Clean, Clean, Let it be Spring!

Spring Clean-Up Time in the Capital As spring speckles and the snow begins to melt, it’s time to get busy cleaning up our capital after Jack Frost’s long hold over us. Littered across this beautiful city, left out in the winter’s cold we’ll find discarded coffee cups, old cigarette butts, stray plastic bags and papers – the list could continue ad infinitum. Something about winter’s frozen grip seems to allow this build up of trash, so it’s only natural that the sun’s welcomed melt brings along with it a much needed clean up. The Capital region has a month-long challenge called Cleaning the Capital, sponsored by GLAD, which runs from mid-April to mid-May. By registering your clean-up project, cleaning supplies will be provided to your group. The official Capital Cleanup Weekend is April 27,2018 to April 29,2018 but your project does not have to take place during this weekend to be counted. The deadline to register for GLAD’s Cleanup project is May 15th, with May 31st being the deadline...

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All About Homeowner’s Associations

When looking to buy a home, there are many options. Last week, we took a look at condos as compared to freehold properties but what about a freehold home with a homeowner’s association? In many cases, a homeowner’s association can appear very similar to a condo but this is not actually the case. It is very important to understand these differences before buying into a home with a homeowner’s association. Differences Between a Condo and Homeowner’s Association If you purchase a condo, you are purchasing your unit along with a share of the common element(s). These could include green spaces, amenities, private roads, or services and they are jointly owned by all condo owners. In the case of a homeowner’s association, those common elements are owned by a third party and your monthly homeowner’s association fees are paid to cover their maintenance and to allow usage of these amenities. In a homeowner’s association, you own your home and property but pay to use these common elements. Paymen...

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All About Condos

Modern apartment buildings in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada. When it comes time to buy a home, more and more people are making the decision to buy condos instead of a freehold home. Condos can be a great option if they match up with a buyer’s lifestyle, but it is important to do your research and know the differences between a freehold home and condo before you make the final decision of which to purchase. There are many different types of condos but they all have one thing in common: shared ownership of at least one common element. This element could be the building itself, in the case of an apartment building, or it could be a green space, private street, or an amenity like a pool. It is important that you do your research before buying a condo to understand exactly what you are buying. Condo Fees  When you purchase a condo, you will be required to pay a monthly condo fee to pay for the shared element along with the fees associated with managing the condo. Condo fees can vary dr...

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March Market Snapshot

Buyers Get a Jump on the Spring Market taken from the Ottawa Real Estate Board  April 5, 2018 Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 1,660 residential properties in March through the Board’s Multiple Listing Service® System, compared with 1,478 in March 2017, an increase of 12.3 per cent. The five-year average for March sales is 1,339. March’s sales included 358 in the condominium property class and 1,302 in the residential property class. “Inventory continues to fall below normal average, but we are still seeing more sales than last year because listings are not staying on the market,” states Ralph Shaw, President of the Ottawa Real Estate Board. “Properties that are priced well are selling quickly with days on market dropping to an average of 43 days from an average of 54 days on market in March 2017.” The average sale price of a residential-class property sold in March in the Ottawa area was $447,561, an increase of 8 per cent over March 2017. The average sale price for a cond...

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Buyers Toolkit – Springtime

Buyers Toolkit – Springtime Spring is in the air, and the real-estate market is ramping up for the beginning of buyers’ season.  Things tend to move faster in the spring and houses for sale are often sold shortly after they are listed.  As a potential home buyer, it is important to be prepared as possible before you start looking at potential homes – that way, the chance of losing your “dream home” to another buyer is greatly decreased. You may be wondering … “What are some of the important things that can help you stay on-top of, and ahead of this year’s spring market?”  Have no fear, in this toolkit we have everything you need to know, and do, to make the buying experience go smoothly for you! Your “Tools”-What you want to be prepared with ahead of time: Mortgage Information & Pre-approval Find out what mortgage you qualify for, and get your mortgage pre-qualification.  By taking this step you’ll know exactly what you can afford to buy and when you’re ready to make an offer, you ...

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Landlords and Legalization: What budding weed laws may mean for Landlords

Landlords and Legalization: What budding weed laws may mean for Landlords With the legalization of marijuana on the horizon, property owners of rental units are wondering what that will mean for them. As all the rules and regulations surrounding cannabis use have yet to be ironed out, it’s only natural that landlords are beginning express concern, or in some cases excitement surrounding the opportunities legalization will present. The legalization of medical cannabis passed in 2001, but as Canada moves forward to legalize the use of cannabis across the country, there are many different views surrounding the changes. With multiple angles to consider, it’s no wonder that landlords across the country are beginning to question, challenge, and prepare for the pending legalization. What are the pro and con sides of the debate surrounding legalization for landlords, and how might rental properties be affected by the new legislation? Firstly, one of the stipulations surrounding the new legisl...

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Spring Cleaning 101: Tips On Getting Your Home Ready For Sale

Spring Cleaning 101: Tips On Getting Your Home Ready For Sale Contrary to years prior, 2018 has presented us with a rather mild, wet March. As such, we’ve barely approached the standard season for “April showers” and have already received enough rain and wet weather to rid most of the snow! The month, however is still young; and, as unpredictable as Mother Nature can be when it comes to delivering cold weather and long winters, we think it’s safe to assume that Jack frost might just bite a time or two more. This said, if you’re in the market to (or in the process of) selling your home, the traditional “Spring cleaning” chores, though tempting, might need to wait until the season has truly sprung –perhaps leaving you feeling in limbo. Not to worry! We’ve collected a list of pre-spring maintenance chores that you and your family can work on in order to help sell your home in the meantime: Plants and flowers and weeds, oh my! Although it might still be a little too early to plant new fl...

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Wanted: Ottawa Homes for Sale

Wanted: Ottawa Homes For Sale When the calendar rolled over into 2018 many real estate experts across Canada were speculating the housing market to “cool off” with  tighter mortgage rules and higher interest rates impacting home buyers.  While that may be the case in other real estate markets,  in the Ottawa Real Estate market the biggest factor in February’s 2.8% drop in the number of sales (year over year), is that listing inventory is scarce. “There is no doubt our sales number would have been much higher if we had more properties available for sale.  Buyer demand is there, but our inventory in both residential class and condos continues to decline.  This is creating a supply side issue in the Ottawa real estate market”   -Ralph Shaw, OREB President The Ottawa Real Estate board’s recently released statistics show that home buyers are still actively searching for properties  in spite of the low inventory, which is a trend that is continuin...

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New Mortgage Rules – Renewing and Refinancing

New Mortgage Rules – Renewing and Refinancing January 1st, 2018 Canada’s new mortgage rules came into effect and it was big news. These new rules appear to have the greatest impact on those looking to qualify for a new mortgage but if you are looking to renew or refinance your mortgage, you may be impacted as well. At the centre of the new rules is a stress test requiring applicants to qualify at a rate at least 2% higher than the rate they will be paying, regardless of the down payment they are making on the home. The new rules may limit your options but rest assured, you will not lose your mortgage over these changes. Mortgage Renewals If your mortgage is up for renewal, lenders do not need to apply the stress test to renew an existing mortgage. This means that as long as you stay with the same lender and don’t change any of the terms of your mortgage, you will have no problems. But, if you want to shop around for the best rate, you will need to pass the stress test with any other f...

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Millennials in the Market

MILLENNIALS: CHANGING MARKET EXPECTATIONS & TREND REALITIES When it comes to the future in real estate, all eyes fall to the millennials, who are just beginning to be seen on today’s markets. With the millennial generation however, we are seeing a shift in the previous real estate trends from purchasing a primary residence, to investing in vacation property. What is it about the millennial generation today that has us seeing such a change in the markets? The millennial generation is the first generation to be in our technology-based society as adults, and to have grown up with both eras. Alongside the changes seen in technology though, were drastic changes in the real estate market across Canada. In city-centres like Montreal and Toronto, we have seen an increase both in population, and in real estate prices. The price of a home in Toronto has risen 40% from 2010-2016, creating a new dynamic shift in the markets, with residents leaning towards condominiums as opposed to sing...

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Is it time to invest in a second “nest”?

College students, and living options   If you’re the parent of a college/university age student, and you haven’t considered it yet, perhaps now is the time you will. As spring is just around the corner, it’s time to think about what investments you can make, and an investment that shouldn’t be overlooked is buying a home. More specifically, buying a home for your college-aged student to live in during school. Should you purchase a home in your students’ university/college town for them to live in during their schooling? What are the benefits, and drawbacks of investing in a second home? Would this investment bring you a profit? These questions, and many others are part of considering getting a home for your student to live in.   Why buy a home for your student? College and university are expensive endeavours no matter what you do, but with a little planning, you can find ways to cut corners and minimize costs. One of the ways that can be done would be by purchasing a home for...

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Ottawa Real Estate Market Update : Low Inventory Continues Into 2018

The Ottawa Real Estate board’s recently released statistics show that home buyers are still actively searching for properties.   Sales were up over 7% (year over year) in spite of the low inventory, which is a trend that is continuing from 2017.  January 2018 listings 994 (RES) and 406 (CONDO) compared with the 5 year 1,396 for residential and 500 for condominiums.   If the decrease in supply in both the residential and condo markets continues into the Spring,  it may put an upward pressure on prices.  If you are thinking of selling this is a great time to get your home on the market. Below we’ve included the latest news release from the Ottawa Real Estate Board.   Please note: average sale price information can be useful in establishing trends over time but should not be used as an indicator that specific properties have increased or decreased in value. The average sale price is calculated based on the total dollar volume of all properties sold.  We have access to current statis...

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Winterlude 2018

The Winter months in the Capital are arguably some of the most enjoyable for its residents and their families. Christmas has passed, yuletide memories have been made, and we’ve welcomed the New Year with wide opened arms. And with the anticipation of new beginnings in 2018, we take in a deep breath of fresh, brisk air and bundle up to embrace what this year has to offer; including the great outdoors. In fact, with the many winter-filled activities that our City and surrounding areas have to offer this Winterlude season, it’s nearly impossible to sit idle as the cold passes us by. Here are a few activities that you and your family can partake in this winter to celebrate Winterlude’s 40th birthday year:   Lansdowne’s Winter Garden: beginning February 2nd and ongoing to the 19th, Lansdowne Park at Aberdeen Square will be transformed into a “glowing winter garden of sculpted snow and lanterns”. Bring your friends, your families and your hot chocolates as you walk through and enjoy th...

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SPRING into ACTION: Sellers

SELLERS Now’s the time to spring into action if you’re a prospective home seller. Getting your home prepared for the spring market now, will help you move quickly and efficiently  when the time comes to list. Spring is the optimum time to sell a home, as the largest numbers of buyers are actively searching for a new home during the months of April, May, and June. If you’re looking for tips, tricks, and ideas to get your home market ready, then you’ve come to the right place! Purge & Pack: What better way to clear out the winter blues, than to clear out the clutter in your home. Take this as a reason to stay warm inside, as you begin to go through attics, closets, basement, and/or garages to determine what to keep, what to donate, and what could be packed away early. Decluttering and depersonalizing are both important steps in preparing your home. Boxing up items will make your space look larger, and neater when it comes time to putting your house on the market, and will stop you fr...

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SPRING into ACTION: Buyers

BUYERS Spring hasn’t begun to crack through the winter thaw, but that doesn’t mean there’s time to wait if you’re planning on purchasing a home this spring. Be prepared for the Spring Market, and ensure your home buying experience is a great one by organizing your paper work, mortgages, ideal houses, and pricing ahead of time. Spring into this home-buying season ready to buy, so that house you’ve been dreaming of, doesn’t land in the hands of another buyer. Credit Check A credit score is a numerical representation of your credit report, and having good credit is like gold when obtaining a mortgage. Spend some time understanding where your credit falls, as credit scores range from 300-850, and the higher the score you have, the better. If there are any issues with your credit score, now is the time to work at repairing them (paying bills on time, getting a raise in your credit limit etc.) It’s not recommended to begin opening new credit cards, as opening new credit may hurt your score i...

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Moving to Ottawa? The Real Question is “Why Not?”

There’s no doubt about it, Ottawa has topped the list of real estate markets to watch in 2018. With it’s ever growing communities, and variety of opportunities for all ages, Ottawa ranks among the world’s most desirable cities to call home. With is diverse neighbourhoods, excellent education system, distinct seasons, and constant opportunities for entertainment, Ottawa gives individuals lots of reasons why they should move here. The real question is: Why not move to Ottawa? The National Capital city is very clean and green, offering unparalleled health services, economic securities and affordable housing options. In a study released by Statistics Canada, Ottawa ranked in the top 10 happiest out of 33 metropolitan areas across the country. If you’re looking for a fresh start, or a place to settle down in, Ottawa has a big city presence with a small town feel, and should be at the top of your lists. Neighbourhoods As a diverse city, rich in culture and communities, Ottawa has a variety o...

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An Era of Change: 2018

An Era of Change: 2018  Canadian real estate is in an era of change.  2017 closed with a bang, as we saw some of the largest increases in real estate prices in nearly a decade. The curiosity now turns to 2018, and what can we expect to see in Ottawa, and across Canada. Ottawa is climbing the list as a hot spot for home buyers this year, joining popular cities like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.  Ottawa may hold an even higher interest for buyers, where real estate prices are significantly lower than areas such as Toronto and Vancouver. The pool of potential home buyers shows a steady increase  by individuals able to work remotely  who are not limited by commute time when choosing where to buy a home.  This growth trend is expected to continue throughout 2018. With a variety in communities, opportunities, and availability, the Ottawa area has a lot to offer to potential buyers. Whether they’re looking for a quiet home in the suburbs of Kanata or Barrhaven, a property in one of the man...

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A Strong Finish for Ottawa’s Real Estate Market in 2017

2017 was quite a year in the Ottawa Real Estate market; record breaking numbers in units sold (condominium sales up over 22%) and double digit (percentage) increases in average sale price in several neighbourhoods, Canada 150 (or should we say Ottawa 150?!) was anything but average! Below we’ve included the latest news release from the Ottawa Real Estate Board.   Please note: average sale price information can be useful in establishing trends over time but should not be used as an indicator that specific properties have increased or decreased in value. The average sale price is calculated based on the total dollar volume of all properties sold.  We have access to current statistics and trends in our neighbourhoods and communities, it’s our job to stay on top of the market trends!  We have up to date Real Estate Market Reports readily available for you and we love to chat real estate – contact us anytime! From the Ottawa Real Estate Board: January 4th, 2018  Members of th...

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2017 Recap!

2017 was an amazing year for Real Estate in Ottawa! Records were broken and property values continue to increase. As the year comes to a close, let’s take a look back at some of the highlights with our Top 20 Blog Posts of 2017! #20 – Understanding Multiple Offers This year the Ottawa market became more competitive than ever before and multiple offers have become far more common. Here are some helpful hints to help you navigate multiple offers! #19 – Pets and Real Estate New research emerged this year showing that more and more homeowners are making housing decisions with their furry friends in mind while others are avoiding homes where pets have lived. Let’s look at the impact of pets and how they can affect real estate. #18 – Your Home and Winter Travels It’s at this time of year that many of us choose to get away; whether it’s visiting family for the holidays or heading somewhere sunny and warm, there are certain things you must consider before leaving your home for an extended peri...

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Buying without a Realtor

Buying a house is a big investment, so it is natural to look for ways to save money wherever possible. Some buyers and sellers may assume that they can stretch their budget further if they handle the entire purchase themselves. Doing this may seem like a good way save you money, but can also lead to problems and higher costs in the long run.  As a buyer, hiring a Realtor typically does not cost you a cent; your Real estate agent will be paid from the commission on the sale of the home. Hiring a professional who is on your side to ensure that all your bases are covered only makes sense. Can you believe that there was a time when real estate brokerages represented only the seller?  It’s true! Buyers had to make one of the most important financial decisions of their lives without a representative truly on their side. Thankfully, today this is no longer the case. Most buyers choose to be represented by a buyer’s agent who, acts as an advocate, and is responsible for protecting your best in...

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Winter: Time to keep the heat IN, and your costs DOWN

As winter begins to cover the ground with snow, we Canadians are aware, there’s much more coming our way than just a light dusting. Shoveling snow, spreading salt, and digging out your frozen car, are just some of the “joys” winter may bring to you this season. As the costs of heat and electricity continue to rise, Jack Frost will be nipping at your pocketbook, wanting to extend his winter chills to the interior of your home. If you’re hoping to keep the cold outside, and your heating costs down, the best thing for you to do is to get your home “Winter Ready”. Here are some simply ways to winterize your home: Clean out your gutters Ensure the rain and snow have somewhere to drain to by cleaning your gutters. This will minimize the chance of leaks, and remove excess weight/strain from the gutters. Making sure that the water can freely flow through your gutters now, will stop the formation of icicles and ice-build up later. Reseal your windows Whether you’re purchasing window insu...

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