Category Archives: lakefront properties

August long weekend 2015: What’s open and closed in Toronto

The August long weekend – Simcoe Day in Toronto – is a civic holiday and a long weekend for many people in the Greater Toronto area.

The holiday goes by many names across the province, and it goes by different names and is often celebrated with different traditions across the country. In Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island the day is known as Natal Day, while it is Regatta Day in Newfoundland. In Ottawa the Civic Holiday is often referred to as Colonel By Day.

Businesses are not required to close Monday under the provincial Retail Business Holidays Act, so they may open at the discretion of the municipality.

Below is a list of what’s open and closed in the GTA:

Open

  • Tourist attractions (ROM, Ontario Science Centre, Toronto Zoo, Ripley’s Aquarium)
  • Major malls (Eaton Centre, Yorkdale, Fairview, Sherway Gardens, Square One, Vaughan Mills)
  • Select Beer Store locations (Click here for a full list)
  • LCBO (378 stores across the province will be open. Click here to find your store)
  • Movie theaters
  • City-run facilities like pools, splash pads and golf courses. (Click herefor details)
  • Riverdale Farm
  • High Park Zoo
  • Toronto Islands and ferries

Closed

  • AGO
  • Banks
  • Government offices
  • Post offices and mail delivery
  • All Toronto Public Library branches

Weekend Events

Source: 680News.com by NEWS STAFF Posted Jul 31, 2015 5:07 am EDT

U.S. buyers flock to Canadian vacation homes – The lowly loonie means U.S. buyers get a 20% discount

vacation homes

TORONTO – Real estate agent Priscilla Sookarow rang in the new year in a novel way, brokering the sale of a $3-million vacation property in B.C.’s Okanagan Valley to a family from Texas.

In addition to the region’s natural beauty, the buyers were lured by the low value of the loonie relative to the U.S. dollar, said Sookarow who, along with realtors elsewhere, says an increasing number of vacation property buyers are coming from south of the border.

“When you buy a $3-million property with U.S. dollars you’re saving a fair bit,” said Sookarow, an agent with ReMax Vernon.

Sookarow isn’t the only agent in the recreational property market to report an influx of U.S. clients. Realtors in B.C.’s Gulf Islands and Ontario’s Muskoka and Niagara regions say they are also observing the trend.

“In all of my offices we’re seeing more U.S. inquiries,” said John Jarvis, a ReMax agent in Ontario’s Muskoka region. “Americans are definitely shopping more than they have been in the last three or four years.”

For U.S. buyers, recreational properties north of the border represent a good deal, said Jarvis.

“They’re getting a 20 per cent discount, roughly,” he said, noting that the loonie has been hovering at around 80 cents U.S. in recent weeks.

Americans also perceive Canadian lakes as being cleaner and “more pure” than those south of the border and believe that Canada’s economy is stable and strong, said Jarvis.

Meanwhile, many Canadian buyers who went south to pick up properties when the loonie was around par are now looking to return home, according to a number of agents.

Janet Moore, an agent at Royal LePage Nanaimo Realty, says many Canadians raced south between 2007 and 2011 to snap up vacation homes in places such as Palm Springs, Calif., Phoenix, Ariz., and Hawaii.

Rising property values and the rally in the U.S. dollar have allowed them to make a profit, said Moore. Now, they’re looking to use those profits to buy vacation properties north of the border.

Realtors say these trends are likely to continue.

“As long as the dollar stays this way, we anticipate more of the same,” Sookarow said.

Source: Money Sense by; by Alexandra Posadzki, The Canadian Press  June 25th, 2015

Affordable cottage living remains within reach

All the luxuries of home in a quaint cottage setting.

Many of us have, at some point, dreamt of one day owning a family cottage. In the last few decades those who have yet to fulfill this dream have likely seen the opportunity of cottage ownership slip away due to what is no longer an affordable reality or a purchase price worth the financial burden or risk.

What goes up may eventually come down when interest rates rise, however, as will the cost of borrowing, and we’ll never see prices return back down the glory days when you could purchase a cottage for a few hundred thousand dollars or less. Even your average two-bedroom fixer-upper can go for $500,000 or more, unless you’re willing to travel much further north. Good investment? That’s debatable.

What other options are there to choose from, aside from fractional ownership or timeshares? Those words haunt most people’s dreams; after all, the only time you should be sharing is with your family around the campfire.

The alternative, more affordable option many people are discovering is Park Model Cottage ownership at Cherry Beach Resort in Prince Edward County, steps away from Sandbanks Provincial Park.

Brand new 2015 Park Model summer cottages at Cherry Beach Resort start at $59,900* for a two-bedroom open-concept model. The highest-priced three-bedroom model sells for $129,900*, with add-ons available. All models come with shingled roof tops, low-maintenance vinyl siding and windows, and are fully furnished throughout with appliances, window treatments, air-conditioning and choice of tasteful décor.

It only takes three to four weeks on average before a family is ready to enjoy their first day at the resort — and for many, the start of years of building great family memories, with some new friendships along the way.

As for cottage resort living, what does that mean? Let’s start with what most likely springs to mind with respect to a traditional cottage; imagine a cute little cottage nestled away in a forested area with a few neighbours, a dock, maybe a boat and a nice view of the lake.

Now how about a heated saltwater pool, multi-sports court, playground, recreational pavilion, daily Kidz Klub activities, wine-and-cheese nights for the adults, movie nights under the stars and, of course, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, boating and all the traditional amenities we all love about cottage country?

One more thing: How about a maintenance crew that will cut your grass and maintain the rest of the grounds while you’re busy shopping at the local farmers’ market and exploring all the local wineries across the island along one of the world’s longest bike trails?

Let’s face it – where are your kids going to have more fun? Where are you going to spend less time and money on upkeep and entertainment for the family? Where are you going to meet new friends, feel a little less isolated and safer? At Cherry Beach Resort.

We know what you’re thinking: What about all the running costs and hidden fees? What’s the catch? We get these questions a lot, actually. The reality is virtually all your running costs are included for less than or equal to the cost of a single-family vacation. Water, hydro, grounds-keeping, family entertainment, full use of amenities, security, an on-site management team, unlimited guest passes – it’s all included. Looking to save on half or more on your running costs? Join their rental program and you’re free to keep all your weekends if you want. Want to sell your Park Model Cottage down the road? They have you covered. Cherry Beach Resort makes it easy with their assisted sales program.

Between land taxes, maintenance and upkeep, interest payments on a hefty mortgage loan from the bank – all this excluding amenities, — purchasing a traditional cottage is certainly not for the faint of heart these days. It’s time to look at a much more affordable alternative; an option that will allow you to have your cake… and put more in your RRSPs, RESPs and TFSA account.

For more information on Park Model cottage ownership and resort-style cottage living, visit www.CherryBeachResort.com.

* Prices will be increasing as of July 1, 2015

Source: Special to National Post | June 25, 2015 9:11 AM This story was provided by Great Blue Resorts for commercial purposes.  Postmedia had no involvement in the creation of this content.

Primed Property: How to stage a home to sell to the luxury buyer

Luxury-home buyers may be looking for something completely different than expected.

Toronto is the No.1 fastest-growing luxury home market in the world. Christie’s International Real Estate bestowed the distinction upon the city this spring after their annual sales study found Hogtown’s high-end housing demand trumped that of other markets, including Hong Kong, New York and Paris. Today, buying into luxury downtown will cost more than $3.6 million for a detached home and $1 million for a condo.

“The luxury market in Toronto is coming of age,” says Jimmy Malloy, a real estate agent for Chestnut Park Real Estate. He’s witnessed the high-end home market’s transformation first-hand. “Twenty or 30 years ago, it was all about (buying big homes), but as any market matures, it becomes more sophisticated… It’s quality over quantity.”

The sudden surge in interest for luxury is driven more by dreams than by necessity, he says. “People moving from $500,000 to $700,000 are usually doing so because of need — they need another bedroom or a new school district. People moving from a $2 million to a $5 million home are usually doing so for aspirational reasons.”

Sellers interested in attracting this kind of clientele, Malloy says, should focus on upgrading their space with above-average items or layouts.

“When it comes to the world of luxury upgrades, the common denominator is the equality of ‘his and hers.’ From his-and-hers ensuites, his-and-hers walk-in closets in the master to his-and-hers workout areas, the luxury market in Toronto is dominated by the power couple, where the wife and the husband spend as much time at the boardroom table as they do at the kitchen table,” he says.

High-end homebuyers are also interested in bright rooms that feel large and airy. Invest in putting new windows into your space, if that’s possible, and paint walls a colour that will make each room feel taller and wider. Plants and well-framed clean windows will also make the buyer feel like they’re part of the home’s surroundings. To maximize space further, declutter and stage.

Counterintuitively, you can skip cumbersome electronics or home management systems. These buyers aren’t fixated on watts, amps or BTUs.

“The luxury buyer isn’t interested in overly complicated gizmos and gadgets that become obsolete before they are installed (or move in),” Malloy says. The only exception is if you’re installing items like a Nest thermostat, which would enable them to control their home’s functions from their smartphone. “These buyers’ lives are complicated. They don’t want their homes to be. They want home automation that’s as simple as making a call (or swipe) on their iPhone.”

Skip extensive home renovations that increase the size of the space. As Malloy points out, at this level, an extra bedroom or finished basement isn’t going to be the clincher.

“The true luxury market is found in the home that can make the buyer’s life better, more glamorous, more the way they want it to be,” he adds “Buyers know it’s not just about going big, but rather going perfect. It’s about how the home makes them feel and how it tells their family’s story to the world… There is no glass ceiling when it comes to the luxury buyer in Toronto.”

Have a question about prepping your home for resale? Email us at primedproperty@gmail.com.

Source: National Post – Sarah Kelsey, Special to National Post | June 22, 2015 12:49 PM ET

Need a mortgage on a cottage? Here’s what lenders look for

Ottawa — The Canadian Press

Whether you call it a cottage, a cabin or a camp, when the temperature begins to rise, the dreams of sitting on the dock at a place of your own start this time of year.

But if you don’t have the cash on hand to buy one outright, you’ll have to borrow the money.

And while the basic process of applying for and qualifying for a mortgage are the same, lenders will look at many more variables when assessing a property before lending money to buy a cottage.

Barry Gollom, vice-president of mortgages and lending at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, says while your strength as a borrower is important, banks will also take a close look at the property being acquired when determining how much they are willing to lend.

“Lenders will look at the location, proximity to a major market, sometimes is it on a big lake, is it on a small lake, access to the property, year-around is best, paved roads is a plus,” Gollom said.

“Lenders will want to ensure that there’s a safe and consistent water source as this can sometimes materially impact the marketability and value of the cottage.”

Mortgage broker Frank Napolitano says most lenders want a cottage to be a four-season property if they are going to loan you money, but he says some will finance three-season cabins.

“It is difficult to get financing if you can only access the cottage by water,” says Napolitano, managing partner at Mortgage Brokers Ottawa.

“The property has to be marketable.”

If you aren’t putting down at least 20 per cent, you’ll need mortgage default insurance just like an ordinary home purchase.

However, CMHC changed its rules last year so that it would no longer insure mortgages on second homes. That means you’ll have to go with a private mortgage insurance company which can provide the necessary coverage if your lender requires it due to the size of your down payment.

Insurers may also have limits on the amount they will cover for a vacation property, depending on its characteristics.

Depending on your situation, you could also consider refinancing your home or using a home equity line of credit if you have paid off enough of it to use it to borrow the cash you need.

Gollom says it is not uncommon for buyers to use a combination of financing through their home and the vacation property to make the purchase.

However, if you only made a small down payment on your home when you bought it and haven’t owned it for very long, you may not have the room you need to finance your new purchase.

Joe Walsh, a mortgage broker with Bedrock Financial Group in Toronto, says no matter how you choose to finance your purchase, for the lender it is about whether you can repay the debt.

“You need to have a lot of room in your income to be able to service the additional, what $200,000, $300,000?” he said.

Gollom said it’s important to make sure the decision to buy a cottage fits within your overall financial plan.

“It is a decision that really does require very thoughtful planning,” he said. “It is so important to understand the broader implications of the purchase of a vacation property as it relates to your other goals.”

Mike Holmes: My checklist for properly opening the cottage for the season

Mike Holmes, Special to National Post | May 15, 2015 | Last Updated: May 15 2:05 PM ET

If you’re planning to open up the cottage this weekend, chances are it’s the first time you’ve seen it in months — and there will be a few problems awaiting your arrival.

Animal alert

Start by doing an exterior check. Look for signs of critters, such as torn window screens and holes in the soffits, roof and siding. I’ve seen critters pull away siding and chew through the substrate. They can also enter through the chimney, small openings around windows and doors, or rip through roof venting.

Carefully check if there are any animals inside before anyone goes charging through the cottage — it could be dangerous. Even if just field mice got in, there could be mouse poop, which is dangerous to your health.

If it seems all clear, proceed with caution. There’s still a chance there could be some unwanted guests inside. Check the kitchen — including cupboards and drawers — for mouse droppings.

If there are definite signs of critter intrusion, it’s best to call a professional pest control company. They can do a full check of your cottage and safely get rid of any pest problems.

Clearing the air

Next, let the place breathe. Any enclosure needs air circulation — dust accumulates, there might be mould and mildew. Let your nose be your guide — a musty smell tells you there’s trapped moisture, and it must be addressed.

Just because it’s a cottage it doesn’t mean you lower your health standards, especially not when it comes to the air you and your family breathes. If anyone has breathing issues, consider getting an indoor air quality test. Open all windows and doors, and if your cottage has a forced-air system, change the air filter.

Also inspect windows and bathrooms for signs of mould. If the area’s less than 10 square feet you can probably clean it yourself, using the proper safety gear, guidelines and products — but no bleach. If it’s bigger, you might want to call a professional abatement company.

Mechanics inspection

Inside the cottage, check the mechanics — that’s your heating system (and cooling, if you have it), plumbing and electrical. Make sure everything is safe.

Turn on the power by flipping the main and then go room by room to make sure everything is working well. Look for chewed-up electrical cords, lights that flicker, fixtures that spark, or a burning smell.

Turn on the water and check for any leaks. And test out the heating system, whether your cottage has electric baseboard heaters, forced air, or radiators or boilers.

Foundation and fire fundamentals

Once you’re done checking the mechanics, head to the basement, if you have one. Look for cracks in the foundation and any water penetration. Any crack that can fit a dime should be checked by a pro, such as a foundation specialist or structural engineer.

And don’t forget the basics, such as replacing the batteries in your smoke alarms and CO detectors, and making sure fire extinguishers are fully charged.

Outdoors overview

Start by inspecting the deck. Make sure the railings, steps or stairs are safe and secure. And see if any of the support footings have heaved — extreme freeze-and-thaw cycles can cause the ground to shift significantly.

While you’re cleaning your eavestroughs and downspouts, check for damage. Inspect the exterior siding and caulking around windows and doors. If any of it has shrunk, cracked or separated from the framing, air will leak. That means one weekend project will have to entail re-caulking.

Septic safety

Last but not least, your septic tank. Get it emptied every five to seven years, depending on usage. Not sure it needs to be emptied? Call a professional company to inspect it and get on their regular service schedule.

Cottage country is about fun and relaxation. Take care of the basics, make sure it’s safe and you’ll make it right.

Watch Mike Holmes on Holmes Makes It Right on HGTV. For more information visit makeitright.ca.