Want to Make a Splash?

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HOT HOT HOT – That’s the summer forecast.

Does hot summer weather make you want a swimming pool in your backyard to lounge around, or just float in and keep cool?

Maybe it isn’t the summer heat that makes you long for a pool of water… maybe it’s the fun and relaxation you can get from having a Hot Tub.

Or, maybe you are the health conscious one who would love to have the Swim Spa/Lap Pool to exercise at home.

Each of these has its own appeal, and sometimes it’s hard to know which one is right for you. If you are considering adding one (or more) of these to your home, I have outlined some pros and cons below for each possibility, to help you get started on some summer planning.

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Pros:

– Great exercise for both adults and children
– For some families, a pool is a cottage replacement – vacation in your backyard!
– For the right buyer, they add to the attraction to buy a home
– A maintenance company can keep your pool pristine all summer.

Cons:

– They can be a danger for families with young children, or for non-swimmers
– They can tie you to your home instead of seeking other family outings
– They will be an obstacle to some buyers should you choose to sell your home
– They can require a lot of maintenance if you are taking care of it yourself

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Pros:

– Hot tub owners say these are a great stress reliever
– They can help reduce pain and inflammation of your joints
– They help with the recovery from injuries and muscles strains
– They provide a great winter experience

Cons:

– They can increase the risk of heat stress if the temperature is set too high
– If you have circulation issues, they can potentially cause health issues
– They can be costly to maintain
– Can lead to infections if not properly maintained
– They can be a hazard if you have young children

Swim Spa/Lap Pool   18-3-premium-swim-spa-with-deck-surround-day-time

Pros:

– Will fit in smaller backyards than pools (fit in limited space)
– Are more affordable than most backyard pools
– Provide a good workout (use swift current for lap swimming)

Cons:

– Not ideal if you want to host pool parties
– May not add value to your home should you choose to sell
– Can be a hazard if you have young children
– Require as much maintenance as a swimming pool

If thinking about putting one of these in your backyard is stressing you, but you really want one, call one of our Coldwell Banker Community Professional representatives to talk about selling your current home and buying one with your choice of water feature!

 

It’s Time to Celebrate!

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Our Ultimate Service Guarantee is 20 years old and we continue to receive rave reviews regarding our Service!

Our Ultimate Service Guarantee is for both Buyers and Sellers. When you list with our company, we provide you with a 22 point guarantee, outlining a level of service that we provide as a MINIMUM standard. If you are dissatisfied with the service provided at any time, you can be released from your Listing or Buying Representation agreement. We survey every client that buys or sells a property with our company and ask them to rate our service in a number of areas. These surveys result in individual sales representatives in our company receiving the Ultimate Service Designation. Our company has also been recognized as an Ultimate Service Provider, as so many of our representatives have attained the Ultimate Service individual designation.

We are very proud of our representatives, and want to share with you some of the comments their clients have made.
“Very happy re communication and work performance. Office staff very helpful and friendly”

“Sandra is awesome! She understood my needs and what I was looking for. She keeps me updated and and she is very diligent with her work. Overall, great experience finding my first home with Sandra and Coldwell Banker.”

“Daniela was very knowledgeable and helpful during the home buying process! We loved working with her and will and have told our friends and family about how great and professional she was!”

“Diane provides exceptional customer service. Responds quickly and very very competent.”

 

If you are thinking of buying or selling a home and want to receive the very best service available in the business, be sure to call one of our Coldwell Banker Community Professional Representatives. We think they are the best in the business!

Is it Time to Break Out the Crystal Ball?

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Experts are starting to talk more and more about a housing bubble.

The most common questions I have heard lately are “Will prices drop if the bubble bursts?” and “Should I wait to buy? If prices drop I don’t want to lose money”

These are both valid questions, and the first one especially is hard to answer. A crystal ball would be a very helpful REALTOR® tool right now. There is much talk recently about the Ontario government introducing measures to cool the real estate market. One suggestion has been to introduce a foreign investor tax similar to what B.C. introduced last year. Since the introduction of the tax, the Vancouver market initially showed a drop, but has returned to a ‘normal’ growth rate. The success of such a measure is dependant upon there being foreign investors in the market. This is true of the Toronto market, but perhaps not as important in the markets surrounding the GTA, such as Hamilton. There have been other suggestions that would have varied affects on the market, but in general the outcome of any measure is a total unknown. Government intervention can often have unintended consequences.

The second question really has two answers, depending on why you are buying property. If you are an investor as opposed to a family looking for a new home, the answers might vary.

As an investor, you will make a buying decision based on the expected return from the property you buy, whether through rental income, or capital growth. In a market as heated as the Hamilton/Burlington area is right now, there is not a large inventory of investment properties that are currently providing a high return on investment due to the large initial payment and the servicing of the mortgage debt. Even if an investor bought with cash i.e. no mortgage, the return on the investment would be limited. If buying for capital growth, it is difficult to predict how much, if at all, the market will continue to increase. With year over year growth currently in the area of 30%, investors are questioning just how likely it is that such growth can be sustained, and if it cannot be sustained, how much potential is there for a drop in real estate values.

As a family (or individual) looking to buy a home, now may very well be a good time to buy. If you are buying a family home, you are generally not looking to sell in the next few years. Real estate over the long term has proven to be a very good investment. Even if the market does cool, and prices drop, history has shown us that the prices will recover, just not in a one or two year timeframe. Also, if prices drop and you decide it is time to move up, the more expensive home will be more affordable assuming it suffered the same percentage drop in value as your less expensive home.

Also, if you are planning to buy a family home, and there is not a cooling of the market, each month you wait increases the cost of homeownership, or reduces the number of homes that are available in your price range.

If you have questions whether you should be acting now or waiting, call one of our Coldwell Banker Community Professionals representatives. They will be glad to sit down with you and discuss your particular situation and needs.

Living Large – Even on a Fixed Income

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I want to share some information with you, which was recently provided by the National Association of REALTORS® regarding enjoying your retirement.

Here it is… I hope you gain some ideas from their information…

The phrase “living large” isn’t restricted to being rich or spending loads of money. It’s about wringing every drop of joy possible out of every day and enjoying your life… moment by moment. It means different things to different people, but the one thing all living-large enthusiasts have in common is they don’t worry over making ends meet, financially.

When seniors find themselves with fewer responsibilities and more personal freedom, they’re often at an important crossroads, where the decisions they make can mean the difference between joy and stress. The two leading causes of stress, for seniors, are financial strain and loneliness. Making matters worse, people experiencing stress often retreat from their social support systems at the time they need them the most.

The first step is to address financial issues. The second is to be more socially interactive.

Here are some tips to help find more joy, by pursuing your own brand of bliss – instead of worrying about making ends meet. Some of the ideas are common sense ways to save money painlessly, while others are a little more creative. But they all have one goal: To improve the quality of an individual’s life regardless of their budget and to discover fun affordable ways to collect experiences, are memories and LIVE LARGE!

6 Superb Ways to Curb Costs

Many bills are the result of long-term habits. After years of raising children and working full time, it’s easy for old patterns to continue unchallenged. That’s why a comprehensive bill review is the first step for revealing expenses that are no longer necessary – as well a discovering more attractive and affordable options, including:

  1.  Two Cars? When both spouses were working full time and getting children to different events, two cars may have been a requirement. Does this need still exist?
  2. Cut the Cable. Which the improvement of online streaming options many people have decided they prefer selecting why they want to view (often avoiding commercials) over enduring whatever is available on cable.
  3. Out of Sight, Out of Mind? For years, many people have dutifully paid monthly storage unit fees. Sort through and toss what’s no needed, re-home what’s going to the kids, and donate things that are no longer useful to you.
  4. Prescription Savings. Often, prescription drugs are both necessary and expensive. Comparison shop – fees charged may vary from pharmacy to pharmacy.
  5. Savvy Shopping. Major sales aren’t limited to Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Every year, various big-ticket items are often discounted seasonally, including:                Cars – current inventory goes on sale when new models arrive, usually in the fall
    Computers – Late March/April and August/September
    Large Appliances – September/October when new models are rolled out
    Televisions – Late November and January
    Outdoor – Lawnmowers in April and after Labour Day
    Grills, patio furniture, in October and November
    Mattresses – end of May
  6. Other Opportunities to Save – Amazon is a popular place to buy, but did you know that their are sites that track Amazon prices? Use CamelCamelCamel.com or keepa.com to view price history. Even with deals, remember to keep the focus on Living-Large. In other words, buy only what you need at the best possible prices.

Reigning in unnecessary expenses is only the first step in learning how to live large on a fixed income. The real fun is shifting the focus to discovering a world of budget-friendly opportunities to learn new things, enjoy new experiences, and establish new friendships.
Here is a list to consider:
1.  Healthier Eating Choices – It’s hard to enjoy anything when health issues arise which means prevention should always to a top priority
2. Music Magic – The health benefits ofmuxid are scientifically documented an dramatic – especially for older people an those suffering from heart circulatory, stroke, memory and sleep issues.
3.  Keep Learning, Keep Moving.
4.  See More Places, Do more Things. Travel is one of the best ways to have new experiences.
5.  Closer to Home. Seeing new sights and enjoying new experiences shouldn’t be reserved for out-or-town trips. Consider local entertainment such as art galleries and museums, zoos, theatre productions and more.
6.  Finally, don’t forget to schedule some “me time” to be alone and enjoy your own company, which can do as much for your outlook as travel and socializing. Consider meditation, journaling, reading, yoga, or even curling up with a blanket and a bowl of popcorn to watch a movie solo.
I hope you found some new ideas in this article.

How Long Should You Wait?

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What is the price of procrastination currently in real estate?

The real estate market right now is difficult for buyers. The lack of properties to select from, and the competition to buy what is available is making some people think they should just wait until the market is better.

In real estate, waiting can be good for you or bad for you, depending on how different variables change. For example, the interest rate in the United States has started to edge up, and history would tell us that Canada will soon follow the example south of the border. The rate was just increased .25% in the U.S. It may not seem like much, but first, it is a sign that rates are going to increase to some extent, and also, we may not see historically low rates again for some time.

The .25% rate increase on a $250,000 mortgage could mean a difference of $31.84 per month. An increase of 1% could mean a difference of $130.11 per month. Over the term of a mortgage, the increase in payments tend to add up significantly.

If home prices continue to increase at the rate they have over the past year (close to 30% gain in one year), many buyers will be priced out of the market, as incomes are not increasing at a rate that would enable people to meet the extra costs. For example, a $400,000 home in today’s market could be $520,000 in one year’s time, assuming another 30% gain. Today, if you were putting down 10% ($40,000), the $360,000 mortgage would have a monthly payment of approximately $1650.00. The same house with a 30% increase would have a monthly mortgage payment of approximately $2150.00 per month, and the 10% downpayment would be $52,000. Same home, one year later (assuming mortgage rates don’t change). As you can see, the same home can cost you a larger downpayment, and in this example, $500 per month more in a mortgage payment.

If you are ready to buy, and have been waiting for the right time, maybe you should quit waiting!

Call one of our Coldwell Banker Community Professionals representatives and see if now is the right time for you! They will help you look at all the possibilities to ensure you make the right decision.

It’s that time of year…

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THE END IS NEAR! Don’t panic, I’m only referring to 2016.

This year seems to have just flown by… For those of us in the real estate profession, it has been an interesting year in many ways.

The market picked up momentum early in the year, and we found ourselves in a market where you were happy to only be one of 5 representing a buyer trying to purchase a property instead of 15 or 20…  Many buyers experienced an emotional ride to homeownership, and many stepped back and decided not to get on the roller coaster this year at all.  The government got involved, changing policies to try an cool a market they felt was overheated.

The market does not seem to be slowing down in the Hamilton/Burlington area in spite of the government intervention.  We are also beginning to see the slow climb of interest rates, which has many wondering whether our days of record low rates is coming to an end.

Looking back, a lot has happened this year, and looking forward, it appears that 2017 may be just as busy.

As 2016 comes to an end, we would like to wish everyone the best of the season, however you celebrate it – Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Joyous Kwanza, Happy Holidays…!

And a Happy New Year to All!  Let’s see what 2017 brings!

Is Now a Good Time to Buy a Home?

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There is no “one size fits all” answer to this question. It is not always a good time to buy depending on your stage in life and your future plans.

The recent changes in the mortgage qualification rules have either taken some buyers out of the market entirely, or reduced the price of the property they are qualified to buy. This has prompted some buyers to become creative, whether by having family or a friend go on title of their new property, and be included in the mortgage calculation, or by borrowing money to increase the downpayment to over 20% to avoid the higher threshold of qualification. Both of these approaches have their risks, and should be carefully considered before using one of them to buy a home. It is possible that now is not the time for you to buy. Perhaps taking more time to increase your downpayment, or time to consider what you really need in your new home is the right approach. It is possible that a lower price home may be the right fit for you right now.

Some ‘experts’ are predicting that home prices will ‘adjust’ (as in decrease) due to the new mortgage rules, as fewer buyers will be able to qualify at the current price levels. We have not seen this happening in the market as of yet, but it is possible. We are seeing less competition for homes compared to the frenzy we saw through the spring and summer.

If you are fortunate to not be subject to the rules for less than 20% down, now may very well be a great time to buy a home. If you are at the stage in life of downsizing, you can maximize your sale price on what is likely your biggest asset, and reinvest in a lower price home. If you are upsizing, it is hard to beat the current mortgage rates that are being offered. One of the big banks just increased their mortgage lending rate, but we have not seen any others as of yet. The Bank of Canada has indicated that they may even decrease the bank rate, which might result in lower still mortgage rates (hard to imagine!)

If you are an investor, with mortgage rates where they are, and the number of people in the rental market, now is a great time to buy that duplex/triplex etc.

As you can see that answer to the question I posed is perhaps. There are many things to consider. How long do you intend to live in the home you are buying? Are you starting a family? Are you retiring soon. These are just some of the questions to ask yourself. The best way to find out what is the right answer for you is to call one of our Coldwell Banker Community Professionals and discuss your current wants and needs, and perhaps even more important discuss your future plans. They will help you determine what you can afford to buy, and if it is right for you. It costs you nothing, but may very well save you a lot of heartache in the future.