The Riz Team Blog

Archive for November, 2012

Holiday Decorating on a Budget

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

With a spark of imagination, holiday decorating can be inspired yet inexpensive

By Trish Sinclair, Style at Home Magazine

Whether you’re planning the Christmas party of the century, or burning the Yule log on your own, holiday decorating does not have to break the bank-or your festive spirit.
Your creativity can take you far. Try these tips and projects to make your home a holiday haven, while only spending a Dickens’ halfpenny.

1 Christmas close-outs

Check local newspapers often for special ‘close-out’ sales. Often lasting only two or three days, close-out sales are gold mines for everything from kitschy candles to bushels of tree lights, at prices lower than wholesale.

2 Festive foraging

Gather nature’s ornaments, such as pinecones, acorns and balsam fir tips from the backyard or local park. Add a touch of silver or gold spray paint to your gatherings and arrange in a glass bowl surrounded by votive candles.

3 Christmas aromatherapy

Delight houseguests with the warm scent of a mulling spice bag. Combine whole cloves, allspice, cinnamon sticks, and nutmeg with dried orange and lemon peel in a small piece of cheesecloth secured with elastic. Simmer the spice bag in a pot filled with 3-4 cups of water, and enjoy the aroma.

4 Merry memories

Gather a collection of favourite family and childhood Christmas amaryllis plant is a holiday favourite, and should be potted six weeks before Christmas to yield large, stunning blooms. Pot two or three of the festive ‘Peppermint Stick’ variety, which are white, swirled with red.

6 Christmas by candlelight

Nothing creates a festive ambiance like the glow of candles. For a dining or coffee table centrepiece, group three pillar candles of various heights in holiday colours on a ceramic or other non-flammable dish. Scatter several tea lights in small glass holders along a mantel, bookshelf or buffet table.

7 Charlie Brown-style

At half the price of big trees, one to three-foot high mini evergreen trees make adorable desktop or table decorations. Perfect for apartments and other small spaces, ‘Charlie Brown’ mini trees are available at many garden centres and Christmas tree lots.

8 How fairy festive!

Add a twinkly, romantic effect with white fairy lights. String lights along the length of a window curtain rod to brighten a room. Arrange a strand of lights along a mantelpiece, weaving lights among Christmas cards and ornaments.

9 Deck the halls and doors …

Fallen evergreen boughs and small pieces of greenery can be collected outdoors or purchased cheaply in surplus from Christmas tree lots. Natural boughs add a traditional Christmas look and scent and they can adorn banisters, doors and mantels.

10 Fragrant fireplace

Dress up a bare hearth by decorating a small wood log with flammable, decorative, scented accents, including sheet moss, pinecones, cinnamon sticks and whole cloves. When burned, this Yule log will make a glowing fire with a festive fragrance. (Use non-toxic white glue to decorate log rather than hot glue.) See below for instructions.

Scented Yule log With this decorative, burnable Yule log, the open hearth or top of a woodstove will always look and smell festive:

Supplies: • 1 sheet moss (from florist or craft store) • small wood log • white craft glue • pine cones • cinnamon sticks • whole cloves • pot pourri (Christmas blend) • essential oils (pine, cinnamon, balsam frankincense)

Instructions: Glue the moss to the top of the log. Glue potpourri pine cones, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, cinnamon sticks onto the moss. Sprinkle a few drops of essential oils to the moss and spices. Add a festive bow to the top of the log (to be removed before burning).





Waterloo Region Housing Market Expected to Pick up Later Next Year

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

The Waterloo Region can expect “slow but steady” growth into 2013

Construction crews work on a multi-unit housing project on Cedar Street, near Church Street, in Kitchener.

Rose Simone, Record staff

WATERLOO REGION — It has been a year of doom and gloom, with Europe in a recession, the United States facing a “fiscal cliff” and tighter mortgage rules putting a damper on housing market in cities like Toronto and Vancouver.

But Waterloo Region’s housing market is doing relatively well, a housing market outlook conference was told Thursday.

The market is somewhat softer than it was at the beginning of the year, but should pick up a bit later next year, analysts from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. told real estate agents and home builders at the event at Bingemans.

“I think we have seen, especially in the resale market, the slowest part,” said Erica McLerie, an analyst with the corporation. “The new mortgage rules were introduced in July, so that has already impacted the markets, and as we move through 2013, especially with employment growth, that will support housing demand.”

The corporation expects that 6,450 resale homes will change hands in 2013 while 2,900 new homes will be built. Those numbers are a bit lower compared to this year, but the good news is that prices in Waterloo Region should remain steady, instead of declining, as is happening in other markets, McLerie said.

Ed Heese, another analyst with the corporation, said the U.S. economy is turning the corner with growing consumer confidence and rising house prices. Vehicle sales in the U.S. are rising, which will help out manufacturing and the employment picture in Waterloo Region, he said.

As a result, he expects “slow but steady” improvement in the local housing market next year.

The corporation also presented research about the home features that have the biggest impact on home prices. A finished basement has very little impact on price, said McLerie. But homes with green features, central air and those located close to post-secondary institutions are the ones that generate higher prices.

The corporation stressed, however, that construction of single detached homes is slowing down, while demand for apartments and condominiums is rising.

There were fewer couples with children in the 2011 census compared to the 2006 census, and that’s the group that is most likely to buy single-detached homes, McLerie said.

An increase in the number of immigrants in the region and a growing boomer population that has more middle-aged people living alone means there will be greater demand for apartments, she said.

Most of the apartments are being built in downtown areas, in keeping with Waterloo Region’s strategy of trying to intensify core areas, McLerie said.

A concern for the long-term future of the housing market is the 14 per cent unemployment rate for young people. That is slowing down the formation of new households, she said.

“According to the Statistics Canada census, about 42 per cent of people ages 20 to 29 are still living in their parental homes and unless they get good jobs they won’t be able to move into housing of their own, whether in the rental market or the home buying market.”


HOME for the Holidays

Monday, November 26th, 2012

19th Annual Christmas Movie Event

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

Wreck-It Ralph!

Come celebrate Christmas featuring a private screening of Wreck-It Ralph with a special visit from Santa Claus, face painters and goody bags. Admission is a non-perishable food item or cash donations. All proceeds go to the Food Bank of Waterloo Region in time for the Holiday Season. Come support a great cause. Tickets are limited. RSVP is required and tickets are going fast!

When can you walk away from a house deal?

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Be sure you fully understand the details before closing a real estate deal

By Mark Weisleder | article

Putting your home up for sale can be a tough decision, but once made and the ball is rolling, you may not be able to change your mind. Last week’s column about a $3.3 million home sale that went wrong for the seller prompted several related questions from readers.

Here they are:

Is there a buyer’s remorse period in Ontario?

If you are buying a new condominium from a builder, you have 10 days to change your mind. You do not need a reason. This does not apply if you buy a new house from a builder and does not apply if you are buying a resale home or condominium. Why condos only? The clause is included in the Condominium Act.

Can a buyer sign an offer and then walk away?

The Ontario real estate contract gives a buyer 24 hours to pay the deposit, once the offer is accepted by the seller. The buyer cannot just change their mind or they can be sued.

For example, the buyer offers $300,000 for a house which is accepted. The buyer changes his mind and doesn’t pay the deposit and walks away from the deal. The seller resells the property for $275,000. They can still sue the first buyer for the difference, or $25,000.

Can buyers use conditional clauses as escape hatches?

Most real estate contracts are conditional on the buyer being able to get a mortgage and being satisfied with a home inspection. Other conditions include being satisfied with a condominium status certificate when buying a resale condo.

Many buyers think these conditions give them the right to just change their minds. It is not that easy. The case law has demonstrated that buyers must try and satisfy any condition in good faith. This means that you need a legitimate reason why you found the home inspection report or condominium status certificate unsatisfactory.

Who gets the deposit when buyers change their mind?

In most cases, the deposit is held by the seller’s real estate brokerage, in trust. Under the law, when a deal breaks down, the brokerage cannot pay the deposit to anyone without either a mutual release or direction signed by both the buyer and the seller, or an order of the court. As such, when deals do not close, if there is no agreement, the deposit can be locked up for a long time, and the buyer will not have access to it to make an offer on another property.

Is there a “legal” way for a buyer to get out of a deal?

It depends. If for example, there was a right on your title for the City to access 20 per cent of your property for any reason, known as an easement, and that was not disclosed to the buyer, they can usually cancel the agreement without penalty. However, there have been other cases that indicate if there is a problem with a city work order or title problem for which the seller can obtain title insurance to protect the buyer, then the buyer cannot refuse to close. A buyer can also cancel if there has been substantial damage to the property before closing, such as a flood that was not repaired. You can’t refuse to close if the oven is not working.

The better answer in all of these situations is to be very careful and serious before you make any decision to buy a home. Changing your mind later can be very expensive.

More Mark Weisleder columns

Mark Weisleder is a Toronto real estate lawyer. Contact him at


Kitchener-Waterloo Home sales up in October

Monday, November 5th, 2012

By Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® (KWAR) admin • November 5th, 2012

KITCHENER-WATERLOO, ON (October 5, 2012) –– Area home sales rebounded in October, with 500 homes trading through the Multiple Listing System (MLS®) of the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® (KWAR). Residential sales in October are up 11.6 percent compared to last month’s results, and increased 4.6 percent from October 2011.

October’s residential sales included 322 detached homes (up 1.6 percent), 48 semi-detached (up 54.8), 33 townhouses (up 32 percent), and 92 condominium units (down 7.1 percent).

The average sales price of all residential sales in October was $302,656 a 1.5 percent decrease from the average sale price recorded in October 2011. Single detached properties sold for an average price of $339,592, a 3.8 percent decrease relative to one year ago.

Average prices for townhouses and condominium property types both increased last month, with townhouses gaining 10.7 percent to $287,133, and condominium units increasing 7 percent to $215,831 compared to the same month last year.

“The overall average residential price decreased slightly last month, which is not a surprise,” says Sara Hill, President of the KWAR, “In the past two months the average sale price was showing fairly strong gains even as sales were slowing, so I see this as a slight correction.”

On a year-to-date basis, residential home sales are practically on par with 2011 – with a total of 5,443 sales recorded. The average price of all residential properties sold year-to date is $310,739, an increase of 3.2 percent over 2011.

“The Kitchener-Waterloo housing market continues to show both long-term strength and stability” says Hill. “Shifts in average prices are normal, and home buyers and sellers should work with their REALTOR® to understand the market and set their expectations accordingly.”

Hill reminds consumers to use caution when looking at averages. The average sale price is based on the total dollar volume of all residential properties sold. Average sale price information can be useful in establishing long term trends, but should not be used as an indicator that specific properties have increased or decreased in value.


© Copyright 2017, Real Estate Websites by Redman Technologies Inc. | Privacy Policy | Disclaimer | Sitemap

MLS®, REALTOR®, and the associated logos are trademarks of The Canadian Real Estate Association.

The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the Kitchener-Waterloo Real Estate Board. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.