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7 Tips on Preparing Your Home for Holiday Guests

The holidays are quickly approaching, and as such, so are all of your holiday guests! While this time of year can be fun and wonderful, it can also be tedious trying to make everyone happy.
Here are some tips for de-stressing your guest experience- and all of them can be prepared in advance!

 

Sparkling Surfaces and Stocked Stations

The bathrooms are your number one priority! They need to be spic and span, and stocked with everything anyone might need. Have some extra toothbrushes on hand, because someone will forget theirs!

Think of everything you use in the bathroom every day, and have those things out in the open. A jar of Q-tips, lots of toilet paper, and maybe some tiny cups for mouthwash! Your guests will feel nice and pampered, plus less stressed about bothering your for everything they are lacking.

 

Pampered Patrons

Speaking of pampering your guests, why not make them feel luxurious? Have some extra robes handy, big colourful, fluffy towels, and perhaps even a cute pair of slippers on hand. If your guest has children, maybe consider adding some stuffed toys to the child’s area, and some books for the adult!


Storage spots

Do you have enough storage if your guests want to stay more than a few days? If they are coming from afar, do they have room to store their luggage somewhere? Do you have enough room for all your guests to hang their coats somewhere? You can always buy some stick on hangers as a temporary storage solution.

Sweet Sanctuary
Set up a coffee and treat station somewhere in your kitchen or dining room. Consider getting a larger urn of coffee so that guests can grab some throughout the morning without having to pester you. Set out some cream, milk, sugar, and spoons in an easily accessible area, and maybe add a plate of cookies or muffins as a delicious morning pick-me-up.

 

Don’t Neglect the Nighttime

You might get around fine in your home when it’s pitch black at night, but your guests won’t! Grab some cheap night lights from the dollar or home improvement store, and place them in your hallways. The last thing you need is someone tripping and falling down the stairs trying to get to the bathroom!

Cozy Comforts

Small things like bringing in extra blankets to each room really add to the comfort level of your home. Crisp, freshly laundered linens are a must. And if you can, grab some pretty flowers to decorate guest rooms.

 

Enough of Everything

Make sure you have extra of everything. Extra cutlery and dinnerware – it doesn’t have to be fancy, but matching is a plus! No one wants to be stuck with the plastic plate you got for free at a fast food place 10 years ago!

 

Some preparation and planning can go a long way to de-stress your holiday experience. What are your favourite ways to prepare for guests? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Mississauga’s Winter Pleasures

It’s getting to that time of year again- the time when most of us want nothing more than to curl up on our couches and drink hot beverages.

However, we should all try to stay active this season, and Mississauga has a ton of great things to do! Here are our all-time favourite winter activities to get you up and moving!

Ice Skating

Mississauga has a number of great skating rinks to get you into the wintry spirit.

Outdoor Rinks:

Celebration square has an ice rink with trees and lights, plus some tunes to skate to. It opens in late November. There is also a New Years Eve skating event every year under the stars!

Burnhamthorpe outdoor rink is another great option, and it’s open from December 4th to March 11th, with fun outdoor skating every day of the week.  You can check this schedule for dates and times.

Indoor Rinks:

Iceland is our favourite indoor skating arena. Check their schedules here to see times and details.

Cross Country Skiing

We recommend the going skiing at the beautiful Terra Cotta Conservation Area! It has gorgeous views, and it’s not a problem if you don’t have your own equipment. Ski equipment rental packages are around $27 per adult, and $17 for kids and seniors. More information can be found here.

Tobogganing

According to Mississauga’s own website, the top 3 places for tobogganing are Brookmede Park, Birchwood Park, and Erindale Park. Don’t forget your snowsuit!

Santa Claus Parade and Christmas in the Village

A long standing holiday tradition for many families includes attending the Mississauga Santa Claus Parade. This year, it’s located in Erin Mills (Erin Mills Auto Centre) and will happen on December 3rd.

The Christmas in the Village Festival is a newer tradition located in Streetsville. It’s a free family friendly event that includes live music, delicious food, craft tents, craft beer, wintry snacks and more. It’s located at Queen and Main on November 25th and 26th.

Winter Museum Activities

Not feeling the cold? There are several cool historical locations that you can visit for a slightly warmer seasonal experience.

Bradley House:

1620 Orr Road, Mississauga | Phone: 905-615-4860

Come check out how early settlers lived around Christmastime- like cooking over a hearth!

Benares Historic House:

1507 Clarkson Road North, Mississauga | Phone: 905-615-4860

Benares is free to the public, but they do collect non-perishables for the local food bank. Be sure to call and check their operating hours before going!

And don’t forget!

The City of Mississauga supports many winter goodwill programs. Please consider helping any of these organizations meet their goals this season.

Mississauga News Santa Claus Fund: This organization provides gift boxes to children under 12 so that everyone can have an excellent holiday season. Each box contains warm weather gear, a book, a toy, candy, and more. 100% of donations go into these boxes!

Seasons Christmas Show: Entry to this show is a donation of a new unwrapped toy. All toys go to support Peel’s Children’s Aid foundation.

Toys for Tots: This organization accepts unwrapped presents, cash, and Canadian tire money which all goes to children in need.

You can find even more activities and events by visiting the official Mississauga Celebration Square page here.

Will you be participating in any of these activities? What’s your favourite thing to do in the winter? Let us know!

October 2017 Market Watch

October was an incredibly interesting month for the GTA’s real estate market. The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) just recently released the housing statistics for last month. For your convenience, we have summarized the most important points here, but if you’d like more information, you can see the full report at the TREB website hereIf you’d like to see our report from last month for comparison, you can find it here


As of this October, overall sales are down 26.7%, but pricing is up by almost 2.5%. New and active listings are also up 11.8% and 78.5% respectively. Another thing to note is that we are seeing an increase on the average days on market. Last year, a seller could expect their home to be sold in an average of 16 days, and this year that average has spiked by almost 44% – a whopping seven day increase.

 

It is common to see a general increase in sales between September and October each year, and this year was no different. Even though we experienced a sharp decline in the percentage of listings sold from February to May this year (81.5% down to 39.5%), the recent numbers seem to show a recovery and correlation to the trends of previous years for this coming winter season (Figure 1). October’s percentage of listings sold is back at 37.7%, which is comparable to the 2012 and 2013 numbers. If you take a look at last year, the market was extremely hot. Percent of listings sold was at an all time high, and the months of inventory (Figure 2) were around 1 month from last April to this April, even dipping below 1 month in an ultra seller’s market during February and March. Since then, months of inventory rose to around 3, and from August of this year, the numbers have started to normalize back to what the trends have been in past years, which is a happy medium for both buyers and sellers.

 

Figure 1

 

If you take a look at the October condo apartment stats for this year, that’s where the most interesting information lies. We have had a decline in overall sales, but it is the selling price that’s telling. Condos were selling at an average price of almost 22% higher than last year!

 

This means that while more higher priced abodes, such as detached and semi-detached houses are cooling down at the moment, condo sales are flourishing, and they’re holding value excellently. Since the implementation of a number of policy changes both provincially and federally, people have been buying more within their means, which explains this statistic, since condos are generally the lowest priced of all home types. It is important to note that most of these sales (over 75%) were in the 416 area code, as opposed to the 905, so it does seem to be location dependent.

 

Looking at the months of inventory, (the number of months it would take to sell all the listings on the market, without adding any new listings) we see that there was a slight decrease from September to October, (2.98 down to 2.65) which is quite different from the very low numbers of last years’ fall, though it is correlating to the more stable fall periods of 2013 and 2014 (Figure 2).

 

Figure 2

 

All in all, it’s been an exciting month for real estate! It is important to note that these numbers are for the GTA and are not neighbourhood specific. Today’s ever-changing market can be tough to navigate, but we’re here to help. If you’d like some clarification on anything we’ve mentioned in this article, or more specific information on your neighbourhood, feel free to contact us at 647-504-0690 or send us an email.

Fall Maintenance Checklist

Fall is officially here, and it is the perfect time to take care of both the little and not-so-little things in your home that need attending to. By doing this you’re preparing your home for the colder weather around the corner which can help you save time and money in the future.

 

  • Clean out your gutters.
    • Autumn is infamous for blocked gutters and downspouts with incoming falling leaves. Consider installing gutter guards to reduce this stress.

  • Keep it sealed.
    • Think of Fall as the warm-up to Winter. Any issues you see now that it has become cold, are signs of major issues you will be having in the colder months to come. 

  • Furnace filters and fixes.
    • Replace your furnace filter, and if needed have a professional inspect your heating system before you really need it.

  • Roof inspection.
    • Hire a professional and have your roof inspected. If your shingles are curling or cracking have them replaced.

  • Foolproof Fireplace
    • Planning on using your fireplace during the Winter? Have it checked out before using it to prevent any major and dangerous disasters, especially if you haven’t used it in a while.

  • Branch Management
    • Trim dead branches to prevent any potential damage to your home. Winter storms can be dangerous, with freezing ice and windy conditions.

  • Exterior Pipes
    • To prevent exterior water pipes from bursting when the weather gets below freezing, turn off the valves to the exterior hose bibs. Run the water until the pipes are empty. Make sure all the water is drained from the pipes, if not; the water can freeze up and damage the pipes.

  • Leaf Me Alone
    • Rake up the thick layers of leaves that settle on on your lawn.When the larger leaves get wet, they can compact to the point where they suffocate the grass below and lead to all kinds of insect and disease problems.
    • Don’t let these leaves go to waste! The raked leaves can be used as mulch. You can also add them to flower beds to put a winter blanket on your garden.

Canada’s New Mortgage Rules

A few days ago the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) released changes to its mortgage rules. Let’s talk about how it will affect affording a home from next year onwards.

The changes require borrowers to undergo a “stress test” in order to make sure they will be able to withstand higher interest rates. Previously, only insured borrowers had to undergo such a test.  So what makes an individual an uninsured and insured borrowers? An insured borrower is a buyer making a down payment less than 20% of the home’s value. If this is the case they need to acquire mortgage insurance. The uninsured borrowers are the buyers putting more than 20% down. The stress test will ensure that they are able to endure higher interest rates in the future.

Torso and hands of a seated man writing in a notebook, with an open laptop to his right

Uninsured mortgages account for 46 per cent of the country’s total $1.5 trillion mortgage credit outstanding, according to Bank of Canada data. That’s up from 45 per cent a year earlier.

The stress test is designed to simulate a borrower’s financial situation by assuming they would have to pay back the loan at the posted average — not whatever deal they were able to negotiate. So under OSFI’s new rules, borrowers would be stress tested at either the five-year average posted rate, or two per cent higher than their actual mortgage rate — whichever one is higher.

The goal of these changes is to improve the quality of borrowers that Canada’s banks see, which will protect our banking system from an economic shock.

OSFI’s new guidelines also clarified that borrowers who are renewing mortgages will not have to meet the new stress-test standard as long as they are staying with the same bank. However, renewals done with another lender will have to qualify under the revised standards because they require new underwriting.

In addition to the stress test, the new rules would require lenders to have more scrutiny around the loan-to-value ratio of the loans they give out, to ensure they are not giving out mortgages that are too large compared to the underlying value of the home.

There’s also new limitations on so-called co-lending or bundled mortgages that aim to ensure lenders don’t disregard rules designed to restrict how much they can lend.

 

For more information: https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/personal-finance/household-finances/ten-ways-the-new-mortgage-rules-will-shake-up-the-lending-market/article36628214/?ref=http://www.theglobeandmail.com&