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In this issue: Welcome message from the editor; Do the Fixer Upper Math; DIY Re-purposed project: Re-purposed Armoire Bar; Seasonal Recipe: Mac ‘n Cheeseburger Casserole; Feature CRD Park: Thetis Lake Regional Park; Jack-o-lantern face template  Please let us know if you would like to have a copy of our newsletter emailed to you! 

Hello friends,

Welcome to our first newsletter and welcome to the fall season. It’s tough to wrap my head around it being fall and almost Halloween but after the beautiful summer we have had it does make it a little easier to accept the new season. I don’t know about you, but I love the fall; the colours, the smells, the cool, crisp air and the great fall meals. On top of that the fall is a great time to take on those indoor projects that you may have put off to be outside during the summer. Whether you are tackling a home renovation or just doing some “purging” of some items that you may not have a use for anymore. In this issue you will find articles on purchasing a fixer upper and doing to math on how to get return on your investment, a useful re-purposing project for that may save that item you have from a landfill, a delicious fall recipe and Halloween idea, and a feature hiking trail in the beautiful Capital Regional District and a bonus Jack-o-lantern face template. I hope you enjoy!


Do the Fixer-Upper Math

Renovating homes has gotten a boat load of publicity over the past few years as a great way for prospective real estate investors to make great money over a short period of time. Hopefully, you’ve taken that message with a grain of salt as renovations can often take a lengthy period of time and selling the home for a big profit is never a guarantee. In fact, as any real estate investor will tell you, a few quick calculations will give you at least a rough idea of your chances for profit, be it large or small. Doing these quick and dirty calculations will not only give you that forecast of the future but determine whether a particular investment is worth the hassle, a step that many real estate investors skip that deserves adequate attention.

Target Your End Value

You can never, ever use the amount of money you put into a particular piece of real estate as the basis for a price increase. If you bought the home for $100,000 and did $20,000 worth of work to it, you are never guaranteed to get $120,000 out of it. The real estate market simply does not work that way and recognizing that is the first step towards pegging down an accurate end sale price for your profit calculations. An appraiser is your best resource at pegging an end sale value as the appraiser will be able to tell you the kind of value you will add to a property with a given renovation. If you are going to add a certain amount of square footage or a finished basement or any other improvement, take what the home will look like after you are done and compare it against other similar homes that have recently sold in the area. That is the only way to determine the kind of value you might receive and an appraiser will keep you grounded in reality when your head starts swelling with the prospect of potential profit.

The Big Minus

Of course, those renovations cost money and you will have to calculate every piece of dry wall, every nail and every hour of labor that you think will be necessary to get a home to the level you need it to be at. After those costs, you have to factor in transaction costs like your realtor’s fee, closing costs, potential property taxes over the course of your ownership and loan fees that some real estate investors neglect to think about.   Your expenses are not limited to the amount of money you put into renovations, giving you much more to think about than lumber and nails when you are calculating potential profit. This can be a complicated process and getting expert help from someone that has been through the process once or twice before will be invaluable towards projecting potential profit.

Is It Worth It?

This is the big question that some real estate investors forget to ask themselves as they pursue a potential investment. If your profit window is extremely tight and your potential profit may be $10,000, perhaps that investment is not worth the hassle of renovating the home, putting it on the market and finding a new buyer. You have to decide for yourself what your time is worth but just because there is profit to be had does not mean that your time is best spent on that project. Everyone’s threshold is different so determine yours and you will go a long way towards picking out projects that you will ultimately be successful with and enjoy. These simple steps can save real estate investors from getting involved with properties that they are simply not ready for. Think about all of the costs before ever getting involved with an investment and learn to value your time. Doing the math is one thing, but using it to make an informed decision is what separates the real estate investors that fail and those that ultimately thrive.

This is another original article by Joe Lane, co-owner of The Lane Real Estate Team at



DIY Project: Re-purposed Armoire Bar

Isn’t this a fantastic idea! Now that we are getting closer to the season of cheer what a great way to showcase all your favorite wines and spirits. This is also perfect for those of us who live in small spaces. This re-purpose doesn’t involve a lot of work, just a removal of 2 doors and voila! You’re done. I think you could probably even leave the doors on and it would look just as good. For those who need suggestions on what’s good to put in the bar pop in and see the fine folks at the new Cascadia Liquor Store in Langford!

DIY re-purposed bar


Mac ‘n Cheeseburger Casserole

This is one of my favorite Campbell’s Soup recipes to make. One dish cooking at its finest with this easy and healthy family pleaser. A perfect “stick to your ribs” meal to keep you warm as the chillier weather sets in. Ingredients:

1 lb (500 g) extra lean ground beef
2 cups (500 mL) sliced mushrooms
1 cup (250 mL) chopped red and yellow peppers
1/2 cup (125 mL) each, chopped onions and chopped celery
1 can (14 oz) stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 can (284 mL) CAMPBELL’S® Condensed Low Fat Cream of Mushroom Soup
2 cups (500 mL) uncooked whole wheat elbow pasta
2 tbsp (30 mL) Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp (15 mL) chili powder
1/4 cup (60 mL) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese


  1.  Cook beef until browned at medium-high heat in large non-stick skillet. Add mushrooms, peppers, onions, and celery. Cook and stir for 3 minutes.
  2.  Place mixture into shallow 2 qt (2 L) baking dish. Stir in all other ingredients, except cheese.
  3.  Bake covered, at 400 °F (200 °C) until pasta is tender – about 50 minutes.
  4.  Stir. Sprinkle with cheese and let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Recipe tips and Nutritional Information (per serving): Spiral-shaped Scooby-Doo pasta – also available in whole wheat form – is a fun substitute for the elbow pasta (macaroni) in this hearty entrée! 330 Calories, 9g Fat, 3.5g Saturated Fat, 0.2g Trans Fat, 45mg Cholesterol, 560mg Sodium, 710mg Potassium, 40g Carbohydrate, 5g Dietary Fibre, 24g Protein, 10% Daily Value Calcium


Thetis Lake Regional Park

Thetis Lake Park in View Royal is one of my favorite places to hike throughout the year. Not only is it beautiful it is also a great place for the whole family and for those with varying levels of fitness. There are many different trails such as the Upper and Lower Thetis trail and the Stewart Mountain trail but many of these trails tie into other CRD parks. This way you can get out for a short hike or an all day outing. Check out the link below to the CRD informational page for Thetis Lake Park and picture of the map below. thetis map


Halloween Special: Jack-o-lantern face template