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Archive for June, 2013

May market cools as the heat picks up

Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 1,804 residential properties, including condominiums, in May through the Board’s Multiple Listing Service® system, compared with 1,890 in May 2012, a decrease of 4.6 per cent.  The five year average for May sales is 1,802.

“The Ottawa market is still on par with average sales since 2009 and 233 more properties were sold than the month before,” says Ansel Clarke, Immediate Past President of the Ottawa Real Estate Board.  “Residential units are faring well in comparison to condominiums, where the average sale price is down 2.3 per cent and units sold are down 9.9 per cent. Residential bungalows and two-storey homes comprised the majority of properties sold in May.”

May’s sales included 326 condominiums and 1,478 residential properties. The average sale price of all residential properties, including condominiums, sold in May in the Ottawa area was $370,501, an increase of 2.1 per cent over May 2012. The average sales price for a condominium-class property was $262,467, a decrease of 2.3 per cent from May 2012. The average sale price for a residential property was $394,331, an increase of 2.3 per cent over May 2012.

Two storey condominium townhomes: May’s figures showed 145 sales for the month, compared with 160 in May 2012. The average price in May 2013 was $229,317, a decrease of 6.1 per cent over the previous year’s May. This makes townhomes an excellent choice for buyers.

There is a lot of choice on the market at present and with prices and mortgage rates remaining stable, we remain positive that the summer months will be active

Who you gonna call if the house is haunted, a medium – or a lawyer?

By Robert Hof

 Strange things happen in real estate. Mark Weisleder tells all. Robert.

Do you need to disclose whether a house may be haunted? While the answer is likely no in Canada, please read the attached article about a home in New York where a seller’s failure to disclose permitted a buyer to cancel the agreement.

If this type of issue will bother any buyer, then make sure you include a clause in your purchase agreement that protects you.

Click here to read Mark Weisleder’s article:

Canadian home sales climb higher in May

According to statistics released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales improved in May 2013, building on gains recorded in the previous two months. View Article.

Pre-Approved Financing may not be enough for home purchase

By Robert Hof

Something not everyone may be aware of – thanks, Mark Weisleder.

Lenders are more frequently asking for an appraisal of a property just prior to closing. If the appraisal is less than what the buyer paid for it, then the lender may either reduce the amount of the mortgage loan or just cancel the loan altogether. Just because you are pre-approved for a mortgage does not mean you will get the full amount. Make sure that your lender has completed its appraisal before you waive any financing condition:

Please read my article on what can happen when lenders change their minds just before closing:

Royal Bank nudges mortgage rates higher

By Robert Hof

5-year rate hiked to 3.29%

Canada’s largest lender has raised its residential mortgage rates by a few basis points.

Starting Monday, many of Royal Bank’s fixed-rate mortgages will be higher. The bank is hiking its special four-year closed rate offer higher by 10 basis points, to 3.09. The standard one-year closed will increase by 14 basis points to 3.14, the two-year closed will also be 3.14 per cent (up 10 basis points in that case) and the three-year closed fixed rate mortgage will increase by 10 basis points to 3.65.

Most significantly, the bank’s benchmark five-year fixed-rate mortgage rate will increase by 0.2 percentage points, to 3.29 per cent.

The five-year rate is by far the most common mortgage rate selected by first-time home buyers.

The hike sounds like an incremental difference, but it can add up fast. Under the old rate, a $300,000 mortgage for 25 years would cost just over $1,433 a month. Under the new rate, that same mortgage would cost $1,464 a month — that’s $31 more per month, every month, or more than $9,300 over the 25-year life of the mortgage.

The move is a reaction to increases in the bond market, where the banks have seen their borrowing costs tick higher of late. Increasing consumer lending rates is the bank’s way of passing those costs on to consumers. Royal’s rivals are likely to follow.

In contrast to fixed-rate mortgages, which are largely set by the bond market, variable rate mortgages are more dependent on the rate the Bank of Canada sets every six weeks.

In March, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty caused a mini furor when he urged BMO and Manulife to rescind their temporary offers of a five-year mortgage rate below three per cent, something he worried would encourage reckless borrowing.

BMO quietly allowed its offer to expire naturally, but Manulife rescinded its offer after pressure from the Department of Finance.

Article source CBC June 9th, 2013

Trees add value to our environment and our bank accounts

By Robert Hof

Trees don’t ask for much—dirt, water, sunlight. Yet they provide a wealth of benefits: They improve the air you breathe, cut your energy bills with their shade, provide a home to wildlife, and add beauty and value to your home.


But every year, millions of acres of forest are cut down. Several million more acres are lost to fire, storm, and disease. That’s why planting new trees and protecting the ones we have is so important. You can do your part by

  • Caring for the trees in your yard
  • Supporting tree-planting activities in your community

Why should you care about trees? They can save you money!

The most tangible bang from your bark comes from energy savings. Properly placed trees could save you dollars a year in energy costs. Trees save energy in two main ways. Their shade cuts cooling costs in the summer. In winter, they serve as windbreak and help hold down heating costs.

But money saved is peanuts compared with the role trees play as the lungs of the planet. An American report estimated that one mature tree takes 48 pounds of carbon out of the atmosphere each year and returns enough oxygen for two human beings.

Plant your tree in the right spot

To get the full benefits from your trees, choose the right one and put it in the right location. Planting a deciduous tree on the west side of a house provides cooling shade in the summer. In winter, after it loses its leaves, the same tree lets in sunlight that cuts heating and lighting bills. On the other hand, an evergreen on the west side blocks sun all year long, making a home colder and darker in winter. Rather plant evergreens, a great choice for blocking icy winter winds, on the north side of your home.

If you’re planting a new tree, think about its fully grown size and shape before you dig. Branches from a tree located below power lines can cause outages as it grows. Roots from a tree located too close to a home can damage the foundation or block sewer lines.

Ensuring that your yard has lots of healthy trees doesn’t have to be more complicated than a trip to the nursery and a hole in your yard. Dig it twice as wide as deep. Let kids push in the dirt and help water weekly until the tree is two years old. Your local nursery will tell you how to select the right tree for your needs and climate, where to plant it, and how to maintain it.

You don’t have to hug your tree but given what that tree will do for you, it’s not a bad idea!

For lots more information, see the Ryerson University study that has just been issued.

Be careful how you draft repair clauses in real estate agreements

By Robert Hof

After a typical home inspection, a buyer inspector discovers various deficiencies. The question is, what to do about them? In many cases, the buyer asks the seller to repair the item prior to closing. However, no process is mentioned to deal with situations where the buyer is not satisfied with the repairs that were done.

In addition, there is no “right” for the buyer to hold back any money on closing, unless the agreement specifically provides for it. My advice is in most cases, just estimate what it will cost to fix, negotiate a price reduction and let the buyer do the repairs after closing.

See the attached article about problems that occur when repair clauses are misunderstood.

Click here to read the article.


Selling a family home can be very emotional, and costly

By Robert Hof

Mark Weisleder makes us aware of the pitfalls than can occur in a real estate transaction.

When you sell a home that has been in the family for many years, it can be very emotional for everyone involved. It becomes even more difficult if the buyer plans on demolishing the home. Please read the attached case to see what happened when a seller changed their mind about the sale of their parent’s home after learning that the home was to be completely gutted after closing.

Click here to read the article: