Thinking of buying a Power of Sale property? Here’s what you need to know.

A power of sale property is similar to a foreclosure, except in one important way, if you’re the buyer:  the original owner holds a right of redemption right up to closing. That means that if they can scrounge up the money to bring the mortgage arrears current and reimburse the bank its out of pocket costs, they can retake their property, right up to the point where you would normally get the keys.

Is it a serious risk? It does happen occasionally, so if you’re the buyer, you want the earliest closing date possible to minimize that chance. The bank wants a quick closing too: they are carrying the costs of a vacant property. Sooner is better.

There are other important differences as well. Unlike the situation with a normal sale, where you can rely on what’s in the listing and the implied warranties in the agreement of sale, you need to verify everything. Nothing is warranted by the seller bank/lender; the property is “as is.”

You or your lawyer or realtor will need to check with the local municipality to see if permits were obtained for additions and improvements, and if you’re in the country, for well/sewer as well. You’ll need to check to see if utilities and property taxes have been  paid. You’ll need inspections, and don’t forego a financing clause in your offer unless you have deep pockets, because your lender will want an appraisal for sure.

Your lawyer is a huge part of this transaction: get them involved right away. They will want to see your offer before it goes firm to go over it with you and let you know what parts of title insurance do  and don’t apply. They will also want to do certain searches to see if there are liens on the property before you remove your conditions. Along with unpaid property taxes, a common one is for unpaid income taxes, which can result in a delay in closing because of the need to get those cleared off title.

Often the lender has shut off water to the property, and may have even winterized it depending on the season. Sometimes the bank isn’t willing to turn that water back on, which can make it impossible to do proper inspections.

Find out before you make your offer if the property manager is willing to turn the water on and any other systems that need to be operational so you can arrange inspections. If it’s a country property with a well, it’s not possible for a well inspector to take water samples if the water is shut off, as they need a hot water source, or to determine volume, so they can’t do a proper inspection. Be sure your realtor includes a clause indicating that seller will cooperate in ensuring water has been turned on prior to the inspection or have your agent get confirmation from the listing agent. Sometimes the bank will agree, but will set timelines for when you need the inspections finished so that everything can be shut off again.

If the bank won’t agree to do that, you are taking a big risk in proceeding. Try to find out when the property was vacated and when it was winterized. If it was winterized late, or if the property has been vacant for a long time, the pipes could burst when the water is turned on.

If something shows up in the inspection that you didn’t anticipate, it’s not often the lender will agree to drop the price; remember, the original owner is still involved. That owner is entitled to any surplus over what s/he owes, but is also liable for any deficiency. There may not be much wriggle room on price, and a price drop could trigger problems with your lender.

I know it seems counter-intuitive, but if there is a price reduction of anything over a couple of thousand dollars, your lender may want to know the reason and if it’s something that showed up in the home inspection, they may refuse to advance funds. At the very least, they will want to see the home inspection report and it may have things in it that you are willing to live with but that will make your bank nervous about providing you funding. Remember: this is not the typical situation where you can negotiate and ask the seller to do things before closing like remediate mould, or remove asbestos, or pigtail aluminum wiring: you are taking this property as is.

Most times appliances have been removed from the property when you see it.  Sometimes light fixtures have as well. Remember to factor those costs into your budget on top of closing costs. If there are any appliances left behind, make sure they work: but also keep in mind that the seller will not warranty anything. What you see is what you get. If they worked during the inspection but not when you take possession, you are not likely going to be able to get the bank to do anything, unlike the case in a normal purchase where you may have had a clause to the effect that all chattels would be in good working order.

Be aware that once the conditions are removed and the deal goes firm, a lot of lenders will change the lockbox code and re-key the locks. (Apparently they are concerned that realtors might give the codes to their clients instead of accompanying them on all walk throughs.)

Make sure if you are going for a walk through with your agent that your agent has verified if that’s the case so that they have the proper code and you can actually get in. And keep an eye out when you are doing the walk through for any suspicious changes. One property manager told me that the original owner kept letting himself in through the window to check on things, and if someone came in, he would hide in the closet. Once you do get the property, change the locks if they haven’t been changed already.

A power of sale property can be a great deal, but it has a lot of risks associated with it, and requires a lot of extra investigative work, usually on a short timetable. Don’t cut corners. You run the risk of being out of pocket for inspections and fees if the original owner is able to redeem the property and you don’t get it. But if you don’t do them, the risk to you of something unforeseen (and potentially very expensive) is  that much greater.

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Our final numbers! #SockittoChristmas

Our final tally is in! 2,093 pairs of brand new warm socks – the women and children’s socks have already been delivered to Parkdale Food Centre for their Soup and Sock Program, and the men’s socks will be delivered to the shelters this afternoon!

Thanks to Marina Doran, Rebecca Wilson and Benita Siemiatycki for helping with the count this morning and helping out with delivery. Doug Herbert, Molly Hoyle and Claude Jobin will take the men’s socks over to the shelter for us as well.

Our iconic sock monkey and his new pal watched us work today, and a friend of mine dropped off these sock monkey socks for me for Christmas, so I thought today was a great day to wear them!

Thanks everyone for helping us to Sock it to Christmas!

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Our winners! #SockittoChristmas

Okay, folks, the Sock it to Christmas raffle draw was held at 4 PM today — thanks Daniele Legault for helping with the draw! Our prize winners are:
Stephanie Burch for the most pairs of socks donated (100)- a book of car wash tickets to Island Park Esso;
Greg MacEachern  (who donated that amazing Proof gift basket, valued at $ 200, plus collected $100 plus socks at his office Xmas cocktail party)- four childrens books, donated by Simon and Schuster Canada
Sue Dance – Royal LePage Team, four children’s books donated by Simon and Schuster Canada
Darlene Kelly, RLP admin, 4 YA books, donated by Simon and Schuster Canda
Nicholas Wallace, four YA books donated by Simon and Schuster Canada
Ann Coady, Kevin Coady Team, RLP – Popolo custom wrap
Viola Wedge – $ 100 gift certificate to Host India restaurant donated by Ravinder Tumber
Tammy Weedmark RLP Barrhaven- Nancy Mooney photograph, framed
And Kerry Barnes (whose little boy asked everyone to drop off socks at his birthday party and brought in 89 pairs of socks!) – won our $ 200 grand gift basket donated by Proof!
Thanks everyone! We will be doing the final count of socks tomorrow morning and getting our socks out to the shelters so they can be distributed before Christmas! Thank you for helping us to Sock it to Christmas!!!! 
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There’s still time to donate! And look at this wonderful donation from Welch LLP! #SockittoChristmas

There is a friendly competition in my office between realtors: Bill Edelson has donated 80 pairs of socks as has Joanne Batchelor, and I’ve said whoever donates the most socks will get a book of car wash tickets donated by Island Park Esso (thanks, John Newcombe!). But yesterday the ante was raised considerable when Welch LLP donated 100 pairs of socks, topped off by 56 pairs and five blankets donated by Mark’s Work Warehouse!

Mark’s Work Warehouse was wonderful: they offered Welch LLP a discount on the socks and then scoured their warehouse to see what else they could come up with. Here’s a picture of all these giving folks from Welch LLP and Mark’s Work Warehouse.

socks Welch LLP

(Back row, in Santa hat, Brigitte Lacroix, Mark’s Work Warehouse and Ms. Stephanie Burch. Front row, Welch employee (?),  Peggy Blair, and Sean Yip Choy, Mark’s Work Warehouse)

Kelly Patrick, a Twitter pal, was the catalyst behind this donation. She writes:

“It all started over dinner and a conversation about privilege.  Stephanie Burch, daughter of Mike and Marianna Burch, Welch LLP, was asked what local issue needing support would she focus on if she had $100,000 dollars to donate. Her immediate response was the homeless.  Stephanie said she is amazed that such a wealthy city, in a rich country as ours, could have so many homeless people.

“Conversation quickly turned to Sock it to Christmas, a local initiative established by Peggy Blair and shared over Twitter, about helping the homeless with one thing we all take for granted, socks.  On the spot, Mike pledged 100 pairs of socks to Sock it to Christmas, to close off Welch’s 100 anniversary year as one of Ottawa’s top accounting firms.

“Finding 100 pairs of socks in stock wasn’t easy.  One call to Mark’s Work Wearhouse and Sean Yip Choy on the other end of the phone and within two days, and Brigette’s stealth thinking, 156 pairs of socks and five blankets were donated.

“All it took was concern from a passionate university student, one extremely empathetic employee on the end of a call, Welch’s commitment to community, and the rest is history.  For this year at least!”

Thanks very much to Stephanie, Kelly, Mike Burch and the good folks at Mark’s Work Warehouse. That donation was so big I had to make up another bin!

It’s not too late to drop off your sock donations, but we will start bringing in our bins tomorrow morning for Thursday’s draw at 4 PM. We have bins at Freshii Westboro, Churchill Senior Recreation Centre, Catherine McKenna’s constituency office on Catherine, and my office at 1335 Carling, Unit 200. There is also a bin at Royal LePage Team Realty’s Barrhaven office. If you donate socks to our Royal LePage Team Realty Carling office, we’ll enter your name in a draw for great prizes!

Help us Sock it to Christmas! And thanks again, Welch LLP and Mark’s Work Warehouse – great community spirit!

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Christmas gifts for your beer-loving #Ottawa buddies!

I have a friend who really likes beer and I was trying to figure out what to get him for Christmas. I turned to my friends on social media, and as always, there were tons of great suggestions. These were so good I decided to do a post pulling them together — it’s always hard to find great Christmas gifts and these are quite unique and different.

On the craft beer front, it seems there are tours you can buy through Brew Donkey. They will take you around on a craft beer tour to the various breweries in the Ottawa area. You can book a tour as a gift or buy a gift card, ranging from $ 25 to $ 350. Tours are arranged and booked 6-8 weeks in advance. (They have a swag page on their website but no swag posted yet. Also, I’m told that one of these tours involves Vodka, pretzels and axe-throwing. Now THAT’s a party!)

brew 3

Twitter pal @Tracyvirtually  recommended buying a gift “box” of beer from the Brew Box Company. You  sign up the recipient and they get a box of beer delivered every month. It’s Toronto based but the craft beer they deliver comes from all across Canada. She bought a three month package for her husband. She wrote: “When I signed up I got a printable card to give him so he knew to expect the box on such-and-such a date.” She says he loved them!

brew 1

Some of my friends suggested putting together a sampler of local beer for example, with several Beau ‘s flavours or from other local Ottawa brewers  like Big Rig , Beyond the Pale, Kitchissipi etc. (No one seemed to think that wrapping up beer as a gift was tacky, either, by the way! They all felt that a beer-lover would really enjoy getting a variety of craft beers to sample.)

You can also buy boxed gifts at the LCBO (quite a few people mentioned they sell beer advent calendars but that these were probably all sold out by now.) My neighbour, Nicholas, posted this gift box he had received, on Facebook, and said that “Innis and Gunn is fine and different. A Scottish beer aged in whisky barrels,” so he’d quite enjoyed it.

brew 8

Another twitter pal, @HeatherBadenoch, suggested Bar Lupulus at Wellington-Holland — she says they have  a long beer menu, plus exceptional food and service and thought a gift certificate there would make a great gift for the beer-lover. (She also recommended Brouhaha  in Gatineau, “which is reputed to have, hands down, the best beer selection in the region.”)

brew 5

Fellow realtor Kevin Drew says that he usually picks up up a bunch of “Growlers” from craft brewer, Ashton Brewing Company,  and does pop bys with them for clients who like beer. He says: “I like their beer and they can keep the cool bottles …. or Growlers as they are called.

Local artist Sharon Van Starkenburg suggested buying a set of a set of beer glasses. “Each beer is meant to be had in a specific shaped glass.” She also recommended a brewery in Hull that makes amazing craft beer: Les Brasseurs du temps.

For those who want a more lasting gift, like beer glasses, there were plenty of those too. I found this set of marble coasters at Maker House on Wellington. They have maps of different parts of Ottawa on them. This particular set has Hintonburg, which I think is pretty cool but they have dozens of other coasters in all kinds of designs. They are located at 987 Wellington, right where Wellington turns into Somerset.

brew 2

Nita Beer on Colonnade Road has a swag shop where you can buy various Nita brand gifts including glasses and baseball caps. I thought this gift basket was really good value and you can add individual items to the basket as well.

brew 6


One of my Facebook friends suggested picking up an Ontario Craft Beer Guide. Apparently there is a second edition out as of last year. Not an expensive gift, but I’ll bet that the recipient will enjoy marking off each beer they try. I found it on Amazon but I’m sure it’s sold elsewhere too.

brew 4

And finally, FB pal Robert Jago says that you can buy a device that turns craft into draft called Fizzics. “They have these soda stream sized things that you put your can of craft beer in and it turns it into draft. If there’s one thing beer nerds like better than obscure beer in a can – it’s obscure beer on tap.” Very cool!

brew 7

Thanks everyone for all your great suggestions. I’ve ordered the gift I plan to give to my friend and I know he’s going to love it!

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UPDATED: Sock it to Christmas – prizes!

Our bins are now out at several locations for sock donations: we have two at the Royal LePage Team Realty office at  # 200, 1335 Carling, one on the main level and one on the second level. We have a bin at our Royal LePage Team Realty office in Barrhaven, located at 3101 Strandherd Drive. We’re open weekday evenings until 8 PM and weekends until 4 PM. We have a friendly competition between these two offices to see which office can get the most pairs of socks donated!

If you drop off a new pair of socks at either location, you can be entered in a draw for some great prizes including:

This gorgeous framed photograph from local photographer, Nancy Mooney:

prize bird

A gift certificate to Host India Restaurant:


A wide assortment of children’s and YA books donated by Simon and Schuster Canada (we will draw these in groups of four):

A gorgeous woman’s wrap in Dress Stewart Plaid donated by Popolo Design:

A book of car wish tickets from John Newcombe Island Park Esso;

A $ 200 Floral Envy gift basket donated by Proof Strategies (with thanks to Greg MacEachern)!

basket 1


We also anticipate receiving a donated original painting by Bruce Anderson, so be sure to get those socks in — these are great prizes! And a big warm shout-out to our very generous donors!

Our other sock drop-off locations include a  shared bin at Freshii Westboro (which is accepting Food Bank donations as well). We have a drop off bin at Churchill Seniors Recreation Centre at 345  Richmond Road and MP/ Environment Minister Catherine McKenna’s constituency office at 107 Catherine Street has one too.

All our socks will go to our neighbours in need. Men’s socks will go to Shepherds of Good Hope and the Ottawa Mission and women’s and children’s socks will go to Parkdale Food Centre’s Soup and Socks Program. So swing by with some new socks and help us give the gift of warmth this winter!



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Sock it to Christmas!

It’s that time of year again, and despite the fact that I’m still in a walking cast, thanks to a fractured ankle and torn ligaments (I fell off the front step during a showing), I’ve decided to do the Christmas sock drive again! Last night I limped over to Superstore and picked up some rolls of Christmas wrap and we got to work today wrapping up drop off bins and getting things ready!

As always, the folks at my Royal LePage Team Realty office are awesome.

Stephanie Briscoe did up this poster for me: it features the sock monkey that Marina Doran, one of our volunteers, gave me during last year’s drive. Isn’t it great?  Vicky Assad, owner of our printing company, Color By Design, printed them off within seconds, it seemed, and again, donated them, so that was amazing.

Sock it to Christmas 2019 poster

Realtor pal Eric Kalbfleisch picked up boxes and packing tape as his contribution.  Angie Zarysky, also of my office, helped me number raffle tickets today and then she and Rebecca Wilson, another realtor,  helped me gift wrap up the bins (as did my friend Catherine Duncan who popped around to lend a hand).

And then we started delivering them to our various locations.

office 4

Most of our bin locations are drop-offs only, but we’ll be doing an office draw on December 20th at our Royal LePage Team Realty office at 200, 1335 Carling Avenue that will include our Barrhaven office as well; if you drop off socks at either location, just check in with one of our receptionists and they’ll make sure you get entered in the various draws. And cash donations are always welcome!

Where To Take Your Donations! 

We have bins at the Royal LePage Team Realty office at  # 200, 1335 Carling one on the main level and one on the second level. We’re open evenings until 8 PM.

We have a shared bin at Freshii Westboro (which is accepting Food Bank donations as well).

We have a drop off bin at Churchill Seniors Recreation Centre at 345  Richmond Road.

MP/ Environment Minister Catherine McKenna’s constituency office at 107 Catherine Street has also once again agreed to take a bin, which is great, because they really collected a lot of socks last year for us! (They’re also trying to see if they can get us a pair of Justin Trudeau’s socks — which would really be awesome!)

And we will have a bin at our Royal LePage Team Realty office in Barrhaven, located at 3101 Strandherd Drive by this Thursday.

Remember – all socks must be new; we can’t donate used socks unfortunately. And women’s and children’s socks are just as welcome as men’s socks.

The men’s socks will go the Ottawa Mission and Shepherds of Good Hope and the women’s and children’s socks will go to the Parkdale Food Centre’s Soup and Socks Program. And believe me, everyone who gets a pair will be very grateful and you’ll feel great about doing it, because we all know what it’s like to have cold feet, right?





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