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Archive for the 'F.A.Q.' Category

James Metcalfe’s Real Estate Update February 2012 … in #OurHomeToronto

Here is our February Real Estate Update for Our Home Toronto: You will note January prices were up 9% over last year, an interesting article on Personal Finances, some Legal Insights, and the ever popular Pearls of Wisdom … Enjoy and do let us know if you would like to receive this update by email.

For loads of Listings and free information on buying or selling  Visit OurHomeToronto 

View more documents from James Metcalfe.

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Why it’s a good time to buy a home …

Mark Weisleder Good time to Buy

Mark Weisleder … Lawyer, Author, Lecturer, Key Note Speaker … wrote this terrific article on why now is a perfect time to buy a home. This blog, website and social media extensions are all resources to help you know who are the perfect Realtors to assist you in your home searches and sales.Visit http://www.OurHomeToronto.com for lots of new listing choices and free tutorials on buying or selling your home.  We Specialize in homes & condos in OurHomeRosedale.com, OurHomeYorkville.com, OurHomeAnnex.com, OurHomeCabbagetown.com, OurHomeMoorePark.com


By Mark Weisleder
Paul Lachine illustration

I believe there has never been a better time to buy a home. I’ve been in the industry for 28 years as a lawyer and I haven’t seen so many positive signs for housing, whether you are thinking or buying or locking in a mortgage.

Here’s why:

Mortgage rates at historic lows: They can’t get any lower. Four to five-year fixed mortgages at 3 per cent are unheard of. It is lower than the variable rate that most Canadians have been paying for years. Rates have nowhere to go but up, either later this year or next. If you are paying a variable interest rate, lock in now.

Canada’s appeal: This country has everything going for it — a stable banking and political environment, steady real estate market, the natural resources people want and few social tensions. That makes us a safe haven in a volatile world.

Our immigrant draw: Because of the above, we’re a draw for immigrants, often wealthy ones. When they get here, they need a home. So in my view while the real estate market may level off in some areas of Ontario, it should stay strong in most of the GTA and likely Canada’s other large urban centres as well.

Mortgage defaults: According to CMHC, over 99 per cent of Canadians pay their mortgages on time. It quite a different picture in the U.S. where 7 million homes are in foreclosure and perhaps another 7 million homeowners are under water. This represents almost 15 per cent of all homes. So while the American housing market will likely be weak for the next few years, this should not occur in Canada. Our banks are not dumping homes onto the market, so there is no downward pressure on prices.

Also read: 6 ways to ensure you don’t buy the wrong house 

Recourse Mortgages: In many U.S. states, if you can’t pay your mortgage, the only thing the bank can do is foreclose; they cannot sue you for any shortfall. So when homes go under water, owners give the keys back to the  bank. In Canada, loans are almost all Recourse, meaning if you don’t pay and there is a shortfall, the lender can sue you for the difference. This is another reason why, in my opinion, even if times do get tough, Canadian homeowners will find a way to make the payments until things improve.

Income-to-price ratio: Another misleading statistic is that in major markets, like Toronto, the average price of a home is now 4.6 times the income of the average Canadian. This same statistic was found just before the U.S. and UK markets went into the tank. However, if you look at median incomes of Canadians against the median cost of homes, this average comes down to around 3.5, which is not dangerous. Using averages are wrong. A person receiving social assistance will not buy a home, and should not be included in any relevant statistic.

High consumer debt: The warnings about rising debt ratios must be examined carefully. The Governor of the Bank of Canada is worried that the average personal debt ratio is now 156 per cent in Canada. This means a household making $100,000 per year, owes $156,000, two-thirds of which is mortgage debt. Why is this so bad? At an interest rate of 3 or even 5 per cent, the amount needed to service the debt is manageable. Most people do not pay off their mortgages in one year. Still, this is another good reason to consolidate your debt now, at these low interest rates, and lock in.

No guarantees: Nobody can predict the future and there’s always the possibility of a major economic shock. Yet, in a U.S. presidential election year, politicians will do whatever is necessary to prevent it. If the economy goes into the tank, so do re-election chances. The U.S. is already showing signs of economic recovery.

Also read: 20 things to look for in a home inspection

No matter what, do not take on a monthly payment higher than what you can afford. Meet with your lender or mortgage broker in advance to figure out what you can afford before you start looking for a home. It may be the best time to buy, but you need to buy smart.

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Six Surprising Sustainability Facts … By Jim Harris

Thank You to Jim Harris:  
Jim is an internationally renowned business and environmental speaker.
Jim Harris
1. Fuel efficient cars would eliminate North American Oil Imports
If every car in North America got the same fuel efficiency as my Toyota Prius there’d be no need to import any oil into North America and there’d be no need to drill for oil in the Gulf of Mexico or the Arctic!

More than a century ago, Henry Ford’s original Model T got 25 mile per gallon (mpg). Fast forwarding through a 100 years of head spinning, relentless technological progress and today the average SUV in North America gets 17 mpg. So we’ve been going aggressively backwards into the future!

When oil hit $US147 a barrel in 2008, the US was transferring $700 billion a year to the Middle East for oil imports, the greatest voluntary, unnecessary transfer of wealth in human history.

2. Oil Subsidies Globally total $US700 Billion a year
$700 billion a year is spent subsidizing oil and gas companies worldwide. Of the top 20 most profitable companies worldwide in 2009, seven were oil companies and their cumulative profit was equal to the profit of the other 13 companies combined.

Why are government subsiding the most profitable industry in the world? The most profitable companies in the world? With the global debt crisis, why are governments still handing out oil and gas subsidies?

The $700 billion a year of oil subsidies does not include the $100 billion a year the US spends defending Persian Gulf shipping lanes to ensure the flow of oil to the US, nor the cost of the Iraq war, which Nobel economist Joesph Stiglitz estimates to be $US2.7 to $6 trillion in total (not an annual figure).

3. Cutting Carbon is Profitable
A study by McKinsey & Company shows that cutting carbon is highly profitable: 40% of North American carbon cuts required to meet the Kyoto Protocol targets would generate a profit and, if that profit was reinvested in the next least-cost options, we’d get all the way to the Kyoto goals at no cost to society.

Business leaders should take note, this isn’t a radical environmental group, it’s the pre-eminent management consulting firm worldwide. This categorically dispels the myth that going green is expensive because cutting emissions increases the efficiency of businesses, of homes and society as a whole thus providing a huge economic benefit to the economy. The study shows that there’s no single silver bullet; instead there’s silver buckshot  – made up of very highly profitable energy efficiency solutions.

Investing $2 trillion from now till 2020 – would provide an Internal Rate of Return (IRR) of 17%, according to The Case for Investing in Energy Productivity, a separate McKinsey & Co study. This rate of return is better than the historical return for investing in property and stock market over the long term!

4. Efficiency of North American electricity generation could be tripled
A staggering two-thirds of the energy from coal, gas and nuclear power generation in North America is wasted in the form of heat that’s vented up smoke stacks and cooling towers. By contrast, combined heat and power (CHP) or co-generation, increases the system efficiency from 33% to 90% by using the “waste” heat used to heat buildings, homes or stored at high temperature underground. Denmark obtains 55% of its energy from cogeneration and waste heat recovery, the highest installation of CHP worldwide.

5. Going Green Great for the Bottom Line
GE launched its ecomagination initiative in 2005 and by 2011 had sold $70 billion of green products and services; $25 billion of that in 2010 alone. GE has committed to doubling its investment in its green offerings to $2 billion a year for the next five years.

Walmart is investing aggressively in energy and fuel efficiency. The $500 million it’s investing in sustainability projects have a payback of four years or less and has become an incredible profit engine for the corporation. Walmart embarked on this initiative in 2005 and is now saving more than $500 million a year – all of which is driven to the bottom line.

Walmart works on 3% net profits so to make another $500 million of profit the corporation would have to sell an additional $16.7 billion in goods! Even for the largest retailer in the world in the midst of a recession, this would be a challenge.

6. Turning PCs off at night saving Dell $1.8M/year
A staggering 50% of North America’s 108 million corporate PCs and monitors are left on overnight and on weekends wasting up to $4 billion of electricity a year. Many IT departments instruct users to leave PCs on 24 hours so that patches and upgrades can be pushed out overnight. But new power management software from companies like 1E, Verdiem and Faronics allows IT departments to put PCs to sleep at the end of the day or when they’re unused. IT professionals can easily wake up computers at 3 am to centrally push out patches, upgrades and new virus definitions, then put all computers back to sleep before waking them up again at 7 am before employees arrive. Dell Computers is now saving $1,8 million a year having implemented this for its’ 50,000 computers. This approach offers paybacks on average of six to 12 months.

Going Green is highly profitable
Going green is highly profitable for three reasons: it cuts costs, reduces risk against rising energy and electricity prices and can increase revenue because a large segment of consumers want to buy products and services from green companies.

Jim Harris is an internationally renowned business speaker and environmental speaker. He is the author of Blindsided, a #1 international bestseller published in 80 countries worldwide. He speaks at 40 conferences a year around the world. You can reach him through Linkedin.com or follow him on Twitter @jimharris

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Enjoy the Dragon Year as it should be a lucky one! … By: Dr. Elaine Chin MD


Dr. Elaine Chin


Dr. Elaine Chin

… is my Medical Doctor and the Founder / Chief Medical Officer for Scienta Health. From time to time we will bring you some of her wisdom and social media posts. Learn more about how you can prevent health calamities and be proactive with your own wellness.

Be Well;


Visit her at  http://www.scientahealth.com/ & http://drelainechin.com/



In case you didn’t get started with your 2012 resolutions– I’ve just hit the restart button  ..

 Happy Chinese New Year!

Stay true to your principles, be honest to yourself and practice this Chinese proverb which I endorse:

“The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.”

Enjoy the Dragon Year as it should be a lucky one!

Paula the Pharma Pitchperson: a metaphor for society gone wrong

Butter is her friend. And diabetes, now it seems. Paula Deen is the American icon of the celebrity chef of bad food. She is looked up to by millions of Americans advocating outrageous recipes, like Fried Cheesecake! She has been morbidly obese and has no apologies about it. Now we hear she has been diabetic for 3 years and has come out of the closet, and WHY?

READ: http://drelainechin.com/dr-chins-blog/paula-deen-the-pharma-pitchperson-a-metaphor-for-society-gone-wrong/

A real pain in the foot – Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis involves pain and inflammation at the insertion of the plantar fascia – a fibrous band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot connecting your heel bone to your toes.  There are ways to prevent and cure it – without drugs.  Our Guest writer and Chiropractor colleague – Stephanie Canestraro, D.C.

READ: http://drelainechin.com/advice-from-professionals/plantar-fasciitis-real-pain-in-the-foot/

Get Your Head out of the Sand: You can prevent cancer. 

Most chronic diseases are preventable – including cancer.  It should be no surprise to anyone…that many cancers can be avoided by making the right lifestyle choices.

WATCH: http://www.citytv.com/toronto/citynews/brightcovevideo/182595

READ: http://drelainechin.com/citytv-videos/445/


Dr. Elaine Chin MD

Founder & Chief Medical Officer

Scienta Health

Yonge Corporate Centre
306-4120 Yonge Street
Toronto, Ontario M2P 2B8
Phone: 416-222-5880
Toll-Free: 800-813-3255
Fax: 416-222-2885


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James Metcalfe’s Real Estate Update January 2012 … in #OurHomeToronto

Here is our January Real Estate Market Update for Our Home Toronto: You will note 2011 was a Banner Year with Prices up 8% and homes sold up 4%, Real life Legal Insights for condo owners, Decorating Don’ts and the ever popular Pearls of Wisdom … Enjoy and do let us know if you would like to receive this update by email.

For loads of Listings and free information on buying or selling  Visit OurHomeToronto 

View more documents from James Metcalfe.

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Top 5 Steps To Preparing Your Home For Winter

Canadian winters are cold and damp! Take specific care preparing for these months.

Below are some steps to help you keep your house tip-top condition this winter.

Winterizing Your Home












1) Service your Weather-Specific Equipment

-Drain the gas from your lawnmower
-Clean and store your summer gardening equipment
-Tune up your snowblower
-Make sure you own a working snow shovel and ice chopper
-Have bags of salt or sand to melt the ice.

2) Filling in the Holes

-Walk around your home and pay specific attention to windows, doors and all exterior trim. If you find a draft, caulk around the problem area.
-If your home has a basement, consider protecting its window wells by covering them with plastic shields.
-Install or replace weather stripping on all doors and windows.
-Check for cracks around pipes and electrical outlets entering or exiting the walls. If you find crevice cracks and exposed entry points around pipes; seal them.

3) Inspect Roof, Gutters & Downspouts

-Inspect your attic to make sure you have proper insulation. Proper insulation of your attic prevents warm air from creeping to your roof and causing ice dams.
-Check flashing (find quick definition) to ensure water cannot enter the home.
-Replace broken roof shingles or tiles.
-Clean out your gutters. Consider installing leaf guards on the gutters or extensions on the downspouts to direct water away from the home.

4) HVAC Systems

-Have your heating system checked by a licensed heating/air-conditioning professional. Most furnace manufacturers recommend at least annual inspections.
-Stock up on furnace filters and change them monthly.
-Consider switching out your thermostat for a programmable thermostat.
-If your home is heated by a hot-water radiator, bleed the valves by opening them slightly and when water appears, close them.
-Remove all flammable material from the area surrounding your furnace.

5) Prepare Garden & Outdoor Surfaces for the cold months ahead

-Trim trees if branches hang too close to the house or electrical wires.
-Ask a gardener when your trees should be pruned to prevent winter injury.
-Seal driveways, brick patios and wood decks.
-Move sensitive potted plants indoors or to a sheltered area.

-E.A.M Consulting & James Metcalfe  REALTOR® BROKER

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