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Is it a Good Time to Buy a House?

Is it a Good Time to Buy a House?

family home for sale pic from pixabay

Last month, November 2020, the average price of a detached home in the GTA was $1,204,844 according to TREB, The Toronto Real Estate Board.

When compared to 2019, Real estate agents sold a record 10,563 homes this past October, a 25.1 per cent increase from October 2019.

Interest rates are low, and some buyers are looking at creative ways to afford home ownership; joint ventures with other family members or friends, as an example, helps make this dream affordable for some.

I cannot predict the future, but there may be some new trends, based on the COVID pandemic.

Here are a few in the pipeline:

  1. Interest in properties outside the core of the city is rising. Given that many of us are working from home – and may never return to the “5 days in the downtown office” scenario – many cities, towns and villages that once seemed too far a commute are now seen in a different light.
  2. Condo living has its advantages – but for many, a single- family dwelling is much safer, given our new focus on personal health and safety. No shared communal spaces, elevator rides, parking garages etc.
  3. Our home truly is our sanctuary. Since March, our homes have served multiple purposes – school, work, entertainment, limited socializing, exercise, wellness, faith.
  4. The allure of downtown – busy traffic, stores and restaurants is not as appealing given our current COVID restrictions.

During the COVID pandemic, realtors have had to change their playbook, and offer potential buyers different opportunities to look at properties virtually.  Zoom, 3D visual images and many other tools can be used to look at a property.

Online, buyers can research different neighbourhoods, schools and facilities, envisioning their future in a new community, in a home they will love.

Once you have made a decision to buy a home, your team of professionals should include:

  • A trusted realtor, knowledgeable in the community you are interested in living in
  • A trusted mortgage agent – who either works in a bank, credit union, mortgage company or independently
  • If you are looking at a resale property, a home inspection agency, so that you are away of any immediate or upcoming renovations, and their costs.
  • A trusted lawyer, with considerable experience in buying, selling and refinancing a variety of properties – both in the GTA and across Ontario.

During COVID, I will be able to work with you virtually in accordance with Provincial regulations and The Law Society of Ontario.

Good luck in finding the home of your dreams.

At any time during this search, feel free to reach out to me directly, and I will outline the legal paperwork required for buying, selling and/or refinancing your property.

Darrel Hotz, Signature

Will You Marry Me?

Will You Marry Me?

Will you marry me pic from pixabay

Will You Marry Me?  Will You Sign this Marriage Contract???

Ah, romance.

Long dinners, holding hands, enjoying each others company.

A romantic weekend away – just the 2 of you – long walks, intimate meals, drinks by the fire.

Flirting, hugging, kissing…

Chocolate, flowers, exchanging small gifts.

Ah, romance.  Talk about the future – commitment, children, sharing your life together – forever and ever.

BUT,

Did you know that 38% of all marriages end in divorce, according to Statistics Canada?

Yes, it was higher in the 80’s – when it peaked beyond 40% – but it is still relatively high.

In over 35 years of practice, I often hear couples – or at least one individual in the couple – have some questions, concerns and reservations about the upcoming nuptials.

These include:

  • “My grandparents were high school sweethearts and were married for over 60 years before pops died. They trusted each other and it worked out fine.”
  • “Why bother? Neither of us own a home and we each still have student loans, credit card debt. Plus, I work on contract and she is still in school.
  • “You bet I trust her. Yes, her first marriage sounded a bit difficult – but her ex said that he will cover all expenses for her 2 children until they are adults. Why should I worry about them???”
  • “I know – he has THAT brother – who has never worked a day in his life, and is still supported by their mother. BUT it’s not my problem – she promised me.”
  • “It is so expensive.”

I get it.

And many times, things work out just perfectly.

The couple get married – and stay married – “Until death do us part”, as the saying goes.

Life is unpredictable.

Accidents, illness, job loss, family breakups – a lot can happen, and sometimes, we can truly be caught off guard.

During the COVID pandemic, we have all witnessed the stress this has taken on personal relationships.

Some couples break up, some need counseling, and some only need a walk around the block to cool off, since life is a bit crazy right now.

Can you imagine asking your fiancé to sign a marriage contract?  Will he or she call off the wedding?  Will he or she ever trust you again?  Does he or she believe that you are not committed to the relationship?

I wanted to let you know that our firm, with over 35 years of experience in developing Marriage contracts and cohabitation agreements.  We have a seamless, contactless system in place.

  • Step 1 – Take the first step and reach out to me, for a no charge, 15-minute consultation.  We can do this over the phone, via text or virtually.
  • Step 2 – If you are ready to move forward, we will send you a questionnaire which asks a variety of questions that you need to answer.
    You may want to speak to your accountant, financial advisor, business partners – or anyone else who knows the truth about your finances – now or in the future.
    During this step, please feel free to reach out to me personally – if you have any questions or need clarification on any of the questions.
  • Step 3 – I prepare a DRAFT copy of a Marriage Contract or Cohabitation Agreement.  With your feedback, a final copy of the document is prepared.
  • Step 4 – You sign your document, which must be witnessed.
    During COVID, this step can be done virtually in accordance with Provincial regulations and The Law Society of Ontario.
  • Step 5 – Your future spouse must obtain Independent Legal Advice (ILA) so that he or she is properly advised of the contents of the Agreement and his or her legal rights and responsibilities.
  • Step 6 – Peace of Mind.  For you, for your fiancé, for your future.
  • Step 7 – Get back to focussing on your wedding outfit, your guest list and the awesome music, so you can dance the night away, on YOUR special day!

Darrel Hotz, Signature

Is it Time?

Is it Time?

Elderly couple walking - is it time blog post

51% of Canadians had no last Will and testament.

35% of Canadians had one that was not up to date.

(Source Angus Reid Institute Survey – January 2018)

In over 35 years of practice, I think I have heard every excuse under the sun as to why it was not a good time to either prepare a Will or update the existing document.

These include:

  • “It’s a lot of bother – I am sure my kids will work it out once I pass.”
  • “A Will? Why? My mother is still doing fine and she walked around the neighbourhood this morning – and she’s 95.  Surely, I don’t need to worry about this today.”
  • “LOL – I have absolutely nothing of value. My husband can just throw it all in the garbage can and start dating again when I am gone!!!”
  • “A friend of mine got her Will done – and it caused nothing but aggravation and fighting in her family. No thank you!!!!”
  • “I just don’t have the time. Work, kids, hockey – I don’t want to sit in a lawyer’s office for several hours, while he just keeps asking me more and more personal questions”.
  • “ It is so expensive.”

I get it.

It is difficult to face the future and think about tough decisions – for ourselves, our partners, our parents and our extended family.

Preparing a Will – and two additional supplementary documents – Power of Attorney for Personal Care, and Power of Attorney for Property – involve both a commitment of time and some honest, open discussion.

Life is unpredictable.

Accidents, illness, job loss, family breakups – a lot can happen, and sometimes, we can truly be caught off guard.

During the COVID pandemic, we have all witnessed how illness can devastate a family.  And sadly, how many families can find themselves at a crossroads if life saving decisions for an individual must be made on their behalf – by other family members.

Can you imagine asking your wife “If you contract COVID, and must be put on a respirator, and may still die nevertheless, or never be taken off the device, what would you want?”

(If this is too much to think of right now – STOP READING – and come back at another time)

I wanted to let you know that our firm, with over 35 years of experience in developing Wills and Powers of Attorney for clients, has a seamless, contactless system in place.

Step 1 – Ask for a copy of our brochure, which outlines our service and rates.

Step 2 – If you are ready to move forward, we will send you a questionnaire which asks a variety of questions that you need to answer – and discuss with your loved ones.

During this step, please feel free to reach out to me personally – if you have any questions or need clarification on any of the questions.

Step 3 – I prepare a DRAFT copy of your Will for review.  With your feedback, a final copy of the Will is prepared.

Step 4 – You sign your Will, which must be witnessed by 2 individuals.

During COVID, this step can be done virtually in accordance with Provincial regulations and The Law Society of Ontario.

Step 5 – Peace of Mind.  Your Will and Powers of Attorney are complete.  I would suggest making at least one copy of the document to a trusted family member or friend.  And then, let’s all continue to enjoy life, safe and sound.

Darrel Hotz, Signature