like a snow shovel and deicing salt, ensure that you know exactly where they are so you aren’t hunting around in the cold at the last minute. This is also a good time to look over your emergency supplies in terms of food, first aid, candles, and other related items.

Clean outdoor lighting fixtures

Take a hot damp rag and wipe the coverings for your exterior lighting fixtures. Usually, these are found by the front/back doors and near the garage. This will help improve visibility during the upcoming foggy weather.

Drain fuel from lawn equipment, like lawnmowers

Drain and properly store the fuel from your lawn equipment that you won’t be touching for months to come. This will help maintain the device and keep harmful fumes at bay.

Clean and organize your pantry

Inside your home, take the time to clean and organize your pantry. Take inventory of what you have and make a list of what you think you’ll need over the next few months. Often, fall and winter storms can knock out the power or cause trees to block roads. You’ll want to make sure you have what you need in case this situation happens. Tip: Don’t limit yourself to your kitchen pantry, look over personal care supplies and medications.

Deep clean your oven

It isn’t the most glamorous household task, but it is an important one. Give your oven a deep clean before the cooler weather sets in. You’ll likely be using it more for pot roasts, casseroles, Thanksgiving dinner, and that occasional cupcake craving.

Grab your printable copy of our Fall checklist

We’ve created a shorter, printer-friendly version of the above checklist so you can hang it on your refrigerator or wall.

Click To Download: Fall Yard & Home Maintenance Checklist

The staff at Ballard Fine Homes hopes you have a cozy, enjoyable Fall season with your friends and loved ones. As always, we are here for any questions you may have about renovating your home or starting the process for your own custom-built dream home.

Your ultimate list of things to do in Nanaimo

Are you looking for a mega guide for tourist attractions in Nanaimo? You’re in the right place! Our list of 17 fun activities in Nanaimo is sure to hit all the right marks, no matter what crowd you are hanging out with.

At Ballard Fine Homes, we are a custom home-building company on Vancouver Island. One of our top places to build is in Nanaimo, so we wanted to share some of the things we love the most about Nanaimo, including the variety of things to do.

You may have landed on this article because you are looking for tourist attractions, or perhaps you are considering moving to Nanaimo and want to see what is available. If you are interested in building your own custom home in Nanaimo, give us a call. Otherwise, enjoy having fun with any of these suggestions!

* Disclaimer: Always verify with each company for current prices, hours of operation, and safety information.

Table of Contents

  1. Harbour Air Seaplane Tour
  2. Nanaimo Bar Trail
  3. Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park
  4. Nanaimo Farmers’ Market
  5. Go kayaking
  6. Paint Nite
  7. Nanaimo Bar Cocktail Tour
  8. Nanaimo’s Escape Rooms
  9. Play a round of disc golf
  10. VRCore Virtual Worlds
  11. Nanaimo Museum
  12. Have a picnic at Neck Point Park
  13. Hiking at Westwood Lake Park
  14. Discover the Nanaimo Waterfront
  15. Maffeo Sutton Park
  16. WildPlay Element Parks
  17. Shopping at Woodgrove Centre

Harbour Air Seaplane Tour

Soar through the skies and take in breathtaking aerial views of Nanaimo’s stunning coastline. Prices start at around $140 per person. Suitable for adventure seekers and nature lovers. The seaplane terminal is located at 100 Port Drive.

Nanaimo is known for its picturesque coastline, and what better way to appreciate its beauty than from above? Hop on a Harbour Air Seaplane and prepare for an unforgettable adventure. As you take off from the Nanaimo seaplane terminal, the excitement builds, and soon you’ll find yourself soaring high above the glistening waters.

During the tour, you’ll be treated to jaw-dropping panoramic views of the rugged coastal landscape, with its lush forests, hidden coves, and majestic mountains. Keep your camera ready to capture snapshots of the stunning scenery. The experienced pilots provide informative commentary, pointing out notable landmarks and sharing fascinating facts about the area’s history and wildlife.

Whether you’re a thrill-seeker, a nature enthusiast, or simply seeking a unique perspective on Nanaimo, the Harbour Air Seaplane Tour is a must-do activity. It’s an opportunity to create lifelong memories and see the city’s natural beauty in a whole new way. So buckle up, get ready for takeoff, and prepare to be awe-inspired! Check out their website for more information.

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Nanaimo Bar Trail

Calling all dessert lovers!

Nanaimo is renowned for its mouthwatering Nanaimo Bars, and what better way to experience the city’s culinary delight than embarking on the Nanaimo Bar Trail? This self-guided tour takes you on a delectable journey through downtown Nanaimo, where you’ll have the opportunity to sample different variations of the famous treat.

But wait, what is a Nanaimo bar?

This delicious and iconic Canadian treat is a no-bake dessert that consists of three distinct layers. The base layer is made from a mixture of crushed graham crackers, cocoa powder, coconut flakes, chopped nuts (usually walnuts), and melted butter or margarine. The middle layer contains custard, and it is all topped off with melted chocolate. It is served chilled and is a perfect combination of sweet and smooth custard and chocolate.

At each stop along the trail, you’ll be greeted with tempting displays of Nanaimo Bars, each with its own unique twist. From classic recipes to innovative flavor combinations, you’re in for a treat at every corner. Sink your teeth into layers of chocolate, custard, and crumbly goodness while exploring the charming streets of Nanaimo.

The Nanaimo Bar Trail is suitable for dessert enthusiasts of all ages. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, it’s a fun and delicious way to immerse yourself in Nanaimo’s culinary culture. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to pick up some Nanaimo Bars to take home as souvenirs or gifts for friends and family. Get ready to satisfy your sweet tooth and embark on a delightful adventure!

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Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park

Catch a ferry to Newcastle Island and spend the day hiking, cycling, or picnicking amidst beautiful nature. Ferry tickets cost $15 for adults and $7 for children. Ideal for outdoor enthusiasts and families. The ferry departure point is at 10 Wharf St, near the iconic copper capped Beacon condominiums.

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and venture to Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park, a serene oasis just a short ferry ride away. Located in the Nanaimo Harbour, this island paradise offers a wealth of outdoor activities and natural beauty. Catch the ferry from the departure point and prepare for an adventure.

Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by pristine beaches, lush forests, and scenic trails waiting to be explored. Lace up your hiking boots and embark on a picturesque trek through the island’s network of trails, leading you to breathtaking viewpoints and hidden coves. If you prefer cycling, bring your bike along and pedal your way around the island, taking in the sights at your own pace.

Newcastle Island is also a fantastic spot for picnicking and relaxation. Pack a delicious lunch and find a cozy spot by the waterfront or under the shade of towering trees. Listen to the sounds of nature, feel the gentle sea breeze, and let the island’s tranquility wash over you.

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast seeking adventure or a family looking for a day of fun in nature, Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park has something for everyone. Immerse yourself in the island’s natural beauty, make memories with loved ones, and discover a hidden gem just off the shores of Nanaimo.

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Nanaimo’s Farmers’ Market

Discover local produce, artisanal crafts, and delicious treats at the Nanaimo Farmers’ Market. Entry is free, and prices vary for products. Suitable for foodies and those seeking unique gifts. There are several markets, so check out this list for what is currently available.

Nanaimo Farmers’ Markets are a hub of activity every week. As you step into the market, you’ll be greeted by a bustling atmosphere filled with the aroma of fresh produce and the sound of cheerful chatter.

Wander through the stalls, where local farmers proudly display their bountiful harvests. From vibrant fruits and vegetables to fragrant herbs and homemade preserves, the market is a haven for those seeking the freshest ingredients for their culinary creations. Be sure to strike up conversations with the friendly vendors, who are always happy to share stories and offer cooking tips.

But the Nanaimo Farmers’ Market isn’t just about food—it’s also a haven for artists and crafters. Discover unique handmade jewelry, beautiful artwork, and intricately crafted pottery. Support local artisans by purchasing one-of-a-kind treasures that reflect the spirit of Nanaimo.

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Beautiful young couple kayaking on lake together and smiling

Kayaking Rentals

Rent a kayak and paddle along the tranquil waters of the harbour, soaking up the scenic beauty of the area. Perfect for outdoor enthusiasts and water lovers. Rentals can be found at Adventuress Sea Kayaking, Coastal Expression, and other facilities.

Are you ready for a splash of adventure on the waters of Nanaimo Harbour? Grab a paddle and hop into a kayak for an exhilarating experience. Kayak rental shops in Nanaimo offer you the opportunity to explore the stunning coastal scenery at your own pace.

As you glide through the calm waters, you’ll be surrounded by breathtaking views of the harbour and its picturesque shoreline. Feel the refreshing mist on your face as you navigate past rocky outcrops and hidden coves. Keep an eye out for local wildlife, such as seals, sea birds, and even occasional glimpses of playful dolphins.

Whether you’re a seasoned kayaker or a beginner, paddling through the Nanaimo Harbour is an accessible adventure suitable for all skill levels. So grab a friend, don a life jacket, and embark on a memorable kayaking journey in the heart of Nanaimo.

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Paint Nite

Join a fun-filled painting session at various local venues in Nanaimo. Prices start at around $40 per person, including art supplies. Tickets can be purchased through their website. Suitable for creative souls and social butterflies. Venues change, so check the Paint Nite website or the local Facebook page for upcoming events.

Get ready to unleash your inner artist at Paint Nite, a unique and entertaining experience that combines painting, socializing, and a dash of liquid inspiration. Whether you’re a seasoned artist or a beginner, Paint Nite offers a welcoming and lively environment for everyone to express their creativity.

At Paint Nite, you’ll gather with fellow art enthusiasts at local venues in Nanaimo, such as cozy pubs or trendy cafes. Guided by a talented local artist, you’ll follow step-by-step instructions to create your own masterpiece. With a paintbrush in one hand and a drink in the other, you’ll let your imagination run wild as vibrant colors come to life on the canvas.

No need to worry about bringing art supplies—Paint Nite provides all the materials you’ll need, including brushes, paints, and a canvas. So gather your friends, sip on your favorite beverage, and let your artistic side shine in a fun and relaxed atmosphere.

No previous painting experience is necessary—just bring your enthusiasm and a willingness to try something new.

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Nanaimo Bar Cocktail Tour

Are you ready to embark on a tantalizing journey of Nanaimo Bar-infused libations? The Nanaimo Bar Cocktail Tour is a delightful adventure for those with a taste for mixology and a love for the city’s iconic dessert. Prepare your taste buds for a symphony of flavors as you sip on creative concoctions inspired by the beloved Nanaimo Bar. If you have sampled the dessert around the city, scroll down the page a bit more to hit the adult drinks.

Throughout Nanaimo, trendy bars and cocktail lounges put their own spin on this classic treat, blending rich chocolate, smooth custard, and a hint of nutty goodness with spirits and liqueurs. From creamy martinis to decadent shooters, each cocktail tells a unique story and offers a tantalizing twist on the beloved dessert.

As you embark on this cocktail tour, you’ll have the opportunity to explore various venues, each showcasing their own Nanaimo Bar-inspired creations. Prices for the cocktails may vary depending on the establishments you visit, so it’s best to check with the local bars to plan your adventure.

Cheers to the perfect blend of sweetness, creativity, and the spirit of Nanaimo!

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Breakout Nanaimo Escape Rooms

Do you have what it takes to solve puzzles, unravel mysteries, and beat the clock?

Nanaimo’s Escape Rooms are the ultimate test of teamwork, critical thinking, and nerves of steel. Gather your friends, family, or colleagues and prepare for an adrenaline-pumping experience like no other. Prices typically range from $25 to $45 per person, as it depends on how large your group is. Perfect for puzzle lovers and thrill-seekers. Escape rooms are located at various venues in Nanaimo, such as Breakout Nanaimo Escape Rooms and Exit Canada.

As you step into the escape room, you’ll be greeted by a room filled with clues, puzzles, and hidden secrets. Your mission? Work together as a team to unravel the mysteries, crack the codes, and escape before time runs out. The clock will be ticking, the tension will rise, and every decision you make will bring you closer to victory or defeat.

So gather your squad, put your problem-solving skills to the test, and see if you have what it takes to escape the room and claim victory!

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Woman throwing a disc to the disc basket

Play a round of disc golf

Channel your inner Frisbee champion and try your hand at disc golf in Bowen Park. Perfect for outdoor enthusiasts and those seeking a fun and active challenge. Bowen Park is located at 500 Bowen Road.

This unique and exhilarating game combines the precision of golf with the fun of throwing a Frisbee, creating a challenging and enjoyable experience for all. As you navigate through the park’s winding trails and lush greenery, you’ll encounter a series of designated targets known as baskets. Your goal is to throw your disc from the starting point and land it in the basket with as few throws as possible.

Disc golf is suitable for outdoor enthusiasts and anyone looking for a fun and active challenge. The cost of playing is generally free, although you may choose to rent discs from local shops if you don’t have your own. So gather your friends, unleash your inner Frisbee champion, and enjoy a memorable round of disc golf amidst the natural beauty of Bowen Park.

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VRCore Virtual Worlds

Immerse yourself in cutting-edge virtual reality experiences at VRCore. Prices vary depending on the duration and type of experience. Perfect for gamers, tech enthusiasts, and those seeking an unforgettable virtual adventure. Game On! Virtual Worlds is located at 2-1585 Bowen Road.

Equipped with high-tech VR headsets, motion controllers, and a wide array of immersive games and experiences, VRCore takes gaming to a whole new level. Whether you’re battling robots in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, exploring fantastical realms, or experiencing heart-pounding adventures, you’ll be transported to an entirely different reality.

Prices for experiences vary depending on the duration and type of adventure you choose. From short sessions to extended gameplay, there are options for every budget and interest. It’s the perfect destination for gamers, tech enthusiasts, and those seeking an unforgettable virtual adventure.

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Nanaimo Museum

Delve into Nanaimo’s rich heritage and culture at the Nanaimo Museum. Admission is typically $2 for adults. Perfect for history buffs, curious minds, and those seeking to connect with the city’s past. The museum is located at 100 Museum Way, Nanaimo.

As you explore the museum, you’ll discover the diverse facets of Nanaimo’s past. From the rich traditions of the Snuneymuxw First Nation to the city’s coal mining heritage, each exhibit offers a unique glimpse into the area’s cultural tapestry. Learn about the challenges and triumphs of early settlers, delve into the world of coal mining through a reconstructed mine, and gain insights into the individuals who have left their mark on Nanaimo.

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Picnic at Neck Point Park

Indulge in a delightful outdoor dining experience surrounded by natural beauty at Neck Point Park. Entry is free. Perfect for nature lovers, families, and those seeking a peaceful getaway. Neck Point Park is located at 1055 Morningside Drive, Nanaimo.

Pack a picnic basket filled with your favorite treats, grab a cozy blanket, and find the perfect spot to unwind and feast amidst the beauty of nature. Whether you choose to sit on the grassy fields overlooking the water or find a cozy nook among the trees, the serene ambiance and breathtaking views will enhance your dining experience.

Don’t feel like packing? Grab something to go at a nearby eatery, like Piper’s Pub or Delish Cupcakes to make it even easier!

So, gather your loved ones, embrace the natural beauty of Neck Point Park, and create lasting memories as you indulge in a delightful picnic experience. Savor the flavors, soak in the views, and let the peaceful ambiance of this coastal haven rejuvenate your senses.

(Note: Please ensure to follow park guidelines and leave no trace behind. Bring your own picnic supplies and take care of any trash responsibly.)

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Hiking at Westwood Lake Park

Embark on a hiking expedition surrounded by the beauty of Westwood Lake Park. This picturesque park, situated at 381 Westwood Road, offers a network of trails that wind through lush forests and hug the tranquil shores of Westwood Lake. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or a beginner seeking a leisurely stroll, there’s a trail for everyone to enjoy.

As you meander along the well-maintained pathways, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the lake and the surrounding natural landscape. Breathe in the fresh air, listen to the sounds of nature, and feel the invigorating energy of the outdoors. You might even encounter some wildlife along the way!

The entry to the park is free, making it an accessible option for a day of exploration and connection with nature. So, pack some snacks, bring your camera to capture the beauty, and embark on a memorable hike amidst the tranquility of Westwood Lake Park.

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Discover the Nanaimo Waterfront

Take a leisurely stroll along the Nanaimo Waterfront and soak up the charm of this vibrant coastal area. Entry is free. The Nanaimo Waterfront stretches along the Newcastle Channel and is accessible from various points in downtown Nanaimo.
This bustling coastal area offers a delightful blend of natural beauty, marinas, and a vibrant waterfront promenade. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful stroll, capturing stunning photographs, or simply enjoying the lively atmosphere, the Nanaimo Waterfront has something for everyone.

As you traverse the promenade, you’ll pass charming shops, cafes, and restaurants where you can grab a bite to eat or sip a refreshing beverage. Admire the boats gently bobbing in the marinas, watch seagulls soar through the air, and breathe in the invigorating scent of the sea. The waterfront is also a great spot for people-watching and immersing yourself in the lively energy of the city.

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Maffeo Sutton Park

Discover a gem in the heart of Nanaimo at Maffeo Sutton Park, a sprawling waterfront park that offers a wide range of activities and natural beauty. Located at 10 Comox Road, this park is a favorite destination for families, outdoor enthusiasts, and those seeking a day filled with recreation and relaxation.

As you enter the park, you’ll be greeted by lush green spaces, colorful flower beds, and the gentle lapping of the waves. Maffeo Sutton Park is an ideal spot for a family outing, with ample picnic areas, playgrounds, and open spaces for kids to run and play. Bring along a frisbee or a soccer ball and enjoy a friendly game on the grassy fields.

For those seeking adventure on the water, the park also features a boat launch and a public dock, allowing you to set sail or simply take in the views of the harbor. The waterfront walkway invites you to stroll along the shoreline, bask in the beauty of the ocean, and maybe even spot some marine life.

Entry to Maffeo Sutton Park is free, making it a budget-friendly option for a day of outdoor enjoyment. So, pack a picnic, bring your favorite outdoor games, and immerse yourself in the beauty and recreational opportunities that Maffeo Sutton Park has to offer. It’s a place where cherished memories are made and the spirit of nature thrives.

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WildPlay Element Parks

Unleash your inner thrill-seeker and embark on an adrenaline-pumping adventure at WildPlay Element Parks, located at 35 Nanaimo River Road.

Are you ready to push your limits and embrace the call of adventure? Look no further than WildPlay Element Parks, an exhilarating destination for adrenaline junkies and adventure enthusiasts.

At WildPlay, you can take on daring zip lines, navigate challenging obstacle courses, and test your courage on breathtaking aerial adventures. Soar through the treetops, conquer suspended bridges, and experience a rush of excitement as you tackle each heart-pounding challenge. With varying levels of difficulty, there are options for both beginners and experienced adventurers.

The prices at WildPlay Element Parks vary depending on the activities you choose to participate in. It’s best to check their website for specific pricing details and to make reservations.

So, gather your courage, strap on your safety harness, and prepare to unleash your inner adventurer at WildPlay Element Parks. It’s an opportunity to conquer fears, push your boundaries, and create memories that will last a lifetime!

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Shopping at Woodgrove Centre

Calling all shopaholics! Get ready for a shopping spree like no other at Woodgrove Shopping Centre, Nanaimo’s premier shopping destination. With over 150 stores and services, this bustling retail hub has everything you need to satisfy your fashion cravings, discover the latest trends, and find that perfect item you’ve been searching for. Woodgrove Shopping Centre is located at 6631 Island Hwy N.

From popular fashion retailers to specialty boutiques, you’ll find a wide range of options to suit every style and budget. Whether you’re in the mood for a wardrobe refresh, hunting for unique home decor, or seeking that must-have gadget, Woodgrove Shopping Centre has it all. Explore well-known brands, browse through local stores, and uncover hidden gems as you navigate the bustling aisles.

Aside from a vast array of stores, Woodgrove Shopping Centre also offers a variety of dining options to refuel after a successful shopping spree. Whether you’re in the mood for a quick bite, a leisurely meal, or a tasty treat, you’ll find a range of eateries to satisfy any craving.

Woodgrove Shopping Centre is a haven for fashionistas, bargain hunters, and anyone in need of a dose of retail therapy. Whether you prefer to shop ’til you drop or simply enjoy the bustling atmosphere, this shopping paradise is sure to satisfy your cravings. So, grab your shopping bags, put on your most comfortable shoes, and get ready to embark on a delightful shopping adventure at Woodgrove Shopping Centre.

Oh and when you’re done, don’t forget to hit up Costco on the way home!

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Impressed by Nanaimo? Move to Vancouver Island and enjoy it year-round!

While we know it takes more than a list of activities to convince anyone to move to another city, it can help churn dreams into motion. Dream building is what we do at Ballard Fine Homes. We build custom homes in places like Nanaimo, Parksville, Comox, and Courtenay.

So, if you happen to be considering moving to Nanaimo, we’d love to hear from you. We’ll give you the inside scoop on how building a custom home can be an affordable way to get into the Nanaimo real estate market, or let you know what areas we think are the best for growing families or retirees. Don Ballard and his team have been building custom homes on Vancouver Island for many years – yours could be next!

How much does it cost to build a house in Nanaimo?

Are you sick and tired of shelling out thousands of dollars only to have to spend more to make it look half-decent? Building a custom home is a great option to consider, but how much does it cost? There are several factors to consider when landing on a firm price, so we will dive into what some of those costs look like. But first, should you buy or build?

Nanaimo average house prices – buy or build?

Should you buy a home in Nanaimo or build it from scratch? The answer to that question depends on what you are looking for.

Many homes in Nanaimo were built a considerable time ago, meaning quite a few have needed extensive renovations over the years. It takes a lot of work to upkeep a property and sometimes these older ones come with repairs and renovations that can be very costly, such as rewiring or re-plumbing a home. For that reason, it could be more cost-effective to build a simple home.

On the other hand, there have been several new developments in the city. Purchasing a new home is entirely possible, but it will come at a cost. Real estate prices on Vancouver Island have been steadily increasing, so these new homes are likely to cost quite a bit. The average price of a home in Nanaimo runs around $700 000 to $800 000 at the writing of this article, for example.

The compromise between affordability and having a new home means building your own custom home. In this way, you can make it as lavish or frugal as you’d like. As you are the one to design the home, you won’t have to worry about planning for a renovation only a few years down the road because it’ll be just the way you want it already.

For many people, building a custom home is a great option. So, what goes into it?

Factors that affect the cost to build a house

There are quite a few things to consider when refining your budget for building a home. Below are some things to consider for your checklist, but it is also highly recommended that you talk to a professional builder, such as those at Ballard Fine Homes. Through a conversation, we can help give you a more accurate estimate of what the current prices are for various factors.

But for now, here are a few factors to be aware of:
– The location of the property. How much is your land going to cost? Did you buy land on a small island near Nanaimo? Transportation costs for materials might cost more.
– How large the size of the home will be
– How elaborate of a house design do you want to have? Generally, simpler is a more frugal option.
– The quality and choice of materials and finishes. Are you installing budget-friendly flooring or high-end marble?
– Contractor fees

In Nanaimo, a custom home usually costs between $500 000 to upwards of $2 million depending on these factors. Something like a tiny home will cost far less than a three-storey, waterfront mansion with numerous bedrooms and bathrooms. To see where you fit on the spectrum, reach out to Don Ballard and his team for a chat about what you’d like to have.

If you’re only here for the numbers, WOWA reports the price per square foot to build a house runs between $90 – $260, with the higher range being reported in Vancouver. But like we said, there are many factors to consider so it is best to talk with a professional.

Are there any hidden costs related to house building?

When working with a reputable building company, there should never be any hidden costs. Sometimes, unexpected costs do come up but that is rare and a surprise to both the buyer and the contractor. Transparency and trust are essential components for a successful client relationship, which Don Ballard and his team take quite seriously.

Instead of thinking about hidden costs, consider some costs that may not come to mind right away.

Other factors to consider:
1. Does your property require any special permits? Sometimes protected land can influence what you can or cannot do. Local building codes, permit fees, and regulatory requirements can impact construction costs. Compliance with specific regulations may necessitate additional design or construction elements, adding to the overall expenses.
2. If your home is far from the road, you may need to have a utility company put in new lines to connect your home to the grid. For example, extending water, electricity, or sewer lines, can increase expenses.
3. Does the land need to be landscaped before building? For example, is there a steep slope that will need to be levelled, or is the soil stable enough to support a home?
Seismic activity in the region means that homes may require additional construction measures, such as reinforced structures or specialized materials.

Utility Costs

How much does it cost to get BC Hydro hooked up? What about your internet?

Here’s a quick rundown:

BC Hydro: Nanaimo is in Rate Zone 1. New service ranges between $1000 – $3000 depending on how many amps and if you are getting overhead or underground connections.

Natural Gas: Fortis charges about $800.

Internet: This varies a lot depending on how close you are to a current setup. The property owner will need to contact these companies for a more accurate quote: Telus, Shaw, and Starlink (around $800).

Drilling for a well: Best case scenario is $10 000, but it can be upwards of $30 000 or more depending if you find water or not. Note that if you are located in the city, you will be connected to the municipal line instead.

Septic (outside of Nanaimo): $10 000 – $20 000

Connecting to the city sewage system: The Regional District is asking property owners to reach out for a quote.

At Ballard Fine Homes, we take into account these types of costs (and others) to be as transparent and accurate as possible for our clients. This shortlist is meant as a ballpark idea of what these things could cost for someone that has no idea about the subject. Our team provides up-to-date information for all of our clients.

Your Nanaimo Home Builders

Are you looking for flexibility and control over your new home? Avoid the headaches, and build your home from the ground up with the help and expertise of Ballard Fine Homes.

We will walk you through the process to make building a home an enjoyable experience you won’t regret. Our clients have reported us as a professional building company with high attention to detail and exceptional customer service.

Ready to take the next step? We are only a call away for any questions or concerns you may have. Questions are always welcome!

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.

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.

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, ranging from $300 to about $700.

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.

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.

Looking for cheap homes in BC? Check out Vancouver Island

Are you looking for affordable housing in British Columbia? Maybe you’ve been blown away by skyrocketing real estate prices and are now looking for homes under $500 000 and are still struggling to find something. Real estate prices are going up all over the province, but there is still a hidden gem left where you can find something within your budget.

Why are homes more affordable on Vancouver Island?

Do you have a million dollars or more to spend on a shack in Vancouver? We didn’t think so. This is probably why you have landed on this article – you are looking for a more affordable option not too far away from Vancouver.

So why are homes priced lower on Vancouver Island compared to Vancouver? What’s the catch?

In a nutshell, here are some reasons why Vancouver Island homes cost less:

–  Market conditions are based on supply and demand. Economic factors, population growth, and local employment opportunities can affect the demand for housing. The cities on Vancouver Island are much smaller than Vancouver, which means fewer opportunities for economic growth and number of available jobs.
– Vancouver Island is just that – an island. It is separated from the mainland by the Strait of Georgia. This geographic separation, coupled with the need to travel by ferry or plane, may create logistical challenges for some individuals which can impact demand and pricing. Some people don’t want to hop on a ferry or plane to visit their friends and family on the mainland.
– Some individuals and families seeking more affordable options may look to Vancouver Island as an alternative, which can put downward pressure on prices relative to the mainland.
– The time of year can matter. Some property owners may purchase real estate as vacation homes or short-term rentals to capitalize on the seasonal demand. However, outside of peak tourist seasons, demand for rental properties may decrease, potentially impacting pricing.
– Certain areas of Vancouver Island may have development restrictions or regulations that limit construction or zoning options. There’s only so much available space on an island. This can affect the supply of available properties, potentially contributing to more affordable real estate prices.

What town has the most affordable homes for sale?

Each home that is sold gets added to the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board’s statistics. This report is updated monthly and is a great resource for identifying which areas on Vancouver Island offer the most value.

Historically, places like Port Alberni, Courtenay, and the northern end of Vancouver Island usually contain the most affordable properties for sale on Vancouver Island. In 2022, the most affordable place to purchase a single-family home was in Port Alberni.

Below is an example of what the average homes sold for during 2022. View the VIREB website for more up-to-date information.

A table of the annual sales summary for home prices in 2022 from the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board.

If purchasing a home still seems a little over your budget, then consider building a small, custom home instead.

Is building a custom home worth it?

This question depends on what the buyer is looking for. The main benefit of building a custom home is that it will look and function exactly how you want it to – no compromises over here.

If your plan was to buy a cheap house on Vancouver Island and then tear it down for a rebuild or spend months on a costly renovation, why not skip the hassle and build your perfect home right from the start? All you need to get started is a plot of land.

I heard custom homes are expensive, can I really afford one?

Custom homes have a reputation for being a little bit costly, but that isn’t always the case. Sometimes when owners start customizing, they get as many bells and whistles as they can. That isn’t an obligation. As it is your home, you can build it however you want.

Some factors that affect the overall cost include how large of a home you want, the difference between high-end and low-end finishes, exterior landscaping, and choice of materials. Reputable builders often have show homes you can browse to look at a higher-end finished home. From this, you can gauge an idea of how much it will cost for something less refined. The tiny home movement is popular for a reason and those are almost exclusively custom builds!

If you are looking for your “forever home” and want it to be absolutely perfect, then it makes sense to spend more money in some areas for features and materials that will look great and last a long time. However, it isn’t a requirement when building a new home. A good builder will listen and communicate with you to ensure your home fits your budget, needs, and vision.

Sick of not getting your money’s worth? Ballard Fine Homes will make sure you are satisfied

As custom home builders on Vancouver Island, Don Ballard and his team specialize in building homes in regions like Nanaimo, Parksville, Comox, and Courtenay. From simple to elaborate, we have helped many happy clients get the home they’ve always dreamed of owning.

If you are curious to learn more about what goes into building a home, contact the team or drop by our Parksville location to visit our knowledgeable staff and extensive showroom. Cheap homes won’t last long on Vancouver Island; get your foot in the door and stand out with something truly exceptional while you still can.

The 7 best things to do on Vancouver Island

Looking for something fun to do on Vancouver Island? Check out our list of tourist attractions you absolutely cannot miss!

Stop to smell the roses at the Butchart Gardens

One of the most popular attractions on Vancouver Island is undoubtedly the Butchart Gardens.

Located near Victoria, Butchart Gardens is a world-renowned horticultural display that attracts millions of visitors each year. The gardens encompass over 55 acres and feature various themed gardens, including the Sunken Garden, Rose Garden, Japanese Garden, and Italian Garden. Throughout the year, the gardens also host special events, concerts, and fireworks displays, further enhancing its appeal.

Butchart Gardens has earned its reputation as one of the most popular and beloved attractions on Vancouver Island. Although there is an admission fee, it offers an enchanting and tranquil experience that is worth the cost.

Visit the Goats on the Roof at Coombs

The goats at Coombs are one of the unique and charming tourist attractions that draw visitors to the Coombs Old Country Market. You can find the Coombs Market in the community of Coombs, near Parksville. Visitors love to watch the cute goats munching away on the grass on the roof of the market.

In addition to the goats, the Coombs Market itself is a bustling destination with various vendors offering a range of products, including local produce, crafts, clothing, and food. It’s a lively and vibrant spot to explore and experience a taste of the local culture while enjoying the whimsical presence of the goats on the roof.

Hit the slopes at Mount Washington

If you’re visiting during the winter months, head to Mount Washington Alpine Resort near Courtenay. It’s a fantastic vacation spot during the winter months.

Mount Washington is known for its excellent skiing and snowboarding conditions. The resort features a variety of runs catering to different skill levels, from beginner slopes to challenging black diamond runs. There are also terrain parks for freestyle enthusiasts to practice tricks and jumps. Other options include cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, tubing, snow biking, and various winter events throughout the season, including competitions, races, and special activities like torchlight parades and fireworks displays.

The Alpine Lodge, Ted’s Bar & Grill, Eagle View Bistro, and various coffee shops and cafés provide a selection of meals, snacks, and beverages, too.

Looking for an island near Vancouver Island to visit? Try Newcastle for a family-friendly outing

Newcastle Island is a relatively small island located just off the coast of Nanaimo. It is on the smaller size, spanning approximately 336 hectares (830 acres) in size. This beautiful marine park offers scenic trails, sandy beaches, and picnic areas, making it perfect for hiking, cycling, and relaxing by the water. Visitors enjoy canoeing, kayaking, bird watching, swimming, and having a family picnic.

The island is easily accessible by a short ferry ride from Nanaimo’s downtown harbour. It is indeed possible to visit the island as a day trip, allowing you to enjoy its natural beauty and engage in various activities during your visit. However, if you wish to extend your stay, there are camping facilities available on the island. The Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park offers walk-in camping sites where visitors can spend the night surrounded by nature. The camping area has basic amenities such as pit toilets and fresh water taps, but it does not have electrical hook-ups or showers. Camping permits and reservations are required, and it’s advisable to check with the park authorities for availability and regulations.

Showcases the historic home in Victoria of the wealthy Dunsmuir family as well as their contribution to the development of Vancouver Island, BC.

Walk around a real castle (without visiting Scotland!)

Explore the impressive Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria, a stunning Victorian-era mansion built between 1887 and 1890 for Robert Dunsmuir, a Scottish immigrant who made a fortune in the Vancouver Island coal industry. The castle’s construction was a grand undertaking, incorporating elements of Scottish Baronial, Gothic Revival, and Romanesque architectural styles.

Today, Craigdarroch Castle operates as a National Historic Site and is open to the public as a museum. The castle showcases its preserved interior, featuring intricate woodwork, stained glass windows, and period furnishings, offering visitors a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the Dunsmuir family and the Victorian era.

Whale Watching in Tofino

Tofino is a charming coastal town and is an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Visitors enjoy the breathtaking beauty of sandy beaches, hiking in the nearby rainforests, or trying their hand at surfing in the pristine Pacific waters. It offers a mix of affordable accommodations and budget-friendly outdoor activities, making it an excellent option for those seeking adventure.

One of the most popular Tofino activities is to go on a whale-watching tour. The waters around Tofino are frequented by several whale species, including gray whales, humpback whales, orcas (also known as killer whales), and occasionally even minke whales. The most common sightings are gray whales and humpback whales, which migrate through the area during specific times of the year. This is a Vancouver Island highlight you won’t want to miss.

Shop until you drop

Looking for a souvenir? There are numerous shopping and dining options all over Vancouver Island. Some of the most popular can be found in Victoria and Nanaimo.

Victoria’s Inner Harbour area offers a blend of high-end shops, local artisans, and specialty stores. Explore Government Street, Trounce Alley, and Johnson Street for a diverse shopping experience. Nearby, Bastion Square is a historic open-air square that hosts a vibrant artisan market during the summer months, too.

Next, visit Victoria’s Chinatown district, where you’ll find an eclectic mix of shops, antique stores, and specialty boutiques. Discover unique finds, Asian artifacts, and international food markets as you wander through the colourful streets. Grab a bubble tea while you’re there!

Nanaimo’s downtown area is home to an array of shops and stores. From unique boutiques and art galleries to local artisans and fashion retailers, the downtown core offers a mix of shopping options. Explore Commercial Street and nearby side streets for a delightful shopping experience. The northern end contains Woodgrove Centre, a shopping mall with over 140 stores. Talk about a one-stop shop!

Vancouver Island Living – why visit when you can stay for good?

Residents know that living on Vancouver Island means having a lifestyle that is more laid-back and closer to nature compared to the mainland. Smaller communities, unique attractions, and a vibe unique to its own all contribute to the reasons why people love to live on Vancouver Island.

From waterfront homes in Parksville to large, single-family homes in Comox, Vancouver Island offers a variety of real estate options for all types of lifestyles. With the mountains and the sea side-by-side and real estate often more affordable than in Vancouver, it just makes sense to live on Vancouver Island. Building a custom home is a growing trend, so why not give it a try? The experienced professionals at Ballard Fine Homes specialize in building custom homes on Vancouver Island. If you can dream it, Ballard can build it – so what are you waiting for?

Buying a show home can be a smart real estate investment – here’s how.

From time to time, you may come across a show home (also known as a model home) for sale. These rare real estate listings are usually smart real estate investments, so they are worth considering. But what makes them so special? When comparing a model home with a regular home listing, there are key differences that elevate this purchase to a new level.

Model homes are carefully designed

Show homes typically include premium upgrades and unique features that set them apart from regular homes in the development. These enhancements can attract potential buyers looking for something special and willing to pay a premium for those extra features.

These upgrades can include premium appliances, luxurious finishes, upgraded flooring, custom cabinetry, and high-quality fixtures. By purchasing a show home, buyers can enjoy these enhancements without having to invest in costly renovations or upgrades themselves. They may also promote higher resale values compared to standard homes in the same neighbourhood.

In short, all the work is done for you by a designer so you can feel confident that the home is on trend and needs no further improvements.

Limited availability

These are often in limited supply since they serve as showcases for the builder’s work. This scarcity can create a sense of exclusivity and desirability among buyers. As a result, show homes may have higher demand when reselling, potentially leading to faster sales and higher selling prices.

Location, location, location

New or upcoming developments are usually where you will find model homes, which can experience significant appreciation in property value over time. As the neighbourhood grows and amenities improve, the demand for homes in the area can increase, leading to higher property values. By purchasing a show home early on, buyers can benefit from potential appreciation and capitalize on the rising market values.

These new or upcoming developments are often found in quieter areas, which provides a good amount of privacy, too.

Use it as a rental

These homes can be attractive as investment properties due to their upgraded features, desirable location, and professional staging. Investors can consider renting out the showhome after purchasing it, which can generate a higher rental income compared to regular homes in the area. The aesthetic appeal and high-end finishes can also attract tenants willing to pay premium rent.

Investors don’t need to worry about upgrading old appliances or putting a fresh coat of paint on the walls because everything is already done for them. As far as rentals go, it doesn’t get much easier than this.


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

They are model homes for a reason

Show homes are built by reputable developers who invest in creating high-quality properties. Buying a show home from a well-known builder can add credibility and reassurance to the investment. Developers with a good track record are more likely to create desirable communities, maintain high construction standards, and offer reliable customer service, which can positively impact property values in the long run.

Show home furniture is carefully selected to promote the best aspects of each space and work harmoniously with the rest of the house. Often you can purchase the home with the furniture, making it a fuss-free purchase.

Save on the warranties

Model homes often come with extended warranties on appliances, systems, and structural components. These warranties can provide buyers with additional peace of mind and potentially save money on future repairs or maintenance costs. The transferability of these warranties can also be an attractive selling point when reselling the showhome.

Interested in purchasing a show home?

Are you now curious to see if purchasing a show home is the right fit for you? Another great thing about these homes is they are perfect examples of how designs work together, which can be inspiring for building your own custom home. If you are interested in having a tour of a high-quality show home or want to learn more about the steps for building your own custom home, the team at Ballard Fine Homes would love to hear from you.

Ballard Fine Homes is a Vancouver Island custom home-building company. Our Parksville location contains a showroom where clients can browse through and look at our high-end finishes, floor models, and example layouts for ideas for their own homes. We make the process of building a custom home enjoyable while providing outstanding customer service. Read what our happy clients have to say about us, and give us a call for any questions you may have.