Category Archives: female home buyers

This smart doorbell lets you video chat with visitors from your phone

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Ever ignored the doorbell because you didn’t know who was there or weren’t expecting any visitors? Now thanks to a Chicago-based company, you can see who is at your doorstep and even talk to them from your phone.

Smart video doorbell and motion detector, Xchime, is app-enabled and allows users to see anyone at their door from virtually anywhere. Launched on crowdfunding site Indiegogo last week, the innovative doorbell includes a 1080P HD camera with night vision, a smart light and a convenient garage door opener.

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Photo: Xchime/Facebook

Developed by Chicago’s Wireless Input Technology Inc., Xchime is a small, weather-resistant gadget made with stainless steel. Using their phones, Xchime users can have live video chats with visitors, like telling the mailman where to leave a package if you’re not home. Also, visitors can leave  recorded video messages, which can be viewed later on the app.

Xchime also includes features intended to help secure homes. The doorbell is built with a discrete security camera and, whenever motion is detected within a 140 degree field of view, users will be notified through the app. Xchime also has Integrated smart light technology. When motion is detected, the doorbell’s light will turn on automatically in an effort to deter unwanted visitors.

As an add-on accessory, users can purchase a garage door opener kit allowing them to open and close their garage with a push of a button from Xchime’s app. The doorbell retails at $129 USD and the first shipment is scheduled for August 2017.

Source: BuzzBuzz News – 

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Establishing your homebuying goals

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The first step to purchasing your dream home, is determining what “dream home” means to you. Is it a spacious suburban house with a big yard? Or a sleek downtown condo just steps away from the city’s cultural attractions? Maybe it’s a country house where your family will have room to roam. Once you know what your homebuying goals are, you can plan how to get there. Here’s a three-step guide to getting started.

Step 1: Identify your homeownership goals

Not everyone has the same homeownership goals. What are yours?

Are you looking to buy a starter home? Will you resell it, in order to upgrade to a bigger family home? Or will you hold onto it as investment property?

Are you looking for a family home? Is it for your family alone, or will members of your extended family also be residing with you?

Is your plan to pay off your mortgage aggressively, or to take advantage of longer repayment terms? If you plan to pay your mortgage down fast, are you planning to host tenants in an income-generating unit within your property?

All these factors will influence your homebuying goals and homebuying criteria, so be sure you and your spouse are on the same page before you start house hunting.

Step 2: Create your new-home criteria

Think about your big-picture homeownership goals, as well as family lifestyle, when itemizing the criteria that will drive your homebuying goals.

Think about:

  • Bedrooms: Will your children share a room or each get their own?
  • The Kitchen: Do you need extra space for entertaining or for busy family meals? What about a breakfast nook where kids do homework while you cook?
  • The Bathrooms: How many baths and half-bathrooms do you need to handle morning rush hour?
  • Living/Dining: Do you have enough room? Would you prefer an open-concept space or separate rooms that can be closed off from one another?
  • Extra space: Is there room to expand into as your children grow? Could you finish the attic or basement?
  • Outdoor space: Does it suit your lifestyle? Can it be altered if this is not currently the case?
  • If you want an income-generating apartment within your home, does the space currently exist? Will it be easy to carve out, if not? What about zoning approval?
  • And of course, location, location, location: come up with search boundaries that work with your desired proximity to work, schools and local conveniences.
Step 3: Access the tools that can help you reach your home buying goals

Once you know what kind of home you’re searching for, use Genworth Canada’s online tools to crunch the numbers and make a plan for getting there.

Use the What Can I Afford calculator to determine how much of a mortgage you can carry. Use this info to fine-tune the geographic boundaries of your house search, or to reconsider some of your new-home criteria.

Keep on top of your homeownership and homebuying goals and plans by creating a profile with Genworth’s My Home Planner.

Finally learn about the Genworth Canada financial products available to you. Compare mortgage options to find the one that will turn your homebuying goals into your homeownership reality.

 

Sourece: Genworth.ca
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As uncertainty sets in, Toronto homeowners are cashing out

A pedestrian walks between homes for sale in the Leslieville neighborhood of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Saturday, March 4, 2017. In Toronto prospective buyers have found themselves in bidding wars, due in part to the largest price surge in almost 30 years and coupled with an ever tightening inventory supply. (Mark Sommerfeld/Bloomberg/Getty Images): A pedestrian walks between homes for sale in the Leslieville neighborhood of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Saturday, March 4, 2017. (Mark Sommerfeld/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

TORONTO – Sarah Blakely recalls feeling some trepidation when she and her husband shelled out more than $300,000 for a modest 1 1/2-storey house in a less-desirable part of Toronto.

Seven years later, they found themselves on the right side of a hot housing market, with values tripling in a ‘hood suddenly considered up-and-coming for young families seeking detached homes.

They recently sold that renovated three-bedroom for more than $1 million and now expect to live mortgage-free in a four-bedroom purchase in their hometown of Ottawa.

The 34-year-old says it made sense to cash out of a city that was draining their finances, energy and family time.

“My husband and I saw an opportunity to take advantage of the recent gains in real estate and to move to a less expensive city to live mortgage-free, support our savings for retirement and also to be closer to family,” says Blakely, whose new home has nearly twice the square footage.

And they may have taken action at just the right time.

Blakely’s real estate agent Josie Stern says the market appears to be cooling, and doubts Blakely could fetch that same jackpot sale today.

“A little bit of air has been let out of the bubble,” she says.

Many buyers and sellers are waiting to see what will come of Tuesday’s scheduled meeting between Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa and Toronto Mayor John Tory, who are expected to discuss ways to rein in Toronto’s hot housing market.

Meanwhile, the Ontario government is promising to announce affordability measures soon.

Stern says some buyers are delaying their purchase in anticipation of possible fixes.

“Buyers have been in such a stressful situation for so long that now they think somebody is going to save them and they’re waiting,” says Stern. “They’ve dug their heels in, they’re tired of competition and then there’s those that are still proceeding, but there’s been quite a big pullback from buyers.”

Sellers who’ve bought new homes are rushing to list their old property, she adds, but many are not getting the high bids seen a month ago.

The Toronto market has been astonishing, with the average sale in the Greater Toronto Area skyrocketing last month to $916,567. That’s up 33.2 per cent from a year ago.

With strong demand and limited supply, it wasn’t uncommon for bidding wars to result in sales hundreds of thousands of dollars above asking. And a lot of those sellers took those dollars out of the Greater Toronto Area where they can get more acreage, less congestion and still pocket a fair bit of cash.

“We’re finding that a lot of people are leaving the city,” says Stern, who estimates that about a third of her 35 sales this year involved sellers either downsizing to condos or moving to more affordable markets.

“It’s empty-nesters, it’s (couples with) babies, it’s all kinds of people that are doing this.”

Toronto skyline (Shutterstock)© Used with permission of / © Rogers Media Inc. 2017. Toronto skyline (Shutterstock)

Even with a new uncertainty in the air, it’s still a seller’s market, she adds.

One of her biggest sales was a $2-million listing that went $575,000 over asking in February. The sellers moved to the commuter city of Burlington, Ont.

They’re joining buyers priced out of the Toronto market who have gone looking for cheaper housing in smaller communities across the Golden Horseshoe, spurring other sales spikes in the region – Hamilton-Burlington homes jumped 22.6 per cent during the first two months of 2017 compared to a year earlier.

Still other buyers are looking farther afield.

Remember that relatively inexpensive Nova Scotia mansion that dominated Facebook last month?

Real estate agent Wanda Graves of Eastern Valley Real Estate says it’s sparked more inquiries from Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and B.C. house hunters suddenly hip to Eastern Canada’s charms.

Nova Scotia sellers are taking notice, and are marketing to out-of-province buyers now considered increasingly likely to make an offer.

“They know that there are buyers out there and now it’s, ‘How do we reach them?”’ says Graves.

Before selling for $455,000, the mansion in Newport Landing, N.S., drew more than one million views on her company’s website and 36,000 shares on Facebook.

It’s a story Vancouver real estate agent Melissa Wu knows well.

Years of record-setting sales saw Vancouver homeowners cash out for smaller markets with more space.

But that changed after the B.C. government introduced a 15 per cent foreign buyers’ tax last summer, which Wu says especially soured interest in west Vancouver luxury homes priced at more than $4 million.

Detached homes in the $1-million to $2-million range in east Vancouver are doing well and still notching close to record highs, says Wu.

Her recent sales included a $2-million get for a century-old home owned by a retired couple. Their plan is to downsize to an older condo costing less than $500,000. The rest of the proceeds will go to their kids and retirement fund.

She says the sale was a record high for the neighbourhood, but it took an agonizing three weeks to secure – longer than it would have last year, she says.

She advises Toronto homeowners thinking of selling to take advantage while they can.

“There’s always a shift coming in,” she says of this hot market. “Sell before it corrects.”

Stern would like to see a crackdown on real estate speculators in Toronto, citing one buyer who bought 15 properties in the last two years.

And she cautions those tempted to cash out that there’s always a risk the market won’t co-operate.

“People have been asking themselves that question since the year 2000: Should I sell? Should I cash out?

“And there have been people who have cashed out and have regretted it because they’ve seen what the market has (done) – they’ve never been able to rebuy the houses that they’ve sold.”

 

Source: MSN Money

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InFocus: The Role of Appraisals Why accurate appraisals are more important than ever before

As certain Canadian real estate markets reach dizzying new heights, homebuyers are loading themselves with debt in order to secure their place on the housing ladder. Paying over the asking price is no longer an exception to the rule and, as a result, many Canadian homebuyers are playing a risky game with their financial futures. Brokers have an important role to play in ensuring that their clients don’t buy something they can’t afford and, in these tumultuous times of economic and real estate uncertainty, securing an accurate appraisal has never been more important.

“One of the opportunities that appraisers bring to the table when asked to give their opinion is not just understanding the dynamics of the valuation, but also understanding what that means within the current market conditions,” says Dan Brewer, President of the Appraisal Institute of Canada (AIC) and licensed mortgage and real estate broker. “There appears to be a situation where people are willfully under listing properties to create a frenzy, which is potentially misleading. It makes an appraisal all the more critical in the current market.”

Brewer has been monitoring a region in Ontario where homes are consistently selling for 15 – 30% more than list price; where paying a premium is the new norm. These premiums are being driven by current supply-demand issues, and in a situation where 20+ buyers are vying to purchase a property there really is only one winner: the seller.

Despite homes selling consistently over asking and accurate valuations becoming increasingly important, Brewer still notices a lack of broker knowledge around the appraisals process and the bodies who govern the industry. “The mortgage agent world had exploded in recent years and many people don’t have the specific training they need,” Brewer says. “The AIC has several professional development programs designed specifically for broker organizations to help them train agents and investors in the market place. It’s important that everyone, including brokers and agents, gets the education they need.”

Source: MortgageBrokerNews.ca

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A potential way to end Toronto bidding wars

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New home buyer Marko Sijakovic and his fiancée had to contend with months of looking and 10 bidding wars before they were finally able to purchase their first home.

Adding to the stress of a record-breaking market was the fact that Sijakovic didn’t how many other buyers he was up against, or how much they were bidding.

“You don’t know who you’re going against you don’t know how many there are. It’s a really grey area of what’s really happening,” he said. “Sometimes I felt like I was negotiating with myself instead of a counter party.”

Click Link To Watch Video

That is the case in much of Canada, where information on other bidders or a home’s history is not revealed by realtors. Today, Ontario’s Finance Minister Charles Sousa admitted to CityNews that there is a transparency problem.

“Buyers are frustrated every time they get into these bidding wars. We recognize more and more are happening not just in Toronto but it’s expanding beyond Toronto and the GTA,” he said.

He revealed it’s an issue he’s going to bring to the table when he meets with Mayor John Tory and federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau.

However, there is a way for buyers to get a little more transparency about who else is interested in their potential dream home. In July 2015, the Real Estate Council of Ontario introduced Form 801 – giving buyers the power to request documents with the names of other potential buyers and their agents. However, exactly how much people are bidding is still top secret for potential buyers.

In other jurisdictions, more transparency is the norm. In Australia, home bidding auctions take place on the property’s front door. All interested parties come face to face and go head to head.

Buyers there can also obtain home inspection results, sale-price histories and information on recent sales of comparable and neighbouring homes — without going to an agent to get the information.

In Nova Scotia, people in the market for a new home have access to a house’s history and information about properties in the neighbourhood. And over the border in Buffalo, every time a house changes hands, the old and new owners and the selling price are listed in the local paper.

Sijakovic says that he would have welcomed information like that when he was looking for a home

“In any real market the transparency needs to be there. It doesn’t matter what you’re going to buy,” he says.

Getting the Ontario market to make the change to public bids may make sense for buyers, but real estate experts say not everyone would embrace the change.

“It’s a different way of thinking, and getting the market to adopt that is going to be an uphill battle,” says MoneySense senior editor Mark Brown. He adds that more transparency wouldn’t be much help in cases where there’s only one offer on a house, or when a home is in a highly coveted neighborhood.

Realtor David Batori says when you’re on the other side of the bid, it’s better not to reveal information. Greater transparency for bidders may mean sellers don’t get the generous offers they’re hoping for.

When it comes to concerns about phantom offers, Batori believes it’s a thing of the past. But even realtors can never be sure.

“Sometimes you have a feeling,” says. “But I can never say for sure because you just don’t know.”

Source: 680 News – by NEWS STAFF Posted Apr 6, 2017

 

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How to choose the right home for your budget

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As a first-time homebuyer, affordability is an important factor when purchasing the right home. Wondering how to find the right home for your budget? Try our three-step plan for determining how much home you can afford, so you can choose – and successfully close on – the right home for your lifestyle and price point.

 

Step 1: Dream it 

It’s easy to get caught up in other people’s ideas of the perfect starter home – design magazines and TV programs sell you on what’s hot now. Ignore the hype and sit down to itemize what’s most crucial to you and your family. Make a list of your top priorities, so you can find the right home for your budget.

Here are some key issues to consider.

Transportation

Do you need easy access to public transportation? Is dedicated parking for your car essential, or will street parking suffice? Would a secure bike locker be crucial to your commute

Recreation

Do you need a walkable park for your kids or dog? Would an on-site gym help you manage your hectic schedule?

Space

How many bedrooms do you need now? What about three to five years from now? (That is, is a baby on the horizon?) Do you need a home office for your side gig? Is a big, open-plan main floor essential, given your high-volume entertaining?

Lifestyle

Do you have the time and inclination to sacrifice hours each week to maintain a house and yard? Would you rather come home after work to a turnkey property each night? Do you want a condo with all the amenities, or would you sacrifice bells and whistles for a lower maintenance fee?

Can’t find the perfect home?Why not build yourself? Build a custom home and finance it with as little as 5% down. Find out how

Look over your list and differentiate between the must-haves and the nice-to-haves. Chances are, you might not find your entire wish list on a starter-home budget, so it’s important to know your priorities.

Step 2: Crunch some numbers

Just as important as knowing what you need in a first home is knowing what you can afford. Price dictates not only how much home you can buy but also what neighbourhoods you should be looking in.

Sit down with your partner to assess your income, debts, savings and investments, so you can anticipate how much money will be available for a down payment, and how much you can afford to pay each month in home carrying costs (mortgage payments, taxes, heating, etc.).

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Work out the monthly budget you’ll need to cover your responsibilities as a new homeowner, and start living on it now, so you can see how sustainable it is. If you find that it’s cramping your lifestyle, you will have to reassess whether homeownership is right for you, or consider a lower-priced home. 

Step 3: Assemble your real estate pros 

Once you’re ready to buy, build your real estate team: a REALTOR® or real estate agent, a mortgage specialist, a home inspector and a real estate lawyer (or notary, in Quebec). These are the pros you’ll count on to get you the keys to the right home for your budget.

Your first point person is your REALTOR® or real estate agent. Be forthright about your priorities and budget, as well as the neighbourhoods you’d like to live in. A REALTOR®’s insights are priceless, especially as they pertain to affordability. BONUS: A good REALTOR® will have the inside scoop on up-and-coming neighbourhoods that offer more bang for your homebuying buck.

The mortgage specialist is your next priority because mortgage pre-approval is essential in today’s real estate market. While it’s useful to attend open houses and check listings beforehand, most sellers won’t consider offers from potential buyers without pre-approval. Your mortgage broker will also have real-world insights into affordability, so tap into that resource early.

Next, have that home inspector on speed dial to ensure that any home you make an offer on is a home you can afford – without any major hidden costs (such as faulty wiring, asbestos or termite damage in need of remediation).

Finally, a real estate lawyer (or a notary, in Quebec) will ensure that things run smoothly with your real estate transaction, including researching the title, checking whether there are liens against the property, and verifying the accuracy of legal descriptions of the property. The lawyer also makes sure that everyone is paid appropriately, so you can take ownership of your first home without any financial bumps.

 

Source: Genworth – HomeOwnership.ca

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Real Estate Investing, It Isn’t Just for the Boys Anymore

When 51 year old stay-at-home mom and part time piano teacher Gena H. from Washington State woke her husband up at 1:15 AM and said “I want to be a real estate investor,” he patted her on the shoulder and said, “that’s nice dear.” In the morning he shared all the reasons he believed it could not work for her. Fast-forward a few years and Gena, who obviously didn’t listen to the husband she adores, is a successful and very profitable investor. She has in her words “dramatically changed the financial course for me and my entire family.”

Stories like these are coming to my attention at a rate like I’ve never seen in my well over 20 years of investing. I’ve been fortunate to watch countless people go from real estate observer to successful real estate investor. But never before has there been such a massive wave of women taking ownership of the household finances using real estate.

In watching this transition, I believe it’s due to a couple of primary factors. First, we all know that the real estate market peaked like never before around 2006, and then the bubble burst and the market crashed. It reminded me of flying down Space Mountain in Disneyland. However, after the bottom comes the inevitable shift in the market, when it begins trending back up as we are seeing now. This is truly a magical time for investors.

Second, I think we are heading into the years of more empowerment of women. I could be criticized for saying this, but I think it’s less about women’s liberation, as that was yesterday’s news. I see it as more that women are just losing any hesitation at all to do anything they want. I think it’s a very positive trend for our country. I watched my single Mom struggle to support my sister and me growing up, so I’m always cheering for the ladies. I think we are entering a whole new era of advancing equality. But that’s for another story.

Jen G., a single Mom, was working in an accounting office with no windows and too little pay each month to support her and her son. Frustrated, stressed and wanting a new path in life, she decided to reinvent herself through real estate investing. Friends and family told her real estate investing was for people with money and experience. Some even expressed resentment and actively discouraged her. Recently, Jen called to tell me: “Just six months after starting, I got to walk into my office and tell my boss I no longer needed her services!” Jen quit her job and has done more than 185 real estate transactions so far and feels she is being the Mom she always wanted to be.

Tammy R. lives in a crazy fast moving market in CA. This is a market where even seasoned investors are afraid to take the plunge. However, this determined Mom of four, who was homeschooling her children when she started investing, refused to yield to her fears. She didn’t listen to her husband who said “it won’t work for you.” Like Jen, she didn’t have a ton of money to start, but researched a method called “wholesaling.” Wholesaling is matching up monied investors with good deals, and making money in the middle. On one transaction alone she made more then she did the prior two years, and she is currently working on her 23rd deal. “You just can’t let the naysayers spoil your dreams” she said when asked about the secret of her success.

Whether you’re in a strongly rebounding large urban market like Tammy, a more rural and smaller city in Alabama that’s coming back at a slower pace like Jen, or somewhere in the middle like Gena in Washington State, it doesn’t matter. The current state of all of these markets is opening up endless opportunities for investors to gain the knowledge to profit and who aren’t afraid to go for it.

Real estate is my life, and with over 20 years of non-stop investing I’ve personally experienced that there is always a profitable strategy that fits the current market cycle. However, the massive spike in real estate, followed by the inevitable and dramatic crash, is setting up a solid rebound. I truly believe this is the greatest time for everyone who would like to secure a better future to get educated, learn from those who are doing it, and jump into real estate investing.

I’m currently doing 30 to 50 deals every month all around the country, in 9 states actually. I’m working with women like Gena, Jen and Tammy, as well as a slew of others who are crushing todays shifting real estate market rather then complaining about it.

Maybe real estate investing is cooler and more possible then you think. All I can say is that the boys better step up.

Source: The Huffington Post 07/12/2013 –   Dean Graziosi

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