C’mon Join The Joyride: Best Day Trips Out Of Toronto

Ethel Badlands

Ethel surveys the Cheltenham Badlands


Here we are, already August(!!) and if you’re anything like me, the summer has been flying by without you striking more than one thing off of your summer fun list. The good news is that we have at least one more month to enjoy the heat and take advantage of everything that the city has to offer. While I plan on eating my way through Kensington (churro ice cream cones?? Sign me up!), hitting the beach more often, and sitting by our local pool, I’m also looking forward to taking a few day trips out of the city. Thankfully, there are a ton of great places to visit within an hour or two of the city. Here are my top picks!: Continue reading

How To Succeed At Home Buying Without Really Trying: Tips And Tricks To Get Ahead In A Tough Market

Real estate labyrinth. Toy house hidden inside a maze

As you may have seen/heard, I’ve been on CBC’s Metro Morning and the Exchange (among others) recently to discuss my marketing for buyer clients. While I’m glad this has struck such a chord with people, the side effect has been that buyers have been branded as “desperate.” While that may be a bit extreme, this year in particular has been rough on buyers as listings have been at an all-time low. I think the most intense case I saw earlier this year was a house that was at a busy intersection and backed onto the loading dock of a grocery store. I checked the comparables for my clients and estimated that it would sell for about $100K above the $599K asking price. Instead, they ended up with 34 offers on the table (no, that’s not a typo) and sold for $260K above asking. Honestly, there’s no rational explanation for that.

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Hot in January: Not just a Van Halen album title*


This may sound like a strange statement, but watching the real estate market in this city is like watching waves washing up on the shore. The beginning of the year is traditionally smooth waters, before things pick up into a frenzy from March to June, there’s usually another lull through the summer months, and fall brings an echo of the spring market. But as climate change has more and more of an effect, those patterns of waves are getting harder to predict. Is the real estate market taking after the climate, or vice versa? Or am I just reaching really far with my analogies? (It’s been known to happen). Continue reading

3 reasons why to prepare now for a spring sale

Fall is my favourite time of year in Toronto. It’s no longer so humid that we’re all sweat bombs (believe me, I am not built for extreme heat…those people who have met me on their doorstep in the summer can attest to that), and it’s before the winter makes us all wonder why we chose to settle in an area where a 60 degree spread between seasons isn’t unheard of. It’s also the time of year where I speak with a lot of people who are thinking about a sale in the spring. Fair enough, I say; it’s after the craziness of the holidays has passed, and is traditionally the busiest time of year in the Toronto market. But here’s why you may want to get the gears in motion now for a spring sale:

1) Preparing a home for sale is more work than you may think. While a fresh coat of paint can be applied right before going to market, it’s worth taking advantage of a long lead time to make a list of all of those little repairs that you may have been putting off, or may not have even noticed. I can help by taking a tour of your home with you and identifying the most important areas to focus on since I know what buyers typically look at.
2) The market sneaks up faster than you may imagine. In fact, most agents selling their own homes choose to put them on the market in February; the market hasn’t been flooded with new listings yet, while buyers who were waiting for the New Year are chomping at the bit to get shopping. More buyers = more offers, and this is often when record prices are set. One semi in our area received 27 offers in February 2014, and sold for a record price that hasn’t been topped even a year and a half later.
3) You can react quickly to any changes in the market. While interest rates aren’t expected to rise anytime soon, the global economic situation can remain unpredictable. Should anything happen that may cause a slowdown in the number of sales in the GTA, you can quickly get your home sold while other potential sellers are still preparing to put their home on the market. You make out like a bandit while others leave money on the table only a few weeks later.

Be sure not to be left in the dust once the spring thaw happens. If you have any questions about how best to prepare for a sale, feel free to contact me. I’m happy to help with no obligation.

Breakin’ The Law: What To Do About Crime In Our Neighbourhood

So, last night before the sun had even set, a man was shot 4 times on Danforth only a block away from where DECA was hosting a night for music in the park. The day before, a woman was stabbed near Danforth and Greenwood. A couple of months ago, a man was shot and killed in the early morning hours at Rotana Café near Coxwell. Clearly, our neighbourhood is a hotbed for crime…right? Continue reading

Rise Of The Party Poopers: Why NIMBYism needs to stop

Well, here’s the rare blog post that I didn’t want to write. Left Field Brewery, a welcome addition to our neighbourhood if there ever was one, seems to have been the subject of complaints recently. On their site, they’ve detailed some of the proactive efforts they’ve made to make sure everyone is happy, and despite that, it seems a few neighbourhood residents have taken to city council to complain about the noise emanating from the industrial alley that Left Field resides in to complain about people being loud during daytime hours. Funny that those same residents don’t seem to have an issue with the train tracks where the Lakeshore East GO line runs about once an hour (and more at rush hours!). Cue the strings. Continue reading

MLS Decoded: What exactly is a “renovator’s dream”?


There’s no getting around it: we realtors love our code words. After all, what is one man’s untameable backyard forest is another’s “relaxing backyard garden just waiting for your personal touch.” While some of these descriptions take things a bit too far (come on, guys, no one is buying that the “Upper Upper Beach” is a real neighbourhood), some are all too accurate. Continue reading

Lowney On The Towney: Bandit Coffee Co.

photo courtesy BlogTO

Welcome to another week of Lowney on the Towney! This time around, I’m profiling a bit of a hidden gem in the east end. Located at just west of Woodbine on the south side of Gerrard, Bandit Coffee Co. has been around since 2011, slinging some of the best coffee, tea and baked goods in the city. Continue reading

Future Hits: What Neighbourhoods Are Toronto’s Best Bets For Buyers?

One of the things that I’ve most enjoyed about working in the real estate market for the past 5 years or so has been seeing rapid changes in certain neighbourhoods. The trick is keeping an eye out for subtle changes: where are the builders renovating? What new shops have opened? Have transit or driving options increased? When the average sale price of a detached home is well over the $1-million mark, more and more first-time buyers and value seekers are looking to the future and wondering where the best bets would be to buy. Here are my picks for the top 3 neighbourhoods that are bound to grow by leaps and bounds in the coming years: Continue reading