Ottawas Condos Team Blog
Ottawa's First Snowfall on New Construction
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This is the SOHO Lisgar by Mastercraft Starwood. This building will be located between Bank and O'Connor on Lisgar. This development is Hotel-Inspired and is expected to be a huge hit. Expect this to be ready in 2013


Support United Way at the Popular Networking Event Schmoozefest 2011!
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United Way Ottawa’s Next Generation Cabinet is proud to host Ottawa’s ultimate networking event — Schmoozefest.

Thursday, October 20 at 6:30 p.m.
LAGO Bar|Grill|View
Dows Lake Pavilion
Tickets are 40$ in advance, 45$ at the door

This event, now in its 6th year, connects and builds business relationships while raising awareness about United Way and how the next generation of philanthropists - young professionals – can make a difference in their community.

 Why should you attend Schmoozefest?

  • Get connected with young professionals like yourself and meet people in Ottawa who are making an impact
  • A chance to mingle with VIPs from the public and private sector; health & wellness; sports & entertainment; small business & culinary
  • Silent and Live Auctions featuring donated items from local United Way supporters
  • Enjoy a beverage courtesy of Beau’s Brewery and Spicebox Whisky
  • Sample food from The Piggy Market, as well as a variety of delicious hors d’oeuvres

 Who's in the room?

Schmoozefest works to bring people from all areas of Ottawa life into the room to give our guests the best experience. Young professionals have the chance to meet and talk with those in their industry or an industry of interest to them. 

What's up for grabs?

In addition to fantastic networking, Schmoozefest is a fundraiser where guests have the opportunity to participate in a silent and live auction. In 2010 Schmoozefest raised more than $20,000!

For more information and tickets please see the United Way website below.

Making your dreams happen
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Working in the downtown real estate world you tend to meet a wide variety of people from entrepreneurs, to government employees, to retirees . Everybody has a goal regardless of their job, personality, place in life, etc... Here is a neat article that I found on
1 Just think

Have you ever marked another month off the calendar and wondered where the days went? You feel like you’re on a treadmill; get up, go to work, come home and do it all again. There’s no time to just stop… catch your breath, let alone figure out how you really want to be spending your days – you’re too busy just getting through another day.
So…get ‘unbusy’ - get away from your desk, your phone and your email.
Make a point of scheduling in a regular space in your diary to get away from your normal routine, distractions and demands on your time. Mark this space as a meeting with yourself; the most important person in your life!
Find a place that encourages thinking, whether it’s a café or walking in the bush. Your most powerful ideas and creativeness come from these times when you allow your mind to free wheel. This ‘unbusyness’ is far more fruitful than being anchored to your computer answering emails and fighting fires, because this time is thinking about your life, the big picture – before it all evaporates and you wake up to find you’ve run out of life.
Take stock of your life, ask yourself if you’re happy with the direction of your future; is this really what you want to be doing? What needs to change? How can you make changes?
Any action in your life starts with a thought – but you need to invest in some thinking time to have that thought.

2. Energise

Making changes in your life, starting or growing a business requires an enormous amount of energy and focus.
Mind and body wellness has to be a priority – if you fall ill or burnout, then your plans and dreams could crumble away.
Gather a team of professional supporters – a nutritionist, a masseur, a personal trainer, a life coach; people who can help you to perform at your best, so you are able to follow your dreams.
Add new activities into your day so life isn’t all about work; take up yoga and learn meditation to combat stress. Make time for that creative hobby that takes you into ‘the zone’, whether it’s dancing, painting, or playing music.
Like a race car, you need to refuel. Have weekends off to relax, unwind and rejuvenate so you can hit a new week revitalised and racing.

3. Find role models

Be inspired by other people’s success and let it open your mind to the possibilities that await you! Learn about people whom you admire; read their books, listen to them at conferences and introduce yourself at meetings.
Don’t be afraid to call them and ask to meet them over a coffee.

4. Make your dreams bigger than your fears

Realise your fears are just excuses and that you do have choices. You can choose to follow your dream… or not. To take up the challenge or to play it safe. Keep your dream in front of you to inspire and motivate you and believe that you can achieve it.
Asking yourself what is the worst that could possibly happen puts your fears into perspective. As someone once said, what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.

5. Focus

Be very clear about what your dream/goal is. Write your dreams down, and create a step by step action plan to achieve them.
What will it feel like once achieved? What will it look like? What’s the first action you’ll take? How will you get around the obstacles?

6. Live your purpose and passion

Decide to have no regrets in life. Make your motto: Just did it! Don’t let your music die inside of you. Find out what your purpose is; how will you make a difference to the world and other people and make it a better place?
Determine what activities in your life are goal orientated and ‘passion’ activities and which activities can be delegated or outsourced – and begin to delegate! (Do you really need to spend all Saturday mowing the lawns?) The result is that you spend more of your time doing the things you love and that bring you closer to realising your goals.

7. Get support

Set up your own mastermind group. Meet every three weeks and take turns to report your goal progress and brainstorm ideas for solutions to any obstacles. Or find a goal setting buddy and meet twice yearly to set your goals and action steps for the year and then meet every three weeks to make each other accountable on progress.

8. Enjoy the journey

Enjoy the process of the journey – life isn’t about perfection it’s about enjoying the process; because when you get ‘there’ it will become ‘here’ and then you will have another ‘there’.

Staging: Look at your property objectively
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When Dana Smithers was preparing a home for the real estate market, she told the owner that his valued collection of samurai swords must come down from the walls.

“That was gruelling for him,” says Smithers of the elegant, if lethal, weapons.

However, if a property is to appeal to as many potential buyers as possible, any item deemed personal — from family photos and memorabilia to political or religious art, meaning anything that might distract, offend or provoke — must go temporarily into storage, insists Smithers - founder of PRES Home Staging and Redesign.

According to the North Vancouver-based pioneer of the relatively new home-staging business, the process of “depersonalizing” a home and “pre-packing” expressions of one’s personal life is key to selling the property for as much, and as quickly, as possible.

“Once you put your home up for sale, it’s a piece of merchandise,” says the staging teacher and author of books that include Start & Run a Home Staging Business, from Self-Counsel Press. “The biggest mistake home-sellers make is that they’re not able to look at their property objectively.”

Taking a no-nonsense look at your well lived-in home and then giving it an unemotional makeover — whether by doing it yourself or by paying a stager to provide part of all of the services — is what home staging is all about.

Susan Evans of Home Suite Home Staging in downtown Vancouver says: “A lot of people think it’s just a fun job, but there’s a big business component, too.”

Evans charges $225 for an initial consultation of a standard-sized house. That will include a room-by-room assessment, measurements and photos, followed by a proposal and cost estimate for a full staging.

In Smithers’ experience, consultation for a one-bedroom apartment (excluding furniture or fixture rentals) will cost $500, while a day in a house would be about $1,000.

Some realtors include a basic $100 staging consultation fee in their service package.

It’s then up to the homeowner to decide if he or she wants to hire a stager. In the end, reports Smithers, staged homes sell 50 per cent faster, and for six to 13 per cent more than those that have not been prepared for the market.

In starting the process, Smithers asks: “Who is most likely to buy? A couple with children, or pets, a senior, or a young corporate person? Or someone who wants to flip the property?

“Look at what’s being sold in your neighbourhood, who’s bought, and for how much,” she advises. By understanding the potential buyer, you’re in a better position to decide how much time and money to spend on staging, and what’s required.

Professional stagers — experts in home-design trends — will tell you to make it as simple, uncluttered and open-spaced as possible.

The next step, says Smithers, is determining the primary function of each room. In one home Smithers staged, the room designed as a den had come to house a pet rabbit and lots of junk. She restored it to its primary purpose. In the same home, a computer and related paraphernalia were removed from the space intended for dining.

“Function is first,” says Smithers. “And then find a focal point — maybe a fireplace or a great view. The focal point is the first thing you want people to see when they walk in. You want them to say, ‘Wow, I love it.’”

The next step is to “de-clutter” and “depersonalize.” As a professional stager, says Smithers, “you have to be a psychologist — you have to be tactful. And the seller has to be on board (the process). Ninety-five per cent of sellers are. The other five per cent are not ready to detach (from their home).”

Almost all homes, and definitely those 10 years or older, must be repainted. “It’s about refreshing the home — and painting is the No. 1 thing that people can do,” Smithers says. Neutral colours are strongly recommended. Expect to pay three to five per cent of the asking price on improvements, she adds.

When a Kitsilano homeowner asked Susan Evans how best to stage his long-neglected heritage property on a limited budget, she advised him to paint the entire four-bedroom house. “This was what was going to give him the biggest impact,” she says.

Many homes need new flooring, with hardwood being the preferred option. And for every major purchase or service, says Smithers, get more than one quote. Check out several home-stagers before shelling out for an entire package. “Have them make a presentation. Get references. That’s really important.”

“Furniture placement is key,” Smithers continues. “We usually take out about half of the [owner’s] furniture — you only want the essential pieces in each room. The further the eye can travel the bigger the room looks. Most people like a modern, clean look.”

Often it’s necessary to rent basic, neutral furnishings. Fluff Design in East Vancouver is among local firms that rent everything you need to temporarily furnish a home — from fashionable couches and tables to colourful bedding and lighting.

Flattering lighting then “sets the ambience — it’s where the emotions are,” Smithers says, pointing out that you can buy all types of lighting relatively inexpensively at home-décor and big-box outlets. “Look for what’s trendy and modern.”

Finally, the accenting accessories are added: the universally acceptable art, colourful cushions and maybe a handsome plant or vases with flowers.

When Evans was asked to stage a small mill-house in Coquitlam, again on as little money as possible, she and her designer exposed several antique sconce lamps that had been hidden by furniture or overlooked.

By removing about half the furniture, including the TV, taking down the window coverings (a trademark action of Canadian Staging Professionals, with whom she trained), and uncoupling an antique cupboard (or hutch) from the chest of drawers on which it sat, then repositioning the lower piece, the house acquired a new charm and spaciousness.

Sometimes, a stager will create a small “setting” or vignette, Smithers says. For example, in a master bedroom they’ll cluster a table with a lamp and book, and a comfortable chair. “It makes you want to sit and read and snuggle up. It’s the power of suggestion.”

Similarly, Evans demonstrates that by placing a small antique table in an otherwise empty hallway and adding a few accessories, an overlooked niche can be brought to life.

In fact, a byproduct of home staging is counselling homeowners on how to live well, Smithers says. ”I’ve had women walk into the homes that we’ve done and cry. They wonder why they didn’t do it themselves. It’s all about the transformation.”

Canada's Largest Home Hits The Market
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You won't find it Toronto, Vancouver or Calgary. To see it, you'll need to go to Haileybury, Ont., about 140 kilometres north of North Bay.

The house sits on 40 acres along the shores of Lake Temiskaming and it's about the same size as Bill Gates's property near Seattle.

That makes it as big as the White House, which is about 55,000 sq. ft., and 24 Sussex Dr., home to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, which is approximately 11,000 sq. ft., put together.

Until now, the largest home sold in Canada was a 48,000-sq.-ft. house in Oakville, Ont., which went for $45-million in 2006.

“It's quite the property,” said Troy Wilson, a Royal LePage agent in New Liskeard, Ont., who is handling the Haileybury sale. “This thing is just, wow, jaw-dropping.”

The building includes a boat house big enough for a 40-foot yacht, two elevators, an indoor pool, a giant hot tub and 30-foot fireplaces in the master bedroom and living room.

There's an exercise room the size of a small gym. Plumbing has also been installed on the grounds for a few golf holes.

But buyer beware: The house is far from finished. There's no flooring, no finished bathrooms and few wall coverings. “Any buyer who would be really, truly interested in a property like this has to have their own architect and their own engineer come up with them,” Mr. Wilson said. He estimated it will cost at least $1-million to finish the place.

The property was once the dream project of Peter Grant, a forest products titan from nearby Englehart. He planned to use the building as a residence and corporate office for his family-owned business, Grant Forest Products Inc.

Source: Globe and Mail

Tick Tock...
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The count down is on..

With the registration*** of 234 Rideau (Phase 2 of Claridge Plaza) around the corner, it is going to be interesting to see how the dust settles following the inevitable "post registration sales" that will soon be taking place. Personally, I believe we will see a short window of opportunity ( at this address - on the buy side -) for a purchaser to pick up one of the excess units for a great value while sellers compete to dump their investment unit ( which they did very well on and purchased 3 years back ). This period will only last from now until Nov- Dec. By then the excess units will be sold or rented, regular supply and demand will be back in check.. Back to business as usual. Currently, anything and everything in the one bedroom segment (that is priced well) is getting eaten up by consumers almost as fast as it can be built.

With registration*** set for August, there will undoubtedly be investor sellers looking to get out of their pre construction purchases. Fuelled by the inability to move their rental units there may be some motivation for select investors to avoid interm occupancy fees and just unload.. But hey.... we will soon see.

.... Get ready to buy some units at 234 Rideau and win..

If you have any questions on the topic of purchasing pre-con, or buying/ selling pre-con paperwork prior to completion of the transaction give me a shout..

*** Registration is the date that a condominium becomes "official" and the unit owners take the building over from the builder..

Jeff Mziray-

Why Use Your Realtor When Buying Pre-Construction?
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Pre-construcion condo and housing projects are popular choices for consumers, and investors alike.

The primary benefit of investing in preconstruction projects is that they offer the purchaser the ability to leverage a large asset with a relatively small amount of money (typically 10 to 20%) and enjoy the real estate appreciation of the property over time without the carrying costs, such as interest and taxes. 

So why use the expertise of your Realtor?

The sales representatives within the new home sales office works for the builder, which is where their true loyalty lies. By having your own representative, you will receive honest and non-biased advice as your realtor is looking out solely for your best interest. There are many benefits to using your own realtor such as the following:

1) As mentioned above, your realtor works for you not the builder therefore your best interest is at heart.

2) Your realtor will be invited to VIP events which gives them access to the best floor plans and prices per square foot before being released to the general public.

3) If your realtor has experience in pre-construction he/she will ask the right questions regarding construction financing status, assignments, occupancy and so forth.

4) Your realtor will be able to negotiate the agreement in your best interest. As price is usually not negotiable, certain fees (education, park levies) can be taken out or capped within your agreement.

5) Your realtor has access to the MLS system which can provide you with prices and useful information of comparable properties in the area.

6) Your realtor can keep you updated on the project. Questions concerning construction and occupancy can be easily answered.

7) If you are looking to assign your unit (sell it before your possession date), your Realtor can help you find a buyer as certain types of advertising is not permissible by the project builder.

The most important benefit of using your own Realtor is that they have your best interest at heart. Your Realtor will represent you honestly and ethically and will assist you in making the best decision for your needs.

NOTE: If you are considering purchasing a pre-construction condo and are working with a Realtor, do not register online at the project’s website or walk in the sales office without representation. Once registered, the builder will not co-operate  with your Realtor. Have your Realtor schedule an appointment with the sales staff at the new home sales office.

Finally, since all realty fees are paid by the developer, you are getting the services of the REALTOR® for free!

Contact: Victoria Brunetta for Pre-Construction representation! 613.276.4601

Home Prices To Stay Stable
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The Bank of Canada held its interest rate steady this week, but analysts suggest future mortgage rate hikes will be the biggest factor when it comes to assessing how affordable homeownership is for Canadians.

“Our affordability measure looks at the cost of owning a home at current market prices,” says Robert Hogue, senior economist at RBC Economics Research. “We calculate mortgage payments … utilities and property taxes. [The affordability measure] is all those costs as a percentage of the median household income, so the higher the measure, the less affordable is housing or homeownership.”

The Housing Trends and Affordability report, covering the fourth quarter of 2010 released by RBC, indicates that, mainly due to lower mortgage rates, most categories of homes were more affordable for Toronto homebuyers. The RBC affordability measure for condominium apartments in Toronto eased 0.6 of a percentage point to 31.3%.

“[This week] the Bank of Canada decided [not to raise its rates], but interest rates are about to start rising again. This will, in our opinion, be the single most important factor eroding affordability over the next couple of years,” Mr. Hogue says. “Meanwhile, housing prices are relatively flat, [though] there’s a slight increase.”

“In terms of affordability, I think rising interest rates will put a bit more stress on the market. At this point, we see the market as relatively balanced overall in Canada and Ontario. In Toronto, it might be favouring sellers a little,” Mr. Hogue says. “Generally speaking, we’re looking at a period of time where markets will be mostly balanced, so in that sense it’s unlikely that prices will start dipping in a significant way.” This expected stability in home prices means other factors will have more influence on housing affordability.

“Home prices have contributed fairly significantly to the deterioration in affordability prior to the downturn in 2008, but will not be that much of a factor going forward,” Mr. Hogue says. “Meanwhile, we are going to continue being in an economic recovery. In our opinion, employment will continue to grow, which will mean that household income will continue to rise. Higher income will partly offset the negative impact on affordability of rising interest rates.”

Copyright (c) National Post

Facebook & Social Media Event
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A lively discussion about social media tools and tactics to solve the real-world business question of: “How do I make money with Facebook?”

Starting off with a general overview of Social Media and moving into a panel discussion of opportunities, successes and ideas, this event is one you don’t want to miss!  Finally, you will get to hear first-hand how other businesses are actually using Facebook and Social Media tools to drive REVENUE.

Our panel has been assembled form some of the best local minds in Social Media. People who not only help with social media strategies and planning but actually USE these strategies themselves.

How To Decorate A Condo With A View
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Designing a space with such a wonderful city skyline view can be a great adventure. The traditional rules of design still apply to this type of space, but some alterations are necessary. Here are a few things to keep in mind when designing this type of space.

1. The view seen from the space is a feature in the room. When choosing a colour scheme, furniture, and accessories, it's important that you look at design elements that blend well with your view.

2. Unlike a traditional living room, your colour scheme will alter drastically from day to night. As two of your four walls are made of windows, the blue colour of the daytime sky will complement your wall and accent colours differently than the nighttime view. When choosing your wall colour, I suggest you paint a small piece of cardboard with your chosen wall colour and hang it on the wall. Analyze how well the colours go with the different skyline colours and how these complement each other at different times in the day. You might love the look of the colour paired with the daytime skyline, but hate the colour when paired with the nighttime skyline. The key is to experiment with different colours and see which works best with all the skyline-view variations.

3. Neutral vs. bold colours. A skyline is filled with vivid colours, from the blues of the sky to the greenery of trees in nearby parks. The rule of thumb is to choose a neutral wall colour when working with large walls of window. Many highrise condos even go as far as to use white as their neutral colour. A neutral colour on your walls will accentuate the colours in your skyline view. It has been said that when buying a highrise condo, you pay for the view, therefore, when designing this space, ensure your view looks like a million dollars!

4. Designing a higher-end estate is about being eclectic. Each piece should be carefully chosen, with many being from your travels. Other accessories should come from boutiques, not big-box stores, so your condo doesn't look like every other home in the neighbourhood. Most pieces in the space should have a story and a personal sentiment attached to them.

I love this type of design, simply because it is centralized around the personalization of the space. The designer and homeowner work hard to make the view part of the space, while adding a personal look and feel.

Source: Ottawa Citizen

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