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Thanks to everyone for checking in! It was a busy summer indeed but now fall is well underway and, before we know it, Christmas will be upon us. Once again, we’d like to thank all our clients for helping us stay in the Top 1% of 14,200 Royal LePage Realtors® in Canada for 2012.
Team Weir is looking forward to 2013, planning our winter Home Buying, New Home Construction, and Staging seminars.
We’ve had such great feedback on our professional photographer that we’ll continue to offer this value-added service next year so our listings stand out from the crowd.
We’d like to welcome the newest member of our Team … our son Kyle Weir BSc, who joins us as a Licensed Realtor©. Look for him and our other Team Members on our Meet the Team Page.
In keeping with our ‘giving back’ philosophy, this summer saw us align with the second Habitat for Humanity build in Trenton. Ironically, Chelsea played a role in the first build while she was a high school student!
We also sponsored other community activities such as the local Women and Children’s Shelter at Three Oaks, Trenton Memorial Hospital’s Golf Fundraiser and ENSS’s Robotic Team, amongst others. Outside our neighbourhood, we focused on the country of Kenya, donating supplies and funding to an orphanage we visited last year. Your continued support of our business allows us to continue to support others.
As for the local Real Estate market, according to the Quinte & District Association of Realtors©, statistics indicate that residential dollar sales for the month of September 2012, as compared to September 2011, have decreased by 9.5%, the number of residential sales has decreased 2.7%, and the number of active residential listings has also decreased by 11.5%.
However, year to date statistics show that 2012 is still ahead of 2011 with residential sales showing an increase dollar value of 12.6%. It is to be noted that the average residential sale price so far this year has remained relatively stable at $217,301 as compared to $216,212 for 2011. Given what is happening elsewhere in the country, we may not have price increases in the coming months.
Please keep in mind that these are general numbers. If you, or someone you know, would like a complimentary market evaluation specific to your property, we would be glad to do so.
I would be remiss if I didn’t remind everyone to follow us on Facebook and to check out our Blog where we regularly post real estate updates and local happenings. If you ‘Like’ us, you’ll automatically be entered in our iPad draw. If you’re not on Facebook, just send Donna an email and she will enter your name. Good luck!
David Weir BA, CD
CANADA’S MORTGAGE RULES HAVE TIGHTENED
The rules for government-backed insured mortgages in Canada have changed as of July 9, 2012.
• The maximum amortization period for government-backed insured mortgages has been reduced from 30 to 25 years.
• The maximum amount that an individual can borrow when refinancing has been lowered to 80% from 85%.
• The federal government has set a maximum for gross debt-service ratio (GDS) at 39% and lowered the maximum for total debt-service ratio (TDS) to 44% from 45%.
• Government-backed insured mortgages are no longer available for homes with a purchase price of $1 million or more.
This latest move by the federal government — its fourth since 2008 — effectively turned back the clock to the pre-2004 state of affairs, resetting mortgage lending rules to more prudent, if conservative, standards. These new rules will likely restrain homebuyer demand, particularly from first-time buyers.
The reduction of the maximum amortization period to 25 years will have the most direct impact on Canadian homebuyers. For example, a $288,000 mortgage at 5.24% raises a homeowner’s monthly mortgage bill by $136 with a 25 vs 30 year amortization period.
If you’re ready to re-new your mortgage, check with a Mortgage Specialist to see how these changes may affect your budget or buying potential. Want to know who has the most competitive rates? Just send me anemail. We can get you a great rate without having to leave your home. And, best of all, you’ll talk to a real person throughout the process!
Effective January 1, 2013 client cards that do not contain CHIP technology will no longer work at any ATM in Canada, restricting your ability to access your accounts and withdraw cash. Despite having been sent a new client card with CHIP technology, a number of people still to use their existing non-CHIP enabled client cards. So if you are using your old card, upgrade to the CHIP card NOW so you won’t be affected!
TIPS FOR END OF SUMMER AIR CONDITIONING SAVINGS
It’s a good idea to give your air conditioning system some service, as it’s been humming along for a few months and may need attention. These are things you can do to make your system more efficient and protect it from unnecessary wear and tear.
||Check the air filter for the blower. When the filter collects too much dust and airborne particles, it slows the passage of air through the blower. This makes cooling your home more difficult and it raises your energy bills. Eventually, the dust can collect on the air conditioner’s evaporator coil, which may cause it to freeze over and waste energy. When the frost melts, it may cause water damage should it flood the drain pan.|
||Inspect the condition of the outdoor condenser. Bent or dirty fins slow the cooling process. The refrigerant passes through a coil inside the condenser and the fins help dissipate the heat, much like your vehicle’s radiator does. If a summer’s worth of grass clippings have collected on the fins, it’ll take longer for the heat from your home to cool. Hosing off the fins and coil for the air conditioning compressor restores its efficiency.|
||Remove any vegetation that’s collected near the condenser. You should have two feet of clear space on all sides of the condenser for the best ventilation. Be sure that the top of the condenser has at least five feet of unobstructed space above it. The fan inside the condenser brings air through the fins and coils, and anything that slows the process increases your electric bills.|
||Have your air conditioning system maintained by an HVAC professional if you haven’t already. When the technicians service your system, they go through your entire system, cleaning and adjusting the components, bringing it as closely back to factory standards as possible|
Information Courtesy of Reliance Home Comfort
TESTING YOUR HOME FOR RADON GAS
|Radon is odourless, tasteless, and colourless. According to Health Canada, radon is a cancer-causing gas released from the ground that can enter your home anywhere there’s an opening where the house contacts the soil (e.g., cracks in foundation walls, gaps around service pipes, support posts, floor drains, etc.). Some amount of radon is found in almost every home, but concentration levels will vary from one house to another, even if they are next to each other. It’s when the gas accumulates to higher levels in indoor air that exposure poses an increased risk of developing lung cancer.
Only a small percentage of homes will have radon levels above the guidelines but the only way to know the radon level in your home is to test it in one of two ways: hiring a radon measurement professional or purchasing a do-it-yourself radon test kit from a home improvement store. The cost of the test kit ranges from $25 to $75.
|If a test shows that your radon level is above the Canadian guideline, Health Canada recommends the following steps to reduce it:
• Increase mechanical ventilation to allow a more frequent exchange of air
• Seal cracks and openings in foundation walls and floors, and around pipes and drains
• Ventilate the basement sub-flooring by installing a small pump to draw the radon from below the concrete slab to the outside before it can enter your homeFor more information on radon and testing your home, visit the Health Canada website.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO INSTALL WINTER TIRES?
|Although the first snowfall should be weeks away, now is the time to prepare your vehicle for winter driving.Aside from a pre-winter vehicle inspection, one of the most important considerations a motorist can make is their choice of tires. Most literature and evidence points to winter tires as the preferred choice.
A Transport Canada report from a few years ago concluded that all-season tires are adequate if temperatures remain
|above -10C. When temperatures drop below -10C, all-season tires are less effective and don’t have the ability to remain pliable.
Pliability is an integral factor with winter tires. The more grip that your tires have on snowy, icy road surfaces, the better your chances of maintaining control of the vehicle. Winter tires in good condition allow for better stability and a shorter stopping distance during braking, and help a vehicle stay on course while turning.
Unlike all-season tires, winter tires contain cold-weather rubber compounds, channelling tread patterns, tread swipes (for wet surface control), plus an open tread block pattern for better snow traction.
Transport Canada recommends installing four winter tires, not just two. Most new vehicles today are built with front-wheel drive train, and yet all four tires should be replaced. All tires require linear (forward) traction and lateral (sideways) traction in order to prevent loss of control.
See the full Wheels.ca Article here
DID YOU KNOW?
- The ancient Celts thought that spirits and ghosts roamed the countryside on Halloween night. They began wearing masks and costumes to avoid being recognized as human.
- Jack o’ Lanterns originated in Ireland where people placed candles in hollowed-out turnips to keep away spirits and ghosts on the Samhain holiday.
- Halloween was brought to North America by immigrants from Europe who would celebrate the harvest around a bonfire, share ghost stories, sing, dance and tell fortunes.
- Orange and black are Halloween colors because orange is associated with the Fall harvest and black is associated with darkness and death.
- Black cats were once believed to be witch’s familiars who protected their powers.
- Bobbing for apples is thought to have originated from the roman harvest festival that honors Pamona, the goddess of fruit trees.