Toronto Real Estate: Best Year Ever with Six Weeks To Go!

November 19, 2007 — November 19, 2007 — With six weeks remaining, 2007 has already become the best year on record for resale homes in the Greater Toronto Area, Toronto Real Estate Board President Maureen O’Neill announced today.

“As I predicted last month, 2007 will indeed be a banner year for home sales in our city,” said Ms. O’Neill. “So far this year, 84,994 properties have changed hands, as compared to 84,145 sales in 2005, our previous best year.”

With 3,544 transactions to mid-month, November sales are also up five per cent compared the same timeframe last year.

The current average price is $393,084, a nine per cent increase over the first half of November 2006.

The year-to-date average price stands at $374,678, up six per cent over the $352,807 recorded during the first 111?2 months of 2006.

“All of the economic conditions remain in place for a strong housing market in the GTA. The unemployment rate fell by approximately half a per cent last month, Statistics Canada anticipates sustained immigration throughout the next decade and mortgage rates remain historically low,” said Ms. O’Neill. “Toronto is a very vibrant city in which to live and compared to other urban centres like New York, Los Angeles and London, our housing is very affordable.”

Source: TREB (Toronto Real Estate Board)

Free Home Evaluation

Toronto Real Estate: Importance Of Getting a Home Inspection.

When Purchasing a home in the Toronto Real Estate market a home inspection prior to purchasing a home or condominium can bring peace of mind when you sign the sales contract. Knowing what to expect both inside and out will help you make an informed decision about the value of the home and the future upkeep.

A home inspection accomplishes two important goals. First, it gives you a chance to determine the condition of the house, its structural soundness, and the condition of its mechanical systems. Second, it brings any problems to the seller’s attention at a time when they can be resolved before closing a sale.

If you sign a contract before inspection, consider including a clause that the sale is contingent upon a satisfactory structural inspection, and specify when the inspection is to be carried out. That way, you are protected.

A comprehensive inspection includes a visual examination of the structure from top to bottom, including the heating, air conditioning systems, the interior plumbing and electrical systems, the roof and visible insulation, walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors, the foundation, basement and visible structure.

Following the examination, the inspector will provide a report that not only points out possible defects or areas of concerns, but also the positive aspects of the structure as well as the type of maintenance that will be necessary to keep the home in good shape.

Even the most experienced homeowners lack the knowledge and expertise of a professional inspection firm. For example, watermarks in the basement may indicate a chronic seepage problem, or simply may be a result of a single incident.

A professional assessment will provide complete information about the condition of the property you are considering and will help avoid any unpleasant surprises after the sale. In addition, a home inspector can remain totally objective, while you as a prospective homebuyer may be emotionally involved.

The inspection fee for a typical single-family house can vary depending upon the geographic area. The particular features of the home such as size, age and special structures will be taken into consideration. A decision to have a home inspected is a good investment. You might save many times the cost of inspection by being aware of defects, maintenance requirements, and upgrading requirements.

Good decorating should not sell you on a house. Remember, you’re also buying structural and mechanical systems. Walk through a house twice before you hire an inspector. The first time, look at the rooms, the floor plan, and envision your own decorating ideas for the house. The second time, go back and look at the condition of the walls, doors, appliance, and plumbing. If the home still looks good after two visits and you’re getting serious about the purchase, hire an inspector.

Inspectors should be licensed in building-related fields; architects, contractors, and structural engineers are good examples. When interviewing a potential home inspection firm, carefully inquire about the specifics of their work and company. Ask how long they have been in business, ask for references from previous customers. Find out what type of insurance they carry and do they guarantee inspections?

A home inspection usually lasts about three hours. Professional inspection companies will be happy to answer all your questions. Avoid firms that issue only a verbal report. The report should be in narrative form, not just a checklist of items inspected. The home inspector should also issue a written report with accurate cost estimates for any major defects discovered during the inspection. You may find it valuable to accompany the inspector as he goes through the house.

Property inspections are not limited to residential properties. Many inspectors help homeowners with analysis and solutions to specific problems such as energy conservation, wet basements or cracked foundations. Inspectors also inspect work upon completion to ensure that a contract has been properly fulfilled.

If you are considering purchasing a home, the Ontario Real Estate Association advises that you invest in an inspection by a reputable and qualified inspection firm. Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you will make. Know what you are buying and what your future upkeep obligations will be.

Source: OREA (Ontario Real Estate Association)

Contact Steven

Working With A Realtor: The Listing Agreement

The Listing Agreement

When you decide to sell your home with a REALTOR® in the Toronto Real Estate market, one of the most important forms you will encounter is the Listing Agreement. The Listing Agreement is the contract between you and the real estate brokerage authorizing the brokerage, including its brokers and salespeople, to market your property.

The Listing Agreement is such an important part of your real estate transaction that you’ll want to be sure it is as comprehensive and accurate as possible. Your REALTOR® will work with you to fill in all the details and leave nothing to chance.

Detailed information about your home is spelled out in the listing agreement which helps other REALTORS® respond to questions from potential buyers about your property. Also, the Listing Agreement forms the basis for any offers drafted on your home as well as any resulting negotiations involving the offer.

There are two types of listings – an “Exclusive” listing and a “Multiple” listing. An exclusive listing gives the brokerage the sole right to find a buyer for your home during a specific time period. You agree to pay a pre-established real estate commission to the broker once the sale is completed. The commission is payable to the broker regardless of whether someone else sells your home — including yourself during the set period or even if your home sells at a future date to someone the broker introduced to the property.

A multiple listing is also an exclusive listing between you and the broker, but includes your authorization to allow the broker to market your home on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and have other REALTORS® help to find a buyer. In this case, you pay the agreed upon commission and it is shared between the listing broker and the REALTOR® who found the buyer.

Most often, a REALTOR® will recommend that you list your home through the MLS so that you receive maximum exposure in the shortest time possible. Many REALTORS® in Ontario use a standard listing agreement form such as the one published by the Ontario Real Estate Association.

Because the Listing Agreement is so vital to the whole real estate transaction, REALTORS® are well-trained to carefully include every last required detail. The agreement is divided into two sections – authority and property details.

The authority section establishes the legal relationship between you and the real estate broker, sets a time limit for that relationship, and describes the obligations of each party. The detail section provides information about the property being offered for sale and the ideal terms the seller would like to see in an offer. Your property will be completely identified by its full legal description, including street and house number, as well as to lot and plan number if the property is in a registered plan or subdivision.

Your property size and location, floor area, room sizes, style and number of rooms, zoning, building age and type of construction will all be spelled out on the Listing Agreement.
The listing price is specified along with any other clauses regarding price or terms. There is a specific reference to the commission that will be paid upon a successful sale, trade or exchange of the property.

Other details to be filled in on the Listing Agreement include mortgage information, how many days until closing after your home sells, and how your property will be shown. Your REALTOR® will also discuss with you what items you are willing to sell along with the home. These items usually fall under one of two categories – fixtures or chattels. Fixtures are permanent improvements that normally stay with a property as part of the sale. Things like central air conditioning, built-in appliances and wall-to-wall carpeting are fixtures.
Chattels are usually movable pieces of personal property such as microwave ovens, blinds or washers and dryers. You may wish to include some of these “chattels” to sweeten the deal. These items will be clearly spelled out in the Listing Agreement.

Your home is probably the largest asset you will ever sell and you want to be sure you do it right. Selling your home is a complicated transaction involving many legal forms and procedures. Having a REALTOR® on your side will ensure the sale of your home goes smoothly.

Source: OREA (Ontario Real Estate Association)

Free Home Evaluation

Does your home need a tune up?

Does your home need a tune up?

Just like you take a car for regular tune ups to ensure it continues to run smoothly, your home also needs some special attention. There’s a lot more to keeping up a house than cutting the grass and clearing snow from the driveway. Ensuring your home “looks” good and is in proper working order, not only makes it more attractive and comfortable, but it can also increase the market value of the property.

Homeowners who plan to move within a few years are often reluctant to invest time and money on improvement projects that may not pay them back. But unless these improvements are very specialized, any project you choose — from fixing leaky faucets to installing new energy efficient windows — will start to pay you back in energy savings and comfort long before you sell.
The wisest improvements you can make to any home are those that keep it running smoothly and bring it up to the standards of other homes in the immediate area. And these don’t need to break your budget.

Easy maintenance, repairsStart with simple repairs that don’t cost a lot and you can do yourself: securing loose tiles, adjusting a door, installing a lock, repairing a leaky faucet or pipe, and so on.
It’s also a good idea to locate and read your gas, electricity and water meters on a weekly or monthly basis. This will help you gain an understanding of seasonal increases and decreases in consumption and enable you to take measures to become more energy and water efficient. The savings could be substantial.

You should have your furnace inspected and serviced annually to ensure there are no problems and change or clean the filter regularly. Also, inspect the smoke and carbon dioxide detectors around your home. You want to be certain that these will work in the event of a fire or other emergency.

Bigger upgradesWhile replacing leaky faucets can drastically improve a bathroom’s appearance and cut down on water usage, sometimes it takes a lot more than that to bring an old bathroom, for example, to an acceptable standard.

A bathroom tune up can pay big dividends. The first items to replace should be the fixtures — the sink, faucets, vanity, bathtub, shower, and toilet. This is where you will add value and save money by opting for a water-efficient fixtures and energy-saving devices.
The floors, walls and accessories are not an essential part of a bathroom tune-up, but you can save time and money when you do the complete overhaul at once, rather than one piece at a time.

If the decor in your home is bothering you, don’t decide right away to rip everything out. All it may take to make your home look more attractive and in better repair are small improvements such as: refacing cabinets and counter tops, changing the colour scheme, repainting, hanging new wall coverings and installing new lighting.

Other good major home improvements include replacing old carpets and flooring with new, more durable products; adding a garage or a carport if your home does not have one; installing central air conditioning; repairing or adding a fireplace; upgrading your basement space; replacing old windows with new energy-efficient ones; adding terraces, wooden decks and fences that add privacy; and investing in landscaping that adds value and is easy to maintain.

Source: OREA (Ontario Real Estate Association)

Free Home Evaluation

Toronto Real Estate: October Pushes Up Banner Year To Date

November 5, 2007 — Greater Toronto Area resale housing activity set a new record for the month of October TREB President Maureen O’Neill reported today.

With 7,915 transactions, activity was up 10 per cent over the previous best for the month, set in 2003. Sales were also up 15 per cent over last October.

October’s strong performance has pushed year-to-date activity 12 per cent ahead of last year.
“There is every indication that 2007 will be a banner year for resale housing activity in the Greater Toronto Area,” said Ms. O’Neill.

“The effects of the City of Toronto’s new land transfer tax will definitely be felt in 2008 but we are also confident that consumers will continue to see the value of real estate as a solid long-term investment.”

Prices also rose in October to an average of $394,646, a four per cent increase over the previous month.

In Pickering (E13), overall activity was up 34 per cent, led by strong detached sales and a doubling of condominium apartment transactions.

Willowdale (C07) experienced the same combination of strong detached sales and sizeable condominium apartment transactions, which led to a 67 per cent increase in overall sales.
Condominium apartment sales also pushed the South Humber area (W07) to a 60 per cent overall increase in activity.

In Central Richmond Hill (N04), a combination of detached sales and attached/row-house sales, contributed to an overall increase of 54 per cent.

Source: TREB (Toronto Real Estate Board)

Free Home Evaluation

Toronto Real Estate, October Sets Records

October Sets New Record

November 5, 2007 — TREB Members recorded 7,915 transactions of single-family homes in October, an all time record for the month, TREB President Maureen O’Neill announced today. “Sales were up 15 per cent over the 6,876 figure recorded in October of 2006, and up about 10 per cent over the 7,227 transactions that took place in October 2003, which was our previous record.”

“There is every indication that 2007 will be a banner year for resale housing activity in the Greater Toronto Area,” said Ms. O’Neill. “The effects of the City of Toronto’s new land transfer tax will definitely be felt in 2008 but we are also confident that consumers will continue to see the value of real estate as a solid long-term investment.”
Prices rose in October, with the average climbing four per cent to $394,646 over September’s $380,132, and up 11 per cent over the $356,423 recorded in October of 2006.
Breaking down the total, 2,964 sales were reported in TREB’s 28 West districts and averaged $367,139; 1,602 sales were reported in the 14 Central districts and averaged $522,800; 1,555 sales were reported in the 23 North districts and averaged $415,071; and 1,794 sales were reported in TREB’s 21 East districts and averaged $307,950.

Source: TREB (Toronto Real Estate Board)

Free Home Evaluation