Saturday, October 31, 2009

When is my Lakeshore LRT?

On April 1 2009, the Province of Ontario announced full funding for the construction of the priority projects - the Eglinton, Finch West and the Scarborough Rapid Transit lines.

Transit City Video:

Windows Media logo

What is Light Rail Transit?

Light Rail Transit (LRT) is an updated and improved version of the streetcars that have moved Torontonians for decades, and will bring a new concept of reliable and comfortable transit service to Toronto’s busiest transit routes. Using advanced and proven technology from around the world, modern electrically-powered Light Rail Vehicles (LRVs) will carry passengers in their own dedicated transit lanes, in most cases in the middle of the road. The smooth, fast, and quiet LRVs will feature easy step-free access from wide, sheltered boarding platforms. Transit City routes will be fully accessible, so that people with all levels of mobility can use the service with confidence and ease.

You’ll be able to board the LRVs at any one of several doors, speeding up the service and reducing waiting times. Inside, the LRVs will have a bright, contemporary feel, with air conditioning, large windows, comfortable seats, and lots of standing space and hand holds. They’ll be more like a modern subway train than existing TTC streetcars or buses.

LRT service will be reliable. Service won’t be affected by traffic delays, because the LRVs and their passengers will be in their own reserved transit lanes. Traffic signals will give priority to transit riders. Stops will normally be 400 metres apart, and LRVs will operate frequently, like the subway.

Waterfront West

This 11-kilometre long extension of the Harbourfront streetcar line will link Union Station and Exhibition Place with Parkdale, High Park, and southern Etobicoke, and could be extended into Mississauga.

  • Current routes: 501 Queen, 508 Lake Shore, 509 Harbourfront
  • Ridership in 2006: 8 million
  • Ridership in 2021: 15 million

  • David Pylyp This video is a great promo piece by the TTC, Have a look see. It could revitilise the Lakeshore. WMV [Windows Media Audio/Video] - 39MB

    Could Mark Grimes or Adam Giambrone please provide an update?

    Both levels of Government have funding available for infrastructure improvements. Are we still building a bicycle lane on Jarvis instead? Get involved. Signing a petition about the GST HST is not going to change anything.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Create Multiple Offers Toronto Real Estate

Lets Get Multiple offers on that property now! If we reduce the price to an absurd level, surely the Buyers will come out in droves and bid with wild frenzy.

What will happen? Yes the OPEN HOUSES will be absolute traffic stoppers! Yes HUNDREDS of people will come out for the carnival atmosphere that has been created.

Lets take some brand new homes on a busier feeder street in West Toronto and add a frenzy of home shoppers in the hottest propertunity we have had in Toronto Real Estate since 1988.

While reducing the asking price to below the expectation will bring additional attention from shoppers and create a bidding war for your property. Taking listings and placing them on the market at 25% of the intended sales value seems to bring out different reactions.

How would you feel about the advertised price not being available. The owner is not required to sell you the advertised item. YUP Read that again. How would you feel in the middle of 300 other families looking the same house?

Add your comments or stories.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

If you thought Toronto was overheated...

Hong Kong acts to curb property boom

Barely a week after a developer in Hong Kong set the world price record for the sale of an apartment, the authorities have introduced new legislation to dampen demand at the top end of the market.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the city's de facto central bank, has increased the downpayment required to purchase property worth $HK20 million ($2.8 million U.S.) or more from 30 percent to 40 percent of the purchase price.

While property prices in much of the world continue to fall, prices in Hong Kong have rocketed this year due in part to low interest rates and a wave of liquidity from mainland China, where Beijing last year unleashed a four trillion yuan ($636 billion U.S.) stimulus. Developers on the island say that mainland Chinese customers now account for as much as 40 percent of new-home sales. more...

David Pylyp How would this affect our property values? How would you feel about buying with 30 or 40 minimum downpayments? Add your spin or comment.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Honesty won't resolve disclosure form issues

The Great SPIS Myth

It's time to reveal The Great SPIS Myth – the prevailing fiction about the Seller Property Information Statement (SPIS), a disclosure form published by the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA).

Although its use is endorsed and encouraged by many OREA member boards, real estate agents remain sharply divided on whether the form is too dangerous to use, and whether it protects the public or the agents who try to get sellers to sign it.

I have been very critical of the form because it results in a great deal of litigation among sellers, unhappy buyers and the agents who are caught in the middle.

The official position of OREA and industry commentators who support it is that the problem with the SPIS is not the form itself, but that some sellers do not tell the truth.

The key to the successful use of the SPIS, OREA says, is honesty. In every one of the court cases I have written about in this column, OREA's view (set out in a letter to me last month) is that "it was not the SPIS form itself that caused legal difficulty for the sellers: rather it was the failure of the sellers to be forthright in their disclosures about the property."

This, in my view, is the fatal flaw in the OREA logic. I call it The Great SPIS Myth – the fiction that if sellers are honest they won't wind up in litigation over the SPIS form.

A careful analysis of the reported court decisions shows that this position is simply not accurate, and that is probably why OREA's president declined my request for an interview.

Consider some of the questions on the form:

  • "Does the survey show the current location of all buildings, improvements, easements, encroachments and rights-of-way?" My response: only a licensed land surveyor can answer this question. Even the most honest seller doesn't have the skills to answer it properly.
  • "What is the zoning on the subject property? Does the subject property comply with the zoning? If not, is it legal non-conforming?" Unless a seller is intimately familiar with the municipal zoning bylaw, it would be foolhardy to answer these questions.
  • "Are there any restrictive covenants that run with the land? Are there any drainage restrictions?" Few sellers have a current title search at hand in order to properly understand or answer these two zingers.
  • "Are there any local levies or unusual taxes?" To me, all taxes are unusual and most sellers have no idea if there are any levies.
  • "Is the sale of the property subject to GST?" Only someone familiar with the GST legislation would be safe in answering this. "Has the use of the property ever been for the growth or manufacture of illegal substances?" Note the use of the word "ever." Unless the proverbial "honest seller" knows what happened in the house under previous owners, this question could be an invitation to litigation.
  • "Is the property under the jurisdiction of any Conservation Authority?" Not something most homeowners would have the slightest clue about.

Other questions ask for the size of the electrical service, the type of wiring, , whether there is any lead or galvanized metal plumbing, and what is under the carpeting. How the honest but typical homeowner is supposed to know the answers to these questions off the top of her head is beyond me.

Condominium owners are asked to itemize what is included in the common expenses, whether a reserve fund study has been completed, how much money is in the reserve fund, and whether there are any pending rule or by-law amendments. Again, these are not questions that even the most honest condominium owner could readily answer without extensive investigation.

The SPIS form is so impossibly technical, so complicated, so ambiguous and so badly worded that even a college of cardinals, a posse of priests, an institution of imams, a multitude of monks or a regiment of rabbis could not honestly fill it out.

Bob Aaron is a Toronto real estate lawyer. 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.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Tridel Superb Neighbourhood at 2500 Bloor St W

Superb handling of community issues and future planning introduction of the 2500 Bloor St west location that will encompass the Old Mil Pontiac Dealership and the Theatre site just west of the Jane Street TTC station. Ideally suited to Bloor West Village.

Tridel has an interest in the lands at 2500 Bloor Street West, and a Working Group has been established to facilitate an ongoing, productive dialogue between the local community and Tridel, prior to the submission of applications related to the redevelopment of 2500 Bloor Street West. Through a series of meetings, the Working Group, comprised of representatives from area Residents Associations and the Business Improvement Area, will collaborate with Tridel to develop principles and concepts that will inform the eventual preparation of plans for the 2500 Bloor Street West site. By establishing this Working Group and consulting with the community prior to submitting applications, the objectives are:
  • to provide a meaningful opportunity – at a key stage – for the community to play a role in shaping the new development;
  • to create the conditions for a collaborative working relationship between the community and the developer; and,
  • to pre-empt potential sources of conflict prior to the submission of plans and applications, rather than finding a way to address issues after the fact., in concert with the Working Group, will open a key line of communication for the broader community, ensuring that Tridel has a full understanding of community concerns and interests, and that the community clearly understands Tridel"s intentions and track record.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Estate Planning - Living in Toronto

The essentials of estate planning – rule one: do it now

“In this world, nothing is certain but death and taxes.” The famous American, Benjamin Franklin, wrote those words over 200 years ago and they still ring true today. Most of us tend to avoid thinking about the end of our life and most – if not all – of us certainly do not enjoy paying taxes. But you should think ahead and establish an estate plan now. By clearly stating your wishes for how your legacy should be passed on, you will protect your family and reduce the taxes levied against your estate.

Here are the essentials of an estate plan:

  • A Will is the foundation of any estate plan. It designates how your estate – money, property, insurance proceeds and other investments – should be distributed. If you die without a Will (i.e. intestate), provincial legislation will determine how your estate is distributed amongst your heirs.
  • A Living Will provides direction for your care in the event of catastrophic illness or disability.
  • An Enduring Power of Attorney (also called a Mandate in case of Incapacity in Québec) provides direction for how your property will be managed in the event of incapacity.
  • An Executor (sometimes called a Personal Representative or in Québec, a liquidator) is the person named in your Will to settle your estate according to your documented wishes.
  • A Guardian should be named in your will for your minor children.
  • Liquid Assets are important to pay for taxes, debts, the costs of settling your estate and/or other obligations. If you do not anticipate that your estate will have sufficient liquid assets to pay these amounts, consideration should be given to purchasing insurance.
  • A Trust can provide that part or all of your estate be held by a trustee until a beneficiary reaches a certain age. Trusts in your will can also be used to reduce taxes for the beneficiaries.
  • Funeral Services can be prearranged to save your estate some money, avoid extra stress on your survivors, and ensure the service is according to your wishes.
  • Financial Assets should be comprehensively listed in your records -- your bank accounts, insurance policies, investment accounts, and other financial information --and be sure your Executor and/or survivors know where to find them.
  • Special Circumstances -- an estate plan becomes even more essential if you own a business, are divorced or part of a blended family, live in a common-law relationship, have disabled dependants, or are responsible for the care of elderly relatives.
  • Revise as Required -- you should revise your estate plan following any major life event such as a marriage or divorce, birth of a child or grandchild, death of a spouse, heir or executor, property purchase or sale, change of residence (to a different province or country), or the onset of a serious illness or liability.

Creating an estate plan now avoids difficulties and costs later. To do it properly, you’ll need an estate lawyer and perhaps an accountant, along with your financial advisor who can ‘quarterback’ your estate planning team and keep everybody on track with your wishes for your legacy.

John Scholl B. Mathematics, CGA,

Consultant - Investors Group Financial Services Inc.

Phone: (905) 450-2891 X529 Toll Free: 1 (866) 799-2223 x529 Cell (416) 731-3660 Fax: (905) 450-9747

Our Lakeshore vs Strip Clubs

Our Lakeshore

We expect there is limited time for you to express your opinion about this. Please see the "what you can do" section at the bottom.

It appears the second strip club that has JUST OPENED at Lakeshore and Fourth is illegally operating without a license and a license application to the city may be forthcoming.

The owner could be pushing to have this NEW license application heard as soon as this Thursday October 22nd.

The owner of the Jay Jay's strip club at Lakeshore and Fourth street (now called Jaxx) recently opened a new male strip club on the Fourth street entrance of the building called Klub Kave. This is in addition to the existing strip club on the Lakeshore entrance. There is signage for the club on the Fourth street entrance, a website at and also a large sandwich board sign on a pickup truck facing Lakeshore.

Upon learning of this new club, residents contacted Councillor Grimes’ office to inquire how a new strip club license could have been permitted. Based on information received today, it seems that no new license was issued, the new club is operating illegally, and is in the process of being charged by the city for operating illegally.

The owner is likely planning to file an application for either a new Adult Entertainment License or to try and expand their existing license to include the new Klub Kave.

This needs to be stopped. As expressed in many previous communications about Jay Jays, this is not a personal attack against the owner or against strip clubs.

The opposition to this club is purely a rational, factual argument that is based on the following:

1. The application for a new strip club license or extension of another license contravenes zoning and is illegal. Click here for full details on past discussion about this.

Strip clubs need to be more than 90 metres from a residential area. This opinion has been reinforced by a lawyer that specializes in this area of law.

2. Toronto City Council has already unanimously passed a motion, put forward by Councillor Grimes, resolving that the city would do everything possible to stop the issuance of any new adult entertainment licenses in this area. We now expect that Councillor Grimes will see that this motion is followed through on, especially given the overwhelming support of all city council. Click here to view the motions.

3. There are other community issues at play such as noise disturbances and complete lack of dedicated parking. The operation of this illegal establishment is impacting negatively on the residents of Fourth Street and the surrounding area.

What you can do.
1. Click Here to add your name to an online petition to the City's licensing department requesting that they deny and new or extended use AEP license from the owner of Jay Jay's and to the liquor licensing board that any new liquor license application be denied

2. Send an email to the municipal licensing officials that will deal with any forthcoming application

Curtis Sealock, Manager Investigation Services
John Romano District Sup Ward 4,5, 6, 17
Jim Hart MLS Executive Director
Ann Harrichara Enquires re:licensing meetings
Bruce Robertson MLS director of licensing
Richard Mucha Manager Licensing Services
Ian Redfearn Supervisor Licensing Services
Kim Belshaw Supervisor Licensing Services

3. Make your opinion known to Councillor Grimes and Mayor Miller

Our Lakeshore
By Residents for Residents

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Ontario a step closer to mandatory energy audits

With the proclamation of the Green Energy Act, 2009, Ontario has moved one step closer to requiring mandatory energy audits on the sale of residential properties.

Section 3 of the new legislation is the only part of the law that has not yet received royal assent, but when it does it will give anyone who is making an offer to purchase a residential property the right to receive an energy audit from the seller. Regulations, which have yet to be released, will describe the type of information and reports the purchaser is entitled to receive.

The new law allows the government to establish rules setting out how energy audits will disclose the energy consumption and efficiency ratings for the house.

The Green Energy Act also states that, before accepting the offer, the seller must provide the prescribed information, reports or ratings to the buyer.

Real estate agents, or any others acting on behalf of the seller, are required to inform the owner promptly of any request for the information, reports or ratings from a person submitting an offer to purchase. This requirement, however, does not apply to agents or others who are performing their services as a favour and not getting paid in connection with the offer to sell.

The energy audits do not have to be personally delivered to the interested buyers as long as they are made "reasonably available" – whatever that means.

When the provincial government originally announced its intention to impose mandatory energy audits on the sale of residential real estate, industry stakeholders made their objections known quite forcibly to Queen's Park. That requirement was dropped from Bill 150 in favour of disclosure of the right to receive the audit and the option to waive it.

Another provision that was dropped was the rather draconian right of the government to appoint inspectors who would have the right to enter any business office (including a law office) to demand to see energy audits stored there.

Since this would have shredded the privacy protections to which clients are entitled in their lawyers' offices, I was very critical of this provision when it was announced. As passed, however, the legislation makes more sense without establishing Ontario energy police.

My guess is that Section 3 will not be proclaimed until details of the requirements for an energy audit have been worked out, and Ontario has enough federally-licensed and trained energy auditors to handle the province-wide demand, without bringing the real estate market to a standstill.

It remains to be seen whether the real estate industry will jump on board the green energy bandwagon and encourage those listing their properties for sale to undertake energy audits.

The alternative would be for real estate agents to insert into purchase offers a standard clause waiving the right to an energy audit. This type of clause might even find its way into the standard printed form offers.

My take is that until vendors and purchasers see the value in having homes undergo energy audits, stakeholders in the real estate field will view the audits as an interference in the orderly processing of real estate transactions and routinely use waiver clauses.

Other parts of the Green Energy Act encourage construction of facilities producing energy from alternative sources, including solar, wind and biogas projects.

The bad news is that Ontario power consumers will be shouldering the cost of the alternative sources.

Currently, electricity is wholesaling at four to five cents a kilowatt hour (kWh), but the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) will be paying huge premiums to producers of green electricity. The OPA will be paying between 45 and 80 cents a kWh for hydro from new solar facilities, 19 cents for offshore wind farms, 13.5 cents for onshore wind farms and up to 19.5 cents for biogas projects.

The only source of this huge expense, of course, will be from everyone in Ontario who uses electricity.

Bob Aaron is a Toronto real estate lawyer. 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.

David Pylyp; we have posted on this topic previously . I had thought with the lobbying done by the Toronto Real Estate board and the Ontario Real Estate Association that this matter was at an end. That may appear not to be the case.

How do you feel about another $300 Audit fee in addition to the Land Transfer tax's, Miller Tax, NEW HST ( Harmonized Sales Tax) being added to a resale unit.

And then they wonder why sales collapse in an instant. Lets watch what happens July 1st 2010, But it makes you understand why people are in such a hurry today.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Mid October Update TREB MLS

Thanksgiving is past, Halloween approaches, and the Toronto Real estate market continues unabated. Media is reporting the “hot market” mid-month check of the Toronto Real Estate Board stats. TREB has reported 4,002 sales so far in October which trends toward another record month; Home sellers are not putting their houses or condos up for sale to satisfy the available buyers. This vacuum is creating a cycle of endless multiple offers.

As fewer are listed More multiple offers. Typically as a seasonally adjusted average the number of homes should increase between August and October. This year the numbers have actually decreased slightly. Right now there are 15,K homes for sale. Last year there were 27K.Rates are stable at 2.25% Variable and below 4.2 for 5 years.

Buyers I am working with right now are struggling to understand why there are bidding wars for properties in the under $500K range in Toronto. The 400 to 500 thousand dollar pocket seems to be the Double Income, No Kids, (DINKS) price point. Human nature is filling their need.

If you would like an analytical and sensible conversation about real estate and selling your home I welcome your calls and comments. Talk with someone that has 21 years experience with filling your housing needs. Remember, Experience is not expensive but it is priceless.

Selling while Living Common Law

In Canada there are defined rules about marital Assets and Common Law is a topic of concern for many couples. No matter the length of the relationship, the original owner retains legal control. Take this high profile case and apply it here; What would you do?

Wang, 33, was arraigned and released on her own recognizance. She is due back in court Jan. 14. The complaint alleges that the couple were arguing inside their apartment at 101 West 24 St. at 1 a.m. on Sept. 15 when Wang struck English in the face with a watch, causing a cut that required seven stitches. Wang faces up to seven years in state prison on the assualt charge, and one year in jail on the weapon charge.

What a difference a few weeks makes. Wang and English had dated for two years, and were scheduled to get married Oct. 3 at the St. Regis Hotel in New York. But English had second thoughts and phoned Wang to cancel just hours before they were due to get hitched. English revealed in an interview with the Globe earlier this week that he and Wang had been having problems, that she had hit him during arguments, including the episode with the watch.

English didn’t file assault charges immediately, but decided to do so Monday after Wang told the New York Post that she’d been dumped on the day of her wedding and then booted from the New York apartment she shared with the chef.

Stan Gelman, Lawyer Divorce and Family Law in Mississauga adds his perspective;

Simply put; A common law spouse has no property rights. The Spouse on Title could place the property for sale at their sole discretion and keep the entire proceeds. Where would you live?

If you find yourself needing or wanting a new place to hang your hat or move your shoe collection, give me a ring.

As always, add your housing Horror story, we learn through experience.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Buy a Grow House Toronto

Illegal marijuana-growing operations, which take advantage of large properties or are conducted in a rental unit whose title is in someone else's name, have become more visible in the past 10 years, said Jim Murphy, president of the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals.

Stan Gelman Lawyer Mississauga is of the same sentiment; Buyers need to protect themselves when buying Marijuana grow houses. These properties are not legally suitable for habitation because of the potential for health damage from Mould. Often renovations have been made to the structure that need to be repaired. A qualified and reputable Home Inspection Company should be used as well as a company that specializes in remedial action on mold removal if required.

When you are working with professional experienced people they will know what clauses to use to protect your interest and what experienced trades people may need to be included in your purchase of a grow house.

Experience is not expensive, but it is priceless.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Location Location Always works for me

This video from David Chomitz TV is a tongue and cheek look at Real Estate and the people in the program, advertisers and on line websites. or in reality what the For Sale By Owner will not tell you.

Yes, The Location sounds Perfect,

Yes we are close to Town,

Yes there are many amenities.

But, What you really need to hear is.....

Yes, But a professional realtor will show what is around your property that will affect the resale value in the future. Wouldn't you like to know about the gas fired generation plant being built? The seven story court house? The five apartment building style condo complex.

You use a real estate agent to show you all the information available to get an informed opinion on where you will spend the next 10 years of your life.

Or you can listen to the highway, Listen to trains, or look at airplanes.

Thank you Dave Chomitz.

Buying Basics Toronto Land Transfer Tax


There are no restrictions on foreign buyers in France, according to Mr. Swannie. When homes are listed for sale, he said, the asking price almost always includes the real estate agent’s commission, typically 6 percent, which is paid out of the seller’s proceeds after the sale. But it’s worth making sure the commission is included.

Buyers pay a fee to the notary, or notaire, who handles the sale. Mr. Swannie says this fee includes stamp duty and transfer taxes, and depends on the age of the home being sold. Homes less than five years old have transaction costs of about 2.5 percent, while older homes cost 5 to 7 percent. About 1.5 percent goes to the notary, and the rest is mostly local transfer taxes.

Mortgages provide tax advantages for owners of premium real estate in France. Mr. Swannie says people who have more than 790,000 euros (about $1 million) worth of assets in France have to pay a wealth tax, but mortgaged real estate holdings are not included. Many people therefore take out mortgages to avoid the wealth tax.

A buyers tax of 5 t0 7% of the purchase price of the house.

That practically makes me feel warm and fuzzy about our land transfer tax system. Click here and insert your purchase price to calculate your Toronto and Ontario Land Transfer Tax.

Rebates are available for First Time Buyers Call for details.

The EU European Union sounds great, but boy, things sure are different over there too!

Do you have a European real estate story you would like to share?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

It's time to throw that stuff out!

Yes yes, I know that you have lived here for 35 years.

Yes, I know that you marked all their heights on the door frame every birthday.

But there comes a time when you need to sell the house to get the most money out for your retirement. Will you tell Mom and Dad what they really need to hear?

Will you be objective and hide all those momentous and memorabilia. I have an easier solution.

Lets call an experienced Home Stager. Christine's Motto is Stage. Save. Sell.

Christine LeLacheur advised me that According to Canadian Business Magazine, staged homes are on the market half the time of the average home and sell for almost 5% more than the average home. With the average house price in Toronto around $385,000, staged homes can mean over $19,000 in your pocket! And, although it's been around for years, it's still considered a relatively new segment of the industry, which means that Toronto realtors and homeowners who are proactive in staging their properties are already leaps and bounds ahead of the competition! With the real estate market right now, don’t you want a surefire way to keep ahead of the competition and sell faster and for more money?

Christine LeLacheur can be contacted at P: 416.485.7879 C: 416.619.5231 E: or on Twitter follow @thefrugalstager

If you are considering selling I would be pleased to interview with you. Call me at 647 218 2414 or email

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Why do I recommend resale?

Devil is in the details

Terry is a 23-year-old public servant, having recently graduated with a bachelor of commerce degree.

He is ready to buy his first home, and came to my office last month to review a 33-page offer prepared by the builder of the condominium tower where he wanted to live.

As we sat down to go over the form, I explained that my function was to highlight the legal red flags in the agreement, and not to attempt to encourage or discourage him from buying the condominium.

By the time he left my office an hour later, Terry was thoroughly disillusioned.

"This is unbelievable," he told me. "I was lied to."

Terry thought he was buying a 665-square foot one-bedroom unit in a highrise tower for $267,500. It turns out that the agreement contained no guarantee of unit size and the price he would eventually have to pay for the unit was considerably higher than the price written on the first page of the offer.

Some of the nearly $20,000 in extras buried in the small print were:

Two months' common expenses for the reserve fund.

$1,500 + GST for the cost of utility meters and connection fees for water, gas and hydro service.

Estimated property taxes for the year of closing and the following year, even though the builder would not have to pay the taxes until the unit was assessed 18 to 24 months later.

The Tarion Warranty Corp. enrolment fee of $565

$100 for a status certificate and $52.50 for the builder's Law Society levy.

An unlimited amount for any new or increased municipal or school board levies imposed after July 1, 2009.

Unlimited amounts for any utility security deposits and administration fees.

A $175 administrative fee to hold Terry's deposit money in trust

The largest item, however, was buried in a paragraph of dense legalese, which makes the purchaser responsible for the provincial sales tax component of the new harmonized sales tax.

As I calculate it, this would add about $10,000 to the purchase price.

"This was never mentioned in the sales office," Terry told me.

Unfortunately, we still weren't finished.

Buried in the thick volume of disclosure materials and never mentioned in the sales office or the offer were two more zingers.

All of the unit owners are required to share in the cost of buying two guest suites at $121,000 each, plus three car share units at $28,000 each, for a total of $326,000.

Terry's share came to $1,085.50, repayable over 10 years, plus interest at 4 per cent over the Bank of Canada 10-year bond rate.

The unit purchasers are also responsible for a so-called Green Loan, which could be as much as $750,000 – or almost $2,500 for Terry's unit – plus interest for 10 years.

Terry told me that all of these extra charges were either never mentioned in the sales office, or he was told – incorrectly – that they were included in the purchase price.

To top it all off, the floor plans attached to the offer had no measurements and no guarantee of the size of the unit – allowing the builder to deliver a unit significantly smaller than what was promised to him in the sales room.

As he left my office, Terry sadly told me he was going to terminate the transaction.

"I don't feel comfortable in buying pre-construction anymore," he said.

Builders should be more "up front" with extra costs, he added.

Terry's experience points to three legislative changes that are badly needed in the process of buying new homes and condominium units:

  • All extra charges must be clearly set out in dollar amounts on the front page of any builder agreement.
  • Floor plans with measurements and square footage must be attached to every offer.
  • Every sales person representing builders must be a trained, licensed and insured real estate agent who would be responsible professionally and financially for misrepresentations made in sales offices.

Bob Aaron is a Toronto real estate lawyer. 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.

David Pylyp; Because this was a condo the fine print on the "rendering" [That means artist pictures of building and views] may read views have been altered with addition of new buildings to the skyline. What? Your scenic view just got disappeared. Another that always amuses me are the Greening Fees, namely Tree Planting and Green Space and Park Land Dedication Fees. Somewhere nearby there will be a park in your name. Uhhuh.

I am a proponent of the buy it after its built program. Then we will see. We will see what the view is, where the sunrise and sunset fall on your building and your suite. Sounds like a small issue but no sunlight all winter is a little harsh to deal with.

If you are considering a condo at Michael Power Place or at Tridel's Nuvo or Essex, there is currently a shortage of one bed and one plus suites. We need to wait, then run and make multiple offers till we secure your unit for you. If its a larger unit that you desire, we have a better selection. If you would like to sell and get top dollar click here

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Beware as Lenders Tighten on Condo Mortgages Toronto

We have seen that Condo buyers are facing stricter lending guidelines, dropping values (especially for in-construction buildings) and, if they're self-employed or buying for investment purposes, new rules and restrictions.

In fact, situations where people who bought suites two years ago and thought they had a big enough mortgage to cover 75 per cent of the price are now being told 65 per cent is all their lender will put up.

New condo buildings can go down in value due to builders cutting back on extras and upgrades to increase affordability, says a Globe and Mail reporter.

Along with dropping values, self-employed condo buyers in particular have to show higher credit scores (in the 680 range, up from 620).

In addition, real estate investors face more restrictions - for example, lenders can only count 50 per cent of rental income toward revenue needed to qualify for a loan when it used to be 80 per cent.

Make sure you know your facts and that you consult a real mortgage professional (accredited and licensed) who will make your buying or refinancing experience pain-free, stress-free and enjoyable. With over 50 lenders available in Canada, there are simple and easy way to make sure you get the right mortgage tool to get you where you want to be.

Danny D. Kellman, MBA, AMP, EPC [] is a principal with
The Mortgage Diversity Group Their blog is Mortgages 4 Women, Toronto, Ontario. Danny Kellman and Marcy Berg concentrate their efforts on bring information and knowledge to the growing base of women only mortgage business. Danny can be contacted at 300 - 40 Wynford Dr., Toronto, ON, M3C 1J5
Phone: 647-929-5346 Toll-free: 1-888-372-7367

Be Aware of Mortgage Penalties

Sometimes the deal is just too good....

Remember when people keep telling you to ALWAYS read the fine print? This is just such an example. Danny Kellman recently relayed a story about a mortgage client who did not read the fine print, sold their house based on a job transfer and then was shocked to find that the pay out penalty was 10's of thousand of dollars and not the three months interest that they were expecting.

Danny Kellman went on to say some mortgages carry a full payment of interest until renewal of term, so that in those cases 2 or 3 years of interest payments may be due as a penalty to the lender on discharge. Read your contract carefully is the advice!

Danny then directed my attention to a recent CBC video on this exact topic. This video is available here;
fine_pr.html and is from the Consumer Watch with Reporter Reg Sherren taking a closer look at the fine print on many mortgage contracts, and finding many Canadians don't realize how costly it can be to renegotiate.

Danny stressed the importance of having a Mortgage Specialist in your corner and reflected on the success of her group Mortgages 4 Women and their focus on an entirely female based clientelle. Danny remarked "with more women working in the financial district in downtown Toronto, we decided to relocate our offices to Bay Street to be closer to the clientelle we serve.

Be careful out there, as it was not the case for this particular situation but these clients signed a contract which allowed the bank to get their money. The issue was that the couple did not get professional advice before signing the contract. This types of advice is priceless as they could have saved thousands. Call Danny or Marcy for all your mortgage explanations or needs.

Danny D. Kellman, MBA, AMP, EPC [] is a principal with
The Mortgage Diversity Group Their blog is Mortgages 4 Women, Toronto, Ontario. Danny Kellman and Marcy Berg concentrate their efforts on bring information and knowledge to the growing base of women only mortgage business.

Danny Kellman can be contacted at 300 - 40 Wynford Dr., Toronto, ON, M3C 1J5
Phone: 647-929-5346 Toll-free: 1-888-372-7367

Monday, October 5, 2009

Profile of W08 Etobicoke

This neighbourhood is bounded by Eglinton Avenue on the north, Humber River on the east, Bloor Street on the south, and the Humber River on the east. Neighbourhood names include Markland Wood, Eringate, Princess Margaret, Princess Anne Manor, Humber Valley, Thorncrest Village, Chestnut Hills or Islington. To me, it is simply W08

This is one of the finest if not the finest neighbourhood in the west end of Toronto, central Etobicoke.

Activity for the month of September '09 as reported by the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) is 1,439 properties listed with 877 sales.

A closer look at detached homes only provides 133 listings with only 57 sales. The average sale price was $811,833. ** Be mindful that 5 sales at $1.0MM could drastically scue the average and median numbers.

Homes priced between $1.0MM and $ 1.5MM in this grid numbered 37 with 13 selling in the last 30 day cycle.

To compare this with last year; which was considered a record breaking year, TREB reported sales for the month of September '08 was 392 properties listed with 71 sales. Looking closer at detached homes only provides 234 listings with only 29 sales.

If you would like to be in this neighbourhood, I welcome your call.

If you would like to receive available homes for sale as they become available Register as a VIP Buyer here.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Bubble or Crash - Will you take the cash ?

People are indeed selling and getting HUGE dollars for properties that otherwise might not. OR.....

.... those high multiple offer prices just became the new norm.


TORONTO, October 5, 2009 - In September 2009, Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported
8,196 sales, up 28 per cent from September 2008. The average price for September
transactions was $406,877 – up by 10 per cent compared to the same month last year.
"We have experienced an increasing rate of existing home price growth in the GTA as sales
have continued to outpace 2008 results," said TREB President Tom Lebour. "Consumers have
remained confident in ownership housing as a long-term investment."

Year-to-date sales, at 66,437 were up 4.5 per cent compared to the first nine months of 2008.
Average price, at $388,417 was up by almost 1.5 per cent.

"Existing home sales will finish strong this year, pushing through the 80,000 mark and moving in line with some of the best years on record under the current TREB market area," according to
Jason Mercer, TREB's Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

David Pylyp; This just keeps going, higher and higher. What is driving this frenzy and imbalance? Should we have a seasonal adjustment? A time out? Rates are incredible.

Realtor vs Realtor is a TV show

"Realtor vs Realtor is the ultimate real estate challenge show, where two top notch real estate agents face-off to find desperate home buyers the house of their dreams. Each episode features two successful realtors. They may have diametrically different styles but both real estate agents share one thing in common – they’re both intensely competitive. Realtor vs Realtor follows them as they go head to head to sell houses and earn the commission that comes with it. Throughout the process we get the inside scoop on the dog eat dog business of real estate. Our agents are the shamelessly confident, warts-and-all types, who are not afraid to say it like it is. And this character-driven series uniquely shows the real estate process from their point-of-view.

At the end of the episode, it all comes down to one thing… Who will be first to close a deal for the client? Which of our realtors will bag them the home of their dreams?"

Great! THEY made a TV show for entertainment purposes. Does it Inform? Does it Educate?

Professional Realtors working with Buyers, work under a contract that is called Buyers Agency. If you are out with an agent, I hope that they are ethical enough to have a) broached this topic with you b) informed you and presented documentation c) you signed a Buyers Agency for a specified period. Lets Talk about the ACTUAL Home buying experience.

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) responded this way

" this show is intended to appeal to the basest of viewer instincts by glorifying disreputable behavior on the part of real estate agents.

The use of the REALTOR® trademark in the show’s title is, in CREA’s view, an infringement of CREA’s intellectual property rights. However, what is even more outrageous is the fact that HGTV would associate the REALTOR® trademark with conduct that violates the spirit and likely the letter of the REALTOR® Code.
Hat tip to @Carol_Ireland for Bringing this to my attention.
In real life; Here is a summary of the actual differences of being under contract or not.

Buyer Client

Your comments are always invited, Add your remarks about Realtor experiences. Is life really like a TV show, all in one hour, with commercials?

If you are shopping this year or in the spring I need to hear from you now. Click here to join the VIP buyer program. Check out my Live Market Tracker

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Is the recession over?

The outlook is brightening for the economy in general and the housing industry, specifically, according to some recent reports. The major banks and some of the larger real estate franchises say the recession in Canada is either over or soon to be.

Lets have a look at some of the recent news and economic releases;

Overview of our economic Condition

How are things where you work?

Do you see shoppers with many purchases and their arms?

Are you planning for your Christmas purchases already?

Lack of Listings forces prices up

The continuing lack of available home for sale is out of balance to for a city that is our size, Toronto. With fewer available units (homes) for immediate occupancy prices are being forced ever higher.

The strongest demand appears to be in the First Time Buyer starter Homes.

If you are considering a sale I need to meet with you. If you would like a value for you r home to consider for the spring of 2010 click here.

You will get TOP dollar for your home immediately.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Toronto Mayor David Miller will not run again

I am not political. Here are my views;

I want a Mayor for Toronto that is a strategic forward thinker about planning and Waterfront development, Hydro generation and development issues that face Halton and Peel Region. (We have a new power generation station coming Haven't you heard?)

I want some serious TTC improvement and rapid transit improvement; not the increased diesel train service via Metrolinx through the Bloor west, Junction, Roncesvalles Village corridors. We need a garbage solution that doesn't require me to purchase a bag from Swiss Chalet to take our dinner home. Do we need to spend more money on bicycle lanes?

There are serious GREEN and eco issues that need to be addressed. Is there a war on the car? Have you been idling?

We need to get people mobilized an into selecting a future Mayor that is a proponent and advocate of our wonderful and diverse city. Maybe the Region should join as a collective? The Confederation of the Golden Horseshoe?

Join a political party

Have your say.

Add your comments.