What are the top Real Estate mistakes?

Real Estate has been my passion for several decades and have been very good to me. Having said that, I can honestly say that I personally have made ALL of these real estate mistakes at least once over the last 30 years. How many of these top 5 real estate mistakes can you relate to?

1. Overbuilding for the area
real estate mistakes

This home was a 60’s ranch bungalow where the roof was removed and the ceilings where heightened to 18 ft.  A luxurious master bedroom and ensuite bathroom  loft were added.  The exterior of the house was done in authentic stone.  The quality of the renovation was over the top for the neighbourhood and was not recouped when the home was sold.  It was an over build for the area.

2. Too trendy with the decor

real estate mistakes

 I love the look of this space, very trendy, very in.  Today this will appeal to many young buyers.  This color of green is very in today.  It was also in style way back in the sixties with many years where it would have been consider hideous.  Will potential buyers like the green in 5 years?

3. House over location

go train station

You can have a stunning house with all the bells and whistles, however if this is your view…. you will be disappointed with the appreciation of  your home over time.  You can change your house but not the location.  Choose wisely.

4. Jumping too quickly to the Condo Option

condo living

Condo living can be wonderful.  Make sure it if right for you before you make the plunge to sell your sprawling bungalow in the suburbs.  If you are not sure, possibly rent first?

5. Too much trust in your contractor

contractor errors

We all want to have 100% faith in the contractor that we have selected to do our dream renovation.  Make sure that you do your do diligence, check references, see his/her work before you commit.  It is easy to put too much trust in this relationship only to be disappointed.

Best Real Estate Moving Tips and Tricks

Tips for a Seamless Move

Changing homes is extremely stressful, especially because you have to pack and then carry all your belongings from one place to another… It may not be the best fun you’ve ever had, but at least you can make it memorable! For this to happen, you surely need to take baby steps and have a great attention to details!

So, you need to move and you’re excited, until you realize the huge amount of things you have to pack! But don’t worry, you can hit two birds with just one stone – make it fun and effective too!

Even though planning this action with some months in advance may be time-consuming at a first glance, it will get to be less stressful and simpler if you don’t rush! By following these rules your stress level will decrease drastically! So, just enjoy your move!

Moving tips. Helpful checklist!


Main rule
: Don’t take with you the things that you don’t need! Now it is the perfect time for you to have a mass declutter. Take advantage and get rid of the things that you don’t use! They’ll just occupy space in your new home as they did until the present moment, in your old one!

Here are some tips for you:

  • Plan-ahead

After a tiring and stressful period, when you have probably sold your old house, now the time for you to move has finally come! Even though the stress is not over yet, don’t get things too dramatic – there is a way for you to keep everything under control and the safest way is to plan ahead! Get the clear picture of the entire process, and decide when and how you should manage this situation!

A fact is certain – packing up your entire life and your possessions will not be something that you’ll manage to do in one single day, therefore you need to arm yourself with a lot of patience! You’ll certainly need it!

Hint: Don’t panic!

  • Stay organized

More than ever now it is the perfect time for you to show your organizational skills! Write down everything that you have to do and where you put every object. The boxes need to be labeled both with their content but as well with colors assigned for each and every room. Manage your inventory very carefully, you’ll thank yourself later on!

The thrills or frustrations of this whole situation may be disturbing to you, but stay focused! This is what you need now! Staying organized will save you time later on!

Hint: Don’t rush, take it all slow or you’ll end up mixing everything up!

  • Get the right boxes

Planning in advance requires getting boxes of all sizes and shapes! Keep in mind that lighter objects should always be placed on top! What is more, you should also make sure you won’t leave empty spaces inside the box because objects will slide down and you’ll probably have a huge surprise when you’ll start unpacking!

Hint: Shake your boxes to see if any objects are misplaced and be careful not to make the boxes too heavy to lift either!

  • Use colors for labelling

Colors may help you stay organized. Use a different color for every room; markers will be of great help! This way the unpacking process will become much more bearable and simpler too!

Hint: Keep it all visually appealing; you need to remember this entire experience as a step forward for you! Do everything when you are relaxed and fresh!

  • Charity?

Maybe the time to do a good deed has come. You’ll probably stumble upon things you have completely forgotten about, so why not donate them all? You clearly don’t need them. Take your move as a fresh start and don’t bring useless things with you. You’ll just end up throwing them instead of reusing them. No junk, please! Take a big breath and see which objects are pointless to you!

Hint: Don’t throw away things you don’t use anymore, donate them! Others may be in great need of those particular items!

  • Get rid of the dust

Hygiene is important and taking into account that you have to pack everything up, why not cleaning them first? You won’t want to get dust and dirt into your new home. Take it all step by step and make it all right from the early beginning. Think about it – one way or another at a certain point you’ll have to clean up your things so why not now? Chances are you’ll be too tired later on to clean everything!

Hint: A microfiber cloth is highly recommended!

  • Newspapers, anyone?

You’ll need to fill up every box and wrap every object for protection. Therefore, try to purchase in advance enough packing paper!

Hint: When the time for unpacking comes, unpack only by room! Your entire effort to keep it all organized will become useless if you create chaos now!

  • Separate the essential things

When you’ll get to your new place, you’ll firstly need certain objects so make sure you have them all together in a box at a close reach! You wouldn’t want to search for scissors or papers and not find any one of them!

What should you consider? For instance, think about – paper towels, phone chargers, trash bags or toilet paper!

Hint: Make a list with other objects and make sure you have them all in one single place!

  • Pre-clean the new house

moving tips packingBefore getting all your stuff in, try to clean up the house. Once you have the furniture in, it will much more difficult to Q-tip everything! This will save you a lot of trouble!

Hint: Take at least one week to make sure the house is clean and hygienic before bringing in your stuff! You’re looking for a fresh start, aren’t you? Then, make it look fresh!

  • Vertically or horizontally?

Depending on the type of objects you are carrying, pay attention to how you place them! For instance, your plates should be placed vertically! Why? There are less chances they’ll break under pressure!

Hint: Take some time and think about every object you intend to transport, thus you’ll figure out the right place and a way to bring it ‘safe and sound’!

  • Correspondence

Don’t forget to change your correspondence address with at least two weeks prior to the day you move! This way you’ll be sure no personal papers will get into the hands of the wrong people! Check the utilities you’re responsible for and make sure every important person knows how to reach you!

Hint: Don’t forget to make the switch from time!

  • Get help

You are surely not going to be able to do everything all by yourself. Some may call their friends while others may call for professional help. There is always a way for whatever budget you may have, however you may be sure an expert will always be of much more help for you!

Hint: If you choose to do it all by yourself, you’ll need to have nerves of steel and a lot of patience. This entire experience is extremely stressful!

  • Sort, sort, sort

In order to stay organized you surely need first of all to sort all your stuff! You clearly don’t need chaos now because the stakes are high and there are a lot of things going on. Try to be in control of everything and at all times, this way you’ll have a peaceful and exciting move!

Hint: The more time you dedicate to organizing your things, the easier it will be when you unpack!

  • Separate valuables

From another point of view specialists utterly suggest you need to separate your valuables in order not to regret it later on. Among all the things you have to carry, there is enough space for mistakes to happen, this is why it is better to take precautionary measures!

 Hint: Try to stay organized and set your priorities. Your valuables and important papers should always be with you!

Knowing what things need to be done and most importantly when, will save you from a lot of painful headaches! Remember: you shouldn’t let everything on the last day! You’ll panic and you’ll not be able to face up the stress!

When the details of such an important event tend to overwhelm you, take a break! You need to relax and think clearly – a bit of organization will only help you in moments like this one!

All in all, moving may become a really great experience if you know how to handle things! Don’t hurry, this is clearly not the time for this! Take it all step by step and just enjoy!

Is it a good time to invest in an income property?

income property

You may be wondering is it a good time to invest in an income property? This is a question that I get asked all the time. Prices have been on the rise in Toronto and surrounding area and may potential investors question whether they have been priced out of the market.

The answer to this question is …. it depends.   It is more about investing in the RIGHT property than it is timing the market. This is not dissimilar to the stock market. If you buy good stocks in good companies it has proven to be a good long investment

The same goes for income properties.   Buying the right income property is and has always been an excellent long term investment.

The right income property is one that generates positive cash flow. This means that when you take the revenue in generate in rent and subtract all your expenses (mortgage utilities, and taxes) you are generating monthly income. The monthly income is your cash flow.

There may be more opportunity in smaller communities such as Guelph, Barrie, Cambridge and St Catherine’s to generate positive cash flow. In these smaller communities prices have not increased at the same pace as Toronto, however rents are not too dissimilar to Toronto. Therefore generating a positive cash flow may be easier.

I look forward to previewing a few of these communities and the opportunity for attractive income properties’ with you. In fact, one that I find the most attractive is Guelph where properties are more affordable and rents relatively high.

Are you Ready to Invest in Real Estate?

RE INVESTING

When it comes to property investment, timing is everything. Ultimately, choosing the right time to enter the market will have a significant impact on the long-term success of your investment.

This is a great list of five things you will need to be truly ready to make the plunge.

  1. You are financially ready. You have saved enough for the downpayment and you have also established your emergency fund. Your credit history is good and you are able to meet all the financial obligations.
  2. You Understand the carrying cost of owning a home. You have a clear picture in your mind of the the monthly costs associated with owning this home including dollars for ongoing maintenance and it fits within your budget.
  3. You have done your research. You know the neighbourhood of your future property or have consulted a good real estate agent that knows that area that you are thinking of investing in.
  4. You have chosen a good agent to help you with your search. Buying in the Toronto market is not easy.  A good real estate agent will guide you to properties that represent good value in current market conditions and help you get hte property at market prices.
  5. You have a time horizon of at least 5 years. No one can predict where the market is heading.  You want to make sure that you are not going to need the money that you are investing in this home in the short term.  Like all investments, you want to be in a position where you can sell market when your investment has appreciated not being forced because you need the cash.

If you can check “yes” to this list – go wild and have fun with your investment opportunity.

 

 

 

What are red flags of a bad tenant?

Tenant Red Flags

Rent Sign Under Home Shows Housing Rental

Selecting a good tenant is extremely important for any investor.  So you are beginning to interview applicants.  What are red flags of a bad tenant? Here are thirteen to consider.

  1. Are they on time for the appointment? If they can’t even be on time for the appointment, it’s likely that their rent won’t be on time either.
  2. What type of first impression did they make?
  3. What was their personal appearance and what did their car look like? How they take care of their personal belongings is probably how they’ll take care of the unit.
  4. Are there gaps in rental history? This could signify that were incarcerated or in a facility of some sort for a period of time. Ask questions.
  5. Did you see where they live now? That’s what your unit will look like.
  6. How many occupants will there be? This helps you predict the level of wear and tear to the unit.
  7. Any pets (or other dangerous animals)? Townships may have ordinances that only allow certain pets.
  8. Any long-term guests or adult children? What’s your policy? For example, are the people on the lease the only ones allowed to live there? Or, will the rent increase if an adult child moves home?
  9. Will they take the unit sight unseen? If they don’t seem to care about where they’re living, how well do you think they’ll take care of it?
  10. Are they flashing cash? This could signify that that the person is selling a drug or product illegally, has received some type of settlement (who you may have to evict later, if they don’t have a steady income), or maybe the previous landlord paid them to leave and they’re using that to money to get the new place.
  11. Do they want to pay the security deposit in installments? If they’re having trouble paying the security deposit, they may have trouble paying the rent. Of course, this isn’t always the case.
  12. Did they get upset you’re considering others? If they’re too aggressive, or get upset easily, they may get in your face or be very hard to please during their leasing period.
  13. Do they whine and complain about their current landlord? They could’ve had an awful landlord, or they may whine and complain about everything.

These are just some of the many red flags I’ve seen over the years, although not all of them will lead indefinitely to troublesome tenant situations.

 

What home improvements that don’t add value to your home?

Improvements that don't add value

Surprising list of home improvements that don’t add value

Every homeowner must pay for routine home maintenance, such as replacing worn-out plumbing components or staining the deck, but some choose to make improvements with the intention of increasing the home’s value. Do you know what home improvements don’t add value to your home? Certain projects, such as adding a well thought-out family room – or other functional space – can be a wise investment, as they do add to the value of the home. Other projects, however, allow little opportunity to recover the costs when it’s time to sell.

Even though the current homeowner may greatly appreciate the improvement, a buyer could be unimpressed and unwilling to factor the upgrade into the purchase price. Homeowners, therefore, need to be careful with how they choose to spend their money if they are expecting the investment to pay off. Here are six home improvements that don’t add value when you go to sell your home.

1. Swimming Pools

Swimming pools are one of those things that may be nice to enjoy at your friend’s or neighbor’s house, but that can be a hassle to have at your own home. Many potential homebuyers view swimming pools as dangerous, expensive to maintain and a lawsuit waiting to happen. Families with young children in particular may turn down an otherwise perfect house because of the pool (and the fear of a child going in the pool unsupervised). In fact, a would-be buyer’s offer may be contingent on the home seller dismantling an above-ground pool or filling in an in-ground pool.

An in-ground pool costs anywhere from $10,000 to more than $100,000, and additional yearly maintenance expenses need to be considered. That’s a significant amount of money that might never be recouped if and when the house is sold.

2. Overbuilding for the Neighbourhood

Homeowners may, in an attempt to increase the value of a home, make improvements to the property that unintentionally make the home fall outside of the norm for the neighbourhood. While a large, expensive remodel, such as adding a second story with two bedrooms and a full bath, might make the home more appealing, it will not add significantly to the resale value if the house is in the midst of a neighbourhood of small, one-story homes.

In general, homebuyers do not want to pay $250,000 for a house that sits in a neighbourhood with an average sales price of $150,000; the house will seem overpriced even if it is more desirable than the surrounding properties. The buyer will instead look to spend the $250,000 in a $250,000 neighbourhood. The house might be beautiful, but any money spent on overbuilding might be difficult to recover unless the other homes in the neighbourhood follow suit.

3. Extensive Landscaping

Homebuyers may appreciate well-maintained or mature landscaping, but don’t expect the home’s value to increase because of it. A beautiful yard may encourage potential buyers to take a closer look at the property, but will probably not add to the selling price. If a buyer is unable or unwilling to put in the effort to maintain a garden, it will quickly become an eyesore, or the new homeowner might need to pay a qualified gardener to take charge. Either way, many buyers view elaborate landscaping as a burden (even though it might be attractive) and, as a result, are not likely to consider it when placing value on the home.

4. High-End Upgrades

Putting stainless steel appliances in your kitchen or imported tiles in your entryway may do little to increase the value of your home if the bathrooms are still vinyl-floored and the shag carpeting in the bedrooms is leftover from the ’60s. Upgrades should be consistent to maintain a similar style and quality throughout the home. A home that has a beautifully remodeled and modern kitchen can be viewed as a work in project if the bathrooms remain functionally obsolete. The remodel, therefore, might not fetch as high a return as if the rest of the home were brought up to the same level. High-quality upgrades generally increase the value of high-end homes, but not necessarily mid-range houses where the upgrade may be inconsistent with the rest of the home.

In addition, specific high-end features such as media rooms with specialized audio, visual or gaming equipment may be appealing to a few prospective buyers, but many potential homebuyers would not consider paying more for the home simply because of this additional feature. Chances are that the room would be re-tasked to a more generic living space.

5. Wall-to-Wall Carpeting

While real estate listings may still boast “new carpeting throughout” as a selling point, potential homebuyers today may cringe at the idea of having wall-to-wall carpeting. Carpeting is expensive to purchase and install. In addition, there is growing concern over the healthfulness of carpeting due to the amount of chemicals used in its processing and the potential for allergens (a serious concern for families with children). Add to that the probability that the carpet style and color that you thought was absolutely perfect might not be what someone else had in mind.

Because of these hurdles, wall-to-wall carpet is something on which it’s difficult to recoup the costs. Removing carpeting and restoring wood floors is usually a more profitable investment.

6. Invisible Improvements

Invisible improvements are those costly projects that you know make your house a better place to live in, but that nobody else would notice – or likely care about. A new plumbing system or HVAC unit (heating, venting and air conditioning) might be necessary, but don’t expect it to recover these costs when it comes time to sell. Many homebuyers simply expect these systems to be in good working order and will not pay extra just because you recently installed a new heater. It may be better to think of these improvements in terms of regular maintenance, and not an investment in your home’s value.

The Bottom Line 

It is difficult to imagine spending thousands of dollars on a home-improvement project that will not be reflected in the home’s value when it comes time to sell. There is no simple equation for determining which projects will garner the highest return, or the most bang for your buck. Some of this depends on the local market and even the age and style of the house. Homeowners frequently must choose between an improvement that they would really love to have (the in-ground swimming pool) and one that would prove to be a better investment. A bit of research, or the advice of a qualified real estate professional, can help homeowners avoid costly projects that don’t really add value to a home.  Make sure you know what home improvements don’t add value to your home before it’s too late.

 

What are the signs of a up and coming neighbourhood?

up and coming neighbourhood
We all know have expensive the Toronto Real Estate market is to enter.  Many first time buyers are looking for an area that may be still under valued, a diamond in the rough, but changing quickly.  Here area a few tips to find that area:

  1.  New Large Businesses Moving in.  Most larger businesses do a fair amount of economic research and projections on the neighbourhood before moving in. Watching big industry and business moves can be a great way to spot emerging areas with strong fundamentals way before you might otherwise be able to see them yourself.
  2.  Convenient location in a land-impacted metro. In an area close to downtown Toronto like Mimico, demand for homes will continue to grow as population grows and as buyers are looking for close proximity to the city, for that easier commute. Supply of homes has not kept pace with the demand which has lead to a continual increase in prices.
  3.  Downsides have an expiration date. If there’s one major issue that has caused an area to be less desirable for decades, and that issue is being eliminated or ameliorated, it could set the neighborhood up for a turnaround. For example, an undesirable plant is located in the area but planned to be shut down.
  4. At least one major economic development is brewing. Never underestimate the power of a major economic development to overhaul a neighborhood’s fate. From Google and Microsoft building cloud storage data centers in Barrie, one large-scale employer or infrastructure development can be a very early, very strong sign that an area will see it’s real estate fortunes rise.
  5. Fixing is in the air. When you see that an area long known for its rundown homes has a number of homes being renovated and rehabbed from the inside out, this can be a sign of fledgling neighborhood turnaround. If you spot these sorts of projects visually, it might be worth taking a trip down to the City Building Permit counter to see whether the staff has seen the same uptick in individual owners’ investment in the area, and if so, what they think the story of the neighborhood might be – or might become. City staffers often have a wealth of information at the ready, everything from pending commercial development applications that could change the whole landscape of an area to projects the city itself has funded or will prioritize due to its own development initiatives.

If you are looking to find, relocate to one of these areas, please let me help. You can connect with me Here

How To Win A Bidding War in Toronto?

Bidding WarsYou are one of the fortunate. You have landed a decent job, have managed to save a down payment and understand that buying a home is a great investment that will put you ahead of the game.
First of all, congratulations! Well done!!! You are setting yourself up for a very bright future. Now, the real work begins.
The fist time buyer market is one of the toughest markets in the city. Why? There are more buyers than there is supply, which translates into lots of competition for the decent homes in this market. Bidding wars are still the norm in this market and they require a well thought out strategy and plan.
What is a bidding war? A bidding war is when the agent lists a home, sets up a specific offer date and accepts and reviews all offers on that date. The advantage for the seller is that it is a relatively effective way to get the highest price for your home in the shortest period possible.
For a buyer, you may be wondering how to win a bidding war.  It means that you are going to need to make your mind up on whether you want to bid on the home quickly, and if you decide to bid, position yourself to put you best bid forward.
This means clearing yourself of all conditions in your offer. Have your financing in place in advance and be comfortable with either the building inspection that has been completed or complete your own inspection prior to putting your bid you’re Your agent should review with you the what recent properties have sold for in the area to give you a feel of market price. Agree on what your maximum bid is for the property in advance and be disciplined in only bidding to your maximum.
Again, bidding wars are a reality in this market. Do your homework to position yourself to win and set yourself up with to succeed in this competitive market.

Top 10 house features good for resale

Renovated HomeYou are looking at purchasing a home and you know you won’t be there forever so you  want to make sure it has house features good for resale.  That’s a good question! You want to purchase a home that will give you a good resell value later on. To do this, look at the type of home you’re planning to purchase that may be attractive to future buyers. When you’re looking to purchase a home, check to see if some or all of these features are offered:

1. Location of the home. Is the home located in a good neighborhood that is close to schools, stores, freeways, etc…
2. Check the crime rate
for the area you’re thinking about purchasing in. What are the crime rate statistics. Is the neighborhood safe?

3. Is there anticipated growth for the area such as: new schools, stores, future planned homes, etc… How will this affect you in the future?

4. Try to make sure the square footage of your home is at least 1200, in order to increase the likelihood of being able to resell.

5. Look for homes that have at least three bedrooms as part of your prospective home purchase. This will be helpful in reselling your home in the future.

7. If the home you’re thinking about purchasing has a pool, keep in mind this may limit the number of prospective buyers if you decide to sell your home. Pools don’t necessarily add much value to the home and can be expensive to maintain!

9. The number of bathrooms is also important. Getting a home with at minimum of two bathrooms is a must when purchasing a home for future resell.

10. Make sure the home you’re considering has a fireplace, air conditioning and heating system.

When you purchase a home, just think of being able to get a good return on your investment if you had to resell. In most cases at a bare minimum you want to get the money you have invested in your home out of it, if you had to sell for some reason. It’s even better if you can make a profit on you sale isn’t it? I thought so, just be wise when you’re purchasing your home, it’s an investment in your future!