Choose & Win! Two Great Contests


Buying a home is the largest financial decision most people will make. RE/MAX wants to make buying your next home easier with the “Win Your Down Payment” contest!

Whether it’s buying a house for the very first time or expanding for a growing family RE/MAX wants to help one lucky individual make their new house a home. Take the next step into a place to call your own with the expert advice of a RE/MAX Realtor.



Help your home get noticed!RE/MAX and Landscape Ontario want to help one lucky winner update the curb appeal of their home with custom designed landscaping.You could win:

    • A consultation and customized landscape design
    • Advice on all your gardening questions
  • A gardener’s care package
  • $10,000 to be redeemed on garden products and services with a Landscape Ontario member                                                                                                                                                                                        Learn more

Move-up purchasers set to increase their stake in homeownership

“Move-up purchasers set to increase their stake in homeownership in 2013, despite overall trend toward moderation, says RE/MAX”


Against a backdrop of strong equity gains and lower interest rates, move-up buyers are once again set to ramp up their role in major Canadian housing markets.

That’s the key finding of the RE/MAX Move-Up Buyers Report 2013, which examined sales and trends at trade-up price points in 16 major centres throughout the country.

 Serious average price appreciation over the past 10 years has been the primary catalyst, with compound annual growth led by Regina (11.57 per cent), Saskatoon (10.25 per cent), Winnipeg (10.03 per cent) and St. John’s (9.56 per cent). 

 Five-year appreciation was much more muted, with compounded rates of return hovering near five per cent in most centres.  Regina and Winnipeg once again bucked the trend, posting increases of 12.7 and 8.39 per cent, while St. John’s posted a four-year compound annual gain of 11 per cent.

 There’s no question that the equity position of Canadians has been remarkable.  Yet, gains remain well outside of bubble territory, particularly in the often-cited markets of Vancouver and Toronto.  And while Regina, Saskatoon and St. John’s have proven more robust, house prices are still playing catch up, given a stronger economic status and following years of steady, but modest growth.  Overall, healthy fundamentals remain in place, as enthusiasm climbs among experienced home purchasers.

 In fact, the report also noted that the time between moves has actually decreased among move-up buyers, with most now prepared to move within four to seven years of their original purchase.  Why such confidence?  The move simply makes sense.  With today’s rock bottom mortgage rates, many are able to secure a larger home and/or better neighbourhood, while taking on carrying costs just slightly higher than their original payment. 

 Inventory has played a role drawing out buyers in centres such as Vancouer, Victoria, Kelowna and Saint John, where buyer’s market conditions and—in some cases—softer pricing have created ideal opportunities.  Tight inventory levels, meanwhile, are hampering activity to some extent in Edmonton, Calgary, Regina, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto proper, Hamilton-Burlington and pockets of St. John’s.  Unless conditions improve, continued upward pressure on pricing is expected in the months ahead, but even that is prompting some to act sooner rather than later. 

 The supply crunch has created a bit of a catch-22 in some markets, as homeowners hold off listing their current home, concerned they won’t find an ideal home to trade up to, ultimately exacerbating the inventory issue.

 Yet, on the whole, the outlook remains positive, with Kelowna, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Hamilton-Burlington, and London-St. Thomas demonstrating solid move-up activity out of the gate in 2013.

 Move-up buyers remain firm in their belief that homeownership is a sound investment.  Most realize that very few financial vehicles provide the security and dual purpose that homeownership affords.  They also realize that opportunity is not finite—one reason that move-up markets remain well-positioned for the year ahead


I would like to take a minute of your time to announce my exciting news. As of January 22st 2013 I have joined RE/MAX Affiliates Realty Ltd. I am looking forward to building my business with the world’s leading real estate brokerage.

Moving forward I will continually strive to provide excellent service. In my business the most profound asset I possess is the respect and trust of current and past clients. I will continue to be committed to grow my business by repeat and referral work; bringing both my personal dedication and the industry’s best practices to ensure an outstanding, stress–free real estate experience for my clients.


1st Time Home Buyers Rebates

Home Buyers Plan – up to $25,000

If you currently have a registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) you can withdraw funds from your plan to buy or build a home for yourself or for a related person with a disability.  For the home to qualify it must be located in Canada.  Single-family homes, semi-detached homes, townhouses, mobile homes, condominium units, and apartments in duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, or apartment buildings – both resale and those newly constructed  all qualify. A share in a co-operative housing corporation that entitles you to possess, and gives you an equity interest in a housing unit located in Canada, also qualifies. However, a share that only provides you with a right to tenancy in the housing unit does not qualify.

You can withdrawl funds from more than one RRSP as long as you are listed as the owner of each RRSP and the fund is not locked in or a group RRSP. Your RRSP contributions must remain in the RRSP for at least 90 days before you can withdraw them under the Home Buyers Plan, or they may not be deductible for any year. Generally, you have to repay all withdrawals to your RRSPs within a period of no more than 15 years. You will have to repay an amount to your RRSPs each year until your HBP balance is zero. If you do not repay the amount due for a year, it will have to be included in your income for that year.

To qualify you need to be a first time homebuyer and a resident of Canada. If you or your spouse or common-law partner have previously owned a home, you may still be considered a first-time home buyer.  Also if you are building or buying a home for a person with a disability you may not have to meet this condition. To take advantage of the 1st Time Home Buyers Plan you need to enter into a written agreement to build or buy a qualifying home. Simply obtaining a pre-approved mortgage does not satisfy this condition. You also need to occupy the home within a year of building or buying, and it must be considered your principal place of residence.

The Home Buyers Plan allows you to withdraw up to $25,000 from your RRSP in a calendar year. To learn more visit


First-time Home Buyers Land Transfer Tax Refund – up to $2000

Land Transfer Tax is a tax applied to all transfers of land in the Province of Ontario. It may either be claimed at the time of registration – in which case your eligible amount is deducted from your tax payment or you can claim it later in which case you receive the refund directly from the Ministry of Finance.

All applications for a refund must be made within 18 months after the date of transfer. To qualify you need to be a 1st time homebuyer (your spouse also cannot of owned a home while being your spouse.) you must be at least 18 years of age and you must occupy the home as your principal place of residence within 9 months of the date of transfer.

If purchasing a newly built home where the Agreement of Purchase and Sale was entered in prior to December 14 2007 you need to be entitled to a Tarion New Home Warranty. The refund can be processed by your lawyers office, be sure to advise your lawyer prior to the closing date if you qualify for the rebate.  You may also receive the rebate  by completing the “Ontario Land Transfer Tax Refund Affidavit For First-time Purchasers of Eligible Homes

Rebate Examples
Cost Of Home
Tax Payable
Tax Rebate

Renovating your bathroom can increase your home’s resale potential

If you are a homeowner planning renovations to your home you should consider upgrades that will increase your home’s resale potential.  A renovation to a bathroom generally provides a solid return on your investment. A recent House Staging Report found that 73 per cent of potential buyers would be willing to pay a premium for a home that featured a renovated bathroom.

Start by measuring the space and sketching out a layout for your new bathroom. Remember that the layout of the new bathroom doesn’t necessarily have to be the same as the old one. A new approach is to not make the toilet a focal point. A partial wall will give a sense of privacy and block the eye, without chopping up the space the way a full wall might.

When it comes to lighting, think versatility. You will want brilliant illumination by the mirror and the option of more subdued ambience when soaking in the tub.

If you have an old linen closet, consider converting the façade to resemble a cabinet and perhaps take it right to the ceiling.

Bathrooms are heavy traffic areas, so remember to choose tough, easy to clean surfaces, moisture-resistant paint and non-slip flooring. Ensure you have a bathroom fan that meets your humility requirements. If you install a whirlpool tub for example you may need to upgrade to a more powerful fan to expel the extra steam and moisture.

Take design cues from your fixtures. The soft lines of oval shapes and the curves of pedestal sinks will feel very different from the artsy, ultra-modern look created by angular choices.

Before you buy a bathtub, try it out by sitting in it. Based on your height and the space available, you may want a longer or deeper tub than is standard. Or you may decide that you’ll do without one entirely, in favor of a large open shower space.

Keep in mind your budget when doing any renovations.  A concern when upgrading rooms to increase your home’s resale value is not to overspend.  There is a ceiling to how much your home can be worth. If you live in a $200,000 townhome for example and you install a $10,000 shower and granite counter tops your home is now worth the cost of an executive detached home and there is no buyer out there who will pay that much for a town home.

Choose your own personal styles and preferences but keep in mind the market you are likely to attract when you sell your home; 1st time homebuyers, families, singles or couple with no kids.  Choose fixtures and finishes that would be attractive to that potential buyer.

Are you dreaming of a new bathroom, but don’t have the time, money or space for radical changes? Don’t underestimate your current bathroom’s potential for improvements. A wall-to-wall scrubbing, including a clearing out of old and used items can be rejuvenating, as can a fresh coat of paint. Add some new towels and a shower curtain, a basket or two for storage, a change in wall décor, a plant (it will love the humidity!) and possibly an upgrade to your mirror, lighting, fan cover or faucets, and you can create a beautiful new space for a fraction of the cost.


Prior to becoming a real estate agent, Chantal Nephin graduated with an interior design degree and worked for various interior design firms in Ottawa. If you have any design questions please call her at 613-371-6024.

New Mortgage Rules Will Affect House Prices and First Time Homebuyers


As of July 9th the government will be enforcing new mortgage rules in an attempt to discourage people from taking on new loans that will be less affordable when interest rates rise.

The biggest change for home buyers is there will no longer be injured mortgages of longer than 25 years offered.  (Insured mortgages are provided for those who don’t have a down payment of 20 per cent or greater, currently 30 year injured mortgages are offered.)

This is a move to try and reduce the debt load of Canadians and to encourage us to pay off debt quicker.

Another change is the maximum amount of equity homeowners can take out of their homes when refinancing is being reduced to 80 per cent from 85 per cent.

There will also be a new rule to ensure a loan is not too large of a percentage of a household’s income.

Finally, insured mortgages will be available only for homes with a purchase price lower than $1-million – a measure to ensure taxpayers do not back mortgages for the wealthy.

The new rules apply only to new government-insured mortgages after July 9. Existing mortgages with longer amortizations can be renewed as usual. However, those who wish to increase their loan amount on renewal will have to amortize over 25 years.

Many experts agree that home prices are currently inflated, particularly in Toronto and Vancouver, and are due for a correction. But there is much disagreement about how much of a prod the market actually needed.

Phil Soper, CEO of Royal LePage, believes that the government, which had already tightened the rules three times since 2008, should have let the market correct itself at this point. He was quoted in the Globe and Mail as saying:

 I supported the previous moves but I’m disappointed with this particular set of changes.  The market is clearly cooling on a national basis, and I’m concerned that what is essentially a Toronto problem is being attacked with a blunt instrument that’s going to hurt the housing market nationwide.

Mr. Soper argued that many experts are too focused on house price growth, while signs of slower sales in the last month suggest that prices will fall on their own.

National house prices were actually down slightly (May to May) and these averages are being inflated by a few hot housing markets – Toronto and Vancouver.  House prices in Toronto rose by 8.5 per cent in April from a year earlier, a recent five-unit “fixer upper” semi-detached sold for $227,000 above asking price!

The moves are likely to have the greatest impact on first-time buyers looking for mid-priced homes. Economists say the changes are the equivalent of a 1-per-cent increase in interest rates.


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