Friday 27 June 2014

How Ontario landlords can avoid bad tenants

Avoiding tenant from hell includes checking references, Facebook, credit agencies, inducements, treating tenants with respect, can pay off for landlords.

For the most part, the majority of long term tenants are respectful and pay rent on time. IT is possible to filter out the "good" from the "bad" tenants. The trick is to do the proper research ahead of time so that you do not end up with an irresponsible tenant.

It is expected in today's society that landlords will conduct background and credit checks. Writing this in an ad looking for tenants will help you in recruiting more qualified renters, as the tenants who know they have bad credit will avoid your ad entirely.

Equifax or TransUnion are great tools which you can use to check on potential tenants' credit history. The cost is approximately $20. For such a small cost, this could save you many headaches and money in the long run.

Here are a few other tips to help you find a responsible tenant:

  • Check a potential tenant's social media for signs
  • Conduct a face-to-face interview
  • Interview the tenant where they currently live
  • Call their previous landlord

Thursday 19 June 2014

Growth of mortgage debt slowed in Q1

Rising home prices and a well performing stock market have resulted in helping Canadians become richer & helped slightly reduce household debt.

Statistics Canada said that the level of household debt has lowered from 163.9% (in Q4 2013) to 163.2% (Q1 2014). In simpler terms, this means Canadians now owe approximately $1.623 for every $1 in disposable income they earn.

More good news was that mortgage debt at the end of the first quarter was up slightly by 0.6%. This was the slowest pace of growth since early 2009. Consumer credit debt has also been slowed down by 0.3%.

The Canadian Real Estate Association reported this week that sales were up by as much as 5.9% compared to April, which was the largest month-to-month increase in sales in nearly four years.

It was also reported that the population is becoming more sensitive to mortgage rates than they have been previously due to the large debts the population has been carrying.

Click here to read the full article on Metro News.

Tuesday 17 June 2014

How to protect yourself against rising energy prices

A recent report by the Bank of Nova Scotia suggests that household energy and utility prices have risen by 5 per cent in 2014. According to the report, more than double what the rate of inflation is. There is a strong economic incentive for Canadians to start reducing their energy consumption in multiple ways, which will help slow the rise of energy prices.

The common risks to your household budget has largely been focused on obtaining a lower interest rate. While the pressure to keep rates low continue, the cost of oil, gasoline and natural gas has continued to rise. This has prompted Ontario gas utilities to sharply increase their monthly charges to customers.

Energy costs should figure into your household budget in a few ways:
  • What the monthly heating bills are
  • How new the furnace is
  • Whether to buy a home in the city of suburbs and how close public transportation is
  • What level of insulation there is in the attic
Another factor you should consider is high-rise apartments or condos, as well as town homes and semi detached homes use less energy than detached homes. 

Monday 27 January 2014

How to make sure your house is show-ready

The New Year is upon us, and for many, that means starting the search for a new home. The Canadian housing market is showing no signs of slowing down, which means lots of available inventory and lots of competition. So, how can you make your home stand out among the crowd? Here are some tricks of the trade.


If your home is in need of an update, now is the best time to do it. Putting your home on the market when it is in need of renovations can put it far behind the competition, or force you to compromise on price more than you want to.
The most important thing to remember is that unless you are looking to perform major repairs, the most common renovations that add value to your home are updates to the kitchen or bathroom, new windows or doors, finished basements and hardwood floors.
If you don’t have the funds to invest in a brand new kitchen, consider just replacing the cupboard doors and handles. This easy fix is much more cost-effective than
remodeling your whole kitchen, and will make a significant visual difference.

The power of paint:
A fresh coat of paint is a cost-effective way to update your home.  Fill any nail holes with putty before painting to give the walls a fresh look.
It’s best to opt for neutral colours for the interior. Colours should appeal to the widest array of buyers to avoid alienating anyone. It’s easy for a buyer to paint after they move in, but most buyers aren’t hoping to see a to-do list when they enter a potential new home.

Clear the clutter:
Something to keep in mind when you are selling your home is that buyers need to be able to envision themselves in the space. Knick knacks, family photos, children’s toys and other signs of your day-to-day life can be distracting for buyers. If necessary, consider investing in a small storage unit for the short time the home is on the market.

Consider staging:
Staging professionals often advise sellers to “mentally move out”, or emotionally disconnect from their property. This can be particularly difficult, but once you start looking at the home from an impartial perspective, it is often easier to see through a potential buyer’s eyes.
Your regular maintenance should also include the grounds surrounding the house. Curb appeal adds to the all-important “first impression”, and some buyers may turn away from a poorly maintained property, regardless of how nice the interior is.
When it comes to furniture, scaling is important. After years of living with it, you may not notice that your large sofa is making your living room look smaller. A buyer will definitely notice. Consider browsing MLS listings for
pictures of homes similar to yours. How do the rooms look? Is the setup appealing? Take a few sample pictures of your own home to compare and start paring down.
If you lack the time or the critical eye, professional staging companies have made it easy for home owners to make their homes sparkle. Many companies offer furniture on loan while the property is for sale if you are not going to be living in the house while it’s being sold.

Pricing your home properly:
Ensuring you are listing your house at the proper price is essential. Working with a real estate agent is one of the best ways to make sure you are doing so. Pricing your home too high, or too low, can both be detrimental to the selling process.
A professional real estate agent should go over the pricing and marketing strategy for the home with you,

and show you several examples of comparable properties in your area to support the agreed-upon price.

Regular maintenance:
Once your property is show-ready, be prepared to keep it that way. You may have showings at short notice, and you will want to be able to accept all showing requests until the house sells. Light cleaning daily will be much easier than a heavy clean before a showing.

Talk to a Mortgage Broker:
If you’re selling your current home, chances are you have your eye on a new property. Whether you’re upsizing, downsizing, or changing neighbourhoods, contact a Mortgage Broker or Agent and make sure your financing is in place and up to date.
Please visit our website at for today’s best rates and to contact one of our mortgage professionals.