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The Caswell Team

The Caswell Team

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Let's Grow Some Weed!

(Published on - 3/16/2019 6:20:10 PM)

Unless you’ve been living under a Canadian Shield rock in Northern Ontario and are unaware of the huge news, on October 17th, 2018, Canada made the monumental transformation to become only the second country worldwide to legalize marijuana (aka. weed, cannabis, ganja, greens……).  From coast to coast to coast, there was a diverse mix of celebration, angst, wonder and confusion.  There are plenty of arguments as to cannabis’ benefits, lots of those out there who believe the prohibition was necessary and a massive amount of the population in the middle ground who realize the benefits of this legalization while still holding concerns over the usage and a plethora of confusion over what this all means to each of us individually and society as a whole.

This piece is not written to provide you with guidance on the best way to germinate your seeds or how to properly harvest, it will not get into the politics of who’s right and who’s wrong, this will not discuss health benefits or negative effects of smoking weed, and I will do my best to refrain from providing my own opinions in here as to whether or not the Cannabis Act is good or bad as a whole.  Although those that know me well know where I stand!

Because we are real estate agents and this is a real estate blog, what this article will discuss is the implications of the Cannabis Act in relation to your present and future home ownership.  It will not get into the rights and hazards of smoking indoors, but rather it focuses more on the cultivation side of things.  It also discusses the major issues surrounding the implementation of the Act that, in my opinion, weren’t properly thought out and where mechanisms were missed to protect buyers and sellers with the largest investment they will probably make in their lifetime.  And, on even a more micro scale, related to your home, camp and investment ownership in Greater Sudbury and surrounding areas.

As some background, the Act’s implementation, in a basic sense, was to legalize the use of marijuana nationwide.  But, other than a few very basic elements, much of the structure and execution of the Act was downloaded to each province to create their own individual framework.  So, for the purpose of this article and to assist our clients further, this article will be narrowed down to focus in on issues pertaining to the specific laws that Ontario has designed which you can CLICK HERE to access the basics of the legislation.  

In Ontario, you have been granted the right to have up to four plants growing at anytime on your property, although you will notice some exceptions.  This means, in general, you can install some lights, grab some pots and convert a closet, dedicate an entire room, put them on display for your neighbours in your living room window or plant them next to your tomatoes in the garden without any criminal repercussions.  For the most part, this applies to tenants of rental units and condominium owners as well, although there may be exceptions based on individual tenancy agreements and condominium by-laws.  If you fit in these parameters, check with your landlord, condominium corp. or even seek legal advice if necessary.

So, now that it’s legal, let’s grow some weed!  It’s not illegal and no one can stop you!  But, before you head off to the local gardening store for materials, here’s some items of major importance to consider regarding your home, apartment, camp, investment property or even vacant land you own.

Is it illegal to kick holes in your walls and rip your kitchen cabinet doors off?  Absolutely not, but that doesn’t mean an appraiser will think of these remodels as value added to the property.  Is it a criminal offence to not have a working bathroom fan that causes moisture build-up and potential mould issues?  You certainly won’t end up in front of a judge for it, but a home inspector is going to report their concerns to the buyer about it.  Is it against the Criminal Code of Canada to not have insurance on your property?  No, but your mortgage company is going to demand their money back when they find out you don’t have it.

This new law has created MASSIVE gray areas and blind spots in our industry and we’re already seeing enormous problems arising due to the expedited way this law was passed.  If you’re growing weed in your house, banks and insurance companies may still consider your home a “grow-op”.  Appraisers, when coming in on behalf of a bank, have a fiduciary duty to report back to the bank if they see cannabis growing in the property.  Home inspectors have a duty of care to the buyer to outline their concerns if they witness weed growing or evidence that it has been , including the horror stories we’ve all heard about potential for mould and “non-licenced” electrical modifications creating unsafe living conditions.

Personally, this is just my opinion, and not necessarily an opinion shared by my Caswell Team teammates, these 3rd parties to the purchase and sale of a home – namely insurance and mortgage lenders – are going to use these angles as huge money makers for themselves.  If you’re buying a home where the seller states they have been growing weed legally indoors, it’s more than likely the banks and the insurance companies will increase your rates due to the “risks” involved or, even worse, flat out decline you for either or both.  An increase of a ¼ point on a mortgage or 20% higher premiums on insurance, when pushed out over the term of the mortgage or over a decade of insurance, becomes an exponential amount of money out of your pocket and profits to line theirs.

As a seller, you’re thinking, “well, that’s the buyer’s problem, not mine,” but you couldn’t be more wrong.  Once an appraisal of your home is in the system that mentions marijuana being grown in the property, it is registered for all lenders to see.  Once a lender declines financing on a property due to this, other lenders will take note.  Once an insurance company declines coverage, you, as the current owner, could be declined coverage.  Once a home inspector reports that there might be mould growth or electrical issues due to the cultivation, they’re obligated to tell the next buyer they do an inspection for. 

There are so many damaging possibilities to you as a seller that will quickly and adversely impact the value and saleability of your biggest investment.  The problem – there are no mechanisms in the Cannabis Act, federally or provincially, to protect you from these 3rd parties taking these liberties at your expense.  Ironically, none of this would surface if you disclosed you had four tomato plants growing in your kitchen.  So why are they given free reign to take you to task on this?  Because they’re using the gray areas and archaic mindsets to take advantage for profit and reduce the risks to shareholders.

Thanks Caz – so I just won’t tell anyone!” is what you’re thinking.  Sure, but that could land you in an even more expensive lawsuit.  It is a seller’s responsibility to disclose any Latent Defects on a property.  A Latent Defect is something that couldn’t be discovered reasonably through a standard inspection.  If you had a closet in the basement quarantined for your plants with no ventilation then removed it before listing your home, you could still be held liable for not disclosing a potential, or actual, health hazard hidden behind the walls if the new occupants discover a problem.  “But how would they know?” you’re thinking.  Ever show your plants to a buddy or a neighbour?  Ever post a pic on Instagram to show everyone how beautiful they are?  You never know who is going to buy your house and who they are, or will become, friends with.  What happens when the buyer goes to renovate that closet and finds the issues that have been causing their child’s asthma to act up?

So, moral of the story, unless you plan on never selling your house (laughable - Michelle and I said that 100 times in a seven-year span that saw us move five times!), buy a self contained moveable “grow box” or, even better, grow your weed outside.  But, before you start tilling the garden, there’s one other issue to think about if you want to keep your plants!

In most real estate transactions, there are Chattels and Fixtures.  Chattels are moveable items that aren’t attached to the property that the buyer and seller have agreed will remain with the property (ie. fridge, Rubbermaid™ shed, garage door remotes).  Fixtures are anything that is attached to the property that the seller is going to remove and take with them (ie. dining room chandelier, the basketball net attached to the garage, tv mount for the flat screen).  Plants are rooted into the property and, therefore, are part of the property and treated as “fixtures”.  In order to take that tree you planted in Grandma’s honour or, in this case, your weed plants, it must be agreed upon IN WRITING on the offer.  Guess who gets the offer when the buyer applies for financing…..  you’ve just disclosed to the bank that marijuana is being cultivated on the property and you’ve circled back into the war chest of problems discussed above.

In full disclosure, we were as ignorant as everyone else when this law was passed.  But we’re starting to deal with the full buffet of implications that are occurring.  It’s like the governments put all parties involved in our industry into a Maserati™ that only goes full speed and pointed us into a snowstorm with white-out conditions.  We’re all doing our best to navigate blindly through the system while doing everything we can to keep it on the road.  The storm is slowly dissipating for us, but it’ll take some time to finally get onto a clear path moving forward.

Things will continue to evolve under this new world order in Northern Ontario and Canada as a whole.  As your Realtors®, we’re deep in the trenches for all things related to your real estate needs, including this ever-changing legalization, and we’re here to help guide you through these fascinating new times with our expertise.  But, for now, grab some 5-gallon pails to grow your plants outside and take them over to your mother-in-law’s before our photographer shows up and we list your property for sale!

Hope you enjoyed the read and never hesitate to contact us with any questions, comments and suggestions, including any other topics you’d like to see us discuss on here.  You can reach us anytime through our team email account – caswellteam@realtyexecutives.com – and keep coming back to see what’s new and exciting in Greater Sudbury and definitely more updates as our experiences amplify around when the Cannabis Act comes into play in our industry!

Contributed by:

Steve Caswell

Cell - 705.561.8767

caz@realtyexecutives.com

 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other salespersons, staff or affiliates of Realty Executives of Sudbury LTD. Brokerage, Realty Executives International, the Sudbury Real Estate Board, Ontario Real Estate Association, Canadian Real Estate Association or any of their subsidiaries.  For any concerns pertaining to the content herein, please contact us immediately at caswellteam@realtyexecutives.com.


A Day In The Life of a Realtor® Mom

(Published on - 3/16/2019 6:19:10 PM)

Well I thought for my first ever blog the best thing for me to chat about would be a little bit about me and how for the last 4 years I have been working what feels like 10 jobs. The juggling act that comes with running my own successful Real Estate business, raising my two small children (3 and 1) and helping my husband build his business in new home construction and contracting (Carniello Contracting) is very trying at times.  But I couldn’t imagine doing anything else as, being all those things, including a full-time Realtor® here in Greater Sudbury for the last 11 years, has been amazing!

I’m going to take you through an example of one day in our household and I’m sure there are other working moms out there that can relate to the insanity and get a good chuckle…….

Our mornings consist of me waking the kids or one creeping into my room to tell me it’s time to get up because the sun is up! I may get 2 minutes alone in the bathroom if I’m lucky or I have a toddler standing there waiting and watching my every move. Then onto getting breakfast and lunches ready as I’m often too tired to do them the night before. Don’t forget your own breakfast, mom! Then it’s off to get the kids dressed and packed up into the car to head to daycare. First drop is the little one and then it’s onto daycare number two because one didn’t have room for the second. Ahhhhhh (the super relaxing “ahhh”, not the stressed out “AHHHH!”), the five-minute drive to work with just me and the radio – bliss.

Finally, I get to the office, open my computer and start confirming my showings that are booked for the afternoon while also doing a Market Analysis for a past client that is looking to sell their house. In my spare time (if there is such a thing), normally while I’m snacking lunch, it’s bookkeeping duties for my husband’s business.

After a full day of office work and 4:30pm approaches, it’s off to pick the kids up by 5:00pm.  I must get them home and begin dinner so that I can leave in time for my showings that start at 6:00pm. My husband walks in the door to take over, we get two minutes in passing to go over the current status of dinner, kids, bath time, etc., and off I go again!

Round 2 at work today as I meet my client to take them through 4-5 homes and they decide they would like to write an offer. Back to the office we go to discuss the offer details and sign. Time is of the essence in real estate deals, so waiting for a more convenient time for us isn’t an option in our profession. Then, it’s off to the offer presentation with the other agent and the sellers. Finally, the offer gets accepted after a couple counters back and forth.  Always fun in a snow storm when the house and sellers are in Hanmer and the buyers are in Moonglo!  Exhausted, I head home to have some reheated dinner before cleaning up and flopping into to bed for the night.  Wait, did anyone feed the dog?

Tomorrow – repeat.

All kidding aside, my favourite part about the real estate business is no two days, clients or properties are the same while being a mom is all about routine.  Having a career where everyday is different and a family routine to wake up with and come home to is the best of both worlds.  And being self-employed and having supporting teammates on my side gives me the flexibility to know when I need to take in some more family time!

Our team is incredibly diverse, and we can relate to any type of lifestyle you’re living.  Whether you’re a busy family, newlyweds looking for your first home, enjoying the single life or anywhere in between, never hesitate to contact us with any questions, to see how we can help you by sharing our knowledge, expertise and daily life experiences.  You can reach us anytime through our team email account – caswellteam@realtyexecutives.com – and keep coming back here to see what’s new and exciting in Greater Sudbury real estate!

Contributed by:

Amanda Gervais

Cell - 705.929.1930

agervais@realtyexecutives.com

 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other salespersons, staff or affiliates of Realty Executives of Sudbury LTD. Brokerage, Realty Executives International, the Sudbury Real Estate Board, Ontario Real Estate Association, Canadian Real Estate Association or any of their subsidiaries.  For any concerns pertaining to the content herein, please contact us immediately at caswellteam@realtyexecutives.com.


Multi Family Residential Investments

(Published on - 2/26/2019 12:24:02 AM)

Well, it has been an interesting start to the 2019 real estate market in Sudbury!  

Since the first week in January my phone has not stopped ringing with buyers and investors calling about the Multi-Family market in Sudbury. What is Multi Family you ask?  Rental income properties of the residential nature.

Why Sudbury?  What makes the Sudbury area attractive to Buyers is the fact that rental income is very good, with an average two-bedroom apartment renting for over $1000 per month, plus utilities in most cases. Further, Greater Sudbury is also experiencing a low vacancy rate as the “stress test” the Canadian government has forced onto lenders over the last two years has stalled a lot of renters from moving into home ownership. But, the impact of the “stress test” on the market conditions as a whole is a topic for another day.

In regards to Multi-Family investment, this factor above, along with still historic low interest rates is providing investors an opportunity to invest in real estate and generate a positive cash flow even after borrowing costs. I’m even seeing a lot of Southern Ontario buyers targeting Sudbury as a place they are looking to invest in because of the high return on investment in the North that is not available in the Southern Ontario market due to much higher purchase prices. 

The basis of purchasing investment properties is that, over the course of time, a real estate investment will appreciate while the tenants are paying down the debt. If you are considering venturing into this area of investment, I would highly recommend working with an experienced Realtor® who will help you navigate through all of the factors that will help you maximize your return on investment.

But, before you CLICK HERE to rush to our website to check out all the income property listings, here is just a quick snapshot of a few of the key items that are necessary for a successful transaction:

  • Choosing the right location,
  • Ensuring proper use zoning,
  • Verification of income and expenses,
  • Proper building inspections,
  • And plenty more is required to steer through these purchases!

With all that above, these types of purchases usually come down to one basic item - the financials of the property.  In order to professionally assess, verify and manage the due diligences required on these properties, I can’t emphasis enough the importance of partnering with an expert Realtor® to assist so that you are able to meet or exceed the financial benchmarks of the current Sudbury market.

The Multi Family investment model is a project, small business and or investment that you can add to your present portfolio or current career path which is a nice option to have so maybe down the road it will provide you a good secondary source of income and equity.  I, along with my colleagues on the Caswell Team, are ready to sit down and help you with this assessment to ensure a successful outcome for your future!  Never hesitate to contact us at caswellteam@realtyexecutives.com or call us at 705.586.3334 for any questions you may have regarding Multi-Family investment properties or any other real estate needs.

Contributed by:

Gary Doyle

Cell - 705.691.6166

gdoyle@realtyexecutives.com

 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other salespersons, staff or affiliates of Realty Executives of Sudbury LTD. Brokerage, Realty Executives International, the Sudbury Real Estate Board, Ontario Real Estate Association, Canadian Real Estate Association or any of their subsidiaries.  For any concerns pertaining to the content herein, please contact us immediately at caswellteam@realtyexecutives.com.

  


Decluttering

(Published on - 2/26/2019 12:22:58 AM)

Although it may not seem like it now with winter being in full force, spring is just around the corner and many homes will be coming to market in Greater Sudbury….  And hopefully with the Caswell Team!

If you are one of those people that is waiting for the spring market to list so that you can show off that beautifully landscaped yard, lockstone driveway, super green and manicured lawn or that oasis inground pool… this tidbit is definitely for you.

Although curb appeal is an eye catcher for listing your home, it is very important to make sure that the interior of your home is show ready as well…. And now is the time to work on that.

One of the easiest and cheapest ways to prepare your home for market is by decluttering!  I cannot stress this enough.  You are going to be moving, so why not start packing it up,

There is a way that most people live and then there is a way on how people should sell.  All of those personal pictures, keepsakes and all those knick knacks that everyone collects over the years, believe it or not, are ultimately hurting the sale of your house.   Buyers are trying to picture themselves living there when they are viewing homes…. not moving in with you!

We work with many buyers and pay a lot of attention to their first reaction when walking into a home.  The “less is more” saying really shines true in this situation.

When getting started, I typically visualize three piles.  Items to keep, Items to donate/yard sale and Items to toss.

Here are a few tips on what you can be doing in preparation:

  • Personal Pictures. Always nice to have frames on the walls or on a table, but better to stick to less personal pictures.
  • Kids toys. Do they really play with all of them?  Stick to a toy box of their favourites, keep them in there for each showing and always keep them out of “formal” living spaces.
  • Refrigerator clutter. All the kid’s art, your magnet collection from the past decade, photographs, memos, etc…. remove.    
  • Night stand items. Stick to only a table lamp, your book and if you are one of the few who still uses one, an alarm clock.
  • Kitchen Counter clutter. Only keep out the small frequently used appliances to show off more counter space.
  • Kitchen Cupboards. Keep them organized…. especially the Tupperware one!
  • Kitchen Pantry. Toss the expired items and keep it neat. 
  • Remove that piece of furniture that is never used.  The room will look larger.
  • Donate some of your clothes if they are never worn and keep everything folded or hung neatly.
  • Decorative bins/baskets and hooks on the wall in entry ways for coats/dog leashes/shoes etc., are great for keeping things looking tidy. 
  • Storage/crawl space area. Keep items in bins, will be easy on the eyes and easier when moving.

This is just a small list of things you can do to improve the first impression that Buyers will have when they walk through the door.  Once you get started you will feel a sense of pride of ownership and it will benefit in the sale of your house, I promise!

Part of our business is helping you from the start.  Don’t hesitate to reach out to us to come over and discuss these items or even to see how you’re making out with all the recommendations above.  That’s what we’re here for!  Pop us an email at caswellteam@realtyexecutives.com and let’s set up an appt to get your home into the decluttered category and ready for that spring listing!

Contributed by:

Michelle Caswell

Cell - 705.507.1229

mcaswell@realtyexecutives.com

 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other salespersons, staff or affiliates of Realty Executives of Sudbury LTD. Brokerage, Realty Executives International, the Sudbury Real Estate Board, Ontario Real Estate Association, Canadian Real Estate Association or any of their subsidiaries.  For any concerns pertaining to the content herein, please contact us immediately at caswellteam@realtyexecutives.com.


Intro

(Published on - 1/29/2019 5:56:45 PM)

Welcome to the New Caswell Team Blog!

As we move our way into 2019, the Caswell Team continues our efforts to provide maximum value for our past, present and future clients with a focus on an even stronger online and social media presence.  We all know the “web” hosts mass amounts of information and buyers and sellers have become much more tech savvy in the way they approach the biggest financial decisions of their lives.  And we want to be a source for that information!

So, welcome to the newest addition to our team – The Caswell Team Blog – where we’re going to share our expertise, provide some profound (and not so profound) insights and talk about our experiences.  If you’re looking for something dry and mind-numbing, this probably isn’t the place to look.  If you’re looking for interesting information on Greater Sudbury real estate, you want to read entertaining stories from the daily life of real estate agents or just want to understand who we are a little more, then this is the spot!

This blog will have no set structure.  These will not be “copy and pasted” boiler plate stuff that some firm in Toronto did for us and regurgitated it on our site.  This will be original commentary straight from the team members themselves.  If Amanda wants to share a funny story from the art of balancing the life of being a super mom to two little ones and still book her showings for the next day, there’s probably tons of moms that can relate!  Gary might want to share the story they went through with the kids growing up and leaving the nest and the process they took to downsize to that perfect place on Long Lake.  Michelle might want to tell the tale of the Caswell Team Ladies Slo Pitch team we sponsor and how it brings the girls together once a week.  And I might have a concept for determining whether you want to by a camp in the French River versus a cottage in Muskoka.  And there will be plenty of informative discussion around real estate, market conditions, statistics, investment analysis, legalities, tips and tricks to owning a property in Greater Sudbury and so on.

This is your place to meet us, get to know us and to stay informed.  Continue to check back frequently for new posts and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter so you don’t miss the new ones as they are published!

As a starting point for this first post, we’d be remiss if we didn’t introduce you to us.  Beside each of our names is a link to our full bios that will give you more of an insight into our real estate and personal lives.

Steve Caswell (aka Caz) – CLICK HERE to check out Caz’s bio

705.561.8767   caz@realtyexecutives.com

Michelle Caswell (aka Mishe, Mimi) – CLICK HERE to check out Michelle’s bio.

705.507.1229   mcaswell@realtyexecutives.com

Gary Doyle (aka Doyler) – CLICK HERE to check out Gary’s bio.

705.691.6166   gdoyle@realtyexecutives.com

Amanda Gervais (Gerv) – CLICK HERE to check out Amanda’s bio.

705.929.1930   agervais@realtyexecutives.com 

Never hesitate to contact us with any questions, comments and suggestions, including any topics you’d like to see us discuss on here.  You can reach us anytime through our team email account – caswellteam@realtyexecutives.com – and keep coming back to see what’s new and exciting in Greater Sudbury!

 


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