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Summer time home checklist

Wed, 05 Aug by Pauline Relkey

Half of 2020 is in the past and with this Covid thing, we are hoping that the second half goes way better than the first half.

We’re in the midst of summer. Hopefully with many more weeks of summer to come, we hope that the summer rays keep streaming down on us.  

This is an interesting fact – There’s some evidence that people typically drive safer in problematic conditions, such as rain, snow, and fog, while more car crashes occur on bright sunny days with clear conditions. Following this logic on the road and applying it to the home, it’s important to not overlook or underestimate some of the challenges that present themselves in summer. Unlike many summer drivers, you don’t want to let your guard down on a seemingly innocent time.

Be aware of insects. We all know that mosquitoes are a common summertime nuisance, however some areas across the country will experience the return of cicadas and other types of bugs. For your home, make sure all entry points are secured so you don’t have any unwanted visitors from the great outdoors – and it will help you with your home efficiency!

Check that your HVAC and furnace are working properly, and all the filters are up to date. Pleasant room temperatures are often not on people’s minds and can be taken for granted in the summer unless a problem occurs. And a reminder for those with a deck or patio: make sure the structure is stable and well maintained. It’ll be getting a lot of use now!

Here are your top to-dos for summer:

● Take care of any insect problems you may have.

● Seal up your home.

● Check outdoor faucets for leaks. We don’t need that water bill any higher!

● Have your roof inspected.

● Inspect and possibly change out HVAC filters.

● Clean and repair deck or patio as needed.

● Check water softener; add salt if needed.

● Test garage door auto-reverse feature. Need to keep the little ones safe.

● Clean kitchen garburator. Just don’t stick your hand in it while it’s running!

● Clean range hood filters.

● Inspect your fire extinguisher(s). Are they expired?

Have any other suggestions or questions? Call, text or email me — I’m always happy to help homeowners in our community.

Regina, Sask June 2020 Sales by Price Ranges

Tue, 07 Jul by Pauline Relkey

Attention Sellers – Based on the present value of your property, you can see where it rates in the scale of most sales last month in Regina and Regina Region.

#1 spot goes to purple – $200,000 to $299,999.

#2 is the darker green – $0 to $199,999.

#3 is pink, $300,000 to $349,999

#4 light green – $350,000 to $399,999

#5 gold/yellow  $400,000 to $499,999

#6 grey – $500,000 to $699,999

#7 brown – $450,000 to $499,999

#8 white – $700,000 to $999,999

We are slowly getting back on track with our listings and sales. Call me for more info.

41% of homebuyers would go over budget by $25K for the perfect home

Mon, 08 Jun by Pauline Relkey

I remember when I first started in real estate in 1991, someone told me that buyers would, on the average spend $15,000 more than they anticipated on a home purchase.  Back then, I thought that was a lot of money to extend your budget for house buying, but I have seen it happen more and more.  We usually have a picture in our mind of what we want, including price, and that can easily adjust and change as we start our search.  The more flexible you can be when looking to buy a home, the more choices you will have.  There are ‘needs’ in buying a home, that shouldn’t be compromised (for instance, not spending more than your maximum qualified price, number of bedrooms, location, garage) but the’wants’ (ensuite, fireplace, certain flooring or kitchen, etc) can be changed later.

In this recent study, although 80% of home buyers consider price to be the most important consideration of a purchase, 41% were willing to go above budget by an average of $25K for the perfect home.

There are many factors to consider when buying a home. And, although 80 percent of home buyers consider price to be the most important consideration of a home purchase, 41 percent of home buyers also are willing to go above budget by an average of $25,000 for the perfect home.

1,794 homeowners were surveyed between February 28 and March 6, 2020 who had all purchased a home within the last five years to learn what they desired most in a home. Survey respondents were an average of 38 years old, and 63 percent were married, 22 percent were single, 8 percent were engaged, 6 percent were divorced and 1 percent were widowed.

After home price, location, neighborhood, the size of the home, and the home’s layout were the most important factors in making the decision to buy.

Buyers spend an average of 4 months conducting a home search and view an average of 19 properties before deciding on the one. Remember this includes the online searching and viewing.

Most home buyers use a real estate agent to help them with their home search, with 51 percent opting to enlist an agent’s aid. Thirty-eight percent of home buyers shop for their home online while 11 percent find their home just by passing it on the street.

In terms of home features, buyers are most concerned with the home’s layout, with 71 percent of survey respondents reporting that layout was the most important home feature. Storage space (59 percent of respondents), an outdoor living space (57 percent), a large kitchen (53 percent) and having an updated kitchen (53 percent) were also important features for home buyers.

While most of us would like to buy our perfect home, it’s not always feasible. One in three survey respondents reported compromising on some part of their home purchase, usually because of budgetary restrictions.

Most often, home buyers opted to compromise on layout or the age of the home or repairs needed, with 29 percent of survey respondents compromising on these features. However, 26 percent of buyers compromised on home size, 23 percent compromised on having an updated kitchen, and 19 percent compromised on having updated bathrooms.

Out of the one in three survey respondents who reported backing out of buying a home, most did so because something was found during the home inspection (34 percent) or because they changed their mind about the home (29 percent).

Over half of home buyers stated that the home’s age or necessary repairs were the biggest deal breakers, while others said home size (40 percent), neighborhood (37 percent) and school system (20 percent) were their biggest deal breakers when considering whether or not to buy a home.

 

More than half of home buyers likely to buy a home within next year

Mon, 08 Jun by Pauline Relkey

I know. I can’t believe it. I just read this in a report from Inman, a real estate news company for realtors and brokers. They said 53% of home buyers say they now plan to buy a home within the next year as a result of factors surrounding the pandemic, according to online lending marketplace LendingTree.

The corona virus pandemic has significantly altered the home buying process, and now there’s evidence that it’s also impacted how quickly buyers want to seal the deal.

More than half of home buyers (53%) say they now plan to buy a home within the next year as a result of factors surrounding the pandemic, according to a new survey conducted by online lending marketplace LendingTree.

Between April 24 and April 30, LendingTree enlisted Qualtrics to survey 1,006 prospective homebuyers with a sample base proportioned in line with the general population.

The pandemic has especially spurred first-time home buyers into action with 73 percent now planning to buy a home within the next year. Likewise, millennials are also now more motivated to buy in a timely fashion, with 66 percent aiming to buy within the next 12 months.
Most buyers cite wanting to take advantage of current low mortgage rates as a specific reason for wanting to buy soon, with 67 percent inspired by this reason. Most other respondents said they plan to buy in the next year because they’ve been able to save more money as a result of reduced spending during quarantine (32 percent) and because home prices have dropped (30 percent) — a factor that can’t necessarily be applied to every region of the country right now.

The coronavirus crisis has moved 44 percent of home buyers to buy a less expensive home than they had originally planned, compared to 21 percent who said the pandemic has made them want to purchase a more expensive home.
LendingTree’s survey also found that the vast majority of home buyers have either already toured a home virtually (61 percent) or plan to do so (33 percent). However, only 3 in 10 buyers said they would buy a home without doing a walk-through in-person. Still, among first-time home buyers, 53 percent said they would buy a home without seeing it in-person. Across gender lines, only 16 percent of women said they’d buy a home without seeing it in-person in contrast to the 43 percent of men who would buy a home sight unseen.

Perhaps as a result of lenders tightening minimum requirements for lending, 44 percent of home buyers are more concerned about qualifying for a mortgage in the wake of the pandemic. In particular, first-time buyers (58 percent) and millennials (52 percent) are especially worried about qualifying.

Out of those buyers who said they were less likely to buy a home within the next year because of the pandemic, 70 percent said the current economic uncertainty was their main reason for waiting things out. The next most frequently cited reasons for waiting to buy included the inability to see a home in-person (42 percent) and a loss of income as a result of the pandemic (38 percent).

CMHC’s latest survey

Mon, 20 Jan by Pauline Relkey

The 2019 findings are in.

Canadians across the country were asked about their thoughts, attitudes and behaviours about and the process of buying a home in the annual Mortgage Consumer Survey and this is what they said.

Affordability continues to be the most important factor when it comes to buying a home.

One of the biggest stories of 2019 was the dramatic decrease in the number of home buyers who spent the maximum amount they could afford. The cost of becoming a homeowner is at the top of Canadians’ “must-haves”:

Price/affordability (80%)
Number of rooms (73%)
Proximity to public transit (67%)

The majority of Canadians are aware of the mortgage qualification rules (“stress test”). In fact, 65% of buyers said they believe the new mortgage qualification “stress test” will keep more Canadians from taking on a mortgage they can’t afford.

Despite debt levels, consumer optimism is on the rise.
Nearly one third of home buyers don’t expect interest rates to rise in the next year – up from just 20% in 2018. More than 8 out of 10 home buyers also feel confident that buying a home is a sound long-term investment.

The majority of home buyers have a positive attitude towards the idea of buying a home. Close to 9 out of 10 buyers were “happy” or “excited” about buying a home. However, more than one third also said that buying a home made them feel “stressed.”

Most home buyers are satisfied with their experience with their lender or mortgage broker.

The top reason for selecting a lender or broker is the interest rate offered. Despite high satisfaction levels, only less than half of home buyers received a follow-up call from their mortgage professional.  Hmmm a lesson to be learned. Always stay in touch with clients!

First Time Home Buyer Incentive Program

Mon, 20 Jan by Pauline Relkey

Have you heard about this program that just started in September 2019?

First time home buyers who have 5% down payment can apply for this program and get another 5 or 10% as a shared equity mortgage. Existing homes = 5% and newly constructed home = 5 or 10%.

This helps first time home buyers to reduce their monthly mortgage payment without increasing the amount that they must save for a down payment. No on-going repayments are required, this incentive is not interest bearing and you can repay the incentive any time without a penalty. This shared equity mortgage means that the federal government shares in both the upside and downside of the property value.

Your total income must be $120,000 per year or less. The property must be located in Canada and suitable and available for full time year round occupancy.

The homeowner repays the incentive amount after 25 years or when the property is sold, whichever is earlier. The property value determines what you get and what you pay back. Example if you are buying a $300,000 resale property and have your 5% down payment of $15,000 and you qualify for this incentive, you can get another $15,000 from the federal government to put towards your purchase. When you go to repay this amount, it will be based on the value of your property at that time, either in 25 years or earlier if you are selling the property. If the property is then worth $350,000 you will pay back 5% of the amount ($17,500). If the value is down and the property is worth $250,000 you will pay back 5% ($12,500).

There are qualifying factors to this program. Give me a call if you or someone you know could take advantage of this program.

Millennials

Thu, 28 Nov by Pauline Relkey

I found this article very interesting about the changing lifestyles of millennials. Some surprising info like napkin usage and less home buyers and drivers.

Take a read through this informative article in this site https://www.icepop.com/millennials-spending-habits-refusing-purchase/

 

Saskatchewan Crime Watch Advisory – Fraudulent attempts to rent properties for sale

Mon, 19 Aug by Pauline Relkey

This applies to anyone that has a property for rent or for sale and also for people looking to rent. Home owners, google your property address regularly and look for false ads. If you find any, contact your local police or RCMP. Renters, google the rental address you are inquiring about to see if it is listed for sale also. If so, contact the realtor to see if this is a false rental ad.

The following advisory went out this past weekend:

This is a message from the RCMP Saskatchewan Crime Watch Advisory Network.

Fraudulent attempts to rent sale properties – Yorkton RCMP file # 20191183436.

It has been brought to the attention of the Yorkton RCMP that culprits have tried to secure damage and rental deposits for sale properties which are not theirs.

This is a reminder to exercise caution when replying to ads for rental properties. Ensure you speak directly with the REALTOR® or homeowner. Do not e-transfer, wire or mail any money if you can not verify the property representative’s identity and information.

Thank you.

If you have information related to this advisory please call 9 1 1 or 310-RCMP.

To sign up please go to www.saskcrimewatch.ca.

Why Put Money into a House You are Leaving?

Mon, 08 Apr by Pauline Relkey

I received some great info from a home stager that I work with, Dianne Thompson with Simply Stunning Designs.

“I am selling! Why would I put money into a house I am leaving?” I would say this is the most common question professional stagers field every day! On the surface, you can certainly understand why the question is being asked. There are many reasons to support the process of staging a property before showing it to the public.

Who Is Buying?
Whether you know it or believe it, it is true; the buyer will determine if, when, and for what price your house will sell. You can have your hopes, wants and dreams but ultimately the power lies with the buyer. A great staging professional is knowledgeable about which demographic is most likely to purchase your property and will make recommendations to improve condition and presentation. The largest property buying demographic today is the millennials. The younger members of this generation may still favour renting; however, once they hit their thirties and begin to settle down, they want their version of a great house.

What they want is move-in ready. Why? Pressing student debt is already a worry, so they scrape together as much as possible for the down payment and simply don’t have extra cash to invest in fixing up the things you couldn’t get to do. The other factor to consider is this group of people do not want to be DIY Weekend Warriors; they want to have fun on the weekends! Also, they don’t have the skills to do the work and they aren’t interested in learning how to do it.

You many have finished with this property, but to them it is their new home. They want it to look and feel fresh and new. In fact, research shows they want the feel of new so much; most of them are willing to pay more money to get it. What that means to you is this: If you choose to bring your property onto the market “as-is,” you risk:
a) being on the market longer than you want or
b) having offers for less than you expect.

Why Stage?
Staging is a service for selling property that has measurable value. Whether the market is a buyers market, sellers market or a balanced market, staging is a powerful marketing tool that should never be discounted because of the outlay of money. If you were selling your vehicle, wouldn’t you clean, fix and polish it to make it feel new? Why would your house be any different? Especially when the return of investment comes at a much greater margin.

The largest investment most people ever make is in real estate. Sellers want the most money possible in the shortest time for no effort and no money. But, that’s a pipe dream. 97% of prospective buyers look on the internet first, which means you need lots of great photos to capture interest and get on the must-see list. Don’t play with your investment! When you are competing with new houses, your house must look and feel new too. Failure to meet this expectation will just have millenials favouring other properties.

   

Seniors and Reverse Mortgages

Wed, 08 Aug by Pauline Relkey

A reverse mortgage is a loan that allows you to get money from your home equity without having to sell your home. You may be able to borrow up to 55% of the current value of your home tax-free.

Eligibility for a reverse mortgage
To be eligible for a reverse mortgage, you must be:
a homeowner
at least 55 years old. If you have a spouse, both of you must be at least 55 years old to be eligible.

Qualifying for a reverse mortgage
Your lender will consider:
your home equity
where you live
your age
your home’s appraised value
current interest rates

In general, the older you are and the more home equity you have when you apply for a reverse mortgage, the bigger your loan will be.

Accessing money with a reverse mortgage
You may choose to get the money from your loan through:
lump-sum payment
planned advances, giving you a regular income
a combination of both of these options
You must first pay off any outstanding loans that are secured by the equity in your home with the funds you get from your reverse mortgage.
You can use the remainder of the loan for anything you wish, such as:
pay for home improvements
add to your retirement income
cover healthcare expenses

Repaying the money you borrow with a reverse mortgage
You don’t need to make any regular payments on a reverse mortgage. You have the option to repay the principal and interest in full at any time.
Interest will be charged until the loan is paid off in full. The interest will be added to the original loan amount, which increases the loan amount over time.
If you sell your house or if you move out, you’ll have to make payments. When you die, your estate will have to repay the loan.

Costs to get a reverse mortgage
Costs associated with a reverse mortgage may include:
higher interest rate than for a traditional mortgage
a home appraisal fee
a closing fee
a prepayment penalty if you sell your house or move out within 3 years of getting a reverse mortgage
fees for independent legal advice
Shop around and explore your options before getting a reverse mortgage.

Compare the costs and impact of the following:
getting another type of loan, such as a line of credit or credit card, etc
selling your home
buying a smaller home
renting another home or apartment
moving into assisted living, or other alternative housing

Where to get a reverse mortgage
Two financial institutions offer reverse mortgages in Canada:
HomEquity Bank offers the Canadian Home Income Plan (CHIP). It is available across Canada directly from HomEquity Bank or through mortgage brokers
Equitable Bank offers the PATH Home Plan. It is available through mortgage brokers in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario
Your financial institution may offer other products that might meet your needs.

Pros and cons of a reverse mortgage
Before you decide to get a reverse mortgage, make sure you consider the pros and cons carefully.
Pros
You don’t have to make any regular loan payments
You may turn some of the value of your home into cash, without having to sell it
The money you borrow is a tax-free source of income
This income does not affect the Old-Age Security (OAS) or Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) benefits you may be getting
You still own your home
You can decide how to get the funds

Cons
Interest rates are higher than most other types of mortgages
The equity you hold in your home may go down as the interest on your loan adds up throughout the years
Your estate will have to repay the loan and interest in full within a set period of time when you die
The time needed to settle an estate can often be longer than the time allowed to repay a reverse mortgage
There may be less money in your estate to leave to your children or other beneficiaries
Costs associated with a reverse mortgage are usually quite high compared to a regular mortgage

Questions to ask a lender about reverse mortgages
Before getting a reverse mortgage, ask your lender about:
the fees
any penalties if you sell your home within a certain period of time
how much time will you or your estate have to pay off the loan’s balance if you move or die
what happens if it takes your estate longer than the stated time period to fully repay the loan when you die
what happens if the amount of the loan ends up being higher than your home’s value when it’s time to pay the loan back

Myth: The bank owns the home.
Fact: The homeowner always maintains title ownership and control of their home and they have the freedom to decide when and if they’d like to move or sell.

Myth: The bank can force the homeowner to sell or foreclose at any time.
Fact: A reverse mortgage is a lifetime product and as long as property taxes and insurance are in good standing, the property remains in good condition, and the homeowner is living in the home, the loan won’t be called even if the house decreases in value. Reverse mortgages provide peace-of-mind that the homeowner can stay in their home as long as they’d like.

Myth: Surviving spouses are stuck paying the loan after the homeowner passes away.
Fact: Surviving spouses can choose to remain in the home without having to make a payment unless they choose to sell the home.

Myth: The homeowner cannot get a reverse mortgage if they have an existing mortgage.
Fact: Many people use a reverse mortgage to pay off their existing mortgage and debts, freeing up cash flow for other things.

Myth: A reverse mortgage is a solution of last resort.
Fact: Many financial professionals recommend a reverse mortgage because it’s a great way to provide financial flexibility. Since it’s tax-free money, it allows retirement savings to last longer.

Home is where the heart is, but it’s getting more difficult for seniors to stay in their homes.
93% of Canadian Seniors live at home and prefer to age in place.
60% of retired Canadians say staying in their home is critical to their quality of life.
700,000 Canadian senior-led households face a housing affordability challenge.
Canadian seniors who live alone at home experience poverty at nearly twice the rate of other seniors.
1 in 4 Canadian senior-led households are spending more than 30% of their income on housing.
Only 1/3 of the Canadian workforce is covered by a registered pension plan down from 37% in 1992.
Almost 30% of Canadians who are nearing retirement have $50,000 or less in savings.
35% of those nearing retirement plan to use the value of their home to generate retirement income.
Nearly 70% of Canadians nearing retirement are still carrying debt.

THE TAKEAWAY
Most seniors prefer to live their retirement years at home but live on modest incomes and may face challenges to their financial security. Canadian seniors do benefit from access to CPP, OAS and housing assets but are feeling the pinch.

The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the Association of Saskatchewan REALTORS®. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.