Are you missing out on a tax rebate for your heritage property? Under the Municipal Act, 2001, municipalities may give tax relief to owners of eligible heritage properties by passing a by-law creating a heritage property tax relief program.
This can be a great way to extend your funds available for a home purchase, utilizing income you already have.
The Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) is a program under which you can, generally, with- draw up to $25,000 from your registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to buy or build a qualifying home. Withdrawals that meet all applicable HBP conditions do not have to be included in your income, and your RRSP issuer will not withhold tax on these amounts. However, before you can withdraw funds you must have entered into a written agreement to buy or build a qualifying home which you must occupy no later than one year after buying or building the home. If you buy the qualifying home together with your spouse or other individuals, each of you can withdraw up to $25,000. You cannot with- draw an amount from your RRSP under the HBP if you or your spouse owned the home more than 30 days before the date of your withdrawal.
The Toronto Star has a great article today suggesting that it may be time for Ottawa to revisit the year-old Mortgage Stress Test. The Mortgage Professionals of Canada group released their own report, indicating how the current structure of the stress-test does not accurately reflect Canadians buying-power, nor does it take into account the decreasing primary mortgage amount, as payments occur over the life of the mortgage.
We have all seen the tremendous impact these rules have had - not only on first-time Buyers, but on many current homeowners looking for end of term renewals.
While heavily weighted by the core of Toronto, the Toronto Real Estate Board reported this week that August transactions were up year-over-year.
There were 6,839 sales in August 2018 - up 8.5% versus 2017. Seasonally-adjusted volume puts sales up 2% versus July 2018.
With increased stability around the GTA, we expect to see volume increasing in the ‘905’ areas, including the core Unionville, Markham and Richmond Hill areas. September is looking to be a solid month for new listings, and overall sales activity.
We are moving into that busy time of year, when many homeowners take on all those to-do's and upgrade projects around their homes. Before you dive into your reno and painting projects, take a look at Benjamin Moore's new color picks for 2018.
We've always relied on some of Benjamin Moore's most trusted colors - that famed CC40, Cloud White - and it's always interesting to see where the interior and exterior design trends are heading.
Welcome back Spring! Warmer weather is finally coming back, and we expect to continue to see activity increasing in the marketplace. Historically, April-May has always been 'the peak' for new listings hitting MLS, followed closely by mid-September.
We have some great new listings currently on the market - a wonderful home situated in the midst of Historical Unionville Village. An excellent opportunity to build-on to this cozy home, with it's amazing location and large lot, it's a builders dream.
If you are in the market for a larger, luxury home, with the benefit of a condo, 41 Glenburn Forest Way could be for you. This home features over 4600 sq.ft. of finished space, and is lock-and-leave ready - no yard maintenance to worry about!
Lots more coming soon!
Clients of ours know we've been advocating investing in the Southern Georgian Bay area for over two years now. The continued rise in interest, and a diverse offering of properties - at virtually any price point - has been an incredible draw. The Toronto Star today posted an article correlating the activity we have been part of: Young families are driving the market around The Blue Mountains, as it continues to become a more important hot-spot in Ontario.
We've been members of the Southern Georgian Bay Realtors Association since 2015, and continue to grow our business throughout the Collingwood, Blue Mountain and Thornbury areas. Contact us If you want to learn more about the investment opportunities, or simply the general Real Estate market in the area.
It's great to see that the general Market Activity has been on the rise over the last few weeks. Buyer interest has been increasing - possibly due to Buyer's wanting to expedite finding a purchasing opportunity, with the goal of 'beating' the deadline for the new Mortgage rules coming into effect January 1.
Congratulations to our wonderful Clients on the sale of their home in Angus Glen this week! 5 Port Rush Trail is a stunning home, and we are sure the new owners will be thrilled to enjoy what you have created!
Despite everyones best efforts in a Real Estate transaction, issues can arise that may not have been evident during the Purchasing process. We highly recommend that every Buyer consider purchasing Title Insurance coverage through their Lawyer while completing their transaction.
“Title” refers to your legal ownership of a property, as registered in the government’s land registration system. Title Insurance covers losses related to the property’s title or ownership, including:
- Title issues that prevent you from having clear ownership of the property.
- Existing liens against the title, for example if the previous owner had unpaid property taxes.
- Issues related to encroachment on someone else’s property, for example, if a structure had to be removed because it is partially on your neighbour’s property.
- Errors in surveys and public records.
- Title fraud.
- Any other title-related issues that could affect your ability to sell, mortgage or lease your home in the future.
Title Insurance can also come in handy if title transfer to your name can’t occur on the date your deal is supposed to close. The “gap” coverage in Title Insurance will allow your lawyer to close the sale of the property even if registration is delayed.
Some title insurance also includes coverage in case your lawyer makes an error while handling the real estate transaction. Although title insurance is a one-time fee, the coverage lasts as long as you own the property.
But remember Title Insurance typically won’t cover:
- Title defects you were aware of before you purchased the property.
- Environmental hazards.
- Problems that would only be discovered by a new survey or inspection of your property.
- Matters not listed in public records, like unrecorded liens or encroachments against the property.
- Zoning bylaw violations from changes, renovations or additions that you created yourself.
It is important to know that all lawyers practicing real estate law in Ontario are required to carry professional liability insurance. Your lawyer’s professional liability insurance may provide coverage for title related issues that relate to the services your lawyer provides in the real estate transaction.
A lawyer will provide you legal advice in order to help you make an informed decision about title insurance and other aspects of the transaction. Since title insurance policies contain a lot of legal terminology, make sure you ask your lawyer or title insurance company questions about anything that you do not understand.
Title insurance companies and insurance agents/brokers should meet best practice standards that include:
- Providing information to clients on all available options.
- Supply full details for all matters related to the title insurance transaction.
- Ensure that the recommended product meets the client’s needs.
Keep in mind that you are the customer and can choose any one of the title insurance companies that you think would best meet your needs.
Learn more about Title Insurance at the Financial Services Council of Ontario or the Insurance Bureau of Canada websites.
Need more information, or want to discuss your Real Estate needs? Contact us anytime - we are here to help!
Toronto Star Headlines - Thursday August 17th.
You’ll need six figures to buy almost any GTA home, $200,000 a year for the average detached Toronto house, report says. As the cost of Toronto-area housing rises, so do the financing challenges for young adults. Read More
This article is based upon data in "The Report" that assumes that all housing is purchased with 20% down. Most of the homes we sell are well over 1 million dollars. Most, if not all, of our purchasers carry with them equity from their last house so their down payment typically is nowhere near 20%. On average it is considerably more. So don't be frightened by statistics that are somewhat deceiving! The sky is not falling in.
Remember that if you have one foot in a bucket of boiling water and the other foot in a bucket of ice cubes then someone can write a Report indicating that statistically you are a perfectly normal temperature. We are also looking forward to a brisk "normal" Fall Real Estate market, statistically speaking!
If you sold your principal residence in 2016, you need to be aware of new reporting requirements on this years Tax Returns. On October 3rd, 2016, the CRA changed the reporting requirements when selling your home. The intention of this new requirement, is to better track home-sales for capital gains purposes, especially when dealing with non-resident sales, home 'flippers' and renovators, tracking unreported GST/HST on new home sales, and unreported worldwide income.
From the CRA:
"When you sell your principal residence or when you are considered to have sold it, usually you do not have to report the sale on your income tax and benefit return and you do not have to pay tax on any gain from the sale. This is the case if you are eligible for the full income tax exemption (principal residence exemption) because the property was your principal residence for every year you owned it.
Starting with the 2016 tax year, generally due by late April 2017, you will be required to report basic information (date of acquisition, proceeds of disposition and description of the property) on your income tax and benefit return when you sell your principal residence to claim the full principal residence exemption."
Make sure you are informed when filing this years taxes - more details can be found on the Canada Revenue Agency website.
City of Toronto Council has approved changes to the Toronto Land Transfer Tax that mean additional Toronto Land Transfer Tax costs for some home buyers with a closing date on or after March 1, 2017, when it will be harmonized with the provincial LTT.
The following changes to the Toronto Land Transfer Tax were considered and approved by Toronto City Council on February 15, 2017. The changes are effective AS OF MARCH 1, 2017, for real estate transactions closing on or after this date:
- Added an additional LTT of 0.5% of the value of a residential or non-residential property from $250,000 to $400,000 (an additional $750)
- Added an additional LTT of 0.5% of the value of a residential property above $2 million
- Added an additional LTT of 0.5% of the value above $400,000 of a non-residential property
- Increasing the maximum allowed First-Time Home Buyer Rebate to $4,475, up from $3,725
- Amended the first-time home buyer rebate program eligibility rules to restrict rebate eligibility to Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada
More details on the Toronto Land Transfer Tax, and an online calculator can be found here.
With so much history in the midst of the growing Unionville community, the details of the proposed York Downs Golf & Country Club redevelopment are of interest to many residents. At the end of January 2017, 'Sixteenth Land Holdings Inc.' the developer group representing the builders for the YDGCC lands, held an information session, presenting their initial proposal details.
Some highlights of the presentation include:
- Total property size = 417 acres, with 311 being available for development, the balance is green space
- Development to be split into 3 stages of "East and West" plans, on each side of the north-to-south green space divide
- Development includes everything from 70' single lots to high and low-rise residential, and a small portion for mixed-use commercial
- Residential Units proposed: West = 1,164, East = 1,257, for a total of 2,421 residential units
- Density of this proposal is approx 19.2 units / hectare - compared to Angus Glen at 16.7/ha, Upper Unionville at 20/ha
- Plan includes 5 'gateway' access points to Kennedy Road and 16th Ave, three of which closely align to some of the existing YDGCC roadways and access
- One transit loop through the community is proposed
- One Elementary school is proposed
For more details on the York Downs development proposal , a PDF of the slideshow presentation is available here.
Understanding A Real Estate Offer
There's a lot of misunderstanding about what a Buyer's obligations are/may be when they make an offer on a residential real estate property in Ontario. Here are some examples of things buyers often ask (or worse, just assume)
1. IF WE CHANGE OUR MINDS WE CAN ALWAYS PULL OUR OFFER BACK, RIGHT?
The answer is no you can't. If your written offer has been presented to the Seller (or even in the possession of the Seller's agent), your offer is "live and real" until the expiration of the Irrevocable time specified in your offer. If the Seller signs and accepts your offer, you're committed to the contract. An exception to this is a new build condominium where the law permits a 10 day cooling off period.
2. WE HAVE A HOME INSPECTION CONDITION. WE CAN ALWAYS FIND SOMETHING WRONG TO GET OUT OF THE PURCHASE, RIGHT?
The short answer is probably not. Until recently, home inspection clauses contained language saying the offer was conditional on receiving a "satisfactory report on home inspection in the sole and absolute discretion of the Buyer". A ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada (Basin v. Hrynew) has changed that. It obligates principals in a contract to complete their obligations in good faith under that contract. Unless there is some major latent (hidden) defect discovered that would have caused the Buyer to make a different decision, you're obligated to continue the transaction.
3. IF WE CHANGE OUR MINDS WE AUTOMATICALLY GET OUR DEPOSIT BACK, RIGHT?
The short answer is it's not automatic. Return of a deposit depends on Buyer and Seller agreeing in writing to release each other from a contract. If you have a firm deal (conditions removed), and attempt to cancel a deal, or fail to close as agreed, it's quite possible you will not see your deposit back. The Seller can make an application to court for the deposit to be directed to them as damages for your failure to close, and it's highly likely they will get it.
4. WE NEED TO CHANGE THE CLOSING DATE BY A MONTH. WE CAN DO THAT, RIGHT?
Possibly, but not unilaterally. It can only be done in writing, and with the agreement of both Buyer and Seller. It can be done by an Amendment of the Agreement of Purchase and Sale, or by another instrument generated by the lawyers representing the Buyer and the Seller.
5. OUR AGENT FORGOT TO PUT THE FRIDGE AND STOVE IN THE AGREEMENT, BUT THEY'RE ON THE LISTING, SO WE GET THEM ANYWAY, RIGHT?
No. The only document that matters here is the Agreement of Purchase and Sale. If it's not in the Agreement, it's not part of the deal.
6. WE'RE BUYING A CONDO APARTMENT, SO WE DON'T NEED TO PUT IN ANY CONDITIONS, RIGHT?
Professional advice is you should ALWAYS have a home inspection. If you choose not to, you should sign a waiver (Form 127) that you are acting against our advice. Our experience is that inspections have revealed many important issues in condo apartments related to health and safety, and structural integrity. Another important consideration is your lawyer's examination of the condo documents, called the Status Certificate. When you buy a condo, you're buying into the financial condition and obligations of the condo corporation. Legal advice is important here!
When you sign an Agreement of Purchase and Sale, you are signing "under seal". A seal on a contract is a solemn commitment, a pledge to go forward. You will be held to its terms. You need professional advice from a REALTOR® and, in some cases, your lawyer BEFORE you commit to signing an offer.
If there is one thing that seems to always come up when looking at a home with popcorn-style stucco ceilings, it is the question about what can be done with them. Typically, if the stucco has been painted-over at some point in the past, it is nearly impossible to simply scrape-off and smooth -- you are relegated to a much larger, and more expensive, repair.
In this great DIY article, they show a different approach - to simply put up a decorative material over the old ceiling finish, and have something that is beautiful and very unique!
See the results at Lifestyle And Design Online
With the great demand for condo units in Markham's Swan Lake gated community, we are excited to let you know that we will have a wonderful townhome coming onto the market soon. Keep checking back here at www.Maryannemacdonald.com for details!
RECO has posted a great article outlining some of the basic costs that new and prospective home buyers often overlook, when budgeting for their purchase.
Beyond the basic moving expense, and land transfer taxes, there are a bevy of items to consider.