Thursday, July 26, 2012

Great news for Woodstock! Sysco announces huge distribution facility....

“Good Things” Come to Woodstock:

Sysco Plans to Construct Distribution Center in Commerce Way Business Park

Woodstock, Ontario (July 26, 2012) -- The City of Woodstock has reached an agreement to sell 57 acres of vacant industrial land in the Commerce Way Business Park to Sysco Canada, where it plans to build a 400,000-square foot (37,160 m 2 ), state-of-the-art food distribution facility. Construction is expected to start as early as this fall.

Mayor Pat Sobeski welcomed the official announcement of Sysco’s investment in the community by saying, “We are extremely pleased to be able to confirm that Sysco has selected Woodstock for this important investment. Sysco is a Fortune 75 company, and their decision to invest in Woodstock says plenty about the benefits our community can offer a new or expanding business.”

“Sysco Canada is pleased to be locating our newest facility in this region to Woodstock and the Commerce Way Business Park,” said Rodney Stroud, market president of Sysco Canada-East and president of Sysco Central Ontario. “This reinforces our commitment to be our Ontario customers’ most valued and trusted business partner. We are excited about the location, the surface-roads infrastructure, and the ability to serve our current customers and grow our business from a state-of-the-art distribution center.”

Sysco has agreed to pay approximately $2.7 million (CND) for the land. Plans call for Sysco’s facility to have approximately 89,000 square feet of freezer space; 49,000 square feet of cooler space; 41,000 square feet of cold dock space; a 101,000-square foot dry warehouse; a 31,000-square foot dry dock; 17,000 square feet for material handling and equipment storage; and 67,000 square feet of office space.

Mayor Sobeski noted “this investment is an excellent example of Woodstock’s ongoing efforts to diversify the local economy.”

City staff worked diligently to secure the Sysco investment for well over a year. Through the process, Woodstock advanced from a long list of prospective communities to a short list of locations that were invited to respond to a formal request for proposal, and ultimately to a preferred site for the company’s investment.

Development Commissioner Len Magyar welcomed Sysco to Woodstock’s business community noting, “This announcement is great news for our community on so many fronts. This investment represents a significant land sale, a huge construction project and the creation of good paying jobs. As a bonus the investment comes from a company (Sysco) with a great reputation and a long-term commitment to doing business in southern Ontario”.

Sysco Corporation, headquartered in Houston, Texas, sells, markets and distributes food products to restaurants, healthcare and educational facilities, lodging establishments and other customers who prepare meals away from home, primarily in the United States and Canada. Its family of products also includes equipment and supplies for the foodservice and hospitality industries. The company operates 177 distribution facilities serving approximately 400,000 customers. For the fiscal year 2011 that ended July 2, 2011, the company generated record sales of more than $39 billion.

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City of Woodstock Contacts

Mayor Pat Sobeski, City of Woodstock Phone: (519) 539-2382 begin_of_the_skype_ highlighting Email:

Len Magyar, Development Commissioner Phone: (519) 539-2382 Ext 2112 Email:

Sysco Contact

Charley Wilson, Vice President-Corporate Communications

Phone: (281) 584-2423


Friday, June 1, 2012

What's up with Condos in Woodstock?

Woodstock is home to a wide variety of Condominium options, from apartment-style low-rise condos priced from $60-$85,000 to large ranch condos pricing at $300k+.

The sales activity for the year thus far looked like this:

There have been 23 condominiums sold, compared with 61 condos listed for sale. As of June 1st, there are 54 Condos listed for sale in Woodstock. 

The majority of listed and sold condos continues to be the Townhouse style condo, representing 17 of the 23 sales, and 35 of the 54 condos currently listed for sale in Woodstock.

The average days on market for a condominium in Woodstock is a mind boggling 170 (compared to 88 DOM for residential freehold).

Year to date average sale price of Condos is up significantly, to $165,000.  The previous year over year averages are as follows:

2011 - $149,000
2010 - $146,000
2009 - $157,000
2008 - $139,000
2007 - $143,000

This higher average so far this year can be explained by the presence of  several higher priced condos compared to years past, as well as fewer entry level, apartment style condos.

With condominiums spanning such a wide array of types and price ranges, condo ownership remains a good option for many different family types in Woodstock, and it appears as though the affordability has remained somewhat steady throughout the past 5 years.  Condo fees have appreciated somewhat in some of the developments in Woodstock, but remain constant at other developments, moving only in line with inflation. 

Please contact me with any questions you might have about this information, or any other condominium related comments!

Ben Sage, Sales Representative. RE/MAX a-b Realty Ltd., Brokerage.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Who really "wins" in a bidding war?

With the Toronto market basically on fire, and decent performance in our local market in Woodstock, its time to discuss "bidding wars"

First, I'd like to talk about terminology:

I hear a lot of my cohorts in the Real Estate business use sports / competitive terminology to describe the process of offering on a home in a multiple offer situation.  I often hear colleagues say things like "we lost our second bidding war in the past week" or "my buyers won in a bidding war!"  It reminds me of how emotional the home buying process is for our clients.  I am not a huge fan of inserting even more emotion into the situation by using motivational terms like WIN or LOSE....  I question whether being a "Winner" in a bidding war has a long term effect on the happiness of our clients.  Sure, they "got" the house they "had to have" however, it is likely they paid too much for the home, and also likely that they went in without conditions that SHOULD have probably been in the offer to protect the buyer.  Hopefully none of those decisions come back to haunt the Buyer, but the likelihood is that they will.

So you've just found out the house you LOVE is going into multiple offers....  What to do....

Well, if you're a rational thinker, and not tempted by your emotions, in some cases you have the option of walking away.  In some white-hot markets like Toronto, you may have to wait for the market to soften in order to buy a home.  Don't worry, it may seem like forever, but it will happen at some point.

If you're absolutely smitten, and/or you HAVE to buy the home, here's what you need to do:

1. Remove as many conditions as you are comfortable removing.  Make sure you have a solid preapproved for your financing, and that you are comfortable with the conditions on the pre-approval.  For example, that you have all of your letters of employment, paycheck stubs, and have paid off your consumer debts.  I would never recommend not getting a home inspection, but if you're confident that you know the product in question, or you're a handy person, eliminating the home inspection clause can be the clincher for a multiple offer situation.  You can also get a home inspection done BEFORE you make an offer, with the seller's approval.  Minimize or eliminate as many of the other conditions as possible from your offer.

2. Put your deposit on steroids.  The deposit is the only protection that a seller has if you decide to walk from the deal.  Make it as large as you can afford, if you are serious about buying the house.  

3. Get your agent to go fishing.  Is closing date important to the sellers?  Are you flexible on close?  That can be HUGE for a seller.  Do they LOVE their pistachio green electric stove?  Better not ask for it to be included.  Do they have white doily lace curtains that you'll just rip down anyway?  Leave them off the offer.  What I'm getting at here, is that a properly trained negotiator (Your BUYER AGENT) can call the listing agent and go fishing for clues that might aide your negotiations.  A solid listing agent won't divulge any motivations, but we all know that no two Realtors are created equal...  It's worth a try. 

4. Know your comparables.  Your BUYER AGENT can provide you with recently sold comparable homes, and interpret the information contained herein.  Coupled with market trend information, he/she can advise you on an accurate market value estimate, and what offer price should be fair, given your conditions.

5. Put your best foot forward.  Although as mentioned earlier, I dislike the "win/lose" terminology associated with multiple offers, it's best to have given it your best shot and "lost" than to hold back and regret it.  Don't be silly though, like that guy who paid $421,800 over asking price.  Fairly certain there will be some regret in that situation, should the need to sell arise in, oh, say, the next decade.

6.  HAVE FUN.  Most consumers only buy a home once every 3.5 - 5 years.  If you happen to find yourself buying during a feeding frenzy, take it all in.  After all, its the kind of thing they make TV shows out of!

Ben Sage, Sales Representative. RE/MAX a-b Realty Ltd., Brokerage.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

We safeguard your private info. The government wants to crack it wide open....

Original Press Release HERE


Competition Bureau Threatens to Dismantle Privacy Safeguards of Home Sales... 75% of Ontarians Opposed

March 14, 2012 – Today, the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) released the results of an Angus Reid Vision Critical poll. The vast majority of Ontarians clearly expressed their opposition to abandoning the privacy safeguards of the current MLS® system.

When asked about the consequences of the Competition Bureau’s actions, Ontarians expressed concern:

• 75% of Ontarians believe that personal information such as name and final sale price should be kept
confidential by REALTOR® professionals. Commissioner Aitken wants to release this information.
• 70% of homeowners do not want their personal contact information released to the public. Commissioner
Aitken wants to release this information.
• 67% of Ontarians oppose any measure to make personal contact information such as name and address
available to others who are not subject to a professional code of conduct. Commissioner Aitken wants to
release this information.

“The results of this poll are overwhelming,” said TREB President Richard Silver.” TREB strongly believes that REALTORS® have an obligation to protect consumers’ personal information. That’s why TREB and REALTOR® Members are fighting for the privacy rights of consumers.”

The Competition Bureau is taking action that would force TREB to abandon the safeguards in the MLS® system and make personal information publicly available on the Internet, threatening the privacy and safety of GTA consumers.

If the Competition Commissioner gets her way, consumers’ private information, which is currently protected on our secure MLS® system, would become freely available on the Internet, including:

• Seller’s name and address
• Property floor plans
• Sensitive Property access information
• Negotiated sale price
• Mortgage details

“Ontarians clearly oppose what Commissioner Aitken is trying to do. They’ve said they want their personal and private information kept confidential,” said Von Palmer, Chief Government and Public Affairs Officer and Chief Privacy Officer for TREB.

If Commissioner Aitken gets her way, Ontarians won’t. Privacy matters. TREB is standing up for GTA consumers.

Visit for more information.

Greater Toronto REALTORS® are passionate about their work. They are governed by a strict Code of Ethics and share a state-of-the-art Multiple Listing Service. Over 34,000 TREB Members serve consumers in the Greater Toronto Area.  The Toronto Real Estate Board is Canada’s largest real estate board

Ben Sage, Sales Representative. RE/MAX a-b Realty Ltd., Brokerage.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Yard Sale for the Cure 2012 COMING SOON!

Hello Friends,

If you're anything like me, you've started (or are at least THINKING about starting) your spring cleanup.  Sorting through stuff that's been hanging around for a while, thinking of what to get rid of and what to hang on to for another year.

I'd like to ask that as you're cleaning / tidying for spring, if you'd think about me, and the annual commitment that  my brokerage undertakes to raise money for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.  Every year, the Realtors at my office pool their resources and throw a huge Yard Sale!  This year, the event will be on Saturday, May 26, 2012.  Venue not yet confirmed.

We will be having Drop off Days in the coming months, so stay tuned to this space for more information on those dates and locations. 

What we need is gently used items of reasonable value to sell at the yard sale!  Unfortunately we can't take large appliances, large furniture, clothing, or old electronics.  Anything else is fair game!!!

Please set aside any items of value, and either bring them to a drop off location, or give me a shout, and I'll happily come and pick up the stuff!

Ben Sage, Sales Representative. RE/MAX a-b Realty Ltd., Brokerage.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Ben's thoughts on a Retirement Plan for a low-rate world.

Since 2007 I have been a licensed Real Estate Salesperson, and since 2008, I have also been a Real Estate Investor.  More or less from the start of my career in the Real Estate business, I have seen a low rate environment. 

The persistent low rates have caused prices to remain stable, or increase in several markets, despite a tumultuous economic background.  The have allowed homeowners to refinance and take advantage of lower payments or shorter amortizations, and in some cases may have saved homeowners from default (perhaps after a job loss, or layoff). 

If you have read the news at all in the past two years, you've likely seen repeated messages from Mark Carney at the Bank of Canada, warning Canadians to stop gorging on cheap credit, as many Canadians may be leaving themselves vulnerable to shocks when rates inevitably move upwards.  At the same time, you're seeing messaging from Banks and Investment firms claiming that the current crop of Baby Boomers is about to begin retiring (The first of the BB's turns 65 in 2012....  Yikes), and that many of them are entering their retirement years without sufficient savings to live the type of lifestyle they have grown accustomed to in their working years.  In addition, we're now entering into an era of fiscal austerity in Canada, and especially Ontario.  With government programs such as Old Age Security and Canada Pension Plan in a state of constant revision, can you really afford to be complacent with your retirement plans?  The banks and the investment firms all say "Save your money," or "Top up your RRSP" or "Open a TFSA" etc. etc. etc.  But in a low rate, stagnant growth, high risk monetary environment, who feels confident socking 10% of their income away in an RRSP? You could always invest in GIC's, but the paltry 1- 1.5% growth offered in these guaranteed investments will result in a net loss, as we see inflation surging forward at over 2%.  Are you counting on a Pension?  I wouldn't.  Who knows what might happen to that pension you've socked your money into for 20 + years?  Many examples exist TODAY of Pension mismanagement. 

And here's my point.  If you are worried about the risk exposure or lack of growth in your RRSP portfolio, mismanagement of your pension, or cuts to government social assistance for retirees, and you want to explore a different avenue for investment, TAKE CHARGE of your retirement plan.  Look towards Investment Real Estate as a supplementary income for your retirement years.  USE MY EXPERIENCE and THE CURRENT MARKET SITUATION TO YOUR BENEFIT. 

So, why aren't you using today's low rate environment to your advantage?  Leveraging the bank's cheap money and the practical value of real estate to improve your equity position and ultimately build a solid retirement income level is a great plan to supplement your existing RRSP plans, company pension, and government assistance. 

It's too much work, Right?  Wrong.  Managing income properties isn't overly difficult.  As with any investment strategy, there ARE some risks involved in it, obviously, however increasing numbers of young adults are more interested in risk that they can understand and control, rather than risk exposure at the hands of some bureaucrats in the European Union, or the United States Senate.  With my experience, we can get you on a plan to minimize your risk exposure and start building the portfolio that will earn you the income level you desire in your retirement years.  This takes time though, so we should start NOW!!!

Banks are now fighting for your mortgage money, with 5 year fixed rate mortgages at 2.99% as of March 7, 2012, and 10 year fixed rates at 3.99%.  Crazy!  Seize this opportunity. 

Come talk to me today, and I'll show you my Real Estate Investment portfolio, and get you started on the path to passive income in retirement. 

Ben Sage, Sales Representative. RE/MAX a-b Realty Ltd., Brokerage.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Woodstock Recreation and Leisure Fair

The 8th annual event is Sunday, March 4, 1-4 p.m. at Cowan Park on Ridgewood Drive.

Organized by Woodstock Recreation Advisory Committee this free community event features information on minor sports, adult sports, hobbies (photography, crafts, etc), groups who research history, collecting clubs, choirs, dancing, acting, singing, musicians (arts and creative arts), service clubs, and sports clubs to join -- perhaps badminton, cycling, lawn bowling, curling and even kids' tackle football.

For more details contact Glynis Hill at the City's Community Services department at 539-2382.

Ben Sage, Sales Representative. Re/Max a-b Realty Ltd., Brokerage. 519-536-7535. 521 Dundas St., Woodstock, ON