August 2019 Real Estate Market Stats

August 2019 Real Estate Market Stats Stay up-to-date with the real estate market with our monthly market update. Read below for last month’s market update and scroll down for previous month’s stats. Market Updates from Past Months July 2019 June 2019 May 2019 April 2019 March 2019 February 2019 January 2019 Archive: July 2019 Market Stats Archive: June 2019 Market Stats Archive: May 2019 Market Stats Archive: April 2019 Market Stats Archive: March 2019 Market Stats Archive: February 2019 Market Stats Archive: January 2019 Market Stats

Toronto Real Estate

Should I Buy or Sell First? What’s Less Stressful?

Buy or Sell First? What's Less Stressful? This is one of the most common issues our clients have and it plagues them with unanswered questions and sleep loss. “If I Buy first, I’ll have to have sell my home by a certain date.” “If I Sell first, I’ll feel forced to buy a house.” There isn’t a magic answer, however, there is a formula for making the right choice for you. Let’s break down the 4 major steps involved in buying/selling, so we can pinpoint the main stresses, and sift out all the other “annoyances”. Stage 1 – Education and Preparation This is the stage where you prepare your home for sale and get accustomed to the market you’re buying […]

Investor’s Tips for Happy Long-Term Tenants

A happy tenant means a happy landlord. Happy tenants are more likely to renew their lease, keep you informed of any issues in the property, and also take care of the property being rented. Here are a few investor tips to maintain a good rapport and keep your tenant happy. Be a proactive landlord – Make sure the property is in good condition when the tenant moves in. This determines the quality of your tenant and how they will treat it themselves. It’s a good idea to establish grounds for open communication and educate the tenants on the property rules and quirks. Be responsive to the tenants’ needs – Tenants, like most people, don’t appreciate being ignored so return calls, […]

Parking Matters

Parking Matters – Blog Parking is a big deal, even if you don’t have a vehicle. All of our buyers looking in Toronto’s parking restrictive core get this crash course.  There are many different parking scenarios in Toronto, so we attempted to rank them according to our biased experience from most to least favourable. Parking Via Public Laneway Arguably better than private drives. Your land is utilized better with no driveway, and it also has better curb appeal, and more front or back yard space. Most city public laneways are wide and accessed by concrete. A main negative to laneway parking is the laneway being inaccessible if another car blocks the way, or if there is a large snowfall that […]

Condo Insurance Explained

We once had a client who had a washer/dryer malfunction that caused damage to their unit and 14 units below them. Because they did not have insurance and it was an issue in their unit, it was their responsibility to cover the cost of these damages. Your condominium corporation has insurance, but only for the building’s common elements. Most would strongly suggest insurance for your individual unit. Most condo insurance policies cover: Your personal liability for property damage or bodily damage you unintentionally cause to others (if a fire or flood starts in your unit). Your personal property (appliances, furniture, clothing, electronics, and items in your locker). Additional living expenses in the event you are relocated during the condo’s restoration. […]

Credit Matters!

Let’s talk credit as it relates to real estate. A good credit score complimented with proven income are the main imputes required for a mortgage approval. It’s never too late to check, maintain and improve your score. Start at either of Canada’s main reporting agencies Equifax or Transunion. Long story short, a score of 700 basically implies you’re in the clear, and have maintained your credit facilities well enough for most lenders to be satisfied. Under 680 might imply more hurdles for you to jump through to satisfy a lender. Remember, your rating is based on many factors being reported and a statistical calculation of all those factors. So be proactive and aggressive, as a banking error might miss a payment or a […]

Downsizing to a Condo – The Lifestyle Transition

Living in a house is quite different from living in a condo. There are things to consider when making the transition from a house to a condo, including costs, living space and lifestyle. As the market continues to rise, houses may be less affordable and downsizing to a condo is becoming a popular option. Condo Living If you want to downsize from your family home, a condo is a more affordable option. The average cost of a condo in Toronto in 2018 was $552,423, compared to the average cost of a house, which was $1,009,535. Forget about mowing the lawn, shoveling the snow, and landscaping, that’s someone else’s job now. Even if you live on the second floor, you do […]

Be Nice To Your Concierge

If you live in a condo, there’s one person you probably see on a regular basis. That person is your concierge and they can have a big impact on your day-to-day condo living. There are many reasons to be kind to your concierge, if for no other reason than they literally know where you live. First of all, your concierge is a shift worker. When you see them, it is often at the beginning or the end of their day. If you’re nice to them as you’re coming and going, you have the chance to help your concierge start or end their day on a happy note. There’s a few things to keep in mind regarding your concierge. They handle […]

Condo Liens – Avoid Them At All Costs!

A client of ours, and current condo owner, had required work done for their unit, performed by the condo corp. They saw a $2,600 total charge for a $600 unpaid fee relating to this work. A misunderstanding escalated, the owner adamantly refused to make payment and ignored important notices regarding the charge. The condo’s property manager and board members were left with the only option of a placing a lien on the property, as permitted by the Condominium Act, 1998. The $2,000 in lawyer fees, lien registration fees and lien discharge fees could have been avoided if the owner was more informed.   Pay attention to your condominium notices. If you are in arrears for maintenance fees, a special charge […]

Knob and Tube Wiring

Knob & Tube wiring pops up during a real estate transaction. It occurs when a buyer discovers it during a home inspection, or a responsible seller discloses it.   What is it? Pictured above is the way houses were most commonly wired between 1880s and 1920s. Individual wires are suspended from white ceramic knobs and go through ceramic tubes where passing through joists. If a home was built in the 1930s or earlier, it was likely wired with Knob and Tube. Knob & Tube is actually still an approved and safe form of wiring by the ESA (Electrical Safety Authority). For the dry facts, read more info here. What’s the deal? The main source of headache is when buyers are […]

Real Estate Myths

1. Listing Price Doesn’t Matter You should not list over a fair market price or you won’t get the exposure your listing deserves in the Internet, MLS and marketing. You don’t want to be outside the market but in it. The listing price should be chosen very close to the date the listing is loaded, with an understanding of available comparable listings for sale and recent sold prices. 2. You Don’t Have To Fix Up Or Stage An Old House. You need to put every effort in presenting your home in the best possible light. You don’t want to distract in any way from the space, rooms, light, lot and details (even dated ones). We have often listed a home […]

Roles of a Realtor

Pre-Listing Activities Review pre-appointment questions Research all comparable currently listed properties Research sales activities for past 18 months from MLS and public records databases Download and review property tax roll information Prepare unique “Opinion of Value” to establish fair market value Research property’s ownership and deed type Research property’s public record information for lot size and dimensions Research and verify legal description Research property’s land use coding and deed restrictions, zoning, etc. Verify legal names of owner(s) in public property records Prepare listing presentation package Perform exterior “curb appeal assessment” of subject property and area Listing Presentation Give seller an overview of current market conditions and projections Review agent’s and company’s credentials and accomplishments in the market Present Opinion of […]

Aluminum Wiring

Aluminum Wiring In Your home is okay, but involves some Insurance “Fun”. Aluminum wiring is common in homes built in the Mid 1960s to Late 1970s and is still a completely acceptable form of wiring according to the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA). You still need to be informed, and if buying or selling a home with Aluminum wiring, you should be informed of the solutions and costs. Homes with Aluminum wiring can be perfectly safe, and insurable but you need to understand the safety issues and understand what insurance companies will want. There are still safety concerns with aluminum wiring: Creep Aluminum expands more than copper with the heat produced with electrical flowing. Constant expanding and contracting can cause the […]

Commission Explained

Commission is a commonly misunderstood part of the home selling process. While most people understand that it involves a percentage paid to a realtor, many key aspects of this part of a transaction remain unclear to many. As this payment can add up to tens of thousands of dollars, you need to understand it in order to be a truly informed buyer or seller.   The Seller During a sale transaction, the Seller hires a Listing Agent to sell their property. The Seller and Listing Agent sign a listing agreement that will outline the terms and will show the commission rate, typically 5% (which is HST applicable). In this listing agreement, it will also show that there will be a […]

Tips For Renovating Your Condo

Whether you’ve just bought a condo that needs some love, or have been living in one for several years, you have probably been considering ways to spruce things up. While condo renovations are typically far less complicated and nuanced than house renos, there are some key ways to make your project as high-impact and low-stress as possible. Painting There’s perhaps no better way to feel like you’re in a new space than by adding a fresh coat of paint. But there are some important choices to make along the way. Here are some important considerations for any condo-painting project: Use bright colours (typically, the brighter the better in small spaces) Make your trim pop by using a different colour for […]

Why You Should Get A Home Inspection

The Smart Way to Go For the typical home buyer, a home inspection should be considered an essential stage in the purchasing process. It arms you with a detailed report from a true expert who has gone through an extensive checklist of virtually everything that could go wrong with the property and eat into your pocketbook. This includes the roof, grading, plumbing, electrical, heating/cooling, and so forth. To make a long story short, the home inspector acts like a physician giving a physical, without the annoying waiting room.   Timing is Everything Many home buyers have the mistaken idea that they need to wait until after they’ve made their purchase to get a home inspection, as an exercise in due diligence. […]

Ask A Mortgage Broker

Mark Oulahen interviewed Mortgage Specialist, Tony Iozzo from TD Canada Trust with all the frequently asked questions about mortgages. What is good or bad credit? What rating do I need to have no issues to get a mortgage? We want to see credit ratings at 680 or higher to have no issues. We will consider a credit rating under 680, however, a little extra due diligence would be applied. There’s a policy in place for lower credit ratings when seeking a CMHC (Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation) mortgage that would make out to a difference of approximately $20,000 in reduced mortgage financing (that is, credit CMHC would be willing to extend), versus if your credit score were higher. Essentially, the credit bureau is […]

Downsizing

Do you need convincing to downsize? Are you ready? Are you ready to downsize? Are you an empty nester or ready for a change? Condo living can present new opportunities, greater freedom and a simpler life. Maybe you want a more urban, stylish and pedestrian lifestyle. Maybe you want to minimize your possessions and have less home maintenance. Maybe your house really needs a renovation or you own a cottage where you spend a lot of your time. BUT… You are worried about living in a smaller space or choosing the right floor plan for your lifestyle. You might think it’s difficult to find the right condo in the right area. You are nervous about condo fees, reserve fund, condition […]

A Buyer’s Perspective

There’s no shortage of real estate advice lurking on the web. A quick online search will pull up an endless stream of hits offering tips for buyers, who are often overwhelmed and confused about making what will likely be the most important purchase of their lives. Most of this advice comes from realtors, some of whom are able to pull together key tips and information from a long career of successfully helping buyers find the right property for them. But wouldn’t it be nice to hear from someone who’s been in your shoes – a buyer who was recently just as excited and confused as you are? This post aims to do just that: give you direct and honest advice from someone […]

Increasing Value of Outdoor Areas

The value of outdoor space often gets overlooked when placed on the market for sale. Toronto often experiences long winters and when the snow finally melts and temperatures begin to rise, you start thinking about going outdoors. Most people wait until this time of the year to start thinking about what they will do with their outdoor space. Whether it be a small yard or a large, private backyard, homeowners can take the opportunity to capitalize on their outdoor living space. All additions will give your space character and a chance to show your personality. Outdoor areas that have additions will make it more inviting, and will increase value to a buyer when placed on the market. Below are 5 additions and […]

Avoiding Rental Scams

The rental market is very competitive, and there are many ways to search for listings. Competitive rental markets often cause desperation in tenants to find somewhere to rent. This is where you often find rental scams becoming more common. Usually scammers will advertise a unit for rent that might already be occupied, is not theirs (was copied from another ad online), or is not in a position to be rented. They will ask the potential tenant to e-transfer the first and last month’s rent to secure the unit, and will hold onto it with no intention of renting the unit to them. Another common rental scam happens when the “landlord” keeps the security deposit. In either case, once the scammer […]

Willowdale West

Community Highlight Willowdale West is the area between Finch Ave and Park Home Ave, and between Bathurst St and Yonge St. Willowdale West is a vibrant community filled with luxury condominiums, custom built homes, tall office towers, beautiful parks, many schools (including St. Cyril, a Catholic French Immersion school) and a highly acclaimed Toronto Centre for the Arts which hosts local and world class entertainment. Schools Parks Neighbourhood What are your thoughts about Willowdale West? Leave a comment or call us at 416.222.1212.

How To Negotiate – As A Buyer

Does the word “negotiate” give you shivers? Big purchases like cars and houses are often the only time negotiating is thought of. What most people don’t know is that you actually negotiate on a daily basis, and more often than you think.  Parenting, deciding what to eat, or even sharing a sidewalk all requires some form of negotiation (verbally or non-verbally).  Once you identify that you’re using this skill, you may take the time to improve and even enjoy it. Here are some tips for negotiating with a home buyer’s prospective in mind. Build Rapport – This can significantly reduce possible tension points. Changing the language from “you/me” to “we” keeps the sellers more open-minded. Planting a good seed of trust early […]

Buying Pre-Construction Condos

Pre-construction condos are often the first place people look to diversify their investment holdings into hard assets. Below is a list of tips for navigating the adventure: 1. Research The Builder – Buying a new construction is buying a promise. How many projects has the builder completed? Are they good? Do they finish projects on time? How do their condos fair in the re-sale market? Yes, every condo comes with a Tarion Home Warranty, but the standards Tarion enforces are just tolerances on flat walls and level floors. The materials used, execution and delivery time are all controlled by the builder. So in the end it’s the commitment to keeping the promise they made in the sales centre. 2. Dig For The Real Story – Does the builder have […]

Steps To Buying a Condo

Buying a condo is a little different than buying a house. Here is a list of steps and things to consider: 1. Figure out the budget & organize your finances – It’s also a good exercise to simulate math yourself, based on your income to understand your expenses. Most of our buyers aren’t comfortable spending the limit of what banks approve, after understanding the monthly cash flow. Email us for a copy of our financial excel sheet that calculates everything. Get a Pre-Approval – A mortgage broker can give you an understanding of what a bank will lend you and will “lock” you into a rate for approximately 120 days, which may save you money if rates increase. The bank will also conduct a report […]

Condo Maintenance Fees Explained

Condo Maintenance Fees – Where's the $$$ Going? One of the most common complaints of condo owners are maintenance fees. Here is a simplified breakdown of a fairly efficient condo to use as an example. This condo corporation represents: 300 units with an annual expense for maintenance fees of $3.5 Million 65cents per square of maintenance fees In this example, all utilities are included in the maintenance fees. Any condos built after 2010 are required to have electricity individually metered (Energy Consumer Protection Act 2010). The largest percentage of the fees go towards Utilities 32%, Reserve Fund 32%,  and the Services 24%. Some additional thoughts: Maintenance fees are based on a percentage of the owners are of the entire buildings. More […]

How To Prepare For Your First Invesment Property

How To Prepare For Your First Investment Property If you’re ready to grow your real estate portfolio, buying your first investment property is the next natural step. Gaining the most from this – both financially and experientially – requires the right preparation and guidance Before you embark on your next investment venture, ask yourself these questions: Are You Financially Prepared? Getting pre-approved is only the first step to financial preparation. Have 5% of your budgeted purchase price available in a certified cheque or as a deposit on your new property, and consider the additional costs of buying an investment property, such as: Lawyer fees (range from $500 to $1,500.00 plus disbursements, as per the lawyer) Provincial Land Transfer Tax (approximately […]