No Comments

The Importance of A Home Inspection

If you are in the process of purchasing Liberty Village real estate, many different components must come together before you can move in to your new home. Even after you have found the ideal location, made a deal and secured financing, a professional home inspection must be part of the equation. Some see it as an unnecessary expense, but without it, you are asking for trouble.

Why is a Home Inspection Necessary?

A home inspection refers to a visual inspection of the condition and structure of a home. It is carried out by a licensed home inspector and includes things like the plumbing, electrical, ventilation, foundation, insulation, doors and windows, exterior walls, ceilings and floors, roof, heating and AC systems and drainage. For King West Condos that have common areas for residents, the home inspector will examine those, as well.

An inspection is necessary because it will reveal any issues that are present or just below the surface, ready to make themselves known. When a home inspection reveals problems with any one of the components mentioned above, it is brought to the attention of the current owner and revisions are made to the offer, or it may be rescinded altogether. There are countless tales of naïve homeowners buying a home with no home inspection, only to have to pay thousands for repairs shortly after moving in.

Using the Results to Your Advantage

Like any area, Liberty Village real estate also requires a professional home inspection, just to be safe. Having a home inspection on your King West Condo means you might be able to negotiate for a better deal based on the results. At the very least, the current owner will have to make the required repairs, and you won’t have to concern yourself with those issues after you move in.

Hiring an Inspector

Hiring a reputable, experienced home inspector is key when in the market for a prime piece of Liberty Village real estate. Shop around a little, and ask the important questions before you allow him to represent you. Ask for a copy of the inspection report, whether he has the necessary insurance, if he has references and if he has experience in properties like King West Condos.

If you are going to go through the process, it makes sense to do it right. The fewer unpleasant surprises you receive in the home buying process, the better, and a quality home inspection is a great way to start.

Condomove.ca agents can help connect you with a veteran inspector to best serve your needs. Visit our Toronto Home Inspectors page here.

No Comments

Pet Grooming and Daycare in Toronto: Done RIGHT!

Pet grooming and daycare needs within Toronto can get pretty serious, because those of us that live here usually lead a rather busy life. When that’s the case, you want to know that the people taking care of your pet in your absence are true professionals. Not only that, but you want to make sure that they have the right facilities to do so. Pet Social is definitely one of those companies that you want to remember, as they practice some of the highest quality pet grooming and daycare services I’ve ever seen. Not only will they make sure that your pets are eating and getting the nutrition they need (through the use of both premium and holistic foods, with no additives), but they’ll even go above and beyond that – keeping you equipped with some of the most innovative and brand-new pet care products around.

Pet Social is pretty much the most optimal place to be for any sort of pet owner. When you shop at Pet Social, their inventory seems like it’s always expanding – if they don’t have something you need in stock, just let them know! Odds are they’ll be able to order it in for you.

The customer service is top notch, and the grooming service is both affordable and properly managed. Your pets will be happier than ever, knowing that the people grooming them are both caring and loving! Their brand new website has an abundance of information within, all of which will talk about the many different services and products they’ve got to offer up.

The groomer that works alongside Pet Social has been in the industry for well over 25 years, which means they have more than enough experience; all of which will translate into fantastic results for both you and your pets. If you want them to look at their best, it’s going to take the right groomer – an average person just doesn’t understand the process! You can purchase all sorts of fun and unique toys for your pets while they’re getting groomed, or even just take it upon yourself to adopt a cat! Pet Social has recently paired up with Toronto Animal Services and introduced a cat adoption service.

No Comments

About DNA 3 Condo in Liberty Village

There’s no question that anyone searching for a Liberty Village condo has a lot of exciting addresses to choose from. After all, Liberty Village in Toronto is one of the hippest and trendiest areas in the city, and people from all walks of life like to be part of the scene.

There’s nothing quite like living right in Liberty Village, and DNA 3 certainly takes that experience to another level.

The Basics of DNA 3 Condo

DNA 3 is a new condo development at 1030 King St West in Toronto, by Canderel Residential. There are a total of 600 units, and the project was completed back in 2014. As the name suggests, DNA 3 is the third phase of the DNA projects, and it complements the other two buildings perfectly.

Lobby-DNA-3
Inside the lobby at DNA 3 Condos

On the ground floor of DNA 3, you’ll find shopping and banking options with a TD Bank, Loblaws, and Urban Market Grocery. There is also a Sleep Country location for when you need a new mattress for your Liberty Village condo. The building has a glass exterior, making it stand out as yet another symbol of elegance in Liberty Village.

Inside the Units

Inside the units at DNA 3 condo, you’ll find a range of features that will make you never want to leave. The units offer modern kitchen designs that are as unique as they are stunning. These include a Caesar stone countertop, stylish island, back painted glass backsplash, halogen track lighting, and stainless steel fridge, oven, dishwasher microwave and hood fan.

In the bathroom, you’ll find a custom-designed sink, deep soaker tub, mirrored medicine cabinets, separate shower stall and a contemporary vanity. There is engineered wood flooring throughout the units, except for the bathroom and laundry room, which both feature porcelain tile. The ensuite laundry closet also features a stacked washer and dryer, so you never have to do laundry anywhere else.

Awesome Amenities

Some of the amenities available to residents include an exercise studio with yoga room, changes rooms, and the first “rain room” in Toronto. Residents also have access to private party rooms, games room with a lounge and bar, a theatre room and complete business centre. All of these amenities make DNA 3 a sought after place to live, as if Liberty Village in Toronto wasn’t enough on its own.

DNA 3 is the ideal Liberty Village condo for anyone looking to take advantage of everything this exciting part of the city has to offer.

Looking to buy or sell in DNA 3 condos? Check out DNA 3 condo units for sale and rent here. Also included is more about the building and floorplans for each unit.

No Comments

Land Transfer Tax in Liberty Village

It’s easy to get caught up in the trendiness and visual appeal when considering condos in Liberty Village, but there are always details that are part of any real estate transaction. Down payments come to mind, but there is another that a lot of would-be Liberty Village condo owners don’t know about, which is part of your closing costs, called land transfer tax.

What Is Land Transfer Tax?

Land transfer tax is a real estate closing cost that’s payable in many Canadian cities, but not all of them. Residents in Nova Scotia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan don’t need to worry about land transfer tax, but everyone else, including people buying condos in Liberty Village, do.

Land transfer tax is a tax paid when properties change hands, and must be paid by the buyer of the property. The amount of land transfer tax that must be paid can range from a half percent, all the way up to two percent of the overall value of the property. Since real estate prices in Toronto continue to climb, the amount of transfer tax buyers must pay is also increasing.  

In some provinces, including Ontario, the taxation system is multi-tiered, making the process a little more complex. For condos in Liberty Village, the amount is 1% of the total property value up to $250,000. From $250,000 to $400,000, it rises to 1.5% and it is 2% for properties over $400,000. As you can see, the amount of land transfer tax you have to pay can add up quickly, depending on the type of property you buy.

Around the Neighborhood

Taking a quick look, it can be easy to think that condos in Liberty Village make up the entire neighbourhood, but nothing could be farther from the truth. There is a multitude of chimney stacks that indicate the area’s industrial roots, but the condos, retail areas, and office space have helped transform Liberty Village to something truly unique. Young professionals from around the city and beyond inquire about real estate in Liberty Village on a regular basis.

Within the community boundaries, you’ll find art galleries, restaurants, cafes, design shops, high-tech start-ups, and nightlife. Anything you can’t find in Liberty Village is just a short walk or streetcar ride away, but many residents like to remain in the area whenever possible.

While the land transfer tax you will pay on your condo in Liberty Village may be a little tough to swallow, you will be paying it no matter where you move in the city, and you may not have all the benefits of living in this thriving neighbourhood.

For more information on land transfer tax info and calculators, visit our education center.

No Comments

The Real Cost of Real Estate

The subtitle of this article could be “Price Sticker Shock”. When you sign on the dotted line and agree on a purchase price for your new home, that’s only the start of the dollars you’ll have to part with in order to end up standing safely and comfortably in your newly acquired property. These “hidden” costs mount up and take a significant bite out of your home-ownership budget, the real cost of real estate. 

As a recap, these are the fees that you’ve probably already spent to get to the stage of signing the Offer to Purchase.

Property Valuation fee

This fee is for the bank to determine the value of the property lending value when you apply for a mortgage. It may or may not be the same as the purchase price.

Property Survey fee

The survey shows you where the legal boundaries of the property are, and the accurate measurements of the land.

Home inspection fee

Don’t stint on this. A professional home inspection shows you the deficiencies in the structure and systems of the property.

Once the property is legally yours and you’re the new home owner (Congrats), here’s what you’re in for:

Realtor commission

This isn’t really a hidden cost as you’ve already negotiated a percentage commission with your realtor. But is it a significant amount out of your budget.

Land Transfer tax

The land transfer tax is based on the property price and most provinces charge it. There may be some exemptions for first time buyers.

Legal fees

The legal fees are not just for your lawyer’s time but include all disbursements and expenses; and they are subject to GST and HST. And it’s safer to have a lawyer handle the legal side, by the way.

Title insurance

You can take a breath here as this is optional. It covers problems that may arise due to existing liens against the property, undisclosed mortgages, encroachments issues and any other issues caused by the previous owners.

High-ratio mortgages insurance costs

You need to make this one-time payment if your down payment is less than 20% of your purchase price. 

Interest adjustments

This covers the gap between the closing date of purchase and the date of your first mortgage payment. If these dates are the same you pay nothing.

Mortgage life insurance

This is a other optional expense, but it pays off the mortgage (full or partial) in the event of the mortgage holder’s or spouse’s premature death. The payments can be included in your monthly mortgage fee.

Now you’re the home owner and that’s it for the legal and mortgage costs, but you have to get the home protected and move-in ready:

Property tax and Utilities

You must reimburse the previous owner for any prepaid property taxes (usually paid annually in advance) or utilities they have paid.

Home insurance

This is essential to cover the replacement cost of your home and all its contents.

But you’re not done yet, you’re not safely in your new home. How about:

Moving costs

Whether you hire someone to move (and maybe even pack) your stuff or provide pizza and beer to your friends for helping you, moving involves your time and money.

Utility hook-ups

You may need to have the utilities, cable, internet etc hooked up, and that all costs money.

Changing the locks

Even after the previous owner hands over all the keys to the home, you’ll still want to have the locks changed.

Cleaning

Maybe the previous owner has cleaned your new home thoroughly, but you may choose to hire a cleaning company to make it especially clean and shiny for your first day there.

These are the minimum hidden costs. And we haven’t even touched on buying applicances, window coverings, redecorating…..

No Comments

Tips for Finding Office Space in Liberty Village

When you work in an office space within the boundaries of Liberty Village in Toronto, you are placing yourself in one of the most exciting, trendy neighborhoods in the city on a daily basis. Not only is it easy to get to and a great place for networking, but you’ll already be where everyone wants to be when the workday is done.

Here are some tips for finding the perfect office space in Liberty Village.

Benefits of Liberty Village Office Space

Anyone currently working in Liberty Village is well aware of the benefits, but if you are on the fence, here is a list of impressive benefits to consider. Office space in Liberty Village is close to the downtown core, meaning it is close to the fashion, financial and entertainment districts. The convenient location works well for employees and for clients that are visiting. The GO Train and TTC are both within walking distance, so even people coming in from outside the city have it easy.

Vice Media's shiny new office in Liberty Village Toronto
Vice Media’s shiny new office in Liberty Village Toronto

Staying Within the Budget

Naturally, it’s important to consider your budget when looking for office space in Liberty Village. Since the area has a rich heritage, combined with a plethora of new and exciting office opportunities, there is a wide range of pricing options.

Is There Room to Grow?

Just as Liberty Village in Toronto continues to grow, you will need to consider your own growth when looking for office space. You must meet your immediate needs, but it’s also important to think about projected growth over the next couple of years. Outgrowing your space might mean you are doing well, but it will cause a big problem if there is nowhere for new employees to work.

 

If there is adjacent office space, try to get the first right of negotiation when working out your lease. This way, you can decide if you need the extra space as it becomes available.

The Convenience Factor

We’ve already mentioned that Liberty Village in Toronto sits in a convenient spot within the city, but when looking for office space, you should refine the convenience factor even more. Think of your key employees and how they need to travel to work each day. You should also consider some of your current clients if they make regular trips to the office.

The parking situation is always a factor because not everyone will commute, and you really want an address that will send the right message about your business. Perception goes a long way, and finding that perfect Liberty Village address is crucial.

Finding an Expert to Guide the Search

If you are new to the area, or even if you aren’t, having an expert to help guide you is the best way to find the ideal office space in Liberty Village in Toronto. With someone that knows the area intimately in charge, you’ll have the best chance at landing that perfect office space.

Contact us using the form on your right, we will put you in touch with a commercial real estate agent who will help guide your search.

No Comments

How to Choose the Right Toronto Real Estate Agent

Choosing the right Toronto Real Estate Agent is like hiring a member of staff, though a freelance one for a short-time for a specific task – to sell your home for the highest possible price in a reasonable time period or to represent you as a buyer. Narrow down your choice to a short-list of three or four possible candidates, and then interview them. Here are some questions to ask and topics to cover.

Is the realtor licensed?

The Real Estate Council of Ontario requires realtors to be registered with them. The council regulates brokers, real estate brokerages and salespersons. Check that the realtor is registered there.

Ask why they’re so successful

This question opens up the way for the realtor to talk about their ways of working and their selling strategies. They should be enthusiastic and able to explain clearly what they will do to sell your house. And you should be convinced by and comfortable with their answers.

What marketing will the realtor be doing?

Ask your realtor which avenues they use for marketing. High-quality marketing materials are key to presenting your home in a favorable light to prospective buyers. What kinds of marketing materials – website, postcards, brochures – will be created?; How and where will the print materials be distributed? How will people be informed about the online information?

AAEAAQAAAAAAAATXAAAAJDNlMjg1NjEzLTQwY2YtNDdkNC1hOGQzLWZkNWNjMThiZDA4OQ

High-quality photos are a key element of any home-selling materials so an important question to ask the realtor is who’ll be taking the photos – a professional photographer, a gifted amateur with a digital SLR camera or themselves with their cell phone?

When (and where) are they available?

It’s important that you can reach your realtor if you have questions or to receive a progress report if activity on your house seems to have been slow. Ask about their office hours and if they’re available outside these, if you just can’t wait until the next day to find out your counter-offer had been accepted. It’s also good to ask if they’re ever actually in their office if you want to talk to them face-to-face.

Who will you deal with?

Many high-profile realtors, whose faces are on a lot of “For Sale” signs, are backed by an extended team of other realtors and support staff. Your initial meeting may be with the well-known realtor but your selling transaction may be handled by another team member.

Ask for references….

As with any person you’d hire, references are important to establish not only the realtor’s past performance but also to attest to their expertise and credibility. Ask for references from people in your neighbourhood or adjacent locations. It helps if the person selling your home can also explain why it’s great to live in that location.

…and check them out

Directly contact the people who the realtor has given as references. But keep in mind that you won’t get to talk any people who are unhappy with the realtor’s performance. Ask specific questions about the realtor’s way of working and their availability through the selling period. It’s in the details that you get an idea about whether the realtor is a good fit for you.

Although the realtor is an integral part of your home-selling team and will guide you through the selling or buying process, it’s helpful to also read our  articles about the costly mistakes that sellers frequently make and the avoidable mistakes that home buyers make.

No Comments

Getting Started with Mortgages

You may be understandably confused if you’ve started to research mortgages in preparation for buying your first home, to renegotiate your current mortgage  or perhaps to remortgage your existing home. Thoroughly understanding the ins and outs of mortgages takes many years of experience and education. We’re not even going to try to cover the topic in this short article.

Mortgage-home-loan

Instead, we give short explanations of some of the common words you’ll come across and then point you in the direction of some excellent web resources that explain the ins and outs of mortgages and provide some useful tools.

Glossary

Principal

The principal is the amount that you borrow for any loan, including a mortgage. This doesn’t  include the interest.

Interest

Interest is the money paid by a borrower to a lender for the use of their money. The interest is usually paid in regular installments along with the principal payment.

Interest rate

The mortgage interest rate is the amount of interest charged by the lender and is expressed as a percentage annual rate of the total borrowed; e.g. 4% per year.

Amortization period

The amortization period is the length of time it will takes to pay off the entire amount of the mortgage, both the principal and the interest. Don’t confuse this with the term of the mortgage. The most common amortization period is 25 years.

Term

Mortgage term is the length of time your mortgage contract is for. The term is usually for between 6 months and 5 years.

Mortgage payment

This is a regular, scheduled payment to the mortgage lender consisting of the calculated interest plus a set part of the principal amount.

Pre-approval

To be pre-approved for a mortgage means that you have a letter from your lender stating that you are pre-approved on certain terms (amount, down payment etc). It also lists any requirements that you must meet to get final approval.

 

Excellent Resources

Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

Mortgages

This Federal government resource really does explain, and very clearly, everything you need to know about mortgages. There’s Mortgages 101 for those buying their first home, sections on renewing and renegotiating your mortgage, welcome advice on how to pay off your mortgage faster, and information on borrowing on home equity and understanding reverse mortgages for the more advanced mortgage scholars. Make this your first stop for all your mortgage questions.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Mortgage Payment Calculator

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation provides a simple calculator that allows you to figure out how much your mortgage payments will be for a particular mortgage amount, interest rate, amortization period and payment frequency. You can adjust any or all of these to see how the payment amount varies.

While you’re on the CMHC website, check out the rest of the Buying a Home section for practical information on home and condo ownership

CIBC

Mortgage Affordability Calculator

All Canadian banks have online Mortgage Affordability Calculators, so check your bank’s website for their version. The CIBC calculator asks you to enter your income, monthly expenses and debt payments and then offset this with your down payment info and the type of mortgage you’re considering, along with the interest rate and amortization period. The result shown is the maximum mortgage amount you can borrow. Playing around with any of these numbers will give a different maximum amount. You’ll also see your monthly mortgage payment for that amount.

For more information on how mortgages apply to your situation, you’ll need visit the local financial advisor at your bank – they know your story.

No Comments

Four Frequently Costly Mistakes That Home Sellers Make

Selling a home is hard work and is all about preparation, both of your home and of yourself . Before you open your front door to the, hopefully, eager hoards of potential buyers, review these all-too-often costly mistakes that sellers make so you can avoid them.

Home Sellers can either make too many, too few or the wrong repairs

There’s a balancing act in preparing your home for sale between doing the repairs necessary to make the sale, doing those that are cosmetic and investing in large renovations. A pre-sale inspection report will identify all the repairs that your home needs, and you can choose which ones to make so that it’s structurally sound and looks well-cared for. Cosmetic changes, such as a new paint job throughout and updated light fixtures, are not necessarily just “nice to haves” but do make a lasting impression on potential buyers. And you may need to invest in big-budget renos such as a kitchen upgrade to get the purchase price you’re after.

Mis-pricing the property

Asking too much money for your home is a frequent mistake and may put off potential buyers who just don’t have the budget. On the other hand, under-pricing your home will also lose you money, though it may lead to a bidding war. Work with your realtor to investigate how much other properties in the area have sold for but be careful to compare your home to others that have similar features.  Be realistic about how much value any unique renovations and additions have made to your house – they often don’t add as much as you think. 

curb-appealA-x

Neglecting your Curb Appeal

Curb appeal is one of the key factors in whether people decide to buy a house. Will prospective buyers pull up to your home, take one look and rapidly drive away? Will they yawn but come in anyway, without much enthusiasm? Or will they jump out of their car and bounce excitedly through the front door, eager to see what else the property has to offer. Increasing your home’s curb appeal can be as simple as weeding the yard, adding a few new plants and washing the windows and siding. Perhaps a punch of colour on the front door to draw the eye or repainting any fences and gates. Increasing curb appeal can be done thoughtfully and creatively and not necessarily expensively.

Making it personal (and emotional)

Your home is not about you. Sure, you’ve enjoyed many years of great times there, but now that you’re moving on, your home is just a building, a piece of property to be sold for the best possible price. And selling your home is not personal – there’s no room for emotions. You need to detach yourself emotionally from the home and be objective: about the selling price and about negative comments that potential buyers may make. And you must remove yourself personally from your home. Clear out all your clutter and personal items before you start to show the property; your viewers should be able to imagine themselves in the space. And don’t be there, or have your kids and pets there, during viewings and especially during an open house. It’s awkward for everyone, makes the viewers leave quickly and you can miss a sale.

Selling a home is both an art and a science, and really hard work. Your realtor is your partner in this, so check out our article on the questions to ask your realtor when you’re selecting her or him.

How to Choose a Realtor

No Comments

Five Avoidable Mistakes Home Buyers Make

There’s only one secret to ensuring a successful home buying experience and that’s research, research, research. All of these mistakes that home buyers make can be avoided by investigation and by asking questions Yes, it takes time and effort and sometimes requires you to invest some money upfront, but in the long run, you’ll be certain that you made the best possible purchase of your new home.test

Here are five of the most common mistakes that home buyers make.

Looking before you know what you want

Take the time to sit down and think hard about what’s important to you and your family about your next home. Separate your needs, wants and must-haves and put them in order of priority in a checklist. Is it essential that everyone has their own bedroom? Does a finished basement outweigh a large yard? Is a large kitchen more important than the jet tub in the master ensuite? This will save you, and your realtor, time and effort from viewing homes that are clearly not a practical fit for you.

Hispanic couple outside home with sold sign
Hispanic couple outside home with sold sign

Not knowing what you can afford

Falling in love with the house that meets your needs and has many of your wants only to find out that you can’t afford it is heartbreaking and can seriously derail your enthusiasm in your new home search. Before you set foot inside the first property, some experts suggest that you go through the application process for a mortgage and get pre-approved. This tells you and your realtor your buying power; but it can also give you leverage in negotiating a better deal on your chosen home as the seller knows that you will definitely quality for the loan.

Going without a home inspection

We can’t emphasize enough that there is absolutely no reason to ever miss out on obtaining a certified independent home inspection of your potential new home. You’re spending hundreds of thousands of dollars, at least, so make sure you know where all the home’s deficiencies and damages are. You can ask the seller to correct any problems as part of your offer to purchase or use the inspection report to negotiate a better purchase price. And this applies to new builds as well as to pre-owned homes.

Not spending time in the neighbourhood

“Location, location, location” is more than just a realtor’s catchphrase, it’s actually a great piece of advice to keep in mind when choosing where to live. The value of your home is not only affected by its geographic location, it’s also changed by the homes around it. Having the smallest home in the area may seem like a great investment but your taxes will still be high because of the surrounding houses. Spend time in the neighbourhood at different times of the day and night. Observe the traffic and noise patterns; talk to neighbours about schools, shops, the library, kid’s playgrounds, gyms, restaurants. Don’t forget to check the zoning laws so you won’t be surprised about in-fill housing or a new shopping centre.

Forgetting about the hidden costs of buying

Not knowing how many extra dollars you have to spend beyond the price of the property is such a frequent and potentially distressing mistake that we’ve devoted an entire article to it.

More information: 

How much does it cost to buy a home?

For the flip side of this, read our article on the frequent (and costly) mistakes that home sellers make.

Four Frequently Costly Mistakes That Home Sellers Make