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Use a Realtor? Or Do It Yourself?

You’ve decided to sell your home. Do you use a Realtor – or do it yourself? The quick answer is that you will be much better protected and make more money selling your home if you use an experienced and licensed agent.


A Realtor doesn’t charge you money upfront: Those “do it yourself” marketing companies are not real estate agents. In general, you pay $1,500 to $2,500 up front, for photos, videos and to have your home listed on the MLS system. However, if your home doesn’t sell - you get no money back! With a real estate agent, if your home doesn’t sell, you pay nothing, even though the agent may have spent a lot of time and marketing dollars on your home.


Bidding wars are rare: Bidding wars happen quite often in the Waterloo Region. In almost all cases, a real estate agent sells the homes! The main reason is that it takes experience to price the home properly. Secondly, the process is fair because no one knows what anyone else is bidding. With a private seller, there is no duty of confidentiality, so the seller can tell one buyer what another buyer is bidding. Buyers don’ trust the process - so there is no bidding war.


You negotiate on your own: When you sell yourself, it is difficult to know what a fair and good selling price is for your home. You might have to pay an appraiser to find out. When a buyer hears that you are saving commission, they will want to split the savings. So you don’t get all the commission savings and you also have to negotiate with a buyer who is likely represented by a real estate agent. This agent will use all their experience to figure out how low you will go, while giving nothing away about their own buyer.


If you are considering selling your home, lets have a chat. I have over 25 years of experience helping sellers get top dollar for their homes — just ask your neighbours!

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Selling your home in this summer market?

It’s no secret that in the past several months we have seen home values significantly increase in the Waterloo Region. Sellers have been enjoying getting top dollar for their homes! However, in the past few weeks, some markets have shifted and are experiencing somewhat of a slowdown. There are much more homes for sale now!


When hiring a Realtor to sell your home, the old “house will sell itself” strategy where you upload a messy/unstaged house to MLS and wait for offers just won’t cut it. You need an experienced agent with a marketing strategy and can expose your home to as many prospective Buyers as possible.


Here are some of the tips for Selling your home! I provide these services for all of my clients and listings!


Professional Photography and Video: This is so important when you are trying to attract Buyers. More often than not, the first time they will see your home is online; social media, agents website or on MLS.


The small details are everything. Prepare your home: i.e. declutter, touch up paint, deep clean, and make it inviting and appealing. Proper lighting, right angles, personal items and furniture staged properly. The fine details are why I hire the best professionals in the area. If your agent shows up with a phone camera – you’re not getting the photos and videos you need. I will touch more on the video portion later on.  


Marketing is Key: It is 2017. Your agent needs to go far beyond listing your home on the MLS and wait for offers to come in. You need to ask your agent what their marketing plan is!


Does the marketing plan seem like it is designed to sell your home or is it an attempt to help the agent find more clients? Where does the agent advertise? Are they on social media; do they do paid ads for your listing with professional videos and write ups? Or is it a photo that says “123 Address Street For Sale”. Are you working with an individual agent; or a team who may not have a set plan for your home? Ask these questions!


Showings in this Market: It was great when homes sold in 5 days, but that just isn’t happening as often anymore. And it is completely OK. It’s how everywhere outside the Waterloo Region has been operating forever, and it doesn’t mean your home won’t sell. So don’t worry.


What If I Get An Offer?

Know who your Buyer is and if they have the capacity to close! So you have an offer – awesome. But remember, accepting a great offer is almost irrelevant if the Buyer isn’t able to get financing and take possession of the property. I have seen this issue with Buyers who bought at the height of the market in February or March but then were unable to sell their old home when the market shifted recently. When you get an offer, it’s essential that your agent finds out about the Buyer’s ability to close. Questions like; How much is their down payment? Who is financing the mortgage? Do they need to sell their existing property to fund the purchase of your home? If so, where’s that home and what’s the plan for listing it for sale? How much do they think it’s worth? Do they have a plan B in place if the property doesn’t appraise out for the amount they paid?

Get a big deposit. When a Buyer makes an offer to purchase a property, they also provide a deposit (usually held in trust by the listing brokerage). How big is their deposit? Bigger deposits are always better as they ensure the Buyer has some skin in the game. It’s generally easy to walk away from $1,000…but who would walk away from a $50,000 deposit?


Be ready for conditions. When a Buyer isn’t competing for a property in a bidding war, we usually expect them to make a conditional offer, meaning that their offer is conditional on things like getting financing or a home inspection (often for 3-5 business days). If the Buyer doesn’t waive the conditions, they are able to walk away from their offer and their deposit is returned. Conditions can be frustrating for Sellers because it prolongs the process – but really, it’s a win/win. It’s better to find out 2 days after an offer that the Buyer can’t get financing instead of 2 days before closing!

Remember that negotiating is a two-way street. Focus on what’s most important to you (price vs. closing date vs. conditions) and make sure you are prepared to be flexible on some terms. Most importantly: hire an agent who isn’t afraid to negotiate smartly.


When the market is hot or slow – there is a lot to know! I am always happy to answer any questions and discuss your options when selling your home. Call me direct at 519-624-5555 or email me

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Should I Buy New or Resale?

For most of the Waterloo Region, this is a pretty simple answer.


Buying resale seems to be the best overall value. The main factor is that we have seen very little new development occurring in this region. Land costs have increased significantly in the last few years, causing the builders to pass these costs on to the consumer.


With new homes, one must consider the added cost of items, which are typically included in a resale home. For example; fenced yard, decks, driveway, central air, heating, window coverings, finished basement, appliances, and other general upgrades that are not included in a basic new-build.


The exception is a new-build, which is outside of the hot spots. The advantage of buying a new-build in those areas is that eventually there will be growth and you will be able to realize the appreciation, provided you were able to secure a reasonable purchase price now.


If you have any questions about this or about real estate — give me a call and let's have a chat!


519-624-5555 or e-mail me at


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What is the market doing right now?

What is the market doing right now? This is one of the most common questions that I’m most frequently asked.


As you may know, our Region has enjoyed a very significant growth in the past 18 months. What we are seeing now is a levelling of the market at the current prices.


Why is everything levelling out? These home values have been established as a result of bidding wars, limited inventory (more people wanting to buy but not enough homes available) and movement from the Greater Toronto Area, Milton, and Oakville markets. 


What you should expect...


1) Values should remain steady with an average growth resuming (3% to 5% annually)

2) Increased inventory in Waterloo and Wellington Region’s

3) Buyers should have less competition on offer presentation dates


Was this just merely a “bubble”?




It is highly unlikely for home values to decline, as our Region still remains very attractive to our neighbours, who are still on average priced roughly 50% to 60% higher than us. 


If you have any more questions about the market or real estate – give me a call at 519-624-5555 or e-mail me directly at



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Where do I invest in this market?

In this market, I'm often asked where I would invest money. We are currently in a market where homes are being sold with multiple offers and the rent does not make sense in comparison to the purchase price. One must look at the market and the market rent before making the decision to invest in real estate. One must also look at where the market is headed in the next 3 to 5 years.

Investing in real estate is not a quick "flip and get rich" scheme. On social media, television and other advertising streams, we are inundated with; investment seminars, how-to seminars, and where to invest seminars. These are all just another marketing tool for an agent to attract buyers for listings, which are on the market and not necessarily the best investment opportunities for you - an investor.

For the Region of Waterloo, we will have a high demand for condominiums and affordable housing. If you are thinking about investing, it would be wise to start looking at investment opportunities in condos, mid-rises and stack townhomes as an alternative to an investment in single-family freehold type dwellings. The primary reason for investing in condominiums is that the rate of return based on the purchase price still makes sense and one can attain between 6% to 8% annual return on their money and still have the tenant pay down their mortgage. Another benefit to investing in condos is that we will see an appreciation in the next 3 to 5 years as condos will be the only affordable housing options for millennials entering the market.

Consider your options before signing up for an investment seminar, which will lead you to projects and listings that don't provide the rate of return or upside potential, as these homes have already accelerated in value! You must really consider your options and seek the advice of a professional who is truly looking after the interest of the buyer/investor!


If you have any questions about the current market or real estate investing - give me a call. 519-624-5555 or 
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Why do I publish “Over Asking” selling prices on social media?

So, why do I publish “Over Asking” selling prices after a home sells for over its asking price? The answer is quite simple: Knowledge is Power!


We live in a world that is full of information, and people being well informed is valuable – especially when making the biggest investment of their life! In the age of social media — it’s now easier than ever for me to communicate real estate information with the Waterloo & Wellington Regions!


Simply publishing the “over asking price”, as many agents do, serves little to no purpose on its own. However, I publish the actual selling price in addition to the over asking price. By providing this amount, it helps you learn about the current market and assists you in making an informed decision — whether you are a buyer or a seller. 


Another reason agents would post is because there are many other agents that have a limited audience / and reach. Many tend to spend less money on marketing listings and have basic marketing strategies. Because of this, they are unable to reach as many potential buyers for homes and achieve the same bidding wars that an agent with more reach and marketing can get. Many tend to stick to traditional marketing and underperform for their clients. If you advertise the same way as every other agent – you will attain the same results. We want the best for our clients.


Implementing and investing in new strategies and evolving with the market will create success for our buyers and sellers — proof is in the numbers! 


Before deciding to Buy or Sell: Get Informed!


Learn about your market! Make sure that you are following me on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook and see our listing / selling prices of local properties, new listings, and more valuable real estate information!


People over pay when they are not informed! Do your research, if you are thinking about an agent, check out their website, social media accounts, ask them where else they advertise your listing. The way they promote other people's homes is the way they will promote yours. We are focused on being the trendsetter in the area for marketing initiatives — contact me and ask how!


Hire a professional and be educated in this market!


Disclaimer: We always get the Buyers and Sellers permission to publish these numbers.


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Rules are changing for Landlords / Tenants!

Last week we touched on the changing rules for foreign investors buying property in Ontario. But I’m sure that you’ve seen posts about the government changing rules for landlords / rental properties when it comes to “Rent Control”. So what does this mean for landlords and tenants?


One of the big changes is that there is a plan to bring all private rental properties under the province’s rent-control regime. This currently only covers buildings that were built before November, 1991. Now, rent hikes across the board will be held to around inflation and will be capped at 2.5% per year. However, though, landlords can still apply for special increases if they do renovations or upgrades that increase the properties value. If a landlord wants to raise the rent, they must wait until the tenant moves out.


Of course, tenants welcomed this change with open arms, but developers, builders, and landlords warned that it will quash the supply of much-needed rentals, a segment that is becoming more abandoned, as developers are more in favour of condos. If developers and landlords don’t think that they can make a profit off rent – they won’t build them / rent them.


So the government getting involved and putting a cap on rentals will reduce the number of rental properties available – making the situation worse!


Do you have any questions about this or any other real estate topic? Give me a call – I’d love to chat and answer! 519-624-5555 or
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Will the Foreign Buyers Tax make buying and renting homes more affordable?

You have probably seen all the social media posts and news updates about the Ontario Government getting involved with the real estate market in Ontario. Headlines that mention “Foreign Home Buyer Tax”, “Rent Control”, that have been brought in by the Kathleen Wynne Government.


Wynne says that these measures will make the process of finding and affording a place to live easier. This new tax will affect people who live outside of Ontario and are looking to invest in Ontario real estate – apartment buildings, rental houses, or any investment/place to park their money.


But is more Government involvement really the solution to the rising real estate costs? Are foreign investors the reason for the rising housing costs?


There is no evidence to support either. No data, no facts, nothing. In fact, these same taxes were implemented in Vancouver, B.C. and the only thing that has come out of that is slower home sales, and the home values are still high. A $1,000,000 home from one year ago is still $1,000,000 today. The initial impact was short-lived. Municipal Governments need to issue more building permits and allow higher density developments. The answer to affordability is inventory, not a tax! Let's face it, 15% foreign investment tax is a joke. They are probably saying "come that all you got". This will have no impact on home values and foreign investors will continue to buy. Lessons should have been learned in B.C.!

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Show Me The Money

Yes, we all know who Tom Cruise is, and most of us have heard the famous Jerry Maguire line, "Show me the money." But this line doesn't only apply to sports agents and their clients...real estate agents and their clients use this line in transactions, too! 


In real estate, "Show me the money" is a way to say "Show me the deposit!"


When selling your home in the Waterloo Region, chances are you are getting multiple offers. When getting these offers, you do not want to see a personal cheque!


Let me explain why.


When making an offer, show me a bank draft or a certified cheque. When you include this with your offer, it will help consider you as a serious buyer! In these current times of multiple offers and bidding wars, emotions often run high! People can submit high offers, with no conditions, and promises that they will bring their deposit in "tomorrow". Well, often times, tomorrow may never come. If tomorrow doesn't come with the deposit cheque, you have just dismissed the other multiple offers that you had on the table for a deal that should have never been presented without a deposit!


"Show me the money" is the one phrase that you need to use with your agent and the prospective buyers! 

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Buy your rent-to-own home now!

Are you in a rent-to-own program right now? If so, this is the best market for you to exercise your option to buy your rent-to-own contract out! For many years, investors and landlords have had the advantage of obtaining deposits from tenants and giving them the option to buy the property that they live in at some point in the future. What these landlords and investors did not take into consideration is that this market would increase at the rate that it has! Typically, the landlord would put a 5% annual increase in the value of the property that the tenant is living in. The last three years have been performing far better than 5% annual increase, therefore given the fact that we have had a 40% increase in values over the last 18 months, this is an ideal time to exercise your option to buy out your rent to own contract.


A simple appraisal of your current property will give you the evaluation in today's market. I am confident that you will be pleasantly surprised at the new value of your home. Chances are that you already have 35% to 40% equity in the current home you're living in. This allows you to go to the bank and show that you have up to 40% already built into your current residence.


Take advantage of this opportunity! Speak to a mortgage broker or a bank and get your financing in place so that you can buy out the property. Stop paying your landlord's mortgage today! 


Unsure where to begin? I have financial institutions and brokers that are ready to speak to anyone who is interested in taking advantage of these times and lower rates.


Lets Talk!

Give me a call directly at 519 624-5555 or send me an e-mail at and lets talk!

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Faisal Susiwala
July 11, 2017
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Everything Real Estate Buying Selling Staging Decor

Faisal's career in real estate began at the early age of 18. He consistently earned a reputation as a top producer from the outset. In 1994, he joined the sales force of RE/MAX Twin City Realty Inc. and has continued to be a top producer there for the past twelve years. Susiwala covers a large sector of the Cambridge and KW market and attributes his success to a strong marketing plan with extensive advertising, state of the art technology, an experienced support team and a loyal clientele base for the past 17 years of being in the real estate business.

- Success Magazine