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Canadian Real Estate Breaking News Toronto Globe and Mail March 4 2009

The confidence is coming back to the Canadian real estate market. The real estate curve in first time buyers as conducted by the Royal Bank of Canada is increasing, with majority saying it is a good time to buy. With over 2000 people surved in the second half of January 2009, 65% believe now is a buyers market, and 27% say they intend to buy a home this year or next.

Adults under 35 who do not own a property and rent will step forward and bring the market on a upward curve. Also in the same group 48% said they plan to buy, making this percentake 36% higher than last year.

Average prices are forcasted to fall 5.2% in 2009

Posted under First Time Buyers, News

Canadian Real Estate Market Update March 4 2009

As a real estate agent in the gta I find that more and more first time buyers are calling. Not too many people calling me to seel their house if they have too much equity in their home, why you ask? A lot of people that have that equity sitting in their home believe we are going to come back to 2007 and have the prices boom straigh up. I personally think they are smart for waiting and not selling at the moment but they don’t realize one thing. If you want to buy a bigger home, then sell your home now. If you lose 10% on your current home then you will get 10% off on a more expensive home, people don’t realize this that they can actually save some money now. Unlike people who want to down size waiting is the key.
Now a lot of people ask me what will happen in 6 to 12 months, no one has the answer, to me the rest of the year will go as started so far, the real estate has taken a curve downward. It good for first time buyers but for people who want to down size it is not time to sell. Use common sense when planning you can take this recession to your advantage. Use the real estate curve to you advantage.

Posted under First Time Buyers, News, Seller

US Real Estate Curve February 2009 Video Update

US February 2009 video includes topics on: 6.5% rise on home sales includeing California, Arizona, Nevada and Florida.

Posted under Buyer, First Time Buyers, News, Seller, Videos

Canadian Real Estate Curve Update February 2009

Newest report on the Canadian Real estate curve affecting buyers and sellers, RRSP new restrictions for first time buyers, consumer confidence and more.

Posted under Buyer, First Time Buyers, News, Seller

Us Real Estate Curve January 2009 Video

Another great short video talking about lower interest rates, who should buy and why to sell in the US.

Posted under Buyer, First Time Buyers, News, Seller, Videos

Canadian Real Estate Curve Report January 2009 Video

Great short video on the Canadian Real Estate Curve Impact, talks about some provinces decreasing and some even increasing in sale and value. This report is for the month of January 2009, great short informational video.

Posted under Buyer, First Time Buyers, News, Seller

March 2009 Should I start investing in Real Estate ?

Many first time buyers are calling and asking this question, I heard the market is down, is it a good time to buy? I myself hear many different things, like on tv they mentioned this recession may last 2-4 years, at the office they are saying this year will be slow but the next will be better. From what I see if that the last 2 weeks of Feburary were getting more people looking through the market which is a good thing. The more people in the market to look for a house the more chances of the economy getting back up slowly. The prices in the GTA area got into a down real estate curve of between 8-11%. It is a good time for first time buyers, you never know what will happen in six months, people are saying prices will stay the same, and other are waiting for the prices to drop, what is one to do? I say life is a gamble, do you research, ask the people you trust, look at the stats and economy and then make your choice.

Posted under First Time Buyers, News

Why should I do a home inspection?

home inspection
Every time you buy new or used real estate, it is a good idea for a qualified inspection to take a look at all possibilities of something being wrong with the property. From wiring of electrical components to water drains and plumbing, lead pipes to copper and pvc pipes. It is important that you get the qualified experts advice on any problem the potential property may face.
When buying a new property, do a home inspection as well, some may ask why, its a brand new home. The answer to this is that most homes now are build on sub divisions, making them have less quality and time put into them. Most workers on sub divisions are paid by the job or by the piece, the more they do the more they get paid. A lot of new homes face problems which the new home owner wouldn’t pick up on his/her own. Simple problems like reverse wiring to outlets, electrical panel issues, plumbing draining going upwards instead of down wards, you get the idea.
For used homes, people are generally too excited to find problems themselves when buying the property there is too much excitement and emotion. Don’t make this mistake, always book your professional inspection.
Try not to be cheap and get your uncle or neighbor to help you out, an inspection may cost you anywhere from $200-$500 but the inspection can advise you of future problems or even get your price reduction on that home for any problems the home inspector finds.
Be wise and do your inspection on every real estate you buy.

Posted under Buyer, First Time Buyers, Home Inspections

Real Estate Curve, A True Roller Coaster

The following video dementrated the real estate curve prices (+/- ) in several decades. It shows exactly when the prices and economy was up and when it was down. This is a great short video make sure you  check it out for all buyers, sellers and specially first time buyers.

Posted under Buyer, First Time Buyers, News, Seller

Price Drops In Housing? Not All Homes or Condos…Only Some…The Ones That Have Too

I am an agent working in the GTA area, based on what I see not all homes are priced or sell accordingly to the market right now(January 2009). People do get good deals with $40,000 – $60,000 lower purchase prices but only from the vendors that really have to sell.

There is alot of people still selling their homes way above the market value, their frame of mind is that if they don’t sell for what price they want to won’t sell at all. Some people made the mistake of buying first and then selling their home, at this time of the market if you buy something and your house isn’t selling, then you will have to reduce the price until you get it sold. This is not a typical way it should be but if you are stuck with 2 properties a price reduction is the only way. As I say to alot of people if something is priced right it will sell.

Posted under Buyer, First Time Buyers, Seller

First 2 Weeks In The GTA Real Estate Curve For 2009 Stats

Based on some stats from the Greater Toronto Area, real estate activity has hit a curve downward. Basted on the very first 2 weeks of January 2009 sales went down 50% as compared to the first 2 weeks of 2008.

What does this mean for all of is that buyers are affraid to invest their hard earned money. Buyers are affraid to lose property value if the housing market will take a further curve in sales activity. As buyers you want the price to fall, as a seller that owned real estate for a years and made money with equity they want the market to go back up.

What will happen we shall see.

Posted under Buyer, First Time Buyers, Seller

Lowball Offers on the Rise – New York Times

WHAT image does the term “lowballer” conjure up for you? A smirking bottom feeder in a bad suit? A fast-talking investor working the phone?

HOW LOW IS TOO LOW? Carleen Lekelly has her colonial in Basking Ridge, N.J., on the market for $885,000. She has gotten a couple of offers in the low $800,000 range and tells lowballers to look elsewhere.

How about a couple of young newlyweds who have saved their wedding cash to put toward their first home?

James and Valentina Sbarra fit the last description, and they are relieved to be able to call themselves successful lowballers. Any nervousness they felt in making a stingy offer — lowballing is typically defined as offering less than 90 percent of a house’s asking price — fell away the minute they struck a deal on their two-bedroom raised ranch in Pawling, N.Y., in Dutchess County.

“We kind of took a gamble,” said Mr. Sbarra, a bank manager in Mount Kisco, N.Y. “But it worked out for us.”

Throughout the region, buyers of all stripes are feeling similarly empowered to bid low and keep their hopes high. The practice still fails more often than not, in that buyers are unlikely to get themselves a steal. But many sellers are swallowing hard and negotiating, because lowballing has become so common that, for better or worse, it’s part of the new norm in buying or selling a house.

The Sbarras gambled by offering $287,000 for their house, which was listed at a reasonable $329,000. In doing so, they risked angering the owner and ruining their prospects for negotiation.

“I think it’s worth $320, $325, and I gave them my opinion,” said Peter Bell, an owner of Balch Buyer’s Realty in Mamaroneck, N.Y., an agency that represents only buyers. “But they said, ‘We don’t want to go too high.’ So I said, ‘O.K., let me make the offer as strong as I can, and we’ll hope for the best.’ ”

Much to Mr. Bell’s delight, the owner responded with a counteroffer of $315,000, and the parties went back and forth until settling on a price of $300,000, the amount the Sbarras had set as their cutoff. The couple moved in last month.

“We would have been disappointed if it hadn’t worked out,” Mr. Sbarra said. “But it was a situation where we felt buyers had the upper hand.”

Many buyers are willing to go a lot further than the Sbarras did, apparently without concern about rankling owners.

“It’s like the Wild West out there right now,” said Terry Sciubba, the owner and broker at the Sherlock Homes Realty Corporation in Glen Cove, N.Y., on Long Island. “I do have customers where if a house is listed at $600,000, they’ll put in an offer for $350,000. That really, really happens.”

In Westchester, that mind-set plays out right through the home inspection process, which has become “a weapon for the buyers to further negotiate the contract,” said Keith E. Schutzman, a real estate lawyer in Scarsdale, N.Y. “A $500 repair item is now a $5,000 repair item” when it comes to asking the seller to lower the price.

Tami Rapaport, a sales associate in the Tenafly, N.J., office of Coldwell Banker Residential, finds the same thing happening in Bergen County. “People are coming in with offers even 20 percent under,” she said. “People have no shame.”

To be sure, there is an aspect of lowballing that seeks to take advantage of other people’s desperation or misfortune. Some lowball bids are plain outlandish, never mind insulting.

Yet in a difficult real estate market like this one, advocates of the lowball approach say that, practiced respectfully and within the bounds of reason, it can also serve as a necessary reality check on overpriced properties. If some agents are reluctant to push stubborn sellers to lower their prices out of fear of losing the listing, a few disappointingly low offers will communicate the market’s message in the bluntest terms.

James Bednar has been tracking New Jersey lowballers on his blog, New Jersey Real Estate Report (available at since mid-2006. Inspired by his own frustrations as a buyer, Mr. Bednar said he wanted to test the conventional wisdom that lowballing “was a waste of time — that it was futile to even attempt it.”

So, after obtaining a real estate license, which gives him access to multiple listing service data, he began periodically posting lists of sales with gaps of 10 percent or more between the original list price and the selling price.

At first, the conventional wisdom held up — only a tiny percentage of sales reflected accepted lowball offers. But as the market began to slide, the discounts deepened. His last “Lowball!” report, in January, used a 25 percent discount as the starting point, and he still turned up 55 sales in the previous month.

real estate agent now himself, Mr. Bednar sees no shame in making a low offer on a property clearly priced well above the market. While even 5 percent below the asking price might be considered an unfair lowball on a reasonably priced home, on a property priced “horribly high,” he said, “20 percent might be just scratching the surface.”


STRIKING A BARGAIN James and Valentina Sbarra were able to buy their raised ranch in Pawling, N.Y., for $300,000. It was initially priced at $329,000.

Sellers aren’t typically so logical in their assessment of an unexpectedly low offer, of course. Those who perceive a lowball as a slap in the face tend to treat the offending buyers — and sometimes their agents — accordingly.

“I have one seller who doesn’t want to talk to me because I brought him an offer $200,000 below the asking price” of $1.4 million, said Attilio Adamo, the owner and broker at Prudential Adamo Realty, in Ridgefield, N.J. “Some sellers get insulted and hold a grudge.”

Their ire is understandable, said Lois A. Vitt, a financial sociologist and the director of the Institute for Socio-Financial Studies in Middleburg, Va. “Some sellers personify their home, believing the value is all about them, not just about the sticks and bricks,” she said. “They might have lived and loved the home, and a lowball offer can be seen as a very personal insult.”

That is particularly true in high-powered, high-value communities like Scarsdale and Greenwich, Conn., where location and status help prop up prices. Buyers making lowball offers in Greenwich are not getting what they want because sellers refuse to take such offers seriously, said Max Wiesen, a sales associate with Coldwell Banker.

Clients of his recently made a cash offer of $4.6 million for a property listed in the mid-$5-million range. Although it was low, the offer was reasonable, Mr. Wiesen said, given that the house had some issues and no other house on the street had sold at the price these sellers were after. The owners’ response was a counteroffer barely distinguishable from their asking price.

“These people in Greenwich are not in the position other people in America are in,” Mr. Wiesen said. “These are wealthy people who can sit on their houses, and they do.”

But elsewhere, many agents are counseling sellers to consider a lowball offer as a starting point. The gamble for sellers who stall a lowballer in hopes of a higher offer is that, with buyers so cautious and credit so tight, the next offer could be a long time in coming.

Owners who really want or need to sell are accepting lowball offers. Sarah Keenan, a sales associate at Nicholas Fingelly Real Estate in Southport, Conn., recently sold a four-bedroom Cape Cod there for almost 17 percent less than the original list price of $695,000. The house had been on the market since September. “The people that are really motivated to sell are taking it,” Ms. Keenan said.

This is not to say that every lowball offer is worthy of acknowledgment. Low bidders have a better chance of making headway if the house they are after has been languishing on the market or needs a lot of updating, agents say. Even then, the low offer is better off accompanied by a logical explanation, possibly with documentation.

John Herman, president of Buyer’s Representative in Greenwich, a buyers’ agency serving Connecticut, likes to write a letter explaining the thinking behind an offer and presenting some comparable sales prices. “The listing agent often can’t be that direct with their client,” he said. “We can be more direct and still be polite.”

Mr. Bell, the Mamaroneck broker, takes a similar approach with lenders when he attempts to negotiate on foreclosed properties. He was recently awaiting word from a bank about approval of his $143,000 offer on an unfinished lakeside house in Patterson, N.Y., with at least $200,000 in mortgage debt. Mr. Bell hopes to fix up the house for his daughter. If the deal goes through, he said, “I have three or four of her girlfriends waiting for the same thing.”

Though deals can be found if a buyer has enough nerve and stamina to put up with repeated refusals, agents advise that lowballing is a bad idea when the buyer really, really wants the house. “You take your chances when you do it,” said Frank Ledermann, an associate broker in the Scarsdale office of Houlihan Lawrence. “It’s America — you can bid whatever you want. But you may not get what you want.”

You certainly won’t get Carleen Lekelly’s house in Basking Ridge, N.J. Since Ms. Lekelly put the four-bedroom colonial on the market for $885,000 last November, she has received a couple of offers in the low $800,000 range.

Her response has been matter-of-fact: with new bathrooms and granite in the kitchen, her house doesn’t deserve discounting, and more important, she isn’t under any pressure to move. Ms. Lekelly politely suggests that lowballers look elsewhere.

“I truly believe there are certain towns that are going to keep their values,” she said. “There are people that think they can go in anywhere and just lowball — I think it’s kind of silly.”

Posted under Buyer, First Time Buyers, News, Seller

How to Find Short Sales and Foreclosures

Looking to buy some foreclosures or short sales?  Here are some tips that can help with the process. Search the online local government sites to see if there is a lis pendens on the property.  This is usually the first sign that the owner may be heading into foreclosure.   If you locate a property that you may have interest in, you can either mail the owner or actually knock on the door.   Also , there are lists that you sign up for online that send you lists of properties.  Sometimes, garage and furnitures sale being held by private owners are good resources.  If they are preparing the home for the market, whether or not they are having financial difficulty, you will be one up on other buyers.  You might get it for a better price, with no commission being paid.   Also, always remember that a real estate agent is constantly working with sellers that are anxious and motivated to sell.  

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What Is Title Insurance?

Title Insurance companies provide insurance for buyers and mortgage lenders against several kinds of title risks that can affect real estate trades including survey errors, legal description errors, negligence, forgery, liens and other encumbrances. Many lawyers now prefer their home buyer clients take out title insurance even if there is a recent survey.

While title insurance represents one more cost burden for closing, there are some cost savings enjoyed because title insurance was purchased. For example you would not need to pay for these otherwise required expenses:

  • Zoning compliance certificate
  • Tax certificate
  • Hydro, water and gas certificates
  • Law Society levy

This cost savings can amount to between one half to two thirds of the title insurance cost, depending on the title insurance provider and the area involved. In 2003, title insurance cost is about $300.

For information about local Title Insurance companies in your area and for an update on the cost or features contact your local real estate agent or lawyer.

Posted under Buyer, First Time Buyers, Real Estate Terms

Why Use Home Inspection Companies?

Especially for an older home, and even for a newer one, a home inspection is a valuable service to a home buyer. A home inspector will walk you through a 1 ½ to 2-hour visual inspection of the home to determine its condition and that of its systems. Inspectors will assess which components are not performing properly as well as inform the prospective buyer of areas where repairs may be needed in the future. Inspections are also a good way to get a better understanding of the upkeep required on a variety of systems such as furnaces, plumbing and roofs.

Following the inspection, the buyer should be given a written home inspection report of the details of the inspection, plus a maintenance schedule and an estimate of the lifespan and replacement cost of the home’s systems. Home inspectors typically go over this report with the home buyer.

Your real estate agent can assist you by supplying names of home inspection companies and their contact info. When selecting from this list it is important that you enquire about the reputation, number of years in the business with experience in residential construction, and if they are a member of an association that will investigate consumer complaints. Note there is no formal licensing of home inspectors, but many home inspection companies adhere to the standards of practice established by the Canadian Association of Home Inspectors.

Posted under Buyer, First Time Buyers, Home Inspections