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Kitchener-Waterloo Market Prices

Kitchener-Waterloo is home to over 350,000 people and counting. The population is currently growing due to people moving in for work or education (or seeking to escape the soaring prices of the GTA).

Because of this, the local real estate market has been seeing strong growth for the past years, with prices steadily increasing by 4-6% year over year.

There have been between 5000 to 6000 home sales every year for the past 3 years, and the local board has approximately 2000 active realtors moving the market forward.

A lot of market conditions, such as heavy investment into transportation and infrastructure, point toward KW continuing to grow and develop at a strong pace.

Here is a quick snapshot of the KW market as of November 2019:

 

Average Price

  • $533,495

Median Price

  • $500,000

Average Days on Market

  • 13

 

If you want to get an approximate value for your home, you can use our free home evaluation tool:

Find Out How Much Your Home is Worth

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Learn About Buying or Selling Real Estate in KW

Special thanks to the awesome folks who contributed to making this section: Project X Construction, Liscious Interiors.

Buying or selling a home is an exciting time. Whether it’s your first purchase, a relocation, or an investment, purchasing real estate is the start of a new chapter for a lot of people.

Steps to Buying a Home

Shopping Around – Looking at what’s available is the first step for most (if not all) people. Users now have the great luxury of being able to find, sort, and preview homes online which makes it a natural first step when getting to know the market.

 

Getting a Mortgage – Once you have an idea of what the market offers, you can start looking toward arranging your financing. This is an important step because your finances will tell you what kind of home you should be aiming for, and will influence all other steps of the process.

Luckily, most mortgage brokers can offer a free assessment where they will let you know approximately how much you can qualify for. This will not affect your credit score as it’s just a pre-qualification, and not the actual mortgage application.

It’s worth noting that the pre-qualification value is an approximation, so it won’t be the exact amount. However, it’s a great benchmark that will help guide you.

 

 

Deposits – Along with a mortgage, buyers also need to secure cash for a deposit on their offer. In order to make offers binding, and to show that the purchaser is serious, a deposit (usually $5,000) is due upon acceptance of the offer.

 

Private Viewings with a Realtor – Once you’ve secured your finances, you can go view homes in person and start shopping more seriously.

People can shop on their own by calling individual listing agents, or they can be represented by a buyer’s agent who will help them in the shopping process.

As a buyer, we strongly recommend connecting with a realtor. Realtors see homes coming and going on the market all the time, which means they know the playing field and how to navigate it. Beyond that, a real estate agent will help protect your interests during the transaction itself – making sure you get the best possible outcome.

On top of all of the above, for buyers, working with an agent is actually a service you receive for free. This is because the seller typically pays the buyer side of the commission.

 

 

Offer Process – The next step after finding your ideal prospective home is to put in an offer. Your agent will draft up an offer and send it over to the seller’s agent.

There are several steps to an offer. Once it’s submitted, the seller and their agent will have to review it and let you know if they accept, decline, or place a counter-offer.

The seller may suggest a counter offer where they either bargain up the price, or adjust the terms, or both.If there are other offers on the table, the buyer has less leverage to bargain as there is more competition.

In some cases, the seller might hold all offer viewings on one day in order to generate a competitive environment (which results in better offers for them).

It’s very important to note that you can only put in one offer on one home at a time. Putting offers on multiple homes is a very dangerous mistake because it can lead to you being contractually obligated to purchase multiple homes.

 

 

Conditions on The Buyer Side – Conditions may be part of any offer (although they are not obligatory). The most commonly used conditions are home inspection, review of the status certificate of a condominium, or financing.

Buyers should be careful with conditions. On one hand, they are helpful in reducing risk for the transaction. However, on the other hand, conditions almost always cause offers to fall apart if the home has multiple buyers competing for it.

 

Closing – After the offer is accepted, the closing timeframe for most homes is 3 months, however it could be anything the buyer and seller agree on.

Sometimes it can be only one month, or even as soon as possible.On the closing day, the buyer’s lawyer and the seller’s lawyer confer and complete the transfer.

Real estate lawyers ensure the legal transfer of ownership is performed correctly. They also are there to address issues such as property line concerns, encroachments, or any other ownership related issues.

Both the seller and the buyer’s closing of a specific property happens on the same day. Essentially, the sellers legally “move out” on the same day the buyers legally “move in”.

 

Important Considerations – Other points to consider in a transaction include: securing and buying proper homeowners insurance, finding and paying for a real estate lawyer, land transfer tax, as well as personal moving costs (renting a truck, taking time off from work, etc).

Typically, miscellaneous costs for all of the various other services you’ll need will amount to 1% of the cost of the home.
Steps for Selling Your Home

Steps to Selling Your Home

 

Shopping Around – Most sellers start their real estate journey as buyers. As you’re pondering the prospect of selling your home, the first thing that comes to mind is learning more about the market.

As mentioned before, buyers now have the great luxury of being able to browse a multitude of homes online.

Pricing Your Home – Once you’ve gotten an idea of the market conditions, your next question might be how much your home is worth. Not only is this important for selling the home, but it will also decide your budget for purchasing.Homes are evaluated for sale based on comparables. Comparables are similar properties that have sold recently in the same area as your home. A realtor will look at local activity and identify what buyers are willing to pay for homes that closely match yours.

 

Home Improvements – A lot of people consider doing some improvements before listing their home. The improvements that bring the highest return on investment are those that any buyer can appreciate, such as repairs.

If it’s something that affects functionality, then that is something that adds value for all potential buyers.

On the flipside, changes that are aesthetic in nature typically have negative return. This is because buyers may or may not prefer the specific upgrades you’ve installed.

 

 

Picking a Contractor – If you are not DIY-ing it, you’ll need to pick out an appropriate contractor for the job. We spoke with Heinz Wille, owner of Project X Construction in Kitchener and here is what he told us about deciding on a contractor:

  • There are many types of projects and many types of contractors, so make sure you pick someone who has experience working on the specific types of improvements you’re making.
  • Transparency is key. Most pros out there will take pictures of their work for potential clients to see
  • It’s important to assess how readily available a contractor is. Did they answer your phonecall or request promptly? Do they return your calls or messages? This is a strong indicator of the level of customer service they deliver

 

Listing Your Home – Listing your home is when you get the ball rolling and actually put up your home for sale. Owners can sell on their own or they can be represented by a selling agent.

A selling agent will take care of the logistics of marketing your home, dealing with prospective buyers, and navigating the transaction to a safe and favourable closing.

 

Staging Your Home – When buyers preview your home, they try to envision themselves living there. Whether or not the home feels “right” is a huge factor in a buyer’s decision to go for a specific place.

Staging can help enhance the appeal of your home, and make it more likely for buyers to feel a connection with it.We asked Patti Minicola from Liscious Interiors what’s on her staging to-do list. Here is what she said:

  • Cleaning up and decluttering goes a long way (and don’t forget the garage!)
  • It’s important to make the setting “neutral” because it makes it easy for buyers to see themselves living there
  • Taking pictures of the staged home and making sure they’re distributed online is key
  • If feasible, leaving the home for a few days makes the process a lot smoother (take off for a bit, set the staging, come back when the home is sold)
  • Even if you DIY it, taking the time to do a little bit of staging can go a long way

 

 

Commissions – Most realtors charge a percentage commission on the sale. Some may charge a flat fee, however, that is fairly rare in the KW market. In Ontario, agents can choose to go with either a percent or a flat fee, but they cannot do both.

The most common commission percentage in Kitchener-Waterloo is 4% total. Some agents will go as low as 1% or 2%. Others may charge a premium rate of up to 6%.

An important note about commissions is that there are two components to it. There is the selling agent’s component and the buying agent’s component.

 

Showing Your Home – Once your home is up on the market, showings can begin. One of the advantages of working with a listing agent is that they can take care of the logistics of setting up times with buyers and their agents.

 

Offer Process and the Multiple Offer Scenario – Probably the most exciting time for a seller is when reviewing offers. Offers may be welcome at any point during the listing, or an offer presentation could be held on a specific date.

Holding offers is a strategy used by listing agents to effectively comb through potential buyers for the best price.

It’s easier to identify the best offer if you see everything at once, as opposed to one by one (with no knowledge of what may come later). It’s also a means to generate interest in the property by having multiple buyers compete at the same time.

That being said, holding offers is only effective in appropriate scenarios and should only be used if it makes sense for your specific property. There is nothing worse than a multiple offer presentation falling flat because nobody showed up

 

 

Days On Market – One of the most important things to keep in mind as a seller is your time on the market. If a home is well priced, it will sell in a reasonably brief period of time. The vast majority of homes that get sold for asking price and above are sold within the first 1-2 weeks of being listed.

Beyond the 2 week mark, the number and prices of offers start to diminish exponentially. Kitchener-Waterloo is a fairly brisk paced market, so it doesn’t take long for all of the serious and motivated buyers to see your home.

This all underlines the importance of pricing the home properly from the very beginning, and not sitting on the market for too long.The best course of action, if you find yourself sitting on the market, is to do a price reduction.

The lower price will attract more interest, and the price update is a great way to refresh the attention of buyers.

 

Buying or Selling First – Buying and selling can be done in any order, however, we strongly recommend selling first and then going to buy.

This is because it’s difficult to shop for a home if you don’t yet know how much you’re going to get for your home. This makes the buying process uncertain and risky.

The best course of action is to sell first and secure a price to determine the budget for your purchase. After that, the typical 3 month closing window is more than enough time to locate and successfully purchase a new place.

 

 

Wrapping Up

Now that you’ve taken the time to go over the roadmap to buying and selling real estate, you should have a better understanding of the process and what to do from here on.

You can go to any of our listing pages to browse homes, or you can continue to read up on the many resources we feature on our site.If you want to contact us with any questions about the market, you can do so here.