September 2020

The Durham Region Association of REALTORS® (DRAR) President Vicki Sweeney reported 1,515 residential transactions in August, a significant 45 per cent increase from August 2019.
The number of new listings increased on a year-over-year basis by 19 per cent reaching 1,839 new listings in August.
“Our market has experienced a strong rebound as home sales continue to hit record results this summer,” said DRAR President Vicki Sweeney.
“There is an increased demand for housing and we’re seeing this activity reflected in the average days on market. In August, the average days on market reached 14 in comparison to the average of 29 days reported in August 2019.”
The average price in Durham Region reached $734,136 a 19.5 per cent increased compared to the same time last year. On a month-over-month basis the average price increased slightly by 3.5 per cent.
The MLS® Home Price Index Composite Benchmark was up by 15.06 per cent in August 2020. The MLS® Home Price Index Composite price in Durham Region reached $653,400. The benchmark price for a detached home in Durham Region reached $706,300 representing a 14.60 per cent increase from last year.
“As we continue to see a demand for homeownership, it is important our policymakers remain focused on bringing more supply to our markets,” said Sweeney.
“We have to focus on supply, the economic recovery and low interest rates coupled with the pent-up demand from the spring market will continue to drive sales. In Durham’s Clarington market, days on market reached 11 days with 103 per cent sales to new listing ratio.”


For Sale By Owner
If you're planning on selling your home, you may have considered putting up a "For Sale" sign and doing it yourself but there are many potential pitfalls that could end up costing you far more than you’d save.
Just as it's not recommended to represent yourself in court, marketing and negotiating your biggest asset on your own can be a very risky move. Here are ten reasons why you should use a real estate agent to help sell your home:
1.) Mass Exposure
Your pool of potential buyers will be very limited, whereas an agent can expose your home to the masses which will dramatically increase demand and hopefully trigger a bidding war!
2.) Marketing Fees
Advertising fees can quickly amount to a small fortune but when you list your home with a real estate agent, they’re responsible for shouldering those costs.
3.) Time Is Money
Your time is very valuable so it may make more financial sense to spend it on other projects that will deliver a higher return.
4.) Carrying Costs
Selling privately usually takes longer which quickly drives up carrying costs such as mortgage interest payments, insurance premiums, taxes, utilities, etc.
5.) Stigma Status
The longer a home sits on the market, the harder it is to sell as its extended time on the market gives the impression that there’s something wrong with the house.
6.) Expert Advice
Real estate agents are experts when it comes to local market conditions so they’re in the best possible position to advise you on multiple and counteroffer scenarios.
7.) Qualified Buyers
If you sell your home on your own, you'll have to show it to complete strangers on short notice which can be inconvenient and also dangerous. Real estate agents on the other hand will only show your home to qualified buyers.
8.) Third-Party Negotiator
Buying or selling a home is an emotional roller coaster where just one wrong remark can cause a deal to fall apart. A third-party negotiator provides a buffer between the buyer and the seller to help ensure things go smoothly.
9.) Corona Crisis
The pandemic has added an extra layer of stress with safety protocols that must be adhered to. Staging and virtual tours are therefore more important than ever and if you don’t get it right from the get-go, you’ll lose out on a large pool of potential buyers.
10.) Splitting Headache
Most buyers are represented by real estate agents who are paid directly by the seller. That means you’ll be giving away half the amount you’re trying to save unless the buyer also chooses to go it alone. If that’s the case though, buyers will expect to pay less which also cuts your savings in half.
Selling a home privately can be risky which essentially means you're gambling with your biggest asset. Do-it-yourself jobs are great in certain situations but when it comes to selling your home, it's best to have a professional on your side who will look out for your best interests during this complex transaction.


Fire Prevention Week
Fire Prevention Week begins on October 4th and this year’s theme is “Kitchen Safety”.
Kitchen fires are the leading cause of home fires and while they have the potential to take down entire homes, they’re almost always preventable. Here are a few simple precautions that will help you protect your family from a kitchen fire:
Never Leave a Stove Unattended
Monitor your stove at all times, especially if you’re cooking on an open flame. The single leading cause of fires in the kitchen is an unattended stove so don’t allow yourself to become distracted with other tasks.
Timing Is Everything
It’s easy to get distracted as life at home can sometimes get hectic, but leaving a tray of cookies or a roast chicken in the oven for too long can lead to disaster so it’s important to always set the timer.
Give Yourself Some Space
Make sure any rags, napkins, packaging or wooden spoons you’re using are well away from the stove. Also, too many cooks in the kitchen can lead to a crowded and confusing space where accidents are more likely to happen.
Clean Up As You Go
Grease is a particularly hazardous component of kitchen fires as water further spreads a grease fire. If you properly dispose of any excess grease and keep your area wiped down, you’ll limit the risk of this added danger.
Keep a Fire Extinguisher Nearby
Ensure you have a fire extinguisher that’s rated for kitchen use on hand in case of an emergency. Keep it stored under the sink or hung up behind a door so that it’s out of sight but easily accessible and make sure everyone knows where it is and how to use it.
Most fires are caused by human error, not by malfunctioning devices or freak accidents. Your home is your zone of safety and security. It’s your space for building loving memories that’ll last a lifetime but in its most basic sense, it’s your place of shelter so it’s important to keep it safe for the protection of you and your family.


It’s that time of year when the “fall crawl” gets underway!
As the weather cools and we spend more time inside, the last thing we want is for insects and rodents to follow and make themselves at home. Here are a few tips that will help keep unwanted guests away:
Seal of Approval
Inspect your home’s exterior for any potential access points and then seal any cracks or gaps with caulk and steel wool. Also, repair window screens and fill any gaps under the doors.
Wood Not Be a Good Idea
Never store firewood right up against your home as it provides a temporary shelter for rodents, termites and other insects to hang out at before they head in for winter.
Creepy Climbers
Mice are great climbers who use vines, shrubs and overhanging branches to gain access to your roof so cut back any excess foliage so they're not able to get a leg up on entry points.
Food for Thought
Make sure all of your loose food items are properly stored. Pet food is also a huge draw for critters so store their food in a sealed container rather than leaving it in the bag.
When it comes to pest control, it’s important to be proactive because once critters make their way into your home, it can be very hard to get rid of them. Like any type of maintenance work, prevention is key as you don’t want these pests hunkering down and causing all sorts of chaos in your home this winter.
P.S. Please let me know if you'd ever like a hand finding your dream home or even if you're just curious about what the house down the street sold for. I'm always happy to help


August 2020

Durham Region Real Estate Market Update

The Durham Region Association of REALTORS® (DRAR) President Vicki Sweeney reported 1,583 residential transactions for the month of July, representing a significant 52 per cent increase from the same time last year.

The number of new listings in Durham Region reached 1,905 in July, a slight increase on a month-over-month basis from June. The days on market saw a large decrease compared to the same time last year from 23 to 16 days on market in July 2020.

“The real estate market in Durham Region is seeing an increase of activity during this summer market. The number of residential transactions increased significantly on a year-over-year basis in July,” said DRAR President Vicki Sweeney.

“The average price in Durham Region reached a record high for July at $709, 640. Although the market is busy and many areas are now in Phase 3, REALTORS® are encouraged to continue to practice safe measures and follow health official guidelines.”

The July 2020 MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark was up by 12.27 per cent compared to July 2019. The Benchmark price for a single-family detached home in Durham’s Clarington market reached $637,000 in July 2020.

“Sales activity in the market has been very strong. We are seeing an increase of sales consistently and low interest rates,” said Sweeney. “Many buyers are feeling more comfortable with the reopening of the economy in Phase 3.”

The City of Oshawa has been setting building records this summer as economic development in Durham continues to experience strong growth. Oshawa set another building record in June amid the pandemic.

Year-to-date construction value issued in Oshawa has already exceeded last year’s total construction value by 8 million, with Oshawa setting yet another building record in June. During the month of June 2020, the City issued 96 building permits for a total of 82.5 million in construction value.

“Durham Region’s economic development has been growing rapidly this past summer. It’s no surprise the City of Oshawa has been setting building records,” said DRAR President Sweeney.

"As the workplace changes, more families and individuals are exploring the Region and moving further East. The July housing statistics reflect the demand in the Durham marketplace.”

How to Create a Functional Home Office
Many of us are now working from home as a result of the pandemic. Whether it’s working at a desk in a closet or converting the garage into an office, we’re quickly learning to appreciate the benefits of a functional workspace.

There are many advantages to working from home, but it also comes with a whole new unique set of challenges. Here are a few tips that’ll help you get the most out of your newfound home office space:

Standing Room Only
Consider purchasing an adjustable standing desk as it’s better for your posture. In the meantime, make sure your monitor, keyboard and mouse are at the correct ergonomic level.

Lighten Up
Try to choose a space with lots of natural light as it’ll help reduce eye strain by cutting down the glare on your screen. Also, consider a SAD lamp to help lift your spirits on those darker days.

Sound Off
If you spend a lot of time on conference calls, you may want to think about soundproofing your space. Hard surfaces amplify sounds while carpets, rugs and curtains help absorb loud noise.

Space Saver
Try to make the most of your office space by hanging shelves on the walls or by maximizing the space underneath your desk.
Focus Your Flow
It’s important to separate work time from home life so try your best to avoid distractions. Putting on a load of laundry for instance can significantly affect your flow and focus.

Zoom Room
Now that everyone on your Zoom calls can peek inside your office, it’s important to ensure that your background looks professional and doesn’t have too many distractions.

Make Some Green
Spruce up your space by adding a few plants in and around your office as they’ll help improve the air quality and increase your general level of happiness :)

A comfortable home office can make a huge difference to your productivity so it’s important to take the time to properly set up your space. It’s hard to say how COVID-19 will impact home design in the long run but if you’re thinking of selling any time soon, a well-designed home office will likely be high on many home buyer’s wish lists.
End of Summer Maintenance Tips
It’s important to regularly maintain your property inside and out as it helps protect your most valuable investment from falling into disrepair.

Although summer’s still in full swing and home maintenance is probably the last thing on your mind, it makes sense to take care of the following jobs before fall rolls around:

Driveway Damage
Pressure wash the driveway while it’s still nice and warm outside and repair any cracks to prevent further erosion when the colder weather rolls around.

Furnace Filter
Changing the furnace filter in the height of summer may seem unnecessary but it’s important as the air conditioning runs through your furnace vents and accumulate huge amounts of dust.

Brush Up the BBQ
The BBQ usually gets forgotten about as it takes a while to cool down after it’s used so give it a good clean and check for any cobwebs around your burner tubes.

Dust Ceiling Fans
Your ceiling fans have probably had a good workout this summer but you don’t want chunks of dust to fall to the floor when you clean them so put a pillowcase over the blades and pull it off gently so that the dust stays inside.

Regular home maintenance will help ensure small problems don't turn into big headaches that need professional attention on short notice. Once these jobs are completed, you’ll be able to get back to enjoying the lazy days of summer! ??

Handy Home Design Apps
If you’re redecorating or renovating your home, there are a number of apps out there that are designed to help make your life a lot easier! Here are a few ones to check out:

Bubble Level
This ingenious app turns your smartphone into an easy to use and surprisingly accurate spirit level! It makes hanging pictures, mirrors or even cabinets a cinch!

Photo Measures
Leave your tape measure at home as this handy app lets you take a picture of a room and then calculates and stores all of the measurements right on your smartphone!

Paint Tester
If you’d like to paint a room but you’re worried that the colour might not be right then this app is for you! Just snap a shot of the room and it’ll let you try out different colours on your wall!

Whether you’re looking to hang a shelf, install new kitchen cabinets or paint your bedroom, there’s an “app for that”. Instead of lugging a bulky toolkit around to tackle a task, all you need to do is pull out your phone!