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OTTAWA REAL ESTATE BLOG


Canadian Home Prices Are Growing At One Of The Fastest Paces In The World

The Canadian real estate market continues to boom, according to this Financial Post offering.  With a year-over-year increase of 8.2%, Canada ranked 4th of the 23 countries studied in Scotiabank's report Global Real Estate Trends, behind Ireland (13.3%), Sweden (10.5%) and Australia (8.3%).  However, the report warns the trend could change if economic uncertainty and high unemployment counterbalance the attraction of low borrowing costs.  To read more click here.   Canada's real estate market continues to boom, with a year-over-year increase of 8.2%. Canada placed fourth in Scotiabank’s report Global Real Estate Trends behind Ireland (13%), Sweden and Australia who had an 11% and 9%, respectively). However, this could change if economic uncertainty counterbalances high unemployment for those looking into buying property during these times - they are likely thinking about how good rates would be rather than its affordability compared the US where mortgages often have higher criteria like down payment ...

Here’s What Pushes People to Buy Homes in 2015

  If you want to sell your property quickly, at near the asking price, it is important to know why people are buying.  In this post, Realtor.com chief economist, Jonathan Smoke, suggests we pay attention to the five main triggers for home buyers: they have grown tired of their home and want a change, interest rates are exceptionally low, housing prices are favourable in many markets, they need or want more living space and they have the money to spend.   In this article, Realtor.com's Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke proposes five reasons why people are buying homes: they have grown tired of their current property and want a change in environment or lifestyle; interest rates on mortgages were exceptionally low which made it more affordable for buyers than ever before (which means there was no need to put large down payments); housing prices where good compared with other countries around the world ...

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Unchecked Emotions Can Cause Costly Property Mistakes

  We are sometimes enthralled by the presentation of a property, but ignoring the things we cannot see or overlooking obvious problems and risks can lead to disastrous consequences. To the extent possible, put your emotions aside and make buying property a business decision based facts and data.   Getting Too Attached To A Property   Impulse decisions in real estate can cost major dollars and can have life altering effects. If you fall in love with a house, you may be tempted to waive conditions or pay more than planned in the rush to close the deal. The problem is, when we get too emotionally attached, we keep altering our "walk away" price to the point where it doesn’t exist. Set a threshold and when you past it, walk away.   Knowing What You Can Afford   It's  important to put optimism aside and truly understand your financial position, now and in the future, so you don't overextend yourself. ...

The Number of Real Estate Appraisers Is Falling. Here’s Why You Should Care

  According to this realtor.com post, the number of real estate appraisers is dropping to the point where parties on both sides of real estate transactions could suffer. Since most residential mortgages need an appraisal before a sale closes, a shortage of appraisers will affect buyers, who rely on accurate valuations to structure their offer, and sellers, who can lose a deal if appraisals come in low. The Appraisal Institute notes the number of appraisers has dropped 20% since 2007 and predicts a 3% annual decline for the next decade. Fewer appraisers means longer waits, which could delay a closing. That delay means that buyers (borrowers) might have to pay for longer mortgage rate locks and sellers, who need the equity from the sale to purchase their next home, might miss opportunities to bid. A shortage also means appraisals will likely cost more.  Even worse, there could be quality issues as appraisers work outside ...

Boost Your Curb Appeal with 4 Doable DIY Projects

  Most sellers realize that preparing the interior of their homes for viewing is essential.  In this article, Bob Villa explains it is just as important to stage the exterior of your house as it is to prepare the inside rooms when you are selling.  For example, a clean, well-maintained yard will signal that you have taken care of the property during your time as owner. Power washing the garage door, driveway and fences will add to that impression.  If you are upgrading the paint, determine whether accent painting (shutters, columns, etc.) or a whole-house job is required.  And, use traditional colours (classic white, creamy off-white, warm taupe, blue-gray, or pale yellow) that appeal to the greatest number of potential buyers. A lush, colourful garden, potted plants, manicured shrubs and window boxes will help you make a memorable first impression.  Improving the entrance can be as simple as adding a distinctive mailbox or ...

5 must-do’s for first-time home buyers

  This homeownership.ca article by real estate lawyer Mark Weisleder gives the essentials for the novice buyer.  Start by calculating what you can afford (general rule is 30% of gross income).  Then, figure out what is important to you and search for properties with those features.  Ask the seller about flooding, leaks, mould, insurance claims and neighbourhood problems.  Pay for a thorough home inspection by a qualified inspector and buy an after-sale warranty.  To read more click here.   This homeownership.ca article by real estate lawyer Mark Weisleder gives the essentials for the novice buyer.  Start by calculating what you can afford (general rule is 30% of gross income).  Then, figure out what is important to you and search for properties with those features.  Ask the seller about flooding, leaks, mould, insurance claims and neighbourhood problems.  Pay for a thorough home inspection by a qualified inspector and buy an after-sale warranty. ...

How to Reduce Your Energy Bill with No Cost or Sacrifice

  This excellent post from Adam Dachis on lifehacker.com tells how to lower your electricity bill easily, at no cost, by using your appliances more efficiently.  For example, promoting optimal air flow will lower energy costs by reducing the demand on your cooling/heating system.  Opening all vents in the house and replacing filters on a monthly basis will support ideal air flow, while standing or ceiling fans can be positioned to push hot air up and out (summer) or down to trap it in the room (winter). Dachis also provides useful tips for laundry machines (reduce heat whenever possible as it accounts for over 90% of the electric demand; load the machines appropriately; do the job when discounted rates apply; air dry the clothes where possible), dishwashers (disable the heated drying cycle; pre-wash just enough to remove food particles and let the machine do the rest; load the dishes according to the ...

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Inexpensive Ways to Make Your Home Green

  In this bhgrelife.com post, we learn just how easy it is to join the green movement and become an eco-warrior.  For example, by improving the energy efficiency around home, you reduce consumption, conserving the planet's resources and saving money at the same time.  Installing a programmable thermostat lowers consumption and, surprisingly, a fully loaded dishwasher uses less energy than manual washing.   Changing furnace filters and cleaning dryer lint traps regularly will improve operating efficiency and reduce consumption.  Green landscaping ideas like composting, collecting and using rain water, pest control with natural products, using push mowers instead of gas or electric mowers and sweeping rather than hosing down the driveway all focus on avoiding hazardous chemicals and/or reducing consumption, waste and pollution.   When decorating, use low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paint and adhesives to reduce ozone pollution.  Bamboo flooring is a sustainable product because it is made from the tree's fast-growing bark.   Even changing your ...

Buying Near Parks and Recreational Facilities

  According to RealtorMag, twenty-three percent of recent buyers indicated that convenience to parks or recreational facilities influenced their choice of neighborhoods.  Proximity to parks and recreational facilities was the most important to recent buyers aged 34 and younger, and to those aged 35 to 49.  Here are some reasons to believe those numbers will rise.   Public Health Concerns The alarming increase in obesity, especially among children, has focused attention on how important physical activity is to our overall wellbeing.  Governments at all levels are promoting the benefits of active living and we have become more receptive to the message.  That means even more people will want accommodations that provide opportunities for physical activity (i.e. near parks and rec).  Further, governments (to save its citizens and reduce health care costs) and businesses (to ensure their developments sell) are improving the planning, design, quality and availability of parks and recreation resources to meet the ...

Green Renovations — Basements

  Virtually all homeowners will find something of use in this detailed and practical fact sheet from Central Mortgage and Housing Corp (CMHC).  If you're planning a basement renovation, it's a must read, filled with time, energy and money saving tips, features and advice on how to green any project, from extensive, expensive renos to slower, more affordable and incremental upgrades. The guide explains nine site factors to consider during the planning stage (structural conditions, air quality and circulation, moisture and water problems, mold, lead, asbestos and soil gases) as well as steps to remediate, when necessary, or incorporate corrective actions into your renovation plans.  There are specific suggestions for each type of upgrade including lighting, plumbing, flooring, painting, mechanical and electrical. The fact sheet also details CMHC's  five principles of Healthy Housing™ and  includes a concise checklist that all homeowners contemplating a reno can use.   ...

Emotional Homebuyers Can Lose Out On The Best Deals

  When we really like a property, we can overlook or downplay its negative aspects.  This homeownership.ca post advises us to approach purchasing a home as a business decision and to remove emotion from the decision. Before viewing any properties, contact a financial adviser to set your budget, a mortgage broker to get pre-approval for that amount and a real estate agent familiar with the area(s) you like. Call and introduce yourself to 3 professional home inspectors - one should be available when you're ready to bid, so you avoid stressful delays, and any temptation to skip the inspection.  The inspection is a critical step that ensures the structure, environment and operating systems of your dream home are safe and sound. We are often seduced by facade, but the things we cannot see (outdated furnace, inefficient systems, roof defects, foundation problems, building code violations, mold) can lead to expensive repairs or health concerns.  To ...

6 Sneaky Ways to Make Your Home Look Expensive

  If you want to convert your home's look from average to exceptional, this Realtor.com post by Jamie Weibe tells you how.  Remove mismatched decor items, store toys/magazines and organize your things to fix a cluttered appearance.  Clean and re-grout tile to make it look new.  Use traditional, neutral tones to freshen paint in areas that need it.  Upgrading hardware, faucets or countertops are all relatively inexpensive ways to give kitchens and bathrooms a more luxurious appearance.  Adding or rearranging lighting can create an illusion of space and separate rooms.    ...

Underwriting insights! What Every Homebuyer Should Know Before Applying for a Mortgage

  This homeownership.ca post tells why an understanding of underwriting is a key advantage for home buyers seeking a mortgage.  Work with a mortgage professional to get pre-approved for a mortgage so you know your price range and can make an offer instantly.  The pre-approval process determines the size of mortgage and type of home you can afford.  You will need to assemble your credit report and other documentation (financial and employment history, creditworthiness, income) the lender or mortgage insurer needs to process the application.  The documentation required varies depending on individual circumstances.  For example, self-employed applicants should be prepared to prove a consistent level of income over at least two years.  To read more click here. ...

Create a beautiful bathroom for the ages

  As people age, reduced mobility, impaired balance, failing vision and muscle weakness make them more susceptible to injuries in their home, and bathrooms are no exception.  This Consumer Reports article tells how the latest design trends are helping owners upgrade their bathrooms with changes that enhance safety while retaining their beauty and avoiding an institutional look. In addition, subtle name changes have made useful improvements like shower rails (formerly called grab bars) and higher-seated toilets (“comfort height”) more acceptable. By widening the bathroom doorway, removing the raised sill and replacing knobs with easier-to-open handles you improve access. Installing slip-resistant tile or vinyl and/or shower bars will reduce the risk of falling.  To reduce glare, mount lights on the side of your mirrors, not above, and bring in natural light with windows or skylights.  Design the sink area to be suitable for all ages and abilities.  Wall mount sinks provide room for someone ...

Why Cleaning Window Screens Should Be Part of Your Winter Strategy

  Should removing and cleaning the window screens be part of your winter maintenance routine? According to this houzz.com post, there are several benefits to be gained. Simply put, dirty mesh blocks light, heat and the view. For example, you get 30 to 40 percent more light coming in without screens on the windows.  More sunshine means you need less artificial light and can save on energy costs.   In addition, removing the screens increases the solar energy getting through to the windows. Improved solar heat gain reduces the need for mechanical heating saving on heating bills. Also, during a storm, snow gets caught between the window and screen which can damage the frame.   Wait until after the first freeze, to avoid bugs, and take the opportunity to inspect and repair the screens, where necessary.  To avoid damage, vacuum the screens with a brush attachment. Then, use a soft brush or sponge to gently scrub ...

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