Tag Archives: Manitoba

Now is a great time to buy a cottage

Vacation property prices haven’t increased in 5 to 7 years

by Romana King – March 25th, 2015

If you’ve ever dreamt of owning a cottage, now is a great time to buy.

For the better part of a decade prices for lakefront real estate and chalets in key Canadian vacation hot spots rivaled the housing prices of the finer neighborhoods in Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver and Montreal. But this has changed in the last few years.

“It’s a buyer’s market when it comes to [Canadian] vacation homes,” says Tim Harris, owner of Tradewinds Realty which services the South Shore area of Nova Scotia. Prior to 2008, about 50% of Canada’s second home purchasers were American, says Harris. But then came the U.S. housing crash American property owners started to sell. As a result, Harris has watched the Nova Scotian vacation property market drop by 20%. And it’s not the only vacation property area to experience a dip in pricing. “Americans started rationalizing their vacation home purchases and started selling in droves,” says Harris.

But the U.S. economy is stronger now, you say. That means prices should be picking up. Not yet, says Harris.

Despite a steadily growing U.S. economy buyers from south of the border still haven’t come back to Canada. “Instead, we saw an additional 10% drop in average prices over 2014,” says Harris.

Internet is hurting Canadian vacation property market

Part of the problem, according to Harris, is the internet. “There was a time when it was really hard to find a vacation rental property in places like Nova Scotia,” says Harris. “Then along came the internet.” Property rental sites, such as AirBnB and vrbo.com, make it easy for vacationers to track down, book and pay for a rental property. “They can even pay using a smartphone,” says Harris.

Harris believes that the ease and speed of being able to find a rental unit has decreased the need to buy a vacation property. “It used to be so difficult and inconvenient finding a cottage or lake front property. Now it’s just a swipe of the finger.”

Because the U.S. buyers haven’t come back to Canadian soil, there’s been no sales pressure and this has meant that prices continue to decline slightly, or stay stagnant, depending on the market. “It’s still a buyer’s market when it comes to vacation properties,” says Harris.

Tips for buying a Canadian cottage

This is good news for anyone looking to buy a cottage or vacation property in Canada. But to get the most for your money you’ll need to get organized.

First, determine your primary use. Will the place be used for family gatherings? To enjoy during regular vacation times, or will it be more regularly used now that you’re in retirement? Do you plan on earning some extra money by renting the place out? Answers to these questions will dictate what you buy and where.

For instance:

→ A vacation property that will double as a retirement retreat should have easy access to

amenities, such as grocery stores, gas stations and hospitals.

→ A family cottage should have adequate sleep areas for a growing family (remember, the kids will want sleepovers) and adequate kitchen and eating areas.

→ A rental place needs to be located in a high-demand area, such as on a lake or near sought-after sites (such as near Fundy National Park in New Brunswick).

Once you know what you need and want it’s time to get your finances in order. Make a budget for annual maintenance, property tax, propane fuel refills, septic tank cleaning and garbage dump fees. You’ll also need to come up with a hefty down payment—second properties require buyers to put down at least 20%.

When looking for that ideal retreat, keep in mind that places closer to major urban centres carry higher price tags but other factors can also drive up a property’s price. “The size of a lake will dictate a larger price,” says John Sallinen, a Re/Max broker in the Muskoka, Ont., area. “Most people want to be on a large lake.” Get off the big lakes and travel a bit further and prices begin to drop, sometimes dramatically. (Although, you may not command as high a rental price for these off-the-beaten path properties.)

To narrow down your choice of locations, consider tapping into market research. Every year in May, Re/Max releases its Recreational Property Report, which offers insight into costs and availability in the nation’s prime vacation spots.

Source: MoneySense.ca

 

Getting Your Home Ready to Sell

You would never dream of inviting guests to your house without making certain 999-rose -- For Salepreparations, so don’t invite potential buyers without first making the necessary updates by preparing your home to sell.  If you are like most sellers, you want to get as much as possible for your home and you want to do it as quickly as possible.
 
 Letting Go
 
After you’ve lived in a house, it becomes much more than four walls and a ceiling.  It’s a home and it has a lot of good memories.  Your first step to preparing your home to sell is to realize that you will take these memories with you wherever you go, but you won’t be taking the house.  It can be difficult to let go, but the task will be much easier if you start to think of it as a new beginning rather than an ending.
 
Cleaning House
 
An important part of getting your home ready to sell is in staging the decor for potential buyers.  When you stage a home, you create an environment that is free of any personal items, such as photos and/or anything that stands out as being customized for you or your family.  When a potential buyer walks through your home, they need to envision their belongings and decor without being distracted by yours.  While these items may be special to you, they could possibly prevent the buyer from being able to imagine their own style complimenting the home.
 
In addition to removing any personal items, make sure that you remove any clutter from the home.  A clean home seems larger and more inviting, whereas a lot of stuff lying around could give the impression that the home is too small or cramped for storage.  Pack up any knickknacks, remove your children’s drawings from the refrigerator and clean up your counter space in both the kitchen and bathrooms.
 
Staging Your Home
 
Now that your house is clean, it’s time to put the finishing touches on the staging process.  A solid, neutral shade in a tablecloth should be selected for the dining room table.  Depending on your decor and wall coloring, a solid white, sand or ivory covering will work well.  In the center of the table, a vase with fresh cut flowers (or silk, if you have allergies) will add a nice accent.  Did you know that the kitchen and bathroom are two of the main selling points to any home?  Keep this in mind when preparing your home for potential buyers.
 
The living room should have one focal point, whether it be a fireplace or breathtaking view of the outside world.  If you have too many features screaming out at potential buyers, they may feel overwhelmed, so focus on one aspect and make it shine.  If you have a mantle, line it with three candles that match your decor in color.  Place a large candle in the center with one smaller one on each end, which will be reminiscent of a perfectly matched bookend set.  A home with a stunning view should have window dressings that accent the positive, instead of hiding it.  If your furniture has a design of any kind, mask it with a solid slipcover to compliment the flooring or wall color.  Some homeowners also add a fresh coat of paint to their home, which will bring life back into a fading color.  Turn on the lights and open the blinds and draperies to create a bright and inviting environment throughout your home.
 
Where To Store Your Stuff 
 
Now that you know how important it is to remove any clutter and oversized or bulky furniture, you need to know where to put it.  If you already have a new home, you can simply move it there.  Otherwise, you can put it into storage until you are ready to move.  It’s important to leave some essentials in your former home for potential buyers to see, such as a dining room table, a sofa and chairs, bed, etc.  Any additional furnishings that seem to interrupt the flow of your home, or make it feel cramped, should be removed.  You do not want potential buyers to feel as though the house is too small.
 
Details, Details, Details . . .
 
As a final strategy to prepare your home to sell, make sure that you have any carpet stains removed, windows cleaned, fresh linens placed in the bedrooms and bathrooms, etc.  You would be surprised how many people pay attention to even the smallest of details, so be sure to fix any small repairs that could be a turnoff for buyers.  Last but not least, make sure your home looks just as good on the outside as it does on the inside.  This means that your lawn should be cared for, flower beds must be maintained and any outdoor clutter must be removed.
 
Source: mrmhomestaging.com
 
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Looking into the future: How to alleviate the homebuyer’s tax hit

Looking into the future: How to alleviate the homebuyer’s tax hit

October 7th, 2013 by

Our suggestions for government to ease the Land Transfer Tax burden

 

We were grateful that the Honourable Jim Flaherty, Canada’s Minister of Finance, didn’t increase the minimum down payment to 10%, as he was contemplating. First-time homebuyers have a lot of saving to do, requiring that they save 5% of the purchase price, plus another 1.5% to 2% in closing costs in Manitoba – the majority of which is made up of a tax levy called the Land Transfer Tax. On top of this, our average home price has increased year-over-year for the past eight years, increasing the minimum down payment and capital required to complete a purchase.

What is Land Transfer Tax?

This is the tax that the Manitoba government places on the transfer of a property; it is born by the purchaser. Done electronically, the process involves registering a new owner at The Property Registry (i.e. a clerk inputs the name of the new owners, legal description and mortgage information that is registered against the property). This is accomplished in very little time, and in Manitoba, it is calculated on the purchase price of the property. In short, it can add thousands of dollars to the closing costs.

The Land Transfer Tax is based on a sliding scale of home values, and increases greatly once the purchase price exceeds $200,000. Since the Land Transfer Tax was brought into legislation in 1987, the average home price in Manitoba has risen dramatically ($80,000 versus $230,000). More importantly, over the past few years, the activity where most home sales are occurring is much more accentuated in the higher price ranges. The under-$100,000 sales market, which used to represent 60% of the total sales in the late 1990s, is now hovering around 10% of total sales; home sales over $200,000 now represent more than one out of every two sales.

Our suggestions to government for controlling the homebuyer’s tax hit

1. A first-time homebuyers Land Transfer Tax exemption – This would encourage our young people to stay in Manitoba. It also makes entering the housing market more affordable for first-time homebuyers.

2. Adjust the current provincial Land Transfer Tax brackets and tax percentages to more accurately reflect the current housing market. Our suggestion: $0 – $100,000 value = .5%; $100,000 to $200,000 value = 1%; $200,000 to $500,000 = 1.5%.

3. Consider putting a cap at the upper end of the housing market (eg. no tax applicable over $500,000). This will help to encourage new home construction.
 
Source: GoldenGirlFinance.com
 
by Lisa J. Gryba, AMP
I am a passionate and dedicated mortgage professional, devoted to enabling my clients to obtain the best mortgage products and interest rates for their nee