What’s going on in Ajax?

You ever hear that saying that real estate is about three things?

That’s right – location, location, location.

While that might be a bit of an over-simplification, it is definitely true that real estate markets are inherently local.

What’s happening in one part of the city can be quite different than another part, and when you look at a broader area like the Greater Toronto Area, you really see some differences in real estate prices and trends.

I am pleased to say that the majority of my business comes from repeat clients and referrals.  Whether it is family, colleagues or friends, a number of my clients who loved working with me refer people they like who want to buy, sell or invest in real estate.

These referrals are often located in different parts of Toronto or the GTA and if I am confident I can service the client effectively, I love learning about a new neighbourhood or city.  I’ve developed a comprehensive approach to quickly gaining a comprehensive understanding of a local market. Continue reading

The June real estate market was slow.  I mean…slower.

We all love blanket statements.  I don’t mean pronouncements on duvets, comforters or quilts.

I mean statements like I made above, about how the June real estate market was slow.

Or how I tell my buddy that he looks good in anything.  In his case, I mean that once, he actually managed to look halfway presentable but he has low self-confidence and I want him to feel better about himself.

As for the June real estate market being slow…well, it’s all a case of what you’re comparing against. Continue reading

Here’s where to buy an investment property

The second most common question that I get asked is “Where should I buy an investment property?” and I thought I’d take the time today to answer that question.

If you’re interested in the answer to the most common question I get asked, please watch out for my new blog “What were you thinking Jeff?” where I discuss past hairstyles, misguided electronics purchases and poorly thought through vacation hotel choices.

The question of where to buy an investment property is a complex one and your particular situation is of course very relevant.  Your financing options, budget, level of desired management, comfort with vacancies, tenant interactions – all of these play a big part in what makes the right investment property for you.

We can, however, talk in a general sense about where there are opportunities to buy an investment property in which the numbers work. Continue reading

Halfway through the year…what’s next?

On the last day of every month, I like to retreat to a remote cabin in the woods and think about what has gone on over the past month.  Reflect on my successes and my failures, what has changed and what has stayed the same.

Apologies, I misspoke above.  I meant, I would like to do that.  I actually look at the calendar and say “My god, is the month over already?!”

Today is the end of the first half of 2017 and tomorrow is the start of the 2nd half.

I thought that for once, I’d actually stop and reflect back on what has taken place.  In fact, I’ll go a step further and think about the year so far and what might happen over the next six months.

Without a doubt, 2017 has been an interesting year so far. Continue reading

Time to change it up!

I spent the day yesterday at our annual Keller Williams Advantage golf tournament.

I typically don’t play in tournaments because I don’t feel its fair to the other players.  Most tournaments attract a mix of golfers and quite a few of the attendees don’t often play golf.  Such occasional golfers are easily intimidated when a great golfer is playing with them.  In fact, when the game is so challenging to many people, it can be pretty irritating when someone comes along and just excels at the sport.

In recognition of this fact, I deliberately played poorly yesterday.  If you saw me golf, you would have absolutely said to yourself “Self, this guy is a horrible golfer.”  I missed putts that a 2 year old could have sunk, I hit many, many balls into many, many wooded areas and I threw temper tantrums whenever anyone said I should stop picking up golf balls I found.

It was refreshing to golf so poorly and I think I will continue to do so for the rest of the season.  If we happen to golf together, please don’t let on that you know I’m deliberately playing poorly and that I am in fact an excellent golfer.

On a more serious note, changing how you do things is important when circumstances change. Continue reading

How does a change in interest rates impact you?

Nothing says summertime like a warm evening, a cold beer and an animated discussion about interest rates.

If you had told me years ago that I would consider the topic of interest rates…well, interesting, I would have told you that you’re crazy.  I then would have said I had to go because my friend was waiting for me at Blockbuster and if I don’t arrive soon he’ll have no idea where I am and no way to reach me.

It’s now June, 2017 and I defy you to find me one person who doesn’t think interest rates are fascinating.  OK, two.  OK, 5 million. Continue reading

Shifty.  That’s the word for May’s real estate market.

Every industry has its own set of terminology.

I was recently seated next to a table full of rocket scientists (I could tell because of their lab coats and slightly singed hair) and their discussion got pretty heated.  As near I could figure, one of them suggested that the bleed-cycle operation of the boost glider was causing a lower characteristic velocity.  Now, if you know anything about liquid air cycle engines, that is as ridiculous as suggesting that the ideal burning rate was being impacted by the static firing of the turbopump.  Ridiculous!

The real estate industry is no different in that we have our terms (or argot if I recall my sociology undergrad degree correctly) for just about every aspect of the market.

Some of these terms are so we can be more precise when speaking with each other.  Others are just because we like to sound fancy.

One term that you will hear real estate agents use these days is shift, as in “there is a shift in the market”.  Without a doubt, April was the beginning of a shifting real estate market in the GTA and May definitely continued that shift.  You’ve likely seen headlines about what is happening, which of course use the average change as their basis. Continue reading

What happens when an appraisal comes in less than the purchase price?

It’s time to talk turkey.

That’s an odd phrase, isn’t it?  Apparently, it derives from colonial America times, if the internet can be trusted.

Let me be a little clearer and skip the ambiguous phrases of murky origin and just get down to brass tacks.

Today we’re going to talk about what happens when someone buys a home and the appraisal from the lender comes in at less than what they agreed to pay.

Let’s do a quick review of the basics. Continue reading

How much of your income goes to your housing costs?

The need for shelter is about as primary as a need can get.  It’s right up there with food and companionship.  It’s even higher than the need for WIFI, wine and weekends, henceforth referred to as the Three Ws.

As a full-time Realtor, I regularly have conversations with clients who are trying to reconcile this need for shelter with the cost for shelter.  More specifically, how nice a shelter can they afford to buy?  After all, if affordability was the only issue in real estate, things would be a lot simpler.

  • Does this place back onto a meat rendering plant? Don’t care, how much is it?
  • Is this home literally falling over? Don’t care, how much is it?
  • Will it take me 6 hours (each way) to get to work? Don’t care, how much is it?

Buying a home almost always involves one key trade off.  Continue reading

That’s inappropriate.

I often get asked by my clients for advice on what to fix in a home before we put it on the market.

It’s a great question and one that I’m well positioned to answer as every day I see homes for sale.

Over the years I’ve developed a very good sense of what features enable homes to sell and what deficiencies cause homes to not sell.

At it’s most fundamental level, I tell my clients that the work they do needs to be appropriate to the home.  By appropriate, I mean that it is in keeping with the rest of the home, with the neighbourhood (or building in the case of a condo) and with the overall price point for their home.

How do you know what’s appropriate for the home?   There are three fundamental rules. Continue reading