Ottawa still has an active real estate market

Editor's Note

This article is sponsored by Nancy Benson of RE/MAX Hallmark Realty.

As we face uncertainty because of the virus pandemic, many of our lives have changed considerably. In my work as a Realtor, I’ve heard from many people who are putting a temporary hold on their plans for home buying or selling.

That’s completely understandable. With a lot of things to deal with, such as having to care for children who are out of school, and just focusing on our health, many people have decided to wait until things turn around. 

Other people, for financial or work reasons, cannot afford to wait. I’ve been assuring these clients that the real estate industry has been deemed essential by the provincial government, along with financial and legal services, and the resources you need to buy or sell are still there. 

Nancy Benson - April 2020 - 1Yes, we are still listing properties, and yes, we are still showing properties to serious buyers. Like many industries, we have adapted how we do things.

We are not holding open houses, for example. For buyers, we are doing virtual showings and / or individual viewings where possible. We are encouraging our clients to get pre-qualified for a mortgage so that they can plan to purchase. 

As professionals, we are taking great care to protect the health of both the buyers we are showing homes to and that of our sellers by following preventative protocol. 

We have been completing contracts electronically, both for listing properties and selling properties for a number of years. We do so by electronic signing and so this practice continues.  

If you’ve decided to hold off on buying or selling for now, there are things you can do in the meantime to get ready for a future purchase or sale. 

Nancy Benson - April 2020 - 2Should you be planning to list your property in the coming months, use this extra time at home to do a bit of cleaning, decluttering and, when possible, a bit of gardening to help your home look its best!

Recently I’ve been providing advice to my clients based on the photos and videos of their homes that they send me. I can make suggestions as to projects to focus on that will ensure the largest return on your investments.

Should you be considering purchasing, now is a great time to familiarize yourself with new neighbourhoods, as well as their listing and selling prices, so that you have a good grasp of the real estate market in Ottawa.

When things do turn around, you will be in a better position to move forward whether you are purchasing or selling, as you will be equipped with all the right information.  

Do keep in mind that when you are pre-qualified, the lenders will guarantee you the rate you receive for about four to five months from when you sign. If the rates drop during that time, you will receive the lower rate.

If you are temporarily laid off but have a job to return to, as many people in some sectors are, a mortgage lender can look at your previous employment as a starting point for qualifying. When you return to work, you can update your information.

Nancy Benson - April 2020 - 3In the meantime, you can spend time looking at MLS listings or driving through neighbourhoods that appeal to you and then getting an idea of the value of real estate in those areas to see what’s in your budget. When I know which areas most appeal to you, I can prepare to help you find the right home when the time comes.

These are uncertain days, but it’s a great time to connect. I’m happy to answer any of your questions about buying or selling. Feel free to give me a call, at 613-747-4747. You can read about myself and my team at www.nancybenson.com.

Nancy Benson operates a full-service office at RE/MAX Hallmark Realty and specializes in unique homes in the most desirable neighbourhoods of Ottawa. Whether you're buying, selling, acquiring an investment or a secondary home, we have a system that will work for you.