Update on Canada’s 2021 Mortgage Rates

The Bank of Canada has kept its overnight lending rate target at its effective lower bound of 0.25 percent for more than a year to support the country’s economic recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, as the country enters its second year of the pandemic, the Bank appears unlikely to change its tune anytime soon.

The Bank announced on March 10 that it would keep the overnight rate at 0.25 percent, possibly until 2023, during a regularly scheduled announcement. Furthermore, since August 2020, the conventional five-year mortgage rate has remained unchanged at 4.79 percent.

James Laird, co-founder of Ratehub.ca and President of CanWise Financial, explains the latest news on the Canadian mortgage market and how it may affect consumers in 2021.

What the latest Bank of Canada rate announcement means

In the mortgage industry, the Bank’s decision to keep the overnight rate at 0.25 percent was not unexpected, according to Laird. What’s more important, he says, is the Fed’s reaffirmation of its commitment to keep rates unchanged for another two years.

“That was notable because there was a lot of good news in the beginning of the year,” Laird explained.

Despite some positive developments in early 2021, such as the ongoing vaccine rollout and gradual economic recovery, Laird claims that unemployment in certain industries remains high. Many part-time and hourly workers in the hospitality, tourism, and retail industries were laid off as a result of the pandemic. Before changing rates, the Bank, according to Laird, will want to see the situation significantly improve.

“They pointed to that in the last announcement and said, ‘You know what? Even if there is good news on many fronts, we will continue to monitor this factor before changing our stance of keeping rates low until 2023,’” Laird said. “That will be something to keep an eye on.”

Despite the fact that mortgage rates have been and will likely remain low for some time, Laird explains that this is not the primary driving force behind Canada’s burgeoning real estate market. Instead, he attributes it to the pandemic’s influence on lifestyle changes. Many of us have reconsidered our living arrangements, especially those who now work from home, according to Laird, and this has prompted people to purchase a home that is better suited to their current needs.

“No one says, ‘I wasn’t planning on buying a house, but now that rates are low, I’m going to buy one.’ “It’s never happened before,” Laird said. “It’s other lifestyle factors that make you want to buy a new house or make changes to the one you have. Rates are only one factor in the equation.”

While the overnight rate that influences the mortgage market is expected to remain unchanged for the time being, fixed-rate and variable-rate mortgages have been gradually diverging in the first months of 2021. The overnight rate has a greater impact on variable rates because banks use it as a benchmark to determine their own prime rate, which is used to create variable mortgage rate offerings. Variable rates have remained virtually unchanged as a result of this. Fixed-rate mortgages, on the other hand, have been rising in price, prompting Laird to say that demand for variable-rate mortgages has increased.

“Now that fixed rates have risen a little, we are seeing more demand on the variable side,” Laird explained, “because the spread between variable and fixed rates is wider than it was before because variable rates haven’t changed at all.” “Fixed rates are still the most popular, but compared to a month ago, more people are opting for variable [rates].”

If you’re a new or current mortgage holder

Given the unusual economic conditions, the process of selecting a variable or fixed-rate mortgage may seem more daunting to prospective homebuyers. The decision to go with a fixed or variable rate, according to Laird, should be influenced by the holder’s own personal circumstances and strategies.
“There will never be a time when we recommend that everyone take fixed or variable. It all depends on the consumers’ situation, their household, and the type of people they are,” Laird explained.

Consumers who are more risk averse may want to opt for a fixed-rate mortgage rather than a variable-rate mortgage, according to Laird. If you have the financial flexibility to manage a variable rate if it rises, and you don’t mind a little risk, a variable rate could be a good fit for you.

Existing mortgage holders may be enticed to break their terms in order to chase a lower rate and save money for other projects if ultra-low mortgage rates become available. When it comes to fixed-rate mortgages, however, Laird points out that there are usually not many savings to be had because the penalty for breaking the mortgage could be equal to the savings—the lower the current market rates are, the higher the penalties for breaking the mortgage can be, he says. The proper steps in determining the best course of action are to obtain a mortgage penalty quote from your provider and then speak with your mortgage broker to work out the math.

“If you’re nearing the end of your term, it can make sense,” says Laird, “especially if you think rates will be higher by the time your renewal comes up.”

What’s on the horizon for mortgage rates in 2021

In terms of the future, Laird says it’s difficult to predict when the real estate market will cool down. Demand for Canadian housing has been rapidly increasing since mid-2020, and Laird expects this trend to continue throughout the spring market.
Variable rates are expected to stay the same in 2021, according to Laird, while fixed rates are expected to rise moderately. This year, he explains, optimism about vaccine distribution, unemployment levels, and a return to normalcy will play a role in rate forecasting.

“If you believe those things will happen, you should expect fixed rates to rise higher. If you’re pessimistic, you shouldn’t expect fixed rates to rise significantly,” Laird said. “We’re all individuals, and we each decide on our own rate strategy. That’s exactly what we discuss with our clients.”

DIY Bird Feeders and Birdhouses to Make Your Yard Sing

A bird house is one type of home with a view that comes with no mortgage! With spring in full bloom, we’re sharing some backyard birding tips, as well as information on birdseed and how to make a bird feeder or birdhouse. This spring and summer, create a safe and happy haven for birds, and enjoy your new feathered friends!

A feast for a finch

Feeding wildlife is generally frowned upon, but backyard birds are an exception. You can feed birds guilt-free because they don’t become reliant on feeders. Feeders should be cleaned on a regular basis, placed near but not too close to trees or shrubs, and at least four metres away from windows to help keep birds safe. Choose high-quality seeds such as sunflower or niger seeds instead of seed mixed with oats, rice, corn, or wheat, which can attract pests and provide fewer nutrients to birds. Look for birdseed that is suited to the birds in your area at your local garden or hardware store.

Build it and they shall come

Birdhouses are another option for attracting feathered visitors to your yard. Birds that nest in a natural nook, such as a tree cavity (such as chickadees or bluebirds), may choose a birdhouse if one is available. If you’re not sure what kind of birds might live in your yard, use the NestWatch Right Bird, Right House tool to look for feathered tenants and learn about their housing needs.

Build a DIY birdfeeder with the kids

Make this easy DIY bird feeder project with the kids using items you probably already have around the house! Cleaning out a used milk carton and cutting out two squares on opposite sides of the carton are the first steps. Allow the carton to dry before painting it a colour of your choice and adding shingles to the roof with popsicle sticks. Make two small holes on either side of the carton and insert a wooden dowel or plant stick to provide a place for birds to stand. Make sure to keep an eye on your homemade bird feeder and, if necessary, replace or repair it.

If you’re worried about pesky critters like squirrels or chipmunks being attracted to your birdfeeder, this list of DIY hacks can ‘squirrel-proof’ your creation and leave the feed for the intended audience: the birds.

Tea for two and two for tea

This teacup bird feeder is fun to make, easy to put together, and will look lovely in any backyard. Begin by selecting a lovely teacup and saucer from your own collection, or go to a thrift store to find one. Before letting it dry, adhere the cup to the saucer with craft glue (like e6000) and a glue gun, then hang it up with twine. Fill the teacup with your favourite seed and wait for the birds to arrive for an afternoon tea party hosted by you.

Birdhouses that keep up with the trends

A-frames are making a comeback, and this one for backyard birds will stand out in your garden. A handheld drill, craft knife, glue, a wooden dowel, birch wood, and balsa wood are all needed for this modern birdhouse DIY, which can be found at a hardware store. Because the wood can be cut with a craft knife and then assembled with glue—no saw or nails required—building this birdhouse is simple for anyone of any skill level.

Leave it to the pros (and the crows)

Preassembled birdhouses can be found for as little as a few dollars at craft stores like Michaels. For a natural look that will weather in your yard, leave the birdhouse bare. Use non-toxic paint or stain to add colour to this kid-friendly DIY that doesn’t require any tools or glue. Use sandpaper to go over painted or stained surfaces to let the wood show through for a natural but colourful birdhouse. Watch the birds flock to your yard by hanging a single or coordinated group of feeders.

Whether you put up a birdhouse or a bird feeder in your yard this spring, you’ll love seeing who comes to visit. Set up a camera and watch who comes by if you really want to know who is coming to visit!

Easy Ways to Reduce Trash in Your Home

It all began with a photo of a small trash jar. Bea Johnson, the founder of the zero waste lifestyle movement, challenged people to reduce their carbon footprint by eliminating or drastically reducing garbage that would otherwise end up in a landfill.

Johnson’s family generates less than a litre of waste per year, and her how-to book Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste was an instant best-seller. She shares her five rules for producing as little waste as possible in it:

  • Refuse things you don’t need
  • Reduce what you do need
  • Reuse or upcycle items you consume
  • Recycle any materials you cannot reduce or refuse, so they can be transformed into other things
  • Rot or compost everything else


Many people are enthusiastic about the zero waste lifestyle, and they use the hashtags #zerowaste and #zerowasteliving to share their ideas and success stories on Instagram. It’s a significant step toward a greener future, especially given that Canada is one of the world’s most wasteful nations. We generate 510 kilogrammes of waste per person per year, which is sent to over 10,000 landfill sites. About 2.8 million tonnes of plastic waste are included in this figure.

Here’s how to get started living a waste-free lifestyle:

Just say no

Small, everyday items, such as plastic produce bags, disposable coffee cups, and plastic straws, can quickly add to the trash heap, so refuse anything you don’t absolutely need. Instead, use reusable alternatives like grocery tote bags or ask your local coffee shop’s barista to refill your coffee mug. Due to current COVID restrictions, some larger chains have suspended refill services.
You should also politely decline hand-me-down clothing, furniture, and decorative items that you know you won’t use or enjoy.

Purge your stuff

Donate items you don’t wear, use, or need to reduce your overall possessions. You’re not only reducing waste, but you’re also giving back to the community. Once you’ve gotten used to purging, try to stick to the “one in, one out” rule, which states that for every item you bring into your home, something similar must leave.
Make a date with your closet and bookshelf, and donate or donate anything that doesn’t “spark joy,” as Marie Kondo suggests. Holding a clothing swap, selling items online, and shopping at thrift stores are all sustainable options.

Reuse often

Instead of throwing things away, reuse them. Rinse out your glass spaghetti sauce jar and use it to store other foods, for example. Instead of paper towels, use microfiber cloths. They are machine washable and cost less than $5 per pack at your local dollar store. You get the picture.

Let materials have a new life

It’s great to recycle paper, glass, metal, and plastic, but don’t just throw things in your blue bin and hope they’ll be recycled. Learn the recycling rules in your area; otherwise, items will end up in the landfill. In fact, only 9% of Canada’s plastic waste was recycled in 2019, with 86 percent ending up in landfills. Contamination occurs when food remains in containers or when paper and plastic are mixed together, resulting in the entire recycling bin being destined for the landfill because it cannot be repurposed.
We only recycle about 11 percent of our waste in Canada, owing to a lack of markets for all of the plastic we recycle.

Break it down

Composting your household waste saves tonnes of garbage because most landfills contain around 60% organic matter. Our flower beds and vegetable gardens benefit from the nutrient-rich fertiliser it provides. If your community has a green bin programme for organic waste, it’s simple to fall into the habit of throwing food scraps in there.

Some easy ways to go zero waste

  • Use your own containers to buy food in bulk.
  • Buy shampoo and soap in bars instead of bottles.
  • Wash windows with newspaper (this also helps reduce streaks—an added bonus!)
  • Plant a vegetable garden to cut down on plastic-wrapped produce from the grocery store.
  • Make your own stock from chicken bones or veggie scraps instead of buying it.
  • Swap out plastic toothbrushes and cotton swabs for compostable bamboo ones
  • Buy toilet paper that’s individually wrapped in paper, not plastic.
  • Invest in a bidet, like Tushy or Brondell, and avoid the need for toilet paper in general. If more people adopted bidets into their homes, somewhere around 15 million trees could be saved! Contrary to belief, a bidet uses less water than toilet paper. A bidet uses roughly one-eighth of a gallon of water, while it takes about 37 gallons of water to make a single roll of toilet paper.
  • Cover leftovers with a plate, not plastic wrap.
  • Shop at farmers’ markets where they’ll take your egg cartons and berry baskets back.
  • Use reclaimed or eco-friendly materials in your home renovations.

In a room-by-room breakdown, Bea Johnson offers more great trips and hacks. While adopting a zero-waste lifestyle will not happen overnight, there are simple steps you can take to get there. See how many small, eco-friendly steps you can take to get started on your zero-waste lifestyle!

A Smart Home Guide for Beginners: Where to Start

Devices, appliances, and environmental systems around our homes have become WiFi and internet enabled as the Internet of Things (IoT) has grown exponentially. This has resulted in smart home technology, which allows you to control nearly everything electrical in your home from a single device (typically a smartphone or tablet), regardless of whether you are inside or outside. This is an understandably complex and perplexing new world. It is, however, simple to embrace with a simple start. Let’s look into the fundamentals of setting up a smart home.

What is a smart home?

Smart homes are made up of all the devices (including appliances) that can be controlled and automated remotely over the internet via a home wireless (WiFi) network. From home security systems and kitchen appliances to something as simple as a lightbulb or an electrical outlet, smart home devices are everywhere.Your smart home system can be controlled using an app installed on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, which allows you to connect and control your smart devices. You’ll never forget to run the dishwasher or turn off the lights again with hands-on monitoring, control, and automation.

Other advantages of smart home automation, aside from the convenience of having everything at your fingertips, include:

Increased comfort: With better lighting and thermostat control, your home will always be at the perfect temperature when you arrive home or wake up in the morning.Better energy efficiency: Having more precise control over unused appliances and devices means consuming less energy.

Increased security: You’ll never have to worry about your belongings when you’re not at home with home security and camera integration.

Added security: Don’t worry if you leave something on the stove or oven unattended; you can turn them off remotely!

Better understanding: Smart home systems can give you a lot of information about your habits and how you use your devices around the house.

Where should I start?

When designing your smart home, the most important factor to consider is a smart system app or hub. While most systems apps don’t require a physical hub to give you control over your devices, a smart hub makes voice commands much easier. The following are some of the most popular smart system apps and hubs:

Amazon Alexa; Google Assistant; Samsung Smart Things; Wink Hub. 

If you’re primarily interested in home security and environmental control, you can contact a home security or monitoring company, or even your cellular or internet provider in some cases. Home monitoring is available from Bell, Telus, Rogers, and ecobee, with some even including additional automation features.Note that the services listed above require a monthly plan, and you may be charged a fee if you want to add more devices or appliances.

Smart devices to get started with

The next step is to choose some smart devices to connect to your smart system so that you can get started right away. When installing smart devices, the main difference you’ll notice is the extra steps required to connect them to your WiFi network. It may appear complicated at first, but manufacturers always include simple setup instructions, and if you run into any problems, they usually have excellent customer service to assist you.When looking for these kinds of products, it’s always a good idea to look at customer feedback and reviews on multiple retailer’s websites. You’ll also want to double-check that they’re compatible with your smart system app to avoid the hassle of having to manage your home through multiple apps.

Smart home hub: You’ll still be able to control everything through your smart system app, but the voice command capabilities of this option mean you won’t always need your phone to control your home. Some hubs, such as Amazon Echo and Google Nest, also function as speakers, allowing you to listen to your favourite music whenever you want.Range of prices: $50 to $400

Smart thermostat: This device is more than just a programmable thermostat replacement. Have you forgotten to turn down the heat when you leave for the day? It’s no problem! Your home’s heating and cooling can be controlled and automated from anywhere. Some smart systems can even track your habits and adjust the temperature automatically as a result.Range of prices: ~$40 to $300

Smart light bulbs: You can now control the intensity, timing, and even colour of these intuitive LED options, which are not only more energy efficient than their incandescent counterparts. Simply replace your existing bulbs, connect to your smart system, and leave the rest to your fingers.The price range is $5 to $60.

Smart switches: A modern alternative to traditional switches and dimmers, smart switches eliminate the need to replace bulbs and provide complete remote control of your room lights. Imagine never having to get out of your comfortable bed or dinner to adjust the lights!The price range is between $20 and $80.

Smart outlets and power bars: Yes, even an outlet or a power bar can be smart! Simple objects such as lamps, fans, and basic coffee makers are transformed into remotely programmable and automated devices using these devices.Range of prices: $11 to $40

Smart cameras: If you use a regular CCTV (closed circuit television) camera system, you know how frustrating it can be to sift through hours of footage. Smart cameras’ intuitive motion sensor technology allows them to record only when motion is detected. They can also notify you of any motion detected and you can even view the video feed in real-time using a mobile device or computer. Now if you’re on vacation and someone attempts to gain entry to your home, you can immediately contact authorities.Price range: ~$50 to $500+

Smart door locks/deadbolts: With a smart lock, you’ll never have to worry about fumbling for your keys with an armload of groceries. The mobile phone in your pocket will unlock it as you approach the door. Some locks are also code-enabled, while others can still use a traditional key in the event you forget your phone. You can also text one-time entry codes to family, neighbours, or even service providers if urgent entry is needed.Price range: ~$85 to $350

Smart range/stove/oven: Replacing your existing stove with a smart stove is a culinary game changer. You can pre-heat, adjust, and shut it off remotely. A smart oven’s intuitive cooking technology can even make automatic adjustments based on what you’re cooking so you end up with the perfect dish, every time.Price range: ~$850 to $10,000+

Once you’ve made your home smart and are comfortable with your smart devices, which can be found at most big-box stores, you should definitely look into what these other smart appliances have to offer. Of course, there is a learning curve here, and upgrading your home’s technology is a big change, but the benefits of convenience, energy savings, and overall comfort and security make it worthwhile. Best of luck!

16 Ways to Stay Busy this Winter

When the amount of sunlight is at its lowest, motivation can be difficult to come by, but there are plenty of tasks, activities, and projects to keep you busy, productive, and healthy until spring arrives.

1. Write out a meal plan.
Make use of those recipes you’ve saved and come up with a delicious dinner menu. Meal plans can help you get in the kitchen and be more creative. Make a weekly shopping list based on the recipes you’ve chosen so you’ll have everything you need on hand. When your family asks, “What’s for dinner?” you’ll feel organised, prepared, and confident.

2. Declutter and organize.
With the hustle and bustle of the holidays and the start of the new year, chances are you still have some cleaning and organising to do around your house. Clutter and chaos cause stress, so getting rid of old or unwanted items can help you relax by clearing your space. Save any old toys or books in a box. Toss out any socks that have holes in them. Anything in good working order that is no longer needed in your home can be donated to a local Goodwill, shelter, food bank, or other community outreach programme. You’ll be astounded at how much lighter and happier you feel!

3. Paint a wall.
After months of staring at the same four walls, it’s time for a change of scenery, so why not spice things up with a can of paint? Paint a dark space white to brighten it up. By going dark, you can add drama to a room. Make a statement in your living room with a vibrant feature wall. A simple can of paint is a cost-effective and simple way to transform your space.

4. Plant an indoor herb garden.
There’s nothing like fresh herbs to boost flavour, add colour, and provide a variety of nutrients to your meals. Planting a herb garden is a great way to ensure that you have fresh herbs all year. So toss out those store-bought herbs and pick up an indoor growing kit to get started on your countertop garden today.

5. Enjoy an at-home spa day.
For an at-home spa day, gather the bubble bath, candles, mud masks, and soothing music. Allow yourself a few hours to unwind and pamper yourself. Give yourself a facial, manicure, or pedicure, or engage in any other form of self-care you’ve been putting off. This one small act of self-care can have a big payoff.6. Try a small DIY.
Why not try one of the many simple and quick DIY projects available on the internet? Experiment with a variety of small DIY projects, from terracotta paint to shibori, to find one that you enjoy.

7. Swap your lightbulbs.
Did you know that new, energy-efficient LEDs use only 20%–25% of the energy used by traditional incandescent bulbs and can last 15–25 times longer? Making the switch is well worth the investment, as it will save you hundreds of dollars over the life of the bulbs.8. Redecorate for winter.
The harsh winter weather can make you crave warmth, cosiness, and comfort; adding these five must-have décor items to your space will transform it and give it that desired cosy vibe.

9. Stay active.
With winter in full swing and snow up to your knees, getting outside for the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity each day can be difficult. Setting up a small work-out area in your home can help you stay motivated and on track with your objectives. If you’re looking for workout inspiration or ideas, there are thousands of free and paid workout videos available online.

10. Have a movie night.
It’s movie night, so grab some snacks, pop some popcorn, and gather the family! Put everyone’s choice in a hat and draw a title if your family is having trouble deciding on a movie. It keeps things fair and square!

11. Do some good for others.
February, we can all agree, is a difficult month for everyone. An act of kindness can bring a smile to someone’s face. Paying for the person behind you in line at the drive-through or shovelling your neighbor’s driveway are both examples of simple acts of kindness. You’ll feel good, and they’ll feel good, too–a it’s win-win situation!

12. Make a reno list.
Do you have a mental list of all the home improvements you want to make? Get all of your thoughts out of your head and onto paper. Budget, timeline, and materials are all details that can help you prioritise and plan your attack.

13. Plan something to look forward to.While a trip to a tropical island may be out of the question for the time being, planning a trip, event, or special activity will give you something to anticipate.

14. Deep clean.
While a trip to a tropical island is unlikely for the time being, planning a trip, event, or special activity will provide you with something to look forward to.

15. Mend your clothes. Sew the button back on your blouse or hem those too-long pants. You’ll be glad you did it later. We’re confident that these 16 activities will help you beat the winter blues and live a happier life. How do you keep yourself occupied during the dreary winter months?

16. Binge-watch a new show.
If you subscribe to a streaming service like Netflix or Amazon Prime, you’ll have access to thousands of new (or old) shows waiting to be binge-watched. There are plenty of options to keep you occupied, ranging from home décor before-and-after shows to classics like Friends.

Do Yesterday’s Trends Hold Up Today?

To say that 2020 was a tough year is like saying that in the winter, Canada is a bit cold. The thing we might remember most from a design point of view is simply keeping the coffee table clear.Let’s take a light-hearted look at some of the more questionable design choices of days past, to take a break from the seriousness of the modern day. Knowing what goes around, we’re going to do it carefully, just in case the shag carpet starts trending in 2021!

The 1950s
Mid-Century Modern is fantastic in the mid-century. For the 1950s, there’s just one little question we have. What about the pink one? Sure, a makeover was necessary for the drab khaki years, but the influx of pink tiles and sinks in later decades sparked many renovation counterattacks. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the colour pink, to be clear, but it could have pushed some limits to use it in these amounts.

The 1960s
Shag’s carpet may have kept our feet warm, but it’s a bit of an eyesore of the decade from a visual standpoint. In the 60s, Shag’s carpeting was all the rage, and for that you can thank Brady Bunch. Their house featured many colours of wall-to-wall carpeting, prompting a fresh trend across households everywhere. Anyone who bought a house after the Shag era ended, however, will tell you that when doing renovations, it was the first thing to go. Shag carpeting is still around these days, but instead of wall-to-wall decor, it’s cleverly used for smaller area rugs.

The 1970s
It’s not that much that wood doesn’t have a place on walls. It does, and a design feature that goes back centuries has been panelling. Even today, it’s a stylish and practical alternative. What, then, happened in the 1970s to wood panels? We got glorified cardboard instead of tasteful, upscale presentations. It was affordable and lined a lot of a basement much faster than conventional construction of drywall, but perhaps this was where the “wreck room” mispelling originated.

The 1980s
Harvesting gold, particularly in the form of appliance colours, could be the biggest stain in the 80s, as pink defined the worst of the 50s. That says a lot when you consider the floral or pastel-related offences committed in the Miami Vice Decade by Laura Ashley. In earlier decades, Harvest gold appliances existed, but in the 80s they reached epic proportions. Luckily, the move to energy-efficient appliances hastened this unflattering retro shade’s turnover.

The 1990s
The design disasters of this decade seem somehow less dramatic, since we are more than two decades away from the 90s. Though Monica Gellar’s eclectic apartment in Friends probably sparked some failed imitations, the period may be too close for a horrified perspective to fully develop. The decorative wallpaper border trend, though, is not one that is gracefully ageing. It may remain a valid choice when used with restraint, but the ethos of the 90s had a definite “border for every room.” It was often overdone, giving a two-dimensional impression that was as flat as the borders themselves, even though the appeal was a quick and affordable way to perk up a tired room.

Although they may not be “trendy” anymore, in these design trends there is some definite comfort, bringing us back to a time that seemed a bit more simple. History suggests that even now, even though we sit comfortably in the midst of these future horrors, we’re committing design faux-pas that will horrify our children and grandchildren. There is some comfort in knowing that there is a chance, however small, that one of our descendants may choose a gold refrigerator or pink bathroom tile for harvesting. As they say, what goes around comes around.

Remote Work is Changing Homebuyer Needs

With more companies figuring out how to efficiently and effectively enable their employees to work remotely (and for longer than most of us initially expected), homeowners throughout the country are re-evaluating their needs. Do I still need to live close to my company’s office building? Do I need a larger home with more office space? Would making a move to the suburbs make more sense for my family? All of these questions are on the table for many people as we ride the wave of the current health crisis and consider evolving homeownership needs.

According to George Ratiu, Senior Economist for realtor.com:

“The ability to work remotely is expanding home shoppers’ geographic options and driving their motivation to buy, even if it means a longer commute, at least in the short term…Although it’s too early to tell what long-term impact the COVID-era of remote work will have on housing, it’s clear that the pandemic is shaping how people live and work under the same roof.” 

Working remotely is definitely changing how people spend their time at home, and also how they use their available square footage. Homeowners aren’t just looking for a room for a home office, either. The desire to have a home gym, an updated kitchen, and more space in general – indoor and outdoor – are all key factors motivating some buyers to change their home search parameters.

A recent realtor.com-HarrisX survey indicates:

“In a June poll of 2,000 potential home shoppers who indicated plans to make a purchase in the next year, 63% of those currently working from home stated their potential purchase as a result of their ability to work remotely, while nearly 40% [of] that number expected to purchase a home within four to six months and 13% said changes related to pandemic fueled their interest in buying a new home.

Clearly, people are thinking differently about homeownership today, and through a new lens. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) notes:

“New single-family home sales jumped in June, as housing demand was supported by low-interest rates, a renewed consumer focus on the importance of housing, and rising demand in lower-density markets like suburbs and exurbs.”

Through these challenging times, you may have found your home becoming your office, your children’s classroom, your workout facility, and your family’s safe haven. This has quickly shifted what home truly means to many families. More than ever, having a place to focus on professional productivity while many competing priorities (and distractions!) are knocking on your door is challenging homeowners to get creative, use space wisely, and ultimately find a place where all of these essential needs can realistically be met. In many cases, a new home is the best option.

In today’s real estate market, making a move while mortgage rates are hovering at historic lows may enable you to purchase more home for your money, just when you and your family need it most.

If you are interested in buying or selling a home, call Bill & Start Packing at 705-238-6001. Making a move into a larger home may be exactly what you need to set your family up for optimal long-term success.

Things You Need to know To Pass Your Home Inspection

What to do during a home inspection

What is a home inspection?

Home inspection is a report on the overall condition of the home. As per the state’s guidelines, the home should recognize well-being, security, or major mechanical issues.

How do you Choose your Home Inspector?

Most home purchasers decide to make the close depending upon the consequence of the home review.

It is helpful that you discover a list of inspectors in your state or zone that has a place with the nonprofit professional organization

It is best to look for Home Advisors and Yelp Reviews.

What Do Home Inspectors Look For?

Try not to be worried about the number of imperfections recorded on your report. The same number will be so minor you won’t have trouble to fix them. Rather, focus on the reality of the home’s issues.

By having an understanding of these 11 problem areas as you walk through your home, you’ll be arming yourself against future disappointment

  1. Defective Plumbing – Plumbing and water-sealing imperfections can be notorious causes behind the debasement of auxiliary quality and respectability of a structure.
  2. Damp or Wet Basement – Most storm cellars present at any rate the likelihood that wetness will intrude, basically by the fact of the way that they’re incorporated with the ground.
  3. Inadequate Wiring & Electrical – An electrical risk exists when the wire is too little a measure for the flow it will convey
  4. Poor Heating & Cooling Systems – Insufficient insulation, and an inadequate or a poorly functioning heating system, are the most common causes of poor heating
  5. Roofing Problems – Address any bugs with a spray or professional exterminator. Any indication of an infestation will alarm an inspector.
  6. Damp Attic Spaces –
  7. Rotting Wood – The building inspector will now and again test the wood to check whether this is available – particularly when the wood has been newly painted.
  8. Masonry Work – Brickwork requires tools for different purposes, for example for the handling of mortar, for the dressing of stone, for cutting of blocks to get required shape
  9. Unsafe or Overfused Electrical Circuit – With regards to your home’s electrical framework, well-being and security are foremost. A little issue with the wiring can cause a fire. It can even form into a shock hazard making the property dangerous for your family.
  10. Adequate Security Features – Installing a home security system intends to ensure your home and resources and to keep your family protected from potential break-ins by criminals.
  11. Structural/Foundation Problems – Your home’s basic structure relies upon the quality of your foundation. It supports everything else – dividers, windows, floors, entryways, rooftop – so when your establishment is harmed, it can cause significant issues all through your home

HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR HOME INSPECTION?

  • Keep your receipts of any services you’ve at any point had on your home or its parts.
  • Put away the messiness in spaces like storm cellar, storage room, carport, and slither spaces.
  • Be certain that the examiner has access to the electrical panel, heater, and water heater.
  • Lock up your pets to avoid your pets from running around the house.
  • You will have to ensure that the lights are working and not worn out. If the lights aren’t working, it could be an indication of electrical issues.
  • Run water in every sink and bath to check for clogs as this could signify a plumbing issue in the report.
  • Replace filters in the HVAC system. Filthy air channels bargain the air quality in the home and will raise a warning for the assessor
  • Remove soil away from the exterior on the outside to stay away from storm cellar water issues, which is a top thing inspector search for
  • Fix any split windows or broken screens

What it’s like living in a waterfront home

Every year, at least 1,000 waterfront properties in Cottage Country go up for sale. Many families living in Toronto dream of owning their very own waterfront cottage. Others are ready to retire to a less hectic place where they can enjoy more land, more nature, more outdoor activities, and a waterfront home.

Ontario is blessed with having over 250,000 lakes and over 100,000 kilometers of rivers, so finding your perfect waterfront property is more about knowing where to look. Few other agents in the area possess over 20 years of knowledge and experience that the Lake Country Real Estate Team has when it comes to waterfront houses, so if you are wondering where to look give us a call. But what’s it like living in a waterfront home? Renting a seasonal waterfront cottage is all fun and games in the summer, but permanently living there are two totally different scenarios. To answer this question we first have to talk about what are all the different types of waterfront homes and how they differ.

Lakefront

By far the most popular option in Ontario, with so many lakes wherever you go, the Cottage Country lifestyle is fueled by embracing the resourcefulness of Ontario’s lakes. With spectacular views, calm fresh waters, and a seemingly endless amount of water related activities, living on a lakefront property might be the dream most people strive for. Ontario lakes can be large and vast allowing you to enjoy anything you want from boat rides and fishing, to water skiing and tubing. Large lakes like Lake Simcoe or Lake Couchiching tend to have larger homes and docks which allows its residents the ability to launch and park their boats on their property. Of course as everyone knows, larger homes equal higher price tags, especially in waterfront properties.

Smaller lakes, on the other hand, provide a cheaper price point but there may be restrictions as to how much you can do. Some small lakes restrict motorized boats, allowing homeowners to only enjoy water activities using canoes or kayaks. Also, if price is a big factor, you may have to drive farther than you think as waterfront homes become cheaper the farther away you are from a big city, and how small the lake is.

One problem that affects all waterfront properties, regardless of size, are mosquitoes and bugs. Expect bugs to surround your home in all seasons, except winter of course. In winter, living on a lake can also be a great thing as some lakes do freeze over. Having a frozen lake opens a lot of winter activities right at your doorstep, ice fishing, snowmobiling, and more! You have to be aware that ice can destroy your dock and your boat; so every fall, waterfront owners have to store their boats above water as well as their docks.

Riverfront

Next time you are looking at purchasing a waterfront property, ask us to show you a riverfront one as you may be in for a treat. Riverfront property offers many of the same perks lakefront properties but at a more attractive price tag. You can still enjoy activities such as water skiing, kayaking, paddleboarding and more, but you might have more neighbours around you doing the same thing. Some riverfront properties have homes closer together with neighbours on the other side of the river.

Another point worth noting is that some rivers have restrictions on boat speed, requiring you to travel to an open body of water in order to engage in more water activities. If your river is part of the Trent Severn Waterway then it would not be an issue as you can travel anywhere in the world which is a fantastic option for boaters. If you are looking at owning a waterfront property to use your boat, you have to be aware that some rivers are narrow, restricting you where you can launch your boat and how far out you can build a dock. Commonly, you would be required to launch your boat from a marina nearby and sail to your property which means a longer commute and fuel expenses. Some rivers are so shallow that you wouldn’t be allowed boat access. Because there are a higher amount of properties closer together, rivers tend to be busier and maneuvering in and out of it might be a struggle.

Many of the same issues that plague lakefront can also affect riverfront, including insects and mosquitoes. In winter, boat owners also require their boats be stored above water, but unlike lakefront properties, riverfront doesn’t allow you the space to be able to store your boat in your own property. Boats would have to be retrieved at the nearby marina and driven to storage.

There are so many nuances with waterfront properties that you need the right people to help you navigate through it all. This is merely an introduction to all the different features that come with living in a waterfront home. Luckily, you have landed on the right team that is ready to take on the task of helping you find your perfect home. The Lake Country Real Estate Team are experts in waterfront properties with over 600 transactions under their belt and more than 45 years combined experience. We look forward to your call: 705-238-6001

Things You Need to know To Pass Your Home Inspection

What to do during a home inspection

What is a home inspection?

Home inspection is a report on the overall condition of the home. As per the state’s guidelines, the home should recognize well-being, security, or major mechanical issues.

How do you Choose your Home Inspector?

Most home purchasers decide to make the close depending upon the consequence of the home review.

It is helpful that you discover a list of inspectors in your state or zone that has a place with the nonprofit professional organization

It is best to look for Home Advisors and Yelp Reviews.

What Do Home Inspectors Look For?

Try not to be worried about the number of imperfections recorded on your report. The same number will be so minor you won’t have trouble to fix them. Rather, focus on the reality of the home’s issues.

By having an understanding of these 11 problem areas as you walk through your home, you’ll be arming yourself against future disappointment

  1. Defective Plumbing – Plumbing and water-sealing imperfections can be notorious causes behind the debasement of auxiliary quality and respectability of a structure.
  2. Damp or Wet Basement – Most storm cellars present at any rate the likelihood that wetness will intrude, basically by the fact of the way that they’re incorporated with the ground.
  3. Inadequate Wiring & Electrical – An electrical risk exists when the wire is too little a measure for the flow it will convey
  4. Poor Heating & Cooling Systems – Insufficient insulation, and an inadequate or a poorly functioning heating system, are the most common causes of poor heating
  5. Roofing Problems – Address any bugs with a spray or professional exterminator. Any indication of an infestation will alarm an inspector.
  6. Damp Attic Spaces –
  7. Rotting Wood – The building inspector will now and again test the wood to check whether this is available – particularly when the wood has been newly painted.
  8. Masonry Work – Brickwork requires tools for different purposes, for example for the handling of mortar, for the dressing of stone, for cutting of blocks to get required shape
  9. Unsafe or Overfused Electrical Circuit – With regards to your home’s electrical framework, well-being and security are foremost. A little issue with the wiring can cause a fire. It can even form into a shock hazard making the property dangerous for your family.
  10. Adequate Security Features – Installing a home security system intends to ensure your home and resources and to keep your family protected from potential break-ins by criminals.
  11. Structural/Foundation Problems – Your home’s basic structure relies upon the quality of your foundation. It supports everything else – dividers, windows, floors, entryways, rooftop – so when your establishment is harmed, it can cause significant issues all through your home

HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR HOME INSPECTION?

Keep your receipts of any services you’ve at any point had on your home or its parts.
Put away the messiness in spaces like storm cellar, storage room, carport, and slither spaces.
Be certain that the examiner has access to the electrical panel, heater, and water heater.
Lock up your pets to avoid your pets from running around the house.
You will have to ensure that the lights are working and not worn out. If the lights aren’t working, it could be an indication of electrical issues.
Run water in every sink and bath to check for clogs as this could signify a plumbing issue in the report.
Replace filters in the HVAC system. Filthy air channels bargain the air quality in the home and will raise a warning for the assessor
Remove soil away from the exterior on the outside to stay away from storm cellar water issues, which is a top thing inspector search for
Fix any split windows or broken screens