Moving To The Okanagan
Things to consider when planning your move.
We live in a pretty amazing time.
For most of civilization, the span between birth and death all took place in roughly the same location. In more modern times, with air travel making it possible to quickly reach any corner of the world, people regularly move to a new city to pursue education or employment opportunities. And yet for some, the decision of where to live is not made based on employment or education opportunities but rather on other factors such as quality of life, climate or lifestyle.
It is easy to romanticize about a move to a new location and overlook the many steps involved in the process. And let’s face it, a fresh start in a new environment can be an exciting endeavour if one is seeking a change. However, many can find the planning process overwhelming and never take that first step. As someone that regularly works with people during a move, I find that it is just as important to consider the how as it is the where and why.
Why Move to the Okanagan
As far as Canadian regions go, the Okanagan is a great place to live. With a mild climate, beautiful scenery, a growing population, a diverse economy, and a four-season adventure playground, there really is something here for everyone.
Some of the top reasons to consider a move to the Okanagan include:
Climate. With an average high of 27C in July, over 2,000 hours of sunshine and just 345mm of precipitation annually, Kelowna has one of the warmest and driest climates in Canada.
Business. Ranked as the top Entrepreneurial Community in Canada by CFIB, Kelowna has become a start-up hub with over 600 tech companies now based in the area.
Education. The University of British Columbia (UBC) Okanagan campus is home to over 8,500 students while Okanagan College provides education programs to an additional 10,000.
Population Growth. As the third largest metro area in BC, Kelowna is one of the fastest growing regions in Canada (Stats Canada 2011-2016).
Summer Playground. With 20 serene lakes, over 2,900 km2 of beaches, 19 golf courses, and numerous hiking/biking trails, the Okanagan has it all.
Winter Playground, Too. Some of the best powder in Canada can be found in the Okanagan. With over 315 unique ski runs spread out across three separate resorts, there are many reasons to embrace Canada’s most infamous season.
Wine. While the Okanagan is becoming known for more than just its wine, the more than 120 wineries in the region help drive both tourism and contribute to the diversified economy.
Things to Consider Before Moving
For many, especially families, moving is a big decision to make with many moving parts. There is no one-size-fits-all checklist, but starting with an open-mind and a willingness to adapt usually leads to a favourable outcome.
A few main considerations when debating a move are:
Income. How will you earn an income once you move? Kelowna is a very entrepreneurial city and in recent years many people have moved into the region to start a business. While this is a viable option for some, thought should be given into how your business or idea would serve the local economy.
List Your House. Do you need to sell your house before you move? How long can you expect this to take in your neighbourhood given current market conditions?
Rent vs. Buy. Will you rent or buy once you move? In Kelowna, the vacancy rate is at a historic low while real estate is currently in a seller’s market.
Schools. If you have kids, which school would you like them to attend? Kelowna has a mix of public, private and Christian schools with at least one school in each category holding a spot within the top ranked schools in British Columbia (Fraser Institute 2017).
City/Area. Which community do you want to live in? In the Central Okanagan alone there are four different cities/districts: Kelowna, West Kelowna, Lake Country and Peachland.
Neighbourhood. What neighbourhoods would you consider living in? Your priorities and budget will help to determine which area may fit your needs best. While Kelowna is much smaller in size compared to Vancouver or Calgary, things like distance to school and work as well as proximity to amenities are just a few things to consider.
The Big Move
Once the decision to move has been carefully considered, it’s time for action. This is where planning can really make the difference between an organized and relatively seamless transition versus a hold-onto-the-seat-of-your-pants type scenario.
A few things to consider during the moving process include:
Utilities. For most people, having internet and Wifi hooked-up is just as important on moving day as electricity.
The Physical Move. Will you hire movers or rent a moving truck? There are cost-cutting/back- saving options available in most major centres where you can hire movers to load/unload a rented U-Haul for you.
Insurance. It is important to make some inquiries for home and auto insurance before you move.
Mail Forwarding. Canada Post has a mail forwarding service which you can sign-up for online.
School. With the recent growth in population, many of Kelowna’s schools are at or near capacity so it is important to contact your preferred schools of choice to confirm whether there is space for your kids before deciding on a neighbourhood.
Pulling the Trigger
The space between thinking about moving and acting upon that urge can be challenging to overcome. Analysis paralysis can unnerve even the most courageous soul and regardless of the level of sophistication of a plan, uncertainty can never be completely eliminated. Is moving a lot of work? Yes, but so is living a life that you are not fully content with. It is only when you step outside of your comfort zone and into the land of the unknown is there opportunity to craft a truly exceptional life.
We would like to thank this month's guest blogger, for providing us with some valuable insight when considering a move to the Okanagan: Jordan Keller – Chemist. Chocolatier. Entrepreneur. REALTOR®.
As one of Royal LePage Kelowna’s foremost emerging real estate specialists, Jordan’s attention to detail together with his never surrender attitude is the perfect combination in providing exemplary real estate services to his clients. With a background beginning as a research chemist in the oil & gas industry to most recently launching a chocolate business in the Okanagan, Jordan’s diverse experience has helped him to acquire a formidable toolbox of skills which he draws upon while providing real estate services to his clients within the Okanagan.
Life in the Okanagan Starts with a Home.
For more information please visit Jordan's website at www.mullenkeller.ca or contact Jordan directly by phone at 778.363.0422 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.