Move Up? Really? Yes!!


The Official Krisztina Blogsite

I recently received an email comment from a Mike B that I would like to address. It was regarding my Blog Posting called “Moving Up” which I posted on this site on July 22, 2009 (about 2 months ago). Here’s what Mike said and asked:

“How can you be so certain that prices will continue to climb by 10%- the National Post suggests a bubble is still growing in Canada. house prices will hit 1997 lows- I am not making this seem to have the throttle on the OakPark market- you are looking for dual representation by getting listings and perhaps creating the frenzy on home sales -ie. holding offers , forcing multiple offers etc. I question the validity of the current pricing by greedy resellers and builders alike.

Moving up will be dangerous for those assuming large mortgages..rates have to move up- we will see speculators selling now- because they see the froth.

I am waiting thanks.

Mike B”

Let me start by saying that the 10% window increase I was discussing was in the timeframe of March-September 2009, and I was recommending ‘moving up’ in the window of late July/August to take best advantage of the price gap and the low interest rates. And let me underline that I was by no means referring to the Canadian Housing Market as a whole, but specifically my area of expertise – Oakville and West Mississauga. Today as I look at this area, the 10% increase has almost fulfilled itself. For example, a 3-4 Bedroom, 1 Car Garage in the West Oaks Mattamy home style was selling for $420-430,000 in June. Recently some of these homes have reached the $460-470,000 mark. Some of the Southeast Oakville homes that have been sitting on the market for more than 100 days have now been moving, and seeing close to asking – which would be considered a 15% recovery in pricing. I was warning my Clients in March that the “Move Up Gap” was the closest and in the next 6 months would be closing. (Although some of my Clients took advantage – they bought in the Joshua Creek area for $660,000 and that same model of home in the area is now asking $780,000!!)

Addressing Oak Park specifically (thanks for bring it up Mike!), this year so far I have sold 18 homes in the community. Out of the 18, I only double-ended 2 deals. Those homes sold for just under 100% – definitely not over asking! (I guess I take a little offense at the accusation that I am creating the frenzy and over-inflating the market…Ohhhhhh, if I only had such power!!)

I have not ever held back offers on any of my listings in Oak Park or elsewhere. That doesn’t mean I did not have multiple offers, but it’s the market that’s creating them. For example I got 5 offers on a home I listed in Mississauga on the second day with no holdbacks. I sold that home for $17,000 over asking. Of note on that property – during the Agent Open House, I got numerous Agent comments that the pricing was too aggressive!!

And that brings me back to the basics of Preparing a Home for Listing and Marketing/Advertising Reach. I believe these are my strengths. You complete the necessary home renovations (it might be hardwood floors, lighting, paint, new hardware or something else), you stage it (often using a professional stager), you do your research, you price it well, you market the property even before it hits the market, you understand the market and the buyer, and you have a strong internet and print advertising reach. It’s the behind the scenes work that pays off with interest in your listings.

And by the way, look out! It is already a seller’s market. As Mike B pointed out, mortgage rates have to go up, so take advantage, move up ASAP and lock in that rate. Then if they go up, it won’t be relevant!!

And PS Mike B – if I haven’t answered your concerns, I’d be happy to talk with you further – just call my cell!! And thanks for reading!!


Buying New? Have You Thought It Through?


The Official Krisztina Blogsite

It’s the age-old homing debate – new homes vs. resale. It’s especially pertinent in the Oakville area where I work as a Real Estate Agent. On August 11, 2009 it was announced the town of Oakville will be increasing its development fees levied on homebuilders at the end of August to the tune of almost $8,000/home. It will generate almost $626 million to pay for things like roads, libraries, fire stations, parks and community centres – infrastructure needed with new residential subdivisions. I believe strongly in infrastructure upkeep in communities. It is important to note however that these are some of the highest development fees under law. Oakville is a growing township. We currently expect 14,429 new homes by 2018, and an additional 33,034 homes by 2031! Oakville mayor, Rob Burton has said it is “essential to minimize the impact of growth on taxpayers…to keep Oakville fiscally sustainable.” Development fees for single-family dwellings will increase by 63%. Instead of $13,000, the builder will have to pay the town of Oakville almost $22,000. I know specifically of one instance where a $600,000 condo has $28,000 in closing costs.

Which brings me back to the topic at hand – are new homes all they’re advertised to be? As a buyer, you typically only see the GREAT PRICE from the builder, but closing costs can be huge. The land transfers and legals alone could be upwards of 10% of your price. So I say BUYER BEWARE!! Be smart about your choices. Be smart about builder upgrades. Remember, on a $500,000 home, there could be a potential $150-200,000 in upgrades not mentioned in the advertising! Add to that – blueprints are typically difficult to read and interpret. And then there’s the after purchase issues – window coverings, paint (please, please, please – don’t keep that builders’ white on the walls!), decoration, landscaping, fencing…the list goes on. Think of that new car you bought, and all the add-ons that came after your purchase price was agreed on – rust-proofing, winter tires, car mats, warranty etc.

You need to realize that a 2 year old home may just give you a better return on your real estate investment than a new home. You need to know yourself – if it’s a new development, you may be subjecting your family to a dusty, muddy neighbourhood with no grass, and outdoor areas you can’t use for the first year. And don’t even get me started on your dog’s muddy paws!!

Now, don’t get me wrong, buying new is a great option for some of us – just not all of us

Real Estate 411 Is Coming!!!



The Official Krisztina Blogsite

I am thrilled to be seeing the finish line on my video series, “Krisztina’s Real Estate 411”. And by finish line, I mean air dates!! The promotional teaser is up and running (check out the link here, or go to YouTube and search ‘North Oakville Agent’ to find me). I’ll be rolling out the episodes on a bi-weekly basis starting mid-September.

411 is, I believe, a fresh view on the home real estate buying and selling process. And although my specialty real estate area is Oak Park, Oakville and West Mississauga, the series will be informative for any person contemplating a home real estate transaction. We conducted many interviews to get the perspective of buyers and sellers, but we also get the expert point of view – from a Real Estate Broker, a Mortgage Broker, a Home Stager, a Home Inspector, a Home Renovator…and of course from yours truly, a Real Estate Agent.

For anyone new to the home buying or selling process, or who’s been away from the market for a while, this series is for you!! It will provide a refresher course so to speak, on all aspects of the buying and selling process. We start with ‘Choosing a Real Estate Agent’ (in 2 parts), discussing not only the personality fit and qualities to look for, but all the other things you might not be thinking about, from Brokerage Houses to Commissions to Area Specialists to Listing Appointments and even For Sale By Owner. Then we go on to discuss ‘Preparing Your Home to List’ where we talk about home improvements for resale and staging. ‘Marketing and Advertising’ gives a great overview of the Marketing Plan, the Open House, Virtual Tours and advertising placement. ‘The Purchase’ moves into selecting homes for viewing, the Offer and the Home Inspection. Then finally ‘The Closing’ hits on the mortgage and the legals. All in all, there will be 6 Episodes in the series.

All film productions have their ups and downs (and I speak from experience having been an Extras Casting Director in a previous career), and Project 411 was no different. (I’ll only discuss those details with you over a glass of wine!!!) But at the end of the day, I am ecstatic with the result and am happily looking forward to the Wrap Party! An extra special thanks to all who took time out of their busy schedules to be interviewed – it was greatly appreciated.