By: Thomas Cook

How Much Can I Afford?

How Much Can I Afford?

  One of the most important things any buyer must do before getting excited about house or condo shopping is to find out how large a mortgage they could be approved for.  If you don’t  you might find out you're interested in homes that are out of your price range OR the opposite - you could actually afford a larger property or buy in a different neighbourhood.   There are two calculations that every lender takes into consideration… the Gross Debt Service ratio (GDS) and the Total Debt Service ratio (TDS).  These permissible numbers will vary depending on your credit score.   The GDS calculation adds up the total annual payment for mortgage prin...Read More

By: Thomas Cook

5 Things You Need To Ask Yourself Before Turning Down A Low-Ball Offer

5 Things You Need To Ask Yourself Before Turning Down A Low-Ball Offer

A low-ball offer on your home means that the buyer has offered significantly less than our list price for various reasons.  Often the seller  feels insulted, but, before you say ‘no,’ ask yourself the questions below.   Home owners usually have a deep attachment to their condos or houses… it’s where they’ve made memories or perhaps it’s the first place where they owned the bricks and mortar or, in the case of a condo, the concrete.  And that’s normal!   After being in Toronto’s real estate market since 1980 I’ve sometimes seen owners react badly when a low-ball offer comes in and occasionally they’re justif...Read More

By: Thomas Cook

Life turned upside down

Life turned upside down

In April sales were undoubtedly the lowest they’ve ever been since maybe the 1960s with a 67% drop from last year with 2,975 houses and condominiums changing hands in all the districts.   Condo townhouse and high-rise suite sales were down by 70% with a 30% share of the market and just 905 units being sold.   The April average sale price for all GTA homes came in at $821,392, down $80,000 from the month before and about flat compared to one year ago.   The active listing inventory is one of the strongest indicators of how slow or fast the market has been moving.  The inventory average for the month of April compared to historical numbers was lower by a huge 41.4% co...Read More

By: Thomas Cook

20 Ways to Save Money and Stretch Your Household Budget

20 Ways to Save Money and Stretch Your Household Budget

These days, it seems like everyone’s looking for ways to cut costs and stretch their income further. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to reduce your household expenses without making radical changes to your standard of living. When combined, these small adjustments can add up to significant savings each month.   Here are 20 things you can start doing today to lower your bills, secure better deals, and begin working toward your financial goals. Refinance Your Mortgage - For prime borrowers, mortgage rates are at or near historic lows. Depending on your current mortgage rate and the terms you choose, refinancing could save you a sizable amount on your monthly...Read More

By: Thomas Cook

Get Some Timeline Guidance

Get Some Timeline Guidance

GET SOME TIMELINE GUIDANCE FOR MORTGAGE SHOPPING   Actually, it’s never too early to start thinking about how much of a mortgage you might qualify for.  Many people start looking at condos or houses online or at open houses 6-18 months ahead of when they’re thinking they might buy.   Having a realistic figure in mind about how large of a mortgage you could get approved for will save you a lot of time (and dreaming).   Another good reason to get an early pre-approval is that, in all probability, you will find out things about your credit or about what you need income-wise that you didn’t know before.    You can then use your lead time profitably...Read More

By: Thomas Cook

How Can A Buyer Agent Protect You?

How Can A Buyer Agent Protect You?

Prior to 1995 the rules were different as they pertain to who is representing whom in the real estate transaction.  At that time, both the listing agent, and the agent showing homes to buyers (called a sub-agent), were both working for the seller.    There was no confidentiality whatsoever.  For example if the seller asked the sub-agent ‘Will your buyer pay more?’ that agent was supposed to reveal anything that the buyer had told them.  For many of us however that didn’t happen.    Even though agency law supported the seller, we as agents showing houses and condos developed a bond with our buyers and we didn’t subscrib...Read More

By: Thomas Cook

Coronavirus Alarm Causes Massive Market Anxiety

Coronavirus Alarm Causes Massive Market Anxiety

In March sales were up 12% compared to last year with 8,012 houses and condominiums changing hands in all the districts.   Condo townhouse and high-rise suite sales were up by 6% with a 33% share of the market and 2,667 units being sold.   The March average sale price for all GTA homes came in at $902,680, up 14.5% from one year ago.   The active listing inventory is one of the strongest indicators of how slow or fast the market has been moving.  The inventory average for the month of March compared to historical numbers was lower by a huge 31.5% compared to last year at this time.   This inventory imbalance is causing price increase in many, but not all, GTA distric...Read More

By: Thomas Cook

What Happens At The Offer Presentation?

What Happens At The Offer Presentation?

First of all, there are two scenarios... the most common is a single buyer offering to purchase your house or condo.  The other is if multiple buyers present offers at the same time, creating a bidding war.  Each one of these has some basic similarities and some major differences. Let’s look first at the traditional single buyer situation.  The typical offer process takes about two hours of back and forth in the space of a single afternoon or evening.  It is the listing agent’s responsibility to represent the seller’s best interests throughout the process... negotiating hard to get the seller the best possible price. The listing agent should try a...Read More

By: Thomas Cook

Why Are Mortgage Rates Rising?

Why Are Mortgage Rates Rising?

Over the past month, the Bank of Canada has lowered its overnight rate by a whopping 1.5 percentage points to a mere 0.25%. Many people expected mortgage rates to fall equivalently. The banks have reduced prime rates by the full 150 basis points (bps). But, since the second Bank of Canada rate cut on March 13, banks and other lenders have hiked mortgage rates for fixed- and variable-rate loans. That's not what happens typically when the Bank cuts its overnight rate. But these are extraordinary times. The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted everything, shutting down the entire global economy and damaging business and consumer confidence. No one knows when it will end. This degree of unc...Read More

By: Thomas Cook

#StayHome: How to Create Functional Spaces in Your Home During the Coronavirus Outbreak

#StayHome: How to Create Functional Spaces in Your Home During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), many of us are spending a lot more time at home. We’re all being called upon to avoid public spaces and practice social distancing to help slow the spread of this infectious disease. While it can be understandably challenging, there are ways you can modify your home and your lifestyle to make the best of this difficult situation.   Here are a few tips for creating comfortable and functional spaces within your home for work, school, and fitness. We also share some of our favorite ways to stay connected as a community, because we’re all in this together … and no one should face these trying times alone.   Begi...Read More