Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A small strap that could save your home

There is a call by some for a change to the building code in Ontario to help further protect properties against hurricanes.  The call is to make it mandatory for new home construction to include hurricane straps.   The clips are small pieces of metal that bind the roof truss to the top of the wall.

At the University of Western Ontario there is a Three Little Pigs project that studies among other things hurricanes and how some structural changes can reduce serious damage during a storm. Greg Kopp with Western University is encouraging the province to utilize hurricane clips or straps based on studies from the wind tunnel at the lab.

Each clip is only a few dollars and some communities in North American already have them as part of the building code.   

Get more on the Insurance Lab for Better Homes here.

Friday, November 13, 2015

You must act now to stop this planned tax

(Voice your opinion on this tax here)

The Ontario government intends on giving municipalities the ability to levy a municipal land transfer tax (MLTT). This could be devastating to home ownership for many people.

Already on closing the average home purchase in Ontario faces thousands of dollars in transfer tax payments to the province. According to calculations from OREA, if the Ontario government follows through with this plan, home buyers will be forced to pay $10,000 in total land transfer taxes on the average priced home in Ontario.

Leeds-Grenville MPP Steve Clark recently introduced a motion calling on the Ontario government to oppose the spread of the MLTT.  MPP Clark’s motion will be debated on December 3rd. That leaves little time for you to voice your opposition to this planned tax and support MPP Clark's motion.

There is an easy way for your voice to be heard.  You can let your local MPP know that you want to protect affordable home ownership in our province and vote YES to Mr. Clark’s motion.

It can all be done in under one minute with the easy submission form found here.

Together with your support Ontario REALTORS® are helping to protect affordable home ownership in our province for future generations.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

5 important home chores to prepare for winter

Spend a little time now to prepare for the long winter ahead.

Seal cracks and repair damaged doors and windows.  The time you put into this chore including replacing tired weather stripping is one of the most important things you can do to help lower heating costs.

A photo posted by @eliwgnd on

Remove fallen leaves from your gutters and downspouts.

Book a furnace check-up and cleaning.  A properly serviced furnace can save you money and can eliminate an after hours service call during a cold winter night. 

A photo posted by @work_harderrr on

If you have a wood fireplace, have your chimney checked and cleaned.  As part of the inspection, ensure the damper closes tightly to prevent winter drafts.

Don't forget that outdoor hose hanging on the wall.  Disconnect, drain and store it for the winter season. If possible, shut the waterline off from inside to prevent pipes from freezing.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The one room that is growing in popularity and why.

A second master bedroom is the latest must-have for high-end house hunters. This second master is actually better called the "snoring room."  The reason for a second master is obvious, but just so the cat is out of the bag,  many couples who live together prefer to not sleep together because one or both of them snore.  (So, you're not alone)

Although I've never personally had  buyers tell me a snoring room is on their wish list in their search for the ideal home, I imagine I would hear some interesting confessions once they learned what the extra room was really all about.   (Kind of like our ancestors discovering indoor plumbing for the first time.) 

To completely understand what is happening in the high-end market, the bonus room isn't just an extra bedroom next to or down the hall from the master bedroom. High-end house hunters want two master suites — complete with two big bedrooms, separate walk-in closets, separate bathrooms and naturally both equipped with an area for that huge flat-screen TV.

When you think about it, the extra master is cheaper than a couple buying two separate houses down the road because of the dreaded snore.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

One important thing often missed at an open house

Although there are many things not to leave out in the open if you are having an open house, there is one thing that many home owners forget to ensure is out of the reach of everyone.

Some people will go to great lengths to steal prescription medications and that means your bathroom and cupboards should be checked in advance of your open house to ensure your medications are out of sight. When you think about it why should a thief deal with having to pry open a security door when that wannabe pill thief can just go to an open house and hope to score in the unlocked medicine cabinet?

Some real estate agents are increasingly hearing about prescription pills going missing after open houses. It’s suggested that you hide away your medications or better still, take them with you during the couple hours of your scheduled open house.

Friday, July 17, 2015

A 20 year maximum amortization?

Now might be the ideal time to secure a mortgage.  Rates remain low for starters, but changes could be coming in other areas that could make it more difficult for some buyers to get a mortgage in the future.  There is some thought that the federal government could choose to cool off the housing market with changes to mortgage requirements.

According to The Financial Post Ottawa is using consultants to assist in deciding whether there should be new rules to cool down the hot real estate market in many areas of Canada.
Right now there is talk that an increased minimum down payment is being considered as well as other conditions for high-value housing. The Financial Post article suggests that tougher mortgage lending restrictions, such as a 20-year maximum amortization or tweaks to mortgage insurance, are also being considered.

The Department of Finance is saying little and currently denies considering changes to down payment requirements.  The Financial Post article reads, “They are definitely looking into this but it doesn’t mean that they will do it,” said one source close to the department, who asked not to be identified.

If you have a question about the real estate market or are considering to buy or sell in the future please contact me here.

Friday, July 10, 2015

The rise and fall of house prices.

Will house prices rise, stabilize or fall?   The results are in from a Bloomberg and Nanos weekly poll with Canadians and here's the overall reaction to that question. 

The thought of prices increasing is showing a growth in support.  Those who expect prices to stay the same is the strongest with 44.33 percent, but now 37.97 percent of respondents to the weekly poll think prices will rise.  That is up from 36.97 percent just a week earlier.  If you are a buyer hoping prices will fall, only 14.22 per cent of those surveyed think that will happen for you in the next six months.

If you or someone you know is thinking of buying or selling now or in the future, I would love to sit down and discuss the local market and answer any questions. Contact me here.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

How To Deceive Burglars While You're Away

Planning a summer vacation? Burglars rarely take more than 20 minutes to observe a property before deciding whether or not to rob it. Making them think someone is home is a lot less difficult than you may think.

• Leave a few lights on in rooms that face the street. Burglars rarely investigate a house two or three nights in a row to see whether there’s a pattern to interior lighting. For them, it’s safer to move on to a house that has all the lights off.

• Leave an inaccessible, but visible, window partially open if you are traveling in warm seasons. This suggests that someone is home.

• Install exterior lights that go on automatically when it gets dark. Put them over each door, and trim shrubs around the doorways to make the entries less inviting to burglars.

• Leave a car in the driveway. Just as house robbers don’t concentrate on interior lights, neither do they study a property over several days to determine whether or not a car has been moved.

• Ask a neighbor to collect newspapers, mail, trash bins and any debris that winds up in your yard. If you plan to be away for a couple of weeks have your lawn mowed.

• Post a clear sign announcing that the house is protected by an alarm system. If you don’t have an alarm system, don’t post a generic sign. Burglars know the alarm companies.

• Notify police when you’re going away. In many communities, they will make extra patrols.
• Have a neighbour or family member drop by to clear away any items that get left your doorstep or walkway. Free community papers piling up is a clear sign that nobody's home.
• Have your neighbour put one of their trash cans on your property for pick-up.  On garbage pick-up days, the homes without trash can sometimes be a first alert for burglars that the home might be one to check out later in the day. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

An Interesting Idea - Will It Work?

The owner of a Maine country inn valued at $905,000 has plans to give it all away to the winner of an essay contest.

Janice Sage, the owner of the Center Lovell Inn and Restaurant, said applicants must be eager to run the business and convey their qualifications in an impeccably crafted 200-word essay. Sage hopes to get at least 7,500 paid submissions by May 17. At $125 per entry, that would be enough to cover the estimated value of the 210-year-old establishment, plus an additional $20,000 for the next owner.

The hotel is located about 55 miles northwest of Portland, Maine, and offers sweeping views of New Hampshire’s snow-capped mountains.  (Details of the contest - Centre Lovell Essay Contest.)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Buy The House - Bride Comes With It

When a listing for a house in Yogyakarta, Indonesia appeared on a real estate website many people assumed it was a joke. But the home’s current owner says the ad is completely serious.
The ad reads: “Offer of the century! Buy the house and you may marry the owner (terms and conditions apply). Only for serious buyers and without negotiation.”

The 40-year-old widow and salon owner said she has had trouble finding a suitable man, having already tried to date a few times since her husband’s passing 15 years ago, but without success. After mentioning her romantic troubles to her real estate agent, the agent suggested that she include the marriage offer in her ad.

The woman said she doesn’t have any specific “terms and conditions” for her new husband/homeowner, just that he be a responsible man.

Monday, March 9, 2015

43 Insanely Cool Remodeling Ideas

There never seems to be enough storage space. Here are a couple ideas that might work to keep your place looking neat and tidy, without getting rid of the things you want to keep.


More ideals compliments of BuzzFeed by clicking Insanely Cool Ideas.

Insanely Clever Remodeling Ideas For Your Home


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The power of 9

There could be an advantage to listing your home with 9 near the end of the listing price rather than rounding to the next thousand.  The reason is what is known as the left-digit effect in price cognition.  

You don't normally see the new blender priced at $80.00, it's more likely to be priced at $79.00 or $79.99.  This is a strategy that has been proven to be good in real estate as well.

Strange as it might seem, a recent study in major cities found that houses with prices ending in "9", like $849,000 rather than $850,000, sold an average of 4.2 days faster and for $2,175 more.  Even though the asking price was lower, these houses sold for more money.
It's one of those strange facts that doesn't make sense, but can possibly make a bit more profit for you when you go to sell.

More on The Left-Digit Effect in Price Cognition here.

For more on listing your home, Get Jack.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Consider Going Up With Renovations

A recent study shows an interesting return on investment when adding finished living space to a home. 

Homeowners who added space by going up increased the value of the home much more than homeowners who renovated going down for the added living space.  The details of the Zillow study reveals basement renovations returned only 48 cents for every dollar spent, while adding a storey increased value by $1.02 per dollar spent. 

It may not be possible to add another full storey to a home, but often adding dormers and opening up an attic area is quite possible and could be a much better investment than the basement project.  

As with any renovation it is always advisable to consult with a  qualified contractor to get a complete overview for your home.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Location, location, location

It might not be all about location, but remembering location, location, location is still some of the best advice.  Case in point is this mobile home that listed for $1.1 million.
A 79-year-old fisherman who purchased a modest, third-acre lot in the Hamptons on New York Long Island paid just $300 for the piece of land in 1956. The fisherman then placed a 700-square-foot, one-bedroom mobile home and shed on the property and has lived there ever since.
Little did the fisherman know when he purchased the land, but he hit the jackpot. The tiny piece of land and single-bedroom trailer home is now with an astonishing $1.1 million. What makes Richard Lester’s land and mobile so valuable? His neighbors.
The home is locate just one mile away from the ritzy Indian Wells Beach. The property is surrounded by huge homes owned by the rich and famous. In fact, Lester can boast neighbours that include Jerry Seinfeld and Paul McCartney.