Real Advice with Rita: Building a Deck, Regulating Real Estate and Moving Across the Country

Monday Jul 19th, 2021






Hey Rita,

Is it better to sell your house before putting in an offer for another home?

– Ready to sell

Hi Ready,

This isn’t an easy choice to make and it can cause a lot of stress. 

While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer, there are a number of reasons why it might be a better idea to sell your old house before buying a new one. 

  • You don’t want to risk carrying two mortgages if the timelines don’t match up perfectly.
  • You don’t have the cash on hand for a new mortgage and you can’t qualify for a second mortgage.
  • The market is competitive, and you assume you’ll get more money if you sell now.
  • The market is competitive, and you don’t want to put an offer on a house that’s contingent on you selling your old home.
  • Alternatively, if you’re selling in a buyer’s market you may want to sell first to ensure your house doesn’t sit on the market forever or sell for less money than anticipated.

You’ll notice a theme here: money. Selling first means you’ll know exactly how much money you have to work with, but you may need to rent until you find your next dream home if you can’t line up closing dates.

Get to know your local market with the help of a REALTOR® who can provide an up-to-date and accurate market analysis. 

Hello Rita,

We are moving next summer from British Columbia to Gatineau, Quebec. Not knowing the area, is it better to buy when you get there? When should we start looking?

– Cross country movers 

Hey Movers!

Moving across the country is easier than ever thanks to digital tools like 3D tours, videos, and live stream open houses

Since you know your timeline is long, I would start learning about your new home base online now. Read local news and blogs, and follow local social media influencers to get a feel for the area.

You can read about nearby neighbourhoods like Chelsea, Quebec and Ottawa, Ontario on Living Room’s Neighbourhood Guides. You can also see what the real estate market is like by browsing listings. You can find local insights right on the listing, such as nearby schools, grocery stores, restaurants, and more. You can also dive into demographic details like household income, population by age and number of children at home.

It can take 30 to 60 days (sometimes longer) to close on a house, so you’ll want to give yourself enough time to find your dream house and make the move across the country.When you’re ready to start looking more seriously, contact a REALTOR® in the area you want to live in. They are local experts and can help you find a house that fits your needs—even from 3,000 km away.

Dear Rita, 

I had big dreams to build the deck I’ve always wanted this summer, but with lumber prices through the roof, should I scrap the idea? Are there any good alternatives?

– Dreaming of a deck

Hi Dreaming,

There are alternatives to treated wood, but I’m not sure you’re going to like my answer.

A composite deck is a great alternative; however, it can cost twice as much as a traditional wood deck. The good news is it will last up to twice as long and there’s very little maintenance. That means you won’t need to strip and stain it.

I wouldn’t recommend a composite deck near a pool. The material can get much hotter than wood, which isn’t great for bare feet. 

You can also build a vinyl, or PVC, deck. Vinyl boasts a lot of the same maintenance-free advantages as a composite deck and as less susceptible to scratches. Vinyl can be pricey though.

If you’d prefer to wait for wood prices to come back down to earth, you can still create a nice gathering area in your backyard using patio stones or an outdoor rug

Hi Rita,

If you buy a house today while prices are so high do you think it will be difficult to resale said house in two or three years?

– Thinking of the future

Hello Thinking,

It depends what you mean when you say “difficult.” 

Every listing is unique and a REALTOR® can help you prepare and market your house when you’re ready to sell. Some homes can be more challenging to sell depending on their location, if they need renovations or there are legal issues with the title. That just means the professional advice of a REALTOR® is even more vital.

However, I suspect this isn’t what you mean. Will you be able to sell your home without losing money? I seem to have misplaced my crystal ball, so I can’t see into the future. All jokes aside, housing markets can be difficult to predict (Did anyone predict the record-breaking sales we saw in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic?). Current trends suggest activity in Canadian housing markets will remain strong through 2021 while easing into 2022, according to the latest quarterly forecast from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA)

CREA is also forecasting the average home price will rise by 19.3% in 2021 to just over $677,775 by the end of 2021. But what will happen three years down the line? I would be shocked if prices dropped so dramatically that you would lose money on your home—but again, I can’t predict the future.

Speak to a local REALTOR® to learn more about trends in your market.

Dear Rita,

Who regulates real estate in Canada?

– Curious consumer

Hi Curious,

There are local, provincial, and national real estate boards and associations in Canada. 

At the national level, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) represents more than 135,000 brokers, agents and salespeople, working through 78 real estate boards and associations across the country. 

However, real estate is not regulated at the national level. Rather, CREA represents and promotes the interests of its members, while also advocating for policies that benefit homeowners and potential homeowners.

Real estate is regulated at the provincial level. Each province or territory has a consumer protection organization that regulates the industry according to laws in each province and territory.

It’s also up to provincial and territorial regulators to establish education requirements and the licensing of real estate professionals in their jurisdiction.

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