Short-term rentals and unofficial dog parks. This is the Marshall Report.

Short-term rentals

I’ve had a number of clients over the past couple of years looking for short-term rentals. It is tough. What do you do if you are moving into the region and need a place for three months? What do you do if you’ve sold a house but don’t get your new one for six months? Landlords, of course, want full year leases. The timing never works out perfectly.

Clients turn to Realtors, we are the local housing experts after all. But on the MLS, our main source of inventory, sellers who want to rent are scarce. I’d estimate less than 5%. We know property managers and property management companies, but they all want a full year. In frustration, with three clients last year, two currently looking for something short term and more coming, I tried and failed in the real estate channels to help solve my clients’ problem only to find the best place is Kijiji.  Once I hit on this, my clients found a place after just a few phone calls.

They called me to make sure the neighbourhood was OK and then their landlord gave them an open ended monthly lease. It is all so simple once you know the answer.


Home salesStatistically speaking. So what? Who cares?

The general public does not care about real estate statistics from their local real estate board.

Every month the Kitchener Waterloo Real Estate Association and real estate boards across the land publish a positive look at how we are going. The stats are often a comparison to the same month one year ago, and/or a comparison to the month before. When things aren’t so hot, the statistics will be about long term trends. But one thing is certain, the news will always be good.

KWAR sent out their news release a few days ago. Here are the highlights:

The number of listings down 5.6%. That is bad news unless you are selling and then it is good news. We are in a seller’s market, good for sellers, bad for buyers.

May 2014 had 725 residential units sold compared with May 2013 at 768. (bad news, we’re down). This was only the second time since 2007 that residential units sold has exceeded 700 (good news, we’re up). Comparing the 5-year average for May, this shows a 5.7% increase in residential sales (good news, up up).

NOTE: That last statistic is very useless. The 5-year trend in May is up 6%. So what?

The average price is up 3.5% compared to May ’13.

The average price of of all residential sales in May was $345,323. For single family homes $386,474 (up 2.1%) and condos $226,157 (up 6.4%).

In all fairness there is a great disclaimer at the end of the news release.



Put a leash on it

I know it is not real estate news, but dogs are part of families and this week the quality of life for Waterloo Region mutts was negatively impacted when the Grand River Conservation Authority announced that it would effectively close our unofficial dog park.

Snyder’s Flats Conservation Area is the best place to take your dog for a good run. We often take our golden doodle Chichi for a long walk, (and swim) around the area. It takes about 45 minutes to “do the loop”. We are not alone. At any given time, there are dozen of people just like us and dogs just like Cheech enjoying he area. I’d estimate that 100% of the people using the park have a dog and those dogs are all off leash.

Someone must have complained. But who?

Now there will be a $95 fine for leash-less dogs in this one time leash-free wonderland. It is a sad day.


Kitchener and Cambridge tops list of real estate investment opportunities

According to the Real Estate Investment Network, Kitchener and Cambridge are tied as the best place to invest in Ontario. The report looks at long term trends. According to the report.

“The economy remains strong with a solid average income and stable job market with an adequate labour force. The expansion of the community has resulted in a growth of in-migration and will bring with it a growth in businesses in the area.”

Waterloo also made the list at #4. Here are the rankings:

1) Kitchener & Cambridge

2) Hamilton

3) Barrie

4) Waterloo

5) Brampton

6) Ottawa

7) Vaughan

8) Durham Region (Whitby, Pickering, and Ajax)

9) Toronto

10) Milton


Reaching out

Recently the following line appeared in an email from a fellow realtor.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out.

I thought to myself, “What am I, stuck in quicksand?” Why am I reaching out. Wouldn’t it be easier to continue using the telephone and email.

Although it’s the first time I’ve been invited to reach out, people have been reaching out to me for years. It is usually a charity or someone who wants something for free. They reach out, like they need to be saved.

I don’t like the expression. It’s weak and helpless. I was wondering if anyone else found this expression annoying, so I went to the internet.

They do! It made Forbes list of “The Most Annoying, Pretentious And Useless Business Jargon”. 

Further digging found this from the Economist. The phrase implies an added effort, a stretch beyond the normal, and the subtext usually seems to be either “I’ll do Joe the grudging favour of asking his opinion even though he wouldn’t normally get half a look into what we’re doing”, or “I’ll take the risk of asking Joe for his advice even though he’s probably far too busy and probably sees our project as a threat to his entire existence”.


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