Regulating Home Inspectors in Ontario

Regulating Home Inspectors in Ontario

The Ontario government has announced plans to begin regulating home inspectors, requiring potential inspectors to pass a written exam and field test in order to qualify for a license. In doing this Ontario will be following in the footsteps of British Columbia and Alberta, the only provinces in Canada that have home inspector regulations in place. The hope is that these measures will prevent stories like Alyssa Hanson’s, whose inspector missed water leaking into the basement that led to a $12,000 repair bill according to a recent article in the Globe and Mail. The big question about these changes, however, is how will they affect home inspectors and their clients in Ontario? For inspectors, the introduction of regulations will mean an initial investment in time and money to become certified, in addition to needing to pass the required tests. These initial costs may be annoying, but the long-term ...
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Home for Sale: A Guide for Your Next Housing Journey

Home for Sale: A Guide for Your Next Housing Journey

Once a For Sale sign goes up, it’s official! You’re ready to begin your new journey! Or are you? It’s normal to experience some raw emotions as you embark on selling your beloved home. Follow these simple steps to help you take memories from one home to another. Create a Memory Box There’s no need to wait until your house is sold to start packing, especially when it comes to the sentimental items. Locate a sturdy box or storage container, mark the box as “Memories” and start gathering! Event/Occasion Items: These items may be related to a favorite vacation, a wedding or a day that symbolizes an accomplishment or achievement. Gifts and Mementos: Did you receive a cherished item that reminds you of a loved one whenever you see it? Put it in the box! Geographic Items: Are you moving to a new town or a ...
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Second-best April on record for Ottawa Real Estate!

Second-best April on record for Ottawa Real Estate!

April was a busy month in Ottawa Real Estate…see the most recent market highlights below -information provided by the Ottawa Real Estate Board Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 1,714 residential properties in April through the Board’s Multiple Listing Service® system, compared with 1,567 in April 2015, an increase of 9.4 per cent. The five-year average for April sales is 1,568. “The Ottawa resale market continued its steady pace upwards in April, making it the best April for unit sales on record since 2010,” says Shane Silva, President of the Ottawa Real Estate Board. “Units sold are up 548 since March, increasing in both the residential and condominium property class.” April’s sales included 264 in the condominium property class, and 1,450 in the residential property class. The condominium property class includes any property, regardless of style (i.e. detached, ...
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Sustainable Building Materials

Sustainable Building Materials

As the world’s population increases and resources dwindle, sustainability, development that meets current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs, has become a priority for homeowners, developers and governments.  This shift in focus has driven improvements in building design and construction, including sustainable building materials. Green building materials impact energy and water consumption, waste reduction and occupant well-being by minimizing the negative effects that our built environment can have on the planet. Here are some new materials that are leading the way: Solar Tiles Producing standard roof tiles involves energy intensive techniques and their only function is to protect from the weather. Solar tiles have been developed as an improvement on traditional solar panels which are fixed on the existing roofing.  They are integrated into the building, protecting from weather while generating power for its inhabitants. Recycled Steel The Steel Recycling Institute reports that, while a ...
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What Home Owners Can Do With a Tax Refund

What Home Owners Can Do With a Tax Refund

  If you are a homeowner, a tax refund presents opportunities to invest for a profit that aren’t available to renters. Whether you plan to sell, stay or are undecided, there are ways to optimize the financial impact of your refund. The first step is to treat your refund check the same as you treat your paycheck. Avoid the temptation to splurge and give that refund money a purpose. Here are three home owner-only options to grow that refund:   But, Are You Withholding Too Much? Most of us enjoy getting a large tax refund every spring. But, a refund means you paid more taxes during the year than you owed and you gave the government an interest free loan. According to Martha Ferrari, VP of Halberstadt Financial Consultants Inc., her more astute clients have smaller refunds because “they realize they are giving the government use of the money by ...
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Ottawa Real Estate Market Snapshot March 2016

Ottawa Real Estate Market Snapshot March 2016

Ottawa Real Estate: March market springs into action!  The following information provided by the Ottawa Real Estate Board.  Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 1,166 residential properties in March through the Board’s Multiple Listing Service® system, compared with 1,200 in March 2015, a decrease of 2.8 per cent. The five-year average for March sales is 1,220. “We are definitely seeing a resale market increase from the previous month, with 256 more properties sold in March over February,” says President of the Ottawa Real Estate Board, Shane Silva. “Properties are starting to sell faster, indicating that we are heading into our busy spring market.” March’s sales included 221 in the condominium property class, and 945 in the residential property class. The condominium property class includes any property, regardless of style (i.e. detached, semi-detached, apartment, townhouse, etc.), ...
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What Mortgage Strategy Is Best For Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers?

What Mortgage Strategy Is Best For Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers?

When it comes time to purchase a new home, your mortgage strategy will likely depend on the stage of life you are in. Early-career home buyers (Millennials) have just entered the workforce so they usually have little cash and may be in debt. Gen X home buyers are busy trying to advance their careers, raise families and save for retirement. Baby boomers have often left the workforce, so they have less income and may already be spending their retirement savings.   Each of these life stages present unique challenges that call for a different mortgage strategy. Here are some tips to help you make smart decisions, no matter where you are in life.   Millennials: Down Payment and Closing Costs   This group is the least likely to have substantial savings and they often have student debt or other loans. Their challenge is to find enough money for the down payment ...
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How Important Is Home Staging?

How Important Is Home Staging?

Because the Internet has changed the way we buy and sell homes, most real estate professionals believe home staging is critical to selling success. Almost all home buyers begin their search online meaning sellers need to make a good first impression so potential buyers want to see their home in person. Hence, staging has taken the residential real estate industry by storm and many sellers are hiring professionals to help them make that first impression. National Association of Realtors (NAR) President Chris Polychron says “staging is an excellent tool that can be used to give a home a little extra push for sellers… the impact it may have and the value it can bring is clear to both home buyers and sellers.” Here is why, in spite of the extra cost, you might want to hire a professional home stager to help you sell your home. Home Staging Facts and ...
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Buying Old Versus New Properties – Pros and Cons

Buying Old Versus New Properties – Pros and Cons

When buying any commodity, new is often better than used. In the housing market, though, your best opportunity can come from an old home or, as in Ottawa, where the inventory of new homes is overstocked, you may be able to purchase a new home for the same price buyers paid years ago. Here are some advantages and risks of both options.   Advantages of Buying Old Properties   you can physically walk through and inspect the home similar listings have sold or are currently available to use for comparative market analysis when establishing price antique homes appeal to a large group buyers, renters and investors builders and developers can try to maximize land value by subdividing investors can renovate the property to increase profitability do-it-yourself enthusiasts can invest sweat equity to reduce repair or upgrade costs   Advantages of Buying New Properties   they have all the latest technology ...
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Why Appreciate Your Real Estate Agent

Why Appreciate Your Real Estate Agent

When you decide to buy your first home, the initial excitement is often quickly followed by fear of the unknown. After viewing many attractive properties online, you have no idea where to start. Eventually, though, with the invaluable assistance of a real estate agent, you can purchased your dream home at a great price.   Those who have experienced a number of property transactions realize just how many reasons they have to be thankful for the trusting relationship they developed with their agent.  First, the money and time you save far exceeds the agent’s commission. From planting the For Sale sign to closing the sale, here are five more reasons to appreciate real estate agents.   They’ll help get your house ready to sell A good listing agent acts as project manager in prepping your home for sale. They take on the burden of staging, advise on repairs, arrange photography ...
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Time To Get Out The Spring Maintenance Checklist

Time To Get Out The Spring Maintenance Checklist

  In Ottawa, there are two sights that remind homeowners it’s time for spring maintenance: bikes on the road and geese in the sky. With the recent double-digit temperatures, it seems spring has won its annual wrestling match with winter. And, as spring fever sets in, you may want to store your parka and get at those spring maintenance chores. A great place to start is making sure the melting snow and runoff flows freely off your roof and away from your home instead of seeping in or collecting at the foundation. Improper drainage can cause problems like foundation flooding, soil erosion, water in the basement or leaks in the attic crawl space. Water damage is an expensive nightmare every homeowner wants to avoid. Here are some tips to take advantage of the weather and get a head start on spring. The Roof System A record-breaking snowfall dropped over 50 ...
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Financing Your Home Purchase – Mortgage Broker or Bank?

Financing Your Home Purchase – Mortgage Broker or Bank?

  When it comes time to purchase a new home, where should you go for financing? You may have a relationship with a bank from past transactions (RRSPs, savings accounts, car loan), so it’s the first option that comes to mind.  But, mortgage brokers are licensed specialists who have access to many lenders and mortgage rates, so they may be a better choice. Here are some pros and cons for each.   Advantages of Mortgage Brokers   do all the negotiating for you to find the lowest rate have knowledge of, and access to, the entire mortgage market have exclusive deals not available on the open market buy large quantities of mortgage products, so they can pass on volume discounts their commission is paid by the mortgage lender can advise which lenders will consider your case and which will not (useful for people with poor credit ratings) have access to ...
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7 Deadly Sins of Home Renos

7 Deadly Sins of Home Renos

  Homeowners who renovate only to boost resale value should aim for a return on investment (ROI) of three dollars for every dollar invested. Resale renos should be neutral in colour and conservative in tone so they appeal to the maximum number of potential buyers. And, cost control always trumps elegance.   In fact, some renovations can actually damage your home’s value. These supposed improvements not only add nothing to your bottom line, they may make your home less attractive to potential buyers and bring down its value. Here are seven such expensive mistakes to avoid.   Pools A pool will chase away numerous buyers due to maintenance, public liability, insurance and local government laws regarding fencing and safety barriers. Don’t waste the money.   Skip the Sunroom Unless you want the exposure to nature, avoid this addition which yielded only 48.7 percent ROI according to Remodelling magazine’s 2015 statistics. ...
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Real Estate Snapshot February 2016

Real Estate Snapshot February 2016

  What a difference a day makes!  An extra day in February saw 46 sales on that day (February 29th) as per the Ottawa Real Estate Board’s news release March 3rd.   See the full Ottawa Real Estate market snapshot for February and the full story from the Ottawa Real Estate Board below. With spring around the corner, we’re starting to see more homes come on the market, if you’re thinking of selling now is a great time to get your home listed with a real estate professional.  While statistics are useful in establishing trends they should not be used as an indicator of an increase or decrease in value of specific properties. If you are curious about the value of your home and/or specific neighbourhood statistics we would be happy to provide you with a no cost no obligation market evaluation of ...
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Saving Strategies for Every Age

Saving Strategies for Every Age

  We all want to save more money, but doing it requires a plan. And, the best approach to saving depends on the stage of life you’re in because each phase has unique financial commitments. Although individual circumstances vary, these generation-specific suggestions will point you in the right direction.   Millennials (19-35)   Millennials, born between 1980 and 1996, are actually better than Gen Xers at money management, according to financial journalist Vera Gibbons. But, they tend to live in the moment and prefer instant gratification to long-term financial planning. And, because personal finance is not a core subject in school, they may not know much about how to manage money.  Try these strategies. each payday, set aside money to “pay yourself first” and use it for an emergency fund learn fine art of delaying gratification so you have the self control to say no to yourself avoid paying rent, ...
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First Time Homebuyers Government Incentive Programs

First Time Homebuyers Government Incentive Programs

    Thinking of buying your first home? If so, it may be time to get on with it, especially considering the possibility that interest rates will rise. Using government incentive programs that encourage first time homebuyers to enter the real estate market, you can realize additional savings. And, mortgage financing has been almost free for some time, but economic signals point to those costs rising.   Mortgage rates may increase   Several factors are threatening to push Canadian mortgage rates higher even as the Bank of Canada tries to hold its overnight lending rate down. Fixed mortgage rates are linked to long-term Canadian government bond yields, which are tied to U.S. bond yields. Those rates have risen since September as investors have come to expect the U.S. Federal Reserve to boost rates based on the U.S. economy.   Borrow from yourself   The Canadian government’s Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) ...
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Why Listing In January or February Can Make Sense

Why Listing In January or February Can Make Sense

  Although it may seem odd, listing in the winter months can be advantageous for sellers. Statistically, there are indeed more buyers in the spring market.  However, there are also more homes for sale, including properties similar to yours. With more competition for the pool of buyers, your chances of finalizing a deal may actually be reduced. Here are several reasons to list in January or February.   Financial Planning And Taxes   Many families check their finances at year end and start planning their tax returns. And, because of the holiday festivities, it’s often the time for discussions and decisions about gifting, inheritance, upgrading to a larger home or downsizing to a smaller one and homeownership versus renting. Whether it’s a new buyer who moves quickly or a previously active buyer who re-engages, these house hunters are around in January and February and will look at your home if ...
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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! ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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.   ...
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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. ...
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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 ...
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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. ...
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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, ...
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