Ottawa House Hunting: Tips for Success

Posted on: January 19th, 2015 by Chris Scott

Ensuring your House Hunting Trip (HHT) is successful is my top priority. A standard HHT is 5 days and 5 nights for which you and or your spouse  travel to the new location to find your new house. Having planned many Military HHTs within Ottawa, I have created a checklist to help prepare you for your Ottawa house hunting.  Here are a few top tips:

 Pick Your Dates!

Plan your trip at least 40-60 days before your report date. This will give the sellers enough time to move out and help accommodate your door to door move.  The more time in advance the better.

Research, Research, Research

Familiarize yourself with your new location before your trip. Google Maps can be a great resource to search out the downtown core, schools, amenities and public transit. Ottawa has a variety of neighbourhoods in different price points. Your agent should help you understand what areas might be the right fit for you based on your unique circumstances. Communication with your agent before you arrive is key. We build a listing website of all available inventory that matches our clients needs and work from there. This site gives our military clients the ability to track listings, set-up favorites/possibility lists, and get a sense of the market activity.

Brainstorm & Communicate With Your Agent

Knowing exactly what you want in a new home is often difficult but expressing your needs to your agent can help them select the right properties for your HTT. Consider your lifestyle choices along with your “must haves” and communicate them to your agent. The clearer picture your agent has of your situation the more accurate your property matches will be.

Another great resource if you plan on taking public transportation is http://www.octranspo1.com/travelplanner/travelplanner

Of course these are just a few tips. If you would like to book a house hunting trip in Ottawa, please click on the link below.

Plan and book your house hunting trip with me today.

HHT – Door to Door Moves

Posted on: January 9th, 2015 by Chris Scott

As a member of the Canadian Forces you are responsible for arranging a door to door move when you are relocating. By doing so, you are ensuring a smooth transition between households which allows you have a stress free relocation, be back to work sooner and incur fewer expenses during the moving process. This style of relocating is beneficial for you even though it requires a bit more planning. In order to coordinate the dates effectively, you must establish your “target” moving dates in advance. These dates create a timeline for you to plan your move. With your target dates in mind, you can then begin to plan your moving timeline which can include:

  • Obtaining approval from your Chain of Command
  • Planning a HHT
  • Selecting your Property
  • Negotiating the possession/occupancy dates to be close to the date you are to report to your new posting
  • Coordinating your travel days with the packing of your home and travel to the new location
  • Having your household goods delivered directly to your new home to eliminate the need for storing them
  • Avoiding peak moving periods such as long weekends.

While relocating can appear overwhelming at times, creating a timeline in advance will help plan a moving experience that will be easier on you and your entire family. If you are being posted in or out of the Ottawa area, I can help arrange a perfectly executed door to door move with your timeline in mind.

 

Chris

Ottawa Market Update 2014/2015

Posted on: January 8th, 2015 by Chris Scott

As a whole it was a stable year for Ottawa Real Estate in 2014. Sales were fairly flat and prices were up about 1.2%. The average selling price for all housing types was $361,712, an increase of 1.2 per cent over 2013.

The most significant change we have seen in the market is the build up of unsold listing inventory. This has shifted the market to what we can now consider a buyer’s market in Ottawa. This excess supply (plus new construction inventory from builders) resulted in lower price increases and more time on market for sellers. For buyers there are some good opportunities available in this market.

Total Sales of existing homes through the Ottawa Real Estate Board’s Multiple Listing Service numbered 13,928 for the year, an increase of 0.4 per cent from the 2013 total of 13,871. There is more supply but the demand has stayed steady.

Condo sales dropped 7.2 per cent to 2,661 for the year. This is a troubling trend. Sales are way down but inventory is actually up. There is simply too much supply right now in Ottawa’s downtown condo market. It is simple economics. Demand is low and supply is increasing. This trend really began in the 2nd half of 2014. This could put downward pressure on condo prices for 2015.

Average price increases in Ottawa:
2011: + 5.2%
2012: + 2.3%
2013: + 1.6%
2014: + 1.2%
2015: + 1.0%- my prediction

Chris

Market Predictions – 2015

Posted on: January 8th, 2015 by Chris Scott

Every year I go through statistical reports from CMHC, top brokerages, economists, and our local real estate board. My objective in this research is to try and get a feel for where the market is heading in the upcoming year. I also poll other Realtors in my office to try and get a gauge on the pulse of the market. 2015 has been the most challenging to predict.

I think we are facing a new reality for Ottawa’s real estate market. I am not Nostradamus but I feel I can almost predict what the next few years will bring. Houses will take longer to sell and prices will be very flat with little or no change. CMHC predicts increases in line with inflation. This is good news. Other economists are predicting a decrease in price in the upcoming year. For many the prospect of this is frightening. Many of us have a significant portion of our net worth tied to the value of our home.

With 3 properties in Ottawa I can relate. However, I am not worried. We just purchased an investment property late this year. I understand the next few years could be challenging but it is the long-term 10-20 year big picture I am most interested in. Ottawa has historically had a resilient real estate market. We still have good economic fundamentals and the long term projected growth of the city will eventually tilt the favor back to sellers.

These more challenging market conditions make it imperative for both buyers and sellers to be aligned with an experienced and qualified real estate professional.

Ottawa Market Update – November 2014

Posted on: December 3rd, 2014 by Chris Scott

‘Tis the Holiday Season!  It sure came around quickly!  Let’s hope the winter passes by just as quickly!!

Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 893 residential properties in November through the Board’s Multiple Listing Service® system, compared with 888 in November 2013, an increase of 0.6 per cent. The five-year average for November sales is 935.  Inventory levels are starting to dip slightly which is normal for this time of year.  Average sale prices are keeping steady with last year – all in all, a fairly typical year (so far) for the Ottawa Real Estate Market – steady, and fluctuating between a balanced and a buyer’s market.

November’s sales included 170 in the condominium property class, and 723 in the residential property class.   The rental market continues to be hot in Ottawa with 175 properties rented in November.  Sales are taking longer so sellers have to be patient with the market.  New condo developments are likely the cause of resale condos being slightly behind last year’s volume.  Although the market slows a bit in December, Buyers often start their search over the holiday period, statistically the highest property search period of the year.

The average sale price of residential properties, including condominiums, sold in November in the Ottawa area was $356,900, an increase of 0.4 per cent over November 2013. The average sale price for a condominium-class property was $250,425, a decrease of three per cent over November 2013. The average sale price of a residential-class property was $381,936, an increase of 0.7 per cent over November 2013.

Since every area can have slight differences, if you are interested in knowing what your property is worth on today’s market – or even the house down the street, give me a call.  I’ll be happy to help.

Chris

Ottawa Market heads into Buyer’s Territory

Posted on: November 6th, 2014 by Chris Scott

Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 1,121 residential properties in October through the Board’s Multiple Listing Service® system, compared with 1,089 in October 2013, an increase of 2.9 per cent. The five-year average for October sales is 1,076.  The local residential listing inventory is up 12.5% from 2013, with 7,550 active listings at the end of October this year.  This has moved us into a “Buyers’ Market”.

Since each area – and even each neighbourhood – can be different, if you are curious to know what your home (or that of your neighbour) is worth on today’s market, give me a call.  I’m always happy to help when it comes to real estate!

Chris

Ottawa Market Update, Sept 2014

Posted on: October 6th, 2014 by Chris Scott

Our community is fortunate to enjoy one of the most stable real estate markets in Canada.  Overall the Ottawa real estate numbers for September are right in line with 2013’s. Condos are the only segment that is struggling a little bit right now. Inventory in this segment remains very high. This is putting downward pressure on prices.

Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 1,133 residential properties in September through the Board’s Multiple Listing Service® system, compared with 1,118 in September 2013, an increase of 1.3 per cent. The five-year average for September sales is 1,103.  September’s sales included 232 in the condominium property class, and 901 in the residential property class.

The average sale price of residential properties, including condominiums, sold in September in the Ottawa area was $356,915, an increase of three per cent over September 2013. The average sale price for a condominium-class property was $254,036, a decrease of 1.2 per cent over September 2013. The average sale price of a residential-class property was $383,406, an increase of 3.2 per cent over September 2013. Condos performed better in September than in August. The $300,000 to $399,999 price range continues to have the highest concentration of properties sold, followed by the $500,000 to $749,999 range, which is closely followed by the $275,000 to $299,999 price range.

Each area, however, is slightly different.  If you are thinking about a move, please do give me a call.

Chris

Breaking The Ice: Embarrassing Story

Posted on: September 26th, 2014 by Chris Scott

We were talking today about some embarrassing moments being a Realtor. I have had a few.  The front runner was pretty easy to identify. 

I was waiting in my car for my chance to present an offer on behalf of my clients. We were in a multiple bid situation. It was an unusually dark night.  I had a junior agent with me and was teaching him how to present offers. I felt pretty cool that I was a senior agent. It was late, must have been 10pm.

Anyways, I was called to present and had one thing on my mind- get this deal together for my clients. As I approached the front door I could see everyone looking at me at the dining room table. The door was open so I walked right in. However, I failed to spot the mesh wire of a front screen door and walked into it at a very fast pace. If you have ever been fortunate enough to witness someone walking into a screen door you can appreciate just how hilarious it looks.  Not the first impression I was looking for. I think the screen actually bounced me back into the junior agent. It was like walking into a trampoline!!  Some of the screen also ripped open on the side. It did break the ice!   The sellers were cool.

We all had a good laugh at my expense. I felt they may have laughed a little longer then I would have liked. But in the end everyone left happy. The sellers got more then asking, the buyers a house,  and the junior agent left with a good story.

Chris

Change to the Canadian Military Relocation Policy

Posted on: September 22nd, 2014 by Chris Scott

Following a number of high-profile news stories describing some very expensive same-city moves, a change has been announced for the Canadian Military Relocation Policy. 

The federal government will no longer cover moving costs for retiring members who are relocating within a 40km radius.  This change will align the IPR policy with those of other federal departments and agencies, such as the RCMP.

DND said they will make “compassionate exceptions for medical reasons and extenuating personal circumstances”.

The retirement resettlement policy was designed to allow soldiers and their families to expense one final move when they retire so they can choose where they will live.  It makes fiscal sense to exclude same-city moves, however this will put significant pressure on the last house-hunting trip.  It is very difficult to find the perfect retirement home on a 5-day, jam-packed, HHT, often handled without input from the spouse.

If you are posted to Ottawa, I would be happy to help you with your HHT.

Chris

Ottawa Market Update, August 2014

Posted on: September 9th, 2014 by Chris Scott

The children are back in school – a sure sign that summer is coming to an end!

Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 1,203 residential properties in August through the Board’s Multiple Listing Service® system, compared with 1,216 in August 2013, a decrease of 1.1 per cent. The five-year average for August is 1,199.  It is normal to have an end-of-summer slow-down and, although sales numbers are down slightly since last year, August’s sales are slightly higher than the five-year average. If we exclude condos, residential units are up four per cent year-over-year.  Average sale price has increased for both the residential and condo class.

The average sale price of residential properties, including condominiums, sold in August in the Ottawa area was $360,214, an increase of 3.4 per cent over August 2013. The average sale price for a condominium-class property was $263,996, an increase of 2.7 per cent over August 2013. The average sale price of a residential-class property was $381,628, an increase of 1.9 per cent over August 2013. The $300,000 to $399,999 price range continues to have the highest concentration of properties sold, followed by the $500,000 to $749,999 range – the later range up by 27.4 per cent from last year which may possibly be the contributing factor in the average house price increases this month.

One area of concern is the Ottawa condo market. Sales are down 19% in August compared with 2013. There is lots of inventory available right now. I see sales remaining flat in this segment for the remainder of the year.

Each area, however, is slightly different.  If you are thinking of buying or selling a home, I hope you will feel confident to come to me for assistance.  Real Estate transactions are what I love to do and I would be happy to help you in any way I can.

Chris