Why you need a REALTOR® more than ever in the internet age

These days, there are more options than ever when it comes to buying or selling a home or cottage. It seems a new website or sale-by-owner service is popping up every week. And while there is most certainly room for technology, progress, and a fresh approach within the real estate industry, this inevitably creates a lot of noise out there cluttering up your decision-making process.

Now may be one of the most important times to look to a professional Realtor(R) to cut through all of that noise and make the business of buying or selling your home a stress-free proposition. Our mission at Chestnut Park is to guide you through this process with the least interruption to you and your family’s daily life; this is the value and service a Realtor(R) can provide that the internet simply cannot.

Data Analysis:
The internet has revolutionized the real estate industry, and we certainly are thankful for all that it has provided from sharing listing information quickly and easily with our clients, to communicating with the office from the road. But with all of this free-flowing information, there becomes an endless well of data. Average home prices, inventory per neighbourhood, lake rankings, etc. Sure, the information is all out there, but are you reading and analyzing it properly? A professional Realtor(R) is trained to know exactly what data is relevant to your purchase or sale, and exactly how it applies to you.

Local Knowledge:
The web is in fact, a fantastic place to begin research when wanting more information on a particular neighbourhood; from lakes, to demographics, to walkability and lifestyle. And while there is a wealth of knowledge to be found online, including local forums and message boards, there is no substitute for a Realtor(R) who has worked (and in many cases lived) in a particular area for their entire career. Not only will they have the inside scoop on all the neighbourhood quirks, but they will be able to share hard facts about the local real estate market specifically.

Pricing:
If you are a home or cottage owner, chances are you have a fairly good idea of what your property is (or should be worth) based on things like what you bought the home for, how long you’ve owned it, how much (if any) work you have put into it, how much your next door neighbour just sold for, etc. But when it comes to selling your home, timing (and what the market will bear at that exact timing) is everything. A qualified Realtor will guide you through the pricing process by analyzing myriad variables such as comparable home prices, current interest rates, level of inventory, interest in your neighbourhood and/or school district and much more.

Hunting & Gathering:
If you are looking to buy a new home, the hunting and gathering stage is where a Realtor will save you the most time and energy. Instead of trolling online daily looking for a property that will suit your needs, your Realtor(R) will take this step off your plate, comparing and contrasting what’s out there, and sending you only what they know will work for your needs. A Realtor also has access within their own network to homes that may not yet be on the market. As for selling, a professional Realtor will come up with creative solutions to lure qualified buyers to your property. Which brings us to

Marketing:
When it comes to selling your home, marketing is perhaps one of the most important aspects of the process. How will you maximize the best offers if people don’t even know that your home is for sale? A Realtor will work night and day to market your home in the right way, from open houses to online and print ads, to wild and creative options to showcase your property in the right light.

Dispelling Myths:
Much like planning a wedding, or having a baby, buying or selling a home or cottage brings unsolicited advice and personal anecdotes out of the woodwork. Your neighbour may be convinced that home values in your area have gone up 10% since you bought, and your cousin may be insisting that you hold out until spring to list your home, but only a Realtor(R) will be able to give you the inside info on what will or won’t work for your particular circumstances.

Connections:
When it comes down to the transaction of buying and/or selling your home or cottage, there can tend to be a lot of moving parts. From real estate lawyers to home inspectors, and stagers to contractors, your Realtor(R) is plugged into a community of other professionals who support and enhance the real estate industry.

5 Selling Tips for a Hot Spring Market

 

If you are preparing to sell your home or cottage, you’ve likely been reading about (or at least thinking about) the impending flurry of activity in the real estate market in the spring. There’s something about a long, cold winter indoors that makes owners crave a change when the ground thaws and the trees bloom. If you are one of the many sellers preparing to put their home or cottage on the market this spring, here are just a few tips to keep in mind as you enter the selling process.

 

 

1. Find the Right Realtor(R)

This step is undoubtedly the most important, and should be one you are thinking about long before the time comes to put your home or cottage on the market. The perfect Realtor(R) for you should be trust-worthy, easy to talk to, and should understand your needs. Your Realtor(R) should help you with the following 4 steps (including pricing and marketing your home of course!). Don’t know where to begin with finding a realtor? Have a look at Our Approach to see if selling with the Gardiner Team is right for you. Think you can go it alone? Here are 7 reasons why you need a Realtor now more than ever.

 

2. Scout the Competition

What people often don’t realize is that the viability of their home or cottage sale tends to have more to do with what else is currently offered on the market than what they feel their property is worth. Buyers and their realtors will be quick to compare your property and its price against others of similar size, age, and location to determine a fair buying price. Do some research (along with your realtor) and be aware of your competition. Being able to highlight your property’s advantages in comparison to the rest of the listings out there will give you an edge in negotiations.

 

3. Prepare Your Property

Do not underestimate the value of a new coat of paint, a spotless garage, or an entirely staged home or cottage. A buyer’s vision tends to be limited when it comes to seeing themselves in your home or cottage, and even small details like smell, decor, or light could put them off right away. Work with your realtor or a staging company to place your home or cottage in its best light, feeling bright, fresh, and free of clutter.

 

4. Don’t Lurk

The selling process can, at times, be intrusive to your daily schedule. Buyers will want to come back for a first, second, or third look at a moments notice and you may find it bothersome to rearrange your plans to accommodate them. Although it may seem reasonable to want to hang around during an open house or a showing, do your best to leave during this time. Go over to a neighbours place or go for a walk. Buyers will feel less pressure and more freedom to look in closets, ask questions, and really get a feel for the place without a lurking owner.

 

5. Don’t Get Emotional

Buying and selling real estate is unlike any other business transaction in that it is undoubtedly an emotional one. Your home or cottage is your retreat from the world outside, where you’ve shared happy memories with friends and family so it makes sense that you see it in its most romantic light. It is tough not to place a heightened value on your home or cottage, but it is important not to take negotiations personally or to sneer at any incoming offers.

 

 

Feature image via Explorer’s Edge

Real Estate Market Report | Muskoka, January – March, 2017

Chestnut Park News

APRIL 18, 2017
Muskoka Real Estate Update

 

As 2016 came to an end, the concern in the Muskoka and area recreational market place could be summed up in one word: supply. The lack of supply has become dramatically obvious in the first three months of 2017. Generally supply is limited during the early months of any year. Weather conditions, inability to access properties, and the disinterest of buyers usually means that recreational properties are not brought to market until April or even later. This report acknowledges that market phenomenon, and is simply comparing what was happening in 2016 against the first three months of 2017.

 

The Muskoka-Haliburton Realtor Association reports that during the first three months of 2017 it processed 1815 listings of all types. This is a decline of 15 percent compared to 2131 listings that were submitted by local realtors during the same period in 2016. The decline in recreational inventory is even more startling. At the end of March the Association reported 439 active recreational property listings, a decline of more than 40 percent compared to the 751 recreational property listings on the market last year.

 

The situation is even more dramatic in 2 of the three market places in which Chestnut Park’s agents are active. On Muskoka’s big lakes (Rosseau, Joe, and Muskoka) there were only 103 active listings at the end of March, a decline of almost 50 percent compared to the 200 active listings available to buyers last year. The situation in the Haliburton Highlands is no different. Last year there were 193 active listings, this year only 103, a decline of 47 percent. Although listings are down in Lake of Bays the decline is not as extreme as in Muskoka’s big lakes and the Haliburton Highlands. This year there were 59 active listings, last year 83, comparatively a moderate decline of 30 percent.

 

At this stage of the year we have limited recreational property sales data. What we do have does not indicate that there is a corresponding decline in demand. The Association reports that 101 recreational properties have been reported sold year-to-date, an increase of 15 percent compared to the 88 reported sold last year. On the big lakes there has been a marginal increase in sales: 21 this year compared to 19 last year. Sales activity in the Haliburton Highlands is marginally down: 27 last year, 25 this year. Only Lake of Bays has shown an appreciable increase in sales, although the actual numbers are small: 12 reported sales this year compared to 9 last year, an increase of 30 percent.

 

During the first three months of 2017 Chestnut Park’s agents were responsible for 25 recreational property sales, representing $27,875,500 in dollar volume. This result is our highest number of reported sales during this period in the year, and by far the highest dollar volume ever achieved. These numbers also demonstrate that demand remains strong. The next best year for sales was in 2012 and for dollar volume it was last year.

What to expect:

Unless something dramatic happens we can anticipate a very tight recreational market as 2017 continues to unfold. As forecast in the year-end report, we will begin to see competition for well priced, desirable properties.

 

That competition will not amount to the frenzied activity that has become the norm in urban environments like Toronto, but multiple offers will not be uncommon. This is brought out by the fact that agents have already experienced the multiple offer phenomenon on new listings and when acting for buyers.

 

The unknown factor that may have an impact on the Muskoka real estate market place will be the provincial government’s reaction to the runaway prices for properties in Toronto and area. The prevailing belief is that foreign investors and speculation are fuelling price increases. Legislation by the provincial government in either or both of these areas could have a cooling effect on recreational markets, even if the effect is due to a wait-and-see stance by buyers. Unfortunately by the time the impact of the tax is absorbed by consumers, the major part of the recreational selling season will be at an end. It is anticipated that the province will move to deal with exorbitantly rising prices in Toronto and area by late April or May.

 

Prepared by:Chris Kapches, LLB, President and CEO, Broker

 

 

Port Carling Nurse Practitioner Station is a Big Step Closer

Muskoka Lakes Nursing Station Chair Allen Edwards has?announced more great news for the Brock and Willa Wellness Centre.

Harry and Mary Ann Debes and their family foundation are donating a half a million dollars to the Nursing Station.?The?Debes Family became interested in the Nursing Station after?last years Muskoka Comedy Gala?for the Brock & Willa Wellness Centre and started looking into it closely.

We need such a facility in the Port Carling area and a few years ago Linda and Allen Edwards started working towards this cause. Last May the project received a real boost with a generous donation of land and money by Brock and Willa Napier. Today my wife Mary Ann and I are happy to play our part. Last Friday, through our Foundation, we donated $500,000 to help realize this dream something that will help our community for generations to come. For those to whom much is given, much is expected.? said Harry Debes, to a group at the new wellness site.

THE ADVANTAGES OF HAVING THE 3 MAIN COMPONENTS INCLUDED IN THE BROCK & WILLA WELLNESS CENTRE ARE:

Why is it needed & advantages?

  • It fits in with the Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care and the North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN for the Health Links initiative.
  • The Lions seniors residence will have easy access to Primary Health Care at the Nursing Station
  • The Nurse Practitioner can go over to the seniors residence and do health programs
  • Andys House, Hospice Muskoka will help people pass away with dignity in their home community
  • Hopefully in the plans, there will be space in Andys House for people who are discharged from the hospital and are going home to an empty residence.? The Hospice hopes to have 1 or 2 rooms that could be used for up to 48 hours a stay of this nature

Where is it located & why:

  • The property is located right in the heart of Port Carling
  • The 3 projects will have the benefit of municipal water & sewer
  • Steps away from Foodland, Subway, Tim Hortons, as well as all the other amenities of Port Carling

What are the common areas and/or services that will be used by all 3 main components?

  • The seniors residence will have a Community Room w/ kitchen to be available to the residents, as well as the outside community will have an opportunity to rent the Room.?? They are also hoping to have a Fitness Room.
  • All 3 components will have access to a park like setting with future walkways & boardwalk and a gazebo overlooking the Indian River.
  • There is a Municipal public dock that people can come by boat to any of the 3 components.

DESTINED TO BECOME A HUB OF HEALTH AND WELLNESS!

A Port Carling property donated by Brock and Willa Napier will house the Brock and Willa Wellness Centre.? Planning and fundraising are well underway for this innovative community hub that is intended to house a future Port Carling nursing station, a seniors residence, on behalf of the Port Carling Lions Club, and Andys Place, a palliative care facility through partnership of the Andy Potts Memorial Fund and Hospice Muskoka.

Why you need a Realtor more than ever in the internet age

These days, there are more options than ever when it comes to buying or selling a home. It seems a new website, or sale-by-owner service is popping up every week. And while there is most certainly room for technology, progress, and a fresh approach within the real estate industry, this inevitably creates a lot of noise out there cluttering up your decision making process.

Now may be one of the most important times to look to a professional Realtor to cut through all of that noise and make the business of buying or selling your home a stress-free proposition. Our mission at Chestnut Park is to guide you through this process with the least interruption to you and your familys daily life; this is the value and service a Realtor can provide that the internet simply cannot.

Data Analysis
The internet has revolutionized the real estate industry, and we certainly are thankful for all that it has provided from sharing listing information quickly and easily with our clients, to communicating with the office from the road. But with all of this free-flowing information, there becomes an endless well of data. Average home prices, inventory per neighbourhood, school rankings, etc. Sure, the information is all out there, but are you reading and analyzing it properly? A professional Realtor is trained to know exactly what data is relevant to your purchase or sale, and exactly how it applies to you.

Local Knowledge
The web is in fact, a fantastic place to begin research when wanting more information on a particular neighbourhood; from schools, to demographics, to walkability and lifestyle. And while there is a wealth of knowledge to be found online, including local forums and message boards, there is no substitute for a Realtor who has worked (and in many cases lived) in a particular area for their entire career. Not only will they have the inside scoop on all the neighbourhood quirks, but they will be able to share hard facts about the local real estate market specifically.

Pricing
If you are a homeowner, chances are you have a fairly good idea of what your home is (or should be worth) based on things like what you bought the home for, how long youve owned it, how much (if any) work you have put into it, how much your next door neighbour just sold for, etc. But when it comes to selling your home, timing (and what the market will bear at that exact timing) is everything. A qualified Realtor will guide you through the pricing process by analyzing myriad variables such as comparable home prices, current interest rates, level of inventory, interest in your neighbourhood and/or school district and much more.

Hunting & Gathering
If you are looking to buy a new home, the hunting and gathering stage is where a Realtor will save you the most time and energy. Instead of trolling online daily looking for a property that will suit your needs, your Realtor will take this step off your plate, comparing and contrasting whats out there, and sending you only what they know will work for your needs. A Realtor also has access within their own network to homes that may not yet be on the market. As for selling, a professional Realtor will come up with creative solutions to lure qualified buyers to your property. Which brings us to

Marketing
When it comes to selling your home, marketing is perhaps one of the most important aspects in the process. How will you maximize the best offers if people dont even know that your home is for sale? A Realtor will work night and day to market your home in the right way, from open houses to online and print ads, to wild and creative options to showcase your property in the right light.

Dispelling Myths
Much like planning a wedding, or having a baby, buying or selling a home brings unsolicited advice and personal anecdotes out of the woodwork. Your neighbour may be convinced that home values in your area have gone up 10% since you bought, and your cousin may be insisting that you hold out until spring to list your home, but only a Realtor will be able to give you the inside info on what will or wont work for your particular circumstances.

Connections
When it comes down to the transaction of buying and/or selling your home, there can tend to be a lot of moving parts. From real estate lawyers, to home inspectors, and stagers to contractors, your Realtor is plugged in to a community of other professionals who support and enhance the real estate industry.

Top Tips for Renting Out Your Cottage This Summer

As the last of the snow melts around the province, Ontarians are beginning to shed those winter layers and think about the best season of all cottage season! If you own a cottage or country property that you are looking to rent out for all or part of the summer, the time to list it is now! So grab your Realtor, and get started on that rental ad. Here are just a few tips to get you started

Find a local Realtor
When it comes to listing, selling, and negotiating the rental agreement for your cottage property, you are going to want to work with a local agent who has a great knowledge of the area and the ability to meet potential renters to show the property. We have a fabulous team of seasoned agents in markets all around Ontario, including Muskoka, Lake of Bays, South Georgian Bay, Thousand Islands, Port Hope, Prince Edward County, Caledon and more!

Expose your property to the right audience
With the help of your Realtor, narrow down a list of some of the best sites to post your rental, keeping a keen eye on who your potential renters will be. Are you advertising your luxury family compound on Lake Joseph, or a quaint cabin in Creemore? Some, like CottageCountry.com, will charge a fee, some are completely free, like Kijiji.

Write a thrilling and thorough description
Of all the fabulous features of your cottage, potential renters will only know as much as you can tell them in a listing advertisement. Make sure that your property description is attention-grabbing, well written, and includes all pertinent information. Once again, your Realtor will be instrumental in helping to put this together.

Its all in the details
Entice renters and cut down on a lot of back-and-forth emails by providing every last detail you can about the property; from number of bedrooms, to included appliances, to square footage, and beyond. The more information you provide, the more qualified inquiries you will receive on your property.

Be a tour guide for the area
Along with all the precise details about the property itself, dont forget to mention the highlights of the region where your cottage is. Are you close to a town with restaurants and other amenities? Does your lake hold a sailing regatta? Do the surrounding hills provide excellent hiking and bike trails? Make sure to paint a picture about how the property and its surrounding area might be enjoyed.

High quality photos
A picture is worth a thousand words, so they say, and this could not be more true when it comes to listing a rental property. Many potential renters will skip right over an ad if it contains too few, or low quality images. Make sure to showcase every angle of the property with high quality, professional images.

Feature image via Georgina Ratcliffe, Chestnut Park Real Estate Ltd.

Real Estate Q & A: Chestnut Park VP of Operations and Broker, Justine Deluce Shares Her Tips on How to Choose the Right Agent

Justine DeluceWhen it comes to buying or selling your home, choosing?the right real estate agent becomes an integral part of?the process. While the sale or purchase of your biggest?financial asset can be an exciting time, it can also be?stressful especially if someone who is not the right agent?for the job is representing you. Here are a few tips to help you?find the right agent.?Chesnut Park VP of Operations and Broker, Justine Deluce shares a few tips to help you find the right agent for you.

 

 

Take the time to interview your candidates. It is important to?meet with different agents to determine which one is the right?one for the job. This provides the opportunity to ask whom?you are considering to hire a number of questions about the?services he or she offers. If you are selling, find out how the?property is priced, how it will be marketed and what the fees?are. If you are buying, ask the agents you are interviewing how?well they know the areas you are interested in and what the?process will entail.

 

Get a second opinion. Once you have narrowed down your?search, request a few references. Like any job interview,?references are an important part in determining which agent?is right for you. Most will be more than happy to provide the?names of a few buyers and sellers they have worked with. It?will be worth your time to follow-up with them.

 

Team up with someone you like! Buying or selling a house?can be a worrisome process. Working with an individual that?you get along with and trust can make the process far more?enjoyable. Your agent is someone you may be spending a lot of?time with and revealing potentially sensitive information to,?so getting along with him or her is key.

 

Location, location,. One of the most important considerations?when choosing an agent is to ensure that they have a good?knowledge of the area you are selling or buying in. Determining?price and understanding the nuances of different areas are?part of the value your agent is adding to the buying or selling?process. A well-connected local agent will have access to?information that may not be be readily available online. This?can create a competitive advantage for clients.

Beautiful “Crystal Point”

Imagine towering pines and hardwood trees, majestic views of Lake Rosseau, unparalleled privacy and a cottage built by one of Muskokas finest builders with an unparalleled attention to detail. Located in one of Muskokas most exclusive areas, Crystal Point gives you ready access to all of the major Muskoka clubs, restaurants and amenities.

 

Exceptional privacy is guaranteed with 490 feet of southerly exposure shoreline and 6 acres of land – big enough for a tennis court, golf practice facility or anything you can imagine.

 

Stroll down the finely crafted flagstone walkway to the 3 slip boathouse with a self contained one bedroom suite above, go for a leisurely swim, a boat ride in your antique Muskoka boat or just sit back on the large flagstone lakeside patio and take in the views. The boathouse is the perfect size to house your boat collection of new and antique boats. The water is deep and clear off the boat house, a great spot to moor your sailboat. Theres also a small sandy beach area for easy wading into the water for a swim.

 

The cottage is 6350 square feet of exceptional quality. Consisting of 5 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms, a stunning master suite, an oversized chefs dream kitchen, lower level media room and a 400 square foot granite floored Muskoka room, this cottage has it all! From the reclaimed antique hemlock flooring to the dry stacked Muskoka stone Rumford fireplace this home will impress you and your guests.

 

From the moment you walk through the front door you will notice the exceptional Muskoka architecture, from the vaulted ceilings to the view through the living room to the patio and lake.

The master bedroom, on the main floor, exudes the quality of this cottage, with French doors that open to a spectacular patio, the perfect place to welcome another day on beautiful Lake Rosseau. The master bath features a soaker spa tub and an elegant walk in shower.

 

Your family and guests will not be disappointed in their accommodations. Located on the second floor, each room is exquisitely appointed with hardwood floors, meticulously trimmed out and have spectacular lake views.

 

As an added bonus your 2 car heated garage has a spacious self contained suite above, ideal as a family or guest suite, a nanny apartment, a summer business office (although it will be hard to work surrounded by the beauty of Crystal Point), an artists studio or even a place for your model train collection. Let your imagination go wild on how to use this space.

 

Crystal Point is built for your comfort and the entertaining of your family, friends or business colleagues, with its spacious indoor and outdoor entertaining areas.

 

A Muskoka cottage estate of this quality, luxury and architecture should not be missed by the discerning buyer. Currently offered at $6,250,000 CAN

Watch out for RECOs top 10 home buying and selling pitfalls

?For most people, buying or selling a home is one of the most important and highest value purchases they will make, and potentially the most challenging. November is Financial Literacy Month, an opportunity for the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) to put consumers on alert for 10 major home buying and selling mistakes that can lead to an unsatisfying experience or even serious complications.

RECO is responsible for protecting home buyers and sellers. Weve seen too many Ontarians encounter these pitfalls,? says RECOs Registrar Joseph Richer. Being mindful of these 10 considerations can help the buying and selling process go a lot smoother.?
Here are the most common buying and selling hazards, and how to avoid them:

1. Allowing emotions to overtake common sense
When you fall in love with a property it can be hard to walk away. Know your budget and dont overpay. Dont forgo a home inspection just to win a bidding war.

2. Hiring the first salesperson you meet
Ontario has over 60,000 brokers and salespersons, with a broad range of approaches to the buying and selling process. Meet with a few different representatives before settling on one, and make sure you feel comfortable with them and their approach to the process. Also be sure to get references and contact them to learn about their experience with the salesperson.

3. Not making your expectations clear with your real estate professional
Its important that you and your representative have a mutual understanding about what youre looking for, and what services the brokerage will be responsible for. Make sure you talk to your broker or salesperson about the services you expect them to provide, and get it in writing.

4. Failing to read and understand forms and contracts
It can be tempting to speed the process along by signing forms that you havent read. But taking the time to understand what youre signing can avoid a lot of problems later on. For example, you dont want to find out that youre on the hook for a six month listing agreement to sell your home if you only want your house on the market for three months. In addition, a holdover clause could mean that if you sell your property during a specified period without the assistance of the broker or salesperson, you would still owe them commission. Make sure all the blanks on the form are filled in before you sign it, and make sure you get a copy of whatever you sign.

5. Assuming everything is included
Dont assume that the furnace, dishwasher or other items are included with the property. The seller may?want to take the dishwasher with them to their new home, and the furnace might be under a rental?contract that youll be required to take over. Before making an offer, detail all items, known as chattels,?in writing. Your offer can also include a clause stating that the seller will pay out any outstanding leases?on the homes major systems.

6. Forgetting about whats within the walls
Granite countertops and new hardwood floors are appealing, but the insulation, wiring and plumbing?are just as important when youre evaluating a property. Ask your real estate representative to look into?the age of the homes systems and if there have been any upgrades. If extensive renovations have been?done, your real estate professional can determine if the appropriate permits were issued.

7. Forgetting about whats outside the walls
When you buy a house youre also buying a place in a community. Some places are lively, others are?quiet. Some places are filled with kids while others are not. Visit the neighbourhood at different times of?the day to see if it fits your lifestyle. Talk to the neighbours about the community and the locations of?various amenities like grocery stores and banks.

8. Not doing your research
If youre concerned about buying a home with a troubled past, a simple Internet search for the address?can go a long way. This is also something you can ask the neighbours about.

9. Making verbal agreements
Verbal agreements arent a problem, until theyre a problem. Putting everything in writing forces both?parties to be clear about their expectations and provides a record that can prevent disputes later on.

10. Underestimating closing costs
From land transfer taxes to title insurance to a home inspection, the costs of a real estate transaction?can add up quickly. Take the time to include estimates and other expenses in the full cost of buying or?selling a property.

While all of these tips are essential, the most important advice is to work with a registered real estate?professional.
Registered brokers and salespersons provide a great deal of knowledge and expertise about the buying and? selling process, along with specific knowledge about neighbourhoods and local issues,? says Richer. They can?also provide crucial help in avoiding these hazards.?