Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Why London?

Here is an article a reader submitted to me. She was a student at the University of Western Ontario, and wanted to share why she now calls London home.

Many people have asked me why don’t I move back home (to Hamilton). I moved to London just over four years ago to attend Western University. Since then, I have called London home. While students moved back home during summer breaks, I stayed here. I recently graduated in June, and I am still here. So…why do I stay in London?

Coming from a large industrial city, it wasn’t hard to fall in love with London. London seemed noticeably safer, and I was awed by the beauty of the tree-lined streets and lush green parks.

There are lots to see and do; plenty of festivals such as the London Ribfest, Sunfest, and Balloon Festival that take place annually. If you take a stroll down Richmond Row, you can find many places to eat or have a drink. During the winter months, you can go skating in Victoria Park or outside the Covent Garden Market.

Now London is a smaller city than Hamilton, albeit larger than most in Ontario. But I do appreciate how it offers the best of both worlds. For 8 months of the year, there is a hustle & bustle. During the summer months, students are gone, and the city calms; it becomes more peaceful and quiet.

There is one downside to London: the snow. London is located in the Snow Belt region so the city gets a lot of snow. But don’t fret, there’s an upside! It makes beautiful winters.

Would you like to share your experience of living in London? Email me or leave a comment!

Blog suggestions

Blog Suggestions
Is there anything you would like to know about London? Leave comments to this post with your suggestions.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Some London market stats for you

Real Estate Market Update

I thought this would make a great post for all of you; it's a section from my newsletter "Bricks & Mortar Real Estate Reporter":

Record breaking 769 sales in September
Slower 581 sales recorded in October.
November continues to taper.
Normal slowdown as we approach Christmas.

2007 average house price $202,256.00
2008 average house price $212,034.00

That’s a whopping increase of 4.85%.
Some segments have tapered a bit…
Declines from 2007 YTD

Ranches, St. Thomas down 2.5%
Bungalow, south London down 0.9%
Ranches, south London down 0.2%
Condos, east London down 1.3%
Townhouse, east London down 0.1%
Bungalow, Strathroy down 3.2%
Townhouse, Strathroy down 15.7%

Overall positive growth.

Have you read the December edition yet? Click here for a copy.

Also, I would like to hear what you want to see in my next newsletter. Leave some comments in what you want to read in the March edition of Bricks & Mortar Real Estate Reporter.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Another tip to save you money

Need to locate a business? Forget 411, save this number on your phone 1-800-GOOG411. This is a new service offered through Google. You can find local business information anytime, anywhere, free of charge. It uses listing information provided by Google Maps, so if you need to update or add your business information, you can do so here. The more businesses updating or entering their information, the more helpful this service will be!

To use the service, just call 1-800-GOOG411 and state the location and business (category or business name) you are looking for. Currently residential information is not available.

Want more information about GOOG-411? Visit here.

If you have used this service already, what do you think of it? Did you get the information you were looking for?

Friday, November 21, 2008

More money in your wallet

Save Money
Gas prices are falling! Do you remember the last time gas prices were in the 70s? Today's low is 74.9. Just a month ago, we were looking at gas prices around 101.405. One year ago, they were 106.808.

If you didn’t fill up your tank during the week, you will be paying more to do so this weekend. Gas prices are higher during weekends, than weekdays.

Save money. I have a great website for you. Visit This website compares all gas prices in the London Area, and it shows you where you can get the cheapest prices.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


The December edition of my newsletter, 'Bricks & Mortar REAL ESTATE REPORTER' is now available. Visit to read the newsletter today. You'll find valuable real estate information & tips such as: "Selling NOW", "Bathroom Mould", "Consider Your Offer", and much more. This is your link to realty.

If you would like to subscribe to my newsletter, just send me an email, and the next edition will be emailed to you.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Is the market slowing down?

Real Estate Market Update
CMHC forecasted this slow down over a year ago, kudos to them! If you want more info click or paste On the right hand side click on the CMHC links, lots of good valuable information.

The good news is we will continue to move to a balanced market, that’s right no buyers market in sight. That means an equal number of buyers and sellers out there. Yahoo the strong survive! Prices won’t increase as quickly as in the recent past and sellers might have to negotiate a few more extras (yeah) such as appliances. The forecast does call for a moderate price increase. All in all we are headed into a nice steady market. I love these markets.

Too bad the papers are reporting negative news, it hurts us all. Take Stirling in St. Thomas as an example. The papers reported a job loss at the plant of 2,300 +- when there are actually only 700 +- jobs. Yes Stirling at one time employed 2,300 but not for a long time now. The plant closing will have a slow down effect as St. Thomas and the surrounding businesses adjust but I don’t think it has to be the doom and gloom we hear about. A lot of people employed at Stirling don’t even live there!

The 10 year average for home sales in London/St. Thomas for the month of September is 6,597; 5 year average is 7,269; this year 7,113 sales. Not as bad as you think.

As we approach Christmas our market naturally slows year after year after year. Mortgage rates are still great. If you are thinking of buying now is a fantastic time especially if you find a motivated seller whose house meets your wants and needs. If you are serious about selling call me for up to date market info that will help you achieve your plans. If we know what the market is doing we know how to price to stay ahead of the market. More on pricing next week.

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Someone said...

Someone said you should not invest now because history will repeat itself; the recession in the U.S. is expected to hit Canada really hard, putting us in a recession by the next year. The unemployment rate in the U.S. is at an all-time high, Canada has reported that 50,000 jobs were lost in July alone, the biggest number since February 1991.

What does this mean for London? If there is a recession, mortgage rates increase and loans are more difficult to obtain. For people who have over extended, they will start selling assets—typically investment property, then cottage, then home. As a result, real estate prices fall.

However, the London economy is slightly different. A majority of the Canadian job losses were in the manufacturing sector; London is a service economy. The 2 largest employers in London are the London Health Sciences Centre and the University of Western Ontario. 269,000 jobs were created last quarter alone (LEDC).

Student enrollment in a recession rises with funding through student loans. With over 30,000 students at UWO, London is known to be a “University Town”. Investments in student rental properties are essentially recession-proof.

Can we expect real estate prices to crash in the next year? No. It is possible that prices will decrease in some segments. Since London is a service economy and a “University Town”, we won’t get hit as hard as cities with a manufacturing economy, in fact there will be a greater need for student rental properties.

So, is it really a bad time to invest in student rental property? No. With an economy like ours, now is the time to buy.

Interest rates remain low. Average mortgage rate for the past 10 years is 10%, anytime you are below the average you have to be ahead of the game. Take advantage of the present market!

Thursday, September 4, 2008


The September edition of my newsletter, 'Bricks & Mortar REAL ESTATE REPORTER' is now available. Click here to read the newsletter today. You'll find valuable real estate information & tips. I've designed my newsletter to be your link to realty.

If you would like to subscribe to my newsletter, just send me an email with the subject line: Bricks and Mortar, and the next edition will be emailed to you.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

slow down

Real Estate Market UpdateThe market has slowed as normal during our summer. People are on holidays, spending time with their children or just enjoying the hazy days of summer. Not to worry our market will pick up in the fall as usual. Reminder, October is fast approaching and CMHC will no longer approve the 100% finance "fully insured" mortgage feature. if you were considering using this option time to get serious and buy:).
CMHC predicted a balanced market and they are right, yeah.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

100% financing? Not anymore.

On July 9, the Department of Finance announced that it will no longer offer 100% financing or 40 year amortizations. You will however be able to obtain mortgage loan insurance for amortizations of up to 35 years and up to 95% of the value of the property.

So, if you were thinking of 100% financing or a 40 year amortization, you may have to take another look at your options. October 15, 2008 is when these changes are to take effect.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Telemarketers, do not call!

Do Not Call
Starting September 30, 2008 you will be able to register your telephone, cell-phone, and/or fax numbers on the National Do-Not-Call List (DNCL). This list will contain the names and numbers of consumers who do not want to receive unsolicited calls from telemarketers. You can register up to three different numbers on the list, and will be responsible for re-registering them after a three-year expiry period.

Telemarketers are required to monitor the list and remove any numbers they find on it from their call lists. They will be allowed 31 days to update their lists, so you may continue to receive unsolicited calls for a few weeks after registering your numbers.

Bell will be responsible for registering numbers, providing telemarketers with up-to-date versions of the National DNCL, and receiving consumer complaints about telemarketing calls.

You can sign up by telephone, fax or email. Visit or call 1-866-580-3625 (DNCL) after September 30th to register your numbers. I know I will be!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Get out your ID if you’re thinking of buying

Until recently, as of June 23 2008, real estate agents are now required to ask clients for identification.

Following the attack on the World Trade Centre, the Government of Canada introduced the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA) late in 2001. This legislation introduced new regulations that required targeted “high-risk” industries, including real estate, to implement client identification and record keeping requirements.

The new requirements that agents must comply with are: record all funds received (unless funds are received from a financial entity or public body), and verify and record the identification of clients with respect to every purchase and sale.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

What if owning your first home was within reach?

Money House
Affordable home ownership is more attainable than you think.

The Government of Canada, Province of Ontario and the City of London have partnered up to create the Canada-Ontario Affordable Housing Program (AHP). This program will help low to moderate income rental households in purchasing affordable homes.

Eligible purchasers may receive down payment assistance of 5% toward the cost of the home and another 1% to assist with closing costs. This is an interest free loan.

To see if you are eligible, and to get more information visit
Funds are limited, so apply early!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Important Information About Your Rates

Effective July 1, 2008 you will begin to notice an increase in your gas bill. The Ontario Energy Board approved changes to the rates Union Gas charges its customers. They predict that most customers will see a total increase of $254.99 based on an annual volume of 2,600 m 3.

The gas commodity rate has increased by 7.3112 cents/m3. This change reflects the increase in Union Gas forecast cost to purchase natural gas for the next 12 months.

In addition, the change in the gas price adjustment is an increase of 2.0276 cents/m3. This change reflects the difference between the projected cost of natural gas that Union Gas expects to pay and the amount that Union Gas expects to recover through the current gas commodity rate over the next 12 months.

The gas rate is adjusted this way so that you are billed at a rate that more closely reflects the market price of natural gas and avoids large out-of-period adjustments.

The transportation rate has increased by 0.4676 cents/m3 to 3.5148 cents/m3. Delivery price increased slightly by 0.0224 cents/m3.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Did you know...

The other day I came upon some very interesting information. Did you know that according to the Status Certificate of 1570 Richmond no renting is allowed? For anyone who may not know, 1570 Richmond is a condominium community located close to the University of Western Ontario.

Please discuss; I want to hear what you think of this.

Monday, June 9, 2008

New city bylaw cracking down on basement bedrooms

From what I understand, the student sale/rental market is in the process of changing quite significantly. The city of London has agreed with the Fire Department in the “dangers” of renting basement bedrooms. The city is allowing the Fire Department to inspect (rental) properties and “disqualify” the basement bedrooms. The fire department has taken the position that a basement bedroom must have a “man” size egress; large windows are no longer acceptable if the unit is a rental. Owners selling properties with basement bedrooms are struggling in achieving top dollar values as the buyers are discounting the income from the basement bedrooms.

If you disagree with this, phone City Hall and ask. This new bylaw could mean that any bedroom in the basement is illegal unless it has a walk-out. It is not just affecting rentals, but could affect the whole city.

I am all about safety, however I am against discrimination. If you have any objections to this new bylaw, call City Hall and let them hear you.

Friday, June 6, 2008

18th Annual Children's Festival

Take your kids out to the London International Children's Fetival this weekend, there are only 2 days remaining.

What is it?
It is a festival of performing arts for young audiences. From June 4/08 until June 7/08, you can watch a variety of different shows that are scheduled. For ticket information visit

There will also be lots of exciting and fun things to see and do at Covent Garden Market before and after shows.

What is an "RSS Feed"?

Tom Links 2 Realty RSS Feed

Do you read blogs regularly? Have you heard of the term 'RSS Feed'? RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, it is a way of letting you know that new posts have been added. You will know when a site has RSS when you can see this orange icon (picture shown above) at the top of your web browser or if the website you are looking at says it has RSS Feed.

If you click on the orange icon, it will show the feeds for the site. Click on 'Subscribe to this feed' at the top of the page, and you can now view all posts through your 'Favourites Center' in your browser, without having to visit the website. Any time a new post is added, it will automatically update to your feed.

Want to be notified anytime I make a change to my blog? Just click on the orange icon in your web browser.

Monday, June 2, 2008


The June edition of my newsletter, 'Bricks & Mortar REAL ESTATE REPORTER' is now available. Visit to read the newsletter today. You'll find valuable real estate information & tips such as: "Spring Cleaning Safety Tips", "Keeping Your Lawn Green", "New Energy Initiatives for Homeowners", and much more. I've designed my newsletter to be your link to realty.

If you would like to subscribe to my newsletter, just send me an email with the subject line: Bricks and Mortar, and the next edition will be emailed to you.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Things You Should Know About London

London Ontario Skyline
Thank you for visiting my blog. I have lived and practiced real estate in London for over 20 years; I can tell you quite a bit about this city! Please feel free to ask me any questions that you have about London, or tell me about your stories, I'd love to hear from you.