Is the Real Estate Market Changing?

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“GTA home sales plunge as much as 61 per cent”.

Headlines like the one above might lead you to believe the market has crashed and home values have plummeted. Nothing could be further from the truth.

2017 has seen a very overheated market during the first 5 months. The lack of homes for sale in the Hamilton and the surrounding GTA markets has pushed up prices and created a very competitive marketplace. The competition has led to multiple offers, generating sale prices well above the asking price for homes. This made it very challenging for homeowners and REALTORS® to determine the market value of homes.

As the market has eased in the last few weeks, buyers are finding they are not always in competition to buy a home, and have the luxury of being able to include conditions in their offers whether it be for financing, home inspection, or anything else. The market has also made it possible for REALTORS® to actually negotiate for their buyers and sellers.

The change in the market has also caused REALTORS® to have a closer look at how they are pricing and marketing homes. If you have been trying to buy a home, the one line that you hate to see in a listing is “no offers until…”, as you know you will likely be having to compete to buy the home. While there is still competition in the market, we are no longer seeing the huge numbers of offers, not the selling prices well above the asking price. In fact, we see some sellers who have opted to wait until a set date to view offers not receiving the competition they had hoped for. In some instances, these sellers are relisting their property at a higher price, and removing the time frame for offers.

As the market changes, both buyers and sellers will need to revise their approaches. The buyers are gaining the opportunity to take some time to make sure the home they are buying is the right fit for them, and to satisfy themselves regarding any conditions they need to meet.
On the other hand, the sellers are discovering that they may not obtain the unbelievably high price for their home that the neighbour did just a couple weeks ago. Also, it may take more than a week to list, market and sell their home.

As the market changes, it is important to have a professional REALTOR® in your corner, helping you make the right choice and negotiating the best possible price for you. If you are thinking about buying or selling, be sure to call one of our Coldwell Banker Community Professional representatives. They will be able to help you in making the decisions that are right for you!

Want to Make a Splash?

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HOT HOT HOT – That’s the summer forecast.

Does hot summer weather make you want a swimming pool in your backyard to lounge around, or just float in and keep cool?

Maybe it isn’t the summer heat that makes you long for a pool of water… maybe it’s the fun and relaxation you can get from having a Hot Tub.

Or, maybe you are the health conscious one who would love to have the Swim Spa/Lap Pool to exercise at home.

Each of these has its own appeal, and sometimes it’s hard to know which one is right for you. If you are considering adding one (or more) of these to your home, I have outlined some pros and cons below for each possibility, to help you get started on some summer planning.

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Pros:

– Great exercise for both adults and children
– For some families, a pool is a cottage replacement – vacation in your backyard!
– For the right buyer, they add to the attraction to buy a home
– A maintenance company can keep your pool pristine all summer.

Cons:

– They can be a danger for families with young children, or for non-swimmers
– They can tie you to your home instead of seeking other family outings
– They will be an obstacle to some buyers should you choose to sell your home
– They can require a lot of maintenance if you are taking care of it yourself

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Pros:

– Hot tub owners say these are a great stress reliever
– They can help reduce pain and inflammation of your joints
– They help with the recovery from injuries and muscles strains
– They provide a great winter experience

Cons:

– They can increase the risk of heat stress if the temperature is set too high
– If you have circulation issues, they can potentially cause health issues
– They can be costly to maintain
– Can lead to infections if not properly maintained
– They can be a hazard if you have young children

Swim Spa/Lap Pool   18-3-premium-swim-spa-with-deck-surround-day-time

Pros:

– Will fit in smaller backyards than pools (fit in limited space)
– Are more affordable than most backyard pools
– Provide a good workout (use swift current for lap swimming)

Cons:

– Not ideal if you want to host pool parties
– May not add value to your home should you choose to sell
– Can be a hazard if you have young children
– Require as much maintenance as a swimming pool

If thinking about putting one of these in your backyard is stressing you, but you really want one, call one of our Coldwell Banker Community Professional representatives to talk about selling your current home and buying one with your choice of water feature!

 

It’s Time to Celebrate!

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Our Ultimate Service Guarantee is 20 years old and we continue to receive rave reviews regarding our Service!

Our Ultimate Service Guarantee is for both Buyers and Sellers. When you list with our company, we provide you with a 22 point guarantee, outlining a level of service that we provide as a MINIMUM standard. If you are dissatisfied with the service provided at any time, you can be released from your Listing or Buying Representation agreement. We survey every client that buys or sells a property with our company and ask them to rate our service in a number of areas. These surveys result in individual sales representatives in our company receiving the Ultimate Service Designation. Our company has also been recognized as an Ultimate Service Provider, as so many of our representatives have attained the Ultimate Service individual designation.

We are very proud of our representatives, and want to share with you some of the comments their clients have made.
“Very happy re communication and work performance. Office staff very helpful and friendly”

“Sandra is awesome! She understood my needs and what I was looking for. She keeps me updated and and she is very diligent with her work. Overall, great experience finding my first home with Sandra and Coldwell Banker.”

“Daniela was very knowledgeable and helpful during the home buying process! We loved working with her and will and have told our friends and family about how great and professional she was!”

“Diane provides exceptional customer service. Responds quickly and very very competent.”

 

If you are thinking of buying or selling a home and want to receive the very best service available in the business, be sure to call one of our Coldwell Banker Community Professional Representatives. We think they are the best in the business!

Is it Time to Break Out the Crystal Ball?

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Experts are starting to talk more and more about a housing bubble.

The most common questions I have heard lately are “Will prices drop if the bubble bursts?” and “Should I wait to buy? If prices drop I don’t want to lose money”

These are both valid questions, and the first one especially is hard to answer. A crystal ball would be a very helpful REALTOR® tool right now. There is much talk recently about the Ontario government introducing measures to cool the real estate market. One suggestion has been to introduce a foreign investor tax similar to what B.C. introduced last year. Since the introduction of the tax, the Vancouver market initially showed a drop, but has returned to a ‘normal’ growth rate. The success of such a measure is dependant upon there being foreign investors in the market. This is true of the Toronto market, but perhaps not as important in the markets surrounding the GTA, such as Hamilton. There have been other suggestions that would have varied affects on the market, but in general the outcome of any measure is a total unknown. Government intervention can often have unintended consequences.

The second question really has two answers, depending on why you are buying property. If you are an investor as opposed to a family looking for a new home, the answers might vary.

As an investor, you will make a buying decision based on the expected return from the property you buy, whether through rental income, or capital growth. In a market as heated as the Hamilton/Burlington area is right now, there is not a large inventory of investment properties that are currently providing a high return on investment due to the large initial payment and the servicing of the mortgage debt. Even if an investor bought with cash i.e. no mortgage, the return on the investment would be limited. If buying for capital growth, it is difficult to predict how much, if at all, the market will continue to increase. With year over year growth currently in the area of 30%, investors are questioning just how likely it is that such growth can be sustained, and if it cannot be sustained, how much potential is there for a drop in real estate values.

As a family (or individual) looking to buy a home, now may very well be a good time to buy. If you are buying a family home, you are generally not looking to sell in the next few years. Real estate over the long term has proven to be a very good investment. Even if the market does cool, and prices drop, history has shown us that the prices will recover, just not in a one or two year timeframe. Also, if prices drop and you decide it is time to move up, the more expensive home will be more affordable assuming it suffered the same percentage drop in value as your less expensive home.

Also, if you are planning to buy a family home, and there is not a cooling of the market, each month you wait increases the cost of homeownership, or reduces the number of homes that are available in your price range.

If you have questions whether you should be acting now or waiting, call one of our Coldwell Banker Community Professionals representatives. They will be glad to sit down with you and discuss your particular situation and needs.

The Price is Right!

When you are ready to sell, determining what price to offer your home to buyers at can be much like playing The Price is Right with Bob Barker.

If you ask 4 people what your home is worth, you will get 4 different answers, no doubt one so low you will scoff at their judgement and one so high you only hope they are right.

In our current market, pricing your home right when you put it on the market is very important. The buyers who have been looking for a home, and likely have made many offers without success, have seen all the homes comparable to yours, and are very educated on price. When they see a home come on the market listed much above current market value, they tend to not even consider it. They believe either the seller is being unrealistic, or that they have time to wait for the price reduction.

It can be difficult as a home owner to look at the prices being paid for homes, and not think you should list yours at the price just attained by the house down the street. Well priced homes are currently attracting multiple offers, which tends to drive the final sale price up, sometimes to levels not previously achieved by similar homes. At times, if a property is the only home available, and has very desirable features, it will obtain an unrealistically high selling price, only because it is the only one available.

When a REALTOR® provides you with a Market Evaluation of your home, they take into consideration what has sold, what is currently available, and what has been rejected by the market. They have the expertise and knowledge to look at the sale prices of properties, and the events surrounding the sale to determine how they compare to your home. Combining this knowledge with information regarding other properties that are currently for sale (your competition) and also considering properties that have been on the market for a longer period of time (seemingly overpriced) they can provide you with a recommended range in which to offer your home for sale.

Many sellers are concerned that the suggested price range is too low. They see a similar house that sold for maybe $50,000 more that the price being recommended to them. The other home may have received 15 offers, driving the price higher. As a seller, you must price your home to attract the competitive offers in order to realize the highest sale price. Pricing at top dollar may very well discourage a number of the potential buyers of your home, and possibly make competition unlikely.

If you are considering selling your home, and would like an honest opinion and marketing plan, call one of our Coldwell Banker Community Professionals representatives. They will provide you with a comprehensive evaluation, and help you make the right decision.

Living Large – Even on a Fixed Income

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I want to share some information with you, which was recently provided by the National Association of REALTORS® regarding enjoying your retirement.

Here it is… I hope you gain some ideas from their information…

The phrase “living large” isn’t restricted to being rich or spending loads of money. It’s about wringing every drop of joy possible out of every day and enjoying your life… moment by moment. It means different things to different people, but the one thing all living-large enthusiasts have in common is they don’t worry over making ends meet, financially.

When seniors find themselves with fewer responsibilities and more personal freedom, they’re often at an important crossroads, where the decisions they make can mean the difference between joy and stress. The two leading causes of stress, for seniors, are financial strain and loneliness. Making matters worse, people experiencing stress often retreat from their social support systems at the time they need them the most.

The first step is to address financial issues. The second is to be more socially interactive.

Here are some tips to help find more joy, by pursuing your own brand of bliss – instead of worrying about making ends meet. Some of the ideas are common sense ways to save money painlessly, while others are a little more creative. But they all have one goal: To improve the quality of an individual’s life regardless of their budget and to discover fun affordable ways to collect experiences, are memories and LIVE LARGE!

6 Superb Ways to Curb Costs

Many bills are the result of long-term habits. After years of raising children and working full time, it’s easy for old patterns to continue unchallenged. That’s why a comprehensive bill review is the first step for revealing expenses that are no longer necessary – as well a discovering more attractive and affordable options, including:

  1.  Two Cars? When both spouses were working full time and getting children to different events, two cars may have been a requirement. Does this need still exist?
  2. Cut the Cable. Which the improvement of online streaming options many people have decided they prefer selecting why they want to view (often avoiding commercials) over enduring whatever is available on cable.
  3. Out of Sight, Out of Mind? For years, many people have dutifully paid monthly storage unit fees. Sort through and toss what’s no needed, re-home what’s going to the kids, and donate things that are no longer useful to you.
  4. Prescription Savings. Often, prescription drugs are both necessary and expensive. Comparison shop – fees charged may vary from pharmacy to pharmacy.
  5. Savvy Shopping. Major sales aren’t limited to Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Every year, various big-ticket items are often discounted seasonally, including:                Cars – current inventory goes on sale when new models arrive, usually in the fall
    Computers – Late March/April and August/September
    Large Appliances – September/October when new models are rolled out
    Televisions – Late November and January
    Outdoor – Lawnmowers in April and after Labour Day
    Grills, patio furniture, in October and November
    Mattresses – end of May
  6. Other Opportunities to Save – Amazon is a popular place to buy, but did you know that their are sites that track Amazon prices? Use CamelCamelCamel.com or keepa.com to view price history. Even with deals, remember to keep the focus on Living-Large. In other words, buy only what you need at the best possible prices.

Reigning in unnecessary expenses is only the first step in learning how to live large on a fixed income. The real fun is shifting the focus to discovering a world of budget-friendly opportunities to learn new things, enjoy new experiences, and establish new friendships.
Here is a list to consider:
1.  Healthier Eating Choices – It’s hard to enjoy anything when health issues arise which means prevention should always to a top priority
2. Music Magic – The health benefits ofmuxid are scientifically documented an dramatic – especially for older people an those suffering from heart circulatory, stroke, memory and sleep issues.
3.  Keep Learning, Keep Moving.
4.  See More Places, Do more Things. Travel is one of the best ways to have new experiences.
5.  Closer to Home. Seeing new sights and enjoying new experiences shouldn’t be reserved for out-or-town trips. Consider local entertainment such as art galleries and museums, zoos, theatre productions and more.
6.  Finally, don’t forget to schedule some “me time” to be alone and enjoy your own company, which can do as much for your outlook as travel and socializing. Consider meditation, journaling, reading, yoga, or even curling up with a blanket and a bowl of popcorn to watch a movie solo.
I hope you found some new ideas in this article.

How Long Should You Wait?

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What is the price of procrastination currently in real estate?

The real estate market right now is difficult for buyers. The lack of properties to select from, and the competition to buy what is available is making some people think they should just wait until the market is better.

In real estate, waiting can be good for you or bad for you, depending on how different variables change. For example, the interest rate in the United States has started to edge up, and history would tell us that Canada will soon follow the example south of the border. The rate was just increased .25% in the U.S. It may not seem like much, but first, it is a sign that rates are going to increase to some extent, and also, we may not see historically low rates again for some time.

The .25% rate increase on a $250,000 mortgage could mean a difference of $31.84 per month. An increase of 1% could mean a difference of $130.11 per month. Over the term of a mortgage, the increase in payments tend to add up significantly.

If home prices continue to increase at the rate they have over the past year (close to 30% gain in one year), many buyers will be priced out of the market, as incomes are not increasing at a rate that would enable people to meet the extra costs. For example, a $400,000 home in today’s market could be $520,000 in one year’s time, assuming another 30% gain. Today, if you were putting down 10% ($40,000), the $360,000 mortgage would have a monthly payment of approximately $1650.00. The same house with a 30% increase would have a monthly mortgage payment of approximately $2150.00 per month, and the 10% downpayment would be $52,000. Same home, one year later (assuming mortgage rates don’t change). As you can see, the same home can cost you a larger downpayment, and in this example, $500 per month more in a mortgage payment.

If you are ready to buy, and have been waiting for the right time, maybe you should quit waiting!

Call one of our Coldwell Banker Community Professionals representatives and see if now is the right time for you! They will help you look at all the possibilities to ensure you make the right decision.