Giving Back to the Community

Every year at this time all of us at Coldwell Banker Community Professionals have traditionally raised money for our community. This year we have been reminded through our relationships with family and friends, just how fortunate we are to have Juravinski Hospital close by. We have chosen to give back by supporting Juravinski’s Stem Cell Transplant Program.

If you wish to join us in supporting this program, please visit to donate.

Can I Afford to Buy a House?

When is enough enough?

Today’s real estate market is all about competing offers. It seems most properties are being listed with a time period in which no offers will be considered. This is ideal for the seller, allowing everyone who might be interested in the property the opportunity to view the house, and decide if they want to make an offer. For all the buyers out there, it’s not quite so ideal, as it creates a situation where a buyer is almost assured of being in competition to buy a home.

When a buyer finds a home they want to buy, the first question they ask their REALTOR® is “How much should I offer to be sure I get this house?” Unfortunately there is no easy answer to that question.

In competition, houses quite often sell for more than their market value, which makes it a bit of a guessing game. Your REALTOR® can tell you what the property’s market value is, but they cannot anticipate how much someone will to pay to own a particular home.

When deciding how much to offer, a good test is to find the price point at which you as the buyer can say, “I would not be upset if someone else bought it at that price”. If the seller is asking $400,000 for example, and you as the buyer decide your top price for the home is $500,000, ask yourself, would you be upset if you learned someone bought it for $510,000? $505,000? If you can say to yourself, ”no I would not be upset”, you have reached your top price. If you say, I would have paid that much, you have not topped out on what you believe you would pay.

That said, listen to your REALTOR®. They will caution you not to offer so much that you put your financing availability at risk. Also, buying a house at any price is not the answer either. If in the example I mentioned above, you are able and willing to pay $500,000 for a home, be sure there is not another property on the market that you have not looked at because it is listed higher that you we thinking of buying.

As always, if you are thinking of buying or selling a home, be sure to speak to a REALTOR® first. Call one of our Coldwell Banker Community Professionals reps. They are very knowledgeable, and will help you determine what is the best decision for YOU, right now.


atlanta-frozen-pipeSadly I am not referring to the Disney movie of the same title…

Each winter we hear news reports of homes that have had the pipes freeze in the severe cold weather we experience. Everyone seems to be forecasting for us to have a colder than average winter this year, so I thought I would touch on this early enough for preventive measures to be taken.

Generally when pipes freeze it is because they either run through an uninsulated area, such as a garage, crawl space or an attic, or are located on exterior walls of the house without adequate insulation between them and the wall. Another unexpected, but common cause can be an outside hose that is left connected to an outside faucet. When it freezes it puts pressure on the interior pipes, and can cause them to break, so always disconnect your garden hose at the end of the season. Also, always turn off your outside faucets and drain the last of the water out of the spigot.

If your water pipes run through an uninsulated or poorly insulated area, you can purchase foam wrap for the pipes. If you are concerned that the pipes will be exposed to the full cold, you can also wrap the pipes with a heat tape that will maintain a minimum temperature to prevent them freezing.

For pipes running in exterior walls, the only effective way to correct the problem is to open up the walls and improve the insulation. On very cold walls, you may actually need to reroute the pipes to a less exposed location.

It may seem like a lot of work to do on the chance that the pipes may freeze, but broken pipes will lead to larger repair bills down the road, including the potential for mold removal.

If you are buying an older home, be sure to have your home inspector check where the water feed is in the house. It is always better to know before winter strikes whether you may have a problem…

Also remember if you have a home with a lawn sprinkler system, have the water blown from the system at the end of the season.

As always, one of our Coldwell Banker Community Professionals will be happy to speak with you about this and other home ownership concerns.

At Coldwell Banker Community Professionals, we don’t strive to be the biggest, we strive to be the best!

The Grass IS Always Greener Over the Septic Tank – Erma Bombeck was right



Most home owners may not have ever experienced this phenomenon, but those who have lived with a septic system know this is a fact…

If you are thinking of selling your home, curb appeal is especially important, as many buyers make up their mind whether they even want to look inside a home by driving past first. Whether you live in the city or on a rural property, keeping up your lawn and gardens can be a challenge, especially during summers like we just enjoyed.

Buyers are looking for well cared for homes, with lush, cared for grass. If you have gardens, they like to see them well tended, weeded, edged up, perhaps with a mulch cover to discourage weeds. Most hope for a finished driveway, whether paved, concrete, or interlocking block, that has been well maintained. In a rural setting, a gravel drive is common, but it still must be cared for, with a good gravel cover, distinct edges and no weeds.

If you are a true gardener, your efforts will garner attention. Many buyers love to see the gardens, and hope to become proficient at taking care of them. Buyers especially like to see perennial gardens, believing them to be lower maintenance.

Your lawn can be a big seller. That lush grass you can find over the septic tank appeals to buyers. If you can’t count on the septic bed to make your lawn look pretty, and you are planning to sell your home, prepare to keep your lawn well watered. You don’t need a weed killer company at your home, but regular maintenance to keep the weed population under control is necessary.

If you have a rural home, the lovely expanse of front lawn can make buyers anxious to see more…

If you are looking for more tips on how to make your home ooze curb appeal, speak to one of our Coldwell Banker Community Professionals. They have lots of tips and tricks up their sleeve to help you get top dollar for your home.

At Coldwell Banker Community Professionals, we don’t strive to be the biggest, we strive to be the best.

The Magnificent Seven!


Movie makers could only come up with seven magnificent cowboys. At Coldwell Banker Community Professionals we have an office full of magnificent individuals.

As part of our Ultimate Service Guarantee, we survey all our buyers and sellers to ask how we did. Many write in to tell us about their experience with our team of professionals, and I have selected some such testimonials to share with you. These are a sampling of the hundreds of surveys we receive back.

“Justin is the kind of agent everyone should have. His professionalism, while he helped and guided us through the purchase of a new property and the sale of our existing residence was greatly appreciated”

“Ozie was exceptional! We were blown away by his professionalism and kindness. Our expectations were exceeded”

“Jeannie was exceptionally helpful and accessible for all our home viewings. She made very helpful observations and was vested in finding the best home for us within our price range. She was, and continues to be prompt with messages. I don’t think we could have found our dream home without her!”

“It was a tough market and Jesse showed above and beyond customer service and PATIENCE! We are extremely happy with our final purchase!”

“As he has in the past, Vince went above and beyond our expectations. He provides exceptional customer service and prioritizes clients like they’re all his only one. I wish I could buy houses every year just to hang out with him more!”

“Amy is a very caring and devoted sales rep – She is looking out for our best interest. I will recommend her to my Friends and Family”

“Rejeanne was patient, understanding and she took the time to understand my needs, and as a result she showed me properties that were within my budget and needs She set me up with the listing alerts and I was able to view properties beforehand. My sales rep accommodated every change (and there were a few), and made every appointment as scheduled.”

“I was referred by a friend, but chose Coldwell Banker based on excellent rapport with Paul. Fast reply time, understood quickly, very patient in explaining everything (more than once). Paul made it comfortable to become a first time homebuyer.”

It’s impossible to pick just 7 magnificent experiences with so many to chose from.

If you are considering buying or selling your home, don’t hesitate to contact one of our Sales Professionals. You will receive the excellent service outlined above from everyone on our team.

At Coldwell Banker Community Professionals we don’t strive to be the Biggest, we strive to be the Best.

Thinking of Buying a Home? 3 Questions Every Buyer Should Answer First

house 4 sale

If you are thinking about buying a home, you are likely getting lots of advice from friends and family. They no doubt have your best interests at heart, but there are three questions you should ask yourself to decide if NOW is the right time.



1. Why am I buying a home in the first place?

This is the most important question you should ask yourself, as if will determine if you should be buying, and if so, what is most important to you in your home buying process. Financing doesn’t matter if you don’t know what you really need.
Many studies have been conducted, and 4 major reasons consistently turn up. These reasons are:

  • A good place to raise children and for them to get a good education
  • A place where you and your family feel safe
  • More space for you and your family
  • Control of that space

What does it mean to you to own a home? What benefits will moving provide you with?

Once you have answered this question…

2. Where are home values headed?
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s outlook for 2016 indicates that the Hamilton-Burlington area will experience a moderate price increase this year. This area is an exception to the general expectation that prices will cool across Canada. For an in-depth review of the local market, be sure to speak to your REALTOR®

3. Where are mortgage interest rates headed?
A buyer must be concerned about more than just prices. The ‘long term cost’ of a home can be dramatically impacted by even a small increase in mortgage rates. If you have been watching the news lately, you will notice that a couple of the large banks have already increased their mortgage rates. While the increases are small, and likely will have a small impact on affordability, you should ensure that your financing plans consider the possibility that rates may increase over the next few years, as that could affect the affordability of your mortgage payment when your current mortgage comes up for renewal.

Bottom Line
Only you and your family will know for certain if now is the right time to purchase a home. Answering these questions will help you make that decision.

Be sure to speak with one of our real estate Professionals. They will advise you on the current market conditions, and help you make an informed decision.

What is a Community?

You are part of a community, but what are you really part of?

We often talk about what is happening in our community, but I thought I would veer off and discuss just what makes us a community.

There are many levels to consider. For example, as REALTORS® we are part of the organized real estate community, which by the very MLS® rules we all agreed to abide by, make us part of a community of individuals working co-operatively to enable property owners and buyers to come together. We all work under the same guidelines, and have access to the same resources, through our local associations, our provincial associations and our national association. As part of this community, I can strongly recommend becoming involved in volunteering for these bodies, as you will gain a new respect for what they are trying to do on your behalf, and at the same time you will have a voice in how decisions are made that affect your business.

Another community level is within your business. At Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate we have a great community of individuals, who work together to help our clients, but also who work year round to help others in the Hamilton-Burlington area, through volunteering their time. Also, we work year round raising funds to help people in our area at the holiday season.

And the community that we all think of first is of course our geographic community, for me in particular the Hamilton-Burlington area, and in particular Ancaster, where I live. This is the community of like minded individuals who want the same services and enjoyment of what the area has to offer. This level of community likely has the greatest affect on your decision of where you want to live, and to REALTORS® is very important in helping people decide where they want to buy a home and raise their family.

We are very fortunate in the Hamilton area, as we benefit from a strong commitment to providing for our residents from our various levels of government. Our school systems are great, we have a comprehensive sports program for our youth, and also a strong support for seniors in the community.

Just think, all that and we have a great line up of events within our community, whether it be festivals, conservation area events, art festivals, theatre…the list is endless. We are very fortunate to be part of all these levels of community.

Why is My House Not Sold? It Can’t Be the Price!

sold copy 2Well, good news and bad news… It might not be the price, but then again maybe it is.

If you have your house on the market and are asking this question, first, consider how long it has been on the market and compare that to the average days on market for your area. If you’ve been less than or pretty close to the average, patience may be all you need. Not too much mind you. The averages don’t leave a lot of room for error.

If you have been for sale for more than the average time, you should consider the fact that the two primary reasons a home doesn’t sell are price or the sales representative. This is not to suggest you should fire your current sales rep. I’m afraid that’s likely not the problem, but it could be. You need to sit down with your sales representative and discuss what has been happening. Hopefully you have had regular contact with your rep, so this discussion should just be a refresher on what has transpired and what they have been doing to actively promote your property.

If upon review you feel that an effective marketing plan has been created and implemented, it’s time to have the dreaded price discussion. Your rep should sit down and go through an updated Comparative Market Analysis with you, thoroughly reviewing the properties similar to yours that have sold recently, what has been taken off the market and what has come onto the market.

The ones that have sold during the time you have been listed may have been bought by people who also looked at your house. You need to consider why they bought the other house when they were given the choice of yours. The properties that have come on the market are now your competition. Do they show better than yours? Are they better priced? These are all things you need to consider.

It is quite possible that both you and your sales rep believe that time is the answer. It is possible you are at a price point in the market where very few properties are selling. In such a situation you may feel waiting is the answer.

Hamilton is currently experiencing a market that favours the seller. In such a market, well priced homes generally sell in shorter periods of time. If you have determined that your property has been properly exposed, you truly do need to reduce your price to get it sold. REALTORS® often comment that ‘price fixes everything’. This can be very true. Perhaps your home needs updating, or it doesn’t show like a ’10’, or it is not in an ideal location… There are lots of reasons, but if it’s well priced to reflect these issues, there is a buyer out there for it.

As I read this over, I’m thinking I should consider taking my own advice. I’m ready to get my house sold… It’s been on the market long enough!

What I Like About Hamilton!

Gary and I decided that we would both write about this topic.  We may both now live in Hamilton, but one got here by chance and one has never lived anywhere else. If you read Gary’s blog last week, you know he is a transplant from the Peterborough area.

The interesting thing is that we both like Hamilton for many of the same reasons, the variety of architecture, the many forms of entertainment, the many recreational choices available, just to name a few. In addition to these points, I like Hamilton for a number of other reasons too.

Here are a few of them:

I like the fact that Hamilton offers the big city conveniences with the small town feel. For example, I like going to the grocery store and actually meeting people I know, some of whom I grew up with that have remained or returned to the old neighbourhood to raise their own family.

I like the fact that Hamilton is a compilation of smaller communities. Consider at this time of year how many local tree lighting ceremonies there are, or festivals to attend with the family. A variety of events happen year round, not just at the holiday season.

I like the fact that Hamilton is a caring community, cleaning up the waterfront and creating a park we and future generations can enjoy year round, whether it be walking, cycling, dragon boating, or whatever your pleasure might be.

I like that fact that we are home to the Royal Botanical Gardens.

I like the fact we have a world renowned Medical Centre and Children’s Hospital.

I like the fact we have a first class University, McMaster.

I like the fact that so many ill informed people think Hamilton is all about Steel, when we are all about the people that make up our communities, and who have over time made Hamilton the multi-faceted city that it is.

I could keep going, but I think you might be getting my drift.

And finally, what I like about Hamilton is that it is home, with all the great things that go with that word.

I am proud to claim Hamilton as my hometown.

You’ve heard from both Gary and me now about what we like about Hamilton, so tell us what you like about your community, or tell us what we forgot to mention about Hamilton!