Ashley Lo | Real Estate Solutions

Whitehaus – Coming Soon to Yonge and Eglinton


Lifetime Dev:Whitehaus Logo

New development coming to Yonge & Eglinton by Lifetime Developments.

Yonge & Eglinton has been ranked the #1 neighbourhood to live in by Toronto Life.

whitehaus_girl

whitehaus_area_map


The new Eglinton Crosstown will make Yonge & Eglinton the liveliest intersections in Toronto.

eglinton_crosstown_rt

Currently pre-selling, with special pricing and incentives. Contact me for additional details.

Sneak Peak at the New TTC Map

An image of what a new-and-improved TTC might look like has just been released. A report on the agenda for the next TTC board meeting provides an image of a new subway map featuring the Eglinton Crosstown LRT (set to open in 2021). The image also includes the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension. The map will be reviewed by the board this Monday, November 23; final names of new stations on Line 5 Eglinton will ultimately be decided by Metrolinx.

NewSubwayMapfull

Quaint Condo for Sale in Richmond Hill

Welcome Home to Your Future Luxury Condo On Yonge Street, In A Prime Richmond Hill Area! Lovely & Bright, Open Concept, Soaring 10Ft. Ceilings. Spacious 1+Den With Separate Powder Room For Guests. Walk Out To Terrace & Gazebo. Steps To Viva/YRT, Close To Schools & Shopping. Amenities Include: 24Hr Concierge, Gym, Indoor Pool, Steam Room, Billiard Room, Party Room, Library & Guest Suites.

What $20 Million Buys You in Toronto

Address: 35 High Point Road

Neighbourhood: Bridle Path – Sunnybrook – York Mills

Price: $19,800,000

The Place:
A stunning mansion in the heart of The Bridle Path.

Bragging Rights:

The house has more amenities than some condominiums in the city. With its very own indoor pool and spa, exercise room, his and hers change rooms, party room with commercial grade kitchen, wine cellar, billiards room, home theatre and tennis court, it truly has something for everyone. It even features its own playroom with specialized rubber for the little ones.

Big Selling Point:

The exquisitely landscaped grounds makes living in the city feel like cottage country.

By the Numbers:

• $19,800,000
• 18,086 sq ft
• 2 acres
• 7 bedrooms
• 15 washrooms
• 4 parking spaces
• 1 wine cellar

Listing Agent: Ashley Lo


5 Cool Tech Gadgets for the Home

The holiday season is quickly approaching! If any of you are like me, you may be scrambling for some last minute gift ideas. Here are some cool tech gadget gift ideas for the home that I think are pretty neat!

1. Nest

Nest is the next generation in thermostats. This product is perfect for people who are eco-conscious. It learns your schedule and programs itself in a way which helps preserve energy. Activity sensors are used to activate the Auto Away feature, which ensures that your household is at an energy efficient temperature while you’re gone. Done correctly, Nest can lower your energy consumption by 20%!

To illustrate how advanced this thermostat is, during your first week, Nest will learn your heating and cooling habits. But, if you need to make one-off changes, you can also do so using their robust online app. The Nest is tiny (only 3.2 inches in diameter), but it’s loaded with a slew of features including a wifi radio, three temperature sensors, and even a humidity sensor. Best of all, you can control all of this using your smart phone.

Cost: $249 USD

Purchase at http://store.nest.com

2. Sonos Wireless

Sonos is definitely a product that is revolutionizing how we listen to music and is one of my personal favourites. I use this product at home and love it! It is a wireless multi-room music system that allows you to stream music from online sources and the music will play from different devices connected onto its network. You can either play different music in different rooms, or play the same music throughout your home. A base station is connected to your home network so that you can even access your library when your devices are shut-off. Whether you’re streaming your favourite song from Rdio or your iPhone, you can play it wirelessly in whichever room you’re in. All of this can be controlled on Sono’s smart phone application which makes it even easier to just sit back, relax and enjoy the music.

Cost: Variety of different products ranging from $59 – $749

Purchase at http://www.sonos.com/shop/

3. WeMo

WeMo is one of the coolest gadgets out there in the market right now because you can control essentially any plug-in product right on your mobile phone. WeMo has two main products: WeMo Switch and WeMo Motion. Buy the Switch product alone and you can control any product that is connected to it on your smart phone. Want to make your coffee from your bed? No problem. You can use the WeMo Motion to control the product when the motion sensor is activated. This is specifically handy when it comes to lighting. Already snuggled into bed but forgot to turn off the lights? Yup, WeMo to the rescue.

Cost: WeMo Switch – $49.95; WeMo Switch + Motion – $99.95

Purchase at Apple Store – Belkin WeMo

4. Samsung WF457 Washer and Dryer

The reason why I love this product is because it helps improve what I hate most about doing laundry – timing my wash perfectly so that I can throw it in the dryer. This Samsung Front Loading Washer is a game changer for the laundry experience as it connects wirelessly to your smart phone to tell you how much time you have left on your load and what part of the cycle it’s at. You can even schedule a wash so that it starts at a more cost-efficient time (no more needing wait until the weekend to do laundry). Just set it and forget it!

If you’re not sold on that, then how about the fact that the washer-dryer set is also highly energy efficient (using only 96 kWh per year) and uses less water than most other sets out there too!

Cost: MSRP Washer $2,149.99, Dryer – $1,749.00

Purchase at your local Samsung retailer or <http://www.samsung.com/ca/consumer/home-appliances/washers-dryers/washers/WF457ARGSGR/AA-buyonline>online

5. Rogers Home Monitoring

This last holiday gift idea is for the security cautious techie! The Rogers Home Monitoring system is superior than traditional systems because it allows you to have full control on its tablet product as well as on your smart phone. Arm and disarm your alarm even when you are away from home. You can even keep track of what’s happening at home! Notifications can be set when the door opens (or does not open) between a certain time, perfect for parents who want to keep track of their children. What’s even cooler is that if the door does opens, a photograph can be taken of whoever enters. Need more convincing? Their online application has additional features to control your lights and even monitor the carbon monoxide levels right from the palm of your hand. Pretty neat from the same company as your wireless provider!

Cost: Starting at $19.99/month + installation

Purchase at Rogers.com

What are some of your favourite gadgets for the home?

Have a safe and wonderful holiday!

Higher property assessment…but does this mean higher taxes? Not necessarily.

Ontario property owners may be in for a shock as they receive their new property assessment notice with an average increase of 4.5% phased-in over the next four years. This is after a report was released by the Ontario Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) that property values have risen 18% since 2008.

“Our values reflect local real estate markets and confirm that most homeowners in the province have seen the value of their homes increase over the last four years,” said Larry Hummel, MPAC’s chief assessor.

How high property taxes will climb won’t be known until the spring, when the new budgets and the property assessments are discussed. The last time properties were assessed was in 2008, when a two-year government freeze on tax assessments was lifted.

Although this may mean a property tax increase for some home owners, it may not necessarily be the case for everyone. The assessed value are based on what a property would have sold for on January 1, 2012. If a home has risen by the same percentage as the average in a given municipality, there may not be an increase in taxes. If the assessed value of the home is higher than the average, then the difference in the increase will be phased-in over the four years. Owners can check the accuracy of the assessment at www.aboutmyproperty.ca which allows owners to compare values in their neighbourhood.

“Property owners should ask themselves if they could have sold their property for its assessed value on Jan. 1, 2012. If the answer is yes, then their assessment is accurate. If not, we are committed to working with them to get it right,” Hummel said.

Additional questions? Feel free to contact me.

What Toronto’s skyline will look like in 2020?

Found this awesome and very interesting post of what the Toronto skyline will look like in 2020.

We are definitely seeing intensification in Toronto! A lot of people compare Toronto to New York City and I can see the similarities. What do you think?

This is from a forum post by innsertnamehere (yes, that’s the username). You can see more photos there. All credits to this user!

Innsertnamehere even color-coded the buildings (amazing!)
WHITE = the project has had preliminary renders, but no application has been submitted.
RED = the project has submitted an application to the city
GREEN = the project has been approved, but has yet to start construction
YELLOW = the project is currently in sales
BLUE = the project is currently under construction

The “Manhattanization” of the Entertainment District

This is what Yorkville will look like:

5 Reasons why home ownership is better than renting

Why use your hard-earned cash to pay the landlord’s mortgage when you could be using the rent money to buy a home of your own? Although home ownership is not right for everyone, it does make sense in many cases.

Here are 5 reasons why home ownership is better than renting:

  1. Home ownership is a great investment. Although short term real estate prices may follow similar patterns as an economic cycle with peaks and valleys, there has always been a general upwards trend. Especially with cities such as Toronto, urbanization and gentrification become more predominant over time, and scarcity of land drives prices up. Over the past 40 years, the average Toronto home price increase per year still remains at 7%, even after a couple of recessions!

    1. Leveraging your money. With interest rates at an all time low and with as little of a down payment as 5%, you can still have completely control of your property. Act fast though, because lending rules are becoming more stringent!

 

    1. Home ownership acts as a method of forced savings.By getting into the real estate market early (imagine having your income trying to catch up with a 7% increase a year!), you are able to save for a more expensive home in the future by paying down your mortgage every month and leveraging your current home equity. Monthly costs of owning are often only a little more than what you would pay for an equivalent rental.

 

    1. Pride of ownership and being in full control. Any improvements or decoration changes need no approval from your landlord. Feel free to upgrade as your please! (Amen to that!)

 

  1. Tax benefits. Especially as a first time home buyer, there are many perks from a tax perspective such as RRSP withdrawals and land transfer tax credits. In addition, there are no capital gain taxes on a principal residence. Even for investment properties, there are significant tax deductions which can make property ownership a great investment strategy.

Buy vs. Rent Example


Featured listing: Gorgeous 2 bedroom + den at Yonge/Finch for sale at $299,000

MLS # C2437195

More information on this property: http://www.ashleylo.com/5785yongest202

Comparison

Purchase Price – $299,900
Down Payment 5% 10% 15%
$14,995 $29,990 $44,985
Monthly Expenses
Mortgage Amount (including Mortgage Insurance; Interest at 3% for 5 years)
Property Taxes
Maintenance Fees
Total Monthly Expenses
$1,479
$157
$886
$2,522
$1,367
$157
$886
$2,411
$1,281
$157
$886
$2,324
Annual Cash Spent
Average Annual Savings From Principle (based on 5 year term)
$30,268
$8,278
$28,929
$7,843
$27,890
$7,407
Annual Cost of Ownership
vs.
Annual Cost of Renting at $2,150/month
Savings From Home Ownership
$21,989
$25,800
$3,811
$21,086
$25,800
$4,714
$20,483
$25,800
$5,317

As you can see, even with a down payment of 5% and having to pay mortgage insurance, it would be more beneficial to purchase vs. rent, even without taking into consideration home price appreciation! As GoC bond yields decrease (which is what our fixed-mortgage rates are based on), interest rates will be even lower, allowing an even greater gap between this buy vs. rent scenario. In addition, this example is based on the first 5 years, with additional savings as time passes as you pay down more of your principle and have less interest in your mortgage.

Questions? Feel free to contact me at anytime!

Tarion changes good news for pre-construction purchasers

Regulator of Ontario’s new home building industry, Tarion Warranty Corporation has introduced a number of program changes which will benefit consumers, including lower enrolment fees and better disclosure of extra charges in builder sales agreements.

By law, every agreement of purchase and sale for a new home or condominium must contain a lengthy disclosure statement called an addendum. Tarion has now introduced a new schedule to be added to every addendum, called Schedule B.

Schedule B became optional for builders on July 1st, and on October 1st it will become mandatory for all homes and condominium projects where the first purchase agreement is signed on or after that date.

There will be two parts to the schedule. Part I will contain an itemized list of all charges, fees or other adjustments to the final purchase price or balance payable on closing, where the dollar value is set out in the builder’s agreement of purchase and sale.

Charges listed in this section may be items such as the Tarion enrolment fee (which has now been reduced by $150), a charge for holding the purchaser’s deposits in trust, a fee to discharge the builder’s construction financing and a fixed charge to subsidize the builder’s legal fees.

Part II of the new schedule will set out all additional charges, fees or other anticipated adjustments to the final purchase price, which are to be calculated after the purchase agreement is signed, according to the written terms of the agreement.

For condominium purchases, charges in this section may include items such as:

  • The unit’s proportionate share of the cost of installation of gas, hydro, sewers and water service and meters in the project,
  • Any new / increase in taxes, levies or development charges imposed on the unit by any level of government after the agreement was signed (such as parks and other municipal charges, education or transit development charges)
  • A portion of the costs associated with a development agreement entered into with the city,
  • HST on the value of the appliances included with the unit,
  • Interest on the balance of the purchase price until final closing,
  • A portion of the building’s first common elements study.
  • Each charge will be referenced to the relevant text in the purchase agreement so buyers can determine whether it is unlimited or capped at a particular amount.

    Your real estate agent should be limiting the charges on your behalf, however, assembling all the open-ended charges in one place will also alert purchasers to the additional financial risks involved in signing the pre-construction agreement.

    Another significant change to the Tarion warranty came into effect on July 1st. It affects all new houses sold after that date and all condominium units where the first purchase agreement in the project was signed after that date.

    A new definition of “major structural defect” has been implemented by regulation. The warranty program now protects purchasers against a defect in work or materials if it results in a failure of a structural load-bearing element, or adversely affects the use of the building for the usual and ordinary purposes of a residential dwelling.

    Breakdown of mechanical equipment like a furnace, where the builder has no control over its manufacture or ongoing functionality, will now rest solely with the manufacturer, either through the original warranty or ongoing service contracts.

    More information can be obtained here: http://www.tarion.com/Pages/New-Policies-in-Effect-July-1st-2012.aspx

    Questions? Contact me

    Ashley Lo | Real Estate Advice, Real Estate Solutions

Building code changes for glass balconies

The Ontario housing minister announced just last week that interim measures will be changed on the Ontario building code beginning July 1st, 2012 to prevent glass panels from breaking off on balconies. These regulations are meant to be temporary, as the province has asked the Canadian Standards Association to develop national guidelines that could then be adopted under Ontario’s code.

The rules follow recommendations made to the province by an expert panel on the glass-panel issue after 30 balconies on 11 buildings have shattered in Toronto. The new and safer standard require builders to use the same type of glass used in car windshields for outside panels. Construction firms will also have to use laminated or tempered glass meant to withstand high temperatures for inside panels.

These changes will only affect new construction developments only, but anyone with concerns can contact the city. The City of Toronto also plans to send letters to condo developers and owners built in the last five to seven years to voluntarily inspect the balconies.

The advisory panel also mentioned that the risks from falling glass are small, as tempered glass is meant to shatter into small pieces – where the liklihood of injuring anyone is small. One woman had minor injuries after being hit by falling glass on Bay Street last year.

What are your thoughts? Do you think these measures are good enough to protect the residents of Toronto?

Ashley Lo | Real Estate Advice, Real Estate Solutions