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 […]

Make Your Home Smart

Make your house smart! Here’s a guide, broken down by category, to help you sort through the plethora of products. Assistant Temperature Sound Lighting Security Safety CO and Smoke Alarm Cleaning Smart Plugs Hacker Alert! Assistants are voice-controlled products that make it easy to control your smart home products simply by voice activated commands. There are a few different products like Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Home. Each one of these products have pros and cons, so choose the one that will work more closely with your needs. Once set up, you can connect it to all other compatible smart home products to be able to control your lights and anything plugged into a smart plug.   Similar to the […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

How To Handle Inconsiderate Neighbours

  No matter where you live, house or condo, you run the risk of living with an annoying or inconsiderate neighbour. Whether it’s excessive noise or harassment, having a bad neighbour is very common. If you haven’t experienced it yet, consider yourself lucky! If you have or are currently dealing with an inconsiderate neighbour, check out the following tips for how to handle it: Communication – Talk to your neighbour about the issue that you are having so they are aware. They may not be aware that they are being inconsiderate to those living around them. This often helps the feud from spiraling out of control. Ensure you are being assertive and not aggressive. Avoid Retaliation – No matter how frustrated you […]

Condo Rules For Pet Ownership

For many condo buyers and renters, finding a place that will accommodate your pet, especially a large dog, can be difficult a experience. Every condominium MLS listing has a “Pets Perm” code stating either: “Y” for permitted, “Restrict” for restricted or “N” for not permitted. When you see a “Restrict” code, this could mean a few different things including size of the pet, number of pets per unit, cats vs. dogs, breed of dog, weight of dog, etc. Some buildings will have pet rules that may be somewhat flexible. Here are some things that you should know regarding your furry friends living in a condominium: Landlords cannot prohibit their tenants from having a pet unless it is specifically in the […]

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 […]

Kitec Plumbing – Is It A Deal Breaker?

Kitec Plumbing has quickly been pushed into the “trigger word” category in real estate, having the potential to be a deal breaker. Current list of trigger words include: UFFI, Fuses, Aluminum wiring, Knob & Tube wiring, asbestos, lead or galvanized pipes and mould.  Home buyers and sellers have become aware of these, but with Kitec, most of the “victims” of misinformation are condo owners and buyers. Some things to know about Kitec: Kitec was the first version of plastic plumbing (known as PEX) that replaced copper for hot/cold water supply and radiant heating. Kitec was made by IPEX Inc between 1995 and 2007. If your home or condo was built between 1995 and 2007, it likely has Kitec. At that […]

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 […]

Selling a Condo Is Different Than Selling A House

Things to consider when selling a condo: 1. Your Condo Corporation Order a status certificate, check for the fiscal periods, updates you are not aware of if you have not been attending board meetings. You don’t want any surprises Is the reserve fund strong? Do you anticipate any special assessments or outstanding legal issues within the building? (A buyer and their lawyers would see this as a major negative) Are your maintenance fees going up ? Consider selling before they do Are there any renovations planned for your building? – lobby, roof, hallways, elevators (If one elevator is down, the showings will be affected) 2. Do You Have a Tenant? Get your tenants on board with selling the unit and allowing showings. Check it is presentable for showings […]