Ottawas Condos Team Blog
A Few Ways to Change It Up @ Home for Under 10$
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January is synonymous with new, new, new. It's the time of the year when we aspire towards change and refreshing the old. But a change doesn't have to be big or difficult to be effective. Follow me after the jump to see a few inexpensive ways to liven up your home…

Bring the Outdoors In: Having flowers and plants indoors instantly cheers up a room. If you haven't had any in a while, this just may be the time to start. If you live in a warm climate, you could pick a few outside, and if not, head to your local market and grab a bright bouquet or sweet potted plant. Maybe even plant some herbs in pots for your kitchen window sill.

Get Moving: Nothing gets old like the same old routine. Try moving a few things around in your house that always stay in the same spot. Maybe it's the vase that you put your newly cut flowers in. You could swap the neutral pillows from your bedroom to your living room. You can even re-arrange some furniture for a new perspective.

Go Thrifting: Head to your local thrift store and browse around for some fun, quirky home accessory that will liven up your home and your outlook.

Start Re-thinking: Is there an unused closet that you can turn into that sewing space you've always wanted? Is there a window that could become a lovely reading nook just by bringing over a small chair and table from another part of the house? Look around and see if there are areas in your home that would be best suited for another purpose.

Listen Up: Do you listen to music in your home while you're doing chores or cooking dinner? If not, maybe start there. If so, what if you changed up what you listened to? What if instead of your usual playlist, you put on some jazz or classical or reggae? How would that change your mood and the feeling in the house?

Donate and Decorate
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Donate and Decorate
Since a new year has finally arrived, it is time to do some New Year cleaning and redecorating.
I recently redecorated my entire condo with used furniture from hotel liquidators and Value Village. I had a goal to redecorate my 2 bedroom condo for under $1000.00. I was convinced it was IMPOSSIBLE.
This all started when I realized how tired I get of furniture ... usually about a year and I'm ready to change. I started this challenge by making my way to a Hotel liquidator where I found my dining set(table and 4 chairs). This cost me $220 including delivery. I figured out how to do an easy reupholster job. I purchased a staple gun and some fabric, sewed the ends to prevent the frilling and there I was with what feels like a brand new custom dining set.
Did you know that hotel furniture has a higher sit count and is more durable than your average furniture?
Moving forward, I found a "used" couch online which in reality had never been used. It was from a model show room and cost me only $170. I washed the pillows and coverings and VOILA.
Finally, I hit Value Village for accessorizing. The amount of furniture and wall art I found was overwhelming. I could see something special in all of the furniture. I started my Value Village adventure with a side coffee table (4.99$). I took this coffee table, sanded and used some furniture paint to make the top of the table a "silver lace" colour. For the entrance I purchased welcome seating with attached desk ...Think: old church school seating with attached desks (6.99)- here I reupholstered the seating from the funky vintage paisley to a subtle grey safari print. Finally, I found my office computer desk for perfect condition.
This being said, it is possible to purchase a property and furnish within a budget and to your custom style. We all know the feeling when you see your bank account deplete after putting your downpayment on property/properties.
I have decided moving forward to always donate my furniture to Salvation Army and / or Value Village. I believe that really beautiful, unique or more expensive furniture you should sell online at Kijiji or Craigslist. You should NEVER dump your furniture unless it is heavily stained/dirty/broken.
Value Village donates $ to over 140 non-profit organizations in US, Canada and Australia . See here:
Our longstanding success hinges on solid working relationships with 140 nonprofit partners across the US, Canada, and Australia. Every time you donate reusable clothing and household items either to them or directly to us at one of our stores via a Community Donation Center, we pay them. Over the past 10 years, we’ve paid more than $1 billion! That’s pure sustainable funding that supports their programs and services in your communities and beyond.
Why not treat yourself to a redesigned home while helping out some charities?
Get more information here:
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Holiday Décor for Condos
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Trying to decorate a small space for the holidays? Don’t panic! It’s not the size of the space that matters; it’s the feel that your home is decorated for the holidays. Believe it or not, smaller spaces may look better decorated as the feeling of coziness is already there. You can fill any room, no matter how small, with relaxing holiday cheer if you utilize your space.

 For smaller spaces, such as condos, it is important to think of what you first see when you first enter the door. Yes, in some small condo spaces you can actually see the entire space right from the door. Using the same accent color all throughout your space will create a consistent look and will intensify the effect of that color.

Many condos have the dining/living wall as the largest open space. Consider placing shelving on the wall that also works as a year round feature in your space. Decorate these shelves with items like candles, garlands, vases, evergreen branches, holiday ornaments etc. to give your condo that holiday feel. During the rest of the year, these shelves can be used to decorate for other holidays, or to display pictures of you and your family.

If you have enough room, a narrow tall tree, is perfect in front of a window. String small lights around the tree, as well as holiday ornaments, to create a warm homey feeling. No space for a tree?  An oversized vase filled with a tall arrangement of branches in your favorite colors/textures will also create an eye catching look that is a good substitute for a tree as well.

Try adding wreathes, candles, and other small accents throughout your condo such as bath towels, mats, and pillows to bring the holiday feel all through your unit. Wreaths, garlands, mantel decor, and centerpieces set the stage for your holiday haven. These items come in a wide variety of colors and sizes, allowing you to choose the pieces that fit best in your space.

Depending on your condo property management, you may be permitted to use lights on small artificial trees on your balcony or along the railing. Even if it’s snowy and windy, your balcony is your little garden that could look very pretty after a fresh snow fall.

Keep the focus on comfort, but never compromise on style. A celebratory, festive look can easily be created even in a small space by adding individual touches to an otherwise neutral and clean color palette.

Ottawas Condos
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Between the years of 2008-2010 there were 4000 condo starts in Ottawa alone and interest rates remain low, so investors are lining up to purchase and resell condo units.

Many downtown business owners love this growth in the condo market, as it brings a lot more traffic to their business. This new wave of urban intensification which many say that Ottawa was behind other cities, is positively impacting the downtown core economy bringing new businesses to life and helping others survive. I am personally seeing more and more business owners seeking these new locations where they know a condo building will pop up in a few years. I think this condo growth is exactly what the city needed bringing life and more action into the city making it a better place to live. 

Fall Market Analysis
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As the leaves continue to fall in Ottawa, we are seeing an increase in units sold, as well as an increase in average sale price. Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 1,073 residential properties in October through the Board’s MLS system, compared with 1,059 in October 2011, an increase of 1.3 per cent. The five-year average for October sales is 1,067.

 October’s sales included 237 in the condominium property class, and 836 in the residential property class. The condominium property class includes any property, regardless of style (i.e. detached, semi-detached, apartment, stacked etc.), which is registered as a condominium, as well as properties which are co-operatives, life leases and timeshares. The residential property class includes all other residential properties.

 The Ottawa market continues to be on track historically in regards to the number of sales to date as well. Since 1999 the number of sales through the MLS® System in Ottawa has ranged from a low of 11,329 to a high of 14,783. Sales for the first ten months of the year are at 12,768. Year-to-date average sale price is also up over 2011.

 The average sale price of residential properties, including condominiums, sold in October in the Ottawa area was $346,492, an increase of 2.5 per cent over October 2011. The average sale price for a condominium-class property was $267,037, an increase of 3.0 per cent over October 2011. The average sale price of a residential-class property was $369,016, an increase of 1.8 per cent over October 2011. The Board cautions that average sale price information can be useful in establishing trends over time but should not be used as an indicator that specific properties have increased or decreased in value. The average sale price is calculated based on the total dollar volume of all properties sold. Although the Ottawa market is characterized as stable and steady, there can be pockets of our market where fluctuations, such as larger increases in price, exist.


-Source: Ottawa Real Estate Board

Common Ottawa builders, get ambitious.
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More and more buildings have common area pools for residents to enjoy. But, have you ever wished you could walk onto your own private balcony and take a quick dip?

I must admit, I have thought about it and would have assumed the limits would be that of a hot tub. Until now!! After looking at the renderings for Parinee Ism a few months ago, I thought I would share it. A 140 meter tall residential tower in Mumbai, India. The tower is designed by architect James Law and it plans on placing a glass pool on every balcony.

On the James Law Cybertecture Website, Law states that this building is “inspired by the ripple effect generated by water droplets, which is also known as the capillary wave.” The tower’s facade is meant to demonstrate the movement and fluidity of water.

But, the real draw to this luxury residence is the glass pool on every balcony. I looked everywhere but could not locate a price list.

Imagine cantilevering vertically off your rooftop while taking a dip in your transparent bottomed infinity pool “just” 30 storeys above the ground. Wow.

Sort of hard to imagine in Ottawa though eh. Maybe in 20-30 years.

Jeff Mziray 

November Market Analysis
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Statistics released by the Ottawa Real Estate Board on November 5th indicate a stable Ottawa real estate market. We have seen sales go up by 1.3% pushing the average sale price to $346 492. Most people were predicting a real estate downturn for the Ottawa region but what we are currently seeing based on the market data is a slow and steady incline in units sold and average sale price. One main thing that sellers and investors have to understand is that average days on market (DOM) increased by 2.5% to 49 days. As a real estate salesperson we have to make sure that our clients understand the new conditions of the market. Buyers have to make sure they have knowledge of the market so they can make a smart investment based on their needs. Sellers on the other hand have to be a little more patient and strategic in order to sale and get the price they are looking for. 

Understand Zoning. Make MONEY!
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By Jeff Mziray

 Opportunities lurk.. As part of the city of Ottawa’s attempts to re intensify ( increase density ) the city center , they published new zoning by laws and regulations in 2010. These by laws can drastically effect the highest and best use of properties. Hence, knowing and understanding these by laws opens doors to the possibility of extracting value where it was not before, or others do not know exists.

 Residential zones in our city are divided into 4 main Zones. R1, R2, R3, & R4. Each of these zones have sub zones that further classify the usability of the subject property that you may be interested in.

 Follow this link to my favourite money making zone R3. This Zone is not overly complex, the barriers to entry are relatively achievable, and scope of understanding / proficiency needed to navigate profitably is definitely attainable. . As you read through the zone, you will find yourself looking at chart that outlines the available uses of a specific parcel, as well as lot areas requirement, minimum frontage requirement and set back requirements etc.

 At a glance this may seem like numbers on a page, but if you look closer, and really try to absorb this information you may find yourself ( as I did ) driving up and down streets in mature R3 zones, looking for large side yards that may be severable and sellable, side by side Duplex’s that may be able to be subdivided and sold separately, the list goes on and on.

In summary, opportunity is out there. Understanding zoning regulations will definitely help with making smart real estate investments. Even if you are just purchasing your primary residence, understanding that there may be fall back development potential can turn out to be a huge financial gain. Increased knowledge reduces risks, and I would say, understanding zoning is a must.

As always, feel free to shoot me any questions you may have.

Stand up to MPAC!
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So… It is that time of year again. What time you ask? The time that MPAC ( municipal property assessment corporation ) sends out there supposedly arbitrary, computer generated and seldom well received property value assessments. These value assessments have a direct correlation to the amount of annual property tax you pay. IF THE VALUE MPAC PLACES ON YOUR PROPERTY IS TOO HIGH, FIGHT IT!

So, what you want to do is ask MPAC (1-866-296-MPAC (6722) Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m) for their data base on all actual sales in your neighborhood for that period. You can bet your bottom dollar that MPAC is accessing that data base. In fact MPAC probably has access to other data bases which have been paid for by public money and should therefore be freely available to you. Or, shoot me an email and I will prepare a quick market evaluation for you at no cost ( out of shear frustration over my assessment I am willing to help anyones cause ). You can also reach MPAC online at Access information using a 19-digit “Roll Number” and a website password which will be included in their mail assessments. From here, file a request for Assessment Review.

You don't need to hire a lawyer to attend the Assessment Review Board with you. The appeal process is not overly complex, but do take some time to review the criteria prior to attending the Assessment review board. It will also help you in your dealings with MPAC during the "Request for Reconsideration." They should be prepared to provide you with the same information that they will have to provide should you not settle with them and proceed with the appeal.

Make sure that you keep records of everything you do, and make notes of all conversations with MPAC's people, and with the people at the Assessment Review Board. Don't trust to your memory because the information you obtain today if not recorded will be lost down the drain. Why not start by opening a file ;)

The basics behind your assessment:

The increase in assessment is phased in over four years, what MPAC calls a” four-year phase-in period,” What that means is that when the assessment notices come out from MPAC, if your assessment increase is approximately the Ottawa and surrondings average, over a four-year period your property taxes will be equal to the budgetary increase approved by City Council in the next budget.

For 2013 through 2016, assessments are based on a January 1, 2012 legislated valuation date.

Commercial property owners will not receive their MPAC assessments until after November 20.


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