Stay ahead of the competition by purchasing a pre-listing home inspection

Getting a home inspection before listing your home allows potential buyers to find out everything about your house up front, which can help them put in an offer quickly and confidently. It also enables you to take more time prior to listing your home to research and secure the best price for any updates needed. Lastly, completing repairs before listing your home will give you more negotiating power when offers start rolling in! 


Stage your home to show off its best features

Staging your home will allow potential buyers to see your home’s worth, incentivizing them to present an offer reflecting its maximum value. Staging attracts buyers by adding contemporary and stylish furnishings create a clean aesthetic slate, enabling buyers to see themselves living in the space. It can maximize the full potential of your home’s floor plan, unique features, and ultimately its sale price.


Ensure the first impression is a lasting impression

Sprucing up the exterior of your home is equally important to getting the interior in top shape! Simply by keeping the front yard or porch clean, and brightening it up with a few shrubs or potted plants, you can create a fresh and inviting first look at your home. Give your front door a fresh coat of paint, clean the windows, and change the outdoor light bulbs to a warm hue to brighten up the front porch, so that potential buyers know your home is well cared for, and worth their attention. The same goes for the backyard area; trim any overgrown hedges and grass, and keep things bright and inviting with some outdoor lighting, cheerful flowers, or even a dedicated seating area for entertaining.


Clean, declutter, and make your pending move easier from the start

No matter what type of market you’re listing your home in, cleaning, organizing, and decluttering your space is a surefire way to attract a greater number of potential buyers and higher offers. Spaces with carefully chosen furnishings, lots of light, and minimal clutter highlight a home’s square footage, storage potential, and overall appeal, inside and out. Remove personal touches such as family photos, memorabilia, and personal keepsakes to allow buyers to see what they’re investing in. Move items to an offsite storage area, schedule a garage sale, or put things up for sale on Craigslist, Kijiji, or Facebook Marketplace to make your home feel more spacious. Lastly, keep in mind that cleaning out and organizing your closets, cupboards, and storage spaces will make it easier to move into your new space!


Record Recent Repairs

Money spent may equal money earned! Upgrades like a new roof, furnace, central air, or hot water heater are all important to track, and will increase the potential sale price of your home. Some questions to answer as you document your home’s updates include:


  • What was the cost? 

  • When was the work done? 

  • Who did the work?

These are also important questions that agents, buyers, and mortgage lenders will ask. Creating copies of receipts for installed upgrades or repairs will validate these costs to buyers. Placing this information in one handy spot (like a binder) can be a great idea, and will help to more efficiently promote your home when agents or buyers ask!




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Searching for your first home is so exciting, but it can also be stressful. If you are ready to start your journey into home ownership, here are 10 tips to help you get started!


1. Know how much you can afford

This is the first and most important thing you need to consider before embarking on the search for your first home!


Banks and other lenders have formulas to determine how much you can afford to borrow, but they don’t always have your best interest in mind. Just because the bank approves you for a certain amount doesn’t mean you can actually afford to carry a mortgage of that amount. Your dream might be to purchase a character home in an established neighbourhood, but you might only be working with a budget for a condo.


This is why it's so important to do your own research and crunch the numbers yourself to make sure that you feel confident that you can afford the payments. Don’t forget to factor in child care expenses, retirement savings, and the cost of your lifestyle, as well as any other expenses you may have or that you anticipate having. Start by using this mortgage calculator!


Once you've done your research, speak with a mortgage broker and get at least two quotes for your pre-approval. Getting pre-approved for your mortgage gives you an edge over other people who might be interested in the same property as you. The seller will know that you are a serious buyer, and you are able to confidently negotiate the purchase of a home.


However, don't make the mistake of overbuying on your first home. You would be better off with smaller payments on a starter home so that you have the freedom and flexibiliy to save and spend how you'd like. Remember that you can always move up to a larger property later on!


2. What’s on your wish list?

Before you start seriously shopping for your first home, you should determine what your needs and wants are. Create a list of features that you are willing to compromise on, and prioritize the ones that you need to have. By doing this, you will be able to narrow your house search down to properties that truly fit your needs, and will make your decision much easier.


3. Be flexible!

You should of course have fun with the home buying process, but remember that to be successful, you need to be realistic and open-minded. You may not be able to find a home with everything you're looking for within your budget, so be prepared to prioritize and compromise if necessary. Being flexible to the possibility of exploring other locations or types of homes will go a long way in helping you land the home that's perfect for you.


4. Understand your different payment options

You can pay for your mortgage in a variety of ways, including monthly, bi-weekly, and weekly payment options. Paying off your mortgage sooner will save you thousands of dollars in interest costs, while a longer amortization period will reduce your regular payments and frees up cash in your budget. You can use this online mortgage calculator to help you decide what payment schedule is right for you.


Some mortgages also give you the ability to make extra lump sum payments, or the option to skip a payment. Make sure you understand what your options are, and that you are comfortable with the terms.


5. Aim for a 20% down payment

Your down payment should be at least 5% of the price, but it is highly recommended that all first time home buyer aim to put down 20% of the value of the home in order to qualify for a conventional mortgage. If you have money in your RRSPs, you can use up to $25,000 towards the purchase of your first home.


If you want to buy a home with a down payment of less than 20%, you’ll need mortgage loan insurance. Your lender pays an insurance premium on mortgage loan insurance. It’s calculated as a percentage of the mortgage and is based on the size of your down payment. Your lender will likely pass this cost on to you, which you can pay in a lump sum or add it to your mortgage and include it in your payments.


Also it is crucial to remember that what you have saved for a down payment isn’t necessarily the amount you will end up using. You will want to keep back a little cash for closing costs, minor repairs or furniture for your new home, and moving expenses. Which brings us to our next tip...


6. Keep a budget for closing and incidental costs

Closing costs can range anywhere from 1.5% to 3.5% of the total cost of your home. You can expect to pay for some or all of the following:


• Home inspection fee

• Legal fees
• Property transfer tax
• Appraisal fee
• Land transfer tax
• Title insurance
• Interest adjustment

• Moving costs

• Property and fire insurance

• Another month of rent (in case the closing date is extended)

• Renovations you may want to make before moving in


If you'd like to get a better idea of what each of these costs may be, please reach out to me, I'd be happy to walk you through this.


7. Find your own Realtor

So you've been scrollng through listings online and come across the one that looks absolutely perfect. You decide to hit the Contact Me button to connect with the listing agent. Stop there! Why, you ask? Because the listing agent's obligation is to the Seller and they work for their best interests, not yours as the Buyer.


It's so important that you find a Realtor that you connect with and that represents you, as the Buyer, in any transaction. It's the job of your Realtor to look after your needs and to negotiate on your behalf. So don't make the mistake of going with the listing agent of that property you love - always do your research and find your own Realtor, no matter what you may hear!


8. Request a home inspection

While it's true that including a condition for a home inspection (if it's not already available) may affect your offer being accepted in a highly competitive market, the risks truly outweigh the consequences in this situation. If you have a tight budget with limited allowance for necessary home improvements (no matter whether it's an older home or a newer build), it's important that you don't blindly commit without understanding what you're getting into. This is a surefire way to prevent buyer's remorse.


9. Don't be afraid to ask lots of questions

There are no silly questions when it comes to buying your first home! If you're not sure about something, need more information or need clarification, always ask. As with anything, it's always better to ask lots of questions, especially when it comes to one of the biggest financial decisions of your life.


10. Once you find your home, stop looking!

It’s the golden rule for choosing anything from a car to a wedding dress to a life partner – once you’ve found what you are looking for – stop looking! The same goes for a house. Once you’ve gotten the keys to your home, instead of looking for something better than what you have, focus your energy on making the space your own.



If you found these tips helpful, please share this blog post with others!


Questions about any of these tips, or about the home buying process? Please reach out to me, I would be happy to help!



Source


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A number of businesses and services are still open and operating right now, and many Toronto restaurants are offering take-out and delivery options. Here's your guide to what's currently open and operating across the city!

GROCERY STORES

Source: Wikipedia

  • Loblaws stores are open. The company has additionally lowered grocery delivery fees and waived fees for pickup. Some Loblaws stores are offering early morning hours for immunocompromised shoppers; call your local store for details. Loblaws-owned grocery stores will now be open between 7 am and 8 pm, with shopper numbers limited at some busier stores.
  • No Frills stores are open. Online shopping is available and pickup fees are waived. Individual stores are introducing hours for immunocompromised shoppers; call your local store for details.
  • Sobeys and stores under its banner, including FreshCo and Farm Boy, have announced they will stay open. Sobeys will offer early-morning shopping hours for elderly and immunocompromised shoppers; call your local store for details.
  • Longo's stores are open, with early morning hours for elderly and immunocompromised shoppers.
  • Pusateri's stores are open (With the exception of the CF Toronto Eaton Centre location). Between 7 and 8 am, all stores will be limited to elderly shoppers and those with compromised immune systems.
  • McEwan stores are remaining open, and will be offering grocery delivery via Inabuggy.

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LOCAL AND SPECIALTY FOOD STORES

 Source: Pacific Bread Company

Many community grocers and specialty food stores will be remaining open as well, including the following: 
  • Chantecler Boucherie (1318 Queen St W) is still open and selling all kinds of charcuterie and sausages, though they advise you order ahead for pickup or delivery to ensure they have in stock what you are looking for.
  • All locations of sustainable seafood shop Hooked are open, with some restrictions in place - 2 customers at a time at their Baldwin location (206 Baldwin St), 3 customers at a time at their Leslieville (888 Queen St E), Danforth (1246 Danforth Ave) and South Kingsway (18 Ripley Ave) locations, as well as reduced hours. Check website for details.
  • Cheese Boutique (45 Ripley Ave) is still open, though they strongly suggest that people call ahead to place any orders, and they’re limiting the number of customers in the store to 20 at a time. 
  • Bare Market (1480 Danforth Ave) has an online shop, with next-day in-person pick-up available (procedures are in place to maintain social distancing).
  • Eataly’s (Manulife Centre at 55 Bloor St W) market and counters will remain open for groceries and takeaway dishes, and the downstairs Birroteca is still selling bottles to go. Eataly’s market will also open to early to offer an hour of shopping from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. for elderly and vulnerable customers only.
  • Good Cheese’s (614 Gerrard St E) cheese and takeout counter remains open. Bonus: the new “Stay at Home Box” is your quarantine dream, filled with double-cream brie, manchego, chorizo, plum jam, pickles and crackers.
  • Sanagan’s Meat Locker (176 Baldwin St. and 1513 Gerrard St E) has shortened its hours of operation and is limiting the number of customers that can be in the store at the same time. They are also currently cashless, so only debit and credit are accepted. 
  • Dough Bakeshop (173 Danforth Ave) offers small-batch baked goods, and is operating on a reduced schedule (weekdays 8 am to 5 pm).
  • Both BlackBird Baking Co. locations are limiting the number of customers to five (Kensington Market, 172 Baldwin St) and 10 (Riverside, 635 Queen St E) at a time.
  • Bloomer’s (873 Bloor St W & 715 Queen St W) is hawking their doughnuts and other baked goods to go. They are also going cashless.
  • Cote de Boeuf’s (130 Ossington Ave) retail section is still open but going cashless. There will also be a limited number of sandwiches available for takeout each day.
  • Famiglia Baldassarre (122 Geary Ave) is still selling their delicioso house-made pastas, sauces and condiments to go, but they’re limiting the number of customers in the store to just two at a time.
  • Roselle Desserts’ east (362 King St E) and west (108 Dovercourt Rd) shops are providing people with plenty of sweet ways to eat their feelings, but at reduced hours, for takeout only and only if you’re paying with plastic. 
  • At Spaccio, Terroni’s brand-new commissary in Corktown (22 Sackville St), customers can still purchase items from the retail section (bread, fresh pasta, sauce, olive oil, tomatoes) as well as prepared meals (ahem, whole trays of lasagna) to go.

~

LIQUOR, WINE & BEER STORES

  • LCBO stores are open Tuesday through Sunday, operating on reduced hours (11 am to 6 pm daily). They will be closed Mondays beginning March 30th.
  • Beer Store locations are open. As of Saturday, March 21, the Beer Store will be operating on reduced hours (10 am to 7 pm daily), according to a news release. Additionally, bottle returns will be suspended until March 31.
  • Wine Rack stores in grocery stores only, are open from 11 am to 7 pm daily, with certain locations open from 7-8 am to accommodate seniors.

~

PHARMACIES

  • Shoppers Drug Mart stores are open. Prescription delivery is offered free of charge. Shoppers will reserve the first hour of each day for customers who are elderly or have disabilities. Note that they've announced that they will reduce hours at its stores, effective immediately, "to allow our colleagues time for extra sanitation and a bit of rest," as well as limiting how many people can shop at once in some busier stores. Check online for your local store's revised hours.
  • Rexall stores are open until 8pm during the week, and will be offering the first hour of each day for 55+/immunocompromised shoppers, as well as offering its 55+ discount until 10am daily. Note that they've announced that they will reduce hours at its stores, effective immediately, "to allow employees more time to sanitize, restock, rest, and take time for self-care," as well as limiting how many people can shop at once in some busier stores. Check online for your local store's revised hours.

~

GOVERNMENT SERVICES

  1. TTC transit is operating normally.
  2. Metrolinx is making some cuts to GO Transit and UP Express schedules in light of reduced ridership.
  3. Emergency services (Toronto Police, Fire Services and Paramedic Services) are operating.
  4. Garbage, recycling and organics collection are operating.
  5. Shelters, respites, drop-in centres and long-term care homes are open.
Click here for more info on affected city services.

~

SHOPPING CENTRES & MARKETS

Source: Wikipedia


  • Yorkdale continues to operate under normal hours, though specific stores have closed or are open under modified hours. The mall has an updated list of retailers with modified hours on its website. Enhanced cleaning measures, additional hand sanitizers and emergency preparedness plans have been put into place.
  • Eaton Centre and Sherway Gardens are open. Mall operator Cadillac Fairview is limiting shopping hours to 11 am - 7 pm for two weeks, effective March 16, according to a statement. Events such as yoga, seminars and community activations have been cancelled and the malls have introduced enhanced cleaning protocols.
  • The St. Lawrence Market is remaining open but is postponing a pilot project to extend operating hours to Sundays. "A change in hours will be deferred to a later date and launch events will be rescheduled," market operators said in a statement. In the meantime, it will open during regular hours with additional cleaning protocols and hand sanitizer dispensers placed in public areas.

~

RESTAURANTS

Source: General Assembly


Many establishments are offering takeout or delivery to feed house-bound Torontonians and bring in much-needed revenue during what could be a devastating period for the industry. If you don’t feel like plundering your pantry supplies just yet, these Toronto spots have added new delivery and takeout options, albeit with restrictions in place to ensure social distancing. We've noted their general location, so you can quickly see if they are located near you.

For more options in your area, check your favourite restaurant's website, see what's available near you on Doordash, UberEats, or Foodora, or check out the interactive map at the bottom of this post.
 
Adamson Barbecue (East Toronto) - Takeout (call or preorder online) with delivery on the way, including new "meal kit" options.

Aloette (Downtown) - Takeout (Ritual) and delivery (Doordash).

Aviary Brewpub (East Toronto) - Offering cold cans of Longslice beer and hot food to go. 

Bacan (West Toronto) - Takeout (call 416-535-2222) and delivery (UberEats, SkipTheDishes).

Barque Smokehouse (West Toronto) -  Delivery via UberEats and Doordash.

BarHop Bar (Downtown) - Takeout (call 647-348-1137) 

Blondie’s Pizza (East Toronto) - Slices and pies to go (437-341-1555)

Blood Brothers (West Toronto) - Takeout (call 647-628-6062).

Borrel (East Toronto) - Dutch-inspired cafe, Takeout

Calii Love (Downtown & Uptown) - Takeout and delivery (Ritual, UberEats) 416-977-2181.

DaanGo Cafe (East Toronto) - Takeout (call 647-245-2112).

Descendant Detroit Style Pizza (East  & West Toronto) - Now offering curbside takeout service in addition to delivery (UberEats).

Double D's Pizza (West Toronto) - Free curbside delivery for local order (call 416-901-1433)

Eastbound Brewing Co. (East Toronto) - Takeout (call 416-901-1299)

Elm St. Deli (Downtown) - Delivery and takeout options TBA.

Favorites (West Toronto) - Takeout (Ritual), delivery TBA.

Fourth Man In The Fire Pizzeria (West Toronto) - Takeout with curbside pickup and delivery (UberEats)

General Assembly (Downtown) - Delivery of "pizza kits" (UberEats, Foodora)

Good Hombres (West Toronto) - Takeout and delivery 

Hotel Delilah (East Toronto) - Delivery and takeout options TBA.

Imanishi Japanese Kitchen (West Toronto) - Takeout (call 416-706-4225).

Indie Ale House (West Toronto) - Takeout (call 416-760-9691).

KA SPACE Cafe (East Toronto) - Vegan & vegetarian brunch. 20% discount on all take-out orders (call or text 647-373-9600 or order in-person). Orders ready for pickup within 15 minutes. Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 3pm.

Lady Marmalade (East Toronto) - Takeout (call 647-351-7645).

Maha’s Fine Egyptian Cuisine (East Toronto) - Call ahead to place your order between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., daily, for takeout only. (416-462-2703)

Maker Pizza (West Toronto) - Delivery (Fododora, UberEats or call 416-782-2000), takeout (by phone). Now offering curbside pickup service and no-contact delivery.

Northern Maverick Brewing (West Toronto) - Takeout, delivery (UberEats) or call 416-540-4030.

Oretta (Downtown) - Delivery (Foodora, UberEats) 416-944-1932

Original's Dining Lounge (West Toronto) - Takeout (call 416-532-2908)

Pizzeria Libretto and Enoteca Sociale (Multiple locations) - Get pizza and pasta delivered to your doorstep via Foodora or UberEats. 

Porchetta & Co. (West Toronto & Downtown) - Pickup and delivery. (call 647-351-8844 for west location; no phone for downtown location)

Riverdale Perk Cafe (East Toronto) - Takeout and curbside available (call 416-462-3538 or email info@riverdaleperk.com). Open 8 am to 4 pm daily.

R&D (West Toronto) - 20% discount on all takeout orders (call 416-586-1241)

Ronin Izakaya (Downtown) - 20% discount on takeout (416-977-8808), delivery (UberEats)

Salad King (Downtown) - Open 11:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., daily, for takeout orders (call 416-593-0333) or delivery via Foodora

Shozan Room (West Toronto) - Takeout (Ritual or call 647-478-6164)

Sotto Sotto (Uptown) - Contact-free delivery and takeout (call 416-962-0011)

South Indian Dosa Mahal (West Toronto) - Takeout, delivery (UberEats)

Sud Forno (West Toronto) - Takeout (call 416-504-7667), delivery (UberEats)

Tabule (East Toronto and Uptown) - Takeout and delivery orders, with the exception of their Bayview Village location

Tacos El Asador (West Toronto) - Takeout (call 416-538-9747) or delivery (UberEats or DoorDash)

Timothy's Pub (West Toronto) - Takeout and delivery (call 416-201-9515). Open 12 pm to 8 pm daily.

Tinuno (East Toronto) - Takeout and delivery (call 647-343-9294).

Udon Kitanoya (West Toronto) - Takeout (call 416-519-8513).

Wilder (West Toronto) - 10% discount on takeout (call 416-551-8535), delivery TBA.
 

~

BREWERIES

Source: DailyHive

 
Here's a look at some of the breweries that are offering delivery throughout the city (and the province) right now.

Bandit Brewery (West Toronto) - Local deliveries (Postal Codes M5-M8) with free deliveries on orders of $50+, or a $10 flat rate for smaller orders.

Bellwoods Brewery (West Toronto) - Retail shops open (check website for hours). Delivery via online shop and Foodora.

Black Dog Pub (East Toronto) - Free delivery for orders over $50

Black Lab Brewing (East Toronto) - Free delivery for all orders over $50, $15 for under $50. Send an email to orders@blacklab.beer to order. Orders will be delivered within 72 hours.

Blood Brothers (West Toronto) - Plus delivery through Foodora and Boozer

Burdock Brewery (West Toronto) - Free shipping or free downtown delivery on full cases.

Collective Arts Brewing Co. - Doorstep beer delivery - shop online. Orders are a 24 can minimum and someone 19+ must be home with an ID to receive.

Eastbound Brewing Co. (East Toronto) - Delivery via online store

Great Lakes Brewery (West Toronto) - Online orders in the works

Godspeed Brewery (East Toronto) - Order via online store. Free local delivery for orders of $50 or more, for postal codes starting with M4, M5, or M6.

Indie Ale House (West Toronto) - Free delivery over 12 units Monday-Friday

Junction Craft Brewery (West Toronto) - Free local delivery on 12 or more cans, or free province-wide delivery on orders over $75.

Keep 6 Imports - Order via online store

Muddy York Brewing Co. (East Toronto) - Free delivery for orders over $100

Left Field Brewery (East Toronto) - Free delivery for orders over $50 for anyone in the M4, M5, M6 or M8 postal code areas

Rainhard Brewing Co. (West Toronto) - Delivery $5; 12-unit minimum

Reid’s Distillery (East Toronto) - Signature gins, citrus gins and spiced gins are all available for delivery via Foodora or, for Leslieville residents, by contacting the distillery directly. (And, like other local distilleries, they’re also producing hand sanitizer.)

Shackland Brewing Co. (West Toronto) - No-contact pickup if you pre-order online or call 416-763-2424
 
 
Last but not least, check out this great interactive community-made map of more restaurants, breweries and cafes that are offering takeout and delivery during this time. If you feel safe to and wish to support these small businesses, it will go a long way towards helping them stay afloat during this difficult time:
 
 
 
 
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