What Are the Steps to Buying a Home?

What are the steps to buying a home? You’re starting to think about becoming a homeowner, or maybe you’ve even started to look at listings. Either way, you likely have lots of questions, from the general “how to’s” to specific queries around financing, different home types and locations, to how to make an offer. To help simplify what can be a complicated process, we’ve outlined the steps to buying a house in Canada.

What Are the Steps to Buying a Home?

There’s a lot to do, but we’ve narrowed it down. Here’s our 10-step home buying process checklist to get you started!

1. Choose a real estate agent that’s right for you.

A home is a huge investment, so work with a realtor that’s knowledgeable, professional, and responsive. Treat your search for the right agent like a job interview. Meet with a few different agents, ask lots of questions and check references.

2. Know your budget.

As you already know, buying a home is going to be expensive. Knowing exactly how much it will cost and how much you can spend is a crucial step in making a wise investment. Consider your lifestyle, your income, and any current debts you’re carrying. Are you secure in your employment? Are you planning any major life changes in the near future, such as a job change or growing your family? Be mindful of the financial impacts this could have.

3. Explore mortgage options and get pre-approved.

A mortgage pre-approval informs you of how much your lender is willing to lend you based on a number of factors, such as your credit rating, income, and debts. The lender also guarantees the current interest rate for up to 120 days (time may vary depending on the lender), giving you the freedom to house hunt, knowing that you’re safe from interest rate increases. If rates drop, so too should your guaranteed rate. In addition to the interest rate, be sure to also take into account the terms of the mortgage.

4. Start home hunting.

Admittedly, this step has many sub-steps, but let’s narrow it down a bit. While the old adage of “location, location, location” still stands when it comes to good real estate investments, the recent trend of remote workplaces has given people greater flexibility when it comes to answering that all-important question of “where?” Then comes the what: what type of home do you need to accommodate how you and your family live? Condominiums, townhomes, and freehold homes each offer distinct benefits, so ensure you’re choosing something that will work for you for the next five years. 

5. Schedule showings.

Did you know your agent can show homes in person or virtually? Virtual showings have been around for some time, often used for purchases by buyers from overseas, however, it has picked-up speed with local buyers too, due to the pandemic. Regardless of how you choose to view the listings, keep your eyes on the prize. Remember your budget and the must-haves outlined in step #4 above.

6. Make an offer.

You’ve found the home you want, in a location you like. Now, to make an offer to purchase for a price and terms that are agreeable to both you and the seller. Here’s where working with an experienced realtor can give you the upper hand. Different market conditions require a different approach – a seller’s market might mean lots of competition, requiring you to come in at or over the asking price with few to no conditions, while a buyer’s market means you have a choice and time is on your side. Lean on your agent on how to best handle the situation.

7. Get a home inspection.

Regardless of the market, this is one condition that we recommend you keep as part of your offer. The home inspection is intended to identify any existing or potential underlying problems in a home, alerting the buyer of risks and giving them leverage in negotiating a reduced selling price. Your home inspector will examine systems that are visible without opening walls or floors, including heating, plumbing, electrical, roofing, and foundation. The inspection should take approximately three hours and will cost a few hundred dollars, depending on the size of the home.

8. Close the deal.

The closing period for your transaction is typically 90 days, however, it can range depending on the agreed-upon terms in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. The homebuyer has some important obligations during this waiting period. Once the offer has been accepted, there’s a window during which you must take all the necessary steps with regard to your offer conditions, such as financing, home inspection, and anything else that needs to happen before you officially seal the deal. Your mortgage lender will need a copy of the offer to ensure it’s in line with your pre-approved level of financing. After any adjustments or repairs have been done to your satisfaction, your Realtor will finalize the deal and your lawyer will process the paperwork, including the mortgage documents with your lender. All of this will point to a final date of actual legal possession: the real closing day.

9. Update utilities, transfer services, and change of address.

During your closing period, keep track of utility and credit card bills, magazine subscriptions, and any other regular mail or standing orders that you receive at your current address. Alert them of the address change in advance of your closing date. Also, be sure to contact your doctor and dentist. For family and friends, you can easily send a change of address card via mail or email, but there are a few more steps when it comes to informing government agencies.

  • Click here to change your address with the Canada Revenue Agency
  • Contact your local Ministry of Health and Ministry of Transportation to find out how to change your address on your health card and driver’s license.
  • Forward mail to your new address by visiting the Canada Post website or at your local post office.
  • If applicable, it is important to change your address for the Employment Insurance program that you can easily do here.

10. Move into your new home!

If you’re moving during the busy season (typically summer) ensure you’ve booked a moving company well in advance. If you’re doing it yourself, book the truck, enlist some help and ensure you have ample packing materials. Here are some packing tips:

  • Pack the items you will need first in a clear plastic bin
  • Pack your plates vertically so they are less likely to break
  • Take a photo of how your electronics are connected so you can know where the wires go
  • Wrap your breakables in clothing to save on bubble wrap
  • Keep your glassware safe by packing it with clean socks

We hope this home buying checklist helps. If you still have questions about how to buy a home, or you’re ready to start the process, tap into the knowledge and experience of The Property Team; we will guide you through the process every step of the way!

 

Courtesy of REMAX.ca

6 Tips for Selling your Home this Fall

Deciding to place your home on the market this fall? That’s great! Getting your home ready for sale is just as important in the fall and maintaining curb appeal requires different attention than in the spring and summer. Follow these six tips for selling your home this fall, and you might just get it sold before the last leaf falls.

Tips for Selling Your Home this Fall & Easy Fixes to Help Buyers Fall in Love

1. Don’t ‘Leave’ a Mess

While fall leaves are gorgeous to look at on trees, once they hit the ground they no longer add to the beauty of your property. Make a good first impression and get rid of leaves with a leaf blower or rake so the first thing buyers see is your home, not the amount of raking they will have to do each year! Clear walkways, your driveway, and your lawn, and be sure to pick up any stray branches as well.

2. Fall for Flowers

Gardens and landscaping can add to curb appeal when selling your home. Decaying plants, especially at the front of your home, don’t exactly say, welcome. If your summer flowers have died, it’s best to replace them or remove them.  Consider planting mums or fall flowers in flower beds and adding fresh mulch. (Mums can withstand cooler weather and come in beautiful fall colours). If you don’t have a garden or prefer not to plant flowers in them, try using urns or large pots instead.

3. Don’t be a Bore, Paint your Door

A freshly painted front door in a complimentary colour can give your home an upgraded look and help set it apart from other homes in the neighbourhood. Early fall, before wet and cold weather hits, is perfect for painting as the summer humidity and bright sun can cause a paint job to peel or crack. Another way to dress up your door is to change the hardware. Having new locks or handles without scratches or dents in an updated finish can make your door seem like new. This attention to detail can make the right first impression as buyers enter your home.

Hint: Choose a colour that will brighten up your façade and compliment your brick. While it’s best to keep exterior paint colours neutral on windows, garage doors, and siding, the front door is a chance to use colour. Have grey brick? Consider a deep red or blue. 

4. Lighten Up

Let’s face it without the summer sun, on darker days the inside of homes can look dreary. Here are some tips to minimize the impact of duller days.

  • Clean your windows and screens on both sides before listing
  • Make sure all blinds, and window coverings are open as wide as they can go
  • Show your home earlier in the day if possible
  • Consider outdoor landscape lighting, patio lighting, or solar pathway lighting

5. Give Sweater Weather Vibes

Keep your home feeling cozy from the outside in. Incorporate fall décor around your home’s exterior – it can be as simple as a wreath on the front door to a fully staged fall patio session, complete with chunky knit blankets and all! Inside, consider highlighting your fireplace if you have one, minimize clutter, and placing a throw on the couch. Make your home feel welcoming and buyers may just want to stay.

6. Festive Frights Not Always a Delight

If you’re selling your home during Halloween season, unless you’re selling to the Addams Family, you might want to nix the spooky décor. If you want to decorate, use pumpkins or décor that can be easily stored away during showings. Just be sure the festive spirit doesn’t dampen the buying spirit of those viewing your home.

Fall is the time for new beginnings. Follow these tips to help get your home sold and hopefully before you know it, you will be starting yours.

 

 

Courtesy of REMAX.ca

Why Fall Might Be the Best Time to Sell Your Home

About the time pumpkin spice lattes hit the menu at your local café you may want to have your house ready to hit the market. Why? Next to spring, fall is arguably the best time to sell your home. In fact, it may even have some advantages over the spring market. Read on to learn why fall might be the best time to wear plaid, indulge in everything pumpkin and sell your home.

Ready to Fall in Love with the Fall Market? Here’s Why It Could Be the Best Time to Sell Your Home:

If you missed the spring market or your intentions to move got waylaid by long weekend plans and summer days, it doesn’t mean you have to wait until next year to sell your home. Placing your home for sale in the fall market has many benefits that may surprise you.

Sell your home in sweater weather and you might:

1. Have Less Competition

 What if only a hundred people bought lottery tickets? Your chances of winning would be pretty amazing, right? The fall housing market might not be the lottery, but with the traditionally busy spring selling season behind you, your listing could face less competition in the fall. This also means buyers are less likely to look for a ‘better’ option. If your home is the only one for sale on your block then a buyer can’t compare your house to the one down the street with the slightly bigger yard. This can be especially helpful in a cooler market.

2. Get a Better Price

 Reduced inventory and fewer choices for buyers may mean the opportunity to achieve a higher price for your home. Since homes that haven’t yet sold from the spring/summer market may be considered stale listings in the eyes of some buyers, those who are still looking will be eager to see something new. On the flip side, if you’re buying a home to move into, you could potentially negotiate a good price on one of those listings that has been on the market for a while.

3. Attract Different Buyers

Fall may attract a different pool of buyers including:

  • Corporate Movers – Companies looking to relocate their employees and footing the bill for the move may wait until fall hoping they might get a better price or a faster closing.
  • Motivated Buyers – Remember when bread only came in white or whole wheat? Now you have rye, low carb, gluten free, and everything in-between. While it’s nice to have options, too many can cause decision fatigue which may cause you to second guess decisions or not make them at all. (We make thousands of decisions every day!) The same may be true in the spring market. The more choices a buyer has, the more they compare. This may cause them to miss out on a property. Those same buyers still looking to move come fall might be especially motivated to make their decision and have a quick closing, especially if they’ve already sold their home. Another motivating factor? Closing before the snow starts to fly and the holiday season hits.
  • Different Demographics – While buyers with school-aged children often want a closing date before September, fall is the perfect opportunity to appeal to those moving within the same school district. Other demographics such as empty-nesters, millennials, and buyers without school-aged children may also wait until the fall to shop the market. 

Pumpkin Spice and Sales Season? Yes!

While autumn signals the end of summer (sniff) it can also be a new beginning. If you used the summer to complete renovation projects on your home and were thinking you’d have to wait until spring to list,  fall may be the opportune time to sell your home. List in the fall market and by the time the pumpkin spice craze turns to candy cane concoctions your home could be sold.

Have questions about the fall housing market? Reach out to us for a complimentary home evaluation! We can advise you on the best way to showcase your home to help potential buyers visualize it as their own.

Ready to list? Contact us today!

 

Courtesy of REMAX.ca

5 Advantages of Living in the Suburbs That Nobody Talks About

Every city has a suburb, and these areas have become hotspots during the course of the pandemic – and with good reason. They provide a great balance between the excitement of city living and the peace and quiet to be had in the outskirts. There are many advantages to living in the suburbs that people know about, like greater affordability in buying or renting, bigger houses, and a close-knit sense of community. But several advantages often get overlooked in comparing the suburbs to the city. Let’s take a look at five of them.

5 Advantages of Living in the Suburbs

1. You can enjoy a slower pace of life and a healthier lifestyle. While the suburbs still experience rush hour, there is a huge difference coming from the city. Fewer people spread out means that there are fewer crowds. No more bumping into people as you walk down the sidewalk! The suburbs are much quieter, so you’ll have less stress and sleep disturbances from anything going on outside. Finally, living in the suburbs provides a good amount of distance from the workplace, so you can shut down from work mode at the end of each day and enjoy your family and home life.

2. There are more options to be out in nature. Cities have slowly started adding more parks so that office workers can enjoy green space during their lunch break or before and after work. However, you are surrounded by concrete everywhere else, not so in the suburbs. Homeowners landscape their yards to have lawns or gardens, and there is always a park a short walk away. There is less light pollution at night than in the city, so you can stargaze or do other nighttime activities. And without the tall buildings blocking your view, there is a lot more open sky.

3. There is a lot more space. One of the more common advantages of the suburbs is that houses are larger and have more yard space. But that isn’t the only advantage of having more space. In the suburbs, there is plenty of room on the street to park vehicles, a problem that constantly arises in city living. If you have children or dogs, space becomes even more important because they will have plenty of room to run around and play without danger.

4. Easy access to high-quality foods. Cities tend to have a lot of ready-to-eat options, both healthy and unhealthy. But if you want to prepare your own food and maybe even see where it’s grown, then the suburbs offer plenty of grocery options and farmers’ markets, so you can pick up in-season vegetables, check out local vendors, and get to know your community.

4. It’s healthy for the kids. When you look at the different sides of raising children, such as education, social life and just having fun, you’ll find it in the suburbs – and then some! Public schools here are highly rated. There are always other kids around to play with, and they can enjoy more independence playing outside since the suburbs are less busy. Finally, the suburbs have plenty of options for getting out and having fun, like going to the pool, heading to the rec center, or spending a day on biking trails or at the park. If the mood strikes, it’s always easy to take a trip into the city for some fun.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t any downsides to living in the suburbs, and there are certainly many upsides to living in the big city. Like anywhere, there are going to be good things and bad things, and you need to take time to decide if living in the suburbs is the right choice for your lifestyle.

If you are looking for a quieter lifestyle or are work remotely, then the suburbs are a great choice to savour some peace and quiet, spend time with family and enjoy a great quality of life. We’re here to guide you through the process!

 

Courtesy of REMAX.ca

5 Warning Signs Your Home Has Foundation Problems

The foundation of a house is crucial for supporting your home and keeping it stable, and if it’s well built, it can last a lifetime. Sometimes, foundation problems can have ramifications for the rest of the house. The sooner you know how to look for signs of trouble, the sooner you can address any problems before they escalate. Of course, if you’re on the home hunt, it is always recommended to have it carefully examined by a professional home inspector before you buy it.

Here are five warning signs of foundation problems to watch for:

  1. Cracks or warping in the exterior walls. Exterior walls are built to allow for a bit of “give.” But as the foundation settles, the walls can lose support. This can lead to cracks, warps, decay, mould, or water stains on the exterior wall. If your exterior wall has siding on it, it can also crack. Crumbling bricks and cement walls are a particularly bad omen and should be investigated immediately. Don’t panic just yet. A certain amount of wear and tear will happen on any exterior wall, so if you see fine, small cracks in the wall, that might be nothing to worry about. Watch for large cracks with a zig-zag pattern or bricks that protrude from the wall, as these will indicate something wrong with the foundation. A professional should be called if the exterior wall starts to pull away from the house because the wall can collapse if it isn’t fixed immediately.
  1. Cracks in the interior drywall. Similar to the exterior walls, the interior drywall should be relatively undamaged beyond normal wear and tear. However, zig-zagging cracks in the drywall or wrinkling wallpaper are potential signs that further investigation of the house’s foundation may be in order. Also, look out for bowing walls, which are particularly dangerous and should be fixed immediately along with the foundation.
  1. Sagging, warping or cracking of the floors. The floors in your house run parallel to the foundation. The floors should not feel like they are “bouncing” or sagging, and look out for cracks in floor tile that are otherwise unexplainable. One way to test the evenness of your floors is to place a marble or other small object at a fixed point on the floor. If the floor is even, it will not roll. If it does roll, that could mean the floor is uneven, potentially because of the foundation.
  1. Issues with the fit of doors and windows. Although doors and windows are fitted to the size of the house, a certain amount of settling takes place, and things like humidity can affect the fit of a door. But this should not happen with every door and window in the house, and it should not happen all the time. If you find that your doors and windows are sticking and not latching correctly or are too loose and won’t stay closed, it could be because their frames are warped from the foundation shifting. Another issue with doors and windows that you should watch for is gaps between their frames and the walls. You can look for gaps in different places in your home, like above the kitchen cabinets or along the countertop where it meets the wall. This can create issues with moisture and temperature, and it can indicate problems with your foundation.
  1. Excessive moisture in the basement or crawl space. If you get a good rainstorm and water collects in the yard around your property, then cracks in the foundation will allow water to collect in your lowest level. The water itself will not ruin your home, but the water vapour and moisture can cause wood rot and mould and attract pests like termites and ants. These result in a musty odour that is hard to cover up.

If you notice standing water or other signs of moisture in your basement, it could be a sign that you should investigate the foundation as the most likely source of the problem. Then, take the necessary steps to lower the moisture level.

A certain amount of settling takes place with any foundation, so a bit of cracking, sticking, or moisture might be no cause for concern. However, if you begin to notice more issues with your walls, floors and doors, and they persist for a long time, then it may be time to call in a professional to look at your foundation and find the source of the problem.

 

Courtesy of REMAX.ca

How to Make Your Laundry Room More Efficient

As time goes by, it feels like we only get busier as a society. Small household tasks can seem overwhelming between work, family obligations, and social events. While some people may find peace in spending a day at home, cleaning and getting things in order, others are seemingly always rushing around trying to squeeze small household tasks in before jetting off to the next event. This is where creating an efficient living space can pay off in dividends. Arguably, one of the more time-consuming chores at home is laundry – and the bigger the family, the more laundry there will be, leaving you wondering how to make your laundry room more efficient.

We will take you through some of the best ways to make your laundry room more efficient to hopefully give you some peace of mind and extra time in your life to do the things you enjoy.

How To Make Your Laundry Room More Efficient

Make Use of the Space Above Your Washer and Dryer

The laundry room can be a great place to store household cleaning products, and by installing cupboards above your washer and dryer, you can make sure any dangerous solutions are kept out of reach of both children and pets.

In addition, by installing cupboards above your washer/dryer, you’ll have a convenient place to keep laundry soap, fabric softener, and all your other laundry cleaning products. Cabinets and closed-off storage spaces can also double as chalkboards by either using chalkboard paint on their front or installing chalkboards over the cupboard front. This way, your to-do list stays within eyesight and in an area you go to frequently – ensuring no task gets forgotten.

Invest in Decorative Storage Containers and Label Them

Aesthetics do make or break a room. After putting time and thought into the decorative aspect of your laundry room, painting the walls, and colour coordinating everything, why would you want to keep the bottle of laundry soap on display in the original packaging? This is where investing in some decorative storage containers can be a game-changer. It will add to the room’s aesthetic, and it will also make you feel better about the cleanliness and state of the laundry room – making the whole task seem far less chaotic.

A good idea is glass or plastic matching storage containers for all your laundry soaps, fabric softeners, and stain removers. Make sure you put a label on the front of the jar to know exactly what you’re using – the last thing you want is to use fabric softener instead of laundry detergent!

Create a Sorting Station 

Creating a good sorting station can remove a lot of stress from the laundry room. You can invest in cute clothing bins that are labeled, so you know what is clean and dirty, or so you can sort your unwashed laundry by washing needs like dry-cleaning, hand wash only, and machine wash. If you have small children who are beginning to learn how to complete small tasks around the house, this is also a great way to introduce them to sorting clothes and can assist you when teaching them how to do laundry.  

Invest in Hidden Drying Racks

One of the most space-consuming objects in a laundry room is the drying rack – and sometimes, it feels like we never have enough space for all our clothes that need to hang dry. Installing fold-down drying racks or tension rods is a great way to use the space in your laundry room better while also giving you adequate room to hang dry all your delicate clothing.

Make Use of the Entire Room

Who says the laundry room has just to be a laundry room? If the space is big enough, double the laundry room up as either a play space for the kids, a mudroom if it’s off an entry point to the house or a quiet area. To do this, consider installing curtains to cover up the washer and dryer when not in use.

Laundry is the one task that seems to be never-ending; as soon as you think you’re all caught up, there is always more laundry to be done. Making your laundry room efficient and calming can change your whole outlook on the chore and make it at least a little more enjoyable.

Courtesy of REMAX.ca

The Best Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Agent

It’s no secret that buying or selling a home can be one of life’s most stressful endeavours. With so many unknowns and variables at play, limiting stress during this event can help make the process more enjoyable; one of the simplest ways to help reduce the stress and anxiety attached to purchasing a home is to hire a real estate agent.

The Role of a Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent acts as the intermediary between buyers and sellers. The agent will connect the two and handle all legal negotiations to ensure the deal takes place without a hitch. A real estate agent helps clients sell, buy or rent their property. They also may guide the client when it comes to navigating the market, take them on showings, and assist them in the buying, selling, or leasing process.

While some people choose to buy or sell property privately, hiring a real estate agent has many benefits, which we will go more in-depth on below.

They Help with Timing

Timing is of the utmost importance when buying or selling a home, as the market fluctuates throughout the year. Working with a real estate agent can ensure that your property will be listed at the optimal time or that you will be buying when the market is in reach of your budget.

When selling your home, you want it to be bought quickly as the longer it sits on the market, the less desirable it appears to potential buyers – this is where listing your home at the right time can pay off in dividends.

When purchasing a home, you’ll want to wait until the market isn’t highly competitive – this means homes are usually priced more accurately. When the market is hyper-competitive, bidding wars occur, and houses can sell for far more than they are worth; as a buyer, this is not ideal – especially when you do not need to buy a home.

Handle the Paperwork

Buying or selling a home involves a lot of legal paperwork that needs to be completed correctly – this is where a real estate agent can shine. The paperwork completed by the home seller needs to be precise and accurate. If all information is not disclosed correctly, the seller could be held responsible for fraud, negligence, or breaching the contract. By having a professional do the paperwork for you, you can have faith that it will be completed correctly, and if it isn’t, you won’t be on the hook.

An Agent has Access to a Large Network of Listings

Many prospective buyers take to the Internet and begin hunting when looking for a home. However, homes aren’t always listed on the Internet immediately after being put up for sale. By working with a real estate agent, you can be sure to have access to listings as soon as they become available and have first dibs on any highly sought-after property.

Help Negotiate Prices

Real estate agents are well-trained in negotiation skills, and a good one will have a proven track record in this area. By working with an agent while buying a home, you could save thousands of dollars.

As a homebuyer, the process quickly becomes emotional. A real estate agent can help you keep the situation in perspective, preventing you from making emotional decisions that may not be in your best interest.

By leveraging a real estate agent to be the middleman in negotiations, you can be sure that the communication will be professional yet direct to get you the home of your dreams while staying within your price range.

Whether you are buying or selling a home, engaging the services of a real estate agent to assist you from start to finish is a complete game-changer. They will help reduce the stress by completing all necessary paperwork, negotiating with the buyer or seller, and keeping you up-to-date on the market conditions, all to ensure you get the most out of your experience in the real estate market.

  

Sources:

Courtesy of REMAX.ca

Property Taxes: What to Expect

In Canada, everyone has an opinion about property taxes. Whether city dwellers or rural folk, each side will argue that the other is not paying enough in property taxes, making for a heated and spirited discussion about levies on the residence you worked hard to purchase.

That said, aside from discussions over what the property tax rate should be, this is an important subject since many prospective homebuyers do not consider their annual tax bill as part of their ongoing expenses, whether they own a condominium or a single-family home, which could hurt their wallets in the future.

Planning for annual property tax payments is just as important as researching the rate on your mortgage or determining what your closing costs will be at the end of the home-buying process.

So, what do you need to know? We have compiled a guide for what you need to know about property taxes in Canada.

Property Taxes: What to Expect

Here are five things you should expect about property taxes in your housing market:

#1 Check the Rate in Your Area

One of the best ways to determine the property tax in your area is to visit the municipality’s website. Typically, the web portal will include a calculator and a list of rates. This will provide you with how much you can expect to pay using the Current Value Assessment of your property that the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation figures out.

#2 How to Pay Your Property Taxes

These days, there are many different routes you can take to complete your property tax payments. In addition, it has become a lot simpler these days, with municipalities finally catching up with the times.

Here are your payment options:

  • Online banking
  • Telephone banking
  • Automatic teller
  • In-person

In some places, you can also pay by check.

Often, your mortgage lender will collect your property taxes from you with every mortgage payment and submit them to your municipality on your behalf.

#3 What Do Your Property Taxes Cover Anyway?

Every province or municipality uses revenues from property taxes to cover different needs. So, for example, in the province of Ontario, homeowners will pay property taxes each year to cover the costs of public education, infrastructure, garbage collection, snow removal, and public services (police, firefighters, ambulances, and more).

#4 Consequences of Not Paying

You are required to pay property taxes. There is no other way around it. While your residential property could be seized by the government and sell it to get back the tax revenues, this process is rarely utilized since it can take several years to complete.

But it does not mean the government will give up. Instead, you are generally charged 1.25 percent each month. If you do not pay this fee and the overall tax bill, the collection process begins. You may also have a lien placed against your home.

Some jurisdictions might register a Tax Arrears Certificate if you have refused to pay your obligations after a few years.

#5 Can You Afford Property Taxes?

When searching for a home, you will generally consider the sale price, the mortgage rate, interest payments, fees and charges associated with the mortgage, utilities, etc. But what about the property taxes? The total amount can be challenging to crunch in advance but knowing the percentage in your town or city can make the estimation easier to put together.

For example, the property tax rate is about 0.61 per cent in Toronto. So, if you own a $1 million home, you will be forking over a little more than $6,000 each year. Everyone’s situation is different, and life can come at you pretty fast. In other words, you should calculate this in your budget when you are in the market to acquire a new residential property.

And don’t forget, in Toronto, you will have to pay the municipal land transfer tax, which can climb all the way to four per cent for home purchases worth between $400,000 and $2 million. This is in addition to the Ontario provincial land transfer tax.

Get Ready for Property Tax Hikes?

In the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, provincial and municipal governments need to develop different revenue tools to refill the coffers, reduce deficits, and trim their debt totals. Nova Scotia introduced new property taxes for non-residents, Toronto has been pressured to raise its property taxes, and city councils are assessing various property tax schemes and hikes.

When inflation is high and Canadian real estate market prices continue to soar to the moon; public policymakers are generally hesitant to increase property taxes. But they might not have any other choice in the future if fiscal pressures become prevalent during the budget creation process each year.

 

Courtesy of REMAX.ca

Key Things to Avoid After Applying for a Mortgage

You’ve assessed your finances and the housing market and researched the various financial options open to you and your household. Then, you took the leap in applying for a mortgage – quite possibly the most significant money-related decision of your life. Now you play the waiting game.

This waiting period is perhaps one of the hardest parts of the home-buying process, determining if you have been approved or rejected for a home loan. While it can be challenging, you can be confident in your prospects if you have taken the necessary steps and employed the right strategies to receive approval and attain the best mortgage rate.

But it is not time to throw caution to the wind. In fact, you need to be more careful and judicious in what you do with your finances until you receive the funds to purchase, whether it’s a single-family home in Mississauga or a two-bedroom condominium in the Toronto housing market.

So, what are some things you should do? Or better yet, what are some things you should avoid doing, after applying for a mortgage? We have compiled a list of critical aspects you need to consider moving forward.

Key Things To Avoid After Applying for a Mortgage

#1 Avoid Making Large Purchases

You might have had your eyes on a luxury vehicle. You may have wanted to purchase new furniture for your new home. You may even have wanted to change your entire wardrobe in anticipation of your new roots in a different neighbourhood, city, or province.

Avoid making large purchases. This is because any significant cash outflow can impact your broader finances. Remember, when you take on a $500,000 mortgage, you are also enduring new monthly obligations, meaning that your debt-to-income ratio will be higher. This is what lenders monitor.

#2 Don’t Co-Sign Other Loans

You may want to help your best friend receive a new car loan or help your aunt get approved for a line of credit by co-signing these credit products. But this can be dangerous since co-signers are legally obligated for these loans if the borrower cannot fulfill their financial obligations.

#3 Refrain from Applying for New Credit

Be it a new credit card or a personal line of credit, one thing you should refrain from doing at this time is applying for new credit. Even if it is something you can afford, a check on your credit report will show that you have applied for new credit, which may affect your credit rating or score.

Remember, you want to have as high a credit score as possible. Even a slight reduction could affect your mortgage application odds. In the interest of a top-notch score, refrain from seeking out additional credit instruments until after you’ve closed on your purchase.

#4 Wait to Change Bank Accounts

Indeed, you might be enticed to change bank accounts because of a promotion or better interest rate, but this is something best left for another time. It would be more prudent to maintain your present suite of bank accounts because mortgage lenders want to source and track your assets and debts, which is easier done through a steadily held bank account.

#5 Keep Your Credit on Ice

By cancelling a credit card, do you think you can enhance your credit score and, thus, improve your odds of being accepted for a mortgage? Well, think again.

It is a common misconception that limiting your credit options can somehow work in your favour. But it is best not to close any credit accounts or cut up your credit card into little pieces, since it will not be beneficial to your prospects of being approved for a mortgage in today’s market.

Remember, mortgage lenders are driven by the depth and length of your credit history, not only your payment history. Overall, mortgage brokers and financial institutions home in on your total credit usage as a portion of available credit.

Final Thoughts

Let’s be honest: It can be harder to get approved for a mortgage. Average home prices are high across the country, the stress test has been raised, and interest rates are rising. Homeownership can appear to be a daunting task, but it is still within reach if you do your due diligence.

If you have the means to apply for a mortgage, you can enhance your chances by being extra cautious as you wait for that life-changing stamp of approval.

 

Courtesy of REMAX.ca

Five Important Factors When Buying a Cottage

If you’re considering buying a cottage in Canada and have been watching the market, you already know this market segment has seen a surge in competition between buyers over the last decade. In recent years, cabins and cottages have been in high demand, as interest in renting out personal properties for extra income has become more accessible through various online platforms.

While purchasing a cottage as a recreational property or even as a year-round home can be an excellent investment in both the short and long term, there are some important factors to consider during your hunt for the perfect getaway home. Below we break down five important factors to consider when purchasing a recreational property

5 Factors to Consider When Buying a Cottage

Year-Round Maintenance Requirements

Before purchasing your getaway home, it is crucial to have a thorough evaluation to ensure the home is weather-proofed for the summer and winter months. When considering year-round maintenance, key considerations include checking out the age of the roof, doors and windows. You’ll also want to confirm the level of insulation, including under the floors.

Cottage roofs typically undergo a lot of strain in the winter months as snow, ice and other debris accumulate over time. In addition, the age of the doors and windows is important because you don’t want to have any cracks or openings where animals or the elements can enter the cottage. If you aren’t planning on visiting your cottage to complete regular maintenance during the winter, having the roof, doors and windows in good condition can save you money and work come springtime.

In addition to the actual structural requirements, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the local by-laws for winter snow removal. Some regions have rules that state a pathway must always be cleared during the winter months. After reading up on the local by-laws, it might be worth the investment to find someone to check in on your cottage and clear away any snow, ice, or debris in your offseason should you live a far distance away.

Plumbing

Piggybacking on the year-round maintenance requirements is being aware of the type of plumbing the cottage has – or even if it has plumbing at all! When looking at cottages for sale, make a list of important amenities, such as having indoor plumbing. Many cottages don’t have indoor plumbing, equipped only with an outhouse. In addition, many properties in recreational markets run on a septic system which requires a different amount of maintenance, care and attention year-round.

Ease of Access

A cottage can be a great investment; however, location does play a significant role in whether it may generate rental income, as well as the times of year you visit your vacation home. A property that is only accessible by water will probably just be used as a summer home – and in this case, you’ll need to consider the price of purchasing a boat when buying a cottage located on an island.

Some properties in very rural areas may be accessible by car but might not have winter access as many backcountry roads are not maintained in the winter months.

Also, location when it comes to distance from amenities is important to consider. Many cottages are in very rural parts of the country, meaning the drive to a grocery store or gas station could be significant.

Before investing in a secondary residence, ease of access and location regarding other amenities are key factors to consider.

Rental Potential and Rules Surrounding Renting

Cottage homes can be an excellent investment if you also choose to use them to produce rental income. When purchasing a cottage as a rental property, key amenities are the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, ease of access, and location.

Suppose the idea of renting is your main driving force behind buying a recreational property. In that case, it is strongly advised that you review the rules and regulations regarding renting out seasonal property and learn your way around the different web platforms available for renting, such as Airbnb.

Taxes and Capital Gains

A cottage is known as a personal-use property, which means there are different tax implications. If the property is used solely as personal recreational property, there are other tax rules than if you decide to rent out your cottage. In addition, upon sale of the cottage, you will be responsible for paying taxes on any capital gain of the property.

Before making any significant financial decision and purchasing a property, it is essential to consider both your financial situation and your needs and wants in the property. Reaching out to a professional for advice is always a wise first step!

 

Courtesy of REMAX.ca

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