Buying

Top Condo Buildings In Ottawa That Allow BBQ’s

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When searching for the perfect place to call home, trying to find a condo that ticks all of your boxes can be a daunting task. Especially if one of those must-haves is a private bbq on your balcony, which is almost impossible to find in the majority of condo buildings in Ottawa. Over 95% of the condo buildings in the city do not allow gas (or charcoal) bbq’s, shrinking your possible list down quite a bit. Here are the top condo buildings in Ottawa that currently allow gas barbecues on the balcony.

If you want to know the truth behind the lack of buildings that allow it, check out a blog post we wrote back in 2015 that explains it in more detail.

TIP: Looking at a listing and unsure if it allows a barbecue? Look at the stove/range. If it is a gas stove top, then chances are quite high that the builder also had a gas line installed to the balcony. Keep in mind that this does not guarantee that a barbecue is allowed. To confirm, it is always best to have your lawyer check the status certificate. Plus rules will constantly change, so even if you see a barbecue it does not mean that you would be allowed one (it might be grandfathered). As is with any very important “must-have”, communicate this list to both your realtor and lawyer, so that they can both verify you would be able to (this is the same with pets, etc.).

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Second Avenue West - 808 Bronson

Built in 2012 by local Ottawa builder Domicile, Second Avenue West has the features that continue to attract buyers to Domicile product. While slightly more traditional than other builders mentioned here, the quality of the work and finishes within the units is quite high. Located at 808 Bronson, Second Avenue West is steps from Dow’s Lake, The Rideau Canal, Preston Street, and The Glebe. Each unit has a natural gas line installed on the balcony.

Studio Argyle 255 Argyle Condo Loft in Ottawa Exterior

Studio Argyle - 255 Argyle

Located just off of Bank street directly in Centretown, this hard loft building gets a LOT of attention. Aside from the fact that the condo board allows personal barbecues, the units are very unique with high ceilings and industrial features. Exposed concrete ceilings, brick walls,  ductwork, etc. they are always on the list of someone looking for that hard loft look - IF there is one available. There are only 40 units over the five floors, which makes units very hard to find, especially at a decent price.

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SOBA - 203 Catherine Street

Built in 2019, SoBa is the latest project from the Toronto developer Brad Lamb. Lamb brings the Toronto design to Ottawa, with modern features and finishes at an attractive price. Views from the building are jaw dropping in every direction. Located at 203 Catherine, just off of Bank street, and sandwiched in between Centretown and the Glebe. Each unit has a gas stove top inside, and natural gas line installed on the balcony.

Gotham ottawa 224 Lyon Condos

Gotham - 224 Lyon

Gotham was Brad Lamb’s first building in Ottawa, which was completed in 2015. Located on Lyon at Gloucester, it is a short walk to the downtown core, and a block from Bank street. The building has a multitude of living options including two-storey lofthouses, single-level lofts, glasshouses, and stunning penthouses. Each unit has a gas stove top in the kitchen, and natural gas line installed on the balcony.

Merrion Square - The Radcliffe and The Norfolk - 327 Breezehill and 330 Loretta

Merrion Square Radcliffe Norfolk 327 Breezehill Ottawa Condo

Built by Domicile in 2010 and 2011, both of these buildings are part of Merrion Square, which is a collection of condos and homes. Located just off Carling, the buildings are located steps from Little Italy, Dow’s Lake, The Rideau Canal, and The Ottawa Hospital Civic site. Each unit features a natural gas line installed on the balcony.

One3One - 131 Holland

Domicile built One3One in 2013, which comprises of 191 units over nine floors. The building is located on Holland just steps from Wellington Street, putting you in a “walkers paradise” and providing you with the best of everything that Hintonburg has to offer. Each unit has a natural gas line on the balcony for your private bbq.

The Kavanaugh 7 Marquette Ottawa Condo

The Kavanaugh - 7 Marquette

Completed in 2015, The Kavanaugh is a beautiful building located in the heart of New Edinburgh. A short commute to the office, and access to the thriving amenities and lifestyle that Beechwood provides. There are only 124 units over 10 floors, again making the perfect units hard to find. There are some stunning views of the city, especially from higher floors where you can watch the sunset over downtown. Each unit has a natural gas line on the balcony.

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The Corners On Main - 11 des Oblats Avenue and 166 Main Street

Domiciles latest project which has lately sold the last available unit, is located in Old Ottawa East. A somewhat “new” area to many unfamiliar buyers, adding a great neighbourhood to the possibilities list. It is very easy to commute to the city core, while not being located right in the busy mix of Centretown. You have the river on one side, and the Rideau Canal on the other. A short walk over the pedestrian bridge and you are at Lansdowne Park and The Glebe. Also a very easy commute to the Ottawa Hospital General (and Riverside) campus, CHEO, and UofO Medical School. Many owners will easily say its the best location in the city. The two buildings contain 74 and 64 units over six floors each. Each unit has a natural gas line to the balcony for a private BBQ!

Looking for help to find the perfect condo? Let’s chat! Fill out the form at the bottom of the page.

How To Find The Perfect Condo When The Market Supply Is Low?

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The 2019 condo market is great if you are a seller, but not that great if you are trying to buy. One of the largest issues buyers are facing right now when searching for a condo in Ottawa, is a lack of supply - there are no good condos to buy (at a decent price)! Talk about a first world problem!

When supply is low, there are a bunch of ways that a great agent can help find buyers a property. We put together a list of methods that we use with our buyer’s to find that perfect un-listed/hidden/secret condo.

Working with an agent who focuses on the specific area or building. 

This should go without saying, but if you are looking to get a difficult to find property (aka a condo), working with an agent who focuses on that type of property, or even in the specific building will give you a major head start. Why hire a plumber to do your electrical work? We often have sellers who are 2-3 months away from selling, or getting ready to list next week. Our job is to keep our “ear’s to the ground”!

Peer Networking

One of the best ways I find off market condo’s is by chatting with other agents. In this market I spend more time asking other agents what they have coming up, and letting agents know what I have before a property hits the market. Even getting an extra day notice before a property is listed, gives you the buyer a huge advantage in this market. Having focused on condo’s for such a long period, I receive a high number of other agents letting me know what they have coming up.

Off Market Builder Supply

Typically builders will only list a few units in a building, even if they have a bunch of available condos, as they don’t want to overwhelm a buyer. Often builders won’t tell buyers or other agents that they are able to be purchased. Earlier this year, we had a builder that had condo with cosmetic damage and was not being shown or advertised. However since we had a great relationship with the builder, we were able to sell it to our buyer. Our buyer loved not being under pressure from other buyers trying to compete for the same unit. No bidding wars!!

Looking Outside Your Budget

While this is normally discouraged, it has provided us with options when times were tough! In this market it is common to see sellers get extremely confident with their pricing and list way over market value. A unit that should be $350,000 but is listed for $390,000 might miss your search if you set your max budget to $375,000. A few months or even weeks on the market, and they might be willing to accept a decent offer of market value. 

Parking?

Finding a unit that includes parking can often be a huge restriction when searching, depending on the price point. Not every seller originally purchased parking and that can really cut your options down if you MUST have one. We have seen property matches drop by half - or even more! Ask yourself if you really NEED parking? Could you rent a parking spot? I have helped many buyers who have decided it was a better option for them to rent a spot in the building for $150 per month than pay $35,000 upfront plus another $80 per month in extra condo fees. While this isn’t a solution for everyone, knowing these options that you have can make a huge difference.

Consider Renting?

While you won’t hear many agents try to convince you away from buying, sometimes renting is the smarter idea - at least temporarily. We all have those friends who have bought something since it was the only option versus waiting for the right option, and regretted it shortly after. If you don’t love it, then don’t buy it! That being said, renting in this market is almost as difficult, if not worse - but at least you’re not tied to a $400k mortgage.

Need help finding a condo? If you are not already working with another agent, we would love to help. Fill out the form below, or call/txt directly 613-286-9501.

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What Condominium Buildings Are Close To Shopify? 2019 Edition

Established in 2004, Shopify has become one of Ottawa’s top employers. Seeing so much growth over the past several years, the company has now has two addresses in Ottawa; 234 Laurier Ave and 150 Elgin St. Everyday new positions are opening up at these two locations that the desire to live close to work is a top priority for new employees.

Are you a current or future employee of Shopify? If so, we put this guide together to help you decide which condo buildings you should be considering. We have narrowed down the top five buildings that are in less than a 10 minute walking distance to both Shopify locations and have the fresh contemporary look and vibe you want to have. Plus, all of these options have units available for both buying, or renting.

We have helped Shopify employees find a home in each of these buildings below - need help finding a place to live? Fill out the form at the bottom and let’s chat.

179 Metcalfe St and 40 Nepean St
Tribeca Phase One and Tribeca East

The Tribeca’s were built by Claridge Homes in 2014 and 2015. 179 Metcalfe (phase 1) contains 260 units that includes studios, one, and two bedroom units that range in size from 460sqft to 1145sqft. 40 Nepean St contains 179 that also include studio or one and two bedroom units. Both buildings feature spacious units with floor to ceiling windows that flood the space with natural light, high ceilings, and open concept living spaces.The amenities at both these buildings include a concierge, board room, party room, indoor pool, fitness centre, guest suites, bicycle storage, storage lockers, and underground parking. The Tribeca’s are within a 4 minute walking distance from both the Shopify Laurier Ave location and the Elgin St location. Hard to beat the location. Why we love them? Aside from their great location, you can find a Sobey’s (soon to be Farmboy) grocery store in the buildings podium (which also includes wine and beer sales!).

324 Laurier Ave - The Mondrian

The Mondrian was built by Urban Capital in 2008 and contains 250 one, two bedroom units (there are a couple studio units but rare) that range in size from 472sqft to 1600sqft. The units feature 9 foot ceilings, open concept living spaces, and floor to ceiling windows. All of the amenities are located on the 6th floor - which include the outdoor saltwater pool, bbq and dining area, gym, lounge/party room. Pets are also allowed in this building. The Laurier location is a short 4 minute walk from The Mondrian and the Elgin location is 7 minutes. Why we love The Mondrian? Shoppers Drug Mart is located in the podium of the building, bike paths located at the front door which allows quick and easy way to get to the office, real concierge in the building, and most units are of a good size. The building is easy to spot from the street with the solid red glass panels - an ode to french painter Piet Mondrian who the building was named after.

199 Slater St - The Slater

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Built by Broccolini in 2017, The Slater contains a total of 179 studio, one, and two bedroom units. These units range in size from 1442sqft to 1929sqft and feature European kitchens, 9 foot ceilings, floor to ceiling windows, and modern barn style bedroom doors. Amenities at The Slater include a party room, theatre room, fitness centre, hot tub, storage lockers, concierge, underground parking, and also allow pets under 40 pounds. The walking distance to the Elgin St location is 7 minutes and only 3 minutes to the Laurier Location. Why we love The Slater? Aside from the higher level of quality finishes, the building also has a minimum lease term of only two nights. This means that you would be able to use the property as an short term investment (such as AirBnb) if you are traveling, or gone for an extended period of time.

300 Lisgar St - SOHO Lisgar

Built by Mastercraft Starwood in 2013, SOHO Lisgar contains a total of 169 one and two bedroom units that range in size from 522sqft to 1032sqft. These units feature gleaming hardwood flooring, marble bathrooms, European appliances, and floor to ceiling wall to wall windows. Amenities at SOHO Lisgar include a concierge, outdoor pool with loungers, outdoor BBQ, party room, theatre room, hot tub, board room, fitness room, sauna, bicycle storage, storage lockers, and underground parking. Pets are also allowed in this building. The Laurier location is a short 5 minute walk and the Elgin location is 8 minutes. Why we love SOHO Lisgar? The design is timeless, location is great, plus the amenities are stunning.

Too close? Want to live a little further out?

Don’t want to live that close to the office? We have also narrowed down 6 buildings that are modern, still close… but not tooo close.

224 Lyon St - Gotham

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Built by Lamb Developments in 2016, this statuesque building features a total of 251 studio, one, or two bedroom units, that range in size from 424sqft to 1445sqft. These units feature hardwood flooring, exposed concrete ceilings and accent walls, floor to ceiling windows, and open concept living spaces. Amenities at Gotham include concierge, outdoor BBQ and dining area, party room, BBQ hookup on the balcony, bicycle storage, storage lockers, underground parking, and pets are also allowed. Gotham is a 13 minute walk to the Elgin Shopify location and a 10 minute walk to the Laurier location. Why we love Gotham? Aside from the modern finishes (exposed concrete), Gotham is the only building on this list that allows you to have your own BBQ on your balcony (gas hookup on the balcony), plus gas stoves in the unit.

255 Bay St - The Bowery

The Bowery was built by Richcraft in 2017 and contains a total of 248 studio, one bedroom, two bedroom, or two storey units, that range in size from 375sqft to 945sqft. The spacious units feature hardwood flooring, sleek kitchens with granite counter tops, and large windows flooding the living space with natural light. Amenities at The Bowery include a rooftop pool, outdoor BBQ and dining area, party room, yoga centre, fitness centre, concierge, guest suites, storage lockers, underground parking. This building also allows pets. The Bowery is a 15 minute walk to the Elgin location and 11 minutes to the Laurier location. Why we love The Bowery? The amenities are beautiful. Indoor rooftop pool, gym, lounge, dining room, they are hard to beat.

354 Gladstone Ave and 349 Mcleod St
Central Condo Phase 1

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Central Condo Phase one was built by Urban Capital in 2012 and is comprised of 240 one and two bedroom units that range in size from 478sqft to 1117sqft. These stunning industrial style units feature gleaming hardwood flooring, 9 foot concrete ceilings, exposed concrete pillars and ductwork, and floor to ceiling windows. The amenities are shared between the two buildings and include a concierge, dining room, fitness centre, party room, and recreation centre. Central Condo Phase One is within a 13 minute walk to the Laurier location and 16 minutes to the Elgin location.

360 Mcleod and 340 Mcleod st
Central Condos Phase 2 and Hideaway

Built by Urban Capital in 2014 and 2015, these two buildings contain 328 studio, one or two bedroom units that range in size from 435sqft to 863sqft. These urban-style units feature 10 foot exposed concrete ceilings, exposed ductwork and modern sliding bedroom doors. The amenities are shared between the two buildings and feature a party room with full kitchen and pool table and private terrace with outdoor BBQ. There is also a resort style outdoor pool with private cabanas and poolside fireplace. Both buildings are a 15 minute walk from the Laurier location and 18 minutes to the Elgin location.

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Also in walking distance to these condominium buildings is a Sobeys Urban Fresh, Independent Grocer, Shoppers Drug Mart, LCBO, several coffee shops, five star restaurants, and so much more.

Are you a Shopify employee who is new to Ottawa, trying to sort out where the best place to live is? Unsure and want help? Let’s chat! Fill out the form at the bottom of the page, txt/call 613-286-9501, or email Matt@mattrichling.com

First Time Home Buyers Incentive - Full Details Announced

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Earlier this year, the government announced a plan to help first time home buyers enter the market and help reduce their monthly mortgage carrying costs. There was no in depth information provided, and a large amount of speculation about what exactly it could include or who would be eligible.

This week, the government provided all of the details. Launching September 2nd, 2019, the first time home buyer plan is aimed at providing a 5% or 10% shared equity mortgage with the Government, which will act as part of the deposit.

More in-depth
- Total qualifying income must be no more than $120,000 and your total borrowing is limited to four times the qualifying income.
- At least one of the persons on title must be a first-time buyer (keep in mind this is also valid for those who did not own within 4 years)
- Total borrowing (including the incentive amount) is limited to four times the qualifying income.
- The incentive will be a second mortgage that is registered on the title of the property.
- There will be no regular principal payments, it is not interest bearing, and a maximum term of 25 years.
- The incentive is offered at 5% or 10% for a new construction home or condo, or only 5% for a existing re-sale home or condo.
- Property must close on or after November 1st, 2019
- Property can be a 1-4 unit residential property (hello investors), and must be available for full-time, year-round occupancy (no cottages).
- The first time buyer will be required to repay the incentive after 25 years or when the property is sold (or sooner without penalty). Refinancing will not trigger re-payment.
- Repayment is calculated at property’s fair market value at time of re-payment. If you took a 5% incentive, you would pay back 5% of the homes value at the time of repayment.

Example

Olivia wants to buy a new condo for $400,000.

Under this incentive, Olivia can apply to receive $40,000 in a shared equity mortgage (10% of the cost). This is on top of the minimum required downpayment of 5% ($20,000) that she must provide from her savings.

This lowers her monthly expenses, and the amount that she is borrowing. As a result, Olivias mortgage is now reduced by $228 less per month or $2,736 a year.

When Olivia sells her home for $420,000 she would have to pay back the incentive of 10% which is now $42,000.

Do we like it?
This is a great tool for someone who wants to lower their monthly carrying costs. It might not be a great tool for someone in a larger market with higher average prices. Every situation is different and even if you qualify, this might not be a good fit.

Do you have questions about if the new first time home buying incentive is a good fit for you? Let’s chat. Call, txt, email, or fill out the form below.

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THE Buyers Guide To Condo Assignments In Ottawa

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If you are hunting for a condo in Ottawa, you might hear the term assignment, or that a condo is being sold as an “assignment”. While not a typical transaction, purchasing a condo assignment can be a lucrative way to get a great deal, or into a hot building that has no remaining inventory.

What is an assignment?

An assignment is a transfer by the original purchaser (the Assignor) of the original Agreement of Purchase and Sale (APS) to the new purchaser (the Assignee). This means that they are not selling or buying the actual condo, but rather they are selling or buying their interest in the deal. The new buyer (Assignee) is buying the ability to become the Assignor (original buyer). You often hear assignments referred to as selling “paper” or selling the deal. These can happen for any transaction, however in real estate the majority of times it is for either land assembly (buying numerous lots to create one large one - ie for building a condo development), or for single pre-construction condominiums. In Ottawa, it is rare for people to sell an assignment for a residential freehold (house) simply due to the lead time (only takes 6 months to build a house).

Why do condo assignments occur?

Condominium assignments typically occur for a few reasons. The first thing to remember is that condo units were typically first sold three to four years (or even longer) before the buyer could move in. Often, the original purchasers have had a change in circumstance and no longer want to continue with the purchase. a.k.a. partners, babies, pets, jobs, income, etc. The second reason we see often is that the original purchaser was a speculator who purchased with the intention of assigning the contract to profit from the increase in price or value.

Why can it make sense to purchase an assignment?

Hot building? Purchasing a condo assignment is a way to purchase a condo in a building that has no available inventory. It also is typically cheaper than purchasing the unit once the building has been registered and units are listed for resale. PLUS We have seen assignments that are priced lower than the similar unit that is available from the builder in the same project.

Plus you still have the benefits of buying brand new, such as being eligible for Tarion warranty program, pre-delivery inspections, etc. Compared to re-sale where you might have missed these opportunities.

Important things to know when looking to buy a condo assignment

1. You are buying a pre-construction condo and are taking on all of the risks. Delays, changes to occupancy, changes to the building, or even projects that flop and could be canceled. This also includes any interim occupancy payments. While it is the same risk as buying directly from the builder it is important to take note.

2. The original Agreement of Purchase and Sale (APS). When you are buying an assignment, you are replacing the original buyer, and you are taking on all of the terms, conditions, and obligations, that the original buyer agreed to. You are now fully responsible for the purchase. This can include terms that the original buyer might not have cared about, but they might matter to you. It is not possible to renegotiate the terms with the builder.

3. Builder Adjustments or Development Costs. In the original APS it will mention (often clause 6) the adjustments that will be charged by the builder on top of the purchase price. This is no different from buying directly from the builder, but not something you would deal with for a resale property. Usually, these can include development charges, education levies, park levies, initial contribution to the reserve fund, Tarion enrollment, HST on chattels, law society levy, builders solicitors confirmation of deposit letters, etc. These closing costs can easily amount to 1-3% of the original purchase price.

4. Capped Builder Adjustments. Often when purchasing a pre-construction condo from a builder you are able to negotiate and have the builders' adjustments capped (ex $5,000 or $10,000). It is important to know if the original purchaser had negotiated this. While it might seem like a no-brainer, most buyers are not aware it is possible and don’t even ask. Be aware that the cap might not be applicable to the assignee. Every deal and builder is different and this is constantly changing.

5. Deposit. Typically the original buyer (assignor) is looking to mirror the deposit that they have given to the builder. This can be 15% or 20%, which is held in trust until closing. Compared to a re-sale purchase where it can be significantly less. This often rules out assignments for buyers with a smaller downpayment. While this is negotiable between the Assignor and Assignee, it is standard and not typically lower than the original deposit amount.

6. Finishes and Upgrades. Depending on how far along you purchase the assignment, you might not be able to choose the finishes or any upgrades. If they have already been chosen, make sure you like what the Assignor picked out!

7. HST. HST with pre-construction condos can be a complicated beast. Every project can be different, however, it is up to the developer whether to give the HST rebate or have you apply directly to CRA. If the developer believes (or if the original purchaser said it would be for an investment), you will have to pay the HST on closing (and can apply for the rebate after).

8. Closing Costs. The closing costs can be slightly higher compared to a resale property. Legal fees are often higher since the deal is involving two transactions (acquiring the assignment, and the actual closing). Your lawyer should be able to break down the cost in advance.

9. Builder Approval. Every assignment is conditional upon the builder allowing the assignment to happen. Before the assignment is advertised, the assignor will ask the builder for permission. Many builders will not allow their original purchasers the ability to assign contracts. We have seen original APS that state that assignments are allowed, but then a schedule which declares they are not allowed! PLUS if the Assignor is given permission from the builder, there is typically a fee to allow them. We have seen this fee up to $7,000 plus the builder's legal fees of $2,000. While negotiable, this fee is typically the responsibility of the Assignor.

10. Your Team. Have the best team of professionals standing with you to make the purchase. Your lawyer and REALTOR should be experts.

Real estate transactions are complicated to begin with. On an average builder Agreement of Purchase and Sale there can be hundreds of clauses, dozens of schedules, and an endless amount of lawyer talk. The assignment process is more complicated and tricky, using paperwork, terms, and conditions, that doesn’t look anything like the usual APS for a resale condo. When you are looking at purchasing an assignment make sure you have a professional REALTOR well versed with condo assignments who can walk you through the entire process and ensure that you are well protected. If you are looking at buying a condo assignment in Ottawa, fill out the form below to chat!

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The LRT + Ottawa Condo's - Which Buildings Are Close To an LRT Stop?

Currently under construction, the new LRT is certainly going to help transform the city and make getting around easier. 13 stops in total (not including what is currently built or planned for the second and following phase), including three stops in the underground tunnel which is located downtown. The LRT will without a doubt, transform our city.

However, when I went to try and find an easy way to see exactly where the stops are, or how far away I was from one, there didn’t seem to be an easy resource. To solve this problem we put together a quick (and still a work in progress) interactive map with all of the stops and condo buildings!

Click on this link - or visit https://ottawalrtstations.com

Keep in mind it is still a work in progress as we add buildings, future phases, and stops. If you have some feedback or if there is something we can fix, let me know!

How does the latest BOC rate increase affect you?

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This week, the Bank of Canada increased the trendsetting interest rate to 1.5 percent. This was the fourth rate increase in the past 12 months. Knowing this is good, but we keep getting asked how it affects us (as a condo buyer or owner in Ottawa who has a mortgage, etc). We reached out to Mathieu Nesbitt, who is the Manager of Mobile Mortgages in Ottawa for TD Bank, to explain exactly what it means and if we should even care! 


For the fourth time in the past 12 months the Bank of Canada has increased its key monetary policy interest rate, the last increase went to 1.25% from 1.00% [January 2018].  Each increase can have an effect on your monthly mortgage interest cost which will affect your overall cost of borrowing.  There is good news though, there are ways you can protect yourself to prepare for those interest rate increases.  If you build a buffer by increasing your regular payments by 10% to 20% you will be paying mortgage loan quicker which also reduces your amortization.  Because most mortgages calculate interest based on the daily balance by paying down the principal quicker interest rate increases won't impact your cost of borrowing as much.

This also brings me to another point, if you have a pre-approval in place an interest rate increase can affect the amount of money you have been approved to borrow.  You will need to check in with your lender to see if your pre-approved dollar amount has changed.

For those who are looking at getting into the housing market, you need to know that TD bank can do a mortgage approval for you and hold your interest rate for 120 days on resale purchases.  For new build purchases, we can go up to 24 months which will protect you from interest rate increases. 

For those who are already making mortgage payments, there are some options for you to help when rates increase.  If you've chosen a fixed rate mortgage your interest rate is fixed for the term of your mortgage so a rate increase will not affect your payments until your mortgage term ends.

On the other hand, if you are in a variable rate mortgage it can change at any time during the term of your mortgage, therefore, changing your monthly mortgage payment.  One way to prepare yourself for an increase is to make an inflated mortgage payment, increasing your payment to more than you are actually obligated to pay.  The benefit of this is the excess payment amount goes directly to the principal portion of your mortgage, reducing the total interest paid on your mortgage as well as shortening your amortization.  So if rates do go up and your payment increases making your cash flow tight, either eliminate or reduce the extra principal reduction payment to either offset or help with the increase should it happen.

While some of this can seem overwhelming or confusing it is what I specialize in and I welcome the opportunity to provide you with advice and help, making your mortgage needs simple and comfortable.

-- Mathieu Nesbitt is the Manager for Mobile Mortgages with TD Bank and works outside normal banking hours to provide the best service for clients. You can connect with him directly at 613-868-9197. CLICK HERE to contact Mathieu Nesbitt.

Matt Richling x Ottawa Citizen - What You Should Know About Buying A Condo In Ottawa

Matt was asked about some of the things to look out for when purchasing a condo in Ottawa. CLICK HERE to read the full article.

"Matt Richling, an Ottawa real estate agent, says prospective buyers should also check with the people who live in the building by knocking on doors or connecting on social media to find out more about the “culture” of the condo. “A condo, in theory, is a city within a city,” he says. “Neighbours are the most important thing when you’re buying a house, and that’s the same here. Instead of living the next plot over, you’re sharing a small wall with neighbours.”

Richling, though, says that being engaged in the financial and physical health of the building is crucial, and that means attending meetings.
“It’s the biggest thing,” he says. “Be involved. Think about what’s important to you.”

Thinking about buying a condo in Ottawa? Let's chat!

Condo Fees - What exactly am I paying for?

The gym at 111 Champagne (SoHo Champagne) is a common element which is paid for by the monthly condo fee.

The gym at 111 Champagne (SoHo Champagne) is a common element which is paid for by the monthly condo fee.

A common question people ask is regarding the monthly condo fees and what exactly the fee is paying for. To start, the fee is to pay for your share of the building... or your share of the common expenses. 
Your share is decided based on your percentage of ownership in the building or square footage of the overall building. In a highrise, it can be as little as .3% (or even less), however in a small lowrise that percentage could much higher. This would also increase if you have a parking spot and locker. Keep in mind that (typically, in most buildings) balconies or terraces are not used to determine ownership - you don't pay for the square footage of your balcony or terrace. They are referred to as exclusive common elements. You don't own them like the condo unit, instead, you have exclusive rights to use them. 

Common expenses can include:
- garbage collection
- snow removal
- landscaping
- water charges
- electricity for the common elements (hallways, parking garages, etc)
- natural gas heating for the common elements
- natural gas heating for the boiler tanks that supply heating to the units
- building insurance
- professional property management
- audit, legal, and professional expenses (lawyer, accountant, etc.)
- the maintenance, repair, and replacement of the common element components (this is and can be a big one - since this includes the building structure, elevators, windows, etc.) this also includes the amenities and equipment (gym equipment, bbq, pool, etc.)
- the cost of borrowing money (if a repair is needed that can't be covered by the reserve fund, the Corporation needs to borrow money)
- any remuneration payable to employees (superintendent, security, concierge, etc).

Every year Ottawa condo owners receive a breakdown of the expenses, and how the monthly condo fee was allocated and is projected to be spent. It is easy to ignore the document as it is long and dry, but important to look over and pay attention to how the money is being spent. 

Often I explain it as living in a condo provides a luxury that is impossible to match in a residential house at the same price point. Underground heated parking, an elevator, a concierge, gym, party room, no landscaping such as snow removal or lawn cutting, and no taking out the trash - just send it down a chute. 

Have a question about condo living or buying a condo? Let's chat.

Where Does My Condo Start? What do I own?

Ottawa Condos Loft.jpg

A common question is regarding the boundaries of the condo, where exactly does it start? What exactly do you own, versus what is a common element? The answer is simple - check your status certificate. The main reason is that every single building is different and each building will have a different definition.

That said let's give you a better answer - let's take a closer look at the status certificate for The Galleria Phase 2 (238 Besserer) which will be fairly similar for those in a recently built highrise. Again, don't assume this is what is used by your building, check your own status certificate.

For the residential condo, the status describes the
- horizontal lower (floor) boundary as the upper unfinished surface of the concrete floor slab,
- horizontal upper (ceiling) boundary as the lower unfinished surface of the concrete slab above the unit.
It is explained using the concrete (rather than the drywall) since many buildings don't have finished ceilings!

Now for the vertical boundaries, 
- The backside surface of the drywall on the exterior walls of each unit,
- In the vicinity of the structural walls and columns, (which shall not form part of the unit), the backside surface of the drywall that surrounds such walls and columns,
- In the vicinity of pipe and duct chases, (which shall not form part of the unit), the backside surface of the drywall surrounding such chases,

What about windows and exterior doors??
- In the vicinity of the windows and exterior doors, the unfinished interior surface of the windows and doors in closed position, the inner or unit side surface of the glass contained therein, and the unfinished interior surface of the window and door frames. 

Fireplace?
- the portion of the fireplace and flue lying within the unit boundaries described above shall form part of the unit.

To sum it up, in 238 Besserer and in many similar buildings you own the drywall and in. BUT always check your own status certificate!

Questions about your condo? Let's chat!

Top Hard Loft Buildings in Ottawa

Top hard lofts in Ottawa For Sale

Looking for a real loft in Ottawa? That exposed brick, rough and open concept type feeling? While it is hard to find in Ottawa when compared to other cities, here is a list of buildings to put on your watch list.

The Wallis House at 589 Rideau Street

Studio Argyle - 255 Argyle Street - Located in Centretown, the building was redesigned by Domicile in 2000, and consists of 40 units over 4 floors.

Wallis House - 589 Rideau Street - Located in Lower Town, the first building was originally built in 1851 and used as a Catholic hospital, among other uses. Eventually, it was purchased by L.A. Sandy Smallwood in 1994 and converted into 47 lofts. All units were pre-sold in less than 24 hours - and this was before the condo craze.

School House Square - 24 Springfield Road

Laura Secord Factory - 120 Holland Ave - Located in Wellington Village, this building features massive units and are hard to find on the market. Originally built in 1956, the building was converted to lofts in 1998. The building got its name from Laura Secord company who was once a tenant.

Lofts Du Monfort - 297 Dupuis Street - Located in Vanier, the building was originally built in 1912 as "Monfort School". Renovated in 1998 by Nicolini Construction, there are only 15 units making it hard to find one for sale. 

School House Square at 24 Springfield

School House Square - 24 Springfield Road - Located in New Edinburgh, the building was originally a french catholic school "Ecole St Charles" that was built in 1910. Converted to lofts in 1997 by Domicile.

School House Lofts - 19 Melrose Avenue - Located in Hintonburg, the building was originally built in 1912. It was also a french catholic school "Ecole Sacre-Coeur". Turned into 11 lofts and 12 stacked townhomes in 2009.

Parkdale Market Lofts - 320 Parkdale

Parkdale Market Lofts - 45 Spencer and 320 Parkdale - Located in Hintonburg it was originally built as a factory and then turned into lofts in 2005. Both buildings are unique as they each have their own differences.

The Warehouse Lofts - 95 Beech - Located in Little Italy, M.J. Obrien built a factory to house a mica factory and a railroad contractor. Converted to lofts in 2000 by Craig Callan Jones.

Looking for a hard loft in Ottawa? Let's chat. I would love to help you out.

Breaking News - More Changes To Mortgage Lending - 10/2016

Earlier today the government announced more changes to mortgage lending to ensure that buyers are not taking on bigger mortgages that they can afford. Let me break down the change and how it will affect buying a house or condo here in Ottawa. Keep in mind there were four major changes, but I am going to focus on the "Stress Test" change.

The "Stress Test" Change

If you (buyer) are using less than 20% downpayment, you will need to be approved using the posted rate (currently 4.64%) not the actual rate of the mortgage. This posted rate is typically going to be higher than what your rate will be, so it will lower the overall amount that you are approved for. This doesn't change the rate or the payment, just lowering the approved amount for borrowing. Before this change, you would have been pre-approved using the rate you were paying - allowing your budget to be much higher.

Who will this affect?

Unlike previous changes (for those borrowing over 1M), this affects anyone who was pushing the top end of their budget and had less than 20% downpayment. This change essentially lowers the amount you will be approved for by on average 20-25%, or less depending on the price point. It is said that this change should impact between 7% and 10% of buyers.

When?

You have until October 17th to get your purchase and sale agreement in writing and mortgage application in to get qualified under the old rules. 

Why is being changed?

Really it lowers the risk that our country is taking on with people that really shouldn't be buying. I can't count the number of times that a buyer here in Ottawa has told me that the amount they were approved for was way more than they could afford. If you were pushing that to the highest amount it is riskier and this looks to help reduce the risk. What if rates rise during your term and when you go to renew the rate is 1% or 3% higher? 

Examples

Before: Income of $100,000 with a downpayment of $40,000, five-year fixed rate of 2.17% would qualify to purchase an Ottawa home worth $665,435 (including tax of $400 and heating of $150 /month).
Now: You would be qualified at 4.64% (todays rate) not 2.17% interest rate, and it would drop your purchase price to $505,762 - a difference of 24% or $159,673. 

If you are thinking of buying or are looking to learn more about how these changes affect you specifically, let's chat!

Buying An Ottawa Property As A Non-Resident Buyer or Investor

With the recent shift in taxation for non-resident buyers in Vancouver, more foreign investors are looking to purchase Ottawa properties. While Canada has no restrictions on who can purchase, the type of real estate, or the amount of properties, the largest issue for the non-resident is typically finance related. Some banks have limits on the number of properties, the amount of money to lend, or won't lend to outside residents. This is typically why the conversation begins with getting the financing sorted. If you are looking to purchase a property without any financing, this will make the process much easier and faster. 

Financing and Mortgage Information for Non-Residents 

When working with banks and lenders as a non-resident each bank might have different rules that they set, and some will be more strict than others. Typically to purchase an Ottawa property, Canadian banks require that 35% of the purchase price of the home be paid for in cash (some require over 50%!), which is called the downpayment. This downpayment amount typically can't be from gifted funds and sourced back for minimum 30 days in a Canadian bank account. The majority of the banks will trace the source of the down payment 90 days back. The bank or lender will usually also require other supporting documents like an employment letter to verify your job income, bank statements, Canadian credit check, etc. The financing rates for non-residents are the same rates that Candian residents would have. Keep in mind there are "B" or secondary lenders who would charge a higher rate, but have different eligibility requirements.  

If you are not familiar with a mortgage broker in Ottawa to assist with your purchase, I can refer you to one who has helped numerous non-resident clients purchase an Ottawa property.

Ottawa Property Purchase Process For Non-Residents

The first step in finding a home or investment property in Ottawa is to contact us so we can get the process started. I have helped numerous non-resident clients purchase in Ottawa. Today we can get quite far with tools like Facetime and video calling, to talk and explain or even viewing properties. Once we have a good idea of what exactly you are looking for, we will make sure that you have the financing side ready. Once you have the green light from a bank or lender, then we start getting you familiar with the different areas or neighbourhoods, along with different styles of properties in Ottawa. We then start viewing things first hand If you have family member or friend already living in Canada, or send an assistant ahead to start looking and seeing properties directly. Since it can be quite costly to travel, we try to do as much ground work before you arrive to allow a much smoother and efficient time while you are here. While you do not need to be in Canada to purchase a property, if you are going to require a mortgage then most banks will require you to have a Canadian bank account which will have to be opened in person. 

Once we find a property that you love, we put together an offer to purchase called the "Agreement of Purchase and Sale" which has all of the specific details of the purchase. These details include the price, the closing date (when you get the keys), what is included in the property (chattels and fixtures), the deposit (explained below), and any clauses and conditions. The clauses and conditions are the extra details that would be specific to you and the property - such as a condition of financing which would give you seven days to secure the mortgage from the bank for that specific property. If for some reason you are not able to fulfill the conditions, you are able to be released from the agreement. 

The deposit is an amount that accompanies an offer and must be delivered to the other agent usually within 24 hours of the offer being accepted. This deposit amount will vary depending on the property location and price, but is usually anywhere from one percent of the purchase price to five percent. This amount is held in trust by the listing brokerage and is taken into account for your down payment from the mortgage. Typically the funds can be paid by certified cheque, or by wire transfer.

A typical condition to the purchase is having a home inspector visit the property to find any defects or issues that are with the property or that you could expect in the future. The cost for this is between $350 to $550 depending on the property size and location. I can send you a list of highly qualified home inspectors to choose from to help you get a better idea of the property.

To sign the offer, you can choose to print, sign, scan, and send back the document or you can sign digitally. As of July 1st, 2015, electronic signatures are legal in Ontario and allowed to be used for purchasing property. I use digital signatures daily and the majority of clients prefer the ease, which allows them to quickly sign on their tablet or smartphone. 

To take ownership of the property, you do not need to be in Canada and can use a notary public in your current country. Keep in mind that a Canadian lawyer can provide you with the specific requirements depending on where you are located. 

Closing Costs for Ottawa Home or Condo

You will be subject to the same closing costs as a Canadian resident, which includes land transfer  taxes and legal fees. However as a non-resident you will not qualify for the first-time buyer program or land tax rebates. Legal fees will vary depending on the lawyer and purchase price, but you should budget about $1,800 which can include the disbursements. These disbursements are costs that the lawyer encounters such as Title Insurance ($200-$400), Land Transfer Tax, Property Tax adjustment (for the amount paid by the seller beyond the closing date), any adjustments for Utilities or Condo Fees, etc. The lawyer will give you an exact cost breakdown before closing. Keep in mind that many cities outside of Ottawa have additional Land Transfer Taxes or a "welcome tax", but this is not the case in Ottawa.

Ottawa Investment Property For Non-Residents

When looking at an Investment property in Ottawa the returns can vary widely. Some of our clients are focused on cash flow, while others are focused on building equity in the property from the mortgage being paid by the tenant, and others are focused on the appreciation in the property value. Generally speaking, investors in Ottawa are cash flow positive with a 20% downpayment (depending on the property) and yield 4-6% gross return.

If you are looking to move to Ottawa and have questions about the process, the area, or something that wasn't answered above, fill out the form below. 

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Underground Condo Parking In Ottawa

As I write this, the weather channel is predicting almost 24 hours of straight snowfall with 25-35cm of snow. Last week we had the record 52 cm which fell in just over a 24 hour period. Yuck. This is that time of year when those who have underground heated parking are very happy - just jump into a warm car, with no snow to remove, or ice to scrape off.  

Underground Parking Ottawa Condo

The Basics

Most apartment style condo buildings have at least one level of underground parking in Ottawa while typically town house or up/down split style condos, have outdoor surface parking spots. The number of spots each developer must build will mostly depend on the zoning. Most spots are a standard width, and can fit a standard car (but not all buildings are the same - more on this later).

The parking garage typically has access to the main elevators (older buildings might have a separate elevator), along with some of the storage locker rooms and bicycle rooms or area. They typically are heated and ventilated. 

The Cost

When looking at pre-construction the price of a parking spot will first depend on the type of condominium (townhouse or highrise). For example - Valecraft Homes is including one outdoor parking spot for free with the unit purchase at Woodroffe Lofts and a second spot can be purchased for $10,000. Compared to Claridge who is offering an underground parking spot at an additional cost of $35,000 per space at Claridge Icon. 

Next, the cost might rise depending on location within the parking garage. Some builders will offer the premium spaces on level 1 for $5-15,000 more per space - on top of the $35,000. Not every builder does this, some save the premium spots for the large or penthouse units.

Keep in mind, there is also a monthly cost in addition to the purchase price. Since your percentage of ownership goes up in the building, your condo fees will rise as well. Some pre-construction buildings will project an additional $35-45 per month, while parking spots in some re-sale buildings can add $60-90 per month to your condo fee.

While no developer will share the true cost to build a spot, we have always been told it was more than they typically charged, up to almost double to cost - depending on how many levels below ground they need to go. Obviously outdoor surface spots will be a fraction of the cost, since there is less involved in the construction. Zoning requires a certain amount of spots be built per unit. It can range from 0.5 to 0.7 parking spots per unit - or more further outside the downtown core.

Restrictions

Keep in mind that not every unit is able to purchase parking when buying pre-construction.  Since the builder will build as few spots as possible, they will restrict which units can or can not purchase a spot. Typically this restriction falls on the smallest units. Assuming that the smaller unit is less likely to have a vehicle, compared to the large units with multiple residents who might require two etc.  Most builders will have a list for when larger units opt out of the spot, to allow the smaller unit owners the chance to purchase. However, when the building is handed over to the owners, you are then able to purchase a spot from another owner. 

Differences

Parking Garage Condo Ottawa

Obviously not every building is the same, and often these differences can be found underground. Some buildings include visitor parking - The East Market (180 York, 383 Cumberland, 179 George) shares 23 overnight or long term visitor parking spots and 12 short term spots. Builders started including spots for car share services such as VRTUCAR which allows the owner to have 24 hour access to a shared vehicle - without the cost of gas, insurance, and maintenance. Great if you walk to work and never use your car. If you are willing to spend extra, you can even find Valet parking! Windmill's The Eddy features "puzzle parking" system which mechanically parks your car for you. This allows the developer to have more spaces and lower the overall cost. 

No parking space is the same, some have posts or walls on each side, some have plumbing or ventilation equipmenthanging down. This is why it is important to choose your spot carefully, or atleast see it in person if possible. Many owners with larger vehicles (pickup truck or large SUV's) need to make sure they can even enter the garage! Always check it out!

Buying and Selling Parking

While not every building is the same (consult your lawyer), typically each unit (condo, locker, and parking) are all separate. Each one has a separate Property Information Number or PIN which allows you to buy and sell them / they are not fixed to that certain condo. We regularly will list parking spots and even lockers apart from the condo unit on the MLS. Depending on the building, the unit, and the selling strategy. Since it is re-sale, the price is negotiable - however remember that you can't just add the cost on your mortgage, you would need to pay cash. Typically we see spots selling for $24-35,000 depending on the building, location of the spot, and demand for parking. Lockers will typically sell anywhere from $4-7,000 per. 

That small square painted on the ground - Its never just as simple as it might seem. 

Questions about parking? Thinking of buying pre-construction or a condo in Ottawa? I would love to help you out. 

What's in my condo's concrete floor?

Construction Photo from Richcraft of the 16th Floor of The Bowery on January 28th!

Construction Photo from Richcraft of the 16th Floor of The Bowery on January 28th!

Often it is easy to forget how much work is involved in the construction of a building, and how exactly the buildings are built. Here is a quick example of the construction process for the concrete slabs (or floor) of a concrete highrise condominium. These are all from The Bowery and give you a great sense of what could be in your floor and ceiling.

The main "squares" or woven material is the steel rebar or rod's which provide the strength and woven together throughout every area. Once that is complete all of the tubing and conduits are run for each unit. The red is hot water, blue is cold water, and the grey is electrical along with "other" cables such as fire, audio/visual etc. Some builders run extra to different rooms since it is nearly impossible after the concrete is set.

The rebar (steel rod's) sticking up are to connect vertical concrete walls and columns that support the floor above. The photo below, shows a finished slab that is curing (drying). It gives you a better idea of a more finished product - you can see the vertical rebar for support columns/walls, and the plumbing and other conduits.

Fact - Most concrete subfloors are between 7-10 inches thick, which doesn't include any flooring or subflooring - just the concrete! 

Breaking News - Change to Minimum Downpayments In Ottawa

Earlier today the Finance Minister announced a big change to CMHC-backed mortgages over $500,000. Starting February 15th, 2016, purchasing an Ottawa properties over $500,000 will require a minimum downpayment of 10% instead of the current 5%. However, this only applies to the portion above $500,000. 

This change will not affect
- those who are purchasing under $500,000.
- those who are renewing regardless of being over $500,000

This change was put into place to ensure security in riskier transactions, specifically in markets such as Toronto and Vancouver. The government claims that this should only impact about 1% of Canadians.

Looking for more information about buying or selling, or just want to talk about how these changes could affect you? Fill out the form below.

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Do I Need A Concierge In My Condo Building?

One of the first impressions that you will have as a buyer is often when you enter the lobby and are greeted by the concierge. Big smile and a friendly "hello" go a long way. However not all condo buildings in Ottawa have someone sitting in the lobby. In fact there are only a couple buildings in Ottawa that have a true concierge. Those buildings that have someone in the lobby, typically employ security guards who also handle resident requests (move-in's, packages, etc.).

Up until recently, having someone at the front lobby was a big bonus for a number of reasons: 
- Ensure security, and are able to see who is coming and going, plus keep an eye on the common area's.
- Handle move-ins and elevator/loading areas.
- Pass keys or assist with entry for cleaners or repair persons. 
- Booking or reserving common area's.
- Receive packages and oversized mail/deliveries. 

The biggest one for me aside from providing the extra bit of security, was helping receive packages and deliveries. Online shopping is on the rise and having to track down a parcel after it has been "attempted" to be delivered is a huge pain. 

Ottawa Condo Canada Post Parcel Box

Enter Canada Post!

The photo on the right is in the lobby for 205 Bolton (Sussex Square) which is one of the downtown buildings that you will find the Canada Post Parcel Box. This now allows them to securely leave oversized boxes and packages, without making you head to the nearest pickup location! 

The mail person leaves a notice in your mailbox along with the key for the specific box that contains your package. Then once retrieved just drop the key back in the slot, and voila!

Obviously, the parcel box does not say Hi, or it wont hold the door when you have your hands full, but it's a start! You can find the boxes in a number of buildings across Ottawa, typically next to the mail room.

As a buyer, do you feel that you need a concierge? 

Truth about Barbecues on Condo Balconies in Ottawa

Ottawa Condo BBQ Allowed

The one thing I can count on when showing units, is being asked if the building allows owners/renters to operate a barbecue on the balcony. Usually here in Ottawa, the answer is no. With about 90% of the high rise buildings across the city having a rule, bylaw, or ban, on non electric BBQ's.

Most clients, owners in the building, and believe it or not, even other professionals, believe that it is the city or the builder that has created a by-law against it. People have suggested to me that it is because of the smoke from the barbecue, and how it would draft into another unit, or that the architect didn't follow local building code. I have heard many different "ideas" as to why, but the true reason is actually quite simple. And no, there is not a municipal bylaw that restricts the use of barbeques on balconies here in the city of Ottawa.

Here is an example from 200 Besserer Rules and Regulations (note this would only permit electric barbecues on PH unit terraces and balconies):

5. (d) No barbecues may be operated on any part of the common elements, including any part designated to be for exclusive use of a unit owner, including balconies, terraces and patios except for electric barbecues on the balconies attached to each dwelling unit on the upper penthouse floor in the building.

Here is an example from the 234 Rideau "Welcome Book":

- Barbecues on balconies must be electric.
- Charcoal and Propane BBQ's are prohibited.

Typically they are not allowed, because the TSSA or Technical Standards and Safety Authority has set rules in place that the condo corporation cant properly enforce. This means that for the condo board, its easier to lay a blanket rule than risk having the rule broken and being fined. 

Which rule?

  • propane cylinders are to be transported in a service elevator or, when there are no service elevators, the person must use the passenger elevator alone to transport the cylinder

How to get around it?

A few builders have listened, and have made BBQ's available on the balconies. To get around the by-laws, they install natural gas lines to the stoves and to the balconies. Some charge a few thousand extra for the upgrade, but something I would gladly pay. Other options are having an electric BBQ or by having a shared natural BBQ in a common area.

At the end of the day, if having a barbecue on your balcony is important to you, tell your lawyer to look into the status certificate and find out if they are allowed. Looking for a condo and want to make sure it has a BBQ? Lets chat, I would love to help out.

The Deposit - What, When, and How Much?

Question: What is the deposit? How much do I need for a deposit when buying a condo in Ottawa? When do I need to provide it?

Keep in mind, this is for a resale condominium in Ottawa. If you are looking for pre-construction deposit information - CLICK HERE. Also, this is not referring to your downpayment - sometimes first time buyers will get these two terms mixed up.

What is the deposit? The deposit is an amount negotiated in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale that binds the buyer to the contract, and acts as consideration for the deal. (Consideration is the legal term for the deposit, and without consideration the contract is non-binding in common law). The deposit is thought of to be as "a sign of good faith", which keeps the buyer from walking away from the deal at any time, and provide the rest of the funds to close on closing day. It can show a seller who is considering an offer, that the buyer has cash on hand, and is willing to tie it up until close.

How much do I need? The deposit amount varies per property/deal/market. Here in Ottawa, you can expect anywhere from one percent of the sale price and up. Typically there is not much weight behind having a larger deposit for the buyer, however during multiple offer scenarios the higher deposit amount can help. Often for properties in the downtown core, you will see $3,000 to $5,000 for a deposit amount on a $250,000 to $350,000 purchase. Keep in mind, outside of the city it is typical to see deposit amounts of $1,000 or even $500 on the same purchase price. Head over to Toronto, and you can expect FIVE percent of the purchase price! 

When do I need to provide the deposit? When the Agreement of Purchase and Sale is written, typically we use the "upon acceptance" wording in regards to time to provide the deposit cheque to the other agent. This means the buyer has to provide a cheque (can be personal, certified, or bank draft, wire transfer, etc) for the funds within 24 hours of acceptance. This is standard, however it can be written differently depending on the scenario.

What happens to the deposit funds? Once we provide the cheque to the other side, it gets deposited in the seller's real estate brokerages trust account (unless otherwise specified) and is held until closing when the seller's lawyer will direct the brokerage with use of the funds (typically to pay commissions).

What happens to the deposit if the deal does not come together? Many people seem to think that if the seller walks away from a deal, then the seller automatically gets to keep the deposit money. This is far from the truth! Under section 27 of the Real Estate Business Brokers Act, a real estate brokerage is not allowed to release any deposit from their trust account without either a Mutual release signed by both the buyer AND seller, or a court order. So if the buyer walks away, the money remains in trust and litigation will commence until an agreement is made.

Thinking of buying your first property? I would love to chat and answer any questions that you have about real estate here in Ottawa. Fill out the form below!

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Electronic Signatures Starting July 1st!

Electronic Signatures Starting July 1st Real Estate Ontario

Word starting circulating late last night amongst the realtor crowd across Ontario that the wait for electronic signatures is finally over! After years of being told that electronic signatures were "coming soon" by different levels of government, starting July 1st we will be able to sign The Agreement Of Purchase And Sale (the main document to sell a property) digitally. No more scanning, no more driving around at a late hour or rushing for a last minute signature, no more faxing (well that was a given), no impossible to read documents from sending back and forth. 

I have been using electronic signatures for other documents (listing agreements, price reductions, etc) but now the full transaction could be signed digitally. Almost every client who has used this, prefers it. Saving the client time, and ensures no missed signatures or initials. As the client, you can read, review, and sign the document at your pace.

Real Estate 2.0 is here!