Category: "Misc. Stuff"

A Wet Spring

June 7th, 2017

With the serious flooding this spring, many cottage owners are finding out that their insurance isn't going to cover damage and Provincial programs are only addressing permanent residences. This is causing quite an uproar.

Apparently, there are two different kinds of flood insurance: regular and overland. Regular insurance may cover water damage from plumbing issues, but not weather related flooding. Overland flood insurance is quite new to Canada. Insurance companies began offering it, after the flooding in 2013. Overland flood insurance is a special "add on". It covers damage that comes into the home through doors or windows etc. This likely does not include water that leaks into a basement through a crack in the foundation, which is considered "seepage".

Many people are unaware of their insurance coverage and flooding is going to increase. It is important to check with your insurance provider and ask what kind of coverage you have. Be careful about language... and ask specifically about overland insurance.

198 Years After Victoria

May 24th, 2017

Alexandrina Victoria; (24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) inherited the throne of the United Kingdom of Britain and Ireland when she was just 18 years old. She saw her country through dramatic changes, industrial, political, scientific and cultural expansion. A national icon, she is most remembered for maintaining a strict code of personal morality and family values.

On this day, we celebrate Victoria's birthday and I have been thinking about how much has changed since she ascended to the throne on 20 June 1837.

In Victorian times, it was highly recommended that proverbs and puns should be avoided in conversation. Ladies were never to provoke an argument, speak of religion, or interrupt while another person was speaking. Victorian women we expected to up to date on current events but gossip and whispering were most certainly frowned upon. A lady should never interfere with a man while he was smoking. During a carriage ride, men should sit with their back to the horses and refrain from sitting next to any woman to whom he is unrelated. Dance cards were expected and any woman dancing with the same man more than three times with the same partner was inappropriate. No man should ask to dance with a woman to whom he has not been introduced. A gentleman will dismount from his horse before conversing with a woman.

With the Industrial Revolution, came a period of social and economic flux as an segment of society emerged, known as the middle class. This was a segment of society for which the accepted norms of the tenement or far would not suffice. In the latter part of the 1800s, there was a surge in the number of instruction books written, providing a guide to the rules of polite society. Some of these were simple, common sense rules like "refrain from chewing with your mouth open" and others were more elaborate rituals that in today's age seem very quaint.

With the advent of the steam powered engine, people were able to travel more easily and factories were able to locate almost anywhere. Women began to travel more, alone. Lady travellers were advised to be punctual and to dress demurely, so as not to attract attention. They were to carry very little luggage, perhaps no more than a small satchel or a fashionable carpet bag containing those items required for grooming, a shawl, night clothes, a nightcap and clean linen. It was appropriate for a lone woman to seat herself next to another woman or an elderly gent.

If encountering an unpleasant exchange with a strange man, the female traveller was advised to lower her veil and turn away from him, thereby discouraging any further interaction. A lady was to sit quietly and avoid any fussing or fidgeting else she would be seen as being ill-bred or dis-eased with society.

Today's traveller is unlikely to be without a cell phone... and fidget spinners have become all the rage. Forbes magazine has said they're the must-have office toy for 2017. Imagine what Victoria would say?


Nature is an Architect's School

May 6th, 2017

In 1914, famed architect Frank Lloyd Write wrote, " the ideal of an organic architecture... is a sentient, rational building that would owe its style to the integrity with which it was individually fashioned to serve its particular purpose- a 'thinking' as well as 'feeling' process." Wright felt that, "the site should be enhanced by the building, and the building derives its form partially from the nature of its site".

The creative possibilities of form, colour, pattern, texture, proportion, rhythm and growth are all demonstrated in nature. Organic architecture does not imitate nature; but rather is concerned with natural materials. Simplicity in the art is a synthetic positive quality; in which we see evidence of the mind, with the sense of completeness found in a tree or flower.

Once in a while, something extraordinary comes on the market.

It began, once upon a time...

In 1980, a Polish aristocrat engaged a noted architect to design a home, suited to a large estate lot, close to Algonquin Park. The results are spectacular.

Nestled on 158 naturally treed acres, this spacious, year round, four bedroom home enjoys absolute privacy without the need for fences or hedges. There is frontage on a navigable creek, ponds, varied topography, including a private look out point. Convenient to all the amenities in a nearby town, you can also walk to the local village.

Serious inquiries are invited to email us for further information and photographs.

Choosing the Right Property

March 24th, 2017

Generally speaking, real estate is not a get-rich-quick scheme but if you review Canadian Real Estate history, property in a good area doubles in value about every fifteen years. Some neighbourhoods evaluate more quickly than others but seldom to you hear about anyone losing money in real estate, over the long term- especially if they've taken the time to choose the right investment.

Assuming you've spoken to a lender and you've gotten pre-approved and know your price range and how much you need for the down payment and you've factored-in a little buffer for unexpected repairs or incidentals- AND regardless of whether you plan to live in the property or rent all or part of it to tenants, the top three considerations when you contemplate a real estate purchase are location, location, location.

Sure, you've heard it a million times, but have you really thought about it?

There's more to location than scoping out the schools and hospital, it's wise to visit the property at different times of the day and night, on both sunny and rainy days. Talk to the neighbours, ask about drainage, snow removal, school buses and garbage pick up or disposal sites.

Purchasing real estate should always be thought of as an investment and it can be financially rewarding but if you have to sell suddenly, you're going to better off with a property that checks off all the boxes and is located in a good, stable community.

Buyers and Sellers Deserve Skilled, Experienced, Professional Service

March 14th, 2017

Last November, CBC’s current affairs program Marketplace ran a program about unscrupulous real estate sales people... more recently, there's been a lot of press about the underhanded tactics of Buyers and Sellers, too. There's no question that a hot market can tempt some people into being a little fast and loose- even though it's unethical and certainly not the sort of behaviour in which any intelligent person would engage.

Real Estate transactions usually involve a great deal of money and frequently, people's homes... their roots, their security, often their largest asset... so it's both a financial and emotional consideration. Real estate is one of those things that most people have either had experience with, or know someone who has. The problem is that a little experience can be a very dangerous thing... a lot of it depends on the particular sort of experience one has... but generally speaking, people approach real estate with a reasonable amount of anxiety. A hot market may appear to favour Sellers, but it can actually work against them, too. Whether buying or selling, everyone wants to get the best deal they can... and that's exactly what they should expect and exactly what skilled, experienced, professional Realtors strive to achieve.

Contrary to popular belief, most Buyers in a "Seller's Market" won't just settle for anything decent that fits into their price range. They won't overlook housekeeping, maintenance and repair issues. Homes that are clean, well-lit, and de-cluttered are always perceived as having better value. In fact, in a hot market, Buyers tend to become a little more cautious.

Sometimes, Sellers think it's clever to underprice a property in a hot market, to bring a frenzy of buyers... but lots of Buyers assume a low priced home, even in a hot market, is a sign that of problems. This is made worse because some Buyers worry that, in a hot market especially, Sellers will be tempted to hide important details about the property's history or fail to disclose flaws. A competent Realtor knows that you can never skip over the facts.

Many Buyers start out by making it very clear that they don't want to get into "bidding wars"... even though most of them haven't ever been in one, they've just heard that bidding wars are a bad thing. In twenty-something years, I've yet to meet anyone who has been tricked into paying too much for a property because of a bidding war- usually the worst part of multiple offer situations is that someone is going to be disappointed when their offer isn't accepted- but that can happen in a normal offer situation, too.

Sometimes, in bidding war, there are Buyers who try to pressure Sellers (or the Sellers' representatives) into giving them some sort of opportunity to beat the highest bid- but that is totally unprofessional and against all the rules. In a hot market. sometimes Sellers are accused of being greedy- and perhaps some are. In fact, being unrealistic about the value of their property is one of the most common mistakes that Sellers make and there's been study upon study to prove that, even in a booming market, a property that is over-priced will not sell. A competent Realtor will guide Sellers to list their property at the best price for the existing market conditions.

Practicing real estate today requires deep knowledge of the industry and its approaches. Competent Realtors have a sophisticated understanding of not only the legislative framework and the layers of regulation involved, but of the cycles of the industry, current trends, pending issues, and potential concerns. They also have a terrific understanding of people and marketing and a host of other talents. Some of us have been through many diverse cycles in the industry and provide the skilled, experienced, professional service that Buyers and Sellers not only deserve but really need, especially in a booming market.