Welcome to May!  It’s finally spring – it has been a tad wet mind you, but the next few days look to be warm and sunny.

Real estate wise, we are in what is traditionally the most active time of the year.  If you are looking to sell, this is the busiest season with many buyers looking to move into homes once school is over for the year.  Let me know you are curious about what your house could be worth, I’d be happy to pop over to see you.

In K-W in April:

– the average single detached sold for $611,532 in 20 days
– the average semi-detached sold for $436,587 in 16 days
– the average freehold townhouse sold for $459,756 in 26 days
– the average condo sold for $344,021 in 25 days
– the average list price to sales price was 100%

8 strategies to make selling a home in 2019 less stressful me-owner/8-strategies-that-make-selling-a-home-in-2019-less-stressful/

… How should you handle the stress of selling your home in 2019?  …

Step #1: Put Your Game Face On: A first impression is often a lasting one and this applies to how buyers first see your home. You want to really leave an impression—a good impression—that means preparing your home to look its best. …

Step #2: Declutter and depersonalize: Want to add $5,000 to the sale price of your home? Pack 10 boxes of clutter and cart it away. According to professional organizers, each box of clutter that’s removed from your home before listing it for sale can add as much as $500 to the value of your home. …

Step #3: Get a killer agent on your side: … Ask friends and neighbours for references and then consider the agents who appear to consistently work your neighbourhood. No matter how you find the agent, be sure you interview at least three, if not more, before making a selection.

Ask each agent specifically what they will do to market your home, who will be working with you (some high-profile agents get your business and then ask a junior associate to do all the work), … a real estate professional who takes the time to learn the best strategies and stay current with the market while maintaining respectful, honest relationships with their clients.

Avoid agents who promise a fast sale or guarantee an above market price for your home. No one can guarantee this. It’s just a cheap ploy to get your listing.

Step #4: Analyze current market dynamics and trends: Now that your home is ready and you’ve either got the knowledge to market your home or the professional who will do that work for you, it’s time to assess the current housing market conditions. …

Step #5: Price it right … If you opt to work with a Realtor, ask this professional for a market analysis (known as a CMA). Many agents will limit the number of properties used in the CMA, in order not to overwhelm their clients. If you’d rather have more information and more comparisons, then don’t be afraid to ask. Good agents are only too happy to help engaged and motivated sellers.

Step #6: Use pictures to your advantage:  Most buyers begin their search online—and survey after survey shows that buyers consider photos as the single most important selling tool. …

Step #7: Always, always negotiate: offer
in-hand can entice other buyers to move quicker. No one wants to feel like they lost out, so adding a bit of urgency can prompt buyers who are on the fence to act. …

Step #8: Add financial incentives: … The idea is to nudge the on-the-fence buyer into making a deal, without making you, the seller, lose out. …

Bank of Canada holds interest rate, drops growth forecast for 2019

The Bank of Canada is keeping its key interest rate unchanged as it releases a downgraded 2019 growth forecast that includes a prediction the economy nearly came to a halt at the start of the year. …

The decision leaves the trend-setting rate at 1.75% for a fourth-straight announcement — a pause that followed governor Stephen Poloz’s stretch of five hikes between mid-2017 and last fall.

The bank says the economy was operating close to full tilt for most of 2017 and 2018 before a sudden deceleration in the final months of last year, which was largely caused by a drop in oil prices and unexpectedly weak numbers for investment and exports.

In new projections today, the bank is predicting growth of real gross domestic product of 1.2% for 2019, down from its January forecast of 1.7%.

The Bank of Canada is projecting growth of just 0.3% in the first quarter of 2019, though it’s predicting the economy to pick up its pace in the second quarter on expectations of stronger housing activity, consumption and business investment. …

Majority of Canadians believe it’s better to own than to rent a home, poll finds

Housing is expensive but worth the anxiety say the four in 10 Canadians who have felt house poor in the past or are currently experiencing the pain of spending 30 to 40 per cent of their household income on their mortgage and shelter-related expenses such as taxes, utilities and maintenance.

An Ipsos poll for RBC found that nearly half of Canadians, 47 per cent, believed the stress was worthwhile with 66 per cent indicating that it still makes more sense to own than rent.

For the first time in five years, the poll found that Canadians see the housing market as balanced between buyers and sellers. But that varies across the country, with residents in the less affordable markets in Ontario and British Columbia still viewing sellers as having the upper hand, said Nicole Wells, RBC vice-president of home equity financing.

The poll reveals that one of the biggest changes in home ownership is the number of buyers who are choosing to go it alone — 32 per cent, compared to 28 per cent who are looking for assistance from their families. …

The poll shows that 47 per cent of prospective buyers plan to put 15 per cent down on their home purchase. That is up 10 percentage points from 2018. Only 16 per cent said they would put down 5 per cent. …

Protect yourself from mortgage fraud when buying a home: Ask Joe

… If you’re thinking about buying a property, you’re going to need a lawyer who is insured to practise real estate law in Ontario to close a transaction. Your lawyer can explain the merits of purchasing title insurance (which can protect you from title fraud, among other things), and will check a property’s title to confirm ownership.

Title fraud is one type of identity theft. To protect yourself from identity theft, you would be well advised to:

– Regularly review your credit card, bank and other financial statements for transactions that you haven’t authorized.
– Verify the information in your credit report (which you can obtain through Equifax Canada or TransUnion Canada) annually.
– Pay attention to your billing cycles, and contact a customer service rep if your bills don’t arrive on time.
– Never provide personal or financial information over the telephone, via email or online unless you initiated the conversation or know who contacted you.
– Destroy any financial documents before you throw them out.
– Be very careful with your Social Insurance Number (SIN) because it’s a valuable piece of personal identification for criminals.  Showing photo ID is a common practise in Canada, so you shouldn’t worry if a real estate salesperson asks to see your driver’s licence before they allow you to tour an open house. Your SIN will only be requested in exceptional circumstances; for example, when a deposit has accumulated a sufficient amount of interest in a brokerage trust account and it needs to be reported to the Canada Revenue Agency.

If you suspect that you or somebody you know has been the victim of real estate fraud, contact RECO, your local law enforcement authority and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501. …

Canada’s building code is getting a climate change rewrite. Is your home ready?

From how concrete is mixed for road construction, to roofing standards enabling buildings to withstand stronger storms and plans to help homeowners manage increased flooding, Canada’s building rules are being rewritten due to climate change, according to briefing notes for a senior government official seen by CBC News.

If no changes are made to the way we build, infrastructure failures linked to climate change could cost Canada $300 billion over the next decade, according to estimates cited in the partially redacted documents. …

Some of the changes under discussion, according to the notes, include:
– New guidelines for certifying the resiliency of roofs to extreme weather events, planned for 2020.
– New specifications to optimize concrete mixes for pavement to mitigate flooding, expected to be ready for 2021 following field trials underway now.
– New structural design rules for buildings to take into account the changing climate should be ready for adoption by the 2025 building code.
– New standards for basement flood protection should be finalized by the end of this year.
– Guidelines for climate resilience for existing storm water systems will be developed for 2021.

May’s Events
May 3rd, International Tuba Day
May 4th, Star Wars Day
May 4th – KW Rock and Gem Show,
May 5th Cinco de Mayo
May 5th, Ramadan
May 5th, Walk so Kids Can Talk, Waterloo Regional Museum, fundraiser for Kids Help Phone
May 8th, V-E Day
May 8th, World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day
May 11th, Rain Barrel Distribution, Cambridge Centre, Fairview Mall, Conestoga Mall
May 11th, Spring Migrant Bird Photograph Workshop, at rare
May 11th & 12th, Hockeyfest, in support of Family and Children’s Services, The Aud
May 12th, Mother’s Day
May 16th, Love a Tree Day
May 17th, Vesak Day
May 18th, Plant Sale, First United Church in Waterloo
May 18th, International Museum Day
May 20th, Victoria Day
May 20th, World Bee Day
May 25th, International Jazz Day
May 29th, Biodiversity and Agriculture Research Hike, at rare
May 31, World No Tobacco Day

May’s Mirth

This is the time of year when the bees first come out.    Ah, the joys of sting.
Q: What can run but can’t walk?   A: Water.
Why did Cinderella get kicked off the baseball team? She always ran away from the ball.

May’s Recipe
Lemon Bars

For the pastry base:
1 cup cold butter, cut in small pieces
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour

For the lemon layer
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup flour
4 eggs
zest of two lemons, very finely chopped
juice of 2 lemons, about 2/3 to 3/4 cup juice

Using a pastry cutter or in a food processor blend together the butter sugar and flour.
Press evenly into the bottom of a greased and parchment paper lined 9×13 inch baking pan.
Bake for 20 to minutes at 350 degrees F ( 325 degrees F if you are using glass bake-ware) The bottom should just be beginning to brown slightly at the top edges.

Simply whisk together the sugar flour, eggs, zest and lemon juice until the sugar is dissolved.
Allow the topping to sit for about 10 minutes before whisking together well again and pouring over the baked shortbread base.

Bake at 350 degrees F for about another 20- 25 minutes or until the top is slightly browned and the custard appears to be set. Cool completely. Sprinkle with icing sugar when cool or try adding a meringue topping.

PM announces $52M for ‘innovation network’ between Waterloo, Toronto and Ottawa

The federal government is investing $52.4 million in an innovation network that is expected to create 18,000 skilled jobs in Waterloo, Toronto and Ottawa.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the funding for the new “Scale-up Platform” program for tech companies at the Communitech technology hub in Kitchener, Ont., on Tuesday.

The federal government says the platform will be the first of its kind in Canada, and it will incorporate the skills of Ontario’s “top innovation hubs”: Communitech, in Kitchener, the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto and Invest Ottawa.

The three will work with tech companies to grow their businesses.

The government said it expects the platform will help 30 Ontario companies, create 18,000 skilled jobs “and achieve revenues of $100 million or more by 2024.” …

Refreshed Walper Hotel a symbol of downtown Kitchener’s resurgence

Jazz legends Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong once stayed there. So did Eleanor Roosevelt and the Queen Mother. But over recent decades, The Walper Hotel’s appeal – and appearance – declined.

Today, though, thanks to a $10-million transformation and reinvention led by Perimeter Development Corp., the boutique hotel in Kitchener is back in ascendancy and has become the hot spot to rest your head in Waterloo Region – for everyone from locals on staycations to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who had a recent stay. …

The time to invest was right. First, there’s the technology boom in this area often referred to as Silicon Valley North. Not only does the area have branch plants of some of the world’s largest tech companies (Google, Yahoo and Shopify, for example), but Waterloo Region also has the second highest startup density.

Add to that the new light-rail transit route (on which the hotel sits), set to be operational sometime this summer, and the hotel is a key part of the Kitchener rebirth and rapid growth story. …

Gaze down King Street toward the heart of Kitchener’s core from Google’s office (located in a restored building that was once a rubber factory) and the signs of this growth in what is known as Kitchener-Waterloo’s Innovation District are visible on every corner. On one side of the street, a sign proclaims a new Liquor Control Board of Ontario outlet is “coming soon;” on the opposite side, a crane is busy hauling material for 345 King West – Perimeter Development’s new 116,000 square-foot, six-storey office building, expected to be ready in the fourth quarter of 2019.

In the first quarter of 2019 alone, the City of Kitchener issued close to $1-billion in new building permits. That comprises about 15 developments, which will have 2,500 residential units, either condos or apartments. Add to that about 700,000 square feet of office space with roughly 125,000 square feet of retail at grade in the various developments. …

Waterloo Rec Complex to hold retro roller-skating events this summer

… Starting in May, retro-style roller-skating will return to Waterloo, bringing classic nostalgia, plus a modern feel.

“We provide an experience and that experience is being family-oriented and affordable,” said Elaine Beck, vice-president of Retro Rollers Inc.

There are seven skating events planned from May 10 to Aug. 10 at the Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex. Schedules are split between public skating for all ages, which takes place on Fridays from 6 to 9 p.m., and an adult-only skate from 7 to 10 p.m. on Sundays.

The events, to be held on May 10, June 12, June 23, July 12, July 14, Aug. 9, and Aug. 10, are much more than just skating around in a circle — it’s an experience and an opportunity to exercise while having fun.

Included with the $6.30 admission price, plus $3.50 roller-skate rental is a DJ’s mix of modern and retro music, funky lighting, and of course, all the roller-skating you can fit into three hours. They also have a wide variety of brand new roller-skates, doing away with the smelly, dirty rentals from years past. …

All the best for the rest of the month!








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