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Selling And Buying A House In The Winter

Is It A Good Idea? Selling and Buying a House In The Winter

Every year we see realtors and people in real estate discussing the topic of selling and buying a house in the Winter. Typical comments and opinions range from “The market is hot, it’s a great time to sell” to “Never sell in the winter, you won’t get top dollar” and even “buyers can low-ball sellers because any seller listing in the winter HAS to sell”. All the contradicting information can be super confusing for prospective buyers and sellers.

So is it a good idea to be selling and buying a house in the winter? It’s important to acknowledge that selling and buying a house is very situational. Below we will hit the key points you need to consider for both selling and buying a house in the Winter.


Selling A House In The Winter

When considering selling your house in the winter you have to consider these points:

  1. Are you buying AND selling? If you are buying and selling in the same timeframe then it’s a wash (refer to our blog post on buying or selling first here).
  2. Just Selling a House:  If you are just selling then dig deep on the market for your property. If there is a severe shortage in available listings like yours then it’s a good idea to list. For sellers that are flexible on when they can list, on average listing in the spring yields the highest average sale prices. We would recommend preparing your home for market in late February/early March.
  3. Competition: There are fewer listings in the Winter months! This means that it is less likely that another property similar to yours lists in the same neighborhood. There can also fewer active buyers. It is important to note that buyers that are active in the Winter are typically motivated buyers.
  4. Closing Date: Selling your house in the Winter doesn’t always mean you have to move in the Winter. You can always try to get a longer closing date to have your move date in late February or early March. Just remember the more flexible you are on closing dates the more options you have to work out a favorable deal with a buyer.

In summary, selling a house in the winter can be a great idea for you depending on your situation. If you HAVE to sell for financial reasons, personal reasons, or even because you found your next dream home that is ok. For your own sake just do your homework to prepare, market and sell your home for the most money given the market conditions.

Buying A House In The Winter

You never know when your dream home will hit the market! For people buying in the Winter here are the top things you need to know:

  1. Inventory: There are fewer homes on the market in the Winter months, fact. In Waterloo Region and Wellington County there are always fewer listings to pick from this time of year. Regardless if you are looking for a fairly common property or something with unique features just be aware that there are fewer listings to choose from this time of year.
  2. Competition: There are fewer listings available but there are also typically fewer active buyers. Usually this means that there are little changes to the competitive landscape for properties to buy but every winter we see a larger percentage of homes sell conditionally and fewer properties sell in multiple offers. This means as a buyer you can have a better opportunity to buy a place without competing!
  3. Motivation: We have all heard “They’ll selling in the winter they HAVE to sell”. That isn’t always true, don’t assume anything. That being said, a larger percentage of sellers in the Winter are more motivated compared to other seasons. This is usually people relocating for a new job or investors selling off assets before year’s end. If you find a motivated seller there can be great opportunity to get a great deal!

When buying a house in the Winter it is vital to make sure that you are finding the right opportunity for you and your situation. You can find a great property that has everything you need for the price you want regardless of the season.

Realtor Commentary

Selling and buying a house is situational. Regardless of the season you can sell your home for top dollar or find a great deal to purchase your next one. In order to pull that off the buyers and sellers that are active in the market, using the right tools, and prepared will be rewarded. Comment below or contact us directly to connect with Zack and get started with your moving strategy.

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Real Estate Market Review – MLS Waterloo and Wellington November 2018

MLS Waterloo and Wellington November 2018

MLS Waterloo Region and Wellington County data shows growth in both number of listings and prices. Our real estate markets in Waterloo Region and Wellington County followed seasonal trends as winter approaches. Below we will share sales volume and price data for MLS Waterloo and MLS Wellington.

MLS Waterloo Region – Stronger Than 2017?!


MLS Waterloo Region data shows that our residential real estate markets had more active listings and a higher average sale price compared to 2017! The Waterloo Region real estate market in November 2017 had  1,405 active listings and an average sale price of just over $488,000. This year, MLS Waterloo data shows healthy growth with 1,509 active listings and an average sale price of $504,673 in the month of November.  When compared to October, Waterloo region saw slight decreases in active listings but almost the exact same average sale price.


MLS Wellington County – Steady Growth

Wellington County experienced comparable growth in both active listings and average sale prices to Waterloo Region. November 2018 average sale price was $517,829 compared to $487,456 in 2017. Wellington County real estate markets also had more active listings with 517 this year and 463 in 2017. When compared to October numbers, Wellington county saw a decrease in active listings but a increase in average sale price as shown on the graph. These number are in line with seasonal trends.


Realtor Notes

Price and inventory numbers for both Waterloo and Wellington real estate markets show steady growth in both categories. This is encouraging as it supports a more stable real estate market. Slight increases in inventory numbers provides buyers with a little more opportunity. We typically see average prices slide in the winter months but overall steady increases to average sale prices through 2018 signals a more predictable market and steady growth.

Looking forward to December we can expect average prices to stay fairly similar in both Waterloo Region and Wellington County real estate markets. Inventory of active listings will likely decrease as investor and sellers push to sell and close before the new year. We typically see a few more motivated sellers in November and December as sellers push to get deals done before the year end. This does NOT mean it is a bad time to sell or buy. Each individual situation is completely different. We report on averages and general market trends as this represents overall market best. Get in touch with any specific questions HERE or connect with us on Facebook.


The Most Important Decision When Selling Your Home

 Selling Your Home Or Buy Your Next Home First?

This is the number one question my partner and I get asked when consulting clients, and one that you should ask yourself before selling your home. I’ll start by saying that there is no perfect answer or best way that works for everyone. Below we will cover the main points to consider when selling your home to buy another property and practical strategies you can use.

Selling Your Home First

The main concern with selling your home first is “What if we can’t find a place to move to in time?”. This is the primary concern for people coordinating a sale and purchase at the same time. The benefits of selling your home first is taking advantage of opportunities (lack of competition), controlling your sale, and knowing exactly what your final sale price and conditions are. The potential downside is that you now have a set time limit on finding your new home.

First, if you have the opportunity to sell a property with no other competition in your neighborhood that is a big advantage. Second you can control your sale by having time on your side to negotiate and firm up on any conditions as offers come in. Thirdly, when you do have a firm deal in place you know exactly what the property has sold for. Any conditions have been taken care of and the closing date set. This means you can confidently shop within your budget given the sale price of your property.

Buying Your Next Property First

For most movers the main concern is being able to actually sell your home once you have purchased your new one. Being on the hook for 2 mortgages can be scary. Thankfully, we are currently in a sellers

market in Waterloo Region and Wellington County. If you price and market your home appropriately the sale should not be a major concern. That being said, if you are able to find and purchase your home before selling your you can ensure that you have purchased for the right price at the right time. Purchasing first can allow for more time to shop and negotiate offers. Furthermore purchasing first provides you with time to prepare your home for market as you shop for your new one.

Realtor Considerations

From a realtor’s perspective our focus is to manage the goals and needs of the client with current market conditions. When selling your first home here are some key points to consider:

  1. How common is your home and the property you are looking to purchase? The more common, the easier it will be to either purchase or sell in a shorter time frame if need be. If the property you are selling is uncommon, or has a smaller buyer pool than most properties, selling first may be your best option.
  2. For people selling your first home that NEED to get a certain price to make your move work then selling first is your best option. If 1-2% difference either above or below your listing price is not going to kill your move then consider purchasing first.
  3. Short term financing is not a bad option. If you are concerned about matching closing dates for your move don’t panic. Bridge financing can allow you flexibility between closing dates. Ask your mortgage broker when consulting them about your moving plans. You may be surprised with your options!
  4. Prepare yourself either way! If you’re selling first, go view some options as you prepare your property for market. You can shop while it is listed too. For purchasing first, get your home ready to list so when you have locked down your next property it’s good to go. Get your place cleaned, staged, photographed and ready to sell.

There is no perfect solution for every client. Each situation and the desired goals are completely different. To make an informed decision as a buyer and seller you should consider the pros and cons of each option.

Contact Us For More!

Stay connected with us on Facebook and our blog for our future tips, resources and advice on selling your first home!

Drop us a comment below OR send us a message directly: / 519-591-8419

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#1 Problem First Time Home Buyers Have

The #1 Problem First Time Home Buyers Have

Proper education is the number one problem we consistently see with first time home buyers. Real estate is a hot topic in mainstream media. Every homeowner voices their personal opinions too, making it more important than ever to properly educate yourself.

Understanding topics like how the real estate industry works, the current state of the market, and the entire home buying process from A-Z will pay dividends for your first, and largest purchase to date. We rely on statistics, experience, as well as proven system and models to educate and prepare our clients for their first purchase.


How The Real Estate Industry Works

In Ontario you have regional real estate boards, brokerages,  and salespeople (aka realtors). Real estate boards connect brokerages and their representatives to data and systems to facilitate the purchase and selling of real estate in their region. Brokerages provide the necessary tools for realtors to run their business. Each brokerage offers different things to their agents like marketing, training, business philosophies etc.

Realtors are the individuals that work directly with clients like first time buyers. Each agent runs their business individually as they are considered independent contractors working under their brokerage’s banner. If they are working with someone to help them purchase a home they are commonly referred to as a “buyer’s agent”. It does not cost anything to work with a buyer’s agent as they are compensated from the seller of the property only when their client closes on their purchase.

The Home Buying Process

The home buying process is different for everyone but typically goes something like this:

  1. Know how the real estate industry works – Hire a realtor or do it yourself
  2. Financing – Consult a mortgage broker (any good realtor has a good mortgage broker)
  3. Understand your realistic options – Is their options in my budget that fit my criteria?
  4. Know your market – Understand if it is a buyers, sellers, or balanced market and what that means
  5. Utilize search tools to actively search for new properties
  6. View listings often and critically – Important to see options to compare
  7. Negotiate the right deal – Consider things like price, inclusions, conditions, closing dates
  8. Closing – Hire the right lawyer!
  9. Ownership – Utility billing information, property maintenance, learn how to improve the value of your home, stay updated on property values etc.

Current State of The Real Estate Market

First time home buyers need to understand that the market can’t be controlled by any one person. The best thing first time buyers is to learn exactly what types of properties fit their budget and criteria in the current market. From there, identify what the market is like for those specific types of properties. Buyers can then identify how competitive that market is and formulate the right strategy to get get the right deal. Buyers that are active and engaged in the home buying process are rewarded.

Find monthly real estate stats and commentary on our blog.

Realtor Notes

We recommend asking questions, a lot of them! First time home buyers need a proper education and the right tools now more than ever. Furthermore first time home buyers that take the time to create and follow a plan experience less stress. Remember, you’re buying your first home so if you’re well educated be confident and have fun! You’re only a first time home buyer once.

Drop us a comment if you have questions on this blog post or make a request. Get connected and ask us your questions here!


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MLS Listings Review October 2018

MLS Listings Review October 2018

In review of MLS listings numbers for October 2018 we will share what prices and inventory are doing the Waterloo, Kitchener, Cambridge and Guelph real estate markets. To compare similar numbers to earlier this year and the same time last year check the visuals below and our previous blog post.

Real Estate Inventory Numbers

Months of inventory is the number of active listings on the market in the previous month divided by the number of sales that month. This metric is key to determining the amount of available listings there are in our local real estate markets. October 2018 had just under 2.5 months of inventory in the major market centers Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph. This is still about half of the amount of available listings we would need to even see a balanced market. Low inventory signals that buyers do not have a lot of options and the seller’s market will continue. Low inventory levels also supports price growth.


MLS Listings Price Numbers

Are prices going down? What prices does this type of place sell for? Are listings still selling in multiple offers? Comments and questions on prices are the most common things we hear from our network.

Prices are not going down and yes some listings are still selling in multiples. We are still in a competitive market for buyers, especially anything in the lower 400’s and under. As you can see in the graphic here the average price of residential listings in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph was $475,268. The average sale price has fluctuated around 1-2.5% of October’s average sale price for the better part of the last 5 months.

The average of the monthly prices for residential listings was $461,967 in 2017 and $479,908 so far in 2018. This is a 3.58% increase compared to 2017 prices.

What You Need to Know as a Buyer – Realtor Notes

For buyers we encourage looking at opportunities to purchase within the next three months for two main reasons. First, interest rates are likely to increase again in 2019. Get in before it becomes more expensive for you. Check out how interest rate increases can affect your mortgage HERE. Second, Although inventory is historically low we have noticed that competition has softened slightly. This is fairly common for this time of the year but recent increases to interest rates and media/market sentiment shifting towards price uncertainty is revealing more opportunities for savvy buyers than usual. Contact me directly or check out our Facebook page for buyer resources, search tools and updated listings.

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MLS Waterloo Region Real Estate Market Update – September 2018

MLS Waterloo Region Stats

2018 third quarter is in the books! This month in review of MLS Waterloo Region stats we are going to quickly review price trends and inventory. In addition we are going to discuss what trends we can expect for Q4 relating to buyers, sellers and investors.


Prices, Days on Market & Inventory Numbers

In September we saw properties move a little bit more quickly with average days on market at 17 compared to 19 in August. We will traditionally see more closings in August as those buyers and sellers will be moving before the school year. September usually has more sales compared to August as buyers and sellers that are trying to move before Winter starts will look to make that happen in early Fall.

Note the median listing price saw a slight increase from August to September hitting that $500,000 mark! In summary, we saw properties sell a little quicker and listing price was slightly higher than in August.


Inventory numbers saw slight increases as well. Inventory increased to just over 2.5 months. This is great news for the overall health of our markets but not enough to really “move the needle” into a more balanced market. Waterloo region is still in a sellers market and we have not seen a balanced market since 2015..






Realtor Remarks – Q4 Expectations

Here at Prime Properties Ontario we watch weekly and monthly market stats to keep updated on key market trends. Here are a few key points to consider:

  • Healthy number of new listings came up in September, expect some more for October
  • Prices holding steady – ticking upwards even!
  • Most listings are not holding off on offers
  • Deals to be had for buyers

September and the first few days of October we have seen an uptick in new listings as sellers push to get their home on the market and sold before buyers disappear for the Winter. Compared to the past 12-18 months we have seen more and more great deals for buyers come up in the past 30-60 days. We expect there to be good value for buyers and investors as we get into Q4. Note, average prices will continue to trend upwards so sellers can still take advantage of that. We typically see more motivated sellers, and less competition in the later months of the calendar year. This presents great opportunities for buyers and investors!


Just browsing: Free Property Search HERE

Looking for something specific? Realtor Quality Search HERE (also free): Contact Zack 519-591-8419 /

Pre-construction & Developments in Waterloo Region HERE & HERE

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Waterloo Region Real Estate Market Update – August 2018

Real Estate Inventory, Sales Volume & Prices

August 2018 is in the books, so where are our real estate markets at? In our latest blog post we are taking a look into inventory numbers, sales volume, and price trends. Our goal is to keep you on the forefront of our real estate markets. By monitoring key stats and indicators we will determine where our markets are at now, and where they are heading.

MLS Listings Monthly Stats – Waterloo Region August 2018

Below is a standard “monthly stats” chart for the past 12 months. We monitor this chart on a month-by-month basis to get clarity on the direction and speed in which our markets our heading. We can see that the median days to sell increased from 13 to 16 from July to August this year. Looking at the blue line we can see that prices remained similar over the past 4 months with an upwards trend in the first few days of September 2018. This chart is a great starting point to see how long properties are typically on the market before they sell firm and if the prices homes are selling for is changing.


Competition in Waterloo Region Real Estate

For the residents of Waterloo Region the real estate markets over past two years has been a very intense experience. Properties selling in multiples, in a few days or even just a few hours like last spring is something our markets have not seen for many years. This competitive landscape has a lot of homeowners opting to stay at their current home to avoid the stress and worry of competing. When monitoring competition, especially for those considering buying and selling in a competitive market, list-to-sale price ratio is a great tool!

The chart below shows the ratio of the listing price to the price a property actually sold for. Note that this is an average of all listings in the Waterloo Region over the last 12 months. Ever property, situation and seller is different and there are different strategies for listing and selling property. Overall, if the average listing to sale price ratio is above 100%, we can assume that there is very strong competition. For reference, any List/Sale price ratio above 99% is historically strong. For additional context, review the blog post from June 2018 here we explain this key market statistic relating to Spring 2017.

Inventory & Sales – August 2018

Below is a chart displaying the number of listings sold and months of inventory in for the past 5 years. In August 2018 there were 671 Listings sold. As of August 31st Waterloo Region had just under two months of inventory. Months of inventory measure how long it would take for any market to run out of available properties if no new listings came to market. To put our current inventory levels into perspective, anything between 0-4 months is considered a “seller’s market”. Inventory levels between 4-6 months is a “balanced market”, and 6 months+ is a “buyer’s market”.

Looking back we see that we have not had 4+ months of inventory since Spring/Summer 2014.. yikes. We also see seasonal trends in our marketplace. Blue peaks in Winter and Summer months while green drops. This shows that we have more inventory available in off season months and fewer sales being made.

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Houses For Sale Cambridge, Waterloo, Kitchener & Guelph Monthly Update

MLS Listings Stats – July 2018

The unofficial closing season has since passed with the Canada day and August long weekend behind us. Does that mean there are more houses for sale? Are prices going to drop? Are there lots of homes on the market? Answers to these questions and more below!


More Houses for Sale in Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo & Guelph Markets?

Our communities are still talking about the wild Spring market of 2017! Will prices fall? When will more inventory come? If you find yourself asking yourself these questions you are not alone. Let’s face it, we had a CRAZY spring market in 2017. A market where prices went higher and faster than previously thought possible. Since then real estate markets have been hit with mortgage regulations, rising interest rates and a real shift in how buyers and sellers view real estate markets in our community.

At Prime Properties Ontario we value statistics over opinion. We encourage everyone to do some research, ask some hard questions, and consider the underlying variables that affect your local real estate market.



The city of Cambridge has held above 350 Active listings since April 2018. In comparison between the active listings count from 2017 we are looking at fairly comparable number of listings. With no noticeable trends upwards, or downwards so far in 2018 we can expect our Cambridge market to remain a seller’s market for now.






The number of active listings in Kitchener has remained close to the 500-550 active listings since March 2018. In comparison to Spring/Summer 2017 the number of active listings is not significantly different. We can also see that we have experienced a slight downward trend in the number of houses for sale since May 2018. If this trend continues, and become more rapid than the typical seasonal trends, it may put more pressure on buyers to scoop up properties quicker.



The city of Waterloo has had more than 500 active listings on the board since April 2018. This is the most in well over a year! What’s the deal?! The most likely cause is the construction of more properties. With the completion of some major condo projects and communities in the Vista Hills, Laurelwood and Uptown neighborhoods there has been more new build units on the market. Since May 2018 inventory has slid, this is expected as volume of active listings is highest in the Spring.



The City of Guelph active inventory has fluctuated the most compared to the other 3 major markets in our areas. While fluctuating between 300 and 475 active listings in the Spring of 2017 the Guelph market also saw extremely low level of active listings in ealy 2017 and 2018. With the number of active listings staying below 200 units from January 2017 to May, and hitting that mark again in December 2017. 200 Active listings for a market the size of Guelph is LOW. With such little selection and demand for real estate so high it is no wonder Guelph experienced such aggressive jumps in prices.


Realtor Commentary

To summarize our local markets underlying statistics have not changed dramatically since 2017. Inventory in each of the largest market centers is comparable what we saw last year. What does that mean for prices though?  Stay tuned for Waterloo region and Wellington county price data! Join us on Facebook here: for updated market stats, the best resources an listings updates. Drop a comment if you want to see a specific topic or get connected with automatic blog or social media updates.

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Real Estate Review June 2018: Inventory Dips – Fewer Houses For Sale in Waterloo Region

Month in Review – June 2018

As the Spring market of 2018 came to an end our markets saw fewer houses for sale in Waterloo compared to May. Inventory slipped down to 1356 active listings in June compared to 1439 in May. In Waterloo region, like most of southern Ontario, we can expect inventory to slide after the Spring primarily due to seasonal trends. In summary, we experienced a steady increase to monthly inventory leading up to May. This was followed by a slight decline in active listings in June and into July.

June 2018 brought few surprises in the Waterloo Region real estate. Low inventory and strong buyer demand continued to move our market along quickly and continue upward pressure on prices. A great tool to gauge how quickly a real estate market is moving is to review average days on market and price appreciation.

Here we can view the green portion of the chart and see that the media days to sell increased over April, May and June. In bother April and May the media days to sell was 13 compared to 15 in June meaning the market moved a little quicker over April and May. To put into perspective, historical averages for average days on market is around 21-25 days for most medium to large sized markets in southern Ontario. Also note, that in our market days to sell will be lower in freehold properties under $550,000 compared to freehold properties in a higher price point.

The blue line represents the median list price for houses for sale in waterloo region. In May the media list price was $474,900 compared to $489,900 in June.




Are Houses for Sale in Waterloo Going in Multiples?

We get a lot of questions from both buyers and sellers asking about bidding wars. Are they still happening? The short answer is: sometimes. For properties in more competitive price points (typically below $550,000) and sellers that intentionally list their property under market value we do still see some bidding wars. That being said the majority of listings sell very close to asking price.

Close price to list price is the ratio between what a seller listed their home for, and the final price it actually sold for. Since Feb 2018, on average, this ration has been 100%. That means that properties have sold for 100% of their asking price on average for the last 5 months. This compare to the historical average of 98%, and 111% that we experienced last Spring.

Overall June 2018 yielded few surprises. Prices have increased consistently over 2018 even with rising interest rates and tightening mortgage regulations. Well priced houses for sale in Waterloo Region move very quickly and occasionally get multiples. However, listings typically sell within 2 weeks and around asking price.

If you are looking for more information or advanced stats on specific neighborhoods/properties send your inquiries to Want more information on where we see opportunities in our local real estate market? Drop a comment or contact us directly!


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Real Estate Market – May 2018

Month in Review – More Homes For Sale

This week we will review the real estate market for the past week and the month of May 2018, spoiler, there are more homes for sale! On a week-to-week basis tracking new listings, sold pending and conditionally sold listings gives great insight into the current state of the market. Reviewing monthly numbers helps give perspective on how our current market compares to previous season or months. Below are the weekly stats followed by some additional numbers and commentary to help you stay in touch with our local real estate markets.

Waterloo & Wellington Region Real Estate Markets – MLS Listings Weekly Stats

New Listings: 418

Sold Pending: 348

Sold Closed: 439

Cancelled & Expired: 159

Active Conditionally Sold & Not Showing: 175

Price Increase: 8

Price Decrease: 121

Back on Market: 40

MLS Listings Weekly Review

MLS Data shows fewer new listings and more sold pending listings that the previous week. There were 418 new listings and 348 sold pending listings last week compared to 459, and 275 the previous week. In addition, there were 439 sold closed last week compared to 153 the previous week. This is fairly common to see significantly more closings at the end of the month, especially in the Spring and Summer months. It is also important to note that there were 121 price decreases, up from 95 last week. Heads up bargain shoppers! We can expect more and more price decreases in June/July as motivated sellers try and get a done deal prior to the end of the Summer.

May 2018 Monthly Review & Realtor’s Notes


Reviewing weekly numbers is a great way to stay in-tune with our real estate markets. We also want to help our community gain perspective as well. Below is a overview of the inventory of active listings in Waterloo and Wellington region for the past 5 years.


Taking a quick look at the graph we can see the sharp decline in active listings in July 2016. This was the last time our markets had over 2,500 active listings. This was the beginning of the wild market that was 2017..

In May 2018 our markets had 2,533 active listings which is the most we have seen since Jun 2016 (2,698 active listings) and almost 500 more active listings than May 2017 (2,071). This is an encouraging sign and is pointing towards a more balanced market than we have seen in almost 2 years. If there are homes for sale in Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge and Guelph will reduce the competition between buyers.

A question we get a lot is “Are prices going to decrease?”. The short answer is “We don’t have a crystal ball”. Our view on the market is that there are always opportunities available, sometimes it is just harder to find them. In the short term will prices decrease? Not likely. We expect prices to continue to slowly increase throughout 2018. Inventory has increased but there are not enough available listings to meet buyer demand in our regions.

Have some real estate questions? Want to see other stats? Let us know what we can share to help you! Drop us a comment or contact us.