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Oil prices are currently rising to their highest levels since 2014 which begs the question; who wins under these circumstances?

Crude oil is up 14% YTD and like many economic events, certain parties will benefit at the expense of those less fortunate. Before dissecting who these parties are and the impact that this will have, it is imperative to first understand the catalysts to the situation:

  1. Global Growth (Demand Side): Until mid-April, surging oil prices were almost exclusively a by-product of demand driven factors. This is no surprise given that worldwide economic growth is at its highest level since 2011, further backed up by the world’s largest economy (USA) reporting strong April job numbers. This robust rise in demand has closed the supply glut we have seen in recent years.
  2. Geopolitical Tension (Supply Side): The markets have seemed to price in interferences within Iran’s exports given President Trump’s restoration of sanctions on the country. Less pronounced impacts include the current rumblings associated with Venezuela’s upcoming election on May 20th and the Saudi`s championing of a push to further tighten the market leading up to OPEC`s June 22 meeting.

Specifying whether impacts are demand or supply driven is important, as it helps in answering the question “who wins” when prices hit $70 and above. A demand driven price increase is seen as desirable given that it is a by-product of a strong global economy. Supply shocks are often a negative indication given its tendency to retract such growth through reducing discretionary household income and thus diverting capital from more productive uses. The discussion that follows takes a top down perspective to commentate on what rising oil prices mean for various players within the economy

A. Central Banks:

The level of importance that society places on oil’s functionality means that price variability will impact the macroeconomy through various means. Despite policy makers often focusing on core inflation indexes, which remove the impact of energy costs, sustained rises in oil prices have the potential to eventually make its way to increasing the price levels within the transportation and utilities industries. If prevalent enough, unexpected inflation may become a reality, instigating wealth redistribution from debtors to creditors, amongst many other unsolicited impacts. This is where central bankers can step in to remedy the situation through the use of monetary tightening via interest rate hikes or open market operations to moderate the inflationary pressure.



B. Governments:

When looking at what higher oil prices mean from a country’s perspective, two factors rank high in relevancy; the nation’s balance of trade pertaining to oil and current account. Take India for instance, who’s rupee has been amongst the worst FX performers in 2018. Coupled with this is the fact that oil is one of the nation’s largest import items. If oil prices continue to rise, India’s current account deficit will only further widen. This deficit will further exert downwards pressure on the rupee. Counteracting this requires intervention, such as the aforementioned interest rate hikes, however, doing so disincentives the productive investment required to sustain growth in a developing nation. Thus, it is clear that the current oil situation fuels a viscous loop that positions India as a nation that is adversely affected.

On the opposite side of this spectrum are major exporters such as Saudi Arabia and Russia, who will evidently benefit through the larger revenues that these higher prices will yield. This especially benefits Saudi Arabia, as it will provide positive momentum for Aramco’s scheduled IPO. Across the Atlantic, the USA should be less impacted when compared to historical standards and retain domestic stability due to their shale oil production hedging the adverse GDP effects associated with such price increases. Russia and OPEC committed to cutting 1.8 billion barrels per day last year, and the high prices this pact has helped trigger coupled with the USA’s larger output is allowing them to penetrate the European market share. This doesn’t mean that they are home safe, however, as the nation still runs a trade deficit with regards to oil.

C. Investors:

Energy stocks have been amongst the S&P 500’s top performers, up 12% in the past month and 5% YTD despite the broader market remaining predominantly stagnant. After initial concerns that US shale production was increasing at a rate that would lead to excess reserves of years prior, sentiment has eased. Overinvestment has historically been a major concern for energy investors, as adverse price shocks to oil could cause firm’s capital intensive investments and exploration to have negative payback periods. Despite this, Q2 of 2018 has seen companies spend less and instead return profits to shareholders in the form of buybacks at a rate 5 times that of just a year ago. Key to this bullish sentiment are prices staying within oil’s “Goldilock Zone” of $60 to $80. If kept within this range that is not low enough to create a glut whilst simultaneously avoiding the damping of demand, energy companies and their investors will continue to benefit from higher revenues.

D. Households:

Economies that are more dependent on consumer spending to generate GDP will have exposure to adverse externalities associated with these price increases. Despite there being a shift towards more efficient modes of transportation with the introduction of hybrid and electric vehicles, higher prices for oil ultimately reduce the amount of disposable income available to be spent. Additionally, prices of heating could also eat into the pockets of household.  The USA has already seen consumer spending slow, growing at its weakest level in nearly five years at 1.1%.

In conclusion, geopolitics rather than economic fundamentals is currently driving the price volatility of oil. Economic sanctions, mixed with Aramco poised to be the largest IPO of all time means that there will be plenty of externalities that will keep this debate relevant for the months to come. Thus, the question over whether or not prices will be sustained at such prices is one without a clear answer.

You may also be interested in: Spotify: Marching to Their Own Beat

Writer: Matthew Leonelli

Disclaimer: All investing can potentially be risky. Investing or borrowing can lead into financial losses. All content on Bay Street Blog are solely for educational purposes. All other information are obtained from credible and authoritative references. Bay Street Blog is not responsible for any financial losses from the information provided. When investing or borrowing, always consult with an industry professional.

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Your parents worked hard enough to bring you up and help you find your own path in life. Now, they’re getting old and will soon be unable to take care of themselves as they used to. Now, it’s time for you to return the favor and take care of your parents. As much as you may love your parents and you’re willing to do everything you can for them, taking care of an aging parent could be a full-time commitment.

However, you also have your own life and, perhaps, your own family to think about as well. That’s why it’s important to be well prepared in advance and have a well-developed plan for taking care of your aging parents. That being said, the most important factor you must take into consideration is finances. Here’s how to plan financially to take care of your aging parents.

Create your own plan

Unfortunately, elder care is not cheap. So much, in fact, that those expenses can easily throw you off balance and perhaps even throw you into dept. That’s why it’s important to develop a financial plan of your own, in order to prepare for taking care of your parents. It’s important to talk to your parents about their financial status, in order to determine what kind of budget you have available.

This topic is often tricky, especially when discussing it with your folks, but be patient and consistent. Determine if your parents have a savings account, such as individual retirement funds (IRA and Roth IRA) or a 401(k) plan. This will help you determine how much funds your parents have saved for retirement. Also, you’ll know if it will be enough to cover most expenses or will you have to find an additional source of funding for your parents’ care.

Take care of legal documentation

The older your parents get, the less capable they’ll be to take care of themselves and take care of important tasks, such as managing finances. In such cases, it’s important that you’re legally allowed to make important decisions in their stead regarding their health and finances. If not, you may run into unexpected difficulties in providing adequate care for your parents.

It’s a good idea to talk to your parents and convince them to create a document, such as power of attorney, which will give you the authorization to act on your parents’ behalf. That way, if your parents’ health gets worse unexpectedly, you can act immediately without any hindrances or inconveniences. You’ll also have the legal right to use resources your parents have to cover the expenses of any medical bills and medication they might need.




Check out specialized facilities

As mentioned before, taking care of your aging parents can quickly become a full-time commitment. If you have a job and a family of your own to take care of, it may become too difficult to manage your parents as well. That’s why it’s important to research specialized facilities that can accommodate and take care of your parents once they’re no longer able to take care of themselves. However, it may be difficult for your parents to decide to leave their family home.

That’s why it’s important to gently introduce them to the idea and explain things as smoothly as possible. You can take your parents on a tour, so that they can see various places for themselves. For instance, specialized elderly resorts, such as Mark Moran Little Bay may be particularly to their liking. Allow them to check out places and meet staff members, so that they can get familiarized with the concept.

Communicate with your parents

Communicating with your folks is very important. There’s oftentimes rumors that elderly people can become quite stubborn and won’t easily play along. If that’s the case, it’s important not to rush them into making any decisions and be patient at all times. Talk to your parents about the overall situation.

Even though many aging parents realize that they’re getting old and that they won’t be able to do things as they used to before, it’s still important to go easy on them and allow them to adjust accordingly. Make sure you communicate at all times. Encourage your parents to tell you if they missed any bill payments or if there’s any outstanding debt you need to take care of. The better your communication, the better financial plan you’ll be able to create.

Taking care of your aging parents is not simple or easy. It requires a lot of effort and dedication. What’s more, elderly care is expensive and additional costs can easily pile up. That’s why it’s important to prepare financially, in order to provide the best support for your aging parents.

You may also be interested in: How to Maximize Your Earnings as a Young Professional

Writer: Tracey Clayton 

Disclaimer: All investing can potentially be risky. Investing or borrowing can lead into financial losses. All content on Bay Street Blog are solely for educational purposes. All other information are obtained from credible and authoritative references. Bay Street Blog is not responsible for any financial losses from the information provided. When investing or borrowing, always consult with an industry professional.

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By: Zoocasa

In April 2017 Ontario announced its Fair Housing Plan intended to cool the housing market, amid cries that it was overheated.

Indeed, the first quarter of 2017 saw an extremely tight market  with the lowest levels of inventory in a decade and intense buyer demand.

Properties had climbed to about $921,000 in the Greater Toronto Area by April 2017, up 24.5 per cent from the year previous. Properties were spending a mere nine days on market and the average price for detached Toronto homes for sale in the City of Toronto had surpassed $1.5 million. There was even spillover in neighbouring cities, leaving almost no place within an hour and a half drive that was affordable. Hamilton houses, for example had an average sale price of about $610,000 according to the Realtor’s Association of Hamilton-Burlington.

In response, Ontario decided to step in with 16 measures, among them a foreign buyers tax, expanded rent control and mandatory reporting rules, with the specific intent to cool the market.

One year later, it appears to have worked. Price growth has slowed.

Although prices are still up about 8.8 per cent from April 2016, they are down from one year ago. The average selling price for a GTA property now stands at about $740,000.

Inventory increased, up 40.8 per cent from last year. As a result, the pressure buyers were feeling last year when they were rushing into bidding wars and avoiding putting conditions in their offers has eased. Buyers can now take their time (somewhat) house shopping, and the average property now spends 20 days on market.




Nevertheless, a “cool” GTA market is still out of reach for most. A detached home in the 416 is still priced at $1.35 million, and even in the 905, the average is $930,000. The most affordable market segment, condos, are over $600,000 in the 416 and $457, 000 in the 905.

This is perhaps why sales have plunged so dramatically — properties are still out of reach for most. All market segments are down double-digits from last year, with the most expensive housing type, detached, down 38.4 percent, and townhouses showing the slightest decline, at 22.1 per cent.

TREB expects activity to pick up in the upcoming busy spring and summer months, as Ontarians continue to recover from the both real and also psychological effects of the Fair Housing Plan:

“Once we are past the current policy-based volatility, home owners should expect to see the resumption of a moderate and sustained pace of price growth in line with a strong local economy and steady population growth,” says Jason Mercer, TREB’s director of market analysis.

Check out the infographic below for detailed information:

Zoocasa.com is a leading real estate resource that combines online search tools and a full-service brokerage to empower Canadians to buy or sell their homes faster, easier and more successfully. Home buyers can browse  real estate listings on the website or the free iOS app.

You may also be interested in: Toronto Detached Homes: Too Expensive to Sell? (Infographic)

Writer: Danielle Kubes

Disclaimer: All investing can potentially be risky. Investing or borrowing can lead into financial losses. All content on Bay Street Blog are solely for educational purposes. All other information are obtained from credible and authoritative references. Bay Street Blog is not responsible for any financial losses from the information provided. When investing or borrowing, always consult with an industry professional.

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There’s a lot of buzz going on in the business and finance world around cryptocurrencies and the blockchain technology. Ever since Bitcoin appeared back in 2009, the popularity of cryptocoins has been increasing. Nowadays, there are over a thousand different cryptocurrencies and the blockchain technology continues to evolve. Many investors turned their gaze towards digital currencies when Bitcoin’s price started to skyrocket. However, the digital currency market is still unregulated and highly volatile, but that doesn’t prevent investors from seeking out good investment opportunities.

Needless to say, the blockchain technology is the most popular innovation so far, yet very few people understand it properly. It’s estimated that the blockchain technology will revolutionize business models and operations, payment methods and more. Even though there’s a huge hype going about this technology, the understanding of it greatly falls behind. Therefore, here’s an introduction to blockchain technology.

What’s blockchain technology?

As mentioned before, Bitcoin was the very first blockchain technology. It represented a decentralized public ledger, based on a peer-to-peer (P2P) digital payment system for transactions with no middleman to arbiter those transactions. In other words, the transactions weren’t meant to be regulated by any central banks or governments. The Bitcoin cryptocurrency, otherwise known as tokens, is used as means of payment to be transferred via the payment system, as well as to validate transactions.

The blockchain technology is a system that combines computer networks, cryptography and game theory that’s designed to be an open ledger that consists of various records called blocks. Its purpose is to record and store data about transactions. Blocks hold information, such as transaction timestamps, the amount of tokens transferred, but not the information about users. A single block also contains a link to a previous block. The blocks are linked using strong cryptography so that the data cannot be altered once it’s in the block.

Therefore, the original blockchain technology was designed to allow users across the globe to make seamless transactions for a small fee, with no intermediaries to monitor or obstruct the transactions. Transactions are public and transparent, while the technology prevents malicious intent and double-spending of coins.




Investment opportunities

Since 2009, the blockchain technology has come a long way. Many engineers and tech experts have worked on the original Bitcoin blockchain technology to design and develop it further. As a result, new and improved blockchain technologies have emerged. A good example is Ethereum that utilizes blockchain technology to provide smart contracts. The technology used is no longer just about recording and storing data, but is also capable of running an arbitrary code and running as a public blockchain. Similar to Bitcoin, Ethereum also utilizes tokens called Ether.

The only difference is that the number of Bitcoin tokens is finite and there’s only 20% left to be mined, while there’s no supply limit to the number of Ether tokens. Many more startups and new blockchain technologies are being developed as mentioned before, which provides a good investment opportunity for investors. Investors can invest via initial coin offering (ICO), but they must carefully research the company behind the new blockchain first. For instance, resources, such as The Blockchain Review, offer good information about the ICO investments and newest blockchain technologies on the market.

Pros of blockchain technologies

Experts estimate that the blockchain technology is the biggest discovery so far, even compared to the discovery of the Internet. The blockchain has already made progress towards creating an information economy environment. With further development, businesses will be able to rid themselves of any brokers or central parties throughout various different processes.

This will allow companies to reduce, if not eliminate, human errors, additional fees and costs, as well as time and security risks that follow today’s operations. Moreover, the latest progress in the blockchain technology has made significant improvements to the original. The before-mentioned Ethereum had made their programming language called Solidity, which is open-sourced. The language itself is highly adaptable and easy to use, which means it could help build various other more powerful and more sophisticated applications.

The drawbacks of modern blockchain development

There’s a shortage of blockchain developers and there’s a high demand for experts these days. Even though many companies ranging from for-profit organizations to governmental and non-governmental organizations are starting to invest in blockchain technology, there’s still a long way to go. What’s more, cryptocurrencies are still not regulated, which is their original intent, or considered private nor public securities. However, without proper regulations, many startups and blockchain development companies don’t have standardized traits.

Simply put, many ICOs are not supported by a viable product. That is a big risk for investors. The main reason is that some ICO tokens don’t provide or they’re not required to provide disclosures or brochures. Some are only backed by whitepapers stating the purpose of the technology and company’s goals. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is looking to regulate ICOs and investor participation, in order to protect them from scams that could result in loss of investment.

The blockchain technology is rumored to be the next big step in technological development that will reshape business models, capital markets and financial services. Still, there’s a lot of confusion and lack of understanding that surrounds this topic. The blockchain technology is still in its infant stages and it remains to be seen how it will develop further.

You may also be interested in:  Introduction to Forex

Writer: David Webb

Disclaimer: All investing can potentially be risky. Investing or borrowing can lead into financial losses. All content on Bay Street Blog are solely for educational purposes. All other information are obtained from credible and authoritative references. Bay Street Blog is not responsible for any financial losses from the information provided. When investing or borrowing, always consult with an industry professional.

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Selling your home is never easy, especially when you have to say goodbye to the place you love, but sometimes it just has to be done. However, once you decide to sell your home, you can’t do it in a day or two; you have to prepare it and make sure it’s in a great shape. When selling a luxury home, moreover, there’s no room for errors and everything has to be absolutely perfect, so here are a few ideas that might help you sell your luxury home in the quickest, most effective and most lucrative way possible.

Check the curb appeal

This is literally the first thing a potential buyer is going to notice about your home, and if the curb appeal isn’t right, nothing else is going to be all right either. Luckily, fixing the curb appeal and making sure it’s perfect is easier than most people think and all you need to do is mow the lawn, fix the fence, clean the clutter and wash the driveway, and that’s it!

After doing all of that, you just have to repeat it from time to time and never let your curb appeal ruin the chances for a sale ever again. Of course, you can always go a step further and introduce a couple of changes – a new front door, new outdoor lights, new roofing and a new porch are just some of the things that will boost your curb appeal more than you could’ve ever imagined.

Find your target audience

Not everyone purchasing a home is ready to purchase a luxury home and that’s something you need to keep in mind if you’re selling it. Finding your audience and targeting specific buyers is what’s going to separate you from your competition and enable you to sell your home for a bigger price.

Talking to an experienced real estate agent isn’t necessarily a must in these situations, but it can always help you do a better job selling your home. These are the people who can give you the right information and connect you with potential buyers, so hear them out and take some of their ideas into consideration.



Furnish your home

Even though most people aren’t aware of it, a furnished home is much better and more profitable than an empty one. Not only will your potential buyers have a chance to see the layout and examine what else they can improve, but they also won’t have to purchase all the furniture immediately, which is quite important when you’re moving into a new place.

Most luxury homes are already equipped with nice and cozy furniture, but you can always introduce a couple of new pieces into the mix as well. For example, comfortable and decorative lounges are always a great idea because they look good and bring the atmosphere of the entire home to a whole new level, but they’re also a big return on your investment. Spending some money in order to make more later is vital, so furnish your home as soon as possible and you’ll be able to sell it more successfully.

Use social media

Lots of people use social media for different purposes nowadays, but have you ever considered using them to sell your luxury home? Probably not because you think it’s going to sell itself as long as it’s properly furnished and comes at the right price. This, however, couldn’t be further from the truth, and you definitely need to explore the power of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram when selling your place.

There are lots of opportunities these social media platforms offer and although they’re primarily aimed at helping real estate agents reach a wider audience, it can help individuals sell their property as well. What you need to do is advertise your home and accentuate its positive sides using high-quality photos and videos, but also target potential clients you know could turn from Twitter followers to real-life property buyers.

Again, selling a luxury home isn’t easy, but it’s definitely doable if you get organized and know what you’re doing. Therefore, start fixing things around your home, furnishing it and working on its curb appeal because potential buyers might start showing up any minute now!

You may also be interested in: How to Start a House Flipping Business

Writer: Cooper Klien

Disclaimer: All investing can potentially be risky. Investing or borrowing can lead into financial losses. All content on Bay Street Blog are solely for educational purposes. All other information are obtained from credible and authoritative references. Bay Street Blog is not responsible for any financial losses from the information provided. When investing or borrowing, always consult with an industry professional.

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When purposefully renovating a home, it all boils down to one fundamental question which sums up the entire process – how to increase property value without spending too much cash? Well, the very act of increasing a home’s value can give you quite a few financial benefits.

For example: if you’re considering taking a loan, you can tap the equity from your property to make more purchases, or even create a bona fide business agency if you are really up to the task and steadily start making additional home improvements as you sink your teeth in real estate. This way, you can easily get some extra money when marketing your property at a higher value, while also making your home the best example of your story.

What do current trends dictate?

Eco-friendly homes are immensely popular in the real estate market as customers are enthusiastic to go green and buy such properties. Homes like these offer a variety of energy-efficiency advantages, which reduce utility bills and reliance on non-renewable resources. They can generate electric power, or at least consume less energy by utilizing resources more efficiently, thus leading to a healthier environment.

If you need help to find your footing with the whole energy-efficient home improvement research, check out our list of a variety of renovations and green products that guarantee an increase in home value on the market.

Showerheads, Low Flow Faucets, and Toilets

It’s not a mystery that the bathroom is supremely important to most home buyers. Water consumption in the kitchen is just behind the water use for personal hygiene and laundry machines. Reducing the amount of water you use without interrupting your daily activities or chores can allow you to both save some money and reduce your negative impact on the environment. Replacing toilets, faucets, and showerheads with low-flow appliances can decrease the amount of water you use by up to 2.5 gallons per minute without a drop in the water pressure.

Energy-Efficient Doors and Windows

Buyers often love to see a home with newly installed doors and windows. Energy-efficient windows and doors can improve the building enclosure of the house thus preventing undesired airflow and outside temperature penetration. You’ll be particularly happy with the fact that you’ll be able to save 7 to 15 percent on your home’s energy bill. If you combine this with insulating the house, you will be able to increase the value of your property up to another 3 percent. A little goes a long way.

Solar Panels

Alongside wind and hydropower, solar power is a great alternative to the fossil fuels, making it essential energy prospect for the future of the planet. Photovoltaic solar panels can significantly reduce your energy bills and improve the value of your house. The modern deep-cycle battery technology for solar panels such as long-lasting Trojan batteries will save you money in the long run.

You shouldn’t neglect smart thermostats to have more control of cooling and heating systems. Also, usage of LED lighting and programmable timers that switch off the lights when there is nobody in the room goes hand in hand beautifully with solar panel technology.




Appliances

Most homes already own efficient Energy Star appliances. Nevertheless, some older homes could still possess one or two old items with some sentimental value that turned out to be energy inefficient. Changing to more efficient and newer models can potentially reduce energy consumption up to 50 percent. Usually, a kitchen is the first room that undergoes renovation and as you improve the flooring, counters and cabinets, keep in mind that appliances are the real energy savers.

Conclusion

Every cent that you save in energy will lead to a big jump in the value of your home. The best way to determine which changes to make requires you to do your due diligence. Calculate how much resources and energy you are using now, then decide what improvements would serve best for your property, how much would it take to set up these products, and how much profit and home value increase can be made in the future. After that, when your patience starts to pay off, you can go straight for the green enhancements that will be suit both your home and your wallet.

You may also be interested in:  The Importance of Budgeting for Closing Costs

Writer: Lana Hawkins 

Disclaimer: All investing can potentially be risky. Investing or borrowing can lead into financial losses. All content on Bay Street Blog are solely for educational purposes. All other information are obtained from credible and authoritative references. Bay Street Blog is not responsible for any financial losses from the information provided. When investing or borrowing, always consult with an industry professional.

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An often overlooked cost associated with purchasing a home is the transactional cost. First-time homebuyers buying a home with the minimum five percent down payment are often guilty of not putting enough money aside to cover closing costs. Here’s a fact that may shock you – closing costs can amount to anywhere between 1.5 percent and 4 percent of your home’s selling price.

Closing costs are your responsibility as the buyer – your mortgage lender will not pay for them. That’s why it’s crucial to put enough money aside, so you’re not left struggling to find the extra funds right before closing.

Now that you understand the important of budgeting for closing costs, let’s take a look at the most common closing costs homebuyers face.

Deposit: 5 percent of Purchase Price

Buying a home is a major purchase, so it’s only natural the seller will want some form of financial commitment to ensure you’re serious about buying their property. The amount of your deposit depends on the location you’re buying, but a common rule of thumb is to set aside 5 percent of purchase price for your deposit. If there are any issues with the deal (you’re not satisfied with the home inspection), it’s at the seller’s discretion to return your deposit. That’s why some buyers choose to make two deposits (one smaller amount at the time of offer and one larger amount after the conditions have been met) to reduce the risk of a substantial amount of your money being held up. But just keep in mind that this can work against you in multiple offer situations, so proceed with caution.

Home Inspection: Approximately $500

If you’re like most buyers, purchasing a home will be the biggest financial commitment of your lifetime. Before you spend your hard-earned money you’ll want to make sure there aren’t any major issues. Structural issues and faulty wiring are just a few of the unforeseen costs that can run new homeowner’s renovation costs in the thousands. It’s better to find out your house has knob and tube wiring or asbestos before you’ve signed on the dotted line than finding out after. Not only can a home inspection provide a valuable bargaining chip when dealing with a seller, it can be a great way to budget for upcoming home maintenance and repair expenses, such as a new roof or new windows. This is especially handy for first-time homebuyers, who often have no idea how expensive the upkeep of a home can be.

Down Payment: 5 percent or more of Purchase Price

Not to be confused with your deposit, your down payment is the sum of money delivered to the seller on the closing day. The timing of your down payment is slightly different than your deposit – while the payment of your deposit comes at the time of offer, your deposit is paid to the seller on closing day. You’ll often deliver a certified cheque to your real estate lawyer, who will pay the funds via escrow to the seller’s lawyer.




Land Transfer Tax: Varies by Province, Based on a Percentage of Purchase Price

Land transfer tax is often the most substantial transactional cost of buying real estate. When you purchase real estate, the provincial government will want a piece of the pie. The land transfer tax is a percentage based on your home’s purchase price – the higher the selling price, the higher the amount of land transfer taxes owed.

To help first-time homebuyers with the steep cost of purchasing a home, provinces often provide a full or partial rebate. Some cash-strapped cities like Toronto have introduced a municipal land transfer tax as a way to help raise tax revenue. That means if you’re buying a home in Toronto proper, you’ll have to pay two land transfer taxes: a provincial and municipal one. So make sure you budget for them.

Real Estate Lawyer Fees: Approximately $1,500

You wouldn’t represent yourself in court, so don’t purchase a home without a lawyer either. Buying a home is a big investment – a real estate lawyer will ensure all your T’s are crossed and all your I’s are dotted before you sign on the dotted line. Your lawyer will make sure your home’s title is clear from defects, calculate your land transfer taxes owed, and prepare your mortgage paperwork. You shouldn’t wait until the last minute to find a real estate lawyer – you should have one selected even before you start house hunting. As your realtor probably isn’t an expert in real estate law, it’s a good idea for your lawyer to review your Agreement of Purchase and Sale to make sure you’re fully protected.

Mortgage Broker Fees: Free

In most cases, you won’t have to pay a cent to your mortgage broker. Their services are usually completely free. That’s because a mortgage broker is typically compensated directly by the lender by way of a finder’s fees.

A mortgage broker brings a lot to the table. They aren’t tied to any one lender, so they offer unbiased advice. They shop the mortgage market on your behalf to help you find the best mortgage product for your own financial situation.

Not ready to buy a home at the moment? Many lenders offer 90 to 120 rate holds. By getting pre-approved for a mortgage with a mortgage broker, not only can you protect yourself from higher interest rates, you’ll know what your approximately budget is to spend on a home.

This post was written by Sean Cooper, bestselling author of the book, Burn Your Mortgage. Sean is also the managing editor ofmortgagepal.ca.

You may also be interested in: First Time Homebuyer Closing Costs

Writer: Sean Cooper 

Sean Cooper bought his first house when he was just 27 and paid off his mortgage at 30 in 3 years. An in-demand personal finance journalist, money coach and speaker, his articles have been featured in publications such as the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, MoneySense and Tangerine’s Forward Thinking blog. He makes regular appearances on national radio and television shows to discuss personal finance, real estate and mortgages. He’s also the bestselling author of the book, Burn Your Mortgage, which helps anyone—from new buyers to experienced homeowners—achieve the

Disclaimer: All investing can potentially be risky. Investing or borrowing can lead into financial losses. All content on Bay Street Blog are solely for educational purposes. All other information are obtained from credible and authoritative references. Bay Street Blog is not responsible for any financial losses from the information provided. When investing or borrowing, always consult with an industry professional.

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College life is nothing short of exciting. One thing is for certain, college students will undoubtedly have financial issues. Besides focusing on their studies that take up most of their time, students have to have enough money for necessities too.Finding a job to help you earn a bit is always a good idea. However, many students have difficulties finding enough time to work and study enough to pass their exams. Not only that, but there’s also the lingering issue of paying off the student loan, which haunts every student.

Needless to say, with a bit of organization and planning, students can manage to balance their studies and still have time to do a bit of work. After all, it will be your first step towards entrepreneurship, where there’ll never be enough time to do everything that’s required, but in the end you’ll be able to manage it all regardless. Here are a few ways students can earn money and not fall behind with their studies.

Become a sitter

Sitting jobs, such as babysitter, house sitter and pet sitter are great job opportunities for students. The main reason is that they don’t demand much work and you can even study on the job. For instance, house sitting gives you an opportunity to have a peaceful place to study while making money in the process.

Also, taking someone’s dog to a park allows you to study away from college commotions and distractions while letting the dog enjoy itself in the park. Sitting kids, however, is a bit more demanding. Still, if you’re good with kids, you’ll manage to entertain them and have some peace and quiet at the same time. Sitting jobs are well paid and they won’t take up too much of your time.

Tutor younger students

A lot of new students will gladly pay for insight into classes they’re about to attend. That way, they’re able to prepare in advance andpass the exams more easily. Furthermore, some students mightsimply be having difficulties passing an exam and they need someone to help them understand the subject better. Tutoring others can be a good way to earn money and help fellow students pass the semester.

You can earn around $30 per hour depending on the subject. Make sure you’re good at the subject you’re tutoring and you’ll get recommended to others. That way, there’ll be no supply shortage of students who need tutoring. Another good thing is that you can choose when to hold tutoring classes so that they don’t interfere with your own classes and study routines.

Sell your textbooks and notes

At the end of the school year, new college students will be admitted. If you no longer have a need for your textbooks from the previous year, you can sell them to freshmen for a lower price. Moreover, booksellers are oftentimes willing to buy books back from you if you’ve kept them in good condition.

Furthermore, taking notes in class is quite important and it can help you pass the class more easily. A lot of students who couldn’t take notes for some reason are more than willing to pay for them. You can make copies of your notes and sell them to your classmates.




Earn money online with paid surveys

If you run out of textbooks to sell, you can always browse the Internet for various opportunities. For instance, you can get paid to take surveys online. That way, you can give feedback about your favorite brand or something similar and still get some money in return.

Apply for an internship

Most students look forward to summer break, when they can enjoy 10-11 college-free weeks. Although that time is great to rest and clear your mind, as well as to prepare for the next semester, you can also use it to earn some money. Heading off for a vacation somewhere sounds veryappealing, but you should also consider the chance to gain some valuable experience and earn quite a bit of money.

A good way to do this is to apply for paid internships. Not only will you be able to work at one of the finest companies in the world, but you’ll also gain valuable experience in the field you wish to work in later in the future. And most importantly, you can earn as much as two average salaries in the U.S. per month. That amount will certainly help you throughout the year and you might even be able to make some bigger plans.

Do some freelance writing

Many online companies are in desperate need of content. You can take advantage of that fact and try your hand at some freelance writing. Moreover, there are plenty of writing gigs online, which means you can write articles from your dorm room. After all, it’s a good way to make money, and you can even choose how many articles you want to write per day.

You can earn from $30 to $100 per article. Pick a niche that you love and writing articles won’t be a problem for you at all. In addition, some companies are willing to pay more for quality articles about latest technology and the business industry. Therefore, if you have the technical know-how, you can earn a bit of extra cash for tech and business articles.

College fees and the costs of living on campus can run anyone’s wallet dry. Also, balancing work and studies can sometimes be very difficult. However, you can easily find ways to make money and still maintain your good grades. The only thing you need is a bit of good planning.

You may also be interested in: How to Maximize Your Earnings as a Young Professional

Writer: Tracey Clayton 

Disclaimer: All investing can potentially be risky. Investing or borrowing can lead into financial losses. All content on Bay Street Blog are solely for educational purposes. All other information are obtained from credible and authoritative references. Bay Street Blog is not responsible for any financial losses from the information provided. When investing or borrowing, always consult with an industry professional.

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Are you looking at getting into the real estate market in the near future? Then chances are you’ve considered buying a condo. Condos are an attractive option for two main reason: affordability and lifestyle.

Condos tend to be more affordable than single-family detached homes, making them an attractive option for first-time homebuyers. Condos also tend to come with less responsibilities than houses. When you’re in a condo, you don’t have to worry about mowing the lawn or shoveling the sidewalk and driveway during wintertime, since someone else takes care of that for you. Condos fit the lifestyles of so many – singles, busy professionals and baby boomers looking to downsize, to name a few.

While condos may seem like the ideal property type, they aren’t without their downsides. There can be a bit of a learning curve for those who have only ever lived in a house. Here are some factors to consider when moving into a condo for the first-time.

New vs. Resale

Similar to houses, you’ll need to decide whether you’d like to purchase a new or resale condo. This decision mainly comes down to budget and personal preference. With a resale condo you can put down as little as five percent, but with a new condo the deposits and down payments are typically heftier. You usually need to put down 20 percent or more in deposits, staggered over several “milestone” dates. (If that amount is too much for you, you’ll either have to save more or go with a resale condo.)

Buying new does have its benefits. You can choose everything right down to the hardwood floors. Just keep in mind that upgrades can be costly. The trend is for builders to include less and less in the basic condo unit. So, be prepared to pay for upgrades, even for the most basic things.

Builder Reputation

Builder reputation matters, especially when you’re buying a new condo. You want your condo to be built to last. You don’t want to be worried about falling glass. Do your homework when buying a condo directly from a builder. Look at the builder’s other projects. Did the projects finish on time? Condo developers are notorious for delaying occupancy. The last thing you want to deal with is builder delays. Look for any complaints against the builder, too.

In Ontario, new condo buyers are protecting by Tarion. If the developer decides to skip town with everyone’s money, your deposit is protected up to certain limits.  That being said, although homebuyers have some protection when buying a new condo, a lot of the time they’re at the mercy of the builder. Condo developers are able to cancel projects for a whole host of reasons, leaving buyers out in the cold. This recent condo cancelled in Vaughan is the perfect example. The developer pulled the plug on the project, leaving 1,100 buyers in limbo. It’s at least the ninth condo project to cancel in the last year in the Greater Toronto Area. That’s why builder reputation is so crucial.

Financing

Similar to when you’re shopping for a house, it’s a good idea to get pre-approved for a mortgage when on you’re on the lookout for a condo. If you’re buying a resale condo, it’s pretty straightforward. You can call up your mortgage broker and typically get a rate hold with a lender for between 90 and 120 days. With a rate hold, if mortgage rates go up during this time, you’re guaranteed your mortgage rate. And if rates go down, you’ll get the lower rate. It’s a win-win situation for the homebuyer. But you can only take advantage of this if you take the time to get preapproved for a mortgage with your mortgage broker.

If you’re buying preconstruction, the financing works a little differently. Since the completion date for your condo may not be for two or three years, the typical mortgage pre-approval won’t work. Luckily, there are mortgage pre-approvals specifically for those buying new builds. You can often get a rate guarantee until the completion date of your condo project. Speak with your mortgage broker to find out your options.

Phantom Rent

Speaking of preconstruction condos, there’s a little something calling “phantom rent.” When you move into your condo on the occupancy date, it’s important to understand that you’re not the legal owner. As such, you can’t start paying your mortgage right away. Instead, you’ll be required to pay phantom rent. Phantom rent is an occupancy fee paid to your builder before the building is registered. Although occupancy can last for a few weeks, it can also last months, so make sure you budget for this extra time and expense.



Condo Ownership

Condos have a different ownership structure than the typical single family detached home. A condo combines the ownership of individual units, referred to as strata lots, with a combined ownership of common areas, referred to as common elements. Examples of common elements include the hallways, gym, swimming pool, elevators, parking garage and lobby. As the owner of an individual condo unit, you’re required to pay for the upkeep of the common areas by way of condo fees. A building’s condo board looks after the expenses of upkeep of the common areas with the condo fees.

When buying a condo, you’ll want your real estate lawyer to review the status certificate. The status certificate includes important information about the condo, including the condo fees and the building’s reserve funds. If a building’s reserve funds are low or the building is aging, it could mean your condo fees could skyrocket to cover the shortfall.

When shopping for a condo, be sure you find out what is included in your condo fees. Condo fees typically include utilities (heat and water), but quite often you’ll have to pay separately for hydro and cable. If that’s the case, make sure you budget for this.

Condo fees are normally based on the building’s amenities and your condo’s square footage. Typically, the more amenities, the higher the condo fees. For that reason, think long and hard before buying a condo with too many amenities. Although it can be convenient to have a gym in your building, you might be better off buying a condo without a gym and buying a gym membership separately. That way you won’t feel guilty if you aren’t making the most out of the gym in your condo building. Likewise, think twice before buying a two-bedroom condo versus a one-bedroom. Although it may have better resale value, the higher condo fees can be a real drain on your cash flow.

Cooling Off Period

Buying a new condo is a major financial decision. In fact, it could be the single largest financial transaction of your lifetime. For the reason, you’ll want to think long and hard before buying a new condo.

It’s not unheard of for you to suffer from buyer’s remorse. You put down the initial deposit, but change your mind a short while after. The good news is that you may be able to back out of the deal and get your money back. In Ontario you have a 10 calendar day cooling off period for new condos. During this time, you can send a copy of your contract to your real estate lawyer for review and call your mortgage broker to obtain financing. If you run into any snags along the way, you should be able to get out of the deal, provided the cooling off period hasn’t expired.

This post was written by Sean Cooper, bestselling author of the book, Burn Your Mortgage. Sean is also the managing editor ofmortgagepal.ca.

You may also be interested in:  Downpayment vs. Deposit- What’s the Difference?  

Writer: Sean Cooper 

Sean Cooper bought his first house when he was just 27 and paid off his mortgage at 30 in 3 years. An in-demand personal finance journalist, money coach and speaker, his articles have been featured in publications such as the Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, MoneySense and Tangerine’s Forward Thinking blog. He makes regular appearances on national radio and television shows to discuss personal finance, real estate and mortgages. He’s also the bestselling author of the book, Burn Your Mortgage, which helps anyone—from new buyers to experienced homeowners—achieve the

Disclaimer: All investing can potentially be risky. Investing or borrowing can lead into financial losses. All content on Bay Street Blog are solely for educational purposes. All other information are obtained from credible and authoritative references. Bay Street Blog is not responsible for any financial losses from the information provided. When investing or borrowing, always consult with an industry professional.

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By: Zoocasa

Prospective buyers appear to be taking their time this March before plunging in and purchasing. A Greater Toronto Area property  is taking 20 days to sell this month, compared to just 10 days last year, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB).

That’s likely because of the increase in inventory; this March has two to three months of inventory, compared to just one month the same time last year.

The pressure has eased on prospective buyers as their options have increased. Unlike last year’s market which had record-low supply, buyers are now less likely to be  pushed into a bidding wars, or having to exclude conditions from their offers.

That’s good news for buyers, but not so great for sellers.

Last March, sellers held the upper-hand. Prices had increased almost 35 per cent year-over-year, and properties were being sold almost immediately.

That all changed as soon as Ontario announced its Fair Housing Plan last April. Prospective sellers reacted to the uncertainty of government intervention by listing their properties en masse (hence, the increase in supply). Soon after, OSFI, the bank regulator, tightened mortgage lending rules, in effect this January 1.  The double whammy of regulations and less funds available to borrowers led to the market slowdown we’re now seeing.




Prices are no longer rising upwards of 35 per cent a year. Instead, they’ve dropped from their peak by 14 per cent.

The average price of a GTA property this March is $748,558 whereas in March 2017 it was $915,126.

Property prices are still trending upwards, however, just at a slower pace. From the year before, in March 2016, the average price was just $688,181, showing two year gains of 8 per cent.

TREB mainly blames detached home sales for the drop.

“Detached home sales, which generally represent the highest price points in a given area, declined much more than other home types,”  TREB writes in its monthly market report. “In addition, the share of high-end detached homes selling for over $2 million in March 2018 was half of what was reported in March 2017, further impacting the average selling price.”

Condos, the most affordable market segment, are the only type of property to see year-over-year gains, rising 6 per cent to an average selling price of about $550,000. Spending over half a million on condo, however, is a bit too rich for most buyers, especially with the new OSFI rules. Even if prospective buyers drive out to the 905, the most affordable market segment still seems quite unaffordable. Mississauga condos, for example, are selling for an average of $435,000.

We’re likely to see more prospective buyers look even further outside the metropolitan limits. Buyers can still pick up, for example, detached houses for sale in Hamilton for the same price as a GTA condo.  

TREB expects both sales and prices  to pick up in the busy spring and summer months, so we’ll have to wait and see.

Click on the infographic to see the details for yourself:

Zoocasa.com is a leading real estate resource that combines online search tools and a full-service brokerage to empower Canadians to buy or sell their homes faster, easier and more successfully. Home buyers can browse  real estate listings on the website or the free iOS app.

You may also be interested in: Toronto Detached Homes: Too Expensive to Sell? (Infographic)

Writer: Danielle Kubes

Disclaimer: All investing can potentially be risky. Investing or borrowing can lead into financial losses. All content on Bay Street Blog are solely for educational purposes. All other information are obtained from credible and authoritative references. Bay Street Blog is not responsible for any financial losses from the information provided. When investing or borrowing, always consult with an industry professional.

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