Monday, August 29, 2022

Apps That Make Selling & Moving Easier

You've probably heard the expression, "There's an app for that!" There does seem to be an app for every conceivable task, and real estate is no exception. If you're thinking of selling and moving this year, here is a list of app types to look for: 

  • Maps - Google Maps is the most popular, but there are others. Mapping apps with satellite views are handy for checking out neighbourhoods. 
  • Calendar - You probably use an online calendar. But, when you're moving, it makes sense to have a separate "moving calendar". There are many free calendar apps available. 
  • Project management - There are some easy-to-use apps that help you stay organized during projects, such as getting your home ready for sale. 
  • Mortgage calculator - Most bank websites feature online tools where you can test out scenarios and see how much you would pay each month. 
  • Moving costs - Most major moving companies, and a few home improvement centres, feature a moving cost calculator on their websites. That's handy! 
  • Gas prices - When you're selling and moving, you may be using your vehicle more than usual. There are several websites and apps that find the lowest fuel prices at local stations. 
How do you find these apps? The best way is to do a Google search. Be sure to use "app" as one of your search words. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Electronic Privacy Glass

Imagine if you could flick a switch or give a verbal command to control the light that comes through a glass window or door, without employing shades, blinds, or curtains. Thanks to a manufacturing process that embeds a layer of invisible sensors between two panes of glass, you can adjust the opacity of windows and other glass panels from completely transparent to fully opaque. The process utilizes liquid crystals that are electronically aligned to either block vision or allow you to see through - a big step from old mechanical venetian blinds sealed between glass plates. 

Furthermore, this technology can be applied to the treatment of specialized transparent film, which can be applied to glass that has been previously installed. Either of these customized glass treatments can be a true game-changer for homeowners, interior designers and architects, looking to create new design and layout options. Where solid walls and curtains were once essential for privacy in bedrooms and bathrooms, there is now the option to allow daylight to flow through or be selectively blocked by choice. 

Monday, August 15, 2022

Should You Get A Major Improvement Done Before Selling?

There's no doubt about it. The more "move in" ready your property is, the more attractive it will be to buyers. That's because buyers will be able to imagine living in the home without having to make any major repairs or improvements - at least for the short term. 

But, does that mean you need to get every big issue dealt with before you sell? Not necessarily. 

Say, for example, your flooring needs replacing soon. Sure, that may influence the interest-level some buyers have in your property. Yet, homes sell every day with these kinds of issues. 

What it comes down to is cost-versus-benefit. Painting, for example, costs little (compared to other types of improvements), yet can make a big difference in how your home appears. So, the benefit is high compared to the cost. 

On the other hand, redoing your kitchen is an expensive undertaking. Although you're likely to add value to your home as a result of the renovation, you might not get your entire investment back when you sell. 

So, consider each improvement your thinking of making based on its cost, how much more you'll get for your home, and how much more quickly you anticipate your property will sell. 

Monday, August 8, 2022

The Disappearing Kitchen Reappers!

Before the trend towards stainless-steel appliances, high-end refrigerators could be accessorized with replaceable door panels that matched kitchen cabinet panelling. Recently this visual treatment has been reappearing, as it is becoming an integral component of what's sometimes referred to as the invisible kitchen. The concept involves choosing elements such as flooring, wall coverings, and lighting with similar or identical decorative surfaces. This provides seamless uninterrupted sightlines across the kitchen, dining room and living areas to create the illusion of more space. 

For example, imagine cupboards with floor-to-ceiling doors that match the wall panels and have no visible handles. Or, consider extending the finish of the kitchen or island countertop (e.g., granite or marble) to the side walls of the cabinetry and onto the floor, presuming the material is compatible for multi-purpose use. To help deflect the visual evidence of appliances, many kitchen designers now select reflective oven doors and smooth-surface cooktops with recessed knobs. 

Thursday, August 4, 2022

GTA REALTORS® Release July 2022 Stats

There were 4,912 home sales reported through the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) MLS® System in July 2022 – down by 47 per cent compared to July 2021. Following the regular seasonal trend, sales were also down compared to June. New listings also declined on a year-over-year basis in July, albeit down by a more moderate four per cent. The expectation is that the trend for new listings will continue to follow the trend for sales, as we move through the second half of 2022 and into 2023.

Market conditions remained much more balanced in July 2022 compared to a year earlier. As buyers continued to benefit from more choice, the annual rate of price growth has moderated. The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark was up by 12.9 per cent year-over-year. The average selling price was up by 1.2 per cent compared to July 2021 to $1,074,754. Less expensive home types, including condo apartments, experienced stronger rates of price growth as more buyers turned to these segments to help mitigate the impact of higher borrowing costs.

"The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) population continues to grow and tight labour market conditions will drive this growth moving forward. Despite more balanced market conditions resulting from rapidly increasing mortgage rates, policymakers must continue to take action to boost housing supply to account for long-term population growth. TRREB has put realistic solutions on the table to address the existing housing affordability challenges. With savings high and the unemployment rate still low, home buyers will eventually account for higher borrowing costs. When they do, we want to have an adequate pipeline of supply in place or market conditions will tighten up again," said TRREB Chief Market Analyst Jason Mercer.

TRREB is also calling on all levels of government to reassess and clarify policies related to mortgage lending and housing development.

"Many GTA households intend on purchasing a home in the future, but there is currently uncertainty about where the market is headed. Policymakers could help allay some of this uncertainty. As higher borrowing costs impact housing markets, TRREB maintains that the OSFI mortgage stress test should be reviewed in the current environment," said TRREB CEO John DiMichele.

"With significant increases to lending rates in a short period, there has been a shift in consumer sentiment, not market fundamentals. The federal government has a responsibility to not only maintain confidence in the financial system, but to instill confidence in homeowners that they will be able to stay in their homes despite rising mortgage costs. Longer mortgage amortization periods of up to 40 years on renewals and switches should be explored," said TRREB President Kevin Crigger.

TRREB MLS® Sales-to-New Listings Ratio July 2022


TRREB MLS® New Listings July 2022


TRREB MLS® Sales July 2022


TRREB MLS® Average Resale Home Price July 2022


Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Recycling, Reusing or Disposing of Electronics

The more sophisticated computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones become, the more they are reliant upon rare minerals and sometimes toxic chemicals to perform. As consumers, it's something we are not usually concerned about - until it's time to dispose of them. When that time comes, you might consider approaching local school organizations or community centres to see who might have a use for unwanted electronics, or contacting charity programs that collect outdated computers, tablets and cell phones for village schools in third-world countries. 

If neither of those options is feasible, and you are convinced your devices will be of no use to others, consult with your local municipality to determine where and how to dispose of e-waste. They may have a program in place to safely dismantle and dispose of the equipment and could direct you to a drop-off site. You may also find that some local electronics retailers will accept old items for proper disposal, especially if you are a customer. Regardless of what you decide to do with old devices, make sure you have erased all personal data from the hard drive, memory chip and/or SIM card.