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.

Rumblings at the OMB

April 27th, 2017

According to the Ministry of Housing and Municipal Affairs, "The Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) is an independent, quasi-judicial, administrative tribunal responsible for handling appeals of land-use planning disputes and municipal matters. For example, appeals to the OMB could involve official plans, zoning bylaws, plans of subdivision or minor variances."

For years, many have argued that the OMB is not exactly democratic and that community residents have felt undermined when dealing with experienced developers, savvy in how to negotiate their interests with the Board. In response, the Province of Ontario has been reviewing the OMB process and functions and making changes that may allow local municipalities a greater say in the development of their communities. Opponents suggest that local municipalities don't want to have to make difficult decisions and see the OMB as a solution.

Regardless of your outlook, it appears that we're in for some changes and, as per usual, it seems that it's going to put an even greater strain on local resources.

No Cooling Off for the HOT Real Estate Market

April 11th, 2017

While there are concerted attempts to cool the real estate markets, things aren't really slowing down. Mortgage lenders are being more cautious, appraisers are being conservative and Realtors are guarded but still, Buyers want to buy and Sellers are happy to sell.

The Toronto and Vancouver markets are expected to see a very slight lull in the wake of government attempts to cool their markets but it is not really deterring foreign Buyers who are prepared to do what they must to secure property in those areas. The net effect seems to be that properties aren't selling quite as quickly but they are still garnering high prices and the volumes are still higher than last year.

This is driving people to the suburbs... and even the suburban prices are climbing and more new home construction is taking place. Nationwide, there has been a 5.6 per cent increase in the number of private dwellings. Population growth in Canada has been slow but it reached 35.2 million in 2016, an increase of 1.7 million (about 5%) over 2011. Two-thirds of the new people coming from immigration- the strongest growth of all the G7 countries. So, not only are people moving to Canada, they want to own their own home.

The uncontrolled growth of our cities is known as urban sprawl. It creates bedroom communities of commuters who rely upon cars to transport them to work in urban centres. As the suburbs expand, growth pushes out into the rural landscape. Remote communities are becoming the target for developers and this can't really be a total surprise. While newcomers are accustomed to higher density living, many long-term city dwellers are uncomfortable with the crowding, not to mention the escalation in prices.

It was bound to happen. Smaller commercial centres are welcoming and familiar to those who have grown accustomed to the healthy, vibrant, thriving, liveable communities that afford community health and individual well-being. This is good news for rural communities who haven't had the population to support the investment in widespread communication towers and other important infrastructure improvements.

The nature of life is change and we do adapt. It's just time to get on with it.

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.