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Staging

Free Repairs & Management Fees for Toronto/GTA Home Buyers, Sellers and Landlords

 

We’re rolling out the red carpet for new clients at Highgate Property Investments this month with promotions for home buyers, sellers and landlords seeking property management services. While we can go on about how great we are in our marketing, the only way to really sell our services is to show you what we can do for your bottom line. (more…)

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What Sellers Need to Know About the Spring | Houses for Sale in Toronto

Houses for Sale in Toronto go Quickly in the Spring

Why is Spring 2016 the Best Time to Sell a House in Toronto? Just take a look at historical Toronto Housing Prices for this time of year.

It’s hard to believe that February is already over and Spring will be here in just three weeks. Like many Torontonians, Realtors love this time of year, not only because of rising temperatures but because it’s the best time to sell a home. Any seasoned Toronto Real Estate Agent will agree that certain seasons are more favourable to sell a house than others. Oftentimes, the transition between cold months to warmer months sparks something in buyers, and with the current condition of the Toronto Real Estate Market, this couldn’t be truer. In fact, it’s in the Spring when Toronto housing prices increase and homes sell at or above asking price. Furthermore, the amount of time they on the market is significantly short when compared to other seasons. We’re still in a seller’s market, and the pent-up demand from buyers is exceeding the supply of Houses for Sale in the Toronto. While warmer temperatures do have an impact on home sales, but there are a few other reasons people want to shell out a few extra dollars for a house in the Spring.

  1. Most families prefer to purchase a home in the Spring because that leaves them with ample time to register their kids in new schools. When it’s time to close, it will be relatively early in the summer, you most likely won’t have to deal with a heat wave when packing moving boxes.
  2. Spring is a great time to showcase your home as well. With the snow finally gone, lawns are visible and houses just appear to be more attractive in the spring. There are no sub-zero temperatures or icy driveways to deter buyers from venturing outside of their homes. By the end of March, some annual flowers will be in fresh bloom and trees will begin to bud, and a feeling of a new beginning will be in the air.
  3. With holiday debts and bills finally paid off, buyers are in higher spirits and aren’t as stressed about making a big purchase. Additionally, most buyers will have the benefit of a tax return in the Spring–this is especially helpful for first-time buyers who are feeling the impact of the increase in the minimum down payment. Remember, many people are entering the market for the first time, so be ready for people who are on the hunt for condos for sale in Toronto.
  4. Competition among buyers is very stiff, and they’re willing to bid to the very end. Bidding wars occur most frequently in the Spring than at any other time of year because home buyers want the perfect move-in date. Use this to your advantage to ensure you make the most of your home sale.

mls toronto spring stats 2016

Although Spring isn’t officially here until the Equinox on March 20, it’s definitely sprung early for buyers in the Greater Toronto Area. If you’re planning on selling your house, now is the perfect time to consult your GTA Real Estate Agent. The window of opportunity is wide open, so take advantage of it before other sellers start adding to the mix. While the market conditions will guarantee your house will sell, you want to get the best dollar for it.

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Unattractive Investment Property

The Ugly Duckling — Transforming an Unattractive Investment Property into a Beautiful Swan

from shabby to chic investment property

If you’ve been itching to purchase an investment property in Toronto, then you probably know that pickings have been pretty slim lately. Move-in ready houses with curb appeal are often the subject of bidding wars and come with a hefty price tag. The thought of owning a property that will generate immediate rental income is ideal, however, after weighing the pros and cons, and taking price into consideration is it really worth it?

Enter the ugly duckling: The legal triplex that is in need of some TLC. It’s in a fantastic neighbourhood, however, it contains a unit that smells like several unappetizing meals were cooked in it and has carpet that dates back to the early eighties. Overall, it’s not a pretty sight, and you’re uninterested. These are signs of poor property management. Before you move on to the next house, consider this: The property wasn’t built with a smell reminiscent of burnt dinners past, and at one point, that carpet was new. The point is, if you ask anyone involved in property management, we can tell you about some of the most luxurious spaces that have been destroyed in a matter of months due to one bad tenant — we can also tell you have quickly we’ve cleaned them up and made them move-in ready by the next month.

If you’re willing to look past the cosmetic issues and focus on numbers, taking on a property that was poorly managed isn’t such a bad idea. This can often save you money on the initial investment, and after hiring a reputable property management to turn it around, you will then be able to increase the rent and earn a profit.

Signs Poor Property Management

1. Units Not Prepared For Renting – If the state of a unit makes you ask yourself “Who would want to live here?” after viewing it, then you know it’s been poorly managed.
2. Not taking accountability – If the previous managers blame the condition of the property on a bad area or bad tenants, they’re trying to draw your attention away from the real problem – bad management.
3. Vacancy – if there are six units, and two of them have been vacant for months, that’s never a good sign.
4. High Turnover – If the previous landlord couldn’t keep tenants because a) they were unhappy with the living conditions or b) they weren’t paying their rent, then those are both signs of bad property management.

As an investor, signs of bad management can mean dollar signs in the future. Unfortunately, you can’t change the location of a building or a property’s layout without major renovation. You can, however, change your property management company. It should be common sense to anyone that apartments should be clean, painted and livable by decent people’s standards if you want to rent them to decent people.

Returns on property investments shouldn’t require rocket science. Simplified, well-maintained properties yield great results. This includes responsible tenants who are properly screened, which results in higher rents, no vacancies and low-turnover. By hiring a reputable Toronto property management company, you can turn an ugly duckling into a beautiful swan, and attract the type of tenants you want to rent to. Toronto is a huge metropolitan city, and although there may not be thousands of investment properties to choose from, there are thousands of responsible, income-generating tenants to choose from. Sometimes the best returns are the ones that come from the most unexpected sources.

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Tenants From Hell (and How to Avoid Them)

Landlord Tip: Do NOT rent to this guy.

They make up a small percentage of renters and as much as we’d like to think they don’t exist, tenants from hell are out there and you need to know how to avoid them

 

 

You’ve heard about them and may have had one, or two yourself – late rent payments, excessive partying and noise that disrupts the entire neighbourhood, and let’s not forget the ones who through plain negligence destroy your property, resulting in hundreds to thousands of dollars’ worth of damage, not to mention the headaches and legal fees that come with evicting them. The Tenants from Hell – a landlord’s worst nightmare.

Recently, a Toronto couple’s story made headlines when they discovered that their four-bedroom Victorian home in the Dundas and Ossington area was turned into an illegal boarding house while they were working abroad. Journalists Wilf Dinnick and Sonia Verna rented their home to a man who said all the right things – he was a successful business development executive at a Toronto tech company, drove a Range Rover, had over $44,000 in his chequing account and even offered to pay $4,000 per month in rent — $400 above asking to secure the lease when other potential tenants showed interest.

The tenant, Jesse Gubb, created a number of partitions in the house and illegally sublet the rooms, housing up to 16 people at a time, charging each person up to $560 per month in rent. Upon inspection, nine violations were logged resulting in over $50,000 in fines that the landlords were responsible for. Luckily, the fines were dropped due to their cooperation in the investigation leading up to Gubb’s fraud conviction. They also later discovered he was no stranger to the law, having been convicted on previous fraud and drug possession charges.

property+damage+toronto

We’d like to believe that up to 99% of tenants are good people, however, there is that lingering one percent that you’d need to watch out for. Although the boarding house incident was an extreme case, it still serves as a resounding wake-up call to landlords and property investors. Properties don’t run on autopilot and damages don’t pay for themselves. One must be knowledgeable about the legal intricacies involved in renting out a property as well as the work involved. Hiring a reputable property manager to deal with everything from background, reference and credit checks, to repairs, routine maintenance, inspection and rent collection gives investors security and peace of mind, knowing that their property is being cared for and has not secretly turned into a circus venue.

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Do We Buy With Our Eyes?

From business meetings to blind dates, we know that a great first impression plays a crucial role in a successful outcome. The same goes for investment property—landlords or renters form an opinion about a property within the first 7—10 seconds of arriving. When it comes to real estate, first impressions are heavily influenced by the appearance of the home, which is why it’s important to make it as attractive as possible. With the countless numbers of home renovation shows on television, many of us think that making a home more appealing involves a team of designers, contractors and a large budget, however, there are several cost-effective ways you can spruce up a space to make it shine.

From the Outside In

We’re all familiar with the old saying “You can’t judge a book by its cover,” however, the majority of us have been guilty of this at some point in our lives. Have you ever been drawn to a house by a “for sale sign,” only to be disappointed by its lack of curb appeal? Unkempt yards, grimy windows and overgrown lawns can deter visitors before they even reach the front door. Property management companies offer staging services and can give you tips on how to avoid these situations. Be sure that toys, garbage or recycling bins, building materials, small items or any other foreign objects are properly stored and out of sight. Request that your property manager have the yard landscaped. Trim back bushes and shrubbery, and keep the lawn and garden well-watered at least a week leading up to the open house, to ensure that visitors see lush greenery upon their arrival. Also, windows should be washed and the front porch, walkway and driveway should be given a good scrubbing. Small things like cleaning dirt off the front door, garage and trim, and polishing the house number can make a huge difference. Remember, curb appeal wraps around the house—be sure to have the backyard, including patio furniture and the barbecue clean and tidy.

Less is More

Keep in mind that potential landlords are looking for investment properties that are tenant ready and mismatched furniture, clutter, and dated colours can make it difficult to visualize a home’s full potential. This paints a crowded picture in their mind and gives a sense of a small space. By going for the minimalist look, rooms appear more spacious. Neutral paint colours should be used on walls and any art should be used as accent pieces—this means replacing family pictures from the 80’s with a painting or print that complements the rest of the space.

Clean

Perform a walk-through of the home and make a list of things require cleaning. Pay particular attention to the foyer, which is the first space visitors see, as well as kitchens and bathrooms. Cupboards and countertops and floors should be spotless, as well as appliances. This is where a hiring a professional cleaning company can pay off, especially if you’re pressed for time. Also, performing minor repairs can make a world of a difference. Broken hinges and or chipped paint give the impression of a home that hasn’t been cared for and can be a huge turn-off.

Great Photos

Let’s face it—time has become a commodity and we’re constantly looking for ways to save it. More often than not, both renters and buyers browse online before they even consider driving out to view a property. Now that your house is show-worthy, take photos of it. Use angles that capture natural light and show the home’s best features. If you don’t think your iPhone will cut it, hire a professional photographer who is experienced in real estate photography. Remember, these initial images are meant to create emotion in buyers. You could be missing on a lot of selling/leasing opportunities if you neglect this area.

Home staging does involve time and work, however, when done properly can minimize the amount of time a property spends on the market as well as increase its sales price by thousands. For more tips on making a property sale or rent-worthy, contact HighGate Properties today!

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Top 3 Benefits of Home Staging

Home Staging is the best way to get your property noticed. Here are the the top 5 reason why:

  1. Selling or leasing your home or condo? Home staging will set the tone of the atmosphere so that potential buyers or tenants can envision themselves moving into the space. By removing personal affects from the space, and in-turn creating a finished look to the space, the potential buyer or tenant can better imagine themselves in the space.
  2. Stand out from the crowd. Many potential buyers or tenants do much research about their potential places of residence, they look through published magazines and advertisements. By hiring a home staging consultant, you can add finishing details like artwork, wall fixtures, lighting, rugs, and other furnishings to get the same look that potential buyers or tenants find most appealing. Setting the stage makes for a more memorable showing experience.
  3. Add exceptional value. Using home staging services can transform the space from one that is lived in or even worn-down, to one that is bright, clean and inviting.

At HighGate properties, we offer home staging services. See our home staging services page for more information.

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