Exciting Life Transitions

Empty nesters face several challenges when their children leave home.  This month’s feature article discusses some points to consider for those entering this exciting life transition.

There are also some tips on how to set up a fully functional home office as well as a delicious grilled pineapple recipe that'll have your guests demanding seconds!

Thanks so much for checking out this month's newsletter.  Please get in touch if you have any questions or comments regarding the articles or real estate in general -- it'd be great to hear from you!

The Kitchener-Waterloo Real Estate Market Report 

5The K-W home sales hot streak takes a break in July.

There were a total of 588 home sales in Kitchener-Waterloo and area though the Multiple Listing System (MLS® System) of the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® (KWAR) in July.

This represents only a 0.9% increase in sales compared to July of 2015, but ranks as the most active July on record since 2008.

Strong sales activity helped to bring year-to-date total sales to 4,108, a 15.2% increase compared to the same time last year, and 21.7% above the 5-year average.  “It’s been a strong summer to say the least for residential sales in the Region,” said Charlotte Zawada, President of the KWAR.

Active residential listings continue to remain depressed in comparison to the same time last year.  Currently, the number of active residential listings on the KWAR’s MLS® System to the end of July sat at 1,073, which is 37.3% lower compared to same period last year.  This translates to 59.4% fewer available listings on the market today than the same time last year.

July’s sales included 364 single detached homes (up 0.8% compared to July 2015) and 144 condominium type units (up 16.1%) which include any property regardless of style (ie. semis, townhomes, apartment, detached etc).  Sales also included 48 Semi-detached homes (up 9.1%) and 26 freehold townhouses (down 49.0%).  The average sale price of all residential sales in July increased 13.2% to $387,102 compared to July 2015.

“We’re still seeing buyers compete for a limited number of listings on the market and the skew in supply and demand is maintaining an upward pressure on home prices in the Region,” says Zawada.

Single detached style homes sold for an average price of $452,799 an increase of 14.0% compared to last year.  The average sale price for an apartment style condominium was $240,944, an increase of 14.2%.  Townhomes and semis sold for an average of $285,611 (up 10.7%) and $308,479 (up 16.4%) respectively

Mark Your Calendar for Doors Open! 

3Don’t miss your chance to snoop through some of the Region’s most amazing buildings!

Doors Open invites you to tour noteworthy buildings, interesting places and heritage sites in Waterloo Region, many of which are not regularly open to the public.

This year it’s held on Saturday, September 17th with over 40 participating sites and there’s no admission charge!  Since 2003, more than 250 sites in Waterloo Region have opened their doors to more than 100,000 visits during Doors Open.

Waterloo Region has an international reputation as a hub of science and technology so it’s fitting that Science and Technology is this year’s theme.  Some of the sites that will be open to the public include Christie, Google and Shopify.

What to do When the Kids Fly the Coop 

4Being left at home with an empty nest can be a major adjustment.

When your children finally leave home, you'll be presented with a new found freedom and a variety of unexpected challenges.

Many empty nesters find their homes are too large once their kids move out and therefore opt to buy a smaller home in order to gain capital and reduce maintenance costs.  These days though, some parents are hedging their bets in case their kids decide to move back in.

Deciding to downsize or stay put depends on your unique situation as downsizing isn’t always the right move, pardon the pun.  It pays to closely examine your finances and motivations.  Here are a few tips if you’re thinking of downsizing:

  • be clear about your reasons as it’ll help with your new home search
  • consider a condo if you plan on traveling as there’s very little maintenance
  • plan ahead for the years when stairs will become a challenge
  • make sure your new abode has room for future grandchildren :)

It’s a huge adjustment when the kids fly the coop but it’s also a great opportunity to pursue new hobbies and think about your own needs.  If you're not quite ready to sell up and move on, consider transforming an old bedroom into your very own personal retreat.

Whether you decide to sell or not, it’s a great time to declutter your home when the kids move out so go through every room and get rid of anything you no longer need.  Whatever you do, just make sure you turn your new found freedom into a positive experience by focusing on yourself.

How to Create a Functional Home Office 

2Your home office doesn’t have to be a laptop on a couch cushion.

Many people are breaking the chains of the corporate world in order to pursue careers that allow them to work from home.  Here are a few tips that’ll help you get the most out of your home office:

  1. Plan Ahead- Make sure you plan out your space in advance so there’s enough room for a desk, chair and storage and don’t forget about your technology needs.
  2. Get Creative- If you don’t have an office, consider alternatives such as a guest room, sunroom or other unused space that’ll give you a designated area to work uninterrupted.
  3. Stand Up- Consider purchasing a stand up desk as it can increase productivity and it’s much better for your posture.
  4. Lighten Up- Position lighting so there's a nice even flow and if possible, choose a room with lots of natural light.  A few plants will also add to the atmosphere.
  5. Sound Off- Hard surfaces tend to amplify sounds but carpets, rugs and fabric window treatments will help absorb excessive noise.
  6. Boundaries- Choose a private spot and don't use it as a dumping ground for non-business related items.  When you work from home, it’s critical to separate your work from home life.

A well laid out and functional office is key to working effectively from home, but without a specific game plan, you’ll waste a lot of time and money.  Planning ahead means you’ll be able to spend your time taking care of business and being productive!

Grilled Pineapple on the BBQ 

1Grilled pineapple is an easy, delicious finale to a backyard BBQ!

Grilling fresh fruit caramelizes its natural sugars and this simple yet scrumptious dessert tastes even better with a side of vanilla ice cream!  Here's what you'll need:

  • 1 pineapple, cored and peeled
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp. melted butter

Lightly oil the grill and preheat the BBQ to medium.  Cut the pineapple into 1 inch slices.  Combine brown sugar and cinnamon.  Brush pineapple with butter and then pat on sugar mixture.  BBQ for 5 minutes, turning occasionally.  Serve and enjoy!


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