Toronto Real Estate Questions

Why Is That Listing $1?

The Seller Wants A Bidding War A $1 dollar list price is the most direct way for the seller to inform buyers they want an auction and attract as many buyers as possible. The seller might believe there is a strong correlation with the number of offers and the sale price. The Listing Agent Strategy It’s much easier if you can convince a seller to ‘under-list’ a property well under market value and hold an auction. You don’t have to go through the exercise of proving your ability to appraise the value of the property. You can let buyers do it for you.Your Relationship With Your Buyers Agent Is Tested In these scenarios, it doesn’t really feel like the listing […]

Does I Need A Financing Condition?

Banks will say you ‘absolutely must’ have a 5-day condition for financing on any purchase, but in the GTA’s competitive market, this might make buying a home impossible. Is this really a requirement or is the bank just applying an abundance of caution? A financing condition places the risk of the buyer’s financing in the seller’s hands, making an offer less attractive to a seller. A condition is to confirm that you will find a suitable mortgage by the closing date. Here is the list of questions for you. If you can answer yes to all of them you may want to consider removing a financing condition. 1 – Have you been pre-qualified by a bank or mortgage broker? This […]

Should You Get A Home Inspection?

There are many reasons to get a home inspection and the only reason not is to save time and money. If you account for how much you’re spending on the home, the cost of an inspection is minimal. These reasons should help you understand why an inspection is worthwhile. Better Understanding of What You’re Buying It’s rare that every single attribute of a home is completely updated or new. Even a well-maintained home might have a furnace that’s approaching the end of its lifespan. A good home inspector can give you a comprehensive report of each attribute in a home. Reduce and Avoid Surprises We don’t believe in the idea of a “failed home inspection.” We do believe that every […]

What Is Title Insurance?

What Is Title Insurance?Written by: Lorne Shuman When I meet with my clients to sign the documents for the purchase closing, I am often asked, “What is title insurance and why do I need it?”. This column will discuss title insurance and its benefits for homebuyers. Title insurance is an insurance policy that protects your title or ownership to the property. Unlike other forms of insurance, title insurance is a one-time premium that is paid by the purchaser on closing. The policy lasts as long as the property is owned. Title insurance is standard in residential transactions. It provides coverage to protect your largest investment for a modest one-time premium which is based on the purchase price of the property. […]

Fence Bylaws

Fence By-Laws

Fences are a great way to create privacy between you and your neighbours. Here are some City of Toronto regulations for the construction and placement of fences. Height Requirements In most cases, the fence height restriction is 2m (6.5 ft) around the property, unless the fence is on your front yard property line (1.2 m), except by exemption permit. The same regulations apply to uncovered decks, with the height being no more than 2m from the deck floor. Height requirements for fences are outlined in the Municipal Code, Chapter 447, Table 1 Materials Some of the most common materials used for fencing include wood, chain link and wrought-iron. Shrubs and hedges can also be considered as fencing. Barbed/chicken wire, sheet metal […]

How To Prevent Home Leaks

How To Prevent Home Leaks

Unfortunately, your house is not waterproof… it’s splash proof. Once you take this into consideration, it’s easier to identify all the sources of water penetration and damage to your home. Let’s discuss! ROOF Shingled roofs are only splash proof. If shingles are missing or old, or water is able to dam up (frozen or clogged eaves), water will find its way into your home. Flat roofs are designed to be ‘waterproof’ but if scuppers/drains are clogged and the roof holds a lot of water for a sustained period of time, it will likely leak. Other things to watch out for with flat roofs are small punctures from fallen items, smokers butts, and high heels (if used as a deck). https://oulahen.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Roof-and-Clear-Leaves.mp4 […]

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 […]

parkingsigns toronto

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

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

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

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 […]

Knob and Tube Wiring

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 […]

myths of real estate

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 […]

Role of a Realtor

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 Image

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 […]

Houses

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 […]

Custom Kitchen Design Drawing and Brushed Photo Combination

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 […]

home inspection

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. […]

5 Common Questions From Sellers

5 Common Questions From Sellers

1. What is going to happen to the real estate market? This is not easy to answer on general terms. We can share our thoughts on interest rates, employment rates, and housing starts, but they aren’t always the best indicators. It’s important to understand markets don’t all move in the same direction. We always look at neighbourhood stats to show you current market strength and trends over the years, to help you time your decision best.   2. What affects the sale… of a condo? – Location, Location, Location – View and exposure – Layout and square feet – Building/Amenities – Number of beds, baths and dens – And of course condition and renovation of the unit   of a […]

mortgage broker

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 […]

Business Meeting

How To Negotiate – As A Seller

As mentioned previously, making sure you have the right price for your home is absolutely essential. It will give you the confidence you need to ensure the step we discuss today – how to negotiate as a seller – is a success. PAY ATTENTION AND KNOW YOUR ADVANTAGE You need to be active as a seller and read the market for your home. Look at the number of showing requests you’re getting and recognizing how much demand there truly is for your property. Remember that you have more information than the buyer. Buyers are working with a black box – they only know what they’ve seen. They don’t know how many other people have seen your property or the level of interest […]

House Vector

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 […]

House Prices

Finding The Right Listing Price

There are many key decisions for sellers to make on their way to a successful transaction. Perhaps the most important is setting a price that will yield a fair price in a reasonable time frame. Unfortunately, there are many pitfalls that can cause sellers to end up feeling like prisoners in their own home while their property languishes on the market for weeks or even months. It’s also common for sellers to second guess their listing price if their property sells quickly. Educate Yourself About the Market To prepare yourself for the market, you need to start by stacking your home up against others. Often the best way of teasing this out is by looking at the ten most comparable […]

Fighting Neighbours

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 […]

Toronto Real Estate

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 […]

Backyard oasis

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 […]

Toronto Real Estate

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.

Argument

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 […]

Pet condo rules

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 a difficult 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 […]

Toronto Real Estate

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 […]

Toronto Real Estate

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 […]

Copper pipes

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 Flooring

Renovating? Get The Most Bang For Your Buck

Are you planning on renovating your home prior to selling? There are many renovations that could actually decrease the value of your home if not done properly. It is important to keep up with the trends for what people want and are looking for when buying a property. Below is a list of 10 renovation tips that will help you get the best return on investment when selling your property.   Paint Inexpensive and can completely change the look and feel of a room. Use a subtle paint colour to emphasize your home’s strengths and minimize weaknesses. You can also paint exterior wood windows, trim and decks for a fresh, updated look. Kitchen It’s the heart of the home so opt for […]

Toronto Real Estate

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 […]