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A Brief Look At The GTA Housing Market In November, 2013 (Source: TREB)
Posted on Mon, 16 Dec 2013, 09:00:19 PM  in Home buying tips,  Home selling tips, etc.
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**** Here is a brief look at the GTA housing market in November, 2013 - from TREB (Toronto Real Estate Board) ****

Tighter Market Conditions Drive Strong Price Growth

Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 6,391 residential sales through the TorontoMLS system in November 2013, representing a 13.9 per cent increase over the sales result for November 2012. Over the same period, new listings on TorontoMLS were down by 4.4 per cent and month-end active listings were down by 12.1 per cent.

"Growth in sales was strong for most home types in the Greater Toronto Area. Sales growth was led by the single-detached market segment followed by condominium apartments. Together, singles and condos accounted for almost three-quarters of total GTA transactions," said Toronto Real Estate Board President Dianne Usher.

"With National Housing Day having just passed, housing affordability is top of mind in the GTA and indeed nationally. Despite strong price growth and an uptick in borrowing costs this year, monthly mortgage payments on the average priced home remain affordable for a household earning the average GTA income," continued Ms. Usher.

The average selling price for November 2013 TorontoMLS transactions was $538,881 – up by 11.3 per cent in comparison to the average of $484,208 reported for November 2012. The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark was up by 5.7 per cent over the same period.

"Whether we consider the average TorontoMLS selling price or the MLS® HPI Composite Benchmark, annual home price growth remained well-above the rate of inflation in November. This makes sense given the fact that competition between buyers increased last month. Transactions were up strongly year-over-year while the number of homes available for sale was down," said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

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10 Important Steps to Get Your Home Ready to Sell in Spring
Posted on Sat, 05 May 2012, 07:56:06 PM  in Home selling tips,  Marketing strategies, etc.
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Here are 10 important steps you can take to make your home stand out among the rush of new listings flooding into the Spring-time real estate market, and to improve the odds of it getting sold at a higher price within a reasonable timeframe.

Exterior of your home:

1) Clean and rake the yard / trim the bushes:

Make sure to clean out dead leaves and debris in your lawn. Don't let untidy plants obstruct the windows or path to the entryway. Trimming bushes and tree branches will showcase the exterior of your home and let the sun inside.

2) Diagonally mow the lawn and edge along driveway and sidewalks:

Tastefully manicured lawns are nice to look at and they tell buyers that the homeowner pays attention to small details. For example: if you mow the lawn diagonally, it makes the yard appear much larger than it actually is.

Interior of your home:

3) Clean windows inside and out / polish all mirrors in bedrooms and bathrooms:

Sparkle is free, and sparkling looks sell homes. A potential buyer looking through your home - may not understand why your home appears so inviting but will get drawn to it if the windows look spotless and your mirrors reflect sunlight and other interior lighting. Also, make sure to dust off the top edge of the doors (or even repaint the doors if needed) to make them look neat. Getting the doors, windows and mirrors to a squeaky clean state is one of the most primary steps to preparing your home for sale.

4) Wash and clean all drapes, curtains & blinds and open up all the windows:

Get your window coverings refreshed by having them dry-cleaned or wash, dry and press them at home. Put your vacuum cleaner into good use for getting rid of spider webs and dust from the window coverings and also from the edges of the walls and ceilings. Use a soapy bathtub to thoroughly wash the blinds. Clean and crisp linens and fresh Spring-time breeze through the windows invites the season inside your home, and make it look and feel more appealing.

5) Transplant/Shift daffodils and tulips or buy these flowers in containers:

Some say - bright yellow coloured flowers stimulate buying urges. After living through a long and cold winter, everyone eagerly awaits the first signs of Spring. Yellow daffodils and tulips stimulate feelings of happiness and contentment. Arrange these flowers in containers near the entrance in groups of three or five.

6) Clean and polish floors to make them look shiny and glossy:

If you have broadloom on the floors, it may be a good idea to replace them with laminate or hardwood floors. If needed - refinish the hardwood floors. Thoroughly clean the ceramic and linoleum floors to make them twinkle and shine. Dull grout can be cleaned with bleach, and all area rugs should be cleaned and shampooed.

7) Use light coloured (yellow, lavender, pale blue, pink) towels, throws, and pillows:

Linens, towels, sofa pillows and throws are inexpensive accents that can and should be replaced to freshen up the look and feel of different rooms around the house. With their soft Spring colours - they can easily brighten up a room. Layer colourful towels on towel racks in bathrooms, and stack rolled wash cloths on bathroom counters in a fashionable pyramid.

8) Put a mat outside for wiping off shoes & place an umbrella stand at the entryway:

Early Spring weather can often be very unpredictable, regardless of where you live. In some areas of the country, it can be 20 degrees one day and can start snowing the next. If it's raining, offer buyers a place to put away their umbrellas and wipe their feet off before entering the house.

9) Offer treats to visitors to make them feel invited:

Going from one home to another makes potential buyers feel tired and hungry by the time they get to your home. It is a very smart idea to have homemade treats such as cookies and cupcakes for them to snack on while they are going through your house. It will make they feel happy and energetic, and will give them an excuse to stay in your house for a little bit longer to properly appreciate all the wonderful things your home has to offer. Also, if you are the only one doing this - they will definitely remember your home for its uniqueness and will discuss with each other about how inviting the house felt.

10) Listen to your realtor's advice:

Choose a professional realtor who you feel comfortable in dealing with, and then have detailed discussions on what your expectations are. Once the realtor presents his/her services and marketing strategies (designed based on your expectations, his/her experiences and current market situations) - try to follow his/her advice as closely as possible to get the best results from the whole process. A skilled realtor can market your home in various different ways including the MLS system listings, flyers, emails to previous clients and other contacts, his/her personal website, other real estate related websites, social media networking (Facebook, LinkedIn, and so on), and open houses - which dramatically increase the probability of your home getting sold at the highest possible price within a reasonable timeframe.

 

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Is it Flu or Carbon Monoxide poisoning?
Posted on Wed, 02 Mar 2011, 06:37:26 PM  in Home buying tips,  Home selling tips, etc.
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Is it Flu or Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

The flu and carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning share many symptoms: headache, dizziness, nausea, weakness, confusion and fatigue. However, while CO poisoning does not come with a fever, the flu does.  If you have flu symptoms, but no fever, remind your physician about the possibility of CO poisoning.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that over 200 people a year die, while thousands more are treated for CO poisoning by hospital emergency rooms and private physicians.

How can you prevent becoming an annual statistic from CO poisoning?

  • Have all gas burning appliances inspected and serviced annually by a professional technician.
  • Have all chimneys and flues checked annually for loose connections, blockage, corrosion, etc. Also     make sure you properly open the flue on any wood burning appliance or fireplace when using them. (To avoid fire danger, make sure you have the chimney flue inspected and cleaned, each year.
  • Make sure your heating systems have an adequate intake of outside air.
  • Never use appliances such as a clothes dryer, range, or oven to heat your home.
  • Don’t leave cars running in garages, even with the door open.
  • Never, never burn charcoal in a confined space.
  • Finally, install CO detector/alarms in your home. These detector/alarms are similar in concept to the smoke alarms that are prevalent in today’s homes.

There are two types of CO detector/alarms available: hardwired, (using household current); and battery powered. Hardwired sensors usually purge themselves and resample for CO at a preset period of time.  Battery powered sensors usually react to prolonged exposure to CO.

We recommend installation of ceiling mounted detector/alarms in the following areas:

  • One on each floor of the residence (the detector/alarm should be placed in the hallway near each sleeping area).
  • One in the vicinity of each major fuel burning appliance (but not within five feet).
  • One in the garage.

Consult the manufacturer’s installation instructions to ensure the right placement of the detector/alarm in each area. 

Flu shots help protect against the flu.  A CO detector/alarm helps protect against Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Save your health -- Get both.

Source: Arshad Khan, Certified Home Inspector, QualitySpec Inc., (905) 231-9882

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