Why there are a lot fewer open houses on long weekends

Good time or bad time for an open house?
There is a very strong inherent bias against doing open houses on long weekends by many real estate professionals. The party line goes: “everyone wants to spend time with their families and won’t take the time to come to my open house”. You can also expect such sentiments to be heard from the “open houses don’t matter” crowd.  We believe that the reality is, many Realtors also prefer to have the weekend off (albeit probably well deserved!) with their family and thus pooh-pooh the notion of there being any value to holding an open house.  To be fair, many sellers may prefer to have family time, especially if their property has already been on the market for a while.

One can expect to see more open houses happening either the weekend before or the weekend after a long weekend. But does this mean one should avoid holding an open house on a long weekend?

In our opinion, absolutely not! If it fits the schedule and marketing plan for widest and timely exposure of a listing, there is absolutely nothing wrong with scheduling an Open House on a long weekend.  While it is true that many potential buyers will be spending time with their families or travelling, if a home purchase is a high priority and the property fits the buyer purchase criteria, we believe most will find a way to get to a pertinent open house.  In fact, the most highly motivated buyers may well be those that show up at these, though one should expect fewer visitors overall.

It is equally true that many buyers or out of town buyers may use the extra day of a long weekend to focus on their home search or at least include it in their plans.

Why there are even fewer open houses in 2017:
We have a strong market in 2017 with limited listing inventory. Consequently, things are selling faster and Realtors have to hold fewer open houses to showcase listings.

This can be a challenge for the casual “I’ll-know-it-when-I-see-it” buyer or those not engaged with a Realtor, as quite often homes will be sold or conditionally sold, before the first open house even rolls around.

So how are we spending this long weekend?
A very recent listing is ideally suited for showcasing this Labour Day weekend, so we are scheduled Monday 2-4 PM at 5K Banner Rd. This is avery reasonable townhouse condo near Algonquin College that has been fully renovated. Check it out! http://oreb.mlxmatrix.com/matrix/shared/5Z7Hy8fgMh/5BANNERROAD

Buyer top: search for all Open Houses being held this weekend on MLS® at www.ottawarealestate.org ….although there are just over 100 to choose from this Labour Day.

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
oasisrealty@rogers.com
www.oasisrealtyottawa.com  blog.oasisrealtyottawa.com
https://www.facebook.com/oasisrealtyottawa/
https://twitter.com/OasisrealtyOTT

11th year in business as a lower commission brokerage

 

 

 

 

Selling next spring? ….why time may be running out!

You’re kidding me right? We are not even at the end of August, yet “time may be running out”.

Well, think about it, there are only a few weeks of summer remaining (sorry!)  with weather warm enough to do a lot of outdoor prep that you will not have time to do in the early spring, because of cold or damp weather. This is true for anyone who may be contemplating a sale anytime between November and May but especially so for military personnel that are expecting a “posting notice” out of Ottawa which means an April listing.

Here are some sample projects that will help you get ready for a spring sale now:

Any outdoor painting, caulking, staining, sealing, parging or other concrete repair

Repair or replace any tired fencing or decking.

Thin out, weed and mulch gardens and plant new spring bulbs for colour.

Trim hedges, shrubs and replace any plants, trees or sod affected by bugs or heat.

Aerate, top dress and overseed the lawn and fertilize, so it will look great next spring. Hire a professional lawn service company or landscaping company if your lawn and gardens are in really poor condition.

Hint: extra watering in the fall right up to the time the snow flies is a great way to have lawns, trees, shrubbery and gardens look good early in the spring.

Clean out the eavestroughs once all the leaves are down this fall.

Get the windows cleaned inside and out.

De-clutter garage, garden shed and remove any extraneous items or materials from outside spaces.

Replace any tired outdoor furniture or accessories.

Dig out your home inspection manual and see if there are any outstanding items on the list that have not been completed.

Hint: consider a pre-listing home inspection right now! This may uncover things that need to be addressed and it may save a sale later. Many inspection items are a lot less expensive to fix before listing than after. A general home inspection may also conclude that a roofer, HVAC, foundation, WETT or other household system may require professional servicing or further inspection.  Better to find it now than later!

If there is a swimming pool, have it professionally closed and inspected this fall and keep copies of work orders, invoices and any repairs or quotes.

Get your driveway sealed, so it will look well maintained come spring.

You could also take some photos of the exterior of the house and yard, garden, shrubs, trees etc.  right now, as they probably look better right now than any time until early May.  Having some nice color photos to use for online in in home presentation during listings, is a great tool and allows prospective buyers to see the summer state of the exterior landscaping or other features.

This is by no means a complete list and you have not even started inside yet! If you would like to discuss what you need to do to be 100% “listing ready” for a spring or winter sale, by all means give us a call, if you are not already working with another Realtor.

 

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
613-435-4692
oasisrealty@rogers.com www.oasisrealtyottawa.com

A lower commission brokerage

Tick-tock: why the clock is ticking on getting a property listed, sold and closed in 2017

 

Forgive us if it sounds a little odd to be “counting down” on real estate sales and closings for 2017 but in reality, this is the case as we approach mid-August. How so, you say?

There are several key factors that create this tightening timeline:

1) Seasonal slowdown:
Our market unit sales volume steadily eases from its peak in April, May and June to the start of winter hibernation in mid to late November when things are really quiet for 60-90 days. Sales are progressively lower for each month following the end of June to the end of year and unit sales are lowest in December and January. Most buyers don’t want to move in during the winter (if they have a choice) and seeing properties in the winter and making a buying decision is more challenging.

Many buyers also like to get moved in time to enjoy Xmas season in their new home or before the snow flies, in early to  mid-December.

2) time-to-sell and time-to-close
Typical selling time in our strong market for midrange properties should be 30 days or so and remember one must add at least a week for a buyer to firm up their conditions.

Most buyers are looking for a 45-60 day closing period, particularly first time buyers or those coming from rental properties where 60 day notice to the existing landlord is required.

3) prep and lead time to get a property on the market:
There are always a few more things to do to get ready for professional photos and for the onslaught of strangers visiting your home at the outset of a listing period. Realtors need time to schedule photography, sign installation and marketing, so this “prelist” phase in most cases, will be at least 7-10 days.

While every property and sale will differ, adding the above takes somewhere in the order of 75-100 days, so the typical property listed by the end of August, is most likely to sell and close somewhere between mid-November and mid-December.

These timelines may be further skewed or lengthened if the property being sold is a higher priced or unique property or presents some selling challenges.

The best thing a prospective seller can do is to check with a Realtor and see how these timelines apply to their own property and what the likelihood is for success in line with the seller’s expectations. Though we have a strong market this year and listing inventory is much lower than in recent years, it is important to remember that rate of sale for the balance of the year is quite different than what we have seen in the last 3-6 months.

If you are not currently working with a Realtor, please feel free to give us a call and we will be happy to provide a no cost no obligation market evaluation of your property and how we might be able to assist. For more information or to get check out more information on Ottawa real estate, please see our online co-ordinates below.

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
613-435-4692 or 613-371-9691
oasisrealty@rogers.com   oasisrealtyottawa.com
https://www.facebook.com/  oasisrealtyottawa/

@oasisrealtyOTT   http://blog.oasisrealtyottawa.com/

A lower commission brokerage, 11th year in business

Let’s dispel a major myth about Ottawa real estate in the summer!

Let’s dispel a major Ottawa real estate myth: that summer is “dead” in real estate

It has long been held that summer is dead in real estate and things pick up in the fall…but is it really true?

….not so much, as our research has proven! (See monthly unit sales chart)

We hear this all the time from sellers, home owners and even other Realtors who seem to think that there are two “prime” or “peak” seasons in Ottawa real estate: spring and fall.  We hear statements like “everyone is on vacation” or “gone to the cottage” etc. thus explaining why real estate “dies” off in the summer and somehow is magically reborn and “things pick up after Labour Day”.

While it is true that summer sales do dip compared to the super peak season in May and June, July and August are the next best sales months the market will see until the following April, so serious buyers and sellers should not put their real estate plans “on hold” until the fall’s purported “2nd season” in the Fall.

Summer unit sales: July and August 4th and 5th strongest months

Sales in July and August are some 20-25% less than those in April-May and June but are still usually well ahead of sales in September and October which are a further 10-20% lower, followed by November when sales start to go in to the winter hibernation phase of Ottawa real estate.

New Listings and total listing inventory are also typically higher in the summer months than in the fall and winter, so it is a great time to be buying also.

How did this myth get started?
…hard to say but possibilities include:
After a busy spring season, some Realtors may be looking for a bit of a break themselves, which is hard to do when one has to be “on call” and readily available close by to support a new listing or buyer client. So if a buyer or seller plans can be deferred a couple of weeks, the Realtor can sneak in some summer vacation time for themselves.

Also, some Realtors may feel that for whatever reason, a certain property may get more attention in the fall or they may simply be trying to save some business activity to anchor the balance of their business year, especially with the typically slow winter season approaching from mid-November on.

There may be some valid reasons in terms of market circumstances, competitive listing inventory, seller vacations, property preparation for listing and so forth but let us be perfectly clear: don’t delay listing your property in July or August because you think business is stronger later!

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
613-435-4692 or 613-371-9691
oasisrealty@rogers.com

One of Ottawa’s best liked/followed real estate pages: https://www.facebook.com/oasisrealtyottawa/

Our real estate guide/blog: http://blog.oasisrealtyottawa.com/

2 experienced brokers working for you…11th year in business!

 

 

Why “discounter” shouldn’t be a dirty word in real estate

do discount brokerages work?
do discount brokerages work?

We took a different path from most in organized real estate when we started our own independent brokerage. We had previously worked with two large international franchise brokerages and felt we could offer a very viable service at much lower commission than is necessary to support the infrastructure a large franchise brokerage requires.

We have done this successfully for 10 years now and our sellers pay 20-40% less than the typical 5% commissions charged by most of those working for brand name brokerages.  This can add up to thousands in $ commission and HST savings for those who work with us, particularly as house prices continue to rise.

How we can do it:
We have been able to provide excellent service and save our sellers a lot of money because we don’t have the overhead of the corporate franchise structure, so we can afford to provide the same level of service at a much lower price. Sounds like a win for the consumer, right?

So what’s the problem?
The problem is far too many consumers are led to believe that “discounter” is a dirty word (if not even a lower life form!) when used to describe a salesperson/brokerage that does not charge the more typical 5% commissions. Somehow the perception has been created that such brokerages offer lower levels of service and are “not as good” as the higher priced brokerage.

Realtor school 101:
Within the first month or two a new Realtor will attend a seminar or sales meeting on “handling the commission price objection” and they will all be taught the similar FUD (fear-uncertainty-doubt) to explain to a prospective seller why they should pay a much higher fee rather than go with the lower priced service provider.

“These firms don’t last long”

“These firms don’t advertise”

“Other Realtors won’t sell your listing”

“You get what you pay for”

Without going in to detail, these types of statements are simply untrue and disparaging a competitor in this fashion is contrary to Realtor codes of ethics and may be anti-competitive, too-yet it happens every day over kitchen tables, in blogs/websites and on radio shows… “ya gotta watch some of these discounters” might even be a tag line for some 5% Realtors.

Who wouldn’t like lower commissions?
Our experience tells us that most consumers would like to see lower commissions yet many are afraid to embrace the dreaded “discounter” because of continued fear-uncertainty and doubt spread by the higher priced agents.

Shop your local, independent brokerage!
Smaller and independent brokers are more likely to have a viable and lower cost MLS® listing model, since administrative, management and franchise fees are all lower for these firms and there are many good smaller brokerages here in Ottawa.

So if you believe that real estate commissions should be lower then don’t be swayed by corporate FUD and choose a lower commission or discount broker for your real estate needs. Many firms like ours are out there and offer some innovative service models that might work for you….so don’t be afraid to work with a non-name brand firm or affiliated Realtor.

To take advantage of our low cost programs for full service MLS® listings or buyer representation services, give us a call at 613-435-4692 or check us out online at the co-ordinates below. Excellent preseason listing rates of only 3% or 3.5% currently in effect.  The cash you are saving is your own!

(subject to change without notice, some conditions apply, not intended to solicit existing listings)

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker Oasis Realty Brokerage
613-435-4692 or mobile 613-371-9691
oasisrealty@rogers.com oasisrealtyottawa.com

One of the highest ranked and “liked” real estate pages on facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/oasisrealtyottawa/

Follow us on Twitter for “all the real estate news that’s fit to post”  https://twitter.com/OasisrealtyOTT

One of Ottawa’s best real estate blogs: http://blog.oasisrealtyottawa.com/

A full service, boutique brokerage with lower listing fees

When should I list my Ottawa home or condo? (part 2)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Should I wait until summer to list my house?

This is a question we often hear and the answer depends on the individual homeowner circumstances and objectives. Quite often the “best time to list” discussion is determined by other factors but here are a few items to consider in a listing and timing strategy:

Spring is King:
The April through June period is by far our busiest sales time here in Ottawa and our ratio of new listings to sales is also strongest during these months. Competition is also the heaviest then as well, so sellers with overpriced listings may not realize it until it is too late to react to market feedback.

February-March are great lead in months:
Open houses are full of buyers in February and March, so this can be a good time to be listing also.  If buyer feedback suggests listing tweaks there is time to adjust before peak sales season.

Don’t avoid listing in Summer!
Contrary to real estate myth, the 2nd best selling season is July-September based on monthly sales.  While one often hears that “real estate is dead” in the summer and “things pick up in the Fall/after Labour Day” this is totally inaccurate when one looks at monthly unit sales history.  So don’t avoid listing in July or August, because of this Realtor equivalent of an old wives tale.

Listing timeline most often tied to purchase:
Quite often the listing timelines are dictated by when one can find their “dream home”. This can rarely be preplanned, as it is subject to the whim of what becomes available on the market and a buyer being able to successfully secure a purchase on that property.
A key issue in the purchase of a property is always the sellers’ timeline and desired closing date, so one cannot always pick when their new home will be available.

Resale property vs new construction:
Resale properties are typically available within a 45-60 closing time frame. New construction is typically much longer (except for inventory homes or model home sales) with 4-6 month lead times or longer.  This can especially complicate listing timing for a new built home that is going to close in January-March which means selling an existing home later in the year which is the slower time for the resale market.

How long will it take to sell my existing property?
Most are enthusiastic and assume their palace will sell very quickly and at the price they expect and plan for. This is quite often not the case, unfortunately.  Just over 40% of new listings sold on the Ottawa real estate board during 2016-so a fast sale is by no means guaranteed.  In fact, the average residential property took 56 days on the market to sell in 2016 and the average condo 70 days.

What are the competitive issues that will affect my sale?
The level of competitive listing activity from resale homes and new construction will vary by area and time of year but obviously have a huge effect on when and whether to list. Overall inventory levels have come down quite a bit over the last year, so this may be a pretty good year to list compared to previous years, assuming we continue to see the slightly better demand level we experienced in 2016.

Can I list my property now for a closing in 6 or 8 months?
Most resale properties close within 45-90 days of a sale on average, so by trying to listing for a much longer closing, one is decreasing the number of potential buyers and hence demand and possibly market value.

How do I “time” the market?
If peak sales are April-June, does this mean one should list in April? Or get a head start by listing in March?  Most properties look their best in mid-May or June, once leaves are back on the trees and gardens start to bloom, but is this too late to be listing?
If one thinks in competitive terms: the first person to list has the advantage of being available to buyers in the market at that time but also has the disadvantage that those listing later will be able to price their listings knowing the listing price of the earlier listing.

Do I sell first or buy first?
Age old question which varies with buyer circumstances and both have their pros and cons.  A high % of buyers with existing homes typically find their new dream home first and then put the existing property on the market but it is not unusual for someone to sell first, particularly if planning to buy in a high neighbourhood.

Bottom Line:
There are many factors which affect the timing and marketing of a property and a Realtor is best equipped to consult on all factors specific to an individual property and neighbourhood.

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
613-435-4692 or mobile 613-371-9691
oasisrealty@rogers.com
oasisrealtyottawa.com

One of the highest ranked and “liked” real estate pages on facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/oasisrealtyottawa/

Follow us on Twitter for “all the real estate news that’s fit to post”  https://twitter.com/OasisrealtyOTT

One of Ottawa’s best real estate blogs: http://blog.oasisrealtyottawa.com/

A full service, boutique brokerage with lower listing fees

When is the best time to list my Ottawa property?

Here is a chart we have compiled from monthly Ottawa real estate board published unit sales results (residential and condo property unit sales/month) for the last 5 years. This demonstrates a pretty consistent annual pattern in the Ottawa market.

Spring is key:
April through June are typically our peak sales months and this will come as no surprise for most. Government employees are relocating and families looking for a summer closing and move before the next school year, give this season a major boost.  Each year Ottawa real estate handles some 800-1000 moves in to town by government personnel with an equal number moving away from Ottawa.  The highest % of these are military and RCMP relocations.

Summer surprisingly strong:
There is a significant myth that “real estate is dead in summer” and this table shows this is totally incorrect! July and August are typically the 4th and 5th busiest sales months of the year, so those who “wait until the market picks up in the Fall” are really doing themselves a disservice.

March, September and October:
These are “shoulder” or transition sales months. March activity is increasing for the busy spring and September and October are marked by erosion of peak demand heading in to the slower fall and winter season.

November-February:
Ottawa sales take a breather, as fewer people want to move during the winter time and seasonal vacations, holiday activity and weather all play a role in making house buying not quite as active. A lot of planning and preparation for the peak season can be done during January and February, so still an active period-just not as many sales.

Personal Objectives most important:
What dictates selling or buying times is often based on a specific property being available and this then drives the sale of an existing home. Those with homes to sell will want to consider their buying and closing timelines in a way that optimizes selling an existing property if at all possible. For example, buying a new home that closes in February means one is selling an existing property in late fall in order to co-ordinate the new home purchase.  This however, is not the best-selling market for the existing property-so the seller will have to take this in to account when doing their pricing and listing plans.

When will my property show best?
Most properties will not show their best until mid-May when leaves are on the trees and everything has “greened up”, so some may wish to time their listing (and photo) plans accordingly. For example, a house with a pool will look much more inviting when the pool is open and warmer temperatures occur.

Is my property ready to list?
It can take longer than one thinks to get a property in HGTV condition for listing and selling, so this must be planned in to the listing cycle.

Competition also a factor:
The quality and number of head to head competitors to the property being sold (both new and resale) also factors in to the timing decision.

How long will it take my property to sell?
Sellers will have to factor in both selling and closing time in to the planning timeline and these can vary widely by location, price point and property type.

Bottom line:
There are a lot of variables to be considering in the listing, marketing and selling process and your Realtor is best equipped to help facilitate the process and optimize results based on all these factors. If one is planning a purchase or sale this year, January and February are the ideal months to sit down and have a planning discussion with your Realtor and any other key 3rd parties ie mortgage broker, stager, trades people.

If you are not already working with another Realtor, we are happy to provide a no cost, no obligation market evaluation of your property to help you with your real estate objectives.

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
613-435-4692 or mobile 613-371-9691
oasisrealty@rogers.com
oasisrealtyottawa.com
One of the highest ranked and “liked” real estate pages on facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Oasis-Realty-Brokerage-Ottawa/209265863918

Follow us on Twitter for “all the real estate news that’s fit to post”  https://twitter.com/OasisrealtyOTT

One of Ottawa’s best real estate blogs: http://blog.oasisrealtyottawa.com/

Fed/Brookfield IRP contract cuts Realtor commission to 3.7%

for-sale…does this cause a risk to those selling to relocate?

The federal government is cutting commission rates for Realtor services on the National Integrated Relocation contract (IRP) and Ontario Realtors will share a total of 3.7% for listing and selling a relocating government employee’s home, as of January 1, 2017. (down from the previous rate of 4.1%)

While some will cheer the move, it may not be quite so popular with relocating employees if they see a decrease in service levels or lower buyer agent interest in their listings, due to the lower compensation offered.

What are typical real estate commissions?
In Ottawa, typical commissions remain around 5%* with 2.5% going to the listing sales person and brokerage and 2.5% going to the agent and brokerage that represent the buyer. Commissions are highly competitive and are open to negotiation but most typical fees will be in this general area.* commissions are negotiable and can vary by the individual salesperson or broker and many do charge less, including Oasis Realty.

How does it work with the Federal relocation contract?
Brookfield Relocation Services (affiliated with the parent company of Royal Lepage real estate) manages the federal government Integrated Relocation Program (IRP) nationally and has done for many years. Just a few years ago, this program paid Ottawa Realtors 5% with the usual 2.5%/2.5% split.  On the last contract this dropped to 4.1%, with listing and buyer agents each receiving 2.05% over the last few years. (a decrease of 18%)

With the new fee/compensation structure coming January 1st at 3.7%, the listing representative and buyer representative will each receive 1.85%, if the 50/50 split continues (a further decrease of 9.7%)

Toronto is not Ontario and real estate is “local”:
We are not sure how these fees are established or negotiated but we strongly believe that “one size does not fit all” in real estate fees and by having one set fee for all of Ontario, this does not take in to account the vast regional and local differences. Toronto is its own market, as is Ottawa.  Smaller but important centres for Federal employees such as Trenton, Petawawa etc. may have an even bigger problem if their local prices and volume of transactions normally requires 6% fees to support.

While Toronto prices have continued on the elevator ride up to atmospheric levels, our prices in Ottawa have certainly not followed suit and even this year with solid unit sales our average prices continue to be pretty flat and at or below inflation level. So Realtors are not making up the difference in the average price of houses being sold here, as they might be in Toronto.

What risks might a relocating government seller be facing?
1) fewer Realtors may be interested in listing properties on the program, given the compensation level.
2) Realtors may also ask employees to “top up” the government paid fees, so they can achieve their usual %. This happens regularly today with those selling or buying a private listing or FSBO where a significantly lower commission rate is offered to a buyer representative.  The standard Buyer Representation Agreement signed by most buyers provides for the buyer paying incremental Realtor commission if the seller does not pay an agreed upon fee level ie 2.5%.
3) If one believes that Realtors are significantly “coin operated” then sellers may also see less interest from buyer agents in their properties, as those representatives may favour properties where the buyer representative commission is more robust. Getting paid 27.7% more on property “B” than government listed property “A” is a pretty compelling advantage.  This amounts to about $2,600 on the average $400K sale or purchase.
4) Listing agents will certainly have less budget monies for advertising and other costs to support their government listings when one considers they are also splitting commissions with their brokerage.
5) properties may take longer to sell if satisfactory “full commission” alternatives are available.

Bottom line:
Government employee sales will continue but there may be a few service wrinkles given the now “discount” fees being paid by the Federal government.

This commission change was hotly debated on a Realtor forum late in 2016, before the Board moderator cut off discussion on the issue, so there are clearly many who feel that this lower rate combined with their brokerage splits, dues/fees and other expenses makes this business less viable for them.

Oasis Realty Enhanced IRP Listing offer for government sellers!

We will offer a 2.5% co-operating buyer representative rate out of the 3.7% contract commission and this will ensure that the listing is on competitive ground with other listings in the area.  Since all Realtors can manage with a 2.5% buyer rep commission there is zero worry for the seller!
Any relocating government employee who has concerns should know we have a program that will totally eliminate any potential risk and in fact, will help make their property even more attractive. For details on our program or for a no cost, no obligation evaluation of your property, please give us a call at 613-435-4692 (not intended to solicit those with existing representation agreements)

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
613-435-4692 or mobile 613-371-9691
oasisrealty@rogers.com oasisrealtyottawa.com

One of the highest ranked and “liked” real estate pages on facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Oasis-Realty-Brokerage-Ottawa/209265863918
For “all the real estate news that’s fit to post”  https://twitter.com/OasisrealtyOTT

One of Ottawa’s best real estate blogs: http://blog.oasisrealtyottawa.com/

 

Key issues for Ottawa real estate 2017

6723-ptw-summer-aaaThe New Year brings optimism and while we expect another pretty good year in Ottawa real estate there are still a lot of questions and issues that will shape our marketplace and affect buying and selling plans. Here are a few we think worth watching:

Listing inventory levels:
We had a positive turnaround in 2016 with fewer new listings and total listing levels, after a couple of years of historical records and bloated excess listing inventory . This helped get the market back to a “balanced” market territory in 2016 but just barely.  Positive unit sales growth would continue this improvement but a small slip could put us back in buyer’s market territory.

Mortgage rates and qualifying rules:
While there is no reason to suspect significant change in mortgage rates, the mortgage rules and new qualifications may delay first time buyers entering the market. The 4.64% mortgage qualifying rate (vs market rates approx. 2% lower) makes the approval threshold higher for buyers and if this source of new market entrants slows, then “move up” sellers have fewer prospects for their property.  Further government moves may also impact the market.

How long does it take the average house to sell?
This is another key indicator on the health of the overall market and it has been going the wrong way for several years now. 2016 (November) year to date the average home has taken 55 days to sell and the average condo 70 days. These compare to 34 days and 27 days, as recently as 2010.
Chronic listings have taken even longer to sell and our newer indicator for CDOM (cumulative-days-on-market) currently stands at 85 days for residential and 112 days for the average condo sale.

New home construction activity and performance:
New home sales were up 15-20% during 2016 after an “off” year in 2015…will this continue? Will this cause a backlog of new home buyers with existing homes to resell thus inflating competition in the resale market?
Many of the marquis new developments are inside the Greenbelt in places like Ottawa East (Greystone), Zibi/Lebreton and Wateridge (former Rockcliffe base). Will these higher end developments draw buyers in sufficient numbers and will that impact suburban sales?
How will the condo market perform in 2017? We have no shortage of projects…are there enough buyers?
With a lot of purpose built rentals coming in the future, (i.e. Lincoln Fields/Westgate/Elmvale), will these challenge investor buyers and owners with increased competition in the rental market?

How will governments impact our market this year?
We are a government town and it is no surprise that our market perked up with the 2016 fiscal year starting in April last year. After several years in the doldrums and tight Federal spending, we had increased spending and headcount and a positive environment with the new government which contributed to improved results.

The provincial and municipal governments have been pretty supportive too; abandoning some measures (increased land transfer taxes, higher development fees) and lots of cash for major infrastructure (LRT, sewer upgrades) and general maintenance.
The Province has upped the land transfer tax rebate limit for first time buyers to $4,000 from $2,000, so that is a plus for 2017.
Will the Feds take further action nationally to attempt to “cool” the super charged Toronto/Southwestern Ontario market? Will the federal National Housing Strategy complicate the nature of local real estate?

Will the Province bring in the long awaited Home Energy Rating and Disclosure Program this year? This program will force home energy audits prior to listing a home for sale and the “energy score” will be published on MLS® listings.  This may hurt older generations of homes/homeowners and result in market challenges for these sellers.

Will ongoing increases in utility costs negatively impact some homes/properties more than others?

Higher utility costs are felt most by the 45,000 Ottawa area homes serviced by Hydro One, so will further increases impact sales for these homeowners?

Will the Province and/or the Feds follow BC’s lead and create a matching interest free loan to help first time buyers?

Will our market roar ahead to catch up with much higher price valuations in the rest of southern Ontario? Ottawa has not been participating in the house price increases of other major centres in Ontario over the last 4 or 5 years.  Could this be the year we play “catch up”?

Our take:
We don’t see a lot of new significant or contentious action from either Provincial or Federal governments, as both await the outcome of the Cap and Trade/Carbon Tax program and the host of new mortgage rules. Federal funds should continue to flow and we can see some slightly better average price increases but still probably only inflation level or slightly better.

If you do not have a Realtor helping with your buying/selling plans, now is a great time to sit down and plan, as peak season starts in only a few weeks!   If you do not have a Realtor, feel free to give us a call! 613-435-4692 or follow us on social media to keep an eye on Ottawa real estate…it should be an exciting year!

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
oasisrealty@rogers.com www.oasisrealtyottawa.com

https://www.facebook.com/oasisrealtyottawa/

@oasisrealtyOTT

http://blog.oasisrealtyottawa.com/

Seller tips for winter showings in Ottawa

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Selling in Winter?

Here is a checklist to things to consider when prepping for winter showings:

  1. Please shovel the drive, walkway, front porch, decks and patios and make sure it is both accessible and safe for visitors. Ditto for snow or ice on roofs, eaves, overhangs or garages.
  2. check to make sure the house numbers are visible as is the real estate “For Sale” sign and not obscured by snow, ice or snowbanks.
  3. For evening showings, please leave an outdoor light on so it is quick and easy to access the lockbox and then open the front door.
  4. Leaving all house lights on, saves time and shows your home to its best. Best to turn off the security system for scheduled showings also.
  5. Please make sure there are ample floor mats and boot trays to accommodate visitor footwear, especially for Open Houses.
  6. Please keep floors dry and clean! Few things are more irritating or distracting than walking through a puddle or having to walk through a dirty basement.
  7. Keep a moderate temp in the 19-20 C range (65-68F).  Many vacant properties are like meat lockers temperature wise and this does nothing for a buyer trying to “warm up “to a property, particularly when walking through in their sock/stocking feet on a cold floor. Visitors are wearing coats at this time of year, so please don’t make it too warm, either.
  8. Keep curtains and blinds open to admit as much natural light as possible, this is especially important in our low light winter conditions.  Light, bright homes show better and buyers are very much interested in this.
  9. Have a pet management plan which includes daily removal of any pet droppings that are emerging through the snow and ensure cat litter boxes and the area around them are cleaned regularly.
  10. Check for cooking, pet or other odours (hockey equipment?) and ventilate the home using your HRV, as home odours are more noticeable during the winter when houses (particularly newer more air tight ones) do not get as much fresh air from opening windows and doors.
  11. Minimize distractions:  we don’t need cooking smells, music, vanilla on the stove, excessive air or carpet deodorant, personal photos, etc.
  12. Leave out some good colour photos of what the house and yard look like in the summer time, this really helps a buyer “see” the property.
  13. Have a plan for any fireplace.  Wood burning fireplaces don’t need to be lit but should be clean and with wood or fire log ready to light.  Gas fireplaces should also be clean and ready to turn on with directions on how to do so but resist the urge to leave the gas fireplace “on” or a wood burning fire going.
  14. No smoking…even in the garage!
  15.  don’t run dishwasher or laundry when showings are scheduled.

We would love to share our other thoughts on how to get your property sold, so feel free to give us a call at 613-435-4692 or oasisrealty@rogers.com , if you are not already working with another real estate professional.

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
www.oasisrealtyottawa.com
613-435-4692 oasisrealty@rogers.com   https://www.facebook.com/oasisrealtyottawa/ @oasisrealtyOTT