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APR
4
A Fresh Start
Posted by Roger Anderson

Spring is now in the air (even though snow was on the ground this morning) and that means it’s time for spring cleaning! It feels so good to start fresh and have a sparkly clean home, so start off the season right by decluttering, sanitizing, and organizing. We’re always in search for tips and tricks on how to do this effectively and for some it may seem like a burden, but the best way to go about it is one day at a time. 

There is no magic formula and unfortunately you can’t just snap your fingers, but what you can do is strategize. Here are a few things you can do to get started: 

  • Start by gathering all the cleaning supplies you need to get the job done. Rubber gloves, all purpose cleaners, mops, vacuum etc. 
  • Make sure everything is in working order! There is nothing more frustrating than starting a task and then having to stop because the belt on your vacuum broke. Do a mini inspection and be sure that your tools are ready to be used!
  • Map out a cleaning schedule. Break it down room by room or task by task so you don’t get overwhelmed.

Example:

Sunday - Declutter and Donate

Monday – Bathrooms

Tuesday – Kitchen

Wednesday – Family Room

Thursday - Bedrooms

Friday - Windows

Saturday - Garage, etc.

 

Lastly, have fun with it! Cleaning doesn’t always have to be such a chore even though it may feel like that sometimes. Turn on some music and have a dance party while wiping down those countertops. Once you have a squeaky clean home you’ll feel like you can take on the world! Happy cleaning!!

 

 

  Categories: House and HomeHelpful Tips
  Originally posted by Kathy Chimento
 
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APR
1
Minneapolis Moratorium Update
Posted by Roger Anderson

Last Thursday, a hearing was held to discuss the proposed moratorium in Southwest Minneapolis. After two hours of discussions and comments from residents, Realtors, and builders, it has been decided to postpone the moratorium for two weeks as the city council takes time to reassess the proposition.

 

Background:

On March 7th, the city council of Minneapolis announced a one-year moratorium to stop teardowns and rebuilds in five Minneapolis neighborhoods: Linden Hills, Fulton, Armatage, Kenny, and Lynnhurst. Residents have complained that the new large homes going up in their neighborhoods have caused debris in the streets, dumpsters blocking driveways, and property line invasions among other concerns. On the other hand, Realtors and builders are looking to improve homes in a highly desired area and say that this moratorium will negatively impact the economy.

 

To read Council Member, Linea Palmisano's responses to some FAQs, click here.

 

Click on the links below to read thoughts from fellow RE/MAX Results agents.

 

  Categories: Real Estate NewsMarkets/EconomyLocal TopicsHouse and HomeGeneral Real Estate
  Originally posted by Kathy Chimento
 
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FEB
21
20 Questions Homebuyers Should Ask Themselves
Posted by Roger Anderson

When you start the home buying process for the first time, you will generally start with a “wish list.” You generally add everything you could possibly include in your dream home. Many experienced real estate agents usually find some inconsistencies in these wish lists. For example, you want a home close to the city but in a safe, suburban area. Or possibly you want an old Victorian home with new amenities, but your budget may not include extra funds to update anything in the home.

 

It’s important to be honest with yourself about what you really need, what you want, and what you can honestly afford. Sometimes it can be difficult to decipher between wants and needs. Here are 20 questions to ask yourself when looking for your first home.

 

1. What can I truly afford? Have I set my budget?

2. How many bedrooms do I need? How many children do I currently have, and how many more do I plan on having?

3. Do I need a basement or an attic?

4. How close to work do I need to be? Do I hate driving in traffic? Do I use public transportation frequently?

5. Do I want to care for a yard and/or garden or do I want a maintenance-free yard?

6. Do I have frequent guests? Will I need an extra guestroom or bathroom?

7. Do I want a special playroom or area for my kids?

8. Will my children walk to school, take a bus, or will I have to drive them?

9. Do I need a garage? Will a covered parking space suffice?

10. How far away is the closest grocery store?

11. What is my favorite form of recreation and how far do I have to travel to do it?

12. How far away do my extended family and close friends live? Do I want to be near them?

13. How much work am I willing to put into the home? Do I have the time?

14. How much money do I have in my budget for the utilities and extra amenities?

15. What kind of floor plan do I want?

16. Do I want to live in a new neighborhood or an established one?

17. How much storage will I need?

18. How far away is my house of worship?

19. What is the crime rate and history of the neighborhood?

20. Do I own a boat, RV, ATV, snowmobile, camper, etc. and have easy access to locations to use these?

  Categories: AdvertisingFinanceGeneral Real EstateHelpful TipsHouse and HomeLoans,Markets/EconomyNational TopicsNew TrendsOpinionOtherPeoplePlaces/SpacesReal Estate News,Real Estate PracticesService/Services
FEB
12
Stage Your Home to Sell
Posted by Roger Anderson

The decision to buy a home is often made within 15 seconds of walking through the front door. To make a great first impression, and to ensure the best price for your home, consider home staging. Home Staging is the process of setting the scene throughout your home to create buyer interest.

 

Benefits of Home Staging

 

Studies show that home staging often results in a higher price than homes that are not staged, all other things being equal. The money that you invest in staging usually results in a high return on investment in terms of getting a number closer to their sale price..

 

Clean Up and Remove All Clutter

 

Potential buyers don’t want to see how you live. They want to picture themselves living in your home. When cleaning for home staging, clean every surface including windows (inside and out) and window sills, ledges, door knobs, ceiling fans, shelves, mini blinds, ceiling and floor corners, and baseboards. Remove all tile grout with bleach. Caulk areas around sinks and bathtubs. Consider hiring a maid service to ensure a thorough cleaning. The benefits of home staging will be worth the cost.

 

Get your carpets professionally cleaned, especially if you have pets. Even if you don’t, professionally cleaned carpets are far more appealing than worn out, stained ones.

 

Potential homebuyers will open your cupboards and closets. Make sure they’re organized neatly. Every storage area in your home should be neat, clean, organized, and clutter-free.

 

To Decorate or Not to Decorate

 

You need to show your home at its best potential to buyers. You are selling your home, not what’s inside it. Remove rugs, eliminate clutter and knick-knacks, and cut down on furniture. Take down your wedding photos, religious items, school pictures, and collection of refrigerator art. Rearrange furniture so it is conducive to a smooth traffic flow. Make the rooms as spacious as possible.

 

Consider replacing the towels in your bathrooms and kitchen with a couple of fresh new ones. Remove all personal items from countertops, and place a plant on the bathroom vanity. Remove all dirty laundry from sight. Add a centerpiece to your dining room table if you don’t already have one. Place plants in clean, attractive containers. Add a fresh, non-offensive fragrance to your home using potpourri, scented oils, or scented wax (as candle smoke can stain walls) such as cinnamon or vanilla. Many agents are even advising homeowners to bake a fresh batch of cookies if they know they will be showing their home.

 

A fresh coat of paint in a neutral color will also go a long way.

 

Your front porch is the first thing people see. If you have any dead or tattered planters, replace them with fresh ones. Keep all planters watered and trimmed. Keep your porch clean and inviting. Replace your front door handle if necessary, and put a stylish wreath on the door.

 

Home Staging can be a project you can do yourself, but if you want to invest in a professional Home Stager, the benefits are often worth the cost.

  Categories: PeopleOtherOpinionNew TrendsHouse and HomeHelpful TipsReal Estate News,Places/SpacesService/ServicesReal Estate PracticesCompetitionGeneral Real EstateAdvertising
 
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JAN
25
Seeing a Home's Potential
Posted by Roger Anderson

Shopping for a home for the first time can be very exciting. You have a list of “must-haves,” and you think you know exactly what you want and how your new home will look.

 

The only problem with this approach is that there are sometimes gems that get overlooked due to bad decorating, a neglected yard, or dated carpet and walls. If you can’t see past some more minor details and quirks of a home, you may be missing out on a home with great potential.

 

We are no longer in a buyer’s market, and many homes are being sold as soon as they are on the market. Being too picky might mean missing out, so learn where you are willing to bend a little on your expectations.

 

Qualities that can make a home a good investment:

 

Great Location

You will get a better return on your investment if you find a home that doesn’t necessarily have everything on your must-have list in a great neighborhood than any home in a less desirable neighborhood. Low turnover in a neighborhood is a great sign. Ask around and do your research to determine whether the home is in a good location.

 

Simple Upgrades and Cosmetic Changes

The home may not have granite countertops, stylish cabinets, or new carpet, but it might be a beautiful home in a great location with a great yard. Look at the cosmetic aspects of the home that you may be able to change or overlook. Envision what the house could be. Ask an interior designer or professional remodeler for their opinions. 

 

A Desirable Floor Plan

Find a home with a basic layout that you like. The floor plan is one of the most important things about your home. If the floor plan isn’t exactly what you want, consider whether you can rearrange it, add on, or remodel at a low cost, and determine if it’s worth making an offer on the home.

  Categories: FinanceGeneral Real EstateHelpful TipsHouse and HomeMarkets/EconomyNational TopicsNew TrendsOtherPeoplePlaces/SpacesReal Estate Practices

Posted by Roger Anderson on Jan 28, 2014

 

A home is probably the biggest purchase you'll make in your lifetime. Many first-time buyers are generally recovering from the first year of moving into their dream home and all the associated fees, unanticipated closing costs and expenses to maintain the home. Every dollar counts, so take advantage of the first-time Home Buyers' Tax Credit (HBTC) when filing your 2013 tax return, and put a little green back in your pocket.

 

About the Home Buyer’s Tax Credit
This federal tax credit is available to qualified first-time homebuyers or homeowners who have not owned a home in the prior four years. This was introduced in 2009 to ease the burden of closing costs for first-time buyers.

 

Before you claim the first-time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit on your 2013 income tax return, there are some things you should know about qualifying:

- Neither you, your spouse or common-law partner may have lived in a house that either of you owned in the year of purchase or any of the four preceding years.

- If you are a person with a disability or are buying a house for a relative with a disability, you don’t have to be a first-time homebuyer. However, the home must be purchased to allow the person with a disability to live in a more accessible dwelling or in an environment better suited to the personal needs and care of that person.

- A qualifying home is a housing unit located in Canada that already exists or is being built.

- A share in a co-operative housing corporation that entitles you to possess, and that gives you an equity interest in a housing unit located in Canada, also qualifies. However, a share that only provides you with a right to tenancy in the housing unit does not qualify.

Originally authored by Canadian Blog on Jan 21, 2014

Roger Anderson http://rogeranderson.results.net/site/1088533?post_id=3946226 http://rogeranderson.results.net/site/1088533?post_id=3938221

Posted by Roger Anderson on Jan 25, 2014

Shopping for a home for the first time can be very exciting. You have a list of “must-haves,” and you think you know exactly what you want and how your new home will look.

 

The only problem with this approach is that there are sometimes gems that get overlooked due to bad decorating, a neglected yard, or dated carpet and walls. If you can’t see past some more minor details and quirks of a home, you may be missing out on a home with great potential.

 

We are no longer in a buyer’s market, and many homes are being sold as soon as they are on the market. Being too picky might mean missing out, so learn where you are willing to bend a little on your expectations.

 

Qualities that can make a home a good investment:

 

Great Location

You will get a better return on your investment if you find a home that doesn’t necessarily have everything on your must-have list in a great neighborhood than any home in a less desirable neighborhood. Low turnover in a neighborhood is a great sign. Ask around and do your research to determine whether the home is in a good location.

 

Simple Upgrades and Cosmetic Changes

The home may not have granite countertops, stylish cabinets, or new carpet, but it might be a beautiful home in a great location with a great yard. Look at the cosmetic aspects of the home that you may be able to change or overlook. Envision what the house could be. Ask an interior designer or professional remodeler for their opinions. 

 

A Desirable Floor Plan

Find a home with a basic layout that you like. The floor plan is one of the most important things about your home. If the floor plan isn’t exactly what you want, consider whether you can rearrange it, add on, or remodel at a low cost, and determine if it’s worth making an offer on the home.

Originally authored by Ashley Smith on Jan 23, 2014

Roger Anderson http://rogeranderson.results.net/site/1088533?post_id=3938221 http://rogeranderson.results.net/site/1088533?post_id=3925760

Posted by Roger Anderson on Jan 22, 2014

 

For first-time homebuyers, saving up for a home can be a burden. The Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) is a program that allows first-time buyers to withdraw up to $25,000 – tax tree! – from their Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSPs) to buy a qualifying home. The same goes for your spouse, which leaves you with a total of up to $50,000 toward your down payment or other home-purchase related costs. That's a nice chunk of change.

 

In order to take advantage of this program, your RRSP contributions must remain in the RRSP for at least 90 days before you can withdraw them under the HBP.

 

Generally, you have to repay all withdrawals to your RRSPs within a period 15 years to avoid paying tax on that sum. You will have to repay an amount to your RRSPs each year until your HBP balance is zero. If you do not repay the amount due for a year, it will have to be included in your income for that year.

 

It’s fair to say that the RRSP has become Canadians’ favourite savings account. Use it to your advantage to decrease the mortgage amount what you pay interest on!

Originally authored by Canadian Blog on Jan 21, 2014

Roger Anderson http://rogeranderson.results.net/site/1088533?post_id=3925760 http://rogeranderson.results.net/site/1088533?post_id=3918845

Posted by Roger Anderson on Jan 19, 2014

by Henry Choo Chong

Tax season is a couple of months away, but plan ahead. What receipts will you need? What can you deduct? Are there any changes to the tax rules? Although this is an annual event, it can be a stressful time of year. Most Canadians agree, they pay too much tax: income taxes, property taxes, harmonized sales tax, departure taxes, land transfer taxes, estate taxes, the list goes on. Compared to the U.S., our taxes are higher, but they’re still much lower than many European countries.

Generally, if you earn more income you are taxed more. Tax planning should be done the year before, not during tax preparation time. For the 2013 tax year, for example, after Dec. 31, 2013, only RRSP contributions can reduce taxes. By planning ahead, there are other opportunities to take advantage of.

Income tax deductions
Income tax deductions are not the same as a non-refundable tax credit. Income taxes payable are calculated on taxable income. Taxable income is calculated by adding your various forms of income less allowable deductions such as RRSPs, RPPs, business losses, childcare expenses, capital losses and support payments. Canada has various tax brackets, so the more a person earns, the more taxes they pay. Individuals are taxed at various rates depending on their income. Therefore, tax deductions can help.

RRSPs continue to be the most popular tax deduction vehicle for individuals to reduce their taxes. Here are some of the benefits:

- RRSP contributions reduce taxes, and may increase tax refunds.
- The income earned in your RRSP is tax sheltered.
- Can contribute to age 71. After this age, it must collapse and can either withdraw and pay tax on all money (not advisable) or rollover into RRIFs or an annuity.
- You can withdraw up to $25,000 from your RRSP under the first-time Home Buyers’ Plan.
- Income splitting at retirement age.

Non-refundable tax credits
Non-refundable tax credits reduce taxes owing. If non-refundable credits exceed income, it may not generally result in a tax refund. Some non-refundable credits are:

- Basic personal amount – $9,574. Individuals can earn up to this amount and not pay any taxes
- Caregiver amount – $4,513. Individuals that have senior parents living with them may claim this amount
- Children’s activity tax credit – $535. Parents with kids in activities can benefit from enrolment in activities such as dance, karate, gymnastics and sports
- First-Time Home Buyer’s credit – $5,000. Finally, some relief for first-time buyers, after all that expensive closing cost. This is a freebee for first-time buyers
- Charitable donations – First $200, receives a credit of 15 per cent. Amounts more than $200 receive 29 per cent credit. The only non-refundable credit at the highest tax rate
- Medical expenses – limited to amounts greater than three per cent income or to a maximum $2,167
- Volunteer Firefighter credit – $3,000. Volunteer firefighters 
who perform 200 eligible hours 

Tax changes occur every year and it can be difficult to keep track. Get a good accountant who stays abreast of current tax rules.

Henry Choo Chong, CGA, sits on many committees and provides accounting and tax services to individuals and businesses in the GTA. He can be reached at 416.485.5225. Questions to Taxing Issues can be emailed to choochonghcga@yahoo.ca

Originally authored by Canadian Blog on Jan 15, 2014

Roger Anderson http://rogeranderson.results.net/site/1088533?post_id=3918845 http://rogeranderson.results.net/site/1088533?post_id=3913372

Posted by Roger Anderson on Jan 16, 2014

by Jayson Schwarz

Not all lawyers are created equal. If you needed a heart surgeon, you certainly would not go to see a podiatrist. By the same token, do not believe that the ¬granting of a law degree instantly bestows knowledge of all laws on the head of a lawyer. 

The first thing you need to do to find a real estate lawyer is the same thing you ought to be doing to find a home – research! Where do you look? Start with media and look in magazines, newspapers, listen to radio, watch real estate television. Generally speaking, the lawyers who appear in public, speaking or writing about real estate, are thought to be experts in the area. Go to seminars and listen to the speakers. If a lawyer is taking the time to participate in a seminar, he/she knows what he/she is talking about and is happy to take on new clients that come out of those seminars.

Next, go online and check out the websites of different real estate lawyers. Look to see whether they give good, informative advice; whether they give you pricing; and whether they make you feel comfortable.

Call the Law Society of Upper Canada, Lawyer Referral Service, which can be found in the telephone book. This service keeps lists of lawyers and refers requesting members of the public to lawyers who practice in the area requested. This just gets you someone in the area. You really need to check them out when referred.

Speak to friends who have used a lawyer for the type of service you require and ensure they did the job professionally, courteously and for the price quoted.

Who is making the referral? Is the referral coming from a real estate agent, a mortgage broker or a bank? This is not necessarily bad, but you have to be careful. Quite often, lawyers develop relationships with various groups over the years and receive referrals because they do a great job. On the other hand, ensure that your lawyer is independent and will represent your interests even if it puts him/her into an adversarial position with one of those parties. This is quite important, so make sure you get comfortable with this issue before you hire someone.

Now to bring this back to the original idea, what you need to understand is that there are general law practitioners just like there are family doctors. What this means is that a lawyer may have a wide-ranging practice composed of many areas. The smart lawyer who falls into this category knows that if there is a serious issue that arises outside of their expertise they should bring in a specialist, just like your family doctor would. The bad lawyers try to do it all. The general practitioner can probably handle your real estate deal just fine, but make sure he/she understands any complicated offers and that he/she reviews them carefully, pointing out any problems. Ensure that he/she knows what can be negotiated and what cannot, or you may lose your deal. 

Remember, your lawyer is a very important part of the process, so take your time and find the right one.

Jayson Schwarz LL.M. is a Toronto real estate lawyer and partner in the law firm Schwarz Law LLP. Visit schwarzlaw.ca or email info@schwarzlaw.ca and give us your questions, concerns, critiques and quandaries.

Originally authored by Canadian Blog on Jan 15, 2014

Roger Anderson http://rogeranderson.results.net/site/1088533?post_id=3913372 http://rogeranderson.results.net/site/1088533?post_id=3902934

Posted by Roger Anderson on Jan 13, 2014

Greater Toronto Area realtors reported 4,078 residential transactions through the Toronto Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system in December 2013 – up by almost 14 per cent compared to 3,582 sales reported in December 2012. New listings entered into the Toronto MLS system were down by almost four per cent over the same period. 

Total sales for calendar year 2013, at 87,111, were up by approximately two per cent compared to 85,496 transactions in calendar year 2012.

“After a slow start to the year, sales growth accelerated to a brisk pace in the second half of 2013. Despite the inclement weather in December, we finished the year with a respectable gain in transactions compared to 2012.  Looking forward, I believe that home ownership in the GTA will remain affordable as borrowing costs stay low. The result could be a further increase in sales in 2014,” says Dianne Usher, president of the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB).

“The average selling price will be up again in 2014 and by more than the rate of inflation. The seller’s market conditions that drove price growth in the second half of 2013 will remain in place in many parts of the GTA.  Some neighbourhoods, especially those characterized by lowrise home types like singles, semis and says Jason Mercer, senior manager of market analysis at TREB.

The average selling price for December 2013 sales was $520,398 – up by 8.9 per cent compared to the average of $477,756 in December 2012.

The average selling price for 2013 as a whole was $523,036, which represented an increase of 5.2 per cent compared to the calendar year 2012 average of $497,130.

Originally authored by Canadian Blog on Jan 6, 2014

Roger Anderson http://rogeranderson.results.net/site/1088533?post_id=3902934 http://rogeranderson.results.net/site/1088533?post_id=3893213

Posted by Roger Anderson on Jan 10, 2014


How super-insulating your attic can save energy and money

 

It's a particularly cold winter this year, and the heat is running round the clock. As the temperatures keep going down, the bills keep going up. One of the best ways to save energy - and money - is by ensuring your attic is well insulated.

 

Adding insulation to an attic is a lot like putting on a hat when it’s cold outside. Insulation helps keep the heat inside the home where it belongs, so you can stay warm and cozy without spending a fortune. Insulating and air sealing an attic can also help prevent icicles from forming at the roof edge.

 

To help save money while keeping your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) offers the following tips on how to super-insulate your attic:

 

- First, create an air barrier by having all gaps and holes that pass through the ceiling into the attic sealed. A good air sealing job will help prevent warm, moist, house air from escaping into the attic. This is a very important first step to any attic insulation project. Ceiling electrical boxes, exhaust fans, pot lights, wiring and duct penetrations, attic hatches, vent pipes and chimneys are locations that should be inspected and properly sealed.

 

- If you don’t need frequent access to your attic and if space permits, consider having at least a 71-centimetre (28-inch) layer of blown-in or batt-type insulation added over top of existing insulation. Make sure the new insulation does not block the ventilation spaces needed to permit air to move freely from the eaves into the attic. Insulation dams or guards can be installed to ensure this ventilation space does not become blocked by the new insulation.

 

- In restricted spaces, such as the eaves where the roof passes over the exterior walls, spray foam insulation may provide a better air seal and insulation level than can otherwise be achieved with batt-type or blown-in insulation. Spray foam insulation can also help prevent “wind washing” of the insulation in this area which can reduce its insulating value and create cold spots along the ceiling-wall intersection below the attic.

 

- To stop heat from escaping through the attic hatch, insulate the hatch with RSI-5.3 (R-30) or similar high-R-value solid board insulation. Add compressible weatherstripping and a couple of latches to the hatch to ensure an airtight seal.

 

- If you think you will need access to different parts of your attic, have planks installed through the roof truss members above the insulation layer to provide a surface to crawl over.

 

- In some cases, due to the condition of the roof, limited space, or a desire to change the appearance of the house, it may be possible to install a new roof over top of the existing roof. This can provide an opportunity to add more insulation than would otherwise be possible.

 

For over 65 years, CMHC has been Canada’s national housing agency, and a source of objective, reliable housing information. For more information on how to insulate your attic, visit cmhc.ca or call CMHC at 1-800-668-2642

Originally authored by Canadian Blog on Jan 9, 2014

Roger Anderson http://rogeranderson.results.net/site/1088533?post_id=3893213 http://rogeranderson.results.net/site/1088533?post_id=3867289

Posted by Roger Anderson on Jan 7, 2014

by Henry Choo Chong

 

My New Year’s resolution is to save up for a new house; get rich; get in shape; help the less privileged; buy low and sell high; quit smoking; travel more; win the lottery! How many times have we heard these words uttered?

 

As you sit at the dining-room table with pen to paper, sipping coffee with the fireplace crackling in the background, pause for a moment before making that New Year’s resolution list and glance at the crumpled, faded list from last year. How many of your resolutions were actually accomplished? If you are like lots of other Canadians, then not many.

 

The new year is the time for us to put 2013 behind us and reboot for another year. It’s a great starting point to forget the old and embrace the new. It’s a time to pause and look at what has been accomplished and what still needs to be done.

 

No one is successful without goals and objectives that can be measured. Although, my accounting and tax background do not give me the expertise to help you lose weight or quit smoking, the approach to financial resolutions may not be much different. The old adage, “Life is what you make of it,” applies to accounting, sports, business and family goals alike.

 

Set realistic resolutions. “I want to look like I did as a teenager” is unlikely, unless you are one!

 

Don’t just say, do. Resolutions can’t be accomplished without action and following through. Stop talking about joining a health club, and do it. Regardless of what some so-called experts say, you can’t lose weight by sitting in front of your computer (although the eyes and fingers may get a good workout).

 

Having a plan and its execution is as important as the resolution itself. Without a plan, there will be no success. “This year, I would like to save for a home.” This is a great resolution, however how will you achieve this? How much will you need? Where will the savings come from? How and where will you obtain financing? Step one is to create a cash-flow budget. Identify how you can increase income and where you can cut expenses.

 

Set long-term goals, but make them achievable objectives that can be measured periodically. For example:
a: If you would like to lose 20 lbs. this year, set a weight-loss goal of three pounds per month.
b: If you would like to start an RRSP, contribute $X by the end of the year. This will be achieved by setting up an automatic payment plan with your financial institution. Pre-authorize monthly RRSP contributions.

 

Goals cannot be reached, unless you reach for them!

 

Henry Choo Chong, CGA, sits on many committees and provides accounting and tax services to individuals and businesses in the GTA. He can be reached at 416.485.5225. Questions to Taxing Issues can be emailed to choochonghcga@yahoo.ca.

Originally authored by Canadian Blog on Jan 6, 2014

Roger Anderson http://rogeranderson.results.net/site/1088533?post_id=3867289 http://rogeranderson.results.net/site/1088533?post_id=3856072

Posted by Roger Anderson on Jan 1, 2014

For most people, buying or selling a home is one of the most important and highest value purchases they will make, and potentially the most challenging. Here are 10 home buying and selling mistakes that can lead to an unsatisfying experience or even serious complications, courtesy of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO).

"RECO is responsible for protecting home buyers and sellers. We've seen too many Ontarians encounter these pitfalls," says RECO's Registrar Joseph Richer. "Being mindful of these 10 considerations can help the buying and selling process go a lot smoother."

Here are the most common buying and selling hazards, and how to avoid them:

1. Allowing emotions to overtake common sense?
When you fall in love with a property it can be hard to walk away. Know your budget and don't overpay. Don't forgo a home inspection just to win a bidding war.?

2. Hiring the first salesperson you meet?
Meet with a few different representatives before settling on one, and make sure you feel comfortable with them and their approach to the process. Also be sure to get references and contact them to learn about their experience with the salesperson.?

3. Not making your expectations clear with your real estate professional?
It's important that you and your representative have a mutual understanding about what you're looking for, and what services the brokerage will be responsible for. Make sure you talk to your broker or salesperson about the services you expect them to provide, and get it in writing.?

4. Failing to read and understand forms and contracts
?It can be tempting to speed the process along by signing forms that you haven't read. But taking the time to understand what you're signing can avoid a lot of problems later on. For example, you don't want to find out that you're on the hook for a six month listing agreement to sell your home if you only want your house on the market for three months. In addition, a holdover clause could mean that if you sell your property during a specified period without the assistance of the broker or salesperson, you would still owe them commission.?Make sure all the blanks on the form are filled in before you sign it, and make sure you get a copy of whatever you sign.?

5. Assuming everything is included?
Don't assume that everything you see will be included with the property. The seller may want to take the dishwasher with them to their new home, and the furnace might be under a rental contract that you'll be required to take over. Before making an offer, detail all items, known as chattels, in writing. Your offer can also include a clause stating that the seller will pay out any outstanding leases on the home's major systems.?

6. Forgetting about what's within the walls?
Granite countertops and new hardwood floors are appealing, but the insulation, wiring and plumbing are just as important when you're evaluating a property. Ask your real estate representative to look into the age of the home's systems and if there have been any upgrades. If extensive renovations have been done, your real estate professional can determine if the appropriate permits were issued.?

7. Forgetting about what's outside the walls
?When you buy a house you're also buying a place in a community. Some places are lively, others are quiet. Some places are filled with kids while others are not. Visit the neighbourhood at different times of the day to see if it fits your lifestyle. Talk to the neighbours about the community and the locations of various amenities like grocery stores and banks.?

8. Not doing your research
?If you're concerned about buying a home with a troubled past, a simple Internet search for the address can go a long way. This is also something you can ask the neighbours about.?

9. Making verbal agreements?
Verbal agreements aren't a problem, until they're a problem. Putting everything in writing forces both parties to be clear about their expectations and provides a record that can prevent disputes later on.?

10. Underestimating closing costs?
From land transfer taxes to title insurance to a home inspection, the costs of a real estate transaction can add up quickly. Take the time to include estimates and other expenses in the full cost of buying or selling a property.

While all of these tips are essential, the most important advice is to work with a registered real estate professional.

"Registered brokers and salespersons provide a great deal of knowledge and expertise about the buying and selling process, along with specific knowledge about neighbourhoods and local issues," says Richer. "They can also provide crucial help in avoiding these hazards."

Originally authored by Canadian Blog on Nov 27, 2013

Roger Anderson http://rogeranderson.results.net/site/1088533?post_id=3856072 http://rogeranderson.results.net/site/1088533?post_id=3854466

Posted by Roger Anderson on Dec 29, 2013

by Henry Choo Chong

Q. I purchased a rental investment property several years ago. Every year I have filed the rental income on my tax return. This year I sold the property. In addition to my rental income, what tax implications will I have to report? Jared, Toronto

A. Hopefully, you made a profit! The real estate market has been healthy for the past several years and continues to be strong, over the long term. Selling a real estate investment property will generate either a capital gain/loss or a recapture of income/terminal loss. 

You will have a capital gain when the proceeds of the sale exceed the original cost of the property. A capital gain must be included in your personal tax return (if you own it personally) and is taxed on 50 per cent of the gains at your personal tax rate. A capital loss occurs when the cost is greater than your proceeds. The capital losses should be included on your personal return and applied against capital gains in that year. Any excess losses can be carried back three years, or carried forward indefinitely to reduce capital gains.

In calculating the capital gain/loss, determining the adjusted cost of the property is an essential factor. The adjusted cost must include not just the purchase price but also other costs incurred that had to be capitalized. As well, the proceeds of disposition are all the cost, including the selling price and adjustments pertaining to the sale of the investment.

In addition to the capital gains/losses, you may have a recapture of income. This occurs when you are taking Capital Cost allowance (depreciation) on the building, in any of the years that it was owned by you. The balance in this account is called the “undepreciated portion.” 

A recapture of income occurs when the lesser of the proceeds and the cost of the property is higher than the Undepreciated Capital Cost (UCC). The recapture of income is taxed in its entirety at your personal tax rate. Alternatively, a terminal loss occurs when the lesser of the proceeds and the cost of the property is less than the UCC. This terminal loss can be applied in the current year to reduce other income (such as salaries or business income). Any unused amounts can be carried back three years or carried forward. 

Good record keeping is essential to calculate the correct gains or losses.

Henry Choo Chong, CGA, sits on many committees and provides accounting and tax services to individuals and businesses in the GTA. He can be reached at 416.485.5225. Questions to Taxing Issues can be emailed to choochonghcga@yahoo.ca.

Originally authored by Canadian Blog on Dec 18, 2013

Roger Anderson http://rogeranderson.results.net/site/1088533?post_id=3854466