24 May 2012

Single women fueling Toronto condo boom

Recent data has shown Toronto is one of the hottest cities in Canada when it comes to real estate, but some may be surprised to learn that single women are fueling much of the boom in sales.According to Moneyville, single women account for 20 percent of all real estate purchases in the city. That figure rises when solely condos are focused on – among these housing options, women represent nearly 30 percent of all sales. Realtors and condo developers say women make up an even larger portion of the buyers in Toronto's red-hot downtown area."Women have always made a lot of the house buying decisions, but now they have that mandate more than ever, and they can do it on their own, because they bring sizable incomes to the table," realtor Conrad Zurini told the news source.Of course, with prices in Toronto on the rise, even the most successful home shoppers may have trouble affording a house or condo of…

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23 May 2012

A woman who recently inherited a 300-acre farm from her parents recently wrote in to Moneyville with a unique issue – her nephew is squatting on the property.The woman claims her nephew has taken up residence on the property, even though he doesn't own the land. He's also moved all of his broken-down cars onto the farm and routinely uses it with his friends to fish and hunt. Despite repeated requests to move from the land from both his aunt and father, the man refuses to leave. This has become especially problematic since the woman is looking to sell the farm, but the value is decreased while his junk is everywhere.Moneyville's experts told the woman to get tough with her…

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23 May 2012

Ontario legislators are planning to strengthen existing nursing home laws to prevent abuse of seniors following the findings of a task force who say the government isn't doing enough to help.The Toronto Star recently uncovered abuse at a number of senior care facilities in the area, prompting an investigation into the territory's laws regarding senior abuse. While the existing laws are strong, the task force convened in the wake of the scandal found numerous areas where they can be strengthened.The task force reportedly made 18 recommendations to the legislature, many of which are related to inefficiencies in the system. Eliminating needless paperwork can allow senior care staff to spend more time with patients, which should lead to managers and others…

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22 May 2012

A number of people from all over the world have been moving to Toronto recently as the city's real estate market continues to boom, but the city welcomed its most high-profile visitors yet when Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles visited several famous landmarks on May 21.The heir to the throne and the Duchess of Cornwall were welcomed by various politicians from the city for the annual Victoria Day celebrations. Prince Charles is the great-great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria, the namesake for the Canadian holiday. According to the Toronto Star, Charles and Camilla attended a private celebration honoring the city's firefighters and police officers.The duo arrived in Ashbridge’s Bay aboard an RCMP vessel, where they were greeted by thousands of gathered…

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18 May 2012

Many Canadians may have heard of an organization called the Better Business Bureau (BBB). They may also know that this organization tracks consumer satisfaction with certain companies and can be a great resource for those who have an issue with a local business. But how exactly does the BBB work?The BBB has two key aspects to it. The first is accreditation. In order to become accredited with the BBB, companies must pay annual dues and comply with a number of rules and guidelines with regards to ethics, advertising, integrity and consumer protection. A company accredited by BBB is essentially given a stamp of approval by the bureau that they are generally honest. Some consumers choose to only deal with BBB-accredited…

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17 May 2012

Once a consumer has bought their new house, one of the first things they'll likely want to do is furnish it. Whether this means moving in their old items or buying new ones, it's important for new homeowners to have a strategy when it comes to bringing furniture to their new home.For those bringing their old furniture, it might be a good idea to look into an affordable self storage unit before move-in day. Let's face it – bringing everything over in one go can be a major hassle. Having a self storage unit to keep extra items until a place can be found for them is a good way to ease this process. It may also allow new homeowners…

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17 May 2012

This week, the recipients will be named for the 2012 Consumer Choice Awards, an annual study that rewards the very best companies throughout Canada with regards to customer service and satisfaction.Unlike other awards, the Consumer Choice Awards are determined based on market research conducted by a third-party company, Leger Marketing. Leger conducts a survey of people in major Canadian metropolitan areas about the businesses they use and their experience with them. The data is then tabulated and the companies are ranked according to the number of satisfied customers. Only the top-ranked companies in each of these industries are ultimately granted the Consumer Choice Award.Since the awards are based on statistical data rather than a panel of judges, there's no favoritism…

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16 May 2012

A new report by the Canadian Real Estate Association shows real estate markets in Toronto and Calgary are booming, while other cities and parts of the country may be starting to cool off.Most point to Canada's current real estate market as one of the hottest in the world, but the current boom is being driven by several high-profile cities. Overall, home sales in Canada were up 11.5 percent in April compared to a year earlier, reports Reuters. However, several cities were more responsible for this rise than others.Toronto continues to be the most consistent city in terms of high sales, with a 14.5 percent increase in April, beating the national average. Yet it was Calgary that saw the biggest surge…

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16 May 2012

Many homeowners may have used spring cleaning to organize their house, and it's not uncommon to find items that are no longer useful. One way to get rid of these items – and make a little cash in the process – is to hold a yard sale.Holding a yard sale isn't a major undertaking, but those who put more effort into their sale can walk away with a bit more money in their pocket and a few more items sold, reports Moneyville. A good idea is to get the entire neighborhood to throw yard sales at the same time – this will attract many more customers who can go from house to house. Even if you are the only one…

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16 May 2012

Buying a home for the first time can be a scary experience for just about everyone, as it's a major decision with big financial implications. Moneyville blogger Krystal Yee recently completed her first year in a new home and offered up some tips for those considering their first purchase.The top tip Yee offers is to buy for less than you can afford. Yee was approved for a $300,000 mortgage, but ultimately settled on a home that cost $238,000. This left her with more money for home improvement and savings. In addition, Yee opted to increase her mortgage payments in both size and frequency to get the home paid off quicker, cutting down drastically on the amount she'll spend on interest…

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11 May 2012

In recent months, Canada's housing market has been described as a "bubble," an economic turn referring to a steep price increase shortly before a huge collapse. Bubbles can be dangerous for real estate markets especially, because the devaluing of a home could mean that homeowners end up owing more than their house is worth.In cities like Toronto where the real estate market is hot and prices have surged in recent months, many economists have warned that the growth is unsustainable and the market is primed to collapse. However, not everyone agrees with this assessment, reports Bloomberg. Gordon Nixon, CEO of the Royal Bank of Canada, recently came out to say that the talk of a bubble was overblown."When we look…

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11 May 2012

Prices on Canadian real estate continue to rise, as the most recent report from Statistics Canada shows an overall jump of 0.3 percent in the month of March.For the twelfth-straight month, prices for Canadian housing rose. The 0.3 percent increase was ahead of a 0.2 percent jump expected by analysts, according to Reuters. The figure was also a full 2.6 percent higher than March of 2011, outpacing a 2.3 percent year-on-year gain in February.Some cities saw a bigger price increase than others. The city of Toronto is widely acknowledged as the hot real estate market of the moment, and the numbers back that up, as the city rose 0.6 percent in price for the month. Several other cities cooled off…

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9 May 2012

Numerous television shows have cast a light on the practice known as hoarding, where junk piles up to unacceptable levels in a person's home. While many seniors suffer from the disorder, others simply have lots of clutter to deal with, reports the Sacramento Bee.Lois Gaddis, 85, is a prime example of a senior who has trouble throwing items away due to sentimental value. The Sacramento Bee reports that her home is nowhere like the people seen on the reality TV shows, but still has stacks of magazines, greeting cards and various other items in just about every room of her home."As you can see, I'm probably the queen of clutter," she told the news source. "I'm not proud of living…

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8 May 2012

Real estate agents can be extraordinarily helpful with selling a home, but the service doesn't come cheap – all agents take a commission based on the final sale price of the home. Thus, many buyers who want to avoid these fees and walk away with more money in their pocket are opting to instead sell the house on their own, reports Moneysense.ca.While this can save money, buyers need to understand that it'll be much more work without a real estate agent. For starters, agents take care of their own – and if you're selling a house by yourself, don't expect other realtors to begin lining up potential customers for you. You'll likely have to do the legwork yourself in reaching…

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8 May 2012

Getting organized can be a challenge for many people, but there are a number of important documents that are always a good idea to have handy. Protecting these documents is of the utmost importance, so those who don't have a filing system in place should think about taking the time to figure one out.USA.gov recommends everyone has a filing system for important documents from the federal government and other sources. This includes bank statements, birth certificates, wills, tax records, insurance information and much more. Disorganized people are at a risk for losing these important files, and thus need to come up with a way to ensure they have them handy at all times, along with taking precautions for unexpected events.For…

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5 May 2012

More and more Toronto seniors are finding it necessary to delay retirement or continue to work throughout their retirement in order to supplement their earnings.  The cost of living continues to rise, especially in large cities like Toronto, resulting in more baby boomers in Toronto remaining in or re-joining the work force. As this is an unfortunate reality that seniors now have to endure, one Toronto storage company has an alternative to alleviate some of the financial burdens of our seniors. Jiffy Self-Storage, Toronto’s leading self-storage service provider, is now offering budget Workspace/Offices to seniors to work in peace, in order to earn a little extra money to supplement their retirement income.  Professionals like retired therapists and accountants can easily…

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4 May 2012

Homeowners looking to sell frequently turn to an open house in order to let a large number of people see their home quickly and efficiently. However, it's important that those holding an open house or showing their home to potential buyers make it look its best. This is where home staging comes into play.Two Canadian interior designers recently gave YourHome.ca some tips for home staging. The basic idea behind this concept is to put effort into making a home look nice, thus driving up the sales price. Ideally, home staging should be done as affordable as possible, as the idea is all about maximizing profit on the home.Much of the advice is centered around de-cluttering the house, and this is…

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2 May 2012

Those considering moving to Canada from another country have likely encountered the point system the country uses to determine qualified applicants.Professionals who have a formal education have a good chance of being accepted to Canada through their skilled workers program. Essentially, this is a series of questions that each award the applicant points. Applicants with 67 or more points qualify for immigration, according to WorkPermit.com. Similar systems are used in the United Kingdom and Australia.Points are awarded in a variety of categories. Education can earn up to 25 points for a PhD, or at least 20 points for most college graduates. Those who speak both English and French can earn 24 points, although fluency in one of these languages still…

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2 May 2012

Canada is a very welcoming country when it comes to immigrants, and there are hundreds of thousands of people who move to Canada every year. There are a few things those seeking to relocate to Canada should keep in mind before doing so.For starters, nearly everybody can visit Canada for six months on a temporary visa. Much of Canadian immigration is tied to whether or not the person in question has a job there. So those seeking to move to Canada permanently may first want to visit the country on a visa and look for employment, if they don't have a job in Canada already.A good way to save money during this time is to rent a small apartment and…

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