How to prepare your home for winter

Preparing your home for winter can be a daunting task. Starting early and taking time between jobs will make it much more manageable.

Your efforts will keep out the cold, keep money in your pocket through energy savings and keep your home running efficiently.

Here are six ways to winterize your home this season.

Maintain machines and appliances

Having your furnace and ventilation system serviced by a professional in the fall can prevent potential emergency calls when the temperature drops. 

For improved air quality throughout your home, have your ducts cleaned annually before the onset of cold weather. Outdoor air conditioning units should be covered properly and their power disconnected during the off-season. While you’re at it, cover any lawn furniture or landscaping that will be exposed to the elements.

Conduct a thorough inspection on your yard tools too – drain fuel from your lawn mower and water from your pressure washer, and complete a maintenance check on your snowblower. This will prolong their lifespan and ensure they work efficiently when you need them. If you heat your home with wood, oil or propane, be sure to top up your supply before the cold months hit.

Seal windows, doors, decks and concrete

If the caulking or weather stripping around your windows and doors is cracked, it can let cold air and moisture in, damaging window sills while causing mildew, mold and significant heat loss. Repair and replace what is necessary and cover older windows with a protective window film until they can be replaced.

Decks, driveways and concrete surfaces are not impermeable. Purchase proper sealants or stains that you can apply yourself before ice and snow arrives, or hire a professional. Preserving the integrity of these large surfaces will only serve you in the long run, saving you from major repairs or full replacements.

Outside water

Before draining your pipes, disconnecting hoses or winterizing your  sprinkler system, always turn off the outside water supply. Leaving the outside water on during winter can cause pipes to burst, leading to flooding and damage to your property. If you haven’t already, you may want to consider insulating your water pipes, especially if you leave a summer home unattended off-season or vacation for extended periods of time in the winter months.

Check your gutters

Make sure the gutters are in good condition and properly secured to your home. Prevent damage by clearing out debris to allow snow to melt and drain easily, and point the downspout away from your home. Water should always be moving away from your property to avoid flooding and water damage.

Gutter guards are a worthy investment, as they can help to keep debris and pests out. Clogged gutters can result in leaks that lead to mold and mildew, and act as a breeding ground for mosquitoes and bacteria.

Tend to the attic

Pests can cause damage to your home and your health. Safeguard your attic from birds and rodents who may move in during the winter by checking for access points and placing a screen under any vent. Contact pest control if you suspect an infestation.

To keep warm air from escaping through your roof, determine the R-Value of your current attic insulation and add more to areas not properly insulated, or completely replace the insulation if needed. For added warmth and energy efficiency, you can add insulation to your garage doors and basement.

Inspect your smoke detectors

This important task is not limited to just one season… Inspect your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly, replacing batteries and cleaning them when necessary. Smart home devices can be installed to continuously monitor smoke detectors (and much more), providing added peace of mind.

If some of these tasks are not within your skillset or you simply don’t have the time, hire a general contractor for the small jobs and a certified technician for specialized tasks, such as inspecting the furnace.


More than 3 million Canadians have a mortgage renewing in the next 18 months, and most of them are worried about it

The Bank of Canada announced on October 25th it would be holding its key lending rate at 5.0%, the second consecutive hold since two quarter-point increases were made over the summer. Since March of last year, the central bank has imposed an unprecedented number of rate hikes in an effort to reduce pandemic-fueled inflation, taking interest rates from historic lows to a more than two-decade high. While approximately three quarters (74%) of Canadian mortgage holders currently have a fixed-rate agreement in place, higher interest rates have had a major impact on those with a variable-rate and hybrid mortgage.

“Some Canadians with variable-rate mortgages have seen their monthly payments double or even triple over the last year and half, due to the Bank of Canada’s aggressive interest rate hike campaign aimed at tamping down high inflation. Those locked in to a fixed-rate mortgage, which most are, have been protected from those increases, at least for a short time,” said Karen Yolevski, chief operating officer, Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd. “While the central bank’s key lending rate is expected to come down in the medium term, the likelihood that we will return to rock-bottom rates of less than one per cent is very low. Upon renewal, fixed-rate mortgage holders will be faced with a new reality – higher monthly payments.”

According to a recent Royal LePage survey conducted by Nanos,1 74% of Canadians with a residential mortgage set to renew within the next 18 months say they are concerned about the renewal, in light of the series of interest rate hikes made by the Bank of Canada since March of 2022. 31% per cent of all mortgagees in Canada say their lending agreement is set to renew within the next year and a half (16% within 12 months and 15% in 12-18 months). That’s approximately 3.4 million people with a mortgage that is set to renew by March of 2025.2

Of those who have a variable-rate or hybrid mortgage, 64% say that higher interest rates have caused their mortgage payment to hit its trigger rate – when the mortgage payment no longer covers the interest portion – and have subsequently caused their monthly payments to increase.

“There is no doubt that Canadians’ financial stability has been put to the test over the last few years. In addition to home prices skyrocketing in 2021 and the start of 2022 – followed by interest rate increases that have caused monthly mortgage payments to rise by hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars – the cost of everyday essentials like food and fuel have also surged,” said Yolevski. “Canada’s strong employment rate and the rigorous lending practices of our major banks continue to ensure that a vast majority of households are able to navigate these financial challenges without having to sell their homes.”


Open houses remain an effective strategy for attracting homebuyers post-pandemic: survey

Approximately one-third of Royal LePage real estate professionals say they are holding as many or more open houses today as they were pre-pandemic

Advancements in technology have had an incredible impact on the Canadian real estate industry. Technology has allowed consumers to be more engaged in the buying and selling process, helping to keep them informed and up to date, and offering real estate professionals useful tools to service their clients quicker and more efficiently than ever before. Online applications and digital resources proved to be especially important during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when viewing a home in person became increasingly challenging amid safety concerns and social distancing rules. However, the ability to walk through a property and explore a space in person is irreplaceable for many buyers.

According to a recent survey1 of more than 600 Royal LePage real estate professionals across the country, 48% of sales representatives use open houses in at least half of their listings in their promotional strategy to sell a home. Nearly one-third of real estate professionals (32%) said they are holding as many or more open houses today as they were pre-pandemic, and almost half (46%) believe open houses are still as effective today as they were pre-pandemic in attracting quality buyers.

“Technology has advanced our industry by leaps and bounds, from 3D furniture renderings to virtual showings. During the pandemic, when in-person interactions were restricted by social distancing guidelines, technology was the only way many of us were able to help our clients. However, nothing can truly replace the feeling of physically walking through a home that you dream of buying,” said Shawn Zigelstein, broker and team leader, Royal LePage Your Community. “Buying a property is a very personal decision, and most purchasers want the experience of being able to view their biggest financial investment in real life, if at all possible.”

Zigelstein added that an open house also offers potential buyers the benefit of being able to leisurely view a home without the time restrictions of a formal showing.

When asked about the top reasons why open houses are still an effective selling strategy, Royal LePage real estate experts said that buyers value the flexibility to view a property in person without having to make, or commit to, an appointment (24%). Respondents also reported that open houses are an opportunity for the listing agent to meet new prospects (22%) and maximize the number of potential buyers seeing the property in a short period of time (21%).

When tasked with selling a home, real estate agents have a variety of marketing tools at their disposal. Yet, every home is unique, and each one requires a savvy, marketing-minded expert to apply the right resources in order to attract an appealing purchase offer.

“When it comes to selling a home, it’s important to give clients and their property the full-service marketing experience they deserve, complete with professional photography and videography, and a robust social media plan,” said Anne Léger, chartered real estate broker for the Tremblay Léger team at Royal LePage Humania in the Laurentians. “In the same way that our clients call on us as professionals to ensure the best result for the sale of their property, it’s essential to surround ourselves with specialists in every field so that our clients can benefit from the highest exposure and, by the same token, the best selling price. Attention to detail is always important, but particularly at a time when buyers are looking for turnkey properties. A well-listed property will give purchasers confidence and make it easier for them to move in.”

In their marketing strategy, real estate professionals use a variety of visual and digital tools to promote their clients’ listings. According to the survey, 36% of respondents use professional staging in at least half of their listings in their promotional strategy to sell a home; 67% use professional videography; 47% use drone footage; and 33% use online property ads or listing articles in at least half of their listings.

Not surprisingly, real estate professionals are utilizing less print materials when promoting their clients’ homes today. Seventy-four per cent of respondents said they use newspaper ads in none or almost none of their listings, and 55% said they use “Just Listed” cards or flyers in none or almost none of their listings.

Are you looking for an agent to sell your property? Contact us today!


Royal LePage trims year-end price forecast after sluggish third quarter

Despite weakened activity, Canadian home prices expected to remain stable for remainder of 2023

While many Canadians have adjusted to the increased cost of borrowing, elevated interest rates continue to impact activity in markets across the country, keeping some buyers and sellers stuck on the sidelines. During the third quarter, inventory rose and sales activity softened, although this did not necessarily translate into steep price declines. Canada’s chronic shortage of housing supply is keeping property prices relatively stable.

“With activity slowing, home prices softened in some of our major markets over the last three months, following a stronger-than-expected second quarter. Prices remain up on a year-over-year basis, with today’s stable market standing in sharp contrast to the steep declines experienced in the third quarter of 2022,” said Phil Soper, president and CEO of Royal LePage. “While trading volumes in most regions remain sluggish, Canada’s housing market is on solid footing, with pent-up demand building. We don’t anticipate a material change in property prices through the remainder of the year.”

Royal LePage is forecasting that the aggregate price of a home in Canada will increase 7.0% in the fourth quarter of 2023, compared to the same quarter last year. The previous forecast (8.5%) has been revised downward to reflect softer activity than expected in the third quarter, which resulted in a modest decline in prices in some markets, including Toronto and Vancouver.

According to the Royal LePage House Price Survey released today, the aggregate1 price of a home in Canada increased 3.6% year over year to $802,900 in the third quarter of 2023. On a quarter-over-quarter basis, however, the national aggregate home price decreased modestly by 0.8%.

“Slower activity has allowed critically low inventory levels to build marginally in many regions, yet the quantity of homes available for sale in this country remains well below the level needed to keep a lid on property price increases,” Soper continued. “Once interest rates begin to ease, even by only a small amount, we expect buyers will return to the market in large numbers and the relentless upward march of home prices will begin again. At its root, housing supply remains out of step with the growing need for it.”

Read Royal LePage’s third quarter release for national and regional insights.

Third quarter press release highlights:

Aggregate home prices in greater regions of Toronto and Vancouver posted modest quarterly declines in Q3 of 2.8% and 1.8%, respectively. Meanwhile, Greater Montreal Area posted 0.6% aggregate price increase quarter over quarter

More than half (57%) of regional markets in the report posted a quarter-over-quarter decline in Q3 as activity softened

Diverging trends among major regions sees year-end forecast downgraded nationally and in the Greater Toronto Area, Edmonton and Regina; forecast maintained in the Greater Montreal Area (GMA), Greater Vancouver, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Halifax; Calgary is the only city whose forecast has been raised

Royal LePage applauds federal government’s GST rebate policy aimed at incentivizing new construction of purpose-built rental housing


Home Appraisals: Who Owns The Report And Why You Might Not Get A Copy

Although prospective homeowners are typically responsible for the cost of their home appraisal, many are unaware that they usually won't receive a copy of the appraisal report. The reason behind this lies in the fact that the professional appraiser hired to assess a home's value doesn't actually work for the prospective homeowner.

In the world of mortgage lending, the saying "he or she who holds the gold, makes the rules" holds true. In other words, the party responsible for commissioning the substantial loan for mortgage financing has the authority to determine who pays for the appraisal.

This can be confusing for homeowners, especially when compared to other financial processes. For instance, financial institutions are obligated to provide clients with copies of their credit score assessments, even if a third party requests it. This transparency ensures that everyone involved understands a person's creditworthiness.

So, who owns the appraisal report? According to the Appraisal Institute of Canada (AIC), which represents most appraisers, the appraisal report belongs to the entity that commissioned it. In the context of financing, this means it belongs to the lender.

Keith Lancastle, interim CEO at the AIC, explains that even though homeowners foot the bill for the appraisal, they are not the appraiser's client. The appraiser's primary obligation is to their client, which is the entity that contracted them for the appraisal, typically the lender.

The Canadian National Association of Real Estate Appraisers (CNAREA) shares a similar stance on appraisal ownership. They follow the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP), where the report is considered the property of the client, which may not always be the party that pays for the appraisal. However, the client has the authority to share the report with other parties as long as confidential or licensed data is not compromised.

These strict guidelines on appraisal report ownership are in place to ensure that lenders receive the specific information they require. Different lenders may have distinct lending criteria, so an appraisal tailored for one lender may not be suitable for another.

Christopher Bisson, founder of appraisal tech company Value Connect, notes that appraisers prefer to know who the report is intended for to align it with the criteria that specific lenders typically request. This avoids unexpected discrepancies when switching from one lender to another.

While it's possible for appraisers to release the results of an appraisal with their client's permission, this doesn't happen frequently. However, clients may access appraisal reports in their early stages. Some mortgage representatives receive draft copies and make them available to borrowers.

Bisson recommends this approach when it's unclear which lender will handle a mortgage application. By informing the appraiser about the likely lender type, the report can be prepared according to that lender's criteria, reducing surprises.

Lancastle suggests that lenders may be hesitant to release appraisal reports to maintain a competitive advantage. This practice of homeowners paying for the appraisal has become a standard in the mortgage industry, forming part of the business model established by the lending community.


Canadians buying homes with family, friends to combat housing affordability woes: Royal LePage survey

According to a recent Royal LePage survey conducted by Leger, six percent of Canadian homeowners co-own their property with another party, not including their spouse or significant other. Of this group, 89 percent co-own with family members and seven percent with friends. Another eight percent co-own with someone who is not a friend or family member.

Concerning their co-owning situation, 44 percent of co-owners say that they and all fellow co-owners live in the home together. A smaller percentage (28%) say that they co-own a home with another person(s), but they do not cohabitate. Six percent of respondents say that they co-own a home with another person(s) and neither party uses the home as a primary residence, rather as an investment or recreational property.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced some Canadians to reconsider their living situation, with many choosing to share living space with friends or family in a time of isolation.

“Different generations of families living under one roof is not a new phenomenon, but has been growing in popularity in recent years,” said Karen Yolevski, COO, Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd. “Census data shows that multigenerational households are now the fastest growing household type in Canada. Households group together for many reasons, including communal care for elderly parents, help raising children, cultural preferences or simply to be together.

However, the decision to live together, including co-owning a home is a decision increasingly made for financial reasons. In an environment where home prices and interest rates have risen quickly and sharply, and where the threshold to qualify for a mortgage has become much more challenging, Canadians are pooling their resources and buying homes together. In cases where homebuyers cannot afford to purchase on their own, they are combining their buying power with their parents, children, siblings or even friends.” “In a market beset by reduced home supply, escalating prices, tightened mortgage qualification requirements, and the highest borrowing rates in more than two decades, many buyers are having difficulties securing the property that they want. Some Canadians are using co-ownership as a way of boosting their borrowing capacity or lowering their monthly mortgage costs, helping them achieve their goal of home ownership,” said Yolevski. “By dividing the cost of a home between more people, Canadians can not only get their foot on the property ladder more easily but also expand their home search to more desirable locations or larger properties that may not have been accessible with their budget alone.”

Of those who co-own a home with another person(s) and live in the home together, nearly half (49%) say that they purchased the home with another party because they would not have been able to afford a home on their own. Thirty-eight percent say that by co-owning, they were able to afford a larger property and/or a property in a more desirable neighbourhood. Thirty percent say that they purchased a co-owned home because they required family support with childcare or taking care of elderly relatives.

“Opting to co-own with friends or family is not as simple as signing a piece of paper next to someone else's name – co-owning a home often comes with meaningful lifestyle changes, and requires in-depth conversations over financial, legal and personal obligations,” said Yolevski. “Regardless of whether you live in the home with your fellow co-owners or not, the responsibilities of owning a home with other people are shared, but so are the benefits.”


Open House. Open House on Sunday, October 15, 2023 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Open House Sunday October 15 2023 from 2-4 pm.

Please visit our Open House at 154 AQUARIUM Avenue in Orleans. See details here

Open House on Sunday, October 15, 2023 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM Open House Sunday October 15 2023 from 2-4 pm.

NEW executive 2 story home ready for owners! Stunning high end contemporary finishes throughout, 4 Beds & 4 Baths. Main level features 9ft ceilings, 'must have' home office, Living & Dining Rms & FamilyRm w/gas FP. The Kitchen will delight the chef in you with a butler's pantry between DiningRm & kitchen, glorious walk-in pantry, large centre island w/extended breakfast bar, breakfast nook w/patio doors to rear yard. Spacious mudroom w/access to 2 car garage, walk-in closet & 2pce bath complete the main level. Dramatic hardwood staircase leads to upper level where you will find 4 large Beds, ALL featuring walk-in closets, laundry rm & walk-in linen closet. 2 bedrms share a jack & jill bath, 4th Bed offers its own 4 pce Ensuite bath w/modern tile. Primary suite enjoys full back of the home; large room, WIC & a luxurious 5pc Ensuite w/custom tile walk-in shower, free-standing tub & dual sinks. Wide-plank engineered HW on main lvl & upper hall. Finished Rec Rm. Walk to transit. 24hr irrev (id:2493)


Market Update for September 2023

Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board (OREB) sold 946 residential properties in September 2023. This was unchanged from September 2022.

“Sales activity came in right on par with where it stood at the same time last year but was still running well below typical levels for a September,” says OREB's President. “New listings

have surged in the past several months, which has caused overall inventories to begin gradually rising again. However, the available supply is still low by historical standards, and we have ample room to absorb more listings coming on the market. Our market is also right in the middle of balanced territory, and while MLS® Benchmark prices are down from last year they are still trending at about the same levels from 2021.”

The overall MLS® HPI composite benchmark price was $643,600 in September 2023, nearly unchanged, up only 0.5% compared to September 2022.

The benchmark price for single-family homes was $727,500, essentially unchanged, up just 0.6% on a year-over-year basis in September.

By comparison, the benchmark price for townhouse/row units was $510,900, a small gain of 2.5% compared to a year earlier, while the benchmark apartment price was $422,300, falling by 1.1% from year-ago levels.

The average price of homes sold in September 2023 was $675,412, increasing by 2.7% from September 2022. The more comprehensive year-to-date average price was $672,837, a decline of 6.5% from the first nine months of 2022.

Call today for real estate advice and information!

The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are member’s of CREA. The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by CREA and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.