Category Archives: For Buyers

17 Things to Know About Closing Your House Deal


Closing day in a house deal is a milestone for both the seller and the buyer. To make it go smoothly, it is very important that both buyer and the seller are properly prepared.

Here’s a checklist if you are selling:

  1. Make sure you have given your lawyer a copy of any deed, mortgage, survey and current property tax bills. You should have received these from your lawyer when you bought the house.

  2. Do not cancel your household insurance policy until you have heard that the deal has closed. Also, if you are moving out more than 30 days before closing, you need to notify your insurer that the home will be vacant. This way, you will still be covered if anything happens in the home up to the closing date.

  3. You will visit your lawyer a few days before closing to sign the papers. Make sure you give one set of keys to give to your lawyer, which will be passed on to buyer’s lawyer at closing.

  4. If you are a non-resident of Canada, you must obtain a certificate from Canada Revenue Agency regarding any income tax payable, or else the buyer will be holding back 25 per cent of the sale price until you do get it. Non-resident means you have not lived in Canada at least 183 total days in the past year before the closing day. This can take up to two months so let your lawyer know right away so that the proper application can be filed.

  5. Have all your utility meters read on the day of closing. That way you will only be responsible for your share of utilities. Also notify your cable and telephone provider so that your service can be disconnected. If your house is heated with an oil tank, you need to make arrangements to fill the tank on the closing day.

  6. Cancel any pre-authorized or postdated cheques at your bank, to make sure you don’t pay for anything after closing.

  7. As you have to be out of the property when it closes, arrange to move out before 5 p.m.

Here’s a checklist if you are buying:

  1. Schedule your pre-closing visit shortly before closing, so that you can conduct your final inspection to make sure that the home is in the same condition as when you signed the offer.

  2. Arrange moving time late in the afternoon, as that is likely when the seller will have moved out. If it is a condominium, and you need use of the elevator, contact the management company well in advance of closing to reserve the elevator.

  3. Fire insurance must be arranged for the full replacement cost of the home. If it is a condominium, you need a policy to protect your contents and liability. Do not leave this to the last minute.

  4. If you are arranging a mortgage for less than 20 per cent down, the bank will be deducting certain costs, such as mortgage insurance, appraisal fees and HST. Find out early what all these deductions will be, as you will have to come up with any difference needed to close your deal. Make sure you have provided the lender with all required proof of income, or down payment well in advance so that it does not delay the money.

  5. Your lawyer will be receiving a statement of adjustments just before closing. This could add to your closing costs if the seller has prepaid some expenses, especially property taxes. Find out exactly what this is as it can add up to 0.5 per cent more to what you may owe.

  6. You will need to deliver, at least 2 days before closing, the balance of money needed for your lawyer to close the deal, by certified cheque, money order or bank draft.

  7. Let the lawyer know how you will be taking title to the property. If you take as joint tenants and one of you passes away, the other party immediately becomes the owner. If you take as tenants in common, you can transfer your interest to a beneficiary under your will.

  8. Tell your lawyer to order title insurance for you. This will protect your property against title defects, survey issues, work orders and frauds while you own the property.

  9. Arrange for your cable and telephone providers to install service on the day of closing or immediately after closing.

  10. Contact the utility companies, to make sure they read the meters on closing, so that you are only responsible for charges after you move in.

Being prepared in advance will ease the stress of closing day and hopefully begin the creation of happy memories for you and your family.

FOR SALE: 2 bedroom corner-unit available in a luxury condo (Leslie and Sheppard)

Aria Condos


For those who demand an upscale lifestyle in the city without
compromising a natural setting at the luxury Aria Condominiums.

Beautiful 1140 sq ft corner-unit available at Leslie and Sheppard with a great layout:

  • 2 large bedrooms (walk-in closets in each room)
  • 2 baths with marble throughout
  • Eat in kitchen with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances
  • Beautiful NW view on a high floor with soaring 9 ft ceilings
  • Hardwood floors throughout
  • Over sized terrace (approx 180 sq ft)
  • One parking spot (rare second parking spot available at an additional cost)
  • One locker

Just steps from Sheppard subway, 401, 404 and DVP. Close to Bayview
Village, Fairview mall, schools, hospital, trails and much more!

State of the art amenities:

  • Large party room
  • Swimming pool
  • Virtual golf
  • Aerobic and fitness centre
  • Games room
  • Board room
  • Media room
  • Guest suites
  • BBQ area

Price: $570,000

Download the brochure here: 20 Bloorview Place Brochure

Virtual Tour:
20 Bloorview Place

Condo buyers can gain the upper hand by seeing through marketing

Contact me for professional advice and to avoid all of the pains that can come along with a real estate purchase.


“If you buy this condo, you’ll lead a glamorous life just like the hot model on this slick, glossy billboard.”

Most shoppers are smart enough to know that’s not necessarily what they’re signing up for when they drop thousands on a condo.

While many developers continue to use these “heavy on fantasy, light on information” marketing strategies, they’re on their way out, says Matthew Slutsky, condo marketing expert and founder/president of, an online directory of Canadian condo developments.

“Purchasers aren’t stupid,” he says, speaking of the intended allure of model-esque advertisements and slick showrooms. “Nobody’s going to go to a sales centre without doing their research.”

That research, if done right, will involve brushing up on the kinds of strategies developers use to help sell the condos – and they involve more than just the billboard. They’re not done maliciously to fool the buyer, Mr. Slutsky says. “It’s just marketing.”

Here’s how to see through and interpret sales strategies while you’re shopping for that condo:

Knowledge is power

If a developer isn’t offering any and all information, they’re likely not worth your time or money, says David Allison, president of Vancouver-based Braun/Allison Inc., which does marketing for residential developments.

“You need to demand that information. If you’re going to be putting down your life savings and you don’t have all that information, then you’re not making a smart decision.”

Make sure the developer has an informative website and don’t bend to those who ask you to call them or visit a sales centre for more details. Shoppers could also visit home builders association websites such as the Greater Vancouver Homebuilders Association, which should have information on the developer if they’ve built in the area before, says Carla Bury, director of marketing at Intercorp Inc., a developer in Vancouver.

Visit an existing development

If you’re buying before the condo is built, ask whether that same developer has a condo nearby. If so, get a tour, Mr. Allison suggests. It will help you gauge the quality of the building. If the hallways are narrow, you can tell the developer was stretching to make the rooms feel larger in a small unit, he says.

Thinking of buying a condo?

It’s also smart to check out a view plan to make sure you’re actually going to see that sunset from your condo, says Ms. Bury, whose company is set to release a book to help condo shoppers make informed decisions when buying their new home. It also doesn’t hurt to talk to a condo owner or two in that building to see whether they got what they signed up for.

Watch the details in ads

If it’s really important to you that you can barbecue on your balcony, just like the happy couple in the ad, make sure you actually can after you buy, says Denise Lash, a condominium lawyer at Heenan Blaikie LLP in Toronto.

“They may show people on the roof so you assume your condo would allow barbecuing, but then you find out it’s only for certain units,” she says. If the ad shows a nice beach scene, check whether that development is actually near the water. After all, she says, “marketing is marketing and no one is legally bound.”

Look up

You walk into a model suite and it looks like a spacious cove of wonderful. That’s probably because it doesn’t have a ceiling, Mr. Slutsky says. “It gives a much airier feel to a small suite.” Model suites are often in industrial spaces, making it hard to envision where the ceiling would be. That said, there’s usually a little line on the wall denoting the ceiling height; ask the agent to point it out, he says.

Furniture size may vary

Layout plans will often feature furniture – a little window seat here, a breakfast nook there. Ask about the size of the bed drawn into the bedroom. “They may be using a double bed instead of a queen-sized bed,” he says. “You may not even be able to fit a queen-sized bed in the bedroom.” Other pieces of furniture may be smaller, too, even those featured in the model suite. “It’s to make it look bigger. They will put in furniture that will fit with that space.”

Love the granite countertop? That’ll be extra

Model suites are often peppered with upgrades that are not included in the price of the condo, whether it be gleaming countertops or slick pot lights in the ceiling. “The standards are often very nice,” Mr. Slutsky says, but it’s key to ask what’s an upgrade and what’s included in the price.

How big is this big?

Don’t be fooled by the majesty of the show suite – sometimes they’re bigger than what you’re hoping to buy, Mr. Slutsky says. “Usually the show suite is [the size advertised], but they may be showcasing a larger unit rather than, say, the 500-square-foot unit,” he says. It’s up to you to know whether the model condo you’re walking through is really the model you can afford. Don’t be shy to ask. Ms. Bury from Intercorp suggests walking through two or three different units to get a real feel for the sizes available.

How many ‘steps’ from the subway is it, anyway?

A lot of developers describe the proximity of the condo tower to restaurants and attractions with amenity maps. However, they’re not always drawn to scale, Mr. Slutksy says. “Often they’ll make the development look much closer to the amenities than it may actually be,” he says. Gauge the distance for yourself, he says. Take a drive to test it out or, better yet, spend a few days scoping out the neighbourhood to get a feel for where you’d be doing your shopping and restaurant-going.

Check out the layout

As in “don’t buy that big leather couch before buying the condo.” It just might not fit. Layouts on a piece of paper can seem a lot more ideal than the layout in real life, Mr. Slutsky says. It’s a conundrum often encountered when purchasing condos before they’re built. “There are a lot of two-bedroom, 520-square-foot units selling, which is very tight,” he says. Try to place yourself there “so you can get a feel for how the unit’s going to work, which way the doors are going to swing.”

Check the contract

“People get all carried away with the beautiful marketing and don’t really realize that what they’re buying is defined in the legal documents,” says the lawyer Ms. Lash. The model suite you’re looking at might be 800 square feet, but unless it says it in the legal documents, that may not be the case for yours. “If there’s something important to the purchaser that they have or they need, they should get it in writing,” she says. “If the dimensions of the suite are important or have a certain piece of furniture to get in, they’d better be clear what their specifications are.”

And a sales strategy that could come back

When interest rates were higher and the condo market not so red-hot, some developers held contests so shoppers could win their condo suite, Mr. Allison says. He even remembers one developer in Vancouver who gave away a free car with the purchase of a condo. “A lot of those promotional, attention-getting things are out of vogue,” he says. “But who knows what people are going to do when interest rates go up?”