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This is the time of year when we all hope to come ‘out of the chute’ with renewed vigour and determination to have a great year with family and friends. Looking back to this time last year, we had similar thoughts and, with your help, we obtained a professional goal 10 years in the making.
In December 2014, we were the recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award for having been in the Top 1% of Royal LePage Realtors® nationwide for 10 years … in our case, 10 consecutive years. Seen below is Team Weir with Royal LePage CEO, Phil Soper.
With regards to how Team Weir stood up against the rest of the Real Estate Board, the average number of days on market for our listings was 55, compared to 85 in the Quinte and District Board as a whole. That’s30 days less stress associated with showings and the waiting game. Likewise, the average sale to final list price in our Board was 95.72% in 2014 while Team Weir’s was 97.09%. In other words, if you sold a $200K home with Team Weir, you would have netted an additional $2,740!
Taking a quick look at some other numbers, the December Average Residential Sale price in 2014 was slightly higher than 2013, coming in at $240,304 compared to $233,265 last year, reflecting an increase of 3%. December also saw more new Residential listings in 2014 than last year, with 188 in 2014 and 139 in 2013. Have a look at the table below for some annual numbers as well.
With that in mind, house hunting season will soon be upon us. Believe it or not, we’ve already sold homes to 2 house hunters in January! If you’re thinking of selling, now is the time to give us a call to put a price on your house or to give you some ideas about how to get ready to put it on the market.
Don’t forget our Annual Home Buyers and Sellers Seminar will be held at the MFRC again this year. Mark your calendar with the date … Thursday, March 5th 7 – 9 PM. The itinerary will include discussion about home inspections, staging, the legal process, and what you should know if you’re thinking about buying a new construction home. We look forward to seeing you there!
As always, check out our Blog and follow us on Facebook for updates on the national and local real estate markets. Be sure to ‘Like’ us and you’ll automatically be entered in our annual iPad draw which will take place at the end of this month.
And last, but not least, thank you all for your support and your referral of our services to friends and family. Without you, we would not be in a position to give back to our local and international communities, such as Three Oaks Women’s Shelters and Robin’s Nest Children’s Orphanage in Kenya, as we have through the years.
All the best from our family to yours. We hope your 2015 is safe, prosperous, and ‘rock’in’.
NEW FOR MILITARY MEMBERS
If you’re a member of the military or the military community these items may be of interest to you and your pocket book.
First, Canex will be launching a new Canex.ca online shopping platform which will offer a selection of military affinity products, pride of assocation merchandise, performance eyewear, military gear, and brand name merchandise. The new site will feature a larger selection than is available in Canex stores and free shipping will be offered in limited situations. Check with your local Canex for more information.
Next, under the Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP), Canadian Forces members and public servants will no longer have to pay a deductible as of January 1, 2015 to cover eligible dependants. This means that any medical expense, including prescriptions incurred on or after the first of the year will not be subject to a deductible. With the elimination of the deductible, claimants will only be responsible for paying the 20% co-payment and any costs exceeding the reasonable and customary charges or the maximum eligible expenses stated for each benefit through Sun Life.
For further information on the Public Service Health Care Plan please visit their website.
4 GOOD REASONS TO BUY A HOME
1. Housing is typically the one leveraged investment available.
“Few households are interested in borrowing money to buy stocks and bonds and few lenders are willing to lend them the money. As a result, homeownership allows households to amplify any appreciation on the value of their homes by a leverage factor. Even a hefty 20 percent down payment results in a leverage factor of five so that every percentage point rise in the value of the home is a 5 percent return on their equity. With many buyers putting 10 percent or less down, their leverage factor is 10 or more.”
2. You’re paying for housing whether you own or rent.
“Homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord.”
3. Owning is usually a form of ‘forced savings’.
“Since many people have trouble saving and have to make a housing payment one way or the other, owning a home can overcome people’s tendency to defer savings to another day.”
4. Owning is a hedge against inflation.
“Housing costs and rents have tended over most time periods to go up at or higher than the rate of inflation, making owning an attractive proposition.”
If you’re thinking of buying a home, or even selling for that matter, have a look at this graph which shows that Canadian home purchases typically spike in the spring. Good news because there is more inventory available to choose from and more people looking to get moved before the summer. This is particularly relevant in the Quinte area which is affected by our highly transient military population!
NEW ONTARIO LAWS
On January 1st, 2015 several new laws came into effect in Ontario. Here are a few that might be of interest to you.
With the latest amendment to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, smokers can no longer indulge on restaurant and bar patios, whether the space is covered or not. Smoking is also banned on playgrounds and publicly owned sports fields, including basketball courts, baseball diamonds, soccer fields and ice rinks. Violators may face fines of $250.
FEES FOR DRIVERS
Starting Jan. 1, all drivers purchasing a non-graphic personalized licence plate will have to pay $310, up from $251.65. The fee for plates with graphics, like a loon or the symbol of The Royal Canadian Legion, will remain at $336.40. General plates and certification now cost $20, up from $15.
Ontario’s building code has been amended to address the needs of the deaf and hearing impaired. In 2015, all fire alarms and smoke detectors in multi-unit residential buildings and suites must include a visual element to warn those who can’t hear alarms. To improve accessibility, all multi-unit residential buildings must also include power-door operators in shared spaces, including parking lots, washrooms and common rooms.
Starting 1 January, those who receive items of value through the will of a deceased person will have 30 days to file a report on the assets with the Ministry of Finance. Estate trustees must provide a detailed list of all real estate and personal property (including cash, vehicles, stocks and investments). The report must be filed in addition to an application submitted to the Ministry of the Attorney General, and the estate trustee will still have to pay a probate tax on the value of the estate.
In an effort to increase the number of women in high-ranking positions, public companies based in Ontario now have to disclose the number of women on boards and in executive officer positions. They also have to provide official policies regarding the representation of women on corporate boards and information on hiring and contract renewal processes.
STRICTER LENDING GUIDELINES
In November 2014, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) announced its complete B-21 guidelines for underwriting insured mortgages and also tweaked some of its B-20 guidelines, rules that shook the mortgage market when they were initially released in summer 2012.
Here are some highlights of the guidelines lenders will now have to follow when qualifying someone for a mortgage or mortgage renewal.
|•||You will need a minimum of 5% down payment and can NO LONGER use any cash back arrangement for your down payment.|
|•||You only amortize your mortgage for a maximum of 25 years on high-ratio deals.|
|•||You may be required to have appraisals on your property and greater scrutiny of its marketability will be applied.|
|•||You will need to qualify on the 5 year bench mark or posted rate if you are applying for a variable rate mortgage or 1-4 year fixed rates.|
|•||You can still get a home equity line of credit but only up to 65% the value of your home.|
|•||If you are self employed your challenges in obtaining purchase financing or refinancing have increased.|
Ask us for the name of a Mortgage Specialist who can discuss how the new guidelines might affect you!
DID YOU KNOW?
- You can remove coffee stains from carpet by rubbing a beaten egg yolk into the spot. Leave for 5 minutes, then rinse with warm water. Works on clothing too!
- To clean your septic tank, add 2 teaspoons baker’s yeast and 2 cups of brown sugar to 4 cups of warm water. Flush the mix down the toilet and let sit overnight.
- You can easily erase soap scum from shower doors by rubbing them with a fabric softener sheet.
- To clean brass, apply white, non-gel toothpaste on a soft cloth and then rub firmly on the brass. Use a fresh cloth to wipe clean.
- The easiest way to clean ceramic tile is with rubbing alcohol. Just pour it straight on and mop until it dries.