Summer in September.

How was your summer? A little cooler than you’d like? I agree….I think we made it to a lake twice and even then the winds blew chillier than liked. WTF happened to hot lazy summers spent swimming and lounging around….?

Apparently Hamilton missed that one.

And here we are, kids firmly planted back to school, bees stunned and swarming everywhere, houses starting to sell and more real estate talk happening (as it does in Fall) , yet….the weather is maintaining above high 20s!

Mother Nature, we are unimpressed.

It seems like every few years we get a particularly chilly summer followed by a warmer than average Fall. I can recall a summer when my husband and I were still dating that made us miserable, every weekend was RAIN and chilly. We worked all week. Not a fun time. This summer came close to that. My own kids were frustrated that we really couldn’t do much, although the addition to our family of a new puppy who gets carsick, didn’t help us. We were very limited to travel lol.

Do you miss Summer? Or what “should” have been summer? Are you excited for Fall? Does the weather affect you at all with regards to the seasons, or lack thereof?

Let me know your thoughts!

Hamilton…You Gotta Eat Here!

Does this photo tantalize your taste buds at all? Take a closer look…you can almost TASTE this amazing dish, am I right?

Bread bar. Hamont, Foodie, Locke street

My husband and I regularly go out for dinner “date nights”, or in this case, a date “lunch” on a relaxing Sunday afternoon. We try to browse Hamilton’s fast-moving foodie Instagram posts for the latest and greatest eats offered locally. We are both into healthy eating, and locally it isn’t hard at all to find freshly created healthy meals that make one drool.

We’ve tried many of the local hot spots. Locke Street is one of those areas that is not only sought after because of its’ amazing century homes and family neighbourhoods, but it’s modern and yummy restaurant offerings. If you’re walking around there and get hungry, we suggest literally walking up and down and try anything there. Aberdeen Tavern up on Aberdeen just West of Locke, is fantastic.  Mattson and Co. on Locke is astounding. Democracy on Locke and Brown Dog Cafe as well. Just plain yummy! We hadn’t been able to get into Earth to Table Bread Bar as it truly is busy and sought after. So the fact that we got in recently was just fabulous! And by the photo you see here (Pork Cubano and Peach Arugula salad!) you can imagine how happy we were after eating.

We suggest hitting up James North AND South. South you will find many hidden gems like Aquarius Lounge which is delicious and fancy all at once. North will take you on a yummy journey for meals at places like Lake Road Restaurant that won’t disappoint, and you can pop over to Chocolat on James for Ice Cream or Chocolates to die for!

Don’t forget our waterfront. Pier 8 has Williams Coffee that offers their own delicious dinner and lunch menus all by the glorious water where you can watch the boats come in and out.

Hamilton is easily one of THE best cities for dining out. Give it a try. Check Instagram (you can follow me there @RealtorAprilA) as I follow all the best places and have dined at most of them. You won’t be disappointed! Be your own FOODIE!

Enjoy your city!

This past weekend we enjoyed some boating fun here in Hamilton/Burlington. My dad has a new boat, and like any awesome grandpa he wants to share the fun with the grand-kids. So he is trying out marinas around Burlington/Hamilton waterfronts, and we decided to take him up on his offer to get out on the water and have some fun!

I have to say, while my family spends lots of time every summer by the waterfront, walking, going for coffee, ice cream, events and festivals…there was nothing to compare to getting on the water and viewing it all from that vantage point. WOW!

Hamilton has SO much to offer year round, but summer is special. We have Pier8 waterfront with Williams Coffee for amazing dinners and yummy coffee (perfect for date nights where you can often find my husband and I on Saturday evenings watching the sunset!), James st north for fabulous restaurants and you can walk down to the water from there. Pier4 has a play area for kids and many events are held there and it’s by the water, always fun. Take time to check these places out and investigate our city from different angles.

I will admit even I get “stuck on land” and forget that there are other ways to enjoy my beautiful city! And if you don’t have a family member with their own boat like we do (hey, retirement deserves its’ perks, am I right?) then take advantage of the cruises that run from Pier8, (dinner cruises and party cruises), also trolley bus tours and bikes you can rent…SO many ways to enjoy summer around the waterfront. What’s not to love!

Have a peek at our weekend adventure in the video above….post in comments below your own adventures!


Common mistakes when planning to sell a home.

We have just come off of a crazy spring market here in Hamilton. We saw a lack of inventory in homes create an abundance of demand, which pushed up prices beyond what most local buyers could afford. With that push came a very solid and somewhat scary sellers’ market situation. This created some chaos, as we saw the logistics of buying and selling change drastically, which had properties selling hundreds, and more often, many thousands of dollars over the asking price. It was a perfect time to sell your home, fast and for lots of money!

So what became the norm for people preparing to sell? Buying first. Not only searching and buying homes before listing their home for sale, but buying in a heated rush, in most cases, foregoing conditions in their offers, firming up sales literally day that offer would be presented, creating a dangerous situation of potentially owning two homes. (conditions such as financing, gives you the days necessary to go to your bank or mortgage broker and firm up your mortgage details, inspection conditions help you learn about  the home you plan to buy and find out if there are any issues present)

People were almost fooled into believing the “chaos” of overpriced sales, (swift ones at that!) would remain. I counseled numerous clients to be cautious, and at very least, list their homes as we forged ahead searching and eventually making offers on other homes. But, understandably, people were caught up in the excitement of making more money off their home quickly (we call that “cashing out”) and remained focused on “winning” their next home in, more often than not, heartbreaking bidding war scenarios. The afterthought of what would occur should the market shift, didn’t seem to come into play.

In my almost decade in real estate, I hadn’t seen this side of a sudden sellers’ market. It became more of a guessing/strategic game when preparing offers, instead of a proper comparison of local sales, home condition or upgrades, and neighbourhood locations. My research skills and training basically were not necessary, but my strategic skills and ongoing experience as we moved forward, became vital. A home listed for $499K would be sold for above $600K. No conditions. If your strategy “won”, your client won. So buyers became used to buying being a razor-edged focused fast moving situation, and selling was no more difficult than placing a sign on a lawn and stepping back to watch the chaos blow in, leaving you breathless!

Many folks did just that. Bought before selling. And unfortunately as I warned prior to anyone buying, and along the way as we moved ahead, I continued to warn that such markets aren’t long lasting.  Buyers were being kicked out of the market, especially after new mortgage rules tightened their ability to obtain a mortgage. Most now were not able to afford what previously would have easily been a home they would have looked at. And no sooner did the market sweep them up, it spit them out.

In May, literally, it all shifted. The Liberal government stepping in to make announcements on rental housing rules (to slow the market) started everything, and perceptions halted everything. Buyers (seemingly overnight) paused. Homes that sold overnight, sat for sale. And it continues. And those who bought first, and held off selling, missed the market. Homes now are taking over a month to sell, for nowhere near asking price, if they sell at all. Price reductions are the new normal again. Conditions are back in offers. It’s a normal almost balanced market again, but it feels like it crashed.

It’s upsetting to witness, especially when I have spent everyday working the markets (as all agents do) and saw it coming. Warned, prepared, warned again. While I understand the excitement of such a market that swept everyone up, I also knew it wouldn’t last. I also understand it’s easier for a professional to grasp that, while buyers and sellers unfortunately have to learn as it happens.

The biggest mistake, in my opinion, in any market, is to buy a home first, while still owning one. No matter how good your agent is, how hard they work, how much they do, how awesome the current market seems to be, we don’t have crystal balls, we can’t force a sale. We also can’t foresee such shifts in markets. And it only gets worse if your home isn’t “perfect” in the eyes of buyers. If it needs even a small amount of updates, it won’t sell quickly or for top dollar. Especially coming off a market like we just did. It’s fine if you have time to sell and are patient, firmly understand what you’re facing. But for most now, that is almost impossible.

Listen to your agent. We know what is happening. Our job is to prepare and assist, to read the market and place you into it, or help you sell within it, with that information. We can only do so much. And trust me when I say, while there are a small percentage who aren’t up to snuff, the majority of agents truly know our jobs, know the market and are working in your best interest.

I’m off to continue my work to get these homes sold now. Yet another price reduction, some more “prettying up” of another, and facing pulling one off the market for a year because my clients bought first and missed the market, and now must reshuffle finances and hold off, likely renting out in the interim.

Back… with Gratitude!

Hello again.

So it’s been awhile. But my urge to put pen to paper, or in this case, fingers to keys, has caused me to revamp this blog and give it life again. I’ve been back and forth over the years with what I felt people want to read in a blog, especially one written by a real estate expert, what they feel is valuable information, or what isn’t. I’ve come to my own conclusion that I simply want to write, connect with people on a simple level, and have an amazing platform to do that as well as be of service to others. My favourite things to do. So here I am.

In my job, I see all kinds of things. Stress, joy, anger, happiness, sadness, frustration. I strive to be there for my clients and offer compassion and heart. Something I feel is missing today. Especially in my line of work. We are so busy, we forget that people have feelings and needs and desires. And I work to address them. I have been blessed, the universe sends me clients who seem to require a specific person to help them, and I am happy to be that person. I don’t think I could work any other way, and my clients know I am not the “car salesperson realtor” they see on TV or have (unfortunately) possibly dealt with in the past.

In my life, I live all kinds of things. As we all do. I am very human. I have three daughters, all school aged, one about to become an adult. Unfortunately, the oldest one has been enduring a chronic illness that has pulled her normal teen years out from under her. This has taught us patience, resolve, and focus. We may not travel like other families, we don’t get to experience much outside of our own community, at least for the short-term while we fight to heal her. However, I have learned over the years, especially through my clients, that life is what you bring to the table, regardless of what is being served. I am blessed.

#HamOnt #Family #Hamilton #AtHomeInHamilton #Realtormom #Realtorlife #REaltor #Realestate #Ontario
My Beautiful Family

So I hope you will stick around, pop in from  time to time and read my blithering. No, I won’t bore you with market numbers and sales prices (unless you ask!) but I will be me, enjoy writing and maybe entertain you somewhat, some days. I will try to keep you informed of local happenings here in “The Hammer” and maybe host and event or two and meet up with some of you!

And as always, I am never too busy for your referrals. I work by word of mouth, and am blessed so many think highly of me to entrust their families and friends to me.