Friday, December 30, 2022

Move or Stay? How To Get Off The Fence

Deciding whether or not to move can be difficult. You might have a desire to buy a new home, but that might be countered by the fact that it wouldn't be so bad to stay put. 

That's a classic case of being on the fence. So how do you get off? 

Deciding to sell is often both a practical and emotional decision. On the practical side, you might have outgrown your current home. On the emotional side, you might feel a need for a change. 

One way to make decision is to use the two lists technique. On the first list, jot down all the practical reasons why you'd like a new home. On the second list, note all the emotional reasons. 

For example, your practical list might include more space for a growing family. Perhaps you need an extra bedroom. Your emotional list might consist of wanting to get into a neighbourhood that better reflects the lifestyle you desire. For example, you may be looking for an area closer to school and parks. 

Once you've made these two lists, often the right decision becomes clear and therefore, easier to make. 

Monday, December 19, 2022

No-Step Showers

One of the latest bathroom renovation trends is a "no-step" shower area, where the entire bathroom floor gently slopes, at a predetermined angle, towards the main shower drain. As a result, there is no need for a small wall to keep water in the confined shower area. The primary benefit is the visual appeal, as it creates a beckoning spa-like sense of invitation to the shower area. There is also the practical benefit of having a continuous floor surface that's easier to clean, with fewer corners to collect mold and mildew. However, there are unique challenges and costs involved. 

For examples, the flooring in the entire bathroom needs to be fully waterproofed. Also, the floor's subsurface needs to have enough height at its furthest reaches to allow for a gradual but sufficient slope to the shower drain. Furthermore, to achieve the full effect and a minimalist design, the shower door would be eliminated, presuming there is reasonable distance between residual spray and areas needing protection. Of course, such a project requires professional oversight, but the results could be very impressive. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Interesting Products For The Home

Easy Drywall Repair Kit: If you have dents and holes in walls that need more than compound smoothed over with a putty knife, you'll be happy to know you can purchase a drywall repair kit. These kits include the materials you need and step-by-step instructions on how to fix the job yourself - and get professional results. 

Indoor Plant Kits: Advances in recent years have made indoor gardening a far simpler pastime - with far more predictable success than in the past. Whether you want to start an herb garden or grow plants for visual aesthetics, there are a lot of new hydroponic kits to help bring more nature into your home. 

Automatic Pet Door: It looks like a standard door, but this uniquely designed entranceway has a disguised lower panel that opens and closes like an elevator door. A Bluetooth signal on your dog's collar activates the door so your pet can come and go as desired. 

Levitating Speakers: You've probably never heard of - or seen - speakers like these. They appear to be floating in midair! Suspended magnetically, they project sound and can also project different colours when activated. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

GTA REALTORS® Release November 2022 Stats

Homeownership market activity in November continued to be influenced by the impact of higher borrowing costs on affordability. Sales were down markedly compared to the same period last year, following the trend that unfolded since the commencement of interest rate hikes in the spring. New listings were also down substantially from last year, and at a very low level historically. The fact that the supply of homes for sale has remained low, has supported average selling prices at the $1.08 to $1.09 million mark since August.

Greater Toronto Area (GTA) REALTORS® reported 4,544 sales through TRREB’s MLS® System in November 2022 – down 49 per cent compared to November 2021, but remaining at a similar level to October especially after considering the recurring seasonal downward trend in the fall. New listings, at 8,880, were down on both a year-over-year basis and month-over-month basis.

“Increased borrowing costs represent a short-term shock to the housing market. Over the medium- to long-term, the demand for ownership housing will pick up strongly. This is because a huge share of record immigration will be pointed at the GTA and the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) in the coming years, and all of these people will require a place to live, with the majority looking to buy. The long-term problem for policymakers will not be inflation and borrowing costs, but rather ensuring we have enough housing to accommodate population growth,” said TRREB President Kevin Crigger.

“We have seen a lot of progress this year on the housing supply and related governance files such as the More Homes Built Faster Act. This is obviously good news. However, we need these new policies to turn into results over the next year. Otherwise, the current market lull will soon be behind us, population growth will be accelerating, and we will have done nothing to account for our growing housing need. The result would be enhanced unaffordability and reduced economic competitiveness,” said TRREB CEO John DiMichele.

The MLS® Home Price Index Composite Benchmark was down by 5.5 per cent year-over-year in November 2022. The average selling price for all home types combined was down by 7.2 per cent year-over-year. Annual price declines continued to be greater for more expensive market segments, including detached and semi-detached houses.

“Selling prices declined from the early year peak as market conditions became more balanced and homebuyers have sought to mitigate the impact of higher borrowing costs. With that being said, the marked downward price trend experienced in the spring has come to an end. Selling prices have flatlined along side average monthly mortgage payments since the summer,” said TRREB Chief Market Analyst Jason Mercer.

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


TRREB MLS® New Listings November 2022


TRREB MLS® Sales November 2022


TRREB MLS® Average Price November 2022


Monday, December 5, 2022

It's Time to Review Your Auto-Pilot Payments

Have you ever noticed a recurring purchase on your credit card and thought, "Whoa. I didn't realize I was still paying for that." If so, you're not alone. These days, most people have recurring payments and subscriptions set on autopilot, making it all-too-easy not to notice what you're paying for and how much you're spending. 

This phenomenon has become even more acute with the popularity of phone apps. In just a click, you can subscribe to something that, next month, you'll have forgotten all about! 

That's why it's important to review all your recurring purchases and subscriptions annually and decide if you still want them. And, the end of the year is the ideal time to do that. 

So take a moment this month to review your:

  • Phone app subscriptions. 
  • Subscriptions to online tools
  • Traditional subscriptions (such as to a newspaper or magazine). 
  • Recurring payments of any kind. 
Be sure to check purchases that renew annually rather than monthly. Those can be easy to miss! 

As you review each purchase, ask yourself, "Do I still want this?" If the answer is yes, find out if there is a less expensive option that will work for you. Some online tools, for example, have subscription levels. You might be paying for the Premium level when the cheaper Basic level would be just fine. 

This simple review can potentially save you a lot of money in the new year.