Friday, December 30, 2022

Move or Stay? How To Get Off The Fence

Deciding whether or not to move can be difficult. You might have a desire to buy a new home, but that might be countered by the fact that it wouldn't be so bad to stay put. 

That's a classic case of being on the fence. So how do you get off? 

Deciding to sell is often both a practical and emotional decision. On the practical side, you might have outgrown your current home. On the emotional side, you might feel a need for a change. 

One way to make decision is to use the two lists technique. On the first list, jot down all the practical reasons why you'd like a new home. On the second list, note all the emotional reasons. 

For example, your practical list might include more space for a growing family. Perhaps you need an extra bedroom. Your emotional list might consist of wanting to get into a neighbourhood that better reflects the lifestyle you desire. For example, you may be looking for an area closer to school and parks. 

Once you've made these two lists, often the right decision becomes clear and therefore, easier to make. 

Monday, December 19, 2022

No-Step Showers

One of the latest bathroom renovation trends is a "no-step" shower area, where the entire bathroom floor gently slopes, at a predetermined angle, towards the main shower drain. As a result, there is no need for a small wall to keep water in the confined shower area. The primary benefit is the visual appeal, as it creates a beckoning spa-like sense of invitation to the shower area. There is also the practical benefit of having a continuous floor surface that's easier to clean, with fewer corners to collect mold and mildew. However, there are unique challenges and costs involved. 

For examples, the flooring in the entire bathroom needs to be fully waterproofed. Also, the floor's subsurface needs to have enough height at its furthest reaches to allow for a gradual but sufficient slope to the shower drain. Furthermore, to achieve the full effect and a minimalist design, the shower door would be eliminated, presuming there is reasonable distance between residual spray and areas needing protection. Of course, such a project requires professional oversight, but the results could be very impressive. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Interesting Products For The Home

Easy Drywall Repair Kit: If you have dents and holes in walls that need more than compound smoothed over with a putty knife, you'll be happy to know you can purchase a drywall repair kit. These kits include the materials you need and step-by-step instructions on how to fix the job yourself - and get professional results. 

Indoor Plant Kits: Advances in recent years have made indoor gardening a far simpler pastime - with far more predictable success than in the past. Whether you want to start an herb garden or grow plants for visual aesthetics, there are a lot of new hydroponic kits to help bring more nature into your home. 

Automatic Pet Door: It looks like a standard door, but this uniquely designed entranceway has a disguised lower panel that opens and closes like an elevator door. A Bluetooth signal on your dog's collar activates the door so your pet can come and go as desired. 

Levitating Speakers: You've probably never heard of - or seen - speakers like these. They appear to be floating in midair! Suspended magnetically, they project sound and can also project different colours when activated. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

GTA REALTORS® Release November 2022 Stats

Homeownership market activity in November continued to be influenced by the impact of higher borrowing costs on affordability. Sales were down markedly compared to the same period last year, following the trend that unfolded since the commencement of interest rate hikes in the spring. New listings were also down substantially from last year, and at a very low level historically. The fact that the supply of homes for sale has remained low, has supported average selling prices at the $1.08 to $1.09 million mark since August.

Greater Toronto Area (GTA) REALTORS® reported 4,544 sales through TRREB’s MLS® System in November 2022 – down 49 per cent compared to November 2021, but remaining at a similar level to October especially after considering the recurring seasonal downward trend in the fall. New listings, at 8,880, were down on both a year-over-year basis and month-over-month basis.

“Increased borrowing costs represent a short-term shock to the housing market. Over the medium- to long-term, the demand for ownership housing will pick up strongly. This is because a huge share of record immigration will be pointed at the GTA and the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) in the coming years, and all of these people will require a place to live, with the majority looking to buy. The long-term problem for policymakers will not be inflation and borrowing costs, but rather ensuring we have enough housing to accommodate population growth,” said TRREB President Kevin Crigger.

“We have seen a lot of progress this year on the housing supply and related governance files such as the More Homes Built Faster Act. This is obviously good news. However, we need these new policies to turn into results over the next year. Otherwise, the current market lull will soon be behind us, population growth will be accelerating, and we will have done nothing to account for our growing housing need. The result would be enhanced unaffordability and reduced economic competitiveness,” said TRREB CEO John DiMichele.

The MLS® Home Price Index Composite Benchmark was down by 5.5 per cent year-over-year in November 2022. The average selling price for all home types combined was down by 7.2 per cent year-over-year. Annual price declines continued to be greater for more expensive market segments, including detached and semi-detached houses.

“Selling prices declined from the early year peak as market conditions became more balanced and homebuyers have sought to mitigate the impact of higher borrowing costs. With that being said, the marked downward price trend experienced in the spring has come to an end. Selling prices have flatlined along side average monthly mortgage payments since the summer,” said TRREB Chief Market Analyst Jason Mercer.

TRREB MLS® Sales-to-New Listings Ratio November 2022


TRREB MLS® New Listings November 2022


TRREB MLS® Sales November 2022


TRREB MLS® Average Price November 2022


Monday, December 5, 2022

It's Time to Review Your Auto-Pilot Payments

Have you ever noticed a recurring purchase on your credit card and thought, "Whoa. I didn't realize I was still paying for that." If so, you're not alone. These days, most people have recurring payments and subscriptions set on autopilot, making it all-too-easy not to notice what you're paying for and how much you're spending. 

This phenomenon has become even more acute with the popularity of phone apps. In just a click, you can subscribe to something that, next month, you'll have forgotten all about! 

That's why it's important to review all your recurring purchases and subscriptions annually and decide if you still want them. And, the end of the year is the ideal time to do that. 

So take a moment this month to review your:

  • Phone app subscriptions. 
  • Subscriptions to online tools
  • Traditional subscriptions (such as to a newspaper or magazine). 
  • Recurring payments of any kind. 
Be sure to check purchases that renew annually rather than monthly. Those can be easy to miss! 

As you review each purchase, ask yourself, "Do I still want this?" If the answer is yes, find out if there is a less expensive option that will work for you. Some online tools, for example, have subscription levels. You might be paying for the Premium level when the cheaper Basic level would be just fine. 

This simple review can potentially save you a lot of money in the new year. 

Monday, November 28, 2022

Quick Cleaning Counts

Not every day can be devoted to housework and cleaning chores, so it's worth finding a routine that saves you time and helps you stay ahead of grime. To be time-efficient, determine whether your best approach is sticking to one task throughout the home (e.g. change bedding) or using the "rotation" technique of cleaning one room at a time, from top-to-bottom. Develop a plan but be sure to recognize that different tasks require different time investments. Identify the most opportune time to deal with each task. Start with mini-jobs, such as removing countertop clutter before committing to larger tasks like disinfecting cooking and prep surfaces or washing floors. 

Here are a few time-saving tricks you may not know: 

  • Ceiling Fans: Cover one blade at a time with an old pillowcase or shirtsleeve, then wipe back carefully to capture dust. 
  • Venetian Blinds: Wrap kitchen tong tips with a micro-fibre cloth and swipe each slat, top and bottom at once. 
  • Stovetops and Rangehoods: Surprisingly, cooking oil may be the best way to wipe down caked on greasy surfaces. 
  • Toilet Bowls: Dissolving denture tablets can do wonders when trying to clean porcelain and they won't cause any damage. 

Monday, November 21, 2022

How To Keep Your Deck From Collapsing This Winter

Whether you like it or not, winter is coming. This is a good time to ensure your deck is structurally sound to prevent collapse and damage. Not only will it give you and your family some peace of mind, but it might also help you avoid a costly repair in the future. Review this checklist to ensure your deck is tough enough to handle the upcoming winter. 

Loose Railings - Give your railing a good tug. Is it wobbly, unsteady, or leaning too much in one direction? This should be addressed to prevent further damage, especially before heavy winds and snow arrives. Secure the railing by tightening any loose screws or fasteners. 

Support Posts - Check your support posts for signs of rust and moisture damage, which can typically occur where it meets the ground. It's important to address this as the rot can continue up the post if left untreated. 

Cracked Concrete - If your support posts are resting on top of concrete blocks, inspect the condition of the concrete and look out for cracks or crumbling. 

Loose Ledgers - Ledgers ensure that the deck stays attached to the house. If the ledger is decaying or improperly fastened to the house, this could lead to an eventual collapse. 

Rotted Wood - Not sure if your wood is rotting? Look for mildew, dark colouring, cracks in the wood, or a soft spongy texture. If you think your deck is rotting in some areas, have these specific boards replaced before winter arrives or it could become more damaged. 

Loose Screws, Nails, and Fasteners - Look for things like rusted screw heads, loose fasteners, or nails that are sticking out on the surface of your deck. If you see any of these signs, it could mean there is a problem underneath. Fix these issues as soon as you can. 

Heavy Furniture - Consider removing your furniture before winter hits, especially if they are heavy. The combination of furniture, snow, and ice can add too much weight to your deck, so try to take any pressure off before the snow hits.

Monday, November 14, 2022

The Latest In Bathrooms

Anyone inclined to upgrade a bathroom to bring it into the current decade - or vault it into the future - should consider the many innovative fixture and functions entering the market these days and in the coming months. Some are designed with pure aesthetic benefits, while others are more practical. For example, the pandemic has sparked a strong trend toward bidet installations, complementing desirable bathroom comforts such as heated floors, towel bars and toilet seats. Other ways to create a spa-like atmosphere could include a shower floor platform made of interlocking teakwood tiles, or a coordinated sight-and-sound show based on mood-enhancing chromotherapy. 

Homes with more space might accommodate an open, curb-free shower area and a freestanding drainless bathtub. You might even consider a pre-programmable faucet that responds to voice commands and can draw your bath to a predetermined depth and temperature or a shower that recycles and sterilizes runoff for reuse. For a modern option on toilets, there are low profile "no tank" pod-like toilets or ones that are self-cleaning - replacing a very undesirable household task. If you have time, you may choose to wait as future toilets are being designed to include a biological analysis of each user's regularity! 

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

GTA REALTORS® Release October 2022 Stats

Despite the continued housing market transition to a higher borrowing cost environment, the average selling price in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) found some support near $1.1 million since the late summer. GTA home sales continued to adjust to substantially higher interest rates in October 2022, both on an annual and monthly basis. However, new listings are also down year-over-year and month-over-month. The persistent lack of inventory helps explain why the downward trend in home prices experienced in the spring has flattened over the past three months.

GTA REALTORS® reported 4,961 sales through the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board’s (TRREB) MLS® System in October 2022 – a similar number to September 2022 but down by 49.1 per cent compared to October 2021. Yearover-year sales declines were similar across major market segments.

New listings were down by 11.6 per cent year-over-year and reached an October level not seen since 2010. New listings were down on an annual basis more so for mid-density and high-density home types, which helps to explain why prices have held up better in these categories compared to detached houses.

“With new listings at or near historic lows, a moderate uptick in demand from current levels would result in a noticeable tightening in the resale housing market in short order. Obviously, there is still a lot of short-term economic uncertainty. In the medium-to-long-term, however, the demand for housing will rebound. Public policy initiatives like the recently introduced provincial More Homes Built Faster Act and strong mayor provisions will help ensure we see more homes being built to affordably meet the needs of new households,” said TRREB President Kevin Crigger.

The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite Benchmark was down by 1.3 per cent year-over-year in October 2022. The average selling price for all home types combined, at $1,089,428, was down by 5.7 per cent compared to October 2021. The monthly trends for both the MLS® HPI Composite and the average selling price have flattened in recent months following steeper declines in the spring and early summer.

“Home prices in the GTA have found support in recent months because price declines in the spring and summer mitigated the impact of higher borrowing costs on average monthly mortgage payments. The Bank of Canada’s most recent messaging suggests that they are reaching the end of their tightening cycle. Bond yields dipped as a result, suggesting that fixed mortgage rates may trend lower moving forward, which would help affordability,” said TRREB Chief Market Analyst Jason Mercer.

TRREB MLS® Sales-to-New Listings Ratio October 2022


TRREB MLS® New Listings October 2022


TRREB MLS® Sales October 2022


TRREB MLS® Average Price October 2022

Thursday, November 3, 2022

For Lease | 133 Chaplin Crescent - Main Floor


**An Exceptional Chaplin Estates Rental Opportunity**

Completely Renovated And Loaded With Character & Charm. Hardwood Floors, Gas Fireplace, 2 Bedrooms + 2 Baths With Radiant Heated Floors, Pot Lights, Built-In Closet Organizers, Ensuite Laundry. Chef's Kitchen Perfect For Entertaining. Approximately 1,200 Sq. Ft, 1 Parking Spot, Backing Onto Beltline Trail, Walk To Subway. A Fantastic Mid-Town Executive Rental, Nothing To Do But Move In & Unpack. A Great Condo Alternative!

Monday, October 31, 2022

How To Find A Good Painting Contractor

When you're preparing your home for sale, you may want to consider some painting. After all, painting is the quickest and least expensive way to give your property a significant makeover. Rooms always look better with a fresh coat of paint. 

If you don't want to do the work yourself, hiring a good painting contractor makes sense. Here are some tips for finding a good one: 

  • Recommendations. Ask friends and neighbours in the area if they know a good painting contractor. Local business and professionals can also be a great source of recommendations. 
  • Social media. If there is an active Facebook group for the community, post a request for recommendations for a good painter. Chances are, you'll get a few responses. 
  • Trade associations. There are several trade associations for painting contractors, nationally and regionally. Visit their websites. In most cases, you can search for member contractors in your area. 
  • Local ads. Some painters advertise. So, browse through your local newspaper and direct mail flyers. Also pay attention to lawn signs (which painters sometimes place in front of a home when doing a project). 
When you talk to a painter, be sure to ask to see their project portfolio and client testimonials. 

Monday, October 24, 2022

The Best Eco Tips To Clean Your Home

Contrary to the old myth, it actually is easy being green.

There are a few common misconceptions about cleaning with an eco-friendly mindset. Some of the biggest ones? That natural products are not as effective as their chemical counterparts. Another one is that you need plenty of paper towels and disposable products to get things truly clean. But so much has changed in the last few years. The category of cleaning has evolved, so you can take a dreaded task and turn it into a pleasant one: one that is safe for your family, their health, and the planet.

1. Make it joyful
Sure, some of us love cleaning, but for those of us who don’t, one of the easiest ways to boost your mood? Fragrance! Instead of the harmful scents of strong chemicals that can be used in cleaning, essential oils have risen in popularity, not only for their light fragrances but for their ability to break up grime and leave surfaces gleaming. 

2. Buy in bulk
Seek out products that can be refilled at a bulk station, that offers cleaning products from laundry detergent to disinfectant surface cleaner to a shampoo and a body care line. Some offer 10L box format of recycled cardboard, allowing you to refill your regular-sized bottles with—in the comfort of your home. This makes it possible to reuse thousands of plastic containers every day, so you can save on every refill.

3. Consider the planet
One way to consider the way the environment is impacted by our cleaning habits is to consider not only the packaging (is it recyclable or disposable?), but to also think about packaging and ingredients. Products that are vegan mean they contain no animal products, which is beneficial to the health of the planet. And biodegradable products means that over time, they will degrade on their own, instead of clogging up landfills and polluting our water systems, lakes and oceans.

4. Seek out multi-taskers
Forget having to purchase eight different spray bottles to clean a 5 x 8 foot space. Many cleaning products manufactured these days—particularly natural cleaning products—are designed to be used on different surfaces in different ways. For example, find a laundry detergent that can be used as a stain remover—not only will it occupy less space in your cabinets, it also means there is less waste.

5. Be thoughtful about quantity
When considering how to be more eco about your cleaning habits, one of the most simple changes you can make is how many dishes or clothing make it into the next cleaning cycle. Running those machines at half load only washes half of its contents while using the full amount of water and electricity! Be strategic about when you do this, instead of just washing items as they become soiled.

6. Go back to basics
Envision the photos from years past, where it was commonplace to hang your laundry out to dry. Do you have access to a drying rack or clothing line? Skip the dryer and hang your clean laundry instead. Not only can the sun help brighten whites and lift stubborn stains, but you’ll save on energy costs, too. If you prefer to use the dryer, make the switch from disposable dryer sheets to wool dryer balls, which smooth out wrinkles and can be scented with a few drops of essential oils.

7. Skip the paper
Paper towels and disposable cleaning products have taken up shelf space in stores for years, promising convenience and cleanliness. But much of the time, they’re truly not necessary. Aside from the expense, cleaning with paper towels is a waste of paper and money. Instead of purchasing them, take a pair of scissors to an old t-shirt, or stock up on inexpensive tea towels and launder them after every use—they have better grit anyway!

8. Prioritize your health 
It’s easy to want a quick fix when you’re working on a tough stain or a messy surface. But those with underdeveloped immune systems, such as children, the elderly and even pets can suffer some health consequences if they are exposed to heavy toxic chemicals. Using these problematic cleaners in order to get the job done is no longer the only option. Instead, look for a household cleaning brand that values safety and transparency, so you can enjoy your beautiful home with peace of mind.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Ways To Enhance Your Entrance

The entrance to your home has the potential to make a significant impression - so make sure it's a good one! Even without an enormous budget, there are many ways you ca give your outside entranceway a facelift that will make the space more welcoming for both you and your guests. Here are just a few ideas that might inspire you: 

  • Discover the immediate benefit of a coat of fresh paint, in a complementary colour of your home's exterior. Start with your front door and if possible, paint your from window frames too. 
  • Define your portico or stoop more clearly by marking front corners with flowerpots or decorative containers with attractive plants. 
  • Don't underestimate the impact of custom-made address numbers and a matching mailbox. 
  • Every few months, refresh your entrance by rotating a set of seasonally=themed welcome mats. 
Sometimes even small embellishments can reap rewards, in terms of both your immediate pride of ownership and long-term value of your investment. If you are considering a more ambitious facelift for your home's exterior - such as a new walkway, driveway, fencing or landscaping - don't hesitate to call for a chat about how such an investment might improve your property's value. 

Friday, October 14, 2022

Just Listed | 33 Castlefield Avenue

***An Exceptional Opportunity In This Prime Yonge/Eglinton Location***

Detached Brick 3 Bedroom Home With 2 Full Baths. Detached Garage, 2 Sunrooms, Separate Entrance to Basement. Zoning Allows For Multiple Uses Including Potential Garden Suite Options. Steps To Yonge Corridor, Shopping, Restaurants, Subway, Parks & Some Of The Best Public Schools In Toronto.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Choosing Vinyl Laminate Flooring

Replacing a floor used to be a daunting project, compounded by the added cost of hiring expert tradespeople. Thankfully, there are now many options, largely due to popular vinyl laminate floors that can be installed surprisingly easily. In fact, even if you're not an ambitious do-it-yourselfer and you hire professional installers, you can still save money because the interlocking pieces make the job much quicker. However, there are significant precautions that must be taken before making such an economical purchase. Beyond your new floor's colour, pattern or design, you must consider the demands you may put on it. 

For example, if your installation is on below-grade concrete, you need to be sure there is a vapour barrier that prevents moisture from damaging your floor. Furthermore, even if you are installing on above-ground concrete, such as on a high-rise floor, you will likely want a laminate that includes a layer that provides some cushion underfoot. Of course, if you have a wooden subfloor, you may expect it will offer some give to relieve fatigue. However, you ought to consider soundproofing between the wooden floors. Fortunately, there are many types of laminate flooring so you can choose the one that performs best for your situation. 

Thursday, October 6, 2022

GTA REALTORS® Release September 2022 Stats

The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) housing market continued its adjustment to higher borrowing costs in September 2022. Sales for the month reached 5,038, but were down by 44.1 per cent compared to September 2021. New listings were also down on a year-over-year basis by 16.7 per cent to 11,237. This was the lowest number of new listings reported for the month of September since 2002. This is especially troublesome given that the stock of homes in the GTA increased markedly over the last 20 years.

We must ensure that the temporary dip in housing demand is not allowed to mask the critical shortage of homes available for sale in the GTA. Candidates running in the upcoming Ontario municipal elections must ensure home buyers and renters have adequate housing options in the years to come. Municipal council decisions have a direct impact on housing affordability, in terms of the protracted development approval processes, high development fees and other related policies that preclude timely housing development,= said TRREB President Kevin Crigger.

Elected councils must also reconsider existing policies that preclude homeowners from listing their homes for sale, including significant added upfront costs like the land transfer tax. Potential new policies like mandatory home energy audits could also create unnecessary interference and delays in the home selling process and dissuade some homeowners from listing their homes for sale,= said TRREB CEO John DiMichele. The MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) Composite benchmark was up on a year-over-year basis by 4.3 per cent. Over the same period of time, the average price dipped by 4.3 per cent to $1,086,762. The average price was up compared to August 2022.

Hovering just below $1.1 million, the average selling price may have found some support during the last couple months of summer. With new listings down quite substantially year-over-year and well-below historic norms, some home buyers are quite possibly experiencing tighter market conditions in some GTA neighbourhoods. October generally represents the peak of the fall market, so it will be important to see where price trends head over the next month,= said TRREB Chief Market Analyst Jason Mercer.

TRREB MLS® Sales-to-New Listings Ratio September 2022


TRREB MLS® New Listings September 2022


TRREB MLS® Sales September 2022


TRREB MLS® Average Price September 2022


Wednesday, September 28, 2022

4 Home Maintenance Tips Worth Doing

When you're a homeowner, your to-do list never gets completely checked off. But in addition to the endless chores, upgrades and repairs, it's important to make a checklist of proactive minor maintenance jobs. They might not feel terribly urgent, but by taking regular care of theses areas of your home, you could save yourself a big headache and a lot of money down the road. Avoid leaks, mould and even fires with these routine maintenance tips and tasks. 

Clean your gutters

Yes, it's time consuming and they are often hard to reach, but cleaning your gutters at least twice a year is important if you want to avoid paying for repairs later. Putting off cleaning the leaves and debris from your gutters can lead to damage to your roof, leaks and mould, and could ruin your ceilings and walls. If you don't want to get up your ladder, pay a professional to do the dirty work for you. 

Clean your dryer vent

We're not just talking about removing the lint after every couple of laundry loads. In addition to cleaning your lint filter, it's also important to routinely clean your dyer vent to avoid a dryer fire. You'll need to shut your dryer off and remove the exterior vent cover to properly clean it, so make sure you watch a video and follow instructions closely or hire a handyman. 

Clean your exhaust hood

The fans in your kitchen and bathroom serve a vital role in ventilating your home by removing smells and moisture, but they're not self-sustaining . Every so often (we'd recommend at least once a year), you'll need to remove them, take them apart and clean them according to the manual's instructions. Your kitchen hood sucks up a lot of cooking grease and it may be gummed up, so allow plenty of time to soak. 

Re-grout your bathroom and kitchen tiles

It might seem like your bathroom tiles turned into a crumbling, mouldy mess overnight - but in actual fact, the wear and tear has been slowly happening over a much longer period of time. Regularly re-grouting any peeling or cracked tiles in your bathroom and kitchen keeps moisture out which can lead to mould and mildew. 

Monday, September 26, 2022

Just Leased | 488 University Avenue #2416


Fully Furnished 3+1 Bedrooms, 2 Baths, PARKING, Floor To Ceiling Windows, Large Balcony Overlooking Stunning City Views, High End Kitchen With Integrated Appliances, World Class Amenities, Direct Access To Subway, Steps To Financial District & Hospitals. Owners Have Thoughtfully Installed Multiple Built-Ins Throughout Unit Providing Exceptional Storage Solutions. Willing To Rent Unfurnished As Well.