Posts Tagged ‘relocation’


Posted on: September 30th, 2022 by Chris Scott

BMO is the official bank of the Canadian Defense Community. This makes BMO and the Chris Scott Team a perfect fit for our military clients. We always have our client’s needs top of mind and strive to make each relocation as smooth as possible. We know the ins and outs of BGRS and know that during an HHT time is always of the essence. BMO has specific mortgage programs tailormade for military relocations that offer tight turnarounds on pre-approvals so you can rest easy during your HHT. We have a guest blog from our local Defense Mortgage Specialist Naween:


Relocation is not a simple task. It’s very stressful. Leaving family, friends and a familiar environment is a daunting feeling. I have gone through 5 relocations myself, so I know the feeling. My biggest relocation was migrating to Canada. Moving 13,632 km, away from everything I knew for 23 years. The level of anxiety I had was through the roof, but I was also excited to start a new chapter with my wife. It took us time to settle, and we finally made Ottawa home. Bought our first home, had our first child and a new opportunity came along resulting in an out-of-city relocation. Two more relocations after we are back in Ottawa. Each relocation was stressful even though we had done it before. We had to tell ourselves it was ok to feel the way we did. The personal and professional growth I gained from them will not change my mind about doing it all over again. We became comfortable with meeting new people and making new friends with each move.

The biggest stress for us about relocating was finding a place to live. Temporary accommodations in hotels can only get you so far until the smell of eggs in the morning makes you sick. You have a limited amount of time to find a place that fits you and your family’s needs. This is where the expertise of a good realtor was a game changer. When we relocated to Sudbury for work, our house search revolved around a 9-month-olds schedule and needs. We had to think about daycare, schools (yes, it was a bit of a stretch to think of schools when our son was only 9 months), convenience to get to and from work, etc. New city, no support system to count on. We started our house search online in Ottawa and would send listings we wanted to see to our realtor having no idea about the areas. I remember to this day what our realtor said about a listing I sent. House looked great in pictures, well below our budget. Her exact words “We are not going to see that listing because you are not going to buy a home in that area. I don’t want Evan growing up in that neighborhood”. We soon came to realize that that neighbourhood was not suitable for kids, and the house was on a very busy street. I was reassured my realtor had my back and I was no longer stressed about finding the right home for our family. This is the same level of care and attention Chris Scott and his team bring to the table. They understand your needs and find properties to fit that need, so you don’t waste time.

Therefore, I am proud to align myself as the mortgage specialist assisting the clients of Chris and his team. They share the same values as I do, personally and professionally. Putting the client’s needs first vs getting a sale done. Focusing on advice and recommendations to protect you and your loved ones. Combining 6 years of mortgage experience, Chris and his team and BMO’s Defense Banking Program I am confident we can make your house purchase a stress-free experience.

If you have any questions about home financing or want to talk about my personal experience of relocation feel free to contact me. I am happy to answer any questions you have

Naween Thomas | Mortgage Specialist
(P) 613-709-0890


Posted on: January 14th, 2020 by Chris Scott

3 Biggest Challenges Facing CAF Members on their HHT’s

Our team has specialized in helping military families buy & sell their Ottawa homes for over 15 years. It has always been the most enjoyable part of what we do. The current market conditions in Ottawa have created some real challenges for our military clients relocating the capital. It is a seller’s market and the absorption rate is at an all-time high. Here are the 3 biggest challenges facing our HHT clients in Ottawa: 

1: Available properties to buy

In many neighbourhoods within the city there is not much inventory available. It is even more prevalent in the areas our military clients like to purchase. Kanata, Stittsville, and Nepean are all grappling with a shortage of available listings. These are historically low levels. The graph below illustrates this well.  When supply is down and demand is strong it puts upward pressure on prices. It also tends to make house-hunting trips a bit more stressful!

2: Speed of Sales

Homes in Ottawa are selling at record speed. Before you arrive on your HHT the properties you may hope to see are sometimes sold. It is challenging when we have a full list of houses to look at, only to discover that many have been put under contract. It also means that when you are on the ground here the houses can sell quickly. Decisions on properties need to be made quicker than usual. 

3: Multiple Offer Dates

This was the biggest hurdle for my military clients in 2019. Many sellers in Ottawa are not entertaining offers until a certain date and time. For instance, a house may come for sale on a Wednesday. Showings will begin but there will be no offers until the following Monday. Then on offer day, you may be competing against 3-5 other buyers for the house. I don’t have to explain the logistical concerns involved for clients coming in for a few days on their house-hunting trip. It is something that we had to overcome in 2019 for sure. All our HHT’s were successful last year. 

Ok, so I have given you a few of the challenges that one might face. It is also important to know the solutions. Here are some of the solutions to tackle this challenging house hunting trip environment:



Relocating to Ottawa? Fill out our HHT Buyer Criteria Form to start your Ottawa home search today.

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Posted on: January 14th, 2020 by Chris Scott

How to have a successful Ottawa HHT in a tough market

First let me say that 2019 was the most challenging posting season ever in Ottawa. In these extreme market conditions, we managed to secure over a dozen houses for our clients and nobody left empty-handed or even settling for a house. I think a reality show on my client’s HHT experiences this year would win an Emmy for best reality show!! We had some adventures for sure and it wasn’t always easy but we got the job done. Here are a few keys to success in this market:

Adaptability to Conditions:

We need to act fast in this market. Whether it is reorganizing a day of showings to get into a new listing first or having an offer prepared and ready the instant our clients need it. We had one client purchase only 3 hours after they landed because that is when the offers were being presented. Clients need to be adaptable too. In that particular case, our clients beat out 5 other offers and secured the house. They love the house and neighbourhood to this day! Trust was important for them. They needed to trust us that the house was a good value and a good fit. They got a perfect house because they were adaptable to the conditions and our team was prepared to act fast with them. 

Exclusive off-market opportunities:

We plan our whole year around the HHT season. We are determined to find off-market properties for our incoming military families. Here is an example of a letter we sent out to over 20,000 households.

We do targeted Facebook ads and postcards for Kanata and Stittsville. Both areas have been very popular for our military clients. Each year we have many clients who buy our off-market opportunities. In many cases, they are outgoing military clients who love selling to incoming CAF members. It works out great! Our team is proactive in creating the best experience possible. 


Simply put, there is no team better equipped to handle house-hunting trips. We work together on our HHT’s and are extremely organized to make sure every detail is taken care of. There is no team that knows BGRS policies or can get quick information on them faster than us. 

Adaptability to market: 

Every HHT is different and requires the ability to adapt to different situations. Let me give you a quick example of this: In 2019 posting season Andrew and Liv were about to put an offer on a house they didn’t really love in multiple bids. On the morning of the offer date, we are getting a pre-inspection done to give us the best chance. We are sitting there and this perfect house comes to the market (send to us via email).  We booked the appointment for the inspection. We raced to the house and we were in there 30 mins after it hit the market. The clients loved it!! I knew the other agent really well and we had an offer in the seller’s hand within an hour (we have Steph in the office coordinating things). It was accepted an hour later (we had a tight timeline). Interestingly, another offer came in just after ours was already accepted. We dodged a bullet for sure. The moral of this story is that we do what it takes to get our clients the best house possible. If it means switching gears completely then that is what we will do. Andrew/Liv got their dream house!  We need to adapt to the market conditions that are presented to us. 

Communication before you arrive in the city is also very important. If you want to connect with our team and talk about your real estate needs or have any general questions please feel free to reach out. 



Relocating to Ottawa? Fill out our HHT Buyer Criteria Form to start your Ottawa home search today.

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Want to know what your Ottawa home is worth? Fill out details of your home below to receive a complimentary home evaluation.

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Posted on: August 27th, 2019 by Chris Scott

I recently had some clients in from Edmonton on their HHT. They thought they found the perfect house for their family. Unfortunately for them, the inspector discovered some serious issues and our clients walked away from the deal. We were fortunate to have the expertise and guidance of an industry leader. This is the kind of support we make sure our clients have when they come to Ottawa for their HHT. Our preferred inspector is on the approved list and uses an infrared camera inspection as part of his package. He is the best in the business.

Many Ottawa military house hunting trips are during the busy spring market. This is the time where inspectors are also hard to book, especially on short notice. As an extra service to our clients, we have our home inspector tentatively book us a time. We are one of the few teams he does this for because we work with him so often.

Other inspectors that we use on HHTs when needed:

Water Inspectors

Our guy will test the volume of the well, the water treatment equipment, and of course have the water tested.

Septic Inspectors

We want to test the system to make sure it is in working order. It is one of the most expensive home components so we want to make sure there are no unexpected costs coming up.

Pool Inspectors

If you have a pool it is a good idea to have this inspected prior to purchasing. We have a company that specializes in this.


Whatever your needs are on your Ottawa house hunting trip, our team has you covered! Call or text us anytime if you have any questions 613-863-6999.

Relocating to Ottawa? Fill out our HHT Buyer Criteria Form to start your Ottawa home search today.

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Want to know what your Ottawa home is worth? Fill out details of your home below to receive a complimentary home evaluation.

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Posted on: April 10th, 2019 by Chris Scott

Being posted to Ottawa this year could mean a fairly challenging house hunting trip. Statistics released from the board in March revealed that sales were down almost 12% over last year. This is due to the lack of houses available for sale. There are so many buyers just waiting for houses to get listed. The lack of supply and strong demand continues to put upward pressure on prices. It also brings a unique set of challenges for our military clients. Many homes this year are listing on one day and then holding offers for about 5 days. This is something to take into account when you are planning your Ottawa HHT. We could always do what’s called a bully offer whereby one submits a strong offer before the presentation date but many sellers might not go for it.

FaceTime showings?
I had a recent military client put an offer in, based on a FaceTime walkthrough we had. This strategy is not for everyone but can help narrow some houses down before you arrive for your Ottawa house hunting trip.  We will do everything we can to make your HHT as smooth as possible.

Relocating to Ottawa? Fill out our HHT Buyer Criteria Form to start your Ottawa home search today.

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Want to know what your Ottawa home is worth? Fill out details of your home below to receive a complimentary home evaluation.

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Posted on: March 8th, 2019 by Chris Scott

There is no sugarcoating that if you are posted to Ottawa this year, your HHT may be challenging. Our inventory is down 20% over last year and 40% over 2017 numbers. It is bordering a housing crisis, considering the insatiable demand. Prices are still affordable but buyers are competing and putting upward pressure on prices. I really believe this could be the last year or two of prices that fall within the affordability index with average income levels of the city.

As you may know, we work with dozens of military buyers who get transferred into and out of Ottawa each year. I have been proactive in building up a database of off-market listings. This weekend we have 2 properties that we are showing to a couple on their HHT that are exclusive listings.  They will be contenders for them. As an example of our proactiveness, we have sent this letter to 10,000 households in the West end of Ottawa:


Our team is serious about making your house hunting trip in Ottawa successful. Please get in touch to discuss how we can be of service to you.


Posted on: February 12th, 2019 by Chris Scott

Our team has just invested in a moving concierge program that will be a game changer for our clients. This new platform will assist our clients with everything from changing addresses, transferring home services, updating identification, and getting helpful advice. This can include anything from setting up short term Airbnb accommodations to organizing moving company quotes. Each client will have a dedicated concierge agent. We are completely committed to the client experience. We hope this new service will bring value to our clients and make the transition into the new home as easy as possible.



Posted on: January 8th, 2019 by Chris Scott


When I set out last year to undertake this exercise I was optimistic 2018 was going to be a good year. I could not predict just how hot our market was going to be. Early in the year, there was a significant shortage of housing inventory across the city. This of course is a huge challenge for my military clients who are coming in for their house hunting trips. Low inventory makes it extremely challenging to find something on the time crunch of a house hunting trip. Especially in the most active price ranges.  The most price range in 2018 was 300-450k. In many cases, our clients were offering against as many as a dozen or more other buyers. This is common practice in cities like Toronto but a newer phenomenon here in Ottawa.  There was lots of newer inventory by Spring but it only helped marginally. It was still a seller’s market but as the year went on it became less competitive for properties. Instead of 12 offers on many of the listings, we started seeing 2-4 offers depending on price range. This past year I was able to match up 3 military clients with off market properties. This really helped. We always have “off market” opportunities that we can offer to our preferred military clients on their Ottawa House hunting trips. To better understand the market it is good to look at the stats. Let’s have a look at the numbers driving our market.



Ottawa households have one of the highest household income averages in Canada. If you see the graph on the following page you can see that prices are still relatively affordable for Ottawa buyers. This graph looks very different for buyers in cities like Vancouver and Toronto. This is taken from the popular military neighbourhood of Fairwinds in Stittsville.


If you Google best places to migrate to in Canada, Ottawa seems to be the number one choice. I am seeing many more immigrants choose Ottawa as their final destination. Toronto and Montreal are of course popular but when someone researches where to live in Canada,  Ottawa comes out close to number one in almost all categories.

The common misconception out there is that these immigrants do not have the funds to purchase real estate. That is not always the case. In many instances, it is their credit or lack thereof that may be holding them back. In any case, these immigrants are coming at a record pace and will likely be purchasing real estate in the future.



Banks have been forced to stress test buyers at a full 2 percentage points higher than the interest rate of their mortgage. This can impact purchasing power by almost 20%.  I see the need for this but as house prices rise in major market centres there has been plenty of pushback. Interest rates have been slowly rising and this has put pressure on affordability for some buyers. If this trend continues it will have an impact on the market for sure. With the economy being more sluggish, the need for further increases may be curbed.


Ottawa has always been an underrated city in my view. We have a strong local economy with one of the highest median household income averages in Canada. Our unemployment rate is at historically low levels. It is a prototypical government town that has a growing technology sector and lots of solid, high paying professional jobs. It is only a matter of time before our prices surge and we become a global player in real estate. For a world-class capital city our prices still might be a bargain. Time will tell!



Housing affordability has climbed up to be one of the top issues for millennials. This makes it an election issue. A recent poll found that 64% of millennial voters want the government to do something about climbing prices. We will see the politicians respective platforms later this year. My prediction is that some of these platforms will have policies that will make it easier or more affordable for buyers to purchase. It could mean the return of 30-year amortizations. The stress tests might be eased or there could be a new policy altogether. Something to watch for sure.


The DND move to the Nortel campus has been a major factor in the recent price appreciation in many of Ottawa’s west neighbourhoods. Interestingly, it is still a few years away from being fully operational as they phase employees into the new headquarters. In 2018 there was a major announcement that another prominent military operation headquarters will be built in close proximity within 10 years. The new building will house over 4500 employees. This will have an impact down the road on our real estate market. The location has not yet been announced but I have heard it will be at Shirley’s Bay just west of the DND. Once operational the mili


Ottawa is growing and maturing into a world-class city. We should all be grateful to live in a city with such a high quality of life. By March we will have light rail going right downtown that will make life easier for commuters. This will just be the start of a much broader transportation plan. We have a super hospital that will be coming online in the years to come. Lebreton will eventually get the green light for redevelopment. Lots to be excited about. These will help fuel our economic growth in the years ahead.



I believe it will be another strong resale year for Ottawa homebuyers and sellers in 2019. There is still pent-up demand and lots of buyers looking to purchase. This was reinforced just before Christmas as our team was involved in 2 multiple bid situations in the Fairwinds area. The targets were modern semi-detached townhomes, one that we sold for a record price with 3 offers. This is not the kind of activity you would typically see just before Christmas. It is indicative of the market in the entry level price points. The $350k-450k market will continue to be red hot this year. I have spoken with a few builders who had record years. Next year many homebuyers will be on the move to their newly built homes. This will hopefully create some much-needed inventory in 2019.

Population VS Employment Chart

I predict we will have another seller’s market that will slowly slide to a balanced market by the time 2019 is complete. Barring an international crisis, it will be another great year for the Ottawa Real Estate market.


If you are curious about your homes worth please fill in this form for a no-obligation market assessment.


Posted on: June 28th, 2018 by Chris Scott


House hunting trips can be challenging for buyers who are not familiar with Ottawa. We really only have a few days to explore its neighbourhoods and secure a house. In the east end of Ottawa, many of my military clients are comparing the markets of Orleans and Rockland. Here is a brief summary of the two locations:

Rockland: This is a rapidly growing neighbourhood that is outside the city of Ottawa boundaries. It is situated about 40 km to downtown Ottawa. Housing prices are much more appealing to families looking to stretch their dollar. You drive further but get more. In many cases, you can get a detached home for the same price as a newer townhouse in Orleans. For many this is enough to take on a longer commute each day. It is, however, important to note that resale can be a bit more challenging in Rockland. Houses tend to stay on the market longer.


Orleans: This is an Ottawa East suburb with a population of over 100,000 people about 16kms to downtown Ottawa. Always, a very popular location with lots of amenities, schools, and good transit connections to downtown. The future LRT line will make access even easier in the years to come. Resale is much easier when compared with Rockland but prices can be 100k more than Rockland for the same detached 2 storey/double garage house.


In a recent house hunting trip, my clients who were up from Washington ended up looking in both Orleans and Rockland. He was posted to Letrium and felt like Rockland would be the better choice because of its value proposition. They ended up securing their dream house there for $425k. That house would have been 550k plus in Orleans. It really is that big of a price difference depending on the style of housing.


Military Family

If you are debating between these two locations on your relocation to Ottawa please feel free to get in touch. I would be happy to send you options in both locations.
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Posted on: May 24th, 2018 by Chris Scott


DND has announced plans this week for a new operational headquarters that will be home to some 4500 civilian and military personnel. The plan right now is to have this completed by 2029. The site has not been finalized yet but DND spokesperson said it will be in close proximity to the new headquarters at the Nortel campus. It will centralize operations and involve vacating the Star Top Road facility in the East End. In the end, this will mean that this area will house over 13,000 personal when you include the 9000 that will be at the new DND headquarters when it is fully operational. Personally, I think this makes sense as it will make communication/synergy much easier and provide long-term savings. Having so many buildings scattered throughout the city has not been the most efficient way of running things.

This new building will have an interesting effect on real estate prices in Kanata and Stittsville. These areas will continue to be the locations of choice for military families. Add in the LRT line that will be operational out that way by 2029 and I believe the long-term growth of these real estate markets will be awesome.

If you are relocating to Ottawa or have any questions, please get in contact with us. This is what we specialize in.


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