MAKING YOUR DREAMS A REALITY


Should You “High Ball” Your Listing Price?
 One of the most important decisions you make when selling your home is setting the listing price. That can be tricky. After all, if you price your property too low, you leave money on the table — perhaps thousands of dollars.

On the other hand, if you price your home too high, many buyers won’t even bother to see it, believing it is too expensive. Even with that reality, there are some sellers who contemplate setting a high listing price in the hopes of a windfall. They want some unsuspecting buyer to fall in love with the home and buy it — even though it’s overpriced.

That rarely, if ever, happens. Instead, the listing often languishes on the market because its listing price is conspicuously much higher than its market value. Think about it. If two similar homes, side-by-side, are for sale, and one is priced $40,000 higher than the other, wouldn’t you wonder what was going on? That’s exactly what the market thinks. “Why is that home priced so high?” Of course, many buyers, who might otherwise be interested in the property, won’t even consider seeing it, simply because it’s outside their price range.

It gets worse. When an overpriced home sits on the market with no offers for several weeks, the price will often need to be adjusted down. That helps the situation a little. However, you’ve lost the excitement created by a “new listing.” Yours is now an old listing struggling to get attention. There’s a better way… Setting your list price at or near the market value is much more likely to generate interest from qualified buyers and maximize how much you make on your home. That market value may even be higher than you think! Interested in finding out how much? Call today.
Should You Buy the "Less Than Perfect" Home?

When you’re shopping for a new home, you want to find a property that has

all the features and characteristics you want. A large deck surrounded by

picturesque landscaping ... a beautiful kitchen with gleaming marble

countertops... a cozy finished basement with fireplace....

You should look for the ideal home. You deserve it! But some home buyers

make the mistake of becoming fixated on finding the "perfect" property, and

passing too quickly on those homes that don't quite measure up.

Why is that a mistake? Because some of those less-than-perfect properties

have the potential of becoming your next dream home.

First of all, a home that is lacking some desirable features, such as a

finished basement, will probably cost less. Those savings may be more than

enough to cover any needed upgrade or renovation.

Secondly, if you look at a home in terms of its potential, rather than the

features it happens to have now, there will be more properties available on

the market for you to consider.

If you're determined to have a large wrap-around deck for entertaining, for

example, don't cross homes that don't have this feature off your list. At least

not yet. Instead, view these properties with an eye on potential. Is the

backyard big enough to accommodate a large deck? How would a deck like

that look if added to this particular property? How much would such a

renovation cost?

There's no doubt about it. You want to find a home that has all the features

and characteristics you want. If you work with a good REALTOR®, there is

a good chance you'll find a property that has most of them.

But keep an open mind. Sometimes a "diamond in the rough" can – with an

upgrade or renovation – become a home you'll treasure for years.

How Much Can You Afford?

Why is it so important to know how much you can afford to spend on a

home?

Two reasons.

First, you don't want to buy a property and then find out, only after you’ve

moved in, that you can't financially maintain it. That would mean having to

resell it under stressful conditions.

Second, you don't want to settle for a property that's less than ideal, when

you really could have afforded the "dream home" you've always wanted.

So how do you figure out how much you can afford to pay for your next

home?

The first step is to talk to a good REALTOR®. He or she will help you gain a

clearer understanding of how much your current home will likely sell for in

today's market. That amount, together with other financial resources you

might have (such as savings), will determine your down payment.

The next thing you’ll need to figure out is your mortgage. Your REALTOR®

can help you find a lender who will take a variety of factors into account –

income, credit rating, debts, expected down payment, etc. – to calculate the

maximum amount of mortgage for which you qualify.

Say, through the proceeds of the sale of your home combined with your

savings, your expected down payment is $90,000. If the lender authorizes a

mortgage of $270,000, then you can afford a $360,000 home.

Of course, that doesn't mean you'll need to spend that much. In fact, a

home that meets your needs in terms of property type, features, and

neighbourhood, may in fact cost you less.

One thing is for sure. A good REALTOR® can work with whatever amount

you can afford and show you homes on the market that most closely meet

your needs.

Looking for a good REALTOR®? Call today.

Saving Money On Insurance

Like heat, water and air conditioning, insurance is a home expense you

have some degree of control over. In fact, there are ways to reduce your

insurance costs by as much as 20%.

The thing to keep in mind is that insurance companies will often reward you

– in the form of lower rates – when you do something to reduce the risk of

damage to your property. That's why you can often get a discount when you

install smoke detectors on all floors. Other discounts may be available if you

get better door locks, an alarm system, upgraded wiring, and so forth.

Contact your insurance company and ask how you can lower your

insurance costs. Sometimes just a few minor changes can save you a

bundle.

Selecting the Right Decorator

You might have hired a painter, plumber, or renovator several times during

your history of home ownership. But how many times have you hired a

decorator?

For many homeowners, hiring a decorator is a first time experience. That’s

what makes knowing how to choose the right one so challenging.

Here's a tip: Clip photos from magazines of rooms that match the "look and

style" you want. Pay particular attention to desired colours, decor, accents,

furnishings, and themes.

Then, when meeting with a prospective decorator, see if there's anything in

his or her portfolio that matches your clippings. If there is, then you’ll have a

good indication that he or she can pull off the look you want.

Latest News Release
       

Ottawa market picks up as the leaves fall

Ottawa, November 5, 2012 - As the leaves continue to fall in Ottawa, we are seeing an increase in units sold, as well as an increase in average sale price. Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 1,073 residential properties in October through the Board’s Multiple Listing Service® system, compared with 1,059 in October 2011, an increase of 1.3 per cent. The five-year average for October sales is 1,067.

“Compared to the five-year average, Ottawa is right on track, indicating that we are not experiencing a real estate downturn in Ottawa, but a slow, steady incline in units sold and average sale price,” notes Ansel Clarke, President of the Ottawa Real Estate Board. “Ottawa continues to be great place to buy and/or sell a home.”

October’s sales included 237 in the condominium property class, and 836 in the residential property class. The condominium property class includes any property, regardless of style (i.e. detached, semi-detached, apartment, stacked 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.

The Ottawa market continues to be on track historically in regards to the number of sales to date as well. Since 1999 the number of sales through the MLS® System in Ottawa has ranged from a low of 11,329 to a high of 14,783.  Sales for the first ten months of the year are at 12,768. Year-to-date average sale price is also up over 2011.

The average sale price of residential properties, including condominiums, sold in October in the Ottawa area was $346,492, an increase of 2.5 per cent over October 2011. The average sale price for a condominium-class property was $267,037, an increase of 3.0 per cent over October 2011. The average sale price of a residential-class property was $369,016, an increase of 1.8 per cent over October 2011. 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 the total dollar volume of all properties sold.

“Although the Ottawa market is characterized as stable and steady, there can be pockets of our market where fluctuations, such as larger increases in price, exist,” explains Clarke. “This is why it is important for buyers and sellers to talk to their Ottawa area REALTOR® for more information about the housing market outlook where they live, or want to live.”

     

 
Home safety is more than locked doors and alarms
When it comes to home security, most homeowners think about door locks
and alarms. These are, of course, very important. However, there is also a
lot you can do around your property to prevent the possibility of a break-in.
One important part of home security is outdoor lighting. Your home doesn't
need to be lit up like a baseball diamond at night, but your exterior lighting
should illuminate your yard enough to be a deterrent to burglars.
Some burglars hide around the property and wait for someone to arrive and
open the door so they can use that opportunity to force their way into your
home.
Security experts suggest that you walk around your property and look for
areas where someone could hide, such as behind tall shrubbery like a cedar
hedge or behind a tool shed. Make sure these areas are well lit.
Pay particular attention to lighting around exterior doors, especially the back
door.
Home security experts also recommend that exterior lighting be installed
with a timed dimmer. The lights can then be set to cast a bright light in the
early evening, and then a dimmer light throughout the rest of the night.
Lights installed with motion detectors can also be effective in certain areas.
The sensors will cause the light to turn on or brighten when someone comes
onto that part of your property. Generally, thieves will flee as soon as they
see a light turn on.
Do you hide a spare key under the front door mat or in a flower pot? No
matter how clever you think you are, experienced thieves know all the
common hiding places. So, if you need to have a spare key available, put it
in a small combination lock box and hide the box. That way, if a burglar
finds the box, he still won't be able to open it and access the key.

April News Release - April sales sailing along through spring

Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 1,568 residential properties in April through the Board's Multiple Listing Service® system, compared with 1,530 in April 2011, an increase of 2.5 per cent.

April's sales included 300 in the condominium property class, and 1,268 in the residential property class. The condominium property class includes any property, regardless of style (i.e. detached, semi-detached, apartment, stacked 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.

"Sales in April indicate a steady Ottawa market as we sail through spring," remarks Ansel Clarke, President of the Ottawa Real Estate Board. "Re-sale housing inventory is up by 6.9 per cent since last year, and interest rates continue to be low, indicating that Ottawa remains in a healthy, stable market."

The average sale price of residential properties, including condominiums, sold in April in the Ottawa area was $364,077, an increase of 3.7 per cent over April 2011. The average sale price for a condominium-class property was $272,851, an increase of 6.7 per cent over April 2011. The average sale price of a residential-class property was $385,660, an increase of 2.6 per cent over April 2011. 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 the total dollar volume of all properties sold.
 

WHAT TO TAKE WITH YOU WHEN HOME SHOPPING

You will want to make the process of shopping for a home as productive and enjoyable as possible. After all, you'll be on a quest to find your next  dream  home. That's why it's important to take the right things with you:

• A digital camera, so you can take pictures of the features you like in the properties you see.

• A notepad, so you can take notes.

• Measurements of your largest pieces of furniture, so you can confirm they'll  fit in the rooms of properties you like.

• A measuring tape.

• Some healthy snacks and beverages, (especially important if you're taking the kids along).

• A map of the area, so you can check out local parks and other  neighbourhood  features.

• Clear driving directions to each of the properties you want to see.

One of the best ways to shop for a home, and actually enjoy the experience, is to work with a great REALTOR®.

Heating Costs

Inexpensive ways to reduce your energy bill

You could get upgraded insulation installed in all the walls of your home, or buy a new high-efficiency furnace and air conditioner. These improvements would certainly reduce your energy costs – but they each require a significant investment.

What if you don't have the budget?

There are a lot of little things you can do to make a big difference in your heating or cooling bill. Here are just a few examples:

·         Turn down the thermostat a couple of degrees in winter. (And turn it up a few notches in summer.) Chances are, you'll hardly notice the difference in comfort, and you'll cut your heating/cooling costs by about 5%.

·         Do you need the air conditioner on all the time during the summer months? Consider turning it way up, or completely off, at night when it's cooler outside.

·         Invest in a programmable thermostat. That way, you'll be able to set up a schedule that uses less heating/cooling energy while you’re out of the house.

·         Let the sunshine in through windows in the winter (and block the sun where possible in the summer.) "Passive heat gain" can contribute to up to 20% of the heat in your home. Best of all, the sun is free.

·         Use energy efficient lights throughout your home. These can cut the cost of lighting by up to 40%!

·         Be careful with outside lights, which can use a lot of energy! Turn them off before you go to bed or, better still, use programmable outside lighting that can be set to turn off automatically.

·         These are just a few ideas for reducing your energy bill. If you do some research, you can probably discover many other ways to cut your costs. It's worth the effort!

2 Things to Know When Moving

Thinking of Moving? Two Things You Need to Know

If you're thinking of making a move within the next few months, there are two important things you need to know.

The first is the market value of your current property. That's the amount your home will likely sell for on today's market. When you know its market value, you'll have a better idea of how much money will be available to invest in a new home.

The second is an overview of what's available on the market. Which of the homes currently available for sale meet your criteria with respect to type of home, special features (such as a big kitchen or pool), neighbourhood, etc? How much are these homes selling for?

With those two pieces of information, you'll be able to make a better decision.

A good REALTOR® can get that information for you. Call today.

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