2016 -Another Record Breaking Year!

Once again, Canadians checked off another record-breaking year in real estate. 2016 was one of the most intense, yet thrilling, real estate markets Canada has ever seen. The headlines weren’t just about sky-rocketing house prices and bidding wars ; this time the headlines were also about international buyers in Canada and the booming real estate market in Southern Ontario. Last year we also saw new mortgage regulations, extended down payment rules and new taxes. 2016 was also filled with excitement for our brokerage as RE/MAX Real Estate Centre acquired offices in Burlington and Waterdown & opened new offices in Georgetown, Milton & Shelburne!

With that being said, we are proud to share our statistics from another successful year. In 2016, our hardworking team of REALTORS® listed 8,504 properties & sold 11,670! (Which equals out to selling 32 houses a day!) The 2016 sellers market resulted in 96,796 scheduled appointments through our 15 office locations.

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Here’s a very big and very warm “Thank you!” for a great 2016 to all of our REALTORS® and their current and past clients. We can proudly say that our top quality service at RE/MAX Real Estate Centre comes from our professional & dedicated team of REALTORS®, our spectacular management team, our support staff, our administration team and our extensive network of partners within our communities. We couldn’t do it without them!

Again, Thank you to all! With a fantastic year behind us, we’re looking forward to the endless possibilities in 2017!

 

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Happy New Year from RE/MAX Real Estate Centre!


2017

2017, are you ready?  Because we’re coming for you!

Knowing that the next 365 days hold immeasurable potential for each and every person out there, together we can (..and will) make it the best year yet!

Here’s a very big and very warm “Thank you!” for a great 2016 to all of our REALTORS® and their current and past clients. 
We can proudly say that our top quality service at RE/MAX Real Estate Centre comes from our professional & dedicated team of REALTORS®, our spectacular management team, our support staff, our administration team and our extensive network of partners within our communities. We couldn’t do it without them! Again, Thank you to all! With a fantastic year behind us, we look forward to the endless possibilities in 2017!

 

Wishing you and your family a Happy New Year, filled with health and prosperity!

 

Save Money On Energy: 6 Tips to Make the Most of Winter Hydro

Winter can be an amazing season, full of building snow sculptures, going skiing and ice skating, and drinking hot cocoa while curled up by the fireplace.

No matter what your preferred winter activities, one thing is for certain – winter can be expensive! One way homeowners and renters in particular can be affected is by the increased cost of hydroelectricity that can come along with winter.

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There are many reasons why winter is so harsh on your hydro bill. Running heat alone can skyrocket your monthly costs. Additionally, you may not be as active during these months, meaning you might be more likely to be sitting at home watching television or using other electronics that use up power. And don’t forget the short winter days – the earlier the sun sets, the earlier you will need to turn on lights.

To help you bring down these high winter costs, we’ve found six amazing ways to reduce your electricity bill. To make it even better, we’ve tried to order our suggestions starting with the easiest.

Heat on a Schedule

If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, you’re missing out. This can be a huge energy saver!

Why heat your house when you’re not there? If you can, it’s much better to reduce your heat to 18 degrees when you are not home or when you are asleep. Otherwise, try turning your heat down throughout the day. Every degree lower can save a percentage of your heating costs.

Launder Carefully

Laundry isn’t something we can avoid, but there are ways to make it more cost-effective. It’s expensive to heat your water. Regardless of how new or efficient your water heater is, it takes lots of time and energy to get it hot enough to use. Using cold water for your laundry can drastically reduce your energy usage.

Also, make sure you are getting your bang for your buck. Wait until you have a full load and run the load during off-peak hours.

If possible, consider buying an energy-efficient washer. Energy Star models ensure that your laundry is being done with the least amount of energy possible while still providing a quality clean. Combined with the previous tips, you know you’ll save bundle!

Switch Our Your Bulbs

Some sources say that switching to LED lightbulbs or Compact Fluorescent Bulbs (CFLs) can drastically cut your bill by up to 75%. This is partially due to their ability to stay cool while in use. Plus their long life is a nice bonus, too! These bulbs just don’t disappoint.

Dry It Yourself

When using the dishwasher or doing your laundry, it is far more convenient to let the machines do your drying for you. However, that is costing you money in electricity.

For your dishes, turn off the heat-dry whenever you have time to wait. By de-selecting this option and either manually drying dishes or propping the door open to let them air dry, you’re saving yourself money every day!

When it comes to laundry, it’s simple to skip right over using the dryer. Instead, get a drying rack and hang your clothes up. Then of course when summer comes around again, you can put out the clothesline and let the sun do your work.

Unplug Those Electronics

Power experts refer to ‘phantom power’ – the power appliances and electronics drain while plugged in and not in use. It’s of course more convenient to keep your televisions and computers plugged in all day, but getting any of these electronics unplugged can have a positive impact on your energy usage that will be reflected in your hydro bill.

If you’re still concerned about convenience, why not keep your electronics plugged into a power bar? That way you can turn the entire power bar off when the electronics are not in use.

Upgrade Your Appliances

As mentioned above, appliances like washers and fridges may be necessities, but they can also be a big energy suck. Try to replace any old appliances with Energy Star models. That symbol guarantees that those appliances will save at least 15% on energy as compared to the federal standard.

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We hope these tips were helpful. Happy Holidays!

CP Holiday Train Schedule

“We are very excited about this year’s CP Holiday Train and are encouraging all event attendees to bring healthy, nutritious food items to the shows,” said Pam Jolliffe, Interim Executive Director, Food Banks Canada. “For the last two decades, CP has played an integral role in raising essential food for the holidays and in raising awareness of hunger-related issues.”

Every pound of food and dollar raised at each stop stays with the local food bank to help feed those in need in that community.

Here are few of the stops and times for cities in Ontario:

Oshawa: 680 Laval Drive – Behind Walmart, off Stevenson Road South. 2016-11-28 @ 3:05 PM

Hamilton: western approach to Kinnear Yard, opposite Gage Park. 2016-11-28 @ 7:45 PM

Toronto: 750 Runnymede Road, in front of Lambton Yard. 2016-11-28 @ 8:15 PM

Vaughan: N.W. corner of the CP Crossing at Nashville Rd, near the Old Grain Elevator. 2016-11-29 @ 10:00 AM

Midhurst/Springwater (Barrie): 12 Anne Street North. 2016-11-29 @ 12:15 PM

London: Richmond Street railway crossing between Oxford and Central. 2016-11-29 @ 8:15 PM

Cambridge (Galt): 10 Malcolm Street, former Galt Station. 2016-11-29 @ 4:00 PM

Woodstock: 199 Winniett Street. 2016-11-29 @ 6:40 PM

Click through for more information on the Holiday Train.

Safe Halloween: 13 Tips Protect Your Home

Halloween is right around the corner. For some, this may mean a fabulous night filled with dressing up, trick-or-treating, going to parties, and eating candy. Whether you want to participate in the spooky neighbourhood fun or you just want a quiet night at home, here are 15 tips to protect your home this All Hallow’s Eve.

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1. Be a Good Neighbour

This applies all year round. If the locals know and like you, they’re less likely to pull Halloween tricks.

On the night itself, don’t antagonise the hoards of people you may get at your doorstep. If you don’t have candy, don’t answer the door – hang a sign, keep your house lights off, shut your curtains – do all of the things that make it obvious you are not open for trick-or-treating business. If you do answer your door, be friendly. While it’s not your fault if someone makes bad choices, don’t give them any reasons to target you that evening.

2. Close Any Openings

If you have a letter slot that you normally receive your mail through, or any other opening accessible to the public, you should definitely think about closing it up for the night.

Take some tape and go over both the inside and outside of the opening. This leaves you less vulnerable to pranks like stink bombs, a nasty Halloween trick!

3. Protect Your Car

Your car can be an easy target for vandals and pranksters. If possible, park it in your garage or behind your house – as far from the curb as possible – to get it out of easy reach. This will lessen the odds of any drive-by egging incidents.

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4. Protect Your Pets

Will all the people about and the increased activity, pets can get very anxious on Halloween. Even if your pet is normally kept outside, it’s a good idea to bring them in and keep them safely hidden away. If you’re opening your door frequently to hand out candy, keep your pets locked out of that area. The last thing you’ll want is for your pet to get lose, spook visitors, and potentially get injured!

If you’re going to be away from home for the night, it’s also worth hanging a sign warning of guard dogs, etc.

5. De-Clutter Your Lawn

People are going to be out and about this night. For their safety (and to protect yourself against law-suits or angry parents), make sure to pick up and put away anything that might trip or injure visitors (welcome or not). This might include removing things like garden decorations such as gnomes or flamingos, gardening tools like shovels, rakes and hoses, and sprinklers.

If you are expecting trick-or-treaters, clear a path: make it obvious what door you’ll be answering and remove any obstacles in the way. This might include loose gravel, moss, or anything that might trip or slip young guests.

6. Light It Up

People often say to turn off all lights, indoor and outside, if you’re not giving out treats. However, a dark and quiet house can be easy pickings for vandals and pranksters. It’s advisable to keep the porch lights on and the inside lights off if you’re not going to be home, or the reverse if you are going to be there but don’t want to be disturbed.

Also, if there are any particularly dark parts of your property that you are concerned about, if might be worth your while to get a flood light shining on there. Tricksters don’t tend to like getting caught in a spotlight.

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7. Have Candy Handy

While there might be times when your bowl runs empty, you want to keep these times to when you’re not in the middle of answering the door. Although most of your visitors don’t want to cause your harm, some might take advantage of an unattended door if you have to leave to replenish your candy stash.

8. Strength in Numbers

Adding onto the previous tip, it’s also a good idea to have more than one person around to answer the door. Just in case you happen to come across one of those rare people who are less than scrupulous, they’re less likely to try and overpower someone if backup is in sight. At the very least, have someone on hand to call the police should the worst happen.

Also, don’t forget to have your phones charged and ready to go!

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9. Decorate With Care

While a porch covered in pumpkins and candles may look spooky and fantastic, it does create a real safety hazard. All of the little ones may not be as fire-aware as we wish, and a lot of the costumes they wear are extremely flammable. For your own protection and the safety of everyone, make sure flames are out of reach and safely monitored.

You might also want to consider using battery-operated candles in your decor.

10. Check Your Porch

If guests have to come up on your porch for their Halloween treat, make sure everything is safe and secure. This is particularly a concern for railings, especially in the case of inclement weather. A slip and fall could be disastrous for you and your visitors.

11. Choose Treats Wisely

Your trick-or-treaters will appreciate a little bit of care when selecting the candy you give out. Consider choking hazards for the littlest visitors, as well as allergies. (Note: even if the candy itself doesn’t contain peanuts, you need to carefully check the packaging to make sure if wasn’t made in the same place as something that does.)

If you want to provide an all-inclusive Halloween atmosphere, consider putting a teal pumpkin outside. This teal pumpkin indicates that you are not giving out any food products for treats, therefore ensuring that everyone can visit you at no risk.

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12. Keep Candy At Arms’ Length

Many people choose to simply put a bowl of candy out on the porch and walk away, letting visitors help themselves. However, this opens the entire bowl up to contamination. No one wants little ones to go home with candy that’s been messed with, but you can only guarantee that if you’ve kept it safely with you all evening.

13. Lock Your Doors

Even if you’re opening your door frequently throughout the evening, you should make sure to lock your door every time. If you don’t, you’ve lost the control over who can and can’t enter your home. Plus it’s good to get into the habit of locking it behind you every time so you don’t accidentally go to bed with an unlocked door.

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Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

It’s time to get your home ready for the cooler months ahead. Take advantage of the moderate weather right now to repair any damages before the cold sets in. Here are some fall home maintenance ideas to keep your home running efficiently and in peak condition all winter long.

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  • Drain and winterize outdoor faucets and irrigation systems
  • Clean and replace furnace filters
  • Repair damaged sidewalks, driveways and steps
  • Seal gaps around windows and doors with weatherstripping or caulk
  • Inspect and clean gutters and check all downspouts are clear
  • Have your heating system inspected and serviced by a professional
  • Clean the humidifier plates or pads to insure high efficiency
  • Test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide monitors
  • Review fire escape plans with your family
  • Rid your home of any fire hazards
  • Check fire extinguishers to be sure they are ready to use
  • Inspect your fireplace and chimney – call a professional if necessary
  • Clean and inspect dryer hoses and exterior dryer vents
  • Check your air duct and clean the register covers
  • Scrape peeling paint and apply touch-up paint to trim and fences
  • Check the condition of your deck; apply waterproof sealer if needed
  • Clean and store outdoor furniture
  • Check roof for damaged or missing shingles or problems with flashing

Even if you choose to have a professional handle the items on your Fall Home Maintenance Checklist that need to be taken care of, it’s worth the expense. You’ll save money in the long run and maybe even your life!

10 Upgrades Your Home Needs

Whether you are concerned about resale value or have just purchased your home and want to make some improvements, there are some upgrades that are more worth your time and money than others. We have compiled a list of ten upgrades every homeowner should consider, based on both the eventual return on investment for resale/home equity and the immediate impact to your enjoyment of your house.

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Kitchen

The kitchen and bathroom are the two biggest areas to make or break your resale value. Many experts recommend any homeowner looking to upgrade should start with the kitchen.

There are many options upgrading your kitchen on many different budgets:

  • Upgrade to stainless steel appliances
  • Re-stain or paint your cupboards
  • Update your hardware
  • Invest in a quiet, quality dishwasher
  • Add a kitchen island, if space permits

Paint

Giving the interior (or exterior) of your house a fresh coat of paint is an easy and instant way to give it a facelift, both aesthetically and financially. Choose fresh, modern colours that will rejuvenate and lighten up the area.

If you have the budget for it, hiring a painter is a great way of getting the job done quickly and to a high quality. However, interior painting is not a difficult task for the amateur DIY-er. You can also do just one room at a time, which is not only a more budget-friendly option but allows you to slowly get the whole house done yourself and skip the expensive professional.

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Lighting

Again, the kitchen and bathrooms are big when it comes to home value. If you’re looking to improve your home’s lighting, it’s a good idea to start with those rooms.

The experts suggest you focus on overhead and task lighting for the majority of your upgrades. It’s also great to grab as much natural light as possible, especially in areas like the living room and bedrooms.

HVAC

Upgrading your HVAC system not only is great for resale, but can save you money on your utility bills, having an immediate impact on your wallet.

If your system is a bit older, get it up and running smoothly again. However, replacing an outdated system with a more modern version – especially “green” options like solar power – will give a major boost if/when you put it on the market.

Some places also offer tax breaks and rebates for HVAC upgrades, which is definitely something worth looking into.

Attics & Basements

Your attic may be often ignored but it’s a great place to get some bang for your buck. Upgrading or replacing its insulation with a good-quality fiberglass can save money on heating and A/C and is a major boost to your home value.

If you’ve been thinking about remodelling your basement, it’s time to commit. Finishing and modernizing your basement is a draw on the real estate market, plus you can find more space to utilize and enjoy.

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Flooring

If your house is full of carpets, a great upgrade would be to make a switch. Hardwood floors never go out of style and are a great investment for any home.

Is budget a concern? Start with replacing the flooring in the communal areas – kitchen, living rooms, etc. – to make the most impact right away.

Appliances

Your appliances could be costing you a fortune. Wherever possible, you want to be making sure you have the most energy-efficient appliances available.

Two appliances to especially focus on are your washing machine and water heater. Tankless water heaters are suggested as long as they are in your budget.

Outdoor Living

More and more people are wanting to create and enjoy an outdoor living space for their home. Whether it is a deck, screened porch or patio, a well-designed outdoor living space can add quite a bit of value into your home.

Just make sure to consider seasonal weather patterns and how they will affect your use of the space. For those of us constantly dealing with the colder weather, built-in fireplaces are all the rage!

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Closets

Take a look around your house and find any unused or under-used areas. You might want to strongly consider turning those areas into more closet space. In the world of home value, there seems to be no such thing as too much closet space!

Even if you can’t actually add more closets, consider how you are using your closet space. Investigate storage options to make the most of every nook and cranny. Add lighting. Update the hardware. And one thing many people overlook – repaint.

Electrics

A great upgrade is to add more outlets to increase the convenience and comfort of your home. One popular suggestion is adding ‘his and hers’ outlets on either side of the bed. You may also want to consider adding more outlets in the kitchen to increase appliance use; adding outlets within pantry spaces can help get your small appliances cleared off the countertop.

Our last piece of upgrade advice is to add extra outlets in the garage, particularly for an extra fridge or freezer that can be stored out there. This adds great convenience – which translates into value – for any home.