Do You Have What Buyers Are Searching For?

What are Buyers looking for in Toronto Real Estate?

The Canadian Real Estate Association’s (CREA) most important asset is Canada’s largest Real Estate search portal: so when they dig into the most common key words people are searching for…we pay attention.

Top 5 Buyer Searches on


As house prices approach a million dollars for a fully renovated option in an urban community Buyers are expecting parking and are unwilling to compromise on this specific property feature in our experience parking is king and is no surprise that it’s the number one searched item on (on our website too).

In-Law Suite & Finished Basement

Items two and three are even less surprising. People are searching for properties that can give them income right away to help with their new mortgage payments. Fact: properties with income potential attract more offers than those without. (hint: buy a property and build in an income suite to massively boost the value of your home…it’s not as expensive as you think).


Everyone searching for an apartment starts their search with dreams of Douglas Fir beams, exposed brick walls and maybe even an original freight elevator but these spaces cost an average of $100/f² more than the basic condo apartment so budget usually gets in the way. If you can stretch a little to get your self into that killer loft, you’ll have a much easier time selling down the road.


This has two target Buyers: The Builder and the end user who can’t find an existing property they’re satisfied with and want to build their own. The bungalow has been a hot commodity for a decade now and they’re mostly being sold to builders but there are a few that are selling to older downsizers not wanting to spend their golden years in an apartment but their living space all on one level.

The best way to give Buyers what they want is to know what they’re looking for so if you have an asset with the above you will be getting the highest possible price right now. Contact us, comment below, or use our live chat to dig deeper into this.

What documents are required for a mortgage approval?

What documents are required for a mortgage approval?

We’ve been meaning to put this one out there for ages since we get asked this about a bazillion times per day! We like to send our clients to our one and only money man, Lee Welbanks with Welbanks Financial fully prepared and not waste anyone’s time so when we asked him to prepare this for us he was quick to the draw.

These are the documents required for a mortgage approval:

Salaried Employee?

  • Employment letter (job letter)
  • Pay Stub (maybe get the past couple months worth)

Park Time/Hourly Employee?

  • Employment Letter (if you’re guaranteed a certain number of hours then this letter must include that)
  • 2 Pay Stubs
  • Last two income tax assessments (NoA’s or notice of assessments)

Self Employed?

  • Copy of business registration or articles of incorporation (depending on how your biz is set up)
  • Last two income tax assessments (NoA)
  • Last two years of T1 generals with statement of business income

Retired or Pensioner?

  • Last income tax assessment (assuming it’s not from WW2 era)
  • T4 slips for all pensions received
  • Copy of RRIF statement if RRIF income is included (Registered Retired Income Fund)
  • Pension statement

Bonus, Overtime, or Commission Income (These are required in addition to the above category you fall in)

  • Last two income tax statements
  • Final pay stub for the year
  • Previous year’s income tax assessment

Other documents may be required if available:

  • Latest mortgage statements
  • Current Lease Agreements
  • Void cheque for future mortgage payments

Refinancing? Here’s what you need for that.

If you’re looking to refinance the home or take some additional equity out of the current home, here are some additional items we will need:

  • Homeowner’s insurance policy
  • Property tax bill
  • Mortgage statement

After all of this don’t forget the basic requirement for government issued ID and the health card isn’t one of them! Only a driver’s license, passport, and citizenship cards are accepted.

We’d love to help you buy your next home so make sure you get all of this in order first. The market is moving way too fast for you to be scrambling around. We will not be taking you out looking until you get these things ready, it’s simply not a good use of anyone’s time until you are fully loaded and ready. Cool?

If you have questions, comments, or concerns about the documents required for a mortgage approval reach out to Lee Welbanks, comment below, or use our live chat at the bottom of your screen. Hope to hear from you!

How’s The Market? October Stats Hot & Fresh

Days on Market Down 12% Prices UP Across the Board

The prominence of bully offers have reduced average days on market by 12% year over year further pushing prices up across the board. Condos are also performing quite well, especially low rise/low density buildings positioned in strong communities like Leslieville, Roncesvalles, and other urban area with heavy density restrictions on development. 2016 is all about the rental property as an investment. Want more? or 416-628-1088 Here’s an info-graphic for you to share. You’re welcome!

October 2015


Nobody outsells you, eh?

Do you think this ad is misleading?

Real Estate is a heavily regulated industry with many layers of protection for the consumer. The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB), The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO), to The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) exist to protect you, me and everyone in between.

We’re all for pushing limits in all aspects of real estate marketing. We do it regularly and don’t always fall in-line with the rest of the crowd. What we don’t do is mislead or confuse the consumer. Then this ad from the largest real estate brand in the World shows up on Toronto streets.

remax billboard

Nobody outsells a Re/Max agent? Well, I don’t even have enough fingers and toes to count how many Re/Max Sales Reps and Brokers I personally outsell. But what does Agent mean? The public perceives the word Agent as an individual who sells Real Estate but the Real Estate & Business Brokers Act of 2002 defines Agent as the Brokerage. Meaning the entire office. But even if you’re referring to the individual brokerage, there are many brokerages (aka Agents) here in Toronto that outsell independent Re/Max offices. The disclaimer on the ad is so small that it’s impossible to read making this one of the most misleading advertisements we’ve ever seen.

Re/Max likely does sell the most real estate Globally and even Nationally but that is meaningless to you sitting there reading this in your house or condo in some awesome Toronto neighbourhood. In 2015, Real Estate is a hyper local game. The boutique brokerage has just as much reach as the behemoth brand. The playing field is level, folks. Don’t be mislead by big budget ad campaigns in any industry. Start your search locally and go with the Sales Rep or Broker that is all-in, in your community and digitally savvy.

Hire the Human not the Brokerage. What matters is WHO they are, what they STAND for, and HOW they do what they do, not the Brokerage they work for.

Interested to hear your comments. Comment below, contact us, or use our live chat feature.

What (and where) To Invest In 2016

Tenants want to be in urban locations

Rentals Rentals Rentals in the best possible Location Location Location!

I recently had the pleasure of attending the ULI Toronto Symposium where the much anticipated Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2016 study was released and presented by a panel of the heaviest hitters in Real Estate not just in Canada but globally. We were treated to a presentation by Blake Hutcheson, CEO of Oxford Properties Group, Ben Myers, SVP Market Research & Analytics with Fortress Real Developments moderated by Lori-Ann Beausoleil, National Real Estate Consulting & Deals Leader with PWC.

Emerging Trends In Real Estate

As the prices of Toronto Real Estate continue to increase many active Buyers are forced to the sidelines to save more money to be able to dive into the market. What our smart Buyers are doing however, is adjusting their expectations and jumping onto the property ladder a few steps lower than anticipated. We’re also seeing the rise of the sharing economy where the World’s younger consumers don’t want to be attached to material things. To be free, and to live simpler lives. They’re making renting a lifestyle decision not because they can’t afford the property they want, but because they prefer to be liquid, to be able to do what they want when they want. They’re not buying as many cars either but that’s another topic (enter UBER and eventually driver-less cars).

This creates an opportunity for investors here in Toronto. The Rental market has been on a sharp incline for nearly a decade with vacancy rates at their lowest, bidding wars on prime rentals, and rents per square foot that we have never seen before. This new demand for residential rental units has caught the eye of mammoth pension funds (think OPTrust) and REITs around the world who are going all-in on some massive purpose built residential rentals right here in Toronto. They’re buying up entire condo buildings, using the built-in escape clause in the original agreements of purchase and sale to buy out purchasers by simply returning their deposits with interest. Another reason buying pre-construction condos is even more risky now.

“It is likely that we will see more condominium developments convert to rentals in the face of market demand” – ETRE2016

Ben Myers of Fortress Real Developments said, “Affordability is an issue but it’s also about desirability” and that’s what I was referring to earlier where some people are forced to rent while others choose to rent (and that demographic is booming).

Some of you may have read the recent CMHC study that identified 11 Canadian markets that are overvalued and specifically in Toronto by 11-30%. Well, that’s a huge gap and when you dig deeper into this CMHC study they state that they haven’t accounted for supply. Haven’t accounted for supply? What was it they taught us in grade 9 economics class? We can pretty much toss that study into the garbage now.

To keep this relatively short I’ll end it right here but I’ve read the entire 100 page study and there’s a lot more to talk about. Perhaps I’ll write about it some more down the road but would rather chat with you in person. Contact us or live chat bottom right if you’d like. Want a copy of the entire 100 page report? I’ll send it to you, just ask me.

Oh, and if you can afford a single unit condo to buy and hold as a rental, do it. If you can afford a purpose built multi-residential property, do it.

5 Toronto Neighbourhoods Where Condos Are Outperforming Houses

5 T.O. Hoods Where Condos Outpeform Houses (1)

“Don’t buy that box in the sky” they said. “Who wants to live in a tiny shoe box” they said. “What a terrible investment” they said. Well, this can be true in some Toronto neighbourhoods but these are the 5 and only Toronto neighbourhoods where Condos are selling faster than houses.

High Park North

High Park North is one of the most desirable neighbourhoods in Toronto and as you can imagine most home Buyers are quickly being priced out of the Freehold market and considering family sized condos instead. Well, with an average price per square foot well under $600 you can find larger apartments in High Park North for a great price so very close to the best park in Toronto. Condos here are selling quicker than houses regularly so if you have one to sell, now would be a great time to reach out (use our live chat below).

Make sure to save this link and keep coming back as we update the newest properties here in real time!

High Park Swansea

Condos haven’t been super popular in High Park Swansea until recently and even with 85 condos currently on the market and only 5 houses Condos are still trading 38% faster here than freehold houses. With an average price per square foot much lower than other popular Downtown Toronto neighbourhoods, High Park Swansea is a good option for anyone.

Save this link and you’ll have full time access to all of the condos available right now in High Park North updated in real time!


Roncesvalles aka Roncy has some pretty cool condos and lofts. It’s no surprise these apartments are outperforming Houses daily. Roncesvalles condos are trading 78% faster than houses on average which is a massive number considering how in demand Roncesvalles houses are right now. Owners of these apartments are putting fat cheques in the bank after their sales, that’s for sure.

Save this link and you’ll have full time access to all of the condos available right now in Roncesvalles updated in real time!

South Riverdale

South Riverdale includes super hot Leslieville & Riverside and is home to some of Toronto’s best lofts and condos so we’re not shocked at the data here. Lofts here are gone within days (and so are houses) but even with condo inventory outnumbering houses 2.5:1, condos and lofts are still selling 70% faster than houses in this super hot neighbourhood. This is even with loads of new inventory coming online as local new developments come to completion.

Save this link and you’ll have full time access to all of the condos available right now in South Riverdale (Leslieville, Riverside) updated in real time!

Trinity Bellwoods

Home to drum circles, bocce courts, and some of Toronto’s most enjoyed nightlife Trinity Bellwoods is where everyone wants to be. Condos in Trinity Bellwoods are flying off the market 74% faster than houses. That’s a big number and proves that people of all ages and income levels appreciate this community. If you’re looking for a deal Trinity Bellwoods is not the right place for you but if you’re looking for a community where you’ll never be bored, this is the place for you.

Save this link and you’ll have full time access to all of the condos available right now in Trinity Bellwoods updated in real time!

Sign up to our Custom Property Match if you never want to miss another property in your favourite Toronto neighbourhood again.


Buy-It-Now Buttons On Real Estate Websites. Why not?

Buy it now buttons on real estate sites

Will there ever be a “Buy it Now” button on Real Estate Websites?

First they said the Internet was a fad, then they said nobody would ever shop online, then they said Social was a fad, and now many “This is how it’s always been done” real estate minds are saying the internet can never replace the human in a real estate transaction. Well, whenever someone says that a “thing” is never going to happen, it tends to trigger something in my brain that asks: “Why not?”

In our experience, some Sales Reps and Brokers actually get in the way of a transaction with their own emotions or sheer laziness and unprofessionalism. Wouldn’t an emotionless website remove those obstacles and streamline the Buying process? 

Right now, the answer is NO. No, only because the leaders in real estate technology haven’t quite figured it out yet but many are trying. Real Estate moved online a decade ago so when some Sales Rep is sitting in your living room telling you that you should hire them because their (insert big box brand here) will give your home all sorts of exposure on this fancy new thing called “The Web”…guess what? I’ll bet my itty bitty brokerage has more relevant digital reach than you…nana nana na na!

Back to the point, many registered Brokerages (which shall go unnamed here) have gone completely digital. They offer online real estate searches that are better than the MLS (ours is seriously the best…check it out here). We even want to be able to publish SOLD data but we can’t publish that yet so the only way you can get that is by signing up for our weekly sold report here.

So with all of this information out there what do you still need a sales rep or broker? What do we bring to the table when you can do all the research yourself, get all the information right when you want it where you want it? Honestly, if a sales rep or broker doesn’t have a hyper-focused niche that they work day in and day out, in our opinion, they add no real value beyond what’s available digitally right now.

The only way the human sales rep or broker is still relevant in a real estate transaction is with super specific, hyper-focused, geographic or demographic knowledge (that’s how our sales reps roll at Spring). It’s really that simple. I’m sure this will ruffle some Real Estate feathers but hey, when you stand for something and shout it from the rooftops it tends to create some tension with some.


Selling your Toronto home? You MUST Go To Market. You Must.

Unicorn of Investment Properties Sells Under The Radar

You’re a damn fool if you don’t go to market when selling your Toronto home (unless you’re a covert CSIS operative or something). You’d expect a Listing your Toronto home with flexible commissionscompany who profits from selling peoples’ homes to say this so I appreciate you being a bit skeptical about what I’m about to say. I don’t really care actually, if you’ve read this blog you know that this is a no BS zone and we spit the truth and nothing but the truth.

We get it…the idea of not having to deal with getting your home ready for sale is appealing but is it appealing enough for you to leave $100K in cash on the table? This is what may have happened to a home recently listed in Toronto. Because of the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act I cannot mention anything about the specific listing Broker or the actual home so I’ll do my best to describe the situation.

The Situation

An out-of-area REALTOR recently listed a house and immediately changed the status to SOLD CONDITIONAL. Meaning, she sold it under the radar to a random buyer in a secret deal. Great for the BUYER because it likely sold at list price but is valued at, at least $100K more. A detached TRIPLEX that would yield positive cash flow with a million dollar purchase price and 25% down. The home has three beautifully renovated apartments, parking, and laundry in each unit. The freaking unicorn of investment properties. This definition of a turn-key property would have had a line up around the block of buyers from investors with all levels of experience, renovators looking to convert back to single family or ME who would have bought this place and lived mortgage free. (see now you know why it’s really got under my skin…this was to be MINE!)

I wish I could show you the property details but I just can’t. We’ve got enough heat from the regulatory bodies due to our stance on open data and Real Estate.

Why a Fool?

Money is fairly easy to borrow for qualified Buyers in a good cash position, inventory is VERY LOW, and the streets are crawling with HGTV fueled rookie investors looking to become the next Donald Trump. Investors are trading their high cap rate expectations for higher quality multi-residential units with more secure tenants. A good trade off for the long term. So if you have one of these properties don’t let some lazy REALTOR convince you to sell under the radar and pocket the quick commission. For goodness sake, GO TO MARKET.

Investors are trading their high cap rate expectations for higher quality multi-residential units with more secure tenants.

If you offer your investment property (or your home) for sale on the open market (aka our MLS system): You will most likely get more money than you expected. Any money you think you’re going to save on commission or effort saved on prepping for sale isn’t worth the risk. Don’t worry, we get that commissions are flexible. Just ask us.



When Should I Sell My House? Hint – Not Springtime

You will get more money for your house now than you will in the Spring.

There hasn’t been a traditional spring market in nearly a decade yet many misguided Sellers are instructed to wait until the Winter - SpringSpringtime to sell. Now you’re probably thinking: “Ya ya, you’re just telling us this so we list with you now so you can make money in the off season” – valid point and in the Sea of Real Estate BS that’s out there we can see how you’d be skeptical.

Fact is, there is literally nothing of quality available for our Buyers to buy right now. Nothing. We know of many agents holding properties that will be hitting the market in the Springtime (many similar ones too) but nothing now.

We’re getting calls from Sales Reps and Brokers daily asking if we have anything coming up for sale. We have actual proof that Buyers are out there but they have nothing to buy. Now, listen up homeowners: If you are going to sell your house, NOW is the time to do it (actually over Christmas was a great time too). We have the resources to have your house fully staged, painted, and ready to hit the market in less than 8 days. Is your house already gleaming and ready for market? We get to market in 2 days and it’ll cost you less.

We took a look at sample market snapshot in North and South Riverdale to compare the numbers. We thought that the numbers would be a little stronger to support our “on the front lines” experience but it turns out that this Winter has only outperformed this past spring/summer market by 1% when comparing sale to list price ratio. We think this year is going blow away last years numbers considering there’s literally NOTHING available for our Buyers right now. The lack of housing inventory combined with the BoC’s decision to slash lending rates even further creates a perfect storm which will undoubtedly blast prices through the roof (pronounced ruf!)

What is interesting however is that for 3 years in a row now we’ve seen the most expensive homes sell in the Winter months and we’ve also seen the HIGHEST Sale to List price ratio in the Winter months.

The lack of housing inventory combined with the BoC’s decision to slash lending rates even further creates a perfect storm which will undoubtedly blast prices through the roof

Contact us now to get started. If you’re not ready yet, you can join our Neighbourhood Sold Report to keep on top of local values, or get our Market Stats monthly OR get the newest listings in your inbox daily.


Houses ridiculously close to a subway station for under $500K

If you can afford a home near a Subway, buy it. Houses in Toronto Ridiculously Close To

What’s the one thing every Buyer requests? Subways. They want to be close to the subway. Who wouldn’t? The Subway is the quickest way to get around Toronto and if you want to live close to a station, be prepared to pay for the privilege.

I decided to take a look at the 416 this morning and see just how many homes are currently for sale within walking distance to a subway station for under $500,000. I wasn’t too surprised when our search tool only presented us with 11 options. Only ELEVEN!!! Just to be clear, this covers the entire subway system from Kipling to Kennedy, the 401 to the Lake. You can view those here. You might want to save this link. It’s updated in real time even before the MLS get’s em.

What happens when I add a hundred thousand to the budget? Well, we’re then presented with a total of 26 options. You can view those here.

Want to be notified the second any new ones hit the market? Sign up for our market watch and we’ll let you know before it even goes on the public MLS.

Oh and we are 100% in favour of the Downtown Relief Line. Join the conversation here.

toronto relief line subway