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

Mortgage Stress Test Thoughts 

 Thursday, August 16, 2018     Judy Marsales, Broker of Record     General Real Estate Advice

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We have seen a lot of articles recently talking about the financial Stress Test imposed when one applies for a mortgage. The words alone make Buyers worry about the implications of affordability. After all, who needs more stress? Let me help reduce the worry and shed some positive thoughts about these new criteria in applying for a mortgage.

For a better understanding, let’s add a little perspective. Think about mortgage markets in previous years, some of us may recall when the interest rate was 22%. The good news is that interest rate did not last too long and we then moved forward to this past year when interest rates were 2%, much better right? Fortunately, or unfortunately, neither of those extreme rates stayed with us. So it is important for the stability of our purchase, our budgeting and our investments that we take a more balanced approach to the possible costs of borrowing. 

From that perspective the Stress Test is helping all of us to be more prudent in our purchases and the long-term costs. By extension the more stability that each of us have in our personal financial commitments, the more stability we will all enjoy in the housing values. Which in many cases form the very foundation of our investment future. Don't be stressed by the Stress Test. 

The information from the Stress Test will help guide your financial decisions for future comfortable living. The house you purchase is your new home and should be your comfort space. The less worry you have with every new interest rate increase announcement the more pleasant your enjoyment of your new home and yes, less stress.

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.

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.

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.