What IS this market? Is it a Buyer’s? A Seller’s? Balanced? Or just plain illogical?

Let’s face it, 2022 has been nothing but rate increases and media panic about the housing market. Between the banks, the real estate industry, the government and the media it is hard to know where the truth lies.

2019 saw real estate markets take on double digit gains over the previous year. 2020 was no different in Ottawa with all the experts calling for a 9-12% gain over 2019. Then the pandemic hit and everything went haywire. Oddly, it didn’t all happen in a vacuum over the one thing. The lack of inventory that sparked the market rise was in process from 2018 forward. It was a perfect storm.

Builders stopped building “spec” homes and would only built as homes were bought. This habit began after 2008, so buying a new home began to take longer between signing papers and getting keys. Canada’s biggest population group since the baby boomers was also coming of age in terms of buying property. Immigration was at an all time high. The stressors on the market were already in place….the pandemic only served to speed up the process. For Ottawa in particular, here is what we witnessed.

  1. The normal cycle of Sellers coming to market took a nosedive in 2020 – a deathly virus = “we aren’t moving”
  2. Our military relocations also stalled, removing a significant secondary chunk of inventory.
  3. As the pandemic forced people to work from home, companies decided their employees could work remotely creating mass exoduses from high priced markets like Toronto and Vancouver. It spread down the 401 and then up to Ottawa. Employees decided to move closer to family, or to affordable cities with good transit and schools. Lifestyle choices became paramount and goodness knows, a million dollars in Toronto’s market goes A LOT farther in Ottawa.

For a good 2 years Seller’s couldn’t believe what people were willing to pay for homes, banks were rocked on their heels by the new prices and had to review everything to make sure appraised values would meet market expectations and Buyers….the poor Buyers….were being hit with 5,10,20 competing offers and very little chance to do the due diligence that real estate requires.

For 730 days everyone we met would ask us about the market and our reply was – “do you have a crystal ball? Because mine is broken!”

There was no logic to anything, no consistency, nothing to rely on. Sales comparables were almost useless week to week, month to month….and then, just when we thought we had a bit of a handle on the style and stresses of that market, the interest rate hikes began.

Buyer’s threw their hands up and said “we need to wait” as their purchasing power changed with each announcement. Sellers that were banking on multiple offers were suddenly wondering where everyone went. It was a complete standoff…..

Everything about the housing market was in the news, from falling prices to general affordability to the horrifying tactics of the “bad apples” in real estate. There seems to be no positive or common sense information anywhere….so allow us our two cents worth;


The market is balancing. Yes, there is inventory, but still not enough. We still see multiple bids for homes of the highest caliber (location, condition, well priced) but that has almost always been so. Prices are falling, but they aren’t diving off a cliff. Buyer’s are waiting until they are SURE of what they can afford. Rest assured, they are still there (so says our list of 15-20 that are in the wings) and getting ready to enter then market again. And it’s HIGH TIME the Buyer’s could perform their due diligence with conditions for financing and inspection….bring on the scales and let’s get this market flowing nice and steady….





R.E.S.T. Real Estate Straight Talk – I’m #1

Hey Everyone and welcome to our series about the career that we love… real estate.

This is going to be your source for some real estate straight talk – the real deal, real scenarios, myths and myth busting, the rules, the ethics, the process, the expectations – what you really need to know. So here we go!


I’m #1

Today’s episode is brought to you by the letter T and the Number 1!

You’ve all seen the ads in papers and magazines, the commercials, even the 3 storey high billboards that tell you why you should use the services of that REALTOR® because they the most Trusted name in real estate, or they are #1.

And like all good and inflated marketing if you look REALLY close – you may be lucky enough to see an Asterix somewhere on the paper/commercial/billboard. What could that mean? And why is the print so darn small…. let’s break out that straight talk and we’ll go through it. This is one of our pet peeves 😉

Years ago you could advertise yourself as the most trusted or number 1 just because you felt like you should be – but now there are strict advertising rules between the local real estate boards, the Real Estate Business and Brokers Act and the Real Estate Council of Ontario. All of these are levels of governing bodies in the practice of real estate.

So now, if you want to say you are the most trusted or number 1, – you have to explain and outline the parameters that make you so. Are you number 1 in listings, in sales, in overall transactions, in the neighbourhood, in charitable giving, in trash talk, in google reviews….what? If so, for what year? Or years. It does happen – some REALTOR® advertises themselves #1 – but it was for the listings he or she got in 1997!!

And you are the most Trusted how? And by whom? Clients? Your Mom? The dog? Define Trust – it’s a pretty intangible thing.

All the things that you claim make you number one or the most trusted have to be able to proven….hence the very very small Asterix you will find on those signs and commercials. So when you call a #1 realtor – don’t be shy to ask for, or about, the Asterix…..or pull out the magnifying glass and see for yourself….and if you can’t find the Asterix….then they are absolutely number 1 – in misdirection – so you should move on.

The straight talk? Every industry has folks that claim they are number 1, or the Most Trusted… And for some it is a point of pride and the results of years of hard work. We aren’t debating that and it can be absolutely an earned right to advertise that way, But here is what it boils down to…you do want some one that is a number 1…..someone that treats you like you are priority number 1 – go find THAT person so you can R.E.S.T easy

R.E.S.T. Real Estate Straight Talk – The Early Bird

R.E.S.T. Series – Early Birds, Worms and Real Estate

Hey Everyone and welcome to our series where we talk about the career that we love… real estate.

What does R.E.S.T. stand for? real estate straight talk – where we give you the heads up, the real deal, real scenarios, myths and myth busting, the rules, the ethics, the process, the expectations – what you really need to know. Let’s dive in to today’s episode.


We’ve run into more than a few occasions when clients will call us and say “Hey! We’re ready to list our house – can you have it on the market tomorrow/ in a couple of days?”

We could certainly make it happen, and we have, but there are a few KEY points we want to make about when to actually get in touch with a REALTOR® in order to put your home on the market – it’s often the difference between more money in your pocket and a faster sale! – Yep, you heard it right….getting in touch last minute can affect your bottom line.


Before you even THINK about picking up that hammer…or calling a contractor that will…give your REALTOR® a call. Ultimately you are going to do what you want, but there are renovations that will bring you a return on the investment, and some that won’t. The basic rule of thumb for a renovation is that you “should” get a 40-50% return on the initial investment. Things like kitchens, bathrooms, flooring and lighting often get the highest return, followed by landscaping and additions. But the maximum return is often only offered when the renovation is functional appealing, and timeless.

We can’t tell you how many times we have been in trendy kitchens that one year got a 70% return on investment and only 20% the next because it was now out of style. Having been in thousands of homes, and seen thousands of renovations – a good REALTOR® can at least give you suggestions on the resale/investment value of what you are thinking.

Because you did hefty renovations may lead you to believe that you can get all your money back – so getting in touch with your REALTOR® before your reno, and well before you sell will help you understand the roll and price value your renovations will have on the market in your city…you don’t want your REALTOR® surprising you WHEN you are ready to go on the market – and we don’t like giving you that surprise!!


Improvements to your home is kind of a sub-category to renovations. It can include flooring, light fixtures, a new roof, new windows, added insulation in the attic. Improvements follow the same rule as renovations, but with a slightly lower ROI. What is critical to know here is that Buyers won’t necessarily pay a higher dollar for a new roof, or improved attic insulation – it is just an improvement that makes them feel more solid in their purchase, knowing you as the owner has taken care of the home. Improvements usually have more weight in the time it will take to sell your home. Confident buyers tend to move more quickly on homes they feel have been well taken care of.

The other side to improvements is this – the nanosecond you are thinking of selling your home – get in touch with your chosen REALTOR® so you can have a discussion on improvements you have already made, or improvements that you SHOULD make in order to get top dollar for your home. Sometimes something as simple as a fresh coat of paint that would cost you your time and a few cans of paint ($500) can get you an extra $5,000!!

A professional REALTOR® will be honest and forthright with their list of items that would be best to tackle before going on the market – and will outline the cost differential of doing it or not doing it when you sell.


Calling a professional REALTOR® early has other added bonuses. We know how a house should look for showings. We normally meet with you 3 or 4 times before we even decide on a time for the sale. We help you prepare lists of things to do, what to put away, what to keep out, paint colours, furniture placement etc. All this prep work usually makes for a much faster sale, closer to asking price as we help you keep the Buyers focus on the house and not the items in it.


Another reason to be an early bird with your REALTOR® – you have reasons for moving. Whether it is time to move to a bigger house, a smaller house, out of town, downsizing you will have priorities about your sale – when you want your closing or possession date to be, how long you are hoping to be on the market, what times you prefer your showings – the more you communicate your needs to your REALTOR® the less stressful the process becomes. If you call last minute, you and your REALTOR® may miss something critical to you – it helps your REALTOR® guide you, understand your needs and ultimately helps them negotiate much better on your behalf. The REALTOR® you pick should also be asking these questions no matter WHEN they meet you, if they aren’t concerned about your priorities, that’s a big ole red flag!! That worm is likely rotten 😉


Being an early bird in your communication with your REALTOR® will also help in picking the best time to put your home on the market. Every town, city and province is different in their busy/slow seasons, so the more time you have to plan for “BEST” timing, the better!


Our last point is that early communication will allow you and your REALTOR® to examine market conditions, both current and past – likely over the course of the last 6 months to a year. This strategy session gets you up to speed on what the market is doing. Is it a Seller’s market where properties are selling quickly and for more money? Is it a Buyer’s market where prices are lower and properties take longer to sell? Knowledge is power – but it takes some time to absorb it – so the earlier you contact a REALTOR® the faster they can help you read the market and know what to expect.

Personally, we love it when folks call us 6 months early so we can provide them with real time data all the way up to the time they go on the market – that way, they have watched the market with us and know what is likely to happen.

So if you have just started talking to your spouse, partner or friends about moving – IT’S ALREADY TOO LATE…just kidding – add your REALTOR® to the conversation, or start interviewing REALTORS® so you know what to expect from the process.


Real Life Real Estate Minute – Small 3 bedroom condo townhouse. I had sold it to them. They got in touch 6 months before they wanted to sell.  Tenanted – components sound, paint awful, bathroom dated, floors scratched.  Market value with no work – $195,000. Market value with $5,000 of work (paint, refinish wood floors, re-fresh bathroom (new vanity/sink/tub surround) got a sale price of $220,000 – $20,000 profit.

As always – if you liked what you heard, saw or read subscribe to our podcast, YouTube channel or Like our Facebook page to be notified of the next time we have some straight talk. Thanks for listening…and REST easy!

R.E.S.T. Real Estate Straight Talk – WTF is an HHT?

R.E.S.T. Series – WTF is an HHT


Hey Everyone and welcome to our series where we talk about the career that we love… real estate.

What does R.E.S.T. stand for? real estate straight talk – where we give you the heads up, the real deal, real scenarios, myths and myth busting, the rules, the ethics, the process, the expectations – what you really need to know. Let’s dive in to today’s episode.

WTF is an HHT? This term will be very familiar to anyone of our listeners that is with the Canadian Armed Forces or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. HHT stands for House Hunting Trip – don’t google it though because you will come up with 1.5 million hits for

Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia and what we are talking about is not that!!

Anytime someone is relocated to a new city, there will be some form of House Hunting Trip. For the purposes of this episode, we are going to concentrate on the style and type of HHT that our military and RCMP families have to deal with.

Picking up and moving yourself, you family and your pets is a pretty stressful and anxious event. There is so much to coordinate!

Whether this is your first, last or somewhere in between posting we want to give you an idea of what you NEED to expect from a REALTOR® and what a good relocation REALTOR® expects from you. We will focus on both sides – selling you home to go on an HHT and then actually going on your HHT.

For anyone coming from overseas or a PMQ this first part won’t affect you as you only have to pack and move.

Selling your home to relocate:


Selling your home in anticipation of a posting is a time sensitive event. As REALTORS® that have moved hundreds of families, relocation specialists want to hear from you the second you even THINK you may be posted. It is never too early to get the process rolling. Even in the event the posting doesn’t come through, you will have an idea of what would be required to sell you home.


A REALTOR® with experience in relocating families usually has many many contacts. Often they have created relationships with similar REALTORS® in your destination city who will provide you with the same exceptional service. Also ask your colleagues – they  may have had a great experience with someone that you can reach out to. This may save you a lot of headaches moving forward.

In both the selling and buying scenario make sure the REALTOR® is experienced in relocations! Ask how many relocations they do every year and if they have references or testimonials they can provide from CAF or RCMP members. They should also (at the time of this blog) be approved suppliers on the lists of both BGRS and the RCMP.

When you do get your posting or release message (in Ottawa you can not list your home for sale without one) then the REALTOR® you pick needs to provide you with the following at a minimum


It’s important to provide you and the relocation company with a completed market analysis of your current home’s value. We are familiar with all the forms and will make sure they are sent to you or directly to your consultant / representative. It is important that the REALTOR® you pick gives you pinpoint pricing and has a strategy for the market and the “what ifs” of your timeline.

Your job – arrange for a property appraisal for your relocation file – a good relocation REALTOR® will know of a few that are experienced and on the relocation company’s approved supplier list.

Make sure the REALTOR® you choose has a great marketing plan – from photography to feature sheets to social media plans. You want to be in as many places and in front of as many faces as possible.


Just because there is a sign on the lawn and pictures on the internet doesn’t mean it is time for the REALTOR® to disappear – Every showing should get Feedback and that feedback should be given at least once a week, with a market update.  Your REALTOR® should also make sure the relocation company or relocation division has their updated market reports and recommendations when required. NONE of this should have to be solicited by you – a really good relocation REALTOR® will have all this scheduled and part of their SOP (standard operating procedure)

Your job in all this – keep your home clean and show ready and make every effort to leave the house when a showing is booked. (Much harder than it sounds 😉)


Relocation companies/divisions won’t tell you that you can’t. But it isn’t wise. Unless the bank tells you you can carry two homes, two mortgages, then don’t put yourself under that kind of stress. In addition, if you came and found a house and even IF the seller allows you a condition in which time is allocated to sell yours, there is a chance someone else can buy the house in the meantime and that results in a failed HHT and you may not be covered for a second one.


So now on to the other end and the actual HHT. Again, and we can’t recommend this strongly enough – get in touch, ask for recommendations, google research and interview REALTORS® the moment you get a whiff that you are going to be posted/relocated. The earlier the process can begin, the more confident and less stressed you will feel when you actually hit ground in your destination city.


When you find the REALTOR® you want to work with in your destination city an enormous multi-faceted conversation begins and it should start with the following;

Needs & Wants – it is important for us as REALTORS® to know what is absolutely critical to you and your family and what is just a “wish”. From the number of bedrooms, to garages, to schools, parks, amenities and budget, your relocation specialist much be able to tell you 1. If what you want is possible and 2. Give you an idea of where and at what price those types of homes are. What you don’t want to hear are our two most hated words in real estate – NO PROBLEM!

Expectations need to be set, realities explained with some good, honest back and forth. Any REALTOR® can put you on an automated search, but to give you the straight talk, not all will give you a running commentary on the pros and cons of each home and each area. This organic and on-going part of the HHT is critical to your success. If you have never been to your destination city, then you need guidance – and that can take time.

We totally understand when last minute postings happen and there is little time to finesse the communication – but the earlier you can get in touch, the better!


THE most important piece for you to have in place before coming on your HHT is your mortgage pre-approval. By having this done, you can comfortably search for a home knowing it is within the budget. If you already have a mortgage on the home you are selling, then you need to make sure it is portable and there will be no penalties when you move and bring it with you, or that you can pay it outright and get a new mortgage with your home purchase. If there are penalties – you need to know if they are covered under your relocation package. No one likes surprises!

If you aren’t sure where to start – then an experienced relocation REALTOR® will have some recommendations of financial experts that are accustomed to military and RCMP moves.


The moment you have an idea of the dates you will take for your HHT, make sure to run them by your REALTOR® in your destination city – it now becomes a team effort and you want to make sure 1. Your REALTOR® isn’t already booked (or has backup) and 2. There isn’t something going on in the city that will limit your house hunting ability. A good relocation REALTOR® will be booking that entire timeframe to work with you and your family so make sure it works for both of you.


REALTORS® that specialize and excel in military and RCMP relocations are a rare and different breed. They are like professional athletes as they zone out all other distractions until your HHT is successful. They have HHT’s down to an art form. Here is what to expect;

Depending on your arrival time, your REALTOR® will pick you up and begin by showing you the top 3-5 homes you have identified from all that communication prior to your HHT. By viewing your top homes you get to finally see what you have been scrolling through for days/weeks/months – sometimes they aren’t what you expected – but it gives both you and your REALTOR® time to get to know each other and for your REALTOR® to listen to your thought process. By the end of the first round of showings, your REALTOR® should be honing in on exactly what you like and don’t like. It helps set up the schedule for the proper first day.

If you arrive late on that travel day, then your REALTOR® would likely incorporate your top 3-5 into the full list of homes you will see on your proper first day. Don’t be surprised how long this first day gets – there is a mission that has to be accomplished and a good relocation REALTOR® is looking to have your new home secured no later than day 3, as you need the rest of the time to have the inspection(s) done, scout out work, schools and the 100 other things on the list.

On that note – a good relocation REALTOR® will have lined up the inspector already for day 4/5 and have all your approved suppliers lined up. (lawyer/other inspectors for rural properties/mortgage broker/banker)

IMPORTANT STRAIGHT TALK – if your REALTOR® is not pointing out pros & cons for each home, and talking about the resale value of the home ad nauseum – be worried. For ANY client, our single biggest value to you is in the investment/resale value of a home. For all of you CAF and RCMP members this is CRUCIAL. Whether you get posted out in 6months, 6 years or never, the resale potential for your home is of paramount importance.


Proof of employment and income. Often a pay statement is all that is required; however, the bank will also need a letter confirming employment and salary from your pay office. (If you haven’t provided that in advance in the PRE-HHT work)

Proof of down payment (photocopy bonds, bank passbook or statement from accounts).

Your cheque book / money in the bank – A deposit will be required once you have successfully completed your Agreement, usually between $2,000 and $10,000. Also a cheque for the inspector(s) should you not be able to bill or estimate for BGRS or the RCMP. ($450-$600 for a house, $600 each for well and septic inspections). This is the only money that will change hands prior to closing.

The name, phone number and email of your BGRS or RCMP consultant (if available) and your DND or RCMP file number (DND/RCMP 20151234).

Slip on shoes – when you see 15 houses or more in one day, laces can get a bit cumbersome.

Definitely bring a sense of humour – if you have found the right REALTOR® it should be a lot of fun too!


As always – if you liked what you heard, saw or read subscribe to our podcast, YouTube channel or Like our Facebook page to be notified of the next time we have some straight talk. Thanks for listening…and REST easy!


For more information you can;

Listen to our podcast –

Watch us on YouTube –

R.E.S.T. It’s About The Math – The List to Sell Ratio

Hey Everyone and welcome to our 3rd in a series we are producing around the career that we love… real estate.

This is going to be your source for some real estate straight talk – the real deal, real scenarios, myths and myth busting, the rules, the ethics, the process, the expectations – what you really need to know. So here we go!


List to Sell Ratios….Production numbers…Oh Gosh….it’s MATH!


We were recently invited to a home as part of the owner’s interview process for the job of selling their home. We were very impressed with how prepared these home owners were for the meeting.

Everyone wants to know how you are planning on marketing their home and most REALTORS® will have a comprehensive plan of attack.

It made us think about the most important questions that a home owner should be asking their potential REALTOR® but rarely do before making their choice.

There are two big questions that come to mind;

  1. How many houses have you sold this year?

Not how many the team has sold…

Not how many the brokerage has sold…

Not how many the company has sold…

How many have YOU sold – by yourself!!

The real estate market changes fast and is made up of so many business models that if an agent is selling one house every two months, they may not be up to speed on the current market conditions.

Just because they have been in real estate for 20 years doesn’t mean that they have the greatest experience. Conversely, if they work on a team of 17 people and can say the team sold 100 homes last year, that breaks down to almost 6 homes each – the national average. Not bad at all, but market knowledge and experience only gets better if you are selling 15 – 20 homes or more per year. That seems to be an industry understanding for having your fingers on the pulse of the market.

  1. What percentage were Listings, and what percentage were buyers?

This is a follow up to #1 in the sense that the skill set can vary between someone  who deals with Buyers 80-90% of the time, and someone that deals with Sellers. Finding a good fit would be a REALTOR® that deals with both – they have solid experience selling homes, and also have current knowledge about what Buyers expect and are willing to pay / negotiate for/ need.

  1. What is your List to Sell Ratio?

This is simply a test of our negotiating skills.  When we list a property how close to the asking price are we getting?? Let’s set out an example…

You are going to meet with REALTOR® A and REALTOR® B

REALTOR® A tells you their List to Sell Ratio is 96%, well…that sounds good. I mean from our school days, we all equate 90+% as a A or A+ right?

REALTOR® B says their list to sell ratio is 99.8%.

Already we want the person that is telling us they have an A++ in selling right?

And keep in mind, a lot of this is going to depend on the type of real estate market we are in. For the sake of argument, let’s say it’s a Seller’s market – where there are lots of Buyers and not enough homes on the market.

On a $400,000 home, 96% is $384,000.

99.8% on that same home is $399,200

That is $15,200 difference!!! That is HUGE!

That’s the difference between selling your home and moving on, and selling your home and getting a 2 WEEK CARRIBEAN CRUISE!

There are several different business models and agents charge different amounts. Do yourself a favour and get a great negotiator rather than the cheapest commission. You’ll R.E.S.T easy in the end!

For more information you can;

Listen to our podcast –

Watch us on YouTube –

R.E.S.T. Real Estate Straight Talk – Show me the Money!

Ottawa Real Estate Straight Talk

Hey Everyone and welcome to our 2nd in a series we are producing around the career that we love… real estate.

This is going to be your source for some real estate straight talk – the real deal, real scenarios, myths and myth busting, the rules, the ethics, the process, the expectations – what you really need to know. So here we go!



 Have you ever walked into an open house, or called a realtor about a listing, and within minutes, they’re asking you if you are “pre-approved” for a mortgage?

If you haven’t, then you have never met a REALTOR®. Or at least enough of them…

Just wait. It’ll happen.

And you’re going to feel like it’s pretty pushy for them to ask that.

You think….you’re joking….right?

You would think its none of their business if you’re pre-approved or not!  You just want them to show you the house and you’ll get the pre-approval if you like it.

But it’s no joking matter.

You will find it depends on the REALTOR®. We all have different personalities. We all come across in different ways. We all handle how we meet, greet, and chat with consumers in different ways. There’s no one way to “be”, as a REALTOR®.

But every single REALTOR® should be asking you if you’re pre-approved. Many do not because they feel like it is a bit pushy and forward. Because he or she worries about offending you. But they should ask…

…because it’s entirely relevant for them to know.

…because it’s entirely important for you to be pre-approved.

It might come across as a pushy, or invasive question. Maybe that is because of how a REALTOR® asks the question. Or when the REALTOR® asks the question. Or, simply because you don’t know that it’s a question that should be asked.

But it is not a joking matter.

And you should expect the question, be prepared to say that you are pre-approved, and…you should actually WANT the REALTOR® to ask you that question.

It’s not like a first date where if your date asks you – “How much do you make” in the first five minutes, you’d feel like that was pushy and weird…..

Creator:Jacom Stephens
Credit:Getty Images/Vetta

and likely that would be the end of the date.

Rightfully so.

Which is why it seems so invasive when a REALTOR® you’ve just met asks you if you’re pre-approved. It feels like they’re asking you some pretty private, intimate stuff that’s none of their business.

But asking for a pre-approval isn’t like going on a first date. It isn’t a marriage proposal. And it isn’t probing on the part of the REALTOR®.

It is a necessary question, and an important piece of information us to know. And for you!

So Why do we ask you if you’re pre-approved?

We aren’t asking you if you’re pre-approved because we’re looking to size up how much you can spend. (At least not most REALTORS®…)

We want and need to know that you are serious, and qualified to buy a house.

And we certainly have their reasons for wanting to know…

As Real estate salespeople we need to make sure we are working with someone who can actually buy a house. We are one of the only service industries that doesn’t get paid unless and until the person we’re working with buys a house. So, this is a matter of being careful about who we spend our time with. It might sound selfish…but you can’t fault us for that. We’re in business. Nobody cuts us a paycheck every second week. And showing people houses is not a public service or charity work. Even working with someone who is pre-approved doesn’t guarantee that we are going to make any money. But at least it’s an indication that the person we are working with can do something.

We also need to know how much you’re pre-approved for in order to advise you as well as possible. Picture us showing you houses for weeks, and months. You finally find “the one”! You get all excited about the house, and you want to make an offer, only to find out then that there’s no way you could afford the house. This leads to heartbreak and aggravation…for both of us. It doesn’t do either of us any good to go through all of that only to find out you can’t afford the houses you were looking at…or even buy one at all.

Caring professional REALTORS® also don’t want you spending your top dollar and putting you in a mortgage poor position. No one likes bologna or hot dog budgets that much.

And, to a degree, this is a safety precaution. You might not believe this, but we are in a pretty risky position. If we just say OK to every person who calls and asks to go see a house, with absolutely no proof or verification of who the person is, that puts us at risk. Sure, a pre-approval won’t necessarily stop an evil person from doing something, but this is a pretty basic precautionary request.

So Even if you have just started looking for a home and haven’t gotten pre-approved (yet)…at least expect the question. Don’t be offended when you’re asked if you are.

In fact, pay closer attention to the REALTORS® who do ask if you’re pre-approved! The ones who ask make it easy for you to find a great REALTOR® to work with.

Because if they’re asking that question, it’s a good sign that they are thorough and thoughtful about how they do their business. That’s the type of REALTOR® you want to have on your side when you’re buying a house — one who’s careful from the get-go. One who pays attention to the details. One who isn’t going to waste your time any more than their own. Or allow your heart to be broken when you fall in love with a house you can’t do anything about.

And if you want to get some really good attention and service from the best REALTORS® you come across, don’t even let them have to ask if you are pre-approved…

Get pre-approved before you even start looking. And let the REALTOR® know you’re pre-approved before they even ask. You’ll set yourself apart from almost every buyer the realtor has ever met.

Don’t know where to start to get pre-approved – some very quick points;

  1. If you have a favourite bank, make a call and ask for their MOBILE mortgage specialist.
  2. Call a mortgage broker – the advantage here is they only do one credit check and then shop around for you! You can get a couple of names just from REALTORS® websites – good ones have a dedicated page of referrals for professionals they know and trust.
  3. Don’t go to more than 2 banks and one broker – it will start to affect your credit score!

Just another piece of advice so you can REST easy and know we’ve got you covered. As always – we are happy to answer any and all questions you may have on this, or any other topic – we are only an email or phone call away!

For more information you can;

Listen to our podcast –

Watch us on YouTube –

Real Estate Straight Talk – It’s about Time

Ottawa Real Estate Straight Talk

Hey Everyone and welcome to our  series we are producing around the career that we love… real estate.

This is going to be your source for some real estate straight talk – the real deal, real scenarios, myths and myth busting, the rules, the ethics, the process, the expectations – what you really need to know. So here we go!


What type of REALTOR® are you?


This is a really important question to ask any real estate professional. The industry supports all kinds of business models and we support that, but it can be important for you to ask the question.

Today, we are going to have some straight talk about the differences you might experience when working with a full vs. a part time REALTOR®.

A full-time REALTOR® – well, that’s pretty self-explanatory – this is their only job. It is the primary way they earn their income.

A part-time REALTOR® can be many things – someone dipping a toe into the real estate world to see if they like it, someone who would like to supplement their income, someone that just wants to be able to service a small number of people a year.

Before you choose someone to help with your next real estate transaction, consider these pros and cons of working with either a part-time OR a full-time real estate salesperson.

Pro: A good REALTOR® is a good REALTOR®. As in any other profession, there are good, just “OK”, and bad REALTORS® regardless of the number of hours per week they work. What matters is the individual’s knowledge of the market, industry savvy and willingness to advocate for his or her client.

Different REALTORS® have different goals. A part-time REALTOR® can work with fewer clients and at the same time and still give those fewer clients a high level of service. A full time REALTOR® can want to get to a certain financial goal and then enjoy long term vacations.

Some full-time and part time REALTORS® work in teams, where there are people to help you at any given time, no matter what.

It is really important for you to sit with several REALTORS® and ask this question to see if they way they do business is going to be the right fit for you!

Con: Missed opportunities, limited availability and missed nuances in negotiations. There are many days when timing is of the essence, and if your REALTOR® isn’t free to get you into that listing in a hot market, it may pass you by. And limited time working in the real estate market can mean limited experience, which can lead to unintended consequences and experiences.

So what is the Straight talk here? – Mostly, the pros and cons can apply to both full AND part time REALTORS®. You don’t know if you are going to get this,

Credit – Ferris Bueler’s Day Off

or this…

It’s important to meet with more than one to get a feel for how they work, when they work and how hard they will work for you. And don’t be afraid to google them and see if they have reviews, or social media where you can get a sense of who they are.

Find the one that fits with YOU so you can REST easy.


R.E.S.T – Real Estate Straight Talk – The Journey Begins!

Ottawa Real Estate Straight Talk

Hey Everyone and welcome to our very first in a series we are producing around the career that we love… real estate.

This is going to be your source for some real straight talk – the real deal, real scenarios, myths and myth busting, the rules, the ethics, the process, the expectations – what should you really expect when you jump into the proverbial real estate waters?

It can feel like you are thrown into the deep end – no water wings – no floaty, no flutter boards, no paddle… just you – up the river and moving fast.

Jeff, Christine and I have been in this business 15, 22 and 19 years respectively – and we’ve decided its high time to get all of you in the loop.

We are always amazed when we hear people have had bad experiences, or come to us with the classic stereotype that we’re pushy used car salesmen, (noooo offense to all you folks that sell cars) and only in it for the money….

So, we thought we would take all our experiences, all our knowledge and start to break it down for you – to give you a baseline – What’s good, what’s bad, and what’s downright ugly.

That way – when you are jumping into this real estate pool – you ARE the lifeguard and the only shock you will get is if the water is freezing!!

Stay tuned – we will be releasing small bite sized pieces in formats of your choice – blog, podcast or video – for you every few weeks and you will be able to find them through any of the links below – our website, our Facebook page, our YouTube channel and our Google business page. To get them right away – head to our YouTube channel and subscribe –  and don’t forget to hit the bell to get notified right away when we post something!

Until then REST easy – we are going to have you covered!

Real Estate Straight Talk

Turnkey or Fixer-Upper – now that is the question!!!

Two homes in hand to choose from, between turnkey and fixer-upper

We’ve all seen the home design shows that turn old ragged houses into stunning, modern, and even a little over the top, homes.

  • How do they do it… and on such a small budget?
  • What’s right for you? Should you buy a move-in-ready home or one that requires some much-needed TLC? states that you should consider these 3 components when making the decision whether to purchase a turnkey home or a fixer-upper:

  1. Financial Consideration:
    Compared to a freshly remodeled home, a fixer-upper will get you more bang for your buck, allowing you to purchase something bigger and/or in a more established neighbourhood.

    On the flip-side, renovations are costly and can uncover unbudgeted issues that need fixing, even if a professional home inspection was done.

    In either case, we always recommend you hire a professional home inspector to evaluate the home and identify, as much as possible, any issues the house may have.

  2. Lifestyle Considerations:
    A turn-key home allows you to start getting settled in as soon as you move in.

    A fixer-upper might require you to find other accommodations, for a short period of time during the renovations, or may require you to live in a construction zone for some time.

    Renovations are dirty, encumbering and can be extremely stressful. Choosing to purchase a fixer-upper means living through the difficult times in order to reap the benefits later. We can help make you aware of what it all means and help you decide whether you are willing to go through it or not.

  3. Logistical Considerations:
    A more cost-effective way to fix up a property is doing it yourself (DIY). A DIY project of this scope requires a lot of resources, often limited to homeowners, such as time.

    Hiring professionals to do the renovations reduces the time required on your behalf but increases the budget.

    Either way, resources need to be invested in the fixer-upper that would otherwise not be required from a turnkey home. If a fixer-upper is right for you, we can help you make the right decision on professional or DIY solutions.


We can help:

Buying a home is a big decision and adding yet another decision on top of it can add more stress to the process. We can help you through it all to make the process a more pleasant one for you and your loved ones. Contact us and we will ask you the right questions to help you make the best decision for you and your current and future situation.

BGM is recognized as 2017 REP Top Teams

BGM recognized as 2017 REP Top Team

REP 2017 Top Teams

In business, like in life, there are certain moments that tell you: “Hey, you’re doing great!”

These moments sometimes take us by surprise but they are always welcome and they always feel good.

We recently had one of these moments. We found out that our team was recognized as one of the top teams in the Canadian Real Estate industry in the 2017 Real Estate Professional (REP) Top Teams report.

In honour of this wonderful recognition, we want to share a bit of our history and journey with you. You’ll understand where we came from and why our efforts and dedications are being recognized nationally.

Our Coffee Story: BGM’s History

The First Sip: 2011

After being in the business on their own for many years, Christine and Laurie’s individual success reached a point of critical mass. To maintain their recognized quality service, they were each looking for someone to work with, mostly to cover time off. In 2011, after Christine called Laurie, together they sipped the first of many shared cups of coffee.

The Double-Espresso: 2012-2013

For two years, Christine and Laurie worked side-by-side, yet independently. This “double-espresso” ensured they could provide their clients with uninterrupted services 360+ days a year.

The Single-Serve: 2014

Seeing the continued client satisfaction and the synergy they had while working side-by-side, Christine and Laurie decided to really join forces as full-partners. They became a “single-serve” operation known as Bussieres-Gagnier.

Many More Shared Sips: 2014

In 2014, after doing a deal with Jeff, Christine saw how compatible his work ethics and values were with theirs. Christine and Laurie then shared many sips of coffee with Jeff while discussing further possible partnerships.

The Triple Brew: 2015

In 2015, after many successful deals, a lot of happy clients and a whole bunch of empty cups of coffee, Bussieres-Gagnier-Miller, also known as BGM – Your Ottawa Team, was officially born.

Quality Beans: present

We hear it all the time: we have something unheard of in the real estate world. Together, we are three highly successful individual veteran REALTORS® who came together in a full partnership. The decision was made over a shared set of values and an understanding that client service is what matters most. The values that still drive us today are:

  • complete honesty,
  • caring, and
  • integrity.

You could say that we carefully picked the top-quality coffee beans to make sure you got the best cup of coffee available. Although our flavours are individually distinct, you can rest assured knowing that no matter which bean you fall on, it will be one of quality.

What is the Real Estate Professional’s (REP) Top Teams report:

REP understands that in real estate, teams are built in order to maintain the great level of service that is sought out at an intensifying pace. In this business, reaching a point where starting a team is necessary is a fine accomplishment, but turning that team into an equally successful entity is even more impressive.

Contact Us

Address:3B-2160 Montreal Road
Ottawa, Ontario
K1J 1G4


Facebook Twitter Youtube Google+ Pinterest

Get In Touch