TEAM WEIR NEWSLETTER

MAY 2016

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DAVID’S UPDATE

WOW! What a start to 2016. The market has been the best I have seen in my 21 years as a Realtor® with multiple offers on the same property, homes getting top dollar, and selling quicker than you would expect. A great time to be a seller! And, as you will read below, also a great time to win some prizes from Team Weir!

As you can see on the chart, residential dollar sales for April 2016 were up 25.9% over this month last year. To date, we’ve experienced a reduction of 10.4% of Residential listings versus the same period last year.  There was an increase of 20.3% in Residential Sales, with 397 units sold in April 2016 and 330 in April 2015.  Although not shown on this chart, the Average Residential sale price of a home in April was $256,474 versus $245,009 in the same month of 2015, for a 4.7% increase.  There’s no question that Real Estate continues to be a good investment!

*Note that these figures relate to residential sales only and YTD means to end April 2016.

2016 2015 % Change
Total # of Listings in April 621 713 -12.9%
Total # of Listings YTD 1,928 2,151 -10.4%
Total # of Sales in April 397 330 20.3%
Total # of Sales YTD 959 817 17.4%
Total Sales Dollar Volume April $101,820,006 $80,852,893 25.9%
Total Sales Dollar Volume YTD $230,649,455 $188,727,580 22.2%

In other news, we are pleased to announce that we have updated our website to make it more user and ‘mobile friendly’.  Many years ago, we were one of the first in this area to launch a website and now, I believe, we are among the leaders in keeping our resources current and technologically practical.

With that in mind, we are asking you to send us an email from our website and we will enter your name in our draw for tickets to the annual July Rockfest in Belleville. To be fair to our out of town entrants, we will put your name ‘in the hat’ to win a gift card to your favourite store.  More than $1,000 in goodies are available to be won. Good luck to all!

And finally, don’t forget to check out future newsletters that we post throughout the year.  We also keep in touch regularly through our Facebook page.

Cheers until next time!

David_Signature

FIRST TIME HOME BUYERS TAX CREDIT

Buying your first home is often the largest financial commitment you will have make and coming up with the down payment is a difficult task for many! And, on top of that, there are the legal fees, property transfer fees, disbursements and all those other costs that add up.

To offset these costs, the First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit (HBTC) may be available to you or to someone you know who is thinking of buying their first home.

Who is Eligible?

The HBTC applies to first time homebuyers who intend to occupy the home as their principal residence no later than one year after acquisition. To be considered, a first time home buyer, neither the individual nor the individual’s spouse or common law partner will have owned another home in the year of the home purchase or in the four preceding calendar years.

How Much is the Tax Credit?

The $5,000 non-refundable tax credit provides up to $750 of federal tax relief. It is based on a down payment of $5,000 and is calculated by multiplying the lowest personal income tax rate (15%) x $5,000 = $750.

The individual’s spouse or common law partner may claim any unused portion of an individuals HBTC. When two or more eligible individuals jointly purchase the home, the credit may be shared but cannot exceed $750. If only one individual is eligible to claim the tax credit, the percentage of that individuals ownership of the home can be used. ie. 50% of $750= $375

Also note, it is up to the applicant to ensure that they can provide documentation for the purchase transaction and that they meet the applicable eligibility requirements, should the CRA require proof.

For more information, you can visit the Department of Finance Canada website.

HIRING THE RIGHT MOVING COMPANY

How do you select the best moving company for your needs?

  1. Ask for recommendations.
  2. Beware of fly-by-night operations. They may seem like a bargain, but you get what you pay for.
  3. Request a written estimate and contract. Beware of movers that just give you a price over the phone.
  4. Confirm they are covered by insurance, and clarify their policy regarding lost or broken items. Make sure you receive a copy of their insurance certificate.
  5. Finally, always ask what circumstances would result in extra charges being applied. The number one complaint received about movers by the Better Business Bureau is unexpected extra charges.

RRSPs vs TFSAs

Now that the 2015 tax season is behind us, it’s probably a good time to think about your investment strategies going forward. There is plenty of debate about RRSPs or TFSAs but each has its advantages and disadvantages and, because the serve different purposes, reasons to use both.

In the case of RRSPs, the taxes on any contributions you make are deferred until you withdraw the money … hopefully, in your retirement, when you’re making less income and are in a lower tax bracket. For TFSAs, the contributions you make have already been taxed, but you aren’t taxed at all on interest or other earnings within the account.

Reasons to Save in a RRSP

  • You want a steady stream of income from your savings in retirement: An RRSP gives you the chance to save more (18 per cent of your income to a maximum of $25,370 in 2016). This can build, with savvy investment, into a nest egg for when you stop working.
  • You want to reduce your taxable income: Any contribution to your RRSP comes directly off your taxable income, with the potential to move you into a lower tax bracket.
  • You need to put your money somewhere you won’t get at it easily: It’s painful to withdraw from an RRSP. There is a withholding tax that can be as high as 30 per cent if you withdraw money before retirement, which should discourage you from using your RRSP funds for a vacation or other purchase you could easily postpone.

Reasons to Save in a TFSA

  • You are young and your income is low: If you are in a low tax bracket, you get less benefit from the tax-saving aspect of an RRSP contribution. But if you save the RRSP contribution room until your 30s or 40s, when you are earning more, the tax reduction will pay off.
  • An RRSP isn’t an option: There are two ways that can happen. Either you’ve reached your contribution limit on your RRSP or you’ve turned 71 and are no longer allowed to contribute to an RRSP.
  • You have enough coming to you later in life that you’re worried about clawbacks to Old Age Security: RRSP withdrawals are considered income, so that combined with, say, a strong pension could result in a clawback on your OAS if your income exceeds a set limit ($72,809 in 2015.)

For more information, check out the entire CBC News article here.

ALTERNATE WIRELESS SOLUTIONS

In response to the ‘Wireless Rate Increases’ article in our January 2016 Newsletter, one of our clients kindly offered to share his findings on this topic.  Thanks Adam!

“Since moving into our home 6 years ago we opted not to have Bell install any phone lines. Instead we use a VOIP service for our landline called Talkit.ca.  I believe I paid around $150 for the device and first year of service and now only pay $70 per year for our landline.  This included every feature you can imagine, Canada wide long distance and keeping our existing number.  All an all we simply pay for our monthly internet charges at $56 from Cogeco.  It’s been extremely reliable and each of us has our own cell phone so if the landline ever went down (which it never has) we’re covered by a second method.

Additionally we found a local business www.electrogeek.ca, that sells television streaming boxes and a small HD satellite antenna to catch numerous free to air channels including local TV … 100% legal and their customer support is unrivaled (I can literally go to this guys house). Plus, he a member of our Forces.  We haven’t paid a regular cable bill in years and enjoy an unlimited supply of media on our television. For what I paid in start up costs, compared to all the channels, shows, movies and music I receive, the unit is paid for in 2 months vs. regular subscription.  It’s unreal.

I only share this because in today’s economic reality there are numerous options to traditional services available to homeowners allowing us to simply refuse to participate when providers decide they wish to maintain shareholder gains on the backs of loyal customers.  I have to pay more for groceries.  I don’t for media.  Seems like a smart choice for us.”

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DID YOU KNOW?

  • The Challenger Deep Trench is the lowest known natural point in the world at 35,797 feet below sea level at the bottom of the Mariana Trench. Only three people have ever made it to the bottom in a submersible, one of which was filmmaker James Cameron.
  • Reykjavik, Iceland is the most energy efficient and sustainable city in the world. All of the energy and heat used by its citizens come from geothermal plants and renewable hydropower. The city has also been replacing traditional buses with hydrogen-fueled buses, from which the only emissions are water.
  • Sweden consumes the most caffeine in the world … an average of 388 mg of caffeine in their coffee per person, per day. That’s almost 5 Red Bulls!

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