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Mid-Year Market Update for 2024: What Buyers and Sellers Need to Know

Once again, the number one story in real estate this summer is mortgage rates. But unlike last year, when a surprise series of rate hikes from the Bank of Canada sent skittish buyers back to the sidelines, all signs now point to the opposite scenario. Instead of market-chilling rate hikes, economists now expect market-quickening rate cuts—already starting as soon as this month.1  

That means the housing market is likely to get interesting over the next few months. If fixed mortgage rates continue to drop in anticipation of a lower policy rate, more buyers are expected to show up looking for a deal before home prices take off in 2025 and 2026.2   

Listings are also on the upswing and homeowners are feeling increasingly optimistic that their home values will rise over the next year, per a new Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) study. So we could see more sellers-in-waiting regain the confidence to list their homes at strong but realistic prices.3,4

With pent-up demand continuing to build, housing market activity could pick up significantly. As TD Bank Economist Rishi Sondhi noted in an interview with The Canadian Press, Canada's housing market is “akin to a bit of a coiled spring.” Often when there's a market-moving event like a rate cut, home sales and prices jump quickly.5 

What does that mean for you? Read on for my take on this year's most important real estate news and get a sneak peek into what analysts predict is around the corner for 2024.  


MORTGAGE BORROWERS SHOULD FINALLY GET SOME RATE RELIEF 

After more than a year of shifting forecasts and delays, it's finally happening: the Bank of Canada's first rate cut since 2020 is here. The central bank is gearing up for two back-to-back meetings this summer to discuss monetary policy, plus three more meetings before year-end. Most experts think we'll see our first rate cut as early as June 5 or in late July.6  

But with inflation still elevated in the U.S. and the job market showing surprising gains here at home, the total number of rate cuts we'll see in 2024 is anyone's guess.6 Market watchers are nervously eyeing warmer-than-expected economic data from both sides of the border, with some now second-guessing whether rates will fall as much as hoped.6,7 Previously, many economists thought federal rates would fall by at least a point this year.8  

Sticky inflation down south is already putting pressure on bond yields, which help determine the fixed rates lenders charge.7 If the U.S. economy stays hotter than expected, the Bank of Canada may be forced to delay additional rate cuts, which could further impact mortgage rates. 9   

As Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem cautioned, Canada's central bank is ready and willing to cut rates before the U.S. Federal Reserve. But there's “a limit” to how much faster they can go. If too much daylight exists between the countries’ key interest rates, that could weaken the Canadian dollar and further boost inflation.9 

What does it mean for you?  If Canadian homebuyers' past behaviour is any indication, any drop in the Bank of Canada’s policy rate—even a delayed one—is likely to fuel enthusiasm and spark competition. But with lenders already pricing in the first rate cut expected this summer, it could be a while before fixed mortgage rates drop further. If you're a buyer, ask me to refer you to a mortgage broker so you can lock in a competitive rate. It's been a tough year for mortgage originations, so lenders are hungry for new business and may be more willing to cut you a deal.  


PENT-UP DEMAND COULD SOON BURST INTO VIEW 

With at least one quarter-point rate cut in the cards and potentially a few more on the way, the last six months of 2024 are unlikely to mirror the first half of the year.  

As the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) noted in a recent market forecast, housing markets throughout the country have been unusually “quiet” this year thanks to still-high rates and lingering uncertainty. But that doesn't mean home sales will stay soft going forward.10  

On the contrary, market activity is expected to pick up once rates recede.2,7According to new research from BMO, aspiring homebuyers' financial readiness is looking up. But 72% say they're waiting for lower rates before they get serious about buying a home.11  

New federal measures could also juice the housing market by boosting demand from first-time buyers. New homebuyers, for example, can now borrow up to $60,000 from their RRSP to fund a down payment$25,000 more than the Home Buyers' Plan previously allowed. Beginning August 1, first-time buyers with insured mortgages will also be allowed a 30-year mortgage term if they purchase new construction.12 

Affordability constraints will still be a major sticking point, though, for many Canadian homebuyers, which could dampen sales if buyers and sellers continue to butt heads over prices.13  

What does it mean for you?  Get ready to move quickly. Increased competition almost always means faster home sales—and a need for quick decision-making. If you're a buyer, make sure your papers are in order and you have cash ready for a deposit. And if you're a seller, consider listing now before pent-up supply leads to an uptick in inventory. After all, budget-conscious homebuyers aren't the only ones who have been sitting on the sidelines for the past two years. 

  

PROPERTY VALUES WILL CONTINUE TO INCREASE 

The good news for homebuyers: Today's home prices are down significantly from where they were toward the tail end of the pandemic. The bad news: That's probably not going to last. Experts say that home prices have almost certainly bottomed out.14, 15   

In fact, the CMHC thinks home values could return to peak levels as early as next year before hitting an all-time record high in 2026.As the CMHC notes, home prices and sales declined significantly after rates began to jump in 2022. But in the years since, Canada's population boomed at a record pace, while many people saw their incomes and savings increase. As a result, there's now a bigger pool of potential homebuyers.16  

That doesn't mean, though, that home sales will be so strong that sellers can expect the same level of price gains they saw before. As researchers at TD Bank note, rate cuts will help boost prices for now. But “affordability pressures will likely keep the gains from being even stronger.”15 

The CMHC projects that lower-priced homes will enjoy the fiercest competition. But overall sales activity will be more modest than in 2020 and 2021 when rock-bottom rates made mortgage payments more affordable.16  

What does it mean for you?  Even with rate cuts, a typical mortgage payment will be difficult for the average household to absorb, so expect affordability issues to limit overall price growth. Sellers will need to be realistic with their asking price and negotiation tactics—especially if they're looking to close quickly. Buyers, on the other hand, might not want to wait long if they can afford to make a deal. Increased competition could lead to a bigger-than-expected price surge.  


EVEN WITH MORE HOMES FOR SALE, INVENTORY WILL BE TIGHT 

According to a winter survey by Dye and Durham Ltd., more than a quarter of Canadians have been holding out for a rate cut before buying or selling a home. So we could see a lot more homes go up for sale this year once rates decline.17  

Already, inventory is picking up as more sellers come to market, giving new buyers more choices when comparing homes. The spring market, in particular, saw a notable jump in listings.3,15   

But even if more homes come to market this summer and fall, the total number of Canadians who want to buy a home will still surpass the number of homes available. So both the resale market and new home market are likely to remain squeezed for some time.18  

In fact, TD Economics estimates that Canada will be short of more than 300,000 homes between 2023 and 2025. Adding to the problem: Housing construction continues to lag population growth and, despite some recent improvements, it is still far from catching up.18  

Persistently high rates are also discouraging builders from starting new projects. So the inventory of available homes is likely to get tighter. The CMHC expects housing starts to decline in 2024 and drop even more significantly in 2025.16  

What does it mean for you?  With inventory increasing and many prospective homebuyers still priced out of the market, buyers who can afford it may be able to retain some bargaining power—especially for premium homes. However, total inventory is expected to remain tight, so sellers are still more likely to have the upper hand. Competition for more affordable homes will be especially steep.


I'M HERE TO GUIDE YOU

With nationwide news like rate cuts still playing a big role in today's housing market, it can be useful to get a high-level overview of what's happening across Canada. But the most important factors behind most real estate transactions are local. So on-the-ground expertise is essential.  

As a local market expert, I can help you navigate your neighbourhood's housing market with ease and understand what's driving home values and sales. If you’re considering buying or selling a home, contact us for a free consultation so we can help you build a successful plan.  


The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only.  It is not intended to be financial, legal, or tax advice. Consult the appropriate professionals for advice regarding your individual needs.


Sources: 

  1. Nesto.ca -
    https://www.nesto.ca/mortgage-basics/mortgage-rates-forecast-canada/ 
  2. MPA Magazine -  https://www.mpamag.com/ca/mortgage-industry/market-updates/what-will-happen-to-canada-house-prices-in-2024/485143 
  3. RBC - https://thoughtleadership.rbc.com/spring-brings-sellers-out-buyers-remain-hesitant/ 
  4. CMHC -  https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/interest-rates-hit-hard-for-renewers-and-homebuyers-cmhc-2024-mortgage-consumer-survey-867458082.html 
  5. Yahoo! Finance -
    https://ca.news.yahoo.com/spring-housing-market-surge-unlikely-080000289.html
  6. Global News - https://globalnews.ca/news/10487369/canada-unemployment-april-2024/
  7. RBC - https://thoughtleadership.rbc.com/its-hard-to-leave-when-you-cant-find-the-door//
  8. Reuters - https://www.reuters.com/markets/rates-bonds/boc-start-cutting-rates-june-greater-risk-is-delay-2024-04-05/
  9. Global News -
    https://globalnews.ca/news/10465424/bank-of-canada-us-fed-tiff-macklem
  10. CREA -
    https://www.crea.ca/media-hub/news/crea-forecasts-rebound-in-residential-property-sales/ 
  11. BMO - https://newsroom.bmo.com/2024-04-29-BMO-Survey-72-of-Aspiring-Homeowners-are-Waiting-for-Rate-Cuts-Before-Buying 
  12. Forbes Advisor Canada -
    https://www.forbes.com/advisor/ca/personal-finance/federal-budget-what-you-need-to-know/ 
  13. RBC - https://thoughtleadership.rbc.com/toughest-time-ever-to-afford-a-home-as-soaring-interest-costs-keep-raising-the-bar
  14. CREA -
    https://stats.crea.ca/en-CA/
     
  15. TD Stories - https://stories.td.com/ca/en/article/renting-vs-buying-canada 
  16. CMHC - https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/professionals/housing-markets-data-and-research/market-reports/housing-market/housing-market-outlook
  17. Dye and Durham - https://dyedurham.ca/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/Q1-2024-Canadian-Pulse-Report-1.pdf 
  18. TD Stories -
    https://stories.td.com/ca/en/article/canada-housing-supply
     
Read

The Ultimate Relocation Guide: From Finding a House to Feeling at Home

May is “Moving Month,” as designated by the Better Business Bureau and Canadian Association of Movers.1 It also happens to kick off the peak moving season, which generally runs from May through September.2 


According to a survey by Statistics Canada, respondents listed their top motivations for moving as “bigger or better housing” (28.0%) or “a more desirable neighbourhood” (16.8%).3 But no matter the reason, a relocation can feel stressful and overwhelming.


If you’re one of the many Canadians planning to relocate in the coming months, this guide is for you. I’ve outlined six steps to make your move easier. My hope is to alleviate some of the hassle of relocating—so you can focus on the adventure ahead!



CHOOSE A COMMUNITY


When planning a relocation, one of the first things you’ll need to decide is where you want to live. This could be as broad as an area of town, or you might narrow it down to a specific neighbourhood. 


Depending on your priorities, you may want to start with communities that are close to work, friends, family and/or your preferred schools. If you commute, map out the route and check on the availability of public transportation, if you plan to use it. Then, if possible, try out the commute during rush hour to see what it’s like.

Next, it’s crucial to consider housing prices and cost of living so you don’t set your sights on an area that you can’t realistically afford. Don’t forget to look up local crime statistics to ensure the community is safe. Finally, visit any neighborhoods you’re considering to gauge the vibe and observe characteristics, like pedestrian accessibility, retail offerings, and population density. 


Researching the ins and outs of various communities can be a time-consuming and sometimes difficult process, but I'm here to help! Give me a call to discuss your needs and aspirations, and I’d be happy to provide my recommendations of neighbourhoods that may be a good fit for you.



FIND YOUR NEW HOME


Once you’ve chosen an area to settle, the next decision you’ll need to make is whether you want to rent or buy a home. Renting can be a good option if you’re new to town, especially if you’re still saving up for a downpayment or you’re not ready to commit to a permanent location. Benefits include flexibility, less maintenance, and lower upfront costs. 


But, if you want to avoid multiple moves—and you’re financially able—there’s no reason to delay the benefits of buying a home. Not only has homeownership been shown to increase your quality of life, but it’s also one of the best ways to protect and grow your wealth.4 


The value of real estate will typically appreciate over time, and owners can build equity as they pay down their mortgage. Homeowners and buyers may also be able to benefit from certain tax incentives.5


But, perhaps most importantly, homeownership offers stability, as property owners aren’t subject to the mercy of their landlords each year. According to Rentals.ca, average asking rent prices in Canada rose nearly 30% between February 2021 and February 2024.6 In contrast, many homeowners enjoyed a fixed mortgage payment during that same period.


If you decide to purchase a home and you choose me to represent you, you can rest easy knowing that I will be there for you throughout the entire journey, working hard to make the experience as easy as possible. Or, if you’re moving to a new area, I can refer you to a local agent in our network who shares my commitment to client service.


For more information about buying a home and a timeline of the home buying process, reach out to request a free copy of my Home Buyer’s Guide.



SELL OR RENT OUT YOUR CURRENT HOME


If you already own a home, you’ll also need to start the process of either selling it or renting it out. I can help you evaluate your options based on current market conditions.

In many cases, my clients choose to sell so that they can use the equity in their current home to make a downpayment on their next one. But selling your home while simultaneously buying a new one can feel daunting to even the most seasoned homeowner. 


Here are some of the most frequent concerns I hear from clients and my tips for addressing them:


  • What will I do if I sell my house before I can buy a new one?


Check out furnished apartments, vacation rentals, and month-to-month leases. You may even find that a short-term rental arrangement can offer you an opportunity to get to know your new neighbourhood better.


  • What if I get stuck with two mortgages at the same time?


Ask me about conditions that can be included in your contracts. For example, it’s possible to add a condition to your purchase offer that lets you cancel the contract if you haven't sold your previous home. We can discuss the pros and cons of these types of tactics and what’s realistic given the current market dynamics.


  • What if I mess up my timing or burn out from all the stress?


Enlist support as early as possible. It's my job to guide you and advocate on your behalf, so don't be afraid to lean on me throughout the process. I'm here to ease your burden and make your move as seamless and stress-free as possible.


In addition to answering your questions, I’ll give you an idea of how much equity you have in your current home so you know how much you can afford to spend on your new one. Part of that process will include a plan to maximize your current home’s sale price. I utilize a proven strategy that’s designed to achieve an efficient sale while boosting your profits.


For a thorough breakdown of the technologies and marketing activities I use to get you the most money for your home sale, ask me for a copy of my Market Edge Package.



PLAN YOUR DEPARTURE


Preparing for a move can be both exhilarating and exhausting. Fortunately, you don’t have to do everything in a day. You don’t have to do it all alone, either. When you work with me, I’ll be there every step of the way to help you navigate this process with ease. To that end, here are some of my top tips to help you plan for your departure.


If you have children, I typically advise that you start by sharing news about the move in an age-appropriate way. If possible, take them on a tour of your new home and neighbourhood. This can alleviate some of the mystery and apprehension around the move. Don’t forget to contact their current and future schools, as well, to arrange for transfer and enrollment.


Next, you’ll want to start packing. To maintain order and make unpacking easier, I recommend packing one room at a time. Clearly label each box with its contents and the room it belongs to. And remember, there’s no use taking extraneous items with you. Use this opportunity to purge or donate possessions that you no longer need.


If you will be using a moving company, start researching and pricing your options. Make sure you’re working with a reputable service, and try to avoid paying a large deposit before your belongings are delivered. Once you have a moving date scheduled, you should arrange to have your utilities turned off or, if possible, transferred into the new homeowner’s name.


Finally, if you will be leaving friends or family behind, schedule get-togethers before your departure. The last days before moving can be incredibly hectic, so make sure you block off some time in advance for proper goodbyes.


Parting with a home and community you love can be hard, so try to stay focused on the exciting opportunities ahead. Feel free to reach out for referrals to moving companies, packing services, housekeepers, or any other resources that will make your move easier. I’d love to help.



PREPARE FOR YOUR ARRIVAL


While it’s tempting to get wrapped up in the departure details, don’t forget to plan ahead for your arrival at your new home. To make your transition go smoothly, you should start preparing well before moving day. Here are a few pro tips to help you get started.


First, think about the utilities that will need to be turned on, especially essentials like water, electricity, and gas. Be sure to notify any relevant parties—banks, credit cards, subscriptions, etc.—about your change of address so you don’t miss any important bills, notices, or deliveries. You’ll also want to notify the postal service and submit a mail forwarding request.


If you plan to remodel, paint, or install new flooring, it’s often easier to have it done before you bring in all of your belongings. You may also want to have the house professionally cleaned before moving in. 


Don’t forget about the items you’ll need (think toothbrush, towels, bedsheets) to make it through the first night in your new home. Designate some boxes with “Open Me First!” labels. (Pro tip: Keep a tool kit front and center for all that reassembling.) 


Finally, create a list of all the restaurants you want to try and places you want to visit around your newly purchased home. Having a to-explore list keeps everyone’s spirits high and gives you starting points to settle into the neighbourhood.


If you’re relocating to my area, I can help! I offer “VIP Relocation Assistance” to all of my clients. Contact me for a list of our favourite restaurants, retailers, cleaning services, contractors, and more!



GET SETTLED IN YOUR NEW SPACE


Studies show that moving can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression.7 However, there are ways to combat these negative effects. Here are a few strategies to help you and your family get settled in the new space.


If you have children, start by unpacking their rooms first. Seeing familiar items will help ease their transition and establish a “safe zone” where they can hang out away from the chaos of moving day. If possible, let them have a say in how their room is decorated.


Pets can also get overwhelmed by a new, unfamiliar space. Let them adjust to a single room first, which should include their favourite toys, treats, food and water bowl, and a litter box for cats. Once they seem comfortable, you can gradually introduce them to other rooms in the home.


Don’t forget to take care of yourself, too. Try to schedule breaks to get out of the house and investigate your new area. If you travel by foot or bicycle, you’ll gain the mood-boosting advantages of fresh air and exercise. 


You can combat feelings of isolation by making an effort to meet people in your new community. Find a local interest group, take a class, join a place of worship, or volunteer for a cause. Don’t wait for friends to come knocking on your door. Instead, go out and find them.


To that end, make an effort to introduce yourself to your new neighbours, invite them over for coffee or dinner, and offer assistance when they need it. Once you’ve developed friendships and a support system within your new neighbourhood, it will truly start to feel like home.



LET’S GET MOVING


While moving is never easy, these steps offer an action plan to get you started on your new adventure. With a little preparation—and the right team of professionals to assist you—it is possible to have a positive relocation experience.


I specialize in assisting home buyers and sellers with a seamless and “less-stress” relocation. Along with my referral network of moving companies, contractors, cleaning services, interior designers, and other home service providers, I can help take the hassle and headache out of your upcoming move. Give me a call or message me to schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation!



The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only.  It is not intended to be financial, legal, or tax advice. Consult the appropriate professionals for advice regarding your individual needs.


Sources:

  1. Canadian Association of Movers -
    https://www.mover.net/may-is-moving-month
  2. United International Removals -
    https://www.unitedremovals.com/canada/best-time-to-move-to-canada/
  3. Statistics Canada -
    https://www.statcan.gc.ca/o1/en/plus/3333-canadians-move
  4. Canadian Association of Realtors -
    https://www.realtor.ca/blog/health-and-happiness-the-societal-benefits-of-homeownership/20531/1361
  5. Turbo Tax -
    https://turbotax.intuit.ca/tips/tax-deductions-canadian-homeowners-need-to-know-about-15718
  6. Rentals.ca -
    https://rentals.ca/national-rent-report
  7. Psychology Today -
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/is-where-you-belong/201607/why-youre-miserable-after-move
Read

6 Strategies to Save on Home Insurance Premiums

From extreme cold to wildfires and floods, the past few years have brought a historic number of devastating climate and weather events to Canada. In 2023 alone, unusually harsh weather and a string of natural disasters caused more than $3.1 billion in insured damages, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, making it the fourth most expensive weather year on record.1 


These events delivered a huge influx of home insurance claims, and analysts expect the increase in both catastrophes and claims to continue. Adding to the problem, construction labour and supply costs have risen, making it more expensive to repair affected homes. Consequently, homeowners' insurance rates have surged: In 2024, My Choice Financial reports that premiums are already up 7.66% since last year and are likely to climb further still.2,3   


In disaster-prone regions, the situation is even more challenging. According to Public Safety Canada, flooding is especially common now, accounting for roughly $2.9 billion a year in residential damages. Yet, a rising number of Canadian homes are located in areas so flood-prone that owners can't get affordable protection.4,2


For most homeowners, comprehensive home insurance coverage is crucial for financial security—but massive rate increases can turn a once-affordable home into a financial burden. They can also pose a serious challenge for sellers. Although homebuyers who are willing to risk inadequate coverage may be able to skip optional add-ons, such as flood protection, a standard home insurance policy is still required for most mortgages. In some hard-hit regions, we’re also seeing homes sit longer on the market or decline in value because climate risks are higher.5,6


But don’t panic! While these broader trends may be out of your control, there’s still plenty you can do to save. Here are our top six strategies to slash insurance premiums while maintaining the protection you need. 



  1. SHOP AROUND


Getting multiple quotes is a smart move for many major purchases, including home insurance. I recommend reviewing at least three estimates before you commit to a policy. You can get quotes either by reaching out to insurers directly or by working with an independent insurance broker.5 You’ll need to provide detailed information about the property you’re insuring and your claims history.


Make sure you read policies carefully before you choose. Sometimes, a policy can look like a better deal at first glance but turn out to have important coverage gaps. Be sure to consider how much the policy will pay out to repair or replace your home and review caps on personal possession and liability claims. It’s also smart to read reviews from policyholders (Trustpilot is a good place to start) and ratings published by organizations like the Better Business Bureau and J.D. Power. 


For help choosing the right policy, reach out to me for a list of trusted insurance professionals.



  1. INCREASE YOUR DEDUCTIBLE


The size of your deductible—which is the amount you pay before your insurance coverage kicks in on a claim—is a major factor in your insurance cost.


A low deductible, such as $500, comes with higher premiums, while a higher deductible, like $2,500 or even $5,000, costs less on a monthly basis. In some cases, you may be able to customize your insurance further by designating a different deductible for add-on coverage.


If you are confident that you have enough in savings to cover that initial outlay if needed, choosing a higher deductible can help you save significantly over the long term. According to Ratehub, raising your deductible from $500 to $5,000, for example, could save you an estimated 15% each year.7



  1. BUNDLE MULTIPLE TYPES OF INSURANCE


Insurers want to get as much of your business as possible, so most offer significant discounts if you bundle your home and auto insurance, meaning that you package the two policies together. With some insurers, you can get even higher savings by bundling more than home and auto—RV, boat, jewelry, and life insurance are potential options to consider. 


According to Ratehub, insurers typically offer customers who bundle home and auto insurance up to 25% or more in savings on monthly premiums.This approach also has other advantages: It cuts down on your paperwork, and in some cases—like if a storm damages both your home and car—you may be able to pay just one deductible instead of two when you file a claim.8 


However, before you sign on the dotted line, remember strategy #1 and be sure to shop around. In some cases, bundling isn’t the cheaper option, and bundling deals vary between companies. It’s also critical to carefully check that the bundled coverage offers everything you need.



  1. ASK ABOUT AVAILABLE DISCOUNTS


Did you know that being a non-smoker might qualify you for a home insurance discount?9 Some insurers offer some surprising incentives for policyholders who pose a statistically lower risk of filing a claim. In the case of non-smokers, that’s because of the decreased risk of a home fire.


Some carriers also offer discounts to first-time homebuyers, “mature” homeowners, or affiliated group members, such as college alumni or union workers. Sometimes, you can also save by upgrading your home's protective systems, paying off your mortgage, or paying your premiums for a full year upfront.9 


Since available discounts vary significantly between insurers, the best strategy is to simply ask a representative for the full list of available discounts so you can see what cost savings might be available to you. 



  1. AVOID MAKING SMALL CLAIMS


Worried that your premiums will rise significantly in the future? Try to avoid making a claim unless truly necessary. Many insurers offer discounted rates to policyholders who go a certain number of years without filing a claim, and filing multiple claims often results in big increases. If you file too many, you may even risk nonrenewal of your policy.10,11


Since the cost of even a small premium increase can add up significantly over time, if you have minor damage to your home—for example, if a few shingles blew off your roof in a windstorm—it may be a wiser long-term financial decision to pay out of pocket instead of filing a claim. 


If the cost of the repair is less than your deductible, it never makes sense to file, and if it’s just slightly above your deductible, it’s also usually best to pay for the repairs yourself. Additionally, always be sure to review your policy before you make a claim. Even claims that are denied can count against you, so it’s not worth filing if the damage is clearly excluded from coverage.11 


If you find yourself in this situation, feel free to reach out for a list of reasonably-priced professionals who can help with home repairs.



  1. BE STRATEGIC ABOUT HOME IMPROVEMENTS


Insurance premiums alone may not be the deciding factor for a home improvement project, but it’s important to know how renovations could impact your rates—for better or worse.


For example, some upgrades and repairs can reduce your premiums by making your home safer or less prone to certain types of damage. These include:10

  • Upgrading your electrical system
  • Updating your plumbing
  • Installing a monitored security system
  • Investing in a sewer backup valve and sump pump
  • Replacing the roof


On the other hand, some upgrades can raise premiums significantly, either because they increase the value of your home (and therefore the cost to replace it) or because they pose a hazard. These include:12


  • Installing a swimming pool or other water features
  • Building an extension or expanding your living space
  • Upgrading materials, like flooring or countertops
  • Adding a fireplace or wood stove

Whether or not your planned renovations are on either of these lists, it’s wise to inform your insurer about changes you make to your home—otherwise, you may risk gaps in coverage. And you’re always welcome to check with me before you begin any home improvement project to find out how it could impact the value and resale potential of your home.



BOTTOMLINE: Protect Your Investment Without Sacrificing Enjoyment of Your Home


Getting the coverage you need for financial security without overpaying can be a tricky balance, especially in today’s environment. But remember, while it’s important to find the best deal you can, home insurance isn’t an area to skimp on. 


For advice on your specific risks and the type of coverage you need, I recommend consulting with a knowledgeable insurance professional. I'm happy to connect you with a trusted adviser in our network. And if you’re considering a home renovation, feel free to reach out for a free consultation on how it might affect your property value (and your premiums). 



The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be financial, legal, insurance, or tax advice. Consult the appropriate professionals for advice regarding your individual needs.


Sources:

  1. Insurance Bureau of Canada -
    https://www.ibc.ca/news-insights/news/severe-weather-in-2023-caused-over-3-1-billion-in-insured-damage 
  2. MoneySense - https://www.moneysense.ca/spend/insurance/home-insurance/how-climate-change-affects-home-insurance/ 
  3. My Choice Financial - https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/home-insurance-rates-increase-7-66-in-canada-in-2024-876966380.html 
  4. Public Safety Canada -
    https://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/2023-nrp-pnr/index-en.aspx 
  5. Nerdwallet Canada -
    https://www.nerdwallet.com/ca/mortgages/what-is-home-insurance 
  6. Waterloo Climate Institute - https://uwaterloo.ca/climate-institute/news/homes-sell-82-cent-less-after-catastrophic-floods 
  7. Ratehub.ca -
    https://www.ratehub.ca/blog/how-home-insurance-deductibles-work/ 
  8. Ratehub.ca -
    https://www.ratehub.ca/insurance/home-and-auto-bundle 
  9. LowestRates.ca - https://www.lowestrates.ca/resource-centre/home-insurance/12-home-insurance-discounts-can-help-you-save-money
  10. MoneySense -
    https://www.moneysense.ca/spend/insurance/how-to-get-lower-home-insurance/ 
  11. Rates.ca -
    https://rates.ca/guides/home-insurance/claims
  12. CREA -
    https://www.creacafe.ca/can-housing-upgrades-affect-insurance/ 
Read

Downsize Your Home, Rightsize Your Life: How to Choose the Ideal Smaller Home

When you've lived somewhere for many years, it can be tough to say goodbye. But if you (or a loved one) currently have a home that is bigger than necessary or is too high maintenance, it may be time to trade unused square footage for a smaller, more manageable space. 


Take it from the downsizers who’ve been there: Although living small might require some adjustments, it can also be liberating––especially if you're in a stage of life where past responsibilities have given way to new possibilities and adventures.  


In fact, many downsizers report feeling invigorated by the change, according to real estate journalist and author Sheri Koones. “It scares people to think of moving into a smaller space,” said Koones to the Associated Press. “But every single person I interviewed who has made the transition says they are so happy they did.”1


The key is to find somewhere you can live well and move around comfortably, without feeling overly restricted. If you like the idea of aging in place or are already in your golden years, you may also want to look for signs that a new home can conveniently age with you. 


With that in mind, I recommend focusing your search around three key factors: desired lifestyle, optimal design, and long-term accessibility. Read on for specific tips, then call us for a free consultation. I can help you identify the types of homes that are best suited to living large with less.


Do you have a loved one whose housing needs have changed?
Share this information to help start a conversation about the benefits of downsizing.



DESIRED LIFESTYLE 


The best part of downsizing is the lifestyle you unlock when you trade square footage for convenience. With fewer chores and home maintenance tasks to worry about, you can instead channel your energy into other pursuits. 


For example, instead of spending your afternoons working in the yard or cleaning, you can catch up on the news, read a bestseller, start a new craft project, or pursue other hobbies. You may even be able to travel or spend more time with friends and family. 


Research shows that individuals over the age of 65 report more life satisfaction when they have the opportunity to spend time around children, talk with friends, socialize in community centers, volunteer, or engage in hobbies. But that can be hard to do regularly when you've got a home that needs constant attention or you live far from your community.2


As you compare potential homes, keep in mind the type of lifestyle you envision. Do you plan to travel? If so, a home with extra security, such as a condominium or gated community, may give you some welcome peace of mind. Or do you plan to have friends and family stay overnight? In that case, you may want to look for a floor plan with flex space or a property that has access to separate guest suites. 


Alternatively, a senior community that offers catered meals and housekeeping may be a better choice if you or a spouse need extra support. 


Action item: Grab a pen and take some time to envision what your ideal future might look like. Write down the activities and hobbies you hope to add to your life or continue with going forward, as well as the chores and responsibilities you'd love to drop. We can use those answers to help shape your house hunt.



OPTIMAL DESIGN


Even though your new home will be smaller, that doesn't mean it has to feel cramped. As Koones explains, “The key is to have a home that is efficiently designed, both in terms of energy use and in terms of space.”1 


Look for features that can help make a space feel bigger, like high ceilings, large windows, and an open layout. 


Built-in shelving that extends all the way to the ceiling can also make a small room feel more expansive by helping to draw the eye upward. The same goes for highly placed window treatments and striped or mural-style wallpaper, says interior designer, Kati Greene Curtis. “You’ll feel like you’re walking into the scene,” said Curtis to the Washington Post.3 


Efficient layouts with flexible, multi-purpose rooms and few, if any, hallways work especially well for small-scale living. You can also limit dead space in a home by steering clear of layouts with awkward corners, unusable nooks, and other space-eating design elements. 


In addition, look for features that support a simpler, lower-maintenance lifestyle, such as easy-care floors, durable countertops, and bare walls with little, if any, crown molding. 


Don’t write off a home too soon, though, if it feels narrow or congested because of outdated design or poor staging. Cosmetic issues that visually shrink a space are often easy to fix. 


For example, you can instantly make a room feel bigger just by painting it a lighter shade. Adding mirrors and swapping out heavy curtains for sheer ones can also be effective. Plus, utilizing multipurpose furniture with hidden storage is a great way to maximize space. 


Action item: Make a note of your must-keep furniture and other items. Then pull out a measuring tape and write down the dimensions. Once it's time to visit homes, we'll have a more accurate sense of what will fit and how much space you’ll need.


To get your creative juices flowing, you may also want to flip through some design magazines that specialize in compact living or catalogs that feature space-saving furniture and accessories. If you give me a list of your favorite features, I can use it to pinpoint homes that are a good match. 



LONG-TERM ACCESSIBILITY


Buying a home that you can age well in can be a great way to boost your health prospects and happiness. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), homeowners who age in place instead of in an institutional environment not only save money over time, they also enjoy greater health and emotional benefits.4 


Aging in place is also popular. According to survey findings from the National Poll on Healthy Aging, the vast majority of adults between the ages of 50 and 80 would prefer to age in their own homes.5


But even though many adults want to age in place, only 34% of surveyed adults currently live in a home with the features to make it possible.5 


If you're already in the second half of your life, then it's smart to prioritize accessibility now, even if you're highly mobile. 


Choosing an accessible home will improve your odds of staying put for longer. Plus, you never know when you might need an accessible light switch, handrails in the bathroom, or a seat in the shower, says Sheri Koones. “Yes, older people with disabilities need them, but even younger people break a leg skiing, or have situations where they want a barrier-free shower.”1  


As you consider your options, try to imagine what your needs might be as you get older and be proactive in identifying potential obstacles, recommends the National Council on Aging (NCOA).6 


For example, a single-level home or one with wide enough stairs for a stair lift or access to an elevator may be a more practical choice than a home with lots of narrow stairs. Alternatively, a home with at least one ground-level bedroom and bathroom may also work well for you. 


Consider your needs outside the home, as well: If you frequently visit the doctor, grocery store, or community center, for example, then you may benefit from choosing a property nearby. 


Action item: Review the checklist below, adapted from the National Institute on Aging’s home safety worksheet, or download the full version from the agency’s website.7 Highlight the items that are most important to you. We can reference these guidelines as we consider potential homes and suggest ways to adapt a property to meet your current or future requirements.



HOME SAFETY CHECKLIST 7

  • If a walker or wheelchair is needed, can the entrances to the house be modified — perhaps by putting in a ramp to the front door?
  • Are there any tripping hazards at exterior entrances or inside the house?
  • Are the hallways and doorways wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair if needed?
  • Does the home have at least one ground-floor bedroom and bathroom?
  • Are there any staircases, and if so, could they accommodate a stair lift?
  • Is the house well-lit, inside and out, particularly at the top and bottom of stairs?
  • Could handrails be installed on both sides of the staircase?
  • Is there at least one stairway handrail that extends beyond the first and last steps on each flight of stairs?
  • Are outdoor steps sturdy and textured to prevent falls in wet or icy weather?
  • Are there grab bars near toilets and in the tub or shower?
  • Have a shower stool and hand-held shower head been installed to make bathing easier?
  • Is the water heater set at 120° F to avoid scalding tap water?
  • Are there safety knobs and an automatic shut-off switch on the stove?
  • Have smoke and carbon monoxide alarms been installed near the kitchen and in all bedrooms? 
  • Are there secure locks on all outside doors and windows?



BOTTOMLINE


You don't have to compromise on comfort to downsize successfully. I can help you strategize your next move and identify the best new home for you—whether that's a smaller home for rent or another one to call your own. I take pride in offering a full-service real estate experience and assisting my clients through all stages of the real estate journey. And I’ll go the extra mile to maximize your current home's sales price so that you’re set up for financial security.



The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only.  It is not intended to be financial, legal, or tax advice. Consult the appropriate professionals for advice regarding your individual needs.


Sources:

  1. Associated Press (AP) -
    https://apnews.com/article/lifestyle-f094372b46bae82020c174907eb953c0
  2. Healthcare (Basel) -
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10671417/
  3. Washington Post -
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/home/2023/02/07/make-small-room-appear-larger/ 
  4. HUD User -
    https://www.huduser.gov/portal/periodicals/em/fall13/highlight2.html
  5. National Poll on Healthy Aging - https://www.healthyagingpoll.org/reports-more/report/older-adults-preparedness-age-place 
  6. National Council on Aging (NCOA) - https://www.ncoa.org/adviser/medical-alert-systems/downsizing-for-aging-in-place/ 
  7. National Institute of Health (NIH)  - https://www.nia.nih.gov/sites/default/files/2023-04/worksheet-home-safety-checklist_1.pdf 
Read

Upgrade Your Home With These 2024 Design Trends

One of the best parts of owning a home is the freedom to make it truly your own with design choices that reflect your personality and lifestyle. Whether you lean toward contemporary design or a farmhouse aesthetic, your home is your canvas. 

Even so, it’s always smart to think about the long-term impact those decisions might have on your home’s value. Choosing over-personalized or unpopular materials and finishes could make your home less appealing to future buyers. And selecting out-of-style or overly-trendy elements could cause your home to feel dated quickly.

To help inspire your design choices, I’ve rounded up some of the top trends I'm watching in 2024. Keep in mind, not all of these will work well in every house. If you plan to list or renovate your property, give me a call. I can help you realize your vision and maximize the impact of your investment.


Spa-Like Bathrooms


We could all use a little more relaxation in our lives—so why not bring the spa into your home? In 2024, more homeowners will remodel their bathrooms to turn them into personal oases.1,2

If you’re undertaking a renovation, consider upgrading fixtures and materials. Handmade tile and custom cabinetry can add a touch of style and luxury. Trade stark whites for warm neutrals to create a more relaxed feel—think light wood tones, creams, and beiges.3 Complete the look with soft ambient lighting from a backlit mirror or pair of decorative sconces.2,3 

If you want to maximize the mind-body benefits of a relaxing bathroom (and have the budget to spare), you might consider installing a steam shower, infrared sauna, or cold plunge tub. Not looking to spend as much? Even minor upgrades like a massaging showerhead or heated towel bar can add some pampering to your morning routine.3 

But remember, if you’re modifying your bathroom, it’s always wise to work with experienced and licensed professionals to avoid water damage that could lead to costly repairs. I can refer you to a trusted contractor for help. 


 

Maximalist Decor


In 2024, maximalism is back in vogue, contrasting the neutral aesthetic that dominated design in recent years.4 While maximalism can be summed up as “more is more,” there’s nothing sloppy or cluttered about this look. Instead, it’s all about intentional curation.5

Hallmarks of maximalist style include rich and saturated colours, bold wallpaper, statement rugs and furniture, and lots of art. And forget matching—maximalist interiors often include plenty of contrasting colours, textures, and patterns selected to complement one another.5 

If you’re trying to embrace maximalism on a budget, check out thrift stores. They’re often a great place to find unique furniture, colourful rugs, and interesting art or collectibles. Before you invest in rolls of vintage wallpaper, though, it’s important to note—if you plan to sell your home in the near future, the maximalist look won’t appeal to every buyer.

I typically advise sellers to remove clutter and personal items to help buyers imagine their own future lives within the home. Sometimes, that means repainting or redecorating in a more neutral palette. Of course, this shouldn’t stop you from embracing your own style now—just be aware that you may need to walk back your aesthetic prior to selling. I can advise you when the time comes.


 

Japandi Style


Not quite ready to embrace maximalism? Japandi style, which blends Japanese and Scandinavian influences, offers a more subdued approach that still has plenty of character. The look dates back about 150 years to a time when many Scandinavian designers were travelling to Japan for inspiration.6

Japandi style brings together clean lines, simplicity, and a focus on natural elements and light. It emphasizes the beauty in imperfection, or “wabi sabi,” and a deep connection to Mother Earth. And like Scandinavian decor, the look prioritizes comfort and a sense of sanctuary in the home.6 

Interested in playing with Japandi? Common features include calming colour palettes and organic materials like raw wood and bamboo. Try softening harsh edges with softer textures, like cozy blankets and ceramic pieces. 

The look also minimizes clutter, but that doesn’t mean you need to be a minimalist. Instead, Japandi style embraces storage solutions like baskets, folding screens, and sofas with built-in storage to give everything a place.7 If you’d like some help implementing Japandi-style organization in your home, contact me for a list of recommended professionals.


 

Mixed Metals


Mixing metals used to be a “no-no.” But in 2024, it’s definitely a “yes.” 

According to designers, mixing the colours and finishes of metal fixtures and hardware can bring visual interest to a room—as long as you go about it the right way.1,8 

The most important rule to keep in mind is to stay away from near matches, like brass and gold—that’s more likely to look accidental than intentional. Instead, go for bold contrast: Think polished nickel and matte black.8 

Some designers recommend using each metal at least twice in a room to make it look cohesive. Another good rule of thumb is to stick to two types of metals in a small room and two to three in a larger space.8

Finally, you might think about playing with undertones (brass is warm, chrome is cool) to change the “temperature” of a room. And don’t be afraid of a little shine—many designers predict that a retro, high-polished look will replace matte finishes in 2024.9

Want some help sourcing fixtures and hardware in a variety of finishes? Reach out for a list of my favourite retailers.


 

Wood Cabinetry And Accents


The all-white kitchen has been ubiquitous in recent years. But in 2024, classic wood cabinetry is back in a big way.10 In fact, industry professionals surveyed by the National Kitchen & Bath Association predict that wood cabinets will be more popular than white in the next three years.11 

Natural wood tones offer a sense of warmth and natural beauty. And today’s cabinets aren’t anything like the heavy, dated versions of the past. Instead, light to medium versions—like white oak and walnut—and warmer undertones are trending.12 

The addition of wood-grain accents to painted kitchen cabinets—like with a contrasting island or range hood—is another popular option. And wood continues to be a favoured choice for flooring. A recent survey found that 40% of homeowners opted for either hardwood or engineered wood when renovating their kitchen floors.13

You can also expect to see more wood in bathrooms in 2024. According to Houzz, last year, wood vanities surpassed white in popularity for the first time in recent years, and designers expect the trend to continue.14 While white countertops and walls still dominate bathrooms, a wood-grained vanity brings a relaxed, organic element into the space.

Dreaming about new cabinets or hardwood floors? I’d be happy to share a list of recommended trade professionals who can help.


 

Timeless Renovations


In its latest Kitchen Trends Study, Houzz found that “nearly half of homeowners (47%) opt for a timeless design as a sustainable choice during renovations.” Respondents cited long-term cost-effectiveness and environmental consciousness as their main motivators.15

In a rapidly changing, technology-driven world, it’s no surprise that homeowners want a nurturing space with lasting appeal—especially if they plan to stay in their homes for years to come.14

Traditional materials and quality craftsmanship lie at the core of timeless design, which some designers are calling “quiet luxury.”16 Think of enduring classics, like hardwood floors, hand-crafted tiles, and marble countertops.14 A timeless colour palette will also often include warm neutrals and muted shades of blue and green.17

If you’re thinking about remodelling, it’s wise to incorporate as many classic elements as you can. These stylistic choices tend to hold up well over time, which can prolong the life of your investment and make it easier to sell your home down the road. If you’d like advice on an upcoming project, contact me for a free consultation.


 

BEAUTIFY YOUR HOME WHILE BOOSTING ITS VALUE


If you’re thinking about making design changes—whether that’s repainting or a full remodel—it’s important to be informed about how your choices could impact your home’s resale potential. Buyer preferences can vary significantly based on your home’s neighbourhood and price point. Before you begin your project, reach out to discuss your plans and how they could impact the value of your home.


The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only.  It is not intended to be financial, legal, or tax advice. Consult the appropriate professionals for advice regarding your individual needs.


Sources:

  1. HGTV - 
    https://www.hgtv.com/design/decorating/design-101/2024-home-and-garden-design-trends
  2. The Spruce -
    https://www.thespruce.com/2024-design-trends-8411457 
  3. The Spruce -
    https://www.thespruce.com/2024-bathroom-design-trends-8380169 
  4. Calgary Real Estate Board - https://www.creb.com/News/CREBNow/2024/January/interior_design_trends_2024/
  5. Homes and Gardens -
    https://www.homesandgardens.com/interior-design/maximalist-decor-ideas 
  6. The Spruce -
    https://www.thespruce.com/japandi-design-4782478 
  7. House Beautiful -
    https://www.housebeautiful.com/room-decorating/a45851530/japandi-interior-design-style/ 
  8. The Spruce - https://www.thespruce.com/4-rules-designers-say-you-should-follow-or-ignore-when-mixing-metals-in-a-room-5199031 
  9. The Spruce -
    https://www.thespruce.com/2024-lighting-trends-8365056 
  10. Toronto Sun -
    https://torontosun.com/life/homes/2024-trends-youll-see-everywhere
  11. Good Housekeeping -
    https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/decorating-ideas/a45576463/wood-kitchen-cabinet-trend-2023/ 
  12. Better Homes and Gardens -
    https://www.bhg.com/2024-kitchen-trends-840656
  13. Houzz -
    https://www.houzz.com/magazine/10-kitchen-trends-to-watch-in-layouts-features-and-more-stsetivw-vs~165050822 
  14. Houzz -
    https://www.houzz.com/magazine/28-home-design-trends-that-will-define-2024-stsetivw-vs~172317389 
  15. Houzz -
    https://www.houzz.com/magazine/2023-u-s-houzz-kitchen-trends-study-stsetivw-vs~164970160
  16. Better Homes and Gardens -
    https://www.bhg.com/quiet-luxury-home-trend-7554026 
 


Read

Real Estate Market Forecast: Opportunities for Home Buyers and Sellers in 2024

Home buyers surprised everyone last spring when they shook off higher borrowing costs and showed up to new home sales in droves. The surge in competition for a still-limited pool of properties helped home prices pop and renewed sellers' confidence in their ability to get top dollar for a home. But experts caution that the 2024 housing market could unfold quite differently, especially if Canada's economy experiences another dip later this year.1  

Ever since the Bank of Canada hiked interest rates last summer, home sales have dropped in many areas as buyers and sellers alike struggle to close deals.2 Canada’s economy has also softened, prompting some home buyers to move forward more cautiously.3 But with the Bank of Canada now widely expected to cut rates in the spring, competition could reheat quickly.4 

Not every neighbourhood is cooling at the same rate either, making the familiar adage that “all real estate is local” especially relevant.5 With a market this fluid, the home buyers and sellers with an edge will be those who proactively leverage a real estate agent’s on-the-ground expertise and stay flexible so that they can quickly adapt to hyper-local changes. 

What does that mean for you? Read on to learn more about the current state of the Canadian housing market, the potential opportunities for buyers and sellers, and economists’ predictions for the coming year.


MORTGAGE RATES MAY DROP SOONER THAN EXPECTED

The best news we've got incoming for 2024? The extra high mortgage rates that have weighed heavily on Canadian real estate for some time may finally be headed south.

Citing a global economic slowdown and improving inflation, policymakers at the Bank of Canada opted to leave the central bank's key rate unchanged in December after pushing rates to a 22-year high last summer.6 The feds cautioned that another rate hike was still possible in 2024. But now that Canada's economy is slowing down, market watchers widely predict that the central bank is more likely to cut rates instead—possibly as soon as March.7 

Fixed mortgage rates could slide even more quickly. Market expectations have a big impact on bond yields. So, if traders expect a rate cut from the feds, bond yields are likely to drop even further. “It's all about expectations,” said Ratehub CEO James Laird to Global News.8  

Already, the bond market has cooled significantly since autumn. As a result, Canadians with great credit may now be able to secure rates closer to 5% than 6%—and possibly even lower.9   

If rates fall as expected, that could have an energizing effect on the housing market. As mortgage expert Clay Jarvis told Nerdwallet in 2023: “If fixed rates dip below 5% next year—and we’re not in a full-blown recession—it’s likely Canadians will return to the market fairly enthusiastically. The pent-up demand and FOMO will be too strong for many to resist.”10 

What does it mean for you? If you're a prospective home buyer, declining mortgage rates could give you the opening you've been waiting for to purchase a home with a more affordable monthly payment. And if you buy before the market reheats, you could secure an especially good deal. To find the lowest rate, it pays to compare lenders. Ask me to refer you to a mortgage broker who can negotiate a competitive mortgage rate. 

Sellers also have reason to celebrate buyers' lower interest rates: As the barriers for entry to the housing market decline, sellers could enjoy more or better offers. Reach out to discuss how I can help you maximize your home’s sales potential.


DESPITE LOWER RATES, A WEAKENING ECONOMY COULD CHILL DEMAND

As pent-up demand continues to build, surveys show that Canadians are still deeply interested in real estate. For example, a recent survey by Dye and Durham found that a growing number of Canadians are thinking seriously about buying a home in 2024.11  

But with interest rates so high, buyers with typical household incomes often need either a substantial amount of cash saved or a lot of home equity to buy at today's prices. And the softening economy may be shaking buyers' confidence. According to the Conference Board of Canada, Canadians are feeling more pessimistic about their employment and finances.12 

Meanwhile, many home sellers remain stuck in the recent past and are slow to let go of outdated prices. As a result, home buyers and sellers in many regions are locked in a persistent stalemate and the volume of home sales has dropped considerably.5 

According to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), new listings are now outpacing purchases in some of the country's biggest housing markets as market loosening spreads.13 However, the softening is uneven, with some areas still highly competitive.5

As rates continue falling, experts predict that demand for housing will increase, helping fuel a tighter market. But a slowdown in Canada's economy could complicate that scenario. “We now think that most major markets will experience softer sales and prices through the spring months, as weakness has spread significantly,” forecast economists at Desjardins.14 

What does it mean for you? The days of easy home sales with minimal, if any, prep work are long gone––at least until the market rebounds. Instead, home sales are more likely to take some legwork and planning to stand out from the competition. I can help you maximize your home’s appeal to attract serious buyers.

Home buyers, on the other hand, will have a distinct advantage in the coming months––especially if they jump into the market early while competition is limited. Call me for a consultation so I can help you plot your strategy.  


HOME PRICES WILL FACE HEADWINDS, BUT MAY CLIMB WITH LOWER RATES

Home buyers who have faced both persistently high prices and historically high rates may finally get a much-needed break this year.

With Canada's economy cooling, experts are now actively revising their pricing forecasts. For example, economists at TD predicted in November that home prices would drop 10% in the first quarter of 2024 compared to the third quarter of 2023––twice what they had previously forecast.15  

As sales dwindle, the home buyers who are still around “are taking advantage of their stronger bargaining position,” said economists from RBC. “They’ve successfully extracted price concessions from sellers.” As a result, the MLS Home Price Index is slipping.16 

Analysts still expect home prices to remain higher than they were before the pandemic. However, fewer sales amid rising levels of inventory could dampen prices in some regions.16In fact, eagle-eyed home buyers may find the best bargains in previously hot neighbourhoods that had overheated amid frenzied competition.

But with Canada’s historic supply crunch still ever-present, home buyers who wait too long to score a deal could wind up settling for a bigger mortgage in the future. As CIBC's Tal put it: “A year to two years from now when things will be back to normal—and they will be back to normal, with one million newcomers and non-permanent residents—guess what will happen? The supply will not be there, the demand will be there. The market will be crazy.”17

What does it mean for you? Homeowners with a property to sell may want to put it on the market sooner than later while there are relatively few homes for sale. I can help you chart the best course to maximize your profits, starting with a professional assessment of your home’s current market value. Reach out to schedule a free consultation.

Meanwhile, savvy buyers with an eye for opportunity will be thrilled to know that the affordability challenges that have made home buying so difficult are expected to ease significantly. In fact, there could be a brief window when mortgage rates and home prices are both on the decline, giving home buyers who are ready to pounce a rare opportunity.  Contact me if you’re ready to begin your home search.


BUYERS SHOULD HAVE MORE CHOICES, BUT A SUPPLY SHORTAGE WILL PERSIST 

Home buyers who are eager for options should have more homes to choose from this year than they did in 2023. The share of existing homes for sale is already up in many regions as new listings outpace purchases, and more inventory could be added to the market in the coming months.13 

Many sellers out there have been sitting on the sidelines, waiting for rates to fall or for the market to pick up. If a greater share of those sellers decide they can no longer wait, the number of resale homes on offer could quickly increase. 

In addition, a growing number of Canadian mortgage holders are expected to experience some payment shock in the coming year as they renew with rates that are several points above their current rates.1 If more homeowners then default on their loans or choose to list because they can no longer afford their monthly payments, that could also lead to an uptick in homes for sale. 

But given Canada's severe housing supply crunch, the chances of a market oversaturation are low. As economists at TD Bank note: “Canada could be short over 300,000 housing units from 2023-2025 as population growth collides with a slower pace of homebuilding.”18 

​​What does it mean for you? With the market cooling this winter, there's more supply opening up. In the short term, buyers who can afford to jump quickly should benefit from this winter's temporary buyer's market. Contact me to discuss your goals and budget, and I can help you make an informed decision about the right time to buy.

While sellers will continue to benefit from the overall supply shortage, they should be prepared for increased competition. I can help you prep your property for the market and highlight the features most likely to appeal to today’s buyers.


WE'RE HERE TO GUIDE YOU 


While national real estate forecasts can give you a “big picture” outlook, real estate is local. As a local market expert, I know what's most likely to impact sales and drive home values in your neighbourhood. As a trusted partner in your real estate journey, I'll keep my ear to the ground so that I can guide you through the market's twists and turns.

If you’re considering buying or selling a home in 2024, contact me now to schedule a free consultation. Let’s work together and craft an action plan to meet your real estate goals.


The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only.  It is not intended to be financial, legal, or tax advice. Consult the appropriate professionals for advice regarding your individual needs.

Sources: 

  1. Financial Post -
    https://financialpost.com/news/economy/canada-mortgage-math-means-crisis-looming
  2. Financial Post -
    https://financialpost.com/news/canada-housing-market-sales-prices-fall-further
  3. Global News -
    https://globalnews.ca/news/10068567/statistics-canada-jobs-report-oct-2023/
  4. Canadian Mortgage Trends - https://www.canadianmortgagetrends.com/2023/12/bank-of-canada-preview-rate-hold-expected-as-attention-shifts-to-rate-cuts/
  5. Global News -
    https://globalnews.ca/news/10098594/canada-housing-market-home-sellers-fall-2023/
  6. Bank of Canada -
    https://www.bankofcanada.ca/2023/12/fad-press-release-2023-12-06/
  7. The Globe and Mail - https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/article-bank-of-canada-interest-rate-live-december/ 
  8. Global News -
    https://globalnews.ca/news/10142334/bond-yields-canada-mortgage-interest-rates/
  9. Canadian Mortgage Trends - https://www.canadianmortgagetrends.com/2023/12/mortgage-rates-under-5-theyre-coming-back-as-lenders-slash-fixed-rates/
  10. Nerdwallet -
    https://www.nerdwallet.com/ca/personal-finance/financial-trends-that-could-shape-2024
  11. Dye and Durham - https://dyedurham.ca/new-data-shows-canadians-remain-concerned-about-looming-recession/
  12. Conference Board of Canada - https://www.conferenceboard.ca/focus-areas/canadian-economics/housing-market-update/
  13. CREA - https://www.crea.ca/media-hub/news/canadian-home-sales-see-downward-trend-continue-in-october/
  14. Desjardins - https://www.desjardins.com/en/savings-investment/economic-studies/canada-housing-outlook-nov-2023.html
  15. Global News -
    https://globalnews.ca/news/10110607/canada-real-estate-td-housing-price-forecast/
  16. RBC -
    https://thoughtleadership.rbc.com/ontario-leads-canadas-housing-market-cooldown/
  17. RENX -
    https://renx.ca/interest-rates-are-coming-down-soon-benjamin-tal
  18. TD Economics -
    https://stories.td.com/ca/en/article/canada-housing-supply
Read

How to Become a Homeowner on a First-Time Buyer’s Budget

It's not easy being a first-time home buyer right now. At the end of last year, housing affordability hit an all-time low.1 Additionally, mortgage rates have risen significantly since 2021, while inventory remains tight for many property categories, but especially for starter homes. Even lower-priced condos are harder to snag these days, as investors and downsizers muscle out first-timers by offering stronger, often cash-heavy bids.2 

As a result, many first-time home buyers are finding that they need to get creative to afford a home or risk renting for longer than they planned. If you, too, are struggling to afford homeownership, here are some workarounds to consider as you plot your first home purchase.


1. Try House Hacking

 “House hacking” is a real estate investment strategy in which participants use their homes to generate income in order to offset their expenditures. 

For example, renting out a basement apartment or accessory dwelling unit (ADU)—such as a detached garage that's been outfitted with a washroom and small kitchen—counts as house hacking. So does splitting housing costs with a roommate or converting a part of your home into an Airbnb.

House hacking isn’t new. But, it’s grown in popularity as a new crop of digital platforms has entered the market and made it easier than ever for homeowners to generate income from their property.

In some cases, house hacking may make it possible for you to qualify for and afford your first home. A lender, for example, may approve you for a larger mortgage if you purchase a home with immediate income potential, such as a legal duplex or a property with a secondary suite that has a kitchen and full washroom.3

In addition, house hacking could help you pay your mortgage once you move in. Here are just a few of the ways you could use your home to earn some extra cash if your neighbourhood or municipality allows it: 

  • Offer paid parking in your driveway on a site like CurbFlip or SpotHero.
  • Rent out your swimming pool for a few hours on Swimply.
  • Make your home available for photoshoots or events on Giggster or Peerspace.
  • Turn your backyard into a pay-by-the-hour dog park on Sniffspot.
  • List your garage space on Kijiji. 

But before you make plans to house hack, make sure you fully understand an area's bylaws and homeowner restrictions. I can help you find a property with income potential in a neighbourhood with more flexible rules or less restrictive zoning.


2. Team Up With Friends or Family

If you aren't wild about the idea of welcoming strangers to your home, you may want to consider co-purchasing with a friend or family member instead. This unconventional housing arrangement is also growing more popular as friends and family members cope with higher living costs by pooling resources. 

According to Statistics Canada, multigenerational households in Canada have nearly doubled since 2001. Meanwhile, the number of households shared by roommates has grown even more rapidly, climbing by more than 50% during the same period.4

Arrangements can be customized to fit your circumstances. For example, you could purchase a home and then rent a portion of it to a loved one. Or you might consider co-buying a home with friends or family members so that you can step onto the property ladder and start building equity together. 

Co-ownership could work out especially well for you long-term if it helps you to buy a home that's bigger, has more investment potential, or is located in a high-demand area and so appreciates at a faster rate. Plus, you'll get to see your loved ones more often and enjoy the coziness of shared living with people you like having around. 

On the other hand, sharing a big financial responsibility, like a mortgage, with friends or family could get messy—especially if you don't create a clear-cut co-ownership agreement beforehand that outlines your mutual expectations. So plan carefully before you proceed. 

In addition, you may need to rethink the type of home you pursue. For example, a smaller home might be cheaper, but do you really want that much togetherness all the time? I can help you set priorities and search for a suitable property.

  

3. Tap Your Network for Help With Funding

Another established method for affording a first home is to lean on family or friends for financial help. Getting assistance with the down payment or other borrowing costs can go a long way toward making your homeownership dreams come true.

As long as you don't mind asking for help, a free-and-clear gift that's intended for your down payment is an ideal arrangement, since it will allow you to borrow less overall. Or, if that’s too big an ask, your loved ones could pitch in toward closing or moving costs.

Alternatively, your loved ones could help by co-signing your loan. For example, if their credit score is a lot higher than yours, it could enable you to secure a lower interest rate so that your monthly payment is more affordable. 

You certainly wouldn't be the only one leaning on family to help afford a home at today's prices. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation's latest Mortgage Consumer Survey, around a third of recent home buyers used gift money to help buy their homes. What's more, 22% admitted that they wouldn't have been able to afford to buy without it.5 Meanwhile, a CIBC study from 2021 found that many parents are gifting increasingly large amounts to their children to help fund down payments.6 

Just be sure your parents or other generous loved ones are aware they're giving a gift, not a loan, and are willing to put that in writing. A lender will want proof that this money isn't adding to your debt burden and may require documentation from your benefactors. 

Another way to tap your network for help is to crowdfund part of your down payment or ask for monetary gifts instead of tangible ones. For example, if you're getting married soon, you could skip the wedding gift registry and ask guests to contribute funds to your hoped-for home purchase instead.


4. Look for Special Programs and Assistance 

You could also cut some of your upfront mortgage costs by taking advantage of government programs, tax rebates, and other funding opportunities. 

For example, the Government of Canada's new First Home Savings Account (FHSA) initiative could help you trim your next year's tax bill as you gather money for your down payment. When you open an FSHA, you can route up to $8,000 per year of income to the account, tax-free (up to a maximum of $40,000).7 And if you co-buy with a partner and you both open FHSA accounts, you can squirrel away a combined $16,000 per year.  

You may also be eligible for a First Time Home Buyers' Tax Credit up to $1,500, as well as other home buyer rebates, depending on the type of home you buy and where you move. For example, you could get a substantial rebate on some of the GST/HST taxes you pay when you buy a newly-constructed or heavily-renovated home.7  

First-time home buyers can also borrow up to $35,000 tax-free from their individual Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) to help beef up their down payments.7 And eligible buyers can take advantage of the Government of Canada's First-Time Home Buyer's Incentive, which offers 5% to 10% of a new home's purchase price in exchange for a cut of the home's equity.8 I can connect you with a lender or mortgage broker who can educate you about your options and help shepherd you through the process.  


5. Expand Your Home Search

If you’re having trouble finding a home within your budget, consider broadening your search criteria. You may be surprised by the kinds of deals that are available when you're willing to compromise.  

For example, if you're struggling to find an affordable home in your target neighbourhood, expand your search area and consider homes that are further out of town or that are located in up-and-coming areas with lower starting prices. I would be happy to introduce you to some great but lesser-known neighbourhoods that we consider hidden gems.

You could also save money on your home purchase simply by dropping or revising some of your must-haves and settling for OK-to-haves instead. For example, do you really need two washrooms and a large backyard? Or could you settle for a single washroom with space to add a second one in the future? And would a small garden, cozy balcony, or rooftop terrace still give you the outdoor time you crave? These types of compromises can sometimes shave tens of thousands off your purchase price. 

Similarly, if you don't mind rolling up your sleeves or working with a contractor on minor jobs, you can look for homes that need a little TLC. Just because a house looks dated doesn't mean it's destined to stay that way or that it will take a ton of money to spruce up. In fact, a home with good bones but cosmetic flaws could be a perfect match: With less competition, you'll have a better chance of purchasing the home at an affordable price. You can then take your time to save more and fix it up to your taste.  

Keep in mind, starter homes are rarely forever homes, but merely a first step onto the property ladder. By gaining a foothold in the real estate market now, you can set yourself up to afford a more expensive property in the future.

According to Statistics Canada, the net worth of a typical Canadian homeowner has more than doubled since the start of the new millennium, climbing from $323,700 in 1999 to $685,400 by 2019. The average renter's net worth, by contrast, grew far more slowly during the same period, rising from $14,600 to just $24,000.9 I can help you find an affordable first home so you can start building equity to reach your long-term financial and real estate goals. 


YOU CAN DO IT—AND I CAN HELP  

Buying a first home is challenging, but it's not impossible—especially when you have a savvy real estate professional in your corner. I will work with you to devise a plan to overcome your financial constraints. Then, I’ll help you find a home that not only excites you but also fits your budget and lifestyle. Give me a call to get started with a free exploratory consultation. 


The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be financial, legal, or tax advice. Consult the appropriate professionals for advice regarding your individual needs.


Sources:

  1. Financial Post - https://financialpost.com/executive/executive-summary/housing-affordability-crisis-canada-worse 
  2. CBC -
    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/housing-investors-canada-bc-1.6743083 
  3. MoneySense - https://www.moneysense.ca/spend/real-estate/income-properties/legal-secondary-suite-or-basement-apartment/ 
  4. Statistics Canada -
    https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/220713/dq220713a-eng.htm 
  5. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) - https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/professionals/housing-markets-data-and-research/housing-research/surveys/mortgage-consumer-surveys/survey-results-2022 
  6. CIBC -
    https://economics.cibccm.com/cds?flag=E&id=9dc124d8-9764-4c1d-83b4-9e89a5d568b8 
  7. Government of Canada -
    https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/buying-home.html 
  8. A Place to Call Home -
    https://www.placetocallhome.ca/fthbi/first-time-homebuyer-incentive 
  9. Statistics Canada -
    https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/220921/dq220921b-eng.htm
Read

Stress-Free Home Cleaning: 27 Practical Tactics for Busy Households

Keeping a clean and orderly home is a challenge for many of us. Between busy work schedules, social obligations, and family commitments, it’s tough to keep up with daily chores—let alone larger seasonal tasks.

The effort is worthwhile, however. A sanitary environment can keep you and your family healthier by minimizing your exposure to germs and allergens.1 Plus, researchers have found that organized, uncluttered homes have quantifiable mental health benefits, too, including reduced stress, improved emotional regulation, and increased productivity.2 

The reality is, we enjoy our homes more when they are in good order. It’s much easier to relax without piles of unopened mail or a messy kitchen reminding us of work to be done. And don’t we all feel more inclined to entertain family and friends when our homes are well-kept?

That’s why I’ve rounded up my favourite tactics—from overall strategies to little tips and tricks—for keeping things tidy without spending all our spare time cleaning. 


Set a Schedule for Daily and Weekly Cleaning

We’ve all been there—you put off vacuuming or mopping your floor for a few days, only to realize that weeks have passed. Creating a cleaning schedule that works for you is the best way to stay on top of things and avoid overwhelm. Here are a few of our favourite strategies: 

  1. Designate a day of the week for each task—then, add them to your calendar so you can’t forget. 
  2. Create a shared schedule that assigns specific responsibilities to each member of the household. Post it in a prominent place, like on the refrigerator, or create a shared digital calendar.
  3. Carve out 15 minutes a day for cleaning and decluttering. Set a timer on your phone and get as much done as you can before it goes off. 

It may take some trial and error to find the tactics that work best for you. The most important thing is to make a habit of cleaning so that clutter and grime don’t have a chance to build. And if you’d like some professional help, reach out for a referral to one of my favourite cleaning services!


Tackle Bigger Chores Seasonally 

Many home care tasks are seasonal by nature and only need to be completed once or twice a year. But when we don’t have a plan to tackle them, it’s all too easy to put them off. Here are a few tips to stay on top of these chores: 

  1. Mark days on your calendar in advance to attend to annual or semi-annual chores, like cleaning gutters, washing windows, turning mattresses, and shampooing carpets
  2. Schedule just one primary task each weekend instead of blocking out a full two days. This will help ensure a good balance between chores and relaxation. 
  3. Designate a date two to four times a year, depending on your lifestyle, to put away out-of-season items like clothes, holiday decorations, and sporting goods.
  4. Take some time to sort through your seasonal items when you pack them away. Then you can toss, sell, or donate things that you no longer need or enjoy. 

Remember—breaking down these larger tasks can make them less overwhelming. If you space them out so that you can handle them one by one, even the most time-consuming chores become a lot more manageable.

And since all your time is valuable, don't hesitate to delegate these larger home care tasks to professionals. Give me a call for a list of my recommended service providers. 


Reduce the Barriers to Cleaning 

Set yourself up for success by ensuring you have the tools on hand to tackle small tasks with ease. Here are a few ways to make your cleaning supplies more accessible: 

  1. Store a broom, dustpan, and vacuum on each floor of your home so they’re easy to reach.
  2. Stash containers of disinfecting and glass wipes under every sink for a mid-week wipe-down.
  3. Place extra bags beneath the liner of your garbage pails, so you’ll have a replacement ready when you take out the trash.
  4. Keep a paper shredder and recycling bin handy so you can dispose of unwanted mail as it’s opened.

By strategically placing your tools and supplies in the locations where you’re most likely to need them, you’ll make cleaning less of a chore and more of a habit.


Stop the Clutter Before It Starts

From coats to shoes to mail, it’s all too easy to find clutter taking over your home. Once these piles start to form, they can feel overwhelming—which only makes it harder to address them. 

To avoid this problem, stop the clutter before it starts. Assign every item a home and create storage spaces and “drop zones” in key locations.3 Here are a few ideas to get you started: 

  1. Install coat hooks and shoe racks in the entryway for easy access.
  2. Add a key caddy or shelf for essential items to get you out the door.
  3. Hang a letter bin to capture mail and newspapers as soon as you walk into the house.
  4. Place a donation box in each closet for items you no longer want or need.

It can take a little time to get in the habit of returning items to their assigned space. But once you do, staying on top of clutter will become far more manageable. 

Are you considering a larger organizational upgrade, like a custom closet or pantry system? Reach out for a free consultation to find out how the investment could impact the value of your home!

  

Tackle Small Tasks Right Away 

Sometimes, the mental load of thinking about a chore you need to do is worse than the chore itself. Plus, handling small tasks right away can reduce the need for lengthy cleaning sessions.3  

Try working these changes into your routine:

  1. Learn to clean as you cook, rather than piling it all up for later. As you wait for water to boil or food to cook through, wash the bowls and utensils you used for prep.
  2. Hang bath towels on a bar immediately after use. By allowing them to properly air dry, you can cut down on the frequency of laundering.
  3. Bring items with you when you leave a room. For example, return plates and cups to the kitchen right away rather than letting them stack up in your home office. 
  4. Take out the trash when you leave for work, school drop-off, or errands. This will save you the time and hassle of a second trip. 

If you implement these small changes, your home will stay neater—and you’ll minimize the number of dedicated cleaning sessions you need to take on each week. 


Embrace an Evening “Shutdown” Routine 

Kitchens can get dirty and cluttered fast. But a few minutes spent cleaning up each evening can prevent the mess from getting out of control.4  

Imagine your kitchen is a restaurant and you’re tidying it up before closing down for the night. These simple steps will prepare you for the morning rush: 

  1. Wipe down all surfaces, including countertops, stove, microwave, and sink. Then toss your soiled washcloth in the hamper and lay out a fresh one for tomorrow.
  2. Load and run the dishwasher every night so you can empty it the next morning.
  3. Prepare for breakfast by programming your coffee pot and setting out some grab-and-go options.

We all know it can be hard to find the energy for chores in the evening. But if you complete these small tasks each night, you’ll start the next day off right in a tidy, clean kitchen.


Think Outside of the Box When It Comes to Storage 

Most of us have limited storage space. Unfortunately, without the right spots to stash our items, it’s easy to become disorganized.  

But I’ve found that using household items in innovative ways can help keep mess and clutter under control.5 Here are a few of my favourite swaps:

  1. Place a magazine file in your kitchen for cookbooks, takeout menus, and meal kit cards.
  2. Hang a pocket-style shoe organizer inside your pantry door to store granola bars, spice jars, and other small items.
  3. Separate dress and athletic socks by turning an old shoe box into a drawer divider.
  4. Repurpose jam jars by using them to store office supplies or bathroom essentials.
  5. Store out-of-season clothes inside rarely-used suitcases, so all that space doesn’t go to waste. 

A little creativity goes a long way when it comes to making the most of your space. Just be sure that you’re creating systems you can stick with and not putting things where you might forget about them later!

  

I'M HERE TO HELP YOU MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR HOME

Keeping your home clean and organized can be a continuous struggle—there’s no need to feel ashamed of that. But taking the time to implement systems that work for you can make life more pleasant and less stressful in the long run. 

Remember, I'm not just here to help you buy or sell a home. I want you to love living in it, too. Reach out if you need referrals for house cleaners, window washers, or other service providers that can help you make the most of your space.  


The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only.  It is not intended to be financial, legal, or tax advice. Consult the appropriate professionals for advice regarding your individual needs.


Sources:

  1. Healthline - https://www.healthline.com/health-news/5-health-benefits-of-spring-cleaning
  2. Forbes - https://www.forbes.com/health/mind/mental-health-clean-home/  
  3. My Domaine - https://www.mydomaine.com/house-cleaning-schedule 
  4. Housewife How-Tos - https://housewifehowtos.com/clean/10-tips-to-keeping-a-clean-house/
  5. Better Homes and Gardens - https://www.bhg.com/decorating/storage/projects/simple-solutions/ 
Read

My Home Didn’t Sell! Now What?

When it comes to listing your home, most home sellers want three things: 1) to make a lot of money, 2) to put in minimal time and effort, and 3) to sell quickly. But the reality is, selling a home is rarely that simple. And homeowners who try to do it themselves—or receive bad advice—can end up stuck (months later) with a property that hasn’t sold. 

If that’s you, don’t panic! I’ve outlined the top five reasons a home doesn’t sell—and action steps you can take to overcome each of these issues. 

Not sure why your property didn’t sell? If you’re not already working with an agent or your listing has expired or been withdrawn, give me a call! I’d be happy to offer a free, no-obligation assessment and create an action plan to get your home SOLD. 

This marketing piece is not intended as a solicitation for properties currently in an exclusive agreement with another Broker.

 

  • BAD TIMING

If your home didn’t sell after several months on the market, timing could’ve been a factor. Markets are driven by the law of supply and demand, and real estate is no exception. 

When there are a lot of people who want to buy homes (demand) and a shortage of inventory (supply), it’s considered a seller’s market. During a seller’s market, listings tend to get snapped up quickly. In a buyer’s market, however, there are more homes for sale than active buyers. This can cause homes to sell for less money and to sit on the market for a longer period of time before receiving an offer.

What causes the shift between a seller’s market and a buyer’s market? Economic factors like interest rates, affordability, domestic growth, and the unemployment rate can all impact buyer demand. Over the past year, for example, higher mortgage rates have not only made it harder for some borrowers to qualify for a home loan, they have also sharply pushed up homebuyers' anticipated monthly payments.1 So even if a buyer was interested in your home, they may have passed on it if they couldn’t qualify for a mortgage at your asking price. 

Seasonal factors like weather, holidays, and school schedules can also increase or dampen the activity and motivation of buyers. Additionally, unexpected events, such as a natural disaster or a stock market crash, can cause some buyers to put their purchasing plans on hold until conditions normalize.

Now What?

If timing does appear to be a factor, it may be advisable to delay relisting your property. Of course, that’s not feasible (or desirable) for every seller. 

In most cases, buyers can be motivated to act with a combination of improvements, incentives, and pricing. Where there’s a will to sell, there’s usually a way. Fortunately for sellers, people will always need a place to live, and there will be a percentage of the population that is motivated to buy quickly. 

If you suspect timing played a role in your inability to sell, consult with a knowledgeable real estate agent. We’re in the field every day and have access to the latest market data. We can estimate how long a home like yours should take to sell given current market conditions and help ensure that your asking price is competitive.

  

  • INEFFECTIVE MARKETING

Did your home get a steady stream of showings when it was on the market? If not, you may need to try a new promotional strategy.

Take a look at the listing description. Did it entice buyers to visit your property? A well-written description should be clear and compelling while highlighting your home’s most desirable features. Additionally, it should have utilized best practices for search engine optimization (SEO) to ensure that it was found by buyers who were looking for homes online.

And how well did the listing photos showcase your property? Many buyers use photos of a home to decide whether or not to visit it in person. In fact, in an American survey, 85% of buyers who browsed online found photos “very useful” in their home search.2 Poor quality or a low quantity of listing photos could have kept potential buyers from stepping through your door.

Another factor to consider is whether your listing reached the right audience. This can be especially important if you have a unique or highly-customized home. Working with your agent to make your listing available through your local Multiple Listing Service® System is a great place to start, but some properties require a more robust marketing approach.

Now What?

If you suspect ineffective marketing, consider turning to a skilled professional with a proven approach. We employ a strategic Property Marketing Plan that uses the latest technologies to seed the marketplace, optimize for search engine placement, and position your home for the best possible impression right out of the gate. 

For example, we know what buyers in this market want and can craft a persuasive description to pique their interest. And since good listing photos are so crucial, we work with the top local photographers to ensure each shot is staged to your home’s advantage. 

We also know how to get your listing in front of the right audience—one that will appreciate its unique features. By utilizing online and social marketing platforms to connect with consumers and offline channels to connect with local real estate agents, your property gets maximum exposure to your target market. 

Want to learn more about our multi-step marketing strategy? Reach out for a copy of my complete Property Marketing Plan.

  

  • POOR IMPRESSION

If your property received a lot of foot traffic but no offers, you may need to examine the impression you made on buyers who visited your property.

Start with your home’s structure and systems. Are there large cracks in the foundation? How about doors and windows that don’t properly close? Are there water stains on the walls or ceiling that could signal a leak? These can be major “red flags” that scare away buyers.

Next, examine your curb appeal. Does the yard need mowing or do the hedges need trimming? Are there oil stains on the driveway? Any peeling paint or rotted siding? If your home’s exterior looks neglected, buyers may assume the entire house has been poorly maintained.

Now move on to the interior of your home. Is it clean? Is there a noticeable odour? Have you taken the time to depersonalize and declutter each room? Buyers need to be able to picture their items in your home, but that’s difficult to do amongst your family photos and personal collections. And oversized furniture and packed closets can make a space seem small and cramped.

Now What?

When I take on a new listing, I always walk through it with the homeowner and point out any repairs, updates, or decluttering that should be done to maximize its sales potential. I also share tips on how to prep the property before each showing. 

In some cases, I will recommend that you utilize staging techniques to highlight your home’s best features and help buyers envision themselves living in the space. Home staging is one of the hottest trends in real estate—because it works! According to stagedhomes.com, for example, staging could cut in half the amount of time it takes to sell and bump up your sale price by as much as 20%.3 In addition, a survey of American real estate agents suggests that staging not only helps spark buyers' imaginations, it can also inspire higher quality offers.4

Some sellers choose to hire a professional home stager, while others opt to do it themselves, using guidance from their agent. I can help you determine the appropriate budget and effort required to get your home sold. 


  • PRICE IS TOO HIGH

Many homeowners are reluctant to drop their listing price. But the reality is, buyers may not seriously consider your property if they think your home is overpriced.

Attitudes have changed since the Bank of Canada started hiking interest rates. Many of today's homebuyers are no longer willing or able to pay as high a price on a new home as they might have when borrowing costs were lower.5 If your home’s original asking price was set using sales data from the market's peak, then you may need to rethink your pricing strategy.

Economic factors aren't the only reasons, though, for why a home's asking price might not match its market value. Pricing a home can be tricky, regardless of the economic climate, because so many factors can impact how much buyers are willing to pay. For example, unique, highly customized, and luxury properties are particularly difficult to price because there aren’t a lot of comparable homes with which to compare them. 

Regardless, if your home sat on the market for months without an offer, then chances are good that your asking price needs to be reevaluated.

Now What?

If you aren’t in a rush to sell your home, adjustments to timing or marketing may bring in a new pool of potential buyers. And repairs, upgrades, and staging can increase the perceived value of your home, which may be enough to bring a buyer to the table at your original list price.

However, if you need to sell quickly, or you’ve already exhausted those options, a price reduction may be necessary to get your home the attention it needs to sell. 

I am a local market expert and have access to the latest market data and comparable sales in your neighbourhood. I can help you determine a realistic asking price for your home given today’s market conditions. Just reach out for a free home value assessment!

  

  • YOU HIRED THE WRONG AGENT (OR WORSE, NO AGENT AT ALL)

If you suspect that your previous real estate agent didn’t do enough—or used the wrong approach—to sell your home, you’re not alone. Many sellers whose listings languish until they expire or are withdrawn feel this way. 

While most agents have the best of intentions, not all of them have the skills, experience, instincts, or local market expertise to devise a winning sales strategy in this challenging market.

Or, perhaps you chose not to hire a listing agent at all and have been trying to sell your home yourself. This can be an equally frustrating endeavour.

Although selling your home independently can help cut some costs, it can also be extremely risky and may even lose you money in the long run. For example, research by the Canadian real estate intelligence firm, Insightt, found that For Sale By Owner (or FSBO) homes took more than twice as long to sell in some real estate markets as homes represented by an agent. Insightt's data also showed that FSBO homes were more likely to sell for less than asking price.6

Now What?

If either of these scenarios sounds familiar, you need to ask yourself: “Would I still be interested in selling my home if I could get the right offer?”

If so, we should talk. I understand how frustrating it can be when you’ve put a lot of time, money, and effort into prepping your property for the market and it doesn’t sell. I also empathize with how disruptive a delayed home sale can be to your life.

By now, don’t you owe yourself more than the status quo when it comes to your real estate representation? My multi-step Property Marketing Plan can help you sell your home for the most money possible, and in the process re-connect you with the excitement you originally felt upon first listing. It’s time for a new agent, new marketing, new buyers, and most of all…new possibilities. 


READY TO MAKE A MOVE? 

Let's talk. I can help you figure out why your home didn’t sell and how to revise your sales strategy and set your home up for success. 

The housing market has experienced a shift and the waters may be choppier than usual for a while. But there's still plenty of opportunity in the current market: You just need a guide who knows where to look and how to find it.



This marketing piece is not intended as a solicitation for properties currently in an exclusive agreement with another Broker. The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be financial, legal, or tax advice. Consult the appropriate professionals for advice regarding your individual needs.

The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA.


Sources:

  • Financial Post - https://financialpost.com/executive/executive-summary/bank-of-canada-interest-rate-impact-housing-mortgage 
  • National Association of Realtors - https://store.realtor/2022-nar-profile-of-home-buyers-and-sellers-download/
  • CREA - https://www.creacafe.ca/is-home-staging-necessary-when-listing-a-property/ 
  • Money Sense - https://www.moneysense.ca/spend/real-estate/what-home-sellers-should-know-about-staging/
  • The Globe and Mail - https://www.theglobeandmail.com/real-estate/toronto/article-opportunistic-real-estate-buyers-step-to-the-stage-as-prices-decline/ 
  • Real Estate Magazine - https://realestatemagazine.ca/putting-for-sale-by-owner-into-perspective/ 
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Top 6 Home Design Trends To Watch in 2023

Over the past few years, many of us have spent extra time at home—and that means we appreciate the personal design touches that make a house cozy and comfortable more than ever. Some of us have adapted our dwellings in new ways, from creating functional home offices to upgrading the appliances we use most. 

But while it’s important to make your home your own, it’s also smart to think about the long-term impact your renovations could have on its value. Choosing highly-personalized fixtures and finishes can make it harder for future homebuyers to envision themselves in the space. Even if you don’t plan to sell your home soon, investing in popular design choices that are likely to stand the test of time will make things easier down the road. 

And if you’re in the market for a new home, it’s wise to keep an eye out for features that might need to be updated soon so you can factor renovation costs into your budget.

I’ve rounded up six trends that I believe will influence interior design in 2023, as well as ideas for how you might incorporate them in your own home. Remember, before taking action, it’s always wise to consult with a real estate professional to understand how specific updates and upgrades will affect your property’s value in your local market.  


Separate Kitchen, Dining and Living Areas

For years, home design has been dominated by open-concept floor plans, particularly for kitchen, dining, and living areas. However, as the pandemic forced families to work and study from home, many struggled to find the privacy and separation they needed. As a result, designers report that more families are choosing to bring back walls to break up the space and create quieter areas.1 

That doesn’t mean that we’re returning to an era of dark and cramped spaces, however. Even as walls make a return, it’s important to take care to retain a sense of flow and openness within the home and to prioritize natural light. 

If you’re buying or building a new home, consider how you will use the space and whether or not an open floor plan will suit your needs. If you already live in a home with an open floor plan and it isn’t working for you, try rearranging furniture and strategically placing pieces like bookshelves, room dividers, or rugs to create distinct areas within the home and reduce noise.


Nature-Inspired Design

In the past few years, we’ve seen the “biophilia” trend explode, and there are no signs that it will be any less popular in 2023. This trend is all about bringing the outside in by adding natural touches throughout your home.2 

This year, design experts predict that natural, sustainable materials like bamboo, cork, and live-edge wood will lend character without being overwhelming. Natural-wood cabinets and accents are also back in vogue.3 Designers emphasize that you shouldn’t be afraid to mix contrasting tones, like white oak and rich walnut, to create a custom and inviting look.1

Colours inspired by nature (think mossy greens and desert hues) will also play into this trend and will blend seamlessly with wood tones. We’re also seeing a return to natural stone countertop materials like quartzite, marble, and soapstone.4

If you’re planning to add new shelving or redo your kitchen, consider turning to these materials to embrace the biophilic look. Or, incorporate elements of the trend by choosing nature-inspired paint colours and adding to your houseplant collection.

Lighting as a Design Feature

Spending more time at home has shown us the importance of having the right lighting for specific tasks and times of the day. As a result, many homeowners are reconsidering the ways they light their homes and using light fixtures to change the usability and mood of their spaces.

In particular, homeowners are rejecting bright, flat overhead lighting and replacing it with lamps and task-specific options. A layered approach to lighting—such as using a combination of under-cabinet, task, and ambient lighting in a kitchen—enables homeowners to tweak the level of light they’re using based on the time of day and what they are doing.4 

In 2023, we expect to see more statement chandeliers, pendants, and wall sconces in a variety of shapes and materials.5 Thinking about switching up the lighting in your home? Start by adding floor or table lamps and swapping out fixtures before you invest in rewiring your space. Take note of what works and what doesn’t and watch how the light in your home changes throughout the day. You can then use that information to make lighting decisions that require a bigger investment. 


More Vibrant Colour Palettes

After the long dominance of whites and grays, more vibrant colours are coming back as a way to add character and dimension to homes. 

This year, warm and earthy neutrals, jewel tones, and shades of red and pink are particularly popular.6 If your style tends toward the subtle, consider options like light, calming greens, blues, and pastels.

Major paint brands have responded to these homeowner preferences with their newest releases. Sherwin William’s 2023 colour of the year, Redend point, is an earthy blushing beige, while Dulux is embracing jewel tones with Vining Ivy, a rich teal.7,8 Behr’s choice of the year, Blank Canvas, is a creamy off-white that's a warmer version of the stark whites that have been trending over the past few years.9

If you’re planning to put your home on the market soon, it’s better to play on the safer side and avoid extremely bold or bright colour choices when it comes to paint or fixed finishes like tile and countertops. Instead, try incorporating pops of colour through throw pillows, art, and accessories.


Curved Furniture and Architectural Accents

Goodbye, sharp corners. In 2023, arches and curves lend a sleek feel that draws on classical design and retro trends while remaining modern.6 Rounded corners feel more relaxed and natural than sharp edges, lending more of a sense of flow and comfort to a home. 

If you want to incorporate the trend into your new build or remodelling plans, curved kitchen islands and bars and arched alcoves are all good options—or you can take it a step further with arched windows and doorways. You can also carry this trend through to your light fixtures by incorporating a bubble chandelier or globe pendants.

It’s easy to embrace this look without renovations, too. Look for a softer feel in furniture, with sofas, chairs, and tables that showcase curved edges. Or, break up your space with an arched folding screen and a circular rug.


Art Deco Revival

Art Deco, the architecture and design style that took hold in the 1920s and ’30s, is enjoying a resurgence.1

As a style, Art Deco is marked by bold geometry, textures, and colours, as well as an emphasis on art. But the 2023 interpretation of this style is likely to be a bit less splashy than its historical roots. Designers predict that instead of incorporating all of the elements of the style, which could feel overwhelming, homeowners will pick bursts of colour or bold accessories to bring some whimsy to their space. 

Keep an eye out for vintage mirrors, lamps, or vases that bring a touch of Art Deco glam to your home, or embrace bold colours and fabrics like velvet. Choose pillows and throw blankets in bright colours and geometric patterns to nod to the look without diving in all the way. 

 


DESIGNED TO SELL

Are you thinking about remodelling or making significant design changes to your home? Wondering how those changes might impact your future resale value? 

Buyer preferences vary significantly based on your home’s neighbourhood and price range. I'm happy to share my insights on the upgrades that will make it easier (or more difficult!) to sell your home. Give me a call for a complimentary consultation!


The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only.  It is not intended to be financial, legal, or tax advice. Consult the appropriate professionals for advice regarding your individual needs.

  

Sources:

  • Realtor.ca - https://www.realtor.ca/blog/design-trends-to-watch-out-for-in-2023/29256/1367
  • Sudbury.com - https://www.sudbury.com/village-life/15-major-interior-design-trends-for-2023-6301745
  • Home Builder Canada - https://www.homebuildercanada.com/news/news221123-Kitchen-trends.htm
  • Realtor.ca - https://www.realtor.ca/blog/8-kitchen-trends-to-watch-for-in-2023/29442/1367
  • The Spruce - https://www.thespruce.com/2023-lighting-trends-6891412 
  • HGTV.ca - https://www.hgtv.ca/2023-home-decor-trends/
  • Sherwin Williams - https://www.sherwin-williams.com/content/colorforecast/colormix-2023/color-of-the-year-2023
  • Dulux - https://www.dulux.ca/pro/colour/2023-paint-colour-design-trends
  • Behr - https://www.behr.com/consumer/inspiration/2023-coty/
Read

2023 Real Estate Market Outlook (And What It Means for You)

Last year, one factor drove the real estate market more than any other: rising mortgage rates. 

In March 2022, the Bank of Canada began a series of interest rate hikes in an effort to pump the brakes on inflation.1 And while some market sectors have been slow to respond, the housing market has reacted accordingly.

Both demand and home prices have softened, as the primary challenge for buyers has shifted from availability to affordability. And although this higher-mortgage rate environment has been a painful adjustment for many Canadians, it should ultimately lead to a more stable and sustainable real estate market.

So what can we expect in 2023? Will mortgage rates continue to climb? Could home prices come crashing down? While no one can forecast the future with certainty, here’s what several industry experts predict will happen to the Canadian housing market in the coming year.


MORTGAGE RATES WILL EVENTUALLY STOP CLIMBING

Over the course of 2022, we saw the benchmark rate rise at a record pace—a whopping 400 basis points in just nine months. Fortunately, there are signs that the central bank’s series of rate hikes may be coming to an end.2

After last month’s half-point rate increase, Bank of Canada officials struck a noncommittal tone about future rate hikes, prompting economists to speculate that the central bank may pause hiking rates by early spring, if not sooner.3 

According to Stephen Brown, a senior economist at Capital Economics, the central bank is likely to hike rates at least one more time before it shifts gears. “We would not rule out a final 25 basis point interest rate hike in January,” said Brown in a client note. “But the Bank is very close to the end of its tightening cycle.”3

What impact will this have on mortgage rates? Variable mortgage rates could finally stabilize. However, buyers hoping for a big drop later in the year may be disappointed. Although some market analysts are betting on lower rates, CIBC economist Benjamin Tal thinks that's unlikely as long as inflation remains a factor. “I think that the Bank of Canada is determined to make sure that they will not touch interest rates in terms of cutting them before inflation is totally dead,” said Tal in an interview with Canadian Mortgage Professional.4 

Fixed mortgage rates, on the other hand, could continue to trend lower as bond yields crumble.5 James Laird, co-CEO of Ratehub.ca, predicts that Bank of Canada’s benchmark rate will hold steady through 2023, but fixed mortgage rates may tick down because of bonds. “Bond yields will decrease throughout the year, allowing fixed rates to follow suit,” said Laird in an interview with Canadian Mortgage Professional.6 However, those rate decreases may be fairly muted as long as banks’ borrowing costs stay higher overall.  

It's also possible that rates on both variable and fixed-rate mortgages will climb instead. Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem has made clear that the central bank is prepared to keep hiking rates aggressively if inflation fails to dissipate. “If high inflation sticks, much higher interest rates will be required to restore price stability,” said Macklem in a recent speech to business leaders.7 

What does it mean for you?  While no one can predict the future of mortgage rates with certainty, an end to interest rate hikes could bring some much-needed relief for borrowers. If you have plans to buy a home or renew your mortgage in the coming year, you’ll want to weigh your options carefully when deciding between a variable or fixed rate. Reach out to me for a referral to a mortgage professional who can help.


BUYERS WILL RETURN TO THE MARKET

The pace of home sales fell steeply last year as higher mortgage rates priced would-be buyers out of the market. However, some industry experts predict that the Canadian housing market is poised to turn a corner. 

Although many buyers and sellers are currently in a stalemate over housing prices, market dynamics may shift this spring as more homes go up for sale. 

“Zooming in on demand and supply conditions, the drop in unit sales has been the steepest on record, but the pace of the decline is starting to slow,” write CIBC economists, Benjamin Tal and Katherine Judge, in a recent forecast.8 Douglas Porter, chief economist at BMO Capital Markets, projects that existing home sales will fall through the first half of 2023 and then reverse course and begin to rise in Q3.9 

Victor Tran, mortgage expert at Ratesdotca, also speculates that a stabilization in mortgage rates will bring home buyers back out. He told the Financial Post in a December interview: “We may be seeing the bottom of the housing market trough before buyers begin to enter the market in spring of 2023.”10

Buyers’ purchasing power will still be constrained by higher mortgage rates, though, as well as by a stringent mortgage stress test for uninsured mortgages and a hefty monthly payment for insured ones. So a buyer’s ability to participate in the market will depend, in part, on a seller’s willingness to negotiate.  

What does it mean for you?  If you’re a buyer who has been waiting for conditions to normalize, now may be an ideal time to start your home search. As more buyers begin to enter the market, you’ll face steeper competition and reduced negotiating power.

And if you’ve delayed selling your home, this could be the year to make a move. Reach out to schedule a complimentary consultation and home value assessment.


HOME PRICES WILL STABILIZE LATER THIS YEAR

Canadian home prices have fallen roughly 10% from their peak, and analysts expect they could fall further before moderating in the second half of this year.11

A Reuters poll of industry experts found a wide range of predictions. But on average, the analysts surveyed project that home prices could fall another 7.5% or so. However, the majority report that the risk of a market crash is low.11

A nationwide housing shortage is expected to prop up prices even as sales volume falls. According to Robert Kavcic, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, “We have a unique situation where demand has cracked and buyers can’t qualify for, or afford, early-year prices. But, outside some areas, there’s not a bounty of listings to choose from, and sellers are still able to say ‘no thanks.’”11

Economists at CIBC speculate that home prices will hit a floor in the coming months: “A lower 5-year rate and pent-up demand amplified by demographics will work to establish a bottom in prices by the spring of 2023,” write Benjamin Tal and Katherine Judge.8

RBC Assistant Chief Economist Robert Hogue offers a similar projection: “We expect prices will keep falling until a bottom [this] spring. Our forecast calls for the national benchmark price to drop 14% from (quarterly) peak to trough.”12

What does it mean for you?  It can feel scary to buy a home when there’s uncertainty in the market. However, real estate is a long-term investment that has been shown to appreciate over time. And keep in mind that the best bargains are often found in a slower market, like the one we’re experiencing right now. Contact me to discuss your goals and budget. I can help you make an informed decision about the right time to buy.

And if you’re planning to sell this year, you’ll want to chart your path carefully to maximize your profits. Contact me for recommendations and to find out your home’s market value.


RENT PRICES WILL CONTINUE TO CLIMB

While home prices have fallen, rent prices have surged—rising around 12% year-over-year, according to data from Rentals.ca.13

The average monthly cost to rent a home in Canada is now higher than ever and some analysts are growing increasingly concerned that renters won't be able to keep up with the higher payments. “We're getting close to a point where rents are just simply becoming unaffordable for renters,” said Urbanation president, Shaun Hildebrand, to CBC News.14 

But that's not stopping landlords from collecting higher rents. In 2023, affordability challenges for would-be buyers, inflationary pressures, and an overall lack of housing are expected to continue driving up rent prices in much of the country. 

“Interest rates are actually working to elevate rent inflation because many people are not buying, so they are renting more,” CIBC Economist Benjamin Tal told CBC News.13

And according to Tal, the higher rates have also disincentivized builders and developers from investing in rental properties. That, in turn, has exacerbated the undersupply of available units.13

It's possible rent prices could ease if Canada's economy deteriorates, says Urbanation's Hildebrand. “But over the medium and longer term with aggressive immigration targets and rental construction that's been stalling recently due to high costs, it's pretty clear that rents are going to continue to rise higher.”14 

What does it mean for you?  Rent prices are expected to keep climbing. But you can lock in a set mortgage payment and build long-term wealth by putting that money toward a home purchase instead. Reach out for a complimentary consultation to discuss your options. 


WE’RE HERE TO GUIDE YOU

While national real estate forecasts can provide a “big picture” outlook, real estate is local. And as local market experts, I can guide you through the ins and outs of our market and the issues most likely to impact sales and drive home values in your particular neighbourhood. 

If you’re considering buying or selling a home in 2023, contact me now to schedule a complimentary consultation. I’ll work with you to develop an action plan to meet your real estate goals this year.


The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only.  It is not intended to be financial, legal, or tax advice. Consult the appropriate professionals for advice regarding your individual needs.


Sources:

  1. CP24 News -
    https://www.cp24.com/news/the-bank-of-canada-has-raised-rates-again-here-s-a-timeline-of-how-we-got-here-1.6125268#
  2. Reuters -
    https://www.reuters.com/markets/bank-canada-set-hike-rates-may-signal-it-is-near-end-tightening-cycle-2022-12-07/
  3. CBC -
    https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/bank-of-canada-1.6677004 
  4. Canadian Mortgage Professional - https://www.mpamag.com/ca/mortgage-industry/market-updates/bank-of-canada-could-be-done-on-hikes-for-now-cibcs-tal/430005
  5. Reuters - https://www.reuters.com/business/finance/bank-canadas-inflation-fight-made-harder-bond-yields-fall-2022-12-15/ 
  6. Canadian Mortgage Professional - https://www.mpamag.com/ca/news/general/whats-the-bank-of-canada-rate-likely-to-be-in-2023/430755 
  7. Global News -
    https://globalnews.ca/news/9341825/bank-of-canada-tiff-macklem-speech-dec-12/ 
  8. CIBC Capital Markets -
    https://economics.cibccm.com/cds?id=6f402711-69b3-46a5-afc8-91ede34fe1fd&flag=E
  9. BMO Capital Markets -
    https://economics.bmo.com/media/filer_public/04/01/040155ce-0cb2-49ac-b63e-def8e66d4c05/outlookcanada.pdf
  10. Financial Post -
    https://financialpost.com/real-estate/mortgage-rates-soar-higher-interest-rate-increase
  11. Financial Post -
    https://financialpost.com/real-estate/canada-house-prices-to-tumble
  12. RBC Special Housing Reports -
    https://thoughtleadership.rbc.com/quiet-fall-housing-market-across-canada/
  13. CBC News -
    https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/rent-inflation-november-1.6650777
  14. CBC News -
    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/rental-costs-canada-1.6685602
Read

7 Tips to Maximize Your Home’s Sale Price

Over the past few years, a real estate buying frenzy bid up home prices to eye-popping amounts. However, as mortgage rates have risen, buyer demand has cooled.1 Consequently, home sellers who enter the market today may need to reset their expectations. 

The reality is, it’s no longer enough to stick a “for sale” sign in the yard and wait for buyers to bang down the door. If you want to net the most money possible for your property in today’s market, you’ll need an effective game plan and a skilled team of professionals to implement it. 

Fortunately, I’ve developed a listing strategy that combines my proven approach to preparation, pricing, and promotion—all designed to help you get top dollar for your home. But you will play an important role in the selling process, as well. 

Here are some crucial steps you can take to set yourself up for success as a home seller in this market:  

1.     Make Strategic Repairs and Improvements 

When you sell something, it’s important to consider what your customer wants to buy. And according to a recent survey, 83% of Canadians view “affording necessary renovations” as a major hurdle to buying a home.2 If you can present buyers with a move-in-ready option, they will feel more confident in making an offer. 

Before your home goes on the market, I’ll conduct a thorough walk-through to identify any problems that could prevent it from selling. In some cases, I may recommend a professional pre-listing inspection. Finding and addressing issues like leaks, rot, and foundation problems up front can pay off in the final sale price. Plus, it prevents sales from falling through because of a red flag on the home inspection, a scenario no seller wants to face. 

Beyond repairs, I’ll also help you identify the simple upgrades that offer the highest return on your investment. For example, new paint can give your home a fresh look at a reasonable cost. And according to a recent report, it’s one of the top renovations for return at resale.3 Similarly, minor landscaping improvements can pay off in a major way. A healthy lawn offers an estimated 256% ROI.4 

 

2.     Declutter and Depersonalize 

When buyers look at a home for sale, they’re trying to envision themselves living there. That’s hard to do if it’s chock-full of the current owner’s family photos, children’s artwork, and souvenir collections. Plus, cluttered homes look smaller, and older items can make them feel dated. 

Decluttering before you put your home up for sale will help you in the long run—after all, you’ll need to move all your things to your new home eventually. Now is the time to shred, digitize, or organize old documents, donate old clothes, or move bulky furniture into storage. At a minimum, you’ll want to pack away excess items neatly before potential buyers view the home. Remove personal photos and other trinkets to create a blank slate that viewers can imagine decorating with their own prized possessions. 

If you feel overwhelmed by this process, I’d be happy to make recommendations or refer you to a local service provider who can help. 

 

3.     Stage Your Home for Success 

Just as you take care to dress professionally for a job interview, you should always ensure your home looks its best for potential buyers. Home shoppers today are used to scrolling through Instagram and Pinterest, and they want to see the same wow factor when touring a home.

The process of making your home look its best and appeal to potential buyers is called staging, and it can be a game changer. According to the International Association of Home Staging Professionals, an average priced staged home sells 5 to 11 times faster than its unstaged counterpart. Even better, the majority of staged homes sell for 4% to 20% over list price!5 

Some sellers hire a professional stager, who may bring in furniture and decor to increase the home’s appeal. Others choose to stage their homes themselves. I can help advise you on which route to choose and how much to invest in the process. 

It’s also important to consider what buyers in your neighbourhood are likely to be looking for in a home. I can help guide your staging choices with our local market insights. For example, in neighbourhoods where a large share of residents work from home, it may be effective to stage one room as an office space so potential buyers can envision their day-to-day routine. 

 

4.     Prep for Each Showing 

Most of us don’t live picture-perfect lives, and our homes reflect that (sometimes messy) reality. But when your home is on the market, it’s important to ensure that it is always ready for viewers, even on short notice. A missed showing is a missed opportunity to sell your home! 

Before your home hits the market, it may be worth hiring professional cleaners to get in all the nooks and crannies. After, try your best to keep things spic and span. Just a few minutes a day wiping down counters, sweeping the floors, and vacuuming can make a big difference.

It’s also worth noting that most buyers will open cabinets, drawers, and closets—so try to make sure everything is as neat and organized as possible. Keep toiletries and small appliances off countertops, and secure valuables and sensitive documents in a safe or off-site. 

Want help finding a cleaning service to make your home shine for buyers? Reach out for a referral! 

 

5.     Price Your Home Correctly From the Start 

In the past few years, you may have seen homes in your neighbourhood sell for shocking amounts and wondered if you could get a similar price for your property. The temptation to list your home on the high side can be strong, but it’s best to be realistic from the start. Even in a strong market, some homes will sit for months. And the longer a property is listed, the more buyers worry that something is wrong with it. 

Of course, you also don’t want to set your price too low and lose out on potential profit. That’s why it’s essential to work with real estate agents who know the ins and outs of our local market and what buyers are willing to pay today. In a quickly-evolving market, comparable sales from a few months ago can lag the current market reality. 

Fortunately, if you’ve owned your home for several years, chances are good that it’s worth much more today than you paid for it. That means you stand to walk away with a handsome profit. 

 

6.     Avoid Acting on Emotion 

The past few years of over-asking-price offers with few conditions have set certain expectations for many sellers. It’s only natural to feel hurt or even offended if an offer comes in lower than what you think your home is worth. 

However, it’s important to keep in mind that those market conditions were unprecedented, and we are now returning to a more typical market. Home sellers who act rationally, rather than emotionally, are going to get the best results. 

Remember: You can always counter a low offer. The same goes for repair requests and conditions—everything is negotiable. However, it’s important to accept that the market is adjusting and flexibility is key. Keep your expectations reasonable, and remain open-minded. And you can rest assured knowing that I’ll be by your side every step of the way to help you navigate the process and negotiate a great deal. 

 

7.     Work With a Local Market Expert 

The economics impacting mortgage rates may be national, but real estate markets are hyperlocal. That’s why working with a professional agent who understands your neighbourhood’s dynamics is essential. Through my experience, I’ve gathered insights that can help position your home for success in this market. Plus, I have the resources to connect with qualified buyers searching for a home like yours. 

Working with a knowledgeable agent is also the secret to getting as much money as possible for your home. I have access to extensive data on recent sales in your neighbourhood, which we will use to price and promote your property. That’s one reason why homes sold by agents draw much higher prices than those sold by their owners alone. The U.S.-based National Association of Realtors found that for-sale-by-owner homes went for a median price of $260,000 in 2020, while the median for homes sold by agents was $318,000.6 That’s a difference of $58,000—and money you don’t want to leave on the table. 

 

YOUR AGENT AND ADVOCATE

Selling a home in a fast-changing market can be stressful. You’re likely to hear conflicting advice and opinions from people in your life, and decisions like what colour to paint your front door or how much to list your home for can be overwhelming. 

That’s where I come in. The market may be adjusting, but I'm here to help you make the most of it. I'm a listing professional in our area, and I know what steps you need to take for a smooth, profitable transaction. 

If you’re considering buying or selling a home, I invite you to reach out to schedule a free consultation. I'm happy to talk through your specific situation and goals and help you identify your next steps. 

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only.  It is not intended to be financial, legal, or tax advice. Consult the appropriate professionals for advice regarding your individual needs. 

 

Sources:

1.     Global News - https://globalnews.ca/news/8833692/canada-housing-prices-bidding-offers/

2.     Chartered Professional Accountants Canada - https://www.cpacanada.ca/en/news/canada/housing-survey

3.     RE/MAX Blog - https://blog.remax.ca/renovations-that-pay-off-on-resale-according-to-re-max-brokers/

4.     Angi - https://www.angi.com/articles/smart-landscaping-tips-can-increase-home-value.htm

5.     International Association of Home Staging Professionals - https://pages.iahsp.com/home-staging-statistics/

6.     National Association of Realtors - https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/research-reports/highlights-from-the-profile-of-home-buyers-and-sellers#purchased
Read

8 Strategies to Secure a Lower Mortgage Rate

Interest rates have risen rapidly this year, triggered by the Bank of Canada’s efforts to curb inflation. And the July MNP Consumer Debt Index found that 59% of Canadians “are already feeling the effects of interest rate increases.”1  

Why has the impact been so widespread? In part, due to the rising popularity of variable rate mortgages. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, in the latter half of last year, the majority of mortgage borrowers opted for a variable over a fixed interest rate.2 

Variable mortgages are typically pegged to the lender’s prime rate, which means they are immediately affected by rising interest rates. Homeowners with fixed mortgages aren’t impacted as quickly because their interest rate is locked in, but they will face higher rates, as well, when their mortgages are up for renewal. And many homebuyers are finding it increasingly difficult to afford or even qualify for a mortgage at today’s elevated rates.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to strengthen your position if you have plans to buy a home or renew an existing mortgage. Try these eight strategies to help secure the best available rate:  

1. Raise your credit score. 

Borrowers with higher credit scores are viewed as “less risky” to lenders, so they are offered lower interest rates. A “good” credit score typically starts at 660 and can move up into the 800s.3 If you don’t know your score, you can access it online from Canada’s two primary credit bureaus, Equifax and Transunion.4 

Then, if your credit score is low, you can take steps to improve it, including:5 

      Correct any errors on your credit reports, which can bring down your score. You can request free copies of your reports through the Equifax and Transunion websites.

      Pay down revolving debt. This includes credit card balances and home equity lines of credit.

      Avoid closing old credit card accounts in good standing. It could lower your score by shortening your credit history and shrinking your total available credit.

      Make all future payments on time. Payment history is a primary factor in determining your credit score, so make it a priority.

      Limit your credit applications to avoid having your score dinged by too many inquiries. If you’re shopping around for a car loan or mortgage, minimize the impact by limiting your applications to a two-week period.

Over time, you should start to see your credit score climb — which will help you qualify for a lower mortgage rate. 

2. Keep steady employment. 

If you are preparing to purchase a home, it might not be the best time to make a major career change. Unfortunately, frequent job moves or gaps in your résumé could hurt your borrower eligibility. 

When you apply for a new mortgage, lenders will typically review your employment and income history and look for evidence that you've been financially stable for at least two years.6 If you’ve earned a steady paycheck, you could qualify for a better interest rate. A stable employment history gives lenders more confidence in your ability to repay the loan. 

That doesn’t mean a job change will automatically disqualify you from purchasing a home. But certain moves, like switching from corporate employment to freelance or self-employment status, could force you to delay your purchase, since lenders will want to see proof of steady, long-term earnings.6 

3. Lower your debt service ratios.

Even with a high credit score and a great job, lenders will be concerned if your debt payments are consuming too much of your income. That’s where your debt service ratios will come into play.

There are two types of debt service ratios:7

1.     Gross debt service (GDS) — What percentage of your gross monthly income will go towards covering housing expenses (mortgage, property taxes, utilities, and 50% of condo maintenance fees)?

2.     Total debt service (TDS) — What percentage of your gross monthly income will go towards covering ALL debt obligations (housing expenses, credit cards, student loans, and other debt)?

What’s considered a good debt service ratio? Lenders typically want to see a GDS ratio that’s no higher than 32% and a TDS ratio that’s 40% or less.7

Low debt service ratios will also help you pass a mortgage stress test, which is required by all Canadian banks and some other types of lenders. The stress test is designed to help ensure you can continue to afford your mortgage payments even if interest rates rise. You can use the government of Canada's Mortgage Qualifier Tool to calculate how much you can afford to borrow.

If your debt service ratios are too high, or you can’t pass a mortgage stress test, you may need to consider purchasing a less expensive home, increasing your down payment, or paying down your existing debt. A bump in your monthly income will also help. 

4. Increase your down payment.

Minimum down payment requirements vary by loan size and property type. But, in some cases, you can qualify for a lower mortgage rate if you make a larger down payment.

Why do lenders care about your down payment size? Because borrowers with significant equity in their homes are less likely to default on their mortgages. That’s why you will be required to purchase mortgage default insurance if you put down less than 20%.8

It’s important to note that some lenders offer discount rates for borrowers who put down less than 20% – because the required default insurance protects them from any potential loss. However, the cost of CMHC or private mortgage default insurance will typically exceed any interest savings. You'll also have to pay interest on that insurance if you add it to your mortgage.9 The bottom line: you’ll save money in borrowing costs if you can afford a larger down payment.

Fortunately, there are a couple of government-initiated resources designed to help eligible first-time home buyers with a down payment, including:9 

      Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) – Buyers may withdraw up to $35,000 (tax-free) from their Registered Retirement Savings Plan(RRSP). The money must be used to build or purchase a qualifying home and repaid to the RRSP within 15 years.

      First-Time Home Buyer Incentive – Buyers can take advantage of a shared-equity mortgage with the Government of Canada. Essentially, the Government will put 5% or 10% towards your down payment, interest-free, in exchange for a limited equity share of your property. The repayment is due in 25 years or when you sell your home.

I’d be happy to discuss these and other programs, tax rebates, and incentives that might help you increase your down payment. 

5. Weigh interest rate options. 

All mortgages are not created equal, and some may be a better fit than others, depending on your priorities and risk tolerance. For starters, there are several interest rate options to choose from:10 

      Fixed — You’re guaranteed to keep the same interest rate for the entire length of the loan. Many buyers prefer a fixed rate because it offers them predictability and stability. However, you’ll pay a premium for it, as these mortgages typically have a higher interest rate to start. And if rates fall, you’ll be locked into that higher rate.

      Variable — Your interest rate will rise or fall along with your lender’s prime rate. You can choose either an adjustable or a fixed monthly payment. However, if you opt for a fixed payment, the amount that goes towards principal and interest each month will fluctuate depending on the current rate. Variable-rate mortgages typically offer lower interest rates to start but run the risk of increasing.

      Hybrid – Can’t decide between a fixed or variable rate? Hybrid mortgages attempt to address that dilemma. A portion of the mortgage will have a fixed rate and the remainder will have a variable rate. The fixed gives you some protection if rates go up, while the variable offers some benefit if rates fall.

What’s the best choice if you’re looking for the lowest mortgage rate? The answer is…it depends. If mortgage rates don’t rise much higher, or drop back down in a couple of years, you could win by opting for a variable rate. However, if they continue to climb, you may be better off with a fixed rate. 

Keep in mind that the spread between variable and fixed rates has narrowed as rates rise.11  However, it's still easier to meet the stress-test requirements for a variable mortgage, since the threshold is lower.12 So, your choice may be limited by your ability to qualify. 

6. Compare loan terms.

A mortgage term is the length of time your mortgage agreement is in effect. At the end of the term, a mortgage holder will need to either pay off their mortgage or renew for another term.

There are three major types of mortgage terms:13

      Shorter-term – These can range from 6 months to 5 years, and they are the most popular type in Canada. Borrowers can choose between a fixed or variable interest rate.

      Longer-term – These are longer than 5 years but generally no more than 10 years in length. Longer-term mortgages are more likely to feature fixed-interest rates and hefty prepayment penalties.

      Convertible – Offers the option to extend a shorter-term mortgage to a longer-term mortgage, typically at a different interest rate.

Which loan term offers the lowest rate? A shorter-term mortgage will typically feature a lower interest rate than a longer-term mortgage. However, the rate on a 1-year or a 3-year mortgage could be higher or lower than a 5-year mortgage depending on the current economic climate and whether it’s fixed or variable.

Many lenders offer especially attractive rates for 5-year mortgages due to their popularity.14 But to find the best rate, you’ll need to compare your options at the time of purchase or renewal. 

7. Get quotes from multiple lenders. 

When shopping for a mortgage, be sure to solicit quotes from several different lenders and lender types to compare the interest rates and fees. Depending upon your situation, you could find that one institution offers a better deal for the type of loan and term length you want. 

Ideally, you should begin this process before you start looking for a home. If you get preapproved for a mortgage, in most cases, you can lock in the mortgage rate for 90 to 120 days. This is especially important when interest rates are rising.15

Some borrowers choose to work with a mortgage broker. Like an insurance broker, they can help you gather quotes and find the best rate. They’re paid a commission by the lender, so it won’t cost you anything out of pocket to use a broker. However, make sure you find out which lenders they work with and contact more than one so you can compare their recommendations.16 

Don’t forget that I can be a valuable resource in finding a lender, especially if you are new to the home buying process. After a consultation, I can discuss your financing needs and connect you with loan officers or brokers best suited for your situation. 

8. Ask for a discount. 

When shopping for a mortgage, don’t be afraid to negotiate. In Canada, it’s commonplace for lenders to discount their advertised interest rates, which are called posted rates. And in many cases, all you have to do is ask. Of course, the strength of your application will come into play here – so don’t neglect strategies 1 through 4 above.17 

Keep in mind that interest rates aren’t the only thing on the table. You can negotiate other contract terms, as well, like prepayment options and rebates. And if you get a great offer from one lender, you can leverage it by asking your preferred institution to match or beat it.17  

Getting Started

Unfortunately, the rock-bottom mortgage rates we saw during the height of the pandemic are behind us. However, today’s 5-year fixed rates still fall beneath the historical average — and are well below the all-time peak of 20.75% in 1981.18

And although higher mortgage rates have made it more expensive to finance a home purchase, they have also ushered in a more balanced market. Consequently, today’s buyers are finding more homes to choose from, a better value for their investment, and sellers who are willing to negotiate. 

If you have questions or would like more information about buying or selling a home, reach out to schedule a free consultation. I’d love to help you weigh your options, navigate this shifting market, and reach your real estate goals!


Sources: 

1.     MNP Consumer Debt Index -
https://mnpdebt.ca/en/resources/mnp-consumer-debt-index

2.     Global News -
https://globalnews.ca/news/8970237/canada-mortgages-variable-fixed-cmhc/

3.     Loans Canada -
https://loanscanada.ca/mortgage/minimum-credit-score-required-for-mortgage-approval/

4.     Government of Canada -
https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/credit-reports-score/order-credit-report.html

5.     Government of Canada - https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/credit-reports-score/improve-credit-score.html

6.     RATESDOTCA -
https://rates.ca/resources/how-long-at-job-before-applying-mortgage

7.     NerdWallet -
https://www.nerdwallet.com/ca/mortgages/what-are-debt-service-ratios

8.     Royal Bank of Canada -
https://www.rbcroyalbank.com/mortgages/mortgage-default-insurance.html

9.     Government of Canada - https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/mortgages/down-payment.html#toc2

10.   Government of Canada -
https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/mortgages/choose-mortgage.html

11.   Canada Mortgage Professional -
https://www.mpamag.com/ca/mortgage-industry/industry-trends/what-do-falling-bond-yields-mean-for-fixed-rates/416463

12.   The Globe and Mail -
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/article-the-best-mortgage-strategies-for-a-rising-interest-rate-environment/

13.   Government of Canada -
https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/mortgages/mortgage-terms-amortization.html

14.   WOWA.ca -
https://wowa.ca/mortgage-rates

15.   NerdWallet -
https://www.nerdwallet.com/ca/mortgages/what-is-mortgage-pre-approval

16.   Government of Canada -https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/mortgages/preapproval-qualify-mortgage.html

17.   NerdWallet -
https://www.nerdwallet.com/ca/mortgages/negotiating-mortgage-fees

18.   RateHub.ca -
https://www.ratehub.ca/5-year-fixed-mortgage-rate-history

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7 Costly Mistakes Home Sellers Make (And How to Avoid Them)

No matter what’s going on in the housing market, the process of selling a home can be challenging. Some sellers have a hard time saying goodbye to a treasured family residence. Others want to skip ahead to the fun of decorating and settling in a new place. Almost all sellers want to make the most money possible.

Whatever your circumstances, the road to the closing table can be riddled with obstacles — from issues with showings and negotiations to inspection surprises. But many of these complications are avoidable when you have a skilled and knowledgeable real estate agent by your side. 

For example, here are seven common mistakes that many home sellers make. These can cause anxiety, cost you time, and shrink your financial proceeds. Fortunately, I can help you avert these missteps and set you up for a successful and low-stress selling experience instead. 

 

MISTAKE # 1: Setting An Unrealistic Price 

Many sellers believe that pricing their home high and waiting for the “right buyer” to come along will net them the most money. However, overpriced homes often sit on the market with little activity, which can be the kiss of death in real estate — and result in an inevitable price drop.1 

Alternatively, if you price your home at (or sometimes slightly below) market value, your home can be among the nicest that buyers have seen within their budget. This can increase your likelihood of receiving multiple offers.2

To help you set a realistic price from the start, we will do a comparative market analysis, or CMA. This integral piece of research will help us determine an ideal listing price, based on the amount that similar properties have recently sold for in your area. 

Without this data, you risk pricing your home too high (and getting no offers) or too low (and leaving money on the table). I can help you find that sweet spot that will draw in buyers without undercutting your profits.

 

MISTAKE #2: Trying To Time The Market 

You’ve probably heard the old saying: “Buy low and sell high.” But when it comes to real estate, that’s easier said than done. 

Delaying your home sale until prices are at their peak may sound like a great idea. But sellers should keep these factors in mind: 

1.     Predicting the market with certainty is nearly impossible.

2.     If you wait to buy your next home, its price could increase, as well. This may erode any additional proceeds from your sale.

3.     If mortgage rates are rising, your pool of potential buyers could shrink—and you will have to pay more to finance your next purchase.

Instead of trying to time the market, choose your ideal sales timeline, instead. This may be based on factors like your personal financial situation, shifting family dynamics, or the seasonal patterns in your particular neighbourhood. I can help you figure out the best time to sell given your individual circumstances. 

 

MISTAKE #3: Failing To Address Needed Repairs

Many sellers hope that buyers won’t notice their leaky faucet or broken shutters during a home showing. But minor issues like these can leave buyers worrying about more serious — and costly — problems lurking out of sight. 

Even if you do receive an offer, there’s a high likelihood that the buyer will hire a professional home inspector, who will flag any defects in their report. Neglecting to address a major issue could lead buyers to ask for costly repairs, money back, or worse yet, walk away from the purchase altogether. 

To avoid these types of disruptions, it’s important to make necessary renovations before your home hits the market. I can help you decide which repairs and updates are worth your time and investment. In some cases, I may recommend a professional pre-listing inspection. 

This extra time and attention can help you avoid potential surprises down the road and identify any major structural, system, or cosmetic faults that could impact a future sale.3

 

MISTAKE #4:  Neglecting To Stage Your Home 

Staging is the act of preparing your home for potential buyers. The goal is to “set the stage” for buyers to help them envision themselves living in your home. Some sellers opt to skip this step, but that mistake can cost them time and money in the long run. A 2021 survey by the Real Estate Staging Association found that, on average, staged homes sold nine days faster and for $40,000 over list price.4 

Indoors, staging could include everything from redecorating, painting, or rearranging your furniture pieces to removing personal items, decluttering, and deep cleaning. Outdoors, you might focus on power washing, planting flowers, or hanging a wreath on the front door. 

You may not need to do all of these tasks, but almost every home can benefit from some form of staging. Before your home hits the market, we can refer you to a professional stager or offer our insights and suggestions if you prefer the do-it-yourself route.

 

MISTAKE #5: Evaluating Offers On Price Alone 

When reviewing offers, most sellers focus on one thing: the offer price. And while dollar value is certainly important, a high-priced offer is worthless if the deal never reaches the closing table. That’s why it’s important to consider other factors in addition to the offer price, such as: 

      Financing and buyer qualifications

      Deposit size

      Contract contingencies

      Closing date

Depending on your particular circumstances, some of these factors may or may not be important to you. For example, if you’re still shopping for your next home, you might place a high premium on an offer that allows for a flexible closing date. 

Buyers and their agents are focused on crafting a deal that works well for them. I can help you assess your needs and goals to select an offer that works best for you. 

 

MISTAKE #6: Acting On Emotion Instead Of Reason 

It’s only natural to grow emotionally attached to your home. That’s why so many sellers end up feeling hurt or offended at some point during the selling process. Low offers can feel like insults. Repair requests can feel like judgments. And whatever you do — don’t listen in on showings through your security monitoring system. Chances are, some buyers won’t like your decor choices, either! 

However, it’s a huge mistake to ruin a great selling opportunity because you refuse to counter a low offer or negotiate minor repairs. Instead, try to keep a cool head and be willing to adjust reasonably to make the sale. I can help you weigh your decisions and provide rational advice with your best interests in mind. 

 

MISTAKE #7: Not Hiring An Agent 

There’s a good reason 90% of homeowners choose to sell with the help of a real estate agent. Homes listed by an agent sold for 22% more than the average for-sale-by-owner home, according to a recent US-based study.5 

Selling a home on your own may seem like an easy way to save money. But in reality, there is a steep learning curve. And a listing agent can: 

      Skip past time-consuming problems

      Use market knowledge to get the best price

      Access contacts and networks to speed up the selling process

If you choose to work with a listing agent, you’ll save significant time and effort while minimizing your personal risk and liability. And the increased profits realized through a more effective marketing and negotiation strategy could more than make up for the cost of your agent’s commission. 

I can navigate the ins and outs of the housing market for you and make your selling process as stress-free as possible. You may even end up with an offer for your home that’s better than you expected. 

 

BYPASS THE PITFALLS WITH A KNOWLEDGEABLE GUIDE 

Your home selling journey doesn’t have to be hard. When you hire us as your listing agent, I’ll develop a customized sales plan to help you get top dollar for your home without any undue risk, stress, or aggravation. If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home, reach out today to schedule a free consultation and home value assessment. 

 

Sources:

1.     Realtor.ca -
https://www.realtor.ca/blog/postpage/2666/1362/the-importance-of-having-a-realtor%C2%AE-price-your-home/ 

2.     Royal Bank of Canada -
https://www.rbcroyalbank.com/mortgages/sellers-vs-buyers-market.html

3.     Canadian Association of Home & Property Inspectors -
https://www.cahpi.ca/en/blog/3-reasons-you-should-hire-a-cahpi-inspector

4.     Real Estate Staging Association -
https://www.realestatestagingassociation.com/content.aspx?page_id=22&club_id=304550&module_id=164548

5.     National Association of Realtors -
https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/quick-real-estate-statistics

 

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Higher Rates and Short Supply: The State of Real Estate in 2022

Canada's housing market hit a boiling point last year as homebuyers clambered for real estate in regions with significantly more demand than supply. But now that homeowners and buyers alike are feeling the pinch of rising interest rates and record inflation, the market appears to finally be simmering down. 

That, in turn, could create a welcome opening for shoppers to be more selective with their searches. However, buyers hoping for a major downturn in prices may be left disappointed. Although home values in some segments are beginning to sag under the weight of higher borrowing costs, a persistent housing shortage is expected to keep prices high.

Read on for a closer look at some of the top factors impacting Canada's real estate market and how they could affect you. 

 

RISING MORTGAGE RATES ARE COOLING AN OVERHEATED MARKET 

Over the past couple of years, homebuyers have faced record-high price appreciation and intense competition—in part due to historically low mortgage rates that were a result of the Bank of Canada’s efforts to keep the economy afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.1 

According to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), in 2021, both the number of sales and average home price hit at an all-time high, with demand for new homes far exceeding supply.2 This trend continued through early 2022, despite widespread predictions that the Bank of Canada was gearing up to increase interest rates.3 

But now that the central bank has officially begun pushing its key interest rate back up from emergency levels, the housing market is responding, with the pace of home sales cooling in March and April.4 The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) predicts that the housing market will continue to moderate in the coming year.5 

The feds plan to keep raising interest rates as necessary to fight inflation, which means target rates could rise by another 1 to 2% or more over the next year.6 That, in turn, will cause both fixed and variable mortgage rates to rise. 

As Senior Deputy Governor Carolyn Rogers noted in May: “We need higher rates to moderate demand, including demand in the housing market. Housing price growth is unsustainably strong in Canada.”7 

What does it mean for you?

If you’re shopping for a new home, expect mortgage rates to keep rising into 2024.8 So, you’ll need to act fast if you want to get in at a lower rate. However, the cooling effect should make for a less competitive market. I can help you chart the best path.

If you’ve been thinking about selling, higher mortgage rates may shrink your pool of potential buyers, so don’t wait too long to list. And if you are up for a renewal, you should also act quickly or risk paying a higher rate. Contact me to discuss your options.

  

DEMAND AND PRICES ARE STARTING TO SOFTEN IN SOME SEGMENTS 

Nationally, home prices soared a record 26.6% last year, an unsustainable rate of appreciation by any measure.9 But now that the Bank of Canada has put rock-bottom rates in the rear view window, sales have begun to slow. 

Soon after the Bank of Canada began raising interest rates in early March, the real estate market responded. According to the CREA, in March, home sales fell by 5.4% on a month-over-month basis and the Aggregate Composite MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) ticked up just 1%, “a marked slowdown from the record 3.5% increase in February.”10 

By April, home sales dropped by another 12.6% over the previous month as homeowners and buyers continued adjusting to higher rates.. “Following a record-breaking couple of years, housing markets in many parts of Canada have cooled off pretty sharply over the last two months, in line with a jump in interest rates and buyer fatigue,” said CREA Chair Jill Oudil. Meanwhile, prices are still rising in some markets, but are sagging in others, causing the HPI to dip in April for the first time since 2020.11
 

As the Bank of Canada continues pushing up rates, more buyers may give up on their homeownership dreams if they feel too squeezed by the combination of high rates and high prices. Still, many experts say a major downturn in prices is unlikely. That's in part due to the fact that there still aren't enough homes available to meet the demands of a growing population, says CREA CEO Michael Bourque. “The supply of new homes is not even close to keeping up with demographic changes and population growth.”12 As long as housing remains a scarce asset, prices will remain relatively elevated. 

What does it mean for you?

If you’ve been waiting to buy a home, now may be the perfect time to jump in the market. There are deals to be found if you know where to look. But don’t wait too long, or higher mortgage rates will erode any cost savings. I can help you find the best opportunities in today’s market. 

For homeowners, the outlook is still bright. Governmental interventions are being put in place to stabilize the market–not crash it. And demand for housing and a strong job market should help protect your investment. 

 

INVENTORY REMAINS TIGHT

According to the CMHC, housing starts trended higher in April after a small downturn in March. Overall, new homes are still being built at a faster clip today than in the past, but at a slower pace than we saw in 2021, noted CMHC Chief Economist Bob Dugan.13 Homebuilders are facing a wide range of challenges, including persistent inflation, rising rates, and ongoing labour shortages. 

Increased federal investment could help counteract at least some of those challenges. The federal government recently announced plans to help double the pace of housing construction over the next decade by funding significantly more new and affordable housing. It also announced additional relief measures, including a temporary ban on foreign investment, doubling first-time buyers' tax credit, and halting blind bidding wars.14 

In addition to fewer homes being built, new listings are also down, according to the CREA’s sales report. But a decrease in demand is offsetting the impact in some areas. “A little more than half of local markets were balanced markets…a little less than half were in seller's market territory.”11 

What does it mean for you?

While supply remains at historically low levels, even a modest bump in inventory can help take pressure off of buyers. If you’ve had trouble finding a home in the past, give me a call to discuss what we’re currently seeing in your target neighbourhood and price range.

If you’re a homeowner, it’s still a great time to sell and cash out those big equity gains. Contact me to find out how much your home is worth in today’s market. 

 

HERE TO GUIDE YOU 

While national real estate trends can provide a “big picture” outlook, real estate is local. And as a local market expert, I can guide you through the ins and outs of our market and the local issues that are likely to drive home values in your particular neighbourhood. 

If you’re considering buying or selling a home, contact me to schedule a free consultation. I can help you assess your options and make the most of this unique real estate landscape. 

 

Sources:

1.     Bank of Canada - https://www.bankofcanada.ca/2020/03/press-release-2020-03-27/

2.     Global News - https://globalnews.ca/news/8516543/canada-home-sales-record-crea/

3.     CBC - https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/crea-housing-february-1.6385274

4.     Canadian Real Estate Association - https://www.crea.ca/housing-market-stats/stats/

5.     Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation - https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/media-newsroom/news-releases/2022/housing-markets-moderate-historic-2021-levels

6.     Bank of Canada - https://www.bankofcanada.ca/press/press-releases/

7.     Reuters - https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/bank-canada-says-strong-demand-risks-higher-inflation-2022-05-03/

8.     Better Dwelling - https://betterdwelling.com/canadian-mortgage-rates-to-surge-demand-will-be-slowest-in-recent-history-moodys/

9.     CBC - https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/crea-housing-december-1.6317503#

10.   Canadian Real Estate Association - https://www.crea.ca/news/march-home-sales-and-new-listings-ease-back-following-surge-in-february/

11.   Canadian Real Estate Association - https://www.crea.ca/news/home-sales-drop-in-april-as-mortgage-rates-shoot-higher/ 

12.   Global News - https://globalnews.ca/news/8716412/canada-housing-market-cooling-bubble-interest-rate/

13.   Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation - https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/media-newsroom/news-releases/2022/canadian-housing-starts-trend-higher-april

Office of the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau - https://pm.gc.ca/en/news/news-releases/2022/04/13/helping-young-people-get-housing-market
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5 Ways to Write a Winning Offer in Today’s Real Estate Market

Our nation is in the midst of a shifting real estate market. But even as the buying frenzy begins to slow, many properties are still receiving multiple offers.1 

So what’s the best way to compete as a buyer–especially if you’re wary about overpaying? 

While a high offer price gets attention, most sellers consider a variety of factors when evaluating an offer. With that in mind, here are five tactics you can utilize to sweeten your proposal and outshine your competition. 

I can help you weigh the risks and benefits of each tactic and craft a compelling offer designed to get you your dream home—without giving away the farm. 

1.   Demonstrate Solid Financing

The reality is, no one gets paid if a home sale falls through. That’s why sellers (and their listing agents) favour offers with a high probability of closing. 

Sellers particularly love all-cash offers because there’s no chance of financing issues cropping up at the last moment. But all-cash offers are rare, and if sellers are assured that financing will come through, buying with a mortgage doesn’t have to be a disadvantage. 

The most important step you can take as a buyer is to get pre-approved before you start looking for homes. A pre-approval letter shows sellers that you are serious about buying and that you will be able to make good on your offer.2 

It’s also important to consider the reputation of your lender. While sellers may not know or care about a lender’s reputation, their agents often do. Some lenders are much easier to work with than others. If you’re unsure who to choose, I am happy to refer you to reputable lenders known for their ease of doing business. 

2.   Put Down a Sizeable Deposit

Buyers can show sellers that they’re serious about their offer and have “skin in the game” by putting down a large deposit. This, however, is not the same as a down payment. 

The deposit is typically held in a trust account by the seller’s brokerage or lawyer.3 If the purchase goes through, it is applied to the down payment and closing costs. If the sale falls through, however, the buyer could lose some or all of that deposit, depending on the contract terms. 

Deposit amounts vary, but offering a higher deposit can help demonstrate to the buyer that you are serious about the property. I can help you determine an appropriate deposit to offer based on your specific circumstances.

 

3.   Ask for Few (or No) Conditions

Most real estate offers include conditions, which are clauses that allow one or both parties to back out of the agreement if certain requirements are not met. These conditions appear in the purchase agreement and must be accepted by both the buyer and seller to be legally binding. 

Two of the most common conditions are:4

      Financing: A financing condition gives the buyer a window of time in which to secure a mortgage. If they are unable to do so, they can withdraw from the purchase and the seller can move on to other buyers.

      Inspection: An inspection condition gives the buyer the opportunity to have the home professionally inspected for issues with the structure, wiring, plumbing, etc. Typically, the seller may choose whether or not to remediate those issues; if they do not, the buyer may withdraw from the contract.

Since conditions reduce the likelihood that a sale will go through, they generally make an offer less desirable to the seller. The more conditions that are included, the weaker the offer becomes. Therefore, buyers in a competitive market often volunteer to waive or exclude certain conditions. 

However, it’s very important to make this decision carefully and recognize the risks of doing so. For example, a buyer who chooses to waive a home inspection condition may find out too late that the home requires extensive renovations. If you back out of a home purchase without the protection of a condition, you could lose your deposit.5 I can help you assess the risks and benefits involved. 

4. Offer a Flexible Closing Date

When it comes to selling a house, money isn’t everything. People sell their homes for a wide variety of reasons, and flexible terms that work with their personal situations can sometimes make all the difference. For example, if a seller is in the process of planning a significant move, they may appreciate an option to advance or postpone their closing date. 

This flexibility can provide a powerful advantage for first-time homebuyers. If you have a month-to-month or easily transferable lease, for example, you may be able to offer a more flexible timeline than a buyer who is simultaneously selling their existing home. 

Of course, the value of these terms depends on the seller’s situation. I can reach out to the listing agent to find out the seller’s preferred terms, and then collaborate with you to write a compelling offer that works for both parties. 

5. Work With a Skilled Buyer’s Agent

In this real estate market, one of the greatest advantages you can give yourself is to work with a skilled and trustworthy real estate professional. I will make sure you fully understand the process and help you submit an appealing offer without taking on too much risk. 

Plus, I know how to write offers that are designed to win over both the seller and their listing agent. The truth is, listing agents play a huge role in helping sellers evaluate offers, and they want to work with skilled buyer’s agents who are professional, communicative, and courteous. 

Once your offer is accepted, I’ll also handle any further negotiations and coordinate all the paperwork and other details involved in your home purchase. The best part is, you’ll have a knowledgeable, licensed advocate on your side who is watching out for your best interests every step of the way. 

Helping You Get to the Right Offer

In many cases, a competitive offer doesn’t need to be condition-free or significantly above asking price. But if you’re serious about buying a home in today’s market, it’s important to consider what you can do to sweeten the deal. 

If you’re a buyer, I can help you compete in today’s market without getting steamrolled. And if you’re a seller, I can help you evaluate offers by taking all the relevant factors into account. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. 

 

Sources:

1.     Bloomberg - https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-04-12/home-prices-could-start-to-cool-in-canada-s-hot-housing-market

2.     NerdWallet - https://www.nerdwallet.com/ca/mortgages/what-is-mortgage-pre-approval

3.     Nesto - https://www.nesto.ca/mortgage-basics/house-deposit-vs-down-payment/

4.     Real Estate Council Alberta - https://www.reca.ca/2020/02/05/conditional-sales/

5.     Loans Canada - https://loanscanada.ca/mortgage/what-happens-when-you-walk-away-from-your-offer-on-a-house/

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Seller’s Checklist: A Timeline to Prep Your Home for Sale

We’re still in a seller’s market, but that doesn’t mean your home is guaranteed to easily sell.1 If you want to maximize your sale price, it’s still important to prepare your home before putting it on the market.


Start by connecting with your real estate agent as soon as possible. Having the eyes and ears of an insightful real estate professional on your side can help you boost your home’s appeal to buyers. What’s more, beginning the preparation process early allows you to tackle repairs and upgrades that can increase your property’s value.


Use the checklist below to figure out what other tasks you should complete in the months leading up to listing your home. While everyone’s situation is unique, these guidelines will help you make sure you’re ready to sell when the time is right. Of course, you can always call us if you’re not sure where to start or what to tackle first. We can help customize a plan that works for you.


 

AS SOON AS YOU THINK OF SELLING


Some home sellers want to plan their future move far in advance, while others will be required to pack up on very short notice. Whatever your circumstances, these first steps will help assure you’ll be ahead of the listing game.


●      Contact Your Real Estate Agent


We go the extra mile when it comes to servicing our clients, and that includes a series of complimentary, pre-listing consultations to help you prepare your home for the market.


Some sellers make the mistake of waiting until they are ready to list their home to contact a real estate agent. But we’ve found that the earlier we’re brought into the process, the better the result. That often means a faster sale—and more money in your pocket after closing.


We know what buyers want in today’s market, and we can help devise a plan to maximize your property’s appeal. We can also connect you with our trusted network of contractors, vendors, and service professionals, so you’ll be sure to get the VIP treatment. This network of support can alleviate stress and help ensure you get everything done in the weeks or months leading up to listing.


●      Address Major Issues and Upgrades


In most cases, you won’t need to make any major renovations before you list. But if you’re selling an older home, or if you have any doubt about its condition, it’s best to get us involved as soon as possible so we can help you assess any necessary repairs.


In some instances, we may recommend a pre-listing inspection. Although it's less common in a seller's market, a pre-listing inspection can help you avoid potential surprises down the road. We can discuss the pros and cons during our initial meeting.


This is the time to address major structural, systems, or cosmetic issues that could hurt the sale of your home down the line. For example, problems with the frame, foundation, or roof are likely to be flagged on an inspection report. Issues with the HVAC system, electrical wiring, or plumbing may cause the home to be unsafe. And sometimes outdated or unpopular design features can limit a home’s sales potential.


Remember, when you’re dealing with major repairs or renovations, it’s best to give yourself as much time as possible. Given rampant labour and material shortages, starting right away can help you avoid costly delays.2 Contact us so we can guide you on the updates that are worth your time and investment.


 

1 MONTH (OR MORE) BEFORE YOU LIST


Once any large-scale renovations have been addressed, you can turn your attention to the more minor updates that still play a major role in how buyers perceive your home.


●      Make Minor Repairs

 

Look for any unaddressed maintenance or repair issues, such as water spots, pest activity, and rotten siding. This is the time to take care of those small annoyances like squeaky hinges, sticking doors, and leaky faucets, too.


Many of these issues can be handled by going the DIY route and using a few simple tools. Tackle the ones you can and be sure to call a professional for the ones you’re not comfortable doing yourself. We can refer you to local service providers who can help.


Remember that it’s easy to overlook these small issues because you live with them. When you work with us, you get a fresh set of eyes on your home—so you don’t miss any important repairs that could make a big difference to buyers.


●      Refresh Your Design

 

This is a great time to think about some simple design updates that can make a significant impression on buyers. For example, a fresh coat of paint is an easy and affordable way to spruce up your home. A recent survey of Canadian agents found that paint and landscaping were two upgrades that offered the highest return on investment.3


HGTV landscape designer Carson Arthur agrees. According to Arthur, landscaping is the best place to invest your money and has the potential to increase your home’s value by up to 7%.4 If weather permits, lay fresh sod where needed, plant colourful flowers, and add some new mulch to your beds.


Even just repositioning your furniture can make a huge difference to buyers. A survey published by the International Association of Staging Professionals found that staged homes often sell faster and for more than their list price.5 We can refer you to a local stager or offer our insights and suggestions if you prefer the DIY route.


●      Declutter and Depersonalize

 

Doing a little bit of decluttering every day is a lot easier than trying to take care of it all at once right before your home hits the market. A simple strategy is to do this one room at a time, working your way through each space whenever you have a bit of free time.


Start by donating or discarding items that you no longer want or need. Then pack up any seasonal items, family photos, and personal collections you can live without for the next few weeks. Bonus: This will give you a head start on packing for your move!


 

1 WEEK BEFORE YOU GO TO MARKET


With just one week before your home is available for sale, all major items should be crossed off your to-do list. Now it’s time to focus on the small details that will really make your home shine. Here are a few key areas to focus on during this last week.


●      Check-In With Your Agent

 

We’ll connect again to make sure we’re aligned on the listing price, marketing plan, and any remaining prep. We will be there every step of the way, ensuring you’re fully prepared to maximize the sale of your home.


●      Tidy Your Exterior

 

You’ve already done the major landscaping—now it’s time to tackle the last few details. Make sure your lawn is freshly mowed, hedges are trimmed, and flower beds are weeded.


In addition, now is the time to clean your home’s exterior if you haven’t already. Power wash your siding, empty the gutters, and wash all your windows and screens.


●      Deep Clean Your Interior

 

Your house should be deep cleaned before listing, including a thorough deodorizing of the home’s interior and steam cleaning for all carpets. Consider hiring a professional cleaning company to ensure the space smells and looks as fresh as possible.


In addition to cleaning, take some time to tidy up. Buyers will look inside your closets, pantries, and cabinets, so make sure they are neat and organized. Small appliances and toiletries should be cleared off the countertops.



DAY OF SHOWING


Now you’re all set to go and there are just a few small things you need to handle on the day of showings or open houses. Do a final walk-through and take care of these finishing touches to give potential buyers the best possible impression.


●      Pre-Showing Prep


Happy and comfortable buyers are more likely to submit offers! Make them feel at home by adjusting the thermostat to a comfortable temperature. Open any blinds and curtains throughout the house, and turn on all lights so buyers can see all the potential in your home.


Then tidy up by vacuuming and sweeping floors, emptying (or hiding) trash cans, and wiping down countertops. In the bathrooms, close toilet lids and hang clean hand towels.


Don’t forget to secure jewelry, sensitive documents, prescription medications, and any other items of value in a safe or store them off-site.


Finally, it’s best to have pets out of the house during showings. If possible, you should also remove evidence of pets (litter box, dog beds, etc.), which can be a turn-off for some buyers.


 

DON’T WAIT TO PREP YOUR HOME FOR SELLING


If you want to get top dollar for your home, don’t put it on the market before it’s ready. The right preparation can make all the difference when it comes to maximizing the offers you get. The upgrades and changes you need to make will depend upon your home’s condition, so don’t wait to speak with a broker.


Call me if you’re thinking about selling your home, even if you’re not sure when. It’s never too early to seek the guidance of your real estate broker and start preparing your home to sell.




Sources:


1.     RBC -
https://thoughtleadership.rbc.com/a-turning-point-more-sellers-enter-canadas-housing-market-in-february/

2.     ConstructConnect -
https://canada.constructconnect.com/canadata/forecaster/economic/2021/07/labour-shortages-high-material-costs-strong-demand-more-pressure-on-house-prices

3.     RE/MAX -
https://blog.remax.ca/canadian-real-estate-renovation-trends/

4.     National Post -
https://nationalpost.com/life/homes/curb-appeal-in-the-business-of-home-ownership-a-little-landscaping-can-go-a-long-way

5.     International Association of Staging Professionals -
https://d3oaxt0bwkjnjn.cloudfront.net/documents/home-staging-industry-statistics-2020-min.pdf

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Hedge Against Inflation With These 3 Real Estate Investment Types


The annual inflation rate in Canada is currently around 5.1%—the highest it’s been in 30 years.1 It doesn’t matter if you’re a cashier, lawyer, plumber, or retiree; if you spend Canadian dollars, inflation impacts you.

 

Economists expect the effects of inflation, like a higher cost of goods, to continue.2 Luckily, an investment in real estate can ease some of the financial strain.

 

Here’s what you need to know about inflation, how it impacts you, and how an investment in real estate can help.

 

 

WHAT IS INFLATION AND HOW DOES IT IMPACT ME?

 

Inflation is a decline in the value of money. When the rate of inflation rises, prices for goods and services go up. Therefore, a dollar buys you a little bit less with every passing day.

 

The consumer price index, or CPI, is a standard measure of inflation. Based on the latest CPI data, prices increased 5.1% from January 2021 to January 2022. In comparison, the CPI increased 1.0% from January 2020 to January 2021.3

 

How does inflation affect your life? Here are a few of the negative impacts:

 

      Decreased Purchasing Power

We touched on this already, but as prices rise, your dollar won’t stretch as far as it used to. That means you’ll be able to purchase fewer goods and services with a limited budget.

 

      Increased Borrowing Costs

In an effort to curb inflation, the Bank of Canada is expected to raise interest rates.4 Therefore, consumers are likely to pay more to borrow money for things like mortgages and credit cards.

 

      Lower Standard of Living

Wage growth tends to lag behind price increases. Even as labour shortages persist in Canada—which would typically trigger pay raises—wages are not increasing at the same pace of inflation.5 As such, life is becoming less affordable for everyone. For example, inflation can force those on a fixed income, like retirees, to make lifestyle changes and prioritize essentials.

 

      Eroded Savings

If you store all your savings in a bank account, inflation is even more damaging. As of February, the national average deposit interest rate for a savings account was around 0.067%, not nearly enough to keep up with inflation.6

 

One of the best ways to mitigate these effects is to find a place to invest your money other than the bank. Even though interest rates are expected to rise, they’re unlikely to get high enough to beat inflation. If you hoard cash, the value of your money will decrease every year and more rapidly in years with elevated inflation.

 

 

REAL ESTATE: A PROVEN HEDGE AGAINST INFLATION

 

So where is a good place to invest your money to protect (hedge) against the impacts of inflation? There are several investment vehicles that financial advisors traditionally recommend, including:

 

      Stocks

Some people invest in stocks as their primary inflation hedge. However, the stock market can become volatile during inflationary times, as we’ve seen in recent months.7

 

      Commodities

Commodities are tangible assets, like gold, oil, and livestock. The theory is that the price of commodities should climb alongside inflation. But studies show that this correlation doesn’t always occur.8

 

      Inflation-Protected Bonds

Real Return Bonds (RRBs) are inflation-protected bonds issued by the Canadian government that are indexed to the inflation rate. Bonds are considered low risk, but returns have not been rising at the same rate of inflation, making them suboptimal investments.9

      Real Estate
Real estate prices across the board tend to rise along with inflation, which is why so much Canadian capital is flowing into real estate right now.10

 

We believe real estate is the best hedge against inflation. Owning real estate does more than protect your wealth—it can actually make you money. For example, home prices rose 20% from 2021 to 2022, nearly 15% ahead of the 5.1% inflation that occurred in the same timeframe.11

 

Plus, certain types of real estate investments can help you generate a stream of passive income. In the past year, property owners didn’t just avoid the erosion of purchasing power caused by inflation; they got ahead.

 

 

TYPES OF REAL ESTATE INVESTMENTS

 

Though there are a myriad of ways to invest in real estate, there are three basic investment types that we recommend for beginner and intermediate investors. Remember that we can help you determine which options are best for your financial goals and budget.

 

      Primary Residence

 

If you own your home, you’re already ahead. The advantages of homeownership become even more apparent in inflationary times. As inflation raises prices throughout the economy, the value of your home is likely to go up concurrently.

 

If you don’t already own your primary residence, homeownership is a worthwhile goal to pursue.

Though the task of saving enough for a down payment may seem daunting, there are several strategies that can make homeownership easier to achieve. If you’re not sure how to get started with the home buying process, contact us. Our team can help you find the strategy and property that fits your needs and budget.

 

Whether you already own a primary residence or are still renting, now is a good time to also start thinking about an investment property. The types of investment properties you’ll buy as a solo investor generally fall into two categories: long-term rentals and short-term rentals.

 

      Long-Term (Traditional) Rentals

 

A long-term or traditional rental is a dwelling that’s leased out for an extended period. An example of this is a single-family home where a tenant signs a one-year lease and brings all their own furniture.

 

Long-term rentals are a form of housing. For most tenants, the rental serves as their primary residence, which means it’s a necessary expense. This unique quality of long-term rentals can help to provide stable returns in uncertain times, especially when we have high inflation.

 

To invest in a long-term rental, you’ll need to budget for maintenance, repairs, property taxes, and insurance. You’ll also need to have a plan for managing the property. But a well-chosen investment property should pay for itself through rental income, and you’ll benefit from appreciation as the property rises in value.

 

We can help you find an ideal long-term rental property to suit your budget and investment goals. Reach out to talk about your needs and our local market opportunities.

 

      Short-Term (Vacation) Rentals

 

Short-term or vacation rentals function more like hotels in that they offer temporary accommodations. A short-term rental is defined as a residential dwelling that is rented for 30 days or less. The furniture and other amenities are provided by the property owner, and today many short-term rentals are listed on websites like Airbnb and Vrbo.

 

A short-term rental can potentially earn you a higher return than a long-term rental, but this comes at the cost of daily, hands-on management. With a short-term rental, you’re not just entering the real estate business; you’re entering the hospitality business, too.

 

Done right, short-term rentals can be both a hedge against inflation and a profitable source of income. As a bonus, when the home isn’t being rented you have an affordable vacation spot for yourself and your family!

 

Contact us today if you’re interested in exploring options in either the long-term or short-term rental market. Since mortgage rates are expected to rise, you’ll want to act fast to maximize your investment return.

 

 

WE’RE INVESTED IN HELPING YOU

 

Inflation is a fact of life in the Canadian economy. Luckily, you can prepare for inflation with a carefully managed investment portfolio that includes real estate. Owning a primary residence or investing in a short-term or long-term rental will help you both mitigate the effects of inflation and grow your net worth, which makes it a strategic move in our current financial environment.

 

If you’re ready to invest in real estate to build wealth and protect yourself from rising inflation, contact us. Our team can help you find a primary residence or investment property that meets your financial goals.

 

 

The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only.  It is not intended to be financial advice. Consult the appropriate professionals for advice regarding your individual needs.

 

 

Sources:

 

1.     Reuters -
https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/canadas-annual-inflation-rate-hits-51-january-2022-02-16/

2.     MacLeans -
https://www.macleans.ca/economy/inflation-worsening-2022-canada/

3.     Statistics Canada -
https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/daily-quotidien/220216/dq220216a-eng.htm

4.     Bloomberg -
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-01-25/canada-set-to-raise-rates-in-inflation-fight-decision-guide

5.     The Globe & Mail -
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/article-the-stealth-pay-cut-wages-arent-keeping-up-with-inflation/

6.     Trading Economics -
https://tradingeconomics.com/canada/deposit-interest-rate

7.     Reuters -
https://www.nasdaq.com/articles/canada-stocks-tsx-down-after-hot-inflation-data-dismal-shopify-forecast

8.     Research Gate -
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/350016324_Gold_and_Inflation_in_Canada_A_Time-Varying_Perspective

9.     Maple Money -
https://maplemoney.com/inflation-protection-are-real-return-bonds-or-tips-the-answer/

10.   Storeys -
https://storeys.com/canadians-using-real-estate-outrun-inflation/

11.   WOWA -

https://wowa.ca/reports/canada-housing-market

 

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8 Popular Home Design Features for 2022

There’s a lot to consider when selling your home, from market conditions and appraisals to where you’ll go next. Don’t forget, however, the importance of design. It’s often one of the first things buyers notice when they walk into a home, and it’s also a detail that you, as a seller, can easily control.


According to Realtor.ca’s 2022 housing market forecast, October of 2021 saw record home sales.1 Even with the pandemic igniting new restrictions in some provinces, the Canadian housing market is expected to remain hot. This means, if you’re looking to sell in the near future, now is the time to consider how you can stand out.


Updating your home design is one way to do that. Changes like eco-friendly fixtures or upgraded siding can add value to your home now and be highlighted when you market it for sale later. To get the most out of your updates, focus on these popular home design features that will wow buyers in 2022.


Keep in mind, not all of these will work well in every house. If you plan to buy, list, or renovate a property, give us a call. We can help you realize your vision and maximize the impact of your investment.


Eco-Friendly Fixtures


Canada’s largest demographic, millennials, has been a driving force in the country’s real estate market for the past few years. One thing that remains top of mind for this cohort is sustainable living features. A recent Deloitte survey found that one-third of millennials initiate or deepen their consumer investment in products or services that help the environment—this also includes the houses they choose to live in.2


Here are a few eco-friendly design features that will be attractive to these millennial buyers in 2022. Bonus: they can net a significant return on investment (ROI) for you, as a seller, too. 

  • Energy-Efficient Windows: Windows and doors account for up to 25 percent of home heat loss, according to nrcan.gc.ca.3 Therefore, upgrading to energy-efficient windows can help homeowners save money. 
  • Low-Flow Water Fixtures: National Resources Canada also recommends replacing your water-consuming fixtures like showerheads, toilets, and faucets with ones that have flow rates of about 7.6 L/minute, 4.8L/flush, and 4L/minute, respectively.4 If you want to take it a step further, ENERGY STAR® certified appliances like dishwashers and washing machines will also make a dramatic difference in water bill savings. 
  • Native Landscaping: Perhaps unexpectedly, another eco-friendly ‘fixture’ is native flora. Local greenery helps combat biodiversity loss, creates a better habitat for wildlife, and has a greater resistance to pests, according to HGTV.5 These benefits of native plants add to the eco-friendly appeal of your home. 

Wellness Retreat Nooks


As many of our homes became “all-purpose” territory for the entire family, interior zoning efforts were in full effect. From designated offices to closed-door playrooms, everyone needed their own space. Add in mental health concerns, competing schedules, and reduced access to health and wellness facilities, and the result is a huge prioritization of personal care spaces.  


At-home wellness amenities, which were once viewed as luxuries, are now on many homeowners’ must-have lists. Intrigue buyers and improve your quality of life in your home with reading nooks, spa-inspired bathrooms, and exercise or meditation spaces. Even if your house doesn’t have the square footage to section off an entire room for relaxation, making simple tweaks to natural light, air purifiers, and indoor plants can help you feel better in your home now, while enabling future buyers to see the opportunity for their own space.


Calming Paint Colours


Paint colors that produce a calming atmosphere will also be a key selling point in 2022. Soft earth tones and natural hues will prevail this year, including various shades of blue, green, brown, and beige. Recent research suggests steering clear of trendy paint colors in favor of a more classic palette to bring the feel of nature indoors in a subtle and soothing way.6 


A survey of American homebuyers found that a certain paint colour was able to increase a home’s value by 1.6%.6 If we Canadians see even a 1% increase, that’s $7,208 more for the average home, which is priced at $720,850, according to the Financial Post.7 


A crowd-pleasing hue to refresh the walls with is BEHR’s 2022 paint colour of the year, known as Breezeway.8 This shade of green with silver undertones was created to mimic sea glass. As the BEHR website describes it, Breezeway “evokes feelings of coolness and peace, while representing a desire to move forward and discover newfound passions.”  


Outdoor Living Updates


Don’t forget to think about your yard when considering design changes for your home. As interiors become more productive, many Canadians are looking to the outdoors for a break. HGTV predicts the “exterior living room” trend will continue in 2022, so making outdoor upgrades in the spring when the ground thaws could reap serious benefits.9 Whether your exterior square footage looks like a balcony, small patio, or expansive yard, it only takes some imagination and effort to turn it into a comforting oasis. 


Front porches, in particular, are seeing a big revival, says Greenhouse Canada.10 Power-washing your siding; adding a fresh coat of paint on the door, brick, or floorboards; and finishing it off with some exterior lighting will go a long way in upping the curb appeal.11 Don’t forget to add window boxes, big planters, and young trees that require minimal maintenance but add more life to the space. 


Finish off the space with some comfortable outdoor furniture to make the outdoors as well-designed as the indoors. If you need help deciding how to update your outdoor area, let us guide you.


Designated Work Spaces


It may come as no surprise that after the pandemic is over, 80 percent of new teleworkers want to continue to work at least half of their hours from home, according to Statistics Canada.12 However, this desire needs to be weighed against the availability of space in a home. 


If you can, try turning a bedroom or den into a work-from-home office. When designing the space, make it both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Position a desk near the window for natural light, install a bookshelf unit, arrange a few succulents on the work surface, and hang a few framed posters or a cork bulletin board on the wall. You want the space to foster productivity as well as be a place in your home you enjoy spending time.


When you get ready to sell, we can help you highlight your designated workspace. Given the high demand for this design feature, it can help you interest more buyers and attract more competitive offers—if marketed creatively. 


Plus, Canadians who transitioned to working from home because of the pandemic may be eligible to claim a $500 deduction for home office expenses—making this renovation that much more feasible.13


Luxury Kitchen Retouches


The kitchen has always been a main focal point of interior design, and that’s no different in 2022. Families will always need this space to come together in their own homes. 


This year’s buyers want a kitchen with new upgrades and retouches, but you don’t have to renovate the entire kitchen to make an impact. If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few tips on how to create a kitchen that buyers will love without spending too much money on renovations:

  • Repaint the kitchen, keeping the calm and nature-inspired colours in mind that are most popular right now. Taking a kitchen from dark to light by painting cabinets and walls can make all the difference.
  • Update the hardware. These kitchen “accessories” stand out and add personality to an otherwise standard kitchen. 
  • Update light fixtures to bring in more light while also adding a fresh look and feel in the space. 


Unique Accent Walls


An accent wall gives a home character while balancing it with the calming feel of natural- and neutral-coloured walls. But, we’ve seen accent walls before, so bolder moves are expected for 2022. Here are some on-trend options that go above and beyond a solid-colour accent wall:

  • Jewel or metallic tones
  • Textured wallpaper
  • Painted ceilings
  • Built-in shelves
  • Wood paneling14
  • Sprawling wall tiles 15


If you’re planning to sell in the next year, talk to us before adding an accent wall. Depending on your target buyer, it may be a design feature that actually hurts your home’s value. We can run a free Comparative Market Analysis on your home to help you understand what would resell best in your neighbourhood.


Exterior Siding Updates


An exterior siding refresh can make an old home feel entirely new and have a big impact on its resale value. This primarily affects curb appeal, but it’s also an important factor in keeping interiors warm and protected from Canada’s harsh winters. The average cost for new siding ranges from $4.80 - $51.60 per square foot.16 That variation depends on which of the many siding materials you choose, from fiber-cement to brick, wood, vinyl, metal, or stone. 


While all these options can infuse the exterior with character and curb appeal, there are a few other factors to consider before taking on this kind of project. While brick adds more sophistication, it is on the pricier end and is susceptible to salt erosion, making it a less enticing option for those on the coasts. On the other end of the cost spectrum, vinyl is a very popular option that does not fade, is easy to maintain, and comes in many colour options.17 However, vinyl will crack over time after facing harsh Canadian winters. 


Give your home this simple and attractive facelift before putting it on the market. If you’re not sure how to get started yourself, our team can connect you with a trusted vendor to guide you through the process. 


Keep These Home Design Features on Your Radar in 2022


These design features can infuse personality into your home while helping to close the deal if you plan to sell in 2022. The average buyer knows just what they’re looking for in a space they plan to call home, so with some investment and foresight, you can give your house an edge over the competition—and boost resale value in the process. 


However, you don’t need to make all these changes to attract more buyers. We can help you determine which design features you should add to your home by sharing insights and tips on how to maximize the return on your investment. We can also run a Comparative Market Analysis on your home to find out how it compares to others in the area, which will help us decide what changes need to be made. Contact us to schedule a free consultation!


Sources:

  1. Realtor.ca –

https://www.realtor.ca/blog/what-2021s-housing-market-looked-like-and-whats-to-come/23723/1361 

  1. Deloitte – 

https://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/global/Documents/2021-deloitte-global-millennial-survey-report.pdf

  1. NRCAN – 

https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy-efficiency/homes/make-your-home-more-energy-efficient/keeping-the-heat/section-8-upgrading-windows-and-exterior-doors/15643

  1. National Resources Canada – 

https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy-efficiency/homes/make-small-changes-add/21850  

  1. HGTV – 

https://www.hgtv.ca/green-living/photos/native-plants-in-canada-by-province-1938068/ 

  1. Zillow
    http://zillow.mediaroom.com/2021-07-15-Homes-With-Light-Blue-Bathrooms,-Dark-Blue-Bedrooms-Could-Sell-for-Up-to-4,698-More-Than-Expected
  2. Financial Post – 

https://financialpost.com/real-estate/average-home-price-in-canada-hits-all-time-high-of-720850 

  1. Behr -
    https://www.behr.com/colorfullybehr/behr-announces-2022-color-of-the-year-and-trends-palette/
  2. HGTV – 

https://www.hgtv.ca/decorating/photos/biggest-home-decor-trends-

2022-1952424/#currentSlide=4 

  1. Greenhouse Canada - 

https://www.greenhousecanada.com/garden-trends-report-sees-a-definite-shift-in-consumer-

tastes/ 

  1. Toronto Sun – 

https://torontosun.com/life/homes/front-porches-make-a-comeback

  1. Statistics Canada – 

https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/45-28-0001/2021001/article/00012-eng.htm 

  1. Government of Canada – 

https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/deductions-credits-expenses/line-22900-other-employment-expenses/work-space-home-expenses.html 

  1. Accent Walls – 

https://www.homedepot.ca/en/home/ideas-how-to/decor/diy-wall-panelling.html 

  1. Accent walls 

https://www.homedepot.ca/en/home/ideas-how-to/decor/accent-wall-ideas.html 

  1. Reno Assistance -  

https://www.renoassistance.ca/en/siding/house-siding-costs/ 

  1. D’Angelo and Sons – 

https://dangeloandsons.com/best-exterior-siding-for-canadian-winter/

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A Return to ‘Normal’? The State of Real Estate in 2022

Last year was one for the real estate history books. The pandemic helped usher in a buying frenzy that led to a record number of home sales and a historically-high rate of appreciation, as prices soared by a national average of 19.9% year over year, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.1

 

There were signs in the second quarter that the red-hot housing market was beginning to simmer down. In June, the pace of sales slowed while the average sales price dipped 5.5% below the springtime peak.2

 

But just when the market seemed to be cooling, home prices and sales volume ticked up again in the fall, leading the Royal Bank of Canada to speculate: “Canada’s housing market run has more in the tank.”3

 

So what’s ahead for the Canadian real estate market in 2022? Here’s where industry experts predict the market is headed in the coming year.

 

 

MORTGAGE RATES WILL CREEP UP

 

The Bank of Canada has signalled that it plans to begin raising interest rates in the “middle quarters” of this year.4 What does that mean for mortgage rates?

 

Expect higher variable mortgage rates to come. In fact, according to industry trade blog Canadian Mortgage Trends, some lenders have already begun raising their variable rates in preparation. And according to the site, “Current market forecasts show the Bank of Canada on track for seven quarter-point (25 bps) rate hikes by the end of 2023, with Scotiabank expecting eight rate hikes.”5

 

Since September, fixed mortgage rates—which follow the 5-year Bank of Canada bond yield—have also been climbing.5 Fortunately, economists believe the housing sector is well-positioned to absorb these higher interest rates.

 

Derek Holt, Scotiabank vice president and head of capital markets economics, told Canadian Mortgage Professional magazine in November, “The large increase in cash balances that occurred over the pandemic combined with the record-high amount of home equity on Canadian balance sheets, to me, paints a picture of a household sector that can manage the rate shock we’re likely to get.”4

 

What does it mean for you? Low mortgage rates can reduce your monthly payment, make it easier to qualify for a mortgage, and make homeownership more affordable. Fortunately, there’s still time to take advantage of historically-low rates. I’d be happy to connect you with a trusted lending professional in our network.

 

 

VOLUME OF SALES WILL DECREASE

 

A record number of homes were sold in Canada last year. The Canadian Real Estate Association estimates that 656,300 home purchases took place, which is an 18.8% increase over 2020.6 So it’s no surprise that the pace of sales would eventually slow.

 

The association predicts that, nationally, the number of home sales will fall by 12.1% in 2022, which would still make 2022 the second-best year on record.1

 

It attributes this relative slowdown to affordability challenges and a lack of inventory but expects sales volume to remain high by historical standards. “Limited supply and higher prices are expected to tap the brakes on activity in 2022 compared to 2021, although increased churn in resale markets resulting from the COVID-related shake-up to so many people’s lives may continue to boost activity above what was normal before COVID-19.”6

 

What does it mean for you? The frenzied market we experienced last year required a drop-everything commitment from many of our clients, so a slower pace of sales should be a welcome relief. However, buyers should still be prepared to compete for the best properties. I can help you craft a compelling offer without compromising your best interests.

 

 

THE MARKET WILL BECOME MORE BALANCED

 

In 2021, we experienced one of the most competitive real estate markets ever. Fears about the virus, a shift to remote work, and economic stimulus triggered a huge uptick in demand. At the same time, many existing homeowners delayed their plans to sell, and supply and labour shortages hindered new construction.

 

This led to an extreme market imbalance that benefitted sellers and frustrated buyers. According to Abhilasha Singh, an economist at Moody’s Analytics, “almost all indicators of housing market activity shot through the roof.” But, she continued, “The housing market is now showing signs of returning to earth.”7

 

The Royal Bank of Canada expects to see demand soften gradually as rising prices and interest rates push the cost of homeownership out of reach for many would-be buyers.3 And while the supply of available homes continues to remain low, according to Singh, “the pace of building in Canada remains elevated compared with historical averages thanks to low interest rates.”7

 

What does it mean for you? If you struggled to buy a home last year, there may be some relief on the horizon. Softening demand could make it easier to finally secure the home of your dreams. If you’re a seller, it’s still a great time to cash out your big equity gains! And with less competition and a slower pace of sales, you’ll have an easier time finding your next home. Reach out for a free consultation so I can discuss your specific needs and goals.

 

 

HOME PRICES LIKELY TO KEEP CLIMBING, BUT AT A SLOWER PACE

 

Nationwide, home prices rose an average of 19.9% in 2021. But the rate of appreciation is expected to slow down in 2022. The Canadian Real Estate Association forecasts that the national average home price will increase by 5.6% to $718,000 in 2022.6

 

Singh of Moody’s Analytics agrees that price growth will slow this year and could “reach a near standstill in late 2022 but avoid any significant contractions.”7

 

However, some experts caution against a “wait and see” mentality for buyers. “Affordability is unlikely to improve [this] year as prices should march higher, even as interest rates creep upwards as well,” Rishi Sondhi, an economist at TD Economics, told Reuters. “We think rate hikes will weigh on, but not upend, demand, as the macro backdrop should remain supportive for sales.”8

 

What does it mean for you? If you’re a buyer who has been waiting on the sidelines for home prices to drop, you may be out of luck. Even if home prices dip slightly (and most economists expect them to rise) any savings are likely to be offset by higher mortgage rates. The good news is that decreased competition means more choice and less likelihood of a bidding war. I can help you get the most for your money in today’s market.

 

 

WE’RE HERE TO GUIDE YOU

 

While national real estate numbers and predictions can provide a “big picture” outlook for the year, real estate is local. And as an experienced local market expert, I can guide you through the ins and outs of our market and the local issues that are likely to drive home values in your particular neighbourhood.

 

If you’re considering buying or selling a home in 2022, contact me to schedule a free consultation. I’ll work with you to develop an action plan to meet your real estate goals this year.

 

 

Sources:

1.     Toronto Sun -
https://torontosun.com/life/homes/real-estate-market-on-track-to-break-records

2.     National Post -
https://nationalpost.com/life/homes/the-great-real-estate-cool-down-has-come

3.     Royal Bank of Canada -
https://thoughtleadership.rbc.com/canadas-housing-market-run-has-more-in-the-tank/

4.     Canadian Mortgage Professional Magazine -
https://www.mpamag.com/ca/mortgage-industry/industry-trends/how-likely-is-a-canada-housing-crash/315742

5.     Canadian Mortgage Trends -
https://www.canadianmortgagetrends.com/2021/11/fixed-rate-increases-costing-todays-homebuyers-over-10000-more-in-interest/

6.     Canadian Real Estate Association -
https://www.crea.ca/housing-market-stats/quarterly-forecasts/

7.     Moody's Analytics -
https://www.moodysanalytics.com/-/media/article/2021/10-canada-housing-market-outlook.pdf

8.     Reuters -
https://www.reuters.com/article/canada-property-poll-idCAKBN2IM06V

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