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Frank Steinhausen, Broker
RE/MAX Rouge River Realty Ltd., Brokerage
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Durham Region Association of REALTORS® (DRAR) President Sandra O’Donohue reported 1,200 residential transactions in July 2016, a slight increase from the same time last year. “The market has kept a steady pace into mid-summer,” stated O’Donohue. There were 1,459 new listings in July 2016 compared to 1,511 in July 2015.
“The prices of homes have continued to increase,” added O’Donohue. The average selling price in Durham reached $547,496 last month. In comparison, the average selling price was $448,048 during the same period last year; a 22 per cent increase. Homes have continued to sell quickly in an average of 12 days compared to 18 days last year. “Competition is intense in Durham Region,” says O’Donohue.
With listing shortages common in the Greater Toronto Area and Durham Region, British Columbia’s verdict to impose a 15 per cent tax on foreign buyers have driven worry in Ontario. “I welcome what [B.C.] is putting forward,” says Ontario’s Finance Minister, Charles Sousa. “We’re certainly looking at whatever options can be made available.”
While the new tax may drive some purchasers to Ontario in the short-term, Sousa explains it is important to consider how similar policies could have repercussions to other parts of Ontario that aren’t experiencing the same extreme pricing.
“There could be a ripple effect to the Durham Region if we see an influx of foreign buyers in Toronto,” explains O’Donohue. “Durham Region is an affordable area within arm’s reach, that’s appealing for anyone looking to avoid the higher Toronto prices.”
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Figuring out how much time you should spend viewing properties for sale is a little like asking, “How long should I spend trying on shoes?”
The answer seems obvious: As long as it takes to make a decision!
Buying a home is significantly more complex than purchasing shoes – and the stakes are higher too! You need to make sure you have all the information necessary to confidently make the best decision.
There are basically three stages to viewing a property:
When you view a home on a macro basis, you’re looking at it from an overall perspective. For example, you may do a general walk-through to get a first impression and determine if the property has the basic features you need, such as the number of bedrooms and the size of the backyard.
Macro viewing is often the fastest stage in the viewing process and can sometimes take just a few minutes. If you like what you see, then it’s onto the micro stage. At this stage you take a closer look at the details of the property. You might, for example, spend extra time in the master bedroom imagining how your furniture would look and fit.
The micro stage takes longer simply because the home is now on your shortlist. You’re interested and are considering making an offer.
Finally, the professional stage involves getting a qualified home inspector to go over the property with a fine tooth comb. That typically occurs after you’ve made an offer.
As your REALTOR®, we will guide you through a viewing so you’ll know what to look for and can make a smart, informed decision. Call today.
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Setting the right list price for a home is a mystery for many sellers. How do you begin to determine what buyers are likely to pay for your property? After all, no two homes are exactly alike.
Yet, setting the right price is crucial. You need to avoid the two price “tipping points” that, if crossed, can cause you a lot of problems.
The first tipping point is a price that’s low enough for buyers to begin thinking something is wrong. They wonder, Why is your price so low? What are you not telling us about your property?”
But that’s not even the worst problem with this tipping point. If you do get offers at that low price, you’ll have a bigger issue – leaving thousands of dollars on the table.
The other tipping point is setting your price so high it discourages buyers from giving your listing a second look. When your price is that high, you’ll get few enquiries and even fewer people coming to see your property.
Of course, you can lower your price later, if necessary. But experience shows that reduced prices make potential buyers skeptical. Most sellers who price high in the hopes of getting a windfall actually end up selling for much less than they would have if they had priced their properties correctly in the first place.
So what’s the right price to list your property? The answer is somewhere in-between those two tipping points.
Call today for help determining the right price for your property.
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DURHAM REGION, July 8, 2016 – Durham Region Association of REALTORS® (DRAR) President Sandra O’Donohue reported 1,471 residential transactions in June 2016. A slight increase compared to the same period last year. “Demand continues to exceed supply,” stated O’Donohue. In contrast, there were 1,755 new listings in June
2016 compared to 1,796 June 2015; a 2.3 per cent decrease.
“Inventory of available homes for sale has continued to increase buyer demand in Durham Region,” added O’Donohue. The average selling price in Durham reached $542,314 last month. In comparison, the average selling price was $452,412 during the same period last year, which is a 15.8 per cent increase.
The overall number of available homes for sale and increasing prices are causing homes to sell in an average
of 11 days compared to 16 days last year. “Durham Region has continued to see strong competition,” explained O’Donohue. “This is an indication of consumer demand and, as a result, homes continue to sell quickly.”
The GO Transit’s Lakeshore East extension into Clarington demonstrates much needed attention to the transportation infrastructure in Durham Region. “With ease of use directly impacting commuters, the extension
will greatly improve the value of homes and increase demand of properties in our neighbourhoods,” added O’Donohue. “It is inevitable that this will impact real estate and drive growth in Durham Region.”
Courtesy of www.durhamrealestate.org:
Average Selling Price by Housing Type for Durham Region
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When is the best time to meet with a REALTOR®? Chances are, you would say, “When I’m thinking of buying or selling a home.” You’d be right, of course!
However, there are many other good reasons to meet with us. Here are just a few:
- You want a professional opinion as to the current value of your property, so you know what it would likely sell for in today’s market.
- You notice a home listed for sale in a desirable neighbourhood, and you’re interested in learning more — even if you’re unsure you want to make a move.
- You’re thinking of moving within the next couple of years, and you want to find a REALTOR® like us, that you can get to know and trust.
- You want some recommendations for preparing your home for sale and especially determining what repairs and other work needs to be done.
- You want an honest assessment as to the state of the local market, and the best time for you to buy or sell.
- You have real estate-related questions and you want to talk to an expert who knows the local market well and can provide you with answers.
As you can see, there’s a lot of value you can get from talking to us as your REALTOR®. Call today.
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With mortgage rates still hovering near historic lows, more people are turning to real estate investments as a way to build and preserve wealth. Whether you start fixing and flipping properties or buying and renting them out for monthly cash flow, either investment style can make your money work harder for you.
Before you start investing in real estate, it’s important to line up professionals to help you make offers when you find them. Among your team members, you will want to include:
- A savvy, local real estate professional
- A mortgage broker or banker to help you get financing
- A real estate attorney to write and reviewing contracts
- An appraiser who knows the market and will help you get a correct property appraisal
- An accountant who is well versed in real estate investments
- A good contractor, for rehabbing or repairs
Then, you’ll need to determine your real estate investment style.
Rehab or wholesale properties for short-term ROI
The advantage of flipping properties is that you can end up with a good return on investment (ROI) in the short term. For example, you buy a property for $400,000, and invest $50,000 into repairs. Once it’s rehabbed, your property is valued at $500,000, and you sell it for a $50,000 profit.
Once you know where to find rehab opportunities, you can easily repeat the process by reinvesting proceeds from a previous flip into the next property. This is where working with savvy real estate professional can help. They can help you find the right fixer-uppers that may be under market value. A Realtor will have access to many properties that may not be publicly available.
When you are evaluating a property, you will need to look at the whole picture to ensure it will bring you a profit once you resell it. Beyond the actual purchase price and rehab costs, your budget should include carry mortgage payments, property taxes, utilities, and insurance. If it looks good on paper, you can get your real estate team to help you quickly make the offer.
Buy-and-hold rental properties for monthly cash flow
If you find the right long-term buy-and-hold rental property, you can earn consistent cash flow each month. However, you’ll need to carefully review the operating expenses on the property and what tenants are willing to pay for the space to know if you’ll make or lose money each month.
Does your long-term investment make sense on paper? In other words, you will need to understand if your monthly cash flow will be positive or negative.
For example, say your total costs to buy a duplex was $40,000, including down payment and closing costs. You can rent each of the units for $800. Assuming your building is 100% occupied, you’ll make $1600 per month in income. Your expenses include mortgage payments, taxes, insurance, utilities, and management fees, and you want to set aside some cash each month for capital expenditures and routine repairs. You calculate that your expenses add up to $1500 per month. Once you subtract your expenses from your income, you’ll have a positive cash flow of $100 per month.
You can also add amenities, such as coin laundry and vending machines, to increase your potential monthly income. If your property has space to add a billboard, you can earn advertising revenue from renting that space, too. And when you decide to sell, your property’s value will likely have increased both from the overall rising property values and by the improvements you made to increase the cash flow.
Where should I start investing?
Contact us if you want to learn about investment properties in your local area. We can help you find the right properties that will fit into your budget and your overall goals.
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DURHAM REGION, June 6, 2016 – Durham Region Association of REALTORS® (DRAR) President Sandra O’Donohue reported 1,445 residential transactions in May 2016. This represents an increase of 8.7 per cent compared to the same period last year. “There is no shortage of buyers in the market today,” stated O’Donohue. In contrast, there were 1,790 new listings in May 2016 compared to 1,851 May 2015; a 3.4 per cent decrease.
“Home prices have shown strong year-over-year increases in the Durham Region,” added O’Donohue. The average selling price in Durham reached $531,051 last month. In comparison, the average selling price was $449,837 during the same period last year. “The 15.3 per cent increase demonstrates a continual upward pressure in pricing.”
Similarly to last month, the continued increase in prices has caused homes to sell faster, selling in an average of 11 days compared to 15 days last year. “This is a healthy economic indicator,” explained O’Donohue. “Durham Region has poised substantial growth in prices and sales demonstrating strong demand dynamics.”
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Buying a home will probably be the largest and most significant purchase you will make in your life. It also involves the law of real property, which is unique and raises special issues of practice, and problems not present in other transactions. A real estate lawyer is trained to deal with these problems and has the most experience to deal with them. Some states certify lawyers as “Real Property Specialists” as a result.
In the typical home purchase, the seller enters into a brokerage contract with a real estate agent, usually in writing. When the broker finds a potential buyer, negotiations are conducted through the broker, who most often acts as an intermediary. Once an informal agreement is reached, buyer and seller enter into a formal written contract for the sale, the purchase agreement. The buyer then obtains a commitment for financing. Title is searched to satisfy the lender and the buyer. Finally, the property is transferred from the seller to the buyer, and the seller receives the purchase price bargained for in the contract. This seems simple, but without a lawyer, the consequences may be more disastrous than purchasing a car that turns out to be a lemon, or a stock investment that was unwise.
A lawyer can help you avoid some common problems with a home purchase or sale. …
The seller could have the advice and guidance of an attorney with respect to a brokerage agreement. Even if the agreement is a standard form, its terms could be explained to the seller and revised, if necessary. An attorney could also determine if the agreement was properly signed.
The buyer and seller each may have to consult with a lawyer to answer important questions, such as the tax consequences of the transaction. To a seller, if not selling their principal residence, the tax consequences may be of critical importance. For example, the income tax consequences of a sale, particularly if the seller makes a large profit, may be considerable. An attorney can advise whether the seller can take advantage of tax provisions allowing for exclusion of capital gains in certain circumstances.
The purchase agreement is the single most important document in the transaction. There are many issues that may need to be addressed in the purchase agreement; below are some common examples:
- If the property has been altered or there has been an addition to the property, was it done lawfully?
- If the buyer has plans to change the property, may what is planned for the property be done lawfully?
- What happens if a buyer has an engineer or architect inspect the property and termites, asbestos, radon, or lead-based paint is found?
- What if the property is found to contain hazardous waste?
- What are the legal consequences if the closing does not take place, and what happens to the down payment?
Most buyers finance a substantial portion of the purchase price for a home with a mortgage loan from a lending institution. The purchase agreement should contain a carefully worded provision that it is subject to the buyer’s obtaining a commitment for financing.
Mortgage loan commitments and mortgage loan documents are complex. Lawyers can review and explain the importance of these various documents.
After the purchase agreement is signed, it is necessary to establish the state of the seller’s title to the property to the buyer’s – and the finance institution’s – satisfaction. Generally, a title search is ordered from an abstract or title insurance company.
Even with title insurance, an attorney can help review the title search and explain the title exceptions as to what is not insured, and determine whether the legal description is correct and whether there are problems with adjoining owners or prior owners. He or she can also explain the effect of easements and agreements or restrictions imposed by a prior owner, and whether there are any legal restrictions which will impair your ability to sell the property.
The title search does not tell the buyer or seller anything about existing and prospective zoning. A lawyer can explain whether zoning prohibits a two-family home, or whether planned improvements violate zoning ordinances.
The closing is the most important event in the purchase and sale transaction. The deed and other closing papers must be prepared. Title passes from seller to buyer, who pays the balance of the purchase price. Frequently, this balance is paid in part from the proceeds of a mortgage loan. A closing statement should be prepared prior to the closing indicating the debits and credits to the buyer and seller. An attorney explains the nature, amount, and fairness of closing costs. The deed and mortgage instruments are signed, and an attorney assures that these documents are appropriately executed and explained to the various parties.
Perhaps the most important reason to be represented by an attorney is conflicting interests of the parties. Throughout the process, the buyer’s and seller’s interests can be at odds with each other, and even with those of professionals involved in the sale. The broker generally serves the seller, and the lender is obtained by the buyer. Both want to see the deal go through, since that is how they will get paid. Neither can provide legal counsel. The respective lawyers for the buyer and seller will serve only their own clients’ best interests. Seeking the advice of a lawyer is a very good idea.
– See more at: http://realestate.findlaw.com/buying-a-home/why-you-need-a-lawyer-when-you-buy-or-sell-a-house.html#sthash.Fm0h9zmH.dpuf
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Imagine if you dreamed of owning a special limited edition vehicle. What would you do to ensure that your dream vehicle would someday be parked in your driveway — with your name on the ownership papers?
You would probably start by doing some research. You’d find out how much that vehicle would cost, what features are available, and so forth. You would likely visit a local dealership and take a test drive if a model is available on site. You would keep an eye on the market for any that come up and let the dealer know you’re looking for just that car.
If you did, then, some day, you’d probably be the proud owner of the limited edition car of your dreams.
What does this have to do with real estate?
Well, you can take the same approach when there’s a neighbourhood you’d love to live in someday. You can target it, learn what homes typically cost in that area, and keep your eye on that market in case a property becomes available that meets your criteria.
By focusing on a specific neighbourhood, you increase your chances of someday living there, simply because you’re focusing on it.
Of course, neighbourhood targeting isn’t as simple as aiming to own a specific car someday. That’s why you need a great REALTOR® who can keep an eye on that neighbourhood on your behalf and alert you to opportunities that become available.
Then, when there is a listing that’s a good fit, you can decide whether or not to make a move.
Is there a dream neighbourhood you’d like to live in some day? Call us today to start making it happen.
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How strong is your credit? Cleaning up your credit is essential before you make any major financial moves. Having a bad score can hurt your chances of being able to open a credit card, apply for a loan, purchase a car, or rent an apartment.
It is especially important to have clean credit before you try to buy a home. With a less-than-great score, you may not get preapproved for a mortgage. If you can’t get a mortgage, you may only be able to buy a home if you can make an all-cash offer.
Or if you do get pre-approval, you might get a higher mortgage rate, which can be a huge added expense. For example, if you have a 30-year fixed rate mortgage of $100,000 and you get a 3.92% interest rate, the total cost of your mortgage will be $170,213. However, if your interest rate is 5.92%, you’ll have to spend $213,990 for the same mortgage – that’s an extra $43,777 over the life of the loan! If you had secured the lower mortgage rate, you could use that additional money to fund a four-year college degree at university.
So now that you know how important it is to maintain a good credit score, how do you start cleaning up your credit? Here, we’ve collected our best tips for improving your score.
Talk to a loan professional
You can protect your score from more damage by getting a loan professional to check your credit score for you. A professional will be able to guide you to whether your score is in the ‘good’ range for home buying. Plus, every time that you request your own credit score, the credit companies record the inquiry, which can lower your score. Having a professional ask instead ensures that you only record one inquiry. Once you know your score, you can start taking action on cleaning up your credit.
Change your financial habits to boost your score
What if your score has been damaged by late payments or delinquent accounts? You can start repairing the damage quickly by taking charge of your debts. For example, your payment history makes up 35% of your score according to myFICO. If you begin to pay your bills in full before they are due, and make regular payments to owed debts, your score can improve within a few months.
Amounts owed are 30% of your FICO score. What matters in this instance is the percentage of credit that you’re currently using. For example, if you have a $5000 limit on one credit card, and you’re carrying a balance of $4500, that means 90% of your available credit is used up by that balance. You can improve your score by reducing that balance to free up some of your available credit.
Length of credit history counts for 15% of your FICO score. If you’re trying to reduce debt by eliminating your credit cards, shred the card but DO NOT close the account. Keep the old accounts open without using them to maintain your credit history and available credit.
Find and correct mistakes on your credit report
How common are credit report mistakes? Inaccuracies are rampant. In a 2012 study by the Federal Trade Commission, one in five people identified at least one error on their credit report. In their 2015 follow-up study, almost 70% thought that at least one piece of previously disputed information was still inaccurate.
Go through each section of your report systematically, and take notes about anything that needs to be corrected.
Your personal information
Start with the basics: often overlooked, one small incorrect personal detail like an incorrect address can accidently lower your score. So, before you look at any other part of your report, check all of these personal details:
- Make sure your name, address, social insurance number and birthdate are current and correct.
- Are your prior addresses correct? You’ll need to make sure that they’re right if you haven’t lived at your current address for very long.
- Is your employment information up to date? Are the details of your past employers also right?
- Is your marital status correct? Sometimes a former spouse will come up listed as your current spouse.
Your public records
This section will list things like lawsuits, tax liens, judgments, and bankruptcies. If you have any of these in your report, make sure that they are listed correctly and actually belong to you.
A bankruptcy filed by a spouse or ex-spouse should not be on your report if you didn’t file it. There shouldn’t be any lawsuits or judgments older than seven years, or that were entered after the statute of limitations, on your report. Are there tax liens that you paid off that are still listed as unpaid, or that are more than seven years old? Those all need to go.
Your credit accounts
This section will list any records about your commingled accounts, credit cards, loans, and debts. As you read through this section, make sure that any debts are actually yours.
For example, if you find an outstanding balance for which your spouse is solely responsible, that should be removed from your report. Any debts due to identity theft should also be resolved. If there are accounts that you closed on your report, make sure they’re labeled as ‘closed by consumer’ so that it doesn’t look like the bank closed them.
Are there any unusual inquiries into your credit listed in this section? An example might be a credit inquiry when you went for a test drive or were comparison shopping at a car dealer. These need to be scrubbed off your report.
Report the dispute to the credit agency
If there are major mistakes, you can take your dispute to the credit agencies. While you could send a letter, it can be much faster to get the ball rolling on resolving a mistake by submitting your report through the credit agency’s website. Experian, Transunion and Equifax all have step-by-step forms to submit reports online.
If you have old information on your report that should have been purged from your records already, such as a debt that has already been paid off or information that is more than 7 years old, you may need to go directly to the lender to resolve the dispute.
You must follow up to make sure that any mistakes are scrubbed from your reports. Keep notes about who you speak to and on which dates you contacted them. Check back with all of the credit reporting companies to make sure that your information has been updated. Since all three companies share data with each other, any mistakes should be corrected on all three reports.
If your disputes are still not corrected, you may have to also follow up with the institution that reported the incident in the first place, or a third-party collections agency that is handling it. Then check again with the credit reporting companies to see if your reports have been updated.
If you can keep on top of your credit reports on a regular basis, you won’t have to deal with the headaches of fixing reporting mistakes. You are entitled to a free annual credit report review to make sure all is well with your score. If you make your annual credit review part of your financial fitness routine, you’ll be able to better protect your buying power and potentially save thousands of dollars each year.
How to clean up your credit now
Does your credit score need a boost so you can buy a home? Get in touch with us. We can connect you with the right lending professionals to help you get the guidance you need.
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