Lisa Mueller is an award-winning Saskatoon REALTOR® with CENTURY 21 Fusion, with 12 years of experience in the real estate industry. She has worked with the brokerage as both a real estate agent and a broker manager, offering a wide array of experience in the way she works with home buyers, sellers, and other industry professionals. Even with her busy schedule, she was happy to spare a moment to talk about her experience as a local REALTOR® and why she would be the best fit for finding you and your family the dream home you’ve been searching for!
I chose to become a REALTOR® because I wanted to help families, and I had quite a bit of personal experience buying and selling homes! I had moved many times myself. At one time, I had moved 6 times in 8 years, packing up houses and kids, and my husband said to me, “You know, you should really get into real estate. You already know a lot of the processes and I think you could add a lot of value to clients in knowing what it really is like to get a house ready for sale, and to move a family!” So I really felt I had a lot to offer clients when they were going to list and sell.
I think a REALTOR® that has their own experience is vital because they really know what you’re feeling when you’re listing that home. Some of these REALTORS® that we had experienced weren't great communicators, and it kind of felt like they plopped the sign on the lawn and didn't follow through with the things they were saying. So that's what I wanted to focus on when I became a REALTOR®: good customer service and making sure I was communicating properly with the clients and so that they felt that the value they were getting was worth what they were paying.
My favourite part about being a REALTOR® is the clients and, obviously, is the possession days. That’s the end game. The goal is that you’re going to get that house sold for your listing clientele or you’re going to bring that buyer to the new house, open the door for them, and know they’re going to create memories that last a lifetime. It’s just the best feeling ever!
Buyers really need to make sure that their down payment is ready and that they get a good mortgage broker. Don’t just go to anyone. You need to find a mortgage broker that is going to explain to you how the whole process works with them and that they ensure that you are preapproved for a property so that you can actually go out shopping, write an offer, and not have to be concerned or not ready to do so. They should educate you on the costs involved in having a mortgage payment, taxes, and those different various things that a mortgage broker can do.
Once a mortgage broker has educated them, then I can help them from there in choosing the appropriate house. Some buyers need a lot of help with buying a house that’s got some renos and they’re not sure how much they are going to cost. And maybe they’re up for that challenge! But most brand new buyers should likely be buying a house that doesn’t have a lot of things that could come up. Educating them on the expenses is really important for new buyers so that they know what they’re up against.
I try and educate my buyers as much as I can during a showing. I don't just sit on my phone and text people while it’s going on. I'm walking through with them, pointing out things, and showing them where there might be an issue later on or something that we need a home inspector to look through if it comes to a home inspection. I just think it’s so important to educate buyers on the process, on what is a good home and what isn't a good home, so that they can feel really confident that I am representing them and that they're buying the best property they can for themselves.
I’ve been in real estate for over 14 years, and it’s definitely technology. Social media is especially playing a huge role in what buyers can buy and what sellers are selling for, and how educated the buyers and sellers are. And as a REALTOR®, you really need to be up to date with it all—where interest rates are headed, how to market a home, how to get the best home for your client. All those nuances are really, really important.
Well, I am a mother of three. I am super proud of my daughters—they are growing up to be very independent and hard-working. They just motivate, impress, and amaze me every day. I’ve been playing volleyball for over 30 years—I love it. I also have 2 small dogs, and I am a cat-lover, but my daughter is allergic to cats haha!
Other than that, I have an education degree and I did teach for a tiny little bit, and then I raised my kids for a little while. We moved a lot during that time and that’s when I decided to go into real estate and now I’ve been a REALTOR® for over 14 years. For 5 of those years, I ran a brokerage of 97 agents and 7 staff. I helped those agents by training them and onboarding them, educating them, and overseeing their deals.
I pretty much know anything that can go wrong in a deal and how to mitigate that or try to prevent it from happening. I always make sure that I let my clients know that we have to get proper conditions and terms in place on an offer. And, when it comes to listing a property, it must be properly listed—the house has to be measured and the different things that need to be done must be done properly. It’s what I taught agents for 5 years and I carry it with me today.
I also helped the staff with servicing the agents so that they could do their job and be successful at it.
I love Saskatoon because it’s a beautiful city. The river, the bridges, the people are just second to none. I feel like it’s small enough, but not too small because we have many, many services and things to do here. Still, you can drive here anywhere in 20-25 minutes, unless there's an accident and then it might be another 5 minutes.
And there’s lots of opportunities to move up at different companies, if you’re so inclined. It’s just a gorgeous city that, you know, we don’t really appreciate when we live here, I think. But when I get to show out of province buyers, then I realize even more how beautiful Saskatoon is and how much we need to appreciate it.
On a day-to-day basis, it’s my girls. I want to lead by example. And so I go out into the world every day, doing my best, and getting things accomplished, working with people that I like to work with. And I think that when clients see me, and watch how I work, they see that I care and that I want to see them happy in their new homes. Or in selling their homes, I think they see that I really want to have them feel very satisfied—more than satisfied with the job I did!
For sellers, the biggest piece of advice I have is that they really need to make sure they’re getting their home prepped for sale. It has to be clean, bright, and look like it is maintenance-free, if that’s at all possible. Don’t put it up for sale until, you know, the little things are done. You know, we don’t necessarily need to redo a kitchen, but we do need to touch up paint, clean up spaces, and have the house sparkling clean.
The other thing I would advise sellers to do is study the market, learn the market, and you do that through a REALTOR®. They should not be coming to you and just saying, “This is what we need to list your house for.” What they should be doing is showing all the different listings that
are on the market and those that have recently sold—that is what a buyer is willing to pay, really. And then, from there, you decide with the REALTOR® what that pricing should be. Then you’re going to have way more success.
One of the most important things that I add is that I did oversee over 10,000 deals when I was the broker manager of CENTURY 21 Fusion. I saw many REALTORS® come into my office. I was teaching them how to be with clients, how to protect their clients, how to represent them properly. And so I’ve put that back into action now that I’ve gone back into listing and selling properties.
I am very knowledgeable, and I've got a lot of experience. My experience is partly maybe from my age, but more from moving around the province. I've lived in about 12 different houses all around Saskatchewan, and I’ve owned several investment properties throughout the years, so I have a lot of experience with those, as well. We also ran a farm for 25 years, so I even know all about farming communities, small communities, and we had 3 different cabins, so I know about lake properties, as well. No matter what type of property you’re interested in buying, there’s a good chance that I’ve had experience with it and can draw from that to help you make the most informed decision possible for you.
CENTURY 21 is an international brand and so I chose it partially because there is so much access to tools and technology that we have. We have great websites, and I can refer anywhere across the country—or, really, across the globe. I think we’re professionals and we don’t just get into real estate because we don’t know what else to do with ourselves. CENTURY 21 agents go above and beyond. They want to ensure that their clients have a great experience!
Kind. Caring. Fun-Loving.
You’ve taken the plunge to put your home on the market, starting a new chapter, and your agent has just received your first offer—how exciting! Now what? Several factors can help you make an objective decision!
The first offer is most often a motivated buyer that has been perusing the market for some time already, understanding the market and what kind of inventory is available. They are excited about your home and want to beat their competition. However, you can negotiate with the buyers, coming back with a counteroffer for a better deal. If the first offer is below your goal range, you can use their fear of losing out and attachment to the house as leverage to bring it closer to your goals.
Turning down the first offer outright can be a gamble, as the longer it is on the market, the less likely you are to receive a higher offer. Going past the average amount of a property's "days on market" may prompt potential buyers to wonder if the price is too high or even if there is something wrong with the property. When the threat of competition diminishes, the strategy will shift from competitive offers to bargaining.
Unless you are in an ultra-hot market, you are simply looking for the best overall offer. Depending on your objective when selling your home, each component will carry different weights.
The closer the offer is to your listing price, the better—but beware of getting too greedy! First offers within 10% of the listing price may be worth negotiation if other offer components are sound.
Cash offers tend to be more reliable compared to those that are mortgage-backed as they guarantee a swifter close on the deal. Pre-approved buyers may be denied later for a multitude of reasons, such as changes in employment or low results of a home appraisal.
Purchase contingencies can be quite common in a deal stating that the offer is valid only if the listed criteria are met. On the seller’s side, you want as few contingencies as possible. There are few contingencies, such as home inspection and appraisal, which are relatively standard, though in some cases, buyers may remove them to make the deal more enticing to the seller. Home sale contingencies are not the most ideal as they may jeopardize your closing timeline if the buyer’s home fails to sell.
A buyer’s flexibility with closing and moving dates may influence your decision to accept the offer depending on your circumstances and if you need extra time in transition after the sale.
There is considerably less pressure to accept the first offer if you are in a competitive seller's market with multiple great offers. In which case, sellers and their agents can accept offers while they come in or put in an offer review date for the property.
A buyer's market means that the current housing supply exceeds the buyer's demand. Thus homes may sit on the market longer, and price depreciates over time. Suppose a home similar to yours is selling for a lower price than what you have it listed for. In that case, the lower price may actually be a more accurate depiction of what your home is currently worth on the market—no matter the other seller’s reasoning for pricing it as such, it will also affect you.
Discuss the areas of the offer you wish to improve with your real estate agent and craft a reasonable counter offer and deadline for the buyer’s response to keep the ball rolling. Contact me today about becoming your REALTOR® to help you navigate the busy Saskatoon housing market!
Our 5 senses play an integral role in our processing of the world around us; these sensory cues trigger our emotional responses. Thus, we associate different emotions with different experiences. Some subtle touches can highlight the best features of your home, creating the experience that has potential buyers imagining this as their future home!
What we sense by sight is one of the very first things we notice about a place we have never been in before. Set a welcoming tone for the experience from the moment potential home buyers pull up with a manicured lawn and healthy plants for the top curb appeal.
Inside, give your home a good declutter and clean! When looking at homes for sale, buyers want to feel assured that they have been well cared for and will have enough space for everything they need. If you are unsure where to start, use the top to bottom, left to right method—beginning with ceiling fans and tops of shelves, working your way down all the way to the floors, utilizing bins for knick-knacks, loose bits and bobs, and personal items. For extra organization, use a colour-coded container for each member of the household to better keep track.
Lastly, be sure to highlight key areas by opening up the curtains and turning on the lights in darker areas! Window dressings such as curtains and blinds can often be neglected, so be sure to give these some love and care.
Though we can become desensitized to the smells in our own homes, home sellers must put themselves in the buyer's shoes and thoroughly deodorize, neutralize, and freshen the space. Think about how off-putting pet odours and trash odours will be to buyers! Be sure to take out the trash and clean things like litter boxes, putting them away in the laundry room.
Experts recommend using harsh cleaning solutions for deep cleaning to prepare the home for new owners. However, we must advise against using products that have strong scents when showing to potential buyers. Instead, use only mildly scented products. Candles are also not recommended to be used during showings—not only for the risk of the open flame but also because overly scented/artificial aromas may signal buyers that you are trying to mask odours!
Experienced REALTORs will propose using more natural fragrances, such as doing laundry beforehand, placing dryer sheets in drawers, or using clean linen scented plug-in (unplugged a few hours before). These give the home a fresh and clean scent, rather than an artificial and unnatural one. Baking cookies before a showing or heating up a few drops of vanilla on the stove will also provide a sense of warmth and comfort. Studies have also shown that citrus scents make a home feel worth more.
A day of home showings can be exhausting to buyers, and no one can truly enjoy their experience if they're hungry or thirsty. Simple snacks and bottles of water left for potential buyers can be the exact touch needed to leave that lasting, welcoming impression. Those cookies we talked about earlier? They can serve a double purpose here, just saying!
Of all lasting impressions, dusty and gritty surfaces that leave texture on your hands aren’t a good one. Make sure to dust so that buyers’ fingers come away clean! You want to be sure that they feel comfortable enough to touch. And leave closet doors cracked open for them to check out the storage spaces and vacuum carpets (both ways) for that plush and luxurious feel.
The idea is to emphasize what is already amazing about your home and help buyers to imagine the life they can make in the home. Thinking your home may need more of a facelift to get it showing-ready? Consider whether you may need to renovate before selling your home and contact me today about becoming your REALTOR!
Have you just moved into your dream home and can’t wait to grow your own outdoor oasis with vegetables and flowers, but don't know where to get started? Or are you a notorious plant killer that is looking for guidance so your attempt at boosting your home’s curb appeal for sale doesn’t end in disappointment? Hope is not lost! Here is a list of essential tips to help you get started!
Like starting your home search, gardening is all about the location! The phrase "out of sight, out of mind" definitely applies to gardening, so be sure to place your garden somewhere that you will see regularly. That way, you will be more inclined to show it some TLC.
You also want to know where the sunlight hits in your yard, as most plants need large amounts of sun exposure to thrive. Placing your garden close to a water source where you can efficiently run a water hose is also incredibly important for when your plants get thirsty. A great indicator of this is if the soil is dry up to your first knuckle, then it’s time to give your plants a drink!
One of the best landscaping tips you can get regarding your home is to save time on lawn chores by reducing the grass-covered areas in your yard. The time you will save by combining the use of trees, shrubs, boulders, and other decorative plants to make an eye-catching display in your front and back yards is sure to amaze. And the beauty of these elements is that they are maintenance-free, leaving the time for you (or your potential buyers!) to dedicate yourself elsewhere.
You have found your ideal location and reduced your lawn chores, so now what? Start your garden-growing journey strong by using good, nutrient-rich soil. Many local garden gurus here in Saskatoon recommend working with compost, manure, or dried peat moss to combat the drier conditions we tend to face.
Match the plants you select to your growing conditions and be mindful of placement within your garden. Sunflowers are named as such for a reason, and pumpkins like ample elbow room for all of their vines. Ask around your Saskatoon neighbourhood what plants your neighbours find success with in your area and take note of what they have planted. And don’t forget about the different seasons!
Listing your home for sale soon and need some quick curb appeal without waiting for seeds to sprout? An easy way to fill an empty garden with plenty of colour in summer and into the fall is to plant a few annual starters and keep them well watered. They’ll keep everything looking cheery and bright for summer selling, then die off in the fall so the new owners can start fresh in the spring!
Planting too early or too late could mean an accidental killing spree on your plants. The last average spring frost date in Saskatoon is typically around May 15, so plan to plant after that to avoid casualties. And keep in mind the first seasonal frost happens usually around September 11th to 20th, so plan accordingly for fall flair!
Time release-fertilizers will keep your garden fed for more extended periods, meaning reducing the frequency you need to fertilize. And having a timed sprinkler system can shave countless hours off your maintenance schedule, which can be super helpful if you plan to spend more time at your Saskatchewan lake property this season!
Of course, the best news is, the more you garden, the better and more knowledgeable you will get! So don’t forget to have fun and enjoy the moments, whether they are the first in your new home or your last before you leave.
Homebuyers needing to finance their home are required to pass a stress test, and it's about to become harder to pass. Here's what you need to know about the stress test as it stands currently and what is about to change.
Introduced in 2018, the stress test for insured mortgages requires applicants to meet criteria that prove they could continue to make mortgage payments based on higher interest rates. For a stress test, mortgage lenders calculate the Gross Debt Service and Total Debt Service ratios to decide if applicants have a high enough income and low enough debt load to make higher mortgage payments should rates increase.
"Regulators plan to ratchet up the country's dreaded "stress test" qualifying rate for mortgage borrowers. As of June 1, loan applicants—regardless of the mortgage rate their lender has offered them—will need to prove they can afford an interest rate of 5.25 percent before getting approved for funding. The current benchmark is 4.79 percent." - Regina Leader-Post
Similar to crash tests done on new vehicles to determine the safety and integrity in the worst-case scenario, the same forward-thinking testing is done in the world of finance. Stress tests will model a bad scenario before the investment is made to show what would happen in case of a financial misfortune, and help determine exactly how much you can afford. If you were to suddenly have a reduced income or lost your job, could you still afford to make the same mortgage payments? What if interest rates were to spike, or you needed to refinance your home? This type of rainy-day planning is essential for a number of reasons.
First and foremost, interest rates are constantly in flux; as are home prices. According to CREA (the Canadian Real Estate Association), the average home price in Canada was over $500,000 in January 2020, up 11% from a year before. It's important to know that you can still afford to pay your mortgage if interest rates increase and could affect the kind of home you decide to buy.
Ultimately the new mortgage rules are in place to protect the Canadian housing industry by ensuring that Canadians are not over leveraging themselves. As a home buyer, this could mean that you will have to settle for a lower budget. Despite the frustration of some Canadians, it is expected that mortgage rates will rise, and this test will help you make sure you don't overextend yourself. This will protect you from future difficulties when interest rates eventually increase.
According to the Bank of Montreal, uninsured homebuyers who qualify with a 20% down payment or more will have their minimum qualifying rate based on either the 5-year benchmark rate offered by the Bank of Canada or the rate offered by their mortgage lender plus 2%—whichever is higher. On the other hand, buyers with default insured mortgages—making a down payment of less than 20%—must qualify using either the Bank of Canada 5-year benchmark rate or the rate offered by their mortgage lender, whichever is higher.
When you're in the process of qualifying for a mortgage, the stress test may seem like one more obstacle you need to overcome. Keep in mind, though, that it's there to protect you from future rate increases. And if you're feeling overwhelmed or like buying a house may not be possible right now, please don't hesitate to contact me. I can help you assemble a team of real estate professionals who will make the home buying process far less stressful.
It’s the time of year as we approach summer to expect more recreational properties to come on the market. And buying cabins and cottages is the newest fad sweeping Canada. But if you want to make that dream a reality, you’ll have to be willing to shell out some serious cash. What can be expected this season in the recreational property market?
In 2020 recreational properties across Canada saw prices increase by an average of 17%, and 2021 is forecasted to grow another 15%. This will depend greatly on the region, but you can expect increases in every province across Canada. Interestingly, out of 3 property categories—urban, suburban and recreational—recreational properties show the most significant increase in prices since the pandemic hit, with suburban properties coming in second.
Life during the pandemic has made cottage country and country living more desirable than ever in every part of Canada. Some families are purchasing these properties as primary residences, and some as true recreational properties. The reality is people want green spaces and a place to get away.
The news is great for cottage owners looking to sell, as they’re bound to get top dollar for their properties. However, for buyers, this will mean they will likely be competing with other buyers looking for the same type of property as they are as supply is the lowest it’s been in a long time.
Take advantage of the low interest rates on mortgages, secure financing and start looking now—don’t wait.
...with location—you may have to travel a little further from your home base than you would like, but if you’re able to open up a larger geographic area for your search, you’ll have a much better chance of success.
...with size, style, and finishes. Let’s face it, in this case, location is one thing you cannot compromise when searching for your dream recreational property, but you can always improve on it over the years, and that’s a good thing as you’ll only add value.
...with your offer—make your offer as attractive as possible by being flexible on the dates, terms, and conditions.
Work with an experienced local REALTOR® who knows what to look for in a recreational property. There can be many different things about owning a recreational property that you aren’t familiar with, well water, septic systems, regulations around what you can and can’t do on your property/shoreline, and the list goes on.
Think it might be time to live your dream with a recreational property? I’d love to help you find the perfect one. Check out lake properties for sale in Saskatchewan, and contact me today to hear about exclusive listings before they hit the market!
Deciding to sell your home is a big deal and a choice you likely did not make lightly. With countless memories and the time, money, and effort you've spent making it feel unique to you will make it hard to let go. However, if selling is the right decision for you and your family, you want to do it the smart way. Following this guide will help you achieve the rewarding outcome you are hoping for.
Make a List of the Things You Love About Your Home
There's a reason, likely many reasons, why you purchased your home and will miss when you leave. Take the time to write down the things you enjoy and will miss when the sale is complete. It is very likely the potential buyers will see value in these items as well, and you will want to highlight these items in your listing and when staging.
Compile the Facts
Take the time to compile all information a potential buyer will want to know about your property—taxes, lot size, utility costs, and other pertinent information. It's always a good idea to have this information ready for your real estate agent.
Document Recent Repairs
Your home will be more attractive to potential buyers if they see that you have been steadily working to improve its value. There is great appeal to buyers knowing they can purchase a home that won't need a lot of additional investment to bring it up to their standards. Have a list of repairs and dates when they were completed for your agent to include in your listing.
Hire a Building Inspector
Hiring an inspector to complete a pre-inspection before placing your home on the market will inform you of any potential problems to address. After all, most buyers will request a home inspection in their conditions. If the inspection shows too many repairs required on the report, they may get "cold feet" and walk away from the deal. By taking care of these issues in advance, you can ward off these potential problems before an interested party ever steps foot in your home.
1) First, Find a Local REALTOR® that is Right for You
The right real estate agent will serve you, not themselves. They will look out for your interests, list your house using the latest marketing techniques, and negotiate the best deal possible for your property.
2) Outline a Plan
Make the most of the time leading up to your home sale. First, if you have an idea of when you want to list your house, break your to-do list into manageable bite-size pieces. Then, work with your REALTOR® to prioritize these to give you the focus you need to get everything done on time.
Pack up anything you can live without until your home sells. Then, store it away until you get into your new home.
4) Tackle Repairs
Review the home inspection report, ask your agent where your fix-it dollars will do the most good.
5) Deep Clean
Scrub every surface until it shines. Then, hire a professional to make carpets and rugs look and smell new again.
6) Set the Stage
Create a welcoming space that invites buyers to see your house as their own with these tips.
7) Stay Organized
A tidy home is non-negotiable. Buyers shouldn't have to see past your clutter. Clean up the kid clutter and stow away pet supplies. Throw the appliances that aren't used every day in the kitchen cabinets, and do the same in the bathrooms. Toss any personal items in the drawer to keep them out of sight.
8) Price Your Home to Sell
Your house is only worth what buyers are willing to pay, not how much sentimental value you've placed on it. Therefore, it's essential to think about price objectively and trust the Comparative Market Analysis completed by your real estate agent. This free home valuation compares your home to other similar homes nearby that have sold recently or are currently on the market, allowing your agent to predict what buyers will pay for your home accurately.
9) Survive Showings
Whether you have kids, pets, or just a busy job, home showings can be hard to juggle. But, if you're still living in the home you're selling, these helpful tips can help you minimize the insanity and get your home sold.
Tip #1: Make a daily to-do list. Reduce the panic of surprise showings by putting things away as soon as you're done with them. Create a checklist of simple tasks to complete before you leave home every day.
Tip #2: Get pets out during showings. Allow buyers to focus on your home's best features instead of your barking dog.
Tip #3: Try to be flexible. Try to make any proposed showings work in your schedule, and don't expect buyers to work around you.
10) Negotiate the Contract
Negotiations begin once you have an offer on your home. Your REALTOR® will explain the details in a way that is easy to understand. Never sign an agreement before you're clear about what is and is not included in the offer and how it affects you as a seller.
Pay close attention to:
This is not an easy question to answer since there are a LOT of variables involved. Homes in Saskatoon averaged 59 days on the market in December 2020. Keep in mind that number is an average. How long it takes to sell your home will depend on local real estate market trends and the specifics of your home.
Here are some things that can impact how long your home will take to sell:
Local real estate market conditions. If you live somewhere with a sizzling seller's market, you can often expect your home to sell more quickly than those with fewer buyers.
The season. Typically, if you want to get the most for your home and decrease its time on the market, listing your house in late spring is the best bet. But that's not always the case for every home or market. When it comes down to it, the best time to sell your house is when it's the right time for you.
Your home's location. Details like what school zone it is in, the neighbourhood, and how close it is to amenities can also affect how long it takes to sell your home.
The price. Larger and more expensive homes can take longer to sell because the pool of buyers is smaller.
The closing process. If the buyers are using a mortgage to buy a home, the closing date is usually dependent on their financing going through. Closing can also be delayed if issues should arise in the home inspection or appraisal.
Remember, this is not an exhaustive list of the factors that can affect how long it takes to sell your house. Again, you can talk to your real estate agent about a realistic timeline for your specific home.
No matter what, the best way to have an incredible experience selling a home is to partner with a professional local real estate agent. The right agent should guide you every step of the way, making the process go as smoothly as possible. So contact me today and ask about my proven track record!
Known as the Paris on the Prairies, Saskatoon is the largest city in Saskatchewan. With the South Saskatchewan River flowing through its centre, as well 6 traffic bridges and 2 train bridges, it has also been called the City of Bridges by many, too! No matter what nickname you choose to use, though, there is a lot to love about the city of Saskatoon; and more and more people are choosing it as a wonderful place to live, work and raise a family! Why? Well, here are just 10 reasons why:
Saskatoon lies on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River and has wide, tree-lined streets amid vast parks and green spaces. Listed by Reader’s Digest as one of the top 10 greatest hikes in Canada, the Meewasin Valley Trail extends for 60 kilometres along the east and west banks of the South Saskatchewan River. The trail is also great for cycling, running, and walking your furry friends, and is well-maintained year-round.
From the Wintershines Festival to the Saskatoon Blues Festival, the Fringe Festival to the Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan, Saskatoon is home to many festivals throughout the year. No matter what your interests, there is a season for you, and plenty of fun for the whole family at the city’s annual Exhibition Fair!
As the city’s slogan states, ‘Saskatoon Shines’! No matter the time of year—whether the ground is cloaked in snowy white or graced with green grass—the sky overhead is likely to be filled with sunshine. Residents of Saskatoon enjoy an average 2,381 hours of sunshine every year (a fact which undoubtedly contributes to their sunny dispositions). If you are looking for a place to soak up the sun, visit one of the city’s 198 parks or take a drive out to one of the many nearby beaches found at Pike Lake or Blackstrap Lake Provincial Parks.
What do Paris and Saskatoon have in common? Bridges! Six traffic bridges and two train bridges span the city, all of which cross the South Saskatchewan River, and make travel through the city quick and convenient, no matter where you are coming from.
For those who love live performances on the stage, the Persephone Theatre is made for you! Sigh, laugh, cry, and immerse yourself in the world of creative theatrical performances hosted at the Persephone throughout the year, including comedies, classics, tragedies, and even contemporary pieces. The theatre offers something for everyone, so discover the beautiful world of the human imagination and experience it all for yourself.
The Remai Modern Art Gallery sits on the banks of the Saskatchewan River, and offers 11 gallery spaces and spectacular views of the twisting waterway over the city plains. It hosts an assortment of art designs and tastes from the 21st century, and is regularly updated, so you can visit over and over again for a new experience each and every time!
Wanuskewin Heritage Park is a monument to the history of the Northern Plains indigenous people of Canada. It features a beautifully renovated heritage site—home to exhibits, a gift shop, and gorgeous conference and event spaces—as well as over 6 kilometres of walking trails amongst the stunning landscape. The park is designed to help visitors connect and understand the culture of bygone societies and their bond with the land.
Saskatoon enjoys one of the lowest costs of living among major cities in Canada. This means that you will pay less for housing, utilities, food, and taxes in Saskatoon than in other similar-sized or larger cities. Paying less for these essential things means that you will have more money available for saving or spending on less essential items!
The Saskatoon real estate market is known to be quite generous, giving you much more bang for your buck than other major Canadian cities, such as Toronto or Vancouver. The average price of residential properties in the first quarter of 2021 was just $333,826. The mature Nutana area, the family-friendly Sutherland neighbourhood, vibrant City Park, and the peaceful Avalon district are some of the most popular places to settle down in.
Of course, these are just some of the reasons you’ll love living in Saskatoon, should you decide to buy a home here. If you’re ready to move to Saskatoon please reach out to me. We can discuss your neighborhood, and lifestyle wish list and find a home that will suit your needs!
The Saskatoon real estate market is hot right now. Buyers are searching for homes for sale quicker than they are coming on the market, and homes in certain price ranges are seeing an increase in value. This is making it even tougher to get onto the property ladder as a first time home buyer. These programs from the Government of Canada may be helpful to you if you are ready to start your house hunt:
The First-Time Home Buyer Incentive is just like it sounds—an incentive for first time home buyers to buy their first house.
If you have the minimum down payment for an insured mortgage, you can apply to finance a portion of your home through a shared equity mortgage with the Government of Canada. For a purchase price of $500,000 or less, the minimum down payment is 5%. When the purchase price is above $500,000, the minimum down payment is 5% for the first $500,000 and 10% for the remaining portion.
A shared equity mortgage is where you take a smaller mortgage, in exchange for your lender owning some equity in the home. You’ll essentially become a co-owner of the property alongside your bank lender. You’ll get to live in the house, but only borrow a fraction of the purchase price. When you sell the house, you’ll share the profits and losses from the sale with the lender, in line with your equity share.
The Home Buyer’s Amount is a non-refundable credit for first-time home buyers and buyers with disabilities. It offers a $5,000 non-refundable income tax credit amount on a qualifying home acquired during the year. For an eligible buyer, the credit will provide up to $750 in federal tax relief.
The Home Buyers’ Plan is a program through the Canada Revenue Agency that allows eligible first-time home buyers to withdraw up to $35,000 in a calendar year from their RRSP to buy or build a qualifying home. The program states the funds withdrawn must be paid back within 15 years.
To begin buying a house, start by assembling a team of real estate professionals to guide you through the process. Your lender can help you understand exactly what you can afford, and the steps you can take to afford the home you want. They can also give you solid advice on whether the first-time homebuyer incentive is something you should participate in. Your lender can then provide you with a pre-approval which will help your REALTOR® assist you in not only finding a home, but also in making an offer and negotiating the real estate agreement on your behalf!
When you buy a home with a REALTOR®, you gain peace of mind knowing they’re trained professionals who work with property purchase contracts on a daily basis. Having said that, you are still the principal on this contract and you should never sign anything that you do not fully understand. Let’s dig a bit deeper into a typical real estate purchase agreement, specifically looking at conditions and clauses.
An Agreement of Purchase and Sale is a written contract between a seller and a buyer for the purchase and sale of a property. In the agreement, the buyer agrees to purchase the property for a certain price, provided that a number of terms and conditions are satisfied.
The process begins when the purchaser makes an offer, which is irrevocable for a certain time period. If there are no counteroffers and the agreement is signed by the seller within the time period the offer was left open, then the agreement becomes legally binding. At this point the agreement cannot be cancelled unless both parties agree. If the offer is not signed before the offer expires, it will become void.
Fixtures are improvements made to a property that are attached or cannot easily be removed without causing damage to the property. Examples include: hot water heaters, built-in cabinets, light fixtures, etc. These items are assumed to be included in the sale of the home, unless they are specifically excluded in the agreement.
Chattels are moveable items of personal property, and must specifically be listed in the Agreement if they are to be part of the sale of the home. Examples include: appliances, lawn and garden equipment, blinds or drapes, etc.
The requisition date is the time within which the homebuyer has to examine the title, and complete all other searches. It is within the buyer’s best interest to do a number of searches to ensure that there are no problems with the property. These include things such as searching the registered ownership of the property with the land registry, checking that the property complies with zoning regulations, and searching for any outstanding municipal work orders. Usually the buyer’s agent and lawyer will handle this.
The removal date is the date on which conditions must be fulfilled, waived, or removed for the agreement to be binding and for the transaction to proceed to closing.
Closing arrangements are when all relevant documents are exchanged by the lawyers on both sides of the agreement and the sale is finalized.
The completion date or possession date is the date that the seller must give vacant possession of the property to the buyer.
The rest of the renovations that you may be considering will need to be decided on individually. This is where your REALTOR® will be a big help deciding whether or not these renovations will pay off, depending on the overall standard for the rest of the neighborhood and for homes in a similar price range, as well as how seriously out of date your home may be currently.
There are numerous types of conditions that might be included in the Offer to Purchase, including:
Financing Condition - This offer is conditional upon the buyer obtaining approval of a mortgage on the property in the amount set forth in the agreement on or before a given date.
This condition is typically included to protect the buyer in the case that they are unable to secure the required financing, causing them to lose their deposit and potentially being sued by the seller for non-completion of the transaction.
Subject to Home Inspection - This means that the offer is conditional upon the inspection of the subject property by a professional home inspector, and the obtaining of a report satisfactory to the buyer in their sole discretion on or before a given date.
The home inspection clause is standard and appears in almost every residential real estate transaction. This condition gives the buyer the right to have the home professionally inspected by a certified home inspector to evaluate the house that is being sold. This condition is the buyer’s way of being protected from the unknown deficiencies in the home. The house must pass the inspection for the purchase to proceed or the buyer and seller may further negotiate their agreement to account for the findings in the home inspection.
Subject to Encroachment Check - This means that the offer is conditional upon the buyer obtaining and approving a satisfactory encroachment check on or before a given date.
An encroachment check will help the buyer determine if the building(s) on the land comply with zoning bylaws or if there are any encroachments by building(s) onto adjacent lands. The survey will also determine whether any building(s) from neighbouring lands encroach upon the subject’s property. A recent survey can disclose the location of fences to the property boundary and if there have been recent additions to the property. Lastly, the survey helps to determine whether anyone else may have a claim against the subject property or if any rights of way or easements exist.
Subject to Gas Line Encroachment - This means that the offer is conditional upon the buyer obtaining and approving a satisfactory gas line encroachment check on or before a given date.
This condition is usually standard, and is simply a request submitted to SaskEnergy to facilitate an inspection of the natural gas facilities at the property. Encroachments are classified in the following ways:
Subject to Property Information Disclosure - This means the offer is conditional upon the buyer obtaining and approving a satisfactory property information disclosure report on or before a given date.
A property information disclosure statement is provided by the City of Saskatoon or the necessary municipality at the request of the buyer. The information provided reflects the results of a search of existing building records, including building code, plumbing code, and deficiencies of the property at the time of the last inspection.
The report will also outline all building permits that have been issued for the property and whether there were any deficiencies at inspection. This report will help the buyer determine whether there has been any unpermitted work done on the property and if any deficiencies may exist.
Subject to Property Condition Disclosure Statement (PCDS) - This means that the offer is conditional upon the buyer viewing and approving the PCDS on or before a given date.
A Property Condition Disclosure Statement is a document completed by the homeowner at the time of listing the home for sale. In this report, the seller is required to disclose defects that they are personally aware of. The seller is responsible for the accuracy of the answers in the Disclosure and can be held accountable by law for any inaccuracies they knowingly provide.
Of course, you can also add any additional conditions that you feel are important for the seller to consider your offer. These include the sale of your own property, removal of garbage from the back yard, leaving window treatments, appliances, special lighting, etc. While the conditions are meant to protect you and you should take advantage of them, beware of including too many in the offer because you may lose the deal if the seller should reject your offer. Your experienced local REALTOR® will be able to help you best define which conditions to include in your offer, and guide you through the process!
Completing an Agreement of Purchase and Sale can be complicated and technical. Before the Agreement becomes final, it may get modified as the result of negotiations between the buyer and the seller, and counteroffers presented to the buyer by the seller. Be certain that you understand all the terms of the Agreement and review them with a real estate professional before finalizing the agreement.