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Displaying blog entries 21-28 of 28

Buying New Condos: Food for Thought...

by Claire Franceschetti

I recently read an article, in a Toronto news paper, that got me thinking about the experiences of home buyers purchasing newly built condominiums. The article detailed home buyers who had bought a newly constructed condominium, from floor plans, but, unfortunately, once the unit was built, they were disappointed when they realized that one window looked at a brick wall, the floor was laminate and the balcony was “more of a ledge.” This article is a good reminder that there is a lot to consider when deciding to buy a newly built condominium.

Condominiums are regulated by the provincial Condominium Act. In recent months, there has been some talk about the need to reform this law, in part to provide better consumer protection. There is no doubt that the Condominium Act does need reworking but “caveat emptor” or buyer beware can go a long way to help home buyers considering any property, including newly built condominiums.

When buying newly built housing, there are many things to consider. Firstly, when you walk into a new housing sales office, please realize that, often, everyone working there is working on behalf of the seller/builder. If that is the case, you may have discussions with them, but their fiduciary duty is to the builder, not you as the Buyer. With this in mind, you do have the option of working with a Realtor and entering into a Buyer Representation Agreement, to authorize them to work on your behalf in any Purchase.

At any time that you work with a licensed Realtor they must disclose, to all parties, on whose behalf they are working, in writing. For years, I have been hoping that the Government of Ontario would make disclosure part of all sales that happen in the Province. Currently only REALTORS®, who are licensed under the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act 2002, must do so. Consumers would be better protected if other parties that are involved in real estate transactions, including lawyers, private sellers and new construction on-site salespeople, were also required to do so. It’s only fair: anyone acting on behalf of someone else should have to disclose their relationship with the Buyer or Seller.

Secondly, a very important thing to know is that all Buyers of newly built condominiums are entitled by law to a 10 day cooling-off period, during which time they can cancel their agreement. This is a good time to peruse all documentation and take it to a lawyer for review. When dealing with condominiums, it could help to use a lawyer who specializes in Condominium Law. The lawyer may have good advice on stipulations that you can add into the contract to better protect yourself.

Thirdly, understand what you are buying:


•Make sure that a condominium suits your lifestyle. Do you have a good sense of the reality of a 665 square foot property with two bedrooms and two bathrooms? If you have house-sized furniture are you ready to sell it all to make this type of new space "liveable".
•Be diligent in getting the details. If the plans show nine foot ceilings, is that in all of the rooms? Where will the heating, cooling, and water be located for the apartment below and above? Ask for the full building plans so you can see where the bulkheads are planned.
•Understand the status of the neighborhood. Is it a stable neighborhood with little re-development or is their significant development on-going, or coming, that could change the nature of the area, and affect things like the view from your unit. The municipality’s Official Plan and Planning Department staff can help you look into the future to get an idea of what may be coming.
•Be realistic in your expectations for the property’s value; use common sense. Getting caught up in hype and speculating that your unit will increase dramatically in value from the time you purchase until construction is complete could leave you disappointed.

Finally, be sure to consider all of your options. For many home buyers, newly built housing is the right choice; however, if you are the type of person who likes to “kick the tires” before buying, purchasing a re-sale property might be a better option for you.


Newly constructed housing is an important part of the real estate market. It fills an important niche and is the right choice for many people. However, as with any major purchase, it is important that you take steps to look out for your best interests. Go the extra step to make sure that you understand what you are buying, and consider working with a Realtor who can provide assistance and advice during the purchase of your new home.

"Claire, How's the Market?" July Results are In!

by Claire Franceschetti

Here's your monthly market video update.

Interesting to hear about how small changes to lending rules can have a HUGE effect on actual real estate transactions.

If you have any comments, or questions, I welcome you to give me a call!

 

 

 

"Claire, How's the Market" June Sales #'s are Out!

by Claire Franceschetti

Here are the most current sales figures for the GTA real estate market.

Overall, there was a drop in June of 5.45% over last June for sales in the GTA, with the trend being led by Toronto sales down fully 13%.  A little more encouraging though is that prices have held steady and actually show a growth rate of 7.3% over this time last year.

One reason that is sighted for the drop in sales in Toronto is the HATED Land Transfer Tax which boosts up front purchase costs for buyers. In fact, there is some speculation that this Tax is driving buyers to the "905" area.

You be the judge! Enjoy this interesting info!

 

Open House Tips: How to Shop Smart

by Claire Franceschetti

The spring season of Open Housing is well upon us. Here are 5 great questions to ask at an open house. You might find out some interesting info:
 
1. How old is the house? And age of high ticket items like windows,a roof (both shingles and plywood), furnace etc. This will give you a quick idea of immediate  areas of concern.

2. Why are the owners selling? Rarely asked by "open housers" but very valuable info in learning about the neighborhood and the motivation of the sellers. If you are new to the area, this will be a good opportunity to get any indication of major transitions that are coming up for the area. I.e. new highway going in behind the subdivision or the flight paths of the nearby airport have recently been rerouted right over the home!
 
3. Is the basement apartment licensed? If it is, 50% of the income that is generated by the rental can be counted towards your annual income in the eyes of many lenders. If it isn't, you may face problems with the local zoning department and bylaw officers. (I suspect that bylaw officers glean the current listings to find tip offs about illegal apartments in houses that are listed for sale.)
 
4. Has the house ever been used as a grow op? Sellers and their agents have the legal obligation to disclose this info as it can negatively impact the value of the home long into the future. Further, this obligation to disclose this fact survives any subsequent changes in ownership, and can never be withheld to potential buyers.
 
5. Has anyone passed away in the home? This may or may not be of significance to you, but if it is, the agent has a duty to disclose any knowledge of this fact to you.

Enjoy looking at Open Houses. When you are ready to "kick it up a notch", I welcome your call!

There is rarely a day that goes by without being asked about the market. When I grab my daily coffee at Coffee Time or Starbucks in town (I change it up every day depending on how I'm feeling), I am quizzed on what's going on. So here's a quick update that looks promising if you're thinking of making a move.

1.  Sales are UP!

The Toronto Real Estate Board reported 10,350 firm sales in April 2012, which is nearly 1500 more homes than the 8,778 firm deals during April 2011.  The strongest sales growth was seen amongst the single-detached home market, with sales up by 22 % compared to a year ago.

2. Prices are UP!

Shockingly, the average price for April 2012 transactions was $517,556 – up 8.5 per cent
compared to April 2011. Comparatively, condominium apartment sales has more supply, and thus has only seen a moderate price growth of 4%.

3. Still a Sellers Market

What does this mean for sellers? Since demand has increased, and supply has not kept up, competition between buyers has increased. (The dreaded multiple offer frenzy for buyers is still upon us.) It follows then that the strongest annual price increase was also seen for single-detached homes.

4. Sitting it Out is a Dumb Idea

I have lost a few buyer clients because the thought that the market would collapse a few years back. They sold their homes and began to rent. They have spend thousands of dollars in rent, and their equity is earning close to no interest.  They are further behind at this point than staying in the market and living without fearing the timing of buying and selling.

I love my job...I actually love it so much it doesn't feel like a job at all! So next time you ask me "How's the Market?", upsize the coffee because we've got lots to discuss!


 

"Claire, How's the Market?" March Sales #'s are Out!

by Claire Franceschetti

 

The experts are predicting an average home price climb over $500K this year. We're not there yet, but I see month over month price increases, that would indicate that we're on our way!

Here's a video overview of the GTA's real estate market. Enjoy, and give me a call any thime to discuss your real estate needs.

 

Here's something to really keep in mind when you are considering a New Build as an investment property.

Give me a call to discuss this or other aspects of buying investment properties!

7 Tips to Becoming a Real Estate Investor

by Claire Franceschetti

Many people think being a landlord and investing in real estate is a way to make easy money. It can be financially rewarding if you do your homework and reduce your risks. But it isn't necessarily easy, and if done incorrectly can lead to financial ruin.

After dealing with negligent tenants, many novice landlords ask: "Why did I think being a landlord was easy money?"
 
The trick is to end up with money in your pocket at the end of the month after paying your bills and collecting the rent as you slowly pay down the mortgage and end up with a nest egg.

Here are some tips:
 
 • Research the area where you’d like to buy. Is it in decline or on the way up? A good indication is if chains like Wal-Mart, Tim Hortons and Home Depot are moving in. These companies do a lot of work on demographics and income before deciding where to locate. You can get a big picture look at vacancy rates at settlement.org, a federally funded site that helps immigrants with information and resources to settle in Canada.

 • Use a real estate agent who also is an area investor. Ask them to show you their properties and the rents. Ask for the names of other investors they have helped. Call them. Make sure they have a team of professionals you can use, such as property managers, insurance advisers, mortgage brokers, home inspectors, accountants and lawyers.

 • Once you own more than four rental units, consider a reliable property manager. You don’t want to take a call in the middle of the night. A rule of thumb is that you should allocate up to 10 per cent of monthly rent to a property manager. They will make sure your building is properly maintained and can help find tenants.
 
 • Do not be in a hurry to rent a vacant unit. Take your time to qualify any potential tenant, since it can take months to evict a problem tenant. Call all tenant references, ask for a current pay stub and speak to at least two prior landlords. Where possible, require the tenant to pay for utilities. The tenant will have to apply to the utility company for an account, which amounts to an extra credit check being done by the utility company.
 
 • Be careful with basement apartments and homes rented to students. Although these units can provide additional income, you must make sure that they are legal, comply with the fire code and have any required licenses to operate.

 • Buy and hold your property for the long term. This way, you have an income and slowly start to pay down your mortgage.

 • If you are investing with others, have a partnership agreement. Problems may occur later if the friendship breaks down, especially if one partner loses their job and cannot pay their share of expenses, or if one partner wants to sell while the other does not. With a partnership agreement, you can provide what will happen in these situations in advance, without having to pay costly legal fees to figure it out later.
 
Investing in real estate is not easy. But by taking the proper precautions, it can be very rewarding.

Displaying blog entries 21-28 of 28

Contact Information

Photo of Claire Franceschetti Real Estate
Claire Franceschetti
Right At Home Realty Inc.
190 Marycroft Ave.
Vaughan ON L4L5Y2
Direct: 416-918-6325
Office: 416-391-3232
Fax: Fax: 416-987-8001