Home is where you take your pants off!

Here at Spring Realty we’re always studying consumer habits. What drives people to make purchasing decisions, etc… We’ve come up with a fool proof “Should I buy this home” test. So without further ado, here it is!

How do you know a home is a good fit for you? Simple: when you walk in, do you feel like taking off your pants? I’ve lived in a lot of apartments in Toronto and finally the house that I live in now. I can honestly say that this place is the only place I truly love. Why? When I walk in the door, I want to immediately remove my pants and relax. That’s what it feels like to be home. So when you’re out searching for a home, just think of one thing: Does this place make me want to take off my pants? You’ll usually know the answer before you finish the thought.

Happy house hunting!


Developer plans 8 Storey Condo in Leslieville

New Development in Leslieville East

A little while ago we reported that developers were getting set to announce some serious plans for development along Queen Street East in Leslieville and Riverside. Back in August a development group named Trolleybus (um kind of a ripoff of Streetcar…) held a meeting with the BIA and local property owners to discuss their latest project. Here are some details and notes from that meeting.

Who

Trolleybus Developments along with Rockport Development Group are experienced Toronto developers with thousands of completed units under their collective belt so we’re not concerned with their ability to get this done. Unlike that mess at Pape & Queen! They’re calling in the highly skilled designers and architects from RAW Design and will hopefully hire a local Broker to handle sales (perhaps us???)

What

Their focus is to build an end-user friendly building with wide open floor plans with a nice mix of condos, townhouses, and retail at 1327 Queen Street East on the South East corner of Queen and Laing. The Townhouses will have Memory Lane addresses.

  • 8 Stories proposed with 2 street frontages. One on Queen St and the other on Memory Lane
  • 13,000sqft of Queen Street retail which could be broken down into five to seven separate spaces. We’d totally get one.
  • 150 Residential units in the mid-rise tower with various floor plans and sizes
  • Underground Parking and lots of auto-share spots
  • 8 large Townhouses fronting on Memory Lane

Good or Bad?

That’s up to you to decide but I give this one a giant stamp of approval. The Eastern portion of Leslieville has been neglected for long enough. Some businesses have managed to stay afloat here but many have come, failed, and moved on. There simply aren’t enough people walking about and shopping there. This development will be a game changer for East Leslieville businesses and will also spike home prices along this stretch. Locals will have the typical objections like parking issues, traffic congestion and shadowing but I’m certain that the City of Toronto will approve this. Perhaps they’ll only approve 6 stories or maybe they’ll get the full 8. Either way, I like the mix of floor plans, the focus on the end-user, and the large townhouses on Memory Lane.

There’s no question that we’ll be THE first to know anything about this so if you’d like to to know more before anyone else. Get in touch right away and we’ll hook you up. Got an opinion? Comment below. Also there’s a public meeting March 24th from 7-9pm at the Maple Cottage located at 62 Laing Street. No need to RSVP, just show up.

 

 


People want a Home, not an Agent.

Our previous post titled: “Just show up in places and be human” got us all excited at Spring HQ. It also helped us realize that people want a home, not an Agent. So we’ve decided to stop talking so much about ourselves and focus on the ultimate goal of finding or selling your home! Sure, we’ll still share when we come up with new and exciting ideas, creative marketing pieces, and accomplish milestones but 99% of our energy, content, and money will be spent on YOU.

Promise 1: We promise to work your way

We promise to work your way. Sure, we’re about as tech savvy as you can get in Toronto Real Estate but we understand that not everyone is as comfortable with tech and social as we are. If you prefer the face to face vs. emailing documents back and forth: we can do that. Not a fan of texting? I think we still remember how to dial a phone.

Promise 2: We’ll speak less and listen more

There’s no doubt we love to talk talk talk about how great a particular neighbourhood is, or how awesome this street is, or how great the schools are but sometimes during all that talking we forget to listen. We promise to stop talking so much and do a lot more listening. Sound good?

Keep coming back to our blog or following our Facebook page for the next post where I’ll reveal Promise #3 and 4!


Show Up in Places & be Human

Show up in places and be human. This phrase has been resonating through my body since one of my favourite speakers, Seth Price of placester.com said it during his talk at Agent Reboot in Seattle this past week. How simple is that? Just show up, and be human.

What does this mean to us?

This means we operate in a “No Hard Sell” zone. Just follow us on Facebook or Twitter to get a taste. When we meet, the goal is to get to know you, not to sell you. We want to build a relationship with you. We want to earn your trust and work hard for you. 2014 is the year of customer service, and we want to service the heck out of you!

What does this mean to you?

We may not be a good fit for you. It’s as simple as that. If after a couple of meetings we’re not connecting at a natural, human level, we’ll have you move on to another Sales Rep. It’s happened before, and it’s likely to happen again. We just prefer to wake up in the morning and like the people we work with. Wouldn’t you like that too?

2014 is the year of customer service, and we want to service the heck out of you!

 


Engaged Residents = Safer Communities

Alert – Aware – Share

As a resident and business owner in Toronto’s East End Riverside & Leslieville I (we) am always concerned with neighbourhood safety. Due to the recent incidents at The Bone House on Queen, Orchids Hair Studio, Restore Health, and various thefts and break-ins throughout the East End the Leslievlle BIA, which I’m happy to serve on as Marketing Chair and Board Member, decided to grab the bull by the horns and host Officer Rob McDonald for a Crime Prevention meeting at The Duke this morning.

It was interesting to find out that The Beach community had the highest number of calls into 911 but the lowest crime rate amongst the Queen East communities. Leslieville and Riverside however had the lowest number of calls to 911 but a much higher crime rate. This is understandable as the Beach has been highly engaged for much longer than Leslieville and Riverside. Our hoods have been going through some serious changes more recently and Officer Rob noticed a higher number of calls coming in to report potential crimes. This is good. It means the community is becoming more engaged and looking out for one another. The end result: calls go up, crime comes down. 

Should you approach a suspected criminal?

No! Remember, if you’re going to attempt to apprehend someone suspected of a crime it must be done while the crime is being committed, otherwise you open yourself up to potential charges. Remember that grocer near Chinatown a few years ago?

It was interesting to find out that The Beach community had the highest number of calls into 911 but the lowest crime rate amongst the Queen East communities. Leslieville and Riverside however had the lowest number of calls to 911 but a much higher crime rate.

What’s the hard-working shopkeeper to do?

BE AWARE – was the top focus of Officer Rob’s talk. Sounds simple but it’s true. As long as you manning your shop, it’s important to be alert and aware of people checking out your store, walking in, acting suspicious.

Keep your cell or a cordless on you at all times – Remember, all you have to do is dial 911. If you can’t talk or are in the middle of a struggle, the call will be recorded and officers dispatched.

Communicate – If something happens to your business, tell everyone around you. Check with other BIA’s to see if similar incidents have occurred. Never keep these things to your self. If the police can establish some sort of pattern, it will make it easier for them to apprehend the perp and get them behind bars.

Safe-word – Safe-words aren’t just for the bedroom any more :) If you have a larger space with employees spread out, make sure you have a safe-word aka code word that can help other employees identify a problem and take action behind the scenes.

Clear sight-lines – Don’t cover all of your window space with signage. I know, you’re in business to make money and advertise your promotions and goods but try and keep a portion of your window space starting at the 4 foot mark up to the 6 foot. This way people and police can see in at all times. If a trouble is noticed, people can see and take action.

Action Items

  • Call 416-808-5519 and update your Night Listing. This is the address associated with your phone number. When you dial 911 and can’t talk. This will ensure the cops know where to come and save you. Do this right now!
  • If you’re worried about your home or business being potentially targeted by criminals, Officer Rob is generously offering personal site visits to your home or business to perform a “Safety Audit” you can tweet him or call 55 Division’s non emergency number to set this up. 
Office Rob is extremely active on Twitter and in various community Facebook groups and we sincerely appreciate his time and effort! Oh, and he says that Leslieville smells better than The Beach. Thanks Weston family ;)

Offer dates are merely a suggestion

If you’re a Buyer in the Toronto Real Estate market, especially in Leslieville, Riverdale, Roncesvalles, Junction, and many other Toronto neighbourhoods I’m sure you’re familiar with this phrase:

Offers will be accepted on XXX Date at XXX Time. Please bend over and take it as we’re hoping to get as much for this house as possible.

Want to know how some of our clients have bought this year? By completely ignoring the ‘instructions’ of the Seller and their agent and sending in a Bully Offer the moment you decide you’ve found the right home for you. Their offer date is merely a suggestion and any signed offer MUST be presented to the Seller. It’s the law.

Soooo, what I’m trying to say is that the rules have changed in this market. You need a Sales Rep or Broker who’s aggressive enough to get you the keys to your dream home. That’s what we do. Also, don’t confuse any of this with the notion that we just throw money at a Seller willy nilly. Every price we come up with has been thoroughly researched and ensured to be in line with market value and current market conditions.

Make sure you read my thoughts on paying over asking in this post. It’s really not a big deal. Paying over market, well that’s a different story.


Gerrard St is the new Queen St

It was only a matter of time before commercial rents along Queen Street became too expensive for your average mom and pop shop or just more than they want to spend on rent. This jump in Queen Street commercial rents has two outcomes:

Breeds Creativity & Better Business Planning

Many long standing commercial tenants were just simply stuck in their ways, old business models, narrow profit margins that worked fine in the old days with a different a demographic but the surge in housing demand in neighbourhoods along Queen Street East like, Leslieville, Corktown, Riverside, Riverdale, and even the Beach have caused a shift in demographics which in turn changes the commercial needs of a neighbourhood.

Many long standing tenants have been lax with their lease agreements and some don’t even have one! Remember what happeend to the Real Jerk a while back? Ya, it most definitely sucked for the owners and for the neighbourhood (glad to see them open in a new spot now) but they didn’t have a lease in place (there’s obviously more to the story but that’s the gist of it). This was likely the most reported case in an area of rapidly increasing property values and rents.

Other businesses in the area were able to adapt to the new market conditions and increase profits which allowed them to stay in business. Look at the Ceili Cottage for example. They have a huge patio that was only profitable in the Summer. What do they do with that space in the cooler months? Duh, build a yurt! So smart, so very smart. Another great example is the Leslieville Pumps. A regular old gas station turned into an awesome BBQ joint with a small town feel. Just when you get used to everything they offer, the chef and owner is coming with something new and exciting to make sure you come back for more. It’s just smart business, there’s absolutely no time to get comfortable in business these days. These are just two of the many examples of businesses doing it right. Know any others?

Open up on Gerrard St

Most people associate popular neighbourhoods like Leslieivlle and Riverside with Queen Street East. Well, let me tell you something (I’ve been saying this for years!) Gerrard Street is the new Queen Street. Thanks to Leslieville business pioneer Ted Koutsogiannopoulos (formerly of Joy Bistro) his massive investment into Gerrard has paid off. He opened McGugans Pub, The Great Burger Kitchen, and Aprile Bambina Cucina at the corner of Jones and Gerrard. Shortly after home buyers who were getting priced out of “prime” Leslieville began to see value in homes on streets surrounding this new hotspot. Now you’ve got homes on Ivy selling for nearly a million dollars (yup a former TCHC property went for nearly a million after an amazing renovation). Another awesome place I love is called Matter of Time, it’s a fantastic little antique shop just South of Gerrard on Jones. So glad to see many amazing new businesses bring back the energy to Gerrard Street East!

That being said, there are still many great commercial opportunities along Gerrard Street East and some decent home buying opportunities too. Give us a shout to find out more and don’t forget to use the Worlds Greatest Search Tool to find your next home. It’s better than the MLS, believe me.


Sorry we keep calling your homes “Inventory”

So far East of Yonge Street has managed to keep calm and carry on. We’ve been lucky enough to have a little more homes on the market so we’ve avoided the insanity of 30+ offers on prime homes. Another reason this hasn’t happened here is due to agents not savagely underpricing homes when listing. Most are still listed under market value to attract some attention but not hundreds of thousands under market (this ends up wasting everyone’s time). Don’t get me wrong, each and every desirable property ends up in multiple offers but we seem to be a tad more stable over here. Let’s not confuse this with the West is better than the East. Oh no, the East is just as awesome as the West.

Things may change now though.

A home on Logan ave was just listed for $499K….ya that’s right. You can’t even buy a 2 bedroom condo in Leslieville for that price but somehow a 3 bed 2 bath with 2 parking qualifies for this list price. A charming Victorian in prime Leslieville was just listed for $499K. This makes me want to scream! In fact, hold on a moment I actually need to scream…….okay I’m back.

What does this listing agent hope to gain? Perhaps some media attention? A slew of uninformed agents telling their clients they might have a chance if they bid $550k? At the end of the day the ONLY benefit to savagely underpricing a property like this is for the Agent, not the Seller. It creates unnecessary ado about nothin’.

Fact: We need more HOMES on the market to help balance the market. Got one to sell? 

I wish I could go into detail about the property right here but I want to avoid getting spanked by our regulatory body again (RECO) so if you want a full analysis on this newly listing property including potential selling price you’ll need to request it by sending us a quick note. That way we’re not breaking any rules. You can view the property in question here but to comply with the rules, you’ll need to log-in first.


Toronto Condo Market doesn’t suck any more.

Toronto Condos up another 7.6%

We’ve been selling a ton of Houses at Spring but this here is all about Condos. In Q4 2013 and in the first month of 2014 we haven’t been able to keep a condo on the market for longer than one week. It’s been a long while since we’ve said that! It feels really good to see Toronto Condo buyers out in droves. Don’t take our word for it, check out the stats. This past December we were so excited to see a 20.7% increase in Condo sales year over year. 

We listed this gem last Wednesday and had it sold with multiple offers on Saturday. We haven’t had a multiple offer on a condo since right after the crash in 2009 when there was absolutely nothing on the market. Of course there have been other units sold with multiple offers that we weren’t involved in. (I know, can you believe we don’t sell every property in Toronto?)

Just to be clear, if your tenant has spent the past two years fist pumping holes into the ceiling you’re going to have to get that fixed and completely freshened up. Buyers are out there, but they’re not compromising on quality, cleanliness, and style. Some below average, cookie cutter condos are still not selling very well.

Toronto Lofts are still leading the pack with a lot of demand and condos in actual communities like Leslieville, Riverside, and some west end neighbourhoods are doing very well. Some interesting Lofts hit the market last week, see if you can find them using our epic search tool. We give you so much more info than the MLS ever could. Happy house hunting…and remember, we’re only an email away.


Toronto Real Estate no BS Market Snap for Jan 2014

Well well well, looks like the 416 is still riding high!

Thought I’d deface our CRA tax assessment form to give you this month’s Toronto Real Estate market report. You’ll notice that I’m still sounding like a broken record with gains across the board. The detached home is now almost out of the picture for most buyers at a whopping $888,210 and we expect this to surpass the $900K mark for the first time EVER this month. While home ownership is attainable for most first time buyers in the 416, the dream of owning a house is slowly becoming less real for most which would explain the surge in condo and town-house sales of late. Here’s a break down:

Detached Houses in Toronto – Up 14.8%

Are very expensive…that is all.

Semi-Detached Houses in Toronto – Up 6.1%

This is an area where you need to take a deeper look into the neighbourhood you’re considering. This also shows how useless most “average price” figures are. If you’re looking in the Leslieville, Riverdale, Beach, Roncesvalles, High Park, Junction, Junction Triangle and other trendy neighbourhoods be prepared to cough up upwards of $800K for a semi detached house. You’ll most definitely be in competition with other buyers when making offers on this type of home in most of Toronto’s neighbourhoods right now so it’s very important you work with a local pro who’s in the know. With 16.6% less available listings across the board (up to 50% less in some neighbourhoods) we’re seeing droves of wannabe home buyers ploughing through open houses and private views on each and every new listing. We’ve got some gems about to hit the market, wanna see them first?

Townhouses in Toronto – Up 4.6%

This housing option makes a phenomenal Freehold House alternative. Town-houses in Toronto are often less expensive than Freehold houses and offer a similar amount of living space. You are making sacrifices though. Most don’t come with a backyard (but a terrace is likely) and of course you have a maintenance fee but that fee is mostly offset by much lower utility and maintenance costs associated with freehold houses. There are some Towns I wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole due to savagely high maintenance fees. Don’t worry, I’ll filter those out for you during the search.

Condos in Toronto – Up 7.6%

Are doing amazing right now. I haven’t been able to keep a condo on the market for longer than a week since December! In November of 2013 there were 68 condos available for sale in South Riverdale. As of right now there re 36. That’s a 52% drop in inventory in a short amount of time. If you have a condo to sell, now is the right time to do it. When priced right, it will sell. Just last week we listed a place at 333 Adelaide and received 2 offers in 3 days. Haven’t had a multiple offer on a condo in a very long time. Nice to see the condo market gain some traction after a serious flat period.

Hope you enjoying this month’s NO BS market snap. We’ll see you next month. Any questions? Just ask.