April 3, 2014

Okanagan-Shuswap Housing Market Bounces Back in March

Kelowna, BC –

The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) reported March sales activity of all MLS® property types was up 28% compared to the same month in 2013 – rallying after a pull-back in February.

"The Okanagan-Shuswap housing market bounced back during March from somewhat dampened results in February when sales were up 8% over 2013 compared to January’s 30% year-over-year gains," says Darcy Griffiths, OMREB President and active REALTOR® in the North Okanagan.

"During the past year, the local market has maintained a slow but steady upward trajectory and experienced a moderate recovery from the cyclically low sales levels at the start of 2013. While other BC markets have been on a downward trend for the past four months, all three OMREB zones have seen modest to strong improvement in sales for various property types. "

Griffiths adds, "It is encouraging to note that the board-wide demand for single family homes showed marked improvement during the month of March -- increasing by 40% year-over-year to 321 units from 231 in 2013 -- especially since sales of single family residences declined considerably in February compared to this time last year."

The North Okanagan saw a 73% year-over-year increase in single family home sales after a 20% decline in February, while the Shuswap reported a 48% improvement following a 13% drop, and the Central Okanagan posted a 26% gain over last year after a 5% dip the month before.

"Moving into spring, we are hopeful that activity will pick up as the weather improves and buyers are spurred by the drop in long-term mortgage rates," says Griffiths. "Considering that all aspects favour buyers, now is the time to get into the market while there is still a good selection of properties to choose from. Despite a declining inventory, prices remain stable with more balanced market conditions, and low interest rates continue to be available."

The competition for buyers can be a challenge for sellers so proper pricing remains critical, Griffiths maintains. "Market conscious and competitive home sellers are sharpening their pencils and seeing results. Being realistic about the market value of your home, setting an attractive list price right out of the gate and willing to negotiate for the best offer are the keys to a successful sale."

Sales activity tends to vary among property types zone-by-zone and month-by-month with ups and downs at different times and locations within OMREB’s three diverse market areas. It is important to look at prices within property types and sale price trends within different price points in order to fully understand the overall picture of the current residential market in our Board area.


(Peachland to Revelstoke):

Overall sales of all property types reported in OMREB’s Board area during March improved by 28.0% compared to 2013 -- to 621 units from 485. Total residential sales for the month rose 27% to 554 units board-wide compared to 436 last March -- up 79% compared to 309 last month (February 2014).

The 1,517 new listings taken board-wide for the month were down 6.8% compared to the 1,627 listings posted in March 2013, while inventory (active listings) was down 9.2% over this time last year – to 7,217 from 7,950.

Central Zone

(Peachland to Lake Country):

During March, overall sales in the Central Zone were up 22.9% to 403 units from 328 in 2013. Total residential sales for the month improved 20.8% to 360 units compared to 298 last year at this time. The sale of single family homes was up 26.0% over March 2013 (to 194 from 154), and days to sell dropped to 70 in March compared to 99 last year.

The 939 new listings taken in the Central Okanagan during the month saw a 3.7% dip compared to 975 in 2013, and total inventory was reduced by 10.5% to 3,864 units from 4,316 last March.

North Zone

(Predator Ridge to Enderby):

Overall sales for March in the North Zone improved 32.4% to 143 units compared to 108 units sold last year at this time. Total residential sales for the month were up 36.1% over last year with 132 units sold compared to 97. Single family home sales (90 units) were up 73.1% compared to March 2013 (52), and days to sell dipped to 117 days from 132 last year.

While the 363 new listings taken for the month were down 12.1% from the 2013 level of 413, inventory for March saw a 9.4% drop to 1,918 from 2,117 last year.
Shuswap Zone

(Salmon Arm to Revelstoke):

During March, overall unit sales in the Shuswap-Revelstoke Zone improved by 56.3% to 75 units compared to 48 in 2013. Total residential unit sales for the month were up 51.2% over last year at 62 units compared to 41. While the sale of single family homes jumped 48.0% over March 2013 (to 37 from 25), days to sell rose to 181 compared to 139 days last year at this time.

New listings taken in the Zone were down 9.8% compared to last March -- to 213 units from 236. Overall inventory dipped 5.4% to 1,428 from 1,510 during the same month in 2013.

How REALTORS® can help when buying or selling a home:

•BUYING OR SELLING – Home values vary based on type and location:

It is important to consult with a REALTOR® about how your property type is currently faring locally, and how it compares to similar listings in your particular neighbourhood.

•SELLING – Pricing is crucial when listing your home: Serious sellers recognize that their properties must be priced within the current market conditions. Homes that are priced well are the ones that are selling, as has been evident this year.

•NEGOTIATING – For a successful purchase and sale: The professional negotiation skills of a REALTOR® bring buyers and sellers together for a successful sale.


Monthly Sales statistics are based on the sales reported by real estate offices on or before the last day of the month. Sales not reported by month end and collapsed sales are reflected in the subsequent month’s statistics.


Buyer Type (Family Dynamic): 26.8% Empty Nester/Retired (up from 20.1% in August)** 25.3% Two Parent Family/Children (same as August) 19.9% Couple without Children (down from 23.4%) 14.2% Single Male (up from 11.2%)** 10.7% Single Female (down from 13.8%) 3.2% Single Parent with Children (down from 4.5%)

** In September, there were more purchases by empty nesters-retirees and single males, and by single females and single parent families, while all other categories saw decreases or stayed the same.

Moving From: 46.9% from Within OMREB Board Area  (down from 50.7% in August) 21.7% from Alberta (same as August) 12.0% from Lower Mainland/Vancouver Island  (up from 9.0%)*** 9.7% from Other Areas in BC  (down from 10.8%) 5.0% from Saskatchewan/Manitoba (up from 3.4%)*** 3.1% from Eastern Canada/Maritimes (up from 1.5%)*** 1.6% from Outside Canada  (up from 1.1%)*** 0% from NWT/Yukon (down from 1.9%)

Brought to you by: David Pusey Personal Real Estate Corporation

Source: OMREB


Today, more then every, Real Estate sections of public libraries and the Internet abound with ideas on selling your home privately and the opportunity to "do-it-yourself. In addition to pointers on sprucing up your home for maximum sale ability or the color of a sign, they may provide homeowners with tips on the "psychology of showing a house." Yet, most homeowners choose to sell through a Realtor.

Here are some points to ask yourself....

How will I show the home? Do I really want to face a potential buyer myself? What negotiation experience do I have? How do I know what my house is really worth? am I selling too cheap? What if they bring a Realtor? What about advertising on the Internet? What don't I know and what risks am I taking on? What if I sell my own home and something goes wrong?

Realtors provide a service which takes the worry out of many potential risks and provides a separation between you and potential buyers and other Realtors. Also, Realtors have experience which goes far beyond that of an average homeowner in terms of knowing the laws and rules surrounding Real Estate and has ongoing training in many areas including law, negotiation, specialized markets and much more. Also a Realtor has access to a huge database of Tax assessments, Sold, Active, Withdrawn and Expired listing data to help properly price your home for sale.

Selecting a Realtor

Finding the right real estate representative takes some time and care. Do you know someone who has had success with a Realtor? Who is the best person for the Job? The answer is not always simple but a few considerations listed below may make it a lot easier.

1/ Is the Realtor experienced in high-level and advanced negotiations?

2/ Is the Realtor professional?

3/ Does the Realtor give you confidence in their ability to meet your needs and expectations?

4/ Does the Realtor have a track record of success?

5/ Do they answer telephone calls and e-mails promptly?

6/ Do they have layers of people to get through before you can talk with them directly?

It's important that you feel comfortable with your Realtor. This person will probably become part of your life for a couple of months and will be a big part of the negotiations  - and it can be emotional.

Developing a plan of action

Once you've decided on a Realtor, you'll want to know what his or her marketing plan will include. How often will there be open houses? Will he or she be listing your property on a Multiple Listing Service? How does he or she plan to advertise the house?

You'll also need to decide whether to list exclusive with one firm or go with the MLS? Generally, the more people that see your house, the likelier it is to sell quickly at the price you want.

Many sellers are anxious to sell their homes quickly. These sellers usually choose the MLS system over an exclusive listing because the property gets greater exposure.

Professional real estate salespeople know how to separate the "lookers" for the "buyers". They can determine a qualified buyer. A couple's income, lifestyle and the date they must purchase helps establish their housing requirements.

A Realtor will give you a detailed comparative analysis of features and prices of houses selling or sold nearby. This helps determine a realistic price.

Whether or not your home shows well to prospective buyers can make a difference in terms of how long it stays on the market, and what it sells for. Realtors can also give clients tips on how to improve their home to create a good first impression. Fresh paint, new wallpaper and flowers are all elements in the sales effort. Sometimes, rearranging the furniture and taking out extra pieces is all that is needed.

Real estate professionals are experienced in arranging financing and closing deals. A Realtor can assist in negotiating a better offer act as a mediator between buyer and seller and draw up a legally binding contract.

A professionally trained Realtor may be able to sell your home quicker at a better price than you could get privately because he or she has greater access to potential clients. Furthermore, you'll be able to go through the transition period with less worry and inconvenience.

Article Provided by: David Pusey Real Estate Corporation


Homeowners face a double quandary when faced with the prospect of selling their homes: how does one make sure the decision to sell is the right one; and once the choice is made, when is the right time to sell?

Traditionally, there have been four major reasons why and when people sell their homes: financial and market conditions, employment changes, family matters and lifestyle changes. In today's economy, one additional issue has emerged which has great bearing: low interest rates.

All these will not only affect your fundamental decision to sell, but will greatly impact your options regarding when to sell.

Financial and market conditions

Almost every aspect of real estate involves market conditions and financial issues--for the seller they are of the utmost importance. After all, it's the seller who is putting property, equity and sometimes, years of hard work on the line.

With so much at stake, it's imperative that sellers contact a real estate professional. Only Realtors have the hands-on experience and intimate knowledge of the real estate industry needed to get the best possible price for your property.

We've all heard of "buyer's" and "seller's" markets. These terms refer to the proportion of people wanting to buy versus the number of homes on the market. If the number of homes for sale outstrips potential buyers, then it's a buyer's market. If there are not enough homes to satisfy demand, then it's a seller's market.

If you're selling for financial gain, you'll obviously want to do so in a seller's market. But, if you plan to purchase another home after sale, there isn't as big a difference as you would first think.

In a seller's market, you may sell your home more quickly and for a better price, but you'll be facing the opposite challenges when purchasing. In a buyer's market, you may have to wait longer to get a fair price, but you'll have more selection and pricing options when looking for your new property.

Right now, interest rates are near their lowest in decades. This has lead to unprecedented opportunities for those wishing to buy. Often, mortgage payments will be less than rent on an apartment or townhome. Therefore, a large number of consumers are considering ownership, many for the first time. For sellers, this holds the potential for a huge boom.

"Seasonality" is a term that Realtors use to gauge when home sales are expected to climb. Although this is only one factor to be considered when selling, in BC Spring and Fall can be a time of higher activity. Buyers with children especially prefer to look in the spring in order to settle in a new home before school begins in the fall.

Employment changes

Employment changes can affect a decision to sell. There's the obvious matter of relocation if a new job or promotion takes you to a different city. In this case, selling most often becomes a necessity unless the homeowner wishes to retain a property for investment or other purposes.

Moving to a smaller urban centre may also allow you to purchase either a similar home for less money or a bigger one for the same outlay. Even if a new job does not require you to move a great distance, you should use the opportunity to assess your home ownership needs and move up if you can.

The reality is that with interest rates as attractive as they are, it's more possible than ever to make a major move without lowering your family's standard of living.

Family issues

The family issue homeowners cite more than any other when deciding to sell is children. Most often, people want a bigger home to accommodate a newborn, or may find their family has simply outgrown the home.

If this is the case, you're in a perfect position relative to today's marketplace. First and foremost, you can afford to put in enough time to sell at the right price and then find a home that suits your requirements. Contacting your Realtor well in advance of the date you wish to move will virtually guarantee you'll find a good home at a good price.

Lifestyle changes

The two most common lifestyle changes that motivate sellers are retirement. For those planning to retire, truly enjoying your latter years may involve a "cashing in" of assets. Again, it's a wise to look far enough ahead in order to use the market to your advantage and sell at a good price. Changes in lifestyle can include things such as buying a condominium to ease the workload involved with maintenance and upkeep; city dwellers who want to live in a more rural environment, or even those who want to set up a home business.

Article Provided by: David Pusey Personal Real Estate Corporation

Source: OREA


When you are ready to sell your house you'll want to enlist the help of a Realtor. He or she will provide the professional advice and service you need to make the selling process go smoothly.

Showing you ways to make your home as marketable as possible is just one of the many ways your Realtor can help. Here are a few tips from the experts:

Clean everything in and out of sight

With clipboard in hand, take a tour of your home. Take note of every opportunity to remove clutter and dirt. Rooms, closets and cupboards will appear larger and more inviting when you get rid of unnecessary stuff and tidy up what's left. Remove bulky or unused furniture and rearrange the rest to make the best use of space.

Most of us are pack rats, so apply the following test to every questionable item: Have I used this in the past six months, or will I need to use it soon? If the answer is no, throw it away, store it elsewhere or sell it in a yard sale.

Be equally aggressive in disposing of dirt. Pay particular attention to the two most important rooms in a buyer's mind: bathrooms and kitchens. And once you've removed all the dirt: keep everything clean, every day. You never know when the person who will ultimately buy your home will visit.

Repair as much as you can

During your home tour identify the things that are broken, cracked, stuck or just plain don't work anymore. These can include: leaky faucets, holes in window screens, stuck or broken windows, lights that don't work, doors that squeak or don't close properly, missing or broken cupboard handles, cracks in the walls and ceilings, and dozens of other "little things" you've been meaning to do for years. Now is the time.

Certain items, such as roof or basement leaks, must be repaired, along with any water damage. Electrical or heating system problems must be fixed. Some repairs, however, may not be necessary. Will that hairline crack in the driveway really make or break the sale? How about a chipped floor tile in the entryway? Some buyers will have their own ideas about how to deal with these problems. You may find it easier to adjust your selling price to reflect the cost of these repairs, rather than pay for them yourself.

Depersonalize your home

Your house reflects you. It is decorated with your taste and your sense of style. Unfortunately, that heart-shaped table lamp your grandmother left you may distract potential buyers from seeing the home itself. Grit your teeth and store all personal items (framed family photos, trophies, etc.) out of the way.

If you have brightly coloured accent walls or heavily patterned wallpaper, consider repainting or wallpapering these areas with light, neutral colours that enhance a room's size and make it more flexible to receive any kind of furniture. Remove area rugs, light fixtures and other items that buyers might find too difficult to imagine in "their home", even if you were not intending to include these in the sale.

Beautify the house and yard

Peeling, dry paint is relatively easy to fix or replace and can make all the difference in your home's appearance. If your carpet or other floor covering is in really bad shape, consider replacing it. The same holds true for badly tattered window coverings such as drapes and blinds.

Outside the house, weed the flower beds, remove dead tree branches, keep your lawn well-mowed and edged, trim the hedges, rake the leaves, sweep the sidewalks, fix and paint the deck or fence, plant a few flowers and do anything else you can think of to enhance your home's curb appeal.

It may sound like a lot of effort, but these tips, and the assistance of a Realtor, will help you sell your current home quickly so you can move on to your next dream house.

Article Provided by: David Pusey Personal Real Estate Corporation

Source: OREA


More than Just a Sign on the Lawn

If you're thinking of selling your home in the near future, you may think that all that's required is a "for sale" sign strategically placed on your front lawn -- but any real estate professional will tell you there's much more to it than that.

While a sign on your lawn is of paramount importance to the sale of your home, a well-thought-out marketing plan is also essential. Your Realtor, of course, is another vital component in the process, and one of the first things he/she will discuss with you is a marketing strategy designed to give your home maximum exposure.

Keep in mind that effective marketing of your home requires a lot of communication between you and your Realtor and there are several things you can do to make sure your home gets the best possible exposure.

Be Candid with Your Realtor

First of all, disclose everything you can about your property and the neighbourhood in general. This information will help your Realtor a great deal and he/she can choose how and when this information can be related to prospective purchasers. For example, there may be something about your home or the area you live in that you may take for granted, but that characteristic could be a major selling point for your home -- such as its close proximity to local schools and recreation facilities.

It's also wise to be candid about any potential drawbacks as well, so both you and your Realtor can be realistic in arriving at a suitable list price. Where possible, your Realtor is likely to have some suggestions as to how these problems can be improved upon.

As well, your Realtor may notice some serious flaws in you home or even some basic elements that are missing. They may not bother you, but could work to your detriment when it comes to selling your home. As a result, your Realtor is likely to make helpful, reasonable recommendations that will enable you both market your home successfully. It's important to keep an open mind and follow his/her advice.

Operating Costs

It's also a good idea to have information on hand that will give the Realtor an idea of the costs of running your home -- annual heating bills, along with documentation of any recent major repairs or upgrades -- such as a new roof or new wiring or plumbing. These can be very effective marketing tools.

Open House

Your Realtor will also tell you that an open house can be another effective marketing tool. While some homeowners are adverse to this idea, it's one you should discuss with your Realtor if you really want your home to receive maximum exposure to interested buyers. During an open house or prearranged showings, it's a good idea to make sure that you and any other members of your family (including pets) are absent. Many buyers are intimidated by the presence of homeowners and tend to rush through a home as a result.

Clean and Clutter-Free

Before any showing or open house, it's imperative to make sure your home is clean and uncluttered -- both inside and out. Get rid of junk (don't forget the garage) and any unpleasant odours from smoke, cooking or pets. A neat exterior is inviting and a clean and neat interior just makes good, plain marketing sense.

Consider having your home painted. It's a relatively inexpensive way to show it in its best light.

Financing and Closing

Financing is another area where you may be able to help market your home more effectively. You can make your home more attractive to some purchasers by taking back a mortgage. It's an excellent marketing tool, especially if you're trading down to a less expensive home.

Flexibility on the closing date is another important factor in the successful marketing of a home. Real problems can arise when vendors and purchasers can't agree on a closing date. Again, it's important to work with your Realtor and listen to suggestions. Some deals are lost simply because the vendor and purchaser can't agree on a closing date.

Stay Informed

Your Realtor should keep you informed by following up after each showing and providing you with a weekly update on how the marketing of your home is progressing. By the same token, if you have any questions or ideas, don't hesitate to share these with your Realtor.

You'll find that a team effort, combined with a realistic approach will help you market your home much more effectively.

Article Provided by: David Pusey Personal Real Estate Corporation

Source:  OREA


Getting the maximum exposure possible is a key part of any home sale. That's why it pays to sell your home with the help of a Realtor through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). MLS provides details of your home to all real estate professionals in the area and markets the property to a broad range of potential buyers including local, regional and international.

Your Realtor may also recommend one or more open houses for the general public. Although this type of open house tends to attract a lot of "browsers," if your home is clean, attractive, well-priced and in good repair, it could turn a "browser" into a buyer. Some purchasers want to get the "feel" of several neighborhoods before they begin working with a Realtor. Open houses will attract these potential buyers.

Most open houses for the public are held on a weekend afternoon when potential buyers often have more time to drive through neighborhoods. You will have to work out dates with your Realtor that fit your schedule. If you have pets, the Realtor may suggest you remove them from the home during the open house, since their presence could be distracting.

Your Realtor will likely recommend you and your family be away from the home during the open house as well. If you remain home, prospective buyers may feel compelled to rush their visit to avoid disturbing you. You want them to feel relaxed and to take the time to really see the features of your property.

Potential buyers may also feel uncomfortable commenting on your home in your presence. This hampers your Realtor's ability to sell the home since buyer feedback is essential in making any deal.

Your Realtor will suggest ways to prepare your home for an open house to make it a secure, enjoyable experience for everyone. Do ensure that the Realtor asks for the name, address and telephone number of everyone who attends. Your Realtor should also try to walk through the home with each visitor.

Here are some general tips to help you prepare for the big day:

  • Attend to any potential hazards - electrical wires crossing open areas, sharp table or counter top corners, slippery stairs and walkways, fragile items that can be easily damaged.
  • Lock away or remove valuables such as jewelry, cameras, compact discs, coins and currency.
  • Avoid cooking food with strong odors such as fish. The scent of fresh-brewed coffee, home-made bread and cookies can be very welcoming.
  • In poor weather, provide a place for overshoes, boots, umbrellas and coats.
  • A warm fire on a cold day will make your home feel inviting and cozy. But be sure your Realtor is prepared to look after the fireplace while you're not home.

A tiny hand-print on a wall or the slightest door squeak can be quite distracting to some potential buyers. Use this handy check list to assess what needs to be cleaned, repaired or changed before opening your home to potential buyers:

Kitchen and bathrooms

  • Clean all surfaces, including floors.
  • Organize countertops.
  • Ensure all sinks and faucets work properly.

Other rooms

  • Vacuum and dust all areas thoroughly.
  • Collect and remove all clutter, including excess furniture.
  • Neatly store books, toys and clothes in closets and on shelves.
  • Clean all mirrors.
  • Open drapes and pull up blinds on windows.

Floor coverings

(Includes carpeting, tile, linoleum, hardwood, etc.)

  • Remove all dirt and stains.
  • Repair any damaged areas.
  • If there is hardwood under old carpeting, remove the carpeting and restore the hardwood--a much desired feature in homes today.

Walls, ceilings, baseboards

  • Clean any fingerprints or stains.
  • Repair any holes, cracks, chipped paint, ripped wallpaper, water damage.
  • If necessary, repaint in neutral or complimentary colors.


  • Fix squeaks and any other problems.
  • Ensure the handles secure and work properly.
  • Clean any stains.


  • Clean and repair any cracks.
  • Ensure they open easily.


  • Check to see there is sufficient light.
  • Attend to any broken switches, exposed wiring.

Pet areas

These should be clean, organized and odor free.

Outside the home

Ensure all gates open easily.

Clean all exterior surfaces, including decks, pools, walkways and driveways and make them tidy.

Depending on the time of year, lawns should be mowed, walkways and driveway cleared of snow, leaves removed, trees pruned, gardens weeded, hedges trimmed.

Article Provided by: David Pusey Personal Real Estate Corporation

Source: OREA


There's little doubt that Canadians are on the move. Whether moving from an apartment to a home, apartment to apartment or home to home, moving is no simple matter. With careful planning, however, your transition can be facilitated in an organized and efficient manner, allowing you the peace of mind you need to settle into your home. The following moving tips are provided by the Ontario Real Estate Association.

Advance Planning

Planning should begin at least two months in advance. Confirm with your Realtor your closing date before scheduling your moving date. If you are renting, confirm your move-in date. Make a list of all records that must be transferred to a new location, such as children's school records, and financial and medical records.

Whether moving two blocks or 2,000 miles, decide what must go with you. This may be a good time for a serious cleaning of the closets or the basement where you've been storing your "valuables." It can be expensive and time consuming to move things you really don't need, or worse, to find that there's no place to put them in your new home.

If you are disposing of a large number of items, consider holding a garage or moving sale to offset some of your moving expenses. If you're donating items to charitable organizations, ask for a receipt for tax purposes.

New Address

Send change of address cards to magazine publishers and organizations who you are affiliated. Most magazines request 4 to 6 weeks notice. Provide change of address notice on credit card bills and leave forwarding instructions with the post office. Let your friends and neighbours know your new address. This also is a good time to request help you may need with packing and moving. If you are moving yourself, schedule a moving party providing pizza and beverages for anyone who can help.

Take inventory of borrowed or lent items. Return what is not yours and retrieve your items. Mailing that hedge trimmer across the miles to its owner will be expensive as well as a nightmare to package. Dispose of flammable liquids, such as gasoline or oil. Is there gasoline in your lawn mower?

Two weeks before you move, contact local utility companies to advise of a date to disconnect service. Arrange for utility service in your new home. Clear up outstanding accounts, particularly if you are leaving the area. Plan carefully for the transfer of checking and savings accounts. Open an account in advance in your new community so you have access to money, but make sure your old account stays open until all checks have cleared.

If you are driving any distance, service you car before you move. Car problems in an unfamiliar community can be troublesome. This is also a good time to make appointments with doctors and dentists arranging for a final check-up and discussion of potential problems of which to advise a new doctor.

Packing up

Begin packing early, particularly those items seldom used. If you have a hired a moving company, request boxes and packing paper. A local grocery store is a good source for boxes and packing paper. Ask for boxes in advance. Smaller stores may receive shipments only once a week and will only give away boxes if you are there at a specified time to pick them up. Collect both large and small boxes, keeping in mind that filling a large box with books or records will make moving them difficult at best.

Have plenty of packing supplies handy. Save old newspapers for packing material. For delicate items, you may want to purchase special packing boxes to materials to ensure safe moving.

Be creative in your packing particularly with odd-sized or fragile items. For example, move mattresses with old sheets on them as a protection from dirt. An antique floor lamp rolled up in a rug, or a crystal decanter packed in the middle of bath towels adds increased protection.

Of course, creative packing can lead to confusion when unpacking. Make sure all boxes are clearly labeled with their contents. Mark boxes "fragile" which have breakable items. For those items too precious to risk damaging move by hand.

Make a list of items to pack separately; items needed on the road (maps, prescription medicines, toys for children); items needed to settle in (cleaning supplies, light bulbs, tools); and those items you will need within the first few days of arrival (food and utensils for the first meals). Pack a suitcase which you could live out of if it should become necessary. Keep important papers such as medical records and insurance policies in one place where they can be retrieved quickly if needed.

Moving Day

When the moving day has finally arrived, makes sure someone is home to meet the mover and point out items to be loaded onto the truck. If your are handling your own move, organize loading to maximize space in the truck and to ensure that the heavy box of books does not get loaded on top of the china box.

Before leaving, make a final check of all rooms, closet shelves and other spots where items may have been overlooked. Have an empty box handy for those "found items," or items which didn't seem to fit in anywhere else. Turn off all lights and close and lock all windows and doors. Leave your keys with the Realtor, Landlord or new owner.

Make sure you are there to meet the movers to avoid possible additional charges. During warm weather, have cold beverages available for movers--professionals or volunteers. Finally, don't try to unpack everything at once. Unpacking carefully and in an organized manner, keeping in mind which boxes can be stored as they are, will save time in the long run.

The OREA suggests that by following these tips, your move into a new home or apartment will be a smooth and enjoyable experience.

Article Provided by: David Pusey Personal Real Estate Corporation

Source: OREA


It's an exciting time. You have accepted an offer and you are trying to close the deal on your new home at the same time. You can't wait to move  - but don't start celebrating yet.  There is one final stage involved - closing the deal.

Closing is the point at which ownership and usually possession of the property is transferred from the seller to you.  It takes place after the parties involved agree that all legal and financial obligations have been met.  Your lawyer and your Realtor and perhaps Accountant will do much of the work, but here's a checklist that will show you what to expect as the process unfolds:

  • Make sure a copy of the signed Agreement of Purchase and Sale is sent to your lawyer right away. Your Realtor will usually do this for you.  Your lawyer needs to see any conditions that exist, and the date you and the seller have agreed to close. The lawyer will ask you how you (and others involved in the purchase) want to be registered on the title to the property.
  • Immediately begin satisfying any of the conditions of the agreement that require your action. These have definite dates attached to them and if you miss one you may have to arrange an extension or possibly risk losing the entire deal.  As each condition is met, the Realtor will fill out a waiver form for signatures.  Note that most lawyers won't be doing many of the tasks they need to do for closing until the conditions are waived.
  • It is strongly recommended to have the home inspected,  and your offer should contain a condition that the property passes inspection.
  • If no current land survey exists on the property, you may consider having one done. Your lender may require it, and you'll want it for your own peace of mind, anyway
  • You may also consider having a third party appraisal done, and your lender may require it so contact them to confirm if they are doing one and make a decision that is right for you.
  • Upon your direction and after the conditions have been met, your lawyer will begin searching title to the property.  This is an exercise of going back through government records to ensure a clear title that is transferable.   Electronic registration and title insurance have significantly changed the way titles on properties are transferred.
  • Contact your lending institution to begin the process of finalizing mortgage documents.  Ask if your lawyer can draw up the documents; this will usually save money.
  • Your lawyer will contact the seller's lawyer with any questions or issues regarding title and costs.
  • You or your lawyer may wish to to check with local utilities (hydro, gas, water) to ensure there are no outstanding claims and to get final meter readings on the day of closing. You should contact the utilities and telephone and cable companies well in advance to arrange for services in your name.
  • Meanwhile, your lawyer is busy making sure that property taxes on your new home are up-to-date and there are no liens on personal property, such as appliances, to be sold with your house.  You want your lawyer to make sure that what you've agreed to buy is what you'll get -- nothing more or less.
  • Well before closing; contact your insurance agent to arrange homeowner's insurance coverage to become effective on the date of closing.  Your agent can give you a "binder" letter, certifying coverage is in place. If you're moving from your current owned (rather than rented) home to another, your agent will handle the homeowner's insurance transfer for you.
  • Your lawyer will review the statement of adjustments and other closing information provided by the seller's lawyer, and will deal with any problems as they arise.
  • A day or two before closing, you'll meet with your lawyer to go over and sign the closing documents. Bring the certified cheque(s) to cover costs involved. Your lawyer will let you know the amounts in advance.

The big day arrives. You may need to be present. The lawyers for both parties work with their respective clients to make sure the money, mortgage (if any), sale and title are exchanged and registered.  Soon thereafter you'll be given the keys to your new home.

Now the celebration begins.

Article Provided by: David Pusey Personal Real Estate Corporation

Source: OREA


The one thing about participating in the real estate market that confounds most consumers is the terminology and jargon that must be learned. But, as with any business, in order to be successful as a buyer or seller, it is necessary to become familiar with certain concepts and words.

The real estate business is somewhat unique in that it is not confined to one particular set of dealings. Instead, it encompasses a number of professions: financial, legal, governmental, building trades, and of course, real estate itself.

So, from A for amortization to Z for zoning regulations, here is a quick run-through of some the important real estate terminology you'll encounter:

Amortization: The number of years it will take to pay off the entire amount of a mortgage. In Ontario, most mortgages are amortized over 25 years.

Appraisal: An estimate of a property's market value. This is used by lenders to determine the amount of your mortgage.

Assessment: The value of a property set by the local municipality. The assessment is used to calculate your property tax.

Assumable Mortgage: A mortgage held on a property by a seller that can be taken over by the buyer. The buyer then assumes responsibility for making payments. An assumable mortgage can make a property more attractive to potential buyers.

Blended Mortgage Payments: Equal or regular mortgage payments consisting of both a principal and an interest component.

Broker: A real estate Professioal licensed to facilitate the sale, lease or exchange of a property for a Brokerage.

Bridge Financing: Money borrowed against a homeowner's equity in a property (usually for a short term) to help finance the purchase of another property or to make improvements to a property being sold.

Buy-down: A situation where the seller reduces the interest rate on a mortgage by paying the difference between the reduced rate and market rate directly to the lender. Or, the difference can be paid to the purchaser in one lump sum or monthly instalments. A buy-down can make a property more attractive to potential buyers.

Closed Mortgage: A mortgage that cannot be prepaid, renegotiated or refinanced during its term without significant penalties.

Conventional Mortgage: A first mortgage issued for up to 75 per cent of the property's appraised value or purchase price, whichever is lower.

Debt Service Ratio: The percentage of a borrower's gross income that can be used for housing costs (including mortgage payments and taxes). This is used to determine the amount of monthly mortgage payment the borrower can afford.

Easement: A legal right to use or cross (right of way) another person's land for limited purpose. A utility's right to run wires or lay pipe across a property is a common example.

Encroachment: An intrusion onto an adjoining property. A neighbour's fence, shed or overhanging roof line that partially or fully intrudes onto your property are examples.

First Mortgage: The first security registered on a property. Additional mortgages secured against the property are termed 'secondary'.

High-Ratio Mortgage: A mortgage for more than 75 per cent of a property's appraised value or purchase price.

Listing Agreement: The contract between the listing broker and an owner, authorizing the Realtor to facilitate the sale or lease of a property.

Mortgage: A contract between a borrower and a lender where the borrower pledges a property as security to guarantee repayment of the mortgage debt.

Mortgage Term: The length of time a lender will loan mortgage funds to a borrower. Most terms run from six months to five years, after which the borrower will either pay off the balance or renegotiate the mortgage for another term. Payments are calculated using the interest rate offered for the term, the amount of the mortgage, and the amortization period.

Multiple Listing Service (MLS): A comprehensive system for relaying information to Realtors about properties for sale.

Open Mortgage: A mortgage that can be prepaid or renegotiated at any time and in any amount without penalty.

Partially Open Mortgage: A mortgage that allows the borrower to pre-pay a specific portion of the mortgage principal at certain times with or without penalty.

Realtor: A trademarked name describing real estate professionals who are members of a local real estate board and the Canadian Real Estate Association.

Transfer Taxes: Payment to the provincial government for transferring property from the seller to the buyer.

Vendor Take-Back Mortgage: A situation where sellers use their equity in a property to provide some or all of the mortgage financing in order to sell the property.

Zoning Regulations: Strict guidelines set and enforced by municipal governments regulating how a property may or may not be used.

Article Provided by: David Pusey Personal Real Estate Corporation

Source: OREA

The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are member’s of CREA. The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by CREA and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.