Sunday, December 16, 2007

New Tax Savings for First-Time Homebuyers

The Ontario Ministry of Finance announced a new tax measure that directly benefits First-time homebuyers. Effective December 14th, 2007 the Government of Ontario is giving all first-time homebuyers a break on the land transfer tax by expanding the Land Transfer Tax Refund Program to include purchases of resale homes as well as the original new home builds.

“Expanding this Land Transfer Tax refund is an important part of our government’s commitment to helping Ontarians buying their first home.” Finance Minister Dwight Duncan announced.

Effective now first-time homebuyers are eligible for a refund from the provincial government of up to $2000 of the Land Transfer Tax paid. This new incentive is part of the new tax initiatives in the 2007 Fall Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review and is part of $1.4 billion in provincial tax relief for businesses and people over 3 years.

If you need help with selling or buying a London home visit for excellent resources or contact me direct for a free consultation.

“Helping Good People Get A Great Home”

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tips For Selling Your Home In London

Here is an article on things you can do to better market your home for sale in the London area. It is not inclusive of course but I hope you will find it a valuable resource to get you pointed in the right direction.

Make a strong first impression by paying attention to the little details. Remember this is now a product that you are trying to market and the first impression is important. Make sure your home is very clean and well taken care of. If you do so the buyers will assume that you have taken care of the rest of the home equally. The reverse of that is if you do not then they may assume you didn’t maintain your home and you will lose money.

Go to the outside of your home and try to look at it as a stranger would. A stranger will notice all the tiny flaws like dirty windows, leaves in the eaves troughs, poorly maintained yard and hedges. Try to have all these things resolved and make sure you have a clear path to the front door. You want the potential buyer to feel comfortable approaching your front door.

In most circumstances your house is going to be shown by a REALTOR and a buyer client. In this case they are already likely interested in the features of your house on paper and it is time to appeal to their senses and emotions. It is important that a potential buyer gets a good feeling from the house and can genuinely feel like it could be their home.

Here are some things to make sure you do to help prepare you home and show it in the best possible light.

*Rent a storage unit
*Remove all clutter from all your rooms
*Clean, Clean, Clean
*Remove excess furniture
*Put away toys and games
*Make sure your house smells fresh, open windows and air it out
*Put away any valuables and fragile items
*Make sure doors and cupboard doors open and close easily. Oil if they squeak.
*Repair leaking taps
*Put fresh caulking around tubs and showers where needed.
*Put out fresh flowers
*Remember those closets, visitors will look there, so keep them tidy

Price your home to sell. This is one of the biggest hurdles a seller can have if you don’t properly inform yourself about the market. Do not take pricing advice from your mechanic, or doctor, talk to your professional REALTOR it is what we do full time. It is a common error that a seller will think their home is worth much more then it is and pricing too high will turn away potential buyers before they even see your home. That in turn means your house will stay on the market too long and you will lose money. Dropping your price large amounts later is a poor and costly marketing strategy. It is much better for you to stay firm on a lower price and have your REALTOR negotiate other value items and conditions. This will put more money in your pocket in the long run.

Selling a home is a lot of work but it will be well worth it if you make a plan and work through the process. It is important and there are many things that cannot be put in a simple one page list of tips so please contact your favorite REALTOR and get professional advice. If you are thinking of selling in the London Ontario area please contact me and I will be happy to help you sell your home and find you your dream home.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Get Representation!

Get Representation!

I can’t stress the importance of this enough. This is likely the biggest and most important financial decision of your life do not take the risk of spending thousands of dollars more then you need to. If you are buying a home in the London area please contact me and I will be happy represent you.

Who Pays?

In virtually all cases the REALTOR is paid from the proceeds of sale and any fee paid is set by the Seller during the listing agreement. This fee is fixed at that time and is paid whether you get a Buyer’s Representative or not. You save nothing by not using a Buyer’s Representative.


It is very important to know whom a REALTOR is working for. If you do not have a signed Buyer’s Representative Agreement then you likely are a Customer to who ever you are talking to-which means they are likely actively working for someone else!

This is a very important financial decision please make sure you understand who is working for who. I will be very happy to explain and clarify any questions you have. If you are looking for a home in the London area please contact me and I will help.

What can I do as your REALTOR?

There are many things involved in buying a London area home. I can provide you with a step by step guide to buying a home. Here are a few other things that I do for you:

Financing- As your REALTOR I understand the different financing options available and I can help direct you to someone who has financing that is right for you.

Searching-As your REALTOR I will actively search for a home that means your needs and budget. I will show you properties that you are interested in.

Selecting-As your REALTOR I will help provide objective information about each home, and its area. I will help you evaluate whether it will truly meet your needs and how the homes features will affect its value in the future. Will you make money on it in the future? I can help you answer that and give you detailed information about the market.

Negotiating-As your REALTOR I will help with this complex and very important step. Drafting the legal documents can be very confusing and I will help explain what everything means. I will also help negotiate details like price, financing, terms, date of possession, inclusion or exclusion of fixtures, chattels, and repairs.

Closing-As your REALTOR I will help get you to this final stage, help handle problems along the way, and get you into the home.

After Closing-As your REALTOR I will not disappear and I will follow up with you regularly to make sure you are doing well and answer any questions or concerns that may have come up after the purchase. I will still be there to help you.

There are many other things I will do as your REALTOR as the process is very complex. My services are guaranteed in writing. Call me today and I will be happy to explain to you in more detail.

Marking Extra Mortgage Payments`

Making Extra Payments

Do yourself a favour and consider making an extra principal payment on your mortgage as often as you can.

Paying extra amounts on your mortgage can make a big interest saving over time. When we select a mortgage company, privilege payments options are something that we look for. A 20% privilege payment will allow you to pay off up to $20,000 per year on a $100 000 mortgage. It is important that the privilege payment also be flexible to allow you to pay smaller payments on the mortgage and as often as you wish. An extra $1000 periodically paid on a mortgage can help you become mortgage free faster.

Payment # Interest Principal

13 583.62 138.51

14 582.82 139.31

15 582.02 140.11

16 581.22 140.91

17 580.41 141.72

18 579.59 142.54

19 578.77 143.36

20 577.95 144.18

21 577.12 145.01

22 576.28 145.85

23 575.45 146.68

24 574.6 147.53

25 573.75 148.38

26 572.9 149.23 Total 8096.5 2013.32

This is an example payment schedule for a mortgage of $100, 000 at 7% interest amortized over 25 years. This one includes CMHC fees.

Many people don’t realize that when you make a lump sum payment, from a tax return as an example, your payment goes directly to the principal increasing the equity by a large amount. Looking at my table you may notice that you save an entire year’s interest by making a one time payment of only $2013.32. You gain that equity and save an additional $8096. 50 in interest. Now that is a great return on investment.

For more specific information applicable to your unique situation contact your mortgage professional. If you need help finding one in the London area for your home please contact me and I will help you.
Thanks to Bigfoto for the picture

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

London Housing Market Affordability

Housing in London continues to climb in value but compared to the national average it is a bargain. London is 33% lower priced then the national average.

Major Market Comparison:

London and St. Thomas $202,613
Calgary $415,391
Durham Region $263,851
Edmonton $339,382
Hamilton-Burlington $268,340
Kitchener-Waterloo $251,157
Ottawa $272,773
St. Catherine’s & District $217,349
Toronto $372,480
Greater Vancouver $568,498

London will see steady growth, no dramatic spikes in the short term, which makes it a great place to invest long term.

London’s local economy is diverse and strong and the city is posed for increased residential growth.

London’s hot housing market will cool slightly in 2008.

New home starts will slightly decrease from 3300 to 3200.

Resales in 2007 are projected to reach 9430 sold. While still being a “seller’s” market in 2008 sales will drop a little to 9300 sold.

The average price for residential is projected to increase by at least 4.5% for London.
For more detailed information on the London housing market, homes for sale, an evaluation of your property and neighbourhood please contact me. I can be reached by email, or by phone at 519-685-4190.

Friday, November 16, 2007

London's Smart Buses

The new smart buses are scheduled to hit London’s roads this coming spring (2008) and I have to say some of the features are really cool.

The upcoming changes are part of a plan to improve local transportations systems by providing better customer service and make buses more accessible to all Londoners. The Siemens VDO program has two key elements it allows real time communication to riders and potential riders of its position and time of arrival, as well it allows the bus to have priority service at traffic signals-so the bus can reduce the time it sits at a red light. This will also help with environmental impact from the bus with idle times from sitting.

Now if you are like me you were thinking how great that is and how do you get it-well it is $30, 000 per bus so unless you have more money then you know what to do with I don’t think you will be installing one soon. If you do have enough spare money for one you need to call me and I can help you with that.

It is expensive but fortunately Londoner’s are not going to get hit with a tax increase as the Provincial and Federal Governments are sponsoring programs that are for new and improved services- Thankfully this qualifies.

Another part of the new system involves improving accessibility and quality of use for everyone. One of the new features will provide audible notifications at the approach and arrival of each stop. When the doors open it will announce the bus and the route it is on. The audible messages will be of great value and equalize the environment for someone with a visual disability.
The London Transit Commission has some interesting long term plans for the improvement of London’s transportation-what do you think of this so far?

Friday, November 9, 2007

Lest We Forget

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month

In Flanders Fields the cannons boom,

And fitful flashes light the gloom;

While up above, like eagles, fly

The fierce destroyers of the sky;

With stains the earth wherein you lie

Is redder than the poppy bloom,In Flanders Fields.

Sleep on, ye brave! The shrieking shell,

The quaking trench, the startling yell,

The fury of the battle hell

Shall wake you not, for all is well;

Sleep peacefully, for all is well.

Your flaming torch aloft we bear,

With burning heart and oath we swear

To keep the faith, to fight it through,

To crush the foe, or sleep with you,In Flanders Fields.

Written in response to "In Flanders Fields"
~~By J.A. Armstrong.~~

Please remember those that have fallen, have fought, and are fighting to protect our freedom and the freedom of others.