Tristram Realty Blog

39% of Buyers Want Move-In Ready Home

posted by: Tristram Realty
on: March 13th, 2013

New survey from Ontario Real Estate Association shows 39% want move-in ready home.

Safety, perceived value and a location close to shopping or transportation are the most important factors Ontarians consider when buying a home. New research commissioned by the Ontario Real Estate Association and hosted on the Angus Reid Forum shows that 93 per cent of Ontario residents surveyed say safety (e.g. low crime area, building security) is important when considering properties, 85 per cent list perceived value of the home (i.e. considered a good buy based on market and amenities) as a top consideration and 80 per cent want the home to be close to amenities (e.g. shopping, transportation, etc.)

Part one of the OREA State of the Market survey released today is a snapshot of what’s on the minds of homebuyers in the province. Part two will be released later this summer and will focus more on the concerns of sellers.

“Security, both physical and financial, is top of mind for Ontarians,” says Ron Abraham, president of the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA). “Homebuyers may not know which neighbourhoods offer the best potential to grow their investment or which condo building provides maximum security features. A Realtor can help buyers find the right home in an area that meets all their top needs.”

Other findings from the survey:

  • 65 per cent of respondents age 18-34 ranked quality of local schools as an important factor when buying a home, while less than half (48 per cent) of people ages 35-54 said it was important.
  • 80 per cent of younger Ontarians (ages 18-34) say a property close to work is an important factor when buying a new home, dropping to 65 per cent for those in the 35–54 age group.
  • Men and women had similar responses to the questions. One noted difference was that 62 per cent of men said a coveted neighbourhood was an important factor to them, while 53 per cent of women said it was important.
  • Of those who specifically plan to buy a home in the next year, safety and perceived value are top factors but 85 per cent also indicate that ongoing home maintenance required for a property (amount of yard work, fees for condo management, etc.) is an important consideration.
  • Move-in ready homes preferred most
  • When asked which type of home they’d prefer to buy (new build, resale home that’s move in ready, one that requires minor renovations, a fixer-upper that needs major renovations, or a buy, tear down and rebuild), more than a third said they’d prefer a resale home that’s move-in ready (39 per cent).
  • 26 per cent said they’d like a home that only needs minor renovations and only 5 per cent said they would want a home that needs a major renovation.
  • Across Ontario, 19 per cent said they would want a newly built home; this number rose to 24 per cent for people in the GTA. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation shows 66 per cent of Ontario’s new housing starts in the first quarter of 2012 are in Toronto.

“If you have a number of must-haves when looking at homes it will inevitably increase the price of your purchase,” says Abraham. “Homebuyers should have a frank conversation with their Realtor about what is vital and what would be nice to have. It is then our job to find them a property that meets their needs and helps them maximize their investment

Market News | February 2013

posted by: Tristram Realty
on: March 13th, 2013





KITCHENER-WATERLOO, ON (March 5, 2013) –– Residential sales through the Multiple Listing System

(MLS®) of the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® (KWAR) were down 10.5 % compared to this month last year while the year-to-date dollar volume of sales was 8 % above the 5-year average.

A total of 445 residential properties sold last month, a 31.3 % increase compared to January 2013.February’s residential sales included 297 detached homes (down 9.7 % compared to February 2012) 81 condos (down 12.9 %), 36 semis (up 5.9 %), and 29 freehold townhouses (down 25.6 %).

“Sales in February showed a healthy increase over January,” says Dietmar Sommerfeld, President of the KWAR. “The reduction in the number of sales on a year over year basis can be attributed to the tightened mortgage rules implemented by the government in mid-2012.”

The average sale price of all homes sold in February increased 5.4 % to $324,998 from the same time last year. Single detached homes sold for an average price of $368,573, an increase of 5 % compared to

February 2012. Average sale prices for condos rose to $218,591, an 8.8 % increase from last year and townhomes followed closely with an 8.3 % bump putting the average selling price at $283,513.

“With continued low mortgage rates we expect a healthy spring market,” says Sommerfeld. “It remains an incredibly good time to buy or sell in our market.”

The KWAR cautions average sale price information can be useful in establishing long term trends, but should not be used as an indicator that specific properties have increased or decreased in value. The average sale price is based on the total dollar volume of all residential properties sold.

Consumers uncertain about current market conditions should work with a REALTOR® to develop an effective selling strategy. If you are buying, a REALTOR® will negotiate on your behalf and guide you through every step. A REALTOR® understands the local market and must, by law, look after your best interests.


Ontarians need help understanding home selling process and documents

posted by: Tristram Realty
on: January 14th, 2013

TORONTO, Sept. 6, 2012 – Beyond worrying about the state of the real estate market (77 per cent), a new survey from the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) shows that Ontarians’ top concerns when selling a home are understanding the process and the legal documents required in a sale (61 per cent), fixing up the home in order to list (60 per cent) and the number of days on the market before it sells (59 per cent).

Released today, OREA’s State of the Market survey was conducted on the Angus Reid Forum and is the second in a two-part series that provides a snapshot of what’s on the minds of potential homebuyers and sellers in the province. Part One looked at the top priorities for homebuyers.

Ron Abraham, OREA president, says it is common for homeowners to have uncertainty about the selling process because each sale requires different steps that are dependent on a number of things including the terms of the agreement (such as building inspections or completion date), the need to transfer or discharge a mortgage and whether or not the seller has already purchased a new property and is financing two homes simultaneously.

Reviewing and understanding documents can be another complicated part of the home selling process, which is why Abraham recommends homeowners consult with their Realtor before signing any forms. If any doubt or misunderstanding is raised, it is also advisable to consult with a lawyer.

“It seems homeowners are just as concerned with the home selling process and the documents involved as they are with the thought of preparing their home for sale, which isn’t surprising as there’s a lot to consider with this step,” says Abraham. “Realtors can quite quickly and easily identify areas in a home that require repairs or touch-ups or alternatively can advise against certain renovations if the return on investment isn’t there. Ultimately, homeowners want to show their home in its best light to help make for a smooth negotiation phase and sale.”

Other survey findings

  • More men than women feel a sense of inconvenience when selling a home (44 per cent versus 38 per cent respectively), but more women said fixing up a home before listing was a concern (62 per cent) than men (57 per cent)
  • The majority of respondents also indicated concern about their ability to negotiate a price for a home. Half (50 per cent) of people with a total household income of $100,000 or more said they were concerned about their skill at price negotiation, 56 per cent of people with a total household income between $50,000 and $99,999 said the same and 62 per cent of those with a total household income of $50,000 or less were worried.
  • The survey also found that the majority of Ontarians (59 per cent) would start to feel anxious if their home was still on the market after 45 days or more. As examined in an earlier OREA release, the average time it takes to sell a home in some parts of the province is 30 days, while homes in other areas may take twice as long, or longer, to sell. Some Ontario homeowners may be influenced by the quick sales in “hot” markets and not realize that more days on the market is typical for their area.

“Realtors have insight and expertise beyond the market that can help owners best position their home for potential buyers and help them through the stressful time of trying to sell their home,” says Abraham.

If you are interested in learning more about market conditions and the selling/buying process please call orand we would be happy to help.

Selling a home with aluminum wiring

posted by: Tristram Realty
on: January 14th, 2013

Realtors often encounter aluminum wiring when listing and selling properties. The following article that appeared in the Real Estate Magazine (REM), an industry publication, highlights the importance of a professional inspection of these systems. This is something that we recommend to both Buyer and Seller clients as a matter of routine. Bryan Freeman, a Halifax Home Inspector is the author.

Aluminum wiring was used extensively in the residential market from 1965 to 1976, but is no longer a popular wiring material for branch circuits. Problems have been reported from the overheating and failure of aluminum wiring terminations. Symptoms of this include receptacle discolouration, flickering lights, the smell of hot plastic insulation and sometimes an electrical-induced static noise on the radio and/or television.

Aluminum wiring in a home will operate as safely as any other type of wiring if the proper materials are used and it is installed to the manufacturer’s instructions and the Electric Safety Code of the jurisdiction where you live.

If you are trying to sell a home with aluminum wiring, one of the biggest obstacles will be when the potential buyers try to obtain insurance. The insurance underwriter often insists on having the electrical system inspected by a licensed electrician who has experience in inspecting and repairing aluminum wiring.

Your home inspector should strongly recommend that you hire a qualified electrical contractor experienced in repairing aluminum wiring to do a thorough inspection of the electrical system, even if the insurance company does not request one.

The inspection should include the following:

  1. Visually check terminations at devices without removing or disturbing the devices.
  2. Cut back any damaged aluminum conductors and join these to a copper tail using an approved connector for use with aluminum. These connectors are brown or purple depending on the manufacturer.
  3. The copper tail is then terminated at the terminal screws of an approved ordinary device.
  4. Sometimes the damaged section can be cut back, removing the damaged aluminum conductors and re-terminated at a new device bearing the marking CO/ALR.
  5. Only devices bearing this CO/ALR marking are currently approved for use with aluminum wiring.
  6. Panel board terminations should be checked for signs of overheating.
  7. Fuses installed for heavy loads should be temperature sensitive Type D or Type P.
  8. Circuits should never be overloaded or over fused regardless of wiring type.

Someone who has not examined the wiring in your house cannot reliably assure you about the condition that this wiring is in. Yet, in response to inquiry by owners or buyers of homes containing aluminum electrical branch wiring, there have been reports that some individuals in the field say the aluminum wiring in your house is not likely to be a problem.

The condition of aluminum electrical wiring connections vary greatly from house to house and even from branch circuit to branch circuit within a particular house. It is possible for very unsafe conditions to be present, but not visible, in any house with aluminum branch circuit wiring.

It is inaccurate and even dangerous for anyone to make any representation about the condition of aluminum wiring in a specific property without an on-site inspection.

Are the connections to the aluminum wire in any branch circuit safe? Without determining what types of connections are in the system and how they were made, nobody can answer the question definitively.

Are the receptacles “push-in” or “screw-terminal” type? If screw-terminal wired, how is the wire placed under the screw? (Does the wire go straight in or is it wrapped around the connector)? Are the screws steel or brass? Are the screws plated with zinc on the neutral side? What kind of splicing connectors exist in the system? If they are twist-on connectors (“wire nuts”), are they the live spring or restrained spring type? Did the installer clean the aluminum wire to remove the oxide before making the connection?

Were the spliced wires pre-twisted together? Was a proper corrosion inhibitor used on all connections?

Only after having the answers to all of these questions (from direct observations), can an evaluation of the relative safety of the wiring system be made.

These types of questions cannot be answered by a visual home inspection. Consequently, when a house contains any branch aluminum wire circuits, the client is strongly advised to have the electrical system thoroughly inspected by a qualified, licensed electrical contractor familiar with aluminum wiring.

Bryan Freeman operates CanInspect HRM Home Inspection Service in Halifax.; Email

Market News | December 2012

posted by: Tristram Realty
on: January 14th, 2013

There were a total of 6,212 residential sales through the Multiple Listing System (MLS®) of the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® (KWAR) in 2012, a slight decline of 0.7 %compared to 2011’s year-end results.

Coming off two consecutive months of strong housing activity in October and November, fourth quarter home sales were practically on par with last year’s results. A total of 1,268 homes sold through the last 3 months of 2012, 6 transactions more than the same period in 2011.

Dollar volume of all residential real estate sold last year increased 2.6 %to $ 1,931,345,147 compared with 2011, reflecting the steady price gains realized in 2012.

The average sale price of all homes sold in 2012 increased 3.3 %to $311,006. Single detached homes sold for an average price of $353,888 in 2012, an increase of 3.2 percent. In the condominium market the average sale price in 2012 was $213,520, a 4 %increase compared to the previous year. “Residential sales activity remained fairly steady throughout 2012,” says Dietmar Sommerfeld, president of the KWAR. “In July the government put in place tighter mortgage lending rules, which is perhaps partly responsible for the slight easing of demand we saw, but overall the Kitchener-Waterloo housing market continues to show its stability.”

Home sales in 2012 included 4,070 detached homes (down 1.2 %from 2011), 1,200 condos (down 0.1 percent) 486 semis (down 2.4 percent), and 400 townhouses (up 7.8 percent). Sommerfeld says that Waterloo region benefits from a very diverse and dynamic economy that will continue to support a healthy housing market and consumer appetite for home ownership in 2013.

The KWAR cautions average sale price information can be useful in establishing long term trends, but should not be used as an indicator that specific properties have increased or decreased in value. The average sale price is based on the total dollar volume of all residential properties sold.

Consumers uncertain about current market conditions should work with a REALTOR® to develop an effective selling strategy. If you are buying, a REALTOR® will negotiate on your behalf and guide you through every step. A REALTOR® understands the local market and must, by law, look after your best interests.

Market News | November 2012

posted by: Tristram Realty
on: December 20th, 2012


KITCHENER-WATERLOO, ON (December 5, 2012) –– Residential real estate sales through the Multiple Listing System (MLS®) of the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® (KWAR) were up 7.3% last month compared to November of last year.

There were 486 residential properties sold in November, bringing the year-to-date total to 5,931, just nine more home sales than during the first 11 months of 2011. The total value of homes sold last month was $151 million, up 11.3 % over last year. “In terms of total unit sales, it was a better than average November” says Dietmar Sommerfeld,president of the KWAR. “Our figures show that residential transactions in November were 6.8 % above the previous 5 year-average.” November’s residential sales included 318 detached homes (up 8.9 %), 33 semi-detached (down 17.5 %), 26 townhouses (up 4 %), and 103 condominium units (up 14.4 %).

There was a jump in the number of home selling in the $500,000 to $750,000 price range — 41 homes compared to 23 in November of last year. This put some upward pressure on the average price range.

The average sale price of all homes sold in November was $311,604, compared with $300,447 a year ago, an increase of 3.7 %. Single detached homes sold for an average price of $359,439, compared with 346,044 last year, up 3.9 %.

The median price for all homes sold in November was $287,750 compared with $275,000, an increase of 4.6 %. Single detached homes sold for a median price of $326,500 compared with $315,000 last year, up 3.7 %. Sommerfeld says that despite talk of cooling markets in some Canadian cities, continued low
borrowing costs, confidence in the local real estate market, and a well-diversified local economy are keeping Kitchener-Waterloo’s housing market steady and stable.

70% of Young Canadians Want More Financial Information About Purchasing A Home.

posted by: Tristram Realty
on: December 10th, 2012

Consumers have a new tool to help navigate the complexities and financial implications of purchasing a home. The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), and the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) launched the Homebuyers’ Road Map.

In a recent Nanos Research survey for CREA, more than 63% of Canadians indicated a “major need” for more information about the financial details of buying a home. That figure rose to 70% for respondents between the ages of 18 and 29.

As REALTORS®, we appreciate that young Canadians and first-time homebuyers are craving more information about the financial details required to purchase a home. The purpose of the Homebuyers’ Road Map is to empower consumers with the knowledge, skills and confidence to make responsible financial decisions about one of the largest purchases they will ever make

Launched to coincide with Financial Literacy Month, the Homebuyers’ Road Map is a guide which will help Canadians better understand the home buying process as well as appreciate the importance of negotiating with lenders and researching government programs.

Buying a home involves a number of steps and many buyers need some help in understanding the various options available. In order to make the decision that matches their own circumstances and goals, consumers need some money know-how — which is what financial literacy really is. This guide will help people make the right decision, and adds to the information on mortgages, loans and banking.

To access the Homebuyers’ Road Map, and to find out how a we can help, please visit our website at and click on the Homebuyer’s Road Map tab.

Jaye Mckenzie, Energy Specialist and Clearer

posted by: Tristram Realty
on: December 10th, 2012

Selling stigmatized properties can be tough. We were recently e-introduced to Jaye McKenzie as a result of a feature article about her and the services she performs in an industry publication called the Real Estate Magazine or REM for short. Jaye is a professional “clearer” of paranormal situations, an energy specialist. I asked Jaye for some information about her gifts and talents thinking that our readers might find it interesting. Enjoy!

Jaye McKenzie is an Energy Specialist and Clearer, Inspirational Speaker, Positivity Coach/Spiritual Counselor, Medical Intuitive, Reiki Master, gifted Psychic Medium.  Jaye is passionate and enthusiastic about life and her work. Allison DuBois, the real-life inspiration for the television series MEDIUM said of Jaye, “You have very strong healing energy.”

She is a fourth generation psychic medium and her extraordinary gifts began showing themselves by the age of four. Jaye’s background includes a Psychology major in University, dance with The National Ballet of Canada, professional acting/voiceovers.

Giving up a successful, award-winning career in Real Estate, Jaye now provides healing, inspiration and unique coaching. You will enjoy wonderful connections with your deceased loved ones, gain insights and help with all areas of your life. “You have a great gift, a great presence” – B.J. Levin, producer, Stick Figure Productions, New York, N.Y.

Her practice includes coaching, past life regression therapy, energy healing and clearings of negative energy from properties, people and business deals. “Just thirty minutes talking with Jaye was more effective and healing than a full stress-reduction seminar” – Dr. John Blondal, medical oncologist, St. Joseph’s Health Centre, Toronto.

As well, she lends her abilities to law enforcement, helping to locate missing persons. Her clients are varied, her scope international!

Jaye can be reached at  Please visit her website, blog at

Market News | October 2012

posted by: Tristram Realty
on: November 12th, 2012

Area home sales rebounded in October, with 500 homes trading through the Multiple Listing System (MLS®) of the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® (KWAR). Residential sales in October are up 11.6% compared to last month’s results, and increased 4.6% from October 2011. October’s residential sales included 322 detached homes (up 1.6%), 48 semi-detached (up 54.8), 33 townhouses (up 32%), and 92 condominium units (down 7.1%).

The average sales price of all residential sales in October was $302,656 a 1.5% decrease from the average sale price recorded in October 2011. Single detached properties sold for an average price of $339,592, a 3.8% decrease relative to one year ago. Average prices for townhouses and condominium property types both increased last month, with townhouses gaining 10.7% to $287,133, and condominium units increasing 7% to $215,831 compared to the same month last year.

On a year-to-date basis, residential home sales are practically on par with 2011 – with a total of 5,443 sales recorded. The average price of all residential properties sold year-to date is $310,739, an increase of 3.2% over 2011.
When looking at averages caution should be used. The average sale price is based on the total dollar volume of all residential properties sold. Average sale price information can be useful in establishing long term trends, but should not be used as an indicator that specific properties have increased or decreased in value. If you would like assistance establishing your property’s “fair market value” please give us a call.

If you or anyone you know would be interested in specific information on any property market value we may be contacted at

Home Inspectors to Meet National Standards

posted by: Tristram Realty
on: November 5th, 2012

Cam Allen, QMI Agency, Wednesday, August 15, 2012, 8:49 PM

KINGSTON, Ont. – Canada’s home inspectors, long unregulated in much of the country, will soon be expected to meet national standards for training and education, QMI Agency has learned.

The certification will be granted through a partnership between the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) and the National Home Inspector Certification Council (NHICC).

“The confusion is being removed from choosing a qualified home inspector. The inspector will be either CSA-approved, or not,” said NHICC spokesman Bill Mullen.

The CSA will soon announce that it will recognize the National Home Inspector Personnel Certification Program, one of several certification programs currently in use in Canada, as its national standard.

The CSA has quietly monitored the development of the NHICC certification model, which was created in 2010, for many months.

Like earning a trade license or an post-secondary diploma or degree, the CSA-NHICC project will be an independent certification program.

To become a certified national home inspector, a candidate must write a qualification exam. Based on the results of this exam and a background review, the candidate will be advised of what, if any, further education is required.

He or she will also be subject to a review of previously completed home inspections and supervised field work, and receive mentoring.

Before being granted the national home inspector designation, candidates will have to undergo an intensive and in-depth peer review by senior NHICC examiners.

“This certification process is the most inclusive, responsible and independent model available in North America,” said Mullen.

“Once the real estate, legal, insurance and banking communities see the CSA recognition of the NHICC program, it will only be a short period of time before the NHI designation will become the recognized standard for home inspectors from coast to coast.”

Currently, nearly 500 inspectors hold the NHI certification in Canada and many more are in the certification stream.