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Archive for November, 2013

October resales comparable to five-year average

Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 1,090 residential properties in October through the Board’s Multiple Listing Service® system, compared with 1,069 in October 2012, an increase of 2 per cent.  The five-year average for October sales is 1,091.

“Resale units sold in October are right on par compared to the five-year average,” says Ansel Clarke, Past President of the Ottawa Real Estate Board. “This is a welcome change from the first half of 2013, where we saw continuous decreases, albeit small ones, in the number of units sold. We are also seeing average prices beginning to creep back up. The Ottawa market is proving, once again, to be steady and balanced.”

The average sale price of all residential properties, including condominiums, sold in October in the Ottawa area was $360,085, an increase of 4.1per cent over October 2012. The average sale price for a condominium property was $270,542, an increase of 1.6 per cent over October 2012. The average sale price for a residential property was $381,580, an increase of 3.5 per cent over October 2012.

Single level condominium apartments: October’s figures showed 116 sales for the month, compared with 100 in October 2012. The average price in October 2013 was $296,265, a decrease of 4.3 per cent over the previous year’s October.

Two story condominium townhomes: October’s figures showed 81 sales for the month, compared with 114 in October 2012. The average price in October 2013 was $231,317, a decrease of 0.7 per cent over the previous year’s October.

Want to protect your view? Get it in writing

By Robert Hof

When you buy a home from a developer expecting to keep your view in the years ahead, get it in writing. An interesting case in an Ottawa development shows what can happen if you don’t.

Some people who bought new homes from Monarch Corp. in the Sandgate Ridge community in Nepean are upset because of plans by Monarch to rezone greenspace behind their homes. Monarch wants to build 11 more homes, just behind the fifth tee of the Stonebridge Golf and Country Club. The owners claim that they paid a premium for their lots, in some cases $100,000 more than for other homes in the development because of promises made by Monarch the land would not be developed. The reason they purchased was specifically for the tranquility that these lots offered.

View my yard

In most cases when you buy a new home, the developer cannot make these kinds of guarantees, often because they do not own all of the surrounding lands and they have no control over what neighbouring owners might apply for in the future.

If you’re a buyer, look around the development and try to imagine what might happen. For example, if your neighbour decided to build a second storey addition, how would that affect you? There is also the possibility a developer could buy neighbouring old homes and apply to build a condo. Is there vacant land nearby? Then go to City Hall and ask whether anyone has applied to re-zone the land in your area. A rezoning application takes time, and there are opportunities for the neighbours to object. For example, the Stonebridge Community Association submitted a letter to the City of Ottawa in opposition to the Monarch plan, raising traffic and safety concerns.

Still, there is no guarantee that these homeowners will be successful, if the application by Monarch makes sense. For the city, new homes mean more fees and taxes in the future from the new owners. The home owners may decide to sue Monarch, but if they do not have anything in writing, it will be difficult for them to win.

Do your research before buying and you should have the comfort of enjoying your home and the surroundings for a long time.

Just don’t expect any guarantees.

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Canadian home sales fall back in October

According to statistics released today by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), national home sales declined in October 2013. View Article.

Use two deposits for buyer protection

By Robert Hof

Mark Weisleder has an excellent point here – Robert.

“Unfortunate occurrences are taking place in the real estate market when buyers have a change of heart after inspecting a home. The sellers are refusing to return the deposit.

Here’s what is happening:

Most real estate offers contain substantial deposits, in many cases $25,000 or higher. The accepted offer is conditional on the buyer being satisfied with the results of a home inspection report, completed by a professional home inspection company. The buyer conducts the inspection and then says they are not satisfied with the home, and ask for their money back. The sellers are upset, because if other buyers hear about this, they will ask what is wrong with the house. The seller can’t answer because the first buyer does not have to give them a copy of the inspection report.

In general, the courts have indicated that when buyers are trying to satisfy any condition, including a home inspection condition, they must act honestly, reasonably and in good faith. Unfortunately this will have to be proven in court, and the result is that a buyer’s deposit could be held up for up to two years while this is being argued.

Sellers are not entitled to a copy of the inspection report unless it says so in the clause itself. In my opinion, sellers should always include a clause in any offer that if the buyer wants to negotiate a reduction or cancel the deal because of problems in the inspection report, then the buyer must give the seller a copy of the report. This will give the seller the opportunity to check this for themselves, with their own inspector or contractor, and will be able to explain it to any future buyer.

If the buyer does not conduct the home inspection at all, or perhaps brings in an unqualified person to conduct the inspection, then I believe that these might be examples of not acting reasonably and in good faith and it would thus be difficult for a buyer to try and cancel the agreement and argue that they acted in good faith. It is thus very important that buyers always use qualified home inspectors to conduct any inspection of a home.

If a buyer is not in a bidding war, I advise that you consider two deposits, a small deposit when the deal is accepted, and a larger deposit once you are satisfied with all of your conditions. That way, if you are not satisfied, there is not much of a deposit that will be worth fighting over. It is very important for buyers to understand all their legal rights and obligations relating to conditions before signing any offer to buy a home.

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Indoor air quality and radon levels should be on home inspection lists

By Robert Hof

Person in gas mask OK – maybe this image is a bit over the top but air quality inside our homes is something many of us  rarely think about – Robert


 From the National Post

The air inside your home plays a huge role in the way you and the rest of your family feel on a day-to-day basis. Most of us worry about the air quality outside. We have smog advisories, air quality alerts, and it seems like every day I see something in the news about pollution or gas emissions. But you want to know the hard facts? The air inside your home can be two to five times more polluted than the air outside. In some cases, it’s 100 times worse! We are constantly exposed to pollution, toxins, pesticides, gases — even radon. Most of the time, these things get diluted into the outside air. But they can also find their way into our homes through tiny cracks in foundation walls and floors, through unfinished floors, windows, sumps, vents or gaps around pipes and drains.

Full article –