Tips and advice related to buying or selling a home.

Real Estate Facts You Should Know

 Friday, December 21, 2018     Hilda Campbell      Real Estate Market Buying and Selling

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I have had a wee bit of a stressful week and felt like putting out a light-hearted blog today. I hope you enjoy these fun facts.

Real Estate Facts

  1. The median age of the average Realtor is 57.
  2. The average age of a first-time buyer in Canada is 29. The average repeat buyer is 52.
  3. The average cost of a home in Canada is just over $389,000.
  4. The average cost of a home in the GTA is just over $523,000.
  5. The two amenities that most convince couples to buy their first home are the master bathroom and the walk-in closet.
  6. At the opposite end of the spectrum, having a swimming pool ranks as the least important amenity when deciding on a first home.
  7. Only 48% of first time buyers are married couples.
  8. 74% of unmarried renters living alone are at least somewhat willing to live with their significant other to save money.
  9. Only one third of all home buyers are buying for the first time.
  10. Unsurprisingly, the internet is now the main source for people to search for homes (92%) and real estate agents (88%).
  11. On the flip side, only 17% of people now use home/real estate magazines to find the same information.
  12. Buyers search a median of 12 weeks and visit 10 homes.
  13. 57% said they would give up a home with a larger yard if it meant they could have a shorter commute.
  14. TGIF! The best day of the week to list your house is Friday.

 Contact Me Today! 

When you’re ready to buy or sell in the Burlington or Oakville area, or for general real estate advice, please contact me and I can help!

Enjoy the rest of your week!


Real Estate and Divorce

 Monday, November 19, 2018     Hilda Campbell      Buying and Selling

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When a couple decides to separate or divorce one of the things they will probably have to deal with is what to do with the house. Should they sell? Can one spouse buy the other out? Will the spouse who moves out allow the remaining spouse to stay and delay selling until the children are finished school? Having gone through this myself, I know first-hand that this is not an easy decision.

Making The Decision To Sell  

If the decision is to sell, try to work through the process together. Interview prospective agents together.  Hire someone you are both comfortable with.  You want to work with someone who will be impartial while trying to do what is best for both of you – selling your house quickly at the highest price possible.  Pricing a property well or “correctly” is always very important, but even more so when the sale is because of a marriage breakdown.  Whether the split is amicable or not, you will probably be eager for closure and ready to move on to start your new life.  Waiting for weeks or even months for your home to sell could be unbearable. Hire an agent who knows your neighbourhood well and who will price your home to sell in a reasonable amount of time.

If the split is acrimonious and being in a room together is out of the question, try to hire one real estate brokerage to sell your home.  It is possible to hire two, but that usually screams that the house is being sold because of a marital split and that it’s acrimonious.  You don’t want to give prospective buyers the impression that you’re desperate to sell as it will probably be reflected in the offer price.

Listing Your House 

Once the house is listed for sale, if one spouse has already moved out, try to make it appear as though you are both still living there.  Take only the clothes and shoes you need for that season, for example, so that the closets have both sets of clothes in them.  If you have family portraits on the walls keep them there (and don’t deface them in any way :-). Again, you don’t want to make it obvious why you’re selling. 

Your House Sold 

Finally, don’t assume that once your house is sold and the deal closes you will receive the money right away. This is not information your real estate agent will be privy to.  Ask your lawyers about this so there aren’t any surprises.  Find out whether you will get the money the day of closing or not. There is the possibility that it could be several weeks or even months before you see any of that money.

Selling a house because you have to can be very emotional and stressful, but take heart. Sometimes the grass is greener on the other side!

Contact Me Now

When you’re ready to buy or sell in the Burlington or Oakville area, or for general real estate advice, please contact me.  I can help!

The life cycle of a Neighbourhood

 Monday, October 22, 2018     Hilda Campbell      Real Estate Market Buying and Selling

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Did you know that most, if not all, neighbourhoods experience four distinct phases of a life cycle? Some may even go through the cycle more than once, depending on the age of the neighbourhood. Each phase will have an impact on property values as well as demographics. Do you know which of the following four phases your neighbourhood is in?


This is the phase in which a neighbourhood is first being developed. It is becoming popular and building construction is replacing much of the vacant land. New construction includes not only residential housing, but the development of amenities such as schools, plazas, parks, etc.


In this phase the neighbourhood has been completed and has reached the height of its popularity. Property values are at their highest in comparison to other similar neighbourhoods and a full range of amenities are in place.


In this phase a fully developed neighbourhood is losing its appeal and popularity. Properties tend to look less well maintained. Retailers and commercial businesses are either closing or moving away, leaving higher than usual vacancies. Property values tend to decline as compared to other similar neighbourhoods. This phase may be caused by the growth of other neighbourhoods or high unemployment rates.


This is the phase in which a neighbourhood is bouncing back from a period of neglect or decline and which is becoming popular and in demand again. New construction, home renovations and the reappearance of retailers and commercial businesses are evident.

Knowing the phase a neighbourhood is in can make a big difference, especially when purchasing an investment property. For example, if the neighbourhood is in decline, the vacancy rate will probably be high which can translate into lower monthly rental income. If you have school-aged children and you live in an area of decline, your children’s school may close due to declining enrolment.

Contact Me Today to Learn More 

I can provide you with advice on when to buy or sell depending on your specific situation and circumstances and can explain the affect each phase could have on your finances and lifestyle.

When you’re ready to buy or sell in the Burlington or Oakville area, or for general real estate advice, please contact me.  I can help!

The Value of Curb Appeal

 Friday, August 31, 2018     Hilda Campbell      Buying and Selling

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Now that the nice weather is here, I’m noticing all the damage done to trees and shrubs in the wake of this past winter’s ice storm. I have boxwood hedges lining the walkway at the front of my house that were pretty much destroyed. They are an eyesore and are definitely not adding to the curb appeal of my home. Curb appeal is very important to a home and can either add or detract from its value, but how much effect does it have?

There are a wide range of opinions out there as to how much value landscaping adds. Studies show anywhere from 5% to 50%. Even at the low end of a 5% increase in value, that amounts to $25,000 on a $500,000 home. Not bad.

Some tips to consider before undertaking any major landscaping project:

  • Hire a professional. You can almost always tell the difference between a professionally designed landscape vs. a DIY project. Yes, it can be expensive, but it’s worth the investment.
  • If you are going to do your own landscaping take into consideration how your gardens will look once they start to mature. That little tree that you plant a few feet away from the house might become a problem when it’s grown to 20 or 30 feet.
  • Don’t forget to include hardscaping in your landscaping plan. A nice stone walkway or driveway can make a big difference to the curb appeal of your home.
  • Pay attention to your front door. Make sure it is nicely painted and avoid using outrageous shades of paint colour. If the door contains a lot of glass, keep the glass clean.
  • Adding lighting can have a very dramatic affect, but don’t overdo it. Sometimes less is more. Too many lights can take away from the landscape itself.
  • Be sure to include colour. Vary the shades of green when planting trees and shrubs. Include flowers for a burst of colour, using both perennials and annuals.
  • Try to keep your gardens low maintenance. Most people don’t want to spend hours maintaining their gardens.

Landscaping Projects 

If you do decide to undertake your own landscaping project, but aren’t sure what to do, many landscape companies will do the design work for you. You simply pay for the plans and then do the work yourself. The cost will probably be several hundred dollars for the plans, but that’s a lot less than if you were to hire the landscaper to do the work for you.

Hopefully these tips will inspire you to make the most of the curb appeal that your home has to offer.

Contact Hilda Campbell Now

When you’re ready to buy or sell in the Burlington or Oakville area, or for general real estate advice, please contact me and I can help!

Is Buying a Property Under Power of Sale a Good Deal?

 Sunday, July 22, 2018     Hilda Campbell      Buying and Selling

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Many buyers feel they are getting a steal buying a property under power of sale, but is it really that good a deal? The following are some things to consider before deciding to put an offer on a bank owned property.

Often times buyers expect the listing price to be greatly reduced. However, the bank/lender is obligated by law to get market value for the property. So, if similar homes in the neighbourhood are selling for $500,000, the listing price should be around that amount, all things being equal. 

However, the condition of the property is usually poor. When reading through real estate classified ads have you ever noticed a property being sold in “as is” condition? This is usually an indication work is required and that the bank is basically saying “take it or leave it”.  While you can ensure any offer you submit is conditional on your satisfaction with a home inspection, it may take you out of the running in a multiple offer situation. Since buyer perception is that a power of sale property is a great deal, multiple offers are often received thereby driving up the selling price. It is important to keep your emotions in check and to not get caught up in the frenzy. Offer what you think the property is worth and be prepared to walk away if necessary.

As an aside, many years ago neighbours of mine lost their home to the bank.  While I can’t say I knew them well, I was surprised to see they had ripped out and taken the central air conditioning unit and had done some major damage to their two storey deck.  These were not bad people, but stressful, life-altering events can cause us to make poor decisions.

The bank may give the owner the opportunity to bring the mortgage back into good standing before the deal closes. Great for the homeowner, not so great for the buyer. The consequences of this could be huge, depending on your living arrangements at the time of purchase. Have a backup plan in place in case the deal falls through.

Finally, don’t expect any appliances to be included in the purchase price. If the bank doesn’t own them, you probably won’t get them! This coupled with the fact properties often have significant damage to walls, doors, windows, you name it and any money that might have been saved will instead have to be spent on repairs. Keep in mind the cost to replace appliances and make repairs to damaged items when submitting an offer. It could make a significant difference to your bottom line.

As always, do your homework and ask your real estate agent for advice before purchasing a home under power of sale. You may not be getting the deal you expected!

When you’re ready to buy or sell in the Burlington or Oakville area, or for general real estate advice, please contact me. I can help!