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Fun Things to do in Waterloo Region – Summer 2018

Both visitors and dwellers of the Waterloo region are known to have a genuine love for this area. Waterloo is known to be among the greatest cities in Canada as it is commonly known as a smart region of smart people. The area provides great features suitable for plenty summertime fun. As the summer approaches, visitors and other people of this great city anxiously await the wonderful opportunities brought by the season. If you are looking for fun things to do this summer, here are some fun activities that you can attend in this great city.

 

Open Streets: Don’t be left out of a special community event in the Waterloo region which is aimed at promoting the livable cities movement.  As per the website, “these community events promote playing and socializing.”  If you’re up for some dancing, singing, playing, and other activies, these events are for you. These events also include activities such as art activities, good food, community groups and business organizations.  For more information and event dates, check them out here

Canoeing The Grand River: For less than $100, you and a friend can get a full and direct contact with nature and at the same time get in some exercise. The only thing you need to do is to arrive at a Canoeing The Grand location, then you will take a ride with a canoe to your drop-off point. Your drop-off point will highly depend on your level of experience. Trips can vary from 90 minutes to 8 hours.

 

Campfire: Get your family out for camping, put on a camping fire, grab blankets and gather around the camping fire with your family to enjoy entertainments and foods. Of course, be sure to check your city’s by-laws and regulations regarding fire pits and open air fires.

For Kitchener – here

For Waterloo – here

For Cambridge – here

 

 

 

 

KW Multicultural Festival: If you’re looking for a fun weekend, filled with acitivities, and fun represented by several cultures across the region, then attend the KW Multicultural festival, June 23-24.  Well attended every year, this event is sure to bring you the food and sounds of tons of cultures. Get more information on their official site – here.

 

TD Kitchener Blues Festival: From August 9 – 12, you can hear sweet bluesy sounds from local and global performers. With the reputation of being among the top Canadian blues festivals, be present and experience the taste of good food and blues music of course.

 

 Explore the trails: Waterloo region is known for its greenery and community trails. The city of Waterloo is known to have over 150 km of trails which can be a wonderful experience to explore during the summer season. Whether hiking or biking, the choice is yours.  If you need a bike, you can always get one from Recycled Cycles.

 

 

 

 

 

Relax with some free yoga in Victoria Park: There are instructors who put on free yoga classes from Queen Street Yoga in Victoria Park weekly during the summer months.

 

Waterloo Park: Experience the Jewel of the city with sports facilities, picnic sites, a farm and a splash pad. There is always something for everyone during the summer period. Get more information – here.

 

THEMUSEUM: Get a closer look and experience unique art at THEMUSEUM with the presence of some creative exhibitions like the walking piano, the virtual graffiti wall, and the magnetic wall. There will as well be some family events running throughout the summer.

 

When it comes to fun activities within Waterloo region, there truly is no shortage.  While it’s always great to leave your home city and explore other towns, there is plenty to do in Kitchener-Waterloo for a fraction of the cost.  Be sure to check out some of these activities in Waterloo region this summer.

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Home Garden Trends 2018 – Waterloo Region

One of the best things about summer is the ability to get outside and take in the beautiful sights, sounds, and smells of nature.  These days, as we gain more knowledge, and seek to understand how our environment affects us as a whole, we are seeing an increasing trend towards gardening.  As there are several noted benefits to gardening. Including, stress relief, happiness, and sense of responsibility among other things. So with studies showing us the intrinsic values associated with gardening, how do the overall benefits of gardening inform horticultural trends?  Well, we’ve researched a few trends expected to make waves this year.

Collaborative Gardening: Surely, you’ve heard of or already participate in shared garden space, like community garden initiatives. If you haven’t already, there are several in the Waterloo region, and you can check out the list here.  With this increasing trend, we are seeing the spirit of collaboration in an environmentally-friendly way. Offering a sort of group therapy and collective rewards for the participants.

Alfresco Living: The “outdoor living” trend is one of the fastest growing trends, with sales of outdoor furniture expected to rise by 3-4% yearly until 2021. Developing a creative outdoor living space is the new normal.  With comfy outdoor furniture, mini kitchens, fire pits, and everything else. The new trend is to create a livable entertainment space in your own yard. One of the benefits of this trend is the ability to hang out outside, but it’s also great for those who may lack the space they need to entertain their guests inside their homes.  Besides, Canadian Winters are so long, it’s refreshing to be able to spend hours outdoors.

Edible Landscaping/Foodscaping: Healthy eating and veganism are on the rise.  With gardening, the opportunity to grow your own food is available to anyone who so chooses.  The growing appreciation for organic foods encourages this trend and so we are seeing a major rise in edible garden trends, with edible plants infused amongst the landscape of other plants.  So what are some edibles that you can easily incorporate into your garden?

Greens: baby greens and gourmet greens are pretty expensive in-store, however, they are easy to grow – according to author Rhonda Fleming.

Herbs: many herbs are perennials which means you only have to plant them once.  This low maintenance option is great for any home garden. Examples are thyme, sage, and dill to name a few.

Peppers: easy to plant and make for great colour addition to your garden for a great aesthetic

 

As we gain more information, we are seeing that perhaps our grandparents were on to something.  Communal living and healthy, plant-based diets are certainly informing the gardening trend for 2018.  Have you incorporated any of these into your garden plans this year? Tell us about it, and snap a photo!

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Why the Move From Toronto to Waterloo Region is a Smart One

Waterloo, a region built on innovation, collaboration, creativity, entrepreneurship, and hard work can be seen among the fastest developing communities in Canada. It is ranked the second highest density of the world’s start-ups and not living out the fact that the region is home to many development offices and headquarters of some of the world’s renowned automotive, high-tech, aerospace and advanced manufacturing companies.

With all of these current features in the Waterloo region, the local real estate market of this area has taken it as an advantage and skyrocketed to be seen amongst the leading local market with properties of all class offered by top rated real estate investors. For this, everyone seems to see Waterloo as a dream destination with several open opportunities open for its dwellers. Properties in this region are known to be highly affordable as compared to its major city neighbour – Toronto.

While it’s still more reasonably priced than Toronto and Vancouver, the region has seen home prices rise quite significantly. A house that was bought in the Waterloo region in 2013 is said to have a 40% value increase since the purchase date. The average price per home in the Waterloo region in March stood at over $582,000 while in an area like Cherry Hill today an average home is seen at $400,000 and these homes never rarely spend up to ten days on the market. On a national scale, in that same March, Canada’s home prices dropped to $491,000 – a 10% fall from the same month one year prior. Which shows the stability in Waterloo region’s real estate market.

Apart from the growing real estate market in Waterloo, transportation to and from major cities like Toronto is becoming easier.  As the city prepares to have more frequent, two-way all-day- Go services locally. Another positive transportation development project recently announced earlier this month, was led in Kitchener by the Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne. She explains the liberal government’s plans of moving forward with the $11B high-speed rail between London and the GTA, which automatically includes Waterloo region, ready as soon as 2025. The high-speed rail has been talked in this area for as long as the 1970s, all thanks to a recent budget by the liberal government that can now bring the project back to life. This high-speed rail transportation system is to ease movement from Toronto to the Waterloo region and create more jobs for its inhabitants.

Benefits of living in Waterloo region;

This region is highly affordable with a total living cost significantly lower than national, international and Ontario averages. Owning an affordable home is Waterloo is very possible.
The region has a lot of job opportunities. With a strong outlook for employers increasing their rosters.

Living and working in this region has been simplified to ground level with over 80% of Waterloo workers settling within 30 minutes to their job sites.
Uncomplicated traveling, walking trails, bike routes, and easy urban transit has made traveling in this region effortless.

For those facing challenges in owning a property in the Toronto region or anywhere else due to affordability, the Waterloo region is always welcoming with its affordability, innovative culture, and job opportunities.

At Team Burca Real Estate we are committed to providing clients with excellent service. This includes educating clients on their best options when it comes to Real Estate. As Re/Max agents, we are apart of an organization that sells 1 in every 3 homes sold in Canada. We would love to work with you on your real estate needs. For more information, contact us today!

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Here’s Why You Should Absolutely Stage Your Home in Waterloo Region

The truth is, staged homes sell faster, and can often sell for more money. This is why it is important to make use of staging to get your home sold for top dollar. Even in a competitive real estate market like Waterloo region.

When it comes to staging people often think that it just consists of cleaning up, throwing paint on the walls and changing the living the room cushions. While this is a great start, there is more to the art of staging and the significant strategy behind it. In reality, staging your home is your efforts in marketing your space. It’s showing prospective buyers that the home is attractive, homely and suitable to their needs. It also makes it much easier for prospective buyers to visualize the homes true potential. Which means that your efforts should reflect what you want to attract from a buyer.

In addition, Buyer’s Agents generally agree that staged homes are perceived better by the potential buyer.

So what should you do to ensure you maximize the benefits of home staging? Well having professional staging done can benefit the selling of your home greatly. Before bringing in the professionals, here’s what you can do first:

Declutter and Clean: One thing that you can do is begin decluttering your home and the unnecessary things that take away from showing your home in the best light possible.

Be open to change: When a professional stager walks into your home, they may tell you to change some things around. It’s important to be open

Besides the more simple tasks of what you can do to make your home more presentable for sale, you may be wondering why you should even bother at all? So here is a list of reasons why you should definitely stage your home.

 

It’s a competition: Yes, that’s right. Even in a seller’s market, it is a competition. If you want top dollar for your home, it needs to be presented as best as possible.

You get back what you put in: Indeed. What you put into your house, is what you are likely to get back. If you invest a decent amount on its presentation, then there is a good chance you will reap the benefits of a return on your investment.

Likely to sell faster: Because of all of the competition, staged homes generally sell faster than non-staged homes. As you can imagine, the faster a person can walk into a space and visualize themselves living there, the more likely it will sell.

Can lead to higher offers: There is a good chance that you will outdo your competition with higher offers on your home, simply because you’ve made it more desirable and more marketable.

We know that staging your home and getting it ready for the market can be very costly. Which is one of the reasons we take care of the staging process for you. With Team Burca real estate, every home we list receives complimentary home staging. We do not charge for this service, and homes that we stage are completed by professional interior designers. We believe you only have one chance to make a first impression, so why not make that impression count?

If you’re ready to list your home or just have some questions about the process, don’t hesitate to contact us. We are here to answer any questions you may have.

 

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Creative Ways To Put Your Home Equity to Use

With the changes in Canadian home prices over the past few years, many people were left with the option of cashing in on their home equity. In Kitchener, home prices had risen over 20% in 2016.  Increasing the net worth of many homeowners in the Waterloo region and providing an opportunity for equity borrowing. So, what are the benefits of tapping into home equity? Is it worth it? And, what can these extra funds typically be used for?  While the decision to tap into your home’s equity is purely personal, we’ve compiled a list a common reasons people generally use their home equity for.

Renovations

Considered one of the top reasons people use their home equity funds, home improvements can actually be a good use of home equity funds.  As naturally, renovations and improvements increase the value of the home. This is often considered a safe investment. Borrowing money against your home, to increase its value.

Investments

Another good use of home equity funds is for investments.  This is a great option if you’re likely to get a higher return than the cost of borrowing.  

Real Estate: Generally, the top option here is to invest in more real estate.  Especially with the rise of real estate value in Ontario, this may be a great option to diversify your portfolio and add a rental property. Of course, there are many things to consider when choosing the right type of investment property to buy.

Business: Another popular reason people tap into their home equity funds is to start a business or finance an existing one. This may be a great option, provided you’ve completed your research and have a strong likelihood to succeed. Again, this may be a great investment choice, provided research and due diligence was performed.

Education:  Many people use equity funds to invest in education, either for themselves or their spouse/children. While this is seemingly a great option, you want to consider this, and all options wisely to ensure this is a truly a good long-term strategy. There have been situations where the educational investment didn’t provide a great enough return via job options to ensure that the extra debt was paid off adequately.  This can delay retirement and other life goals. Choose wisely.

Retirement

Many homeowners use their equity for retirement purposes.  This option may seem great to get on with life as a retiree, however, it is important to keep in mind that this poses the risk of accruing higher debt as you age. An option that should be considered with caution.

There you have it.  Some of the top uses for tapping into home equity.  While we are providing this information, we strongly suggest that you consider all of your options wisely and seek professional advice from a reputable financial planner.

 

At Team Burca Real Estate we are committed to providing clients with excellent service. This includes educating clients on their best options when it comes to Real Estate. As Re/Max agents, we are apart of an organization that sells 1 in every 3 homes sold in Canada.  We would love to work with you on your real estate needs. For more information, contact us today!

 

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3 Reasons Why You Should Work With a Real Estate Agent

3 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Real Estate Agent

When it comes to buying or selling a property, there are many options available. You can hire an agent or list yourself. While taking this venture under your own wings might seem a good idea, in the beginning, there are many reasons why it’s better to work directly with an agent. We’ve put together a list of reasons why you should work directly with an agent with buying or selling a property:

Knowledgeable

Yes, we get it, you’ve researched the market, you’ve followed the trends, you understand the necessary steps to take when listing or purchasing a home. While it may seem simple, there are a lot of behind the scenes steps that are taken to ensure the best possible outcome happens for the client.
Real estate agents are trained professionals who are knowledgeable, and sensitive to the constant shifts in the market. They are consistently on the ground and know first hand what changes are occurring, and what trends are brewing. They are also trained in the legalities and processes within the real estate industry.

 

Access

Agents have access to the MLS® (Multiple Listing Service), which is the largest listing system in North America. There are several advantages to a home buyer or seller. As your home will be accessible to thousands of other agents and seekers.

 

Negotiation

A real estate agent is an avid negotiator. They know how to get the best deal possible. Purchasing or selling property is a large undertaking. It’s best to ensure you get the best bang for your buck, whether you are the seller or the buyer.

At Team Burca Real Estate we are committed to providing clients with excellent service. This includes educating clients on their best options when it comes to Real Estate. As Re/Max agents, we are apart of an organization that sells 1 in every 3 homes sold in Canada. We would love to work with you on your real estate needs. For more information, contact us today!

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What to Look For When Buying a Fixer Upper

The great thing about real estate is that you have so many options when it comes to your purchase.  You can purchase a single family home, a condo, a semi-detached, a townhouse, a new home, or a pre-owned home.  One option available with pre-owned homes is an older home that is considered a “fixer upper”.  These are homes that require some renovation work.  The magnitude of work often varies. And, when it comes to renovations it’s best to operate with some level of caution.  While real estate is a great investment, it’s best to know what you’re getting into.  So, when purchasing a fixer upper, whether it’s a home you plan to reside, or one you plan to flip or even purchase as a rental, here are some things to consider before making that purchase:

 

Hidden Expenses

The first thing you want to keep in mind, and research as much as possible is the hidden expenses. This is almost a guarantee when purchasing a fixer upper or anytime you decide to perform major renovations on a house.  Some hidden expenses can be very costly, such as a broken water heater, plumbing – leaks, structure – can the house stand up? Is there a faulty foundation?  Overlooking these issues can be very costly.  Do your due diligence and find out as much as you can.

 

How to eliminate some of the hidden expenses?

Find a good inspector.  Ensure that your inspector is reputable.  Check references and ask around.  

 

Be realistic about how long it will take

While you may receive projections of a certain amount of time, the reality is that most projects take longer than stated.  It is estimated that 90% of projects (in general) do not complete on time. With those numbers, you can definitely expect delays.  How long of a delay is another question.  But it is wise to keep that in mind.  Don’t expect that your project will be completed in March as projected, and expect a move in date of April 1.  It might not happen.

 

Contingency Budget

Because anything can happen.  It’s best to avoid delays often caused by financial shortages.  It is normal to expect to go at least 10%-20% over budget.  To be safe, consider increasing your budget to ensure you can cover unexpected and hidden costs.

 

Avoid the DIY, unless your a pro

While you may be very handy, good at following instructions, and maybe even a bit experienced.  Avoid trying to tackle every repair, yourself.  Consider hiring trained professional, especially for the big jobs.  In extreme cases, there have been situations where homes had to be demolished because of DIY attempts to repair the homes foundation.  While this is extreme, it has happened, more than once.  Again, be realistic about the possibilities.

 

Purchasing a fixer upper can prove a very fruitful endeavor.  It one of the many options available when purchasing real estate.  The important thing is to keep in mind the possibilities, do your research and have contingency funds available. You can have a lot of fine, and put your creativity to good use.  While it can prove a very successful venture, the important thing is to keep an open mind, and plan for a few setbacks.  With this mindset, you should be successful.  Happy renovating!

 

At Team Burca Real Estate we are committed to providing clients with excellent service. This includes educating clients on their best options when it comes to Real Estate. As Re/Max agents, we are apart of an organization that sells 1 in every 3 homes sold in Canada.  We would love to work with you on your real estate needs.  For more information, contact us today!

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Holiday Decor Ideas

It’s that’s time of year again.  Holiday cheer, baked goodies, and several gatherings.  One of the things that signify the holiday season is the decor used to symbolize this time of year.  While decorating can quickly add flare, it can also become, well for lack of a better word, tacky.  Of course, to each is their own, but if you’re looking to add holiday feels, without the drama, we’ve put together some useful tips for you.  Enjoy!

 

Accent Colours

Not everyone is into tinsel, wreaths, and bells.  One thing you can do give your home the holiday feel, without going all out, is add accent colours like red and burgundy.  For example, you can add red pillows and throws on your couch or bed.  Another popular option that adds a great touch is white, gold, or silver.  Any of these colours add a great touch to the holiday decor.  See below for some simple, yet effective touches you can add, using accent colours.  

Accent Items

Scented Candles: Another thing that adds to the feeling of the holidays is the smell of baked goods.  Not everyone has time to consistently bake.  So why not add the smell of a little nostalgia.  You can do this with scented candles.  There are some amazing scents that can be purchased at candle shops, that will add just the right touch to your holiday home vibes.

Artwork: If you have holiday inspired artwork put it up! You can also create your own if you’re feeling creative.  If you have children in your life, get them involved too!

 Garland: There are so many things you can do with garland.  What’s great about it, is that it’s not limited to its usual traditional uses, like around doors and staircases.  You can add a little bit to several parts of your home.  For example, here’s a simple do-it-yourself (DIY) piece you can try.  You can pretty much hang this anywhere.

 

 

Limited Space?  Or don’t feel like purchasing a Christmas tree this year? Try a wall tree.  These are a great option for a minimalist approach.  See below for some funky ones.

 

So there you have it.  Some simple ideas that you can easily implement into your holiday decor plans. Happy Holidays from Team Burca!

Team Burca Real Estate is committed to providing clients with excellent service. This includes educating clients on their best options when it comes to Real Estate in Waterloo region. For more information, contact us today!

 

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New Mortgage Rules: How Will You Be Affected?

With less than a month until the new mortgage rules kick in.  Awareness is key to making good decisions regarding your real estate future.

If you haven’t already heard, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OFSI) has implemented new mortgage rules, which will be in effect as of January 1, 2018.  These new rules will definitely shift the current housing market.  The severity of the impact is yet to be determined, once the rules are implemented.  

So what are the new rules?  And why should you care?

 

Stress Test

While the stress test was implemented in 2016 for buyers with a down payment under 20%,  OSFI has decided to implement the rule for all new home buyers and it is important to be aware of how it could potentially affect you.  

As a way to ensure Canadians who are buying homes are able to withstand potential increases in interest rates, mortgages offered by major Canadian lenders (the big banks) will be subject to a stress test.  The new rule will now include the uninsured buyer, which were those with a down payment of over $20,000.

Prior to this new rule, only uninsured buyers (those with a down payment of less than 20%) were subject to a stress test. However, now, no matter how much you have for a down payment, you will not get a mortgage from the bank, unless you pass the new stress test.

Under the new rules, buyers will have to show they can afford their mortgage payments at either the five-year average rate posted by the Bank of Canada or two percentage points higher than whatever deal they negotiated with their lender — whichever measurement is higher.

The stress test is designed to simulate a borrower’s financial situation should an interest rate increase occur.  This is by assuming they would have to pay back the loan at the posted average — not whatever deal they were able to negotiate. So under OSFI’s new rules, borrowers would be stress tested at either the five-year average posted rate, or two percent higher than their actual mortgage rate — whichever one is higher.

Please note, the new stress test rules won’t apply to mortgage renewals as long as they are with the borrower’s existing lender.

 

Overall Effect

The implementation of stress tests and changes in the housing rules could mean that Canadians on a whole, could potentially afford about 20% less house.  Meaning, that whatever a buyer was approved for prior to 2018,  can now expect to purchase a home that is about 20% less.  So, you’re $500,000 approval, looks more like $400,000 in 2018.    

Industry experts share differing opinions on the new rules.  While some think it’s a good way to level out the market, others show concern about it concentrating the market and perhaps making certain homes overly competitive, while others run the risk of sitting on the market much longer.

At the end of the day, it’s very important to be aware of OFSI’s new rules and how they may affect you.  Making informed decisions are always the best decisions.  

At Team Burca Real Estate we are committed to providing clients with excellent service. This includes educating clients on their best options when it comes to Real Estate. For more information, contact us today!

 

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Is Real Estate Investing STILL a Good Way to Build Wealth?

Of course, you’ve heard it before, investing in real estate is a great way to build wealth. As the saying goes, “the best investment on earth, is earth”…or something like that. But in today’s climate, is it still a good investment?  We certainly think so.  With real estate prices changing as quickly as they do, it’s easy to be unsure about the market or doubt the process of real estate investing and wealth building. To help you on your journey to real estate investing, we have come up with 7 reasons why investing in real estate is still a great way to build wealth.

 

1. Tried, Tested, and True

Before you, there was real estate, and after you will be real estate. Millions of people before you have succeeded by investing in real estate, and it doesn’t look like it’s ending anytime soon. Just think, in the Waterloo region alone, the average home price increased by over $100,000 in just three years (between 2013 and 2017). That’s a significant jump.

 

2. Hands-On Investment

Unlike other investments like stocks and bonds, where you simply put your money in the fund and leave it, real estate offers you the ability to directly manage your investment. You can get involved in the maintenance of the property, or hire someone else to do it. Either way, you have more control over the investment than you typically would with other forms of investment.

3. Fairly Stable and Predictable

No matter what happens in the market, people will always need somewhere to live. So, if you’ve chosen to purchase an investment property where income is generated through rent, you should be okay even if the market experiences a downturn. Simply because people will still require a place to live. I think it’s safe to say that the need for housing will always exist.

 

4. Variety

When it comes to real estate investing, there is so much variety and options. You can choose an apartment condo, a single family home, a townhouse, a commercial property. You truly aren’t limited and there’s almost a little something available for every budget.

 

5. Ability to purchase with leverage

The other great thing about real estate is that it offers the ability to invest by leveraging other people’s money (OPM). A mortgage is a bank loan for the purpose of buying property. The great thing about it is that is it completely the norm to do so, and it is often less risky than borrowing for stock investments. Borrowing someone else’s money while building your net worth is great when done right. And the fact that you don’t need to have all of the money upfront for your purchase is a bonus.

 

6. Generally Straightforward

Since real estate investing has been a popular and successful investment method for so many years, there is a ton of information out there on how to successfully invest. From what type of property to buy to property management, the resources are there to help you.

 

7. Multiple Ways to Profit

With real estate in Canada, you can profit in more than one way. Which include:

  • Cash Flow
  • Appreciation
  • Tax Benefits

 

So there you have it.  7 reasons why Real Estate Investing is STILL a Great Way to Build Wealth!

 

Team Burca Real Estate is committed to providing clients with excellent service. This includes educating clients on their best options when it comes to Real Estate. For more information, contact us today!