Homeowners: How to think like an investor

By Cindy-lou Schmidt, REALTOR®

Hello and welcome back real estate champions!

It’s a new year and a fresh start this January 2019 and I’m excited to get started with some solid info on how you can continue to grow your wealth even if you can’t buy a designated investment property at this time. Ready to invest like an investor? Let’s do it.

Today I’m going to talk about how you can continue to invest in your financial future and grow your wealth like an investor. Before I get started if you like what you hear, go ahead and like comment and subscribe! It’s always a good thing because it lets me know what info you guys are interested in hearing more about.

For many of you who have managed to purchase a home in the last couple of years in KW, you’re very well familiar with the squeeze of the market and mortgage rules. And of course this is true for those of you who are looking to buy this year!

While many of my clients who are current homeowners have been able to also purchase a second or third property as investments, it’s not always possible. After all we live in one of the top 20 best places to invest and buy in Canada.

Seriously, give yourself a pat on the back if you qualify to buy a home or have purchased a home. It’s hard work and a very real investment your financial, and personal freedom.

With the changing market and rates I hear this more often. So what can you do to continue to invest in property if when you don’t qualify to buy a second one?

What you do is think like an investor. After all although you are technically a buyer, our investors are also buyers. Don’t short yourself.  The difference is your objective and how you think about it.

If you’re not able to purchase a second property at this time what you do is take advantage of paying down your mortgage with intention.

It sounds simple and obvious but often overlooked because well frankly it’s a big mountain to chip away at and sometimes it can be confusing.

There are three things you can do they can empower you and your bank account:

1. Switch to bi-weekly payments — paying every 2 weeks which adds an extra payment at the end of the year.

2. Add an extra $20 or $50 a month on top of your regular payments. Yes this makes a difference!

3. If you have a really nice grandma or aunt that still gives you Christmas or birthday money apply these seasonal windfalls to your mortgage.

4. If you got a raise or you get a great job that pays you substantially more than you used to get paid, consider keeping your lifestyle the same for a year and putting that extra money into doubling your mortgage amount for that year. This could be tens of thousands of dollars — or more.

The fact of the matter is that it may seem like a small amount of money that doesn’t seem to make a dent on your mortgage —  which is likely in the few…or several hundreds of thousands.

But what you’re really targeting is the principal — the amount of money that you borrow that the additional interest that you pay is based upon. When you reduce this amount, you start to really build your equity. Those extra payments go directly to paying down the principal.

Which is really what I’m getting to. When you build your equity it allows you to eventually borrow money to purchase another property had a later date if that’s what you choose to do or of course benefit from this equity when you purchase your next home. It’s like a type of personal bank that simultaneously allows you to put money “away” while also reducing the interest you pay on your mortgage. Every. Single. Payment.

Unless you have a savings account that gives you a substantial return with good interest rate or you’re a person who is very familiar with other stocks for investing, then this is a great way for you to continue investing and focusing on what you already are familiar with.

My number one recommendation when looking to secure a mortgage when you buy or when you refinance is to ask questions about their payment options. Not all lenders will allow you to prepay or overpay. And most lenders will have competitive rates that you can work with. This is also a great way to address being locked in at a higher interest rate without having to refinance.

Just remember: Building wealth is a very real and accessible thing when it comes to real estate. Don’t let it scare you.

I hope you enjoyed this episode I found it useful as always I appreciate when you like and subscribe and don’t forget to ring the bell so you get a notification whenever I post a new video!

Thanks so much and have a wonderful day!


Top 10 Thoughtful and Affordable Christmas and Holiday Gift Ideas for that Hard-to-Buy-for Person

By Cindy-lou Schmidt

Having trouble finding the perfect gift for the person who has everything? Then this list is for you!

This video is about my Top 10 Thoughtful and Affordable Christmas and Holiday Gift Ideas for that Hard-to-Buy Person!  These gift ideas are sure to make an impact, reduce waste, help avoid re-gifting and leave a  lasting impression!

1. Prepare homemade frozen meals for that busy parent, single person…or any one who likes an easy-to-prepare healthy dinner.

2. Write a thoughtful poem or letter than shows someone how much you care or admire them. We don’t share the way we feel enough. Maybe they’ll end up framing it like I’ve framed one of mine.

3. Make a slideshow or video of a memory. Maybe it was a trip you took with them or a special event. Most computers have basic video making software.

4. If you’re musically inclined, don’t underestimate how lovely it is to have someone play a song for you or even have a song written for you.

5. Babysit your sister, brother or neighbour’s kids. Sometimes, affordable childcare with someone they can can trust can be a big relief!

6. Go ice skating! Classic winter fun!

7. Doggy sit their dog. They’ll be so glad to have the stress of finding doggy-care while they’re gone on vacation.

8. Go outside and hit the trails. There are so many beautiful trails around Waterloo Region but don’t forget that our Ontario Parks are open during the winter too!

9. Bake cookies together. It’s a wonderful time to set aside time to create something tasty!

10. There are wonderful light shows at Bingeman’s or the local malls and shops — and they make for great photos too!

Happy Holidays!


Simplified Market Update – December 2018 – Temperatures cool, homes sales rise

By Cindy-lou Schmidt

While temperatures cooled in October and November, last month ended up being another hot month in real estate in Kitchener-Waterloo and area.

Home sales were up 14.2 per cent in November with 483 homes sold compared to the same month last year, and up 19 per cent compared to the previous 10-year November average of 406 sales, making it the second-best November on record.

Last month I discussed the effect of rising mortgage rates on getting buyers to act before another squeeze on their buying power materializes. In December 2018 Realtors and Mortgage agents cautioned buyers that their buying power would reduced by up to 20% come January 2018 and while some acted, others were cautious and many saw their choice of home style narrow due to the change in budget.

This year, buyers are taking rising interest rates and financing more seriously and  this trend along with others shows in the numbers:

Cindy-lou’s Simplified Market Update


265 detached homes were sold in November (up 9.5 per cent compared to November 2017). Of those sold:

  • 152 condominium units (up 52 per cent) which includes any property regardless of style (i.e. semis, townhomes, apartment, detached etc.).
  • 27 semi-detached homes (down 46 per cent)
  • 31 freehold townhouses (up 14.8 per cent).


The average sale price of all residential properties sold  in  November  increased 7.6 per cent to $477,526 compared November 2017. Broken down by style of home:

  • Detached homes sold for an average price of $580,551 an increase of 12.8 per cent compared to November of last year.
  •  Apartment style condominiums increased by $305,334 on average (increase of 10 per cent).
  • Townhomes sold for an average of $361,177 (down 2 per cent)
  • Semis sold for an average of $416,878 (up 10.7 per cent)


The middle point that divides all sales prices into two equal parts. Comparing November 2018 to November 2017 median stats:

  • All residential properties – $443,800  (up 6.3 per cent)
  • Detached homes – $520,000 (up 9.5 per cent)


Realtors listed 597 residential homes in K-W and areas last month, a 1.1 per cent increase compared to November 2017. Trends:

  • homes listed were 8.2 per cent above the 10-year historical average of 505
  • active listings at the end of November totaled 888 (12.8 per cent lower and 449 units fewer than the 1337 homes listed in November 2017.


Sellers: Prices are naturally rising due to continued demand, particularly for single-detached homes. Waterloo Region is a great place to live and with more eyes on our market from prospective buyers in an outside of our area, we continue to see growth. I expect another very active spring market in 2019. And if your home is listed on the market now, serious buyers are still active and ready to buy before year’s end.

Buyers: Sales prices that are trending up mean that more buyers entering the market are taking advantage of resale and new build townhomes and condominiums. Move up buyers are still aiming to find their right-size home and competing for single-detached properties.

If I were a serious buyer, I would be actively considering homes available on market for the rest of December and take time to view homes if they looked viable. If it’s in the budget, I recommend you contact your agent to explore new-build options.


I hope you enjoyed my Simplified Market Update. I strive to keep my clients and readers informed and empowered.


Full Official Full KWAR Media Release here.

Sell Your Home Before the Holidays

By Cindy-lou Schmidt

Wanting to sell your home before the holidays? Sometimes you can get excited to sell your home but there are definitely some things that you can do that really make a difference to the success of your sale.

Particularly when you’re on planned schedule, and if you’d like to do your best to get your home sold before 2019, you can take advantage of these tips.

  1. Curb appeal
  2. Keep your house welcoming
  3. Don’t over-decorate
  4. Price is right
  5. Use a dedicated full-time REALTOR®




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





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   








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.


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!



Life in the City – Red Circle Coffee

By Cindy-lou Schmidt


As is customary in a Realtor’s life, Friday is the beginning of the week! And what better way than to start (or end) the week with a nice treat!

One of my favourite places to stop in at is Red Circle Coffee located in a massive building that houses Catalyst 137, a space in Waterloo Region that brings together everything an Internet of Things (IoT), food, ice cream and more.

I was never a big coffee fan until Red Circle Coffee. And I think the secret lies in three main factors:

1) The coffee is part of a “full circle” cycle, roasted and sourced by their parent company Monigram Coffee Roasters, and it’s exceptionally done to connect the source and people through relationships.

2) I’ve heard great things about Monica and Graham who established Monigram Coffee in Cambridge and now Red Circle Coffee here in Kitchener. So it doesn’t surprise me in the least that their customer service is something to remark about. Professional baristas who smile, remember you and of course show great pride in their work and their craft. Top down influence is clear here.

3. Gluten free and Vegan options. The responsiveness to my Instagram request and in-house baking make put the icing on the cake for me. I come for the coffee but I’ll stay for the treats!


If you ever want to stop in for a chat with a friend or a quiet moment in your day, do not hesitate to stop in here. It’s definitely a cafe destination worth it’s cup in beans!

Check out one of my most recent visits!

To learn more about Red Circle Coffee visit their website!