Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Attention Landlords and Tenants in Ontario – Ontario Standard Leases Are Coming

Are you a landlord or tenant in Ontario? If you are, or are considering becoming one in the near future, we have a timely post for you today.  Mandatory changes are coming to residential lease agreements in the province, and here is what you need to know.

What is Happening With Residential Leases In Ontario?
Landlords of most private residential units in Ontario must start using the standard lease template for all new leases.

When Is This Starting?
These standard leases must be used in Ontario starting April 30, 2018.

Who Decided This?
The Ontario Liberal Government – through the Ministry of Municipal Affairs/Ministry of Housing.

Where Can I Find a Copy of this Standard Lease?
Visit the Central Forms Repository on the Government of Ontario website to download the form.

What is the Purpose of this Standard Lease?
Three primary reasons are stated:
  1. To help landlords and tenants understand their rights.
  2. Reduce illegal terms in leases and misunderstandings regarding verbal agreements.
  3. Reduce the need for Landlord Tenant Board (LTB) hearings to resolves disputes.

What Else Should I Know About Standard Leases?
In the leases, there are mandatory terms (that must be completed and cannot be altered), there are optional additional terms (which allow for unique terms to be agreed to by landlord/tenant) and general information on rights and responsibilities (Ie. subletting, pets, guests, etc).

What Are Our Thoughts On This Issue?
Whether we like it out not it, this will soon be the law. So we will have to deal with it and adapt. First impression is that it will further swing the pendulum towards tenant rights more so than it already is. But fingers crossed that if it doesn’t work the way it is expected to, or if it causes specific problems related to clauses, etc., the government will listen to feedback from the industry and amend this standard lease to get it right.
What are your thoughts on the Standard Lease? We’d love to hear from your landlord/tenant perspective.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Real Estate Insider: February 2018 News Report

Welcome back to the Real Estate Insider, readers! This past month, we came across a variety of hot topics you'll want to invest some reading time in, including how marijuana may boost the value of your home, why you should know your credit score, and why you shouldn't chase the lowest mortgage rate!


There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding on either a fixed or variable rate mortgage, and everyone is different. Luckily, ‘’ has compiled a checklist to make your decision easier! Check it out: >>


Mortgage rates are seeing a steady increase for the first time since the early 1990’s, and that trend isn’t stopping next renewal term! Are you prepared for a rate increase? Read more about current trends here. >>


DON’T GET TRICKED BY CHASING THE LOWEST MORTGAGE RATE! There are so many other factors that could save you so much more money in the long run! Read about them all here. >>


There are a lot of expected benefits from the legalization of marijuana, and a boost in housing prices may be one of them! A Study in America found homes close to recreational ‘pot shops’ saw an increase in value by about 8%. Read more here. >>


Are you aware of you Debt-To-Income ratio? It may be time to take a look! Learn what it is and why it is so important when qualifying for a mortgage or line of credit! >>


With the recent real estate “Boom” in Toronto, we have seen the number of people getting their real estate license do an equally impressive “Boom”, but how many of these new agents are successful? How many Toronto realtors are doing less than 1 deal per year? The number will almost certainly shock you, and they are all laid out for you here. >>


While young adults living with their parents give them the ability to save money, study has shown that it may be draining the parent’s retirement funds by more than 24%! Read more about the increasing trend here. >>


Do you want to invest in Real Estate but maybe aren’t ready buy an investment property? Here are 6 ways to passively invest in the growing real estate market! >>


Capital Gains tax has been a hot topic in recent months; especially since house flipping and income properties have increased in popularity. But what about when you are about to inherit some real estate from a relative? How does the taxation work? Read this article to find out the best way to approach these situations. >>


Knowing your credit score is important! Get your credit score and report for free here! >>

Friday, February 23, 2018

Russel's Review: The Real Estate Retirement Plan By Calum Ross

A lot of people ask us for recommendations on real estate and related books to read.  Well, today we are going to start a new periodic series on the blog that reviews recent real estate books that we’ve read.  So without further ado, here goes…

What is the Book?

The Real Estate Retirement Plan – An Investment and Lifestyle Solution for Canadians by Calum Ross with Simon Giannini.

What You'll Learn

The book starts by talking about traditional retirement and why, for many reasons, today’s younger and middle aged population will not be able to look forward to some of the typical retirement income sources of previous generations (ie workplace pensions, generous government entitlements, etc). The population needs to prepare itself for funding their own retirements going forward.

It then segues into a "good debt vs bad debt" discussion about how the public has no problem borrowing to buy depreciating assets like cars or other toys, but find it risky to borrow to invest and buy cash flowing and appreciating assets (ie real estate or equities). People need to start viewing their personal balance sheet more like a corporation, get rid of their bad debt, and also convert their dead equity (ie equity in their personal residence) into productive equity by using it to invest.  The best way to do that for most people would be to refinance equity in their home to buy additional investments, either cash flowing real estate or dividend paying equities. Come retirement time, this strategy should pay off in spades, and the author shares many examples.

Later in the book it talks about building your team, such a mortgage broker and real estate agent, and later about investing in real estate and how to profit from this borrow to invest strategy long term.

Why I Recommend It

I agree with the majority of the concepts in the book and put them into practice personally and with our clients all the time.  It's especially good for beginners as it's written with easy to understand terms.

My Critique

Some of the examples used I thought were pretty rosy. This is definitely not a get rich quick concept; more of slow, steady climb in wealth concept. Don’t want to people thinking this stuff is easy!

So there you have it folks.  Our first book review on the blog. If there are any other books you are interested in hearing about feel free to drop us a line .

Check out our video review of this book here!

You can order a copy online today at Amazon and Indigo. Happy reading!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Real Estate Insider: January 2018 News Report

Will your next home be in a mall? Who pays for what in a domestic relationship? Thinking about doing some renovating this Spring? We cover all that and more in this month's Real Estate Insider, including the latest real estate developments in Canada this monthplus we might even help you save some serious cash.

Thinking of investing in Real Estate? Capitalization Rates can be one of the easiest and most common methods of valuation used in the market today! Learn about Cap Rates and why they are so important for investors! >>


Whether you are a Buyer or a Seller, you need to know the difference between Patent and Latent Defects. This video covers what they are, and what needs to be disclosed when selling a home. >>


Don’t get hit with sticker shock when doing your first kitchen renovation! This article will help you understand the costs and how much to budget so you can be safe rather than sorry! >>


If there’s one thing you should be it’s efficient. Read these simple tips and tricks to stay cozy and be energy efficient this winter! >>


Moving in with your partner can be an exciting and confusing experience, with one of the most common questions being “Who pays for what?” Read this article for some steps to take when pooling assets together with your significant other. >>


Watch this video to learn “5 things to know when selling a home occupied by a Tenant”: >>


With the announcement of another interest rate hike, be sure to keep informed with some of the key takeaways and what this and future rate hikes mean for the Canadian economy. >>


When one door closes, another opens! With the struggling retail market in Canada leaving large vacancies, Canadian mall owners are seeking to convert these prime spaces into condos in some of the largest most vacant land deficient cities in Canada. >>


Now that everyone is familiar with the new mortgage “Stress Test”, here are 5 things that will happen in response to this new mortgage policy. >>


Personal Loan Vs Line of Credit: read this article to learn the pros and cons of each. >>

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

2017 Real Estate Year in Review – Dissecting the Stats

Well, we are now fully into mid January and 2018 is in full swing.  Hopefully those of you that made new year’s resolutions have stuck to them so far .  If one of your resolutions was to stay informed on the Windsor-Essex real estate market, then you have come to the right place!  Today, we are going to be reviewing the 2017 Windsor-Essex County Association of Realtors statistics.

Listings Year Over Year Fell 2%
Listings were slightly down from 2016, and many people already thought 2016 was a year of low inventory.  In 2017, we burned through even more inventory and there are less properties for buyers to go around as we start 2018.  One might’ve assumed the hot market would entice more people to list their properties but the stats don’t tell that story.

Units Sold Rose 2% Year Over Year
The total number of property transactions increased by 2% over a great 2016 year!  It's not a huge increase, but combining that with a decline in listings and inventory being eaten up, a 2% increase in units sales isn't enough to explain all the craziness of the 2017 market. That leads us to our next stat...

Average Sale Price Increased 17% Year Over Year
The average sale price in the area increased from from $225,906 to $264,750 during that period.  A banner year on a percentage basis and one of the best our local market has even seen.  Strong activity across the board and a healthy sellers market.  But when comparing the price increase to the listing and unit sales activity (with modest moves), the number seems a little out of whack.  Why is that?  To try to figure it out we’ll dive into the December monthly statistics.

In December 2017,  16.83% of sales were of Properties that Sold for $420,000+
When the board breaks down sales by price range, they have increments of $40,000-$60,000.  Starting at $0-$60,000, $60,000-$99,999, etc, up to $420,000+ as the highest range, the highest range had the second highest sales activity next to only $140,000-$179,999 (17.16%).  Basically, we’ve been selling way more high priced properties!  I think a lot of this can be contributed to the booming year in new construction and for detached homes, with $420,000+ at the low end of that price range.  The next point will help us further illustrate and hopefully drive the message home.

In December 2017, Average sale price increased 36% Year Over Year!
Wow, now that is pretty amazing.  Prices in those 30 days went from an average of $220,053 in 2016, all the way to $300,314 in 2017.  The first time we ever remember seeing an average price with a 3 handle!  Not that long ago our average prices still had a 1 handle!  In this 30 day period the main contributor to the huge spike in average prices was the healthy activity in the higher priced properties.

There is our brief but hopefully helpful review of the 2017 market statistics.  If there are any topics you’d like to read about in 2018, drop us a line and we’d be happy to try and incorporate it into a future post.  Happy new year everyone!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Real Estate Insider: December 2017 News Report

Looking to buy, sell, rent, upgrade, or even change cities? Here's 13 topics you need to read to stay in the loop!


Are you renting out a room or level of your Primary Residence? Read this article to find out if you are still entitled to the Capital Gains Tax Exemption. >>


“Think Canadians couldn’t abandon their mortgages like Americans did in 2008? Think again” >>


Ready to go Net-Zero? Read the simple steps to take to make your current home produce enough energy to run itself! >>


BC to ban Duel-Agency in order to increase consumer protection, and could possibly be the first of many provinces to do so. >>


Looking to buy a house for a bargain? Look in January! Looking to sell your house? Don’t list it in January! The statistics don’t lie; find out why January is the best time for bargain hunters to buy a house. >>


There are new rules when Buying or Selling a house with a Tenant. Be sure to keep up to date so you stay protected! Reading this article is a good start! >>


The rapid increase in housing prices has pushed CREA to try and change RRSP rules, to allow parents to take out money for their children’s down payment. Ultimately decreasing debt and increasing buying power for first-time buyers. But whom are they really trying to help? Read more here. >>


New Federal Court ruling may force Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) to make more information available to the public. This in turn could increase competition and possibly lower prices, so why is TREB fighting so hard to appeal it? Read here. >>


With interest rate hikes looming in the near future, learn what it could possibly do with respect to mortgages, housing prices, demand, and more. >>


Breakups can be tough, especially when you two have a house or condo together. Read this article for advice on how to property split your assets after a big split. >>


The Bank of Canada announces that it left its rate locked at 1%, however points to many recent positives that could support higher rates in the near future. >>


A By-Law requiring rental housing to be licensed has been blocked by Mayor Drew Dilkens, however many people are calling for change as the sub-standard housing rental market is become dangerous and in some cases, fatal. Read more about the pros and cons of the proposed by-law here. >>


Even after the recent housing price surge in Windsor, we are still the cheapest place to own a home in Canada! Read the staggering difference in prices around Canada here. >>

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Ex-Windsorites: Make 2018 The Year To Move Back Home

Part of the boom we’ve seen in our local Windsor-Essex area in the past few years has been attributed to the large segment of Windsorites moving back home.  Whether they left for jobs, school or other factors, people are migrating back in droves.  For those of you still weighing a potential move back home to Windsor-Essex, today we are going to try and push your decision over the edge and discuss what you are missing out on!

You can drive pretty much anywhere you’d like to go in 20 minutes or less!  Traffic is one of the biggest issues of living in a big city and having a long commute is a big contributor to issues with stress and quality of life.  Give up that two hour commute and spend more time with family or at the gym everyday

I don’t know if you’ve been living under a rock, but Detroit is experiencing a renaissance these last few years.  Lots of exciting developments are underway and tens of thousands of new people are living and working again in the city.  As it grows, our area is becoming a suburb of Detroit and offers us access to many big city amenities including a major airport, all four major sports teams (Major League Soccer is also in the works), shopping, bars and restaurants, and also a large job market as many cross border workers can attest to.

Cheap Real Estate
You probably already knew this one, but Windsor-Essex still offers some of the cheapest real estate in Canada.  As you get priced out of the large Canadian markets, you’ll still more than likely be able to afford the type of home you desire in our area.  At an average price of around $260,000, you wont have to grind it out paying a mortgage your whole life!

The YQG has one of the warmest climates in Canada. Summers are longer and during winters we often "skate" by with little snow (fingers crossed for this year).  If cold winters and snow aren’t your thing, consider a move to the southernmost county in Canada.

Part of the reason lots of people left our area over the last decade was the automotive downturn and the accompanying high unemployment rate.  Well, that has more than reversed course and we now hold one of the lowest unemployment rates in Canada (below 6% this fall).  One of the main issues we face going forward is a shortage of workers in different sectors.  Apply within!

Those are just a few of the dozens of reasons you should consider moving back home to Windsor-Essex.  It really is the “Biggest Small Town” around.  What are you waiting for?  Make 2018 your year.