new listing at Holland Cross

Here is a new listing at Holland Cross – located at 35 Holland Avenue, walk to Wellington Village and a stone’s throw to Tunney’s pasture…. over 1000 sq. ft. – 2 balconies. Check it out…, a great downtown Ottawa condo.
Posted by Travis…

CHECK OUT THE Details HERE!!!

Travis Gordon is a sales representative with Remax Metro-City Realty Ltd., Brokerage, an experienced Ottawa real estate agent, and co-founder of the Ottawa Condo Guide, a resource for buyers and sellers of condominium properties in Ottawa. Our goal is to help educate buyers and sellers in the Ottawa real estate market, and provide professional advice when helping them buy and sell properties, including Ottawa Condos and Homes.

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199 Kent Street

Here is a new listing at 199 Kent Street
Check it out:
http://www.ottawacondoguide.com/listings-details.cfm?id=19

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Does it have to be new?

While researching recent condo sales this week for a couple of upcoming listings (check back to www.ottawacondoguide.com for details, CondoClient members, we’ll let you know before they hit MLS®), the disparity between the cost of new or almost new construction and older, more established buildings really hit home with me.

After some quick work on the calculator, I saw that newer condos in the core are selling in the area of $475 to $500 per square foot. Older buildings are selling in the neighbourhood of $335 to $350 per square foot. That’s a big difference! Are some of the older units looking a little dreary? Yes. Could some of the units stand a renovation? Yes. Even after factoring in renovating or decorating costs, the case could be made that they are still better value for money. The more established buildings also have some bona fide benefits over their newer counterparts. One of the important ones is they have had their financial “shakeout” i.e. the operating expenses are a known quantity and, barring any surprises, there should not be any big jumps in the condo fee. Another benefit is many of the older buildings have better locations and amenities. So, before you get caught up in the excitement of the granite counters and the bamboo floors, step back and remind yourself that those goodies can be added to an older unit (and also done over time for those on a budget) and at the end of the day you could end up with more space, renovated to your taste and with less money invested.

Bob Fraser is a sales representative with Remax Metro-City Realty Ltd., Brokerage, an experienced Ottawa real estate agent, and co-founder of the Ottawa Condo Guide, a resource for buyers and sellers of condominium properties in Ottawa. Our goal is to help educate buyers and sellers in the Ottawa real estate market, and provide professional advice when helping them buy and sell properties.

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The condo looks great, but what about the building?

When buying a condo one of the first things you want to do, prior to offering on a place is evaluating the condominium as a whole.   If we are talking about a house here, it would be similar to driving around a neighbourhood, talking to neighbours, and inspecting the building.

Here are a few things you can do to get started in evaluating a condo building:
– Have a good look at the outside of the building – does it look well maintained, does anything look like it is in a state of disrepair, how clean are the grounds kept, can you spot any potential problem areas?
– Look at the common areas – further to looking at the outside, do a similar visual inspection inside, look at the hallways, the foyer, common areas etc., to get a feel for it – has it been recently updated, is it cosmetically dated?
Is there room for improvement, if so, is this reflected in the condo prices (believe it or not, this can sometimes be a good thing!)
– Talk to the super, security, or maintenance staff – these people often have insider information on a building, and may share with you – unbiased opinions that you may not get from residents
– Chat with residents – hang around the lobby for a few minutes, or if you’re with someone in an elevator, ask them some questions – if they don’t have a hidden agenda maybe you’ll get some great info! –

– Evaluate the amenities – do they fit with what you’re needs are? If you’re not a swimmer, and your building has a pool, you’re paying for something you’ll never use – keep these things in mind, as maintenance of amenities have a direct impact on condo fees! (you can check out our condo matchmaker to help determine which buildings meet your needs).

 – Location, location, location – how does the location fit with what you’re looking for, how is the walkability, (check out walkscore.com)

– Get a status certificate – during the purchase process of a condo, we always recommend ordering a status certificate prior to purchasing a condo, however in most cases, it is better to do this after you have secured the condo with a conditional offer, before you spend the money to have a status certificate made up for you.

– These are just some of the items to make sure you consider when buying a condo.  Seek the advice of professionals for help along the way, as this is a major investment decision.

Travis Gordon is a sales representative with Remax Metro-City Realty Ltd., Brokerage, an experienced Ottawa real estate agent, and co-founder of the Ottawa Condo Guide, a resource for buyers and sellers of condominium properties in Ottawa. Our goal is to help educate buyers and sellers in the Ottawa real estate market, and provide professional advice when helping them buy and sell properties, including Ottawa Condos and Homes.

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A true studio loft at the Mondrian 324 Laurier Avenue

This one is really cool, so we had to plug this one of  a kind loft for sale at the Mondrian in Ottawa, located at 324 Laurier Avenue.  Some pretty amazing photos show off this unique Pied-a-terre in downtown Ottawa.  Check it out, and let us know what you think.  You can see complete details at the Ottawa Condo Guide, a great resource we offer for downtown Ottawa condos, to educate consumers on what is out there in terms of buildings and areas.  A great way to get started if you’re looking to buy a condominium in Ottawa.

Travis Gordon is a sales representative with Remax Metro-City Realty Ltd., Brokerage, an experienced Ottawa real estate agent, and co-founder of the Ottawa Condo Guide, a resource for buyers and sellers of condominium properties in Ottawa. Our goal is to help educate buyers and sellers in the Ottawa real estate market, and provide professional advice when helping them buy and sell properties, including Ottawa Condos and Homes.

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How to buy a condo in a hot market…

In the downtown Ottawa Condo Market, often find that when working with a client, we look at all of the available inventory, and can’t find a buyer what they are looking for. We know it’s out there, it does exist, but it is just that no one is selling one of these condos at the present time. For many of our buyer clients, when necessary, we take it one step further, and try to find people looking to sell before they go onto the open market, via letters, telephone calls, and emails. If this doesn’t drum something up, we then play the waiting game; waiting for that right place to come onto the market. Unfortunately, there are often other people waiting for a similar type of property, then when it comes up, a few people want the property, and it creates the “competing offer” situation, A.K.A. a “bidding war”, A.K.A. “multiple offers”, A.K.A. “a sellers dream”! That being said, often times if you are in a multiple offer situation, it is because the condo of interest is a good one, and this shouldn’t deter you from buying, but you do need to know what you’re doing, to protect your own interests. Here are a few tips on how to deal with a multiple offer situation:
– Hire a good real estate agent – a good realtor® will know how to handle a multiple offer situation, and ensure you have the best possibility of succeeding given what you are planning on offering.
– Do a market analysis ahead of time – try and determine the following: if you owned the condo, given the market conditions, what would you be asking for the condo, look at comparable properties for sale, recently sold, and that were listed but did not sell. Sometimes you will need to dig into old listings, land registries offices, and old-fashioned asking around
– Pre-determine your “top price” before you go into the offer. It is recommended to do this ahead of time because at the time of offer, and during any negotiations, it can become very exciting and emotional, and for a large investment decision such as this, you don’t want to make an emotional decision that you may regret!
– Analyze the situation – if you are in a multiple offer situation, you have the right to know how many other offers you are competing against, and when they are being presented to the seller. A good realtor® will know all of the questions to ask, to try to extract further information from the seller, their agent, other offering parties etc, to try to get the upper hand, and gain more knowledge about the situation you’re going into.
– Minimize your conditions – if you can meet a condition prior to submitting an offer, this may be enough to set you over the top, such as doing a building inspection prior to offering, or getting your financing in place so that this is not a condition of an offer
– Don’t mess around : when asked for an offer in a multiple offer situation, you should go in with your best shot, in most cases, the sellers agent will tell this to all parties, and if you don’t go in with your best shot, it may be too late to revise it if the seller accepts another offer
– Present it in person – when the situation requires, being present at the offer presentation can be beneficial – if offers are close, you want to be the sellers path of least resistant to further negotiations
Every offer situation is different, so depending on circumstances different strategies may apply. If you follow the first point, and get yourself a good realtor®, they should be able to guide you through the rest of the process, and maximize your chances of success.

Please note that every situation is unique, and you should speak to your lawyer and real estate agent prior to submitting a legally binding offer.

Travis Gordon is a sales representative with Remax Metro-City Realty Ltd., Brokerage, an experienced Ottawa real estate agent, and co-founder of the Ottawa Condo Guide, a resource for buyers and sellers of condominium properties in Ottawa. Our goal is to help educate buyers and sellers in the Ottawa real estate market, and provide professional advice when helping them buy and sell properties, including Ottawa Condos and Homes.

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What’s your View?

My wife and I checked into a hotel in midtown Manhattan last year on our first trip to the Big Apple. On the way to the hotel, we excitedly talked about having our morning coffee while enjoying the view of Central Park, or maybe overlooking the Museum of Modern Art. We were like kids on Christmas morning, giddy with anticipation. Well we weren’t looking over Central Park; I think we were overlooking the accounts receivable department of an insurance company. There was an office building about 15 feet from our window (we could see what they were typing on their computers!). We look back on it now and laugh because it only lasted four days. But what if we hadn’t checked into a hotel but bought a condo where the “insurance building” went up a year or so later?

Many people buy condos specifically for the view they offer but cityscapes are constantly changing so here is some food for thought on condo views.

Natural sunlight is a big plus for most condos so if it is important to you, make sure you see the unit at a couple of times in the day. Based on the location of surrounding buildings, the condo that is flooded in natural light at 1 pm might be in complete shade by 2.

Another important consideration is how long will your view last? The upper floors of The Strand condominium at the corner of Somerset and Kent have wonderful western views that fill the units on that side with afternoon sun and gorgeous sunsets. However, directly across the street sitting the opposite corner (primo real estate no doubt) is a Budget Car Rental hut with a bunch of rental cars parked. As my clients bask in the glow of the sunset while we are viewing these units, I always point out to them that, while I don’t have a crystal ball, I doubt that million dollar corner is going to be a Budget rental lot forever. The point here is of course is that your unobstructed view may someday be obstructed and you need to ask questions and do some research before signing on the dotted line.

Another consideration is not the view you are getting, but the view you are offering. Some residents of surrounding buildings in high density areas may make a hobby of peering into your life (if you know what I mean). Have good look around from every window and try to imagine what others can see from their windows. Some condo corporations have strict guidelines on what type of window coverings you can put up so a blind may not always be a solution.

All kidding aside, the view can be one of the highlights of your condo so make sure you consider all of the possibilities if it is important to you. That’s just my view.

Bob Fraser is a sales representative with Remax Metro-City Realty Ltd., Brokerage, an experienced Ottawa real estate agent, and co-founder of the Ottawa Condo Guide, a resource for buyers and sellers of condominium properties in Ottawa. Our goal is to help educate buyers and sellers in the Ottawa real estate market, and provide professional advice when helping them buy and sell properties.

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New construction – are you building a good investment?

new condo building construction

new condo building construction

I was reading a blog post from a Toronto condo realtor(R), and it was talking about whether or not pre-construction purchases of new condos is a good investment, so I would like to weigh in on some of the analysis that should go into whether or not Buying a new pre-construction condo in Ottawa is a good investment or not.
To start – the first question you should ask yourself is WHY AM I BUYING THIS CONDO?:
Buyers of pre-construction condos typically have 3 reasons for purchasing:
1 – To live in it, and make it their home, or for a family member, such as a child or parent to live-in.
2 – Buy the condo as a rental investment
3 – Buy a condo pre-construction in hopes of re-selling it upon completion of the new project.

In the event of option number 1, a pre-construction condo can still be a great investment – as you are buying a “roof over your head”, not only are you investing in a home, but you are also investing in a lifestyle!

In the event of option number 2, I personally would be very cautious. Perhaps I am not as good at math as some of my university colleagues, as I just made it through linear algebra, but, I cannot seem to make the cash flow work on many new construction condos without a significant downpayment, often times more than six figures. So in this case, I challenge someone to find me some condo apartment rental investment numbers that work, and I’ll bring some investing buyers to it!!! My number one recommendation: if someone selling a condo is talking numbers (i.e. this unit could rent at xxx per month), I would suggest you do your own research and get some proof in comparable units, and if the numbers work, it can be a good realtively hassle free, tangible investment.

Option 3 – pre-construction purchase with intent to flip or resell upon completion: The appeal of this type of investment is that you put a minimum deposit until closing, so example – one puts 40,000 down on a 300,000 condo, and the condo is worth 325,000 upon completion 2 years later, lets also assume that they could resell it to someone they know with no additional costs, and pay minimal land transfer taxes etc. of 5000. So net, they make a 20,000 return on their initial 40,000 investment. This looks great, as they’ve made a 50% return on their investment over 2 years – 25% per year. This example is an “if the stars aligned” scenario, similar odds of winning 5 bucks on a scratch ticket at the local corner store. I think the cat is out of the bag on this one, and I do not believe we will see some of the returns we have seen on pre-construction condos in Ottawa, in the past 3-5 years. Over the past decade in Ottawa, our market has been a strong, and an overall increasing market, however markets are cyclical, and at some points it will go up, and at some points it will go down. In order for a model like this to work, the market as a whole usually must also have significant increases, which is not what industry experts are predicting.
I don’t buy lottery tickets!!! Nor do I like the idea of committing to something a few years ahead of time when we have no idea what the world will be like. That being said, I am a relatively cautious investor.
The caution I would pose here is: do your homework: Items to research: How many more buildings are being constructed in the area, how many units are similar to my unit, and are many of them being purchased by investors. What is the residential real estate market around the development like – how much does a similar amount of space in a freehold property cost? Depending on the answers to questions like these, it should impact whether or not buying a condo pre-construction in Ottawa with the intent of re-selling it, or flipping is a good idea.
In summary, all three options could possibly be good investments, but remember the definition of investing: “the act of investing; laying out money or capital in an enterprise with the expectation of profit”, make sure that you do your research as the goal of an investment is to expect a profit, and if it doesn’t do so, it is likely not a good investment.

Travis Gordon is a sales representative with Remax Metro-City Realty Ltd., Brokerage, an experienced Ottawa real estate agent, and co-founder of the Ottawa Condo Guide, a resource for buyers and sellers of condominium properties in Ottawa. Our goal is to help educate buyers and sellers in the Ottawa real estate market, and provide professional advice when helping them buy and sell properties, including Ottawa Condos and Homes.

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I Will Never Stop Networking

I sold a condo because of my addiction to Starbucks coffee. I’m not kidding. I was standing in line at my neighbourhood Starbucks at about 7:45am when a colleague from another brokerage spotted me and we started chatting. In the course of the conversation I asked her “was that your car I saw parked on Laurier Avenue yesterday?” She confirmed that yes it was and she was showing apartments in 3 of the condo buildings on that block”. I suggested that she show my ninth floor listing in one of the buildings in which her client was interested. Although it did not have the exposure (Ottawa River view) that her client was looking for, it was a beautiful 2 bedroom condo with gorgeous vistas of the city. She promised me that when she was out with that client again on the weekend, she would bring it to his attention, even though it did not face the direction he wanted. Well she did mention it to him, and he did view it, and guess what happened? He loved it and bought it and continues to live there. My point here is that all of the technological advances in real estate are great; internet, virtual tours, social media, I use all of it. The fact is though that good old fashioned networking also works! Talking to people (what a novel concept), discussing your listings, discussing your buyers and generally being engaged in your profession actually leads to sales. I will never stop talking about real estate, especially condominiums. I am extremely fortunate that it is my passion and my career. Contact me any time to talk condos . . . you never know what will happen!

Bob Fraser is a sales representative with Remax Metro-City Realty Ltd., Brokerage, an experienced Ottawa real estate agent, and co-founder of the Ottawa Condo Guide, a resource for buyers and sellers of condominium properties in Ottawa. Our goal is to help educate buyers and sellers in the Ottawa real estate market, and provide professional advice when helping them buy and sell properties.

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Happy Buyer Happy Seller

Here is an interesting transaction we recently completed. We had a serious, pre-approved, highly motivated buyer looking for a property in a specific neighbourhood. Sounds great so far doesn’t it? Not so much. The problem was that there were no properties for sale that met our client’s very basic requirements. We looked diligently at everything that came on the market for about 3 months but there was just nothing that fit the bill. Eventually, we decided that waiting for the right property to come on the market wasn’t working. It was time to take action. We had our printer prepare a flyer which we had Canada Post deliver to our client’s preferred area. We networked with every realtor that had listed or sold a home in the area in the past few months. Basically, we made things happen! Lo and behold we got a call a few days later from a home owner who would in fact be moving in the spring and very much liked the idea of a quick, discreet sale. A viewing was arranged, an offer drafted and negotiations began. We now have a buyer who could not be happier, and a seller who feels the same way as they both await closing day. All this is to say that patience is a virtue but action gets results. Contact us at the Ottawa Condo Guide to discuss what action we can take for you.

Bob Fraser is a sales representative with Remax Metro-City Realty Ltd., Brokerage, an experienced Ottawa real estate agent, and co-founder of the Ottawa Condo Guide, a resource for buyers and sellers of condominium properties in Ottawa. Our goal is to help educate buyers and sellers in the Ottawa real estate market, and provide professional advice when helping them buy and sell properties.

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