Category Archives: Real Estate Basics

New down-payment rules

New downpayment rules

The new down-payment requirements will affect thousands of home buyers in Toronto and the GTA.

The new rules affect all home purchases where the down payment is less than 20%, and the sale price is between $500,000 and $1,000,000. Purchases up to $500,000, or over $1 million, will not be affected. The changes take effect on February 15, 2016.

Specifically, a buyer will need to provide a minimum down payment of 5% on the first $500,000 of value, PLUS a minimum 10% down payment on the remainder of the price, up to $1 million. (Buyers of properties over $1 million are already required to provide a 20% down payment.)

As an example, a house purchase of $700,000 will require a minimum down payment of $45,000 (up from $35,000 currently.)

A big deal for houses (condos not so much)

The new rule will have the strongest impact on buyers of low-rise homes. 53% of all low-rise home sales across the GTA would have been in the affected category in 2015. First-time buyers looking for a house in the City of Toronto know how few actually sell below $500,000. Condo buyers will probably not be affected, since only 13% of condo apartments are selling in the affected price range.

Family help

This holiday season, first-time buyers who’ve been saving up for a 5% down payment may want to have “the talk” with family members… Is it okay to stay off the property ladder until you can save up more, or is there a justified case for a little family gifting, to speed up the process?

Contact us if you’d like to get objective advice from a mortgage professional… we can connect you with some excellent people!

There’s lots more to know…

If you’re in the market for a house or condo, there’s lots you should know. We’re available to talk… If you’re ready to start your home-buying campaign you can email us, or ask for James and Joanne at 416-483-8000.

 

Advertisements

Where the homes are

GTA Housing Supply 2005-2015

Our real estate board just published a report that outlines a dramatic shift in GTA housing patterns. Here are some of the highlights:

Fewer houses, more condos

Back in October 2005, there were a total of 28,852 low-rise homes available for sale in the GTA. This October, there were just 14,994 low-rise homes for sale. (These figures combine resales on MLS, along with inventory from new-home builders.)

Over the same time period, the total number of condo apartments for sale grew from approximately 16,000 a decade ago, to around 27,000 today. (These figures are approximate because some condos under construction are duplicated in the MLS listings.)

Adding the figures up, there were around 45,000 new and resale homes on the market in 2005, and a similar, probably smaller number this October. Meanwhile, the GTA population has risen, from around 5.5 million in 2005, to around 6.5 million today.

It’s clear that builders have shifted their resources: this October, only 19% of the new-construction inventory was in low-rise homes. Ten years before, new low-rise homes were almost half of the total that builders had available.

Condos are the affordable (but shrinking) option

Another striking detail from the study: the average price of a builder’s new low-rise home in October 2005 was $387,369. The average price of a new-construction high-rise apartment today is $440,382. (The price for a new low-rise is of course much higher, at $802,376.) And just as packages of ice cream, coffee and detergent have gotten smaller, so have condos:  The average new high-rise unit in October 2015 was 767 square feet, compared to 908 square feet in 2005.

Condos appreciate less (usually)

Over the past decade, we’ve observed that prices of resale low-rise homes have risen at about twice the rate of high-rise condo prices. This trend will likely continue (bidding wars, so common for low-rise homes, happen far less often with condos.)

One exception: in the past two years we’ve seen prices in older condo buildings increasing sharply, when nearby new construction has prompted a re-evaluation of the older buildings, which often have good space and amenities. This could become a counter-trend.

There’s lots more…

If you’re in the market for a house or condo, there’s lots you should know. We’re available to talk… If you’re ready to start your home-buying campaign, let’s have a conversation! You can email us, or ask for James and Joanne at 416-483-8000.

Good marketing does make a difference

James and Joanne brochure
A unique and powerful strategy
Our approach to selling your home is based on an understanding of what makes people decide to buy. So what, you say — this is how they market soft drinks and soap, cars and clothes, right? The difference is that your home is unique, and you only get to sell it once. You need to get it right the first time!
It’s in the details
Our marketing starts well before the sign goes on the lawn. It starts with research… transaction patterns, local demographics, assessing the home’s strengths and weaknesses. We collaborate with our clients to make sure that all upgrades and repairs are targeted towards the desired marketing outcome. We plan furniture placement and staging details for maximum impact in our photos and virtual tour. We’re always asking, does this detail contribute to the marketing goal?
The professional approach
Your listing needs expert management. All the elements should reinforce the key marketing message. We make sure that the timelines are coordinated, so that the listing arrives on the market at the right moment.
Plan ahead
If you’re thinking of selling, it’s good to bring your agent into the process early on… You can email us, or call James and Joanne at 416-483-8000. We’ll create a strategic marketing plan that works for you!

Our “sold” sign stands for so much…

James Barrass and Sold sign
All the years of experience, the months and weeks of market research, the staging, the photography, the measuring – not to mention the open houses and the late night negotiations – they all get boiled down into a six-inch “sold” plaque that gets to sit on top of our sign for a while. That sign tells us that we’ve worked hard to help the home owners – and the buyers – start a new chapter in their lives.

If you’re thinking of buying or selling this year, this is the right time to contact us! You can email us, or call James and Joanne at 416-483-8000.

5 reasons to call your agent when planning a reno

Basement reno

As real estate agents we help our clients in many ways, apart from buying and selling. We’re always delighted when clients call us for advice! If you’re planning a home renovation, here are five powerful reasons to bring us in first…

  1. We know you, and have a good idea already of what your values and goals are.

  2. We’re familiar with lots of houses and different designs that have been tried in other people’s homes.

  3. We have experience with contractors (both good and bad!) and can help you make informed choices.

  4. We know the market and can advise on which reno ideas will add value to your home (just saying!)

  5. We have enough hands-on expertise that we can share practical tips about how to approach the project and what “unexpected” things to expect.

One subject that comes up with owners is whether to renovate or move. (More than one TV series has been built on this premise!) The quick answer can be summed up this way: For most homes, there is an expenditure ceiling, related to values in the neighbourhood. Do not over-improve your home.

A related question is, how much should I improve my home to help it sell? This is really a whole other topic. The best approach is to discuss it in the specific context of your home, its location, and the prevailing market conditions. (Yet another reason to call us!)

If you’re thinking of selling your home this year…

…this is the right time to contact us! You can email us, or call James and Joanne at 416-483-8000. We know how to position your home so that you will achieve the best results in today’s market.

How soon to involve your agent when you’re going to sell your home

When the sign man arrives, it's show time!

When the sign man arrives, it’s show time! The prep work has been going on for weeks, or even months.

Hint: the right time is sooner than you think!

Once you decide you’re going to be selling your home, it’s time to talk to your realtor. Not to tell you how much it’s worth, or when’s the best time to sell. But simply because that’s when you need to start seeing your home with new eyes. This is the moment when your old home starts the transition to becoming someone’s future home!

Your real estate agent can help you plan any changes – repairs, renovations, tidying up – with an eye to what the future owners of your home will want, and will pay for. Projects you may have long planned to do, ones that may have created value for you and your family – these may not be the best ways to make the home attractive to a new owner. A good agent will be able to tell you what features of your home will make a difference when you sell.

Your home deserves a well-planned marketing campaign.

When clients call us in to start the conversation, we figure out exactly what will make their home special to its new buyers. Together with the client, we make sure the home is at its best to meet those buyers’ expectations. Then we plan, develop and manage the campaign to make sure those buyers see the home.

At Sage Real Estate, our marketing tools are the best in the industry. These include:
Targeted Staging. Making sure each room tells the story your buyers want to see.
Professional Photography. Worth at least 10,000 words!
Dedicated Web Site. Searchable, linkable… Your home’s address on the web.
Social Media. Putting your home where the people are.

If you’re thinking of selling your home this year…

…this is the right time to contact us! You can email us, or call James and Joanne at 416-483-8000. You’ll get the best hands-on guidance and service, from two experienced agents!

What can we do for you?

Sold – over asking

Sold $87K over asking

Sold – $87,000 over asking.

Sold $152K over asking

Sold – $152,000 over asking.

A home doesn’t sell for the best price by dumb luck. It takes hard work – analysis, planning, and physical preparation. And that’s before the sign goes up!

Here’s what our clients have told us…

“Joanne and James exceeded anything we might have expected from real estate agents.”
“You took the time; you were there from start to finish… we are so glad we chose you!”

What can we do for you?

Your home deserves its own marketing campaign.

You don’t own a cookie-cutter house – you shouldn’t get a cookie-cutter listing.

We’ll work with you to figure out exactly what will make your home special to its new buyers. Then we’ll plan, develop and manage the campaign to bring those buyers to your home. These are some of the things we do:

Targeted Staging. Making sure each room tells the story your buyers want to see.
Professional Photography. Worth at least 10,000 words!
Online Video. Capturing the right mood is key.
Dedicated Web Site. Searchable, linkable… Your home’s address on the web.

90% of buyers look for homes on the internet.

We put your home directly in front of their eyes.

Your home gets the full benefit of Sage’s digital marketing. You get the benefit of hands-on guidance and advice from two experienced agents.

If you’re thinking of selling your home, let us help. You can email us, or call James and Joanne at 416-483-8000.

Your home deserves the best. Don’t settle for less!