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Archive for the ‘Annex Real Estate Toronto’ Category

Foreign Ownership in the GTA

Monday, March 13th, 2017

Throughout history when a scapegoat can be conveniently blamed for something negative it’s human nature to point a finger. When that scapegoat is foreign, even better goes the thinking. Far-off culprits are much easier targets thanks to distance and unfamiliarity.

Could that thinking be behind the GTA’s high house prices?

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It depends who you talk to. For some time, foreign investment in real estate has been blamed for the rising cost of housing in the Toronto real estate market. Fuelled in large part by the Vancouver market, offshore investors were slapped there last year with a 15 per cent tax. The result of which has been a big drop in foreign buying.

So the question is, is the same true of the GTA market? The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) recently released new research refuting that theory. The TREB information showed that fewer than five per cent of the 113,133 residential real estate transactions in 2016 involved foreign buyers. The data showed that more than half were buying homes for themselves or family members. According to a November Ipsos survey of TREB agents, about 25 per cent of the homes purchased by non-Canadians were rental investments.

Despite calls for a foreign buyer tax like the one in Vancouver, TREB believes such a move would be misguided. Should a 15 per cent foreign buyer tax be implemented in the GTA, TREB fears the move may hike real estate prices outside of the GTA, where the tax doesn’t exist. It also warns that such a tax could reduce the already limited supply of rental housing and discourage immigration to the GTA.

But not everyone buys the TREB findings. Some say the TREB figures are not a true picture of foreign ownership in the GTA because the numbers don’t account for new construction sales, which could up the figure from TREB’s estimate of 4.9 per cent by another five to 10 per cent.

The Vancouver tax seems to have worked. In January, sales were down about 40 per cent from the same time last year. But Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has said that the province will not follow British Columbia’s move to introduce a tax on foreign homebuyers.

Meanwhile, don’t look for price relief in the near future. TREB reported that the average home price in the GTA skyrocketed at the end of 2016. The average home price hit $730,472 in December, which is a 20 per cent increase compared to December 2015. Prices are estimated to rise again substantially in 2017 with hikes in the neighbourhood of 10 to 16 per cent.

 

Happy to Pick Up Where Honest Ed’s Left Off

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

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Freeman Real Estate is launching a brand new community event this month that pays tribute to the memory of a much-loved retailing icon and honours the Freeman Real Estate spirit of community giving.

On Sunday, Dec. 18, Freeman is hosting a free turkey giveaway at the real estate company’s office at 988 Bathurst Street. The event, which begins at 12 noon, will see 500 turkeys given away to members of the public.

Located just four blocks north of Honest Ed’s, Freeman Real Estate is a family-run boutique real estate firm with a reputation for supporting community causes, charities and efforts. Honouring Ed Mirvish’s memory and the real estate company’s tradition of community giving helped plant the idea for the turkey giveaway.

“We always admired Ed’s charity and we thought this was a good opportunity for us to keep the tradition going,” says Elden Freeman, Broker of Record.  “We’re big believers in our local community. As residents and business persons, we benefit a good deal from our community. This is one way we can pay back and say thank you.”

Spirit of Math is also getting into the holiday spirit by sponsoring a portion of the gobbler giveaway.  Spirit of Math is an innovative leader in after-school mathematics education with more than 40 campuses in North America.

The turkeys are completely free of charge and for each turkey given away Freeman will donate 50 cents to St. Alban’s Boys & Girls Club, an organization that provides programming for children and youth.

On hand will be Ward 20 city councillor Joe Cressy. St. Alban’s executive director Chris Foster and boys and girls from the club will also be there to help give out the turkeys.

The Annex landmark, Honest Ed’s, gave away free turkeys at Christmastime for 28 years, ending the tradition this year. The retailer at Bathurst and Bloor Streets will close in 2017 to make way for condos and commercial space.

If this year’s giveaway is a success, Freeman intends to make the event bigger and better for next year.

Window of Opportunity for You and Your Home

Friday, July 15th, 2016

If it’s true that windows are like the eyes of a house, then it’s time to take those peepers a little more seriously.

At Freeman Real Estate, we’re a bit obsessive about windows and eaves, so much so, in fact, that we’re offering a 20 per cent discount on window and eaves trough cleaning when services are purchased through Maple Window & Eaves Cleaning.Image result for cleaning windows

“Windows really lend character and aesthetics to a home,” says Elden Freeman, president of Freeman Real Estate.”And while their shape, size and colour all contributes to the overall appeal of a home’s exterior, one of the easiest and cheapest things a homeowner can do to improve the look of their house both inside and out is to clean their windows.”

The FreemanTeam, which comprises more than 30 full-time realtors, is sponsoring the discount offer, which expires July 31, 2016. Ranked number one for real estate services in midtown/downtown, according to sales data from the Toronto Real Estate Board, the acclaimed real estate team is co-headed by broker Daniel Freeman and broker of record Elden Freeman.

The family-run boutique realtor has been a fixture in Toronto real estate since 1972 and is part of an exclusive community as one of a small number of family-owned and operated brokerages in Toronto.

The FreemanTeam offers a different approach to the Toronto real estate market, specializing in the unique homes, character properties, and condo developments that make up the city’s downtown, midtown, and uptown areas.

The team’s style is distinctly urban in flavour, and its team of professionals are in tune with the diverse lifestyles and opportunities that make up Toronto’s most colourful communities in the core of Canada’s largest city.

Call 647-222-5678 or visit www.maplewindowcleaning.com to schedule an appointment. The discount is available only when doing both window and eaves trough cleaning to your home.

Brexit & Canadian Real Estate

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

Instability in the UK in the wake of the recent Brexit vote could actually crank up the heat on Toronto’s real estate market, say experts.

The uncertainty in global markets thanks to England’s decision to leave the European Union could serve to fuel Canada’s red-hot housing market because interest rates will likely remain low, according to BMO Nesbitt Burns.

“In that event, the Fed will remain on ice even longer and Canadian rates will again probe all-time lows, keeping mortgage rates at an extremely low ebb and thus further fanning the flames in the domestic housing market,” said BMO chief economist Douglas Porter and senior economist Robert Kavcic.

The pair issued the warning in their latest report, which dealt with the various factors driving the out-of-control price increases in Vancouver and Toronto.

Brexit could be good news for those interested in investing.  According to Mortgage Broker News, there is a phenomenal amount of capital looking for commercial real estate and those foreign investors think an investment in Canadian real estate is a sure thing. Expect foreign investment in Vancouver and Toronto to continue.

As for how Brexit will impact mortgage rates, Toronto’s mortgage planner David Larock suspects the vote would not have any damaging effects on Canadian borrowers, at least not for the foreseeable future.

“Over the longer term, while the Brexit heightens global financial risks and raises the potential for increased volatility in financial markets, any related flare ups should trigger a capital flight to safety that would be expected to put downward pressure on our bond yields and therefore our mortgage rates,” the analyst wrote.

Given the state of Canada’s economy, which the Bank of Canada warned will push the country back into a recession in the second quarter, it’s very likely interest rates will remain at historically low levels.

“As we’ve grown to expect, rock bottom interest rates are expected to keep mortgage lenders busy for the foreseeable future,” wrote Sam Bourgi at www.canadianmortgages.ca

 

Finding a Good Tenant

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

It almost goes without saying that landlords want trustworthy tenants, who will be quiet, pay their rent on time and be respectful of their space.

But having that perfect tenant can be an awfully tall order.

Now is probably one of the better times to be a landlord in Toronto because vacancy rates are super low, rents have increased significantly and you have a larger pool of potential tenants from which to choose.

To find that ideal renter, you need to market your room or apartment effectively. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, you should differentiate your property from all others in some way. When compared to other rentals in your area, is yours newer, bigger, more stylish, cheaper, cleaner and safer? Does it have better appliances, amenities and scenery? What is the neighbourhood like? Is it a quiet, family-geared area or a bustling neighbourhood filled with restaurants and galleries?

There’s nothing wrong with advertising your property on Kijiji or Craigslist but be cautious of scammers.  There is a good variety of rental sites, some of which require payment in order to advertise. Viewit.ca is a great website with plenty of photos.

To find the perfect tenant, consider placing a ‘for rent’ sign on your property or try newspapers. You can also post flyers at the local library or grocery store. If you’re interested in renting to students, visit the campus housing office of your local college or university.

You can always hire a realtor to help you. At Freeman Real Estate, we offer a range of leasing services such as pricing, advertising and negotiating. If finding an awesome tenant is too time consuming or bothersome, this is a great way to go.

Be sure to screen your potential tenants. Doing this properly in the beginning can save you the risk of loss in future. You will need to do a credit check. Be sure to ask for a confirmation-of-employment letter in addition to references and first and last months’ rent. Ask your potential renter to fill out a rental application form, which requires information about the applicant’s job, supervisor, income, government identification and next of kin.

While the process of finding your ideal tenant may seem too finicky and tedious, remember that being scrupulous early on may save you headaches down the road.

 

Be True to Your School

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

A private school may be too costly, a public school too basic and a catholic school, too religious. There are clearly a number of options parents have today when choosing a school for their little ones. But the question we want to address is whether or not the quality of a school should affect your decision to purchase a home.

Believe it or not, this is a growing trend among home buyers. According to the National Association of Realtors in the U.S., proximity to top schools is one of the most influential factors in making a decision to purchase a house. The association found that 29 per cent of buyers listed school quality and 22 per cent cited closeness to schools as deciding factors in purchasing a home.

Often a good school means the neighbourhood in which it resides is also a good one. Look for safety stats and services such as Neighbourhood Watch programs, access to public transportation, and amenities such as parks, restaurants and places of worship.

It’s said a great school district can buoy a neighbourhood’s prices even when the market turns down so there is good reason to choose an area based on its schools.

A good school often means you can ask a higher selling price.  Though resale values and home equity may seem like far-off notions to you now, they are something you should always be thinking about when buying a home. Homes situated in good school districts are not only valued higher, they also take less time to sell.

But perhaps the best reason that should influence you buying in an area known for its schools is your children. It’s natural to want a better life for your kids and school is a defining part of their formative years so choose wisely.

Thanks to the introduction of standardized testing in Ontario schools in 1995 parents have an easy way to evaluate schools, though educators and non-educators alike will tell you that EQAO results shouldn’t be the only determining factor of a school’s quality.

Still, the scores are worth noting when schools are a top consideration for which neighbourhood you will choose to live in. Once a year, the Fraser Institute publishes a national report card on elementary and secondary schools across the country. Thanks to data gleaned from mandatory province-wide literacy and math tests the FI awards public schools a ranking out of 10 with 1 being the lowest.

For the full FI report visit https://www.fraserinstitute.org/sites/default/files/ontario-secondary-school-rankings-2016.pdf

For info about its interactive school website rankings visit  http://ontario.compareschoolrankings.org/secondary/SchoolsByRankLocationName.aspx

The Empty Nest Solution

Monday, June 6th, 2016

Isn’t it funny how that space you so wanted 30 years ago seems all a bit much today?

Welcome to the empty nest, that stage in life where your kids have flown the coop and where you and your partner are examining your next phase in life. You may be looking at retirement or far from it. One thing’s for sure, you’re starting to wonder if the house you’re in is too big for your reduced family size.

Renting out a basement apartment or a bedroom is a great option for empty nesters. Not only does it provide added income, but it can also offer solitary empty nesters company or at the very least a psychological buffer knowing that they’re not home alone.


Here, according to real estate investor Don Campbell, are some aspects you need to consider before hanging up the ‘For Rent’ sign.

Privacy

You will likely have to forgo some of it. Is that something you can live with? Will the extra income be worth your diminished privacy? You need to decide if you can handle having a renter in your residence especially if your rental space doesn’t come with its own separate entrance.

Family not so much

It’s difficult to enforce eviction or collection rules with a family member without it ruffling feathers throughout the family. Avoid if at all possible.

Sign a lease

A properly written lease signed by you and the tenant or tenants is a must. Make sure it outlines the rules, late rent penalties, expectations, and length of term.

Don’t lowball

If you offer the lowest rent you attract tenants whose only focus is on dollars. This will likely lead to quick turnovers as your renter leaves for the next lowest rental. Look online at other similar rentals in your area and set your price in the middle or higher end.

Do your research

Read up on landlord-tenant legislation so you know the rules. You should also bone up on local municipal bylaws and learn about guidelines and standards for fire and building safety, zoning and permits. Call your municipal office or go online to find out more.

Inform insurance

Be sure to let your home insurer know that you are renting out a portion of your home.

Research the tax repercussions

Once you become a landlord you have to claim your rental income on your taxes.  Also know that a portion of the capital gain when selling the property could be deemed taxable.


Being a landlord isn’t for the faint of heart. You will want someone who pays their rent on time, leads a reasonably quiet life and respects your property as if it was their own. While that may sound like a tall order, how you seek out a tenant can make a difference.

Advertise your rental with a sign on your property or house. Consider placing a classified ad in newspapers or post a flyer in grocery stores, libraries and places of worship. Be sure to let your friends, family and neighbours know that you’re on the hunt for an ideal tenant because sometimes word of mouth is the best advertising.

If you are looking for a student, contact campus housing offices at colleges and universities near your home. And don’t forget online platforms.

A Neighbourhood Goes for Green

Friday, April 29th, 2016

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The Harbord Village Residents’ Association (HVRA) is aiming to imprint a great big collective green thumb on its neighborhood by replacing concrete and asphalt with plants, grass and trees.

Harbord Village, which is bordered by Bloor, College, Spadina and Bathurst Street, is a neighbourhood that while lush with greenery and private gardens has little public green space, except for three tiny parkettes. The residents’ group decided to approach the city about developing a green plan and with the input of the Harbord and Bloor Annex BIAs, the 2015 Harbord Village Green Plan was born.

“We’ve done the plan and now it’s a matter of mobilizing the community,” says Tim Grant, chair of the association. “We already have an active effort on Croft Laneway where neighbours there have already gotten together and planned three different plantings scheduled for this spring. It’s neighbours helping neighbours and I hope to use that as a model to encourage others.”

The 600-plus member association hooked up with city councilor Joe Cressy in addition to local BIAs to devise its plan, which includes the greening of street corners, laneways, planters and derelict and under-used areas in the neighbourhood.

The first plan of attack addresses the often unoccupied paved space where residential streets meet commercial strips along Bloor, Harbord and College. The green plan calls for planting opportunities at 13 different locations in which in-ground planting, raised container beds, bicycle parking and seating might be provided.

As Harbord Village is home to over 25 laneways, the plan calls for a number of initiatives aimed at improving and greening the neighbourhood’s network of corridors and passages, with current emphasis on Croft Laneway and Sussex Mews. These include encouraging neighbours to plant containers in free spaces next to garages or in paving gaps along building walls, hanging flowering baskets from light standards where appropriate, creating punctures along the centre of laneways and introducing resilient plant species, introducing vining along walls and fences and seeking opportunities for rain barrels and other catchments to provide water.

The plan recommends the replacement of pitchpoint planters. These concrete planters, many of which are marked with graffiti, are only marginally effective at slowing motorists. The residents’ group would rather see an in-ground pitchpoint, which allows ample space for plants, shrubs and trees. These in-ground street features effectively slow traffic and discourage graffiti.

The development of parks in under-capacity parking lots, abandoned recreational courts and sections of surplus lawn around apartment buildings all have potential when it comes to green space.

On May 18, the HRVA is holding its annual spring meeting at the Kensington Health Centre at 45 Brunswick Ave.

“We’re excited about this,” Grant says. “Now we need to get boots on the ground and make things happen.”

 

 

 

The Ultimate Top 5 No-No’s when Selling

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

Brisk real estate markets like Toronto or Vancouver are great for sellers because of the high level of interest among buyers, many of whom are hungry, perhaps desperate some might say to capture their own properties.

Given this seller’s market, it’s understandable that a seller might be inclined to slack off a bit when it comes to keeping their home in tip-top shape. That’s never advisable. When buyers observe signs of neglect and carelessness they begin to question a property and suddenly your highly sought-after house is not so hot to trot any more.

With that in mind, let’s look at the Top 5 No-No’s sellers need to correct or address before putting their house on the market.

  1. Filth & Junk – Even though the dirtiest of messes can be eventually cleaned up, this has to be one of the top sins. Hide your dirty laundry from plain view. If you don’t have time to wash dishes, put them in the dishwasher.  If that’s not an option hide them temporarily in a bin in your oven. Take out the trash; make your beds and scrub sinks and toilets. As for clutter, it comes in varying degrees. Ask your realtor for suggestions about what areas you need to tackle first.
  2. Doggy Do’s & Don’ts – As cute, lovable, fun and furry as your pets may be, others are apt to approach pets with a high degree of caution. There are a wide range of reasons why strangers won’t like your pets, from matters around cleanliness and safety to everything in between. Some buyers find pets and their messes a huge turn-off so knowing that your house houses one can be cause for concern. It may take some effort, but you’re best to hide any signs of animals, especially when it comes to property damage such as scratch marks on doors or urine stains in carpeting.  Take care of pet-related issues before listing your house and try to take your pets with you during showings.
  3. Don’t Be a Stalker – Interested buyers feel the need to keep their distance from the seller so don’t be tempted to shadow them as they tour your home. Nothing could be worse. You are not being helpful by pointing out technical features of your basement sauna or interesting gossip about the celebrities that live on your street. This is the job of the realtor. Use your agent to communicate selling features. Having the seller linger around the house while it is being shown is detrimental as the purchaser will never feel 100 per cent at ease, which will encumber how they feel about your house in general, no matter how beautiful and reasonably priced.
  4. Stinkeroo – The thing about bad smells is that the only way to escape them is by leaving the dwelling. This is not a good message to convey to a prospective buyer. And yes, you may love garlic and eat it at every meal, but the smell can be overpowering and, believe it or not, offensive to some people. Other olfactory insults can include such cooking smells as bacon and fish. Try not to cook those strong-smelling foods right before or even the day before a showing.  Even more disgusting is the smell of cigarette smoke. Take your butts outside. Animal smells from litter boxes and dirty pets are also highly off-putting.
  5. Reality Bites – Don’t be unrealistic about your house. Yes, it’s a hot real estate market but that doesn’t mean a way-too-high asking price coupled with a property that is rarely available for showings will get you what you want. Try to take the emotion and ego out of selling your home. Price it realistically and make it ready and available for showings.

Hibernate No More!

Monday, January 25th, 2016

It’s easy to understand why Torontonians want to crank up their heat and stay indoors during January and February. But don’t let cool temperatures and a little snow accumulation prevent you from exploring the city.

Despite the chill, there are plenty of fun and fascinating events taking place. Here’s our look at some of the more unique ones:

New Height for Rooftop Skating Rink

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There is something decidedly exciting about skating outdoors but when you’re gliding amidst other towering rooftops there’s an added kick. Check out Molson Canadian’s 100-by-45-foot ice pad set 32 stories high atop the financial district at 120 Adelaide St. W. You can purchase ice time between January 29 and February 7.

The Hills are Alive with Toboggans

Toronto has a surprising number of great spots, from baby hills for real beginners to steep cliffs that only old seasoned sledders can navigate. Cedarvale Park, Winston Churchill Park, Christie Pits and Bickford Parks all offer good variety in terms of different size hills.

Winterlicious

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One of the city’s favourite foodie festivals gets underway January 29 and runs to February 11. Winterlicious offers delicious cuisine and unique culinary events at more than 200 restaurants. For more details, see website for details .

Want Fries With That?

La Poutine Week is the crème de la crème of fried foodie festivals that begins Feb 1 and goes to Feb. 7. For $10, you get to try a poutine dish from participating restaurants and then vote on the best Poutine Week location.

Spot of Tea

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If your tastes fun a bit more refined, perhaps you’d enjoy exploring the world of tea at the Toronto Tea Festival. The two-day event at the Toronto Reference Library takes place January 30 and 31. A one-day pass is $15; two-day pass is $25. For more info, click here.

Try the Castle on for Size

Casa Loma offer two popular escape games for the adventurous at heart. Blending fact with fiction and gaming with theatre, the escape games offered here – Escape from the Tower and King of the Bootleggers – require advanced bookings. If gaming isn’t for you, consider the January 23 Robbie Burns celebration which includes a four-course Johnnie Walker scotch pairing dinner. See website for more.

 

 

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.