Jamie Korab
RE/MAX Real Estate Agent

Real Estate Tips & Info

10 simple ways to improve your home’s curb appeal for maximum impact. July 20

Your home’s curb appeal sets the tone for what potential buyers expect of the home they’re walking into.

But you don’t have to completely overhaul the exterior of your home in order to sell. Just pick and choose what you think will have the most impact and go from there. Dealing with curb appeal issues are important since even in good times, you could be leaving money on the table by not doing needed work

1 Start with the most obvious things - If you can only do a few things to spruce up the exterior of your home, start with the most glaringly obvious. For example, if your garden is overrun with weeds, the front lawn needs mowing, mow the lawn, pull the weeds and get rid of the mess. A messy front yard will be the first thing a potential buyer sees and it might tell them not to look any further.

2 Add planters - Adding planters (even store bought, ready-made ones) can go a long way toward creating the perception of a well loved home. They not only add colour to a porch or patio, they’re eye-catching and give the impression you spend time improving your surroundings.

3 Wake up your driveway -
Since the driveway is one of the first things prospective buyers will notice, it’s a good idea to freshen it up. Adding a sealer can refresh a tired driveway.

4 Add cedar mulch -
Adding red cedar mulch goes a long way to freshening up flowerbeds even in early spring when plants are small or non-existent.

5 Create a welcoming porch -
An empty porch can look stark and cold. If you have a porch large enough to accommodate furniture, set up a welcoming grouping such as two exterior club chairs and a table or a bistro set for dining..

6 Put down new sod
-
A lawn in poor condition does not create a good first impression and is something you should consider replacing if you’re trying to sell your home.

7 Add mature plants - When working on flowerbeds, adding larger mature plants is a lot easier (and in some cases, less expensive) than buying several flats of annuals, more mature plants also tend to have a greater impact.

8 Spring for new accoutrements - Adding a new mailbox, house light and house number is a cheap and cheerful way of updating your home’s exterior. Big box stores like Home Depot and Rona usually stock simple yet stylish, well-priced options for these items.

9 Repaint - Giving the exterior of your home a fresh coat of paint can do wonders for curb appeal.

10 Replace windows - Replacing windows is expensive but has a definite impact on curb appeal. It can make your home look polished and give the impression you’ve upgraded more than just the windows.


10 Things NOT to do when your home is For Sale and you're going on vacation! 
July 14
 

You're home is on the market, ready for sale. Spiffed up and ready for the sellers at all times. You're coming up on your family's annual vacation and you're not postponing until after the sale. Everyone needs some R&R time and we don't know if the buyer will show up tomorrow or next month, so go, have fun, relax.

But DON'T:

1) Say "No showings until we return". Like we said, your buyer might be showing up tomorrow, and if they can't get in they'll buy another home. And who knows how long until Right Buyer #2 may appear.

2) Drop off the grid. Don't go to the Himalayas or somewhere that Kinko's or equivalent doesn't exist. We need to be able to reach you if we get an offer. We don't expect you to answer your phone
at all times, but don't go somewhere that your cell phone is in constant "Searching for Service" mode.

3) Set your thermostat to the extremes. Yes, you might save a little money, but you don't want buyers to be uncomfortable when looking at your home.

4) Forget to get your mail held while you're gone. And if you still get the newspaper, either stop delivery or ask a neighbor to collect for you.

5) Order anything from Amazon or the like to be delivered while you're gone unless you've made arrangements with the neighbors. Packages setting on the front steps for days are a signal you're not home.

6) Post about it on Facebook, or Tweet, or Blog, or LinkedIn or ANYTHING that announces to the world that you're going to be gone. Bad guys have access to social media too.

7) Forget that your flowers need watered and your lawn mowed. Hire someone if you need to, but don't let the hard work you've done on curb appeal go downhill while you've got your toes in the sand and a Corona on the table next to the chair.

8) Forget to tell your agent you're leaving town!! We'll probably need to alter the showing instructions so you don't have to approve the showings while you're gone.

9) Forget to take out ALL the trash before you leave. Get the kitchen, the bathrooms, ALL of them. You do not want the first impression of the buyers to be "EWWWWW" because you forgot about the leftover salmon you tossed before leaving. That also means take care of the dirty dishes and dirty laundry before you go. AND don't forget kitty's super atomic deposits in the litter box and Rover's landmines in the back yard.

10) Forget to ask a friend to check the locks after showings. Hate
to say this, but sometimes agents aren't as careful as they should be about making sure a home is secure before they leave. Going by and checking post showing is something we've regularly done for clients out of town. Wish it wasn't necessary, but it's good to be cautious.

There is more that could be added to this list, but you get the drift. Be careful, be available, and leave your home ready for the buyers to fall in love with it!

 Source: The Liz Spear Team

July edition of City of St. John's Economic Update, July 6

*
According to the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council (APEC) major projects inventory, almost half
of all major project spending in Atlantic Canada is set to happen in Newfoundland and Labrador —
$48.1 billion in 2012.....
* The St. John’s rental market vacancy rate was 3.3% in April compared to 2% in April 2011,
according to the CMHC Spring Rental Market Survey.....
* Newfoundland and Labrador led the provinces with the highest increase (6.5%) in average weekly
earnings in the 12 months to April 2012.....
* The seasonally adjusted labour force for St. John's metro was 116,500 in May 2012, an increase of
 4.0% over May 2011....
View their complete newsletter on-line: http://www.stjohns.ca/business/pdfs/current-newsletter.pdf

Ottawa caps CMHC mortgages at 25 years, June 22

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has outlined new rules aimed at reining in a hot housing market and ensuring Canadians aren't taking on more debt than they can afford
Flaherty laid out a series of changes to the rules that govern the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the Crown corporation that effectively oversees the housing market by insuring the vast majority of Canadian mortgages.
The most important new change is that the maximum amortization period has been reduced to 25 years, down from 30. The longer a mortgage is spread out, the lower the monthly mortgage payments are — but the more the borrower ends up paying overall over time.
The impact of the change is likely to be significant. It's about the same as a 0.9 percentage point increase on a typical mortgage, Bank of Montreal economist Robert Kavcic noted.
Indeed, the numbers add up. A $300,000 mortgage spread over 30 years at 4.0 per cent would cost $1,426 a month to pay back. That same mortgage amortized over only 25 years increases the monthly payment by $152 or 10 per cent to $1,578 a month.
Ultimately though, the higher monthly payment saves the borrower money in the long run. The total interest payments are $213,558.91 on the 30-year mortgage, but only $173,416.20 on the 25-year one.
Anyone who needed or wanted a 30-year mortgage before is going to have to qualify under tougher 25-year requirements now.

Refinancing limit set at 80%

Flaherty also outlined a few other measures Thursday.
The government has lowered the total amount that Canadians can withdraw when refinancing their homes to 80 per cent of the home's value, from 85 per cent.
"This will promote saving through home ownership and encourage homeowners to prudently manage borrowings against their homes," Flaherty said.

Although they both have obscure, technical names, they're both effectively just limits on how much debt a borrower is allowed to take on as a percentage of their overall income. That move, too, is aimed at making sure borrowers can't bite off more than they can chew.
The final change was to limit CMHC insurance to homes priced under $1 million. "Wealthy people can borrow whatever they want from banks, and they can work that out from banks," Flaherty said. "That is not my concern."

July deadline

That effectively means that a homebuyer who wants to purchase a home for more than $1 million can't get insurance on it — which in turn means the buyer will have to come up with the 20 per cent down payment requirement in order to get an uninsured mortgage.
So under any circumstance, any new borrower wanting to buy a home of $1 million or more is going to have to put $200,000 down at a minimum. That's also likely to have a major impact on a comparatively small segment of the market.
"Although this could create some market dislocations in the just-under-$1-million segment, it's consistent with CMHC's recent efforts to focus its insurance business on encouraging owner-occupied purchases among average Canadians," BMO economist Michael Gregory noted.
All of the changes will be in effect as of July 9, 2012. In the interim, the action in hot Canadian housing markets is likely to get even hotter, experts say, as borrowers scramble to get in ahead of the more stringent rules.
"As we’ve observed around prior mortgage rule changes, some housing market activity will likely be pulled forward ahead of the implementation date," Kavcic noted.
But there's likely to be a subsequent pullback, too, he says. The last time Ottawa tinkered with CMHC rules, home sales fell by three per cent in the two months following the implementation date.
The Canadian Real Estate Association reacted coolly to the news on Thursday, calling it a "measured response" to rein in debt loads, but taking pains to note that the home resale market contributes $20 billion a year to Canada's economy and as such, is deserving of caution.
"Going forward, we would urge the government to consider the impact of further interventions in the market carefully," CREA said.
Read the full artical here
http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/story/2012/06/21/flaherty-mortgage-cmhc.html

May Housing Starts in the St. John’s Area, June 15 2012

Housing starts in the St. John’s region increased during the month of
May, according to preliminary data1 released today by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
(CMHC). May’s housing starts totalled 236 units throughout the St. John’s area compared to 223 units
in May 2011. Year-to-date starts are up 30 per cent to 694 units
.

Single-detached and multiple unit construction activity were mixed throughout the St. John’s area in
May. There were 89 multiple units recorded versus 96 a year ago, while single-detached starts
increased 16 per cent to 147 units. “Growth in population, income and employment, coupled with mild
weather, provided support to the local new home market during May,” said Chris Janes, senior market
analyst with CMHC in Newfoundland and Labrador.

In urban centres across Canada, total housing starts recorded in May were up seven per cent to
17,058 units compared to 15,962 a year ago. Single-detached starts decreased three per cent to
6,145 units, while multiple starts increased 13 per cent to 10,913 units in May. In the Atlantic region,
866 new homes were started compared to 930 during May 2011.

For more information, visit www.cmhc.ca or call 1-800-668-2642. CMHC Market Analysis standard
reports are also available free for download at CMHC Housing Market Information.
_________ 
1 Figures for th
As Canada's national housing agency, CMHC draws on more than 65 years of experience to help
Canadians access a variety of high quality, environmentally sustainable and affordable housing
solutions. CMHC also provides reliable, impartial and up-to-date housing market reports, analysis and
knowledge to support and assist consumers and the housing industry in making informed decisions.

Housing starts in the St. John’s region increased during the month of May, according to preliminary data1 released today by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). May’s housing starts totalled 236 units throughout the St. John’s area compared to 223 units in May 2011. Year-to-date starts are up 30 per cent to 694 units. Single-detached and multiple unit construction activity were mixed throughout the St. John’s area in May. There were 89 multiple units recorded versus 96 a year ago, while single-detached starts increased 16 per cent to 147 units. “Growth in population, income and employment, coupled with mild weather, provided support to the local new home access a variety of high quality, environmentally sustainable and affordable housing solutions. CMHC also provides reliable, impartial and up-to-date housing market reports, analysis and knowledge to support and assist consumers and the housing industry in making informed decisions.market during May,” said Chris Janes, senior market analyst with CMHC in Newfoundland and Labrador. In urban centres across Canada, total housing starts recorded in May were up seven per cent to 17,058 units compared to 15,962 a year ago. Single-detached starts decreased three per cent to 6,145 units, while multiple starts increased 13 per cent to 10,913 units in May. In the Atlantic region, 866 new homes were started compared to 930 during May 2011. As Canada's national housing agency, CMHC draws on more than 65 years of experience to help Canadians For more information, visit or call 1-800-668-2642. CMHC Market Analysis standard reports are also available free for download at CMHC Housing Market Information. _________  1 Figures for the most recent month are preliminary and subject to revisions due to corrections or updates from quarterly enumeration or sampling results. Sours: CHMC

 Vacancy Rates Mixed Across Newfoundland, June 14 2012

ST. JOHN’S, June 12, 2012 – According to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) Spring Rental Market Survey, the overall vacancy rate in Newfoundland increased to 2.7 per cent, compared to 2.1 per cent in 2011.

The St. John’s rental market vacancy rate was 3.3 per cent in April compared to two per cent in April 2011. “While higher home prices and a strong economy supported rental market demand during the survey period, other offsetting factors, including low mortgage rates and strong income growth, shifted demand from renter households to home ownership. This contributed to the increase in the vacancy rate throughout the St. John’s area,” said Chris Janes, senior market analyst with CMHC in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Provincially, vacancy rates in percentage terms were 0.9 in Gander, 1.3 in Corner Brook and 1.8 in Grand Falls-Windsor. The combined provincial vacancy rate for all centres surveyed increased from 2.1 to 2.7 per cent.

Overall, the average two bedroom rent was $727 across the urban centres surveyed, with increases recorded in every centre. The highest average two bedroom rent recorded was $808 in the St. John’s area. The remaining average two bedroom rents were $596 in Corner Brook, $568 in Gander and $649 in Grand Falls-Windsor.

As Canada's national housing agency, CMHC draws on more than 65 years of experience to help Canadians access a variety of high quality, environmentally sustainable and affordable housing solutions. CMHC also provides reliable, impartial and up-to-date housing market reports, analysis and knowledge to support and assist consumers and the housing industry in making informed decisions.

For more information, visit www.cmhc.ca or call 1-800-668-2642. CMHC Market Analysis standard reports are also available free for download at CMHC Housing Market Information.

5 Warning signs you many need shingles replaced or repaired, June 8 2012

1) Buckling - Buckling shingles are visible waved distortions that usually run vertically up a roof slope. Buckled shingles are highly susceptible to wind and ice damage and can be torn off easily. Overall roof age and wet or poorly installed underlayment are common causes of buckling shingles.

2) Curling - Curling or clawing shingles are a sign of both an aging roof system and excessive heat. Curled or clawing shingles are highly susceptible to wind uplift and ice damage. Shingles will become rigid and can break easily and lose tab edges.

3)
Damaged Flashing - Flashings located around skylights, valleys, eaves, rakes, wall details, stacks, and chimneys are all subject to separation, lifting, and dried out caulking. 
 The flashing details can lift and separate due to general expansion and contraction. Expansion and contraction will cause fasteners to become loose and the bottom-flashing flange to lift thus allowing water to enter.

4) Missing Shingles - Poorly placed downspouts, lack of eavestrough, or poorly designed valley drainage on a second storey can cause a waterfall effect that washes away granules over time. Aging of a roof system or physical damage can also cause bare spots and a loss of granules. When the protective granules of a shingle are lost the shingle begins to harden from heat and sun exposure. Granule loss on a roof system will accelerate aging and shingle decay and can become an entry point for water.

5) Missing Granules and Bare Spots - Broken and missing singles greatly weaken a roof system’s ability to shed water and can be an entry point of water. Two common causes of damaged shingles are excessive wind and physical damage.

If you notice any of the signs noted above you may need to have your roof repaired or replaced by a certified roofing contractor. A roof leak is not always apparent immediately on the inside of a home; it can damage insulation and deck sheathing causing replacement costs to grow. Call a professional roofing contractor before your problems grow




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