Monday, January 14, 2013


2013 is here.  I often find this is the time of year we reflect on last year and make plans and set goals for the coming year. Whether it's getting in shape, reading more, lazing less, resolutions abound this time of year. My business life is no different.  I like to take a look at my personal business from the previous year and from that determine goals and plans of where to put my efforts and energy.
It's been quite enjoyable to do a bit of an analysis in preparation for the next year.  So here are some interesting (at least to me!) facts about my business.

In 2012:    *13 different people referred me that resulted in deals; (some even referred me a few times!)

                    *72% of my business were referrrals

                     *44% of my business came from previous clients using me or referring me.
                     *Only 12% were unknowns…..all open houses.

So thank you so much to those of you who referred and hired me this year! Thanks for telling your friends and family about me and trusting me to take care of them.  Your trust is greatly appreciated and you have my committment to give those you refer great customer service continuing into 2013.

You will often hear that the spring is the best time to buy/sell.  Mostly this is because this is when the most real estate transactions occur.  In general, as well as in my own personal business.

In 2012:    *8% of my business closed in Jan-May
                  *64% of my business closed in June/July/Aug.

                    *8% of my business closed in Sept/Oct/Nov/Dec.

As far as the KW real estate market, the average single detached home in KW solf for $311,017 in 2012, which was an increase of 3.32% from the previous year. Not a large increase but given the instability of the economies in Europe and the US we have certainly held our own.

There is much talk of a softening of the housing market in Canada. My gut says the KW market this spring may see a bit of a slowdown but I think the house prices will stay somewhat stable. I'm sure I'll have more opinions on this in the weeks to come as I'll be attending a few courses/seminars on the forecast for 2013
If you're thinking of buying/selling this year now is the time to contact me to start planning.  Don't wait until you're "ready".  So often I can help with the preparation of you home and answer questions ahead of time which may faciliate your decision-making. 

Thanks for reading! Any questions or comments please feel free to post or email me at

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Mover Becomes the Movee

The following is a recent article I wrote for the University Downs Neighbourhood Association Newsletter:
This summer my family moved. A whole new ball game for this Realtor! We lived in the same home for the past 10 years—to the week! I was pregnant with my third child when we first moved into our new home on Exmoor and she was born about 6 weeks afterward. My kids all started school while living in this house, we had first words, first steps, first lost teeth, first stitches. We received calls celebrating births and sad news of loved ones passing away—all in this house. And if you look closely in the laundry room behind the bathroom door, beside the trim, there are markings. I’m not sure if the new owner has noticed them yet, but they’re there. I’ve painted around them over the years, but never over them. Those markings recorded the height of my kids, and even some of their friends, as they grew up through the years. A little piece of history we’ve left behind—a little piece of our family. The decision to move or not to move is a huge one. For some it is a quick decision when they see a sign in front of a house in a neighbourhood they’ve always loved. For others the decision may take years from when they start talking about it to when things come to fruition. Take some time to weigh out the pros and cons. Don’t let the emotions of what you’re leaving behind keep you from enjoying the next adventure you may have. Sometimes moving just makes sense. For example, the need for space, investment of money, convenience to work, stress of a house that doesn’t suit your family. Other times, it just doesn’t—when your price range just doesn’t match your wish list, when you’ve haven’t built enough equity in your current home, or when you’re not gaining enough to warrant the financial costs. For my family, this decision took us about 2 years. Our next home holds the potential of suiting our family better as our kids grow from teens into adults. I’m sad to leave our current home and neighbours. But we’re embracing our next adventure. We’ll take our memories, our family traditions, and some framed pictures of the markings we’ve left behind in this home and we’ll remember that a home is a home because of the people inside.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Long Lost Blogger

Well,  you know the spring market has been booming when it takes me a month and a half to check in to my blog for another post!  This spring has been a busy one.  We're seeing a lot of activity, multiple offers on properties, and properties in the lower price ranges moving quickly.   That's been awesome for some of my sellers and a little tougher for a couple of my buyers.  Securing a property can sometimes take a couple of tries.

This spring I also ran into a few "for sale by owners" or "discount brokerages".  I don't believe in avoiding these types of properties for my buyers.....if it's the right house for my buyers I'm happy to figure out a way to work something out.  It is however, important for them to understand that there is increased risk with these properties.  These "listings" are not agent verified so the information is not always accurate.  When working on a deal these sellers are getting advice on the paperwork from lawyers, but not on HOW do do the paperwork.  And it's important to factor in that commissions are not always being offered by the sellers, thus that comes out of the buyer's pocket which they may not have been expecting.

One story I had heard last year of buyers in the KW area (NOT working with a REALTOR) but an offer on a property with a couple whom they had assumed were the sellers.  Turns out they put down a deposit and never heard from them again.  They were the tenants who had decided to put out a "for sale by owner" sign and see what they could get out of some unsuspecting buyers.  Some think there are "deals" to be had with these types of properties, but the reality is they are often at higher prices and with increased risk.

Here's a great shot of a listing I've got at 80-42 Green Valley.  It's a condo with low fees in a great complex that is only for single families. Listed for $234,900 MLS and is a desirable end unit with extra windows and incredible natural light throughout.  Call me for more information!

This spring I have the honour of congratulating T&P on their sale and purchase of a great home just steps away from their workplaces.  I found K a lovely little semi in the exact neighbourhood she had been hoping for and won it for her competing against 2 other offers.  I found S a great semi as well and we were able to get into it on day 1 and scoop it up before anyone else could. S&R met me at an open house and liked my style so they called me up to list their home and find a new place.  They've been a joy to work with and get to know and their place sold firm in 10 days for more than they thought they'd be able to get after I convinced them to push the price higher! It was a long haul for A&C but we secured a great home for them in a new neighbourhood and will be a perfect home for their family.

If you know someone thinking to sell or buy tell them to give me a call! I've got potential listings coming up in Forest Hill, Westmount, Lexington, University Downs, and Westvale.  And buyers looking for properties in the under $240,000ish range, or under $280,000ish range but with loads of potential (don't mind a lot of work!), also buyers looking for a 4 bedroom in Waterloo around $450,000ish or around the $600,000ish mark.

And the big news of the spring is that my husband and I found our dream house! Yep, come August we'll be leaving our current neighbourhood, which we LOVE and have lived in for almost 14 years, to move to a neighbourhood a little closer to our church and in a home better suited to our growing family.  We're getting excited and starting to plan a few renovations and getting organized for the move.  Lots of work, but will be worth it! :)

Here's a picture of the gorgeous fireplace I can't wait to enjoy:

We fell in love with the barnboard mantle and the way they've put seating around the fireplace.  Can't wait to entertain in this space!

I'll finish up with a recent reference from clients....."Krista Jonker was a very professional but personal agent to work with from the beginning to the end of our selling and buying experience. She was very clear with the whole process of delivering an offer, to the paperwork and details that needed to be looked at when a deal had been made, and was always prompt with answers to the many questions (and there were many) that we had along the way. Her personality and pleasant manner made it easy to talk and develop a rapport with her over our many meetings and emails. Krista has made this buying and selling experience a very positive experience, and we would recommend her to any friends or family that were looking to sell or buy."
T&P - Kitchener

Thanks for reading!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Feb. Stats, References, and Top 50 Rental Markets

WOW! Can't complain about the Kitchener Waterloo as we sit at above 20 degree weather in March! I'm hoping we've seen the last of the snow as the trees in my backyard are already starting to get their buds. Judging from the picture of this listing I have on 73 Tara, in Kitchener, (MLS 1215061) you'd never know that picture was taken just 3 weeks ago. If all goes well this listing will firm up this week and C&A will be moving into a larger home better suited for their family.

The market continues to be steady with interest rates continuing be some of the best we've had! If you've been thinking of purchasing or remortgaging now is the time. Be sure to lock in to some of these all-time low rates.

Here's the latest on our strong Kitchener Waterloo housing market:

I also wanted to pass along the top 50 rental markets in Canada. The tri-cities makes the list.

And to finish off here are a couple of references from clients I've received recently. Once again, I'm blessed to work with such great people! Thanks for reading!

"Krista Jonker helped me purchase my first home during the winter of 2012.
From our first meeting to our last interaction concerning the purchase of my new home, Krista maintained a professional and friendly manner, demonstrating expertise for a variety of subjects. In every encounter we had, in person or via email, Krista was prompt and thorough, often giving me the impression that I was her only client (but I knew I wasn't!).

As a young, first-time home buyer, there are a lot of details to consider when purchasing your first home. Krista explained (and re-explained!) all of these in an easy to understand way, and provided the assurance I needed to make a competent decision.

When viewing properties she explain the pros and cons of specific features of a home, and demonstrated considerable knowledge about a variety of matters that would typically come up during a home inspection. Krista has an eye for good properties and can effectively point out what problems would be major or minor for repairs.

The purchase of my new home was fast and involved a situation where I had to 'compete' with other offers. Through the entire situation, Krista maintained calm professionalism and still was able to explain what was happening and why. Upon completion of the offer, Krista attended the entire home inspection, as eager to learn about my home as I was. Now that the purchase is complete and I await my moving day, she maintains contact, offering advice and opinions whenever asked.

Buying a home has the potential to be stressful, but working with Krista Jonker makes it a pleasurable experience. I wholeheartedly recommend her as a real estate agent!" - Shannon

"Krista was wonderful to work with, every step of the way. Her friendly yet businesslike demeanor made us feel confident that we chose the right realtor to sell our home. Krista worked with us to price our home fairly, stage our home, and negotiate our sale with amazing professionalism. Because of her attention to detail and expertise in the field, our home sold firm in just 3 weeks. Krista was fabulous, and I will be recommending her to my family and friends who need a realtor in the future!" - Stephanie and Medardo

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Mortgage Insurance and January Stats

The new year has begun with plenty of action in the KW real estate market. Although the number of sales is down, house prices continue to move up. See full media release here: JANUARY STATS

New this week is 672 Spinnaker Cres. MLS 1214962 for $359,900. A lovely 3 bed, 3 bath home in Eastbridge with features like corian countertops, hardwood and ceramic flooring.

Coming up next week is a great 3+1 bedroom backsplit in on a quiet crescent in Country Hills, Kitchener. It's an immaculately kept home that's great for a growing family or for someone who enjoys entertaining.

As part of my continuing education to keep abreast on all things Real Estate, a few weeks I took a course from RBC and Genworth on Mortgage Insurance (Mortgage underwriting).

If you've ever purchases a home with less than 20% down than you have purchased Mortgage Insurance. How do I know? Well, you wouldn't have had a choice, because it's how our Canadian system works. We've all heard horror stories from the U.S of people walking away from their homes because they put so little down that when house prices fell it made more sense just to give up the house. This doesn't happen nearly as often in Canada because we are required to purchase Mortgage Insurance.

There are really only 3 companies that offer Mortgage Insurance: CMHC, which is run by the Government, Genworth and Canada Guarantee which are both private companies.

There are two parts to the pre-approval process for financing. The approval of you: your credit, job situation, your capital, your ability to pay, your likelihood to pay and the approval of the property: how sellable will it be for the mortgage lender to sell if you don't pay your mortgage payments? That's why a lender will give you a pre-approval but won't be able to give you a firm approval until you have an offer in place on a particular property.

Some interesting points from the course:
* If you're self employed you will likely be required to show a minimum of 2 years income. They usually use the average income of those 2 years or use the income from your lowest year.

*RBC has a New to Canada program to help new immigrants who may not have any Candian credit.

*It's fantastic to never have to borrow, but when it comes time to borrow for a purchase like a home it can become a problem if you don't have any credit at all.

*RBC requires a full appraisal to be ordered on all FSBO (For Sale By the Owner) because of the higher risk that the property's value is inaccurate.

* It's a myth that checking your Beacon Score (credit) will lower your score automatically. The system now a days is smarter than that. It can tell if you're shopping around for rates to purchase a house or a car. It will however penalize you if your credit is being checked multiple times to open new credit accounts.

In light of this last note, here's an exercise to try. Go to For $23.95 you can check your own credit report. It will give you a number of pages indicating your Credit Score summary, inquiries that have been made of your credit, and even your status. A score of 300-559 is poor, but a score of 760+ is Excellent.

Why check your own score? It's the best way to get a handle on our status for further larger borrowing. It will let you know what habits you have that may be bringing your score down. And it also give you a heads up on identity theft.

It is actually recommended that you check your own score every year and half or so to keep a pulse on things.

Feel free to comment or give me feedback!

Any questions? Email me at

Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 16, 2012

2011 Year End - 2012 Year Start

A new year. New hopes, dreams, resolutions, and plans.
2011 in the KW real estate world wrapped up with an average of a 4% increase in sale prices from 2010. Not a huge leap, but certainly steady and in the right direction if you're one of the thousands that have invested in real estate.
KW 2011 Stats
What's the forecast for 2012? Well as with anything, that depends on who you ask, but generally it looks like interest rates will remain relatively low which will also mean our prices in KW will remain relatively unchanged over the next year. There may be a slight increase.
What does that mean for you? It's still a good time to get into the market if you're a first-time home buyer or as a "moving on up" client, as the interest rates are low. (Anyone start singing that familiar sitcom song when you read that?). Thinking about investing? Even a conservative 4% is better than having your money in a bank account or many other investments. On average in KW real estate has doubled in the past 10 years. Pretty sweet investment opportunity for sure!

I started this year with an email on Jan. 1st to list this lovely property at 35 Mahogany. Great start! This property close to amenities like the expressway and the Sunrise shopping centre offers 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms (plus a 3 piece rough-in in the basement). It's been well-cared for, has a great extra long backyard, new deck, and a huge master bedroom walk-in closet to mention a few of it's features. All offered at $289,899 MLS.

Know someone who might be interested? Pop me an email.

I also began the new year with a number of showings with clients who are hoping to find their dream homes at the beginning of this year. I had fun exploring this home with S as we saw a few things that made us go "huh". This was one of them. Take a peek at the picture and see if you can find what's wrong with it....

I posted this on facebook and many of my friends had fun commenting on it. Ideas were as diverse as toilet paper in the wrong spot, unfortunate spot for a window, and wondering why the gentleman working here actually put the seat down!

Hopefully, you've noticed the actual problem with this one which is the close proximity of the ELECTRIC heat....and the toilet and plumbing which of course contains WATER. Not a great mix. Obviously a leaky toilet could not only be disasterous but very dangerous.

I see many things in my job and no house is the same as another, so there are still little surprises along the away which may me go "huh"!

Looking forward to what else 2012 may bring with exciting prospects, new clients, and little laughs along the way.

Happy new year.

Monday, December 5, 2011

November Stats

Here's the link to the media release of the November 2011 Statistics for Kitchener-Waterloo.

Housing in KW continues to be a relatively good investment considering the world economy.

Funny story of the month was 3 yr old A, who apparently thinks the spare bedroom in her new home is for Grandma and myself! I told her I would visit but not sure how my own family would feel about me moving in! Sorry, I wasn't a chattel that was included on that purchase of agreement and sale! :)

The fall market is winding down for the holidays. If you're in my customer care search system don't be surprised if you see a decreased number of new listings coming up over the next month or so. Not a lot of new listings, but plenty of reduced listings and deals to be had for those who don't mind a little work. Email me if you're interested in seeing what might suit you!