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Tips and Advice for the those interested in or involved in the purchase or sale of real estate.


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.


Moving With the Changing Real Estate Dynamics

 Tuesday, October 3, 2017     Judy Marsales     General Real Estate Advice

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The real estate dynamics have changed over the past few months.  Earlier this year, we experienced one of the strongest "Sellers Markets" ever as a direct result of a very low inventory of available properties.  However, with some economic uncertainties and the demographic shift that has started, many home owners decided to put their home on the market.  The result has been a substantial increase in the number of available properties for sale thereby pushing the market into a more balanced level between supply and demand. 

The good news with respect to this change is that potential buyers have more choice of properties to consider.  Another good aspect is that there is adequate time through conditions to have home inspections, second viewings, and proper financial approval. These conditions can also be a positive aspect for the Seller who can move forward with more confidence knowing that the Buyer has completed their due diligence and is happy to purchase their home. 

When markets go through some change, it is very important to have all the latest statistical information on which you can base your decision whether buying or selling.  A seller wants their home to achieve the highest and best return but does not want to price their home out of the market based on past information.  A buyer needs to know that they do not need to feel pressured to make a decision based on the past market of multiple offers and bidding wars. 

Current information is the key to a good decision.  Call us, email us, or drop by one of our offices for the most up to date real estate information.   


Real Estate Choices and Reducing Buyer Stress

 Tuesday, September 26, 2017     Judy Marsales     General Real Estate Advice

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What a difference a few weeks has made with respect to the inventory of available properties. Have you noticed the increase in Open Houses? Prior to this increase in listings, we had experienced a very strong Sellers' Market based on lack of available homes. The good news is that we are now enjoying a more balanced market where potential buyers can take some time to explore all the options. A real estate transaction does not have to be pursued under that previous market pressure and all the various elements can be properly explored… home inspections, financing options, multiple viewings.

A balanced market is also in the best interest of a potential Seller as the knowledge that the Buyer will complete the transaction after careful consideration, and as specified in the Agreement reduces the stress. Sellers should not be worried. Currently house prices have remained stable in most areas and continued to rise in other areas. Interest rates moved up slightly but again, the good news has been that this increase has not had a serious impact on the home values. Given this very changing economic time, informing your real estate decision is a key to moving forward in a less stressful manner.

Let us share our knowledge and experience with you as you look at buying or selling a home, condo, or an investment. We are here to help you to the best of our ability. Call us, email us, or drop by one of our offices.


May You Live In Interesting Times

 Tuesday, June 13, 2017     Judy Marsales     General Real Estate Advice

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"MAY YOU LIVE IN INTERESTING TIMES" is a quote from history and is certainly applicable today both globally and in the current real estate market.

There is no shortage of opinions, theories, or general ideas floating about across a variety of medium. Every social setting provides an opportunity for questions and forecasts.  The range of analysis is from the potential of a housing market crash to the suggestion of values continuing to escalate.  It is difficult to project which direction we are currently headed in… the “crystal ball” seems a bit foggy.

However, it is safe to suggest that change will be coming.  Let’s step back and look at some practical facts.  

We are experiencing some of the lowest interest rates in our lifetime, some of the highest debt levels in history, some global economic instability, and a demographic shift.  What does all this mean?  Simply, make good real estate decisions taking all the known facts into consideration.  Your house is your principal investment but it will also be your home… the place where you live, entertain, and enjoy life.  Your home is not a guaranteed GIC that you file in a drawer.  There will be times when the value goes up, a time when the value stagnates, and times such as between 1990 to 2001 when the average value went down.  Plan accordingly.

While sheep are cute and furry and follow one another without question…..don’t be a real estate sheep. Make real estate decisions with current information from knowledgeable sales representatives.  Call us and we will provide the latest data together with the many options to consider as you move forward.  Make your interesting times also positive times.  Call us, email us, or drop by our office.


Buying Your First Home

 Monday, February 27, 2017     Judy Marsales     General Real Estate Advice

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There is a wonderful excitement about buying your first home but there are also a lot of things to consider.

The current trend of first time home buyers living in a more urban setting brings the challenge of balancing gorgeous heritage architecture with the uncertainty of the function of older wiring, plumbing, or heating systems. These house functions are clearly very important but they can also be improved whereas the location is a fundamental contribution to value….location, location, location.

The key to your decision with respect to the older homes is understanding the costs, the breadth of work necessary, and above all - your safety. There is an old saying "just because you own a hammer, it does not make you a carpenter". There are many tasks that anyone can do which can add great satisfaction to calling a house "your home".  Your challenge is understanding the difference between doing something yourself and calling in a certified professional….again, safety first! I recall when we purchased our first home, we stripped wallpaper, we painted, we tore up old carpet and while these activities were exhausting with a young family,  the action also imprinted a family ownership.

A home inspection by a professional inspector before buying will outline the strengths and weaknesses of a home. Buy with a good knowledge base. My favourite saying is "don't be penny wise and pound foolish".   Many of the professional electricians, plumbers, roofers and heating contractors will give you a very clear analysis of immediate improvements necessary for safety in addition to those improvements which can be done at a later date. Decorating can make a home attractive and welcoming but good utilities can allow you to sleep at night.

Buy smart. Make well informed decisions. Never be afraid to ask questions. Call us, email us, or drop by our office.