Residential Sales & Average Sale Prices YTD
For the Niagara Region: 01-Jul-2018 to 31-Jul-2018 vs. Same Time Last Year*
(6-month Average Sale Prices)
For the Niagara Region: 01-Jul-2018 to 31-Jul-2018 vs. Same Time Last Year*
(6-month Average Sale Prices)
During the process of buying or selling a home, your clients often learn about recommended or required repairs and upgrades. This can happen as a result of the home inspection as well as your expert knowledge of your market and comparable homes. Of course, the first thing homeowners want to know is, “How much will that cost?”
Pillar to Post is pleased to offer our popular Residential Construction and Remodeling Estimates cost guide, which provides estimated cost ranges for repair and/ or replacement of the major systems and components in a home. It also includes general guidelines for the life expectancies of those systems.
Request complimentary copies of the cost guide from your local Pillar To Post Home Inspector or download it at pillartopost.com/costguide.
Here are some ideas on passive cooling your home to reduce your need to turn on the air conditioning.
This very simple tip can lower indoor temperatures by up to 10ºC. Up to 30% of unwanted heat comes from your windows, especially those windows facing south and west. By utilising shades, curtains you can prevent your house from becoming a miniature greenhouse.
Open the lowest windows on the side from where the breeze is coming. Leave interior doors open, and open the upstairs windows on the opposite side of the house. The warm air in your house will draw upwards and out the upper window, an effect called ‘thermal siphoning’. This is most effective when the inside temperature is higher than the outside temperature.
Fill a mixing bowl with ice or ice packs and position it an an angle in front of a large fan so the fan blows over the ice. The breeze from the fan will be extra cooling and feel like an ocean breeze.
Insulating, caulking and weatherstripping are essential to keeping your home warm in cold climates, but they also help keep your home cool in hot weather. The attics of most homes absorb heat through the roof, and insulating the attic floor will keep this heat from radiating down into the house. Fiberglass insulation, at least R-30, is easy to install. The cost will be recouped quickly in lower energy bills throughout the year.
Trees, vines and shrubs can be used to shade your home and reduce your energy bills. Trees or shrubs can also be planted to shade air conditioning units, but they should not block the airflow.
Rock walls, paved areas and rock features should be kept to a minimum on south and west sides of the home, because they increase temperatures by radiating heat.
An important consideration in passive cooling is house colour. Dark-coloured home exteriors absorb 70% to 90% of the radiant energy from the sun that strikes the home’s surfaces. Some of this absorbed energy is transferred into your home by way of conduction, resulting in heat gain. In contrast, light-coloured surfaces effectively reflect most of the heat away from your home.
The DOM (Days on Market) indicates the market time of homes that have sold. It’s not necessarily reflective of a home’s actual market time though. In a number of cases and as a marketing tactic, when a home’s list price is reduced, the salesperson will relist the home to have it show up on MLS as a new listing. This distorts a home’s DOM: it may have sold within 30 days from the new listing date but could have been on the market for any number of days prior.
The Absorption Rate helps resolve any distortion in the DOM. It indicates the following:
So, for example, if a seller wants to sell in one month and the months of inventory is 3, the seller would need to position the home in front of the market by pricing it more aggressively than its competition. This helps the seller to set realistic expectations and improve a reasonable buyer’s perception of value.
The following chart shows the absorption rate or average number of sales per month and the months needed to sell existing inventory.
There are a number of searches a lawyer may carry out when working for a buyer on a real estate purchase.
There was a time when lawyers, by way of a requisition letter, would make inquiries to the municipality concerning the property to discover any issues affecting the property. Clause 10 of the standard Agreement of Purchase even speaks to the Buyer being allowed to satisfy himself that there are not outstanding work orders or deficiency notices affecting the property, a responsibility that was carried out by the lawyer.
Though some still do make a requisition to the municipality, many don’t since Title Insurance came into prominence some years ago. It saves the buyer the additional cost of requisitioning the city. As well, if an issue is discovered after closing Title Insurance would attempt to resolve it depending on what it is.
In our experience Buyers want to know of any issues up front, or at least before they close and take possession of the property. That’s why the preprinted portion of the Offer to Purchase has certain provisions or built-in conditions. An issue discovered after closing tends to upset Buyers.
Recently we received a call from one of our buyers who purchased his rural property in the fall of 2016. He was quite upset at having received a bill from the municipality for $2,635. It was noted as a “Drainage Maintenance Billing”. Under provincial legislation a Municipal Drain is part of a municipality’s infrastructure. The cost of repair and maintenance on the drain is “assessed to the lands within the watershed of the municipal drain; in other words to the affected property owners. The maintenance was performed between January 2010 and December 2016 and all land owners were notified.
The Previous Owner Was Notified but….
When the municipality notified all affected owners, the property was still owned by the seller yet the issue was not disclosed. This could easily happen as he seller could have forgotten about the notification. Further, the city letter went on to say that if the amount due was not paid it would be added to the property taxes. Upset, the Buyer felt that he should have been told at the time of buying and felt his lawyer should have discovered the matter. What’s more, in talking to the municipality, the buyer was informed that had a requisition been made, the matter would have been disclosed. This only frustrated the buyer more. We suggested enquiring with their Title Insurance Company to see if they would cover the cost of the billing.
On contacting a representative of the Insurance company, the request was initially denied. The representative disagreed with the decision and went to bat for the buyer. The Title Insurance company reversed its decision and approved the payment. A happy ending but a requisition to the city before closing would have brought the matter to light.
For the Niagara Region: 01-Jan-2018 to 30-Jun-2018 vs. Same Time Last Year*
(6-month Average Sale Prices)
Experience a first-hand lesson in the raw power and peril of the Niagara River’s Class 6 white-water rapids. The roar of the river provides a deceptive calmness, the perfect ambiance for your walk among the many viewing platforms that put you right at the river’s edge. For those looking for an up-close and personal view of nature’s power, you will not want to miss this.
This self-guided tour includes many stories about the geology of the Niagara Gorge and the plant and animal life you may see on your visit to Niagara Parks.
As directed by the Rental Fairness Act 2017, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing created the mandatory residential lease with 5 reasons in mind:
The Act also introduced additional protections. Here are some highlights.
Landlord’s Personal Use: Due to abuse of the Landlord’s own use provision, the landlord must give 60 days’ notice before the end of the tenancy, and pay the tenant one month’s rent as a penalty. Alternatively the landlord can offer another unit acceptable to the tenant.
What if a buyer requires a rental unit? The payment penalty of one-month’s rent is not required in this case, but the property cannot have more than 3 unit rental. Once an offer becomes unconditional, and notice to terminate is given to the tenant, the landlord can apply to the Landlord Tenant Board to affect the termination. The Buyer must sign an affidavit stating that they or a member of their immediate family will occupy the unit on closing, and be required to attend any court hearing to confirm.
Added Statement in Agreement of Purchase and Sale: In the notice of termination clause in the Offer, it should additionally state that the buyer intends to occupy the property for at least one year and to indemnify the seller for any damages suffered because the buyer did not move in. This is important because there are a number of penalties that can be imposed, as well as an administrative fine of up to $25,000.
As the lease agreement states, “An additional term cannot take away a right or responsibility under the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006. Any conflicting term will be void and not binding.
In the lease, the landlord and tenant can agree to allow or prohibit smoking in the unit and on the landlord’s property. Even if smoking is allowed, the landlord can apply to the Board if it substantially interferes with “reasonable enjoyment of the landlord or other tenants, causes undue damage, impairs safety, or substantially interferes with another lawful right, privilege or interest of the landlord.”
“Landlords will be able to spell out a ban on smoking marijuana in rental units for new leases post-legalization — the same as they do for tobacco use,” this according to a Toronto Star article dated January 22, 2018 by Peter Goffin of the Canadian Press.
Author and Lawyer, Mark Weisleader, recommends a number of additional terms to include with the Lease Agreement. In it, he recommends a No Smoking/Marijuana Clause to disallow smoking of any kind including marijuana, as well as prohibiting the growth of cannabis in a unit.
The mandatory agreement does not apply to month-to-month rentals and lease agreements prior to April 30, 2018.
Summer is the season for fun in the sun and outdoor picnics are a popular summertime activity in Niagara. This is not surprising if we take into consideration the region’s unparalleled natural beauty, but when heading out for a picnic with family, friends, or a significant other this summer, remember to stay healthy while enjoying the great outdoors.
1. Bring plenty of hand sanitizer!
While some picnic facilities have public restrooms, good soap and warm water are usually hard to find when you’re on a picnic. Hand sanitizers are a great way to kill the germs on your hands before eating or coming into contact with others, especially small children.
2. Bring simple foods
When heading out for an all-day picnic, it can be tempting to bring lots and food and other knickknacks as you worry that you might need them all at some point during the day. Remember that the simplest options are both the easiest to carry and usually the healthiest ones. Instead of greasy foods and five-course meals, bring healthy alternatives like cherry tomatoes, grapes, berries, carrot sticks, celery, olives, cheese cubes, crackers, and sandwiches.
3. Stay hydrated!
When spending time outdoors on hot summer days perhaps the most important thing to remember is to stay hydrated. Drinking alcoholic beverages like beer may be tempting, but the most effective way to hydrate your body is with cool fresh water. Bring plenty of water in a cooler or frozen and leave it out to unfreeze before enjoying it.
4. Enjoy a healthy and refreshing desert
While cake, chocolate, and other calorie-rich foods sure taste great, when you are out for a long time on a hot summer day the healthiest and most refreshing option is fruit! Enjoy a slice of watermelon, some grapes, an apple, or a peach and you will feel refreshed without feeling guilty about consuming all those delicious calories.
For more tips about planning a health picnic, or for ideas about great picnic spots in Niagara, feel free to contact me at Barbara.Grumme@century21.ca.
To crack down on non-compliance on real estate transactions, the Canada Revenue Agency reviewed 30,000 files over the past 3 years in Ontario and B.C. They found $592.6 million in additional taxes resulting in over $43.7 million in penalties. The CRA news release dated May 17, 2018 also said, “Specifically in 2017-2018, the CRA assessed $102.6 million more in additional taxes than in 2016-2017. Penalties increased by $19.2 million from one year to the next.”
To uncover tax avoidance on real estate deals, CRA collaborates with provinces, territories and municipalities and continues to improve on tools to combat non-compliance. One legal tool to uncover taxes and GST/HST on assignment sales is their unnamed persons requirement.
New homes, rental properties and substantially renovated properties are subject to HST. So Builders and Developers are required to remit the HST on selling, renting a new unit for the first time or on personally moving into one of the properties. Under the “unnamed persons requirement” issued to developers and builders, CRA can obtain the identity of any buyer who is not reporting properly for income tax and HST purposes.
As well, purchasers of new homes can apply for a new home HST rebate provided the home is used for their primary residence. In many cases, as the builder includes the HST in the price of the home and pays it on behalf of the buyer, the builder also applies for the rebate as it is taken off the price to benefit the buyer. If the buyer is not going to use the property as their primary residence, the rebate does not apply and must be paid to the builder on closing. This HST rebate provision can also get abused by some buyers.
On flipping property, any profit must be reported as business income and not as capital gain. Buyers also cannot avoid compliance by pretending to use the property as their non-taxable primary residence.
CRA is also looking closely at “pre-construction assignment sales” in which a condo or home is sold to another buyer before completion of the home or unit.
Failure to properly report can result in re-assessment of taxes owing and arrears interest. For “gross negligence” a penalty of 50% of the tax avoided would be imposed. A Financial Post article dated May 25-18, by Jamie Golombek, CPA, mentions a case that involved a real estate salesperson and her granddaughter. In 2006, the salesperson purchased Unit 6 and the granddaughter purchases Unit 5. The deals both closed in June 2010 and were resold by the next month. No income relating to the condos was reported with their individual 2010 tax returns. CRA reassessed and established that the buyers failed to report business gain of $103,206 on Unit 6 and $106,025 on Unit 5. They failed to further report their profits and so CRA charged both with gross negligence.
In court, after hearing arguments, the salesperson grandmother was found guilty of gross negligence. The granddaughter a 21-year old was relieved of gross negligence as she relied on her grandmother and father, both real estate agents, to tell her if reporting her income was necessary.
In Canada, Father's Day is celebrated with lot of enthusiasm and fanfare. Since, the tradition of celebrating Fathers Day moved to Canada from US, Fathers Day in Canada is also celebrated on third Sunday of June. Just as in US, people in Canada too wear roses to express gratitude for their father. Traditionally, if the person is wearing red rose, it symbolizes the person's father is alive. Likewise, white rose means that the person's father has passed.
Children in Canada express affection and honour for their dad by presenting them cards, flowers and chocolates. In modern times, several other gifts of love including neckties, shirts, electronic gadgets, stationery items, etc. are also gifted to father by loving children. Another noticeable trend about Fathers Day celebration in Canada is that apart from their biological father people wish “Happy Father's Day” to their grandfathers, stepfathers, foster father, uncles or any other man who is as affectionate and loving towards them as a father.
Immense popularity of Fathers Day festival has turned the occasion commercial to a significant degree. Days before the festival markets wear a festival look as gift and card sellers try to lure the people and harp on the emotional significance of the occasion.
Dining out with family is another popular Fathers Day tradition in Canada. No wonder, restaurants and eating joints witness a bumper rush on the occasion.
For the Niagara Region: 01-Jan-2018 to 31-May-2018 vs. Same Time Last Year*
Sales and average prices are a measure of the last month only.
Unlike many of the special days we celebrate each year, the summer solstice is literally thousands of years old. In the Northern Hemisphere, the longest day of the year is on June 21 or 22 and it has been given great meaning by a range of civilizations.
This year, take a suggestion from these many different historical groups—from the ancient Greeks to the Romans and Chinese—and start afresh. By looking to the past we can understand how our predecessors have sought to improve themselves and the world around them…
The ancient Greeks held great influence over the Mediterranean several thousand years ago. Like many of the groups that would come after them, they saw great meaning in the summer solstice. Many festivals were held at this time, the most important being the run-up to the Olympic games.
In fact, the summer solstice marked the one-month count down to the beginning of the athletic games, which included activities like running and wrestling. Take a hint from the Greeks: use the summer solstice as a new beginning for your exercise regime, and make your routine more intense and try new activities that will allow you to build your strength and endurance.
For the Romans, who once ruled a massive expanse of land stretching across several continents, the summer solstice was a time to celebrate Hestia, the goddess of domestic life and the hearth. In other words, it was a celebration of the home and family.
Take a hint from the Romans: use the summer solstice as time to get serious about taking care of important home chores, like cutting the grass or cleaning out the attic. It might also be a good time to start a new renovation project, which could significantly boost the value of your home.
Few Westerners are aware of the great empires that existed in China several thousand years ago. But there, as now, a unique and rich culture flourished. For the ancient Chinese, the summer solstice was a time to celebrate the earth, as opposed to the winter solstice, which marked a celebration of the heavens.
This summer solstice, celebrate the earth by giving back to it. Plant a tree in your backyard or a local park. Help clean up a public place or work with your neighbors to sweep trash off the streets.
Sitting around the bonfire and talking with friends and family—it may just be the quintessential summer activity. And guess what? It’s also what the ancient Vikings of Scandinavia used to do to celebrate the summer solstice.
The key, of course, is to be safe when building your bonfire. Don’t build one if you have overhanging trees or you’re too close to a building. Make sure you’ve got lots of space and keep all children well away from the flames!
With the temperature rising, summer marks a great time to hit the clubs and patios. As the weather warms up, so too do the dance floors.
Historically, the summer solstice has been celebrated with a variety of special dances. The Sioux, a Native American group, celebrated the event with a colourful ceremonial sun dance around a tree. For many groups like the Sioux, the summer solstice meant celebrating new beginnings through song and dance.
There’s no better time to travel than summer, which gets started with the summer solstice. The longer and warmer days of the summer months allow travellers more time to see the sights and explore historical destinations.
Take, for example, Stonehenge in England. Built by the Druids thousands of years ago, many modern Druids continue to gather at the remarkable landmark to mark the summer solstice (as well as the winter solstice, spring equinox, and autumn equinox).
by Josh Fredman
If you want to make an investment that adds value to your home, consider landscaping, which covers practically everything on your property other than the house itself. Landscaping upgrades can involve things like patios and decks, flowerbeds, barbecue pits, watering systems and plants of all sorts. As you enter into a landscaping project, you have plenty of choices about what kinds of upgrades to make.
It doesn’t take much to understand the economics of increasing property value through landscaping upgrades. A well-placed, properly sized tree, for example, can provide visual enjoyment simply by looking pretty. It can also smell good and sound peaceful in the breeze. It can shield your home from summer heat. It can provide recreation for your kids, or support for a hammock. A good tree provides pleasure and utility, and these things translate to increased property value. The same idea applies to all landscaping: If a given improvement offers something that prospective buyers want, then your property value will rise. Also, as the tree grows, the value of replacing the tree grows as well. Thus buyers will value larger and more established trees and shrubs higher than those newly planted.
Though experts agree that landscaping improvements usually raise a property’s value, it can be extremely difficult to predict exactly what kind of gains a specific homeowner will see in her individual circumstances. Thornton Landscape president Rick Doesburg uses 15 percent as a ballpark figure when advising clients, but he stresses that estimates vary by home and notes that the lasting effect of landscaping requires ongoing maintenance. Virginia Tech horticulturist Alex Niemiera arrived at a similar figure -- 12.7 percent -- in his research. In extreme cases, property values can more than double, and they can actually decrease if the landscaping contains undesired features that the local market doesn’t support.
When considering the property value increase of a landscaping upgrade at your home, you must take into consideration the cost of actually installing the new landscaping, as well as the cost of continually maintaining it. If your primary intent is to increase your home’s value rather than derive added enjoyment from your yard, treat these costs as investments and make them cost-effective. Professional landscapers can discuss the options with you. For example, perennials and bulbs can add color and style to your property all year long. Other cost-effective improvements include aesthetically pleasing architectural improvements, such as stone walkways and terracing that require little or no maintenance.
Landscaping upgrades have a number of variables that go into the property value equation, some of which you cannot control. For example, according to Mark Henry of Clemson University, the quality of landscaping on your neighbors’ lots also affects your home’s value. Even the general quality of landscaping in your whole neighborhood has an impact. If one of your adjacent neighbors has a particularly bad yard, you might want to talk with him to see if he would be willing to make any improvements.
Another important factor to consider is the contractors who do your landscaping upgrades. Many companies vie for this kind of business, and choosing the right contractor can make a lot of difference. Find a contractor with whom you are comfortable, who is honest and patient, and who can show you a good track record. Lastly, pay attention to the details. Michigan State University horticulturist Bridget Behe notes that a subtle, small change, such as curving the edges of your flowerbeds, by itself can increase your home value by 1 percent.
For the Niagara Region: 01-Jan-2018 to 30-Apr-2018 vs. Same Time Last Year*
Sales and average prices are a measure of the last month only.
Bird Kingdom is the World’s Largest Free-Flying Indoor Aviary. Discover hundreds of tropical birds as you explore the pathways throughout the multi-level rainforest. Meet friendly parrots and exotic animals at Bird Kingdom’s Animal Encounters. Explore the ruins of the Night Jungle that is home to curious owls, bats and fascinating creatures. Lorikeet Landing provides an unforgettable experience where you may feed and interact with the playful lorikeet birds. Bird Kingdom is an exciting adventure that is fun for all ages.
Be sure to bring your camera as you encounter exotic birds and animals up close in their natural habitats.
An agreement of purchase and sale provides for a deposit to be submitted by the buyer. The agreement makes following three options available:
Regardless of how it’s submitted, a deposit secures the agreement in a number of ways. The buyer has “skin in the game”, money he stands to lose if he doesn’t follow through with his promises under the contract. To that end the deposit should be meaningful. That is, it needs to be an amount that the buyer would not want to lose. It commits the buyer to act in good faith in striving to meet any conditions (such as obtaining mortgage financing, a home inspection for instance) and to complete the purchase.
The purchase agreement clearly states that “time is of the essence.” So meeting any obligation under the contract has to be adhered to within the time period stated, including delivery of the deposit. Otherwise the seller can take the view that the offer has been repudiated, hence the buyer is in breach of contract.
The seller can choose from two courses of action:
The issue becomes even more important when other interested buyers are waiting in the wings. As an example, recently a second offer for more money was accepted by the seller as a back-up offer, conditional on the seller being released from the first offer. The first buyer not only failed to deliver their deposit within the twenty-four hours stated, the seller still had not received it by the end of the fourth day. On day five, and due to the breach, the seller declared the first offer null and void.
The seller’s lawyer agreed with the seller’s decision and felt any challenge by the rejected buyer would be an assured win for the seller. Yet to avoid such a possibility, the lawyer asked for signed releases if possible. The buyer signed releases without a problem and likely to his benefit as well. If he were to legally challenge the seller’s repudiation of the offer, the seller could still be awarded the deposit in spite of the fact that the seller did not receive it or lose any money.
With springtime upon is it is important to remember that relatively common plants such as the daffodil hold natural healing properties that are beneficial for our health. The daffodil is native to Europe and the British Isles, and it can be found growing throughout Europe and North America. Historically daffodils were appreciated for their beauty, but they were also widely used for the flower’s medicinal properties.
Daffodils are an effective remedy for the cough and cold, and they are believed to have a positive effect on the liver and gallbladder. The plant is said to act as a natural antidepressant, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant, and it is also used in cosmetic products because of its positive effects on the skin and its pleasant smell.
In addition, daffodils are said to be good for helping to speed up the healing of wounds. It is common practice in some parts of the world to apply crushed daffodils onto wounds and cuts for faster healing and drying. Applying daffodils may also have a soothing effect for people who have suffered burns to their skin.
This spring when you see beautiful daffodils in bloom, remember that their benefits extend far beyond their pleasant appearance. Mother Nature is full of natural health benefits and remedies just waiting to be rediscovered, and if you would like to learn more please don’t hesitate to contact me at Barbara.Grumme@century21.ca.
For the Niagara Region: 01-Jan-2018 to 31-Mar-2018 vs. Same Time Last Year*
Sales and average prices are a measure of the last month only.
Although spring is here technically, you may not be seeing it outside. Why not visit the Butterfly Conservatory and get that taste of spring?
Located on the grounds of the Niagara Parks Botanical Gardens, visitors to the Butterfly Conservatory are transported to a tropical paradise full of lush vegetation, trickling waterfalls and thousands of vibrantly coloured butterflies. Over 2,000 butterflies, made up of 45 different species, call this beautiful space home. The self-guided walking tour of the Butterfly Conservatory begins with a short, informative video presentation.
For directions or more information, visit the Niagara Parks website: https://www.niagaraparks.com/visit/attractions/butterfly-conservatory/