Tag Archives: buy a house

April Showers Love on Barrie’s Real Estate Market

May 11, 2012

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April in Barrie and the area has been another blockbuster month for the real estate market. We’ve broken the record in Barrie for 2012 with a stellar 271 sold residential properties. The average selling price is up once again at $301,390 which is a 6.25% increase from this time last year. The average days on the market are at 32 with a list-to-sale price ratio of 97.9% (which means sellers are getting almost 98% of asking price) indicating that the sellers market continues.

This doesn’t mean that buyers shouldn’t be out looking! In Barrie alone, 421 new homes came on the market (802 new listings on the entire Barrie board). There is definitely something out there for everyone. The bonus being a buyer right now is that the mortgage rates have remained stable…for the time being. You probably read Tim’s “Mortgage Monday Rate Update” this week that talks about great 5-year, and even 10-year rates!

Another aspect to keep in mind is that every neighbourhood has its own market conditions. If you have a question about a specific neighbourhood, or how your own house might fare on the market, talk to your favourite REALTOR to get the best advice.

Stay tuned for more real estate statistics every month!

Laura

Laura Keller of Century 21 B.J. Roth Realty is a real estate agent with a business philosophy of nurturing relationships with her clients. She will walk you through the process of buying, selling, or investing step-by-step so there are no surprises at the end of your transaction.

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Marijuana Grow Houses

February 10, 2012

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When you’re buying a house, there’s always the possibility that you’ll find an old grow house on your search. Unfortunately, the signs can be very hard to spot. Before a grow house goes on the market, it should be extensively renovated to correct the problems, but sometimes the only corrections are cosmetic.

Here are some common signs that the house you’re interested in may have been a grow op:

  1. A tampered electrical panel and exterior meter
  2. Fireplace alterations
  3. An unusual amount of venting on the roof
  4. Mould spots in corners of rooms
  5. Fresh paint and/or condensation around windows

Like usual, always make sure to get a home inspection before you finalize the deal on any house you’re buying. Although an inspector cannot guarantee that a house was never a grow op, most trusted home inspectors have enough experience to notice the signs. You can also contact your local police department to find out if they have ever dismantled grow ops at a specific address.

Here are some of the dangers that result from a grow house:

  1. Fire and electrocution
  2. Booby traps
  3. Toxic mould and chemical fumes
  4. Potential violence if the house is well-known by drug dealers
  5. Environmental damage

Check out this YouTube video from CBC’s “Marketplace” on a grow op bust in Brampton.

Another benefit to using a REALTOR is that we are obligated to disclose the fact that a house is a grow op if we’re aware of it; buying privately gives you no guarantee on anything!

Good luck, and always ask lots of questions!!!

Laura

Laura Keller of Century 21 B.J. Roth Realty is a real estate agent with a business philosophy of nurturing relationships with her clients. She will walk you through the process of buying, selling, or investing step-by-step so there are no surprises at the end of your transaction.

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Facing Multiple Offers

January 10, 2012

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First, let’s define a multiple offer. It is a situation in which more than one buyer is interested in a property and offers the seller an Agreement of Purchase and Sale which includes price, inclusions, terms, closing date, conditions, etc.

Working with multiple offers is a very emotional process for both buyers and sellers, but for very different reasons. You may have been in a position as a buyer when your offer isn’t the only one on the table. In Ontario, if there is more than one offer on a property, the listing salesperson must disclose the number of competing offers, however they cannot divulge the price, terms or conditions on any other offers.

If you’re a buyer, consider these options:

  • Pricing. This is the first thing people think of in any offer situation, but it’s extra stressful now. Your best price is certainly the route most buyers would take. Consider, however, what the property is worth. If your offer is accepted with an inflated price, you may have issues getting financing – no lender will give you money if they can’t make it back in the case of power of sale or foreclosure. Also know that offering the asking price – or more than the asking price – does not guarantee your offer will be accepted.
  • Home Inspection. You may be tempted to not include a clause in the conditions requiring a home inspection. Indeed this is your decision, but just be aware that if there are problems later in the house you will be responsible for them. This is a big risk that you have to very carefully consider.
  • Financing. Removing the financing condition is an immense risk. Don’t forget that pre-qualifying for a mortgage doesn’t guarantee that you will be approved. The lender still has to assess the property as well as your most current income and credit rating. Again, this is your decision as a buyer, but if you don’t get financing after the offer has been accepted, you’re still responsible for buying the house!

If you are in a seller’s position, your emotions are no doubt different than the buyers’! You are probably excited at the fact that you get to choose the best offer out there, and you are in the position of power. You still have some very tough decisions to make, but talk to your REALTOR about all the options available to you.

If you’re a seller, consider these options:

  • Accept the best offer. This means that there are no negotiations since you are happy with the offer overall including price, terms, closing date, etc.
  • Negotiate with one buyer and reject all others. This is a tricky situation because if your counter-offer is rejected by the buyer, you’re back to square one. It can, however, work in your favour if there are only a couple minor details that need to be ironed out.
  • Negotiate with one buyer and let the other buyers know that their offers have been set aside in the meantime. This is the least risky option for you, however be prepared for the “other” buyers to make offers on other properties.
  • Reject all offers. As with non-competing offers, you don’t have to accept any of them if they don’t meet your minimum standards.

Whoever you are in a multiple offer situation, be sure to seek advice from your real estate professional about the choices. We have all the latest market conditions that can help you make the decision, but remember, you have the final say!

Good luck!

Laura

Laura Keller of Century 21 B.J. Roth Realty is a real estate agent with a business philosophy of nurturing relationships with her clients. She will walk you through the process of buying, selling, or investing step-by-step so there are no surprises at the end of your transaction.

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Top 5 Reasons to Make Barrie Your New Home in 2012

November 29, 2011

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Thinking of making a change in the new year? Want to get out of the rat race…but not too far away? Sick of your small town, but don’t want to be overwhelmed in a big city? Barrie has the best of both worlds. Read more to find out why!!

  1. The Waterfront. Kempenfelt Bay, as part of Lake Simcoe, is a main attraction for locals and visitors alike. Not only is it safe to swim here, you can fish in summer AND winter! Seeing ice fishing huts scattered throughout Kempenfelt Bay is an amazing sight. It is also the site for many festivals, including the ever-popular Kempenfest, the Barrie Waterfront Festival, and Barrie’s CaribFest! These summer festivals bring thousands of people to our fair city which is a testament to how attractive our waterfront is.
  2. Year-Round Activities. Lots of cities and towns have plenty of activities to do throughout the non-snowy months, but very few have the opportunity to include just about everyone in winter activities. In warmer weather, you can go biking, hiking, rollerblading on the boardwalk, or just go for a walk on the water and get an ice cream cone! In winter, the possibilities are almost as endless. As I mentioned before, head down to Kempenfelt Bay for some ice fishing, or if you’re into something more high energy, how about some kite-boarding?! Drive 10 minutes out of town for some snowmobiling, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing on the Oro Rail Trail. Drive a little bit longer for downhill skiing at Horseshoe or Moonstone!
  3. Great Restaurants & Shopping. I love our downtown restaurants and shopping. We have great independent business owners. If it’s fine dining you want, check out Michael & Marion’s, At the Five, or North. Want a pub atmosphere? Try Donaleigh’s! You can find live music at Kenzington, Manhattan’s or see bigger names at The Mansion. And if you’re looking for Indian food or sushi, you’ll find it in Barrie. We have great boutiques for shopping downtown, and the Georgian Mall is there for all your shopping needs. Rarely do I have to go to Toronto to shop for myself or for gifts. The Paper Merchant has beautiful stationary and gifts for any occasion.
  4. Small-Town Feel, Close to Big City. It’s not very often I go downtown or to the mall or to a restaurant where I don’t run into someone I know…and I’ve only lived here for a few years. Barrie’s a great city to make connections – everyone knows everyone! We have the new Mady Centre for the Performing Arts for live performances, but for bigger productions you can still head to Toronto for an evening at the opera or to see the TSO, or even commute to work while you’re looking for a job here.
  5. Affordable Housing. If you’re coming from Toronto, you know that buying a home in the City is very difficult for most people. On average, you’ll probably need to spend half a million dollars to get a very average home. The average price for a home in Barrie is around $280,000. If you’re just starting out on a single income, you can even find a small condo for well under $200,000. That’s not to say there aren’t beautiful homes here either, but $500,000 will go a lot further here than it will in Toronto. Have a couple million to spend? Get a beautiful estate home in the country or on the water. Check out November’s RBC report on Housing Trends and Affordability to see what’s going on across Canada.

There are so many reasons to make Barrie your home. I’ve lived in lots of different cities in Canada, and I’ve chosen to make Barrie my permanent home. At least come check us out for a weekend, and if you’ve never been here and you’re looking to make a move, I’d be happy to show you around!

Laura

Laura Keller of Century 21 B.J. Roth Realty is a real estate agent with a business philosophy of nurturing relationships with her clients. She will walk you through the process of buying, selling, or investing step-by-step so there are no surprises at the end of your transaction.

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Why work with a REALTOR?

November 22, 2011

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This is a question that I try to answer before it’s even asked. While every REALTOR offers different services, one of the primary reason buyers and sellers choose US to help with their real estate transactions, is simple – we work for YOU! This is one of the most expensive transactions you’ll deal with, and you should have a professional looking out for your best interests.

Check out this video about all the “verbs” we take care of for you!  What does a REALTOR do for me?

You may have already read my posts about Signing the Buyer Representation Agreement or Signing A Listing Agreement, but you may not know that REALTORS are governed – quite rigorously, I might add – by some very large regulatory bodies including the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) and the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). In fact, you can even search our names on RECO to a) ensure we are actually a real estate profession under these governing bodies, and b) to see if we’ve ever had any legal claims against us! This can certainly give you peace of mind when you finally decide who you want to work with.

We know your time is precious. Assuming you choose to work with a full-time REALTOR, our job goes far beyond what you see when we’re together. The paperwork alone is very time-consuming, and very important to protect you. We even preview homes before we take you there (assuming you don’t want to see the property the same day!); this ensures that nobody is fooled by pretty photos of a dump. Wouldn’t you be upset if your REALTOR took you to a property without looking at it first and it was in worse condition than you all expected?!

We have a duty of care to you that ensures your protection, and insurance to back that up. If you go it alone, either buying or selling, you don’t know if the other party is being truthful. REALTORS are obligated to be forthcoming about all information pertaining to the transaction so you know you’re covered! I recently had someone tell me they bought privately – no REALTORS were involved. It turns out the homeowners were lying about foundation issues, roof issues, and plumbing issues! He told me he has a new found respect for what I do.

The bottom line is that we’re full-time professionals for a reason. You probably don’t fix your own transmission, or install your own windows, or write your own wills! The important decisions in life need to be properly cared for by a professional. Certainly I’m biased, but I wouldn’t be in this line of work if I didn’t believe I was helping people. Make sure you think long and hard before deciding to work alone. Go ahead and interview a few REALTORS to see what they can offer you! You may be surprised.

Laura

Laura Keller of Century 21 B.J. Roth Realty is a real estate agent with a business philosophy of nurturing relationships with her clients. She will walk you through the process of buying, selling, or investing step-by-step so there are no surprises at the end of your transaction.

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