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Envision Robotics Thornhill

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Envision Robotics is a new business launching in Thornhill and their focus is after-school and weekend programs for kids interested in learning about robots and coding. Envision Robotics also offer summer camps, school PA day camps, and birthday parties. Courses follow the principles of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) and prior experience is not needed as kids progress through a series of classes. We sat down with the owner John Mackinnon, longtime Thornhill resident to find out more about this innovative project.

Where does the name Envision Robotics come from?

I was inspired by my three kids: Jack (8 yrs), Matt (6) and Maddy (6). What they’re learning in school feels so much more advanced compared to what I learned at their age. I know I am not the only parent that feels like the demands on our children to secure placement at top colleges, universities, and eventually employment is rising each year. So, this got me thinking. What mix of skills and knowledge will they need as young professionals and what can I do today to provide them with a better foundation?

I decided there was an opportunity for me to take a more active role and help them and others. So, I started Envision Robotics where our mission is simple – we help kids develop 21st century skills to be better prepared for a future full of endless possibilities.

Why robotics? Why now? Why Thornhill?

Robotics felt like a natural avenue to help build 21st century skills. Today’s programable robots offer advanced capabilities, are readily assessible, and are excellent learning platforms to teach STEM skills. Further, with robotics, learning feels less of a chore and is a fun and creative way for kids to express
themselves and achieve new challenges.

Why now? Well, while traditional computer coding had been around for a few years the use of robotic platforms to teach STEM skills is still in its infancy. There are only a few places in the GTA which use robotics as a platform. So, we’re looking to shape this industry over coming years by brining new ideas and techniques.

I chose Thornhill to start as I live here and I know the community well. Besides, Thornhill ranks quite high in the GTA as a community with progressive schools, diverse population and a strong workforce which will help in ensuring we attract the right kids to our programs.

What is robotics and why is it so important in today’s world 

In Canada and around the World there is a fundamental shift underway towards “digitization” and using artificial intelligence, robotics, and advanced technologies to transform businesses across all industries. On a consumer level, home automation, wearable tech, and programable robots are transforming how we play and spend out time. Robotics in one form or another is everywhere and not going away.

As referenced earlier, the skills that kids will need to succeed professionally in the future are changing as a result. Teaching kids to develop skills in robotics and coding is an important way of preparing our kids to develop these 21st century skills. In addition to the hard skills such as robotic concepts and coding, we also focus on the soft skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration. Both hard and soft skills are developed through our curriculum.

What are the benefits of children constructing robots and learning simple coding at an early
age?

Constructing robots and coding, even at an early age, helps kids work through a challenge, evolve problem solving and thinking, improve communication by expressing what they need help with and collaboration by showing others how they did something. Completing a challenge successfully builds confidence and helps kids develop a positive relationship with technology.

Between the ages of 7-13 children usually decide if they are interested in a career in the STEM field. One of the most important things a parent can do for his children is to teach them the special skills for such a career and help them make the decision early. This can lead to making a difference between a high-paid profession and a mediocre income for the kids.

What kind of programs do you currently offer?

Our regular kids programs are after school and weekend, and, we also offer summer camps and day camps to accommodate school PA days

Summer Camps:

 Summer Explorer I (6-8 yrs): Students use robotic platforms such as Dash & Dot, WeDo 2.0, and Sphero to compete a number of fun challenges. Kids learn about motors, sensors, and learn to program using a visual drag & drop software.
 Summer Explorer II (9-11 yrs): Students get hands-on experience with Lego Mindstorm EV3, a more advanced robotic platforms while still working through real-work challenges.

Check out our website for early registration discounts. Enroll now to reserve your spot!

Regular Classes:

 Adventurer I (6-8 yrs): introduction to STEM, robotics, and coding by programming robots on Dash & Dot and Lego platforms.
 Adventurer II (9-11 yrs): STEM-focused robotics program where students learn more complex coding, mechanics, and concepts to achieve real world problems. Lego platforms are used.
 Innovator (12-15): More advanced STEM-focused program where students learn engineering concepts and learn to program on a variety of platforms including VEX, Arduino, and others.

Lastly, we also offer a “Drop-In” program where kids are able to come in an “tinker” with our robotic platforms and get creative.

Are there programs for adults?

Yes. We recognize the need to help parents too so we are going to encourage parents to attend a free adult session to help them understand our course curriculum and the basics of robotics so they can assist their kids as they progress through the program courses. Second, we are also going to offer a paid-program for adults on Home Automation, which is very practical given the advancements and availability of these technologies.

What do you envision (pun-intended) for the future of Envision Robotics?

We’re aiming to be the “go-to” place in the Thornhill and Markham region to build robotic and coding skills in addition to the softer skills I referenced earlier. From there we’ll see but I am aiming to open additional facilities over time to help more kids.

Any new projects or offers in the future?

Yes. When we launch in a few weeks we will be hosting drop-ins for parents and kids to visit our facility and get more familiar with our programs. We’ll have fun and interesting challenges for kids to try in our lobby so drop-in to find out more.

What do you enjoy most about living and working in Thornhill?

Jocelyn and I have lived in Thornhill for 10 years and raised our kids, Jack (8), Matt (6), and Maddy (6) here. We love the community for its diversity, abundance of great restaurants, parks, and extra- curricular activities for kids.

Any secret spots and tips you can share in Thornhill?

German Mills Settlers Park is a real gem with history dating back to the early 1800s. We enjoy the park throughout the year and one of our favorite times is when the salmon swim up the river to spawn every fall. Our kids get really excited navigating and racing around the river to spot the next salmon. It’s quite special to experience something like this in an urban area.

Envision Robotics:  2300 John Street, #20, Thornhill, ON  L3T 6G7

Toronto Real Estate April Market Watch 2018

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The Toronto Real Estate Board has released its April numbers revealing a market that is showing signs of normalizing and settling after the craziness of last year’s spring market.

While, the average selling price of a detached home decreased 14.4% year to year, the average price of a detached home remained just above $1 million. Condos outperformed once again jumping 3.2% in average sale price to $559,343. Average sale price was up from March of this year to $804,584. Number of sales has dropped to 7,792 a year-over-year drop of 32.1%. Fewer sales corresponded with the fewer listings on the market. In April, 16,273 listings were put on the market. Compared to last year at the same time, there were 21,571 listings.  

Almost all property types saw a month-to month increase in sales in April. Sales for detached houses have increased 6% from March. Average sale price was up 4.7%, with the largest increase of the year! Condos remained the only home type to see both sales and price appreciation on an yearly basis. Condo prices have been increasing steadily as the number of condos available for sale has been down compared to the demand. This has  kept the condo market very competitive and has pushed prices higher.

“While average selling prices have not climbed back to last year’s record peak, April’s price level represents a substantial gain over the past decade,” said TREB president Tim Syrianos.

“Recent polling conducted for TREB by Ipsos tells us that the great majority of buyers are purchasing a home within which to live. This means these buyers are treating homeownership as a long-term investment. A strong and diverse labour market and continued population growth based on immigration should continue to underpin long-term home price appreciation.”

It is key that we look at the latest markets stats with the right perspective, an opinion clearly shared by TREB experts as well. It is also important to note, that April marks the final month when 2018’s stats will be compared with starkly contrasted 2017’s pre-Fair Housing Plan market era. The provincial government measures introduced in April of last year led to an an immediate market cool-down. This is the first spring market since the measures were introduced, so comparing year to year does not actually reveal the full picture. There are a lot dramatic headlines circulating around about the 12.4% year to year decrease in average sale price without a true breakdown of the underlying factors.

As we move into the spring and summer market and with the bad weather behind us, homeowners should expect to see the return of moderate and sustainable prices growth, supported by a strong local economy and ever growing population. A stable market with an increased availability of listings is also good news for buyers, who were losing faith in endless bidding wars. The sales-to-new-listings ratio has increased dramatically in most GTA regions, signalling a true balanced market. Warmer weather and a stabilizing market suggest an optimistic forecast for the next few months and a healthy, sustained pace of price growth in Q2 real estate sales in the GTA.

To see the full report please click here

Handling Real Estate During a Divorce

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Speaking the truth can be so scary when a major shift happens in our life impacting our identity.

We open up and share our deepest emotions to the world with pride once we are engaged or married. But hide our deepest emotions when we separate or divorce.

I am at a point in my life where I can deeply relate to this. Speaking the truth about my unhappy marriage to myself and others have been one of the biggest fears of my life. It was a big part of my identity rooted in my beliefs and values about family and the meaning I gave to them. Fear of failing, fear of being judged, fear of disappointing, fear of hurting, fear of losing my purpose, my identity, my loved ones and fear of being alone weighed heavy on my shoulders and was too much to face.

It has been a quiet journey for me to see the power and meaning I have given to the word fear.

Fear has empowered me, challenged me, made me grow, made me cry, made me excited, made me connected but most importantly it opened up a world where I can truly be authentic, vulnerable and compassionate.

As human beings, we are the creators of our own realities. Aren’t we? Both marriage and separation are a celebration of a new beginning. so are mine!

Today, I give myself the permission to acknowledge and celebrate my truth, my courage, my authenticity and vulnerability for starting a new beginning as many times as I must.

We want you to know that you are not alone and we look forward to earn your trust to be your partner in making your divorce process easier by holding your hands. Here are some helpful information about divorce and real estate to make things a little easier for you:

1 – Your Home Value Assessment
You’ll need a bank appraisal, a letter of option by a local realtor or coming to the market. Of course, none of the mentioned assessment guarantees your home sale price until an actual written firm offer is accepted and your property is sold.

2 – Your Home Equity
The estimated market value at the time of your legal separation determines your home equity. Also, inheritance money invested in the property impacts the buy-out, real estate fees, and/or land transfer taxes on buying another property.

3 – Buy Out
You need to decide who can and will actually afford to buy the other out or whether you’d prefer to liquidate and divide the equity of the asset. Confirm with your mortgage broker or your bank that you will each qualify for a mortgage on your own.

4 – Interim Expenses
A line of credit and a joint interim account are great sources for managing up-front costs associated with the sale that you can divide these expenses out of the proceeds of the sale. Sometimes, one of the spouses pays these fees and the other gets less equity back. If you are limited in budget, certain fees such as legal, staging, repair etc can be paid when the house closes.

5 – Mediation
An approved mediator by both spouses could eliminate a big portion of your legal fees and facilitate open communication between you, the lawyers and the real estate team from finalizing division of the assets, pricing, selling, financing, separation agreement write up, divorce agreement etc.

6 – Housing
You may want to stay at your primary or secondary home, with family, rent a longer-term Airbnb, an executive furnished rental. And if no such option available, you may stay in separate rooms in the same house, or even have one move into the basement or separated space.

7 – Children
Bird nesting seems to be a more common alternative for divorced families with younger kids when the kids stay in the marital home and the parents come and go when it is their allocated time with the children.

Let us work for you. We listen, ask a lot of questions about your needs, answer to any concerns you might have and give you the right advice when it comes housing, finances, legal support and so on.

If you have any questions or you need a real estate advice, don’t hesitate to contact us at 416-832-9292 or visit us at mitramovesyou.com.

Toronto Real Estate February Market Watch 2018

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Resale prices in Toronto real estate fell 12.4% or $110,000 in February.

Prices were still 12% higher than in February 2016, when the average was $685,278. In January, it likewise surpassed the average of $736,783, which is 4.1% underneath the earlier year’s level.  After an interestingly high market in the Toronto region, the Toronto real estate board is anticipating a moderate price increases in 2018. In spite of a decline in the average price of the private property, home prices kept on ascending in February – 10% more than the prior year – to an average of $ 529,782. Regardless, the sales volume has fallen by 30.8%.  The average price tumbled to $ 767,818, from $875,983 for every home division, including apartment suites, townhouses, duplexes, and condominiums.

Despite the decline in average resale prices, the loft suites in February expanded by 10 a year over the earlier year to an average of $529,782. In any case, the sales volume had fallen by 30.8% age focuses per penny. Turnover additionally declined about 35 % in the prior month February 2017, with 7,955 out of the 5,175 stock trades a year ago, as indicated by the most recent TREB examination on Tuesday. The sales have since declined, with the Ontario government chilling this month by issuing its reasonable lodging arrangement, including outside purchasers, said Jason Mercer, TREB head of a market examination. Prices fell more gradually than a year prior and the biggest decline occurred in November.  

 The lion’s share of flat suites sold in Toronto comprises of a one-room or one room and private units, and just 20 % are bigger than two rooms. In spite of the way that there could be a superior price on the re-sale side of the condominium market, both the pre-improvement and resale flats in the city are hot, as Harrild says.  One thousand dollars for each square meter is the new standard for condo suites, said Bosley real estate designer David Fleming, who says he has never observed anything comparable in the 14 years he spent in the downtown real estate. He was alluding to a 516 square. Ft. Unit that offered for $ 524,900, about $ 1,017 for each square foot, where offers were held to position it for different offers. Regardless, downtown houses are offering admirably as well, he said. On Monday night, he went ahead to offer a house enrolled for about $995,000, which made eight arrangements. It was sold for about $230,000 over the offer price.  In Aurora, 57 condos were sold between 1 January and the finish of February. They sold 94% of the settled price and were accessible for an average of 28 days.

The news of this change in housing prices is both good news (for those selling) and bad news (for buyers). Even so, the trends in prices of property for of houses are so fluid and difficult to predict that, if you’re investing in a property and are concerned about the rise in price, you shouldn’t let these small increases put you off. If the market continues to evolve as it is now, your house will increase in value over time, meaning your investment will be more than worthwhile.

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What’s in Store for Toronto Real Estate in 2018

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Following an 18% decline in Toronto residential property sales in 2017, experts estimate that the housing market will
further soften in 2018 after the government introduced new mortgage laws.

The rules, which came into full effect on January 1st, slap a 15% tax on foreigners who want to buy property in
Toronto. It also consists of a new stress test targeting uninsured mortgage borrowers, coming at a period when Bank
of Canada is further anticipated to continue hiking their lending rates throughout the year.

The stress test is aimed at ensuring that borrowers can pay off their mortgage obligations even if rates were to
increase. Lenders are now obligated to assess the viability of Toronto mortgage applicants before any loan is
approved. Furthermore, potential borrowers will have their finances mocked-up if the rates are 2% higher than the
figure they can get from a lender, and this also applies if the rates are at the 5yr average posted ratio which is
currently at 4.99%.

Anyone who fails the stress test can’t get the mortgage they are looking for, meaning they will ultimately have to
settle for a cheaper house or entirely sit out the purchase offer.

In 2018, analysts estimate that the Toronto resale market will be moderately flat overall and stay within the price
range of $700,000 to $750,000. Nevertheless, the new mortgage policies will still impact how much property
individuals can buy at a given time.

As for the condo market, pre-construction condos will continue performing well, particularly given that the purchasing
power of first-time home buyers’ who are mostly millennials will diminish following the new rules. These are the
homes they can buy easily since they are more affordable than the others.

Statistics show that prices for Toronto condos have been up by 24.5% year on year due to huge demand from
buyers. Currently, the average cost of a condo in Toronto City is $532,700, according to the city’s Real Estate Board.
It has become the starter home for people who want to own their first property.

As the new mortgage policies are absorbed into the market, it’s predicted Toronto real estate buyers and sellers will
take a wait-and-see approach to assess the full impact. Even so, the market will not stay down for long given the
city’s vibrant and healthy economic activity which strongholds demand for Toronto real estate. Continued migration
from foreigners seeking to settle in the city will put added pressure on the available housing market inventory.

Moreover, the Royal LePage in their latest House Price Survey predict that, policy measures such as the new
mortgage rules shall subdue GTA real estate inflation to an extent. Additionally, they foresee an upsurge in demand
during the latter half of 2018, as potential home buyers adapt to new realities in the Toronto real estate market.

On average, the amount of residential purchases in 2018 for condos will vary between 85,000 and 95,0000 units,
while the average selling price shall be between $649,000 and $689,000. Similarly, housing rates are expected to
end 2018 in the ratio of $800,000 and $850,000 across all types of homes.

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Buyer Stress Test & B Lender Financing

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Starting January 2018, new regulations will make it harder for homebuyers to qualify for uninsured mortgages. All borrowers even those with down payments of 20% or more, will now be required to take a buyer stress test.

This may mean a shift from traditional prime A lenders to the smaller alternative B lenders and provincially regulated credit unions for many mortgage hunters. In Canada we have 3 major types of mortgages which are based on the payment risk the lender faces:

A – Traditional prime lenders (large banks, virtual mortgage houses like First National & ING). These mortgages have lower chances of the borrower defaulting than non-prime mortgages.

B – Non-conforming/alternative or sub-prime lenders. “B” mortgages. These are riskier so lenders rely heavily on the equity in the subject property and/or on charging rate premiums to mitigate that risk.

C – Private lenders

Prime or A lenders focus on borrowers who have good jobs and credit history and are purchasing homes within the traditional guidelines. However, many borrowers don’t qualify for A lenders and mainstream mortgages are not for everyone, so the next option to consider may be the “B” lenders. Perhaps you are new to Canada, recently divorced or have past credit issues such as late payments, collections, or past bankruptcy. Maybe you need to use your self-declared income because you’re a small business owner or self employed.

B lenders normally consider each application on a case-by-case basis. They have similar strict qualifying criteria you need to fulfill, but they are able to look at the ‘overall picture’ of your financial situation and see what kind of mortgage would work for you, allowing for a more flexible approach.

Of course compared to the A Lenders, the B lender mortgage rates are higher, as your borrower profile is riskier than the average traditional borrower. B lenders charge a premium between 1-3 percent over traditional interest rates and usually lend for a much shorter term, starting as low as one year. In addition, there is usually a commitment fee and/or lender/broker fee charged up front, as a percentage of the total mortgage amount. A larger down payment of minimum 20% is usually required, as most B lenders do not provide high ratio mortgages. Also keep in mind that only fixed mortgages are available through this type of lending.

Also it is important to note that while most B lenders offer great pre-payment privileges, they also often charge more for paying out the mortgage early and are very strict about missed payments, so make sure check all the terms and conditions of your loans and understand them fully.

If you have good credit history and qualify for prime lending, should you still consider B lender mortgages? If the interest rate offered by the B lender is competitive to that of the big banks, then why not? You could save thousands in interest and be mortgage-free sooner. To stay competitive in a mortgage market largely dominated by big banks, B lenders often offer more competitive interest rates and usually have smaller penalties and offer more generous mortgage prepayment privileges.

People are often cautious about working with smaller and sub-prime lenders, as big name banks are associated with stability and safety, but that is just large advertising budgets at work. Most smaller mortgage firms and B lenders get their financing from large financial institutions and their source of financing is just as stable.

The proportion of mortgages given out by alternative institutions, other than banks or credit unions is still relatively small, only around 2.2% of the entire mortgage market, as per recent analysis from CIBC, but it has been growing steadily by about 25% a year since the last recession of 2008-2009. Recent government regulations have allowed alternative lenders to fill a key void in the market allowing credit options for a range of buyers.

A word of advice, don’t get too caught up on the higher interest rates of the B lender mortgages. Consider that it is only a temporary measure and is your stepping stone on your way to prime lenders. B Lenders can act as bridge to A lenders just after a couple of years, in times when you need refinancing the most.

For those considering a mortgage through an alternative B lender please make sure you shop around and get advice from an experienced and reputable broker to learn about all your available options to get the best mortgage out there for you.

If you have any questions about the new regulations or have any other real estate related questions, please contact us at any time.

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New Mortgage Rules: Buyer Stress Test

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There are new changes coming into effect on January 1, 2018 introduced by The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) requiring all uninsured borrowers to complete a newly designed buyer stress test before they can qualify for a mortgage.

What is an uninsured borrower? It is anyone who has put down twenty percent or more of the value of the property as a down payment to secure their mortgage. These borrowers do not need mortgage insurance and are therefore known as uninsured borrowers.

Insured borrowers have down payments of less than twenty percent and terms less than five years, and these borrowers have been required to pass a stress test since last year. The stress test ensures that borrowers can afford their loan payments even if interest rates suddenly increase.

Under the newly proposed test lenders want to mitigate the risk of default by the proposed stress test and that is why uninsured borrowers will have to now qualify based on the greater of a five year fixed rate from Bank of Canada or the current rate + 2% stress test. Which of these two criteria will be used to determine the test outcome, depends on which of the two measures will have the highest value.

If you already have an approved existing mortgage, this rule does not affect your current mortgage no matter when the closing is. Pre-approved mortgages concluded between 17th October to 31st December 2017 should technically still be honoured by most major financial lenders, but we advise you to double check your pre-approved application. For all applications made in 2018, new rules will apply with no exceptions to both new mortgages and any mortgage renewals. Other changes under these new rules  include restrictions on co-lending or bundled mortgages.

These changes are surely going to affect different segments of the populations. Most vulnerable will be young first home buyers that are using funds given by their parents for a larger down payment and who may not yet have high paying jobs, many being just at the start of their careers. Also heavily affected will be buyers looking to expand or move up to a larger home as they will not be able to qualify for a bigger mortgage than previously possible and may not be able to negotiate as good a terms and rates as before. Industry experts are concerned on a cooling effect the new rules may have on the real estate market in the coming year.

However, not all outcomes of these new measures are negative. While buyers’ power and affordability is certainly going to decrease, rising national household debt is a growing concern as it continues to break records. By introducing this stress test, the government is preparing the market for any eventual rate hikes and the test would ensure we are prepared for them on both sides as realtor professionals and consumers. It is also a good time to consider those higher than normal debt ratios and rein in household debt and expectations, which all lead to a more balanced, stable market and more affordable home prices for buyers in the long run. The new stress test may also shift buyer focus to condos and townhomes.

Also this new rule does not mean that borrowers with higher debt ratios will no longer be able to get mortgages at all. While these borrowers should be prepared to pay higher rates, smaller B level lenders will still be able to offer some flexibility. Also, most provincially regulated lenders are not bound by these new regulations and local credit unions are expected to be very busy in the coming year. GTA continues to attract large numbers of newcomers, which is still the most important source of new buyers and any cooling or slow down of the market is likely to be temporary.

If you have any questions about the new regulations or have any other real estate related questions, please contact us at any time.

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Market Report: August 2017

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Last week, the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB)  released its market report for August. There has been a general cool-down in the GTA real estate market, in partly in response to new regulatory measures introduced by the Provincial Government earlier  in April. There was an overall  34.8% decrease in sales compared to August 2016 with only 6,357 transactions in August 2017. New home listings fell by 6.7% compared to August of last year. Detached home sales was probably the most affected segment of the market overall, with average prices around 20% lower than in April 2017.

However, all these jaw dropping stats aside, the actual house prices were up 3% from last year bringing an average price of a GTA home to $732,292. In addition, TREB’s  home price index composite benchmark, designed to smooth out variations and which accounts for typical homes throughout TREB’s market area, was actually  up by 14.3% on a year-to-year basis in August. This means that some areas in GTA were affected  differently and notably some areas such as Durham, Peel and Halton regions remained very much a seller’s market. The condo market in particular continued to outperform all other segments, up 21.4% from last year to an average price of $507,841 in August 2017. It is interesting to note that this is the first time the condo market has outperformed the single detached home category and the first year it has gone into double digit growth. Similarly, the rental market remains an equally hot area. Most rentals in the Toronto area are leased for over listing price, often with multiple offers and additional incentives.

While summer’s month-to-month sales also saw a decline, it can more typically be attributed to a slower than usual, traditionally slow seasonal market. This decline in sales may also be attributed to the psychological slow-down effect of the new provincial regulations on the Buyers. Reports indicate that the economy in the GTA continues to grow and is at a healthy pace which may play a key factor in normalizing the relationship between buyers and amount of listings on the market, which results  in a well balanced real estate market rather than an unsustainable market driven by irrational decisions, bidding wars and double digit growth.  A return to normalcy is welcomed by both sides in the long-run.

Despite the general cooling off during the summer since the announcement of new measures and recent interest rate hike , the GTA real estate market should not be dismissed so fast. TREB consumer research suggests that buyers that have previously put off their decision are set to return to the market and most likely in the fall. Most real estate purchases are not driven by speculation and cannot usually be subject to indefinite delay, often arising by pressing social and financial obligations of the Buyers’ everyday lives.  Current market predictions are that as more buyers jump into the fall market that has a smaller number of listings, this can affect the rate of price increase.

GTA real estate prices are expected to continue to grow year-to-year as the main factors that drive the real estate market have not changed. Population growth, low-interest rates, strong GDP growth and high employment figures continue to indicate that the region remains an attractive option for both local and  international buyers.

To view the full report click here.

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Garage Sale Organizing: 11 Useful Tips & Problems To Avoid

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As we come to the latter part of summer, it’s still a pleasant time of the year with summer bargain hunters looking to snag that perfect deal. Additionally, it’s a great time to host a garage sale to declutter your home before the cooler weather arrives and put some extra cash in your wallet. Early fall is also a popular period for students looking for back to school deals as well as young renters and new homeowners on the lookout for your used furniture and other discounted items. It is also an ideal time to put your winter related items on the market, such as:  sports equipment, holiday decorations, exercise equipment and various holiday collectibles.

 Mitra Moves You Team is organizing its annual garage sale in the German Mills area of Thornhill on September 2nd, 2017 from 8am-12pm. Joining our neighbourhood garage sale won’t cost you a cent and we will take care of the signs and advertising for you. All you have to do is show up on September 2nd in the Thornhill German Mills Area and make sure you are ready to bargain!

If you are interested in participating or just want to shop around, feel free to call us at 416-832-9292 or email a: hello@mitramovesyou.com for more information.

To help you get started, we outline 11 useful garage sale tips to host a great garage sale and 11 common garage sale problems to avoid when organizing your garage sale. See you on September 2nd!

 11 Useful Garage Sale Tips:

  1. Establish the purpose of your garage sale. Do you need to declutter in time for selling your home or need quick extra cash? This will affect the way you organize your sale, your pricing strategy and ability to negotiate and discount. It’s worth noting that it often pays more to price things slightly lower in order to sell more items. If you want to get top dollar for items of real value, consider selling them at popular online auction sites like Ebay or eBid.                       
  2. Make sure you have the right supplies at least a day before the sale. Supplies include: tables, coat hangers and stands, price stickers/tags, masking tape, scissors, money pouch/fanny pack, plenty of small cash/change for those pesky $20 dollar bills, pen/pencil and tracking ledger of sale items.                                                                          
  3. Clean & dust all your sale items.
  4. Sort everything into categories before you price anything.
  5. Price everything! This is a key step and is not be avoided. Most problems involving garage sales are always inevitably related to incorrect or lack of pricing, as you will discover in the problems section below.
  6. Price everything correctly. Consider pricing similar items the same amount or using blanket pricing method e.g. all shirts – $5. For larger items in working condition, a general rule for pricing should be in the range of 20-30% less than what you initially paid for it. Price big ticket items higher than your actual asking price because you will be expected to negotiate.
  7. Organize and display your items in the most attractive way possible. Some ideas to consider: placing your most sellable and larger items closest to the curb, grouping similar items, creating stylish vignettes and personalised tags, displaying clothes on hangers which is much easier for customers to go through. Displaying your items on tables is preferred, as shoppers like to see things at eye level. However, remember when it comes to toys, always place them at kids’ eye level or somewhere where they can reach them easily.
  8. Create a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Shoppers will likely linger for much longer if they feel comfortable. Be friendly, but not overbearing. Do not hover over customers, find an activity of your own, put on the radio for some friendly background music. Make sure you have water and drinks out for your fellow shoppers and their pets, especially if it is hot out.
  9. Make sure you have bags/boxes for the purchased items so your customers can happily leave with their purchases. Consider packing materials like old newspaper and magazines and old fabric scraps for wrapping fragile items.
  10. Make a “free stuff” box that you can fill with things you want to give away. Make sure it is placed somewhere easily visible in your yard or by your driveway.
  11. Donate leftover items to charity. Try not to keep anything you decided to get rid of in the first place. You can organize a charity pick up for the day of or after the sale, or leave unwanted items in your designated “free stuff” box by your driveway.

11 Garage Sale Problems to Avoid:

  1. Missing or no prices: this is consistently the number one problem garage sale shoppers face and report to be their ultimate pet peeve. Unpriced items will simply make shoppers leave. Remember that most of people at garage sale are looking for a bargain, so to them price is everything. People also don’t like to ask questions, so having every item priced should be your number one priority when organizing your sale.                                                                                           
  2. Incorrectly priced items can lead to confusion and customer frustration, which can be easily avoided if you have organize and think through your pricing strategy before the sale.
  3. Don’t base your sale items on your personal tastes. Just because you wouldn’t buy something that may be broken or aged, there are plenty of people who like to fix and restore objects or may be looking for a particular or component.
  4. Not labeling items: as mentioned above, generally people do not like to ask a lot of questions, so try to label your sale items clearly. Also you are not always going to be available to answer questions, proper labeling will take care of that.
  5. Lack of outlets: a common question often heard at garage sales is “does it work?” To avoid this question and make sure you don’t lose a potential sale on a hot item, have some outlets with a power bar available to test your plug in items.
  6. Don’t keep your sale items on the ground. Try to avoid displaying your items low on the ground. If you must do so, make sure you use bright coloured tarps or old tablecloths to make your displays more appealing.
  7. Mark ‘not for sale’ items clearly.  To avoid any confusion, place ‘not for sale’ signs on these items that are visible during the sale.
  8. Have your money with you at all times. Keep large bills in your pockets or fanny-packs separately from smaller bills. Do not use a cash-box that you may leave unattended or forget.
  9. Keep your home safe. Make sure doors and access points are locked, where you do not want shoppers to wander through. If you don’t know people personally avoid letting them inside the house. Direct them to the nearest public washroom if required.
  10. Do not get sentimental over your merchandise. Garage sale shoppers are generally looking for a bargain and don’t share your emotional attachment to the same objects.
  11. Don’t haggle over low priced items, it is just not worth it. If customers purchase several items, make sure you give them an additional discount or throw in another low priced item for a special deal.
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