Monthly Archives March 2016

Why Appreciate Your Real Estate Agent

  When you decide to buy your first home, the initial excitement is often quickly followed by fear of the unknown. After viewing many attractive properties online, you have no idea where to start. Eventually, though, with the invaluable assistance of a real estate agent, you can purchased your dream home at a great price.   Those who have experienced a number of property transactions realize just how many reasons they have to be thankful for the trusting relationship they developed with their agent.  First, the money and time you save far exceeds the agent’s commission. From planting the For Sale sign to closing the sale, here are five more reasons to appreciate real estate agents.   They’ll help get your house ready to sell A good listing agent acts as project manager in prepping your home for sale. They take on the burden of staging, advise on repairs, arrange photography and advertising, provide contacts, schedule open houses or viewings and provide feedback, all of which reduces the drama during a stressful time. “For sale by owner” means you advertise, solicit calls, answer questions, make appointments and rush home from work in time to find … no one shows up.   They know how busy you are with the other parts of your life A good agent understands you have responsibilities outside your real estate transaction and will make life easier by accommodating your schedule. She will take your late night call, discuss your concerns and support your decision NOT to move ahead with a deal. For example, one buyer signed an offer that his agent brought to the soccer field where he was coaching his kids.   They have access to opportunities because they’re well-connected Often, deals succeed because of the networks and relationships forged over time by a good agent. Well-connected agents can help you find off-the-market properties, arrange a speedy inspection or get your offer the attention it needs in a competitive bidding situation due to their contacts with bankers, contractors, inspectors and other deal-makers.   They understand that negotiating is a tricky business An agent can represent you in tough negotiations and prevent things from getting too personal. As a buyer, this puts you in a better position to get the house you want and, as a seller, allows you to avoid the irritation of penny-pinching or insulting (to you) offers. Agents smooth things to keep negotiations going, whereas direct negotiations are easily sidetracked by emotions.   They know about real estate contracts and conditions You may be intimidated, initially, by the paperwork, especially the Offer to Purchase. However, a real estate agent completes the same contracts and conditions on a regular basis, so they are familiar with which conditions to use, when they can safely be removed and how to use the contract to protect their clients, whether buying or selling. Even better, they spend the time to educate you at every step.   The post Why Appreciate Your Real Estate Agent appeared first on Team Realty.

Financing Your Home Purchase – Mortgage Broker or Bank?

  When it comes time to purchase a new home, where should you go for financing? You may have a relationship with a bank from past transactions (RRSPs, savings accounts, car loan), so it’s the first option that comes to mind.  But, mortgage brokers are licensed specialists who have access to many lenders and mortgage rates, so they may be a better choice. Here are some pros and cons for each.   Advantages of Mortgage Brokers   do all the negotiating for you to find the lowest rate have knowledge of, and access to, the entire mortgage market have exclusive deals not available on the open market buy large quantities of mortgage products, so they can pass on volume discounts their commission is paid by the mortgage lender can advise which lenders will consider your case and which will not (useful for people with poor credit ratings) have access to lenders who specialize in servicing people with poor credit can sometimes negotiate a better interest rate or lower application fee from the lender may pay for inspections or appraisals to close the deal (they get less commission but gain word of mouth advertising and potential client loyalty) are highly mobile and flexible so they can meet in person, when and where you want work for themselves so they are not aligned to one institution   Disadvantages of Mortgage Brokers   some people are uncomfortable with a less familiar option first-time home buyers would not have pre-existing relationships with them lenders that offer good rates are often smaller, with unfamiliar names and reputations greater flexibility may lead to a mortgage you cannot actually afford (more risk)   Advantages of Banks   can combine services at the bank you’ve worked with, and learned to trust can meet face to face, on your own time, even at your home may have lower closing costs because they’ll pay for some of the costs sometimes they pay the appraisal fee can give you perks within the bank like waiving account or safety deposit box fees have home equity lines of credit loan officers are paid salary, commission or salary plus commission by the bank easier to make mortgage or line of credit changes if all products are with one bank   Disadvantages of Banks   can only access and offer their own rates and products often their rates are not as good as a mortgage broker’s rates only give discounts on their posted rates if you ask if your credit score is poor, they might not take you on you have to be able to negotiate or you’ll only get the standard deal with no extras you spend time and effort “shopping” for a good rate you may overlook the best rate   The post Financing Your Home Purchase – Mortgage Broker or Bank? appeared first on Team Realty. Source: Blog

7 Deadly Sins of Home Renos

  Homeowners who renovate only to boost resale value should aim for a return on investment (ROI) of three dollars for every dollar invested. Resale renos should be neutral in colour and conservative in tone so they appeal to the maximum number of potential buyers. And, cost control always trumps elegance.   In fact, some renovations can actually damage your home’s value. These supposed improvements not only add nothing to your bottom line, they may make your home less attractive to potential buyers and bring down its value. Here are seven such expensive mistakes to avoid.   Pools A pool will chase away numerous buyers due to maintenance, public liability, insurance and local government laws regarding fencing and safety barriers. Don’t waste the money.   Skip the Sunroom Unless you want the exposure to nature, avoid this addition which yielded only 48.7 percent ROI according to Remodelling magazine’s 2015 statistics.   Converted Garage Some homeowners see converting a garage as a cheaper way to add more living space than building an addition – and it is. But, many buyers prefer a garage to protect assets from the cold and snowy conditions. And, a garage is much more valuable than an extra room.   Fancy Faucets and Lighting Fixtures For kitchen or bathroom renos, avoid ornate fixtures for two reasons. First, you reduce the pool of buyers due to the cost. Second, stylized fixtures will appeal only to a small number of potential buyers, those who share your taste, further reducing your chances to sell.   Eliminating a Bedroom or Powder Room In older homes, combining smaller rooms in the public living space might add to the value and appeal to homeowners who like large, open spaces. Eliminating a powder room, however, is a bad idea. And turning a bedroom into a master closet or combining two bedrooms to create a large master suite may not pay. As Kevin Brown Jr., president of Praedium Real Estate Services points out, “You’ve eliminated a whole living space.”   Elaborate Landscaping A basic make over is the surest way to make money back from your outdoor outlay. Avoid overspending.   Things That Are Invisible Adding insulation, window upgrades, or air conditioning does not increase the value of a property as much as some sellers believe. This type of feature can add to the marketability, not the value.   The post 7 Deadly Sins of Home Renos appeared first on Team Realty. Source: Blog

Real Estate Snapshot February 2016

  What a difference a day makes!  An extra day in February saw 46 sales on that day (February 29th) as per the Ottawa Real Estate Board’s news release March 3rd.   See the full Ottawa Real Estate market snapshot for February and the full story from the Ottawa Real Estate Board below. With spring around the corner, we’re starting to see more homes come on the market, if you’re thinking of selling now is a great time to get your home listed with a real estate professional.  While statistics are useful in establishing trends they should not be used as an indicator of an increase or decrease in value of specific properties. If you are curious about the value of your home and/or specific neighbourhood statistics we would be happy to provide you with a no cost no obligation market evaluation of your property.  Contact any one of our 23 offices or email us at From the Ottawa Real Estate Board March 3rd, 2016 Extra day in leap year causes jump in sales for February Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 911 residential properties in February through the Board’s Multiple Listing Service® system, compared with 850 in February 2015, an increase of 7.2 per cent. The five-year average for February sales is 908. “Although the weather was very unpredictable this month, with many highs and lows and several winter storms, the Ottawa resale market only saw activity pick up,” says President of the Ottawa Real Estate Board, Shane Silva. “Residential and condo sales combined increased by 52.3 per cent since last month. However, we need to factor in the leap year, which added an extra day to the month of February, and 46 sales on that day.” February’s sales included 199 in the condominium property class, and 712 in the residential property class. The condominium property class includes any property, regardless of style (i.e. detached, semi-detached, apartment, townhouse, etc.), which is registered as a condominium, as well as properties which are co-operatives, life leases and timeshares. The residential property class includes all other residential properties. “In February, 2,312 homes were listed, up 26.6 per cent since January, and inventory on hand at the end of February rose by 10.7 per cent since January,” says Silva. “We’re starting to see more homes coming onto the market in preparation for the busy spring selling season. If you’re thinking of putting your home on the market, this is a great time to do so.” The average sale price of a residential-class property sold in February in the Ottawa area was $384,632, an increase of 1.2 per cent over February 2015. The average sale price for a condominium-class property was $249,727, a decrease of 6.8 per cent over February 2015. The Board cautions that 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

Saving Strategies for Every Age

  We all want to save more money, but doing it requires a plan. And, the best approach to saving depends on the stage of life you’re in because each phase has unique financial commitments. Although individual circumstances vary, these generation-specific suggestions will point you in the right direction.   Millennials (19-35)   Millennials, born between 1980 and 1996, are actually better than Gen Xers at money management, according to financial journalist Vera Gibbons. But, they tend to live in the moment and prefer instant gratification to long-term financial planning. And, because personal finance is not a core subject in school, they may not know much about how to manage money.  Try these strategies. each payday, set aside money to “pay yourself first” and use it for an emergency fund learn fine art of delaying gratification so you have the self control to say no to yourself avoid paying rent, which can cost up to 30% of your income, by living at home pay off student debt with an income-based loan repayment plan use a budgeting tool so you know where your money is going give yourself a weekly allowance to keep discretionary spending in check make small, manageable reductions to your expenses which leaves more for savings contribute to your employer’s retirement plan manage your credit score as it affects your ability to obtain mortgage or other financing   Gen Xers (36-50)   For Generation Xers, born between 1965 and 1979, have less time to build a nest-egg for retirement, so it’s imperative to contribute regularly to their retirement savings during these peak income earning years. Managing cash flow at this stage is particularly challenging. Consider these options.   avoid buying more home than you can afford using cash will make you think harder before letting it go pay yourself first entertain at home rather than going out overestimate expenses and make small, manageable spending reductions contribute to your employer’s retirement plan   Baby Boomers (51-69)   Most Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are in better financial shape than their  younger counterparts, but only 60 percent report having retirement savings and 93 percent are providing financial support to adult children. So, they face the dangerous combination of being under-saved and long-lived. Here are a few ideas to safeguard your future.   delay retirement or return to work to generate income explore the downsizing option and/or ways to leverage home equity accelerate retirement savings and allocate investments properly consider long-term care insurance reduce expenditures and eliminate high cost items like transportation plan to retire in, or move to, an area with lower expenses adjust your standard of living   The post Saving Strategies for Every Age appeared first on Team Realty. Source: Blog

Time To Get Out The Spring Maintenance Checklist

  In Ottawa, there are two sights that remind homeowners it’s time for spring maintenance: bikes on the road and geese in the sky. With the recent double-digit temperatures, it seems spring has won its annual wrestling match with winter. And, as spring fever sets in, you may want to store your parka and get at those spring maintenance chores. A great place to start is making sure the melting snow and runoff flows freely off your roof and away from your home instead of seeping in or collecting at the foundation. Improper drainage can cause problems like foundation flooding, soil erosion, water in the basement or leaks in the attic crawl space. Water damage is an expensive nightmare every homeowner wants to avoid. Here are some tips to take advantage of the weather and get a head start on spring. The Roof System A record-breaking snowfall dropped over 50 cm one February day, so Ottawa homeowners are well advised to perform a roof inspection in case the sheer weight of the snow caused damage. Depending on moisture content, snow weighs about 1.25 lbs/sq ft for each inch of depth, so 50 cm is a heavy load. Avoid a dangerous climb and use binoculars to survey the roof. Identify damaged shingles, soffits, fascia and flashing. If the roof is metal, check for corrosion. Inside the house, check the attic and roof deck for any structural deformations. Examine walls and ceilings for water stains or cracks. Nature can leave more garbage in spring than in fall, so gutter cleaning is high priority. Clear all debris from eaves troughs and downspouts. Check for water stains, especially under eaves and near gutter downspouts. Water stains can mean that your gutters are not containing the roof runoff and they should be repaired or replaced. Make sure downspouts drain away from your home’s foundation. If necessary, add extensions to carry water at least 3 to 4 feet away. If you have a masonry chimney, check the joints between bricks or stones for signs of water infiltration. Also, look for efflorescence which indicates groundwater is “wicking” into the masonry and it could need replacement. The Foundation Unblock the drainage paths around your home so the snow melt flows away from your foundation. Open access to sewer drains that are on the street in front of your property. Check inside the basement, inspecting the walls for evidence of a leaking foundation.  If your home is on a slope, you may need to install a sump pump or an exterior drain pipe leading away from the foundation. Smooth low areas in the yard or near the foundation with compacted soil. Spring rains can cause yard flooding, which can lead to foundation flooding and costly damages. Also, when water collects in these depressions in summer, it creates a perfect breeding ground for insects. Although winter may still rear its blustery head, you’ll be happy you switched to spring fever mode and started the chores.   The post Time To

Buying a home and planning on moving sooner than later?

Buying a home that is not your forever home but perfect for now! Read my article in Power2DoIt by clicking on the link below for some valuable tips on how to proceed for a profitable investment. Buying a Home and Planning on Moving Sooner than Later