Congratulations to our Award Winners

Congratulations to our Award Winners

At Royal LePage Team Realty helping YOU is what we do and we couldn’t do that without a dedicated network of real estate professionals.  We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our 2015 Award winners and thank them for their hard work and dedication.  We are so proud to work with those who consistently go above and beyond to ensure their clients are provided with excellent real estate service. Looking forward to an awesome 2016! ...
Why Homeowners Should Beware of Icicles

Why Homeowners Should Beware of Icicles

  Ottawa’s freeze-thaw weather patterns often create sparkling icicles that look magical. But, they actually identify a dangerous — and potentially costly — hazard, an ice dam. Imagine coming home from work to find water streaming down your interior walls and soaking into the hardwood of your foyer. What would you do?   What Is An Ice Dam   After frantically tracing the flow, you would find that a pool of water had formed behind a thick ridge of ice in the gutters – hence the term ice dam. Snow on the roof had been melted by heat loss, causing water to collect behind the dam. And, the water was seeping through the shingles and into the house exposing it to significant potential damages.   After calling three roofing companies and getting no answer, you climb up a ladder to the second level, stand on a stool at a precarious ...

Don’t tax my dream campaign succeeds

    The efforts of the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) and the Progressive Conservatives were recently rewarded when the provincial government decided they would NOT be expanding the municipal land transfer tax program.   Liberals keep election promise   In an unexpected announcement during the legislature’s question period, Municipal Affairs Minister Ted McMeekin ended concerns that the Liberals would break their election campaign promise and allow other cities and towns to introduce the tax. “There has been no call, at all, for a municipal land transfer tax,” he said, “nor is there any legislation before the House that would allow this.” Toronto will remain the only Ontario city where homebuyers have to pay thousands of dollars in local land transfer taxes, in addition to the provincial levy. But, McMeekin kept the door open to a future tax by offering to look at “what possibilities exist” for other new sources ...
8 steps to getting started in property investment

8 steps to getting started in property investment

  This propertyinvestment.com post from Nila Sweeney is an excellent primer for those who want to start a property portfolio. First, check your finances to see how much you can invest and get mortgage pre-approval.   Then, define what success means for you, as well as the level of risk you are comfortable with, and set your goals. Next, start budgeting and create a purchase plan.   Finally, research the market for opportunities that meet your criteria and approach them as business transactions, applying logic rather than being swayed by your emotional attachment. To read more click here.   ...
An Economist’s Letter to Millennials Who Can’t (Yet) Buy a Home

An Economist’s Letter to Millennials Who Can’t (Yet) Buy a Home

This post from Jonathan Smoke, chief economist at realtor.com, explains what Millenials can do to help themselves along the path to home ownership.   For example, a high debt burden will restrict their ability to qualify for a mortgage, and the amount they can get, so they need to limit their total debt payments (student loans, credit cards, car loans, etc.) to less than 15% of their income.   Smoke also covers the importance of improving their credit score, saving as much as they can for a down payment and creating an emergency fund for unexpected bills. To read more click here. ...
5 Questions to Ask Before Replacing Your Roof

5 Questions to Ask Before Replacing Your Roof

  Most of us have little or no experience with re-roofing, so this post by home reno expert Bob Vila is a valuable guide to the questions a homeowner should ask before hiring a roofer.  First, ask for an estimate that is comprehensive enough (permits, inspections, materials, labour, contingency) to establish a firm budget.  Discuss the proposal in detail with the contractor.   Find out what materials are being used and get the specifications in writing.  Avoid cheaper, low quality materials, especially the shingles, because sub-standard materials reduce a roof’s life expectancy costing you more over the long term.   Inquire how the project will be accomplished – installing shingles on top of the existing materials may seem cheaper, but removing the existing roof materials will provide a chance to inspect the roof deck in case repairs are needed.  Ask if your contractor is licensed, insured, and bonded so you ...
The 3 Most Common Reasons a Home Inspection Kills a Deal

The 3 Most Common Reasons a Home Inspection Kills a Deal

  In this Redfin.com post, home inspector Dylan Chalk underscores the importance of a home inspection by identifying how they can prevent a potential sale.  The most common reason is the home is not what it appears to be, especially in the case of a “flipped home”, one purchased and updated with the intention of making as much profit as possible.  The inspection reveals there are more repairs and updates than the buyer expected.  Problems with the core systems of a “fixer” house (foundation, frame, roofline, floor plan, drainage and access) add cost and complexity to the new homeowner’s projected budget making the deal less attractive. To read more click here. ...
Reno Investments Providing the Highest Returns

Reno Investments Providing the Highest Returns

This detailed Home Inspection Network post provides useful data to anyone who is considering a home renovation. Author Bev Siciliano begins by explaining what many do not realize – we might not fully recoup our investment when the home is sold.  For that reason alone, home renovations should be analyzed individually to ensure we get the highest return on investment (ROI). Generally, renovations that provide the best return on resale are superficial upgrades, like painting and decorating, with limited capital outlay and maximum impact.   According to the Appraisal Institute of Canada’s latest Home Renovation Survey, renovations with the highest return potential are kitchen and bathroom renos at 75 -100%, followed by interior and exterior painting at 50 – 100%. Skylights rate the lowest potential return on investment (ROI) at 0 – 25%, with swimming pools at 10 – 40% and landscaping, fences and interlock at 25 – 50%.  Central air, ...
What You Need to Do When Saying Goodbye to Your Home

What You Need to Do When Saying Goodbye to Your Home

  Although you’re excited about moving, there are easy ways to reduce the ache you feel when thinking about leaving the old abode.  According to this Realtor.com post by Lisa Davis you could throw a going away party with the neighbours who shared your journey over the years.  Toast your soon-to-be former residence. Leave a reminder of your presence for future generations like a signature on a rafter in the attic. To read more click here. ...

The Do’s and Dont’s of Basement Storage

  This article from Bob Vila gives eight handy tips to consider when using your basement for storage.   The suggestions include taking advantage of vertical space by building up and not out, using open shelves for frequently-used items and built-in cabinets to conceal toys or cleaning supplies, storing off-season gear in sealed bins to protect from moisture and dust, using a pulley-hoist to store heavy or bulky items from the ceiling, protecting tools stored in the open with a coating of machine oil to prevent rust and running a humidifier in the basement to suck moisture from the air and combat mold or mildew.  To read more click here. ...

Is It Time to Downsize? Ask Yourself These 4 Questions First

  If you’ve reached the time of life where you are contemplating downsizing your home, the first question to ask, according to this Realto.com post, is what kind of lifestyle do you want after downsizing? By defining how you want to live, you can narrow your search and focus on housing that will meet those requirements.   For example, if you want to escape the bluster of winter and relax on a beach, local climate conditions and geography will drive your hunt. Or, if you like social activities, you would seek active adult communities where you can interact with like-minded people.   The next step is to consider the financials by asking what will you budget  look like?  After that, ask yourself if you have enough equity in your home to make a profit.  If you have enough equity, you can buy your next home outright or bring a sizable ...

What’s the best property type for your first home?

  Inexperience can cause first time home buyers to be confused by the multitude of available options. This post by Caroline James is an excellent introduction to the advantages and disadvantages of five popular property choices: a large detached house on a suburban block, a small home on a sub-divided lot, a townhouse, an apartment in a small block and an apartment in a high rise block. To read more click here. ...

8 Mistakes That Could Screw Up Your Home Sale

  Usually we hear “buyer beware”, but real estate author Michael Corbett advises sellers to beware and gives 8 reasons why in this trulia.com post.  Always work with professional help, including a real estate agent.  Their expertise, experience, neighbourhood knowledge and resources will help you plot a course through the selling process.   Overpricing is a temptation to be avoided since most buyers are savvy and have the advice of an agent.  Ensure that you use high quality photos because 90% of buyers shop for home online. Complete repairs like leaky faucets before listing your home to avoid negotiations over what the repairs will cost potential buyers.   Spend time cleaning and removing clutter since untidiness makes your home seem smaller.  Stage your backyard as if it were another room and maintain the landscape so it appeals to your viewers, especially in summer and fall when we enjoy outdoor activities.  ...

5 tips for eco-friendly renovations

  If you are renovating, you should consider the green strategies suggested in this realestate.com post by Danielle King.  For example, add insulation to the roof and external walls and you could save 25% on energy costs.  Replace inefficient windows or add window film since up to 40% of your heating can be lost through windows in winter.   Energy efficient appliances, LED lighting and solar panels will also contribute savings, while protecting the environment. Implement water collection techniques to use rainwater for toilets and the garden.  Include water efficient faucets and showerheads. Add high-flow taps that make baths and washing machines fill quickly. Use low/no Voltatile Organic Compound (VOC) materials where possible, and non-toxic paints.to read more click here. ...

Canadian Home Prices Are Growing At One Of The Fastest Paces In The World

  The Canadian real estate market continues to boom, according to this Financial Post offering.  With a year-over-year increase of 8.2%, Canada ranked 4th of the 23 countries studied in Scotiabank’s report Global Real Estate Trends, behind Ireland (13.3%), Sweden (10.5%) and Australia (8.3%).  However, the report warns the trend could change if economic uncertainty and high unemployment counterbalance the attraction of low borrowing costs.  To read more click here. ...

Here’s What Pushes People to Buy Homes in 2015

  If you want to sell your property quickly, at near the asking price, it is important to know why people are buying.  In this post, Realtor.com chief economist, Jonathan Smoke, suggests we pay attention to the five main triggers for home buyers: they have grown tired of their home and want a change, interest rates are exceptionally low, housing prices are favourable in many markets, they need or want more living space and they have the money to spend. To read more click here. ...
Unchecked Emotions Can Cause Costly Property Mistakes

Unchecked Emotions Can Cause Costly Property Mistakes

  We are sometimes enthralled by the presentation of a property, but ignoring the things we cannot see or overlooking obvious problems and risks can lead to disastrous consequences. To the extent possible, put your emotions aside and make buying property a business decision based facts and data.   Getting Too Attached To A Property   Impulse decisions in real estate can cost major dollars and can have life altering effects. If you fall in love with a house, you may be tempted to waive conditions or pay more than planned in the rush to close the deal. The problem is, when we get too emotionally attached, we keep altering our “walk away” price to the point where it doesn’t exist. Set a threshold and when you past it, walk away.   Knowing What You Can Afford   It’s  important to put optimism aside and truly understand your financial position, now ...

The Number of Real Estate Appraisers Is Falling. Here’s Why You Should Care

  According to this realtor.com post, the number of real estate appraisers is dropping to the point where parties on both sides of real estate transactions could suffer. Since most residential mortgages need an appraisal before a sale closes, a shortage of appraisers will affect buyers, who rely on accurate valuations to structure their offer, and sellers, who can lose a deal if appraisals come in low.   The Appraisal Institute notes the number of appraisers has dropped 20% since 2007 and predicts a 3% annual decline for the next decade. Fewer appraisers means longer waits, which could delay a closing. That delay means that buyers (borrowers) might have to pay for longer mortgage rate locks and sellers, who need the equity from the sale to purchase their next home, might miss opportunities to bid.   A shortage also means appraisals will likely cost more.  Even worse, there could be quality issues ...

Boost Your Curb Appeal with 4 Doable DIY Projects

  Most sellers realize that preparing the interior of their homes for viewing is essential.  In this article, Bob Villa explains it is just as important to stage the exterior of your house as it is to prepare the inside rooms when you are selling.  For example, a clean, well-maintained yard will signal that you have taken care of the property during your time as owner.   Power washing the garage door, driveway and fences will add to that impression.  If you are upgrading the paint, determine whether accent painting (shutters, columns, etc.) or a whole-house job is required.  And, use traditional colours (classic white, creamy off-white, warm taupe, blue-gray, or pale yellow) that appeal to the greatest number of potential buyers.   A lush, colourful garden, potted plants, manicured shrubs and window boxes will help you make a memorable first impression.  Improving the entrance can be as simple as ...

5 must-do’s for first-time home buyers

  This homeownership.ca article by real estate lawyer Mark Weisleder gives the essentials for the novice buyer.  Start by calculating what you can afford (general rule is 30% of gross income).  Then, figure out what is important to you and search for properties with those features.  Ask the seller about flooding, leaks, mould, insurance claims and neighbourhood problems.  Pay for a thorough home inspection by a qualified inspector and buy an after-sale warranty.  To read more click here. ...

5 Steps to a Safer Bathroom

  If you are planning to remodel your bathroom this Consumer Reports article give sound advice on how to do it with safety in mind.  Install pressure-balancing and anti-scald valves to provide a steady flow of water that remains at a safe temperature.  Add a sturdy, properly secured grab bar that will support 250 pounds.   Since mold and mildew thrive in a moist environment, ensure your vent fan exhausts to the outside and run it after every shower to dehumidify the room.  Remove any items (hamper, scale) that might cause a tripping hazard and ensure mats have non-skid backing.  To read more click here. ...

How to Reduce Your Energy Bill with No Cost or Sacrifice

  This excellent post from Adam Dachis on lifehacker.com tells how to lower your electricity bill easily, at no cost, by using your appliances more efficiently.  For example, promoting optimal air flow will lower energy costs by reducing the demand on your cooling/heating system.  Opening all vents in the house and replacing filters on a monthly basis will support ideal air flow, while standing or ceiling fans can be positioned to push hot air up and out (summer) or down to trap it in the room (winter).   Dachis also provides useful tips for laundry machines (reduce heat whenever possible as it accounts for over 90% of the electric demand; load the machines appropriately; do the job when discounted rates apply; air dry the clothes where possible), dishwashers (disable the heated drying cycle; pre-wash just enough to remove food particles and let the machine do the rest; load the dishes ...
Inexpensive Ways to Make Your Home Green

Inexpensive Ways to Make Your Home Green

  In this bhgrelife.com post, we learn just how easy it is to join the green movement and become an eco-warrior.  For example, by improving the energy efficiency around home, you reduce consumption, conserving the planet’s resources and saving money at the same time.  Installing a programmable thermostat lowers consumption and, surprisingly, a fully loaded dishwasher uses less energy than manual washing.   Changing furnace filters and cleaning dryer lint traps regularly will improve operating efficiency and reduce consumption.  Green landscaping ideas like composting, collecting and using rain water, pest control with natural products, using push mowers instead of gas or electric mowers and sweeping rather than hosing down the driveway all focus on avoiding hazardous chemicals and/or reducing consumption, waste and pollution.   When decorating, use low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) paint and adhesives to reduce ozone pollution.  Bamboo flooring is a sustainable product because it is made from the ...

Why Millennials Are Moving Home Design Trends

  In this article for Freshhome magazine, Shelly Little explains how Millennials, the generation born between 1980 and the early 2000’s, are redefining home design.   According to her research, Millennials value money and success, individuality and urbanized environments.  And, they want this outlook reflected in their homes.  They want small designs that are unique and functional so they are willing to buy fixer-uppers or engage in DIY projects.  They also desire technological innovations and smart automation.  These attitudes are causing a major shift in the way homes are being designed and built.  To read more click here.     ...

Buying Near Parks and Recreational Facilities

  According to RealtorMag, twenty-three percent of recent buyers indicated that convenience to parks or recreational facilities influenced their choice of neighborhoods.  Proximity to parks and recreational facilities was the most important to recent buyers aged 34 and younger, and to those aged 35 to 49.  Here are some reasons to believe those numbers will rise.   Public Health Concerns   The alarming increase in obesity, especially among children, has focused attention on how important physical activity is to our overall wellbeing.  Governments at all levels are promoting the benefits of active living and we have become more receptive to the message.  That means even more people will want accommodations that provide opportunities for physical activity (i.e. near parks and rec).  Further, governments (to save its citizens and reduce health care costs) and businesses (to ensure their developments sell) are improving the planning, design, quality and availability of parks and ...

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