Ottawas Condos Team Blog
NEW ASHCROFT CONDOMINIUMS LAUNCH AUGUST 25,2012.
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Krystal

“Bank Street but very modern” is what David Choo, the owner of Ashcroft Homes is calling his new project bordering the Central Experimental Farm just north of Baseline.  The Next will be the name of the building being erected just south west of downtown Ottawa.

Ashcroft has experienced successful sales in the recent condominium market and it goes without saying that their development in Westboro known as  “Q West” was a blatant success.  Q West located at 101 Richmond has not only curb appeal, but also the amenities and quality to back it up.  This type of product is what consumers are looking for in the Next.

The Next first VIP launch was held in June which ended up selling about 37% of the available 68 units. That being said, consumers and investors alike have been patiently waiting for the public launch, which is to be held August 25, 2012.  This new “Bank Street, but very modern” will have a focus on community atmosphere, walkability and on-site amenities such as shops, dining and entertainment.

Choo further plans to erect about 1,000 units in a blend of low-rise and high-rise buildings over the next several years.

Starting prices for The Next will be around $225,000  (515 sq.ft.) and the units are said to host wide and shallow open concept kitchens and spa like bathrooms.  Not to mention, the amenities include a Sky Lounge, rooftop patio and fitness centre.

We look forward to the launch and are excited to see the outcome of this great builder’s The Next!

Give us a shout for further information or to view floor plans and pricing. 

Krystal
613-601-7607

Krystal@OttawasCondos.com

How to make the most of you balcony!
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Kristine

These days, with condos getting smaller and prices getting higher (or balancing out finally - but that's a whole other blog topic!)

It is important to make the most out of your space. Especially when your balcony or terrace represents 120 of the 600sf you own!

 Here are some quick and easy tips to make your outdoor space more usable and  Enjoyable:

 1. Bring the indoors out! 

It's good idea to link the design of your indoor/outdoor space. Your balcony can be an extension of your living room.. Try keeping the theme similar and Match the colors and decor. On nice days when you want to leave your patio door open to catch that cool summer breeze, you want your balcony to feel just as cozy and beautiful as your interior space. 

2. Light it up!

Candles, patio lanterns, sconces . All good ways to shed some light on your beautiful new hot spot. Just don't go overboard.. Chances are, if you are living in the city you probably have a pretty decent view. Light your balcony only enough so that you can still enjoy and appreciate  the warm buzz of the city lights around you. 

(which you no doubt paid big bucks to enjoy, so take advantage!)

 3. Get your greens!

Of course, you don't wont to focus entirely on making your indoor/outdoor space the same.. It's nice to add a little bit of nature, which will surly make for a more relaxing setting. There are some great ideas at www.apartmenttherapy.com 

Plants/flowers that are easy to manage will likely be your best bet. Growing things in planters such as lettuce and herbs, add a nice green vibe which you can make use of too!

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/gardening-without-a-garden-10-ideas-for-your-patio-or-balcony-renters-solutions-167221

 4. When it comes to color, try sticking with the 4 primary colors. For a more vibrant feel, go all out with bright berry reds, sunny yellows, lush greens and deep blues. If you want a more neutral, relaxing theme, try muted or pastel versions of these colors. It's important to choose something that makes you feel good so that you are able to enjoy your time outside. 

Steer clear of anything that feels drab and lifeless. Patios are meant to be fun and enjoyed!

 5. A trendy patio accessory right now is: outdoor rugs! They come in various shapes, sizes, textures and colors and really help to tie in the whole indoor/outdoor theme as well. 

www.selectrugs.ca has a great selection to choose from. You can find the perfect piece to complete your outdoor look. 

ASSIGNMENTS ASSIGNMENTS ASSIGNMENTS
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JP

An Assignment of an agreement of purchase and sale is not the transfer or assignment of real property but rather an assignment or transfer of rights arising out of the agreement or contract relating to real property. Assignments have become increasingly more common in Ontario's condominium sector. However, in all builder contracts there is a restriction on the right of the initial buyer to assign the agreement of purchase and sale or contract without the builder’s consent. Builders usually will charge the buyer a fee for the consent to assign the contract to a new buyer.

 When the agreement is assigned to the second buyer, this buyer will be subject to both the benefits and obligations arising under the agreement unless otherwise provided in the assignment agreement between the initial buyer (the assignor) and the second/subsequent buyer (the assignee). The Assignment Agreement has many similarities to an Agreement of Purchase and Sale. However, whereas a normal Agreement of Purchase and Sale transfers the Title to real property from a seller to a buyer, an Assignment of Agreement of Purchase and Sale transfers ownership of paperwork(Purchase agreement between Builder and Purchaser) from an Assignor to an Assignee.

 IS HST APPLICABLE ON THE SALE PRICE OF AN ASSIGNMENT? 

 There are some situations where HST will, in fact, be applicable and payable by the assignor/seller who is assigning a contract to buy a newly constructed unit/residence.

 When applicable, HST will be payable by the Assignor on the portion of the assignment sale price related to the return of deposits (previously paid to the builder by the assignor) PLUS the gross profit (the difference between the original builder price and the new assignment price).

 Whether or not HST is applicable to an assignment depends on the original intention the assignor when the offer to purchase was made with the builder. If the PRIMARY PURPOSE by the assignor/seller in buying from the builder was to profit by assigning/flipping the deal, THEN HST IS APPLICABLE to the assignment/sale.

On the other hand, if an individual originally signed an offer to purchase a condo apartment (to be newly constructed by a builder) with the primary intention that the unit bought would be used (for example) by:

(1) a son or daughter when attending University/College, OR
(2) a parent who wanted or needed a place to reside, or
(3) a spouse who planned to separate from the family, or
(4) the buyer(s) who intended to downsize, or
(5) the buyer(s) who intended to use the apartment when working downtown or when visiting Ottawa
(6) a son or daughter who was engaged to be married, or
(7) buyer wanted to move closer to a workplace OR to relocate a place of work

 THEN the Canada Revenue Agency would typically conclude that HST is not applicable on the assignment/sale if (at a later date) a reasonable change in circumstance resulted in an assignment/sale of the unit if, for example,

(1) such son/daughter chose not to go to University/College, or
(2) the buyer's mom or dad no longer could use or wanted to use such apartment as a residence
(due to their death or needs a retirement home), or
(3) intention to separate from family changed, or
(4) decision was made later not to downsize, or
(5) the buyer(s) reasonably changed his/their minds about such intended use, or
(6) the engaged son or daughter decided not to marry or decided to live elsewhere, or
(7) the workplace location changed or the intended relocation of workplace changed

 The question is whether the facts or circumstances would indicate to the Canada Revenue Agency that the condo was originally being acquired from the builder for the primary purpose of personal use versus buying the unit for only a potential profit with the intention of assigning or flipping the deal. If a buyer purchases two or more new condo units or has a corporation purchase a residential unit, it is more difficult (perhaps impossible) to try to explain to the Canada Revenue Agency that the primary purpose in buying from the builder was to acquire the unit for personal use as a residence for an immediate family member.

 As an assignor, assignment can be a great way to benefit from your unit's appreciation in value without having to seek financing from a bank come final closing/unit transfer. It is your responsibility however to seek Solicitor review and approval of the terms contained in the Assignment Agreement, specifically pertaining to any sales tax implications if applicable. Ottawa's Condos Team can guide you through the process. Contact one of our experts today.

Market Cycle of Emotions
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Kathryn

When you open up the newspaper nowadays, it’s hard to ignore the copious amounts of headlines highlighting the struggling market. When I first started studying for my real estate course, I distinctively remember analyzing the graphs pertaining to the typical market cycle; the rise and falls. It seems as though, according to the information that is being given to us, we are currently going down a slope. Normally in this kind of instance, the public becomes cautious and weary about meddling in the housing market, and tend to stay distant from the concept of buying. However, is this really the solution? Perhaps what really needs to be done is to move at a steady pace in tune with the gradual changes of the market.

I recently found an online graph depicting the “Market Cycle of Emotions”. I found it to be rather interesting; as opposed to looking at the numbers, statistics, and facts about the market cycle, it analyzes how investors may feel during a typical market cycle.

Here’s how it looks: as the market is blooming, investors think to themselves “this is great, I should invest more”. They are experiencing optimism and euphoria. This is when everyone is in a buying frenzy. However, if one were to look ahead, it would make sense to actually be cautious when everyone else is buying. As the graph depicts, the next range of emotions is fear and surrender. The individual says to himself “maybe this time it’ll be different”, retracing their steps and regretting their impulse moves during the rise. This, however, could be a good time to consider buying when everyone else is being cautious. After all, a buyer’s market may come into play, offering an abundance of choice with lowered prices.

My team leader Jeff told me a story the other day which accentuated the importance of taking the path less travelled. It is easy to be influenced by the media, as it is our primary source of information. It may take more time and more thought to learn about the pros and cons of buying in a market bubble, however it may prove to significantly benefit you in the long run.

Breathe new life into Ikea furniture.
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Krystal

I found this great article the other day!

I think it's safe to say that everybody has experienced the highs and lows of purchasing Ikea furniture. It starts with the excitement of walking through the sliding doors of the 400,000 sq.ft furniture store and ends with the frustration, tears and sadness of putting together the furniture that was once funky, neat and inexpensive. Now, months later once your emotional needs have adjusted you are ready for new design and decor. Instead of suffering through the grueling process you can now revive your Ikea furniture with the Bemz furniture covering product.

Check out this article from the Ottawa Citizen.

The other day, my best friend mentioned that her old Ikea Ektorp sofa, which is well-used by her two young children, is in need of a pick-me-up. The slipcover had washed up just fine, but she really wanted to liven up her family room. She was thinking a new set of toss cushions and a stylish throw. I was thinking Bemz.

"What's Bemz?" she asked.

Bemz, I told her, is to slipcovered Ikea furniture what meatballs are to Swedes. Which is to say, made for each other.

The slipcover, of course, is the best home invention since the self-cleaning oven. It's a stylish, worry-free way to not only keep your upholstery looking clean - wash and wear is the only way to go when you have a young family - but to freshen up the décor every now and then.

Enter Lesley Pennington, a University of Toronto graduate and entrepreneur who in 2004 dreamed up Bemz after falling in love with a Swedish man, moving to Stockholm and buying a white Ikea Tomelilla sofa for their summer home.

Wouldn't it be great, she thought, if the sofa's handy slipcover came in a variety of colours and textiles, something that suited her eclectic taste, instead of just white cotton and the two other plain colours offered with the sofa? Wouldn't it be ideal if there was a company that provided that service, and also made slipcovers to order for discontinued Ikea furniture?

Bemz was born and, in keeping with the Ikea spirit, Pennington created the name as an acronym for the children in her family.

Fast forward eight years. Bemz has not only breathed new life into old Ikea furniture, it has also upped its game. It not only offers the basic slipcovers Ikea customers are familiar with, but also custom-designed textiles by such labels as Helsinki's Marimekko, famous for its bright prints and colours, and the British Designers Guild. The company also makes a new line of multi-fit, tie-arm covers for non-Ikea furniture.

It's all just a keystroke away, with bemz. com delivering its products to 35 countries within a few weeks of orders.

As for fabric styles, my friend was delighted to find Bemz offers 88 solid-colour fabrics and 92 prints from which to choose. There are striped slipcovers and flowered slipcovers and solid block slipcovers. They are all available in palettes that include beige, brown, green, blue, orange, red, pink/purple, grey and black, and are on offer for Ikea cushions, day beds, dining room chairs, headboards, bed skirts and footstools. The selection of fabrics includes cotton, linen, cotton-linen blend and chenille textured cotton, all made from 100-per-cent natural fibres that are machine washable.

The website lets you test every colour and pattern on the Ikea piece you're looking to update so that you can visualize it in your home. Prices range from about $25 for a bar stool cover to $700-plus, as well as shipping costs. You can also order up to five free fabric swatches.

If you find so many fabric choices to be a little too much and don't have a fixed design esthetic in mind, don't fret. Bemz has grouped some of its textiles into "Lifestyle" categories - they include Playground, Simple Life, Bohemian Chic, Urban Living and Scandinavian Country - to help you discover your personal style.

So no matter whether you're dealing with a slipcover-less armchair you picked up in the as-is department at Ikea or an old Ektorp in need of a facelift, Bemz gives you 180 options to freshen up your space.

Closing Costs
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Krystal
  
So, you've saved over the past few years for the down payment on your first home purchase(or second or third). You're probably experiencing a broad range of emotions from anxiousness to excitement to confusion when it comes to where to put this money and how much extra you will need to pay. You're okay, take a breath and smile.
Your down payment which you have been saving for is good to go and sitting in your bank account. (Remember, this is the sum of money you provide upfront on the date of transaction for a property meanwhile, the rest is paid by your mortgage or a loan)
In addition to this sum of money, you will be responsible for closing costs which according to CMHC can range from 1.4%-2.25% of the purchase price. These can range from province to province.
You are probably wondering, "what are these extra costs closing costs for?"
Well, here is a breakdown ...
Appraisal Fee: an appraisal is done by a professional working for a lender in order to confirm that the property's market value is within the price being paid for the property . Approximately $180
Home Inspection Fee: Home inspections are done for the benefit of the buyer and inform the buyer of the state of the property. It is to ensure that the property is in good standing order. Approximately 400$
PST: If your mortgage is CMHC or GE Capital insured (less than %20 down) there is a PST of 8% in Ontario payable at closing.
Title Insurance or Land Survey Fee: Recent survey is required of the lender. In place of the Survey, most lenders today will accept Title Insurance for about $250
Legal Costs: A lawyer will charge a fee for their services to disperse fees, etc.
Land Transfer Tax : LTT is payable by the purchaser.
Ontario Land Transfer Tax on residential property is the total of:
  • 0.5% of the first $55,000
  • plus 1.0% of the amount from $55,001 to $250,000
  • plus 1.5% of the amount in excess of $250,001 to $400,000
  • plus 2.0% of the amount in excess of $400,000
First time home buyers do not pay the LTT on their first 200,000 in Ontario.
Miscellaneous : Extra costs which are acquired during transaction period.
Canada's Effervescent Prices and Household Debt
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JP
For some time now, it seems news headlines are always coming back to Canada's effervescent prices and household debt. 2012 will be crucial a year, as a possible rate hike could hurt demand and the ability to pay down debt.

HOWEVER, Ottawa’s population — at 883, 391 in 2011 — grew 8.8% from 2006 to 2011, opposing the provincial trend: Ontario’s growth slowed more than any other province and sits at 5.7%, below the national average of 5.9%.

What does this mean for us who call Ottawa our home? Great news! If population growth here in Ottawa continues on its path, our economy will follow suit. If our economy continues to grow, so will the demand for housing.

When Gatineau is factored in, the figures for the region are even stronger at 9.1%. With 1,236,324 people, Ottawa-Gatineau is the fourth-largest census metropolitan area in the country.

“There’s a lot of strength in different sectors of the economy. They don’t just come here to work at the government of Canada,” said Ian Lee, a professor at Carleton’s Sprott School of Business. “What Ottawa’s doing is creating conditions that foster and encourage companies to do business in Canada.

Ottawa's Real Estate Board housing statistics concur. The results indicate it’s been a typical month of January for the Ottawa and area resale housing market” said Board President Ansel Clarke. “It is interesting to note that the inventory of properties for sale is considerably higher than a year ago, offering a lot of choice to buyers. In fact, 684 residential properties were sold in January 2012 compared with 677 in January 2011, an increase of one per cent. The five-year average for January sales is 652. The average sale price is also on the rise. Residential properties, including condominiums, sold in January in the Ottawa area was $349,415, an increase of 5.6 per cent over January 2011.

Bottom line, our real estate market remains one of the strongest in the country. Talk to an Ottawa's Condos Team representative today to learn how YOU can make money investing in our city's residential and condominium housing.
Love!
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Kristine

In lieu of this week’s past holiday, Valentine’s Day, I thought I would blog a little bit about ways to make your home buying/selling experience one you can truly LOVE..

Low interest rates: Mortgage rates are at an all time low and this is a great time to get locked in and loaded. Whether you are purchasing for the first time or thinking of renewing your mortgage, it is a great time to makes moves. An article from CBC news recently stated: “The Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals estimated recently that the 1.35 million mortgage holders who renewed their mortgages in the past year saved an average of $2,000 a year in interest costs – or $2.7 billion a year in total.”

While this news is very interesting, what some people don’t understand is that a low mortgage rate isn’t good enough. Although low rates are appealing, you need more than just a rate. You need a solid financial plan that can take care of all of you individual needs. Working with someone you trust can make all the difference when it comes to purchasing a home. Luckily at OCT, we have the privilege of working with many fantastic people and we would be happy to refer you to someone you can depend on.

Organize: Purchasing or selling a home, although fun and exciting, can often be very stressful. Being organized during this process can help immensely. You can keep organized by getting the right people on your side. Get in touch with a mortgage specialist and be pre-approved before you start looking. This is important to avoid any kind of disappointments when starting to look at homes that may not even be in your budget. Having your finances in order is number one.

Find a realtor who is going to work hard for you. Although “For Sale By Owner” can be a great option for some people, it is not always realistic. Selling a home can often be chaotic especially when you have a job and life to worry about as well. Showings, appointments, phone calls, paper work, negotiations... This is all a lot of work and is very overwhelming. Being unorganized can cause you to lose a lot of money. Whether selling or buying, it is best to have someone in your corner who is going to look out for your best interests.

Value: This is an important one.

1.      Value the opinion of those working for you. Respect your realtor’s judgement and allow them to guide you in the right direction.

2.      Buy something that is worth it! Make sure the property you want to buy is valuable to you in one way or another. For example, if you are purchasing something as an investment, make sure you are shopping around and getting a great deal. This way you will see a return on your investment.

If you are on a quest to find your dream home, make sure you are choosing things that are of value to YOU. The professional opinions of others are great to consider but when it comes down to it, you need to go with what makes YOU happy.

3.      Market value is also important to understand. Do not overpay or expect someone to over pay for your property. Just because your home may be of high value to you, does not mean that is how much it is truly worth. Sometimes sentimental feelings can get in the way when selling your home. Understanding the market is vital. If your home is overpriced and isn’t getting any action it might be time to re-assess the situation. If for some reason you feel like your home is more valuable then what the market is telling you, maybe it isn’t time to sell.  It can be difficult to let go of something when you are not ready, so make sure you are ready!

Economy: Looking at what is going on in the economy at the moment is always something important to take into consideration when make large investments or purchases. It is often said that we are lucky to be living in the bubble of which is the Nation’s capital. We have a steady market in all respects and we are shielded from the frictions sometimes felt in surrounding areas. This train of thought however has often been criticized by those who believe that sooner or later our glorious bubble will indeed burst.

Luckily, recent CMHC predictions for the 2012 Market have been released leaving us with a glass half full. Mathieu Laberge, Deputy Chief Economist for CMHC reported that:

 “Despite continued uncertainty in the global economy, Canada’s economic fundamentals remain positive, particularly with respect to interest rates, employment and immigration. These factors will continue to support Canada’s housing sector in 2012,”

More specifically, Ottawa has remained stable and is expected to remain the same with little to no slippage in the housing marking over the next three years. Even with inevitable government cut backs, not much is expected to change.

Take all factors into consideration and always go with your instincts. If your current situation does not allow you to feel comfortable making a large investment, then simply don’t. But don’t allow economic pessimists to sway your decision either. The Ottawa housing marking is strong and it doesn’t seem like there is a kryptonite in sight.

Bubble Prices
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Max

In the past few months I have heard a lot of people talk about a bubble prices in the Canadian housing market. We will definitely see some major decline in prices in the Canadian real estate market but certain areas will be more affected then other (i.e. Toronto and Vancouver). Canadian Banks are predicting up to 10% price decline for these two specific cities in the next two years. The main reasons why these two cities in particular will be more affected then the rest of the country is mostly because they have seen prices go up at a faster rate than the rest of Canada. CMHC’s forecast states that the market should remain steady for 2012 and 2013. We should still expect sales and new constructions to increase for the next two years mostly due to low mortgage rates still available. As a real estate agent I am seeing a lot of people wanting to buy real estate in Ottawa knowing that the mortgage rates are not expected to remain as low as we are currently experiencing so buyers are rushing to lock down a good mortgage rate before they start to increase. I strongly believe that this will be the main factor driving the market for the next two years. That being said until an increase in mortgage rates, expected to increase during the year of 2013, I strongly believe that we still have another two years of steady prices increase in Ottawa.

Stay tune to find out my predictions for 2013 – 2014.

Quick negotiations tips
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Jeff

Quick negotiations tips

Blog off... Blog wars 2012 week #2.
After my last minute submission in week #1 I had told myself that in week two I would be prepared and get my blog done ahead of time... As per usual, this is not the case. It is 7:10 am and t minus 20 minutes until the blogs are due...

The art of making a deal is at the root of our jobs everyday. Due to this fact anyone that is busy buying and selling real estate knows or should know the 3 most important pieces of info that are needed in order to have full understanding of the target property and help identify if a deal may be available.

1) don't even consider a negotiation without this piece of info. " How much did the seller pay for the property and when did they buy it ".

2) how many days has the property been on the market for.

3) has the seller purchased another property yet or any other motivating factors.


 Thinking rationally, it should not matter what the seller bought a property for because in a perfect world market price will find itself. But since the world isn't perfect, if you are a deal seeker and you combine a property that was purchased 10 years ago for 200k that is now worth 315k and a seller that is motivated a deal COULD be on the table at 300k or north. The thought of cashing out, or moving on combined with a nice profit will typically help facilitate the transaction. Vs the exact same property except the seller just purchased it last year for 298k and would be taking a loss at 300k. This second seller may be more inclined to sit tight and wait for 315k to cover their loses.

In other words. Profits are in the details.

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