Keith Marshall
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Blog Posts

Is real estate sold or bought?

moving houseSeth Godin writes “Some things are bought–like bottled water, airplane tickets and chewing gum. The vendor sets up shop and then waits, patiently, for someone to come along and decide to buy.

Other things are sold–like cars, placement of advertising in magazines and life insurance. If no salesperson is present, if no pitch is made, nothing happens.

Both are important. Both require a budget and a schedule and a commitment.

Confusion sets in when you’re not sure if your product or service is bought or sold, or worse, if you are a salesperson just waiting for people to buy.”

I like this bit by Seth Godin, actually I like almost everything he writes. Probably because I am a marketer. Real estate is a marketing business. I market homes and I market my services.

Real estate is sold. It’s not bought, and that’s where many real estate agents make their mistake.

The Kitchener Waterloo real estate market is no longer a sellers market. Houses priced right and in good order sell well. Here is what we currently have for sale.

If you’re interviewing agents, please interview us.



Renovate or relocate?

euclidIf you’ve run out of space at home, you have a big decision to make – renovate or relocate. Should you move? Build an addition? Raze and rebuild from scratch? According to Money Sense magazine, here are the options.

There comes a time in every homeowner’s life when he needs to upgrade. Starter homes aren’t meant for long-term living, and when the kids arrive, things quickly start to feel cramped.

At one time, that meant it was time to move, but that’s not the only option. More and more homeowners are opting to build additions instead. Some are even razing their homes and rebuilding from scratch. All three options for upgrading have their pros and cons, but which one makes the most financial sense? MoneySense decided to crunch the numbers to find out.

Buying a new home:
Let’s say you want to move from a 1,200-sq-ft starter home in Toronto to a place that’s double the size. You’ll likely be able to sell your existing place for roughly $450,000, and buying a larger house of the same vintage in a similar neighborhood would cost about $700,000. So at first glance, it looks like your upgrade cost is roughly $250,000.

Unfortunately, when you move there are other costs too. Generally, the seller will pay 5% of the purchase price to his realtors, so you’ll pay $22,500 for that. When buying your new place, you’ll also have to pay between $10,000 and $23,000 in land transfer fees, depending on what city you live in. Legal fees, staging your home and home inspections will typically add another $4,500. Take all those costs together, and the price of your upgrade can climb to $300,000.

Of course, if you live in a city where real estate prices are more reasonable, it makes a big difference. For instance in Winnipeg, the total amount you’ll spend on upgrading from a 1,200-sq-ft home to a 2,400-sq-ft home will be more like $200,000.

Total cost: $200,000 to $300,000

Building from scratch:
Leveling your existing home and building a bigger house from the ground up has its advantages. You can create a home that’s customized to your family and you don’t have to move neighborhoods. On the other hand, relying on builders to get the place done on time and finding somewhere to live while your new house is being built can be a massive headache.

But what about the cost? Most contractors can build a large home with good quality amenities for about $300 per sq ft, while a more modest home can be built for $225 per sq ft. In our scenario of demolishing a 1,200-sq-ft home and building a new 2,400-sq-ft home, he estimates the total cost to upgrade will be about $790,000. That includes architectural fees, surveying, hydro, landscaping, labor and materials.

Extras like adding a second floor, upgrading to fine finishings or installing state-of-the-art wiring can push that number much higher though. Jeremy Jacobs, a Toronto-based investment property manager, tore down his 1,200-sq-ft home and is in the midst of erecting a 3,500-sq-ft replacement. He’s going for high-end finishings and he says his new place will cost $1 million at least.

Total cost: $790,000+

Building an addition:
If you like your location and your existing house, hiring builders to put on an addition is another option. You’ll still have the same hassles of dealing with contractors and potentially finding alternative living arrangements—but it’s much less expensive. For starters, architectural fees will be lower and demolition fees will be cut in half. Plus, you don’t have to build a driveway, and landscaping costs could be reduced. He estimates he could do an addition that increases your square footage from 1,200 to 2,400 for about $400,000.

Total cost: $400,000

The bottom line:
The most expensive option by far is knocking down your house and building a new one, according to our scenario. Building an addition is a better deal, but is also pricey. In most cases, packing your bags and moving is less hassle and will save you a big pile of cash.

That’s not to say that you should never renovate. If you absolutely love your location and you live downtown in a big city, the cost difference will likely be less than $100,000, so it might make sense to stay put.

What the home inspector told me about your 60 amp electrical service

electrical serviceA 60 amp electrical service is a service type typically found in older homes. Although may be too small for modern lifestyles, it is not a safety issue. However it can be an insurance issue.

Homebuyers usually think a 60 amp service means that the house is: unsafe, of low quality, obsolete or not well maintained, but in fact it only means that the system has been working satisfactorily for the current owners. Of course, depending on lifestyle, the new family may require a 100 amp service. You won’t know for sure until the new family moves in.

What should we do about it?

Nothing. Allow for possible replacement depending on lifestyle. Also check with your insurance company. They may require a 100 amp service.

What does it cost for an upgrade?

$1000 – $2000.

What should I tell my clients?

Homes of this age and style were built with a 60 amp services.

It is not unsafe

It may be a nuisance if you use a lot of electricity

Insurance companies may ask you to upgrade

Upgrading may cost as much as $2000.

Fairway Road Bridge ahead of schedule

fairway road bridgeSome people who live in Idlewood, Chicopee and Stanley Park think the area will get busier and noisier. And that’s bad for the area, as many were already affected when the Waterloo Regional Airport was expanded and their homes are buzz bombed on a regular basis from low flying, propeller driven flyboys.

There are other residents in the area that believe that their property values will increase. They think the Fairway Road extension and new bridge over the Grand River (the first one in fifty years) connecting Kitchener to Cambridge, Guelph and the 401 will be a bonus and a great selling feature for homes in this south-east corner of Kitchener.

I think they’re both right.

Either way, one thing is certain – so far, so good, the $50 million project is ahead of schedule. By the fall of next year, we’ll all be good to go.


Link to artist drawing here.

Updated post: here

Westheights Drive, Forest Heights, Kitchener – Home for sale – Open house

westheightsPride of ownership is obvious in this spotless and well-maintained home. Recent updates include hardwood floors, paint, newer roof, windows, furnace, large interlocking stone patio, stainless appliances and two sheds.

The very large backyard is fully fenced. There is a good sized workshop. Walking distance to shopping and schools and just minutes to the expressway.

Where: 205 Westheights Drive, Forest Heights, Kitchener

When: March 5, 2011

Time: 2:00pm-4:00pm

Feature sheet with more pictures here.

For more information please contact Keith Marshall by phone, email or chat on my website front page.

THIS HOUSE IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE. For house like this please check our current listings

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