Oasis Realty Brokerage, Ottawa Real Estate
Gord McCormick Ottawa, ON K2S0H6
Phone: 613-435-4692 Mobile: 613-371-9691 Fax: 613-435-4698

16 Tips for a head start on a spring or summer 2016 sale

1. meet with your Realtor to discuss plans and get an up to date market evaluation and check up on your existing property.
2. establish a well buffered estimate of baseline selling price for your existing property.  This will help establish net equity in the existing property to apply towards purchase.
3. calculate all closing costs on selling existing property and purchase of new property.
4. estimate total costs of ownership for new property including; taxes, utilities, condo fees, maintenance and any other recurring costs ie rentals, leases, service contracts etc.
5. Meet with your mortgage broker or bank to review financial ramifications and build a plan.
6. book a home inspection now to check on all critical home systems and insure there are no hidden defects.  Inspection may result in recommendation for additional expert review or service call.
7. invest in a professional Staging consultation to determine what might be done to show your property to its fullest potential and what this would entail financially.
8. keep a close eye on properties selling in your own neighbourhood, so you have an up to date feel for the market and at what price properties are listing and selling. Your Realtor can set this up for you.
9. Have an auto search set up for properties to purchase in your desired area, style and price range. Again your Realtor can set this up for you.
10. Review all items and recommendations coming out of the Realtor evaluation and Staging or inspections and determine which have the highest priority and how it will help marketability of the property.
11. Schedule key preparation activities well in advance, particularly those involving professional trades, as can often be difficult to find when the spring busy season comes around.
12. Start to depersonalize and declutter now and make plans for offsite storage, if required.
13.  Gather all paperwork you have that will support a quality listing including; taxes, utility costs, floor plans, maintenance or upgrades done, manuals and warranty paperwork, leases or rental agreements (especially hot water tank.)
14.  Get all inside preparation done during the fall or winter, so you can focus on any outdoor work once weather permits in the spring.
15. Visit existing property listings and open houses to get an idea of what is available in person, don’t simply rely on online analysis, as listings and photos may not tell the whole story or do the property justice.
16. Always keep asking:  “…if I found my dream home tomorrow, how long would it take me to get my current property ready for sale?

For a related post from our blog archives feel free to check out:  “Why buying your second home may be more difficult than your first”: http://www.oasisrealtyottawa.com/blogs/gord_mccormick/archive/2013/09/08/why-buying-your-second-home-may-be-more-difficult-than-the-first.aspx

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
613-435-4692   oasisrealty@rogers.com

https://www.facebook.com/oasisrealtyottawa/  One of Ottawa’s top ranked facebook real estate pages…check it out!


Ottawa real estate market report November 2015

Residential Sales pretty solid:
Sales for the month were up 3.7% and year to-to-date are 5.9% higher than 2014.
Average selling price for the month was up 2.8% to $380,075 and year to-to-date the average selling price is up 1.8% to $393,078

Condo sales and prices continue to sag:
Condo sales continue to struggle due to oversupply in both the resale and new construction markets.
Though condo unit sales were up slightly over last October, they were still down 9.4% compared to the 5 year average.  Year-to-date unit sales are down .5% compared to last year.
Prices took a beat of a beating in October and on a year-to-date basis are down 1.9% compared to the first 10 months of 2014 at $258,995.

* average selling prices are affected by the price mix of properties sold and in the current market there is more activity in the lower to mid-priced market segments ie $250K-400K which keeps the overall average price in check.

Listing inventory surplus eases:
For the first time in a long time, we have seen some improvement in the amount of listing inventory surplus on hand.
Residential listings are only 19.5% higher than the 5 year average at the end of October and condos are 42.5% higher.
New listings in October for residential properties actually were less than during the previous 3 years and 4.6% lower than the 5 year average, so this is potentially a very good sign.

We note however that listing cancellations, withdrawls and expiries continue to run at high levels with residential properties 14.4% higher than the 5 year average and condos 55.3% higher. If some of these sellers have moved to the rental market that would be OK as the rental market seems pretty active.  If on the other hand these sellers are just waiting to relist at a later date then perhaps there still may be an overbalanced equation on the supply side.

Rental Market listing inventory is up 58.7% over the 5 year average but the number of rentals done by Board members is way up also, so this is not a particularly worrisome stat.

Time on market to sell increases also:
Both condos and residential properties have taken more time on market to sell this year with residential properties selling in 80 days vs 75 last year and condos taking 101 days to sell vs 86 days last year.

Now is a great time to plan for spring and summer 2016, give us a call if you to discuss your plans and get some ideas on what can be done to optimize your buying and selling process.

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record


Competition Bureau vs Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB)

…or... “you can have our data when you pry it from our cold, dead hands!

In what may result in a watershed ruling affecting real estate historical listing information, the Competition Bureau Tribunal will be conducting hearings in both Toronto and Ottawa over the next few weeks to determine how much listing data can be provided by online real estate marketing companies.  This matter has been winding its way through various regulatory and legal processes for some 4 years now, including the Supreme Court-which refused to hear the matter.

What does the Bureau want?
The Bureau wants MLS® listing and sold data to be more widely available to consumers and 3rd party online marketers like Trulia and Zillow in the US.  This would allow more information for both buyers and sellers and a new range of online services.  Currently, Realtors control this data and provide it to their customers or prospects.
The Bureau argues that TREB (and by extension MLS® as a whole) uses its monopoly over access to this listing data to prevent new services and business models and that consumers have a right to access this data without having to go through an MLS® REALTOR® member, as is the case in some other countries.

NB.  The issue fundamentally relates to historical “sold” data and listings, as active listings are already widely distributed to the online 3rd party real estate community via the MLS® Distributed Data Facility (DDF).

What is organized real estate’s position?
Organized real estate feels very strongly that historical listing data is proprietary to MLS® members as they have assembled/created and paid for the whole system that collects, aggregates, stores and distributes the listing data.  Listing data goes far beyond simple listing and selling prices and includes photos, videos, room sizes, special features etc.

This comprehensive data set is what is necessary to form any kind of baseline for pricing a property to be listed in future.  Simply having the selling price of a property without all the ancillary information included in a typical MLS® listing is fairly meaningless and is already available to the public via MPAC (up to 24 properties in Ontario) or the local land registry office.(for a small fee)

Organized real estate also argues that even private sellers (for-sale-by-owner or FSBO sellers) have access to comparable sold data, as the major FSBO sales organizations are generally affiliated with a real estate brokerage that can provide that information.  FSBO sellers can also have their properties posted on MLS® subsequent to a previous agreement between the Bureau and the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA).

We believe the bottom line on the whole exercise is “…let’s not try to fix what’s not broken”.

Which side would the public support?
We suspect most members of the public with only a cursory knowledge of the issue might choose to support the Bureau and hope that the Tribunal decision forces the MLS® membership to make sold listing data widely available without REALTOR® involvement or engagement.  However, it is a complex matter and the results of such a change may have some unintended consequences that may not serve the consumer well at all.  Our current MLS® system is the envy of many around the world and provides a strong centralized national and regional platform for the distribution of listings for sellers and easy access to those active listings for buyers. (without commercial messages or advertising on www.realtor.ca )  Furthermore comparable sold data is readily available for both sellers and buyers from a large and diverse REALTOR® population who compete via a variety of business models for consumer business.  We believe the consumer is well served by the current system.

Be careful what you wish for...
While there may be some positive aspects of wider access to MLS® sold listing information for consumers, if such a change ultimately resulted in a significant change to the MLS® landscape both consumers and real estate professionals would be poorly served.  We hope the Tribunal considers all possible consequences in rendering its decision.

Our belief is that by and large professional real estate is fairly intractable on this issue, so who can say what may transpire if the Tribunal rules against TREB?

Stay tuned for news coming out of Ottawa on this issue, as it remains to be seen whether this will simply be another skirmish between the Competition Bureau and organized real estate or if in fact it will be a decisive battle. 

NB: we offer this note as our personal opinion only as experienced real estate brokers and not as representatives of any Association, Board or entity, as we do not have detailed knowledge of the legal complexities nor do we represent organized real estate in any way, concerning this matter.

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
613-435-4692  www.oasisrealtyottawa.com

how might election results impact Ottawa real estate?

As we reach the halfway mark in a hotly contested (and for us, lengthy) Federal campaign, we were wondering what the election outcome might mean for our local real estate market.  Though few can have an accurate crystal ball on this issue, we did a little history checking and offer some thoughts on the matter:

Price growth history:
The good….
2004-2011 was a period where we had minority Federal governments in power and this was a pretty good time for Ottawa real estate.  Average prices during this period rose some 45.8% to $343,701.

Ottawa also fared pretty well under a Liberal majority government between 1999 and 2004 where average prices rose from $149,650 to $235,678 a whopping 57.5% increase.

….and not so good:
Ottawa had not fared so well under Liberal majority governments from 1993-1999 when the Chretien Liberals decimated spending and public service headcount to balance the Federal budget.  Average prices in this 6 year period rose a total of just 1% from $148,129 to $149,650.

In the first years of the Chretien majority government housing transactions in Ottawa dropped by almost 30%, reflecting the drastic change in the local economy when the government was slashing budgets and personnel to react to a large deficit and a recession.

Current Market:
The current Conservative government elected with a majority in 2011 have curtailed government spending and headcount growth here in Ottawa to balance the budget and as a result our market has slumped somewhat during this time.  In fact, 2011 was our last solid year of average selling price growth which saw prices increase by 5.2%.  From 2011 to present, we have seen average price growth of only 8.6% total over the 3 and a half year period.

Bottom line:
A government that is not focused on balancing the budget or believes in “tax and spend” for new programs, is best for our local real estate market, as bigger government and more spending is generally good news for the Ottawa area economy.

Though we have fared well under both majority and minority governments, it is our view that a minority government is probably the safest, as there is less chance for drastic change in government management that could be made by a majority government and spending and head count are unlikely to be severely threatened.

You guess is as good as ours about what it going to happen in mid-October but at this stage it appears the many possible outcomes are unlikely to hurt our local real estate market and in fact, it is most likely we will see more spending rather than less.

Ottawa listing inventory highest in 12 years!

Many sellers face stressful summer in Ottawa real estate
June sales results were generally positive with increases in residential unit sales and average prices but listing inventory continues to grow and make life miserable for many sellers (especially condo sellers).  Unit sales and prices for residential properties are up slightly but condo unit sales are down 21% compared to last June and down 15.8% based on a 5 year average for year-to-date sales.

Residential sales are up about 4% year-to-date compared to both the 5 year and 10 year averages at the end of June.

Prices in both property categories are very modest on a year-to-date basis with the average residential property posting a 1.7% increase to $398,051 and the average condo price sold this year is $263,843 for an increase of .5%. 

Listing inventory may be the highest ever! Condos double 10 year average, residential +39.2%
We checked back as far as our available stats permit and our current inventory levels are the most for any month during the last 12 years.   Though our demand level is reasonable overall, there are just too many sellers in the marketplace.  Residential listings continue to increase and are 34.8% higher than the 5 year average and 39.2% higher than the 10 year average.  Condo listing inventory is 57.4% higher than the 5 year average and 100% higher than the 10 year average.

On the good news side, many of these sellers will also become buyers if their existing properties sell.

Who is having the most trouble selling?
There are a number of categories that suffer more than others in this type of buyer’s market, best to check with a Realtor to see how these circumstances might affect a particular property.  We’ll have a post on this later this week.  Condos, unique properties, non “move-in-ready” properties, higher priced listings, FSBO’s and those with excess improvements head the list of “toughest to sell” listings right now.

New home sales off about 6%: (revised November, 2015)
New construction sales and starts are down slightly on a year to date basis, having recovered somewhat over the summer.  Earlier trend suggested builder sales were off as much as 20% but this has improved. Builders are still offering significant incentives for buyers to consider new construction.  This adds to the competitive choice for buyers but also makes even more competition for the resale listing, particularly for newer homes in areas where the builder is still building the same or similar models.

What to expect this summer/fall:
We expect to see continuing price adjustments by sellers who have now missed the peak spring market which should help keep residential unit sales in positive territory during the summer. Condos may be another matter altogether.

Get it sold by September!
Sellers with committed buying plans or other financial plans who have not had success in marketing their properties will certainly want to be aggressive in getting a deal done before the end of September when sales levels start the fall seasonal decline. (Summer sales levels are about 20-25% lower than spring and fall levels are 40-50% lower than spring)

Save $1,000’s on commissions and get it sold now!
We have some amazing commission saving programs and marketing plans to help ensure sellers get deals done this summer! If you are not already working with another Realtor and would like to discuss selling and/or buying options please give us a call 613-435-4692

* not intended to solicit those with existing representation agreements

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage

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