Posts Tagged ‘Real Estate’

Adding a Secondary Dwelling: A Comprehensive Guide for Ottawa Homeowners

Posted on: June 10th, 2024 by Chris Scott

Thinking about adding a secondary unit to your existing home? Secondary dwellings, also known as in-law suites or accessory apartments, can offer various benefits such as additional income and increased property value. Here’s a concise guide on what you need to know before embarking on this home improvement journey in Ottawa.

Understanding the Basics

What is a Secondary Dwelling? A secondary dwelling is a self-contained unit with its own kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping area. It can be part of your existing house or a separate structure on your property.

Key Considerations:

  • Zoning Requirements: Check if your area allows secondary units using the geoOttawa tool.
  • Building Permits: Essential for ensuring safety and compliance with regulations.
  • Building Code Compliance: Ensure your construction meets the minimum standards.
  • Inspections: The City of Ottawa will inspect your unit during construction.

Ottawa-Specific Rules

Size and Access:

  • A secondary unit can occupy up to 40% of your principal dwelling’s floor area. There’s no size limit for basement units.
  • The unit must have a separate ground floor entrance and should not add a new doorway on the front wall of your home.

Parking and Location:

  • The secondary unit cannot eliminate the required parking for the main dwelling.
  • Additional parking is not mandatory, but if added, it cannot be in the front yard.

Dwelling Types Permitted:

  • Detached dwellings, linked-detached dwellings, semi-detached dwellings, townhouses, and duplexes (existing as of July 17, 2013).

Financial Benefits and Costs

Adding a secondary dwelling can affect your property taxes and insurance. Here are some costs you might incur:

  • Remodeling Costs: Ranges from $30,000 to $100,000, covering elements like firewalls, egress, heating systems, bathrooms, kitchens, and electrical upgrades.
  • Permit Fees: Minimum of $100.

Financial Assistance:

  • Better Homes Ottawa Loan Program: Offers fixed-rate, low-interest loans for home energy improvements, covering up to 30% of the cost for secondary suites.

Rental Income and Payback

Using the median rental prices from the Ottawa Neighborhood Study, the payback period for your investment can be calculated. For example, with an average cost of $100,000 and a monthly rent of $1,503, the payback period is approximately 5.54 years.

Enhancing Energy Efficiency

When adding a secondary suite, consider improving your home’s energy efficiency:

  1. Building Envelope: Upgrade walls, windows, doors, roof, foundation, and insulation.
  2. Heating and Cooling: Install efficient systems like cold climate heat pumps.
  3. Renewables: Add solar panels, geothermal systems, and battery backups.
  4. Smart Technology: Use smart thermostats and LED lights.
  5. Resilience Measures: Implement stormwater management and install cool or green roofs.

Adding a secondary dwelling is a substantial investment that can yield significant returns through rental income and increased property value. Ensuring compliance with Ottawa’s specific regulations and enhancing your home’s energy efficiency will maximize the benefits of this project.

For more detailed information, visit the City of Ottawa’s website and the Better Homes Ottawa program

House Hunting Efficiency: A Military Success Story in Ottawa

Posted on: May 27th, 2024 by Chris Scott


We recently had the pleasure of assisting a military couple with their house hunt in Ottawa, turning it into an efficient and exciting adventure. The journey began with setting up a personalized portal tailored to their preferences, 

allowing them to interact with listings by favouriting, disliking, and commenting on homes. This interactive approach helped Chris develop a strategic itinerary to maximize their limited viewing time.

To ensure efficiency during their brief visit, Chris pre-booked an inspection with a trusted home inspector before the couple’s arrival. This foresight was crucial in accommodating the tight timeframe and guaranteed that they could work with a reliable inspector.

Upon their arrival on a Sunday, the couple dived into their home search, visiting 28 homes over four days across Ottawa and its surrounding areas. Chris’s deep knowledge of the region helped them explore a variety of neighbourhoods, from the small-town feel of Carleton Place & Kemptville to the notable suburbs of Kanata, Barrhaven and Stittsville. We explored them all! More inventory in the 2024 posting season has made military house hunting in Ottawa easier than in previous years. Good to see more balanced conditions in our marketplace. 

The highlight of their trip was of course finding their dream home in Kemptville and swiftly fulfilling the home inspection condition, providing them with essential peace of mind.

This story exemplifies the success of a well-planned House Hunting Trip (HHT). If you’re preparing for your HHT in Ottawa or surrounding areas, our team is ready to guide you through every step, ensuring a smooth and successful home-buying experience.

Interested in starting your house-hunting journey? Contact us today to learn how we can assist you!


Client Contest 2024

Posted on: February 5th, 2024 by Chris Scott

Welcome to our Client Contest! This contest is designed to reward our valued clients who help us grow by referring new clients to our services. Participation in this contest is subject to the terms and conditions outlined below.
1. Eligibility
The contest is open to all existing clients and supporters except for family members of employees of our team.
Participants must be 18 years of age or older.
2. How to Enter
Participants enter the contest by referring new clients to our company who enter into an agency relationship with our firm. The clients must reference your name to get a ballot for the draw.
There is no limit to the number of referrals a participant can make.
Buying or Selling a home with our team between February 1st and December 1st 2024 would also qualify for 1 ballot for each transaction. Contract date must be within the specified time period.
3. Determining Winners
The winner(s) will be determined via a draw at our client Christmas event.
4. Prizes
The grand prize is a $5000 travel voucher. We will work with the winning participant to finalize based on their travel preferences. For example, we can put towards Air Canada gift card or specific hotels or travel companies. We want to make it work for you!
5. Privacy
Personal information collected from participants will be used only for the purpose of administering the contest and not for marketing purposes unless consent is given.
6. Dispute Resolution
Any disputes arising out of this contest will be resolved by the company’s management, whose decisions are final and binding.

Refer a friend here!


Posted on: May 13th, 2020 by Chris Scott

There is no status quo right now in any industry. In real estate, we are pivoting and providing lots of unique options to our Ottawa selling clients. In this case, our clients chose our exclusive option. This allowed us to actively market the property but not have it on the MLS. The seller only wanted very qualified buyers coming through the house. We were able to control that better with our exclusive option. At the time of listing, there were also two end units available on their street (Barrick Hill). Both were the same floor plan. We wanted to wait until they cleared MLS to list ours. We had a very throughout listing strategy.

Through our marketing efforts, we found a buyer who wanted to see it. That buyers agent had them view the 3d tour we had online. The buyer was able to comfortably walk through the home from the comfort of their own. When they came through for their in-person viewing they already knew it was the right house for them. We got a full price offer the next day. Our offer was significantly higher than the other two eventual sales on the street (average of 18k higher). We sold off-market for top dollar with very little hassle. Who you work with on the sale of your home matters!

If you are thinking about selling your Ottawa home, please feel free to contact us. We would love a chance to talk to you about our enhanced marketing services.

Absolutely outstanding service! I was reluctant to trust realtors again after having a terrible experience on the sale of my first home with another agent. Chris and the team really went above and beyond on both the selling and buying side. I can not recommend them enough!” – Seller of Barrick Hill


Posted on: May 1st, 2020 by Chris Scott


The proper marketing of your home has never been more important. We need to get your home exposed to as many people as possible online. We have added in services to make this happen. This additional exposure will help you maximize your sale price.

Virtual Staging:

We have been working on a new process to stage your home virtually. Our stager is phenomenal and will help you prepare each and every room in the house. It will involve a few calls, some pictures back and forth, and will end with a full detailed report for you to follow. It will essentially be a game plan for getting your house market-ready.  This work will help you maximize the sale price of your home. Statistically speaking staged homes sell for at least 2% more than non staged homes.
We also offer an in-person staging if you prefer.

Virtual Tour:

We will have a full 3d tour done of your home. Here is an example:
This will give buyers the opportunity to experience a showing from the comfort of their home. Having this tour is paramount in today’s market. Some buyers are purchasing the home just based on this tour!

Floor Plans:  

We will have a professional floorplan drawn up so buyers can see the dimensions of each room and the layout of the space. An integral part in the new virtual world.

Professional Pictures:

In the weeks ahead we will be taking extra pictures for buyers to look at. Our photographer is amazing and you can see her work by clicking on the link. She will also take precautions when photographing.

Video Walkthrough: 

This will be done to take people through every aspect of the home. We are trying to give every buyer the opportunity to purchase your home without actually seeing it in person. We just started doing this. My partner launched a listing with this feature yesterday. Here is an example:

Social Media Ads: 

Embracing the virtual aspect of the market we will have ads running on Facebook and Instagram focusing on buyers in your area. We entice them with a short video of the 3d tour playing and they can click to take a walkthrough.

Electronic Signatures: 

We are completing all our agreements via an e-signing program that is easy to use. Stephanie, our listing manager is still working full-time Mon-Fri 830-430. We have lots of support for all our clients. She will be getting all buyers to sign Covid-19 forms prior to any viewing. We are trying to do everything we can to mitigate risk for our clients while making it easy for buyers to get all the information they need on our listings.


Posted on: October 18th, 2019 by Chris Scott

What is a bully offer?

Every day I look through the hot sheet from the Ottawa Real Estate board. It is a list of all new properties to the market. One thing that almost every one of them has in common is that they were holding offers. This means the seller is waiting till a certain date and time to review offers. The idea is that they will have lots of showings between the list date and offer date. The hope, of course, being that the seller will have multiple offers to choose from. There are some buyers who do not want to wait until the offer date. That is where the term bully offer comes from.

The bully offer:

I prefer the term pre-emptive offer. Essentially the buyer makes an offer right away and before pre-determine offer presentation. The offer is usually at a premium price and often with no conditions. Example: House is listed for $400,000 and the buyer makes an offer for $450,000 on day 1. This would get the seller’s attention right?! The idea is to make the seller think twice about waiting until their pre-determined date.

A few other things to consider:

The Realtor is often in a tough position here as well. They have a form 244 signed with their clients explaining that there is no conveyance of offers until the specific date. If the Realtor then presents this offer it is in breach of the pre-signed paperwork. Further, other agents who showed the property or have scheduled showings on the property need to be kept in the loop on any change of directions. Our team has been on both ends of bully offers and there is a lot of things to navigate here for sure.


Posted on: September 4th, 2019 by Chris Scott


As part of a full-service real estate team, each week I preview and show several properties to various buyers, and host open houses for our seller clients whenever possible. The 2 most common questions I hear day-to-day are:

1) Why are the current owners selling?

2) What is the square footage of the house?

Interestingly, as licensed members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board, we are not permitted to display the square footage on any listing. Whatever the reason behind this rule, the fact remains.

Square footage can be important when comparing the property value of the property with another, or even just to assess if there is enough space to hold all of your current furniture and effects (and growing family members). For appraisals and assessments, it is often measured by simply multiplying the length and width of the exterior walls of the house. When you consider this, overall useable Living Space can become a more essential factor to consider.

  • What are the reasons that are motivating you to make a move?
  • Do you need more overall space, more closet space, or a more open-concept space?

Some homes have unique jogs and cut-outs along walls and ceilings, reducing the amount of space you are able to occupy or renovate. An older century home may have a large den, parlour, and dining room, and therefore an increased footprint, yet also have a long hallway upstairs and 3 bedrooms with gabled ceilings that are a nuisance to you and your growing children… and no master en-suite. Or, a previous owner may have blown out a bedroom wall to create their dream en-suite + walk-in closet, and now Mr & Mrs Buyer are handcuffed because despite 2000+  sq ft above grade, what they really need is another bedroom. Or, 4 large bedrooms and a loft upstairs might not be enough if there is no room on the main level for the home office you really need.

There are many things to consider when buying your next home. A deal-breaker to one buyer may be a non-issue to another. A great idea for everyone is to take some time to write a list of your Wants and Needs in a new home, get on the same page with everyone involved, and enlist the service of a licensed Realtor who can help you stick to your plan and make informed, objective decisions in order to achieve your individual real estate needs.


Posted on: May 3rd, 2019 by Chris Scott

One of the best marketing campaigns I can remember growing up was Head and Shoulders shampoo. Their slogan was “because you never get a second chance to make a first impression”. It is so true in not having dandruff on your shirt and it can also be applied to real estate. Stay with me here. When home buyers walk into your house you want to be feeling good about what they see and excited about what is to come! First impressions are crucial!!

Side note: I looked up that campaign and it was from the ’80s (ageing myself a bit). I still use H&S today because I am petrified of dandruff and making the wrong first impression.

If you are a home buyer what room would make a good impression to you:

Well, I agree with your choice. We suggested the homeowner bring in some rental furniture to outfit this room properly. We then made the room come to life and accessorized it.

Of course, once you commit to the staging you can’t just stop at one room. It all has to come together. In this case, we had a pretty solid plan that the homeowners bought into. We ended up bringing some of our own furniture we use for lots of stagings, to bring it all together.

You will notice the kids room. We felt the demographic buying would be younger families so we showcased as such. That is Aiden’s (my son) old bed and some of his toys/books. 🤫 Don’t tell him! We also brought a desk and chair in for the loft among many other changes.





Why go through all this work?

This is really the big question, isn’t it? Is it really worth it to stage? My answer is, absolutely. Having a fresh, modern, clean look is the key. We want people to feel excited about the house and the possibility of owning it. I bet there are people who would not even offer on the house as it sat before. They might not even realize why. Hard to prove this theory but we have taken over many non-staged homes that could not sell. We keep the prices the same and then like magic! they sell for top dollar. That is why I also invested over $2500 to stage my own place when I sold. Anyways, I am ranting a bit here but it is what I believe with conviction.


Posted on: February 12th, 2019 by Chris Scott

1Our team has just invested in a moving concierge program that will be a game changer for our clients. This new platform will assist our clients with everything from changing addresses, transferring home services, updating identification, and getting helpful advice. This can include anything from setting up short term Airbnb accommodations to organizing moving company quotes. Each client will have a dedicated concierge agent. We are completely committed to the client experience. We hope this new service will bring value to our clients and make the transition into the new home as easy as possible.





Posted on: January 21st, 2019 by Chris Scott


As an Ottawa realtor, I’m often asked by my clients that are both selling and buying a home, if they will have to pay CMHC again. It is an important real estate question and we want our clients to have all the answers before proceeding.

What is CMHC?

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation is insurance which protects the lenders and thereby allows buyers to put a lower downpayment on a purchase and in most cases allows more competitive rates.
Now knowing what CMHC is, we know it is applicable depending on the size of the downpayment and whether or not the lender would like the mortgage insured.

Here are some scenarios to help you better understand if CMHC would be applicable to you.

Staying With Your Current Lender

Conventional Uninsured Mortgage – If you are staying with your current lender and your new purchase will have a 20% downpayment or higher, you will most likely not have to pay CMHC unless your current lender requires it as part of their guidelines to be a Conventional Insurable Mortgage.

High Ratio Insured Mortgage – If you are staying with your current lender and your new Ottawa home purchase will have less than a 20% downpayment, you will most likely have to pay the top-up premium on the new amount. For example: Your home sells for $400,000. Your Mortgage amount owing is $350,000. You use the equity from the sale of your home for your new purchase of $500,000. This would approximately only be a 10% downpayment and would require you to pay CMHC and the top-up difference. The difference would be $500,000 (purchase price)-$50,000 (downpayment)-$350,000 (previous mortgage amount) = $100,000 (additional new mortgage amount). As of January 15, 2019, with a 90% L-T-V (10% downpayment) the premium on a top-up is 6.25%. So your top-up CMHC premium would be $100,000 x 6.25% = $6,250 (as a new premium would be 3.10% which would be $450,000 x 3.10% = $13,950) Also please note: your mortgage must stay at the existing amortization remaining on your current mortgage for the top up premium to be used in most cases.

Changing Lenders

Conventional Uninsured Mortgage – If you are changing your lender and your new purchase will have a 20% downpayment or higher, you will most likely not have to pay CMHC unless your new lender requires it as part of their guidelines to be a Conventional Insurable Mortgage.

High Ratio Insured Mortgage – If you are changing lenders and your new purchase will have less than a 20% downpayment, you will most likely have to pay the top-up premium on the new amount or full CMHC on the total loan amount. Whichever is less. This is where having a mortgage broker’s guidance can help answer whether it is better to pay full CMHC or the top-up premium.