Save Money Without Feeling The Pinch

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As I write this newsletter, Toronto is experiencing epic snow and freezing rain. After all the shoveling, I feel like Han Solo’s tauntaun in the opening scene of Empire Strikes Back.  I say this every year but I’m really tempted to purchase a snow blower. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXmp1hLK0tY 

Speaking of cold weather, your heating systems are likely running at full tilt.  My buyers often ask me about the cost of utilities as they factor in the whole ‘cost’ of home ownership.  Depending on the size of house and number of occupants, utility costs will generally fall within $200-$400 per month for electricity, gas, water and garbage.

For smaller households, fixed costs can account for almost one third of the monthly bill.  The monthly fixed costs can be broken down as:

Here are the 6 easy ways to minimize your bill:

  1. Pay garbage and water bill early to receive the 4% early payment discount
  2. Run the dishwasher and do laundry during off peak hours as electricity during off peak hours are almost 50% less than the cost during peak times
  3. Keep an eye on leaky faucets and toilets.  One leaky toilet cost my client $1,400 over a 90 day period
  4. Use the smallest garbage bin possible.  Note that there is no cost for Blue bins regardless of size.
  5. Use a programmable thermostat to manage the temperature
  6. Don’t live with my wife, she forgets to shut the lights wherever she goes…

What are your cost saving tips to manage utilities?

3 Things I’m noodling through

  1. I joined a 3-person group to lose weight after a decadent December.  I can’t say enough about how good the accountability has been and as I made my target weight loss and it looks like my other 2 friends will also meet theirs. I’ve learned that not having a big bowl of ice cream or a bag of Doritos after 8 pm has been key to helping me shed the weight.  How are your resolutions coming along?
  2. At my wife’s urging, I have booked a trip to Portugal to see a mutual friend of ours. I usually just follow along with very little planning or research into the destinations we visit. This time I will endeavour to learn more about Lisbon and even try to pick up a few Portuguese phrases. Do you have any tips on where I should visit in Lisbon?
  3. We watched the movie Green Book recently starring Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali.  The movie was based on a brilliant black musician Dr. Don Shirley’s eight week concert tour through the deep south and an unlikely relationship between him and his driver. I love films that are based off of true stories (as long as they have happy endings). I find myself googling that person’s life immediately after watching the film. Hope it wins big on Oscar night.  What movies have you enjoyed that are based off a true story?

As for Toronto’s real estate market, prices for the overall market were up from January 2018 with condo apartments leading the way again.  In speaking to Toronto Real Estate Board’s director of market research last week, he advised that if not for the polar vortex Toronto experienced in the last part of January where we experienced -20C to -30C weather, prices for the detached market were also looking to increase from a year ago.

I attended TREB’s annual economic summit last week featuring government policy makers, market researchers, commercial and residential real estate analysts and economists.  The resulting informative report titled “Market Year in Review & 2019 Outlook Report” can be found at: http://communications3.torontomls.net/auth2/mediafiles/Market-Year-in-Review/pdf/2019-YearInReview_interactive_2Col.pdf

Feel free to drop me a line to discuss the findings.

As you may know, I build my business on repeat business and referrals. So, I focus a lot of my attention on providing the best client service I can. That service doesn’t end when the transaction is complete. It continues throughout the months and years in between your moves.

In fact, that’s one of the main reasons I keep in touch with you with these informative updates. Is there anything more I can be doing to be helpful? If so, please let me know. I welcome your call or email.

If you – or a friend, colleague, family member or neighbour – ever need to talk to a real estate sales associate with the kind of commitment to client service that I strive to provide, I hope you’ll think of me.

I appreciate your support!

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