200 - 1335 Carling Avenue
Ottawa, Ontario
K1Z 8N8

Tel.: (613) 725-1171
Toll-free: 1-800-307-1545
Fax: (613) 725-3323

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Back to school

We have just come through the most glorious summer in many years. We
loved every day!! In June we took 12 year old Abi and her friend Wendy to
Maine with us. Abi is John’s youngest daughter. We had so much fun having
the girls with us. Abi had her 13th birthday while we were there. The
theme was “Green” including the cup cakes and the green licorice twists on
the salad-nice touch. Later in August I went to NYC with our daughter
Kathy, her son Conor and her daughter Meg, Heather, John’s 15 year old
also came with us. That too was an amazing experience! I felt very
fortunate to be able to spend such good quality time with these kids. Four
of our other Grandkids live across the street in Maine so we have a nice
visit with them as well. Two of our nine we weren’t able to fit in a good visit
this summer-their schedules were just a little too hectic for us.
The real estate market was painfully slow this summer after a very buoyant
spring market. One doesn’t mind a slow down, for a brief time but then let’s
get back to business!! Only it continues to be slow. Why? Well there are a
few factors I think. Some people were trying to get everything done ahead
of HST. The dollars do add up when you consider HST is on all services and
goods-legal fees, real estate fees, moving costs ,all purchases and
products for the new home ,painting ,cleaning etc etc-so it does add up.
We felt this when the GST first came. But there also seems to be an
underlying angst re the economy, pensions for retirees, and a desire to buy
a PERFECT product.
This desire for perfection is an interesting and fairly new phenomenon. I
blame us in part, but not entirely. There is a sense among younger people
that perfection should exist in not only location but condition of all houses.
The act of bringing in a stager has encouraged this to a degree .Personally
I am not fond of “staging” unless the home is in dire need of help .I
sometimes think that these staged products are just an extension of Home
Sense! (The store that caters to relatively inexpensive but fashionable
Home products) .I like the store myself, but wouldn’t want a whole house
to have that look. We found a Denby tea pot for $19.95 that is carried in
The Bay for $ 186. (can’t not like that store!!)But I digress.
I tell buyers that there is no such thing as perfection while searching for a
home. There are perfect locations, but then the homes often need a major
rework, or, the price is very high. There are many perfectly wonderful new
homes, but usually not in the Perfect location because they need to be built
in areas where there is still land available. There are infill houses in perfect
locations, but these are very expensive because the value of the land is
very high, due to location. To me it is always most important to decide
where you want to live in the city. I ask people what they like to do during
“quiet” times. If they like to walk to cafes etc and be close to the amenities
of the city, then they should live in the city. If it is more important to have
two garages with inside entry, walk in closets and stunning ensuite baths
and backyard pools, then we look more to the suburban areas. But first
thing we have to do is determine budget.
In our neighbourhood , in the city ,we are seeing a large number of tear
downs and new infill’s. This is disturbing to the community in general. I do
know the history of the majority of these situations and for the most part
the basements of the teardowns were in very poor condition. Usually these
homes have been occupied by older people with limited incomes and not
able to keep up with the repairs required. This is a tough one and we see it
all too often. Many of the older homes require rewiring , basement work ,
have asbestos either in the walls or the attics .The plumbing is old and
often lead or galvanized. So perhaps a purchaser intends to renovate but
when the figures come in they are just too high and it makes more
economic sense to start again. For the most part the new construction tries
to retain the architectural integrity of the neighbourhood .Often a semi
detached home is built, this is a more functional and economic use of land-
where permitted. Usually when the homes are completed and the
landscaping complete the neighbours are quite happy and adjusted to the
change .
For all of us the beginning of September is just that, a beginning. I love
September and all the possibilities ahead. new shoes , new books , new
pencils, new friends, and hopefully new challenges and new ideas (and I
suppose new ipads too) Happy Septermber to you and all your new
adventures!!
Cheers from the Lindsays, David , John and Mary

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