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On behalf of our small group of dedicated professionals … Chelsea, Doug, Kyle, Robyn, and Donna … I would like to thank you for once again enabling us to become the most productive Real Estate Team within the ProAlliance family in 2012. We recently learned that we ranked #47 of 14,600 Royal LePage REALTORS® in Canada, none of which would have been possible without you!
Your trust in our abilities to get your house bought or sold, and your referrals to family and friends, have put us in a position where we are able to continue to give back to others who have needs much greater than ours. Whether it’s the Robins Nest Orphanage in Kenya, the local Three Oaks Foundation for women and children in distress, or the local 2012 Habitat for Humanity Build, your support has helped many families around the world.
For ongoing updates about our charitable endeavours, or if you are looking for general real estate trends and statistics for the Quinte Region, check out our blog. Similarily, give us a call if you’re thinking about buying or selling in 2013. We’d be happy to talk with you about your real estate options. And don’t forget to join us for our upcoming Staging and New Home Construction seminar scheduled for 26 February, as well as the Home Buyers and Sellers
Seminar which is being held on March 5th. Both are being hosted at the Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC). Everyone is welcome!
Finally, I wanted to let you know that we are proud to have been selected to promote the area’s latest upscale subdivision at Brookshire Meadows in Trenton’s west end. The development features a 5-acre park, premium lots, and a wide selection of cost effective homes. More information is available on the Brookshire MeadowsFacebook page. If you “Like” our Brookshire Meadows page your name will be entered in a draw for a new 16 megapixel digital camera with carrying case and 8 GB SD card. The draw will be held 30 January 2013. Finally, as a last reminder, we will be drawing for a winner of our 2012 iPad Giveaway. If you haven’t liked our Team Facebook page or sent Donna an email, now is the time to do it. Last call is midnight on the 31st!
And, on that note, let me end 2012 by wishing you and your families a happy and healthy New Year. We look forward to seeing or hearing from you in 2013!
LOCAL REAL ESTATE
Without getting into too much detail, here’s a quick summary of what’s been happening in the Quinte Real Estate market. 2012 is still ahead of 2011 in terms of the number of houses sold. The average sale price of a residential home in the Quinte area has remained steady in 2012.
However, the month of November itself is reflective of the real estate market being experienced across the country. There were 22.6% fewer homes sold in November 2012 compared to November 2011. The number of listings has also decreased by 18.3% as compared to November 2011. The Quinte area seems to be falling in line with other cities, where Sellers appear to be taking their homes off the market rather than selling their properties at lower prices. Note that the following table reflects Residential statistics only.
If you, or someone you know, would like a complimentary market evaluation specific to your property, we would be happy to visit you at your convenience!
2012 TOP REAL ESTATE LESSONS
Although the time between signing a deal and closing usually goes smoothly, there are some things that can go wrong. The following are a few items that Mark Weisleder, a Toronto-based Real Estate Lawyer, encourages buyers to be aware of during the transaction.
Appliances – Sellers will only guarantee that the appliances and home systems they leave behind will be working on closing. If something breaks down shortly thereafter, it is not the seller’s responsibility. Buyers should consider insurance against these types of breakdowns.
Closing Day – Sellers have to move out as soon as title changes hands. This can be as early as 9 a.m., although most deals close between 1 p.m. and 4 pm. If the seller is still there after the title changes, they can be liable for any extra moving costs the buyer incurs. Also, sellers must provide keys to all door locks and remove any junk or risk paying associated costs to the buyer.
Arrange Bridge Financing – Most buyers want to close their sale and purchase on the same day. Sometimes it doesn’t go smoothly. Bridge financing gives you the ability to have the funds on hand if needed and merely pay interest on the money for one or two days.
Appraisal Policy Requirements – More and more lenders are requesting an appraisal after the buyer has waived their financing condition. If the appraisal says your home is not worth what you paid for it, they will not lend you what you expected. Ask about your lender’s policy regarding appraisals before you apply for any mortgage loan.
The New Home HST Rebate – People who buy a new home from a builder must understand that the HST rebate is built into the sale price. The builder will get this money, after closing, from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), so long as you move into the home. If you are not moving in, but intend to rent it out or resell it immediately, you will have to pay this HST, typically between $20,000 and $30,000, to the builder on closing. Otherwise CRA may chase you for the money later.
Information Courtesy of Mark Weisleder, Moneyville 28 December 2012
POSTED OR SELLING IN THE SPRING?
From simple aesthetics to washroom overhauls, Royal LePage has identified the top renovations that will increase the equity of a home. This list is ranked in ascending order of cost of project.
||Freshen Up. Adding a new coat of paint can freshen up a house and make the interior look like new and more spacious. Neutral colours are best.|
||Floors Galore. Today, hard surfaces are popular. If hardwood exceeds your budget, laminate works well. Be sure to put laminate in dining and living rooms and even the bedrooms. Opt for a neutral wood colour.|
||Lighten Up. Old or standard-grade light fixtures, electrical and light cover plates can easily date a house. Consider installing new light fixtures. Remember to go green where possible.|
||First Impressions. To increase curb appeal and entice buyers, ensure front lawns are tidy and gardening is minimal. Adding some standard shrubs and flowers will make a home more inviting.|
||Stylishly Steel. Knobs, fume hoods and backsplashes can make a kitchen seem outdated. Sleek, stainless steel hardware designs have the biggest impact on people looking to buy a home.|
||White Picket Fence. A fence and a deck instantly boosts a home’s appeal. Keeping kids and pets in the yard and nosy neighbours out, fences provide the back and side yards with a sense of privacy.|
||Occupied? A bathroom situated on the main floor is often a must have for buyers. Many homeowners are transforming closets or adding new rooms to accommodate two-piece powder rooms.|
||Exquisite Ensuite. Today’s homebuyer prefers bathrooms that have spa-style tubs and modern faucets. Granite and marble tiles are now readily available and can be purchased at relatively affordable prices.|
||Kitchen. Kitchen makeovers bring one of the highest returns on investment. Style and functionality are key with stainless steel appliances, ceramic sinks and clean lines on cupboards being the preferred finishes. Avoid dramatic styles and colour schemes.|
TAX FREE SAVINGS ACCOUNT (TFSA) LIMIT RISES
Starting next year, you can put $5,500 a year in a tax-free savings account (up from $5,000). That’s good news if you want to invest without having your returns nibbled away by income tax. Although TFSAs seem simple, they can be complicated. Articles written by industry insiders give only the positive points of TFSAs. You have to know the downsides as well in order to avoid them.
For instance, you can be penalized if you maximize your TFSA contribution each year, while moving money freely in and out of the plan. Under the rules, you can’t replace any withdrawals until the next calendar year.
You can also get into trouble when transferring your TFSA. There will be no tax consequences if your issuer completes a direct transfer on your behalf. But if you withdraw the money yourself and contribute it to another TFSA, this is not considered a direct transfer.
To avoid the pitfalls of the TFSA, be sure to check out Canada Revenue Agency’s website explaining how TFSAs work. There’s a separate section, written in plain language and graced with examples and bold print warnings.
COST OF CANADIAN PASSPORTS TO RISE
The cost of getting a Canadian passport is going up significantly in the new year! A five-year passport will increase to $120 from $87. Passport Canada indicates that without the fee increases, they would not be able to maintain current operations, let alone offer security-enhanced travel documents.
Also, starting in July 2013, a 10-year passport will also be offered at a cost of $160.
By March 2014, Passport Canada will also charge an additional $45 to replace a passport that’s lost or stolen, something that’s currently free. Approximately 55,000 Canadian passports are reported lost or stolen annually.
The agency said it’s currently losing nearly $5 every time it issues a passport, and has been financing its deficit by using previously accumulated surpluses that will run out next year. Passport fees in Canada have not increased for nearly a decade, the agency noted.
Canada will soon adopt new passports that include chip technology and watermark images designed to prevent fraud. The ePassport looks like a regular passport booklet, but contains an electronic chip that holds all of the personal information listed on the second page of the document and allows border authorities to confirm the passport is valid.
Canadians ordering passports from outside the country will see the biggest jump in fees. It will cost $190 to apply for, or receive, the five-year document in another country, up from $97. The fee will be $260 for the 10-year version requested under the same circumstances.
The cost of a child’s passport is also going up to $57, an increase of $20, if ordered domestically. It’ll cost $100 if the child’s application is processed outside Canada.
DID YOU KNOW?
- New Year is the oldest holiday, first being observed in ancient Babylon as many as 4,000 years ago.
- December 31, 1907 saw the very first ball lowering in Times Square
- The ball was not lowered in 1942 and 1943 due to wartime restrictions
- The song, Auld Lang Syne was composed by Robert Burns sometime in the 1700s. The term means ‘old long ago’ or ‘the good old days’.
- It was once believed that the 1st visitor on New Year’s Day would bring either good or bad luck for the rest of the year depending on who he/she was.
- Many cultures believe that anything given or taken on New Year in the shape of a ring is good luck because it symbolizes ‘coming full circle’.
- In various South American countries, yellow underwear is worn immediately after midnight as yellow brings good luck. All women in Mexico who want to find their love in the new year have to wear red underwear.