Monday, December 20, 2010

Key Green Events Of The Few Years

When we talk about events that affect the world we live in, two words are commonly used - green and environmental. Policies and marketing are are deluged with points of sustainability and renewable resources. What are a few of the most important developments, which made green lifestyle a hot topic for politicians, businessmen, scientists, and a high number of the western world citizens?
Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs

A simple green substitute to lighting is the CFL or compact fluorescent lamp, which has been designed to reduce the usage of the old, energy inefficient incandescent bulb. Using less power and having a longer life span while still giving the same light, these bulbs are an alternative bulb source for lots of us. On the other hand, just like all fluorescent lamps, CFLs also include mercury which makes their disposal more complex.
But saying that, they are more environmentally and purse friendly, as they last so much longer; even though the price is somewhat higher, you do not use as many.

Extreme Weather

Extreme Weather is a name for weather incidents that are at the excesses of historical occurrence. Since 2000 many extreme weather occurrences have happened, these natural events starting with a surprising heat wave in Europe in 2003, through to earthquakes across Haiti in 2008. It is accepted that these disasters are only the start of it, with more problems coming our way, though many climatologists can't agree whether mankind is having a negative impact on the world we live in.

Renewable Energy
There are many renewable energy resources around from sunlight to geothermal heat; these resources are naturally occurring therefore the resource is never ending.

Growth of the use of these sources has advanced over the last decade and is the way forward for sustainable development of the future. We can no longer rely on the supplies we have at the moment to generate electricity and need to look in other directions to create it To cut emissions and find long term solutions to the supply, renewable energy is an significant part of our future.

Mexican Gulf Oil Tragedy
It is doubtful many of you will not know about a rather recent disaster, one that is still being felt worldwide - the Mexican Gulf oil spill. At 9:56pm CDT April 20, 2010, a large explosion occurred on the Deepwater Horizon oil platform. Indications that the oil spill was relatively minor were the first reports seen, but later those reports were revised to show that the spill was of immense proportions. The approximate amount of oil lost per day was quadrupled by the end of May, from 5,000 to up to 19,000; the size of the spill was escalating.
We may not hear about problems surrounding oil very often, but they are becoming more frequent, which is unacceptable news. Recent events raised questions once more - are we even capable of underwater oil drilling without threatening the environment substantially?

Becoming green is a matter of one's decision - everybody can decide for unique way. I am trying to be green Toronto condos agent. Can you imagine any solution for you?

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Some Good Articles!

I run through some of my articles posted in other networks from October and November, and realized there are some interesting pieces, so here is my list.

Big changes in Canadian MLS system don't leave our realtors without reaction.

Using toxic chemicals to clean your home? try it the other way!

The third round of most frequent questions and answers about Toronto real estate. The second set is on Amazines.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Wanting To Move Into A Home in Toronto? - Part 4 of Advice and Questions

picture by Postbear
I'm trying to find a for a trustworthy contractor, can you help?

Certainly! Every realtor is always pleased to supply advice. Knowing how hard it is to find a reputable contractor many realtors have put together a list of many professionals who we know will do a fantastic job and who can be trusted. All the contractors & tradespeople have usually undertaken work for the realtor, his/her friends, family members and/or clients, and are highly recommended.

My basement isn't finished, does this mean I can't rent it out? Will I be in breach of any laws if I do decide to go ahead and rent it out?

There are many by-laws in the City of Toronto relevant to retrofit status of a basement space. The fire department recommends many fire codes for basements so that the tenants are secure, so many of the laws are surrounding these. To achieve this status a basement needs to be finished, as a result an unfinished basement would not be approved. You are unlikely to be the only individual in Toronto who is in this situation as there are quite a few basements that do not come up to standard, even the rented ones. I am unaware who reinforces the situation. It may affect you rhome insurance plan as well if there was ever an issue

I recently bought an apartment but am not quite comfortable with my decision. Is there any sort of minimum time I should allow before placing the condominium back on the market?One thing I did manage to find out is the banks policy they do not have problem.

It's not normally a good financial decision to sell your condominium soon after buying it.First off the best advice is not to sell your condo too fast after you paid for it. We appreciate that you are not happy with your new condo, but it really isn't a good idea to sell it so soon after purchasing it. Typically, you should forget about selling for at least 3yrs in order to make some equity If you would like to buy a property as well as sell the one you are in now, the same agent can act on your behalf for both transactions. Sometimes individuals buy directly from a developer so never had an agent, it doesn't mean you have to sell via the developer, you can hire your own realtor.

Do they have right to demand a new management with a petition and a lawyer representing their interests?

If the management isn't living up to their contract and you are an apartment owner, not a tenant, then definitely you do have the right to do this. Every condominium corporation will have a board of directors, you will need to contact them before you do anything else. At this level you may not need to employ a lawyer as the condo corporation have the right to terminate the management company's contract. The condo management will have a contract with the condominium corporation and this could be terminated if they do not live up to their contractual liabilities. Of course, this is not meant to be legal advice.

Questions replied by Houses for sale in Toronto realtor.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Part 3 of Toronto Real Estate - Some Vital Facts

If I change my mind about some elements after I have signed an agreement of purchase & sale, can I still modify anything?

That depends on what you have signed! If the firm (no conditions) offer has been accepted by the seller, and is not a special circumstance (as in with new apartment construction for example, where you may be granted a cooling-off period) you can try to discuss changes with the sellers. The law is on the side of the person selling if your agreement hasn't been accepted with provisions to modify. In the long run both of your lawyers may have to be involved. Subsequently your retainer, legal costs and the like are at stake if both parties cannot agree.

For Bloor West Village, how much more do houses with finished basements sell for compared to houses with an unfinished or partially finished basements.

Good question - that is of course based on a lot of different situations. As a finished basement can range from dug out professionally carried out, with bathroom, perhaps a kitchen, fully wired for sound/stereo, spacious laundry, bedroom and separate side entrance, all the way to an old panelled room that is low ceiling height, potentially damp etc. Obviously any finished basement is going to be of benefit to a possible buyer, this village is a family neighbourhood and having that extra space is certainly a plus point. As previously pointed out, there are many variables and degrees of quality in a finished basement therefore its not possible to pre-empt the cash advantages.

I've heard there are different sorts of parking in relation to condominiums, what are they?
You can buy a parking space along with or completely separately from your apartment unit or even a property purchase, this is classed as owned parking. Subsequently once you own it, then with the majority of things you buy, it is yours to do with what you want. When you buy and sometimes rent a condo, there is frequently parking reserved for your use only while you own or rent it and is classed as exclusive parking If there is no exclusive parking for your unit or you can't buy parking, it may be possible to rent space; your property manager should have the details on this facility. Some lofts in Toronto are famous because of potential troubles with parking pads

What would 80,000 is money give me in the GTA area?

A mortgage expert will be able to help you sort out what you can afford if you are using the cash as a down payment on a property. There are lots of mortgage brokers in Toronto, but if you contact us via e-mail then we would be pleased to pass on some recommendations to you.
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Friday, September 17, 2010

Renting Condo? Questions and Answers

• Can I evict the tenants that came with the house I purchased, and get my own tenants in there?

The agreed notice to relinquish the tenanted area must be given to your tenants under the Tenant's Protection Act, so the answer is 'no', you can't just evict them. Seek legal advice if your tenants refuse to move out, a tenant does not necessarily have to vacate the property if they do not wish to. There are exceptions to this: If you own the property and your immediate family is going to move into the tenanted space, then once the correct period of notice has expired, the tenant must leave.

• Am I able to lease out my finished basement?
As with leasing out any type of real estate there are items that must be complied with. Before putting up the For Rent sign, it would be in your interest to check that the basement apartment complies with the Ontario Building Code, Ontario Fire Code, local Zoning By-laws, and other applicable regulations. That will give you the real scoop on what reno's could need to be finished (such as putting in another exit) to bring your finished basement into compliance as a secondary unit.

• There is a difference between my occupancy date and my registration date, please explain why is this?
If you are acquiring a newly built condos or Lofts in Toronto, then occupancy fees become your responsibility from the occupancy date, even if you haven't moved in yet. There comes a point when the unit is livable even if you haven't moved in and regardless of whether those finishes you requested are carried out. The registration date is relevant to the date the condo build is completely registered and closed and the condo is yours legally to do with as you please.
• What is a reserve fund?

Repairs have to be made to community areas of a condo building from time to time, the reserve fund which is legally set aside, is for this eventuality. Money is added to it each time you make a payment for your monthly maintenance charge, though if large repairs are needed this money can disappear fast.
• If things breaks in my condo, do I have to mend it or does the condo corporation take care of it?

Your condo is regarded as your effects - one of the benefits of ownership! As a result if something is broken, then it is up to you to fix it. Repairs outside the condo and general maintenance like cleaning of hallways etc. are covered in your monthly maintenance fees.

picture by explorerTom

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Part 1: You and Your Toronto Real Estate

Can you tell me what is a building permit, and when do I need to be given a building permit?

The City of Toronto may need to give you formal authorization, a building permit, before you can make a start work on your house, which includes construction, demolition, additions or renovations. There are quite a few rules that your plans must comply too, they also include the Ontario Building Code and local Zoning By-laws. There are quite a few instances when you will need one, here are some of them: Assemble a new building or put on an extension, make structural alterations, some reno's, demolish or remove all or a portion of a building, change a building's use, install, change, or remove partitions and load bearing walls, make new openings for, or change the size of, doors and windows, construct a garage, balcony or deck, excavate a basement or construct a foundation, install or alter heating, plumbing or air-conditioning systems, install or reconstruct chimneys or fireplaces or wood burning stoves, create a new basement entrance or second suite the list goes on.

Why is my insurance firm asking so many questions about the property I bought, can my realtor tell me why they want to know?

When you buy a house, your insurance company will need to know things such as how big an area your building takes up, any updates to the systems in your house such as roofing, the material used to build the home, plus many other things. The best people to answer these questions are the people selling the property, we can contact their listing agent on your behalf if you would like us to. Exact records are not always available but an insurance business will sometimes accept the approximate price and date these changes occurred.
When looking at purchasing a property, which is the better investment, a house or a condominium?
We specialize on Toronto houses for sale but I can tell you that this all depends on your personal situation, how you visualize the future and what you are expecting out of the opportunity. For example, a house might provide the opportunity to live in while renting out, while a well-located condo pays for itself (given average Toronto rental prices) while appreciating more slowly. We will analyze your own unique situation to help you decide!

Why do prices for the same sort of unit alter so much in the same block?

By installing an upgraded kitchen or bathroom, wanting a parking space, how the condo is finished all add to and are reflected in the price. Also, the higher the floor in the building, the larger the price (ie penthouse suites can sell for a lot more than ground floor suites). Finally, remember that list price - asking price - is not always the same as what the apartments will actually sell for!
picture by Alexkess

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Are the Proposed Changes to the Property Industry a Positive Move?

A poll says Canadian property agents are not in favour of deregulation. Many of 1,726 real estate agents polled by Royal LePage Real Estate Services believes the proposed changes to MLS represent a wrong way to improve the real estate industry.

The debate concerns for the most part the extent, to which the MLS listings should be administered only by accredited specialists. The overall belief amongst agents is that customer service and safeguards set up to protect a customer, are going to drop if there is an influx of amateur service providers. The housing market is already highly competitive according to most agents, with less than 2% replying there was no competition, within the housing brokerage market.

The survey also tried to find in what way real estate specialists help buyers and sellers in completing their transactions. There were many options given, but the essential three considerations were: Optimizing and protecting client's monetary well-being, completing the transaction in a timely manner and providing the full package of brokerage services. Barely 0.6% of polled professionals said, they never helped a client avoid financial or transactional problems. 51.4% declared they did so very 'often' and 37.1% 'often'. When looking at the market side of their responsibilities, the survey showed that realtors were out there in this area. Toronto MLS, open home, local advertising and own websites were frequently used by more than three quarters of of those polled.
Membership of Royal LePage for an average of 15 years was a frequent answer when realtors were directed to answer questions on professional development, along with visiting formal courses and seminars up to four times per year.

The Royal LePage Real Estate Advisors Survey was administered online in April 2010 and can be seen on the official website.

picture by SteveM_61

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Toronto Needs to Put the Effort into Being Greener

A new chart has been printed by Mercer Consulting when it released its annual Quality of Living statement, called the Eco-City Ranking. While Toronto was positioned at a solid 16th place in the world and in third place in North America, in terms of regular quality of living, our position in the Eco-City chart is not so good.

The chart is worked on a number of factors such as water availability, how good the sewage systems are and air pollution. To sum up, if your city creates large amounts of pollution and doesn't use its renewable resources then it's not going to rank very highly. Industrial cities such as Pittsburgh and Düsseldorf beat Toronto, which only saw a rank of 39, not good news.

Narrowing the figures down somewhat, Toronto only came in 11th when linking it to the North American cities. Our Canadian cities do however score extremely well - Ottawa was in joint place for 3rd along with Helsinki, Honolulo 2nd and first place goes to Canada with Calgary being named the highest eco-friendly city. Montreal and Vancouver also did well for Canada, ranking a joint 13 in the eco-city article.

When looking at the overall figures from the article, Toronto came in at 16, which doesn't seem too unsatisfactory, but we need to be aware of our eco responsibilities. "A city’s eco-status or attitude toward sustainability can have significant impact on the quality of living of its inhabitants", was the points made by a senior researcher at Mercer and that's what we want to be looking at.

What we need to think about is, our environmental quality of life will influence us right now and in the long term.

Julie Kinnear has been local eco activist and a MLS listings Toronto realtor

picture by SweetOne

Friday, May 28, 2010

Green Toronto Award Goes to the Best Innovators in the GTA

Green Innovators Awards content knows its three prizewinners. At the Green Living Show held at the Direct Energy Centre, Exhibiton Place, the mayor, deputy mayor and CityNews meteorologist reported the prizewinners of this esteemed award on April 23. Each of them were handed the prestigious Green Toronto Award and they will split a $50,000 prize.

The young scientists aim to support the environment, the prize money is just a bonus. All the finalists presented interesting green solutions and improvements. Since the idea was to show real resolutions, most of the projects were affordable and easily applicable, so one day you may see them applied also in your neighbourhood, or in your own home.

Here are the top three prize winners:

  • Olivier Trescases, PhD and Chris Lea, with Green Gym: A gym built to use energy from exercise equipment; and send it to the grid.
  • Sarah Lazarovic and her concept GreenHouseTO; Not just for architects but for everyday individuals comes a web and mobile renovation application that is for Toronto buildings.
  • Robert Kori Golding, for his concept My Green City: For people that enjoy gaming on the iPhone or Facebook Construct a virtual town on these applications/games and claim reward points to use on your town by helping the environment.

So the prizewinner is GREEN!

As well as Green Innovation Awards there were 9 Green Toronto Awards handed out: for Community Projects Award, Energy Conservation Award, Environmental Awareness Award and another six. Charities also won, as all finalists were awarded a prize of $5,000 each to share with a charity of their choice.

Article delivered by Julie Kinnear, Royal LePage Toronto

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The green real estate: What is keeping it back?

Developers would like to see green property projects jump rapidly. While they are moving forward very fast, appraisals are not keeping in line with this fast growing industry. Take a house that would typically cost half a million dollars to assemble. You decide that you want the house to be more environmentally friendly, therefore you ask your architect to design the new property so it takes advantage of the sunshine and you put in high quality insulations and solar panels. Due to these green choices, this will add another $100,000 to the cost of the building.

Unfortunately this is not how your bank or mortgage appraiser values it. It doesn't do a lot of good to solely add value based on cost, but the question is, How much will the market pay on resale?' says David Snook, an appraiser and representative of the real property committee on education for the American Society of Appraisers.

Shall we finish with our example? Your bank or mortgage lender will only accept a $550,000 price. Therefore you would need to look for an additional $50,000 as a down payment. With a high-ratio mortgage 5% down payment, you will need $77,500 instead of $27,500. That is a large increase particularly if you are on a budget and every cent matters. This might force you to search for the cheapest green option, using older and cheaper technologies, or maybe you will forget about the whole green idea of the project altogether.

However, as a green MLS GTA agent I realize even though there is a rise in cost going green does make a difference Look at it this way, green real estate sell over 20% more rapidly with an 8.5% increase on price, according to Green Work Realty report. This information doesn't help you though if you are dealing with bank or mortgage business appraisers who don't have much if any experience with the green property technology.

There is not much that can be done about it right now . While there is no standardization for environmental and energy efficiency at this time, I think that they will soon be on their way. Green real estate is about cost as well as the all important environment. When looking at purchasing a motor car, one of the first things you look at is its fuel consumption, how many miles to the gallon does it do. Making sense of home energy consumption is the natural next step.

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Weed Businesses Found - Toronto Sales Rep Put in Jail

As with all careers, sometimes you find that this is not for you and start looking out for for another occupation. In many of the properties he rented, Phu Nhi Trac decided to do just this, and started another job. This was no regular gardening pastime, but the biggest illegal marijuana operation in Canada.

With entry refused to her own house, a landlady took matters into her own hands and turned up at the rented house and blew the whistle on Trac's illegal farms. It was entirely empty, except of a collection of hoses leading to the basement, which was turned into a weed jungle. The owner expressed how distressed she was to find the illegal goings on in her property. No surprise there.

Just less than 30,000 plants were seized totalling $30 million when the police uncovered the other 53 businesses. Mr Trac was a managing head of a small group (including another real estate agent), which used fake IDs to swindle more than fifty house owners during years 2000-2002. And he was a skillful manager ? he was well informed about the growing process, studied the market prices and even tried to find franchises for his criminal activity.

Mr Trac, who's real estate license with Living Realty until it was cancelled last year, was sentenced to 14 years; with some terms to be served simultaneously it means he will spend 5 years behind bars. He didn't just get away with a jail sentence, he also was handed out a $1 million fine, which will make a big hollow in his wallet.

Eric Chan, ex-president of Living Realty, said Trac "never had any concern with his honesty and integrity and had won a important award for top producer of the branch office in the industrial commercial investment sector?.

Well, we have always encouraged you to take the process of picking an agent seriously. This type of issue is very uncommon and I would like to add gardening is not a regular hobby for a real estate agent in Toronto.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cleaning Without Chemicals

After the holiday season your property will most likely need a thorough clean to bring it back to good condition. With many expensive cleaning items on the market or the choice of a professional cleaning service, this job could be expensive. On the other hand, if you are one of those groups of people who'd want to do it themselves, here is an alternative for you. Natural or homemade products offer a choice of benefits, including hardly any health risks, lower costs, and yet another opportunity to go green. The largest worries are germ control and cleansing effectiveness, which can be accomplished without toxic chemicals. Here are a few ways on how to clean up without chemicals (or, at least to reduce their use in your home). Julie Kinnear, Toronto MLS expert famous for her green approach, will share few tips with you!

First Job: Microwave

Don't just fixate on the outside of your appliances, food debris gets left inside the microwave causing nasty smells and a hard to clean surface. Slice lemons and oranges and deposit them in a dish of water before placing them inside the microwave - a tip from hygiene experts from Britain. Cook on full power for about 5 minutes before wiping clean with a soft cloth or sponge and you will notice how easy the debris wipes away due to the steam made. (The oranges absorb the grease while the lemon eliminates odours) Water from a damp cloth will give off steam if the dish and citrus fruit method can't be done - a note for safety: always use a damp cloth as dry cloth could cause a fire. The item of cloth needs to be left in the microwave for a few minutes for the greatest result.

How to Wash your Fridge

To get rid of food spillage and other blemishes in your fridge, simply use soapy water including very little soap). Using an old toothbrush with some of your everyday toothpaste, clean in the corners and those little spaces that are hard to get to. Turn off your freezer if that needs cleaning out and place a bowl of hot water inside, this creates heat which helps the ice thaw. Once the ice has melted use some lemon water to clean and freshen the inside of your freezer.

Cleaning the Top of your Kitchen Cooker Thoroughly

Owning glass-ceramic or induction cookers means you need to pay particular attention to your cleaning methods due to the fact these products can be grazed easily. Day to day cleaning of your cooker, by wiping of any spills and marks to stop build up of stubborn marks should be an important part of cleaning your cooker. Nevertheless, if there are any food spillages or you can't get rid of the greasy film, use a mixture of baking soda and water and a plastic scrub brush to lightly scrub the top clean.

Scrubbing the Oven

I bet like most people you don't enjoy scrubbing your oven. If you aren't fortunate enough to own a self-cleaning one, the task is not fun. With quite a few ways and means of completing the job, it can be quite effortless. One of the simplest mixes that you can make up at home that really does the job is: Mix 5 tbsp of baking soda, 3 drops of liquid soap, and 4 tbsp of white vinegar into a heavy paste. Using a sponge to scour, apply the mix to the surfaces of your oven. Then, just wipe the whole oven clean, rinse it out thoroughly, and let it dry. Half a cup of ammonia left in a closed oven overnight is another accepted cleaning method. Dispose of the ammonia in the morning and sponge the surfaces down with a wet cloth to see the outcome of your work.