KITCHENER – WATERLOO CONDOS & LOFTS FOR SALE

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February Real Estate Update for Kitchener Waterloo – Condo’s Leading The Way

With the cold weather still keeping its grip on us here in Kitchener Waterloo, the Residential Real Estate market is starting to  show signs of life. Even though  the volume of sales are down about 4% the prices are still rising steadily. Condos are leading the way for another month in a row up 6.3%.

Have a look at the entire Media release from the Kitchener waterloo real estate board and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to give me  a call.

HOMES SALES STEADY IN FEBRUARY

KITCHENER-WATERLOO, ON (March 5, 2014) –– Residential sales through the Multiple Listing System (MLS®) of the
Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® (KWAR) were down 4.0 percent in February compared to the
same month last year and up 34 percent compared to January’s results which were hampered by extreme
cold and snow.
A total of 431 residential properties were sold compared to 449 the same time last year. Residential sales in
February included 274 single detached homes (down 8.7% from last February), 33 semi-detached (down
13.2%), 28 townhomes (down 3.4%) and 93 condominium units (up 16.3%).
“February sales showed a healthy increase compared to January,” stated Lynn Bebenek, President of the
KWAR. “Low interest rates and a diverse and vibrant regional economy will continue to support a stable market
for the Kitchener-Waterloo area.”
Single detached homes sold for an average price of $387,288 an increase of 5.1 percent compared to last
year. The average sale price for a condominium was $233,657 an increase of 6.8 percent while townhomes and
semis sold for an average of $281,636 (down 0.7%) and $246,171 (down 3.0%) respectively. The average sale
price of all residential sales through the KWAR’s MLS® System increased 3.0 percent to $335,217 compared to
February 2013.
“Following up on what has been one of the coldest winters on record I expect we will see home buyers and
sellers out in full force come the spring time,” said Bebenek.

 


Condo Buying – Finding Your Down Payment May Be Easier Than You Think.

Getting that downmpayment: it might be easier than you think!

For many first-time homebuyers, saving the 5 per cent downpayment is one of the big obstacles to home ownership, especially if you’re paying rent, paying down student loans, and trying to live a life. Here are some programs and tips that can give your downpayment a boost – to get you into your home faster:

  1. The federal Home Buyers’ Program (HBP) lets first-time homebuyers withdraw up to $25,000 each (or $50,000 for a couple) tax-free from their RRSPs. You’ll need to pay those funds back, of course, on a repayment plan.
  2. A financial gift from a parent or blood relative can be used as a downpayment. You’ll need to document in writing that the funds are a gift and that you are not required to pay the money back at any time.
  3. A parent or grandparent could also provide a loan with a modest interest rate and reasonable expectations for loan repayment. Or you could look at borrowing the downpayment through a loan or unsecured line of credit.
  4. If your dream home is out of reach, look for a starter home. Use today’s low interest rates to start hammering down your mortgage, then watch for the opportunity to get the home of your dreams – using the equity and credit rating you’ve been building!

Condo Sales Up! February 2014 Kitchener Waterloo Real Estate Update

JANUARY’S DEEP FREEZE SLOWS OVERALL HOME SALES
CONDO SALES UP IN JANUARY

With most of the country still locked in the DEEP FREEZE, Kitchener waterloo still remains strong on pricing even though sales are slipping a little. The warm weather approaching soon(i hope), I would expect that the market will kick into high gear with strong sales.

If you have any questions on the market in general or specific pricing of your home please don’t hesitate to give me a call.

See below to read the excerpt from the Kitchener Waterloo Real Estate Boards stats.
KITCHENER-WATERLOO, ON (February 5, 2014) –– Homes sales through the Multiple Listing System (MLS®) of the
Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® (KWAR) in January were down 5.3 percent compared to January
of last year.
A total of 319 residential properties were sold compared to 337 the same time last year. Residential sales in
January included 207 single detached homes (down 13.4% from last January), 17 semi-detached (down 29.2%),
18 townhomes (down 28%) and 74 condominium units (up 54.2%).
“Coming off a strong 2013, the pace of home sales slowed down somewhat in January,” stated Lynn Bebenek,
President of the KWAR. “The weather didn’t help much either; the extreme cold and heavy snow made
January a less than desirable month to be out looking at houses.”
January’s deep freeze didn’t hamper sale prices however, single detached homes sold for an average price of
$375,009 an increase of 5.7 percent compared to last year. The average sale price for a condominium was
$214,921 an increase of 1.5 percent, while townhomes and semis sold for an average of $263,679 (down 0.9%)
and $254,807 (up 3.5%) respectively. The average sale price of all residential sales through the KWAR’s MLS®
System increased 1.1 percent to $323,533 compared to January 2013.
“The winter months can be hit or miss depending on the weather,” says Bebenek. “Buyers and sellers will be all
the more eager once spring hits, and we are expecting a strong spring market.”


Top 10 Mortgage Tips for 2014 – Kitchener Waterloo Condos and Lofts

A peek at the year ahead: Our top ten mortgage tips for 2014!

Your home may be the biggest investment you’ll ever make. That means you want to be smart with your mortgage. Although we can’t say for sure what mortgage rates will do – or how the housing market will shift – we have compiled our top tips for the year ahead; sensible strategies for today’s homebuyers and owners.

  1. Variables are back. Several lenders are offering strong “prime minus” rates that could save you thousands in interest. And the Bank of Canada is still holding their key “overnight rate” very steady and very low… making variable-rate mortgages a sensible option right now. Fixed versus variable has always been a challenging mortgage decision. Let us help you decide which financing option best meets your needs.
  2. Don’t sleepwalk through your mortgage renewal. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to save thousands on your mortgage. When your lender sends you a letter saying it’s time to renew… then it’s time to get an expert second opinion. We’re independent and we have access to over 50 lenders. If there’s a better deal, we’ll find it.
  3. Pay your phone bill on time! Paying your bills on time has always been the most important credit habit. Equifax recently started to include phone companies on credit bureau reports – so your lender can see if you have any delinquencies with your phone bills. Look like a good borrower.
  4. Keep other good credit habits. Don’t let your credit accounts exceed 30 per cent of your limit. Don’t cancel an old credit card without getting advice. And don’t sign up for store cards: they often have crazy interest rates, and the application triggers a credit inquiry (you don’t want a lot of those).
  5. Mortgage versus total debt. Do you have high-interest debt outside your mortgage that you won’t be able to pay off in the next few months? Then think about rolling that debt into a new low-rate mortgage. This one, smart strategy could save you thousands… and boost your monthly cash flow. We can analyze your situation to see if you qualify.
  6. What’s the prepayment penalty? Don’t let anyone tell you prepayment penalties are “all the same”. They’re not. If you ever need to get out of your mortgage early, the right mortgage could save you thousands. Not all lenders calculate penalties the same way, and the differences can be substantial. It helps to know which lenders have the most fair prepayment penalties. With access to dozens of lenders – we’ve got that information at our fingertips.
  7. If one of you wants to keep the marital home. If you are going through a separation or divorce and one of you wants to keep the marital home, we’ve got some great mortgage options, including a mortgage to 95 per cent. Your home can be the asset that gives you both a fresh start!
  8. A paydown will pay it forward. Take every opportunity to beat down your mortgage principal using any prepayment privileges! Use tax refunds, bonuses, whatever. Or switch to weekly or bi-weekly payments. Every dollar you pay down on principal means every future payment goes further.
  9. Thinking renovation? We see what you see. Your reno will add value to your home. That’s why we have a special “Refinance Plus Improvements” mortgage that lets you refinance up to 80 per cent of the new, post-reno value of your home. Cool deal.
  10. Come in for a checkup. Your mortgage needs an annual checkup. Really. Life doesn’t stand still, which means your needs may have changed. Even a minor tweak can pay big dividends.

The Stats Are In! Another Great Year for Kitchener Waterloo Real Estate – Market Update

The Stats are in and it was another positive year for the Kitchener Waterloo Real Estate Market.

More homes were sold in 2013 than in the previous two years, and the 6,366 residential sales processed through the Multiple Listing System (MLS®) of the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® (KWAR) this past year were above the 10-year average.

In a year when troubling news concerning one of the region’s largest employers dominated not only headlines, but the hearts and minds of many, the Kitchener-Waterloo housing market fared remarkably well.

“Throughout last year we saw the fate of Waterloo region called into question by those who didn’t fully grasp the depth of our region’s overall economy,” said Lynn Bebenek, President of the KWAR. “While the strength of our housing market is only one economic indicator, this past year demonstrated the confidence buyers and sellers have in Kitchener-Waterloo’s real estate market.”

Sales of homes got off to a slow start in 2013 before heating up in May and stayed strong through to the end of the third quarter. In December, following two months of slower activity, a total of 279 residential properties sold, representing an increase of 3 percent over the same month last year.

The dollar volume of sales in 2013 increased 6.5 percent over last year, totalling $2,057,707,041 and surpassing the “2 billion” dollar mark for the first time in the KWAR’s history.

Close to half of all residential properties (47%) sold above $300,000 in 2013 compared to 43% in 2012. The average price of all residential properties sold in 2013 increased 4 percent to $323,335. Single detached homes sold for an average price of $366,907 in 2013, an increase of 3.7 percent. In the condominium market the average sale price in 2013 was $216,866, an increase of 1.5 percent compared to the previous year.

Home sales in 2013 included 4,241 detached homes (up 4.2 percent from 2012), 1,151 condos (down 3.9 percent), 505 semis (up 3.7 percent), and 399 townhouses (down 0.3 percent)


How To Hide All Those Cords from Behind the Desk

Do you find that all those, computer, phone, monitor cords etc are a real pain to look at everyday? Do you wish you had a great idea to hide them from sight?

images (3)

Well here is a great blog post I found on how just to do that.  Have a look and have  fun with the project

http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/20759446/list/Hide-Cords-in-Style-With-DIY-Graphic-Panels


October 2013 Market Update for Kitchener Waterloo Real Estate

SOLID HOME SALES IN OCTOBER

KITCHENER-WATERLOO, ON (November 5, 2013) –– Residential property sales through the Multiple Listing System
(MLS®) of the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® (KWAR) in October were down 4.0 percent
compared to October of last year.

A total of 481 residential properties were sold compared to 501 the same time last year. Year-to-date sales are
up 3.3 percent with 5,620 homes trading hands so far this year. That stands 2.2 percent above the 5-year
average and up 3.2 percent from the same time in 2012. Residential sales in September included 313 single
detached homes (down 2.8% from last October), 44 semi-detached (down 8.3%), 36 townhomes (up 9.1%) and
85 condominium units (down 7.6%).

“On a monthly basis the number of sales in October was in line with the average of the past 5 years,” says
Dietmar Sommerfeld, President of KWAR. “Looking at year-to-date figures, homes sales are the highest they’ve
been compared to the last five years.”

Sommerfeld says he is confident about the local economy and the region’s housing market, pointing to a
recent Canadian Mortgage Housing Corporation (CMHC) report (Fall 2013) that states steady mortgage rates
combined with stable/increasing employment in the Region will continue to keep housing demand strong
moving into early 2014.

Single detached homes sold for an average price of $352,807 an increase of 3.6 percent compared to last
year. The average sale price for a condominium was $214,226 a decrease of 0.7 percent compared to
October of last year. The average sale price of all residential sales through the KWAR’s MLS® System increased
3.3 percent to $312,785 compared to October 2012.

If you ever have any questions on the information provided or specific pricing of your home feel free to give me a call to discuss. I am always happy to help.


Get the Best Mortgage Rate: Five tips for Financial Fitness – Kitchener Waterloo Condos and Lofts

 

When the time is right for you to buy a home, make sure you are financially fit and eligible for the best possible mortgage rates. Here are our top five tips to boost your “financial fitness”:

1. Whip it. Whip your credit rating into shape: pay your bills on time… every time. Keep your oldest credit card for its history, and make sure it’s always paid on time. Try not to apply for any new credit.

2. Follow the 33% rule. Never run up a credit card or line of credit past 33% of its available limit. If you’ve got a $3,000 limit, then $1,000 is your absolute ceiling.

3. Cash is king. Gather up the maximum down payment possible. The more money you put down on a home, the better.

4. Be prepared. Put together a file folder with the following: pay stubs, or proof of self-employment income, list of debts and assets, and current bank statements. We can advise what you’ll need.

5. Start a dialogue. Talk to us about your plans. Find out if you can pre-qualify, and ask about how you might qualify for the best possible rate.

The process of qualifying for a mortgage begins long before you decide to buy a home! But if you make a plan to improve your financial fitness… you’ll have no shortage of lenders willing to compete for your business. For more information or a connection to a great Broker just give me a call. I am happy to help.


Five Ways to Prepare for Higher Mortgage Rates – Kitchener Condos and Lofts for sale

Five ways to prepare for higher mortgage rates

Mortgage rates on the rise? No need to panic; what you need is some smart strategies to prepare. Here are our top 5 tips:

1. Don’t take the money. If you’re buying a new home, don’t be tempted to borrow the maximum amount your lender will allow.

2. Do more than the minimum.If you have a variable-rate mortgage, build in some wiggle room by setting your payments higher than required.

3. Plan to pre-pay. Find out what your pre-payment privileges are and pay whatever you can.

4. Conduct a reality check.Find out what your mortgage balance will be at renewal and use our online mortgage calculator to project what your payments could be if you renewed at a higher rate. Start to ease up to your new payment level so at renewal, it’s like a merge lane!

5. Watch your bad debt. Be cautious about any credit card or other high-interest debt.

Getting prepared for higher rates is not about panicking, it’s about being prudent.Give me a call if you have any questions.


Don’t Forget Your Fall Home Maintenance Checklist – Kitchener Waterloo Condos For Sale

Your fall “to-do”
list for home maintenance!

A few hours spent on fall maintenance will protect the investment you’ve made, and make for a more comfortable and worry-free winter ahead. Get started with our fall “to-do” list:

 

  • Ensure windows and doors (especially the one between house & garage) close tightly; repair or replace weather stripping if needed.
  • Check your roof for loose or missing shingles.
  • Ensure your eavestroughs and downspouts are clear.
  • Check your chimney for nests, other obstructions, or buildup of residues.
  • Get a pro to inspect your heating system. Clean or replace the furnace air filter each month all winter.
  • Have ducts professionally cleaned every few years; vacuum everything you can reach.
  • Check your home safety devices and change the batteries.
  • Change the direction of ceiling fans to push warm air from the ceiling down.
  • Cover outside of air-conditioning unit.
  • Drain and store outdoor hoses. Protect delicate landscaping.

 By doing a few small things you will ensure that your home is all ready for the winter.

Have a great fall season everyone!


First Time Buyer? A Key Tax Credit Applies to Condos Too

Are you in the market for a new condo?

If you’re buying your first home, take advantage of the Home Buyers Tax Credit (HBTC).

The credit is designed to assist first-time home buyers with the extra costs associated with buying a home, like legal fees, disbursements and land transfer taxes. The $5,000 non-refundable HBTC amount provides up to $750 in federal tax relief. You qualify if neither you nor your spouse (or common-law partner) have owned and lived in another home for the past five years*. If you have a disability – or are purchasing the home for a relative with a disability – you may also qualify for the program, even if you are not a first-time buyer.

* For more information, visit the Action Plan website atwww.actionplan.gc.ca/en/initiative/first-time-home-buyers-tax-credit


Carney Says Interest Rates Stay Put – Kitchener Waterloo Homes and Condos for sale

Rates Stay Put in Carney’s Last Announcement

The Bank of Canada is keeping the key policy rate unchanged in the last rate announcement under outgoing Governor Mark Carney. The Bank said that Canadian “growth in the first quarter was stronger than the Bank projected” and that looking ahead “consumer spending is expected to grow at a moderate pace, business investment to grow solidly,” and inflation to remain subdued. The Bank also noted that “growth in total household credit is slowing.”

As we’ve seen in previous announcements, the Bank indicated that our historic low rates “will likely remain appropriate for a period of time” as a result of continued weakness in the economy, but hinting that any future rate move will likely be a modest rate increase.

The prime rate for most lenders should stay at 3%, exactly where it has been for almost three years, since September 2010.

The Bank’s next rate decision is scheduled for July 17.

If you have any questions on rates or the Real Estate market in Waterloo Region feel free to give me a call.


Energy Efficient Home Insurance Rebate – Get 10% of your Premium Refunded! – Kitchener Waterloo Condo and loft

Energy Efficient Home Insurance Rebate – Get 10% of your premium refunded!

CMHC-Green-Home Refund

Genworth Energy Rebate Form

Consumers can receive a 10% refund of their mortgage insurance premiums as well as their extended amortization surcharge if they their amortization is more than a 25 years.

Mortgage Insurance Premium Refund 25 years:

$300,000 mortgage @ 95% LTV Premium Payable*
Standard Premium (95% LTV = 2.75%) $8,250
Energy-Efficient Premium Refund (10%) ($825)
Total Premium $7,425

Mortgage Insurance Premium Refund 30 years:

$300,000 mortgage @ 95% LTV Premium Payable*
Standard Premium (95% LTV = 2.95%) $8,850($600) surcharge refund
Energy-Efficient Premium Refund (10%) ($1425)
Total Premium $7,425

The following chart will give you an idea in Ontario for the rating required for the year you purchased.  You will need to have the rating from the builder or qualfied energy advisor.

* Depending on the closing date of your purchase, the Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) Energy-Efficiency Rating required differs:

For purchases with a closing date… EnerGuide Rating Required
On or after January 1st, 2013 82
From April 1st, 2010 to December 31st, 2012 80
From July 27st, 2005 to March 31st, 2010 77

In order to make an application for a refund you will need to  fill out one of the attached forms and send it to your insurer along with and EnerGuide  report showing your house rating.  The supporting documents cannot be older than five years or a new energy efficiency evaluation will be required.  If you renovate your existing home to increase it’s EnerGuide rating by at least 5 points(to a minimum of 40) you can apply for the refund as well.

I have applied and received funds for those that fit the requirements when my clients have bought a house that meets the guidelines.   Please contact me if you are looking to purchase an Energy Efficient Home in 2013 that is 82 or higher.   At Bennett Capital, we will get you the best rate and apply for the refund for you at closing.

Information provided by Tracy Bennett of Bennett Capital. For More information please contact myself kevinbaker@kwhometeam.ca or Tracy at tracy.bennett@bennettcapital.ca  January 25, 2013


Status Certificates and Why They Are So Important – Kitchener Waterloo Condos and Lofts

If you are in the process of looking to buy a Condo or Loft space its important to make sure that any offer to purchase that you do has a Status Certificate condition in it. Have a look at the video to hear how you can protect yourself from a large and costly bill.


How Long Will It Take My House to Sell? – Kitchener Waterloo Condos and Lofts for sale

How long will it take my condo to sell? I get that question a lot from people thinking about putting up their unit on the market. Have a look at the video to hear my thoughts as to how long and to why.


August Condo Sales still strong in Kitchener Waterloo. – Kevin Baker Remax Realtor

 KITCHENER-WATERLOO HOMES SALES EASE IN AUGUST

KITCHENER-WATERLOO, ON (September 6, 2012) –– There were a total of 495 home sales through the
Multiple Listing System (MLS®) of the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® (KWAR) in August,
a decrease of 4.4 percent compared to the 518 homes sold in the same month last year.
On a year-to-date basis, residential home sales remain on par with last year – with a total of 4,492
sales recorded.
August’s residential sales included 322 detached homes (down 7.7 percent), 35 semi-detached (up
6.1 percent), 37 townhouses (up 32.1 percent), and 97 condominium units (down 4 percent).
The average sale price of all residential properties sold in Kitchener-Waterloo and area rose 7.3
percent in August to $314,623, up from $293,303 one year ago. Condominium units increased 9
percent to $231,654, up from $212,513 a year ago. Single detached homes sold for an average price
of $354,064, a 7.6 percent increase compared to a year ago.
“While sales were down in August, we saw fairly strong price gains last month, says Sara Hill, president
of the KWAR. “This was helped along by the fact that 3 residential properties sold for over 1 million
dollars in August, compared to no sales in that price range last August.”
Also putting pressure on August’s average residential sale price was the increase in the number of
homes that sold for more than $400,000. 96 homes were reported sold that came in over $400,000,
representing an increase of 37 percent compared to the 70 homes that sold above that mark in
August 2011.

Information taken from Kitchener Waterloo Real Estate Board.


New Construction vs Condo Conversion vs Resale – Buying a Condo in Kitchener Waterloo

If you are thinking of buying a condo there are 3 types to choose from. Here I talk about the differences between new construction condo’s vs condo conversions and the resale condo market.


Selling Your Condo Privately or Exclusive vs the Multiple Lisiting Service (MLS) – Kevin Baker

I shot this video over a year ago and i think its does a good job of explaining the differences between listing “exclusively” or “Privately” vs the MLS system. Have a look to hear my thoughts on my experience with both.


Assessed Value, Appraised Value and Market Value… What do they all mean? Kitchener Condos and lofts for sale

The value of your home greatly depends on who is looking at it. Ultimately the value you want to know is what a buyer is willing to pay for it but there are several different values put on it depending on the reason. Have a look at the video I shot and see what it all means.


Downsizing? Maybe its time to think about Uncluttering Your life! – Kitchener Waterloo Condos for sale

Uncluttering your Life!

Are you thinking of downsizing to a condo but stuck on what to do with all that extra stuff?   Well you’re not alone.  The downsizing population has enjoyed living in their large spacious homes that offer plenty of storage options.  Over the years we can certainly collect a lot of things that don’t serve any purpose today.  The biggest step for most of us is to be able to emotionally detach ourselves from our collection!

When moving to a condo you know that you will be able to live a lifestyle of freedom from all that hard outdoor work.  So with that in mind you can easily step into your garage to target those snow shovels, snow blower, lawnmower, and collection of tools and trinkets that are adorning the shelves.  Imagine the relief of purging all that extra stuff by donating or selling all the unneeded items.

Next is your basement, I am sure it has seen its collection of boxes and totes filled with different items that more than likely only serve as a reminder that you need to dust again.

Do we really need that second set of living room furniture?  The extra end tables or set of 6 chairs from the old kitchen set?  Let it go… it will be happy that it’s in a new home where it will be loved and used. The great feeling of donating to the less fortunate is another gratifying feeling of downsizing.

Have a garage sale, stop by the donation centres or pass it down to your children.

The magazine Style at Home offers 10 great tips for downsizing. Here are the Top 5 

1.     Write a list of all the items you love and can’t live without

2.     Start thinning out your belongings at least three months before the move.

3.      Get a feel for the size of your new rooms by comparing them to rooms of similar dimensions in your present home.

4.      Heavily edit areas with items that don’t have as much sentimental value.

5.      Don’t throw anything in the garbage. Recycle, reuse,

 

So whether you are just thinking of downsizing or have already purchased that condo and getting ready for the upcoming move, hopefully these tips will save you time and stress!

Visit the link to view the complete list.

http://www.styleathome.com/homes/real-estate/top-10-tips-for-downsizing/a/308


Offer Price and Fair Market Value – Kitchener Waterloo Condos for Sale

So you have found the right condo…. now its offer time, but what price to offer. Here is where a Realtor can help. Knowing what fair market value of a home is extremely important in determining what to offer on the condo of your dreams. You don’t want to overpay for something based on emotion. Watch the video to hear my thoughts on why this is an important consideration in your next home purchase


Do Your Due Diligence when looking for your next Condo or Loft – Kitchener Waterloo Condo for sale

The buying process can be a confusion one at the best of times and its easy to forget things with all the stress of looking, doing offers etc. Make sure you make a list of wants, needs and the important things you are looking for in a new home. Have a look at the video to hear my thougths on some of the important ones.


Read the Condo Documents before Buying – Waterloo Condo and lofts for sale

Yesterday I spoke with a friend of mine at 375 King street N, Waterloo and he was telling me about the board of his building trying to change the policies and making it student free. They still have to get 80% of the unit owners to agree but have a look at the video and hear some thoughts on why its important to read the condo documents before you buy.


Special Assessements When Buying a Loft or Condo – Waterloo Condo and Loft

If you have been looking for a new condo or loft in the Kitchener Waterloo area make sure that you get a status certificate on the building and have your lawyer do a good look through of the documents… Watch the video to hear my thoughts as to why.