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    Goodbye rent . . . hello home ownership

    http://www.winnipegrealtors.ca/Resources/Article/?sysid=3253

    Reused by permission of the Real Estate News

    By Geoff Kirbyson

    Renting is a great option for students and young couples but eventually it’s time to move up to the big leagues and own a house or condominium.

    Sure, it’s nice to have the relatively worry-free lifestyle when you live in an apartment building or a floo­r of a house and aren’t tied down long term to any property or even city. You can pay your rent and phone bill every month while leaving the pesky property taxes and utilities to your landlord. But your older (and wiser) self will thank you the earlier you can get into home ownership, said Blair Sonnichsen, Realtor and past president of WinnipegREALTORS.

    “When I make my mortgage payment every month, my equity position improves. When I rent, the money I pay goes towards paying somebody else’s equity position. While I’m free from most maintenance responsibilities and risks as a tenant, when I leave, I leave behind all that I’ve paid,” he said.

    Equity, of course, is the difference between what a property is worth and what you owe on it.

    Building up equity in your home can help you in several non-housing ways, too. If you want to borrow money from your bank or credit union for whatever reason — home improvements, a new vehicle, a cottage or investments — equity provides the necessary leverage to qualify you for that money.

    Perhaps the biggest transition for home buyers is adjusting their lifestyles and possessions to their new space. For example, the bedroom suite that they bought for their spacious apartment likely won’t fit in the more cramped confines of their starter home or the big-screen TV that looked great on their apartment wall might completely overwhelm their living room.

    There’s also a big adjustment to make financially. If your monthly budget is $1,400, you’ll quickly find what you pay in rent doesn’t go nearly as far in a house. Home insurance, property taxes and utilities will whittle down your buying power. The general financing rule is for every $6 you have in annual income, you can get $1,000 in mortgage.

    So, let’s say your fixed expenses are $500 per month. The remaining $850 could help you get a mortgage of about $140,000. When you factor in a downpayment of 10 per cent, you’re looking at a house worth a little north of $150,000. A couple of decades ago, that would have been quite the place but many would-be homeowners are in for a rude awakening in 2018.

    “Young adults today like to step out of their parents’ home into their first home of an equal quality of life. For most people, that’s not possible. That’s a big adjustment,” he said.

    While landlords are usually looking for tenants to move in as quickly as possible, that’s often not the case with home sales and renters need to be prepared for that, Sonnichsen said.

    “I’ve had clients say to me, ‘we’re getting married in July and want to move into our new home in September. Should we start looking now?’ The answer is ‘no,’ because (sales) are closing in 60 to 90 days,” he said.

    Once you decide to make the transition, you’re probably going to want the advice of a Realtor to choose the home that will best meet your needs and expectations. But there’s more to it than looking in the Yellow Pages (ask your parents) or going online. Sonnichsen recommends visiting a few open houses, not necessarily to check out the kitchens and bathrooms — although you can do that, too — but to meet the Realtors putting them on.

    “You’ll see the Realtor that sits on the couch and doesn’t acknowledge the people in the room and you’ll have the Realtor who has snacks and treats, is prepared and talks to the visitors. I encourage homebuyers to interview their agent. An easy place to find a Realtor is a public open house,” he said.

    A Realtor can provide all the information you’ll need to make the right decision about making the move from rent to building your home equity. They’ll have the expertise you need and help you with managing your options.

    geoffkirbyson@mymts.net

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    No slow down for downtown Winnipeg growth

    http://www.winnipegrealtors.ca/Resources/Article/?sysid=3230

    Reused by permission of the Real Estate News

    By Geoff Kirbyson

    Downtown Winnipeg has come a long way, baby, since a group of protesters formed a human chain around the Eaton’s Building to give it a 40-hour hug back in 2001.

    Since then, more than $2 billion has been spent on new construction – including a little facility now called Bell MTS Place where Eaton’s used to stand and where the Winnipeg Jets now play – upgrading heritage buildings and retrofitting office, commercial and retail space in and around the central business district.

    The combination has sparked an unprecedented jump in the number of people who not only work downtown but live there, too. Over the last five years, the downtown population has grown by 7 per cent to nearly 17,000.

    Trevor Clay, chair of the WinnipegREALTORS commercial division, remembers the days before the new Manitoba Hydro headquarters, the SHED (Sports, Hospitality & Entertainment District) and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

    “You had office tenants leaving downtown to set up shop in the southwest because companies wanted to go to the suburbs where they had cheap parking and were close to good restaurants. Now some of the best restaurants are downtown and people are going to Bell MTS Place for Jets and Moose games and concerts. There are many reasons to come downtown now,” he said.

    In fact, Clay, who is also a principal at Capital Commercial Real Estate Services, a Winnipeg-based commercial brokerage and property management company, believes Winnipeg’s downtown is in as good shape as it’s ever been.

    “There’s lots of positive activity and private investment and lots of demand for residential and retail space,” he said.

    Clay will be hosting a commercial real estate panel at the WinnipegREALTORS annual Forecast Breakfast, which takes place Feb. 7 at 8:30 a.m. at Canad Inns Polo Park. Much of the focus will be on problems that stakeholders would have begged to deal with just a few years ago.

    Chief among them is what kind of impact will the True North Square development, currently rising into the skyline on Hargrave Street, have on the three office towers at Portage and Main?

    A number of high-profile tenants, such as Scotiabank and law firm Thompson Dorfman Sweatman, have already announced their intentions to relocate to True North Square when it’s completed this summer.

    Clay said while there might be a bit of a lag in filling the soon-to-be-empty space at Winnipeg’s most famous corner, the more pressing issue will be landlords of Class B and C office space upping their games.

    “We’re seeing a flight to quality. Tenants in older office, industrial and retail spaces are looking to get into better locations. (Those landlords) are going to have to figure out how to compete in a more competitive market,” he said.

    The Forecast Breakfast’s commercial real estate panel includes Paul Jordan, CEO of The Forks North Portage Development, who oversees The Forks; Angela Mathieson, president and CEO of the CentreVenture Development Corp., Winnipeg’s downtown redevelopment agency; Tom Janzen, an associate at Scatliff+ Miller+Murray Inc., a local architecture firm; and Sasa Radulovic, a partner at 5468796 Architecture.

    Downtown residents are going to have some company at Winnipeg’s biggest tourist attraction in a few years. Jordan said he and his team are entering the final planning stages to redevelop 12 acres of surface parking lots into condos and apartments.

    The first phase will be about 300 units but he hopes there will be five times that many by the time everything is built out.

    “Since Day 1 at The Forks, there were always plans to have residential. We’re going to create a European-style village with four to six-storey buildings, great little piazzas and public parks,” he said.

    Things will be just as busy over at CentreVenture, where the new three-year business plan will focus on realizing the potential of SHED, particularly around True North Square and the surrounding buildings. Mathieson is also eager to build the downtown population.

    “We’re very optimistic about the future. We don’t want the momentum to stall. We need to achieve a high level of affordability downtown. The people with the highest propensity to live downtown are younger and they have less income. It’s a real challenge to have housing at a price point that is affordable for that target market.”

    geoffkirbyson@mymts.net

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    Condominium ownership: is it right for you?

    Buying a condo may be the right move for you if you answer ‘yes’ to most of the following:

    • I like the fact that a condominium is an “instant community” and my neighbours won’t be far away.
    • I want to participate in the running of the community with other condominium owners.
    • I don’t want the hassle of shovelling snow, cutting grass, and other outdoor chores.
    • I’ll use some of the condominium’s amenities.
    • I understand that I will pay monthly fees for maintenance and repair of the condominium and will budget accordingly.
    • I know there may be restrictions on the number of occupants in my unit, pets, noise, parking, etc.
    • I’ll read through the condominium’s documents before I buy so there’ll be no surprises.
    • I understand that a board of directors can make decisions on my behalf.

    Provided by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

    Read the complete Condominium Buyer’s Guide.

     

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