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Thinking about putting in a firm offer? Make sure you read this first.

The market is constantly changing these days, so if you asked me about affordability just a few weeks ago, I would have had a different answer, as the seller’s market has quickly shifted to a buyer’s market – for now, anyway. The key difference is that the inventory of available houses on the market in the Kitchener-Waterloo area – and many other places across the province – has kicked into high gear. This spring, many first-time homebuyers were quickly being priced out of the market due to multiple bidding scenarios that saw houses sell well over their asking prices. This was not an ideal situation for any buyer – let alone first-time buyers on a particularly tight budget. And while affordability was going by the wayside just a few weeks ago, so too were having a condition of financing and a home inspection included in the purchase offer. Weighing the …
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Renting vs. Buying – A Question Everyone is Asking

This is a guest blog written for The Valko Team by Caroline Harvey, Real Estate Representative for Team Harvey. In today’s crazy real estate market it is, without a doubt, tougher for first-time buyers to hop into the market and purchase their first home. Some would suggest to keep renting until the market cools to prevent paying inflated prices.  Others would say to take your savings and invest in real estate now because the market will continue to grow and become hotter and hotter in the coming years. First-time buyers, like all buyers have a wish list. This will almost always include a typical detached home with an attached garage, in a lovely family neighborhood similar to what they grew up in – somewhere they can raise a family and live for 20 years.  These types of properties are hard to attain on your first purchase, and in today’s market …
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Playing with “house money”

How much of the current record-setting price gains in several Ontario and BC markets are self perpetuating? That is, ‘I just got paid $100,000 over asking, so now I too will pay $100,000 over asking…’ After all it is ‘found money’ – easy come easy go. For those of you smart enough to avoid the casino, you may not be familiar with the term house money. This describes a players winnings, gambling with said winnings – with the house money rather than their own. Of course it is actually the players money, it is in their hands not the ‘houses‘, but it arrived easily and quickly and thus no deep attachment has formed – unlike with hard earned and slowly built up savings. And we humans often take bigger chances with ‘found money’. The effect can be seen in stock markets as well. Strong market performance will change an individuals …
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Budget Breakdown

No Change in Capital Gains Taxation and No Hit to Housing By Dr. Sherry Cooper Budget 2017 continues the government’s commitment to support the middle class by enhancing Canada’s long-term growth potential. Investments to foster innovation, skills and the ability to attract top talent from around the world are included. An important and growing competitive advantage is Canada’s openness to trade and immigration, having a broader range of free trade agreements than any other G-7 country. This is particularly potent today as the U.S. is aiming to retrench from free trade and even potentially impose trade restrictions and border adjustment taxes. Ottawa is also targeting a few high-potential sectors for government support. These targeted areas are advanced manufacturing, agri-food, clean technology (a sector that the Trump Administration might well be abandoning), digital industries, health/bio sciences and clean resources (also very different from proposed U.S. policy), with the hope of enhancing …
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Is now the right time to buy?

Q. Is today the right time to buy yourself a home or not? A. Today is the right day assuming one has found the specific property that works for them on all levels. This question arises on a near daily basis within our social circles. If the conversation is about an owner occupied property which one plans to reside at for at least the next seven to 10 years, then arguably yes, the right time to buy is today. Over a seven to 10-year horizon the day-to-day, even the month-to-month gyrations of the market will tend to resemble those of a small yo-yo on a large escalator. There are some ups and downs, although with the lows often not dropping below the second last high. This is true of nearly any major urban 25-year chart of real estate values. There are some key considerations that will dictate not only the …
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Home Renovations – Building Value with Equity

This is a guest blog, written for The Valko Team by Cindy-Lou Schmidt, Real Estate Representative. Home Renovations — Building Value with Equity In a healthy real estate market, with steadily increasing appreciation rates, purchasing a home can be a great investment! But buying new property isn’t the only way to benefit — you might want to consider taking advantage of the equity you’ve built since purchasing your home. But before you grab the cheque book and credit card, and start logging on to Houzz.ca and Instagram for inspiration, remember that your home’s equity and the return on investment from each project is not realized until you actually sell your home. So what to do? Renovate S.M.A.R.T.: Stay on track When you have your budget lined up, stick to it! The middle of a kitchen reno is not the time to go over budget by falling in love with Italian sourced …
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Property Assessment vs. Market Value

The assessed value of your home doesn’t tell the whole story.  You really need a professional to know how much your house is worth.  

35% Downpayment… The New Conventional Mortgage?

If you’re looking to buy a new home, one of the most difficult things can be putting together a down payment for the mortgage. So how much do you really need to put together before you can get into the home of your dreams? Let’s take a look at some of the different options, with their various pros and cons.   0% Down – A Thing of the Past? If you’ve been in the housing market before, you might remember a time when banks offered extremely inexpensive mortgage options, including the “zero down payment” mortgage. Although these types of mortgages were extremely attractive for obvious reasons, you may remember a something called the Great Recession of 2008. The unfortunate downside to these mortgages was that far too many unqualified buyers were opting into mortgages they could not realistically afford. When these people defaulted en masse, it led, in part, to …
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Ion Express Train for Waterloo Region

3 Ways Transportation Will Make Waterloo Region Explode

  Waterloo Region and Hamilton are leading the way nation wide for real estate growth and there is no end in site.  According to the Province, every year 10 thousand people move to Waterloo Region.  Over the next 20 years the population of Waterloo Region is expected to grow by 200 thousand people.  It’s the equivalent of adding another community the size of Kitchener to the area.  This is obviously fueling the local real estate market. Agents actually camped out for a week to get a shot at buying properties in the area for clients from out of town.  There are a number of reasons this region is so attractive.   Kitchener-Waterloo offers a strong, diverse economy with great quality of life for residents and housing is still relatively affordable.  One particular strength is that the area is investing heavily in transportation infrastructure as it plans for growth.

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