Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Relocating from out of town

Thank you so much for helping us find our new home in Ottawa. Your quick response to our many “long distance” questions and your availability to us on our numerous house search trips was greatly appreciated. We both enjoyed the easy and relaxed manner in which you shared with us your knowledge of the city and the real estate market. We are especially grateful for your attention in finalizing our offer while you were vacationing out of the country – the process was seamless for us!
Our new home is perfect – thank you!
Jack and Phil

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

As heard on CFRA

Stock Warning

The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco warns a sell-off by baby boomers may keep stock prices low for years. It says those born between 1946 and 1964 are beginning to retire, just as the stock market is starting to recover from the financial crisis. The Federal Reserve Bank says the timing is disconcerting since stock prices are closely tied to demographic trends for the past half-century.

Click here for details

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Invest in Equity Mortgages

Please RSVP to and with the names of the people attending, their email addresses and phone numbers

Metrostudy - Phoenix Area Housing

There have been some famous memos in recent history. During the Watergate hearings in 1973, Richard Nixon’s White House counsel, John Dean, let slip the existence of an “enemies list” that was compiled by Chuck Colson. This list was sent in memorandum form to Dean, and its purpose was to strategize the use of the federal machinery to harass Nixon’s political opponents by manipulating federal grant dollars, fixing government contracts, directing IRS audits, and fomenting scandal. The list included Democratic contributors, media professionals, and even Paul Newman. While there was no evidence that any action was taken against those targeted, it was another of many embarrassments for the controversial president.

Bill Gates sent some noteworthy memos which communicated to his staff the course that Microsoft would chart during its history. One of his more famous documents was sent on May 26, 1995 titled “The Internet Tidal Wave.” In this 9-page memo, he announces the company’s commitment to focus on the internet, describing it as “the most important single development to come along since the IBM PC was introduced.” Here he foresaw the awesome potential of the internet, which was in its infancy at the time, and he even discussed the possibility of devices other than a PC to be used for browsing. Only three months later, MSN was launched.

Of less historical significance is my own memo below, if you’ll indulge me for a moment.

Date: July 27, 2011
From: Ben Sage, Metrostudy

To: Phoenix-area home sellers
Copy: Residential appraisers
Mortgage lenders

According to the economic law of supply and demand, when demand exceeds supply prices will be pushed up … see figure below where the increase in demand [D] results in an increase in price [P]. Over the past 12 months, 91,100 single family homes have been sold through the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service. Historically, this is a good deal higher than normal, indicating strong demand.

As of the first week of July there were only 19,613 single family homes listed for sale. Historically, this is slightly below the normal level of supply. Measured in time rather than units, the listings would last 2.6 months based on the current sales rate (demand). This is historically well below the normal level of 5 to 6 months.

Despite these indicators, home prices are inexplicably weak. It is understandable that the distress in the market would prevent strong price appreciation, but the fact that home prices remain stubbornly low (at roughly year 2000 levels) can only be explained by one or more of the following:
-  Sellers are unaware of the imbalance of demand exceeding supply
-  Sellers don’t care about the imbalance (unlikely)
-  External factors are artificially suppressing home prices

Some possible external factors include:
-  Stringent mortgage underwriting is disqualifying potential buyers, so desperate sellers will favor a cash offer even at a lower price to avoid a delayed or cancelled closing
-  Appraisals are coming in lower than negotiated prices between buyers and sellers, pushing the closing price down so the deal can go through
-  Sellers are favoring cash offers, even at a lower price, to avoid the possibility of the appraisal coming in below the agreed-upon price

There may be other external factors, but anecdotal evidence would suggest that all of the above are true. Regardless, sellers need to know that the laws of economics would normally be creating upward pressure on home prices in the Phoenix area today. In other words, some patience on the part of sellers may be in order. Appraisers need to know that the factors that created home price depreciation (supply greatly exceeding demand) are no longer present, and that to assume the actual value of a home is consistently less than the agreed-upon price (or even less than the comps), defies the laws of economics and creates a self-fulfilling downward price spiral.

If prices continue to be artificially suppressed, and demand continues to outpace supply, prices will eventually break through these barriers and pop upwards. While home price appreciation is a desirable outcome, a steady price climb would be a more attractive route to recovery. Sudden movements could create an overreaction and more uncertainty in the market. It is time for all housing market participants to understand the local conditions and let supply/demand forces establish the fair market value for homes.


Thank you for letting me get that off my chest. Allow me to make some additional comments that warrant our attention. Leading foreclosure indicators have been displaying some improvement, with a steady decline in new foreclosure notices, increased foreclosure cancelations, and a falling number of pending foreclosures. It is uncertain if this improvement is due to market factors or to mortgage documentation issues that arose last fall. It is probably a combination of the two. Even so, the improvement in the foreclosure picture undoubtedly relates to the squeeze on resale supply noted in the memo above.

Economic conditions are generally improving, as Phoenix is adding jobs, but at a rather slow rate. New-home starts in the second quarter were up from the first quarter, but the pace is almost certain to fall short of last year’s 7,141 starts. The dearth of new construction has driven new-home inventory levels quite low, and I think this sets the stage for in increase in home starts next year … assuming the economy stays on course and continues to gain traction. There may already be some spillover from the constrained resale market into new construction, as our weekly sample survey of builders indicates an increase in sales from May to June of this year. Hopefully this is the beginning of a trend.

Metrostudy, a national housing market research firm, conducts an onsite, lot-by-lot audit of all new home subdivisions in the Phoenix, Tucson, and Prescott metro areas, as well as Mohave and Cochise Counties. Our survey includes all new-home subdivisions, attached and detached, whether custom or production. Metrostudy drives over 15,000 miles every quarter to visually inspect every homesite, resulting in accurate information on starts, closings (move-ins), new-home inventory, vacant developed lot inventory, future lots, and lot deliveries. We supplement our core information with deed records (foreclosure activity, new home sales, resales), property ownership records, and weekly builder surveys.

Ben Sage, Director of Metrostudy’s Arizona Region, has been researching and analyzing housing markets for seventeen years. He has prepared hundreds of market studies in various cities around the country for numerous product types. His knowledge and experience combined with Metrostudy’s accurate and reliable information have enabled Ben to advise many Arizona real estate firms in their risk assessment, decision making, and strategic planning. Ben has also been a resource for such publications as the Arizona Republic, East Valley Tribune, Phoenix Business Journal, Inside Tucson Business, Arizona Daily Star, Arizona Builder Magazine, Bloomberg News, and the Wall Street Journal. He can be reached at (480) 756-9300, option 3 or, or visit

Monday, August 22, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

JUST LISTED - 101 Richmond #418 - Only 1 bedroom available

101 Richmond #418

101 Richmond delivers the ultimate in sophistication.  Live in the heart of Westboro, with easy walking access to restaurants, shopping and boutiques.  This is the true WORK, LIVE and PLAY model, with transit nearby.  Great views explode from the oversized windows and excentuate the unparralleled lifestyle achieved by condo living in Westboro at 101 Richmond.

Bright lighting and modern finishes add flare to this 670sq.ft. 1bdrm,1bath condo including 36sq.ft.balcony, hardwood flooring and ceramic tile, 6 appliances.  Amenities will include a yoga/pilates and exercise studio, movie theatre, party room, outdoor landscaped area with hot tub, fire pit and dog park.  Parking Included.  The only 1 bedroom left in the building, closing in October 2011.  Unit is an assignement.

Condominium apartment

1 bedroom
1 bathroom
Condominium Fee - $187.60

Alta Vista Bungalow - SOLD

Congrats to J and P!

They bought their dream home. 

Contact me to find out how I can help you find your next home -

Wednesday, August 17, 2011



Contact me to find out how your home can be next -

Become a mortgage lender

Exciting new product, exclusive to Bennett Real Estate Professionals, invest your money is equity mortgages earning a cumulative 12% annually.  Open to cash, RRSP, LIRA, RESP or TFSA.  For more informaiton -

Saturday, August 6, 2011

10 Inside Tips for Selling Your Home Yourself

10 Inside Tips for Selling Your Home Yourself by Tyler Laird

If you ask anyone who has ever tried to sell their home themselves they’ll tell you that from the moment the “For Sale by Owner” sign goes up, the phone begins to ring. Unfortunately, many of those calls will not be from prospective buyers, but rather from real estate agents looking to obtain your listing. Obviously the idea of not having to pay a commission to a real estate agent is attractive to any home seller. But because of all the issues involved in the process, selling a home on one’s own can be challenging as many home sellers will attest to.

The key is to be properly prepared. If you are not, your home could remain on the market longer than you expect because you are not attracting and getting offers from qualified buyers. This can be a point where many homeowners become frustrated and consider giving up their dream of selling their home themselves. However, there are sellers who accomplish selling their own homes, very well. You can be one of them.

This post has been especially prepared to assist home sellers, such as yourself, understand the elements involved so you, on your own, can sell your home quickly and for the most amount of profit. To help you prepare, here are 10 inside tips that you should be aware of before you make the decision as to whether or not this is the right approach for you.

1. Price it Right
Correctly setting your asking price is critical. Setting your price too high can be as costly as setting it too low. Home prices are determined by fluctuations in the marketplace not by your emotional attachment or by what you feel your home is worth. In order to establish a realistic price for your home, objectively compare the price, features and condition of all similar homes in both your neighborhood and other similar ones which have sold in recent months. It is also important for you to be familiar with the terms of each potential sale. Terms are often as important as price in today’s market. Carefully budget your selling costs and prepare a net proceeds sheet to calculate your best estimate of what you will take away from your home sale. Prospective buyers may also request this kind of analysis of buying costs.

2. Prepare Your Home for Sale
First impression is crucial. Make sure your home makes a positive statement by carefully inspecting all details and viewing it through the objective eyes of a buyer. Don’t gloss over needed repairs and fix-ups, as your prospective buyers won’t. Your job is to ensure that your home stands out favorably from the competition.

3. Prepare Yourself With All Necessary Legal Documentation
Not surprisingly, there are many important legal contracts and documents which you must assemble, complete and understand. A partial checklist of forms that you will require for prospective buyers and for legal documentation is as follows:

• Mortgage Payoff
• Loan Application
• Deposit Receipt
• Property Profile Fact Sheet
• Buyer’s Cost Sheet
• Closing & Settlement
• Personal Property
• Exclusion List
• Property Survey
• Sellers Statement /Plot Plan of Representation

4. Market Your Home Effectively
Beyond the sign you will put on your lawn, you should find effective ways to spread the word about your home. Local buyers can be reached through the newspaper, but this is only a small part of the market you are after. Be sure you include the many buyers who could already be working with a Realtor®. To locate them, target as many top agents as possible in your market to see if the criteria of their buyers matches that of your home’s. Because out-of-town buyers are also an important target, you should create a strategy to reach these people as well. Above all, you should be very service minded and make it easy for pre-qualified buyers to view your home. Ensure that there is always someone available to answer the phone, pick up messages promptly, and be ready to give qualified prospects a tour of your home as soon as possible.

5. Remain Objective During a Showing of Your Home
Keep emotion out of the sale of your home, and the best way to do this during a showing is to remain physically in the background. If a prospective buyer says something negative about your home, it is better to counter-balance this point of view by illustrating the positives rather than becoming defensive.

6. Pre-Qualify Your Prospects
Don’t waste your time entertaining buyers who could never afford your home. Research their financial steadiness with respect to job security, salary, debts, liabilities and credit standing.

7. Negotiate Effectively & Knowledgeably
There will be many details to resolve before a sale can be considered final: price, terms, inspections, possession date, buyer concerns and objections. Make sure you fully understand the contract you have drawn up so you can in turn explain details and ramifications to the buyer and make any amendments to the sale that are necessary. The contract you use should be thoroughly examined by your real estate attorney. Some real estate brokers may be willing to help you do this. While this is going on, manage the buyer’s interest in your home so that it doesn’t wane during negotiations.

8 . Know Your Buyer
Your objective during negotiations is to control the pace and set the duration. Try to determine what your buyer’s motivation is. Does he or she need to move quickly? Do they have enough money to pay your asking price? Knowing this information will give you the advantage in the negotiation because you will know up front, what you will need to do in order to get what you want.

9. Don’t Move Out Before You Sell
Studies have shown that it is more difficult to sell a home that is vacant. It looks forlorn, forgotten, simply not appealing. It could even cost you money. If you move, you’re also telling buyers that you have a new home and are motivated to sell fast which can, of course, give them an advantage at the negotiating table.

10. Know Why You’re Selling and Keep it to Yourself
The flip side of “understanding your buyer” is to “understand yourself”. Your reasons for selling will affect everything from your list price to how much time and money you will invest in getting your home ready for sale. Your motivation will help you determine what is more important to you: the money you walk away with, the length of time your property is on the market, or both. Different goals will dictate different strategies. As someone who wants to sell without a real estate agent in an effort to save the commission, it is likely that money is one of your primary considerations, (see, “How to Assess Your Net Gain” below). Whatever your reasons, however, it is very important to keep them to yourself so as not to place yourself at a disadvantage at the negotiation table. When asked, simply say your housing needs have changed.

BONUS - How to Assess Your Net Gain
To analyze whether or not you will end up ahead by choosing to sell on your own, consider the fact that most buyers do use a real estate agent because it doesn’t cost them anything for this service (i.e. the seller pays the agent’s fee). Be cautious as buyers, investors and speculators who seek out For Sale by Owners are typically those in search of a bargain. The low-ball offers from these types of buyers will often net you much lower in the long run. What you will have to judge for yourself is the following:

1. Be as prepared as possible with your marketing, negotiations, evaluations, showings and all legalities.

2. Consider what it will cost you to effectively market your home and assemble all necessary materials from the “for sale” sign to any contracts.

3. What price will a buyer offer you as a For Sale by Owner minus the costs identified in point 2 above. Is this net price higher than the price an experienced agent could net for you minus his/her commission?

Things that make you go "Hhhhmmmm"!

A founder of a website dedicated to direct sales of homes by their owners has sold his two-bedroom apartment in Chelsea for $2.15 million—with the help of a real-estate broker and a standard 6% commission.

Colby Sambrotto, a founder and former chief operating officer of, a large website for owner sales, spent six months trying to sell his condominium himself through online listings and classified ads, before turning over the listing of the 2,000-square-foot apartment to a broker at Bond New York in November.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

359 Wilmont - Custom Built Luxury Home


Stylish Urban Single Detached home. 2472 square feet of contemporary living space, all within 3 blocks walking distance to Richmond Road in the coveted community of Westboro. Open concept kitchen and nook, living and dining room with ceramic and hardwood floors, gas fireplace, and walkout to balcony. 2nd storey master retreat and spa like 4pc ensuite are separated by two-way gas fireplace, master includes walk in closet, and walk out to private balcony. Gorgeous!!!! 2nd storey laundry and bathroom with ceramic. Bedrooms have oversized closets. Close to amenities such as Bridgehead Coffee, LuLulemon Athletica, Starbucks, The SuperStore, LCBO and restaurants like Trio Lounge.

Brand new, 2 storey, open concept

- 4 bedroom + an office
- 3 bathroom
- 1 car garage
- Spacious, welcoming foyer with ceramic tiles

- Den
- Main floor walk-in-closet
- Main floor powder room
- Hardwood floors in the hall lead to a hardwood staircase
- Open concept kitchen with island and breakfast bar and nook
- Ceramic tile in kitchen
- Living and dining room with walkout to balcony
- Hardwood floors in living and dining rooms
- Gas fireplace in the living room
- Master Bedroom includes walk-in-closet, spa-like 4 pc ensuite and lounge area to relax and provides access to a private balcony
- Master bedroom and ensuite are separated by a two-way gas fireplace.
- Garage Door Opener
- Alarm System Rough-In
- Plumbing Rough-Ins in Basement

3.1% - 2012 Rental Rate Increase

This is welcome news, having a 3.1% rental rate increase in Ontario for 2012.  This is great news for landlords and although they do not believe it, great news for tenants as well.  Good landlords will have the money available to make necessary upgrades to their rental units.  On an average Ottawa rent on a new home condo of $1800 this would mean an increase of $55.80 per month ($669.60 annually).

This announcement is a strange one, after last year landlords were blindsided with a ridiculous 0.8% increase, especially when landlords were hammered with HST rates on electricity and other expenses.  I guess optimists will say that this gives a two year average increase of 1.95%, but I think many Ontario landlords were very disappointed in the previous years increase.  Seems a little bit like political posturing ...  

Provincial Liberals announce rent rate hike in 2012
680News staff Jul 29, 2011 15:13:58 PM

8 TORONTO, Ont. - The McGuinty Liberals announced Friday that they are going to change the way Ontario's rent increase rate is set, directly after announcing one of the largest rate increases in years.

Rick Bartolucci, Ontario's Municipal Affair and Housing Minister, made the promise after announcing that landlords would be able to increase their tenants' rent rates by up to 3.1 per cent in 2012.

"We believe we have to revisit the legislation," Bartolucci said. "Fix the legislation so that the increase reflected is in line with what's happening in the real world for those who rent."

The rent increase guideline is currently set according to the consumer price index, which incorporates inflation into how much more everyday items cost than they did the year before.


“It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, and to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful.” A. Cohen

Whether you have been a life-long Liberal or Progressive Conservative or NDPer; or whether you vote in each election on current issues and personalities, thinking and caring Ontarians can see that our Province has floundered greatly under the 7-year leadership of Dalton McGuinty.

CHANGE is coming in Ontario, and CHANGE needs to start at the top --- the most effective way to ensure the end of the Liberal/Union coalition here in Ontario is to put a political end to the Liberal Party Leader in Ottawa South.

CHANGE is difficult, but it will happen in Ontario. In Ottawa South, PC Candidate Jason MacDonald is ready, willing and extremely able to replace an individual whose leadership clearly is ‘no longer meaningful’, and indeed, is detrimental to the economic future and well-being of the majority of Ontario families.

One does not have to be a PC supporter to see this; nor does one have to commit themselves to becoming a member of the PC Party to help move our Province in a new direction.

Your financial contribution now will go towards allowing Jason MacDonald to fully engage the Premier & Leader of the Liberal Party in Ottawa South and to end the mismanagement of our Province.

For further personal background on Jason please go to A fluently bilingual, professional communicator with a young family, Jason has already viisted 5000 homes in Ottawa South since his nomination. He is committed!

If you are interested in donating, to help end the reign of Dalton McGuinty, please email me at