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5 New Year’s Resolutions Every Homeowner Should Make for 2017

New article full of useful advice on how to get the most out of owning your home in the New Year!

WRITTEN BY Lighter Side Staff  

2017 is here and people across the world are gearing up to set their intentions for the upcoming year in the form of New Year’s Resolutions. And while you’re bound to make at least one standard resolution (like “finally get in shape” or “eat more vegetables”), as a homeowner, there are a few home-specific resolutions you’ll want to think about to get the most out of your property and the experience of owning a home this upcoming year.

Here are 5 New Year’s Resolutions every homeowner should make for 2017:

1. Bump Up Your Mortgage Payments

If you have any sort of expendable income in 2017, you might want to think about putting it towards your mortgage. Making extra payments on your mortgage can have a huge impact on the total you end up paying out over the course of the loan. It can also shorten the amount of time you’ll be saddled with payments and can have you owning your house free and clear sooner than you expected.

The more you can contribute, the better. But even if you can only make a few extra payments per year – do it. Those extra dollars will add up and end up saving you serious dollars in interest over the course of your mortgage.

Create a 2017 budget and look for any areas where you can shave a few dollars, like your daily trip to the coffeehouse or an expensive gym membership. Then, re-purpose that cash and put it towards paying down your mortgage faster.

2. Explore Refinancing

2016 saw near record low interest rates on mortgages, and while they’ve slowly crept up towards the end of the year (current rates are around 4%), they’re still HALF of the average interest rates over the past 40 years (which averaged at 8.45%).

If you haven’t refinanced your mortgage recently, now is the time to do it. With a new president taking office, the economy may shift, and interest rates may rise.

Talk to your loan officer about refinancing and getting a lower interest rate. And if you’re in a variable rate mortgage, shift over to a fixed rate mortgage and lock in the low interest rates while you can.

3. Review and Renew Your Homeowners Insurance

A lot of homeowners roll over their insurance year to year, but if you haven’t reviewed your policy in a while, you might be missing out on some money-saving opportunities.

Shop around and get quotes to see what rates are competitive in the current market and if you’re paying more, see if your current company will match the lowest quote. If you have a stand-alone policy, think about bundling your auto and homeowners insurance with one company. Insurance companies will often offer discounts for customers who hold multiple policies. If you’ve made any major improvements to your home that could impact the insurability of your house (like clearing trees, installing a high tech security system or adding storm reinforcements), let your agent know. Improvements can often lower your premiums.

4. Declutter, Declutter, Declutter

While spring is traditionally the time for organizing (in the form of “spring cleaning”), there’s no better time for a fresh start – and a more organized home – than the New Year.

Cleaning out closets, getting rid of things you no longer want or need and taking a more minimalist approach to life can have huge benefits. Not only will your home look better, but you’ll also FEEL better as a result. Messy, cluttered homes can cause increased stress and anxiety, making it much harder to relax and enjoy your space. Clutter has also been shown to decrease creativity, productivity and focus, so if you want to have a happy and productive 2017, it’s time for the stuff to go.

Plan a day to go through all of your closets, cabinets and storage space. If you’re not actively using something, get rid of it. The benefits you’ll reap from decluttering will far outweigh the value of the things you get rid of.

5. Get Up To Speed On Safety

The new year is the perfect time to review the current state of your property and take any precautions necessary to ensure that you’re safe in the upcoming year.

Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replace them if necessary. Check your house for radon, a common, carcinogenic gas that can increase your chance of lung cancer (you can pick up a radon testing kit at the hardware store for less than $10). Meet with your family to review emergency evacuation plans in case of a fire, flood or other emergencies.

With these 5 resolutions, you’ll get the most out of your property – and of owning your home – in 2017 and beyond.

Demand remains elevated across the Metro Vancouver housing market

Metro Vancouver homes continue to sell at an unprecedented rate in communities across the region.

Residential property sales on the region’s Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) totalled 4,769 in May 2016, an increase of 17.6 per cent from the 4,056 sales recorded in May 2015 and a decrease of 0.3 per cent compared to April 2016 when 4,781 homes sold.

Last month’s sales were 35.3 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month and rank as the highest sales total on record for May.

“Home sellers are becoming more active in recent months, although that activity is being outpaced by home buyer demand today,” Dan Morrison, REBGV president said.

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 6,289 in May 2016. This represents an increase of 11.5 per cent compared to the 5,641 units listed in May 2015 and a 2.6 per cent increase compared to April 2016 when 6,127 properties were listed.

The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 7,726, a 37.3 per cent decline compared to May 2015 (12,336) and a 2.3 per cent increase compared to April 2016 (7,550).

“Economic and job growth in Metro Vancouver is out performing most regions in the country. This is helping to underpin today’s activity,” Morrison said.

The sales-to-active listings ratio for May 2016 is 61.7 per cent. This is indicative of a seller’s market.

Generally, analysts say that downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below the 12 per cent mark, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it reaches the 20 to 22 per cent range in a particular community for a sustained period of time.

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $889,100. This represents a 29.7 per cent increase compared to May 2015.

Sales of detached properties in May 2016 reached 1,865, an increase of 8.2 per cent from the 1,723 detached sales recorded in May 2015. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 36.9 per cent from May 2015 to $1,513,800.

Sales of apartment properties reached 2,150 in May 2016, an increase of 34.4 per cent compared to the 1,600 sales in May 2015. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 22.3 per cent from May 2015 to $485,000.

Attached property sales in May 2016 totalled 754, an increase of 2.9 per cent compared to the 733 sales in May 2015. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 24.9 per cent from May 2015 to $632,400.

Download the full stats package by clicking here (http://listserv.realtorlink.ca/t/247442/6122721/114748/44/) .

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