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3 Ways To Donate Locally This Holiday Season

If you feel that your cup is full and are looking to give back this holiday season, there are many opportunities throughout Simcoe County and the surrounding Georgian Bay area that allow you to donate to local families who are in need. A child may be able to open a gift that they otherwise wouldn’t have received on Christmas morning, or a family may be able to have the Christmas dinner they dream of providing for their household. Whether you are able to make a monetary donation, a food/toy donation or an act of kindness for a family or an individual your good deed will touch the hearts of many during the holidays. 

The Rock 95 & Kool FM Toy Drive

This toy drive donates toys to children of all ages ranging from infant to 16 years old via cash or toy donations. All drop-off locations are listed here. To make a donation, the local Midland drop off is located at The Beer Store at 9350 Highway 93, Midland Ontario and the local Penetanguishene drop off is located at The Beer Store at 15 Main St, Penetanguishene Ontario. Or alternatively, you can make a monetary donation online here. Donations are being accepted until December 19th, 2022.

Hospice Huronia Wish List

During the holiday season, you may have not thought about donating to hospice. However, the holidays can be very tough for patients and their families. Hospice Huronia is willing to accommodate any ideas you have with donations large and small, including acts of kindness and Giving Packages, you can view their wish list here. Donations can be made at 948 Fuller Ave, Penetanguishene, Ontario between 9:00am and 4:30pm Monday to Friday. Monetary donations are also accepted online.  

The Barrie & District Christmas Cheer Campaign

This campaign collects donations of food and toys for families in need. Anyone willing to donate can text the word CHEER to the number 30333 from their wireless device and can make a donation of $5, $10, $20 or $25. Funds will be sent directly to the campaign and the donation will be charged to your next wireless bill. You can learn more here. You are also able to donate online here.

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Wait!… What Does That Mean?

Everyone loves to talk Real Estate! Whether it’s with your trusty For Sale On Georgian Bay Agent or your neighbour, co-worker or even a friend there’s a lot of terminology used. Many of these terms and phrases are often not common knowledge and might leave you wondering. We’ve collected some of the most used terms so that you will be well on your way to understanding what is going on when you purchase a new home. 

These are the best terms to know. 

Adjustable-rate mortgage – There are two main types of mortgages. An adjustable-rate mortgage has an interest rate and mortgage payment that vary according to market conditions. It is less predictable than a fixed-rate mortgage but can potentially have very low interest rates at times.

Fixed-rate mortgage – Fixed-rate mortgages are more predictable. They have an interest rate and mortgage payment that remain the same throughout the term, and does not fluctuate according to market conditions.

Mortgage pre-approval – A mortgage pre-approval is a process that involves you as the homebuyer and the bank as the lender. Homebuyers will fill out an application detailing various aspects of their finances, including income, assets, and credit history. The lender will then review it to determine the debt-to-income ratio and the amount they are willing to lend to the homebuyer. This is not the same as a mortgage approval.

Appraisal – An appraisal is a process of determining the value of a particular property, so that a lending institution can determine how much they are willing to loan. In Canada, an appraisal can only be done by a member of the Appraisal Institute of Canada or the Canadian National Association of Real Estate Appraisers. An appraisal is different than a market evaluation, which is what a real estate agent will give you as an idea of the property’s worth.

Offer/Counteroffer/Backup offer – Here’s where we get to the nitty-gritty. An offer to purchase sets out the terms with which you agree to buy the home and is a legally binding contract between the seller and the buyer. However, there are different kinds of offers.

A counteroffer occurs when the seller of the property does not accept the offer you extend and makes changes to it, such as the price or the date, making the original offer invalid. A counteroffer will have a time limit within which a buyer may accept or reject it.

A backup offer happens when a buyer is interested in purchasing a property that already has another offer in process with someone else. If the original offer falls through for any reason, the backup offer will be next in line to purchase the property. There can only be one backup offer on a property at any time.

Principal – The principal is the amount you borrow from a lending institution. It does not include the down payment that you would have contributed, and it does not include interest. Your mortgage payments will always be applied toward the interest first, so you need to consider that when budgeting for a mortgage payment. The interest is typically calculated on a daily basis, but you will pay it with your monthly mortgage payment.

Debt-to-income ratio – Also known as DTI, the debt-to-income ratio is a number that is determined by the buyer’s total debt, plus the monthly house payment, divided by the gross monthly income and multiplied by 100. The resulting number helps lenders determine the amount of risk they are taking with a particular buyer. Lenders typically look for less than 28 per cent of the total monthly income spent on housing, and less than 36 per cent contributed to debt payments.

Mortgage loan insurance – If your equity or down payment on the property is below 20 per cent, you will be required to purchase mortgage loan insurance. Offered by CMHC, Genworth and Canada Guaranty, mortgage insurance protects the lender against losses if you fail to pay your mortgage.

Equity – Equity is the difference between the market value of your property and what you still owe on it. If you sell a property at a profit, then equity is the amount you will receive after paying off the mortgage.

Closing Costs – Closing costs are those associated with the actual purchase of the home and not with the value of the house itself. They can include legal fees, realtor commissions, lawyer fees and land transfer fees. These are all due on the closing date once the purchase of the property is finalised.

Real estate lingo can be confusing sometimes, but if you look up some of the terms ahead of time, you will be well on your way to understanding what is going on when you purchase your home. Still have questions?… Let us know!

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An Update From Georgie

Back in the Summer, the Midland and District OSPCA gave us the chance to name an animal in their care and we picked the name “Georgie”, a nod towards Georgian Bay and a symbol of what connects all of our communities. 

We couldn’t be more proud to learn that our name was given to this brave, strong little guy with a story of resilience that inspires us all. After facing multiple surgeries, an amputation and a difficult start to life, Georgie was adopted and was given a fresh start at having an amazing life!

The OSPCA recently sat down with Georgie’s Mom to discuss what it means to adopt a cat like Georgie, his bond with other pets and his rambunctious personality!

What was it about Georgie that made you want to adopt him? 
Georgie was brought into my friends work, tiny and injured. I had been hoping to adopt a cat for a while – originally intending on adopting an older cat but when my friend sent a picture of him, so small and fuzzy but so hurt, my heart just melted and I wanted to keep him safe. You could tell how sweet he was because even though he must have been in so much pain, he was still gently licking her coworkers hand. 

• How is Georgie doing now, after his leg amputation? 
Georgie is doing really, really well. He has lots of energy, absolutely loves toys (or anything he can get his paws on), people-watching from our front window and cuddling with his 90lb bernese mountain dog sister, Bellatrix. He is incredibly fast when he gets the zoomies and loves to climb on whatever he can. I’m not sure he even remembers his other leg – and not having it certainly doesn’t keep him out of trouble. 

• Can you describe Georgie’s personality? 
Georgie is rambunctious, adorable, hilarious and an absolute sweetheart. He makes me laugh out loud several times a day just from being so silly. And when he runs out of energy, his cuddles are the best. You can find him nestled up to me or Bella in a tiny little ball or sprawled out completely. There’s often no in-between 

• What is it like to have Georgie in your home and part of your family?
Having Georgie here just feels like home. I’ve always loved cats and they were always part of the family so it feels right. He adds liveliness, humor and happiness and I’m so grateful for the little guy. He’s almost always at the front door to say hello when I return and always says goodbye on my way out. And his relationship with my 2 year old dog has been so heartwarming to watch – and hilarious. Cats really do seem to rule the house. 

• Why do you think it’s important for the community to help animals in need, like Georgie?
Helping those who are vulnerable, frightened or hurt is always the right thing to do. It’s no different with animals. They have feelings, experience pain and provide the world with so much love and warmth. They deserve our love and warmth in return.

I’m so grateful for the woman who found him, those who transported him to the Midland SPCA, those who donated to the SPCA to help cover his extensive medical costs, those who cared for him and made sure he’d make a great recovery and of course my friend for sending me his picture. I’ve only had him for few months but I couldn’t imagine life without him now.

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October 2022 Market Report For Our Communities

As the leaves fall from the trees, so do home prices across our region, down 11% from this time last year. We saw a large decrease in sales activity where October sales were down 28% compared to 2021. For a few months in a row now, active listings continued to surge, across our communities we saw 145% rise in active listings. There’s lots of opportunities for Buyers right now but don’t forget that seller’s are still getting top dollar for their properties. Although prices are down, it’s important to remember that, year to date, the average sale price is up 9.4% compared to this point last year.

In our local communities, we saw the active listing trends continue, a lot more inventory in Midland with a huge 195% increase and in Tiny with a 150% increase. We also saw large inventory increases in Penetang and Tay throughout October. Prices stayed very consistant compared to last year with very minimal increases and decreases. Whilst house prices still look very attractive to sellers, there are many opportunities for buyers too giving us an interesting market heading into the winter months.

Trust your local experts to guide you through the process and take advantage of the current market. Ask us about our FREE Home Market Analysis to determine exactly how much your Home is worth in today’s Market.

All data correct as of November 4th, 2022, data gathered by the Ontario Collective based on October 2021 vs October 2022.