Movember at RBC Bank


By Cindy-lou Schmidt

Movember is a great foundation to celebrate to help support the fathers, husbands, brothers and sons in your life.

This week, I visited RBC Bank at 235 Ira Needles Blvd in Kitchener, where I connected with my favourite Mobile Mortgage Specialist, George Vasileas to discuss Movember.

George is a high-performing broker who has created dependable and responsive mortgage opportunities for my clients to up-size, down-size and most importantly —right-size their real estate purchase or investment.

So when it comes to helping to support this cause with George, I wanted to shed some light on the important topic of men’s health.

With all the mustache merchandise we’ve seen on the market in the last 5 years in particular, sometimes people can forget how and why Movember started in the first place.

Movember began in 2003 with 3 guys in Australia. That first year, they were able to get 30 men in total to sport mustaches in support of men’s health. Most recently they have raised over 5.5 million and are ranked 43 out of the 500 world-wise non-governmental foundations.

It’s important for men to be comfortable and more vocal about their health.

Did you know?

70% of men say their friends can rely on them for support, but only 48% say that they rely on their friends. In other words: we’re here for our friends, but worried about asking for help for ourselves. Reaching out is crucial.

5 Things Men can do to take care of their health include:

1 . Spend time with people who make you feel good. Stay connected and stay in touch regularly.

2. Talk and listen more. Sharing and listening with your friends can be life-saving.

3. Know the numbers. Prostate cancer is a concern that you need to be screen for at 50 years old, and if you have other risk factors, you should screen at 45. Talk to you doctor.

4. “Know thy nuts”. Get to know what’s normal for you and get checked regularly at your doctor.

5. Be more active. It doesn’t have to be official sweat sessions at the gym. Just parking further from the grocery store can work. Every little bit helps.

Let’s help support the wonderful mean in our life and communities but helping to increase awareness so they can feel empowered to reach out and take care of their health.

Looking for mortgage options? You can reach out to George : Phone: (519) 897-8880 or by Email: george.vasileas@rbc.com

Sources:

https://ca.movember.com/mens-health/general

Kindly,

 

Trends: Kitchener Loves Pets and Dog-driven Home Sales


By Cindy-lou Schmidt

Do you love dogs? I do too!  In fact, I have two! Still, it was a surprise to me that Kitchener ranked 4th on the list for Amazon Canada’s top pet-purchasing cities for the period between August 2017-August 2018.

Another trend has been reported in Realtor.com is that a great majority of Millennials are putting their pets front and centre when making decisions in their real estate purchases.

Further, in Canada, the Canadian Animal Health Institute reports:

From 2014 to 2016, cat and dog populations in Canada have risen. Cats continued to outnumber dogs with
8.8 million cats considered household pets in 2016, up from an estimated 7.0 million in 2014. Dog
population figures for 2016 also increased to 7.6 million in 2016, up from 6.4 million in 2014

 

“It is encouraging to see the number of pet cats and dogs increasing in Canada over time and I think that reflects the special relationship we have with them. Over the last ten years cat and dog has increased by
about 10%. Overall approximately 41% of Canadian households include at least one dog, and similarly around 37% include at least one cat.” indicated Colleen McElwain, CAHI Programs Director.

See how other cities ranked on Amazon Canada’s list!

1.    London, ON
2.    Calgary, AB
3.    Vancouver, BC
4.    Kitchener, ON
5.    Saskatoon, SK
6.    Mississauga, ON
7.    Gatineau, QC
8.    Burnaby, BC
9.    Windsor, ON
10.    Regina, SK
11.    Richmond, BC
12.    Winnipeg, MB
13.    Edmonton, AB
14.    Markham, ON
15.    Ottawa, ON
16.    Brampton, ON
17.    Surrey, BC
18.    Hamilton, ON
19.    Toronto, ON
20.    Laval, QC   

 

Sources:

https://cnb.cx/2RWuy4Z

https://bit.ly/2E3e5tV

https://bit.ly/2lnJVEL

Kindly,

 

Simplified Market Update – November 2018 – Higher than normal sales activity


By Cindy-lou Schmidt

October saw higher than normal sales activity and buyers and sellers alike were enjoying the boom.

Rising interest rates lead to buyers getting off the sidelines, ready to buy and sellers wanting to sell before the end of 2018 were ready to list. In fact, 760 homes were listed last month in the Kitchener Waterloo Association of Realtors Board. This was 14% higher than October 2017, and 12.7 higher than the 10 year average for homes listed during October.  Buyers rejoice!

Cindy-lou’s Simplified Market  Update

While Year-to-Date sales for 2018 are 12.9% lower than 2017 at this time, we are still enjoying a very strong market here in Kitchener Waterloo.

The average sale price of all residential properties sold increased 7.7% to $489,725 compared to the same month a year ago, with apartment style condominiums continuing to make a huge price gain trend of 24.1% ($310,215), followed by semi-detached homes up 13.8%, ($403,750) then townhomes up 10.9%, and finally detached homes up 6.2% ($576,731).

As for the styles of homes that are trending in sales, we saw 47 freehold townhomes fly off the shelves with an 23.4% increase compared to the number of townhomes sold last October. This was closely fllowed by  128 condominiums of any style up 19.6%, chased by 47 freehold townhomes, up 18.2%, and finally 297 detached homes were sold up 4.6% as compared to last October.

So, let’s cut to the chase. What does this mean?

It means that Buyers are seeing an influx of homes coming to market this October,  and the rising interest rates are getting buyers off the sidelines to act and take advantage of locked in interest rates.  They are also enjoying more choice!

For Sellers, seasonal temperatures remain amiable which always helps home buyers get out for open houses and private showings. Families are also motivated to get in homes before the end of the year and sellers, you too are anticipating a purchase so you’d like to sell and buy sooner rather than later with the interest rate hikes.

All in all, another healthy market here in Kitchener Waterloo. If you’d like more details on this, check out the full Official Full KWAR Media Release here.

 


Thinking about selling?

Book a personal evaluation of your home so you can make an informed decision to net the most money when you list one of your biggest assets for sale. Contact me. The condition of your home, location, and other key factors matter.

Kindly,

Drive in My City: Region of Waterloo International Airport to Fairview Park Mall


By Cindy-lou Schmidt

For individuals and families relocating to Waterloo Region, sometimes we wonder what traffic is like in certain areas, or what it might be like to live there. I know when I’ve checked on investments in other cities or even provinces, I do a little Google Street View. But it’s not the easiest to maneuver.

So this is my first entry of my Drive in My City Series. We’ll be travelling from the Region of Waterloo Aiport to Fairview Park Mall following this route:

Check out my video below from a relaxing drive through the City!

 

 

About the Region of Waterloo Airport: 

Airports create jobs and support economic growth

The Region of Waterloo International Airport (YKF) is a full service, customer friendly facility. Located in southern Ontario, Canada the airport supports commercial, corporate and general aviation.

Fly from home! When you support local air service you help create jobs and boost the local economy.

Did you know?

  • The Waterloo Wellington Flight Centre is one of the largest professional flight training schools in Canada
  • One, of only two Avro Lancaster aircraft still in operation in the world, was equipped with avionics by Mid-Canada Mod Center (formerly Kitchener Aero)
  • NAV Canada’s air traffic control tower at YKF is one of the newest in the country

Source: https://www.waterlooairport.ca/en/about-ykf/airport-information.aspx

 

About Fairview Park Mall:

Electric car charging station, phone charging stations, and home to a wide array of shops, this mall is a great place to getting your shopping and snacking in. It’s also home to the future major redevelopment of office, residential and shopping. Click here to read more!

 

 

 

How to Sell your Haunted House – Trick or Treat


By Cindy-lou Schmidt

 

This weekend is filled with lots of fun activities to do to enjoy autumn and the last spooky days of Halloween!

If you’re a skeleton trying to sell your spooky haunted house, what better way than to highlight all the best features!

To make your home as gross and appealing to the ghosts and goblins and be as unmaintained and spooky as possible, do the following:

1) Don’t trim your tree branches; allow them to over hand your roof and tug at your roof shingles causing damage, and even being a hazard during high winds. Bonus if it’s help moss and lichen grow up there because of the moisture being trapped!

2. Keep your trash out in the open so that rats, and other animals can get into it and it can smell terrible!

3. Leave your rat, roach and mouse traps out so that your spooky buyers can see that your home is full of pests!

4. Don’t rake or maintain the lawns or walkways. Let it pile up and stain the paths as well as cause bald spots on the lawn!

5. Price your home really high above market value so that it takes a really long time to sell and the spooky goblins and ghosts can enjoy going through your haunted house for longer, and you can eventually sell for less because that’s what happen in a topsy turvy spoooky world!

P.S. If you’re a regular human reading this…you’ll want to do the opposite for a successful sale! You’ll also want to check out the remaining Halloween festivities available here in Waterloo Region. Find out more here!

Happy Halloween!

Kindly,

 

Simplified Market Update – October 2018 – Sales Numbers Down, Prices Up


By Cindy-lou Schmidt

September saw the continuing impact of mortgage rules and housing regulation affect the market as affordability for first-time home buyers continues to be a challenge. Meanwhile, average home prices continue to rise and certain home styles are seeing big changes. Thinking that rising prices means it’s not a good time to invest? Think again!

The average sale price of all residential properties sold increased 10% to $492,398 compared to the same month a year ago, with condominiums and making a huge price gain of 24.1% ($325,378), followed by detached homes increasing by 11.4%, townhomes up 4.7% ($377,442), and semis up 4.1% ($386,670)

There is the continuing trend of fewer homes being sold, but prices continuing to climb reflect the decreased affordability but continuing interest in living in Waterloo Region.

Residential sales in September included 270 detached (down 6.3 per cent compared to September 2017), and 110 condominium units (up 7.8 per cent) which includes any property regardless of style (i.e. semis, townhomes, apartment, detached etc.). Sales also included 30 semi-detached homes (down 18.9 per cent) and 30 freehold townhouses (down
18.9 per cent).

Great investment opportunities and selling opportunities are arising for those who own condominiums and for those looking to benefit from the trend in rising residential lease rates.

Cindy-lou’s Simplified Market  Update

 


Official Full KWAR Media Release here

 


Thinking about selling?

Book a personal evaluation of your home so you can make an informed decision to net the most money when you list one of your biggest assets for sale. Contact me . The condition of your home, location, and other key factors matter.

Kindly,

Simplified Market Update – September 2018 – Sales Up Year-Over-Year


By Cindy-lou Schmidt

The end of summer has brought more action! August was the first month this year that saw a year-over-year increase in monthly home sales. The number of homes sold was up 4.8% compared to August of last year.

The average sale price of all residential properties sold increased 11.5% to $493,358 compared to the same month a year ago, with condominiums and town homes making the greatest gains.

It looks as though buyers are beginning to gain confidence after the affects of the new mortgage rules on budgets that were enacted January 1, 2018 and are beginning to see that while fewer homes are selling, the prices continue to rise.

Cindy-lou’s Simplified Market  Update


Full Media Release

MONTHY HOME SALES UP ON YEAR-OVER-YEAR BASIS IN AUGUST FOR FIRST TIME IN 2018

KITCHENER-WATERLOO, ON (Septmeber 6, 2018)

August home sales through the Multiple Listing System (MLS® System) of the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® (KWAR) were down 0.8 per cent compared to last month and up 4.8 per cent compared to August of last year. A total of 505 residential properties sold in August compared to 482 the same time last year.

“For the first time this year we saw monthly home sales increase on a year-over-year basis,” says Tony Schmidt, KWAR President. “On a year-to-date basis, we’re still well below last year’s record-breaking number of home sales but still in line with historical averages.”

Residential sales in August included 301 detached (up 5.2 per cent compared to August 2017), and 129 condominium units (up 25.2 per cent) which includes any property regardless of style (i.e. semis, townhomes, apartment, detached etc.). Sales also included 35 semi-detached homes (down 30 per cent) and 33 freehold townhouses (no change).

The average sale price of all residential properties sold in August increased 11.5 per cent to $493,358 compared to the same month a year ago. Detached homes sold for an average price of $583,564 an increase of 13 per cent compared to August of last year. During this same period, the average sale price for an apartment style condominium was $335,827 an increase of 14.1 per cent. Town homes and semis sold for an average of $350,803 (up 4 per cent) and $401,011 (up 13.6 per cent) respectively.

The median price of all residential properties sold last month was up 10.4 per cent compared to August of last year at $458,000, and the median price of a detached home during the same period increased 18.1 per cent to $543,450.

REALTORS® listed 670 residential properties in K-W and area last month, up 12.7 per cent compared to August of 2017, and 3.4% above the historical (2007-2016) average of 648. The number of active residential listings on the KWAR’s MLS® System to the end of August totalled 917, which is 11.5 per cent higher than August of last year but still significantly below the historical (2007-2016) ten-year average of 1,550 listings for August.

 

“More homes selling in the higher prices ranges in August were at least partly responsible for the increase in the average sale price,” notes Schmidt. “But strong demand on the buying side combined with low inventory on the listing side is continuing to keep upward pressure on prices.”

Schmidt is encouraged by the increase in residential listings coming to market in August and hopes to see even more homes listed on the MLS® System in September. “I certainly don’t see interest in Waterloo region as a place to live and work slowing down anytime soon, so we could definitely stand to see some more housing supply.”

The average days it took to sell a home in August was 28 days, compared to 26 days in August 2017.


 

Book a personal evaluation of your home so you can make an informed decision to net the most money when you list one of your biggest assets for sale. Contact me for a complimentary assessment. The condition of your home, location, and other key factors matter.

Kindly,

5 Tips for Staging your Home


By Cindy-lou Schmidt

When people think about staging their home for sale, they often think of rented furniture and fake fruit. But staging begins with some pretty important foundations. In addition to the obvious repairs, and all the glitz, there are some basic points you’ll want to start with:

  1. Cat litter: Purchase the best cat litter you can afford to keep the smell managed to the highest degree and put the litter in an area that has low traffic.
  2. Odours: If you have a dog that loves to hang out on your sofa, rugs and carpets, have a professional come in to clean them or rent a rug and upholstery cleaner from your local hardware store. It makes a big difference both in the smell of your home, but also in the appearance to display the carpets be in better condition. This is equally if not more true if you’re a smoker. Smoking indoors can reduce the sale price of your house by up to 20%!
  3. Declutter: Get rid of anything that you can store away for the next 3-4 months. Donate, throw it out, and prepack
  4. Musty basements: Humidity is here to stay in Southern Ontario so make sure you manage any moisture in your basement at all times. If you haven’t, it’s never to late to start–especially if you’re thinking about selling.
  5. Clean, clean, clean: Even if you think it’s pretty clean it can always be cleaner. A clean home simply sells more quickly and allows potential buyers to focus on your home.

Watch the video for additional info not covered here!

Kindly,

 

Simplified Market Update – August 2018 – Home sales down, prices up


By Cindy-lou Schmidt

The Trend Continues! Home sales in Kitchener-Waterloo have continued to balance out with home sales numbers dropping while home prices continue to rise.

Cindy-lou’s Simplified Market  Update

 


Full Media Release

SALES RETURNING TO NORMAL WHILE PRICES REMAIN STABLE

KITCHENER-WATERLOO, ON (August 2, 2018)

July home sales through the Multiple Listing System (MLS® System) of the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® (KWAR) were down 16.8 per cent compared to last month and down 10.6 per cent compared to July of last year.  A total of 504 residential properties sold in July compared to 564 in the same month last year.

On a year-to-date basis, there have been 3,601 home sales during the first half of the year, a decrease of 18.0 per cent.

“The story for July is largely more of the same that we’ve been seeing for most of 2018,” says Tony Schmidt, KWAR President. “The number of sales has decreased from what we were seeing the past couple of years to more typical levels, but the value of homes not only remains steady but continues to gradually increase.”

Residential sales in July included 282 detached (down 23.4 per cent compared to July 2017), and 130 condominium units (up 14.0 per cent) which includes any property regardless of style (i.e. semis, townhomes, apartment, detached etc.). Sales also included 53 semi-detached homes (up 35.9 per cent) and 35 freehold townhouses (down 5.4 per cent).

The average sale price of all residential properties sold in July increased 5.5 per cent to $480,145 compared to the same month a year ago. Detached homes sold for an average price of $584,337 – an increase of 12.4 per cent compared to July of last year. During this same period, the average sale price for an apartment style condominium was $292,714, an increase of 4.3 per cent. Townhomes and semis sold for an average of $359,278 (up 2.2 per cent) and $387,664 (up 9.8 per cent) respectively.

The median price of all residential properties sold last month was up 7.1 per cent compared to July of last year at $443,700, and the median price of a detached home during the same period increased 12.8 per cent to $530,000.

REALTORS® listed 739 residential properties in K-W and area last month, down 8.9 per cent compared to July of 2017. The number of active residential listings on the KWAR’s MLS® System to the end of July totalled 1,062, which is 3.3 per cent higher than July of last year but still down from the historical (2007-2016) ten-year average of 1,885 listings for July.

“The competition from buyers is still out there, but not nearly as prevalent as the past two years. This is showing up in the $400,000-$600,000 price point where we continue to see the shortest average days on market,” reports Schmidt. “I think this reflects both the move-up market as well as the typical home that buyers who migrated down the 401 were purchasing.”

“There is no doubt the mortgage stress-test is impacting buyers and the market. Our concern has always questioned the wisdom of introducing policy to respond to temporary market activity, so now the only question is whether this impact is beneficial or not.”

“Either way, Buyers are wise to avail themselves of a REALTOR® to help them navigate local market conditions and ensure the most successful outcome.”

The average days it took to sell a home in June was 23 days, the same as in June 2017.

 


 

Would you  like an practical valuation of your home to help you make an informed decision about selling? Contact me for a complimentary assessment. The condition of your home, location, and other key factors matter.

Kindly,

Four things to check when hiring a renovation contractor


By Cindy-lou Schmidt

Summer is a popular time to for renovations but how can you help to make sure you hire a contractor that is reputable and won’t dissappear into the night?

There are no guarantees in life, but there are ways to address this issue. One popular way is to hire a well-known company that has been around for years, or a company with the biggest advertising.

But what if you’re looking for someone who you can have more of a personal relationship with, that fits your budget, and maybe you just like giving the small guy your business?

https://youtu.be/awq7N7CLZpw

I recommend the following four things to look into when hiring a contractor.

  1. References – ask for references from homeowners who have worked with the contractor (preferably within the last 3 months)
  2. Reviews – check for Google reviews and see if they have a website and and if it corroborates an idea of how long they have been in business. Now not everyone gets a website going right away or is on top of reviews so cut them some slack if the timeline doesn’t line up perfectly).
  3. WSIB- An owner who hires a contractor to perform construction work should obtain a WSIB Clearance Certificate unless the contractor is performing “exempt home renovation work”.  To contact WSIB with your questions and to confirm registration here
  4. GST registration number – Use the GST/HST Registry to confirm that the business charging you GST/HST is registered. This will help ensure that your claims for input tax credits only include GST/HST charged by someone who is registered for GST/HST. You can get more information here.

Finally, check or get a copy of their driver’s licence so all the information you look up matches and you have the correct information to cross-check!

Happy reno adventures!

Kindly,