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DIY Apps

DO-IT-YOURSELF APPS
Your smartphone should be an essential part of your DIY toolkit!

If you’re constantly procrastinating over household projects, you should check out a few home improvement apps for some inspiration!

You’ll soon become a DIY master with the thousands of how-to guides at WikiHow complete with illustrations and videos on every imaginable topic.

There’s also iHandy Level which will help keep you on the level if you’re hanging a picture or if you need to measure a precise angle.

These are just a few examples of the many apps that are available.  From picking paint shades to renovating your home, a smartphone will be the lightest and most versatile tool you’ll ever own!

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The Lowdown on Radon Gas

 

THE LOWDOWN ON RADON
Do you know if you and your family are protected against radon?

Radon is an invisible radioactive gas that occurs naturally in the environment from the breakdown of uranium in soil and rocks.

It doesn’t present a concern outdoors but when radon becomes trapped inside a house, it can be very harmful to your health as it increases the risk of lung cancer.

Radon can seep into your home through gaps in floors, walls and foundations.  The only way to know if you have high radon levels is to purchase an inexpensive testing kit or to install a radon detector.

Radon concentrations vary from home to home so don’t take any chances — protect your family by testing your home for radon today.

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ECONOMY NEARS FULL EMPLOYMENT IN 2017

Excerpt on Economy Posting by DR. SHERRY COOPER,
Chief Economist, Dominion Lending Centres

“The Canadian economy has grown at a stronger-than-expected annual rate of 3.7% in the past year, taking the jobless rate down to its lowest level in nearly a decade. With Canada’s economy the strongest in the Group of Seven countries, Ottawa now projects much smaller deficits than it did in March. The Liberal government cut its deficit projection for the fiscal year that ends March 31 to just under $20.0 billion, down from $28.5 billion in the March budget. It now expects a cumulative deficit over the coming five fiscal years of $86.5 billion, compared with $120 billion previously.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced new spending today totalling $7.7 billion over six years, bringing the total new spending since the March budget to $19.1 billion over six years. This additional stimulus comes as the economy is running far faster than its long-run potential noninflationary pace, rapidly approaching full capacity.” Read More

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Mortgage Rules Change

OSFI extends ‘stress test’ to all new mortgages
  • The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) released revised “B-20” guidelines for residential mortgage underwriting at federally regulated financial institutions. As was widely expected, the updated ‘stress test’  will be applied to all new mortgages beginning on January 1, 2018. Currently, the test applies only to mortgages requiring insurance (i.e. those with low down payments) and those whose term is less than five years.
  • This change requires that borrowers qualify for mortgages at the greater of the Bank of Canada’s five-year benchmark rate or the contracted rate plus 200 basis points. For reference, as of this morning, the Bank of Canada posted rate was 4.89%. It should be noted that OSFI will not apply the more stringent requirements in the case of mortgage renewal.
  • While the extension of qualification guidelines will likely draw the most attention, OSFI introduced two other changes:
    • Loan-to-value limits must be established and lenders will be required to ensure that they “are reflective of risk and are updated as housing markets and the economic environment evolve”
    • Lending arrangements designed to get around loan-to-value limits are restricted with the updated guideline explicitly forbidding ‘co-lending’ or ‘bundling’ arrangements.
Key Implications
  • As expected, OSFI has expanded the scope of the ‘stress test’ to include anyone taking out a mortgage at a federally regulated institution regardless of the term and whether they are insured. Perhaps underscoring the logic behind the change, OSFI bank data for August of this year showed insured mortgages (which were already subject to the stress test) were down 4.5% year-on-year, while uninsured mortgage credit grew 17.3%. While this is partly related to the rising prices of Canadian real estate, with more and more of it priced above the insurance caps, it also likely reflects the skew stemming from the past stress test requirements. As such, today’s change, alongside the explicit guidance around co-lending arrangements, will together help address the shift as far as those borrowing from federally regulated institutions.  
  • As discussed in our regional housing outlook, broadening the stress test will likely further slow housing activity, depressing demand by 5% to 10% once implemented, with some pull-forward of activity likely to take place ahead of the January 1st implementation date. Price growth will also be impacted, with these changes expected to exert a drag of between 2% and 4% over 2018. On balance, these changes should help enhance the resilience of the Canadian banking system in a rising interest rate environment.
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Keep Emotion in Check in Real Estate Transactions

PREPARING FOR THE REAL ESTATE ROLLER COASTER RIDE
Never wear your emotions on your sleeve during the real estate ride.

Selling your home is a huge financial transaction that can trigger a roller coaster of emotions.  When you’re being tossed around at every turn, you need to hang on and stay on track.

Although you’ll likely have a strong connection to your home, try not to get offended if a potential buyer wants to rip up your kitchen or paint over the wood trim.

Also, never take comments personally.  It’s natural for people to complain when they’re interested in something so while criticisms may seem negative, they’re actually a sign that the buyer’s interested in your home.

If you receive a “low ball” offer, remember that it’s often just a starting point but be aware of tactics such as “low balling” where an attractive price is initially offered only to be adjusted at a later point on the basis that circumstances have changed.  Recognizing these strategies will help you keep a balanced perspective.

If you’re able to generate multiple offers, make sure you consider more than just the price.  There’s nothing worse than accepting a conditional offer just because it’s over the asking price only to have it fall apart a month later when you could have accepted a firm cash offer that was almost as good.

It’s completely natural for both buyers and sellers to experience a wide range of intense emotions as they navigate through the complex real estate process.  However, if you hop on the real estate roller coaster with a competent agent by your side, you’ll not only enjoy the ride but you’ll look forward to doing it again!

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How to keep your houseplants green

A few houseplants will offer your home a breath of fresh air!

Houseplants are visually appealing and also improve our home’s air quality by adding oxygen and removing harmful pollutants.  Here are a few hardy plants that will thrive in any environment:

  1. Spider Plants (Chlorophytum comosum) are great for beginners as they’re almost impossible to kill and they also look great in hanging baskets.
  2. Cast Iron Plants (Aspidistra elatior) are foolproof as they only require dim light and don’t need much water.
  3. The Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderana) simply stands in water and has been used by the Chinese for centuries in the art of feng shui to create harmony in the home.

Accidental drowning is a leading cause of death for houseplants.  Water them thoroughly but make sure there are drainage holes so excess water can escape as you don’t want your plants to be sitting in water.

Improper lighting is another reason why promising young plants become statistics.  It’s important to match the lighting needs of plants with the amount of light you have to offer.

Houseplants are a simple and cost-effective way to infuse natural, serene style into your home.  Better yet, research suggests they reduce stress and cold related illnesses and also increase our energy levels so go out today and outfit your home with some of nature’s lean mean green machines!

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Hot Home Trends from 2017

It’ a great time to update your living space!

It’s fun to follow the latest home and garden trends, especially if you’re hoping to make your home more attractive to buyers. Here are a few of the latest trends from 2017:

Shedquarters – A “shedquarter” is a private, backyard spot that can be used as an office, artist workspace or party area.

Docking Stations – Small, pull down desks can be added almost anywhere as wireless technology enables us to shift away from traditional home offices.

Vintage Vanities – Putting your bathroom sink on just about anything is huge this year! Old dressers, filing cabinets and even tree trunks can be converted into unique vanities.

Laundry Love – Homeowners are giving their laundry rooms some serious love with innovative storage solutions, bright lighting and even stylish wallpaper!

Foodscaping – Instead of traditional vegetable patches, backyards are now being transformed into edible landscapes that include vegetables, berries, fruits and herbs.

Smart Windows – Cutting-edge window technology now allows our windows to be programmed according to the weather outside as well as the air quality inside.

Just like fashion, home trends can come and go so it’s important not to overcommit. Hopefully, these ideas have given you some inspiration as to what’s coming next, whether you’re thinking of selling or just simply looking to update your home.

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CLEAN UP YOUR DIGITAL CLUTTER

Get a jump on fall chores by clearing out your digital clutter.

Paper files are often the first items we purge during a spring clean but many times we neglect our digital files. Get a jump on year-end chores with a deep, digital cleanse:

Get a Pass – Use a password manager to encrypt one master password that can be used on all websites.

Address Your Apps – Uninstall apps you no longer use to clear up space and keep your phone running smoothly.

Manage Mail – Unsubscribe from emails you no longer read and delete old emails or organize them into folders.

Clear Cache – Regularly clear your browser history, cache and cookies in order to create more storage and speed up your browser.

Back it Up – Make sure all of your important files and photos are automatically backed up to the cloud to increase storage space.

This digital cleanse applies to your computer, smartphone and all your social media accounts. While you’re at it, you should also review your privacy settings on apps and social media platforms to make sure you’re sharing information with the right audiences.

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Professional Rental Property Management


Professional Rental Property Management by a Local

Licenced Real Estate Brokerage

Michael J Preston, the Broker of Record at Lakeview Realty Inc., assures you of professional services you can trust. As a member of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA.ca), Lakeview Realty is bound by numerous regulations and guidelines that assure you as an investor of honesty and integrity as a client of Lakeview Property Management.

Screening and Managing Tenants

Your real estate investment hinges on having a good tenant in place. Vacancies can be a drag on your investment, and on your bottom line profits. We’ve screened thousands of tenants for two decades. We have the temperament and knowledge to manage tenants and set expectations for their use of your property. We also have the skills to deal with tenant issues from noise complainants to eviction notices.

Rent Collection and Basic Accounting

Month-to-month expenses and rental income are at the centre of your rental property. We ensure rent is collected and summarize your bills and invoices, so you know where you stand financially at all times.

Rent Collection

Rent collection can be very annoying and time-consuming. We stay on top of tenants & immediately follow up on any rent collection issues. We also allow tenants to pay electronically, which is convenient for everyone.

Bill Payment Services

Staying on top of paying property tax, utilities and repair bills can be time-consuming and frustrating. Especially, if you are on vacation or out of the country. Missed payments can result in late charges and credit risks. We make sure that the bills are paid on time.

At the end of the year, we will send you a year end summary of all the expenses by type. When tax preparation time occurs, you won’t have to collect all of your rental income invoices as all paid invoices will appear in your year end summary.

Property Management ServicesPhysical Property Maintenance

Inside or out we have the staff and experience to deal with any issues with the structure of your property. This includes general maintenance, lawn care, and prep for a new tenant.

We will respond to emergency repair calls from tenants, unplug toilets or to fix or replace broken appliances. We will tidy the yard in the spring, cut the grass in summer, shovel the snow in winter, rake the leaves in the fall, as well as clean out the eaves troughs and coordinate repairs to the physical structure of the building. We do all this so you don’t have to.

Remodeling and Renovation Services

Remodeling and renovating are a powerful means of transforming a rental property’s value and income potential. Our experienced renovation team has executed numerous projects from simple floor installations to complete make-overs. We have the skills and professional resources to successfully add real value to your property should you sell and to its current investment income.

Buying or Selling? Talk to Us First.

We live and breathe rental properties. We are rental property investors too. We know what makes a good investment property, and we can spot opportunities to buy or sell. Our full-service real estate brokerage, Lakeview Realty Inc., can guide you as to how to make the most of your property investment goals.

Always at Your Service

Trusting your rental property to Lakeview Property Management gives you the support of an experienced team of property management experts located in Orillia and the surrounding region.

Our Property Management Programs

Standard Program

Lakeview Property Management’s standard program gives you access to our full complement of property management services. From rent collection and bill payments and the support of our team, this option takes the hassle of property management out of your hands and provides a sound foundation for the management of your rental unit.

Customized Program

This program is of particular value if you have requirements that are out of the norm. Let’s talk about your specific needs and create a program that works for both of us.

Ready to get started? Got more questions?

Find out how we can help you. Just click the button below and fill out the form that appears or give us a call at 705-325-3600 (office) or 705-309-1747 (Michael Preston, President).

 

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Concerned Ontario Doctors – Care Not Cuts

Concerned Ontario Doctors

Dear Friends

I think it’s important if you’re not involved yet that we take a hard look at how both are provincial and Federal governments are driving our Doctors out of our health care system our province and our country.

We must come to the defence of our Doctors, our health care system and the truly small business corporations in our country.

Michael J Preston

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Please visit the CareNotCuts website to learn more and be sure to watch the video.

http://www.carenotcuts.ca/

 

 

 

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Survey of Ontario Doctors & Trainees: Burnout, Ongoing Healthcare Cuts & Proposed Federal Taxation Changes
An online survey of Ontario’s doctors and medical trainees (medical students and medical residents) was conducted by Concerned Ontario Doctors from September 4 to September 11, 2017 to understand the effects of the provincial unilateral healthcare cuts, proposed federal taxation changes and mistreatment by government. Respondents were also asked about the OMA; those results will be released independently next month.
There were two sets of respondents: practicing Ontario doctors (n=5162) and Ontario medical trainees (n=709). Margin of error: +/- 1.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20 (Ontario doctors) and +/- 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20 (Ontario medical trainees).