Month: January 2015

29 Jan

Buying and selling in the winter: should you wait?


Posted by: Deborah Fehr


Sandra Rinomato

Sandra RinomatoCanada AM real estate expert


Published Wednesday, January 14, 2015 7:55AM EST 

In the real estate market, how does winter compare to other seasons?

Winter is still a very viable time of year for real estate, in general. Sales happen every day, regardless of holidays, weekends, seasons. Typically, home sellers tend to shy away from winter because they are afraid they won’t find buyers, but over 18,000 buyers purchased in my trading area from Jan to March in 2014. So, there are some serious buyers out there, some would say they are very serious to be house shopping in the bitter cold.  As a matter of fact, inventory levels are low at this time of year, so there is less competition on the market. Couple that with serious buyers and you have an excellent selling scenario.  

Don’t forget, people need to move for many reasons: babies, deaths, job changes (good and bad, money related, location related) so every day is a good day to list your home for sale. And when it comes to condos, in my experience, they don’t follow any seasonal pattern. They are less susceptible to that.
What to consider before buying or selling a property in winter…

With less competition on the market, sellers may actually find themselves getting prices that they were not able to get in the fall. Sometimes this time of year the market is very brisk and the competition is sleeping, so get on it! Carpe diem!

If you are listing your home…

Keep in mind that the exterior is still very important to prospective buyers so you need to make the house and yard accessible, well lit, safe, and try to add a little touch of warmth through urns and seasonal greenery or ornamental arrangements.

Inside, same thing. Make it comfy, warm at all times (change the settings on the programmable thermostat), and add some tasteful but seasonal décor elements, like winter throws and accent pillows, blooming winter plants and lots of lamps set on timers to go on early, before dusk.

Also make available any pool reports you have from the company that closed it. Wash your furnace, they will definitely be looking at it! It’s also a great idea to display photos of your home in the spring and summer.  Show buyers what your yard and garden look like in the summer… it will help them see the full potential of your home. And don’t let the dog “go” in your yard, yellow snow is gross!

For those on the hunt…

As buyers, protect yourselves with conditions on the swimming pool and air conditioning units that give you time in the warm months to make sure they work properly. Your realtor will know how to do this. Get copies of utility bills for winter and summer months. Make sure to go back for a visit in daylight hours. Don’t be afraid to go into the back yard, garage and other out buildings. Bring a flashlight with you when you go on showings, and wear socks J
And talk to the neighbours to find out what they have to say.

Read more:

9 Jan

where Canada’s housing market is headed in 2015 and 2016


Posted by: Deborah Fehr

Where Canada’s resale housing market is headed in 2015 and 2016
Monika Warzecha

By: Monika Warzecha NOVEMBER 26, 2014

2611679744_587220d8d0_oPhoto: jjMustang_79/Flickr

The CMHC doesn’t think resale home prices in Canada’s major cities are about to drop any time soon. Looking into the fourth quarter Housing Market Outlook reports, the agency’s MLS price predictions for the remainder of 2014, as well as 2015 and 2016 are almost entirely on the upward trend.

We took a look at the forecasts from coast-to-coast, focusing on 14 major census metropolitan areas, and found that Fredericton was the only the metro where a price dip was predicted. It’s believed MLS prices in the New Brunswick capital will edge down 0.6 per cent between 2014 and 2015 and a further 0.8 per cent from 2015 and 2016, respectively.

On the flip side, CMHC doesn’t see price growth in Toronto slowing down soon. The agency expects the average MLS price for a Toronto home to hit $558,000 by end of year, a 6.5 per cent increase from 2013. But going into the future, the increases aren’t expected to keep up that pace. Between 2014 and 2015, the price increase is expected to be 2.2 per cent and a more modest 1.8 per cent from 2015 to 2016.

The sales predictions are more varied with Vancouver, Calgary, Victoria and Saskatoon seeing significant growth between this year and last. The CMHC was conservative in their estimates for future sales, forecasting lower levels of sales, even in hot markets in the Prairies in the years to come.

Check out our interactive charts and tables below to see where your city could be heading:



9 Jan

BC Forecast to Lead Nation in 2014 Home Sales: CREA and it could keep going!


Posted by: Deborah Fehr

BC Forecast to Lead Nation in 2014 Home Sales: CREA

BC set to post a 14.5 per cent annual increase in activity in 2014 – and it could keep going up, predicts Canadian Real Estate Association

December 16, 2014


Joannah Connolly


Sold apartment homes Vancouver

British Columbia is projected to post a 14.5 per cent annual increase in home sales activity in 2014 – the largest increase of all the provinces and territories, according to an updated forecast by Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) released December 15.

The association said in its report, “In British Columbia, historically low mortgage interest rates have helped fuel a broadly based increase in the number of homes changing hands this year, although activity has only recently risen above its 10-year average.”

It added, “In British Columbia, activity is still expected to be held in check by eroding affordability for single-family homes. However, with sales in British Columbia now only at [10-year] average levels, they may climb further before rising interest rates begins to materially reduce affordability.”

Nationally, home sales are now forecast to hit 481,300 units in 2014, an annual increase of 5.1 per cent.

The CREA said: “While this places annual activity eight per cent below the record set in 2007, it marks the strongest annual sales since then.”

The national average home price is now projected to rise by six per cent year over year to $405,500 in 2014, with similar annual percentage price gains in British Columbia.

To read the full report, click here.

– See more at:

8 Jan

9 No-No’s of buying a Brand New Home


Posted by: Deborah Fehr

9 No-No’s of Buying a Brand New Home


Avoid these critical mistakes when purchasing a newly built home.

shutterstock_165286319-2-300x200Newly built or pre-construction homes are the house of choice for many homebuyers. Trulia recently asked Americans whether they would prefer to buy a newly built home or a previously-lived-in home, and a whopping 41 percent said they wanted brand-spanking new. Why?

Most people cite modern features and the ability to customize the home during the construction process as the top reasons for lusting after a new build. There’s also the use of energy-efficient materials and systems to up the appeal. However, buyers, caught up in the excitement of a new home can make some critical mistakes. Curious what they are? Here are the 9 no-no’s of buying a brand new home:

1. Buying Into Half-Finished Developments

There are lots of developments out there that are currently half-built. Keep a healthy dose of skepticism about these scenarios, even though you may be getting a great deal. In an uncertain world, it’s possible that you may be buying into a development or community that may never be fully completed — or may take a long time to finish. The worst-case scenario: You’ll be stuck with an unsellable house in the middle of an unfinished community. I’ve driven into many developments in which only 10 of the 40 lots have houses already built. The other 30 lots are giant plots of dirt that kick up sand and dust the moment the wind picks up. Though it may seem like a really good deal to you now, it will become very difficult to resell if you need to move before the entire community is completed. You need to ask specific questions about the number of lots sold and currently under contract. You may want to reconsider being the first or second out of 50 and buy in a later phase when there’s more certainty.

2. Being Fooled By the Picture-Perfect Model Home

Want to know one of the secrets of the new home trade? When buying new construction, you almost never ever get to see your actual home or unit. You see a model or prototype that is similar in floor plan to the home or apartment you are purchasing. Those model homes are always decorated and dressed to look magnificent. The developers and designers employ all kinds of techniques to make the model home appear bigger than it actually is. Often times they have furnished and staged them with slightly smaller-scale furnishings to make the rooms look bigger. For example, bedrooms generally have double-sized mattresses rather than traditional queens or kings.

3. Falling For the Sneakiest Model Home Trick

Builders often pull off the most deceiving of tricks in their model homes when they remove most of the interior doors between rooms to give the model home a much greater feeling of space and flow. I’ll bet you have never even noticed. Don’t let that little door trick slam you in the face! Be sure to consider the space when the doors are on the hinges and shut tight!

4. Not Knowing What’s Included vs. Extras and Upgrades

What’s extra? Find out exactly what upgrades are ― and are not ― included in the price you are being quoted. For example, you may think you’re getting an incredible deal, but what you didn’t think to ask was if the finished basement and the gourmet kitchen package are included. And, oh yeah, the walk-in shower isn’t included in your basic package. Once you start adding in those “wow” elements, the price can skyrocket from affordable to out-of-your-budget.

5. Going on an Upgrade Shopping Spree

Be conservative about which and how many upgrades you select. Determine which you can live without or do on your own later. Just as with any retail business, builders make their biggest markups and profits on the upgrades. Don’t get caught up in the frenzy and throw your budget out the new double-paned designer window (with custom shades, naturally).

6. Not Getting a Completion Clause

When’s it going to be finished? When purchasing new construction, you are at the mercy of the builder’s timelines. What is the date of completion of the house? Does it coincide with your needs? Make sure you get a cancellation clause or a refund of deposit clause if the builder does not complete by a specified promise date.

7. Ignoring Previous Phases

Looking at the new homes in phase two of a development? Go back to phase one. You may be overlooking a better deal. And you may be ignoring a lot information about the builder/developer that could be very useful. If you are buying in a community that is in phase two or higher, then hit up some neighbors from phase one. How easy was this developer to deal with? Any suggestions? Advice? In addition, notice if the phase one neighborhood is already established, with grown-in landscaping and completed, lovely homes. You might just prefer that to a future phase surrounded by bulldozers, infant trees, and blowing dust.

8. Not Carefully Reviewing the Surrounding Homes and Neighborhood

When buying new or pre-construction homes, you have the ability to pick the lot and the location of your home. However, can you see the neighborhood completed in your mind’s eye? Will the house that is yet to be built next door block your view? How close will your neighbors be? Will your living room end up looking into your neighbor’s master bath? Keep all that in mind. Also, consider the surrounding neighborhood. Are these shiny new homes surrounded by a rough neighborhood? You may be living in a new gated community, but that’s still your neck of the woods. Make sure you love it all.

9. Waiving Your Inspection

Just because you’re buying a brand new home that is in the process of being built from the ground up, it’s a huge mistake to try to save a few hundred dollars and bypass the inspection process. In fact, it’s a good idea to get an expert eye on a new home as it is being built. And if you can, have someone check out the house-in-progress. Get someone who can identify mediocre work or potential problems. You can oftentimes hire an inspector or an outside contractor to stop by the property and then pay him or her an hourly rate. It is money well invested.

– See more at: