March 2014 Newsletter

Steven Silva’s… Tips for Healthy, Wealthy and Happy Living

Inside This Issue…


  • 7 Major Financial Mistakes & How To Avoid Them…
  • Save Money On These Simple Home Repairs…
  • Fun Facts and Laughs: What To Do If Your E-mail Is Hacked, Great Travel-Planning Websites, And More…
  • Trivia Challenge: Win Movie Tickets for Two
  • Real Estate Q&A: My Home Didn’t Sell The First Time. What Should I Do Now To Get It Sold?…

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Steven Silva
Sales Representative
Keller Williams Realty Centres
Phone: 1-855-737-8383 ext 0


All it takes is one emergency to disrupt your short-term financial goals such as taking a vacation this year or even long-term plans for when you can retire. That’s why I want to share how to avoid seven major financial mistakes in this month’s newsletter.

You’ll also learn three do-it-yourself home repairs that will save you money, fast fixes if your e-mail is hacked, and great travel websites to plan your next trip – plus fun facts, a trivia challenge, and lots more.

Steven Silva

Steven Silva, REALTOR®
Keller Williams Realty Centres

P.S.  When you notice people talking about real estate in the next few weeks, can you tell them about the free information I provide?

They may be people wanting to move this year, and you can tell them about my Free Report: “How To Avoid 7 Costly Mistakes When Selling Your Home”. You’ll give them a huge boost in confidence because this guide shows how to net the most money from a home sale in the least amount of time. To request a copy for a friend, simply email me by clicking here.

Today’s Brain Teaser . . .

People are hired to get rid of me.
I’m often hiding under your bed.
In time, I’ll always return you see.
Bite me and you’re surely dead.
What am I?

(see answer below)

7 Major Financial Mistakes
& How To Avoid Them

Watch out for these seven mistakes that could cost you big time:

    1. Not having an emergency fund. Keep at least three months’ worth of your expenses in an account so you’re not using credit cards to pay for unexpected events, such as a job loss or medical expense.


    1. Not having a budget. Take your income minus your fixed expenses, and the difference is what you can spend each month. Track your spending using tools like


    1. Not saving for retirement. Be sure to take advantage of your employer’s retirement savings plan, and open your own retirement savings account.


    1. Not paying bills on time. Late payments affect your credit score. Sign up for a free service such as, which lets you organize your bills in one place and sends you bill pay reminders.


    1. Not planning for your children’s education. Consider investing in a Government of Canada Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP). With an RESP, you may be able to receive other saving incentives, such as the Canada Learning Bond. Visit to get more details.


    1. Not monitoring your credit history. There are two national credit bureaus in Canada:  Equifax Canada and TransUnion Canada. You can request a free copy of your credit file by mail. You can also obtain your credit report plus your credit score sooner by paying a small fee. Visit the Equifax Canada or TransUnion Canada website to order your copy online. Check it for accuracy and to ensure you’re not a victim of ID theft or fraud.


  1. Not paying down credit card debt before everything else. If your credit card interest is 20% and your mortgage interest is 5%, pay off the credit card debt to avoid paying more in interest over the long term.

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Learn How To Maximize The
Value Of Your Home!

Did you know there’s a free report showing what to fix to net the most value for your home? It’s called “Make Your Home Show Like A Model Without Breaking The Bank” and it’s an essential guide to homeowner profits. To request your copy, simply email me by clicking here.

Save $$$ On Home Repairs

Sometimes you can just do-it-yourself. Here are three simple home repairs almost anyone can do:

Caulking. Save energy costs by using caulk to seal air and water leaks. Use 100% silicone caulk (available at a hardware store), because it’s waterproof and shrink-resistant. Remove old caulk with a razor blade, outline the area with masking tape, and use a caulk gun to apply new caulk. Smooth it with your finger and remove the tape.

Cleaning grout. If you’re tired of scrubbing, buy a grout color restorer at Home Depot or Lowes. Stone Care International’s Grout Ink, for example, comes in white, earth tone, or gray for about $8 a tube. Clean the surface, apply a coat and let dry. Do a second coat.

Fixing squeaky doors. Shut the door and pull out the center pin from one hinge. Clean the pin with a scrubbing pad and coat it with petroleum jelly. Put the pin back in and open and close the door a few times. Repeat with other hinges if necessary.

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Fun Facts and Laughs

Great Travel-Planning Websites . . . – Create a detailed itinerary of car rentals, restaurants & hotels, and even keep up with the weather. – Follow the discussions of those who have just come back from your travel destinations. – Create free automatic travel itineraries for major cities in the U.S. and Europe.

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What To Do If Your E-mail Is Hacked . . .

If your friends and family say they got a spam message from you, your email may have been hacked. Try these fixes:

Change your e-mail account password. Use phrases, upper/lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. Don’t use your birthday!

E-mail your contacts immediately. Tell them your account was hacked and they shouldn’t open your e-mails containing suspicious links or requests for money.

Check your security levels. Firewalls usually block hackers. Do an anti-virus update and run a scan on your system.

Don’t click on anything in suspicious e-mails. That’s probably how your e-mail got hacked in the first place.

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Remember These Classic Candies? . . .

• Bit-O-Honey — Honey-flavored taffy guaranteed to remove your fillings.

• Bubble-gum cigars & cigarettes — Yes, they sold these to kids!

• Little Wax Bottles filled with a sugary liquid — you can still find them out there!

• Clark’s Teaberry Gum — It even had its own song called The Teaberry Shuffle.

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Have A Laugh . . .

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FREE Help Is
Just A Click Away!

Learn valuable secrets for saving thousands and avoiding costly mistakes when buying, selling or refinancing a home. Best of all, it’s FREE. Email about my “Insider’s Free Resources” by clicking here.

Trivia Challenge for the Month…
“Who Wants To Win Movie Tickets for Two?”

March Break is just around the corner and a trip to the movies sounds nice doesn’t it?  Be the first to answer this question…

What was the highest grossing movie of the 1990s?

a) Titanic   b) The Lion King   c) Jurassic Park   d) Men In Black
EMAIL ME BY: Clicking Here OR Call Me At 1-855-737-8383 ext 0 And You Could Be One Of My Next Winners!

Brain Teaser Answer:


Thanks For Thinking of Me!Did you know I can help you or any of your friends or family save time and money when buying or selling a home? Thanks for keeping me in mind with your referrals…and spreading the word about my services.

Real Estate Q & A . . .
Q.  I just took my home off the market because it didn’t sell. What can I do now to try to sell it again?


A.  The biggest things to consider are the home’s price and its condition.You may have set the price too high, keeping buyers and real estate agents away. If you lowered your price in increments, it may have been too late since it was already viewed as an “overpriced” home. Also, look at your home’s condition from a buyer’s perspective. Is there more you can do to make it stand out from other homes for sale?

It may be time to hire not just a REALTOR®, but a Home Marketing Expert. This is an agent who understands your needs and can use their expertise to re-evaluate the price plus share easy ways to make your home appear more attractive to buyers.

To learn more about how to sell your home quickly, call and ask for my Free Report called “4 Tips To Guarantee Your Home Sells The Second Time.” I’ll send a copy right over to you.

Do you have a question you want answered related to real estate or home ownership? Feel free to call me at 1-855-737-8383 ext 0 or email me by clicking here. Perhaps I’ll feature your question in my next issue!

Forward this to a friendTHANK YOU… for reading my personal newsletter.  I wanted to produce a newsletter that has great content and is fun and valuable to you.  Help your friends get more out of life by forwarding this email to them…Share this issue with family and friends --- Forward To A Friend

Form 1000: Registration Of Constructors Ministry Of Labour Required Form

Download a copy of the Form 1000: Registration of Constructors and Employers Engaged in Construction here.

This is what it looks like:

MOL Form-1000

[Read more…]

Are You Still Qualified for A Loan/Mortgage?

Are You Still Qualified for a MortgageWith the recent major changes by the government to the lending rules, the usual way of doing business may no longer apply.  Even if you were ‘approved’ before, you may not qualify for a loan today.  This especially applies to the self-employed, commission earners as well as purchases with longer closing dates such as new homes.  Even though, I dislike jargon as much as the next person here are two terms you might not be familiar with but affect your ability to borrow: TDSR and GDSR.

GDSR stands for Gross Debt Service Ratio and TDSR stands for Total Debt Service Ratio.  These terms are percentages that lenders use to figure out how much debt you can afford or ‘the ability for you borrower to service their debt’.

The Gross Debt Service Ratio (GDSR) is based on your typical monthly housing costs.  Normally, that includes your mortgage principle and interest payments, property taxes, secondary financing, heating and condo fees, if applicable.  If you take all those expenses and add them up then divide it by your household family income, the government would like to see that number to be less than 32-39%.

The Total Debt Service Ratio (TDSR) is based on all of housing costs (same as GDSR) plus payments on lines of credit, credit cards and other debt. If you take all those expenses and add them up then divide it by your household family income, the government would like to see that number to be less than 44%.

Keep in mind that your income is your gross monthly income, not your net (take home amount).  Banks need to follow the lending rules set out by the government and approvals are always subject to changes in lending rules like those that just happened.  If you had an approval, you may want to get it re-approved.  If you have not been approved, don’t assume you qualify.

Please note that I’ve assumed your purchase is for a personal residence.  If you are considering buying for investment, speculation or any reason other than your primary residence.  Many more factors come into play.

Do you have a real estate question you want answered?  Feel free to call me at 1-855-737-8383 or send an email to  Perhaps I’ll feature your question in the next issue!

Tarion Performance Guidelines 2013

Download the Ontario New Home Warranty Performance Guidelines Here

The Construction Performance Guidelines – Third Edition provides criteria that sets out the minimum performance required in the construction of New Homes in Ontario . They relate to work and materials deficiencies and complement the Ontario Building Code.

The Third Edition of the Construction Performance Guidelines apply to conciliations, claim inspections and warranty reviews conducted by Tarion on or after January 1,2013.

What Home Inspectors Don’t Tell You

Home Inspectors dont tell you

Getting a Home Inspection when you buy a home is very wise.  Unfortunately, Realtors and Buyers can rely too heavily on the Home Inspection and be surprised after they close and move in. Even if you use a Registered Home Inspector, here are some limitations that you should know about.

Home Inspectors Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff:  They know that you are buying a very expensive property and they typically have a short time to inspect (about 3 hours).  While home inspectors will try to find as many little things as they can, they will typically look for things that will cost you over $500 in the next few years (unless it is a safety issue).

Water Quality, Water Quantity, Water Source, Septic Systems, Air Quality, Asbestos Radon Gas and Mould are not included:  In a standard home inspection, special tools are not used.  There is no chemical analysis, water sampling or laboratory testing.  A home inspector looks for signs of moisture, not mould.   Mould would be evidence of moisture. They also can’t comment on the quality of air or test materials to see what they are.  They can sometimes identify materials that may contain these potential health hazards but they can’t comment on their presence or their effect on you.

Termites and Pests: Many inspectors can identify termite tubes if they are readily visible but they are not Termite Inspectors.  If termite tubes are suspected get a termite investigation first before you hire a home inspector.

Swimming Pools, Chimneys Flues, Wood Burning Fireplaces, Wells and Stoves: Most inspectors will recommend a “further evaluation by a specialist” as they are not part of a home inspection standard of practice although they may point out defects that are obvious to the home inspector.

Many experienced Realtors will know the limitations of their preferred home inspector and will recommend additional due diligence if needed.  Just make sure that you have enough time to perform them.  I will often do a Home Pre-Screening in order to identify what will be required before a home inspector is called.  If you have a home that you want to sell that is over 20 years old or are thinking of buying one, a home inspection may not be enough to protect you.  Buying a home with unforeseen problems can lead to high unexpected costs.  Be sure to hire the right team of advisers to protect you during your next Real Estate transaction.

If you are looking to Buy, Lease or Sell From the Toronto West End up through Vaughan, Aurora Newmarket, East Gwillimbury, Keswick, Bradford, West Gwillimbury, Bond Head, Innisfil we can help. If you need someone you trust outside our area, we have partners throughout southern Ontario and would be happy to connect with a local professional. Call Toll Free 1-855-737-8383 any time or send an email to

How Do I Get the Best Home for the Lowest Price?

Getting the most value for your dollar... Click to Read More

Price is only one of several factors to consider when purchasing a home.  The process of buying includes looking at the big picture and seeing the value of the home.  Even if you are a seller, you should think like a buyer and highlight the home’s value.

The best home is rarely the cheapest one.  Factors that affect the value of a home are:

Preferences:  I suggest Buyers make two lists with one outlining their needs and the other a list of their wants.  They should compare lists with other members involved in the buying process so that everyone agrees on what’s important before the buyers start looking.  As a seller, which needs and wants did the home satisfy with you?

Budget:  Buyers should be pre-approved by a qualified mortgage specialist before their search and find out what monthly mortgage payments are possible given their debt and income.  For example, a home with income potential can alleviate costs compared to a less expensive home without the income.

Location:  The “best” price is usually not the cheapest price.  Desirable locations demand higher prices and communities with higher prices also often retain their value the best.  Buyers should consider the amenities and sellers should highlight them as much as possible.

 Negotiation:  Inexperienced buyers sometimes want to “lowball” their initial offer.  Too often they end up disappointed for a variety of reasons such as competition with other buyers, a negative reaction from the seller, and the need to start all over again if negotiations fail.  Understanding the types of negotiation styles and the benefits as well as the disadvantages of each will affect the final purchase price.

Buyers that understand their preferences, buy within their budget, in a location that serves them best and, negotiate effectively, end up spending less in the big picture.  Sellers that understand this can provide buyers with what they want and also put more money in their pocket.

As always, if you have any Real Estate Questions we are here to help.

If you are looking to Buy, Lease or Sell From the Toronto West End up through Vaughan, Aurora Newmarket, East Gwillimbury, Keswick, Bradford, West Gwillimbury, Bond Head, Innisfil we can help.  If you need someone you trust outside our area, we have partners throughout southern Ontario and would be happy to connect with a local professional.  Call Toll Free 1-855-737-8383 any time or send an email to

Beware the Tax Man

TaxManBeeewaaaare the Tax Man!

As adults, most will agree there in nothing scarier than taxes, especially when they’re unexpected.  When Buying, Selling or even moving from one property you own to another, there are tax considerations.  A discussion with a professional accountant is recommended.  To help with that discussion, here are a few thoughts/questions to consider.

What is the Difference between a Primary Residence and a Personal Residence?  You can have more than one property for personal use but you can only have one Primary Residence.  Usually a Primary Residence can be sold without paying income tax.  A secondary residence may be subject to capital gains, such as a cottage.

What Happens if I Don’t Sell My Previous Residence Right Away?  Sometimes a family moves from their first home into their second home but keep the first home as an investment property.  In these cases, you are strongly advised to talk to your accountant.  If you decide to sell in the future, you may find yourself in the position of having to pay capital gains from the date of original purchase.  Ideally, you want your accountant to have records stating the value of the home when you move out so that you only actually pay capital gains from the time the property changes from a primary residence to an investment property.

What happens if the Seller a Foreign Owner?  The government may require the buyer to withhold monies to account for income tax unless documentation is provided.  The amounts can be significant and the buyer may be left with the bill.  Before you close privately or through a Realtor, have your lawyer confirm the status of the seller!

Is there H.S.T on the purchase or sale of my home?  There is no H.S.T on the Re-Sale of a home but there is on a new home purchase.  Most builders include H.S.T in the purchase price and ask that you sign over any government rebates to them but you should confirm that is the case when buying new.  Also, while there is no H.S.T. on the purchase of a re-sale home itself, you do need to pay H.S.T on services such as legal fees, home inspections, upgrades, real estate fees etc.  Later, if you check the land registry, you will notice that the price of the home recorded is lower than what you paid.  The purchase price less taxes is recorded, so the lower amount represents what you actually paid and the difference was the tax component.

The above is not intended to substitute or supersede advice from an accounting professional.  Please seek professional advice before making any large purchase as the specifics of your situation may change the above.  As always, if you have any Real Estate Questions we are here to help.

If you are looking to Buy, Lease or Sell From the Toronto West End up through Vaughan, Aurora Newmarket, East Gwillimbury, Keswick, Bradford, West Gwillimbury, Bond Head, Innisfil we can help.  If you need someone you trust outside our area, we have partners throughout southern Ontario and would be happy to connect with a local professional.  Call Toll Free 1-855-737-8383 any time or send an email to

How Do I Manage Multiple Offers!

 how-do-i-manage-multiple-offersIf I Get Multiple Offers On My House, How Do I Decide Which Offer To Accept?

Multiple offers are a good thing.  Still you can make a mistake if you don’t look at more than just the price being offered.  Carefully weigh each buyer’s offer by considering these factors:

How large is the buyers down payment?  A larger down payment shows the buyer is serious and can afford to do so.

Is the buyer pre-approved?  Never take your home off the market without knowing that the buyer is able to purchase your home.

When do they want possession?  When the buyer’s timing fits your preferences, it can make their offer more appealing.

What repairs does the buyer expect before closing?  Even if you are willing to make repairs, think about the time and cost it will take to complete the repairs before you accept.

What items does the buyer expect to remain in the house?  Buyers may request to keep appliances or wall-mounted televisions.  Factor the cost of replacing these in your next home into the offer before accepting.

 If I’m A Buyer In Multiple Offers, What Can I Do To Make My Offer More Attractive?

If you are going to buy and expect multiple offers, keep in mind the above points in order to better position yourself.  In addition you may:

Write a letter to the seller from the buyer.  Selling is emotional, the seller may prefer to sell to a buyer who will retain the current character of the home as opposed to doing major renovations or to a young family with children versus an investor who will be renting out the house.  You can also praise the seller for the way in which the maintained the home.  Let the seller know you really want the home.  Sometimes, sellers may give you an opportunity to better your offer over others if they have an affinity toward you.

Get a pre-offer home inspection.  Instead of having a home inspection afterward, do one before you put in an offer.  You can then be certain of your offer and avoid putting a home inspection clause.  You will also know in advance how much you need to hold back for future repairs.

Be accessible.  Sellers usually want to have everything resolved ASAP.  Be on hand to sign any documentation or initial changes so that your offer can be binding right away.

Mortgage Rule Changes


June 21, 2012 — The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, announced four measures for new government-backed insured mortgages with loan-to-value ratios of more than 80 per cent:

  1. Reduce the maximum amortization period to 25 years from 30 years.
  2. Lower the maximum amount Canadians can borrow when refinancing to 80 per cent from 85 per cent of the value of their homes.
  3. Fix the maximum gross debt service ratio at 39 per cent and the maximum total debt service ratio at 44 per cent.
  4. Limit the availability of government-backed insured mortgages to homes with a purchase price of less than $1 million.

The new rules will take effect on July 9, 2012.

For more detailed information, please visit

Tips for Keeping Cool During the Summer Heat

These are my favourite inexpensive tips to help keep you cool during the Summer Heat.

Close the supply vents on the lower levels:  Cold air will naturally travel to the lowest point.  The furnace also has a harder time pushing up the cooler air to the upper levels if there are easy exits before it gets there.  Close the supply vents on the lower levels and make sure they are all open upstairs to help direct the cool air up. [Read more…]

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