21 01, 2019

7 things about Airbnb that no one tells you

With rent continuing to rise in Toronto, it’s never been a better time to fill that basement apartment. For those of us who don’t have separate units, there is still opportunity to make a little extra cash by renting out your place while you’re away, or even a spare room or couch through Airbnb. Here’s 7 tips that no one ever tells you about being an Airbnb host from Apartment Therapy:

A living room with a wooden coffee table in the foreground with a stack of books on top. Sofa with throw pillows in the background with a side table and illuminated table lamp.

1. You will have to “neutralize” your pad.

This means clearing out all of the personal items and then some, says Mariana Leung-Weinstein, who has been hosting guests for over a year at Wicked Finch Farm, a property she and her husband inherited in Pawling, New York.

“Most people think they can just open up any home and make it into a rental, but it took more time than I ever imagined,” she says. “You want it to have some personality but not enough to be off-putting or for guests to feel like they are crashing at a stranger’s home.”

For Leung-Weinstein, this meant sweeping the house for anything that could be deemed “creepy.” “Weirdly, that meant surveying any decor items, figurines, or artwork that looked like they had big eyes or strange faces,” she says. “This was one thing I never anticipated.”

2. Plan for tons of paperwork and price wars

This includes scheduling, check-in logistics, shopping for the best homeowners insurance, and organizing your taxes, says Lindsey Smith, who has been a host at this Pittsburgh property since 2014.

“A lot of people don’t want to talk about money when it comes to hosting, but it’s super important,” she says. “It’s pretty frustrating when other hosts drop their prices super-low to be competitive or when people try to haggle a price.”

Prices can—and should fluctuate—but Smith says that many times, it feels like the market devalues how much time and money it costs to operate an Airbnb.

3. Expect for odd things to go missing

“This still surprises me,” Smith says of the sheets, lamps, and games that have disappeared from her Airbnb over the years. “I usually assume it’s because an accident happened and the person is afraid to say anything, but honestly, I’d rather know than to find out later that an item is gone.”

It’s not always intentional. “Forks and spoons disappear the most probably because people take them for snacks,” says Felipe Cabrera, who manages seven properties on Airbnb (four in Peru and three in San Francisco).

This ends up meaning that Cabrera buys a new set of six forks and spoons every three to four months per apartment. But sometimes it’s not just the cheap stuff that get taken: “We also had a nice set of steak knives disappear and learned our lesson not to provide anything fancy in that category,” he says.

4. Prepare to become a repeat towel shopper

Cabrera provides three large towels and three small towels per registered guest.

“This prevents us from getting requests for more towels,” he says. “We use nice cushy towels, the ones that make you feel good in the morning.”

Still, those get worn out very fast since they have to be washed after every guest. Since there are many days when guests check out at 11 a.m. and new guests arrive at 3 p.m., that leaves no time for laundry, so Cabrera needs more available as back-up. On average, Cabrera says he buys three new towels every month for his bigger property (which sleeps eight) and three new towels every two to three months for the small apartments.

“This is the only way we can manage this at scale,” he says.

5. Prepare to paint—and repaint.

If you’re planning on opening a family-friendly Airbnb property, take note of Karen Akpan’s experiences when she rents out her L.A. home.

“We have a big home and our goal is to accommodate families,” says Akpan, who blogs at The Mom Trotter. “This means lots of kids and me constantly painting the walls, especially due to the lingering fingerprints!”

6. Consider toiletry purchasing to be a balancing act

Determining the right amount of toiletries to offer guests has been something of an experiment, says Leung-Weinstein.

“I want to make sure that guests have enough amenities to enjoy throughout their stay, but not leave the bulk of supplies for guests to raid and take home,” she says. “In addition to items like shampoo, conditioner and soap, I like to also supply sheet masks and makeup remover as lots of girlfriend getaways get booked at our property. It has been interesting trying to figure out how many items to offer.”

7. You may have to deal with partiers

Cabrera says he used to have guests using his properties for parties at least once a month—until one very bad guest experience.

“We weren’t around to check on the place and it turned out that this person hosted a birthday party with 50-plus people at our house, much to the chagrin of our neighbors,” he says. “They tried to clean up afterwards but still left the biggest mess we’ve ever seen. Their guests went into private areas of the house, snooped around in our garage and stole a few expensive bottles of alcohol from the cellar.”

Because of this, he had to update his house rules and welcome messages to make it very clear that parties and larger gatherings aren’t permitted.


Still thinking about jumping in? If you live in a condo, be sure to check out the rules and regulations on short term rentals. Owning a freehold property will provide you with more flexibility, but do you due diligence to ensure you’re thoroughly covered and know what you’re getting into.

5 01, 2019

How To Furnish Your First Home On A Tight Budget

You’ve just bought your first home, or you’re planning to purchase in the near future. You’re likely on a tight budget, but that doesn’t mean you have to sit on milk crates or sleep on a mattress on the floor. It just means you have to get creative about where to shop for your fashionable finds. Here are seven great places to find fab furniture on the cheap, leaving some money in the bank for those mortgage payments.

SOURCE: blog.remax.ca

13 12, 2018

Winter Colour Inspiration

Sherwin-Williams Paint Palette

Greys and cool whites continue to predominate in our palette for Winter 2018, but sparked with accents of deep, rich hues like gold, teal and darkest blue. Try using these confident, sophisticated colours leavened with lots of white or grey, as we did with our Lush Velvet Quilt in Golden Oaks mixed with a white jacquard duvet, grey channel-tufted headboard and barely-grey Reflection on walls. Craving a bolder pop of colour? Try Real Red or Goldfinch as an accent colour on the back of bookshelves, highlighting a front door, or in a smaller or lesser-used room like a foyer, powder room, dining room or library. Not dying to go that deep? We’re loving Mellow Coral as a flattering, slightly peachier update of millennial pink.



Tips for choosing colours like a pro:

  • Use different shades of the same colour to create depth. Instead of standard white, try painting trim a deeper shade of the wall colour, or use the same hue in a high-gloss finish.
  • Try a satin finish on walls instead of the typical flat finish paint. It gives darker or richer colours more depth, looks more polished, and— bonus points—is easier to clean.
  • In a small, dark room, don’t assume you have to go with white or light colours. A darker hue can visually enlarge the space because it makes corners disappear and furnishings pop.

SOURCE: westelm.ca

23 11, 2018

JUST SOLD! 55 Austin Avenue

Congratulations to our clients who just sold their wonderful Victorian rowhouse in Leslieville. For more information on this property, please visit www.55Austin.com or give us a call!

23 11, 2018

Hearn Generating Station Just Sold For 16 Million

It was only two summers ago that Toronto’s long-abandoned R.L. Hearn Generating Station burst back into life for the 10th anniversary of Luminato.

Thousands flocked to the decommissioned power plant, which was shut down in 1983, for 10 days of wild art installations and performances in a specially built 1,200-seat shipping container theatre.

Those lucky enough to score tickets got to dine in the generator’s old control room, which had been transformed into one of the coolest French restaurants Toronto had ever seen for the occasion.

Simply stepping into the massive, hollowed out heritage building — an iconic fixture along the skyline Toronto’s eastern waterfront — was enough to thrill most people, and for good reason.

The Hearn is spectacular, inside and out, and many in the city had hoped to see more huge-scale, public events staged there (you know, after the building was brought up to meet the safety standards of Toronto Fire Services).

No dice.

The provincially-owned Ontario Power Generation (OPG) announced this week that has sold sold the entire site, which produced electricity from 1951 to 1983, to Studios of America Corporation for $16 million.

Studios of America, which had been leasing the property from OPG since 2002, maintains the Unwin Avenue property as an “enclosed feature film and TV production complex.”

Mayor John Tory and Toronto city councillor Paula Fletcher both told The Star on Thursday that they were not consulted on the sale, or even aware that it was happening.

“This is a sad day for the waterfront,” said Fletcher, who had hoped to redevelop the site for public use.

“This is an iconic landmark building that should remain in public hands and be part of our new waterfront, and, instead, it has been sold for a song.”

So why the fire-sale price?

If you ask OPG, it’s at least in part due to the former coal-burning site’s status as a heavily contaminated industrial brownfield (though other, more nefarious theories are floating about).

OPG pokesperson Neal Kelly told the star that conditions of the sale included Studios of America not being able put residential or other “sensitive uses” on the site within 15 years. The company is also forbidden from reselling the Hearn within three years.

Disappointed as the city may be, its possible that Studios of America will still rent the space out for special occasions.

“The studio lot is located on a strategic 27.6-acre parcel of Toronto waterfront land with direct multi-modal road, rail and water access,” reads President Paul Vaughan’s Linkedin profile in a description of the company.

“Accommodations originally intended for film production have become popular for staging indoor and outdoor special events.”
Source: BlogTO
Lead Photo: Hector Vasquez
Additional Photos: Ford Thurston

14 11, 2018

JUST LISTED! 55 Austin Avenue

Built in 1895, this Victorian home has so much to offer. The original brick front exterior and nicely landscaped front yard offer fantastic curb appeal. The indoor front porch is filled with natural light and is a great place to enjoy your morning coffee.

The main floor is spacious with an open concept floor plan, new flooring, new fixtures, pot lights and large windows. The kitchen features a centre island and plenty of cabinetry as well as two skylights and a layout that’s perfect for entertaining. There is also a walk out to the large back deck and yard – ideal for Summer barbeques.

The second level features two spacious bedrooms both with hardwood floors, pot lights, new fixtures and large windows.

The third level is a wonderful space featuring another large bedroom with a skylight, a walk in closet and even enough room for a home office or sitting area.

The lower level has been recently updated with a modern floating staircase, new flooring and a newly renovated washroom. There is also a laundry area and a separate room for storage.

The impressive backyard is fully fenced in and features a large deck as well as a lovely garden. There is also potential for the convenience of parking off the laneway by removing or repositioning the back fence.

This home is ideally situated on a quiet one-way street in the sought after neighbourhood of Leslieville. A short walk gets you down to all of the fantastic shops, patios and restaurants along Queen Street East. You can also head up to Gerrard Street East and enjoy all of the wonderful new bars and restaurants that have opened up in recent years.

For more info, please visit www.55Austin.com or give us a call at 416.465.7850

8 11, 2018


The housing market in Toronto has been stabilizing over the course of the third quarter, following a sharp drop in the first two quarters after the implementation of various government regulations. Gradual improvements in prices since the second quarter with increased sales activities in suburbs, fall in Toronto and inventory increase in both areas. The housing market is becoming TIGHTER as the number of NEW (not re-list) listings across the GTA dropped in September, while home sale prices climbed compared with a year ago.

The annual rate of sales growth has outpaced the annual rate of NEW listings growth, creating a market that was tighter than the previous year 3rd quarter with less than 3 months of inventory in the GTA and less than 2 months of available supply in Toronto.

The average selling price across all housing types, from detached homes to condos, went up 2.9% to $796,786. The average detached dwelling price is at $1.34 million in the city of Toronto, a decline of 1.4%. Condo prices continued to rise, up 10% in the GTA and an 11% gain in the average selling price inside Toronto’s boundaries.

Overall the City of Toronto maintained a healthy growth of 5.2% in the third quarter while almost every suburb region with the exception of Mississauga, had price declines compared to 4 the same period last year.

10 04, 2018

JUST LISTED! 77 Hastings Avenue – Leslieville

We are excited to welcome you to 77 Hastings Avenue. This detached home sits on a southbound side street in Toronto’s desirable Leslieville neighbourhood.

Welcome to 77 Hastings Avenue in Leslieville

This stunning detached home was essentially rebuilt in 2016 with the finest attention to detail. The builder approached the building code as a minimum suggestion as he maintained much higher personal standards and used the best quality of materials throughout the entire home.

The covered front porch features tongue and groove wood flooring and pot lights. All of the original brick on the front of the home was uncovered and meticulously restored to pay tribute to the heritage of the home.

Upon entering the home, you are met with a lovely front foyer with a large front hall closet.

The open concept living and dining rooms are perfect for entertaining guests. Impressive engineered hardwood flooring throughout and elegant Norwood Heritage windows enhance the space beautifully as does the solid wood staircase.

The kitchen is absolutely incredible with modern cabinetry, quartz countertops, a breakfast bar and top of the line Kitchen Aid stainless steel appliances including a gas stove.

The kitchen leads to the spacious family room which features Norwood Heritage floor to ceiling windows and French doors which lead out to the breathtaking back deck and low maintenance yard.

The master bedroom is perfect and includes four sets of closets, a walk out to a private deck overlooking the backyard, a skylight and a spa like master ensuite.

The second level includes 2 more spacious bedrooms both with hardwood floors, pot lights and large closets, as well as another tastefully renovated washroom which also includes a skylight.

The lower level of this home features an impressive ceiling height throughout, a wonderful large bedroom as well as another washroom, a separate laundry room and a spacious rec room with a separate entrance. A kitchen could be added easily to accommodate a nanny or in-law suite if desired.

This home truly has everything you could ask for including 2 car parking and is situated in the heart of one of Toronto’s most sought after neighbourhoods!


List Price: $1,349,000

MLS #: E4093707

27 02, 2018

JUST LISTED! 110 Jones Avenue – Leslieville

Just Listed for Sale!
Welcome to 110 Jones Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M4M 2Z8

110 Jones Avenue Leslieville Toronto

This wonderful home is situated in the heart of Leslieville and features 2 separate units with amazing income potential! Steps to great restaurants, transit, parks, and everything that Leslieville has to offer. This home has it all, and is only a short trip to downtown Toronto.

The impressive 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom main unit is well appointed and has plenty of functional space to live and entertain. The main floor provides an open concept layout as well as an eat-in kitchen and a walk out to a newly built back deck to enjoy the afternoon sun. The second floor features 3 bright and spacious bedrooms, including a large master with a bay window and ample closet space. This floor also has a lovely 4 piece bathroom. Plenty of windows and a hallway skylight provide an open and airy feel.

The charming 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom lower unit features a practical living space and offers sizable rooms and a walk out to the back yard to enjoy year round.

This functional turn-key property is perfect for any investor or for anyone looking to supplement their mortgage payments. Live in one unit and rent out the other or rent them both out to maximize your cash flow.

Offered at: $749,000
More info & photos: 110jones.com