Saturday, June 20, 2009

Ontario Place Going Downhill

As a long-time boater at Ontario Place, I have noted a number of changes over the years. In the early years, there were frequent free concerts, many restaurants and exciting rides and attractions. Ontario Place was a jewel of Toronto, and a highly recommended, very busy tourist destination.

However, over the last 10 years I have noted significant changes, none good. Maintenance has apparently been suspended and the West Island rides have become rundown. Restaurants have been closed, torn down and paved over. Even Tim Hortons gave up on the place years ago. I cannot remember the last time there was a free concert in the Molson Amphitheatre. Each year fewer visitors attend.

I am convinced this is not accidental. As fewer people attend, losses will mount until finally it will become an eyesore and be closed. But then it will suddenly become priceless as condominium fodder. I believe the fix has been in for some time now.

Edward A. Collis, Burlington

David Pylyp I was fascinated when I found this piece online at the Toronto Star. Is this a possibility for the Ontario Place site?

If they redeveloped the site as condo's on the waterfront people would indeed flock to Ontario Place. Natural harbour, established infrastructure, access to rapid and rail transit, easy access to Downtown Toronto. Who wouldn't want to live there?

What do you think? Your comments are invited.

Ongoing HST Revisions

Ontario Government Proposes Measures for New Housing

The McGuinty government is proposing measures that would build on the comprehensive tax package announced in the 2009 Ontario Budget:

  • Enhanced new housing rebate - The province would enhance the new housing rebate so that new homes across all price ranges would receive a 75 per cent rebate of the provincial portion of the single sales tax on the first $400,000. For new homes under $400,000, this would mean, on average, no additional tax amount compared to the current system.

  • New rental housing rebate - Similar to the enhanced new housing rebate, the province is proposing a rebate for new residential rental properties. This proposed rebate would support affordable rental housing across Ontario.

  • Transitional rules - The province is also proposing transitional rules for new housing. Generally, as part of the transitional rules, sales of new homes under written agreements of purchase and sale entered into on or before June 18, 2009 would not be subject to the provincial portion of the single sales tax, even if both ownership and possession are transferred on or after July 1, 2010. The tax would also not apply to sales of new homes under written agreements of purchase and sale entered into after June 18, 2009 where ownership or possession is transferred before July 1, 2010.

David Pylyp; OK So the Ontario Government will rebate 75% of the new Tax (HST) on Units or house acquired prior to July 1, 2010, What about the 1st time buyer's Rebate, Is that still available? Are the rebates across the board for 1st time and repeat buyers?
The Province has in place a land transfer tax refund for first-time home buyers. Information about it is available here:

The enhanced housing rebate announced on Friday is only for newly constructed homes as these homes would be subject to the single sales tax when it comes into effect on July 1, 2010. Re-sale homes are not currently subject to PST and would also not be subject to the single sales tax.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Help; If you are falling behind with your mortgage

Help for Financially Strapped Homeowners

The percentage of mortgage arrears in Canada stands at 0.33 per cent – about one-third of one per cent – and it’s rising. Although it seems like a very small number, it’s currently at the highest rate since 2003 and as the recession continues, and it’s likely to rise during the coming year.

Overall household debt went up by 2.1 per cent during the fourth quarter of 2008, but personal disposable income only rose by 0.37 per cent. The number of consumer bankruptcies in Canada was up 13.5 per cent last year. Benjamin Tal, senior economist with CIBC World Markets, says, "With the unemployment rate still rising, look for the number of bankruptcies to continue to rise. Note that the current bankruptcy rate (2.7 out of 1,000 Canadians) is back to the rate seen in 2003."

Tal says that despite the "ultra expensive real estate prices in British Columbia", the mortgage arrears rate there is one of the lowest in the country. It’s highest in Atlantic Canada at 0.42 per cent. But Tal says the arrears rate in Alberta is rising quickly and "probably will lead the nation in the coming few months."

Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney recently said in a television interview that he’s not concerned about a U.S.-type mortgage crisis happening in Canada, because high-ratio loans in Canada are backed by the government. He said, "We have a circuit-breaker in Canada."

But with mortgage arrears on the rise, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) has launched a campaign aimed at helping consumers facing a mortgage payment crunch. Genworth Financial Canada, which along with CMHC offers mortgage insurance, has also stepped up its existing Homeowner Assistance Program.

"CMHC has a long tradition of offering mortgage tools to lenders to help them assist homeowners whose financial circumstances have changed," says CMHC vice-president of insurance underwriting Mark McInnis. "We want to remind people that the best course of action is to speak to their lenders at the first sign of financial difficulty. With early intervention, co-operation and a well-executed plan, you can work together with your lender to find a solution."

Among the possible solutions are offering a short-term payment deferral, extending the amortization period of a mortgage to lower monthly mortgage payments, adding any missed mortgage payments to the mortgage balance and spreading them out over the remaining repayment period, or offering special payment arrangements depending on the needs of the homeowners.

Genworth has operated its Homeowner Assistance Program since 1995. The company is also hoping that homeowners will recognize that they are trouble early, and begin addressing the issue. The Homeowner Assistance Evaluator is an online tool that helps consumers assess their financial situation and provides potential solutions.

Genworth’s website also includes video testimonials and case studies of how different mortgage problems have been resolved. For example, in one instance a borrower’s husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and was unable to work. Since he was self-employed, there were no disability or income replacement benefits. The property was worth less than the mortgage balance, and although the borrower wanted to stay in the home, she was willing to sell it if their financial position didn’t improve.

Genworth and the lender worked out a deal where the amortization period of the mortgage was temporarily extended to 40 years for the remaining term, and it allowed the borrower to make partial payments, with Genworth paying the difference for six months. That gave the borrower’s spouse time to file for government disability, and the homeowners were able to keep the house.

Another online resource for those who are concerned about their finances is the Industry Canada Take Charge of Your Debts site. It includes sections on the warning signs of debt, "last resort" options, information about collection agencies and credit repair tips.

If you do decide to contact your lender about your mortgage payment issues, CMHC recommends that you prepare a detailed list of your financial obligations including any credit cards, loans, household bills with the amounts owing and their due dates. You should also include information about your current income, savings accounts, investments, and any other assets, says CMHC.

You should also keep your lender apprised of any changes that happen that would impact your financial situation.

Besides the downturn in the economy and the resulting job losses, people can get in financial trouble because of a variety of issues, including illness and marital separation. Each individual case is different but each one may have a solution if you can address the issue early. Don’t let your money problems get you down – just get busy and start working to solve the problem.

A big hat tip to the fine gentlemen over at Tridac mortgages for bringing this to my attention. Feel free to give Chris or Arnold Molder a call at (416) 461-0204

First time buyer? Time to divorce your landlord and say, "I do" to real estate!

We understand how difficult it can be when you've never purchased a home before. For women especially, it can be a real internal struggle. If you are single, you must make all of the important decisions alone, so you need to seek as much information as you can find about the whole process. You want to deal with people you can rely on and who have the knowledge and experience to cut through all the gobbledygook and give you the information you need for peace of mind.

Let us help you. Being women, we understand the needs of women. We have years of experience in mortgages and with over 40 lenders, we can find you the mortgage that offers you security and the best rate. Call us now at 1-888 372-7367 and see why Mortgages for Women is a woman's best choice for mortgages.

I was graciously invited to a morning meeting with Marcy Berg of Mortgages4Women this morning at the Grenedier Restaurant in High Park in Toronto. The entire conversation was consumed with the benefits of women dealing with Trusted Business Advisors with their life plan, goals and decision making process.

Marcy shared some interesting details with me about the demographics of the group she serves. They are; an average of early 30's with property ownership aspirations but tend to live in the 905 and work in the 416. They are aware that real estate is the best form of equity acquisition in the long term.

Marcy Berg has assembled an entirely female staff of Financial Planners, Mortgage Brokers, and Lawyers, to advise you correctly about what is proper and appropriate for you as a five and ten year plan. Those especially effected are women with nearly college age children that need post divorce financial understanding and explanations.

Marcy and I met during the course of one of my video's about; Common Law Do you need his permission to sell the house. No you don't. This was a candid conversation, Q&A with Stan Gelman Lawyer Mississauga

This relationship has developed to "How can we jointly provide value to Readership and Ultimately our Clientelle". Marcy has recently acquired commercial space at 401 Bay Street, Toronto to be in heart of the Financial District of Toronto. With onsite staff and financial planners readily available for appointments, women can slip in during the work day to have their matters attended to.

The Mortgages 4 Women Group will attend with your financial planning assessments, portfolio reviews, mortgage applications and choices, assistance with First Time Buyers, Debt Consolidation and Business for Self.

David Pylyp works in the west sections of Toronto including Bloor west Village, Roncesvalles Village, the Humber Bay Shore Community and points west into Mississauga and Oakville. David be reached directly at 647 218 2414

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Top 10 Reasons to Down Size this Year

10. There are rooms you haven’t been in for more than a year

9. Home prices are stable now but may decline as interest rates rise

8. You don’t remember what’s in the boxes in the basement

7. Affordability is at a 20 year best so there are a lot of potential buyers

6. You are paying to heat/cool at least twice the space you actually need

5. Guaranteed income growth of 7% each year before retirement

4. Your new neighbours won’t ask you to babysit every Saturday night

3. Buy your “new” downsized home before July 2010 and save up to 13% tax

2. Your capital will generate guaranteed 5% income for life with upside potential

And the #1 Reason to Downsize this year:

Your “30 something” kids won’t be able to move back in with you

Coffee, Dessert & Downsizing Event

  • When is the best time to downsize?
  • How much can I afford to spend on my next home?
  • What is the net effect on my future income and expenses?
  • What are the big risks in retirement?
  • How can I have a Personal Pension Plan for life?

Join US for a one hour presentation by:

Warren J. Huntley Financial Advisor

Retirement Income Specialist - Braley Winton Financial Group

Tuesday June 23rd 7:00pm

{Presentation begins at 7:30p.m.}

Homewood Suites by Hilton

2095 Winston Park Drive, Oakville {Winston Churchill north of the QEW}

RSVP Phone: (905) 815-1035


Reports about the death have been exaggerated

Toronto Real Estate Board

Toronto Real Estate Board
Jun 17, 2009 10:30 ET

Toronto Real Estate Board: GTA Resale Housing Sales Up 19 Per Cent in the First Half of June

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 17, 2009) - Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 5,185 transactions in the first half of June - an increase of 19 per cent compared to the same period last year.

"Households in the GTA have become more confident in purchasing a home over the past three months," said TREB President Maureen O'Neill. "Affordability, due in part to very low borrowing costs, has played a key role."

The average price for MLS® sales was $407,716, up by two per cent compared to last year. "Heightened interest in ownership housing this spring has solidified resale home prices," according to Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis. "The number of home buyers has been high relative to the number of listings, pushing the average price above last year's level."

David Pylyp The continuing lack of inventory and the strong spring buyers demand have kept the market active. Many shoppers are still out looking for the right home.

If you are considering listing your home for sale, take advantage of this marketing opportunity.

Affordable Housing - Inner City Toronto

We recently had a Purchaser client that was income challenged to qualify for a mortgage; that was limited by the Ontario Disabilities Pension for their monthly income.

The building site that came to mind was the Option for Homes, where low income housing is mixed with open market purchases. This site is actually located at Keele and Dundas in the Junction, currently under construction with a proposed occupancy of 2011.

Options for Homes is a private, not for profit corporation dedicated to providing home ownership for low to middle - income households.

The not for profit model eliminates most developer costs including marketing. The Projects themselves are simple designs without pools or other frill improvements. Typically this means lower than market pricing per unit of about $ 30 to 40,000.

The Value Added Alternative Mortgage program allows Purchasers to pay 15% less than market value by providing an Options Alternative Second Mortgage without payment to the Borrower. This is registered on title and is not repayable until the unit is sold. The Options People then share in the appreciation of the property sale at 20% of the profit in addition to the repayment of the original amount. This provides the ongoing funding for additional projects.

This program of 5% down from the Purchaser and 15% as a Vendor Take Back program from Options permits the low income borrowers to save the CMHC 80 % advance and borrowing fees. Again the focus is on the Lowest payment possible.

With the market jitters that have recently occured Michel Labbe President for Option for Homes said "After seeing the impact of sliding property values in the U.S., Canadian families are getting nervous. The Options model has a built in cushion to protect home owners in the event of value decreases."

Mr. Labbe continued "The second mortgage on Options Units is repayable upon sale or rental of the unit. Should the resale value erode due to market pressures, the second mortgage will absorb up to a 13% drop in value. This feature protects low income families from getting in over their heads."

Pat Munroe, Director of Sales for Options advised me that a few penthouse and larger units still remain available for sale.

Will you be Buying one from Options and moving to the Junction? Tell me about it.

Borrowing trouble – Loans to family

When a relative or friend calls asking for a loan, you want to help. It’s only natural – and you’re far from alone. A recent Investors Group poll found that six in ten Canadians (64 per cent) have loaned or borrowed more than $500 to or from family or friends.

However, your good deed could end up creating a lot of stress for you and placing a great deal of strain on your relationship with the person to whom you made the loan. It could also cost you a significant amount of money.

More than a quarter (26 per cent) of those polled reported that family/friend loans were not fully repaid. One-third (31 per cent) of the money lenders felt pressured to do so, and the majority of those who experienced the greatest feeling of pressure (54 per cent) did not get repaid at all.

The majority of loans between friends or family were for moderate amounts, with two-thirds (67 per cent) borrowing between $500 and $5,000 and 14 per cent borrowing between $5,000 and $10,000. Fifteen per cent borrowed more than $10,000.

For both lenders and borrowers, top loan purposes were financial emergencies (25 per cent), big-ticket purchases (15 per cent), education (13 per cent) and a home down payment (11 per cent). Lesser priorities were house repairs (7 per cent), starting a business (5 per cent), taking a vacation (5 per cent) or another big event (3 per cent).

And here’s the crucial part: The survey found that more than eight in ten (83 per cent of) Canadians who had loaned or borrowed funds from someone close to them did so without a written agreement.

That’s always a mistake. Sure, it can be uncomfortable to make an informal request for a loan into a formal ‘business’ transaction. But loaning money to a loved one shouldn’t preclude asking for specific loan conditions or a pay-back plan, and doing so can reduce the potential for disagreements and long-term future rifts. By having a formal agreement for a personal loan you’ll avoid borrowing trouble.

If you simply can’t bring yourself to request a written agreement, get help. Your professional advisor can provide assistance that won’t get in the way of your relationship. Your advisor can also help you assess how that loan could affect your overall financial objectives.

A total of 2,002 surveys were completed with Canadian adults between September 18th and September 24th 2008, using the Harris/Decima eVox online panel. The

John Scholl B. Mathematics, CGA, Picture (Device Independent Bitmap)

Wealth Management & Financial Planning

Investors Group (905) 450-2891 X529 (866) 799-2223 Cell: (416) 731-3660


South Beach Condo gets Approval

Councillors have unanimously approved without debate a proposed high-rise condominium on the Etobicoke lakefront in Humber Bay Shores complete with a public park.

Etobicoke York Community Council's decision Tuesday, June 9 in support of the Official Plan and zoning amendments permits construction of a 34-storey residential tower connected to a commercial building by a two-storey podium fronting on Lake Shore Boulevard West east of Park Lawn Road.

Toronto and Region Conservation Authority will develop the lakeside rear of the site fronting Marine Parade Drive into a public park.

At present, the property is the site of a two-storey motel and office.

The 107-metre glass building is designed to have an undulating facade, a wave-like effect created by balcony positioning. The tower would include 289 condo units, 51 per cent one-bedroom, 49 per cent two-bedroom.

"The green space where people can sit or play will be a nice complement to the trail-based area there now," said Cindy Rottenberg-Walker, partner with applicant Urban Design Strategies Inc. "It's an urban building created around a very pedestrian area with a European courtyard that protects future views to the lake."

Community benefits secured in a Section 37 agreement include $600,000 for the proposed immediate parkland improvements, as well as $500,000 for public and parkland improvements in the local area.

Area Etobicoke-Lakeshore Councillor Mark Grimes said he "couldn't be more pleased" with the building.

York West Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti concurred. "I think it's wonderful."

It would seem residents agree. Residents who attended a community consultation meeting last December expressed overall acceptance of the proposal, a May 22 city staff report indicated.

South Beach Condos and Lofts aims to bring the Miami, Fla. feel to the Etobicoke lakefront.

In recent years, a number of short condos have popped up on Marine Parade Drive.

A 1992 Ontario Municipal Board guideline resulted in building footprints that consumed the majority of property, with little setbacks from Marine Parade Drive.

Today, city guidelines require 35 metres between condo towers in the Humber Bay Shores area, said Michael McCart, a senior planner with the city who is also the planner on the file.

"The separation distance between buildings was minimal and the towers were shorter and fatter and created the effect of a wall between Marine Parade Drive and the lake. It didn't allow for sightlines to the lake," McCart said of condos built to the 1992 guidelines.

Residents advocated for opening up lake views.

"At a charette, it was unanimous that people wanted to open up the views to the lake, allow retail, regeneration, buildings with a smaller plate (footprint) and thinner buildings," McCart said.

Resident Malcolm Gonzales charged existing condos has resulted in traffic congestion and inadequate parking in the area.

Grimes called the twin issues "growing pains" and said an express bus recently rolled out on Marine Parade Drive is meeting with success and four future condo builds on the strip will include more public parking.

South Beach proposes to build five levels of underground parking, which will include some public parking spaces.

Source Article Tamara Shephard

David Pylyp Great to see Mark Grimes and the community involved in proposed construction. South Beach has been selling for some time but there are suites still available. Contact me for details.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Luxury Homes Sales Rebound

May 2009 strongest month on record for luxury home sales, says RE/MAX 

Sales of luxury properties in the Greater Toronto Area posted their strongest performance on record in May 2009, according to RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada.

Two hundred and seventy-three high-end homes changed hands in May 2009, up six per cent from 258 reported during the same period one year earlier, and the highest number of sales over $1 million in a one-month period in the history of the Toronto Real Estate Board. The previous record was set in May of 2007 at 266 sales.

"Confidence is slowly returning to the marketplace," says Michael Polzler, Executive Vice President, Regional Director, RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic Canada. "Traditional market indicators are in place - the stock market has made tremendous gains in recent months, crude values have risen significantly, and the Canadian dollar has gained almost 10 points in the past month. Combine these influences with pent-up demand and growing economic stability and you have the ingredients for solid sales in the top-end of the market."

Further evidence of a rebound is the recent sale of a Bridle Path home priced at over $13 million, the first sale over the $10 million price point in more than a year. The 18,000 sq. ft. gated estate, situated on more than two acres, was listed by Barry Cohen, Broker, RE/MAX Realtron, and featured a spectacular backyard with a negative edge waterfall pool, fountains, hot tub, and tennis court.

Demand for homes priced in excess of $1 million has increased steadily since the beginning of the year, says Polzler, mimicking the overall real estate market. Seven hundred homes have changed hands year-to-date, compared to 944 in January to May of 2008. Given current momentum, however, it's likely that activity will continue at a healthy pace for the remainder of the year - with sales at year-end at least on par or ahead of 2008 levels.  

RE/MAX is Canada's leading real estate organization with over 17,600 sales associates situated throughout its more than 677 independently-owned and operated offices across the country. The RE/MAX franchise network, now in its 36th year, is a global real estate system operating in more than 70 countries. Over 6,700 independently-owned offices engage nearly 100,000 member sales associates who lead the industry in professional designations, experience and production while providing real estate services in residential, commercial, referral, and asset management. For more information, visit: 

David Pylyp  Specific review of the W08 neighbourhood revealed 11 sales between 1.0 and 1.5MM in the last 30 day period (eom May 09)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Is Home Staging Older than Shakespeare?

Frugal Home Staging - Toronto

Even if you’re not a fan of Shakespeare’s works, his words of wisdom have made their way into our common, everyday vernacular. Why? Because the Bard’s words prove true time and time again.

What does home staging have to do with Shakespeare? Well, the term “staging”, which refers to preparing a property for sale to maximize its appeal to buyers, was coined due to its parallelism with setting the stage of a theatre.

As Shakespeare wrote in ‘As You Like It’, “All the world’s a stage.” The same holds true for the house you’re trying to sell. And, just like the theatre stage, we are merely the players and we have our exits (sellers) and entrances (potential buyers). It’s a professional stager’s job to make sure the stage is set to encourage dialogue between the players.

Makes sense, but what else can the Bard teach us?

“Parting is such sweet sorrow” – Romeo and Juliet

Juliet’s famous line obviously was referring to her Romeo. However, our home is also something we love. It is very normal for homeowners to have a strong connection to the house they’ve turned into a home by personalizing the furniture, décor, and design. Detaching ourselves from our home can be a difficult process. Yet, it is also sweet because, often times, selling our home means we’re about to embark on another, new and exciting chapter of our lives. As well, for most people, a home is their largest asset and maximizing the return of that asset is very sweet.

Moral of the story: Detach yourself from your home and think of how you can create emotional connections for potential buyers.

"Delays have dangerous ends” – King Henry VI, Part II

When is the best time to stage a property? Regardless of which stager you’re talking to, you will hear the same thing come out of his/her mouth: BEFORE the property goes on MLS!

Occasionally, I hear a homeowner say, “We don’t have time right now to worry about staging, so we’ll list it first and see how it goes.” At first glance, that looks like a good way to go; however, as your realtor can tell you, the first 10 days on the market are crucial—, at open houses, and showings. As well, if you post photos online of your un-staged property, you are losing potential buyers from the onset and they’re gone for good. 78% of buyers look online FIRST before deciding which houses to go see—do you want to risk not being on that list?

Delaying staging can ultimately lose you a sale. Take the time before listing your home to properly get your house ready for market. If the thought of packing stuff away seems overwhelming, just remember that you’ll have to do it eventually when your house sell, so think of this as Step 1! Imagine how much easier your move will be at the end when you’re already half packed!

Moral of the story: Waiting to stage your home can cost you much more money than anything spent on staging. If you wait, it usually means that staging accompanies a price reduction. Why wait and leave money on the table? Squeeze as much equity out of your house as possible by being proactive and investing in the right changes to get a positive return on investment.

“Nothing can come of nothing” – King Lear

I sometimes hear clients protest with comments like, “I’ll just let the new owners make the changes they want.” or “Why do I need to stage anything for potential buyers? They’ll just imagine the house the way they want to.” Here are the problems with those statements:

Sure, potential buyers can always make the changes that need to be made to the property, but you can bet their offer will reflect these cost AND the time and effort to make these changes. If potential buyers are actually interested in making the changes (many aren’t though), they will likely go through the house making a list of “deductions” that will come right off their offer price.

Sure, potential buyers can visualize the property regardless of its current state…. If they’re part of the small percentage of the population that actually has the ability to do so (only about 15%).

Moral of the story: If you put nothing (staging, elbow grease, repairs, etc.) into your home before you sell it, don’t expect to get more from potential buyers. They’re looking for move-in ready homes that they can easily visualize themselves in the space. Help them do just that!

“Be not afraid of greatness” – Twelfth Night

And so we end our Shakespeare lesson with the most important lesson of all—do not be afraid of greatness when it comes to showing off and selling your property. Whether in a buyers’ market or sellers’ market, your house should always be ahead of the competition. In the case of a buyers’ market, staging your home will help it sell faster (about ½ the time of a comparable un-staged property) and for more money (about 6 – 10% more than a comparable un-staged property). In the case of a sellers’ market, staging your home will often lead to multiple bids!

Moral of the story: It is statistically proven that the time, effort, and investment that go into staging lead to faster sales and for more money. Why say no to greatness?

Christine LeLacheur is a Certified Staging Professional (CSP™) and has a Masters of Business Administration (MBA). She continually augments her formal education by keeping on top of industry trends and keeping an ear to the ground to ensure she provides homeowners with ideas and layouts that appeal to an array of potential homebuyers.

Christine and her team are committed to making your house looks its best, optimize its value, and add to your pocketbook without leaving any equity on the table! Contact Christine today to learn more about how The Frugal Stager can help you sell your home!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Winning Hands with Home Negotiations

NEGOTIATING to buy a home is similar to playing poker - it's not the cards that win the game, it is how you play your hand. The good news is, anyone can learn how to play cards.

And even if you don't enjoy the cut-and-thrust of real estate deal-making, a few simple tips can help you get the best result.

Ask experts -- buyer agents -- their secrets when negotiating a home sale on behalf of a client. How can buyers invest in the best home at the lowest price? Where can they go wrong? Where will I find the best values?


Negotiation is an art based on "knowing when to hold 'em and knowing when to fold 'em", David Pylyp, Buyers Agent says.

Do not wear your heart on your sleeve when dealing with Listing Agents -- remember, they are legally bound to work for the sellers.

"I always tell people, striking a good deal is about knowing how to Structure it," David Pylyp says. "Know exactly where you want to end negotiations before you put in an offer . . . this helps you control negotiations."  By planning your strategy before you begin you will remove the emotional component.

Knowledge is power when negotiating. You must understand the market and purchase with knowledge, not emotion.


You can't buy a bargain unless you know one when you see it.

Do your homework. Compare properties that have sold in the past three months so you can approach negotiations confident that you know your stuff.

Many Purchaser's believe that Power of Sale or Foreclosure Properties will be hugely discounted yet fail to realise that multiple buyer interest pushes them directly to market value or above. Those properties in dire need of repair and deferred maintenance indeed do sell at the bargain basement prices. But the savings become sweat equity.


Not everything in real estate is negotiable, but experienced deal-makers can secure top-notch deals in any market.

In the current property market, those who can negotiate can pick up some real bargains.

Good negotiators will track down vendors who need to sell and are motivated to sell. They are Big  D vendors.

They are desperate to sell due to death, divorce, debt and/or disaster."

Mr. Pylyp says skilled negotiators ask many "why", "what" and "how" questions to find out as much about the seller's position as possible. Questions that include:

  • WHY is the vendor selling?
  • HAVE they bought another property?
  • WHAT possession is most preferable?
  • HOW long have they owned the property?
  • HAVE they had any other offers?
  • ARE the vendors just testing the market?
  • HOW long has the property been on the market?
  • The more you know, the higher the likelihood of knowing which cards to play.

MAKE a Private Owner Dance

In private sale negotiations, this can flush out critical information about the seller's price expectations.

Indicate you are interested in the property at a particular price, but do not document the offer until it is verbally accepted by the vendor. 

The vendor, if they agree to your offer, is effectively showing their best price position without a formal contract. You can still walk away if the price or terms are unacceptable.


Making a first offer is a critical point. Go too low and the vendor may get defensive, which may reduce your future negotiation power.

But your first offer should be based on your research and should not be your top price.

By making an offer below your best price, you create a margin for increasing it, which lets the vendor feel they are getting some sort of win, too. 

An offer about 10 per cent below your researched market value figure is a good starting point.

Always act as if you are looking at other properties, that this isn't the only one.

End your offer on uneven number, not $350,000 but $351,000, as most buyers will end in even numbers.

Making the first offer allows you to frame the negotiation so you are in the box seat and will get the last right of reply."


One of the biggest mistakes novice negotiators make is not putting a deadline on their serious offers and, even worse, not putting them in writing.

A top tip is to attach a signed deposit cheque if making an offer on a private sale home.


Get signatures to a contract as promptly as prudent. There are situations when another offer may be in the wings that will benefit from all your negotiations with the owner, by committing to a slightly higher offer.

And in that instant, you are out of the deal. You will, after successfully bidding, miss out on the property.  You crafted the transaction, you negotiated the Seller down, You had your deposit but you didn't get it on paper. And then you got scooped.


Poker players who help a player who claims to be struggling never win games.

The same goes with real estate.

Falling into the soft or gentle camp or the decimate the vendor camp will not win the day.

Being too clever, too quiet or too arrogant towards the Listing Agent are other traps . . . you will need to establish a rapport with the agent and let them know you're interested if you are going to be the successful purchaser."

And if you look as if you're about to make a 50 per cent saving on the home's initial listed price, be afraid. BE VERY AFRAID!

Something is definitely wrong. You're probably about to make the most expensive mistake of your life.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Toronto Apartment Vacancy for Investors

OTTAWA, June 10 /CNW Telbec/ - The average rental apartment vacancy rate in Canada's 35 major centres(1) increased slightly to 2.7 per cent in April 2009, from 2.6 per cent in April 2008, according to the spring Rental Market Survey(2) released today by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).
   "Completions of condominiums, which continue to attract renter households looking to move into homeownership are decreasing demand for rental housing. Also, some of the completed condos compete with rental units if they were purchased by investors who then rent them out. These two factors have put upward pressure on the vacancy rate," said Bob Dugan, Chief Economist at CMHC's Market Analysis Centre. "However, this has been balanced by higher levels of demand for rental housing."     
 The results of CMHC's spring survey reveal that the major centres with the lowest vacancy rates in April 2009 were Québec City (0.6 per cent), Regina (0.7 per cent), Winnipeg (0.9 per cent), Saguenay (1.1 per cent), and Trois-Rivières (1.1 per cent). With respect to British Columbia, only two centres had vacancy rates below two per cent; Victoria at 1.2 per cent and Vancouver at 1.9 per cent.     
At the other end of the spectrum, the major centres with the highest vacancy rates were Windsor (15.5 per cent), St. Catharines-Niagara (5.3 per cent), and Abbotsford (4.8 per cent).     
The highest average monthly rents for two-bedroom apartments in new and existing structures were in Vancouver ($1,154), Calgary ($1,106), Toronto ($1,093), Edmonton ($1,059), and Victoria ($1,043). Of all the major centres, these five were the only ones with average rents at or above $1,000. The lowest average monthly rents for two-bedroom apartments in new and existing structures were in Saguenay ($494), and Trois-Rivières ($512).     
Year-over-year comparison of rents can be slightly misleading because rents in newly built structures tend to be higher than in existing buildings. However, excluding new structures provides a better indication of actual rent increases paid by tenants. Overall, the average rent for two-bedroom apartments in existing structures across Canada's 35 major centres increased 2.9 per cent between April 2008 and April 2009. Rent increases were larger in Saskatoon (15.5 per cent) and in Regina (11.4 per cent).     
CMHC's spring Rental Market Survey also found that the average rental apartment availability rate in Canada's 35 major centres was 5.0 per cent in April 2009, up slightly from 4.9 per cent in April 2008. A rental unit is considered available if the unit is vacant (physically unoccupied and ready for immediate rental), or if the existing tenant has given or received notice to move and a new tenant has not signed a lease. Availability rates were highest in Windsor (18.0 per cent), London (7.9 per cent), St. Catharines-Niagara (7.9 per cent), Guelph (7.0 per cent), and Sherbrooke (7.0 per cent). The lowest availability rates were in Winnipeg (1.4 per cent), Regina (1.8 per cent), and Victoria (2.5 per cent). 
David Pylyp; Even with what appears to be an over supply of condos in the Toronto West market they seem to be absorbed into the available rental pool.
If you have a unit that requires a tenant give me a call.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Internet Advertising for Real Estate

An interesting article entitled ‘Papers losing real estate ads to online’ appeared on the Globe and Mail – Report on Business website, which talks about how real estate advertising dollars are moving away from print and onto the Internet.

Media industry analyst Mike Simonton of Fitch Ratings says, “The threats from the Internet are real. Newspaper advertising should remain under pressure until newspapers are better able to address the threat of online advertising.”

“Representatives of several major real estate franchisors said in interviews that many home sellers still see newspaper advertising as an essential component of selling a home, but that younger brokers, home sellers and buyers are clearly more focused on using the Internet.”

In the same article, Blanche Evans, editor of Realty Times, says “As home-buyers flock online, it’s also tough on realtors, since home-buyers are becoming accustomed to seeing extensive colour photos, descriptions of the neighbourhood as well as video tours of the property — all of which costs money to produce.”

Single property websites are an easy and affordable way to address these issues in that they create a powerful ‘link’ between print (including yard signs) and Internet advertising.

An easy-to-remember domain name seen in a newspaper or posted on a yard sign will increase the liklihood of a visit the property on the Internet. Plus, the domain name takes the potential buyer directly to the property details, with no distraction from other listings. Sellers will love this concept and the time-sensitive consumer will also appreciate it.  

Balance of Source Blog.

David Pylyp: The domain Name can easily be the Home address Dot com. The key is understanding the technology.

Virtual Tours are then embedded into the webpages and also the MLS listing so that shoppers can get a real perspective of the exterior front, exterior rear yard, and key interior living areas. The video tours on a recent listing out numbered the views 2:1. Absolute prooof for me that the technology is effective.

Sign Calls and property inquiries can be directed to the online webpages and video tours to qualify the prospects that are touring properties. This saves time for me, but also brings a more focused buyer through the property.

Combining these features with a strong website will get your listing noticed. It would seem that the days of your weekend printing in a local newspaper are no longer the most effective way to bring fresh eyes to your home. FLASH presenters can be prepared and emailed to your address book of friends and associates, further extending the reach out to potential buyers.

If you are considering a sale, I would like to be interviewed to discuss your marketing plan and future home.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


I would like to invite you to this special V.I.P. Preview a ONE DAY ONLY EVENT at Holiday Towers (Etobicoke, ON.) on Thursday, June 11th at 5:30.


This spectacular resort-style project is very attractive for not only first-time home purchasers but also real estate investors. The developer is only asking for a down payment of 10% (5% now and 5% at occupancy, which is vastly different from the 20% required by most new pre-construction condo TO developments).


A perfect long term property investment, the new Holiday Towers condos is priced from just $340/sq. ft., again representing very affordable TO condo.


On this day only you will get:

  • Granite Countertop
  • Six appliances
  • 1 Parking Space Included
  • Affordable Deposits: 10% total (5% now, 5% at occupancy - most other TO developments are asking 20%)
  • 1 Year Rental Program or 1 Year Free Maintenance
  •  Price Protection Guarantee
  • Very affordable. Prices from $170,900 ($340/sq ft).

For pictures of the project, floor plans and other details, go to

To attend this exclusive event, you must RSVP by email to (include your name and phone number).

Friday, June 5, 2009

Lake Shore LRT Transit Survey

The results to the Lakeshore Transit Survey are in and as promised they are posted on the Our Lakeshore website.

Thank you very much to the almost 600 of you who participated in the survey and contributed to a valuable measurement of the pulse of this community. The survey results have been passed onto the City, TTC officials, and local politicians in the same form that it is being passed on to you.

Lakeshore TTC Survey Results

Lakeshore TTC Survey Results bribok

Home Staging; Presenting your home for sale

The phenomena of Home Staging is really gaining momentum.

The presentation of your home in a decluttered, first impression curb appeal prospective has been heightened with the strategic inclusion of the Home Designer Stager in the presentation of your home.

The best tips for you are to include a home consultation, to look at paint colours, display and first impressions. But have you considered pets and home odors?

The video provides some useful tips and sound advice when considering selling your home.

The rules are simple;  If you are not doing the most to sell your home, you are in fact selling your neighbours listing.

I am investigating industrial scent removers and how they can be applied to improve/ eliminate home smoking and cooking smells. If you have used these scent "pucks" I would like to hear your experiences.

Your comments are always invited.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

More Bad News from Toronto Real Estate Board

GTA May Resale Housing Sales Higher Than Last Year

TORONTO, June 3, 2009 - In May 2009, Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 9,589 sales, up almost two per cent from May 2008 – the first annual increase since December 2007. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales in May was 81,301.

“The resale housing market in the GTA has remained resilient in the face of challenging times globally,” according to TREB President Maureen O’Neill. “Many home buyers have taken advantage of extremely low mortgage rates.”

The average price for May transactions was $395,609 – down less than one per cent compared to the same month last year.

“The average resale home price has moved in line with last year’s level because of tighter market conditions experienced this Spring,” stated Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis. “Home sales have increased strongly relative to new listings, bolstering home prices.”

With the number of listings reducing in the past few months and the interest rates remaining at historically low levels (almost 2.0%) people are realising the value in their decisions to buy.  Next years market may indeed be very different with the introduction of the Harmonized Sales Tax. (HST)

Woman Accused Of Using Kids To Help Steal From Open Houses

Tuesday June 2, 2009 Staff

A woman is accused of using her own children to help in her quest to steal items from people's homes. And she's alleged to have done it right out in the open. Peel Police say the woman would go to open houses while the owners were away and only the real estate agent was inside.

When the realtor was distracted and with her kids as cover, they allege she would rifle through the possessions of the people who lived there, taking anything of value that could be easily be secreted, before finishing her tour of the home and walking out undetected.

In some cases, the owners only found out their items were missing when they returned. Others are still unaware of the thefts.

Cops contend her spree started on April 26th and continued until she was arrested on May 21st. All the houses said to be involved were in Brampton but cops admit it's possible the suspect could have travelled to other areas of the city. And they're still not sure how many homes may have been hit.

They're asking anyone who had an open house during that time period to look around and see if anything is missing.

Balance of Article.

David Pylyp;  This is just plain sad.  In 21 years of holding and hosting Open Houses through out the west GTA I have been rather fortunate in that only one book was ever taken, and that was by a child who helped themselves to a child's book out of interest.

There is none the less a need for vigilence. So when an agent askes for a name and address with phone, maybe there are reasons besides calling you back.  Some agents are requiring ID.  I hope that time hasn't arrived.

What are your thoughts?  Should we be collecting ID?