Trails, Shopping and Affordability in London

With the rising prices in Waterloo Region, it may be challenging for people to become first-time home buyers or find the right home in the right neighbourhood.  For those who have the freedom to make like a tree and “leaf”, former KW-ers have headed to Woodstock,  and even to London where home prices simply mean you can get more for your money.

For example, we have a beautiful two bedroom townhome condominium that is just minutes from the Thames River in West London. There are kilometers of walking and biking trails, yet all the amenities are nearby.

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The neighbourhood is quiet, and incredibly walkable, with easy access to main roads so that you can get where you’re going in a timely fashion. When you’re not working, take time out to visit the nearby golf course, where you can hit a few balls in the afternoon and then catch a view of the river while you’re at it.

Great homes like this near the Thames in West London are wonderful opportunities to get out and explore, and enjoy everything the area has to offer.

If you’re interested in this beautiful home, it will be coming to Realtor.ca on Monday, May 1st!  For more details, visit 519riverside.com.

Windy days and home maintenance

Reports of winds up to 100 km/hour are reported in Waterloo Region today as wind warnings come into effect. High winds can cause potential damage to trees, building and power lines. We can’t stop wild winds and unpredictable weather, but we can do our best to prevent damage to our home and protect our families.

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Regular inspections of your attic including ensuring that rafters and sheathing are in good condition is vital. Check that the nails that hold the sheathing to the rafters have been properly installed and that the contractor didn’t miss hitting the truss.  It’s also a good idea to inspect for water damage and that your vents are operating correctly, since condensation of any type reduces the integrity of your roof.

What else? Check the exterior and survey your shingles; loose shingles are a way for water and pests to penetrate, so a visit from a contractor may be in order if you see loose, degraded, or malformed shingles. While you’re up on the ladder, have a look at your eves troughs and ensure that they are properly secured, keeping an eye out for stripped fasteners or damaged aluminum.

Maintenance of trees near your home is also key and while you may be able to do smaller jobs, it’s best to leave the big ones to a professional. Make it a habit to assess foliage on your property, and trim or even remove trees that are unhealthy, dead or too close to your dwelling.

Unpredictable weather including high winds are a great reason to keep your home maintained in good condition. Making sure eves troughs, shutters and doors are secured isn’t just for curb appeal, it’s for your safety as well.

Lastly, avoid chasing your belongings down the street and make sure those recycling bins and trash cans are put away on garbage day. Your neighbours will thank you 🙂

Uncommon Tips for Making Your Home Show Better

Most people know the basics of preparing a home for a viewing or an open house: make sure everything is clean and tidy, mow the lawn, sweep the walkway, etc.

But there are a number of lesser known tips — tips you often don’t hear about — that can make your home even more attractive and desirable to potential buyers.

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In the kitchen, for example, it’s obvious that the stove, sink, and countertops should be spotless. But did you know that grinding a lemon will help eliminate any lingering smells? Want to go a step further? You should also arrange the contents of your cabinets and refrigerator to face forward.

In the bathrooms, make sure the toilet lids are closed. Hang matching towel sets.

Moving on to the bedrooms, check that nothing is lying around. Even a shirt draped neatly over a chair can appear messy to some people.

In the kids’ rooms, the toys should be “staged”, not just flung around. For example, set up a train set like an appealing store display. Don’t just have bits and pieces scattered on the floor.

If possible, move half the contents of all closets into storage. This makes a big difference in how spacious they’ll appear.

Turn on everything: all the lights (even the one above the stove), the fireplace, the lights in the basement.

Finally, here’s another uncommon tip. House plants look their best — brighter, more upright and alive — approximately four hours after you water them.

All these tips take just minutes to implement, but they can make a big difference in how your home shows. Studies prove that a well prepped home will often sell faster, and for a higher price, so it’s worth the effort.

Prepping for spring market

Spring market is the busiest selling season when it comes to real estate! With all the buzz about the market favouring sellers, does that mean that you should just sit back and wait for your home to sell?

You can. But we suggest continuing to put your best foot forward. When selling your home, it really does make a difference if you commit to refreshing, cleaning and staging your home.

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Top 5 classic quick tips:

  1. Get your home spotless – this includes inside closets, baseboards, cupboards, around the stove, under the sofa, and definitely every inch of your bathrooms. People love a clean home when they see one!
  2. Stow away your valuables– That antique jewelry your Aunt Edith gave you when you turned 16 can find a new temporary home. Better to keep it out of sight for security and peace of mind.
  3. Clear up clutter – Extra furniture, old clothes and toys, fridge magnets and an abundance of decor can be packed up to make way for more space on tables, floors and counter tops, allowing buyers to focus on your home. Bonus points if you donate your extra stuff to a local charity.
  4. Depersonalize – Family photos should be packed up carefully and removed from walls, and tables. For example, a family photo gallery in the foyer brings the buyers attention to the pictures and the sellers, and not to the house. If your goal is to sell the house, best to remove all distractions from the eyes and minds of the buyers.
  5. Call in a professional – Sometimes, it best to call in a professional stager. In some cases, staging can increase the selling price of your home by up to 17%. Looking for a referral? Ask you Real Estate Agent who will gladly assist!

What’s in store for 2017?

As construction of the light rail transit system (LRT) continues, Kitchener-Waterloo is expected to continue to thrive economically. In combination with the continued increase of Go-Train frequency between Kitchener and the GTA, along with the healthy tech sector growth, the region will continue to attract buyers looking to find more value for their money arriving from Toronto and area, as well as commuters, and those employed or looking to become involved in K-W’s technology parks and increased business growth.

The RE/MAX 2017 average residential sale price expectation for Kitchener-Waterloo is an eight per cent increase in home prices, increasing to $413,313 for the average residential sales price, up from $382, 687 in 2016. Spring 2017 should also bring increased inventory levels, along with some new developments coming to market. However, 2017 is expected to stay a seller’s market with an expected 8 per cent increase in home prices.

For sellers, these numbers provide even more incentive to ensure you present your home in the best light, to make the most out of the sale of one of your biggest assets. This includes making repairs, maintaining home systems including HVAC, and water lines, as well as keeping your curb appeal in tip-top shape.

If you’re thinking about selling your home and want to maximize your profits, ask us how! We’ll provide you with a free home evaluation and get you started on understanding the value of your home in our current market.

Real Estate Report on Kitchener-Waterloo 2016

The Kitchener-Waterloo Housing Market saw significant growth in 2016.  The average residential sale price rose approximately 10 per cent to $382,697 up from $348,220 in 2015. Many residential listings received multiple offers, with pre-emptive or bully offers being a common occurrence.

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Attracting Out-of-Towners – Greater Toronto Area buyers continue to drive demand in Kitchener-Waterloo as they seek out affordable housing options along the GO Train line. Waterloo’s economy and consumer confidence were boosted in 2016 due to substantial growth in its tech sector as the low Canadian dollar encouraged increased investment from American tech companies.

Outlying Towns Heating Up- New Hamburg and Baden, located on the outskirts of Kitchener, are becoming increasingly popular with move-up buyers and retirees. For young families, the areas offer good schools and nice properties at affordable prices, while retirees are attracted to the adult retirement villages, which feature bungalow-style homes, amenities and activities.

First-Time Buyers- First-time buyers are a key driver of the Kitchener-Waterloo market. Young couples looking to enter the market typically prefer low maintenance condo properties that provide easy access to the downtown core.

Condo market – Condo sales were up in 2016 between January and October to 1,358, compared to 1,029 properties sold during the same period in 2015. Due to a surplus of condo inventory near Wilfred Laurier University and the University of Waterloo, it’s expected that some of the housing initially intended for student rentals may eventually shift to wider availability residential rental units.

Source:  REMAX 2017 HousingMarketOutlookReport

 

 

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.