faux container

Looking for recent sold data? click here

7 Things To Think About When Looking For a Home This Spring

Apr 16, 2024 | Buyers

As the snow leaves for another year and the weather gets warmer, the Toronto and west Greater Toronto Area housing market is also heating up. Are you thinking about a new home this year?

Here are seven things to think about when looking for a home this spring:

1) Consider the Long Term

Buying a home will always be one of the most exciting and magical moments of your life. However, it’s also a big commitment and you want to be sure you’re making the right decision for the long term. This requires a thorough understanding of your financial resources and your long term plans for your life. Without a well-thought-out plan in place, you might find yourself having to move again before you’re ready.

For example, we had a client who purchased a condo specifically to be closer to his workplace, only to find himself in a completely different area at a new job six months later. The economy is different than it was even a generation ago. Jobs—just like homes—are not always for life, especially in the beginning stages of your career.

Here are a few questions to think about when settling on an ideal location.

  • What are your goals for the short and long term? 
  • Where do you see yourself in terms of lifestyle, proximity to friends and family, your commute to work? 
  • Is living in the city important with ease of accessibility for public transportation or do you prefer to be in a suburban area with a larger property and more greenspace? 

Factor in what is most important to you with the wish list of your criteria, not only for the requirements pertaining to the home itself, but also for the community and lifestyle where you envision yourself being happy.

Another consideration is how much you plan to budget for your new home. Often, buyers can be taken aback by the costs of moving that go above and beyond the purchase price of the home. In addition, you can’t include all expenses in your mortgage and will have to take care of many out of pocket. 

Once you have an idea of the type of home you want, you can estimate how much you will need for your down payment, closing costs, and monthly mortgage by using our real estate calculator. 


If you’re looking for more guidance on the long-term benefits and implications of buying a house, the resources below will be invaluable:


2) Survey the Market

Spring is a busy time for the real estate market. More people typically list their homes now than at any other time of the year. The benefit is that this can mean more options to choose from, but you may also find yourself up against other buyers with the same idea. 

Most areas in Toronto and the west GTA are currently in a balanced or Buyer’s market which is favourable. However, even with the greater selection and less pressure of competition, there are still some considerations. For example, a home could attract more than one Buyer if it’s in an area that does not have a lot of turnover and has been renovated in a current style. This could result in a swifter sale than average as most home buyers want a turn key property with little to no renovation required.

A little background research to see how much homes similar to what you want are selling for will help you get the best value possible. However, you’ll want to dig deeper than that.

Competition, or the lack of it, can have an impact on the final selling price.

For example, a house that is listed for $1 million doesn’t necessarily sell for $1 million. High demand and interest from multiple buyers could drive the price even higher, especially for a freehold home in Toronto where the average detached price is higher than $1 million. Sometimes the list price is just a marketing strategy, therefore it’s really important to have a knowledgeable Realtor® to help you navigate the market. With their guidance, you will know the fair market value for each particular property of interest. Alternatively, a soft market where there are more listings available could mean the final listing price falls below what the Seller had initially hoped for. As the buyer, it’s critical that you don’t step into the market blindly.

Why keeping up-to-date matters

If you want to bring yourself up to speed with the latest statistics, you can find them on the websites of local real estate boards such as the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) or on our Blog here. We take a deep dive each month and break down the average selling price by home category, along with the difference in the year over year home values.  Keep in mind that these numbers are not in real-time, but are instead behind by approximately a month, and that home values will differ based on the dynamics within each unique neighbourhood.

Above all, remember that all the data in the world doesn’t mean anything if you don’t know how it affects you when buying a home in today’s market. With our boutique real estate services at the Tanya Crepulja Team, we’ll take a deep dive on a Buyer consultation to understand exactly what you’re looking for, as well as help you analyze and understand recent market trends. With this background and expertise at your side, you can proceed with the home buying process from a position of strength.

3) Scope Out Locations 

Spring is the ideal time to get a feel for a neighbourhood, especially in the GTA. During the colder months, many people spend more time indoors and it’s harder to get to know the type of people that live in an area, and how they care for their properties. Let’s face it – curb appeal and pride of ownership are important! Once the weather warms up and residents emerge from hibernation, you can really get a sense of how they live and interact. 

If you’re ever unsure about an area, we recommend that you take the time to go and explore an area that you’re not familiar with. Take a drive through in the afternoon, or on a weekend when there may be greater neighbourhood activity. Park the car and take a stroll to really get a feel for the neighbourhood. 

You’ll see what it looks like when kids get out of school, people start to arrive home from work, or they are out walking dogs and running errands. Make note of things like parks, distance to schools, proximity to grocery stores or other amenities, distance to public transit or the highway, along with any other features that are important for where you want to live. It’s a great way to get a sense of the community.


Are you still considering the best location for your new home? The related reading below will give you some food for thought:


4) Know Your Seller 

As a buyer, you want to find the best home you can at the lowest price. Understandably, the seller wants the opposite; they want to sell the house for top dollar. If you want to negotiate in a competitive situation, it helps to understand some of the strategies a seller may be using.

Now that we’re in more of a balanced market, for the most part properties are being listed at what we call a ‘buy it now price’ with some room to negotiate, while some others are deliberately listing their houses below market value to attract multiple offers and sell over the asking price.

When the property finally sells at “over the asking price,” it’s often just a reflection of the true market value. However, if you don’t understand what’s happening, you might be tempted to offer more than the home is worth, especially when your excitement levels are running high. This is another reason why it’s important to have a knowledgeable Realtor® by your side throughout the home buying journey.

5) Stay Logical and Grounded

The advice to buy with your head and not your heart is easier said than done. You’re making a huge change in your life, which always comes with a flurry of emotions. Any homeowner operating under the advice of an experienced listing agent will stage the property in a way that appeals to your senses and entices you to make an offer.

Sometimes, this means renovating and repairing the home to add real, tangible value. In this case, paying a little more might be worth it because you won’t have to worry about any of these upgrades after you move in. Other times, they’re just cosmetic improvements that have little impact on the actual fair market value but are instead designed to make you fall head over heels in love with the home. We have a trained eye for seeing past the aesthetics and in greater detail to identify potential issues or flaws, and will bring this to your attention so that you’re not surprised upon the property closing.

Keeping a cool head and basing your decisions on accurate facts at all times is essential. Leaving your emotions out of it not only helps you get the best price, but also to ensure you end up with the right house to begin with. 

6) Arm Yourself With a Plan of Your Own

There’s no question that your seller has a strategy to maximize their results from the transaction. If you want to compete in this fast-paced market, you’ll want to be sure you have a plan of your own. The following guidelines will help you stay grounded and give you the best chance of finding the right home at a great value:

  • Create a clear but flexible wish list of attributes you want in your new home. Know what your absolute must-haves and deal breakers are before you start searching. You’ll also want to know where you will be willing to compromise, especially if the market is tight.
  • Obtain a mortgage pre-approval from a reputable mortgage broker or lending institution – we can recommend one of the trusted professionals we work with on a daily basis. Having a mortgage approval in place and to know exactly what you’ll qualify for is absolutely essential before even beginning to view properties. 
  • Work out a budget range that is comfortable for you to allow for any repairs or unexpected costs. However, you should have an upper limit that you will not exceed under any circumstances. Setting your budget ahead of time will help you avoid getting caught up in potential bidding wars.
  • Learn to see beyond the cosmetic appearance of a home and focus on its structure and potential. Asking for a home inspection can help you determine whether it’s the right fit. In addition, some sellers will have already arranged for a pre-listing inspection. 

Buying a home for the best price at the right terms is a team effort. Learn more about choosing your Realtor® in the posts below:


7) Create Your Support Network

Keeping up with the latest real estate trends is a full time effort, not something you can do in your spare time on evenings and weekends. If you want to make the most of your buying experience, you’ll want to surround yourself with a support network of both friends and experts, beginning with an experienced and knowledgeable Realtors® like the Tanya Crepulja Team. 

Our boutique service is committed to helping you find the right house that you will love coming home to each day. In addition, we will put our Master Certified Negotiation Expertise to work to ensure you end up with the best possible value even in a competitive market. We are here to support you and provide sage guidance every step of the way, from the discovery stage to your house warming and beyond.

Whenever you have questions or need a sounding board, our team is here for you. Making your home purchase joyful and successful is our primary objective.

Do you want the benefit of expert guidance, superior client care and results when searching for your home in Toronto or the West GTA? Reach out to us at tanya@tcteam.ca or call 647-293-3785 for a complimentary Buyer consultation.

Toronto's Outstanding Schools

An Introduction to Toronto’s Outstanding Schools

Mar 6, 2024 | Toronto

There are many reasons families, professionals, and newcomers to Canada choose Toronto as the place to put down roots. With incredible recreational activities, safe neighbourhoods, and endless career options, it is the ultimate family-friendly community. 

However, the foundation of all of this is an excellent education system, which may be the biggest draw of all to the great City of Toronto. Whether you choose a public option or a private alternative, you can rest assured that you are setting your children up for success from a very young age. Let’s explore Toronto’s outstanding schools in more detail. 

Toronto Schools: An Overview

Toronto’s education system is guided by four separate school boards. Toronto District School Board and Conseil scolaire Viamonde oversee the public secular schools throughout the city. The Catholic system falls under the Toronto Catholic District School Board for English speaking students and Conseil scolaire catholique MonAvenir for French based education.

Visiting the websites of the various school boards can help you see what options lie within your catchment area as well as determine their core values and what types of extra support or activities they offer. In addition, a knowledgeable real estate agent can guide you to the neighbourhood schools when you are relocating to the city.  


Want to know even more about what the City of Toronto has to offer? Here is some related reading you may enjoy:


How to Evaluate Possible Schools

Each Toronto neighbourhood may have multiple schools within its catchment area. If you expand your search to private alternatives, you have even more options to choose from. How can you decide what is best for your child?

Tools such as the Fraser Institute and EQAO (Education Quality Accountability Office) can help you evaluate public schools.

The Fraser Institute

The Fraser Institute is an independent registered charity with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, and Toronto that evaluates schools through the results of standardized tests. Compareschoolrankings.org is an excellent starting point to begin researching potential schools. It does, however, have some limits. 

  • Some smaller schools may be excellent, but do not receive a rating from the Fraser Institute.
  • Some students perform well in their day to day classes but not as well in standardized tests. As a result, an otherwise excellent school may receive a less than stellar rating.

EQAO 

The EQAO is a provincial agency that monitors the development of reading, writing and math skills in Ontario students. Though the organization also relies on standardized tests, they do take a more holistic approach to evaluating schools. They don’t just determine whether students get high grades, they also analyze whether children enjoy learning and believe they have potential in these subjects.

Like the Fraser Institute, there are limitations and you don’t want to rely exclusively on data produced by the EQAO. For example, your child may be a gifted athlete or possess outstanding musical or artistic abilities. However, schools that produce exemplary results in these subjects are not even on the radar of the Fraser Institute or the EQAO.

To go deeper, you may want to visit a school you are considering in person. Talking to the faculty and other parents can give you excellent insights you may not find anywhere else. This step is particularly important when evaluating private schools that are not under the jurisdiction of any of the official school boards. By performing deep research, you can ensure a superb education for your child. 

Though Toronto boasts many excellent schools, some have consistently delivered above-average results and earned high rankings, both from the Fraser Institute and by parents.

Public Elementary Schools

Whitney Junior Public School: Located in the heart of the prestigious Rosedale neighbourhood, Whitney Junior Public School serves students from JK to Grade 6. Their primary core value is a strong emphasis on leadership skills, with children in Grade 6 acting as peer mentors.  

Rosedale Junior Public School: Also in Rosedale, Rosedale Junior Public School has been serving the neighbourhood for well over a century, with an equal focus on a high level of academics and artistic enrichment. The school welcomes all neighbourhood children from JK through to Grade 6.

Cottingham Junior Public School: For many parents in Summerhill, Cottingham Junior Public School is the highlight of the neighbourhood. The school is dedicated to creating an enhanced learning environment while focusing on the arts, technology and sports.

Blythwood Junior Public School: Lawrence Park is one Toronto’s most sought after neighbourhoods for affluent families, partly due to quality schools like Blythwood Junior Public School which serves students from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 6.  

Forest Hill Junior and Senior Public School: Children need extensive preparation and education to succeed in our fast moving world today, and Forest Hill Junior and Senior Public School is rising to the challenge. The emphasis is on fostering an enriched environment in academics and the arts for students from JK to Grade 8. Needless to say, this highly rated school is located in the Forest Hill neighbourhood.

Swansea Junior and Senior Public School: Located in the exclusive Swansea neighbourhood, Swansea Junior and Senior Public School is one of Toronto’s top rated schools. A diverse and respectful community strives to inspire students to both academic excellence and cooperative participation in school life. 

John Wanless Junior Public School: John Wanless Junior Public School is located in the prestigious Bedford Park neighbourhood, and is well known for its caring environment and collaborative approach to learning. 

Runnymede Junior and Senior Public School: Once a one-room schoolhouse in Bloor West Village, Runnymede Junior and Senior Public School is now one of the highest rated schools in Toronto.

Public Secondary Schools

William Lyon Mackenzie Collegiate Institute: William Lyon Mackenzie Collegiate Institute is one of the staples of the Bathurst Manor neighbourhood. The official school motto is “Sua Praemia Laudi,” which translates to “Merit has its own reward.” Staff members and parents work collaboratively to ensure a high standard of excellence, making this one of the top secondary schools in the city.

North Toronto Collegiate Institute: With more than 1200 students, North Toronto Collegiate Institute is dedicated to fostering creativity and critical thinking skills. Though located in the Yonge and Eglinton neighbourhood, the school is also popular with parents of teens throughout Midtown Toronto.  

Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts: As the name implies, this Catholic secondary school is highly focused on artistic excellence in disciplines such as dance, music. vocals, drama, and visual arts. Acceptance is granted to students from Grade 7 to 12 based on audition results. 

Leaside High School: Leaside High School is dedicated to helping students develop lifelong skills to prepare them for a changing society. Extensive support is available to help students thrive. An enhanced curriculum includes subjects like languages, digital photography, forensics, and technology. 

Ursula Franklin Academy: Though located in High Park, Ursula Franklin Academy is open to all Toronto secondary students regardless of catchment area. The focus is on advanced liberal arts and science programs to prepare students for the post-secondary level. Ursula Franklin Academy is best known for the success of the Wednesday Program where students can earn credits over and above the standard eight credits per year. Courses include Robotics, Debating, Literary Reviews, and more.

Earl Haig Secondary School: Earl Haig Secondary School is by far the largest secondary school, with over 2000 students each year. Its diversity and lively school spirit helps to promote a cooperative learning environment. Earl Haig is known for its two distinct programs: one for academic programming and the other for artistic development in dance, drama, music, and visual arts. 

Father John Redmond Catholic Secondary School and Regional Arts Centre: With an impressive arts program, small class sizes, and advanced placement program, it’s no wonder that Father John Redmond is sought after by Toronto residents whether Catholic or not. This Mimico school takes a “Triple A” approach to education, with a focus on academics, art, and athletics. 


Thinking about buying a new home in Toronto? The resources below can help:


Private Schools

Branksome Hall: Branksome Hall is an independent International Baccalaureate (IB) World School for girls. Though located in Rosedale, admission is open to all students from Junior Kindergarten right through to Grade 12. A focus on advanced problem solving and critical thinking skills is designed to help your daughter prepare for university while thriving in all aspects of life. 

Upper Canada College: Now, let’s talk about one of the leading IB schools for boys. Upper Canada College is located in the premier Forest Hill neighbourhood and provides an exceptional learning experience for students from JK to Grade 12. Parents can choose between a day or boarding school, and alumni include leaders in politics, finance, arts, athletics, media, and more.  

Bishop Strachan School: Also located in Forest Hill, Bishop Strachan School is Toronto’s oldest independent day and boarding school exclusively for girls. Students develop lifelong skills through exploration and discovery. Most impressively, virtually all graduates are offered placement at top-tier universities and colleges around the world.

Fieldstone School: As a Cambridge School, Fieldstone School offers a curriculum that helps students from JK to Grade 8 develop a passion for lifelong learning. 

Havergal College: Named after composer and humanitarian Frances Ridley Havergal, Havergal College in Lawrence Park is devoted to instilling confidence, knowledge, and resilience in young women.

St Michael’s Choir School: St Michael’s Choir School is a semi-private Catholic school for boys from Grade 3 to Grade 12. In addition to an outstanding musical curriculum, the school also offers an enriched academic program that includes extensive instruction in the French language. The success of its graduates makes this a premier choice for parents of all faiths.

Do you want to know more about catchment areas or living in Toronto? We are here to help with anything you need. Reach out to us at tanya@tcteam.ca or call 647-293-3785 to connect with us today.

Best Toronto Neighbourhoods for Pet Owners

Why Toronto is Fantastic for Pet Owners

Feb 28, 2024 | Lifestyle

Toronto has a well-deserved reputation for being family friendly. Scenic parks, an outstanding school system, and a long list of educational and recreational activities mean residents of all ages can thrive.

For many of us, our beloved pets are a treasured part of the family. Fortunately, Toronto is also a place where our furry, scaly, or feathered friends can live a happy and fulfilling life with their human companions. In this post, we’ll review why Toronto is the place to be for pet lovers of all types and outline our top neighbourhoods in the city, with particular focus on Downtown and the West End that are particularly welcoming to our community’s four-legged members.

The Most Pet-Friendly Neighbourhoods in Toronto

With numerous dog parks and pet-friendly amenities, Toronto is the perfect place for animal lovers. However, some communities take it to a whole new level and really roll out the welcome mat for your whiskered friends. Here are just a few Toronto neighbourhoods you and your pet will be thrilled to call home. 

1. High Park

If there were an Oscars ceremony for dog parks, the 400-acre haven at High Park would almost certainly take home the trophy. The entire park is dog-friendly, and there is a leash-free area where your pup can run and explore for hours. The off-leash zone falls between High Park Zoo and the Grenadier Cafe, where your well-behaved fur baby can join you on the patio for refreshments.

The benefits of living in High Park with pets don’t end at the dog park, either. Many stores welcome the furriest members of your family so long as they are not disruptive to other patrons. 

MollyWagz Pet Boutique is a neighbourhood favourite, where you’ll find ethically produced, Canadian-made food and accessories for your loved one.


Want to know more about the great city of Toronto? Here is some related reading you may enjoy:


2. Liberty Village

If High Park wins the “Oscar” for pet friendliness, Liberty Village would take home the “Grammy.” The neighbourhood features incredible parks where you and your tail-wagging pal can relax in nature. Bill Johnston Dog Park also offers a leash-free zone where your pooch can run free. 

Once you’re ready to return to city life, Liberty Village is well known for its abundance of pet-friendly establishments. Are you planning to enjoy a meal out but don’t want to leave your snuggle baby behind? Restaurants such as Mildred’s Temple Kitchen welcome you both on the patio. 

You’ll also find all of the essential services you need for your loyal companion throughout Liberty Village, including Liberty Village Animal Hospital and Paw Theory, where a group of animal-loving staff will take your pup out to explore Toronto’s best trails.

3. Roncesvalles

Since Roncesvalles is a short walk from High Park, you and your pet can enjoy everything both neighbourhoods have to offer. If you prefer to stay local, Sorauren Park offers an off-leash zone so your precious doggo can play and socialize with their four-legged friends. 

Roncesvalles is also known for numerous shops and services that are delighted to see you and your pet walk through their doors. You’ll encounter welcoming smiles everywhere, whether dining on the patio at The Local Pub or Cherry Bomb Coffee or browsing the neighbourhood hardware store. At Roncesvalles Animal Hospital, you’ll find top-rated care for your cuddlebug. The Dogfather is another highlight, with an irresistible selection of toys and treats for your pal. 

4. Trinity Bellwoods

When it comes to being pet friendly, Trinity Bellwoods is in a class of its own. The neighbourhood is named after the expansive Trinity Bellwoods Park, which provides endless opportunities to get outside and socialize with your pet. There is no leash-free zone quite like the one at the Dog Bowl, where you’ll spot energetic pups of all ages happily bouncing their jitterbugs out. 

The community also features pet-friendly events you and your companion will look forward to all year long, including Trinity Bellwoods Flea. Here, you can browse local fashion while sampling delectable eats all under one roof. Best of all, your well-behaved and leashed canine companions are welcome to join in the fun! Numerous amenities include pet sitting and grooming services, as well as the Dundas West Animal Hospital for veterinary care.

5. Harbourfront

What could possibly be better than living on the waterfront? Add in a variety of pet-friendly services, and life on the Harbourfront becomes a dream come true for your entire family. Though known as a busy downtown community, the Harbourfront features numerous trails and green spaces where you can accompany your dog around the lakeside. 

To the delight of pet lovers all over the city, Coronation Park offers an off-leash zone for both big and small canines, which means all of the fur babies can play safely. If you feel for a meal on the patio, numerous restaurants and cafes allow your bark buddy to enjoy the view with you. With several pet stores and the Harbourfront Animal Hospital right in the vicinity, you and your four-legged friends have everything you need to stay happy & healthy.

6. Fort York 

Fort York is one of Toronto’s most desirable neighbourhoods. Vibrant and lively, it’s just steps away from some of the best shopping and dining in the city. For pet owners, Fort York really does have it all.Nearby parks include Coronation Park and Stanley Off Leash Dog Park, which is one of Toronto’s top hangouts for the local doggos. 

Fort York’s proximity to Lake Ontario also means there are plenty of waterfront restaurants, many of which are thrilled to see you and your fur baby. Neighbourhood amenities include Dogtopia for boarding and daycare, while Fort York Paws offers grooming services that ensure your pet is the fairest in the land.

7. Mimico

Do you prefer a waterfront lifestyle that’s a little more peaceful and laid back than downtown Toronto? Every member of your family will love Mimico, especially the furry ones. Sprawling parks like Amos Waites Park and Humber Bay Park West await you; the off-leash zone at Humber Bay even has a beachfront area where water-loving woofsters can splash and swim!

Like many Toronto neighbourhoods, Mimico features numerous restaurants with patios that eagerly welcome you and your pooch! Toronto Veterinary Clinic is the closest animal hospital, where caring staff will tend to your pet with compassion or expertise. If you want to ensure your companion is in good hands while you’re away, Hot Diggity Dogs will keep those tails wagging!

8. The Beaches

Who wouldn’t love living in a neighbourhood close to some of the best beaches in Toronto? As one of the most coveted areas in the city, The Beaches is also popular with water-loving canine residents! 

This picturesque neighbourhood is located approximately 20 minutes from downtown Toronto, and few places are more welcoming to friends and family members of the four-legged variety. Many of the shops and restaurants lining the vibrant streets are dog-friendly and will warmly greet your well-behaved pet as you browse. 

When it comes to epic dog parks, The Beaches is in a class of its own. Water-loving pups will think they’ve gone to heaven as they splash about on the shores of Lake Ontario at Kew Gardens or Woodbine Beaches. 

Numerous other off-leash parks are available, including Cherry Beach and Silver Birch Dog Park. The Beaches is also home to numerous grooming and pet sitting services, along with high-quality pet stores for when it’s time to stock up on treats and toys. With three local veterinary services nearby, it is easy to find care for your pet whenever the need arises. Beaches Animal Hospital, Kew Beach Veterinary Hospital, and Boardwalk Animal Hospital are all minutes away.

9. Leslieville

Humans and pets alike love the natural beauty and abundant green spaces in the trendy Leslieville neighbourhood! Here, you’ll discover beautiful dog parks and leash-free zones that will keep your entire family leaping for joy. Greenwood Park and Hideaway Park also feature a playground, which means two-legged children can join in the fun. 

Gerrard–Carlaw Parkette is one of the most highly-rated dog parks in Toronto, with a wood chip surface that prevents your beloved fur baby from getting too muddy. If you need a place where energetic dogs can run around, Pocket Designated Off-Leash Area offers an expansive field with little foot traffic. 

When your pet needs care, Leslieville Animal Hospital is standing by. Furballs Pet Stuff, Timmie Leslieville, and Tom & Sawyer Fresh Prepared Pet Meals are perfect for finding a gourmet treat or meal for your extra-special family member.


Are you ready to begin the search for your new home? The resources below will help you get started:


10. Corktown 

A master-planned community built with pet owners in mind? That’s exactly how you will feel in the Canary District area of the West Don Lands. You will be hard-pressed to find any community that is friendlier or more welcoming to your pet. 

Corktown offers everything from pet-friendly apartments, restaurants, and stores to truly outstanding dog parks, including Corktown Common, Thompson Street Parkette, and Power Street Off Leash Park. The availability of Canary District Animal Hospital and Trinity Mews Veterinary Clinic ensures you will always have expert care for your pet. 

Corktown has the honour of being one of Toronto’s more affordable neighbourhoods that is safe and quiet, but with easy access to all of the convenience and amenities of downtown Toronto. 

Resources for Pet Owners in Toronto 

One of the reasons Toronto is so good for pet owners is the easy access to everything you need to keep them happy and healthy. Take a look at just a few of the resources that are just around the corner no matter what neighbourhood you and your family settle in.

Mobile Veterinary Clinics 

Having access to the best medical care is typically a top priority for your children. It’s normal to want the same for your pets. A healthy housemate is a happy one, and living in Toronto means you can have peace of mind that skilled and compassionate veterinary care is close at hand. 

When you can’t get your pet to the doctor, the doctor can come to you. Several Toronto clinics offer in-house visits:

Emergency Veterinary Clinics

What happens when your pet needs urgent care but it’s after hours? Toronto offers several emergency clinics where you can access care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Holistic Pet Health Services

Why wait to treat a specific ailment when you can nurture your pet’s whole body? The following clinics take a holistic approach to caring for your furry companion.

Pet Sitting Services

Do you need someone to provide chin rubs and cuddles for your fuzzy soulmate while you can’t be there in person? Here are a few services that may come in handy.

Are you looking for more information on the incredible neighbourhoods you’ll find in Downtown and West Toronto? We are happy to tell you all you want to know! Get in touch today at tanya@tcteam.ca or call 647-293-3785 to begin a conversation.

A Guide To Moving Up in the West GTA

Feb 9, 2024 | Toronto

Moving up to a more spacious home can be an even more exciting milestone than the purchase of your first house. You’ve gained your first foothold on the property ladder, which has allowed you to begin building equity. 

Now, you’re ready to take a step up to a new home that fits your evolving lifestyle. This process will begin by crafting your vision of what your new life may look like.

If all the steps are there, your transition is likely to be a positive and seamless experience. Let’s explore what you need to know about upgrading your home and your life. 

Choose Your Guide Wisely

At a glance, moving up involves selling your existing home and then buying a new one. However, that is just scratching the surface because each of these stages involves countless smaller steps and decisions. 

A successful transition requires an in-depth analysis of your goals, your budget, and a realistic timeline. These are just a few factors that help you determine the viability of your new home before making that life-changing decision.

What you need is the guidance of a highly skilled real estate professional who will be there for you and help you strategize and make the most of your opportunities. A real estate agent who knows the market and the nuances of each unique scenario will help you obtain the best results when buying and selling. 

The right expert won’t just be there for the transactions, however. They are by your side through the whole process to help make your vision a reality.

Are you looking for a real estate team that’s the perfect fit for your goals? You may enjoy “What Are The Benefits Of Working With A Boutique Real Estate Team?

The Planning Stages

The key to getting what you want is to plan it all out in great detail. However, the unexpected can still happen no matter how well you strategize. That’s why it’s important to know what you want, but you should also know when a compromise is in order. 

Keep in mind that the real estate market is always evolving. Having a clear vision balanced with a sense of flexibility ensures that you end up with a new home and lifestyle that you are thrilled with. A comprehensive yet flexible plan begins with your answers to the following questions: 

  • Have you obtained a mortgage pre-approval from your lender?
  • Where is your ultimate dream home located? What are your second and third options? 
  • Is there a particular school you want access to? Your real estate agent can help you relocate to the right catchment area.
  • Is proximity to work, family or friends important? 
  • What does your ideal lifestyle look like?
  • What amenities must be nearby? Public transit and parks, for example. And what are you willing to live without if you find the right house at the right price? 
  • What are your “must-have” and “would-be-nice-to-have” features of your new home? Also, what attributes do you want to avoid? 
  • Will you sell first or buy first?
  • Do you understand the risks of buying before selling?

Each small decision you make helps you clarify what you want and what you’d prefer to avoid. Luckily, your highly skilled and knowledgeable real estate agent is there to iron out all of the details. 

Empowering Your Move With a Successful Sale 

Selling your existing home for the maximum results sets the foundation for a seamless upgrade. The more you earn from your sale, the more purchasing power you have with your next home. Plus, the faster you sell, the more negotiating power you have. You will have greater confidence with the strength of your own offers as you search for your next home.

The key to getting these results is to stay aware and act intentionally in all aspects of the transaction. For example, strategic home improvements are essential to help you earn the highest amount possible from your sale. 

Some upgrades add significant value to a potential buyer. Others are not worth your time or investment. Plus, home decor trends change constantly. Working together closely with your agent will ensure you get the best results without unnecessary expenses or effort. 


Looking for more selling tips? Check out the related reading below:


Finding the Right Home 

We all love to talk about finding the “perfect” home, especially when you’re upgrading to something bigger and better. Who doesn’t want everything to be just right?

However, considering all options that check off most of the boxes on your list allows more possibilities. For example, it’s easy to modernize a space and make it feel more contemporary with a fresh coat of paint—a small investment that has a great return. You can update the décor over time as your budget permits. 

What we can’t change is the location of a home, the neighbourhood and the socio-economic dynamics. Hence, a home with potential beyond the aesthetics is worth considering. For example, that house you’re considering might not be “picture-perfect.” However, if it’s “almost perfect” and in an excellent location, does it really matter if it doesn’t have the marble countertops and high-end appliances you’ve always wanted? 

As long as the framework and structure of the home is right, you can always make changes later. Once again, a real estate agent can help you find opportunities and see beyond surface appearances to find the home & neighbourhood that are just right. 

Together, we’ll create your wish list and scour the market until we find the one that checks off most–if not all–of your boxes. Once we have a target in mind, we’ll go to work to secure your ideal home. 


The resources below will be invaluable as you begin your home search:


Where Will Your New Home Be? 

The West GTA consists of major population centres next to or a short distance from Toronto. This includes Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington, and the surrounding areas. Which one of these should you choose as your next home? Let’s explore them in greater detail.

Toronto 

Welcome to Ontario’s capital city! Toronto also boasts soaring skyscrapers and a dazzling downtown core. Here, you’ll find the highest concentration of career opportunities, particularly in tech fields. 

The schools in Toronto are outstanding, with excellent public and private options. For example, Ursula Franklin Academy consistently ranks in the top 10 of all public secondary schools in Ontario. At the elementary level, you’ll find Rosedale Junior Public School, John Ross Robertson Junior Public School, and several others that score very highly with the Fraser Institute. Upper Canada College and Bishop Strachan School are well-known and highly respected private alternatives. 

Although Toronto’s housing market is more expensive than other areas, real estate is a worthy investment as values grow over time. Come to Toronto if you love a booming metropolis that is safe, exciting, and family-friendly! There are many neighbourhoods within the city proper, and we’ll share what we love about each unique area. Depending on your unique needs we’ll help to identify the location that would be the best fit for you. 


Learn more about why we love Toronto in the posts below:


Mississauga 

Located approximately 30 km from downtown Toronto, and its immediate neighbour to the west, Mississauga is the seventh largest city in Canada, which is absolutely thriving. The City of Mississauga is known for its diverse population, beautiful waterfront, superb schools, and distinct neighbourhoods that make it highly attractive for families and young professionals. Its close proximity to Toronto (only 15 minutes into the city from south Mississauga on the GO Train or via highway QEW) makes it an attractive choice to live in a more suburban area, yet with easy access to Toronto.

Plenty of excellent opportunities are right in the city, and downtown Toronto is not far away. Houses in Mississauga can be expensive, but they often offer more square footage and outdoor space than what you find in Toronto. Mississauga is also undergoing extensive development, making it a fantastic place for investors at all levels.

Buying outside of Toronto proper also costs less on the Land Transfer Tax, which may be a consideration for some buyers, especially if in east or south Mississauga near the Etobicoke, Toronto border. Our real estate calculators can give you an idea of what your new home will cost, depending on its location.


Learn more about the benefits of Mississauga in the posts below:


Milton

The Town of Milton is one of the fastest-growing areas of the GTA for many reasons. With a slightly lower cost of living compared to both Toronto and Mississauga, it provides superb opportunities for those looking for a larger home or more outdoor living space. 

Milton’s real claim to fame is the incredible natural beauty it offers, thanks to its location right along the Niagara Escarpment. Nature enthusiasts will never get tired of exploring the trails and taking in the unbelievable views at Rattlesnake Point (named after the winding paths–there are no actual rattlesnakes!). This outstanding natural wonder is particularly mesmerizing in the fall, where you can take in an explosion of colour from one of the numerous lookout points.

Milton is also home to the Mattamy National Cycling Centre, a one-of-a-kind velodrome where certified riders can enjoy indoor bike riding. Other activities include sports such as basketball, badminton, volleyball, and pickleball. Countless shops, services, and restaurants throughout the town mean you never have to travel far for a night out or to run your daily errands.

Under the Halton District School Board and the Halton Catholic District School Board, Milton offers a superb education system. W.I. Dick Middle School, Chris Hadfield Public School, Our Lady of Victory Catholic Elementary School, and Milton District High School are notable public schools throughout the town. Parents also have a selection of Montessori schools for younger children, and Halton Waldorf School is an excellent private alternative for students at the primary levels right through to Grade 12. 

Milton’s housing market offers a wide range of options, ranging from entry-level condos to stunning heritage homes and executive new builds. Many have larger lot sizes than Toronto properties offer, which is one more reason many families have turned their eyes to Milton. 

Oakville

If you love the convenience the big city provides but could do without the crowds, Oakville could be the place for you. Parks and trails are abundant, with more than 200 kilometres of recreational trails just waiting to be explored.

Oakville is one of the most affluent areas in all of Canada, and Lakeshore Road has earned the title ‘Billionaires Row’ thanks to its magnificent homes along the waterfront. 

Access to some of the best schools in Ontario, public and private, makes Oakville a top destination for families who have decided to move up to a larger home.  

With the introduction of the Toronto Luxury Home Tax, more buyers may be considering affluent areas of Oakville for their home search instead of Toronto. Oakville offers an amazing lifestyle that is upscale, yet approachable.


Learn even more about the joy of Oakville in the posts below:


Burlington 

Burlington lies next to Oakville to the west and falls within the Halton Municipality. Located on the shores of Lake Ontario to the south and the Niagara Escarpment to the north, it also features upscale homes and family-friendly communities at a price point that is more accessible than Oakville. It features one of the most beautiful downtown areas filled with wonderful independent shops and restaurants, framed by an expansive waterfront with beautiful pier and boardwalk. 

Beautiful, scenic, and convenient, Burlington is another favourite GTA destination for families with young children. One of Burlington’s biggest claims to fame is that it is consistently ranked one of the best mid-sized cities to live in Canada. We love Burlington for its family friendly vibe, easy proximity to Toronto or west to Hamilton amongst all of the wonderful features that makes Burlington a terrific place to call home.


Learn even more about the beautiful City of Burlington in the posts below:


Are you ready to start the process of moving up to a new home? The Tanya Crepulja Team is here to help every step of the way. Reach out to tanya@tcteam.ca or call 647-293-3785 for more information.

Beautiful Upcoming Oakville Communities

Our Top Six Up-and-Coming Neighbourhoods in Oakville

Jan 30, 2024 | Oakville

Oakville is known for its many desirable qualities that make it one of the fastest-growing and most highly sought-after places in Canada. The waterfront and landscaping are spectacular, and many of the homes are simply out of this world. As an affluent area, Oakville offers some of the most luxurious real estate in Ontario. 

Many of Canada’s top private schools are also located in Oakville. Access to premium education, along with safe communities, are just a few reasons Oakville has been named one of the top places to live in Canada, especially for families. Close proximity to Toronto and Hamilton also make for easy commuting when travelling for work or leisure. 

Oakville is a town with a vision, and its development and innovation are just beginning. Here, even the “up and coming” neighbourhoods are highly desirable. In this post, we’ll explore a few of these hidden gems you’ll want to know more about.

Bronte West/West Oakville

Bronte West is a neighbourhood in transition, which makes it an attractive place for families seeking to upgrade. Wider lots offer outstanding potential to build that beautiful dream home customized just for you. The community also offers waterfront access, scenic beauty, and unparalleled convenience with close proximity to the Go Station. 

Many people in the community are long-time residents and homeowners. The neighbourhood is sprinkled with several older bungalows and side split homes that make Bronte West more affordable than what you’ll find in south east Oakville. You’ll have the option of getting into an entry-level home and renovating it to suit your goals. Alternatively, you may decide to tear down the old house to rebuild from the ground up. The opportunities are almost endless!

Access to the waterfront trail is one of the best highlights of Bronte West, and it’s a short walk or bike ride to Bronte Village where you can explore a unique selection of restaurants and one-of-a-kind shopping opportunities. Few things feel more luxurious or relaxing than strolling along next to the gentle waves!

Do you love to get out and explore the great outdoors? The beautiful Bronte Bluffs and Bronte Heritage Waterfront Parks are just minutes away. 

Schools that may fall in your catchment area include Eastview Elementary School, Thomas A. Blakelock Secondary School, and the highly-rated Pine Grove Public School. École élémentaire Patricia-Picknell provides a comprehensive education in the French Language. If you prefer a private school, Appleby College has an excellent reputation and is less than a ten-minute drive away.   


Want to learn even more about the stunning Town of Oakville? Here is some related reading you will love:


Bronte Village/Bronte Harbour

With its charming and picturesque feel, you’d be correct in thinking that Bronte Village is already one of Oakville’s most established and desirable neighbourhoods. However, thanks to an influx of new condos, luxury townhouses and detached homes in the works, we also consider this to be one of the best up-and-coming areas.

Nestled right along the waterfront, Bronte Village features outstanding attractions, including the stunning Harbour and Marina. Strolling the boardwalk is a great way to spend an afternoon, where you’ll take in the gorgeous view of the lake and the Bronte Harbour Pier and Lighthouse. In addition, Bronte Heritage Waterfront Park offers a fantastic playground for children, allowing them to laugh and play while enjoying the great outdoors.

The independent shops of Bronte Village always have something new in store. For example, Farm Boy recently opened its doors and offers a spectacular array of organic and private-label products. 

In Bronte Village, change and evolution are in the air, especially now that the neighbourhood is participating in the “Livable Oakville Plan.” Over the next few years, we expect Bronte Village to grow and thrive as more housing and commercial developments add to the already numerous shops, services, and unique restaurants. 

A leisurely stroll to Oakville’s incredible harbour offers a stunning view of hundreds of boats, two lighthouses, and a long pier extending into the lake. Nearby parks make it easy to spend an afternoon outdoors playing sports or simply enjoying the scenery. 

Parents have plenty of options for their children’s education. Nearby public schools include Eastview Elementary School and Pine Grove Elementary. For Catholic alternatives, consider St. Joseph Catholic Elementary School, St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary School or the private Mater Boni Consilii Academy.

Kerr Village

Kerr Village is another hidden gem currently undergoing a significant revitalization. This eclectic neighbourhood features many exceptional restaurants. For example, Maro’s Bistro is one of the top-rated options in Oakville. Community Restaurant is legendary among local residents, and local hotspots like the Kerr Street Cafe are a great way to get your morning or midafternoon boost. When you’re looking for dessert, The Sweetest Thing is a must-visit destination.  

Kerr Village also has more independently owned businesses than any other neighbourhood in Oakville! The streets are lined with must-visit boutiques and services such as Dove + Arrow, Corbetts Ski + Snowboard, Flower Deco, The Splendid Olive, and more. 

Long-time residents include many seniors who grew up in the area. However, since gentrification is bringing in several younger buyers, the neighbourhood is quickly becoming more diverse. The real estate landscape consists of many modest homes, and lot sizes can be smaller. However, many of these residences have been fully renovated or rebuilt into fabulous homes.

To get an even greater idea of the feel for Kerr Village, think of New Toronto along the Lakeshore. The vibe and the homes are similar, making this the perfect place for those who love Toronto energy without the crowds. Kerr Village is also home to the Trafalgar Park Community Centre, where residents gather to skate, play sports, or run, jump, and climb at the outdoor playground.

Whenever you want to escape to nature, Westwood Park is a beautiful spot to relax and unwind. Redevelopment includes new walkways and the addition of trees and shrubs, a metal gazebo and a water feature.

Though Kerr Village has fewer public schools than other Oakville neighbourhoods, you still have access to Oakwood Public School, Gary Allan High School, and St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School. 


Do you want more information before buying your next home? The posts below will help:


Falgarwood

Falgarwood is one of Oakville’s older areas that is great for families or anyone who enjoys a peaceful lifestyle. Thanks to the many parks, ravines, and green spaces, it is also becoming popular with those who love spending time outdoors. In the summer, you’ll find residents of all ages happily splashing about in Falgarwood Outdoor Pool. Alternatively, you can tear up the ice any time of year at Joshua’s Creek Arena. With its proximity to Oakville Place, the main mall in town, Falgarwood offers a convenient lifestyle where you can quickly find anything you need. 

Falgarwood is located just south of Wedgewood and Joshua Creek, and features homes at more affordable price points. Many of the original houses have been renovated over the years, or in some cases, new custom homes have been built in their place. However, Falgarwood remains one of the most accessible neighbourhoods in Oakville. 

Families have access to some of Oakville’s best public schools, including Munn’s Public School, which also offers a French Immersion. Iroquois Ridge has a reputation as one of Ontario’s best secondary schools, having been ranked in the top 10 according to the Fraser Institute. For a Catholic education, St Ignatius of Loyola Catholic Secondary School also ranks very highly. 

Private schools such as Walden International School and Wildwood Academy are also nearby.

Want to learn even more about the quiet and family-friendly Falgarwood neighbourhood? Read our community guide right here. 

Trafalgar Road Corridor

Part of the Livable Oakville Plan involves major development in the infrastructure of the Trafalgar Road Corridor. This area north of Dundas St to Highway 407 is home to vast swathes of vacant land, which creates the opportunity to add significant residential and commercial development. 

New condos are already in the works near the big box stores and restaurants located in Oak Park. This convenient and desirable location represents a fantastic opportunity for investors or young professionals to get into the Oakville market at a reasonable price. Easy access to local highways and the 407 mean that this is a premium location for those travelling in and out of the city.

Thinking of investing in Oakville? You may enjoy What to Look Out for When Buying Pre-Construction.

Glen Abbey West/Upper Glen Abbey

Glen Abbey West is known for the master planned development called Glen Abbey Encore, which is one of the most exciting new communities in Oakville. If you’re looking for a brand new home that is both modern and spacious, this up and coming neighbourhood could be perfect for you. It consists of six acclaimed GTA home builders – Castleridge Homes, Countrywide Homes, Fernbrook Homes, Hallett Homes, Lindvest and Primont – all in one fantastic community!

Glen Abbey West lies east of Bronte Rd, north to Upper Middle, west of Third Line, and south to the QEW. Neighbourhood amenities include lavish parks and green spaces, including Bronte Creek Provincial Park and Deerfield Golf Club. The scenery alone gives Glen Abbey West a luxurious and peaceful vibe. 

Schools in Glen Abbey West include Heritage Glen Public School and Abbey Park High School. This master planned community will also have new schools built to fulfill the needs of the neighbourhood. 

Do you have questions about which Oakville neighbourhood might be right for you? We are your resource for Oakville real estate and would be delighted to help. Reach out today at tanya@tcteam.ca or call 647-293-3785 for a complimentary consultation.

Luxury design for 2024 and beyond

Our Favourite Luxury Design Ideas for 2024 and Beyond

Jan 14, 2024 | Lifestyle

A new year is a fantastic time to make lasting changes in your life. For many homeowners, the place to start is right within their four walls. Rethinking your design is about making your house beautiful and stylish, but it also allows you to feel more at home and comfortable in your space. And isn’t that what home is truly all about? 

To help you enhance your home with some of the most luxurious trends of 2024, we interviewed Diana Bastone, an award-winning interior designer. In this post, we’ll talk about a few ways to elevate your decor, whether you’re planning a few simple accents or a complete remodel.

What are some of your favourite overall designs that you see lasting well beyond 2024?

Diana: The first thing I’d like to talk about is architectural detail. Think of the trim work and panelling that you may have once associated with older, more traditional houses. Architectural detail is now a feature even in contemporary homes. 

The specific trends come in ebbs and flows, but anything that adds texture will remain in style for years. A few examples are applied moulding, slat walls, panelling, or really anything applied to the wall or even doors. It’s not just a blank wall anymore. Now, there’s texture and visual interest that is both classy and subtle. The beauty is that once the groundwork is there, you can easily keep up with the latest styles by painting or staining the wood. Different colours add a whole new look whenever you want a change.

Symmetry is another timeless feature in newer homes that will never become outdated. No matter what level of remodelling you’re doing, you should always try to find ways to implement symmetry. For example, if there’s a fireplace as the focal point in the room, you can balance it out by displaying bookcases on either side. 

I love talking about architectural detail and symmetry in design. The reason is that, yes, they are hot trends for 2024, but, more importantly, they have staying power. If you incorporate them now, you won’t have to tear it all down and start from scratch in 2025. These are genuinely timeless styles.


Looking for related reading on design and home decor? Here are some other posts you will love:


What are the best luxury trends for those who have a significant budget?

Diana: A hidden room is one of my favourite luxury trends in upscale homes. It’s not like in the movies where there’s a mysterious switch on the bookcase that opens a secret door. Instead, the door is blended into the cabinetry, leading to a room where electronics, printers, and other equipment can be stored out of sight. It elevates the room because there is no clutter to distract the eye, but everything is conveniently within reach. 

You’ll also see this trend in high-end homes where the kitchen has a hidden pantry. Hidden rooms are a custom feature that is usually built into the planning stages of construction. However, if you have the budget, you may be able to incorporate them into a renovation.

A hidden door blends seamlessly into the wall

Technology

The other luxury trend is technology. Functional technology like smart thermostats and doorbells have been out for a while, but these are more about function than design.

An example of technology in design would be automated blinds. Being able to control the light from a remote from the comfort of your chair used to be only for very wealthy homeowners. Now, they’re becoming more accessible. Often, you don’t even need a remote, but can control the blinds by using an app on your smartphone. You can even open and close them when you’re away on vacation to make it appear as though you are home. 

Even though automated blinds are becoming more popular in mid-level homes, they can also be very luxurious. If built into the planning, the cassette can be hidden in the ceiling, allowing the blinds to flow elegantly and seamlessly. 

You’ll also see technology integrated with lighting, where you no longer need a switch. You can turn on lights with a wave of your hand. Or you can tap to change the colour or brightness. At the luxury level, there are layers to the lighting. It may begin with a drop ceiling and rope lighting, followed by a fixture, then wall sconces. There’s much more to it than a series of pot lights. 

More and more, weaving light and technology into your home isn’t just about being aesthetically pleasing; it is also highly functional and improves the quality of your life. 

Floor Plans

My clients often tell me, “I know how I like to live.” And I always design their home around their lifestyle. At one time, everyone wanted open-concept layouts. Now, we are starting to create closed-off spaces, especially if a client wants a special spot for working from home. Adding closed areas helps to eliminate noise transfer and changes how you feel in the space. However, it isn’t exactly that “old is new again.” 

There’s a twist to these closed-off spaces. Instead of building walls, we’re creating framed glass pocket doors. It’s no longer just about “open concept” or “closed concept.” You have flexibility, where you can close off the eating area with pocket doors and reopen it later. It’s a very elevated way of looking at it. 

Personalizing Your Style

Every interior designer will have a different approach and opinion about what trends will last. Personally, I like to add touches of trends while integrating them with what I know will have staying power. Even with a significant budget, redesigning your home can be expensive, and trends come and go.

For example, let’s talk about flooring. It wasn’t long ago that gray and taupe floors were in vogue. Now they are out. Light floors are current, and I expect they will be fashionable for quite some time. For the long term, you cannot go wrong with a mid-tone stain colour floor. Medium brown is warm and neutral and will always be timeless.

But no matter what you do, always consider adding design as your floors are being laid. Maybe you’ll use a chevron or herringbone pattern to create a sense of interest and movement. Tasteful and classic patterns like these will never go out of style and we are seeing them in both contemporary and transitional style homes. It’s much more aesthetically pleasing than a blank floor. 

A single focus piece creates a clean and elegant look

What are the best style ideas for someone who doesn’t want to invest a lot of money or commit to a renovation?

Diana: Many of the designs we’ve talked about so far have to be incorporated during the construction stages. Building them into a renovation is usually expensive and disruptive. However, there are so many things you can do with a smaller budget to completely transform your space.

First, think about custom cabinetry or millwork. You can even decide on a price point by keeping it simple or going all out. If you have a fireplace with a mantel, custom cabinetry on either side adds visual interest and symmetry.

Second, take a look at your furniture. I like to recommend custom furniture because I am not a fan of fast fashion or fast interior design. Investing in quality now means you will have unique, original pieces that will be comfortable for years to come. 

Lastly, look for ways to quietly elevate a room using accents. Elegant drapery adds a subtle backdrop and softens the edges of the windows. This isn’t construction, so it’s a simple and fairly inexpensive upgrade that makes your space feel instantly warmer. 


Is a new home one of your goals for the year? The posts below will help:


Do you have any day-to-day style tips for someone with a busy lifestyle to keep their home looking fashionable?

Diana: A couple of tricks are to stick with big pieces in the home and stay neutral with colours. If you do that, you can change your entire look from one season to the next without taking much time or money. Artwork, decorative pillows, and throw blankets are easy enough to switch out whenever you want a change in style.

Lately, I’ve also been seeing a lot of requests for greenery inside the home. I’m not one to use artificial, but there are creative ways around that, especially if you don’t have time to care for high-maintenance plants. 

Simply take a large vase and add some decorative sticks. As a single focus point on a kitchen island, this small detail provides texture and allows you to bring nature in. And you don’t have to worry about remembering to water it daily. 

Maintaining a Clean Look

To maintain a clean and stylish look even when you’re busy, always have a place for things. Decorative boxes and storage bins allow you to stay organized and clutter-free while still having easy access to what you need. For example, if you currently have remotes lying around everywhere, consider creating a special box for them. You’ll always know where they are, and you keep your home decor clean and minimal. 

The biggest compliment I’ve ever received as a designer was from a client who still loves her kitchen years later–all because we added a place for her small appliances behind doors. As well, we created a charging station in a drawer for their phones. Not only is there no running around looking for a charger, but her kitchen counters remain clean and organized. 

Our pets are another elephant in the room when it comes to home design. Yes, we love them and they are part of the family! But they can be messy. With a little creativity and custom cabinetry, you can hide the food and water bowls and have a separate, attractive-looking compartment for leashes and harnesses. 

Add Some Quirkiness

You’ll quickly be overwhelmed if you try to keep up with every trend. But if your home is beautiful to you, you no longer have to worry about what is up and coming. Keep it minimal and personal, perhaps with one or two items from your travels on the shelves rather than overcrowding. Most of all, I recommend not jumping on an idea just because it’s trendy. Whatever you decide, do it for you. There really is something for everybody in home design!

If you’re looking for more of Diana’s ideas for your home decor, visit dianabastonedesigns.com.

All images courtesy of Stephani Buchman.

Do you have questions about how to find the right home to customize and transform? The Tanya Crepulja Team is here to help! Get in touch today at tanya@tcteam.ca or call 647-293-3785 for a complimentary information session.

 

What Are the Benefits of Working With a Boutique Real Estate Team? 

Dec 14, 2023 | Buyers

Boutique service in real estate means working with a small team of experts who  provide exceptional, client focused and dedicated care to ensure a successful home buying or selling journey. With the help of a boutique real estate service such as with the Tanya Crepulja Team, you can look forward to a concierge-style approach that is laser focused on your success for a smooth and seamless experience. We strive to exceed expectations!

As great as it is to dream about making a positive change in your life, it’s far better to make it a reality! Working with a boutique team you can trust to help you navigate the maze of the current market can be the key to finding the ideal place just for you. If your transition involves selling your existing home first, a trusted and knowledgeable expert can guide you at every turn. 

You’ll want someone with a sharp pulse on the local market, who knows the in’s and out’s of the neighbourhoods to provide you with sage guidance based on your unique criteria, and who has a solid reputation in the industry. Credibility goes a long way to ensuring the best possible result for your home buying or selling goals.

Consumers want service and efficiency. A real estate professional who understands your wants and goals will strive to achieve it all. In this post, we’ll look at the benefits of working with a boutique service, and how you can choose the right partner to make your vision of selling and buying a reality. 

What Is a Boutique Real Estate Team?

Boutique real estate services like what you would receive when working with the Tanya Crepulja Team are personal, and highly dedicated. You will be working directly with a highly skilled professional, not passed on to a junior member of a large team.

We also get to know you as a person, not just a client, which means you get one-on-one attention throughout your real estate journey. This translates into far greater care and transparency, with personalized service for every step of your home buying or selling journey. We are keen listeners and pay attention to identify your needs not only from what you’ve shared, but also from our experience working with hundreds of clients and developing an instinct as to what will be a terrific fit if home buying. Often, we can bring opportunities to your attention that may not have initially been on your radar. 

When selling, we keenly observe, listen and pay the utmost attention to detail in every aspect of the transaction. We work closely with you in the planning stages and every step of the way to prepare and present your property in the absolute best, and most appealing light to prospective purchasers. 

Often, your relationship will feel more as though you’re a close family member or lifelong friend than a client, with expert service and dedication to match. We want you to succeed because we are so invested in exceeding your expectations. It’s never about us or the transaction – we want you to be our client for life and to be a raving fan to those you know, as that is the utmost compliment we could receive. 

Once your transaction closes and it’s time for the next chapter, we will be there to continue to support you for any help we could be of for the years that follow, or even if just to call and say hello! The relationships that are established truly mean the most.

When dealing with such a life-changing milestone, this extra level of care and expertise is invaluable. We work day at night to ensure every client feels cared for and listened to at every step. Our clients know that we are accessible and available for them at almost all hours of the day, 7 days a week.


Are you thinking about buying your next home this year? The posts below are a great place to gather some knowledge:


Impeccable Knowledge and Industry Expertise

Close relationships and personalized services aren’t the only hallmarks of a boutique real estate team. A boutique agent will also possess outstanding skills in all aspects of your purchase or sale. 

When selling, the services and attention to detail are more evident than you’d see with a larger team that is focused solely on the transaction and their bottom-line profit. 

Stellar marketing techniques will include:

  • Keen attention to detail with a methodical process in preparing your home for the sale – we don’t just list it on the MLS, we work with our Seller clients to prepare each property to show to its absolute best potential.
  • Access to our trusted tradespeople for painting, repairs and other tasks, often at a more attractive cost for our clientele.
  • Complimentary stylish and bespoke full home staging  – our trusted home stagers are some of the top in the industry, earning the ‘Best of’ on Houzz
    Editorial quality professional videography and photography – we work with the best in the Toronto area.
  • Lifestyle videography including narrated tours highlighting the features of the home and the neighbourhood location – as we are selling not only a property, but also a lifestyle. 
  • A custom website domain and personalized landing page of the property offering far more information to prospective purchasers searching online. 
  • Architectural floor plans.
  • Professionally designed print brochures.
  • International marketing including esteemed publications such as the Wall Street Journal and Mansion Global for qualifying price points.
  • Internal advertising via our extensive network of domestic and international agents.
  • Dedicated follow up on every agent showing. 
  • Social media marketing with professionally designed and crafted posts 
  • Strong negotiation skills to negotiate offers received. Tanya Crepulja is a Master Certified Negotiation Expert with the MCNE designation per the Real Estate Negotiation Institute. 

Our boutique team never goes through the motions, but carefully analyzes the market to determine where your best opportunities are. No detail is too small if it helps you earn a higher amount so you can move on to your next journey with newfound confidence. Once the transaction is over, you’ll also have access to our trusted team of service partners which ensures a high level of enjoyment and happiness in your new home.

Eight Reasons to Choose a Boutique Team 

1. To simplify the process 

Working with a boutique real estate service can make what would be a complex transition into a simple and straightforward process. Whenever you reach out for help, the person on the other end of the phone call or email already knows what is happening. This spares you the time and effort of explaining the same situation multiple times. 

We simultaneously handle every detail for you while keeping you up to date and informed through it all, from getting pre-approved for your mortgage and creating a realistic wish list to analyzing possible homes and crafting compelling offers. 

2. Personal representation

When you work with us, we represent you. Helping you close the transaction at the best possible price and terms is both our fiduciary duty and our honour. Whether buying or selling, we will go the extra mile to intuitively serve your needs by listening closely and observing your goals. Seeing you happy and successful is as satisfying as it would be if you were part of our own family.

3. Access to more listings 

When buying a home, your search may start with browsing listings on the MLS® or Realtor.ca, but it should never end there, especially when demand is high and supply is low. 

When you work with an experienced team like ours, we will scour our extensive network for unadvertised listings and other hard-to-find homes. 

Not every property is listed on the open market, so you may not even be aware that they are available. With our reputation and trusted relationships with other agents, we have successfully negotiated off-market deals for our clients in the exact neighbourhoods they wanted to be in. 

4. Protecting your interests at all times 

We do more than help clients buy a house that is stylish and cosmetically pleasing. It’s critically important to ensure that you will love your home after you’ve moved in as much as when you first laid eyes on it.  

We do everything possible to ensure the home is not just beautiful on the outside, but structurally sound and with no issues that prevent you from fully making it your own.  

We will be open and honest with any details about a property that may impact its future appeal so you can make an informed decision.

5. Outstanding long-term support 

The assistance of a boutique real estate service extends far beyond buying or selling. For example: Do you need tips on how to stylize your home to add your own personal flair? Are you looking for a reputable tradesperson to create the chef’s kitchen or luxurious bathroom you’ve always dreamed about? 

If your buying plans depend on maximizing your sale now, we will use every tool at our disposal to empower you for the next goal. We are always here for you, and will never stop until we know that you are thrilled. 


If you are looking for ways to style your new home, the resources below will help:


6. Navigating any market 

We will walk you through what is happening in the market before you begin planning your sale or purchase. If the inventory is currently low, we will ensure that you are in the best possible position to act. The Tanya Crepulja Team will also strive to find creative ways to negotiate for a house you love while competing with other buyers. 

When inventory is plentiful, we’ll work with you to narrow down your options to the absolute best of the best. A boutique service is there to analyze the market as a whole, right down to the specifics of the neighbourhood you are looking for. 

7. Anticipating the next steps 

Buying or selling a home represents a significant change in your life. As a result, you will have questions, and a lot of them! Some you know to ask upfront, especially if you have experience in the market or have done background research beforehand. 

However, most people don’t live, breathe, and dream real estate like we do. There will undoubtedly be questions that come up that you may not even think of at the moment. A boutique real estate team will be there to anticipate your needs and bring peace of mind to your transition.

  • If your vision is hazy, we will help you clarify it. 
  • If you don’t know what to expect from today’s market, we will help you set realistic goals. 
  • If you’re underestimating what you can achieve, we will expand your horizons. 

Dealing with real estate isn’t something you do every day. But helping clients like you is what we love and have trained for years. 

8. Connecting you with reputable experts 

Once your move is over and you’re in your new house, you’ll feel a deep sense of satisfaction and relief. Now it’s time to settle in and make the changes that will turn your perfect home into an absolute dream. But moulding your space to your standards is rarely a one-person job. 

Chances are, you will want designers, tradespeople, and reputable contractors to help. When you work with a well-established boutique real estate team like ours, a multitude of trusted and vetted experts are right at your fingertips.  


Are you ready to begin the selling process? The posts below might help:


How to Find the Right Boutique Real Estate Team 

The benefits of working with a professional and caring boutique real estate team are endless. There are many excellent services available. The question is, how do you find the right one? Here are a few ways you can begin to narrow it down:

Does Their Service Align With Your Goals?

  • Start by browsing the agent’s website to see what services they offer and how knowledgeable they are. Sign up for their newsletter and download their Buyer’s Guide and Seller’s Guide if these resources are available.
  • Ask how long the real estate team has been active in your area. The longer they’ve served the community, the more valuable connections they will have to help you achieve your goal.
  • Does the real estate team work with both buyers and sellers? If so, you can trust that they have deep insight on the other side of the transaction. It also means you can benefit even more from a long-term relationship with an expert who knows your story. 
  • A real estate team with a high level of service and stellar reputation will have many positive reviews from previous clients, (like the 26 pages of testimonials you’ll see for the Tanya Crepulja Team. 
  • You won’t just find positive reviews on the agent’s website. A knowledgeable expert will also have plenty of Google Reviews to give you an idea of the level of service and results you can expect.

What Is Their Reputation in the Community?

  • Does the agent have an understanding of the neighbourhood you want to buy in? Detailed community guides on their website are a good indication.
  • What is their track record of success? Where do they stand on the local real estate board? The Tanya Crepulja Team is in the Top 1% of all agents on the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) and in the Top 10 of all individual agents in Canada for Keller Williams.
  • How do they position their listings so that they stand out amongst the rest? What type of international exposure do they receive? When working with the Tanya Crepulja Team, you will benefit from a global luxury connection.  

What Happens After a Sale?

  • Is your agent still there or do they disappear once the transaction has been completed?
  • Can you trust that they are genuinely looking out for your best interests or are they solely focused on getting a deal done?

At the Tanya Crepulja Team, we are committed to providing all of our clients in Toronto proper and the west Greater Toronto Area with a truly personalized, luxury level experience regardless of lifestyle or price point. Allow us to share in your journey as a trusted real estate advisor whether you’re a first time home buyer, seasoned home owner, or investor.

Do you have questions about our elevated level of client service? Reach out to us today at tanya@tcteam.ca or call 647-293-3785 for a complimentary and confidential Buyer or Seller consultation. 

Should you rent or buy in today's market?

Should You Rent Or Buy In Today’s Market?

Nov 30, 2023 | Buyers

If you have any background in real estate, it may be hard to imagine that any Realtor® or financial advisor would recommend renting a home whenever buying was possible. However,  this may be a matter of affordability and personal goals in today’s market. 

Buying is still preferred in the long run. Renting for the interim may be an option, depending on your personal situation. Rising real estate prices combined with higher borrowing costs have made buying a home more challenging for some people. Could renting be the better solution in your case?

The market is nuanced and every situation is different, which means there are no cookie-cutter answers that work for everyone. Your decision is based on your finances, where you want to live, and your long-term goals for your future.

The Advantages of Renting

The problem with renting is what it always was; every monthly payment is gone forever. That money doesn’t add to your net worth or build your equity.

The benefit of renting is that it is less expensive, or at least it used to be, before housing prices soared over the last few years. Rental prices have also increased as landlords try to cover their mortgages and other carrying costs. Nevertheless, there are several reasons that it may be easier to enter the market as a renter than as a first-time buyer.

  • Though renting might not save you money month by month, it costs less upfront since you don’t need a down payment. You can secure a rental with first and last month’s rent.
  • Tenant insurance is less expensive than homeowner’s insurance.
  • Renting can allow you to live in an area where you might not otherwise be able to afford. For example, consider that the average cost of a house in Toronto is over $1 million. Buying in the city is out of reach for some people. But if you’re young and want to experience life in the heart of the action, renting can make that vision a reality. 
  • It’s easier to move on once your lease expires. You can decide to stay where you are, rent somewhere else, or if you’re ready to consider buying a home later. 
  • If you are relocating to a new area, renting allows you to get a feel for the neighbourhood before committing to purchasing a home. 

Whatever path you choose, maximizing the sale of your existing home will empower your future. The resources below will help:


The Downside of Renting

Renting instead of buying can be the more accessible choice for the short term. However, there is a reason many experts urge you to buy whenever possible. Renting has downsides that go beyond not building equity. Here are some of the additional challenges that you may face when you do not own your own house or condo.

  • There will always be some uncertainty as to how long you can live in the home. If the Landlord sells and the new Buyer wants to move in, you have to leave after your lease expires. If the Landlord wants to take back the property for personal use or for an immediate family member, they may be inflexible with the existing lease term and may offer an incentive for you to break the lease earlier (ie. paying you a month’s rent as compensation).
  • You will have limitations with what you are allowed to do to the property. You may not be able to make any major decorating changes or put things up on the walls. If you do, you may be required to revert to how it was at the time of occupancy.
  • Due to rising housing prices, rentals are in high demand. You may encounter competition on your quest to find the right unit for your needs.
  • The wear and tear on a rental property can be more significant than that of an owner occupied home that you bought. Unless you are renting a brand new property, consider that it may not be in the best shape.

Pros & Cons of Buying

When you buy, you begin building equity. The money for your down payment may feel like it’s gone. But it’s important to remember that even though those funds are no longer in your bank account, they are still adding to your net worth. This offers two advantages: you are less likely to spend that money on other things, and your financial worth will grow as real estate prices climb.

Your mortgage payments are also not “gone forever” as they are with rent. A portion of each payment increases your equity share.

One day, your home will be paid in full. It may seem far off in the future, but 25 years will pass, whether you own a home or not.  When you become mortgage-free, the cost of living then drops dramatically, which opens options you might never have had otherwise.

You could use the equity to fund a new investment property to grow your net worth even more. Otherwise, you can continue living in the home, secure in the knowledge that you own a valuable asset, free and clear. 

These are the tangible benefits of owning a home. For many people, the real value is the pride of ownership, which is priceless. The moment you reach that milestone of buying your first home is a cause for a massive celebration. As the years go by, you have the peace of mind of knowing you always have a safe haven and a place to create lifelong memories.

Costs of Buying a House Versus Renting

Buying a home offers many benefits, but you also want to ensure you will be able to carry the costs comfortably. Whenever you’re looking at a house that costs $1 million or more, you automatically need 20% for your down payment. 

If the home on your wish list is less than $1 million, it is possible to buy with less than 20% down with a ‘high ratio’ mortgage. Though this option does come with an additional insurance premium, it is broken down into the monthly payments. In the big picture, paying less upfront can make buying your first home much more accessible. You can learn more about how much you will need for your down payment here.  

There’s more to property ownership than the down payment and the purchase price. Let’s take a look at what you might expect your monthly expenses to be when buying instead of renting. We’ll use an example of the actual average sold price of $846,583 for a 2 bedroom condo sold in November 2023 in downtown Toronto’s C1 Waterfront Communities.

Imagine you bought this property with a 20% down payment. By using our real estate calculator at the current interest rate, your monthly mortgage works out to approximately $4071. On top of this, you will also need to cover maintenance fees, property taxes, utilities, and other living expenses. 

As per the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board stats for the month of November 2023, the average cost to rent a two-bedroom condo apartment with parking in downtown Toronto’s C1 Waterfront Communities was $3776 per month, plus utilities. 

Now, let’s imagine that you purchased a home priced at $1 million. You need $200,000 upfront as a down payment. In addition, your monthly mortgage would be approximately $4740, plus property taxes, utilities and home insurance in addition to other home maintenance related costs. 

To rent a 3 bedroom, 3 bath freehold home, the average price in November 2023 was $5233 for all of Toronto, including Scarborough, North York, Central Toronto and Etobicoke. On a month-to-month basis, it can actually cost more to rent. When you also factor in what you’re losing in terms of equity gains, it may not be the best solution in the long run. 


If you decide to stay in the market by buying, the resources below will give you food for thought:


Is Buying Feasible?

With the high prices of housing and stringent stress tests, buying is not possible for everyone. However, if you are sensible with spending and able to save, have strong support from family members or enjoy a relatively high income, you may be in a better position to handle the down payment and monthly costs. 

In addition, the federal and provincial governments both offer several programs to help you get into the market sooner, including:

  • First Time Home Buyer Incentive: A program where the federal government will front you 5% of the down payment for a resale home or 10% for a new build. This incentive is to be repaid within 25 years or upon selling the property.
  • Home Buyer’s Plan: You can pull as much as $35,000 from an RRSP to put toward your purchase, with no tax penalty as long as you repay those funds within 15 years.
  • First Home Savings Account: Start saving as much as $8,000 each year for your purchase, with no tax penalty, to a maximum of $40,000. The earlier you start, the more this investment fund will grow.
  • Ontario Land Transfer Credit: Save a maximum of $4,000 off of the land transfer tax, which reduces one of your most significant closing costs.
  • Municipal Land Transfer Credit: Toronto has its own municipal land transfer tax, which first time buyers can also save $4,000.
  • First Time Home Buyer’s Tax Credit: First time buyers qualify for a $10,000 credit, which can reduce their taxes owed by $1,500.

The Downsizing Advantage

If your mortgage is fully paid and you’re thinking about downsizing, you are in an enviable position. Depending on the stage in life, or lifestyle in general, people might automatically think of selling their family home to downsize to a condo or townhouse, but this is only one option out of many.

In your case, you may decide to rent instead of buy as a lifestyle choice. The thought of freedom from home maintenance and upkeep means that downsizing is no longer just the realm of the elderly. Instead, we are seeing people downsizing at younger ages than ever. The decision is not always about size; some people are realizing they prefer a lifestyle where they are free to come and go as they please. 

The one downside of renting after downsizing is that you will no longer be building your equity or have pride of ownership. If either matters deeply to you, you can still buy a condo or townhouse, or an investment property and rent that property while you rent your primary place of residence. Owning a home keeps you in the market and ensures that you are in control of what happens to the property.

A Deeply Personal Decision

The only person who knows your dreams and wishes is you, so the decision to buy or rent will always be deeply personal. Part of it is also intuition. Trust your gut instinct. It’s not possible to try and get ahead of the market and wait for the ‘sky to fall’ with home values. If that’s the case then you may never realistically get into home ownership. The best time to buy is always the present, provided that the timing works for you in terms of down-payment and affordability.

Working with a knowledgeable real estate team like ours can open your eyes to possibilities you may not realize are available to you. If you are currently renting but hope to buy one day, we can help you come up with a realistic timeline and set you on a path to making that dream of homeownership a reality. In fact, it’s one of the most fulfilling results of what we do – helping our clients achieve financial freedom and wealth in real estate. 

Do you have questions about how and where to rent or buy in Toronto or the West GTA? We are happy to provide sage guidance based on your unique goals. Reach out today to tanya@tcteam.ca or call us at 647-293-3785 

 

Trust in Real Estate Services Act

Everything You Need to Know About the Trust in Real Estate Services Act (TRESA)

Nov 15, 2023 | Market News

Big changes are ahead for the Ontario real estate industry. In this post, we’ll cover the essence of the Trust in Real Estate Services Act so you know your rights when buying or selling a property.

An Introduction to RECO

RECO (Real Estate Council of Ontario) is an organization established by the provincial government to oversee the conduct of agents, brokers, and brokerages to ensure each member abides by a strict code of ethics. In its current form, the legislation is called REBBA (Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002). Under the new guidelines, it will be renamed TRESA (Trust in Real Estate Services Act, 2002). 

Below is a summary of what the new Act means for you.

Relationships With Consumers

Under TRESA, the term “customer” will no longer apply. A consumer is either Self-Represented or a Client. If Self-Represented, a real estate agent cannot:

  • Provide any services, opinions or advice
  • Do anything that would encourage the Self-Represented party to rely on their knowledge, skill or judgement
  • Encourage the Self-Represented party to represent yourself or discourage you from working with another real estate agent or brokerage 

Real estate professionals may interact with Self-Represented individuals throughout a transaction. However the assistance is a service to their Client, not the Self-Represented party. 

An agent can only offer assistance to a Self-Represented party if they are acting in the best interests of their own Client on the other side of the transaction. To put it another way, a listing agent can interact with a Self-Represented party if it means helping their Client sell a property.  And a buying agent can assist an FSBO (For Sale By Owner) Seller if their actions benefit their Client who is purchasing the property. The self represented party must obtain a lawyer to represent them during any transaction. 

Understandably, working without an agent can be risky unless you are well-educated in the industry and up-to-date with the latest market transactions. We will talk more about the risks of self-representation later. 

None of this means you can’t have a casual conversation with a real estate agent about the market in general. However, the subject matter can only pertain to factual information about a property that does not construe any advice or opinion by the agent. A real estate agent can provide information that is publicly available, like sold data. However, asking a real estate agent to provide their opinion of market value to a Self Represented party would be construed as a service or advice. As such, the agent cannot provide information other than what would be fact and public knowledge.


Do you want to learn more about real estate legislation and the relationship between a Client and Realtor®? The following posts will shed some light on the topic:


RECO Information Guide

Before obtaining the services of a Realtor® or broker, the agent will provide you with the RECO Information Guide, which you will have time to review on your own without pressure. However, the agent must also go over the guide with you before anything becomes official. 

The purpose of this guide is to ensure you understand what advantages and responsibilities you will have under a Client agreement as opposed to being Self-Represented:

  • The benefit of working with a real estate agent or brokerage
  • The obligations the agent has toward you
  • Your obligations toward the agent
  • The risks of being Self-Represented
  • That the brokerage cannot represent more than one Client with respect to the transaction without written consent from all parties
  • If the brokerage will represent more than one Client, their obligations toward each party

Information and Disclosure to Self-represented Party Form

What happens if you choose to forgo the services of a real estate agent or a brokerage? You now become a Self-Represented party, which means any real estate agent is not permitted to provide you with services, opinions, or advice with respect to a transaction. 

If they are representing a Client on the other side of the transaction, they are permitted to assist you. However, keep in mind that it is their legal obligation to represent the best interests of their own Client. If their Client is the Seller, they will use their skills and expertise to obtain the highest price and best terms from the sale. If you are the Seller and the agent represents the Buyer, they must do everything in their power to help their Client obtain the lowest price. 

Working without the representation of an agent has never made sense except for the most knowledgeable and experienced Buyers and Sellers. Under these new guidelines, it makes even less sense to work without the protection and guidance of a real estate expert.

However, before agreeing to assist you with a transaction on behalf of their Client, a real estate agent must provide you with a copy of the “Information and Disclosure to Self-represented Party Form” so that you clearly understand the risks and implications involved.

Disclosures, Consents, and Acknowledgements

If you’ve ever downloaded software or an app, you know how infuriating it can be to scroll through the terms and conditions before can access the content you’ve signed up for or even paid for. And of course, it’s all written in legalese that hardly anyone can understand unless they have a law degree. Who knows what you’re actually agreeing to when you click “I agree?”

From now on, that can’t happen when working with a real estate agent or brokerage.

If there are disclosures, the word “Disclosure” must be clear and prominent. It must also be written in clear language, free of jargon and legalese, and easy to understand. 

Below are some of the disclosures you may encounter when buying or selling real estate.

Implied Representation Agreements 

It is critically important that it is clear whether you are being represented by a real estate agent or not. If you’re having a general conversation with someone in the industry, they must take great care to avoid the appearance of representation. 

Multiple Representation

Will the agent or brokerage represent both you and the person on the other side of the transaction? Legally, they could, but only if they notify you and the other Client in writing. Plus, both Clients must provide written consent for the agreement to continue.

Conflicts of Interest

A conflict of interest arises when the competing interests of another party, including the agent themselves, come into play. As an extreme example, imagine you want to buy a home that the real estate agent owns. It is now difficult for them to represent your best interests by helping you get the property for the lowest possible price since they likely want to earn the highest amount of money possible. For services to continue, your real estate agent must inform you about the conflict. Once aware, you are under no obligation to continue to seek services from them or the brokerage. 

Managing a Delayed Offer Presentation Process

As a Seller, your agent must convey that your house has received an offer as soon as possible unless you have given them a written directive to do otherwise. If choosing a delayed offer strategy, the real estate agent must inform you of the risks and benefits of going that route. In addition, they must clearly outline your options in the case of a pre-emptive offer. 

Facts a Seller Has a Legal Obligation to Disclose

When selling a home, you may not wish to call attention to anything that might hurt the sale. However, the Buyer has the legal right to know about latent defects. Your agent must guide you through what to disclose while doing everything possible to ensure a successful transaction. 

New Rules Regarding Open Offers

Under the new legislation, Buyers have the right to know about competing offers. The Seller is permitted, but not required, to share information such as Price, Deposit, Conditions, and Closing Date. However, no personal information will be disclosed about the person making the offer, and the real estate agent will not disclose anything without permission from their Client.

As a Buyer, you can choose whether you want to participate when these offer details can be shared with other Buyers. If you don’t wish for this information to be shared, your real estate agent can advise you on how to prevent it.

Unclaimed Money in the Real Estate Trust Account

The brokerage must make every attempt to deliver money as soon as it becomes clear who is entitled to it. If the funds are in an interest-bearing account, the owner is also entitled to any financial gains. Any funds that are unclaimed for two years must be forwarded to RECO, including any applicable interest. However, the brokerage is required to make every effort possible to find the rightful owner.

Shortfalls and Missing Property

A brokerage is required to keep a written account of any funds or property in its trust and to guard those assets carefully. If there is ever a shortfall, it must immediately report it to RECO and replace the missing property. 

Code of Ethics

The code of ethics has always been strict under REBBA. Thanks to TRESA, it will now also be crystal clear and easy to understand. These are just a few of the guidelines that the new Act outlines in great detail:

  • That each agent will act with integrity, honesty, and in good faith
  • What disciplinary action for unprofessional or unethical conduct may apply
  • That no agent will knowingly assist someone in contravening TRESA
  • Fraud is now completely separate from errors, misrepresentations, and unethical conduct
  • All agents must ensure their representations are accurate and not misleading
  • Discrimination, intimidation, and coercion are not permitted
  • No agent is permitted to discourage someone from seeking representation
  • An agent should advise a person to seek representation if they don’t have the knowledge, skills, or authorization to represent themselves

Looking for a new city to call home? The posts below will give you some ideas:


More Transparency in the Industry

Whenever legislation changes, there can be a time of confusion and adjustment.

However, these recent updates should lead to even greater transparency throughout the entire industry. The intended result is more trust and accountability throughout the province which will benefit anyone seeking to buy, sell, or invest in real estate.

Do you have questions about real estate in Toronto or the West GTA? The Tanya Crepulja Team is here to help, whether buying or selling. Reach out today or call 647-293-3785 for more information. 

Stunning Curb Appeal

Stunning Exteriors: Why Beautiful Curb Appeal Is Essential When Selling a Luxury Home

Oct 18, 2023 | Sellers

As a top-performing real estate team in the GTA, we have extensive experience selling upscale properties of every type. Our clients have ranged from notable homes in Toronto’s most desired neighbourhoods to majestic estates throughout Mississauga, Oakville, and Burlington. 

As you might expect, meticulous preparations provide much of the foundation for a successful sale. A spotless interior from top to bottom and artful staging come together to create an almost magical effect on potential buyers. Throughout this process and the focus on the interior, one can tend to overlook one of the most important aspects of the sale: the home’s exterior. It’s easy to do when the inside looks so inviting and luxurious. It’s natural to expect the exterior to be the same. That’s why it’s essential to take a good look to determine if it is indeed up to par with the inside of the home.

Captivating the buyer’s imagination begins long before they even see your gorgeously decorated interior. It begins before they even pull up into the driveway, with a magnificent exterior to create a first impression that can only be described as mesmerizing.

Creating stunning curb appeal, however, requires a detailed eye and careful planning. In this post, we’ll talk about some of the high-level ways you can make your home instantly captivating the moment a potential buyer lays eyes on it.

Laying the Foundation for Success

Revamping your outdoor space may seem like a monumental task, and not everyone has an eye for design or a green thumb to make the yard come alive. Not to worry, however. Taking your outside curb appeal from mediocre to impeccable actually starts with a few simple steps that nearly anyone can do.  

  • Start by washing exterior windows, eavestroughs and soffits, doors, and cleaning up the yard, mowing the lawn, pulling the weeds, and ensuring outdoor pathways are clear.
  • Trim any outdoor hedges and decayed plants to create a cohesive and well-manicured appearance.
  • Change all exterior light bulbs and consider adding or updating exterior light fixtures.
  • Be sure your address sign is easy to read, and in an updated style of numbers that look more contemporary and suited for the home.
  • Use seasonal decor that is easy to switch out as the year progresses, such as potted plants, wreaths, welcome mats, and hardwired or solar lighting.

Ask For Support

If you recruit some friends or family members to help, your curb appeal will start to shape up in no time. As well, our trusted landscape design expert is available for our clients to consult with as needed, which will take the guessing game out of what to do to prepare. We can also arrange for our landscaper to help with the planting and preparation, making this step even easier as it’s in the hands of a professional.

Once you’ve prepared the front and rear of the property, you’re ready for more advanced design principles that will make your listing shine.


Curb appeal is critical, but what’s inside also counts. Below, you’ll find some of the ways to take your indoor decor to the next level:


Maximize Your Outdoor Space

If there is one principle to follow when designing your outdoor decor, it’s to think of it as an extension of your indoor living space, which makes your home seem larger and more valuable.

For maximum appeal, design your exterior to appeal to all senses:

  • A splash of colour and sophisticated yet stylish decor pieces 
  • Comfortable outdoor furnishings that inspire your potential buyer to envision themselves entertaining friends or relaxing the day away
  • Fire tables, outdoor heaters or stone fireplaces to add warmth and allow the enjoyment of outdoor spaces for longer
  • Flowers for both visual beauty and fragrance

Done well, effective curb appeal enhances and enlarges your living space, greatly increasing your home’s perceived value. 

Plan for the Season

Since it will take time to prepare your home for a sale, you may need to plan a few months out. This could mean we will be entering into a new season. You’ll want to keep this possible time delay in mind when planning your outdoor décor, as this would also be the last step in preparing the property for sale. Any exterior plantings made should be fresh, lawns neatly manicured and property kept up until the time to list.  For example, if you make a selling decision in the summer, and if the interior home prep may take a while, your listing might not actually hit the market until the fall. 

In other words, a lot can change by the time the “For Sale” sign goes on your lawn. Regardless of when you list your home, you’ll want to ensure nothing is left to chance. The following tips will set the foundation for beautiful curb appeal in every season: 

Warm Seasons

  • In the summer, focus on creating a cooler environment. Umbrellas, pergolas, and gazebos can provide shade, while water features add a touch of luxury and elegance. Also, be sure to keep the garden and any outdoor planters watered and weeded regularly, and the grass and hedges maintained. 
  • Spring is all about colour and fragrance. Vibrant garden beds and lush greenery add both. Talk to your garden centre expert or our trusted landscape designer about what plants offer the most blooms with the least amount of maintenance. 

Cooler Seasons

Winter and fall can be more challenging, with shorter daylight hours and sometimes less than stellar weather. Still, with a little extra care, you can make your home warm and inviting even as the mercury drops. 

  • Consider evergreen trees and bushes to add greenery despite colder temperatures.
  • Invest in hardwired exterior lighting or exterior pot lights to offset those longer hours of darkness. 
  • Own the cold! With a little imagination and strategic use of colour, you can use the frosty weather to your decorating advantage! Fresh paint on the door, seasonal planters, and simple yet elegant décor can add a sense of beauty and serenity all winter long. You may even find special blooms and berries that grow during the cold season.

Selling a luxury is a little different than with other properties. The resources below will help your listing stand out:


Consider Your Property Type

One of the first steps in planning your outdoor decor is evaluating the lay of the land. If you have a large, expansive property with rolling lawns, you have more of a blank canvas to work with. You can beautify your yard with colourful gardens, rock displays, elegant water displays, cozy gazebos, and more. 

Updating the exterior on a large lot may be more expensive upfront, but can pay off substantially when selling your home. With so much territory to work with, you are only limited by your imagination. 

If your house has a smaller yard, decorating may take less time and be less expensive, but you will have to be selective about your options. Too many outdoor ornaments may make your space seem cluttered. Not enough means you may not be making as much of an impact as you could. It is all about striking the perfect balance.

Smaller condos can still have curb appeal! Space may be at a premium, but your balcony may allow you to create an outdoor oasis buyers will love. If you need more ideas to improve the exterior of your home, we are happy to recommend talented tradespeople and landscapers to help. 

Elevating your outside curb appeal is well worth the investment to do it right. Not only will it increase the perceived value to potential buyers, but it will increase your appreciation and enjoyment of your own home. 

Are you ready to take your design to the next level to maximize the value of your home? The Tanya Crepulja Team would be delighted to help. Contact us today at tanya@tcteam.ca or call 647-293-3785 for more information or to get started. 

A Complete Guide to Relocating to Toronto and the West GTA

Sep 15, 2023 | Buyers

Are you feeling the call to adventure and to explore the unlimited potential for your life? The Greater Toronto Area just might be the answer you’re looking for. Clean, safe, and culturally diverse, this is one of the most desirable areas in Canada, where you’ll find endless possibilities for education and employment, not to mention a world of nature and activity! 

All of these things and more are why so many people are relocating to Toronto and other cities in the GTA. Few other places can offer such a high quality of living in terms of convenience, natural beauty, and access to fantastic culture, entertainment, and dining. In this post, we’ll look at the top GTA destinations and review some practical tips for a successful relocation.

Toronto

Few things can compare with life in Toronto proper, which has made this city a premier choice for those relocating from within Canada and abroad. Toronto offers an enviable lifestyle, where you’ll find a truly world-class city with a thriving economy and nearly unlimited career opportunities. Toronto is innovative and constantly evolving and growing. With a fantastic talent pool and one of the largest technology sectors in North America, you may even consider launching a start-up company of your own. 

Opportunity and advancement might bring you to Toronto, but the excitement and joy of the vibrant communities will keep you here! You’ll find world-class entertainment venues where you can experience your favourite performers and stars, up close and personal. And if you’re looking for culture and a dynamic art scene, Toronto delivers the best of the best. 

The job market is outstanding, and Toronto’s education quality is nothing less than extraordinary. From preschool to postsecondary education, you and your family will have access to some of the most respected educational facilities available. For example, the University of Toronto is rated in the top two universities in all of North America! 

For school-aged children, Rosedale Public School, Ursula Franklin Academy, and Runnymede Junior and Senior Public School are among the best public options in the province. Toronto also provides access to exemplary private alternatives, such as Upper Canada College, Branksome Hall, St. Michael’s College School, and Fieldstone School.

This is the place to see and experience it all while creating a lifetime of memories, where culture, opportunity, and the excitement of bustling activity all come together in a perfect balance. It is hard to find a better place to set down roots! 

Want to learn more about the exciting and diverse communities within Toronto? You’ll find all of our neighbourhood guides right here.

Mississauga

On the western border of Toronto, you’ll discover Mississauga, the second-largest city in the GTA. Not to be outdone, Mississauga also boasts one of the nation’s hottest job markets as the home to Canadian headquarters of many large companies, including Microsoft, Abbott Laboratories, Hewlett Packard, FedEx, WalMart and more.

Anyone relocating for work will enjoy the high quality of life that Mississauga offers, a robust entertainment and arts scene, and some of the most incredible dining in the province. When it comes to education, Mississauga is one of the best places to be for students in elementary school right through to college and university. The University of Toronto and Sheridan College have campuses here, and Square One Shopping Centre, the largest mall in Ontario, is also the site of the new satellite campus for Mohawk College. 

Unlike Toronto, which is subject to two Land Transfer Taxes (municipal and provincial) which is double that of Mississauga or elsewhere outside of Toronto as they are subject only to the provincial land transfer tax, making real estate more affordable.  Every dollar goes further and allows for a high standard of living with no sacrifice in convenience. With access to major highways and a robust public transit system that connects to the TTC, commuting into the city is relatively fast and convenient. For those who want the benefits of Toronto life without paying Toronto prices, Mississauga is a highly attractive destination.

This is also a premium choice for outdoor lovers, with three conservation areas, Meadowvale Conservation Area, Credit Valley, and Rattray Marsh, that allow you to escape to nature at a moment’s notice. The hiking and cycling trails are beautiful any time of year, particularly in the fall when the colours begin to change. If you visit Mississauga, be sure to put Port Credit Lighthouse, Celebration Square, and Jack Darling Beach on your list of must-visit landmarks.

A culturally diverse city like Mississauga means everyone in your family enjoys plenty of chances to expand their horizons. The Art Gallery of Mississauga is just one way to spend an educational and exciting afternoon. It offers a curated collection of contemporary pieces from regional, national and international artists in addition to hosting several fascinating exhibitions and workshops throughout the year. 

Want to know more about Mississauga? Review all of our neighbourhood guides right here.

Oakville

Our journey west continues with the stunning Town of Oakville. Smaller than Mississauga, Oakville is one of the most affluent areas to live in the GTA, with some of the highest real estate values and most breathtaking homes in the province. Those searching for a peaceful, small-town feel in one of Canada’s safest cities will be proud to call Oakville home.

The charming streets of downtown and the Lakeshore provide a shopping and dining experience that is thoroughly unique, where you can peruse and browse at your leisure without large crowds to contend with.

Oakville is highly desirable for families thanks to its safe, scenic streets and excellent schools. The majority of municipally funded schools rank high, with superb private options in Oakville.

Joshua Creek Public School, Forest Trail Public School, E.J James Public School, and St. Luke Catholic Elementary School are some of the highest-rated options you’ll find anywhere in the GTA.

With Oakville’s incredible education system, you simply cannot go wrong when it comes to giving your child a head start in life. Those who prefer a private option have access to excellent schools such as Appleby College and St. Mildred’s-Lightbourn School along with many more. In fact, Oakville has the most private schools in the GTA per capita.

What is there to do for fun and leisure in the lovely Town of Oakville? It may be smaller in size than Toronto and Mississauga, but it is big on fun. Bronte Creek Provincial Park is a massive draw for anyone who loves to explore the great outdoors, featuring a series of scenic hiking and biking trails, cross-country skiing, and even a play barn for youngsters to enjoy. Bronte Village offers some of the best dining and shopping experiences this side of the GTA. Of course, if all else fails, you can never go wrong strolling along the fabulous waterfront. 

With ready access to the QEW and several GO stations, commuting in and out of the city is easy. Oakville isn’t just beautiful, safe, and full of historic charm and character; it is also highly convenient.

Curious about Oakville? Read all of our neighbourhood guides right here.

Burlington

Community is the name of the game in Burlington, which has been rated by multiple publications as one of the top places in Canada to live and raise a family. With the Niagara Escarpment on one side of the city and the shores of Lake Ontario on the other, it’s hard to beat the abundance of natural beauty that awaits you in nearly every neighbourhood.

With Toronto minutes away to the east and Hamilton to the west, you can experience the best of all possible worlds in Burlington. Whether you’re seeking a thriving nightlife, a diverse and delectable dining scene, upscale shopping opportunities, endless outdoor recreation, or all of the above, you will find it here and more.  In many ways, Burlington is an extension of Oakville, with the same benefits and amenities, with real estate at a more affordable price point.

Like Oakville, Burlington is extremely family-friendly, with access to excellent education at all levels, from preschool to postsecondary. McMaster University and Mohawk College both have campuses within city limits, making furthering your career goals and pursuing higher education easy and convenient.

The downtown core of Burlington is irresistible, with a beautiful waterfront pier, boardwalk, numerous parks and unique shops and independent restaurants. Popular local attractions include the Art Gallery of Burlington, the Royal Botanical Gardens, and, of course, Spencer Smith Park along the waterfront. Summer or winter, rain or shine, you will never run out of adventures for your whole family to cherish.

Want more details about the City of Burlington? You’ll find our collection of neighbourhood guides right here.

Creating a Successful Relocation Plan

Deciding where you want to go when relocating is half the battle. From there, you can begin to iron out the details. Many aspects of your relocation may seem hazy at first, but they will come into clearer focus as you go. The first step is to create a logical plan that is straightforward and flexible. For example:

  • Think of everything you want your new house and new neighbourhood to have. 
  • Now determine which of these are must-haves, and what you’re willing to be flexible about. 
  • Is living close to work a consideration, or do you prefer lifestyle with more land, a larger home and a further commute?
  • Are good schools and being near amenities important?
  • Is the search price point or lifestyle driven?
  • Are there family or friends that you would like to be nearby?

When you start to think about what you want and what you don’t, your vision will become clearer. You’ll also understand how much of a budget you will need and approximately how long it will take. If you’re selling your existing home first, maximizing the results of your sale will open up your options when relocating to the GTA. 

Our experienced real estate team will support you throughout all aspects of your transaction, from setting a competitive price point and preparing your home to negotiating with potential buyers. 


If you want to get the most value possible when selling your home, check out these resources below:


What You Need to Know About Buying Remotely 

Depending on where you are located, it may not be possible to visit available homes in person. Luckily, new technology makes it easier to evaluate with 3D floor plans and Matterport Tours. Most importantly, a concierge real estate service like the Tanya Crepulja Team can ensure you find the right home for your needs.

We can open doors that may not have been available, especially in a high-demand market. We will provide you with valuable insight and honest advice that is always in your best interests, work hard to determine what type of home will suit you best, and then work with our network to uncover potential homes and unadvertised listings while negotiating from afar.


Buying a house is a celebrated milestone, but it can also be a challenging decision to make. The posts below will help you enjoy a successful purchase:


Valuable Checklists to Guide Your Journey

Relocating from one city to another can be a daunting process. However, your transition becomes more manageable and less overwhelming with a step-by-step approach. There may be a lot to do, but not everything needs to be done today.

The following checklist will help you stay on track and ensure you don’t miss any critical steps.

Selling Checklist

  • Contact an experienced Realtor® such as the Tanya Crepulja Team ahead of time so we can begin creating a comprehensive plan to earn the best results from your sale.
  • Decide whether you will sell or buy first. Much of this will depend on your situation and the current market, but we will consider all factors to determine the best path for you at the time.
  • Clean and declutter your home thoroughly.
  • We will perform a detailed CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) to determine an effective listing price.
  • Make a list of repairs or updates that will increase the value of your home, such as painting, minor kitchen and bathroom upgrades, as well as new hardware and lighting fixtures.
  • Work with reputable contractors to perform these selected upgrades. As a well-established real estate team, we can provide you with referrals.
  • Consider staging your home for maximum effect. 
  • Create a daily cleaning schedule to keep your home ready for potential buyers.
  • Plan to be out of your house while the real estate agent conducts showings.
  • After accepting an offer, work with a real estate lawyer to ensure a seamless close.
  • Keep your home in the same condition as when the buyer made the purchase.

Buying Checklist

  • Choose a local GTA Realtor® like us who knows the area you are buying in.
  • Obtain a mortgage pre-approval from a trusted mortgage professional. This will save you valuable time when placing offers and gives you a competitive advantage when negotiating with sellers.
  • Make a list of your desired features and begin curating listings. You can begin by searching the MLS® and Realtor.ca. 
  • Determine your maximum budget before searching for homes. This will help you stay grounded and avoid overpaying during emotional bidding wars.
  • Set aside your down payment and deposit so you will be in a position to act quickly.
  • We can arrange for you to view homes through Zoom or Facetime if you can’t visit in person.
  • Decide whether you will place a conditional or unconditional offer.
  • Once a seller accepts your offer, be ready to place a deposit of 5% of the purchase price within 24 hours.
  • Retain a lawyer to conduct a title search and to search for any liens or other encumbrances.
  • Finalize your mortgage with your lender as your transaction closes. 

Moving Checklist

  • Begin packing and sorting your belongings early so you don’t get overwhelmed early.
  • Start searching for out-of-province movers to transport your belongings.
  • Calculate your moving costs, factoring gas, overnight accommodation, and other incidentals that will arise.
  • Make arrangements for utility hookups early.
  • Update your address for all correspondence.
  • Register for health care within three months of your arrival in Ontario.
  • Update your driver’s license and insurance within 60 days of relocating.

As you begin the step-by-step process of relocating, you may feel a range of emotions, from wistfulness about leaving your old life behind to excitement and anticipation for the future that lies before you. At every point, however, remember that you are never alone. Our team is always a phone call or text away to help with anything you need throughout your journey.

Are you ready to begin the exciting process of relocating to the GTA? Our full-service team is happy to guide and support you every step of the way. Reach out to the Tanya Crepulja Team at 647-293-3785 or tanya@tcteam.ca for a complimentary Buyer consultation.

 

100 Chesswood Trail, Hamilton

What Do Luxury Home Buyers Look For In A Home?

Aug 15, 2023 | Buyers

Successful people often spend a lifetime working hard to achieve their goals. Few things in life offer the level of satisfaction of watching them become a reality, and buying an upscale home is among the most celebrated milestones anyone can ever experience. New surroundings offer every comfort and convenience while providing the perfect place for relatives and friends to gather to laugh and celebrate together.

What does the process of buying premium real estate look like? In this post, we’ll talk about the who, what, why, where, and how of finding just the right house.

Choosing Quality Over Trends

Many people believe that bigger is always better when it comes to luxury homes. They may flip through magazines showcasing the houses of the rich and famous and dream of living in a spacious mansion with every opulence and decadence imaginable. However, serious buyers usually have different priorities.

Everyone has a different idea of what “luxury” means, but for a discerning buyer, it almost certainly entails more than a home being massive and flashy. Instead, they’re searching for unique architectural style, quality of workmanship and high end materials, upscale features and finishes not commonly found, beautiful surroundings, and a place where they can truly feel comfortable in their own opulent space. 

For some buyers, their dream home may very well be lavish and majestic. Or it may mean something with undeniable character and a quality of artistry expected in a finely-built home. Individual goals may vary, but in most cases, substance will matter more than trendiness. With this picture in mind, we can begin to narrow down the options.


Part of the luxe experience is about decorating your home to match your personality and style. The resources below will give you some inspiration:


Determining the “What”

Accomplished individuals understand the importance of setting goals and planning for success. Buying a luxury home is no different! Our first step is to create a vision that brings the finer details into focus. As with many goals, the clearer the vision, the more likely it will happen. 

Starting with a buyer’s passions can be a fantastic first step. For example, if someone loves to cook, a fabulous gourmet-sized kitchen with custom millwork, marble counters, and high end integrated appliances may be something to add to their “must-have” list! Upscale finishes and details should transcend from room to room to encompass the entire property with a cohesive and luxurious feel throughout, whether modern, transitional or European in style.

Exterior living spaces are often high on the priority list for luxury buyers where they can carve out their own outdoor paradise. Nature lovers may love a home that backs onto a ravine or overlooks a golf course, or at least has an expansive lawn with space for a customed-designed swimming pool, spa, or other luxurious feature. Abundant outdoor living spaces means there is always an elevated place, indoor or out, to rest, unwind, or enjoy a few hours laughing and entertaining friends.  

Many discerning buyers also have privacy in mind when searching for a home that’s just right. Custom-designed fences or manicured landscaping can provide beautiful and absolute solitude whenever they feel the need to get away from it all. Coming home to the latest and greatest in home automation and unique features like indoor spas, simulated golf courses, and indoor/outdoor lounging areas feels like having their own private oasis. 

Understanding the “Why”

For each feature that feels like a “must-have,” there will be a reason for it. That reason will help buyers gain clarity and get to the heart of what they really want. It can also help them stay flexible and open-minded when exploring the possibilities.

For example, imagine someone searching for a bigger home. Why? Perhaps they need more space so everyone can get ready in the morning without trampling each other. Now we know that extra bathrooms or square footage might be a priority.

What about a buyer looking for a lifestyle that is carefree and convenient? In that case, a modern, upscale condo in a building with a concierge and 24/7 service might check off all the boxes.

Knowing “When” to Act

The housing market can be competitive depending on the market conditions at the time, especially in the GTA. The demand is slightly less intense for high-end homes since fewer people are searching for them. However, there may be fewer homes that check off all the boxes depending on the search location, therefore we may need to be patient for the right home to become available.

If time is of the essence, a detailed plan is essential, and industry connections can be invaluable. A real estate agent with a network of agents who are also trading at a high level can provide priority access to listings that may not be on the open market.

What happens if a discerning buyer cannot find a home that fits their specific architectural style and tastes? Once again, there is no need to settle for anything less than the best. Many older and smaller homes are constructed on lots wide and deep enough to tear down and rebuild their dream home, providing the opportunity to choose all design details and interior finishes they could ever hope for. These mature areas often come with built-in landscaping, with abundant trees and foliage that are hard to find in new developments. 

What about those who are searching early and have plenty of time to find just the right home or are seeking a lifestyle change to a more urban location? A builder pre-construction community may be a good fit for those that may prefer a more cost effective means of a new build over a fully custom home. 

The GTA has plenty in development, including a selection of upscale condos, executive townhouses as well as some beautifully designed luxury single-family homes.  The more time there is to spare, the more discerning buyers can be with their search. 

Research the “Where”

Location matters in real estate, especially when searching for an upscale home. With a healthy budget, a homeowner can renovate and mould an unsuitable house to their needs.

But all the money in the world cannot fix an undesirable location. Before buying, it’s important to think about the lifestyle and access to amenities a potential property offers. Consider the following:

  • If a quiet life surrounded by rolling lawns and greenery is appealing, an estate in the luxurious Oakville neighbourhood of Morrison could be ideal.
  • Buyers who prefer life in the fast lane might find themselves perfectly at home in Toronto’s trendy Yorkville neighbourhood or the lush greenery of Rosedale.
  • For those who would love a home somewhere in between the bustle of Toronto and the more laid-back town of Oakville could find a match in Mineola or Lorne Park in Mississauga, both of which offer luxurious homes amid all of the conveniences of the city.

When buying a high-end home, location reigns supreme. Here are some fantastic options to explore:


Contact a Realtor® Well in Advance

It isn’t necessary to wait for in-person visits to select a real estate agent. A local expert brings vast expertise to the table right from the early stages of planning. Our knowledge and many industry connections save valuable time while negotiating the best possible terms of the purchase.  

As an added bonus, we have the latest details on new, exclusive, or otherwise hard-to-find listings. In a tight market, the right agent can mean the difference between finding an “okay home”, no home at all, or “the home”, the one that feels custom-built just for you!

Tanya Crepulja is a top agent at Keller Williams Luxury, the boutique division of the largest real estate company in the world. Learn more about our affiliation with Keller Williams and why we are the go-to choice for luxury buyers in Toronto and the West GTA. 

Are you ready to begin the search for a luxury home in Toronto or the west GTA? Get in touch at tanya@tcteam.ca or call 647-293-3785 for more information and to begin your luxury home buying journey.

Our Favourite Oakville Boutiques

Our Favourite Locally Owned Boutique Shops in Oakville

Aug 3, 2023 | Oakville

With its vibrant downtown core and family-friendly neighbourhoods, it’s easy to see why Oakville is one of the most highly sought-after cities in the province. There is always something to do, whether you want ice cream by the lake or to lose yourself in a natural paradise for a day.

One of the best things about Oakville is the incredible shopping, with interesting and unique shops on Lakeshore and nestled within downtown. Where can you go if you want to support local businesses? Here are a few of our top independent stores in Oakville.

Dove +Arrow 

Are you looking to take your home decor to the next level? Dove + Arrow is the winner of the Best Local Shopping Talk of the Town Award and is located in Kerr Village. Inside, you’ll find unique home decor items that are sure to become conversation pieces for years. Plus, they offer furniture, art, high-quality paint, and everything else you need for your ultimate do-it-yourself project. If you need some inspiration, you can check out one of the various workshops they host throughout the year. 

Since opening its doors in January 2017, Dove + Arrow has been the go-to place to create something amazing for your home! With a little imagination and help from one of their friendly consultants, the sky’s the limit for your space.

Lakeside Livin’

According to Lakeside Livin’, life is just better at the lake. It’s a philosophy that is hard to disagree with, especially when you step through the doors to browse an almost infinite selection of amazing lake and cottage-related gifts. Located in the heart of Bronte Village, this quaint shop offers a variety of home decor items, kitchen and bath items, candles, jewellery, clocks, signs, and more. There is something for everyone, including a wide selection of cozy and colourful socks, the perfect gift for any occasion!


As fantastic as it is, there’s more to Oakville than great shopping! If you’re curious to know more, read The Joy Of Oakville Living for Families.


MUST Boutique 

European fashion meets your individual tastes and style at MUST Boutique, an upscale women’s clothing store in downtown Oakville. With new shipments each week, you can be sure your wardrobe is up-to-date and thoroughly unique to you. 

The styles are trendy yet classic, which means any piece you buy today will be just as fashionable years from now. A comfortable and warm environment makes this a welcoming place to choose your wardrobe and share your passion for all things stylish. 

Tocca Finata

As your one-stop shop for that fashionable item that no one else will have, Tocca Finata offers unparalleled customer service and style advice. Founder Anna Rea understands that high-level fashion is about much more than the latest fads and trends and seeks to help women of all ages unleash their natural sense of style and confidence. 

From classy, professional attire and flowing dresses to form-fitted jeans and one-of-a-kind tops, every trip to this shop will lead you to something new and unforgettable that you will never find anywhere else.


Oakville is well known for its luxurious neighbourhoods and elevated lifestyle. And speaking of luxury, here’s how you can add a touch of it to your home right now:


Carefree Hobbies

Do you have a passion for model trains, cars, and all things miniature? Carefree Hobbies is the place to be, a locally owned arts & crafts store that specializes in military-inspired models and figurines. It’s the perfect place to find diecast cars, trains and accessories, billing boats, and militaria from the 18th century to now. Carefree Hobbies features a massive inventory with new items arriving every month. The crafting and hobby lover in you will spend many hours perusing the shelves!

Jubilee Market

Does anything sound better than a wide array of high-quality fresh produce and aromatic homemade foods? If your answer is “no,” then head on over to Jubilee Market at 104 Allan Street. This family-run market has served Oakville residents since 1978. 

The shelves are stocked with high-quality fruits, vegetables, and pantry staples. And be sure to shop while hungry because the kitchen menu includes mouth-watering favourites like shepherd’s pie, beef stroganoff, chicken marsala, and much more.

Bluboho Oakville

Back in 2010, two ambitious and free-spirited women had a vision to create meaningful jewellery that was both refined and sustainable. The result was Bluboho Oakville, named after the sea and sky and endless possibilities. 

Though specializing in handmade sapphire engagement rings and diamond wedding bands, they also offer a vast selection of other items, and each piece tells a story! With bracelets, earrings, engravables, birthstone charms and everyday essentials, you will always be able to find a perfect gift for the ones you love. If you can’t get enough of the “bling,” then Bluboho Oakville deserves a spot on your must-visit list! 

Barrington’s 

After six generations, Barrington’s is still owned by the same family. Its Oakville store first opened in 1951 and has been providing top-quality outerwear ever since. Owners Paul and Brenda Barrington travel the world in search of the finest fashions, from Montreal and New York to Paris and Milan. 

Step through the doors to discover a luxurious selection of high-end coats, scarves, knitwear and handbags. Top-of-the-line labels include Cinzia Rocca, Louis Feraud, Zuki, Lundstrom, Michael Kors, Dominic Bellissimo and more! Once inside, you will quickly see for yourself why this family-run boutique has become one of Oakville’s most beloved landmark destinations.

The Kind Matter Company

Is an elevated lifestyle with little to no waste possible? The Kind Matter Company is determined to make it so. Founded by Laura Newton, an environmentally conscious entrepreneur, this online and in-store boutique offers sustainable living with style. 

Here, you’ll find top-quality kitchen products, home decor items, bath and body products, and children’s supplies – all ethically made and without the wasteful plastic wrapping. Your body will love you, and so will the planet!  


Are you thinking about buying a new home in the next year? Here are some posts you may find helpful:


The Sweetest Thing

You may not be able to cure a sweet tooth, but you can certainly indulge it over at The Sweetest Thing. Inside, you’ll be greeted by the irresistible aroma of freshly baked cookies, custom cakes, and other delicious treats. Everything is lovingly made on-site and from scratch. 

Their one-of-a-kind custom desserts are just the thing you need for your next big occasion, be it a wedding, birthday party, graduation celebration, or any day of the week ending in a “y,” for that matter! And did we mention that they have some of the best soft-serve ice cream in the city? This is one boutique shop you will want to visit many times over.

If you have a passion for shopping local, then you are sure to love everything about Oakville. Wherever you go, a satisfying retail therapy experience awaits you. This unique shopping scene is just one of the many things that make Oakville a top destination within the GTA. 

Are you thinking about making Oakville your next home? We can help you find just the right house in the right Oakville neighbourhood. Get in touch today at tanya@tcteam.ca or call 647-293-3785 for more information or to start your search.

5 Up-and-Coming Neighbourhoods for Investment in Toronto

Ten Up-and-Coming Neighbourhoods for Investment in Toronto

Jul 26, 2023 | Investors

Are you thinking of investing in Toronto real estate? If so, there are certain things you should look for when you’re assessing a potential property. One of the most crucial is the neighbourhood where it’s situated. From proximity to in-demand communities to plans for future development to an influx of young residents, there are certain things that make an area ideal for investment.

If you’re looking to invest in Toronto real estate, here are ten neighbourhoods to consider…

Lower Junction

The Junction has been one of the city’s “it” neighbourhoods for years. Now the area around the intersection of Sterling and Perth (often referred to as the Lower Junction) is about to gain the same status.

Since the opening of MOCA—and the exciting new development known as Lower JCT—this former industrial district has really come alive. With hot local businesses like Henderson Brewing, Drake Commissary, and House of Anasi Press in the community, home prices are bound to rise in the years ahead.

If you’re looking to get in on the ground floor, consider one of the area’s most exciting new developments: House of Assembly. Here you’ll find open-concept suites with oversized windows and stunning views. Located on Sterling Road, you’ll be in the heart of one of the city’s most vibrant new neighbourhoods.

Other notable projects in pre-construction include Westbend Residences by Mattamy Homes, The Sterling Automotive by Lamb Development Corp., and 41 Wabash, a boutique luxury project by Vandyk Properties which is directed more at end users than investors.

Though the Junction is particularly attractive for families, more and more single professionals are moving to the neighbourhood so they can be close to the action. Schools in the area include Annette Street Public School, Indian Road Crescent Public School, and Lucy McCormick Public School. For anyone interested in high quality education, it’s hard to find a better place to live or invest.

Related: Read our Junction Neighbourhood Guide

Bloordale Village

If Bloordale Village doesn’t sound familiar, you’re in good company. This small community along Bloor Street from Dufferin Street to Lansdowne Avenue has been one of Toronto’s best-kept secrets for years. However, investors are starting to take note of the incredible opportunities that lie within! Here’s an interesting fact: the Bloordale Village Business Improvement Area is one of the first ever in Toronto. This just goes to show you how forward-thinking and innovative this little community can be. 

The neighbourhood offers a lively feel that is peaceful and low-key at the same time, making it a desirable area for families, young professionals, and newcomers to Canada. With trendy restaurants, great shopping, a hopping nightlife, and an art scene that is the envy of the city, Bloordale Village is a place to watch out for! 

You’ll also find superb access to transit, with subway lines and Union Station nearby. And travel bugs love the convenience of the UP Express which takes you directly to Pearson Airport or Union Station, allowing neighbourhood residents to say goodbye to stressful traffic and long wait times!

Access to high-quality schools means young families will always be drawn to the area. Local schools include Bishop Marrocco/Thomas Merton Catholic Secondary School, St. Mary’s Catholic Secondary School, Dovercourt Public School, Brock Public School, and West End Alternative School.

Many people looking to relocate to this neighbourhood will be ready to buy a home. However, the demand for rentals in Toronto has never been higher and is growing throughout nearly every area in the city. Since this vibrant community is beginning to garner much attention, it is a prime spot for investment. Several resale homes may be available, but new projects are also in the works that could be the perfect opportunity for investors to expand their portfolios. 

One of the most significant developments is Bloor-Dufferin by Capital Developments. This highly anticipated mixed-use community will offer TTC access and badly needed affordable housing with both condominium and apartment buildings on the way. Two other projects to note are Motto Condos by Sierra Communities and Galleria III Condos by Almadev.


Want to know more about the incredible city of Toronto and why it has so much appeal for residents and investors? The articles below are a great place to start:


Regent Park

Regent Park once suffered from a less-than-glowing reputation, but that’s changed. A mixed-income revitalization model has brought new life to this East Toronto neighbourhood.

Today, residents (including a growing group of families and young professionals) enjoy plenty of local retail, unique restaurants, a six-acre park, and a state-of-the-art community centre featuring an impressive pool. Regent Park has developed slowly but surely for over a decade, and it’s still evolving. In other words, purchasing property here is a safe bet from an investment perspective.

If you’re looking for a new development to invest in, you have plenty of options. Here are just a few exciting projects that are set to breathe new life into Regent Park over the next few years:

East Danforth/Danforth Village

At Danforth Village (also called East Danforth), you’ll find one of the most famous and dynamic shopping districts in all of Toronto! Of course, great shopping goes hand in hand with a superb dining scene. And without fail, you’ll find countless fabulous restaurants throughout the neighbourhood offering every cuisine anyone could dream of. It’s also home to one of Toronto’s most beloved festivals, a Taste of the Danforth.

This former farming territory was originally owned by the Church of England before being annexed into the City of Toronto in 1908. The neighbourhood runs from Greektown to the Scarborough boundary at Victoria Park Avenue.

Danforth Village is a fast-growing community for a good reason. It offers a very high standard of living that is still relatively affordable, a combination almost impossible to find anywhere else in Toronto. This is great news for anyone looking to buy a new home for their family and for investors to add to their portfolio without breaking the bank.

With downtown Toronto minutes away and convenient access to the Bloor-Danforth subway line, Go station, and streetcars means getting around is easy, which adds even more to the appeal to the neighbourhood. All the more reason to get out and explore the amazing amenities and recreational opportunities that exist all around!

Speaking of amenities, Monarch Park is a massive attraction in the area, a recreational centre with an ice rink and an outdoor swimming pool. As a highly walkable neighbourhood full of scenery and convenience, Danforth Village is both fun and family-friendly!

Many private schools in the area focus on tech, designed to give young people a great start on life, including Danforth Collegiate And Technical Institute, CanSTEM Education Private School. Plenty of public options are also available, including George Webster Public School, Secord Elementary School, Gledhill Public School, William J McCordic School, Earl Beatty Junior and Senior Public School.

The real estate market offers modest homes, condos & townhouses that are popular with families and first-time buyers. New condos in development also present fantastic opportunities for anyone looking to invest. Here are a few to watch out for: 

Mimico

If you’re looking for an investment unit, it doesn’t get better than Mimico. From its incredible lakefront views to its charming local businesses to its gleaming modern condo buildings, this Etobicoke gem truly has it all.

Another major benefit of living here is the access to GO Transit. Buyers are catching onto the fact that they can get from Mimico to the city’s core in 20 minutes flat—and units are moving fast. While prices are rising with demand, you can still purchase living space here for significantly less than you would in Downtown Toronto.

When searching for a place to invest, it’s hard to go wrong by buying near a school as many parents with young children will happily pay more for access to education. And Mimico truly has it all, with John English Junior Middle School and Mimico High School as two public options right in the neighbourhood. There are also several private schools nearby, including The Mildenhall School and Phoenix Montessori School.

One of the hottest developments planned for the area is Grand Central Mimico. This project is now sold out. The building offers an irresistible combination of classic design and modern amenities, along with easy access to transit. At an impressive 1.85 million square feet, this master-planned community is sure to be the area’s next big thing!

Other upcoming projects to consider are 327 Royal York Condos by Vandyk Properties, Grand Park Village by Minto Communities and 351 Royal York Condos by UrbinCo, all strategically located next to Mimico GO Station.

Yonge-St. Clair

In the heart of midtown sits Yonge-St. Clair, one of Toronto’s best-kept secrets. The area boasts all the conveniences of a dense, urban area, along with proximity to one of the city’s most beautiful ravines.

Yonge-St. Clair has also undergone significant revitalization in recent years, including beautification efforts. Large murals have been created, adding some colour to the neighbourhood. Buzz-worthy new developments like One Delisle are now under construction, along with The Clair Residences in pre-construction with a sales launch to be announced. With future growth on the horizon, this midtown community is a great place to consider investing.

Access to great schools makes Yonge-St. Clair particularly attractive to both families and investors! The long list of options includes Jarvis Collegiate Institute, Cottingham Junior Public School, Brown Junior Public School, North Toronto Collegiate Institute, and Jesse Ketchum Jr and Sr Public School.

Runnymede

An established, quiet neighbourhood that is also one of the most affordable in Toronto, Runnymede lies within the proximity to affluent areas like Baby Point, High Park, and Bloor West Village. Fortunately, affordability doesn’t mean sacrificing the quality of living for those lucky enough to call Runnymede home.

A quick jaunt over to Jane, Annette, or Dundas Street provides a wide array of shopping opportunities, from discount stores and antique shops to grocery stores and independent markets. The food scene alone is worth a visit, with numerous restaurants, bars, and fast food outlets scattered throughout. 

Dundas Street West commercial corridor lies to the north of this peaceful residential community, providing employment opportunities & an economic boost. Etienne and Home Smith parks offer an escape from the hectic day-to-day life and activities like hiking, cycling and rollerblading, or even fishing by the side of the Humber River. It’s easy to see why this neighbourhood is quickly becoming more desirable with newcomers and Toronto residents alike.

Neighbourhood schools such as Humbercrest Public School, Runnymede Jr & Sr Public School, Humberside Collegiate Institute, and Runnymede Collegiate Institute provide a top-quality education for students of all ages.

For investors, Runnymede offers fantastic opportunities with both resale properties and pre-construction. Here are two up-and-coming developments in the works:

Oakwood Vaughan

Oakwood Vaughan is another one of those neighbourhood that hasn’t always had the best reputation. More recently, young creatives have begun migrating here due to the (relatively) affordable rents—a potential sign that an area will soon be in high demand.

Residents of this York District community enjoy local schools and green spaces, along with Italian restaurants, bakeries, and shops. They’re also conveniently close to Dufferin, Eglington, and St. Clair.

Here you’ll find a variety of housing, from modern new builds to small, moderately-priced single-family homes. They present a great opportunity for aspiring home buyers and investors alike. Two notable projects coming to the area are Oakwood Living by UrbinCo and 908 St Clair by Canderel Residential.


Real estate investing can be a great way to grow your wealth, but there are a few things you should know first. The posts below will help bring you up to speed:


Birch Cliff

Once one of Toronto’s best-kept secrets, the stunning Birch Cliff neighbourhood lies close to the Scarborough Bluffs and Lake Ontario. The community got its name when a cottage owner John Stark started calling his property “Birch Cliff” because of the birch trees growing all around the area. Local residents must have liked it because the name has stuck ever since!

The bluffs and the water provide breathtaking scenic beauty, and Kingston Road delivers the excitement and the convenience, where you’ll find a slew of amenities, including upscale restaurants, clothing stores, and cafes. It’s also the site of an annual community parade that takes place in May. You couldn’t ask for a better combination of peacefulness and suburban flair than what you find in Birch Cliff.  

Existing homes in the neighbourhood were constructed from the 1910s to the 1950s and range from bungalows and storey-and-a-half detached houses to stunning heritage homes in Tudor, Edwardian and Cape Cod styles.

Amenities include Birchmount Community Centre and Taylor Memorial Branch Toronto Public Library, which both provide recreational programming for adults, teenagers, and small children. You’ll also find interesting landmarks and monuments around the neighbourhood. For example, the R.C. Harris Filtration Plant is the largest water filtration facility in Toronto, providing 30% of the city supply and an acclaimed historic building that has been used in dozens of films and television series.

Birch Cliff is actually two communities in one: Fallingbrook, which is more upscale with many homes backing onto the ravine and Birch Cliff Heights, the more accessible area. Several public schools provide excellent access to education, including Cliffside Public School, John A Leslie Public School, JR H King Academy, and Birchmount Park Collegiate Institute.

As an investor, keep an eye out for the upcoming Birchcliff Urban Towns project. When completed, this development will boast 52 modern suites in the heart of the action amid the shops, restaurants, beach, park and marina. This upcoming development represents a rare opportunity to buy into a highly desirable and growing neighbourhood. Two other projects coming to the area are Residences at Bluffers Park by Skate Developments and Cliffside Condos by LCH Developments.

West Don Lands

Welcome to the future! A new master-planned community is coming near the waterfront, and house hunters and investors alike are on high alert. Bordered by the Don River to Parliament Street and King Street to the rail corridor, West Don Lands will feature about 6,000 new residential units. 20% of these will add to the supply of affordable housing in the city. With all east/west streets leading to Don River Park, the new development will offer the best in both scenic beauty and city convenience. It is within easy walking distance to St. Lawrence Market and minutes to downtown by car. And with the new Cherry Street streetcar line, every resident will be within a five-minute walk from transit. 

The innovative streets will be a wonder to behold, with Woonerfs designed to capture the attention of all passersby. Other highlights of the area? Parks, parks, and then some more parks, each more stunning and exciting than the last. The largest is Corktown Common which provides 18 acres of natural parklands with a playground and water features children will want to revisit time and time again. There are also great places to stop and have a picnic and a dog park so your favourite furry companion can join your explorations. The proximity to downtown, revitalized waterfront, and transit accessibility means West Don Lands is poised to become one of the most desired areas in all of Toronto!

With housing options consisting primarily of modern condos and elegant townhouses, West Don Lands is a must-watch neighbourhood for all investment-minded people.

Whether you’re interested in one of the pre-construction properties mentioned above, or you’re simply looking for expert real estate investment advice, we’re here for you! Get in touch to learn more about investing in Toronto and beyond.

Top Staycation Ideas for Your Family this Summer

Jun 27, 2023 | Lifestyle

Home is where the heart is, and nowhere is that more true than when living life to the fullest in the GTA. Still, sometimes nothing compares to the sense of renewal that comes with exploring new places, with unfamiliar experiences and exciting new adventures. Being away for a week or two can also help you fall in love with your home all over again. 

You don’t have to look far when seeking to create unique memories with your family this summer, or any summer for that matter. Living near Toronto means something new and exciting is around the corner every day of the week, either right in your own neighbourhood or within a day’s drive.  

Glamp or Camp

Packing up for a weekend camping trip can be one of the fondest and most memorable family vacations you’ll ever experience. This is one way to stay close to home while feeling the sand under your feet and relaxing to the sounds of nature. Of course, if your idea of camping more closely resembles a stay at a five-star resort, then “glamping” might be more your style. Spacious safari tents, geodesic domes, or wilderness pods are a luxurious alternative to roughing it. Glamping means immersing yourself in nature in all of its rustic glory without the hassle of setting up tents and sleeping on the ground. Instead, you’ll relax and unwind with creature comforts that include comfortable beds, warm blankets, private decks, hot coffee and other little luxuries. Here are a few places just outside the GTA that are close enough for a weekend or even just a day trip. 


Do you want to know more about living in or investing in Toronto? The posts below will open you up to endless possibilities:


A Day or Weekend in Niagara Falls

Do you want your child’s face to light up with sheer joy? Just announce that you are taking a trip to Niagara Falls, and the excitement will begin. At one of Canada’s favourite tourist destinations, you’ll find a non-stop list of fun things to do and experience. From the endless attractions of Clifton Hill and the Butterfly Conservatory to soaring over the Niagara Gorge in the Whirlpool Aero Car, there is something for everyone of all ages. If you’re looking for something more low-key, there are many beautiful spots for a relaxing picnic lunch. Before you know it, the day is over, and everyone has a fond new memory and story to tell!

Niagara Falls is also the perfect overnight destination for your little ones. If you book early, you might even score a room with a breathtaking view of the Falls! In addition, many hotels offer indoor and outdoor swimming pools where children can float and splash until their hearts’ content.

The Scenic Beauty of Niagara-on-the-Lake

Niagara-on-the-Lake may be more well-known for its vineyards and wineries, but it is also an incredible location for a memorable day with your family. The quaint streets are landscaped beautifully for the summertime, and numerous heritage buildings are a fantastic way to entertain children while giving them a glimpse into history. 

As you stroll down the scenic streets, why not stop for ice cream or visit one of the many unique boutiques and shops? You might even get a chance to take in a summer concert at the Jackson Triggs Amphitheatre, an intimate 500-person venue that showcases some of Canada’s top talent. Whether you plan your trip to a T or make a spontaneous decision, a visit to Niagara-on-the-Lake is always a day well spent.

For a more luxurious touch, consider booking an overnight stay at a nearby inn, such as the Pillar and Post, or a bed and breakfast like Greenview Manor, where you can wake up and relive the fun all over again. Reservations are recommended, especially during the busy season.  

Visit Prince Edward County

Prince Edward County lies approximately two hours east of Toronto. With its clusters of small hamlets and villages, it’s a picturesque destination that features a variety of famous attractions, including music festivals, water activities, and outstanding restaurants. 

During the hot summer days, Prince Edward County also draws many visitors to Sandbanks Provincial Park, where you’ll discover fascinating dune formations and some of the best beaches in Canada. Cottage rentals are available for extended stays. And once you visit, this outdoor paradise just might become one of your annual destinations!

A Trip Around Grand Bend

Located three hours away from Toronto lies Grand Bend, one of the best family-friendly destinations in the province. The sparkling waters of Blue Flag Beach are recognized for their quality and cleanliness and draw enthusiastic beach lovers every season! 

When you’re not enjoying fun in the sun, you and your family might relax at a movie at the drive-in or kill some time with a round of mini-golf. When the hunger pangs start, you’ll find plenty of delicious places to satisfy even your pickiest eater along the vibrant and hopping Grand Bend Main Strip. If you have energy left over for a stroll, the Grand Bend Pier & Lighthouse provides spectacular views of Lake Huron! Grand Bend is well worth a visit, with plenty of fun activities for a day or for a week. However, the word is out, so you might want to reserve a room well in advance. 

Unwind Right in the City

If you live in Toronto, you don’t have to drive anywhere. Blissful vacation and staycation ideas are practically on every corner. For example, did you know that Toronto’s outdoor swimming pools are free of charge all summer long? There’s no need to suffer or sweat it out on a blistering afternoon when you can simply escape to one of 58 facilities to splash your cares away.

If you want to make a day of it, you can round up your family for some fun in the sun at the beach. With Toronto’s location on the shores of Lake Ontario, you’ll find some of the best waterfront escapes in the province. Eat your heart out, cottage country! 

Ideas for a Rainy Day

When you think of all of the fantastic indoor adventures that await you in Toronto, you’ll never catch anyone in your family humming “Rain, rain, go away.” A trip to one of Toronto’s many vibrant attractions can help anyone chase their blues away when the clouds roll in. 

Famous standbys like the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Royal Ontario Museum, and Ripley’s Aquarium can be magical places to visit anytime. The Ontario Science Centre is one of our personal favourites as it is both exciting and educational! And did you know that there are countless smaller galleries, museums, and other attractions that can transport you into what feels like a different reality? Here are just a few must-visit attractions for this summer:


Looking for more family-friendly neighbourhoods within the GTA: Here are some of our favourite places you’ve got to explore:


Incredible Day Trips in the City

In the heart of the city, fun and adventure are all around you, ready to welcome you, whether you crave a day of excitement or an afternoon of tranquillity. Toronto has so many beautiful parks, conservation areas, and outstanding attractions that it’s easy to let the stresses of your day melt away. Best of all, these Staycation escapes are all around you, meaning you don’t have to travel very far to rejuvenate your mind and body.

Enjoy the summer without straying far from your own backyard:

  • Admire the beautiful walking trails and gardens at High Park. This stunning park also features a zoo, which is free to visit, along with one of the epic outdoor playgrounds in Toronto!
  • Take a ferry ride to the Toronto Islands, where you can spend a day biking, walking, picnicking, or relaxing on the beaches. 
  • Visit Centreville on the Toronto Islands, an amusement park with more than 30 rides and attractions that your children will talk about for months.
  • Explore the Scarborough Bluffs, a series of escarpment parks so beautiful that you have to see to believe. Bring your whole family together for an unforgettable afternoon of hiking, cycling or paddleboarding. And don’t forget your swimsuit because Bluffers Park is famous for its white sandy beach and sparkling waters!
  • Immerse yourself in the greenery at the Don Valley Trails.
  • Discover the wonder of the Leslie Street Spit at Tommy Thompson Park. 
  • Relax by the water or have a picnic at Humber Bay Park.
  • Surround yourself with colourful, fragrant beauty at the Toronto Botanical Garden.
  • Spend a day at Rouge National Urban Park, Canada’s first national urban park, offering hiking trails, birdwatching, camping, and guided programs through Scarborough’s diverse natural landscape.

Whether you want to get away for a day, a weekend, or the whole week, the sky is the limit in Toronto. A non-stop list of fun adventures at your fingertips makes our city one of the best places to live and raise a family!

Do you want to know more about the lifestyle or real estate opportunities Toronto offers? Get in touch today at tanya@tcteam.ca or call 647-293-3785, and we are happy to answer all of your questions.

Our Top Family-Friendly Mississauga Neighbourhoods to Call Home

Jun 4, 2023 | Mississauga

Are you thinking of making a move to—or within—Mississauga? If so, you’re in good company. This vibrant city is attracting families from across the GTA and beyond. Of course, one of the best things about living here is the variety of family-friendly communities that offer an incredible quality of life. Before you can choose the one that’s right for you, why not learn a bit about some of the finest?

Here are some of our favourite neighbourhoods in Mississauga that are ideal for families…

Port Credit

Port Credit is one of the most in-demand communities in Mississauga. Its charming mix of homes—made up of heritage houses, along with many modern options—is one of the biggest reasons for that. Of course, the area has a lot more to offer, including lovely parks, top-notch recreation, and lively amenities. If you’re looking for a day on the town, you’ll love the vibrant shops, restaurants, and services along the Lakeshore. There’s even a Canada Day Parade for those who celebrate! Dining hotspots include Snug Harbour and Post Italbar, while the Port Credit Go Station provides an easy way to get around.

Reputable local schools like Port Credit Public School and Forest Avenue Elementary are another major draw, as are beautiful green spaces such as Port Credit Memorial Park (which sits next to the newly-remodeled Port Credit Library) and J.C. Saddington Park (with its scenic lake views and picnic areas).

Lorne Park

Lorne Park is one of the oldest and most affluent neighbourhoods in Mississauga. This gorgeous suburb is filled with magnificent luxury houses and mature tree-lined streets. Here you’ll also find some of the best places for your kids to get an education (including White Oaks and Lorne Park Public Schools, the latter of which is ranked as one of the best in Ontario).

There’s a lively strip along Lorne Park Rd. Local businesses include retail options (like jewellery and flower shops) and eateries. The Mississauga Golf and Coutry Club is also in the neighbourhood—a major bonus for those who want to hit the links! Lastly, in South Lorne Park, Richard’s Memorial Park is a big, beautuful green space that stretches along the waterfront.

Clarkson

Clarkson is a neighbourhood on the rise. You’ll find some majestic homes in the area, especially in the Rattray Marsh area, which offers luxury houses on large lots. That said, there are also some more affordable pockets. No matter where you live in the community, you’ll enjoy its many amenities. These include eateries like Capra’s Kitchen (owned and operated by celebrity chef Massimo Capra), and the shops and services at Clarkson Village Shopping Centre.

Of course, there are other reasons to love this Mississauga gem. They include fantastic schools (including Catholic options like St. Christopher) and wonderful green space (think Rattray Marsh, with its magical forested trails). While you may rarely feel the need to leave Clarkson, the local GO Station and easy commutes to Oakville (to the west) and Toronto (to the east) make getting around a breeze.

Streetsville

Few Mississauga neighbourhoods are as idyllic as Streetsville, which is known for its historic brick houses. You’ll also find a variety of post-war homes and much newer developments. These desirable places to live are interspersed with green spaces like Streetsville Memorial Park (known for its Credit River views) and Meadow Green (which provides access to tennis courts and other amenities).

If you’re looking for things to do, Vic Johnston Arena is well known as the ideal place to strap on a pair of skates, while Streetsville Pool keeps families cool next door. When it comes to community events, the Bread and Honey Festival (held in June) offers live performances, carnival rides, food, beer gardens, and more.

There’s also a charming downtown strip along Queen Street, which includes one of the best pizza joints around (Goodfellas). Streetsville Village Square, which hosts a variety of events throughout the year, is home to beloved Murphy’s Ice Cream Parlour. It’s a great place to grab a treat after picking the kids up from one of the local schools (Vista Heights is one of the top-ranked in the region).


Mississauga isn’t just a great place to settle down with your family. It’s a great place to invest for the future! Find out more in the posts below:


Erin Mills

Erin Mills is home to a varied mix of properties, which includes bungalows, custom houses, townhomes, and semi-detached options. The area is also seeing more condo development, which is great news for downsizers and investors.

Part of the reason Erin Mills is in such high demand is its convenience. Here you’ll find the very popular Erin Mills Town Centre, where there are nearly 200 places to shop and eat. The University of Toronto’s Mississauga Campus is located where South Erin Mills meets Erindale, making it easily accessible. The neighbourhood is also home to Credit Valley Hospital.

If you’re looking for a fun way to spend time in Erin Mills, explore its attractive outdoor spaces. South Common, Thorncrest, and Sawmill Creek Parks are just a few of the local go-to’s. Glen Erin Trail is also a favourite with cyclists and bikers. When it comes to schools, parents are more than happy with the local selection. It includes Castle Bridge Public School, Thomas Street Middle School, and the well-ranked John Fraser Secondary School, among others.

Churchill Meadows

The scenic Churchill Meadows neighbourhood is Mississauga’s newest master planned community. It’s comprised of contemporary detached, semi-detached, townhomes and condos in a typical new-subdivision style that’s quite popular with many of today’s home buyers. It’s conveniently located in the westernmost area of Mississauga, near both highways 403 and 407, along with numerous amenities and shopping plazas including Erin Mills Town Centre, only a 5 minute drive away.

One of the highlights of the Churchill Meadows neighbourhood is the newly built state of the art Churchill Meadows Community Centre and Mattamy Sports Park, a 75,000 square foot facility and 57 acre park that include a 6-lane indoor pool, triple gymnasium, tournament-level sports fields, skate park, spray pad and outdoor fitness equipment.  

Sought after local schools include Churchill Meadows Public School, and Oscar Peterson Public School. With all of the family friendly amenities, it’s no wonder that this neighbourhood is a top choice for young families who are moving up in the world. 

Meadowvale

Searching for the ideal neighbourhood that has it all and at an affordable price point? The friendly community of Meadowvale might be the perfect fit.  Located in north-west Mississauga, Meadowvale is bordered by Derry Road, Creditview Road, and Mavis Road, all while providing easy access to Highway 401. It is also one of North America’s first master planned communities with a mix of homes on nicely sized lots and pretty tree lined streets. Throughout the neighbourhood, you’ll find upscale residential streets dotted with stately century homes that have been beautifully landscaped and maintained over the years. 

Meadowvale Village is also home to the largest business park in Mississauga with many corporate head offices, ideal for those that would like to live near their work and also for quality of family life.

All amenities are nearby from schools, shopping at the Meadowvale Town Centre, to the state of the art Meadowvale Community Centre which includes an indoor pool, skating rinks, Library and more. 

Meadowvale is full of natural beauty with abundant parks and walking trails, with one of the best attractions being Lake Acquitaine Park, home to a fishing dock, outdoor fitness area, splash pad and over 3 kms of walking trails. You’re also close to the Meadowvale GO Station and Highway 401 which makes commuting east or west a breeze.

Meadowvale is also home to Meadowvale Village which became Ontario’s first historic district in 1980

You will be in good hands if you’re looking for a top-notch education for your young ones. Plum Tree Park Public School and Meadowvale High School are just two highly-rated public facilities serving the area. If you prefer private options, Rotherglen School’s Meadowvale Campus (located on Old Derry Rd) and Lynn Rose Heights, and IB World School are among the most reputable private institutions in Ontario.

Rathwood

One of the best things about Mississauga is the wide assortment of communities you can find here. For example: Are you looking for a quiet, established neighbourhood with a sense of peacefulness while still enjoying a highly convenient lifestyle? Then welcome to Rathwood, a former farming area that has maintained its tranquil feel and love of nature. 

Many Rathwood residences were initially constructed in the 1960s and 1970s. These well-maintained homes are large, spacious, and perfect for families looking to upgrade their lifestyles. 

If you enjoy a central location and neighbourhood streets with mature trees and comfortable lot sizes, then you will enjoy Rathwood. With its location on the Etobicoke border, many home buyers enjoy the convenience of commuting to the Kipling Subway via a direct bus or short drive along Bloor St, or the fact that buying here can be at a more affordable price tag (and without paying two Land Transfer Taxes) as you would in Etobicoke. It’s also located in close proximity to Mississauga’s downtown City Centre and the massive Square One Shopping Centre with every shop, restaurants and lifestyle amenity you could imagine. There’s also the local Rockwood Mall anchored by a Winners and Homesense store, as well as a Chuck E Cheese for the kids. Rathwood is also home to the newly redesigned  Burnhamthorpe Community Centre featuring a state-of-the-art aquatic centre as well as an equipment-based fitness centre and will be built to the city’s Corporate Green Building Standard.

What about schools? Once again, everything you find in Rathwood is high quality. Glenforest Secondary School and Briarwood Public School are standing by, as are various private alternatives.

Sheridan

Sheridan is a scenic and upscale family-friendly neighbourhood made up of two distinct communities, Sheridan Homelands and Sherwood Forrest. Its beautiful location on the Credit River Valley makes both areas highly desirable, with Sherwood Forrest appealing primarily to affluent families. The Sheridan Housing Association sponsors several events throughout the year, which adds a sense of community and helps to foster friendships among its residents. Shakespeare in the Park, a pumpkin parade and an annual Christmas light contest are just a few festivities that encourage you to get into the community spirit! Local residents can enjoy Thornlodge Park with an outdoor pool, tennis courts, playground and more. 

Sherwood Forrest Village is an upscale plaza located within the Sheridan community. It’s home to our favourite spa in the city Sherwood Village Spa (link to) along with the Apricot Tree Café, Rogues Restaurant, the newly opened F45 Fitness and many other shops and services. 

Families with children have several public schools in their catchment area, including Sheridan Park Public School and Erindale Secondary School. Sheridan is also sought after for its close proximity to the University of Toronto Mississauga Campus. Do you prefer a private alternative? USCA Academy International School is an excellent option for older students who seek entry into college or university, while the prestigious Kendellhurst Academy caters to children in grade school.

Sheridan’s real estate landscape also has much to offer, from modest bungalows and entry-level homes to the majority being spacious two-storey houses and custom builds.

Mineola

The exclusive, forested enclave of Mineola is one of Mississauga’s wealthiest neighbourhoods. Spectacular, one-of-a-kind homes on spacious lots with lush greenery are the hallmarks of the community. Though it may seem like a secluded paradise, Mineola remains close to the heart of the action, with many amenities and recreational activities readily accessible. Once you get past the shaded tree-lined streets of the neighbourhood, the shopping and dining districts of Port Credit Village are at your fingertips.

Local residents will refer to Mineola as ‘Mineola East’ or ‘Mineola West’, which represents the area off of Mineola Rd running east or west of Hurontario St (Hwy 10). Mineola East is the more affordable locale within the Mineola area, whereas Mineola West is home to some of the most expensive real estate in Mississauga. 

One of the many things that bring affluent families to Mineola is the exceptional educational opportunities, with Mineola Public School, Port Credit Secondary Schools and Kenollie Public School close at hand. It’s also home to one of Mississauga’s most sought after private schools, Mentor College which offers education from Kindergarten through to university entry. 

Mineola offers diverse real estate options consisting of everything from mid-century bungalows and townhouses to stunning heritage homes and custom estates. The one constant you’ll find is the oversized lots that leave plenty of space for outdoor fun. 


What other GTA Cities are great for family life? Find out more possibilities in the posts below:


Applewood

On any given day, you will encounter young children playing happily in the spacious backyards and playgrounds of Applewood. Quiet streets, relative affordability, larger lot sizes, and a safe community make this neighbourhood, a popular choice for parents of young children. 

Named after the apple orchard that once was in this area, Applewood is home to the Applewood Acres subdivision, a charming development consisting of brick one and a half storey, two storey and bungalow homes built in the 1950’s by Shipp, a well known builder in Mississauga and west Toronto at the time whose homes are sought after even today for their quality construction. 

An outdoor public pool, tennis courts, plentiful playgrounds, and a series of mixed trails provide abundant opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. And a convenient location in east Mississauga bordering Etobicoke offers easy access to Toronto, making Applewood ideal for those who travel for work and play.

Applewood is home to the Dixie Outlet Mall and only a few minutes away from one of Toronto’s most stylish shopping destinations, Sherway Gardens.

As a child-friendly neighbourhood, Applewood offers access to many schools, private and public. Thornwood Public School, Applewood Heights Secondary School, and Applewood Rainbow Montessori School are just a few to come to mind.

Housing options in Applewood offer something in nearly every price bracket, from entry-level condos, bungalows, and townhouses to split levels and spacious two-storey homes. 

Looking for the right home in the ideal family-friendly community? We can help—contact us at tanya@tcteam.ca or call 647-293-3785 to benefit from our Mississauga neighbourhoods expertise.

Selling a Luxury Home in Toronto

The Ins and Outs of Selling a Luxury Home in Toronto

Jun 1, 2023 | Sellers

In the broad sense, selling a high-end property is the same as any other real estate transaction. The similarities include cleaning, decluttering, making minor updates, and staging the home for maximum impact in the market. 

However, when it comes to the finer details, selling a luxury home is as different as night and day. It requires more savvy and far more attention to detail than you would need for a standard Toronto house. In this post, we’ll talk about the ins and outs of selling a luxurious property so you can get the best possible terms and results. Here’s what you need to know.

Toronto: A Housing Market Like No Other

It’s hard to imagine a vast real estate landscape with more diverse housing options than Toronto. The high-end market includes everything from sleek penthouses overlooking the skyline to stunning heritage homes and elegant waterfront mansions, all against the backdrop of the bright city lights. 

In Toronto, upscale clientele can enjoy an elevated lifestyle, with some of the finest restaurants in the world and endless boutique shopping opportunities. As a seller, the key to your success is to showcase your magnificent property to the highest calibre of Buyers actively searching for a home like yours.


Why buy or sell in Toronto? It is one of the most dynamic real estate markets in the world! Find out more in the posts below:


Luxury Buyers Are More Discerning

One of the most significant differences between selling a standard home and a high-end estate is the level of sophistication of the market itself. A person searching for an upscale property is likely an experienced and savvy real estate Buyer. 

Unlike first-time Buyers, they’re not bursting with unbridled enthusiasm as they browse through available listings. Instead, they view every property with a high level of scrutiny. They will take their time to wait for the right opportunity and are unlikely to let their emotions take over when placing offers.

Real Estate Professionals Need More Experience

Rarely will you encounter a new or inexperienced real estate agent representing multi-million dollar listings or their Buyers. Upscale clients have exceptionally high expectations, and rightly so. With higher prices and more complex transactions, negotiations are delicate and nuanced. 

Real estate professionals in the luxury markets must have a wealth of experience and knowledge to be able to secure favourable outcomes for their clients. They handle each interaction with professionalism, grace and discretion to ensure clients feel reassured and delighted with their experience from start to finish.  

The Luxury Market Has Less Competition

As the population in Toronto grows, the demand for entry to mid-level housing becomes intense, with many listings attracting multiple offers and all-out bidding wars as Buyers compete with one another. This frantic activity is less common in the high-end market, where the pool of qualified Buyers is much smaller. 

If these sophisticated Buyers feel any urgency for a particular home, it’s not likely due to competition from others. They act for their own reasons and on their own timelines. Either they have fallen in love with the home or see it as a worthy investment opportunity. What does this mean for you as the seller? 

You must go to great lengths to make your home appeal to discerning Buyers. This means a thorough understanding of your demographics so you know who and where to market your listing. Above all, it means being patient while searching for the right Buyer. With fewer listings and fewer people actively searching, high-end real estate tends to move slower than the regular market. 


Looking for even more ideas to prepare for a luxury sale? Here are some resources you will find invaluable:


Home Preparations Can Be More Meticulous

Since high-end real estate Buyers tend to be more sophisticated, you can’t just slap a coat of paint on the walls and call it a day. Fresh paint will help, but you must go far above and beyond minor cosmetic improvements. 

Meticulous attention to the finest detail is necessary to appeal to savvy, even critical, Buyers who will inspect your home thoroughly. It stands to reason that someone considering investing several million dollars has high expectations. As such, if you hope to earn $2 million from your sale, prepare your home like a $5 million listing. 

Here are some ideas to help you showcase the distinctive features of your home:

  • Conduct a thorough inspection: Identifying and addressing underlying issues ensures transparency and instills confidence in potential Buyers.
  • Enhance curb appeal: There’s no better way to set the stage than with a grand entrance that is majestic and awe-inspiring. Meticulous landscaping, a well-manicured lawn, colourful gardens, and attractive outdoor spaces combine to create an inviting and irresistible ambiance.
  • Upgrade essential systems: HVAC, plumbing, electrical, and security systems should be up-to-date and functioning optimally.
  • Create a spa-like atmosphere: Incorporate high-end fixtures such as spacious showers, soaking tubs, or heated floors to transform bathrooms into luxurious retreats. 
  • Showcase high-end materials and finishes: Marble countertops, hardwood floors, custom cabinetry and designer lighting can emphasize the opulence and stunning features of your beautiful home.
  • Home automation and security: A sophisticated security system is essential on a high-end property that is worth protecting. Putting this in place adds to the perceived value of the home. It’s a subtle, but unmistakable effect that builds Buyer confidence even more. 
  • Illuminate with custom lighting: Optimize lighting to accentuate architectural features, create ambiance, and highlight focal points. Chandeliers, recessed lighting, and accent fixtures can create a warm and inviting atmosphere throughout the property.
  • Stage with luxury in mind: Luxury homes should be adorned with bespoke décor and furnishings, not in a generic style of home staging. Strategically arranged furniture, artwork, and decor can highlight the grandeur of each room and help Buyers envision the home as their own.

Preparing your home to meet these impeccably high standards is just one more reason to work with a real estate agent with experience in the luxury market. 

A Carefully Crafted Marketing System is Essential

Once your home looks stunning, the next step is to formulate your marketing plan. Unlike other listings, you don’t want to attract anyone and everyone. Very few people will have the means to purchase your home, but many would love to visit your open house for a free tour.

An effective marketing system will target the most likely Buyers while maintaining your privacy. Here is an overview of what that strategy might look like:

Defining your target audience

Identifying your market allows you to get your listing in front of high-net-worth individuals, executives, and affluent families who might be interested in your home while excluding unqualified Buyers.

Exclusive listings

With an exclusive listing, your real estate agent is the only one with the right to show your home for a specific amount of time. Your estate will be featured on reputable platforms and high-end publications targeting the most affluent potential Buyers.  

Private showings

Each visitor will be vetted to ensure they are a serious and qualified Buyer. Showings by appointment only help to maintain your privacy while providing a personalized experience for those who do visit.

Have the listing agent present during the showing

Having the listing agent present during a Buyer showing allows an opportunity for the agent to highlight key details and features of a home for a prospective Buyer and their agent, as well as answer any questions that they have by someone who knows all of the distinct details of the home.

Develop your home’s unique story

Luxury Buyers are at a whole different level financially. However, they are still human beings buying a home where they want to feel loved and cherished and create years worth of memories. The story of your home will emphasize the prestigious lifestyle it offers while highlighting the unique features that make it so valuable. By the time a Buyer schedules an in-person viewing, they will often have already fallen in love with your home. 

Professional photography and cinematic lifestyle videography

Highly skilled photographers and videographers can capture the essence of your home’s grandeur and gain the attention of potential Buyers all over the world. A cinematic lifestyle video will capture a Buyer’s attention and highlight all of the remarkable details of the home in a captivating way. The video should also showcase what makes the neighbourhood special, to evoke an emotion in the Buyer to have them not only fall in love with the home, but also the location.

Dedicated property website

Leverage technology to allow prospective Buyers to explore the property remotely with your own dedicated property webpage which would include all of the marketing assets in addition to expertly crafted and fully detailed information about the home, school rankings report, neighbourhood amenities, digital brochure, floor plan and more.

International exposure

Agents in the luxury realm understand that it is important to showcase a home to their network of esteemed colleagues in other world class cities across the US and internationally, as well as in esteemed luxury publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Mansion Global and other highly recognized platforms.

These are just a few high-level marketing tactics you can incorporate to attract attention from discerning Buyers. However, every home is unique and will require an individualized approach to make the listing stand out in the vast Toronto market.

The Keller Williams Luxury Advantage

A real estate professional who partners with Keller Williams Luxury brings an extra competitive advantage to clients in the high-end markets. As a boutique division of the largest real estate brokerage in the world, Keller Williams Luxury agents receive specialized training that enables them to achieve results even in the most challenging conditions and circumstances.

Partnering with Keller Williams Luxury means you can expect exemplary service at every stage of your transaction. In addition, you’ll enjoy the benefits that go along with a built in marketing system that automatically provides exposure for your listing to high-end Buyers and their agents. 

Are you ready to list your prestigious home in Toronto? We’d love to help you get started by formulating a unique strategy just for you. Reach out to us at tanya@tcteam.ca or call 647-293-3785 for a complimentary consultation.

Our Top Burlington Neighbourhoods for Families

May 25, 2023 | Burlington

No matter how much you search, you will be hard-pressed to find a more family-friendly city than Burlington. Think of the convenience, festivals, shopping and dining opportunities and other amenities of Toronto. Now imagine them in a tranquil setting where your children can safely play on your front lawn. 

We could talk for hours about the many incredible parks and playgrounds that encourage children to stay active and social. When it comes to the quality of the schools, Burlington holds its own, even when compared to some of the bigger cities in the province. 

These are just a few reasons Maclean’s Magazine has ranked Burlington as the Number One Community in Canada and why Moneysense Magazine rated it as the #1 mid-sized city to live in Canada for four consecutive years. What can you expect when browsing for a potential new home? Let’s take a look at some of the most family-oriented neighbourhoods in the area.

Alton Village

Located on the northern border of Burlington, Alton Village is the newest master-planned community in the city. It’s also one of the most scenic communities, with spectacular views of the Niagara Escarpment. The picturesque beauty of Alton Village, combined with ultimate convenience, makes this a sought-after destination for families of all types. A quick trip to Walker’s or Appleby Line (literally walking distance!) leads to a plethora of big box stores, specialty boutiques and dining options. There are also two Starbucks locations in Alton, one of which is a drive-thru.

Alton Village is home to some of the best-ranked public and Catholic schools in all of Burlington,  including Alton Village Public School, St. Anne’s Catholic Elementary School, and Dr. Frank J. Hayden Secondary School. If you’re looking for private options, Fern Hill, Blyth Academy, and Glen Arbour Academy are some of your top choices!

There’s no shortage of parks and recreation in Alton Village, as this neighbourhood was designed with families in mind. The Haber Recreation Centre is the heart of the community, providing an indoor gymnasium and public library, and Norton Park located opposite Haber has everything you could ask for with multiple sports fields, a skate park, splash pad, playground and there’s even a dog park with off-leash area.  

The real estate landscape in Alton Village is primarily comprised of beautiful, contemporary detached homes predominately built by Fernbrook Homes and Sundial Homes.

Learn more about Alton Village by reading our community guide right here.


Thinking about buying or selling a home this year? The following posts will help you plan your next steps:


The Orchard

Located in northeast Burlington bordering Oakville along Bronte Creek Provincial Park is The Orchard. This neighbourhood is another top choice for families at a more affordable price point than Alton Village. The Orchard offers a sense of community which is one of the top priorities for residents living here. It’s not uncommon for neighbours here to know one another by name, and you’ll often find residents enjoying time outdoors in this master-planned community.

What can you expect to find around the neighbourhood? Plenty of parks, pedestrian-friendly streets and paved woodland pathways make this one of the most walkable areas in Burlington. Residents here love having Bronte Creek Provincial Park as its immediate neighbour, which is home to numerous trails, cross-country skiing and more. You’re also nearby numerous shopping plazas and restaurants, another reason The Orchard is a premium choice for many families in the city. 

All year long, you’ll encounter children playing happily in the many parkettes and playgrounds sprinkled around the community. When not playing, the neighbourhood kids may be studying at highly rated schools such as Orchard Park Public School, Alexanders Public School, Corpus Christi Catholic Secondary School, or private alternatives like  Waterdown Montessori School and Ashwood Glen School

The Orchard real estate offers a variety of two-storey detached, townhouse and semi-detached homes, predominantly built by Mattamy Homes, with plenty of space for each member of the family. 

Still curious about The Orchard? You’ll discover more in our community guide right here.

Millcroft

Convenience meets nature in Millcroft, an affluent neighbourhood located in central Burlington. A golfer’s paradise, Millcroft was built around the Millcroft Golf Course, a highly coveted feature of this neighbourhood. You may even spot “watch for golfers” warning signs on the streets. But you don’t have to be a golf enthusiast to enjoy the great outdoors in this upscale neighbourhood. Baseball diamonds, playgrounds, splash pads, and walking trails abound, providing wholesome recreational activities for children and the young at heart. 

As with most Burlington neighbourhoods, Millcroft is well served by public education, with Florence Meares Public School and Charles R. Beaudoin Public School close at hand. Highly rated private schools such as Fern Hill, Halton Waldorf School and Burlington Royal Arts Academy are available for those who prefer an alternative education for their children.

The housing market is made up of large houses, primarily built by Monarch Homes, on oversized lots that provide plenty of space to set up your own backyard escape – some of which back onto the golf course, and executive townhomes – including those that are bungalow-style, a rare find in the city.

Discover everything you ever wanted to know about Millcroft in our community guide right here.

Brant Hills

Another neighbourhood located next to the Niagara Escarpment, Brant Hills is practically synonymous with “family-friendly.” The Brant Hills Community Centre and adjacent park are the glue that holds the neighbourhood together, providing a broad range of recreational activities for children. 

Should you decide to put down roots here, you will have no shortage of education options for your children, including the highly ranked St. Timothy Catholic Elementary School, Bruce T. Lindley Public School and É Élém Renaissance – a French language school rated 8 as per the Fraser Institute

Private academies such as Glen Arbour AcademyAshwood Glen School, and Burlington Royal Arts Academy are also ready and waiting to welcome your enthusiastic learner.

All types of homes can be found in Brant Hills, including detached two-storey, Colonial and Tudor styles. Many of the older generations have moved on from Brant Hills, with younger families moving in and updating the older homes to today’s contemporary style, rapidly increasing the market values here. Brant Hills also offers a wide variety of bungalows and split-level homes, which are sought after by all generations of home buyers. 

Learn even more about Brant Hills in our community guide right here.

Aldershot

Aldershot, located in southwest Burlington, is the furthest west community within and overlooks Burlington Bay, providing a hard-to-beat combination of stunning natural beauty and convenience. The Business Improvement Association boasts one of the best shopping corridors, with over 250 retailers and restaurants ready to greet you. The area has been home to a surge in revitalization, with the older strip plazas being torn down to make way for new townhomes and low-rise condos.  The neighbourhood is also home to Aldershot Farmer’s Market and hosts the annual Aldershot Community Festival. With breathtaking waterfront views, luscious gardens, and beautiful walking and cycling trails, you and your family will never experience a dull moment. 

Living in Aldershot also affords many opportunities for public education, including Maplehurst Public School, Glenview Public School, and Aldershot High School. If you prefer a private alternative, Waterdown Montessori School and Fairview Glen Montessori are popular among neighbourhood residents.

The real estate landscape in Aldershot truly offers something for everyone. From the estate-type luxury homes along North Shore Blvd, some with riparian rights, newly built modern custom homes, and more modest bungalow homes, the beautiful tree-lined streets and wide boulevards offer an attractive appeal to all home buyers. 

Want to know more about Aldershot? Check out our community guide right here.


Interested in other great neighbourhoods in the GTA? The posts below will help satisfy your curiosity:


Shoreacres

Located in southeast Burlington, you might call Shoreacres the “Millionaire’s Row” of Burlington. Take a drive down Lakeshore Rd, and the stately homes with mature trees and perfectly manicured properties will take your breath away. Here, you will find some of the most majestic homes in the city. The only thing more impressive than the architecture just may be the waterfront views, which are spectacular. 

The quiet streets are safe and scenic for walking and cycling, and this is one of the best communities for children to play in. As you’d expect, Shoreacres has excellent public schools in its catchment area, including John T. Tuck Public School, Pineland Public School, and Nelson High School. Private education is just another thing that sets this luxurious neighbourhood apart, with  Glen Arbour Academy, Ashwood Glen School, Fairview Glen Montessori, and Appleby College conveniently located minutes away.

If a little extra space is what you’ve been dreaming of, the homes and oversized lots of Shoreacres will not disappoint. The typical house can range from 5,000 to 7,000 square feet of pure luxury. Houses here cost more than in other neighbourhoods, but you can expect to get what you pay for. 

Insider tip: If you want the luxe feel of living along Lakeshore Rd in Oakville without the Oakville price tag, homes in Shoreacres are a steal in comparison. Best of all, you don’t have to compromise on the quality of lifestyle you would want in an upscale and affluent neighbourhood.

Find out more about Shoreacres in our community guide right here.

Roseland

Welcome to Roseland, a historic and affluent community that dates back to the 1920s and features Paletta Lakefront Park, one of Burlington’s most famous landmarks. As an established neighbourhood, the streets are lined with mature trees and foliage, a particularly beautiful sight in the summer and spring when the first buds begin to bloom. 

Since Roseland is only minutes away from Shoreacres, it provides access to some of the same public schools, including John T. Tuck Elementary School and Nelson High School. And as with most high-end neighbourhoods, there are also high-quality private alternatives located nearby, such as Blyth Academy and Fern Hill.

Life in Roseland offers the perfect blend of privacy and convenience and is highly sought after for not only the top schools and sizeable properties, but you’re also within walking distance to downtown Burlington. There, you’ll find a fabulous array of restaurants, boutiques and more within its cobblestoned shopping area and the beautiful waterfront pier and boardwalk. This is arguably the most picturesque waterfront in all of the GTA! 

The houses here are a broad mix of magnificent, from heritage homes in the Colonial, Cape Cod styles to modern new builds and raised bungalows. In other words, whatever you’re looking for, you will find it in Roseland!

Want to know more about Roseland? Find out in our community guide right here.

Do you want to know more about Burlington, or are you ready to begin your home search? We know all of the neighbourhoods within Burlington and will provide you with expert guidance to find the perfect place to call home. Reach out to us at tanya@tcteam.ca or call 647-293-3785 for more information.

First Home Savings Account

The New Tax-Free Home Savings Account: What Does It Mean for You?

May 4, 2023 | Buyers

For as long as anyone can remember, buying a home has been a milestone we have looked forward to ever since we were children. Nothing said “I’m all grown up,” like turning the keys into your very own place that you obtained through years of hard work. 

Now, with the real estate market the way it is, that much-anticipated goal seems more unattainable with each passing year. In Toronto, housing prices have more than doubled over the last decade. Values are still rising as the population grows and the market becomes even more competitive. 

Residents have been pressuring governments at all levels to do something to alleviate this crisis. Over the last few years, those efforts have paid off, and a few measures have been implemented to try to control the housing situation. 

The latest initiative is the “First Home Savings Account” (FHSA). What does this mean, and how can it help you achieve that celebrated step of buying your first home?

The Most Challenging Obstacle to Homeownership

Have you ever asked anyone in the rental market why they haven’t yet taken the plunge and bought a house? The answers may vary. Some people aren’t ready for the commitment. Others are intimidated by the thought of all the maintenance and responsibility of owning a home. 

But for many people, saving for a down payment is the biggest obstacle to overcome. With the rising rent costs, it can be challenging even for high-income earners to set money aside.

The FHSA allows you to start saving money without tax penalty into a registered investment account for the express purpose of buying your first home. 

Who Qualifies for an FHSA?

Starting April 1, 2023, first-time buyers can open an FHSA. To qualify, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a resident of Canada
  • Be a qualified first-time home buyer

Looking for ways to add style and an air of luxury to your first home? The following may give you some inspiration:


What Is a First-Time Buyer?

The answer to the above question may seem simple. Common sense means someone who has never bought or owned a home before. However, the law tends to make things more complicated. 

You can be considered a first-time buyer so long as you did not reside in a home you or a spouse or common-law partner owned or jointly owned at any point in the last four calendar years.

Let’s say you once owned a home, but you sold it after separating from your partner. If four years have passed and you’ve been renting or living with relatives ever since, you can again qualify as a first-time home buyer. 

To open an FHSA, simply visit your bank, credit union, or insurance company. You can open multiple accounts if you wish. Just be careful not to exceed the maximum contribution so that you don’t incur a tax penalty.

When Can You Withdraw From Your FHSA?

Your money belongs to you, and you are free to withdraw it anytime for any reason. However, if you make a withdrawal for any reason other than buying a home, it will be considered income and could result in higher taxes.

A qualified withdrawal is tax-free. You must have a written agreement to buy or build a home you intend to occupy as your primary residence within one year of taking possession.  After your first qualified withdrawal, you have until December 31 of the following year to close out any remaining funds in your FHSA.

How Much Can You Save?

Each year, you can contribute a maximum of $8,000 to your FHSA. There are two benefits to doing so:

  1. Your contributions lower your annual income, resulting in lower taxes owed for the year. 
  2. The more money you put into the account, the faster your investments will grow. Best of all, your returns on investment are also tax free!

What happens if you invest less than $8,000 in a calendar year? In that case, you can transfer the balance to the following year. For example, imagine you contribute only $2,000 the first year you open your account. This leaves you with $6,000 participation room remaining. The following year, you can add that $6000 to your $8,000 limit. Your total contribution room for the next year becomes $14,000. Lifetime contributions to an FHSA are capped at $40,000.


Accurate information and expert guidance are the most valuable resources when buying a home, especially your first. The posts below will help:


FHSA Vs the Home Buyer’s Plan

Does the FHSA sound familiar? If so, there’s a good reason. The incentive is similar to another program called the Home Buyer’s Plan, which has been in effect since 1992. This existing incentive allows you to pull $35,000 from registered savings accounts to put towards your first home purchase. There are a few key differences between the FHSA and the Home Buyer’s Plan:

  • The maximum amount you can withdraw under the Home Buyer’s Plan is $35,000. The FHSA allows you to save up to $40,000, plus any profits from the investments.
  • Any funds used under the Home Buyer’s Plan must be repaid within 15 years. Otherwise, you may be taxed on any remaining amount. The FHSA is used for a dedicated purpose. Once you buy a house, you close the account, but there is no need to repay.

Want to get the latest news on the market in the GTA? Subscribe to our newsletter right here.

More Good News For First-Time Buyers

You can take advantage of both the FHSA and Home Buyer’s Plan when buying your first home. If you buy with a partner who is also a first-time buyer, it gets even better. You can both open use the FHSA and the Home Buyer’s Plan and double the benefits of both programs. To do so, you must each have a separate account under each name. How much will combining programs allow you to save?

  • If you both use the FHSA, the combined benefit works out to $80,000.
  • Under the Home Buyer’s Plan, you can each withdraw $35,000 for a total of $70,000.
  • If you maximize both plans, you could have a total of $150,000 ($80,000 + $70,000) towards your purchase.

When Should You Open an FHSA?

The sooner the better! If you are at least 18 years old, you will benefit most from the incentive by participating as early as possible. Why? 

Just like setting up a retirement savings account, it’s better to start young. Consider this:

If you have only five years before you plan to buy your first home, you must contribute $8,000 to reach the $40,000 maximum. 

If you have 15 years before you want to buy, you can put aside just $2,666 per year to maximize the plan. Plus, you’ll benefit more from compound interest.

The younger you are when you start saving, the more investment income you will earn, even from small contributions. 

When to Close Your FHSA

Unlike an RRSP or RRIF, you can’t keep saving into your FHSA beyond 15 years. Your participation period will end on December 31 when any of the following occurs:

  • 15 years after opening your first FHSA
  • You celebrate your 71st birthday
  • A year passes from your first qualifying withdrawal

What happens to funds remaining in the FHSA after you close the account? You have two options:

  1. You can make a taxable withdrawal. These funds must be claimed as income on your tax return.
  2. You can transfer any remaining funds to an RRSP or RRIF and continue benefiting from tax-sheltered investments until retirement.

Housing values remain high in the current market, especially in the GTA. However, this exciting new incentive will make it easier for countless first-time buyers to make the dream of homeownership come true.

Do you have questions about the FHSA or any other part of the home-buying process? Reach out to us at tanya@tcteam.ca or call 647-293-3785 for more information.