In another of our series on financial and real estate advice, we spoke with Carissa Turnbull of C&C Real Estate Group about the current real estate market and trends for the future. She kindly offered to provide us with some advice and knowledge in an informal Q&A. If you’d like to chat in more detail with Carissa, she can be reached at

Q. The real estate market seems to be slowing down – is it a good time to sell or should we wait a while?  Have new government rules changed the market?

A. The real estate market has slowed down when we consider the activity in the first quarter of 2017.  The number of sales as well as the average sale price has decreased over the last few months, however, if we look at the number of sales as well as the average price, we are currently still slightly higher than compared to one year ago.  The new government rules have affected certain neighbourhoods targeted by foreign buyers, but the numbers speak for themselves, we are still higher than last year even when we remove foreign buyers from the market.  The first quarter of 2017 was not a sustainable real estate market.  Returning to a more balanced market is better for both buyers and sellers.  As we start to see interest rates increasing, we might see more of a downturn in prices if there is a major increase to interest rates.  It’s still a good time to sell since interest rates are expected to continue to rise.

Q. Downsizing is an issue for many of us. Do you have thoughts on when to downsize and how to do it?

A. Having helped many people downsize into a more manageable property the best advice we can give is “you will know when the time is right.”  Everyone is different and everyone has different motivators to downsize.  We have heard comments such as “I feel like all I do is clean my home,” “I used to enjoy taking care of the gardens, now they feel more like work than pleasure,” “Taking care of my property is cutting into my social life,” “I want to lock the door and travel,” “I want to spend all my time with my grandkids.” When you start to feel the home is more burden than pleasure than it may be time to start thinking of downsizing.

Q. Leaving a house and moving to a condo is a big step.  Some of us wonder if we’d be happy living in a condo after many years in a house.  What are your thoughts on making the transition to condo living?

A. Condo living does not always mean living in a tall, small, condo apartment.  There are condo bungalows, condo townhouses and large condo apartments; all of which include outdoor maintenance like windows, roofs, gardening and snow removal, etc.  Not to mention, there are workout rooms, pools, clubs, social activities included in your condo fees.  Condo living is a lifestyle adjustment, but when you don’t have to worry about outdoor maintenance and property upkeep, your time is your own.

Q. Lease vs Rent vs Buy?  There are so many ideas about which is the best option – how do you help clients decide which one is right for them?

A. Tried, tested and true.  Real Estate is your home as well as a great investment.  Without knowing each person’s specific financial situation, it is tough to say which is the best option.  We are well versed in “working the numbers” on a monthly or annually basis for rentals or property purchases, so we can help you work things out. As a preliminary guide however, here are some things to take into account:

  • what are monthly costs of each option?
  • are utilities included?
  • how much are the property taxes?

Working through the expenses of each Lease, Rent or Buy scenario depends on the individual’s specific circumstances.  Start with our basic questions above to determine what might be the best fit for you. We are happy to help you work out the details of each option to find the right fit for you.

Q. There are many more mortgage options than there used to be – what are the best options today?

A. Variable Mortgage, Fixed Rate Mortgage, Home Equity Line of Credit, Reverse Mortgage, Money for Life Annuity Products.  Sounds confusing.  A mortgage broker/financial advisor should be consulted for your specific situational needs.  We have contact info for trusted advisors to provide information on all of these mortgage products to help you make an informed decision.

Carissa is happy to answer any questions you might have. No question is too small, so feel free to email Carissa at