Archive for The Mark Maurer Team – Page 3

Real Estate Tips: Should I Buy a House First or Sell My Home First?

Real Estate Tips: How to Buy and Sell Real Estate in Kitchener-Waterloo

Real Estate Tips: How to Buy and Sell Real Estate in Kitchener-Waterloo

When selling your home, do you buy a house first or sell your home first? This is important information for you if you are selling your home in Kitchener-Waterloo. If you are looking to buy your dream home and currently own a house, you can benefit from my 21 years of real estate expertise in answering this crucial question. The first thing you want to do when considering to sell your home is to get an offer on your existing home first. In this case when you’re ready to start looking at homes you are now considered a “Cash Buyer.” If you are out looking at homes and you don’t have your current home sold, any offer you make will have to be conditional……

Watch this video for my complete advice on buying a new house and selling your current home.

Find out how I’ve helped more than 2,000 families buy and sell homes in Kitchener-Waterloo by getting a copy of my free eBook here. Also for more great real estate videos you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel. I love to share my expert knowledge so if you have any real estate questions feel free to call me at 310-SOLD or email me at mark@maurerteam.com.

Mark

How to Create House Appeal in the Fall

selling my home in Waterloo

Making Your Home Look Appealing in the Fall Months

Spring may be the season for cleaning, but Fall is the perfect time for working on your exterior house appeal. It makes sense to put off some tasks during July and August since it’s likely you are on vacation or it’s simply too hot to work outside comfortably. The invigorating energy of Fall can get you back on track in many different ways!

Tackling The Bigger Exterior Projects

There’s still time before winter sets in to tackle some large projects. If you can spare a sunny day, consider patching and sealing your asphalt or concrete driveway. Daytime temperatures are still warm enough to allow sealants to cure properly, and getting a good surface on before winter snow and ice arrives will not only keep your property looking nice, but it will also prevent costly and more time- consuming repairs later on.

The same applies to any roofing issues you may have noticed earlier but have not yet addressed. If it’s an irritant in September, it will be a catastrophe in January. Leaks, loose shingles, and even nesting birds in your eaves can expose your home to serious damage. If your roof is getting a little older or if you’ve spotted something that doesn’t look quite right, call a professional to take a look around and advise you on necessary repairs. While you’re checking the roof, take a look at your gutters as well – even before the leaves start falling, they may be clogged or have sections that need to be replaced.

The next thing you want to do is to check all trees on your property for dead or damaged limbs. If your property is especially large or predominantly forested, check trees within a wide radius of your house as well as those near vehicles, fences, or property lines. If entire trees or limbs more than ten feet from the ground need to be removed, you will want to call a professional.

Fall Fun

If what I described above sounds like dreary work, take heart – there are FUN Fall projects to do around your Kitchener-Waterloo home’s exterior as well. Fall is a season of vivid colors – bright blue skies, yellow leaves, apples ripening to shades of red, pumpkins in their distinctive orange. Do you feel that your home looks a bit dingy in comparison? Have no fear, we can help boost your house appeal!

If you have any siding on your house, dust and heavy pollen that was in the air can mean your paint or siding may not be looking its best. While you may not want to take on a full-scale house-painting project, you can make a big difference in your home’s exterior appearance with a few simple fixes. Pressure washing will reveal your home’s true colors from under the obscuring layer of summer grime. Painting the trim and any larger but easily accessible areas of your porch will make the entire front of the house pop – an astonishing change for relatively little effort and cost. Still sound too arduous? Pick a vibrant new colour for your front door and take an afternoon to spruce it up with a couple of coats of paint. Then stand back and …….. enjoy!

The Benefits of Gardening in the Fall

Fall is also the perfect time of year for gardening. As growth slows in your garden and landscaping, you may lose the hectic variety of summer plants but what remains is richer, deeper, and more textured. Now is the perfect opportunity to rip out annuals that are past their prime. The removal of exhausted foliage and drooping blooms will perk up the outside appearance of your home. Now you have room to revel in colourful fall landscaping. This time of year shrubs and trees do well when if they are planted now; the reduced demands from leaf, flower, and fruit allow their root systems to become established before the next flush of growth. Hardy ornamental versions of common winter crops such as kale, mustard, and even cabbage now come in a stunning array of colors and patterns. Don’t forget, while you’re doing all that digging to plant bulbs such as daffodils, crocus, tulips, and hyacinth.

Once your garden is all tucked in for the season, you can move on to the all-important decision: which decorations will enhance your front steps? Think ….. “abundance!” There is nothing skimpy about the season of harvest. Fall is the perfect time for arrangements overflowing with vines, grasses, late-blooming flowers, interesting sculptural seed pods, and nearly anything else you can imagine. Consider large, luxurious pots with ornate details echo the plants’ lush textures. Paired with wreaths in shades of burgundy, sienna, mustard, and gold, they can put summer to shame.

If you’re crafty and/or creative, half of the fun will come in making some of these items from scratch. If not, prepare to enjoy hours of browsing at your local home and garden center – options abound! And, of course, two huge potted mums (I saw some BIG ones at Home Depot yesterday for only $11.99) and an array of well-placed pumpkins are a classic combination for good reason. Their simple cheerfulness expresses the true, irrepressible spirit of fall.

Find out how I’ve helped more than 2,000 families buy and sell homes in Kitchener-Waterloo by getting a copy of my free eBook here. Also for great real estate videos you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel. I love to share my expert knowledge so if you have any real estate questions feel free to call me at 310-SOLD or email me at mark@maurerteam.com.

Making Extra Mortgage Payments Can Be Beneficial. But Should You Do It?

Should You Be Making Extra Mortgage Payments?

Should You Be Making Extra Mortgage Payments?

Perhaps you have had your home in Waterloo Region for a few years now. You’ve purchased all of the necessities that didn’t originally come with your home – a lawnmower, gardening tools and maybe you have updated your furniture and you’re pretty much settled in. Now you’re realizing you have a little extra money each month and it occurred to you that you could knock some time off your mortgage if you made an additional payment here and there. What if you put a portion of every pay aside just for this purpose – is it a good idea? You’re not the first person to come to me and ask for my advice on this. I’ve had this question asked of me while couples are putting in an offer on a home as well as past clients contacting me years after I’ve helped them buy a home in Kitchener-Waterloo to discuss this option. Initially, it seems like a rather sound idea: make an extra mortgage payment or two every year and potentially save tens of thousands of dollars in interest over the lifetime of your mortgage.

The Benefits of Making Extra Mortgage Payments

Just one extra mortgage payment a year has advantages. Yes, you can pay off your mortgage in a shorter period of time and take a few years off the term of your mortgage. Let’s take as an example, a $250,000 mortgage over a 30-year term with let’s say a fixed rate of 4%. If you made one additional payment every year, you would save approximately $27,724 over the lifetime of your mortgage. This one extra payment per year would also shorten the term of your mortgage by somewhere around four years and a bit.

The Downside of Making Extra Mortgage Payments

Yes, there is a downside to everything in life. Let’s look at the disadvantages of using income you have freed up, to contribute to your mortgage. If you use this extra cash to put toward your mortgage, you are tieing up funds that could be used to put aside for emergencies. Everybody has one at some point or another. One of the big ones is automobile repairs. You need your vehicle and if it were to break down, do you have money put aside for repairs? Financial investment specialists I have spoken to over the years have told me we should have 3-6 months of salary put aside for emergencies. Another smart use for extra money is putting it toward retirement through a specific type of retirement investment. If you have children, you’re going to want to contribute to an RESP for college or university tuition. I have a step-daughter who is enrolled at McMaster University in the fall and it sure hit home how expensive an education is when we sat down and made out an itemized budget. Thankfully, an RESP was started for her when she was a baby and at least her tuition and book costs are covered every semester.

If you have decided to make additional payments toward your mortgage, the first thing you will want to do is to contact your mortgage broker. Here are the questions you will want to ask:

  1. Do they allow extra payments?
  2. Do the extra payments go toward the principal and NOT the interest?

If extra payments are allowed and the amounts you will pay go toward your principal, now you need to decide which is the best approach to making these extra payments. You can pay a little extra every month, pay a lump sum at the end of the year (or at any specific time during the year), or you can make your mortgage payments bi-weekly which at the end of a year works out to one extra mortgage payment. In any case, speak to your mortgage broker about all of this and ask for the answers to your questions in writing so that you’re clear on what you can and cannot accomplish by making extra payments on your mortgage.

Find out how I’ve helped more than 2,000 families buy and sell homes in Kitchener-Waterloo by getting a copy of my free eBook here. Also for great real estate videos you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel. I love to share my expert knowledge so if you have any real estate questions feel free to call me at 310-SOLD or email me at mark@maurerteam.com.

Mark

The Pros and Cons of Renting out Part of Your Home

PROS and CONS

Know the PROS and CONS Before Taking the Plunge

On the surface it seems like a fabulous idea: Carve out a portion of your home, rent it out and use the rental income to pay your mortgage. You get to live basically “rent free” while at the same time reaping the tax benefits of writing off some of the costs associated with accommodating a rental apartment in your home.

With the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.’s recent announcement of relaxing the rules for how homeowners looking to rent out apartments in their principal residences can borrow money, getting some rental income seems like a sure bet.

In reality, however, it is not. From difficult tenants and unanticipated costs to insurance claims to the simple and sometimes inevitable experience of not being able to find a stable, long-term renter, there are many things that homeowners need to consider before taking on the role of landlord.

The Pros

Second source of income
The most obvious gain is the extra money that you will be receiving each month. This money can help you pay your mortgage, property taxes or other bills, which is a sweet deal if you are renting out a part of your home you rarely use anyway.

Renovations increase value
Aside from the monthly payoff that you receive from your new tenants, the renovations that you make may also be a future investment. At the time, you may renovate to make areas of your home accessible to tenants, for example finishing your basement, but such renovations will also increase your home’s resale value.

The Cons

Investing and responsibility
First of all, it is an investment before it is a benefit. In order to rent out part of your home you need to ensure that it is in prime condition. This means that renovations will most likely have to be made. It also means that every problem that your tenant has becomes your problem. There is no putting off a repair; you are now a landlord and have inherited a responsibility to your tenant(s).

Impact on resale value
There is also re-sale valuation to consider. While you may have no intention to sell your home now, you still need to consider what it will be valued at with a rental suite later. While many potential buyers will appreciate having a turnkey rental apartment that they too can reap the economic benefits from, some may not want the same kind of setup, reducing the prospect of a sale.

Reliability
It seems like the great idea to be able to rent your home, but you are now depending on someone else to pay you. Not all tenants are reliable, and it can be difficult to trust a stranger to hold up their end of the bargain. A quick glance through the Landlord and Tenant Act can provide a good snapshot of some of the issues landlords face.

The Pitfalls

Regulations
While it differs by province and city, renting out part of your home automatically puts you under numerous provincial and municipal regulations, many of which if not followed can result in hefty fines. When a landlord can enter the area rented differs across the country, as one example, as does the types of property that fall under provincial or territorial tenancy legislation — a detached home versus a duplex or condominium, for instance. Both landlords and tenants should inform themselves of the laws applicable to their location.

Repairs
Repairs can be extremely expensive and seem to occur a lot more often when housing tenants. You can potentially avoid recurring repairs by calling professionals the first time around, but try to budget for repairs when renting out your home.

Six key things any homeowner considering renting out a portion of their residence needs to consider:


1) Know the laws and follow them
: Before renting your home, look into the provincial and municipal laws to ensure to take the appropriate steps. Always draft a contract that acknowledges the regulations set by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation that are applicable to your location.

2) Have a backup fund:
 Do not depend on rental money as a primary source of income. Always have some extra money in the piggy bank for possible repairs or tenant issues and, of course, to cover your own bills.

3) Mortgage flexibility:
 A flexible mortgage is recommended when renting out part of your home. It can give you wiggle room on the requirements for monthly payments should something go wrong. This allows homeowners to avoid penalties that occur in a fixed mortgage rate when a monthly payment is missed. Flexible mortgages also give homeowners the opportunity to pay off their mortgage sooner as you can accelerate payments.

4) Have rules in place:
 Renting out part of your home should be seen more as a business deal then a simple rental agreement. Always have written and signed documentation to cover all your bases. This ensures liability on both your end and the renters.

5) Check-in
: Make a habit of checking in with your tenants on a regular basis to ensure both your happiness and theirs. You can have monthly visits to ensure that your property stays in good shape and they are properly accommodated.

6) Hire professionals: A real estate lawyer should be at the top of your list, as well as a mortgage expert and other professionals who can help navigate the legalities and other circumstances of being a landlord.

Overall, renting your home can be a viable source of income if you do it properly. Following the rules and maintaining your property are extremely important and necessary. Renting property comes with responsibility and patience, and should not be done as a get-rich-quick scheme.

This article was written and published with permission on this website by: Samantha Brooks, Founder and CEO of Mortgages of Canada with 14 years of experience specializing in mortgages, debt consolidation, and refinancing. You can find Samantha on Twitter as @Mortgagesof Can. For mortgage questions or advice, you can visit Samantha at www.mortgagesofcanada.ca

Find out how I’ve helped more than 2,000 families buy and sell homes in Kitchener-Waterloo by getting a copy of my free eBook here. Also for great real estate videos you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel. I love to share my expert knowledge so if you have any real estate questions feel free to call me at 310-SOLD or email me at mark@maurerteam.com.

What Does a Real Estate Agent on The Mark Maurer Team do for YOU?

 

Four and a half year old Masen, son of Jaymes and Natalie jumps for joy!

 

You might think that the profession of selling real estate is all about showing homes and taking a commission. Showing homes is certainly part of the job but any GREAT agent earns their commission. There are dozens of tasks involved in the purchase or sale of a home and each must be accomplished with precision and skill. Many people are ill-informed about the role of a real estate agent, even if they’ve bought or sold a home before. It’s not all pretty houses and pleasant conversations! Here are a few of the important tasks the stellar Maurer Team real estate agents will accomplish exceedingly well on your behalf.

Before a Listing

Listing your home isn’t the start of a sale; the work starts well before that. A few things that our real estate agents will complete before your home even hits the market.

  • Assess your property. Our Realtors will assess your property’s value. This involves a thorough examination of your home along with a great deal of research and attention to details. They will take into consideration all the tangible features of your home including elements such as finishes and square footage. They will also try to evaluate the less quantitative elements including location, curb appeal, and the value of the neighbourhood placed on it by residents living in it.
  • Establish a market value and price. Realtors on The Mark Maurer Team have to research recent comparable sales from the past 18 months on the listing services and also in the public records. He’ll have to research the average number of days on the market for properties similar in type, price, and location. Current and past listings will need to be researched. They will also prepare a comparable market analysis to establish a competitive market value.
  • Verify all of your property’s details. Our agents will need to obtain a copy of your property survey to verify the property lines and dimensions of the lot. They will verify the legal description of the home; it’s previous ownership and title, the land’s deed restrictions and coding, and the school system information. All of the utilities (e.g. sewer, gas, hydro) will be checked.
  • Prepare your property. Our real estate agents will help you get your home ready to sell by advising you on staging, decluttering, depersonalization, and curb appeal modifications.

We also have a professional photographer take high-quality photos and record videos and virtual tours that highlight the best features of your home. Beware of real estate agents who say they can take their own photos! Photos are very important to the marketing of your home as they are used across multiple marketing methods to attract potential buyers.

During a Listing

So much will have been accomplished by the time your home is listed that you might think there isn’t much left to be accomplished. However, that’s just when things can start getting interesting.

  • Marketing your home. In order to submit your home to be featured on the MLS system, thorough preparation is required. Our agents will need to prepare an MLS profile sheet since they are responsible for the accuracy of the listing data. They must enter the data into the system, proofread it for accuracy, include your property’s placement for the mapping feature and upload the many quality photos and your virtual tour. They have to create and distribute flyers as well as create Internet ads and postings on the various social media platforms.
  • Making appointments. In many cases, agents on The Mark Maurer Team will first show your home to other agents. They will install a lockbox and set up appointments with agents who they feel could have the perfect buyer in mind. Then they will start making showing appointments with potential buyers on their contacts lists too.
  • Follow up. All of those showing appointments will require follow-up calls to help keep buyers interested and your property in the forefront of other agents’ minds. We have a system in place that keeps us on our toes to ensure that phone calls are made to each and every agent who has shown your home.
  • Maintenance. If you’re no longer residing in your home, our agents will help you to manage its upkeep. They will make sure the lawn stays mowed or the leaves are raked. They will also maintain all the methods of marketing like refilling brochure and flyer boxes.
  • Verify financing. Our agents always check to see if buyers are pre-qualified for financing. This is very important and if not in place, will stall your sale and waste time.
  • Negotiation. Real estate agents on The Mark Maurer Team will be your advocates in negotiations, whether you are buying or selling a home. They will do all in their power to make sure the price you get or pay is a good value. They will receive or send offers and advise you on the strength of the offer regardless of whether you are buying or selling. They will review the contracts and details of any offer or contract.

After the Listing

Some of the most difficult tasks still lay ahead for our Realtors, even after an offer is extended and accepted. There are many details to cover but here are just a few.

  • The Plethora of paperwork. Any sale of property generates reams of paperwork and our agents must wade through it all. They make sure everything is signed and delivered to all the appropriate people or agencies involved, on time. An agent on The Mark Maurer Team will explain each item to you so you understand what you’re signing.
  • Order inspections and appraisals. Our agents order all thorough home inspections through a reputable company we have been using for the past 20 years. They will schedule an official appraisal and provide the documentation within 24 hours that was obtained through research about the home to the appraiser.
  • Follow ups. Our Realtors follow up with all parties throughout this process, keeping everyone in the loop and well-informed.

The Closing

The closing process is fairly detailed, legally-speaking. It would take more space than we have here to list all of our agent’s duties. Here’s just a small number of notable jobs for your agent from The Mark Maurer Team.

  • Solve title problems. If there are clouds on the title, it’s our job to blow them away. In some cases, we may need to obtain a death certificate or legal signature from a previous owner.
  • Request closing figures. It’s our agent’s job to make sure you have the exact amount(s) for your certified cheques at the time of closing.
  • Forms, forms and more forms. Our Realtors review, proofread and process a huge number of forms to complete the sale of your home. These forms also have to be filed with the right agencies and deliver to the buyer and seller and the lender with all the signatures in the proper places.

Find out how I’ve helped more than 2,000 families buy and sell homes in Kitchener-Waterloo by downloading my free eBook here. Also for great real estate videos you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel. I love to share my expert knowledge so if you have any real estate questions feel free to call me at 310-SOLD or email me at mark@maurerteam.com.

Living in Waterloo, Ontario: The Great Outdoors and So Much More

Living in Waterloo, Ontario

Sunrise over Laurel Creek Reservoir in Waterloo, Ontario. Photo credit: Fred Widall

Life in a smaller city can be just as sophisticated and entertaining as a metropolitan area. You just have to choose the right small city. Waterloo, Ontario has the amenities of a bigger city but none of the hassle. The Tri-Cities area of Waterloo, Kitchener and Cambridge has quite a bit to offer!

Waterloo, Ontario is studded with parks, bordered by the beautiful Grand River and anchored by the University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University. Living in Waterloo gives its residents the advantages of an active lifestyle and an interesting, diverse community. It has the cultural flair of a much larger area with an energetic city center fueled by students and educators. This is complemented by plenty of quiet neighborhoods and an interesting history. In case you need more convincing, the climate is considered moderate compared to the rest of the country (sweet!).

Residents of Waterloo get to experience the beauty of all four seasons. Our climate is officially called “humid continental of the warm summer subtype.” This basically means we get a distinct difference between each season. Winters are cold but not as severe as some parts of the country (Waterloo averages 140 frost-free days a year) and summers are gloriously warm.

Waterloo’s Wonderful History

The pleasant environs are just one of the factors that originally drew settlers to the lands we now call Waterloo. The land was given to the people of the Six Nations as a gift and a reward for their assistance to the British during the American Revolution. Almost immediately (and somewhat controversially), the Six Nations people began to sell off parcels of the gifted lands. A man by the name of Richard Beasley purchased many of the plots through a Crown Grant while the Six Nations held the mortgage.

Settlers from Pennsylvania, USA slowly began to purchase land from Beasley in the first year. The following year, a deluge of 26 families combined their resources and bought the remainder of Beasley’s “inventory.” With these land sales he was able to completely clear his mortgage!

The families that flocked to Waterloo were almost entirely Mennonite farmers. The rich soil and moist climate was and still is, perfect for farming. They hoped to be able to practice their religion without fear of persecution in their new home. The area later became a popular destination for German immigrants (immigrants continue to arrive in this welcoming haven even today). They named their new home Waterloo after the battle that ended the Napoleonic Wars in Europe.

At that time, , the central core of Waterloo was comprised of two lots owned by a man named Abraham Erb. His grist mill and saw mill were the hotspots of Waterloo. These days, the city’s center is on the street named after him. The intersection of Erb and King Streets houses the Waterloo Town Square shopping center that is widely considered the heart of Uptown Waterloo.

“Uptown Waterloo” is the term typically used by residents to describe this revitalized section of the city (locals refer to the city center of nearby Kitchener as “downtown Kitchener”). In 2006, a shopping mall was torn down and street-facing storefront businesses sprouted up to take its place, creating a more interesting and engaging city-center feeling.

The Great Outdoors Living in Waterloo

One of the ways we can engage in life in Waterloo is by getting active outdoors in the nice climate. The township is dotted with parks making it easy to spend time outside. There are five major parks located within city limits or within a short drive of the city center.

  • RIM Park. With 200 hectares, RIM Park has no shortage of green space. It is home to the heritage Martin Farm House and an 18-hole golf course as well as a variety of indoor and outdoor sporting facilities.
  • Laurel Creek Conservation Area. Another 300 hectares is devoted to this green space northwest of the city. Swimming, bird watching, hiking and windsurfing top the list of favorite summer activities in this open space. It features a beach and picnic areas for more relaxing endeavors. In the winter, cross-country skiing and show-shoeing make for seasonal fun.
  • Waterloo Park. At 45 hectares, it may seem small in comparison to the big guys above but it’s still a huge green space in the town. It houses a bandshell for outdoor concerts, a waterpark called Lions’ Lagoon, historical displays for educational opportunities and animal displays. During the holiday season, the Wonders of Winter light display draws locals and tourists alike to its twinkling glory.
  • Betchel Park. Occupying 44 hectares, Betchel Park features fun for your four-legged friends. An off-leash dog park neighbors two well-lit baseball diamonds, wetlands, a hardwood forest with a groomed trail, and a city-operated cemetery.
  • Lexington Park. If ball games are your thing, Lexington Park holds a soccer pitch and baseball diamond on the site of a former municipal airport.
  • The Grand River. If these parks aren’t enough to get you outside, the Grand River is one of the world’s best-managed waterways. And it runs right through Waterloo!

Outdoor activities aren’t the only fun to be had in Waterloo. Residents can enjoy good food, plenty of festivals and fairs, plus some quieter endeavors too. The city has plenty of options for housing in neighborhoods from lively urban to subdued suburban. With a wide variety of ages and architectural styles, the homes are varied and affordable.

Living in this smaller city sure doesn’t seem small. The roads are uncongested and easy to navigate due to the expressways; it feels as big and wide as the many parks that surround it. Life in Waterloo promises the great outdoors and so much more!

Find out how I’ve helped more than 2,000 families buy and sell homes in Kitchener-Waterloo by getting a copy of my free eBook here. Also for great real estate videos you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel. I love to share my expert knowledge so if you have any real estate questions feel free to call me at 310-SOLD or email me at mark@maurerteam.com.

Living in Kitchener-Waterloo: Best Places for Foodies

buying a home in Waterloo Ontario

Restaurant Recommendations in Waterloo

 

Think the big city is the only place to get a really good meal? Don’t be fooled by the urban centers’ reputation. A smaller city can be just as gourmet as any metropolitan area. Kitchener-Waterloo has some fantastic spots that will satisfy even the most discerning foodie’s sensibilities. If you want to find out about Kitchener-Waterloo restaurants, this is a good place to find out!

Festivals

If you love an innovative food truck or fun food festival, Waterloo is a great place to eat on the street. There are numerous fairs featuring food of many ethnicities and origins. Each one offers an opportunity to try a new treat. The Annual Waterloo Food Festival is one of the best you can find anywhere.

The Waterloo Food Festival hosts outdoor events like the Evening Food Fair, the Outdoor Cocktail event and the Waterloo Family Fete, among others. There are also opportunities to have a seat at some of the trendiest eateries and enjoy the fair in air-conditioned comfort. You can try something new at a tasting or experience a masterclass and learn a new cooking technique. Don’t forget the competitions and live entertainment! This four-day event is a foodie’s gastronomic dream-come-true.

The Waterloo town calendar is packed with festivals, street fairs and cultural events. Just about any of these events will have a host of tempting delicacies for the discriminating food-lover. Culture Fest, Art Fest and the Big Music Festival are just a few of the annual opportunities to try a new food truck or sample a street cart. In 2015, the region even hosted the second Food Truck Fare in support of the Independent Living Centre of Waterloo Region.

UpTown Waterloo

UpTown Waterloo is the urban heart of the city. It is home to over 400 businesses including some incredible restaurants. This thriving city-center is a popular lunch and dinner-time destination and for lots of good reasons. Here are just a few to tempt your taste buds.

Beertown – Waterloo Town Square

Part old-school pub, part modern beer emporium and all great food – that’s Beertown in the Waterloo Town Square. The concept for Beertown is one of the powerful Charcoal Groups’ newest and it’s getting rave reviews from all types of customers. It features a “chef-driven” menu focused on all-natural ingredients and creative combinations.

This pub is constantly looking for ways to make beer more inventive and your dining experience more exciting. The menu ranges from traditional poutine to pork belly tacos, Beertown pad thai and a raw salad. There’s something for just about any taste here.

Nick & Nat’s Uptown 21

If you want the full foodie experience, try getting a seat at the chef’s table at Nick & Nat’s Uptown 21. This local spot emphasizes local fare. They’ve been listed in the prestigious “Where to Eat in Canada” guide for 5 consecutive years. This husband and wife team keeps the menu interesting by changing it up depending on what’s freshest right now. You could see a house cured pancetta on the menu or perhaps a hand-stretched mozzarella. For a treat on a budget, take a look at their 3 and 4 course prix fixe options.

King Street Trio Uptown

The ultimate in casual-but-cool, this eatery with an attitude lives in a 100-year-old historic building. You get the charm of a tin ceiling with the modern edge of an open-concept kitchen. Try the cozy dining room or the more intimate semi-private, 14 seat dining area. Fresh food and great value dominate the menu and the service is strong. They will even accommodate allergies issues and dietary preferences.

The Bauer Kitchen

Part of the powerhouse Charcoal Group, The Bauer Kitchen is a SoHo-inspired, up-market bistro. A trendy décor mix of industrial and reclaimed elements gives home to a strong menu of hearty dishes. Any restaurant that puts grilled salmon on the kids’ menu is really thinking about modern foodies and foodies-in-training!

For a decadent indulgence that touches on several current food trends, try the confit duck wings or the roasted bone marrow. A terrific array of burgers and sandwiches are available for lunch and dinner has some heavy-hitting dishes like short rib gnocchi and some lighter notes like an arugula salad with shaved beets, pickled peppers and Granny Smith apples.

Hillcrest House

If you’re craving something a little different, an experience instead of a mere meal, head over to the historic Hillcrest House Bed & Breakfast. Resting on a quiet street in the heart of Waterloo, close to all the attractions, this little gem hides a juicy little secret. It’s called “Trust the Fat Guy at Hillcrest House”.

It’s a ton of fun and you’ll learn a few things you can try at home too. This experience is an incredible opportunity to delve into the mind of Chef Stef, ask questions and take a few recipes home as a bonus. He’ll prepare several dishes right in front of you. The event runs about 3 hours and price will vary depending on your choice of menu items. (If you’d like to stay the night, you’ll get a discount on your room!).

There’s no shortage of foodie havens in Waterloo. Bring your appetite and try a few of our favorite spots. You’re sure to find something to impress your taste buds in the vibrant, exciting community of Waterloo. Have a favourite restaurant you want added to this list? Email me at mark@maurerteam.com!

Find out how I’ve helped more than 2,000 families buy and sell homes in Kitchener-Waterloo by getting a copy of my free eBook here. Also for great real estate videos you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel. I love to share my expert knowledge so if you have any real estate questions feel free to call me at 310-SOLD or email me at mark@maurerteam.com.

6 Factors That Lead to Overpricing Your Home

Overpricing Your Kitchener-Waterloo Home Has Negative Effects

There Are Good Reasons NOT to Overprice Your Home

Overpricing your home for sale in Kitchener or Waterloo is not only a promise for headaches down the road but can actually contribute selling your home below market value. One of the most, if not the most crucial factors contributing to the successful sale of any property is – PRICE. If priced correctly, your Kitchener-Waterloo home stands the best chance of attracting potential buyers during its first few weeks on the market. This will eventually lead to your home selling at the price that it’s worth.

 Consider the factors we have outlined below and avoid them at all costs. If you can avoid these factors you will prevent the disappointment, financial loss and stress that can accompany an overpriced home that has gone stale.

Factors That Lead to Overpricing Your Home

Poorly Executed Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)

If you are a homeowner wanting to put your house on the market, there are several things to keep in mind when a professional Realtor presents you with a Comparative Market Analysis. For starters, CMAs will vary from agent to agent and the content of the CMA will differ in depth and quality. Additionally, a CMA is by its very nature, a tool used by some agents to convince you to hire him or her to list your home by essentially telling you what you want to hear.

To find out what should be included in a quality CMA, read out our article here.

Misinterpreted Sentimental Value

One problem homeowners often run into (and sometimes realtors) is the idea that the emotional value and attachment felt by the homeowner can be transferred into a monetary one. Bob Villa touches on this point in his blog post, 12 Reasons Why Your House Isn’t Selling. As Bob notes,“…If you’re not emotionally ready to pull up stakes, then hold off on listing your home.”

For Sale By Owner

A homeowner who starts out hoping to save some money might also run into the dangers of overpricing when trying to sell their home. This is because they do not have the expertise and professionalism of an experienced Real Estate Agent. In her article Why For-Sale-By-Owner Sales Fail, Michele Lerner lists the disadvantages of selling your own home. Some of the disadvantages Michele suggests include: the limited access to current reliable market information available to the general public; the inability to view the homeowner’s property objectively; and the lack of professional experience in negotiating real estate contracts as

Unnecessary or Expensive Renovations

Determining the value that a renovation or upgrade will add to a home is a complicated and layered issue and should be taken into consideration when deciding to perform any renovations. Attempting to inflate your asking price to make up for a renovation that added no real value to your home will lead to disappointment and worse, financial ruin. We suggest that you read this article in the Globe and Mail that includes renovation recommendations from our favourite Real Estate Lawyer, Mark Weisleder: Six Renovations That Don’t Add Value to Your Home. If you are considering making any major renovations for the purpose of increasing your home’s value, check with your Realtor first to be sure that your efforts will result in a financial gain rather than loss for you, when it’s time to sell.

Plans for Bargaining

Homeowners wanting to sell their house in Waterloo Ontario who believe that they can overprice their homes at the beginning with plans of lowering it later will be met with disappointment. Interest and activity surrounding the listing of a home burns out after a short period of time. By the time your home has been listed for a few weeks, then you decide to lower your price, your most suitable potential buyers have already overlooked your home based on the inflated price. The real estate market has a low tolerance for over-priced homes. Don’t make the mistake of pricing your home for sale too high yourself, or allowing a fast-talking Real Estate Agent to promise you more than the market can bear. You will be the loser in the end.

Overpricing to Make Up for Overpaying

Another factor that can contribute to the overpricing of a house for sale in Kitchener-Waterloo is when a homeowner bought the home for more than its market value and then attempts to recover their loss. Whatever the reason, a poor investment, inexperienced Realtor or no Realtor at all – the fact of the matter is that overpricing your home is one of the worst home-selling mistakes you can make. If it’s really important to you to move right now, you would be better served to cut your losses and buy smarter the second time around.

Finding the right price when wanting to sell your house in Kitchener-Waterloo is no easy task and should never be taken lightly. Trusted professionals, like the agents we have as part of The Mark Maurer Team are here to protect your interests and ensure the best possible deal can be made for both the home owner and the home buyer.

To learn how to price your home right, watch my video below:

Find out how I’ve helped more than 2,000 families buy and sell homes in Kitchener-Waterloo by getting a copy of my free eBook here. Also for great real estate videos you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel. I love to share my expert knowledge so if you have any real estate questions feel free to call me at 310-SOLD or email me at mark@maurerteam.com.

The Realities of Selling Your Own Home

 

how do I sell my own home in Kitchener?

You Can Indeed Sell Your Own Home.  If You’re Prepared for It.

 

FSBO is a real estate industry abbreviation for the term “For Sale By Owner.” For some of you homeowners, there is a temptation to try to sell your own home when the time comes to move. It’s a tough job and homeowners seem to manage it with varying degrees of success. However, a much larger number of homeowners fail miserably and end up paying a high price for it. Between listing fees and a home lingering on the market for too long, it probably won’t be worth what little you save in commissions. It may seem like a good idea yet there are some realities about selling your own home that you should make yourself aware of.

This is not to say that a homeowner can’t successfully sell their home; it absolutely can be done and done well. As a homeowner, it’s wise if you have a realistic perspective on the process. It’s not easy. It’s not convenient. It may not be as cost-effective as it seems. There’s a reason that real estate agents work long hours 7 days a week and if they’re awake, they’re on call!

It’s not easy.

Selling your own home is not a simple, straightforward deal like selling a car. It’s a complex matter, legally. If you want to sell your own home, you’ll need to learn a lot and do it quickly. You can easily be taken in by clauses, terms and phrases that you either don’t fully understand or don’t completely appreciate. You could end up in a truly compromised position if you don’t have a grasp of the contracts involved in a home sale.

You will also be at a serious disadvantage if you don’t fully understand home values and the current housing market in your area. Your listing price shouldn’t be a number you feel is warranted or what you think you need to get into a new home. It must be priced by what the market will bear at the time. This is one area where FSBO transactions often go awry. If you don’t have access to the hard data about recent sales for comparables in your neighbourhood, you might not be able to calculate a sellable price for your home.

A seller also needs a thick skin about his home and its price. You’ll hear a lot of negative feedback about your home, its price, the neighborhood, your maintenance skills, your decorating skills and just about anything else in between. Because we are emotionally attached to our homes, this can be hard to hear once, much less week after week. Additionally, buyers can be really uncomfortable viewing your home or negotiating with you if they know you are also the owner. If you aren’t a stellar negotiator with a hide for criticism as thick as an alligator’s, the FSBO process may not be for you.

It’s not convenient.

Real estate agents put in a great deal of time to sell your home. It really is a full-time-plus-time job. If you know a successful agent, ask them when they last had a full day off. Consider these time-consuming tasks:

  • Marketing the home. Your agent will take pictures, post the listing on the MLS system and their website, share posts about the property on social media, write up descriptions of the home, create brochures and flyers, go through their contacts and make some calls to generate interest and see if they can find an interested buyer – and that’s just a start. Marketing any home takes time. And remember, you can’t even access the MLS System to list your home unless you are a licensed real estate professional. MLS is where most homebuyers first start their home search. FSBO companies will list your home on the Toronto real estate board. Toronto! Not Kitchener-Waterloo. Therefore the local kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge realtors (which buyers are working with for free) don’t send their clients any FSBO listings as they are not on our board.
    What this means for you is that you are missing 80% of your most qualified buyers.
  • Screening potential buyers. As the seller represented by a Realtor, you will only meet the potential buyers that your agent has screened and pre-qualified. You won’t be dealing with all the folks who aren’t legitimate prospects. You’ll have to do all the prescreening if you sell on your own (there’s lots of tire-kickers out there).
  • Showing the home. If you have a job that allows you to take off at the drop of a hat to show your home to a potential buyer who only has an hour to spare, then you might be okay. Many other people in traditional job settings will have difficulty making time to show the home to potential buyers at a moment’s notice.
  • Fielding the calls. Your agent’s real estate office fields an awful lot of phone calls on a daily basis. They hear so many questions in a day that they often leave with sore ears! Can you manage your life, your job and a seemingly endless stream of phone calls, emails, texts and/or social media messages about your home? <Groan>

It’s not as cost-effective as it first appears.

Some might say they do it for the challenge, others for the experience, but in truth most FSBO sellers just want to save some money. They believe that if they do the work, they will save a bundle in real estate commissions. While it’s true that you won’t have to pay a commission, there are costs involved that are probably much higher than you realize.

Companies dedicated to “helping” homeowners sell their homes on their own have fees. They will charge you up front for their services and you have no guarantee or even expectation of a sale. Agents only charge if they are able to sell your home.

Marketing costs are also out-of-pocket if you sell your own home. Just about every website will charge you and so will the listing services. (The MLS, the service most used by real estate agents and home buyers, won’t even list for you unless you are a licensed agent.) Every classified ad, every printed flyer, every marketing tool will be paid for by you at the time of placement, not after the sale.

Selling your home on your own also costs you time. You’ll be spending time away from your job, away from your family, away from your life. Can you afford the loss?

You can sell your own home but it will take a great deal of effort on your part. Hiring a qualified agent with the skills to get your home sold quickly takes away a great deal of stress. If you choose the FSBO route, be aware of the perils and have a plan to outsmart them. Or you could simply hire a good real estate agent and let him or her do the hard work of selling your home. Yes, you’ll pay a commission but it will be worth every penny and your Realtor will earn every cent. If you’re wondering if an individual Realtor or a Real Estate Team is best for you, click here.

Find out how I’ve helped more than 2,000 families buy and sell homes in Kitchener-Waterloo by getting a copy of my free eBook here. Also for great real estate videos you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel. I love to share my expert knowledge so if you have any real estate questions feel free to call me at 310-SOLD or email me at mark@maurerteam.com.

Relocating to Kitchener-Waterloo? Resources To Help (Part 2)

Moving to Kitchener or Waterloo? We Can Help!

Moving to Kitchener or Waterloo? We Can Help!

The Kitchener-Waterloo area has a history that dates back to 1784, and this rich background means great things for its residents. With a regional population of nearly half a million people that’s growing fast, a variety of different industries, and an historically low unemployment rate, this is one area that is ideal for families, young professionals, and seniors alike. If you plan to move here,  it might be helpful to have some resources at your fingertips. Part 1 of our post took a look at moving companies you can use, how to get around the area, changing your address, the utility companies you may need to contact, and healthcare options while you’re here. Once you’ve moved, though, you’ll need more resources at your fingertips outside of the nuts and bolts of your daily life. Take a look at our continued list below.

Houses of Worship

As you look for the right place to fit into the Kitchener-Waterloo community, you may want to take a closer look at the many houses of worship in the area. With options that encompass all of the major faiths, you’re certain to find a place of worship that meets your needs here. This, however, is just an overview of the many worship options in the area, as exploring each would take far more than the confines of this blog post. For a more complete listing, please click here.

  1. Area Catholic Churches: With a number of Catholic congregations around the region, you’re certain to find services that meet your needs. Many also have associated schools for young children.
  2. George’s of Forest Hill: An Anglican church, this congregation offers a variety of worship services on Sunday and during the week as well as a church school for children. They also have book clubs, study groups, and family nights.
  3. Unity Centre: A non-denominational congregation, the Unity Centre offers fellowship for those of all faiths as well as a number of other programs.
  4. Stanley Park Community Church: A very welcoming church, Stanley Park is located right on the Route 8 line of the Grand River Transit, making it convenient for members and visitors alike.
  5. The Lutheran Churches of Kitchener-Waterloo: Our community has nine different Lutheran congregations to help meet your needs. Located across the area, there’s one near almost anywhere you decide to settle.
  6. Kitchener Gospel Temple: A community of faith that was initially founded in 1909, this church has a rich history and a wonderful congregation.
  7. Grandview Baptist Church: Easy to reach, this church offers Sunday services and much more. Perfect for worshipers of all ages, they offer great activities and a wonderful chance to connect with others.
  8. Waterloo Masjid: The Muslim Society of Waterloo & Wellington Counties offers services, events, and regular prayer times.
  9. Kitchener Masjid: Undergoing great renovations to help better meet the needs of Muslims in the area, this is a wonderful facility with a regular prayer schedule as well as other activities and events.
  10. Beth Jacob Congregation: Serving the local Jewish community since 1908, Beth Jacob offers modern Orthodox services as well as a number of other program options.
  11. The Rohr Chabad Centre: With services, classes, and even meals, Chabad is the best place to join the local Jewish community. Initially launched in December 2008, they serve a wide population, and can help you better connect once you’re here.
  12. Temple Shalom: A reform congregation, Temple Shalom draws members from across the area, including young Jewish families. They also have a growing religious school that combines study in Judacia with Hebrew training.

Schools in Waterloo Region

If you’re moving here with a family or you expect to have children while you’re here, never fear. This is a family-friendly community with lots of resources to help you settle in. Below is a listing of schools and care options to help you find the right resources for your family.

  1. Waterloo Region District: If you want your child to attend public schools, this is the place they’ll likely go. Encompassing nearly a hundred elementary schools and a number of secondary schools, you’ll find excellent staff and programs throughout the district.
  2. Waterloo Catholic Schools: Looking for a solid Catholic education for your child? With 47 different Catholic elementary schools and five secondary schools, this area offers an excellent selection to choose from for your child.
  3. Colleges and Universities: If you’re looking to further your own education or you have a student headed for college, you have several choices in the area. Conestoga College, Emmanuel Bible College, Heritage College & Seminary, University of Waterloo, and Wilfrid Laurier University all make their homes in this area.

Things to Do!

Worried you might not find anything to do while you’re here? That will never be an issue. There are so many great options you may have trouble keeping up. It’s possible you may even discover spots you haven’t had time to visit even if you’ve lived here for years.

  1. Kitchener Market: Looking for a feast your senses will love? This is the place to be. With food and wares that represent things from an international perspective it’s one spot you’ll want to visit regularly.
  2. Victoria Park: A prize spot in the heart of downtown, here you’ll find a playground, splash pad, and great walkways. There are winter rinks, a boathouse restaurant, and special events throughout the year.
  3. Doon Heritage Village: A beautiful living history village, there are more than 60 acres that show life in Waterloo in 1914. Every visit comes complete with interpreters dressed in 1914 clothing as well as animals and activities for the family.
  4. Waterloo Region Museum: This museum features two galleries, a main one that tells the story of the Waterloo region and a changing showcase gallery that has new exhibits on a regular basis. It’s worth a visit for you or the kids.
  5. Woodside National Historic Site: The boyhood home of William Lyon Mackenzie King, this house has been fully restored to the way it might have looked in the 1890s. A national treasure, it’s a must-see while you’re here.
  6. Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery: A destination for those who love contemporary art, this fine craft gallery showcases the best of Canadian ceramics and glass and offers numerous educational programs for children and adults alike.
  7. Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery: Emphasizing contemporary art throughout, here you’ll find frequently changing exhibitions and a 4,000 work permanent collection designed to feed your artistic side.
  8. Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony: Phenomenal performances dominate when you catch any of the shows in the symphony season. Consider a customized ticket package to catch the concerts you want to see most.
  9. The Registry Theatre: From great movie series to fantastic concerts and shoes, keep an eye on the schedule here to catch as much as you can.
  10. The Aud: A great place for ice and floor rentals, hall rentals, corporate meetings, and other special events, this complex is one you’ll want to visit on a regular basis.
  11. Chicopee Resort: In the winter, this is a great place to ski and snowboard. In the summer, they offer summer camps, disc golf, beach volleyball, and more. It’s the perfect place for some activity with the whole family.
  12. Iron Horse Trail: Need a place to walk, roller blade, or bike? This is it. Part of the Trans Canada Trail, it runs 5.5 kilometres and connects downtown Kitchener to uptown Waterloo.
  13. McLennan Park: Once a former landfill, this is a wonderful destination for everyone. It offers an accessible play-structure and splash pad, beach volleyball and basketball courts, a skate park, a BMX bike park, a leash-free dog park, pedestrian trails, a toboggan hill, and gazebo you can rent for any event.
  14. Centre in the Square: Looking for fantastic shows and events? This is the venue to visit. There’s not a bad seat in the house, so check the schedule regularly.
  15. The Museum: With five floors of interactive exhibits, this is a great place for you and the family alike. Lots of everything is packed inside, and imagination is the key word here.
  16. Joseph Schneider Haus: If you want to step back in time, this is the place to do it. A dynamic museum, this local landmark is Kitchener’s oldest home. Take the family and take a closer look at the history behind this amazing area.

Find out how I’ve helped more than 2,000 families buy and sell homes in Kitchener-Waterloo by getting a copy of my free eBook here. Also for more great real estate videos you won’t find anywhere else, subscribe to my YouTube channel. I love to share my expert knowledge so if you have any real estate questions feel free to call me at 310-SOLD or email me at mark@maurerteam.com.