Trends in legal services for real estate closings

Lawyers play a critically important role in closing real estate transactions and providing advice to buyers and sellers along the way.  At a recent legal seminar presented by Mark Weisleder of realestatelawyers.ca, we got a short update on several new trends in the closing process that are focused on making life simpler for both consumers and realtors.

Some lawyers will now come to you:
There are more than one lawyer around offering mobile services but it is certainly a great option for many buyers and sellers.  Having the lawyer (or representative) come to your office or home can be a time saver and very convenient.

Electronic funds transfer:
Lawyers can now do electronic funds transfer more readily in both accepting deposits and closing funds plus disbursing proceeds.  Super time saver for all concerned.  Saves trips to banks for certified cheques or bank drafts.

In the case of realtors, we receive commission funds immediately upon closing, along with notification that the deal has actually closed.  Age old system has relied upon lawyers mailing a commission cheque upon closing and the listing agent brokerage processing that cheque through their own banking network, while also cutting a paper cheque to the co-operating brokerage. Sellers of course, had to make another trip to the lawyers’ office to pick up a cheque for any net proceeds of their sale.

Multi-site closing locations:
Though interaction is minimal on real estate closings (1-2 meetings) many lawyers are now offering closing services in multiple locations across the city (or in the case of realestatelawyers.ca, at 35 locations across the Province)

House Key Management:
A cute and interesting timesaver for buyers and sellers, is that realestatelawyers.ca provides a lockbox to a seller which they install on or before closing day with a set of keys inside.  Once the transaction has closed, the sellers’ lawyer provides the lockbox code to the buyer and their lawyer and the buyer can gain immediate access to the property without having to drive to the sellers’ lawyers’ office or other physical location to pick up the keys.  The lockbox is gifted to the buyer, thus saving the necessity of a representative returning to the property to retrieve it.

Condo Status documentation package available electronically or on a rush basis:
Condo status certificate review is a critical function of a lawyer on a condo purchase.  Property Management companies have 10 days by law to produce these docs for a lawyer representing a buyer at a fee of approximately $100.  This is typically quite a pile of legal docs and schedules that have been photocopied numerous times but finally, these are being made available electronically.  (although most here in Ottawa still seem to require paper and a physical pick up or courier charge to get these to the buyer’s lawyer.

The 10 day allowable timeline for Property managers to produce the docs (though most are done within 5 business days) does drag out the conditional sales period for a condo sale.  This is not advantageous for a seller, as their property is pretty much “off the market” or suspended while awaiting these condo docs. Many property managers will provide an expedited service (24-48 hours) for double the typical fee (ie. Therefore $200) which becomes the buyer expense.

Condo docs good for 90 days:
We think a better idea all around, is for sellers to order the condo Status documentation package at time of listing and make it available to buyers and their agents to review when in advance of making an offer to purchase and thus shortening the need for an extended conditional period.  These are normally 5-7 business days for residential properties and 10 business days for condos. Condo status document packages are good for legal purposes for 90 days from date of issue, so as long as closing is within 90 days of the package date, they are very useful.

Multiple offers:
Having condo docs immediately available greatly facilitates multiple offers.  In Toronto, approximately 50% of sellers invest in condo doc package at time of listing, although it is still fairly rare here in Ottawa.  Some are doing it but probably less than 5%.  This is an idea worth pursuing for anyone selling a condo.  Buyers will want to make arrangements with their lawyer to review these docs ahead of making a purchase, as what is contained in those docs may determine whether or how much they wish to offer for the condo.

Fees and Disbursements:
A reminder for both sellers and buyers to be sure to ask for the cost of legal fees (the lawyer fees)  and disbursements necessary to process a specific transaction.  These fees include land transfer tax, mortgage registration, title insurance, courier fees, govt fees and other services necessary to complete a transaction.

Fees are usually slightly higher for a buyer than a seller. (+$200)

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Oasis Realty Brokerage
Ottawa 613-435-4692

oasisrealty@rogers.com  oasisrealtyottawa.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conditional sales falling like autumn leaves

As most know, we have a seller’s market here in Ottawa as we close out 2018.  Sales and prices are up and listing inventory is pretty scarce in most market segments.
One statistic that seems almost out of line with the strength of the market and lack of listings is the number of conditional sales that are terminated by buyers and do not go firm.

The numbers: (such as are available) 
We don’t have a regular report mechanism on the amount of such sales but for the last 12-18 months, this ratio has more than doubled from 4-5% of sales to as much as 10-15%.  We offer as evidence a current 7 day period where new listings have been 406 and conditional sales 304 and firm sales 370.  The number of “back-on-market” listings during this period is a significant 74 or almost 20-25% in relation to the sales.  This is extraordinarily and we feel the overall level is probably in the 10-15% range noted previously.

So what is causing this massive number of sales cancellations?
There are several reasons why sales fall through in any market, these including: Inspection, financing and good old fashioned buyer remorse.  All 3 of these factors are enhanced in the current market.

Inspection:
Sellers feel they are in a strong position in this sellers’ market, so may not be as amenable to making price adjustments or fixing issues identified by inspectors, knowing there are a lot more buyers out there for their home.

Buyers accordingly, are often buying at their maximum and often feel they are paying a premium (even over paying) and therefore, some may try to renegotiate the deal price wise, without reciprocity from the seller.

Financing:
Mortgage rates have risen and the new mortgage “stress test” may still be catching some buyers unawares thus resulting in buyer inability to obtain satisfactory financing.

Hurried purchase decisions:
Buyer remorse can always be a factor in the termination of conditional sales.  Often caused by either irrational enthusiasm by one or more of the buyers or most likely where one buyer loves the property and the other merely likes it.

In the current environment of listing scarcity and multiple offers, buyers don’t get as much time to research a property (many only get a chance to see it once, before having to decide on an offer) and then once they have longer to think about it, they are not as enamoured with it as originally thought.

Unfortunately, a hasty purchasing decision in a rushed and stressful environment, leaves plenty of room for error and many buyers may be re-thinking the suitability of the property or re-evaluating the purchase price being paid or both.  Conditional sales agreements are written in way that favours the buyer significantly and that conditional period can often end up being a “cooling off period” and buyers can be pretty subjective in their decision making on whether to firm up the deal or not.

Sellers are adversely affected by such cancellations, as they may lose some of the other buyer interest during the conditional sales period when their property is pretty much “off the market” while a buyer does their due diligence and attempts to complete their conditions.  Other buyers may wonder if “ something is wrong” with the property and may therefore lose interest in it.  Still others may have gone on to buy something else.

The best solution to this problem is for buyers who are well prepared and well coached with appropriate financing in hand and a good knowledge of current market value.  If all of these are in place, we can hopefully optimize the current high level of sales cancellations.

Gord McCormick
Broker of Record
Oasis Realty Brokerage
Ottawa  613-435-4693
oasisrealty@rogers.com

Moving to Ottawa? Some things to know about real estate

Average house prices a relative bargain:
Those moving from the GTA or Vancouver will view overall Ottawa average prices (average residential selling price approx. $447,000) as a real bargain and that would be correct.  Averages are just averages though and price ranges vary considerably across the city and the Ottawa real estate board reporting area. Urban residential price averages in 2018 are in the $600-$900K ranges and topped $1.5 million in Rockcliffe Village.  Prices have been increasing fairly strongly in the last couple of years, and limited listing inventory is a factor.

Geography:
Ottawa is quite spread out east to west along the Ottawa river some 45 km (Carp Rd to Trim) and about half that distance north-south. Dominant features include the Ottawa and Rideau River systems, the Rideau Canal and the “Greenbelt”, all of which have factored in Ottawa’s development. North of the Ottawa river is western Quebec, the Gatineau hills and the city of Gatineau. Realtors must be separately licenced/registered to practice in Quebec, so very few, if any, can provide services on both sides of the Ottawa River.  Average prices are about $100,000 less on the Quebec side, so buyers should determine which province is of most interest from the beginning of their search.

Big difference between urban and suburban living:
Much of Ottawa’s residential growth over the last couple of decades has been at the fringes in the east (Orleans), west (Kanata and Stittsville) and south. (southwest in Barrhaven and southeast in Findlay Creek and Riverside South)  Home prices have increased most in urban areas and this has fostered many condo developments and infill housing development in the highest urban demand areas.  We currently have several of the largest mixed residential urban neighbourhood projects in Ottawa history underway or planned.  These include: Wateridge, LeBreton, Greystone and Zibi plus numerous large (and tall!) condo projects.

High demand urban areas:
Westboro/Wellington West and Carling/Woodroffe area , Hintonburg/Mechanicsville, Civic Hospital, Glebe, Old Ottawa South, Ottawa East, Manor Park, New Edinburgh, Sandy Hill

Students, Students, everywhere!
Ottawa is a big education centre with over 80,000 full time post-secondary students (140,000+ counting part time) at University of Ottawa, Carleton, Algonquin, Cite Collegiale and St. Paul’s.  This demographic has an impact on housing, entertainment, dining and the work force.

Transit oriented:
Ottawa has always been a transit oriented city with commuter ridership % among the highest in North America.  The OC Transpo system has been built on a mix of dedicated transitways (bus only roads) and express bus lanes which connect urban and suburban commuters with the downtown core.

2018 brings Phase 1 of Ottawa’s LRT (Confederation line) which will connect 13 stations over 12.5 KM, including a 2.5KM tunnel underneath the downtown core.  Phase 2 will expand the scope both east, west and south (Trillium Line) by 2023.

This has created a “transit oriented development” focus for city planners and a great deal of activity is planned around LRT transit hubs.

Greenbelt:
When one drives through Ottawa from the downtown towards the suburbs, the city seems to stop and then restart after large swathes of open space.  This was created way back in the day when the original plan was to keep Ottawa within the borders of this “Greenbelt”.  Over time, persuasive developers found a way to build new communities beyond the Greenbelt and this is where much growth has taken place since the 1970’s.

Schools:
We have a gamut of schools at the elementary and high school level encompassing English, French and immersion programs from public, Catholic and French school boards.  The widespread geography of Ottawa has become a bit of a problem in this regard, as demographics have changed school enrollment patterns and many schools are on the “to be closed” list due to lack of students while others are overloaded and still others have no local services at all.  Researching schools for both current and future requirements can be a key factor for many parents, so it is a good idea to review this early in your Ottawa home search to determine your geographic focus.

Real estate is local:
Every market is different, so be careful not to assume that things in Ottawa real estate will be the same as the market you are moving from.  Housing types/styles, trends and key features and highest demand items in one local market may vary widely from those in another.

If you are relocating and looking for an experienced brokerage team to consult on your home or condo buying plans, we are more than happy to help!  Give us a call at 613-435-4692 or check us out online at our co-ordinates below:

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/

 

 

 

 

how to pay less real estate commission and get full service

The savvy seller can find a quality agent and broker and still get full service at lower commission rates.

What is normal commission?
The accepted norm for real estate commission is 5% of the sale price of a property.  Typically, the listing agent and the buyer representatives (and their respective brokerages) split this amount equally with 2.5% going to each.  With average prices continuing to climb, this adds up to a fair amount of a seller’s equity to cover the cost, as sellers normally pay both ends of the commission.

Don’t forget the HST! The average residential real estate transaction in Ottawa these days is almost $450,000, so this requires a commission payment of $22,500, using the 5% model…but wait…there’s more!  The HST is charged on the real estate services, adding another 13% or $2,925 to bring the total to $25,425.  So this is clearly and expense that a prudent seller will want to optimize.

As one can see from the photo enclosed, this seller paid only 3% commission which would be a savings of over $10,000 in commission and hst in the example of the typical $450,000 property above…that’s worth considering, right?

Typical commission splits between the sales person and the brokerage:
Most large brand name brokerage sales agents need to charge the 5% rates to cover their corporate overhead.  Though individual Realtors are able to determine their own listing fees as independent contractors, most are constrained via contract, company policy and management practice plus they also need to maximize their earnings, accounting for the split they must pay to the franchise and corporate real estate company.  These splits take 10-30% of the commission revenue earned in *most cases. (splits vary greatly across the industry)

Optimizing real estate commission:
There are many different commission approaches out there these days, many of them available from smaller or mid-size brokerages such as ours.  (to be fair, some agents with larger brokers also have variable commission fees but they are very hard to find-since they are typically not permitted to advertise their commission rates)

The challenge most sellers face is how to get a lower commission cost without having to sacrifice the level of service received.  Even the “for-sale-by-owner” companies (who misleadingly advertise “no commission”, IMHO) do most often require a commission payment to the agent and brokerage representing the buyer on top of the fees charged to “sell it yourself”.  Almost all buyer agents expect 2.5% (+HST) when providing a buyer and facilitating the transaction on behalf of both parties.  So “ for-sale-by-owner”  is not commission free and though it may cut down the total commission being paid, the seller does not have the same level of representation or service they would have had by engaging a listing sales person or Broker.

Mere Posting services:
There are some brokerages who offer very low “ listing end” fees but for limited services and of course, the buyer agent/representative is still looking for their 2.5%, so while this works for some, it may not be ideal in this high paced market.  While intuitively, our sellers’ market would suggest it is easier to sell and therefore marketing and service effort should be less (with commensurately lower cost)  this is not the case.  This market puts a lot of pressure on Realtors to get the price and marketing strategy right and manage a complex set of issues to get the best deal for their client.

The happy medium:
The growth of small and medium sized firms has proliferated in recent years, as many Realtors choose to lower their costs and also become more independent, away from the umbrella of the somewhat restrictive corporate franchise broker.

Firms like ours are able to offer lower commissions and more flexible programs, as we do not bear the overhead of the larger brokerage entities.

Types of commissions that work for sellers:
A seller who also buys with the same agent should expect to get some level of discount on the selling side.  We charge only 3% or 3.5% in this situation) A seller whose agent represents both the seller and a buyer of that property should also expect to pay less, since there is no other agent to pay. (we charge 2.5 or 3% only in these circumstances)

Day-in-day-out lower fees:
We offer the government contract rate of only 3.7% (+HST) for residential properties and 3.99% for condos or country residential properties on well and septic systems.

 Flat fees:
Some firms offer flat fees on the listing end ie $2,995 but typically there will also be a % charge for the buyer representative/brokerage, too.

Volume discount or negotiated discount:
Each property is different and each situation is different, so there may well be some discounts available based on the situation that can be negotiated.

Tips on commission hunting:
Make sure you know what services are being offered.  If you expect the typical suite of Realtor services, make sure these are being offered at the reduced price.  Ie if no professional photography, online marketing, showing feedback or open houses are included, you may not be getting the same value.

Make sure you know the commission rate being offered to the buyer representative who brings the buyer of your property.  Many lower commission plans also drop the % paid and this can have adverse consequences to a seller.

Make sure you know the distinction and are getting a full MLS® listing, as some agents offer a lower commission rate package on what is called an “exclusive listing” but this listing does not get published on MLS and the individual agent is often trying to sell the property themselves (like a pocket listing)  and not have to pay another Realtor for the buying end.  While this lower commission may be attractive, the power of MLS is that all listings go on realtor.ca and all Realtors and their buyers are exposed and engaged to get the listing sold to the widest possible audience. (2 million+ visitors per month)

Is the firm and individual offering the value priced commission experienced enough to manage your listing and are you comfortable with them?

Get all commission rates and service levels committed in writing and included as an addendum to the listing contract and that way you know what you are paying and what you are getting in return.

There are dozens and dozens of independent firms covering every corner of Ottawa, so don’t be shy about seeking one out and using them for your listing brokerage!

For more information about our boutique brokerage services, feel free to give us a call at 613-435-4692 or email oasisrealty@rogers.com  (not intended to solicit those working with other Realtors)  You can also find more Ottawa real estate information and tips at our social media accounts and blog below:

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage Ottawa, ON

Oasisrealtyottawa.com
https://www.facebook.com/oasisrealtyottawa/
https://twitter.com/OasisrealtyOTT
http://blog.oasisrealtyottawa.com/

12th year in business!

 

Almost 3,000 fewer listings than the same point 2 years ago!

Listings (or lack thereof!) continue to be the dominant story in Ottawa real estate based on 3rd quarter results through the end of September.

Almost 3,000 fewer listings than at the same point only 2 years ago!
New listings in September are down 10.5% for residential properties and 20.3% for condos vs last year and 22.6% and 26.8% vs 2015.
Total listing inventory at month end is down this year 20.1% for residential listings and 24.1% for condos. Compared to 2015, listing inventory is down 35% for residential and 33.6% for condos.  Combined this means the current market has a 2,922 fewer properties available for sale at the end of September than the same point in 2015.

Sales up, inventory down, scarcity looms
With total sales demand up 12.1% vs 2015 for residential and 24.6% for condos, it is easy to see how we are seeing average prices rise and more multiple offers.

Residential sales: price growth fuelled by demand
Unit sales were actually down 1.8% in September but average selling price was up 8.2% to $416,464. On a year to date basis, residential unit sales are up 6.6% and the average selling price is up 7.2% to $425,139.

Condo market continues to show strength:
2017 has been one of the best condo markets in many years with unit sales thus far up 23.5% and the average selling price up 4.6% at $272,220.

Who benefits:
Sellers benefit in this market but of course, those who are also buying face a challenge on that end. One of the basic facts of real estate is that those who own a home are stuck both buying and selling in the same market conditions, so while one may gain on one side, they suffer on the other.

Buyers face more multiple offers, a very fast moving market on new listings and limited decision making time.

Builders have had a record year from anecdotal reports and we can certainly confirm that builder prices have been increasing and buyer incentives decreasing in the face of strong results and limited listing inventory in new construction also. Buyers are encouraged to keep an eye on new lot or phase releases or in demand inventory homes.  Also take your Realtor with you to the sales centre and consider asking for a “hold” or “reservation” for a short time from the builder, if possible.(though builders may also be tightening up on their willingness to accept such good “faith” agreements)

Bottom line and what to expect:
Though mortgage rates are creeping up with the Bank of Canada recent rate changes and there are continuing steps to tighten mortgage qualifications, our market appears pretty solid and poised for more growth.

Investors are still trying to figure out how new rental rules from the provincial government may affect them, so we could see some slackening in demand from this sector as a result.

As long as the federal government does radically alter their headcount and spending plans going in to the latter half of their mandate, our local economy should continue to be fairly buoyant and allow us to continue with the positive real estate trend lines which have been strengthening for the last 18 months.

This could be the best fall and winter in the last decade to be listing a property, given all the foregoing, so sellers should be reasonably confident they can find a buyer even in our historically seasonal hibernation between mid-November and mid-February.

Buyers should keep a close eye on the market as there may be some off season listing gems hit the market from sellers who have been awaiting a new build completion and have to list in the off season to accommodate their move in plans.

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

Kanata starved for resale listing inventory in 2017

 

Ottawa listing inventory down 25% vs last year, 40% vs 2015

The Ottawa resale estate market is getting more than light on inventory after a year and a half of increasing unit sales coupled with a 10%+ decrease in the number of new listings, the overall market is down 25% on the number of available listings compared to a year ago and almost 40% from two years ago.

Even worse in Kanata!
As we approach the end of August, Kanata has barely one month’s worth of listing inventory to feed residential sales and about 3 months of condo sales. Normally, 4-6 months listing inventory is deemed to be a “balanced market”

How is this translating in to sales results?
Sales results have been surprisingly mixed with residential unit sales up 4.1% through July 2017 and condo unit sales up 22.6%. Somewhat surprisingly, residential sales are up an average of only 2.4% to $410,345 and condo sales basically flat (no increase) at $221,839.

Builders winning big this year:
While statistics are not readily available, it seems that new construction is having a runaway success in 2017. The last number we saw reported had builder starts up 44% this year and at least one builder has reported a 100% increase in sales.  Builders are also running out of inventory homes and we have seen numerous price increases and pull back on buyer incentives.

Neighbourhood synopsis:
Beaverbrook:
 (MLS® zone 9001)
Residential unit sales up 26.5 % through July with average selling price up 8.1% to $448,469.  The average house is selling in 1-2 weeks on the market, at slightly above listing prices.

Katimavik: (MLS® zone 9002)
Residential unit sales up 30.6% YTD with the average price up just 2% to $374,869.

Acute residential listing inventory shortage with less than a month of listing inventory currently on hand.
Typical sale is happening in 2-3 weeks on the market and selling at just below listing price.

Glencairn: (MLS® 9003)
Unit sales are up 18.3% with the average selling price up 6.2% to $312,878. Also acute listing inventory situation with less than one month’s anticipated sales available. Typical sale occurs in 2-3 weeks on the market.

Bridlewood: (MLS® 9004)
Residential unit sales up 4.9% and average selling price up 6.7% to $416,272, also experiencing acute listing inventory shortage. Typical sale occurs in 1-2 weeks on the market.

Kanata Lakes: (MLS® 9007)
Residential unit sales down 11.9% YTD with average selling price also slightly down to $487,882 (-1.0%) Listing inventory very limited, less than one month’s expected sales. Typical sale in 1-2 weeks on market and selling almost right at average listing price, if not above.

Morgan’s Grant: (MLS® 9008)
Unit sales down 15.8% with average selling price up 10.8% to $406,293
Very acute listing inventory shortages, further enhanced by limited new midrange construction in the immediate area. Also only 1-2 weeks on market to get a conditional sale.

Emerald Meadows/Trailwest: (MLS® 9010)
Unit sales have surged 29.9% through July 2017 (residential sales) and the average selling price is up 8.1% to $367,751. Very acute listing inventory shortage in this area! Also 1-2 weeks to achieve a conditional sale.

Note: to put the above in to perspective, overall residential unit sales have increased by 9% through July 2017 and the average selling price is up 6.9% to $426,365. Residential listing inventory at the end of August shows slightly more than 4 months of listing inventory available across the Board, with the average selling time in the 30-40 day range.

Summary:
lots of multiple offers and sales above list price which makes things easier for most sellers but then the buying side is a whole lot tougher.  Strong market should continue unless there is a larger than expected backlog created by those who bought new construction for future delivery start to feed their existing homes in to the market in large numbers.

With prices going up…what is your home worth in this market? Given that the price of your next home is probably going up faster than your current one, it might be a good idea to review your plans.

If you are thinking of a housing move, we would be happy to analyze and discuss your specific situation, assuming you are not already working with another Realtor.

We have some of the lowest fully supported MLS® listing rates in the city, especially for those who are both buying and selling with us. Give us a call at 416-435-4692 or check us out online at the co-ordinates below.

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

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

Ottawa broker rant: real estate listing photos

is this really a key feature of this home?

 

 

 

 

 

 

We really do have a lot of excellent people in our profession and it is on behalf of all these quality sales people and brokers that we offer the following rant on what we feel are really poor real estate practices by some that should not reflect poorly upon us all!

The “snow in June” listing photos:
C’mon guys!…how tough is it to pop by your listing and get a photo update? How is one serving the seller by telegraphing that the listing has been on the market for quite a while…sheesh!

The 1 photo or no photo listing:
Do you think that this is going get people’s attention or that they will come back to check out the listing later?….keep dreamin’!

Too many listing photos:
6 photos of the front door or the bowl on the dining room table….who needs this? There are very few properties that cannot be effectively shown with 25-35 quality photos that show the layout with some perspective.  Some artsy photographers get carried away but few consumers (and trust me, way fewer buyer agents) want to click through 100+ photos!)

The focus on something you’re not buying photos:
How many listings do you see where the focus is the flower arrangement, the staging, the accent wall, the furniture, the artwork, the dining room table, the knick knacks, etc. Do I really need to see a close up of a vase in the middle of a table when I can’t see the room it’s in?

The (old) cellphone photo:
Some of the listing photos we see look like they were taken with an old flip phone. I guess it works for those going for the dark and fuzzy look…but it does nothing for the online viewer and even less for the seller.  This works especially well (not!) with text that brags about the “bright, airy space with lots of natural light”.

The companion photo set is the one from the agent with the latest and most expensive phone but you can tell they took all the listing photos in about 2 minutes (while walking through the property-hence the blur), since they had to rush off and get the Beamer detailed, pick up their commission cheque or get to their mani-pedi, workout or yoga.

The missing photo scam:
Do you really think that smart consumers won’t figure out the yard is ugly, there are hydro towers or an expressway in the backyard, the garage is falling down, the roof is doomed or that the Army Corps of Engineers are needed for kitchen and bathroom renos?

The super wide angle photo:
…don’t you just love the ones where the fridge or stove looks 6-8 feet wide?

The “why-is-this-in-the-photo?” photos:
Sometimes you just have to shake your head at the unusual things that catch your eye in listing photos. The pet, the diaper pail, the garbage can, the Realtor reflection in the shower door or mirror, the car in the driveway, dishes in the sink….anything that distracts the buyer from assessing the house for their needs is bad news.

The-too-many-too-few conundrum:
Condo listings specialize in this awful practice: you get 3 photos of the unit and 12 of the view, the building complex, lobby, gym, pool, or neighbourhood/surrounding area.  Sure you have a great park or bike path down the street but I want to see the darn place I may be buying!

The “why bother” photo set:
Tenant occupied properties lead the way but are not the only source of incredibly messy, disorganized properties that are clearly not ready for prime time. To be honest, some are so scary; you hope you never have a customer call who might want to see one of these suckers!  You are not doing yourself or the seller any favours by listing those in this condition…so why bother?

Shame on you for not investing in professional photos!
Our industry in Ottawa is serviced by many excellent and reasonably priced photographers who do fantastic photography and hosting services at very reasonable rates. If you are listing someone’s property and asking them to pay $15,000-$20,000 (or more) in commissions and won’t shell out $150 to get some decent photos done? …sorry, you shouldn’t be in the business! Oh, and by the way…shame on your brokerage and manager, too!

The “I-forgot-what-the-point-was” photo spread:
The objective of the exercise is to have the prospective buyer see enough of the key features of the property that they will want to come and see it in person and soon! The photos should highlight the critical features, be consistent with the text and be just enough to keep them wanting more.  Too often, these simple objectives seem to be forgotten.

More of the same (and worse!) in the video world:
All of the above issues and more are present in the now ever present video/Utube/social media marketing which is far from an exact science for the amateur productions too many turn out to be.

If we have forgotten any mind boggling real estate photo practices that you see regularly, please let us know!

 

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

A full service, lower commission brokerage

 

 

 

 

 

Stittsville real estate report: midyear 2017

Stittsville landmarks

We are having the best year since 2010 in Ottawa real estate, with unit sales and prices up nicely and listing inventories dropping significantly from some historical highs in 2015.

Overall unit sales are up 10.8% and average prices are up 7.2% to $398,872 across the Ottawa Real Estate Board (OREB)

Builders are reporting an extraordinarily strong year with one report indicating a 44% hike in unit starts and one builder reporting that sales have doubled in the first half of the year!

So how is Stittsville doing?
Stittsville market is keeping pace with overall growth with the exception of areas north of Hazeldean Rd which is fairly flat in both sales growth and price increases.

Desperate need of more listing inventory north of Hazeldean Rd!
MLS® zone 8211

Unit sales are down 7.6% compared to midway in 2016 and average prices are pretty flat with an increase of .5% to $393,237.

Very limited listing inventory may be the cause of relatively fewer sales, for example, this area has only 22 total listings at time of writing and that is barely one month’s worth of sales! So this is a great time to be selling in Stittsville North (Fairwinds, Jackson Trails, Bryanston Gate, Timbermere, Poole Creek) especially.

One would have thought that this should push average prices higher but is not the case thus far. The other two Stittsville zones below have a more reasonable 3 months’ worth of listing inventory, although still much lower than in previous years.

Central Stittsville: (MLS® zone 8202 between Hazeldean Rd. and Abbott St.)

Unit sales are up 25.6% and average prices up 8.2% to $468,745. 55 residential properties currently listed.

South Stittsville: (MLS® zone 8203)

This area is also seeing strong results with unit sales up 21.7% and the average price up 5.8% to $512,666. 50 residential properties currently listed.

Key Factors:

Builder competition:
With so much new construction in Stittsville and Kanata, the resale market is always competing with builders. This can have an effect on those selling, particularly if the home is less than 5 years old and the builder still offers that particular model for sale.

Builders have been raising prices this year, along with the market overall.

Construction disruption:
Some streets/neighbourhoods may have resale affected by new construction in adjoining parcels of land, particularly where that development may change the ambience or traffic patterns.

The military invasion continues!
With the migration of DND HQ to DND Carling Campus at Moodie Dr., Stittsville and Kanata continue to be very popular for military families.

If you would like more information on this or any other neighbourhood and are not currently working with another Realtor by all means give us a call 613-435-4692 or check us out at our online co-ordinates below.

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
oasisrealty@rogers.com
www.oasisrealtyottawa.com
@oasisrealtyOTT
http://blog.oasisrealtyottawa.com/

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

 

A full service, lower commission brokerage