The PXG Blog

Dear Home Buyer


I am writing to give you a run down on the steps and stages to purchasing your new home:

What can you afford

So the very first thing you should do is figure out what you can afford to buy, what your payments will look like and how much your down payment will afford you and what your legal costs will look like.  Therefore your first appointment should be with your lender who will work through this with you.   There are many different mortgage options available now so your lender will go through what will work the very best for you.

I have listed a brief note on the two options for down payment depending on what you have available:

CMHC…..Less than 20% down payment.  There will be a premium which is added to the total mortgage and also PST. (please note the PST will be paid by you and cannot be added to the mortgage.)

Conventional….20% down payment. You will need an appraisal which I will request but you will be responsible to pay.

Once you are armed with your house purchase budget you can confidently move on to the next step.

I have put together a brief guide of what happens next, the order it happens and anything you now need to do to help you on this home buying journey.

Now you need to talk to your REALTOR®……ensure you pick a reputable local agent and stick with them as he/she will be an invaluable source throughout the whole home buying experience.

Start your home search….As you start looking, don’t just think about the type of home you want…think about your lifestyle and how close you want to live near amenities such as schools, highways, medical services, shopping, restaurants and recreation.

Find your home…so once you have found your home your agent and yourselves will discuss an asking price which they will then present to the homeowner. This is where your agent will negotiate for you.  Once this is accepted both parties will sign the offer to purchase NB if a mortgage is involved ALWAYS ensure the offer is subject to financing. 

The Agent will then send the offer to me with date of which financing is to be approved. I will put the application together with all of the information I have collected from you at the start of this process and, either order an appraisal or submit to CMHC.

The Appraisal/Approval….if you have 20% down payment I will order an appraisal of the home to confirm the value matches the price.  This is something you will have to pay for once the appraisal is completed.

If you have less than 20% down I will submit the application to CMHC for approval.  There is no appraisal cost (on occasion CMHC will request this but not often).

Once the appraisal is completed and value is confirmed I will send the approval letter to the REALTOR®.  The sale is now agreed with no mortgage conditions .

Paperwork with me……I will now invite you back to meet and sign the documents.  Once this is done I will send mortgage instructions to your lawyer.

Closing paperwork with the Lawyer….. your lawyer will firstly send you an email with closing costs. This will include the down payment, the land transfer tax and any legal fees.  Once you receive this let me know and we will prepare a bank cheque which you will need to take with you to the lawyer’s appointment to sign the mortgage documents.

The documents….you will need to review and sign legal/financial documents for example:

The agreement between you and the seller transferring ownership and Title of the property.

The agreement between you and your lender regarding the terms and conditions of the mortgage.

Review all documents thoroughly and make sure your personal information is correct on all forms.

Make sure you understand all fees, if you are unsure now is the time to confirm.

Ask questions – it’s your right to fully understand any document before you sign it.

Once you have reviewed and signed all of your closing documents and you receive your house keys you are a new home owner.

Closing Day…..Your lawyer or notary will handle the following:

Arranging for delivery of closing funds to the sellers lawyer

Registering the transfer and mortgage

Releasing keys to you for your new property.

(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.)

Notes about Fees and costs….

Legal/notarial fees and disbursements…….you will require a lawyer to act for you in the purchase and mortgaging of the property and you will be responsible for payment of all related fees and disbursements. Fees for these services vary so it is well worth shopping around.

Title insurance …….This is an insurance that protects against challenges to the ownership of your home or from problems related to the title to your home.

Land transfer tax…..Most provinces levy a one-time tax based on a percentage of the purchase price of the property.

Property tax/utility Bill adjustments….The purchase price of a resale home is always payable ‘subject to the usual adjustments’ at closing. This means that any amount that the seller has already prepaid will be adjusted so that you paythe excess amount back to the seller and vice versa. Most common are the adjustments on property taxes and utility bills that have been paid ahead of time.

Keep other costs in mind…….Will your new home need furniture? Carpets? Lighting? window coverings? Appliances ? are you hiring movers or renting a truck? What will you need for the move ?

Whilst these and other out of pocket costs aren’t part of the real estate transaction, you still need to budget for them.  Plan your expenses as much as possible.  If necessary decide what you can put off buying until later, after you move in and get settled.

On a side note remember your lender can often recommend a REALTOR® and likewise your REALTOR® can recommend lenders.  If you don’t already have a lawyer we can both give you recommendations.   So if you are unsure of who to talk to always ask as we all work together.

I wish you all of the very best on this exciting journey and remember I am only a phone call or email away to answer questions and help the process run as smoothly as possible.

Kind regards,

Your Lender

If you are looking for a lender, you can contact us at 204-444-4646 or by email at and we can put you in touch!

Image via Pexels

How to Draw Buyers to Your Home and Close Quickly


The longer your home sits on the market, the more it drops in value while you’re left in economic insecurity as you lose potential profit from what was once the biggest investment of your lifetime. That won’t happen if you get to work on projects that draw the maximum number of buyers to your open house and entice them to sign on the dotted line. Here’s what that means.

Basic Repairs

Major remodeling is usually more expensive than it’s worth when selling your home, but replacing fixtures like doorknobs and light switches gives your home a more elegant appearance overall, adding value for a relatively low price and for little effort.

A Paint Job

You don’t even have to do the whole house, as just putting a new coat on the front door adds curb appeal and raises the potential selling price.


There’s no need to get elaborate, as that could actually turn buyers away. What’s more, few are looking to add extensive yard work to their already busy weekends. They do want to see a well-kept lawn, so keep to a regular mowing and watering schedule to ensure it stays green. Another amenity home buyers look for a fenced-in yard, particularly if they have kids or pets.

The Right Agent

Getting the right agent means finding somebody with a keen understanding of the local housing market and a plan for selling your property. Begin with referrals from friends and family, then check with their recent clients to gauge their effectiveness and whether they’re right for you.

Good Timing

That generally means late spring and early summer, as most people don’t want to relocate until after their kids have finished their school year. If you do have to sell in the fall or winter, make the interior seem more warm and cozy with the help of cushions, rugs, and candles.

Effective Pricing

Your agent should help you determine the value of your home based on similar properties in the area, then create a bracket of roughly $20,000 above and below that figure. By listing your home at the lower end, you’ll attract more buyers, a useful strategy if you want to sell quickly, says one realtor writing in Reader’s Digest.

A Deep Clean

This goes far beyond a quick sweep and a mop. If this sounds like a lot of work — and it really is — then it may benefit you to bring in professional housekeepers to ensure that everything looks fantastic when it’s time to show the house to potential buyers. Housekeepers can take care of essential tasks like mopping, sweeping, and vacuuming, as well as taking out the garbage and addressing any laundry that may have piled up. That way, all you have to do is maintain the space in-between cleanings.


Repairs and painting are part of the process of preparing your home for buyers, but there’s more to staging than that. Decluttering the interior and rearranging furniture is vital to optimizing space and allowing visitors to move around freely from room to room. Hiring a professional can help, but it can be costly.

It may take time to get this work done, but once you do, your house won’t stay on the market for long. Then, you’ll really be ready to move on to your new life elsewhere.

Article contributed by Suzie Wilson of Happier Home.

Image via Pexels

Five Inexpensive and Stress-Free Ways to Decorate as a Couple

There are many wonderful things in store now that you and a partner are moving in together. Of course, there may be some butting of heads, but it’s nothing you can’t overcome. Here are some ways you can ensure that your new home is gorgeous without breaking the bank.

Pick a Theme for Your Rooms

Your home should feel cohesive, even when you and your partner have different styles and aesthetic preferences. This may entail making compromises, but it should be fun rather than onerous. A theme can mean whatever you want, whether it’s a country kitchen, a nautical bathroom, or just a unified color scheme with matching fabrics. If you don’t know how to pair hues, start by looking at a color wheel. A complementary color is one that is directly across from your chosen shade and tends to pair well with it. If one of you prefers neutrals, that doesn’t mean the other can’t have bright colors. In fact, you can use accent pieces, such as throw pillows and rugs, to liven a room and bring joy into the space.

Focus on the Closet

Bringing two homes together is a momentous undertaking, and it involves trying to fit two closets into a single space. Luckily, there are ways to get organized no matter how small your storage capacity. Begin by going through your clothing and donating or recycling things that you do not wear. Seasonal clothing, and other such items, can go into storage as you won’t need them on a daily basis. As well, you could double your hanging space by adding a second rod to your closet or putting in shelves on the inner walls to maximize storage potential. It’s important to remind yourself that this space doesn’t belong to one person any longer.

Utilize Wall Space

You may need to get creative with your storage, especially if you’re moving into a compact home. To maximize that space, look to add capacity by going vertical. For instance, put shelves on walls and add ladder-style bookcases that can hold anything from an encyclopedia to a household plant. Even your kitchen can benefit from things being added to the walls instead of consigned to a limited number of cabinets. By creating additional storage space, you give yourself more options and limit the stress faced by having to decide who gets rid of what.

Matching Your Art

Art can add greatly to your home by bringing life, joy, discussion, and meditation to any room on your property. Unfortunately, not everyone has matching artistic taste. One way to give your house a sense of cohesion, even without having complementary art, is to match your framework. Pick a style, shape, and color that works for each piece — and embrace it. This will make your art all feel related no matter if the content itself fits.

Be Honest

Communicating can be difficult. No one wants to step on anyone’s toes or shoot down a loved one’s ideas, yet we need to be candid about feelings. Your house should not feel like it belongs solely to one half of the couple; instead, it should be an expression of each individual coming together. Be an active listener if your partner brings up an issue, and ask each other plenty of questions to ensure everyone is on the same page. You don’t want to feel alienated from your surroundings in the one place that is meant to be your refuge.

You are building foundations for the years to come. It’s more important than ever to be open about what you want and to collaborate to make this house a home. After all, you deserve a sanctuary where you both can feel at ease and safe from the rest of the world.

Article contributed by Natalie Jones of Homeownerbliss

Image courtesy of Pexels


Style Manitoba – Autumn 2016 Edition - The Property Exchange Group Inc. - Find  Houses for Sale, Real Estate Listings

Style Manitoba – Autumn 2016 Edition


We were thrilled to be featured in the Autumn 2016 issue of Style Manitoba Magazine, click here to read the full magazine.

Boutique Brokerage

By: Kelly Gray   Photography by: Michael Roberts

Independent real estate broker Connie Levesque is working hard to make a difference in Manitoba’s vibrant property market. Levesque is President of The Property Exchange Group, a boutique brokerage that is all about taking the rough edges off real estate transactions.

She reports that with a group of ten professional REALTORS® in the company and an array of support services, The Property Exchange Group has earned both the trust of the buying public as well as the respect of the sales community.

Style Manitoba - Autumn 2016 Edition - The Property Exchange Group Inc. - Transcona Real Estate

“We don’t specialize in any one area. Our group of REALTORS® has the breadth of experience to handle multi-million dollar listings as well as less expensive homes in urban areas and also country settings. Looking for a property that can accommodate horses? Our team is knowledgeable  and can advise on challenges and solutions. Relocating the family from Vancouver to Winnipeg? We have the experience to deliver the right property in the best neighbourhoods. Our team takes out the guess work.”

The Property Exchange Group opened in 2013. The idea was to network with the best and bring in a slate of the province’s most professional REALTORS®. They have a selection of agents with property specialties to match all clients. Today, the Springfield, Manitoba – based firm has a group of ten sales pros in the office as well as support staff and has signed with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, a top tier global network that is giving her company a truly world-wide reach. “With Leading Real Estate Companies of the World we have the ability to market your home to over 55 countries and some of the top agents in the world. When we sell your home in Manitoba, we can advise on the right person to assist in your new home purchase whether it’s within Canada, Italy or Costa Rica.”

Connie reports that to make her company a success she realized that she had to arm the sales Style Manitoba - Autumn 2016 Edition - The Property Exchange Group Inc. - Farms for Sale Oakbankteam with the best information and business services such as advertising and marketing packages. “We regularly bring in speakers to educate our team on a variety of aspects of real estate. This might include new home engineering, changes to building codes, taxes and financing, or customer service techniques to make the sales experience more enjoyable for customers,” she says, adding that they offer all the in-house business tools from secretarial services such as conveyance, to web services to creative marketing and advice. They even kick in dollars for ad campaigns, something REALTORS® often find lacking with other brokers. “When our REALTORS® succeed we succeed.”

The Property Exchange Group works with some of Manitoba’s leading homebuilders such as Schulz Construction and Dowalt Custom Homes, as well as suppliers of state of the art education materials and services. In fact, more recently Levesque had an App developed to make networking with the best as simple as pushing a touch icon on your smart phone. “We vet suppliers and if they meet our standards for excellence we include them in the App,” she says.

According to Levesque, Independent Real Estate Brokers typically do more transactions per agent than chain brokerages. “With us just having a real-estate license is not good enough. We expect our agents to grow as professionals. This is why we place such an effort on in-house education. We also look for agents that want to push the sales envelope rather than be content with ten or twelve transactions a year. Our people are always asking themselves how they can take their business to the next level. So far our customers are telling us that we are on the right track,” she says, inviting people interested in discovering a fresh approach to real estate to visit

Buying Your Dream Home - The Property Exchange Group Inc. - Find  Houses for Sale, Real Estate Listings

Buying Your Dream Home

Step by Step

Congratulations! You have bought a house!

Now what….?

Your offer has been accepted, the conditions have been removed, and now you are waiting to take possession! This is a very exciting time in any home buyer’s journey. Whether you are a first time home buyer or a seasoned home buyer, there is still lots to think about over the days, weeks and months until you take possession. This can be overwhelming, and as REALTORS®, we understand that. We are still here for you, to help you with the details and to answer any questions you have along the way.

Buying Your Dream Home - The Property Exchange Group Inc. - Houses for Sale TransconaOnce your conditions have been removed on your dream home, have your REALTOR® send your Offer to Purchase and all other pertinent documents to your lawyer. You will need to meet with your lawyer to sign all of the legal paperwork in order to take possession. The lawyer will look after the land transfer tax and property taxes and will notify you of your outstanding balance prior to meeting with you (most lawyers prefer a bank draft).

You will also need to be in touch with your bank to set up a time to sign the mortgage documents. They will then pass everything along to your lawyer.

You will need home insurance. This is really important to have set up as most financial institutions will not fund your mortgage without it. You need to be protected. Ensure that your insurance is effective the day of your possession. The insurance broker that you choose will have a lot of questions regarding your home that they will need answered to get you the best insurance both for you and for your home. Some of the questions will be regarding the plumbing, electrical, age of the roof, furnace, a/c etc. Your REALTOR® will help you to collect all of this information. If you have had a home inspection, a lot of the information is typically included there. It is wise to get the insurance process started as soon as all conditions have been removed. Do not wait until the last minute!

But wait!! You are still not done! I know… I see your overwhelmed, blank look. Now… Aren’t you glad you have an excellent REALTOR® who is there to answer all your questions and to ensure that you have everything done?! Yah… Me too!!! 🙂

If you have school aged children, you can now take your accepted Offer to the school in your area and have your little ones registered.

The week before possession, make sure to call Hydro and the City or RM to set up an account for Hydro, Electricity and Water / Waste. Sit tight with this one for a minute… we will come back to it.

Make sure you change your address…. With Everybody! Your bank, your dentist, your doctor, your employer, your driver’s license… EVERYBODY! Think you missed somebody? Not a problem, make sure you have your mail forwarded through Canada Post to ensure you don’t miss a thing.

There is more…. hang in there… we are almost done!

You will likely want internet, satellite, or cable at your new home. Call now to get that all set up. If your cable company requires an appointment to set it up, make it now. That way there is no need to wait past possession date to have this all set up.

Now… YOU MADE IT!!! This is possession day!

You have your keys… you have your time of possession… you have a house!

First things first though on possession day. Hydro, Electricity, and Water (remember, we said we would come back to this, here is is!). When you walk into your new home, make sure that the first thing you do is read your meters and call them in. Remember the accounts that you already have set up? Yep! It will only take a couple of minutes to call in your first read. Do it now before you forget. I know, you are SOOO excited to start moving your boxes and furniture in… But, stick with me… we are almost there. Make sure you check to ensure that your A/C works, AND your furnace. I know it can sound odd turning your heat on in the summer or your A/C on in the winter, but you need to make sure it works. Worst would be to turn it on in the appropriate season and find that you have no heat or are melting in the summer with no A/C. If appliances have come with your home, ensure that they all work well. Check your fridge, run a cycle through your dishwasher (this would be a good time to add in dishwasher cleaner). Turn on all the elements on your stove and your oven on. Run a load of laundry through your washer and dryer (a couple of towels work great). Everything is working? AWESOME!! WELCOME HOME! Start bringing in your belongings. You are officially home!

Always remember, your REALTOR® is here to help make this transition easy for you. We are here for you. Welcome Home!

~ Contributor

All data and information provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The Property Exchange Group makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

Planning Your Retirement


“To avoid disappointment in life, a plan is essential for your success”.  These words hold true for most things in life, including retirement. Planning for retirement should be at the top of your list.

There are two main elements that one needs to plan for when we consider retirement, the financial and the emotional side of that transition.  In other words, you need a financial plan to ensure you have sufficient money to do the things you want to do and you need a plan for the “activities/routine” in retirement.  One without the other is only half a plan.

Planning Your Retirement - The Property Exchange Group Inc. - Houses for Sale Oakbank

So let’s talk about the financial plan first.  Everyone should have one, does not matter what lifestyle you want in retirement, right from a very basic one to one that may involve a lot of travel.  You should not ask your neighbors, family or friends how much they are saving or what you should do, as a plan is as individual as you are and someone else’s really has no bearing on yours.

So how do you set that goal, well the plan starts with a very basic question, which is:

“If I were retired today, how much after tax income would I need each month to meet my expenses and my retirement lifestyle?”

That number may be as low as $2,000 to $6,000 per month or greater, once again depending on what your expenses will be and your lifestyle will be!

Once you have that figured out, (a basic expense calculator can help you with that or good old fashioned pen and paper, as long as you have accounted for all expenses that will continue to require cash flow when retired).   The next step is to seek out an advisor who can put that goal into a retirement calculator tool, which will project, with inflation the future value of the $2-6,000 goal and what you need to save, to meet your goal!!.  Cost of living goes up each year, so the calculator will include usually a 2-3% inflation rule.

SOME of the sources of income that you can rely on to meet cash flow needs are: company pension,  Canada Pension, Old Age Security, RSP’s, TFSA’s, Investment Account and  Sale of Business are just a few.  Dare I say wealth transfer (yes it is important to note that in your plan, but not to base your plan on receiving any type of potential inheritance as part of the plan!)

Now lets talk briefly about the other half of the plan and that is, with all this new found time and freedom, what do the days now look like.  Men seem to find the transition to retirement more difficult than women, but not always.  Some of the things to consider are, family, travel, volunteering, part time work, hobbies, home.  I once met with a couple who didn’t have that conversation about the “home”, which may include downsizing and or moving.  Well he announced that they were going to move to Newfoundland in retirement, which was where he grew up….well that was the “furthest” from her mind (no pun intended) and she was taken back in the office as there had not been a conversation between the 2 of them on this subject.  A lesson learned, communication is key at the beginning of the journey, not the end!  The days can be long or filled with activities, but like the financial side of the plan, you need to talk about that early in life and come to an agreement with your spouse on issues that matter to you.  Be open and be honest, bend a little for one another.  Learn new things, now is the time, the options are as endless as a “google search”!  Take with you and live with the attitude that anything is possible and you will enjoy your new found freedom and the endless possibilities of this fabulous stage of life!

So in conclusion, the sooner you start “the plan” the more likely you will succeed.  Time is your best friend, which basically means the sooner you start saving toward this goal or any other the less money you will require.  Educate yourself on investing, there are lots of reasons to make sure you work toward a return of 6-8% over the long term and that comes back to “how much savings is required to attain the goal”, the lower the return the more you will need to save.

Like every plan, it has to be reviewed and reworked if something significant happens in life that can impact the plan, so meet with your adviser annually, and make any adjustments to the plan if necessary.  You will be pleasantly surprised how the pieces will fall in place and give you a sense of peace about your family’s future!

Written by, Pamela Sellers


All data and information provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The Property Exchange Group makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

Thank You for Stopping By!


Hello and thank you for stopping by my Very First Blog!

I will start by first telling you a little about myself, my name is Connie LevesqueConnie Levesque
I am the Broker and also the President of The Property Exchange Group Inc.

I was inspired to create The Property Exchange Group Inc. from what I perceived as a need for the Real Estate Industry.

Can you reinvent the wheel? NO, but you can make it Better, faster, smoother and more user friendly!
This is my goal!

Where to start… well first lets start close to home – I didn’t want a daily hour commute to the office that I would spend so much of my time at.

I found a fantastic, high visibility location with ample parking on the main street in my little town of Oakbank – which also happens to be less than 15 minutes drive time to the nearest city shopping mall!

I didn’t think I would ever even get this location, originally this location was well over 2000 sf (way to large for a new office) didn’t even imagine I would be opening a company in 2013, let alone setting up an office in the way I did, but thanks to what I personally believe is divine intervention… it magically all fell into place and became a reality!

The landlord decided to rent half of this space to the hair salon next door and half to me. The dividing wall came up and my work began!

We got the keys and my wonderful Mom and I set to tearing out the old carpet, walls and mess left behind. I planned my new walls and hired some fellows to start erecting my little empire –     2 offices, a boardroom, a ‘pit’ for future agents, sitting area, storage & washroom – all in 900 sf!

Then it was time to go furniture shopping – Mostly custom orders, and then a few lucky finds of already built and available furniture. (That part was really a lot of work!)

The goal was to make it Functional, Welcoming and Comfortable! I am very confident that I succeeded in my goal! We have such a good positive vibe here at the office. It helps us to all communicate and learn in an inspiring environment, which in turn makes us better able to serve our customers!

Please stay tuned for more of ‘My Story’ and helpful tips and insight into the world of REAL ESTATE!