Fun things to do in Ottawa

Turn your Vacation into a Staycation: Activities for families in Ottawa

Turn your Vacation into a Staycation: Activities for families in Ottawa  Summer is a wonderful time to spend a little quality time with friends and family; things are more relaxed, the kids are out of school and you won’t have to worry about a last minute snow storm interfering with travel plans (well here’s hoping!) . But organizing a family vacation, especially when you have young children, can be stressful (just think of the Griswalds). The packing, planning, stopping, driving, – the list could go on and on. Have you ever arrived at your destination tired, wishing you’d just stayed home?  If the answer is yes, you can take the stress out of your vacation this year, and turn it into a “Staycation”! At this moment, you’re certainly considering this option, but wondering what there possibly could be to do in Ottawa for a family that already lives here? Have no fear; we have the answers you are looking for. Staycations are becoming a popular option for many families, as leaving home can...

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Neighbourhood Snapshot : Carlington is an Ottawa Community to Watch

When you buy a home, it’s more than just the house itself, you’re really buying into a lifestyle, and becoming part of a community.  The Ottawa and surrounding area has a lot to offer and there may be “hidden gems” that you hadn’t considered.  We’re excited to introduce a new series of blog posts dedicated to giving readers the inside scoop on some great Ottawa neighbourhoods, starting with Carlington!  Welcome to Carlington! Nestled in the heart of the city, Carlington is a community to watch. This neighbourhood has lots of amenities along with easy access to the Queensway making travel within the city a breeze. Situated just a stone’s throw away from the pricy Island Park, Civic Hospital, and Westboro neighbourhoods, Carlington has similar charm but is far more affordable. About Carlington Carlington is located in the River Ward in the west-end of Ottawa and it is bordered by Clyde Avenue to the West, Carling Avenue to the North, Fisher Avenue to t...

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Ottawa Real Estate Market Snapshot: May 2018 

Ottawa Real Estate Market Snapshot: May 2018:  While inventory is still lower than normal, the number of listings coming onto the market this month is typical spring activity! Have questions? Looking for specific neighbourhood stats? Message us!! The following are hightlights from the Ottawa Real Estate Board’s latest News Release read the full story Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 2,279 residential properties in May through the Board’s Multiple Listing Service® System, compared with 2,294 in May 2017, a decrease of 0.7 per cent. The five-year average for May sales is 2,041. May’s sales included 485 in the condominium property class and 1,794 in the residential property class. “Although our overall inventory stock is down in both the residential and condo market, the number of listings coming onto the market this month is typical spring activity,” states Ralph Shaw, President of the Ottawa Real Estate Board. “The sheer number of home sales that ...

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Home-Grown Issues: The impacts of home-grown marijuana and legalization

Home-Grown Issues: The impacts of home-grown marijuana and legalization Many Canadians are awaiting this July 2018 with much anticipation, as Bill C-45 will allow the legalization of marijuana, including their ability to grow up to 4 plants within their residence. However, without the proper protections and awareness in place this new legislation could cost home owners thousands, or even their mortgage. The increase of private residence grow-ops that will begin following legalization is a major concern for the real estate industry. Experts say that everyone from “buyers, to sellers, to real estate agents, and home inspectors” will be affected by the consequences produced by home grow-ops. Issues with Home-Grown There is currently no legal benchmark in the definition of a grow-op. This means, that whether it is a large-scale operation, or a single potted plant, the home is viewed in the same light. Although this doesn’t seem like a big issue to some, the underlying damages that can resu...

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Buying a Home: What The Extras Cost

Contracts and rentals to consider in home ownership When it comes to buying a home, there are always additional fees to be considering when you make an offer. Typically, a first-time home buyer needs to be aware of the costs associated with buying a home – legal fees, mortgage rates, home insurance, closing costs, property taxes, land transfer fees…But what about those little extras not everyone considers? The contracts and rentals associated with the home such as furnaces, hot water tanks, and in some locations even your septic tanks – and what that could cost you. The main point is to understand EXACTLY what you are buying. Some of these costs are minimal, and won’t make a significant impact on your decision when it comes to home buying. However, if you’re looking at a home that requires you to take over a rental furnace, for example, some furnace contracts can cost hundreds of dollars per month to maintain. What can you do to know what you’re getting yourself into ...

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The Walls Have Eyes – And Maybe Ears

Real Estate Listings and Surveillance Systems Have you ever wondered if a house you’re looking at, might also be looking at you? Well, you’re not alone. It’s a common question when it comes to real estate listings regarding home surveillance systems, or “nanny cams.” Although there is technically no legal position preventing homeowners from having their surveillance system, it can’t help but feel a little creepy to consider that the seller may potentially be watching you as you look at their home. Some homes may have signage stating that there is video/audio surveillance. However, it is not always required depending on where you live. Here in Canada, the laws surrounding video and audio surveillance are a little more clear-cut than those of the United States. In Canada, it is not illegal to monitor and record sounds, only “private communications.” So how precisely, does one determine if an individual has consented to the recording of the...

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3 Tips For Making A Major Homeowners Insurance Claim

3 Tips For Making A Major Homeowners Insurance Claim Home insurance is one of the costs that come with home ownership. You pay your premiums to your insurance company and when disaster strikes, you expect that they will pay for most, if not all of the bill.  But will they? Here are 3 tips to help you get the most out of your homeowner’s insurance claim.   Know your limits, deductibles and what your coverage includes. Depending on your policy, your insurance company may or may not cover things like water damage. By reviewing your policy, you’ll know how much you can expect to pay out-of-pocket, which will help you decide which repairs are essential, and which can wait. You’ll also want to know whether your insurance company will pay actual cash value or replacement costs for personal property that has been damaged.  Cash value may not be enough to cover replacement costs so get the details before you rush out to replace everything. Document all of your damage. Take photos of EVERYTHING...

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Hot Real Estate Market in an Icy April

The Spring market continues to buzz in Ottawa real estate, with the number of sales up over 13% in April in spite of inventory levels being down 23% over this time last year.  Home buyers are seeing more competition, which is good news for sellers.   Certainly we are seeing more multiple offers and higher sale prices, however, with prices still reasonable compared to income in Ottawa real estate these factors aren’t stopping buyers. Hot Real Estate Market in an Icy April  May 3, 2018 Highlights from the Ottawa Real Estate Board   “Full employment and reasonable house prices in proportion to incomes are fueling our market. Ottawa is not only a beautiful and dynamic capital but also one of the more affordable cities in Canada,” observes Ralph Shaw, Ottawa Real Estate Board President. “While prices and conditions do vary by area, the overall residential marketplace shows solid and steady performance on investment for homeowners, and offers a variety of property class optio...

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Frugal Family Fun in Ottawa

Frugal Family Fun in Ottawa Did you know that entertaining and enjoying time together as a family does not need to cost a lot of money? Its true-despite what parenting magazines and social media ads would like to have you believe. Yes, there are activities that cost more than others, but there are also a lot of inexpensive and even FREE activities you can do instead.  In fact there are many free options available that you may have not even known about! One example of a free & fun outing is visiting one of the many museums around the Nation’s Capital. With so many options to choose from, there is a museum for every family. Here is a run down of which museums offer free admission during specific periods: The newly renovated Canadian Museum of Nature offers free admission on Thursday nights from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. The Canada Agriculture and Food Museum offers free admission between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. each day. The adjacent Central Experimental Farm is a great place to cycle or run. ...

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Understanding Property Taxes

Property taxes are a necessary part of owning property in Ontario. Anyone in Ontario who owns land or a property has to pay a certain amount of tax to the municipal government. Although these taxes are unpopular, as all taxes are, property taxes are important because they are the main revenue source for Ontario’s municipalities. Property taxes are separate from other forms of taxes, and the amount that each person owes is based on a unique assessment for their particular property and the tax rate of the municipality the property is in. How property taxes are determined for each individual property is quite simple. Each municipality within Ontario has its own municipal tax rate, which is determined based on the municipality’s budget and expected revenue. Each municipality also has an education tax rate, which helps to pay for schools and related services within the municipality. These education tax rates can vary within a municipality, depending on where a property is located in relatio...

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What Home Buyers Should be Looking for When Viewing a Property

You’ve done your research, found the perfect Realtor, crunched the numbers, created your list of must-haves and now it’s time to start the exciting process of HOUSE HUNTING! When you’re looking at homes for sale it isn’t always easy to look beyond the cosmetics.  Not to worry, we’ve created this handy graphic to help home buyers to stay focused.

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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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