AC Air Filters May not be Doing Enough

As our residential air conditioners hum throughout the summer, it’s easy to assume they are keeping indoor air clean while keeping rooms comfortable.
But their ability to “clean” the air we breathe is directly related to the quality of their filtering systems, and the volume they’re forced to handle.
Not all air filters are alike, so you need to check your air conditioner filter ratings for effectiveness, and be sure to wash or replace it as instructed.
Furthermore, filters don’t necessarily clean or purify fully.
So, if you sense that the “conditioned” air in your condo or home is compromised in its quality, you might consider supplementing your AC system with a more efficient and specialized filtering unit that can offer verifiable assurances that your air is free of specific irritants, allergens and/or toxins.
*Morris Marketing*

How badly will Ontario’s flagging housing market hurt the economy? Not as much as you think

Ontario home sales and prices have been dropping ever since January, when a new mortgage stress test and interest rate hike delivered a serious blow to the province’s housing market.
Many pundits have worried about how the slump could affect the province’s economy. But, according to a new report, the home price correction won’t have as drastic an impact as many have feared.
“The current mix of stronger government spending and moderate interest rate increases suggests the Ontario and GTA economies are expected to grow more moderately but to continue to provide underlying support for provincial real estate prices in 2018 and 2019,” reads a new report from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), released today.
Currently, 40 per cent of Ontario household assets are tied up in real estate, after years of homeowners borrowing against their homes, spurred on by historically low interest rates.
“Consequently, a significant downturn in [home] prices could have negative repercussions on the broader Ontario economy and financial system,” writes CMHC Ontario regional economist Ted Tsiakopoulos, in the report.
But he’s quick to add that the current dip in prices doesn’t resemble the economic cycles of the 1970s and 1980s, where the underperforming housing market was exacerbated by shocks to energy sector and rising inflation.
“The current home price correction in Ontario will likely not persist as it fails to resemble the more serious downturns observed across time,” writes Tsiakopoulos. “While imbalances continue to persist, they are easing and fundamentals…will support home prices relative to historical price bust period experiences.”
Those fundamentals include high levels of immigration, balanced housing markets and increased levels of new housing supply, which should mean that the current price correction is short lived.
Tsiakopoulos predicts that home prices will grow at a moderate pace in line with the rate of inflation over the next two years. Prices are expected to range from $562,000 to $575,000 in 2018 and $570,000 to $595,000 in 2019.
“Inflation adjusted home prices in the province of Ontario should remain relatively stable and close to fourth quarter 2017 levels,” writes Tsiakopoulos. “This is good news for prospective buyers as fewer bidding wars will result in less urgency to act. For homeowners and investors it means home price expectations will need to normalize.”
*Sarah Niedoba – BuzzBuzzHome*

10 Reasons to List Your Home This Month!

Is selling your property the furthest thing from your mind? Well, here are some reasons for listing your property that you might not have considered.
1. Your property may be worth more than you think. (It’s difficult to determine market value on your own. I can calculate it for you. Give me a call.)
2. You might qualify for a better home than you anticipate.
3. Perhaps you are tired of your current property and want a change.
4. There may be homes on the market in a neighbourhood in which you’ve always wanted to live.
5. Your current property may no longer meet your needs.
6. Your neighbourhood may have changed in ways you don’t like.
7. You might be ready to downsize or upsize and you no longer want to put that off.
8. You may want to sell in the fall, so you can have a fresh start in a new home in the new year.
9. Depending on the type of home you’re considering, you could end up with lower mortgage payments or no mortgage at all.
10. You might want to move to a home that’s more conveniently located near work, family and hobbies.
Of course, you may have your own reasons for listing this month. Why not discuss them with a real estate expert? Me. I can answer your questions and explain the options available to you.

History of the RE/MAX Balloon

All brands are represented by something. Whether it is a swoosh that symbolizes one of the biggest brands in the world, a set of golden arches that represent a company that can test even the strongest of will powers, or a balloon that represents one of the biggest names in real estate, icons are arguably one of the most important parts of any brand.
At RE/MAX, the balloon represents so much more than just the company. The balloon represents the hard work and dedication put forth by each and every RE/MAX agent, allowing them to soar high above the crowd. It represents that they will go above and beyond to help you find your dream home, and shows that when you want to work with the best, you know who to turn to. The RE/MAX brand is not only a leader in the real estate industry, but is widely known as having the most productive agents in the world.
About the RE/MAX Balloon:
The RE/MAX Balloon is one of the most widely recognized symbols in North America and was first seen by spectators of the Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon Festival in 1978. In North America, there are approximately 100 RE/MAX Balloons engaged in promotional programs, with millions of people witnessing this strong corporate symbol each year as it flies high above them in the sky. The RE/MAX Balloon represents an excellent opportunity to create awareness and promote goodwill in the community and takes thousands of people on flights each year.

Lighting Matters When Selling Your House

Remember the last time you were in a furniture store or other major home retailer? Remember the fully decorated displays of furniture, appliances and other products? Some of those may have even been organized as model rooms.
What did most of those displays have in common? Chances are, they were well lit. In fact, in the retail industry, there are professionals who specialize exclusively in display lighting. It plays such an important role in showcasing and selling home products successfully that the stores are willing to absorb the expense.
The same holds true for your house. If you want to show your house well, and sell it quickly and for the best price, make sure every room is well lit. There are probably some rooms in your house where the lighting is adequate, such as the kitchen and bathrooms, and perhaps the foyer. But there are other areas where the lighting may be mediocre. Take a close look at:
• Closets
• Storage areas
• Bedrooms
• Laundry rooms
• Hallways
• The garage
If there are areas in your house that are dark or shadowy,
the solution may be as simple as installing higher wattage
bulbs, provided your fixture can accommodate them. Keep
in mind that brightness can vary significantly from one type of bulb to another. Your goal is to make the room feel bright yet comfortable on the eyes.
Also, don’t forget to open drapes and blinds. Often the best
and most pleasant source of light for a room is the sun shining through a window.
Want more tips on showing your house well? Give me a call at 416-779-8732
*Morris Marketing*

Checklist for WOW-ing a Buyer during a Viewing

Imagine you were selling your car, and a prospective buyer was on the way over to see it. What would you do? You would probably make your vehicle look as clean and shiny as possible, inside and out. The same holds true if you’re selling your home and there’s a potential buyer on the way. You want the buyer to be wow’d by your property. Here’s
a handy checklist to follow:
• Clean every room. Make your entire house look as “guest ready” as possible.
• As much as is feasible given the time, reduce clutter. Consider packing some items into boxes and storing them in the basement or garage.
• Get pets out of the house. You can take them for a walk, have a neighbour watch them, or take them to a good kennel.
• Turn on the lights, even during the day. You want each room to look bright.
• If there are any maintenance issues, such as a dripping faucet, let your Realtor know. Often, it’s best for buyers to be told rather than discover such issues themselves.
• Open the curtains, except in those rooms where the sun will be uncomfortably strong during the viewing.
• Move your vehicles from the driveway so the buyer can park there. (That can help them imagine living there, which is what you want!)
• Make sure your foyer is especially clean and uncluttered. It’s the first “room” the buyer visits.
• Avoid cooking just before a viewing. Even if the meal is wonderful, the aroma may linger. (Some people don’t like the smell of certain dishes, such as fish.)
• Freshen up the outdoor space. Mow the lawn. Sweep the walkway.
This viewing checklist will help you prepare your home quickly, so when the buyer comes in your front door, there’s a much better chance he or she will be impressed.
*Morris Marketing*

Exiting through a Window in an Emergency

Hopefully, this will never happen to you. But, there are circumstances – a fire, for example – when you and your family would need to exit through a window. It pays to be prepared for that eventuality.
Your first step is to determine which windows are safe to use as an exit. There should be at least one on each level.
The windows you select will need to provide enough space for a person to climb through (at least a 20 inch opening).
Make sure everyone knows which windows are “safe exit” windows, and how to open them. Keep in mind that windows may have screens, so ensure everyone knows how to remove those as well.
For a second floor window, consider purchasing a portable escape ladder. These are compact and easily stowed in a closet or under a bed. When you need it, it hangs off the sill and expands into a ladder all the way to the ground. It’s not designed for everyday use, but it will get you and your family out!
Rehearsal is a good idea. You want everyone to know how to get to the nearest “safe exit” window – especially in the dark. Finally, keep your windows in a good state of repair.
According to the National Fire Safety Association, windows should open easily for everyone, and should not have anything in front of them that will prevent or delay a
quick exit.
*Morris Marketing*

Bidding War 101 (And Why High Bids Might Be A Losing Strategy)

It’s easy to get caught up in a bidding war, especially when you find your dream home. While sellers can only hope that they’ll list and a bidding war ensues, homebuyers should tread carefully when this situation arises.
Remember that just because one hopeful homebuyer outbids your offer, doesn’t necessarily mean you should volley back. In the worst-case scenario, you might end up with a home you haven’t researched, in a neighbourhood you don’t love, at a price you can’t afford.
A real estate agent that you trust, who knows the local market, can help you navigate through a bidding war and reign in any over-enthusiasm. In the meantime, here are some strategies to help you make a smart bid and if all goes well, a smart buy.
Know your limit.
As a homebuyer, a mortgage pre-approval is step #1, regardless of market conditions. This step informs you of how much you can spend on a home. It’s is your hard limit, should a bidding war ensue. A mortgage pre-approval also guarantees your interest rate for 90 days or more, bringing peace of mind around concerns of short-term rate increases.
Get the comparables.
How much is the home really worth? Your real estate agent will pull recent sales stats for you, offering valuable insight on the price of comparable homes in the same neighbourhood. You’ll then be better equipped to determine how comfortable you are taking on competing bids.
Know what you’re buying.
We all know that premium neighbourhoods come at higher prices. It could be proximity to the downtown core, access to lakefront, parks and recreation, good schools, shopping, or all of the above. Consider what you want and need, and why. Then decide if the home and community you’re considering is worth the price.
Short-term timing.
One trick to winning a bidding war is to avoid it altogether. Make an offer before the home hits the MLS system or gains buyer attention through an open house. Your agent will best advise you on how to proceed, so prepare to drop everything to tour a new listing and make your offer, before someone else does! (Note: Mortgage pre-approval in this scenario is key.)
Long-term planning.
The spring and fall housing markets see the most real estate action, with buyers out in droves and bidding wars bubbling at the surface. If you’re not in a hurry to buy, minimize your competition and possibly even price by shopping in the “off” season. Winter sees a drop in inventory, but also in demand, reducing your chance of being outbid.
Be smart about your bid.
You did your homework, right? You’ve determined how much you can afford to spend. And you know what the home is worth based on comparables. You also know what the home is worth to you. Make a bid that’s reflective of all of these considerations. Before jumping on the bidding bandwagon, have confidence that you’re getting a good deal.
When all is said and done, remember that the spoils don’t always go to the highest bidder. Make a clean offer, be flexible, and know when to walk away. The right home isn’t “right” if the cost to you is wrong.

Before You Go on Vacation

If you are about to depart for a well-deserved getaway, don’t forget to get your home ready for your vacation.
Suspend mail and newspaper subscriptions. Have a neighbour check on your home from time to time, especially if you don’t have a modern security system that lets you observe your property from afar. But, don’t cancel yard maintenance or plant-watering contracts, as a neglected yard could tip off burglars that nobody’s home.
Consider unplugging non-essential appliances to save energy and protect them from potentially harmful electrical surges. And, remember not to post your vacation pictures on social media until after you return – otherwise you’ll be announcing that your home is unoccupied.
Finally, before you go, be sure you have adequate travel insurance and upload photos of critical travel documents and prescriptions to a cloud-based server for access from anywhere.
*Morris Marketing*

Watch Out for Carbon Monoxide In Your Home

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is invisible and odourless, so you can’t actually “watch out for it”. However, you should monitor for it because an excessive build-up of this gas in your home can be deadly. Fortunately, there are many types of Carbon Monoxide detectors you can purchase — and most are effective and affordable. Some models simply plug into an outlet. (Many also have a battery backup.)
Carbon Monoxide is caused by the incomplete burning of fuel. It can be released by a faulty gas furnace, kerosene heaters, and gas fireplaces. That’s why it’s a good idea to install detectors in areas close to these fixtures, as well as near bedrooms.
Experts say you should always follow manufacturer’s instructions when installing CO detectors and test them regularly. You want to make sure you can hear the alarm from your bedroom. CO build-up in homes is rare. So your detectors may never go off. But, if the alarm does sound, get everyone (including pets) out of the home and into the fresh air. Then call 911. Typically, the fire department will do an inspection and determine the source of the carbon monoxide.
A final tip: Never use your BBQ or outside grill in the garage or, especially, anywhere inside your home. The risk of CO exposure is very high and definitely not worth the convenience of a grilled burger!
*Morris Marketing*