TEAM WEIR NEWSLETTER

OCTOBER 2015

David Weir • Donna Weir • Chelsea Weir • Kyle Weir • Victoria Parker

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Well, with the fall leaves tumbling around us and Christmas just around the corner, I’m sure most will agree that 2015, and the summer months in particular, have passed very quickly! And speaking of Christmas, who would like a little help from Team Weir with a gift of a new Nespresso Vertuoline machine, valued at approximately $300? To win this great gift, simply take a couple of minutes to write a few words about your home sale or purchase experience with Team Weir. Draw date is 15 December so we’d love to hear from you before then!

As many of you have seen on Facebook and in other Team Weir advertising material throughout the year, we have been giving away a $500 gift card each month to say Thank You to clients, past and present, for their loyalty and support in helping us achieve top 1% of approximately 15,000 Royal LePage REALTORS® nationwide for the past 10 years. Congratulations to all our winners! And, to kick off 2016, we will be doing one additional draw. Simply ‘Share’ our Team Page on Facebook!

As far as Real Estate goes, with the exception of some major centres in Canada, we’ve certainly seen a very balanced market with no major changes this year. National home sales, based on MLS data, now project a 3.3% increase to 495,800 units in 2015, making it the second strongest year on record for home sales in Canada. The average sale price of a home in Canada so far this year is $433K, representing an annual increase of 6.2 per cent.

In the Quinte Region, we have seen a 5% increase in the first three quarters of 2015 over the same period last year, with the average sale price now hovering at approximately $238K. Again, these numbers show a balanced market without the cyclical uncertainties seen in other regions such as Calgary. All that to say, Quinte is still a relatively inexpensive place to call home!

These figures relate to residential sales only and YTD means to end September 2015.

2015 2014 %Change
Total # of Listings in September 479 466 2.8%
Total # of Listings YTD 4,811 4,699 2.4%
Total # of Sales in September 255 224 13.8%
Total # of Sales YTD 2,401 2,062 16.4%
Total Sales Dollar Volume September $62,173,013 $49,694,683 25.1%
Total Sales Dollar Volume YTD $571,592,027 $467,692,019 22.2%

For more detailed information check out the newsletters and blog updates that we’ve posted throughout the year at davidweir.com or on our Facebook page at facebook.com/teamweir.trenton. Or, if you would like specifics with regards to your location, price range, or style of home please call or send us an email anytime for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation. In the meantime, keep an eye out for our Christmas letter and your 2016 calendar that will be mailed out early December.

Cheers for now,

David_Signature

SEALING & INSULATING YOUR HOME

ENERY STAR estimates that homeowners can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs by properly sealing and insulating their homes. These tips will help you plan for your energy efficiency improvements with a focus on resale value.

Determine
Understand the common signs of air leaks: exceptionally high heating bills, drafty rooms, and static electricity shocks from dry air entering your home in winter. Air leakage can represent as much as 40% of the heat lost from an older home.

Test
Locate air leaks by turning off the furnace and holding an incense stick close to windows, external doors and baseboards on a windy day. In unfinished basements, spider webs are also a sign of air leaks. You can also consult a professional energy auditor who will conduct a thorough ‘blower door’ test.

Seal
Protect against drafts by applying weather stripping around outside doors, attic hatches and window air conditioners. Caulk should be applied to cracks around window frames, doors and along the opts of baseboards. Reducing drafts can save up to 30% a year on heating costs alone.

Upgrade
Replace old windows with double- or triple-glazed glass panes that have ‘low-e’ coating and argon gas filling. Steel and fibreglass doors have cores of foam insulation that make them up to four times more energy efficient than wood doors.

Insulate
Add the maximum recommended amount of insulation in unfinished basements or crawlspaces. To prevent air loss up fireplace chimneys when not in use, fit a piece of rigid insulation below the damper. Garage doors should be insulated with proper gaskets between panels and exterior walls should also be checked for adequate insulation.

Add
Over 60% of all structural heat loss is through the roof. If your insulation is level or below the attic floor joists, you likely need to add more. Makes sure your attic hatch is properly sealed and weather-stripped as well.

Patch
Approximately 20% of the air running through ducts is lost to air leaks. Patch leaky duct work where accessible with mastic sealant or metal tape to mitigate the loss of air. Insulating duct work that runs through the attic can reduce energy costs.

Secure
Lock in the heat in winter and cool air in summer. Close your fireplace flue when not in use. Install a door sweep to resist against under-the-door drafts. Keep doors closed, including closet doors, when you’re not in the room.

 

HAGGLING OVER MORTGAGE RATES

Failure to haggle over mortgages can cost consumers thousands of dollars. Consumers continue to renew home loans at posted rates, with a large number of borrowers staying with their existing financial institutions when applying for or renewing mortgages. Failure to ‘shop around’ can cost them 1 to 1.25 percentage points of interest as they miss out on the financial benefit of haggling over rates. While 1% may not sound like much, it could translate into more than $12,000 in interst per $100,000 borrowed over a 25-year amortization schedule.

However, little by little, consumers are beginning to shop for better rates and currently many more people who are renewing their mortgage are using an independent mortgage broker. While people may not intend to renew with their current lender, many actually do … a vast majority simply accept their lender’s renewal form at the posted rate, or close to it, rather than take the time to find a reputable mortgage broker, who will shop the market for the best rates available.

Be sure to give us a call if you’re looking for someone who can do this for you!

HIRING A PROFESSIONAL CONTRACTOR

If you’re renovating your home, or building a custom new home, you want your project to go right. You want to work with a reputable contractor … one that treats you fairly and honestly, puts their promises in writing, and backs up their work. You should not deal with anyone who offers a special price if you pay cash and nothing gets written down. A cash deal means a lot more risk for you, and far less control over how your project turns out.

Use this handy checklist to remind yourself of important steps to follow:

Ask around about contractors. Interview the contractors who you feel may provide you with the services you require, and be sure to follow up on their references. Next, select contractors to supply quotes and provide them all with the same information.
Obtain a building permit if required by the municipality, or have your contractor do this for you.
Check with the provincial government about applicable lien regulations and requirements.
Call your insurance company to ensure your coverage includes construction-related risks.
Verify your contractor’s business liability insurance. Also, verify that required Workers’ Compensation coverage is in place.
Insist on a written contract. Don’t do business with anyone who won’t provide one. Read the contract details to be sure it represents what you have agreed to. Make sure the contract includes a clear warranty. Finally, ensure the contract is signed by both you and your contractor.
Get any changes to the signed contract in writing.
Keep written receipts for all payments.
Follow up on any warranty issues in a timely manner.

Click here for more information.

 

5 STRATEGIES TO SAVE TAXES

Although tax filing season is still months away for most Canadians, taking advantage of tax-effective strategies thoughout the year … and some before year-end … can help you avoid a larger than necessary tax bill next April. Here are 5 strategies that can help.

1 Maximize your RRSP contribution. Whether contributing by lump sum or all year long, your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) is one of the best ways to minimize taxes. The contribution deadline for the 2015 tax year is February 29th, 2016 unless you turned 71 in 2015, in which case your contribution cut-off is December 31st.
2 Shelter investment income through a TFSA. All the investment returns you earn in a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) are not taxed, even when withdrawn. The annual dollar limit has been increased to $10,000 effective this year. This means that the cumulative contribution total for those who have never invested in a TFSA (if fully eligible) is $41,000 per person in 2015.
3 Contribute to an RESP. A Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) combines flexibility, tax-deferred investment growth and direct government assistance to help save for a child’s post-secondary education. This year’s contribution deadline is December 31, 2015.
4 Split your pension income. If you receive pension income, you have the option of electing to allocate up to 50% of eligible pension income to your lower-income spouse or common-law partner, helping to equalize your incomes and save taxes.
5 Before year-end, donate to charity. The cut-off date for 2015 deduction-eligible charitable contributions is December 31st. Consider donating securities that would otherwise produce taxable capital gains. This strategy can produce a greater tax benefit than selling the securities and donating cash.

Article Compliments of the Royal Bank of Canada, Investment Update Fall 2015

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DID YOU KNOW?

  • Almonds are a member of the peach family.
  • Tigers have striped skin, not just striped fur.
  • A shark is the only fish that can blink with both eyes.
  • Butterflies taste with their feet.
  • A dragonfly has a life span of 24 hours.
  • A snail can sleep for 3 years.
  • An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain.
  • Cats have over 100 vocal sounds. Dogs only have about 10.

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