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Archive for February, 2014

Spring Never Looked So Good

Friday, February 28th, 2014

When realtors and business media go on and on about there being a hot real estate market in which bidding wars on homes are the norm do you, as someone who’s been out of the real estate market for some time, think it’s all a bunch of hooey designed to provoke people into a flurry of buying and selling?

We understand your suspicion. But truthfully, the upcoming spring real estate market may simply be the best time to sell your house thanks to the swelling fervour of Toronto buyers.

Recently, one of our listings for a single-family home near the AGO generated 28 offers to purchase. In the end, the home sold for $500,000 over what the owners were asking.

That’s right, we said $500,000 over the asking price.

With that many buyers and so few sellers, prices are being pushed through the roof. Selling your house now may be as good as it’s going to get.

At Freeman, you’re sure to get an intelligent sales strategy for selling your property thanks to our 40-plus years of experience in the Toronto housing market. That know-how permeates everything we do, from offering free evaluations and a plan of action as to how we’ll execute your sale, to getting the greatest value for your house and doing so in a fashion that creates the least amount of worry and hassle for the seller.

Our track record from the number of days it takes to sell a property to the average sales price to how much over asking we typically receive beat the Toronto Real Estate Board’s numbers every time during 2012 and 2013.

“We want it to be easy for you,” says Elden Freeman, “and we want you to feel comfortable especially now when you can get caught up in a frenzy or excitement of the current marketplace.”

According to the Toronto Real Estate Board’s Jason Mercer, the outlook for sales for this year is positive with 89,000 transactions forecasted for the Toronto MLS system.

While house prices will grow by about six per cent with an average price set at $555,000 for 2014, the competition for those houses is expected to heat up even more. That’s because the number of listings on the market will remain limited.

We understand that it’s natural to be doubtful about the real estate market as it is today with record sales figures and multiple bids. Selling your home is a big step, whether you’re planning to downsize, move up or make a lateral move.

As realtors with an outstanding track record, we’re here to help you through the process each step of the way.











Thumbs Up to Area Green-Thumb Sharing Program

Friday, February 28th, 2014


Garden sharing is a truly great way to interact with your neighbourhood either as a gardener pulling weeds or turning over soil or as the homeowner supplying a green space for someone to nurture and tend to.

The Stop Community Food Centre, a non-profit organization targeting the issues of hunger and poverty, is introducing YIMBY, a program that connects people who love to garden but don’t have the space with those who have space but no time or inclination.

YIMBY stands for Yes In My Back Yard, which is a pointed example of how The Stop brings people together around food in an environment that’s positive and inclusive.

“What the stop does well is demonstrate how being around food can be transformational in terms of health and in terms of relationships with other people,” says Kathe Rogers, The Stop’s communications manager.  “Whatever the motivation for participating, YIMBY is working to build community and strengthen relationships between people who might not have otherwise met.”

As one of Canada’s most popular outdoor recreational activities, backyard gardening allows you:

  • access to fresh, organic produce at a much-reduced cost than retail
  • to reduce harmful chemicals and pollution in the environment
  • to grow rare and unusual plants that are difficult to find elsewhere
  • satisfaction knowing you’re getting fresh air, exercise and doing something good for your community

Unfortunately, in big cities such as Toronto and Vancouver gardening can be a tough row to hoe for many.  Think about the many Torontonians who don’t have access to available land for growing fruits and veggies. Or on the flip side, how about those who have access to a yard but are restricted by time, physical ability or lack of interest.

For some, participating in a garden sharing program is simply about sharing the love – being neighbourly and concerned about fellow citizens enough to want to donate their backyard or, conversely, their time to garden.

The Stop acts as a connector, helping to set up garden-sharing matches. The Stop offers a tool-lending library, free gardening workshops to enhance your skills, some free seedlings, a community seed exchange, and opportunities to meet and learn from other gardeners.

YIMBY connects people to garden in the neighbourhoods around The Stop’s two locations, The Green Barn at Christie and St. Clair, and its second site at Davenport and Symington. This area extends roughly from Bloor up to Rogers/Vaughan Rd, and from Bathurst over to Dundas W./Old Weston Rd.

For more info on YIMBY or to get involved contact Mik at 416-651-7867, ext. 27 or email mik@thestop.org.

Rethinking Garbage

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

With Spring (hopefully!) around the corner, here are some tips from the National Association of Green Agents and Brokers to follow when you start your spring cleaning!
The skies might be bluer, the water more clean, the air much purer and our plant life more green if we could only minimize the heaps of household garbage we produce.

It’s been a long time since we talked about garbage. It’s not a particularly appealing or sexy topic, that’s for sure, but it is a blight on our lives that we must continue to tackle. Canadians throw out nearly 1,700 pounds – much more than other countries of the same size and means — of waste per person each year. That’s the weight of eight adult men. When you picture eight guys heaped in a pile at the foot of your driveway it drives home the message more clearly and much more dramatically.

Let’s pay more attention to the three Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle, and hopefully we can work toward bringing our numbers down.

For starters, we need to rethink what we purchase and what we dispose of. Does it really pay to purchase products that come packaged in ridiculous quantities of plastic, foil and cardboard? Choose products that use minimal packaging or packaging that can be reused or recycled. Try to buy unpackaged goods in bulk.

Certain hardware items can be bought this way and that cuts your packaging waste. It’s better to buy one large jar of peanut butter than two small jars so keep that in mind when writing out your grocery list. And finally, don’t be afraid to voice your opinion about over packaging by complaining to the manufacturer or the retailer.

Start by reducing the stuff you buy, not just the quantity but the kinds of things you buy. Consider buying quality products that tend to last longer rather than cheap items that are more easily tossed out. Think twice before purchasing disposable items such as cups, diapers and lighters. What price does our environment pay for the throwaway items we buy? Think of reusable facsimiles. They’re out there.

Try not to use shopping as therapy or as a pastime. While this can be very difficult in our brand-driven, consumer society, the less time you spend in stores, the less junk you’ll accumulate. Try to buy only what you need. Make a list and follow it and try your hardest not to deviate from it.

Try to simplify your life. When was the last time you used that foot massager or hands-free hair dryer? The avocado slicer and talking cookie jar haven’t been used in years so pack them up and give them away. If you don’t use it, don’t need it or don’t absolutely love it, toss it out. If there is a sentimental attachment to something know that you always have your memories.

Reusing household items is what our grandmothers did. Well, guess what? The trend is back in fashion but not as much out of economic need. It has to do with green concerns of a different kind — saving resources, preventing pollution and using less energy.
Pass along magazines and books to friends and neighbours or donate them to women’s shelters, doctor’s offices or nursing homes. Perhaps your local thrift store will take them off your hands? Eyeglasses can be donated to Operation Eyesight Universal.

Don’t forget pre-schools and daycare centres. They’re often looking for simple household items such as egg cartons, buttons and toilet paper rolls that their mini Picassos can transform into masterpieces. Become the resident expert on recycling and where to dispose of odd items such as electronics, cell phones, dentures and old trophies. (Yes, there is a heaven for just about all earthly things).

Don’t forget the beauty of yard and garage sales. You can recycle a lot of items and makes a few quarters while you’re at it. For an online version of a yard sale check out Kijiji, a website that lets you donate or sell items for free. Freecycle.org also allows you to post items you’d like to get rid of.

Our pursuit of stuff often means we burn through too much waste in our quest to amass. Learn to be happy with less and you’ll be giving and getting so much more.

The National Association of Green Agents and Brokers (NAGAB) provide a Greenbroker and Greenagent certification program to Realtors across Canada. To get more information or to sign up for a course, visit www.nagab.org. Elden Freeman M.E.S., AGB, broker is the founder and executive director of the non-profit organization. 1-877-524-9494 Email elden@nagab.org.

Multi-disciplined Realtor is One Singular Sensation – We are happy to welcome Catharine MacIntosh to our team!

Saturday, February 22nd, 2014

The building blocks that form the foundation of Catharine MacIntosh’s professional life are at first glance a seemingly dissimilar array of disciplines.


But on closer inspection, her political background in combination with her know-how in sustainable design and technology and her experience with business innovation all contribute to making Freeman Real Estate’s newest realtor an extremely  well-rounded one.

“I love being involved in opportunities that ignite change,” says the 43-year-old. “Owning Real Estate can give you the real power to do some

thing. With a property, you have invested in your future and compared to other investment vehicles it can provide constant leverage for growth.”

As a four-year-old growing up in Calgary Catharine would tell her grandmother that she wanted to be the prime minister of Canada. Ambitious and industrious, she obtained a political science degree from the University of Calgary and would go on to work at the Canadian embassy in Washington, DC, starting in the press office and winding her way throughout the embassy working in several departments such as finance and defence procurement.

In 2001, she returned to Canada to seek a degree in environmental design from OCAD University. A Toronto architecture firm hired Catharine upon graduation. While there, she became a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accredited professional, the 83rd person to do so in the province of Ontario.

Catharine then moved to a business innovation think tank and helped Dutch-based Philips Corporation secure a U.S. patent for pioneering work done within the corporation’s hotel sector.

She then worked on a highly original project at Dundas and Bathurst. The space included commercial space, would ultimately house a Starbucks and was unique in that she developed a co-working space on the ground level called “The Foundery”.

It was thanks to one of the Foundery owners who suggested Catharine consider a career in real estate that she pursued her license.  She interviewed at a number of brokerages – discount, mainstream franchises and couture – when she happened upon Freeman.

“I was immediately impressed,” she says. “I had a list of wants and they met them all – they’re family owned, they’re Canadian, they’re accessible with their expertise, experience, intelligent and sound advice, caring mentorship and support. They’re down-to-earth and they treat everyone in a professional manner. And they love dogs and have a ‘dog-friendly’ office—how great is that!?”

Catharine finds much value in the weekly staff get togethers otherwise known as the Freeman Café in which realtors discuss topics, share ideas, brainstorm and problem solve.

As a resident of Kensington Market, Catharine feels she has a special expertise in the downtown core and that’s something she plans to capitalize on as she hones her real estate career. It’s the convergence of her knowledge and expertise in design, technology and business innovation that add up to quite an impressive backdrop for a career in real estate.

“My personal motto is simply, be magnificent,” says Catharine. “Just go and try and do it.

All In A Day’s Woof

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

June 20th might be Take Your Dog to Work Day around the world, but at Freeman Real Estate pooches are as much a part of the workplace as the furniture.

The Freemans have a long and illustrious reputation as serious canine lovers beginning with their father, Barry Freeman who introduced his beloved pooch Olly to the Bathurst Street office in its early days back in the 1970s.
The tradition has continued with his sons, Elden and Daniel, who each enjoy walking to the office with their furry friends in tow. Elden is often seen accompanied by his three dogs, two Bichons Frise, Yappa and Dopey, and a mutt named Shuli, who hails from Israel. Daniel’s best friend is a hound dog named Babe.

The newest member of the Freeman Team, Babe.

Admin staff is also encouraged to bring in their pups, meaning the fur can fly with as many as seven dogs in the office. All of the dogs are naturally well behaved and socialized. The Freemans guarantee petiquiette of the highest standard, ensuring that vaccinations are up to date and that plenty of dog toys and treats are provided.

The Freemans truly believe a dog presence at work enhances productivity, improves the mood of staff and clients, and increases efficiency because everybody is happier. Animals in the workplace, they say, actually serve to keep stress levels down.

“If I’ve had a difficult meeting or phone conversation, I go see a couple of the dogs for a quick pet and it just takes all that stress away,” says Elden. “Having dogs here makes it comfortable. It’s like good therapy for people. They see we’re not stuffy and uptight. I think it shows that we’re more family oriented, laid back and flexible.”

The merits of having dogs in the workplace are a phenomenon that has been debated for years. Now researchers are studying its effects. A U.S. based study in 2012 found there to be less stress and more job satisfaction, organizational commitment and support in work environments in which dogs were present.

The Freemans have such ardent affection for friends of the four-legged kind that they’ve dedicated a special page on their website to pet-friendly Toronto condos for sale, a feature you won’t find on Realtor.ca. That way, Freeman clients never have to part with their beloved pets.

Visit our Pet Friendly Condo page http://www.freemanrealty.com/pet-friendly-toronto-condos. There you’ll see a variety of dwellings in different price ranges starting at $300,000. Be sure to check out the gallery of photos and accompanying bios of those furry friends who call the office home.


Monday, February 10th, 2014


Moxy and Hanna

Monday, February 10th, 2014

DSC_9212 - Moxy & HannaGolden Girls, Moxy and Hanna.They are both 8 years old. Moxy, the alpha of the two, came to her owner at 7 weeks old. Hanna was found through Golden Rescue. Hanna was a foster dog who came to her current owner a mere 45 lbs, skin & bones with rib cage protruding, very sparse fur – a mere shell of herself. She was afraid of everything and everyone and you could barely tell that she was a Golden. With love, patience and a good raw diet, she over time fattened up to 65 pounds and has learned to smile (yes, she actually does have a hilarious smile). The Golden Girls are wonderful companions.

How to Compete in Multiple Offers

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

Have you been searching for your dream home for months, maybe even a year or two or three? Maybe you’ve lost out on a bidding war in which multiple buyers all vied for that exact same piece of the rock. Are you starting to feel a little desperate or doomed?

Don’t even go there.

Multiple offers are pretty much a side effect of a hot seller’s market. But that doesn’t have to mean the seller has Oz-like power and might. As a buyer you can employ certain tactics and strategies that will make you stronger and more competitive. Let’s look at how you can stand out from the crowd:

Clean offers – those with fewer conditions – are best. A clean offer with pre-approved financing, especially in a multiple offer situation, shows the seller that you are serious.  Conditional sales and offers that hinge on financing aren’t acceptable when there are other offers on the table.

Sell your house first.  You don’t want to include selling your house as a condition as this will serve to weaken your offer by making your bid more complicated and less desirable.

Don’t wait for an open house. If a house interests you based on its online photos, make an appointment to see it before the weekend open house. That way your offer can be entertained before the open-house feeding frenzy.

Use a trusted local broker.  The more well-known and respected your agent is, the better odds they have at enticing listing agents. In a bidding war situation, the offer presented by the known broker will be more attractive to the listing agent and increase your odds especially if the two offers are close.

Get a home inspection – quick. The idea here is to signal to the seller that you are prepared to act quickly. Having to wait ten days for a home inspection that might prompt the buyer to drop a deal, isn’t very appealing for the seller so get this done ASAP.

Be flexible. Believe it or not, but this attribute can make or break a deal. If a seller has already purchased and you meet their closing date that could net you the house over a higher competing offer. Also, to stand out from other offers, don’t ask for the moon when it comes to extras such as window coverings and appliances. Simply ask for what is offered in the listing. Also on this point, try not to nit-pick on minor repairs and instead offer to purchase the property as is.

Pull out the big guns.  Offering a large deposit shows the seller you’re serious. Put down as much as you can afford. No need to worry as it goes toward the balance owing on the property or, if the deal falls through, you get it back.

The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the Toronto Real Estate Board. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.