Open Bidding Unveiled: A Guide For Sellers & Buyers

Gain, MBA Dana

It’s been in the news for a few years and now it’s finally here. Open bidding. 

Rather like…an auction in slow motion. 

In an auction, however, everyone in the room hears the new bid whether they are participating or not. In real estate, by contrast, the information is only disclosed to buyers who have submitted written offers. A verbal submission or one that has not arrived yet, these don’t count (so these potential buyers are out of the loop). 


Here we will look at circumstances that may lend themselves to an open bidding situation, what a seller needs to know, and how a buyer can best prepare themselves.


Open Bidding: The Scenario


The most likely scenario for open bidding to occur is in a bidding war. That is, two or more buyers competing for the same home.

Competition usually develops because of a lower-than-market listing price. The highly attractive price stimulates interest, and buyers of all budgets line up to view the home.

A presentation date is set, and these same buyers get ready to compete.

Under the old legislation, content of competing offers could not be shared; all information was kept strictly confidential. 


Starting December 1st, however, the door is now open for home sellers to share all or any part of bids they have received, if they wish. 


The method is designed to create transparency. Buyers might be made aware of the highest price on the table, for example, and could then make an informed decision about whether they wanted to increase their number. 


What Information Can Sellers Share?


Sellers can reveal select terms and not others. It need not be full disclosure, but it could be. Sellers can also share nothing at all; they are under no obligation to do so. It will depend on the seller’s individual circumstances and what strategy is expected to work best in that situation.

One seller might opt to share offer amounts, while another might decide to share only conditions of the competing bids. Perhaps a seller wants to share closing dates in the hopes of obtaining an early closing and finalizing the transaction more quickly.


A seller’s goal in the open bidding process will be the same as it was before the legislation changed: to negotiate the best possible terms of sale.


Once a seller decides which information they wish to share among the buyers, if any, they authorize their instructions in writing, so their agent knows how to proceed. This is true even if a seller declines sharing the information.


If a seller opts to reveal information, the seller’s agent must then share that material with every buyer who is making an offer. If a bid has not yet arrived but is expected, the information will not be disclosed until it arrives. If a verbal submission is received, the buyer will be asked to put it on paper before the competing bid information is shared.


A few key caveats, here.


One, a seller has the right to change their mind – as long as it’s in writing. If at first a seller wishes not to socialize competing offer information among buyers and decides later that they want to (like, for example, after the bids have arrived), this is perfectly fine. 

Two, no personal information about buyers will ever be shared. 


And three, a seller is under no obligation to provide advance notice of which direction they plan to go. This means that buyers in competition will need to be ready for anything.


How Can A Buyer Prepare for Open Bidding? 


Because a seller can change their mind at any time, it’s best to anticipate that your offer information will be shared regardless of current instructions and plan accordingly.


First, consider your limits before offer day. This way, you have time to rationally consider your budget and other important terms beforehand. 


If you have competed for a home in the past, you know that offer day can be very stressful. Deciding on your boundaries in advance can help you stay true to the best deal for you as a buyer.


Second, consider adding a confidentiality clause to your offer. This type of clause would render your offer void should a seller decide to share the contents of offers.


While this would not prevent a seller from sharing the contents of your bid with others, the expected consequences of doing so (i.e. losing you as a buyer) might be an effective deterrent. Depending on how compelling your offer is, this same seller may then decide not to disclose the contents of offers at all.


Third, get professional advice. Your REALTOR® is critical to your success; they can guide you on comparable prices of homes in the neighbourhood and educate you on different strategies you can use to negotiate the best deal. 


There are many scenarios possible as we enter the world of open bidding. If you have not yet decided who you will be working with on your sale or purchase, get in touch with us today.*** 

Subscribe to Monthly Newsletter
Explore More Articles
Daily Listings to Your Inbox
What's Your Home Worth?


How is the Real Estate Market Right Now?

Gain, MBA Dana

It is the most common question we hear from our clients: what do you see happening in real estate? The best way to explain what’s happening is by analogy.
Real estate is a living, breathing entity. It has good moods and bad, high points and low. As things change in the economy, the housing market responds.
Over the past nine months we have watched the fluctuations in the market. Home pricing reached its lowest point in January 2023 following multiple interest rate hikes last year, and then pricing began to creep up again. Between January and June of this year, prices climbed steadily in most western suburbs of the GTA and elsewhere.
Then, two subsequent interest rate hikes beginning in June had an immediate slowing effect. Within a few weeks of the first hike, the pace picked up again. However, the second hike in July had no measurable effect. It seemed as though the first increase was a shock to the system, but by the time the second rise occurred, home buyers and sellers had already been desensitized and things seemed to continue as normal.
Interestingly, the market slowed noticeably alongside the most recent announcement in September that the Bank of Canada rate would remain steady at 5%. This is where we are now. 

Counterintuitive? Maybe. Real? Most definitely.
According to TRREB Chief Market Analyst Jason Mercer, “GTA home selling prices remain above the trough experienced early in the first quarter of 2023. However, we did experience a more balanced market in the summer and early fall, with listings increasing noticeably relative to sales. This suggests that some buyers may benefit from more negotiating power, at least in the short term. This could help offset the impact of high borrowing costs.” (TRREB, September 2023).
Here's how things look in the market when comparing September 2023 with September 2022.

Detached Homes


Looking at detached homes in this selection of western suburbs, we see several different trajectories. Waterdown shows the largest increase year over year, followed by Ancaster. Burlington and Mississauga are basically flat year over year, and Milton, Oakville and Stoney Creek show measurable decreases. 

Waterdown in particular seems to show varying increases depending on which real estate board is providing the data. We noted that in some reports, Waterdown showed only a 9 or 10% increase, while the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board information indicated a 17% jump for the month of September versus last year. Big picture, Waterdown's increase year over year is certainly larger than the other regions.

That said, the data seems to suggest that consumers seeking detached homes have moved their money slightly west of Halton for the moment.

Freehold Townhomes

Freehold towns show a bit more consistency across the regions. The largest increases were found in Waterdown, Mississauga, Stoney Creek, and Burlington, while Milton and Oakville showed a relatively flat trend in average pricing. Ancaster was trending down in this market segment.

Condo Townhomes

Condo townhomes gained favour in some areas when compared to September of last year, while other areas faltered.

Waterdown, Milton, Oakville and Ancaster showed a very nice year over year increase in the average price of condo townhouses, while Stoney Creek, Burlington and Mississauga went the other direction. 

Condo Apartments

As the entry point for many first-time homebuyers, condo apartments will often buck the trend of other housing styles. Comparing average pricing from September 2023 with September 2022, the most striking difference is that any increases were more measured than they were in detached and townhouse properties.

Burlington, Oakville and Mississauga saw slight increases in average pricing year over year in the condo apartment segment, while Milton, Waterdown, Ancaster and Stoney Creek saw decreases.  


Reviewing the data, it's easy to see that the trajectories in average home prices are very dependent on housing style. Depending on what type of home you might be looking to buy or sell, and based on where you live, it's likely you will see things shifting in different directions and by varying degrees.

Is now a good time to buy? Without question. If you are looking to buy a property and you do not have one to sell, it's a great time to scoop up a great deal. If you own your own home now and are thinking about downsizing, the same reasoning applies.

Remember, real estate is all about the long term. Owning your own home and capitalizing on the equity while living there is always a good idea.

If you are considering buying or selling a home and you have not yet decided on a REALTOR®, 
get in touch with us today.***

Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (2023). GTA REALTORS® Release September Stats.

Subscribe to Monthly Newsletter
Explore More Articles
Daily Listings to Your Inbox
What's Your Home Worth?


Housing Market Trends Up Further in April

Dana Gain

Home buyers can once again expect to be dogged by the lack of inventory in the housing market.
We have witnessed a period of relative quiet since last fall, when many home buyers and sellers seemed to take a sabbatical from real estate. Interest rates were on the way up and consumers took the opportunity to pause their buying and selling activities to see what would happen next.
But now, with the succession of interest rate hikes behind us and more house hunters re-entering the market, demand is once again outweighing supply. Buyers are facing competitive offer situations in more and more suburbs as we get deeper into the spring market.

This is putting upward pressure on pricing, and placing home sellers back in the driver’s seat.
Let’s take a look at what happened in home prices between January and April in Oakville, Milton, Burlington, and Mississauga, and what this may mean for home buyers.
Detached Homes

All western GTA suburbs showed strong increases in average selling price for detached homes between January and April 2023.

Burlington detached homes were selling for just over $1.32M in January of this year. By April, this had climbed to a more promising $1.48M, an increase of 11% over the 4-month period.

Milton's increase was less impressive than Burlington at just over 6% over the same timeframe. Detached homes selling for $1.31M in January were fetching nearly $1.4M by the end of April.

Oakville detached homes demonstrated a similar trend to Burlington, with a 13% increase in average selling price between January and April. Detached homes selling for $1.79M in January in Oakville had risen to just over $2M by the end of last month.

Mississauga showed the strongest increase in selling price over the same period, 14%. Detached properties in this closer suburb of the GTA selling for $1.38M in January had risen to $1.57M by the end of April.

Semi-Detached Homes

Noticeable increases were also seen in the semi-detached segment between January and April of this year.

January's $878,000 average price in Burlington jumped to $1.02M by the end of April 2023, an increase of 16% in average selling price.

Semi-detached homes were also very popular in Milton during this timeframe, moving from $929,000 in January to $1.09M in April, a 17% increase.

Still impressive but lower than the other regions, Oakville's semi-detached market moved from $1.06M in January to $1.19M by the end of April, a 12% increase.

Mississauga's semi-detached popularity grew as well, but more slowly that the other areas. Homes selling in January for $960,000 in Misssissauga were fetching $1.06M by the end of April, a 10% increase in average selling price.

Freehold Townhomes

Moderate increases were seen in average home prices for freehold towns between January and April, 2023.

In Burlington, Oakville and Mississauga, the average price of a freehold townhouse increased between 1 and 3% between January and April of this year.

Burlington's average price increased by $27,000 during the period, Milton's just $5,000, and Mississauga's price increased by just $20,000.

However, Oakville had a strong increase in average price during the same timeframe. While this 29% increase is most certainly an anomaly (eg. extreme high or low numbers at the front or back end of the calculation), it's clear that the price improvement in this very popular suburb is worth noting.

Anecdotally, our clients shopping for freehold towns in Oakville during this period often had a hard time getting in to view a property before it sold. Many sold firm in a matter of 1-4 days, and most often these homes were selling to multiple offers. 

Condo Townhouse

Perhaps due to relative affordability of this segment relative to freehold, condo towns showed strong average price increases between January and April.

Even at the modest end of the scale, these GTA suburbs had healthy increases during this period.

Mississauga condo towns increased from $797,000 in January to $857,000 by the end of April. Oakville and Burlington showed 10% and 11% average price increases, respectively, amounting to an $80,000 sale price increase during the same period. 

Milton showed the highest increase of all in average sale price. Condo towns selling for $670,000 in January had rocketed up to $769,000 by April, a 15% increase in just a few months.

Condo Apartment

Most notable about condo apartment sales between January and April was the inconsistent results amongst the suburbs.

Milton saw just a 1% increase, while Mississauga average pricing for condo apartments rose by 5%, and Burlington by a full 11%. At the other end of the scale, Oakville average pricing for this market dropped 25% during the same period.

The same reasoning applies here as in the large increase seen in freehold townhomes. There will be some mitigation to this number, however the downward trend is worth noting nonetheless.

What Do The Numbers Mean?

So, what are the implications of rising home prices into the spring of 2023?

First, the market correction we saw in the past 3 quarters of 2022 was not insignificant. In most suburbs of the GTA, home prices fell to 2021 levels or just below. As such, part of the increase in home values being seen now is partly a rebound effect after a less than active fall and winter season. 

Second, the numbers included here from the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (2023) are average prices within each segment. Some homes sold for less, others sold for more. The point in using average prices is that it allows us to see trends across municipalities, and get a sense of what's happening in the market.

However, even after taking these caveats into consideration it is clear that the housing market is well on its way. The indications are positive, compelling, and mostly consistent across the 4 suburbs.

Anecdotally, in discussions with our clients, the angst that seemed to plague home buyers when interest rates were on the rise has given way to a new consumer acceptance of the status quo. It seems that it was not only the interest rate increase that buyers and sellers found frightening, it was the uncertainty around how long they would continue to rise.

If you are considering re-entering the real estate market as a buyer or seller,
contact us today. Lower housing prices are drawing more and more buyers back into the market, and sellers don't have nearly as much competition now as they are likely to have in the coming weeks and months.***

Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (2023). GTA REALTORS® Release April Stats.
Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (2023). GTA REALTORS® Release January Stats.

Subscribe to Monthly Newsletter
Explore More Articles
Daily Listings to Your Inbox
What's Your Home Worth?


It’s Not Your Imagination, Real Estate is Back

Dana Gain

If you're wondering if things have been shifting in real estate, it's not your imagination.

Those of us in the business have been watching things simmer since we started the year. Of course, most everything hinged on what would happen with interest rates. Would they continue to rise? Or would rates stabilize?

We also wondered if the occasional busy moment was anecdotal. Was everyone else seeing what we were, or was it just a blip on the radar?

The results are in. The slow burn we saw in January took us right through to March, normally the start of the busy season. What we saw instead was consistent and reasonably steady activity, albeit fewer listings than we would like to see at this time of year.

But now that April is nearly behind us, it is evident the market has a new story to tell. Things are heating up all over the suburbs west of the GTA.

Let’s take a look at what happened in the three very popular suburbs of Oakville, Burlington, and Waterdown between January and the end of March, 2023.

Always a popular suburb even in a slower market, Oakville’s story continues to be an optimistic one.

Detached home sales are going strong, with an average price of just over the $2 million dollar mark. This is a sizeable increase from January’s average detached price of $1.79M, and marks a 14.5% increase from the beginning of the year.

Freehold townhomes in Oakville also did very well between January and March showing a 11.7% increase in average sale price. Towns in January were selling at $1.03M, and by March this had escalated to $1.153M.
Condo apartments fared differently in Oakville, as they tend to. The average selling price of a condo apartment in Oakville during January was $975,833. By March, this had dropped to $811,418, a 17% reduction. It seems that when the rest of the home styles are selling well, condo apartments fall out of favour.
Detached homes in Burlington show a similar trend between January and March, showing a 7.9% increase in average home price in the area. Detached houses on average were selling for $1.33M in January, climbing to $1.43M in March.

Freehold townhomes in Burlington were selling for $911,952 on average during January of this year, and by March this had increased to $948,187, a 4% increase.
We saw very little change in condo apartment pricing in Burlington between January and March.
Detached homes between January and March showed a notable increase in Waterdown as well. In January, the average price for a detached home in this community was $1,044,300. By March, this had crept up to $1,143,900, an increase of 9.5% in just 2 months.
In Waterdown, the average price of all home styles combined during January, $930,656, moved all the way up to $1,051,626 in March, a 13% increase in a short space of time.

We’re seeing similar trends across most municipalities and home styles west of the GTA, between January and March of this year. 

In sum, the apparent market shift is not in your imagination. Home pricing seems to have stabilized and is even beginning to creep up again.
What will this mean for house hunters? Depending on the community you are searching in and the home style you have in mind, you may expect to find yourself in competition for the home you want. In other areas, if a home is well-priced and shows well, you can expect it to sell quickly.
Are you thinking about selling your home? If so, it’s hard to imagine a better time than right now to leverage a lot of interested buyers and insufficient inventory.
Whether buying or selling, ensure you keep in close touch with your chosen real estate professional. We stay very close to the activity of the market and can guide you on a successful buying or selling strategy.
If you have not yet decided on a REALTOR® who will be helping you with your home purchase or sale,
get in touch with us today.***


Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (2023). GTA REALTORS® Release January Stats. 
Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (2023). GTA REALTORS® Release March Stats. 

Subscribe to Monthly Newsletter
Explore More Articles
Daily Listings to Your Inbox
What's Your Home Worth?


What Will The New Real Estate Rules Mean For Buyers?

Dana Gain

UPDATED December 2, 2023

It's been in the works for some time, but the new real estate regulations are now in full effect.

Beginning yesterday, December 1, 2023, new legislation kicked in governing real estate transactions in the province of Ontario. The title of the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 (REBBA) will change to the Trust in Real Estate Services Act, 2002 (TRESA).

But it’s not just the title of the act that’s changing. Let’s take a look at what this means for home buyers specifically.

Historical consumer confusion has led to changes in the way real estate rules will operate in Ontario after April 1, 2023. The upcoming TRESA changes sprang in part from the need to clarify relationships, roles, and responsibilities for consumers and brokerages in real estate transactions.

This article covers how home buyers may experience the process differently after TRESA takes effect.
The Search for a Home: Before & After TRESA 

When searching for a home, buyers typically begin online. Since there is no shortage of internet venues providing this service, the exercise often led to signing up for multiple platforms to receive MLS® listings from a wide variety of sources.

What some consumers may not have realized is, each of those internet platforms traces back to either a real estate brokerage or a real estate professional (except for which is operated by the Canadian Real Estate Association, or CREA). 

The end result is that home buyers could be receiving emails from several real estate agents, with only the best of the bunch calling to offer assistance (or, like us, providing highly customized support). 

Most REALTORS® we know have experienced situations in which a potential client asked to visit one or more houses on a Saturday with one real estate agent, with plans the following day to view homes with a completely different agent on a Sunday.

Why? Home buyers didn’t always feel comfortable signing an exclusive Buyer Representation Agreement in the first meeting. This is understandable. It’s a legal document after all and, as such, a binding agreement.

And under the old rules, it was not mandatory to have a home buyer sign the buyer representation document in the first meeting. It was only required that the agent discuss what it meant to be represented by a brokerage, and hand over the documents to the home buyer. This would allow a house hunter to view homes with the understanding that they were represented by that brokerage by implication.  

However, without a signed agreement at this early stage, the door was left open for home buyers to utilize the services of many REALTORS® without being required to commit to any of them. 

The truth is, home buyers are usually transparent and mean well. We find most buyers sincerely appreciate the time, effort, and money invested by their real estate agent and want to be sure that the agent, their partner in the process, is fairly compensated for their work. 

That said, before this legislative change a lack of clarity lingered in the process. 

TRESA works to reduce this ambiguity and clarify some of the moving parts.
How the Process Will Change for Home Buyers 

TRESA brings an important change to the real estate process for home buyers. 

It will no longer be operationally feasible for home buyers to view houses with a REALTOR® without first agreeing to being represented.

In the earlier version of the legislation, a real estate agent was required to explain what it meant to be represented by a brokerage, ensure understanding, and hand over the documents to the home buyer. 

However, no signature was required from the buyer at this stage. 

Going forward, a home buyer can either be represented by a brokerage (assisted by the real estate agent from that brokerage), or a buyer can be self-represented. 

If a buyer chooses to be self-represented, the only way they can view a home after TRESA takes effect will be to (1) contact the listing agent directly, (2) attend an open house, or (3) contact the seller of a property that is not listed on MLS® (i.e. for sale by owner). 

What does this mean for home buyers? If you are working with a real estate agent in your search for a home, you can now expect to be presented with documents before your first showing together.

Remember, in the past you were not required to sign these documents prior to a showing.

Going forward, however, it is likely your real estate agent will request your authorization, in writing, to be represented by their brokerage before that REALTOR® will show you any homes.

This is to protect against the eventuality that a buyer utilizes the advice, guidance and knowledge of a real estate professional only to declare themselves self-represented at some later time.

During this pre-showing conversation, real estate agents will be required to explain what it means to be represented by a brokerage, and what it means to be self-represented. You will be asked to acknowledge that this conversation transpired, that you understand what it means, and you will likely be asked to either sign an exclusive buyer representation agreement or declare yourself self-represented.
Brokerage Representation vs Self-Representation 

Representation by a brokerage has several implications, as in the past. When you are represented by a real estate brokerage, you are owed what’s known as a duty of care. Key to this duty are fiduciary responsibility, confidentiality, honesty and fairness. The brokerage representing you has a duty to protect and promote your interests.

Alternatively, buyers can choose to be self-represented. In this case, a real estate agent will not be permitted to assist you unless doing so is in the best interests of their client (a seller). Without brokerage representation, real estate agents will not be permitted to offer professional advice or guidance to self-represented parties. 

Once you have declared yourself self-represented, agents will not be able to show you properties, discuss pricing, offer strategies, or provide comparable properties to review. 

As a self-represented party, buyers will need to coordinate showings directly with the listing agent for a property. Alternatively, home buyers can attend open houses where a listing agent is present, or speak directly with a home seller who is themselves a self-represented party (i.e. For Sale By Owner).

Offers will need to be handled through a lawyer, in the case of a self-represented buyer, because the listing agent will no longer be permitted to do it for you.   

For a comprehensive review of what it means to be self-represented, visit the website which includes a full review of the legislation.
You’re Ready to View Homes. What Happens Next? 

For buyers already represented by a brokerage they trust, perhaps assisted by a REALTOR® used in the past, it’s likely the conversation about brokerage representation has already transpired and the buyer agreement has been signed.

For other home buyers who may be working with a real estate professional new to them, especially if they have not met in person yet, expect your REALTOR® to schedule time with you in advance of any showings to discuss the pros and cons of representation versus self-representation. 

Since only buyers represented by brokerages can be shown properties in the traditional way (eg. 3-4 consecutive homes on a Saturday afternoon), most real estate agents will be having this conversation with potential clients in advance of the first showing. 

Moreover, it will no longer be practical to chat about representation in the driveway of the home a buyer is about to view unless that buyer is prepared to sign a buyer representation agreement before entering the house.

That said, the early conversation does offer consumers a great opportunity to ask questions to ensure clarity. Ask your real estate agent what brokerage representation means, and what responsibilities each of you has in the relationship. 

Discuss the term of the agreement. How long are you comfortable committing to the brokerage? There is no set time period. A term of 3-6 months is customary, but this is something you should discuss and come to agreement on with your real estate agent. 

Talk about the geographic range of the search. Will you limit representation to a single city, like Oakville, or would you prefer to cover all of Halton Region for example? 

Most of our clients don’t realize that the Buyer Representation Agreement can limit representation to a narrower geographic area if a buyer so chooses.

Finally, discuss who you will be working with from the brokerage. Some of our clients have been surprised by unfamiliar faces at showings in the past when dealing with a team, for example. Find out if you are in fact working with a team, where agents you may not know will be assisting you, or if you are working exclusively with the REALTOR® handing you the documents.
If you have not yet chosen a real estate professional in your home search, get in touch with us today. We work hard to keep our clients informed, educated, and protected in the home buying process.
For a full review of TRESA, 2002 and the changes coming in real estate please visit the provincial website found here.***

* TRESA, 2002 includes a variety of changes to the rules that govern the trading of real estate in Ontario. This article focuses solely on the impact to home buyers in the process of searching for and visiting homes to purchase. The article does not purport to be an exhaustive list of either TRESA, 2002 changes or potential impacts on or implications for home buyers, and is designed as an opinion piece only.

Subscribe to Monthly Newsletter
Explore More Articles
Daily Listings to Your Inbox
What's Your Home Worth?


Top 10 Most Popular Articles in 2022

Dana Gain

With almost one hundred blog articles written over the past two years, we thought it might be interesting to see which ones were the most popular in the bunch.

Starting with number ten and working our way towards number one, these were the most read articles last year.

#10: 6 Red Flags Every Buyer Should Know

Originally Published September 12, 2021

Red Flag #1: Extra Fees. Are you being charged a fee on top of the interest rate on your mortgage? Find out which fees are okay and which should be investigated further. READ ON...

#9: What Are Offer Conditions And Why Do They Matter?

Originally Published January 26, 2021

Offer conditions are provisions that may be included in an offer to purchase a home. Initially, these conditions are customarily included by a buyer who...READ ON

#8: Condos Without Units: Do You Own One?

Originally Published January 10, 2022

If you have ever heard about a condominium property with a very low common element fee, perhaps around $100 per month, it’s possible you are hearing about a Common Elements Condominium, or CEC.  You may even own a CEC and not be aware of it...READ ON

?#7: Link vs Bungalow: Your Complete Guide To Home Styles

Originally Published March 1, 2021

Most buyers know the difference between a basic bungalow and a two-storey home. Both housing styles are fully detached with the number of floors as the key distinguishing factor. Let’s take a look at the eight main categories of single family home styles most often seen in...READ ON

#6: These Property Taxes Will Change Your Mind About Where To Buy

Originally Published March 1, 2021

It’s one of the last questions asked by home buyers. In a perfect world, it would be among the first. In fact, it could change your mind about where to live. How much are property taxes? READ ON...

#5: Unlocking Opportunity: Changes Coming in 2023

Originally Published April 19, 2022

Beginning April 1, 2023, changes are coming to real estate. Reforms to current laws are being implemented to further protect consumers. READ ON...

#4: Apartment Condos: What Do You Actually Own?

Originally Published April 4, 2021

Condominiums seem to have an air of ambiguity about them. We think we know what they are; apartments in high-rise buildings, right? But the truth is, the word condominium refers to many different things. READ ON...

#3: 5 Steps To Renting A Home in Ontario

Originally Published September 12, 2021

When it comes to renting a home, what do prospective tenants need to know? The process can be very different depending on the landlord. However, if you’re working with a...READ ON

#2: Why 'Coming Soon' May Mean More Than You Think

Originally Published April 26, 2021

As with many things in real estate, what most sellers observe during the process of selling a home is just the tip of the iceberg. Let’s take a look at why the phrase ‘coming soon’ on a for sale sign could mean more than you think. READ ON...

#1:  Buying a Condo? The Difference Between Bylaws & Rules

Originally Published March 24, 2021

If you are getting ready to purchase a new or resale condominium, you will want to understand the significance of condo bylaws and rules. The terms are often used interchangeably, however there are important differences between them. READ ON...

Subscribe to Monthly Newsletter
Explore More Articles
Daily Listings to Your Inbox
What's Your Home Worth?


October's Buy-Down Is Welcome News For Condo Owners

Dana Gain

The pace of the market has slowed over the past few months, no question about it. Some of our buyer clients have actually told us they prefer to pause their search while they wait for the market to bottom out.
Many sellers have been making the same decision: let’s wait until real estate has fully stabilized before we make a move.

In combination, these developments have been at least partly to blame for fewer overall transactions month-over-month for almost all segments in Halton region and elsewhere.

Curiously, however, this inaction on the part of sellers is starting to lead to tighter market conditions specifically for the condo apartment segment in Halton region. With more sellers deciding to hold off, fewer condos were available for the buyers who wished to purchase them, driving up prices.

Since condo apartments have become more desirable alongside increasing interest rates, buyers may eventually be back in competition for that condo apartment on their wish list.

Let's take a look at what happened in real estate during the month of October, 2022, in Halton region.

October 2022 Market Results

Condo apartments saw significant price increases in Halton region during October. This while the detached and townhouse segments continued to see price and activity declines during the same period.

Burlington demonstrated the most striking increase at 20.2%, lifting September’s average condo apartment price from $632,656 to October’s $760,697 (TRREB, October 2022).
Oakville saw a similar trajectory during October. The average price of a condo apartment in Oakville during September was $732,306, while October’s average price grew by 12.6% to $824,237 (TRREB, October 2022).
Milton’s increase of 4.6% was less striking, but still significant given the consistent decreases in all other market segments. The average price of a condo apartment during September in Milton was $621,611; by October this had reached $650,000.

Time to sell these units was largely unchanged between September and October for Burlington and Oakville. However, Milton’s pace was a bit faster in October, demonstrating an 11-day drop in days on market since September.

Homes selling more quickly usually results from either increased demand, fewer listings, or both. While October did see some slackening of overall demand, there has also been an interest shift from the more expensive segments, like detached for example, to the less costly option of condo ownership.

First, a single month increase does not a trend make. It’s interesting and worth noting, to be sure, especially given the magnitude of the price increases and the fact that the same scenario is playing out across Halton region. However, until the data is repeated for at least a few consecutive months, the most we can do in the short term is to enjoy the idea that market stabilization could be on the way.

Second, increasing prices of condo apartments month-over-month does not seem to be evident in the other suburbs of the GTA, it appears to be a Halton-only trend. This may be due to the fact that Halton housing prices are already higher than some other suburbs of the GTA, making condo apartments the ideal option for those who wish to live in highly desirable Halton but can no longer afford a townhouse or detached home.
Moreover, it makes sense that the first housing segment to show a positive trend after the correction also happens to be the most affordable: condo apartment.

With interest rates increasing, we’re seeing house hunters show a tendency to ‘buy-down.’ When detached becomes too expensive due to higher interest rates, the next best option is semi-detached or townhouse. For buyers seeking a townhouse that suddenly becomes out of reach, condo apartment is next on the list.
This buy-down tendency seems to be supported by the data in Halton. Detached home pricing between September and October of this year saw an across-the-board dip. Burlington, Milton and Oakville demonstrated a price decrease ranging between 3.7% and 8.9% during that period. (TRREB, October 2022).
The best conclusion from this brief analysis is that there may be reason to be optimistic, in the coming months. Condo apartment owners in Halton who were holding off on selling due to market conditions may decide to reconsider, given the current demand for this segment.
Remember to stay tuned in here for further updates. If you have not yet decided who you would like to work with on the sale of your home,
get in touch with us today.***
Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB). GTA REALTORS® Release October Stats. 
Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB). GTA REALTORS® Release September Stats.

Subscribe to Monthly Newsletter
Explore More Articles
Daily Listings to Your Inbox
What's Your Home Worth?


Avoid Trouble: 5 Ways Your Home Purchase Could Struggle

Dana Gain

Lenders are being careful. Recent interest rate hikes are leading to ongoing policy changes and belt tightening by financial institutions.
Consumers are having a hard time keeping up. And although veteran home buyers are more familiar with the process of buying a home than their less experienced cohorts, they often develop certain assumptions because of that comfort level.

This is the danger zone.

For example, we assume if our bank says sure go ahead, it means we are preapproved.

We take it for granted that the ability to port our mortgage means that we can do so if we wish.

We believe that once a mortgage commitment is signed, the lender is locked into providing the mortgage.
The purpose of this article is to dispel some of those assumptions. The truth is, even the most diligent of home buyers can find themselves in a bad situation.

Even with financial documents firmly in the hands of mortgage professionals and a prequalification in place, some house hunters may be surprised by a mortgage commitment that never appears.

In the current buying environment, it is becoming more common for a home sold conditional on financing to be unsuccessful in making it through the conditional period. This in turn is making sellers more cautious. No home seller wants to find themselves on the wrong end of a deal gone bad.
However, equipped with the right information and sufficient lead time, buyers can still enter the offer process with confidence.
Let’s take a look at a few places where things can go wrong so you can shore up your personal protection when it comes to financing your next home.*
#1 Preapproval or Prequalification
Before you visit the first home in your search, it’s best to begin the process with a clear understanding of how much house you can afford.

Without this information, you could find yourself in a situation where you believed the financing was available – only to find out after you make an offer that it was not.
The best way to protect yourself is to secure a written prequalification from your lender. At a minimum this would stipulate the amount of your mortgage and down payment, your interest rate, payment amount, payment frequency, term of the mortgage, and amortization period (eg. 25 or 30 years).

We are often asked about the difference between a preapproval and prequalification.

A preapproval is a more casual green light from your bank that is usually not supported by documents validating income, taxes, and so on. You might be asked questions about your income and your debt, and that’s about all.
A prequalification, by contrast, is a formal written approval from your lender. In this case, financial documents are sent to your bank or mortgage broker for review. Income information, tax returns, bank statements, and a letter of employment, among other things.
With a prequalification, you know how much you can feel comfortable spending on your home. Importantly, it will also give you the confidence to know that your lender has approved your financial resources to buy the home.

When your mortgage advisor requests documents from you, we recommend sending them. The process of sorting through bank statements and tax returns to get a prequalification is tedious, but it is your best protection in securing the home you want.
#2 The Mortgage Commitment
A mortgage commitment letter outlines the specifics of the mortgage your lender is offering. Often it will include the property address as well.
To protect our clients, we usually recommend adding a financing condition to an offer to get you through to the commitment stage. This allows time to provide the property address to your financial institution and ensure the bank approves the use of mortgage funds for that specific property.

Once receiving a mortgage commitment from your lender, you can feel confident the mortgage financing is in place for that home. Assuming all else is fine with the financing, like for example the appraisal, then this is usually the step that would allow you to remove the financing condition.
On the other hand, if your lender does not approve the purchase of the home you have selected (even if you already have a prequalification in place), you will not be able to obtain a mortgage for that property.
This makes the financing condition critically important. It provides a protective escape hatch that allows you time to go through the process with your bank and ensure all is well before a deal becomes firm.
#3 The Appraisal
Why might a financial institution decline your mortgage even after prequalification? There are many reasons, but a common cause recently is a low appraisal.

Sometimes a lender will require an appraisal before approving your mortgage. This step is designed to ensure you have not overpaid for the home.
Given how quickly prices have corrected in the real estate market over the past several months, lenders are being particularly careful at the appraisal stage.
If a financial institution appraises the home lower than what you offered, you may have a problem. It could mean having to find a larger down payment to make up the difference. Or, in the worse case, you may have to walk away from the property entirely.

We recommend following the steps right up to mortgage commitment carefully and diligently. Ensure your mortgage broker has all the requested documents and check in with them periodically to verify they have what they need.
Remember, your financing condition is there to protect you. Only waive your condition once you are 100% satisfied that your mortgage is firmly in place.

And get it in writing. 

#4 Debt Ratios
Market conditions over the past few months have made lenders much more selective. This is because higher interest rates typically result in larger monthly payments.
The worry for a bank is, can my client afford the higher payments?
Most consumers are not earning raises alongside the interest rate increases, and this is throwing off debt ratios for home buyers. Some are finding it more difficult to get mortgage financing at all, while others are faced with a much lower budget than anticipated.
What is a debt ratio?
Put simply, it’s a comparison between how much a person earns and how much debt they have. If income remains stable but the cost of buying goes up in the form of higher interest rates, debt ratios are negatively impacted. As a result, it may be more difficult to obtain a mortgage.
Assuming your debt ratio remains stable following the acceptance of your mortgage terms and everything else is in place, you should have no trouble making it through to closing.

However, sometimes home buyers will put large purchases on credit before closing, not realizing the damage they might be doing to their debt ratios. Perhaps new furniture for the new home is purchased, or maybe a new car.

This added debt results in a less attractive debt ratio because you have higher debt relative to your unchanged income. If a debt ratio takes a hit between mortgage commitment and closing, it opens the door for a financial institution to pull mortgage funding entirely.
For most home buyers, this spells disaster.

We recommend our buyer clients exercise financial restraint in this very delicate period between mortgage commitment and closing.
#5 Penalties & Porting Your Mortgage
Think back to when you signed your mortgage papers on your current home. Didn’t it feel good to know that you had the freedom to port your mortgage over to the new place if you wanted?

A portable mortgage is great. Typically, you would keep your interest rate, the payments usually stay the same, and if life requires you to sell and move before the mortgage term is up, you have the freedom to do so.
Be careful, though. Lenders may require re-approval before they allow you to port your mortgage. Or they may charge you a fee to do so. Or both.

Worse, if your current interest rate is lower than a new rate you might obtain, you may find your lender declining porting that mortgage entirely.

If you are planning to sell and expect to port your mortgage to the new home, exercise caution. Even if your current mortgage documents explicity state that you have the ability to port your mortgage, you could still be at risk of being declined.

This is true even if your credit is excellent and your income and employment has been stable.
We recommend obtaining your new approval in writing before fully committing to the new house. If your lender advises you a written preapproval is not possible for that port, be wary. This could mean they are getting ready to decline your application.

Adding a financial condition to your offer will be important to your peace of mind particularly in this scenario. We recommend waiting until you have the new mortgage commitment in place, in writing, before removing the financing condition.
Otherwise, you could find yourself in a position where you are firmly committed to a sale without knowing where your mortgage is going to come from, or knowing if you have any mortgage at all.
In the current market conditions, interest rates are higher than they have been for many years. It’s making financial institutions more guarded about who qualifies for a mortgage. Your best protection is to ensure you have confirmations in writing every step of the way.
If you are not yet working with a REALTOR® and are looking for guidance in how to plan your next home purchase, reach out to us today.***
*Disclaimer: We are not mortgage brokers nor are we financial advisors. We do not hold a license to dispense financial guidance, mortgage information, or mortgage advice, and do not aim to perform that function here. Rather, the information provided in this article is designed to simplify the home buying process, and provide guidance to protect and support our clients and prospective clients. For detailed guidance and advice on your specific mortgage situation, please contact your trusted mortgage advisor or financial institution.

Subscribe to Monthly Newsletter
Explore More Articles
Daily Listings to Your Inbox
What's Your Home Worth?


Are Homes Selling Quickly in Fall 2022? You Might Be Surprised

Dana Gain

One thing will always be true in real estate: well-priced, attractive homes sell fast.
Even after all the interest rate hikes this year and the resulting downward pressure on home prices, we continue to encounter client situations in which a home sells after just a few days on market.
Given the right conditions, some are even selling to multiple offers.

A client of ours viewed a freehold townhouse in Guelph just last week, for example. 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, finished basement, walkout to yard, lovely deck. The property was attractive inside, was located on a lovely, quiet cul-de-sac, and showed very well.
The home was not especially large, though, just under 1,500 square feet, and it was missing most of the high-end finishes that buyers love.
Nonetheless the property showed very well and was priced under market value. This townhouse was listed for $599,900 and sold on October 3rd, 2022, for $675,000 on offer day, $75,000 over asking.
Most striking, 22 buyers submitted offers for that home.

(In case you’re wondering, yes, our buyer client was the winner.)

How are other regions of the GTA faring?
To answer this question, we did a review of what’s selling in the popular Bronte Creek and West Oak Trails neighbourhoods of Oakville. We took a random sample of 23 properties that sold in the past 90 days.

What did we find?
Of the 23 homes that sold in 8 days or less, 15 sold either at or well over asking price.

This was true regardless of home style. Whether detached, townhouse or condo apartment, the trend was the same. In short, 65% of well-priced properties in these areas of Oakville sold in 8 days or less (OMDREB, 2022).

Our last property sale in Oakville (September 15, 2022) was just 8 days on market and sold for 93% of asking price. 

We conducted a similar exercise in the ever-more-popular suburb of Waterdown and found even more striking results. Of the 25 homes that sold in just 4 days, 18 sold either at or well over asking price. In other words, 78% of homes that were priced aggressively sold in 4 days or less (OMDREB, 2022)..
By contrast, of the 22 houses that took between 31 and 68 days to sell in Waterdown over the past three months, all 22 sold under or well under asking price 
(OMDREB, 2022)..

Of course, helping your home sell quickly is about more than just list price. It’s about how buyers experience the home when they view it. This is what’s commonly referred to as how a property ‘shows’.
How can you be sure your home shows well? Here’s a checklist refresher to follow:

  • Uncluttered – where possible, ensure the tops of counters, desks, and bureaus are all clutter-free. A good rule of thumb is – clean every item off all counters, including the coffee maker.
  • Try to remove anything from the floor that is not attached to it or does not belong there (mostly everything).
  • Pack away all personal items like photos from walls and the tops of counters.
  • Ensure any carpeted floors are vacuumed, and tile floors swept.
  • Have a friend drop by to give you honest feedback about any odors that may linger in the home that you may not notice. This can be as much of a turn-off as laundry left on the floor or dog poop in the backyard.
  • On the other hand, if you use a Glade plug-in air freshener, keep it on very low. We have had clients exit properties shortly after entering as a result of too-strong air fresheners.
  • Remove any furniture that interrupts the flow as you walk through the home. This might include decorative hallway tables, extra benches, or even an entire sofa or dining room table. Remember, you’re moving anyway; there’s no harm in removing furniture if it makes your home feel more spacious to a buyer.

Maximizing the sale price for your home is the art of combining a highly-attractive property with a price just below market value. This is where your real estate professional can best guide you, and it pays to listen to their advice. They will be most familiar with what homes similar to yours have sold very recently, how long it took to sell the properties, and how the homes showed to prospective buyers.

Most important, ensure you hire a REALTOR® that has your best interests in mind. Our last property sale in Oakville (September 15, 2022) was just 8 days on market and sold for 93% of asking price. 
Get in touch with us today, you will be in very good hands. We can help you prepare your home for sale and ensure you don’t have to endure the selling process any longer than absolutely necessary.***

Reference: Oakville & Milton Real Estate Board (OMDREB) (2022).

Subscribe to Monthly Newsletter
Explore More Articles
Daily Listings to Your Inbox
What's Your Home Worth?


Craving Detached in Milton? Here's What It's Going To Cost You

Dana Gain

If you are shopping for a home in Milton, you are not alone. It’s one of the most popular suburbs of the GTA, and the summer hibernation we’ve had in real estate has done little to curb the enthusiasm of home buyers in this region.

Although the summer has been unusually quiet this year, we are already starting to see the pace of home sales begin to pick up in this once-sleepy bedroom community. 

Now that market pricing has corrected, you might be surprised to learn what home values look like right now.

Total home sales for Milton in the month of July were on the rise. Sales were just over $73.5M in July, while August brought in a significantly higher $88.7M, an increase of almost 21 per cent (TRREB, 2022). While this is yet to be reflected in days on market indicating a faster pace of sale,it’s clear that things are beginning to move in the right direction. 
What does this mean for home buyers? What can one expect to pay for a detached house in Milton right now?

Over the past few weeks, we’ve had the unique opportunity to review dozens of detached homes for sale in the area. Single and double car garage properties, 3-4 bedrooms, 3-4 bathrooms, ranging between 1,350 to 2,500 square feet across most multiple Milton neighbourhoods. 
Here are the results of our extensive tour.

Pricing for detached homes in Milton has leveled off since August of 2021. The average price of a detached house in this community last summer was $1.308M (TRREB, 2021). This past August that number dropped to $1.23M (TRREB, 2022). 

But average price does little to tell the story of what you are getting for your money. Let’s take a look at some average numbers of sold homes in July and August (Toronto Regional Real Estate Board, 2022):

  • Single car garage houses under 1,500 square feet, 3 bed 3 bath, came in between $925K and $1.08M with most falling in the middle, around the $1M mark.
  • Single car garage homes between 1,500 and 2,000 square feet, 3 bed 3 bath, saw sold prices starting at $975 going up to $1.1M, however most were hovering around the $1.06M mark.
  • Double car garage homes between 1,500 and 2,000 square feet, 3 bed 3 bath, saw sold prices starting at $1.05 going up to $1.28M, again with many in the middle range at $1.1M.
  • Double car garage homes between 2,000 and 2,500 square feet, 3-4 bed 3 bath, saw sold prices starting at $1.16M going up to $1.36M.

Note that these averages reflect a variety of ages and home conditions but can still be used as a general guideline.
Home Value By Neighbourhood

Home values in Milton are also highly dependent on neighbourhood. The newer areas south of and just slightly north of Louis St. Laurent tended to a higher price point. These homes were between 0-5 years old and offered the popular open-concept floor plan.

For the newest homes, those south of Louis St. Laurent and just west of Thompson, the double car garage homes with 4 beds, 4 baths and greater than 2,500 square feet fetched between $1.32 and $1.61M over the summer.

For the homes in the middle area of Milton, north of Louis St. Laurent and south of Main Street, buyers will find more houses that were built in the early 2000’s, complete with the light-coloured hardwood floor and stairs. 

These homes typically come with a more compartmentalized floor plan layout with walls separating most rooms on the main and second floors. Here you may also find a formal dining room that could even include doors!

All else being equal, these more traditional homes saw a slightly lower price point, typically selling for between $1.32-$1.44M over the summer months. Most selling at this level were 2,500 square feet or less, with 4 beds, 3 baths, and a double car garage.
The good news? Among the four districts in Halton Region, Milton comes in at the most economical of the bunch. Burlington and Halton Hills average detached prices came in slightly higher than Milton, with Oakville demonstrating the highest sale prices of all.
If you are house hunting west of the GTA and need some guidance,
contact us today. We can help direct you to the right detached home for your budget.***

Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (2022). GTA REALTORS® Release August Stats.
Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (2022). GTA REALTORS® Release July Statistics.
Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (2021). GTA REALTORS® Release August Stats.

Subscribe to Monthly Newsletter
Explore More Articles
Daily Listings to Your Inbox
What's Your Home Worth?


What Can We Expect from Real Estate This Fall?

Dana Gain

What’s going to happen this fall? Will there be another interest rate hike, and if so how much? What might this mean for pricing and affordability?
The only thing experts can seem to agree on is the obvious: we are in the midst of a housing correction.  How the balance of 2022 will unfold is anyone’s guess.
That said, there are certain undeniable truths that we can rely on as we look to preparing our clients for the coming months.
Let’s take a look at the main reason why it’s unlikely the current market state will continue to decline as it has, and what we can expect for the fall season in real estate.
Ongoing Demand
According to Robert Hogue, Assistant Chief Economist from RBC, between immigration and shrinking households, the demand for housing will continue to exceed supply (2022).

“We expect the number of Canadian households to rise by 730,000 by 2024 compared to 2021, adding 240,000 households annually,” said Hogue (RBC, 2022). All these newcomers will need a place to live, whether rented or owned. New immigration targets set by Ottawa equate to “a record 1.3 million new permanent residents by 2024.” (RBC, 2022).

Think 2024 is a long way off? It’s not. It works out to a target of approximately 80,000 new residents arriving every month into the country for the next fifteen months. And that number doesn’t include the immigration rebound we’ve seen already.

It stands to reason that as the most populous province, Ontario will see more than its fair share of that inflow. Importantly, as a region, Southwestern Ontario will likely house the majority of those entering the province.
In sum, that translates into a lot of homes needed in a very short period of time. The demand exists today and will continue to influence the market going forward.
What Can We Expect in The Short Term
We spoke with Richard Weima, brokerage manager of Right At Home Realty in Burlington, Ontario to see if he had any advice about what is to come. Richard is a highly respected 48-year veteran of the real estate industry and has seen many trends over the years.

Here’s what Richard had to say.
“We’re in a market we haven’t experienced for some time. The key thing to know now is that the demand is still very much there for homes. That said, in the short term it’s likely we will be moving into more of a buyer’s market in the coming months.

“We’re heading into a phase now where buyers have more of an advantage than they have for the past two years,” Weima said. “It’s a much better opportunity for a home buyer when you’re not competing with so many others for the home you want.”
Weima believes we’re expecting a more active fall season than usual compared with the unusually quiet July and August. Some buyers and sellers took full advantage of a more normal summer this year, going away with the kids on vacation and enjoying just being out of lockdown. 
Others paused their real estate activities as they waited to see how the interest rate hikes would impact the market. These two factors combined resulted in a relative period of quiet for the past several weeks.
But once the jury returns its verdict on what is expected to be the final interest rate hike this year, we anticipate many will come out of hibernation.
It may very well be a very active fall season for real estate.***

Royal Bank of Canada (1995-2022).
Proof Point: Demographics a powerful counterforce in Canada’s housing market correction.

Subscribe to Monthly Newsletter
Explore More Articles
Daily Listings to Your Inbox
What's Your Home Worth?


What Buyers Should Know Before Offering in Today's Market

Dana Gain

Real estate has changed over the past few months. The pace of the market slowed alongside a quick succession of interest rate hikes. Homes are still selling, of course, but at a much slower rate than we saw in the first quarter of the year.
These changes have led to a certain degree of consumer uncertainty. Some buyers wonder whether now is still a good time to buy or if the best strategic move is to wait for the pricing ‘bottom.’ This is problematic reasoning, though, because often we only know the bottom has arrived after the market has already started to climb. Darn it!

In truth, though, it seems the shock of interest rate adjustments is beginning to fade. Folks are becoming somewhat desensitized to the news as each new announcement comes along. Now it’s just a matter of getting through the slow summer months before we launch what is expected to be a reasonably normal fall season in real estate.
For buyers who are committed to making the move now, you’re not wrong. Any slight reduction in price that could occur over the coming weeks would likely be more than offset by higher interest rates. Ultimately this means the less-expensive price in October or November would be much more costly in interest charges.

If you are one of the savvy buyers considering scooping up a deal right now, here are a few tips that can help you navigate the market as it stands today, in August 2022.
Take Your Time
Compared to the post-traumatic stress experienced by some homebuyers in January of this year, buying a house right now will feel like you’re on vacation. By January everything was moving so quickly, homebuyers had very little time between the showing and offer day to decide whether to move forward on a purchase.

By comparison, buyers can now shop around for as long as they wish and have long discussions with their families about which house is best suited. Waiting for your lender to confirm financing is no big deal anymore, since you have more time. And you can even go back for a second or third visit to the house if you like, just to be sure the home is right for you before making a decision.

In short, there is no rush to making a decision in today’s buying market. Of course, it will always be true that well-priced, attractive homes will sell quickly. If you or your REALTOR® feel that the house you are considering has been priced under market value, it’s probably wise not to let any moss grow under your feet. But for many homes on the market now, this is not likely to be the case.

If you’re not sure which situation applies to you, contact your REALTOR® or, if you have not enlisted the help of a real estate professional yet,
reach out to us today so we can help.
Include Conditions
For buyers that may have started their home search for the first time during COVID, a conditional offer may be a completely alien concept. Now that the market has slowed, conditions are more acceptable to sellers because it may be one of very few offers they see on their home. Given that, as a seller it’s worth being a bit more flexible in allowing buyers time to do their research.

What are conditions? Let’s recap.
Offer conditions are clauses that may be included in an offer to purchase a home. These conditions are customarily included by a buyer who is presenting a seller with a document outlining what they wish to pay for the property. This document is known as the Agreement of Purchase and Sale, also called an offer.
What’s the purpose of a condition? In residential resale, it’s included most often to protect a home buyer by allowing time to research and perform due diligence on a property.
(It is also possible for conditions to be included for the purposes of protecting a seller. Upon receiving an offer to purchase, a seller may counter that offer and include conditions of their own.)

In the case of a buyer, most will want reassurance that the critical systems in the home like heating, plumbing, and electrical are fully operational and functioning well. To protect their interests, a buyer would include a home inspection condition in the offer to purchase. This allows a period of time, perhaps 5 or 7 days, to conduct a home inspection and ensure all is well.
You can include conditions for anything that’s important to you. If you need time to confirm your financing is in place with your bank, you can include a condition allowing time for that. If you’re buying a condominium and you would feel better having your real estate lawyer review the status certificate before committing to the purchase, you can include a condition for that.

We are working with clients now who are considering a home whose driveway is shared with the neighbour. If you are unsure about what this means for you, you can include a condition allowing time to investigate and obtain expert advice from a real estate lawyer.
Since the market is now beginning to favour buyers over sellers, you can now feel comfortable including conditions in your offer. Remember, they exist to protect you – use them.
For more on offer conditions, click here for the full article.
Prices Are Not What They Were
As you are considering your offer price, bear in mind that benchmarks may be hard to find.
The market has changed quickly in the past few months. Unfortunately, this is exactly the period your REALTOR® would normally use to evaluate comparable properties and provide pricing guidance.
As a result, some of the homes you use to evaluate a potential offer price may be slightly off. They may differ in important ways, or they may have been sold when pricing was higher.

So, how will you know the right offer price?

Our best advice is, review as many comparable sold homes as possible. Look at similarities and differences: square footage, land size, how many garage parking spaces, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, age of the home, finished or unfinished basement, and so on. After doing this review with your REALTOR® you will begin to get a sense of the fair market value of the home.
Once you’ve determined what you believe fair market value to be, you will know what price you can expect to pay for the property.

Remember, help is out there for buyers regardless of market conditions. Reach out to us today and we will get you on the pathway to being well-informed and feeling exceptionally confident about your purchase.***

Subscribe to Monthly Newsletter
Explore More Articles
Daily Listings to Your Inbox
What's Your Home Worth?