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This link is offered to help clarify what a Realtor COULD BE / SHOULD BE, and for your ongoing education and understanding of the real estate process. Purchasing OR Selling a home can be a daunting task to the uninitiated, involving VERY large amounts of MONEY and LEGAL RAMIFICATIONS that can seriously put a crimp in your life. This web site was created by the governing body for real estate in Ontario, and should help you understand the relationship you should have with your Realtor, and also to help you understand the high standards that Realtors work under.

“This website is filled with information designed for first-time buyers and sellers. As a user, you are guided through the information by Wendy, the host of the website who acts as your Realtor. The site is unlike any other on the subject and promises to be the ultimate resource for first timers”

REM Magazine
December 2006

www.howrealtorshelp.ca



ONTARIO EXPANDS LAND TRANSFER TAX REFUND PROGRAM

First-time buyers of resale homes to benefit from new tax measure

TORONTO – The McGuinty government is giving all first-time homebuyers a break on land transfer tax by proposing to expand the Land Transfer Tax Refund Program to include purchases of resale homes, Finance Minister Dwight Duncan announced today.

"Expanding this Land Transfer Tax refund is an important part of our government’s commitment to helping Ontarians buying their first home," Duncan said.

Effective midnight tonight, first-time buyers of resale homes, as well as newly constructed homes, would be eligible for a refund from the provincial government of up to $2,000 of the Land Transfer Tax paid.

The expanded Land Transfer Tax Refund Program for First-time Homebuyers is part of a package of new tax initiatives announced in the 2007 Fall Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review that would provide $1.4 billion in provincial tax relief for business and people over three years. The government is making strategic investments in people, communities and infrastructure to strengthen Ontario’s economic advantage and help manufacturers and other sectors challenged by current economic conditions.

Contact:
Steve Erwin, Minister’s Office - 416-325-3645

Disponible en français - Scott Blodgett, Ministry of Finance - 416-325-0324

For more information visit www.fin.gov.on.ca

News Release Communiqué
Ministry of Finance Ministère des Finances
For Immediate Release
December 13, 2007

TOP 7 TIPS FOR FIRST TIME HOMEBUYERS

By Eric Bramlett

PURCHASEING YOUR FIRST HOME is a big step, that comes with some very serious decisions. Many homebuyers are intimidated by the process, and continue renting much longer than they should, or need to. However, if you break the home buying process down into these simple steps, and follow these important tips, you will find the process less intimidating, and much more manageable.

1) BEFORE YOU BEGIN, ASK YOURSELF ONE QUESTION.

Will you live in your next home for at least 3 years? If the answer is “Yes,” you should probably purchase, rather than continue renting. With average appreciation, you’ll break even on your closing costs after 2 years, and start making money at year three. Every year after that will put money in your pocket. The most expensive aspect of real estate is buying and selling, so the longer you can live in the home the better. However, purchasing makes sense if you can make as little as a (36) month commitment.

2) GET PRE-QUALIFIED

Pre-qualification is a very important step, and the step that first time home buyers dread the most. Qualifying to buy a home is pretty easy and requires relatively little work for you. Pre-qualification is what give you buying power and allows you to make an offer on your dream home when you’ve found it. More importantly, pre-qualification will let you know how much your new home will REALLY cost- in monthly payments. A $150,000 or $300,000 home doesn’t mean a lot to most buyers- but $1200 per month and $2500 per month are tangibles that everyone can understand. After your lender pre-qualifies you, then ask them for a “payment table” that shows you a rough estimate of the TOTAL monthly payment based on your purchase price. Pick your payment, and you know the price range to shop in.

3) CONSULT A REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONAL A.S.A.P.

Many first time homebuyers avoid contacting a Real Estate Agent because they dislike high pressure sales. However, Real Estate Agents have an advantage over traditional salespeople because they have access to the Multiple Listing Service, which is a database that lists roughly 99% of the homes for sale in a given market. This means that your Real Estate Agent doesn’t have to sell- he/she merely presents your options. The most important qualities to look for in your Real Estate Agent are his/her knowledge of your specific market and their willingness to help. Interview a few agents and choose one that will help guide you through the process. You’ll find the help and insight will be invaluable- and you’ll be glad you contacted your Real Estate Agent sooner, rather than later.

4) MAKE A LIST OF “MUST HAVES’ & “WANTS”

Many new home buyers mistakenly think that the will “just know” when they “walk into the one.” While some buyers DO fall instantly in love with a home, this is not the norm. You’ll find your search is easier, and you will be more confident in your decision, if you take a systematic approach to your search. The best way to organize your search is to make two lists: your “must haves” and your “wants.” Your “must haves” are the absolute necessities in your new home- in fact, you don’t even need to view a home if it doesn’t have every “must have.” Great examples of your “must haves” are price, school district, size, etc….your “wants” are the qualities that you would like for your new home to have, but it’s not a necessity. Great examples of “wants” are colour, flooring, kitchen appliances, surround sound, and type of interior. By taking the time to articulate what you need in your new home, you will know exactly what to look for when viewing prospective homes.

5) PICK YOU FAVOURITE NEIGHHOURHOODS

You can always make changes to your house, but you can never change its location. Most homebuyers already have a good idea of where they would like to live because of school districts, work, or other factors. However, neighbourhoods can be pretty different, even in the same area of the city. Ask your Real Estate Agent to e-mail you a list of homes in the specific area of town you’re interested in. Take a drive through the different neighbourhoods on the list your Real Estate Agent sends you, and choose your favourites. Pay attention to area amenities, how well the yards and common areas are kept, and if you see a lot of “for lease” signs- which can be an indication of a heavy rental area, and lacking in “pride of ownership.” After you have picked your favourite neighbourhoods, and you know your “must haves” and “wants,” you can literally make a list of EVERY home available that meets your criteria, and view those homes.

6) MAKE YOUR DECISION!!!!

Homeowners often hesitate after they’ve found the right home because they’re not confident about their decision, or their decision-making process. Your home is probably the largest investment of your life, and it’s normal to feel butterflies in your stomach before putting your first home under contract. However, if you do your due diligence- and you have if you followed the steps above- then you will have your bases covered. If you’ve found a home that meets all of your “must haves” and most of your “wants,” is in the right neighbourhood, and in your budget-it’s the home for you! Don’t wait and let another buyer take YOUR home!

Buying your first home can seem very intimidating, but can be extremely exciting. If you think that buying is right for you, it probably is. Make sure and follow these important tips and you’ll know you made the right decision when you find your first home.

Broker Agent News
January 19th/07

2009 Changes to the property assessment system

The Government of Ontario has made a number of changes to the property assessment system that went into effect in the 2009 property tax year. These changes include the introduction of a four-year assessment update cycle and a phase-in of assessment increases.

Currently, the assessed value of properties in Ontario is based on a January 1, 2008 valuation date. MPAC’s last province-wide assessment update took place in 2008 and was based on a January 1, 2008 valuation date.

To provide an additional level of property tax stability and predictability, the market increases in assessed value between 2005 and 2008 will be phased-in over four years. The phase-in program does not apply to decreases in assessed value. Any market decrease in the value of a property is applied immediately and reflected on your most recent Property Assessment Notice. The change in assessed values and the phased-in assessment values for the 2009 to 2012 property tax years are listed on the 2008 Notices. There is a difference between the 2008 Current Value Assessment (CVA) (the destination value) and the current year’s phase-in value. The current year (which can be 2009, 2010, 2011 or 2012 taxation year) phase-in value is the assessed amount that the municipalities or the local tax authorities use to calculate the annual property taxes. An example of this is as follows:

Current year (2010) Phase-in CVA=$250,000
Total Municipal Tax Rate= 1 %
Total Municipal Tax burden = $250,000 x 1 %= $2,500.
The 2008 CVA is not used until 2012 since this is the destination value.

The municipalities/local taxing authorities set property tax rates and the province sets the education tax rate. MPAC’s assessed values are used to determine these taxes.

How MPAC Assesses Properties

MPAC’s mandated role is to accurately value and classify all Ontario properties in compliance with the Assessment Act and related regulations. To establish a property’s assessed value, MPAC analyzes property sales in a community to determine the CVA. This method is used by most assessment jurisdictions in Canada and throughout the world. When assessing a residential property, we look at all of the key features that affect market value. Five major factors usually account for 85% of the value: location; lot dimensions; living area; age of the structure(s), adjusted for any major renovations or additions; and quality of construction. Examples of other features that may affect a property’s value include: number of bathrooms; fireplaces; finished basements; garages and pools. Site features can also increase or decrease the assessed value of your property such as traffic patterns; being situated on a corner lot; and proximity to a golf course, hydro corridor, railway or green space.

For more information on how MPAC assesses property, please visit our website at www.mpac.ca

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