Thursday, February 23, 2023

Tile & Grout: Clean, Repair or Replace?

Seeing dirty or cracked grout lines and tile can sometimes be so discouraging that we think the only answer is to retile an entire wall or room. But, consider the level of deterioration before making such a decision. There are incremental steps you may be able to take to give your tile and grout extended life. Scrubbing grout or tile may be the simplest answer, but it will likely require a professional-grade cleaner or steamer. Since some heavy-duty cleaning formulas employ strong chemicals, be sure to test any cleanser in an inconspicuous spot, while wearing prescribed protection. 

If some repair is necessary, it's worth nothing that individual tiles or sections of damaged tile can be replaced without committing to an entirely new tile installation. However, it's not exactly a do-it-yourself job. Presuming you can find replacement tile and grout that matches, such a project required a skillful professional to ensure a clean and "seamless" installation that does not appear like a patchwork solution. 

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Understanding Probate

In general, probate is the legal process that clears an estate executor to carry out the intentions of a deceased person's will - including the payment of outstanding debts and distribution of remaining assets. If there is no will, or no executor named, a probate jurisdiction or court may appoint an administrator to resolve the dissolution of the estate, sometimes for a proportionate fee. But, probate can also demand painstaking accounting of details, depending on the size and complexity of the portfolio, and the various laws under which some contracts exist. Different jurisdictions across the country have different laws and legal terminology. 

For example, in some cases, a simple transfer of funds may not even require probate, such as awarding a surviving spouse or beneficiary the proceeds of an insurance policy. But, in other cases, property may need to be liquidated rather than directly inherited. It can get more complicated if assets are invested under specific terms or in another country. However, probate needn't be overlay complicated if plans are made in advance. So, have separate chats with your heir(s), your executor and your lawyer to ensure your intentions are made clear- and are set out in a legally binding will. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Secrets To A Trouble-Free Spring Renovation

Are you planning on making some home improvements next year? Whether it's a minor project such as painting, or a major renovation like a new kitchen, you want the project to go smoothly. 

There's a lot you can do to make sure that happens. For example: 

  • Start the planning process now. That will enable you to discover any challenges and roadblocks early, giving you plenty of time to deal with them. You don't want to find out at the last minute that the materials needed are backordered everywhere. 
  • Hire the contractor early. Spring is a popular time for renovations. As a result, contractors often get booked early. If you wait until the last minute, you might scramble to find someone. Or, worse, you might be forced to hire a contractor who's less than ideal. 
  • Make your decisions in advance. Choosing styles, colours, options, sizes, etc., can take longer than you might expect. So, start making those decisions as early as possible. That way, project materials can be ordered well in advance of the start date. 
  • Plan for the realities. Even when projects are well managed, things happen. So, make contingency plans. For example, have a trusted pet daycare on hand if you find that your dog and the renovators aren't getting along! 
Did you notice the theme that emerges from these tips? Start planning your project now. If you do, there's a much better chance the work will go smoothly this spring. 

Friday, February 3, 2023

GTA REALTORS® Release January 2023 Stats

As we moved from 2022 into 2023, the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) housing market unfolded as expected. The number of January sales and the overall average selling price were similar to December 2022. On a year-over-year basis, both sales and prices were down markedly, continuing to highlight the impact of higher borrowing costs on affordability over the last year.

“Home sales and selling prices appear to have found some support in recent months. This coupled with the Bank of Canada announcement that interest rate hikes are likely on hold for the foreseeable future will prompt some buyers to move off the sidelines in the coming months. Record population growth and tight labour market conditions will continue to support housing demand moving forward,” said Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) President Paul Baron.

GTA REALTORS® reported 3,100 sales through TRREB’s MLS® System in January 2023 – in line with the December 2022 result of 3,110, but down 44.6 per cent from January 2022. The average selling price for January 2023 at $1,038,668 was slightly lower than the December 2022 result and down by 16.4 per cent compared to the January 2022 average price reported before the onset of Bank of Canada interest rate hikes. The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark was in line with the December result, but down by 14.2 per cent compared to January 2022.

“Home prices declined over the past year as homebuyers sought to mitigate the impact of substantially higher borrowing costs. While short-term borrowing costs increased again in January, negotiated medium-term mortgage rates, like the five-year fixed rate, have actually started to trend lower compared to the end of last year. The expectation is that this trend will continue, further helping with affordability as we move through 2023,” said TRREB Chief Market Analyst Jason Mercer.

“All three levels of government have announced policies to enhance housing affordability over the long term, including many initiatives focussed on increasing housing supply in the ownership and rental markets. Most recently, we were encouraged to see Toronto City Council support the Mayor’s 2023 Housing Action Plan as part of the City’s overall $2 billion commitment to housing initiatives,” said TRREB CEO John DiMichele.

TRREB MLS® Sales-to-New Listings Ratio January 2023


TRREB MLS® New Listings January 2023


TRREB MLS® Sales January 2023


TRREB MLS® Average Price January 2023