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Things You Need to Know Before Moving to Toronto

If you are planning a move to Toronto then this post is going to be the only one you need to see. If you are looking for a vibrant city that has access to everything nightlife, food and a healthy lifestyle, Toronto should be on top of your list. With the largest population in Canada, Toronto is a hub for multiple things and offers the perfect blend of business, cultural, and entertainment world. A ton of people are concerned about moving to Toronto in 2023 but there are 5 things you need to know before moving here, and the 4th one has caused people to make a costly mistake when moving here that I want you to avoid. So keep reading!


When planning a move to the 6IX, the first thing you need to do is:


1. INVEST IN A WARM JACKET- Depending on where you are moving from, the winter months in Toronto may be colder than what you’re used to. The winter months (December through to March) are pretty chilly and snow tends to carpet the city between November and April. Be sure to bring some sturdy and waterproof winter boots to navigate icy sidewalks and lots of warm layers, and you’ll be absolutely fine. It’s not nearly as cold here as it is in some of Canada’s more northerly cities.

 2. For those days that are just too cold, you are in luck. Toronto has an underground corridor called The PATH. The PATH is a mostly underground pedestrian walkway network in downtown Toronto that spans more than 30 kilometres of restaurants, shopping, services and entertainment. The walkway facilitates pedestrian linkages to public transit, accommodating more than 200,000 business-day commuters as well as tourists and residents. The PATH provides an important contribution to the economic viability of the city’s downtown core. It is possible to walk through the PATH from the waterfront to Downtown Yonge, and from the Entertainment District to Yonge St. all of which connect through Toronto’s world class Financial District.

 3. Another consideration before moving here is the taxes in Toronto- No matter where you live in Canada, you will pay Federal Tax and then you will pay Provincial Tax which varies from province to province. Sales Tax is 13% in Ontario and is added to most goods and services throughout the country. Taxes are not included in the marked price though, it is added at the checkout and itemised at the bottom of your bill. If you decide to buy a house or apartment in Toronto, you will be subject to provincial land transfer tax and municipal land transfer tax based on the area in which you live and the size of the property you live in. As of April 2017, buyers of property in Toronto who are not residents or citizens of Canada will have to pay 15% more for a property.

 4. Perhaps my least favourite part about living in the city, has got to be THE TRAFFIC. Getting around Toronto has always been an issue and owning a car in the city can be very expensive. Toronto has a public transport system, run by TTC. Many people prefer to use the buses, subway, streetcars, rail or ferries, rather than sit in traffic and pay high parking fees. A single adult ticket on the TTC costs $3.25  but if you want to save money on public transportation, take notes.

  • Group and family day passes are available weekends and public holidays
  • Buy a bike or rent bikes from the Bike Share Toronto. There is a great app you can download to see where bikes are available near you and you can drop it off at a docking station near your destination. There is a good (and overall safe) system of cycle lanes in Toronto. 


5. Lastly, it is important to note that Toronto is a very safe city. The fourth biggest city in North America, it’s also one of the safest in the world, so you don’t need to be worried about walking around downtown at night. But there are definitely certain areas that you do not want to visit, so be aware of those. In addition, you’ll want to lock your bike up everywhere you go.


There you have it, the top 5 things you need to know before moving here. I hope you found this information useful! As a realtor specializing in the Liberty Village and Toronto real estate market, I am here to help guide you through the entire buying or selling process. Grab a copy of my FREE Toronto guide by reaching out to me on the Contact page or on my social media. Look forward to speaking with you!

Read

I have sold a property at 508 69 Lynn Williams ST in Toronto

I have sold a property at 508 69 Lynn Williams ST in Toronto. See details here

Live Lavishly In Liberty Village!! This Updated Bright & Sun-Filled Condo With A Large Balcony Is Perfect For Your Personal Enjoyment- Entertain At Your Leisure! Inside Features 1 Large Bedroom, Modern Kitchen With Breakfast Bar, Open Concept Large Living Area, Laminate Throughout. Stunning High End Finishes Throughout, Including All Updated Light Fixtures And Custom California Closets! The Property Also Features Full Size Appliances, A Large Walk In Shower & Ensuite Laundry. Working From Home? No Problem - Enough Space For 2 Desks! All The Conveniences Of Liberty Village Are Walkable; Grocery Stores, Banks, Lcbo, Gyms (Altea, Goodlife) & Plethora Of Restaurants, Short Walk/Bike To Lake, Bike Paths, Coronation Park W/Off Leash Dog Area, And Fort York.

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How to Sell a House Without a Realtor in Toronto

I know... It seems that in a hot real estate market like Toronto’s, anybody can just slap a ‘for sale’ sign on their lawn and sell their own house. While that might be the  case for you, I want to look at what’s really involved in selling your own house.

PS, make sure to keep reading until the end of the post, my most important piece of advice is at the end!


So what is involved in selling your own home? There are a lot of things to consider that often get overlooked, if you want to sell your house without an agent, you'll need to know exactly what you're doing in order to get the money you deserve.  The number one factor to consider is the costs.


1. The Costs
 If you choose to sell your house yourself, it’s not quite as simple as saving 5% in commission. There are some real hard costs to selling your own home that are often covered by the commission you would pay a real estate agent:

  • Commission
    • If you can get lucky and find a buyer who isn’t working with a real estate agent, great! But the most likely scenario will be that another agent will find the buyer and bring you the offer…and of course, they’ll want to get paid. In this case you can expect to pay half of what you think you’re saving.
    • Note: If you do find the buyer yourself they may want a part of the ‘savings’ for not having been represented by a real estate agent too.
  • Staging
    • Staging can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to more than $10,000 for a typical Toronto house. The average staging costs $4,500 and while staging isn’t a requirement, it is highly recommended to ensure you get top dollar for your home.
  • Cleaning
    • You could absolutely deep-clean your home yourself if you have the time…but bringing in professionals will ensure that your home is in tip-top shape. Cleaning costs typically range from $150-$500.
  • Photography
    • Studies show that professional photography – and in particular, HDR photography – adds thousands of dollars to the sale price of a home. A photographer typically costs between $150-$300.
  • Floor Plans
    • Before listing your home for sale you will want to do your due diligence and obtain all floor plans. They typically cost between $150-$300.
  • Pre-listing home inspection
    • If you’re selling a house, you’ll likely want to get a home inspection done before you list it for sale. Cost: $400-600.
  • Marketing
    • At a minimum, you’re going to want to list the property on the MLS for maximum exposure. The MLS is where most homes get listed for sale. It’s where the listings on www.realtor.ca come from, and it’s the primary tool that real estate agents and buyers use to search for a home. Some brokerages will allow you list your home on the MLS for as little as $1,000.
    • Additional marketing costs depend on your preferences – flyers, postcards, feature sheets, website advertising, social media advertising, etc. I usually spend $1,000-$2,500 per listing on marketing.
  • Legal Fees
    • Whether or not you’ll be using a real estate agent to sell your home, you’ll have to pay a lawyer to close the sale (anywhere from $1,000-2,500) but you can expect to pay significantly more if you also need them to review the offer paperwork.


2. The time it takes

Selling a home takes a significant amount of time and most of a listing agent’s job is done before the house hits the market. If you decide to sell your home yourself, be prepared to spend a lot of time:

  • Preparing your house for sale – this includes everything from cleaning to staging
  • Marketing it– photography, flyers, postcards, website listings, etc.
  • Scheduling showings and answering your phone –Expect dozens of phone calls to book showings and dozens more from people with questions.
  • Showing the home – being at home during all those showings will suck up a lot of your time. It’s also important to note that the number one reason a house stays on the market a long time is the Seller being present during a showing (according to the National Association of Realtors).
  • Offers – this can be a time-consuming process, especially if there are multiple offers  and can be extremely overwhelming if you don’t know how to read legal verbiage

 

3. The Skills it takes

Hiring an experienced and talented realtor means they’ll be skilled at marketing, pricing, strategy and negotiation in order to get you the top dollar for your home.

  • Marketing – The only guaranteed way of getting top dollar for your home is to expose it to as many people as possible – and that’s where marketing comes in. There’s a lot more to marketing a home than putting it on the MLS! The homes I list get listed on my website, my brokerage website and realtor.ca. If you’ve got marketing skills and the time to do it…that’s great! If you don’t, you will be risking selling it for less than you could.
  • Pricing and Negotiation – This is the most significant as most people aren’t natural negotiators, and there’s a lot of negotiation and strategy involved in selling your home – even if you get multiple offers.
  • Legal – There are lots of ways that home sales go wrong, and knowing the legal pitfalls -everything from proper disclosures to offer paperwork to issues at closing- is a big part of a realtor’s job. Yes, you can hire a lawyer to handle a lot of this, but be prepared to pay for the extras.


4. Knowing the value of your home

It’s hard to be objective about the value of your house. Knowing how much a home is worth takes a lot of knowledge – not just knowledge about how much homes are listed for, but also how much they sold for. It is important to know how much particular features add or subtract from the price of the home such as a finished basement or updated bathroom. Its also important to find out which houses on the street sold for (and why).
 
If you decide to hire an agent, make sure you hire someone you can trust. If your goal is to get the most amount of money for your home, it’s not just about hiring a real estate agent – it’s about hiring the right real estate agent.
Top realtors know how to bring together staging, marketing, pricing, strategy and negotiation to guarantee you’re getting the most amount of money for your home as possible and its usually included in the commission. While it is great to think you could save $25,000 in commission… what if you do that and sell your home for $50,000 less? That’s a lot of money and it happens all the time… Good for the Buyer…bad for the Seller!


I hope you found this information useful! As a realtor specializing in the Liberty Village and Toronto real estate market, I am here to help guide you through the entire buying or selling process. Grab a copy of my FREE Toronto guide by reaching out to me on the Contact page or on my social media. Look forward to speaking with you!

Read

New property listed in Liberty Village, Toronto C01

I have listed a new property at 508- 69 Lynn Williams ST in Toronto. See details here

Live Lavishly In Liberty Village!! This Updated Bright & Sun-Filled Condo With A Large Balcony Is Perfect For Your Personal Enjoyment- Entertain At Your Leisure! Inside Features 1 Large Bedroom, Modern Kitchen With Breakfast Bar, Open Concept Large Living Area, Laminate Throughout. Stunning High End Finishes Throughout, Including All Updated Light Fixtures and Custom California Closets! The Property Also Features Full Size Appliances, A Large Walk In Shower & Ensuite Laundry. Working From Home? No Problem - Enough Space For 2 Desks! All The Conveniences Of Liberty Village Are Walkable; Grocery Stores, Banks, Lcbo, Gyms (Altea, Goodlife) & Plethora Of Restaurants, Short Walk/Bike To Lake, Bike Paths, Coronation Park W/Off Leash Dog Area, And Fort York.

Read

Top Communities in Toronto

So you are considering a move to Toronto but aren’t sure where to settle. As a *young-ish* business professional, choosing a neighborhood to move to felt so daunting. Am I going to feel safe, am I going to make friends, am I going to be stuck in gridlock traffic everyday to get to my condo? These are the never-ending questions I asked myself before finally landing on one.

Toronto is one of the greatest cities in the world and a ton of people have relocated here for so many reasons. Toronto has several neighborhoods and communities that are great for everyone whether you are looking to raise a family, move alone, or relocate for work. So lets talk about each of the major neighborhoods because I want you to avoid moving to a neighborhood that doesn’t feel like home.

Before I get started, if you want a copy of my Toronto Relocation guide that breaks down all the amenities, features and communities in Toronto, follow and DM me on social media and I will send you a copy absolutely FREE!

Where to live in the Six depends on your preferences and lifestyle. This section offers a brief description of the different Toronto neighbourhoods, aimed at giving you an idea as to where to live.

Pro tip: make sure you explore the neighborhood and spend time in it before deciding to commit to one. See what the neighborhood has to offer and how it makes you feel.

Let’s begin with Toronto’s West End. If you are a young business professional, this is probably where you want to be.

1. First up we have one of my favorite neighborhoods at King West- One of the busiest and most energetic parts of Toronto, King West is for those who truly want to embrace city life. If you want to live here, expect it to be in a condo, and expect to pay a bit more than the surrounding neighborhoods. What you get for your money is prime location downtown. Just about everything is convenient, and you will be spoiled for choice in terms of nightlife, restaurants, yoga studios, and gyms, with easy access to events at the Rogers Centre, the Scotiabank arena and more.

2. Liberty Village- Liberty Village is fast growing community of high-rise condos that has emerged as a little village of its own at the end of King West, mainly filled with young professionals. Liberty Village has really emerged as a popular location in recent years and amenities are growing by the minute. Its own little community with the convenience of having grocery stores, gyms & beach access. LV is super close to the Ontario Place which has summer festivals, concerts and some of the most beautiful views of the Toronto skyline. It’s very convenient to the BMO Field where Toronto FC and the Toronto Argonauts play. It is also well located for a quick commute to the downtown core.

3. Fashion District/Entertainment District - A vibrant district of downtown, this Toronto neighbourhood can be very busy, day and night. The local cafes and streets are filled during the day, while after dark the nightclubs, bars, and restaurants make sure this part of Toronto never sleeps.

4. Queens Quay/Cityplace- Overlooking Lake Ontario, this is quite a picturesque area, ideal for joggers or walking the dog. There are many condo buildings along Queen’s Quay, so it is densely populated. Getting around here is very easy as union station is nearby. 

5. The Annex- much like many other neighbourhoods in the West End of Toronto, The Annex is a hub for young professionals. Historically home to students and staff of the University of Toronto, this neighbourhood begins at the north-west boundary of what would be considered downtown. The main U of T campus is at the south east end of the neighbourhood, while The Annex itself is a combination of leafy streets with old houses, and pubs and eateries that are friendly to the student budget. It’s by no means a students-only area though — the strip on Bloor has seen a host of new businesses move in over the last few years to make this an attractive area for residents of any age group or background. With Christie Pits Park just to the west and Casa Loma to the north, The Annex still possesses plenty beyond its bars, restaurants, and book stores. It also has the benefit of being close to three subway stations on Line 2: Bathurst, Spadina, and St George

6. Yonge & Eglinton- This is the furthest North neighborhood I have mentioned but it is well located to travel quickly downtown.  Yonge & Eglinton has plenty to offer - there are lots of amenities, including the Eglinton Mall and movie theatre, while the area also boasts a wide selection of boutiques and restaurants. The Eglinton Avenue buses going east and west run very regularly, and the city is currently in the process of building the Corsstown LRT — a new light rail transit line that is expected to greatly improve east/west transit along Eglinton Avenue. The Toronto locals/commuters know that the Eglinton Crosstown work has been ongoing for about…. 10 years (yes, I said it) and it looks like there is no sight in end. So you can expect traffic headaches in the area for the next few years.

7. Kensington- A fiercely independent spirit floods through the streets of Kensington Market. It is a unique and iconic neighborhood with a bohemian feel to it and is home to all manner of thrift stores, book shops, cafes, quirky bars, and fresh food outlets. Located on the western side of Chinatown between College Street to the north and Dundas Street to the south, Kensington is easily accessible to the downtown core.

8. Little Italy- Just up the street from Kensington is Little Italy - a bit of a calmer neighborhood with some really charming streets. I’m sure you guessed by the name; it is a traditionally Italian neighborhood… which comes with some of the best places to eat in Toronto. Little Italy is also a great location to go watch the soccer World Cup or European Championships when they come around every other year. It is one of the most exciting Toronto neighbourhoods to call home and has direct streetcar access.  


Now for the East End… The East end of Toronto is more on the family-friendly side. So if you have kids or are looking to start a family, consider looking at these neighborhoods to lay down your roots:

9. Danforth-Greektown- Starting from the east side of the Don Valley Parkway, most of the Danforth as far as Victoria Park is often considered Greektown. The neighbourhood is best known for the annual Taste of the Danforth… yummmmm). The area is home to plenty of restaurants, while the bar scene is somewhat more low-key that the west end or downtown, with many locals rather than a destination for party-goers. One big advantage is that Line 2 of the TTC’s subway system runs right through the neighbourhood underneath Danforth Avenue, so transit is super convenient. The fact that Greektown border the Don Valley River Park is a huge plus for nature lovers and those who want a break from the concrete jungle. A short walk south to Riverdale Park will also give you one of the best views of Toronto’s skyline.

10. Leslieville- The ‘cool’ part of the east end. Leslieville, like West Queen West, is a haven for creative types and is filled with independent shops, bars, and restaurants to cater to all manner of niche interests. Leslieville is also a very family-friendly neighbourhood and has access to main transit lines.

11. The Village- Located at the Church & Wellesley junction, The Village is the heart of Toronto’s LGBT community. Lots of bars and nightclubs line the streets, so it is a lively place to live. The TTC is just a quick walk over to Yonge Street where you can get on the subway at either Wellesley or College station.

12. Riverdale- Riverdale is a relaxed residential part of the east end that overlaps somewhat with the western boundaries of Danforth-Greektown. It also borders East Chinatown and Leslieville so you get easy access to all those Toronto neighbourhoods have to offer as well. Riverdale is lined with Victorian and Edwardian style homes, and Riverdale Park is full of activity in the summer months with softball games, running clubs and more. For those with relaxation in mind, Riverdale Park is a great spot to sit on a grassy banks and take in the amazing views. The streetcars go north and south through Broadview Avenue to Broadview Station where you can connect to the subway.


So there you have it, the list of my favourite neighborhoods in the city! I hope you found this information useful! As a realtor specializing in the Liberty Village and Toronto real estate market, I am here to help guide you through the entire buying or selling process. Grab a copy of my FREE Toronto guide by reaching out to me on the Contact page or on my social media. Look forward to speaking with you!

Read

A Guide to Buying Your First Home in Today’s Market

I will never forget the first time I bought my first home… and then the second.  It was full of stress, confusion and emotions from start to finish. For many, a home purchase can be one of the biggest decisions of your life. As a 24 year old who had been living at home for her entire life, I had no idea what home ownership meant. This process should be FUN, its an exciting time so why can I only focus on trying to understand what the words “Debt-to-income ratio” means? This is one of the main reasons I got into real estate. I believe that every home ownership experience should be a positive one and I am here to make that happen.


With multiple interest rate hikes and inflation this year, todays market is even more stressful. Its important to identify if home ownership is right for you. Compare the difference in cost between renting and owning and understand the costs along the way. If you have determined that home ownership is the right step for you, read on!

 

Step 1: Save For a Down Payment

In Ontario, you will need to have at least a 5% down payment for purchase prices under $500,000. For houses between $500,000 and $1,000,000, your minimum down payment is 5% on the first 500k, and 10% on the remaining amount. Finally, for houses over $1,000,000, your minimum down payment is 20%. Having a large down payment of at least 20% in any circumstance will allow you to have added flexibility and it will save you thousands of dollars in interest payments and mortgage insurance. At the same time you should be building your credit score (higher credit= better interest rates & lending options!)

 

Step 2: Checking Your Affordability

Your down payment amount, along with your credit score and income all go into what you can afford in a home. Understanding not just what you can afford, but how much you are comfortable spending is crucial in finding a home that you can feel good about. No one wants to be house poor.

 

Step 3: Determine Where to Buy

Once you determine how much you can afford and what you are comfortable spending on a home comes deciding where to buy. Factors such as commute time, public transit, neighbourhood amenities, safety and school rankings tend to be top of mind for many new homebuyers. Keep in mind neighborhood factors that will increase the value of the property (i.e. new construction).


Step 4: Estimate the Closing Costs

Generally, a good estimate of how much to budget for closing costs when buying a house in Ontario tends to be between 3-5% of the purchase price. The two largest components of closing costs include Land Transfer Tax, and Lawyer & Legal Fees. Additional fees include Property survey, home inspection fee, appraisal fee, just to name a few.


Step 5: Get a Mortgage Pre-approval & Look for the Best Rate

Getting a mortgage pre-approval before looking for a home provides the stability of locking in an interest rate for up to 120 days, while providing an estimate on how much of a mortgage you qualify for. A pre-approval acts as a written contract between you and your lender. However, getting pre-approved also does not mean you cannot shop around for rates.


Step 6: Find a Good Real Estate Agent

Connecting with a real estate agent that fits your needs and has a strong understanding of the market you're looking in is crucial. Especially for first-time buyers, having an experienced agent can provide much needed clarity in a brand new situation.


Step 7: Look for Properties in your Price Range

Although it can be tempting to expand your search outward and raise your budget, it's important to continue to look for homes you can both afford and see yourself living in. This search starts online, with websites like your area MLS Page and through what your real estate agent finds to show you.

 

Step 8: Make an Offer

When you’ve found the home you want to buy, it’s time to make an offer to the seller. Your realtor will put this together with your help.


With rising interest rates you especially may be wondering how to buy a house in Toronto’s expensive housing market. As prices decrease, many markets are rebalancing and affordability is improving. The housing market helps the Bank of Canada battle inflation. We expect the slowdown to alleviate inflationary pressures sufficiently for the Bank to reverse some rate rises next year. This will increase affordability when Canada's housing market stabilizes next year. Such events should set the stage for a durable recovery.


I hope you found this information useful! As a realtor specializing in the Liberty Village and Toronto real estate market, I am here to help guide you through the entire buying or selling process. Grab a copy of my FREE Toronto guide by reaching out to me on the Contact page or on my social media. Look forward to speaking with you!

Read

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