Toronto Area Real Estate News

 

Jan. 21, 2019

The Secret to Success in a Tough Real Estate Market

Have you always wondered why there is a dominant agent in every neighbourhood of every city who has become almost like a celebrity? How did they manage to dominate that particular locale and attain so many listings? What is their secret to real estate success? 

 

If there’s one thing that almost all successful real estate agents have done to grow their business in a certain demographic, it’s farming. 

 

Farming is the quickest and most effective method in real estate to generate more leads. The concept is simple: Concentrating the bulk of your marketing efforts on a specific region will allow you to be seen as the expert of that area and gain the business of its residents.

 

Farming involves planting the seeds of your business, nurturing them through consistent and authentic marketing, and reaping the rewards through commissions. 

 

1. Planting the Seeds

 

The first step to dominating a particular postal code is choosing the right one! Start by developing a business plan and researching neighborhoods that do not already have a dominant agent. Once you’ve chosen a lucrative area, get to know your audience by researching their average income and age, the types of homes in that area, and the residents that live there (empty nesters? young families? retirees?) Knowing the area and its residents will strengthen your business plan and prevent you from wasting time and money on precious marketing resources.

 

2. Nurturing the Farm 

 

The key to farming success is to establish yourself as the go-to real estate professional in your area. There are many ways to make your presence known in a community, including attending local events, supporting community projects, direct mail, postcards, newsletters, and going door-to-door. These techniques, while effective, are still not enough to dominate a certain area in today’s real estate market. Consider leveraging your brand’s visibility by adopting the following methods:

 

Establish a Presence Online

 

Compared to other marketing methods, social media is an extremely cost-effective way to put your brand in front of thousands of people and reach potential clients you would never meet just by going door-to-door. 

 

Provide Helpful and Authentic Content 

 

The key to farming is to do it with regularity and in a genuine and authentic way. One of the biggest mistakes realtors make is bogging down client in-boxes and mailboxes with content that is solely self-promotional. The information you share with residents of your farm area should be helpful and highlight the community as well as your business. 

 

Speak the Language of your Demographic 

 

When marketing to a neighborhood ensure that you are speaking in the consumer’s language and targeting the specific demographics of that area. To be successful, realtors must be on the pulse of what is trendy and current in that community and be able to engage both online and in-person. 

 

3. Reaping the Rewards 

 

Farming takes patience, time, and consistent effort. Month after month you must strive to keep your name in the forefront of the minds of the residents in your area so that when they ARE ready to buy or sell their property, it’s your name they know to contact. Once you’ve established a presence in your area you will witness a massive return on your efforts as residents begin to contact YOU to list!

 

Farming can reap massive rewards, but knowing how to choose the proper postal code and marketing techniques involves guidance and mentor-ship. At Whitehill, you are not just a number of 300 agents, you are a person that is seen and validated. Our agency uses live one-on-one training, not webinars or books, to guide our realtors to success. 

Under the right mentor-ship, clocking in 100,000 dollars in sales is possible! Whitehill Real Estate is a company of FARMERS and for the first time we are not only going to teach you how to FARM but also pay for your marketing in YOUR name!

 

It’s harvest time at Whitehill Real Estate! 

 

Call us today at 905 502 9944 or sign up for one of our informative FREE seminars to learn how you can join our company and reap the benefits of farming!

 

 

Dec. 21, 2018

The Winter Advantage: Why December Is The Perfect Time To Purchase Property

The Winter Advantage: Why December Is The Perfect Time To Purchase Property

 

Winter is a perfect time for many things: Ice skating, sipping hot chocolate, curling up by the fire, and spending time with family. But the holiday season also offers a window of opportunity for something even more exciting: purchasing a property! Choosing the right time to buy is just as important as finding the right location.

 

Here are five prime reasons why home buyers should take advantage of the winter season:


The Market Is Less Competitive
With many potential buyers unwilling to move before the holiday season or busy with entertaining, the real estate market transforms into a buyer’s dream. With less competition and fewer bidding wars, buyers are in the driver’s seat when it comes to negotiating a lower asking price. Shopping for houses when the market is slow also means buyers don’t have to rush into making a decision and can more carefully compare homes and choose the best one for their lifestyle and budget.

Sellers Are Motivated To Make A Deal
Sellers who have listed their homes for an unrealistic price in the fall with little luck on the selling-front may be getting anxious to sell come December. With a drop in buyers and fewer offers on the table, sellers are more inclined to negotiate and accept a lower offer then wait until spring to re-list. In addition to the dwindling number of offers on the table, the time and energy needed to prepare a house to sell is difficult to maintain with the holidays quickly approaching.

Outfit Your New Home For Cheap
With new furniture styles typically being released in February, January is an ideal month to take advantage of post-Christmas sales and furniture clear-outs. December and January are also excellent months to take advantage of sales on paint, carpeting, and home appliances as discounts often increase dramatically after Boxing Day.

Save On Moving Day Costs
The holidays are already expensive, so why not save some cash on a huge cost: moving! The hectic holiday season combined with poor weather conditions makes winter a considerably slower time for moving companies. Less demand means many companies offer discounted moving rates and are more likely to meet your scheduling needs. This flexibility allows you to move on your own timeline and have extra money left over to celebrate the season!

End-Of-Year Tax Incentives
Purchasing a home at the end of the fiscal year gives buyers the opportunity to take advantage of several tax deductions next April. Closing the home by Dec. 31 allows buyers to deduct closing costs, property tax, and mortgage interest from their entire year’s savings. These deductions can dramatically reduce the money owed to the government or increase tax refunds. 

 

A beautiful new home is the best gift you could give your family this season!

 

For over 10 years, AJ Lamba has served over 2,000 clients and is the top agent in the GTA. Our team are experts in helping potential buyers find the perfect property at the best price! Contact us today at (905) 502-9944 to find out how you can take advantage of December’s best housing deals!

Dec. 3, 2018

How A Commercial Real Estate Broker Can Help You in Toronto?

Hiring a good, knowledgeable and of course a licensed real estate agent is your best bet for buying or selling off properties because such brokers or agents are experts in their trade. There is much more to a commercial real estate broker than just locating the right property and negotiating the deal terms. To help the buyers, the real estate brokers need to have authentic license. When you are planning to sell houses in Mississaugayou should be very clear about their status and their previous work history.

What is the role of a commercial real estate broker?

A commercial real estate broker has innumerable responsibilities if he is following the genuine path. They play a pivotal role in different real estate aspects. Hence, their roles can never be dismissed without knowing much about them. Buying and selling are not the final tasks in this business.

  • In case of commercial leasing situation, the landlord lists available space with a broker who goes out looking for tenants.
  • Although you are hiring a real estate brokerage and sign your representation letter with them, you are working with a person. The trust is not with the agency, but with the agent.  
  • A broker who works exclusively for you has one main assignment – to get you a good deal on a space that meets your needs – not to help the landlord quickly fill the building or get top rent. This is a very common picture among real estate brokers in Brampton.
  • The broker brings experience and a solid understanding of markets in your metropolitan area and can help winnow out office space that is not ideal for what you do.
  • The commercial brokers boast of knowing the local market, and they probably can help companies find the potentially profitable spots for the kind of business concerned.

commercial real estate broker negotiates for a living and can provide a buffer between the sometimes rocky process and the client. Negotiations are always not fruitful and it is helpful to have an advocate on your side that can spot hidden charges or profit centers for the landlord. Leases are legal documents, which no one likes to read – they are confusing and full of jargons that often obscures meaning. A reliable broker can definitely interpret these complex legal documents and help negotiate lease clauses that could be risky to the client.

But there are certainly some negative aspects that also can’t be denied or avoided. Hence, as far as the negative points are concerned, it is better to mention that brokers have an internal financial motivation for your lease to be more expensive and your lease term longer, as their commission will improve as the total lease amount increases. There lies the conflict of interest for your broker, who is duty-bound to protect your interests, and higher rent is not among them.

Posted in Commercial
Dec. 3, 2018

Ontario housing starts stable thanks to strong demand in new home market

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) released its housing starts data for September 2017, announcing that the trend decreased for the first time in many months.

National housing starts trended at 214,821 units, which is slightly lower than 220,573 in August 2017. The trend is a six month moving average of seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR).

“Housing starts are trending lower in September after increasing for eight consecutive months,” says Bob Dugan, CMHC’s chief economist. “Nevertheless, new home construction remains very strong as the seasonally adjusted number of starts was above 200,000 units for four straight months.”

In Toronto, housing starts trended lower by 7% compared to the previous month, mostly due to low apartment starts. The low-rise sector remained strong and the pace of construction for new homes in general is stable thanks to the strong demand.

Brantford is beginning to see an uptick in starts, especially of single detached homes. Earlier this year, detached homes in Brantford were selling for $500,000 to $700,000, making the market an affordable alternative for Hamilton and Greater Toronto Area (GTA) buyers.

Another highlight of September is London, which had the highest trending September since 2006 in both the detached home and multiples sectors. The recent income gain and surge in population growth has led to a steady demand for detached housing.

While Toronto experienced a drop in housing starts compared to the previous month, Ontario as a whole went up 13% year-over-year, hitting 6,448 units. Also, when comparing September 2017 to September 2016, Toronto’s housing starts increased by 16%.

The standalone monthly SAAR of housing starts was 217,118 units, down from 225,918 in August. The SAAR of urban starts dropped 5.1% to 198,910 units, with multiples decreasing by 10.7% to 131,388 and singles up 8.2% to 67,522. Rural starts are estimated to be around 18,208 units.

We’re eager to see how the busy fall market affects housing starts leading into 2018!

Posted in Buy, Current News, Sell
Dec. 3, 2018

Home Moving Checklist

Moving home is the most daunting task. It’s no wonder ranked as life’s most stressful event. A good way to reduce stress is to develop a calendar that starts six weeks before your move. This calendar will serve as your “countdown” to moving day. It will help you do things in an orderly manner which will also save time and money.Make your move an overwhelming experience!!!

Here is our handy checklist to help make your transition, a real smooth process.

6 WEEKS BEFORE MOVE

Order boxes and other supplies such as tape, Bubble Wrap, and permanent markers. Don’t forget to order specialty containers, such as dish barrels or wardrobe boxes.
Start using up things that you don’t want to move, like frozen or perishable foods and cleaning supplies.
Check room dimensions at your new home, if possible, and make sure larger pieces of furniture will fit through the door.
Take an objective look at what you own, and decide what must go and what can be left behind. Books you’ve read and will never read again. Extra weight costs more money.
If you have a lot of things worth selling, you may want to organize a garage sale.
Complete Canada Post change of address forms; mail to media, stores, organizations.
Obtain copies of all medical, dental, legal, accounting, and veterinarian records.
Contact moving companies to get estimates. Pay attention to cost, but also ask them what they’ll do to make your move as smooth as possible.

5 WEEKS BEFORE MOVE

Get your kids involved in the moving process. Allow your kids to do some supervised packing, or let them suggest a layout for their new room. Make it fun and exciting for them to move.
Contact utility providers (e.g. telephone, gas, electric, cable TV and trash collection) at new and old locations with your moving date to make arrangements for connection and disconnection. Doing this now is preferable to doing it after you move.
Complete banking arrangements in old and new location and transfer any funds to your new bank if necessary.

4 WEEKS BEFORE MOVE

Repair, send out for reupholstery, or clean furniture, drapes, carpeting as necessary.
Make travel arrangements for pets, including necessary medical records, immunizations, etc.
Make a decision on who will do most of or all of the packing. It can be a good idea that you let the mover do most of the packing. The moving company employees know the best methods for keeping items safe and secure as this is what they do for a living.
If packing yourself, start packing seldom-used articles like fancy dishes and glasses, specialty cookware, non-essential clothing, curios, art, photos, and decorative items.

3 WEEKS BEFORE MOVE

Return any borrowed items such as library books. Also collect all items that are being repaired stored or cleaned (clothing, furs, shoes etc.)
Consider giving your plants to friends or a charity if you are moving from one state to another.
Whether you move your car with the movers or an auto transport company, you should make your final reservation for a car pick up at this time.
Separate valuable items to transport yourself – Label as DO NOT MOVE.
Keep a box out for storing pieces, parts, and essential tools that you will want to keep with you on moving day – Label as PARTS / DO NOT MOVE.
Gather all your important documents, including insurance coverage, will, deeds, stocks, etc.
Plan your food purchases to have as little as possible in the freezer or refrigerator by the time you move. Use up all frozen items, and buy only what you’ll eat in the next three weeks.
Contact your children’s schools, and arrange for records to be forwarded to your new school district
Hold a garage sale now.

2 WEEKS BEFORE MOVE

Cancel any delivery services such as newspapers. Consider starting a subscription to the newspaper in your new town to introduce you to local news happenings.
Have your automobile serviced if you’re traveling by car.
Be sure to empty secret hiding places to remove valuables and spare house keys.
Arrange for time off from work to prepare for the move and to be present on moving day.
Reconfirm the arrangements.

1 WEEK BEFORE MOVE

Dispose of toxic or flammable items that can’t be moved. Drain the gas and oil from gas-powered tools such as lawn mowers and snow blowers.
Make plans for young children to be cared for on moving day. Arrange for a baby-sitter to watch them on moving day. Since you’ll have your hands full, the extra attention from a sitter will distract the child’s attention from the turmoil of a move.
Aim to finish your general packing a few days before your moving date. Then pack suitcases for everyone in the family with enough clothes to wear for a few days.
Double-check to make sure arrangements have been made to disconnect and service your major appliances being moved.
Pack your “trip kit” of necessary items that should go in your car and not the moving van: your checkbook, cash or travelers checks, medications, essential toiletries, light bulbs, flashlight, toilet paper, pet food, spare glasses or contact lenses, baby or child care items, toys and car games for children and your notebook with moving information.

1 OR TWO DAYS BEFORE MOVE

Empty and defrost your refrigerator and freezer. Clean both with a disinfectant and let them air out. Put baking soda or charcoal inside to keep them fresh.
Arrange for payment to the moving company. Find out your moving company’s accepted methods of payment, terms, and its policy for inspecting your belongings when they arrive to determine if any breakage has occurred.
Leave your forwarding address and phone number for your old home’s new occupants.
If your old house will be sitting vacant, notify police and neighbors.
Plan simple meals for moving day (or take-out food) to avoid using the refrigerator.

MOVING DAY

Remove linens from the beds and pack in an “open first” box.
If there is time, give the home a final cleaning, or arrange in advance for someone to perform this service the day after moving out.
Lock windows and doors, turn off lights.
Double check all rooms, closets, drawers, storage areas before leaving.
Take Utility Readings (Hydro, Gas, Etc.)
Make sure that the moving truck that shows up is from the company you hired, to avoid any scams.

MOVE-IN DAY

If you arrive before the movers, take some time to tidy up your home (dusting shelves, etc.) so the movers can unpack items directly onto clean shelves.
Unpack your car.
Plan to be present when the moving van arrives. Be prepared to pay the mover before unloading.
Perform an initial inspection, note all damages, and take photographs if needed.
Verify utilities are turned on and working – especially power, water, heating, and cooling.
Once all items are unloaded, unpack only what you need for the first day or two. Focus on creating a sense of home for your family. Give yourself at least two weeks to unpack and organize your belongings.

Whitehill Team is committed to help you with every aspect of real estate transaction. Follow our moving guidelines to enjoy a hassle free move.

Posted in Current News
June 29, 2018

Why Toronto Condo Rental Rates Are on the Rise

The real estate market in Toronto is going through a total roller coaster ride in the past year or so. The end of last year saw property prices increase to historic highs. This has also had a knock on effect on rental prices across major metropolitan areas. One of the most affected areas is the Greater Toronto Area, which has seen both housing value as well as rental rates increase. With the bear hitting the market, housing value started to drastically since the beginning of this year. This was expected to lead to lower rental prices, especially for condos, but conversely the rental rates have only been heading one way – up. A recent report has suggested that the average rent for a condo in the Greater Toronto Area has increased by 11% compared to the last year.

So what has caused this surge in the condo rental prices in the Greater Toronto Areas?

Here are some of the most important factors:

1) Change in loan eligibility:

This is by far one of the most important factors that has led to the slide in the overall real estate market. It is no secret that average Canadian home buyer heavily depends on mortgage for purchasing a home. In fact many homeowners exhaust the full loan limit that is being offered to them by their banks / financing companies. The new mortgage rules has been in place since the 1st of Jan this year and has brought some significant changes that made sourcing loans harder than before.

The new rules have made it tougher for buyers to qualify for a loan and the quantum of loan that they can source has also come down with this. Moreover stricter rules on mortgage companies have also resulted in a small increase in interest rates. All these have contributed towards lesser people being able to afford a condo, even with a mortgage. It is estimated that there is a 42% increase in the household income required to purchase a condo property in the Greater Toronto Area, compared to the previous year. This has directly reduced the buying power of many households.

Such an impact has naturally made it harder for people to buy homes and they have now resorted to renting condos instead. This has resulted in higher demand for condo and basic economics suggests that rental prices have to go up if demand goes up. So, in the current market condition it is naturally more preferable to rent a condo than owning one. Many reports also suggest that two years ago, the cost of owning and renting a condo were more or less in the same range. Since this has changed the city has seen a lower turnover of residents in condos.

2) Reduction in Supply:

The overall real estate market has hit a roadblock, which has directly resulted in property developers taking a hit on their revenue. This means that they have lesser floating cash lying around to spend on developing new real estate projects, especially condos. This means that there are lesser number of newer projects for people to move into, so the rent market is limited to the same condos that were available last year. The Greater Toronto Area has witnessed a 3.4% reduction in leasing of condos towards the end of 2017. The vacancy rate is also extremely low at only 1%, a new low for 16 years, which means that the number of condos available for selection is reducing every year for renters.

This reduction in supply is expected to remain the same in the coming years as there are no reforms in sight in the upcoming months that may provide a relief and incentives for property developers to build newer condo complexes. So one can expect the rental prices to remain the same, or even go higher for the foreseeable future, unless there is a change in market conditions.

3) Demographic changes and other factors:

Another key aspect that has led to higher demand for homes in the Great Toronto Area has been the overall industrial growth and jobs on offer in this region. This naturally tends to attract a larger population of people towards the city of Toronto. Currently the Greater Toronto Area is experiencing considerable population explosion, mainly from immigration and migration from other cities of the country.

This puts a pressure on the demand for housing market which tends to drive prices up. The condo market is even more specifically affected as those migrating to new cities generally tend to start out on smaller and compact units much like a condo. A condo is ideal for bachelors and even small families, both of which represent the ideal office going population that are likely to migrate into this region. This would in turn have an effect on rental rates.

Condos are also representative of great lifestyle owing to the range of amenities that it houses. Condos highly appeal to a horde of younger population, mostly working young male / female. The younger population are unlikely to have any savings of their own stowed away to buy a condo and instead would initially consider renting one. This is another factor that impacts rental prices in the region.

Lastly another factor must be taken into consideration. Although this may be minimal in its impact, it also contributes to the increase in rental rates. Millennials are extremely wary about an outright purchase of a property considering the colossal increase in price the market has seen over the decade. Many feel that housing is overpriced or in some cases out of their pricing reach. Moreover the typical mind-set of millennials leads them to be commitment phobic and a property represents a long term commitment – one that will last for several years down the lane. So instead they prefer to rent an apartment that turns out to be more cost effective and requires little to no commitment.

Posted in Current News
June 29, 2018

Condo Fees: The Complete Guide

When looking to buy a condo, most buyers focus too much on the cost of the condo. While this is important as you can’t afford to spend more than what you can afford on a condo, buyers often neglect associated expenses that accompany the condo complex. In most expenses these associate expenses accompany you for life, or at least however long you plan to hold the condo complex. A condo is accompanied by great lifestyle choices and contain amenities such as gym, swimming pool, guest suites, visitors lobby, designated parking lots and round the clock maintenance staff. Naturally all this is going come with a cost, which is known as the condo fee.

This is a lifelong commitment that buyers must factor in before making an investment in a condo property. It is essential that condo fees are added to the monthly mortgage deductions to arrive at the total monthly commitment. Of course provisions should be made for renovations/repairs that may arise from time to time.

Here is your complete guide to condo fees and how it matters when you are looking to buy your condo.

What is the condo fee?

Most people buy a condo for the amenities and the facilities that are a part of the condo complex. It is not often that one realizes that these facilities need to be maintained for life. So how are they maintained? Residents of the building contribute a non-negotiable fixed monthly amount that goes towards maintenance of the complex. This is known as the condo fees. Obviously the amount contributed by each resident would wildly vary based on the size of their condo and also on the estimated budget for the condo complex for that year.

For example a family living in a larger unit would contribute more than someone in a single bed unit in the same condo. Similarly the operational budget of the condo complex can vary year by year. There can be increases due to inflation, or change in service charges or upsizing amenities. In some cases, there can also be reduction in the budget if the management is able to successfully negotiate a cheaper deal on something like swimming pool maintenance or gym instructor. So, take into consideration the condo fee when you are making a budget for your monthly expenses directly arising from owning the condo.

So what will the condo fee cover?

Typically the condo fees should cover all aspects of your building maintenance including common areas and amenities. It is needless to say that more the amenities in your building, the more the condo fees will be. Modern day condo complexes feature a range of amenities like gyms, swimming pools, activity rooms, a private theatre and a guest suites etc. Naturally there is a cost involved in maintaining these amenities and the majority of your condo fees will go towards maintaining these amenities.

Also common areas like hallways, lobby, parking lots and terraces will also have to be maintained. This will also be included as a part of the condo fees. Typically these areas will require attention in the form of vacuuming and cleaning. Utilities will also be covered under the condo fees. Most buildings feature a central heating system and elevators which all need to be paid for. The condo fees will also contribute towards this.

Finally a portion of the condo fees collected from all residents will go towards creating a reserve fund. In case of any breakdown or repairs or general maintenance to be performed in the building or to one of its amenities, funds from this pool will be utilized. This is a much better way of managing funds as you don’t want your association to come up and collect your contribution towards these repairs with just some limited notice.
In a reserve, a small amount of money is always kept aside and the fund is built over long periods of time. However, there will be situation in which condo residents will be asked to contribute funds in addition to what is already left in the reserve fund. This will mostly be in extraneous situations like major repairs or rebuilding a facility.

So how does the condo fee affect you?

First and foremost, you must consider your financial position when opting to move to a condo. Apart from your monthly mortgage deductions there will be an imposition of the monthly condo fees that you must contribute compulsorily to the complex. Other homeowners in the building will not take to it lightly if you didn’t contribute to the maintenance but just made use of the facilities. So make sure that this is well within your budget.

Second, consider the need to pay a condo fees. Look for a condo with large number of amenities only if you and your family will be using all of these amenities. If not you will be a wasting a lot of money on something you don’t need or use.

Next up analyse the condo fees. The condo fees must be compared to similar condos in the neighbourhood or area. It must be taken into consideration that an “apple to apple” comparison must be made with the fee. The comparative condo must also have similar amenities and facilities in order for the comparison to make sense. From the analysis you can figure if the fee being charged is on the higher side or lower.

If the fee is higher, you can question the condo manager or the resident association as to why the fees are higher. You can proceed only if you are satisfied with their answer. If the fee is lower, this necessarily isn’t a good thing. Lower fee would mean poorer maintenance and this is something that you would want to avoid. Alternately, the low condo fee could also be a result of the resident association stepping in a deciding against hiring a manager or management team and take on the responsibility of managing the property themselves. This could save a lot of money, which could lead to lower condo fees.

And finally, when you are totally satisfied with all aspects of the condo in question – property, amenities, neighborhood, location and of course the condo fees, only then you should think about seriously buying it. In case, some of these entities seem too outlandish to you and you aren’t able to make heads or tails about them, then you should definitely hire a well-established and experienced realtor who will explain you about the various overheads associated with owning a condo and also point out the best deal for you based on your budget and preferences.

Posted in Condo, Condos, Current News
June 29, 2018

Five Tips to Buy a Condo: The Comprehensive Guide

Many people, especially millennials are showing a great amount of interest in buying condos, as they feel that it perfectly gels with their modern lifestyle and is definitely suited to their needs. The recent craze towards condos is fuelled mostly owing to people looking to downsize or looking for a better lifestyle. Condos are compact, located in convenient areas and offer a wide range of amenities that otherwise single home owners would find difficult to build and maintain.

So if you are looking to buy a condo you’ve ended up in the right place. We have five tips that will help in your search for the right condo.

1) Establish Why You Are Buying The Condo:

It is important that you determine why you want to buy a condo in the first place. Most people buy condos mainly to move in themselves. This is specific to small families and singles, as condos usually are small in size that is ideally suited to them. The amenities and facilities in the complex must also be taken into consideration. Ideally buyers must consider if they would be using these amenities or else it would be a waste to buy a condo and pay for them.

If buyers are considering the condo as an investment then they must be asking themselves the following questions:

  • How much has similar condo properties in the neighbourhood appreciated over a period of time?
  • What is considered to be a reasonable percentage in appreciation of the condo, so that the buyer considers the investment a successful one?
  • How long do you plan to hold on to it?
  • Will you be expecting to make a considerable profit after interest on mortgage?
  • What are the prospects for renting the condo? How soon do rental properties get occupied in the neighbourhood?
  • What is the on-going rent in similar condo property?
  • Is the condo near any industrial / business zones, which will help attract more people to rent it?

2)  Sort out Your Mortgage:

One of the biggest mistakes that buyers make is that they start scouting for condos even before they know what they can afford to spend. After all, isn’t this the first step? Look for a condo and then apply for a loan to pay for it. That’s exactly the wrong thing to do. In most instances buyers tend to fall in love with a house and then later realize that they can’t afford them even with a loan. This will only lead to heartbreak for buyers when they realize that they can’t afford the place.

The most important thing to do before looking for a condo is to get a pre-approval for your mortgage. This will provide a lot of cushion, confidence and certainty for buyers when they are searching for a property to buy. You would have to be worried about hitches in negotiations or being left short of time to process your loan when a counteroffer offer is made. In many cases sellers only prefer talking to buyers that are pre-approved, as they know that buyers will not back out because of any last minute complications. This puts buyers in an advantageous position as they get first preference in negotiations.

3) Research all Aspects of the Condo:

More often than not buyers think it is necessary to just look at basic aspects like appearance of the condo, the developer’s track record and the price of the condo relative to surrounding properties. While all this are definitely important components, your research must be more detailed and expand beyond this.

Here are some elements that your research must include:

  • What are the condo fees? How is it relative to similar condos in the neighbourhood? Are the condo fees commensurate with the amenities that are available in the complex?
  • How well is the condo complex maintained? Are the amenities, facilities and common areas well maintained?
  • Analyse the location of the condo. Is it located near your workplace? Are there sufficient amenities like schools and hospitals near the condo?
  • How is the transportation surrounding the area? Is it easy to get to your usual places of visit?

4) Financial Egg-Nest for Down Payment:

Even before you set out to look for potential condos, get your finances sorted out. This is a step that is often ignored by buyers, especially first time buyers, as they feel that they can just make it through. However, this can lead to disappointments like missing out on your dream house or complications in striking deals because of poor planning. Here are some aspects you must ponder:

  • How much can you afford to spend? This is the most important question that you should ask.
  • How much of down payment can you set aside? Buyers must realize that their houses will not be funded 100% through their mortgage. Buyers must have at least 20% of the property value set aside for the down payment.
  • Have you considered the additional expenses that will be associated with buying a home? Things like home décor, modifications / repairs, mortgage processing fees, condo fees and caution deposits can significantly add to expenses.
  • Buyers must keep in mind that buying a condo will be a commitment that will last for a long time. The condo fees must be paid every month as long as you stay in the complex. Similarly the mortgage will have to be paid off over long periods like 10 – 20 years or more. Please keep this in mind before making any decisions regarding buying a condo.

5) Explore your Environment:

This is an important step that most people neglect. The condo property is going to be owned by you for a significantly long time so it is essential that you get to know how your surroundings are. A good first step would be to meet the neighbours and see how the community fits you. Talking to the condo management will also help you better understand how well managed the complex is and how active are members in preserving the quality of amenities in the complex.

Condos definitely make for great and warm abodes where families/single stay in a happy and joyous manner with great social interaction with their neighbors and as a closely knit unit.

Posted in Current News
June 29, 2018

Five Things to Know Before Buying a Condo:

So you are looking to buy a condo. Well, first of all, congratulations on your choice, as condos not only represent a home but also represent a self-contained and well-appointed lifestyle. However, buying a condo can be a challenging task even for those who have previously bought real estate due to its complicated nature of ownership.

So here we have put together top five things that you should know before buying a condo:

1) Condo Fees:

One of the major reasons people buy condos is for the lifestyle choice it offers. A condo complex is more often than not filled with amenities. It comes with a wide range of amenities like a gym, swimming pool and guest suites, etc. While buyers may be under the impression that lower the fees the better, this isn’t the case always. The condo fees should be compared to the facilities and the amenities that it has to offer and not against other condos. Naturally more amenities mean more fees for its upkeep. So buyers must not always keep an eye out for condos that charge low fees.

More importantly, it should also be noted that lower fees would result in poorer upkeep of facilities. This would be counterproductive, as the whole point of owning a condo comes down to the lifestyle and amenities it offers. So buyers must be wary about condo fees and how it is spent before you target which condo to buy.

2) Common Area Utility and Maintenance:

This is another aspect that must be explored by prospective condo buyers. Condo buyers must be aware that the complex will come with shared space such as hallways, lobby/concierge, guest suites, gyms and swimming pools. These utilities must be shared by all residents in the condo complex and everyone must share responsibility in preserving and maintaining them. Owners must be extra cautious when bringing over guests or family to use these amenities are they are not the sole owners. Many people also find it difficult to share such spaces as it affects their privacy. These people should not consider buying a condo in that case.

Before making an offer, buyers must also inspect the facilities and find out how they are maintained. This would give a clear picture about how active and cooperative the society is and how much they care about maintaining common shared amenities. Naturally, shoddy maintenance can indicate a lack of care or unity among residents, poor management or that a high percentage of the condos in the complex are being rented, as renters tend to be less concerned about repair and upkeep, as they don’t own the property themselves. Do proper research on how well that building is maintained to avoid future disappointments.

3) Condo Rules:

As mentioned earlier, unlike a townhouse or a villa, a condo doesn’t represent whole ownership of the property. Residents would have to share common areas and amenities. There is always the possibility of noisy neighbours and loud music. So people who value privacy must think twice before looking to buy a condo. However living in a tight unit and sharing space may also bring great unity among residents.

Buyers must also look into the rules laid out by the condo residents and management before buying it. The condo rules may have some conditions that you may find objectionable and may also end up being a deal breaker. For example there may be a no-pets policy or a curfew on loud music and parties after late night. If these might bother you then you may have to look elsewhere. Breaking condo rules after moving in can make things very uncomfortable as you may have face flak from the faces that you have to see every day. So make sure you go through the rules or have your real estate agent look them up for you.

4) Management:

Many condo complexes are run and maintained by companies, which specialize in maintaining properties. Sometimes these companies turn out to be an extended arm of the property developer. In some instances residents of the society form an association and decide against hiring a manager and take things into their own hands. However, in most cases a condo complex will have a condo manager who is fully responsible for the management of the complex. It would be a great idea to chat with the condo manager as well so that you can find out more about how management works and more about the society. Naturally you don’t want to end up in a poorly run condo complex.

Self-managed condo complexes can be great, as this means that the residents would pitch in to manage different aspects of the complex, after coming to a consensus. This would mean that the condo fees are naturally going to be lower. This can also be a bad thing as the complex is not professionally managed by someone who has had experience doing this. Moreover, if you plan to move into a self-managed society, do note that you will be expected to contribute a portion of your time as well towards maintaining the community. Do think over if you do want to take up this additional responsibility before you move in.

5) Insurance:

An important thing to check with your real estate agent is if the condo property has an Insurance Policy. If it does, what does it cover? Not only does this give you security but also lets you know about what you should be covering with your personal Insurance. Most often condos will be insured for property damage to the complex and its common areas and facilities. It can also cover any third party liability that can arise from someone entering the complex. It is extremely unlikely that the Insurance would include the properties of the residents as well. This can help you in determining what you can exclude and include in your personal homeowners Insurance Policy, so as to avoid an overlap in coverage or conflict of interest.

Condos represent a ritzy lifestyle with a close knit group of families, so always ensure that it is well-aligned with your interests in life and with your philosophies. And hiring a real-estate realtor who is well-versed with the various condos in the neighborhood and their respective amenities is the definite first step that you ought to take so that you can live in peace and harmony in your ‘dream condo’!

Posted in Condo, Current News
June 29, 2018

Buying a Condo: Avoid These 5 Common, Costly and Popular Mistakes

A condo is a much-desired piece of real estate in today’s stance of nuclear families. It is a small, compact and charming abode where you can enjoy the luxuries of a high-rise without compromising on security and also get to enjoy a plethora of amenities as well. Hence, it is no surprise that buyers are flocking to condos and preferring it even over villas and townhouses.

However, buying Real estate is a very difficult task. This is exacerbated in the current real estate market in Toronto, wherein buyers often struggle to find the right project at the right price. While the rules and guidelines for buying any property are more or less the same, buyers of condos must be more cautious when buying a property as the nitti-gritties involved in this process are slightly different compared to a townhouse or a villa.

Here are the five most common and more often than not, quite costly mistakes that condo buyers must avoid:

1) Estimating Finances:

This is probably the most common mistake condo buyers make – not estimating their finances correctly. The common factors that influence the pricing of a condo include:

  • Neighborhood
  • Size
  • Amenities
  • Connectivity

Buyers who are conscious about their budget must be willing to make a compromise on one of these factors in order for a condo to fit within their budget. Buyers must also keep in mind of what they can afford to put up as a down-payment and also consider their current & future financial commitments for mortgage payments. More importantly buyers must also take into consideration ancillary expenses associated with buying a condo such as cost of décor & repair, mortgage processing fees, brokerage and legal fees etc. Buyers should also have to consider expenses for amenities & facilities that most condos offer. Most importantly the buyers must also consider tax implications buying a condo would have. Borrowing more money than they can afford to payback would also put an unnecessary financial strain that will stay a burden for years to come.

2) Not Choosing the Right Project:

A condo goes beyond just being a house; it represents a lifestyle that you have chosen. Although price is one of the most important determinants in helping you locate a condo, here are other factors that must be used to differentiate projects:

  • Occupants – Every buyer should be looking to buy in a project where they find compatibility with the other occupants in the property.
  • Neighbourhood / Location – The neighbourhood must feature amenities such as schools / hospitals / colleges or proximity to workplace.
  • Developer – The track record of the developer & completed projects must also be taken into consideration when choosing a project.

By not choosing the right project buyers are not going to get full value for their money. The biggest advantages that a condo offers over townhouses & villas are its compactness, location and lifestyle features. If buyers are going to overlook these factors then there is surely going to be a compromise in buying.

3) Not Getting Pre-approval for a Mortgage:

This is a common mistake that first time buyers often commit. Most homes are purchased with the help of a mortgage. A mortgage can provide you with a leverage to buy a property that is beyond your current financial reach. However, buyers must keep in mind various factors when buying a mortgage such as security, rate of interest and their ability to repay for a long period of time.

A mortgage provides buyer with freedom, flexibility and options in being able to choose the property of their liking. The biggest problem concerning mortgage is that buyers often grossly overestimate or underestimate their ability in getting a loan sanctioned. More often than not this can be a deal breaker as buyers would either be left short off cash to buy their dream home or they would be forced to settle for a cheaper alternative without the knowledge that they are eligible to secure a larger quantum of a loan.

To avoid these pitfalls a buyer must always look to take a pre-approval on a mortgage. This will make sure that the buyer is aware of what quantum of loan they are eligible for. This will help them plan their finances, establish target price ranges for house hunting and also get an estimate on how much down payment they would have to lay down. In certain cases buyers are often taken aback when they fail to get approved for a mortgage owing to a little remembered unpaid credit card bill or poor credit score. Getting a pre-approval would help avoid such last minute surprises and buyers can then look for alternate methods of sourcing funds for the property.

4)  Not Knowing Why you are Buying a Condo:

The biggest question that a buyer must ask before looking to buy a condo is why they are buying it. If the reason is to move in themselves then the selection process is straightforward. In such a case a condo can be selected depending on amenities that are required for the buyer such a school, transportation or others. The condo must fit into your lifestyle and your & your family must be able to blend in with the occupants / neighbours with ease.

In case the condo is being purchased as an investment option, then the following must be considered before making a decision:

  • Estimated rental value
  • Potential to appreciate
  • Tax, Mortgage and repair costs

The equation is very simple in this case. The cumulative value of mortgage payment, repair costs, commissions and other ancillary expenses must be lower than the rental income that the condo generates in addition to the appreciation that the condo builds for the buyer to stay in profit. The reason that you choose to buy the condo will determine its location, size and other aspects.

5) Skipping an Inspection:

Sometimes the brand of a condo developer & the hype surrounding it is so big that buyers are way too easily convinced about a project. They believe the hype just through brochures & presentations and often skip a vital step – inspecting the premises. This is a critical part of the due diligence that every buyer must do to make sure that they have chosen the right project. Despite all the glitz and glam that is promised on paper, a site inspection will reveal the actual picture – has the developer delivered on their promise.

Avoid these 5 costly and common mistakes and buy the condo of your dreams and enjoy the most luxurious lifestyle in the most charming abode! And to buy the best possible condo within your budget to ensure that your hip, hot and happening lifestyle is not affected, you have definitely come to the right place. WhiteHill Team represents top-notch quality with stellar service!

Posted in Condo, Condos, Current News