Muskoka & Haliburton Real Estate News from Mary Cook November 2017   

 
Having your home broken into is a traumatic experience that you definitely want to avoid so this month's article shares some tips on how to increase your home's security.

There are also some great feng shui ideas to help you create a harmonious home environment as well as a few tips on how to build a more close-knit community.

Thanks so much for checking out this month's newsletter.  Please get in touch if you have any questions or comments regarding the articles, or real estate in general -- it'd be great to hear from you!

Mary

In this issue...
Bank of Canada Rate Update 
Bank of Canada holds rates steady at 1%.

On October 25, 2017, the Bank of Canada announced it was keeping its trend-setting overnight lending rate on hold at 1%.

The rate rose by 0.25% in July and again in September.  Since then, the Bank has cautioned that future interest rate increases depend on whether economic data suggest that inflation is starting to percolate.

The Bank also updated its economic forecast. On balance, it supports the prevailing sentiment among private sector economic forecasters and financial markets that the Bank will be cautious in its approach when raising interest rates further.  Private sector forecasts currently suggest that interest rates will rise by 1/2% to 1% by the end of 2018.

The Bank’s updated forecast indicates that home sales activity and household spending are expected to “slow in light of policy changes affecting housing markets and higher interest rates.”

It also remains wary about risks to the Canadian economic outlook posed by “trade policies, notably the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement” and recognizes that “because of high debt levels, household spending is likely more sensitive to interest rates than in the past.”

As of October 25, 2017, the benchmark five-year lending rate stood at 4.89%, which is the rate used to qualify mortgages with less than a 20% down payment.  The benchmark five-year lending rate is 0.05 percentage points higher than when the Bank made its previous interest rate announcement on September 5th and up 0.25 percentage points versus one year ago.

Canada’s major chartered banks have recently raised their advertised five-year fixed mortgage interest rates, which now range between 3.04% and 4.89%.  However, actual five-year fixed mortgage interest rates can be negotiated below advertised rates depending on mortgage applicants’ creditworthiness and the degree to which they do other banking business with the mortgage lender.

The next interest rate announcement will be on December 6, 2017.  The Bank of Canada’s next Monetary Policy Report, which updates the Bank’s economic forecast, will be released on January 17, 2018.

Smart Home Security Made Simple 
A fully secure home will provide you with peace of mind.

Whether you’re at home sleeping or away on vacation, it’s important to know that your home is secure.  A secure home is also much more attractive to potential buyers when it comes time to sell.

Smart lighting, remote locks and wireless cameras can all make your home safer; however, the issue of cyber criminals hacking into smart home systems is a valid concern so homeowners shouldn’t forget about the basics.

Eliminate potential hiding spots by trimming down bushes that are around your windows and doors.  Most thieves are opportunists who see an open door or window and decide to take a chance and see what they can make off with.

Next, install strike plates on your doors to help protect the deadbolt from crowbars or kick attacks.  Thieves want to get into your home as quickly as possible so if one forceful kick doesn't work, they’ll likely turn and run.

Windows are also popular break in points so install heavy sash or keyed locks.  Installing an eyebolt in window corners also prevents the window from being opened from the outside.  Glass block windows are an excellent choice as they look attractive, can't be opened and are extremely difficult to break.

Give the impression your home is lived in while you're away on vacation by installing a dusk-to-dawn porch light.  Although technology allows you to control blinds and lights right from your smartphone, you'll still need to find someone to rake your leaves as there isn’t an app for that yet!


When it comes to home security, paying attention to the little things can often make a huge difference so take time to "case the joint" and list all the security failures that burglars would appreciate.  Potential buyers will prefer a secure home as it's one less thing for them to worry about so you may as well do it sooner than later so that you can enjoy the benefits as well.

The Feng Shui Way 
Creating good feng shui around your home is easier than you think!

Feng shui is an ancient Chinese practice that helps achieve a harmonious living environment in order to promote happiness and prosperity.  Here are a few ideas to enhance the energy flow around your home:


  1. Think Outside the Nest - Birds bring great energy so add a few feeders and a bird bath in your backyard.

  2. The Right Path - Place a few plants and wind chimes on your porch and make sure the path to your front door is unobstructed.


  3. Fire & Ice - Essential oils, crystals, candles and water features such as fountains and fish bowls will bring calm and balance into your home.

  4. Mirror, Mirror - The strategic placement of mirrors helps improve feng shui by drawing more sunlight into otherwise murky rooms and by expanding narrow areas such as hallways.

  5. De-clutter - Clearing your home of clutter will introduce a smoother flow of energy.  Clutter is a sign of trapped energy so be ruthless and get rid of everything you don’t need.

Feng shui emphasizes that our physical surroundings have an impact on our emotional well-being so it’s important to be aware of how we arrange our space.  Buyers often feel certain vibes when they enter a home so a "harmonious feel" could be the difference between a quick sale and one that drags on.

Building a Better Community 
Getting to know the people living around you offers plenty of benefits!

Research shows that there are many physical and mental health benefits to enjoying a sense of belonging.  Here are a few ideas to help you build community spirit:

  1. Rags to Riches - Organize a garage sale or clothing swap in your ‘hood.  It’s also a great way to get rid of clutter!


  2. Clean Green - Coordinate a park clean-up and then enjoy drinks and snacks that will hopefully be donated by a local business.


  3. Book Smart - Build a “Little Library” at your local park or on your front lawn and enjoy watching people gather to exchange books.


Getting to know people who live close by will really improve your quality of life and foster a sense of belonging.  Social media can also help build a safe, connected, friendly place to live by providing a platform to share events and ideas.



PS It's my intention to continue building lifelong relationships one client at a time and remain your personal real estate consultant for life. If you have someone who you care about who could use my help, be sure to contact me. Your personal referrals are the greatest compliment I can receive.

Not meant to solicit clients already under contract.