Contemplating Getting into Real Estate Investing??

Investing can be a roller coaster of a ride and this includes putting your money into real estate as well, but the ride is short and the gains are worth it in the long run!

Most Canadians who put their hard earned money into their homes and build up equity versus choosing the stock market road will end up earning more in the long game.  

Why Invest in Real Estate versus other avenues?

1. It's a solid, familiar investment

2. Forced Savings - having to contribute and make monthly payments on your mortgage builds up equity and future security for you and your family.

3. Appreciation - roller coaster of supply and demand trends means your home will increase in value 

4. Tax Free Profits - when you sell your principal residence, any profits earned on the sale are tax free! 

5. Building up Equity - the value of your home will rise over time simply by doing nothing and each monthly payment pays down your mortgage over time as your home value rises...the difference between value and balance of mortgage = home equity.  You can turn in this earned equity for additional financial room, to ask for a second mortgage, or maybe to upgrade your principal residence.  Having equity gives you more choice and opportunity to better your circumstances and provide future security.

If you are thinking of getting into Real Estate Investing and want to learn more.... we are hosting our first ever Seminar on Investing in Real Estate on Thurs March 8th from 7-9pm at the Re/Max a-b Realty office in downtown Woodstock, 463 Dundas St.  Come listen, ask questions and meet our team!  We will have industry expert key note speakers, wine and cheese and door prizes. This will be a fantastic opportunity to learn how to start making your money work for you!!! Hope to see you there!  Please RSVP by March 1st to Lisa at 519 788 9624 or by email to 

Home Selling or Buying Goals in 2018?

Here are 5 New Year's Resolutions as we begin 2018, that will help you succeed in selling or buying your home as outlined in the Re/Max Blog this month..... when deciding to sell your home, first impressions are everything and if looking to buy, the focus is on finances.  Mortgage rules are changing as of Jan 1st 2018, so please see previous blogs that explain the changes and what you can do to lessen the stress.

Ready to Sell Your Home?

1.  Mark Your Calendar!

- Set a date and then prepare a list of what needs to be done before your home hits the market.

2.  Repair and Replace

- Assess your home's current condition and make any necessary repairs before listing.

3.  Get Comparables

- 3 to 6 months in advance of listing your home, research what other houses similar to yours are selling at to give you an idea of home value and what to expect... a variety of factors come in to play that can affect your home's value.  Be on the look out for your Postcard coming soon in the mail, inviting you to call our team for your free market analysis! 

4.  Cut the Clutter!

- Take stock of what you want, need, love.  A cluttered house represents lack of space to potential buyers and can negatively impact an offer coming in.

5.  Stage to Sell

- put away personal mementos like family photos... buyers like neutrality where they can see themselves in your home void of your memories... a blank slate for their new memories to be born.  Allen on our team is an expert in this area and can lend advise on staging your home in a positive light, give him a call!

Ready to Buy A Home?

1.  Start Saving for your Down Payment

- you will need at least 20% down!  Time to start thinking of how you are going to save and what to sacrifice to get there.

2.  Check your Credit Rating

- Credit Score is a number between 300-900 where a score of 690 or above is considered "good" by Equifax.  Mortgage lenders will look at your credit score in tandem with other factors but it is good to know where you are at, so you have time to work on improving your score prior to applying for mortgage approval.  Which ties into number 3.....

3.  Credit Clean Up

4.  Get Pre Approved for a Mortgage

- Recommended you have your pre-approved mortgage prior to house shopping, so you know what your budget is and what you can and can not afford. to avoid disappointment.

5.  Start shopping!

- The internet is a great resource to start your search, but why not trust a professional in the field who knows the market and the neighborhoods you are searching in?  Give Jennifer or Allen a call and let them wow you with their experience, knowledge and fun approach to the process!

Tis The Season, Tips to Winterize Your Home!

Now that winter has arrived with a bang... you may be wondering how to reduce costs and remain cozy and warm for the months ahead!  Here are some tips to help winterize your home (if you haven't already):


During the heating season it's important to replace or clean your filters once a month... failing to do so may reduce airflow to your home, in turn raising energy demands.


Switching your blade rotation to clockwise will warm the room as air will be circulated back down into your living spaces, and you could save up to 10% in heating costs!


Simply drain and hoses and pipes.  Turn off any water shutoff valves.  If A/C units are the window type, please remove and store to avoid unnecessary drafts.


Many conventional water heaters are set to 140F but can be turned down to 120F , helpng to reduce costs by 6-10%.  Have you thought of maybe making the switch to a tankless water heater or maybe even solar power?  If so, the government is offering tax relief until Dec 2019 


Simply place a rolled towel or blanket under any drafty space such as doors, windows.  According to a US Energy study, drafts can waste 5-30% of energy use.


Storm doors/windows can make a huge difference as they seal drafts and reduce airflow while at the same time increasing light and ventilation into your home.


Keeping your furnace clean, lubricated and properly adjusted will reduce energy use and prolong the life of your furnace or other heating system.


You can save 1-3% on heating costs by each degree you lower the thermostat.


By applying to windows, this added buffer can enhance your home's ability to hold heat.


A device which calculates household electrical usage in real time and projects monthly bill you the opportunity to see where to cut out waste.




Pay less for hot water and decrease chances of pipes freezing and breaking/cracking.


Mortgage Rules Are Changing January 1, 2018!

Recently the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) voted to implement new lending rules for home-buyers which will impact the size of home one can afford.  Various scenarios point towards affordability of 20% less home than under the current rules.  This will have a huge impact on being able to acquire your "dream home" and especially for First Time Home Buyers subject to the new "stress test" regardless of how much they put forth for a down payment.

The new minimum pre-qualifying rate is against the higher Bank of Canada 5 year benchmark rate (4.89%) or 200 base points above your current lower contractual fixed 5 year mortgage lending rates.  

There is an exception to this rule if you choose to remain with your current lender at renewal time when re-financing, the stress test will not apply.  But will come into play if you choose to switch lenders at renewal.

For First Time Home Buyers, they have 3 options:

1.  Rent a bit longer to pay down debt and have more income, to pass the stress test.  Or "buy down", for instance a condo versus detached home.

2. Provide a bigger down payment to pass the stress test

3.  Ask a co-signer to come on board to help pass the hurdles of the new rules.

In either case, to avoid any nasty surprises and let downs.... please, please, please do some research, understand the new lending rules and go out and get pre-approved for financing before you start house shopping so you know what you can afford!

As always myself and the team are here to assist, so let us help and show you "Real Estate in Motion" by guiding you through these changing times, to your Dream Home!  Don't delay, the time is now!  

Winning in Todays HOT Real Estate Market - Written by Jennifer Gale

Over the past year, we could feel the market heating up but I'm not sure we were prepared for what is going on! It seems every home listed has the caption..Not Reviewing offers until.... and with this the multiple offer bidding scenario keeps playing out. Lots of buyers are continually losing out on the question is how do you get an advantage over the competition? The following are a few of the steps that you should take.

  1. Hire a LOCAL Realtor! This is of the utmost importance. A local Realtor understands their market. They know which areas are good or bad, school zones, the sale history of the property and lots of inside a details someone from another community would have no way of knowing. Have your Realtor set you up on prospect system which will send you NEW listings as soon as they are active. can be on the slow side, this will give you the first opportunity to see new listings.

  2. GET YOUR PREAPPROVAL! This is by far the most valuable thing you can do. Hot market or not you need to be certain of what you can spend and what you're comfortable with. In a hot market however the least amount of conditions you have the better the strength of your offer. Speak to your financial institute or a mortgage broker ( we can refer you) and get this piece of paper. If you already know the property you want to buy and they are holding offers this gives you time to get an actual firm approval on the home prior to the offer.

  3. DO YOUR HOMEWORK! Chances are that prior to calling a Realtor and making your appointment with the bank you've been looking at homes on the internet. That's fantastic, but I suggest take it a step further, become obsessed with the housing market, read articles, go to lots of open houses..this way by the time you are out shopping with your Realtor you are somewhat versed in the market. You're starting to understand market values, seeing what homes are selling for etc. This step will help take out uncertainty when you make an're going to feel educated and confident you're making a great decision.

  4. HOME INSPECTION! This one can be a bit tricky when faced in a multiple offer situation, but necessary as you are making one of the biggest purchases of your life. This is a Buyer Beware transaction and you need to being going into it eyes wide open. I'm actually surprised more agents are not having their sellers get the inspection and have the report ready for buyers..that's another topic. In a multiple offer scenerio I'd suggest having the inspection prior to making the offer. Again making your offer stronger.

  5. BE CERTAIN! Buying a home is such an emotional experience and it can be tough to navigate those emotions when you're feeling pressure. Remember you drive the car, this is your future, your investment. Just because the market is hot, you do not need to jump on the first house you see in fear of losing an opportunity. I've said it for years..the perfect house will present itself at the perfect time, and when it's right it will be yours!!

  6. HAVE FUN!!! This is gong to be a memory that sticks with you for life, make it a good one! Be easy about it, enjoy the process!!!

Hope these tips help! As always if you have any questions, I'm always available:)



Here is a little bit of insight to help you if you are in looking into renting either for the 1st time, relocating or wanting a better rental...these tips will help you be a step ahead

1. Read Your Lease
Read your lease cover to cover before you sign it. It will help you catch potential problems before they actually happen. Most good landlords will work with you on the terms of the lease. If you know you have a special circumstance, such as a family member or friend who visits regularly, tell the landlord about it ahead of time. If the landlord makes any verbal agreement with you, like providing lawn care, make sure he puts it in writing in the lease. Then ask for a copy of the lease for yourself as soon as you sign. Having a well-rounded lease will help you avoid any tenant’s rights issues later on.

2. Don’t Break the Lease
Most renters think of breaking a lease in terms of the big things like not paying the rent, cutting out early or subletting without permission. However, smaller lease points count too. While a landlord can technically evict a tenant for breaking any term of a lease, most won’t. But the better you stick to your lease, the better chance you have of existing peacefully with your landlord.

3. Pay Your Rent on Time
Nothing makes a landlord happier than a renter who pays rent on time every month. Make sure you have the check in the mailbox a few days before it’s due to avoid any mail or bank holdups. You might even score a few brownie points if you pay a few days early. And since no one is immune from financial hardship, if you know you might have to pay late one month, let your landlord know as soon as possible. The landlord may not mind the late payment as much, if you’re upfront about it.

4. Treat Your Rental Like You Own It
Taking good care of your rental will ensure that you get your deposit back when you move out, and it will also put you in good favor with your landlord. While normal wear and tear is typical in rental units, do not cause any major damage to the rental. Damages will eat away at your security deposit and annoy your landlord.

On that same note, keep your rental property clean. This goes double if you have pets. Pet owners typically become de-sensitized to the odor their pets give off, but your landlord will notice it. If your landlord comes in and sees your unit in a good, clean, scent-free condition, he’ll trust you more. And more trust equals more negotiation power when the lease renewal rolls around.

5. Get to Know Your Neighbors
Meeting potential neighbours should always be a part of the plan for finding a new place to rent. I think the odds of having the neighbours call you to complain about the dog – and not the landlord – improve if you meet them in person.

Knowing your neighbors has several additional benefits. You can watch out for each other. If you have to go out of town sometime, your neighbours might keep a better eye on your unit if they know you. Most importantly, establishing a line of communication between tenants reduces the chance of your neighbor escalating a problem to the landlord.

Despite your best efforts to keep quiet, you may upset your neighbors from time to time. Small problems like this can seem like a much bigger deal by the time they get escalated to the landlord. Avoid it altogether and give your neighbors your cell phone number to contact you instead.




The Wrong Pricing Strategy Can Cost You Thousands, you probably know, the list price of your property largely affects how quickly it sells — and how much you will receive on the sale.  What you may not be aware of is just how significant price is. Consider the following:

You price your property well above its current market value. As a result, many buyers don’t bother to see it because it’s outside of their price range. Those who do see it are confused by the high price. They may wonder, “What’s going on?”   In this scenario, the home will likely sit on the market for weeks or even months. You might even have to lower the price dramatically to get interest going. 

You price your property a little lower than market value to gain the interest of qualified buyers. That might not seem like much of a problem. How much can a little lower matter?  On a $400,000 property, pricing your home just 2% lower than necessary could cost you $8,000 on the sale. That’s a serious amount of money!  So, as you can see, pricing your home right is serious business. Fortunately, a good REALTOR® knows how to set the right price.  Looking for a good REALTOR®? Call us today.

Is your Dream House Just a Dream - New Lending Rules

Canada's first-time home buyers may have to shelve their dream house fantasies due to lending changes many mortgage brokers say, the size of the mortgage many buyers qualify for will now be less.


Ottawa moved last week to tighten mortgage lending rules that will limit the amount many Canadians can borrow to help ensure that when interest rates rise, they'll still be able to make their payments.

Under the new rules, a stress test that had only applied to borrowers who opted for variable rate mortgages or fixed rate mortgages with terms less than five years will now be used for all home buyers with less than a 20 per cent down payment.  That means borrowers must be able to qualify for their mortgage using a higher interest rate than they will actually be paying on their mortgage.  "You're not paying more, but you're going to be able to buy less house," Napolitano said.

The idea is that potential home buyers must be able to show that if interest rates were much higher than they are today, they'd still be able to make their mortgage payments and other costs related to home ownership.

It won't be uncommon for nervous lenders to turn down borrowers who just barely qualify or require a co-signer or a larger down payment.  People who have less than 20 per cent down are going to qualify for a whole lot less money

The changes may mean that you will have to settle for a less expensive property, save for a larger down payment or wait until they are earning more.


Make your Home Stand Out

When you’re about to sell your home, it may be disheartening to see so many other properties for sale in your neighbourhood. You may be thinking, “That’s a lot of competition! Will our property get noticed?” Fortunately, there are many proven strategies for standing out in a sea of For Sale signs.

First of all, keep in mind that many home purchasers come from the REALTOR’S personal network of buyers who want to move into your area. So, choosing the right REALTOR® is crucial.

Second, remember that when there are other properties for sale on your street, curb appeal becomes even more important. There are many simple things you can do to make your property look great to those driving around looking at homes. Make sure your property looks as picture perfect as possible. In a competitive market, it’s also more important than ever to highlight features of your home that are unique and enticing. If, for example, you have a large backyard deck and brand new hardwood flooring, make sure these are mentioned prominently on the feature sheet.

Finally, be as flexible as you can be when scheduling viewings and open houses. Don’t forget that other listed properties in your neighbourhood draw in buyers, who may notice your home. It’s not uncommon for a buyer to view a property and then scout the neighbourhood. So, you want buyers to be able to see your home on short notice and at a convenient time for them. If there are several other nearby properties for sale, it means things are hot from a real estate point of view. You want to roll out the red carpet to buyers.

Looking for help selling your home quickly and for the best price? Call today!

PRICE - Is it the Bottom Line

When it Comes to Offers, it’s Not Always about PriceWhen considering which of two or more competing offers to accept for your home, there is no doubt price plays a huge role. After all, if Offer #1 is $10,000 higher than Offer #2, that’s an enticing difference that puts thousands of extra dollars in your pocket.  However, price isn’t the only thing you should think about when comparing multiple offers. There are other factors you need to consider as well.  For example, what conditions are in the offer? If Offer #1 is conditional upon the buyer selling his current property for a specific amount, then what if that doesn’t happen? You could end up with an offer that dies and be forced to list your home all over again.  In that circumstance, accepting the lower offer may be your best move.   There’s also financing to consider. Most buyers will attach a certificate from their mortgage lender to show that they can afford the home and will likely secure financing with little difficulty. If you get an offer where the ability of the buyer to get financing is in doubt, that’s a red flag.  The closing date is another important factor. Offer #1 might propose a closing date that’s perfect for you, while Offer #2 is four weeks later. If you’ve already purchased another home, you might require a month of bridge financing if you accept Offer #2. There’s nothing wrong with that per se, but the costs and additional hassle are factors you should consider.  As you can see, assessing competing offers isn’t as easy as it looks. Fortunately, as your REALTOR®, I will guide you toward making the right decision.