Buying a home is a big deal, especially for those who have had credit problems in the past. The most common way to buy a home is with a mortgage loan, which requires both a credit score that the lender finds acceptable and enough cash on hand for a down payment (and usually some other costs). For some, this can be a barrier to home ownership because they either have previous credit problems or are unable to get the cash together to cover down payments and other costs. Fortunately, there are some alternatives available. One option that can put home ownership within reach is rent to own housing. As the name implies, this provides an option where the would-be homeowner can actually take possession of the house as a renter before the purchase is finalized. While this may not be available as an option for everyone, here are some details about rent to own housing in case you’re considering a rent to own purchase.

The Basics
The basic idea behind rent to own housing may seem pretty simple. Instead of having to buy a house outright, you rent the home from the current owner instead, in much the same way that you would if you were only acting as a renter. The rental payments that you make typically cover both the cost of rental and pay a portion toward the asking price of the home itself. After a specified period of time has passed, you will either have paid off the balance of the property or (as is more common) will have a final lump-sum payment to make that finalizes the purchase of the house.

The Rental Contract
The lease that you sign when entering into a rent to own agreement is a bit different than your standard rental agreement. In most cases, you will agree to stay at the home for a longer period of time than your standard lease, and you may have an initial up-front payment to make that goes toward the cost of the house as well. The contract will detail exactly how much the owner wants for the home, what percentage of your rent will go toward that amount, and will also provide information about how you’re actually buying the house when the lease ends.


In most cases, a rent to own contract features what’s known as an “option to buy” which gives you the option to pay any remaining cost to finalize your home purchase when the lease ends. Depending on the wording of the contract, you may also have the option to pay off that balance early and finalize the purchase even if the lease isn’t yet set to expire. You do need to be careful and read and pay attention to the details of this, however. While a “lease-option” contract like this gives you the option (but not the requirement) to buy at the end of the lease, some contracts actually contain what’s known as a “lease-purchase” clause, under which you have a legal obligation to buy regardless of whether you can actually afford it.

Maintenance Requirements
When you rent a home, maintenance and other upkeep is generally the responsibility of the landlord. In a rent to own situation, however, the lease will sometimes specify that the would-be homeowner is responsible for some or possibly all of the upkeep and maintenance instead. You may even encounter sellers who gradually shift the responsibility to you the longer you stay in the property, though this is less common than some other setups. Still, it’s important to know from the start who is going to be responsible for things that come up before the lease expires.


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Durham Region Real Estate Market Update

The Durham Region Association of REALTORS® (DRAR) President Vicki Sweeney reported 1,583 residential transactions for the month of July, representing a significant 52 per cent increase from the same time last year.

The number of new listings in Durham Region reached 1,905 in July, a slight increase on a month-over-month basis from June. The days on market saw a large decrease compared to the same time last year from 23 to 16 days on market in July 2020.

“The real estate market in Durham Region is seeing an increase of activity during this summer market. The number of residential transactions increased significantly on a year-over-year basis in July,” said DRAR President Vicki Sweeney.

“The average price in Durham Region reached a record high for July at $709, 640. Although the market is busy and many areas are now in Phase 3, REALTORS® are encouraged to continue to practice safe measures and follow health official guidelines.”

The July 2020 MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark was up by 12.27 per cent compared to July 2019. The Benchmark price for a single-family detached home in Durham’s Clarington market reached $637,000 in July 2020.

“Sales activity in the market has been very strong. We are seeing an increase of sales consistently and low interest rates,” said Sweeney. “Many buyers are feeling more comfortable with the reopening of the economy in Phase 3.”

The City of Oshawa has been setting building records this summer as economic development in Durham continues to experience strong growth. Oshawa set another building record in June amid the pandemic.

Year-to-date construction value issued in Oshawa has already exceeded last year’s total construction value by 8 million, with Oshawa setting yet another building record in June. During the month of June 2020, the City issued 96 building permits for a total of 82.5 million in construction value.

“Durham Region’s economic development has been growing rapidly this past summer. It’s no surprise the City of Oshawa has been setting building records,” said DRAR President Sweeney.

"As the workplace changes, more families and individuals are exploring the Region and moving further East. The July housing statistics reflect the demand in the Durham marketplace.”




How to Create a Functional Home Office
Many of us are now working from home as a result of the pandemic. Whether it’s working at a desk in a closet or converting the garage into an office, we’re quickly learning to appreciate the benefits of a functional workspace.

There are many advantages to working from home, but it also comes with a whole new unique set of challenges. Here are a few tips that’ll help you get the most out of your newfound home office space:

Standing Room Only
Consider purchasing an adjustable standing desk as it’s better for your posture. In the meantime, make sure your monitor, keyboard and mouse are at the correct ergonomic level.

Lighten Up
Try to choose a space with lots of natural light as it’ll help reduce eye strain by cutting down the glare on your screen. Also, consider a SAD lamp to help lift your spirits on those darker days.

Sound Off
If you spend a lot of time on conference calls, you may want to think about soundproofing your space. Hard surfaces amplify sounds while carpets, rugs and curtains help absorb loud noise.

Space Saver
Try to make the most of your office space by hanging shelves on the walls or by maximizing the space underneath your desk.
Focus Your Flow
It’s important to separate work time from home life so try your best to avoid distractions. Putting on a load of laundry for instance can significantly affect your flow and focus.

Zoom Room
Now that everyone on your Zoom calls can peek inside your office, it’s important to ensure that your background looks professional and doesn’t have too many distractions.

Make Some Green
Spruce up your space by adding a few plants in and around your office as they’ll help improve the air quality and increase your general level of happiness :)

A comfortable home office can make a huge difference to your productivity so it’s important to take the time to properly set up your space. It’s hard to say how COVID-19 will impact home design in the long run but if you’re thinking of selling any time soon, a well-designed home office will likely be high on many home buyer’s wish lists.
End of Summer Maintenance Tips
It’s important to regularly maintain your property inside and out as it helps protect your most valuable investment from falling into disrepair.

Although summer’s still in full swing and home maintenance is probably the last thing on your mind, it makes sense to take care of the following jobs before fall rolls around:

Driveway Damage
Pressure wash the driveway while it’s still nice and warm outside and repair any cracks to prevent further erosion when the colder weather rolls around.

Furnace Filter
Changing the furnace filter in the height of summer may seem unnecessary but it’s important as the air conditioning runs through your furnace vents and accumulate huge amounts of dust.

Brush Up the BBQ
The BBQ usually gets forgotten about as it takes a while to cool down after it’s used so give it a good clean and check for any cobwebs around your burner tubes.

Dust Ceiling Fans
Your ceiling fans have probably had a good workout this summer but you don’t want chunks of dust to fall to the floor when you clean them so put a pillowcase over the blades and pull it off gently so that the dust stays inside.

Regular home maintenance will help ensure small problems don't turn into big headaches that need professional attention on short notice. Once these jobs are completed, you’ll be able to get back to enjoying the lazy days of summer! ??

Handy Home Design Apps
If you’re redecorating or renovating your home, there are a number of apps out there that are designed to help make your life a lot easier! Here are a few ones to check out:

Bubble Level
This ingenious app turns your smartphone into an easy to use and surprisingly accurate spirit level! It makes hanging pictures, mirrors or even cabinets a cinch!

Photo Measures
Leave your tape measure at home as this handy app lets you take a picture of a room and then calculates and stores all of the measurements right on your smartphone!

Paint Tester
If you’d like to paint a room but you’re worried that the colour might not be right then this app is for you! Just snap a shot of the room and it’ll let you try out different colours on your wall!

Whether you’re looking to hang a shelf, install new kitchen cabinets or paint your bedroom, there’s an “app for that”. Instead of lugging a bulky toolkit around to tackle a task, all you need to do is pull out your phone!

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