Monday, December 8, 2008

Elegant and Prestigious Homes for Sale in Lorne Park and Churchill Meadows, Mississauga


This article appeared in the Toronto Star on Saturday, December 6th, 2008 and was reported by Michael Moldenhauer. It just brings some positive information from a third party. Agree with it/disagree with it, it's just some better news after the doom and gloom that we have been hearing. You will be seeing this article posted by many in the real estate business.

There's actually some good news out there, although you'd never know it most days. For example, the "Real Estate Trends" report recently released by the Scotiabank Group was remarkably positive once you got past the first line. As I have said in a previous blog, don't just read the first line and the last line. Get into the middle of an article and sometimes there is good news.

The opening line of the Global Economic Research report by Adrienne Warren of Scotia Economics bluntly declared that "Canada's longest housing boom of the postwar period has come to an end."

We all know that, but the balance of the report put that opening statement into some healthy perspective, something that has been sorely lacking in most recent media reports on the state of the housing market.

"We argue against taking an overly alarmist view to domestic housing prospects," says Warren. "This is not a U.S.-style bust caused by overbuilding, speculative buying and imprudent lending, but rather a cyclical slow-down accompanied by a valuation adjustment in several large centres (out West) where booming demand conditions and temporary supply constraints led to an over-shooting in prices."

Driving home the U.S. comparison, Warren writes that "Canada's mortgage market is significantly different than its U.S. counterpart, with a much smaller sub prime exposure, less interest rate reset risk, lower use of home equity withdrawal and investor mortgages and more conservative lending criteria.

"Canadian households are far less leveraged than those in the U.S., and less exposed to any erosion in underlying asset values, "Warren continues. "Record unsold housing inventories, mounting foreclosures, overbuilding and credit constraints are bigger factors behind the continuing and steep slide in U.S. home prices than overvaluation, none of which are major concerns in Canada."

"With builders in most jurisdictions beginning to slow the pace of new construction, and with a low risk of widespread foreclosures, the Canadian market does not fact the massive inventory glut underlying record-setting U.S. price declines."

Canada's housing market is the "least overvalued". There will be a correction in national average prices. This adjustment will occur in the 3 western province, and will leave intact most of the significant price appreciation of recent years. This speaks to the reason that it's always a good time to buy if you are buying for the right reasons, namely shelter and long-term financial security.

There never is pressure to purchase property, and if you are ready then call me and let's talk. I could cover all your questions. Even if you think that you would like to wait, that's okay too. Someone asked me, "When is it a good time to sell or buy property?" My answer to that is, when you are ready. Because of our diversity of nationalities in Mississauga, Oakville, and Burlington, buyers buy and sellers sell throughout the year. Holiday festivities keep us busy, therefore anyone looking to buy this time of year are actually interested. A house MUST be priced correctly in accordance to what the market is telling us. I have said it before, and I think it bears repeating -- we have come back to a normal market. The gold rush is over for the time being.

Contact Betty Bartusevicius to discuss the above article or to chat about real estate and how I can help at 905 828 3434 or directly at 416 427 1875
Re/Max Realty Specialists Inc., Brokerage

Contact me by email;

I can help you save time and money by shopping smarter;

There is no time like the present to begin your investigations into a property purchase or salethat will lead to sound decision making.

Experience is not expensive; it is Priceless.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Home Improvement Values

2008 will go down in history as a year that started as a Gold Rush and ended up making us anxious for the year to end. At this time of year and with the doom and gloom wind blowing around us, let's just read a good book, take some courses to learn something new, and surround ourselves with friends and family that will put a smile on our faces and make us feel good inside.

If you are thinking of buying in the prestigious Lorne Park check out the information on my web site regarding this great community. As well, Churchill Meadows is a family community with elegant and fine homes that are newer. Newer schools and a great new community centre make it appealing to many new home buyers because this community offers freehold townhomes and semi-detached that appeal to many first-time home buyers. The community of Sheridan Homelands is well known throughout Mississauga. There are schools that are within walking distance from most of the neighborhood and many parks for organized baseball and soccer during the season.

With 2009 just around the corner, we can start to think about our spring projects. As I sit here and look out my window and see snow/rain and clouds making things dreery, I take a few minutes and think about the landscaping, the garden, and the repairs that I may have to to the home when the warmer weather is back. These would include hanging older windows and doors, possibly a new roof, maybe remodelling a bathroom or kitchen. You may think about finally finishing that basement to give yourself extra room for your family. Many times I suggest to my clients, or prospects, that if you are considering listing your property it is a good idea for me to come by and just make suggestions as to how to improve your property in the least expensive way to make it more appealing to today's buyer. Also, if you are considering selling within the next year, then I think it's a good idea to get these suggestions so that you can do improvements, or repairs, at your leisure instead of having to delay that time for a FOR SALE sign to go onto your property. As you can tell by the tone of this letter, I do work more with buyers as a buyer's agent and first-time buyers.

I did some research regarding the renovations that will give you the greatest return when selling your property. Of course, you may disagree and other agents will have their own opinion. I got this information from the Appraisal Institute of Canada's 2004 Home Renovation Survey.

The top three renovations that get you the most money are:

  1. Bathrooms -- 75% to 100% return
  2. Kitchens -- 75% - 100% return
  3. Interior and exterior painting -- 50% to 100% return. Of course this is the least expensive thing to do.

Other renovations and their average rate of return (the value they add compared to what they cost) include:

  • Replacing roof shingles -- 50% to 80%
  • Replacing the furnace and heating system -- 50% to 80%
  • Renovating the basement -- 50% to 75%
  • Adding a recreation room -- 50% to 75%
  • Installing a fire place -- 50% to 75%
  • Up-grading flooring -- 50% to 75%
  • Building a garage -- 50% to 75%
  • Replacing windows and doors -- 50% to 75%
  • Building a deck -- 50% to 75%
  • Installing central air conditioning -- 25% to 75%

Well, the above information should keep you busy researching what you would like to do to your home for a couple of months anyway. You may decide not to do anything except wait for the warm weather. That's fine, too.

Do you want to know what your house is worth? Let's share a cup of coffee and talk about the market.

Contact Betty Bartusevicius to chat or for more information at 905.828.3434 or directly at 416.427.1875.

Re/Max Realty Specialists Inc., Brokerage

Contact me by email:

I can help you save time and money by shopping smarter:

There is no time like the present to begin your investigations into a property purchase or sale that will lead to sound decision-making.

Experience is not expensive; it is Priceless.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Elegant Lorne Park, Churchill Meadows Homes for Sale

With the winds of doom blowing around about the Real Estate Market these days, you may want to stay closer in touch with what is actually going on.

If you would like to receive the market watch automatically
and after you have a chance to look at it and would like to chat:

Contact Betty Bartusevicius at 905.828.3434 or directly at 416.427.1875.

Re/Max Realty Specialists Inc., Brokerage

Contact me by email:

If you would like a private viewing of any property, let's talk!

I can help you save time and money by shopping smarter:

There is no time like the present to begin your investigations into a property purchase or sale that will lead to sound decision-making.

Experience is not expensive; it is Priceless.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Common Mistakes Made by First Time Buyers

How to avoid Mistakes

Applying for a mortgage and becoming a home buyer can seem overwhelming especially if it’s your first home. With the help of a mortgage specialist, it can be easy. They will meet with you anytime and guide you through the process and help you find the best mortgage for your specific needs.

Not knowing your credit rating.

A credit rating is a record of your credit history and current financial situation which is typically translated into a credit score. Lenders use your credit rating to verify your repayment history. A good credit rating could improve your ability to get loans like mortgages. If your credit rating needs improvement to help you qualify for loans, you can improve your score by always making at least the minimum payments on your credit cards, loans or utility bills in a timely fashion.
Being unrealistic about how much you can afford to pay for your home.

You may be under or over-estimating how much you can pay for your home. Online mortgage calculators are available. You can also use this calculator to figure out mortgage payments with different amounts and rates.

Not considering a mortgage pre-approval.

Knowing the amount you will be approved for gives you the confidence to begin looking for homes within your price range. As long as you earn sufficient income and have no large debts or credit issues, you should be pre-approved for a mortgage. A pre-approved mortgage rate is usually guaranteed for 90 days (or lower if rates drop) so you can continue shopping and do not need to immediately commit. Make sure you check with you lender to make sure about the 90 day guarantee. Sometimes, this means that you must pick up your keys within the 90 days. Always ask about the option of extending the deadline. This is where your advice from your realtor or your mortgage broker will make the deal more relaxing.

Assuming you will not qualify for a mortgage.

Have you ever been declined for a mortgage for any reason, even bankruptcy, and still dream of owning your own home? If you do not qualify for a conventional mortgage your mortgage specialist may still be able to help you get the home of your dreams through an alternative mortgage solution. Although the alternative mortgage may cost a little more initially, once your credit situation has improved, you are able to lower your mortgage cost in the future.
Be aware of all the down-payment choices.

You’ll be glad to know that there are different options available depending on how much of a down-payment you can afford.Conventional mortgage (25% down-payment)High-Ratio Mortgage (minimum 5% down)No down-payment mortgage (must have a minimum of 1.5% value of the home set aside for closing costs) As high-ratio and no down-payment mortgages have lower down-payments, they require a higher mortgage loan insurance premium. This premium is added to the amount you borrow. As a first time homebuyer, you can also use money saved in your RRSP towards a down-payment with a maximum of $ 20,000 per person. Too focused on interest rate rather than overall solution. The mortgage specialist is there to help you decide which mortgage solution works best for you and fits not only your budget but within your future plans. Fixed rate mortgage: offers you the security of locking in the interest rate for the length of the mortgage term (anywhere from 6 months to 10 years) the interest rate for a fixed mortgage tends to be somewhat higher than for a variable rate mortgage. Variable rate mortgage: your interest rate will fluctuate according to the lender’s prime rate. However, over time you could have greater savings on long term interest costs. Worried about how much you’ll be paying regularly? Your regular monthly payments remain the same on a variable rate mortgage, only the portion of the payment allocated to principal and interest will fluctuate with the prime rate. Combined Fixed & Variable: If you want to benefit from the best of both worlds, ( the security of a fixed rate with the potential long term savings from a variable rate) you can consider RBC’s Homeline Plan. This option requires 25% equity in your home.

Not choosing your own mortgage payments schedule.

Customize your amortization period depending on how much you can afford. Paying off your mortgage faster saves on interest costs, while a longer amortization period such as 35 or 40 years reduces your regular payment amount and gives you more room to manage your cash flow. Because extended amortization means increased interest costs and paying down a mortgage more slowly, this option is not for everyone. A 25 year amortization period should be the starting point as stretching the mortgage amortization to 35 or 40 years can increase your total interest costs by 50% over the life of the mortgage. If you decided a longer amortization is appropriate, consider a strategy to reduce the amortization over the life of the mortgage, accelerated payments, bi-weekly payments, 10% anniversary payment and annual 10% increase in payment amount, can get you back on track to a 25 year –or even shorter- amortization period. Regardless of the mortgage option you choose, buying and owning a home is likely to be one of the biggest financial decisions of your life.

Creditor insurance can help protect that investment from life’s uncertainties and help give you the confidence that comes with knowing your investment is well protected.Life and disability insurance can pay your outstanding mortgage balance up to $500,000 in the event of death, or can make your regular monthly mortgage payment – up to $3,000 per month up to 24 months – if you become disabled. Forgetting about closing costs and other non-banking details. By this time you have selected a house, picked your mortgage options and are getting down to some picky details. It helps to know what these are so you can minimize any last minute complications.

Some additional budget items may be:

Professional Home Inspection: Always make an offer conditional upon a home inspection. As long as your offer is conditional upon the home inspection you can have the purchase price reduced to offset the cost of needed repairs or cancel the agreement. You should also inspect the home before moving in to make sure the condition has not changed. Newly built homes are covered by the TARION builder warranty program.

Lawyer or notary fees: make sure that you work with an experienced lawyer /notary so that all legal aspects of your house purchase are properly completed.

Property Taxes: Look for the previous year’s payments in the property listing given to you by your real estate agent.

Property Insurance: Property insurance is all about protecting the things you value: your home, your personal belongings and even your financial future. Fire insurance will be a must.

Property Value: Know that when you buy property, there is a possibility that the property value will fluctuate. Typically over time property values increase and buying a home is generally considered to be a good investment.

Moving Costs: Budget for a professional mover, decorating costs and fees for setting up your cable, internet and telephone and other utilities.

Ongoing Costs: Don’t forget to budget for the cost of maintaining a home, such as heating electricity and water, repairs and taxes. A good suggestion is to budget at least 1% of the homes value for yearly maintenance expenses.

Contact Betty Bartusevicius if you have any further questions at 905 828 3434 or directly at 416 427 1875
Re/Max Realty Specialists Inc., Brokerage

Contact me by email;

I can help you save time and money by shopping smarter;

There is no time like the present to begin your investigations into a property purchase or salethat will lead to sound decision making.

Experience is not expensive; it is Priceless.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Buyers Playing Wait and See Game

Many have read the Toronto Star this morning and the big headline in the Business Section: "Home Buyers Play Waiting Game". There is a lot of truth to this statement. I hear it all the time from buyers and from sellers.

I have done many open houses in the last few months and have seen lots of traffic, also, but these visitors seem to want to wait and see what happens. Buyers are waiting for prices to come down even further, and sellers are panicking because the listings are not selling as quickly as they were at the beginning of the year. They are taking at least 3 weeks longer to sell. So, they drop their price. Buyers seem to think that this is due to the market falling apart. We are not seeing the same situation here in Canada as what is going on in the US. Take a look at the Market Watch and you also see doom and gloom for the month of October. Make sure you read the areas correctly. The west end is doing better than Toronto and the GTA. If you need help reading or understanding the Market Watch, contact me and I will assist you.

Talk to agents and you will hear about commission cuts and all the bells and whistles that new home builders are providing (even a new KIA car). But, if you read the last paragraph in the Toronto Star article, Toronto Real Estate Board president Maureen O'Neill says: " there's no question that in Canada the economic fundamentals to support a healthy market remain in place."

Also, I do blame the media for a lot of the doom and gloom. They print headlines when it is a gloomy article are in large bold print. There are times we are misled by the media. Old statement: "If it's written in newsprint, then it is true!!!" HMMM, makes me want to think. It may be true but you must look at all the details. One day they print doom and gloom, but if the next day it's better, then nothing appears. Take a look at the bouncing of the TSX. I can't keep up, one day up, one day down, one day down further, one day yipee, etc, etc, etc.

Consumer confidence is definitely being affected by media reports on the US econ0my. Remember, that is the US and this is Canada. There is a difference. Just take a look at an article from an RBC mortgage advisor. Call him or call your own mortgage specialist. Get accurate information.

Just some information and my opinion, the decline in the number of sold units will scream on every headline and newspaper, yet sales overall have not dipped in dollar value except for a modest seasonal adjustment. Real numbers? 3 % less than spring is normal for November and December and add an extra 5% off for insecurity. All of this, I directly attribute to the stock market and Mortgage crisis in the United States. The last two or three days has seen a dramatic upswing in the level of activity of shoppers on my website. It is too early to draw a conclusion but I sense a renewed level of optimism. I have spoken to several customers that were looking to relocate from the US and they are much happier these days now that a new President has been elected. We look forward, both north and south of the border, of a definite change in many things.

We all need a roof over our heads. Property has always, and will always, be a good investment. I will never convince you to purchase a home, or sell what you already own. The decision is up to you. I do have a key to all listings that are for sale. Want to see one, contact Betty. Just want to chat, know that I am always available. I have taken classes to make an appearance on Google. This advertises your home to more interested parties.

Remember, all of the above is strictly my opinion. Let me know what you think. Thank you for listening.