The stories we read in the local papers, and the news we hear on TV and radio most often relates to the national housing market – and the news isn’t always very positive.
Ottawa tends to have a protected market based on the fact that, for the most part, the economy here is pretty stable compared to other parts of the country. Federal, provincial and municipal governments, hospitals and education make up a large part of the workforce here.
While the market may be slightly slower than it was this time last year, houses are selling. I have always said that a well-priced home (priced to be competitive in today’s market) and that shows well will sell in a reasonable amount of time. I recently had two listings that sold in less than a week (one a good-sized family detached home and the other a lovely condo apartment). Area also plays a role. How quickly a home sells is dependent on how well it shows, how competitively it is priced, where it is, and, of course, finding the right Buyer.
For Buyers, inventory in Ottawa is reasonable – there are choices out there at decent prices. The biggest challenge for Buyers is to be able to see beyond existing cosmetics – to be able to envision different colours on the walls and different furniture in the rooms….maybe even different flooring. If somebody has lived in a home for a number of years, it tends to take on their personality. Buyers have to be able to see beyond this and think of how they could make the home THEIR own. It’s a skill and a good real estate agent can help with this.
All in all – don’t be afraid because of what you read or hear. Talk to me – I know what is happening in Ottawa and can help you with your real estate decisions – both immediate and future.
It’s that time of year – again! Time to decide what, if anything, you would like to do differently to the exterior of your home. Keep in mind – if you are thinking of selling, it’s the exterior that creates a first impression – at least when we aren’t dealing with 3 feet of snow on the ground!
Planning is crucial. You need to decide what you want to do. Siding, windows and doors may need painting, shutters replaced, foundation parging repaired or redone, bricks may need repointing. Perhaps you would like to enlarge your gardens, reduce the amount of maintenance, replace patio stones with interlock or stamped concrete, build a deck of patio – the options are never-ending.
Once you know what you would like to do – doing your research to find the right people to call is the next step. Talk to your neighbours and friends to get recommendations. Then select 2 or 3 of these service providers and invite them to submit plans and estimates. Depending on what it is you want to do, you may not find one service provider who can do it all. Don’t accept someone’s “say-so” that they can do the work – ask for references and a photo gallery of some sort. A contractor who is excellent at doing lawns and gardens may not know the first thing about stamped concrete.
Book the work in appropriate order. You don’t want to build gardens around your foundation and then have the parging repaired later for example.
Pay the piper and then sit back and enjoy your new or freshened up look. If you are selling, you can be assured the exterior of your home will past the test of first impressions!!
Spring is finally here – and better late than never! The traditional spring market is a bit later than usual this year due to the long winter we experienced.
Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 1,573 residential properties in April through the Board’s Multiple Listing Service® system, compared with 1,568 in April 2012, an increase of 0.3 per cent.
“The Ottawa market is doing well, and gaining ground back since the “cool-down” of the market for the past five months,” says Tim Lee, President of the Ottawa Real Estate Board. “We are on par with the strong sales of last April, and the resale market is up 34.9 per cent since last month. With interest rates continuing to be low, Ottawa remains a healthy, stable market.”
April’s sales included 302 in the condominium property class, and 1,271 in the residential property class.
The average sale price of residential properties, including condominiums, sold in April in the Ottawa area was $371,565, an increase of 2.1 per cent over April 2012. The average sale price for a condominium-class property was $266,596, a decrease of 2.3 per cent over April 2012. The average sale price of a residential-class property was $396,507, an increase of 2.9 per cent over April 2012.
If you interested in knowing what your property is worth on today’s market – or you are looking to buy your first or next home, I’d be delighted to help. Give me a call!
First impressions are everything! Often the very first look a potential buyer gets of your home is from the photos atached to the listing online. Buyers are looking for a house with the potential to become their home… one where they can easily imagine living. We can’t count on them to mentally remove clutter from photos so they can picture themselves and their families using the space. This must be done before the photos are taken. Make the beds, pick up the clothes, open the drapes, clear the countertops, arrange the furniture nicely (maybe even remove some of it).
Just spend 10 minutes looking at random photos on Realtor.ca , and it’s not hard to find examples of “what not to do.” The camera can only photograph what it sees, so I encourage my clients to spend time getting their home photo-ready.
An increasing number of houses in communities across Canada are used as indoor marijuana growing operations, or “grow ops”. The houses undergo significant structural changes in order to be used to grow the plants; these changes can compromise the integrity and inhabitability of the house, and can require major repairs and renovations to correct. The average cost to repair a home previously used as a grow op is $41,000, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
The Ottawa Real Estate successfully lobbied the City of Ottawa and Ottawa Police Services to create a “Grow Ops Registry” where the addresses of houses that have had search warrants executed and drug operations dismantled are published online. This service began February 1, 2008
In the interest of public safety, the Ottawa Police Service would like to advise the public of potential dangers associated with marijuana grow operations.
Some smaller home operations uncovered by police may not have incurred extensive damage, and may not have used an electrical bypass, but most do.
Large indoor marijuana grow houses require large amounts of water, chemicals, light and heat. An unsuspecting purchaser of a former grow house can face problems if not informed on the history and current condition of the house.
Sometimes damage is not visible and the owner or real estate agent may not be fully aware of the problems. To find a list of addresses that have been identified by the Ottawa Police as Grow Ops, please go to:
If anyone tries to tell you that buying any property is a good investment – think again.
One key determinant for any property purchase is: Is it speculation or is it an investment? A property that does not carry itself through the income it generates is speculative. That doesn’t necessarily make it wrong, but it adds a much higher level of risk to the situation. A property with income that covers all operations and financing costs and also provides an income is a true investment. With the additional income, you can afford to hang on if a market doesn’t perform on the equity appreciation side.
If you are interested in more information on investing in real estate, let me know. I often run seminars on this very subject and I’d be delighted to talk with you about this.
The market was forecasted to slow down in 2013, mostly as a result of recent mortgage changes, and indeed, the Spring Market is showing a moderating trend. Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 1,167 residential properties in March through the Board’s Multiple Listing Service® system, compared with 1,388 in March 2012, a decrease of 15.9 per cent.
The experts tell us that the recent changes to mortgage rules and guidelines has largely impacted first-time buyers, forcing them to focus on more affordably priced homes. Those who were actively shopping had to stop and re-evaluate how much home they could afford to finance. In spite of this, the Ottawa Market is still described as steady and stable – not going up or down drastically.
The average sale price of all residential properties, including condominiums, sold in March in the Ottawa area was $358,102, an increase of one per cent over March 2012. The average sale price for a condominium-class property was $267,604, a decrease of 4.1 per cent over March 2012. The average sale price of a residential-class property was $386,197, an increase of 2.7 per cent over March 2012. Since there are differences from neighbourhood to neighbourhood, if you are interested in knowing what your home might be worth on today’s market, please give me a call.
If you have any real estate questions, I’d be happy to hear from you.
Consider yourself warned. Monday, April 1st is April Fools’ Day – a day when you are encouraged to pull pranks on loved ones, co-workers, casual acquaintances, and even that one guy at the bus stop. It’s an odd tradition, but how did it get started? What’s the history of April Fools’ Day, anyway?
Nobody is completely sure about the origin of this, the silliest of holidays. However Snopes says that most experts give credit to Pope Gregory XIII, who, in the 1500s, gave the world the Gregorian calendar.
In 1562, the Gregorian calendar moved the first day of the year from April 1 to January 1. Word did eventually get around, but some people were a bit slow to hear the news. These folks continued celebrating the new year on April 1, unaware that they were now three months behind the times. These “April fools” were tricked by those in the know. The tradition eventually made its way to the USA.
Now what does this have to do with Real Estate? Absolutely nothing – just thought I would share a small bit of research with you!
As a home owner in this market, you need to ensure you gather every advantage you can to get your home sold. It all starts with choosing the right agent.
- Ask for a full time agent whose sole job it is to sell and buy homes
- Ask for a full service agent who will guide you through every step of the selling process. Discount brokers usually offer discount services.
- Ask for a local agent who knows the neighbourhood and is readily available when you need them.
- As for a well experienced agent. Not all agents are equal. Choose only the best.
- Ask for an agent with a great marketing program – the buying public needs to know that you have a home for sale – your home needs exposure and a marketing plan.
Once you have the right agent in place, you must ensure the home is priced correctly. The list price needs to be at or near market value. A great agent will study recent sales, homes currently on the market and will use trends and comparables to place a value on your property.
Lastly – you must get your home ready for sale – outside and inside. Make sure everything is in good working order, de-clutter – even if it means putting some furniture and/or belongings in storage, paint in neutral colours if you can, clean carpets, etc.
It is no accident when a home sells. It is usually through the hard work of an agent. If you are thinking of selling, let me do the hard work for you!
There are many things that make spring a very special season……temperatures rise, snow melts away, and daffodils and tulips start to appear. The best news, If you are a real estate agent, is that people start to come out of hibernation and want to view houses.
For those of you joining this group of potential home-buyers, it is best to have a mortgage pre-approval before you start your search. A pre-approval lets you know exactly where you stand in terms of your finances which, in turn, allows you to make better decisions when it comes to finding the right house.
Another tidbit, with interest rates as low as they are, why not lock in an interest rate for up to 4 months while you are out searching for that perfect home? This will provide you with some financial protection should interest rates increase at all while you are looking.
If you are thinking of starting a search for your next home, give me a call. We can start this journey together.