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The Pros & Cons of buying a home in winter

            When it’s chilly out, one would probably rather sit by the fire than go to open houses. One may even think the effort isn’t worth it because winter’s a bad time to buy. But there are pros and cons to house hunting in any season. Home buyers, shouldn’t be quick to pause their searches when the snow starts to fall, especially when current housing inventories are very low compared to demand.
Compared to the busier spring and summer seasons, home buyers face less competition from all-cash and investor buyers during winter. First-time home buyers are pushed out of the housing market because they can’t compete with higher bidders during warmer months. But, during winter, these house hunters are more likely to find the perfect pad. With less competition for homes, sellers may be willing to come down in price as well.   

Additionally, sellers can’t hide certain problems during winter – like whether the furnace works. One can also tell how well the gutters work by checking for icicles hanging from the house or ice puddles on walkways.
No season is the exact perfect time to find a home. There may be more homes on the market during spring and summer, but buyers face extra competition. First-time home buyers shouldn’t give up on their house hunt just because the weather turns cold. In fact, while other buyers are scared off, first timers may finally be able to bid on their dream homes. (from

Why not try our some of our quick proven steps to help you get your home “buyer-ready” this winter:

Curb Appeal – The exterior beauty of your home shouldn’t fade with the onset of the cooler weather. Curb appeal is always a crucial aspect of attracting buyers, even during the winter. Keep trees and shrubs neatly trimmed and remove all leaves and debris. Always keep your driveway and walkways cleared of snow and ice.

Replace Old Fixtures & Appliances –With less sunlight during the winter, it’s important to replace dated light fixtures and to add as much ambient lighting as possible. You should also change old faucets and showerheads and replace your exhausted appliances. A home’s value can begin to decline in the buyer’s mind once they begin calculating the cost of replacing old, outdated appliances.


Properly staging your home is proven to make a dramatic difference in both sale price and the number of days a home is on the market. This is why each of our listings receives free home staging by a professional stager whether it’s spring, summer, winter or fall. We are designated Accredited Staging Professionals and the trademarked owners of the powerful STAGED & SOLD brand. We will ensure your home is staged properly to showcase the best it has to offer a potential buyer. For more tips or to schedule a free, no obligation home evaluation please contact us at 905-335-4102 or email us at Our personal approach and proven results will surpass your expectations!



Earlier this year, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial institutions Canada published the final version of Guideline B-20 – Residential Mortgage Underwriting Practices and Procedures. The stress test requirement, which came into effect on January 1, 2018, goes a step further than what was originally proposed by OSFI in July.

OSFI has set a new minimum qualifying rate, or “stress test,” for uninsured mortgages.

·         Guideline B-20 now requires the minimum qualifying rate for uninsured mortgages to be the greater of the five-year benchmark rate published by the Bank of Canada or the contractual mortgage rate +2%.

OSFI is requiring lenders to enhance their loan-to-value (LTV) measurement and limits so they will be dynamic and responsive to risk.

·         Under the final Guideline, federally regulated financial institutions must establish and adhere to appropriate LTV ratio limits that are reflective of risk and are updated as housing markets and the economic environment evolve.

OSFI has placed restrictions on certain lending arrangements that are designed, or appear designed to circumvent LTV limits.

·         A federally regulated financial institution is prohibited from arranging with another lender a mortgage, or a combination of a mortgage and other lending products, in any form that circumvents the institution’s maximum LTV ratio or other limits in its residential mortgage underwriting policy, or any requirements established by law.

The Canadian government is concerned of the overall debt load of Canadians. The goal is to insure people are well prepared for the possible increase in interest rates. They are also trying to help Canadians evaluate their overall household debt. This is a good for Canadians long term, and will help protect them. “These revisions to Guideline B-20 reinforce a strong and prudent regulatory regime for residential mortgage underwriting in Canada,” said Superintendent Jeremy Rudin.

With this latest change, there are things to keep in mind when understanding how this announcement can affect you. 

·         Mortgage renewals will not have to requalify under these new regulations, as long as all the terms are staying the same. If you want to change anything at all then you will need to requalify. 

·         If you are thinking of doing anything; buying, selling, refinancing – it is very important to get to your bank now. Time is of the essence.

·         The best thing anyone can do right now is speak to a professional like The Rocca Sisters & Associates, and go to the bank and reevaluate your overall financial situation to see where and how your bank can help you. If you are not working with anyone our partners at CIBC would be happy to talk to you at a time that is good for you.

 Prices have already reached a low. There is a lot of inventory and options for buyers, and sellers want to sell! The Spring market will be an interesting period of time. With the changes in interest rates and now the announcement of the “stress test”, the market will likely level off and regulate itself, it will be area specific. Putting things into perspective, we will be back to business as usual. 

Ref OTTAWA – October 17, 2017 – Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Canada

The Rocca Sisters & Associates are award-winning Sales Representatives with Royal LePage Burloak Real Estate Services Ltd., Brokerage and are ranked number three in Canada for Royal LePage in 2015 for sales production and volume. They can be reached at 905-335-3042 or email To learn more about our team, our featured listings or our community giveback events, visit us at

Thank You For An Incredible 2017!

We would like to send a very big thank you to the community for making Rocca Sisters & Associates one of Canada’s top real estate teams for Royal LePage!

The year ahead will bring us many more opportunities to do what we love, and that is helping people in our community. In our recent Rocca Sisters & Associates 2018 planning meeting, we discussed what our visions are as a team for our community and our clients. How many families are we going to help this year? What community events will we proudly put our name to? These are all things that will make the difference in 2018, and this is what we look forward to.

What sets us apart from many other professionals is our ability to embrace change at many different levels.  Change is the one constant and continual refining of our client systems is essential to meet the ever changing client expectations that define the experience overall. In the year ahead, we will continue to be innovators in the industry and provide all of our clients with an experience that is not just the best, but remarkable!

We personally manage every listing and keep our clients well informed throughout the whole process which leads to many long lasting relationships with our valued clients.

We would like to thank all of our incredible clients for your support and referrals throughout 2017, as it is your support that continues to drive our success allowing others to experience firsthand our unique and genuine approach to buying and selling.  Our relationships truly recommend us as the majority of our business is done with repeat clients and referrals to their family & friends. We look forward to serving you, your family & your friends in 2018!

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