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June 26, 2020

 

Even though open houses cannot be held in person during Covid-19, Realtors are now hosting Virtual Open Houses. View a live stream as the agent walks through the home & answers questions.

Scroll below to see a comprehensive list of OPEN HOUSES in the Greater Hamilton / Burlington / Niagara Area.

 


Lower Hamilton

Fun Facts:   Centre Mall on Barton Street in Lower Hamilton was one of North America’s first malls, and is still a vibrant collection of retailers and other commercial services.

Hamilton is the birthplace of Eugene Levy, Martin Short, and the first Tim Horton’s coffee shop.

Hamilton is home to one of the largest botanical gardens in the whole of Canada – The Royal Botanical Gardens

Lower Hamilton Open Houses

 


 

Fun Facts:  ‘The Mountain’ is actually the Niagara Escarpment, which naturally bisects the City of Hamilton into Upper and Lower.  It is home to over 100 individual waterfalls, making Hamilton (according to the Smithsonian) the Waterfall Capital of the World!

Hamilton Mountain Open Houses

 


Fun Facts:   The Old Ancaster Town Hall, located at 310 Wilson Street East, was built in 1870, costing $2400.  The Heritage building is still fully functional, and can be used as a venue for events such as wedding receptions.

Ron MacLean, beloved sportscaster, best known for his Hockey Night In Canada partnership with the colourful Don Cherry, lived in Ancaster from 1989-1992.

Ancaster Open Houses

 


Dundas Ontario

Fun facts:  Since it is Located in a valley surrounded by the Niagara Escarpment, Dundas is also known as the “Valley Town.”

In the fall, mature Chinook salmon return from Lake Ontario to their birthplace in Lower Spencer Creek to lay their eggs

Dundas Open Houses

 


Stoney Creek Ontario

Fun Facts:  Parts of the 2006 horror film Silent Hill were filmed at the Devil’s Punchbowl, a ribbon waterfall in Stoney Creek, and  in 1989 Super Dave Osborne performed a human yo-yo stunt there.

It is often assumed that the name refers to the Creek’s rockiness, but there is some evidence to indicate that the town was actually named for an early settler with the surname “Stoney.”

Stoney Creek Open Houses

 


Glanbrook Ontario

Fun Fact:  The Avro Lancaster flown by the Canadian Warplane Heritage museum is one of only two airworthy Lancasters in the world.  It is on display at the John C. Munro International Airport in Mount Hope.

Glanbrook Open Houses

 


West Lincoln Ontario

Fun Facts:  Until 2017, Smithville was known for an annual festival called PoultryFest.  The show drew residents from all over the region in mid-June every year. The festival earned the area the unofficial designation as “The Chicken Capital of Canada.”.

West Lincoln Open Houses

 


Grimsby Ontario

Fun Facts:  Along Grimsby’s Waterfront Trail, you can see a cluster of colourful, whimsical cottages that were once part of a religious camp.  The brightly painted gingerbread homes are unique to the area and are sometimes called “The Chatauqua of Canada.”

Grimsby Open Houses 

 


Beamsville Ontario

Fun Facts:  In 1898, hockey players in the town of Beamsville were the first to make use of a hockey net.

Beamsville is the heart of Niagara Region’s Wine Country. The unique climate makes this region particularly known for its ice wines, which make up fully 50% of its wine exports.

Beamsville Open Houses

 


Burlington Ontario

Fun Facts:  Some scenes for the movie X-Men were shot at Spencer Smith Park, on the Burlington shore of Lake Ontario.

Actors Jim Carrey and Ryan Gosling attended schools in Burlington. Carrey went to Aldershot High School, and Gosling to Lester B Pearson High School.

Burlington Open Houses

 


Flamborough & Waterdown Ontario

Fun Fact:  In 2012, a local botanist named Paul O’Hara found a sugar maple tree on the Beverly Swamp Trail that is estimated to be 220-250 years old.  The tree had been purposely bent as a sapling to be used as a trail marker by the indigenous people who inhabited the area.  This maple is believed to be the first living Native Trail Marker to be discovered in the Hamilton Region.

Flamborough & Waterdown Open Houses

 

02.28.2020

Jessica is a young professional mom whose love for animals is second only to her love for her little girl. (We call Jessica’s daughter “the Gymnast,” because she can find a place to do cartwheels almost anywhere.)

Jessica was alone the day she walked into our open house in the country, and she was clearly carrying a heavy weight.

She had bought a house, less than a year before, on a full country acre.  She was sure this would be the place for her and the Gymnast to enjoy their beloved animals.

Unfortunately, the information she had received about zoning was incorrect, and she had just had to temporarily re-home several of their pets: alpacas, goats, and chickens.

Jessica states “I was so happy to meet Tanya. She left me feeling confident that I could trust her with my real estate dilemma”.

Fear: Finding a Competent Realtor

“I had recently sold a house and bought a house only to find that my previous realtor did not find me a home with the zoning requirements”… Jessica had only lived in her new home for 9 months before she had to sell and move all over-again.

She had spent many thousands of dollars to fence the entire acre and build a goat-shed in her backyard. Her previous real estate representative had failed to do enough research to ensure that this property had the correct zoning to allow her animals.

As a result, Jessica found that there was tension with neighbours who were not thrilled with the activity going on, and it became impossible to enjoy the house that she had meant to live in while her daughter grew up.

She was scared of making such costly mistakes again. Before choosing to use The Brandow Group, she interviewed 3 other real estate agents.

Our Must-Haves

Jessica was not difficult to please!  She had some basic requirements for a home for herself and her little gymnast, but she was not a particularly demanding buyer.

The one non-negotiable feature was a property that had space and zoning to allow for her furry family members. We knew that the research into the zoning regulations was of utmost importance before even viewing a property.

Once, we saw a beautiful house that we thought was zoned agricultural (which is what she needed), only to find out (after a few confirmatory phone calls to the municipal offices) that it was not.  We quickly scratched that option off the list of possibilities and kept looking.

Would you hire The Brandow Group again?

“Absolutely! I wish them well! I miss Tanya! She is so kind and lovely!”

The Brandow Group Surprised Us

When we asked Jessica what surprised her the most about the selling (and/or buying) process, her response was short & to the point:

“That Tanya was so devoted!”

When asked if there were stressful moments, her reply was: “Not with the Brandow Group. One time I left my comforter in the dryer before the first open house and I texted Tanya and she made my bed for me. SO embarrassing! Tanya was on it!”

When preparing to sell my home “Tanya helped me with my animals and their smell! She went to the Cleaning House (now my favourite store) and bought the greatest products for me to use and we got so many compliments on how the house smelled so nice!”

They also provided beautiful signs, the videos, the website! The feature sheet! Everything was so professionally done! The Kijiji ad and Facebook interest was really helpful.”

In explaining the best part of her selling & buying experience, Jessica explained “Even when Tanya was on vacation, (her son in law) Tyson was there. Tanya always had everything covered from the beginning to the day I moved in. She is still helping me!”

Jessica’s Advice To Other Sellers

“My home was not an easy sell and Tanya never once let me feel like I was burdening her with anything. She was fantastic and I would recommend her to anyone! I talk about her like she’s family!

I felt completely looked after, above and beyond what my previous realtor did. Tanya had the water sampled, and put clauses in my offers and acceptances that I did not have before to protect me.

I learned a lot from Tanya and her team. I had sold my house and bought a house the year before and there was so much that was missed that Tanya covered.

Her experience is paramount! She knows the ins and outs of homes and has great connections if you need help with inspections or renos and repairs.”

 

Hamilton

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12.23.2019

12 Fun Winter Activities for Hamilton – 2019

In The Community

If you’re anything like us, you’re finding it hard to believe that 2019 is winding down and we are gearing up for another year.  Where does the time go?

After a solid 12 months of hard work, we think that this last week of the decade should be used to refresh and recharge, to bond with the kids and each other, and to enjoy some well-deserved rest and relaxation.

Here are some fun (mostly inexpensive) ideas in and around Hamilton for the whole family to enjoy:

OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES

SKATING ON PIER 8

Ice skating is a rite of passage for all Canadians – whether they just learned to walk or they are adults who are spending their very first winter here in the land of ice and snow!  Pier 8, on Lake Ontario, is a beautiful setting for newbies and experienced skaters alike to enjoy this winter activity in Hamilton.   Skate and helmet rentals are available.  (No hockey is permitted.)

HIKE TO A FROZEN WATERFALL

If you appreciate the beauty of a true “winter wonderland,” don’t miss a chance to bundle up and enjoy the natural majesty of Hamilton’s famed waterfalls in their frozen glory. We recommend Tiffany Falls and Devil’s Punchbowl….and then a very large mug of hot chocolate indoors while you look at the pictures you will undoubtedly be inspired to take!

SKIING, SNOWBOARDING, TUBING

Just under 40 minutes from Hamilton, you will find Kelso Conservation Area. Inside the park, head to Glen Eden , a popular spot for skiers and snowboarders looking to enjoy some fresh powder. If there is enough snow, they will open the Snow Tube park for any non-skiers in the family. Classic winter activity for Hamilton-area snow-lovers!

SNOWSHOEING

At least once in your life, while you spend a winter in Hamilton, make sure you try this surprisingly challenging activity.  Snowshoes were invented to make trekking over the white stuff a little easier, but don’t kid yourself; it’s a real workout!  Chances that you own your own snowshoes are probably slim, so head to Crawford Lake, an absolutely beautiful conservation area just a short 30-minute drive from Hamilton. You can rent shoes for your group, enjoy the trails, and then warm up at the Visitor Centre.

TOBOGGANING

Here’s one activity that requires little to no skill, and is guaranteed to have everyone ready for a nap or a good night’s sleep by the end of the adventure. Vehicles for the sport are limited only by your imagination – and you don’t have to leave Hamilton this winter to enjoy the thrill of racing downhill like an olympian on a bobsled.   Safety first, though – be sure to use only the hills that have been approved for tobogganing to be sure no one takes unnecessary risks.

HORSEBACK RIDING

Here’s one you may not have thought of.  For a different type of activity that is sure to create some fond memories, Horseplay Niagara operates through the winter and has options for both new and experienced riders. Located approximately one hour south of Hamilton, this is a day trip that is available to families with children ages 6 and up.

INDOOR ACTIVITIES

Maybe you prefer indoor activities. There is no shame in that! Some of us here prefer the view of the ice and flakes from the other side of the window, too. Here are some options in and around Hamilton that you can enjoy this winter:

MUSEUMS

We are recommending the Hamilton Museum of Steam and Technology this year for its free drop in activity (December 27-31): The Science of Music. Kids get to explore and create – even making their own instrument to take home.

While you’re there, you may choose to take a tour of the old pumphouse, too.

Of course, there are other local museums in Hamilton, and here’s a great tip for residents of the City:  Access is free of charge with a municipal library card!

TRAMPOLINE PARK

If the kids start feeling some cabin fever, but outdoor activities aren’t the right option, the Flying Squirrel is a favourite local spot for parents trying to help them burn off some steam. Located on Upper James in Hamilton, they offer “Toddler Time” to keep the little ones separated from the more acrobatic jumpers.

WINE TOURS & TASTING

We would be remiss if we didn’t include one or two activities for the grown-ups.  Hamilton is situated ideally for wine lovers. The Niagara Region is a short drive from the city and is renowned for its wine route.  We also have local wineries, like Ridge Road Estate Winery in Stoney Creek, which offers a stunning view of Lake Ontario, clear across to Toronto.  Adults only, please.

ART GALLERY OF HAMILTON

Hamilton’s art culture is well known and constantly evolving. The Art Gallery of Hamilton, located at 123 King St West, is open to the public from Wednesday to Sunday, with private tours only on Mondays and Tuesdays. (Two weeks’ notice is required for a private tour and, of course, the gallery is closed December 25 & 26, and January 1.)

There are several special exhibitions on through the holiday period, including THIS IS SERIOUS: Canadian Indie Comics, running till January 5, 2020.

ANNE FRANK HOUSE VIRTUAL REALITY

For an educational and somewhat sombre experience that will leave an unforgettable impression, this display at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum is running through the holidays with closures on December 25 & 26, and January 1st.   Using virtual reality to enhance the history preserved through Anne Frank’s own writings, visitors can experience some of the dark histories of World War II in a unique way.

Located at the site of the Hamilton International Airport in Mount Hope.

PART OF THE MACHINE: ROCK & PINBALL

Finally, for the music buffs of all ages in the family, this display at the Joseph Brant Museum in Burlington has an off-the-charts cool factor.

Running till January 12, 2020, this exhibit includes:

  • 10 playable pinball machines featuring KISS, The Beatles, The Who, and more
  • KISS drumkit
  • Alice Cooper’s electric chair stage prop

We hope that, whatever you choose to do to close out 2019, you enjoy some downtime with loved ones and that you are able to start 2020 feeling refreshed and ready for whatever the next decade holds!

09.22.2019

As winter inches closer, now’s the time to prepare by taking care of a few maintenance items. Repairs you make now will pay off later. Ensuring that your home’s cold-weather systems are running efficiently will save you money and major headaches in the long run.

Drain the Hose

Watering season is over, but you’re not done with your outdoor watering system quite yet. To avoid cracked hoses and burst faucets over the winter, turn off water valves in your home and drain all remaining water from the taps and hoses. Tip: Unrolling the hose down a gentle slope will let the water run out completely.

Clear Vents

To prevent ice dams — ridges of roof ice that prevent melting snow from draining — ensure attic vents are free of debris. Poor soffit ventilation can increase mould inside the house and damage wood shingles during the winter months. Tip: A leaf blower or a pass with a pressure washer will clear them out and prepare them for winter snow.

Clean the Chimney

There’s nothing quite like the warming atmosphere of a wood-burning fireplace in the dead of winter. But once you’ve cozied up to your 70th fire, it’s important to get that chimney inspected and cleaned of excess creosote, because it can be a cause of chimney fires. Tip: Run the point of a fire poker inside the chimney liner and if there are more than three millimetres of gunk, call a certified chimney sweep.

Store Pots and Planters

If you decide to keep your collection of colourful clay pots outside for winter, make sure you empty the soil before you do. The moisture in the earth will expand when frozen, which can crack those precious ceramic containers. Tip: Removing the soil now will make it easier to reposition and replant the pots come springtime.

Mind in the Gutter

Backed up gutters can cause all sorts of wintertime hassles such as roof leaks, ice dams and wall-focused water damage. Before the snow comes, get your gutters cleared out by a professional — leave ladders to the insured experts. Tip: Make sure all downspout extensions run at least 1.5 metres away from your home’s foundations.

Caulked and Ready

A thin line of silicone caulking is one of the best ways to seal gaps in siding, windows and door frames. If you can see a gap that’s bigger than the width of a nickel, you need to get on it to stop drafts and water damage in their tracks. Tip: Pick up some weather stripping for doors as well — you shouldn’t be able to see daylight from inside your home.

Inspect the Roof

Pull out a pair of binoculars and give your roof a careful once-over. Keep your eyes peeled for damage or missing or loose shingles. Hire a handyman for patching jobs, or a roofing company for larger sections in need of some TLC before winter comes. Tip: Take time to investigate the flashing around chimneys and vent stacks, too.

A/C Prep

While it may be tempting to wrap your entire external air-conditioning unit in miles of plastic wrap, resist the urge. Doing this can cause corrosion and is an open invitation for nesting rodents. Instead, place a piece of made-to-measure plywood over the unit during winter and protect it from large, falling icicles and snowdrifts.

Heating Up

Don’t wait until the thermometer dips below zero to think about your home’s heating system; prepare now and be ready. A technician can inspect, test and clean your furnace or heat pump to ensure they’re in tip-top shape for winter. Tip: Ask for a carbon monoxide measurement at the same time as the inspection.

Flip it and Reverse it

If your home is kitted out with ceiling fans, check the settings for a reverse option. Running fans in the opposite direction creates an updraft, pushing down heated air, which can help reduce your energy bill. Tip: If you have high ceilings, consider switching out the fan units for ones that have this setting.

Before the temperature drops too low, make sure your home is ready to handle the cold, wet winter months. A little prep work and elbow grease now will go a long way toward ensuring that your home can weather the coming storms — literally.

06.11.2019

1. Leasing a furnace and A/C:

The decision to lease furnaces and air conditioners is usually born out of an urgent need to replace broken-down equipment, most often on winter’s coldest days. It may seem like the wisest thing to do, given the low up-front cost and the ‘affordable’ monthly payments.

The problem we see, when a seller lists their home, is that buyers almost never agree to take over the payments, no matter how affordable. This forces sellers to pay out the rental contract at a rate that can be double or more what the equipment would have cost if it had been bought outright. It is not unusual to have a final bill from the rental company that is over $10 000.00, which comes right out of the hard-earned equity that has been built in the property.

2. Not completing needed repairs:

Selling your home, especially while you still live there, is exhausting. It is all too easy to get to the finishing touches and convince yourself that buyers will see past a loose door handle, a leaky faucet, or a patch of chipped paint. The reality is that they will not see past it, and it will cost you.

There are two types of buyers: Ones who are looking for a project they can work on themselves, and ones who are looking for a house that is move-in ready. The first group are looking for a deal. Leaving repairs undone gives those buyers the feeling that they have some leverage to negotiate on price.

To get the highest price, it is important to have buyers see that the property has been well maintained and that attention has been given to detail. If you are (understandably!) too tired to do all the little repairs that are necessary, it is well worth it to hire someone.

3. Failing to declutter, clean, and stage the property:

Closely related to item #2, failure to clean and declutter can create a perception that the house and property have been neglected. Remember that buyers need to see how much space they have, so clear away all but necessary items to show off your square footage! Take the time to deep clean (or hire someone to clean it for you – you’ll be convinced once and for all that not all heroes wear capes…some wear rubber gloves!). Even a home that is outdated will sell more quickly if it has been thoroughly cleaned.

As for staging, we could quote reams of testimonials about the value of this step. You need not replace all your own belongings with rental furniture, but it is wise to consult with a neutral party (a stager) who can make recommendations about how best to use your own furnishings and décor items to showcase the different spaces in your house to make it most appealing to potential buyers. Since this consultation is often part of the package being offered by your realtor, make sure you take advantage of it!

4. Pricing your property too high:

This mistake is easy to make for several reasons. The most common is an emotional attachment to a home that makes us believe that our home is more special, more beautiful, and therefore more valuable than comparable homes that have sold in the neighbourhood.

Buyers, though, are not in the slightest bit emotional about the house as they walk through the door. In fact, they are, in all likelihood, looking for reasons not to buy it. According to the website insightsquared.com, buyers are naturally suspicious, crave value, and are more committed to fleeing losses than to seek gains.

This means that they will naturally (and maybe even subconsciously) tend toward comparing a property unfavourably with its competition.

Another type of flawed reasoning that leads to overpricing a home is the thinking that people will simply make a lower offer if they don’t want to pay the asking price.

The reality is that the vast majority of buyers will simply walk away, and the property will stagnate on the market unnecessarily. Once there has been a price reduction, suspicious buyers will be more prone to assume that something is wrong with the property, and offer less for it than they might have if it had been priced correctly.

5. Buying before you sell:

This one puts chills down our spines. Unless you are in a position to carry two properties until your current home sells, we never recommend this course of action. Signing a contract to buy a home you may not be able to afford to close on is a dangerous financial risk that exposes you to being sued, in addition to the loss of any deposit money.

The housing market can turn suddenly at any time. If you cannot weather a downturn, it is not worth taking the chance that your home could remain unsold.
If you fear not being able to find a property that you like after selling your home, consider putting an offer in on condition of sale of your property. You may have to pay a little more for the house you want, but it will cost less than the losses you could incur by gambling with your investment.

6. Not allowing showings:

There are circumstances that make it tough to accommodate showings: Shift work, young children, pets, illness, and other things. However, to get a house sold, it must be available to be shown – especially in the crucial first couple of weeks. Buyers who find it impossible to get in will just move on to the next listing, and we don’t want that to happen!

If you know you will struggle to live around showing times, work with your agent to brainstorm some ideas for ways to make the property accessible:

  • It might be the ideal time to take a weeklong vacation and allow the flurry of activity to happen while you’re not there.
  • Some shift workers find it easiest to stay with friends or relatives for a couple of weeks so as to not have their sleep patterns disturbed too badly.
  • Pets, if they cannot be in the house, might be placed in daycare while you are working, so as not to traumatize them with the presence of strangers in their home.
  • If you must restrict showing times, try to be as clear about allowable appointments as possible at the time of signing. Your agent can put notes in your listing to minimize the frustration of buyers who are trying to book appointments.

Finally, if you do have to cancel a showing that has been booked, offer a time to reschedule to encourage buyers to try again ASAP.

7. Not disclosing hidden defects to buyers:

As tempting as it may be to hope that a buyer won’t notice the “slight leak” in the basement or ask about the fire that happened a few years ago, that is not the best course of action.

In Ontario, buyers may have up to 15 years to initiate court action against a seller in some cases. The Seller then has to prove that he or she could not have known about the defect.

Given the risk of having issues like these come back after many years, we (and many lawyers) strongly recommend disclosing defects from the beginning, thus avoiding the stress of dealing with problems long after the sale has closed

05.14.2019

What’s the Difference Between a Buyer’s and Seller’s Market

Buying

When you begin the home buying or selling journey, there may be several terms used that you’re unfamiliar with. Buyer’s market? Seller’s market? Balanced market? To help get you started, we’ve broken down the difference between a buyer’s market and a seller’s market below.

Buyer’s Market

There are more homes on the market than there are buyers.

In this type of market, buyers will spend more time looking for homes. There are more homes on the market, giving the small number of potential buyers more to choose from. The prices of homes can be stable or perhaps dropping. Sellers will find that buyers have stronger leverage when negotiating.

Seller’s Market

There are more buyers than there are homes for sale.

With fewer homes on the market and more buyers, homes sell quickly in a seller’s market. Prices of homes are likely to increase, and there are more likely to be multiple offers on a home. Multiple offers give the seller negotiating power, and conditional offers may be rejected.

Balanced Market

There are the same amount of homes for sale and buyers.

When there is equal competition between buyers and sellers, this means that there are reasonable offers given by buyers and homes sell within a reasonable time. With less tension between buyers and sellers, the prices of homes remain stable.

Before buying or selling a home, it is important to find out what type of market you are entering into. Your listing price, negotiations and expectations will all be affected depending on whether it is a buyer’s market or a seller’s market.

Talk to a Real Estate Agent

Our Group is always willing to help with all of your real estate questions. We not only know the local market inside and out, but we have experience pricing and selling homes in your area.

01.7.2019

How To Find The Right Neighbourhood For You

Buying

It’s not easy to choose the perfect neighbourhood for you or your family. Let’s face it, your neighbourhood is just as important as your house. If you are not happy with your neighbourhood it will eventually lead to you not being satisfied with your home. Do your research to determine what a neighbourhood has to offer you. The greatest areas for families with children is not always the best place for a single person or empty nesters. This article will explain the things that you should be looking at in a neighbourhood during the buying process.

Location

Location is everything. Imagine living in an amazing area, but working over 80 kilometers away. This may not leave you with much time to enjoy everything that your neighbourhood has to offer, considering you will be spending so much of your time commuting to and from work. Even though there may be a great neighbourhood available 80 kilometers away from work, that does not make it wise for you to consider that home unless you are able to work from home. Commuting can be overwhelming and could create a dissatisfaction over time.

Location plays a huge factor when it comes to the community and its amenities. If you live in a rural area, you will most likely not find any gyms, retail stores, or indoor activities that are more common in urban centres . However, if you enjoy the secluded feel of a rural area, this may work for you. Drive around the surrounding area to get a feel for the lifestyle.

Pro Tip: Drive or Walk around the area’s you are researching. Make sure to take note of distances and time that it takes to get to some of the places you may be going on a regular basis.

Interview The Locals

Chatting with the locals in an area is a great way to see if you would enjoy it there. Residents will know the area best and can make you aware of the perks and issues. Most people love talking about their neighbourhood and where they live.

How can you get involved without physically going to every business or community center?

Facebook.

Join The local Facebook Community group to get a vibe of the neighbourhood. You can even ask questions to get real feedback. Asking questions like:

  1. I am moving to the area and was curious to hear what some of you love about living here?
  2. I am curious to hear what some of the changes you are hoping for in the near future?
  3. What is something that you would only know if you lived here?

Pro Tip: You can also google: How is Living in (Neighborhood). This will reveal many other forums or blogs that give local insight.

Schools

If you have kids in your home then schools may be the most important factor to your neighbourhood. Some people are looking for a school nearby for their kids to walk to school and some are seeking schools for children with special needs. The best advice we could give is to decide on the schools you enjoy first, then begin looking for the neighbourhoods around the school.

PRO TIP: There are many online resources such as www.compareschoolrankings.org where you can look up the schools in your area and their rating. Once you have decided on a school that you believe will be best for your family, visit the school.

Property Values

The value of a property plays a huge role when choosing a neighbourhood. If your desired area has high value homes, this generally means higher taxes. If some of the homes have declining property values, it can directly impact the value of the entire neighbourhood. An area that once was a great-looking place to live can slowly turn into a rundown location in obvious need of some tender loving care.

In terms of choosing a home in any neighbourhood we subscribe to the old rule of thumb not to select the most expensive home in the neighbourhood.

Pro Tip: Don’t go for the most expensive home in the neighbourhood. If the home value is above the average, it may appreciate more slowly or take longer to sell than those closer in value to the average.

Property Taxes

Taxes will vary by neighbourhood, so you should definitely consider them when buying a home. As stated above, areas that are appreciating in value are also going to have larger taxes. Many cities have specific times of the year where they reassess home values to ensure the local government is getting the proper amount of tax revenue to provide the city with services. Purchasing at the top of your budget can turn the excitement of purchasing a home into a nightmare when other expenses begin to roll in.

It is important to make sure you consider all the expenses that come with owning a home. We can always help you with any questions you have, so do not be scared to give us a call.

Pro Tip: Don’t purchase a home at the top of your price range if you are buying in a neighbourhood with increasing values because the taxes you pay will go up as well.

Safety

Many consider safety to be a top priority in the search for a new neighbourhood, but not everyone can afford to live in a gated community. Not everyone wants to live in a that type of community, either. You can, however, look at local police reports to see what, if any, mischief goes on in a specific area. You can even use online resources like crime maps to get an idea of the crime rate in certain areas.

*Realtors cannot discuss criminal activity with clients

Pro Tip: Ring Has a Downloadable App called neighbors that shows you the local incidents in an given area.

Bottom Line

The neighbourhood that you live in can have a greater impact on your satisfaction than the home itself. The right house in the wrong area can leave you unhappy in the long-run. Research online, speak with locals, and drive around the surrounding area to determine the if the neighbourhood is right for you and your family.

12.25.2018

Weekend “open housing” should be a fun time, but did you know it could cost you a LOT of money? How so, you ask? Below are some pro tips our clients use to avoid the financial pitfalls of attending open houses.

The most crucial information to remember is that the listing agent is working for the Seller. With this in mind, do not give too much information about your own situation that could later come up in negotiations if you were to put in an offer. The following are some things to keep confidential:

  • Your budget, especially if you can afford more than the list price
  • Any requirements for a specific closing date
  • Reasons why you MUST live in a specific neighbourhood
  • Anything you notice about the house that satisfies a unique need of yours
  • It’s also crucial to keep your emotions to a minimum. It’s great to find a home you love but unwise to show those emotions to a person not working on your behalf.

If this sounds like too much work there is a better way. We help dozens of buyers each year find their dream homes and 99% of the time its not from attending an open house. If you’d like to see how we help our clients save time, money, and stress.

Also, if you’re curious about the best steps to buying a home.