Client Meetings & Staying Safe

We would like to take this opportunity to remind you that when meeting with clients/potential clients to always stay vigilant about meeting locations and times. If you feel a situation is uncommon or strange, please listen to your instincts and reschedule to a more public location or your office.

Ensure you notify the proper authorities and RAHB, if needed. Watch NewsReal for upcoming courses that RAHB offers on REALTOR® safety and self-protection.

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RAHB REALTORS® Release July Statistics

Hamilton, ON (August 1, 2019) – The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) reported 1,170 sales of residential properties located within the RAHB market area were processed through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System in July 2019. This is a 10.3 per cent increase from July last year; however, a 2.7 per cent decrease over June 2019 and a 12.9 per cent decrease from May 2019. The average price for residential properties increased by 0.9 per cent from July 2018 to $593,702.

Please click here to read the full release.

Follow the links below for:

Burlington

Halidmand

Hamilton

Niagara North

 

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Habitat for Humanity Hamilton Build Day!

As part of RAHB’s donation to Habitat for Humanity Hamilton, we have been invited to participate in a Build Day at the Waterdown build site.

There are 10 spots available for this wonderful opportunity, which takes place on Thursday, August 15 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

As a participant, you may not need to stay for the entire day; however, you will need to be on-site at 8:30 a.m. for the safety talk and instructions.

If you are interested in participating, please contact Caitlin in the RAHB office at 905.529.8101 x294 or caitlinl@rahb.ca, by Friday, August 9.

For more information on RAHB’s donation to Habitat for Humanity Hamilton, as well as Habitat for Humanity Halton, please click the below button:

Habitat for Humanity Donations

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Lockboxes at 102 Bronte Rd. Oakville (Halton Condominium Corporation)

We have been asked by the Halton Condominium Corporation to notify RAHB members of lockboxes that have been left/stored at 102 Bronte Rd. in Oakville. The condominium corporation feels an unacceptable number of lockboxes have been mounted on a railing in the building that has been provided for lockboxes. The condominium corporation is going to remove any unidentified lockbox remaining on the railing at the end of August. REALTORS® who have stored/left lockboxes here should remove their lockbox, or identify their lockbox with an attached business card or some form of identification.

If you have any questions, please contact Alan Hubble at hubblealan@gmail.com.

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GeoWarehouse Maintenance Scheduled

GeoWarehouse will perform maintenance to Teranet Solutions this weekend during the following times:

  • Friday, July 26 at 10 p.m. to Saturday, July 27 at 2 a.m., and
  • Saturday, July 27 at 10 p.m. to Sunday, July 28 at 2 a.m.

As a result, you will not be able to access the GeoWarehouse Solution or make purchases through the e-store.

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Downtown Burlington Temporary Development Freeze

*UPDATE* – The Map for the exact area affected by the Interim Control Bylaw can be foundby clicking the link below:

Interim Control Bylaw – Study Area

Dear RAHB members,

We are seeking your feedback and experiences with the Interim Control Bylaw, currently in effect in the City of Burlington. Below are the details of the bylaw, as well as a link to submit your feedback.

Interim Control Bylaw (ICBL)
On March 5, 2019, Burlington City Council implemented a Temporary Development Freeze (Interim Control Bylaw, or ICBL) within areas of downtown Burlington and surrounding the Burlington GO Station. This Freeze will last one year, with a maximum extension of a second year.

On April 2, 2019, Burlington City Council amended the Temporary Development Freeze to include exemptions – “Building of pools, decks, fences and interior alterations are permitted. These types of developments are considered minor and/or accessory to the main use of the property. They are not considered to affect intensity or land use in the study area, so they are exempt from the ICBL.”

The construction of a new home or an addition to an existing home still fall within the ICBL.

We would appreciate your feedback on this Temporary Development Freeze – specifically if you or your clients have experienced any issues or disadvantages as a result of the Freeze, as well as how you think this Freeze may be affecting property values in Burlington.

To submit your feedback, please click the below button. It should take no longer than two (2) minutes of your time. We ask that you please provide your feedback by Friday, August 2, 2019.

To provide feedback, please CLICK HERE

 

Thank you in advance for your input.

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Federal Government First-Time Home Buyer Incentive Program

On July 10, 2019, Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, announced the new First-Time Home Buyer Incentive. Below are the details, criteria and conditions of this new Incentive.

Details:

  • The new Incentive will start in September 2, 2019, with the first closing on November 1, 2019.
  • The aim of the Incentive is to help middle-class families take the first step towards home ownership.
  • For the purchase of an existing home, an incentive amount of five per cent may be available.
  • For the purchase of a newly constructed home, an incentive amount of five per cent or 10 per cent may be available.
  • This is a shared equity mortgage with the Government of Canada.
  • The government shares in the upside and downside of the change in the property value.

 

Criteria:

  • The incentive will allow eligible first-time home buyers who have the minimum down payment for an insured mortgage with CMHC, Genworth or Canada Guaranty, to apply to finance a portion of their home purchase through a form of shared equity mortgage with the Government of Canada.
  • The property must be located in Canada and must be suitable and available for full-time, year-round occupancy.
  • Eligible for Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and non-permanent residents who are legally authorized to work in Canada.
  • The incentive will be available to first-time home buyers with qualified annual household incomes up to $120,000.
  • The above-listed income (up to $120,000) is subject to qualifying income requirements set out by lenders and mortgage loan insurers.
  • At least one borrower must be a first-time home buyer.
    • DEFINITION: you have never purchased a home before; you have gone through a breakdown of a marriage or common-law partnership (even if you don’t meet the other first-time home buyer requirements); or in the last four years, you did not occupy a home that you or your current spouse or common-law partner owned.
  • The minimum down payment must come from traditional down payment sources. Traditional down payment comes from the borrower’s own resources and may include:
    • savings
    • withdrawal/collapse of a registered retirement savings plan (RRSP)
    • non-repayable financial gift from a relative
    • NOTE: Unsecured personal loans or unsecured lines of credit used to satisfy minimum down payment requirements are not eligible for the program.
  • A participant’s insured mortgage and the incentive amount cannot be greater than four times the participant’s qualified annual household income.

 

Conditions:

  • No on-going repayments are required.
  • The incentive is not interest bearing.
  • The borrower can repay the Incentive at any time without a pre-payment penalty.
  • Refinancing of the first mortgage will not trigger repayment.
  • The Incentive is a second mortgage on the title of the property.
  • The first mortgage must be greater than 80 per cent of the value of the property and is subject to a mortgage loan insurance premium.
  • At the present time, the buyer must repay the incentive after 25 years or if the property is sold – whatever comes first.
  • The repayment of the Incentive is based on the property’s fair market value.
  • If your property value goes down, you are still responsible for repaying the shared equity mortgage based on the current home value at time of repayment.

 

For more information, please visit the Government of Canada website at https://www.placetocallhome.ca/fthbi/first-time-homebuyer-incentive.cfm.

 

And to sign up for updates about the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive as they become available, please visit https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/nhs/canada-first-time-home-buyer-incentive.

 

Please click on the below button to download (PDF) an overview of the Incentive, that you can share with clients.

First-Time Home Buyer Incentive ONE-PAGER

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RAHB REALTORS® Release June Statistics

Hamilton, ON (July 2, 2019) – The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) reported 1,203 sales of residential properties located within the RAHB market area were processed through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System in June 2019. This is a 4.2 per cent increase from June last year; however, a 10.5 per cent decrease over May 2019 and a 1.9 per cent decrease from April 2019. The average price for residential properties increased by 5.2 per cent from June 2018 to $593,549; however, decreased from May 2019 by 0.03 per cent.

Please click here to read the full release.

Follow the links below for:

Burlington

Halidmand

Hamilton

Niagara North

 

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Senior Real Estate Agent Specialization

With an aging population continuing to grow, there has become a growing need for REALTORS® to specialize in selling and buying senior homes. Although once called a niche, Ontario’s senior population is projected to double from 16.7% of the population to about 24.8% of the population by 2041, because of the growing number of seniors; senior home buying and selling are becoming standard practice.

Some of the service and systems that come with being a REALTOR® specialized in senior real estate are:

 

Extra Help and Guidance

Many seniors are living alone in their home and are unaware of the next steps. A REALTOR® trained to work with seniors will set up a free initial consultation to offer guidance about the home buying/selling process and will present all the option for the transition. Depending on the client, this may be one or more home visits to make sure that the client feels informed and comfortable.

 

Slower Pace

The home selling/buying process is complex, and many terms, ideas, and contracts are presented during the process. Senior home buyers/sellers benefit from a slower pace so they can feel relaxed and not rushed into a significant decision.

 

Contracts in Plain English

REALTOR® will make sure that they can sit down with the client with a form of the contract that has large print and written in layman’s terms. This further consultation will allow for any questions and concerns to be raised initially before the final signing.

 

Encouragement

Every client is different. Some may not wish for family members to be privy to the details of their real estate transactions, while others may want their family members to be highly involved. A good REALTOR® should also welcome and encourage what makes their client feel most comfortable.

 

Guidance

The decision to transition to another home is a significant decision, and there are many housing choices and options. A good REALTOR® should present all the possibilities, even those that will not generate them compensation such as retirement communities, assisted living, or long term care.

 

Special Rates for Professional Fees

There are many REALTOR® who have automatically discounted rates on commission for seniors, so there is no need to worry about the stress of negotiating a deal.

 

Supporting Professionals

The home selling/buying process involves many professionals, and it is essential that a REALTOR® can recommend a few that they know have a good reputation from working with them in the past. These professionals may include lawyers, inspectors, lenders, stagers, estate planners, insurance and financial advisors.

 

Senior real estate is becoming more than just a niche, but a standard practice. With this standard practice of senior real estate comes the growing importance of being certified in senior real estate:

 

SRES®- Senior Real Estate Specialist® Course

October 21 to 22, 2019: SRES® designation indicated you are qualified to address the needs of home buyers and sellers age 50+ and to approach them with the best options and information during the home buying/selling process.

RAHB will be offering this course to members and non-members through the Real Estate Institute of Canada. For more information, click the button below:

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The Effects of Senior Housing

As our society continues to age, making sure the senior population is aware of their options will have a direct impact on society as a whole. Supporting senior housing will not just help seniors, but will have positive net effects on the entire population — especially first time home buyers.

It is important that REALTORS® are aware of the importance of senior housing support. Supporting senior housing is supporting a better community for all.

 

Home Sharing

Nearly two-thirds of Ontario residents are living in homes too big for their needs. Outside the GTA, 85% of seniors are living in homes too large. Subsequently, it is becoming more difficult for millennial to afford homes across Canada – especially in major cities.

Canada’s rents are rising while the amount of vacancies is shrinking. A growing number of the country’s seniors are living in homes too big, while young Canadians are being forced to living in apartments too expensive. One solution offered by the Ontario Government was to share the living space already built, to create mutual benefit – home sharing.

Home sharing is where the homeowner, usually a senior, offers reduced rent for a room in their home in exchange for small chores and companionship. The idea of home sharing is developing attention in small towns and cities across Canada.

“This is about more than sharing a house,” says Tonya Salomons, a social worker at the National Initiative for the Care of Elderly at the University of Toronto. Home sharing is a multi-benefit opportunity for generations to mingle and learn from one another, improve the health of isolated seniors, while also helping young people find affordable rent.

The most successful home sharing programs involve a process where matched candidates meet, have a trial stay and, if both agree, sign a clear contract outlining expectations and rules while living together.

For more information on Home Sharing, please click here.

 

The First Time Home Buyer Market

Most seniors are living in homes that are too large for their current needs and in communities that no longer support their desires. Tax breaks and other monetary support offered to seniors will allow them to downsize to a home more suitable to their current needs while still offering independent and safe living. Additionally, housing options that support their desire for independent living will free up housing for millennials who are attempting to purchase a home in a community they can grow with their family that are currently occupied by seniors.

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Spring Open Forums

A late spring did not dampen the enthusiasm at the three Spring Open Forums which wrapped up last week. More than 100 RAHB members attended the three events, which visited Dunnville, Caledonia and Grimsby. Local presenters included Haldimand OPP Constable Rod LeClair, and town of Grimsby Deputy-Mayor, Kevin Ritchie and acting Director of Planning for Grimsby, Walter Basic.

Haldimand OPP Constable Rod LeClair

Speakers Kevin Ritchie, Grimsby Deputy Mayor and Walter Basic, Director of Planning for Grimsby, with RAHB President, Bob Van de Vrande and Laura Doucette, Chair of the Member Engagement Committee

The powerpoint presentation from the Grimsby Open Forum can be found by clicking the button below.

Summary of Development Projects

The events also included Q & A with RAHB President Bob Van de Vrande and President Elect, Kathy Della-Nebbia. Both Bob and Kathy gave updates on the CEO selection process and answered questions about data sharing. To read an update, please click here. There was also updates from RAHB committees. Government Relations Chair Margaret Reid and Vice-Chair Dave Zalepa spoke about the new GR Ad Hoc Task Force and gave updates in the areas. To learn more about the Ad Hoc Task Force, click here. We also had representatives from the Charity Auction Task Force. The annual REALTORS® 4 Kids Charity Auction takes place on November 15, to learn more, please click here. And as always, great networking time was enjoyed by all.

The Open Forums will continue this fall – September 17 (Wellington Square United Church, Burlington), and September 24 (Waterfront Center, Hamilton). Please click the button below for more information!

Fall Open Forums

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Affordability in Senior Living

Unfortunately, the home sweet home comes at a cost that may become unmanageable for seniors. Seniors who wish to stay in their home (or downsize to a smaller home) become unable because of income constraints.

It is important that REALTORS® are aware of the resources the Municipal, Provincial and Federal Governments offer for seniors who are still living in their own home. As a result, they have created multiple programs like tax assistant grants and hydro assistance.

Senior Homeowners’ Property Tax Grant

The Provincial Government is offering a program for low-income seniors who can be eligible for up to $500 back on their property taxes.

To be eligible, each of these has to be accurate:

  • Paid Ontario property tax during the year
  • Met either of the following income requirements:
    • You were single, divorced or widowed and earned less than $50,000
    • You were married or living common-law, and you and your spouse/common-law partner acquired a combined income of less than $60,000
  • Owned and occupied your principal residence
  • Were 64 years of age or older
  • Where a resident of Ontario.

The max grant amount of $500/year is adjusted based on net income:

  • Single, separated, divorced or widowed:
    • Less than $35,000 = $500
    • $35,000 less than, but not greater than $50,000 = a grant reduction of 33.3% of your income over $35,000
  • Married or common-law:
    • Less than $45,000 = $500
    • Greater than $45,000 = 33.3% reduction of your income over $45,000
    • Greater than $60,000 = Do not qualify
    • Only one person per couple can receive this grant
  • Click here for an online calculator to see how much money you could receive

A tax return needs to be filed to apply for this grant:

  1. General income tax and benefit return
  2. Report the amount of property tax that is paid on line 6112 on the ON-BEN application
  3. The grant is paid 4-8 weeks after the Canada Revenue Agency notifies you of the notice of assessment and a direct deposit will follow

 

Tax Assistance Program

The City of Hamilton offers a tax assistance program based on age or income; full tax deferral or compassionate appeals.

The Tax Deferral Program includes:

  • Interest that is compounded annually (2019 rate = 5%)
  • Annual application is required
  • Application fee of $200 with a $100 annual renewal fee after initial application
  • The application needs to be filed before September of the application year
  • Please click here for the application form

To be eligible for a full tax deferral:

  • You and your spouse are 65 years and older of age by January 2019 and receive assistance payments under the Ontario Disability Support Program, under disability pay under the Guaranteed Income Supplement, or an amount paid under the CPP disability benefit
  • Your total combined income is less than $36,100
  • You occupy the residential property as your principal residence
  • You own the primary home for at least one year preceding the application date

Compassionate Appeal

  • Tax reduction due to extreme sickness or poverty
    • Extreme poverty: A Financial Statement needs to be provided with the application
    • Severe disease: Attending Physician’s Statement and a Financial Statement need to be provided with the application
  • The City of Hamilton accepts the sympathetic requests and submits them to the Assessment Review Board, or ARB on behalf of the party
  • Needs to be filed before February of the application year
  • ARB mails a Notice of Hearing once a year, which usually happens in April
  • Please click here for the application form for extreme poverty
  • Please click here for the application form for extreme sickness and click here for a Financial Statement

 

Older Adults Property Tax Deferral Program

If you are an older adult and a homeowner living in the Halton Region on a fixed income, you may qualify for the Older Adult Property Tax Deferral Program. The goal of the program is to help older residents on fixed incomes to manage the rising cost of living and remain in their homes.

To qualify for the program, you must be able to meet the following criteria:

  • You are at least 65 years old.
  • You own a home in Halton Region.
  • At least one registered owner must have lived in the home (as their principal residence) for the last four years.
  • Your combined pre-tax gross annual income (the applicant plus the property’s registered owners) must be less than $50,900.
  • You are not participating in any other property tax deferral or rebate programs.
  • You have paid your previous years’ property taxes in full.

The City of Burlington will review your eligibility for the program every year. Once deferral begins, you must submit a completed renewal by September 30 each year to stay in the program.

  • If you do not apply for renewal by September 30, or if you are no longer eligible for the program, The City of Burlington will continue to defer your property taxes for that year.
  • After this first year, you will have a one-year grace period to reapply and show your eligibility. The City of Burlington will continue to defer your taxes, interest-free, during this time.
  • If you reapply during the grace period and are eligible for the program, your property taxes will continue to be deferred.

Unless you end participation, such as by selling your home, the program provides two full years to renew your application and show your eligibility before you must repay the remaining deferred taxes.

Enrolment in the program includes the following fees:

  • Initial application fee of $50
  • One time administration fee of $200
  • Annual renewal application fee of $0

Please click here for the eligibility and calculator tool

Please click here for the application form

Please click here for the renewal application form

 

Tax Rebate

Haldimand County offers seniors or low income disabled property owners a deferral of local taxes if specific criteria is met.

Click here to access the application for deferral of local taxes for low income seniors or low income disabled property owners and the specific criteria that needs to be met for collection of the deferral

 

Home Assistance Program

Hydro One offers free energy-efficient upgrades to the home.

To be eligible for the program you have to be a Hydro One customer and:

  1. Own or rent your home or live in an eligible non-profit housing property
  2. Your gross household income for the last year is not more than these income levels
1 Person $32,843
2 People $40,886

Or you have received one of the following in the past 12 months:

  • Allowance for the Survivor
  • Guaranteed Income Supplement
  • Allowance for Seniors
  • Ontario Works
  • Ontario Disability Support Program

Or you have received a Low-Income Energy Assistance Program Grant or were part of the Ontario Electricity Support Program in the past 12 months

Click here for more information on the Home Assistance Program

 

Ontario Electricity Support Program

The Ontario Electricity Support Program is offered by the Ontario Government that provides a monthly on-bill credit for lower-income customers to reduce their electricity bill.

Eligibility is based on the number of people living in the home and the total annual household income after taxes

Click here for a new application form and to see if you are eligible for the program.

Click here to renew an application for the program.

 

Budget Billing

A program offered through Hydro One where you pay the same amount each month to more efficiently manage your household budget.

How Budget Billing works:

  • Monthly budget billing is set based on your billing history to even out your energy cost over a year
  • Pay the same amount for six months, and on the six and nine months, your monthly payment amount is reassessed to make sure you are not paying too little or too much
  • Have to lock in for 12 months

These programs offered will help to reduce the stress associated with the cost of staying in the home. It is possible for seniors to afford to continue to live at home. As a result, RAHB has created infographics with the information above that can be given to a senior client or that senior’s family so that they are aware of all the affordability options available to seniors.

Please click the buttons below to access infographics that can be given to clients or their family on the information above:

Home Assistance

Hydro Reducing Resources

Senior Homeowner’s Property Tax Grant

Tax Assistance Program Compassionate Appeal

Tax Assistance Program Full Tax Deferral

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