| Real Estate Advice

December Market Recap: “Say Goodbye to Last Year’s Roller Coaster Market.” If you haven’t checked out our latest market report, click here!

real estate dinosaur

What’s On in Toronto This Month.

The days and weeks following the holidays can feel like a letdown, but they don’t have to be boring. Need some convincing? Just take a look at these upcoming events in the city!

The Toronto Symphony Orchestra pays homage to one of the greatest composers of all time as the [email protected] Festival continues January 17 and 18. Don’t miss two top TSO soloists, a symphony that Mozart composed at lightning speed for a visit to Austria, plus two delightful opera overtures. More: [email protected] Festival

Captivate your senses with DanceWeekend ’18 January 19 to 21 at Harbourfront Centre. This massive celebration of dance brings together 25 professional dance companies and more than 350 dancers in exciting performances with a global perspective. More: DanceWeekend ’18

Bring the whole family out for “the playdate that’s been 65 million years in the making!” Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts will take you back to prehistoric Australia. This entertaining and educational show, complete with astoundingly realistic dinosaurs, is in town January 26. More: Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo Live

The popular Toronto Light Festival returns for a second year to the Distillery Historic District. This free festival, running from January to March 2018, will light up cold and dark winter nights with its spectacular installations. Check out this link for dates, pics from last year’s event, and … More: Toronto Light Festival

what to do in Toronto

The Mortgage Stress Test: What’s it About?

As some were celebrating New Year’s Day, the federal Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI), was implementing its new mortgage changes first announced last fall. Buyers who are making down payments on homes of 20% or more, will now have to pass a “stress test,” meaning they will have to qualify using the larger of the Bank of Canada’s benchmark rate (now 4.99%) or the rate in their contract plus two percent.

The upshot is that buyers, who may not qualify under these regulations, may have to start looking for a less expensive property. The alternative would be to save up for a larger down payment.

According to an article on radio station, 102.1 The Edge, some homeowners may have to look at homes up to 20% cheaper. Although, as Will Dunning, chief economist at Mortgage Professionals Canada, notes, it might end up being more like 6.8%, as the 100,000 possible home buyers, affected by the stress test, often have wiggle room in their budgets, preferring not to push themselves to the limit. Dunning estimates it may have a negative impact on roughly 50,000 of that 100,000, who would make a different (cheaper) purchase. Others may have to abandon their home buying dreams temporarily.

The legislation has just gone into effect, and the jury is still out on whether it will do what OSFI designed it to do: “limit… the amount of debt that Canadians and financial institutions take on,” as the Edge suggests.

Questions remain. But so far, it’s very much an issue of “wait-and-see.”

gorgeous bathroom

Make Your Home Buyer Friendly with Focused Staging.

With the move to buyers’ markets in many areas, you’ll want your for-sale home to look its best. And that requires focus. Focused staging, that is.

Staging your home can increase the offer amount by up to 10%, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) 2017 Profile of Home Staging. But what if you haven’t the time or cash to stage the whole house?

You focus on the rooms that push buyers’ buttons. A messy mudroom may not kill your sale, but an unusable kitchen or master bedroom may be a deal-breaker.

Few buyers can see beyond your personal style, particularly in hot-button areas like the living room, kitchen and master bedroom. So concentrate on staging these.

This article – from RISMedia – may help:

According to the NAR Profile, the living room is one of the most popular to stage. Make it feel larger by replacing bulky furniture with smaller pieces. Help buyers to imagine their things here; leave lots of space on shelves and around furniture.

In the kitchen, declutter countertops, the fridge and inside cabinets (yes, buyers willlook). Add colour with a bowl of fruit.

“Most bedrooms don’t need much more than the bed, dresser, end tables, and a mirror,” the article suggests. Make the bed the focus with beautiful, but not necessarily expensive, linens.

A clean bathroom is a saleable bathroom. The master bath, especially, should gleam. Add attractive towels and battery candles for atmosphere.

And don’t forget to tidy the outside. You know what they say about first impressions.

Ask an Expert a.k.a. Us!

What should I know about relocating my job?

As you prepare to change your life and your family’s for a new job opportunity, these tips may help:

Familiarize yourself with the cost of living at the new location. You may be disappointed if you base your income expectations on your current expenses. Verify the company is offering you a competitive salary for the new market, not your current one.

You may not be familiar with neighbourhoods in your new city. Contact a local real estate agent (who does) for help.

Moving involves many expenses. It’s important to realize you may need to dip into savings. Even if your company is paying many of the costs, this likely won’t cover everything. Even minor expenses add up quickly.

Streamline your relocation. Sell items that aren’t worth the cost of transporting. Ensure all former utility, bank, and other accounts are settled.

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