Pleased to meet you!

We went to a great networking event this morning hosted by Noah Fleming (http://noahfleming.com/).  He’s a local marketing consultant with expertise in entrepreneurial growth, community building, client loyalty, and customer retention.  The breakfast wasn’t so much a sales pitch but a chance to have a discussion with a few other local Realtors and talk about some of the challenges facing the local market as well as where he feels the real estate profession is going in the next 3-5 years and beyond.  It was great of him to host the event and time well spent.

One of the things we discussed was the power of this blog.  A platform such as this is really a great tool to not only tell you about what’s happening with our business but also to engage in a dialogue with our community.  Too often we fall into the trap of just showing off our new listings or brag about houses that we’ve sold.  We also want to show you why we are experts in the local real estate market and that we genuinely want to become trusted advisers in your next home sale or purchase.  To this end, we’ll devote a few blogs over the next few weeks introducing ourselves to you a bit more (while still showing you our exciting new listings!) just to give you a better sense of who we are and why we think you’ll want to do business with us.  This is definitely a two way street though.  We certainly encourage comments on our blog.  We’d love to hear if you’ve had a good experience dealing with us and if there are any stories you’d like to share.  We are R.A. Critchlow Realty and we’re pleased to meet  you!

2 Great New Family Home Listings

We’re really excited to have posted 2 new listings this week that are great for a growing family.  Both feature great lots, perfect for parents with  young children.  Both houses feature many recent upgrades as well.

713 Mersea Road 6 is a solid brick ranch that sits on about an acre of treed land.  It’s located just east of Highway 77 on the 6th concession.  It also has a nice detached garage with a small workshop connected to the back.  Asking price is $209,000.

1790 Cottonwood is a spacious 4 level side-split on one of the nicest streets in Kingsville.  It features a large treed lot and a recently upgraded furnace and a/c unit.  List price is $199,000.

These houses won’t last long!  Contact us today to see them before they’re gone.

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Gone!

2 more sold signs this week!

We sold this large family home in Kingsville near Lakeside Park.

We also sold this solid home in one of the best family neighbourhoods in Leamington.

Want your home to appear as a Sold listing on our website?  We do to!  Contact us today to make it happen.

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Property Assessment Notices Being Delivered – Are You Ready?

The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation announced that, as part of the 2012 reassessment, they have mailed Property Assessment Notices for nearly 5 million properties.  MPAC is a private not for profit organization charged with the task of classifying and valuing property in Ontario.  Your current assessment has been based on a valuation date of January 1, 2008.  The new notices will show an updated value based on the market as of January 1, 2012.   If in their analysis MPAC determines that the market value of your home has increased or decreased over the last four years, it will be reflected on your new notice.   As a homeowner, this is important because your property tax liability is based on the figure returned by MPAC.

In general, the mass appraisal model employed by MPAC is very efficient.  It allows MPAC to assess an enormous inventory of properties by looking at many of the variables of your property (such as location, building and lot size, quality of construction etc…).  It then compares them with sales in a given neighborhood to arrive at your assessed value.  However, it is not a precise instrument.  If MPAC has any incorrect information about your home, there is a chance that you may end up paying too much property tax!  To this extent, the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario found that in one out of eight properties reviewed, the assessed value differed from the sale price by more than 20%.*

Fortunately, there is a recourse for property owners to challenge their assessment.  You can file a Request for Reconsideration (free of charge) with MPAC through which you can outline why you think a reduction is warranted.    At R.A. Critchlow Realty Inc. we have in-depth knowledge of the assessment system and what information MPAC looks at most when reviewing a Request for Reconsideration.  If you think you have been incorrectly assessed, we may be able to help.  But do not hesitate as there is a specific window of time for you to file a Request for Reconsideration.  Property taxes are high enough.  You shouldn’t have to pay more than your fair share.

*http://www.auditor.on.ca/en/reports_en/en10/308en10.pdf

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We would love to hear from you! Please fill out this form and we will get in touch with you shortly.

Property Assessment Notices Are Coming – Are You Ready?

The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation announced that, as part of the 2012 reassessment, they have mailed Property Assessment Notices for nearly 5 million properties.  MPAC is a private not for profit organization charged with the task of classifying and valuing property in Ontario.  Your current assessment has been based on a valuation date of January 1, 2008.  The new notices will show an updated value based on the market as of January 1, 2012.   If in their analysis MPAC determines that the market value of your home has increased or decreased over the last four years, it will be reflected on your new notice.   As a homeowner, this is important because your property tax liability is based on the figure returned by MPAC.

In general, the mass appraisal model employed by MPAC is very efficient.  It allows MPAC to assess an enormous inventory of properties by looking at many of the variables of your property (such as location, building and lot size, quality of construction etc…).  It then compares them with sales in a given neighborhood to arrive at your assessed value.  However, it is not a precise instrument.  If MPAC has any incorrect information about your home, there is a chance that you may end up paying too much property tax!  To this extent, the Office of the Auditor General of Ontario found that in one out of eight properties reviewed, the assessed value differed from the sale price by more than 20%.*

Fortunately, there is a recourse for property owners to challenge their assessment.  You can file a Request for Reconsideration (free of charge) with MPAC through which you can outline why you think a reduction is warranted.    At R.A. Critchlow Realty Inc. we have in-depth knowledge of the assessment system and what information MPAC looks at most when reviewing a Request for Reconsideration.  If you think you have been incorrectly assessed, we may be able to help.  But do not hesitate as there is a specific window of time for you to file a Request for Reconsideration.  Property taxes are high enough.  You shouldn’t have to pay more than your fair share.

*http://www.auditor.on.ca/en/reports_en/en10/308en10.pdf

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Essex County the Safest Place to Live in Canada!

An article published by the Windsor Star suggests that Essex County might just be the safest place to live in Canada.  According to the Star, “the crime severity index analyzes crime statistics from communities and looks at volume of crimes as well as the severity of crimes committed. More violent crimes are given heavier weight. The seriousness of a crime can be determined by the sentence given the offender”.   In looking at these figures for municipalities with 10,000 or more people, Amherstburg, LaSalle, Tecumseh and Lakeshore are 4 of the top 5 safest places to live.  More serious offences have a greater impact on the index”.  Kingsville was also in the top 10 while Essex and Leamington were also ranked reasonably high on the list.

Top 10 safest communities of 239 in Canada with populations over 10,000.

1. Amherstburg

2. LaSalle

3. Meaford, Ont.

4. Tecumseh

5. Lakeshore

6. Wellington County

7. Rothesay Region, N.B.

8. Upper Ottawa Valley

9. Mississippi Mills

10. Kingsville

15. Essex

36. Leamington

149. Windsor

Given the safety of our communities, our proximity to great recreation, some of the most reasonable real estate prices in the country, why would you want to live anywhere else!?!

http://blogs.windsorstar.com/2012/09/18/essex-county-safest-place-in-country/

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3 New Sold Signs!

Just a quick update on some of the activity we’ve had in the office the last week.

We listed this property on August 29th and it was SOLD by September 7th!

This condo unit just sold for only $900 below list price!

We sold this spacious home on a beautiful country home just west of Harrow as well.

If you missed these homes, don’t worry we have plenty of others.  If you’re thinking of selling, contact us today!

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Growing the Town of Leamington

There was an interesting article in the Windsor Star this week talking about the latest census figures which show a mild population decline in Leamington.  ( http://blogs.windsorstar.com/2012/07/25/leamington-tries-to-counter-population-dip/ ) Between 2006 and 2011, Leamington lost nearly 500 residents.  The focus of the article (and the comments in particular) though shifted to a discussion on the vitality of the community as a whole.  Leamington in the past has somewhat branded itself as a retirement friendly community.  With a small exodus of working age people and a growth in the number of retirement age people, the question becomes whether this is the right strategy and if not, how do we best grow the town of Leamington in the next few years.

Many commenters suggest that property taxes and development fees are too high in town.  We here tend to agree that this is a strong deterrent.  It seems no coincidence to us that the town of Kingsville, with lower development fees and a lower tax rate, seems to be be experiencing stronger growth with several large commercial and residential developments on the go.  That being said, Leamington is a larger community with more services to offer.  It does in fact have a hospital and a large recreation complex with a wonderful pool.  The reconstruction and revitalization of Seacliff Park has been a great benefit to the community which is on display every weekend as people pack the splash-pad and the beach.  But highlighting services and amenities as a justification for a higher cost of living will not work.  Leamington must become competitive with surrounding communities with respect to the cost of construction and living.  Otherwise we’ll continue to see more development dollars find alternative locations for investment.  More homes, commercial projects and greenhouses will be built elsewhere.

But what do you think?  We’d love to hear some of your comments on how to grow Leamington as a community and what can be done to retain working professionals as well as attract new people to the area – both for work and recreation.

Back up and running

Yesterday was a day when we truly felt lucky as on office.  A local landmark, the old Village Inn, caught fire around 5:30am.  Our office and it’s rear parking lot were only separated by one building from the major blaze which drew fire crews in from Leamington, Kingsville and Lakeshore.  Thanks to their great work, the fire stayed contained to the old bar and we escaped with barely a hint of smoke in our building.  Here are a couple of pictures of the damage.

The view from our parking lot.

The office of the Ontario Fire Marshall is on scene today.

Now the cleanup begins.

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2 New Listings

We’re excited to have uploaded two new properties today.

The first is a ranch near Wheatley Harbour.  It’s fully finished on both levels and has a fantastic heated detached garage.  Perfect as either a shop or a “man-cave”.

The second listing is a fruit and vegetable farm on Road 6 E in Kingsville.  The value is mostly in the land as it is zoned for future greenhouse development.  It also has several outbuildings, an oil well and 2 residences for seasonal help.

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