Here are some Tips
As we look forward to spring and ahead into 2022 in the Ottawa Real Estate market, I’ve been hearing from clients who are considering buying or selling and are asking for advice about timing and strategy.
If you’ve been following the local market, you’ll know that Ottawa has experienced lower than usual inventory for the past year. As a result, the market has been favoring sellers, and we saw higher year-over-year average price increases than we’ve typically seen in our region.
As we move into the new year, it’s possible that if Covid restrictions continue to ease, we will see more listings entering the market. But if the limited inventory and high demand continues, there are a few tips to keep in mind:
If you’re Selling in 2022:
List early if possible:
In general, people who get onto the market early in the year will benefit from lack of inventory. Sellers who have a captive audience are usually the ones who get better prices.
People often think of April and May as the time to sell, but even in a time of low inventory, this past year we saw the market picking up with more listings in the spring, because that’s traditionally the busiest season. With more competition, the market softened a little, and for sellers, that meant more competition.
Contact me early:
It’s helpful to get in touch with me well in advance of when you are hoping to have the property on the market so that we can get the process started.
I will suggest touch-ups and de-cluttering to get the property looking its best. This process takes a few weeks or longer, depending on the extent of the work and how much you want to do.
We have a professional stager who comes in to all of our properties to get your space looking polished. We also have professional photos and I do advance “coming soon” marketing to develop buzz and excitement about the property. This all takes advance planning.
I sometimes have clients who want to list in just a few days, and we can do that if absolutely necessary, but it can mean the property is not as polished as it could be.
List at a Realistic Price:
With some of the high prices and larger than usual increases we saw in Ottawa over the past year, I’ve noticed that some sellers were perhaps over-excited and were putting their properties on the market at a price far above what it would realistically sell for. They then wondered why it wasn’t selling.
Even in a market favoring sellers, it’s important to price a property strategically to appeal to buyers. We have the expertise and access to selling prices to show you how much a property is likely to sell for, based on recent sales in your area. Pricing a property to attract buyers and potentially multiple offers can make a big difference in selling quickly and getting the price we’re aiming for.
Planning to downsize? Consider a rental
With the low inventory in Ottawa, some sellers are downsizing have chosen to move to a rental unit, which can have several advantages.
Rentals often feature larger square footage than you will find in a new condo. The monthly rent is predictable and, like a condo, you don’t have to worry about maintenance.
Some sellers see renting as a short-term solution while they look for something else, and others are happy to make a rental their permanent home.
I’ve helped many seller clients find upscale rental units after they sell their homes.
If you’re Buying in 2022:
If the Ottawa market continues to experience lower than usual inventory, this can make the buying experience challenging, but it’s manageable if you know what to expect, know what you want and are prepared to act quickly.
With more than 30 years of experience helping buyers and sellers in Ottawa, I’ve developed strategies to navigate challenging markets like the current one. Here are some things to remember:
Consider buying in the Spring:
As a buyer, you want to be looking when there is lots of inventory, which tends to be at its peak from April to July, even in when inventory has been low in other months, as was the case this past year. Inventory picked up, and that’s a good time to buy.
Get Pre-qualified by your Lender:
In a low-inventory market, it’s crucial to be pre-qualified for a mortgage so that your financing is arranged and you know exactly what your budget is.
I’ve sometimes seen buyers who used a simple online calculator tool that deemed them as being able to spend more than they actually can or less than they actually can. Then when they go in to their lender with their full income statements and lists of debts, they are in for a surprise.
Know your Must-Haves and Get to Know the Market
As part of the buying process, I will educate you about the Ottawa market and what you can expect with your budget. We will show you recent selling prices in different neighbourhoods.
Have a clear idea of which features are on your must-have list and which features are nice-to-haves but aren’t crucial. If there is nothing in your preferred area, would you be open to another neighbourhood? If so, which ones?
It’s important to have that in your mind. In a market with low inventory, you need to be prepared to act quickly when something that fits all or most of your needs comes along.
Look at listings, and if you’re considering different neighbourhoods that you aren’t already familiar with, spend some time there to see what you like or don’t like about the area.
Be Prepared to be Flexible
Sometimes first-time buyers have unrealistic expectations about what they will be able to buy within their budget.
Try to be flexible. If you are insistent on one neighbourhood where most properties are above your price range, you will have to look at something smaller in the area or perhaps consider a nearby neighbourhood with similar qualities but lower prices.
Ottawa’s Condo Market is softer than the Residential Market
If you’re looking for a condominium unit, as many first-time buyers and older downsizers are, the good news is that as of late 2021 at least, the condo market in Ottawa is softer than the residential market, with more product available.
We may even be on the cusp of having an over-supply of condo units, which could work well for buyers.
There are a number of condo buildings that are nearly ready for the buyers who bought two years ago to move in, but at the same time the buildings are only 60 or 70% sold, so we will see a number of units being put on the market.
If you’re considering buying or selling, feel free to get in touch. I am happy to tell you more about the current market and what you can expect. On my website, www.nancybenson.com, you can read about me, view my listings and read testimonials from clients.
Feel free to give me a call, at 613-747-4747.