Recent News from Royal Lepage Team Realty

Post Flood 2019: What to do as the Water Recedes

In the last few weeks, parts of the Ottawa area have seen record flooding and with the water slowly receding, it’s now time to think about the next steps. Whether you are a homeowner affected directly or just want to lend a helping hand, there is still a lot that will need to be done. Here is what you need to know, but for the most up to date information on everything flood related, it is important to check www.ottawa.ca regularly for updates.

Homeowners Affected by Flooding:

 

  • Keep Sandbag Walls Up for the Time Being – with heavy rain expected Thursday, May 9th and Friday, May 10th, some predictions are showing that the water levels may rise again to similar levels.
  • Attend a Community Information Session – the City will be hosting four of these next week. How to safely return home, remove waste and debris, and apply for financial assistance will all be covered.
  • If you need help with your property, fill out a work order – This can be done by visiting a community support centre or by filling out a work order online. Please only register once as multiple requests can cause additional backlogs.
  • Financial Aid for Immediate Needs – Homeowners directly impacted by the flooding may be eligible to receive up to $600 to help meet their immediate needs from the Red Cross. To register, call 1-800-863-6582, go online at redcross.ca, or register in person at designated community centres.
  • Contact Your Insurance Provider – You will want to do this as soon as possible if your home was affected by the flood to see if you have flood coverage. If you do, start collecting evidence as your insurer may not be able to inspect your home immediately after the flood. Take pictures and videos to show the damage that was done.
  • Get an inspection before turning the power back on – If you turned off the power during the flood or your power was turned off by the Hydro companies, it is important to have everything inspected before it is turned back on.
  • Remember the water is contaminated – As you start the clean up process, it is important to remember that the water was contaminated with everything from septic overflow to fuel and it is important to remember that anything that can’t be properly cleaned must be discarded. Sandbags, and their contents, should not be re-used and the City will provide information on their pick up.

 

Want to Help:

 

  • Watch City Website for Calls for Volunteers – At this time, the city does not require volunteers but are urging people to rest up as they will again be looking for volunteers as the flood waters recede and the recovery process begins. Check daily for updates.
  • Financial Donations – If you would like to make a monetary donation to the relief efforts, this can be done through the Red Cross – Ontario Floods Appeal. This can be done online, by calling 1-800-418-1111, or by contacting your local Red Cross office.
  • Food Donations – The Ottawa Food Bank is coordinating food donations for those currently affected by flooding. To find a drop off point, please visit their website.
  • Clothing, furniture and household donations – The Salvation Army is accepting these items in anticipation of increased requests from those affected by flooding. Items may be donated in person at any Salvation Army Thrift Store.

 

 

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Ottawa Real Estate highlights & Market Snapshot April 2019

APRIL 2019 STATS GRAPHIC FINAL

Ottawa Real Estate Highlights April 2019:

There’s been an upward pressure on prices due to the continuing lower supply levels (residential supply is down 18%, and condo inventory is down almost 40% from last April 2018 according to the latest OREB stats). However these price points are “still well under the Canadian average, and our residents tend to be in comfortable financial situations due to secure employment and a thriving local economy.” [President of the Ottawa Real Estate Board]  who also notes that  “Certainly, the stunted supply is likely responsible for the multiple offer situations we are experiencing, but the reality is that while approximately one-third of properties are selling above asking, more than 50% are still selling below the listed price.” 

While these statistics can be useful in establishing trends over time they should not be used as an indicator that specific properties have increased or decreased in value. The calculation of the average sale price is based on the total dollar volume of all properties sold. Price and conditions will vary from neighbourhood to neighbourhood.  If you have any questions about the Ottawa and area real estate market, or you are thinking of buying or selling please reach out to us, our management team or our professional sales representatives anytime!

  • Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 2,032 residential properties compared with 2,024 in April 2018, an increase of 0.4 per cent.
  • April’s sales included 1,594 in the residential property class, on par from a year ago, 438 in the condominium property class, an increase of 5.3 per cent from April 2018. The five-year average for April unit sales is 1,825.
  • Residential supply is down 18%, and condo inventory is down almost 40% from last April.
  • The average sale price of a residential-class property sold in April in the Ottawa area was $488,729, a rise of 7.4 per cent over April 2018.
  • The average sale price for a condominium-class property was $307,659, an increase of 14.3
  • Popular price points:
    Residential: $350,000 to $499,999 was the most active price point in the residential market with 44% of properties selling in April in that range, and 28.5% of residential sales were in the $500,000 to $749,999 range.
    Condominium: $225,000-$349,999 was the most active price point in the condo market accounting for 46% of the units sold.

This information was originally released by the Ottawa Real Estate Board on May 3rd, 2019

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Selling Your Home Yourself May End Up Costing You

It may seem tempting, to try and save money on commission, to sell your home yourself but it’s important to consider all the factors. In a lot of cases, sellers who choose to go this route do not come out ahead so let’s look at why.

 

What are You Really Saving?

  • Let’s use as an example a 5% commission of the sale price of your home that you may pay to a full service real estate company for their services.
  • When you list your home for sale with a Real Estate Professional, what you may not know is that half of that 5% commission i.e. 2.5% is paid to the Agent who is representing the Buyer.
  • A question you need to ask yourself is if you plan to sell your home privately will you be cooperating with agents that are working with buyers and what commission fee are you willing to pay them for bringing a buyer?
  • If the answer is Yes you will co-operate and the fee that you are willing to pay a buyer agent is 2.5%, you’re realistically only saving 2.5% in commission.

 

Armed with this information, are you still prepared to take on the job of being the Listing Agent and of trying to sell your home yourself?  Is it really worth it?

 

Consider the following …

Sellers may suffer Equity Erosion 

You’re the homeowner, and you’ve also taken on the job of being the Listing Salesperson.  But you lack access to important MLS data, such as Average Listing Days on Market for your type of home, Number of New Listings being introduced into the market that could compete with your home, as well as the recent sale prices of comparable homes.

In short, you simply don’t have the ability to keep informed about the changes taking place in your market area and this can prove to be disastrous.  By the time you take action to reduce your listing price to compensate for a change in market conditions or increase the listing price due to the high demand for housing, your equity may have become severely compromised.  A Real Estate Professional working to protect your best interest will always keep a close eye on market conditions and will keep you informed, ensuring that equity erosion does not occur or is kept to a minimum.

Who is looking after the Private Seller’s Best Interests?

When you sell your home yourself, there is no one looking after your best interests.  In order to get your home sold, you’re faced with the prospect of negotiating with up to 3000 plus members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board who are representing the best interests of their Buyers.  Real Estate Professionals are professional negotiators who bring lots of experience to the table; … are you ready for that?

The Private Seller’s Limitations in Marketing

The vast majority of For Sale By Owner (FSBO) companies offer limited services to those looking to sell their home privately.  These services are generally limited to a lawn sign, an ad placed on the FSBO company’s own web site, and a Mere Posting on MLS (if the Seller is willing to pay extra for this service). Will your home’s listing be seen?

Qualifying Buyers for Financing

Consider the difficulty you’ll have assessing a Buyer’s financial ability to purchase your home.  You will be ill-equipped to qualify them as to the type of home best suited to their needs and lifestyle.  Understandably, you won’t have the expertise in asking the right questions to determine the Buyer’s qualifications.  This all too often results in a Buyer pulling out of an agreement to purchase when they realize at the last minute that they cannot finance their new home purchase.  You are now faced with the unwanted task of starting the whole sale process all over again.

The Private Seller is not trained to deal with the complex process of creating the Agreement of Purchase & Sale and all related documents needed to Close the Sale

When selling your home privately, you may use the services of your lawyer to draft the necessary documents, which again can be disastrous.  The lawyer will draft the offer based on your instructions, but how will you know what terms and conditions to include in the agreement?  Will you know which service providers are needed to bring about an unconditional sale? Also, this will add costs to your lawyer’s bill and may end up costing you more than you anticipated in the long run.

 Security for You and Your Family

For the most part you won’t know the identity or background of the individuals viewing your home or the identity of attendees visiting your open house.  Real Estate Professionals are trained to obtain the identity and background information of the buyer and take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of you and your family.

Best Buyer Suited for the Private Seller’s Home May Never Get to See It

The Buyer that’s best suited for your home may never get an opportunity to see it, as you may not be available.  Real Estate is not your full time job and you simply may not be available to show your property when a buyer is ready to see it.

The buyer is not only viewing your home, they usually have a number of other homes to view and may never end up viewing your home.

Relocation Buyers

Buyers being relocated have a specific time frame to view homes and may not have an opportunity to make another house hunting trip. The agent working with a relocation buyer sets up viewings well in advance of the buyer’s arrival based on the buyer’s criteria, making all efforts to ensure that the process is carried out in an efficient and timely manner. A relocation buyer may never have an opportunity to see your home due to time constraints and your availability.

Making Money vs. Saving Money

It’s important to understand that there is a profound difference between making money and saving money. A trained real estate professional will not only save you money, but will also help you to make money. They are the insurance to protect your equity.  It’s true that the most expensive real estate service is one that does not perform, and performance is obtaining the highest sale price possible, not selling the home at any price just to save commission.

Real Estate Professional Gets Paid only on the Successful Completion of the Transaction

No monies are paid up front for a real estate agent’s services.  The Real Estate Professional only gets compensated once the transaction has closed. In contrast, FSBO companies require you to pay all the listing fees up front, regardless of whether or not your home sells.  As a consumer it is important to Note that there is no such thing as No Commission …whether you are paying a Flat Fee for Service up front before your home sells and a 2.5%  commission to the brokerage that brings you a Buyer… they are all commissions!

The question that needs to be asked however, is if a Flat Fee is paid up front to the Real Estate Brokerage, what incentive or motivation does the agent have in getting the Seller the highest sale price possible as the agent has already been paid???  Could your hard earned equity be compromised?

Many Pitfalls & Disadvantages

There are so many issues that arise during the marketing of your home, at offer presentation and prior to closing and your Royal LePage Team Realty Sales Representative has a wealth of knowledge and experience to guide you through the successful and profitable sale of your home.  Contact us today for a confidential consultation and additional details on why you could be disadvantaged as a result of selling privately!

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Getting Ready for a Move

As the end of April approaches, many people in Ottawa are preparing to move. Whether you bought or sold in the busy spring market, it’s time to start packing! Packing is often everyone’s least favourite task in the moving process but just remember, there is a light at the end of the tunnel; before you know it you will be in your new home! Here are some helpful hints to guide you as you prepare for closing day.

Start Now!

Even if your move is not for a few months, and it may seem difficult to start, the more you can get done ahead of time, the better! Try to set goals for yourself and pack a few boxes everyday. Start with things that you won’t be needing anytime soon like your winter jacket or other seasonal items. Getting started is often the hardest step when it comes to packing and you will feel much better once you have a few things taken care of!

Get Proper Supplies

Take a trip to the local building supply store or contact your mover to get proper supplies. Proper moving boxes, packing tape, a tape gun, and packing paper can make the whole process so much easier. Make sure that you get a variety of boxes to fit a variety of items. It may be tempting to check the dumpsters behind local stores but mismatched boxes can be difficult to stack and they are often not the right size for the job.

Label Boxes and Keep Them Organized

Although you will inevitably end up with a few boxes of odds and ends at the end, try to make sure that the majority of your boxes are organized and labeled. If you pack room by room, this is actually an easy process. Make sure that all boxes are clearly labeled as to where they will be going in your new home; this will ensure that the movers, or those helping you move if you choose to do it yourself, know where things are supposed to go.

Watch your Weight (of your boxes at least!)

It may be tempting to pack all your books together in that one giant box as they would fit perfectly, right? If you do this, you will end up with a box that even the strongest mover will give you dirty looks about. It’s always best to either pack books with other lighter items (books on the bottom with throw pillows on top, for example) or to use smaller boxes. Believe us, your back or your mover will thank you!

Moving with Kids?

As adults we can definitely deal with the chaos of moving and living a more minimalist life as things get packed away but the same is often not true for children, especially if they are young. To ensure a smooth transition, you will want to pack their stuff last and unpack it first when you get to your new home. Also, as you are packing boxes anywhere in the home, make sure that they are left in an area where young children don’t have access as stacks of boxes can be dangerous if they were to topple over. It takes some careful planning if you have children but, if done correctly, moving and packing can be fun for the whole family!

Plan for the Last Minute Items

There are certain things that you will not be able to pack until the day or your move. Make sure to keep track of these items and ensure that you know where they end up packed so that you can find them when you arrive at your new home. You may also want to consider packing a few boxes of the absolute necessities that you can take in your own vehicle. This would include medications that you may or will need to take, food items, and valuables.

Stay Positive

Although the packing and moving process may seem overwhelming, if you are organized and start early, it won’t be so bad. And when it gets tough, take a moment to picture yourself in your new home and remember that there is a great reason for what you are doing.

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Buying in a Seller’s Market

If you are thinking of selling, the current low inventory and rising prices in Ottawa may make right now seem like the perfect time but it may seem like a different story if you are looking to buy. Whether you are looking to buy your first home or looking to up or down size, it may seem like a very challenging time to purchase a home. Not to worry though, with some creativity and careful planning, there are ways to easily navigate this market with your Realtor®. Here are 5 helpful hints for buyers this spring:

Work with a Realtor®

As a buyer, a seller’s market can be quite challenging, especially if you want to go it alone. Working with a Realtor® ensures that you have an expert in your corner to navigate everything from multiple offers to ensuring that you have access to all the listings that may be of interest as soon as they hit the market. The best part is that as a buyer, in almost all cases the Buyer’s Representatives fees are covered by the seller so it won’t cost you a cent. Your Realtor® will also ensure that your interests are taken care of and help you place an educated and appealing offer on any property.

Be Prepared to Act Quickly

Homes these days are selling quickly, especially in some neighbourhoods and price points so you may not have a lot of time when the home of your dreams comes on the market. You will want to make sure that you have financial pre-approvals in place before you begin your search and make sure that you are keeping up with all the notifications of new listings that meet your criteria on a daily basis. Also, clear your schedule and be prepared to view homes quickly after they hit the market as failing to do so may mean that you may never have the chance. Once you find a home that you love, things may also move quite quickly and your Realtor® will be there to ensure that you understand everything every step of the way.

Consider New Builds

The inventory in the resale market is low but builders in the Ottawa area are building homes at a rapid pace. For some people, it may be advantageous to consider buying a new build home and your Realtor® can help you with that as well, and the builder will usually cover their commission too! If you are selling your home now and are not sure about the wait for a new build, think about other options for the time between your homes. You could move in with family or even rent for the short term. Both of these options may also help you save money before the move to the new home.

Look at different neighbourhoods

Not all neighbourhoods are as competitive as others and sometimes expanding your search can make all the difference. This doesn’t always mean a longer commute or moving way out of the city. Work closely with your Realtor® to look at a variety of neighbourhoods and what they have to offer. It doesn’t mean that you are settling for something that you didn’t want but rather, there may be options that you did not consider. There are lots of great neighbourhoods in Ottawa!

Don’t be discouraged

It may seem overwhelming or even impossible to buy a home right now but this is definitely not the case. People are buying homes every day and with some careful planning and the support of your Realtor, you will find your dream home as well. There may be short-term set-backs like losing out on a property in multiple offers but stay optimistic and you will certainly find success.

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Tidying Up: The Joy of Purging

Earlier this year, Netflix launched Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, a wildly popular series based on Marie Kondo’s bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The series outlines, in a step by step guide, the Konmari method of cleaning and organizing and it has had everyone talking (and purging!) Second-hand stores have seen a surge of donations unlike they have ever experienced before and people are saying goodbye to many of their possessions with hopes of finding joy living in a more minimalist lifestyle. Whether you are preparing your home to list or just want to de-clutter, purging can be incredibly satisfying and the core principles of this method seem to work for a lot of people. Let’s take a look at what it’s all about.

The Konmari Method

The Konmari Method is based around the concept of joy; if an item or belonging no longer brings you joy, it is time to let it go. You will keep only things that truly matter but also thank the items that you are letting go of for their service. This is not entirely unique but what makes the Konmari Method so different from other organization strategies, is that you approach your tidying by category, not by location where most other methods adopt a “room by room” type of approach. It suggests starting with all your clothes then moving on to books, papers, miscellaneous items, and finally sentimental items. To truly adopt this philosophy, one must commit and envision their ideal lifestyle as they work through the process.

Criticism and Challenges

The concept seems simple enough but there are some people that are having trouble getting rid of certain types of items and it is completely understandable why. Most criticism centres around the idea of an item providing joy as some items may not instill joy but are very important from a practical sense; this is only problematic because it can create stress for people who truly want to dive into this philosophy when they are unable to. Book collectors, for example, may not be so keen on letting go of books, even if they know they may never read them again. Others are finding it challenging to apply these methods in the kitchen, where space and storage is an issue in almost every household: it’s unrealistic to think that every pot, pan, and utensil will spark joy but they may serve more practical purposes.

Key Takeaways

The KonMari Method may be challenging for some people but regardless de-cluttering and purging every so often can be incredibly satisfying and make your space more enjoyable. Whether you want to dive in head first and try out the KonMari Method for yourself, or you just want to dabble with the bigger ideas as you spring clean, here are the key takeaways to get you started:

  • Commit yourself to your tidying project – If you are following the KonMari Method, this is a big commitment but this can be applied on a much smaller scale. For example, take on your clothes and commit to going through all of them.
  • Envision yourself how you want to live – If you are happy with lots of stuff and can’t imagine living without it, this is probably not for you but if you don’t, imagine what you would like and keep your eye on the prize.
  • Tidy by category – This is a unique approach, even if you don’t want to tackle all the categories.
  • Consider which items spark joy – If it doesn’t make you happy, it might be time to get rid of it.

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OTTAWA REAL ESTATE HIGHLIGHTS: Higher Prices, Fewer Residential Sales

Tightness of listing supply is significantly reducing days
on market,  properties are selling very quickly.

 

Ottawa Real Estate March 2019

The latest statistics are out from the Ottawa Real Estate board!   here are the highlights…

  • 1,511 residential properties were sold in March through the Board’s Multiple Listing Service® System, compared with 1,654 in March 2018, a decrease of 8.6 per cent.
  • 1,136 in the residential property class, a drop of 12.4 per cent from a year ago, and 375 in the condominium property class, an increase of 5 per cent from March 2018. The five-year average for March unit sales is 1,402.
  • The average sale price of a residential-class property sold in March in the Ottawa area was $480,143, a rise of 7.2 per cent over March 2018.
  • The average sale price for a condominium-class property was $290,181, an increase of 5.2 per cent from this month last year.*
  • The average sale price of a residential-class property sold in March in the Ottawa area was $480,143, a rise of 7.2 per cent over March 2018. The average sale price for a condominium-class property was $290,181, an increase of 5.2 per cent from this month last year.*
  • The $300,000 to $449,999 price range continued to represent the most active price point in the residential market, accounting for 43 per cent of March’s sales
  • 1 in 4 residential sales was in the $500,000 to $749,999 range.
  • The most prevalent price point in the condominium market increased to the $225,000-$349,999 price range, accounting for 49 per cent of the units sold.

“Lack of inventory is responsible for March’s deficiency in residential unit sales. This tightness of supply is manifesting in significant reductions in DOMs (days on market) and properties selling very quickly. Residential DOMs are down 14%, and condo DOMs are down 36% from last year.”

“In some pockets of the city, buyers are facing multiple offer situations, and properties are often selling over list price. These dynamics of low inventory, reduced days on market, and multiple offers are signs of a seller’s market in these areas. While a benefit to those sellers, it’s stressful and time consuming for buyers. The experience and guidance of a REALTOR® is essential in these types of market conditions,” =

“In Ottawa, we have a population base that’s increasing year over year with a growth rate of 8.8 percent, which is higher than Ontario (5.7%) and Canada as a whole (5.9%). Immigration and high employment levels are bringing residents to our desirable and affordable city,” he suggests.

“With high demand and limited supply, prices will continue to be pushed upwards – it’s a simple and fundamental economic principle. Although we appreciate the recent measures the federal government has taken towards affordable homeownership, all three levels of government need to work together at implementing mechanisms that will also restore the supply side of the market.”

* The Board cautions that the average sale price 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 calculation of the average sale price is based on the total dollar volume of all properties sold. Price and conditions will vary from neighbourhood to neighbourhood.

 

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FAQ – Multiple Offers Simplified

A few years ago, multiple offers were a somewhat rare situation in the Ottawa real estate market, but have become common recently in certain neighbourhoods and for certain types of homes. Multiple offers can seem overwhelming but in reality, there is nothing to worry about! Whether you are looking to buy a home that has garnered a lot of interest or are looking to sell your home in this hot market, our Royal LePage Team Realty Realtors® are here to guide you through this process.  Our training and experience will ensure that your interests will be protected. Read on to find out more.

What are multiple offers and how do they work?

If more than one party has submitted an offer on a particular property at the same time,  this is a multiple offer situation. In this case, all offers are presented to the seller and the seller has several options available to them. The seller may choose to accept one of the offers, they may counter back one of the offers, they may reject all of the offers or they may ask to have some or all of the offers resubmitted.

Why are there suddenly so many multiple offer situations in Ottawa real estate?

The number of properties available for sale, in both the residential and condominium markets is very low. Ottawa has record low unemployment rates and we are experiencing growth in the hi-tech sector so the number of potential buyers is higher than usual. The demand is outpacing the supply so that is why we are experiencing so many multiple offer situations.

As a Buyer, what can I do to ensure that my offer is competitive?

If you would like to be successful in getting your offer on a property accepted, you will want to work closely with your Realtor® and let them guide you through the process. Remember, as a buyer, hiring a Realtor® does not cost you because in most cases as the commission is paid by the seller.

In a multiple offer situation you generally do not have the same opportunity to negotiate as you would if you had the only offer on the property. You should assume that you have one chance to submit your offer and have the seller accept it. Therefore when you are preparing your offer here are some important factors to consider:

  • Price – the most important of the factors. You need to know what the house is worth, what it will appraise for, and how much are you willing to spend. You may need to offer more than the asking price in order to get your offer accepted.
  • Closing Date – a closing date as close as possible to the request of the sellers will obviously be more appealing.
  • Deposit –a larger deposit may demonstrate to the seller that the buyer is more committed to purchasing the property.
  • Conditions – the buyer wants to make their offer as attractive for the seller as possible.  Given this, an offer with the fewest conditions possible may be more likely to be accepted in this situation but it’s important to protect your interests if you are the buyer.  There are a number of ways to accomplish this; you could have a building inspection done before presenting your offer, you can get pre-qualified for your mortgage financing and discuss the specific property with your lender. The buyer is more at risk if they decide to submit an offer with no conditions, but they increase the chance that the offer will accepted by presenting a “clean” offer.
  • Intentions – whenever possible it is important that the buyer’s agent present the offer to the seller. The agent can “sell” the buyers and their offer to the sellers. If that option is not available it is for buyers to provide “letters” to the seller telling them who they are and what they intend to do with the house (no one wants to hear that their family home will be torn down so this can have a positive impact).

If I put an offer on a home, will I be able to find out what the other offers are?

No, this is a closed process meaning that you will not know the contents of the other offers that are being considered nor will your Realtor®. There are a few facts that must be disclosed to all parties who have submitted an offer.  This includes how many competing offers have been received, if the seller’s brokerage is representing one or more of the buyers and if there is a financial advantage to the seller from any of the buyers. This is why it is so important to put your best foot forward on the offer.

As a seller, what can I expect if my home receives multiple offers?

If your Realtor® believes that your home may be likely to receive multiple offers, there are some strategies that should be considered. You could accept offers as they come, you could accept offers only after a certain date. You could also have an arrangement with your Realtor® that you will not be informed of any offers until a certain date. This decision must be made before the property is put on the market and should you decide to delay the offer date there is an additional form that is required to be signed. This will ensure that everyone is aware of the timelines and are able to get their offer in. As a seller you can change your mind on how you want to deal with the timing of offer presentations. If you do change your mind your Realtor® must make sure that all interested parties are made aware of any changes to the presentation process. Once you begin to deal with offers the decision process can be overwhelming. This is where the experience and training of your Realtor® will prove invaluable. They can take all the information and present it to you in a way that you can make best decision possible.  Ultimately, it is your decision on which offer you would like to accept.

What are “bully offers”?

A bully is an offer that is presented to the seller prior to the time that the seller set for the presentation of offers. If the seller chooses to look at the bully offer, all other interested parties must be notified of the change as soon as possible.

If you have any questions about multiple offers or anything real estate related our non-selling managers and our Royal LePage Team Realty Realtors® are always here to help.

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Infill Homes

As Ottawa continues to grow, more and more infill homes are popping up in key neighbourhoods around the city. Infill homes can sometimes be a contentious issue within a neighbourhood but they can also improve the housing stock, add value to the community, slow urban sprawl, and replace older and outdated homes with more modern and appealing options.

What are Infill Homes?

In the natural progression of any city, the city’s core contains the oldest buildings with new construction occurring along the periphery where there is space available. Infill is the practice of building new homes in already developed neighbourhoods or lands by either tearing down the existing home, building on a vacant lot, or splitting larger properties to allow for additional units. These homes are very popular as they allow for modern living in a brand new home, without the commute that comes with living in the suburbs.

The Benefits of Infill Construction

The building of infills provides new and modern construction and can be an excellent accelerator in the gentrification of a neighbourhood. New homes can improve a community’s appearance and reputation as well as attract a different type of buyer who may not be interested in an older or smaller home. Infill homes can also raise the property values of the entire neighbourhood and make it a more sought after community for buyers. For example, there are many neighbourhoods in Ottawa with smaller war-time bungalows on large lots. These homes may not appeal to growing families but the lots allow for much larger construction. By building in these neighbourhoods, buyers are able to move into an established community with schools, parks, and amenities already in place (which is often not the case in new suburbs) but have the space and modern conveniences of a newly built home.

Keeping the Neighbourhood Charm

The biggest argument against infill construction generally revolves around whether or not the homes will fit in with the neighbourhood’s esthetic and style. A home that is too grand in scope or seems completely out of place may be seen as more of an eyesore and may not put you on the best footing with the neighbours. It is important that the home be designed with the neighbourhood in mind and ensure that the style and charm of the community is maintained. The City of Ottawa developed a set of guidelines in 2012 for infill construction, which prior to that had been largely unregulated, assuming that the construction was to code and met the zoning bylaws. These regulations were again updated in 2015 and the city continues to work to develop a legal framework that forces infill construction to be in character with the existing street. The factors that must be considered can vary dramatically depending on the community, neighbourhood or even a particular street.  These rules can include everything from the number of stories, property set back from the road, types of building materials, all the way to more specific things like the style of windows or the roof line. The neighbourhood bylaw’s core message is that “Your street gives you your rules” and the city are working hard to adhere to that principle, noting that this goes far beyond zoning and construction guidelines.

Choosing an Infill Home

As mentioned above, an infill property can provide you, as well as the neighbourhood, with incredible benefits. If you are interested in either purchasing one that has already been built or searching for a property to build your own custom home, it is important to work with a Realtor® to ensure that your interests are protected. Before buying a property with this intention, you will want to do your homework. Make sure that you have a solid understanding of the city bylaws and rules regarding this type of construction. You will also want to get designs from reputable builders to ensure that the opportunity will suit your needs and budget. The last thing you want is to get caught up in a legal of financial battle which, in some cases, can go on for years.

Infill homes provide great opportunity to both buyers and neighbourhoods but must be built with the neighbourhood in mind. Many communities have seen incredible gentrification in recent years as older, smaller, and run-down homes are replaced with new construction. When done with care and consideration, this is a positive sign of growth within our community.

 

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Ottawa Neighbourhoods to Watch

Spring Market: 4 Neighbourhoods to Watch

As the spring real estate market in Ottawa heats up, here are some neighbourhoods that will certainly be of interest to home buyers. Each of these communities has something unique and different to offer so there is something for everyone.  No matter what community you are looking at, don’t forget to hire a Realtor® to help you find your dream home (and make sure that you get it for the right price!)

Bells Corners – Re-imagining an older neighbourhood

With the opening of the Department of National Defense Headquarters at Carling Avenue and Moodie Drive, Bells Corners is seeing unprecedented growth with many DND employees choosing to live, lunch or shop in the area. This growth has even had the Bells Corners BIA executive director declaring that the area is “the next Westboro”. Housing in the area has also been on the rise. There is a 2000-unit housing development in the works off of Robertson Road and property values are seeing slow and steady growth making right now a great time to invest!

Bells Corners’ Hidden Gems:

  • This is Healthful – Live a healthy lifestyle with your team to support you. This new business features massage therapy, physiotherapy, nutrition counselling, exercise services, psychotherapy and more!
  • Duna Bistro – Hailed as having the best schnitzel around, you don’t want to miss this European Cuisines restaurant located in the heart of Bells Corners!
  • Zellers – One of the only Zellers stores left in existence, this location functions as an outlet for the Hudson’s Bay Company. Check back regularly for an amazing deal on furniture and clothing.

Riverside South – New neighbourhood with great community

With the first homes in the community being built in 1996, Riverside South has seen extensive housing development over the last 20 years and it doesn’t show any sign of slowing down. In 2014, the Vimy Memorial Bridge opened and connected this fast growing community to Barrhaven; a quick drive across the bridge takes you to all the amenities of this larger suburb. But certainly, the most exciting news for Riverside South in recent years has been the announcement that the LRT Phase 2 that will see 2 stations right in the community and will make this area an even more sought after bedroom community for commuters heading downtown.

Riverside South’s Hidden Gems:

  • Zizi’s Kitchen and Wine Bar – An Italian restaurant has something for everyone including pizza, tapas, and a wide selection of wines.
  • Pretty Handsome – A kid’s hair salon and spa like none other! With a focus on fun and natural hair products, the kids will love this place.
  • DanceRoots – a dance school promising a new perspective on dance education and training. Classes include ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, acro, contemporary, and a Glee Club.

Richmond – Rural living with all the conveniences

Recently named by the Ottawa Business Journal as one of the top 20 hottest neighbourhoods for real estate growth, this area has seen an average price increase of 30.73% in the last 5 years. The Village of Richmond was founded in 1818 and is rich in history featuring many historical buildings. It is an active community with lots of recreational sports, small businesses, and plenty of green space. If you are looking for a small town feel but want to be close to the big city amenities, Richmond is a short drive to Kanata and Barrhaven but if you move out there, you may never want to leave.

Richmond’s Hidden Gems:

  • Royals Restaurant – a popular restaurant that has been around for more than 35 years, Royals is a hot spot for breakfast in the area. They also have interesting lunch and dinner menus.
  • Christopher’s Meat Market –  a local butcher with over 25 years of experience to serve your needs. This small shop features a variety of grain fed and free range meat.
  • The Country Quilter – a quilting store that hosts a variety of classes, workshops, and events. They have a busy calendar so make sure to check back frequently.

Carlington – Affordable central living

Located just a stone’s throw away from the pricey neighbourhoods of Island Park, Civic Hospital, and Westboro, Carlington has similar charm but is far more affordable. Also ranked by the Ottawa Business Journal as one of the 20 hottest neighbourhoods, Carlington has seen the average house price rise by just over 25% in the last 5 years. The area features lots of older homes and also new construction taking the place of smaller war-time homes on larger lots. With the Westgate development on the way, Carlington should see extensive growth in the near future!

Carlington’s Hidden Gems:

  • Bowman’s Bar and Grill – a restaurant self-proclaimed as “your neighbourhood restaurant with a great selection of familiar foods done well”.
  • Raven Street Studios – a recording complex with a long history of amazing musicians have passed through their doors: Avril Lavigne, Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman, and Snoop Dogg, to name a few!
  • House of Lasagna – an authentic Italian eatery known for its lasagna and pizza! You can eat in, take out, or have it delivered.

If you have any questions about any of these communities, or you would like to be notified when properties become available for sale in these or other areas of interest, we would love to hear from you!  Make sure to check back in the upcoming months as we feature more great communities in and around Ottawa! Contact us anytime!

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Why Use a Full Service Realtor®?

The decision to buy or sell a home is a big one; there is so much to think about and do! A home is likely the largest investment you will ever, or have ever, made in your life and it’s important to have someone you can trust to make the process as smooth as possible and offer expert advice. A Royal LePage Team Realty Realtor® offers full service support which ensures that you will have experience, knowledge, and expertise in your court every step of the way as you navigate your next move. Most importantly, a full service Realtor® will be there to guide you when things get tricky and ensure that your assets are protected.

Full Service for Buyers

You want to find the right home, in the right location, at the right price and a Royal LePage Team Realty Realtor® can help ensure all these things while making sure there is minimal hassle. Your Realtor® will work with you to determine your wants and needs, time frames, and financial boundaries in order to find you the perfect home. Once you have found that perfect home, they will guide you through the offer process, expertly negotiate on your part, and help prepare you for closing day. Start to finish, a full service Realtor® will be your advocate and has the sole responsibility of looking out for your best interests. Here are just a few things that a Buyer’s Agent can do:

  • Guide you in your search and set up automatic notifications so you can see new listings as they come on the market.
  • Identify potential problem areas in a home and guide you away from “lemons”.
  • Set up appointments to take you for private showings of homes of interest.
  • Research property values to ensure that you are making the right offer.
  • Negotiate on your behalf with your best interests in mind.
  • Assist you in securing financing and advise you of legal options.
  • Recommend home appraisal, home inspection and contracting services, as appropriate.

Full Service for Sellers

There are many factors that go into getting “top dollar” for a home and a Royal LePage Team Realty Realtor® has training and experience that will help ensure this. Using relevant market statistics, your Realtor® will help you determine the right price to list your home through a comparative market analysis. They will also ensure that your home is marketed effectively and they will anticipate and resolve any problems that may come up during the selling process. A Royal LePage Team Realty Realtor® offers a premier level of service, recognizing that for most people, our homes are our greatest assets. Here are just a few of the things that a full service realtor can do for you:

  • Provide a comparative market analysis to help sellers determine the listing price and what to expect.
  • Provide detailed action plans through every step of the process.
  • Create a customized marketing plan which leverages their own experience along with their association with Royal LePage Team Realty.
  • Expert negotiation services to ensure that the sellers’ interests are protected.
  • Guidance to the sellers through every step of the transaction.

Help When You Need It Most

A real estate transaction may seem like a simple process, and in theory it is, but there are lots of factors that can make things much more complicated. These things happen every day and  you want to make sure that you have an experienced professional on your team to help guide and protect you through these challenges. A Royal LePage Team Realty Realtor® is trained to deal with these situations and are supported by a team of non-competing managers who can provide support and guidance should they need it. Don’t take a chance and make sure that your assets are protected. Here are just a few examples of some tricky situations:

  • Multiple Offers – Multiple offers are becoming more and more common in Ottawa and they can certainly bring some challenges. As a seller, there are legal implications if the process is not handled perfectly and as a buyer, there are strategies to consider in order to be successful in your bid. A full service Realtor® will guide you through all of this.
  • Tricky Negotiations – There is an art to negotiating and Royal LePage Team Realty Realtors® are experts in their field.
  • Bad Home Inspections – A bad home inspection can be a major blow to both buyers and sellers. As a buyer, your Realtor® can guide you on the next steps of either negotiating a new deal or walking away. As a seller, your Realtor® will help negotiate a fair deal for you and discuss your options.

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Ottawa Real Estate Update: February Buyers Snap Up Limited Inventory

FEBRUARY 2019 Ottawa Real Estate MARKET HIGHLIGHTS 
Buyers Snap Up Limited Inventory!

Ottawa Real Estate Market 2019

HIGHLIGHTS (RELEASED BY THE OTTAWA REAL ESTATE BOARD MARCH 5TH, 2019)

  • Total properties sold: 1,005 residential properties sold on MLS® compared with 978 in February 2018, an increase of 2.8%
  •  756 in the residential property class, a rise of 3.8% over Feb 2019
  • 249 in the condominium property class, a decrease of 0.4 % from February 2018.
  • The five-year average for February sales is 949.

“February has been a strong month, and with year-to-date unit sales 8% higher in both the condo and residential categories, it is looking very favourable for the spring market,” states Ottawa Real Estate Board’s 2019 President.

“Days on market continue to decline, and although inventory has fallen to its lowest level in many years, we are still managing to satisfy demand even with 900 fewer listings than this time last year,” he adds. “If we had more supply, our unit sales would be even greater.”

“If you are thinking about selling, don’t wait – get a jump on the spring market! Now is the time to have a conversation with your REALTOR® who understands the best way to position your home in the market and has the experience to guide you through its complexities,”  “This is the type of market you certainly wouldn’t want to navigate without one.” [Ottawa Real Estate Board’s 2019 President.]

  • The average sale price of a residential-class property $466,540, an increase of 8.6% over February 2018.
  • The average sale price for a condominium-class property was $288,354, an increase of 5.6% over February 2018.
  • Residential most active price point $300,000 to $449,999 accounting for nearly 44% of February’s sales followed by  the $500,000 to $750,000 price range, which accounted for 26% residential sales.
  •  $175,000 to $274,999 remained the most prevalent price point in the condominium market, accounting for 48 per cent of the units sold.

*Average sale price 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 calculation of the average sale price is based on the total dollar volume of all properties sold. Price and conditions will vary from neighbourhood to neighbourhood.

HOMES FOR SALE

Buying a home

At Royal LePage Team Realty, your happiness is our priority. We would be happy to set up a property match search that will email you as soon as new listings hit the market! View our listings or contact us, we’d love to help.

THINKING OF SELLING?

WHAT IS MY HOME WORTH?

We know that your home is often your biggest investment. With the rapid appreciation of home prices in the Ottawa area you should know the market value of your home! It’s just a click away!

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Spring Cleaning – Get the Kids Involved

As the warmer temperatures begin to roll in, there is no thought more prevalent than the beginning of spring cleaning. Spring is a time when all the forgotten places of winter begin to come to light, and there is nothing more refreshing than refreshing your home. A major topic these days is how to involve your kids in spring cleaning, especially in a way that is fun and engaging for them. The hope is to get your kids involved and wanting to help clean, not only to teach them the value of hard work, and the importance of cleaning up after themselves, but to get you an extra pair of hands (or two) to get this project done faster. What then, are some of the best ways to get your kids involved in this years’ spring cleaning?

Make sure tasks are age appropriate – Make it a game!

Obviously, the tasks that you can involve your kids in does depend on their age and ability, however there are so many ways to make cleaning fun and get kids of any age involved in the process. To begin with – pump up the music. Getting some good tunes playing and letting cleaning be combined with a motivating dance party is the first step in making cleaning fun with your kids. Turn a boring chore into an easy task with great music playing. With younger kids, you can turn the music into a game, such as “wax museum”, having your kids freeze in place when the music stops. This is not only a fun challenge for them, but also a simple test of balance and coordination too! Making cleaning into a variety of games can help motivate your kids and get cleaning done faster. There are so many different games that can be played while cleaning, such as the karate kid way to clean windows/mirrors/cars to test your kids stamina, coordination, and ability to follow directions. Older children can be given more challenging tasks such as alphabetizing the spice drawer or playing “expiration date detective” with cleaning out the refrigerator.

Be Organized!

Organization is key when it comes to cleaning and putting things away. Making sure that your home is organized, and things have their own place. This can help your children learn where to put their toys when tidying up. Creating games like “scavenger hunt” when it comes to toy box clean up can help motivate younger children. Another great idea is to give your children their own tools/cleaning supplies for the tasks they need to complete. This gives them a bigger sense of responsibility, and also means they won’t be interrupting your cleaning looking for supplies. Remember to start small. You can’t overhaul your entire house in one day, especially when you have children running around. Setting aside time each day or on the weekend and breaking your spring cleaning into smaller tasks such as going through toy boxes and closets one day, and cleaning windows the next, can help make spring cleaning feeling more manageable for you, and more fun for your kids. No one likes spending an entire day doing chores! Planning ahead and ensuring that your family knows when you will all be cleaning is important, especially when you have older children. Knowing that they are needed at home for that day ensures that they don’t’ make plans to be out. Offer a fun ending to the day, such as going out for ice cream as a family.

Make it a teachable moment

Cleaning with your kids helps them to learn their responsibility when it comes to tidying up after themselves. Allowing older children to choose their own tasks increases this sense of responsibility and having “rewards” can be motivating. The rewards could be monetary (and adjusted for the age of your children) or it could be a points-related game in which your kids earn points for tasks completed. Remember that team work makes dream work, and partnering up your younger children with a parent, or older sibling can help ensure that they feel confident in their new responsibilities, and the task is completed efficiently.

Help your kids see the bigger picture

Lastly, involve your children in the bigger picture when it comes to spring cleaning. As you go through your home (closets, toys etc.) involve your kids in setting aside toys that are to be donated. Have them come with you when you make the donations and allow them to be involved in the sorting process. Focus on acquiring less, and using more of what you already have. Spring cleaning doesn’t have to be an undesirable chore. By involving your kids, and creating fun cleaning games and races they can do, you can help them learn the importance of cleaning and their responsibility, all while accomplishing your seasonal tasks!

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#TenYearChallenge

Recently social media has been filled with people taking the #TenYearChallenge. The premise is simple, share your profile picture from 10 years ago side by side with your current one. It’s a fun way to look back at the past and see how much we have all changed. We thought it would be fun to take our own #TenYearChallenge and see how things stack up in Ottawa Real Estate  compared to ten years ago.

Setting the Stage: Ottawa in 2009

2009 in Ottawa had its highs and its lows. Larry O’Brien was mayor and some of the highlights for the year included Kiss playing at Bluesfest and the first state visit by American President Barack Obama (he made headlines with an impromptu stroll through the Byward Market). Everyone was buzzing about the engagement of Mike Fisher and Carrie Underwood, who called our great city home at the time, and the Olympic torch that passed through the city late that year on its way to Vancouver. Transit was also a big news story, but not because of LRT delays or safety issues; 2009 started with OC Transpo on strike and this job action would cause major headaches for most of the month of January.

The Economy

When describing the Ottawa economy of recent years, the word “growth” comes up over and over again. Things are looking good for the future but back in 2009, there was a little more uncertainty. As Nortel sold off chunks of the company, many felt that this would be end of “Silicon Valley North” and Ottawa’s high tech sector. Luckily, we know now that this would not be the case; the nickname may have faded by our high tech sector is thriving in 2019. 2009 was an interesting time with Ottawa trying to redefine itself amid lots of layoffs and companies shutting their doors.

The Real Estate Market

All paperwork had to be signed by hand and multiple offers were a bit a of an urban legend in these parts; in 2009, the Ottawa real estate market was a little different than it is today. The average sale price that year was $303,888 (as compared to $407,571 at the end of 2018) and with the economic uncertainty came slower growth in the Ottawa market. The year started with prices slipping 1.4% in January and it was a decline that had started the in the fall of 2008. Overall things would turn around for the best with an annual increase of 4.9% but the year certainly started with a lot of uncertainty and fear of a real estate crash.  Luckily, the Ottawa real estate market is typically strong and steady, so even when things go down slightly, unless you are flipping properties or moving every year, if you see small dips, don’t panic.  As you can see in this chart, year over year since 1956 we have only seen 3 years where the average real estate values went down slightly; 1994 (-0.40%), 1995 (-2.90%), 1996 (-1.90%).  

Ottawa’s cityscape is changing rapidly, and we are seeing growth in all directions, and soon we will have a whole new way to get around with the launch of the LRT this year!  It’s certainly interesting to reflect on what changes we might see in the next #10yearchallenge –  it’s hard to believe it will be 2029!

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Embrace Winter: Go for a Skate!

This winter has been a challenging one for everyone; whether it’s the treacherous commutes or never-ending “snow days”, it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel! Instead of focusing on how many more cold days lie ahead, try embracing the season for all that it has to offer. Skating is a truly Canadian activity but many of us haven’t laced up our skates since we were kids. Ottawa has many great ways to enjoy this winter sport in the great outdoors so get out and enjoy winter while it lasts.

The Rideau Canal

Ottawa’s most famous skating rink (and possibly most famous landmark), the Rideau Canal is the world’s largest skating rink. Running from the Mackenzie King Bridge to Dow’s Lake, this 7.8km skateway weaves its way through the city and is completely free to use. The canal is open from January to late February or early March (depends on the weather) and there are many great events that take place during that time, most notably Winterlude which is on now.

Rink of Dreams

Located on the front lawn of Ottawa City Hall, the Rink of Dreams is open 7 days a week from 6:00am to 11:00pm and is also free to use. This rink is a refrigerated ice surface that is maintained to allow for indoor arena quality ice in the great outdoors. If you don’t have skates, or forgot them at home, not to worry, there are rentals available on site.

Ben Franklin Place Skating Rink

If you live in the west end, you will have to check out the rink at Ben Franklin Place (the old City of Nepean City Hall). In the winter, the large water feature on Centrepointe Drive is transformed into a beautiful skating rink. Like the Rink of Dreams, this rink is maintained by a zamboni and is always in great condition! The heated changing facility is open from 11:00am to 8:00pm daily so no need to freeze your fingers as you lace up.

Local Outdoor Rinks

The City of Ottawa is host to over 250 outdoor rinks (ODRs) that are located in parks all over the city. These rinks are maintained and run primarily by volunteers in the community and provide a great place to go and skate or play hockey. Some have heated facilities to get ready in and schedules for different activities. For more information (including ice conditions), you can check out ottawarinks.ca.

Be Safe and Have Fun

Whether you are landing that triple axel, scoring the winning goal, or just hoping to stay on your feet, make sure that you are doing it safely. Children should always wear helmets while skating and adults are also encouraged to do the same.

 

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