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Canadian Real Estate Association meets with Federal Government

Fri, 17 Feb by Pauline Relkey

Submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance:
Canadian Real Estate Market and Homeownership
February 2017

Gary Simonsen
Chief Executive Officer

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Thank you, Mr. Chair. The Canadian Real Estate Association would like to thank the committee
for the opportunity to participate in the study on the Canadian Real Estate Market and Home
Ownership. CREA represents over 120,000 REALTORS® from across the country. As one of
Canada’s largest single-industry associations, we represent real estate brokers and agents, as well
as home buyers and property owners throughout the country.

Canada’s housing market is a key component of Canada’s overall economic stability and an
important generator of jobs and economic security for the middle-class. In 2016, each home sale
generated over $52,000 in spin-off spending. This translates to one job for every three home sale
transactions. In addition, resale housing transactions through the Multiple Listing Service
(MLS®) generated more than $28 billion in consumer spin-off spending and created more than
198,000 jobs in 2016.

Most Canadians see their home as a source of pride, satisfaction and accomplishment not to
mention a safe environment in which to raise their family and create happy memories. This is
why CREA has been advocating for the indexation and modernization of the Home Buyers’ Plan
(HBP), a program that allows Canadians to use their RRSP savings to purchase their first home.
We were pleased to see that the plan was included in multiple election platforms in 2015 and we
will continue to work with the government to ensure it remains a valuable program for all
Canadians.

As all real estate is local, it is important to note that the housing markets in and around Toronto
and Vancouver have different realities compared to elsewhere in Canada – the vast majority of
which are either well balanced or amply supplied. It is crucial to consider and reflect upon
different areas of the country when enacting policy that affects a wide swath of housing markets,
including places not targeted directly by the government’s recent regulatory measures.
Consumer demand in markets like Toronto and Vancouver is at an all-time high and there is a
significant shortage in housing supply. Various factors have caused an imbalance on the supply
and demand of homes which in turn drives up prices significantly. As this is a complex matter,
CREA is encouraged that the federal government created a working group comprised of federal
officials as well as provincial and municipal representatives. The three levels of government will
be able to focus on the challenges in each region and recognize the local reality for all markets.
While the provincial governments in Ontario and British Columbia have recently introduced
measures to assist first-time home buyers, the federal government has tightened national
mortgage rules, thereby lessening affordability for those seeking to enter the market. If the
federal government continues to tighten mortgage rules, will this force the provincial
governments to implement further programs to assist-first time-time homebuyers? CREA and its
REALTOR® urges all levels of government to continue to work together to reach a healthy,
competitive and stable housing market. We are prepared to share analysis of local housing
market trends and apply our knowledge and data to help the government policy makers at all
levels better understand how changes to housing market regulations may affect communities
across Canada.

Assistance for first-time homebuyers should be top-of-mind for all levels of government. Firsttime
homebuyers need support to overcome the obstacle of saving for a downpayment in order to
reach their homeownership dream. The plan’s purchasing power is steadily declining and has
become less valuable due to the increase in home prices. We recommend the plan be indexed to
inflation to preserve its purchasing power and continue to help first-time homebuyers attain
homeownership.

Easing affordability concerns is a key principle of the plan and Canadians should be able to
benefit from this program more than once. Canadians and their families who face sudden life
changes such as job relocation, the death of a spouse, a marital breakdown or the decision to
accommodate an elderly family member may need support to maintain homeownership.
Expanding the plan for Canadians to use their RRSPs as a zero-interest self-loan is a fiscally
responsible way to support families through a difficult period of change.rrsp

In the last eight years, the federal government has implemented six rounds of changes to tighten
the rules for new government-backed insured mortgages and contain risks in the housing market.
These measures have been implemented over a short period of time and their full impact has yet
to be determined. We recommend the government take a pause to fully evaluate the cumulative
impact of the changes before looking at implementing additional measures.

Thank you for your time, I would be pleased to answer any questions the Committee might have.

Design Regina

Tue, 09 Jun by Pauline Relkey

image

Read the latest on Regina’s plan for growth.
Go to www.DesignRegina.com.

 

Getting Separated or Divorced and Want to Stay in Your Home?

Sat, 24 Jan by Pauline Relkey

Experiencing a separation or divorce is hard enough without having to worry about wanting to remain in the house.  Well, there is a new tool available where one party can pay the other one out and essentially purchase up to 95% of the value of the home. CMHC and the Lender will allow a client to pull out 95% of the equity. CMHC is allowing this and the documents required are an appraisal, separation agreement and an offer to purchase.  For further clarification please contact me.

First time Home Buyers Remember to get Your Income Tax Credit

Sat, 24 Jan by Pauline Relkey

3. Am I eligible for the HBTC?

You will qualify for the HBTC if:

  • you or your spouse or common-law partner acquired a qualifying home; and
  • you did not live in another home owned by you or your spouse or common-law partner in the year of acquisition or in any of the four preceding years.

click here for the website at CRA for all the info.

Home Maintenance Schedule

Sat, 24 Jan by Pauline Relkey

Home Maintenance Schedule

Regular Maintenance is the Key

Inspecting your home on a regular basis and following good maintenance practices are the best way to protect your investment in your home. Whether you take care of a few tasks at a time or several all at once, it is important to get into the habit of doing them. Establish a routine for yourself, and you will find the work is easy to accomplish and not very time-consuming. A regular schedule of seasonal maintenance can put a stop to the most common — and costly — problems, before they occur. If necessary, use a camera to take pictures of anything you might want to share with an expert for advice or to monitor or remind you of a situation later.

By following the information noted here, you will learn about protecting your investment and how to help keep your home a safe and healthy place to live.

If you do not feel comfortable performing some of the home maintenance tasks listed below, or do not have the necessary equipment, for example a ladder, you may want to consider hiring a qualified handy person to help you.

Seasonal Home Maintenance

Most home maintenance activities are seasonal. Fall is the time to get your home ready for the coming winter, which can be the most gruelling season for your home. During winter months, it is important to follow routine maintenance procedures, by checking your home carefully for any problems that may arise and taking corrective action as soon as possible. Spring is the time to assess winter damage, start repairs and prepare for warmer months. Over the summer, there are a number of indoor and outdoor maintenance tasks to look after, such as repairing walkways and steps, painting and checking your chimney and roof.

While most maintenance is seasonal, there are some things you should do on a frequent basis year-round:

  • Make sure air vents indoors and outdoors (intake, exhaust and forced air) are not blocked by snow or debris.
  • Check and clean range hood filters on a monthly basis.
  • Test ground fault circuit interrupter(s) on electrical outlets monthly by pushing the test button, which should then cause the reset button to pop up.
  • If there are young children in the house, make sure electrical outlets are equipped with safety plugs.
  • Regularly check the house for safety hazards, such as a loose handrail, lifting or buckling flooring, inoperative smoke detectors and so on.

Timing of the seasons varies not only from one area of Canada to another but also from year to year in a given area. For this reason, we have not identified the months for each season. The maintenance schedule presented here is, instead, a general guide for you to follow. The actual timing is left for you to decide, and you may want to further divide the list of items for each season into months.

Fall

 

  1. Have furnace or heating system serviced by a qualified service company every two years for a gas furnace, and every year for an oil furnace, or as recommended by the manufacturer.
  2. If you have central air conditioning, make sure the drain pan under the cooling coil mounted in the furnace plenum is draining properly and is clean.
  3. Lubricate circulating pump on hot water heating system.
  4. Bleed air from hot water radiators.
  5. Disconnect the power to the furnace and examine the forced-air furnace fan belt, if installed, for wear, looseness or noise; clean fan blades of any dirt buildup.
  6. Check chimneys for obstructions such as nests.
  7. Vacuum electric baseboard heaters to remove dust.
  8. Remove the grilles on forced-air systems and vacuum inside the ducts.
  9. Turn ON gas furnace pilot light (if your furnace has one), set the thermostat to “heat” and test the furnace for proper operation by raising the thermostat setting until the furnace starts to operate. Once you have confirmed proper operation, return the thermostat to the desired setting.
  10. Check and clean or replace furnace air filters each month during the heating season. Ventilation system, such as heat recovery ventilator, filters should be checked every two months.
  11. Check to see that the duct work leading to and from the heat recovery ventilator is in good shape, the joints are tightly sealed (aluminium tape or mastic) and any duct insulation and plastic duct wrap is free of tears and holes.
  12. If the heat recovery ventilator has been shut off for the summer, clean the filters and the core, and pour water down the condensate drain to test it.
  13. Check to see that bathroom exhaust fans and range hoods are operating properly. If possible, confirm that you are getting good airflow by observing the outside vent hood (the exterior damper should be held open by the airflow). See the About Your House fact sheet CMHC Garbage Bag Airflow Test for a simple way to estimate the airflow.
  14. Check smoke, carbon monoxide and security alarms, and replace batteries.
  15. Clean portable humidifier, if one is used.
  16. Check sump pump and line to ensure proper operation, and to ascertain that there are no line obstructions or visible leaks.
  17. Replace window screens with storm windows.
  18. Remove interior insect screens from windows to allow air from the heating system to keep condensation off window glass and to allow more free solar energy into your home.
  19. Ensure windows and skylights close tightly; repair or replace weather-stripping, as needed.
  20. Ensure all doors to the outside shut tightly, and check other doors for ease of use. Replace door weather-stripping if required.
  21. If there is a door between your house and the garage, check the adjustment of the self-closing device to ensure it closes the door completely.
  22. Cover outside of air-conditioning units and shut off power.
  23. Ensure that the ground around your home slopes away from the foundation wall, so that water does not drain into your basement.
  24. Clean leaves from eaves troughs and roof, and test downspouts to ensure proper drainage from the roof.
  25. Drain and store outdoor hoses. Close interior valve to outdoor hose connection and drain the hose bib (exterior faucet), unless your house has frost-proof hose bibs.
  26. Have well water tested for quality. It is recommended that you test for bacteria every six months.
  27. If you have a septic tank, measure the sludge and scum to determine if the tank needs to be emptied before the spring. Tanks should be pumped out at least once every three years.
  28. Winterize landscaping, for example, store outdoor furniture, prepare gardens and, if necessary, protect young trees or bushes for winter.

Winter

  1. Check and clean or replace furnace air filters each month during the heating season. Ventilation system, such as heat recovery ventilator, filters should be checked every two months.
  2. After consulting your hot water tank owner’s manual, drain off a dishpan full of water from the clean-out valve at the bottom of your hot water tank to control sediment and maintain efficiency.
  3. Clean humidifier two or three times during the winter season.
  4. Vacuum bathroom fan grille, fire and smoke detectors as dust or spider webs can prevent them from functioning. Vacuum radiator grilles on back of refrigerators and freezers, and empty and clean drip trays.
  5. Check pressure gauge on all fire extinguishers; recharge or replace if necessary.
  6. Check fire escape routes, door and window locks and hardware, and lighting around outside of house; ensure family has good security habits.
  7. Check the basement floor drain to ensure the trap contains water; refill with water if necessary.
  8. Monitor your home for excessive moisture levels — for example, condensation on your windows, which can cause significant damage over time and pose serious health problems — and take corrective action if necessary. Refer to the About Your House fact sheet Measuring Humidity in Your Home.
  9. Check all faucets for signs of dripping and change washers as needed. Faucets requiring frequent replacement of washers may be in need of repair.
  10. If you have a plumbing fixture that is not used frequently, such as a laundry tub or spare bathroom sink, tub or shower stall, run some water briefly to keep water in the trap.
  11. Clean drains in dishwasher, sinks, bathtubs and shower stalls.
  12. Test plumbing shut-off valves to ensure they are working and to prevent them from seizing.
  13. Examine windows and doors for ice accumulation or cold air leaks. If found, make a note to repair or replace in the spring.
  14. Examine attic for frost accumulation. Check roof for ice dams or icicles. If there is excessive frost or staining of the underside of the roof, or ice dams on the roof surface, consult the About Your House fact sheet Attic Venting, Attic Moisture and Ice Dams for advice.
  15. Keep snow clear of gas meters, gas appliance vents, exhaust vents and basement windows.
  16. Monitor outdoor vents, gas meters and chimneys for ice and snow buildup. Consult with an appropriate contractor or your gas utility for information on how to safely deal with any ice problems you may discover.
  17. Check electrical cords, plugs and outlets for all indoor and outdoor seasonal lights to ensure fire safety; if worn, or if plugs or cords feel warm to the touch, replace immediately.

How to delete ALL emails on iphone

Sat, 24 Jan by Pauline Relkey

Are you as frustrated as me that there is no way to clean up your phone of all the emails in your inbox?

Well I found a youtube video that shows you how to do it.  I had to do it more than once, but my inbox is now cleaned out. Yay

click here for the video to show you how.

Tax Information

Sat, 24 Jan by Pauline Relkey

There are lots of benefits, credits and deductions to help families with their expenses.

– Working income tax benefit (WITB). Working individuals and families with low income maybe able to claim this refundable tax credit.  The WITB includes a supplement for individuals who qualify for the disability amount. Eligible individuals and families can also apply for advance payments.  Depending on your province or territory of residence you may be eligible for a credit of up to $1,797.

– Children’s fitness tax credit – Did your children play soccer, take golf lessons, or participate in some other program of physical activity in 2013? If so, you may be able to claim up to $500 per child, of the cost of these programs.  You can claim an additional $500 for each eligible child who qualifies for the disability amount and for whom you have paid at least $100 in registration or membership fees for an eligible program.

– Children’s arts tax credit – Did your children participate in a program of artistic, cultural, recreational or developmental activity such as tutoring in 2013? if so, you may be able to claim up to $500 on these programs.  You can claim an additional $500 for each eligible child who qualifies for the disability amount and for whom you have paid at least $100 in registration or membership fees for an eligible program.

– Child care expenses – Did your children attend daycare or a child care program such as a summer day camp in 2013? You or your spouse or common-law partner may be able to claim what you spent on eligible child care in 2013.

– Family caregiver amount – If you have a dependant with an impairment in physical or mental functions, you may be able to claim up to an additional $2,040 in calculating certain non-refundable tax credits.

– Goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit – The GST/HST credit is a tax-free quarterly payment that helps individuals and families with low and modest incomes offset all or part of the GST or HST that they pay.  You can apply for this credit when filing your income tax and benefit return.

– Public transit amount – Did you or your eligible dependant use public transit in 2013?  You may be able to claim the cost of certain public transit passes or electronic payment cards for this 15% non-refundable tax credit.

– Home buyers amount – Did you buy a home in 2013?  You may be able to claim a non-refundable tax credit of up to $750 for the purchase of a qualifying home.

– Child disability benefit – You may be eligible for this tax-free benefit if you cared for a child under the age of 18 who is eligible for the disability tax amount.

– Canada child tax benefit – You may be entitled to a tax-free monthly payment that helps eligible families with the cost of raising children under the age of 18.  To find out if you qualify for this benefit and others, use the online benefit calculator at www.cra.gc.ca/getready.  To receive this benefit, it’s important for you (and your spouse, if applicable) to file an income tax and benefit return every year, even if you did not earn an income during the year.

– Universal child care benefit – If you have children under the age of six, you may be eligible for this taxable benefit, which supports child care choices for families.  You are registered for the universal child care benefit, if you have applied for the Canada child tax benefit.  You can apply online through My Account using the Apply for child benefits service, or send the CRA a completed Form RC66, Canada Child Benefits Application.

– Medical expenses – You may be able to claim a non-refundable tax credit based on the medical expenses paid for you, your spouse or common-law partner, and your children for any 12 month period ending in 2013.

– Disability amount – If you or a family member has a severe and prolonged physical or mental impairment, you may be able to claim this non-refundable tax credit.  To determine if you may be eligible for the disability tax credit (DTC) you must complete part  A of the Form T2201, Disability Tax Credit Certificate and then have part B of the form completed and certified by a qualified practitioner (medical doctor, optometrist, audiologist, etc).  When done, send the certified original form to the Disability Tax Credit Unit at your tax centre.

– Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) – If you save for your retirement in 2013 by contributing to an RRSP, you may be able to deduct the amount of your contributions to reduce your income.

– The CRA’s online services are fast, easy and secure.  You can use them to file your income tax and benefit return, make a payment, track your refund and more.  Sign up for direct deposit too.  Your refund and any benefit or credit payments owed to you will be deposited directly into your account, putting your money in your pocket faster.

For more information, go to www.cra.gc.ca/getready.

What are Local Improvements

Sat, 24 Jan by Pauline Relkey

Some home owners might never encounter this, but you should know what this entails.

Click here for a sample from the City of Regina.

How To Stay Safe During a Storm

Sat, 24 Jan by Pauline Relkey

Good to know, with all the crazy summer storms we have encountered recently.

From Canadian Living magazine.

Click here for the article link or copy and paste from

http://lm.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fbit.ly%2F1lwFIX7&h=6AQHt3dv3&enc=AZMu2SfOjov3oErEfpTh1mVBTkMaSsZvZVPh9HXvmpuThBDpYJKbMehy1G2CiqzbkOI&s=1

Kitchen Remodel – How to Learn from someone else’s mistakes

Sat, 24 Jan by Pauline Relkey

Great info from someone who went through this experience.

Click here for the link to the article.

The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the Association of Regina REALTORS® Inc.. 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.