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What has been normal for Canadian Interest rates?
Below is a graph showing the numbers from the 1960’s until recently.
From the looks of it…the rates will continue to rise for a while. One step at a time.
So many people are not used to what interest rates have been, historically speaking. Our parents bought homes when rates were 3 and 4 times the rates now. yes cost of living was different and by most accounts more affordable. Different neighbourhoods offer different pricing and styles. Shop more widely, you’ll be surprised at the treasures you’ll find.
The sky is not falling but the economic environment has been full of cheap money for quite a while. When the economy is doing well, rates rise and that’s what’s happening now. Count on rate increases by default. I am not convinced we’re doing as well as they say…but they are the experts.
Monetary Policy Report from the Bank of Canada
And to put some perspective on historical rates: This graph below is from the Globe and Mail.
It will help you grab some perspective on what’s happening right now. Again, pay with cash as much as possible for purchases,
seriously focus on reducing your debt and for some people, put that credit card in a block of ice in your freezer.
20 things you need to know about Open Houses – Etiquette
First of all, why go to an Open House? Isn’t it a hassle? Actually, going to an open house is a very good idea for a lot of reasons.
It’s a great way to explore a neighbourhood, see the style of homes available. Many exteriors are not what you’ll find inside. A typical 80’s build may now be quite contemporary? You can buy brick veneer for inteior walls (that looks historical and cool), and do almost anything to a room to change its style. EVERYONE it seems is on Houzz and Pinterest and watches HGTV so keep that in mind because “Suburban” doesn’t necessarily mean dated. It’s a geographical location, not a style statement. With the proliferation of companies leaving the core because office space is cheaper on the outskirts, means many people choose the suburbs for financial reasons. Typically very smart people. Even the clubs and cool restaurants are losing space to condos downtown and they are moving to the Villages in the near 905. Follow your tribe! Besides suburban/urban is now a bonifide old-school way of thinking. Outdated and not really that relevant anymore. Things have changed drastically due to increased prices in the core and many people working remotely rather than going to an office. Many townies have moved to the burbs and maybe of your style mavens are here already. Telling you what’s cool and the next ‘it’ thing to do and they do so from the comfort of their house or condo in the burbs. It’s a fact and it’s way cheaper.
Last but not least its a good use of time during the search. Your agent may be running one of their own and not available to take you on the rounds that afternoon. Houses that just listed, well get to these right away. At least be able to Y’aye or Nay them by seeing them. Open Houses are important sources of feedback for homeowners and for agents to evaluate demand in the market. It’s not just about picking up buyers. You can pack quite a few viewings in a 2 hours span that might take a couple days to do appointment by appointment. As a Seller, you’ll come to value Open House feedback after each Open House.
An Open House is likely the best way to get a fuller idea of the property rather than relying on the photos. Many photos (shockingly!) are still shot with wide-angle lenses so the room looks much larger than it should. Also, the trend of Interior Design Vignettes seems to be growing more popular (Instagram style shots) and don’t really tell you about the rooms and what the flow of or the natural light is all about. Go and see for yourself. Get a feel for the space and don’t rely on photos.
You can check out the ‘buying competition’ in an area and have time with the listing agent who knows the home better than your buyer agent. The listing agents know the house intimately. Strike up a conversation and ask questions about the house and area. You could find a gem!
OK, so you’re ready to embark. What should you keep in mind?
Open House Etiquette:
THE TOP 5
#1: Don’t park in the driveway and don’t block the open house sign for others to see. It’s considered thoughtless. Let the seller sell their home without you interfering in others knowing it’s open.
#2 You don’t have to knock on the door or ring the bell, they are expecting you. Step in, remove your shoes, and put them in a place that doesn’t stop the door from closing. If it’s raining, or wintery, keep your wet shoes off the hardwood floors.
#3 If the agent isn’t right there to greet you, then offer a “hello!” as they may be showing the home to others, or just in another room. Check-in, it’s someone’s home not a retail store where you can wander at will.
#4 Sign in. You can always tell the agent not to put you on any mailing lists. They are NOT supposed to anyway, without your permission. Be polite about it. They are there to ensure the safety of the home and network with those that have questions. The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) advises agents to view your ID. How would it feel to have 20 people you don’t know, just wander around your home. See this step from the seller’s point of view.
#5 Agents do NOT have to let you see the home. If you are inhospitable, aggressive or rude, they are within their rights to refuse you access. They are charged with looking after the homeowners home.
#6 Let them know if you have an agent and ask if you can use that info on the sign in. Be honest and friendly. It’s an Open House and the agent is there to ensure the safety of the home. Both of you are people first and foremost. Be respectful.
#7 If you’re not an active buyer, that’s ok too. Most people who are going to sell a home, start their research months before they are ready and realtors know this very well. It’s also a good time to interview agents and see how they run an open house on your behalf. (Agents know this too).
#8 Don’t corner the agent or interject if they are speaking with someone. That’s rude regardless of the situation. If they’re busy, stand nearby and browse the brochure. They will try to wrap up their discussion to speak with you. Perhaps revisit the next room and come back… it’s also ok to join a conversation if it’s already in progress and the conversation is ‘general’ in nature, (questions about the house).
#9 Set aside any stereotypical feelings you may have toward agents. Most agents are professionals and the old Glengarry Glenross or Mad Men types are becoming the rarity. Having a nice light-hearted conversation provides an additional edge over other buyers if you end up in an offer. You don’t need to tell your life story or all your search details, but conversing politely is expected in our society.
#10 If you are in love with the place, keep it to yourself. Overt interest may be noticed by another buyer who may adjust their strategy if they know you are going to offer on the house too.
Things to be aware of:
#11 You may be recorded without the Open House Agent even knowing. Keep heavy critique or your OPINION about styling or possessions to yourself. Alternatively making it known, We’ve found it! might be caught on camera. If I was a homeowner I’d bargain harder with those types! You would too!
#12 You can open anything EXCEPT dresser drawers etc. Opening and peering into closets and cupboards is normal but this is not an “All-access Backstage Pass” You need to see storage capabilities of the home, but it’s not ok to go rifling through cupboards, or (gasp!) remove items for a deeper look. Default to always asking permission. Do NOT open the medicine cupboard. No home was ever rejected based on a medicine cabinet, like ever. Don’t be that person.
#13 Taking Photos/videos is a big NO! No!. This is somebody else’s private home, not a furniture showroom, so respect their privacy. The agent has taken photos and provided them on the brochure for you.
#14 Don’t use the washroom without asking. It’s not a public bathroom. How would you feel?
#15 Don’t overstay your welcome. If the Open home closes at 4pm, be mindful of the time. The seller usually vacates the house so potential buyers feel comfortable enough to ask pointed questions. They are typically waiting to come home.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST
#16 Don’t be afraid to ask direct questions. The lowest price a seller will go and their motivation for moving are two questions the agent is NOT ALLOWED to answer. Not sure who’s checklist on the internet that went on but it made the rounds by mistake. It can’t be disclosed because it could affect negotiations. The agent is there to act in the best interest of the seller not the best interest of a would-be buyer. They are fulfilling their legal duty to the seller.
#17 Focus on the property, not the styling. If you don’t like the paint colour that’s a $42 fix and makes you look silly when you bring it up. Again, the big ticket item is the house. You aren’t buying their furniture or décor items, you are buying the house or condo.
#18. Don’t lounge on their furniture and don’t let your children jump or lay on beds, handle toys belonging to the seller’s child. It’s absolutely not OK for a child to run unattended at the Open House. It’s not ok to eat the fruit from the fruit bowl or help yourself to things in the fridge.
At an Open House, the old saying: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” is the etiquette. If the property didn’t meet your expectations, save that conversation for a private chat in your vehicle. It’s ok to mention what didn’t work for your criteria, but this is not an episode of Judge Judy.
#19 Check in with the agent to give them feedback before you leave. It’s very rude to just slip out of the house and frankly makes you look like a skulking thief (to be blunt). The homeowners have let you through their home, your duty is to leave constructive feedback about the home. It’s not a design critique.
Reminder: All the lights are turned on for the open house so when you leave a room, leave them on. Leave the doors to rooms open too. Respect locked doors.
#20 – Don’t bring your pets. That is a complete and total no-no. Even if it’s in your purse. Guide animals are different, but that should be arranged during a proper showing because the homeowners may be allergic to your animal.
Builders Lot for Sale in Port Credit
NOW SOLD! 1368 Kenmuir Ave is in the heart of the builders’ sweet spot and is now on MLS. What’s the Sweet Spot you ask? Half way between the train tracks and the South Service Road/QEW.
It’s pretty much where the noise cancels out from both. Highly coveted to be building a new home in this special part of East Mineola. Excellent schools and with all the new developments coming in…you’ll be getting ready to sell this at the height of the rush and with a lot of press bringing people to the area.
She has the lines and the woodwork to support her pedigree. It would be tremendous piece of nostalgia to include the dining room ceiling into a new design. It’s absolutely stunning and you just don’t see that kind of carpentry very much anymore. It’s been featured on some North American midcentury modern websites and the crowd went wild for it! To restore this baby would be a Midcentury Modern Aficionado’s dream come true. Even the bathroom floor is a beauty. Such rich colours and patterns that are highly sought after in today’s modern world. Proportion and angles and lustrous wood. Midcentury all the way.
The lot is 60 x 132 and we have an copy of an old plan of survey from 1971. New luxury builds across the street, next door and well…everywhere in this pocket.
Listed at $1025,000 Cdn
I like to hear the report and read the report from the Auditor General.
They are paid to dig deep and see if things are being hidden, misrepresented and uncovered.
Toronto Star ran an article worth reading.
Be well informed to go to the ballot box. Here is an easy way to cut through the campaign spin and see what the real numbers say.
Our video Update for the latest news on the Real Estate Market
We think the correction is over (as long as the BOC and Province stop meddling!). The graph below, shows we are back to our normal trajectory as long as everyone allows the market to settle, like it always does. We will still have fluctuations for things like ‘supply and demand’ and for ‘seasonality’, but hopefully no more surges.
Perception Politics and Lack of Rental/Inventory
I hope people realize the negative value “panic” had in the markets, that falling for Government induced PR stunts is dangerous. If they would just stop meddling.
We need some good old fashioned common sense thinking by our Politicians. Thinking first about the constituent again would be nice. No more laws, not based on fact (Foreign Buyer Tax).
The Link to the article in The Toronto Star by Tess Kalinowski are also provided:
April 16th: Click on the image to be taken to the article please.
A closer look at the graph we presented in the video. Hopefully this is a ray of hope, and lessens your stress about the market. You have choices.
Here are my favourite links for “What’s going on around town?”
- Toronto: https://www.blogto.com/events/
- Mississauga: https://www.insauga.com/new-openings
- Oakville: https://www.eventbrite.ca/d/canada–oakville/events/
Close to the Lakefront Esplanade, Martin Goodman Trail and a short stroll to the Lake.
This semi has been fully renovated, has 3 bedroom, a bathroom and gorgeous kitchen. Hexagonal shaped tiled backsplash is de riguer and so on trend. Light floors for the beachy feel that is very popular at the moment.
All bedrooms are a generous size with closets and window of course.
The open concept feel is so popular and in high demand. This home boasts all new interior fitting, LED potlights, stone countertops, stainless steel appliances. A beautiful white kitchen that’s very Euro. Ensuite laundry means no basement stairs to do laundry.
The Home is very bright, fresh and well constructed. Parking for 2 cars, and a fenced backyard.
You will share the yard with the downstair’s neighbour who is lovely lady, very peaceful, and totally separate from the main floor unit.
Be quick, well done homes like this are cheaper than most condos in the city centre and offer more of a ‘homey’ feel.
How do you vote?
I’ve been asked this a number of times just lately, How do you vote? I am pretty sure they are not asking me “How do you vote in Ontario?… you know step by step, but rather which political party I support. I’ll be honest, I’m not that into party loyalty politics. I am into researching who is the best leader with the best plan for what we need going forward in the next 4 years. What is our current situation and who has a plan to keep us on track and financially OUT of the red. They are a representative of the people. They are to be makers of good decisions above their own interests, not further their own agenda, philosophy, bias and party. They allegiance is to the people of the province above all else. I like a blended approach, a person with a good grasp of economics and diplomacy and understands viability and how to EXECUTE. I want someone who get’s shit done in a balanced way!
Rather than delve into party politics let’s actually discuss or uncover what’s important NOW and do a priority list. I see that as finances right now. We are on a dangerous road with heavy debt in this Province.
The Process, voting in Ontario
You see, in our system we can have a really good candidate that does a lot for our immediate community, but then at the Provincial Level, the leader who will get in with all those local votes…maybe isn’t the right leader? All our local votes add up to who the Premier will be. That’s a tough one with most all the parties are having issues with Leadership currently. Notice, the quandary. We should be able to pick both and not add up the votes to one leader. We are so in debt we can’t afford to throw away a vote, or screw this up.
I want someone who understands how economics works one who can manage/lead in a bigger capacity that what we have received recently in the Premier’s office. To me, towing the party line could actually be a worse rabbit hole. Let’s be honest here. Your loyalty is about your fellow citizens, not about a party obligation. We need better Leaders, better answers and less campaign speeches. We NEED hard numbers, audited ones, that actually add up. If you can’t put a plan together that works, you don’t deserve to be in a leadership position. Let’s see their ACTUAL executable plans and an audited copy by an independent review. Plain and simple, we need to vote like that.
A lot of us are tuned out, disgusted, feeling down trodden, and dismayed and losing hope. So my thought about this was to simplify things. I like simple.
How I now vote:
- Will the leader make copies of my card and hand it out to their circle of friends to use as well?
- Will they run up the balance with promises and give cash advances to their friends and themselves and put me in more debt with higher interest?
- Will they manage that credit card privilege so I can pay my bill off each month so I can save some money instead of using it to pay down interest?
- Will my kids still be paying that massive bill off when I’m gone?
- Do they put plans into action WELL. What is their track record of accountability? Are they thorough and balanced or do they have an agenda?
- ACCOUNTABILITY. Do they take that seriously for ALL or just buy votes via special interests?
Note: if I see and hear a pivot, they get a big X on their side of my decision list. If you have to be pressed for an clear answer, you’re out.
- Are the purchases buying votes with my dime?
- Is this good and prudent and doable for ALL of us in general or are they pushing their own agenda and philosophies?
- Is this an effective leadership decision or just a good sales job?
Bonus and Points Programs
The credit card is already over it’s limit, it would be declined at a cash register and our leaders are calling in to get a limit increase??? What the heck? RED FLAG!!!
Looking for a bungalow to rent in South Mississauga.Continue reading →
In pure Brene Brown Phd vulnerability fashion, I’m going to lay down my three biggest financial mistakes to date. Understanding and owning up to mistakes allows us to change our trajectory. When we identify them honestly, it gives us a starting point for change. I am hoping to head you off before history repeats itself with you. I firmly believe that without challenges, you aren’t growing, you are existing. Consider this: Here are my 3 biggest financial mistake to date.
My Big Three Financial Mistakes:
- Not paying off my student loans fast enough (took me 5 years and I was late a bunch of times). This trashed my credit rating. Not to mention the friendly reminder calls were brutal and anxiety inducing. It took a long time to build that rating back up and in the meantime simple things like getting a car loan were a serious hassle. (double lesson)
- Not contributing to my retirement fund earlier so that the compounding effect would have been exponentially bigger by now. (making up for that now hurts more as smaller amounts would have been easier to handle financially) (double lesson again)
- Renting longer than I should have downtown when I could have bought a house for the same or less money just outside the core. Basically I was paying for ‘cache and convenience’ and I named it ‘culture’ because of a need to belong. So I missed out on paying off the mortgage faster, with EASIER payments, having nicer, safer neighbours and could have taken the market increases as a “bonus” without additional effort. (quadruple lesson learned) Had I done so…I would be travelling more NOW, and then! ggrrrrrr
I have to admit that I was given advice and alternative outlooks from a couple of key people. My older brother Tom was very instrumental in trying to help me make better decisions. He was always my “go-to guy” for life advice or to help sort out a dilemma or if I just needed a sibling laugh fest. Always calm, he had focused conversations with me and I admired his ability to ask good questions. He was the most thoughtful, approachable and well… rational of all my siblings. He was also the most non-judgmental. I have 5 siblings. Tom was always cool in my books and he never got caught up hiding behind ego, keeping up with the Jones’ (uggh) nor did he get sucked into petty dramas. He was smart and at heart, kinda quiet. He was and still is the funniest guy I’ve ever met. Being a comedy writer, he sees things differently Our humour is pretty similar as brother and sister. I often fondly remember growing up when we would laugh so hard we couldn’t breathe. He was doing his thing, and doing it well, still is. I wish I had listened better, sooner.
The problem was, as with a lot of young adults, I didn’t really listen deeply enough. The exuberance of being a young adult, on your own, living your own life in the core of the city was seductive. I figured there was plenty of time to be “all accounting-like” about life later on. I was single, career minded and had better things to do. Actually, I was fortunate to have a variety of people with good brains who poured into me. Now that I think about it, this is one instance where peer pressure was awesome. Good girl friends helped me see my mistakes sooner, and inspired me to turn my boat around faster. It’s funny how that happens, one friend starts getting ahead and we all take notice. Some get upset, some get inspired and some…well, beware of the ones that prefer to take dark alleys. Luckily my friend Shannan, was the good alley kind of friend.
Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a crazed shopper. This wasn’t an intervention or something. What happened was Shannan shot ahead because she was financially willing to brave today for a better tomorrow. She still had fun doing it, that’s what made me take notice. It was not a ‘this or that’ decision. That had been my mistake. I saw it as a binary decision. Leaving the core was giving up, bailing. I had been so WRONG. Watching Shannan was refreshing, she didn’t just talk the talk, she walked her walk. She was and still is an example to all of us friends. Her friendship, coupled with my brother’s sage advice would stack the cards in my favour later on. I was late to the party, but that could be changed. I decided to do something simple: make better choices.
Where I derailed:
Originally I was just seduced by ‘cache’ and swayed by what I thought was ‘living the good life’ downtown. There was plenty of time to do the responsible, adult thing… after. The problem up until then was that I never really identified when “AFTER” started? I just told myself it wasn’t NOW. When our friend was brave enough to cut from the pack and start skating ahead it was refreshing, exciting actually. A few of us realized that we too had been drifting down the river on an inner tube and not really being intentional about life and finances. I have to admit, the good life without a deeper goal was secretly getting kind of boring.
As I look back on the clear and thoughtful advice, (Tom and Shannan) their great examples, gently delivered, I get perplexed. What took me so long back then? Where were my thoughts focused? In hindsight, each one had even done the math for me (smacking my forehead). Why was change so hard to fathom?
It took me a few months to wrestle with this. “What does giving up the energy of the city look like for me? Will I disappear into suburban blandness where their haircuts and outfits are 10 years ago? What about the city lights, hitting clubs, the latest fashions, haircuts, pubs downtown after work etc? Was suburbia even a destination? Were a few extra dollars really going to make a difference? Each month I saw Shannan making headway and gaining traction. The idea of traction became more important than being a lemming. Up until then, I was a downtown person and this going to the burbs was not my style. Back then, anything west of High Park was totally out of the question. North of St Clair was an overnight trip.) Survival iced with fear has a way of changing your perspective. I lost my job and had no safety net. Eff!
It’s could have been a much bigger loss. It hurt, it felt shameful, it was hugely hard mentally and financially. Refocusing your priorities during a crisis with no money is not recommended. It really, REALLY sucks! I moved out of the core and into a grimy dirty building and applied weeks of elbow grease to turn it into something livable. I walked back and forth to work which took almost an hour. I brought a lunch, then a decent used bike. I inadvertently got in shape and I absolutely vowed never to do that again. Basically I buckled down, paid off school in a year, fixed my credit rating and started paying ME first. Always have a Rainy Day Fund, just like Nana used to say. Now I get to help people come to that realization. Watching them discover the courage and tenacity they already have is inspiring. To see people take stock, step back from the crowd and avoid some financial mistakes that can really damage your life for years… is very cool.
Focus on overcoming Financial Mistakes
Ask yourself better questions: With better self awareness and running the math MYSELF, I’d have made better decisions for myself and not blindly subscribed to “urban is cooler” thinking. With a better sense of self, I would have asked better questions and given myself the gift of choice. Sitting in a donut shop just off Davisville Ave, my brother said, “Trace, you are already cool and bring great energy everywhere you go. Cool is wherever you are, wherever you go. You don’t absorb it when you get there, you bring it with you!” I thought he had to say that as he was my big brother. I just didn’t let it sink in and OWN it. Now I also know, it was the most expensive advice not to take. Going back, I might as well have paid $500 for each, not-so-great glass of wine, $300 for each latte. I didn’t put my money to work, I just spent ALL of it.
Listen intently and just do it!: Listen intently, put money aside no matter how hard it is. If it’s only $25, then do it. Don’t be concerned about ego based decisions… the Jones’ (who ever they are?…or following along to fit in). Don’t be seduced by other people’s values or “group-think”. Ignore the friend who “won’t Uber to XXXX because it’s just too far and so uncool”. If your friends stop being your friends because you make good decisions for yourself, get new friends. I truly believe that learning those lessons when I did…saved me from a bigger financial ruin and has allowed me to own my own business.
What are the three biggest financial mistakes you’ve made to date? How did you overcome them? What was your catalyst or ‘ah-ha’ moment? I hope it was a good friend, or a sibling like mine. This doesn’t mean you won’t make other mistakes, but it will mean you have more psychological and mental muscle to ask better questions and overcome bigger financial challenges. If you are flying without a plan, get an advisor. Start with debt reduction and have someone go over the numbers with you until you REALLY understand them. If you don’t have a Tom or Shannan in your personal circle, your first foray into better questions might be, “Why not?”
Upgrade your questions to upgrade your life. Best of all, it’s FREE.