5 Minute Tips for Preparing Your Home for Viewing

Obviously, your home should look its best when potential buyers arrive. However, time is not always on your side. There may be times when you have only a few minutes to get things ready. What you do with those minutes can mean the difference between an interested buyer… and one who crosses your home off their list.

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Here are some things you can do to help your home look its best in just five minutes or less:

• Put away coats, hats, and shoes. Clean up, especially around the foyer. You don’t want clutter to be the first thing a buyer sees.

• Turn on all lights and lamps. A home that’s bright looks larger.

• Make sure the toilet lids are down. Even when a washroom is sparkling clean, a raised toilet seat gives the impression – however incorrectly – that things are less than hygienic.

• Relocate the pets. Put pets in the backyard or basement, or at least segregate them in a separate room. Better still, take them away from your home entirely.

• Close the garage doors. Most garages don’t look great on the inside.
Hide the waste bins. Keep them out of sight.

• Wash the dishes. If possible, don’t leave them on a drying rack. Put them away.

• Put away personal items. Put family pictures, bills, and other personally identifying information away. You want the buyers to visualize themselves living in your home, not you.

• Open all curtains and blinds. This makes rooms look bigger and brighter, even at night.

Improving Indoor Air Quality

There’s an old saying: What you can’t see won’t hurt you. But, that’s not true. Less than ideal air quality in your home can result in allergies, colds, languor, and even sleepless nights.

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Here are some tips that can help:

Let in the fresh air. Weather permitting, open windows and doors to help circulate stale indoor air with fresher outdoor air.

Change the furnace filter. According to studies, most filters on forced air heating systems in homes do not get changed regularly. Tip: Change the filter when you change the batteries in your smoke detectors – at least twice a year.

Easy on the household cleaners. Cleaners that are tough on stains can also have the same effect on your health. So use them with care. After cleaning any surface, wipe the residue dry with a clean absorbent cloth.

Keep things dry. Mould spores thrive on moisture. So make sure bathroom fans adequately remove humidity. A fan should be strong enough so that a piece of paper clings to the intake.

New Mortgage Rules and You

Since 2008, we’ve seen the progression of changes implemented by the government to tighten eligibility rules for new insurable loans. By October 17th 2016, we’ll be looking at another wave of changes, most notably with the application of a “stress test”. Home buyers are now required to qualify for both their negotiated mortgage rate as well as the Bank of Canada’s five year rate. The result? Purchasing power will be affected and many home buyers will be adjusting their expectations and plans.

If you’re a first-time home buyer and you’re not sure that you can meet the new mortgage criteria, you should make it a priority to speak to your financial advisor or mortgage broker to advise you on your options.

Even if you you’re confident in your buying power because you already intended to buy well below your agreed pre-approval rate, you can benefit through the clarity of discussing these changes. If you’re a home buyer in this group, you may also see less competition, as the parties that have been working at the top end of the budget take a step back to regroup.

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Some new rules also apply to sellers: If you’re selling your principle residence, you will now need to report this change on your income taxes to the CRA, but your home will still be exempt from being taxed on this profit in most cases. This is a great topic to discuss with your accountant or income tax preparer.

As Sellers, you will find that our local market in Waterloo Region is healthy and attractive to home buyers, particularly those who are financially stable, and understand the advantages of reducing their debt ceiling. Further, our buyer base is growing geographically as we continue to attract out-of-towners who find the Region to be a great place to live.

Overall, while the new regulations will restrict purchasing power from what which we have previously been exposed, it’s important to understand that regardless of these changes, it’s always wise to reduce other consumer debt, save more for a larger down payment, or lower your budget for your new home, which increases your financial stability, and risk reduction.

After all, home ownership should be a smart, informed, and a financially comfortable decision that allows you to invest in your life.

If you’re looking for more guidance on buying or selling a home in Waterloo Region, reach out and we can help you get familiar with the process, whether it’s the first time or the fourth time. Contact Us.

September Home Sales Show No Signs of Cooling

KITCHENER-WATERLOO, ON (October 5, 2016) ––A total of 540 residential properties changed hands in Kitchener-Waterloo and area though the Multiple Listing System (MLS® System) of the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® (KWAR) in September. This represents a 29.2 percent increase in sales compared to September of 2015, and is a new record high for the month.

On a year-to-date basis 5,241 residential units have sold compared to 4,456 during the same period in 2015, an increase of 17.6 percent.  This is the first time sales have exceed the 5000 unit mark at the end of the third quarter.

“While demand remains strong, the supply of active listings continues to be elusive,” said KWAR President Charlotte Zawada.  Residential listing inventory on the KWAR’s MLS® System to the end of Septembers totalled 815, a decline of 51 percent compared to September 2015.

Showing the most traction, were the sales of condominium type units, which include any property regardless of style (i.e. semis, townhomes, apartment, detached etc.), increasing 80.6 percent to 130 transactions in September relative to the same month a year ago.  Meanwhile, 333 single detached homes sold last month, an increase of 19.8 percent, compared to last year. September’s sales also included 31 Semi-detached homes (down 18.4 percent) and 33 freehold townhouses (up 22.2 percent).

The average price of all residential properties sold year-to-date was $380,692, a 9.7 percent increase over 2015. The average price of a detached home to the end of the third quarter was $443,554, an 11.8 percent increase over 2015.  During this same period, the average sale price for an apartment style condominium was $231,187, an increase of 4.5 percent. Townhomes and semis sold for an average of $281,709 (up 8.3 percent) and $293,167 (up 8.5 percent) respectively.

The median price of all residential properties sold year-to-date increased 9.9 percent to $350,000, and the median price of a detached home during the same period increased 10.9 percent to $400,500.

“Like many of our neighbouring market areas, it continues to be a sellers’ market here in Waterloo region,” says Zawada. “The tight supply of listings we’re experiencing is putting upward pressure on prices.”

Although growth for the region is generally positive, and demand for residential real estate continues to be strong, Zawada acknowledges that the recent measure by the federal government to introduce a mortgage rate “stress test” on all new insured mortgages could delay home purchases for some would-be first time buyers, as they assess what they can afford, and possibly save for a bigger down payment.  “While the changes shouldn’t impact our market to a large degree, the very fact that the government is taking these steps could cause a slight cooling of the market,” says Zawada.

Residential Sale Price and Total Units Sold in September over the last 10 years:

10 Year Comparison:


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Clair Hills — Community Spotlight

Where can you find a neighbourhood with stunning quality homes built within the last 15 years, active and involved residents that coordinate events, who update you on community news, and even help facilitate your say in civic issues that affect you?

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Clair Hills, that’s where! This quiet community boasts beautiful homes and and a community with neighbours who care. In addition to opportunities to meet your neighbours such as the Fall Fun Fest, or Maxwell’s Uber Haus tickets, your Clair Hills Community Neighbourhood Rep will help you get acquainted with the services Clair Hills Community Association offers. They even have a The CHCA Child Care Registry to help you find quality care for your little ones!

If you’re looking for a like-minded neighbours that know the value of volunteerism, community development, and pride in having a beautiful home in a safe, clean community, you might find that Clair Hills is the perfect place to start a new chapter.

For more information on the Clair Hills Community Association and all it has to offer visit their website. We’re also here to help you understand Clair Hills as a great place to invest in your life. After all, where we live, is how we live. Contact us.