Why Winter is The Best Time to Buy..

Timing is a critical factor in buying a home. Real estate wisdom tells us that spring and summer are the major seasons for house hunting. People are more likely to get out and house hunt when the weather is nice. Sellers know that their yards look better when not covered in snow. And all these are compelling reasons for going shopping for a house in the winter time!!!

We want to tell you that buying a home in the winter months may be one of the housing industry’s most downplayed opportunities...

Sales are slow with both price and inventory decreasing starting from November and hitting rock bottom in December. Thus making the holiday season a great opportunity for motivated buyers and investors.

Fewer Buyers to compete with means you can maximize your purchasing power – In simple economics the low demand will work in your favor. So for investors looking to grab a great deal, winter can be prime time.

Sellers are motivated – as mentioned above, sellers will choose not to list in winter unless they are motivated. Real estate agents know that the slow winter months are when sellers are more willing to negotiate, whether it is on selling price, closing costs, closing date, or terms of the sale including what comes with the property and the conditions of the sale. Motivators could be dictated by job offers, divorce, financial woes, etc.

Less chance for multiple offers on the real estate of your dreams – buyers will have the upper hand in negotiating for extraordinary properties and real estate that otherwise would most certainly be out of their reach during the rest of the year.

Lastly, with less real estate activity, your realtors have a less demand for their time. This can be a wonderful opportunity for them to give you undivided attention and be able to work harder for you.

SO BRAVE THE COLD and get out there. Your dream home could be waiting for you..


Mid November Housing Market Report

Toronto Real Estate Board

GTA REALTORS® RESALE HOUSING MID-MONTH FIGURES

 

TORONTO, November 18, 2013 -- Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 3,131 residential transactions through the TorontoMLS system during the first two weeks of November 2013.  This result represented a 21 per cent year-over-year increase compared to 2,582 sales reported during the same timeframe in 2012.  Over the same period, new listings were down by more than four per cent.

"The results for mid-November indicate that GTA households remain comfortable with the costs of home ownership," said Toronto Real Estate Board President Dianne Usher.  "If not for the persistent shortage of listings for most home types, we would likely be experiencing an even higher level of sales as more buyers would be able to make a deal on a home meeting their needs."

The average selling price for November 2013 mid-month transactions was $538,708, representing an 11 per cent increase compared to $485,988 in 2012.

"More buyers competing for a smaller number of listings has translated into an accelerating pace of price growth.  This theme has been most prevalent in the low-rise market segment, including single-detached and semi-detached houses and townhomes.  However, it is important to note that the condominium apartment market has also become tighter," said Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

TorontoMLS Sales & Average Price By Home Type November 1-14, 2013

 

Sale

Average Price

 

416

905

Total

416

905

Total

Detached

468

1,067

1,535

845,883

595,545

671,869

Yr./Yr. % Change

43.1%

19.5%

25.8%

11.5%

7.7%

10.5%

Semi-Detached

133

202

335

662,447

427,599

520,837

Yr./Yr. % Change

6.4%

24.7%

16.7%

10.9%

10.1%

8.6%

Townhouse

125

352

477

477,096

378,518

404,351

Yr./Yr. % Change

5.9%

20.1%

16.1%

9.3%

6.9%

7.0%

Condo Apartment

526

205

731

395,865

274,664

361,876

Yr./Yr. % Change

19.8%

15.8%

18.7%

14.1%

-0.6%

10.8%

Summary of TorontoMLS Sales and Average Price November 1-14

 

2013

2012

 

Sales

Average Price

New Listing

Sales

Average Price

New Listing

Toronto (“416”)

1,259

$598,924

2,049

1,025

$518,825

2,196

Rest of GTA (“905”)

1,872

$498,210

2,941

1,557

$464,371

3,018

GTA

3,131

$538,708

4,990

2,582

$485,988

5,214

 

Greater Toronto REALTORS® are passionate about their work. They adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and share a state-of-the-art Multiple Listing Service. Serving over 37,000 Members in the Greater Toronto Area, the Toronto Real Estate Board is Canada’s largest real estate board. Greater Toronto Area open house listings are available on www.TorontoRealEstateBoard.com


Winter Preparation for Your Home!

Now that the cold is officially here, it is time to consider preparing your home for winter. If you live in a cold and snowy region, it is important make these arrangements in order to avoid future home repairs.

1. Tune up your heating system: When the weather gets cold, it will be the worst time to find out that your heating system doesn't’t work. You do not want to have to wait for someone to come out, while you are freezing!! For around a $100 you can have a technician inspect your furnace or heat pump to ensure your heating system is clean and in good condition. It will also ensure your system in reaching maximum efficiency and not leaking carbon monoxide. Make sure your technician is licensed and qualified!

2. Reverse the ceiling fans: Some people may not know that ceilings fans can be reversed. If your ceiling fan has a reverse switch, turn it on to run the fan blades in the other direction when you have the heater running. The fan will create an updraft and push the hot air back down into the room. This will keep your room warmer and is great in rooms with high ceilings. 

3. Prevent ice dams: If your home tends to get a lot of icicles there is a chance that your home can get ice dams. This causes water to back up and flow right into your house which can cause rotting, mold, foundation and structural problems. A home-energy auditor or weatherization contractor can identify and fix air leaks and inadequate insulation in your home’s attic that can lead to ice dams.

4. Check the roof: Look for damaged, loose or missing shingles that may leak during winter’s storms or from melting snow. If need be, hire a handyman to repair a few shingles or a roofer for a larger section ($150 to $450 for a 100-square-foot area). Check and repair breaks in the flashing seals around vent stacks and chimneys, too. 

If your roof is flat and surfaced with asphalt and pebbles, rake or blow off fall leaves and pine needles, which hold moisture. Don’t sweep aside the pebbles; that will expose the asphalt to damaging sunlight.

5. Caulk around windows and doors: If the gaps between siding and window or door frames are bigger than the width of a nickel, you need to reapply exterior caulk. Make sure to check the joints in window and door frames, too. Silicone caulk is best for exterior use because it won’t shrink and it’s impervious to the elements. Check window-glazing putty, which seals glass into the window frame. Add weather stripping as needed around doors, making sure you cannot see any daylight from inside your home.

6. Clean the gutters: If your gutters are full of leaves and debris, water can back up against the house and damage roofing, siding and wood trim -- plus cause leaks and ice dams. You’ll typically pay $70 to $300 to clean gutters on a single-story house, depending on its size. Look for missing or damaged gutters and fascia boards and repair them.

7. Divert water: Add extensions to downspouts so that water runs at least 3 to 4 feet away from the foundation. For example, you can purchase a spout extension, which extends 25 to 55 inches, for $5. (Water near or directly against the foundation can cause huge problems in the future).

8. Turn off exterior faucets: As the weather drops, undrained water in pipes can freeze, and will cause pipes to burst as the ice expands. Disconnect all the garden hoses and drain the water that remains in faucets. If you don’t have frost-proof faucets, and if your home is 10 to 15 years old you probably do not have them, turn off the shut-off valve inside your home.

9. Drain your lawn-irrigation system. It is probably best to call in a professional to do this job. Your sprinkler service will cost between $75 and $150, depending on the size of your system. If you drain them, it will avoid any freezing and leaks that will happen as a result freezing water expansion. 

10. Mulch leaves when you mow: Mow your leaves instead of raking them. The trick is to cut the leaves, while dry, into dime-sized pieces that will fall among the grass blades, where they will decompose and nourish your lawn over the winter. Use your lawn mower without its bag, and optionally swap the cutting blade for a mulching blade, which will cost about $30 to $50. The process may take several passes, but at least you don’t have to rake it!

11. Prepare to stow your mower: As the mower sits through the winter, fuel remaining in its engine will decompose, "varnishing" the carburetor and causing difficulty when you try to start the engine in the spring. If you've added stabilizer to your fuel to keep it fresh longer, then fill the gas tank to the top with more stabilized fuel and run the engine briefly to allow it to circulate. If not, wait until the tank is nearly empty from use and run the engine (outdoors) to use up the remaining fuel. Check your mower's manual for other cold-weather storage steps.

12. Prune trees and shrubs in late-winter: Horticulturalists advise waiting to prune until late winter for most plants, when they've been long dormant and just before spring growth begins. To get advice specific to your plants and region, don’t be afraid to talk with master gardeners at your local nurseries.

There is an exception to this: If your larger trees need a trim, you may need to hire an arborist to remove deadfall or trim limbs close to your home or power lines that could cause problems in a winter storm.

13. Call a chimney sweep: Before you burn the Yule log, make sure your fireplace (or any heating appliance burning gas, oil, wood or coal), chimney and vents are clean and in good repair. That will prevent chimney fires and prevent carbon monoxide from seeping into your home. You can expect to pay $50 to $100 for an inspection to see if you need a cleaning, and $100 to $300 for the cleaning.

14. Avoid the rush: Get your snow and cold weather supplies early! Salt, shovels, snowblowers, etc., get them before the first snow fall to avoid higher prices and lower inventory.


Home Repairs You Should Never Ignore!

Many people put off repairs in their home. We tend to dodge it and push it off for as long as possible. Everyone realizes that repairs must be done, but other events take a higher priority and often the funds are not readily available. All that said, certain repairs must be done sooner rather than later. These common tasks can lead to greater problems if pushed off for too long.

  • A water leak - Leaks can lead to a whole lot of problems if not handled immediately. Constant moisture can cause the wood to rot, mold, dry rot, or termite infestations. Rotting can compromise the stability of the foundation, subfloor, or roofing, leading to very expensive repairs if the foundation or roof buckles. Most importantly, water-related problems can get your home blackballed by insurance companies worried about mold-related claims.
  • Peeling paint - Paint is a home's protection from the elements. It's the first line of defense against incursions by water and pests. Exterior paint is formulated to protect your house from rain and moisture. If the paint peels, water can seep into wood and lead to rot.
  • Unusually high fuel bills - This is more than a money issue. If your heating system isn't running properly, it can be leaking carbon monoxide. Be sure to have carbon monoxide sensors in your house to alert you if levels are increasing.
  • Unusual flickering lights - If your lights are consistently flickering - more than a bulb needing to be changed - then wiring in your house may be off or your circuit board isn't hooked up properly. Be sure to check on this because it can cause fires!
  • Rodents - Rats and mice love to chew through just about anything. When it comes to your house, they will chew through insulation and wiring (among other things). This can be dangerous as exposed wires can sometimes cause fires. If they have chewed through wires, be sure to replace them. Certain areas (i.e. theo mountains and hilly areas) are often prone to vermin. If this is the case, try to keep any infestations under control.