Tag Archives: real estate

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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Mortgage Fraud Warning

May 4, 2012

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Courtesy of RECO’s “For the RECOrd” magazine

 

RECO investigators are all too familiar with mortgage fraud and the turmoil it causes for the victims who are left fighting to get their homes back. Unfortunately, in most cases, RECO only becomes aware of the mortgage fraud after the fact when a homeowner realizes they have been victimized. But on one recent afternoon, a tip from a brokerage helped RECO stop a fraudster in his tracks and save a senior from heartache.

“It had many signs of a mortgage fraud including someone misrepresenting themselves as a registrant in order to create the illusion of a legitimate transaction,” says RECO’s Deputy Registrar, Bruce Matthews. “But in this instance, we realized that we had an opportunity to act quickly and prevent a fraud from happening.”

It all started when a legal assistant at the Toronto law firm representing the supposed seller noticed irregularities in the real estate transaction. She inquired with Sutton Group All Po Realty, the brokerage that supposedly represented the seller. But Gail Fulton and Doug Lytle, staff members of the brokerage, were shocked to find that they had no record of such a deal. The pair quickly recognized the seriousness of the matter and immediately contacted RECO.

Within a few hours, the urgency of the investigation became clear as RECO’s Manager of Inspections & Investigations, Brian Prendergast, determined that the transaction was fraudulent and put a face to the fraud’s victim: an elderly minister who had no idea that a fraudster was trying to sell his house without his knowledge.

“Naturally he was shocked and alarmed,” says Prendergast. “We realized that this kind man could have his life turned upside down if he was forced to go through the exhaustive process of rectifying the title to the home he had lived in for over 30 years. Knowing what was at stake left us even more determined to do everything we could.”

Fortunately, it was not too late. Prendergast worked with representatives from Service Ontario’s Policy and Regulatory Services Branch to determine that the Land Transfer Office had indeed received and processed an application to transfer the title of the house and to register a $600,000 mortgage against the property. But, crucially, they had not yet certified the transfer. Once RECO informed them of the fraud they halted the transfer process immediately.

With RECO’s help, the homeowner returned the title to his name. He can now rest easy knowing his home is safe.

“I was surprised and shocked, but even in that first call Brian said everything would be okay,” says the homeowner, who has asked to keep his identity private. “Just an hour and a half later he phoned again to say everything was straightened out.”

While RECO’s quick work played a key role in preventing the fraud, numerous individuals from the brokerage, law firm and Service Ontario also deserve kudos for the roles they played.

“We owe a great deal of thanks to these individuals,” says Matthews. “They paid attention to their instincts and reacted quickly, allowing us to protect this gentleman from fraud.”

This potential fraud has a happy ending, exemplifying one of the ways RECO fulfills its mission to uphold the integrity of real estate transactions.

While RECO’s efforts prevented the fraudsters from making off with over half a million dollars, they remain at large. York Regional Police continue to investigate.

Tips to Avoid Mortgage Fraud:

Avoid being an unwitting participant in mortgage fraud. Be suspicious of situations where you are:

  • Asked to inflate (overstate) your income on a mortgage application, indicate you plan to live in a property being purchased as a rental property or provide other false statements.
  • Asked to sign documents that contain blanks or asked not to complete certain sections of a form or document.
  • Offered a fee for the use of your name and credit information.
  • Discouraged from visiting the property, having the property appraised or inspecting the property you are purchasing.

IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, IT PROBABLY IS!

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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5 Tips to Sell Your Home

April 27, 2012

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It’s a big decision to sell your house. Here are some easy tips to make the process go as smoothly as possible!

  1. Interview a few different agents before making a decision. Despite what you may think, we’re not all the same! We offer different services for different commission rates. Make sure you’re comfortable with the person you hire and know exactly what you’re getting for what you pay.
  2. Know your rights and obligations. There are so many contracts you have to sign from the listing agreement to the offer you accept. Have your REALTOR explain everything in detail before you sign anything, or have your lawyer go over it with you.
  3. Price it right. Base the price of your home on current market information instead of what you think it’s worth. Even if you put $20,000 into a renovation doesn’t necessarily mean you will get it back when you sell.
  4. Take your agent’s advice. If he or she suggests your home needs some TLC or de-cluttering, do it! It’s not an insult, we’re only trying to help. The better your home looks, the more money you’ll get in the end.
  5. Take the first offer seriously. It’s true what they say; it’s often the best one that comes across the table. Also consider that after your home has been on the market for 45 days (or whatever it has been) the market conditions may have changed from when you originally picked the price. Make sure your agent brings current comparables when you look at the offers.

These are just a few things you can do during the process of selling your home. Ask advice from your agent and other real estate professionals; they know what they’re doing!

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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Still a Seller’s Market in Barrie

April 13, 2012

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Not much has changed in a month! March residential sales are still up like they were in February, but there’s still a lack of inventory in our fair city. There is a lack of new listings on the market (361 this year compared to 381 in 2011), and demand remains high. Luckily for sellers, this means you get the most money for your home; the average selling price in Barrie is $293,050 going for 98% of asking price on average, up over $15,000 from this time last year.

As you may recall from a previous posting (“Barrie sales HOT in February“), the market will eventually balance out. If you’re considering selling this year, maybe moving during the summer so the kids can get readjusted, NOW is the time. The average days on the market are around 40, and closing is often scheduled for at least a month after the deal is done. If you think about the timing, you’ll be moving at the end of June if you put your house on the market today!

These local statistics paired with a recent RBC study indicating that “majority of Canadians believe that now is the time to get into the housing market (59 per cent, up four percentage points from last year), instead of waiting until next year (41 per cent)” are important things to keep in mind when thinking about selling. The same RBC study says that a “majority of Canadians believe housing is a good investment (88 per cent, up two percentage points from last year) and more than two-thirds (68 per cent) believe the value of their home has increased in the past two years”.

As always, ask the experts when making a big decision like moving. Make sure that it makes financial sense to you and your family. 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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Residential Rentals Scarce in Barrie

April 7, 2012

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Before most of us become homeowners, we rent apartments or sometimes houses. More often than not, however, many people are renting someone’s basement. As most people in Barrie know, the vast majority of basement (or “second suite”) units are technically not legal. In fact, there are only 676 registered second suites in the city. We all know the actual numbers are way higher.

Right now, CMHC is predicting an even lower than originally expected vacancy rate  at 1.5%, and it continues to drop as the number of bedrooms increases, like a 0% vacancy rate for 3 bedroom units. In comparison to other Ontario cities, Barrie has the lowest vacancy rate for 2- and 3- or more bedrooms.

Over the past several years, it is clear that there is a lot of construction happening in Barrie, but it’s mostly homes and condos. In fact, only 2 apartment buildings were constructed in 2011 (from CMHC report). Many residents seem to be against building rentals for some reason, but that only means people have to rely on those unregistered suites.

The unfortunate reality is that Barrie’s vacancy rate has been well below Ontario’s average for 20 years with the exception of 2008-2010. The good news is that our rental rates have remained within a few dollars of the Ontario average, but are generally $100-$150 above the national average. In 2011, the average cost for a rental in Barrie (registered, mind you!) was $1000.

We need to start attracting builders in Barrie to construct apartment buildings for rent. Especially considering our student population (recall my article on Student Housing in Barrie) is already having difficulty finding appropriate accommodation. And if/when the university is built in Barrie, think about all those students, professors and staff who will need a place to live. We also need to encourage the city to increase registered second suites. It will increase the tax revenue, and make those units a safer place to live for those tenants.

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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