Bayfront Improvements


by Darrin DeRoches
February 6 - 12, 2014
This week the city of Hamilton announced plans for the piers on the bay. These are plans that will develop the unused lands for commercial and residential uses in the coming years. They are also looking to improve the area in regards to sewage, streets, sidewalks and lighting to the tune of some 35 million or so. The city can justify this spending with the increase of taxes and development fees so everyone is voting ‘yes’ on the issues. There are a lot of things happening down at the bay and it seems like no one is really making a big deal out of it when this can actually be a huge success story or a huge flop. Major developments have come and gone in our city over the past few decades – some with great success and others being called failures or white elephants.

    People complained about Copps Coliseum being built with no hockey team to fill it but now we can look back at all of the great events that have entertained us over the years and the income spin off that it brought to our city. In my eyes, it was a great success, not a white elephant.

    Jackson Square seems to be regarded as a failure since they demolished heritage buildings and built it to be a fortress rather than an open mall that could have brought downtown together. I believe that the design of the mall was its greatest downfall but we have made the best of it and it has a resurgence happening with new tenants and investment. Overall it may be a failure in design, but winning by default.

    The location of the new football stadium is also debated and will be knocked up and down until we realize what we have received with very little of our own money invested. The stadium will again provide our community with years of use and entertainment and end up being a success story.

    The new vision for the bay is opening up land for development from the private sector as well as government use. The city has an absolute jewel that will either be developed with great success or squandered into a failure depending on how much of it we allow to be developed. The private sector will usually find the right use and mix for an area by listening to the market and building what they need without any interference from politicians. Hopefully the city will just do their job and develop the infrastructure, zoning etc. and allow the bay to continue to develop into the jewel it is. This will take decades to play out, as will the development around the airport and downtown.

    There is a lot of money to be made in real estate in these developments and the city should just keep opening the doors of opportunity and see what comes. The next ten years will continue to shape our city. Invest in the right spot around the bay and you will see great returns – the doors are opening. V

    Darrin DeRoches is a local real estate and mortgage broker. He can be reached to answer questions, comments or stories about real estate experiences through this weekly column at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Debt And Real Estate


by Darrin DeRoches
February 27 - March 5, 2014
I have written about personal debt and real estate a few times in the last year but a new wrinkle has surfaced and it may help more people out of tough times so I think I should write about it.  Debt is a part of life and when it becomes overwhelming, people look at their home as a piggy bank. The problem is that more and more people have “sucked out” all of the equity from their homes and they are left with no assets. The phones are ringing and collectors are knocking on your doors but you still think everything will be alright.

    Banks will lend you up to 90 per cent of the value on your home and in some cases they over extend that amount. If you default on your mortgage for three consectutive months, they will take the house back.  In most cases the bank does not want to take your house but most people just try to avoid the issue until it is too late to take care of the problem.  This is when they will call an agent and try to sell their house fast.  Then they try to reduce the commission since there is no money left in the house and everyone is in a panic.  People will also call the signs on poles that say they will buy your house for cash today but of course they will not pay what the home is worth and this also is a mistake.  Some people call lawyers but they also want to get paid and this is usually a waste of time.  So what should someone do when they are in such a situation?

    Negotiate. The bank wants to get paid. The credit card companies want to get paid.  The government wants to get paid.  So negotiate with them and find a solution for everyone.  Unfortunately, most of these debtors will not want to negotiate with you and they will give you terrible advice to borrow from family or sell your home.

    Your first call should be to a Debt Councillor.  I work with a great one and recently observed a situation where a client was looking to sell their home and get out of debt.  Once we looked at the numbers we realized the best situation was to negotiate – keep their home, reduce their debt from over $70,000 dollars to about $30,000 dollars and before it was all wrapped up they were able to trade in their five year old car for a 2014 model within the same monthly payment.  Everyone gets paid and through a Consumer Proposal they will pay the debt down in five years while their home increases in value.  If you look at the numbers they wrote off over $40,000 dollars in debt, kept their home which will most likely value up over the $30,000 grand they will pay off in five years and they are driving around in a new car.  Every situation is different and in some cases selling the home is the only option. Either way a Debt Councillor can help you work out the best solution. V

    Darrin DeRoches is a local real estate and mortgage broker. He can be reached to answer questions, comments or stories about real estate experiences through this weekly column at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Downtown Condos


by Darrin DeRoches
June 12 - 18, 2014
This past week the condos at the old Royal Connaught went up for sale and a few other projects also made some announcements. The Tivoli released a picture of their renderings of the upcoming project and the tower seems pretty big. The Artizen condos beside the Lister Block also put up a sign to announce their project. Both of these projects are still far away from selling and are announcing their project because the Royal Connaught was on sale. 

    My client is very interested in buying condos in Hamilton since we’re named number one city to invest in. For years, people have bought condos as an investment in Toronto and their condo market is so huge that some fear that the capability to make money in prospecting condos has come and gone. This has then brought attention to the Hamilton market, but after this weekend I wonder if we get it. The idea of buying a condo below market rate and then reselling it in 18 months to two years when the project is completed only works if the original price is low enough and the resale market raises enough to make a profit. If you were to buy a condo at $390 per sqft and then sell it two years later at $410 dollars per foot, then on a 1000 sqft foot condo you can make $20,000. This speculating buying process helps the condo builder’s ability to sell all the units and get the project built and at the same time allows for investors to make a better return on their money than sitting in the bank. The problem is that the builder has to be willing to sell at the right price and the market has to continue to rise. This is why it is called speculating. 

    The Connaught, Tivoli and Artizen condos are all big projects and will have to sell a lot of units. Collectively they will bring in over eleven hundred units to the downtown plus the other projects that are being built will bring a huge influx of people living in the downtown in the next two years. The first question people ask is “who is buying these units?” and the answer is simple – everybody. I spoke with young and older people who have the desire to buy condos and live downtown. The downtown area is changing in the right direction and the Royal Connaught will be the turning point.

    Sales are the answer to everyone’s questions and sales are happening. Condos have been in the downtown for many years and different projects have had different levels of success. Over the next six months to a year, you will see the success of these projects selling. The next 18 months to two years you will then see the influx of people moving into these condos and downtown will have the biggest growth it has seen since the Royal Connaught was first built. V

    Darrin DeRoches is a local real estate and mortgage broker. He can be reached to answer questions, comments or stories about real estate experiences through this weekly column at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Sales Up, Inventory Low


by Darrin DeRoches
July 10 - 16, 2014
The month of June has shown big numbers in Sales and Listings. The market is strong and people are on the move. There were 2215 properties listed in June which was an 11.5 per cent increase over last year but the inventory was down by 5 per cent by the end of the month. The sales for June were 1572 properties with and average sale price of $399,917. This represents a 15.6 per cent increase in sales from the same time last year.

    This is showing how strong the market is plus the fact that people are making moves in the market. Prices are rising by about 5 per cent from last year and everyone is reaping the rewards from this strong market. The average time that a house sits on the market is about 35 days which is down from last year. This all points to a strong market which creates a low inventory and this means that if your house is not selling, it can be due to one of two things. Either it is overpriced or your agent is not marketing it properly. 

    Every house has a buyer out there but in some instances it may be hard to find the buyer if you are priced wrong or not being serviced properly. Some agents just put the house on the system and wait for the phone to ring. The problem is that the phone is not ringing because the house is overpriced. Then there are the properties that are priced properly but the agent is not actively working the leads and making a sale happen. Some agents do not help the process along and buyers decided to purchase competing homes instead. If your home is sitting on the market longer than the average home, you should take a serious look at your situation. Is it the price, the agent or the home itself? You may need to do some painting, landscaping, change the price or change your agent.

    This strong market does not create dumb buyers or huge competition. Buyers are still informed and you have to present your property in its best light to get the fast sale. Top dollar and quick sales only happen when everything is working in alignment. The agent and the seller work together to make the property presentable, priced right, and marketed properly. This time of year you have to watch out for long weekends and weather to hit the market at the right time. Having an open house on a long weekend and asking for offers that same week is a huge mistake. You cannot do a price drop when nobody is paying attention.

    The sales are up and inventory remains low but you still have to work to get the best price. There are still good deals in the market you just have to know when to make an offer and see what the market has missed since everyone is about to either go fishing or take a vacation. Timing can be everything. V

    Darrin DeRoches is a local real estate and mortgage broker. He can be reached to answer questions, comments or stories about real estate experiences through this weekly column at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .