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By: Katia Gorshkova published in Style and Home March 8, 2024


It's easy to ignore the dust that accumulates on baseboards when we're vacuuming or cleaning the floors, but don't forget to pass a wet cloth in order to remove the gunk.


You'd be surprised how much dust accumulates inside a lampshade or a light fixture! Take them off for proper cleaning. And don't forget to turn off the light when you're dusting the bulbs.


Many of us like to imagine that once something falls behind the stove, it simply disappears—unfortunately, that's not the case. Push your kitchen appliances away from the wall and pick up all the dirt and gunk that's accumulated there throughout the year..


We tend to forget this one, but dust actually does settle on the top part of the door. Wipe it off with a cleaning solution.


Strip down your curtains (and clean your windows!) to refresh the air in your home. Fabrics attract and keep dust, so make sure to give them a good wash.


Whether you keep it on all year round or just take it out for the winter, make sure to properly disinfect it before putting it away.


Clean your drains by removing soap and other gross residue that can create nasty smells. Simply pour 1/2 part baking soda and 1/2 part white vinegar into the drain and let it sit for an hour. Then, wash it down with boiling water. You can also use a drain snake to get any hairs out.


While we often forget to reach around the toilet when we regularly clean our floors, give it a good wash during your next bathroom cleaning session.


We're always grabbing door handles, so they tend to accumulate bacteria and grease. Wipe them down with a good disinfectant.


When we put wet toothbrushes in the same holder day after day, the water droplets and humidity can eventually lead to mould developing. Pop your toothbrush holder in the dishwasher for a good rinse.


Between browsing for a movie and kids fighting for the remote, these things can get kind of gross. To clean them, wipe the body with a cloth dipped in a mixture of warm water and a few drops of soap (make sure to take out the batteries first!). If you want extra sanitization, dip a cotton swab in a mixture of one part vinegar and two parts water and pass it between the buttons.

These are just some tips on things you may not have thought about cleaning before getting your home ready to sell.  If selling your home is in your future and would like an indepth look at what else needs to be done, call me and lets discuss what you still need to do to get it ready for market.  

I am here to help.

Tony Rinella - B.A. Urban Studies

Ethos Realty



Divorce and Selling Your Home

Getting a divorce is difficult enough let alone dealing with the stress of selling your home.   

If you are getting a divorce, you are undoubtedly going to experience extreme emotions and it’s compounded by having to sell your home.  Your brain and your heart are not communicating in tandem.  You need to make rational decisions and detach yourself from those emotions.   I know its hard to do but this now becomes a business venture, and you will need to be fair with each other.  You need to shift gears and start thinking logically and not let your emotions get in your way. 

Your home is most likely the biggest investment in both your portfolio’s.  Do not let it become a source of revenge, it will only hurt you in the long run.  There are many costs associated with a divorce that you may not see immediately.  Apart from the obvious lawyer’s fee’s each person now needs to separate one current expense into two.  Depending on your financial income situation this can be a burden on one more than the other or both of you at the same time.

Here are some tips I have learned dealing with clients who have gone thru a divorce:

1  Take care of YOU first, both physically and emotionally.

You will be experiencing a lot of emotions that can derail your physical well being.  You will need your strength to get though this.   Set up a daily physical exercise routine to help you with your emotional roller coaster ride.  You may feel anger, regret, even hatred, and it can consume you into depression and not being able to think straight.   You will most likely go thru a grieving process and even become lethargic.  Now is not the time to sit idle.  You will need your strength going forward keeping your mind and your body fit will set you up to handle the stress it will go thru. 

2 Change your mindset as to what your home has now become.  

Your home is no longer going to be the sanctuary you once thought it was.   It is now a house not a home and it needs to be taken care of right away.  It has now transformed from a personal asset to a business asset.  If you have a mortgage on the house, you need to get your name off that debt as soon as possible. 

Most likely you need to sell the property, unless you can afford and have agreed to refinance it in your name it is wise to make sure you are off the mortgage.   This is not the same as signing off on the title.   A title states who are the owners of the property.  A mortgage states who are the owners of the debt.  Two separate things that need to be addressed in the divorce settlement.  Some people think since they signed off on the title, they no longer own the property therefore they no longer need to pay for the mortgage.  Not true, they still own the mortgage debt if you are not legally taken off.   This can be done before you sell or at time of accepting an offer.

Adding to this situation, discuss with the spouse that is moving out of the house to sign off on their homestead rights to the home.  It is easier to sell a home without homestead rights instead of having the other still lingering around at offer time.  Too many sales have been held up because the spouse who needs to sign off sabotages the sale by being spiteful.   This is something to discuss prior to putting your home up for sale and with your lawyers to see what is best for your situation.

3 Do not sabotage the equity in your home.

I have seen many divorces where one spouse is so angry, they do not want to settle to satisfy their power to control.  Irrational behavior leads to using the house sale as a means to get even.  Remember a house is now an asset not your home in a divorce.  A house is probably the biggest asset for both parties and sabotaging a sale will hurt both of you.

Make sure you house always shows well during the sale process.   Buyer will get turned off if they enter a property that is left purposely dirty or even trashed with garbage lying around.  The net proceeds of the sale are usually 50/50 and having a house not show well hurts both of your bottom lines.   It will cost you time and money when it sits on the market, and you receive a low-ball offer.  Buyers are like vultures when they find out you are in a difficult situation, they will use it to their advantage to offer you less.  Don’t do it!

4. Taking everything that belongs to you out of the house.

If you have already agreed upon a settlement and what is yours and what belongs to your spouse, and you are the one moving out, take it out when you leave.   Especially if you no longer have access to the keys and have been taken off the title and relinquished your homestead rights.   Its easier to sell a home when there is only one person selling it.   There have been situations where a spouse leaves their stuff in the home for staging purposes and then finds out when they come to get their belongings that the locks have been changed and you no longer have access to them.  Move out and move on.

5. Copy and scan important papers that you will need once a house is sold.  

Important papers include tax returns, bank statements, homestead rights relinquish forms, property taxes, utility bills, and anything else associated with expense of running house.  Anything that shows you are no longer on the hook for any outstanding debts.  Make copies and take it with you.

6 Hire a REALTOR® who has experience selling divorce properties and is impartial to both parties.

In some rare cases you will see two REALTORS® on a listing.  When buyers see two for sale signs on a property this is a sure indication that the property is being sold by two parties that do not trust each other and want independent representation when selling.   Interview more than one REALTOR® and choose one that both parties feel comfortable with.  It is far less complicated than having two REALTORS® doing the same work as one.  Two is not always better than one!

If a divorce is in your future and wish to discuss your situation with me, I would be more than happy to give you my advice on how to proceed.   I am here to help you! 

Tony Rinella (B.A. Urban Studies 1981)

Ethos Realty





There is a popular misconception that having your ducts cleaned are not necessary because it is a scam.   And there is some truth to that, but not what you think! 

Lets look at what duct cleaning does and why its important to you.  Your heating and cooling system relies on your ducts generating maximum air flow and that can only be accomplished by having clean air ducts to run more efficiently. Air ducts can not possibly stay clean by themselves with the amount of dust particles and allergen’s that occupy your home every day. 

This is even more true if you have pets.  The combination of dust, dander, pollen, and other pollutants that enter your home impact the air quality and can lead to allergies and respiratory issues.   Once you develop allergies they can be irreversible.

It is also important to note that an air duct cleaning will not remove ALL contaminants.  Keeping them clean significantly improves the air quality and left untreated your home will develop a musty smell or even mold, and mold loves to feed on itself as do allergens. Keep your home healthy and you will keep your lifestyle healthy.

How often should they be cleaned?

Depending on where you live and the environmental conditions, ducts should be cleaned every 2 – 3 years.   If you live where dust is constantly around you (like on a gravel road) you may consider cleaning them yearly.   This is more true if you have pets that contribute to the poor air quality in your home.

Cost to have your ducts cleaned is very reasonable and can be cleaned between $300 - $500, depending on the size, and any extra services you may wish to take advantage of.   Sometimes you can get the price cheaper if the services are on sale, but make sure the company is legitimate.

Now the scam part of having your ducts cleaned:

Cleaning your ducts is NOT a scam, but having them cleaned by unprofessional, unscrupulous people is.   If you are approached by someone that is soliciting a great deal on having your ducts cleaned, be cautious and find out who they are and how long they have been in business!   There was a time when this was a classic phone scam where they would call you to have your ducts cleaned claiming to provide professional services, while in reality, they deliver subpar work or no service at all.  Today, they have moved onto social media and offer their services thru online ads with Facebook and Instagram or Kijiji.    If you are approached, make sure you search them online and check to see that they are a legitimate Duct Cleaning service in your area and that they have references.  If they are calling from a foreign land or out of province area code, be careful and suspicious.

When selling your home, I always recommend having your air ducts cleaned before you list to sell.  Nothing turns off a home buyer more than walking into your home with a foul stale odor in the air.  Make sure your home smells fresh and is ready to make an impression.  I also recommend that the invoice be left on a table, so they can see you recently cleaned them.  Better yet, put all your recent invoices out to show you have kept your home clean over time.   It shows you care about your home and you care about having your home clean for the next person occupying it.

I am always here to help you with your Real Estate needs.   If you are planning on selling your home anytime soon, call me and I will give you my recommendations on who I trust to call to ensure the work is done properly and professionally. 


Tony Rinella – B.A. Urban Studies (1981)

Ethos Realty

204-771-3866  (Call or Text me)


The 4 Phases of Retirement – Are you prepared to retire?


I recently listened to a TEDx talk by Dr. Riley Moynes and it resonated with me.   My interest peaked because at my age and stage in life I get asked, (a lot) when I am going to retire.   My answer has always been when I am ready or feel I am not able to contribute to “my” state of well-being.   Which means when I am no longer capable of living on this earth.   To me, retirement is a state of mind and I do not conform to the norm because I choose at a young age to be different.  This does not mean the norm is right or wrong, it just means this was my choice and does not suit everyone.

You see, I have never worked a routine 9-5 job and rarely answered to a “boss” or had a routine. I am fortunate enough that I have been preparing for retirement since I started working as an independent self-employed person at the age of 20.   Not everyone has the mindset or wants to work independently and I know that.   However, when retirement comes into play it will affect all of us in different ways.

The majority of people I know have worked all their lives at a job that required them to be on the clock.   Be it the corporate environment answering to superiors or working eight-hour shifts, day in and day out.   When working independently as a salesperson, you are never off the clock, you create your clock and answer to yourself or your clients.   The beauty of this is that you determine when to work, who to work with, and when not to work.  Depending on how hard you work you get to enjoy plenty of free time to do other things in between.  I do understand that not everyone is capable of living in this environment and I get that.  However, when you do decide to retire from whatever career you are in, Dr, Moynes explains there are 4 stages of retirement you must be made aware of.

Here is what I learned and took away from Dr. Riley Moynes's talk: 

He explains there are 4 phases of retirement and if we are lucky enough to get to the 4th stage we will finally enjoy retirement and “squeeze all the juice out of retirement.”

Phase 1  is called the Vacation Phase:

Before you retire you need to be aware of the 2 things.  First and foremost, you need to be financially ready to retire before you make the big announcement.  And you also need to be aware of the physiological impact it will have on you. 

We are amid a retirement tidal wave and there are going to be a lot of people playing PICKLEBALL and going on VACATIONS in the years to come.  Like a lineup at a Disney World Ride the amount of people retiring is going to be enormous and the baby boom is in full retirement mode right now.  Phase 1 is also called the honeymoon phase and is all about doing what you want when you want, sleeping in, going for a walk, and taking a vacation.  No one is there to tell you what to do, and you have no routine.  FREEDOM!  Or so it seems, this lasts for about a year or two, and then it becomes boring.  

Phase 2 begins when feelings emerge of no routine or purpose.  We begin to feel lost and need to do something to be fulfilled. Dr. Moynes says we lose 5 things in this phase:

  1. Routine
  2. Identity
  3. Relationships
  4. Purpose
  5. And for some the loss of Power

He says we won't see them coming and we also might see the 3 D’s:

  1. Divorce
  2. Depression
  3. And Decline in physical and mental health

This phase is inevitable and we must recognize that we will experience some or all of these symptoms.  This is where we need to take control of our senses and get ready to move into phase 3.

Phase 3 we begin to ask ourselves:

“How can I make my life meaningful again?”

“How can I contribute to my life to regain my purpose?”

The answer is to start doing things that we love to do and enjoy doing.  However, be prepared for failure.  This is a trial and error phase and some of the things we love to do, you may not be able to do anymore.   This is especially true if health issues come up.   Recognize the limitations and try and do something else that you are capable of doing and love.  Keep experimenting with things till you find what works and gives you a purpose.   If you don’t, you will fall back into phase 2 and that’s not a good thing.  Don’t give up trying!   

Unfortunately, not everyone breaks into phase 4, but if you do it will bring you joy and happiness!

Phase 4 is the phase to “squeeze all the juice out of retirement.”    In this phase, you will discover your sense of purpose and accomplishment.   You will begin to feel satisfied and you will find who you are and give you the energy to get up in the morning and just be happy.   In almost all cases this is accomplished by being of “service to others.” 

You may enjoy volunteering at a charity, or maybe you might like getting together with friends at a social club, helping family, or learning something new by taking a class about something you are interested in.  Whatever it is make it something you love and give you satisfaction in doing it. 

This should not be a job, (although it can be) it is an activity that you love to do and brings you a feeling of accomplishment after doing it.  It does not have to be physical, but more importantly, it could also be mental.  Exercise your brain by joining an organization where you can share your knowledge.  Join your local Chamber of Commerce, or Rotary, and meet new people in your community.  Share your ideas, in your field of expertise and voice your opinions with like-minded people.  It is amazing how different we all are and the knowledge we possess and express is so valuable to others. 

Phase 4 eliminates the losses of Phase 2, which are:

  1. Loss of Routine
  2. Loss of Identity
  3. Loss of Relationships
  4. Loss of Purpose
  5. And loss of Power

In summary, Dr. Moynes says to enjoy the Vacation in Phase 1, prepare for the losses of Phase 2, experiment with the trials and tribulations of Phase 3, and if you make it to Phase 4, squeeze all the juice out of retirement.

I hope you enjoyed my interpretation of the Retirement Phases by Dr. Riley Moynes.

To view the full TEDx talk on YouTube,  here is the link:

If you are retiring and selling your home is part of your retirement plan, call me for a FREE Market Evaluation.   I am always here to help you.   My advice is FREE and the information is invaluable.

Tony Rinella - B.A. Urban Studies (1981)

Ethos Realty




Is there a Duty to Disclose a Murder or Suicide When Selling a Home in Manitoba?

I was recently asked by a client what our duty as REATLORS® is to disclose a death, suicide, or murder in a home.   The short answer is NO, the REALTOR® nor the Seller have any obligation to reveal ANY death UNLESS it is “specifically” asked by the Buyer.  But it must be SPECIFIC!

In Canada, REALTORS® need to act on behalf of their clients “lawful” wishes.   If the Seller does not wish to disclose a death, the REALTOR® representing the Seller does not have a duty to disclose.   However, you must disclose if a buyer specifically asks for it.    For example, if the buyer asks “why the seller is moving” the response can be to downsize, up size, move to another province, or whatever. However, if the buyer specifically asks “ has anyone ever died in the home because of unusual circumstances” then we are obligated to disclose the factual circumstances (to the best of our knowledge).   If a Seller does not tell us its difficult to disclose something we do not know.

In some cultures this is a major issue and if you know that it is an issue it is your duty as the Buyer REALTOR® to ask the question.   The onus however lies on the buyer to specifically ask “if a death has occurred in the home because of unusual circumstances”.    Even if a buyer asks if there are any “latent defects” (i.e., problems that are not visually apparent, even in an inspection), the seller does not have a duty to disclose the death.   

Argument can be made that this is “misrepresentation by omission” however court rulings have been made in the past and the judgement came back that  “Murder on the Property Doesn’t Affect the Use Value of a House, and so Sellers Do Not Need to Disclose Unless Specifically Asked About A Death”.  The following is the actual wording of a judgement that occurred in British Columbia:

“At the Court of Appeal, the sole issue before the court was the issue of fraudulent misrepresentation by omission. The Court concluded that an omission will not constitute a misrepresentation unless it relates to a material fact. The Court further concluded that the failure of the vendor to disclose facts relating to a subjective consideration of the purchaser (for example, the death of a person on the property) cannot constitute a misrepresentation unless the purchaser has made the vendor aware of the purchaser’s subjective concern. The Court found that absent a specific question there was no way for the vendor to know of the purchaser’s particular sensitivity to an event which occurred two years earlier and did not affect the quality of the house or its usefulness (para 49). In the context of the law of fraudulent misrepresentation, a representor cannot be held liable for fraudulent misrepresentation by omission for failing to disclose a fact which the representor did not know was material to the representee. (B.C Court, Dvorak 2019: 39)”

Judges interpret laws differently in each province but often refer to judgements in other provinces and the results are quite similar.  According to specifics of a case in Quebec, they also refered to the precedents set by previous judgements in other provinces. The case involved a seller’s son that had committed suicide in the house, which the buyer found out subsequently after they had moved in.  They filed a lawsuit for damages and the Judge dismissed the claim, making the following remarks:

“A death, suicide, or even a murder in a house cannot be considered to be something the seller is obliged to disclose to the buyer, just as there is no obligation to disclose domestic violence, trespasses, births, marriages, baptisms, or other life events, whether happy or sad, that may have occurred there.”

In conclusion when it comes to any death in a home, be it violent, or otherwise it is extremely difficult to determine where to draw the line.   Setting a judgement in favour of a death disclosure would be detrimental to the REAL ESTATE industry as a whole and would greatly impact the buying and selling of homes.  

If there was a Duty to Disclose, Sellers would then be required to disclose all levels of Deaths.  This would then lead to the disclosure of other levels of violence or domestic arguments that caused the death in the home. 

Eg :
“How did it occur”?
“Was it a health issue”?
“Did they die in their sleep”?  
“Was the death a suicide”? 
“Was it Murder”?

This would complicate matters further and could lead to the disclosure of divorce, separation, financial troubles, and host of other issues that can be interpreted by a buyer as “affecting the value” of the home.

Therefore, under current laws a seller is not obligated to disclose any reason for selling a home, unless it affects the usefulness of the property.  Since a death does not affect its usefulness value, there is no duty to disclose.  The doctrine of Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware) is still at the forefront, and it is the duty of the purchaser to specifically ask the question if it matters to them.     If the question is asked specifically, then and only then, does the seller have a duty to disclose the facts. 

If you have further questions or concerns regarding buying or selling a home, feel free to contact me and I will do my best to answer them or find out the answer for you.

Tony Rinella – B.A. Urban Studies

Ethos Realty




What Causes Flickering or Dimming Lights and What Can You Do to Fix Them?

Flickering lights in your house can be annoying, but it can also be a symptom of a much larger problem that needs your immediate attention. Even though flickering lights or lights dimming when a large appliance turns on are common household problems, they can indicate a serious electrical problem that should never be ignored.

Check the Severity of Flickering Lights in the House

You may wonder what is causing the flickering or dimming lights, but you know they could indicate that your home has an unknown safety hazard like faulty or damaged wiring. There could be a hefty bill for the solution in your near future.

Before you start looking into the root of the problem or call an electrician, you need to determine how often and how strong the flickering is. If it happens every so often when you have multiple appliances going simultaneously, especially large appliances that use high voltage like dishwashers or washing machines, then chances are the flickering isn’t critical. Often, lights flicker or dim as the appliances draw power to start or change cycles.

If you notice that the flickering lights in the house are consistent, extreme or nonstop, you should address the issue as soon as possible.

Common Causes of Flickering Lights in a House

Most homeowners sweep those flickers under the rug to deal with “if the problem gets worse.” But chances are that the problem is already in need of attention, and many homeowners don’t realize it’s an issue until it’s too late.

Here are some common causes for flickering lights:

Circuit Overload

Certain appliances and circuits can only handle so much electricity. In general, houses can only manage a certain amount of electrical voltage, and older homes can handle even less, especially if your wiring is older.  Knob and Tube wiring was never meant to handle today’s power-hungry appliances.  And to a certain extent the same goes with Aluminum wiring if it has become brittle over time.  As previously mentioned, make sure to check if the flickering lights in the house are intense, consistent, or continuous over a long period.

It may not only be the wiring that is overloading the circuit.   If you have the wrong lights installed the may, be drawing more than the recommend amount of power also.   Call a professional electrician to handle the inspection as you may need a larger voltage supply or a dedicated circuit.

Issues with Your Electricity Service

Neighborhoods often share transformers, so if you live in a community, this may be the source of the flickering lights in the house. Shared transformers in neighborhoods have individual electricity loads. This means that all units essentially “share” the electrical supply. So even when you aren’t using a lot of electricity, your neighborhood might be, which is causing your lights to flicker.

Electrical Voltage Fluctuations

The standard voltage in most homes is 120V. If you know how to test your voltage, the ideal reading should be between 115V to 125V. However, when voltage exceeds 125V, it could cause flickering lights in the house. This could be the result of deeper issues in your electrical system, such as problems with faults or technical issues. Too much voltage can lead to serious electrical problems and is a safety hazard.

Outdated Switches, Outlets or Loose Connections

This is very common, and most people ignore the outlets.  Over time, if you have outlets that were put in 40 years ago, connections will become loose, and the loose wires can cause flickering lights in a house. You can check for loose light bulbs, bent prongs, loose wiring, damaged wiring and loose outlets. However, if you check these and still can’t determine the root cause, you need to call in a professional licensed electrician.

Instead of an appliance, the loose connection could be in a switch box, light fixture or outlet. If so, it could lead to electrical arcing. Arcing is when electricity jumps over spaces in connections. This can be very dangerous and can cause fire or electric shock.  It is a good practice to update your outlets if they have been there since the 1980’s.    Outlets and switches do wear out over time.

Problems with Main Connection

If you don’t see a pattern, don’t think flickering lights in the house are connected to any appliance, or notice flickering all over the home, immediately call an electrician. This could indicate a problem with the primary electrical cable connection. As with all electrical issues, do not attempt to diagnose or fix this yourself because high voltage wires are involved.

Using the Wrong Bulbs

Using newer LED bulbs when the appliance is made for older incandesence bulbs may not bet well-suited for dimmer switches can cause flickering lights in a house. Luckily, this is a quick, inexpensive, and simple fix—just find a bulb that is rated for the socket and switch them out.  Or switch the socket to handle Led Bulbs.

Faulty Switches and Other Appliances

Flickering lights in a house can also simply be a faulty fixture, light switch or piece of electrical equipment. If you think this is the case or are unsure what the root of the problem is, it’s time to call in an expert electrician who is trained to handle any electrical situation.

Address and Repair Your Flickering Lights Today

Even if you don’t think there is anything immediately concerning about the flickering lights in a house, you should never ignore it. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, even with something as seemingly small as a flickering light. Flickering or dimming lights can signify a more significant issue that can lead to injury, fires or even death. A simple home electrical inspection is well worth the price of keeping your family safe and saving you from an entire home renovation if a fire were to occur.

The only way to get to the root cause and solve the issue safely and effectively is to rely on trained electricians, so you and your home stay safe. If you notice any flickering lights in a home, do not hesitate to call a certified professional electrician today.   Its not worth having your home burn down over something as simple as replacing an electrical outlet, especially if you are in it.

If you need a recommendation on a qualified electrician to assist you with your problem do not hesitate to call me and I will recommend a trusted and reliable professional electrician that I use and trust.

I am here to help!

Tony Rinella - B.A. Urban Studies

Ethos Realty 




Concerned About Your Property Taxes?

Market Value vs Tax Assessed Value - What’s the Difference?

Let’s look at how the Market Value of a home is determined.

MARKET VALUE of a home is a constant moving target and can change from moment to moment depending on if you are a buyer or seller.  This can be frustrating, and many people don’t understand that the LISTING PRICE of a home is not fixed or absolute.   In REAL ESTATE the LISTING PRICE is just a starting point to determine MARKET VALUE by commencing communications between two parties that are interested in Selling and Buying.   Once these communications are finalized and all terms and conditions are met, MARKET VALE is determined. 

Lets say you go to a hardware store and purchase a hammer that you want or need.   The PRICE of that item is fixed, and you purchase it because you need it and its priced right for you.  You typically do not go to the till and negotiate the price with the till person.   

In Real Estate, REALTORS® use comparable recent sales of similar homes in style, size, and location to come up with the “asking LIST PRICE” to attract a BUYER to come view a home and determine if the home suits their needs, wants, emotions and budget.

So, in plain English the Market Value is “the price a buyer is willing to pay for a home, and that a seller is willing to accept.”

Let’s look at how the Assessed Value of home is determined.

Determining the Assessed Value of a home depends on why the property is being assessed and for what purposes.

When trying to understand the assessment value of a property, you must know who is doing the assessing and why the property is being assessed.  Banks will send a property assessor to determine loan values.   Insurance companies will send a property assessor to determine replacement cost of the buildings.   City of Winnipeg or Municipalities will send a property assessor to determine value for tax purposes.

To arrive at the City of Winnipeg Assessed Value for Property Taxes, the assessor looks at what similar homes have recently sold for in your area with any recent improvements, and any rental income you may be making from the property.  The Assessed Value is then multiplied by a “MILL RATE” for your area to determine the tax you pay on your property.    

You may be asking now what is a “MILL RATE” and how is it Set?

Mill Rates are based on the total value of all properties within a municipality, to provide the necessary tax revenue to cover projected expenses in their annual budgets, including things such as infrastructure, police and emergency services, and public schools. For this reason, and also because of fluctuating real estate values, a tax assessor typically updates the taxable value of the property every few years.  As we already know these values are constantly changing and it is impossible to determine a Mill Rate at any given moment.  Mill rates also frequently vary for different types of property, areas of the city and for residential, commercial, or industrial properties.  Hence why you will see an Assessed Property value that is lower than the current market value.

For example, let’s say your mill rate has been calculated @ 10.   That means that your property tax is equal to 1.0% of your property's assessed value. To calculate your property tax, they multiply your property's mill rate (10) by the assessed property value ($400,000) and divide it by 1,000.    Your taxes will be $4000 for that year.

In the end, the assessor comes up with an assessment value of a home and uses the above formula to come up with the Assessed Vale for Tax Purposes.  The higher your home value the more taxes you will pay in taxes.  Don’t be upset if your Assessed Value is lower than what you thought!    It just means you are paying less taxes than the Market Value.   

A little confusing, I know, but if you feel your property is assessed higher than what you think your property is actually worth you may want to have your property re-assessed.  You can apply for a review of your property with the City of Winnipeg Assessment Department by visiting their website @

 Just be aware they may charge you for doing the review!

If you would like a COMPLIMENTARY MARKET VALUE assessment to determine its true current value compared to the ASSESSED VALUE before you apply, I would happy to complete a REPORT that you can take with you to justify your concerns to the board.   I’m here to help!   

You can also visit my FREE HOME EVALUATION page and enter your details here:

Tony Rinella – B.A. Urban Studies (1981)

Ethos Realty




Moving with Children

Moving is exciting and daunting at the same time, but even more challenging when children are involved.

Children hate change and emotions of uncertainty, anxiety, and sadness of leaving their comfort zone will most likely set in.   As a parent it is important you prepare your children to transition into your surroundings and make it as stress free as possible by involving them in the process.  Talk to them and address their concerns to make them feel comfortable.  Children stress about leaving their friends, their school, and their everyday surroundings that they are comfortable with.  Get them involved in the move so they feel comfortable with new surroundings.

Here are some tips that may help you:

1. Explain to them why they are moving and what the new home will be like to help them ease their fears and anxiety.  This is a very important part of the process.

2. Get them involved in the move by having them pack their belongings (not you).  This will make them feel invested in the move and not forced out of their home.

3. Have them make a list of things they would like in the new home.   This can be things they already have or may want in the future.   This will give them a positive outlook to moving.

4. Make sure their routine is kept as close as possible.  This means socializing with friends, going to school, attending extra calicular activities, mealtimes, and bedtimes. 

5. Pack a special bag for each child with their favourite toys, books, and snacks to keep them occupied during the move.

6. If you must, hire a sitter of send them with family or friends for moving day, if they are too young to help.

Packing and labelling boxes for moving.

7. Label boxes clearly so that you can quickly find belongings and set up their rooms in the new house first.

8. Have a plan for dinner the first night by having their favourite food ordered in so they are excited about the big day.    

9. Throw a goodbye party prior to the move for your children and their friends before you move. Give them a chance to say goodbye and feel closure about leaving their old home and friends.

10. Take photos of your old home with your children so they can remember their community.  When they are older they will appreciate these photos and bring back memories of where they came from.

11. Try and maintain connections with their old friends by scheduling visits and phone calls or video chats. This will help them ease into the new community.

12. Visit the new house and community ahead of time as much as possible and let them get familiar with the new surroundings and reduce their anxiety about the move.

13. Get your children involved in choosing decorations for their new room, such as paint colours or bedding. This can help them feel more excited and invested in the move.

14. Most Importantly - Be patient!

After The Move:

Now that you have moved in its not over yet!    They will need assistance in the transition.

15. Explore the new neighbourhood together by taking walks or bike rides around the neighbourhood with your children.  This will give them an opportunity to meet other children with you by their side.  This will help them get comfortable with the new area and new people.

16. Get involved in the community, be it enrolling them in sports, clubs or volunteering.  This will help you and them feel more connected to the community and your new home.

17. Have a family night and play games or make popcorn and watch a movie together.   Make it a fun night so they feel connected to you and the new home.

18.  Remember that routines are going to make them comfortable and secure in their new home.

19.  Make it a priority to meet your new neighbours as quick as possible.  Some neighbours will come and introduce themselves, but some may feel shy to say hello.   Go out into the community and help them meet the new neighbours and their children.  They will feel more welcomed and accept the new community.   A great place to meet neighbours is the local park, the school playground, and just walking around the neighbourhood and introducing yourself and your children.

20.   Above all always keep an open communication with your children about how they are feeling and any concerns they have about the move. Encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings about the new home.

Moving with kids can be challenging, but with some planning and preparation, it is possible to make the move a positive and pleasant experience for everyone.

If you or someone you know needs advice on REAL ESTATE, please feel free to reach out to me and

I will do my best to be of assistance.   I am here to help!

Tony Rinella – B.A. Urban Studies (1981)

Ethos Realty




Fix it or Leave it "as is"?

Fix it? Or leave it “as is”?
When preparing your property for sale, you want to make it as attractive as possible to buyers.

After all, the more buyers like what they see, the higher the probability you’ll get good offers.
That’s why it’s advisable to clean, declutter, decorate, fix, and improve as much as possible.
But, how far should you go with fixing and improving?

For example, should you tear down the old deck and build a new one? Or, should you leave it as is?
Should you paint the main floor? Or is it okay to leave the faded finish and few wall dents just as they are?

Those can be difficult questions to answer because many factors come into play.

• What is the traditional return on investment for that home improvement? (In other words, how much will you get back when you sell?)
• To what degree will the fix or improvement help sell your home faster and/or for a higher price?
• If you don’t make the fix or improvement, will those deficiencies be likely to dissuade buyers who would otherwise be interested in buying your property?
• What are the current market conditions? Are there other listings in the area competing with yours?
• How much will the fix or improvement cost? Is it affordable, given the benefits of having a listing that’s more attractive and move-in ready?

Once you have answers to those questions, you’ll have a clearer idea of whether to fix it or leave it as is. I can help you get those answers. 

Call today, 

Tony Rinella  - B.A. Urban Studies                                                                                             Ethos Realty  204-771-3866


How to Prevent Icicles and Ice Dams

By David Square

Icicles are cool because they switch colour as the day progresses, changing from yellow when the sun rises in the early morning, to sky blue during the day and to bright red at sunset. They are also a source of free popsicles for kids and are a herald during the Christmas holiday season.

Unfortunately, these sparkling tributes to winter are problematic if they hang from eavestroughs on your house, as they are a sign that heat is escaping through a poorly insulated attic.

Moreover, icicles that continue to drip in cold weather form ice dams inside gutters that prevent water from running off the roof, diverting it under shingles instead. The seeping water will damage the roof’s deck and, in time, other areas of a home such as ceilings and interior walls.

A stop-gap method to prevent ice dams from forming is to line gutters with heat tapes purchased from a building materials store. The tapes come in various lengths to accommodate most gutters. When plugged into a 120-V outdoor receptacle, elements inside the tapes generate heat to melt ice dams and icicles. Though tapes are effective, they are an unfavourable option to solve your problem because they are costly to purchase and expensive to operate. Moreover, they do not prevent heat escaping from your attic and, at the same time, substantially increase your electricity bill.

There are two ways to satisfactorily fix your ice problem:

1. Sell your house and move far away.

2. Take up the DIY banner and tackle the situation with a little cash and help from your friends.

As a confirmed DIYer, I suggest the second approach. It will test your personal true grit and separate true friends from acquaintances.

How to begin

Find the trap door that leads to your attic. Before you force it open, take the preventive measure of covering yourself and the floor below with some sort of tarp. This way, when you open the door, you will be prepared for a cascade of sawdust, old newspapers, vermiculite, and rodent skeletons, assuming your attic has any insulation whatsoever.

Before venturing inside the attic, don a pair of overalls, a dust mask ( N95 $2 each) and a pair of safety glasses. (Goggles fog up.)  If there is a layer of insulation in good condition already between the joists, then leave it in place.

Check for areas where light is visible through electrical boxes installed in the ceiling below. Small spaces between boxes are a source of heat that escapes into the attic. Fill the spaces with polyurethane spray foam. If there are a lot of cracks to be sealed, purchase a $40 reusable spray gun which is threaded to accept large cans of foam.  Also, if not in place, staple insulation baffles between the rafters to prevent insulation from blocking incoming fresh air from the soffits. These baffles are especially important if you use loose-fill insulation that could otherwise plug the soffits.

Manitoba’s building code recommends R-50 to R-60 in attics of newly built houses because 20% to 30% of a home’s heat is lost through poorly insulated garrets. (There is a continuing debate as to whether a six-mil vapour barrier is required.)

If you decide to perform an insulation upgrade to an older home, you have a choice of insulations to choose from, including fibreglass batts, mineral fibre batts, blown-in loose fibreglass or cellulose and spray foam.

Spray foam has the highest insulation value at R-5.5 to R-6 per inch. However, it is the most expensive product available and, though DIY spray kits can be purchased for about $500, the results can be disappointing if the chemicals are not precisely mixed when they exit the gun. Personally, I would hire professionals for this job as they are experienced and own commercial application equipment, including mixing tanks, guns, goggles, and respirators.

Cellulose is a loose-fill material that is ideal for attics because it is denser than fibreglass or mineral fibre that are commonly blown into existing walls. Building materials stores rent cellulose blowing machines that require at least two people to operate; one person to toss cellulose bales into the hopper and the other to operate the hose in the attic. A patient DIYer can blow this insulation into nooks and crannies that cannot be accessed by solid batts or rigid foam boards. Diligence will create a tightly sealed attic.

Mineral fibre is sold at home improvement centres, mainly in 16” and 24” batts about four feet long. It has a lower insulation value than fibreglass, but it has superior fire resistance and sound-proofing characteristics.

Pink fibreglass batts are the most common form of insulation used in residential and commercial construction. They are of similar size to mineral batts, but their R-value is slightly higher. Both types of insulation can be blown into attics. However, the toxicity of the fibre dust requires workers to wear sophisticated protective gear. Best leave this job to professionals.

For DO IT YOURSELFERS, the most economic and easy-to-install insulation is either fibreglass or mineral batts. When used to insulate an attic, the batts should be placed between the joists (normally 16” or 24” OC) and pushed firmly against the insulation baffles. Gaps between the joists and batts can be filled with cut offs.  When the insulation is at the height of the joists (3½” to 5½”), the next layer of batts should be laid perpendicular to the first. Continue to add batts in a similar manner until the attic is full. In small attics, it is difficult to insulate the entire space to R-50; however, if air leaks have been properly sealed, you will have solved your icicle/ice dam problem. Now you will have to seek out a house in the neighbourhood with poor attic insulation to get a glimpse of those glorious harbingers of Yuletide.

Note:  David Square sadly passed away in 2021, but he was a respected wood worker and freelance journalist at Winnipeg Free Press

I like referring people that I trust to help you with your home maintenance, and I discovered a Winnipeg renovation expert that has invented an easy to install insulation system.  His name is Ted Cullen, and you can visit his company’s website at  to check them out or you can contact them at:


President: Ted Cullen 1-204-736-3012

His Cell: (204) 791-2322


HEAD OFFICE   1680 Sargent Ave., Unit 3

Winnipeg, MB   R3H 0C2

If you know of anyone who could use some real estate advice, please feel free to tell them about me.  I am here to help.

Thank You   


Mortgage rates are about to drop!

What will the future hold if they do?

Disclaimer:   This is my opinion and should not be taken as fact as I am only going by my experience in Real Estate over the last 40 years.

In 2023 I saw a few things happening that we have not experienced in a very long time.  Homeowners saw the rising mortgage rates as a reason to “lock-in” and stay put and not sell.  This caused a lower inventory of homes coming to market.   Home buyers saw rising rates and caused them to take a second look at buying and lowered their buying power.  Some buyers also decided to stay put or wait for lower home prices and or rates.  Lower inventory of homes coming to market and lower inventory of buyers caused the demand and supply to equalize and kept home prices from falling.  

There has been a lot of talk of mortgage rates dropping lately.  We are noticing some signs of a rebound in demand as both buyers and sellers are getting climatized to the current rates.  I think if rates drop, homeowners who wish to upsize, or downsize will put their homes on the market, and buyers will return causing demand to rise as well as prices.  Although not as much as we saw during the pandemic.   However, if rates continue rising, more homeowners will lock in rates and stay put.  First time home buyers will have a difficult time buying and will be forced to lower their expectation or look at renting till inventory picks up again.  Buying a home with rising interest rates will depend on each persons buying power and financial situation.

History seems to suggest that mortgage rates only need to stabilize to fuel increased home sales. In other words, a return to pandemic-era low mortgage rates may not be necessary to impact sales activity.  Once consumers settle into a new normal, we could see transaction volume increase in both buyers and sellers.

History shows that this is a repeat of the late 1970’s to early 1980’s.

In many ways, today’s housing market mirrors conditions in the early 1980s. It started in the early ’70s, when baby boomers became of age and started buying homes as they married and started families.  Much like millennials today who have led the homebuying boom during the pandemic!

Back in the early 70’s home prices started to rise because demand far exceed the supply of existing homes coming to market. This demand lasted till the early 80’s as interest rates rose to a high of 21%.  The Federal Government during that time was trying to control inflation by raising interest rates.  Home sales declined by almost 50% from 1978 to 1982, and then prices became flat.

During a 10 year period rates went from 11% to 21% from 1979 to 1981.  Then dropped from 21% back down to 11% from 1982 to 1988.   See the graph below.

Mortgage rates only came down about two percentage points before existing-home sales picked up again, even though they had been about eight percentage points lower four years earlier. However, there’s a key difference in today’s housing market:  Home prices are much HIGHER compared to the early 80’s.

Other factors to consider are that the percentage of mortgage debt is far greater today compared to back then.  Also consider that in the 1980’s it was common to purchase a home with an assumable mortgages also assisted in the sales activity that we do not see available right now.  

For those of you who do not know what an assumable mortgage is, in simple terms it is a mortgage that can be assumed by the buyer from the home seller.   Back then if you had an assumable mortgage on your home at say at 10% and rates were at 18% it was a selling advantage to offer it to the buyer instead of them arranging a new mortgage.    In some cases, buyers would take a second mortgage at a higher rate as well as the assumable mortgage in order to be able to buy the home.  

Today we have a situation that rates are actually low compared to 1980’s and prices are high. 

The fact that some home owners “locked in” rates may have different effect on the Real Estate market compared to the 1980’s.   Homeowners may start to feel “locked in” and may avoid selling all together.  Couple that with high home prices and some people will be reluctant to move, especially young families.

Another factor that will have an impact on housing prices will be the growing influx of immigration. Canada and Manitoba specifically is seen as a safe place to live and grow a family.   With this growth in population, pressure to buy from the millennials, and lagging supply will continue to fuel the demand to buy a home.

The Bottom Line

If history is an indication of the behavior of sellers today, we may start to see existing-home sales increase gradually alongside falling mortgage rates. But too many factors are at play to determine with accuracy whether sellers will return to the market in 2024.

If mortgage rates fall enough early in the year, demand could rebound quickly, pushing prices even higher. But there’s still the possibility that a deep recession and rise in unemployment could lead to an influx of new supply from distressed sellers and more price reductions. Many experts expect conditions to hold steady in 2024 until mortgage rates fall again in the future.

If you are thinking of buying or selling a home, call me to discuss how I can help you.

Tony Rinella – Ethos Realty

B.A. Urban Studies (1981)



Real Estate Service Agreements - What are they and Why do you need to sign one?


What are they and why am I required to sign one

just to view or sell a home?

As of January 1, 2022, it is now a requirement by law, in Manitoba, to have a Service Agreement signed and in place between a REALTOR® and a BUYER or SELLER, before any services can be provided to you!  This LAW is administered by the MANITOBA SECURITIES COMMISSION and is formally called Bill C70 in the MANITOBA LEGISLATURE.  Failure to comply with this LAW can result in fines, to the violating REALTOR® of up to $500,000.00!

The LAW States that before a REALTOR® can provide you any service, information, sending property listings, arranging viewings, providing market evaluations, opinion of value, advertising, or advising on pricing, etc.  A Service Agreement must be prior signed and agreed to by all parties.  NO EXCEPTIONS!

The goal of this SERVICE AGREEMENT is to assist buyers and sellers better understand the services REALTORS® have promised to provide YOU as a customer prior to engaging their service.  REALTORS® can not provide you with any services without it. Its like driving without a licence. 


By signing a service agreement with a REALTOR® it authorizes that REALTOR® to provide you the service you require.  It is not a contract for compensation, you are not obligated to pay anything to the REALTOR® for this service.  All it does is give the REALTOR® permission to provide the service you are asking for.   


This agreement must have a commencement and termination date.  You can terminate this agreement at any time, unless otherwise stated in the SERVICE AGREEMENT.  If you terminate the agreement before the date of expiry, it must be clearly stated either in writing or by electronic communication.


IF YOU ARE A BUYER, there is NO COST to sign a Service Agreement, unless another arrangement has been agreed upon.

IF YOU ARE A SELLER, there is NO COST to sign a Service Agreement.  The only time there is a cost to a SELLER is after a SELLER signs a LISTING AGREEMENT that outlines the commissions to be paid for selling the home. However, payment only occurs after the sale is finalized, or whatever arrangement for remuneration has been agreed upon in the LISTING AGREEMENT.


Unfortunately, if you do not feel comfortable signing a SERVICE AGREEMENT the REALTOR® can not provide you any service, be it buying or selling.


The Service Agreement is NOT an “Exclusive Agreement”.  “Not Exclusive” means you can sign a Service Agreement with more than one REALTOR® and you can choose the length of time for it to be valid. It can be as short or long as you both agree upon.   However, you both must agree, and it must be in writing with an expiration date.

What is the difference between Exclusive and Not Exclusive Agreement?   A good example of Exclusive is when you are a Seller and sign an Exclusive Listing Agreement (MLS) or if you are a Buyer and sign a Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement.  Exclusive means you are under contract with one REALTOR®. You are “Exclusive” as a client to that one REALTOR® representing YOU!  Not Exclusive means you are not under contract, and you can deal with multiple REALTORS®.  Hence why you are not under contract when you sign a Service Agreement.   All a Service Agreement does is authorize a REALTOR to perform a service before a sale is made.

For more clarity about the difference with Listing Agreements or Buyer Agency Agreements and Service Agreements should be discussed with your REALTOR®.


If you are a SELLER, you may sign more than one Service Agreements with multiple REALTORS® so you may receive multiple Home Market Evaluations to determine the value of your home or to find the best REALTOR® to represent you in the sale.

For a BUYER – you may sign multiple Service Agreements if you are “just looking” and not serious about buying a home just yet OR you have not found the “Right REALTOR®” to represent you. (Caution when contacting a REALTOR® who is advertising a home for sale)!  The LISTING REALTOR®  is not obligated to show you a home and may not sign a SERVICE AGREEMENT with you. 

The LISTING REALTOR® is under contract “exclusively” with the SELLER OR may NOT be authorized by the SELLER to show you the home.


Because, under the Exclusive Listing Contract with the SELLER, the LISTING REALTOR® has already signed a Service Agreement authorizing them to allow public customers attend a “PUBLIC” OPEN HOUSE. 

If the SELLER does NOT AGREE to having a “PUBLIC” OPEN HOUSE, then a BUYER must sign a SERVICE AGREEMENT with a REALTOR® to view it “PRIVATELY” with a REALTOR® of their choice.

If you call the LISTING AGENT to schedule a viewing and they are not willing to show you their listing, its because they may not be authorized to do so. 

If you are viewing a private sale, Service Agreements do not apply! 


This NEW law (January 1, 2022) may be a little confusing, if you are in the market to buy or sell a home, feel free to call me, I am here to help!

Tony Rinella – B.A. Urban Studies

Ethos Realty

755 Osborne Street

Winnipeg, MB.  R3L 2C4

204-771-3866  Call or Text