MAKE IT RIGHT – MIKE HOLMES HAS SPOKEN – HERE IS YOUR SPRING MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST

  • Install new batteries in smoke alarms & carbon monoxide detectors
  • Test & dust all detectors (testing at least once a month)
  • Replace furnace filter
  • Inspect bathroom & kitchen caulking— re-caulk as needed
  • Test kitchen & bathroom exhaust fans
  • Clean kitchen exhaust hood & filter
  • Vacuum refrigerator coils
  • Schedule air conditioning inspection
  • Check fire extinguishers (at least once a month)
  • Clean gutters, check for leaks & make sure they are attached securely
  • Clean & seal deck (if needed)
  • Check foundation for cracks & leaks
  • Check exterior paint & touch up as needed
  • Check siding & masonry for damage & schedule repairs
  • Remove storm windows & install screens
  • Replace damaged window screens
  • Inspect caulking around windows and re-caulk if cracking
  • Check roof for damage & schedule re-roofing if needed
  • Check attic for leaks, mould, moisture intrusion, fire hazards & critters
  • Get rid of surface mould
  • Schedule annual dryer exhaust cleaning & check up
  • Check water heater for leaks
  • Schedule a maintenance and/or energy efficiency inspection

How many square feet will $300,000 get you in Canada?

If you were to compare average sqft home prices. where would Toronto rank? No.5! Vancouver (BC), Richmond Hill (ON), Richmond (BC) and Burnaby (BC) are the top 4.

Ontario
Richmond Hill: 367 square feet
Toronto: 520 square feet
Oakville: 568 square feet
Mississauga: 750 square feet
Hamilton: 1,008 square feet
Ottawa: 1,079 square feet

Rest of Canada
Vancouver: 339 square feet
Richmond (BC)  442 square feet
Burnaby (BC) 489 square feet
Calgary: 926 square feet
Saskatoon: 1,071 square feet
Regina: 1,167 square feet
Edmonton: 1,176 square feet
Halifax: 1,205 square feet
Montreal: 1,230 square feet
Winnipeg: 1,277 square feet
Quebec City: 1,485 square feet (oh là là)

(Source: macleans.ca)

Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension

A lot of transit projects in Toronto are being discussed. This one is nearing completion:

Reportedly end of 2017 the University line – currently terminating at Downsview Station – will  serve further 6 stops, two of them located in the York Region. It will be the first TTC transit line to cross city borders and will run through York University into the York Region.

  • Length of Subway Extension: 8.6 km
  • Toronto Part: 6.2 km from Sheppard West Station (currently known as Downsview Station) to Pioneer Village Station
  • York Region part: 2.4 km from Pioneer Village Station to Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Station
  • Planned Service Levels Trains every 4 minutes

Six stations have been built along the extension:

  • Downsview Park – south of Sheppard Avenue West, adjacent to the Barrie GO Transit Line

  • Finch West (At the intersection of Keele Street and Finch Avenue West)
  • York University (At York Boulevard and Ian Macdonald Boulevard)
  • Pioneer Village (At North West Gate and Steeles Avenue, East of Jane Street)
  • Highway 407 (South of Highway 407 and West of Jane Street)
  • Vaughan Metropolitan Centre (At Highway 7 and Millway Avenue)

(Source ttc.ca)

GOOD NEWS FOR FIRST-TIME HOMEBUYERS

Ontario has doubled the rebate on the land transfer tax or first-time homebuyers to $4,000 in an effort to help them enter the housing market, but it has raised the same tax on homes that sell for over $2 million.

Since January 1, 2017, first-time buyers don’t pay any land transfer tax on the first $368,000 of a purchase price. There has been be a half-percentage point increase in the tax on homes that fetch more than $2,000,000, a measure expected to affect less than one per cent of the population.
(source: globalnews.ca)

EVER THOUGHT OF BUYING A SECOND PROPERTY?

Guess what – the rental market in Toronto is also hot!

Despite rising house prices – with the historically low interest rates and rising rents it can make it worthwhile investing in the right property. Call me if you want to find out more.

The following data compares the average rent from the 4th Quarter of 2016 to the average rent of the 4th Quarter of 2015 for condominium apartment rents:

Bachelor Apartments
$1,512 (up 12.0% from $1,350 in 2015)
1 Bedroom Apartments
$1,776 (up 7.4% from $1,653 in 2015)
2 Bedroom Apartments
$2,415 (up 8.0% from $2,236 in 2015)
3 Bedroom Apartments
$3,283 (up 15.9% from $2,833 in 2015)
(Source: Toronto Real Estate Board)

PLANNING A RENOVATION? DIY OR HIRING A PRO?

Before you start – give me a quick call so when can have a chat what will increase the market value of your home the most!

If you are unsure if you should do it yourself or hire a professional, ask yourself the following questions:

Do I have the necessary skills?

Consider your own skills and abilities carefully. Getting in over your head can end up costing more money, and more frustration.

Do I need a building permit?

You may hope otherwise but the answer is very often: Yes (especially if you touch structural and/or plumbing)

Do I have the time?

Vice versa: You wished Yes but often the answer is No. Be realistic and assess how the amount you save compares to the time you spend. And remember it usually takes longer than expected…

Do I have the tools and equipment?

Acquiring tools will eat away from your savings, but not having the right tools will cost you additional time and not deliver the results you want. If DIY consider tool rental if economical.

How does the rest of my household feel about it?

Discuss with your loved ones – DIY will take you away from them, cause longer construction times and they have to deal with the change of routines

Get a second opinion to be sure you are saving

Talk to a trusted contractor – he will let you know what expectations are realistic in terms of savings and what work is actually doable by yourself.

(Source:  Canadian Home Builders’ Association)

TORONTO 50 YEARS FROM NOW

Toronto Life featured an article about what Life in Toronto could be like in 50 years. Here is the link:
http://torontolife.com/city/will-want-live-toronto-2066/

Some of the highlights include an illustration of what the Skyline could look like (see picture above)

Another story covers the Real Estate prices increase over the LAST 50 years. What do your think was the cost increase between 1966 and 2016? 6,000%!
(source credit: torontolife.com)

BASEMENT APARTMENTS/ SECOND SUITES

With rising house prices so-called “Second Suites” have been increasing in popularity due to the additional income that can help carry the mortgage bills, increase cash flow or make use of otherwise not needed space.

These five basic requirements determine if an authorized second suite can be created:

1. The principal residence must be at least five years old
2. The house must be detached or semi-detached (town/ rowhouses under certain conditions only)
3. The exterior façade of the house cannot be significantly altered
4. The second suite must occupy a smaller area than the rest of the house and it must be a single, self-contained dwelling
5. The property must meet parking requirements (dome exceptions apply for Toronto)

More detail can be found in this publication: http://www.secondsuites.info/Homeowners_Guide.pdf
(Source: City of Toronto Brochure “Second Suites”)

NEW MORTGAGE REGULATIONS

A lot happened during the month of October: Let’s shed some light…these are the changes in a nutshell:

  • Under current regulations, any financial gain from selling your primary residence is tax-free and does not have to be reported as income. As of this tax year, the capital gains tax is still waived, but the sale of the primary residence must be reported at tax time to the CRA.
  • As of October 17, 2016, a stress test used for approving high-ratio mortgages has been applied to all new insured mortgages. The stress test aims to assure the lender that a home buyer could still afford the mortgage if interest rates were to rise.
  • As of November 30, 2016, the new rules restrict insurance for low-ratio mortgages based on new criteria, including that the amortization period must be 25 years or less, the purchase price is less than $1-million, the buyer has a credit score of 600 and the property will be owner-occupied.

Toronto’s Oldest Building – The Scadding Cabin

This one-room cabin is located on the CNE grounds. It was built by the Queen’s York Rangers in 1794 on behalf of John Scadding who served as clerk to the first Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada John Simcoe. The original cabin was disassembled from its original site and rebuilt on the current site. It is a squat, two-storey log cabin with low ceilings, designed to retain the heat from the fire in winter close to its occupants.
(source: wikipedia.com)