5 Ways a REALTOR® can help now that the key interest rate is stuck at 5%

5 ways a REALTOR® can help now that the key interest rate is stuck at 5%

Hey, at least interest rates aren’t rising again! Following the Bank of Canada’s recent decision to keep the overnight policy rate at 5%, many Canadian homeowners, buyers and sellers may be left wondering: well, now what?

With inflation settling down, many Canadians have been under the impression that interest rates will be decreasing soon, too. A report from Royal LePage shows 51% of Canadians who had put their home buying plans on hold over the last two years will return to the market when the first rate cut comes.

That cohort of Canadians will have to wait it out a bit longer as the Bank of Canada will want to see inflation decrease some more before they cut their overnight policy rate.

But, what if you’re in a position where you have to move, like, now? If you previously put your buying plans on hold, chances are your patience is running thin for the Bank of Canada to cut rates. In the meantime, prices could rise, markets could heat up, and then you might get left behind.

This is why finding the right REALTOR® for you is such a crucial step in the homebuying process. Navigating the current real estate landscape is tricky in times of uncertainty, but luckily for you, your REALTOR® can help calm your concerns. Here’s how.

Market insights

Even without a cut in interest rates, it’s important to know you have plenty of options. Your REALTOR® has access to data pertaining to your local housing market and can advise you on how things may shake out in the near future. Is it best to go with a variable rate or a fixed rate? In a competitive market, what conditions should you consider or not? What types of homes are most popular and have had their value rise in your area — detached, townhomes or condos?

For sellers, your REALTOR® can get information on comparable homes and see what they sold for and when, access the exclusive MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) — an advanced, highly accurate way to gauge prices and trends in specific areas — and know what buyers are looking for in your region.

For buyers, your REALTOR® is there to work for you and get the best home for you. They can advise you on what to expect in your local market, from commute times and proximity to amenities, to noise levels and municipal regulations you may have never heard about.

All real estate markets are local — what’s happening with national numbers may not be relevant for you. For example, buying a condo in Toronto is going to be a completely different experience than buying a colonial in Coquitlam or a high-ranch in Halifax. Your REALTOR® will help you make sense of it all.

Negotiation skills

It doesn’t matter if interest rates are at 5%, 10%, or 1% — at the end of the day, your REALTOR®’s top priority should be looking out for you and making sure you’re comfortable with whatever price you land on.

Of course, a buyer’s agent should know what their client is pre-approved for, and interest rates often affect how much home one can afford. Make sure you communicate your wants, needs and budget so your REALTOR® can properly advocate on your behalf. You can look for REALTORS® with a Certified Negotiation Expert designation or a Master Certified Negotiation Expert for those who have received extra training.

Financial guidance

Did you know your REALTOR® can help you before you’re pre-approved? That’s right! While you’re waiting to see what interest rates do, consider reaching out to your REALTOR® to get a handle on how your local market is reacting to the latest news from the Bank of Canada.

Your REALTOR® can also provide you with a list of lenders they’ve worked with, not to mention offer some tips and tricks to help you solidify a better rate (like, make sure you shop around before signing!).

Before doing anything, check out the Calculator Hub under “About Mortgages” at — a tool to help provide you with an early look at your financial situation.

 Professionalism and sense of security

One of the biggest worries for Canadians on the move is the uncertainty of conducting a real estate transaction. There are so many variables (not just talking about interest rates here!) to think about. From land transfer taxes and lawyer fees, to dealing with complete strangers while trying to complete one of the largest financial transactions of your life — you have a lot on your plate if you’re buying or selling.

Also, the right REALTOR® for you will just get it. They won’t push you into something you’re uncertain about and can even help with market timing strategies should you want to try and make the current interest rate situation work better for you.

Home buying and selling MVP

We’ll say it again: your REALTOR® is your personal real estate MVP. While you’re figuring out financing, they can already get to work behind the scenes. If you’re buying, this means setting up searches for you, attending open houses on your behalf, and asking around to their connections about what might be coming available — hey, if you’re in no hurry and want to wait for interest rates to drop, maybe this is a strategy for you!

If you’re selling, your REALTOR® can get to work marketing your property, getting it ready for staging and compiling documentation, all without disrupting your routines too much.

By now you know interest rates impact the Canadian real estate landscape and that likely isn’t about to change any time soon. Making the right decision at the right moment seems like a lot of pressure when you don’t know where interest rates will be on a month-to-month basis. Thankfully, REALTORS® monitor market trends and housing data to make sure, whether you’re buying or selling, your best interests are being kept top of mind. Don’t put it off any longer! Visit www. or scan the QR code below and find your REALTOR® today!



Budget 2024 - Education Property Taxes

April 12, 2024

The spring bidding wars have begun in earnest in some areas it seems.

If a person is paying more for a home, they may have an extra cost coming in 2025, depending…

In Manitoba, when a person receives their property tax bill, it is divided into two parts; in gross amounts, half(ish) is for property tax, assessed by the municipality and that half revenue goes to them, half(ish) is for education taxes, assessed by the local school board, and that revenue goes to them. As we have discussed before Manitoba is a bit unique in Canada in that we fund a higher proportion of our education system through property taxes. Historically, Manitoba is not the only province to collect education taxes as part of property taxes, but over the last decades the amount Manitoba collects from homeowners is quite a bit higher than elsewhere in Canada. This has resulted in Manitoba as having a reputation as a very high property tax jurisdiction, compared to elsewhere in the nation. Most folks seem to agree this is not a great way to fund education. Provinces that fund education more through general taxation seem to have better learning results than property education tax jurisdictions. To combat this, governments of late have recognized the issue and began rebating the property tax amounts assessed by the local school board some years ago. The previous Provincial government installed a program where all homeowners were rebated 50% of their current education property tax bill and added on a $350.00 property tax credit, deductible against their general provincial taxes. The new provincial government has changed this with their last budget and now will be scrapping the previous plan and replacing it with their new plan in 2025. The new plan gives everyone who has a principal residence a straight $1,500.00 rebate on their education property taxes. There is some vigorous debate as to who wins and who loses under the new plan versus the old one, but at this stage is looks (maybe) like anyone with a home assessed at $437,000.00 or more will pay more in education property taxes and anyone with a home assessed at less than that, will pay less. The further the assessed value of the home is from $437,000.00, the more, or less, the owner will pay. For 2024, the old system still applies, but the old rebate cheques will not be mailed out, it will just be reduced on the actual tax notice.


**as always, every situation is different and laws can change, if you have doubts, call someone.



B.A., LL.B.

Barrister, Solicitor and Notary Public 


2024 President's GALA - Diamonds & Denim

Every year the Winnipeg Regional Real Estate Board recognizes the TOP 10% of their 2100+ members who have attained outstanding sales. Once again, Claudette and Matt each brought home the SILVER!  Realtors were celebrated at this years' PRESIDENT'S GALA, it was a stunning affair. The theme was Diamonds & Denim.  The dinner, entertainment and of course the award ceremony was absolutely wonderful.

On behalf of Claudette, and Matt, thank you for continuing to choose LJ BARON REALTY to be your go-to Realtor when buying, or selling, your home.



Not sure if this March qualifies as in like a Lion or a lamb, I guess we will see.

As if it is needed, a bit more texture to the discussion about non-Canadians buying land in Canada.


We have spent time in the past years on capital gains tax. It is a big part of people’s housing decisions and governments are always circling around this issue and making modifications and adjustments. One thing that has remained sacrosanct (for now) has always been the exemption from capital gains tax on the sale of one’s principal residence. This law protects people who sell their home and want to use the money to retire, buy a new home or whatever, in that they will get all the equity from the sale of their home and not have to pay tax on the gain. This law does not completely apply to Americans who live in Canada, even for extended periods, own a place and ultimately sell their house. Our American clients who do this have a principal residence exemption but for them, they have a limit of $250,000.00 total capital gains exemption (assuming they owned the house for at least a year). After this $250,000.00 gain, the proceeds of sale are taxed at the rate of 24% (different formula but ultimately close to the standard Canadian capital gains tax rate). Often, these American folks are married to or life-partnered with, a Canadian. This may open some creative ways of transferring ownership to avoid any tax. Ancillary benefits may include the fact that inter spousal transfers do not generally attract land transfer tax either. All of this of course is in the shadow of the new federal law prohibiting purchases for non-Canadians for most of the country, so you will be dealing with longer term owners. Plenty of rules out there, if you have an American owner who is selling, more investigation is in order.


**as always, every situation is different and laws can change, if you have doubts, call someone


B.A., LL.B.

Barrister, Solicitor and Notary Public 

200‑600 St. Anne's Road


How to design a purrfectly pet-friendly home

Since February 20 is National Love Your Pet Day, we thought it was a good time to talk about these important bonus members of our families, and how we can enhance their home lives.

It’s important to us that our houses are functional and comfortable in a way that suits our lifestyles, but our pets have different needs than we do, and require different considerations. While dogs are content to curl up wherever you are and cats will sooner claim a cardboard box as their new favourite spot than the elaborate cat condo that came inside it, incorporating their needs into your home design solidifies their place in the family.

Let’s look at a few ways to can make your home pet-friendly without sacrificing a drop of style.

Keep them close

Your furry best friend wants to be at your side. Your cat or dog typically ends up following you from room to room as you go about your day at home. For this reason, it’s important to remember your pet isn’t the same as a child; they aren’t going to find the same enjoyment out of a designated room like a child would with a playroom.

Make sure they have a corner in each room to curl up in and call their own, but won’t make them feel restricted or isolated. Many pets are content with a blanket thrown down in the path of their favourite sunbeam or at the end of the bed. But, if your canine and feline companions love being pampered, pet beds have planted their flag firmly in the world of fashionable home furniture and it’s easier than ever to find an ultra-comfy bed that will fit seamlessly with your own décor.

From custom builds to raised memory foam cushions to cave-like cat pods, and even deeply plush pillows designed to help reduce anxiety (especially useful if your pet gets anxious when left alone), designers are taking careful consideration when it comes to crafting luxurious thrones for our four-legged pals.

If your pet has claimed the corner of your couch or a favourite armchair, consider buying a slipcover for easy cleaning. If you’re especially crafty, you could even create one of your own, but even a nice throw that’s coordinated to your decor will work, and it’s easy to toss into the washing machine to clean.

Keep things tidy

When you need to keep the kitchen chaos-free and your pets out from underfoot, an inset sliding gate, much like a pocket door, does the trick cleanly. You can have this type of gate added as an extension of the lower cabinets and even use the same coloured wood to keep things harmonious and discreet. Plus, if you have a rambunctious pup, there’s no risk of this gate toppling over if they jump against it.

If you have the room, creating custom space for your dog’s crate under the kitchen counter has been a go-to for many homeowners. The kitchen is a great spot for this installation as your pet will feel more comfortable being in the room where your family typically spends most of their time.

Bath time

Speaking of keeping things tidy, after a run at the dog park it can feel like your pets might never be clean again. Giving your dog a scrub in the tub is a recipe for a ruined bathroom if they’re a large dog with big claws or you have more than one, so installing a pet shower in your mudroom, laundry room or garage is a total lifesaver. Not only will it keep the muddy paw prints from spreading through the house, it’s a great pampering station for your pooch.

A closer eye and your peace of mind

Sadly, many dogs suffer from separation anxiety when left alone and that anxiety can manifest itself in the destruction of things like doors, blinds, cushions and shoes. While a veterinarian should always be consulted when a pet starts to exhibit signs of stress, there are tools out there to keep you and your pet connected even when you’re apart.

App-controlled feeders keep your pet’s mealtimes on schedule, even if you’re running late, while other gadgets offer three-in-one benefits like a camera, mic and treat-dispenser to let you check in on your pup throughout the day (while tossing them a treat or two to keep them content). These devices really do work to help keep your pets feeling connected to you.

Pretty plates and bowls

While they don’t need to eat off of your fine china, keep your home looking stylish all the way down to your pets food dishes. Many of your favourite retailers and homegoods stores are stocking up on food and water bowls that look good enough for your own table. You can also buy stylish absorbant mats to soak up any spilled water if you have an especially messy drinker.

Did you know?

There are pet dishes designed to meet the needs of every dog breed. Finding the right option could make a world of difference for your Great Dane or your Teacup Yorkie. Raised bowls, for example, relieves strain on joints and helps prevent the chances of bloat for bigger dogs while shallow bowls are best for the snubby snouts of Pugs and Bulldogs. These types of stands are available in many styles that will complement even the most stylish decor.

Your pet is the queen or king of your home, so make sure they live like one, too! A professional REALTOR® can help you find the purr-fect home to suit both you and your pet’s needs.



Make a needs vs wants list when buying a home

When you’re looking to buy a home — whether it’s your first, something larger, downsizing, or an investment property — you need to think about your needs versus your wants. This way, when you meet with a REALTOR®, they’ll be able to better assist you in finding a home that suits you and your budget.

While you may think you really want to splurge for hardwood floors throughout your new home, you may actually need to have an extra bedroom for when family comes to visit, so there are going to be compromises you must make. Taking the time to narrow down your needs and wants will help make the house-hunting process even smoother, as you’ll already know what things you can and can’t live without.

How do you define a need vs. a want?

While many people can sit down and craft a long list of wants and needs for their dream home, knowing the difference between the two is something that shouldn’t be overlooked.

According to Denae McCullough, a REALTOR® with McCarthy Shymkiw & Associates in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, “Your needs are a necessity when it comes to determining the day-to-day functioning for yourself or your family in your next home.”

McCullough explained that these needs might include things like location (think commute and school catchment areas), the number of bedrooms and the space required for those living in the home, not to mention type of home. On the other hand, she explained wants are the things you desire, but aren’t necessarily key to your family dynamics, happiness or routine.

For example, you and your family might really want an in-ground swimming pool, but this feature and its maintenance costs would put you over budget, when you really need that accessible washroom, laundry facilities on the main floor, or an attached garage.

“Everyone’s wants and needs will differ, and what might be extremely important to you, may not make the cut for someone else. Communicating this list to your REALTOR® is important so no assumptions are being made,” McCullough said.

How soon should home buyers start determining their wants and needs for their future home?

You’ll want to take some time to sit down and make a list of everything important to you in a new home. Remember, it’s never too soon to dream up the wants and needs for your future home. Start with the most important things (your needs) and then work your way down your list to the less important things (wants).

McCullough explains you can start by taking note of where you’re living now and determine what you love about your current home, what you’d like to experience differently, and any “pain points” in your day-to-day routine that could be solved by a trait or amenity in your next home.

Gareth Ian Roberts, a REALTOR® with RE/MAX Hallmark Realty Ltd. Brokerage in Toronto, suggests keeping a running list once you decide you’re in the market to buy.

“Start making a list of needs and wants so when you’re ready to meet with an agent, you already have an idea of what you’re looking for,” he says. “Keep in mind as you go through the process, the list can have multiple changes to it.”

What are some things people don’t think to include on their needs and wants list?

There are some things home buyers might not realize they should include on their list or even think about.

“Something that people may not consider when crafting their wants and needs list includes planning for the next five or more years,” says McCullough.

Even though you might hope to move on to your next home sooner, McCullough says anticipating the wants and needs of “future you” is also worthy of inclusion.

“If you want a pet in the future, make that clear to your agent so you’re not buying into a strata property with restrictive bylaws. If you want the option to keep your condo when it comes time to up-size, have a good understanding of the rental restrictions in place,” she suggests.

When considering your minimum bedroom count, try and determine if your future includes children or roommates — you’ll want to make sure there’s room to grow.

“By anticipating this future criteria, you will put yourself in a position of moving next because you want to, not because you have to,” says McCullough.

Thinking ahead is also Roberts’ advice. Sunlight, storage and snow shovelling are all things to consider, he says.

“Sometimes people, depending on where you live, don’t realize how much snow shovelling you’ll have to do in the winter,” he points out. “Covered parking is definitely a major want. But, given what city you live in, it can be an easy compromise to make in the process of looking for your new home — you may be fine with settling on just a parking spot.”

How can your REALTOR® help narrow these things down?

When it comes to home buying, Roberts says having a REALTOR® who listens well and can explain what’s realistic and what’s not will help narrow down your list to create a more refined, efficient search — quality over quantity.

“As a REALTOR®, getting to know our clients and their lifestyle is fundamental in helping narrow wants and define needs,” he explains. “As your REALTOR® shows you properties, you’re able to work together to weigh the pros and cons of different home configurations and the needs and wants they each offer.”

McCullough says it’s also a good idea for you and your REALTOR® to research your local market, follow and check out what’s available on or, and to visit open houses before you seriously start searching. By checking out new neighbourhoods and getting a feel for different home layouts, finishes, and ages of properties, you’ll be better able to narrow down or add to your list.

The best advice is to start writing down what you want and what you really need. As the list grows, you’ll begin to understand the kind of home you should be looking for and the expectations you should set, which will make the search process even easier for both you and your REALTOR®.



10 Christmas Safety Tips to Help Protect Your Family

10 Christmas Safety Tips to Help Protect Your Family

 1.     Replace Old Lights and Use Them Correctly

The lights bring holiday cheer for sure, but they can be a safety hazard. Use indoor lights indoors and outdoor lights outdoors, and always turn them off when leaving the house or going to bed. Be sure to replace light sets that have broken sockets or frayed wires.

 2.    Be Mindful of Poisonous Plants

Eating mistletoe is actually toxic. Keep it away from pets, along with other potentially poisonous plants like holly berries, Jerusalem cherry and amaryllis. 

 3.    Practice Car Safety When Traveling

It’s always important to drive safely, but the Christmas travel season can be especially dangerous. Have your car serviced before leaving on a road trip, carry an emergency kit and give yourself extra time to avoid rushing. Remember to decrease your speed if you’re driving in snow or ice, and wait for snowplows and sanding trucks to clear the roadways before starting your journey.

 4.    Watch Out for Online Shopping Fraud

Unfortunately, the holiday shopping season is fraught with fraud. While you shop, carefully check that the website address is spelled correctly—fraudulent websites with similar spelling can trick you into giving away your credit card information. When checking out, be sure the payment page address begins with “https” (the “s” stands for “secure”). And as always, never click a link from an unsolicited email.

 5.    Don’t Make the Tree a Fire Hazard

To avoid the same fate as Clark Griswold’s tree in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, be aware of fire safety. Have the tree vendor cut off about 2″ of the trunk to expose fresh wood for better water absorption, and make sure there’s always water in the tree stand. Keep your tree at least three feet away from radiators or fireplaces. And if you buy an artificial tree, check that it’s labeled “fire resistant.”

 6.    Properly Secure the Tree

No one wants Santa to get squished by a fallen Christmas tree. Make sure your tree is properly secured with a strong stand that doesn’t lean. If you have a fresh tree, don’t whittle or taper the trunk to fit your stand; this makes the tree less stable.

 7.    Don’t Burn Wrapping Paper in the Fireplace

Sure, a crackling fire in the fireplace is a must-have for cozy holiday events. Just avoid any fire accidents by practicing proper fireplace safety. Don’t burn trees, wreaths or wrapping paper; and always use a fireplace screen.

 8.    Keep the Raw Turkey Away from the Salad

One thing is for sure, nothing will ruin your Christmas dinner faster than guests coming down with food poisoning. Handle food safely with these simple reminders: keep raw meat away from fresh produce, wash your hands frequently, use a meat thermometer and use separate cutting boards for cooked and uncooked meats. 

 9.    Be Careful with Candles

The top three days for home fires started by candles are Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. To avoid a disaster, keep candles at least a foot away from anything flammable. Make sure candles are in stable holders that can’t be easily knocked down, and never leave burning candles unattended.

 10.  Hang Breakable Ornaments Up High

Those colourful and shiny vintage ornaments are just too tempting for little ones! Instead, hang breakable ornaments at top of the tree. That way, kids can get in on the decorating fun without the worry of broken glass.


Celebrating 70 Years in Business

L.J. Baron Realty is an all Canadian, Independent and Family owned, Second Generation business since 1953.  We have a well deserved reputation of getting results for people who want to sell!

Claudette Griffin has been an Award Winning REALTOR® for 35+ consecutive years, and was the FIRST Interlake Realtor to be awarded the Silver Medallion!

Please enjoy this intimate Family History on Leo and Liliane Baron, taken from the Teulon & District History Book, published in 1983!

Leo Baron was born March 4, 1915 in Mariopolis, Manitoba. Son of Hector and Adela Baron. His father was a farmer, and mother a housewife. Leo had four brothers and four sisters.  Leo attended school in Mariopolis and at the age of 14 went out to work. Liliane was born in Notre Dame de Lourdes, Manitoba. She was the daughter of Wenceslas and Marie Lemieux. She attended school in Somerset until the age of 16. Lil had two sisters and two brothers.

In 1946 Leo & Lil moved to Teulon, from Winnipeg, where Leo had been self-employed and a salesman for the W.T. Rawleigh Co. He was the Rawleigh dealer for Teulon and district until 1951. They chose Teulon as it seemed like a nice, friendly place to settle in; also it was becoming a growing town and it was near enough to Winnipeg for Leo to pick up supplies for his business.

Leo remembers Teulon as boasting a frame Cecil Hotel, Parent's Grocery & Hardware, Cronmiller's Garage, Charlie Woo's Chinese Restuarant, and Doern's Bakery, just to name a few places of business. There was no bank in Teulon at that time.

In 1951 Leo started selling insurance as a sideline, which in a few months, became a full time operation. He rented an office on the corner of 1st Street and Railway Ave., and operated as L.J. Baron - General Insurance. Lil had taken a course as a hiar dresser at Marvel School of Hair Dressing.  In 1951 she opened a Salon in her home, located where the Big Way store is now.  In winter she had to melt snow on the stove to have water to wash her customers' hair, as well were not too plentiful in Teulon at that time. It was in 1953 that Leo officially started selling Real Estate. In 1957 they purchased the Albert and Bertha Ellison home on Beach Rd West and Lil operated her Salon until Septemer 1974, in her home. In 1960 there beame a demain for modern office space in Teulon. Leo got estimates for 960 sf of office space, so he borrowed 95% of the cost and built the office which became known as the Agricultural Building on Main Street. In 1962, over a cup of coffee with Olivier Muloin, a Teulon High School teacher, Leo discussed the feasibility of starting a Credit Union in Teulon. As a result of that conversation a meeting was called and the Credit Union was started in Teulon and Leo appointed as Secretary/Manager of the newly formed Credit Union. It was operated from Leo's office until it required a full time manager.  It is now Access Credit Union. 

In 1968 their daugher, Claudette married Roger G. Griffin, son of George & Rhoda Griffin of Teulon. Roger and Claudette have two daughters, Angele and Cherise. It was also in 1968 that Roger joined Leo as assistant and bought into the business, thereafter the name of the agency became Baron & Griffin Agency, with Roger being the owner/operator. In the 1970s Roger took a real estate course and became affiliated with Leo, as did Claudette in 1981. Leo devoted most of his time selling real estate and was still active in 1983.

Leo was also a member of the Teulon Chamber of Commerce and was secretary for five years. He had a big roll in the development of the town and was instrumental in bringing the Hosiery Mil and Promo Wear Ltd. to Teulon. Leo was also a member of the Teuon Golf & Country Club since it started, in 1974. Lil too was an active member of the Ladies Curling Club for 25 years and a member of the Teulon Golf & Country Club. 

The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are member’s of CREA. The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by CREA and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.