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Open House. Open House on Saturday, April 6, 2024 11:00AM - 1:00PM
Looking for an affordable home in the country?  This could be the one.  Located just 10 minutes outside of Midland and close to highway access to Barrie Orillia and the GTA.
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Please visit our Open House at 90 5263 Elliott Side Road in Tay. See details here

Open House on Saturday, April 6, 2024 11:00AM - 1:00PM Looking for an affordable home in the country? This could be the one. Located just 10 minutes outside of Midland and close to highway access to Barrie Orillia and the GTA. What are you waiting for?

Do you dream of a quiet life in the country? Looking to simplify your life? This may be the perfect opportunity. This lovely community in a country setting offers you all that and it's only 10 minutes to the shopping and recreational amenities of Midland/Penetanguishene. All of the rooms are light and bright. Sit on your porch to enjoy your morning coffee and listen to the birds. A shed provides convenient storage for your gardening supplies or outdoor recreational equipment. Easy access to Hwy's 400 ,12 and 93 makes travel farther afield a breeze. Please note: Buyers must be approved by Park Management.

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New property listed in TA76 - Rural Tay, Tay

I have listed a new property at 90 5263 Elliott Side Road in Tay. See details here

Do you dream of a quiet life in the country? Looking to simplify your life? This may be the perfect opportunity. This lovely community in a country setting offers you all that and it's only 10 minutes to the shopping and recreational amenities of Midland/Penetanguishene. All of the rooms are light and bright. Sit on your porch to enjoy your morning coffee and listen to the birds. A shed provides convenient storage for your gardening supplies or outdoor recreational equipment. Easy access to Hwy's 400 ,12 and 93 makes travel farther afield a breeze. Please note: Buyers must be approved by Park Management.

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New property listed in CW01-Collingwood, Collingwood

I have listed a new property at 6201/6203 9 Harbour Street E in Collingwood. See details here

Invest in an ownership share of Phase 2 of LIVING WATER RESORT AND SPA on the shores of Georgian Bay in the beautiful town of Collingwood. NOTE: this is a FRACTIONAL OWNERSHIP - not a time share. This offering includes use during weeks 1 & 2 in the first two weeks of January - perfect for skiers; and week 14 in April. There are options allowing for up to 6 weeks of use, rental of all or some of the weeks, and /or use of other affiliated international resorts. Unit 6201 includes a full bathroom, well-appointed kitchenette, and a large bedroom area with 2 queen sized beds and a seating area, plus a large balcony. Unit 6203 has a full kitchen, dining area and living room with a bay window, fireplace and another balcony. The luxurious bathroom has a large walk-in shower, adjoining a huge bedroom with king-sized bed. The in-suite laundry makes this a home away from home. Use both units or lock the adjoining doors and rent out the one you are not using. Views of the marina and the ski hills from each balcony. Owners have use of the facilities and owners discounts at the resort all year round! Amenities include a large indoor pool, hot tub, spa (with specialized aqua treatments), exercise gym, fitness classes as well as the waterfront and golf club restaurants, roof top deck, and golf course. Minutes to the ski hills, the Village at Blue Mountain and downtown Collingwood.

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In the last several years, it seems fewer and fewer people are committing to working with one LOCAL Buyer Representative and I am not sure why that is. 
 
Granted, there is much more information available to the public than there used to be, but there is still a lot of background information that is not readily available and there may be questions that the prospective buyers haven’t thought to ask.  This is particularly important in cottage country where wells, septic systems, beach ownership and access, availability of services and utilities and internet access can add to the complexity of any prospective purchase.  
 
Often people choose to work with an agent from their urban home environment, which is not ideal simply because of the variation in property types and amenities in more rural environments.   I’ve heard of very recent situations where people have purchased cottages using an out-of-area REALTOR®  who assured them the beach was just down the road, only to find out too late that they DO NOT have access to that beach because it’s owned by a private Community Association and access is restricted to members only.  A local real estate agent would have known that.  It’s understandable and commendable that Buyers are loyal to an agent who helped them buy/sell their city home, but using a local agent is the smart thing to do – and we are happy to pay your city agent a referral fee.  We do the legwork, and your city agent gets a portion of the commission in thanks for sharing their client with us.
 
Sometimes people say that they aren’t ready to commit to a purchase and don’t want to waste an agent’s time, so they just book directly and go see the homes themselves.  It’s crucial to keep in mind that the Listing Agent is working for the SELLER.  When we represent Buyers, we appreciate the opportunity and time to get to know you and specifically what you are looking for. The very best way to do that is to go see some homes together. It’s not a waste of time.
 
 If you aren’t quite ready to buy, we are happy to set you up on a search that will send you listings with the high-level criteria you are looking for, so that you can become familiar with the local market.  Looking but not going to purchase unless you find the exact right property?  That’s OK too.  
 
If we know what your situation is, we can tailor our time commitment and services to suit your needs.  And when that exact right property shows up, we will be on the phone and letting you know about it immediately.
 
And, finally,  if you are ready to buy now, we are ready to go! Get your mortgage pre-approval, lock in the interest rate and let’s go shopping!
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LISTING

When we get ready to list a house, we must look at the property through a Buyer’s eyes – if we were buying this house, what would we notice about it, what would we really like and what might concern us. It helps to take a really good look at all of the comparable listings as if they were available to purchase at the same time as the property we are listing.   You can compare them all in terms of the cosmetic condition of the house (how does it look – is it neat, clean and welcoming or do I have to do a lot of work), the physical condition of the house (does it need maintenance, a new roof, windows, furnace), amenities like parking and yard space and finally (but not the least!) location – is the area safe, pretty, close to schools, shopping, etc.

MARKET CONDITONS

Another important aspect of listing a home is to look at the current market conditions.  A few months ago, we had low inventory, high demand and easily available credit.  These things together fueled the hyper-vigorous market and created historically unheard of bidding wars. Currently, interest rates have gone up and are predicted to rise higher, the cost of living is skyrocketing and credit is not as easily obtainable. Bank appraisers/loan officers have become more cautious in their lending practices and mortgages are a little harder to obtain.  This has occurred in the space of just over a month.  That is not to say that desirable properties in desirable areas are not still selling quickly and over asking. What is does indicate is that expectations might need to be trimmed a bit.

PRICING STRATEGY

In the recent very strong Seller's Market, you could pretty much ask for any price resembling reasonable and get way above that.   That is generally not a prudent strategy in today's market.  Work with your agent to review new listings and sold listings no further back than two weeks - that's how quickly it's changing.  Consider NOT holding offers - there are benefits to doing that, but you may also risk turning off buyers who don't want to participate in bidding wars - this is very market specific, so discuss this with your agent.  Just understand that what happened a month ago, is not what is happening today.  
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Well, it seems I was a bit too optimistic in my post in September, but who could have foreseen the Omicrom situation, coupled with record-setting low inventory levels.  We really thought that we were easing out of the worst of the escalating market, but here we are in February 2022, just coming out of another lock-down and we are back in the realm of high prices and bidding wars.

The lack of inventory is being fueled by the usual decrease that we see in the winter months, coupled with the situation whereby anyone selling is at risk of not being able to buy their next home.  In the past year or two, there were a lot of people liquidating rental and investment properties to take advantage of higher prices, as well as others selling their primary residences and moving to their recreational homes, along with the usual trade-up or down transactions - keeping inventory moving, albeit quickly and for very high prices.  It feels like those inventory sources have dried up, and while there are people who want to down-size or up-size, they are not listing due to a very reasonable concern that there will not be a home available to move in to.  Additionally, they may get a premium price for their sale, but will also pay a premium price for their purchase.  It's a real Catch-22 and it's a challenging time for buyers.

The predicted BOC increases, intended to moderate inflation, will initally have the most impact on the most vunerable sectors of the real estate market (first time buyers, etc) and probably won't be felt until people who maxed out their borrowing power have to re-finance. Depending on how quickly and how significant the increases are, it may be a while before we see anything resembling a balanced market again. 

Don't loosen your seatbelt yet!
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Former Southern Georgian Bay MLS® home sales moderate to more average levels in October
Residential sales recorded through the MLS® System for the Southern Georgian Bay region totaled 340 units in October 2021. This was a substantial decline of 32.8% from October 2020.
Home sales were 4.5% below the five-year average and 1.1% below the 10-year average for the month of October.
On a year-to-date basis, home sales totaled 4,022 units over the first 10 months of the year. This was a small gain of 3.8% from the same period in 2020.

The Southern Georgian Bay region comprises two distinctive markets.

Home sales in the Western Region, which includes Wasaga Beach, Clearview Township, Collingwood, The Blue Mountains, the Municipality of Meaford, and Grey Highlands, numbered 217 units in October 2021. This was a substantial decline of 33.4% from October 2020.
Home sales in the Western Region were 3.4% below the five-year average and 0.1% below the 10-year average for the month of October.
On a year-to-date basis, home sales in the Western Region numbered a record 2,401 units over the first 10 months of the year. This was a small gain of 1.1% from the same period in 2020.

Meanwhile, home sales in the Eastern Region, encompassing the Towns of Midland and Penetanguishene the Townships of Tay and Tiny, Severn, and Georgian Bay Townships, numbered 123 units in October 202 This was a substantial decline of 31.7% from October 2020.
Home sales in the Eastern Region were 6.4% below the five-year average and 2.8% below the 10-year average for the month of October.
On a year-to-date basis, home sales in the Eastern Region numbered 1,621 units over the first 10 months of the year. This was a moderate gain of 8.2% from the same period in 2020.

"After the blistering pace from earlier in the year it looks like sales activity has settled down in line with more typical levels in the past few months," said Chuck Murney, President of the Lakelands Association of REALTORS®. "Without any meaningful influx of new listings, overall inventories have continued hovering at their record lows since the beginning of the year

 

Active residential listings numbered 437 units on the market at the end of October, a large decline of 17.5% from the end of October 2020. Active listings haven't been this low in the month of October in more than three decades.
Active listings were 50.5% below the five-year average and 70.6% below the 10-year average for the month of October.
Months of inventory numbered 1.3 at the end of October 2021, up from the 1 months recorded at the end of October 2020 and below the long-run average of 4.7 months for this time of year. The number of months of inventory is the number of months it would take to sell current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.

Consult your Local REALTOR® for market conditions and home value information specific to your neighbourhood.

Info Provided by:

Chuck Murney, President
The Lakelands Association of REALTORS® 
info@chuckmurney.com

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REAL ESTATE MARKET AS OF MID-SEPT/21

HOW IS THE MARKET NOW?


Well, this year has certainly been one for the books!  The early part of the year was unlike anything I (and some more “seasoned” colleagues) have ever seen before.  We thought the prices had reached their peak last year (at least in my local market of Southern Georgian Bay), but the early part of this year proved us wrong with savage bidding wars on pretty much anything that came onto the market.
 
While this was good news for people who were selling investment properties or their non-primary residences (aside from the Capital Gains implications), it was a mixed bag for those who had to buy their next homes, as they were paying a premium for that.   Vacant lots were snapped up as people who couldn’t purchase the home they wanted, decided that they would build – but the price and availability of materials and tradespeople also became problematic due to demand and the impacts of Covid shutdowns.
 
The latter part of the summer has seen activity slow down somewhat. Prime properties (waterfronts) and those that are priced and presented properly are still selling quite quickly, but there are fewer multiple offer situations.  Properties that are older and perhaps needing some TLC are staying on the market longer and are expiring or having price reductions, especially if the original list price is too optimistic.  The only area that still seems a bit on the overheated side (in my humble opinion) is for mobile homes. Some of them are selling for prices that seem unduly high given that the actual “home” has a more rapid depreciation than a regular home and the land is leased rather than owned – but as always, it’s about supply and demand.
 
It is by no means a “buyers market” but fortunately there is now more opportunity for buyers to include due diligence clauses (home inspection, etc) and still have a successful outcome to their offer. This is good news for everyone.  Unless a buyer has very deep pockets, unconditional offers are incredibly risky.  I personally believe that allowing buyers to do their due diligence is also good for sellers.  Giving the buyer the opportunity to do a thorough home inspection protects the seller as well, (as long as the seller hasn’t deliberately hidden a defect in their property or withheld relevant information) because it allows the buyer to make an informed choice and there is less likelihood of legal issues arising after closing.
 
With the loosening of Covid restrictions, the widespread adoption of vaccines, and the de-escalation of the real estate market (at least a bit), we can all breath a bit easier. And that is a very good thing.  
 
Take care and remember that I am here when you are ready to make a move.
 
Laura

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HELP FOR FIRST TIME BUYERS IN ONTARIO

This is a daunting time for anyone wanting to purchase a property but is especially so for First Time Buyers. The skyrocketing prices and low inventory have made this a very challenging market.  There is some assistance out there for you if you know where to look.  Here are a few options for your consideration.  
 

LAND TRANSFER TAX REBATE

Land Transfer Tax is a calculated percentage based on your purchase price. If you are 18 years of age, and you or your spouse have not owned a property at anytime, anywhere in the world (First Time Buyers) you may be eligible for a rebate of up to $4,000.00.  This does not include the LTT levied by the City of Toronto.  If your lawyer files the appropriate documents at closing, this rebate is applied immediately to your closing costs. There are other terms and conditions.

RRSP – PENALTY FREE WITHDRAWL

You may be eligible to withdraw up to $35,000 without penalty to apply to the purchase of your home. This will need to be repaid within 15 years.  To qualify, you must be a First Time Buyer (not owned interest in a home in the past 4 years), you must have a written agreement to buy or build a home, you must be a resident of Canada, and you must intend to reside in the home as your primary residence within one year of buying or building the home.  Again, there are other terms and condition.

ONE TIME INCOME TAX CREDIT

You can claim a tax credit of $5,000 in the first year of your purchase if you or your spouse or your common law partner acquired a qualifying house, and if you did not live in a house owned by you or your spouse or common law partner in the year of acquisition or any of the 4 preceding years (First Time Buyer).  And, again, there are terms and conditions.

I hope this information is useful to you.  Each of these options may have a different definition of what a First Time Buyer is so it's helpful to read the fine print.  Circumstances are different for every individual and purchase;  financial and legal matters should always be discussed with the appropriate expert to see how the options may work for you.

Helping first time buyers is one of my favourite things about my job!  Call me.  Let’s work together to make your dream come true in North Simcoe County, Georgian Bay and Muskoka.
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I am sure you are as tired of the endless news cycle as I am, but I wanted to reach out to you to let you know what is happening in my real estate world.

It is NOT business as usual. Social distancing makes conducting real estate transactions very challenging.  The paper processing part of it is easy - we are doing more and more on-line anyway with email, secure document signing apps, virtual tours and professional photography.  The actual meat and potatoes of the business requires (or should) meeting clients and visiting properties in person to determine proper fit and suitability.  This is the part that has become challenging.  

There is still lots work we CAN do together from the safety of our respective homes.  If you are considering buying or selling, PLEASE DO CONTACT ME.
 If you are going to list, we can do a video chat and you can show me through your house. I can provide you with a Comparative Market Analysis and give you ideas about how to stage it or do any fix-ups that need doing.  If you are going to buy, lets work through your wish list and budget. I have worksheets that can help.  


We will get through this.  When we do, I will do everything in my power to make up for lost time and get us all back on track.

Above all, please stay well.  Tell your friends and family you love them.  Be kind to one another.  And please feel free to contact me by phone, email or text to say hello!!!!
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REAL ESTATE IN THE TIME OF CORONAVIRUS
Well, this sure has put a wrench in the works for us all, hasn’t it?  It is an extremely difficult time for everyone and there is so much uncertainty on almost every front.
 
As you may have heard, real estate was deemed an essential service and our businesses have stayed open to a certain extent.  It is NOT business as usual.  Most offices are closed to the public and most real estate agents are working from home.  Deals are still occurring to some degree and that’s why we got the essential service designation – to allow current deals in process to continue through to closing.  
 
You will still see new listings post, but we have been told by our various Boards, Associations and governing bodies to eliminate Open Houses and to reduce in-person showings unless they are absolutely critical; and, have the informed permission of all parties.  All protocols recommended by the Health Authorities are to be observed when an in-person showing is conducted including social distancing, disinfecting all surfaces possible (especially doorknobs, etc), hands-in-pockets only.
 
Instead, what you may see is increased virtual tours and virtual showings, with one person (probably your agent) doing a walk-through while on live feed such as Zoom or FaceTime.  While this may be a good way to introduce people to a property, I’m not sure that as a realtor I would recommend that my clients close on a property that they haven’t seen.  If you are going to put an offer in on a property without setting foot in or on it, you might want to include a condition that you view it at least once in person, prior to firming up your deal.  The home inspection condition is another one that may be challenging but should be included.
 
I don’t make the following statement lightly because if I don’t work I don’t get paid, but I personally believe that unless you have a pressing reason to move (and some people absolutely do!), we should all listen to the experts who are telling us to just stay home.  We all want for ourselves, our families and our communities to stay well. 
 
If you are one of those people who has a pressing reason to buy or sell in the Southern Georgian Bay area now, please don’t hesitate to call me.  We can figure out how to achieve your goals in the safest and most effective way, together.   If you are considering buying or selling in the future, let’s get started on making those plans happen.  If you can take me on your own virtual tour of your property, I can provide you with a Market Value Assessment and make suggestions about things to do to get ready to list.  If you are going to make a purchase, I have worksheets to help you with your budget and can start sending you whatever listings are available so that you can get a better idea of what is available in various price ranges.  There is still lots we can do during this quieter time.
 
Together we WILL get through this.
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GOING TO BUILD YOUR OWN HOME? THINK LONG-TERM.
I’ve recently had a wave of clients either listing or purchasing vacant lots.  It would be ideal if my listings and buyers matched up perfectly, but this is the real world!
 
In any case, in speaking to my purchasers and their intentions for future construction, it has been brought home to me, yet again, how short-term focused many of them are.  These aren’t foolish people – they just get carried away by the dream of building their own home or cottage and they only look to the time that is has been completed and they can finally enjoy themselves in it.  They dream of finally getting exactly what they want.  Don’t we all?  This is a lovely ideal to achieve, but there can be a downside, if you get too specific.
 
I have personal experience with this:  my Dad designed a retirement place to fit his very unique esthetic as a mature person without a large family. He could not envision the possibility that not everyone would share his taste or that his place might have to be sold at some point in the future. Because the design was so personal and specific, when he eventually needed to go into a senior’s facility, we had a big challenge getting it sold, despite having over an acre in a very desirable location. If, during design and construction, he had tweaked things a little bit, I know we would have sold it faster and for quite a bit more money.
 
Recently I spoke to a couple who are contemplating buying a lot. During a very preliminary discussion, they thought they would like to build a two-bedroom place on a slab foundation.  While there is nothing theoretically wrong with this, I suggested that putting a full basement in (even if they never finish it) would make the property more saleable in the future, should that ever be something they needed to do. It would be ideal to have a third bedroom on the main floor too.  During construction, ideally a basement bathroom whould be roughed-in.  This will open up the possibility of adding more living space on the lower level without as much work/expense in the future.  Not only does a basement give you a place to put your mechanical equipment for the house (furnace, etc) and store things like outdoor furniture, it can provide a possible secondary suite for in-laws or income (assuming your by-laws allow it – ALWAYS CHECK FIRST!)
 
At some point, most properties these days will have to be sold for one reason or another.  If you can think ahead, and be a little creative, you can still have your dream, while increasing its value and salability.
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