As a professional full time realtor, I have found that a high-end kitchen is one of the most sought after rooms in the traditional single family home. According to my clients, they would rather spend more money remodelling their kitchen than finishing a basement. The kitchen is no longer the place where mom goes to cook the family dinner. Today, kitchens serve as the heart of the home, and many Canadians are looking for ways to make it more comfortable. Thus, home owners nowadays are focusing their time, money and energy in converting their kitchen to a high-end kitchen.
More homeowners see the kitchen as a multipurpose room where computers and other home electronics figure prominently. Refrigerators and dishwashers are being trimmed with cabinetry and integrated into the woodworking design, bringing more warmth and helping to blur the boundaries of adjacent rooms.
Warmth and comfort are an influencing factor for current kitchen styles, as natural and dark wood cabinets continue to be prominent choices. Decorative range hoods are increasing in popularity. Manufactured in stainless steel, copper and ceramic styles, hoods are no longer just a function of the kitchen, they are quickly becoming the centerpiece. Faucets are also breaking out into their own category. More recently, I have seen that nickel faucets have outpaced the traditional stainless as the most commonly used in kitchen design jobs.
Tarion Home Protection: The Full Scope
When people buy a new home, they want to have confidence that it has been built well and according to the standards set by law. Tarion Warranty Corporation is a private corporation that regulates new home builders and protects the rights of new home purchasers through the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act. With tens of thousands of houses and condominiums sprouting up across the province every year, especially in Toronto, it is important to be aware of the protection entitled to new homebuyers.
One of the major responsibilities handled by Tarion is the licensing of all new home and condominium builders in Ontario, ensuring builders have the technical experience, customer service capacities and financial stability to perform their job. Consumers are advised to do as much research as possible prior to the purchase of a new home and Tarion has helped make this a little easier through the publicly-accessible Ontario Builder Directory. The Directory provides important information about new home builders including whether they are licensed, how many homes they have built and whether Tarion has had to resolve warranty claims on their behalf. It also shows builders who have had their license refused or revoked.
In addition to licensing builders and maintaining the builder directory, Tarion protects new homebuyers with mandatory warranty coverage. The coverage begins even before homeowners move into their new homes with deposit protection, delayed closing coverage and protection against financial losses for contract homes.
Whether you are purchasing your home as an investment, a lifestyle upgrade or both, one of the most important decisions you will make is where you want to live. Your home’s location will help determine not only the future value of your investment, but also many aspects of your everyday life. This article is designed to educate you on how to choose a location for a new home. Here are some factors you should consider carefully when selecting a location.
The part of the country you choose to live in will have a major impact on your lifestyle. Particularly if you want to stay in your home for a long time, make this decision very carefully, taking into consideration the factors that are most important to you, like average home prices in the area, job opportunities in your field, proximity to loved ones and climate.
City vs. Suburb vs. Rural
The setting you choose within the city or town you select will affect the amount of peace and quiet you have, lot size (if you’re buying a house), primary and secondary education options for your children, proximity to shopping, entertainment, medical services and anything else you might want or need, and more. For more information on this topic, please read my article on Country or City Living.
Within a particular area, different neighbourhoods will have different characteristics. You’ll want to pick the one that is the closest fit to your lifestyle and personality – a place where you’ll feel comfortable and where you are likely to get along with your neighbours. You’ll also want to try to live close to the places you visit frequently, like grocery stores, your job, and, if you have kids, the schools you want them to attend. My article titled “Neighbourhood Mistakes” speaks more about this topic in depth.
So you’re thinking about buying a new home?
Download buying a new home in Ontario – comprehensive guide
One attractive option are buying new houses in suburban areas that offer bigger living spaces. Another option are buying new condos and townhouses in urban centers close to amenities, transportation and entertainment. Many buyers find buying new homes appealing because it gives you the ability to choose custom finishing’s. And let’s not forget everything will be brand new!
This guide will provide you a comprehensive overview about what to consider and how to protect yourself if you are planning to buy a newly built house or condo.
It will show you:
a) what protections you have under Ontario law when buying a new home
b) what overlooked details to check out that can save you thousands of dollars down the road
c) how to avoid paying extra condo fees
and much more!
If you have any questions about buying a new home, house or condo, I’m happy to help. Call Sam Marji, your trusted real estate adviser at 647- 220-9588.
Download buying a new home in Ontario – comprehensive guide
TFSA vs RRSP debate
The Money Dilemma: TFSA vs RRSP
Being only a few months away from the RRSP season, I ask myself where I should be putting my money. I recently sat down with Ron Halabi, who is my Certified Financial Planning professional, Ron explained to me that this question tends to pop up every year during this season. There is still a great deal of confusion as to the benefits of each product and how each one can be used to maximize savings. So, here’s the dilemma: Where should my money go?
As a rule of thumb, if you believe your income in retirement will be higher than it is today, then you should consider a Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) as your primary source for savings. If you anticipate that your income will be the same or less than it is today, then a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) may be your best option. Why? Allow me to explain. When you contribute money into an RRSP, you reduce your current year’s earned income by the amount deposited. The result is a reduction in your income tax due, and can result in a refund. The benefit at retirement is that if your income is less than your income today, the amount you receive from your RRSP/RRIF will be taxed at a lower rate and therefore you keep more of your money!!! If your income is greater than it is today, then you lose the tax savings benefits because you will be taxed at a higher rate in the future and will therefore pay more in taxes and have less money than you would today. Who wants to pay more taxes in retirement, right?
What does a MLS listing meang?
Basically, the MLS is like a virtual warehouse. I like to call it the “home depot” of homes. A MSL listing means property is available for sale, it goes on the MLS. When it is sold, it gets taken out of the MLS.
Since real estate cannot actually be stored in a warehouse, this means MLS only contains information. So the MLS is actually a database – an extremely convenient way to know what is available for sale at a given moment. That is why real estate agents developed the MLS.
Since developing and maintaining the MLS system wasn’t free, agents created local “MLS Associations,” required membership, and charged each other annual dues (plus additional fees) so that they could pay for the necessary staff and materials to make it work.
In the really olden days, an agent submitted listings to their local association and the MLS staff compiled the data on what was available for sale and what had been sold. Once a week MLS members received a book that showed all the current listings.
How to decide if you should rent or buy
SHOULD I RENT OR BUY?
Renting is a huge business in the greater Toronto area. If you currently rent, you know that paying out those hundreds of dollars every month to line the pockets of your landlord is not a pleasant task. However, like most renters you probably feel stuck in a home that isn’t even yours simply because you can’t save up that down payment for your own home.
This article contains explains whether you should rent or buy. It shows you how you can stop paying rent and start contributing to your own financial future, rather than that of your landlord. By having some valuable information about the real estate industry, as well as some tips and tricks about property ownership, you’ll be able to start on the road from renting to owning. After reading this article, my goal is that you will learn the following:
1. Save for a down payment for your property
2. Make best use of your financial institution, and other loan sources
3. Consider reversing the rental roles
Repairs after closing – who is liable?
Home sellers and home buyers who make purchase agreements with each other are generally bound by their contracts’ terms. Many real estate purchase agreements contain language detailing just what repairs home sellers are responsible for completing before home sales close. Also, homebuyers sometimes have home inspectors or contractors check out the homes they’re buying to ensure completeness of any agreed-upon repairs. As for repairs after closing, the seller’s liability is complicated. It may or may not exist.
Many buyers insert repair clauses into the real estate purchase agreements they and their home sellers sign. Home sellers are generally liable for completing repairs they’ve agreed to make listed in the real estate purchase contracts they’ve executed with buyers. However, home buyers sometimes waive home repair inspection requirements after seller repairs are made, thus possibly ending seller liability for such repairs. But legal action could be possible if a home seller falsely assures a homebuyer that agreed-upon repairs have been completed.
Home sellers are required to give truthful information about home defects they know or should have known about. Home sellers can never deliberately withhold from potential buyers knowledge about their homes’ condition that could later pose problems, such as lead paint or termites.
Protecting your home from the winter weather checklist
Winter weather is just around the corner and this is the time of year to make sure your home is prepared for the cold months ahead. Follow my checklist to winter-proof your home and to save hundreds of dollars on energy costs, potentially thousands of dollars in preventable home repair fees and to protect yourself and your loved ones from preventable accidents.
1. Seal driveways, brick patios, and wood decks. Clear away dead shrubbery near your foundation. Check walls for cracks and seal them as necessary
2. Inspect your attic to ensure you have adequate insulation to prevent warm air from escaping and forming condensation or ice dams in your home. Replace worn or missing roof shingles or tiles. Make sure that water from gutters runs away from the house by at least 2-3 metres. Clean your gutters
3. Change or repair weather stripping around doors. Look for cracks where heat may escape, and fill them. Upgrade dated windows with new, energy-efficient ones. Rake away all debris and edible vegetation from the foundation of your home
Hillcrest Real Estate News
Recently, I have created a Facebook Page titled, Hillcrest Real Estate News. The intent of this Facebook page is to promote my farm area and to allow the residents of this area to keep abreast with current real estate news, new listings and sold properties in their neighbourhoods.
My new Facebook: Hillcrest Real Estate News
Please visit my page at www.facebook.com/HillcrestRealEstateNews.