Real Estate And Rising Interest Rates

The average interest rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage has remained near historic lows since 2013, but these rates have started to rise. It is important for real estate consumers to understand rising mortgage rates and how these rates will impact your ability to buy or sell a home. To ease Buyers and Sellers anxiety, here is what rising mortgage rates will mean to you. 

*  Higher interest rates, translate into higher mortgage loan costs.

*  Rising rates makes homes more expensive for Buyers, which lowers the demand for home purchases.

*  Less demand impacts Sellers as the price of their home decreases in order to attract Buyers.

*  Rising mortgage rates will not have much of an effect on property value or housing prices, as long as salaries and wages grow accordingly.

In Real Estate, conventional wisdom says that rising interest rates make buying or selling a home more difficult, and decreasing interest rates make buying and selling easier.

For example, if a Home Buyer wants a 4% rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage of $500,000, the monthly mortgage payment would be $2,377. But if the same Buyer only qualifies for a 5% rate on the same 30-year fixed mortgage, the monthly payment would rise to $2,668. A 1% increase in interest raises the Buyer's payment by $291, or roughly 11%. So, what does this mean for homebuyers? As mortgage rates increase, affordability decreases. 

Your credit score will greatly impact the interest rate that you receive on your mortgage. Try and improve your credit score before applying for a mortgage.

Rising mortgage rates also affect Sellers. For example, if the Seller wants to sell the house for $500,000, rising interest rates may decrease the number of potential buyers who can afford the home.

Rising interest rates do have a noticeable effect on the Real Estate Market. Property value and housing prices directly correlate to mortgage rates. Yet, if the economy grows fast enough, rising mortgage rates will not have as great an effect on property value and housing prices. If the economy is strong it allows employers to increase salaries to help compensate for the rising interest rate.

If you are thinking of buying investment property rising rates can be positive. The market for rental properties often increases because fewer people can qualify for mortgages. Rising interest rates reduce property prices, so it can be better to buy during this time. Often, fewer real estate transactions take place as lending standards tighten. Thus, more people will need rental properties until they can afford a mortgage. 

You don’t need to fear increasing mortgage rates, if you are thinking about Buying a home or Investing in real estate. Historically, todays rates are still very low. The annual average for 30-year fixed mortgage rates has not reached 5% since 2009. In 2006, the average mortgage rate was 6.41%; in 1996, 7.81%; and in 1986, 10.19%.

Need Real Estate advice? Don’t hesitate to contact me. I will give you the knowledge, confidence and security, so you can make the right decision on buying and selling real estate.


Styling Tips To Help Sell Your Home

If you want to make a swift sale of your home — and at the right price — it pays to show it off to its maximum potential. The goal is not only to prompt an offer, but also to ensure that house hunters don’t have any reason to haggle on the list price. Here are some tips for styling a property to make a great first impression.

Take a Step Back

A good place to start when beginning the process of selling your home is to imagine how potential buyers will see it.

When you’re selling, you need to step back, take a deep breath and start looking at it with fresh eyes — potential-buyers’ eyes.

Grab a pen and notepad and walk around each space, making a note of all the potential snagging points and areas that could be improved.

To help you see your home in a new light, take photos. Grab a camera and take a wide-angled landscape shot from each corner of every room. Look at the photos carefully and see what stands out. Do you need to replace pillows, buy new bed linens, add a few plants or declutter surfaces? Looking at your property through a picture will help you refine your spaces.

Repair and Retouch

Before you put your home on the market, it’s a good idea to do any maintenance or repairs that could put buyers off or prompt them to offer a lower price.

Remember, most new homeowners will want to move in right away, so the idea of having to replace, repair or redecorate can be off-putting.

Potential buyers can also accidentally make massively inflated valuations based on what they believe certain repair and replenishment works will cost. By getting these jobs done in advance, you’ll make the property more saleable and give buyers less wiggle room when it comes to making an offer.

Badly done work can also have a negative impact. Use reliable tradespeople and professionals as much as possible. 

Neutralize the Decor

To encourage buyers to imagine the potential of your home, avoid decor that can be distracting. Try to keep the wall colors neutral.

Instead of buying new furniture, make it work with the rest of the room. Bring in some modern pieces to help pull the scheme together in an eclectic style. It will have a great effect without a major price tag.


Allow potential buyers to see the space available in your property by keeping the rooms as decluttered as possible. Potential buyers will find it hard to look beyond the clutter. They’ll want to see the space available and how their furniture will work in your house. A messy and chaotic home detracts from the property itself and causes some buyers to walk away, as they can’t see what’s behind the clutter.

A good way to declutter is to classify items as either ‘practical,’ ‘beautiful’ or ‘sentimental’ and assign to each a value from 1 to 10 to decide whether to keep it. Anything under 5 can be donated or recycled.

Don’t hang on to things you don’t need. Starting this process early will also give you an advantage when you move into your new home. Organization is also key for buyers. 

Make It Look Lived-In

While a light, neutral scheme allows viewers to see the bones of your home, an empty property won’t have quite the same effect.

If you’re planning to sell a vacant property, staging makes a huge difference. It allows buyers to visualize the space and, if done well, can transform an empty shell into a home.

Eliminate Odors

It’s not just the appearance of your home that will influence viewers — the scent is also important. An unpleasant smell will immediately put off potential buyers. So address any smells, such as dog, dampness or cigarette smoke.

Remove any evidence of pets, such as a smelly bed, and clean the carpet and upholstery to refresh the space.

If necessary, call in an expert to find out where water is seeping into the house and fix the problem of mildew and mold. It could be broken gutters or poor drainage outside the house. These should not be excessively costly to fix, but will certainly be harder to deal with as the problem gets worse.

Brighten It Up

Both natural and artificial light can be used to show your property at its best. Your house needs to be bright and well lit for viewings to demonstrate the true size of the space. Therefore, consider how your lighting looks in each room.

Pull back curtains and open blinds to make the most of the natural light, but also think about creating an ambiance by positioning additional lamps on side tables around the room. 


Tips For Increasing Your Home's Value

These suggestions for decorating, remodeling and adding storage will help your home stand out in the market.

Unless you are designing your forever home, you are probably concerned with resale value when discussing renovations big or small. A home is often a person’s largest asset, so design upgrades are not only an aesthetic decision but a financial one as well. Here are some design tips that have been the most beneficial in helping houses stand out from the pack.

Make the Room Feel Bigger

Selecting and placing furniture that fits the scale of the room can go a long way in making the space feel larger than it actually is. While the actual square footage of a house will, of course, directly affect the price, perception is a powerful thing. If you can make a room feel more spacious, buyers will likely see more potential in the house.

Not Everything Has to Be New

Don’t be afraid to keep a home’s traditional elements. It’s impossible to please every potential buyer by selecting one particular style or trend; staying honest to the home’s roots can pay dividends.

Add Custom Closets

A large, functional walk-in closet will add value to any home. It’s a luxury that really excites potential buyers. Prices for installing a custom closet vary widely, but finding an affordable solution that still has a high-end look is not too difficult if you do your research.

The Kitchen Is King

If you’re going to spend money on your home, you’ll get no better bang for your buck than in the kitchen. Whether you’re an avid cook or more likely to order takeout on your way back from work, you use the kitchen for eating, drinking and storage. Even minor upgrades, such as updating light fixtures and hardware, will add value to your home.

Storage: The More The Better

There is no such thing as too much storage. It’s important to provide ample storage for multiple purposes. Under the stairs is an ideal area for pullout storage for tall items like ladders that won’t fit in standard-height closets.

A Fresh Coat of Paint Can Do Wonders

Painting is the most cost-effective way to freshen up a space. Freshly painted rooms feel updated, clean and crisp, without leaving a major dent in your wallet. When selecting paint colors, try to avoid anything too bold, as neutrals tend to be a safer choice in homes for sale.

Try to Be Energy-Efficient

Buying a home comes with many other costs beyond the sale price: closing costs, moving fees and energy bills are just a few examples. Try to offer potential buyers energy-efficient options. They can be as small as CFL or LED lightbulbs or as big as installing solar panels on your roof.

Bathroom Updates Provide a Big Return

Bathroom upgrades are second only to kitchen updates in providing a great return on investment. Since bathrooms are usually the smallest spaces in the home, a little bit can go a long way. Consider replacing outdated vanities, changing light fixtures and updating hardware.

Hire a Professional Organizer

It’s amazing what a little help can do. A professional organizer can help you create a clutter-free home. The money spent on hiring a pro for just one day will pay off when potential buyers see an organized home that feels larger and more manageable. Buying a house can be stressful, especially for first-time buyers. It might be subconscious, but a well-organized space may help to lessen that stress.

Add Curb Appeal

First impressions count. Keep the front yard tidy, water the plants and do the updates that need to be done. Peeling paint and cracked exterior walls do not make a good first impression. If you’re adding new plants, try to select ones that are low-maintenance.


What You Should Know Before Signing A Lease Agreement

COVID-19 has flipped the Canadian rental market on its head. Cities have seen skyrocketing downtown rental listings and declining prices, making it an ideal market for renters.

Despite these unusual circumstances, prospective tenants can benefit from a wider variety of options on the market. Increased levels of inventory, coupled with dropping prices, have shifted the market’s balance in favour of renters, providing them with more listings to choose from at discounted prices. Like with resale transactions, both landlords and tenants can recruit the support of a Realtor to help them through the rental process. 

If you’re on the hunt for a new apartment, or just want to get a better understanding of leasing terminology here are five essential terms everyone should know before signing a rental agreement. 

*Note some leasing terminology or rules vary by province. 

Lease Term

A lease term, referred to as the term of the tenancy agreement, is the duration (how long) the lease agreement is in effect.

A fixed-term tenancy requires the tenancy start and end on a specific date outlined in the agreement. The tenant is not required to move out at the end of the lease term or renew their agreement. Instead, they may choose to live in the apartment on a month-to-month basis if their agreement is on a fixed-term, or agree to enter into a new agreement altogether with the landlord. 

Periodic tenancies also exist, where the agreement has a start date but no end date until a tenancy termination is provided.

Tenancy Termination

If a tenant wishes to terminate and leave their lease agreement, they can provide notice to end tenancy. This notice is often required to be served in writing many weeks before the tenant intends to move out, or their fixed-term lease is expected to end. In British Columbia, tenants can give 30 days’ notice to vacate; while in Toronto it is 60 days.


In cases where the tenant wishes to leave their tenancy before the end of the fixed-term agreement, there are a couple of options. 

If, for whatever reason, you need to leave early, then subletting is essentially your only real, viable, legal option. Your other option, and it’ll be entirely at the say so of the landlord, is to speak to the landlord and see if you can mutually agree to end the lease early.


In the event a tenant wants to move out of their rental unit temporarily, but not terminate the tenancy agreement, they may propose enlisting a sublet to take over the unit. 

A sublet, or sub-tenant, lives in the tenanted unit until a specified date, but this does not change the existing lease conditions between the landlord and tenant. While the tenant recruits and chooses the sublet, the landlord gives the final approval on the sublet to ensure they are suitable.

You should try to include a condition, in the lease, that says you have the right to sublet, but the landlord has the ultimate right to approve that person or reject that person. The landlord won’t help you find somebody to sublet your property, but they do need to approve that person prior to occupancy.


A deposit is an amount of money put forward as an installment on the lease agreement, and used as future payment for a portion of the lease. In some cases, a lease agreement may contain other types of refundable deposits. Deposit amounts and rules are different in each province. 

In British Columbia neither a lease’s security deposit and pet damage deposit can exceed one-half of the monthly rent. 

Security and damage deposits are not legal in Ontario, but refundable key deposits are. Landlords must also pay interest on the deposit to the tenant every year. A REALTOR® can help tenants and landlords to determine which provincial deposits are appropriate in their lease. 

For example, key deposits have to be the replacement cost, they can’t be some arbitrary number. So the actual replacement cost for the key, can be requested by the landlord.

In Good Repair

Unlike resale agreements, leases do not provide an inspection clause that covers the property’s physical condition. However, leases do set the groundwork for the responsibilities of the landlord and the tenant to keep the property in good repair; a standard that addresses the maintenance and repairs the unit requires. 

The lease agreement can specify the procedure for when appliances break down, or list any work requested to be completed prior to the tenant’s occupancy.

Before signing make sure that everything you want done, or want, make sure, it is instituted into the agreement. If work needs to be done on the property, it has to be specific and it has to have a time frame.

If you’re browsing for your next rental apartment, or are looking to get your residential or commercial rental listing to a large audience of potential tenant, contact me and I can help you through the process.


Advice For Becoming A Landlord

Thinking of renting out your condo, basement or house? Here is some advice for small landlords and how to avoid difficult situations with your tenants.

It’s important to be prepared. Familiarize yourself with the Landlord and Tenant Board, the paperwork required to evict someone, and the standard lease agreement, before even advertising the unit.

You should have a financial cushion that can cover at least six months of the mortgage and other costs of the unit in case you don’t have rental income, as well as a little extra to cover legal fees. A month-to-month rental agreement instead of a lease with a fixed term, is also recommended, as it gives you more flexibility.

Screening is key when choosing a tenant, as you’re assessing risk. You need to look at the applicants’ income, employment, credit check, references and previous tenancies, and it’s important not to take any information, such as phone numbers, for granted. Always Google a person or workplace to check that the available information matches what’s on the application.

Assessing a potential tenant is a balance of intuition and looking at the facts. You can tell a lot about an applicant by meeting them in person, but you should still check everything even if you think the person seems trustworthy. “Do the math” yourself to see whether the applicant’s income seems like enough to cover their monthly costs.

As soon as something seems off — whether it’s a global pandemic or a late rent payment — the landlord should reach out to the tenant to figure out a compromise. However, you should also serve notice just in case, as that can always be withdrawn once the tenant pays rent or agrees to a payment plan. Throughout the tenancy, it’s important to have all agreements in writing.

Above all, the landlord needs to be professional and nice, regardless of the situation, as expressing one’s frustration or anger won’t help solve a difficult tenant situation.

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