All posts by Ray Ferris

Thinking of Selling Alone Because The Market’s Hot?


The weather isn’t all that’s HOT!  During the course of marketing this cottage for sale we attracted multiple offers.  Multiple offers exist any time more than one buyer submits an offer on a property often referred to as “bidding wars”.

Generating and presenting multiple offers is a complex process.  A seller in receipt of competing offers has several possible options to consider.  They are:

  1. Accept one and reject the others; 
  2. Sign one back and reject the others; 
  3. Reject all offers, sending them back to the buyers for improvement;
  4. Sign one back and hold on the other offer(s) pending a response from the buyer getting the sign back; 
  5. Hold on to one or more offers while sending the other offer(s) back to the buyers for improvement, or 
  6. Hold on to a couple copies of each offer, and send the other copies back to the buyers for improvement if they so desire.

Each of the above options has positive and negative consequences for the seller.  If you’re thinking of selling and want our assistance in obtaining the most amount of money and assistance in navigating the complexities of the current real estate market we can be contacted at 519.586.7922 or

15 Things To Do in Norfolk County During March Break

March Break is right around the corner and Norfolk County has lots to see and do!

Here is our top 15 things to do in Norfolk County this March Break:

28168618_2121438504536265_6278174002300795217_n1. Norfolk Wildlife Festival and Adventure Show, WILDER than ever! Kick off March break with this awesome festival on March 10 and 11 at the Aud in Simcoe. Check out the exciting shows, Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo, a duck slide, rabbits, llams and a donkey! There will be so much to do with a scavenger hunt, wall climbing, the handy hammers club, pony rides and more!  Don’t miss out on this WILD March Break Adventure.  

2.  Make art like an Egyptian at the Ancient Civilizations March Break Program at the Norfolk Arts Centre! Each day a different ancient culture will be examined. From Egyptian hieroglyphs to Mayan temples you will learn about the art and architecture of past societies as models for own ancient civilizations-inspired creations. Participants will look at the features of Lynnwood National Historic Site to consider how ancient civilizations have influenced art and architecture throughout the ages. Find out more information here. 

28467929_1704895076220166_5552245062338490124_n3. March is Lobsterfest at Davids Restaurant and the Chef has created so many great ways to enjoy this sea-food favourite.  Treat yourself over March Break to one of these mouth watering lobster creations from David’s Loberfest menu. We are almost drooling over the Lobster Burger made with creamy lobster, baked brie, smoked bacon, ice burg lettuce, house made fennel relish on a brioche bun. 


4. The “Nearly World Famous” DuffleBag Theatre will be returning this March Break with CINDERELLA, their interactive play.  Don’t miss this high-energy, comedic adaptation of the timeless fairytale!  Audience members (that means grown-ups, too) will have the opportunity to join DuffleBag actors on stage and bring this hilarious show to life! CINDERELLA wouldn’t be complete without the magical Fairy Godmother, Prince Charming and, of course, Cinderella’s boisterous and determined animal companions.  Find out more information here.

5. Team up with Create Studio and Amber Earth Studio in Port Dover for a bath bomb workshop. Bath Bomb Bonanza is a hands on class where your young one will choose their own blends of essential oils, colouring, and personal touch whether it be glitter bombs (dissolving food grade) or a hidden treasure to take home.

6.  Join the four time Guiness World Record holding Illusionist Lucas Wilson and his assistant Kelly Defilla as they bring a NEW family fun magic show to Lighthouse Festival Theatre this March Break. Get the VIP experience to learn how to perform your very own magic at home! Proceeds from the show go to support  Lucas’ program at McMaster Children’s Hospital in Hamilton.  Find out more information here.

Willies7.  Willie’s is open for the season!   Enjoy a famous Willie Burger created with its quarter-pound charbroiled beef burger topped with peameal bacon, cheese, Famous Willie’s Homemade BBQ Sauce and condiments of your choice. Other favourites include chicken-on-a-bun, homestyle BBQ chicken and ribs and Lake Erie yellow perch. 

8.  The Simcoe Town Centre will be hosting a FREE March Break event on Wednesday March 14 hosted by 92.9 The Grand. There will lots to do through out the day including The Barry O’ Kidshow filled with puppets, magic tricks & juggling that adds up to lots of FUN! There will even be a FREE workshop in “juggling skills” for beginners following Barry O’s show!

9.  Go public skating! Skating times can be viewed here. Or, try out roller skating at The Aud on Friday March 16 at the Family Skate Night hosted by the Norfolk County Roller Derby!

10.  Experience a fun-filled WHAM March Break with special access to hands-on learning through history, science, art, music and much more! Find out more information here.


11. The Vittoria & District Foundation will host the 22nd Annual Spaghetti Dinner and Auction on Saturday, March 17, 2018. Find out more information here.

12. Check out the 30+ year-round Simcoe Farmers’ Market. Inside vendors plus many seasonal outdoor vendors. Produce, eggs, 3 bakeries, 2 butchers, fresh poultry, fresh/smoked fish, deli, local cheese, apples, cider, honey, preserves, crafts, flowers, VQA wines.


13. Enjoy a delicious lunch at Urban Parisian over March Break.  This charming, authentic French bakery is creating incredible lunch specials! With new features and soups daily, there is always something delicious to enjoy. You’ll have to pick from an assortment of the most exquisite pastries you will see outside of Paris for dessert!

14. Try something new and visit Circle of Friends Pottery for a March Break Pottery Adventure! Bring a group of 4-6 family and friends for a hands-on, creative learning adventure in the art of throwing clay on a potters wheel. Various times available each day from Thursday March 15 to Saturday march 17.

15. This is your chance to GET CREATIVE at Art With Heart.  The 2018 March Break Camp will be a fun journey of “Art Throughout the Ages”. You’ll get the chance to learn about old fashioned art techniques such as making our own paint and paper.  Be inspired by the works of famous artists who came before us. And of course, it’s Art with Heart so there will be plenty of artsy mess making and silly fun sprinkled throughout the day!


If we missed any great things to do in Norfolk County during March Break, feel free to leave them in the comments below!

Which Home Upgrades Qualify for Ontario Rebates

On February 4, the Government of Ontario announced the creation of a new program to help Ontarians improve the energy efficiency of their homes. The province is investing $100 million from the Ontario Green Investment Fund to provide rebates for home owners who conduct an energy audit on their property and then complete retrofits recommended by the auditor.

What qualified for rebates was unknown until CTV’s recent report which can be viewed by clicking here.

How Will Changes to Down Payment Requirements Affect Norfolk County Home Buyers and Real Estate

You may have heard of recent changes to down payment requirements as recently announced by the new Federal Government. 

While it is true that the Government has increased the down payment requirement, it only applies to transactions exceeding $500,000.00.

Currently the minimum down payment required for a residential first home purchase is 5%.  Starting in February 2016, if your purchase price is over $500,000.00 you will require 5% down on the first $500,000.00 and 10% down on the balance.

For example, if you purchase a home for $750,000.00 your down payment required today would be $37,500.00.  Starting in February your required down payment would be $50,000.00.  It would be calculated as follows: 

5% down payment on $500,000.00 = $25,000.00

10% down payment on $250,000.00 = $25,000.00

For a total down payment of $50,000.00.

The average buyer in Norfolk County will not be affected by this change.  Year to date the average sale price of a single family residential home is $259,716.00 as reported on the local Multiple Listing Service®.  Therefore, the increased down payment requirement would not apply.  The down payment would remain at 5% and be $12,985.80.

The number of year to date single family residential sales exceeding $500,000.00 on the local MLS® is 45; accounting for only 4% of sales in this category as reported on the local MLS®.

When it comes to choosing a mortgage there are lots of local professionals who can assist you in getting the right mortgage. If you’re looking to buy and for a mortgage, we have strong working relationships with many local lenders who can assist you.

Get in touch with us by completing the “leave a comment” form below.

10 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Winter

Preparing Your Home For Winter

Now that fall is officially here, it’s time to prepare your home for cold weather. These steps, most of which you can do yourself, will help lower your utility bills and protect your investment.

Tune Up Your Heating System

A technician will inspect your furnace or heat pump to be sure the system is clean and in good repair, and that it can achieve its manufacturer-rated efficiency. The inspection also measures carbon-monoxide leakage.

If you act soon, you’ll minimize the chance of being 200th in line for repairs on the coldest day of the year.

Reverse Your Ceiling Fans

If your ceiling fan has a reverse switch, use it to run the fan’s blades in a clockwise direction after you turn on your heat. The fan will produce an updraft and push down into the room heated air from the ceiling (remember, hot air rises).

This is especially helpful in rooms with high ceilings. It might even allow you to turn down your thermostat by a degree or two for greater energy savings.

Hit The Roof

roofMake sure the roof is in good shape. Inspect for missing and loose shingles. Ice, rain, snow and wind combined with rapidly changing temperatures and humidity wreak havoc on roofs. Your roof is your first defence in protecting your home. Without it functioning properly, water damage can occur. This causes deterioration to insulation, wood and drywall, making electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems vulnerable. It’s better to proactively deal with repairs in the fall than to discover a leaky roof during a snowstorm. For safety’s sake, have a roofing professional check the condition of your roof.

After leaves have fallen, clean out the gutters and downspouts, flush them with water, inspect joints, and tighten brackets if necessary. Clogged gutters are one of the major causes of ice dams. Replace old or damaged gutters with new ones that have built-in leaf guards.

Caulk Around Windows and Doors

caulkingIf the gaps between siding and window or door frames are bigger than the width of a nickel, you need to reapply exterior caulk. (Check the joints in window and door frames, too.) Silicone caulk is best for exterior use because it won’t shrink and it’s impervious to the elements. Add weatherstripping as needed around doors, making  sure you cannot see any daylight from inside your home.

Divert Water

Add extensions to downspouts so that water runs at least 3 to 4 feet away from the  foundation.

Turn Off Outdoor Taps

Undrained water in pipes can freeze, which will cause pipes to burst as the ice expands. Start by disconnecting all garden hoses and draining the water that remains in faucets.

If you don’t have frost-proof faucets (homes more than ten to 15 years old typically do not), turn off the shut-off valve inside your home.

Prepare to Store Away Your Mower

lawnmowerAs the mower sits through the winter, fuel remaining in its engine will decompose, “varnishing” the carburetor and causing difficulty when you try to start the engine in the spring.
John Deere offers these preventive steps: If you’ve added stabilizer to your fuel to keep it fresh longer, then fill the gas tank to the top with more stabilized fuel and run the engine briefly to allow it to circulate. If not, wait until the tank is nearly empty from use and run the engine (outdoors) to use up the remaining fuel. Check  your mower’s manual for other cold-weather storage steps.

Test Your Sump Pump

sumpSlowly pour several litres of water into the sump pit to see whether the pump turns on. You should do this every few months, but especially after a long dry season or before a rainy one.

For more complete instructions for testing and maintenance, check your owner’s manual. Most smp pumps last about ten years, according to Chubb Personal  Insurance.

Call A Chimney Sweep

Before you burn the Yule log, make sure your fireplace (or any heating appliance burning gas, oil, wood or coal), chimney and vents are clean and in good repair. That will prevent chimney fires and prevent carbon monoxide from  creeping into your home.essentials

Restock Winter Essentials

Don’t wait for the first winter storm to restock cold-weather essentials, such as salt or ice melt. Stock up on windshield washer fluid, too.

Schofield’s Bistro

This past Christmas I was the lucky winner of the Erie’s Edge Real Estate Facebook contest – Best Decorated tree. I won a $100 gift certificate to the Norfolk County Restaurant of my choice. The choice for me was a no brainer…Schofield’s Bistro.

I have lived in Port Dover all of my life and have eaten at all of the great restaurants that the town has to offer. When a new establishment opens, I can’t wait to try their food. I am usually not disappointed. When I first dined at Schofield’s Bistro on Main Street four years ago, I was amazed.

Their food which is described as “casual gourmet with Norfolk flavour” is outstanding, but where it comes from is even better. Everyone who lives in Norfolk County knows how great the variety of fresh ingredients that our area has to offer are. Schofield’s Bistor uses these local elements to their advantage. Not only do their dishes consist of farm to table ingredients, they offer a variety of options that feature the work of other local businesses such as The Port Dover Cheese Shop, Silver Lake Vodka, and my personal favourite, The Little Cheesecake Company.

Schofield’s offers a variety of succulent dishes ranging from their popular Grazing Plate appetizer which features the chef’s weekly selection of artisanal crafted charcuterie to their beef tenderloin medallions. They also offer different daily specials, depending what is in season. I cannot get enough of their linguine alfredo with chicken. The creamy white wine sauce is packed with cheesy flavour and the chicken is grilled to perfection. The dish is served with crusty garlic loaf that I look forward to every time I dine there. 

As a picky eater, I enjoy checking out a restaurant’s website prior to visiting. Schofield’s website does not disappoint and describes everything they have to offer in detail. Make sure to check it out at Their Twitter and Instagram pages are also great as they often post their specials which will be sure to get your mouth watering!

The ambiance of Schofield’s Bistro is just right. It is located in a historical building and features hardwood floors and exposed brick walls which are decorated with pictures of Port Dover’s past and the work of local artists which is available for purchase. The tables are always decorated with fresh flowers and in the evening, the lights are dimmed and candles are lit, making it my favourite date night location with my fiance. Schofield’s is next door to The Lighthouse Festival Theatre and offers a dinner special for those attending a show. This is perfect both locals and those visiting from out of town.

The Little Cheesecake Company’s Coconut Cream Cheesecake available at Schofield’s Bistro

If you are attending the theatre, or just looking for a great place to dine with friends or someone special, do not overlook Port Dover’s Schofield’s Bistro.

Written by Andrea McIntyre, winner of the Erie’s Edge Christmas tree contest.

5 Things To Know About Real Estate Deposits

From a seller’s perspective, a deposit is a sign of good faith that the buyer, who has contracted to purchase the property, will complete the transaction on the date specified in the contract.


Here are some common questions I’m often asked about real estate deposits.

1.  When does a deposit have to be paid?

The standard agreement of purchase and sale states that the deposit must be submitted “herewith” or “within 24 hours of the acceptance of this Agreement”. Neither alternative is legislated but an accepted good practice.

The reason that buyers are encouraged to come up with the deposit immediately is to demonstrate to the seller commitment to complete the transaction. 

Sometimes a buyer may not be able to submit the deposit within 24 hours for good reason. For example, when a buyer lives out of the area in which the property is being purchased, it’s unlikely that even using courier the required deposit will be received within 24 hours. 

This happens quite often to me when selling cottages. Buyers often live two, three or more hours away from where they are interested in buying a cottage. Often times the decision to purchase a cottage is made a couple of days after viewing the cottage when the buyer has returned home from cottage country. The exchange of a deposit cheque cannot be completed in person unless the buyer decides to drive all the way back to provide the cheque. 

In such instances, I simply change the pre-printed 24 hour term in the agreement of purchase and sale to an additional 24 or 48 hours to allow the buyer time to courier or express post the deposit to my office. 

In today’s technological age the use of e-transfers for submission of deposits are becoming increasingly popular thereby making the standard 24 hour submission of deposit quite simple.

2.  Can the buyer get out of a deal by refusing to pay the deposit?

No. Once the agreement of purchase and sale has been accepted by both buyer and seller, a binding contract exists. Failure to deliver the deposit may be determined a breach of contract by the Buyer. 

I’ve heard it said that a good lawyer will be able to get a client out of a real estate contract should the buyer change his or her mind. This is not the case in my experience. Your REALTOR® should understand contract law and all of the complexities and legalities to making certain that real estate contracts are airtight once all conditions have been waived or fulfilled. 

Should a buyer wake up the morning after with a serious case of buyer’s remorse and refuses to pay the deposit, the seller can sell the property to another buyer. In the event that the seller gets less money than the initial buyer agreed to pay the seller can sue the buyer for the difference (plus legal fees).

3.  What happens to the deposit money once paid?

In most circumstances the deposit is held in trust by the seller’s real estate brokerage. When a deposit is held by the real estate brokerage in trust it is protected by insurance so that even if the brokerage goes bankrupt the buyer’s deposit is protected.

4.  What happens to the deposit money if the buyer is not able to fulfill conditions?

Most agreements of purchase and sale contain conditions such as allowing the buyer to arrange a mortgage, have a home inspection completed or have the septic system inspected to make sure that it is in proper working condition, for example.  

In the event that a buyer is unable to fulfill conditions within the specified time frame indicated in the contract, the deal becomes null and void. For instance, if a buyer is not satisfied with the results of a home inspection the buyer can choose not to proceed with the purchase and request the return of the deposit. However, if the seller suspects that the buyer did not act in good faith in trying to satisfy the condition, the seller may refuse to release the buyer’s deposit. In this circumstance the deposit must remain in the brokerage’s trust account until a court order indicates who is entitled to the deposit.

In the event that the Seller does release the Buyer from the transaction, which is the case more often than not, the Buyer’s deposit shall be returned in full.

5.  How large of a deposit is required when making an offer?

This is an initial decision of the buyer which must be agreed to by the seller (just like any other term or condition of an offer). 

If a buyer’s offer includes a deposit of $1,000 yet the seller doesn’t think it’s enough to illustrate the buyer’s commitment to complete the transaction, the seller might counter offer requesting an increased deposit. From a seller’s perspective, a deposit is a sign of good faith that the buyer, who has contracted to purchase the property, will complete the transaction on the date specified in the contract. As I noted at the beginning of this blog, a deposit from a buyer indicates to the seller a sign of commitment. Meaning that the buyer is committed to completing the transaction in good faith and on time.  

While there is no right answer or minimum amount required, the size of the deposit should be given very serious consideration by both buyer and seller. As a buyer, put yourself in the seller’s shoes for a minute. How much deposit money will give a sense of confidence that the buyer is committed to the transaction? To read more about how much of a deposit a buyer should submit with an offer, click here

The purchase and sale of real estate for most people is one of, if not the single largest financial transaction of their life. REALTORS® are able to provide you experienced guidance and counsel when it comes to navigating the complexities and legalities of real estate contracts.

If you have any questions about deposits or any other real estate matters, feel free to “leave a comment” below and we’ll get in touch.

Does Size Really Matter?

depositIt’s common practice in the area that I trade to see deposits that accompany offers to purchase for a mere $500 or $1000. I know that is surprising to my colleagues who practice real estate in the GTA (and it should be). Personally, I think it’s a poor practice.

From a seller’s perspective, a deposit is a sign of good faith that the buyer, who has contracted to purchase the property, will complete the transaction on the date specified in the contract. Meager deposits often leave sellers questioning a buyer’s sincerity or commitment. If you’re selling your home, would you rather receive a deposit of $500 or one that’s 5% of the purchase price? Assuming a purchase price of $250,000 (another surprise for my Toronto colleagues that there are houses that sell for $250,000), a deposit of 5% is $12,500. A buyer is much more likely to walk away from a $500 deposit than a $12,500 deposit. (Remain calm sellers. Buyers can’t just arbitrarily decide to walk away from a transaction by forfeiting the deposit).

Okay, I know that legal minds are already poking holes in the seller’s point of view with regards to the size of a deposit. I know that legally if a buyer fails to complete the transaction the seller is not automatically entitled to the deposit. My point however is that larger deposits do matter. What’s the issue of putting down more than $500? The buyer has to have a minimum 5% downpayment in order to qualify for a mortgage anyways, and deposit money indeed qualifies as part of the downpayment.

In summary, when you submit an offer to buy a home, the deposit demonstrates your commitment to the seller to complete the purchase. It also shows that you are comfortable taking on some level of risk by putting down a deposit until the deal closes. That’s why I think size matters.

If you have any questions about deposits or any other real estate matters, feel free to “leave a comment” below and we’ll get in touch.

Will Solar Panels Make your Home Uninsurable?

Solar panels are popping up with increasing frequency on homes everywhere.

bd9b3863-ebd0-4168-957f-c56f71cd5f5fAn important consideration when deciding upon installing solar panels is home insurance. The installation of solar panels on your home or on your property means that your insurance premiums will likely increase some amount.

No matter how solar panel arrays are installed or provided, several sources say there are risks that could result in surprising claims severity. The exposures typically extend to equipment, installation, weather (severe wind/hail) and fire. Home owners are therefore advised to review this with their insurance provider to see what the implications of solar panels are.

I was recently made aware of a situation where a home buyer was denied insurance coverage for their newly purchased home as a result of solar panels existing on the home’s roof. The buyer’s insurance company was unwilling to insure the house in the absence of a structural engineer’s report confirming that that the roofing structure could support the load of the solar panels. REALTORS® representing buyers of homes with solar panels will make sure that installations of solar panels meet all insurance requirements. Specifically, REALTORS® will recommend that you include a condition in your offer to purchase a home that you can obtain house insurance.  

In addition to structural concerns, another prominent exposure with solar panels is fire as explained in an online article titled “Solar Haze”.

As if buying or selling a property wasn’t complicated enough! Add to the mix the complexities of ever changing rules, regulations and legalities your stress level might reach an all time high. An experienced REALTOR® can offer you sound advice and counsel when buying or selling a property. We’re more than happy to help at Erie’s Edge Real Estate Ltd.