Should You Rent on Your Own or with Your Friends?

Should You Rent on Your Own or with Your Friends?

The school year is a while away, but looking for a residence for the up coming school year is almost upon us. 


For many this will be the first time that they will be away from home, and the first time they will be responsible for a residence and rent. Many students to ease the burden opt to rent with a few friends. While this may be a great idea in the beginning, you should think about a few things vs. renting a place on your own. 

1. Privacy:


What if your friends want to party, or have sex and you need to study? What do you do then? Leave your place you pay for and go do your studies somewhere else?

2. Rent:


What if your friends are late with the rent? Who will cover them? Will you risk getting kicked out and losing your last month over your friend being irresponsible.

3. Cleanliness:

Do you like living in a pigsty? While, you might be clean, for many kids this is the first time their mom is not telling them to clean up. 

4. Place:

Typically if you need to rent a place with a few people, it needs to be a older house. There’s nothing wrong with that but you must understand its an older building. Some people want to live in a one unit condo or apartment which may suit your needs better. 

5. Do you know who you are renting with:

If you have a friend and they say hey we are going to rent with my other buddy but you do not know them, than this may be a problem. You are basically going to be living with a stranger and this can lead to problems down the road. 
These are a few factors to consider when looking for a place with friends, maybe it might be better to live on your own, or you may opt to take the plunge and live with a few buddies. 

Family Pictures…Take Them Down!

Family Pictures…Take Them Down!

The first thing I do when I go look at a prospective house to sell is to look at the walls. I look for family pictures that I will be telling my prospective clients to take down. Some people put up wedding pictures, baby pictures, and family pictures of deceased relatives everywhere in their house. Family pictures can make your house feel very comfortable and give your house that “homey” look, but it also detracts buyers in a psychological way.

You would never consciously think this but when buyers come into a house they picture themselves living in the space. When you have your pictures up in a house on the market, buyers get confused sub-consciously because they are no longer picturing themselves living in your house but they are picturing your family living there. Therefore you take your house off the market and make it very difficult for a buyer to come into your home and live there. Buyers also start to get distracted by your pictures in that they start to focus on your life and what’s going on in the pictures. They are no longer looking at your space to move into but rather start to feel uncomfortable in that they are kicking you out of your house. The pictures start to send a message to the buyer that many happy times have taken place here, “I shouldn’t impose on these people’s lives by buying this house.” Some people also start to ask questions and wonder why these nice people in the pictures do not want to live in this house anymore, what’s wrong with it? “Maybe this house is not good enough for them?” “Maybe its not good enough for me, either?”

These questions might be an exaggeration of what people might think, but why give a buyer any reason to doubt how great your house is to live in.

First impressions are everything. The first thing to do when taking your house off the market is go to the local store and buy some cheap paintings or pictures to put up. Do not buy tacky. Buy something that will make your house look modern and trendy to match your house and your staging. Hide other family air looms and things that a distinct to your family. Your house should look more like it came out of a home trends magazine. I know it might be stale to live there for a few weeks but you are showcasing your house. Suck it up and when you move into your new house you can put your pictures back up. Sell Your House by Taking those pictures DOWN!

Too Many Showings Can Be a Waste of Time

Too Many Showings Can Be a Waste of Time

When you list your house you obviously want agents and people to be coming to your house to see it. While the first weeks are very important for traffic, too much traffic in your house with no offers can be a sign that your agent is misrepresenting your house in the listing on MLS.

What some agents do is take a listing, misrepresent the listing, then when there are little or no offers, they say the house is over-priced and start haggling you to lower the price. Agents that take listings for little or no commission do this to get buyers and make money on the other end of the deal. They take a bunch of listings and hope that one hits or they get buyers. They purposely do not take proper pictures or none at all and do not promote or showcase your property or leave vital information out of the listing. While it is great to get a deal on your agent, for the most part you pay for what you get in this world, even if the agent is making money on the other end.

I’ll give you an example. I went to a listing with a buyer last week. The listing said 3 washrooms. The listing agent omitted the fact that one washroom was in the basement with no shower, the other washroom was on the main floor 2 piece, and there was only one upstairs with 3 bedrooms.
Another listing we saw was the exact same situation but they said 2 piece on main, 2 piece in basement and 4 piece upstairs with 3 bedrooms. We did end up going to view the property to see if we could put another washroom upstairs, because the closet space was not needed and it was a very big closet.

The first one that deceived us, was already in our bad books when we started to look around because we were not told the whole truth in the listing on MLS, and we started to carefully examine everything else to see what else was misrepresented.

We might have not gone to see the house if we knew the truth because it was not in our criteria, but agents think that by us seeing the property and showing his client that there is traffic to the house, or that we might fall in love with it by some chance. The exact opposite is always true.  The agent wasted our time, his clients time, his office’s, my office’s time and my clients time. There must have been 50 other agents cards there as well. 15 days on the market, with that many agents, there should have been a sold sign on the lawn. I knew right away why the property did not sell.

The question you must ask yourself is your agent misrepresenting your house on MLS?

Tips for Investing in Condos?

Tips for Investing in Condos?

I have been receiving a lot inquires in the past few weeks regarding investing in condos. Both have been from condos either downtown, or in the Mississauga area. I thought I would share some tips to help you if you were considering investing in a condo.

1) If possible buy before it is built.

This is great because you can put some money down while the property and condo value go up. The longer the wait, usually the better it is because in the G.T.A., values have been going up, not down on condos. If you cannot sit on your money do not go for this plan. Wait till something is built. Usually condo corps are delaying moving in 2-3 times.

2) Make sure you see what is included in the fees.

I’m sure 98% of people will examine this, but I do get a few people that are shocked after they buy a condo to find out certain things or amenities are extra. Even after you figure out what is included, you need to understand what is not. If you buy a condo downtown without parking, that is usually a cost of 20-30 thousand extra if you need a parking spot down the road. These extras need to be calculated to the purchase price or monthly cost.

3) Find out how much the same unit rents for.

You want to ask your Realtor to find out what the recent comparables are in the building you are considering. The next thing you need to ask yourself is the rent you will receive worth the investment after you pay the expenses and mortgage. Depending on what your down payment is, you should have a few hundred dollars left. If you don’t you could be taking money out of your pocket every month to cover the mortgage. This is not a good situation.

4) Location Location Location.

I’m not the first nor the last to say this. A highly desirable area is best. It might cost more but it will attract renters easier and be easier to sell down the road. If you have problems with your tenant leaving then you can jump right into another lease. This is ideal. You don’t want to get stuck with a mortgage you don’t want.

5) Do you homework.

Make sure you ask for credit checks, references, post dated chqs, and as much as you can get from a potential tenant. Do not just interview a tenant and go on feeling. Sometimes people are serial renters. It is hard to kick out a family at Christmas time when they haven’t paid the rent in three months. Take my word for it.

6) Talk To Residents if older building

The best advice I could give you is go to the building and talk to some people that live there. Go up and down the elevator, and ask some questions. This is the best thing to do to get information. Tenants and owners will tell you everything about the building. Talk to the concierge and the security. Be nice they will tell you everything.


Learning to Love a New House

Learning to Love a New House

There are going to be an abundant of new home owners this February. With all of the mortgage laws changing, there are many people who will not qualify after the changes therefore will buy a new home before the rules change. Moving is said to be a stressful time because of all of the new scenarios people must face when moving and negotiating a property.

Here are a few Items to help you in your move and to get adjusted to your new home.

1. No matter the circumstance, think of a new home as a fresh start. Out with the old and in with the new.

2. Throw a party. Throwing a goodbye party is a great way to get family and friends into your old house one more time. Once you move into your new house you can have the second part of the party.

3. Bring a few items that remind you of home, don’t throw out everything all at once. Bring a few mementos of your old home, if you intend to get rid of everything, do it a step at a time so you can adjust.

4. Paint the rooms the same colour. I know you are trying to start something new, but if you really love your old house, and were forced to sell, use the same paint as the old house. This will keep familiarity in your mind, when coming home at night.

5. Say Goodbye to your old house. Write a journal with pictures of your old house. Write about all of the great times you had in the house. When you get to your new house start a scrap book of the old and new house.

Now Is The Best Time To Sell Your House

Now Is The Best Time To Sell Your House

Everybody tell you that you shouldn’t sell your house in the winter. This is not true. Forget what people are telling you and most agents and people have it wrong. It is true that snow discourages people from buying a house, but if you look at the market right now you will see that there is a real drop in listings.

The truth is that snow storms are a big discouragement to selling your house but snow is not bad all together. An example of that is last year where we in Toronto had snow storm after snow storm. While the storms are bad for business, just regular snow falls are ok. Last year Toronto was hit over and over, and the market suffered, but the year before that, it was just regular snow falls and the market was as hot as ever. Even last year, once the storms stopped, and regular snow falls came down, the market got hot in early spring when it did still snow.

Its all about inventory! There is none and there will alway be people that must buy or sell in the winter regardless. This creates an atmosphere, for you to cash in on your property, and hopefully have a few bids on your house.

The finance minister of Canada has stated that the interest rates have stayed steady at the same rate this week. This is great, and most analysts predict that this will not go up as well.

Investment in Canada. The low dollar is seeing a lot of investment in Canada’s real estate market, not only from the Chinese and Asian countries, but our neighbour to the south, the US. Where once Canadians were buying houses in the US, now they are scooping up properties everywhere in Canada.

Real Estate is all about timing, finding the right buyer desperate to find a house will drive up the bids for your house and the dollars in your pocket.

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