Cottage Opening

Here is a few tips from Cottage Life to get you on the right track. 

It’s time to open the cottage, making May Two-Four one of the most chore-filled weekends of the year up here. But there’s no reason it has to be all busywork and no beach.

Sure, there are things that absolutely need to be looked after, but not everything is urgent. So to make sure you have time this weekend to relax on the deck, Corona in hand, we’ve compiled a simple checklist of tasks you absolutely need to do so you can make the most of your long weekend.


Before you go

There’s nothing worse than arriving at the cottage to realize you’ve forgotten something. Sure, you’ll always need to make one more trip to the hardware store, but the better prepared you are, the more quickly you’ll be able to kick back and relax.

  • Make sure your electricity is turned on. And be sure to phone whatever other services you’ll need before heading up. Its always best to do this before the weekend to be sure someone can help you.
  • Be sure that everything is insured and you know where the documents are. This includes boat, trailer, and cottage insurance. And if you’re pulling a trailer, be sure to test all the lights and connections before your family is loaded into the car.
  • Try to remember all and any keys you’ll need. Track them down and make sure you bring them with you.
  • Put a tool kit together. You will need tools this weekend. Figure out which ones you’re going to need and pack them. And don’t forget the duct tape!
  • Gather some cleaning supplies. You’re definitely going to need to do a little bit of cleaning this weekend. Even if all you do is wipe off the deck chair, you’ll need to have the right equipment to do it!
  • If you’re going to need filters or batteries, then charge them and pack them. And obviously you’ll need clothes, water and food.

On arrival

After this year’s dramatic spring, there’s no telling what could be waiting for you when you arrive at your cottage property, especially if you haven’t been there all winter. The first thing you’ll want to do is look around for any outdoor or indoor issues that need to be fixed.

  • Check for any damage to power lines, phone lines, the chimney, the deck, the dock, windows, screens, and under the cottage at the posts, pads, and beams.
  • After surveying your property, head inside and check cupboards and counter tops for signs of mice or other animals, and look for any water damage that may have occurred over the winter.

Tuning up

Before the relaxation begins, start the cottage season off right with a few minor chores that will make sure everyone is safe and sound for the summer.

  • Replace batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Make sure your fire extinguishers are charged.
  • Replace batteries in any flashlights.
  • Clean the eaves troughs.
  • Clear any large branches off the building and trim any that may have become too close to your cottage over the winter.
  • Replace any filters that may need to be changed.

Turning on the taps

Perhaps the most involved part of opening the cottage is getting your water system going. If you have a pump that draws directly from the lake, here are the steps to get it up and running.

  • Inspect all lines for signs of damage.
  • Replace the pump’s filter.
  • Prime the pump.
  • Open a cold-water tap in your cottage, and be sure the cold-water valve to your hot water tanks is closed.
  • Switch on the water pump at the panel box.
  • Open all valves between the pump and your cottage.
  • Open all cold water taps to remove air from the system.
  • Close all the taps and look for leaks and hissing.

Turning on the hot water

Once your water’s running, you need to fill your hot water tank with water before turning it on. It’s pretty simple, really, but there are a number of steps you should follow to ensure you do it right.

  • Be sure the hot water tank is off and all your taps are closed.
  • Connect a hose to the drainage valve and run it outside. Open that tap.
  • Open a hot-water tap.
  • Close the drainage valve.
  • Turn on the cold water intake to fill the tank.
  • Watch the open hot-water tap. Once water is flowing through it, the tanks is full.
  • Turn on the hot water tank, and watch for leaks.  

That’s it! You’ve got water, hot water, a shelter, and electricity. What else do you need? You remembered cold beer, right?

OFF TO A GOOD START IN 2016 - First Quarter MLS® Sales Up 8%

First Quarter MLS® Sales Up 8%

WINNIPEG -   WinnipegREALTORS® MLS® market got off to a good start in 2016 with the first three months showing an 8% increase in sales over the same period a year ago. Helping make this result possible was a stellar March 2016 performance in which sales went up 5% over last March. There were 1,058 sales in March and 2,445 in the first quarter.

Owing to a new listings drop of nearly 9% in combination with strong sales, the active inventory at the end of March experienced a slight decrease from 2015. This is the exact opposite of what has been happening the last few years as the number of active listings has been spiking upward significantly. The overall MLS® market as a result is in balanced market conditions with 4 months of inventory.

When you breakdown the two main property types of residential-detached and condominiums a clear difference emerges. Based on March sales activity, the 2,259 residential-detached listings existing at the end of March would last 3 months if no other listings were to come onto the market while the 813 condo listings would be closer to 5 months.

“It is really important for buyers and sellers in any local market to understand one size does not fit all,” said Stewart Elston, president of WinnipegREALTORS®.

“You can have varying degrees of competitive market forces (e.g. supply and demand) at play between and within the many MLS® property types. In evaluating your property’s salability, some questions need to be asked. What price range does the property fall in? What city neighbourhood or rural municipality is it located? What attributes does it have in comparison to similar sized properties? Are they well maintained and upgraded if necessary?

“This is why we always strongly advise and even insist you consult a REALTOR® - a real estate expert – to give you the proper advice and counsel on how the current market applies to your own particular situation.”

Another good example of markets performing differently within the region it encompasses is with regard to residential-detached property inventory.  After three months of sales activity the results show neighbourhoods such as St. Boniface, Norwood, River Heights, East Fort Garry and Richmond West have either sold out or nearly sold all of the listings which have come onto the market this year. Close behind with some very high conversions of listings to sales are Crestview, Fort Rouge, Richmond West, Fort Richmond and Linden Woods.

With the entire market region averaging 51% of residential-detached listings being sold by the end of March the rest tend to be all over the map. This means many neighbourhoods still have a higher percentage of conversions of listings to sales but lots of them including rural municipalities fall under the market region average.

“Just like Vancouver is not the same as Calgary or Toronto, neither do our local neighbourhoods behave the same way,” said Elston.

There are two market developments worth noting as we head into the busiest quarter of our real estate market.

Condominium sales have rebounded from a poor first quarter last year. The 328 sales recorded so far are up 15% over the same period in 2015 and 8% over the 10-year average. March condo sales of 167 increased 25% over March 2015 and 20% over the 10-year monthly average.

The other one is the 19% increase in residential-detached sales over $300,000 this first quarter compared to the same period in 2015. As a result, the year-to-date average residential-detached sales price is $300,844, a 6% increase in comparison to first quarter 2015.

The most active price range for residential-detached sales in March was from $250,000 to $299,999 with 22% of total sales. Deadlocked in second place at 15% each were the $200,000 to $249,999 and the $300,000 to $349,999 price ranges. The $400,000 to $449,999 price range equaled the more active $200,000 to $249,999 price range for having the lowest number of days to sell on the market at only 21 days or 3 weeks.  The average number of days on market to sell a home in March was 31 days, 3 days slower than March 2015.

The most active price range for condominiums in March was from $150,000 to $199,999 at 34%. Second most active was from $200,000 to $249,999 at 20%. Another 14% sold from $100,000 to $149,999. The average days on market to sell a condominium in March was 46 days, 1 day slower than March 2015.

Established in 1903, WinnipegREALTORS® is a professional association representing over 1,875 real estate brokers, salespeople, appraisers, and financial members active in the Greater Winnipeg Area real estate market.  Its REALTOR® members adhere to a strict code of ethics and share a state-of-the-art Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) designed exclusively for REALTORS®. WinnipegREALTORS® serves its members by promoting the benefits of an organized real estate profession.  REALTOR®, MLS® and Multiple Listing Service® are trademarks owned and controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association and are used under licence.


WINNIPEG - Whether an extra day in February paved the way for a record month is debatable as the best previous high for this month was 797 in 2007 and there were only 28 days to reach that level.  What it does show however, is more buyers came out of the woodwork to take advantage of some of the best supply of affordable house prices in the country.


Another February milestone was set this year too with dollar volume easily surpassing $200 million for the first time.  New listings coming on to the market were up in double-digits as well however the stronger conversion of listings to sales kept the overall inventory close to where it was a year ago. Based on the strong sales activity in February and a high influx of new listings there is roughly four and one-half month’s supply of MLS® listings available going into March. It was near six months at the end of January.


In percentage terms, February MLS® sales of 816 increased 21% compared to February 2015. February MLS® dollar volume of $222 million was up 29% over the same month last year.  New listings coming onto the market in February vaulted ahead by 14% leaving  an inventory of over 3,700 MLS® listings at the end of February, only 2% more than last year at this time.


Given February’s impressive result, year-to-date sales and dollar volume are up 10 and 14% respectively. Listings entered on the MLS® for the first two months have increased nearly 6%. 


“Our record-setting February is an indication of the Winnipeg market’s steadfast performance in contrast to some of the adversity we are seeing in other markets across the country,” said Stewart Elston, WinnipegREALTORS® president.  “The Conference Board of Canada is predicting Winnipeg’s economy will outperform most other major Canadian cities this year.”


One noticeable trend which has emerged in the last few years is rural sales are gaining at the expense of the City of Winnipeg.  One out of every four MLS® home sales in 2015 were in the outlying rural municipalities. February 2016 was no exception as 28% of all home sales happened outside the City of Winnipeg.


“In light of the current City of Winnipeg budget deliberations where Winnipeggers are seeing not only property tax increases but a proposed 25% increase in their frontage levy, talk of well beyond inflation jumps in quarterly water and sewer rates and a significant increase in combined building permit fees, it should not be lost on our civic politicians that outlying rural municipalities are an option for buyers seeking lower operating costs of owning a home,” said Elston.


As mentioned in the 2016 forecast for Winnipeg’s MLS® market the very balanced market conditions will continue to keep a lid on pricing and this was borne out in February. Both the residential-detached and condominium average sale prices were very close to the 2015 year-end numbers. Residential-detached was almost identical at a little over $294,000 while February average condominium sales price was just below the $236,000 recorded for 2015.


The most active price ranges in MLS® residential-detached sales in February were between $250,000 to $299,999 and $200,000 to $249,999 with 22 and 15% respectively of total sales.  The most active price range also had the lowest average days on market of 30 days. The average number of days on market to sell a home in February was 37 compared to 34 in 2015.

The most active price range in condominiums was between $150,000 and $199,999 at 28% of total sales.  The second busiest price range with 20% of sales was between $200,000 to $249,999. The average days on market was 48 days, the same time it took in February 2015.



Now is a good time to get yourself into this strong market!






WINNIPEG – More spring-like weather this March compared to the previous few years helped spur more sales activity. MLS® sales climbed over 1,000 and ended up being just 2% off the ten-year March average of 1,025. First quarter sales activity showed a similar pattern, also off 2% from the ten-year average of 2,318 MLS® sales. 


MLS® dollar volume of $276 million was up 11% over March of last year and up 9% over the ten-year average.


New and available listings continue to be impressive when compared to last March.  New listings entered on the MLS® in March increased 33% while the active listings or existing inventory were up 29% to 4,338 MLS® listings. Whatever is being sold is more than being replenished by the entry of new listings on the system.


You have to go back to 1999 to find as many listings available for sale at this time of year and back to 1995 when there were more new listings entered on MLS® in March. For the first quarter, 5,499 listings have been entered on MLS®, an increase of 37% over the 10-year average.


March MLS® unit sales were up 9% (1,005/919) while dollar volume increased 11% ($276.23 million/$249.1 million) in comparison to the same month last year. Year-to-date MLS® sales increased less than 5% (2,265/2,164) while dollar volume was up just over 5% ($600.0 million/$570.9 million). The 5,499 listings entered on MLS® for the first quarter are up 26% from the same period in 2014.


“Conditions are ideal for buyers to take advantage of a healthy supply of listings and historically low mortgage rates,” said David Mackenzie, President of WinnipegREALTORS®.  “Our mortgage brokers are telling us we have likely not seen rates as low as we have now since the 50’s or 60’s.”


MacKenzie added, “The much more balanced market has kept prices totally in line with last year so affordability remains a real strength of our local market compared to other Canadian cities.”


The most active residential-detached price range in March was the $250,000 to $299,999 price range at 19%. It eked out a slight edge over the $200,000 to $249,999 range which represented 18% of total sales. 3 out of 4 residential-detached sales in March were between $150,000 and $350,000. 




For condominium sales activity in March, the busiest price range was from $150,000 to $199,999 at 28%. Not far behind was the range from $200,000 to $249,999 at 25%.


The average days on market for residential-detached sales was 28 days, 6 days quicker than last month and the same pace as March 2014. The average days on market for condominium sales was 45 days, 3 days faster than last month and 13 days off the pace set in March 2014.



March 2015

Above List Price

At List Price

Below List Price











Established in 1903, WinnipegREALTORS® is a professional association representing over 1,875 real estate brokers, salespeople, appraisers, and financial members active in the Greater Winnipeg Area real estate market.  Its REALTOR® members adhere to a strict code of ethics and share a state-of-the-art Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) designed exclusively for REALTORS®. WinnipegREALTORS® serves its members by promoting the benefits of an organized real estate profession.  REALTOR®, MLS® and Multiple Listing Service® are trademarks owned and controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association and are used under licence.


For further information, contact Peter Squire at (204) 786-8854.