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Transform and refresh your home now that spring is here!

Spring is a time of renewal so why not bring the season’s vitality into your home by making some simple decorating changes. Here are a few ideas that’ll help you create a fresh spring feel:

  • Swap out heavy curtains for blinds or sheers.
  • Bring nature inside with a few plants or some fresh cut flowers.
  • Switch your cushion covers to spring shades such as yellows and purples.

Celebrate spring’s arrival by bringing a breath of fresh air into your home. Just a few simple changes and a good spring clean can reflect the season’s sunny, fresh energy!

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Address these common turn-offs so buyers don’t run for the door!

When you put your home on the market, it must appeal to a large cross-section of buyers in order to generate a frenzy of activity.

Buying a home is such an emotional decision that even a seemingly small issue can create a bad impression. Here are six of the top turn-offs you need to know:

  1. Get Out – Make yourself scarce during showings as nothing turns buyers off more than a stalking seller.
  2. Fido & Fluffy – Pets and their associated smells will put many buyers off so relocate them before showings and hide their bed, bones, toys, etc.
  3. Killer Clutter – Buyers want to imagine themselves living in your home but most can’t look past other people’s clutter, even if it’s tucked away in closets and cupboards.
  4. Problems Down Below – If your basement’s unfinished, you’ll want to show that it has potential so investigate any signs of moisture and paint the floor white to make it feel more spacious.
  5. Grubby Grout – It’s imperative that your entire home remains thoroughly cleaned right down to the inside of your microwave. Neglected personal spaces like bathrooms will have them running for the door!
  6. Forgo the Fish Fry – It’s best not to cook fish, bacon or other strong smelling foods while your home’s on the market. Always air out your home by opening the windows instead of using artificial scents as some people are allergic.

When you sell your home, your goal is to get the highest price in the shortest amount of time. Sometimes the best way to do that is by focusing on the small stuff. It’s definitely worth the effort and the good news is that depersonalizing, decluttering and thoroughly cleaning your home doesn’t cost a fortune.

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DELICIOUS GRILLED SKEWERED FRUIT RECIPE 

DELICIOUS GRILLED SKEWERED FRUIT RECIPE
Mix things up on the grill with a healthy, tantalizing dessert!

The heat of the grill turns fruit into juicy, sweet goodness that’s a great finale to any meal.  Here’s what you’ll need to make this simple yet healthy, delicious dessert:

  • skewers
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • melted chocolate
  • an assortment of fruit (pineapple, peaches, mangos, etc)

Lightly oil the grill and preheat the BBQ to medium.  Cut up the fruit and thread onto skewers.  Grill for a couple of minutes per side.  Finally, pick your preference of the honey/cinnamon mixture or melted chocolate and drizzle over top just before serving.  Enjoy!

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Annual inflation rate accelerates to 2.2%

Canada’s Inflation Rate Higher than Expected

A recent iPOLITICS article reports the annual inflation rate accelerated to 2.2%, which is above the Bank of Canada’s expected target. Stephen Poloz, the Bank of Canada’s governor, stated that despite the three interest rate hikes since last summer he maintained the current rate as the Bank watches the current trade related uncertainties out of the USA.

Read the full article by Andy Blattchford published on Mar 23, 2018

In other news…

Real estate sales are cratering around the GTA. And perhaps all of Ontario.

The tide seems to be turning in the GTA from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market. Some real estate brokers have reported that houses are staying on the market longer. Stubborn sellers, holding out for higher prices, are starting to realize they better take what they can get now rather than less later.

After years of rising prices and a several months of total insanity across Ontario, the housing market seems to be stabilizing. In January 2018 home sales in Canada dropped rapidly by 14.5% compared to the previous month. This was the biggest single-month decline in almost a decade. The drop was mainly caused by actions in the GTA where home sales fell off 26.6%. This drop has been similarly reflected in other communities across Ontario.

Will this downward turn in prices continue into a long term slump or rebound? The experts have their opinions one way or the other. But the fact is prices today are lower and may present a buying opportunity for home buyers that just was not available a few months back.

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5 Things You Need To Know About Canadian Real Estate In 2018

The following article is an excerpt from the Huffington Post Canada. The full article can be viewed Here.

 

01/22/2018 10:08 EST | Updated 01/22/2018 10:27 EST

By Wayne Karl

This year will bring some new challenges and opportunities for housing. Here are five things you need to know about Canadian real estate in 2018.

More local than ever

First, there’s no such thing as a Canadian real estate market. You buy one home on one street in one neighbourhood in one city. This is true now more than ever.

What happens in Canada’s largest and hottest housing markets, Toronto and Vancouver, respectively, is quite different from that in, say, recovering areas such as Calgary and Edmonton.

“Monthly momentum for national home sales activity gained strength late last year, and further expected economic and job growth will buoy sales activity this year despite slightly higher expected interest rates,” Canadian Real Estate Association President Andrew Peck said on January 15 in releasing CREA’s stats for December 2017. “Even so, momentum for home sales differs depending on location and type.”

Indeed, it does.

“While activity remained below year-ago levels in the GTA, the decline there was more than offset by some sizeable year-over-year gains in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Vancouver Island, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa and Montreal.”

Then there’s prices. The national average price climbed just 0.04 per cent in December from the previous month, but it declined 1.42 per cent in Oakville-Milton, Ont.

Looking at a longer-term trend is also important. Using the same Oakville-Milton example, prices were up 58 per cent in December from five years ago, while in Ottawa they’re up just 12.54 per cent, and in Saskatoon, they’re down 3.18 per cent.

The Stress Test

Continue reading the full Huffington Post article HERE

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Bank of Canada Raises Over-Night Rate: Jan 2018

Today, the Bank of Canada elected to increase its target for the overnight rate to 1.25%, up from 1%. Why? The economy is near full capacity, we are near the target inflation rate, and  recent financial data suggests it’s time to slow down.

With estimates by the Bank that the GDP growth in 2017 reached 3.0%, the Bank feels this will drop in 2018 and thus the overnight rate may remain stable for a while and perhaps even fall if predictions come true later in the year.

The current state of the NAFTA negotiations is also causing some concerns relative to future economic predictions. A down tick in trade could vastly impact business investment in Canada. Even with this uncertainty there is positive news. The lower business capital gains rate in the US has freed up cash for more investment by US companies and Canada stands to gain from export opportunities.

With all the uncertainty, the Bank of Canada recognizes however that higher interest rates may be warranted over time if warranted. The Bank however does not want to be the cause of any stagnation over time or cause the inflation rate to falter.

The Bank states it will “remain cautious in considering future policy adjustments” carefully analyzing the data to evaluate “the economy’s sensitivity to interest rates, the evolution of economic capacity, and the dynamics of both wage growth and inflation.”

The Banks of Canada’s next interest rate statement is set for March 7th. You can read the full Bank of Canada rate hike announcement here.

I welcome any questions about how these recent interest rate changes can possibly impact your home buying or mortgage needs, so please don’t hesitate to give me a phone call or drop me an email. I’m here to help you.

At Your Service,

Michael J Preston

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SETTING THE STAGE FOR A PERFECT HOME SALE – STAGING YOU HOUSE

You only get one chance to make a great first impression. Staging Your House Right is Key!

When you put your home on the market, your goal is to sell it quickly and for top dollar. Properly staging your house right from day one will create an amazing impression that will generate a huge buzz!

Staging isn’t so much an expense as it is an investment. Not only is your home likely to sell for a higher price but it will probably sell much faster which is important because homes that sit on the market can quickly lose their value.

Staging your house starts with an ultra clean, de-cluttered and de-personalized home. Buying a home is an emotional decision so buyers must be able to envision themselves living there which is why photographs, trophies and kids’ artwork have to go.

A stager also ensures your home is inviting to buyers by enhancing the functionality and flow of each room. They can remove and store furniture so the house looks as spacious as possible and use lighting and other tricks to warm up the feel of your home. A properly staged home will also look much more appealing to those browsing online which will generate more showings.

If you want to stage your home yourself, you’ll have to go beyond the basics. Start cleaning up the front yard, the porch, the garage and don’t forget the back garden. Buyers have a tough time visualizing themselves in unfurnished rooms so turn your craft room back into a bedroom or transform an awkward nook into a reading spot by setting out a comfy chair and lamp.

Lighting is Very Important

Great lighting will create a warm and welcoming ambience so make sure you update your light fixtures, lamps and light bulbs. Buyers will also be snooping through your cupboards and closets as storage space is often an important factor so don’t forget to stage those areas as well.

Remember, staging your house right it is much more likely to make a great first impression and capture the hearts of home buyers. Whether you pay a professional to stage your home or do the work yourself, staging is a worthwhile investment that will massively increase the odds of your home selling quickly and for top dollar.

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Are your home’s strange sounds keeping you up at night?

Is your home talking to you? Time to pay attention.

Home house keeping you up at nightPart of settling into a new home is figuring out what noises are normal. Most are nothing to worry about but some could signal a deeper issue. Here are a few that you should pay attention to:

  1. Furnace Noises – A humming noise is normal but loud pops, scraping, grinding or squealing sounds should be checked out professionally.
  2. Scratching Sounds – The dreaded sound of scratching likely means you have rodents that are making themselves at home so take notice before it gets out of hand.
  3. Running Water – Check for leaks and water damage around the home. If you can’t figure it out quickly, call a plumber as it could mean a broken pipe.
  4. Gurgling Toilet – Gurgling noises coming from the toilet could signal a blockage in the toilet or drain, a blockage in the vent stack or a main sewer drain blockage.
  5. Noisy Fridge – Some whirring and clicking is normal but if your fridge is cracking or popping, it could be a compressor or a temperature regulation issue.

You can expect to hear some noises coming from your home as the various building materials will contract and expand. Just keep an ear out for anything unusual and don’t hesitate to call a professional if in doubt!

Let’s chat….

Michael J Preston 705-309-1747
Broker of Record, Lakeview Realty Inc., Brokerage

 

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WASHING THE WASHING MACHINE 

WASHING THE WASHING MACHINE
If your washing machine is giving off a musty smell, it’s time for a wash!

Washing the washing machine may seem strange but over time, soap scum and bacteria build up in front loading washing machines which creates a musty smell.

Start by cleaning the rubber door gasket with white vinegar and water.  Next, mix ¼ cup of baking soda with ¼ cup of water and add it to the detergent compartment, then pour 2 cups of vinegar in the drum and run an empty load at the hottest setting.

Clean your washing machine every month to keep it in tip top shape.  If you leave the door open between loads, promptly remove laundry as soon as the load has finished and don’t use too much detergent, you’ll help keep your washing machine fresh and clean.

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2018 Mortgage Rule Changes in Canada.

Tighter Rules Could Mean No Mortgage for Some Canadians.

The new mortgage “stress test” came into effect on Jan. 1, 2018 in Canada requiring virtually all prospective home buyers to meet tighter lending restrictions. According to some estimates, the tighter qualifying standard could shut out some 10% of lower down payment buyers compared to regulations in 2017.

Toronto and Vancouver will likely see the biggest impact from the new restrictions but the effects will no doubt ripple into smaller communities.

The new “stress test” will affect home buyers applying for mortgages that are less than 80 per cent of the value of the property they wish to purchase. Borrowers will have to qualify for rates that are higher than the contractual mortgage rate they would actually be eligible to assume. This effectively reduces the buying power of a consumer with an uninsured mortgage by about 20 per cent, according to some industry experts.

The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Canada (OSFI) published the final version of Guideline B-20 − Residential Mortgage Underwriting Practices and Procedures.

OSFI is setting a new minimum qualifying rate, or “stress test,” for uninsured mortgages.

  • Guideline B-20 now requires the minimum qualifying rate for uninsured mortgages to be the greater of the five-year benchmark rate published by the Bank of Canada or the contractual mortgage rate +2%.

These rules assure that all mortgage holders can cope with any unforeseen rising interest rates and are now similar to those rules already in effect for borrowers with down payments under 20 per cent.

Many concerns were submitted as comments and responses were issues by OSFI on topics such as mortgage renewal qualifications. These comments can be reviewed here on the OFSI website.

“These revisions to Guideline B-20 reinforce a strong and prudent regulatory regime for residential mortgage underwriting in Canada,” said Superintendent Jeremy Rudin.

Paul Taylor, President and CEO of the Mortgage Professionals Canada, is concerned about how much these changes will impact the real estate market and suggests that it could stress smaller communities. Taylor says, “Reducing the number of people who can afford those homes now is only going to exacerbate the problem,” He goes on to say, “When house prices come down, you can potentially create a recessionary environment in pockets across the country.”

Time will tell, probably sooner than later, what effects these mortgage qualification rules will bring about for Canadians.

If we can help you with obtaining a mortgage please contact Michael J Preston at 705-309-1747.