Michelle’s January Newletter

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Let me know what you think? Comments always welcome. 🙂 Have a Super Sunday everyone.
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Thinking on moving to Pickering, Ontario?

Decisions, Decisions
Make sure if you are looking for a home in Pickering, Ontario – check out this page.  It is specific to Pickering, Ontario homes for sale – you can search by neighbourhood, area (east, west, north, south) and also by home type, detached, semi, condo, townhouse.

I have lived in Pickering for 23 years and know what is going on and where !  I was an active member on the Stop The Stink campaign as well as the Pickering Municipal Election.  If you need to know something about Pickering, I’m your girl !  

Looking forward to your comments about the page and please like it if you found the information valuable to you.

To your success !  Cheers !

BUYERS OUT $10,000 – Had to share !

Buyers out $10,000 as house deal falls apart

Buyers need to be sure they want to buy a house before they put down a deposit - they might lose it if they change their mind.

Buyers need to be sure they want to buy a house before they put down a deposit – they might lose it if they change their mind.

Keith Beaty/Toronto Star

If a house deal falls apart because the buyer can’t close and the seller then sells the property to someone else for more, who gets the deposit?
Here’s what can happen:
In early September 2003, Shankar Iyer and Bala Ramachandran agreed to pay $289,000 for a new home from Pleasant Developments Inc. They accompanied their offer with a $10,000 deposit and the builder accepted it on September 16. The buyers got cold feet and the next day changed their mind, asking for the return of the deposit.
The builder refused to return it and resold the house for $700 less than the original deal, but kept the deposit. The couple sued in Small Claims Court for the return of the deposit. When it came to the hearing, the question for the court was whether the builder could keep it all. The judge decided the builder could only keep $700 — the amount by which the sale was reduced — and was ordered to give the balance of $9,300 to the buyer.
The builder appealed. Three years later, Judge Brown of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice decided the builder could keep the entire deposit, even though he did not suffer any loss.
He quoted the law on the subject as follows:
“Even in the case where the seller re-sells at a purchase price that is high enough to compensate for any loss from the first sale, the seller may nevertheless retain the deposit.”
What this means is that, where it is the buyer’s fault that a deal does not close, the seller can keep the deposit. There is an exception to this rule if the amount of the deposit is out of all proportion to the losses suffered. In those cases, the loss of the deposit may be considered a penalty and then it will not be paid to the seller and will be returned to the buyer.
The buyers tried to argue that the loss of the $10,000 was out of all proportion to the losses suffered by the seller. The judge noted that the deposit paid was only 3.6 per cent of the purchase price.
In my opinion, the deposit would have to be greater than 10 per cent of the purchase price in order for the buyer to recover it if the seller suffered little or no damages.
Here are the lessons:
1.Understand your rights are before you sign a real estate contract and make a deposit.
2.If you are a buyer, understand that once an agreement is signed and accepted, you cannot simply change your mind, even one day later.
3.If a buyer defaults on their obligations, then not only can the seller sue for any damages, they can in most cases sue for the deposit, even if they have suffered no damages at all.
4.If a matter goes to court, any deposit will remain in the real estate brokerage trust account until the parties sign a mutual release or the matter is decided by a court, which in this case, took more than 2 years.
Mark Weisleder is a Toronto real estate lawyer. Contact him at mark@markweisleder.com

Top 10 Housing Predictions from Dave Liniger

Great video and I predict he is correct !  🙂   2013 and is the year to get IN the market, not out of it !!  Mortgage rates will remain steady and standards will remain tight but rents will increase causing more people to buy !  Canada only caught a cold where the U.S. caught the flu !  Recovery is on the way for them and Canada will also benefit.  Real estate is your best investment.
For all your real estate needs, choose wisely.  Call Me today to discuss your needs.   Let’s get started…


Why GTA Housing Market Will Stay Strong In 2013
Great article written by Mark Weisleder.  Had to share !!!   
By Mark Weisleder | Moneyville. ca
Many economists predicted a local real estate crash this year, with prices falling by up to 25 percent. I didn’t see that prediction coming true and it didn’t. Nor do I believe it will happen in 2013.
Here’s why:
  1. Homes are more affordable
    In 1990, the average GTA home cost half of what it does today. But interest rates were 12 percent for a five-year term at the time. So, if a two-bedroom condo cost $250,000 in 1990 and you had a 20-per-cent down payment, your monthly carrying costs, including interest, taxes and common expenses, were about $2,500. The average rental for a two-bedroom condo at the time was $1,100, according to the Housing New Canadians research group. So the economics of ownership made no sense.

    Today, even with a price of $500,000, if you have a 20-per-cent down payment, with current interest rates at 3 percent, the total monthly payment is what it was in 1990. It is still $2,500 per month, including common expenses and taxes. But in downtown Toronto, the average rent paid for a two-bedroom unit is now close to $2,500 per month.

    Most tenants who can afford $2,500 a month or more in rent can probably afford to buy a home now, if they have 10 percent down payment or more.

  2. The lesson from 2012
    Toronto Real Estate Board statistics up until Nov. 30 show 82,200 units had sold in the GTA so far this year. In 2011, it was 84,900, and in 2010 it was 81,900. The average price on Nov. 30 was 2 percent higher than a year ago. If anything, the market has remained very stable for the past three years.
  3. Impact of mortgage rule changes is minor 
    The mortgage rule changes imposed in early July lowered the amortization period to 25 years if you were putting less than 20 percent down and lowered the percentage of your income that could be used for borrowing from 44 percent to 39 percent. The result was that buyers who would have purchased in late summer or fall moved up their purchasing decision to the spring. By fall, this meant many would-be first-time buyers were looking to rent instead of buy. This contributed to low vacancy rates.
  4. 2013 will be fine 
    Despite the doom and gloom, Toronto condo rental vacancy rates are 1.7 percent. This means that for those people who cannot sell their condos, there are plenty of renters who can cover the monthly costs.
  5. Debt-to-income ratio not relevant
    As our American friends like to say, “That dog won’t hunt.” Every month we are told that because the ratio of household debt to household income continues to rise — and is now at 164 percent — there is a danger of a real estate collapse.

    What this really means is that the average Canadian household has an income of $100,000 and total debt of $164,000 (of which their real estate debt constitutes-two thirds). Again, as stated earlier, with interest rates at 3 percent, this is not a dangerous problem.

    If interest rates were 12 percent, as they were in 1990, or if all your debt was on your credit cards (with interest rates averaging 18 percent), then this would be a serious problem.

    Note to readers: Pay down or eliminate your credit card debt in 2013.

    Note to government: With mortgage interest rates at 3 percent, it is almost criminal for lenders to be able to charge 18 percent on consumer credit cards.

  6. Interest rates may not rise until 2015
    The U.S. Federal Reserve is now saying it won’t raise rates until 2015. Our rates can’t differ much from theirs without harming our economy with a strong dollar and slower growth.
These are all things to keep in mind in the coming year. Somebody has been predicting a Canadian real estate market collapse for the past 12 years. It hasn’t happened yet and won’t happen in 2013.

Bank of Canada – Rate remains unchanged

OTTAWA – January 23rd, 2013 – News Release

In Canada, the slowdown in the second half of 2012 was more pronounced than the Bank had anticipated, owing to weaker business investment and exports. Caution about high debt levels has begun to restrain household spending. The Bank expects economic growth to pick up through 2013. Business investment and exports are projected to rebound as foreign demand strengthens, uncertainty diminishes and the temporary factors that have weighed on resource sector activity are unwound. Nonetheless, exports should remain below their pre-recession peak until the second half of 2014 owing to a lower track for foreign demand and ongoing competitiveness challenges, including the persistent strength of the Canadian dollar.  

Next scheduled Bank of Canada announcement is March 6th, 2013.   

For the full story … CLICK HERE

Re/Max – Just Released – Home Buying Trends

Canadian homebuyers more experienced,
 financially prudent moving forward, says RE/MAX
Homebuying Trends
Tighter mortgage lending rules, in conjunction with the fallout of the US housing meltdown and the European debt crisis, have triggered a shift in the Canadian homebuyer mix and mindset.  The new Canadian real estate consumer is experienced, fiscally-responsible, and ready to move forward over the next 24 months.
That’s the takeaway from the RE/MAX Canadian Homebuying Trends Survey conducted among more than 1,100 prospective purchasers late last year.

 National findings include:

  •          Almost one in five purchasers is single
  •          More than two-thirds are second or multi-time purchasers
  •          Four out of 10 purchasers between the ages of 18-34 have a downpayment of 20 per cent or more
  •          Just over 80 per cent of buyers believe housing values in their area will rise or remain the same
Changing market conditions have clearly prompted the shift in the homebuying activity from coast to coast.  Once dominated by first-time buyers, the survey found that second and multi-time buyers will lead the charge for housing over the next two years.  Experienced purchasers now represent 70 per cent of homebuyers, while first-time buyers are sitting at 30 per cent.
Spending will be reined in—with 38 per cent of purchasers indicating they’ll spend under $250,000 and 42 per cent indicating they will spend between $250,000 and $500,000. In Ontario, fewer buyers will fall under the $250,000 price point—at 31 per cent—and more buyers will be active between $250,000 and $500,000—45 per cent.
Greater fiscal responsibility is evident across the board.   In fact, 40 per cent of younger purchasers, aged 18 to 34, are expected to put down 20 per cent or more.  Serious equity gains have been a contributing factor.
Consumer demographics continue to evolve, shaped by new realities. Single buyers have emerged as a force in the market, representing almost one in five purchasers.  Forty-Five per cent are female—a stat that truly demonstrates how far we’ve come, as the number of successful, young female professionals entering Canadian housing markets climbs. 
Confidence underpins the Canadian housing market, with 83 per cent of purchasers believing that housing values in their area will rise or stay the same over the next 12 months.  Homebuyers were most bullish in Ontario, where that figure rose to 85 per cent.  Optimism in the province continues to be propped up by sound real estate market fundamentals and an improving economic outlook.
While the homebuying mix may be different, the mantra is the same.   Homeownership remains a key component of the Canadian Dream.  It’s a common thread among all Canadians—a goal to which we aspire—and that’s not likely to go away anytime soon. 

Just Back from Inman Connect 2013

I have been away from 5 days attending the Inman Connect 2013 in New York City.  It is all the upcoming trends and information on real estate and technology to take my business to the next level.

Inman News®, Real Estate Connect® is the preeminent event for everyone who cares about the real estate industry and where it is going. Each year, thousands of influential real estate leaders gather at Real Estate Connect to network, make deals, explore current trends and technology, and to learn how to embrace and leverage the change that surrounds our industry.

The theme this year was a “Latte Vision” – as we all know the U.S.A is very big on Starbucks.  So the “latte vision” is a similar way of selling real estate.  “Be bigger, bolder and different” than every other Realtor out there.   Make yourself stand apart from the rest.  We spoke about the US economy and the Global markets.  What people want from a Realtor?  What sets you apart?   How to push the envelope?

Overall it was a great learning experience and New York City was something to behold !   

So if you are looking for a Real Experience that pushes the envelope, informative, fun and fresh ~ you have found your next Realtor !   Feel free to contact me at your convenience and lets start the process.   Have a super day everyone and don’t forget, I am waiting for your call.   I treat every client as they are MY ONLY CLIENT ! xo

Why More Home Sellers are listing in January !

Great article from Mark Weisleder – Thought I would share it.  I am off to New York City for Inman until Saturday.  Will have loads of new real estate info to share upon my return.  Enjoy the article.  As for Durham Region, the market is in desperate need of listings.  One home in Whitby sold for 30K over asking with 9 offers.   So if you are thinking on waiting until March or April, you may want to rethink that.  Just a thought to leave you with.

Mark’s article:

With an uncertain housing market, more homeowners are opting to put their houses on the market in January.

Traditionally, January is a slow month for real estate as most sellers choose to wait until the middle of February in the hopes of capitalizing on the early spring market. However, given the uncertainty in the housing market right now, more sellers are opting to put their house on the market in January.

This presents an opportunity for buyers. Most people are reluctant to uproot their families during the school year, so that means less competition — and fewer bidding wars. Lenders will not be as busy, so buyers can expect a more efficient process to get approved for a mortgage to ensure they have financing in place before making an offer.

But there are things you simply won’t be able to inspect during the winter. Here are some tips for protecting yourself when making a deal during the winter months:

Spruce up the outside: Use urns with light wood branches to brighten up the exterior of your home, to compensate for any overcast day or snow on the ground.
Get rid of the Christmas lights: homes that look dated on the outside give the impression that they are probably dated on the inside.
Make sure your fireplace is working during any showing, that the temperature is comfortable in the home and that any interior lighting compensates for what is usually grey lighting from outside.
Have pictures of your landscaping available from the summer and autumn, showing how beautiful your home looks year round.
Have available any inspections that you may have done on your air-conditioning unit or swimming pool before they were closed for the winter, as buyers will likely not be able to conduct inspections on these items and will have questions.
Consider inviting a company to do an environmental audit on your home in advance, confirming that there is no moisture behind the walls that could lead to mould and that you have sufficient insulation behind the walls.

If there is anything that cannot be inspected because of the winter, such as the air-conditioning system or any swimming pool, then negotiate an extended warranty in the agreement, to give you until at least May 1, to inspect and have the seller be responsible for any damages. In addition, also negotiate a holdback of, say, $2,000 so that if a problem arises, the money comes out of that fund to fix it and you don’t have to chase the seller in court later.

Be careful about snow accumulating around the base of the home. It will be difficult for a home inspector to figure out whether the grading is likely to cause water problems in the basement later. Consider doing your own environmental audit to check for moisture behind any walls.

If the snow on the roof looks like it is evaporating faster than the snow around the house, it is likely a sign that there is not enough insulation in the home.

Check with your insurance company early as to whether you will have any difficulty obtaining insurance on the home; for example, by finding out whether there have been claims made in the neighbourhood about water damages or sewage backups.

Check whether snow accumulation makes it more difficult for street parking, as this may be the only parking available on certain streets. Also see how bad weather may affect your morning commute.
Check the last electric/gas bills, to determine how energy efficient the home is in winter.
People tend to hibernate and stay at home in the winter, so take the opportunity to get to know the neighbours before you finalize your purchase.

By being properly prepared in advance, buyers and sellers can negotiate a safe and successful winter home sale.
Read more stories from Mark Weisleder: click here.
Mark Weisleder is a Toronto real estate lawyer. Contact him at mark@markweisleder.com

Let me know if you would like a free home evaluation.  I would be happy to meet with you and discuss your neighbourhood sales and how best to market your home.   

Have a super day !  Cheers, xo