Making moves

Bullseye

It's been a busy past couple months and if that's any indication as to the trend for the rest of this year, I couldn't be more ecstatic.

This past February, I was invited by the team at PMA Brethour Realty to attend a financial summit in Toronto. Partnered with RBC, the summit featured economist Dr. Alan Beaulieu, President and CEO at ITR Economics, who spoke regarding emerging economic trends and their subsequent effects to the housing market, private businesses and investments. The summit was a great success and I enjoyed getting to know the PMA team better while we traveled by train to Toronto.

Earlier this month, I was also invited by Diamond sponsor Pro/Com Realty Group to attend the 16th Annual Business Excellence Awards held at the Hilton Lac-Leamy in Gatineau. A prestigious event organized by the Orléans Chamber of Commerce, this gala dinner featured awards for 12 Rising Stars of the East Ottawa Business Community as well as a charity auction with all proceeds benefiting Children at Risk. My wife and I enjoyed meeting up with old friends and making new acquittances.

Like Wayne Gretzky once famously said, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." Which brings me to my next bit of new business... Saving the best news for last, I'm pleased to announce I have joined the team at PMA Brethour Realty in Ottawa. As one of Canada's premiere Real Estate brokerages and research firms, PMA has been serving the building and development industry since 1964. Working with the top builders in the industry from Uniform, Minto, Tartan, Richcraft and Mattamy (to name only a handful), in a sales, market research and consulting capacity, PMA has the real estate market covered. 

While I'm grateful for my time at Keller Williams Integrity, I'm looking forward to contributing to my new team at PMA and working on many diverse new projects this spring.

Winter wonderland

Luxury Home in Winter

Harsh winds, frigid temperatures and epic snowfalls make up a typical winter for most Canadians. For those of us who aren't active in winter sports or aren't escaping winter all together in the sunny south, these long winter months can seem like the perfect time to hibernate and put off any major plans until a warmer season.

When it comes to real estate sales, spring is typically known as the best time to list a home... but are there advantages to listing during the winter months? The answer is "yes." Here's a list of 5 reasons why listing during the winter might prove to be even more beneficial.

1) During the early winter months, the market notoriously has fewer listings. Serious buyers actively searching for a property during this time will have fewer homes to chose from. If your property is listed for sale, that can equate to less market competition and potentially more money for you.

2) People who shop for a home during these months tend to be more serious buyers.

3) Some properties might potentially show better during the winter. Snow covered front yards and back yards, can mask any imperfections or landscaping inadequacies and potentially create a more favourable first impression.

4) You can sell sooner for more money. Options for a delayed closing or extended occupancy can be arranged if moving during winter is impractical.

5) January is traditionally the month for employees to begin new jobs. Transfers can't wait until spring to buy, so having your property already on the market opens the door to a greater number of potential buyers.

We are Integrity.

Keller Williams Integrity Realty

First off, I would like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year! May 2017 bring you much joy and prosperity!

In other news, I'm happy to announce some exciting changes on the horizon. Keller Williams VIP Realty will now be named Keller Williams Integrity Realty. Founded on the principles of trust and honesty, this new name is a change I can definitely stand behind. Integrity is a quality that should be valued by everyone in all aspects of life and one that is especially integral to any business dealings.

More details to come on our brand new office, fully equipped with state-of-the-art technology, design with real estate in mind.

All in all, 2017 is set to be another stellar year!

Purchasing property in the fall

Fall

From back to school, to the start of a new semester or simply back to work after summer vacation, autumn is a great time for change and new beginnings. Cooler temperatures and an ever-changing backdrop of fall colours help play into the mindset of change. For home buyers and sellers, fall is a season to get excited about and with it comes many potential pros in the real estate market.

If you're in the market to buy, chances are properties still on the market belong to owners who are serious about selling. And motivated sellers can mean room to negotiate on the price. Winter can bring a lull in the market's momentum as most people get caught-up with holidays and are less inclined to venture out and house hunt or simply aren't interested in up-rooting their family during the school year.

Fall is considered by most to be the second best season to sell a home. Vacation goers who were away during the summer can capitalize on the decreased competition in the housing market during the fall months. This can also mean more time to shop around and properly negotiate a price and longer-term closing date on the property.

Luxury real estate

Luxury Property

The time has come and you're ready to purchase your next property. You're knowledgeable about potential red flags (you've got a trusted home inspector on speed dial), you know which locations are desirable and most importantly, you've got the capital to spend on what you want.

So what should you focus on when property shopping?

First, stay away from novelty features that can quickly become fads. Remember faux wood paneling, linoleum flooring and laminate countertops of the 70s? How about sunken living rooms, snail showers and microwave built-ins of the 80s? Or pine cabinetry and pink or forest green carpeting of the '90s? Sure there are style trends that periodically seem to make a come-back but for the most part, these kitschy fads are better left forgotten.

Skip the current trends of Zen gardens, themed rooms and pre-wired surround sound systems. Stay away from technology that will quickly become obsolete and may need to be replaced.

Instead, focus on timeless features like high ceilings, open-concept layouts and picturesque views. Look for properties with ample natural light, classic architecture and grand entry ways. Stick with post and beam or coffered ceilings, over-sized spa showers and professional kitchens with commercial-grade appliances. Find harmony and balance in homes that combine environmental systems and modern materials into the architecture of the property and take advantage of light and shade.

Opt for features that never go out of style and look for homes that have ample storage space or room to expand. Safe, secure and located in a great neighbourhood are also desirable features for any property.

Similar to luxury brands that have stood the test of time, stick with clean lines, functionality and classic beauty for a solid investment.

The benefits of an older home

The benefits of an older home

Many of us dream of owning a brand new home. Whether it's the appeal of starting from scratch or the lure of the most modern design choices, the temptation of purchasing a new home can be very alluring. While there are certainly many advantages to purchasing new, there are also ample benefits to purchasing an existing or older home.

For starters, selecting an older home can mean acquiring a move-in-ready property. Purchasing a home in an established community also means bypassing the ongoing construction mess in and around the neighbourhood of a new development. No noisy trucks, incessant hammering, dirty roads or endless stream of workers. An established neighbourhood means mature trees and landscaping, privacy and regular traffic.

Let's not forget the land itself. As the cost of land increases over the years, many newer builds offer much less footage than what was previously considered a standard. Older properties were typically built on larger plots of land with ample room for children and pets to play in the backyard while easily accommodating extras like a pool, toolshed or deck.

Older neighbourhoods also tend to be in the best locations around the city, often easily accessible to shops and restaurants and can mean a shorter commute to the office.

If the maintenance of an older home has you worried about potential costs down the road, consider a property that's been regularly maintained or recently renovated. In some cases, an older home may be a very reliable choice, having weathered many storms and withstood the test of time.

Skip feuding with your neighbour over property lines and fence costs, and enjoy the already cemented perimeters around your property. Didn't factor in the additional costs of blinds or curtains for each window or light fixtures for each room in your dream model house? Not to worry! With an existing build, these extras can be factored into the total cost.

If a cookie-cutter neighbourhood is a turn-off, the traditional craftsmanship and unique features of an older home are charms otherwise unattainable in a new build. History gives a home its character and there is no shortage of gems on the market to discover. 

With an established neighbourhood, you can avoid the wait and enjoy the home of your dreams as soon as you move in.

Thank you

Thank You

There is nothing more motivating than to have someone believe in your potential enough to give you a shot. I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to Liam Swords and his Grenville Guardian team for helping me transition into the world of real estate and for encouraging me along the way. It is because of your support and kindness that I have learned just how much I truly love helping people buy and sell their homes. I look forward to one day working with you again, as fellow colleagues in the real estate business.

That said, I'd like to announce that I have decided to join the Keller Williams team as I continue to pursue real estate. I'm confident that with this new brokerage I can continue to provide the services I've become known for while taking advantage of the brand's proven business models and systems. With the help of the world's largest real estate franchise, and the leadership and support of my new team at Keller Williams VIP Realty, I look forward to meeting new clients and fulfilling their buying and selling goals.

Forever young: The adult-lifestyle bungalow

Kitchen

Steadily increasing in popularity as more and more baby boomers retire, adult-lifestyle bungalows provide a desirable "next step" investment.

So why are these bungalows all the rage among older audiences? Although today's boomers are for the most part active and in great health compared with generations before them, many realize further down the road they may not be so fortunate. Flights of stairs may become tedious, yard work may become laborious and the overall upkeep of a large single-family home may become a strain. A move to an open concept home with master bedroom, den and laundry room on the main floor are just some of the features that can help prolong independent living well into senior years.

More and more home builders are adding bungalows to their mix of models with specific features like walk-in showers, easy to reach cabinets and wide entrances designed to accommodate potential walkers or wheelchairs. Downsizing no longer means sacrificing luxury, as all the bells and whistles can be added to many of these models. Floor plans come standard with cathedral and vaulted ceilings to open up the home, often creating the illusion of more square footage.

Planned pockets of adult-lifestyle bungalows are also being built in communities where amenities and shops are short distances away. Integrated into neighbourhoods of single-family homes, boomers can still be a part of a young community.

Planning ahead and investing early in this style of home can only bring added benefits down the road when boomers shift into fixed income retirement. As the demand increases, so does the value of the home as builders are already showing signs they will be unable to keep up with future demand. With the number of Canadians over 65 set to double by 2036, the adult-lifestyle bungalow is sure to be a hot commodity of the future.

Staging to sell

Congratulations! You're ready to put your home on the market! But before you take your first listing photo or host your first open house, consider that staging your home can help fetch a higher price for your property. And can all agree that in today's economy, any increase in revenue is an added bonus.

To start with, this means de-personalizing your home. Personal items and photos should be removed so that potential buyers can imagine themselves living in the home, and not you and your family.

Next, maximizing the space by decluttering can give the appearance of larger rooms and greater storage area. Removing non-essentials, organizing items or creating focal points help buyers visualize the potential in your home. Organization not your speciality? A professional home stager can help. Skilled at accentuating your home's best features and presenting your home in its best light, a home stager can easily create visual appeal.

So what's the most cost-effective and important step in staging your home? Cleaning it, of course! From sparkling bathrooms to gleaming kitchens, using a bit of elbow grease to make your home shine is well worth the effort. If this task seems daunting, consider hiring professional cleaners to give your home a once-over. Cleaning experts will be prepared to tackle everything from baseboards and windows, to deep cleaning your appliances.

Want to appeal to the masses? Present a neutral and modern picture. While bright accent walls and vibrant, contrasting colours might be your preference, a more neutral pallet will help potential buyers imagine how their own tastes would fit in your home. Open curtains and blinds to let in natural light and present a bright and airy home potential buyers will remember favourably.

Remember, most people will judge a home during the first 7-10 seconds they set foot on the property. Make sure your home creates the right first impression to maximize its sale potential.

On deck for spring 2016

Tulips

Although the Canadian housing market seems to be operating under the same status quo, there are many that are anticipating the inevitable bubble to burst.

With a new government in power, change is to be expected. As of February 15, 2016, the minimum down payment on homes valued at $500,000 or more has changed. In an effort to try and cool the growing housing markets in Toronto and Vancouver, a graduated 10% minimum down payment is now required – a change that impacts 1% or less of the market.

As mortgage rates remain at an all time low, 2016 is a great time to take advantage and lock into low rates. With a typical spring buying surge anticipated, expect to see an ample crop of homes listed on the market for sale.

If you're looking to buy or sell this spring, let me simplify the search for your new home. Contact me today to get started!