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I have had the pleasure of helping many people buy and sell homes on water within Winnipeg over the years, and it seems that the same questions often come up, so let’s go through them now!


Understanding the Challenges with Riverfront Living

Firstly, living on the Red River in Winnipeg, is very different from living on a lakefront or man-made lake waterfront home within Winnipeg. A river is constantly moving, oftentimes damaging or slowly eroding the riverbed. Secondly, and for those not from Manitoba, we are not built on bedrock here.  Our landscape is a full mess of what we call “Manitoba Gumbo” which is essentially sand, silt, and clay.  The stuff that rivers can more easily move around than bedrock or granite.  As such, maintenance of the riverbank is critical to not losing your yard over time. I want to preface this blog by saying that I am not an expert in this area – because I am not, at all! However, Logan and I do live on the Red River and we have sold a number of homes along the Assiniboine River, Seine River, La Salle, and Red River as well as the smaller creeks (Bunn’s, Omand’s, etc.) here in Winnipeg.  The degree and effort you are going to be required to put into your Riverbank Stabilization will greatly depend on the current or flow patterns coming past your property and which side of the river you are on. The Red River flows north, and depending on the curvature and current coming toward your property, the impact might be minimal. The river tends to remove soil on outside curves but it deposits it on inside curves. However, if you are on a heavier flowing area, the amount of work required for maintenance can be substantial. 


riverfront property in winnipeg manitoba

Oftentimes, the loss of lot is not something that people can foresee.  A super high-water year led to a group of residents along Dunkirk Drive losing large chunks of their yard in 2020.  Keep in mind too, that this is not something that insurance companies are willing to cover. In this particular instance, the residents all banded together to repair their riverbank at a cost of around $1 million. Another key consideration for those living along the river is that you often need permits from the City of Winnipeg to do any sort of riverbank stabilizing project.  As part of being approved for said permits, you often will need an engineer’s report that addresses the erosion issue.  These studies are quite costly and oftentimes take a significant amount of time to complete.  Not to mention the city permitting process adding to that timeline.  Some patience will be required here.



At the Mercy of Due Process

The next hurdle you are going to have is to actually address what the engineer’s report says.  I have seen circumstances where the recommendation was to add a significant amount of rip-rap (this looks like large stones along the riverbank).  This helps reduce erosion.  However, this can come at a significant cost.  I have seen some of the bills for this type of work and would say that $100,000 per household often seems to be the going or starting rate for the more significant projects.  Imagine spending that on rocks instead of some fun renovation within the home!


Interestingly enough, I have actually had a client that had the exact opposite issue brought to their attention from the engineers.  In their case, the home they were purchasing was putting too much weight on the land, and they were told to move the home back, away from the river, remove additional dirt from the lot and move it further back.  So, they did all of this work – moved their house further back, actually added onto it, removed dump truck after dump truck of dirt, and the erosion stopped.  I still don’t understand the actual logistics of how this theory worked, but it was cool nonetheless.  The property they built was absolutely beautiful.  Their neighbour, who couldn’t afford to “lighten” his yard unfortunately continued to experience the same erosion and has much less yard now.


There are things you can do though to prevent erosion on your own property without having to go all the way to hiring engineers and getting permits.  One of the cheapest and easiest options is to plant some trees.  Choose trees with deep root systems, that will hold soil in place and withstand some erosion.  There are also many shrub varieties that also offer dense and deep root structures that you can plant to as not to obstruct those river views.  Also, I see no harm in doing annual work along your property line to prevent erosion.  Perhaps some smaller forms of the huge rip-rap projects, brought in every few years just to maintain what you currently have, instead of having to try and rebuild lot that you have lost.


 

Personal Experiences from Living on the Red River

Just some other negatives from having lived on the Red River – Logan and I have almost always had dogs – often times Labradors which are water-lovers. There are many a time our dog has taken herself for a “dip” and coming out of the Red River is not the same as coming out of a clean lake.  There is often an additional bath required after this “dip”.  Also, the river moves fast – and it is terrifying when your children are young.  Our yard is fenced and our children know not to go outside of the fence unless there is a parent present.  We are also very hands on with the education and stress every time we go beyond the borders of the fence just how dangerous the river is. A lot of the time, you can’t tell if you are standing out on a dirt plank because the ground underneath has eroded.  So, if we are out for walks along the riverbank with the children, we stress the importance of staying several meters back from the edge. 


We have also discovered when applying for permits for work on the exterior of our home is that we have to go through two rounds of permitting.  First, we apply for permission from the City of Winnipeg to do our project.  But then we have to apply for a second permit from Waterways to get permission prior to commencing any construction.  These rules apply to anyone that is within 350 feet of the summer water levels of the Assiniboine River, Red River, Seine River, La Salle Rivers, OR within 250 feet of the summer water levels of Bunn’s Creek, Omand’s Creek, Sturgeon Creek or Truro Creek.  This is if you are within City limits.  This process changes if you are outside of the City of Winnipeg limits.


 

Pros to living on Winnipeg Riverfront

living on waterfront property winnipegPros of living on the Riverfront in Winnipeg are great though, here are just a few:

  • The neighbours – we are on a deep river lot with neighbours on either side, but I find that riverfront lots often tend to be wider and more spread out, so we feel like we have a ton of space and privacy from our neighbours. We particularly enjoyed this during the early stages of COVID where we could walk to the end of our yard and then along the riverbank for hours without seeing neighbours.
  • The views. The river offers lots of beautiful scenery – beautiful glistening sunlight reflections on hot summer days, or huge icebergs to watch float on by in the winter months.  We are east-facing so we also enjoy some of the most beautiful sunrises in our house.
  • The wildlife.  Living on the riverbank means you are likely going to encounter a fair bit of wildlife.  I would be lying if I said I didn’t see a deer, daily.  I think every time we sit down at our table for a meal, at least one deer will walk by.  There are very few predators within city limits, so the deer seem quite comfortable walking on by even when we are outside.  We do on occasion see the odd fox or coyote trying to track down one of the neighbourhood bunnies.  Also, and this could be added as a con, but we do get some nuisance animals. We have seen a number of raccoons (although we haven’t had any negative experiences with them).  However, we – actually our dog – have had a nasty bout with a skunk on more than one occasion.
  • Fishing – truthfully, we have never done it.  But I see people pull up in the green spaces in our area to fish the river and it seems to be the same group that comes back again and again, so I am assuming we could likely catch some fish right from our backyard. I grew up on Lake of the Woods though, so river fishing is a foreign concept to me.  Perhaps one I will explore one day!
  • Recreation activities – our family’s fitness or recreation activities thus far have been mostly walking along the trails of the river.  However, I have witnessed neighbours putting a kayak in and getting what I would assume is a good workout in! But be careful with this.  You need to know the river, the current patterns, and you need to be a strong kayaker.  Also, please always wear a life vest.  That water can move fast and I’ve heard of even the most seasoned kayakers getting into trouble.
  • Travel – We have never done it, as we are scared of hitting dead logs in the river as we travel, but I always thought it would be so cool to hop in a boat and drive down to the Forks.  Maybe one day!  I have had clients just across the river from us that kept a dock in the river all summer, and would hop in their boat frequently and go for a cruise!

 

Pros of living on a Lakefront or Waterfront Property in Winnipeg

lakefront property in winnipeg manitobaNow these pros and cons work for riverfront property in Winnipeg, but there are further benefits to owning a Waterfront home in Winnipeg on a man-made lake.  Not only would you get all of the above benefits, but when you are on a slower-moving body of water, there are additional perks:

  • In the winter, you can build an ice skating rink right on the water surface.  Something that is often not possible on parts of the river due to the quick flow and thin ice.
  • Putting a kayak into these bodies of water also isn’t nearly as scary.  The water movement is much more controlled so even those less experienced kayakers can paddle in piece.
  • Less overall maintenance.  A Lakefront property in Winnipeg on a manmade lake does not require anywhere near the riverbank stabilization that a home built on the river will need.  With basic, annual maintenance, you should be able to enjoy your shoreline for years to come.
  • Less building restrictions – if you aren’t on one of the aforementioned rivers, you have one less layer of permitting that you will have to go through too!


I hope you have found this foray into Lakefront property for sale in Winnipeg, useful.  There is much to know, and many considerations to be made.  Again, I say all of these horrible and scary things about riverfront living in Winnipeg, yet I live on it.  So either I am crazy, or to me, the beauty and peacefulness is worth the headache. You be the judge!  If ever you are looking for help in finding a lakefront or riverfront property in Winnipeg, please reach out.  We are happy to help and we will speak from our honest experiences!



Realtors specializing in riverfront property winnipeg#AgentJen


Jennifer Queen

Phone: (204) 797-7945
Email: Jennifer@JenniferQueen.com

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You may or may not have noticed that I have the letters B.Sc after my name in my marketing, but what you may not know is that graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor’s degree in science and I went back to school to specialize in research dealing with freshwater fish.  I also spent nearly a decade working in the field of natural resources mostly involved with fisheries, throughout much of Northern Ontario, Manitoba and Western Canada.


People who knew me before I became a realtor always ask if I miss my previous career, and tend to point out how much different being a Realtor is from being outdoors catching fish. Truthfully it was just like any other job - it had its pros and cons, and while there are fun things that I miss, there are just as many things that were not so pleasant, constantly smelling like fish for instance, which I do not miss.


So, I thought I would take this time in my blog to talk about the 3 major reasons why I absolutely love being a realtor.


1. Learning about houses and construction

I have always been a person who learns so much better by doing something, and in the past 5 years I honestly can’t tell you how many houses I have toured, how many home inspections I have been part of and how much wider my knowledge of house construction has grown.  You see, I had a good idea of how houses were built from my father.  While not a journeyman in any specific construction field, my dad was trained by an electrician and plumber when he was a young man, and although he didn’t pursue that path for a career, he built most of the home my parents still live in by himself (and friends and family) in the 1980’s.  The fact that he did this before there was internet, YouTube and Google to figure it out still astounds me.  Growing up in that house he always included me, my brother and my sister in new projects and working to make improvements in the home. But it wasn’t until Jen and I purchased our first home in Winnipeg in 2008 (a former grow op, and a story for another day) that I really learned to respect the work put into a home and the effort it takes to maintain it.  Suffice it to say that the inner workings of home construction and planning started to grow in my mind. Now 5 years into my real estate career I still find interesting facts from homes built in different time periods, differences in materials and new changes as the building code evolves.  All of these things are fascinating to me and I love increasing my knowledge of it.


2. Meeting new people

I am 100% an extrovert.  I love meeting new people, rarely shy away from a conversation and can usually talk to anyone, even someone I barely know for at least a short conversation about mutual topics. Real estate allows me to meet so many new people, whether that be clients, other real estate agents, experts in home construction, home inspectors, you name it, we meet a lot of people.  Some of the best days have nothing to do with real estate, even if we are touring a home or negotiating a real estate offer, there are so many times that I just get lost in the conversation and find that I really just enjoy meeting these new people and getting to know them and their families.  Learning about peoples lives, and motivations for their real estate goals really increases the level of the relationship.  Truthfully one of the hardest parts of real estate for me is when clients do find their home, or their listing sells and we no longer spend a few days a week together.  It’s a running joke in our house that all of my client appointments run long, not that I am late for things, I just have to plan around my inability to stop a conversation J


3. Everyday is completely different

Sure, we do a lot of the same things with each of our clients, but no two transactions are ever the same.  Literally every day is different, and your day can turn on a dime.  You can get a call out of the blue that a client wants to buy a cottage lot, you can find out that your clients vacant listing’s furnace just quit in -30 C when you go to check on the home, you can be digging yourself and a fellow realtor out of a 3-foot snow drift after a showing (yes these are real examples).  What I am trying to say is there are ups, there are downs but the work is always eventful. Also negotiating an offer on behalf of your clients and getting them what they want or BETTER than what they want is always such a rewarding feeling.



I guess what I am saying is although I have chosen a different career path in the past 5 years, I couldn’t be happier with my decision.  Thank you to my awesome family who have always supported me in my decisions (except my tattoos….. J), and especially my dad for teaching me how to wire an outlet when I was 12.  To my clients past and present, thank you for trusting in me, spending your time with me and know that even when we don’t see each other for a while I always reminisce about similar homes, or interesting places we toured together. 


“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” – Ursula K. Le Guin


Best realtor in winnipeg, Logan Queen talks career choice#AgentLogan


Logan Queen

Tel: (204) 226-1261
Email: Logan@JenniferQueen.com

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June marks my tenth year in real estate.  To switch things up this year, I’m going to report what I can remember from each year.  I find each year in real estate has at least one significant or impactful lesson to teach us.  So here we go!


Year 1 (2011):

Lessons: Relationships matter.  Be good to those that are good to you.  Walk away from those that just don’t appreciate you. The majority of my business this year came from ComFree listings (before they were a licensed brokerage – which means I wasn’t breaking any rules).  I had many hang up on me, but those that agreed to list with me turned out to be wonderful clients that I still work with today.! 

Sold 12 homes this year.

Fun story from this year: Sold my first acreage (72+ acres)


Year 2 (2012):

Lessons: Relationships matter (again).  Started to learn about the importance not only of keeping in touch with clients throughout the process of their home buying/selling process, but long after as well.  Many of the clients I worked with in 2012, I am still in touch with today.

Sold 38 homes this year.

Fun story from this year: One of the homes I sold had bullet holes in the side of it.


Year 3 (2013)

Lessons: Not all sales are happy sales.  Sold homes for clients that had previously bought in a happy time, but were now selling for sad reasons (death, divorce, job loss).  This career is full of ups and downs, and our job is to help people navigate our clients through the good times and bad.

Sold 47 homes this year.

Fun story from this year: I sold my own house this year.  Still regret it today (would have kept it as a rental)


Year 4 (2014)

Lessons: The importance of pricing (and ownership of bad pricing).  I had more listings expire this year than ever in my career.  Sometimes it is scary to have conversations about pricing with sellers – you don’t want to offend them, particularly if you were wrong.  Learning how to have those difficult discussions became paramount this year.

Sold 66 homes this year.

Fun Story: I had more homes expire this year than sold.  This line was super embarrassing and cringe-worthy for me to write! 



Year 5 (2015)

Lessons: Have a plan A, a plan B, and a plan C! From selling another personal residence, to having a slightly softer market, it became paramount to formulate multiple plans for selling. 

Sold 93 homes this year.

Fun Story: Logan and I had purchased a former (remediated) grow-op before I was in the business and chose to sell it in 2015.  We “sold” it three times before our third cash buyer came along and was able to close. We also welcomed our first child this year.



Year 6 (2016)

Lessons: Remember your “why”.  After the birth of our daughter, Everly, work-life balance started to become more important.  Parenthood also really emphasized the motivations for why families choose to move.  I thought I “got it” before, but I don’t think I fully understood the brain of a parent until I was one.

Sold 62 homes this year (maternity leave for four months).

Fun Story: I negotiated a complete deal at a table with clients while nursing a poopy baby.  Thank you to the lovely family that encouraged me to bring my baby along… your kindness and acceptance of my situation meant a lot to me.



Year 7 (2017)

Lessons: Be confident in your value proposition and the advice you give.  Stand firm in it and don’t back down.

Sold 107 homes this year.

Fun Story: I was pregnant (again) this year.  I also had to cancel an open house due to an incident of domestic violence as a bunch of walls and doors had been punched through.  Sad all around.



Year 8 (2018)

Lessons: The best interest of your clients always come before your own.  There were a couple of sales this year that involved careful consideration of a clients’ position.  Whether it be helping with some home renovations, doing some pro-bono work, or just advising not to buy or sell, there were a multitude of situations and reasons this year that warranted a different kind of care.

Sold 75 homes this year.

Fun Story: We welcomed our second child, Blaine this year.  He has a very piercing scream that would challenge the strongest eardrum.  I made many calls from my sunroom even when it was -30 outside just so I could sound “professional”.



Year 9 (2019)

Lessons: The importance of a team. Amy was off for most of this year as she was taking maternity with her son, Gavin.  So, we ended up hiring Ashton and Carrie both in late 2018.  Learning to grow and work as a team was so paramount to our future success.  We really missed Amy’s presence and were so happy to have her back toward the end of 2019.

Sold 154 homes this year.

Fun Story: Started listing my first luxury properties (or what I consider luxury property)… SOOO much fun to market!



Year 10 (2020)

Lessons: What we need, is really quite simple.  The year of COVID… where what was highlighted was the importance of such basic necessities – health, family, shelter and love.  We thought that real estate would be dead and that we would need to buckle down for a tough year.  It turned out to be the exact opposite, with record sales.

Sold 168 homes this year.

Fun Story: I gave birth to our third child in June of 2020… and was negotiating in between contractions. The poor agent on the other side of the transaction was so uncomfortable with this that he called my broker for the transaction.  I may have sent out a DocuSign for signatures from the hospital bed…




Well, there you have it, 10 years of lessons, sales, teamwork, amazing clients, and so much joy from this profession.  No two days are alike and I wouldn’t have it any other way! Thanks for reading this far!!  I look forward to another 10 years


Best realtor in Winnipeg, Jennifer Queen talks experience

#AgentJen


Jennifer Queen

Phone: (204) 797-7945
Email: Jennifer@JenniferQueen.com

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Advice on how to get an accepted offer in a CRAZY seller’s market.


If you have been following the real estate market in Winnipeg you know it is a seller’s market. There is a lack of inventory and an oversupply of buyers, likely a response to extremely low interest rates. If you have recently sold your home or plan to do so soon, congratulations things are looking great for you. On the opposite side of the spectrum, if you are a buyer trying to get into the market, I have some tips on what you can do to maximum your chances of getting an accepted offer without sacrificing everything!



Working with an agent you trust

This is always #1 in my books. I feel like finding the right agent is almost the same as find your soulmate – I did say almost! Working with an agent you trust and believe in will make the already stressful process of buying that much less stressful. Your agent will be able to give you up to date information about the market and/or specific listings, they will manage their time and yours efficiently, walk you through the process of buying (if you are new to real estate), give you tons of information about homes you are interested in. An agent has the knowledge and experience to tell you the positives and negative aspects of the house, things that might need maintenance soon, what comparable homes in the neighbourhood have sold for, etc. In this crazy market it really is in your best interest to find the right agent for you! So... take the time to link up with an agent, do some research, ask questions, and finally get to shopping!


Pre-approval is Key

Getting pre-approved from a reputable bank or mortgage broker is one of the smartest things you can do to increase your chances of getting an accepted offer on a home you love. If you were to make an offer on a property and you are not pre-approved for, the homeowner may assume you were not a serious buyer and might overlook your offer entirely. If you want to be competitive in a seller’s market a pre-approval is a must. Once you have received your pre-approval, your mortgage broker should provide a letter indicating the details of your pre-approval which can be included with the offer to show proof that you have done your due diligence. As Realtor, we advise getting a pre-approval before your start your search. So... if you are looking to buy a house soon and do not have a pre-approval GET ONE!


Home inspections in Winnipeg ManitobaWrite Your Best Offer First.

In a seller’s market a buyer should be doing any and everything they can to increase their chances of getting an accepted offer. In some cases, as a buyer, you might be competing against 40+ other offers so writing your best offer is extremely important because usually you do not get a second chance to alter the offer once the selling agent has started presenting. A couple of things you should consider before you write an offer.  Is a home inspection a must? Most agent would strongly encourage their clients to complete a pre-inspection. It is extremely valuable to be well informed of the condition of the house you are interested in. I would never tell someone to not do a home inspection. I learn something at every home inspection I attend, and think they are fantastic. In a seller’s market it is more challenging to get an accepted offer if you include a post-purchase inspection as a condition. So that is where the PRE inspection comes in. This is when a home inspector will inspect the home you are trying to purchase before you submit the offer. Yes, that means spending the money on a home inspection before the offer is accepted but again it is all about writing the best offer you can. Pre-inspections may cost between $200 to $300 up front, but for the piece of mind, and for the sake of a strong offer, I would say it is worth it. The second point is an easy one – do not ask for the extras. If the house, you are wanting has a freezer and an extra fridge and it is not included in the listing – don’t ask for it. The third point is if you can write a cash offer DO IT. An unconditional offer is very appealing to a seller and greatly increases your chances of getting an accepted offer.  However, this is something we would need to discuss further prior to writing as many of us can not afford to do pay all cash for a house. 


Deposit Amount

A deposit is to be included along with the offer. It forms part of the purchase price. The amount suggested will vary based on the property and situation in which you are offering. However, the amount you provide shows how serious you are as a buyer because this money ultimately protects the seller if the buyer decides to walk away from the deal after conditions have been satisfied. So…the larger the sum provided as a down payment the more enticing your offer will be to the seller.

 

Buying a house in this seller’s market is tough, but I encourage you to hang in there. Try some or all of these tips to help you stand out from the competition and put you that much closer to an accepted offer! Happy House Hunting!


Top realtor in Winnipeg Amy McDermid

#AgentAmy


Amy McDermid

Phone: (204) 470-5356
Email: Amy@JenniferQueen.com

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The year 2020… should I say anything more? Thinking back to last spring, I really didn’t know what this would mean for the Real Estate market here in Winnipeg. The news seemed all but damming. With more people working from home, wages and jobs being lost, and restrictions on how we could conduct our everyday business, I really thought we were in for the worst. Turns out, I was very, VERY wrong. More buyers than ever were being qualified to buy as the interests rates plummeted, people’s priorities were changing in what they were looking for and house prices were going through the roof (no pun intended). 2020 was one of the strongest markets in recent history.


How did that happen you wonder? You would think job cuts and restrictions would mean less people buying and more people staying put, but that isn’t exactly what happened. People who had job security were saving more money as they weren’t going on trips and spending on entertainment, and buyers looking to get into the market saw their chance as interest rates hit an all time low. The demand was high, and the supply…. well the supply was slim to none. While Buyers saw an opportunity, a lot of sellers (especially at first) were hesitant. The fear of a market crash was looming and a world wide pandemic was here. Letting strangers into your home wasn’t on the top of everyone’s list, and who could blame them! The high demand and lack of supply tipped the scale in favour of a seller’s market and the rest is history. Bidding wars, high sales prices and emotions flying, COVID-19 impacted the real estate market more than we could have ever imagined.


The market itself wasn’t the only thing that changed, what buyers were looking for also changed. The COVID-19 restrictions turned our everyday lives’ upside down. All of a sudden, gyms were closed, restaurants were closed and we were spending 99% of our time at home. So naturally, people’s wants/needs in homes changed along with them. These are the areas where we saw the biggest change:



Home Offices: No surprise here. With a lot of the population now working from home, home offices have been on the top of the wish list. What this means is buyers are now looking for homes with either a finished basement or an extra bedroom to set up their home office in.


Houses with pools in WinnipegBigger Yards & Pools: Buyer’s are gravitating to larger outdoor spaces. Less travel, means people are spending more time in their own backyards. Why not make them your own private getaway? Here in Manitoba, pools weren’t always a priority as it is winter 7 months of the year. Not to mention there is a large population of Manitobans who own a secondary vacation property (cottage etc). Due to the travel restrictions we saw a big uptake in the demand for properties with pools.


More space in general: Spending more time at home with our family (although we love them) can make your house feel tight! One of the biggest requests we had in 2020 when talking to buyers is that they “just need more space!”


Home gyms: Between binging Netflix, snacking and zoom calls it’s nice to have a place to let out some of that pent-up energy. With gyms closed and as the temperature drops and we aren’t able to spend as much time outdoors, we have seen a large increase in demand for homes with space for a small home gym.


Detached Homes: We’ve seen a shift from properties with shared living spaces due to COVID-19. Properties with shared amenities saw a dip as health concerns grew.


As we gear up for a what we expect to be a similar 2021, we are taking into consideration a lot of these changes. Not only in what buyer’s are looking for but how to navigate the market in general. We are expecting another year full of bidding wars and high sales prices as there is no evidence of interest rates rising anytime soon. If you have been thinking about selling there is no better time, if you are planning on taking advantage of these low interest rates and buying, we are here to guide you through it.


So, buckle up, we are in for another busy year!




Best Real estate agent in Winnipeg, Ashton Augert

#AgentAshton


Ashton Augert

Phone: (204) 781-1767
Email: Ashton@JenniferQueen.com

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Water in the basement.  Four words that no homeowner ever wants to hear.  Yet, we are hearing it much more frequently this year.  Here is why:




  • Basement Foundation SeepageWinnipeg homes are built on silt and clay, not bedrock.  So the ground here is constantly moving and settling.
  • We had a very dry summer in 2018.  As many of you likely will have noticed, this caused the ground around your house to dry up, crack, and in most cases pull away from the foundation walls of your home.
  • This left larger gaps than usual leaving empty air pockets between the soil and your home.
  • We then had a very cold winter that started with very little snow.  So the ground froze, and it froze more deeply than typical.
  • We then had high levels of snow toward the end of the winter (SO MUCH SNOW!)
  • Up until the last two weeks, the weather has been fairly cold, however now we are suddenly hitting high, well above freezing, temperatures.
  • These high temperatures, while very welcome after this frigid winter, are causing the snow to melt very rapidly.
  • Your house emanates heat, so the soil that melts the quickest will be the soil adjacent to your house. 
  • Water will find the path of least resistance, so it is finding its way into the gaps left by the dry soil conditions of last year and sitting against your house.
  • Eventually this water has to go somewhere.  So if there were snap-ties used in construction of your house that have rusted at all, it may work its way in through those small holes. Alternatively, even if your weeping tile is working water can still find its way up under your basement floor slab and foundation walls (they are separate systems that aren’t connected), and appear as seepage.


So what does this mean? If you have already discovered water, I know how disheartening and concerning it is.  Logan and I have experienced it in our own home in the past.  But rest assured, it is not necessarily a foundation crack, or failing foundation.  So don’t go too crazy tearing down drywall (or wood panelling if you are so lucky) to investigate yet.  Here is what the home inspectors have told us:


  • Submersible Pump for WaterPrevention is the first line of defence.  Prevent that water from hanging out around your foundation.  Try redirecting it for now as it is still too early to do grading work.  You can buy inexpensive pumps that attach to a garden hose to pump pooling water away from your yard and foundation
  • Get remaining snow away from your house.  Yes, the people that shovel their yards do look crazy, but there is method to their madness.  Spread that snow out around your yard and away from your foundation
  • If you have a window well, do not let snow build up in it.  Shovel them out, and get that snow away from the house.
  • Depending on the age of your home, you may want to talk to a plumber about having your weeping tile flushed out.  The weeping tile can become clogged over the years and no longer function properly.  An early indicator of whether or not the weeping tile is functioning properly can be found by checking your main drain.  See if the pipes leading into it from the weeping tile are wet.  If they aren’t, there could be a blockage somewhere along the lines.
  • If you have a sump pump, make sure it is functioning properly, that the exterior hose isn’t frozen, and that the water is being directed away from your foundation.
  • If the water does manage to work its way in, don’t let it linger.  Get a dehumidifier and some fans set up.  Keep the air moving and get the area dry.  The last thing you want is mold forming.
  • Proper Grading Around HouseWhen it warms up, work on improving the grading around your home.  Remember, we always want the ground around your home sloping away from your foundation.  There should be no areas where water can sit and pool near your foundation.  This is an ONGOING homeownership task. The ground is constantly settling, so it is important to check every year to ensure you are maintaining a positive grade away from your home.
  • In the summer, water your foundation.  Yes, you read that right.  If we see dry conditions again this year, in which the ground is cracking and shrinking, it is prudent to water near your foundation wall (usually about 4-5 feet away from your foundation).  We want to keep enough moisture in the soil to alleviate gaps from forming between your house and the soil.  This is all weather dependent though.  In wet years, overwatering may put excessive pressure on the foundation walls.

If you are selling, be sure you disclose the water.  I know, it is not a great selling feature.  But the last thing you want is for the purchaser of your home to discover you have had seepage issues that were undisclosed during their purchase.  These are the types of issues that can come back to haunt you.  A good Realtor will know and be aware of the conditions this year and will be able to explain this to their client to alleviate concerns.


Do you feel there is something I have missed?  Please reach out!


Basement Flooding in Winnipeg

#AgentJen

Jennifer Queen

Sales Representative

Tel: (204) 797-7945
Email: Jennifer@JenniferQueen.com

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Are you thinking of buying a house? Then this blog is for you! 

You have decided to start the process of buying a house! YAY!  WHOOHOO!


That is serious business and it is also very exciting.  The question is: Where to start?

Now you may respond with “um have you heard of the internet?” and you would be right that is a great place to start, or is it?  Below I am going to run through my 6 steps for purchasing a home from start to finish.


In my opinion the absolute first step in your journey to purchasing your first property is simple:

1. GET A PRE-APPROVAL!!

How do you start looking for treasure without a map to follow? Think of the pre-approval as the paper you use to draw the map, without the preapproval you have nowhere to start. 


It doesn’t matter if you know what kind of house you like, how many bedrooms and bathrooms you want or that you definitely need to have a hot tub.  These things mean nothing if you do not know what dollar amount a lender will actually give you a mortgage for.


Mortgage PreapprovalWhere to go for a pre-approval? The best answer is to do a little research. Most places will do a pre-approval for free, but not all.  You can get a pre-approval from almost any financial institution. Banks, credit unions and mortgage brokers will be more than happy to entertain taking you on as a client.  If you need some names and places give us a call and we can direct you to someone who will help.  Keep in mind this can get in depth.  They are planning on giving you a significant amount of dough so they are going to ask for a lot of documentation and background info.  Don’t worry about what is in your financial past, it is better to be honest than to get a mortgage you can’t afford.


Alright you have a pre-approval! SUCCESS!! That is a big step and the right place to start.


Now what? Realtor.ca? KIJIJI? Points2home? Real Estate News?

YES!!


2. RESEARCH AND BUILD A WISHLIST!

Go online.  Look up things on social media.  Do some research on property types.  Do you want a house? Is a Condo more your thing? Are you handy? Do you want something that is a fixer upper or something you don’t have to do anything to? You may not be able to get everything on your wishlist within your budget, but you should definitely have an idea of what it is that you need.  2 or 3 bedrooms? Two storey or one? Do you need a bathtub?   There are a lot of factors of a home that you may or may not even know that you wanted so look around. Getting an idea of the important things will help guide you when you start to look at properties in person.


3. FIND A BUYERS AGENT!!

I cannot stress enough how important this one is.  You can’t drive past 2 bus benches in this city without seeing the name of a real estate agent and the companies they work for and you should have seen plenty of agents’ names while doing your research about property types. So look into some agents.  A lot of us have our own websites with biographies and other information.  Maybe there is an agent with a similar background to you, maybe your friend’s mom or dad is an agent.  Go to some open houses and talk with the agents hosting them.  The person there is not always the listing agent and in most cases would love to help you on your journey.  It doesn’t matter how you find the agent you want to work with, as long as you do choose someone to represent you.


Pick an AgentMy best advice in this is to be honest with whoever you talk to.  Telling an agent you are working with someone when you are not doesn’t really help anyone.  If you are looking on your own and are not yet represented then say so.  You don’t need to be scared about telling the truth.  At the end of the day we all want to make good working relationships and not everyone will mesh with every agent.  There is someone out there who you are going to feel will best represent your interests.  Tell the agent you are just starting your search and you are not ready to commit to anyone specifically.  Ask for a business card and if you like how they interacted with you, maybe you will ask them to represent you.


As an aside if you are just a neighbor who wants to see the home, say so.  We are hosting an open house anyway so you are welcome to come in, and the best way to feel like the agent is just being themselves with you is to be honest, we can see when you walk up to a property from across the street.  


Ok now you have picked an agent to represent you, AMAZING!!  Have a real honest conversation with them about your wants and needs, and what you can’t live without.  The agent can begin assisting you in your search. Our backend system saves you hours and hours of research as it scours the MLS for anything set up in your own curated search.  They will be the ones drawing the directions to the buried treasure. Not to mention, listings on our system can pop up 2-3 days before Realtor.ca!


It’s time to pick some houses to see.


4. VIEW HOUSES!!

Ask your buyers agent to set up showings for houses you want to view.  This may be one of the most important pieces of information I can give you. Once you pick a buyers agent contact them to do everything.  Every Realtor in Winnipeg has access to every property that is on the MLS so if you see a house you like you should contact YOUR agent, not the listing agent. Thinking they are too busy so you will book with the listing agent is not cool and could get your agent into some hot water.  If you pick someone to represent you, LET THEM.  That is what they want. They want to get to know you, how you feel about the houses, what you like, what you hate.  It helps us fight for your best interests when you do pick a house you love.


Now get into some houses! All of the online areas are great resources but nothing and I mean NOTHING can simulate the way you see a house in person.  The smell, the feel, the textures, the room sizes.  I really do mean nothing is the same in person as it is online.  The #1 comment I get when I host open houses is: “it looked different in the pictures.” And it’s true.  A camera cannot simulate the way you experience a home.  You may think that you like the idea of a two storey home, but when you view it you hate the stairs.  Maybe a carpet looks grey in a picture but it is powder blue in person.  You NEED to see a home to know if you like it, and perhaps love it.


So you have found a house that you LOVE, it has everything you wanted and it’s in your budget, now what?


5. WRITE AN OFFER!

The map is getting closer and closer to the big X.  It’s time to talk with your buyers agent and write up the offer.  They will know what all of the comparable homes in the area have sold for, whether there is room to negotiate or not (maybe it is an offer date and a competition) and how to get your offer from conditional to FINAL.  Your agent will negotiate on YOUR behalf.  Your best interests are what they are working for.  They are going to fight tooth and nail to get you the best price and terms.  This is the reason they got to know you in the first place.




6. CLOSE THE DEAL!

Now it is the home stretch, time to work hard and dig up that treasure.  Your offer was accepted and it is time to finalize your conditions.  Remember the Pre-approval? Well now the lender has turned that into a Mortgage.  Did you request a home inspection? Time to do it, and if you did it will be the best lesson in how to maintain a home and worth every penny in my opinion.  Finalize all of your conditions and the home is yours.  Your buyers agent can help you with the particulars of closing the deal completely by suggesting insurance providers and lawyers to finalize the paperwork.


CONGRATULATIONS!! You have purchased a home. In 6 steps you have been the dream client and found that buried treasure, well done!!!



AgentLogan#AgentLogan


Logan Queen

Tel: (204) 226-1261
Email: Logan@JenniferQueen.com

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I cannot tell you how often we are asked by a client whether or not we think they should paint.  The short answer: YES!  

 

The next question we get asked: but what colour?  Stick to neutrals! That appeals to the widest group of buyers.  Yes, we acknowledge that this is boring and cookie-cutter, but there is a reason that so many people do it – it works!  The neutral palettes are less distracting and it makes it easier for buyers to imagine moving their belongings into the space.  If you are dying to sneak some colour into the home, do so with your décor (accent pillows, statement pieces, etc.).

 

Even if your house is already a neutral palette, you may still want to think about painting.  With time walls can get damaged and scuffed-up, which gives the impression to buyers that the home is dirty or unkempt.  Nothing that a fresh coat of paint can't help!

 

You do not have to paint the whole house either.  A quick cheat is to paint the living space and kitchen for the most dramatic effect. If the kids’ rooms are neon green and fuchsia, don’t worry too much about it — they are secondary rooms and do not affect the sale as much as the primary rooms would. I would only recommend making a change in those rooms if the colours are making the room feel smaller or if the walls are particularly banged up.  Of course if you have a lot of time on your hands (yeah right) you could paint these secondary rooms, but the return on dollars and effort spent will be negligible.

 

As a bonus to our loyal following, we are going to offer you three of the paint colours we most frequently recommend!

 

Greys are really in right now.  For a nice light and neutral grey, we recommend: Benjamin Moore Classic Gray OC23 because it is as neutral as it gets with its slightly greige (beige) undertone.  This means that depending on the room and exposure it will flex from the gray end of things to the beige end without committing 100% to either.  Also, for those of you that have painted a room in a neutral tone only to have it look purple or pink in the daylight, rest assured.  This paint does not have any purple undertones in it!

 

Benjamin Moore Classic Gray OC 23Benjamin Moore Classic Grey OC 23 on wall

 

 

For those that want to go the more traditional route with neutral tans/beiges, we recommend: Sherwin Williams Canvas Tan SW7531.  This colour works well in all rooms (including smaller ones) and looks gorgeous with almost all wood colors and white trim.  It is a nice warm and inviting colour too!  Just beware that this color looks horrible with pink hues. 

 

 Sherwin Williams Canvas Tan SW 7531 Swatch

 

 

Another trend we have seen is one toward slightly off-white colours.  For this, we recommend: Sherwin Williams Creamy SW7012.  It is hard to believe, but white can be one of the most difficult colours to paint your home.  The wrong shade of white can make your home look sterile or dirty.  This colour however is the perfect off-white with warm undertones.  It also has a neutral base to calm it down so that it isn’t overly yellow or orange looking – it’s more like a very light ‘cream’.

 

 

There, now you know all of our secrets!  Does anyone have any paint suggestions they would like to add to this list?  We are always open to new suggestions!

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