Saturday, January 31, 2009

Wind Turbines on the Toronto Humber Bay Shore?

Wind farm would be another ugly mistake
Urban Compass by April Lindgren

Toronto is unique in its diversity, abundant in talent and full of people who care about the quality of urban life. But even ardent fans admit the city is a bit of an Ugly Betty and unlikely to win any beauty contests.

So why is Toronto Hydro flirting with the idea of spoiling one the few truly beautiful natural features we have left?The utility is considering installing as many as 60 wind power turbines off Toronto’s eastern shoreline. If tests show there is sufficient wind to justify the project, a string of turbines could soon dominate the waterscape from Leslie Street eastward to Ajax.Scarborough residents are raising questions about noise, the impact of the turbines on bird populations and whether the project could alter wind patterns and affect the Scarborough Bluffs.

Expensive consultants’ reports and competing scientific opinions are clearly on the horizon. Also on the horizon, if the project goes ahead, is a collection of ugly industrial clutter destined to haunt generations to come. The wind farm would be located two to four kilometres off shore. That may sound like quite a distance, but wind turbines are huge so we’re not talking about a few little specks off in the distance.

Balance of Article And Some comments

The Truth, Please
Ms. Lindgren writes that “A wind farm glistening on a ridge of land in rural Ontario or southern Alberta can be a beautiful sight...” Sadly, too often, near to those glistening turbines, live people – in some cases, people with 10 turbines within 1 km of their home. Many of those people are suffering from the effects caused by the turbines placed too near to them by those who would profit, and the suffering people are dismayed that no one listens. Comments like we need wind turbines to “save the world” by those who do not understand the truth of the situation are particularly hurtful. Some who think that turbines 2 km away will be tiny specks on the horizon should come to rural Ontario, and see that rows of turbines more than 2 km away dominate the landscape, and become the only thing seen. Let’s set aside the mindless rhetoric and look at the truth, please

EarthedJan 30, 2009 2:03P
Clean air should trump aesthetics
These turbines, if found a suitable investment after the wind speed tests, would bring jobs to Toronto, provide pollution free power, and help the City of Toronto become a sustainable city. If these turbines are placed 2 to 4 km off-shore, how much visual and audible impact would they actually have? It would appear the author is attempting to spread misinformation rather than truly attempting to speak for future generations.

HogtownheroJan 30, 2009 A Toronto with turbines
This article continues the campaign of misinformation about the current proposal and offers no options for how Toronto is going to do its part to protect our species and our special part of the world. The proposal that is being considered is not for a wind farm (we are too far behind for that kind of forward thinking, thanks Mel!). It is for a two meter tall testing facility to look at wind speeds in the lower atmosphere. The proposal and the potential turbines are going to be barely visible. The “Scarborough residents”, only represent a small proportion of people living in the area. “Haunting generations to come”. Maybe you should look at the potential effects climate change will have on the region. Lower water levels in the Great Lakes, destroyed habitat, invasive plants and animals and decreasing water quality, these are the problems we will face if we don’t act. I would rather Toronto do its part for the next generation instead of worrying about our view.

What are your views?

How would you respond to seeing the wind turbines from your condo along the water? Is the Hydro greening Project the way to go?

Your comments are Invited

Friday, January 30, 2009

10 Reasons I'm happy for a recession

1. Family Dinners in with friends
2. Shorter gas lines and better prices per liter
3. Less junk mail
4. More Time with your Family/Spouse
5. Better Prices on Everything you really need
6. Bargains on vehicles and houses
7. New Business Opportunities/ Relationships
8. Time to read a book or three
9. Everyone has a chance to take a breath and decide what's important
10. New perspectives on what creates true happiness

For everything there is a season,

The spring to sow,
The summer to make hay,
The Fall is to Harvest and Give Thanks,
The Winter to stay inside and plan for the future.

This simply also applies to the economy. During the winter time, the soil must rest, rejuvenate itself for the new planting season, the snow covers the fields to remoisturize the earth, cold makes us stay in and rest for the new working season.

When applied to Real estate, the cooler markets bring better prices but more importantly they level the playing field between neighbourhoods and different complex's. Those shopping have a better selection to pick from, Sellers are forced to be realistic in their asking prices relative to the last sale, and we all have time to be thoughtful and reflective about what we are spending our money on.

If you are considering entering the market I would be pleased to hear from you....
Follow me on

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Home Renovation Tax Credit - Bathroom Remodel

With the new Federal Budget, you are able to take advantage of $10,000 in home renovations and be eligible for a 15% tax credit available till Feb 01, 2010.

Why not make your home sparkle with a new bathroom from Bath Fitters.

When it’s time to remodel your bathroom, you can trust BATH FITTER. We can give you various bathroom remodeling ideas; we will install a beautiful new bathtub or shower base and a seamless, one-piece wall system RIGHT OVER your old bathroom fixtures, in just one day. Existing tiles, flooring and plumbing will not be disturbed, and your new bath area will be complete that very same day. And all of our products are backed by our Lifetime Warranty. We are here to help you at every stage of your bathroom remodeling, from bathroom remodeling ideas to turn those bathroom remodeling ideas into reality and present you exotic new look for your bathroom.

Terms are available if you need to spruce your home prior to listing it for sale. Make your home sparkle and have it professionally remodelled for long lasting value.

Special discounts apply for David Pylyp's Clients. Call Bath Fitters for details at 905 206 9949.

Additional Tax Credit details

Marketing in a Recession

Found this article that is very on point for today's market.

Posted by Marketing Specialist - Jim Connolly

Last month, I interviewed some business owners, who not only survived the last recession but actually grew their businesses; whilst those around them saw their businesses shrink or go broke.

I wanted to know what their secret was, so I could share it with you!

It became apparent very quickly that there was a single, common thread, which was shared by each of the successful business people from the last recession.

Here’s what they told me.

The successful businesspeople continued to invest in the key areas of their business, whilst their competitors stopped investing in those same, key areas!

Marketing lessons from past recessions

During the last recession, many of the businesses that went backwards or went broke, decided to invest as little as possible in anything. They chose to hunker-down and wait for the recession to finish. As a result, they cut back on things like service contracts for their cars, office equipment etc. They also stopped most or all of their marketing.

Even in a good economy, a business with creaking infrastructure and no marketing is really going to struggle. In a recession, that approach is going to make it almost impossible to survive!
Recession marketing

During the recession, your prospective clients / customers are looking for the best value for money possible. This requires super-effective marketing, as you will need YOUR message to stand out and then convince people, more powerfully than your competitors, that YOURS is the best value for their money!

Your existing clients / customers will be hurting financially too. They will be looking for better deals and for ways to reduce their outgoings. You need to make sure they don’t go to a competitor or simply drop your service, thinking it will save them money.
This is clearly not the time to forget about your marketing.

Marketing opportunities

I believe 2009 will present some amazing opportunities. The months ahead will be a time of great change and those with the vision and courage to adapt to these changes, will get the rewards.

Use the challenges of the year ahead to position yourself in your marketplace as a provider of answers. During times of flux, people want answers and we are attracted to those who we believe have the answers we need.

Listen to what your marketplace is saying to you. Keep in regular dialogue with your clients / customers and also your prospective clients / customers.

Find ways to match the benefits of your products or services to their changing needs and ensure that you and your business are an essential resource for them!

David Pylyp; Applying the lessons that are in the article, I have more than doubled my internet activites, to be in a better position with activily signed in readership thru RSS feed and those that sign up for the insiders newsletter via email. You may like the news, commentaries and market events I post and they will make you aware of what is happening in the real estate market and West Toronto (GTA) issues. What am I doing to reach out?

The lessons I have learned from the website are that the site is information about real estate related matters. Of the more than 500 pages of content there are less than 3 pages about me.

But the exciting news is the social interaction that is available on You can follow my activities on a daily basis thru this site. Daily updates or New video's being uploaded. Follow dpylyp /David Pylyp to your twitter account

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Home Renovation Tax Credit

Effective today, (Jan 28.09) any Canadian who spends money on home renovations will be eligible to receive up to $1,350 in tax relief thanks to the new Home Renovation Tax Credit proposed in the Harper Government’s Economic Action Plan.

“Every time Canadians invest in home renovations, they are helping to create construction and building-supplies jobs in their own communities,” said the Prime Minister.

“By providing an incentive for Canadians to invest in their homes, we are also encouraging them to invest in local jobs.”

To highlight the kind of projects that will be eligible under this plan, the Prime Minister visited an Ottawa-area home renovation site and met with a local contractor who will be better able to protect and create jobs thanks to the additional home renovation projects that will be encouraged through this tax credit.The Home Renovation Tax Credit will provide a one-year, temporary 15% income tax credit on eligible home renovation expenditures for work performed, or goods acquired between January 27, 2009 and February 1, 2010. The credit may be claimed on eligible expenditures exceeding $1,000 but no more than $10,000.

The Home Renovation Tax Credit is one of several initiatives to help homeowners and homebuyers that is contained within the Harper Government’s Economic Action Plan. Before homeowners, homebuyers, and local construction and building supply workers can benefit from these new initiatives, Parliament must pass the 2009-2010 Federal Budget.

Home Renovation Tax credit details.

Pets in Condos

Fur flies in courts over pet bans

Animals face losing battle against condo restrictions But apartment buildings are virtually powerless to prohibit pets.

Why is it that pets can be prohibited in condominium buildings but not in apartment buildings?

Under the Tenant Protection Act, a clause in a residential lease prohibiting the presence of animals in an apartment building is void. By comparison, building rules made under the Condominium Act can prohibit household pets if they are reasonably worded and reasonably enforced. In addition, a pet restriction in a condo declaration is presumed to be valid, whether or not it is reasonable, unless there is a human rights violation.

This results in the strange situation where pets cannot be prohibited in an apartment building, but they can be prohibited in an identical condo building next door, even if it is occupied entirely by tenants. Since 1989, a number of Ontario pets have made legal history by appearing in published court cases involving their right to live in condominiums in this province.

The pets include a 16-year-old Siamese cat in St. Catharines, a "hearing-ear" dog in Waterloo, a 15-pound East York poodle, as well as a wheaten terrier and an Afghan, both of whom lived in the Palace Pier project in Toronto.

Of the five animals in these cases, three were evicted and two were allowed to stay by Ontario courts.

The hearing-ear dog was allowed to stay based on the owner's disability and the protections in the Ontario Human Rights Code. Similarly, the Siamese was not evicted because the board had failed to enforced the no-pets rule for at least eight years.

The latest case to hit the law reports involves Simon, a greyhound dog who lived in a Waterloo condominium owned by Johanna Theresa Weidner. In May, 2001, Weidner and her greyhound moved into a condo she had bought on Hugo Cres., Kitchener. Before closing, Weidner was given a status certificate indicating that no animals were permitted in the building.

Eventually the condominium board issued an eviction notice against Simon. When Weidner failed to remove it from the building, the matter wound up before Justice Patrick Flynn in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. Weidner argued that she needed Simon because she was suffering from stress and depression, and that her right to keep the dog in her unit was protected by the Ontario Human Rights Code. She argued that the condominium declaration should accommodate persons with identified disabilities. Finally, she claimed that the condo corporation had delayed so long in enforcing its rights that it should be prevented from proceeding against her.

In June of this year, Justice Flynn ruled that a condominium declaration cannot be attacked as unreasonable. All owners are bound by the declaration, and it is "vital to the integrity of the title" of each unit owner.

In any event, Flynn ruled, there was no evidence that a total ban on pets in the building was unreasonable. He added that there was no violation of the Human Rights Code and the board's delay in enforcing its rights did not prevent it from evicting Weidner's dog.

She employed both a real estate agent and a lawyer, and had ample opportunity to be informed about the prohibition from them.Simon was ordered evicted. Different standards apply if the condominium declaration is silent on pets but its rules contain a no-pets prohibition. Under the Condominium Act, a condominium board may make rules for "the safety, security or welfare of the owners and of the property" or "for the purpose of preventing unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of the common elements and of the other units." The only limitation on the nature of these rules under the Condominium Act is that the rules must be "reasonable" and "consistent" with the legislation.

Several years ago, the board at the Palace Pier condominium in Toronto passed a rule stating that pets in the building must not exceed 25 pounds. Both Portia, a wheaten terrier, and LuLu, an Afghan, were over the weight limit. Their owners eventually wound up at the Court of Appeal, after a trial judge allowed the dogs to stay.

In 1997, three justices of the Court of Appeal reversed the trial decision and evicted the dogs.

They said the 25-pound dog rule was not an "unreasonable interference with the use and enjoyment of the common elements and of the other units." Even though the Palace Pier rule may not have been the best rule or the least arbitrary, it wasn't necessarily unreasonable.

Tenants don't have these problems.

Animals and their owners can only be evicted if the pets cause a disturbance, trigger a serious allergic reaction in the landlord or another tenant, or are a breed that is inherently dangerous to public safety.

Should the same rules that apply to tenants be forced on condominium owners? Should the law be changed so that all condo owners would be allowed to have pets just like tenants can?

Bob Aaron is a Toronto real estate lawyer. Send questions to Bob Aaron, 10 King Street East, #1400, Toronto, Ontario M5C 1C3, or by e-mail to bob@ , phone 416-364-9366, or fax 416-364-3818.

The Brand Bubble

I found this fascinating quote today:

But marketers have new powers. Listening today is cheap and easy thanks to technology. Consumers will twitter, blog, bebo, ning and facebook you all day if you have content and ideas to share. Yet many marketers are still in the ‘posing’ phase of using this technology. They use these mediums to ‘make an appearance’. It’s like a decade or so throwback to ‘let’s do some guerilla marketing so we can look cool’. They miss the point entirely. Millions of your customers want to talk to you. Social media, collaborative filtering and product blogs like Consumerist or gadget blogs like Engadget and Gizmodo are modern forces for branding through listening. They can’t just be tactics, they need to become part of who you are.The Brand Bubble, Jan 2009

You should read the whole article.

The most vital contribution to my business' success is to listen to my clients needs and concerns; If I am successful in finding and filling their need then I have been useful and a contribution to their lives.

Listen first then, ask questions to clarify or confirm.

Lets have a coffee and talk about it.

Now on Twitter David Pylyp / dpylyp

Budget Highlites for Real Estate Toronto

Here are some key points mentioned in todays budget that will help us in our industry.

Canada's Mortgage Industry Welcomes Federal Budget Announcements

Earlier today, federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty tabled the federal budget. Several measures affect Canada's housing and mortgage industry.

Temporary home renovations tax credit of up to $1,350 for eligible home renovations and alterations.

Increase in the home buyers RSP plan, withdrawal limit increased to $25,000 from the current $20,000

A new first time home buyers tax credit that will provide up to $750 in tax relief for closing costs. They're giving first time home buyers tax breaks designed to deal with added expenses like legal fees and - in what's certainly a message to Mayor David Miller - land transfer taxes. Those buying an abode will get a 15 per cent tax credit on up to $5,000 in costs.

Broad based personal tax reductions including an increase in the personal exemption and increases to the limits for the two lowest tax brackets.

Complete Budget details

Vivien Lai, AMP Mortgage Specialist Mortgage Alliance Real-T-Mortgages
Tel:(416)816-8252 Fax:(905)272-3833

Monday, January 26, 2009

Survey Survey

Review survey before signing any agreement

Is a real estate agent responsible for accurately advertising the lot size? What happens if he or she gets it wrong?

Those were the questions facing clients of mine recently. Last August, Regina and Leon signed an agreement to buy a house in Vaughan for $730,000.

Located between Bathurst and Dufferin Sts. north of Major Mackenzie Dr., the luxury five-bedroom house is 4,200 square feet in size.

It was listed in July 2008 by an agent with a large brokerage in Woodbridge at an asking price of $759,900. The house was purchased from the builder two months earlier for $726,977 plus GST, so even if it had sold for its full asking price, the seller would have lost money.

Unfortunately, the listing agent advertised the lot size as 55 by 110 feet, and those measurements were included in the agreement of purchase and sale. In fact, the frontage as shown on the subdivision plan is only 13.72 metres, or 45 feet. The discrepancy exceeds 18 per cent.

During the period that the offer was conditional on inspection, Regina and Leon were handed what they were told was a survey of the property. In fact, it was a pre-construction siting and grading plan, which shows the lot and proposed location for the house. It contains dozens of measurements of the lot elevations above sea level. Obscured in the small print was an indication of the correct lot frontage.

When the lot size problem was discovered by my clients' real estate lawyer, he referred Regina and Leon to me to see if I could help resolve the problem.

I met with the clients and provided them with a detailed explanation of the law on breach of contract, agent negligence and misrepresentation, as well as the costs and risks of litigation if they didn't close and decided to sue for return of their $20,000 deposit.

Despite my assurances that the law was on their side, Regina and Leon decided to terminate the transaction when we could not negotiate a price reduction to reflect the smaller lot size.

The seller and his lawyer were adamant that my clients were in default, and that the seller was not, because the grading plan had been given to them while the offer was conditional.

My clients reluctantly agreed to forfeit their deposit and sign a release with the seller. This process took several weeks because the seller's lawyer and agent would not agree to a release unless the selling agent and brokerage were also released from liability.

Eventually, the parties agreed directly with each other – and against the adamant advice of the seller's lawyer – to release each other but not the agent.

The house, which could have been sold to my clients in October, is still on the market. It has now been relisted with another agent and another brokerage at $729,900 – $30,000 less than last summer's asking price. Meantime, the owner is carrying the costs of taxes, utilities and a mortgage of $616,000.

The real estate commission on the original transaction was about 5 per cent, or $36,500, half of which would have gone to the listing agent and brokerage. During the negotiations over the lot size, the seller refused to lower the price and the agent refused to budge on the issue of whether he would contribute part of his commission to compensate for the mistake in the listing.

As a result, the agent lost the commission, the client and the listing. Although the seller received my client's $20,000 deposit, the market for luxury homes in Vaughan is softer now and when the house sells, he will clear less money than if he had lowered the price to my clients.

The listing agent now faces litigation for my client's losses, as well as a complaint to the Real Estate Council of Ontario, the licensing body for Ontario real estate agents.

Regina and Leon's story is a classic example of why purchasers should review a survey before signing an agreement to buy a house.

Bob Aaron is a Toronto real estate lawyer and an appointed director of the Tarion Warranty Corporation. He can be reached by email at, phone 416-364-9366 or fax 416-364-3818. Visit the column archives at for articles on this and other topics.

Should Suicide have been disclosed to homebuyer?

Is a builder obligated to disclose to a purchaser the fact that a suicide occurred in the house just before the sale closes?

That was the question posed to me recently by my colleague Howard Litowitz, who practises real estate law in Richmond Hill. He told me that his client, a builder, had a new home about to close when one of his staff discovered a deceased intruder in the premises.

The police and coroner agreed that the person had broken in and had committed suicide.
Litowitz and his client asked for my opinion on whether they had to disclose the incident to the purchaser who was about to close on his brand new home within the next few days.

Even though the intruder left no physical evidence of his gruesome visit, there is a belief in the real estate industry that a suicide may render the property stigmatized. This is a code word for the perception that the value of a property has been reduced by non-physical, non-scientific or even irrational perceptions by the buyer.

My own view is that, under Ontario law, there was no obligation on the builder to disclose the fact of the suicide. Just to make sure, however, I decided to ask two other industry gurus if they agreed.

Barry Lebow is a well-known real estate appraiser, broker and educator based in Toronto. He has testified as an expert witness in more than 500 trials. Lebow's view was that the seller likely does not have to disclose, although the agent, if there was one, must disclose.

Even if the vendor was obliged to disclose, Lebow mused about whether the death created a stigma or a reduction in value. Of course, proving this might be difficult.

Lebow added, "Could make for a good lawsuit after the fact, though."

Merv Burgard is a London, Ont., lawyer who lectures to real estate agents. He reminded me of a similar case which went to court in Quebec back in 2006.

In 2003, Sylvie Knight bought a house on Larivière St. in Saint-Constant from Marcel Dionne for $122,000. Several months after closing, Knight learned from neighbours that the son of the former owner had committed suicide by hanging himself in the basement of the residence that she now occupied.

Knight sued Dionne, and when the case went to trial, she told Judge Gabriel de Pokomándy that she never would have bought the house had she known about the suicide.

Under Quebec law, unlike ours in Ontario, the seller of a house must declare that he or she is not aware of any undisclosed fact relating to the property that is liable to significantly reduce its value.

The issue the court had to decide, in this case, was whether a suicide in a residential building is a factor that the seller ought to have disclosed, and if he did not do so, whether that justifies awarding damages.

After carefully reviewing the facts, the court concluded that "the story of Marcel Dionne's son, who committed suicide by hanging himself in one of the rooms of the house more than 10 years ago, cannot be considered to be the kind of factor liable to affect the value of the building."

The suit was dismissed.

In the case of the Richmond Hill-area builder, Litowitz reported to me last week that the new home sale finally closed. He told his client that he was not aware of any disclosure requirement. As a result, neither the purchaser nor the real estate agent was advised of the incident.
Should the Richmond Hill builder have disclosed the suicide? Was the court right in not penalizing the seller? What do you think?

Bob Aaron is a Toronto real estate lawyer and an appointed director of the Tarion Warranty Corporation. He can be reached by email at, phone 416-364-9366 or fax 416-364-3818. Visit the column archives at for articles on this and other topics.
Knight c. Dionne, 2006 QCCQ 1260 (CanLII)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Real Estate Matters Toronto

Real estate matters. We're not selling donuts here, folks. We're talking about shelter. Lives. Families.

We can do better. But can has seldom been enough. Perhaps now, in a time of must, and it will happen. It’s time for agents to get among the customers. Times are tough. People are hurting. They’re angry and unsure. Consumers are flooded with confusing, conflicting and negative news. People are concerned about layoffs and job loss. Are we promoting Job loss insurance?

Embrace the technology available to us to promote available properties for sale. Remember according to CMHC in the Toronto Market 50 % of the listings expire. Lets be creative in our marketing and communication. Digitize all documents related to their purchase into a mini cd, Pictures of apppliances and fixtures, Create Flash Presentations as Handouts at Open houses. Provide financial Calculation worksheets that show costs per month and Income requirements to buy, Show the Land Transfer Taxes. Lets make a pledge to take listings at accurate market values.

How often do you, personally greet clients in your office? How often do you call buyers to congratulate them upon closing? Attend the closing with them? Or send them a handwritten notes? Will you show up on closing day with their keyes and their lunch? Will you offer a Buyer Satisfaction Guaranteed? or Easy Listing Cancellation for dissatisfaction?

Do you speak candidly and sympathetically to your customers about the challenges facing home buyers and sellers? Or do you remain ensconced in the office and let your newspaper adverts do the talking? Have you lent humour to your interactions with sellers? Or are you still hoping to still the anxious minds in your market with postcards and door stuffers?

All this buzz about blogs? It’s not about technology: it’s about reaching out to people by topic, addressing their concerns, identify their needs and then fill that need with a solution, my voice, and a conversation or video, I need to be having with you, my customers.

I know. There are reasons to stay put. You don’t want to edge in on relationships. You don’t want exposure to criticism. Let me tell you something: When you speak to your customers with a human voice you are forgiven for your mistakes. Let's get out there and look at how we can ease their concerns.

I'm getting out there. Holding small town hall meetings. Shortly we will be scheduling First Time Buyer Seminars, Investors seminars on how to buy Rental Properties. Stay tuned... We will have experienced Legal Advisors, Seasoned Veteran Banking and Mortgaging Specialists and Home Inspectors to help my customers navigate a challenging economy. Have you developed Excell worksheets to calculate ROI and future values and mortgage balances for investors? Explained Cap rates? Give them the data they need, however ugly it may be. Do you have a topic idea you would like to see covered? Tell me.

Speak frankly. Be open. Be Honest! Push yourself to communicate in new ways. I'll tell you what to expect and inject my own brand of humour with a dose of humanity.

If you have a product or service you would like to promote, Let's make a video together and I'll put it out for you. Let's reach a broader audience.

I know a lot of smart brokers. People who’ve never been through rough times before and have a genuine passion for helping people. Trouble is, they don’t have – or don’t think they have – the moves in them to stay during an economic downturn and pull something like this off. We have already had legal input in constructing short sale letters for lenders. We have made serious and forthright inquiries about assuming mortgages to Save buyers and sellers money. Tough times stain relationships, a divorce insight corner is under construction. A Tenant's Corner for where to find rental properties is not far behind. Discuss Tenant Issues. Contacting LTB for your rights.

People will continue to buy and sell houses as there is a human need for shelter and a back yard. It may not be in the numbers we have seen before but these will also increase as people realise that the sky is not falling. There is already a pent up demand that is seeking guidance. I am a lone voice that says in proportion to population, we are a very small market that has turned skidish, SIMPLY More should be buying and selling relative to the occupancy and economic draw that is the Toronto GTA. Toronto emplyed number 93% of the working population!

The election of President Obama has inspired a nation and a whole generation. We need to move forward in a new reality of self responsibility. Those who take advantage will be far better off.

Your comments are invited.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

How Young could you be to Buy a House?

Most times it seems the task of finding your Dream Home is a combination of the right circumstances in your life that make it possible for you to step into the House Buying Process.
With the mortgage terms and affordability as the biggest impediment to home buying a number of down payment programs can be created just for you thru the RBC Preferred Client Program.
Amortizations have been shortened from the 40 year plan down to a 35 year amortization maximum. I would hope that with prepayment options that many mortgages and an acceleration of amortization each year at the anniversary of the mortgage you could shorten the term by at least half. Contact me for program details.
Lindsay Doke, Trusted Mortgage Advisor, RBC Mortgages has been a strong proponent of the blended mortgage that takes half of the balance into the variable rate portfolio and the remaining half into the fixed interest rate portfolio.

By using this approach; you can reduce the interest costs greatly without gambling on interest rate fluctuations. With today's interest rates in simple terms, you could be borrowing at 4%.

So maybe the downpayment is your impediment; We can deal with that too! Lindsay has programs for HomeLine to advance against a property, additional credit lines to fund your downpayment, and cash back programs that will leave you money for land transfer taxes and related fees and expenses. Deferred cost programs are also available from Title Insurance Companies to assist your entry in Home buying.

There has been a concentrated effort to look at credit scores and the related perception of what is bad credit or poor credit and what can be fixed to make you eligible for a mortgage. Some of these programs may take 3-6 months to impliment, or as long as a year. New to the country and need to establish credit?

So first, we need to establish how much house you can afford. If you are paying rent of $ 1500 to $ 1700 per month, you may be surprised to find a $ 300K property carries for the same monthly amount. This Pre Qualification is vital to be completed in its entirety and not as a calculation at home. There is nothing more disappointing than being verbally approved at a Lenders office to find that their approval has many more conditions that you are unable to fulfil.

We will shortly have access yet again, to the entire Toronto Real Estate database of listings thru the Listing Portal at the Elegant Homes websites. This is exciting because all the listings available can be search without needless delay or filtering (like Some real estate boards have actually opted out of the database. Will Toronto follow suit?

I invite your inquiries.

Friday, January 23, 2009

New Our Lakeshore website is a neighbourhood revitalization initiative by neighbours, for neighbours. We have residents, business owners, and politicians working together to promote and improve New Toronto / Lakeshore Village

We are launching a new OurLakeshore website that turns residents and community groups into the publishers of this local site.Click here to preview the new website.

(You will need to create an account in order to publish content).

The current website was put up in one day and we did not envision that the site would grow to over 800 registered members. Recently, 166 people completed our survey collecting input on what they think should do going forward.

The website component of this survey found that:

  • 41% want to find out about new businesses
  • 38.7% want community events and classifieds
  • 20 % want a community discussion board
  • 16.7% want people to write guest blog posts
  • 12.8% want to be able to set up their own group

The new website addresses much of the input from this survey. (Note: we have also inserted the comments from the website section of the survey at the bottom of this email).What you can do on the new site:

Add your own events

Post news about local businesses

Create and communicate with your own group

Write a blog post

Upload a picture or video
Create or join a discussion forum.

This website is for residents in the Etobicoke Lakeshore community to participate in a discussion about local issues. Posts will be moderated by the community and featured posts will appear on the front page of the site.We are planning on directing to the new site soon. We have added a forum topic where you can add your comments about the site. Please note that the google ads that appear on the right hand side are placed there by the service we are using. We have an option of paying to remove those ads. OurLakeshore.netBy Residents, For Residents

Full list of survey comments about website features (although there are a couple that don't seem on topic) more community type events as well, maybe even job postings for local people and businesses.

All great ideas!

extend to the many home based businesses and to businesses within, say 1 mile, of lakeshore??
How can we go about getting new businesses into the Lakeshore? Can our councillor not help?
Who wants to shop dollar stores and cash advance stores?
I'd rather see it as a website rather than blog format as it is very poorly organized, it would probably function better just as a discussion board.
The site is great.
Member to member forum, bulletin board maybe a buy sell to create repeat readership
All of the above would be great.
The more information the better.
I like to try places recommended by others. If there were a bulletin board section on the site to post reviews, it would be interesting.
continue to highlight continued growth and renewal of our community and hopefully attract more business as well as encourage cleaning up tired areas
Consider highlighting one business per month and have that business host host an event (tasting, presentation) with OurLakeshore
A Little Taste of Home just opened and an Air Quality store. I would suggest profiles on both of them.
News and happenings about the Lake Shore even if they aren't related to business.
information on the local services to help our citizens
More community issues - less about business
not necessarily video but business profiles are helpful
May want to explore residents stories / charity work within the area.
Any events happening in south Lakeshore.
Others ways to get involved with the community. e.g. forming of sub-committees to work on other initiatives.
Local events, city hall news that pertains to our ward, more info on Councillor Grimes (how he voted at key votes, etc).
Write ups about the businesses. Not everyone can access utube for the videos.
More news about what is hapening in our hood.Uncensored and objective just the facts.
As you all knowI'd like to make more videos, but more help is needed, and more widespread knowledge that these video's are posted. if that makes sense
The more unique and worthy busin/service advertised will be better supported by lakeshore residents.
1.Definately would Like to have a section with what NEW buisnesses are coming IN , as alot of times i see Stores in which someone is doing renos
Upcoming events. To be included - Assembly Hall events are worthwhile (Live Theatre, Silent/Live Auctions, Art Shows etc).
All of the above would be an interest to me.
I don't really have time to go to the web site. The e-mail list is how I stay in touch
We need to step up to show our businesses that are already here that we appreciate there services
Community Information and updates
how about jade elephant
Community news.
I know over the years our area has been in the paper (Toronto Star etc.) in a positive way. We should find those articles and add them to the site.
Links to local business websites, bulletin board of community meetings
information for new residences like where to find banks, police stations, government offices, transit routes, parks, community centres schools etc.
While it isn't my day job, I like to write -- maybe I could interview some of the businesses.
communication between residents. keep each other informed re local issues, crimes, rezoning and development like 51 Lakeshore, general interest stuff.
Restaurant reviews. Places to take your toddler. There are few affordable activities for under 3 year-olds and moms.
Need more information about the historical societies.
Also need to rally people against "Lakeshore Village" - the community is New Torontto
When your meetings are, for a start. Why does this group operate in secret away from the rest of the community?Why are you hiding?
It would be nice to see other local events listed.
A classified section could generate revenue for the site as well as providing a service
- Like some of the ideas including forum and blogs. Don't spend time doing facebook - it's already done! Didn't work at any other organizations.
A discussion board is all that is necessary.
I think as people communicate we can learn what people want from our community and how we can make it the best that it can be.
this would give groups a voice they night not otherwise have and showcase the diversification of our neighbourhood.
To be honest I don't even know what a twitter micro-blog is. I like the business guides best.
The site should be dedicated to facilitate community acitivities and be a voice and a place for exchange of views on community issues.
What is Twitter micro blogging?
Devoted area for "excellence" providers. Perhaps a resident used a specific plumber or cleaning service that did a fantastic job.
Would Like to have a section on ANYTHING that moves in the area so we can get a better idea of the shape up of the area, and how it will benefit us.
community events - definitely
classifieds - I'm not so sure - maybe
Not sure what some of these other options are...
More of a social website, with open points of view as well as easier access.
A list of new developments/proposals in the area (Ex. skateboard pk/skate trail/dev over greenbelt @ 4th st...)Provide user commenting on each.
It is important for long-time residents/groups to have their voices heard - not just newcomers to the area. Attitude of many newcomers is appalling.
Meeting dates, times, locations.
Who this group is really working for. Why do long-time residents of our communities not count - but you do?

As always; Your comments are invited.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Interest Rates drop like a stone; Toronto Real Estate

I like you have sat the past few weeks listening to others talk about how Canada is facing a recession . I have listened to your pains and frustrations. How we have to become careful and how our clients are waiting as prices are going to drop lower. I am as frustrated as you but optimistic.

How many clients I have pre approved who are now holding off buying due to uncertainty would make your head spin. That is not the point of this message.

However.. we all know this too well, It is called buyer remorse.

Now we have to respect our clients always, providing they make choices merited on facts. It is clear our clients are deciding based on what they have been presented with the news media, the reporters and all they have had to hear the last month is doom and gloom.

While we are not here to change their minds, we are here to educate them.

Today on the election of the 44th president who many see as great true humanitarian and new hope in not just the United States but worldwide as well we witnessed history.

Well in Canada we witnessed history as well for this same Bank of Canada which said one month ago we were in a recession made a bold move.

It dropped interest rates like a stone across the board from variable to long and short term closed. There has never been a better time to buy a home!

In my 22 years of lending I have never seen so many changes at one time. After all we live in Canada, we pride in being conservative, careful and watchful.

Well what the Bank of Canada has done today is aggressive and purposeful and needs to serve as a wake up call to all of us.

For starters the bank prime dropped 1/2% to now at 3% .

This is now a new historical low unprecedented in the history of banking In Canada!

Even with the 0.80% premium Closed variable rates on RBC new business are now at 3.8% closed and at 1.0 premium fully open variable rates are at 4%.

Remarkable even more so as in mid October 2008 lenders as a whole saw out of necessity the need for a premium to be added to the variable mortgage as pricing on this product was spiraling out of control and in conjunction with the sub prime market we had to be more sensible in our pricing on this product.

At that time people got negative towards the variable mortgages without knowing the facts and many locked into fixed five year rates at 4.75%. They are kicking themselves today and why, because the Bank of Canada in it's interest rate cuts did not stop at just the prime. The four year and five year rates also dropped considerably. I did a quick check back to Feb 2005 and there has not been in almost four years a time when both fixed and variable moved at the same time!

It happened today.

The new five year fixed rate at RBC is 4.39% The new four year fixed rate is 4.29%
But the short term rates yes 1 year , 2 year and 3 year rates also dropped like I said this drop in rates is the strongest I have ever seen and I have been through 4 business cycles!
The one two and three rates dropped over 1%.

The new RBC one year rate is 3.25%. I remember when in January 2001 one year renewals at 3.99% were the talk of the town for clients who did not want to lock in for a long term.
The new RBC two and three year rates are both 4.15%.

Folks as you know I believe in the split mortgage.

It is the best alternative for clients whose goal is to maximize interest costs and pay their mortgage off sooner. Well this mortgage for clients with 20% will be huge as they will have more choices for choosing their mortgage into different terms.

I am going to market the dual mortgages once again and in this way. A mortgage with flexibility and security the RBC Homeline Mortgage 1/2 of the mortgage at 4.39% 5 year closed 1/2 of the mortgage at 4.0% 5 year floating variable open at prime plus 1% Average rate of the two mortgages 4.195% or 4.2%!

This is a great mortgage as it minimizes penalty with the open term which is top of mind for clients being half the mortgage but still provides 1/2 at secured fixed rates . It allows for interest savings for the variable mortgage where since 1969 those choosing variable have saved on average $5,000 $8000 more in interest costs then those renewing on 4 nd 5 year closed terms.

It is a mortgage people will be able to plan with . I have told you how we plan our investments, we plan our vacations, our life insurance but very few plan a mortgage.

It is different unique and is truly the best of both worlds.
What is different and unique is how we are remembered by our clients.

Lindsay Doke RBC Financial 416 464 6423

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Assigning Your Condo Contract - Flipping

Many buyers have purchased condo's that are currently under construction. Some of the units, even sold as late as 2006, have delayed completion till 2010. The Buyer's realities of their choices have made them reevaluate their changed situations. Singles now have spouses. Couples are now families and that One plus one does not fill their needs. The other factor that is intangible is FUD, Fear Uncertainty and Doubt.

I receive many calls from people with a contract, who have discussed with their lawyer and the developer's sales people what choices they have.

Contracts vary but we will try in layman's terms to explain the options; If your contract (Agreement of Purchase and Sale) contains an ASSIGNMENT CLAUSE you may find a buyer to take over your exact contract at whatever price you agree to... provided they accept the balance of the contract verbatim. Verbatim means exactly that.. No Changes.

So.. You need a buyer.. You need to find a Buyer... You may need a realtor to find a buyer for you to conclude your contract. That is possible but.....

Do you have an assignment clause so you can unload it before interim occupancy? Are you in the unit now or is it still in the fresh "never lived in" state (slight price premium for the new condo smell)? When do you expect it to be registered? Interim occupancy can last for six months to a year or more. Who is responsible for the Phantom Mortgage during the interim occupancy?

From the situation described, you may have 2 or more years before you take title (ownership) of the unit. You can only sell a condominium that you hold title on. You *might* be able to sell the agreement to purchase a condominium, the contract you signed but that depends primarily upon the contents of that agreement and often the mood of the developer.

The developer will typically, even with an assignment clause, have a number of restrictions on the sale including the ability to reject your buyer for any arbitrary reason. At very least there will be a number of fees charged by the developer for various bits of paper work.

The restrictions of the sale will be specific to your agreement. I beg you to speak to your lawyer to help you interpret your agreement for restrictions and fees followed by the developer to see what their mood is (how flexible they are on those restrictions) before contacting a Realtor, and I give this advice as a Realtor.

Assignment of a contract is very different than selling a condominium. You are selling a "condominium future", not a property. There are many ways you could get into trouble that don't exist for typical sales of condos.

Now consider the following process; A realtor "lists" the unit and finds a buyer, you agree to a price, Lawyers review the documents, and a "deal" is made. When do you get your money?

The Realtors hold the deposit "In Trust" pending successful completion of the transaction. The successful completion is the REGISTRATION of the condo, as that is the point where title is transferred. This senario better applies to a freehold property.

You, as the original buyer made staged deposits on your purchase that typically were 10 - 15% of the purchase price, the assignment BUYER makes a single contract deposit. They may this deposit to you if an assignment fee is paid. A side agreement must be created for the new purchase price. These may or may not be the same amounts. This balance (profit) does not flow to you until there is a closing.

The Caveat here (WARNING) is simply that the builder will still hold you contractually responsible to fulfill the terms of your agreement should the subsequent Buyer not conclude the transaction. The Builder would never permit the advertising or MLS Listing of a unit, where the condo is not yet registered for obvious reasons, as they may still have their own remaining units.

The conclusion made from this is get experienced advice and a knowledgeable lawyer in your corner to examine the choices and remedies available to you.

Contact me with your story, I welcome the lessons we can all learn.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Buying New vs Resale Homes in the GTA

When you start the search for your dream home, you'll probably hear a variety of opinions on whether you should purchase a newly built home or a resale home.

There are advantages to both, and your individual needs, not the age of the structure, should be foremost in deciding which is best for you. For a better idea of which type may be more suited to your needs, let's look at the advantages of both new and resale homes.

Why buy a new home?

Perhaps you love the idea that you can be a home's very first owner. Everything is new and shiny, the neighbours are probably also just moving in, and you can customize the floor plan and colours. Add a fireplace or ceramics, pick your own Kichen cabinets. Buying a new home can be fun and exciting. Here are some other advantages:

  • New homes are built with new materials and appliances, so less maintenance is typically required than with resale homes.
  • They often possess more safety features and fewer health hazards to conform to today's building codes.
  • Many homebuilders offer warranties in case certain problems develop over time.
  • The home's major appliances and systems also typically include manufacturers' warranties.
  • They typically feature modern architecture and layout such as great rooms, bigger closets, and additional bathrooms, which often replaces the formal dining and/or living rooms of older homes.
    New homes are usually well-insulated due to better windows, more efficient heating and cooling equipment, and greater use of insulation.
  • The homes are often made with materials requiring less maintenance, such as aluminum siding, vinyl windows, and pressure-treated wood decks that resist rot and insects.
  • They can be easier to customize than resale homes since you can choose many details ranging from floor plans and paint colors to faucets and light fixtures.
  • New homes are more apt to be wired with new technologies in mind, such as being pre-wired for multiple phone lines, high-speed Internet connections and extra cable outlets.
Why buy a resale home?

Housing styles have changed with time, and you might favour more traditional layouts and features. Older houses and neighbourhoods may have more character and charm. A sense of community. Schools and libraries have already been built. The trees are full-grown, and the neighbours can tell you all about your new residence and its history. Here are some other advantages:
  • Resale homes may provide more opportunities for home improvements.
  • They typically have more land than newer properties due to changes in land-use patterns.
    The homes are often in older, more convenient metro areas rather than outlying suburbs.
  • You can use the existing home as a base for building a unique property through modernization or expansion.
  • Resales tend to be less expensive than new properties and more likely to come complete with items that may cost extra with a new home such as blinds, landscaping, built-ins, fencing, all meter fees already paid, etc.
  • Depending on the neighbourhood, resale homes may have lower tax assessment rates.
  • These homes often have more traditional layouts, which may include such areas as formal living and dining rooms.
  • Buyers can most likely purchase a larger home for the same money with a resale than with new construction.
  • Buyers often have more room for negotiating the price or terms of sale than new homes.
  • You can feel, see and touch the hoouse you are buying vs holding a plan and a contract.
  • Check out who your neighbours will be before moving in.
  • Older Toronto neighbourhoods have access to public transit.
  • RESALE Market is currently in a Buyer's market mode with incredible opportunities.
As you can see, both offer significant, but very different advantages. Keep in mind that the real question shouldn't be about whether to buy a new or used home. It's more about finding which individual property will best meet the needs of you and your family.

I welcome working with you to find that Dream Home in your future.

First Time Buyers Need Education

First-time home buyers need to improve their understanding of home financing before they start shopping.

Do you know your debt-service ratios from your mortgage amortizations? Three out of four first-time home buyers in Canada need to bone up on basic facts about the buying process and home financing, according to a new report released today by Genworth Financial Canada.

Genworth's latest First-Time Homebuyer's Monitor survey tested Canadians' knowledge of mortgage and home buying terms and concepts, revealing important gaps that could be filled by more home buyer education. Only 25 per cent of those surveyed correctly answered more than 7 out of 10 questions in the 'mortgage quiz', and less than one per cent of respondents answered all 10 questions correctly.
The First-Time Homebuyer's Monitor explores the varying degree of mortgage knowledge and understanding among buyers. Results indicated that first-time home buyers have a lack of understanding of common mortgage terminology such as:
  • Credit rating
  • Mortgage term
  • Variable or fixed interest rates
  • Mortgage amortization
  • Mortgage default insurance
  • Debt service ratio

Potential first-time home buyers can test their own mortgage knowledge to see how they rank against other survey recipients on the categories above.

"Today's mortgage products provide home buyers with a lot of choices. To make the right choices it's important to be as informed as possible," said Peter Vukanovich, President of Genworth Financial Canada. First-timers should speak to a mortgage professional and study online resources, he says.

Read the entire study:

This article has omitted Toronto and Ontario Land Transfer Taxes, Canada Mortgage and Housing or Genworth Insurance Fees, Fintrac Reporting Requirements and Buyers Agency. What will your realtor do for you?

To Book an IN HOME interview with a Trusted Mortgage Advisor and a Realtor contact David Pylyp at 647 218 2414 and let's set an appointment time.

Financing renewals and credit challenged welcomed.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Strip Club in Your Neighbourhood? NIMBY Etobicoke Lakeshore

What would you do? If this was in your neighbourhood.

As mentioned on previous posts, a municipal lawyer (Ivan) has met with the City and presented them with his opinion that the Jay Jay's AEP license should not have been issued because it does not comply with the current zoning by-law.At the outset, we gratefully acknowledge the time that Ivan has spent on this (at no cost to residents) and our M.P. Michael Ignatieff who asked Ivan to look into this.We have been awaiting the City's response for some time.

The City recently advised Ivan that their position is that the license is legal and will stand.Ivan does not agree with the City's position and the residents that have been looking into this feel strongly that the City is wrong in taking this position.What we we have heard from the City over recent months is that a) the license was granted because it was a renewal (we discovered it was a NEW license)b) the license wouldn't have been issued if there was a change of use to a restaurant c) because there is a restaurant, the zoning by-law that requires restaurants with adult entertainment to be more than 90 Metres from a residence does not apply.

Confused? Read the details below. Please read the following zoning language (1993) that is the core of the issue: "Restaurants whose operations or business include features or attractions other than those necessarily ancillary to the preparation and dispensing of food, including, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, dancing areas, live bands, disc jockeys, entertainment areas, floor shows and adult entertainment and bar restaurants, shall be subject to the following restrictions: (1) Such restaurants and bar restaurants or the lands required for parking or access thereto shall be situated not closer than ninety (90) metres from a property zoned residential.

"What do you think the intention of this zoning by-law is? Click Here to add your comments to the blog post

The City says that JJ's AEP license stands and is protected as a legal non-conforming use because Jay Jay's has a restaurant and has always had entertainment uses prior to the passing of the 90 metre requirement in 1993 and that "adult" entertainment is simply another form of "entertainment."

Ivan's position is that the meaning of this zoning language is that each of the entertainment situations (e.g. live bands, disc jockey's, adult entertainment) have a distinct meaning/use and EACH ONE must exist continuously after 1993 in order to maintain it's respective legal non-conforming status. In the absence of operating continually an adult entertainment business since 1993, the new AEP license should have to comply with the current 90 metre zoning requirement.

In addition to being in agreement with Ivan's position, the perspective of many residents is that this explanation from the City is inconsistent with the initial explanation for the license being granted.As you may recall, the initial explanation to the residents about the license grandfathered (legal non-conforming) because it was a renewal of an existing license. It was in fact a new application and a new license.

Furthermore, at the community meeting last spring, Custis Sealock, District Manager, Municipal Licensing and Standards (who was involved in communications about the license application) explained to residents (see video on the blog post) that if it became a restaurant then that would have been considered a change in use - indicating that then the application would not have complied with zoning.

Although Ivan disagrees with the City on this, he feels that the City is not likely to willingly reverse their decision and does not think that there is anything else he can do.Residents that have spent countless hours on this strongly disagree with the City's position, feel that the City has put forward a number of inconsistent explanations over recent months and are also disappointed with the precedent that this sets.What do you think? Click here to comment.

The links to our previous post with the license documentation is here. For Residents, By Residents

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Your Home Book from RBC Financial

Count Down to Closing for First Time Home Buyers

Get the "Your Home" Publiction by the Royal Bank explaining the home buying process and proving a timetable of events you need to plan for.

Your FREE copy is available from Lindsay Doke with Mortgage application.
Royal Bank Programs are available for both First Time Buyers and Move up Buyers.Take advantage of the Market to buy what was not available just two or three years ago.
$100,000 line of credit can be created and financed for $375.00 per month.
Lets start your home search!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Canadians Are Better Off

Although Canadian consumers are in structurally better financial shape than U.S. consumers, dramatic spending cuts are shifts in behaviour this year in response to the recession than do U.S. consumers, according to research and Consulting Group (BCG).

“Compared with U.S. consumers, Canadian consumers are entering the downturn with more secure household finances, healthier real-estate conservative levels of credit and debt. Despite this structural superiority, Canadians are battening down the hatches and bracing for a tough year ahead" said Cliff Grevler, a BCG partner. “Canadian consumers are planning cutbacks in 2009 to a greater degree than their U.S. counterparts. We anticpate that the result will be a ‘cycle of thrift’ in Canada, and it will have self-fulfilling effects.”

Canadians Are in Better Financial Shape than U.S. Consumers

The BCG research – the first to compare Canadian, U.S., and European consumers in the current downturn – shows that Canadian consumers have entered the recession in a better structural position than U.S. consumers.

Canadians have higher savings rates: 3 percent in 2008 compared with about 1.5 percent among U.S. consumers. In addition, Canadian's have a lower debt to income ratios and bigger equity stakes in their homes. (Not only are U.S. residents’ equity stakes in their homes lower, but those stakes are also declining.)

The residential real-estate market is healthier in Canada than in the United States: Canada has a lower mortgage-delinquency rate; Sub Prime loans aren't nearly as common; and there is less securitization of mortgages, leading to more rigorous lending standards.

Canadians are more conservative with credit cards: Average credit-card debt per household in Canada is $3,100 compared with $8,200 in the United States. More than 70 percent of Canadian households pay off credit card debt each month, but less than half of U.S. households do. Canadians average 2 cards per household, while U.S. consumers average six. And the credit card delinquency rate in Canada is half of what it is in the United States.

Nonetheless, Canadians Are Responding More Dramatically to the Recession

Despite their superior financial position, Canadians express great economic concern and voice intentions to shift their behavior more dra say they will, according to a BCG survey of 1,000 Canadian adults in charge of household purchasing and a similar BCG survey of U.S.

Greater numbers of Canadians -- 62 percent – plan to reduce spending over the next year, compared with 58 percent of U.S. consumers and 56 percent in the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Italy, and France. Source Boston Consulting Group

David Pylyp; To put it simply, Canadians are battening down the hatches, looking for deals, but if you look at the graph at the top of the page, Power of Sale and Foreclosures do not number the news media press releases about complete postal codes vacant and berift of owners. There are no vacant abandoned communities within any of the Toronto west neighbourhoods that I serve.

There are homes being sold, just not in the numbers that were being bought in previous years, but I have yet to find a ratio from anyone as to what the number of homes for sale per thousand households should be within a city like Toronto. Checking the stats for sale vs population we are by far slower and have fewer Listings than centers like Chicago, Ill, or Houston Tx.

Your comments are always invited.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Jingle Mail

"Jingle mail"

My top favorite, and a nightmare to mortgage holders. Jingle mail refers to envelopes that banks are getting containing the keys to houses which flat-broke borrowers are walking away from, and to all of the people who are abandoning homes where it no longer makes sense to pay a mortgage where the financing is in excess of the value of the home.


Why there's so much jingle mail. Falling house prices means that more and more people owe more on their mortgage than they could realize if they sold their house. A lot of people are underwater. A recent Moody's report estimates that 8.8 million homeowners today have zero or negative equity.our money into. These are US numbers that are not apparent in Canada.

Jingle Mail was a topic of conversation in the 80's when the interest rates moved upwards of 20 and 24 % on mortgage renewals and people just could not justify the costs of renewing and walked away from their houses. They would walk into the bank after they had moved out and just tossed the keyes to their home onto the Bank Managers Desk.

In a conversation with Senior Accounts Manager Robert McIntosh of Royal Bank said "The Royal Bank has not changed it's lending practices or qualifying criteria. Mr. McIntosh continued... If the bank felt that values of homes would not hold, they would change their lending practices.

To draw from that; People are still buying and are being prudent with their choices.

Financing is readily available both for refinancing and new business.

Since it is a Buyers Market; AND you were hesitant to buy until you found a deal, what makes it the right time for you? You are waiting till the prices come down. PSST....They have!

Timing the market is tricky. By the time I see a change in direction, it is already 6 to 9 months post the change occuring.

Lets look at a few examples;

If you wait to buy, say at 300K, and the price drops another $30 thousand, people who are heavily financed are scared. But If the rates are 3% higher when you buy a year from now, and you already paid 1500 per month x twelve months ( 18,000 ) rent, YOU are in exactly the same place financially per month.

Take a small apartment building; with a Purchase plus Improvements Mortgage, you could buy and remodel the entire building, add this capital improvement cost to you your mortgage and have a long term investment property with eager tenants who would appreciate (and pay) for the newness of the remodel and the convenience of a south Etobicoke location.

Diversification of Mortgage Products; What? If you are rate sensitive and have an aversion for Variable rates you could structure half of your mortgage amount on the variable rate and the balance of fixed rate financing. Avoid Mistakes made by First Time Buyers.

Why not rent your current property? If you are downsizing, and have a strong equity position, rent the house and buy something different that suits your lifestyle now. Maybe a townhouse or a condo. Refinance your property to provide enough of the Purchase Proceeds you require. There are many in the tenant market that will pay and it does makes sound financial sense in the long term to have more than one house.

Get creative and informed people on your team. If you are considering stepping into the real estate market this may be the time for you.

What do you think?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

For Sale By Owner Toronto Real Estate

Sometimes I truly feel sorry for the FSBO's

I recently came across a situation when the owner of the property had a certain concept, and the FSBO advertiser sold them a Pie in the Sky Idea.

Here's the situation;

Owner's of a New home SAVES SAVES SAVES the commission on the sale of their Brand New house that they did not move into. It is and continues to be vacant.

They place a FSBO sign on the lawn clearly identifying the property.

They PAID this internet site and concept provider in good Faith that their house would be exposed to the market and they would Save.

The phone number they wrote in on the sign.... Was the telephone number of the FSBO site's contact to sign up as a FSBO.

The FSBO site has no way to cross reference the phone number to a property, there is no way to direct the caller to a certain Owner, there is mechanism to book an appointment, there is no available information to contact the owner.

Has the FSBO site done anything wrong? Not really. They promised for the $500 that the home would be advertised online and provided a sign. Is that all? The Owner's have assumed that posting the telephone numbers would have people calling to show and buy their house. No FSBO company offers any appointment booking or prospect screening services.

The owner? They didn't understand the concept of selling themselves, clearly.

The loss? The house is sitting, unattended on a quiet street, VACANT, with no prospects viewing it, or calling from the sign as the contact information was miss posted.

Realtors are paid on performance and successful completion of task. No Up front fees. All the marketing expenses are borne by the Realtor or Real Estate Company.
What is lost here is the carrying charges on that property for probably 2-3 months while they are wondering why no one is calling, an eventual sale with a normal 45-70 day closing, property taxes, utilities and heating a vacant house during the winter season. If there is no mortgage; well indeed you have forfeited the opportunity cost of using your money for 4 - 6 months.
But the FSBO site told you, you would save.
With 164,000 properties listed in Toronto and only 74,500 actually sold, realtors are batting 50%. The odds for FSBO's are obviously lower, no matter the claims made by the FSBO sites.
Realtors also need to be creative to create a buzz about your property.
If you are considering the sale of your property meet with a professional experienced Realtor who will explain the process in plain english, so you understand. A seasoned agent also will offer you guaranteed service and an easy out if you are unhappy.
I would be pleased to meet with you at your convenience. David Pylyp can be reached by either calling 905 361 3387 or email

Friday, January 9, 2009

Buyers Strike Continues; Year End Stats, Toronto Real Estate

2,500 GTA Housing Resales in December, 74,000 in 2008

Toronto Real Estate Board Members reported 2,577 sales in December 2008, compared to the 4,646 recorded during the same month in 2007, and the 4,447 recorded in December 2006, TREB President Maureen O'Neill announced today.

"Sales for the whole of 2008 were 74,552, compared to the 93,193 recorded in 2007, and the 83,084 recorded during 2006."The average price in December of 2008 came in at $361,415, compared to $394,931 in 2007, and $336,217 in December of 2006. For 2008 as a whole, prices averaged $379,347, compared to the $376,236 recorded in 2007, and the $351,941 average recorded in 2006.

The City of Toronto (416) recorded 1,105 sales in December, compared to 2,302 in December 2007 and 1,827 in December of 2006. For all of 2008, there were 29,878 sales, compared to 39,052 in 2007 and 34,404 in 2006.The average price in the city was $387,482 compared to the $425,842 recorded in December of 2007 and the $350,139 recorded in December 2006. For all of 2008 the average was $410,271. In 2007 the comparable figure was $412,480, and in 2006 $378,776.

The 905 area saw 1,472 sales in December, from 2,344 in December of 2007 and 2,620 in December of 2006. For all of 2008, there were 44,674 sales in this region, versus 54,141 in 2007 and 48,680 in 2006.The average price in the 905 was $341,847 in December, compared to $360,307 in 2007 and $326,509 in 2006. For all of 2008, the average was $358,665, as compared to $350,092 in 2007 and $332,976 in 2006.

Breaking down the total, 993 sales were reported in TREB's 28 West districts and averaged $338,855; 473 sales were reported in the 14 Central districts and averaged $479,095; 491 sales were reported in the 23 North districts and averaged $381,975; and 620 sales were reported in TREB's 21 East districts and averaged $291,488.

Median PriceThe median price for December was $305,000, compared to $320,950 in 2007 and $290,000 in 2006.The Median for the year as a whole was $325,000, as opposed to $318,200 in 2007 and $299,000 in 2006.

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Correction Not Crash for Real Estate

Correction, not crash for Canadian real estate market in 2009; Average house prices forecast to fall 3.0 per cent

- Historically low interest rates, stable local economies and increasing affordability should upport Canada's residential real estate market during transitioning period -

TORONTO, Jan. 6 /CNW/ - After experiencing a significant reset in 2008 -a reaction to continuous dire news surrounding the health of the global economy combined with a cooling from the previous years' fervid activity levels - Canada's resale real estate market should see only modest price and unit sales corrections take place across the country during 2009. Both national average house prices and the number of homes sold is expected to decline this year, according to the Royal LePage 2009 Market Survey Forecast released Jan 06,09.

Nationally, average house prices are forecast to dip by 3.0 per cent from last year to $295,000, while transactions are projected to fall to 416,000 (-3.5 %) unit sales in 2009. In spite of this cooling trend on a national level, price and activity gains are anticipated in some provinces.

Emotional reaction to recent economic and political instability did much to dampen consumer confidence during the latter part of 2008, causing a marked slowdown in house sales activity. However, as a more rational understanding of the issues gains ground, together with a wide range of announced corrective measures, consumer confidence is anticipated to recover, prompting real estate activity to pick up once again in the latter half of 2009. Further, Canada in
2009 enjoys a stronger economic foundation than most countries and that should temper the housing market correction. The combination of low inflation, reasonable employment levels and improving housing affordability, driven in part by low mortgage rates, are anticipated to stimulate demand in the coming months.

"While Canada's housing market is anticipated to continue to move through a period of adjustment over the next six months, we should expect modestly lower home prices, not a U.S.-style collapse, which was brought on by a structural failure of the entire American credit system," said Phil Soper, president and chief executive of Royal LePage Real Estate Services.

"Most consumers are not aware that nationally, Canadian housing market activity peaked in 2007 and has been adjusting lower since. We are well into this inevitable cyclical correction."

Added Soper: "While a grey cloud hangs over some markets, the sky is not falling. In recent years, Canada has been a difficult place to be a purchaser of real estate, particularly for first-time buyers. When real estate markets correct, inventory levels rise, providing buyers choices instead of frustrating bidding wars. In 2009, appropriately-priced homes will still sell
for fair value."

The housing market is expected to perform quite differently from region to region across the country. In many mid-sized cities where home prices remain below the national average, such as Regina and Winnipeg, prices are expected to increase moderately through 2009, as home ownership remains particularly affordable. The most significant price decreases are forecast for
Canada's most expensive city, Vancouver, which has experienced above average price increases for most of the decade. The correction is a natural cyclical reaction to an extended period of high price appreciation. Vancouver's fundamentals, including growing population figures and the positive economic spinoffs expected from the 2010 Olympics, remain very positive.

Read balance of News release Posted on CNW

David Pylyp; This very resoundingly echoes my own observation. I felt hesitation even last year in October 07, as people considered their debt loads and consumer confidence. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Forecast does call for a Price adjustments in different regions but overall discusses how the market will be more balanced over the next year.

The challenge it seems; is how to deal with the Buyer's Strike rather than a Buyer's Market.

Forecloseure Bank Owned Homes Toronto Real Estate

Foreclosure Figures in Canada

Foreclosure rates in Canada are expected to increase, but remain verylimited, especially when compared to the U.S. experience, where a broadstructural failure of the credit system occurred. Canada's relativelyinsignificant subprime market, and in turn, the low number of Canadians contractually committed to very risky mortgages, should result in a foreclosure rate of insufficient volume to impact house prices or transaction activity.


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Comments on Impending Condo Crisis Toronto Real Estate

I received this recently in my email inbox. It is truly worthy of a reply.

"Real estate brokers would like to see the continuation of the property market boom to line their pockets even more." DW

When I pass a full garage of "STUFF" Thats a family that needs to move but doesn't know how.

When I see an elderly person struggling with their groceries up the front steps, that's a person that would be better served with a condominium apartment property that better suits their ability.

When I see a family with children playing in a condominium hallway, they would be better served bricks and sticks house with a backyard.

Professional Realtors help families solve their house and housing needs, challenges and desires, in turn the spin off activity is the people's buying dollars when they move to the new home, not just the carpenters, plumbers, bricklayers, drywallers, painters, electricians, landscapers but also the appliances, tiles, ceramics, carpet, window treatments, pride of ownership displayed in landscaping and interest in garden centers.

In any Home Transaction there are four people involved in your real estate transaction; the Seller, The Buyer, and usually two agents. It is inevitable that the person with the strongest arguments, best presented details, negotiation and persuasion skills will take the business to his side.

To make a blanket statement that Realtors are interested in only the commissions tars everyone as selfish and self serving. I invite you to peruse the letters of reference and Testimonials I have received over the last 20 years.

I personally support a number of charities thru my sales effort by donating at each transaction, but I do not make this part of my marketing campaign by choice. My task is to find customers who need to buy or sell and help them achieve their goals, thereby providing for my family, housing and education.

The response made that realtors are only lining their pockets belies the reality and is incredibly short sighted. It truly enforces the need for realtors to use blogs as a means to educate consumers of the services that we actually provide.

I suggest that you subscribe to this blog to read issues about Toronto Council's Property Tax issues that include your property, Newly Imposed Toronto Land Transfer Tax, development in your neighbourhood, Legal issues that are contensious, Who can lend you money if you are Short funds to close, Strange things that happen at home inspections for both new homes and resale homes, Condominium registration dates, Broadcast the availability of $10,000 Home Buyers Grant, Charity events in your local neighbourhood, new product ideas for home owners to save money on heating costs, Read about FSBO foolishness, Search other's experiences and plights that you may find some solice or information to save you expense and heartache thru the cleverness of inexperience that is trying to find a shorter cheaper faster route.

This is a time for caring, diligence and sensitivity to people's situations.

The article the "GRUMBLER" responded to was intended to say; examine the square footage costs and benefits when you make your purchase choices for a condominium in Toronto, and specifically that the square foot cost of existing older condo's can be almost 50% less than the new sizzle and dynamic rec center that is sold at the condo buying centers. Simply put. Where are you spending your dollars and how much do you actually get. Make prudent choices with an eye towards the long term goal.

There are affordable 3 bedroom condos available at or near the $ 300K mark with 1600 square feet of living space. Yes there are maintenance and property tax costs as with any real estate purchase but when compared with 880 square feet at the same purchase price and only slightly lower maintenance fees, I tend to question a Buyer's needs and Wants.