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Ottawa’s April Showers bring….leaky basements!

Ottawa spring thaw

Wow Ottawa, was that a crazy two weeks or what?! From 40cm of snow to 90mm of rain all in 14 days! Apart from not knowing whether to take out your parka or your umbrella, the past two weeks of Ottawa April showers have seen a definitive influx of calls to our inspectors about basement water seepage and leakage and conversely, we have seen evidence of seepage in the homes we have shown.

Ottawa's april showers

Being homeowners ourselves, and knowing that at some point 98% of all basements will have a water leakage issue at some point in its lifetime, we are still taken aback when we step into our finished spaces and draw back a wet sock!

Immediately you have visions of peeling back carpet, replacing underpad, what if it’s in the walls, what if there’s already mould, what if there’s a crack you missed, what if the foundation needs to be fixed, what if….what if….next thing you know you’ve spent $100,000 on a basement/foundation redo!! Well let’s roll it back a bit and go over the list of things to check before you start shopping for contractors.

With this kind of winter to rapid spring thaw, some yards became lakes and the melting snow had no way to work it’s way down the frozen ground. With water sitting close to the foundation the subsoil around your house is likely to thaw first, given that your home is giving off heat. So, following the path of least resistance, the water will make its way downhill, following the grading around the house.Ottawa's april showers

What to do?

So here is check No. 1….walk around your house this spring and look at the grading – does the land slope in towards your house, or away? It is the nature of back-fill to settle over time, and most of us don’t pay a whole lot of attention to what happens at the sides, back or front of our homes. A nice gentle slop away from the house in all directions is what you are going for.

Grading

 

Check No. 2 – look for any downspouts that are letting water sit next to your foundation – if they are, run out and pick up some inexpensive downspout extenders to get the water at least 6ft away from your home.

Ottawa's april showers

Downspout extenders

Nine times out of 10 this will take care of the seepage issues. Remember, concrete is a porous material. Any amount of water that stays near the foundation will make its way through. With seepage that migrates through concrete over time, the evidence is in something we call efflorescence – it looks like chalk on the inside of the concrete. Completely normal if your grading lets water sit close by.

Ottawa's april showers

water migration through concrete

If the efflorescence is on the floor instead of the walls – then this may be an indication that your weeping tile system is blocked, or due for a change.

Ok – now the outside of the house has been dealt with but you still have seepage – NOW call a professional, but 9 times out of 10 the simple grading and downspout fixes will work!

For more information, or to know what professionals to call contact us at www.myottawateam.com!

 

 

Miracle Home For Sale

When we sell a home we donate a portion of our earnings to the Children's Miracle Network

Another Miracle Home for Sale

From RE/MAX and BGM Real Estate Team – Canada’s Housing Market Outlook for 2017

BGM Real Estate Team and RE/MAX are happy to share with you Canada’s Housing Market Outlook for 2017

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HIGH DEMAND AND LOW SUPPLY CONTINUED TO CHARACTERIZE VANCOUVER’S AND TORONTO’S HOUSING MARKETS THROUGHOUT 2016 AS COMPETITION FROM BUYERS FOR LIMITED INVENTORY OF SINGLE-FAMILY HOMES PUSHED PRICES HIGHER.

The average residential sale price increased 13 per cent in Greater Vancouver to approximately $1,020,300 and rose 17 per cent in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) to an estimated $725,857. Although demand remains high in both urban centres, limited inventory in the freehold market, the new 15 per cent foreign-buyer tax in Vancouver and the recent tightening of mortgage rules by the federal government are expected to soften market activity in the short term. In 2017, RE/MAX estimates average residential sale price will increase by two and eight per cent in Greater Vancouver and the GTA respectively.

Regional markets in close proximity to Canada’s highest-price cities continued to experience steady interest from local move-up buyers and buyers from these cities (“move- over” buyers) who are looking to nd a balance between affordability and square footage. This year there were considerable year-over-year average price increases in Barrie (16 per cent), Hamilton-Burlington (20 per cent), the Fraser Valley (20 per cent) and Kelowna (14 per cent).

Click to Read the Full National Summary

The RE/MAX 2017 average residential sale price expectation for Canada is an increase of two per cent as Canadians continue to see home ownership as an important milestone as well as a good investment.

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THE HOUSING MARKET IN CANADA’S CAPITAL REMAINED STABLE IN 2016 WITH MODEST INCREASES IN BOTH THE NUMBER OF SALES AND THE AVERAGE RESIDENTIAL SALE PRICE.

The average residential sale price grew one per cent year-over-year, from $367,632 to $370,940. The number of sales between January and October rose to 13,834 in 2016 compared to 12,964 during the same period in 2015.  For more information, please call the BGM Real Estate Team at 613-558-8000!

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Striving for Excellence

Downsizing – 10 Things to Ponder

 

There are many life situations that may lead you to consider selling your current home and downsizing into a smaller one: Kids leaving for university, cashing in on a retirement plan, or the pressure of property upkeep. Whichever reasons you’re facing, make sure you’ve really done your homework before making any decisions. Here’s a list of 10 helpful hints to kick-start that conversation.

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1. Facing Finances

Take a long, hard look at your financial input and output—especially if you’re on a fixed retirement income. If your savings aren’t substantial enough to constitute a “nest egg,” then tucking away the profits from the property may be the way to go. Downsizing may come down to finances but you should be able to show the evidence, one way or the other.

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2. Community Connections

The costs of moving can go well beyond dollar bills. Consider your emotional wealth before taking any critical steps. Ask yourself, “Will this downsize take me away—intentionally or unintentionally—from the family, community and friendship supports I depend on or do I need new support systems for my physical, spiritual, medical and emotional well being?” Downsizing isn’t always about size and cents, sometimes it’s critical for your well-being.

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3. Real Estate Market

Is your area a buyer’s market or a seller’s market? What can you hope to make on the sale? Finding the right real-estate agent to answer these questions is key. Ask friends and family members who’ve gone through similar transitions for referrals, and try to gather evaluations from two or three REALTORS® to ensure you’re getting a clear picture of the market.

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4. Independent Thinker

Potentially selling the family home brings up a lot of emotions for everyone involved. Kids don’t want to see their childhood home go and family members are hoping for a chunk of change; it’s imperative that you seek out independent, unbiased advice. A REALTOR® can give you market feedback on your situation without any personal baggage.

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5. Home Maintenance

Look at the work it takes to keep your current home clean, your garden weeded and your lawn maintained. It is too much to handle, or will it be in a few years? It’s best to downsize before it becomes imperative, because by then, a move will be even more physically challenging and emotionally draining.

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6. Lifestyle Limitations

Maybe you feel a great wave of excitement at the idea of living near the ocean, or maybe the idea of leaving behind your veggie garden is too much. Moving comes with gains and losses, and you have to be prepared to give up certain aspects of your current lifestyle and adapt to new ones.

downsizing questions
7. Square Footage

Think through your floor plan and look at different ways that square footage can be used. Can the kids’ old bedroom become a long-awaited art studio? Would the basement work as a private theatre? If you conclude that extra room is more hassle than it’s worth, maybe downsizing to a cozier home is for you.

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8. Property Payments

Yearly taxes and property insurance payments can take a chunk out of a modest budget. Would those expenses be less if you downsized and lived in a different neighbourhood, on a smaller plot or in a more compact house?

downsizing questions blog
9. Be a Realist

Think carefully about the realities of aging. Remaining in a family home as you age often means adapting your home and relying on the help of others. These things can come at a cost, both financially and emotionally. It’s important that you discuss your plans with any family members or friends that might be affected by your decision to downsize, and ensure everyone is in agreement with your plans.

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10. Don’t Rush

Luckily, you already have a place to live, so take your time and assess all the angles before making such a profound decision. When you are ready to start looking, don’t rush into anything. Sit with your REALTOR® and write down criteria for must haves in your new place. When the time is right, you’ll know.

For more information, or just to chat, contact us anytime at 613-558-8000, or visit our website at www.myottawateam.com

(courtesy of RE/MAX Integra)

What to Expect as a Buyer this Fall

fall buyer

fall buyer

Despite the fact that one of the hottest times of year for real estate appears when the spring flowers start blooming, that doesn’t mean the market is completely cool for the rest of the year for any buyer or seller. In fact, we are heading into a very popular time of year for prospective buyers and sellers across Canada. As some prepare for summer to come to an end, and others are busy with the back to school season, some Canadians are doing their research to find out what to expect as a buyer this fall.

With the shorter days and cooler weather beginning to make an appearance, it is very clear that fall is on the way, and if you are one of the many entering the real estate market, you may be wondering what to expect. Fortunately, we have compiled the top things you need to consider as you begin your search for the perfect place to call home.

What to Expect as a Fall Buyer

5 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW

Location, Location, Location & Weather: We all know it is all about location when it comes to finding your dream home, but before you find the right location, you need to consider the weather. Planning your search too late into the season may mean you are battling Mother Nature so the earlier you begin your search, the better.

Timing is Key: Although your busy summer is winding down, you certainly aren’t working with a clear schedule. Between back to school and the holiday season, finding the perfect time to begin your search is imperative to your overall success and is something you should expect as a buyer this fall.

Decision Time: Although there isn’t as much inventory as you would typically find in the spring, there are still many home to choose one which is why narrowing down your options can be challenging. Using these tips and our House Hunting Comparison Checklist will help when it comes time to make your decision.

The Price is Right: As we get closer and closer to the holidays, you may begin to worry you are running out of time. With the added pressure, you may be tempted to make a decision by increasing your budget, but that will come back and haunt you in the long run. Make sure you plan your budget early in the buying process with help from our Monthly Home Budget Planner.

Make the Move: If you got a head start on the fall selling season and are ready to make your move, we have just the thing you need as a Buyer. Getting home and organized before the holidays is your main goal, and this moving checklist will help you do just that as quickly and efficiently as possible.

As we begin to see the leaves fall off the trees and the familiar sights and sounds of this beautiful season, these tips will be exactly what you as a Buyer need to find a new house to call home this fall.

For more information about buying and selling homes – be sure to click through our website – www.myottawateam.com. You can also click the social media links to visit our Facebook page and YouTube channel.

(Copyright © 2015 RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada Inc. All rights reserved)

The F-word – FALL! Do this!

It’s that F-word season again…FALL!

Fall colours

Fall colours

Air conditioners are turned off, gardens are put to bed, leaves turn into colours that become so vibrant you have to stop and stare. Mornings and evenings are filled with smells that are unique to fall…a mix of earth, water and summer campfires smoldering to their winters end. Sometimes we are more like bears than we think…dreams of warm sweaters and comfortable flannel bring small smiles and feelings of hibernation…and maybe hot chocolate!

BUT WAIT! 

Fall Hand

Before Fall becomes winter

 

If you are anticipating a move, a relocation or a posting this coming 2017 APS, head on out to your front and back yards over the next week before fall officially begins and take some pictures of your green lawn, that pool you used all summer, the trees full of leaves, the flowers and gardens you spent hours tending to on your knees.

You will thank yourself, and we will thank you too, when you list your house in the winter or spring when the pool is still covered, frozen or green, your grass is brown or snow covered, trees are bare… you get the picture!

Fall photo

Grab those fall shots before its too late

Your summer and fall photos of the front and back of your yard will help to effectively market your home no matter how much snow is in the forecast! When we list your home in the “off” season it helps if we can show any prospective buyers how amazing your home looks in the spring and summer. It is particularly helpful in the dead of winter when buyers can’t even see the topography of your lot.

This is your mission, should you choose to accept it. 🙂 Have fun and don’t forget to call us at 613-558-8000, email us at info@myottawateam.com, visit our website www.myottawateam.com if you are considering a move in 2017!

Our New Home in the East End

Coming Soon

Here at BGM Real Estate Team we pride ourselves on the service we provide to our clients across the Ottawa region and especially the East end. We work from Carleton Place right through to Rockland. Now, we are proud to announce that we have a new home in the East End…a place for clients to visit, a place for us to coordinate our long days, a place close to the highway so we can get to all of you that much faster! We anticipate opening our new home in November 2016!

East End location

BGMs East End location 3B-2160 Montreal Rd.

Blackburn sign

While we service the entire city, we have worked just as hard to have an impact on the communities we live in. We are extremely fortunate to be the REALTORS® of choice for over 35% of the homeowners in Blackburn Hamlet, and we are now opening the office close to them so that we may continue not only our business service, but also our good citizen service to the community that has trusted us. We look forward to continuing our participation in Hockey Day in the Hamlet, the Blackburn Hamlet Fun Fair, the Cancer Chase and we look forward to new community participation…to be unveiled very soon!

As we set our roots in Beacon Hill North in the East End of the city, our wish is to become as big a part of the community as we are in Blackburn Hamlet. (Laurie is very excited to be back in the neighbourhood she grew up in!) We have lots of ideas for the community and we would love to hear from any of you in the area that may have even more ideas! We will start with small offerings as we begin to offer our expertise, knowledge and caring to our neighbours. So….

Big things coming to the East End!

Big things coming to the East End!

But if you really can’t wait…you can check us out anytime at www.myottawateam.com or call us at 613-558-8000! We would love to hear from you.

 

Ottawa Real Estate Market – HOT? or NOT?

Home investment

Here we are – a full 180+ days into the 2016 Ottawa Real Estate market and we here at BGM Real Estate Team have noticed both positive and negative aspects to our local Ottawa Market. As many of you have undoubtedly heard time and time again, markets are cyclical. They rise and fall based on supply and demand, interest rates and the global economic happenings in general, helped AND hindered in spots by government regulation.

So where is our market cycle right now? Are we up? (Sellers market) or down? (Buyers market) If you read the papers it would appear the market has gone completely mad with every home getting an incredible number of offers, driving prices ever higher. While this may certainly be the case for Vancouver and Toronto, it is most certainly not the case here in the Capital.

Home investment (isolated on white, Dollar symbol)

The Ottawa Real Estate Market is Balanced

We have a very balanced market at the moment, with a few areas of exception. But let’s divide that up into a few sections so we can discuss the various pieces that make up the Ottawa Market. Let’s talk about Mortgage money, geography and expectations. You will find the last item, in fact, to be the most integral to understanding Ottawa’s market.

The cost of borrowing money in order to buy property has never been so low. With slow US economic growth, weak Canadian exports, low oil prices and consumer spending, our interest rates remain attractive. As Stephen S. Poloz, Governor of the Bank of Canada has put it “For the past 18 months, the biggest issue for our forecast has been tracking how the Canadian economy is adjusting to low resource prices. In the first instance, this has meant a big drop in investment spending, especially in the oil patch. It has also meant a lower value for the Canadian dollar and two interest rate cuts during 2015.”

Historically low rates have allowed Buyers into property ownership in record numbers. Even with safeguards in place (every borrower must qualify for a 5% rate, 5 year fixed term amortized over 25 years) the demand for property is quite high. This is a definite positive for the Ottawa market and we have certainly met with an abundance of qualified buyers so far this year.

So we have one in the positive column – lots of Buyers out there looking for their first or next home. Now where are they looking? The good news is there are enough Buyers out there that all neighbourhoods are getting traction in the market. But there is certainly a lean towards the centre and west ends of the city. Given that Ottawa is a very transient town, cycling heavily through government relocations, private industry changes, new immigrant growth, as well as the normal ebbs and flows we see in real estate, the Buyers are very attentive to the fact they will at some point in their 3-5 year plan be a Seller. Therefore, they are attuned to the growth patterns in the city. With calls for sustainable building and reducing the carbon footprint the desire to live downtown in high.

In addition, the Canadian Forces are opening an enormous Campus in the west end, the RCMP already moved into their campus in the south-west of the city, Outlet shopping, sports venues and all that would appeal to folks on a day-to-day basis cropping up at incredible speed in the centre and west – those markets tend to be faster, and more expensive and have been for the last 3-5 years.

Does that mean the rest of the City is in a slump? Not at all. Buyers are shopping for the best fit – proximity to their employment, schools, activities and friends and family – so we have been shopping with them in all areas of the city.

But what is it we mean by faster or slower? Are the prices higher overall? Every area, indeed every neighbourhood, has its own market, its own flavour. We hope that this is one of the reasons you hire us – as expert guides to the investment values and personalities of those neighbourhoods. When breaking down the market into the various neighbourhoods, some are certainly hot, but as a whole the Ottawa market is nicely balanced, allowing Buyers choice in their investment.

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Ottawa Market increase over time is very positive but not outrageous

The city has seen growth every single year in the residential class. Condominiums are having a rougher time, especially in the downtown area…but we think perhaps another article should explore this in greater detail.

For Sellers a balanced market can be a bit more of a trial, especially given the years from 2000-2013 were completely in their favour. Everything sold, in any condition for more than a decade! That is a difficult perception to turn around. Geographically, Sellers in many neighbourhoods are waiting longer to sell their homes. The timeframe in 2016 seems to be sitting between 60-90 days. By no means is it a tragically long time. When we became REALTORS® in the late 1990’s the market timeframe was up to a year to sell, with list to sell ratios sitting at about 90% of asking. (Folks were negotiating anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000 off the asking price.) So on the geographic point we have both positive and negative. Positive for the buyers as there is more supply, negative for the Sellers for the very same reason.

Now we come to what we think is the most important point of this Ottawa market – Expectations. Perhaps some of what we have learned will help you – whether you are a Buyer, or a Seller.

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Housing Expectations vs. Reality

Let’s start with what we have seen in Sellers expectations. They have diligently watched the news, seeing reports of rising housing prices, low interest rates and competition amongst buyers for a decent home. They have also loved their homes and have deep emotional attachments (for the most part) to the place where their memories have been made. It is hard for any Seller (us included) to detach from their home and put it in the framework of a “market” of homes and how they stack up against others on their street, in the their neighbourhood and in their general area. As professional REALTORS® we are the messengers of market reality – good and bad. In a balanced market, we tend to have difficult, yet honest discussions with our Sellers about how their home presents itself to today’s Buyers. It is a testament to our passion for our clients that we bring you not only the good news, but the bad. We navigate the experience together – from pricing, to home improvements, staging, marketing, feedback….good, professional REALTORS® are there for every step. If we have one comment for our Sellers, it is that our expertise stops short of a Crystal Ball. We have no supernatural powers when it comes to the market. The day we say we have seen it all is the day we should walk away. We give you the very best we have and hope the sale doesn’t take too long.

The other part of the expectation equation are the Buyers – what do they expect? We often laugh with our first time buyers that they need to stop watching HGTV immediately upon deciding to find a home. They have been conditioned to expect the last 5 minutes of any real estate related show in every home they see OR they see a problem around every corner. Homes are imperfect things – they are made with wood, bricks, drywall, vinyl. Things that can expand, contract, break, wear down. Homes are exposed to water, wind, and sun. They sit on rocks, and sand, and clay. Each house will have a personality that reflects its owner – we see it in their choices for flooring, paint, counter top and landscaping.

We understand that today’s buyers have even less time to dedicate to a home’s overall maintenance – the very nature of employment has changed. Work commands a staggering amount of time in people’s lives, so their priorities have changed as well – seeking more balance. We try to meet those expectations, as well as educate Buyers on the nuances the TV programmes leave behind. Things like – Not every house has a problem, educating between big problems and small ones, how cosmetics of a home can change for very little, and just because it is a bit dated does not mean it doesn’t work.

It is in the analysis of the expectations of both Sellers and Buyers that we can determine the type of market Ottawa is having. When we have to help manage the expectations of BOTH sides – well, that truly is the sign of a balanced market.

Ottawa’s Best Patios – Do you have a favourite?

Well folks, the sun is warm across out backs, there are creeks of melting snow and we know that all of you are starting to experience the shivers of excitement that accompany the opening of Patio Season in the City of Ottawa! We have waited 5 long, cold, snowy months to feel Mother Nature’s rays of sunshine and here we are at the cusp of the new season. No doubt some of our fine establishments will be opening their patios this weekend as the weather hits the double digits!

Why are we so excited for patio season? Because we are essentially social creature, looking for connections, interactions and any opportunity to just plain old feel good. Most of us have enjoyed simply people watching on a patio, but more likely, we have laughed with friends and colleagues, had “meaning of life” discussions, and made new friends…all from quenching our thirst and absorbing some vitamin D!

We thought we would help you out with a list of some of the most popular patios around town, but we know some of you have your favourites…so from all of us at BGM Real Estate Team – go out and find a patio, invite friends, make friends, load up on those warm rays of sunshine…and let us know if you find, or know of, any other awesome patios in town.

by Chris Lakner

Find your place in the sun. Our guide to Ottawa’s best patios covers your best bets for sun, suds, sangria, vino and vitamin D.

ByWard Market

Clarendon Court: Secluded and cobblestone, its four restaurant patios feel European; discover the magic behind the shops on Sussex Drive, between George and York Streets, including spots like The Social and Courtyard Restaurant.

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The Social: 537 Sussex Dr.

Courtyard Restaurant: 21 George St.

Earl of Sussex Pub: The best sun and sud combo in the market.

431 Sussex Dr.

Earl of Sussex patio.

Earl of Sussex patio.

The Highlander Pub: A place to people watch with eyes on the market’s pedestrian traffic.

115 Rideau St.

Cornerstone Bar and Grill: This market hotspot is a place to be seen.

92 Clarence St.

Murray Street: This leafy patio screams romance. And the charcuterie, cheese boards and wine list will only help matters.

110 Murray St.

Métropolitain Brasserie: Steps away from the Chateau Laurier and Parliament. Grab a table or an outdoor sofa.

700 Sussex Dr.

La Terrasse: Even the sunbeams feel more elegant at this seasonal patio.

1 Rideau St.

La Terrasse patio at Chateau Laurier. Courtesy Ottawa Tourism.

La Terrasse patio at Chateau Laurier. Courtesy Ottawa Tourism.

Elgin and Sparks Streets

D’Arcy McGee’s: Spot Ottawa’s who’s who at this upscale watering hole named after a Father of Confederation.

44 Sparks St.

Fox and Feather: Terrific topside patio with a bird’s-eye view of the bustling Elgin strip.

283 Elgin St.

Pancho Villa: Pancho’s margaritas, daiquiris, sangrias and pina coladas are as big in size as they are in flavour. It might not be Cancún, but close your eyes on the sunny patio and it will feel mighty close.

361 Elgin St.

Pancho Villa's patio.

Pancho Villa’s patio.

The Glebe

Feleena’s Mexican Cantina: Sangria, anyone?

742 Bank St.

Irene’s Pub: Discover the hidden courtyard patio at this live music hotspot.

885 Bank St.

Little Italy

Pub Italia: Ireland enjoys a bit of Italy’s sun.

434 Preston St.

Pub Italia patio.

Pub Italia patio.

Westboro/Hintonburg

Tennessy Willems: Small but sublime. Come for the pizza, stay for the sunshine.

1082 Wellington St W.

Churchills: P is for patio… and Public House.

356 Richmond Rd.

Water View

Canal Ritz patio on the Rideau Canal.

Canal Ritz patio on the Rideau Canal.

Dow’s Lake: Three restaurant patios overlook the lake’s busy birds and boaters. Choose your own adventure between Malone’s Lakeside Grill, Baja Grill and Lago.

1001 Queen Elizabeth Dr.

Canal Ritz: This classy canal-side gem is boat traffic central.

375 Queen Elizabeth Dr.

Mill Street Brew Pub: Located near the Canadian War Museum on LeBreton Flats, this historic gristmill turned brewpub is also the perfect stop along the Ottawa River bike path.

555 Wellington St. 

pario drink

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Address:3B-2160 Montreal Road Ottawa, Ontario K1J 0B4

Phone:613-558-8000

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