Sunday, July 31, 2011

New Feature Columnist

Wanted to congratulate Marnie Bennett on becoming a featured, Nation wide syndicated columnist for the Ottawa Citizen! 

Check out her first column titled "Property Talk" by clicking here

Summer swoon in July?

The Ottawa Market has sold a total of 1,096 homes in July. This is down significantly from the 1322 homes sold in July 2010, representing a drop of over 17%. This is a large figure. Suggestions for why are rooted in the rainy Spring, leading to a dry, hot summer, the economic news from the USA, RIM cutting thousands of jobs globally, Mark Carney's comments on interest rates or the fact that we just had a Federal election and their is a process of feeling out on the market.

Last year in August, 1,300 homes sold in Ottawa. I am confident the market will be returning to strength again in August. I think for many people, summer has slipped away quickly and they are now realizing that in just a few days, September will be here. The USA debt ceiling crisis will find a resolution and the media will find something less dreary to report upon. I think this will cause a rally in the market. Prices from my vantage point are staying strong, so I think this is a more temporary development.
Please note, these are not the official board numbers, I am working off the numbers as I have found them. A more official copy is published in early August.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Atlanta Conference for top 1% of Realtors

I was down in Atlanta last week at a conference for the top 1% of agents in the World.  It was a good event, but I was astounded by some of the real estate deals.  

Check this out, click here

This is a super cute building located mere blocks from the public transit and about 7 minutes drive to Buckhead, the upscale downtown neighbourhood of Atlanta. 

Republican v. Democrat and the USD

Just got the following note on the direction of the USA dollar.  I think the Republican/Democrat posturing is political in nature and the start of the 2012 Presidential Election.  Something will get done, it would be far to irresponsible to not do anything.  It is a high stakes game of chicken. 

I wanted to send another email update as the Canadian dollar is currently sitting at a four year high. I have received quite a few phone calls inquiring about the debt crisis in the US and the approaching August 2nd deadline and how this is going to affect the Canadian dollar. After its rapid appreciation last week, the Canadian dollar has been making fresh new four-year highs this morning against the struggling Greenback. Concern that US lawmakers will not reach an agreement to raise the limit on the country’s debt ceiling saw traders further diversify their holdings outside the falling USD. The Loonie’s performance trailed that of its “commodity-linked” peers, the Australian and New Zealand dollars, which both have much less exposure to the weak US economy than Canada, who relies on the United States as its largest trading partner.
After its positive overnight performance, the Loonie is finally sitting comfortably in the 1.05s and continues to try to gain strength. A weakening USD is giving commodity prices a boost as oil is trading marginally higher and gold is also posting slight gains. The Canadian dollar should continue to see resistance if it attempts to strengthen further, though it has been making impressive gains against the USD of late.
On the data docket, Canada has nothing major for the balance of the week until Friday, when we receive monthly GDP figures, which will as always be watched closely. With the US dollar selling off across the board overnight the usual suspects are outperforming this morning. With the August deadline quickly approaching, little progress was made once again in coming to a resolution that both Democrats and Republicans could agree on. President Obama addressed the nation yesterday and warned of a “deep economic crisis” if a compromise was not reached. The full impact of a default (or more likely a technical downgrade of the United States’ credit rating) is not fully known.
If you would like to put a market order in to target a specific rate or you would like to know the exact rate we are trading at, please give me a call. I look forward to speaking with you soon.

Annelies van der Made, BComm
Private Client Manager - Foreign Exchange Broker

Sunday, July 24, 2011

1300 Marigold - tenanted unit

Welcome home to a perfect town home in Central East-End,great value in this property which is close to schools/shopping.Open concept living, w/ 3 lg bed and a finished basement are great compliment to your growing lifestyle.Just imagine,owning this house for $1076/mth $0 down, less than rent!!!It is possible,this is the property for you! Take the first step and visit this excellent starter home and kiss your landlord goodbye!

Unit is already tenanted and rented at $1075 per month.


Condo town home
3 bedroom
2 bathroom
Condominium Fee - $245
Monthly rental estimate $1100

With 25% down, 2.3% variable rate mortgage, 30 year term,
P & I payment monthly is $519.55
Taxes $152.17
condo fees $245
Total monthly carry - $916.72


69 Pickford - Great option rather than renting

Welcome home to a perfect townhome in Central Kanata,great value in this property which is close to schools and shopping.Open concept living,w/ 3 lg bedrooms and a finished basement are great compliment to your growing lifestyle.Imagine owning this home for $1165/mth with $0 down, less than RENT!!! It is possible,this is the property for you!Take the first step and visit this excellent starter home and kiss your landlord goodbye!

Condo town home

3 bedroom
2 bathroom
Condominium Fee - $205

Monthly rental estimate $1200

With 25% down, 2.3% variable rate mortgage, 30 year term,
P & I payment monthly is $606.62
Taxes $166.67
condo fees $205
Total monthly carry - $978.29

Positive Cash Flow - $221.71

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Understanding medium to long term trends

I first called Greg after coming upon his real estate blog when searching for general information on the Ottawa housing market. I could tell from only a few minutes reading his extensive blog that Greg was someone who saw the market differently than most other agents: his understanding of medium and long-term trends which will drive the markets in Ottawa (and North America) in the years and decades to come was clear.
I jotted down Greg's number and left him a voice mail the next day. He called me back within an hour, and from the first time I contacted him until today he has always been prompt in his responses to both my telephone calls and my email messages. Greg and I met, and he outlined a number of solid options to me for purchasing a property. He helped me shape my general idea of what I was looking for into a specific plan, and we were able to find the property which suited my needs in less than a month. That property rented less than a week after I closed on it.
Greg is obviously an intelligent an able real estate agent. However, much more important than that he is an individual with a keen understanding of real estate markets, which makes him much more than a 'salesperson,' like many other agents. I fully plan to use Greg to purchase other properties in the future.


Monday, July 18, 2011

10 Best USA cities to invest in

Of the top ten best investment cities in the USA - Las Vegas is #1, Phoenix and Fort Lauderdale are also included (as is Orlando).  These are all cities that we are investing in

Check it out here

Pre-construction condo

"Ur-banation reports 50% of new condos sold in the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area are purchased by investors, with the number skyrocketing to 90% in parts of downtown where price per square foot averages $550 ... An individual can easily manage four or five condominium rental suites and have a full-time job," Mr. Lamb says. "Four or five, after 25 years, will make you enough money to live like a king. You'll pay off your mortgage, you'll have $2-million or $3-million of net equity. And anyone can retire on that."

Investor rates in Ottawa are closer to 25% as found by CMHC.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

1316 Normandy - Flair and design on a huge lot in Ottawa's core

Beautiful custom built residence on an incredible 223 feet deep lot in Carleton Heights! This home was designed for those looking for stunning European flair and a grand open concept ideal for large families and entertaining. The Grand circular staircase,exotic brazillian hardwood floors, gourmet chef's kitchen with all the top notch finishing and too much more to mention. The house is similar to nearby Moffat Farms but features a huge lot, lots of privacy and space to grow. If that sounds great to you, then this is the home for you!

Carleton Heights

two storey home on ultimate dream lot
6 bedroom
4 bathroom
2 car garage
53.00 X 223.00 lot

1592 Senio - A fantastic lot, gardener's paradise minutes from the Market

What an incredible opportunity to own a home in beautiful Carleton Heights on a gigantic lot close to downtown, Mooney's Bay & walking distance to many schools. This traditional family home features a large renovated eat-in kitchen complete with granite counters and beautiful wood cabinets. This kitchen was an over $60,000 upgrade two years ago. The formal dining room provides a great space for dinner parties and family gatherings. The lower level features a secondary kitchen, family room, a large wine cellar and room to expand.

The backyard is a gardener's dream. It is the largest backyard I have personally ever seen in the city. It is a fully sized backyard and another 50 x 80 space of just garden featuring grapevines, tomatoes, peppers, dill and many other favourites.

Carleton Heights
two storey home on ultimate dream lot
4 bedroom
3 bathroom
2 car garage
80 x 273 lot

241 Glebe - Elegent old world charm, modern convenience

If you've been searching for modern day convenience nestled in old world charm this is the home you've been waiting for. This home must be seen to be fully appreciated as it has been completely rebuilt and expanded from its original shell. It boasts four levels of fully useable living space 3rd floor is ideal for guest quarters or nanny retreat. Private driveway and triple garage are fantastic rare features in this Glebe neighbourhood.

This home is perfect for even the most discriminating buyers, it is a 10! Professionally decorated and designed for the modern family who craves the traditional elegance.

Totally renovated prestige home
5 bedroom
4 bathroom
3 car garage
50 x 107 lot

3707 Alderwood - Brand new custom infill home

Absolutely breathtaking, must be seen! Brand new custom built home in Queensdale Village. Top notch craftsmanship and attention to detail is everywhere. Kitchen is a gourmet chef's dream featuring granite, custom Irpinia cabinets, glass tile backsplash and stainless steel appliances. Beautiful hardwood floors and designer tiles throughout the home. The master retreat boasts a luxury en-suite with double sided fireplace and custom shower. Close to everything, top notch finishes, a must see, prepare to be wowed

Queensdale Village
Custom Home
4 bedroom
4 bathroom
2 car garage
37 x 165 lot

6443 Clingin - designer country estate home

Welcome to luxury life in the Carleton Golf and Yacht Club. This is a stunning 4 bed house in a totally private setting on a ½ acre lot with every upgrade imaginable. The d├ęcor is Gluckstein inspired with tone on tone colours, a massive zebra wood island and chic double sided fireplace to cozy up to on long winter nights. Baldwin Crystal Knobs on every door and a stunning ensuite with a view of trees and a magnificent chandelier.

This home is a total WOW!  Attention to detail and stunning designer decor are evident in each and every corner of the home.

Manotick Carleton Golf and Yacht Club
Estate Home
4 bedroom
3 bathroom
2 car garage
110 x 232 lot

1295 Evans - Home with a Mortgage Accelerator

Looking for a condo alternative?  The perfect owner occupied property with mortgage accelerator suite in basement!  Top notch quality, totally renovated home or investment property in urban core hot spot Alta Vista.  Upper 4 bed, lower 2 bed units with steel lifetime roof installed 2010, furnace 2008, custom built kitchen 2009, detached garage 2010.  Home's in immaculate shape, hardwood and painted recently, newer windows, long driveway and big yard.

Alta Vista
6 bedroom
3 bathroom
1.5 car garage
37 x 104 lot

2162 Quinn - Contemporary family home from a magazine cover

Stunning, contemporary family home in desirable Alta Vista.  This house looks like it just came from the pages of a magazine.  Granite, dark hardwood, pool, open concept, spa bathroom, the list goes on and on.  Across the street from the massive Grasshopper Park, a great place for kids also containing an off lease park.
Alta Vista
split level, open concept
4 bedroom + an office
3 bathroom
1 car garage
60 x 102 lot

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

How to screen a tenant?

I often have questions on how to be an active landlord. My first recommendation is to hire a professional manager and focus your attention on financing and acquisition, but if you want to self manage, it is important to have some starting parameters.

To rent your property, you need to get the most exposure. Five years ago, it was best to use the newspaper, but now everything is online. The best place to advertise for perspective tenants is on Kijiji and Craigslist. In your ad, pictures are very important. 93% of potential tenants look online for a property. In the write up stress the items you think are important in the property, which were features that caused you to buy it. If it has 3 bathrooms and 2 of them are ensuites state that in the ad.

When you are showing your property we suggest that you book the showings at the same time. Run it like an open house, because when potential tenants see other people looking at your unit, it will illustrate your property is in demand - potential tenants will be quicker to complete the application. More people in the property at a showing puts it in high demand and makes it very desirable. Offer each client a rental application who attends your “open house”. Give them a deadline for submitting the application.

When you have the application completed contact their references,
• a good idea is to call the main number of their place of employment and verify their employment history, then speak with their supervisor;
• when you contact their previous landlord ask first, 'Do you have any apartment for rent?', if they are a landlord they will react appropriately, if they are a friend or relative they will respond with - I don't have properties for rent. Once you have established you are speaking with a landlord, you can ask them pertinent information- how were they as tenants, how did they keep the property, were they prompt with their rent, etc.
• Always talk to the second last landlord, as the current landlord may provide a glowing reference to alleviate themselves of a problem tenant
• Drive by the current rental property for the tenant, the way they live in the current property is indicative of how they will treat your property.
• Once you have verified that these candidates are people you would like to have as tenants, then you want to complete the credit check. As a Bennett Pros client this can be done through us as an added value service.

When signing the lease, it is essential that you obtain last months rent up front and then provide a bank account number to the tenant to direct deposit the rent in your account prior to the 2nd of the month.

If you have multiple units in the same price point rent them at different rates, to make your accounting easier. For example, if you have three properties that rent for $1000 per month, make the units $999, $1000 and $1001. When you check your bank account, you can quickly check to verify which unit didn’t pay their rent.

These simple steps should help you along your way to finding a top tenant and starting your investment business. Good luck and happy hunting for the all star tenant!