Guide To Finding The Realtor® That’s Right For You

Buying property is a major investment which requires patience, energy, planning and professional help.

Team Player

The Real Estate person you select is part of the professional team (Lawyers, Home Inspectors, Financial Brokers, etc.) you should call upon when you’re looking for a property to rent or buy.  By finding a good Realtor® and investing time to cultivate a good working relationship with that person, you will be giving yourself access to a treasure trove of local knowledge, insight, and market intelligence that you would find hard to come by otherwise

Long Term Support

A good  Realtor® may become a long term support service for you; for example, if you decide to rent your home, they may be able to find renters; if you have friends or family who move close to you, the person will be able to help them in their search; and when you come to sell your home, they will be able to advise you again. Many people who buy and sell property view a good Realtor® as a long term professional relationship that can provide support and counsel on an on-going basis.

Local Knowledge is Key

When you search for a Professional Realtor® who can help you find your ideal home or investment property, you need to find the right person who has an excellent understanding of the local area you are buying in. This person should, ideally, have several years of experience in the business and live and working in the area they represent. They should have an in-depth understanding of the locality and its neighborhoods and ideally should also own a home in the area, too.

Building a Rapport

The Realtor® should take the time to understand your needs and aspirations and match your tastes and style to the properties they present you with. If, at any time, you feel that you are not being understood, you should say so and, if necessary, find some other person to help you.

You should feel comfortable with the person who is helping you to find your home or investment property.   A close working relationship built on trust and mutual understanding is essential if you are going to find the property that is right for you.

A good Realtor® can be the key which helps you to unlock the ideal home and investment property for you.  Finding the right person can prove to be a long term connection that will help you to find more good properties (if that is your plan) and even to sell your property later on.

It is the person, more so than the agency that person works for,

that will make all of the difference.

Every Real Estate Brokerage in Canada has a mix of talent: individuals with different strengths and experience. Therefore, it is not so much the company (agency), but instead the individual from a given agency who you engage with.

When you have no specific properties in mind, a good Realtor® with an intimate knowledge of the local area and a highly professional approach to real estate will prove one of the most invaluable contacts you will ever make on your journey towards property ownership, because most of the time, there will be an abundance of properties to choose from, and having someone who can steer you clear of certain properties which do not fit your plans, or in areas that would not suit you, can save you valuable time.

My best advise to anyone looking for the right person to help them with their real estate needs would be to interview as many candidates as possible.  Take the time to find out what they are like as a person, not just what their “stats” are to be sure they will be a compatible choice for you.  After all, this is your hard earned money you are entrusting them with.

Want to interview me? Pick up the phone and call me at 905-681-7900 or email me directly at info@deborahlsykes.com and we’ll set a time and date for a good long chat over coffee.

Deborah

2017 Market Forecast

“Crystal Ball, tell me all….tell me what my home will sell for this year”

Unfortunately I (and other Realtors®) across the country are not able to fulfill this prophecy.  There are a number of factors that affect home prices in areas across the country, and each province, city and town in turn has their own challenges.

That is why employing a Realtor® that understands the unique challenges of your specific area to help you get the most for your home is of the utmost importance.

We understand our chosen markets.  We live in the same areas you do and we closely follow what is happening in them.

For this year’s forecast on the market, take a cue from the following excerpt from one of our local newsmedia articles (see below).

Meanwhile, if 2017 is your year to make a move, whether to buy or sell, let me put my knowledge and expertise to work for you!

Global News Market Update
Canadians coast-to-coast love to talk about the cost of homes, and 2016 was a hot year for the housing market in many cities.

But experts say you shouldn’t necessarily expect the same this upcoming year.

Here’s what is likely to happen to the Canadian housing market in 2017.

1. Toronto will stay hot.

The GTA will be the strongest market in 2017, said James Laird, co-founder of RateHub, a website that compares mortgage rates. He attributes this to simple supply and demand. There aren’t a lot of detached and semi-detached houses, he said, and lots of people want them, which will continue to push prices higher.

Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO Capital Research, think the Toronto market will cool “a little bit” but overall remain very strong in 2017. “We’ll probably continue to see price increases, but not on the order of 20 per cent. More like the mid-single digits for next year in Toronto.”

2. Vancouver could cool.

Here’s where opinions disagree. Guatieri believes Vancouver prices will continue to fall in 2017, as they started to at the end of 2016, likely at least partly in response to the province’s foreign buyer tax.

Paul Taylor, president and CEO of the Mortgage Professionals of Canada, isn’t so sure. The issue for him, again, is supply. And demand means that prices could start to climb again, he said. “These are world-class cities. Vancouver is beautiful and Toronto is a financial hub, so in comparison to other global real estate markets that you put in the same category, it’s actually still quite a long way upwards that those values could increase to even be comparable to those other cities.

3. Everywhere else will cool slightly or stay the same.

Taylor thinks recent changes to mortgage rules will end up cooling the housing market a little outside Toronto and Vancouver.

These changes, introduced in October and November, require homebuyers looking for an insured mortgage to pass a “stress test” and qualify for a mortgage rate at the five-year Bank of Canada posted rate — which is typically much higher than the rate offered by banks. Another change requires buyers to put a larger down payment on houses worth more than $500,000.

Taylor thinks this could reduce the purchasing power of first-time home buyers — and not just in the hot markets of Toronto and Vancouver.

“You’re going to see price reductions in a lot of places where the economy is already quite weak comparatively,” he said.

Laird is more optimistic. “Alberta housing will stabilize in 2017,” he said, largely due to the price of oil slowly climbing back up and oil-related layoffs having worked their way through the market already.

Guatieri also thinks that most of Canada’s housing market will be fine, with healthy steady growth and a modest increase in prices.

4. Breaking into the housing market will get even harder.

Those mortgage rule changes will result in first-time home buyers losing about 20 per cent of their purchasing power, said Taylor.

Guatieri puts the number closer to 10 to 14 per cent more income to keep a buyer’s debt-service ratio at an appropriate level.

But whatever the number, the bottom line is this: first-time home buyers are going to have to come up with bigger down payments and qualify for higher-rate mortgages. This likely means they will have to buy cheaper houses, or just continue to rent.

“2017 is the most difficult year for a first-time home buyer in the last 10, easily,” said Laird.

And it’s just going to get harder as the year goes on, he thinks. “Mortgage rates will rise. We will finish 2017 with higher mortgage rates than we started 2017.”

This is for two reasons:

The government reduced the number of mortgages that could be insured, said Laird, and lenders will want to compensate for the added risk by charging consumers a little more.

The second reason, he said, is Donald Trump.

5. Donald Trump will indirectly affect the Canadian housing market.

Yes, Donald Trump could be partly — if remotely — to blame for rising mortgage rates in Canada.

“Bond yields are pushing up from their rock-bottom lows,” said Laird. “This was largely created by the Trump election and some of the policies that he has started to announce.”

Higher bond yields mean higher borrowing costs for banks, said Guatieri, and banks are passing those costs on to the consumer. The “Trump Bump” means even higher mortgage rates for Canadians.

If you’re looking to buy your first home in the next few months, you should get pre-approved for a mortgage now before rates go up, said Laird. “Anyone considering shopping in the springtime, in the next three or four months, they should get a pre-approval today because they can hold today’s rates for four months.”© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Spring Market Is Upon Us

The GTA is experiencing an extremely fast-paced real market this Spring.  With the end of a very long, cold and snowy winter, it has brought Buyer’s out in droves.  Much to the delight of Sellers with housing inventory still being quite low.

We are seeing multiple offers on a large number of listings with prices exceeding the asking price by thousands of dollars.  Some pockets of the GTA have experienced year over year gain of over 10%!

If this gives you, the Buyer, a twist of fear in your gut, you are not alone.  I am here to help you traverse the shark infested waters and get you the home you are searching for, without paying an arm and a leg or your first born for that matter.

Good deals can still be had, you just have to look in the right place.  Go ahead, give me a call and lets see what I can do for you!

Time Flies ~ Tough Decisions ~ Being An Adult…

….Isn’t always easy.

Every year, the clock seemingly ticks faster. As a child, I thought time crawled. How many nights do you remember bouncing off the walls, anxious for the all important events to arrive? Counting down the days into *how many sleeps*? You couldn’t wait to become an adult. Then one day, you wake up to realize you are an adult only to long for the carefree days of youth.

Being an adult is fun and for the most part, you can do whatever you please. You can stay up all night if you want to, with no parent enforcing a curfew. But being an adult also means a life full of decisions, both large and small, easy and tough. What do I want to be when I grow up? Will I get married? Will I have children? Will I ever be able to buy my own home?

There are mentors along the way to help guide you down the road during this, most arguably, the best time of your life. Career coaches, personal life coaches, spiritual coaches, financial coaches and then there is me…your Realtor® coach.

Having a Realtor® available to help get you through the new, exciting and sometimes stressful stages of obtaining a home as a new adult is your best resource…which I just happen to be available for. Give me a call at 905-681-7900 and let me show you that being an adult CAN be Fun!

Considering Building An In-Law Suite?

Perhaps thanks to a struggling economy and an unpredictable stock market that has resulted in many retirement nest eggs being decimated, more and more adult children are welcoming aging parents back into their homes.  Such living situations have led to a growth in the construction of in-law suites.

bldg an inlaw suite articleIn 2010, the National Association of Home Builders found that 62% of builders surveryed were working on home modifications related to aging.

In-Law suites are often created by converting a room in the house, such as basement or even a garage, into a liveable suite.  Such suites can benefit elderly relatives who might been dealt an unforeseen financial blow.  But in-law suites can also benefit younger homeowners who want to see their parents more.

In addition, when older men and women move in with their adult children, they can provide some necessary relief from the escalating cost of daycare.  But before building an in-law suite in their home, homeowners might want to heed the following tips:

Be Certain it is Legal

Making changes to your home may require a permit, particularly if your in-law suite will be an entirely new addition to your property and not just a strict room remodel.  Contact your local municipality to ensure your project complies with zoning and to obtain the necessary permits.

Consider the Health of Your In-Laws

Many in-law suites are occupied by aging relatives who might not be able to get up and down the stairs as easily as they used to.  That makes accessibility of the suite a top priority.  Typically, it is best to locate the in-law suite on the main (1st) floor so relatives won’t find it difficult to get in and out of the suite.

Don’t Overlook Privacy

Just because your parents or in-laws will be moving in doesn’t mean they don’t value their own privacy.  Chances are your relatives will initially feel as though they are invading your space and your privacy, so be sure the suite affords adequate privacy to all members of the household.  It might be best to build the suite so it has its own separate entrance from the rest of the home.  The suite should also have its own full bathroom and if possible, kitchen area, so your in-laws can cook for themselves and entertain their own quests without feeling like a burden.  A second kitchen is also something to discuss with the local zoning experts as some locales prohibit having 2 kitchens in a single residence.

Tailor certain Amenities to the Elderly

If your in-laws are older, install certain amenities, such as, grab bars in the shower and bathroom during the initial construction so you don’t have to install them later.  Install easy-open drawers and make sure the suite has ample lighting.

Remember to Install Safety Features

Safety features like fire, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are a legal necessity.  Make sure the alarms on each of these detectors is loud enough so elderly men and women who have hearing loss can hear them without issue.  Make sure all walkways leading to the in-law suite have motion detecting lamps at night to reduce risk of falling.  Also, if the suite will be a separate building from your house, such as a converted pool house or detached garage, install an intercom system that connects with the main house so your relatives can easily reach you in case of emergency.

In-law suites are becoming more popular as a greater number of older adults are moving in with their adult children, such suites can bring families closer together and prove beneficial for all parties involved.  Just do your homework for providing a safe and rewarding experience for your aging parents!

Market Moving Toward a Balanced Market

(April 4, 2013 – Hamilton, Ontario) The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) reported the average sale price for all property types in March was 10.8 per cent higher than same month last year. 

 There were 1170 property sales processed through the RAHB Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in the month of March, representing a 14.3 per cent decrease in sales from the same month last year.   RAHB also reported a 9.7 per cent decrease in listings compared to the same month last year. 

 “It’s certainly a quieter spring than we’ve had for the last three years,” said RAHB CEO Ross Godsoe.  “We are seeing fewer listings and sales than average.”

 Seasonally adjusted* sales of residential properties were 8.4 per cent lower than the same month last year, with the average sale price up 2.9 per cent for the month.  Seasonally adjusted numbers of new listings were 4.2 per cent lower than the same month last year.

Seasonally adjusted data for residential properties for the month of March, 2013:

     Seasonally Adjusted  Percentage change compared to Residential Only                                                           Mar/13       Feb/13        Jan/13      Dec/12       Nov/12       Mar/12

New Listings

1555

6.8%

8.4%

5.4%

6.6%

-4.2%

Sales

1056

4.4%

2.0%

3.2%

2.1%

-8.4%

Average Sale Price

$377,130

1.6%

6.0%

5.7%

1.5%

2.9%

Actual overall residential sales were 14.7 per cent lower than the previous year at the same time.  Residential freehold sales were 13.7 per cent lower than last year; the condominium market saw a decline in sales of 18.5 per cent.  The average sale price of freehold properties showed an increase of 10 per cent over the same month last year, while the condominium market saw an increase of 7.5 per cent when compared to the same period last year.

The average sale price is based on the total dollar volume of all residential properties sold.  Average sale price information can be useful in establishing long term trends, but should not be used as an indicator that specific properties have increased or decreased in value.

 The average days on market increased from 40 days to 44 days in the freehold market and decreased from 44 days to 43 for condominiums. 

“We seem to be moving toward a more balanced market,” noted Godsoe.  “That will give buyers a bit more breathing room when they are looking for a home.  From what the numbers say, however, buyers won’t be looking at paying less than they would have a year ago – only a few of our areas are showing average sale prices that have gone down. ”

 Residential sales were down 13.1 per cent for the first quarter of the year when compared to the same period last year, while listings were down 6.3 per cent; average sale price rose 6.9 per cent for the quarter.

 The numbers for the month of March 2013 compared to March 2012:

 All Property Types –                                       

          Actual    2012                          2013

% Change

Listings

2111

1907

-9.7%

Sales

1365

1170

-14.3%

Average Sale Price

$354,545

$392,859

10.8%

End of Month Listing Inventory

4111

3798

-7.6%

       
Residential Only – Actual      
Listings

1954

1765

-9.7%

Sales

1314

1121

-14.7%

Median Sale Price

$303,000

$319,000

5.3%

Average Sale Price

$352,781

$388,147

10.0%

Average Days On Market

41

44

 
End of Month Listing Inventory

3282

3103

-5.5%

       
Freehold Only – Actual      
Listings

1635

1441

-11.9%

Sales

1055

910

-13.7%

Median Sale Price

$327,500

$340,000

3.8%

Average Sale Price

$376,310

$414,079

10.0%

Average Days On Market

40

44

 
End of Month Listing Inventory

2763

2560

-7.3%

       
Condo Only – Actual      
Listings

319

324

1.6%

Sales

259

211

-18.5%

Median Sale Price

$250,000

$258,000

3.2%

Average Sale Price

$256,936

$276,309

7.5%

Average Days On Market

44

43

 
End of Month Listing Inventory

519

543

4.6%

       
Commercial Only – Actual      
Listings

157

142

-9.6%

Sales

51

49

-3.9%

 Every community in RAHB’s marketing area has their own localized residential market.  Please refer to the accompanying chart for residential market activities in select areas of RAHB’s jurisdiction.

 *Seasonal adjustment removes normal seasonal variations, enabling analysis of monthly changes and fundamental trends in the data.

Click here for the Residential Real Estate Market Activity chart for the City of Hamilton.
Click here for the Residential Real Estate Market Activity chart for Burlington.
Click here for the Monthly Market Activity chart.