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Handling Real Estate During a Divorce

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Speaking the truth can be so scary when a major shift happens in our life impacting our identity.

We open up and share our deepest emotions to the world with pride once we are engaged or married. But hide our deepest emotions when we separate or divorce.

I am at a point in my life where I can deeply relate to this. Speaking the truth about my unhappy marriage to myself and others have been one of the biggest fears of my life. It was a big part of my identity rooted in my beliefs and values about family and the meaning I gave to them. Fear of failing, fear of being judged, fear of disappointing, fear of hurting, fear of losing my purpose, my identity, my loved ones and fear of being alone weighed heavy on my shoulders and was too much to face.

It has been a quiet journey for me to see the power and meaning I have given to the word fear.

Fear has empowered me, challenged me, made me grow, made me cry, made me excited, made me connected but most importantly it opened up a world where I can truly be authentic, vulnerable and compassionate.

As human beings, we are the creators of our own realities. Aren’t we? Both marriage and separation are a celebration of a new beginning. so are mine!

Today, I give myself the permission to acknowledge and celebrate my truth, my courage, my authenticity and vulnerability for starting a new beginning as many times as I must.

We want you to know that you are not alone and we look forward to earn your trust to be your partner in making your divorce process easier by holding your hands. Here are some helpful information about divorce and real estate to make things a little easier for you:

1 – Your Home Value Assessment
You’ll need a bank appraisal, a letter of option by a local realtor or coming to the market. Of course, none of the mentioned assessment guarantees your home sale price until an actual written firm offer is accepted and your property is sold.

2 – Your Home Equity
The estimated market value at the time of your legal separation determines your home equity. Also, inheritance money invested in the property impacts the buy-out, real estate fees, and/or land transfer taxes on buying another property.

3 – Buy Out
You need to decide who can and will actually afford to buy the other out or whether you’d prefer to liquidate and divide the equity of the asset. Confirm with your mortgage broker or your bank that you will each qualify for a mortgage on your own.

4 – Interim Expenses
A line of credit and a joint interim account are great sources for managing up-front costs associated with the sale that you can divide these expenses out of the proceeds of the sale. Sometimes, one of the spouses pays these fees and the other gets less equity back. If you are limited in budget, certain fees such as legal, staging, repair etc can be paid when the house closes.

5 – Mediation
An approved mediator by both spouses could eliminate a big portion of your legal fees and facilitate open communication between you, the lawyers and the real estate team from finalizing division of the assets, pricing, selling, financing, separation agreement write up, divorce agreement etc.

6 – Housing
You may want to stay at your primary or secondary home, with family, rent a longer-term Airbnb, an executive furnished rental. And if no such option available, you may stay in separate rooms in the same house, or even have one move into the basement or separated space.

7 – Children
Bird nesting seems to be a more common alternative for divorced families with younger kids when the kids stay in the marital home and the parents come and go when it is their allocated time with the children.

Let us work for you. We listen, ask a lot of questions about your needs, answer to any concerns you might have and give you the right advice when it comes housing, finances, legal support and so on.

If you have any questions or you need a real estate advice, don’t hesitate to contact us at 416-832-9292 or visit us at mitramovesyou.com.

Toronto Real Estate February Market Watch 2018

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Resale prices in Toronto real estate fell 12.4% or $110,000 in February.

Prices were still 12% higher than in February 2016, when the average was $685,278. In January, it likewise surpassed the average of $736,783, which is 4.1% underneath the earlier year’s level.  After an interestingly high market in the Toronto region, the Toronto real estate board is anticipating a moderate price increases in 2018. In spite of a decline in the average price of the private property, home prices kept on ascending in February – 10% more than the prior year – to an average of $ 529,782. Regardless, the sales volume has fallen by 30.8%.  The average price tumbled to $ 767,818, from $875,983 for every home division, including apartment suites, townhouses, duplexes, and condominiums.

Despite the decline in average resale prices, the loft suites in February expanded by 10 a year over the earlier year to an average of $529,782. In any case, the sales volume had fallen by 30.8% age focuses per penny. Turnover additionally declined about 35 % in the prior month February 2017, with 7,955 out of the 5,175 stock trades a year ago, as indicated by the most recent TREB examination on Tuesday. The sales have since declined, with the Ontario government chilling this month by issuing its reasonable lodging arrangement, including outside purchasers, said Jason Mercer, TREB head of a market examination. Prices fell more gradually than a year prior and the biggest decline occurred in November.  

 The lion’s share of flat suites sold in Toronto comprises of a one-room or one room and private units, and just 20 % are bigger than two rooms. In spite of the way that there could be a superior price on the re-sale side of the condominium market, both the pre-improvement and resale flats in the city are hot, as Harrild says.  One thousand dollars for each square meter is the new standard for condo suites, said Bosley real estate designer David Fleming, who says he has never observed anything comparable in the 14 years he spent in the downtown real estate. He was alluding to a 516 square. Ft. Unit that offered for $ 524,900, about $ 1,017 for each square foot, where offers were held to position it for different offers. Regardless, downtown houses are offering admirably as well, he said. On Monday night, he went ahead to offer a house enrolled for about $995,000, which made eight arrangements. It was sold for about $230,000 over the offer price.  In Aurora, 57 condos were sold between 1 January and the finish of February. They sold 94% of the settled price and were accessible for an average of 28 days.

The news of this change in housing prices is both good news (for those selling) and bad news (for buyers). Even so, the trends in prices of property for of houses are so fluid and difficult to predict that, if you’re investing in a property and are concerned about the rise in price, you shouldn’t let these small increases put you off. If the market continues to evolve as it is now, your house will increase in value over time, meaning your investment will be more than worthwhile.

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What’s in Store for Toronto Real Estate in 2018

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Following an 18% decline in Toronto residential property sales in 2017, experts estimate that the housing market will
further soften in 2018 after the government introduced new mortgage laws.

The rules, which came into full effect on January 1st, slap a 15% tax on foreigners who want to buy property in
Toronto. It also consists of a new stress test targeting uninsured mortgage borrowers, coming at a period when Bank
of Canada is further anticipated to continue hiking their lending rates throughout the year.

The stress test is aimed at ensuring that borrowers can pay off their mortgage obligations even if rates were to
increase. Lenders are now obligated to assess the viability of Toronto mortgage applicants before any loan is
approved. Furthermore, potential borrowers will have their finances mocked-up if the rates are 2% higher than the
figure they can get from a lender, and this also applies if the rates are at the 5yr average posted ratio which is
currently at 4.99%.

Anyone who fails the stress test can’t get the mortgage they are looking for, meaning they will ultimately have to
settle for a cheaper house or entirely sit out the purchase offer.

In 2018, analysts estimate that the Toronto resale market will be moderately flat overall and stay within the price
range of $700,000 to $750,000. Nevertheless, the new mortgage policies will still impact how much property
individuals can buy at a given time.

As for the condo market, pre-construction condos will continue performing well, particularly given that the purchasing
power of first-time home buyers’ who are mostly millennials will diminish following the new rules. These are the
homes they can buy easily since they are more affordable than the others.

Statistics show that prices for Toronto condos have been up by 24.5% year on year due to huge demand from
buyers. Currently, the average cost of a condo in Toronto City is $532,700, according to the city’s Real Estate Board.
It has become the starter home for people who want to own their first property.

As the new mortgage policies are absorbed into the market, it’s predicted Toronto real estate buyers and sellers will
take a wait-and-see approach to assess the full impact. Even so, the market will not stay down for long given the
city’s vibrant and healthy economic activity which strongholds demand for Toronto real estate. Continued migration
from foreigners seeking to settle in the city will put added pressure on the available housing market inventory.

Moreover, the Royal LePage in their latest House Price Survey predict that, policy measures such as the new
mortgage rules shall subdue GTA real estate inflation to an extent. Additionally, they foresee an upsurge in demand
during the latter half of 2018, as potential home buyers adapt to new realities in the Toronto real estate market.

On average, the amount of residential purchases in 2018 for condos will vary between 85,000 and 95,0000 units,
while the average selling price shall be between $649,000 and $689,000. Similarly, housing rates are expected to
end 2018 in the ratio of $800,000 and $850,000 across all types of homes.

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Buyer Stress Test & B Lender Financing

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Starting January 2018, new regulations will make it harder for homebuyers to qualify for uninsured mortgages. All borrowers even those with down payments of 20% or more, will now be required to take a buyer stress test.

This may mean a shift from traditional prime A lenders to the smaller alternative B lenders and provincially regulated credit unions for many mortgage hunters. In Canada we have 3 major types of mortgages which are based on the payment risk the lender faces:

A – Traditional prime lenders (large banks, virtual mortgage houses like First National & ING). These mortgages have lower chances of the borrower defaulting than non-prime mortgages.

B – Non-conforming/alternative or sub-prime lenders. “B” mortgages. These are riskier so lenders rely heavily on the equity in the subject property and/or on charging rate premiums to mitigate that risk.

C – Private lenders

Prime or A lenders focus on borrowers who have good jobs and credit history and are purchasing homes within the traditional guidelines. However, many borrowers don’t qualify for A lenders and mainstream mortgages are not for everyone, so the next option to consider may be the “B” lenders. Perhaps you are new to Canada, recently divorced or have past credit issues such as late payments, collections, or past bankruptcy. Maybe you need to use your self-declared income because you’re a small business owner or self employed.

B lenders normally consider each application on a case-by-case basis. They have similar strict qualifying criteria you need to fulfill, but they are able to look at the ‘overall picture’ of your financial situation and see what kind of mortgage would work for you, allowing for a more flexible approach.

Of course compared to the A Lenders, the B lender mortgage rates are higher, as your borrower profile is riskier than the average traditional borrower. B lenders charge a premium between 1-3 percent over traditional interest rates and usually lend for a much shorter term, starting as low as one year. In addition, there is usually a commitment fee and/or lender/broker fee charged up front, as a percentage of the total mortgage amount. A larger down payment of minimum 20% is usually required, as most B lenders do not provide high ratio mortgages. Also keep in mind that only fixed mortgages are available through this type of lending.

Also it is important to note that while most B lenders offer great pre-payment privileges, they also often charge more for paying out the mortgage early and are very strict about missed payments, so make sure check all the terms and conditions of your loans and understand them fully.

If you have good credit history and qualify for prime lending, should you still consider B lender mortgages? If the interest rate offered by the B lender is competitive to that of the big banks, then why not? You could save thousands in interest and be mortgage-free sooner. To stay competitive in a mortgage market largely dominated by big banks, B lenders often offer more competitive interest rates and usually have smaller penalties and offer more generous mortgage prepayment privileges.

People are often cautious about working with smaller and sub-prime lenders, as big name banks are associated with stability and safety, but that is just large advertising budgets at work. Most smaller mortgage firms and B lenders get their financing from large financial institutions and their source of financing is just as stable.

The proportion of mortgages given out by alternative institutions, other than banks or credit unions is still relatively small, only around 2.2% of the entire mortgage market, as per recent analysis from CIBC, but it has been growing steadily by about 25% a year since the last recession of 2008-2009. Recent government regulations have allowed alternative lenders to fill a key void in the market allowing credit options for a range of buyers.

A word of advice, don’t get too caught up on the higher interest rates of the B lender mortgages. Consider that it is only a temporary measure and is your stepping stone on your way to prime lenders. B Lenders can act as bridge to A lenders just after a couple of years, in times when you need refinancing the most.

For those considering a mortgage through an alternative B lender please make sure you shop around and get advice from an experienced and reputable broker to learn about all your available options to get the best mortgage out there for you.

If you have any questions about the new regulations or have any other real estate related questions, please contact us at any time.

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New Mortgage Rules: Buyer Stress Test

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There are new changes coming into effect on January 1, 2018 introduced by The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) requiring all uninsured borrowers to complete a newly designed buyer stress test before they can qualify for a mortgage.

What is an uninsured borrower? It is anyone who has put down twenty percent or more of the value of the property as a down payment to secure their mortgage. These borrowers do not need mortgage insurance and are therefore known as uninsured borrowers.

Insured borrowers have down payments of less than twenty percent and terms less than five years, and these borrowers have been required to pass a stress test since last year. The stress test ensures that borrowers can afford their loan payments even if interest rates suddenly increase.

Under the newly proposed test lenders want to mitigate the risk of default by the proposed stress test and that is why uninsured borrowers will have to now qualify based on the greater of a five year fixed rate from Bank of Canada or the current rate + 2% stress test. Which of these two criteria will be used to determine the test outcome, depends on which of the two measures will have the highest value.

If you already have an approved existing mortgage, this rule does not affect your current mortgage no matter when the closing is. Pre-approved mortgages concluded between 17th October to 31st December 2017 should technically still be honoured by most major financial lenders, but we advise you to double check your pre-approved application. For all applications made in 2018, new rules will apply with no exceptions to both new mortgages and any mortgage renewals. Other changes under these new rules  include restrictions on co-lending or bundled mortgages.

These changes are surely going to affect different segments of the populations. Most vulnerable will be young first home buyers that are using funds given by their parents for a larger down payment and who may not yet have high paying jobs, many being just at the start of their careers. Also heavily affected will be buyers looking to expand or move up to a larger home as they will not be able to qualify for a bigger mortgage than previously possible and may not be able to negotiate as good a terms and rates as before. Industry experts are concerned on a cooling effect the new rules may have on the real estate market in the coming year.

However, not all outcomes of these new measures are negative. While buyers’ power and affordability is certainly going to decrease, rising national household debt is a growing concern as it continues to break records. By introducing this stress test, the government is preparing the market for any eventual rate hikes and the test would ensure we are prepared for them on both sides as realtor professionals and consumers. It is also a good time to consider those higher than normal debt ratios and rein in household debt and expectations, which all lead to a more balanced, stable market and more affordable home prices for buyers in the long run. The new stress test may also shift buyer focus to condos and townhomes.

Also this new rule does not mean that borrowers with higher debt ratios will no longer be able to get mortgages at all. While these borrowers should be prepared to pay higher rates, smaller B level lenders will still be able to offer some flexibility. Also, most provincially regulated lenders are not bound by these new regulations and local credit unions are expected to be very busy in the coming year. GTA continues to attract large numbers of newcomers, which is still the most important source of new buyers and any cooling or slow down of the market is likely to be temporary.

If you have any questions about the new regulations or have any other real estate related questions, please contact us at any time.

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Market Report: August 2017

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Last week, the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB)  released its market report for August. There has been a general cool-down in the GTA real estate market, in partly in response to new regulatory measures introduced by the Provincial Government earlier  in April. There was an overall  34.8% decrease in sales compared to August 2016 with only 6,357 transactions in August 2017. New home listings fell by 6.7% compared to August of last year. Detached home sales was probably the most affected segment of the market overall, with average prices around 20% lower than in April 2017.

However, all these jaw dropping stats aside, the actual house prices were up 3% from last year bringing an average price of a GTA home to $732,292. In addition, TREB’s  home price index composite benchmark, designed to smooth out variations and which accounts for typical homes throughout TREB’s market area, was actually  up by 14.3% on a year-to-year basis in August. This means that some areas in GTA were affected  differently and notably some areas such as Durham, Peel and Halton regions remained very much a seller’s market. The condo market in particular continued to outperform all other segments, up 21.4% from last year to an average price of $507,841 in August 2017. It is interesting to note that this is the first time the condo market has outperformed the single detached home category and the first year it has gone into double digit growth. Similarly, the rental market remains an equally hot area. Most rentals in the Toronto area are leased for over listing price, often with multiple offers and additional incentives.

While summer’s month-to-month sales also saw a decline, it can more typically be attributed to a slower than usual, traditionally slow seasonal market. This decline in sales may also be attributed to the psychological slow-down effect of the new provincial regulations on the Buyers. Reports indicate that the economy in the GTA continues to grow and is at a healthy pace which may play a key factor in normalizing the relationship between buyers and amount of listings on the market, which results  in a well balanced real estate market rather than an unsustainable market driven by irrational decisions, bidding wars and double digit growth.  A return to normalcy is welcomed by both sides in the long-run.

Despite the general cooling off during the summer since the announcement of new measures and recent interest rate hike , the GTA real estate market should not be dismissed so fast. TREB consumer research suggests that buyers that have previously put off their decision are set to return to the market and most likely in the fall. Most real estate purchases are not driven by speculation and cannot usually be subject to indefinite delay, often arising by pressing social and financial obligations of the Buyers’ everyday lives.  Current market predictions are that as more buyers jump into the fall market that has a smaller number of listings, this can affect the rate of price increase.

GTA real estate prices are expected to continue to grow year-to-year as the main factors that drive the real estate market have not changed. Population growth, low-interest rates, strong GDP growth and high employment figures continue to indicate that the region remains an attractive option for both local and  international buyers.

To view the full report click here.

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Garage Sale Organizing: 11 Useful Tips & Problems To Avoid

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As we come to the latter part of summer, it’s still a pleasant time of the year with summer bargain hunters looking to snag that perfect deal. Additionally, it’s a great time to host a garage sale to declutter your home before the cooler weather arrives and put some extra cash in your wallet. Early fall is also a popular period for students looking for back to school deals as well as young renters and new homeowners on the lookout for your used furniture and other discounted items. It is also an ideal time to put your winter related items on the market, such as:  sports equipment, holiday decorations, exercise equipment and various holiday collectibles.

 Mitra Moves You Team is organizing its annual garage sale in the German Mills area of Thornhill on September 2nd, 2017 from 8am-12pm. Joining our neighbourhood garage sale won’t cost you a cent and we will take care of the signs and advertising for you. All you have to do is show up on September 2nd in the Thornhill German Mills Area and make sure you are ready to bargain!

If you are interested in participating or just want to shop around, feel free to call us at 416-832-9292 or email a: hello@mitramovesyou.com for more information.

To help you get started, we outline 11 useful garage sale tips to host a great garage sale and 11 common garage sale problems to avoid when organizing your garage sale. See you on September 2nd!

 11 Useful Garage Sale Tips:

  1. Establish the purpose of your garage sale. Do you need to declutter in time for selling your home or need quick extra cash? This will affect the way you organize your sale, your pricing strategy and ability to negotiate and discount. It’s worth noting that it often pays more to price things slightly lower in order to sell more items. If you want to get top dollar for items of real value, consider selling them at popular online auction sites like Ebay or eBid.                       
  2. Make sure you have the right supplies at least a day before the sale. Supplies include: tables, coat hangers and stands, price stickers/tags, masking tape, scissors, money pouch/fanny pack, plenty of small cash/change for those pesky $20 dollar bills, pen/pencil and tracking ledger of sale items.                                                                          
  3. Clean & dust all your sale items.
  4. Sort everything into categories before you price anything.
  5. Price everything! This is a key step and is not be avoided. Most problems involving garage sales are always inevitably related to incorrect or lack of pricing, as you will discover in the problems section below.
  6. Price everything correctly. Consider pricing similar items the same amount or using blanket pricing method e.g. all shirts – $5. For larger items in working condition, a general rule for pricing should be in the range of 20-30% less than what you initially paid for it. Price big ticket items higher than your actual asking price because you will be expected to negotiate.
  7. Organize and display your items in the most attractive way possible. Some ideas to consider: placing your most sellable and larger items closest to the curb, grouping similar items, creating stylish vignettes and personalised tags, displaying clothes on hangers which is much easier for customers to go through. Displaying your items on tables is preferred, as shoppers like to see things at eye level. However, remember when it comes to toys, always place them at kids’ eye level or somewhere where they can reach them easily.
  8. Create a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Shoppers will likely linger for much longer if they feel comfortable. Be friendly, but not overbearing. Do not hover over customers, find an activity of your own, put on the radio for some friendly background music. Make sure you have water and drinks out for your fellow shoppers and their pets, especially if it is hot out.
  9. Make sure you have bags/boxes for the purchased items so your customers can happily leave with their purchases. Consider packing materials like old newspaper and magazines and old fabric scraps for wrapping fragile items.
  10. Make a “free stuff” box that you can fill with things you want to give away. Make sure it is placed somewhere easily visible in your yard or by your driveway.
  11. Donate leftover items to charity. Try not to keep anything you decided to get rid of in the first place. You can organize a charity pick up for the day of or after the sale, or leave unwanted items in your designated “free stuff” box by your driveway.

11 Garage Sale Problems to Avoid:

  1. Missing or no prices: this is consistently the number one problem garage sale shoppers face and report to be their ultimate pet peeve. Unpriced items will simply make shoppers leave. Remember that most of people at garage sale are looking for a bargain, so to them price is everything. People also don’t like to ask questions, so having every item priced should be your number one priority when organizing your sale.                                                                                           
  2. Incorrectly priced items can lead to confusion and customer frustration, which can be easily avoided if you have organize and think through your pricing strategy before the sale.
  3. Don’t base your sale items on your personal tastes. Just because you wouldn’t buy something that may be broken or aged, there are plenty of people who like to fix and restore objects or may be looking for a particular or component.
  4. Not labeling items: as mentioned above, generally people do not like to ask a lot of questions, so try to label your sale items clearly. Also you are not always going to be available to answer questions, proper labeling will take care of that.
  5. Lack of outlets: a common question often heard at garage sales is “does it work?” To avoid this question and make sure you don’t lose a potential sale on a hot item, have some outlets with a power bar available to test your plug in items.
  6. Don’t keep your sale items on the ground. Try to avoid displaying your items low on the ground. If you must do so, make sure you use bright coloured tarps or old tablecloths to make your displays more appealing.
  7. Mark ‘not for sale’ items clearly.  To avoid any confusion, place ‘not for sale’ signs on these items that are visible during the sale.
  8. Have your money with you at all times. Keep large bills in your pockets or fanny-packs separately from smaller bills. Do not use a cash-box that you may leave unattended or forget.
  9. Keep your home safe. Make sure doors and access points are locked, where you do not want shoppers to wander through. If you don’t know people personally avoid letting them inside the house. Direct them to the nearest public washroom if required.
  10. Do not get sentimental over your merchandise. Garage sale shoppers are generally looking for a bargain and don’t share your emotional attachment to the same objects.
  11. Don’t haggle over low priced items, it is just not worth it. If customers purchase several items, make sure you give them an additional discount or throw in another low priced item for a special deal.
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Best Renovations Before Selling

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You’re ready to sell. Should you renovate first?

After making the decision to sell, many homeowners turn their focus to renovations to add value to their home. It’s a valid consideration before you officially list your property. The key is in knowing what renovations are going to give a high return on your investment.

Know the market

Start by talking to a Realtor ® , preferably one who has several years experience in your neighbourhood. Ask how your home compares to others on the market or that have recently sold. And ask about the state of the market. In a seller’s market, you may not have to renovate as extensively as you would in a buyer’s market. If you decide to renovate, discuss your plans with your Realtor ® , he or she will be able to help you determine what projects will be most profitable.

Choose your renovation project(s)

According to some sources, some renovations can have a return on investment equivalent to 5 or 6 times their initial cost. Here are projects that may give you big bang for your renovation buck:

1. New paint

It’s as simple as that. The idea is to create a blank canvas where a prospective buyer can imagine living. The best way to do that is to choose a neutral shade (creamy whites and greys are popular now) and paint each room. This will tie in the rooms as you move from one space to the next. And it will freshen and brighten spaces as well. It may not necessarily be to your taste, but it will appeal to buyers.

2. Update flooring

If your hardwood is showing wear, or you have old carpet, you may want to consider updating your flooring. Look at having hardwood professionally refinished. In areas of carpet, remove the old and replace with hardwood/laminate. If you must carpet, choose a durable, low pile in a neutral colour.

3. Update fixtures

Old fixtures date your home. Look at replacing light fixtures throughout your home. And take a look at fixture laden rooms like the  kitchen and bathroom. Consider replacing or updating countertops, plumbing fixtures (taps & faucets) as well as cabinet hardware. These are small upgrades that can make a big difference.

4. Remodel or add a bathroom

Update the bathrooms in your home. Sometimes this is as simple as a fixture change and retiling the floor. But if you’ve got a pink toilet and matching tub, you may want to consider completely remodelling the space. Or if your current home has only one bathroom, you may want to consider adding another (3-piece) if at all possible. This is one renovation investment that usually sees significant return.

5. Remodel the kitchen

This can make a significant difference in the value of your home. Look through magazines for current kitchen trends. Things to consider include: an open lay-out, an island, brightness through windows or under cabinet lighting, white cabinetry is often more preferred to dark. Appliances are important too – the current trend is towards stainless steel finishes.

Before you spend a penny

Once you’ve decided to renovate to increase your home’s resale value, there are some key things you can do to ensure your projects are done on-time and on-budget. This is very important when you consider that you’ll also have the costs and logistics of moving from this home to another. Do yourself a favour and consider the following:

1. Set your budget

Once you know what needs to be done, do your homework to determine the extent of your renovations and what they’ll cost. Weigh these costs carefully. Remember, renovation costs are in addition to  the costs of moving, land transfer and legal fees and the downpayment on your new property. And be prepared with money in reserve – a good rule of thumb is +30% of your original budget – to allow for unforeseen issues.

2. Set your timeline

Renovations don’t happen overnight. Especially involved projects like a bathroom or kitchen. If you need to sell sooner rather than later, then this may mean sticking to cosmetic renovations. If you have the luxury of time, then you can look at larger projects like updating a kitchen or bathroom, or creating an income suite. Check with the pros who will be completing the work for you and ask for a timeline. Then budget more time for unforeseen issues. If you’re doing the work yourself, be sure to give yourself plenty of time so that you’re not cutting corners as your listing date looms.

3. Create a plan

From day one until the project is complete, you should be following a plan. This is crucial particularly for large, multi-stage renovations. A plan can be created with your contractor so that you both have a clear vision of what – and when – things should be accomplished and how much is spent along the way. This will help to keep lines of communication open as well. If you’re doing the work yourself, a detailed plan will keep you on track so work is completed on time.

Let the Mitra Moves You Team be your guide

The Mitra Moves You Team takes pride in serving Thornhill and other communities. We are committed to transforming dreams into sustainable wealth through strategic home ownership and real estate investments. And we’re just a phone call away.

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What is Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan?

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It’s no secret that Toronto’s housing market is on fire. Do an online search and you’ll find hundreds of articles and opinions on everything from why the market is hot, to when or how the ‘bubble’ will burst.  Toronto’s housing market is experiencing unprecedented housing price increases and while many will profit handsomely, the current trend is creating a market that is unaffordable to many more (potential) homebuyers and renters. Housing is a basic need for all Ontarians. In an effort to alleviate the pressures Ontarians face trying to buy a home or afford their rent, the provincial government recently introduced the Fair Housing Plan.

Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan

The Plan consists of 16 comprehensive measures designed to:

  • Bring stability to the current market
  • Protect the investment of homeowners
  • Enable more people to find an affordable place to live particularly in the GTA and Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH).

Most notable of these measures is The Non-Resident Speculation Tax. In making the announcement, Premier Wynne was very clear that the tax “has nothing to do with new Canadians and people who want to make Ontario their home…with this tax, we’re targeting people whoaren’t looking for a place to raise a family. They’re looking only for a quick profit or a safe place to park their money.”

According to a press release from the Office of the Premier, this is a “15 per cent Non-Resident Speculation Tax (NRST) on non-Canadian citizens, non-permanent residents and non-Canadian corporations buying residential properties containing one to six units in the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH).”

There are also measures designed to address rent control, stimulate creation of more new purpose-built rental apartment buildings, stem tax avoidance and excessive speculation in the housing market, and to create a new Housing Supply Team to work with developers and municipalities.

You can learn more by visiting the following links:

https://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2017/04/making-housing- more-affordable.html

https://news.ontario.ca/mof/en/2017/04/ontarios-fair- housing-plan.html

Will these measures work?

The answer to this is that time will tell. For now, the market continues to offer interesting options for selling, downsizing and investing. If you’re interested in exploring what potential the market has for you, talk to a Realtor ® .

The Mitra Moves You Team takes pride in serving Thornhill and other communities. We are committed to transforming dreams into sustainable wealth through strategic home ownership and real estate investments. And we’re just a phone call away.

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Downsizing Explained Real Estate

Time To Move To A Smaller Home? Downsizing Explained

By | knowledge, resource | No Comments

As a senior, you’re probably familiar with the notion of downsizing, i.e. selling your current home for a smaller residence. You may even have friends or relatives who have taken the plunge. For many people, making the move to a smaller home opens the door to living large. We are not really talking about having piles of money to spend (although for some that may be true!), we are talking about the opportunities that open up when you downsize.

Imagine being able to travel on a moment’s notice where all you have to do is lock the condo door behind you. Or after years of traveling back and forth, you’re finally close enough to be the one who hosts the birthday party. Or your years of commuting are over and you can finally live in that vibrant urban neighbourhood with amenities steps from your door. That’s living large and what downsizing could offer you.

7 Reasons People Downsize Their Home:

1. The kids are grown and the current house is too big

2. To do less house-related work

3. To be closer to children, grandchildren and other family

4. To decrease living expenses and save money

5. More freedom to travel

6. For a different lifestyle – city living for some, country living for others

7. Desire for a simpler life

Your reason for downsizing is as much a part of your smaller home search as your budget.

Make a list

Sit at your kitchen table with a pen and paper:

  • Make a list of reasons why you are considering downsizing.
  • Make a list of the best things about where you currently live.
  • Make a list of the things you would like to change.
  • Make a list of ‘needs’ (these are concrete things like the number of bathrooms, stairs vs. no stairs, yard size, accessibility, etc.).
  • Make a list of ‘wants’ (these are nice to have, but not deal breakers i.e., fireplace, landscaping, deck or pool, hardwood vs. carpeting, etc.)

The idea is to get you to imagine living somewhere new and to start thinking about the kind of lifestyle you want to live within that smaller space. This will also give you an idea of what you want your new residence to provide for you at this stage, and going forward, in your life.

Amazing smaller home options:

  • Condominium where you can come and go as you please; may offer amenities like gym, swimming pool, rooftop decks/gardens
  • Townhouse where snow removal and lawn care are done for you
  • Small detached or semi-detached home where you can garden and barbecue and have the grandchildren for a sleepover

Make a financial plan

Talk to your banker, financial adviser or other knowledgeable source about your desire to downsize. Discuss the impact this change will have on your finances. Prepare now, so that you understand the financial processes that will occur when you sell, buy and move to your new home. Some things to discuss:

  • Will you need a mortgage? How will that impact your income/savings into your retirement years?
  • Get help creating a budget to handle the following move-related expenses:
  • Closing costs
  • Moving expenses (you may need a professional to help you sort through your belongings and/or hire a company to pack and transport)
  • Minor renovations to your new home before you move (painting, hardwood refinish, minor repairs, etc.)
  • Create a budget based on your new home’s current fixed costs (i.e. utilities, property tax, etc.) so you know what your monthly expenses will look like BEFORE you buy.

Call a Realtor ®

And make an appointment to discuss your plan. If you haven’t purchased property in many years, it might feel like you’re doing it again for the very first time. A lot of rules, fees and regulations have changed. Your Realtor ® will help you with the following:

  • Assessing the current value of your home and giving you a realistic approximation of what you can expect to receive upon selling. Your home may be worth significantly more than you think at this time!
  • Informing you of closing costs you will incur including, but not limited to: Home inspection fees, Land transfer tax, Legal fees and related expenses, HST, Home insurance
  • Showing you a variety of properties that best represent your ‘must haves’ and ‘needs’ and negotiating your new home purchase.
  • Selling your current home.
  • Walking you through the process step-by- step.

Call The Mitra Moves You Team

Thriving communities offer an incredible range of dwellings from which to choose. If you’re downsizing, it’s possible to remain within – or close to – your current neighbourhood. Start by finding a Realtor who cares for you and knows the area. The Mitra Moves You Team takes pride in serving Thornhill and other communities. And we’re just a phone call away.

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