We understand that personal relationship between homebuyers and Agents must be based on trust, understanding and communication–this is why we always keep your interests first and foremost. The real estate process requires negotiation of complex issues; we are committed to working in your best interests and do so on a daily basis. We will take the lead in helping you secure the best possible price, with the most favorable terms, in the shortest period of time. 

When searching for your dream home, it’s important to be well informed of the Real Estate market. To help you with this process, consider the following factors: What comfort features do you require in a home to satisfy your lifestyle demands now? Five years from now? Will your needs change? What’s your budget? These are decisions only you can make, but we will do everything possible to match you with your dream home.

The 5 Key Features to Consider when buying a Resale Property

When purchasing a resale property what are the 5 categories that a purchaser should consider when purchasing a home that is older than 10 years but newer than 50 years of age? These are the areas of a home that will require maintenance, investment and offer good resale in the years to come. 

Roof – A normal builder grade roof will last anywhere from 10 to 15 years. You can extend the life of the shingles by ensuring that there is proper ventilation so that the shingles do not over heat and reduce the shingles life expectancy. Secondly make sure that the Eavestrough are not dumping water on the shingles directly, as this will reduce the life expectancy of any shingle no matter what the quality or expected life expectancy might be.

Furnaces and Air Conditioners – A normal Natural Gas Furnace will have a life expectancy of 20 years. Yearly service contracts and cleaning can ensure that the furnace will make it to it full life expectance, however after 20 years the furnace does not owe you anything and a 20 year old furnace today is far less efficient and costly to run. Air Conditioners usually last 15 to 20 years and the same “rule of thumb” for efficiency and cost savings apply.

Windows – Wood Windows are less favourable today because of our busy lifestyles and the desire for maintenance free homes. Wood Windows require annual scraping and painting. Vinyl windows are on more buyers “wish lists” and a definite plus to any listings feature sheet. Condensation between the glass or broken seals means that the glass should be replaced and it is less costly than replacing the entire window in most cases. Windows can be a costly renovation that most home buyers will prefer to avoid. If the windows are wood and they have been maintained, vinyl capping them is a good option too and is seen as a favourable option.

Flooring – Hardwood is definitely “in” for most home buyers and it seems to be on the top of their lists for features that they require in their next home. The more hardwood the better and if you have it in your bedrooms that is even more exciting. Hardwood is definitely a good investment. Replacing old worn out carpeting even with newer carpeting can still be a good option depending on your budget. If it looks and feels good that will work too.

Kitchen and Bathroom – The old story is that Kitchens and Bathrooms sell homes and this is still very true today. The investment towards a new Kitchen and/or Bathrooms can really jazz up a tired home. Kitchens today are quickly changing with increased popularity of granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and the availability of new hardware selections you can update an older kitchen to give you that “WOW” factor again. There is no doubt that a new kitchen in a home will bring the highest resale value to any older neighbourhood depending on the design and quality. Bathrooms fall into this category too. The selection of new designer sinks, shower stalls, tubs and vanities can really make a bathroom standout against the competition. The “spa” look is very in fashion and unique bathrooms will draw positive attention to any home.


Roof   Furnace   Windows   Hardwood  Kitchen

 If the majority of these five categories have been looked after, you will be able to live in the home with very little worry of costly renovations and/or unexpected repair costs in the next few years to come.

Written by Greg Hamre of The Hamre Team at RE/MAX Affiliates Realty Ltd. Ottawa, ON

Energy Fit

Without a doubt, energy efficiency is an area more and more homeowners are paying attention to. Finding the money to renovate when buying your home is often difficult, however, many savvy buyers are purchasing homes in need of upgrades and taking advantage of large government grants to make the desired improvements. Making the right improvements increase the value of your investment, and your enjoyment at the same time Watch to find out what the key consideration are.

What is the HST?

The Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) is the harmonized value-added tax that will replace the federal Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Provincial Sales Taxes (PSTs) in Ontario on July 1, 2010.

The HST will apply at a rate of 13% in Ontario to taxable property (includes goods, intangible personal property such as licensed software, and real property) and services.

In other words, the PST will be eliminated and an 8% provincial rate will be added to the 5% GST. This combined tax at the rate of 13% in Ontario will be called the HST.


What is the general impact of HST on real estate transactions?

The HST treatment of real estate transactions will generally follow the current GST treatment of real estate transactions.

Sales of new residential housing will be subject to HST and will qualify for GST, HST, and transitional rebates (subject to certain thresholds and maximum amounts). 

On the other hand, sales of used residential housing and long-term rentals of residential housing will be exempt for HST purposes.

Title Insurance

Home OwnershipTitle Insurance is a cost-effective protection that shields homebuyers from many of the major risks that can affect the ownership and/or future marketability of title to a property.

What is Title Insurance?

A title insurance policy protects Canadian residential or commercial property owners and their lenders against losses related to the property's title or ownership: it protects against title defects or unknown claims on the property that can affect ownership rights. Title insurance moves the risk associated with title from the buyer, homeowner or lender, to the title insurer. Title insurance in Canada is typically purchased by homebuyers for a one-time fee at the time of closing; however it can also be purchased by existing homeowners (existing homeowner policies differ from those obtained at closing). Residential title insurance coverage usually lasts as long as the insured owns the property and coverage often extends to heirs, spouses (in the case of divorce), or to children (when property is transferred at a nominal cost). We recommend that you discuss tile insurnance with your lawyer on or before closing.

Title Insurance Cost

Title Insurance costs vary depending on the location, type, and vlue of the real estate transaction. In Canada, title insurance generally costs only a couple of hundred dollars, but could increase depending a number of diferent factors. Overall, this is a small price to pay for the peace-of-mine that no one will challenge your ownership of your home. Title insurance companies can provide you with an accurate quote. For example, First Canadian Title actaully provides an online title insurance calculator that can help estimate the costs for you.

Buying a Home?

Whether you are a first-time homebuyer or not, we know that you probably have many questions and concerns. The Hamre Real Estate is here to help answer any of those concerns. We know the home buying from start to finish, so we can help you to understand process. So if you're ready to buy a home in the Ottawa real estate market, contact us today.

A to Z Costs associated with Buying a House

From deposits to moving expenses, and everything in between, buying your first home involves more than just saving for a down payment. That may be the largest cost, but there are other things you’ll need to plan and budget for. Watch this clip to help note some of the upcoming expenses.

How To Find A Real Estate Agent

Selecting a real estate agent is critical to having a successful home buying experience. Not only is your agent a licensed professional who understands the home buying process, they have in-depth knowledge and deeper access to current market conditions.

How Do You Find A Real Estate Agent?

Finding a great real estate agent can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. Some great places to find a real estate broker are open houses or asking friends or relatives for recommendations

Another way to find a real estate agent is to search online. In today's real estate market, having a solid online presence is a must for all real estate agents, so be sure that your broker has a strong online presence. If you're selling a house, look at how their MLS listings appear. Are they complete? Do the photos look professional? How is the home staged?

It's important to find real estate agents that are experienced and knowledgeable. Most of all, it's important that you feel comfortable with your real estate broker as they will be representing you during one of your biggest financial investments. When you have your candidates narrowed down, it's time to meet with them to learn more.

Questions To Ask A Real Estate Agent When Selling A House

Not sure how to start your conversation when you meet your potential real estate agent in person? Well, here are some questions that might help you make an informed decision:

  • How many homes have you closed in the past year? Most will have closed at least 2-3, but experience brokers will have closed more.

  • Where do you live? If they live in the market, they'll have a better understanding of it.

  • How long have you been working full time? You definitely want a full-time agent who has some experience in your market.

After your meeting with your potential real estate agents, you should be ready to make a decision on who you feel will represent you the best in your market.

The Best Real Estate Agents in Ottawa

And if you're looking to buy or sell a house in the Ottawa real estate market, the choice is simple.

Hamre Real Estate is Ottawa's top real estate team.

Choose Wisely. Choose the HAMRE's at RE/MAX Affiliates Realty Ltd.

The Closing Date

The end of the month and Friday afternoon closings seem to be the most attractive to Buyers and Sellers. Our recommendation is to try for a mid week closing if at all possible. This will assist you in avoid the high volumes on your closing date and will make your move that much more enjoyable.
Our advice is to book your final appointment with your lawyer at least 10 days before closing to sign off on the paper work. Make sure that they have all the financing and closing arrangements well in advance of your actual closing date.

Everything will go smoothly if the paper work is completed ahead of time. Please contact us if you need any assistance. We are here for you even after your house closes and well beyond.



Fast-tracking your mortgage 

When it comes to putting your mortgage on the fast track, a little can go a long way. Here are some strategies for saving on interest costs and shaving years off your mortgage.

House Value.jpg

Increase your payment frequency. Opt for biweekly accelerated payments – take your current monthly payment and divide it in two, then set those payments for every two weeks. You'll make 26 payments a year instead of 24, and pay off your mortgage significantly faster than you would if you were making monthly payments.

Amortize frugally. While 35-year amortization periods are fairly common, don't assume that's the best option for your situation. If you can afford the higher payments, opting for a shorter amortization period will not only get you debt-free sooner, but save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

Make lump sum payments. The portion of your monthly blended mortgage payment allocated toward interest is significantly higher in the infancy of your mortgage, and decreases gradually as you pay down the principal. This means that the sooner in the life of your mortgage you make a lump sum payment – whether it's your annual bonus, your income tax refund or just savings you've socked away throughout the year – the more dramatic its long-term effect will be.

Adjust your payments. If your term is coming up for renewal, you may be able to secure a lower monthly payment by taking advantage of current interest rates, which are still relatively low. But if you can still afford the payments you're making now, keep them the same amount – you'll be paying down more towards the principal without affecting your current cash flow. Likewise, if you get a raise, consider allocating a portion of your pay raise toward increasing your monthly payment – your monthly budget will never know the difference.

Rogers, Call, UnPack, Relax

Before you move, a call to Rogers is one of the smartest calls you can make. It's the simplest way to connect your Rogers services at your new addess. Plus, your local Rogers Representative can offer you exclusive savings that you can't find anywhere else. It doesn't matter if you are moving your existing services or signing up for new ones, we will install them with one quick visit. 

Click here to print the application form; Rogers Cable Application Form

Understanding Your Closing Costs

Canadian DollarsSimply put, closing costs are all the fees charged by title companies, banks, lenders, and others who help you through the process of buying your home. These closing cost fees are added to your home purchase price.

However, here are a few of the most common fees that are included in the closing costs of buying your home:

  • Lawyer's fees – These fees vary across Canada, and the Hamre Team can refer you to a lawyer who offers a competitive legal package.

  • Title insurance – These may be purchased in lieu of a land survey in some cases. They provide protection against several defects such as problems with the property that would have been revealed by an up-to-date land survey.

  • Land transfer tax – Buyers must pay this tax to their provincial government when the property's title passes from the seller.

  • High ratio mortgage insurance – This insurance is needed if you are buying a home for less than 20% down.

Realtor fees are most often paid by the seller, so those fees are not included in closing costs.

How much are closing costs?

On average, you should estimate that these fees will total up to 4% of your total loan amount. If you want a better estimate of your closing costs, you should contact your lender and ask for an estimate.

As we mentioned, the closing costs can also include a variety of other fees, but the Hamre Real Estate Team is here to walk you through the process of buying your home and helping you to easily understand your home closing costs.

If you have any questions about the closing costs of your home, contact us today!


Image courtesy of Duckiemonster, Flickr

Investing in Real Estate in Canada

Investing in Real Estate in CanadaBy Peter Kinch

Real estate investment has become a popular topic around the water cooler and dinner table these days. The more turmoil we see in the stock markets the more Canadians begin to look for a safe harbour to safeguard their hard earned money. In times like this, investors tend to shift their capital to hard assets such as gold. The other obvious choice for an investor seeking less volatility in their investments is real estate. Yet surprisingly, real estate investors in Canada still represent less than 5% of home purchasers.

So it begs the question; if the majority of people think investing in real estate is a good idea, why aren’t more Canadians doing it? I think the answer is fear. An individual may intrinsically believe that buying real estate is good but if the thought of doing so intimidates them because they’re not sure how or what to do, it results in no activity. It is easier for most people to do nothing than to venture into unchartered territory that is wrought with fear and false information.

Debunking Real Estate Investment Myths

The solution to overcoming fear is knowledge. Equipped with the proper information it becomes easy to debunk some of the myths and misconceptions and begin your investment career with confidence.

Here’s a look at some of the most common myths that hold people back from moving forward: