What the Experts Predicted, and How the Real Estate Market is Really Performing

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My crystal ball has been useless for years, so let’s consider what the “Experts” thought would be the trends for 2016. I have sorted through quite a few predictions for 2016, and here are the common themes…

Prediction #1 – High demand coupled with limited supply will continue to support the strong Toronto and Vancouver markets. Virtually the rest of the country is now balanced so expect only modest price increases, while the markets that are oil dependant will see more price reductions and a smaller number of transactions, which will push average prices down.”

A bit of hit and miss on this one… Toronto and Vancouver markets definitely have been strong, leading up to the BC tax on foreign investors. Vancouver may be cooling, but Toronto seems to be picking up the slack. As for the rest of the country, many markets are seeing record breaking price increases, Hamilton for example, but oil dependent Alberta has experienced reductions.

Prediction#2 – “Since mortgage rates are so tied to inflation, there’s a good chance rates will stay rock bottom in 2016.”

They were right on this one… The rate has not changed and it is expected that it will remain steady throughout the balance of the year.

Prediction #3 –  “The BoC expects the economy to strengthen and for borrowing rates to begin to normalize, which will help keep the housing market and household indebtedness stable”

The housing market is going strong, but recent reports on household debt indicate that consumers are spending themselves into a deep hole…

Prediction #4 – “In the vast majority of Canadian housing markets, this year will present buyers with the opportunity of time…it gives the buyer an opportunity to shop around to find something that best suits their needs.”

In the local market, they definitely missed on this one. This year had been one of the toughest markets in a long time to be successful in buying a home in the Hamilton/Burlington area. Competing offers has been the “norm” in our market with many buyers offering on 5 or more homes before being successful.

Prediction #5 – “In most markets in Canada, sellers will have to adjust to a slower market where multiple offers are no longer the norm.”

They missed on this one…

Prediction #6 – There will not be a housing crash in 2016

So far, so good. There are no clouds on the horizon indicating that the experts were wrong on this one.

In looking at the predictions, I guess the “experts” need to do a little polishing on their crystal balls before publishing their 2017 predictions.

Keep in mind that real estate markets are very local in nature. To find out exactly what is happening in your area, call one of our professionals.
At Coldwell Banker Community Professionals we don’t strive to be the biggest but we do strive to be the best.

STORM – WHAT STORM? WE’RE STILL WORKING!

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Our first real storm of this year hit hard early Sunday evening and finished up by mid-morning on Monday. It was pretty nasty with high winds, drifting snow, poor visibility, and so on.

I woke up early Monday morning and turned on the radio to listen to the list of closures. Schools, universities, community centres, and some businesses were closed. Our offices were also closed.

Finally, after more than three hours of shoveling sidewalks, driveways and helping our neighbours dig themselves out I was now able to get out and go to the office.

When I pulled into the parking lot there were already six cars at the office. One sales rep was negotiating a deal with his buyers and sellers. Another rep was reviewing listings with their client, and yet another was writing up an offer. After I completed what I had to do I returned home to do some more shoveling.

Later Monday evening I was reviewing all the new listings posted to the MLS® for the day. I came across a listing where the listing sales representative obviously took exterior pictures of the house that very morning as evidence by the tracks in the 3-4 foot snowdrifts.

After thinking about the day’s events, all I could think was, KUDOS to all the hard working REALTORS® out there who don’t let a little Canadian snowstorm get in their way!!

 

IS IT A GOOD TIME TO SELL YOUR HOUSE DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON?

In a word, YES! Many home owners are reluctant to put their house up for sale during the Holiday Season because this is a very busy time of year. However, there are several advantages to the seller if they do decide to sell their house during this very busy time.

First, there is less competition as most home owners do not want the hassle of selling their home over the holidays. Less competition means a higher sale price.

Second, when does your home look its best? When it is beautifully decorated for the holidays, of course. It is a fact that homes sell for more money when they show well.

And let’s not forget the Buyers. All home sellers only want serious buyers to view their homes. Traditionally most buyers that are looking for a home during the holiday season are serious buyers and need to move, otherwise they would be spending their spare time enjoying the season with friends and family.

Putting it all together, less competition, a great looking house, and serious buyers you end up with a winning combination.

If you are thinking of selling, you might think about putting your home on the market now to maximize all your opportunities. Call a Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate professional to help you achieve all your real estate goals.

 

10 Steps: How to Make a Successful Relocation Move

Gary HerronIn the most recent Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC) newsletter there was an article about making a successful relocation move and I thought this would be good to share with our readers. These steps can be applied to any move you may be making. 

 

Moving to a new, unfamiliar community can be stressful and demanding. To make your transfer go smoother, consider these suggestions:

1.  SELECT THE RIGHT REAL ESTATE AGENT. 

  • Working with a good agent is one of the most important aspects of a successful home purchase. Key qualities to look for: experience with relocating clients, strong local market knowledge and solid communication skills. If your agent has earned the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation you’ll know they also have special training in representing buyers.

2.  GET PRE-APPROVED (NOT JUST PRE-QUALIFIED) FOR YOUR MORTGAGE.

 

  • Pre-approval means your application has already been processed and final approval is only contingent upon an appraisal and other issues.  Mortgage pre-approval puts you in a more favorable negotiating position with sellers and allows you to make faster decisions.

3.  SEPARATE YOUR NEEDS FROM YOUR WANTS. 

  • The difference may seem subtle, but this makes it easier to quickly narrow your options and find the best home for your needs.

4.  KEEP COPIOUS NOTES. 

  • You’ll probably see many homes in a short of time. Detailed notes, photos, and listing sheets can help you recall each property after a busy “home shopping” trip.

5.  THINK ABOUT SELLING WHILE BUYING. 

  • Transferees often face future relocations, so it’s important to consider a home’s resale value. If your agent is pointing out a home’s flaws, they’re probably looking out for your future best interest.

6.  LEARN THE MARKET. 

  • Buyers can gather an amazing amount of information online about the markets they’re considering for their new home (Although an experienced agent will always have a stronger pulse on local market prices than any website). Do your homework and rely on your agent to add key perspectives.

7.  BE PREPARED TO MAKE FAST DECISIONS.

  • Many markets now favour sellers or simply lack adequate home inventories, causing buyers to quickly regret momentary hesitation on a desirable home. Consider making an offer right away, even if you plan to view additional properties.

8. BEFORE PLACING AN OFFER, REQUEST A QUICK CMA.

  • Agents can produce a comparable market analysis on any home in a matter of minutes. This is also where an agent with local market expertise can be a real plus.

9.  BE PREPARED FOR EMOTIONAL UPS AND DOWNS.

  •  Negotiating an offer can be a draining experience. Try to remain calm and maintain perspective as offers and counter offers are exchanged.

10. LEARN FROM HOME INSPECTORS.

  • The level of detail in home inspections has improved dramatically. If at all possible, attend the inspection in person. You’ll also gain many valuable tips about maintaining your home in the written report. As far as renegotiating on repair items, remember that in strong markets, sellers may be unwilling to make any concessions based on the inspector’s report.

So if you are thinking of making a move, contact Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate and ask to speak to one of our sales representatives with the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation.

WHAT DOES A FOR SALE BY OWNER (FSBO) NEED TO KNOW?

There is a lot of talk out there about whether or not a home owner should sell their home themselves. I would like to share a few facts with you that may make a difference in your decision on using a REALTOR®.

Home owners have been using REALTORS® for well over 100 years. In today’s society nothing lasts that long unless there is undisputed value.

Buyers who shop For Sale By Owner properties only do so because they think there is a deal to be had. They believe they can get a huge discount on the price because the Seller doesn’t have to pay a commission. The Seller will always have to pay a commission – either to the Buyer or to the REALTOR®. If you are going to be paying a commission anyway, why not use a real estate professional and have them do all the work and take all the risk.

The Law of Supply and Demand states that the more buyers you have wanting to purchase the same product, the more they are willing to pay for the product. When you list your home on the Multiple Listing Service® or MLS® with a local real estate professional, your home is exposed to a huge number of potential Buyers. In our area, there are approximately 2,700 REALTORS® and approximately 40,000 REALTORS® in the neighbouring GTA. If each of those REALTORS® only had ONE Buyer client, that is an astounding number of potential Buyers for your property. How many potential Buyers would the FSBO be able to attract on their own? The odds are that a REALTOR® could probably sell it faster and for more money.

One of the most important roles of the real estate professional is negotiating on behalf of the Seller. The REALTOR® will negotiate with home inspectors, appraisers, lenders, etc., and the Buyer, or the Buyer’s representative to ensure the Seller gets the best terms and conditions on the sale of their largest single investment.

So if you are thinking of selling, talk to one of our Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate professionals to help guide you through the challenges of selling your home.

ARE YOU READY TO CLOSE UP THE COTTAGE?

My family and I recently came back from our annual vacation at the cottage. We have been going to the same cottage resort for 20 years. While driving home I thought about all the cottage owners out there who have to start thinking about closing up there vacation home for the winter months.

I came across some basic tips from the Canada Safety Council that I would like to share.

Water Supply

If your cottage is not winterized, you can take steps to prevent your water supply line from freezing during the winter. You don’t want to arrive there next spring to discover the consequences of not having drained the pipes before you close up this fall. Frozen pipes can burst, causing damage and meaning you’ll have no running water.

Pipes can be fully drained when you’re closing up the cottage. The water supply line can be filled with non-toxic anti-freeze made especially for supply pipes. And pipes that are carefully wrapped at key junction points are better protected against the cold.

As part of your maintenance routine you should also check the inside of your hot water holding tank for residue that can affect water quality and get caught in the faucet screen. Also, you should have your water analyzed regularly by a lab to ensure its quality, especially if the water suddenly shows a yellow or brown tinge. A filtration system can significantly increase the purity level and lessen the wear-and-tear on your cottage water system. This is also the ideal time to thoroughly check your plumbing and faucets after a summer’s wear-and-tear.

Wildlife

Damages from small animals such as mice and squirrels are a concern to cottage owners. Avoid using poisons to keep out these critters that love to move in when you move out. You should remove all food from cottage before you close it. Bats, mice and squirrels can wiggle in through the smallest of holes. Inspect the building inside and out to make sure there are no small openings for them to enter. Place a wooden cover on the chimney to discourage birds and small animals from entering, and to stop any rain or snow. Tightly close your fireplace damper to prevent animals from getting in.

Electrical system

Some people choose to shut off electricity to their home in the off-season by throwing the main switch at the fuse box. If you do this, be sure to turn off all major appliances, your water heater, and electrical room heaters before you turn off the main switch. This will ensure a smoother and safer start-up when you re-open your home.

If you leave your electricity on to operate security systems or lighting, you should turn off the power supply to your major appliances at your main panel. Turn off the power supply to any space heaters. Otherwise they may turn on during cold weather.

To ensure the stove, fridge and other electrical equipment are not used in your absence, remove fuses and hide them in a safe place.

Visually inspect your hydro metre and power lines for damage. If a power line is down or damaged, stay clear and call your Hydro Company. Inspect visible wiring to outdoor lighting fixtures, water pumps and other equipment. If wires are damaged, remove the fuse to that circuit or turn off the circuit breaker, and call a qualified electrician.

Check all household appliance cords. If damaged, unplug the appliance and do not use it until the cord is replaced. If your electrical panel uses fuses, make sure they are screwed in tightly and that you have spares. Don’t use fuses higher than 15 amps in normal receptacles and lighting circuits.

Boat Motors and other power equipment

When storing power boating motors and other power equipment do not drain gasoline from fuel tanks, instead use a fuel stabilizer (available from your dealer or auto parts store). Winterize your engine(s) away from the water. Store boat motors, lawnmowers and other items with engines in a dry, weatherproof place. Cover anything that may rust over the winter with a coat of oil.

If your cottage is in a heavy snow area, consider installing temporary supports to protect the roof from caving in. Another option is to hire a reliable local person to shovel the snow off the roof when necessary.

I hope these tips were helpful and remember that time spent in preventative measures now will pay significant dividends next spring when you open the cottage for next year’s season.

 

 

REAL ESTATE IS A LOCAL MARKET! WHAT DOES THAT REALLY MEAN?

Every day we are bombarded with news and information regarding the real estate market. The Canadian real estate bubble is about to burst. Canadian homes are 20% overvalued. There will be a soft landing in real estate. Canada is due for a major price correction. You’ve all heard these comments time and time again over the last couple of years.

The crazy thing is all these statements are true! The problem is these are just the headlines. These headlines sell newspapers. If you read the whole article it will refer to specific markets. When talking about overvalued homes or overheated markets they are usually referring to housing markets in the major centres such as Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto.

Let’s look at the Hamilton-Burlington real estate market for example. Our local REALTOR® association reports sales statistics on a monthly basis. They report such things as average price increases/decreases, number of sales increases/decreases, what is selling better this month, detached homes or condos. This is all great information but this data represents a large geographic area.

What you have to remember is the real estate market can be different in each area. For example: Ancaster vs Burlington, Dundas vs Hamilton, Lower City vs Hamilton Mountain, Stoney Creek vs Grimsby. It can even be different from neighbourhood to neighbourhood.

So what is really happening in YOUR neighbourhood? You need to call one of our Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate professionals to analyze all the statistics and information that is floating around out there. They will provide you with all the necessary information to help you make the right decision when it comes to buying or selling real estate.