14 11, 2016

Knock, Knock. How to Avoid Door-to-Door Scams

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It’s early in the evening and there’s a knock on the door. You answer and are greeted by an official-looking man who claims he needs to see your utility bill to confirm you’re getting your energy rebate.
Do you let him in?
While he may be legitimate, he may also be using deception to sell you something you don’t want. Here are some suggestions for finding out:
• Ask for a business card. Then, check if it has an address, phone
number and website. If the salesperson refuses or just shows you his
ID card (which anyone can fake), that’s a red flag.
• Ask for the name of his employer. Sometimes salespeople will say
they “represent the phone company”. That doesn’t mean they
actually work for it.
• Ask if you can call his company to confirm details before buying. If he
refuses, or says the office is closed, shut the door.
• Ask if you can consider the offer and call the office the next day to
place your order.
• If you’re really suspicious, ask him to come back later. Then, call the
non-emergency police number. Police are aware of common scams
in the area.
Most importantly, use your common sense. Door-to-door salespeople can
be pretty persuasive, but if something doesn’t seem right to you, trust your
gut. Say, “No thanks.”
Of course, if everything checks out with the salesperson, and the offer is a
good one, consider taking advantage of it.

12 01, 2016

Two Decades Of Steady Price Appreciation In The GTA

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Steady average price appreciation over close to two decades makes GTA housing market a global anomaly, says RE/MAX Hallmark
214 per cent increase in real estate values since 1996

Toronto, ON (January 12, 2016) – Low interest rates, coupled with population growth and solid economic fundamentals, contributed to a 214 per cent increase in average residential housing values in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) over almost two-­-decades, according to RE/MAX Hallmark Ltd., one of country’s largest real estate franchises.

The GTA housing market is now entering its 20th year of consecutive price appreciation, on the heels of a record-­-breaking 2015. The market has reported a steady increase in values since 1996, when the cost of an average home in the GTA hovered at $198,150. Average price broke through the $600,000 benchmark in 2015, settling at $622,217 – an increase of 6.21 per cent when compounded annually over the 19-­-year period.

“The overall strength and stability of Toronto’s housing market is a global anomaly,” says Ken McLachlan, Broker-­-Owner, RE/MAX Hallmark Ltd. “Very few large residential housing markets can compete with the GTA’s performance over the past two decades”

When analyzing the level of growth in the Greater Toronto Area, population played a serious role. In 2014, the Toronto CMA topped six million (6,055,724), a figure eight per cent higher than the 2011 Census population of 5,583,064 and a substantial 42 per cent uptick over the 1996 Census figure of 4,263,757.

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The low interest rate environment has also influenced home buying activity in the GTA. While the average residential mortgage-­-lending rate for a five-­-year term hovered at approximately eight per cent in 1996, the same product can be had for under three per cent in today’s competitive market.
Homeownership rates have also steadily increased in the GTA, in spite of rising values. Between 1996 and 2006, the level of ownership jumped approximately 10 per cent in the GTA (58.4 per cent to 67.6 per cent). The most recent available rates for the province of Ontario sat at 71.4 per cent in 2011.

Given the turbulence the GTA market has withstood –recessions, 9/11, and SARS, just to name a few – the performance is “nothing short of remarkable”, explains McLachlan.

“Moving forward, there is no reason to expect the upward trend to end,” says McLachlan. “In light of recent volatility in the stock market and overall economic uncertainty, we anticipate an upswing in home buying activity as investors look to tangible assets like bricks and mortar to ride out the storm. The strength of the US dollar will also contribute, serving as an impetus for greater investment in the Greater Toronto Area throughout 2016.”

15 11, 2015

WHAT TO CHECK ON YOUR FINAL PURCHASER VISIT

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When you purchase a home in Toronto, your Realtor will likely include at least 2 purchaser visits in the agreement of purchase and sale to occur before you close on the property. These visits can be used to make sure furniture fits, bring your family to see your new home, select paint colours, etc. You should plan to do your final purchaser visit a day or two before the closing date to ensure that everything is in order. Your Realtor will attend the purchaser visits with you and can help to answer any questions you might have. Now remember, you don’t own the home yet so there is a good chance that you will see moving boxes scattered around and the place might seem to be in disarray. This is normal (within reason). If your final purchaser visit takes place a day before closing and the house is full of garbage, no furniture has been moved and there is a car in the driveway with no tires on it, your realtor should definitely investigate further as it’s not likely that all of this will be resolved in one night.

Here is a list of things to look for during your final purchaser visit:

• Inspect ceilings, walls and floors for any damage that did not exist at the time you made your offer
• Turn on and off every light switch
• Test heating and air conditioning
• Test any exhaust fans
• Test all appliances
• Open and close all windows
• Test all of the outlets
• Check around all visible piping for leaks
• Run sink and tub water. Flush toilets
• Test the garage door opener
• Check for things that you thought would be included (appliances, light fixtures, etc)

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