At one point, we have all seen a real estate show on Tv. Whether it was Love It Or List It, Property Virgins, or The Property Brothers. Some of us have wondered what it would feel like to have our home featured on a show. How we would like our home to be renovated or remodeled, and what it would look like after. Then we thought about the show and how much our home would be worth after a reno job was complete.
The shows spark our imaginations and they let us look at our homes, and sometimes we start noticing what we would like to have changed about our home. Then we contemplate; well, maybe it is time to sell this place and get something else. If this is the case, then we have some great news for you. We have been asked by the producers of the Property Brothers: Buy and Sell, to feature some of our clients on the Tv show. The show airs on the W Network and HGTV. Our sellers: both house and condo sellers, interested in this must know the following:
- The renovations will not cost you anything.
- You need to be serious about selling your home.
- We require, a compelling story, as to why you would like to be on the show/have renovations done to your home. (Must be e-mailed to us)
- You need to be willing to be featured on national television.
- The last thing to know is; this is only for sellers not under contract by another brokerage, and is exclusively offered to our clients.
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Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 and is filed
No New Condo Projects Being Launched
In 2012/2013, there were 5 condo projects in downtown Mississauga which were launched; PSV 1 and PSV 2, Pinnacle Uptown 1 and 2 and Pinnacle Grand Park. Since the market has been healthy and steadily going up, builders are watching the market in order to see how the market will unfold for the rest of the year, and therefore, no new launches have been planned for this year in the Square One Area. However, the five projects mentioned above still have some inventory left over. For those projects with fast approaching occupancy dates, there are currently some great deals and promotions being offered to us. We have a close partnership with PSV and Pinnacle and would love to offer our clients all the perks of condo ownership, along with great offers.
Pro tip for buyers – If you are still looking to purchase a PSV or Pinnacle condo, now is your chance to get great deals and promotions through us. Contact us for more info!
Rent Prices Are Rising
Over the last two years, rent prices have steadily gone up. Two years ago it was possible to find a one bedroom condo in the City Centre Area for $1250/month, and a two bedroom condo would typically start at $1500/month. This year, a one bedroom will go for $1300/month, while a two bedroom would start at $1600/month. There is also a huge increase in demand for 2 bedroom condo units. They are very popular, yet inventory has been very low. It is not surprising that 2 bedrooms, especially units that are well maintained, nicely painted and competitively priced will lease out within 5 days of being on the market. 1 + den condos are also very sought after, especially if the den is a larger space, or if it comes with a door and can be used as a second bedroom. Since inventory has been low and demand has been high, it is not uncommon for landlords to raise rent on tenants and it comes as no surprise that rent will only keep increasing.
Less Inventory For Sale
On average, Mississauga condos still sell for roughly 98-99% of asking price, and the average days that a condo sits on the market hovers around 32. It is common for nice, well maintained units to sell within a week of hitting the market. The ones that end up sitting on the market for awhile are usually overpriced, and/or not so visually appealing. Some of our buyers lucked out this year, as they were introduced to nice properties before they even had a chance to hit the market.
Pro tip for buyers – if you want to have access to units before they hit the market, then make sure to work with us, since we have this option!
Buyer Expectations Are Up
In 2014, the average condo buyer is a lot more educated, as compared to a buyer a decade ago in 2004. The internet has contributed a lot to this fact. Buyers will check reviews online, before they settle on a building. Buyers also like to read what each condo has to offer. Years ago, buyers moved to be closer to the job, to schools, to grandparents, or to be in good areas. Although, a good location is important, buyers looking to invest in downtown Mississauga already have that advantage. Many of them will spend the extra 10 minutes to drive to work, as long as they find a condo which suits their lifestyle and their needs. The 2014 condo shopper is looking to invest in a lifestyle, and what that lifestyle has to offer. Some features on their list of must haves are:
- visitor parking
- party room
Buyers also have high expectations for what is being offered inside the unit. Most buyers want units that have stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, hardwood throughout, floor to ceiling windows and a nice view.
Pro tip for sellers - Having a non-painted or non staged unit in this busy market really puts your unit at a disadvantage. If you want to ensure that your unit really sticks out from the rest, get in touch with us and we can get your condo sold! We offer great marketing and free staging!
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Sunday, March 16th, 2014 and is filed
One of the main factors, when choosing a new home, for many new home buyers is deciding which city is the right fit. Most people will choose a location close to their work. Others may pick a location associated with higher social status. Which ever factors go into your decision, property tax is something you should consider. Property and land transfer taxes are required to be paid to the owner on your Closing Date. The money is split between the city, region, and province. In this article, we will outline the property tax and land transfer taxes associated with purchasing a property in the Square One region of Mississauga.
When deciding which house to purchase, property tax should play a role in your decision. Mississauga has one of the lowest property tax rates in the Peel region. This makes it especially attractive for real estate investors who wish to invest in the GTA, to invest in properties near Square One.
In the Peel region, residential property tax is calculated using the following formula:
Assessed value x City residential tax rate
Assessed value x Peel residential tax rate
Assessed value x Provincial residential education tax rate
Your total residential property tax bill
Both the Peel and education rates are fixed rates at 0.424% and 0.212% respectively. Between Mississauga, Caledon, and Brampton; Mississauga has the lowest city tax rate.
The total property tax in Mississauga for a condo priced at $269,000 would be $2,492.68 in 2013.
A one bedroom apartment in the Marilyn Monroe Condos across from the Square One shopping centre is selling for $269,000. Let’s look at the property tax between this condo and a similarly priced condo in Brampton.
The total property tax for a condo in Brampton listed at $269,000 would be $3,110.53. As shown in the charts above, property taxes are significantly higher in Brampton as opposed to Mississauga. This makes it more attractive for investors to purchase a home in the Square One region of Peel.
Land Transfer Taxes
Another common tax which is associated with purchasing a new home is land transfer taxes. These costs are added to the purchase price of the home under the closing costs. In Ontario, land transfer taxes remain the same in every city except for Toronto, where additional costs are added. In Ontario land transfer taxes are:
- Up to $55,000 X 0.5 % of total property value
- From $55,000 to $250,000 X 1 % of total property value, less $275
- From $250,000 to $400,000 X 1.5 % of total property value, less $1525
- From $400,000 up X 2 % of total property value, less $ 3525
If we use the example above on a Mississauga condo, than the land transfer tax would be $269,000 x 1.5% – 1525 = $2,510. This cost will be included in the purchase price of the property. If however, the condo was located in Toronto, than an additional transfer tax will have to be included. Toronto home buyers will have additional taxes which are:
- 0.5% on first $55,000,
- 1% on next $345,000, and
+ 2% on portion over $400,000
Purchasing a $269,000 condo in Toronto will now have a Land transfer tax of:
0.5% x 55,000 = $275
0.01% x (269,000-55,000) = $2,140
$2,510 + $275 + $2,140 = $4,925
This may explain why Toronto homes are pricier than other homes in the GTA.
When deciding where you want to purchase a property and at what location you should purchase; the property and land transfer taxes should play a role in your decision as well. Mississauga has the lowest property tax rates in the Peel region, which is something to keep in mind when deciding on where to purchase your property.
About the Author
Allan is an experienced Chartered Accountant, CPA and tax expert. He has extensive experience in handling tax matters and has helped many business owners and individuals save on taxes. He continuously shares his expertise through presentations and other educational venues, whilst coming up with unique tax saving strategies.
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Wednesday, March 5th, 2014 and is filed
It is no secret that many of the condo units around the Square One area are rented out to tenants. In fact, in 2013, there were over 1746 recorded lease transactions on the MLS system in the City Centre area alone. This does not take into account any privately conducted leases, or lease renewals. Although leasing is a viable option for some, most tenants aspire to be owners one day. Over the years, we have helped many tenants transition from renting to owning a condo in Mississauga. In this blog post, we will break down the cost relating to renting and owning a condo in downtown Mississauga.
The Cost Of Renting Vs Owning
In the chart below, we compared the monthly carrying costs of an average priced one bedroom condo in downtown Mississauga. Rent is based on market average of $1,450 per month, and owing is based on a purchase price of $260,000, with $52,000 (20%) down, and at a 3.5% fixed rate amortized over 25 years.
The above chart indicates that owning a one bedroom condo, would typically cost about $163 more per month as opposed to renting it.
The next chart uses the same metrics as above, and calculates the amount of equity which would be accumulated over a 5 year term.
The chart indicates that after 5 years, the owner would pay off over $28,000 in principle, while the renter would build $0 equity.
Anyone who is currently renting, knows that rent rates have been going up steadily over the years. The chart below, on the left, shows the year to year increase of market rent (the amount landlords charge tenants monthly). The second chart, on the right, predicts the capital appreciation (the amount that the property will appreciate in value) over a 5 year period. In our calculation, we have used a variable of 1% yearly for rental increases, and 2% yearly for market average price increases.
Based on historical data, it is safe to assume that a person who is currently paying rent of $1450 per month on their one bedroom condominium in Mississauga, can expect that that amount will increase by around $60 in the next five years. At the same time, a person who is paying off a mortgage for a similar property, would acquire roughly $26,000 in property appreciation over the next five years.
In this blog post we went over the basic costs associated with renting and owning a condo. Based on the figures presented, we saw that owning a condo could cost only $163 more per month than renting it. At the same time, the owner can build equity by paying off their mortgage, and building equity through market appreciation. It’s likely that in less than five years, the owner would have already made back the $52,000 ( $28,000 in principle + $26,000 in capital appreciation) that they have originally put down as a down-payment.
Then why do some people still continue to rent? For some, they are renting because it’s a short term solution and for others it is a temporary solution, in order to save money for a larger down payment.
For anyone who is currently leasing a condo, and is on the fence about buying, I encourage you to check out our rent vs buy calculator. If you are ready to take the next step and see if you qualify, please do contact us and we would be more than happy to help you become a condo owner.
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Tuesday, February 4th, 2014 and is filed
The well known builder in Mississauga who brought you condos such as One Park Tower, Chicago and Limelight, will be releasing new condos; “Daniels Erin Mills Condos”. They will be located at 2550 Eglinton Ave W in Mississauga next to Erin Mills Town Centre (Erin Mills Parkway and Eglinton Ave). Daniels has acquired about 6 acres of land on the south west corner of that intersection. They have planned to build three high rise condos, starting with the West tower, which will have 25 storeys and 300 units. The units will feature 1 Bedrooms, 1+1 Bedrooms, 2 Bedrooms and 2+1 Bedrooms. This community will also have 2 and 3 Bedroom, 2 level Townhomes.
This new community by Daniels is conveniently located in the heart of Erin Mills. It is steps away from Credit Valley Hospital, Erin Mills Town Centre, all the shops, transportation, restaurants, schools, parks and more! Everything that the heart desires is right at your doorstep. Daniels vision was to create a community where one can play, dine, work, shop, and call home.
The amenities will feature: a grand lobby with a ground level café, fitness room, party room, an outdoor terrace with BBQs, garden plots and much more!
Prices start at the low 200,000s
If this is your first pre-construction condo please read these two articles: What you need to know before you buy a pre-construction condo and the process of buying a pre-construction condo.
Register here with ES Team now for VIP Promotions, which will NOT be offered by Daniels directly.
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Saturday, January 25th, 2014 and is filed
As a condo owner you do have the luxury of living a nearly worry free lifestyle, as the condo corporation takes care of most repairs for the building complex. In return, you as the owner pay a monthly “condo fee”, also known as “maintenance fee”. Typically speaking, the condo corporation takes care of maintaining the common areas, whereas you have the responsibility of maintaining everything inside your condo unit. Although, there are not many things to maintain inside a condo, owners often forget about the few items which are part of their responsibility.
In this short blog post, I want to cover three of the most overlooked, and often neglected, responsibilities of being a condo owner.
Cleaning Clothes Dryer Vents
All condos in Square One come equipped with ensuite laundry. This means the installed dryers do require ventilation. Most of the ventilation systems have two lint traps; one inside the dryer and one in the ceiling above the dryer. The lint trap inside the dryer should be cleaned every laundry load and the one above the dryer should be changed every 2-3 months. Failing to do this, could result in an overheated dryer or even worse a house fire. In fact, in America clothes dryers are responsible for over 15,000 fires every single year!
Changing Air Filters
This is also referred to as fan coil maintenance. It may be a shock to some condo owners, but typically speaking the owner of the condo, not the condo corporation, is responsible for maintaining the AC / Heating unit within the condo. The system is relatively simple, as it works on re-circulating air that is already in the room. For it to work properly, it requires that a) there are no objects (such as furniture) blocking the in-vent at the bottom, and 2) for the air filters inside the in-vent to be changed at least 3 times a year. Improper maintenance of fan coils can result in weak AC/Heat, poor air quality or even worse mold.
Cleaning Bathroom Exhausts
The Ontario building code requires every bathroom to have a ventilation system installed. It’s not uncommon for two bathrooms to share one fan or to be installed on a three-way-switch. Every time you use the bathroom the exhaust fan should be turned on to ensure the humidity levels are controlled. Over time, the dust ends up getting build up which can clog the grill (of the fan) and even worse prevent the fan from operating properly. The easiest way to see if your bathroom exhaust system is working properly is to do the tissue paper test. Improper maintenance of bathroom ventilation systems can result in poor air quality and mold.
Maintaining the above will not only improve your quality of life inside your unit, but will also help with the resale value of your unit should you ever decide to sell it!
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Wednesday, January 1st, 2014 and is filed
Having the chance to work with many condo buyers in the Square One area, I have noted that the majority of condo shoppers have balconies on their “wishlist”. Buyers believe that balconies are an essential part of any condo because it allows them to be outside without having to leave their units. However, are balconies really that important? Or are they simply an overrated feature of a condo?
The Advantages Of Balconies
The good news is that pretty much every condo in Mississauga built after 2004 does come with a balcony. Unless you are buying an older condo, there is not much need to have balconies on your “wishlist” as it’s a standard feature. Some older condos also have balconies, however most of them have solariums, which are in essence ( den like rooms with large windows, positioned next to the living room).
As stated earlier, having a balcony allows the condo owner the convenience of going outside without having to leave the unit, in order to get some fresh air, enjoy the view, have coffee or even eat. Another advantage of balconies, is that the owner feels like they are sitting outside, where they can smoke and entertain, have some flowers and patio furniture (minus the backyard feel of a house). The last advantage that many see is that balconies seem to open up the indoor space. The unit feels much larger and there is also more natural light coming in.
The Disadvantages of Balconies
Balconies are surprisingly expensive for condo builders to built, and later on even more costly for the condo corporation to maintain. After some time, the cold winter weather we have in Canada does take a toll on the concrete slab floor, and the balconies do need repairs. Hypothetically speaking, if builders started to build condos without balconies, like they did for many condos prior to 2004, condos would in fact be larger in square footage. The 50-100 square foot of concrete used to create the balcony, could potentially be used to add additional living space. Wouldn’t that be nice?
Many condo buyers picture themselves buying a condo with a nice balcony in order to grill on the BBQ in the summer time. Unfortunately, the Ontario Fire Code prevents all high-rise condos in Mississauga to have propane BBQs on their balconies. Some buyers believe that the rule varies from building to building, yet, I need to stress that this law is not part of the condo declaration (condo rules), but rather part of the Ontario Fire Code. Some owners disregard these laws and still continue to have BBQs on their balconies, at their own risk.
The biggest disadvantage that I have found among some of the condo buyers who were considering units with balconies, is that some buyers with children feared balconies and how easy accessible they are. Some condo units have two exits and others have a small lock that is easy to open by young children.
Some buyers on the other hand believed that the concrete floor on the balcony looked unfinished. I was told in different parts of the world, most balconies have tile finishes and almost look as if they are part of the living space of the condo. What is important to note is that in Mississauga some condo corporations will actually allow you to finish your balcony while others do not.
The final disadvantage of balconies are the neighbors you may have to deal with. This includes nosy neighbors, to loud neighbors and the worse, to the neighbors which throw cigarette buts of their balconies.
Balconies are a funny thing, because most buyers insist on having them, but they rarely end up using them. Although it would be difficult to put an exact figure on how much premium a balcony would have, I would estimate it to be in the $15-20k range, over a unit which does not have a balcony. Terraces; which in some condos can be 400 or more square feet, are even more expensive, costing the buyer anywhere between $25-35k depending on the unit.
In my opinion, despite the disadvantages, having a balcony is a great thing! However, to get the most out of your balcony you have to have a great view. It’s like real estate – its comes down to location, location location!
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Wednesday, December 11th, 2013 and is filed
It’s no secret that condo builders are designing condo units smaller and smaller. A recent study showed that the average condo size has shrunken as much as 20% from what builders were offering a decade ago. The reason for this is simple; builders realized that in the same amount of space, they can sell a lot more units by making them smaller.
Most people would argue that bigger is better, when it comes to condos. As much as I agree that bigger condos are better than smaller condos, it is important to point out that smaller condos are cheaper to furnish and easier to clean.
In this short blog post, I want to cover 5 cool tips and tricks I have made available to my buyers, who are looking to get the most out of their smaller condo units.
Think Twice, Buy Once – When it comes to small spaces, believe me – less is more. If you see something in IKEA which you would like to have in your condo, sleep on it for at least 3 days before purchasing it. If you still feel as strong about it three days later, go ahead with the purchase. Remember your condo must have consistency, so if your sticking to the modern look, don’t go out buying an old school style chair.
Bed Storage – Under bed storage compartments such as these ones are great for storing off-season clothing and things you don’t need.
Customs closets – If you have the privilege of having a walk in closet it may be a good idea to install a custom California style closet such as the ones offered here and here. These are not cheap to purchase, but when you are selling your unit, these will definitely help your unit stand out from the rest.
Vertical Space – The one advantage most smaller unit condos have is that they have 9 foot ceilings. Higher ceilings open the possibilities to use hanging bookshelves, DVD racks, upper storage in closets, track lights and more! You have the space, lets use it!
The Bed/Desk combo – One of the most common dilemmas owners of small condos in Mississauga face is what to transform their dens into. They like the idea of having a mini office, but at the same time, they want to have the option of another bed in the den, just in case a friend wants to sleep over. The solution? A desk which transform into a bed as seen here in the 2013 fall home show.
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Saturday, November 16th, 2013 and is filed
UPDATE NOVEMBER 16TH: The Pinnacle Uptown Town homes have been released please Click here or call 647-989-7517 to book your appointment. No walks in.
The long wait is finally over. Those who have been anticipating the release of the Pinnacle Uptown Townhomes can now officially register with me for the VIP launch, which will take place in less than 3 weeks! This limited release of only 100 units, nicknamed “Marquee Townhomes” will be a great addition to Mississauga’s expanding downtown core. The ultra high end townhouses will be similar to those existing townhomes currently found on the corner of Shipp Drive and Roberts Speck Parkway in downtown Mississauga (some these are known to sell for a million dollar plus).
Here is the info you must know:
Starting price: $700,000′s
Opening VIP sale event: Within 3 week (November 2013)
Completion: Summer 2014
Size: 2000+ square feet
Condo Fees: ~ $250 a month
Location: Pinnacle Uptown (Eglinton and Hurontario)
VIP Promotion: Special $2500 off builder prices (limited time offer)
Register: Click here or call 647-989-7517. We will call you with more details about the specifics of the VIP event.
Here are some more must see preview renderings:
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Monday, October 28th, 2013 and is filed
Real estate has come a long way over the last decade or so.We have seen a peculiar change in the dynamics of how properties are marketed by the seller and searched for by the buyer. Years ago, it was unheard of that someone could be sitting halfway across the world on their computer, searching for properties and then buying them. Today, this has become mainstream. Buyers do not need to be in the country in order to purchase a property. In this blog post, I will share some of my thoughts on how the presentation of offers has changed over the past few years.
Traditional Offer Presentations
Traditionally speaking, the real estate purchasing process looked something like this:
A client would contact a REALTOR to help him find a new home. The agent would show him a series of houses until the perfect one was found. The REALTOR and client would then meet at the agent’s office and write up an offer. Once the offer was completed and signed, the buyer’s agent would contact the seller’s agent to arrange a time when the offer could be presented in person. The face to face meeting would usually take place late at night and it was common for all the parties (both agents, buyers and sellers) to be up past midnight to get the deal done. Sometimes, there were six copies of the offer that needed to be signed and initialed by all parties. Since photocopying was not an option, any major changes that were made in the offer would result in completely rewriting the offer, which would take hours. The offer process was tedious and extremely time consuming for everyone involved.
Modern Offer Presentations
Today, this process has taken new shape
Once the client finds the perfect property and decides to put in an offer; the buying agent can prepare, send and negotiate the offer without having to meet the sellers / seller’s agent in person. Technology makes this possible. It enables the buyer’s agent to email or fax over the offer to the seller’s agent. All negotiations are done over the phone and most of the time there is no need to meet face to face.
Which Is Better?
Not all REALTORS have adapted to the new way of presenting offers. Many still believe that better results can be achieved when there is a face to face meeting. Those who believe in presenting offers in person argue that from the buyer’s perspective it is much easier to “read” the sellers, and push for a lower price. While on the other side, the sellers also believe that through a face to face offer, it’s easier to “read” the buyer and to get the most amount of money out of them. Aside from reading the other party, those REALTORS in favor of presenting offers in person believe that a face to face meeting truly benefits their clients, and that they are doing everything that is in their power to serve their clients’ best interest. Whether this has any legitimacy, is left up for debate.
On the other hand, those agents who present offers via email/fax argue that the best results are achieved when the buying process is less personal and intimate. Having buyers and sellers meet face to face can bring its challenges, as buyers often try to reduce the purchase price and make comments about the seller’s house which could be interpreted as offensive by the seller. This may come as a shock to some sellers, but having the opportunity to work with a lot of buyers – what I found to be most interesting is that a lot of the time, the buyers do not want to meet the previous sellers (for whatever reason, that it may be). As a final note, from a seller’s perspective some agents would argue that the very weak offers are the ones usually presented in person and by doing so they are trying to humanize the weak offer.
To answer the question – which is better? It ultimately comes down to what the buyer, seller and their agents agree on. I respect both methods. Personally, I find about 90-95% of the offers I present are presented electronically. So far this year, my average buyer ended up paying roughly 97.2% of asking price, which is lower than the industry standard of 98.5%. Thus, I believe my strategy of sending offers does work in the favor of my buying clients. At the same time, I acknowledge that in some circumstances it’s better to present an offer in person. In a situation where there is a multiple offer, it is better to present the offer in person to ensure that you do not get outbid.
The Future Of Offer Presentations
Unfortunately, As REALTORS, we kill a lot of trees. It’s no secret that OREA (Ontario Real Estate Association) is making efforts to move towards electronic signatures and a paperless real estate environment. We will start seeing more and more REALTORS carrying iPads and tablets, as opposed to traditional printed listings. With the way technology is going, it is possible that all signatures and offers will be conducted electronically. This in turn will solve the big environmental issue of printing too much paper and wasting it. In the end, real estate has come a far way, it has moved away from the traditional ways of searching for properties to the new modern way of electronically searching and preparing/submitting offers and the future will only hold more changes and require more adaptations.
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Saturday, October 5th, 2013 and is filed