New Bluetooth Lockboxes

By Cindy-lou Schmidt

As of July 3, 2018,  REALTORS®  with homes listed on the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of Realtors Board will be implementing a new lockbox program replacing the conventional mechanical lockboxes that have been commonly used throughout Ontario for over the past 30 years. The new devices feature state-of-the-art technology to ensure KWAR REALTORS® continue to provide the highest standard of professional services to our clients.

This new program is a partnership with SentiLock LLC who are owned by the National Association of REALTORS® and currently provide services to over 400,000 REALTORS® in North America, and over 30,000 REALTORS® in Canada.

The SentriLock lockbox is Bluetooth compatible to allow the REALTORS®’s smart-phone to become their key, eliminating the use of  static passcodes.

Features of the new lockboxes include:

  • Accurately records the time, date and specific authorized REALTOR® who opened the lockbox.
  • Touch ID and Facial Recognition to open Lockbox through the REALTORS®’s app.
  • Notify the listing brokerage in real time when a lockbox is opened.
  • Individual lockboxes can be programmed to only operate during the showing hours approved by the seller.
  • Lockboxes are assigned to the property, creating a detailed and accurate record of all showings.
  • Operate in severe weather.
  • Long-life batteries.

It’s an exciting new change in our industry and I am looking forward to implementing a higher level of security and professionalism with my clients.



How to have an effective final walk-through

By Cindy-lou Schmidt

Once you fall in love with a home and decide to buy, you’ll want to make sure that it’s in the same or similar condition once you take possession. Whether it’s a fixer-upper or an immaculate luxury home, the point is that, you’ll want to get what you bought.

That is why you’ll want to have an effective final walk-through. A final walk-through is an appointment that your agent will book within 24 hours of your closing day when you legally take possession of the home. The idea is to get the appointment as reasonably close to the time in which the responsibility for the home will shift from the seller to you.  Because once you take possession, that  burner that blew on the stove that you didn’t check is now your responsibility.

During the final walkthrough, you’ll want to be more purposeful that the previous in which you may have measured for furniture or show family and friends your new home. Why? Because the final walkthrough has a purpose!

The purpose of a final walkthrough is to go through the home and check to ensure that everything is working as it should. Fixtures such as toilets and faucet and drains should be checked to make sure they are operating correctly (no one wants a toilet that doesn’t work on moving day!)

You’ll also want to check for any apparent damage that has happened since the last time you were through with your agent. For example, while we can expect some minor scratches and bumps during the process of moving and normal wear and tear from the seller living in the home, there are things you’ll want to definitely take note of. For example, say the seller had to move their giant CRT television that sat in Grandpas bedroom floor since 1983. If say, someone lost their grip and it came careening down the stairs and into the foyer a wall—that’s something you and your Realtor will want to address. (Remember when televisions were furniture? :D)

A final walk-through is not a time to be needlessly paranoid, but it is a time to be purposeful and prudent. Your REALTOR will be happy to help inform and guide you through your final walkthrough appointment, but ultimately as new potential homeowner it is good to become familiar with a home and everything in it because you’ll be the new owner in just a few hours.



My Top 5 Best Things in Waterloo Region

By Cindy-lou Schmidt

I’m pleased to say that I’ve seen Waterloo Region grow a great deal over the last three decades or so and it’s exciting to see what is in the horizon! Our Region has lots to offer, and these are my top 5 favourite features:

5. The expressway: It’s super quick and convenient to get on our expressway and be able to get all over Waterloo Region quickly and efficiently. It runs northeast/southwest through town  and is connected to Highway 401 via the Highway 8 Freeport Diversion and King Street East. This makes is extra convenient to work, shop and go to school in different cities with ease.

4. The Food: As diverse as the people that live here! Our food in local restaurants, shops and farmers makes our area rich in diversity and selection. Whether you’re celiac, vegan, looking for upscale or affordable dining, you’ll find it! Don’t forget to joining the Food in Waterloo Region Facebook Group if you haven’t already. With over 12,000 members, it’s rich with knowledge and suggestions!

3. The People: With all types of people from different demographics, income and education levels and interests, we have so many great programs and interests that are shared. Whether you’re at a local pub, the library, or decide to join one of our many Meetup Groups in the area, there is no shortage of meeting lots of great people who will say “hello”!

2. Education and Innovation: Our Region is rich with knowledge and development that has grown from our foundation in automobile and manufacturing industries. The last 10 years has seen a huge growth in digital and computer technologies and definitely worth noting that we have 150 research institutions and more than four times the national number of patents per million. What else? We also have the highest proportion among the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries with 51% of the population with a post-secondary degree!

1. We’re green- Waterloo Region has a wealth of forest, woodlands, park and trails to explore. Whether you’re walking your dog, riding your bike, or going for a hike, you’ll find a great place to go here!



Simplified Market Update – June 2018 – Strong Home Sales Continue

By Cindy-lou Schmidt

Home sales in Kitchener-Waterloo have continued to heat up along with the great local temperatures! Our summer-like spring has been in line with sales as May 2018 saw a 12.5% increase compared to April 2018.

Cindy-lou’s Simplified Market Summary:

  • In May, 692 residential properties were sold, as compared to April’s 616 residential properties.
  • REALTORS® listed 1068 residential properties in K-W and area last month, down 14.4% compared to May of 2017.
  • There were 1062 Active listings by the end of May totaled 1062, which is 27.9% higher than May 2017.

May’s  residential sales units included (compared to May 2017):

414 detached (down 15.7%)

169 condominium units (down 7.1%) {includes semis, townhomes, apartment, detached etc.}

46 semi-detached homes (down 28.1%)

46 freehold townhouses (down 24.3%).

The average sales price of all residential properties sold last month decreased 6.06 per cent to $482,873 (down 2.4 percent compared to April 2017. Accordingly:

Detached homes sold for an average price of $572,206(down 3.4%)

Average prices for an apartment style condominium was $301,052 (up 2.7%)

Townhomes sold for an average of $365,715 (up 1.3%)

Semis sold for an average of $393,616 (up 2.0%)

What does this mean?

1. There is a trend of slowing sales when compared to last year’s activity

a) Year-to-year : May 2018 was a 15.3% less busy in terms of home sales as compared to the same time last year.


b) Month-to-month:  April-May saw a  12.5% increase in sales, down just slightly from the March-April 13.7%  increase in sales.

2. There is a trend in decreasing sales prices in single detached homes but all other styles continue to climb in price.

The mortgage stress test continues to impact  buyers as the $400,000- $500,000 price range remains very competitive.  This may be part of the reason for the continuing growth in sale prices in townhomes, condos and semi-detached properties as overflow leads many buyers to choose other styles of homes rather than focus on single-detached properties.


It took 20 days on average for a home to sell so you can expect to receive offers with conditions. When working with a Realtor to prepare your home and price it correctly you should be confident in selling your home for good value.


There were nearly 30% more homes active on the market in May compared to last year, so we are seeing inventory actually be available long enough for buyers to consider their options. You will still want to be savvy and use the help of a Realtor to keep you informed and strategic on writing a winning offer.

If you’d like an accurate valuation of your home, contact us for a complimentary assessment. The condition of your home, location, and other key factors matter. For more on the official report on May’s K-W Market Update including statistics from Wellesley, Wilmot and Woolwich Townships, click here.