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Choosing A Realtor

By | knowledge, resource

There is nothing more exciting than stepping into the unknown, enjoying and trusting the ride. Selling a home and/or buying one are difficult waters to navigate in today’s real estate market and often require a complete leap of faith that we all take sooner or later in life, to build wealth worth spreading. This important decision will lead to one of life’s ultimate milestones of home ownership, that come with its own rewards, as well as its own lessons. Now that you know why and how you want to achieve your goal, it is crucial to figure out what steps you need to take to make this process seamless and stress free. Here are 10 tips for you to consider in your research for the right realtor for you.

1. Action plan

When looking for the ideal realtor, always ask for their action plan, marketing strategy and services they offer in the process of selling or buying homes. Of course, many realtors offer similar services. The difference lies is their plan of implementation, execution and ultimately results.

2. Availability

Select a realtor, who is available whenever you are. Regardless how good a realtor is, if she/he can’t meet you at your preferred time, the relationship will not work. You need someone who can work with yourschedule and be flexible to your needs. A conflicting schedule between you and your realtor will make the process difficult.

3. Commission

Don’t choose a realtor based on commission alone, although this seems to have become a trend in Toronto’s real estate market. Remember that the least expensive isn’t always the best choice. Always ask what services are included and/or excluded as part of their professional fee. Focus on what you will get and not what you give, don’t forget that wise saying that “we get what we pay for.”

4. Communication

Make sure you select a realtor who is a great communicator and one who listens and then asks a lot of quality questions. You can find out a lot about a person by their answers and questions. A realtor who takes the time to get to know you, your goals, and your priorities is building a successful pathway to a foundation of extraordinary customer service. A realtor who regularly asks about your expectations and your opinions on their recommendations usually means that they have your interests and satisfaction wholeheartedly in mind.

5. Database

Ask the realtor you are interviewing about her/his database of clients and current networking partners. You also may want to find out about the types of clients and transactions they specialize in. Do they network or know local business owners in the area? These businesses may not have been their clients, but having a networking relationship with other business owners allows your realtor to acquire valuable information on what they can do to best serve you as a client.

6. Market analysis

Any realtor you decide to work with should have an extensive understanding and perspective of the real estate market in your area. This isn’t just about market stats, as this information these days can be accessed from anywhere and by virtually anyone. It is the realtor’s ability to interpret and analyze the relevant real estate data that sets the experts apart and serves as the key to a successful client relationship and transaction.

7. Price range

While a realtor can’t give you an exact selling price for any home, you can always ask them to provide you with an estimated range. Depending on the location, dynamic and time of year of the real estate market, a realtor can provide you with a comparative market analysis including the recent sales activity in your area of interest, whether it is for sale or purchase of your next property.

8. References

Begin with reviews on popular online/social networking sites such as Facebook, Google etc. Ask for references from the realtor’s past clients. By reaching out and asking the right questions and reviewing the realtor’s references will allow you to discover a lot about them and their reputation and work ethic.

9. Track record

Make sure to ask for the realtor’s past and current performance report card during the interview process. Ask about the number of homes they have recently sold and the number of listings they currently have, their number of expired listings, their current selling to asking ratio, the average number of days of their listings on the market and any other questions you may have.

10. Your realtor of choice

Whether you’re planning to buy or sell, you will want to be able to build a good working relationship with your realtor, as often you could be working with them for weeks, months and sometimes years to come. Do not be afraid or uncomfortable to say “NO” to a realtor who happens to be a friend or family member.The realtor professionals in your personal social circle might be a great family friends and will remain so, but may not always be right person for the sale or purchase of your next home. Hiring a top performing real estate team or realtor with a proven track record is the other side of that coin.

Make sure your realtor of choice is able to devote the required time to service your individual needs and make sure you get to know who you’ll be working with directly. Not all realtors are the same, so finding the right match for you will make a big difference in your experience as a seller, buyer, landlord or tenant. Selecting a realtor who fits your needs and personality will help make the process seamless and stress free.

Follow us on social media, like us, comment on our topics and don’t forget to subscribe on our newsletter. If you have any real estate questions and plan on moving, feel free to reach out. We are here to be at your service.

Yours truly,

Mitra Nobakht Eivaly

Salesperson, Mitra Moves You Team

Keller Williams Referred Realty

Home Ownership

By | knowledge, resource

Home ownership may not seem easy at times. However, it is possible to achieve with the right mind set and the right team on our side.I remember vividly my parents’ struggles with becoming homeowners, when I was a kid. They moved from one place to another about fifteen times, until finally my parents bought their first home with rent to own option, which for us at the time, was a major family milestone. Being part of a big extended family from my childhood to my teens and adolescence, I witnessed a variety of financial ups and downs, gains and losses in my surroundings, and I soon learned that it is not about how much one earns, but it is mostly about what home ownership means to oneself. My own lifetime experiences taught me overt time what home ownership means to me:

1. Community

We had everything we could want for at our fingertips, from the doctor to the butcher to the local dairy or farmer store etc. We shovelled snow together, we gave back to people in need together. We helped each other. We were one. There is definitely a certain amount of pride that comes with home ownership, which helps to anchor you to the community.

2. Credit standing

Homeownership definitely increased my parents financial credibility, from applying for a mortgage to getting a loan to buy appliances, CAC, wood stove etc. Your credit rating improves with mortgage or loan payments, which means you can get access to loans for bigger purchases and investments to grow your nest egg and personal wealth.

3. Fixed housing payment

Buying a home allowed my parents to have a regular predictable shelter cost, much more stable than paying rent. This meant a lot to my parents with their modest income. A fixed rate mortgage creates a great stability and predictability in housing costs.

4. Freedom

Freedom to be, to do and to have the home that the family envisions. I have so many great memories of us sleeping on the roof top, making tomato sauce, having feasts in our yard in the summer or painting exterior and/or interior walls of our modest home, the way we wanted and the colour we wanted, and they are still so alive in me. Home ownership gives you the freedom and creative control to have your home set up in any way you desire, free from landlords’ restrictions and is an important experience in personal growth.

5. Income opportunity vehicle

Home ownership sparks creativity. For a family of modest means, homeownership is definitely not a “lack”, but an “opportunity.” My parents were a great example of that. In their life time, they have had several rental income producing properties, renovated and sold their investment properties at the right time and price, travelled around the world, immigrated and finally settled to have a peaceful and secured life in their retirement years.

6. Increase in value

Homeownership allowed my parents to build wealth, while they raised us. By the time we were grown up, their home value also increased tremendously in value without any additional effort on their part. Home ownership lets you build your equity every month making you a little wealthier every time and growing substantially in the long term.

7. Saving

I know this with absolute certainty that my parents could have never built up their equity without that first bold and creative step into “rent to own” option, which allowed them to save the money they were paying for rent, year after year, and invest in themselves, while raising their three kids.

8. Stability

Home ownership primarily allowed us as a family to experience a sense of stability and belonging. I cannot place a value on the morning walks with my father to elementary school, to going to secondary or high school with neighbourhood friends with whom I grew up

9. Tax benefits

Home ownership allows homeowners to deduct several items such as: mortgage interest, home equity loans, some closing costs and property taxes on primary and/or vacation home, for income tax purposes. Homeowners also get a capital gains exclusion on their primary place of residence.

10. Wealth building machine

Homeownership allowed my parents to buy a few more properties over time and to build up a solid real estate investment portfolio, just because of that initial bold step to become a homeowners.

Why I am saying all of this about homeownership? It is simply because when I look back over the last five decades of my own life experiences, I see that most of the points above are still valid today and are valuable to consider homeownership as a way to build wealth worth spreading.

What does homeownership mean to you? Who do you want to team up with to build and grow your personal wealth? Do you have a financial advisor, a real estate lawyer, a realtor that you know, trust and are committed to? Real Estate market is dynamic and constantly changing. So whether you are a first home buyer, a real estate investor/renovator or simply a repeat home buyer, make sure to connect, reconnect with one of the best professionals in the industry. We are here to help you every step of the way on your journey to homeownership.

Follow us on social media, like us, comment on our topics and don’t forget to subscribe on our newsletter. If You have any questions about real estate and how to become a homeowner, downsize, upsize, right size, invest in real estate, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Yours truly,

Mitra Nobakht-Eivaly

Sales Representative

Mitra Moves You Team, Keller Williams Referred Realty

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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