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Archive for May, 2013

An upswing in sales for the April market

Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 1,573 residential properties, including condominiums, in April through the Board’s Multiple Listing Service® system, compared with 1,568 in April 2012, an increase of 0.3 per cent.

“The Ottawa market is doing well, and gaining ground back since the “cool-down” of the market for the past five months,” said Tim Lee, President of the Ottawa Real Estate Board.  “We are on a par with the strong sales of last April and the resale market is up 34.9 per cent since last month. With the late onset of warmer weather, the traditional “spring market” saw its upswing a little later this year. With interest rates continuing to be low, Ottawa remains a healthy, stable market.” explains Mr. Lee.

The average sale price of residential properties, including condominiums, sold in April in the Ottawa area was $371,565, an increase of 2.12 per cent over April 2012. The average sales price for a condominium-class property was $266,596, a decrease of 2.3 per cent from April 2012. The average sale price for a residential property was $396, 507, an increase of 2.9 per cent over April 2012.

Single level condominium apartments: April’s figures showed 150 sales for the month, compared with 140 in April 2012. The average price in April 2013 was $288,832, a decrease of 7.8 per cent over the previous April.

Two story condominium townhomes: April’s figures showed 131 sales for the month, compared with 137 in April 2012. The average price in April 2013 was $240,729, an increase of 2.3 per cent over the previous year’s April.

To summarize, volume is increasing while prices have dropped slightly. With the return of good weather it seems that the buyers are also returning.  Ottawa remains strong.

Smoking in home reduces property value

By Robert Hof

It’s unhealthy, it’s disgusting, it stinks and eventually it will probably kill you. Not enough reason to stop smoking? Maybe this will help you quit. It can cost you a lot of money! Mark Weisleder points out the perils in his latest piece from The Toronto Star.

A recent survey demonstrates what many already suspected; not only is it harder to sell a home that was occupied by a prior heavy smoker, it will also affect the sale price.

Please see the attached article, which not only explains the problem, but also provides a solution to getting rid of foul odors prior to putting a home on the market.

Click here to read the article:


Canadian Home Sales Rise in April

According to statistics released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales edged up slightly on a month over-month basis in April 2013. Activity has generally held to within short reach of current levels for the past nine months. View PDF.

$100,000 deposit lost when fax not read in time

By Robert Hof

The attached case raises interesting issues related to outstanding open work permits and how they might be handled on closing. In this case, the buyer purchased a renovated home, but learned that there was still an open permit that was not finally inspected and approved by the Building department.

The buyer refused to close until the permit was cleared. On the closing date, the seller lawyer notified the buyer lawyer by fax at 4 pm that they could obtain a title insurance policy to deal with the issue. The buyer lawyer did not see the fax and assumed the deal was cancelled.

See the attached decision where the judge ruled that the deposit was forfeited by the buyer because in accordance with the offer, if a seller can obtain title insurance to correct a work order issue, then a buyer must close.

When selling or buying properties that are recently renovated, questions need to be asked to make sure that any outstanding work permit has been finally inspected and signed off by the local City official. Open work permits can later lead to work orders, which will become the responsibility of the owner to repair later.

Click here to read the article:

Be wary of granting Power of Attorney or other real estate scams

By Robert Hof

A warning from Mark Weisleder – The Toronto Star

The elderly or infirm are often the targets of con artists, who seek to take advantage of the situation for their own benefit. If the scam is not found out in time, these victims can in many cases lose their life savings.

Please see the attached case, where a scheme was discovered in time and the victim was protected against an illegal contract that they signed. It also confirms that you cannot trade in real estate without a licence.

Click here to read the article:


Three myths about insurance and renos

By Robert Hof

Insurance myths abound, according to a new consumer survey, and that ignorance can have pretty dire consequences for investors and other property buyers who are in the midst of renovating or have already paid the price, so to speak.Here’s a list of the top three of those myths, courtesy of TD Insurance and its online survey conducted by Environics. It’s based on sample size of 2,748 Canadians, polled from February 7 to 18.

True false

Myth #1: “My home will be covered under my original insurance policy during renovations”

Some 56 per cent of respondents incorrectly believed they will always be covered by their original home insurance policy while their home is being renovated, and 24 per cent are unaware that moving out for more than 30 days during renovations requires a policy update.

“Upgrades requiring extensive work, such as adding an extension to your home, may require you to change your entire policy to a building under construction,” says Dave Minor, a vice president at TD Insurance. “And, if you’re not living in your home during renovations, it becomes an easier target for thieves and undetected water damage, which is why your insurer may require you to secure a vacancy permit if you move out for more than a month.”

Myth #2: “If my contractor is injured on my property while working, his insurance will cover it”

Contractors are trained professionals, but accidents can and do happen. However, 41 per cent of respondents incorrectly indicated that if a contractor is hurt on their property while working, they will not be liable.

“If a contractor or their employees are injured on your property, you could be liable for their medical bills, lost wages, or damages for pain and suffering – all out of your own pocket,” says Minor.

He says the property owner should ask to see the contractor’s public liability insurance certificate.

“The amount of insurance coverage they have would depend on the type of renovation, the number of employees and cost of the renovation,” he says. ”The higher the limits of coverage, the more protection you would have.”

Myth #3: “Renovations don’t affect my insurance coverage”

Many survey respondents didn’t know which renovations can decrease your premiums, but are willing to find savings: eight-in-ten homeowners (79 per cent) said they would be likely to make certain upgrades to their home if they could save money on insurance premiums in the longer term.

“Simple renovations like installing security devices, such as alarm systems and deadbolts, or fixing your weathered roof may decrease your premiums,” says Minor.

On the other hand, many homeowners don’t know the types of renovations that can impact their premiums: 22 per cent are unaware that upgrading your electrical system or replacing a weathered roof could lower your premiums, and 53 per cent did not know that installing granite countertops or expensive appliances could increase their premiums.

“Remember, anything that may impact the value of your home or probability of a claim will also affect what and how much insurance coverage you need,” says Minor. “Although water proofing your basement may not be as exciting as new stainless steel kitchen appliances, these types of renovations can help protect your home and belongings.”