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Real Estate and Business

Paying Extra to Own a Home: Renting Versus Owning

It is well-known that in the long-run it has been proven over hundreds of years that it is more lucrative to own your home than it is to rent it. This is especially the case in Canada given our capital gains exemption on principal residences. However, though this is usually the case an the case in the long-run, it isn’t always the case at specific points in time.

It is more lucrative to rent, rather than own your home when the market is in a bubble and it is about to go through a correction. That is something that hasn’t happened in Toronto for decades.

The belief and desire that home ownership is the best thing to do drove millions of Americans to purchase homes they could not afford leading up to the 2007-2008 liquidity crisis and  housing crash in the United States. This blind desire to own a home, fueled by the media and misunderstanding of the economics of home ownership, contributed to the skyrocketing of real estate prices. What made it worse was the government’s willingness to help families buy homes when it made more financial sense for those families to rent. Yet, the calculation of whether one should buy or rent is very straight forward.

The cost of renting your home usually includes:

  • Monthly rent
  • Utilities used
  • Tenant insurance

The cost of owning our home usually includes:

  • Mortgage payments (principal and interest)
  • Maintenance fees (if a condo unit) or maintenance costs
  • Insurance
  • Property taxes

When you add up the costs if you were to rent or own a specific home there are years when it is cheaper to rent and years when it is cheaper to own. Theoretically, the cost of renting should be equal to the cost of owning a home (less the principal repayment component of the mortgage payments). Leading up to the devastating collapse of the United States real estate market the comparison clearly showed a significant premium in owning a home. In other words, it was about 25% cheaper to rent than to own. So, home prices were over-inflated and out of equilibrium. It was only a matter of time before the market adjusted itself.

In Canada, the situation includes two additional significant factors; 1) the heavy immigration rate driving increasing demand and 2) the capital gains tax exemption on primary residences. These two items work to drive demand and produce a higher financial return on home ownership.  With increasing demand comes increasing prices for rent… and for home prices.

Very simply, the more people that need a place to rent, the more a rental unit will rent for. The more a rental unit rents for, the greater the value of the unit and the property it is located at. Though in Canada, the price of housing increased at a greater pace than rent, due to rent control. After a few years of rising housing prices, the pressure was put on by tenants to offer more rent to secure under-priced rental units.

In Toronto, the housing market continues to be in a state of disequilibrium as demand outpaces supply, which is kept tight by regulations and policies of all levels of government and the development and tax costs forced on developers by those governments.

Though a young professional might be tempted to rent a lower-cost unit in Toronto (if they can find one), the reality is that if they don’t buy their own place, their chances of home ownership might be worse in the future and certainly their accumulation of wealth will be significantly hampered.

To take advantage of the housing market returns, many millenials are renting in Toronto to live and buying in smaller communities where prices are low and they can get a rental income as the property appreciates in value. They can then use the equity in that property to buy their Toronto home down the road.

8 Things To Consider When Buying A Housewarming Gift

If you’re like me, you struggle to find just the right housewarming gift for a friend, relative or client that has just moved into a new home. Yet, this is one of the most important times in one’s life and what you gift could make a difference in your relationship.

8 Things To Consider When Buying A Housewarming Gift

  1. Is it appropriate for the nature of your relationship? If your shopping for a client you might want to stay away from bedroom or even bathroom items and focus on the kitchen, living room, dining room, foyer, library, den or other areas of the home. My favourites are the kitchen, garage, mudroom, porch, garden and shed. If your shopping for a family member or close friend then you could get away with items for the bathroom or bedroom, just avoid being tacky. You want something that gives the right message that stays around for a while.
  2. Will it make their life easier? Some gifts require maintenance and effort and can become more of a nuisance than anything else. Giving a gift that requires some technical skills to set-up or use to an elderly person who is not familiar with technology will not go over well. If you’re going to give a gift like an Alexa to someone who is not comfortable or familiar with the Internet of Things, then be prepared to set it up for them and be called when they are having a problem with it. Items like the Magic Bullet are easy to use, clean and make food preparation a lot easier.
  3. Will it make their home more comfortable? Most people appreciate items that feel comfy or make their home more comfortable. A good pair of house slippers, a couch blanket, a throw pillow, or house coat make great gifts that may be used often. Just make sure you pick the right colour and item that they will want to use.
  4. Will it make their home look better? Everyone wants to find ways for their new home to look better. Wall plaques, posters, fridge magnets, hangers, mail boxes, house numbers and decor items offer great variety to choose from regardless of price constraints.
  5. Does it match their character? Giving a gift that matches one’s character tells them that you actually get them. Avoid the little syndrome where you buy someone what you like or need, rather than what the recipient would want.
  6. Will it fit into their lifestyle? Home bodies that like gardening, cooking and puttering around the house will appreciate gifts related to entertainment (music, television or movies), the garden (gnomes, birdhouses, tools), the kitchen (gadgets and utensils). Customized or monogrammed items like coffee cups, hand towels, oven gloves and cooking aprons can work well and have staying power. On the other hand those that like to get outdoors or hit the gym might appreciate things like a bike rack, equipment storage unit, monogrammed golf balls, indoor putting cups, and monogrammed towels.
  7. Do they need it? In this day and age, does anyone really ‘need’ anything. Seems like we’re surrounded by much more than we really need. So when you buy an item, make sure you’re not duplicating something they already have covered. For example, if they spend most of their time at the office, with Starbucks as their backup, then do you really need that gift for their den? Yet, there are items that are necessities for the home.
  8. Do they want it? There are tell-tale signs to watch for that reveal what an individual wants. You can see it in the magazines they read, websites they visit, things they talk about, even what they look at or pay attention to in discussions. If they’re asking you questions about something specific, chances are that’s what they want. You can test this by talking about some of your gift ideas ahead of time to see what they think about that item.

Remember that when buying gifts for someone moving into a new home, you want to give something that they will appreciate, use often, show that you know them and that you care enough to find the right gift just for them. Whatever gift you choose, you’re likely to make a better impression when it is customized to the individual. Monogrammed items, items with their name, their favourite colours, sayings, reference to their life journey, work, play, relationships, lifestyle or sports team affiliations will make that extra difference.

Share some of your good, and not so good stories, about housewarming or homewarming gifts you’ve given and the outcome.

Signs of a Hoarder

It is important to know the signs of a hoarder because hoarding is a dangerous behaviour which can lead to fires, insect and rodent infestation, disease and other serious health, safety and legal consequences. Recognizing a hoarder will help prevent a situation which can be costly, if not disastrous for landlords, partners and housemates.  In my work as a Real Estate Professional and Property Manager, I sometimes come across homes where hoarders are living. Sometimes they are owner-occupied and sometimes they are tenanted, but in both situations they require a lot of time and effort to deal with the situation. This post will help you recognize the signs of a hoarder, understand the impact of hoarding and will provide some references for the process to deal with the situation and useful techniques.

Hoarding living room
Example of hoarding in a living room. Attribution: Shadwwulf at English Wikipedia

Definition of Hoarding

Hoarding is more accurately known as Hording Disorder or Compulsive Hoarding. It is a behavioural pattern expressed through excessive accumulation of, and inability or willingness to discard, large quantities of objects that cover the living areas of one’s home, causing significant distress, and/or persistent discontent resulting in impairment to one’s quality of life and ability to function. Hoarding behaviour is often associated with not just health risks and impaired functioning, but also workplace impairment, economic burden, as well as, adverse effects on family members and friends. At extremes, hoarding can prevent intended use of space to the point that it limits activities, such as sleeping, moving through the house, cleaning, cooking and entertaining.

Though in most cases, hoarders are aware of their irrational behaviour, the emotional attachment to the hoarded objects is much greater than the motive to discard the items. In fact, the underlying attachment may not be about the items themselves, but the need to simply accumulate items for a sense of security and/or stability.

Though it remains unclear whether compulsive hoarding is a separate, isolated disorder, or simply a symptom of some other condition, from my experience I have found that it is tied to some traumatic event or ongoing dysfunctional situation that occurred in one’s past. Regardless, it is considered to be a Compulsive Obsessive Disorder. Importantly, hoarding only gets worse with age. Getting to the underlying cause of this behaviour is essential to dealing with hoarders. However, you’re not likely to cure them and should recruit the help of a qualified and experienced mental health professional or coach.

Signs of a Hoarder

There are some red flags or signs that you should be aware of when identifying a hoarder. Some of these signs are easier to identify than others and they should never be considered conclusive proof that an individual is a hoarder. Use them as red flags to explore the possibility as part of your due diligence process in dealing with individuals.

  1. Avoid guests and visits to their homes.
  2. Indecision about what to keep or where to put things.
  3. Distress or feeling overwhelmed or even embarrassed by possessions.
  4. Wearing shoes, accessories or clothing that is worn beyond reason.
  5. Fear of contamination or superstitious thoughts.
  6. Fear of change.
  7. Suspicion of other people touching their items.
  8. Obsessive thoughts and actions, such as fear of running out of an item or needing it in the future, checking the trash for unintentionally discarded items.
  9. Significant difficulty organizing or categorizing possessions.
  10. Social Isolation.
  11. Family or Marital Discord.
  12. Financial Difficulties.
  13. Serious anxiety when attempting to discard items – watch people that save packaging or bits of leftovers.
  14. Take free items even when they don’t need them.
  15. Appears to be more common in those with psychological disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  16. Associated factors may include alcohol dependence, paranoid schizotypal personality and avoidance traits.

A Hoarder Home

Though it may be too late for landlords to avoid ahead of time, these are the signs of hoarders inside their homes (in addition to the above):

  1. They hold onto a large number of items that most people would consider useless or worthless, such as:
    • Junk mail, old catalogues, magazines and newspapers
    • Freebies and promotional items
    • Worn-out or outdated cooking equipment
    • Things that might be good for making crafts
    • Clothes that they might want to wear one day
    • Trash and broken items
  2. Their home is cluttered to the extent that many areas are inaccessible and no longer used for other than storage, such as:
    • Unsanitary washrooms
    • Showers, sinks, and tubs filled with items and can no longer be used for washing or bathing
    • Kitchens that cannot be used for cooking or food preparation
    • Beds that cannot be used
    • Tables, chairs, or couches that cannot be used for dining or sitting
  3. Their clutter and mess has reached an extent that it can cause distress, illness, and impairment, causing the hoarders to:
    • Keep the shades drawn to hide their clutter from the outside
    • Get into a lot of arguments with family members about their clutter
    • Not allow visitors in, even family and friends, or repair and maintenance workers, because they are embarrassed by the clutter
    • Are at risk of fire, falling, infestation, or eviction
    • Feel anxious or depressed because of the clutter
    • Be reluctant or unable to return borrowed items

It is estimated that between 2% and 5% of all adults are hoarders. So, if you deal with tenants or homeowners, you’re likely to come across hoarders more often than you may think. It is good that you be prepared by having a process, techniques and professionals in place to help deal with these situations.

 

I’m working on my next post to discuss the process, resources, and techniques in dealing with hoarders. Follow me on social media or visit my website regularly to be notified of when it is published.

Baldo Minaudo, M.B.A.  (Direct: 416-564-0245)

Real Estate Broker, Real Estate Homeward Brokerage Inc.

Property Manager specializing in downtown Toronto rental condos and Toronto east-end rental detached homes (not affiliated with Real Estate Homeward Brokerage Inc.)

#hoarding #hoarders #hoardingdisorder #compulsivehoarding

Gymnasium Space Available During Ontario Teacher's Strike

CUPE, The Canadian Union of Public Employees announced yesterday that they are willing to escalate their work-to-rule campaign and launch a “full strike action” if a deal cannot be reached. Laura Walton, who has led negotiations on behalf of the union stated, “Make no mistake, CUPE members are prepared to go on strike. We are ready.”

Already, three major school boards have announced they will be closing schools during the strike action. This will potentially affect the education and physical activities of hundreds of thousands of students in Ontario, mostly in the Greater Toronto Area.

Thousands of activities affecting students, parents and adults that have been using school facilities will be affected by this strike action. Don’t let it interfere with your scheduled activities.

Available now for rent for Leagues, Meetings, Gatherings, Sports, Workshops, Exercise Classes, Dance Classes, and more.

There are spaces that are available, including private clubs and sports centres. However, they will book up fast.

There are two spaces available in Toronto’s Upper Beaches on Main Street.

  1. Traditional Full Size Gymnasium: This large gymnasium is 80 feet long and 47 feet deep. That’s a whopping 3700 Square Feet plus!
  2. Theatre Space: Has a traditional raised stage and can accommodate an audience of 248 individuals with an attached fully equipped commercial kitchen.

On site parking with access from Main Street and rear entrance.

For details on both these spaces visit this post: Available Space

If you’re interested, contact me directly, Baldo Minaudo, M.B.A., Broker, Real Estate Homeward Brokerage. Direct: 416-564-0245.

Note: A standard gymnasium size is 50 feet by 84 feet. Some high school gymnasiums are larger with dividing walls and can accommodate regulation size basketball games. This gymnasium was built in the 1950s to accommodate the youth of the Calvary Church community in the upper beaches.

 

For Rent: Upscale 1+1 Bedroom Hemingway Condo Apartment at Shops at Don Mills in North York

Mid-rise Urban Lifestyle Living At The Shops At Don Mills

Welcome to The Hemingway Condos at The Contemporary Urban Village at The Shops At Don Mills. This one plus one (1+1) bedroom unit on the 4th floor has one of the best views in the building. The North Facing view provides a quiet atmosphere amidst the trees and greenery. You would never suspect you’re in the city until you go up to the rooftop patio and garden and capture a 360 view that includes the core of Toronto’s cityscape with the CN Tower and surrounding high-rises, the Yonge/Eglinton and Yonge/Sheppard clusters, and the expansive vista of detached homes and landscapes in between.

The unit offers a clean layout with functional kitchen, breakfast bar and open concept that combines dining and living rooms with direct window view. This recently renovated unit is ready for you to make your abode with your personal touch and character. New laminate floors and paint throughout provides a clean fresh space.

 

This unit is unfurnished and does include window coverings. Appliances include washer, dryer, stove, refrigerator, cooktop oven, microwave, dishwasher, parking and storage locker. Includes Heat, Water, Air Conditioning, Parking, Storage. Tenant pays for own use of Hydro and Cable/Internet.

Quality Building and Google Reviews

The Hemingway is an in demand building with limited available. It’s known for its quality of environment as can be seen through the reviews found on Google with an

average of 4.7 out of 5.0 stars.  Two of the most recent reviews (both 5 stars) state “Better for living quiet place will think after retiring” and “Nice staff with a friendly attitude”

 

Amenities

The Hemingway Condo provides great amenities including: 24 hour concierge service, modern lobby, Exercise Room, Swimming Pool, Rooftop Terrace with BBQ, party room, security guard and lots (I mean lots) of visitor parking.

The Rooftop Terrace and Garden is well-done and maintained. It provides a great place to hang out and enjoy the open air, view and company of some friends. Book one of the quality BBQ stations and show your culinary mastery.

Take some time to practice your putting on the rooftop putting green.

Cross the street and enter into the Shops at Don Mills with its upscale shops, restaurants, cafes, VIP Screening Room Cineplex Theatre, Centre Square and the wonderful seasonal sculpture and events. Take a walk to discover nearby walking trails, parks. Very close to DVP and TTC.

Building Ergonomics and Social Engineering

The parking garage is really well lit and clean making it feel safe. The hallways are also clean and well lit, providin

g a positive feel.

Lifestyle

This unit is perfect for the young professional or mature individual looking for a quiet building with access to a vibrant lifestyle in a diversified community of fashionable professionals of cultures from around the world. Great place to make new friends, stay at the forefront of innovations and develop your network.

Whether you’re a corporate executive, professional, entrepreneur, writer, artist or social media influencer, this building and this neighbourhood will provide you with both the inspiration and environment to produce, relax and excel. For more information on the neighbourhood visit Living At The Shops At Don Mills

Only $2200 per month!

If you’re a AAA tenant, don’t miss this exclusive listing opportunity. Application form, credit check, proof of income and/or employment is required.

Listed through Baldo Minaudo, MBA, Broker, Real Estate Homeward 416-564-0245

*** Not intended to solicit clients under contract with a broker***