Posts Tagged ‘realtor’

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

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: August 7th, 2020 by Chris Scott

I love my current home. My wife and I love our neighbourhood and the neighbours on our street. We always thought we would be here long term. How is it then, that in a global pandemic, we impulsively purchased a new home. To be quite honest I am still not sure. It happened so fast 🙂  We were not even looking. My wife literally looked at 2 houses and we put offers on both of them. What really got us was the idea of having a pool, privacy, and main floor office. Not sure we would be moving if it wasn’t for Covid-19. Also, nice to have something positive to look forward amongst so much anxiety and uncertainty.  Are other people having similar feelings? I have got calls from clients that said Covid-19 has them revisiting what they really want in their home. Pools have all of a sudden become more important!

This is what sold us: 

Now we just have to wait till 2021 to move in!

Buying in Hot 2020 and Selling in Uncertain 2021

The catch with our purchase is that we cannot move till next year because of the seller’s plans. They are building a house and it was delayed.   It will be the longest resale closing of my real estate career! The waiting game is going to be painful. The challenging part financially is that we have purchased in a really hot market and will be selling in an uncertain 2021. I am a pragmatic person. I know next year our market will not be as good as our current market. How could it be, we are in the hottest market in a generation. I do believe next year will still be a good market. Our current supply shortage and strong demand are enough to sustain a seller’s position for at least the next 6-8 months. I am betting on it with my own house. If I am wrong I have plugged in all my numbers very conservatively. Hope for the best and plan for the worst. If we end up somewhere in the middle I will be happy.

The Emotions of a Buyer

It has been a great exercise going through the buying process again. It has really reminded me of how exciting the process is for buyers and all the emotions they are going through. Anyone else have buyers remorse the day after their purchase?? I did!  Thankfully it was a very fleeting emotion.  Buying a home is stressful, exciting, and consumes much of a person’s thoughts in the moments leading up to purchase and throughout the process. I totally get that and will make sure our team’s services are always making the process as seamless as possible for our clients.


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: April 28th, 2020 by Chris Scott

The subject homes in this case study were almost identical.  They are the exact same Red Oak model by Tartan. They are right across the street from each other. Upgrades were similar. The houses were essentially the same value.

Difference: $14,157

Why it matters who you work with!

It is tempting to save money on commissions, I get it. My sellers paid more to work with our team in this scenario. They also netted thousands of dollars more than their neighbor across the street. Our seller also received a more personalized service experience.

People always get caught up in how much they are paying and not necessarily the value they are receiving.

Top 3 Reasons We Got More

1) Staging: The house was professionally staged and ready for viewings. This service included multiple visits and staging rentals.
2) 3D Tour: We had a 3D tour available online that attracted our eventual buyer.  They were able to walk through the property virtually before stepping foot inside. When they came for their first visit it was pretty much a 2nd showing.
3) Negotiating: We were able to get over $14,000 more than the house across the street. Both homes were almost identical. They were the exact same model and had similar upgrades. We had the disadvantage of them selling first at a lower price. We stayed very strong and got more than our asking price with no other offers on the table. How you might ask?  I have been negotiating deals for over 15 years. I have seen it all. I am ready to be strong to protect your hard-earned home equity. The other home had their house negotiated from a call center in Toronto.  Often times in life you get what you pay for. I have learned that time and time again with so many products and services. I now make my decisions on value.

Happy Client

My clients met with me pre-covid and we set up a listing plan for them. That plan, of course, changed quite a bit leading up to the listing date as covid restrictions were put in place. My clients could not wait to sell because they purchased a new home already. We pivoted and put a new plan in place that included the 3d tour, staging, and online marketing. The results were great! Our team was thrilled we were able to get such a favorable price for our longtime clients.


Posted on: April 1st, 2020 by Chris Scott

Your home is one of the biggest investments in your lifetime. Home staging will help you get a better return on your money. Most buyers are looking for a move-in ready home and home staging helps them visualize this instantly. Besides, it makes your home look like a model home without you having to lift a finger.

Let’s look at some of the facts from the experts regarding why home staging is so big right now and why so many sellers are opting for this.

  • the National Association of Realtors says for every $100 invested in staging your home, the potential return is $400. That is four times the return for your investment.
  • homes that are professionally staged spend 73% less time on the market (Real Estate Staging Association)
  • 85% of staged homes sold 6-25% more than un-staged homes (
  • 68% of staged homes sold for at least 9% more than un-staged homes (

Let’s look at the following scenario:

Imagine you have an unstaged home priced at $500,000 that has been sitting on the market for a few months. You start getting worried and decrease the selling price by 5% — or by $25K. Your home now sells for less and your house is a stale listing. Buyers think there maybe be a problem with the house as it has been sitting for a while. You get frustrated and then decide to go with a separate home staging company at more cost to you again.

When a house first goes on the market, this is the time when there is a lot of interest from buyers. Once that first wave of interest passes, time can be your enemy. We are experienced in what a home needs to sell.

Our Chris Scott Real Estate Team believes that:

  • Timing is extremely important
  • Most activity is when it is first listed
  • A listing has the greatest opportunity to sell when it is staged properly

We want you to have your home staged so that you are competitive with other staged homes on the market. Staging works and it has proven itself time and again. We want every client to have the best version of their home and we feel everyone deserves this service. We offer a professional home stager service to all our clients. If you have any questions on how home staging will sell your home, do not hesitate to contact our Chris Scott Real Estate Team. We will provide a free evaluation of your home and make suggestions on how we can stage your home and get it quickly on the market.

Click here to check out our Staging Transformations!





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 8th, 2018 by Chris Scott


After our annual client Santa party I was approached by a past client who asked me why I do all this after sale stuff. The contests, newsletters, cards, client events etc. He said he would refer our team business no matter what, and that I really didn’t need to do all this stuff. It was an interesting question. The answer is at the heart of my business. Here is what is on our wall at the office:


We are just living out our mission statement. That is what gets me fuelled up every day and excited to go to work. You see our mission in real estate is to create a raving fan service experience for every client and to bring value long after our clients buy or sell. We will always strive to provide this service to clients if they bought 12 years ago or 12 months ago. As our team grows we are able to offer better services and bring new experiences. I look forward to sharing some new initiatives with everyone in the near future.