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.

Leslieville: The Insiders Guide to Toronto’s Best Neighbourhood

Leslieville: A Guide to more than just “HotSpots”

That only an insider could know. Sure there are a million and one “Leslieville Guides” that other Agents/Brokerages may have created but NONE of them have the insider knowledge of Spring Realty. I live and breathe Leslieville (although our Firm covers most of Southern Toronto with our Team of Agents) I work in the East end and a few West Toronto hoods like Roncy and High Park. I’m a proud Board Member of Toronto’s newest BIA: The Leslieville BIA, I sell loads of Leslieville and surrounding area properties, I live in Leslieville, and own a business in Leslieville. I think that qualifies me as a Leslieville Pro, don’t you?

Since Toronto Life & BlogTo have done an amazing job of covering our neighbourhood. I’ll just go over some things that few other online resources have covered. Will be adding to this post regularly so make sure to come back often.

Staying connected in Leslieville

Leslieville is likely the most socially connected neighbourhood in Toronto. If you live in Leslieville or just want to be part of this amazing community here are the three places you need to be right now. Being connected to these three spots will make sure you know everything that is going on here all of the time. It’s amazing really.

I’m a Leslievillian Facebook Group is THE place to be to kept up to date with area events, news, and hot topics. There are many other “community” groups that claim to be the voice of Leslieville but they’re just set up by either a Realtor or some other business with their own interests at heart. This is the ONLY group that connects our amazing neighbourhood. Click here or on the icon to join. (don’t worry it’s not our group, it was founded by a local and is managed by a local)

The Leslieviller Blog was the first online resource that connected Leslieville. With over 3000 members and growing this is a fantastic place to engage in discussions. Promote your events or even host a blog. So many amazing conversations going on here daily. Another great resource run by a local Leslieviller (Well, a former Leslieviller, word is he’s defected to the burbs now but we still love the site!)

Leslieville Neighbourhood Yahoo Group. Yes, people still use Yahoo Groups and we happen to have one of the most active ones out there. The Leslieville Yahoo Group is full of all sorts of info and there’s usually some sort of conversation going on. We’re always trying to find a lost pet, or get restaurant recommendations, or just vent about something. It’s all there.

Toronto’s Newest BIA is finally here: The Leslieville BIA

Can you believe it took this long to get the Leslieville Neighbourhood BIA up and running? Well after many years of debate, City Council finally approved our budget and we’re up and running. I’m proud to be an Executive Board Member of the Leslieville BIA and we’re super excited to show you what this amazing hood is all about. Follow the Leslieville BIA on Twitter NOW.

Best Secret Pizza

Brooklyn Alley Pizza or BAP !!! Bet you’ve never heard of that before have you? Well it’s probably because they’re only open for 2 hours and only one day a week. Oh yeah, you have to walk down a alley way to find it. You thought I was going to mention QMP or something didn’t you? Sorry, you can find info on those retail spots in pretty much any other blog. I’m just going to point out one place that you need to check out. Here’s how to get in on the limited supply:

  • The owner makes 20 pizzas every Friday in the warmer months.
  • The 1st 20 people to place an order between 10:00am -2:00pm gets in
  • For a donation of $15 (or more) you get a 15″ pie freshly pulled out of an authentic, wood burning pizza oven
  • Pick up your pie between 5-7pm but you have to find the place first 🙂

Best Bourbon in Leslieville

Hitch…hands down the best new bar in Leslieville. Ok, actually it’s THE best bar in Leslieville. This not-so-secret establishment has been written up all over the place and seems to have found its stride. Amazing Bourbon Selection (better than The Comrade in Riverside and better prices too). Their food is prepared mostly by local Fish Monger, Hooked. They have an amazing selection of beer and have now introduced a Documentary Night where they show select HotDocs. Pretty cool.

Best Place to Watch Sports in Leslieville

McQueens Pub just opened its doors a month ago and is a welcome addition to Leslieville. A no BS pub with a TV screen pretty much anywhere you turn. You’re not going to go there for their fine selection of craft beers but you will find yourself in a comfortable establishment where you can just let loose and enjoy the game with your buddies or a casual meal with your partner. You’ll usually find me there after an intense squash batter on Thursday evenings.


Best Real Estate Brokerage in Leslieville (sorry couldn’t resist)

Spring Realty Inc! Wow we’re so honoured. Thanks you Spring Realty for voting Spring Realty as the Best Real Estate Brokerage in Leslieville. Must have been a tough decision 😉


Here are a few resources for you:

1. The Worlds Greatest Toronto Real Estate Search Tool (shhhh, we give you more info than the MLS)

2. The Worlds Greatest Guide to Investing

3. The Worlds Greatest 1st Time Buyers’ Guide

4. Check us on Facebook & Twitter

5. We love you ;)



Am I going to make money on this house?

Toronto Real Estate is experiencing a Seller’s Market

Especially neighbourhoods South of Bloor close to the Downtown Core like; Leslieville, Riverside, Riverdale, High Park, Roncesvalles, The Danfroth area, and East York, are all extremely low on inventory (sorry, hate to call peoples homes inventory, they’re homes, beautiful family homes) and if we’re going to see any sort of balance in the market, we need more people to sell up. Although we are in a Seller’s market and some homes are attracting upwards of 12 offers, the prices are still in line with local, recent comparable sales. Don’t be fooled by unreasonably low asking prices (aka silly games). Take a peek at our earlier post about asking prices.

Now, to get to the point. A question that each one of us get asked almost daily: “Am I going to make money on this house? ” Unfortunately to answer this question we’d need a crystal ball.  Can the market take a downward spiral next week and cut property values by 25%? Sure, but that would require some serious trigger (highly unlikely). A more likely scenario is that the market becomes more balanced and perhaps even shifts to a Buyers’ market. Prices may even dip by a few percent, or not.

Why are you buying this house? If you’re buying with the intention of selling within the next year or two you’re likely going to lose money (remember there are costs when selling your home). Toronto Real Estate, and Real Estate anywhere else in the World for that matter is a long term play. Are you buying a family home that you plan on staying in for a number of years? Then why be so concerned about what the house may be worth in a couple? It’s normal for the market to fluctuate and it’s very important to remember that you’ll only lose money if you sell in a downward dip. If home values fluctuate while you’re enjoying your home, what’s the difference?

As Real Estate professionals our goal is to get you the right home and to ensure you don’t overpay for it. We help take the emotion, hype, hysteria created by some situations out of play and focus on the facts. If the purchase makes sense, we’ll help you get there (we’re pretty good at that here at Spring). Just remember, Real Estate is a long term play (in most cases). Focus on the house as a home, not a short term investment.

Here are a few resources for you:

1. The Worlds Greatest 1st Time Buyers’ Guide

2. The Worlds Greatest Guide to Investing

3. The Worlds Greatest Toronto Real Estate Search Tool (shhhh, we give you more info than the MLS)

4. Check us on Facebook & Twitter

5. We love you 😉

This is why your pet shouldn’t be home during showings.

Pro Tip – If you can’t be home to take your dog or cat out while buyers are coming to view your property, do us all a favour and put your little friend in a doggie daycare. Or find a friend to look after your furry beast while you’re not there.

Was on a property tour with my clients this morning and the Agent representing the first house we visited had given us a heads up that there would be a friendly dog in the enclosed back porch (wasn’t insulated and it was freaking cold btw) and we were to ensure she didn’t get into the house. At first I was excited to met the friendly canine. It’s no secret that I love dogs! Well guess what…the little savage got into the house and rather than show my clients the home I had to run around and try to contain the savage beast. It then proceeded to take a huge dump on the carpet and added a little pee to make sure the poop really got in there good.

Being the nice guy that I am I picked up the firm log and tossed it. Since I don’t typically carry around poop bags I used the listing agents freshly printed feature sheet as a pooper scooper.

“Sorry dear Seller, but your cute little pup left a fresh turd in your basement too, thought I’d leave that one there to teach you a valuable  lesson. Oh, and by the way dear Seller, my clients didn’t even bother to look at the whole house. You lose.”

We are there to help sell your house, not be a temporary pet sitter. The 15 mins we spent picking up dog shit and chasing the little bugger around could have been spent finding a solution to your particular design choices but my clients decided it wasn’t worth spending any more time there as we had 3 other properties to view, so we left.

When you decide to sell your house, make sure you find a solution for your pet while you’re not home. Spring Realty employee #4 and official mascot, Cody the Closer usually hangs out at Bark Place Hotel & Spaw and when you list your home with me, I’ll pay for two weeks of 9-7pm doggie day care..problem solved.

Best Mortgage Rates for August 16th 2012

   1 Yr – 2.49% – 3 Yr – 2.64% – 5 Yr – 2.89% – VRM – 2.65%

Wow!  This week has proved even quieter than the last.  No major economic news was announced, but we do have inflation numbers coming on Friday.  With Mark Carney already threatening the need to remove financial stimulus, he wants the market to believe that if this comes in higher than expected that we could see rate increases happen earlier than most are projecting.

I don’t think most economists are really giving this idea any serious attention as the economic fundamentals are too stacked against the option to increase rates.  Mark Carney has been crying wolf for too long and there are no obvious reasons to increase rates.  The economy isn’t at full capacity, we still have high unemployment, the dollar is playing with parity and they aren’t any further ahead in Europe.  Until these economic headwinds start changing direction, there really is no room for the Bank of Canada to make any rate changes.  Hence the mortgage announcement we got on June 21st.  I wouldn’t bet variable rates, but I think we should be here for a while still.

That being said, bond yields are still up, and we have some increases in rates, but there are still some great rates to be had out there:

Lee Welbanks is a Mortgage Broker with Welbanks Financial Group, Lee will be posting these informative “Market Minutes” each week for you to enjoy. Heard about our awesome new home search tool? We’ve opened up the MLS just for you. Make sure you login to our custom Spring Realty Homefinder Tool and give it a spin! Find us on Facebook and Twitter too!

Best Mortgage Rates August 8 2012: Bye bye sub 3%?

It’s a quiet week for economic news, coming off a long weekend.  The unemployment report is out on Friday, but that’s the only real noteworthy item this week.

Best Mortgage Rates Canada 5yr fixed 10yr fixed variableWhat will be making more headlines will be the increase in bond yields we’ve seen the last week or so, as much as 25 basis points (bps).  At these levels lenders are starting to increase their rates and we’ve already had a few send us notice.  This could mark the end of the sub-3% five year rates.  We still have a few but unless yields reverse, more lenders will increase.

If you were sitting on the fence about whether or not to jump in now, this could be your wake-up call before all the rates bump.

Best to contact your mortgage professional and talk to them about getting pre-approved so they can lock in these rates for 120 days.


1 Yr – 2.39

3 Yr – 2.64

5 Yr – 2.89

VRM – 2.65

Lee Welbanks is a Mortgage Broker with Welbanks Financial Group, Lee will be posting these informative “Market Minutes” each week for you to enjoy. Heard about our awesome new home search tool? We’ve opened up the MLS just for you. Make sure you login to our custom Spring Realty Homefinder Tool and give it a spin! Find us on Facebook and Twitter too!

Best Mortgage Rates in Canada for July 18th, 2012

The Bank of Canada left the overnight rate at 1.00% at its meeting yesterday, as was universally expected. This is great news for anyone with a variable rate mortgage, or any product tied to prime like a line of credit or student loan.

More notable was the Bank’s assessment of the global outlook, which was deemed as having deteriorated relative to April.  The weakening in the global environment was cited as a factor restraining growth in Canada; however, the Bank views the domestic economy as continuing to grow at a moderate pace. These factors resulted in the Bank downgrading its 2012 growth forecast to 2.1% from 2.4%. The Bank forecasted that the economy will grow at a faster 2.3% in 2013 (albeit a tad slower than April’s 2.4% forecast) and 2.5% in 2014 (higher than April’s forecast of 2.2%).

The tone indicated that there may be need to reduce stimulus in order for the Bank of Canada to maintain the 2% target rate for inflation, but most economists don’t expect that to happen till 2013. More great news for variable rate mortgages, and anyone with debt tied to prime.  Yields are trending down so there may be some room for some short term decreases to fixed rates.  Sit tight and we’ll see!

Much of this is due to the slowing economic growth in Canada, the U.S. and China, and the unrelenting economic problems in Europe.  These helped to handcuff our central bank.  It has been looking to raise rates in an effort to slowdown the growth of household debt in Canada. But the Bank of Canada did get some relief with Ottawa’s imposition of new lending rules for high-ratio mortgages and new mortgage qualification limits.  The regulatory moves amount to a de facto interest rate increase in the housing sector and, anecdotally at least, appear to be having the desired, cooling effect.

1 Yr – 2.39%

3 Yr. – 2.69%

5 Yr. – 2.94%

VRM – 2.79%

Lee Welbanks is a Mortgage Broker with Welbanks Financial Group, Lee will be posting these informative “Market Minutes” each week for you to enjoy. Please remember to the Spring Realty Insider Club list to receive new blog post notifications, featured properties and insider access to Toronto’s hottest new developments right to your inbox. Find us on Facebook and Twitter too!

Condos Are Homes Too – Get it?

Condos Are Homes Too – Get it?

Recently I was discussing real estate with a client and trying to determine her goals, requirements, budget for her next purchase. She’s been a condo dweller for a number of years and now with a child and a loving husband they’re considering a house. When speaking to her she kept saying: “I love the condo life but I really prefer a home”. Wait a minute; isn’t a condo a home? Please allow Spring Realty to clear this up for you: There are Condos, Lofts, Townhouses, Detached Houses, Semi-Detached Houses, Row Houses but they all share one thing in common. They’re all HOMES!

Happy Monday!

Midweek Mortgage Minute for May 30th, 2012

Another voice has chimed-in on the state of Canada’s residential housing market. DBRS triggered a lot of chatter with a report that makes the assertion that most Canadian households could survive a 40% decline in property value, based on net worth. It seemed a shocking figure given the various concerns that have been raised if there were just a 20% – 25% drop in home values.

Still the debt-rating service doesn’t stray too far from previous warnings from the finance minister and the Bank of Canada. DBRS says expanding household debt is a concern because it reduces the ability to absorb by other financial shocks. It says a combination of interest rate hikes, property value declines and a big increase in unemployment would be a major concern because mortgage defaults are closely tied to employment.

An article in today’s Globe and Mail also speaks to an example where rates increase 1.25%.  The overall impact for most Canadian families that aren’t already overwhelmed by debt is shockingly good.  There’s nothing for those in fixed rates to worry about now, but when those mortgages renew a few years down the road, the changes aren’t so large that the average family couldn’t adjust.  Certainly budgets will need to change to account for the increased mortgage payments, but it shouldn’t be large enough that it would force most families to sell.
Contrary to the federal government’s wishes, interest rates seem to be heading in the opposite direction they would intend. Diminishing bond yields have all of the big banks dropping their rates for 5-year money.  It wouldn’t be surprising to see another rate war occur as bond yields continue to drop.


Lee Welbanks is a Mortgage Broker with Welbanks Financial Group, Lee will be posting these informative “Market Minutes” each Wednesday for you to enjoy. Please remember to subscribe to the Spring Realty Insider list to receive new blog post notifications, featured properties and insider access to Toronto’s hottest new developments right to your inbox.




Mortgage Minute for May 10, 2012

Another quiet week but some housing numbers came out higher.  Most analysts expect those numbers to ease so they aren’t giving much attention to the results at this point.

The unemployment rate is announced on Friday and that may provide more of an indication of the strength of the improvement.

There has also been continued talk for the need to increase rates at some point as household debt continues to strangle families.  Other sources are noting that when it comes to borrowing, numbers are still in line and don’t appear to be over extended.

It will be interesting to watch over the upcoming months how the economy plays out and if Mark Carney will ever actually pull the trigger and increase rates.  Even if he did, he could only do it a little as Canadian manufacturing would go into a tailspin once the Canadian dollar increases further from its lofty price.

Todays Top Rates

Fixed – 1 year
Fixed – 3 year
Fixed – 5 year


Lee Welbanks is a Mortgage Broker with Welbanks Financial Group, Lee will be posting these informative “Market Minutes” each Wednesday for you to enjoy. Please remember to subscribe to the Spring Realty Insider list to receive new blog post notifications, featured properties and insider access to Toronto’s hottest new developments right to your inbox.