No Area Is Safe From Bidding Wars

No Area Is Safe From Bidding Wars

Bidding wars for the past few years have been exclusive to Toronto and some hot neighbourhoods in the GTA. Well if you’ve been looking for a house lately in Ontario, you will know that it is crazy out there.

I personally have been inching further and further away with my clients because prices have been getting higher and higher.

The reasons why we have bidding wars are simple, and is a perfect storm for a sellers market.

1. Interest Rates: Interest rates have been low and steady

2. Demand: There has been a steady demand

3. Low Inventory: There is not enough inventory for the amount of buyers out there

4. Employment: Unemployment has been low.

5. Foreign investment: American & Chinese investment has been high.

After all these factors the main thing that I’m seeing is that a person sells their house on a street, another home owner realizes that for a little bit more they can move up to a bigger house, and now everybody is thinking this, and thus starts the demand.

Since the closer you get to Toronto the prices are astronomical, the prices in and around the GTA are growing due to all these factors and everybody is looking to move up in the world.

Your Information May Be Public Soon

Your Information May Be Public Soon

It is not clear what or how information will be distributed in the future, but one thing that is going to be true soon, your information is going to be public soon. 

A ruling has been passed that the Toronto Real Estate board practices are anti-competitive with regards to information regarding properties. 
The most “Valuable Information” that people want is sold information. That is what is going to be public most likely. Whether or not owners names, or more information is going to be released is yet to be seen.
Before any of this happens, TREB, will be appealing the decision. TREB’s stance is that your information being released will be a violation of the public trust. 
So what does this mean for the future of Real Estate?
Well this will dramatically change the landscape of how Real Estate is sold. It will change how the model currently exists, and everybody will have the same information. So will this kill the Real Estate Agent?
My answer is no, for some, and yes for others. I have long held the notion since websites and information has become more widely available, that Real Estate agents are not just statistics. I believe those agents were, are and going to be a dying breed. While the information they give is valuable, the job is so much more, that stats, and sold info is an afterthought now. 
If you look to our neighbours to the south, the public currently have all the information they want. So what has this done to their market? It hasn’t changed much, and in most cases, the clients are much more informed. 
What it has done has sprung up a lot of data mining companies that gather your information, and sell it to Realtors or to the public to neatly organize everything for you. 
There is also a curiosity of CREA only wanting to make available the Toronto Real Estate board information. While this is very curious, I do not understand why one board would be targeted amount thousands across Canada. It may be the competition tribunal does not have the funds to attack every board, and that by attacking the biggest one, it may think that the others would voluntarily submit to the same fate as TREB. 
So my predictions are that many people are not going to want their privacy violated and that some rich people will revolt and file lawsuits. The next thing I can see is the MLS system becoming obsolete, and the big real estate companies joining a data sharing among themselves. The next thing I think we will see as long as the market is hot, is a lot of pocket and private exclusive listings. Finally I see a lot of transactions being done by numbered company. 
Either way get prepared for your neighbour to know everything and anything regarding the house you just bought and all of the other investments you might have. 

Buying a House is a Split Second Decision Now

Buying a House is a Split Second Decision Now

If you have been looking for a house in this market, you will certainly know that buying a house now is a split second decision. Long gone are the days of waiting it out, and seeing what else comes up on the market and thinking about putting an offer. Chances are if you do, you already lost the house to the next person looking at the property.

Buying a house is one of the biggest decisions you can make, and while, I do not downplay that fact, the simple truth is that there is just simply not enough inventory out there. Surely in the coming months there might be a lot more houses on the market when the whether heats up but for now, it is go time for buyers.

So what does it mean to buy a house with no time at all to weight the pros and cons for days at a time? It means going to see a property as soon as it comes out, and for me as an agent, having my iPad and paperwork ready to put an offer on this house. In some cases, if they are accepting offers next week, we must try to bully the offer date or make our offer better than waiting for next week for the sellers, and possibly walking away from this house. It means no financing clauses, and no home inspections. It means even with that getting into a bidding war on the first day a house is released. It means putting an offer in, higher than the listing price. (Disclaimer, there are ways around getting a financing clause, and home inspection in, and still removing the clause. Contact me directly for my strategy)

Unfortunately this is the result of too many buyers, low interest rate, and not enough inventory. If you do not jump on the house, then if you delay, the house in most cases will be gone, or you will be in multiple offers right away. Sometimes the early bird gets the worm.

So there are a few things you as a buyer can do to make this decision a bit easier and move the thought process faster.

1. Have a list of criteria that you want for the house.
2. List the possible renovations that need to be done.
3. Price out things that must be renovated now.
4. Find out how much you might get for your house.
5. Get a Walk through home inspection.
6. Get a Pre Approval for your financing.
7. Set up a strategy for each house you enter.
8. Figure out how much you really want this out.
9. Figure out how much you really want to pay for this house you are looking at.
10. As Soon as you go through the house, do you see yourself living in this house for 5-10 years?

Is Our Market Indestructible?

Is Our Market Indestructible?

Look up, its a bird, its a plane, No.. its not superman, its our Real Estate Market!

Almost everyday I speak to somebody regarding the Real Estate market in the GTA crashing.
Everybody says to me, wow, I can’t believe that house sold for 200% over asking.

I started my real estate career in a downturn, in 2008, so really that was the last time that the market was in a buyers market situation.
While the market was low, it still didn’t crash at that time. The last time we had a full on crash was the late 80’s and early 90’s.

If you look at the stats for the past 40 years, you will see one thing that is very common; The market goes up and down. While it goes up and down, it has steadily gone up in Toronto.

If you watch news casts and listen to real estate experts, you will be listening to a lot of crap. Nobody really knows or can predict if the market will tank into oblivion.

If you watch movies about the market crash in the U.S. you will see that many people were predicting the market crashing there since 2003, but it really didn’t happen until 2008. That’s a five year difference, and that scenario had the worst sort of ingredients to start that fiasco.

Here is Toronto, the laws are pretty stable, the interest rates and mortgages are not wacky or have a lot of craziness to them, they are pretty standard, and there are no funny business mortgages here. So in that respect, the money is stable. Our laws are for the most part making sure, people who are taking on mortgages can afford them. So that’s a big factor in determining if the market will crash.

While our dollar is tanking big time, bad for oil and subsidiary business, it is great for other businesses such as manufacturing, travel and of course Real Estate.

Unemployment is a big factor in people being able to afford their house correct? While it is up in Alberta, the rest of the country has actually gone down a bit this month. So its bad for Alberta, but here in Toronto, its gone down and held steady.

Market Demand. If you have tried to buy a house in the GTA, you know for the most part you will be in a bidding war situation. The reason being, so many people are coming into the GTA, and staying where they work, they do not want to commute. Plus, foreign buyers, are buying up our cheap Real Estate. Compared to other parts of the world, our prices are cheap. Yes they are. First time home buyers are buying condos, driving up that market as well.

Cheap Interest Rates. Getting a mortgage in Canada is like the banks giving away free money. Yes you pay a measly 2.5% but that is a far cry from the 8% mortgages I was selling. It is harder to get a rental than to get a mortgage these days. If you have some money down, and you have a decent job, you can get a mortgage, regardless of your credit. Yes there are many lenders who are private that will lend to anybody, if you have minimum down.

So, the next time you have your friends over and you start talking Real Estate, and start dreaming of a crash, examine these factors discussed and think again for now!

Senior Abuse an Unspoken Truth

Senior Abuse an Unspoken Truth

We hear about abuse in the media a lot. We hear about teacher scandals, priest abuse and so many more of people in a power position. One area of abuse we do not hear anything about is Senior Abuse. 

There are many forms of senior abuse. It is similar to all of the abuses mentioned above and is very common. It is so hard to recognize senior abuse because like most abuses, it is coming from a loved one, a child, or a care taker. 

Personally I’ve seen many abuses first hand in dealing with my senior clients, and it is very disturbing and hard to get in the middle of it. 

From the onset of my experience, it started with a child getting frustrated with an elderly parent, because they did not want to co-operate in the way the child wanted. It then transferred from an argument to verbal abuse. From there it turned to physical abuse, and the threats of taking control of their money and future continued. 

There have been many times when I have seen tempers getting out of control, due to mis-communication. Many people don’t realize that their parent is not who they used to be 30 years ago. Their communication levels are not the same and many things have changed as well. 

We are very quick now, if we do not get a response in a second from our phones or social media yesterday it is too late. We think that people are ignoring us. Many seniors do not work like that. Big decisions take time, and they are slow to process everything that is being told to them. There might also be some sort of impairment due to old age, or other factors. 

Another thing that may be happening due to some sort of dementia is spousal abuse. This can also start to happen late in a marriage. Sometimes if one spouse has dementia, their actions change and they become abusive. This is something that a child needs to pay attention to as well. 

Here are some tips that can help when dealing with your parents in a high stress situation such as moving.

1. Realize your parents are not the same as when you grew up. 

2. Patience is key, while they will not move at the same pace as you, be very patient with them.

3. Minor things are a big deal to them. Sometimes, a trip to the new home, or sitting down talking to a bank manager, or Real Estate agent is an event that they prepare for all week. 

4. Communication is key. Make sure that you are talking to them calmly and that they understand what is transpiring. Sometimes, reminding them a few times of an appointment or event happening is necessary. 

5. Verbal Abuse can lead to physical abuse and more. Just because your parent is not doing what you want, verbal abuse is not ok. Sometimes its better to step away, than to continue to try to force your own agenda. I have seen perfectly normal people start to drag their parent into an old age residence when they refused to step inside.

6. Look in the mirror. Examine how you are speaking and dealing with situations regarding your parents. It can be frustrating but maybe a different approach is needed. Maybe you can consult a professional like me, to help you in certain situations. 

7. Watch out for an type of abuse, at an old age home, home care, from another parent or sibling or from an uncle or aunt. 

If you need some help regarding this please contact me and I can help you find the proper help in any situation. 


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