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  • Alvinston Real Estate Adventures

    I was asked by a client of mine to do real estate marketing  investigation of a subdivision site for new homes(unbelievably affordable building lot) he owns in Alvinston Ontario and by happenstance discovered Munro Honey & Munro's Meadery.(I was already in Watford on business) Wow ! The honey was unique and excellent but the Mead was to die for ! (they have free tasting)Perhaps I'll buy my clients a couple bottles of Mead as appreciation gifts ! I'm only a social drinker and not a connoisseur, however this Mead was the best tasting alcoholic drink I have ever had . And since Alvinston is under an hour's drive from downtown London Ont I would recommend it for a lazy afternoon drive in the country . Who knows you may find some very attractively priced country  properties small-town listings in Watford or Alvinston to call me about !

    Mead

    What is Mead?

    Mead is a wine made from honey. It contains honey, water, and yeast that is fermented into wine.

    Mead is, in all likelihood, the oldest alcoholic beverage known to mankind. Before agricultural techniques were developed, humans were traditionally hunters and gatherers. After gathering honey from the hive, it would be saved for special occasions; while it was stored the natural yeasts and the high moisture content would cause the honey to ferment, producing mead. It is no wonder mead is often referred to as the “nectar of the gods”, as its appearance seemed miraculous.

    The term Honeymoon is believed to have come from the  custom of giving mead to the newlywed couple. The  bride and groom were given one month (one moon  cycle) of mead to drink after the wedding. It was  believed that if the couple followed this ritual they would  become more fertile. 

     Click here to go to the products purchase page. 

      Tell them Jim Straughan sent you .LOL 

  • Could dropping interest rates = Real Estate buying window of opportunity ?

    The shutdown in the U.S. Government has been a window of opportunity  for Canadians looking to buy a home or refinance their existing mortgage. It has caused investors to move from U.S bonds to Canadian bonds which lower bond returns and subsequently, mortgage interest rates.
    September sales up 

    Overall sales were up 3% in September, with a total of 614 homes exchanging hands in the London St Thomas real estate market.. Detached homes were up 5.3%, while condos were down 7.8%. The City of St. Thomas’s market performed well last month. 56 homes sold in that City, up 9.8%. 

    The average price for a home in St. Thomas Year to Date stands at $195,537, up 2.1%. 

     The average price of a detached home Year to Date in London and St. Thomas Association of REALTORS jurisdiction is $262,001, up 3%, while the average price of a condo for the same period stands at $179,021, up 4.4%. The average price of all homes Year to Date in the London St Thomas Real Estate market is $246,849, up 3.4%. 

     London Middlesex home buyers continue to have a love affair with real estate despite recent increases in interest rates and tougher mortgage requirements for buyers.

    For smart  house buying timing is important and right now might be the best time for people to buy or definitely to have a good look at their current mortgage. As well at this time of the year the buyers who are just testing the market tend to leave the market leaving more motivated  home sellers .


    The U.S. Government will hopefully rectify the “shutdown” shortly, causing normalization of the markets.


    Perhaps it’s best to act now. As a real estate broker/ professional I have access to various types of mortgage professionals who I can refer to meet your specific  needs . Regardless of your needs or motivations i.e. wondering how much you can afford ,help with your down payment, cash back mortgages, rent to own options or just the lowest rate. I empower you with information and advice that enables you to make decisions that save you time ,stress and money.



  • Farm For Sale in Goderich Township Huron County

    •  2 story "Value in land" - $1,500,000 CAD

    Property information

  • Price Reduced on 78869 Bluewater Hwy. Goderich Ont.Can. in Goderich

    Goderich, Huron County  -  Announcing a price reduction on 78869 Bluewater Hwy. Goderich Ont.Can., a 2 story "Value in land". Now $1,100,000 CAD - .

    Property information

  • Spring Sales

    As the snow melts and flowers bloom "Spring Fever" come around again. In Ontario we are on the receiving end of four very different seasons, so it is common for the strategic home Seller to seek a new home while inventories are high in Winter, then try to sell their home in spring and summers hot market. The rejuvenation of spring sees many homes go on the market and many home buyers seeking homes to move into during the more pleasant summer months when kids are out of school and the weather is fairer.

    Home prices are affected by more than the weather though and if your looking to sell or buy make sure you understand the larger picture in your area.  Regardless of seasons and markets, Old North and the UWO area still has a very strong sellers market as homes receive multiple offers quickly. While new home areas like Kilworth, Komoka and Hyde Park are more cyclical and are currently balanced due to low interest rates depleting inventory. Overall, over the last couple years we have seen a strong sellers market in the London, Middlesex area. This latest year however has seen a more balanced market as the economy struggles.

    Here's some terms to help out the first time buyer: 

     Buyers Market: Small inventory of homes with many buyers. Homes sell quickly with higher prices. Buying decisions must be made quickly and conditional offers may be rejected.

    Sellers Market: Large inventory of homes with few buyers compared to availability. Homes usually stay on the market longer and prices are stale or low. Buyers spend more time looking for a home, and when they negotiate, they usually have more leverage.

    Buying or Selling a home is always a complicated procedure and articles like these barely scratch the surface. In our hurried modern society its almost impossible to have the free time to learn everything. That's why it's important that you work with an Agent who understands your area, the market and is working with you to get the best prices.

     

     

  • Best and Worst Home Upgrades

    Money put into a home often does not equal money earned when selling a home, in fact very few home improvements earn back their cost when your home is sold. To a degree the value of a improvement depends on the nature and location of the home but there are a set of general rules you can follow to help earn the most from home improvements for those living in London Ontario Canada or Middlesex County.

     Best Home Improvements

     

    • Kitchens and Bathrooms. Kitchens and Bathroom are a safe best as long as its not too ornate and expensive. Especially in older homes, these improvements tend to add value to a home. Stay away from anything personal or ostentatious, you may love your granite counter tops but cannot expect buyers to pay extra for them.

    • Roofs and windows. Roofs and windows are expensive to replace, and buyers expect these to be in good condition. Unfortunately, that means that while replacing them won't dramatically increase resale value, not replacing them could significantly decrease it.

    • Hardwood floors. Especially on the main floor, hardwood is perennially popular with buyers. If your floors are refinished but worn, have them lightly sanded and resealed. If they're very beaten up consider replacing them.

    • Wood Deck. Wooden decks allow home owners to enjoy their yards more, as well as make your home seem larger. Home owners who have added a wooden deck sell their homes for significantly more.

    Worst Home Improvements

     

    • Pools and Indoor Hot Tubs. While pools and hot tubs can be fun, they are considered by many to be just expensive, energy-guzzling extras.

    • Turning a three-bedroom into a two-bedroom home. Even if that third bedroom is miniscule, it’s still a bedroom. No matter how spacious your newly enlarged master bedroom or how luxurious that new spa bath, the demand for two-bedroom homes is significantly smaller than for three-bedrooms, and they command considerably lower prices. 

    • Garage conversions. Garage conversions can give homeowners much needed space, but buyers like having garages, so converting this space usually won't increase value.

    • Cheap laminate or vinyl tile flooring. Some types of laminate are attractive and practical; others just look cheap and fake. Especially avoid peel-and-stick vinyl tiles or be prepared to replace them when you put the house on the market.

     

     

     

     

  • Getting Your Home Ready to Sell

     Buying or selling a home is a serious decision for everyone involved. In order for you to sell your home for as much and as quickly as possible there are a number of simple yet effective ways to go about it. You cant just put on the market and expect to sell it these days, unless your selling a student rental near the University of Western Ontario. Many people overlook the tiny flaws they have come to expect in their home, but to potential buyers these flaws are very noticeable and could stop a sale.

    Cleaning: Both the inside and outside of your home no doubt bears many marks on it from being lived in, everyone's does. Potential home buyers have to see the home as their own, something other people dirt and grime can make difficult. Peeling paint should be sanded and repainted, mildew power-washed off siding and cement, damaged roofs repaired, put edger around gardens or sidewalk and cut your grass. The inside walls should be cleaned to remove fingerprints and make painting easier, if you still have extra paint it is worth mentioning. You should wash hard surfaces like counters, windows and light fixtures. Old flooring should be waxed or steam washed, renting a unit for a day can be done cheaply. If your bathroom is aging it is worth considering renovating as an old bathroom can be a huge deterrent to potential buyers.

    Repairing: You should start at your front door and work your way through the house, repairing anything that is damaged, no matter how small it seems to you. Cracked windows, broken tiles, broken door knobs, stuck doors and missing cabinet handles can age your home in others eyes. If there are major issues with your house you cannot have fixed due to price or time concerns, have a contractor give an estimate and reduce your price to compensate.

    Getting the right look: If you look through real estate magazines you will see that the homes share a few distinctive features designed to make them sell. Good lighting is an easy and effective way showcasing your home, replacing older light switches and light casings with newer ones can be an effective and cheap strategy, try to brighten your home and make sure all of your lights work. Clutter is the enemy when preparing for an open house, remember that people will try to visualize themselves living in your home, so personal choices like odd color paint, family pictures and personal items should be kept to a minimum. Smells should also be minimized, steam cleaning and painting can help but you should consider odor eliminators or even cooking before an open house to overpower lingering odors. You want to make your house seem as neutral as possible. A real Estate magazine is a cheap investment if you are looking for ideas and styles.

     

  • Buying the Right Home

    "Follow you heart" is something you shouldn't apply to finding the perfect home for yourself. While it is important to be comfortable in your new home, many people find that once idyllic homes can become sources of stress and frustration. There are many ways that buying a new home can go wrong, thankfully, there are ways to minimize your chances. Many may seem common sense but it is important to remember that these problems are common and occur every day.

    1) Hire a professional and experienced realtor. Houses and landowning re complicated subjects and it is a realtors job to help you make the right decisions. First time home buyers should always hire a Realtor as experienced as possible to make up for their own lack of experience. Even experienced home buyers should avoid  attending an open house without an agent as the selling agent does not work for you but is employed to help the home sell for as much as possible.

    2) Don't buy what you cannot afford. Even if you stumble upon the perfect home to live in, high mortgage payments can turn living there into a frustration. Talk to and listen to a Mortgage Broker. You should determine your price range based on income, debt, family needs and what you can borrow. Buyers should also realize their lender will do an appraisal and if the lender finds you paid more than the house is worth, they may not give you the full amount of the loan you expected. As with anything involving substantial money, it should be handled with caution.

    3) Have the home inspected professionally. A home is a complicated and in some ways fragile thing, many home owners find themselves with a set of unpleasant surprises after closing. Anything from crooked walls and floors to mold behind drywall. There is always something wrong with a home, even if only minor and a fixer upper can quickly become and endless money drain. You should always check the references of your home inspector, especially any older home they have worked on.

    4) Research the neighborhood. There can be huge differences in neighborhoods just blocks apart and a small move can leave you in an area that feels like another country. Always check for crime with official sources like police or other specialized websites. Just a stroll down the street and a talk with the neighbors can save you years of headache. Remember to research things like parks, schools and nearby public facilities.

     

  • Condominiums

    More than half of new homes built so far in Ontario during 2013 are condominiums and more than a million residents of Ontario choose to live in condominiums. In fact the popularity of Condominiums has encouraged the provincial government to revue the condominium act created in 1998.

    More Information on Ontario's Condominium Act Review: http://www.sse.gov.on.ca/mcs/en/Pages/oncondo_about.aspx

    Condominium living is a popular option for many Canadians as it can be a relatively carefree housing option. Condominium living can offer the prospective homeowner many desirable attributes such as affordable housing and low maintenance requirements. Many condominiums have enhanced security features over that found in single family houses. Some even prefer the Social opportunities provided by condominium living over buying new homes. Here in London, Ontario you can see condos being built across the city.

     What are Condominiums?

    A “condominium” typically refers to a form of legal ownership, as opposed to a style of construction. Many people imagine Condominiums as high-rise residential buildings, but this form of ownership can also apply to townhouse complexes, individual houses and low-rise residential buildings. Each development establishes a corporation to deal with day-to-day functions (maintenance, repairs, etc.). A board of directors is elected by the owners of units (or, in the case of a common elements condominium corporation, the owners of the common interest in the common elements) in the development on at least a yearly basis. A general meeting is held annually to deal with board elections and the appointment of an auditor (or waiving of audit). Matters can also be dealt with at the Annual General Meeting, but special meetings of the owners can be called by the board and, in some cases, by the owners themselves, at any time.

    Condominiums consist of two parts. The first part is a collection of private dwellings called “units”. Each unit is owned by and registered in the name of the purchaser of the unit.  The boundaries of each individual unit and the percentage of common elements you own may vary from condominium to condominium, depending on how they are specified in the condominium's governing documents. Sometimes, the unit boundary can be at the backside of the interior drywall of the unit’s dividing walls. Alternatively, the unit boundary can be the center line of the unit’s walls. Each unit owner has an undivided interest in the common elements of the building. This ownership interest is often referred to as a “unit factor”. The unit factor for any particular unit will generally be calculated in proportion to the value that the unit has in relation to the total value of all of the units in the condominium corporation. The unit factor will tell you what your ownership percentage is in the common elements and will be used in calculating the monthly fees that you must pay towards their upkeep and renewal.  The boundaries of your condominium unit are an important consideration at the time of purchase— particularly if alterations and renovations are a potential part of your purchase plan. The unit typically includes any equipment, systems, finishes, etc. that are contained only in the individual unit. The right to use one or more parking spots and storage areas may be included. While you may have exclusive access to parking spot or storage area, you seldom actually own the space itself.

    The second part consists of the common elements of the building that may include lobbies, hallways, elevators, recreational facilities, walkways, gardens, etc. Common elements may also include structural elements and mechanical and electrical services. The ownership of these common elements is shared amongst the individual unit owners, as is the cost for their operation, maintenance and ongoing replacement.

    Freehold Condominiums

    The biggest difference between a freehold condominium and a regular condominium is what is included as part of the unit. With a freehold condominium, you own the plot of land and any structure on that land such as a house or townhouse. You are normally responsible for the care and upkeep of the entire house, including the exterior walls and roof, as well as the lawn, garden, driveway and garage.

    With a freehold condominium, the common property elements might include access roads to the units, recreational facilities, visitor parking area or a park with a playground. These items may be the responsibility of the condominium corporation. All unit owners pay a monthly condominium fee toward their upkeep.

    With a regular townhouse or house condominium, the unit typically consists of the interior of the house itself, while the exterior of the house and the plot of land on which the unit sits are considered part of the common elements. This means that repair and maintenance of items like exterior walls, windows, lawns, gardens and driveways may be the responsibility of the condominium corporation. In a freehold condominium, you usually have more freedom to make improvements, such as landscaping features, to the unit. However, there are usually provisions that give the condominium corporation some control over owners modifying the unit, such as determining when the roof will be repaired, and what color the shingles must be. So if you want to change the color of your door or build a deck in your backyard, you may have to ask for permission from the Board of Directors.

    For more detailed information:  www.straughan.ca/condos/page_2029769.html

     

     

  • Re-launch of London Homeownership Assistance Program

    Good news for renters in the London and Middlesex area looking to upgrade to a home. The Investment in Affordable Housing (IAH) -Homeownership Assistance Program has been launched and will be accepting application till March 13th or until funds are depleted. The initiative is meant to aid low to moderate income rental households in purchasing affordable homes and represents a significant opportunity to do so. The program offers financial assistance in purchasing a home with intent to live in it for 20 years.

    The program of course comes with a list of conditions. Some highlights of the conditions include:

    Must be preapproved for a mortgage at a recognized financial institution and demonstrate they can sustain a mortgage.
    Have a maximum household gross annual income is $55,000 or less.
    Have a signed Purchase and Sales Agreement for a qualifying home.
    The purchase price of the home cannot exceed $145,000
    Household assets cannot exceed $20,000

    For Full List of qualifications

    Through this program, qualifying home buyers can receive 8% of the cost of the home for down payment assistance on an eligible home. Home buyers will also receive the 2% of the cost of the home to assist in paying "closing costs" - including legal fees, disbursements and registration on title. If a home is sold before the 20-year affordability period expires the homeowner is required to repay the original agreed upon IAH 8% + 2% financial assistance plus (+) five percent (5%) of any realized capital gains. If the home is sold after 20 years, there would be no repayment of the 8% + 2% financial assistance or capital gains.

    Link to Original Article

  • 2 Story For Sale in South London

    Conway Front View

    • 2 bath, 3 bdrm 2 story - $121,000 CAD - Priced to Sell

     -  Very bright clean condo in convenient White Oaks. Gas heat, central air conditioning, plus ceramic kitchen and foyer make this home very attractive. Finished family room in lower level.
    Close to 401 ,shopping,recreational facilities and schools .

    Property information

  • Getting the Right Contractor

    Lately working in the Real Estate field I have been running into a number of people in the London, Ontario area who have been having trouble with renovations and contractors. Eager to rush a rental or home onto the market before the beginning of the next month or to renovate their house for the lowest price possible, they are inevitably disappointed with the quality of the work or even in some cases, their contractors abandon the job when they realize they lack the necessary skills or are unable to make an acceptable profit from it. Home owners find themselves with an incomplete and badly done job, probably requiring even more work than originally quoted.

    In one case a client whose house I sold in Whitehills hired two contractors to fix up a rental. He failed to ask for a written contract and left them to complete the job, which included extensive drywalling, mudding painting and installing trim. Problems quickly arose as the contractors had no clear idea of exactly was expected of them. Jobs were finished quickly and poorly. One contractor abandoned the job, leaving the other less skilled one unable to complete the job. It didn't stop him from trying though and after his shoddy workmanship was inspected he was fired. Other contractors had to be brought in to not only do the original job but repair damage done.

    It always amazes me how many people underestimate the skills and experience required to successfully renovate a home. You should always make sure to hire a reputable contractor. Some proof of previous successful projects should always to given. Make sure to ask for recommendations, check websites and not necessarily settle for the lowest quote. During renovations any number of problems and incidents could occur; gas and water leaks, faulty electrical and surfaces that require serious leveling or additional framing.

    When signing a contract it should always contain the contractor's name and contact information, a detailed plan of the project and the start and end dates and the project cost estimate. Never deliver the full payment before the work is done. If you change your mind after you sign a contract, you may be entitled to a cooling off period. Under Ontario’s Consumer Protection Act, you can cancel a contract within 10 days if you signed the contract in your home and the price is more than $50.

    If you live in the London or Komoka area and are looking to get renovations done, as a Real Estate Agent I deal with a number of contractors and can put you in touch with some of the best.

  • North West London Home with POOL

    OAKRIDGE HAS THE PERFECT HOME (with heated pool) FOR THE PERFECT FAMILY !!  THAT COULD BE YOU !!!
       Welcome to Oakridge.  What a great area to raise your family in. Young families love living in this area and older families as well.  Our home, only 9 years old, is situated within Huntington, one of the nicest, area of Oakridge. Most homes are 9 years or older so there is a mature sense of landscaping to the area.  Homes have been well taken care too with lovely landscaping.  Our home is one of those, BUT, for only $319,900 you will get a heated pool, 4 bedrooms and a beautifully and lovingly looked after home. Our local neighbourhood is bordered to the South by Oxford Street, and to the North by Hyde Park Road and Fanshawe.  Our home is on Meadowoak Cr.(#115) which is close to Cedarwood Road and Guildwood Cr. is a quiet cul de sac where homes are older.  Amazing schools are close and within walking distance to such as St. Paul's, Clara Brenton and Oakridge Secondary.  Check with any of these school as to their programs if you have a youngster just entering Kindergarten which in many schools will be offered as a full day program.  Huntington is close to Oxford and Wonderland where you will find Costco and even a Timmy's for those late night runs. From our house, only a 5 min. drive.  We're also close to the Hyde Park/Oxford business area where you could walk to Superstore for the gym and groceries.  There is a Remark Fresh Market, banks, a beer store, Shell gas station, Dove Dental, Spa, and drugstores among others.  Walking is an option, only 15 min. walk and you're there. Huntington (and our home) is close to the Iniversity of Western Ontario or  UWO for the professionals and only a 10-15 min. commute and to baseball games, the John Labatt Centre and the downtown London core, only a 15 minute drive and you can be sitting watching the London Knights or a rock concert.  You can drive to the Wal Mart and Masonville areas in just 15 minutes. Oakridge is right on the bus routes so getting to any area of London from Huntington is not a problem as the buses run frequently.  Great restaurants and shopping in the area as well. If athletics are your thing, Huntington (and our home, 115 Meadowoak Cr.) is close to gyms, parks (Springbank) for runs and jogs, and close to the Aquatic Centre for swimming and lessons. But we have a heated pool so swimming outdoors all summer will be your favourite thing to do on a hot summer day.  We are also close to all London hospitals. London and Oakridge is a great place to raise a family.  Huntington will be your area of choice, great neighbours, great homes for great values, lots to do and see for the entire family. Are you thinking of or have already sold your home and want to move to Huntington??????  If so, consider ours, 4 bedrooms up, 2.5 baths, large open family room and kitchen area, 2-car garage and lots more. You can find this Huntington home on MLS for $319,900.  By choosing the Oakridge area to live in, you are choosing one of London's most desirable subdivisions, ask anyone living in Huntington and they'll tell you the same.  Imagine getting up early, going to Starbucks for a morning coffee and breakfast selection, shopping at Superstore, fresh foods and veggies at Remark...what a Saturday morning routine....try it, you'll like it....TRY OAKRIDGE & HUNTINGTON AND FIRST AND FOREMOST TRY VISITING OUR HOME AT 115 Meadowoak Cr. AND SEE IF IT'S NOT THE PERFECT HOME FOR YOU. the price is Right!!!  It's the area and the home you've been dreaming of.....Call Jim Straughan today to view this London Home for sale at Executive Elite Realty (c. 519 872 6616) he is easy to talk to and a no pressure sort of guy and be ready to jump at the chance to live in Oakridge and become part of the lifestyle of north London.

    Written by Home Owner !

  • Real Estate Mobile App for Android and the Future of the traditional Realtor

    Let's face it, we as consumers have allowed google to affect nearly all aspects of our daily lives and continue to do so at an ever increasing rate. People cheerfully give google information that can create profiles for their spending and browsing habits. If you know were someone lived, where they went to school ,where they worked, when they bought there present house, what web sites they visited for personal, professional and online buying could you predict what price range neighbourhood ,and even to some degree even when someone would likely buy their next house, car or take their next vacation ?

    In the possible near future scenario outlined above what would the role be for the realtor?

    The standard reply might well be that people are always going to need someone to get there home on the syndication service to populate the listing on google maps (and or yahoo , msn bing etc )show the house to the prospective buyer, be the local expert, send them flowers after they move in etc.

    But will the consumer need the traditional realtor in the near future?

    Zillow or others offer sales information to the prospective buyer or seller so they can fill in the form for such offered by google or one of there affilates.Home seller than contacts realtor or other service provider to get there home listed on google maps complete with attached form to describe said home with link from tax assessment sales and or Zillow type provider to justify there price based on recent local sales.

    Buyer prospect googles homes for sale google via local search takes buyer to homes in his area and likely price range based on buyers local search profile .If buyer is moving out of area no problem ,search adjustment done and noted with additional search\demographic  information supplied to google in the process .

    Buyer can now call his Realtor or call the home buyer directly to view home.

    Offer Time: Forms for offer can be filled in online with extensive help menu, google offers link to local lawyers to have an offer emailed to for his or her legal opinion.

    Or buyer can call his agent.

    Again google makes a wee bit from referrals or an ad sense ad from the web page as google ties in home inspecters, movers, home stagers etc.

    How many of the traditional roles of the realtor can be automated or offered online? Even the customary sending of flowers from a realtor (which google could get a piece of) can be supplied or automated now or in the not too distant future.

    Were does this leave the traditional realtor?

  • Strategies For First Time Home Buyers

    Getting Your Foot in the Door. Home ownership is the cornerstone of financial independence and security. It may seem a daunting prospect to younger people or first-time buyers, but it is achievable. Like many would-be homeowners, you may be wondering how you can possibly afford to buy your first home. Even if you think you can’t afford a home, these saving tips and financing strategies can take you there sooner than you think and turn you from a renter into an owner. Develop a culture of saving The first priority for you should be to develop a culture of saving. This not only helps you in budgeting and planning for the future, but also to satisfy banks and other lending institutions that you have a clear commitment to save. Start an automatic saving plan Saving for a down payment can be a financial challenge but it’s a step forward to owning your dream home. Make saving automatic by setting up an automatic savings plan at your bank to regularly move a specific amount of money directly from your chequing account to a savings account. You’ll be surprised at how much you can save and how quickly the “pay yourself first” approach adds up. Borrow from yourself The federal government’s Home Buyer’s Plan (HBP) lets you borrow from your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) to help purchase your first home. You and your partner can each withdraw up to $20,000, provided it’s not locked-in and the money has been in the RRSP for at least 90 days. You have to repay the loan in installments over the next 15 years to avoid a tax hit. Take a holiday from tax If you open a new Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA), you won’t pay any tax on earnings, which will help you compound your savings. You can contribute up to $5,000 a year to a TFSA, and save for anything you like, tax-free. Review your mortgage options Once you make the decision to purchase a property, the next choice is the type of loan to suit your budget. The two most common types of loans are the variable interest rate loan and the fixed interest rate loan. You can now choose to pay back your mortgage over 25 or 30 years, instead of the traditional 20-year amortization period. This means you will pay more interest over the long term, but you can reduce monthly payments to get into your starter home. You can always change this later, once your income rises and you can pay your mortgage down faster. Get into a starter house Try to be as flexible as possible when choosing your first home. Unless you are status conscious, your first home doesn’t necessarily have to be your dream home. You could settle for a starter home, which you can afford with a small down payment and easy mortgage installments. There are plenty of lower-priced houses out there in need of repair, with some "Do-It-Yourself" projects where you can add more value to the house. Just be careful not to buy a place where the cost of repairs will eat up any profits you might make when you sell. In just a few years you will build enough equity in your starter home to make it easier for you to sell and move into to your dream home. Buying your first home is an exciting process. After all, your home could be the largest asset you’ll ever own. Being able to finance most of its cost will take a load off your back in the future.

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