Information about local real estate market conditions
Monday, July 23, 2018
House and Home Real Estate Market
Many people are tempted to sell a home on their own because they like the idea of saving that four to six per cent commission they’d otherwise pay a real estate agent. However, selling privately is a lot harder than you think and there are many downsides to offering your home as ‘for sale by owner’ (FSBO).
Consider all the aspects that go into selling a home yourself and know exactly what you’re getting into. Selling a home is hard work and will take up a lot of your time. You’ll need to book appointments and show the property to buyers, hold open houses, negotiate the offers, market the home and deal with all other administration required for the sale. It can be a full-time job, except it’s not!
Benefits of hiring a Realtor
Real estate agents are the professionals who know exactly what your home needs to be the most appealing to potential buyers. They have the knowledge and experience to handle all aspects of the sale. They can guide you in choosing the best, most appropriate price at which to list your home. Agents have market knowledge and aren’t emotionally attached to the property. Going the FSBO route can lead to overpricing which could mean your house will sit on the market for too long. Negotiating the sale can be an awkward and difficult thing to do. A good Realtor can negotiate more favourable terms, price and conditions for you than you’ll likely be able to do on your own.
Hiring a real estate agent also means you’ll benefit from the services they offer including, staging, professional photography and video, social media and exposure to a wide network of other Realtors through multiple listings services.
Think twice about skipping a real estate agent when you sell your home. They’re there to help!
Contact me anytime to find out how I can help you on your real estate journey! Email me at email@example.com or call 905-335-8808.
Monday, May 14, 2018
Financial Health Real Estate Market Buying and Selling
At the beginning of this year, new tighter mortgage rules were put out by The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI). This has made it more difficult for some homebuyers to get mortgages this year.
The new rules have stricter qualifying criteria as the requirement for a mortgage stress test is now extended to all homebuyers. Even borrowers with a down payment of twenty per cent or more now face a stress test, as has been the case since January 2017 for applicants with smaller down payments who require mortgage insurance. This is aimed at limiting the amount of debt that Canadians and financial institutions take on.
So what is the stress test? It means that financial institutions would use either the five-year benchmark rate published by the Bank of Canada or the customer's mortgage interest rate plus 2 per cent - whichever is higher. This is to ensure that borrowers’ housing expenses compared to their income remain below a certain threshold even if rates rise. Financial institutions look at the size of the loan compared to the price of the house as well as credit scores.
For some first-time homebuyers these stricter mortgage lending rules mean you might need to rent for longer before you can buy a home. Or you might need to consider getting a co-signer to qualify under these stricter rules. This may cause others to have to settle for a less expensive home than they would have qualified for in the past, and some people may choose to wait and save up for a larger down payment.
Are you a first-time homebuyer? Get in touch to discuss how I can help you on your journey to home ownership! Call me at (905)330-5201 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, April 27, 2018
Real Estate Market Buying and Selling
By: Marion Goard, Sales Representative, Master Accredited Senior Agent, Senior Real Estate Specialist
This article was originally published in Silver Links News' spring issue.
Understanding later-in-life housing options or discovering what is best for yourself or an aging relative can be a daunting task. Often, seniors find that just thinking about a move is overwhelming so they simply avoid the matter completely. As a Master Accredited Senior Agent and Senior Real Estate Specialist, my goal is to help seniors and their families become familiar with all their housing options and to encourage that important conversations take place sooner rather than later to help circumvent crisis situations. In this article, I demonstrate the difference between reverse mortgages and a unique program called Sell ’n STAYTM.
We know that living costs are continuing to increase and we also know that many seniors fear they’ll outlive their money. As a result, Reverse Mortgages are currently capturing seniors’ interest. A reverse mortgage is a way for homeowners to access up to 55% of the current value of their home as a tax-free cash loan. The amount of the loan is based on the age of the homeowner(s) (who must be 55 or older), the appraised value of the property, it’s sale-ability and the amount of equity the owner has in the property. In general, the older you are and the more home equity you have when you apply for a reverse mortgage, the bigger your loan will be. Funds from a reverse mortgage can be made available to you in a lump sum, in planned advances, or a combination of the two. Money from the loan can be used for anything you choose. Although with some exceptions, you have the option to repay the principal and interest in full at any time; with a reverse mortgage regular mortgage payments are not required. Instead, interest will be added to the original loan amount, which over time, increases the loan amount. When you or your estate sells your house or if you move out the loan will need to be paid out.
A reverse mortgage may be an appealing option, however, it’s important to note that the interest rate charged for this type of mortgage is notably higher than for other types of mortgages; the equity you hold in your home may go down as the interest on your loan adds up over the years; there are prepayment penalties if you sell your house or move out within 3 years of getting a reverse mortgage; your estate will need to repay the loan and interest in full within a set period of time when you die; given the probate process, the time to settle an estate can be longer than the time allowed to repay a reverse mortgage and, the costs associated with a reverse mortgage are usually higher than for other mortgages. The senior continues to own the home and remains responsible for property maintenance and repairs, utilities, insurance, municipal taxes as well as condo fees if the property is a condominium.
Sell ’n STAYTM is an option where seniors sell their home to a qualified investor buyer at its fair market value or the price negotiated between the seller and the buyer. Together with the sale, the senior enters into a lease agreement with the new owner. The terms of the lease vary with each transaction. As a tenant, the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) protects the senior. Among other things, the RTA outlines tenant rights, clearly states landlord responsibilities and protects the senior against unlawful eviction and rent increases. An added benefit is that home maintenance, repairs and taxes etc. are now the responsibility of the new landlord allowing the senior to remain in a home they love and are familiar with, without the costs associated with home ownership. It’s also a way of leveraging the property’s equity without having to move and/or search out alternative housing or face a market with low vacancy rates for rental properties.
Sell ’n STAYTM provides the senior with 100% of the equity established in the home (minus closing costs). Other than making rent and utility payments, the senior is no longer responsible for house related expenses. In contrast to a reverse mortgage where interest is accumulating, by opting to Sell ’n STAYTM seniors can invest the funds realized from the sale to earn interest income. Depending on how the funds are invested, the interest earned can go a long way to covering the rent payments. The funds from the sale of the property could be used for other ‘bucket list’ items and/or to be able to afford homecare or other services an older adult may find necessary or beneficial as time passes. Lastly, the senior’s estate is not affected in the same way it would be with a reverse mortgage. In a nutshell, you do not pack, you do not move, you do not change your address - you simply change the ownership status.
In Canada, reverse mortgages are available from HomEquity Bank as the Canadian Home Income Plan (CHIP) and can be accessed from HomEquity Bank directly or through mortgage brokers. Equitable Bank offers reverse mortgages as well, as the PATH Home Plan, also available through mortgage brokers in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. As noted above, age is a primary qualifying factor.
Sell ‘n Stay Inc. is a Mississauga based company that is federally incorporated and has been vetted by lawyers, financial advisors and mortgage brokers. The company trains and certifies real estate sales representatives across the country to offer this unique program. As Sell ‘n STAYTM is not age dependent, it is not limited to seniors and can be valuable in various other scenarios.
Should you choose to pursue either of these options, please be sure to consult with your own professional advisors, primarily your financial planner and lawyer. For more information on Sell ’n STAYTM or other housing options for seniors you can trust that I will competently help you consider all your options so the best possible decision and plans can be made.
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
House and Home Real Estate Market Buying and Selling
We know how important first impressions can be and the same goes for your home! Giving your guests a warm welcome and making them feel great when they arrive at your home leaves a lasting impression. Make sure it’s a good impression you leave with the help of these tips.
The first place they will see when they arrive is your door and entryway. So the first step is to make sure this area is clean and welcoming. The door itself will make an impression. You’ll want to make sure it’s not in rough shape and worn down. It might need a fresh coat of paint and the colour your choose is important to set the tone for your entire home’s feel. The colour will say a lot about your style and personality.
Next, the entrance should be inviting! It needs to be clean, clutter free and well lit. Also make it comfortable by including a chair or bench for your guests to be able to sit to take off their shoes.
As people enter your home the small details will make a great impression. Having fresh flowers and plants around will add a fresh feel. Add comforting scents with diffusing essential oils or by burning candles. Playing some soft music in the background also adds to the perfect welcome.
Lastly, make sure to have your home in great shape - from keeping it clutter free and clean and making sure you keep on top of fixing things when they are broken. A well taken care of home definitely leaves the best impression.
With these few small touches you will be certain to leave people with your home’s best first impression.
Thursday, March 15, 2018
Real Estate Market Buying and Selling
When spring has sprung, so has the housing market! Spring is typically considered a hot period to sell your home, as it’s the beginning of the busiest season in most areas.
One reason is that people like the warmer weather. Homes look better and days are longer. Families also usually prefer to purchase a home this time of year to be settled before the next school year begins. Homes do not have as much curb appeal during the harsh winter months. Blooming flowers and fresh gardens make the house beautiful and inviting and first glance.
Another major benefit to selling in the spring is that prices are usually highest during this prime season, when the most homes are listed. So you’ll be able to get the best price, in the shortest amount of time.
During the spring market you’ll reach a wide variety of potential buyers, and they will be eager buyers. With more buyers in the market, your listing will reach a greater number of people and you’ll have more exposure. This may mean you will get better offers. It also helps you to be more selective with offers and you’ll be less likely to have to settle so you can stay firm on your price. Spring is a seller’s market, giving you the upper hand.
Finally, selling a home can be stressful, so getting it done early in the spring allows time for you to enjoy your summer! So if you’re selling, spring is the optimal time.