This Astonishing 5 Bedroom House in Collingwood is Anything But Ordinary!

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great rmEvery now and then, we come across a house that almost defies description and this is one of them. Where to start?

Back in 2002, the owner (a European builder by trade) of the land purchased a 125-year-old Mennonite built barn in the Ottawa Valley which became the inspiration for this home that was originally conceived and designed to be a Bed and Breakfast.  The barn timbers and frame were carefully resurrected, piece by piece on a ¾ acre lot on a quiet cul-de-sac in “The Forest”; an area of stately homes on the west edge of town almost equal distance to Blue Mountain, Georgian Bay and Collingwood’s historic downtown.kitchen3

Inside, the finishing details were inspired by the owner’s love of collecting antiquities and unique pieces from around the globe.  The 225-year-old foyer doors came from a home when entire villages were relocated by the Chinese government due to the Yangtze river floods.  The ornate door hinges come from around the world, the porthole window from Peggy’s Cove in Nova Scotia, an old hardware store counter became the kitchen island and on the list goes. Have a look at this virtual walk through and see how many features you can spot.

With large picture windows in every room, sunlight fills this home and trees frame almost every view. The principal living areas are so large that it would be easy to have a sit down dinner for 40 or more backed by a custom kitchen by Selba.  There are five bedrooms that each have individual temperature controls and three of them have their own ensuites making this ideal for a B&B, corporate retreat or a home for those who want to enjoy family and friends.

For the price of a semi-detached home in downtown Collingwood, people could trade traffic, noise and smog for a new life in Collingwood.  When ordinary won’t do, this home is unparalleled and a must to see.

The Demand for Houses to Rent in Collingwood is Leading To Desperation

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Folder in Catalog Marked as Rent.

Barely a day goes by that I don’t get an email from someone wanting to buy an investment property. With low interest rates, limited alternative ways to invest, the desirability of our growing area (2x the provincial average), it’s not a surprise that investors are out in full force here in the Collingwood area.

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know I’m a fan of real estate investing and in particular, properties that are suitable for annual tenancies. There is however, a serious flip side of the coin.

As house prices rise, the ability to create housing rentals that mesh with local demand becomes more and more challenging.  On one hand, many people can no longer find affordable homes to buy so they need to rent and on the other hand, rents are escalating so fast due to higher house prices that they too are becoming unaffordable for the average person or family.

I get several emails each week from people who are literally homeless or about to become so.  These are working class families with jobs, kids and decent credit who are staying in hotels or couch surfing with friends to keep a roof over their heads.  The highest income earners with no pets and perfect credit are usually the lucky ones which is great for investors but what about the tenants?

The only solution is to create more rental stock that is affordable.  That means converting single family homes into duplexes or other forms of multi-unit dwellings. The combined rents will offer a decent return for investors and, two or more tenants will be able to find affordable housing.  It’s what we’ve seen happening in larger city centres and the time is nigh to start here.

Collingwood and Area Real Estate Barometer Aug.12-18, 2016

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This market summary includes data for Collingwood, Blue Mountains, Wasaga Beach, Clearview, Grey Highlands and Meaford. The information was obtained from the MLS® statistics provided by the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS®.

Single Family ResidentialMarket Report Icon

New Listings: 33 ( 45, 37)
Average List Price: $586,581
Range of List Prices: $174,900 – $3,795,000
Number of Sales:  53 (38, 38 )
Range of Sale Prices:  $129,500 – $1,290,000

Condominiums
New Listings:  9 (9, 9)
Average List Price:  $295,511
Range of List Prices: $134,900 – $749,000
Number of Sales:  10 (11, 13)
Range of Sale Prices: $138,000 – $415,000

Vacant Land
New Listings: 9 (14, 9)
Number of Sales: 8 (5, 2)
Range of Sale Prices: $80,000 – $317,500

Price Changes this week: 18

Notables this week:  

  • 8 Single Family residences sold for more than their asking prices and 2 sold at their asking prices
  • 2 condo listing sold at the asking price
  • 1 vacant land listing sold at it’s asking price

Note: All statistics obtained from the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® Real Estate Board.

Bent Taco: New Mexican Restaurant in Collingwood Is a Hit!

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Bent Taco front (2) It’s not too often that a new restaurant garners raving fans right from day 1 but it looks like Bent Taco has hit it out of the park.  This edgy and carefully thought out Mexican restaurant has generated tons of buzz and it’s already tough to get a reservation.

This article will fill you in on the story.  Monday night, hubby John and I made our way there with some friends visiting from Vancouver and you can add each of us to growing list of fans.

Bent patio at nightWe sat on the spacious outdoor patio which just got more enchanting as darkness fell. The service was great and attentive, drinks were unique and good and the tacos were delightful!  We each ordered 4 tacos of different styles so we could share one each and try the variety.  I can’t honestly say which was my favourite as they were all good with just the right amount of flavour and textures to keep every bite interesting.

I have to say that dessert stole the show.  The four of us shared the guilty pleasure of a cookie sandwich made from chocolate chips and captain crunch surrounding ice cream topped with chocolate sauce and, yes, candies.  Who thinks of these things?

Bent dessert (2)The interior space has limited seating so when it gets cool outside (will it ever?), it will be even more challenging to get a table.  But for now, you might have a chance if you call ahead for a table.  Try it, you’ll like it.

Collingwood and Area Real Estate Barometer Aug 5-11, 2016

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This market summary includes data for Collingwood, Blue Mountains, Wasaga Beach, Clearview, Grey Highlands and Meaford. The information was obtained from the MLS® statistics provided by the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS®.

Single Family ResidentialMarket Report Icon

New Listings:  45 (37)
Average List Price: $451,273
Range of List Prices: $139,900 – $1,550,000
Number of Sales:  38 (38 )
Range of Sale Prices:  $182,000 – $1,225,000

Condominiums
New Listings:  9 (9)
Average List Price:  $272,000
Range of List Prices: $141,500 – $449,900
Number of Sales:  11 (13)
Range of Sale Prices: $153,000 – $425,000

Vacant Land
New Listings: 14 (9)
Number of Sales: 5 (2)
Range of Sale Prices: $58,000- $350,000

Price Changes this week: 12

Notables this week:  

  • 5 Single Family residences sold for more than their asking prices
  • 1 condo listing sold at the asking price and 1 condo listing sold for more than the asking price
  • 1 vacant land listing sold at it’s asking price

Note: All statistics obtained from the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® Real Estate Board.

Look Up Collingwood!

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Look up

A community really comes to life through it’s history and architecture is an important part of this. As you walk around Collingwood, you see such interesting heritage buildings and homes with unique architectural styles from the Gothic Revival style of the Anglican Church manse downtown to the coveted Regency style bungalows and Queen Anne 18th century homes.  Have you noticed some homes feature a flower pot on the upper gables?

Highly vernacular, few structures are pure examples of a particular style; rather they are local interpretations of those styles depending on local resources, materials and craftspeople.

A new brochure has just been released that features a Look Up Tour of the town. It starts at the Collingwood Town Hall at 97 Hurontario Street or at the Museum at 45 St. Paul Street where you can grab a brochure. The self-guided walk is about 60 minutes without stops.  You’ll learn more about the main architects who designed these unique structures and trust me, you’ll feel more connected than ever to Collingwood’s fascinating past.

Collingwood – Blue Mountain Area Real Estate Market Recap for July 2016

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Market Snapshot

This infographic pretty much tells the story of the local Collingwood – blue Mountain real estate market where we continue to have record breaking sales against a backdrop of an extreme listing shortage in many areas of the market.

Looking for a house in- town Collingwood under $250,000?  There are two for sale and one has a conditional offer. If you move that up to $350,000, there are 15 and 5 have offers in place. In all of the Blue Mountains, there are just two under $250,000 and both are rural fixer-uppers. How about a waterfront home?  Best hurry as there are just 7 for sale in all of Collingwood and Blue Mountain.

Prices in the region keep climbing with the 12-month average now sitting at well over $400,000 in most areas.  The chart below shows a breakdown of the residential markets last month in our six key areas.

Listing chart by area

With listings down 6% YTD and sales up 18%, it’s not a surprise to see prices escalating.  More importantly, the number of available properties for sale is down 39% over last year!  With less than 600 residential properties for sale in the region, it continues to be a challenging market for our buyers who need to act quickly when the right home comes on the market.  For sellers, this doesn’t mean they can price way above market value as those properties are sitting in many cases so heed the advice of your REALTOR® in establishing your asking price.  Interesting times out there indeed.

Collingwood and Area Real Estate Barometer July 29-Aug.4.16

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This market summary includes data for Collingwood, Blue Mountains, Wasaga Beach, Clearview, Grey Highlands and Meaford. The information was obtained from the MLS® statistics provided by the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS®.

Single Family ResidentialMarket Report Icon

New Listings: 37
Average List Price: $581,649
Range of List Prices: $219,900 – $2,500,000
Number of Sales:  38
Range of Sale Prices:  $132,000 – $815,000

Condominiums
New Listings:  9
Average List Price:  $254,811
Range of List Prices: $135,000 – $434,900
Number of Sales:  13
Range of Sale Prices: $144,000 – $540,000

Vacant Land
New Listings:  9
Number of Sales: 2
Range of Sale Prices: $71,000 – $169,900

Price Changes this week: 11

Notables this week:  

  • 6 Single Family residences sold for more than their asking prices
  • 2 single family residences sold at their asking prices
  • 3 condo listings sold at their asking prices
  • 1 vacant land listing sold at it’s asking price

Note: All statistics obtained from the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® Real Estate Board.

Think About Resale Value BEFORE you try to Fix and Flip

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house reno

With the strong real estate market conditions and low interest rates, the number of investors in the Collingwood real estate marketplace seems to be reaching an all time high.  Many people are looking for opportunities to “fix and flip” a property for a handsome profit.

The reality is that it is not nearly as easy as you’d think based on all the HGTV shows we see.  While the pay-off can be there in the perfect set of circumstances, it can also be a financial nightmare if you don’t do it right.

When doing a fix and flip, there are a number of soft costs to factor in beyond the purchase price and renovation costs.  Here’s a list:

  • Land transfer tax on your purchase
  • Legal fees for your purchase and sale
  • Real estate commissions when you sell
  • Potentially a survey and/or title insurance
  • Possibly appraisal costs
  • The cost to carry the property for things like the mortgage, taxes, utilities and insurance for every day while you are renovating and awaiting a sale

When looking for the ideal property to renovate, ask yourself if the sale price you hope to realize at the end is in line with neighbourhood values.  It’s hard to sell a $500,000 home in a $300,000 neighbourhood.

Is it structurally sound and are you qualified to make that assessment? A home inspection is critically important and don’t assume that you know the costs to make structural changes.  You may also need a building permit and/or need to comply with various municipal requirements before making changes.

Are there alternatives?  Most people want to tackle projects like these for the purpose of wealth creation and really, there are many ways to achieve that goal.  For example, it may be more rewarding to buy a home that just needs some spit and polish as they say.  You can do a great deal with rehabbing the landscaping, cleaning, painting, new trim, flooring, new lighting and countertops to transform a tired home at a reasonable cost.  Sometimes, adding an income suite can add instant value if it can be done at the right price.  You may then wish to keep it as an income property and consider a sale or further upgrade in the future.

Going into any purchase decision is best when you do so with your eyes wide open. Commit to writing down the costs on paper before jumping in so you really know what to expect.  If it comes out on the plus side, then you can have confidence that you’ve minimized risk and improved your chances of meeting your fix and flip goals.

A Touch Of Cuban Architecture on Collingwood’s Main Street

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2016-06-15 11.47.22When you drive down Collingwood’s main street, it’s impossible to miss the unusual building on the west side near Loblaw. People often ask about it so here’s the scoop.2016-06-15 11.49.51 HDR

The address is 44 Hurontario Street and locally, people just call it the federal building as it is the property of Public Works Canada. It is home to Service Canada and of course, is open to the public during business hours.

This grand Beaux-Arts style building was designed by Philip Palin who is said to have been inspired by the  Finance Building in Havana, Cuba. Construction was completed in 1915 and it seems fitting that such a romantic looking building was opened on February 14th; Valentine’s Day.  The building is pure Canadian and was built with marble from the Macmillan quarry outside of Bancroft, Ontario.  Inside, there is an impressive rotunda with a large stained glassdome ceiling that bears the coats of arms of the four levels of government, including the Town of Collingwood.According to the heritage description, “it is an outstanding work in the Beaux Arts style, with symmetry and balance of the exterior carried through into the very fine public spaces of the interior. It is marked throughout by a richness of materials and ornament rare in Canada for a building of this type.”

2016-06-15 11.48.47-1Next time you are downtown, do take a moment and pop in to see this gem.

RE/MAX four seasons realty limited, brokerage  ♦  67 First Street Collingwood, ON L9Y 1A2  ♦  705-445-8500