News Articles & Blog

Understanding Current Real Estate Market Trends

 Friday, July 6, 2018     Judy Marsales, Broker of Record     General Real Estate Advice Real Estate Trends

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There was an interesting article written recently that suggested despite one of the strongest economic business climates, people are uneasy. Our real estate market is reflecting some of this nervous energy.

We have more available properties on the market then we have seen for a while and the demand has also tapered off slightly. These two indicators generally confirm that the market has moved from one of the strongest “Sellers Markets” to a renewed “Buyers Market.” If you are contemplating a move soon, how do these changes impact your decision and your strategies going forward. Let’s break this down in two segments:

  1. Selling your home – make sure you have a well documented evaluation of your home including up to date information. Is your range of value competitive in the current market place and not relying on prices attained last year? Can you identify unique features of your home and property which would attract today’s buyers? Is your home clean and decluttered? Discuss a sound marketing plan, forget all the hype and concentrate on the practical. Understand the various conditions which may be in an offer. Are you purchasing another property? What are the financial considerations in a more volatile market? You want to adjust your timelines in a Buyers market. Homes will be on the market for a longer time period and there are rarely competitive offers or bidding wars. 
  2. Buying a home – decide on an area of the city which you would enjoy living in and is practical for your needs. Do you have children who will be going to school, parks and recreation activities? Do you commute? Where is the GO station or highway access? If you cycle, where are the safe bicycle opportunities? Have you spoken to a variety of financial institutions to have an up to date budget parameter? Have you spoken to a lawyer to establish a readily accessible support system? Have you reviewed all the statistical data to establish your evaluation of a home before you make an offer? Are you knowledgeable about negotiating in this changed market? Understand important clauses and time lines for safe financial decisions. 
  3. Commercial Real Estate – Hamilton has attracted a lot of attention and there are numerous opportunities for investment. However, one should approach each segment of commercial real estate with the relevant analysis.

Clearly, with all the changes and challenges of the current market, a consumer would be well advised to work with a professional real estate sales representative who has all the data and supporting information to enable the best possible decision. Markets are always changing but recently, changes have been more sudden and require more knowledge and understanding. We are proud of our local knowledge and of all the parameters of good real estate decision making. We are fortunate to have three offices full of hard working knowledgeable people with a wide foundation of knowledge. Please call us, text us, or email us, whichever form of communication works best for you for the latest statistical data.

-written by Judy Marsales

House Decisions for Boomers

 Friday, June 1, 2018     Judy Marsales, Broker of Record     General Real Estate Advice

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The "Baby Boomers" as they have been affectionately labeled in history representing the largest demographic in North America are at an interesting stage of life…. aging according to birth years but feeling young at heart. How do these two factors influence their housing decisions? The options often explored are: a) do they stay in their home and upgrade to accommodate mobility issues or b) do they sell their home and move into a condominium? c) do they sell their existing home and downsize to a bungalow or smaller property?

Let's explore the first option – staying in your home: The benefits of remaining in your family home are many –1) comfort with familiar surroundings; 2) no upheaval of moving; 3) mortgage is generally paid off. The negatives: 1) mobility up and down stairs; 2) finding the right support people to cut the grass and shovel the snow; 3) potentially dated mechanical equipment needing constant service. Let's explore the second option – purchasing a condominium: The benefits of purchasing a condominium: 1) no worries about constant upkeep and maintenance; 2) some social interaction with other owners; 3) no stairs – generally an elevator for the upper levels and parking garage. The negatives: 1) Condo fees and the constant discussion about the condominium board's priorities. 2) Feeling isolated at times from the neighborhood where one was comfortable. 3) Noise from other condo units and people.

Clearly, there is no right or wrong answer. Everyone must consider their own lifestyle and physical capabilities to make the decision that works best for them. However, it is a discussion which should involve participation from family, accountants, and real estate professionals. What is your home worth? Would it be better to stay put? Would it be cheaper to pay someone to cut the grass and shovel the snow? Or would it be better to consider moving? Decisions…. decisions. Please call us to help you with this process. We will provide you with a "no cost" Opinion of Value on your home which may enable a better decision going forward. We are here to provide the necessary information to assist you and your family. Call us, email us…. whatever works for you.

If you would like a free no obligation estimation of your home's value please complete our simple online Home Evaluation Request form.

Bay Observer Article – written by Judy Marsales, Broker of Record, Judy Marsales Real Estate Ltd. Judy is a frequent contributor of articles on the Bay Observer website.

Spring Market Considerations

 Friday, March 23, 2018     Judy Marsales, Broker of Record     Local Hamilton Market Conditions

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The Real Estate Market this year is an ever-changing landscape. Depending on your source of information, the market is crazy busy or falling off the charts. What does all this variation mean to you the consumer? How do you interpret all the economic swings which have potential to impact the real estate market?

The first tip which I will offer in your analysis is to ensure that the information which you are relying upon is relevant to your marketplace… i.e. The national media use data which may have originated in Vancouver or Toronto and while this information may create interest in the readers/viewers, it does not contribute to a reliable foundation on which to make a decision about your real estate future in the Hamilton Burlington market.

The dynamics of our regional real estate market are different based on our population base and our demographics. For example, in January 2018 the average Sale Price in the Hamilton Area was up by 6% where as many other major cities were identifying a reduction in the average Sale Price. However, having said that, another significant statistic was the 64.8% increase in "End of Month Listing Inventory" for February 2018. You may recall that last year, we identified one of the key elements to the dramatic increase in value was the very low listing inventory. The basic economic principal of "Supply and Demand" then created multiple offers and bidding wars.

Given our current listing inventory status, the market balance has now changed. Home owners will want to review their time lines for selling as some homes may take longer to sell and Buyers will engage in more negotiating. My second tip is to suggest that if you are considering selling your home in this marketplace, you may want to keep your initial list price within market range of value… and what is that value??

Our knowledgeable team of Sales Representatives are here to help you with the analysis whether you are selling, buying, or considering some future change. Our knowledge is your power in this ever-changing real estate market. Call, email, or drop by one of our offices.

Bay Observer Article – written by Judy Marsales, Broker of Record, Judy Marsales Real Estate Ltd. Judy is a frequent contributor of articles on the Bay Observer website.

Pricing Your Home

 Friday, February 2, 2018     Judy Marsales, Broker of Record     Local Hamilton Market Conditions

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The top question on everyone's mind when talking to a Real Estate person is "What's my house worth now?" This question is further developed when considering selling. Every homeowner wants to achieve the best return on the sale of their property. Various articles have reported and suggested many different strategies to achieve the highest sale price in the market but what is the "Sweet Spot" in pricing your home to sell? We have heard and seen many commercials… but what is the reality between the one property that attaches to the "bragging rights" and all the other sales in the marketplace which are not identified? The local real estate market has seen many changing dynamics over the past few months. My concern is that often a homeowner does not drill down in the discussion to identify the context, timing, or relevancy of some of this information.

In the past year, the real estate market has gone from one of the strongest Sellers' Markets to a more balanced market to arguably sliding into a Buyers' Market. Each of these markets require a well studied analysis of the facts to bring forward the best strategy for the home owner looking to sell. Every property is different and potential purchasers may respond to each property in a different fashion. Therefore, one must consider all the options when pricing their home. The value obtained by the home owner up the street is not always the "bench mark" to guide your decision making. Your home could establish a new value level if priced properly to maximize the "Buyer Attention". However, the reverse is also true. I have heard some of these thoughts: A) Pricing a home too high can deter people from viewing it. B) Pricing a home at the low end can attract multiple offers and thereby boost the sale price… not always possible. C) Market and Price the home to attract an "out of area buyer"… i.e. perhaps from Toronto where the average house price is higher.

There is no "sweet spot" pricing. A homeowner should consider all the facts and determine what the suggested honest range of value for the property is in the existing market area. The market conditions, including the economic landscape will contribute to the outcome. Based on that range of value and the potential time available to "test" the market, start with a list price which maximizes the possible interest from buyers and has the potential to achieve the highest and best value on the sale. Know the facts. Work with one of our knowledgeable Sales Representatives to achieve the best outcome.

If you would like a free no obligation estimation of your home's value please complete our simple online Home Evaluation Request form.

Bay Observer Article – written by Judy Marsales, Broker of Record, Judy Marsales Real Estate Ltd. Judy is a frequent contributor of articles on the Bay Observer website.

A Different Perspective on the Mortgage Stress Test

 Wednesday, December 13, 2017     Judy Marsales     General Real Estate Advice

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There has been a lot of negative chatter on what has become known as the “Stress Test” when applying for a mortgage.  Essentially what this means is that the buyer must qualify for a mortgage as calculated on the current interest rate as well as a potential increase in the interest rate of around 2 extra points. 

Please understand that I am sympathetic to the buyers who have been challenged by this process.  However, as someone who was selling houses when the interest rate was 22%.... I am going to put on my “Mom Hat” and suggest that it is far better to be prepared for an economic change then to have it thrust upon you.  If the interest rate were to rise quickly, would you be able to handle the increase at that time?  We have enjoyed historically low interest rates over the past couple of years and our tendency is to get comfortable and think that these rates will not change in the foreseeable future. 

However, history has shown that interest rates and the economic picture is always subject to change.  The economic cycles can be short or long but they are never stagnant.  There are currently a number of changing dynamics  – from the demographic shift to unknown global factors – we should be prepared for change. 

Our home should be our “comfort spot” …. not our financial breaking point.  Ideally, we want to enjoy our home regardless of the instability of the market or the economic swings. 

Let’s build our future on a solid financial analysis of affordability.