Tag Archives: NOTL real estate

De-Clutter Your Home and Work

So the holiday season has come and gone and it is a brand new year. With every New Year comes a chance to start all over again, leave the baggage of yesteryear behind, and look to the future with hope and a determination to clean up your life. At Niagara on the Lake Realty, we know that January is a perfect time to take a look at your life and work towards downsizing. De-cluttering your home and work space not only makes room for all those new things you got at Christmas, it helps you to break down and simplify your habits.
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Avoid These Pitfalls when Selling Niagara on the Lake Real Estate

It is a great time to sell your home in Canada, if you are careful to avoid some common and basic mistakes. With a booming economy and a seller’s market, homes are in demand right now. Bidding wars have become far more common.

If you take too much for granted, you can have a difficult time selling your home. A qualified real estate agent can help you avoid costly mistakes. Here are some common pitfalls that a real estate professional can help you to avoid.

The Price Is Right

Be careful when pricing your home. Many homeowners make the cardinal mistake of believing their home is worth more than it is. Of course you want to get the most money possible out of your home- but do your research.

See what similar homes are getting on the market. Listen to advice from your Niagara on the Lake Realty agent. A realistic price can actually result in bidding wars that garner you more than you originally asked for.

Perception Determines Reality

Everyone wants to present the best view of their home possible. You will want to make sure you are being realistic.

Is that third bedroom actually more of a walk-in closet? Is your basement really finished or is there just an area rug and a coat of paint on the cement walls? A qualified real estate agent knows how to highlight the best parts of the homes and frame negatives in a way that will not disappoint potential buyers.

The Book and Its Cover

When you take photos for your home sale, do not use a low-definition cell phone camera. Avoid posting blurry, amateurish pictures. In today’s climate, your home photos should be high-definition and crystal clear.

Home buyers make a lot of preliminary decisions based on ads online. The better your photos are, the better a story you tell with them. With quality photography, you will be more likely to attract quality buyers.

Customize Your Marketing Plan

Sit down with your real estate agent and create a solid plan of action before you advertise your home. Standard listings and scripted sales plans will make you just another face in the crowd.

You will want to tailor and personalize your home’s marketing plan. Your listings must effectively highlight the property for buyers and tell them why they should come look at it. Choose a demographic to whom your home appeals, and strike out to market to those people.

These mistakes are easily avoided, but can be costly. The key is to use a qualified and knowledgeable real estate agent. If you are looking to sell your NOTL real estate, contact Kevin Stokes or another Niagara on the Lake Realty professional today!



Ideas to Help Sell Your Home in the Fall

The last days of summer are winding down. Many people who have a home on the market during this time or are thinking about listing may be nervous about the reputation autumn and winter have for declining home sales.

Just because a higher number of homes sell in the warmer months does not mean the other months do not have people looking to buy. Many families and retirees are still looking for a means to relocate during this time, so never count your house out for a fall sale.

If you really want to know how to gain interest for your house during the fall, then here are some handy strategies to use.

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Why Buying a Second Home Before Retirement Makes Sense

Most homeowners cannot imagine owning a second home. Those who think they do not have the means to buy on may even never consider the idea. If you are planning on retiring within the next ten years, buying a second home now that you plan on moving into several years down the road could actually end up being an incredible bargain.

Buy Now, Move Later

The reason this strategy makes sense is two-fold but with one explanation: housing prices are cheap right now, and so are current mortgage rates. If you plan on retiring, your intended new home’s price has an almost guaranteed chance of going up before you actually make the move. On top of that, selling your current home in a buyer’s market does not make sense either.

To have your cake and eat it too, buy a house while the market is still favorable and wait for both of your homes’ values to go up. By the time you are ready to move into the home, your current house will sell for much more than it is worth now. You can also use the cash generated from your sale to help pay down more of the principal for your mortgage and reduce the back-ended interest.

If You Rent It, They Will Come

This strategy may still not sound workable. Given the amount of interest paid in addition to the cost of maintenance as well as property taxes, the house would have to appreciate quite a bit in five years to break perfectly even.

If you were to rent out your home rather than leaving it vacant, you would actually have enough money each month to put down the majority of the mortgage payment. Thus, while you would have the financial ties to a mortgage, you would also have extra income rolling in before you retire. The rent you charge would also help cover the cost of maintenance and taxes.

Some Contingencies

Obviously, this method of purchasing a house to retire in would not work if you still had a significant mortgage to pay off. This strategy would also have to involve enough liquid assets to cover the down payment.

While a 30 year mortgage currently has amazing rates, a five or seven year adjustable rate mortgage could be the wiser decision for being so close to retirement. After all, no one wants to spend their remaining years in significant debt.

The Perfect Plan

If you happen to meet the above criteria, then buying a second home in anticipation of your retirement might just be the best option. Luckily, many agencies like Niagara on the Lake Realty offer both buyer and renting services. With one just one agency, you could have someone to help identify a winning property and then manage it for you. Visit our buyers page to find out more about the houses available as well as our buying process.

Niagara Homes Announces NOTL Spring/Summer Events!


Photo courtesy of Peller Estates Facebook

As the weather heated up to the high 20s this past holiday weekend, it was clear to see everyone was in the long weekend mood, including myself!

The first event that was worthy of a visit was the Peller Food Trucks event. The name is self-explanatory but just to be clear, Peller Estates Winery turned over a section of their property for the weekend, and thirty food trucks turned up, providing a wide range of foods from oysters and champagne through to pizzas, southern fried chicken, Mexican, and loads more. Of course, Peller had a wine station and the line-ups were long to say the least! Parking was arranged on the Commons with buses laid on, efficiently ferrying the crowds back and forth. With live music and large crowds over the whole weekend, the event was a major success and I am sure there were many visitors with headaches the next morning. The event is sure to take place again next year. Visit Peller Estates for more up and coming events. You can trust that I will be on site for many future Peller Estates affairs.

Another long weekend event worth mentioning is the Virgil Stampede. Virgil is a village just outside Niagara on the Lake and each year, they hold their long weekend event. To be honest, I did not make it to the event itself but they have one of the best firework finales I have ever seen.  Luckily for me, I have friends whose back yard faces directly onto the firework launch site so talk about a great view! From the comfort of my friend’s gazebo with wine in hand, it was definitely a great way to spend an evening. Interested in homes near the town of Virgil? Contact Niagara Homes and let’s see what we can do to put you in the heart of the stampede next year.

The above events are just a small sample of what you can expect from our fine community in the summer months ahead. Be sure to visit my Niagara Homes blog regularly over the weeks to come to catch an activity that piques the interests of you and/or your family. You’ll never want for “something to do” when moving to Niagara on the Lake, even if that “something” means kicking back and doing “nothing”.

I welcome you to contact me at Niagara Homes or call me directly anytime to start the relationship with a friendly, casual conversation about your move to the NOTL region – we’re happy to have you join us.

Kevin Stokes

Niagara Homes

Niagara Homes – Sales are Strong and Prices Firm

NOTL real estate - Kevin Stokes - Sales are Strong

As spring bursts into life (slightly dampened by a higher than normal amount of rain over the past week or so), so do the number of Niagara on the Lake listings and incoming telephone calls. Having said that, the market was pretty good right through since January but there is no doubt that once the sun shines and the temperatures are in positive territory, things get lively!

As I drive around Niagara on the Lake and other parts of the Niagara Homes region, there is a hive of activity – lawns being cut, yards being tidied up, trees trimmed, painting & decorating vans in driveways, building work getting under way.

Of course, in addition to all this activity, there is a significant increase in the number of ‘For Sale’ signs being erected and, perhaps more importantly, more ‘Sold’ signs appearing as people make that decision to move into the area.

In spite of predictions of price drops or at least leveling off, my colleagues and I have noticed a steady rise in local prices. Of course there are Niagara homes that have been on the market for quite a while and there are those that have had price reductions, but overall, the trend is UP. Building lots that used to be in good supply are disappearing and there are fewer and fewer lots available as the amount of non-agricultural land is in limited supply.

As you might suspect, the number of people retiring to the area continues to rise and the sale of new development homes (particularly luxury bungalows on small lots) is very strong. The demand from GTA buyers for Niagara on the Lake real estate is helping to push prices slowly but steadily higher in the immediate area and this looks set to continue for some time to come.

If you are considering moving to the area, with Niagara on the Lake realty on your mind, and would like to explore the possibilities available to you, simply contact me at Niagara Homes for a casual conversation to start. I am only too happy to help you with your Niagara home search.

Kevin Stokes

Niagara Homes


green christmas lights

The holiday season is upon us, and with it comes family gatherings, big meals and celebration. Along with these things can come higher utility bills.

In order to keep those costs down and be friendlier to the environment, you want to use as little energy as possible. We at Niagara-on-the-Lake Realty would like to offer some great tricks and tips to keep in mind so that you can enjoy a more energy efficient holiday season.
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