Archive for the ‘General Topics’ Category

July 4, 2017

The London and St. Thomas Association of REALTORS® (LSTAR) announced home sales achieved the best results ever for the month of June, since LSTAR began tracking sales data in 1978*. A total of 1,245 homes were sold in June, an increase of 9.9% over the same period last year.

“We’re halfway through the year, and we had the sixth consecutive month of record sales,” said Jim Smith, LSTAR President. “Other regions have started to see a drop in sales, according to the latest figures from the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). Although activity has started to slow down in other municipalities, REALTORS® across London and St. Thomas continue to receive interest from outside the region. Our marketplace continues to be very strong, with year-to-date home sales more than 23 percent ahead of 2016.”

In June, a total of 998 detached homes were sold, an increase of 8.6% over the previous year, while there were 247 condominium sales, up 15.4% from 2016. The average sales price across London and St. Thomas was $335,233 – down 2.8% from the previous month. The average year-to-date sales price was $331,524 – up 18.8% from the 2016 average home price of $279,057.

“The summer season is in full swing and we understand contractors throughout the region are in high demand,” Smith said. “Renovation projects may help homeowners to add value to their properties, spurring healthy activity for local small businesses and merchants, contributing further to the economic growth of our communities.”

In June, there were 1,398 listings, up 9.0% from the same time in 2016. The year-to-date sales are outpacing last year by 23.2%, with a total of 6,542 homes sold.

St. Thomas enjoyed strong activity in June as well, with a total of 111 homes sold, up 46.1% from the same time last year. The average home price in St. Thomas was $280,336, up 8.0% from the previous month.

The best-selling house style in June continues to be the two-storey, followed by the bungalow, and ranch. The average price for a detached home in June was $361,560 down 2.8% from the previous month, while the average price for a condominium was $228,860, down 6.4% from the previous month.

According to a research report, one job is created for every three real estate transactions and approximately $53,000 in ancillary spending is generated every time a home changes hands in Ontario. “Based on the record monthly total for June, that translates into creating potentially over 400 jobs and positioning us to potentially generate nearly $66 million back into the local economy,” Smith said. “With month after month of record sales, we continue to be focused on delivering the best service that consumers expect from us. In a dynamic marketplace, a REALTOR® has the knowledge and experience to protect the needs of the consumer and help them manage every step of the real estate process.”

as published by LSTAR


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What makes a Lack a Lack and not, say, a Poäng? While they may be all Swedish to you and me, there’s a method to the naming of IKEA products:

Bookcases are named after professional occupations (Expedit means shop keeper) or boys’ names (The bestselling Billy bookcase is named after IKEA employee Billy Likjedhal). Outdoor furniture is named after Scandinavian islands (Äpplarö an island in the Stockholm archipelago and Västerön is in Aaland). Rugs are named after cities and towns in Denmark or Sweden (Ådum, Stockholm, Silkeborg), while bed sheets, comforters and pillowcases are named after flowers and plants. (Häxört or circaea lutetian is an herb in the primrose family).

Link: Quartz

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What is Depersonalization? Stage Your Home to Appeal To Buyers

Have you wondered, What is depersonalization? Also called staging, depersonalization involves creating a home that is inviting to a wide range of potential buyers. Your ultimate goal is to help the potential buyer visualize his or her new home in the house you’re selling. To effectively entice buyers, you want to remove anything in your house that would not appeal to another person. Keep in mind that your house will ultimately end up as someone else’s home and that person will have his own unique style and personal touches to add.


By removing personal items such as pictures and framed degrees along with utilizing neutral colors, it is much easier for home buyers to see how their own furniture and personal style would mesh with the house they are viewing. For example, vivid colors may only appeal to a few buyers. But by placing neutral-colored throw pillows on your couch and having complementary wall colors and window treatments, you create an inviting space for people of all tastes, from traditional to contemporary. For specifics on “what is depersonalization?” and how to incorporate this concept into your selling strategy, consider using some of the techniques provided below.


This should go without saying: Have your home thoroughly cleaned before showing it. A clean home is much more inviting and appealing to potential buyers than a home with dust, clutter, and dirt. Be sure to tidy up every morning or evening. For example, unwashed dishes in the sink, an unmade bed, and dirty laundry overflowing in a laundry basket are unappealing to potential buyers.

Extra Touches

  • Make sure the trashcans are empty and the toilet lids are down. Remember to stow away grooming items such as toothbrushes and shaving kits.
  • Turn on some lights. In rooms without windows or rooms with heavy drapes, turn on lamps and recessed lights. An adequately lit home is warm and comforting to buyers.
  • Place flower arrangements in communal spaces such as kitchens, living rooms, and dining rooms. Fresh flowers bring a cozy, earthy feel into a home without being too personal.
  • Consider using mild air fresheners throughout your home, especially near trashcans, pet areas, bathrooms, and laundry rooms. Avoid overpowering fragrances, though, as they may distract buyers.

By depersonalizing your home and appealing to a broad range of buyers, you increase the likelihood of receiving a viable offer and decrease the likelihood that your home will sit on the market for an extended period.

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Installing tile walls in your kitchen or bath is a high-end design project that will enhance your home and will pay for itself. Tiled walls increase the value of any residence. And with careful preparation and a little practice cutting tiles, even the first time tile installer will produce a satisfying, great looking job to enjoy.

There is an astounding array of tile on the market, with elegant varieties imported from Italy, Spain and Portugal. Tile comes in traditional or contemporary finishes and in many sizes. Glazed tile manufactured in matte or shiny finishes is usually installed around sinks and tubs. Matte unglazed tile is used for flooring and wall surfaces.
When purchasing tile, you may need flat -or field-tiles and trim tiles with finished—or bullnose—edges or shaped to fit joints or corners. Tiles smaller than 4 x 4 in a sheet, or mosaics, come attached to a sheet. After you’ve chosen a tile, make sure it is available in the quantity you need for your project and buy extra to account for breakage.
Safety Recommendations: Rubber gloves should be worn during this project.
  • Backer board
  • T-square
  • Drill/driver
  • Taping knife
  • Notched trowel
  • Sponge-faced float
  • Tile cutter and nippers
  • Sponge
  • Spacers
  • Tile adhesive
  • Grout
  • Fiberglass tape
  • Pencil

Step 1: Prepare the walls. Repair any plaster or drywall with patching material and sand smooth. If present remove wallpaper and sand any glossy areas.

Step 2: Install cement backer board. Cement backer board-available in ¼ inch or ½ inch thick-must be installed if you are tiling a bathroom or sink area. Measure and cut to size with a utility knife by scoring and snapping.
Step 3: Install cement backerboard to drywall. Use 1-1/2″ inch galvanized roofing nails or 1-1/4″ inch galvanized screws. Never use drywall screws for anything but drywall. Drive fasteners 8″ inches apart making sure they line up with and penetrate the wall studs.
Step 4: Tape cement board joints. Trowel cement board joints with thinset and cut lengths of fiberglass mesh tape. Embed the mesh into the mortar.  If you are prepping new drywall, you will not need to tape the joints
Step 5: Create a layout tool. Determine the center of your wall and pencil in a vertical and horizontal line running the length and height. Lay out tiles, leaving room for grout line using spacers. Line up a wood stick along the top row of tiles and mark tile and grout spaces. You can use this tool along with a level to lay out tile, starting in center of wall. Mark border tiles that need to be cut. Place a tile over the last tile and mark a line. Use your tile cutter to cut.
Leave space when installing around a tub or shower equal to the width of one tile plus 1/8 inch from top of tub or base of shower which is later caulked.
Step 6: Mark placement on walls, using a pencil, level, and your layout tool.
Step 7: Apply a thinset adhesive. Beginning in center trowel on thinset, covering a small area at a time using a notched trowel. Make sure not to cover layout lines.
Step 8: Attach tiles to adhesive. With a slight twisting motion press a tile in place. Leave space for grout and spacers, if using.
Step 9: Cut irregular tiles, using tile nippers. Tiles have to be cut to fit around pipes or other fixtures or to fit into corners or other irregular areas. Practice on spare tiles if you haven’t used tile nippers before. Make several small clips to remove tile material and prevent cracking a tile.
Step 10: Grout the seams when the tile has been set. The type of tile being installed will determine the type of grout you will use. Many colors are available or you could mix a custom color. Mix a sample by adding colorant to grout mix and allowing a batch to dry check the actual color. Apply grout with a sponge-faced float or squeegee, brushing across the seams diagonally. When you’re done, wipe of excess grout with a damp sponge. After tiles have set and grout has dried, polish with a dry cloth.
Howard Stier

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Fire Insurance

No one plans on or expects a fire to happen to them. But it is possible, and fire insurance on any dwelling is an absolute necessity. If you have a mortgage on your home that is insured by the National Housing Act the fire insurance policy you take out must be equal to the full replacement value of the building. And as housing costs rise so should the amount of your policy. Also, your policy should be large enough to help you recover your own investment in the building as well.

Policies are generally renewable each year. If you are building or having a home built, you should also consider having insurance to cover the building period as an added security measure.

Third Party Insurance

Civil liability or third party insurance is highly recommended to cover your personal liability in the event that a visitor to your property sustains an injury. It protects you in the event the visitor sues you for damages. Package policies are available to homeowners to provide them with a full benefit package. Fire and third party insurance can also be included in a package protecting you against theft, loss or destruction of contents as well as property damage caused by Mother Nature.

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Its July 5th and the bracket holding my Canadian flag pole to the front of my house decided to break. So I made and installed a new bracket to hold my Canadian flag.
But as I stood back to admire my flag it made me take a look up and down my street looking for other flags. But I was disappointed because I saw none. I know that a friend of mine at the end of my street does have both a Canadian flag and a Union Jack proudly displayed on the front of his house – I can’t see it from here but I drive by it everyday and think wow! So why doesn’t everyone have a Canadian flag on display?
As a nation we proudly celebrated Canada Day just 4 days ago! Canada replaced the Union Jack with The Maple Leaf design on February 15, 1965.
Take a look at your neighbourhood. Does anyone have a Canadian flag on display? If not, why not start a trend and get one installed now.
Let’s make it a goal to have a Canadian flag installed on every home and business in Canada by Canada Day 2011. It starts with you!

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I have just received a booklet in the mail titled “What changes – and what doesn’t change – under HST”.
Under the heading of “Home Purchases” it states that for “New Homes up to $400,000” prior to July 1, 2010 there was a 5% GST charge and No PST. But after July 1, 2010 “there is No Change to the amount of tax payable under HST”.
But the fine print reads “The new housing rebate will be 75 per cent of the Ontario component of the HST, up to a maximum of $24,000”. I ask myself, if there’s No Change to the tax structure why would a new home buyer get a 75% rebate? The 8% Ontario tax portion of the HST for a $400,000 home equals $32,000 but a new home buyer will get a maximum rebate of $24,000 leaving the buyer with an $8,000 hole in their pocket. Where does the “No Change” come into effect?
I visited MPP Steve Peters office and was also told that in most cases there was no change to the tax structure but that I should read the fine print regarding the 75% rebate.
I called the 1-800 number in the pamphlet and they admitted that the booklet is misleading and that yes a new home buyer would be paying more tax for their new home. Plus labour, materials and land will all attract a new 8% tax.
On the bright side, a buyer of a resale home pays no tax on the purchase price of their home. Which would you rather have?

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