Dec. 21, 2010

A Handy Guide For Those Wishing To Sell Their House At Xmas

picture by Ambre Carnes
The long expected holiday season seems to be advancing pretty fast. The primary thought in a lot of people's minds is getting the Xmas presents purchased and wrapped, therefore the shops are extremely busy. Clearly, the pre-Xmas madness has begun. Would you even consider selling your property at this time of year? Well, there are families who do want to sell their property, even during the craziest part of the year. Selling your property at this time of year does not really have to be a poor decision.

One of the best positives is that, before Christmas, the people who are looking for a new home are most likely very serious about it. With reduced time and so much to do, unless you are serious about purchasing a house, then it really is the last thought on your mind. With little time to themselves, prospective buyers are often more motivated and won't waste your time if they are not interested.

Also, the number of houses for sale right before Xmas may be smaller than during the rest of the year. The buyers do not have that many options to choose from, consequently there is less competition for you. As a result of this, many sellers find they get a good price and the sale goes through much faster. Most of us feel sentimental around this time and can fall in love with a property more easily; you may find that they are even willing to pay out more for the property of their dreams.

Decorating your house for the holiday season is normal for the majority of people, sellers who have decorated can use it to appeal to buyers. Decorations make a property look cozy, lived in and extremely pretty. Use the decorations to fluff your property, fluffing is quite usual at any time of year but more so at Xmas. Most homes look truly gorgeous with Christmas decor. Beware you do not go overboard with decorations. Decorate your property to the maximum effect, but keep an eye out on how many or where you place decorations so you don't go overboard.

With the many bonuses of Xmas time selling, don't put off putting your Condos in Toronto on the market, use the holiday season to your advantage. If a person wants your house, there is nothing to worry about. We have all heard of people buying cars for their loved ones at Xmas, well there are people who will buy a home as a Xmas present as well. You may think 'no way', but I have heard of buyers who do this.


Dec. 13, 2010

Interesting articles in the last two months

Besides writing for blogger, I am active on number of other sites. Here is the list of the most interesting articles from October and November.

Simple guide on how to improve your home's look

One home, more generations? Yes, and no!

Why and how should realtors use social networking

How to sell your home without stress?

One of the key questions of personal financial planning!

Your mission - help to clean your neighbourhood. More information about community cleaning also here. Community cleaing was hot topic also in the cleanup article on Amazines.

I devoted two article to this interesting topic. The second one about Feng Shui can be found on Xanga




Nov. 19, 2010

Feng Shui in in our House - Where you Sleep


Meaning wind-water - does this word association remind you of something? I can hear some of you saying 'No', well it doesn't make it any clearer to me either. But if offered with its original translation, you probably would know exactly what it is. Although the expression 'wind-water' doesn't make any sense to most of us, the original translation often does. Feng Shui began in Chinese astronomy and it was used to orient buildings with heaven and earth, nowadays it is more about balancing heaven and earth in our environment to promote positive qu (pronounced chee).

Within the home many individuals already organize their rooms directed by this old Chinese tradition. It doesn't matter which room in the property you want to organize, every single room can be organized using this old tradition. It doesn't matter how many rooms are in the hproperty, they are, according to the theory all connected. Still I just want to tell you about a few fundamental rules that can be used for the room everybody spends time in, for at least a few hours each day, the bedroom.
When choosing what to put in your bedroom, according to feng shui, you should avoid items such a TVs and gym apparatus. This is because this type of apparatus will eliminate any good energy you have in there. On the other hand, good happy artwork and items are just right for any bedroom. To promote good energy, look for positive pictures and items that you can duplicate, as one of something is still wrong for the bedroom. Choose pictures that are bright, cheerful and positive as well as ornaments, though make sure ornaments are part of a pair. Choosing inspirational things is the key to being content. If you feel good about the decor in the room, then odds are you are on the proper track. You have to admit to yourself that looking at something nice and joyful is much better than looking at something depressing and sad.

Feng shui will also help you choose the colors best suited to create that perfect setting in your bedroom A decent range of colors that is put forward, is the color of human skin, from pale colors to a dark brown I would say most of these shades can combine particularly well with any other color. If you decide to use these shades, you will also find that the majority of other decors go well with them, as they are quite neutral. Try making use of a contrasting colour on some of the walls, or your favorite colour; this should make a perfect combination. As flesh tones are quite neutral, any other color you choose should go very well and look effective.
Feng shui will also help you find the correct direction to put your bed. You should know which aspect of your life you want to influence, in almost all of them, the bed should be turned in a slightly different direction. The general rule is, decide which part of your life you want to change, then position the bed in a slightly different direction. There is no universal working position, so look up the position in accordance with the part of your life you want to improve. If you are unsure what each position means, then there are many ways to find out, from books to browsing the Internet.
As a Summerhill homes realtor, who spent almost 3 decades working with properties, I must warn you: Beware! One thing you should not do, according to feng shui, is to put a mirror facing your bed. People can still have a mirror in the bedroom, though. Close your bedroom door as well as closet doors, is another recommendation feng shui promotes. I don't know about you, but I always feel protected having the doors closed anyway. If you generally do not like doors closed or need them open for a reason, then for your piece of mind don't close them. One of the most important things to take into consideration, is your comfort is paramount. No amount beneficial energy is going to flow if you feel distressed in your bed.


Feng Shui by Skype Nomad

Oct. 21, 2010

Neighborhood Cleanup May Be Your Initiative

picture by Alan Stanton
Is your community full of waste, rubbish over the streets and dirty? Take the problems into your own hands and clean it up! it out! Young or old, fit or unfit, a neighbourhood cleanup is something the whole street can become become involved in. Not only does it cleanup your area but it also brings communities together and a good way to make new friends.

So nobody else thought of the job or wants to arrange it;sort it out; that's not an issue, organize it yourself. There has to be a leader with every job, don't be frightened to be in charge of the event! The streets are not going to clean themselves, if you can't pluck up the courage to do something about the rubbish. The local authorities should be your first point of call, do this in advance of getting anyone else involved with the event It's best to check with them first, to avoid any problems in the future, not that there is likely to be. They may be able to support you by loaning equipment or even just some good support and advice.

To help your whole community, the affair should be massive, which means arranging a great campaign. Catch the attention of your neighbours with posters or a note through the postbox; you could even pop round personally to rally their support. Tell residents well in advance so they can make arrangements to be there, then keep them informed as well as sending out reminders. Anyone that is interested in helping should have their names written down so you know how many residents are turning up and try and set up a few meetings to sort out the nitty gritty with them. Ask for support with the organization, if your day is going to involve large numbers of people and cover a large area, you could find the work too much to do by yourself.

Details of what needs to be completed should also be assembled as well as any equipment you may need. People can also dispose of stuff from their own home; it depends on what you agree. As for the community itself, share the responsibilities. Nobody can be expected to provide all the materials needed, nor can one person be expected to deal with any issues, to that end delegate responsibility. A good idea is to have each resident or family bring only the bits they are going to need in the cleanup. Put the community litter to a community bin, and so on.

When looking for the right manager, look at someone with large social network. Your broker can be helpful. As a Toronto homes expert I mean it! After the cleaning it could be a nice idea to celebrate the work has been done with a street party. If a full day of tidying does not get the neighbours more friendly, a celebration certainly will! Organize, for instance, a fun barbecue evening in a common space and have a brilliant time! The sign of a nice neighbourhood is working together and being there for each other. Help your community be great, too.


Sep. 26, 2010

Home Repairs: No Help Needed

There is nothing in this world that works well forever. Furniture, machines and basically anything in your home cannot either. When something breaks down, many of you would call an expert to look at it right away, I'm sure. That is not always necessary, though. A noticeable amount of money could be saved if you at least try to fix at least the simplest things yourself. Experts, however, save a lot of time, energy and patience.

What can you do alone and when is the help of specialists necessary? Let's check out few activities:
Light bulb changing - well, honestly, I don't expect anyone to call professionals to do this, really. Still, there sure are many who would not do it themselves. They would rather survive long hours with no light until someone perhaps taller and handier comes along. If you do it yourself, be careful and always turn off the power switch when changing a bulb though.

Paint - it kind of belongs to repairs, too. A fresh coat of paint can very noticeably "repair" the look of a room or house. As I have mentioned in one of my articles, paiting belongs to activitied which could be on your own 'to do' list. It is not expensive. You only have to pay for the paint. On the other hand, though, it takes a lot of time and energy.

Clogged drain - it happens every once in a while, due to hair or minerals in the water. There is no need to immediately call professionals when you want to save the clogged drain. They often only advise you to use some specific chemicals. Those can be found in many specialist or DIY shops, try to visit them!

Roof - if you feel really confident about your skills, you could try to do the job, yes. In my opinion, it would not be such a wiese decision, though. First of all, it is quite dangeruous. Also, the roof certainly belongs to the most essesntial parts of your house. If you do not repair it well enough, water could get inside of your home very easily if it rains. Hence it seems to be quite wise to let professionals do the job.

Electricity - repairing anything electrical is something only professionals should be allowed to do. I'm pretty sure that even when you were a child, your parent told you many times that working with electricity, if you are not an expert. might end up in a disaster.

In case you have decided to save few dollars by doing a couple of easy fixes at home yorself, good luck! Online, you can find hundreds of different articles books or videos which could guide and help you. Just look for them. Not to offend anyone, I am certainly not a professional at home repairs either, but while searching for some guides, I found a book, the title of which is worth mentioning: The Complete Idiot's Guide to Simple Home Repair by Judy Ostrow. I laughed out loud when I saw it.

Sep. 15, 2010

Painting Your Home


We all have that desire once in a while to change how our property looks. As the owner you have probably lived with the same look for many years and while it still looks nice to others, to you its ready for a change. You do not need to go to a massive expense to change the look, a coat of paint can freshen the look of your property.

So now you have determined you are going to repaint, there are one or two decisions that need to be made. The very first thing that should be settled is whether you want to paint the exterior, interior or both. It's not just you who will see the results of your hard work, if you paint the outside, individuals passing by will see that fresh new look. Painting the outside is not an option if you live in a building that is not owned by you, such as a apartment With condos, the choice is quite apparent and it is the interior that will be redecorated with a new color. For most people, repainting the inside is the option they will choose, which stands to reason as the interior requires redecorating more frequently.

Once you have made the decision to paint your property, the next thing on the agenda is who is going to do the painting. If you have some family and friends living close by, then the cheaper way is to do it yourself. The only expense will be the new paint colour, some tools and maybe a couple of beers and pizzas for your assistants. If you don't have a lot of time to work with, then you could find that decorating this way could take up your free time for quite a few weeks, also think about the chaos it would cause. Despite the fact it will cost you more, a more simple option, and one that will have the least impact and disruption on your life, would be too employ someone to do it for you.

The most essential question to be determined is the correct color. A small room can look more spacious with a pale neutral paint and a dark room can be made to look fresher with a bright colour. It is important to think about whether the wall covering will match the furniture and accessories in the room it does not have to be the same shade but they should be complementary. As for the outside paint, be careful not to make your house look totally like the one next to yours. Although, it is probably not a good idea to paint the outside of the property with strong colours, a colour that blends in with the neighbourhood is probably the best idea.

Don't let friends or family tell you what colour you should choose, only you know what is right for your property. So if painting your property is on your to do list, then good luck and I hope this write-up helped.

Created by Elli Davis Team, popular Toronto Condos realtors

picture by Barjack

Sep. 11, 2010

Colorful, Autumn Home

Time flies by faster than we realize and very soon, we will have to wave summer goodbye. Walks in colorful leaves and listening to raindrops will be a big part of our lives for some time again. All of the season have some specific characteristics. Autumn does too and those should be shown in your home too.

There are many houses that are redecorated quite a few times a year, according to the current season. Fall seems to be the most colorful out of the seasons - those offer many interesting ideas. The top colors of this season are orange, red, yellow and brown. Your place can get a very nice and warm look thanks to these colors. You certainly do not have to repaint all the walls in the house and change the furniture but couple of accessories can make wonders.

Pillows, candles, pictures or paintings could easily change the way a room looks. They are really affordable and hence you can have a specific collection for every time of the year. Buying a little picture showing autumn leaves, for instance, is very easy. The painting does not have to be by a famous artist or expensive - it can be sold everywhere. Also the orange, red and yellow color combination is very stylish and many rooms are furnished and accessorized by items from these colors. In case the colors and styles in your home do not go well with these, you should not use them, naturally.

When someone says "autumn", leaves is the word that comes first to mind of many. It is easy to pick up few nice ones even in your garden. This is where a vase comes in handy, use it to show the wonderful leaves you found. In case you belong to creative people, you certainly can create a nice arrangement from the leaves. Moreover, a bowl full of red apples looks quite autumn-y as well.

Autumn is also the time of the year when it is starting to get cool outside, so we have to prepare for the cold winter. This is also a very good time to get your roof and heating system checked, chimney cleaned and purchase a supply of wood, if necessary. It will be easier to enjoy cold, long, autumn and winter nights if you prepare for it beforehand.

Sep. 5, 2010

Is There a Positive Side to Living in a Home with Lots of Generations?


Do you live in a home with your kids and your parents? In spite of the fact that this scenario seems to be more common in old movies, it is certainly becoming more and more usual nowadays, than it was a few years ago. As with anything, lots of generations living under one roof will have positive and also negative sides to it. This feature, hopefully, will show you the main areas of living like this. If moving back home to be with extended family is something you are looking to do shortly, hopefully this report can give you an insight into what to expect.

Positive things to consider.

-it can often make better monetary sense. If the property is very large, with a floor for each generation, then this may not happen.
-you are occupying a house with your whole family around you. This can be a really advantageous point for living together as it can boost very close family ties.

-if the younger adult needs to go away at short notice and has no idea who could look after the children, in a multiple generation house, someone is always there to take care of them (no babysitter is needed). For the younger generation, there is a wealth of advice and support available from the older generations.
-the older generations may have health issues, therefore the younger members of the property can support them to living independently as much as possible. Helping each other is the big positive point of living together, just think coming home from a long day at work and someone has prepared a meal for you.

-the older generation can feel by themselves, primarily if they are housebound or have lost their life partner. With young adults and kids around, there is unlikely to be a dull moment, therefore being surrounded by family gives the older generation people to lean on.

Let's now consider the not so good points.

-if you want to have a personal life and some alone space, it's not going to be effortless.
-parents might meddle in the life of their children and grandkid too much, and vice versa.

disputes about bringing up the children (the grandparents are treating them too much and so on).

-consider your partner, how are they going to feel being in such close proximity to your family, they may even worry that you are comparing them.
-the generation gap could cause problems, each generation has their own way of seeing things and thoughts on how things should be done. Naturally, it is important to live in a home, which is capable of accommodating more generations Forest Hill houses is ideal for this.

Rules need to be set up before entering into this kind of household, there are a multitude of other areas to think about that I haven't covered, as a family it's up to you how you deal with it. Honesty is particularly important, though. Do not put yourself in the situation just because someone else would like you too, if it isn't the life you want then nothing is going to change your point of view. When all said and done, if you are depressed then other people are going to feel that, which makes for a very tense home and relationships could break down.

Aug. 27, 2010

Homes That Are Overpriced Do Not Sell

You have certainly seen many wonderfully looking houses with the sign 'for sale' right next to them. That is nothing unusual, is it? Unless the sign is there for way too long. Why aren't these homes, in spite of their fabulous look, sold already? Think about it.

You may be partially right if you guess it is because of their not very attractive location. Yes, the house might look absolutely gorgeous but if no important facilities are in close proximity or if its surrounding is not nice, it does not matter how awesome the house looks. Such scenario is not all that common, though. The reason houses do not sell is quite different. Usually these stunning homes, which seemingly do not sell, are simply overpriced.

Buyers, naturally, do not even want to offer on such homes. The seller might be offended by an offer which is way below the requested price and the buyers may be embarassed by offering too little. They simply do not think it would be beneficial for either side. Furthermore, the sellers are expected to realize they are asking too much. Buyers are convinced sellers know what they are doing and would not sell the house for any less money; otherwise, they would have dropped the price already.

My advice to you is, if you are trying to sell your home and nobody has put in an offer so far, even though the property has been on sale for some time, think about whether the price you are willing to sell it for is not unrealistic. One of the simplest way to find out is to ask your realtor or someone who is an expert for your area. Also, if you have almost no showings, no contract in spite of showings or really no offers at all, you are very likely actually overpricing your property. It is understandable that you like and value it, but be realistic, who is going to buy it if it is unreasonably expensive?

People are not that silly. In order to actually sell overpriced homes, their sellers have to lower their price eventually anyway. It is thus smarter to start off with a "normal" price and do not spend long months waiting and worrying that the home will never be sold.

Aug. 6, 2010

Summertime and Your Garden

Summer time is the favorite time of the year for many. It is certainly not cold outside, the weather should be quite warm. You can spend so many summer nights outside having a barbecue session or simply relaxing in your flowery garden. The garden, oh yeah. We should not forget it needs attention during the summer, too. Perhaps, it requires even more regular care and it certainly needs a different type of care than usual. So what is the way to achieve having a nice garden which will last throughout the whole summer?

Do not forget to water and fertilize! When the weather is extremely hot, the soil dries out and it just needs to be watered. Late evenings, when the temperature cools down is the best time watering, as the overheated soil will not be unpleasantly shocked by very cool water. Also, fertilizing is quite important. Do not be too active with either of these activities, though. They might be harmful if you repeat them too often.

Another key activity is pruning! There are people who are scared to cut even those parts of trees or plants which essentially need it. That is one of the greatest gardening mistakes one can make, in my opinion. In case there is a dead head, the plant essentially needs pruning! Do not even think about it, just do it! It would probably end up completely destroyed otherwise.

Looks are important! Sculptures, wooden wheels or fountains form a part of many nice gardens. How many times have you stopped to look at them in someone's garden? Make them a part of yours, too! They might be a pretty good source of shadow or water, and thus not only attractive but also very useful. Nowadays, there are thousands of opportunities to make a garden look fabulous, just open your eyes and search a little! No need to go far from your home. Garage sales even in your neighborhood, for instance, can provide you with pretty and interesting items.

It is also important, in case you are leaving your house for a longer time, not to forget to ask someone to regularly water and check your garden. If you just left it here with nobody to look after it, it could be damaged after couple of very hot, dry days.

Jul. 14, 2010

Which Option to Decide Upon - Buy or Pay Rent?

Almost every youngster dreams about growing up, having a successful career, buying a great property and having an amazing family. Many of us dreamed of having our own property, unluckily that dream may not be as achievable as it once was. Renting a property also comes into consideration, as well. Looking at the long term, purchasing is always going to make more economical sense than paying rent. Whether buying your property or renting, they have their own advantages as well as disadvantages.
Renting

Choosing to rent is far the easiest way of moving out of your parent's property. It is quite simple to rent once you have found the house you like, just a matter of signing contracts with the landlord. You move in and you live there for as long as you keep the agreement for. A security deposit is often payable, but after that you pay the rent decided upon. A big advantage is repairs - so the water pipe bursts, instead of expensive repairs out of your pocket, it's up to the landlord to pay for them. New windows, a new heating system, air conditioning or any other improvements are usually the responsibility of the landlord. The biggest downside, is possibly the fact that the place is not your own and it is very likely that you will have to move out in the long run. Frequently you do not have the rights of when you have to vacate the property. Living in a house for a period of time makes it feel like your home, so it could be upsetting if you have to vacate it. Certainly if you are one of those individuals that enjoying moving, then this would be an bonus point for you. You have no home to sell, no worries about making the home nice for potential purchasers or the fees associated with selling. A big downside is if you want to make some considerable changes in the place, you have to ask for permission off the landlord.
Ownership

To start off with it could be difficult. You would need to find a suitable loan business for a mortgage and after it's accepted it will take years before you are clear of debt. Then after the purchase itself, you may want to decorate the building to your own particular taste. Including the mortgage fees, you have to pay fees for the property, all the improvement and maintenance costs and also home insurance. Still, you are the proud titleholder. The property is your own and if you want to refurbish it or change something, you just do. Apart from some cases where you may need planning permission and consent from the neighbours, you do not have to ask anyone before you do anything to the building. A word of caution though, what seems like a small repair or redecorating task can turn out to be rather expensive. Moving house is not going to be easy compared to moving from rented homes. A big downside is you are going to need to sell the property or rent it if you decide you want to move somewhere else. There is a need to wait for good market conditions, but it may take quite a long time. However, as somebody, who specializes in one of the most stunning areas in Toronto - Bridle Path Toronto - I can tell you with property ownership can be felt a very special taste!

If you do not want to settle down for years and plan to move away in the near future, renting is better than buying, especially if the rent is not very much. The monetary outlay of buying a property takes at best a couple of years to start paying off. You are unlikely to see any perks, in fact everything feels like it is costing you at the beginning.



picture by el clinto

Jun. 25, 2010

Multiple Generations Living Together

Do you live with your children AND parents or grandparents? Even though the scenario of 3 or more generations living together may be more usually seen in older movies, the truth is that it is now becoming more common than few years ago. Of course, multiple generations home have many positive, but on the other hand, also many negative sides. I hope to show you some of them in this article and in case you are just now contemplating moving in with your parents or children, it may also help you a little.

Why YES
-it may make more economic sense - but not necessarily, as sometimes the house is so huge that every generation has their own separate part and all of them only meet in the living room or kitchen
-the family is together and sometimes a really ideal family atmosphere and great relations could be created
-if the younger adults urgently need to go somewhere and don't know who could take care of the kids, in a multiple generation home, someone is always there to do so (hence no babysitter is needed) ; also, parents and grandparents can give great advice with regard to bringing up children
-members of the younger generation can take care of the house or go grocery shopping (the older are not always able to do this, maybe due to health issues).
-on the other side, the older generation could for instance cook while their kids are at work - mutual help is essential here
-any older people feel quite lonely, but living with their kids and grandchildren could help to overcome these feelings, as they will always have someone in close proximity that they can rely on


Why NO
-some might feel like they have no real private life at all, like they are never really alone -parents might interfere in the life of their children and grandchildren too much and vice versa -disagreements about bringing up the kids (the grandparents are spoiling them too much and so on)
-a very close relationship between children and their parents may not always be a good thing (women usually hate to be compared to the mother of their partner - e.g. "nobody can cook like my mom")
-having to adapt to and having to respect the needs and wishes of other generations (sometimes they may be surprisingly different)

It is very hard to give all the universal good and bad points with regard to multiple generations living under one roof- it all depends on the relationships between family members and setting clear rules right from the beginning. It is necessary not to lie to yourself and to your family. If you feel like you could not live in such a house, then don't. It is as simple as that. Even if your wife wants it, you are important too. Not taking your feelings and thoughts into consideration might end up in a catastrophe.

Jun. 17, 2010

Second Homes: What to Avoid

It is now very common to be an owner of a so called second home used mainly for vacationing. I am quite sure that, if it is not you, you know of someone who owns a home used just for holidays, weekends and relaxation. However, after purchasing the property, many people suddenly find it is useless (or not used as much as they expected) and realize it may cost them more than they predicted and so on. People may just not be happy about the buy after some time. This article aims to give you a couple of tips on what to do in order to really enjoy the second home.

Most importantly, you should realistically consider whether the house is really needed. If you think so, try to figure out why and for approximately how long. It is nice to think that you will spend a lot of time there until the end of your life, but usually it is not like that at all. As people are getting older, their preferences and needs are changing quite drastically. Even though it may seem to be just okay to look after a home when you are about 30, it will be completely different by the time you turn 60. Consider everything carefully. If the house is not going to be used for a longer time (you may just want it for a summer), it perhaps is better to just rent one. You do not necessarily have to buy it.

As always, finances are a big issue here. It is just a second home, that is true. But you should not forget that you have the very same responsibilities as for your original home. Payments, loans and problems are the same. However, as second homes are often located nearby the beach (and water) or mountains, they may be more endangered. Insurance can be very expensive and it is an almost essential part of a vacation home. Briefly put, responsibly consider whether you can actually afford a second home. If you know you do not have enough money yourself, it probably wouldn't be wise to borrow from your family or acquaintances. Seriously, owing money to someone is not pleasant, especially as second homes are not essential.

In spite of the fact that these vacation homes are popular, many are disappointed shortly after purchasing them. It is their fault that they do not think the buy through properly, though. Hopefully the tips offered in this article will help, in some way, prevent dissatisfaction with your weekend home. In case you have something to say about it, just leave a comment to share your thoughts. I would love to read it.

Jun. 12, 2010

Renting Your Property Out and Tenants

picture by gigiyesica

Leasing a home either as a landlord or a tenant, is something the majority of us do at least once in our lifetime. Only a couple of lucky ones have always been owners of their property and never had to experience living in someone's home. Some people however, do acquire properties to lease out. There rarely is a great landlord and tenant relationship, even the best ones can have the random disagreement or dispute. So whether you are a landlord or a tenant, here are some hints on making it run a little bit better:

Paying your rent on time is one of the first important rules of being a worthwhile tenant. Nothing is this life is free, so if an individual is providing you with a property then you should not make them wait for rent Also try not to be too wild and do not damage the house or the garden Even though it is not your house so you are not destroying your own property, try to take care of it just like it was your own. Typically only as many people as agreed upon should reside there – be honest and do not get roommates behind your landlord's back.

As a landlord you have a duty of care to your tenant, so make sure the home is in good condition. Check the home for broken windows and doors, make sure the facilities are safe and the property is clean. Try to pay for gas, water or electricity (if you pay for these) on time so that there will be no bad surprises for the tenants – it won’t be nice if suddenly there isn't running water. As per tenancy contracts you do not have the right to turn up and let yourself in unannounced, therefore do not keep an extra set of keys. Of course, the home is yours but remember, the people living there are paying you for that, therefore it is their private space.

As a Forest Hill Houses professional I believe the most important thing to do is put everything the tenant and the landlord agree on, on tenancy agreements. Some examples of what should be included are: who pays the gas and electric bill, the date the rent is due, the amount of notice that needs to be given by both sides and who is liable for property repairs. As a landlord are you going to accept dogs in the property? Clearly, agree on rules, write them down (trust me, it can prevent many possible disagreements and to be a good landlord and tenant, try to follow the rules.


Jun. 5, 2010

How to Avoid the Pitfalls when Marketing Your Property


Experts are there to help you sell your property, but if you prefer to do it without their help you could make numerous mistakes. The aim of this article is to point out some of the most frequent errors people make when selling their house, also how to avoid the pitfalls that will hamper your efforts to sell your property.
The possible sale of your property could depend on the exterior of your home, I have talked about it in other articles, this is the first thing a possible buyer is going to see. A very normal mistake is to think that the exterior is not really important, since people, generally come to look at the inside of the property. The garden, shed, patio and general state of the exterior of the property is imperative. You could leave the exterior in a tip, with overgrown grass and waste everywhere if you are really not bothered about marketing your property.

picture by thinkpanama
Whilst you may love your animals, a probable purchaser may not like them. There is nothing worse than a dog or cat jumping up at the potential buyer as they enter the property. In addition, some animals may smell really terrible. If you have, for instance, a really smelly cage with birds, clean it out just before the potential buyers comes to visit. Open windows to let out the smell of any animals and it also makes sure each room smells clean. Offensive smells can be pretty discouraging to possible buyers.

If you want to put purchasers off, then forget to clean your home. Smelly, dirty laundry, unwashed dishes, full bins and dirty work surfaces are just a few things that can be offensive to someone viewing your property. Understand me when I say, future buyers DO notice these problems. If you walked into a property and saw dirt everywhere and it smelled offensive, would you buy it? I would be out of that property quickly and would not look back!

Clutter, such as shoes, magazines, coats and other personal things need to be hidden away. Family pictures and the little one's painting masterpieces need to be kept to a minimum. Of course these possessions show this is a well loved family property but the people who are viewing your property need to imagine themselves living there. With all your individual things lying around, this isn't going to be easy for them. Your potential buyer could look in drawers, so avoid stuffing your personal possessions inside them, as doing this can be as detrimental to a possible sale as leaving them out.

What hints can you think of to help others have a favourable house sale? Have you viewed a property and disliked something so didn't purchase it? Let me know if there is something else that could be helpful to include in this report.

In case you have any question concerning selling a home, contact Elli Davis from Luxury Homes Toronto

More information from the GTA area.

May 9, 2010

What To Do About Bad Neighbors?

Think about two scenarios. The first one - you have moved into your new home and it is just great. However, it has one irritating problem: the neighbors. The second one - your current place has been your home for year, you feel comfortable there and do not want to move out anytime soon. But suddenly, new neighbors move in and unfortunately their presence is not very pleasant. What to do in those situations? How do you solve the problem of bad neighbors? The aim of this article is to provide an answer to that, so read further to find out more.

In case you are the soon to be new person in the neighborhood, it is good to research the area a bit before actually moving there. Ask the people living there. It is unlikely that the owners of the home you are planning to buy are going to admit they are moving away because of the neighbors. So ask around, you will certainly get some feedback from those that live nearby. You should at least try, it is worth it.

On the other hand, if new people come to the neighborhood and you do not like them, you need to stay diplomatic. Not everyone is satisfied with their neighbors, that is for sure. But going to their home ans start screaming is not going to solve anything. At first, think about why exactly are you unhappy. You might be just too spoiled. Moreover, think about whether you are not doing something irritating, too.

Are you absolutely positive that the neighbors are guilty? Go and talk to them then. Peaceful attitude is the key. What you can do is inviting them over, have fun and talk. You will get to know them that way. Not only that is is less difficult to talk to a friend and tell them about your problem, but they also might be nicer and more considerate after becoming friends.

Sure, some of them might not be willing to cooperate at all. Are they way too loud and lots of people are complaining? Make a petition and give it to all the unhappy neighbors to sign! Some evidence, like pictures, will also be necessary to prove them they are doing a bad thing. Visit their house again, after you have all this info. If they are absolutely ignoring you and do no seem to be cooperative, you ought to contact their landlord. The very last chance is solving the problem you have through legal channels.

Apr. 29, 2010

Purchasing a Home - Women

A Few years or decades ago the idea of a (single) female purchasing a property herself would have been absolutely unimaginable. Whilst it may have been unimaginable years ago, in todays society a lot of single women now have the financial security to be able to buy a property of their own. Therefore we are seeing many professional and single women doing just that and the trend seems to be growing.

The disparity over the last few years has moved women away from the pigeonholed, uneducated, stay at home wife and mother. Even though there still isn't full gender equality, young girls, just like boys, if they are brainy enough, go to universities and have a brilliant chance to become successful lawyers, doctors or anything they want to be.

Some recent polls give some modicum of truth to my words, so let's have a look at these polls. For example, the 3rd annual TD Canada Trust Women and Home Ownership Poll, completed by the end of 2009, shows that 44 percent of women think the financial security as the most important thing about being a homeowner. That means a 21 percent rise from 2008. Not paying rent to live in a condo was the 2nd most popular answer to the question about benefits of property ownership. 38 percent of females voted for this choice. Again we are observing an increase since the poll in 2008, this choice had risen from 13%.

The general age of a first time property buyer is said to be 29, of which over 80% are single women, according to the IPSOS-Reid poll. Looking at the figures in more in depth detail, we also find that 80% of those women have no children and half have university degrees.

As a (female) Realtor from Toronto I understand that not every bit is as good as it seems. If you look at most professional jobs, there is still a gap in wage, with women being worse off than a man doing the same job. Statistics still show that women purchasing homes by themselves have more chance of running into problems, such as paying off a mortgage, than their male counterparts or if they were part of a married couple.

picture by Tizzie

Apr. 21, 2010

Does Your Home Need a Refurb?

Imagine you have bought a house. Your new home which you are very happy about. But it could be in better condition; it is not exactly new and has a number of faults that should certainly be dealt with. Shortly, a refurb is essential. The aim of my article is to offer you few tips you could use when buying a home that needs a refurb.

Look after exterior at first. Is there a big backyard, overgrown and messy grass and trees? That should be taken care of - exterior catches attention of people first. New trees, grass, flowers, a pool or something for children - you are allowed to do anything you wish. Most importantly, it is you, who should be satisfied with how your backyard looks.

After you are done with the exterior, you can go inside. The walls should be painted if necessary. Also, the floors, carpets, ceilings, windows or doors should be in a good state. In case something in your home seems like it is not going to last for a long period, throw it away - change it. In the end it may cost you a lot less than repeated repairs.

As for rooms - kitchens and bathrooms are usually those which need more attention than the rest of the rooms - in some of them, paint, carpets and furniture is basically everything that should be taken care about. If you are not planning to live in the house right away, but rather doing all the repairs while staying at a different location, it is probably better to start with these rooms. When you are done with those, the most difficult part of your work is over. Surely, in some houses these rooms might be in a better condition than the rest, so that they would not need extensive repair.

Be careful, if you are buying a home just because it is cheap, but in a horrible state, it may cost you a lot more than a nice, but more expensive, home that does not require so much work. Before purchasing a home for refurb, calculate the approximate cost of the big change, so there are no shocking surprises at the end when you see all the bills. I wish you the best of luck with possible future refurb of your home, and I want to ask you to share your experience if you have gone through home refurb before.

Mar. 22, 2010

House Enhancements Real Estate Scams

This real estate scam related feature one will be concerned with home improvement scam and a particular example of one of its most common types.

You Have a Home with a Chimney

These chimney scams are very frequent. It might just happen that somewhere, somehow you see an advertisement regarding chimney cleaning, for a very acceptable price, of course. So you make an appointment and the sweeper comes out to look at your chimney, but "oh no" your chimney is ready to drop down and badly needs fixing or even replacing. But be wary. Before taking the word of this sweeper, make sure you search around for a second or even a third recommendation.

Quality usually comes at a higher price, but often this is the better option. We all like a good deal, but often not everything, is as it seems. If they do the chimney clean right, then you have been lucky and should be grateful you found a bargain. But as soon as they mention your chimney needs fixing, watch out and ask someone else before paying out for the repair. If a sweeper is advertising with money off coupons or even direct into your mailbox, often sets the radar off for future fiddles. If you ever had a trades-person employed around the corner and just happens to offer you a good price, there is often something very fishy going on. I feel that I'm repeating myself, but be wary.

Property Improvement Swindles That you May Come Across

Here are some general hints about things to watch out for:

-they are allegedly working in your neighbourhood and just happen to turn up at your door offering a good price.

-offering you a low price because they happen to have extra material left over from a job or they have a bulk order they don't want.

-as they are working in your house they can do this chore or that job all at a reduced price - you may end up having your whole home unnecessarily repaired.

-wants payment upfront before the repair is finished (Are they going to finish the job or complete it well?)

If a small voice in your head says be careful; listen to it! With these scams in your head and your own natural instincts you can't go far astray.

Written by Elli Davis' Realtor Toronto team.

What Is Rental Scam?

This is my last article about real estate fraud for now. Its main topic is rental scam. Have you ever heard about that before? I really think you have. But even if you haven't, the name is pretty telling itself.

You might simply be lied to a lose money to rental scammers. Want to know how to be careful? Here I am offering you some tips how to recognize a rental scammer.

Most importantly, if the price is a really low for a specific location, watch out. If something is too good to be true then it usually is not. In case you really have no clue about the approximate prices, search for the common prices in the area. Internet should help you. Browse the web a little.

Internet can actually help you in quite a few ways. Remember how did you discover the rental possibility? Online? If so, just try and copy the text of the advert to a search box and you will see whether there are many almost same ones. Name, some contact info or pictures of the home can be changed, for example. If there are, then it is even more likely you have found a rental scammer.

You should also be careful with the style of the offer - sometimes even the wording can tell a lot. A text just somehow quickly put together makes rental scam more likely. Another thing is the contact info. If the person does not leave their phone number, it is not a good sign. Of course, it does not necessarily have to mean anything, it just seems safer with a number there. Another bad thing is if the tenant says their are a reverend or something similar to look more credible.

Still, if you decide to contact the person even after some of these signs, be careful if they seem to too eager. Beware of their words that they have little time, etc. And if you have questions, always wait for a reply. The tenant should answer all your questions, if they hesitate, that is another bad sign. You should not just say yes to a thing in case you still have questions and doubts. If you do, you are making it very easy for the scammers to cheat on you.

Mar. 14, 2010

Real Estate Fraud: Loan Servicing

Loan Servicing Fraud is the main theme of my next article from the real estate fraud series! Do you want to know what it is, how to spot it and what to do to protect yourself? If yes, continue reading.

Loan Servicing Fraud only occurs when you obtain a loan from someone who is dishonest and has questionable practices. Subprime lending is very often connected to this kind of fraud. Naturally, unexperienced, first time lenders are threatened the most.

Simply said , after signing all the documents (thus almost unable to change the situation), the borrowers might find out that they need to pay higher monthly payments than they originally agreed on. The unexpected fees in the monthly payments are for, for example, insurance or some legal operations etc. Another instance is that a person applying for a mortgage loan is offered some, very good, interest rate they are happy about. After having all the needed papers organized and ready, or maybe after doing something around the wanted home, some lenders might just make the borrowers accept higher, less convenient rates than they applied for in the beginning. As the borrower is under pressure, they many times agree, since they are worried they might lose the loan.

Thus you all need to be very careful with your lender. The best is to have one, whom someone you know already has (positive) experience with. Such lenders therefore already passed the test of people the opinion of whom is important for you. In case there is no such lender, you ought to look out for out the one you have found and examine them. Internet is your friend in such cases - you can find some references about your lender, try it. If many people complain about them, just get a new one as soon as possible. A good, honest lender should provide you with documents clearly declaring the amount of the loan together with all the additional fees you may have to pay in the future.

All the payments should be included in the documents right in the beginning, so go through all of them carefully. Question? If you have some, ask your loan officer - do not be afraid and keep asking until you understand everything well. When you think the situation is clear enough, check out the papers you got once more, just to ensure all the info is correct. If it is, it is perfectly fine and safe to sign everything.

Feb. 28, 2010

Home Equity Fraud: Explanation and Its Types

My second article for the real estate scam series is here. It deals with home equity fraud and two of its most common kinds. Let's start with saying that the majority of lenders are just alright and honestly want the best for you, willing to help and offer you a good deal. But we cannot forget about those who are trying to profit and are not quite sincere. You need to be cautious.

The two most common kinds of home equity fraud are home equity flipping and home equity stripping.

Home equity stripping:
It is taking money out of your house/condo and basically even taking your property away. Let's say you have trouble with paying your monthly loan payments. When being in such a situation, do not apply for additional credit. You really need to be careful. Some lenders may well tell you to lie and fake your personal information in order to qualify for a mortgage loan, you would not qualify for otherwise. The best decision is not to listen to such lender and start looking for a new one. In case you cannot afford a mortgage loan, do not obtain one. Remember that lying does not solve the situation, it might just complicate everything for you. You lender might take away your house and strip you of basically everything ("equity stripping") if you cannot pay your monthly mortgage loan payments.

One of the basic forms of home equity stripping is 'home equity lines of credit'. Your property serves as a guarantee in such a situation. In such cases, it is extremely important to know and truly realize how big loan you can afford and at what rate. Be sincere to yourself at least - if you lie to yourself, you can just lose your property.

Home equity flipping:
Home equity flipping occurs when a lender is trying to convince you flip your current loan, whether you currently have more convenient conditions or not, just for their own benefit (keep in mind that the lenders earn on all your transactions). Just do not let them persuade you that repeated refinancing is good for you. If you actually are well informed about your situation, it is a big plus. Make sure to read all the documents you get and use your head. When in doubt, talk to someone who is informed enough. Just ask for an advice if you need one.

Part 1: Real Estate Scam

Real estate fraud is a quite usual thing. Lately, it has been gaining popularity. I'm pretty sure the vast majority of you have heard about that already. Still, I want to briefly summarize some of its types for you.

Foreclosure scam
Picture a situation that you have just purchased a new property, which you are really excited about. On the other hand, though, you have debt and big problems with paying it off. You might become kind of hopeless and thus ready for any help. Out of sudden, someone representing themselves as a mortgage consultant comes to your life, seemingly prepared to save the situation. They persuade you - the desperate homeowner in need, to transfer the ownership to them. From now on, your monthly mortgage payments will go straight to them. In spite of the ownership transfer to the "consultant", you still owe the monthly money to the institution lending you.

Mortgage Fraud
This is different than the foreclosure scam. It is a criminal act which aims to misrepresent personal info to be able to qualify for a mortgage loan. It involves identity theft, employment fraud, shot gunning, fraud for profit, income fraud, cash-back schemes, occupancy fraud or failure to disclose liabilities.

In identity theft, the scammer claims to be someone else (of course, without consent of this person) a uses their fake identity to obtain a loan, which they never pay off.

A situation when someone is officially borrowing for their primary place of stay, but actually use it for investing while occupying another residence, is called occupancy fraud.

Shotgunning occurs when numerous mortgage loans are obtained for the very same property, greatly exceeding its value.

Employment fraud is when a scammer claims to be in a higher position as they actually are, or they claim to own or to be self-employment in a non-existent company/institution just to prove they will be able to pay off their loan.

Income fraud is when a borrower lies about their income, claims to earn a lot more than they do in reality to be able to get a bigger loan.

Failure to disclose liabilities occurs when borrowers hide credit card debt or mortgage loans on other properties to decrease the monthly debt on the loan application.

Cash-back scheme means that a price of a home is significantly exaggerated (not in a legal way) to provide cash-back to the borrower or other transaction participants.

When the price of the home is understated or overstated on purpose, appraisal fraud occurs. To either get a bigger loan or to get a lower price on a foreclosed property.

Fraud for profit occurs when a group of people that cheats for financial gain. It also involves overstating the value of the house or condo.

This is just the first article from my real estate scam series. I am going to continue soon. Just leave a comment in case you are willing to share your experience with real estate fraud, I will be glad.

Feb. 13, 2010

The State of Canadian Market

Have you seen the latest Capital Points report by the Scotiabank group? As most of the times, it sumarizes up to date info about various sectors of Canadian economy, showing that on interesting charts, and even more. There's also a comparison of the economy of Canada to that of the US and couple of other countries. So what is the current state and what are some of the expectations according to Scotiabank group? Continue reading to find it out.

The recent state (many of these issues were mentioned in my posts already):
Housing
-the number of unsold new single homes in our country decreased and is now at prerecession levels
-as the interest rates are very low, there is increasing demand for houses
-residential building permits and housing starts in last few weeks improved
-there was an approximately 20 percent in residential permits during the last two months of 2009

Import/Export
-there was a big improvement in Asian import demand
-the leader in import among Asian states is China
-even though the share of Canadian exports to China is not exactly great, but as China says, imports from Canada grew by estimated 20 percent in the last month of 2009 Employment
-in January, 43,000 jobs were created in Canada
-there were 109,000 job gains in our country since April 2009
-during the past six months, 138,000 jobs have been created
-there was growth in total hours worked in 2009, although, if compared to the US, the pace was not very fast
-average hourly wages increased by 1.8 percent from 2008 to 2009, the slowest rise since June 2003

Predictions:
-big increases in housing starts
-growth in new home prices
-improvement of the job market
-improvement in housing construction
-moderate narrowing in the deficit on higher commodity prices
-January housing starts at the level of about 184,000, which is a 3.5% gain from a month before

As mentioned, my short posts did include many of these data, but having them summed up with some new info is great anyway, I think. My article however is just a short review and for all the data about Canada and other states, including graphs you should certainly read the original, 20 pages long report.

Feb. 6, 2010

2009 Housing in Canada

A new Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation report about the 2009 housing situation just came out. You should check it out, it is quite in-depth and interesting. No real surprises if you regularly check the situation, but it is nice to see all the exact data summarized.

Here are the key figures from the report:
The seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts in December increased by 5.8 percent from November up to 177,800 units. The November level was 168,000 units. As a matter of fact, the number of housing starts was at its highest montly level since October 2008 in December.

Urban single and multiple starts also rose in December. From November, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts increased by 6.6 percent to 157,200. Urban single starts rose to 79,400 units, by 6.4 percent. And the rise of urban multiple starts was 6.9 percent to 77,800 units.

Only in the Prairies the seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts did not rise in December. There, urban starts actually decreased by 3.8 percent to 30,600 units. Actual new listings for 2009 also declined, by 12.6 percent compared to 2008.

The "sales to new listings" ratio for our country was at the level of 66 percent in December and has therefore stayed in the sellers' market territory. In 2009 overall, this ratio was 59 percent.

As for the seasonally adjusted average MLS price in our country, it rose by 0.9 percent to $345,335 in December. A month before, it was $342,287. The MLS price rose by 5 percent in 2009 compared to 2008.

2,600 positions were lost in December. Total employment in 2009 in Canada decreased by 1.6 percent, which is 276,900 jobs, from 2008. Thus for the first time in 17 years, the annual employment growth in Canada was been positive.

In December, the unemployment rate was 8.5 percent. 200 part-time jobs and 2,400 fulltime jobs were shed. Decrease by 16,600, the biggest one, was in Ontario.

Actual urban starts in 2009 declined by 30.4 percent from 2008. Urban single starts for 2009 decreased by 18.7 percent and urban multiple starts by 38.2 percent from 2008.

Starts in rural and urban areas went down by about 29.4 percent in 2009 in comparison with 2008. For the first time in eight years, housing starts in 2009, went below 200,000 units. Here in Ontario, total starts decreased by 32.9 percent.

There also was a decline in New Housing Price Index - 1.4 percent from November 2008.

In December, the seasonally adjusted annual rate of MLS grew by 2 percent in December, to 561,660 units. In 2009, existing home sales in Canada in 2009 increased by 7.7 percent from 2008. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of MLS new listings grew by 4.7 percent to 854,412 units in December. The seasonally adjusted average MLS price in Ontario was $341,810 in December 2009.

Couple of declines, and the really bad employment situation in Ontario upsets me. Still, nice to see it all summarized. What's your opinion? Do you find the results surprising? What do you expect this year?

Jan. 29, 2010

Virtual networks and real estate

A short time ago someone I know said to me "If you are not on Facebook, you fundamentally don't even exist." I am now beginning to believe those who say it. Social network sites give you an awarenes into what your friends and work mates are doing. It is just about unachievable to keep in communication otherwise.

Still, staying informed about the life of your friends and acquaintances surely is not the only purpose of such websites. Another point of social websites is promoting yourself and bringing in business especially if you are a real estate agent. The times when a billboard or a little advertisement in a newspaper was enough for propagation of one's work or business are long disappeared and they will not come back. The way to the future is now the internet and computers. On-line, (what a coincidence) you can come across lots of articles with instructions and working tips on how to use the phenomenon of social networking.

For older people who were not brought up with computers, it's tough to get used to operating computers and to find their way round websites. Youngsters go on computers from a young age, so are fluent with them, while we, from the older generation, are taking a while to work things out. Regardless of the issue we still have a go. Those ideas, I venture, are not just felt by me, but by many realtors out there.

After working all day its not surprising we come home tired, so it's hard to sum up the energy to find interesting things to talk about on blogs or make posts on social websites such as facebook and twitter. Our daily routine now involves just that sort of input. Settling down now means going on-line to get our social networking chore done. Is there members of the public out there that are fascinated in our posts? Do people, other than fellow realtors, actually look at the articles we write? I think we will never know for sure, will we?

Personally because the reports are of interest to me, I do peruse and look at the websites of my fellow real estate associates. But who knows whether their features also attract ordinary people (I don't mean this in a negative way, of course), the job of whom is not involved with real estate at all. By reading colleagues blogs and posts, it doesn't matter how often I get together with them, I am always up to date with their lives. So I may not have spoken to someone for a long time, but I can honestly say I have learnt alot about them, and this is thanks to social networking. What a awesome thing social networking is.

In my professional life I sell Toronto condos, and I consider social networking to be one of the key ways of success. Hopefully this short article was of any help for you!

Jan. 20, 2010

Global Property Market Recovering

The world housing market is continuing in its recovery, the newest Global Real Estate Trends report by Scotia Economics claims. Canadian market is in a good condition and in couple of other states, signs of recovery of the real estate market are visible too.

In 2009, the approximate number of MLS home sales 465,000 - increase of seven percent from a year before. The number of new homes last year, however, decreased from 2008. It was approximately 146,000 in 2009 and 211,000 in 2008. There was an increase in home prices, though - up to $315,000 over the year.

Canada is actually the leader in the property price increases. In the third quarter of 2009, average home prices rose by 11 percent. "Canada still leads the pack among the markets we track. " Adrienne Warren, Senior Economist of Scotia Economics said. "Inflation-adjusted average home prices in the July to September period were up 11 percent from the same quarter a year ago, a dramatic turnaround from the 10 percent yearly decline recorded in the opening months of 2009. " Warren further noted. There is no need to be worried about the rising prices in the country, according to Scotia Economics, though. As they claim, prices in the country rose mainly due to basic demand-supply factors and they should stabilize in the near future.

In Australia, the average home prices are in positive territory again, as they increased by 5 percent from third quarter of 2008 to third quarter of 2009. However, in the US, average home prices decreased by 6 percent in the third quarter of 2009 from the same period in 2008. That still is a pretty good result, if we consider that there was a fourteen percent decline in first quarter of 2009 from the year before. In European countries it's diverse: the situation in the UK is almost like the situation in the US. And in France we can see stabilizing of prices. "A shortage of homes for sale, alongside strengthening housing demand, is contributing to the firming in prices in a number of countries, including Canada, Australia and the UK." said Warren.

Good, good. Expected, too, after all the recent positive news about economic recovery. Great to hear once again that Canada belongs to countries doing just fine. If we compare our results with those of the US, we are pretty good. And frankly, I do feel quite proud.

Jan. 13, 2010

Property Investment Remain Popular in Canada

With the start of new year, more Canadians are primarily focusing on paying down their debts, a poll conducted for Manulife Financial in December 2009 claims. This outcome came after three quarters of increases of interest in investment.

The priority to pay down debts has gotten to its highest level in 5 years in December. Taking care of their consumer credit is now the main priority of 28 percent of 1000 polled Canadians. It was 20 percent two years ago and 24 percent last year. Paying down one's own mortgage is the second top priority. 14 percent of respondents share this opinion, in comparison with 11 percent from a year ago. The thrid most common answer of Canadians was that they are saving for retirement, 11 percent of Canadians are of this opinion - last year it was 14 percent.

Concerning overall financial state of Canadians, 46 percent of respondents think their financial situation is better now than it was 5 years ago. Last year, the number of Canadians who share this view was 5 percent higher and it was 14 percent higher two years ago. 28 percent of polled Canadians believe that their financial situation 5 years back was just the same as it is today, and 25 percent of Canadians consider their current situation to be worse than it was in late 2004.

As for Manulife Sentiment Index, after three quarterly gains in a row, it has decreased in December from 3 months earlier by 7 points to +18. The main focus of the index are the feelings of Canadians about investing in few categories.

It is mainly based on these categories:
-Investing in their homes is the top choice of Canadians. Still, in December 2009, the index for investing in property has declined by 5 points, to +52.
-Investment in real estate decreased by 13 points in December, after quite a few gains this year. Its level, +27 is still higher than it was last year, when it actually went to the negative territory.
-The current level of balanced funds is +16, and they increased by 2 points.
-Cash and fixed income investments decreased by 8 points to + 10 in December.
-The current level of equities is -5, as they have decreased by 6 points.

I'm quite pleased to see Canadians still find investing in their homes this important. And it is also great to know that our country has responsible citizens, the top priority of whom is paying their debt. I'm quite curious whether the repeated warnings by the Bank of Canada's representatives has influenced it somehow.