Sarah Donnelly Real Estate

#LUXURYREALESTATE Value VS Price- What matters most to a luxury buyer

Friday Nov 15th, 2019


VALUE vs. PRICE What matters most to Luxury Buyers When listing a property, it’s often how you frame the lifestyle, positive features, and exclusivity that hook a Luxury buyer. Though many potential Buyers will focus on the price tag, it’s a real estate professional’s job to get them past the number and into what they are getting for their money. Let’s take a minute to define what we are talking about when we reference value vs. price. PRICE: The... [read more]

#HOMEBUYERS Tips for a successful flip

Tuesday Nov 12th, 2019


Admit it – no matter how home renovation-averse you are, at some point you’ve probably considered flipping a house. HGTV makes it look so easy – buy a fixer-upper, throw a little money at it and voila – you’ve just made $50,000. Of course the reality of flipping houses for profit isn’t quite as simple as ‘reality TV’ would like to make us believe. We’ve worked with contractors and renovators since our early days in real estate,... [read more]

Fall Decor Under $50

Thursday Oct 31st, 2019


Fall Decor Under $50 add some warmth to your home- without breaking the bank! There’s something about fall that makes us want to redecorate. Maybe it’s the cooler temperatures, the changing colors of the leaves, or the shortening of days. But you don’t have to overhaul your entire home to give it a fresh look for fall. In fact, with just a few budget-friendly accessories you can inject warmth and color into your space 1. A knit Throw From Amazon... [read more]

This big bank economist says Canadian mortgage borrowers have a ‘rare opportunity’

Tuesday Sep 10th, 2019


Canada’s mortgage market has been turned upside down, and it’s giving borrowers an uncommon advantage, a new report suggests. “With long-term rates lower than short-term rates, home buyers have had a rare opportunity to lock in longer maturity fixed-rate mortgages at lower rates than if they had opted for variable rate mortgages,” writes Scotiabank Deputy Chief Economist Brett House, alongside senior research analyst Raffi Ghazarian, in a Global Economics Scotia Flash... [read more]

#HOMEBUYERS How much do I need to save for a Downpayment

Friday Sep 06th, 2019


Minimum down payment A down payment is the amount of money that you put towards the purchase of a home. The down payment is deducted from the purchase price of your home. Your mortgage loan will cover the rest of the price of the home. The minimum amount you'll need for your down payment depends on the purchase price of the home you'd like to buy. Table 1: The minimum amount you'll need for your down payment based on the purchase price of your... [read more]

Everything you need to know about CMHC's First Time Home Buyer Incentive

Friday Aug 23rd, 2019


The federal government wants to make home ownership more affordable for young people and to do that it’s introducing the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive (FTHBI) this September. The $1.25 billion program, announced as part of the March federal budget, involves the government buying equity stakes in homes purchased by qualified home buyers, allowing for smaller mortgages that will keep monthly payments lower. But how will the plan work? Below, we break down all the key details... [read more]

Bank of Canada Lowers Qualifying Rate

Monday Jul 29th, 2019


                                         The Bank of Canada Decreased its 5 year benchmark mortgage rate by 15 basis points from 5.34% to 5.19% earlier this week.. So what does this mean for Canadian borrowers?? In short, they can now qualify for more home. According to calculations by Ratehub.ca, a borrower with an annual... [read more]

#MILLENNIALBUYERS What is a Mortgage?

Friday Jun 14th, 2019


A mortgage is a loan you get from a bank, credit union, or private lender to help you buy property like a house or condo This post will cover just about everything you need to know about mortgages from when to apply for one, how you pay the loan back, the deal with interest rates, the difference between fixed and variable rates, and how to work with mortgage brokers. When should I get pre-approved for a mortgage? It’s a smart move to get... [read more]

#MILLENNIALBUYERS How are millennials saving for a home?

Wednesday Jun 12th, 2019


Many Millennials say they are interested in buying homes— but the cost is what is stopping them!   Millennials are juggling a bunch of fairly new expenses that previous generations didn’t have to take into account. Whether its student loan payments, or on-demand and subscription services like Uber, Netflix, gym memberships that have become part of everyday life.   Hardest Expenses to cut from budget in saving for a home Dining out Student Loan... [read more]

What you’ll spend on the 10 most common home renovation projects

Tuesday Jun 11th, 2019


Photo: James Bombales When you stumble across a photo of your dream kitchen on Pinterest, it can be difficult to determine exactly how much the homeowner spent in the process. Revealing renovation costs is still considered somewhat taboo — like discussing your salary with coworkers or asking your neighbor what they paid for their new boat. Thankfully, the 2019 US Houzz & Home report sheds some light on how much dough homeowners are actually spending on their... [read more]

The 411 on Pre-Construction Homes

Wednesday May 29th, 2019


There is no doubt the pre-construction home has a certain allure to home buyers. Everything is brand new. No one else has ever lived there. You can customize it to create your dream home. But you have to ask yourself if all of these things are maybe a little too good to be true when buying a home. If pre-construction is something you’ve been considering, here’s the 411 to help you decide if it really is for you. What is a Pre-construction Home? A pre-construction home is a... [read more]

The Arthritis Society- WALK WITH US!

Tuesday May 28th, 2019


On Sunday June 2nd I am taking part in the Walk For Arthritis for TEAM HAYLEE at McMaster University   As the prevalence of arthritis increases, so does the demand for investment into cutting-edge research, please support by clicking below! My beautiful, strong & courageous best friend Haylee Robyn has been dealing with rheumatoid arthritis for a few years now, It's a silent disease and if you met her you would have no idea! There is NO cure for arthritis but... [read more]

Let's talk about CREDIT SCORES

Wednesday May 15th, 2019


Lets talk about CREDIT SCORES Your credit score is an important factor in determining how much home you can buy. In fact the health of your credit score can be the difference of your getting approved or denied for various credit products. A healthy credit score will help you gain access to better interest rates   WHAT QUALIFIES as good credit? In Canada, credit scores range anywhere from 300 to 900. The higher your credit score is, the better your chances are of getting... [read more]

Spring Cleaning!

Wednesday Apr 03rd, 2019


Spring Cleaning! There is nothing better than a fresh clean home when the sun starts shining! In between seasons is my favourite time to deep clean, It is so satisfying to  breathe some life into your home after a long winter season! ENTRY  Clear out any lingering winter boots and mittens, put bulky winter items such as jackets away in the basement or storage.  KITCHEN Reshuffle your cabinets to move less frequently used items and... [read more]

March Stats Update

Monday Apr 01st, 2019


Hamilton, ON (April 1, 2019) - The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) reported 1,032 sales of residential properties located within the RAHB market area were processed through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System in March, 2019. This is a 1.2 per cent drop from March last year; however, a 40 per cent increase over February 2019 and a 74 per cent increase over January 2019. The average price was up from March 2018 by 4.9 per cent to $575,099. “The... [read more]

#HOMEBUYERTIPS Costs associated with buying a home

Thursday Feb 28th, 2019


Buying a home is a big investment – likely the largest one you will ever make. The cost to buy a home should be carefully considered to avoid the risk of financial difficulty in the future. Since this decision has a large impact on your wallet, we want to take some time to explore the many costs associated with buying a home. Doing your homework and knowing the average cost of these services in your neighbourhood will help you choose a home within a realistic price... [read more]

You’re going to want every piece in Anthropologie’s new collection with Joanna Gaines

Tuesday Feb 26th, 2019


Joanna Gaines is a force to be reckoned with. In addition to launching a new television network with Discovery, the former Fixer Upper star has found time to buy an actual castle in Texas, announce a new coffee shop venture, add 100 items to Target’s Hearth & Hand line, and oh yeah, design a collection of globally-inspired textiles for Anthropologie. Seriously, is there anything this woman can’t do? Turkish-style rugs featuring washed-out tones and touchable texture are... [read more]

First Time Home Buyers Plan & RRSPs

Wednesday Feb 20th, 2019


With the rising cost of housing and tougher lending rules, first-time Canadian homebuyers haven’t had it easy edging into today’s market. Fortunately, there are a number of programs offered by the government to help homeowner hopefuls get a leg-up — including drawing from your retirement plan to buy your first home. The Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) is a government program that allows eligible first-time homebuyers to withdraw up to $25,000 tax-free out of their registered... [read more]


Tuesday Feb 12th, 2019


1. Use credit cards to boost your credit score Photo: www.cafecredit.com “Use credit cards to your benefit, which will be to build your credit score, and not to your detriment, which would be carrying a lot of high interest — that lowers your credit score.” A healthy credit score is key to securing a mortgage, so be sure to make payments on time and pay of your balance in full, if possible. 2. Download apps that will help you track your... [read more]

SAVING FOR A DOWN PAYMENT- leverage your side hustle

Friday Feb 08th, 2019


The National Bank revealed findings that it will take the average Torontonian 8.5 years to sock away enough for a downpayment. In Vancouver, the average timeline is 28 years. But what if there’s a way to cut it down? Enter the side hustle. Whether you’re running an online store, renting your room on Airbnb, driving an Uber or freelance consulting, there are a myriad of creative ways to boost your income and squirrel away some extra cash for your downpayment. Bertorelli’s... [read more]

5 essential finance tips that every first-time homebuyer should know

Friday Feb 08th, 2019


  The buying process might appear straightforward to any first-time buyer— you find the house you love, sign on the dotted line and get the keys. But prior to those months of browsing MLS and late-night offer negotiations, are months —even years— of carefully coordinated financial planning, budgeting and discipline. Financially preparing for homeownership can never happen too early. It can take over eight years for some Toronto residents to save enough for... [read more]

5 Top Home Renovations

Thursday Jan 24th, 2019


Whether you're selling your home or just moved in, there is value in knowing what renovations will get you the most bang for your buck! 1. Exterior FIRST IMPRESSION is huge! Especially for resale. Landscaping, fresh paint or siding, upgraded exterior doors, outdoor living areas & covered porches are on the must have list! 2. Kitchen Kitchen is the heart of your home! People love a functional & open-concept layout. A kitchen with an abundance of storage is sure to appeal... [read more]

Where are Canadian mortgage rates headed in 2019? Experts weigh in

Thursday Jan 17th, 2019


It wasn’t so long ago that there was hardly any doubt that Canadians would be seeing higher mortgage rates this year. The Bank of Canada was widely expected to continue on its path of tightening monetary policy with continued increases to the overnight rate, which influences mortgages, particularly those with variable rates. While that may still be a majority consensus among market watchers, mortgage broker Elan Weintraub is hearing conflicting viewpoints these days. “I... [read more]

#MILLENNIALBUYERS The Millennial’s Guide to First-Time Property Buying (It’s Possible!!)

Tuesday Dec 11th, 2018


The Millennial’s Guide to First-Time Home Buying (It’s Possible!!) What to know about embarking on home ownership, from navigating mortgage rules to finding a real estate representative   Home ownership. Two words that many millennials have been told are out of their reach. Mortgage rules designed to protect Canadians from becoming house poor make the process seem both expensive (it is) and overwhelming (it doesn’t have to be). But there is hope: 39% of... [read more]

How to negotiate the best price when buying a home

Wednesday Dec 05th, 2018


We are talking about a purchase that is a few hundred thousand dollars here!  SO getting the best deal is crucial. When it comes time to put in an offer on a home you love, The negoation is the job of your Realtor but there are ways that the buyer needs to help!  Here are some negotiating tips: Always consult a Realtor who has the knowledge of the current market!  I love helping people navigate through the Real estate market & can help you make a sound... [read more]

Testament to the power of home staging

Tuesday Dec 04th, 2018


These before and after photos are a testament to the power of home staging Photo by WBM, designed by Redesign4more Who doesn’t love a before and after reveal? For the reader, it’s instant gratification, but behind the scenes, it’s all blood, sweat and tears. We asked Red Barrinuevo, President and Principal Home Stager of Redesign4more, to pull back the curtain on the home staging process. Here he shares photos from five recent projects and... [read more]

Winterize your home in 6 easy steps

Thursday Nov 22nd, 2018


Preparing your home for winter is something every homeowner should consider before the season really takes hold. Here are six quick and easy jobs you can do to help winterize your home. 1. Clear your eaves Clogged eavestroughs can lead to the formation of ice dams, which can tear off gutters, loosen shingles and leave your roof vulnerable to leaks. Use a ladder to carefully climb to the edge of your roof and dig out the debris. It’s not necessary to remove every small item.... [read more]

SAVE vs. SPLURGE - Kitchen Reno's

Friday Nov 16th, 2018


Making generalizations when it comes to where to spend money on a kitchen renovation can be tricky. What’s important to one person may not be important to another – particularly when it comes to those who love to cook and those who don’t. But when it comes to ROI there are certain elements that are more important than others. Here are my recommendations on where you can save money, and where you should splurge. Save – Tile Some people disagree with this because... [read more]

#MILLENNIALBUYERS Millennials made up half of Canada’s first-time home buyers in 2018

Monday Nov 12th, 2018


Millennials made up half of Canada’s first-time home buyers in 2018 The CMHC conducted the online survey in April of this year, getting feedback from 4,000 recent mortgage consumers who self-identified as the “prime household decision maker” and who had made a mortgage transaction in the past 12 months. Of those respondents, 68% renewed their mortgage, 15% refinanced one, 9% were first-time buyers and 7% were repeat buyers. Of those who were first-time buyers,... [read more]

11 tips for decorating a living room

Monday Nov 12th, 2018


  Whether your style is traditional or modern, relaxed or formal, bold or subdued, your living room should be a place where you can feel comfortable, let down your guard and spend quality time with friends, family or just yourself. There’s an art to decorating a room that looks great and works well for you. So before you dive into a living room redesign with your pro, arm yourself with a few designer tips and tricks. Here are some of my... [read more]

What do rising rates mean for the housing market?

Tuesday Oct 30th, 2018


At the end of October The Bank of Canada had its 5th rate increase in 15 months (article linked below) The expectation is that rates will continue to rise. A qualified mortgage broker will be able to advise on which mortgage terms make the most sense given your qualification and hime horizon! Check out @mission35mortgages on Instagram  How a rise in interest rates affects you A rise in interest rates can cost you more to borrow money. When interest rates rise, your loan... [read more]

Autumn activities in the Hamilton- Burlington area

Tuesday Oct 23rd, 2018


1. Dyments Pumkin Patch Pumpkin patch, market & bakery http://www.dyments.com/ 2. Springridge Farm Bakery, cafe, cutest little gift shop! hay rides, corn maze ! Lots to do here http://www.springridgefarm.com/ 3. Frootogo Orchards Playground, apples, pumpkins & more! http://www.frootogo.ca/ 4. Carluke Orchards, Ancaster  Pick your own apples! Bakery & gourmet food Market https://www.carlukeorchards.ca/ 5. Andrews Scenic Acres,... [read more]

How to survive a kitchen remodel

Thursday Oct 11th, 2018


So you’ve decided to remodel your kitchen. Congratulations, and I cannot wait to see pictures of it when it’s done. But in the meantime, you need to know what to anticipate and how to handle it.  Home remodeling pros and those who have been through a kitchen remodel can agree that the best way to get through it is to flee and stay somewhere else. But this option is not always viable, so here is what to expect if you have to live in your house through a remodel and how to... [read more]

13 bedroom decorating ideas for a SMALL space

Monday Aug 27th, 2018


1. Establish a singular, strong focal point. 2. Choose a foot-of-the-bed bench that incorporates storage. 3. Inject color without overwhelming the space by painting half the wall. 4. Opt for sconces in lieu of table lamps. 5. Allow your vanity to do double duty as a nightstand. 6. Add a bedskirt to hide any under-bed storage.   7. Think vertically when it comes to displaying artwork and found objects. 8. Use a stool... [read more]

FAQ: What is the difference between and Deposit and Down Payment

Friday Aug 24th, 2018


Simply Put: DEPOSIT Money you give (usually) 24 hours within acceptance of your offer.  Example Purchase Price: $500,000: Deposit: $25,000. *Almost always this is made payable to the listing brokerage and held in trust. * There is no hard and fast rule as to how much you have to give for the deposit. But typcially it is not lower than 5% of the purchase price. This ensures that the buyer doesn't walk away after a deal is firm & also show you're commited to... [read more]

Your To-do list-August Checklist

Wednesday Aug 01st, 2018


With the transition from summer travels to the beginning of a new school year (and maybe some back-to-work blues), August can feel like a sudden downshift from the fun of vacation. Stretch out these last days of summer by squeezing in a few more home projects, savoring simple pleasures and, when the time comes, cleaning up the beach toys and preparing the house for a busy fall. Pick from these 13 to-dos to create your perfect August plan. Things to Check Off Your List in an Hour or... [read more]

Brunch hotspots Downtown Hamilton

Monday Jul 23rd, 2018


Looking for a good spot for Brunch downtown Hamilton. Here are some of my favourites🍳🥐☕️ 1. @thefrenchhamont - great atmosphere, food is excellent. It has a genuine euro vibe to it. Very picture perfect😊 2. Mezza Cafe - this one is for the coffee & espresso lovers ! Their cannolis are unreal too ! 3. @aberdeentavern I absolutely love their courtyard style patio and the food is amazing every single time ! 4. @thebeverly__ unique menu, cute patio and fab food... [read more]

Property Assessment and Taxation

Monday Apr 30th, 2018


Each component of Ontario's property assessment system plays an important role. MPAC is responsible for assessing and classifying more than five million properties in Ontario in compliance with the Assessment Act and regulations set by the Government of Ontario. Municipalities determine revenue requirements, set municipal tax rates and collect property taxes to pay for municipal services. Education tax rates, set by the Ontario Government, may also be applied using the... [read more]


Wednesday Mar 28th, 2018


Be aware of what you have to pay for, so you can work it into your budget ahead of time!🏡 You can read this all in my blog. Link in bio BEFORE CLOSING ✔️Deposit- typically 5% or purchase price ✔️Home Inspection- $300-$500 ON CLOSING ✔️Balance of the purchase price- purchase price minus deposit amount. (This will come from your lender and become your mortgage🙌🏻) ✔️Legal Fees- usually budget around $1,100-1,800 ✔️Title Insurance (sometimes included in your... [read more]


Tuesday Jan 23rd, 2018


What is "Title?" "Title" is a word lawyers use to describe the right of ownership to land. When you purchase a home, title is transferred to you, the new home owner. What is Title Insurance Title insurance is an insurance policy that protects you, the home owner, against challenges to the ownership of your home or from problems related to the title to your home. The policy provides coverage against losses due to title defects, even if the defects existed before you... [read more]

Start preparing now for a smooth sale in 2018

Monday Nov 13th, 2017


If you're thinking of selling your home in 2018, it's never too soon to start preparing. Now is the time to get your finances in order and begin working on those minor projects around the house that will help you realize top dollar when it comes time to list. When trying to zero in on where your money will best be spent, consider what most buyers are looking for. Some improvements may cost a few thousand dollars but are almost guaranteed to increase the value of your home, thus... [read more]

Pick a pumpkin in the Hamilton- Burlington area

Thursday Oct 26th, 2017


Nothing says, "October has arrived" like a visit to your local pumpkin patch! Here in the Hamilton-Burlington area, there are numerous options for families on the hunt for that perfect pumpkin.  Dyment's Pumpkin Patch – The season kicks off on October 7 and will be open every weekend until October 31. Activities include a barnyard play area, machinery shed, straw fort, corn bin, trike track, Spookley Theatre, wagon rides and the corn maze. Admission is $12 for... [read more]

The importance of good lighting

Monday Oct 23rd, 2017


If you're thinking of selling or are simply trying to create a cozy ambiance in your brand new home, lighting is an important factor to consider. Lighting, or lack thereof, has the power to affect the mood and atmosphere of any given space. A good home lighting strategy begins outside. Smart outdoor lighting is your first opportunity to wow potential buyers and houseguests. Greeting them the moment they arrive, strategically placed lights create a safe, lavish feel. If you have a... [read more]

What's happening this month in Burlington?

Tuesday Oct 03rd, 2017


What's happening this month in Burlington?    Welcome to the harvest season! It seems that almost overnight the leaves changed colour and the temperature dropped, ushering us into autumn and all the fun that comes with it!  There are a variety of exciting events happening in the City of Burlington and this month, it's all about enjoying nature, being entertained and giving back!  Fall Into Nature Hikes – October 7-9 and 14-15  Immerse yourself... [read more]

Prevent theft this winter at your cottage

Tuesday Sep 12th, 2017


Prevent theft this winter at your cottage    Cottage owners: the summer is almost behind us for another year and it's time to start thinking about closing up the cottage for the winter. It isn't just the elements you need to protect your cottage from during the off-season. Some would-be thieves target cottage country, knowing that many beautiful properties are sitting empty in secluded areas. Deter burglars with these tips. 1. Lock windows or board them and safely... [read more]

The internet can only help you so much, have an experienced Realtor on your side

Tuesday Sep 12th, 2017


The internet can only help so much. Have an experianced Real Estate Sales Representive on your side. Although the internet is full of information, you need to have a seasoned real estate professional at your side to help navigate the often complex process. THE TOP 5 REASONS YOU NEED AN AGENT 1. To negotiate the best deal A computer isn't able to negotiate with the other party to get you the best deal on a home you love 2. To find the right home. A home may look perfect... [read more]

New Rent Control Rules Realtors Need to know

Friday Sep 08th, 2017


In April 2017, the Government of Ontario announced Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan, comprised of 16 new housing measures. As part of the Housing Plan, many of the measures focused on the rental-housing market and introduced Bill 124, the Rental Fairness Act, 2017. Ontario recently announced new rules pertaining to evictions. Effective, September 1st, 2017, when a landlord ends a tenancy for personal use of the rental unit (themselves or family member), landlords must provide one... [read more]

Is condo living right for you?

Thursday Sep 07th, 2017


Buyers have plenty of choice when it comes to choosing the type of home they will buy. You can purchase new from a builder, or shop around for a resale townhouse, single family home or condominium.  The latter is an excellent option for first-time buyers, young professionals and retirees or those looking to downsize. That's not to say that all condos are affordable. A spacious unit in a well-appointed building can easily boast a price tag well into the millions with monthly... [read more]

Plan the perfect backyard soiree!

Friday Aug 25th, 2017


Plan the perfect backyard soiree!    Planning a dinner party can be as complicated or as simple as you make it. If you've recently moved into a new home and are eager to throw your first outdoor soiree, August is the perfect time of year to do so!  The first thing you'll need to do is decide on the type of party you'll be throwing. Will it be a sit-down dinner for six to 10? Or would you rather host a larger group with passed hors d'oeuvres and... [read more]

First-timers: Are you ready to buy?

Thursday May 25th, 2017


While interest rates remain low, there have been a few changes in recent months and some even bigger changes in recent years that have made purchasing a home tougher for first-time buyers. Prices across most of the country are on the rise and housing stock is low in many areas, creating a fast-paced, red-hot real estate market that is leaving some in the dust. Here are three things you should consider before you start the hunt for your first home: Can you afford it? Without a doubt, this... [read more]