How Canadian Real Estate Can Continue During Coronavirus

COVID-19 has hit 2020 like a wrecking ball, slowly making its way across borders. Social distancing has us all pressing pause, letting go of priorities in favour of time spent indoors, connected only though our screens. Alas, in the real estate market, even amid a global pandemic, there are still sellers who need to sell, and buyers who need to buy.

Lucky for us, in this age of technological glory, real estate agents have access to some great solutions to ensure that processes remain safe, and transactions can continue to take place. This too will pass, and in the meantime, we can all use a little creativity to ensure that our brief pauses don’t turn into a full stop.

Great News for Buyers

Finally, a silver lining to COVID-19 mark on the markets: if financially possible, it can be a great time to buy a home with interest rates being the lowest we have seen.

In response to the viral outbreak, banks worldwide have been cutting interest rates. The Bank of Canada cut the interest rate for Canadians by a full percentage point earlier this month. As a result, prospective home buyers looking to get a mortgage can now expect to borrow at a decreased rate. With fixed term mortgage rates also on the decline, home buyers have the flexibility to borrow more and aim for a higher home price or get a better mortgage rate and have less expensive mortgage payments.

So, with buyers in a good position to buy, how are real estate agents helping to make home sales happen, particularly in the wake of temporary social distancing?

Leverage Technology for Real Estate!

Big advances in technology have ignited a fundamental shift in the real estate industry, and it is now easier than ever to gain a wealth of knowledge about a home, condo, townhouse or any listing from the online listing alone.

Floor plans, detailed descriptions, panoramic pictures, and video tours allow the buyer to get a good feel for a home, before ever setting foot within the property.

With a greater segment of the population glued to their screens during isolation measures, there could be a marked increase in recreational and serious buyers browsing the online marketplace. Agents will be ensuring more than ever that their online listings are as detailed and alluring as possible.

These tools will help the real estate market move online, at least until isolation measures have passed:

  • 360 Virtual Video Tours

More agents are working with photographers specializing in 360 home video tours as a way to create an immersive experience for the home buyer.

By helping to bring the property listing to life, buyers like that they can get a feel for the space without being there. A good virtual video tour is navigable, interactive, and controlled by the viewer. The resolution should be high, and the control tools should be intuitive.

The ultimate goal is to replicate the experience of walking through each room, in person. During COVID-19, 360-home tours are a recommended alternative to an open house.

  • Ditching the Paperwork

We may be hoarding toilet paper supplies, but we can a least give the printer paper a rest by moving to electronic signing methods once you’re ready to sign on the bottom line.

There are a number of downloadable apps available, allowing signatories to sign a PDF or word document directly through your phone or tablet. Many of which real estate agents are already using to facilitate real estate deals.

Limited contact, limited paper. Online signing methods can be encrypted with a tamper-evident seal and audit trail. This ensures the legality of the signed documents and allows you and your agent to view what was signed, and when.

  • Screen-to-Screen Selling

While face-to-face contact is challenged during the period of social distancing, there are other ways to maintain a personal connection with your agent. Video calling tools such as FaceTime and WhatsApp, can help mimic a meeting with your agent more effectively than a phone call, and can also prove to be useful if you wish to view aspects of a property not shown through the listing.

Above all, it’s important that you’re taking precautions to ensure your personal safety, and the safety of others during your home search. And remember that “necessity is the mother of invention”; perhaps some of these temporary adjustments will prove to be viable long-term solutions for the real estate industry.  In the meantime, with a little bit of creativity, real estate agents can maintain their commitments to their clients, in a way that keeps all of our communities safe.  

 

Courtesy of REMAX.ca

Our Commitment During The COVID-19 Crisis – A message from RE/MAX Canada

To our valued customers and real estate consumers,

We know this is a trying and stressful time for all of us in Canada.  Things are changing almost hourly with government recommendations at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels.

At RE/MAX, we want to offer you stability and comfort knowing your real estate needs are still being met in a safe and responsible manner.  On remax.ca, we continue to offer up-to-the-minute listings, accurate home estimates, and timely, valuable real estate news — especially important at this time.

Rest assured, while we remain open for business, our agents and brokers are taking all necessary precautions as recommended by the various health agencies and government.  

  • Our agents are limiting contact with the general public and will use alternative means of communication wherever possible such as texts, phone calls, and emails
  • We have strongly recommended the postponing of all open houses immediately until a future date where it’s deemed safe
  • Any agents that feel unwell are instructed to self-isolate and not interact with the public
  • Information around hand washing and sanitizing has been circulated with our agents and we are strongly encouraging them to follow all guidelines as outlined by public health officials to help keep themselves and their clients protected
  • RE/MAX offices are reducing hours and seeking alternative technologies to connect with clients and host offer presentations 
  • RE/MAX agents are committed to using technology to help safely deliver the best service possible. This includes virtual tours of the home or digital presentations. 

The strength of our RE/MAX agents is knowing and being a part of your communities.  We are all in this together and remain committed to keeping you and your loved ones safe. 

To those who are already with our RE/MAX agents buying or selling a home, our agents are there for you and if necessary, will make arrangements with you if there are any concerns around illness or potential spread of the virus.

Nothing is more important right now than the health and safety of our colleagues, clients and fellow citizens across Canada.

Check our blog frequently for our updates on how this situation is impacting the real estate market, and we will continue to be here to answer your questions and serve your real estate needs.

Sincerely,

Christopher Alexander

EVP & Regional Director of RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada

Elton Ash 

Regional Executive Vice President, RE/MAX of Western Canada

 

Courtesy of REMAX.ca

3 Financial Questions to Ask Before Selling Your Home

Before you sell your home, you need to understand the finances involved in the process. This will help ensure you have a smooth transaction and set you up for success with your next home purchase. Here are the three most important questions to ask yourself before you get started:

What are the current market conditions?

As a general rule of thumb, the best time to sell is when listing inventory is low. More buyers vying for fewer houses means you’ll likely get a better deal for your home. When listing inventory is high, buyers have more options and you may need to price your home more competitively to get offers.

How much can I reasonably expect to get for my home?

Depending on the current market, the condition of your home, and how much homes similar to yours sold for recently, I can create a comparative market analysis that will give you a good idea of how much you could expect to get for your home.

How much do I owe on my home?

If you owe more on your home than it’s worth, it may not be a great time to sell. However, if you’ve built up a good amount of equity on your home, you could be looking at receiving a large check for selling your home. Take the amount you expect to get for selling and subtract how much you still owe to get a basic idea of how much you could walk away from the closing table with.

Figuring out if it’s the right time to buy or sell a home can be tricky. If you have questions or would like help figuring out when the right time to move is for your family, let me know. I’ll be glad to help!

10 Things To Do Before The Snow Falls

You’re still revelling in the heat of summer, but believe it or not, winter is coming. Now that September has come, you’ll want to start working your way through this fall home maintenance checklist. Ensuring that your home’s cold-weather systems are running efficiently will save you money and major headaches in the long run.

  1. Drain the Hose

Watering season is over, but you’re not done with your outdoor watering system quite yet. To avoid cracked hoses and burst faucets over the winter, turn off water valves in your home and drain all remaining water from the taps and hoses. Tip: Unrolling the hose down a gentle slope will let the water run out completely.

  1. Clear Vents

To prevent ice dams — ridges of roof ice that prevent melting snow from draining — ensure attic vents are free of debris. Poor soffit ventilation can increase mold inside the house and damage wood shingles during the winter months. Tip: A leaf blower or a pass with a pressure washer will clear them out and prep them for winter snow.

  1. Clean the Chimney

Ahhh, there’s nothing quite like the warming atmosphere of a wood-burning fireplace in the dead of winter. But once you’ve cozied up to your 70th fire, get that chimney inspected and cleaned of excess creosote, because it may cause chimney fires. Tip: Run the point of a fire poker inside the chimney liner and if there’s more than three millimetres of gunk, call a certified chimney sweep.

  1. Store Pots & Planters

If you decide to keep your collection of colourful clay pots outside for winter, make sure you empty the soil before you do. The moisture in the earth will expand when frozen, which can crack those precious ceramic containers. Tip: Removing the soil now will make it easier to reposition and replant the pots come springtime.

  1. Mind in the Gutter

Backed up gutters can cause all sorts of wintertime hassles such as roof leaks, ice dams and wall-focused water damage. Before the snow comes, get your gutters cleared out by a professional — leave ladders to the insured experts. Tip: Make sure all downspout extensions run at least 1.5 metres away from your home’s foundations.

  1. Caulked & Ready

A thin line of silicone caulking is one of the best ways to seal gaps in siding, windows and door frames. If you can see a gap that’s bigger than the width of a nickel, you need to get on it, to stop drafts and water damage in their tracks. Tip: Pick up some weather stripping for doors as well — you shouldn’t be able to see daylight from inside your home.

  1. Inspect the Roof

Pull out a pair of binoculars and give your roof a careful once-over. Keep your eyes peeled for damage or missing or loose shingles. Hire a handyman for patching jobs, or a roofing company for larger sections in need of some TLC before winter comes. Tip: Take time to investigate the flashing around chimneys and vent stacks, too.

  1. A/C Prep

While it may be tempting to wrap your entire external air-conditioning unit in miles of plastic wrap, resist the urge. Doing this can cause corrosion and is an inviting spot for nesting rodents. Instead, place a piece of made-to-measure plywood over the unit during winter and protect it from large, falling icicles and snowdrifts.

  1. Heating Up

Don’t wait until the thermometer dips below zero to think about your home’s heating system; prep now and be ready. A technician can inspect, test and clean your furnace or heat pump to ensure they’re in tip-top shape for winter. Tip: Ask for a carbon monoxide measurement at the same time as the inspection.

  1. Flip it and Reverse it

If your home is kitted out with ceiling fans, check the settings for a reverse option. Running fans in the opposite direction creates an updraft, pushing down heated air, which can help reduce your energy bill. Tip: If you have high ceilings, consider switching out the fan units for ones that have this setting.

Before the temperature drops too much, make sure your home is ready to handle the cold, wet winter months. A little prep work and elbow grease now will go a long way to help your home weather the coming storms — literally.

How to Prepare for the Fall Real Estate Market

Real estate is sold 365 days a year; it’s the new norm!  Fall can be a great time to sell your home. Below are some of the best tips for selling a home during the fall.

Analyze the Market & Price Your Home Right

Analyze the current state of your local real estate market. Understanding the type of market your area is experiencing is important: Is your local market type a sellers’ market, a buyers’ market, or a balanced market. It’s important when it comes to pricing your home accordingly. If you don’t know ask your Real Estate Agent!

 

Perform Applicable Inspections & Cleanings

If you’re planning on selling your home in the fall, tackle the inspections and cleaning part prior to listing your home for sale.

 

Decorate & Embrace the Fall

The most exciting part about fall! If you decide to sell your home during the fall, there are many decorating tips, staging tips, and ways to embrace the fall season. Be tactful with your decorating and try to appeal to the masses!

 

Clean Up the Exterior

The least exciting part about fall…is raking leaves. Don’t neglect the exterior of your home. Tasks that should be completed when selling a home during the fall include:

Raking leaves

Removing loose sticks

Weeding flower beds

Trimming flowers, bushes, and shrubs

Aerating the lawn

 

Prepare Your Home for Showings

When selling in the fall, ensure your home smells good. Popular ways to make your home smell warm and cozy while selling in the fall include:

Brewing a fresh pot of pumpkin spice coffee

Boiling cinnamon sticks

Burning fall scented candles

 

Selling a home in the fall is not for everyone, however, these tips can help expedite the sale of your home and maximize the sale price!

Farmers’ Markets To Visit This Summer

Toronto is a wonderful city known for many things including farmers’ markets!

Toronto neighbourhoods offer many farmers’ markets throughout the year for community members to enjoy. Below is a collection of some of Toronto’s best. Head out to discover all that they have to offer and leave the market with a bag full of fresh produce and fun memories!

Annette Farmers’ Market

When: Every Wednesday from May to October, 3pm-7pm
Where: Runnymede Presbyterian Church parking lot
680 Annette Street, Toronto, ON, M6S 1V9

Etobicoke Civic Centre Farmers’ Market

When: Every Saturday from June 2 to October 27, 2018, 8am-2pm
Where: Etobicoke Civic Centre
399 The West Mall, Etobicoke, ON M9C 2Y2

Humber Bay Shores Farmers’ Market

When: Every Saturday from May 26 to October 6, 2018, 9am-2pm
Where: Humber Bay Park West
2225 Lake Shore Blvd W, Etobicoke, ON M8V 3X7

Stonegate Famers’ Market

When: Every Tuesday from June to October, 4pm-7pm
Where: Christ Church St. James Anglican Church parking lot
194 Park Lawn Rd, Etobicoke, ON M8Y 3J1

Market Days at Montgomery Inn

When: Every Wednesday, year-round, 2pm-6pm (Indoor during the winter)
Where: Montgomery’s Inn
4709 Dundas St. W, Etobicoke, On M9A 1A8

Weston Farmers’ Market

When: Every Saturday from May 12 to October 27, 2018, 7am-2pm
Where: The GO Parking lot
1865 Weston Rd (South of Lawrence Avenue), York, ON M9N 1V9

Four Places To Take A Day Trip This Year From Toronto

Just like our license plates state, Ontario is “Yours To Discover”!

Scandinave Spa – Collingwood, ON

Spend the day relaxing in the heart of nature! Treat yourself to a massage or spend the day in the Scandinavian baths; either way, you are in for a day of quiet relaxation. Phones and electronics are prohibited during your stay, so be prepared to unplug and enjoy every minute of the tranquil environment situated on 25 acres of natural Ontario birch, Canadian maple and pine trees.

Rattlesnake Point – Milton, ON

Rattlesnake Point is one of the most beautiful places in Ontario: spend the day there in any season and you’ll see what we mean! Home to some of the best cliffs for climbing in Ontario offering a variety of different climbing levels. With three designated sites and more than 235 routes, you will enjoy scaling the cliffs under a canopy of rich woods.

Wine Country – Niagara-On-The-Lake, ON

Enjoy wine country with a tour of one of the many wineries in the area. Offering a wide variety of events, concerts, shops and attractions, wine tasting isn’t the only way to enjoy this Ontario gem!

Wasaga Beach, ON

Enjoy a day at the longest freshwater beach in the world! Wasaga is home to starting points for hiking trails over 50 km long, including the Pine Trail and sections of the Ganaraska Trail. Wasaga offers something for everyone. If you are planning a day trip make sure you stick around to enjoy one of the breathtaking sunsets!

Keep Your Plants Green!

Tip 1: If you don’t have enough time to water your plants or you travel a lot, set your plant in a shady area and remove the buds. This way they need less water.

Tip 2: Use proper soil, or better yet use fully composed yard waste. Supply your plants with the right nutrients, quality soil is key.

Tip 3: Give plants plenty of water – it’s crucial to their survival. It’s like plant 101.

Tip 4: Use a proper pot or container; it’s going to be your plant’s home for the rest of it’s life, talk about pressure. Nothing too big or too small, go with something just right; medium is the word. Your plant will grow the longer you take care of it and the right amount of space is fundamental to it’s growth.

Tip 5: Watch out for bugs! Some insects actually transport viruses from one plant to another.

Tip 6: Deadheading (cutting off the faded bloom) encourages the plant to keep producing more flowers or leaves.

Let Us Help With Your Spring Cleaning

There’s no better feeling than coming home to a clean house, which should be motivation enough to tackle a deep clean during this upcoming spring season. Spring cleaning is the perfect opportunity to get rid of all the stuff you can live without. While it’s true that taking on an entire home can make you feel like an ant about to climb a mountain, breaking it down room by room can ease the burden.

Start by making a checklist of all the essential tasks you need to do for each room in the house. Go through your checklist and check off everything you’ve done so far. It’s such a satisfying feeling when you start checking items off your list and it gives you just the motivation you need to go on. Now, no one said you have to get everything done in one weekend; if you give yourself five tasks per weekend, you can easily complete your list before spring ends. Go at your own pace and make sure you focus on the areas in your home that really need the most attention. The notorious and dreaded spring cleaning has an upside: it’s a project that will allow you to feel good about getting rid of all the stuff you don’t need, especially when you are looking to sell or simply de-clutter.

You can sell your unwanted items on Kijiji. This popular online advertising service has come up with a way to help you de-clutter while at the same time make a profit for your efforts! Another way to rid yourself of unwanted belongings and feel good about it at the same time is to donate unwanted clothing items, old toys and accessories. Take the extra step to help a foundation or donation and make a difference in your community. This time of year is also famous for hosting yard sales! If you like to get hands on, set up your very own street sale and invite your neighbours to participate to increase traffic in the community on the day of the sale. Some tips for hosting a successful yard sale are below:

  • Make sure you advertise! Have the kids create posters they can place around town. Don’t forget, less is more, so avoid the glitter and drawings and make sure the information is bold, clear, and short.
  • Have a plan: Not everyone is crazy about sifting through your used goods for the perfect find. Place hot ticket items at the front to draw people in and make them want to explore the sale further.
  • Name a Price: Make sure that all items are clearly marked with a price so your visitors can decide whether or not they would like to purchase it based on the price. If you have a bunch of small items, you can also create a table where all items are priced under a certain amount to encourage people to buy in multiples. People love a good bargain!

Armed with a plan and enthusiasm, you’re spring cleaning efforts will pay off in no time!

Listing Your Home in Spring is a Good Choice

On average, over the past five years in the Greater Toronto Area, selling your home in May could net you $60,000 more than if you were to sell in January. Last year’s Spring Market Report trends prove that there was a significant price increase and high demand in the GTA during the first quarter of 2017. Supply increased in the last few weeks of March, as more Sellers chose to list their homes.

We all know that timing can be everything, and choosing when to buy or sell a home could save you tens of thousands of dollars. While there tends to be more inventory for Buyers to choose from, there’s usually more competition which benefits Sellers.

Aside from the nice weather, a home tends to show better in spring and summer. Almost all houses look better in the late spring and summer when flowers start to bloom and the grass turns green again, so if curb appeal is a concern for you, this may be something to consider. More Buyers are also ready to buy as they might be looking to use their tax refunds as a down payment and with tax refund cheques in the bank, spring buyers pay full price more often. The advantage for Sellers with kids is that moving in the summer means schooling isn’t interrupted.
Overall, it’s a win-win.

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