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Done Deals: Older Condo North of Yorkville Offers Plenty of Privacy

POSTED ON January 10th  - POSTED IN Done Deals, Elli's Archives, Featured News

Done Deals: Older Condo North of Yorkville Offers Plenty of Privacy           2-photo-web-1680x1050-360406

Sydnia Yu

Special to the Globe and Mail

Published Thursday December 8, 2016


ASKING PRICE: $699,000


PREVIOUS SELLING PRICE: $481,000 (2006); $200,000 (1992)

TAXES: $3,357 (2015)


LISTING AGENT: Elli Davis, Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd.

The Action: Just a few blocks north of Yorkville, the Dakota residence often has a few vacancies. Although this one-bedroom-plus-den unit was among the smaller set, it had private outdoor space, so it was visited by 30 buyers and sold for $675,000.

What They Got: On the ground floor of a nearly 30-year-old mid-rise is this over 1,100-square-foot suite with a private patio, laundry facilities, storage locker and parking, plus monthly fees of $1,183 toward utilities, a gym, recreation room and rooftop deck.

The layout is fairly modern with a living area against a wall of windows, a central dining space and U-shaped kitchen behind a granite-topped peninsula and breakfast bar.

Private quarters entail a den and master bedroom with a walk-in closet and four-piece ensuite, which is the larger of two bathrooms.

The Agent’s Take: “[The building] is about a five-minute walk to Bloor Street and Yorkville, so it’s very well located to shops, subway and all that Toronto has to offer midtown,” agent Elli Davis states.

“It’s an older building, built in the eighties, so it’s not as glamourous as some of the new ones, but the price is very reasonable compared with the new ones.”

Plus, older suites such as this offers more space than newer counterparts, inside and out. “They don’t make one-bedrooms very often any more that are that size,” Ms. Davis notes. “It has a magnificent patio because it’s on the main floor, where you can barbecue, garden and be outdoors like in a house, yet have the condo lifestyle.”

Design the Perfect Basement for You

POSTED ON January 10th  - POSTED IN Featured News


Basements used to be viewed as merely a convenient storage space, or a place where our unwanted furniture would accumulate over time. Now, basements are fully functional (and beautiful) additions to our home. Apart from a few possible limitations, your basement can be anything you want it to be. Here are a few things to consider when designing your dream basement:

Finishing the Basement

Before you begin any further alterations, having a finished basement is essential. Whether you decide to hire a contractor, or do it yourself, ensure that it is done right the first time. Check for any water issues and cracks in the foundation before renovating and remember that any plumbing or electrical work that is done will have to be inspected. Once your basement is finished properly, you can move on to the design elements.

Decide How You Want to Use the Space

Know how you will be using the space. Your basement can become a gym, a home theatre, a multi-functional living space or an office. Think about how you can best utilize the space, what are you currently missing in your home? Could you use a quiet office space, or a place to work on your hobbies or crafts? Maybe you need a place to unwind with a big screen TV, comfortable seating and a mini-bar. Whatever it may be, the basement is the perfect space for it. There is plenty of inspiration available online, do some research and find out how you can best utilize the space for you. The possibilities are endless.

Figure Out the Details

Proper planning is essential. Draw out a floor plan of the space and include as many details as possible. Know exactly what you want to do. Choose your colours, any wall hangings, and flooring style. There are plenty of online tools available that can help you incorporate design elements such as wall colour, furnishings and seating arrangements. The great thing about using visual online tools is that you can get a good sense of what the space will look like before you invest your time and money. Here is a list of free online programs to help you design your space.

If you are not prolific in designing and using software, plan extensively anyway – decide on a budget and consult an interior decorator for recommendations.

Get Creative

As much as the basement is an integral part of the home, it is separated enough that you can get creative and set it apart from the rest of the house. This is your opportunity to try out new styles, decor elements and create a unique space.

Finishing and designing your basement will add to the value of your home in addition to providing functional square footage. Keep your basement open, connected, warm and inviting. Make it a beautiful space and you will be sure to use it often. If you have any questions on increasing the value of your home, or are looking for a change – feel free to call me at 416-921-1112. I am always happy to help.

Market Watch Report: December 2016

POSTED ON January 9th  - POSTED IN Featured News, Market Watch

Record Sales in 2016

January 5, 2017 — Toronto Real Estate Board President Larry Cerqua announced that 2016 was a second consecutive record year for home sales. Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 113,133 home sales through TREB’s MLS® System – up by 11.8 per cent compared to 2015. The calendar year 2016 result included 5,338 sales in December – an annual increase of 8.6 per cent.

The strongest annual rate of sales growth in 2016 was experienced for condominium apartments followed by detached homes.

“A relatively strong regional economy, low unemployment and very low borrowing costs kept the demand for ownership housing strong in the GTA, as the region’s population continued to grow in 2016,” said Mr. Cerqua.

The annual rate of growth for the MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) in the TREB market area accelerated throughout 2016 – from 10.7 per cent in January 2016 to 21 per cent in December 2016. The overall average selling price for calendar year 2016 was $729,922 – up 17.3 per cent compared to 2015. The pace of the annual rate of growth for the average selling price also picked up throughout the year, including a climb of 20 per cent in December.

“Price growth accelerated throughout 2016 as the supply of listings remained very constrained. Active listings at the end of December were at their lowest point in a decade-and-a-half. Total new listings for 2016 were down by almost four per cent. In 2016, we saw policy changes and policy debates pointed at the demand side of the market. If we want to see a sustained moderation in the pace of price growth, what we really need is more policy focus on issues impacting the lack of homes available for sale,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis.

Full Market Watch Report: December 2016 – Year End Review

A Glimpse Into the Future of Toronto Real Estate

POSTED ON January 5th  - POSTED IN Featured News


With the new year in full swing, we can officially say that 2016 was an incredible year for Toronto’s real estate market. Experts believe that the market will only get hotter as 2017 unfolds, but what does the future hold in the long term? Here are a few predictions:

In 50 Years, The Average Home Will Cost Over $4 Million

Less than fifty years ago, the average cost of a house in Toronto was $30,000. Now, this number is up to $622,000. If you told somebody in 1960 that their home would be worth over half a million – they would probably be in disbelief. Over the past few decades, housing costs in Toronto have risen an average 3.5 per cent every year. Population is expected to double in 50 years and the price of limited real estate will reflect this. As the prices of homes in Toronto rise, it is expected to become a city of renters.

A One Bedroom Apartment Will Rent For $1,600

Currently, the average price of a one bedroom apartment in the city is $1,100, and 45 per cent of households in Toronto are rentals. This number will increase as home ownership becomes more costly. Over the past 10 years, only 5 per cent of new builds have been specifically devoted to rentals. Rental housing in Toronto is projected to grow by 75 per cent in the next decade.

Neighbourhoods that Will be Desirable in the Next Few Years:

Mirvish Village – Honest Ed’s has sold and there are big plans in the works for the two-hectare site. The property will be transformed into a mixed-use retail, office space, pedestrian-only streets and cycling infrastructure. There will also be 900 + rental apartments.

Morningside –University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus sits on 120+ hectares of land which will soon be connected to the rest of the city via the Eglinton Light Rail Transit line. Planners intend to connect it to the surrounding community, transforming Military Trail into a pedestrian hub. They plan to add new condos and amenities at Ellesmere and Morningside, and create new park space near Highland Creek Ravine.

The Port Lands –Waterfront Toronto has a $17-billion revitalization plan that will take decades to complete. The once-empty lakeshore will be spectacular with 40,000 new residential units. This will also create 40,000 new jobs and public green space.

Junction Triangle – Bloor and Dundas is a transit hub, with a GO station that connects to the Landsdowne TTC station. The new Museum of Contemporary Art is set to open next year in an old aluminum factory and another 100,000 square feet in the plant will hold commercial and studio space. The area is big for mid-rise development which is unique because most other buildings going up seem to be either two stories, or sixty.

What changes do you think we will see in the near future? Are you planning on buying or selling in the city, and need some advice? Give me a call at 416.921.1112 and have your questions answered today!

Planning an Encore Career as a Boomer? What to Consider.

POSTED ON January 3rd  - POSTED IN Featured News


Many Canadian boomers are putting retirement plans aside to pursue encore careers. Taking on a second career that allows you to follow your passions can make you feel like you never want to retire.

Is there a business you always wanted to start? Or a job you always wanted to have? If you are planning for a second ‘encore’ career, here are a few things to consider:

First: Ensure Your Finances Are In Order. When deciding on an encore career, it is important to do your research and develop a strategy. Will you be working your primary job while you explore other options? Speak with your accountant/financial planner to figure out the following:

Whether you have enough money saved to survive a year of unemployment while your new job or business takes off.

How much money you will need to earn from your new career/venture to maintain a decent standard of living in the foreseeable future.

Second: Figure Out What You Want To Do. Critically assess what you will be offering in your next career. Always aim to do what you love and think about the following:

What are your passions?

What experience and knowledge do you have to offer that makes you unique?

What do you have to offer that people will pay you money for, and who are those people?

Monetize a Hobby. Consider what you already do in your spare time. Do you enjoy cooking new dishes on a weekly basis? Do you sew for everyone in the family? Do you plan parties and events for your friends? Hobbies can come in all shapes and sizes, and if you are really good at something, it is likely that with a bit of work you could turn it into a business. If you have a life-long passion, it is worthwhile to pursue it as a career.

Start an Online Business. As a boomer, you probably started your career in the 1960s and ’70s – where a large amount of capital was required to start a business. Often hundreds of thousands of dollars to cover equipment, salaries, renting space, inventory, etc. Today, anyone with a computer and internet access can start their own business. Sometimes the cost could be as little as $20 a month to get started. The internet is a great place to start if you are looking to sell products or to advertise services.

Get Connected. Instead of starting a new venture from scratch after retirement, test out a new career by working at it on the side while you are still employed. This gives you luxury to take risks while still maintaining a steady income. Retrain, volunteer or work part-time as unpaid internet to get to know the business and network with all the right people. Take your time, make yourself as competitive and well-connected as possible before looking for work or launching your business.

Do your research and talk to people. Get a good idea of what you want to do and how you are going to accomplish it. Your challenge is to find out what you truly want, and create a life from which you never want to retire…

Greenery, Pantone’s Colour of the Year

POSTED ON December 29th  - POSTED IN Featured News


Every year, since 1999, Pantone announces a Colour of the Year. Earlier this month it was announced that 2017’s colour is Greenery. Greenery is a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade reminiscent of spring time.

The experts at Pantone advise a variety of industries on the use of colour from fashion and home design, to packaging and product development. For 17 years, they have been choosing colours and scouting trends through the year in media, on runways and in trade shows around the world.

This year, green is everywhere. Fashion designers are playing with green tones in their prints and accessories and green hued beauty products are popular with shades for eyes, nails, and lips. Major celebrities have even been spotted with green coloured hair this year.

The shade symbolizes the desire to be healthy, to use organic products and to protect the environment. It is a colour associated with innovation and minimalism – commonly used in logos and advertising for apps and start-ups. The colour also represents all things ‘re’ – revive, restore, renew, refresh and reinvigorate – evoking the feeling of the first days of spring.

According to the colour experts, there is a growing desire to reconnect with nature and what is real – the need to stop and breathe. The colour is represented in the first buds and grass blades of spring, but it has also been a popular colour choice in history at times of major cultural shifts.

Greenery in the Home

The use of green hues has been gaining popularity in the home. People are connecting with the elements outside through open spaces, large windows, forest-like murals and living moss walls. In fact, plants of all sizes are being seen in every room of the house from succulents on bookshelves, to large palms in foyers.

If you are not a fan of house plants, add a touch of colour with green curtains, rugs, or plush pillows. Look for floral patterns that have vibrant greens throughout. Greenery pairs well with crisp whites, light blues and gold accents.

If you have a mostly neutral room, play up the space with a green textured accent wall. Place an oversized white sofa against the wall with a few light blue cushions. Add to the look by hanging gold frames and incorporating navy blue accents. For a look at some greenery design inspiration, check out these design examples.

Colour is a huge part of home decor, if you are not sure what goes well with your favourite shades, you can read up on colour theory with this informative article:  Colour Theory Basics for the Home.

What do you think of Pantone’s choice for 2017? If you are planning on incorporating this year’s colour – check out the greenery colour pairings to help you develop the perfect colour scheme for your home. Happy decorating!

Keep Your Home Safe this Winter with These Tips

POSTED ON December 27th  - POSTED IN Featured News


Winter can be a truly beautiful season, but the falling snow and dropping temperatures can also cause problems for your home. During the colder months we rely heavily on the mechanical systems in our homes and it is important that our heating, plumbing and electrical components work properly. Be prepared for the weather – focus on these areas in and around your home to stay safe and avoid future problems:

Prevent Ice Dams

Ice dams are created when a roof has improper ventilation, heat begins to collect and melts the snow that is on the roof. The water from the melted snow then runs down and freezes in the eavestrough – forming a dam. Most of these issues start with the attic, so make sure the space is properly sealed, ventilated, and insulated. The attic is a ‘cold zone’ and should be the same temperature as the outside.

Clean the Gutters

Gutters should be cleaned out before the snow falls. During the cold weather, clogged gutters will cause large hanging icicles to form and/or the accumulation of ice on the roof. Ensure gutters are free of leaves and debris for water to run freely.

Frozen Pipes

A big problem many home owners face during the winter months. Pipes freeze when they are improperly insulated and/or are not used for prolonged periods of time. Prevent this by wrapping inside pipes with insulation material and ensure exterior plumbing lines are drained. Allow a bit of water to run through the faucet and flush toilets every so often to keep water moving in extremely cold conditions. If there is no flow from one faucet and the rest work fine, this could be a sign of frozen pipes. Remember, if you have one frozen pipe – the others in the same area are vulnerable as well.

Broken Pipes

When water freezes, it expands. This puts pressure on the container holding it. Frozen pipes can break and this can lead to flooding. You may not even know a pipe is broken until after it thaws out, at which point you may come home to a flooded house. If you think you may have frozen pipes, contact a licensed plumber to investigate before any bigger problems occur.

Shovel Safety

Clear your walkway, driveway, and sidewalk soon after a snow fall. This ensures your safety and the safety of pedestrians walking by your property. Putting off snow removal can also create more work. If the temperature changes, you may be left shoveling heavy slush or snow with layers of ice. The City of Toronto states that sidewalks should be cleared no later than 12 hours after a snow fall. Failing to do this can result in a $125 fine.

Fireplace Safety

Ensure that your fireplace is usable and safe. Wood-burning fireplaces should be checked by a specialized inspector and gas fireplaces should be checked yearly by a licensed gas technician. It is very important to ensure your gas fireplace is working correctly – otherwise there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Have your chimney cleaned and inspected yearly to ensure that the flue is intact. A small fracture can expand into larger cracks and allow toxic fumes to seep in. Placing a gate in front of a wood-burning fireplace keeps embers in and children and pets out. Always ensure a fire is completely out before leaving your home or going to bed.

Taking a few extra precautions now will ensure that you are able to stay safe and warm during the holidays and enjoy peace of mind for the rest of the season.

Thinking Positively About Toronto’s Hot Real Estate Market

POSTED ON December 22nd  - POSTED IN Featured News


Whenever the real estate market sways strongly towards either buyers or sellers, there is a tendency to focus on the negative impacts. The main complaints are that homes become unaffordable or that selling a home is going to take a very long time.

As human beings, we are wired to focus on the negative effects in our environment. Although difficult to fight our natural instincts, it is wise instead to try to focus on the POSITIVE outcomes of various market situations.

The Buyer’s Market

In a strong buyer’s market, there are more homes for sale than there are buyers to purchase them. With an abundance of buyers, home prices drop. Sellers might see this as a negative: homes can stay on the market longer, and they might not get the price they want.

However, and it is a BIG however, a buyer’s market makes it affordable and accessible for more people to buy properties who in other markets would not be able to participate. A property might take a little longer to sell, but on the flipside it should be easier to purchase a new home! Plus, new home purchases stimulate the economy, as new homeowners tend to invest in renovations, new appliances, etc.

The Seller’s Market

Toronto has been in the grips of a strong seller’s market for years now, and it does not look like it is going to let up. Many people bemoan their inability to find housing that is affordable, but again, choose to look at the positive side.

Sellers control the price of their home, as there is wild competition from buyers to make an offer that is firm, without conditions and include the terms the seller w ideally wants. Properties are on the market for what feels like minutes, and sellers often receive the full value of their asking price – sometimes even more. They can then use this extra cash towards their investments, or in new renovations for when they purchase their new home.

In a utopian world, we would place a property for sale during a seller’s market to obtain the best price for our home, purchase in a buyer’s market. Sadly, that is not going to happen.

The best thing you can do is be prepared, think ahead and use the help of an experienced REALTOR® with proved results to help map out your strategy for selling and buying your properties. Done right, you will have a satisfactory sale of your home and make a smart investment on your next purchase.

Icewine in Niagara, Where to go this Winter

POSTED ON December 20th  - POSTED IN Featured News


Winter is in full-swing and the holidays are just around the corner. Whether you are searching for the perfect weekend getaway or looking to shop for the wine-lover on your list, look no further than the Niagara region this season. Niagara-on-the-Lake is home to beautiful vineyards and attractions with many wineries producing icewines all year long.

Not familiar with icewine? Icewine, often called dessert wine (sweet and generally served at the end of a meal), is made from frozen grapes. It comes in a range of flavours from fruits to chocolate. It tastes the best with rich flavoured foods like foie gras and aged blue cheese.

Ontario’s Niagara region is a large producer of the country’s icewines, and is actually considered to have some of the best icewine in the world…

The following three wineries have extra-special winter tours and icewine tastings for the perfect day trip:

Peller Estates Winery (Niagara-on-the-Lake) At Peller Estates, wine lovers can explore the winery and end the tour by stepping into the 10 Below Lounge. The lounge is made with more than 13 thousand kilograms of ice and visitors enjoy a tasting while they hang around in what feels like an igloo (parkas are provided!). In January, they have an outdoor seated icewine cocktail experience where you can explore the production of Niagara Icewine and the history of the delicacy.

Inniskillin (Niagara-on-the-Lake) Inniskillin dessert wines are a classic. With both an Icewine Tasting Bar, and the Icewine Tour, it is a great place to visit for a quick getaway. At the Tasting Bar, guests learn about icewine production and have the opportunity to taste-test various flavours. During the tour, you can learn about the origins of icewine in Niagara and get a quick history lesson.

The Ice House Winery (Niagara-on-the-Lake) This winery is solely dedicated to the production of icewine. It is a great place to visit if you are interested in immersing yourself in the history of various icewines. They also make delicious spiked-slushies for tour participants to enjoy!

January is icewine month, so it might be a good idea to book your tastings and tours early for a great holiday gift!

Visiting Niagara in Winter has its Perks

Since winter is Niagara’s slow season for tourism, you can find great deals on hotels, entertainment and parking. There are beautiful sights to be enjoyed, such as the light display on the frozen falls, and the U.S. border is nearby for state-side attractions. Visit Niagara Falls Tourism and Niagara on the Lake Tourism for an up-to-date list of attractions and helpful information.

Preparing to Downsize? Keep These Things in Mind.

POSTED ON December 15th  - POSTED IN Featured News


Moving from a 5,000 square foot house into a 750 square foot condo can feel less like downsizing and more like miniaturizing. Switching from one type of space to the other can require a lot of practical planning. What will you take with you? How will you define your new space? Here are a few things to remember when preparing to downsize:

Utilize Multi-Purpose Items. With limited space, your furnishings need to work a little harder. Look for an ottoman that opens up to store quilts, a coffee table that lifts up to become a desk, a drop leaf table that serves as a sideboard (and opens up to seat eight), and a couch that pulls out to become a bed for guests. All these items are practical on their own but with extra functionality they can help to minimize clutter.

Focus on What is Practical. It can be tough to get rid of items that you once spent a lot of money on. If they will not serve you well in your new space, they will cost you more in the long run. Not only will they take up much needed space (where you could have had something you use more often), they will also cost you money to move or store. Ensure you are only taking the practical or extra-special items with you.

Furniture Can Be a Big Hurdle. Some of the big ticket items in your home are also probably just plain big. It may be necessary to replace outdated bulky furniture with newer sleek designs. Older large furniture that has been in the family for years can be very hard to let go of. Before you make any big decisions, decide if passing the furniture on to friends or family members is a possibility. This way, you can still go by to see the items and know that they are being used well. Tip: Large sectional furniture is great because it can be pulled apart and set up in new configurations – great for smaller or hard-to-furnish rooms.

Take Your Time. Moving is an important decision and it should not be rushed. Make sure you make the right move. Do not downsize too far. Retirement is a time to explore hobbies and spend time with loved ones, so make sure your new space can accommodate this.

Consider Future Restrictions. Look for a home with few or no stairs and that has easy to reach cupboards to help keep chores and maintenance to a minimum. As we age, our eyesight worsens so ensure you have enough natural light or plenty of lights with high-wattage bulbs to aid with vision.

You are Downsizing – Not Stepping Down. If your home has been the family hub for years, that does not have to change. Your new home can still be a place for the family to get together. Ideally, you would have a separate apartment or suite for visiting family, but we know this is not always possible. Instead, design your rooms with movable and versatile items. For example, if you have a craft room, include a sofa and make sure you can easily fold up tables and move them out of the way for a convertible guest room. The key is to design rooms for maximum usage and enjoyment. As long as you can offer a little bit of privacy and comfort, your guests will be more than happy to stay the night!

There are a lot of decisions to be made when planning to downsize. If you require assistance with the real estate side of things, call me at 416-921-1112 to have your questions answered today.