Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

April 10, 2018

The Easiest Ways To Finance a Cottage in Ontario

Spring and Summer are on the way, which means warm weather and good times spent with friends and family. What better way to spend the coming months than at your very own cottage?

Like many other Ontarians, the thought of owning a cottage has no doubt crossed your mind at one time or another. A cottage is more than just a place to go vacationing. It’s like a second home — a place where you can create lasting memories that extend from one generation to another. Without being certain if or how you can afford to buy a cottage, summers spent fishing at the lake or swimming with your children might feel like just a dream. Well I’m here to tell you that there are attainable financing options available to help you turn that dream into reality.

First you have to understand the difference between the two different types of cottages, which mortgage lenders call Type A and Type B. Then I’ll discuss a couple of different ways you can mortgage your dream cottage, depending on the type you’re looking for. In the end, I trust you’ll feel much more confident about being able to afford the cottage you’ve always wanted.

The Two Types of Cottages

We all know that cottages, like houses, come in many different forms. You can certainly argue there are more than two types — but in the eyes of mortgage lenders there is essentially Type A and Type B. Let me explain the difference between them.  

Type A Cottage: Second Home

This type of cottage is built for year-round access. With a permanent heating source, it can be inhabited during all seasons. This also means it’s equipped with potable running water, and built on a permanent foundation below the frost line. You may also hear this referred to as a “winterized” cottage.

Financing Type A Properties 

Since Type A cottages are treated as second homes by mortgage lenders and insurers, they can be mortgaged similar to how one would mortgage a permanent residence. That means a minimum 5% down payment, fixed and variable terms with eligibility to refinance once equity has built up. Interest rates for a Type A cottage might be 0.10-0.20% higher than a regular mortgage because it’s not intended to be owner occupied year-round. If you can’t afford more than a 20% down payment, an insurer’s premium must be added, similar to a standard mortgage. It’s important to keep in mind that financing a second home is considered somewhat of a risky transaction. The thought is that if borrowers can’t afford to make payments, they will prioritize their primary residence and second homes are therefore more vulnerable to default.

To offset the risk, maximum mortgage amounts for second homes are capped at lower levels, which usually vary between $600,000 to $700,000. This also depends on the property’s location and overall loan-to-value. Credit score standards are also raised, but not to a level that would shut out borrowers with average credit. Since Type A cottages can be marketed as either first or second homes, they are considered ‘prime’. This means you can borrow up to 95% of a Type A property’s value on a purchase (or up to 90% for refinance), and your maximum amortization can be as high as 25 years.

Type B Cottage: Vacation Home

Not quite a “second home”, a Type B cottage more adequately fits the definition of a “vacation home”. It is built for seasonal access, which means no permanent heat source. Rather than being built on a permanent foundation, a Type B cottage is built on a floating foundation such as concrete rocks or pilings. Type B properties are still required to have indoor plumbing.

Financing Type B Properties

Mortgages for Type B cottages require a minimum 10% down payment, also with fixed and variable terms. The maximum value of a Type B cottage cannot exceed $350,000. Like Type A cottages, interest rates are 0.10-0.20% higher than standard fixed rate mortgages. An insurer’s premium must also be added if the down payment is less than 20%. Since Type B properties are considered less marketable, coupled with the fact that they can be left unattended for extended periods, the increased risks are offset by scaled-back lending policies. That means you can borrow up to 90% of a Type B property’s value on a purchase. In addition, your maximum amortization period is also 25 years.

Other Financing Options for Your Cottage

Now that you have a better understanding of the two types of cottages, and the financing options available for each, let’s discuss one more financing option that’s applicable to both types.

Refinancing Your Home

If your credit is good, the easiest solution for many aspiring cottage owners is to refinance a primary residence. You can use the equity to either purchase a cottage outright, or make a large enough down payment (35% or greater) that a mortgage lender will do the deal simply based on the amount of equity.

Did you know up to 80% of the value of your home can be refinanced? Let’s say you have a home worth $300,000 and only hold a mortgage of $150,000 — that means you can refinance to take out the equity up to $240,000 and use the $90,000 to put a down payment on a cottage.

Where to Buy Your Second Home or Vacation Property

Now that you have an idea of what type of cottage you’re in the market for, and how you will go about financing it, I will leave you with some final considerations for where you should purchase it.

Where you should purchase your cottage should be determined based on a combination of budget and proximity to your primary residence. Here is locations for waterfront recreational property values around Sudbury & Greater Sudbury areas.

Hagar / Markstay – $226,250

Espanola – $228,000

French River – $197,000

Manitoulin Island – $151,000

Nipissing – $191,000

Broder Sudbury – $420,000

The Valley – $217,500

Walden – $332,500

Massey / Webbwood – $224,250

*average waterfront cottage / recreational sale price for 2016 based on MLS Board statistics

This is a matter of personal preference, but in my opinion the closer your cottage is to your primary home the better. Nothing kills the anticipation of vacationing at the cottage quite like a 4-5 hour drive getting there. One last piece of advice: it always helps to work with a mortgage broker who specializes in serving the area where you intend to purchase your cottage. Working with someone who knows the area can potentially help you save thousands of dollars in the buying process.

Feel free to contact us, for the best available rates and terms in Ontario or if you’d like to be set up on our VIP Priority Access System to receive all the new cottage listings as soon as they hit the market.

Posted in Adventure, home buying
April 10, 2018

15 Reasons To Buy On Manitoulin Island Now!

You may know Manitoulin Island as the largest freshwater island in the world. Soon you may come to know it as another place— home. Known simply as “The Island” to locals, Manitoulin is more than just an excellent tourist destination. It’s a location where thousands of people live rich, fulfilling lives year-round. 

We’re going to give you 15 reasons why you should consider buying your next vacation home or permanent residence on Manitoulin Island. 

  1. Live where others vacation. Every summer the population of Manitoulin Island grows by an entire quarter due to the influx of tourists. What could be better than living in the very same place where that Canadians flock to every year to get away from it all?  

  2. Short drive from Sudbury. For many, Manitoulin Island is a home away from home. In just a short 1.5  hour drive from Sudbury you’ll be on the Island. 

  3. Real estate values are going up. In 2017, the real estate market in Manitoulin Island saw sale volumes go up by 51% from the previous year. Unit sales were up 35%, indicating the average sale price rose in 2017. Now is the time to buy. 

  4. Deceptively large space. This “island” is actually deceptively large at 2,766 square kilometres. We did say it’s the largest of its kind in the world. 

  5. Affordable cost of living. Your money goes further when investing in real estate on Manitoulin Island. 

  6. Count them... 108 freshwater lakes! Manitoulin Island has so many lakes that some of them even have their own islands. Some of those islands even have their own lakes. Lakes in islands within lakes on an island. Try saying that a few times fast. 

  7. Aboriginal culture. The population of Manitoulin Island is 40% aboriginal and home to six Anishinaabe reserves— M'Chigeeng, Sheguiandah, Sheshegwaning, Aundeck Omni Kaning, Wikwemikong and Zhiibaahaasing. 

  8. Good eats. Within Manitoulin’s many lakes you can certainly expect to find some of the freshest fish in Northern Ontario. Manitoulin Island is home 4 major rivers which are spawning grounds for salmon and trout— the Kagawong, Manitou River, Blue Jay Creek in Michael's Bay, and Mindemoya rivers.

  9. Craft beer. Beer lovers can enjoy locally-brewed imbibements from craft brewers such as the Manitoulin Brewing Company and Split Rail Brewing. Brews are named after local attractions— such as Bridal Veil Pale Ale, Cup & Saucer English Ale, Swing Bridge Blonde Ale, and Hawberry Ale. At the Mantioulin Brewing Company you will find an outstanding food truck known as The Trough, which is located next to the outdoor bar of the Manitoulin Brewing Company where you can sip on your fine delicious beer and enjoy some awesome food!

  10. Artisan Wine. On Manitoulin Island you’ll have access to artisan wines and ciders produced locally by Angry Antlers Vineyard. Also you will find Country Corks downtown LIttle Current where you can make your own custom wines for a variety of different events, pop in and say “Hello” to the owner Kelly Alston located at 11 Worthington St. Little Current

  11. Island Goods. Eats, drinks, and sweets! Manitoulin has all of the most important areas covered, with the finest chocolates produced by Manitoulin Chocolate Works located in Kagawong and other boutique products being produced right on the Island. Be sure to check out the Outpost General on the Little Current downtown strip, the boutique store compiles all of the island’s made products under one roof where consumers can easily shop, locally owned by Mike Wilding.

  12. Hawberries. Manitoulin Island’s alkaline soil provides ideal growth conditions for its trademark fruit— hawberries. The Island is so famous for its hawberries that people born there are commonly referred to as “Haweaters.” 

  13. Festivals, Hiking, Golf, What More Do You Want? Islanders fully embrace their nickname every summer during the Haweater Festival, which features parades, fireworks, craft shows, and rural competitions. The Island is also home to a large country music festival,known as Manitouin Country Fest and numerous outdoor family festivals throughout the year at the various townships. Manitoulin Island is also home to the renown hiking trail known as The Cup & Saucer, 12 km of beautiful hiking trails with breathtaking views of The Island.  If you enjoy golfing then you're in for a treat, The Island offers 3 beautiful golf courses known as Rainbow Ridge Golf Course , Brookwood Brae Golf Course and Manitoulin Island Country Club

  14. Best of both worlds. If you’re looking for that small-town atmosphere and community, Manitoulin Island’s got it. If you’re looking for the services and amenities of larger cities, Manitoulin Island has those as well!

  15. Opportunity. Pardon the pun, but Manitoulin is an island of opportunity. With home sales and tourism numbers going up every year, the time is right to set up shop on the Island. Many of Northern Ontario’s small business success stories call Manitoulin Island their home. 

Thinking of buying in Manitoulin Island? Get in touch and we’ll work together to find the perfect home on the Island for you and your family. 

Posted in home buying
April 10, 2018

5 Best Poutines At Chip Stands In Sudbury

It’s finally that time of year again. Fresh cut potatoes deep fried to a golden brown. Piping hot gravy simmered to perfection. Melted cheese curds that squeak as you bite through them. That’s right, we’re talking about chip stand season. Or, as we like to think of it, poutine season! 

Poutine lovers know that the tastiest combination of fries, cheese curds, and gravy is not going to be found in a food court or chain restaurant. The best poutine is often found at locally-owned chip stands, where small business owners invest their time each summer into creating something unique.

Well the snow is melting, the first day of spring has passed, and chip stands are firing up their deep fryers for another season. So get out there and enjoy one of the finest Canadian delicacies while you still have time. If you’re new to the area you might not know where to look. We’ve rounded up a list of the top 5 poutines you can find at chip stands in Sudbury and surrounding areas. Keep in mind these are listed in no particular order, as we believe they are all worth trying. 

1. Bundy’s Chip Stand

It looks like a chip stand, it tastes like a chip stand, but poutine lovers can rejoice because this little gem located in Garson. “Great food made with love” is their motto, and it definitely shows. There’s nothing wrong with sticking to tradition, and what you’ll find here is good old fashioned poutine the way it was intended to be served. The best way to describe Bundy’s poutine is comfort food that makes you feel as good as small town Northern Ontario hospitality. 

Visit Bundy's Facebook Page 

2. Silver Bullet 

You can’t miss the Silver Bullet chip stand while driving down Notre Dame Avenue. A fixture in Sudbury for more than 20 years, this chip stand has built a reputation on delivering the highest quality chip stand faire at unbeatable prices. Silver Bullet’s unique take on poutine uses a combination of grated marble and cheddar cheese instead of curds, and we’re actually fine with that. The cheese is layered on so thick that if you didn’t know better you’d think they were using curds. Be forewarned that the portions here are exceptionally generous— the smallest size is enough for a meal and then some. 

Visit Silver Bullet's Facebook Page

3. Leslie’s Charbroil & Grill 

Leslie’s is quite the small business success story. Starting off as a relatively unknown chip stand, it has since expanded into a permanent location that is open all year. However, it has not lost its chip stand charm. For a while it was even regarded as the best poutine in Sudbury according to Northern Life readers. Poutine here is made the traditional way, or you can add a kick to it with some spicy gravy. If you’re feeling adventurous you can add porketta, fried chicken, Montreal smoked meat, bacon, or hamburger to your poutine for an additional cost. 

Visit Leslie's Facebook Page

4. The Chip Wagon

Located in Chelmsford, the Chip Wagon is worth going out of your way if you don’t live in the area. With a 4.9 rating on Facebook, happy customers rave about the poutine here as if they made it themselves. The Chip Stand uses traditional ingredients, but they’re layered in a way that ensures your fries stay extra cheesy throughout. Unlike others mentioned on this list, the Chip Stand is a strictly seasonal operation, so make sure to get your fix at least once this summer. 

Visit The Chip Wagon's Facebook Page

5. M&D’s Poutine Palace 

M&D’s is so confident customers will love their poutine that they put it right in the name. They’ve got the clout to back it up as well, having won’s readers vote for best chip stand in 2017. What makes M&D’s poutine so good? It could be the cheese curds from Quebec, it could be the fries that are cut fresh daily, or it could be the owner’s meticulous attention to detail. One thing we know for sure is this place draws a crowd during the few months of the year that it’s open, as people can’t wait to get their hands on M&D’s poutine. 

Visit M&D's Poutine Palace Facebook Page

Wrapping it Up 

We haven’t done the math, but it’s a fair guess that Sudbury has more chip stands per capita than any other town in Northern Ontario. They say competition is good for business, so perhaps that’s why many of them have raised the bar in terms of what you can expect from a chip stand. These are the best poutines from just 5 of the many chip stands in Sudbury. Don’t be afraid to take a chance on something we haven’t mentioned. Your new favourite poutine may literally be around the corner. 

Posted in Adventure
April 10, 2018

4 Places You Need To Be This Spring To Try Smelt Fishing!

There’s a lot of hype going on for the upcoming smelt runs and here’s how you can get in on the actions!

Smelt Fishing is essentially the art of grabbing a net, finding a good spot and waiting for tens of thousands of these little guys to rush on by! For what purpose?? You can eat them, use them as bait or you can catch and release them for the fun of it!

But there are a few things to remember when you’re out there:

  1. Come ready to spend until 2-3am on the run

  2.  Respect the Environment “Clean up after yourself”

  3.  Where you see smelter’s without a light… “Turn off your light!”

  4.  Generally if you have a fire, hope you don’t mind a few strangers as company!

  5. There is no limit “Smelts are an invasive species” but only keep it if you’ll use it

  6. Dress for the weather

A few things you’ll need during your hunt of smelts:

  1. Hip waders

  2. Head lamp/flashlight

  3. Fishing license

  4. Smelting net

  5. Bucket

  Fun things to do while waiting:

  1. Have a fire

  2. Have a designated driver and enjoy a few cold pops!

  3. Enjoy the stars

  4. Make new friends


Predicted run; April 17- 21rd

Chikanishing Creek Access Point is located just off Highway 637, just minutes from the George Lake campground. Turn off at the sign marking Chikanishing Creek Road, drive a short distance to find the parking lot. It’s a 20 minute walk in “or drive if you have 4X4 vehicle and the gate is open”


Predicted run: April 19 -23rd

Drive through little current, past highway 6 (do not turn into highway 6) to the stop sign and turn left then follow the road and you will eventually hit west bay also called mcheenge, drive straight through west bay without turning off and it eventually ends at kagawong, you then have to turn right at the chocolate factory and drive towards the bridge and you will see all the vehicles on the right

Raven Creek:

Predicted run: April 20-25th

It’s called Raven creek and it’s on Lachance drive 10 minutes away from Espanola going towards Manitoulin island on highway 6. You'll come across it on the right side of the road where you’ll see a bunch of vehicle parked. It’s best to fish under the road where the water runs.

Ella Lake

Predicted run: May 1-5th

Turn on to Capreol road then turn left towards Rockys, After the paved road ends park your vehicle once you see other vehicles and or a trail on the right hand side after coming down the hill in your car and walk in for 20-25 minutes You may be able to take a off roading vehicle inwards depending on conditions and height of the creek you will have to walk through.

Predicting the runs:

Generally the smelts tend to run at the same time give or take a few days. But 2017’s run showed us about a week in difference from the norm due to warmer than normal weather. Above we’ve estimated the dates of when the runs will be but for your best bet I would join the Northern Ontario Smelt Watch!! On Facebook and pay attention to what people are saying. There are some tricksters out there but generally speaking people are good.

Posted in Adventure
April 9, 2018

5 Things To Know When Buying a Foreclosure

5 Important Tips to Keep in Mind When Buying a Foreclosure

There’s a lot of hype with buying a foreclosure. Many people believe that foreclosed homes can be purchased for pennies on the dollar; however, that’s not always true. 

There are two types of foreclosures in Canada: foreclosure by judicial sale and foreclosure by power of sale. In the former case, the foreclosure is facilitated under the supervision of the court. In the latter case, the foreclosure is facilitated by a Power of Sale clause in the mortgage contract. This means it is usually sold by the mortgage holder. 

Either way, in both situations, there’s a party waiting for a certain payout to earn a profit. That means that you aren’t guaranteed to find a crazy, amazing deal that will blow your mind.

Tip #1: Compare Prices of Similar Listings Nearby

Don’t assume that the listed price is lower than the market value just because it is a foreclosure. When buying a foreclosure, take some time to do some research on similar listings nearby. Compare the price of the foreclosure with the prices of other similar properties. Pay attention to the condition, age and size of each property when making comparisons to make an informed decision.

Tip #2: Visit the Foreclosed Home in Sudbury In-Person

It’s difficult to get a good idea of how the property looks like from photographs and videos. The photographs may look amazing, but you could be sorely disappointed with the place in person. 

Professional photographers can skew the perception of the size of the home with wide-angle camera lenses. Small spaces can look huge. Also, old photographs may not correctly show the current condition of the property. Before deciding to make an offer on a foreclosure, visit the property in-person. 

Drive by the place to see what it actually looks like. Even if the property is not available for viewing, take a stroll around the block. The stroll can reveal telling information about the property and the neighborhood, like the crime rate. 

Tip #3: Get the Home Professionally Inspected

Always try to get the home inspected when you can. Many banks are instructed by their superiors to accept the highest offer submitted. It is not necessarily based on conditions. As a result, it's always advisable if competing with multiple offers to still have a home inspection condition in your offer. You won’t necessarily lose a deal to a lower offer without any conditions. 

Our team has successfully sold numerous Bank Repo properties, and have almost always had a home inspection condition included in the contract to protect our buyers’ best interests.

Tip #4: Hire an Experienced Realtor

To make sure that your best interests are always protected, hire an experienced realtor. Don’t just call the first person you happen to see online. It’s important to find a realtor who has experience in dealing with bank owned properties, like our team. Not only are we well-versed on the processes involved with buying a foreclosure in Sudbury, but we also know what to include in the contracts. We’ll make sure you’re prepared each step of the way! 

Tip #5: Get the Finances Ready

To successfully buy a foreclosure, it’s vital to have the finances ready. Speak with a mortgage broker or a real estate agent to apply for a mortgage. The process will help you identify the price range that you can afford. As mentioned before, foreclosed homes in Sudbury are listed at various price points. They’re not always cheap.

By having the finances ready, the home buying process is expedited, and you’ll move into their new abode quickly.

Look Into Foreclosed Homes in Sudbury

If you do extensive research, it’s easy to find great deals on foreclosures. It never hurts to speak with a real estate agent first. Real estate agents help you keep an eye out for foreclosures that meet your needs and expectations. These professionals are up-to-date with the market, and are alerted whenever new listings are added to the MLS.

Contact us, and we'll do just that. Our team and I will help you find your dream place at an affordable price, so you won’t break the bank finding the perfect place to call home. 

Posted in home buying
April 1, 2018

Become a Better Agent

Welcome to The Realty Bureau, where we create better agents. You’ve reached the place that like minded agents go to connect and help each other grow. We’re all here to work with you, not against you. 

Here’s the deal— we want to grow The Realty Bureau as a brand and we need you to do it. We don’t have time to show homes every day, which is why we rely on a team of agents like yourself. In other words, we want and need our agents to succeed.

Joining The Bureau: What’s in it for you? 

The Realty Bureau will help you solve the most important question in real estate: “Where’s my next deal going to come from?” 

Finding your next deal is the hardest part of real estate. We make it easier by doing what others won’t. Let’s say you managed to generate a mass amount of internet leads in a month; following up on every single one is expensive and time consuming. The whole process is so tedious that most agents don’t do it. But we do, and it works! We have systems in place where we generate 400-800 leads per month. From there, they are sifted through by our Inside Sales Department and funnelled directly to our agents. 

So, what’s in it for you? The opportunity to make more money!

This is a different approach to real estate which has been proven to deliver more quality leads. Agents report greater success rates when following up on our pre-qualified leads. When you join The Realty Bureau you never have to worry again about where your next deal will come from. We got you!

The Power to Succeed 

When you join The Bureau you have greater opportunities to succeed through pre-qualified leads. Perhaps even more important than that, we give you the power to succeed. In order to become better you need training, skills, resources, and support. You’ll receive all 4 at The Bureau. We will teach you how to leverage yourself with clients, master the technology used by top real estate professionals, boost referrals, and thrive in all aspects of your job. With an established turnkey program to help you maximize your sales, we will show you what it takes to become better. 

The Realty Bureau vs Other Brokerages 

We’re not the only brokerage in town saying they’ll offer substantial training to make you better. So what makes us different? 

Well, for one, we don’t stick you in a room with a semi-retired agent and make you follow a script. Our agents are all in their prime and hungry to succeed— like you. 

In life, you’re always learning. So we believe The Bureau should always be teaching. Our ongoing training methods are complete with guest speakers and regularly scheduled seminars. It’s all designed to make you better, with lessons you can apply at work and at home. 

Ready to Join? 

Say the word, and it’s done! Signage, cards, mail outs, and brochures. It’s all ready for you when you take the leap to become the best. Simply download this PDF which contains all the information you need to join the Bureau when you’re ready. 

Posted in Real Estate Agent
July 31, 2017

Curious About Local Real Estate?

Receive the Latest Local Market Stats

Curious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

Get Local Market Reports Sent Directly to You

You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates