Friday, December 9, 2016

What Were They Thinking?

Yes, a cat, a stripper pole and two double beds. Make of it what you will. Without the cat it's just a seedy condo in the red-light district. The cat is what makes it a home.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

A Little #VerdunLuv in the pages of The Gazette

Montreal's English daily newspaper celebrates some of the high point's on Verdun's high street, known locally as "La Well".

Had a lovely time visiting with reporter and former colleague Susan Semenak at Verdun's Café La Tazza, where owner Johanne Minicucci offers a warm welcome and a frothy cappuccino. So much to love about my neighborhood.

Here's a link, for however long it is good.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

New Property Assessment Roll is Out. How Did Your Area Fare?

The city of Montrea released its triennial property roll this morning. Property values are up across the board, though the rate of increase varies widely depending on the property type and borough or municipality within Greater Montreal.

In brief, the value of the average Montreal home rose by 4.6 per cent, while the value of the average condo rose by a scant 2.2 per cent. The one type that saw a big jump was the multi-unit building with six or more apartments. The average value rose by a whopping 13.2 per cent.

The city takes a snapshot of property values once every three years and sets property taxes according to the value. The snapshot the city is using for this roll was taken in July, 2015. The new roll will apply from 2017 through 2019.

Of course, the increase in a property's value is only one half of the equation. We now wait to see what mill rate will apply in each of the boroughs and municipalities. The mill rate is the tax per $100 of property value. In Verdun, the basic 2016 mill rate was 0.5795cents per $100. In the Plateau, the base rate was set at 0.6562 cents per $100.

The new budget should be out mid November.

You can check your new evaluation by visiting the city's web site here and then click on "Consultation du role foncier" in the left margin. Enter the robot-fooling alpha-numeric code and then enter your civic number and street name. Have fun.

In the meantime, here's a map that shows how evaluations have risen across the island since the last roll was created.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Just Listed! Ville Emard Triplex. An Antique Beauty with the Engine of a Much Newer Model.

This classic 1920s triplex features a very large ground-floor apartment with three bedrooms, an elegant central dining room, recently renovated kitchen, front parlor, as well as a huge, partially finished full basement with laundry room, powder room and teenager's bedroom.

It has all the lovely decorative elements of a bourgeois triplex of its time. There's ornate stained-glass in the front windows and leaded glass lights both in the heavystately front door and the lights that flank it.

Inside the main unit you'll find original woodwork, oak pillars on either side of the dining room, topped with globe lights. There are two built-in glass china cabinets and lovely embossed wall coverings. The original hardwood floor has border running around it.

The master bedroom is a double parlor divided with articulated French doors. A perfect set-up for bedroom and office, bedroom and boudoir or bedroom and nursery.

The second bedroom is currently decked out in the bleu-blanc-rouge of the Montreal Canadiens. Go Habs, go!

The partially finished basement is HUGE! There's a teenager's bedroom, a familly room waiting to be created and enough space to play floor hockey. The subfloor is raised several inches above the concrete floor and there's still more than 7 feet of height. The basement also has a full laundry room,powder room and a craft room. Oh yes and there's a cedar-lined sauna that is currently being used for storage.

Upstairs, there are two apartments, a one-bedroom and two-bedroom. They bring in rents of $1,175 a month with the tenants paying their own utilities.

The property is located at 2359-2363 rue du Parc-Garneau in Ville Emard. Parc Garneau is pocket-sized park located between Briand and Monk Blvd, a tree-lined oasis directly across the street. You can sit out on your broad and shady front porch and watch the world go by.

There's also a small backyard just cryin out for a deck and some shade-loving plants.

Monk metro (green line) is a seven-minute walk away. Monk Blvd. is the neighborhood's main shopping drag, with groceries stores, mom and pop shops, a pharmacy, wood-fired delights thanks to Ville-Emard Bagels, Eddy Bicycles for two-wheeler tune-ups, an SAQ and everything else you might need.

The asking price is $560,000.You might be tempted to think that in such a late Edwardian beauty everything is antique. Not the case. The property has a white membrane roof, installed in 2013. The main unit has a tankless water heater. The gas-fired furnace dates from 2008 and feeds the original cast-iron radiators (ooooh hot-water radiators are so toasty).  All three units have updated electrical panels. All the plumbing has been changed to either copper or Pex. An antique beauty with the engine of a much newer model.

Give me a call to schedule a visit!

Friday, May 13, 2016

What Were They Thinking? Drive-By Shooting Edition

When I was a newspaper reporter the photographers used to refer to them as "drive-by shootings". They were the photo assignments that one cared so little about that one did not even get out of the car to snap the image.

Call me crazy, but if you are a real estate broker the very least you can do for your client is get out of the car when you take the exterior photo of the building. That goes double if the extterior photo is the only one you're going to post with the listing. Pffft!

Friday, May 6, 2016

At the Crossroads of Downtown, the Plateau and the Village

Just listed!  Here's a spacious two-bedroom condo on the second floor of a classic, stonefronted Montreal six-plex.

1662 Sherbrooke St. East faces beautiful Lafontaine Park, the beating green heart of the Plateau Mont-Royal and a paradise for joggers, cyclists, and sun bathers.

The building dates from 1923. The ground floor is occupied by an accounting firm. They keep 9-5, Monday to Friday hours, which is just the kind of neighbors we all wish we had. No loud parties on the weekends. And no complaints about your loud parties on the weekends.

The condo features two good-sized bedrooms, separated from one another by the bathroom. The living room is at the front. The nicely renovated open-concept kitchen and dining room are at the back, with a large and comfortable back balcony perfect for lazy summer evenings.

The condo also has a private garage with automatic door.  Park your car until the weekend. With a Walkscore of 92,  all the daily conveniences are within a few blocks. STM bus 24 goes right by the door and will whisk you to Sherbrooke metro, or downtown straight along Sherbrooke St. Access to Highway 720 and the Jacques Cartier bridge are super quick.

 The asking price for this condominium is $369,000. Taxes are $2,853 annually. Condo fees, paid quarterly are $1,700.

Give me a call if you would like to visit!

Mary Lamey
Century 21
514 978-6522

Friday, April 15, 2016

Montreal's Resale Market Regains the Bounce in its Step During the First Quarter of '16

Good news from the Greater Montreal Real Estate Board. The local resale market got off to its best start in four years, with a 10 per cent increase in sales across all housing types.

There were 10,600 sales during the first three months of 2016, compared to 9,645 a year earlier. Sales were up across the Greater Montreal area, which is divided into five different census area.

Revenue properties with two to five units saw the biggest jump, up 20 per cent. That represented 958 properties sold. Condo sales were up 12 per cent, though prices edged down 1 per cent compared to a year earlier. Single home sales rose by six per cent, to 6,449 units.

The average prices of a Montreal home rose to $285,000, a two-per-cent bump. That average prices takes into account all sales from unrenovated bungalow in the furthest reaches of the 450 to the grandest mansion sold in Westmount. Obviously, there have been many more of the former than there were of the latter. Don't takes the average prices as an indication of what a house will cost you on the island.

The first-quarter results represent the seventh consecutive quarterly increase since 2000, when the board began keeping trimestrial statistics in 2000. Good times!

There were 34,208 properies listed for sale in the Montreal area, down five per cent compared to a year earlier.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Thursday, March 17, 2016

A Limited Time Offer on a Plateau Cottage - 4168 Henri-Julien

Yours for $645,000.

The renovated Plateau cottage was stripped and redone in 2009. The result, a big comfortable family home that combines old-school Plateau cachet and contemporary design.

With more than 2,000 square feet of living space, there's plenty of room to manoeuvre, whatever your lifestyle. The ground floor has high ceilings, a double living room and huge eat-in kitchen with a custom island ideal for cooking, eating or hanging out. There's a four-season sunroom off the kitche with windows onto the intimate backyard, where sunlight pours through for much of the day. The unfinished basement is ideal for storage.

Upstairs you'll find three big bedrooms, one with a door leading to a deck-ready roof. The bathroom is big enough to hold a barn dance, if that's your thing.  There's a huge soaker tub and a walk-in shower.

The vendors have dropped the price to $645,000 but that is a limited time offer. If the property is not sold before summer, the house is coming off the market. Make your move.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

When Real Estate Brokers Don't Measure Up - Why Inaccurate Measurements are a Big Deal

CBC Radio jolted me from my "Oh gawd it is the first Monday of Daylight Saving Time" stupor yesterday morning with a real-estate report.

A woman in Alberta has been left frustrated and her retirement put in jeopardy because the house she purchased and later sold was considerably smaller than what the agent who originally sold it to her claimed. You can see the TV report here.

Pam Whelan paid $800,000 for an Okotoks bungalow in 2007, believing that she was buying a house with 2,580 square feet of living space. Turns out, the bungalow is about 25 per cent smaller, 2,094 square feet. She complained to the Real Estate Council of Alberta, saying the original listing agent providedd misleading information. Had she known the real square footage at the time of purchase she could have made a "more educated guess"  on whether or not to buy.

Whelan says she was counting on the proceeds of the sale of the house for her retirement. She sold in 2014 for $775,000, after having put money into upgrades.

The Real Estate Council of Alberta acknowledges the listing agent had committed a "minor breach" of the province's Real Estate Act by misrepresenting the square footage. The council found no reason to believe the misrepresentation was intentional. The agent got a note in her file. A note is not a sanction, apparently.

That's the part that blew my mind. No sanction.

A few things about this story struck me. First, 500 square feet is a lot of space to go missing. Second, there would be hell to pay for the agent who made that mistake here.

Real-estate professionals in la belle province are ruled by the Real Estate Brokerage Act,  provincial legislation. The OACIQ (Organisme d'autoreglementaion de courtage immobilier du Québec) polices the industry and enforces the brokerage act.  The law is unequivocal. Real estate brokers are responsible for the things written in their listings.

 Sections 83 and 85 of the Regulation respecting brokerage requirements, professional conduct of brokers and advertising are clear on this point:
83. A broker or agency executive officer must act with objectivity whenever advising or informing the party represented by them or the agency for which they act and all other parties to a transaction. That obligation extends to all the material facts relevant to the transaction and to its object, and must be fulfilled without exaggeration, concealment or misrepresentation. If applicable, the broker or officer must inform the parties of products and services that concern heritage protection and relate to the transaction.
85. A broker or agency executive officer must inform the party represented and all other parties to a transaction of any known factor that may adversely affect the parties or the object of the transaction.

 If you don't know the square footage, don't say. If you aren't sure, don't say. You cannot rely on the measurements another broker took - like the measurements from an old listing. Adding a disclaimer like "all measurements to be verified by the buyer" is illegal and has no force.

So you can imagine how gob-smacked I was to hear the Real Estate Council of Alberta's director of professional standards say that "caveat emptor is alive and well in all real estate markets in Canada."

In other words, buyer beware.

Again, it is written into law that Quebec brokers must verify the information in their listings. They must be ready to prove anything asserted in a listing, if asked. That's why listings sometimes do not specify the net living space. Better not to say than to say the wrong thing.

In Quebec, every time a house is put up for sale, the seller is obliged to provide a certificate of location prepared by a land surveyor. The certificate shows the dimensions of the lot. It also shows the dimensions of the building. It does not show interior square footage. A certificate of location for a condominium will show interior square footage.

It is common practice now for notaries to examine the certificate of location with a buyer prior to the closing of the sale. They verify the dimensions together, look at servitudes and make sure the buyer understand what he or she is buying. No surprises that way.

I have to wonder whether the unhappy Okotoks woman saw a certificate of location or survey plan before buying. If she had, a bit of quick math  might have shown there was no way it could be as big as advertised. Maybe such survey plans are not required in other parts of the country.

 Living space is the space within the walls of the dwelling. Balconies do not count (even though some condo developers include outdoor space in the square footage on their spec sheets.) parking spaces do no count. Storage lockers in the basement of a condo building do not count.

Mistakes happen. Misrepresntations happen too but when they do there can be real consequences for the Quebec broker, including a fine or license suspension.

The CBC story asserts that the number of these complaints are growing across the country, but it is telling that the report did not mention Quebec, where the real estate brokerage laws have teeth and where consumers get better than a form letter saying "buyer beware".

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

That's Me! An interview in The Senior Times.

The Senior Times asked me questions about how to decide if it is the right time to sell your home, whether renovating prior to a sale is a good idea, what I think of staging and other issues of interest to the buyers and sellers. Have a look.

Friday, January 29, 2016

"What Were They Thinking? "Another in a Continuing Series of Real Estate Photos

At first glance you might think it is a crime scene in the style of "Who Killed Dora Palmer"?  Or maybe Dora's just a blackout drunk. You'd have to be a pretty hardcore fan of public television's intrepid Explorer to want to Vamanos! to this house.

H/T Jane S

Just Listed! NDG Duplex with a Basement Ready for Finishing - $559,000

Are you looking for a duplex with a high, clean basement ready to turn into an in-law suite or space for the teen or young-adult portion of your family?

Amy Barratt and I have just listed a duplex at 2190-2192 Oxford Ave. in NDG that features two flats having two bedrooms each, and a full-height basement with two exit doors. The basement is roughed in with a plywood floor, gpysumboard walls, electrical and plumbing roughed in for whatever your project may be.

This property, originally built in 1914, was decimated by fire in the mid 1980s and was entirely rebuilt by a contractor. The result is a big comfortable property with modern plumbing, electrical, insulation and windows.

The top floor of the building is currently occupied by the vendor. A tenant occupies the ground floor, at $995 a month. There's a small backyard with each of the two apartments having a small kitchen balcony. The upper also has a balcony off the office area at the front.

These 6.5-room apartments have comfortable living rooms, master bedrooms of good dimensions and a smaller second bedroom. Washer and dryer installations are in the large bathrooms.

The eat-in kitchens are spacious with a sliding patio door leading to a the deck. On the second floor, the sink is set into the island that faces onto the dining area. There's a built in dishwasher. The second floor flat also has a separate dining area.
The property is located on lower Oxford Ave., between Sherbrooke St. and De Maisonneuve Blvd. This a lively and walkable neighborhood that gets some of its energy from Concordia University's Loyola campus, located a bit further west on the 105 bus route.
Sherbrooke St is lined with mom and pop stores, hangouts like Café Shaika, MonTango Argentine Tango School , Co-op La Maison Verte and a million affordable restos.
This neck of the NDG woods has a relaxed vibe and prices to match, a world away from nearby Monkland Village.
So, if you're look for a sound investment and if you think a property with a huge basement that is ready for finishing is something you might like, give me a call at (514) 978-6522 to arrange a visit.