As we settle in for months of snow and cold, the always busy spring-summer REAL ESTATE season can feel like a long way off, with lots of time to prepare later.

But if you’re planning to either sell or buy property in the spring of 2021, I’ve been advising my clients that it’s urgent that we start the advance work now so that we can be ready when the time comes. Preparing early is always a good idea, but this year it’s essential, for a variety of reasons.

These include continuing low inventory of properties for sale in our area and a backlog among local renovators and contractors that can mean a wait list of several months if you need some touch-up work.

IF YOU’RE A BUYER:

HOME SEARCHING

As you may be aware, the Ottawa region has experienced lower than usual inventory for much of the past year, meaning there is more competition among buyers, particularly in the most popular neighbourhoods.

In November of 2020, the Ottawa Real Estate Board recently reported, residential housing stock in Ottawa was a full 50% lower than it was in November of 2019.

This situation has been good for sellers, as any new listings get a lot of attention from buyers and their agents.

It’s also led to multiple offers and, particularly in the hottest neighbourhoods, many properties selling for above the list price.

As a result, we’ve seen larger than usual year-to-year increases in selling prices in Ottawa. In the first 11 months of 2020, the average sale price for a residential-class property in Ottawa was $581,120. That’s up 20% over the same period in 2019.

The average sale price for a condominium unit, at $361,674, was up 19% over the same period last year.

With inventory this low, it presents more challenges to buyers.

Rather than doing things the old way and calling a Realtor to say you want to start looking for a property this week, I can help you better if you give me as much advance notice as possible.

With more than 30 years of experience as a Realtor in Ottawa, I’ve assisted clients through conditions like this before, but to help in your search, we like to do some networking or reviewing my more than 4000 contacts to try to find you the right property as there are a number of homes that are selling outside of multiple listing service.

If you are planning a move in the next year, this is the time to chat about getting a search underway. I’ve been offering buyers some basic advice and ” some homework” so that they are more educated on the market. This fine tuning will allow them to find the perfect home when the time is right. 

To prepare, it helps to be decisive and to know exactly what you want, so that you can act quickly when we see a property that fits your needs.

Make a list of what are your must-have features in a house or condo unit, and which things would be nice to have but are not deal-breakers. The more specific you can be in terms of features and neighbourhoods, the easier the search will be.

Once we have an idea of when we will begin, you should also approach your financial institution or mortgage broker to be pre-approved for a mortgage, so you can make offers in confidence. With the market in its current state, you need to be prepared and ready to make an offer, with a clear idea of what you want.

I can assist to research listings and sales information so that you can get an idea of the neighbourhoods that interest you and the types of properties that are within your budget.

IF YOU’RE A SELLER

PREPARE TO SELL

If you’re planning to sell, the good news is that the market is favouring sellers because of the low inventory. There is a lot of competition among buyers, and properties are often selling quickly.

But if you are planning to list in the busy spring season, it’s essential to get in touch now, so that I can visit and see the property and we can make a list of the things that need updating or freshening before we open the doors for showings.

Most properties benefit from some touch-up work before listing. That might include simply fresh coat of paint or new contemporary light fixtures, or it might mean some new flooring or roof repairs that are beyond the skills of average homeowners.

I know from recent experience with my seller clients that Ottawa is facing a backlog among local contractors for this kind of work. If you’ve tried to purchase things like paint or deck stains at your local hardware retailer recently, you may also know that many retailers are facing supply issues and products that are normally in plentiful supply are out of stock.

Finding a mover or someone to do repairs can mean going on a waiting list for weeks or months, so the sooner we get started, the better.

We want to be ready to take advantage of the busy market, rather than finding out in March or April that no one is available to do the work you need.

You can read more about me and view my listings on my website, www.nancybenson.com. Feel free to give me a call, at 613-747-4747 if you are planning a move in 2021 or even beyond I am always glad to help.

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