8 01, 2017

How laneway houses could help solve Toronto’s real-estate woes


The GTA housing market has been operating within a policy of intensification for more than a decade now. This has caused a shift away from ground-oriented homes and moved the market toward higher-density housing, such as condominiums.

Our real-estate market has seen consistent increases in the cost of housing, with the average price of a detached home in Toronto increasing by over 32 per cent this past November from the same month last year, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board.

While those who prefer urban living have embraced higher-density housing, folks looking for traditional ground-oriented housing must move farther and farther away from the city to find it.

So what if there was a way to introduce new ground-oriented housing in the heart of Toronto that could accommodate up to 100,000 people, and the solution was literally in our backyard all along? That is, if your backyard is along a laneway.

Laneway housing is an innovative concept first introduced in Toronto back in 2006. And while it ultimately went nowhere here, it did inspire Vancouver, Ottawa and other cities to introduce policies that embraced it.

The original concept a decade ago contemplated a separate dwelling being legally severed and requiring new municipal services, resulting in the digging up of laneways.

The new groundswell of interest in laneway housing (call it laneway housing 2.0) is focused on taking a different approach, where the new structures will be treated as secondary dwellings on the existing property.

That means the garage at the rear of the property could be rebuilt by the owner to include a secondary dwelling unit, potentially serviced through the existing municipal connections, limiting neighbourhood disruption and creating new appropriately sized, ground-oriented housing units that could range in size from 700 to 1,500 square feet.

This could represent one of the most innovative solutions to a wide range of the city‘s housing needs, including multi-generational households where the owner can provide accommodation for parents or children or introduce much needed rental housing stock and help generate new income from their property. And it would be creating new ground-oriented housing in areas close to transit and existing community amenities, with minimal neighbourhood disruption.

There is no silver bullet solution to solve all of our housing challenges in the GTA, but with approximately 300 kilometres of laneways in the City of Toronto, laneway housing could be a good start.

But this innovation will require that everyone works together: citizens, government and industry. And community consultations are underway. If you’re interested, you can participate by going online to: lanescape.ca/survey to learn more about the initiative and provide your input.

Remember: The best way to predict the future is to help create it.

SOURCE: THE TORONTO STAR

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.

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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