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New Condos Coming To Toronto Distillery District

If you are fortunate enough to live in Toronto’s Distillery District or if you frequently visit this popular neighbourhood, you may have noticed some new developments taking place in the area and you may have wondered what is being built.

As a full-time Toronto real estate agent who works in Toronto’s Distillery District and who has several clients who live in the Distillery District, I figured it would be helpful to provide some information as to what is currently being built as well as what may be built in the near future. Whether you live in 70 Distillery Lane, 390 Cherry Street, 33, 70 or 80 Mill Street and are wondering how these developments may soon affect your view and community or you are looking to purchase a property in the area and are curious as to what the area will have to offer in the near future, the information below may be helpful to know. Below is a list of the current developments that are already under construction as well as other developments that are in the pre-construction phase.

Currently Under Construction: 

No. 31 Condos 

At the south-west corner of the Distillery District, you will find a pie-shaped lot located at 31 Parliament Street. What was once strictly a commercial space not being used to its full potential, will soon become a 41 storey mixed-use building. This development will add 428 residential condominium units to the neighbourhood along with additional retail space.

Developer: Lanterra Developments & Westdale Properties

Project address: 31 Parliament Street, Toronto

Learn more about this development and view additional photos HERE

Photos:

 

The Goode Condos

Just to the north of the No. 31 Condos will be Good Condos which will be a 32 storey mixed-use building that will include both residential condos as well as retail space. This project will add an additional 540 new condo units to the Distillery District neighbourhood.

Developer: Graywood Developments

Project Address: 33 Parliament Street, Toronto

Learn more about this development and view additional photos HERE

Photos:

 

West Don Lands Block 3, 4 & 7 

On the north-west corner of Cherry Street and Mill Street you will soon find a 13, 13 and 13 storey affordable rental and commercial/retail building. This project will add an additional 855 residential condo units to the Distillery District neighbourhood.

Developer: Dream Unlimited, Kilmer Group & Tricon Residential

Project address: 90 Mill Street, Toronto

Completion date: To be determined

Photos:

 

Pre-Construction Phase:

60 Mill Street

60 Mill Street, located on the northeast corner of Mill Street and Trinity Street, could soon become the first hotel in Toronto’s Distillery District neighbourhood. The developer Gupta Group has proposed to build a 31 storey hotel that will include 392 hotel suites. Gupta Group plans to revitalize the existing Rack House that currently stands on the property in order to maintain the historical character on the street level.

Developer: Gupta Group

Project address: 60 Mill Street, Toronto, ON, M5A 3R6

Completion: To be determined

Learn more about this development and view additional photos HERE

31R Parliament Street

At the rear of the new condo building being constructed at 31 Parliament (No. 31 Condos) is proposed to be a 49 storey mixed-use building along with a low-rise 4 storey “ribbon building”. This project will include both residential condominiums and commercial office space.

Developers: Cityscape Development Corp & Dream Unlimited

Completion: To be determined

Project address: 31 Parliament Street, Toronto, ON, M5A 4R2

 

Additional Development Info

West Don Lands Block 20

Although this property technically isn’t situated in the Distillery District, this development will affect the views of those who currently live on the east side of both 390 Cherry Street and 70 Distillery Lane. This development is currently in the construction phase and, once completed, will include 46 & 32 mixed-use buildings that will include residential market-rate rental condos, commercial office and retail space as well as park space.

Developers: Dream Unlimited, Kilmer Group & Tricon Residential 

Completion date: To be determined

Project address: 125R Mill Street, Toronto, ON

 

With so much development taking place in the Distillery District, this area is sure to become an even better neighbourhood than it already is.

Are you looking to make a move to or from the Distillery District?

As a local full-time Distillery District real estate agent who has assisted clients with both buying and selling condos in the area, I know the Distillery District neighbourhood and condo buildings extremely well. Whether you are looking to make a move now or in the future or you simply have questions about real estate in the Distillery District, feel free contact me any time. I’m happy to answer any questions you may have and to discuss how I can help you achieve your specific Distillery District real estate objectives.

Can A Buyer Back Out Of A Real Estate Deal?

You’ve sold your home and are excited about the fact that you sold for well over your list price and in a short amount of time. You’ve popped the champagne and put the “SOLD” sign up, it’s now time to start thinking about your move to your new home. Your agent removes all of the staging furniture and other staging items and your house sits semi-empty until your move date as you put all of your furniture in storage in order to stage your home. You then receive a phone call from your agent a couple of weeks later to inform you that the buyers have decided to back out of the deal. Your heart starts to pound and your mind starts to race but you keep telling yourself that they can’t back out since you have a signed contract and a deposit. However, no matter how much you try to convince yourself that everything will be ok, the same question keeps popping up in your head: “can a buyer back out of a real estate deal?”

Read below to find out.

Can A Buyer Back Out Of A Real Estate Deal?

Even though the buyer has informed you that they don’t plan to move forward with closing the deal, the good news for you is that the real estate laws in Ontario do not include any type of cooling off period for resale real estate which would allow a buyer to back out of a deal within a certain period of time once the contract is firm and all conditions are fulfilled. If a buyer doesn’t close on a deal, they will typically face legal action if the seller decides to take that route. A buyer could be held accountable for any loss you as the seller incur should you need to re-list your home and you do not receive the same offer that they had originally made, including covering any legal fees, carrying costs and out-of-pocket expenses, among other expenses.

Keep in mind, a buyer still may choose to back out of a deal and incur legal expenses and potential settlement costs if they feel that it would be the financially wiser option for their particular circumstances as opposed to what they had otherwise committed to paying in order to close the deal.

Can A Buyer Back Out Of A Real Estate Deal?

With the market being as volatile as it has been due to rising interest rates, we have been seeing more deals not closing than we have seen in recent years. There are now more risks to consider when listing your home for sale than there has been over the last several years. In some cases, buyers may be using the threat of not closing as an opportunity to negotiate the price.

With each new interest rate hike announcement, buyers and their agents understand that sellers are likely under more stress and may be willing to negotiate on the price in order to get the deal done and move forward with their plans.

In addition to the above, we are seeing an increase in home appraisals required by lenders. If the buyer drastically over paid for your property and the appraised amount listed in the appraisal report comes in much lower, the buyer may be required by their lender to make up the difference out of pocket which could result in them attempting to negotiate the final sale price down from what they originally had offered. Should this happen, you will need to decide if you are willing to negotiate and by how much. If you decide to negotiate, your agent will negotiate on your behalf based on your instructions and if you and the buyer come to an agreement based on a reduced price, you will sign an amendment in order to lower the final sale price. If the parties are not able to come to an agreement, both the seller’s lawyer and buyer’s lawyer will get involved.

It is important to keep in mind that the legal process can take some time and can be costly if dragged out, so you will want to seriously consider your options before making a final decision as to how you want to proceed.

Can A Buyer Back Out Of A Real Estate Deal

The good news for you as a seller is that it’s more uncommon for a buyer to back out of a deal than it is for them to follow through and close on a deal. There are also laws that protect you and working with the right real estate agent and real estate lawyer will make the selling process a smoother one. By working with a reputable real estate agent and real estate lawyer, you will be in good hands should you run into the rare case of a buyer trying to back out of your real estate deal.

Can A Buyer Back Out Of A Real Estate Deal?

Have you been thinking of making a move? Whether you are selling or buying, feel free to contact me any time with your real estate questions. I’m always happy to help.

What Is A Status Certificate?

If you’ve considered buying a condo and have completed some preliminary research regarding the process of buying a condo, you may have come across the term “status certificate” and wondered what a status certificate is. If you decide to purchase a condo, you definitely should understand what a status certificate is and why it is important to review the status certificate of your building of interest either before submitting an offer or before waiving a status certificate condition (we will discuss this in detail below).

I’ve helped many sellers and buyers with the sale and purchase of condos throughout Toronto. Many of my first-time buyer clients are unaware of what a status certificate is, so don’t feel like you are the odd one out for not knowing. To answer your questions about what a status certificate is and why it is important, I have included the information below to explain what is included within this document, the importance of reviewing a status certificate, how to order a status certificate and risks associated with not reviewing a status certificate.

What Is A Status Certificate?

What’s Included In A Status Certificate

A status certificate includes a variety of important details relating to the building and condo corporation. You can think of a status certificate as a report card for the building and condo corp; some buildings have better report cards than others depending on how they were built and how they are managed and maintained. Some of the information you will find in a status certificate include:

  • Reserve fund details

A reserve fund is a pool of money that is accumulated over time from a portion of the monthly maintenance fees that the owners pay. This fund is used to repair and replace different components within the interior and exterior of the building and throughout the entire property. Should there ever be any major repairs needed, the reserve fund is in place to assist with covering the repair or replacement costs. A poorly managed reserve fund can result in maintenance fee increases and potentially a special assessment which could require you and all of the other owners in your building to pay a large lump sum out of pocket to cover repairs or replacement costs that the reserve fund is unable to cover.

  • Copy of the current budget 
  • Special Assessment details

As explained above, a special assessment is an additional payment or levy the condo corporation has to impose should there not be enough funds available in the reserve fund to cover budget related items or repair and replacement costs.

  • Information relation to the maintenance fees for the specific unit 

This will typically include any information relating to any upcoming increases and whether or not the current owner has defaulted on their payments.

  • The management contract 

This will include details relating to the agreement your condo corporation has with the current property management company.

  • Insurance details 

This will include details regarding what coverage your condo building has.

  • The minutes of the last general meeting 

The minutes is a document which includes all of the important decisions made by the co-owners during the general meeting.

  • The names and addresses of the directors and officers of the board 
  • Copies of the condo declaration, rules and bylaws 
  • Copy of the most recent reserve fund study

A reserve fund study determines how much money needs to be in the reserve fun in order to ensure that future repairs can be completed.

What Is A Status Certificate?

Why It’s Important To Review The Status Certificate When Buying And Before Selling

When Buying:

When buying a condo, it is essential that you have the status certificate reviewed by a reputable real estate lawyer. A good real estate lawyer will complete an in-depth review of the documents and will provide you with a breakdown of the status certificate details and highlight any red flags that you should be aware of. Without reviewing the status certificate, you could potentially find yourself in a serious financial dilemma if the status certificate states that there have been any special assessments, the reserve fund is under funded, there are maintenance fee increases on the horizon or if the condo corporation is involved in any litigation. Having a lawyer review the status certificate will help you make your purchase with confidence.

When Selling: 

When selling your condo, it is wise to review the current status certificate (for the current month) in order to familiarize yourself with the details of it. This is helpful in case there are any big items that may be brought up by buyers. Some buyers will try to negotiate down from their original offer price if they submit an offer that’s conditional on the review of the status certificate and find details that make them uncomfortable. By reading your status certificate before listing your condo for sale, you will be able to prepare for any issues that may be brought up by the buyer or their lawyer. An experienced real estate agent will be able to assist you with planning for potential hiccups that could arise from any problematic details within your status certificate.

What Is A Status Certificate?

How To Order A Status Certificate In Toronto

There are a few different ways to order a status certificate here in Toronto. The three most common ways to order a status certificate are listed below:

Through the CONDUIT website which you can visit by clicking HERE

Through the CondoCafe website which you can visit by clicking HERE

If you are unable to find the condo address and status certificate at one of the two websites above, you may need to request the status certificate directly from the property management company. Below is a list of some of the common property management companies that provide management services throughout Toronto. The list is not inclusive of every single management company.

First Service Residential

Icon Property Management 

Crossbridge Condominium Services

Del Management

ICC Property Management

Mapleridge Community Management

Duka

If you still aren’t able to obtain a copy of the status certificate through one of the options listed above or can’t determine which management company services your building of interest, you can go directly to the property of interest and ask the concierge to confirm which company manages the building and ask for the contact info of the property manager.

The Risk Of Buying A Property Without Reviewing The Status Certificate 

There are many potential risks which could result from not reviewing a status certificate. Below are just some of the risks you could run into and want to consider:

  • The condo’s financial health may not be in good condition which could result in you paying out of pocket for any special assessments or repairs, etc.
  • If you prefer to live in a condo building that is mostly occupied by owners, you won’t be able to determine this without reviewing a copy of the status certificate
  • If you would like to avoid living in a condo that allows short term rentals such as Airbnb, you will not be able to ensure this is the case without reviewing the status certificate
  • Without reviewing the status certificate, you will not be able to determine if the condo is involved in any legal disputes
  • If you are a pet owner, you won’t be able to determine if there are any rules or restrictions relating to the number, type or size of pets allowed in the building

Hopefully the above information has been helpful to you and has answered some questions you may have had about status certificates.

Are you thinking of making a move or just have questions about the current market? Contact me any time with your questions or to discuss how I can help you achieve your specific real estate objectives.

What Is A REIT?

Have you completed some research on how to invest in real estate and seen references to the term “REIT”, and wondered what it is? The acronym “REIT” stands for Real Estate Investment Trust. A REIT is modelled after mutual funds and finances, purchases, owns and operates properties that generate income.

REITs are a popular real estate investment tool for those who may not have the funds to purchase or the time to manage their own investment property. A REIT pools together investments from multiple investors and pays out dividends to those investors from the rental income generated from the investment.

What Is A REIT?

REITs invest in various property types, including:

  • Residential (multi-family rental buildings)
  • Office (office buildings)
  • Healthcare (hospitals, etc.)
  • Retails (shopping centres, etc.)
  • Industrial (factories, etc.)
  • Hotel (hotels & resorts)

Some REITs specialize more on the residential side while others specialize on the commercial side and some focus on both markets. For example, RioCan Real Estate Investment Trust is Canada’s second largest REIT and owns mostly supermarkets and shopping centres while Granite Real Estate Investment Trust focuses on multi-residential apartment buildings throughout North America and Europe.

What Is A REIT?

A lot of REITs are publicly traded on the stock market, which means you can purchase REITs the same way you would purchase stocks. Investors buy “Units” of the REITs similar to the shares of stocks. Most REITs have something called a ticker symbol in front of them when being traded on the stock market such as “UN” for Unit since investors are buying a unit. Investors will often invest through a corporation or numbered company in order to avoid paying capital gains tax on their return on investment. However, if you hold your unit(s) in a personal account, you will be required to pay capital gains.

What Is A REIT?

You may be wondering if REITs are a good investment.

Like most investments, whether it be investment properties, businesses, stocks or REITs, the better the understanding you have in regards to the market that you are considering, the more likely you are to succeed. For those who have a good understanding of real estate in general, real estate development and economics, REITs are a great way to invest. If you are not familiar with the above, you may want to consider speaking with and using a portfolio manager that is knowledgeable in regards to REITs.

Below are the pros and cons of investing in REITs

The main benefits of investing in a REIT are the following:

  • Investing in a REIT allows you to reap the the financial reward of investment properties without needing to dedicate your personal time to the day-to-day management and maintenance activities that come along with buying an investment property
  • REITs allow you to invest in different real estate markets other than just your local market. This allows you to pick and choose the markets you want to invest in
  • They tend to have a higher than average dividend yields due to their payout structure to investors
  • The liquidity of REITs are great. Unlike buying physical investment properties that may take time to buy and sell, you can buy REITs at the click of a button, making it easier to get in and out of the investment
  • Unlike physical investment properties, you aren’t paying annual property tax or maintenance fees which leaves you with more money to invest
  • They allow you to invest in commercial real estate. Most people do not have the financial means to purchase a high quality office building on their own

The potential negatives of investing in a REIT are the following:

  • REITs are sensitive to interest rate hikes vs other investments that are less affected
  • Since Canadian REITs are required to payout all of their income to investors, the tax burden is placed on the investor as the REIT doesn’t pay any taxes on its income
  • REITs can be negatively affected by changing trends. For example, if the REIT owns many specific food processing buildings and that specific type of food is no longer needed or desired by the public, the REIT could take a hit
  • REITs tend to be a better long term investment. If you are looking for quick returns, REITs may not be the right investment for your financial plan

What Is A REIT?

Below is a list of some of the REITs that are traded on the Toronto stock exchange:

RioCan REIT – Retail (see performance here: REI.UN)

Canadian Apartment Properties REIT (CAPREIT) – Residential apartments (see performance here: CAR.UN)

Granite Real Estate – Industrial (see performance here: GRT.UN)

SmartCentres REIT – Retail (see performance here: SRU.UN)

First Capital Realty – Commercial (see performance here: FCR.UN)

Summit Industrial Income REIT – Industrial (see performance here: SMU.UN)

Chartwell Retirement Residences – Healthcare (see performance here: CSH.UN)

Minto Apartment REIT – Residential apartments (see performance here: MI.UN)

American Hotel Income Properties REIT – Hotel (see performance here: HOT.UN)

Allied Properties Real Estate Investment – Office (see performance here: AP.UN)

Hopefully the above information has helped you understand what REITs are and why you may or may not want to consider investing in them.

Are you thinking about making a move or do you have question about the current Toronto real estate market? Contact me any time with your real estate questions or to discuss your real estate plans and how I can assist you with achieving them.

Top 10 Toronto Storage Facilities

Whether you live in a condo or a smaller home with little storage space, you likely are in need of somewhere safe and clean to store your extra belongings. It may be your winter skis during the summer months, bikes during the winter months or maybe it’s boxes of old photo albums filled with memories you don’t want to throw out, there are many reasons for needing extra storage. With Toronto condos and the majority of Toronto homes being on the smaller side, I often have clients ask me where they can store their extra belongings. In order to help you solve your storage dilemma, I’ve put together a list of the Top 10 Toronto storage companies below:

1) Access Storage 

Top 10 Toronto Storage Facilities

Access Storage has many state of the art storage facilities located throughout Toronto and provide a wide range of storage unit sizes for your belongings. Some locations even allow you to use their moving van for FREE (at the time of this post). Click the image above to visit their website to learn.

 

2) Apple Self Storage

Top 10 Toronto Storage Facilities

Apple Storage is one of the larges storage companies in Toronto with many different locations to choose from. They offer small, medium and large size storage lockers and provide 24 hour, 7 days a week keypad access. Click the image above to visit their website to learn more.

 

3) XYZ Storage Downtown

Top 10 Toronto storage facilities

XYZ Storage currently has 3 locations at the time of this post. It is a great solution for those who live in the east end of the city such at The Beaches, Upper Beaches, Leslieville, Riverdale, Danforth Village and East York. They offer “Compact” (extremely small units that are 12-24 sq ft), small, medium and large storage units. You can access your secure storage unit 24hours, 7 days a week. Click the image above to visit their website to learn more.

 

4) Green Storage

Top 10 Toronto Storage Facilities

Green storage provides small, medium and large storage units and has several locations throughout the GTA with the two closest locations to Downtown Toronto being located at Cherry Street and Eastern Ave as well as another location in Scarborough near Birchmount Rd and Danforth Rd. They take pride in being a “green” storage solution due to their net-zero facilities that are powered by solar panels. Click on the image above to visit their website to learn more.

 

5) SmartStop Self Storage

Top 10 Toronto Storage Facilities

SmartStop Self Storage has several locations throughout Toronto and provides small, medium  and large self storage solutions. Click the image above to visit their website to learn more.

 

6) Vaultra Storage

Top 10 Toronto Storage Facilities

Vaultra Storage is the second largest storage facility in Ontario (at the time of this post) and offers secure indoor climate controlled storage units of various sizes. Click the image above to visit their website to learn more.

 

7) AJ Self Storage

AJ self storage is conveniently located on Commissioners St two blocks west of Logan Avenue making it a great storage option for those who live in the east end. They offer 6 different storage sizes which are accessible 24/7. One thing to consider wit the property is that this facility is an outdoor facility and the storage units are not climate controlled, you will want to be careful about what you store in the unit. Click the image above to visit their website to learn more.

 

8) Migson Public Storage

Top 10 Toronto Storage Facilities

Migson Public Storage is a convenient option for those who live in The Beaches, Upper Beaches and East York and Leslieville. All storage units are heated and 90% of the units are located on the ground level. There are no long-term contracts required. Click the image above to view their website to learn more.

 

9) Bluebird Self Storage

Top 10 Toronto Storage Facilities

Bluebird Self Storage has several locations with the closest location to downtown Toronto being located in Leaside. They offer a variety of secure, climate controlled self storage solutions. Click the image above to view their website to learn more.

 

10) Public Storage 

Top 10 Toronto Storage Facilities

Public storage has several different locations throughout Toronto. They provide a range of individually alarmed, heated storage units and sizes for your storage needs. Click the image above to view their website to learn more.

 

Although the above list doesn’t include every single storage option in Toronto, the companies mentioned above are the leading companies within the storage industry here in Toronto. Hopefully this list helps you with deciding where to store your personal belongings.

Are you thinking of making a move? I assist my clients with their storage needs when listing their home for sale. Contact me to learn more about how I can help you achieve your specific real estate objectives or to to ask any questions you may have about the current market. I’m always happy to help, I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Top 10 ways to increase the value of your home

If you’ve had any thoughts of potentially selling your Toronto home now or in the near future, you may have wondered what you can do to increase the value of your home in order to ensure that your home sells for top dollar.

Over the last decade or so, Toronto real estate has been on fire with homes receiving multiple offers and selling for well over their list price within a few days (sometimes after only 1 day on the market). As I write this blog post in September 2022, things have drastically changed. With the introduction of increased interest rates and the potential of another rate hike announcement tomorrow (Sept 6, 2022), the market has cooled in regards to the number of buyers looking to buy. This is partly due to uncertainty, as well as buyers simply having less buying power. As I continue to check the local Toronto listings on a daily basis for my clients, I’m surprised by the homes that are not selling within a week and are often on the market longer than fifteen or twenty days, and in some cases, even longer. This amount of time on the market would have been unheard of a couple of years ago when buyers were fighting tooth and nail just to have their offers considered during a bidding war, let alone accepted.

Today, in this new market that we find ourselves in, it has never been more important to ensure that your home shows as best as possible. Buyers currently feel they have more negotiating power than they have had over the last several years. The last thing you want to do is to provide them with reasons to devalue your home during negotiations.

In order to help you sell for the highest price possible, I’ve included the top 10 ways to increase the value of your home below. Keep in mind, not all items on this list will apply to each home as some homes may require more (or less) upgrades to be in top listing/showing condition.

1) First impressions matter (enhance your curb appeal) 

The saying “you only get one chance to make a first impression” is true, so make sure you make the right impression from the start. The first thing buyers will see when they visit your property is the front of your home, including your landscaping. For this reason, it’s essential that you take the time and invest into making sure that the front of your home shows well. Below is a list of items to consider attending to prior to listing your home:

  • Prune your plants
  • Pull any weeds
  • Remove or replace dead shrubs
  • Replace dead grass
  • Cut overgrown grass
  • Plant colourful flowers to add some colour
  • Edge your garden beds
  • Add mulch to garden beds
  • Replace your dated front porch if it can’t be repaired
  • Re-paint your front porch if it’s looking worn out
  • Replace your dated front entrance door
  • Consider adding low voltage landscape lighting
  • Re-level your interlocking stone driveway or walkway
  • Pressure wash your interlocking stone driveway
  • Remove any garbage or debris from the front and side of your home

In addition to ensuring the front of your home makes a good first impression, it’s just as important that your back garden does the same. By applying the same options as above to the back of your home, you will be able to leave potential buyers with a positive first impression.

Top 10 ways to increase the value of your home

2) Kitchens can be deal killers

One of the rooms in a home that I often see clients look over in detail when visiting a home is the kitchen. Buyers often spend a lot of time looking over the kitchen and the appliances and take the time to visualize themselves making use of the space. Below is a list of items you may want to consider addressing prior to listing your Toronto home for sale:

  • Complete a full kitchen renovation
  • Paint cabinets (a light and neutral colour is ideal)
  • Add soft closing hardware to your cabinets and drawers
  • Replace cupboard handles with newer handles
  • Replace the light fixtures with newer more modern fixtures
  • Add additional lighting (a light and bright kitchen is typically desirable amongst buyers)
  • Replace outdated appliances with new appliances
  • Clean, clean, clean (the cleaner you make your kitchen, the better)

Top 10 ways to increase the value of your home

3) Beautiful bathrooms sell homes

Another top room of concern for buyers when viewing homes is the bathroom(s). If your bathroom is outdated, you will very likely receive offers at lower price points than if your bathroom is updated. Like kitchens, buyers tend to spend a lot of time considering the bathrooms in a home. It’s important to leave potential buyers with a positive impression and one that they will remember once they have left your home. Below are some items you may want to consider:

  • Keep the paint colours light (this provides a clean and bright feeling)
  • Make sure there is ample lighting
  • Consider replacing your tub with a glass shower
  • Install custom vanities and storage
  • Install heated flooring
  • Replace dated tiles with new neutral coloured tiles
  • Paint your existing cabinets and replace the counter
  • Update your sink and shower hardware

Top 10 ways to increase the value of your home

4) Add a fresh coat of paint 

Adding a fresh coat of paint can drastically improve the look of your home. If you decide to use the same colour as the existing colour on your walls, adding a fresh coat of paint will remove any scuff marks and will make the room feel newer. If you decide to change the colour, it is best to stick to light and neutral colours. I’ve included a list of both Farrow & Ball and Benjamin Moore colours that you may want to consider if you plan on painting your rooms with a new colour. I highly recommend using one of these two top brands when painting, if possible, as the quality of the paint is noticeable when compared to more cost effective paint brands. If these two brands are not within your budget, consider sticking to similar colours as the ones suggested below.

Farrow & Ball 

“All White” No. 2005

“Wevet” No. 273

“Strong White” No. 2001

“California Collection: Salt” CC5

“Wimborne White” No. 239

Benjamin Moore

“White Dove” OC-17

“Chantilly Lace” OC-65

“Cloud White” OC-130

“Classic Grey” OC-23

“Calm” OC-22

Top 10 ways to increase the value of your home

5) Update your lighting game 

Light fixtures don’t only provide light, they also make a statement when they are both on and off. It’s important that your light fixtures make the right statement and not a statement that leaves potential buyers with the impression that your home is dated or hasn’t been taken care of.  Below is a list of some prominent lighting stores where you can browse through many different light fixture options. My advice is to stick to a style that is timeless yet modern.

Union Lighting (best to view their products in person)

Hollis + Morris 

EQ3

Artemide

Top 10 ways to increase the value of your home

6) Replace your outdated flooring 

Whether you have a pet whose claws have scratched up your floors, kids or grandkids whose toys have left their mark or you have broadloom/carpeting, you may want to consider replacing your outdated or damaged floors. These days there are a wide range of both hardwood, engineered hardwood, laminate and tile products to choose from.

Top 10 ways to increase the value of your home

7) Make your home smarter with a smart home product

With new technology becoming more popular by the day and with society becoming accustomed to homes having cool features such as smart home systems, you may want to consider installing a smart home system in your home. Many smart home systems allow you to control various aspects of your home such as the temperature, lighting, alarm and more. The best part about these systems is that they are usually quite simple to install.

Top 10 ways to increase the value of your property

8) Cool down your home with an air conditioner

With the summers getting warmer and warmer, if your Toronto home doesn’t currently have air conditioning like many older homes in Toronto, you may want to consider installing an air conditioner. If you don’t have duct work already running throughout your home, don’t worry, there are many different styles and sizes of air conditioners these days. Speak to a licensed HVAC company about your air conditioning options as there will very likely be one that works for you and your home. If you’re selling your home any time between spring to late summer, buyers will definitely appreciate the fact that you have an air conditioner and will likely be willing to pay more for your home.

Top 10 ways to increase the value of your home

9) Upgrade your furnace 

If your furnace is coming to the end of its life, it may be worth considering replacing it with a new one. If there are any issues with your furnace and it isn’t working properly, buyers will likely use this as a negotiating tool to bring down the value of your home. In a red hot real estate market, you may not need to worry about this as much but when the market is cooler, this is definitely something to consider and not put off.

Top 10 ways to increase the value of your home

10) Transform your old wood-burning fireplace with a modern gas insert

Last November, I wrote a blog about the importance of checking the fireplace before submitting an offer  which discussed the fact that many of the older homes have outdated and unsafe wood-burning fireplaces and chimneys that are just as unsafe. A great way to increase the value of your home is by installing a gas insert fireplace into your old wood-burning fireplace opening.

Top 10 ways to increase the value of your home

Although this list may not be exhaustive of every single option available to increase the value of your home, I believe that these are the top 10 ways to increase the value of your home.

With over fifteen years of previous experience as the owner of a design and build firm prior to entering the word of Toronto real estate and as a full-time, award winning Toronto real estate agent, I have seen my fair share of homes throughout Toronto and the GTA and know what helps to sell a home for the most amount of money. If you are thinking about selling your home and have questions about how you can increase the value of your home or if you have any questions about the market, contact me any time – I’m always happy to help.

Toronto Real Estate Market Update (August 2022)

It is difficult to provide a monthly market report, in this case for August, with all the economic and destabilizing changes that are impacting the Toronto and area housing market. The salient data is clear, as the chart below indicates.

Toronto real estate market update (August 2022)

The residential resale housing market has changed dramatically since last year. Sales are down, the number of active, available properties for sale has increased, properties are taking longer to sell, and although the average sale price appears to be holding up quite well compared to August 2021, it is off by almost 20 percent compared to the $1,334,000 achieved in February of this year. February and March were the zenith of the Covid-19 pandemic market – cheap money, lack of supply, the need for space and real and psychological security, not to mention the prevailing belief that if you did not acquire and own real estate, the accumulation of wealth would be impossible, were the driving forces.

Toronto real estate market report - August 2022 (infographic)

The major change that has had an overwhelming impact on the Toronto and area housing resale market has been the sky-rocketing cost of borrowing money. All the market changes set out above – decline in sales, increase in available properties, sale times, and declining average sale prices can be directly linked to the Bank of Canada’s continual increase of its benchmark rate. In March, the Bank’s policy interest rate was 0.25 percent. At the end of August, it was 2.50 percent.

If there was no further threat of further Bank rate increases, by the end of August, it could be said, with some certainty, that the resale market had stabilized – sales, prices, and the length of time it took properties to sell. Unfortunately, on September 7th the Bank increased its policy rate by a further 0.75 percent, bringing it to 3.25 percent. The last time the Bank rate was 3.25 percent was April 2008. Early September data indicates that the most recent increase has had a further cooling effect on the residential resale market. The pace of sales is slower than it was in August. At the time this Report was prepared the pace of sales in September was 25 percent slower than at the same time in August, a number that correlates with the percentage increase in the September policy interest rate by the Bank of Canada.

The sharp increases in the policy rate by the Bank of Canada continue to destabilize the residential resale market, not to mention the residential rental market (beyond the scope of this Report) that has seen rents increase by as much as 25 percent in a single year. The decline in average sale prices has not made Toronto’s residential resale market more affordable. Whereas the average sale price may have declined by 20 percent since February, mortgage interest rates on average have increased by more than 150 percent over the same period. Coupled with the impact of the mortgage interest stress test, buying a house in the Toronto and area marketplace has become exponentially more expensive, even as compared to February and March when average sale prices peaked at $1,334,000. Regretfully in its latest policy statement, the Bank of Canada made it clear that it was prepared to implement further increases in order to contain inflation which currently is 7.6 percent, down from 8.1 percent in June – of advanced economies only Japan (2 percent) and Switzerland (3.5 percent) have inflation rates anywhere near the magical 2 percent that the Bank of Canada is determined to achieve.

The good news, not only for the housing market but for the economy generally, is that inflation appears to have peaked, with some indication that it is declining in various sectors. If this is a continuing trend, the Bank may stall further increases. That would be the signal that will cause the housing market to reignite. Buyer sentiment will change – there will be a new understanding that prices and sales will not decline further. Unless some unforeseen economic event occurs that should happen before the end of this year.

Have questions about the market, selling or buying?

Contact me any time. I’m happy to answer any questions you may have.

Prepared by Chris Kapches, LLB, President and CEO, Broker, Chestnut Park® Real Estate Limited, Brokerage.

Top 10 communities with a go station

Whether it be the high Toronto real estate prices, the chaotic energy of the city or the need for a larger home with a yard, there are many reasons why some Toronto residents trade the convenience of living in the city with living in a smaller community, despite having to commute into the city for work. With Toronto home prices as high as they have been and with the introduction of higher interest rates bringing down the average sale price of many of the GTA communities that saw substantial gains during the pandemic, now could be a good time to consider making a move to one of the top 10 communities in the GTA with a GO station listed below. Purchasing a home in a community that has a GO station isn’t only beneficial to you if you work in Toronto and need to commute, it is also a selling feature that attracts potential buyers should you decide to sell in the future.

Below is a list of the top 10 communities in the GTA that have a GO station (in no particular order):

#1 Oakville

Oakville real estate

Oakville is one of the most desirable and affluent communities outside of the City of Toronto. It is home to many executives who commute into Toronto’s Financial District for work. Many professionals choose Oakville as their home due to its good schools, access to the waterfront and reasonable commute time to Toronto via the GO train.

Below are the average sale prices for all property types in Oakville at the time of this blog (August 2022)

Detached $2,035,091

Semi-detached $1,090,045

Townhomes $1,101,040

Condo apartments $938,359

Condo townhomes $829,093

#2 Port Credit

Top 10 communities in the GTA with GO stations

Port credit is known for its stunning waterfront which was rated as number one in the GTA. This family-friendly community consists of a wide range of demographics, including professionals who work in the Financial District and families who are looking for a quieter lifestyle versus living closer to downtown Toronto. Port Credit is home to the Port Credit Yacht club and is a lively spot during the summer months when the weather is nice. The Port Credit GO Train station makes it convenient for professionals to commute to and from work on a daily basis.

Below are the average sale prices for all property types in Mississauga which Port Credit is a part of. The pricing is based on prices at the time of this blog (August 2022)

Detached $1,589,123

Semi-detached $982,556

Townhomes $1,005,494

Condo apartments $628,116

Condo townhomes $798,552

#3 Unionville

Unionville real estate

Unionville, located in the City of Markham, is one of the most charming communities just north of Toronto. Unionville has a historical main street that consists of many different shops, cafes and restaurants just steps from Toogood Pond where many children and families skate during the winter months. Along with its large beautiful homes and one of the top golf courses in the GTA,  Unionville is a  popular community for those who are looking for a family friendly community not far from the city.

Below are the average sale prices for all property types in Unionville/City of Markham at the time of this blog (August 2022)

Detached $1,708,333

Semi-detached $1,182,644

Townhomes $1,155,546

Condo apartments $707,776

Condo townhomes $875,375

#4 Markham Village

Top 10 communities in the GTA with GO stations

Similarly to Unionville, Markham Village is the older area of the City of Markham and also includes its very own main street, which, like Unionville, includes many different shops, cafes, restaurants and bars. The area consists of large lots which has resulted in builders tearing down many of the older and dated homes and building new larger luxury homes. The Go station located on Main Street Markham makes it convenient for those who need to commute to Toronto for work. Markham Village is a great community for families who are looking for a place to live with a true small town community vibe.

Below are the average sale prices for all property types in Markham Village/City of Markham at the time of this blog (August 2022)

Detached $1,708,333

Semi-detached $1,182,644

Townhomes $1,155,546

Condo apartments $707,776

Condo townhome $875,375

#5 Vaughan

Top 10 communities in the GTA with GO stations

The City of Vaughan is one of the fastest growing communities in the GTA and includes several small communities within it such as Maple, Kleinburg and Woodbridge. The area consists of both residential homes as well as some newer low-rise and high-rise condo buildings. Vaughan is a desirable community among families and professionals who commute to work as there is easy access to highways such as the 407 (east & west) and 400 (north & south), and it also has its own GO station.

Below are the average sale prices for all property types in Vaughan at the time of this blog (August 2022)

Detached $1,697,375

Semi-detached $1,116,357

Townhomes $1,080,793

Condo apartments $690,996

Condo townhome $931,602

#6 Aurora 

Top 10 communities in the GTA with GO stations

Aurora was once a small town but has grown substantially over the years. Although the photo above highlights the beautiful farm land and landscape you will find in the surrounding areas of Aurora, the main area of Aurora where most residents live is made up of residential homes of all sizes. Aurora is also home to large estate size lots in communities with winding tree-lined streets that provide a a good amount of privacy. Aurora has become a popular community for those who commute to work and who appreciate living in a community filled with beautiful homes with spacious lots.

Below are the average sale prices for all property types in Aurora at the time of this blog (August 2022)

Detached $1,625,138

Semi-detached $908,000

Townhomes $987,375

Condo apartments $718,650

Condo townhome $1,116,500

#7 King City

Top 10 communities in the GTA with GO stations

King City is known for its small town vibe, historical homes, large lots and stylish new construction subdivisions. The area has a main street down Keele Street which includes a variety of local shops, restaurants and other businesses. The King City community consists of a variety home types including heritage homes around King Road and Keele Street, large lots with custom homes and bungalows as well as new construction subdivisions that cater to a range of home buyers including first time buyers. For those who are looking for a quieter lifestyle than living in the busy city and who are willing to commute to work, King City might be a good option to consider.

Below are the average sale prices for all property types in the King Township at the time of this blog (August 2022)

Detached $1,912,794

Townhomes $1,108,000

Condo apartments $632,500

#8 Stouffville

Top 10 communities in the GTA with GO stations

Once known for mostly farm land and an older community with a small main street, Stouffville has changed drastically over the last decade and a half. These days, you will find new construction subdivisions that are either brand new or approximately fifteen years old along with an older part of town with homes that have existed for quite some time. Main Street Stouffville has many different shops and businesses along with several restaurants. Although it has grown over the years, it still has a small town vibe to it. Many residents commute to Toronto for work via the GO Train.

Below are the average sale prices for all property types in Stouffville at the time of this blog (August 2022)

Detached $1,414,811

Semi-detached $988,375

Townhomes $956,669

Condo townhome $588,000

#9 Pickering

Top 10 communities in the GTA with GO stations

Twenty years ago you wouldn’t hear about professionals from the city flocking to Pickering. However, Pickering has drastically changed over the years and has a lot to offer those who are looking for a larger home with a larger lot in an area not too far from Toronto. These days you will find many executives who have chosen to call Pickering home. With its beautiful waterfront, sense of community and more, it’s a popular community for those who are looking for more of a suburban vibe while still being close to the city. The Go station and easy access to Highway 401 makes it convenient for those who commute into the city for work.

Below are the average sale prices for all property types in Pickering at the time of this blog (August 2022)

Detached $1,270,758

Semi-detached $902,714

Townhomes $859,336

Condo apartments $609,845

Condo townhome $727,042

#10 Whitby

Top 10 communities in the GTA with GO stations

Whitby is home to several large corporations such as BMW, Sony Canada and others which employ many of the local residents.  Like Pickering, Whitby has its own beautiful waterfront and also a historical main street with Heritage buildings. There are a variety of home styles in the area and the pricing is typically more affordable when compared to other communities in the east end of the GTA such as Picking and Markham.

Detached $1,100,690

Semi-detached $857,500

Townhomes $849,250

Condo apartments $681,667

Condo townhome $706,500

With so many great options in the GTA to consider, I’m confident that you will be able to find the right home for you. To assist you with your search, I’ve included the GO system map below which shows all of their stops in the GTA.

Top 10 communities in the GTA with GO stations

Credit: GO Transit

If you are thinking of making a move out of the city to one of these great communities or any other great community in the GTA and have questions about selling, buying or the market in general, feel free to contact me at any time as I am happy to answer your questions for you.

*All sale prices above are based on July 2022 stats which are released in August 2022.

 

 

How to win a bidding war in Toronto

With Toronto being one of the hottest real estate markets with a level of demand that the supply can’t seem to keep up with, there’s no surprise that buyers often end up in a bidding war against other buyers.

I often tell my buyer clients that buying a home in Toronto is a process, one that involves more than just one attempt at finding the right house for them and sometimes involves some disappointment when one gets away.

How to win a bidding war in Toronto

Unfortunately, the Toronto real estate market is heartless; it doesn’t care about your feelings or your dreams, and it most definitely doesn’t care about how many homes you’ve missed out on. Most of the time, the only thing that Toronto real estate cares about is how much money you will pay for it.

Although offer price is usually the driving force when it comes to selecting the winning bid in a multiple offer situation, there are other deciding factors that come into play and which can work in your favour when putting together your offer.

As a full time Toronto real estate agent, I’ve had plenty experience with assisting both seller and buyer clients over the years. This has allowed me to view the deal from both sides of the table and to pick up on tactics and strategies that have resulted in a winning bid. I’ve also had the opportunity to see what doesn’t work.

How to win a bidding war in Toronto

Below, I’ve provided some of the strategies that have worked for my clients in the past in order to hopefully help you if you’re ever involved with a bidding war in the future.

Strategies:

Submitting a “Bully Offer” – This strategy typically only works if you are willing to pay an amount well above the list price and possibly slightly higher than market value. You essentially should be submitting an offer that the seller would be foolish to refuse. This offer would need to be completely clean and not include any conditions and with a limited number of clauses. This offer should also include the seller’s desired closing date.

Submitting a personalized letter with a photo – Although some may disagree with this strategy, I have seen personal letters work for both my buyer clients as well as for buyers submitting offers on my listings. I’ve personally been in situations where my seller clients were ready to take a lower offer price for their home simply because they liked the offer with the letter from the buyers as it felt more personal. It probably wouldn’t have been the wisest financial decision to accept a lower offer price due to a nicely written letter but it does go to show you that a personalized letter has the potential to sway a seller’s decision as to which offer to accept.

Submitting an offer with the desired closing date – One small way to help increase the odds of your offer being accepted is by matching the seller’s desired closing date. This is a very minor thing and likely won’t be the only thing that makes or breaks the deal, but if you can match the desired losing date, you will be that much closer to having your offer accepted.

Submit a clean offer – If you are up against other offers, the last thing you want to do is submit an offer with a bunch of conditions, reps and warranties and clauses. I realize this can be scary and you must make a decision that you feel comfortable and confident with but you may need to remove any home inspection or financing conditions or clauses you were planning on including. Based on years of experience with dealing with bidding wars, I can guarantee that the odds of your conditional offer being accepted are extremely low. However, if you are considering removing any conditions, make sure you are in a financial position to deal with any unexpected surprises that you may run into down the road.

Make sure your i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed – I often receive incomplete offers with missing information, sometimes important information such as the names of the parties to the agreement along with other very important information. Make sure all sections of the offer are filled out fully and accurately. The last thing you want to be doing is submitting an incomplete offer in a bidding war as this will not only result in the sellers potentially feeling uneasy with your offer, it may even result in you missing out on the home.

Don’t expect more than one chance – For some reason, some buyers and agents think that they will be guaranteed a chance to improve their offer after it has been submitted. This is not always the case as the seller is not required to provide additional opportunities for buyers to improve their offers. Do not go into a bidding war expecting a second, third or fourth chance to improve your offer as you may not get it.

Make sure to check in with the listing agent – Many agents simply submit an offer on offer night and wait to receive a yes or no answer. If you are working with an experienced and reputable Toronto real estate agent, they won’t stop at simply submitting your offer. Once your agent has submitted your offer, they should be checking in with the listing agent in order to see how your offer is doing compared to the others and to see if there is any way that you can make your offer stronger, whether that be financially or otherwise.

At the end of the day, bidding wars are complex and each one is different from the other depending on the different parties involved, including the the sellers, buyers and agents. A good real estate agent will be able to guide you through the process and help ensure that your offer stands out from the competition as much as possible while protecting your rights and working in your best interest throughout the process.

Are you thinking about making a move or do you have questions about the current market?

Contact me any time with your real estate questions or to discuss your real estate plans. I’m happy to help and to answer any questions you may have.

What is a pre-list home inspection?

You may or may not have heard the term “pre-list home inspection” before and wondered what it is and what it’s used for if you don’t already know.

A pre-list home inspection is an inspection that the listing agent typically arranges for their seller client prior to the property being listed for sale on MLS. By completing a pre-list home inspection, listing agents are able to provide such inspections to potential buyers and their agent when an inquiry is made regarding the condition of the home.

Toronto real estate (home inspections)

As long as your home doesn’t have any major issues, a pre-list home inspection often adds comfort to buyers, especially when they are involved in a multiple offer situation and likely won’t be able to submit an offer with a home inspection condition included.

A home inspection typically includes important information regarding different aspects and areas of the home and often includes details regarding the condition of following below as well as other items:

  • Foundation (limited)
  • Roof (limited)
  • Chimney
  • Decks & landscaping
  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Electrical (limited)
  • Plumbing (limited)
  • Heating & cooling systems (limited)
  • Bylaw related / safety issues
  • Moisture damage (typically available at an additional cost)

It is important to know that home inspectors are somewhat limited in regards to how deep they can dig into each section of the home. They mostly base their report on what is visible to the naked eye when looking over the different areas of your home.

It is also important to know that it’s extremely rare to receive a report that is squeaky clean without any issues at all, even in a newer home. Many sellers get nervous when they see a report that says there are issues with their home, even if they are minor issues. By completing a pre-list home inspection, you will have the opportunity to address the issues prior to listing your home for sale if you should wish to. Once the issues have been addressed, the home inspector will usually provide you with an updated report which reflects the repairs being completed. Over the years that I have been working in the real estate industry, I haven’t once seen a report completely free from any issues.

What is a pre list home inspection

Now that you know what a pre-list home inspection is, make sure you speak to your agent about this option prior to listing your home for sale.

If you aren’t currently working with another agent and have questions about the market or selling your home, contact me any time. I’m always happy to answer your questions and concerns and to assist you with achieving your specific real estate objectives.

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