Category Archives: luxury homes

Brokers concerned about real estate offers made with no conditions

A man walks past homes for sale displayed in the windows of a realtor's office in Vancouver on Feb. 3, 2015. The red-hot Vancouver housing market is ‘overdue’ for some fallout from the surge in no-condition offers, Realtor Ian Watt says. (DARRYL DYCK For The Globe and Mail)

The breakneck speed of real estate transactions in British Columbia has some brokers so concerned, they are suggesting agents have clients sign a form spelling out that they understand the risks when offers are made with no conditions.

Sotheby’s International Realty has sent a notice to its agents with a new form asking for official client acknowledgment that there could be serious consequences to an offer that includes nothing that makes the purchase subject to financing or property inspection.

“Something I’m concerned about is a bank then saying, ‘I’m sorry, we’re not going to appraise the property for that price,’” said Polly Cordwell, Sotheby’s managing broker, who drafted the new form.

People who can’t get financing risk losing their substantial deposits. They could also get sued.

Ms. Cordwell said close to 100 per cent of the buyer offers that the agency is seeing lately – as prices have spiralled to unheard-of heights, not just in Vancouver but throughout the region – are being made without conditions.

The Sotheby’s form asks buyers to recognize that “lenders may not approve financing if the property appraisal, conditions of the lands or building or any other factor pertaining to the property is not acceptable to the lender, even if a financing pre-approval has been obtained.”

It also warns them that making an offer without a building inspection could lead to unexpected and expensive repairs later

Dustan Woodhouse, a mortgage broker who mainly serves clients in the Tri-Cities area, said he had eight sets of clients in the first half of last week who all wanted to make subject-free offers.

He said he’s just finished talking to a lawyer about a similar form warning them about the risks.

“I am contemplating an indemnification agreement to make it crystal clear that at no time can I ever possibly advise any client that they are 100-per-cent safe to go subject-free,” he said. “The greatest danger in the market is the consumer walking around with a ‘pre-approval’ and failing to understand that it is little more than a ratehold.”

Although Mr. Woodhouse is doing well financially in the current market, he said he thinks the region’s real estate market has become dangerous. “These are very problematic conditions right now. I do not like this market, I do not believe this market is healthy. A little more rational behaviour would be nice.”

The Mortgage Brokers Association of B.C. is not yet seeing a stampede of brokers toward new forms advising buyers of risk.

But CEO Samantha Gale said she is definitely hearing concerns from the association’s 1,500 members – who are among the province’s 3,200 brokers – about the high number of offers they’re seeing that are subject-free and have unrealistic completion dates.

None of those contacted by The Globe and Mail has yet heard of a bank or credit union turning down a buyer because the offer is deemed to be much higher than the value of the property. That’s largely because, as prices keep rising, an offer that is far above the official assessed value is still being considered as reasonable in current market conditions.

“But it’s something we need to be aware of as a possibility,” Ms. Cordwell of Sotheby’s said.

Realtor Ian Watt said the region is “overdue” for some fallout from the no-condition offers.

“We know somebody’s going to get sued.” It won’t happen immediately, as long as the market is hot, he said, but as soon as there’s a slight downtown, that will become a possibility.

The region is going through one of the most unusual bursts of spiralling prices that many people in the real estate industry can remember. Until a few months ago, the stories of skyrocketing prices, sales for hundreds of thousands over asking and no-subject offers were largely confined to certain hot spots, such as the west side of Vancouver and the North Shore.

Source: FRANCES BULA VANCOUVER — Special to The Globe and Mail Published Monday, Apr. 11, 2016

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The home ownership dream: It’s the opium of the masses

No matter how much money you have to save for a down payment, buying a house is the easy part. It’s much harder to afford the endless financial demands of home ownership and find money for your other goals and obligations. (DARRYL DYCK For The Globe and Mail)

One of the most revealing comments yet on Canada’s obsession with housing can be found in the budget speech given last week by the Finance Minister of British Columbia.

“Is there anything more reflective of who we are as Canadians than the dream of owning a home … and the ability to make that dream a reality?,” Mike de Jong said. God, I hope so. But probably not.

In these uncertain times, housing has assumed a role that is out of sync with its true importance and its role in other countries. Housing is a religion and, if you’ll forgive a personal finance writer making a reference to Karl Marx, it’s the opium of the masses.

Never mind that house prices in cities where the oil industry is a big deal are flat or falling, and that there are places in the country that haven’t seen anything close to the gains in Vancouver and Toronto. Canada’s new national dream is home ownership. Housing completes us.

They thought the same thing in the United States until the housing market cratered in 2008-09. Now, national U.S. publications such as The Atlantic are running articles like this one, which is headlined The New American Dream: A Rental of One’s Own. Our housing market isn’t set up to crash like the U.S. market did as a result of insanely negligent lending practices. But we are putting too much of our financial and political capital into sustaining the housing market. A serious price decline would be traumatic to the economy and the households of the nation.

If I only had a buck for every time someone criticized today’s young people for having fancy smartphones. The point being made is that millennials are mindless slaves to fashion who spend above their pay grade on toys. A millennial should never open her mouth to complain about anything to do with money unless she has a cheap cellphone.

With houses, a vastly more expensive purchase, we encourage young people to spend beyond their means. We feel they’re entitled to a home and must be helped to buy if necessary because ownership is such a great financial move. Parents dig into their own savings to help their children, and politicians like B.C.’s Finance Minister adopt their cause. He just introduced a measure that would conditionally help people save up to $13,000 in property transfer taxes on homes costing less than $750,000. For an exhaustive list of other government measures to help housing, check out this column I wrote last year.

No matter how much money you have to save for a down payment, buying a house is the easy part. It’s much harder to afford the endless financial demands of home ownership and find money for your other goals and obligations.

This is something that housing cultists do not address. Instead, they describe a dream of ownership that legitimizes itself as a depiction of domestic bliss while also offering the promise of a jackpot from rising home prices over the years. Houses are this country’s one big financial success story for the average person.

We had the Nortel Networks era of stock market wealth for all and that blew up. We had income trusts, but they got too big and had to be shut down. Energy stocks tanked, and now our beloved bank stocks are dragging. But houses in many cities have been a lottery win for long-time owners.

And so we hear endlessly about a dream of home ownership that is ultimately about maintaining wealth and status for certain groups. Included here are the long-time owners in Vancouver, Toronto and some other cities, the politicians who depend on their votes and the big chunks of the economy that live off home sales.

A house is a nice place to live, especially if you’re raising kids. Partake if you can afford it, but don’t be persuaded by the voices of the housing sector’s dream syndicate. They’re mainly looking after themselves.

Source: ROB CARRICK The Globe and Mail Published Sunday, Feb. 21, 2016 

No matter how much money you have to save for a down payment, buying a house is the easy part. It’s much harder to afford the endless financial demands of home ownership and find money for your other goals and obligations. (DARRYL DYCK For The Globe and Mail)

For more information on buying your first home or acquiring an investment property, contact the Ray C. McMillan Mortgage Team

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A turret is on your wishlist, you say? Here’s your chance (plus, it comes with a massive house)

Royal LePage

Someone who wants to entertain family and friends in a warm and inviting environment — and be surrounded by exceptional craftsmanship — will enjoy this home, says listing agent Anita Rapp of Royal LePage Real Estate Services. “No luxury detail has been overlooked and many of the furnishings were custom made to blend seamlessly with the open family-friendly floor plan.”

For example, a curved couch was designed and built to fit into the window-wrapped turret and will be left for the new owner to enjoy.

The custom-built brick-and-stone home offers more than 7,000 square feet of living space including a finished lower level that has heated floors and a fireplace in the recreation room. A large, classic skylight sends natural light downstairs through the staircase opening.

Royal LePage

Royal LePage The 7,000-square-foot house is on a 74×176 irregular lot in an exclusive neighbourhood.


A grand entrance is sure to impress guests. The foyer — at 28×17-feet — has heated marble flooring and white wainscotting. The living room has a fireplace; the dining room also has wainscotting. Both rooms have coffered ceilings that lend a grand feeling; other rooms have elaborate tray ceilings. The main floor is lush with extensive mouldings and a warm palette.

Outfitted for casual dinners or entertaining a crowd, the kitchen has a breakfast area with a rich wood built-in desk with storage and bookshelves and a walkout to a deck.

The 74×176-ft. irregular lot has a completely fenced yard with lush gardens, a pool and a waterfall feature, Rapp says.

Royal LePage

Royal LePage The master ensuite is very spacious and features the same detailing as the rest of the house.


The library, family room and master bedroom each has a fireplace for quiet relaxation in front of the fire. A cathedral ceiling lends an airy feeling to the master suite. His-and-hers closets keep fashion plates happy. The large ensuite has an inlay marble floor, furniture-like cabinetry, a standalone tub surrounded by windows, a large glass shower and separate WC.

Each of the bedrooms has a four-piece ensuite, so bathroom lineups are non-exisitent.

A games room with a dance area provides a fun place for young and the young at heart to boogie, and overnight company can enjoy the guest suites. A wine cellar helps makes entertaining a breeze, and to work off the extra glass of red, a gym beckons upstairs.

“Many dollars have been spent on sensational upgrades,” Rapp says.

“My favourite spaces are the family room, with its enormous bowed window overlooking the stone patio and resort-like pool area, and the master bedroom, which has the look and feel of a five-star spa with heated, inlaid marble flooring, a deep soaker tub and a steam shower,” Rapp says.

St. Andrews Windfields
21 Don Ridge Dr. (York Mills Road and Yonge Street)
Asking price: $5.95 million
Taxes: $27,273 (2015)
Bedrooms: 2; Bathrooms: 7
MLS# C3368728

Royal LePage

Royal LePage The tree-cloaked rectangular pool features a trio of waterfalls, a spa and several seating areas.

Source: Connie Adair, Special to National Post | February 8, 2016

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Conrad Black selling $21.8-million, nine-bedroom family mansion in Toronto

Conrad Black is putting his Toronto estate up for sale.

TORONTO — Former press baron Conrad Black is looking to sell his 23,000-square-foot home in Toronto’s exclusive Bridle Path neighbourhood.

Nestled on a 6.6-acre lot, the nine-bedroom property that includes a caretaker suite and a converted coach house will hit the auction block on March 8.

It has an estimated value of $21.8 million, according to an online listing.

Black’s house was built and renovated by New York architect Thierry Despont, who has also designed and built homes for Calvin Klein, Bill Gates and the late Greek shipping tycoon Stavros Niarchos.

The building features two, two-storey libraries, an indoor swimming pool with skylight, a carved granite Jacuzzi and a copper-domed chapel consecrated by two cardinals.

Toronto real estate agent Barry Cohen is handling the sale in partnership with New York-based Concierge Auctions.

Source: The Canadian Press | February 4, 2016

Conrad Black is putting his Toronto estate up for sale.


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Buying a Home in the Winter

Spring and summer are the high season for home sales, but winter can be a buyer’s market. If you don’t mind a smaller pool of homes for sale or moving around the holidays, winter might be a good time for you to house shop.

Less Competition, More Leverage
Since spring and summer are the most active real estate seasons, many home sellers wait until then to list their homes. That means there are fewer homes for sale in the winter, but the sellers often have strong reasons to sell their homes soon, such as job relocation. These motivated sellers can be a boon to the home buyer.

While there are fewer homes to choose among, the smaller selection can save you a lot of time. Do you really want to traipse through 50 houses? It may be simpler to view the handful of homes for sale in the winter and choose the one that best suits your needs.

Just as there are fewer homes for sale during the winter, there are fewer buyers, too. That means less competition and sellers who are more willing to accommodate potential buyers. Use this knowledge to your advantage. Offer a relatively low (but not insultingly low) bid for the home you’ve selected, or ask for perks such as the living room furniture or the chandelier that you admire.

The low number of potential buyers also means you have more time to make your decision. In the spring, you often need to choose a home and act quickly, but in winter you may be able to take your time.

Assessing a Home’s Winter Fitness
Viewing homes in the winter lets you see how it holds up to the weather. Did you feel cold while looking through the house? Is there a functioning heating system and hot water? Are the windows letting in drafts?

Availability of Agents and Others
Another advantage of buying a home in the off-season is the greater availability of industry professionals. Real estate agents will have fewer clients and more time to focus on your home search. Lenders will be more accessible for questions and assistance. Some lenders even waive fees during the off-season to encourage borrowers to use their services. Likewise, movers tend to lower their costs during the winter months.

Gray Gardens or Winter Wonderland?
Home buyers can be turned off by the bleak look of prospective homes in winter. Bare trees and lawns covered in gray snow aren’t the most picturesque. However, you’ll be able to see how well neighbors tend driveways and sidewalks, whether the town plows or salts icy streets, and whether kids come out to play in the snow. Around the holidays, you might even see the neighborhood decorated in its winter finest.

Source: By Dini Harris October 3, 2013

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Toronto’s priciest condos are at Bay and Avenue, real estate brokerage says

Toronto’s priciest condos are at Bay Street and Avenue Road, according to real estate brokerage The Red Pin.

An average one-bedroom condo in the area is $570,198, and an average two-bedroom is nearly $1.5 million (actually, the average price is $1,497,679).

There are a few reasons for this, The Red Pin says, but they all boil down to the age-old real estate truism: location, location, location.

The downtown core location means it ranks among the highest rates of foot traffic in the city. It’s also close to subways and the intersection serves as an “anchor” for Toronto’s urban development, The Red Pin says.

Owning there is more expensive than owning just one block east: condos on Bay sold for an average of $40,000 more than units along Yonge Street, the brokerage found.

The Red Pin looked at 28 intersections in the city, 24 of which have “the highest daily pedestrian traffic in the city – each with a pedestrian count of at least 17,000.”

The brokerage also found that condos located a short walk (five minutes) from these intersections sold for an average of $537,702. That’s nearly $150,000 more than the city-wide average of $398,858 during the same period.

The type of condos available in the area are being built for a specific buyer: There are an estimated 40% more one bedroom condos versus two bedrooms units around Toronto’s major intersections, Red Pin found.

All prices are an average and taken from The Red

Yonge and Eglinton
One bedroom: $402, 924
Two bedroom: $629,644

St. Clair and Yonge
One bedroom: $439, 064
Two bedroom: $868,537

Bloor and Avenue
One bedroom: $570,198
Two bedroom: $1,497,679

Bay and Bloor
One bedroom: $439,453
Two bedroom: $1,174,562

Yonge and Bloor
One bedroom: $416,968
Two bedroom: $964, 813

Yonge and Wellesley
One bedroom: $414,351
Two bedroom: $601,952

Bay and College
One bedroom: $428, 826
Two bedroom: $611,950

Yonge and Collge
One bedroom: $422,928
Two bedroom: $602,081

Yonge and Gerrard
One bedroom: $425,658
Two bedroom: $611,381

Yonge and Dundas
One bedroom: $423,121
Two bedroom: $616, 219

Dundas and Bay
One bedroom: $422,088
Two bedroom: $637,589

Dundas and University
One bedroom: $382,148
Two bedroom: $531, 307

Yonge and Queen
One bedroom: $368,638
Two bedroom: $512,033

King and Spadina
one bedroom: $389,231
Two bedroom: $609,180

Front and John
One bedroom: $376,099
Two bedroom: $609,344

York and University
One bedroom: $421,202
Two bedroom: $753,164

Bay and Queen
One bedroom: $383,909
Two bedroom: $697,371

Bay and Adelaide
One bedroom: $393,957
Two bedroom: $688,327

Bay and King
One bedroom: $425,537
Two bedroom: $734,744

Bay and Wellington
One bedroom: $412,172
Two bedroom: $666,601

Yonge and King
One bedroom: $387,813
Two bedroom: $671,844

Yonge and Adelaide
One bedroom: $389,327
Two bedroom: $637,157

King and Jarvis
One bedroom: $369, 562
Two bedroom: $608,184

Richmond and John
One bedroom: $399,888
Two bedroom: $692,911

Front and John
One bedroom: $376,099
Two bedroom: $609,344

York and University
One bedroom: $421,202
Two bedroom: $753,164

Source: 680 News  by ERIN CRIGER Posted Sep 17, 2015 12:50
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Caribbean Home: A $4.2 Million Listing in Anguilla


Sandcastle Pointe on the market

By Dana Niland
CJ Contributor

Set upon an acre of seaside land, just a short walk from Shoal Bay East, is Sandcastle Point.

This 7,000 square-foot, four-bedroom property exudes luxury in an environment of privacy, and even features its own putting green, croquet lawn, and billiard and entertainment room.


The picturesque four-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom Anguilla property is listed with Properties in Paradise at $4.2 million.


Complementing the 7,000-square-foot villa’s grand architecture are its statements of contemporary style, including ceiling-to-floor “windows to the sea” that open at the touch of a button, automatic sliding doors, and a heated infinity pool equipped with a Technopure water purifying system and expansive pool deck.

Bruce Hearn and Elaine Hearn have the listing.

Source: Caribbean Journal September 16th, 2015 | 10:00 am

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