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.

Kindly,

 

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.

Kindly,

 

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!

Kindly,

 

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.

However:

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.

Sellers:

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.

Buyers: 

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.

Kindly,

Getting ready to sell: Decluttering


By Cindy-lou Schmidt

If you’re thinking about selling then it’s never too early to begin to edit your belonging, including donating, throwing away or pre-packing for your upcoming move.

Reducing the items in your home is not only a great way to only keep things you really like or use often, but will help you see a greater return on your home when you sell. If you’re having trouble letting go of your things, watch my video and even read this great book: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing that I have found very useful by Marie Kondo.

Preparing your home for sale is invaluable to the successful sale of your home so make sure that you begin to work with your Realtor sooner rather than later to sell your home for more money, in less time. It’s preparation that you’ll be glad you did for many reasons. Find out more about how to get in your decluttering groove and watch my video!

Kindly,

 

What is condo?


By Cindy-lou Schmidt

Lately we have seen a substantial jump in the interest in condominium apartments in particular in Waterloo Region. But did you know that condominiums are not just apartment style homes? They may also be townhomes  or single-detached homes as well.

The term condo or condominium is often mistakenly used to describe a style of home but really what it is describing is the form of ownership. The opposite of a condominium ownership is freehold, where you own your own home independently and do not share amenities or common elements with others.

So what is condo?

It is a group of individually owned homes that  are surrounded by common areas that are shared. These homes are owned outright and the owners also share ownership of common areas such as hallways, and amenities such as pools and rooftop patios. These areas are managed by the Condominium Board as well as a condominium management company and a condo fee is paid by each homeowner to support these shared costs.  To learn more, watch my video below:

 

Kindly,

 

What is a home inspection and what can I expect?


By Cindy-lou Schmidt

Whether you’re a buyer or seller, there’s a question of what is a home inspection and what will happen next?

Buyers:

A home inspector is an individual that you hire to carry out a home inspection on a home that you are purchasing. There are a few key things to consider:

  1. Selecting a inspector: Choose an inspector after doing your research because not all inspectors provide the same level of quality, knowledge or service. Note that only qualified OAHI members can use the designation of Registered Home Inspector (RHI). Another great way to find an inspector you can trust is a recommendation from your REALTOR or someone who has used one in the purchase of their home.
  2. You should plan to attend the appointment with the inspector to receive the details and feedback first-hand. Your inspector will convey the overall health of the home and highlight any major concerns to you.
  3. You, your agent and the inspector will meet at the home you plan to purchase and it will take between 2-3 hours for most homes.
  4. Expect that unless there is a serious concern that must be addressed, that a home inspection for the most part is a report card on things you should be aware of for budgeting purposes when it comes to the repair and maintenance of your new home…

 

Sellers:

A home inspection is a different experience for you since you are neither selecting the home inspector, nor will you be present. Here are a few things to help you prepare:

  1. If you have private items you do not want to be found, make sure you put them away in your chattels —  your wardrobe or cupboard — that is NOT affixed to you home and will be coming with you when you move. Remember that the inspector’s job is to check many aspects of the home in preparation for the buyer to take possession so they may be in closets, bathroom cupboards etc.
  2. Anticipate that an home inspection could uncover a serious concern that may need to be addressed by you hiring a company to repair or address the work or by a reduction in the sale price. The solution will be discussed based on the  inspection report and other factors with your agent to decide what the best course of action may be for you as the homeowner.
  3. The home inspector will likely be accompanied by the client who will also be looking in your kitchen cupboards, closets and other spaces. This is normal but if it is a concern for you, don’t put too much weight on things being “messy”. People recognize that we all live busy lives and inspectors have seen just about everything. Overall, if your home is reasonable and you have been courteous in removing your household garbage for example, and maintained your home in “showing” condition, there’s no need to be embarrassed.

Learn more about what to expect in a home inspection by watching my video above!

 

Kindly,

 

Simplified Market Update – May 2018 – Spring Market Leveling Out


By Cindy-lou Schmidt

Home sales in Kitchener-Waterloo are seeing some changes along with the spring weather.

  • In April, 616 residential properties were sold, as compared to March’s 540 residential properties.
  • REALTORS® listed 974 residential properties in K-W and area last month, down 2.2 per cent compared to April of 2017.

“Last month 71 per cent of all residential sales were for less than half a million dollars, but the number of homes listed in that price range on our MLS® System right now is a little less than half of all the inventory,”  says Tony Schmidt, KWAR President.

April’s  residential sales units included:

343 detached (down 30.7 per cent)

185 condominium units (down 12.8) {includes semis, townhomes, apartment, detached etc.}

41 semi-detached homes (down 22.5 per cent)

46 freehold townhouses (up 13.2 per cent).

The average sales price of all residential properties sold last month decreased 6.06 per cent to $478,578 compared to April 2017. Accordingly:

Detached homes sold for an average price of $569,169 (down 4.2 per cent)

Average prices for an apartment style condominium was $296,958 (up 10 per cent)

Townhomes sold for an average of $386, 072 (up 2.5 per cent)

Semis sold for an average of $396,932 (down 3.7 per cent)

 

Cindy-lou’s Simplified Market Summary:

What does this mean?

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

a) Year-to-year : March was a 25% less busy in terms of home sales as compared to the same time last year, and now April is 30% less busy as compared to April 2017.

b) Month-to-month: While March sales really picked up by increasing over 40% from February to March, March to April only saw a 13.7%  increase.

2. There is a trend in decreasing sales prices.

a) The average sales price change in March compared to the same time last year was 0.7 percent. The average sales price in April as compared to April 2017 decreased by 6.06 percent.

b) While detached homes barely changed in price in March as compared to the same time last year, April 2018 saw a 4.2% decrease as compared to April 2017. Semi-detached homes have also seen a drop in sales price, by 3.3%

The stress test looks like it is definitely creating some impact on buyers as the under $500,000 price range heats up.   This may be part of the reason for the growth in condo apartment sales being the largest according to home style purchases over the last few months. The decrease in sales prices and numbers of detached and semi-detached properties may also be related to the challenges buyers face in getting approved under the most recent mortgage rules.

Sellers:

It takes 21 days on average for a home to sell so you can expect to receive offers with conditions. Don’t hesitate to invest some time in preparing your home for sale including tying up lose ends. Buyers are wanting to make sure they are getting value for their money as their buying power has been decreased due to series of mortgage rule changes.

Buyers: 

There were nearly 80% more  active residential listings this April as compared to last year so there are more choices. A little more breathing room is allowing you to have conditions including financing and inspection in some cases. However, you must remain competitive in a  desirable and strong market that is remains low on listings, particularly at the under $500,000 price range.

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 April’s K-W Market Update including statistics from Wellesley, Wilmot and Woolwich Townships, click here.

Kindly,

We’re now on YouTube


By Cindy-lou Schmidt

After getting feedback from our readers and clients, we’ve decided to make the jump to YouTube!

You can expect to get my Simplified Market Update via video along with the blog version each month on the blog as per usual! You’ll also find my discussions on real estate topics that cover Waterloo Region and area.

Subscribe today and stay up-to-date! Be one of the first 100 subscribers and you’ll be entered into a draw to win one of my favourite books as well!

Kindly,

 

Red Day is just around the corner


By Cindy-lou Schmidt

Introduced in 2009, RED Day, which stands for Renew, Energize and Donate, is Keller Williams Realty’s annual day of service. Each year on the second Thursday of May, associates, friends and family from every Keller Williams office in North America spend the day away from their businesses serving their communities. UPDATED: This year’s RED Day video:

https://youtu.be/MPB2MYblRKM

This year at Keller Williams Golden Triangle Realty, we’ll be returning to Howard Robertson Public School for the third year, helping to make sure that this school gets the extra support it needs to make it a vibrant place for the children and families served in their district.  This big project involves lots of work before the day arrives and I’m excited about making sure we’re ready to serve up a great BBQ to make sure everyone has the energy they need to help out.

What makes this even better is that we have local organizations and companies who have contributed funds and materials to help make this day possible, letting us focus our funds on resources for the school.

I’m looking forward to a great turn out this year and I’m excited to help make an impact in our community. To give you an idea of what we’ve done previously, see what we were up to last year!

Kindly,