First time home buyers!! Can you see our excitement 🙂
First time home buyers!! Can you see our excitement 🙂
Nearly 43% of people consider themselves disorganized.* Whether you’re naturally organized or you’re part of the 43%, here are some tips to help you get and stay organized.
1. Sort by type and colour. Whether you’re organizing your books, clothing or other items, putting items of similar function and colour family together creates a clean and orderly appearance.
2. Invest in the right tools. If you want your items to last, make sure you store them right. For example, to help ensure that your business or special occasion clothing stays in wearable condition, buy nice hangers. Wood and fabric-covered hangers drape your clothes well, and help your clothing maintain their shape. Us wooden hangers to hang your suits, jackets or business clothes and padded fabric hangers for delicate dresses and blouses.
3. Store your seasonal clothing on a metal rolling rack, and keep it in your attic, basement or garage. Cover it to help ensure that your clothing stays dust-free until you need them again.
4. Commit to organization. It’s easy to fall back into old habits from time to time. However, to ensure that your storage spaces remain organized, commit to keeping them that way. When you put away your laundry, make sure everything goes in its designated location. And, to keep down the clutter, when you buy a new item, get rid of something you don’t
5. Display collectibles, such as designer handbags, in storage cubes or on shelves. That way you can enjoy looking at them every tim you open your closet.
* Source: IKEA Life at Home Survey, July 2012
Perhaps inspired by the closets seen on popular home design television shows and websites, homeowners are beginning to look at their closets in a new light. Whether your closets are the size of a small bedroom or the size of a locker, here are a few tips to help you get the storage spaces you’ve always wanted.
*image is California Closet
If you want to make over your bathroom, but don’t want to undertake a full renovation, here are five things to do to make it look almost like new.
1. Paint. Go classic with white, create a spa retreat with soothing blues or energize your space with orange or yellow tones. Look online or through décor magazines for a surge of inspiration.
2. Lighting. See yourself in the most flattering light with new light fixtures. New lighting is an easy way to update and modernize a space without gutting it. Just be sure to hire a professional if your plans involve any rewiring.
3. Fixtures. As with lighting, new faucets add style to your space with minimal effort. Although silver-toned faucets are the finish of choice among homeowners, brushed nickel and polished chrome are also popular choices.*
4. Window treatments. Tie the look of the room together with blinds, shades or curtains—or a combination of these options. Choose bold shades to add a pop of colour to the room or keep it neutral. Whatever you choose, make sure that it complements the overall theme or style of the room.
5. Accessories. Add style and function with new accessories. If you’d like more storage, add a wall cabinet or storage tower, or repurpose an unused storage unit from around the home. Install a new mirror or towel rack to enhance the look of the room. Buy new rugs to complement the new colour scheme, and add colour or texture with vases, wall décor or similar items.
Inner city is the perfect lifestyle for this young professional! Welcome Home 🙂
The bathroom is the second most popular room in the house to remodel, after kitchens.
The master bath takes center stage. 60% of homeowners who are renovating their bathrooms are renovating their master bathrooms, with 61% choosing to start from scratch after gutting the existing room.
Who needs a bathtub?
The older the homeowner, the more likely they are to skip a bathtub in master and other full bathrooms.
• 59% of homeowners aged 65+ plan to skip a tub in the master or other full bath.
• 36% of 25 to 34 year olds plan to skip it in the master.
• 39% of 25 to 34 year olds plan to skip it in another full bathroom.
Top 3 types of tubs for bath lovers:
1. Freestanding tub
2. Drop-in tub
3. Spa or jetted tub
One sink or two?
Glass rules the master bath.
• 79% of homeowners prefer glass shower doors over a shower curtain.
• 91% of homeowners are installing high-efficiency toilets.
White cabinets are the top choice for renovations. However, dark and medium wood tones are also popular.
The top 3 wood choices:
According to the Houzz Kitchen Trends Study, 49% of homeowners say that using eco-friendly appliances and materials in their kitchen is important. If you want to make your kitchen renovation project more eco-friendly, follow these tips:
For greener cabinets:
For greener countertops:
For greener flooring:
Today news hit that the The Bank of Canada surprised financial markets by cutting its key interest rate by 0.25 per cent on Wednesday. Here is what CBC said about how it may affect us… the consumer 🙂
1. Cheaper mortgages for some, but not all
“This is good news if you’re a variable-rate mortgage holder,” said Penelope Graham, editor at RateSupermarket.ca.
Variable-rate mortgages are determined by the prime interest rate, which is in turn linked to the overnight interest rate the Bank of Canada just lowered. “It remains to be seen just how much [the banks] are going to cut the prime rate, but it will be cut,” said Graham.
However, in a surprise move Wednesday evening, TD Bank said it will not cut its prime interest rate. “Today’s announcement by the Bank of Canada was unexpected,” said Mohammed Nakhooda, a spokesman for TD Bank. “Our decision regarding our prime rate is impacted by factors beyond just the Bank of Canada’s overnight rate. Not only do we operate in a competitive environment, but our prime rate is influenced by the broader economic environment, and its impact on credit.”
Holders of fixed-rate mortgages, of course, won’t enjoy an immediate cut in monthly payments. Canadians taking out a new fixed-rate mortgage or renewing their old one right now could see rates edge down. Fixed mortgage rates are linked to long-term government bond yields. Those bond yields have already begun to fall in light of the Bank of Canada’s interest rate cut.
Graham warned Canadian home buyers that what goes down, must come up.
“When rates do eventually go up, when the economy recovers, [mortgage holders] are going to see their monthly debt servicing costs go up,” said Graham. “If they can’t handle that, they could see themselves underwater on their mortgages.”
2. Borrowing on lines of credit, credit cards
Like variable-rate mortgages, interest rates for lines of credit are generally tied to a bank’s prime interest rate, which is usually tied to the Bank of Canada’s overnight rate. That means Canadians borrowing money through a line of credit may see their borrowing costs to come down, depending on whether their bank cuts its prime interest rate.
Canadians hoping for a break on their credit card bills, though, are out of luck.
“Your credit card interest [rate] is actually a stated amount,” explained Craig Alexander, chief economist at TD Bank. “So when the Bank of Canada cuts rates or raises rates it doesn’t have an influence on them.”
As with mortgages, Canadians shouldn’t necessarily take further advantage of cheaper borrowing costs just because they can.
CIBC deputy chief economist Benjamin Tal sees a potential risk to the Canadian economy if Canadians start racking up even more debt. A credit-fuelled spending spree is “something that the Bank of Canada would like to avoid,” said Tal.
“Our debt-to-income ratio, at 165 per cent, is relatively high,” said Tal. “That’s a risk that the Bank of Canada is taking.”
3. The loonie flies south
The Canadian dollar fell dramatically against a variety of major currencies as soon as the Bank of Canada made its announcement, and that means Canadians immediately have less purchasing power abroad. That’s bad news for snowbirds with homes in the U.S., or any Canadian planning an international trip.
If Canadians are wondering when to transfer money to a foreign bank account, they can try to take advantage of short-term volatility in exchange rates, according to Karl Schamotta, director of foreign exchange research at Cambridge Mercantile Group.
“Typically exchange rates do not follow a nice linear trend,” said Schamotta. “There’s certainly potential to harness any gains that might occur over the coming months, but at the same time it’s very important to look at that overall backdrop and understand that the Canadian dollar is likely to remain depressed for a long period of time.”
How long could the loonie fly so low? Schamotta sees a clue in the Bank of Canada’s own outlook, which says lower oil prices will have an “unambiguously negative” effect on the Canadian economy for 2015 and beyond.
“What we’re looking at here is a relatively bearish outlook for interest rates and for growth in Canada for at least a one- to two-year period here, and that is likely to keep the Canadian dollar contained,” said Schamotta.
That negative outlook could turn more positive, added Schamotta, if some kind of geopolitical shock causes oil prices to surge once again.
4. No immediate effect on auto loans
Auto loans tend to be fixed-rate, not variable-rate. That means the Bank of Canada’s interest rate cut won’t have an immediate effect on auto financing, according to Canadian Auto Dealers Association chief economist Michael Hatch.
“I don’t think that tomorrow automotive consumers are going to wake up necessarily to easier or harder financing conditions,” said Hatch. “It’s going to remain par for the course.”
Still, Hatch didn’t rule out cheaper auto financing in the near future. “It’s a very competitive [interest rate] environment out there. It could well happen in the next few months, going into the spring selling season.”
5. A bad time for savers
If you enjoy interest generated from a traditional savings account, the Bank of Canada’s move is bad news for those returns.
“We saw when the Bank of Canada cut interest rates during the last recession that interest rates on savings accounts went down almost linearly with the decline in the Bank of Canada overnight rate,” said Randall Bartlett, senior economist at TD Economics.
“There’s not going to be a massive change, but at the same time … ifyou’re not earning much interest before, you’re going to be earning less interest now,” added Bartlett.
This could be a good time for savers to think about changing their strategy, said Bartlett.
“As interest on things like savings accounts and government debt … comes down, at the same time it does provide incentives for people to invest in other types of assets that have higher returns,” said Bartlett. “Things like stocks, ETFs, mutual funds … tend to benefit from rate cuts” as businesses take advantage of cheaper credit to make investments that could improve their share prices down the line.
|Here is an overview from the 2015 Economic Outlook & Regional Housing Outlook from CREB®
|Housing sales are forecasted to ease by four per cent this year, due to market uncertainty and changes in economic climate, while prices are expected to remain relatively stable with a modest increase of 1.58 per cent on an annual basis, CREB® said today in its annual forecast.
Although sales levels are expected to ease, previously tight conditions throughout 2014 indicate that rising supply would push the market into more balanced conditions, supporting price stability in 2015. However, CREB® warns there are multiple risk factors attached to this forecast, which estimates a total of 24,503 homes will be sold in the city this year.
“The housing risks lie mainly with employment levels and net migration, both of which can be more severely impacted by a prolonged period of weakness in the energy sector,” said CREB® chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie. “There is also the impact that energy prices have on consumer confidence. If energy prices stay low throughout the year, concern regarding job stability could cause consumers to delay unnecessary changes regarding housing.”
The report notes that while sales activity is expected to ease in 2015, it remains consistent with long-term levels. By comparison, sales in 2014 were nearly 15 per cent higher than the long-term trends for the city.
“The economic situation is far better today than what is was in 2009, where the fallout of the financial crises resulted in a U.S. recession, weakness in energy sectors, a pullback in investment and ultimately job losses in Calgary,” said Lurie. “With economic indicators remaining more positive in this period, the pullback in housing is not expected to mirror activity during the 2009-2010 period.”
CREB®’s forecast also notes that housing activity can vary significantly depending on location, price range and property type. For example, in 2014, there were less detached homes within city limits available in the lower price ranges. This caused many consumers who were looking for lower priced product to move to the attached and apartment sectors within city limits as well as other surrounding areas. Many consumers turned to the larger surrounding areas of Airdrie, Cochrane, Okotkoks and Chestermere, which all recorded record levels of sales in 2014.
“With more supply in the market expected this year, buyers will likely have more alternatives in all price ranges,” said 2015 CREB® president Corinne Lyall. “It’s a nice scenario for buyers, but it also means that sellers will likely have to adjust their price expectations and be realistic about the amount of time their home will be on the market.”
“A REALTOR® can help navigate market conditions and real estate options, which are always unique to each consumer,” said Lyall. “While challenges in the market can raise concerns for buyers and sellers, it really comes down to their personal situation and knowing what’s right for them. Real estate is truly local.”