Friday, February 7, 2014

How did the January Deep Freeze Impact the Real Estate Market?

If you're a member of any social media site, such as facebook, twitter, instagram or others, you will know that post after post as been about the "polar vortex" that has hit not only Norfolk County but all of Ontario and even into the deep south!

Dusting of snow & layer of ice causing chaos in Louisiana

In January many were commenting on the amount of snow and praying to the snow gods for it to stop.  In places like Atlanta, Georgia and New Orleans, Louisiana, a dusting of snow and a flash freeze caused everything to close and come to a stop.  Roads closed, bridges closed, businesses closed, freeways jammed.  Thankfully in Canada we are prepared for these temperatures and snowfalls and our roads crews have certainly been busy.

So how did this Arctic weather affect the local real estate market?  During January, 2014, thirty-five (35) sales were reported on the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS®) compared to forty-four (44) sales the year prior.  The persistent sub zero temperatures of -20°C (and worse), no doubt kept prospective home buyers nestled indoors.  In addition to the deadly temperatures, there was plenty of snow, including an unexpected dumping on January 25 (just in time for our return from vacation).

We live in Canada, should these frigid temperatures and snow fall amounts be a surprise to us?  Well, I guess we have been spoiled for the past 4 years and it appears that is long enough for many of us to forget what a real winter is 2009.

January of 2009 was actual worse in both temperature and snow fall amounts.  According to Environment Canada, and as reported in the Simcoe Reformer, the average daily temperature during January, 2014 was -9°C.  That is substantially below the historical average of -5.7°C, it's not as bad as the January, 2009 daily average of -9.4°C.  The 2014 January low reached -24.2°C (burrrrrr).  But wait, January 2009 beat that with the a low of -24.9°C.

In terms of snowfall, this year we received 68.2 cms of snow, nearly double the average of 35.5 cms.  Seems like a lot but it really doesn't compare to the 82.9 cms we received in 2009.

How did the winter solstice of 2009 affect the real estate market then?  Only twenty-one (21) sales were reported on the local MLS® indicating how much the real estate market is affected by weather.

While there may be fewer buyers, there are benefits to selling in the winter.

There are usually fewer properties on the market at this time of year.  Many people will wait to list their properties in the spring.  Use this to your advantage;  fewer properties for sale means that your property will stand out. 

Furthermore, buyers who are in the market now want to close quickly.  These are the folks who want to buy and want to buy now.

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is forecasting national activity to climb by 3.7% in 2014.  Although the national market can give you an idea of the overall state of housing, only the local market directly impacts you and your property.

All real estate is local, often times even unique to a particular street or neighbourhood, therefore if you're thinking of making a move this and want the scoop on the local real estate market, contact us today!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

86th Annual Fireman's Ball in Port Dover

Valentine's celebrations in Port Dover have been "on fire" for the past 85 years.  This year marks the 86th Annual Fireman's Ball; a fundraiser for our local volunteer fire department.

The fireman donate more of their time to ensure everyone has a great time! The ladies of the department even pitch in!  From greeting the guests, to frying the fish and serving the food, the faces of the Port Dover Fire Department put on a great evening. Come say thank you to our Port Dover crew!

We've attended many years of the Fireman's ball and are lucky to call many of these local heroes our friends.  Unfortunately we are unable to attend this years event but we wish them another year of great success!

Tickets are $25.00 each and available at the Tan-Mar, Scotia Bank or any Fire Fighter.

Like them on Facebook at

Some snapshots of our fun at past Fireman's Balls!

I'm back!!

Well, as a new year comes, with it comes resolutions...or maybe a better word is GOALS!

This year my goal is to blog (and of course lose weight and eat healthy...but that's nothing new).  Not only blog, but provide my readers with valuable content.  Not just about real estate, the market and my job but a little about myself and more about our wonderful community of Norfolk County.

Born and raised in Norfolk County I might be a little bias.  But this community is full of great people, great attractions, businesses and events.  There has to be lots to write about.  And you can help me.  If you'd like your event featured on my blog (and in turn on facebook, and twitter) please let me know.  I am always looking for interesting information to pass on to our community members and to those who are considering a move to the beautiful south coast.

Or if you have questions about real estate, like what the market is doing, what you should do to prepare your home for sale, or how to buy your first home, please ask away!

Post your questions as a comment on the blog, on my facebook page ( or send them to me by email to

Monday, April 8, 2013

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

When you list your house for sale your REALTOR® likely explains to you that living in a home and selling a home are two totally different thing. Your home is going to be opened to many other REALTORS® and potential buyers and often these showings occur right in the middle of the kids nap time, dinner hour or as you would normally be getting the kids ready for their soccer game or even bed.

So some of Sellers may say "well, they can come but we will be home because it is nap time", or "we want our REALTOR® present for showings" for example. But is being present during a showing or maybe a home inspection the right thing to do?

Here's our top 3 reasons why we feel the presence of the Seller and/or Seller's REALTOR® may interfere with the sale of the home.

1. Buyers tend to be less comfortable asking questions or making comments about the home when the Seller or REALTOR® is present, as they may be afraid to offend someone. A simple comment like "that paint job isn't very good and I don't like the colour" or "the carpets all need cleaning" may be difficult for a buyer to say in front of an owner or agent. Or asking questions like "is that mold on the wall" or "is that water on the ceiling from a roof leak" may be harder to ask as the buyer does not want to offend the seller.

2. The Seller may say something or answer a question innocently enough that may jeopardize a deal or negotiations. For example when a Buyer's REALTOR® asks a Seller's REALTOR® why the Seller is moving, the Seller's REALTOR® would normally answer that question in a way that would not reveal the motivation of the seller - if they are desperate to sell or just testing the market. But if a Seller was to answer that same question direct to a buyer or Buyer's REALTOR® the result may be different. An answer such as "my husband is being transferred" or "my wife is too ill to handle the stairs to the bedroom anymore" may lead a buyer to believe the Seller is desperate and in turn result in a lower initial offer. Negotiations can change when motivation of a seller is revealed.

3. The presence of a seller and/or REALTOR® may also lead to overselling of your home. The in ground sprinkler system, the "owned" and not "rented" hot water tank, the upgraded light fixtures, the extra deep jacuzzi tub, the raised toilets, and the custom built storage shed that cost the seller extra money at the time of construction does not always add value to the home to all Buyers. Overselling your house may make a buyer feel pressured or nervous. Pointing out these small upgrades will take away from the buyers opportunity to see the important aspects of the house.

In the end, it's important to let the Buyer's REALTORS® do their job and the Buyers have their space. Your home and its features will sell itself and the more comfortable the buyer is in your home the better the chance they will fall in love with it.

So should you stay or should you go? We recommend you go.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

How's the Local Real Estate Market Looking?

Spring may not be here yet but the Tundra Swans have made their appearance in Long Point and my calendar is full of appointments with both Buyers and Sellers. A sure sign of spring!

2013 has been off to a great start versus 2012.

Year to date there have been 145 sales (vs. 125 sales in 2012) of residential properties (including vacant land) reported on the MLS® of the Simcoe and District Real Estate Board.

Lisitngs have dipped slightly to 361 new listings year to date vs. 451 listings in 2012. On the local MLS® the average sale price year to date is up 19.18% from $222,108 this time last year to $264,706. And the list to sale price ratio is up from 83.73% to 93.10% meaning properties are selling for, on average 93.10% of their list price.

People always ask, what does the average sale price mean to me? The average sale price is an overall view of what is happening in the local market. However, many factors play into the average price and can skew the results one way or another. For example. If large farms or large lakefront homes are selling obviously the average sale price is going to appear on the high side. And Norfolk County has many different styles of homes that will affect the average sale price.

Overall, the local real estate market seems to be ON FIRE right now. If you're thinking of buying or selling real estate, now seems to be a good time.

For the buyer's out there, we'd love to help you with your purchase. Visit my website at and click on the "FREE Home Buyer's Guide Logo" and I will send you a complete guide to buying a home.

If you're thinking of selling, contact me today for your free market valuation and I will also send you our marketing package to show you what we can do to market your home for sale.

Good luck with your real estate ventures, whatever they may be!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Power of Small Communities

The old saying “Small Town, Big Heart” has always rang true in my hometown of Port Dover. But not only Port Dover, our entire County is always so generous to give, to share, and to support.

Over the years I have planned many events. From figure skating carnivals and baseball tournaments to buck and does and charitable fundraisers. I have never once been disappointed in the residents and merchants in our great community. They are always willing to sponsor or to donate and help make any event a success. 

But I have three amazing stories about support offered to individuals and their families, above and beyond all the charitable events our locals sponsor and support, that I would like to share with you.

About 10 years ago, when I worked at the local grocery store, I got to know this family really well. Their daughter was a few years younger than me and she was very sick with Lupus. The family had so many medical bills, and car expenses from taking her to doctor after doctor, and I wanted to help. So, I rallied the staff at the store to volunteer their time and some high school girls to help too and we threw together a weekend car wash and barbecue. We were able to raise enough money to help them purchase a hospital bed for their daughter to have at home and new tires for their vehicle to get them to and from the hospital safely every few days.

Needless to say, the support and generosity of the community was amazing. One person even donated $100 just because. Didn’t buy a burger or get his car washed, just wanted to help. Shortly after this event (9 years ago as of February 11, 2013), the mom donated her kidney to her daughter. Today they are both are living happy and healthy and still here in Norfolk County!

Back about 3 years ago, a very dear family friend battled cancer and beat it twice. But the stress on the family from medical bills and travel expenses was immense. So, once again, the Community pulled together to help raise funds to assist the family.

We packed the place to capacity and beyond, had tons of local musicians volunteer their time and talents, amazing door prizes and even better silent auction prizes…all donated from business and locals just wanting to help someone in need.

Unfortunately, our friend once again faced the battle with cancer another two times, and lost that battle in January of 2011. The day we said goodbye to our dear friend is one I will never forget. The local community centre was once again packed to capacity. The love and support that was shown during his benefit to help the family with their debts, was once again present during their time of mourning.

A few months later, the family began planting a farm in which their son had ordered the products for the previous year. Family and friends and a few volunteers that no one really knew, went to the farm to plant their sons dream. All in a days work here in Norfolk County!

Most recently I was told of another friend who was suffering from a very rare disease. After battling cancer and being cancer free since January 2012, he was diagnosed with a very rare blood disease.  Friends informed me that his medical insurance would no longer cover his necessary medication, an extreme monthly expense that very few of us could ever imagine. So, they have decided to hold a benefit for him to help him and his wife and their 15 month old son, be able to pay for this needed medication. They asked for any assistance anyone could give.

Immediately I made a few phone calls to some local volunteers and organizations that are always willing to give. And without question they were on board. Once a facebook page was started, all kinds of people started donating amazing prizes and asking where they can donate to the cause. Again, Norfolk County took my breath away!

Donate for Duke (#donateforduke on twitter) is going to be a huge success, just like the past two events I mentioned, and all because of the kindness, selflessness and generosity of our small community.

So, when people ask me how I can live in the “middle of nowhere” or without all the amenities of the city, I will always think of these three examples of why Norfolk County is forever my home. You’ve probably heard it many times before, but it’s so true…HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS! And there is a lot of heart in Norfolk County.

For more information about Donate for Duke or to donate to the event, you can contact me at any time. The facebook event page can be found at:!/events/543007429073256/?fref=ts or you can chat with them on twitter using the hashtag #donateforduke

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

HELP! I'm Buying my First Home and I Don't Know Where to Start!

Today’s blog post was inspired by a friend of mine who contacted me about buying a house.  She told me she had no idea where to start or what to do or how it works and asked if I could give her some guidance to help her and her boyfriend purchase their first house.  So what better way to help them and help other first time home buyers than to create a blog of my recommended steps to the home buying process.


Everyone is excited about buying their first home.  But during all the excitement you must remember that the bank is going to weigh in on what you purchase, or shall I say how much you spend?!?  The first thing you should do is contact your mortgage broker or banker to get what is called a “preapproval”.  The preapproval will tell you IF they will lend you money, and if so how much they will lend you.  This number is important because it will determine what price range your REALTOR® should look in when trying to find the right home for you.


Although you won’t know exactly what dollar amount you will require for a down payment until you know the exact purchase price of the home you are buying, it is important to ensure you have a savings to make the down payment.  A minimum down payment of 5% is required to purchase your first home.  If the down payment is an issue, you can talk to you bank or mortgage broker about a “gifted” down payment, should you have someone willing to give you the money for a down payment.


When purchasing a house, there will be other costs related to your purchase.  There will be legal fees (contact your lawyer for an estimate), there will be moving cost, mortgage insurance, home insurance, home inspection fee, there could be fees for transferring utilities for a new home into your name and you may need new furniture and appliances for your new home.  Consider all of these items and set aside funds to ensure they are available when the time comes.


After getting your “preapproval”, take your monthly income and start subtracting your monthly expenses.  Items such as: heat, hydro, water, sewer, telephones, internet, cable/satellite, groceries, gas for the car, a little money for some entertainment, and any other monthly expense you may have such as a car loan or student loan.  Some of them may require some “guestimates”.  From there determine how much you have left. 

In your preapproval you should have received you a monthly mortgage payment amount.  Looking at what you have left and the amount they gave you, can you afford the “preapproved” purchase price the bank is willing to lend you?  If not, be prepared to lower the price you are willing to pay for a home.  Too many times we see people strapped after their home purchase and no money to travel or go out for a nice dinner.  Leave yourself some room and be comfortable with your monthly expenses.


Start your home search by creating your “must have” list.  These are things that you cannot live without.  So for example – must be in town, have three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a garage, a basement (finished or unfinished) and a gas fireplace. 

Then create your “wish” list.  For example – would like an ensuite bath, Jacuzzi tub, hardwood flooring, fenced back yard, and deck on the back.

When you start working with your REALTOR® you can provide them with this list to help them find your dream home!


A local REALTOR® is your key to finding the right home, finding it quickly, and being well represented in your purchase.  Many people believe they must call the REALTOR® who has the property listed for sale.  This is not the case.  Any REALTOR® can sell you a property listed for sale on the MLS® system.  So find the REALTOR® that suits your needs.  One who you trust and have confidence in.  Don’t be afraid to ask them questions about their experiences and get to know them to ensure they will be working hard on your behalf. 

Your REALTOR® will do a search of the MLS® system and provide you with a list of homes that match your “must have” list and hopefully even your “wish list”.  Then, you are able to look at them online, view additional photos, and narrow down the search results to the ones that interest you most.  Then start the viewing process!

From there, you are in good hands.  Your REALTOR® will guide you through the rest of the process.  Once you find your dream home, your REALTOR® will help you with all the formalities.  They will provide guidance as to finding a home inspector, getting home insurance, confirming your firm financing approval, assisting you in finding a lawyer, and sending all the documents to your lawyer in order to complete the transaction with no hiccups.

Your REALTOR® will also negotiate all agreements of purchase and sale on your behalf, representing your interests in the purchase.  Your REALTOR® can help you determine the appropriate purchase price for the property based on comparable sales, and offer suggestions for items you may want to include in your purchase price such as the homes appliances.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you aren’t sure you understand what is happening.  The home buying process includes a lot of paperwork and signing of contracts.  Your REALTOR® is there to help you understand what you are signing and to include conditions or clauses to protect you in what is likely the biggest purchase of your life at this point.