Does My Offer 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 […]

home inspection

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 […]

Winter Energy Saving Tips

Winter Energy Saving Tips

Winter is a season full of darker afternoons and colder nights. It is tempting to use any heat source or lighting source you can. There are many things we do in the winter and throughout the rest of the year that contribute to an increase in our energy bills. Here are some of our best tips for improving your homes energy efficiency. 1. Be Mindful of the On-Peak Hours From November 1st until April 30th, 2020, winter prices are in effect for your electricity. Between 7 am – 11 am and 5 pm – 7 pm, avoid using electricity if possible as this is when it is the highest. Between 7 pm and 7 am and all day on weekends […]

Smart Condo Products

Smart Condo Products

Want to make your condo smart! Here is a quick guide, broken down by category, to help start your navigation through the tech world. Live in a house? Click here for more information on how to make your house smart! Temperature Smart thermostats allow you to control the temperature of your home using your smartphone, tablet and/or computer. Not only can you monitor the temperature and adjust the heating/cooling from anywhere, some thermostats (such as the Google Learning Nest $329) now use smart learning technology to learn your schedule and temperature preferences in order to operate even more efficiently. Less pricey models from the Nest series (starting at $229) and Ecobee ($219) offer the same ease of control through your […]

Trees Bylaws in the City

Trees Bylaws in the City

Trees are an important part of city life. Especially in a concrete jungle like Toronto, trees bring a breath of fresh air to the city. What some people might not know is that trees have a certain level of protection and laws protecting them. Here are some things to know regarding trees, based on where they are located.  Private Property If a tree has a diameter of 30cm (12”) or more and is located on private property, a permit is required to remove, cut down or in any other way injure a tree. The measurement of the diameter must be taken at 1.4 m (4.5 feet) above ground level. This rule applies to trees on all land use types including, […]

DIY Staging a Home

DIY Staging Tips

Staging is very important in the sale of a home. Many clients of ours are ready to buy a home before even seeing it because of good staging. Here are some photos of a previous listing of ours without staging: Here are some photos of the same listing with staging: You might feel that by looking at the images of the empty room that you are trying to imagine how you would set the rooms up and paying little to no mind on how you might live there. In the second set of photos, you might be finding yourself able to start picture yourself living there and how you would use each room. People will look at the pictures online […]

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 […]

happy_tenants

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

Smart Home

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 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. Temperature   Similar to the way the lighting devices work, connect your smart thermostats to your phone and control […]

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 […]

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 […]

Rental scam

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

How To Prepare For Your First Invesment Property

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 […]