Renting in Toronto?

Be prepared, be very prepared. Often renters check out areas where they want to by a property, here are some tips to:

Have the following
1. an up to date credit rating;
2 reference letters from your last 2-3 landlords;
3. cheque for first and last months rent;
4. completed application.

Please see the following article

Protecting your home from forfeiture

Do you know that if you or someone in your house commits a criminal offence, you can lose your home? Whether it is your son growing 2 marihuana plants in his room, or your tenant is paying rent with money she earned selling stolen goods, both can result in you losing your house. It does not matter if there are criminal charges, it is up to you to show that you did everything you could to watch out for illegal activity in your home. Know what is happening in your home at all the time.

Please contact our office if you are dealing with a civil forfeiture claim by the government.

Getting your paper house in order

The new year has brought the news of the death of beloved actors, singers and personalities, not to mention the Visa bills from overindulging over the Christmas holidays. Despite the cold, and depressing time that can sometimes be January, be thankful that you have a visa bill to complain about and family and friends that drive you crazy.

This is the time to think about what you would like to do differently this year – take small steps towards it and before you know it you will have achieved it. It is also important to think about what to leave to loved ones. Update your insurance and investment RRSP beneficiaries. Organize all of your important papers in one place. Do up a list of your passwords, bank accounts and storage locker particulars. If necessary, update your will and create a power of attorney for your health and finances. Talk to your family about your wishes for things such as organ donation.

Although, it might not change the outside temperatures you will have the satisfaction of achieving peace of mind for you and your family.

Open House – What is important?

Saturday and Sundays are great times to see a lot of open houses.Some sales agents are holding their open houses during the week. Herre are some things that will be improtant.

1. Is the seller working with a brokerage or is this a private sale?
2. Does it meet most if not all of your checklist needs?
3. What advantages does the neighbourhood have?
4. How long has this property been on the market?
5. Is there a current home inspection?
6. Is there a recent survey?
7. Will the purchase depend on obtaining a mortgage?
8. Will the closing date be flexible – allow at least 2-3 months if purchasing a house.
9. What will be the real commute time from this place?
10. Can you really see yourself in this place?

How to pay for your first home?

Besides saving for years and years and living on ramen noodles, there are ways to purchase your first home.

1. The Home buyers plan

A 15 per cent income tax credit towards closing costs for eligible applicants. The credit applies to a maximum of $5,000 in closing costs which would result in a credit of $750.

2. 5% Down Payment plan
Although, it is advisable to have a bigger down-payment as you have to pay a premium to insure your property.

3. HST Rebate

Available when you purchase a renovated home from a builder, a new mobile home, shares in a co-op, or substantial renovations to your home, even from fire. May get up to 36 percent rebate of the federal portion of the HST paid to a maximum of $6,300 on a home costing less than $350,000. The new home buyer can also apply for a rebate of 75% of the provincial portion of HST to a maximum of $24,000.00.

4. Rebate on Provincial and Municipal Land Transfer Taxes

Up to $2,000 for Ontario and up to $3, 725 for the City of Toronto for first time buyers who have never owned a house anywhere in the world nor been with a spouse who has.

5. Bank of Mom and Dad

In addition to the purchase price, land transfer taxes, there is also legal fees, title insurance, moving and new services costs, insurance for your property and adjustments made prior to closing for things such as property taxes, any shortfalls from the loan, registration of the transfer and mortgage, common expenses (for a condominium) and oil if you are purchasing a home. These additional costs can be at least another $5,000.

Make sure you ask about all available ways to finance your property, what programs you may be eligible for and all costs prior to closing. Try to save as much money as possible so you can purchase your first place.

Is that basement apartment legal?

It is important to check whether there has been any Landlord and Tenant board claims prior to purchase and if the apartment is legal. If it is not legal you may have trouble insuring your property which is needed for your lender, and you may have to bring the apartment up to code at considerable cost to you. Find out first.

Here is a link to a detailed article by Joseph Richer in the Star.

Condominium Insurance

For the condominium unit owner, there are several insurance concerns.
Does their condominium corporation have adequate insurance to cover anticipated property damage or physical injury caused in the building? Does it have coverage for mechanical or electrical breakdown? This is usually assessed before closing by your lawyer. Follow up with any information you receive from the corporation about renewal of insurance and what it covers.

The unit owner has to be concerned about what happens in their unit and obtain adequate insurance. Here are some types of coverage you may wish to consider and discuss with your insurance broker. Property and contents, this is not covered by the corporation, improvements to your unit may not be covered by the corporation’s insurance for a standard unit. If damage is caused to your unit and the corporation is at fault, they will only pay for a standard unit and not the ebony wood floors that took 12 weeks to be delivered and make your unit the feature of the latest condominium living.

If your tenant or guest causes damage to the common elements you will be held responsible so a policy covering guest/tenant liability may be in order. You may be held responsible for the corporation’s deductible on their insurance.

If you have to live at a hotel while your unit is being repaired may be covered by insurance.

It is often suggested that you use the same insurance company as your condominium corporation which may reduce a gap or delay in having your claim assessed.

You may have other concerns about your unit, so speak to your insurance broker who specializes in residential condos about a policy that will address your needs and potential losses.

Agreement of Purchase and Sale

What happens when you sign an Agreement of Purchase and Sale.

1. It is a binding contract detailing the rights and obligations of the parties to the agreement.
2. If either party fails to complete their obligations, the innocent party can ask for certain remedies.
3. Remedies could be a request for money, forfeiture of the deposit or specific performance – the completion of the contract as agreed.
4. Another remedy is to put the parties in a pre -contract position. This remedy is available if the contract should not have been entered in the first place because of duress, fraud or misrepresentation.
5. May include pre – conditions before the agreement will be valid -such as a satisfactory home inspection, financing, review of the status certificate, or the sale of current home.
6. Conditions are good ways to protect yourself as the purchaser if circumstances change.

Please confirm the terms and your needs with your real estate professional.