Thursday, September 11, 2014

Downsizing and the Empty-Nest

After your children have moved out, either to start their adult lives or to attend college, your once-busy-and-full home can seem strangely quiet and empty. Many older adults who find themselves in this situation decide to downsize and move into a smaller Ottawa home. Downsizing can be financially beneficial, but it can also be a long and involved process if you aren't careful.

The Two Sides of Downsizing
Downsizing involves selling your current Ottawa home and purchasing (or renting) a new and smaller one. If you plan it correctly, you can save a considerable amount of money when you sell your Ottawa home and purchase a new one. But, keep in mind that home prices have risen since you first purchased decades ago. You might be surprised at the asking price for even a small home in your area.

You might have some emotional attachments to your current home that might get in the way of you effectively selling it. Typically, there's the urge to price your home high, since the home has so many memories for you. But, remember that your emotions are not the same as the emotions of the buyer.  So, you need an objective person to help you sort out these emotion-laden thought and ideas.  This is where a real estate agent can help you determine the price for your home based on a comparative study of the prices of similar homes in your area.

Weigh the cost of purchasing a new home carefully. Depending on how old you are and your financial goals, you might want to purchase your empty-nest home outright, instead of getting another mortgage. Paying cash for your new home means you may actually pay less in the long run as well as you will incur no interest charges. Obtaining a mortgage can also be financially beneficial if you utilize this money to buy other investment properties or other holdings.
Another way to downsize and save money is to move in with your grown children.

Making Room
When you move to a smaller Ottawa home, you can't take all the possessions in your current space with you. Although this fact is undeniably true and a physical reality, some downsizers are depressed by this fact.  Others, however, are elated.  Regardless, downsizing means trimming the items you own, not just reducing the size of your house. Your children can help you purge items from your current home. 

To encourage them to clear out their childhood bedrooms, hold a family clean out day. Each grown child can focus on cleaning out his or her old room, deciding what to do with their old belongings themselves. If your kids aren't interested in cleaning out their stuff themselves, you can take it upon yourself to discard it or to donate useful items to any of a number of worthwhile local charities.  Some may actually give you a tax deductible receipt for these donations.
Some of your possessions may in fact be of interest to a museum or library and again a tax deduction receipt may be obtainable for those donations.

Deciding what to do with the rest of your possessions can be difficult. To make the process easier, you might want to start with the bigger pieces. For example, if your new home doesn't have a separate, formal dining room, you can probably safely donate your old dining set. If the new home only has a small living room, you can easily decide to donate your large sectional.

Things can become more complicated as the items become smaller. You might have a accumulated a large collection of knickknacks over the years. The best way to sort through these items is to do it quickly. Only handle an item one time before making a decision about it. If you keep returning to an item because you aren't sure if you want to keep it, it will take you a long time to purge your home.
Other means of purging yourself of your extraneous possessions is to hold a garage sale or a neighbourhood give-away day, or to advertise your items in a local newspaper or on Kijjiji (or another on-line site) or you can hire the services of an antique dealer or an estate auctioneer. Finally, some items may be usable by a local church charity or by building material re-cyclers or an organization such as Habitats for Humanity.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tips for Moving With Pets

Often a reason cited for buying a new home in Ottawa is being able to give a beloved pet more space to run and play. But before your pet can enjoy his new Ottawa home, you have to get him there safely. Moving with a pet, presents its own set of challenges, notes Marnie Bennett, a real estate professional, as you have to worry about the safety of your pet both during and after the move at a time when you are pre-occupied with, or distracted by, all of the big- and small-picture issues of simply changing locales

Here are a few pics of our furry friends lounging at our office at 190 Lisgar St. in Ottawa

Before Moving Day
Unfortunately, you can't get your pet to help you pack up and prepare for the move. What you can do is plan things so that he's not underfoot as you get ready to move. You have a few options to handle this extra care.  On some packing days, you can ask a friend or your partner to take the dog for a walk. You can also put your pet in another room and close the door so that he doesn't get in your way as you try to pack up

There are some important documents you should get from your pet's veterinarian before the move, if you're moving far enough away that you need to change vets. Ask the vet for your pet's vaccination records and other medical records and also ask him for the name of a veterinarian he recommends in your new area. You may want to get a mild sedative from your vet to keep your pet calm during the trip, especially if you have an older pet or a pet who is ill.

Stock up on food and medication for your pet before you move. You might not be able to get a refill on any pet prescriptions from your pet's new doctor right away. If your pet is on a special diet, you will want to have extra food on hand in case it's hard to find his brand in your new location.
Purchase new tags for your pets before you move. The tags should have your new address and contact number on them. If your pets have been microchipped, make sure you update your address with the company.

On Moving Day
Your pet's safety should be a primary concern on moving day. If you can, have a relative or friend take your pet for the day so that he isn't underfoot or does not run away. You can also set up a special room as the "pet room" for the day. Choose a room that has proper ventilation, such as a small bedroom – but definitely not a closet. Place your pet's food bowl, pillow and toys in the room and visit him from time to time while you unpack.
Keep the door closed so that the pets can't get out. You'll also want to put a sign on the door so that any other person helping to do the unpacking doesn't inadvertently open the door and let the animals out. If you'll be transporting your pets in carriers, put the carriers in the room before a few weeks before the move so that the pets get used to going into and out of the carriers.

After the Move
Marnie Bennett notes that you can't talk to your pets and explain the move the way you can talk to children. After you move to your new Ottawa home, the best way to get your pets used to the new place is to set out the things they are familiar with. Unpack your pet's food bowl and toys right away to help him acclimate and exercise him as you normally did in your old location so that he experiences no variation from his routine at his old address.

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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Well-Prepared Residents Enter the Ottawa Market in Search of New Homes

The residents of Ottawa have taken the real estate market by storm. Ever since the beginning of the year, sales have been on the up. The increase in sales has led experts to believe that now residents are more knowledgeable about the property market in Ottawa than they ever were before. It seems as if this is the year of change.

Industry analyst Ron Desjardins, a vice-president at PMA, says that while there may not have been as many people looking for new homes in January, the ones who were, were ready to buy.

In previous years, the response was not so good but this year, the residents of Ottawa have come well prepared to the market. They are ready to spend the money to take up these opportunities.

Desjardins further added, “We saw a number of people make their buying decisions within a week of visiting a site,” he says, adding, “They had clearly done a lot of research. They’d been online and looking at stuff … but weren’t prepared to make the decision last fall.” This goes to show that people in Ottawa are now more knowledgeable about market conditions. They are better equipped to anticipate risks with regards to property prices.

This, however, is not the only factor that has led these residents to flood the property market. It is quite possible that relaxed interest rates on loans and better mortgage rates have turned people in this direction. If you compare the data from previous years, it is quite clear that this year, the residents of Ottawa can avail better opportunities.
The government’s incentive programs also play a role in encouraging people to buy new homes. The Canadian government is dedicated to helping citizens realize their goal of homeownership. The mortgage terms are also set in a manner that the average Canadian citizen can easily afford to pay these expenses.

Desjardin, in a later statement, added that, “I think that this trend will just continue through the year as more releases occur in the existing projects and new projects come to the market in the west.”

The experts seem very optimistic about real estate picking up once again in Ottawa and they see this as the beginning of a trend that could last for a long period of time. Single family homes are among the ones selling most in the market, followed by townhouses and condos.

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

How to Buy An Abandoned House

An abandoned house is a vacant property. The folks at The Bennett Property Shop Realty are experienced in how to go about buying an abandoned house in Ottawa. Abandoned houses are most often the result of the fact that the house’s former owners ran into financial difficulties and “lost” their property ownership to their mortgagor and the former owners have had to move out. Other abandoned houses are tied up in legal red-tape with one level of government or another. Abandoned properties are sometimes neglected and in need of repair; and they are also sometimes in the process of foreclosure. Banks often take over ownership of houses and leave them abandoned and unoccupied for a while.
Buying a Ottawa house is often a strategic investment because these properties usually have very low - and usually below-market - prices.
The steps to buying an abandoned house are:
1.     Preparing your finances.
2.     Researching the property.
3.     Making a realistic offer.
The begin with, you first want to make sure that you can actually afford to buy a new home. Although they are generally cheaper than Ottawa houses for sale in the normal re-sale marketplace, abandoned houses can still have large price tags. Unless you already have the cash, you will need to qualify for a mortgage.

Do Your Research
When looking around for an abandoned house to buy, you might want think about certain unoccupied or ill- or sporadically maintained houses that you drive by on a regular basis. If you do not have a particular house in mind, you can look in real-estate listings. However, if the owner is absent, or if a legal entanglement is involved or if a foreclosure is in process, there might not be any listings for that house. This is precisely when an Ottawa real-estate agent can help you find an abandoned house to buy.

Determining who the owner of the house often requires dedicated and well-informed research. Check county deed records if you do not already know the name of the owner of the property you are interested in. These records will also provide information on liens and whether all of the property’s land taxes are in arrears or up-to-date.
Once you learn who owns the property, have your agent contact the owner in order to make an offer on the abandoned house. Interestingly, owners of properties that are going through the foreclosure process are often surprised to find out that they still have rights to the property (especially if it has been abandoned for some time), if the foreclosure process has not been finalized yet.
If the house has already been foreclosed, talk to the bank or lender as they are the current owners of the property. This information will also be listed in the deed records. It is important to know that banks are well-known to delay foreclosures and to move slowly when it comes to selling an abandoned house.

Because abandoned houses often have many technical problems, make sure to have the target in appraised and inspected. These reports and estimates will give you a good idea of the home's value as well as its likely repair costs; and this information will greatly help you to determine how much to offer and what other conditions to put into your offer to purchase the house.

Make an Offer
Once you have done your research and planned your offering strategy, you are ready to make your offer to the owner or the lender. In formulating your offer, the experts at The Bennett Property Shop Realty remind you that you should always consider the additional costs - such as closing costs, fees, land transfer taxes and repair costs. As a basic starting-point strategy, you should bid lower than the value of the house as you can usually “up” your offer – but can rarely reduce your offer.
Once your offer is accepted, schedule a closing date, and begin preparing for renovations and moving into it or renting it out.

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