Contact Me

Iris Khodkar & Evelyn Lee Sales Representatives
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage Independently owned and operated
148 King Road
Richmond Hill, Ontario   L4E2T4

Office 289-234-8552Toll Free 1-866-787-1629

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Featured Listings

  • Housing Market Expectations in the GTA for the 2018 Year

    On Average, the Greater Toronto Area is facing a flat year for home prices in 2018. However, downtown Toronto and some suburban communities will be seeing higher prices! A 2018 housing forecast predicts that average national home prices will increase by 2.5% next year. 

    Christopher Alexander, regional director for Ontario and Atlantic Canada at RE/MAX Integra, said pricing in the GTA will be uneven, with Central Toronto and communities such as Brampton and Oakville likely to see price gains in 2018, while York Region North of the city of Toronto is likely to remain weak next year.

    Communities in York Region- including Richmond Hill, Markham, and Aurora- have faced some of the biggest declines since the GTA housing market began a downturn in April, and the pressurs is likely to continue in 2018. Oakville, however is expected to see prices rise 7.5% this year. Mr. Alexander said there is still strong demand for housing in the town west of Toronto and that price increase in 2016 and early 2017 were less dramatic and therefore more sustainable. 

    In terms of mortgages, the tougher new mortgage qualification rules that took effect on January 1st is expected to slow real estate activity nationally in the first few months of next year. Victoria, Greater Vancouver, Hamilton-Burlington, the GTA and Ottawa will be among the areas most heavily affected! 

     

    Have Questions regarding Real Estate? The Iris and Evelyn team are here to help! With their countless years of buying and selling Real Estate Properties, their experience and knowledge can help you make the right choice!

    Visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/irisandevelynteam/?fref=ts

  • Update on the Canadian Economy and the Bank of Canada rate

    The Bank of Canada increased its target for the overnight rate to 1.25%. The bank rate is correspondingly 1.5% and the deposit rate is 1%. Recent data has been strong, inflation is close to target, and the economy is operating roughly at capacity. HOWEVER, uncertainty surrounding the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is clouding the economic outlook. 

    In Canada, real GDP growth is expected to slow to 2.2% in 2018 and 1.6% in 2019, following an estimated 3.0% in 2017. Growth is expected to remain above potential through the first quarter of 2018 and then slow to a rate close to potential for the rest of the projection horizon. 

    Consumption and residential investment have been stronger than anticipated, reflecting strong employment growth. Business investment has been increasing at a solid pace, and investment intentions remain postive. Exports have been weaker than expected, although, apart from cross border shifts in automotive production, there have neem positive signs in most other categories. 

    Consumption and residential investment are expected to contribute less to growth, given higher interest rates and new mortgage guidelines, while business investment and exports are expected to contribute more. The Bank's outlook takes into account a small benefit to Canada's economy from stronger US demand arising from recent tax changes. However, as uncertainty about the future of NAFTA is weighing increasingly on the outlook, the Bank has incorporated into its projection additional negative judgement on business investment and trade. 

     

    Have Questions regarding Real Estate? The Iris and Evelyn team are here to help! With their countless years of buying and selling Real Estate Properties, their experience and knowledge can help you make the right choice!

    Visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/irisandevelynteam/?fref=ts

  • The New Mortgage Rules and How it Will Affect Housing

    Last October, Canada's federal financial regulator announced that all uninsured mortgage borrowers, those with a downpayment of 20% or more, must now qualify against the Bank of Canada's five year Benchmark rate (currently 4.99%), or at their contractual mortgage rate PLUS 2%. The new mortgage rules follow a similar stress that was applied to insured mortgages with ledd than 20% down payment in October 2016. 

    The new mortgage qualification rules are expected to have the greatest impact on first-time homebuyers in Victoria, Greater Vancuvor, Kelowna, North Bay, London, Barrie, Hamilton, Greater Toronto Area, Durham, Kingston, Ottawa, Halifax, and St. Johns. For the Greater Toronto Area specifically, the new mortgage rules are anticipated to reduce purchasing power, leading to greater demand for condo's which are a relatively affordable housing option. 

    Have Questions regarding Real Estate? The Iris and Evelyn team are here to help! With their countless years of buying and selling Real Estate Properties, their experience and knowledge can help you make the right choice!

    Visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/irisandevelynteam/?fref=ts

  • RE/MAX voted Canada's Most Trusted Real Estate Brand!

    Market research firm BrandSpark surveyed 5,000 Canadians for their "Most Trusted Awards". The Survey looked at Canada's Major Services and retail categories. The votes are IN! RE/MAX was named the "Most Trusted Brand for Real Estate"!  RE/MAX won by the largest margin of any of the brands in the categories, surpassing runner-ups Royal LePage and Century 21! RE/MAX Continues to hold up the top spot in the real estate realm! 

    What influences brand trust? Survey Said: 

    - 73% of respondents said timely responses to serious issues greatly increases their trust in the brand 

    - 56% of consumers surveyed said providing detailed infromation about their product or service greatly increases trust 

    - 49% of respondents said seeing unfiltered reviews on the brand website increases their trust greatly 

    - 53% of respondents said consistent prices greatly increase their trust! 

    Canadians say their trust in a brand is greatly increased by personal experience, responsiveness, transparency, fair pricing, and the endorsements of other cosnumers! 

    Have Questions regarding Real Estate? The Iris and Evelyn team are here to help! With their countless years of buying and selling Real Estate Properties, their experience and knowledge can help you make the right choice!

    Visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/irisandevelynteam/?fref=ts

  • Growing your Real Estate Investment in 2018!

    When investing in Real Estate, the number one goal most investors have are a means to earn more money! However, succeeding as a Real Estate investor requires more than just buying rental units, filling them up with tenants and cashing rent checks. The biggest road block investors have with growing their investment portfolio is the fact that many have no understanding on how to manage a property. An investors best bet is to try to keep the tenants they have satisfied. In order to do that, you have to be able to successfully manage your property well! 

    Here are some tips to ensure investment growth in today's market: 

    1. MARKETING 

    Everyday a rental property is spent vacant without a renter is money lost in the drain. It's a bad investment if the unit or building isnt filled quickly. Finding tenants for your rental property can be a hassle. This is why marketing is an important tip for investment growth. When a potential tenant is looking for a place to rent, the internet is usually the first place that person will check. It's importantto have your rental property exposed online for potential renters to see. Examples of platforms to use to advertise your property include Kijiji, Craigslist, Youtube or social media like Facebook and Instagram. 

    2. MAINTENANCE

    Maintenance is key when it comes to tenants who are satisfied and tenants who are not! Investing in a property does not excuse you from handling all of the maintenance work that goes along with it. Keep tenants happy by successfully addressing maintenance issues in a timely manner! That attention will probably save you a lot of money as it is a means of providing preventative care. Routine maintenance checks on things like smoke detectors, HVAC units and water heater can save you thousands of dollars. 

    3. COLLECTIONS 

    There's always that risk of receiving late payments, or worse yet, no payments at all! Situations like these can cause a threat to your investment. In order to avoid it, it's important to take into account rental payment history. Credit Bureau's offer options for obtaining data about how punctually and completely a person pays their dues. This helps investors avoid making a bad tenant decision. 

    4. COMMUNICATION 

    Communication with tenants is VITAL for avoiding vacancies. Tenants always want to make sure that their voices are heard by their landlord. They also want to make sure that immediate action is taken. Communication is key, especially if you are a Real Estate investor! 

    5. TENANT EXPECTATIONS 

    A HUGE segment of the rental market are recent university/college gradds in their 20s. Investing in the right amenities is critical to millenial retention. These amenities don't have to break the bank, but early investments can result in a good occupancy rate and renter retention, allowing for more portfolio growth. Millenials are a social group, so they value both outdoor and indoor living and socialization spaces. They have also only ever knwon a technology driven world, so they expect to be able to pay rent online. Make sure you understand your markets needs and deliver them in order to get a successful response rate! 

    Have Questions regarding Real Estate? The Iris and Evelyn team are here to help! With their countless years of buying and selling Real Estate Properties, their experience and knowledge can help you make the right choice!

    Visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/irisandevelynteam/?fref=ts

  • Updates on Canada's New Mortgage Rules!

    With the new mortgage rules taking effect on January 1st, 2018. Here are some insights on what to expect: 

    Home buyers with a down payment of 20% or more will be tested to ensure that they can afford their mortgage payments if interest rates increase. The stress test will be using either the Bank of Canada's 5-year benchmark rate or the customers mortgage interest rate plus 2%- Whichever is HIGHER. 

    Here's a basic overview of the process: 

    DO YOU HAVE A DOWN PAYMENT OF 20% OR MORE? 

    If NO, Buyers with down payments of less than 20% are subject to the current rules, meaning their finanacial institution will assess their ability to pay back their mortgage at the Bank of Canada's five year fixed rate. 

    IF  YES: 

    ARE YOU PRE-APPROVED FOR YOUR MORTGAGE?

    IF NO--> As of January 1, 2018, anyone who gets their mortgage from a federally regulated lender will be subject to the new rules. 

    IF YES--> Regardless of when your home closes, if you receive your mortgage pre-approval before January 1, 2018 and you purchase your home before your pre-approval expires, you are not affected by the new rules! 

    ARE YOU RENEWING YOUR MORTGAGE?

    IF NO, get advice from your mortgage specialist about information and the new rules that are being applied. It's good to be constantly informed even if you are not planning on securing or renewing a mortgage at this point of time 

    IF YES, 

    ARE YOU STAYING WITH YOUR CURRENT LENDER? 

    IF NO--> If you're renewing your mortgage and decide on to move to a new lender, you'll be treated as a new borrower and will have to qualify at the higher stress test rate.

    IF YES--> If you're renewing your mortgage and decide to stay with your current lender, you will not be subject to the new stress test. 

     

    Now, whether you are buying a new home or renewing your mortgage, be sure to speak with a mortgage advisor who can help you with your questions and decision choices! 

    Have Questions regarding Real Estate? The Iris and Evelyn team are here to help! With their countless years of buying and selling Real Estate Properties, their experience and knowledge can help you make the right choice!

    Visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/irisandevelynteam/?fref=ts

     

     

  • Tis The Season...to Go To The Toronto Christmas Market!

    The Toronto Christmas market takes over the Distillery District for the 8th consecutive year! Bring your family, friends and significant other to this land of holiday magic and Romance! This event has become one of the city's favourite holiday traditions. It has been ranked one of the world's best christmas markets by Fodor's Travel, USA Today, Mashable and more! 

    Enjoy the sparkling christmas light canopies, traditional music, carols and dance performances! You can also take delight in family friendly activities like santa's house, a ferris wheel, carousal and life sized gingerbread houses! If you're a foodie, you can taste the traditional European street-style food as well as the yummy Canadian holiday treats. For the cold days, you can indulge on warm drinks including the warm brews in the beer gardens!

    This years Toronto Christmas Market offers Christmas inspired activities for the whole family to enjoy! With one of the city's largest Christmas trees, lighting and decor, you are guranteed to have a holly jolly festive evening! 

    This year's Toronto Christmas market will be running until December 23rd, 2017

    TORONTO CHRISTMAS MARKET HOURS OF OPERATION: 

    Tuesday to Thursday: 12pm-9pm

    Friday: 12pm-10pm

    Saturday: 10am-10pm

    Sunday : 10am-9pm

    TORONTO CHRISTMAS MARKET ADMISSIONS: 

    Tuesday to Thursday: Free

    Friday before 5pm: Free

    Friday (after 5pm), Saturday and Sunday: $6

    Express Passes: $20

    Children 2 and Under: Free

     

    Have Questions regarding Real Estate? The Iris and Evelyn team are here to help! With their countless years of buying and selling Real Estate Properties, their experience and knowledge can help you make the right choice!

    Visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/irisandevelynteam/?fref=ts

  • Tips to entice Prospective Buyers to Buy your Home in Record Time!

    "I want to have my property sit on the market with no offer" said no seller EVER! The last thing a seller wants is for your home to sit on the market for months without any viable offers! Below are six shortcuts you can take to make selling your house easier and faster. The best part is that none of these tips will break the bank! 

    1. STAGING 

    Staging your home usually pays off. On average, staged homes sell 88% faster and for 20% more than unstaged homes. However, staging can be quite costly. If you're on a budget, there's a cheaper alternative. Vistual staging is a service where tech-savy professionals take photos of empty rooms and then use photo-editiing software to add couches, tables and other furnishings. These photos can make your online listing more appealing to home buyers! 

    2. CURB APPEAL 

    There's no doubt that home buyers form their first impression when they pull up to your house. How your home looks from the outside can boost your property's sales value up to 17%! Now I know what you're thinking, Professional landscaping can cost a lot of money! Luckily, there are options where you can opt for a less-intensive standard lawn care treatment which is not pricey. However, in return, you can yield a whopping 303% return according to the National Association of Realtors. Another option is to get out there, roll up your sleeves and tend to the front yard with your two hands! 

    3. MARKETING 

    Snail mail marketing can cost a lot of money. If saving is a priority for you, an alternative to use is social media marketing- promoting your listing on facebook, twitter, and instagram. To increase your visibility on these platforms, you can include video tours, floor plans and professional photos with your listing! 

    4. BRIGHTEN UP YOUR LIVING SPACE

    No buyer wants to walk into a dark dreamy house. There are several ways to improve the lighting in your home. One way is to install wall mirrors as they are very effective in amplifying light. Another way is to swap out lightbulbs for ones with higher lumen. Lastly, make sure you remove or push aside heavy drapery in order to let in more natural light. 

    5. PROMOTE ENERGY EFFICIENT UPGRADES

    Making your home more energy efficient can be a HUGE selling factor to home buyers. If you're home's energy bills are considerably low, you can provide prospective buyers with an energy audit report showing how energy efficient your home is. 

    6. BUILD BUZZ IN ADVANCE 

    You need to do everything you can in order to get people talking about your home before it hits the market! You can do so by promoting it on social media, sending a mass email to your network and knocking on neighbours doors! Another good way to build buzz is by having a garage sale, where you can dump up interest and sell some of your old junk! 

    Have Questions regarding Real Estate? The Iris and Evelyn team are here to help! With their countless years of buying and selling Real Estate Properties, their experience and knowledge can help you make the right choice!

    Visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/irisandevelynteam/?fref=ts

  • Your 101 Guide To Getting a Mortgage!

    Unless you have a large sum of money sitting around, you are probably going to need a mortgage if you want to buy a home. Here's how to qualify for and choose a mortgage, and what to expect throughout the process! 

     

    START EARLY: 

    You can go to as many showings and as many open houses as you want, but you are not going to be able to buy one without a mortgage. So before going out there and looking at houses, get the ball rolling and get a pre-approval first! It's never good to fall in love with a property only to realize that you cannot qualify for it at that particular price point. The pre-approval process should not take more than a day or two with a lending professional. A pre-approval is generally valid for 90 days. 

    You can also get pre-qualified by a lender. This is essentially a loose estimate of what you could afford based on financial information that you provide and a soft credit check. Pre-qualification is a simpler and quicker process since you do not need to submit documentation of your finances. But for that same reason, it is also largely menaningless, and does not mean pre-approval for financing. It's simply a way to estimate how big a mortgage you might qualify for. 

    ARE YOU READY: 

    In order to qualify for the lowest mortgage rates, credit scores should be in the 700s, and the borrowers debt-to-income ratio should be around 36%. This means that your monthly debt obligations- including student loan payments, car loans, credit card minimums, and the mortgage you're trying to get- shouldn't exceed 36% of you're pre-tax monthly income. 

    For those who have credit scores lower than 700, there are many lenders that finance for scores down to the low 600s. However, those individuals are looking at paying higher interest rates. The higher the interest rate, the higher the mortgage payment. 

    If you're looking for fast ways to increase your credit score, paying down credit balances is one of the most immediate credit boosters considering that a third of a creditors score is determined by credit utilization. Paying down balances can also get your debt-to-income ratio down to an acceptable level. 

    FIND A LENDER
    There are many types of mortgage lender out there, from your neighbourhood bank or credit union to online banks to non bank lenders. While your own bank may offer mortgages, make sure to compare rates and terms at other levders as well, since consumer banks may not be as competitive, especially for first time buyers. For a first time home buyer, it can often be a struggle to come up with a conventional 20% down payment. Luckily, there are programs offered for first time home buyers. 

    THE PAPERWORK: 

    Once you're ready to apply for a mortgage, you'll need to gather an immense anount of financial paperwork. In addition to filling out the loan application, you'll need to also provide: 

    - Your last 2 tax returns 

    - Proof of income 

    - Balances and monthly payments owed on student loans, auto loans, and other debts. 

    - Credit card balances and minimum payments 

    - Current bank account statements 

    - Investment account balances 

    FIXED RATE VS ADJUSTABLE RATE MORTGAGE (ARM): 

    Most first time home buyer loans involve a standard, 25-30 year fixed rate mortgage. It is the lowest- risk option since your monthly payment won't change. 

    An adjustable rate mortgage on the other hand, is where interest rate can change. This type of mortgage is a bit riskier. However, it does have an advantage- mainly, the initial rate will be lower than a fixed-rate mortgage. 

    CLOSING COSTS
    A downpayment is not the only up front money you will need to get a mortgage. Make sure you factor in closing costs. These costs can include bank fees, surveyor fees, points, title insurance, appraiser and attorney fees, and other charges. You may also need to prepay a years worth of homeowners indurance and property taxes in order to close! 

    Have Questions regarding Real Estate? The Iris and Evelyn team are here to help! With their countless years of buying and selling Real Estate Properties, their experience and knowledge can help you make the right choice!

    Visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/irisandevelynteam/?fref=ts

  • Questions to ask when choosing a Realtor to Buy your Dream Home!

    Thinking of hiring a real estate agent? Roughly 88% of buyers purchased their home through a real estate brokererage according to the National Association of Realtors! If you are thinking of hiring a real estate agent, here are some questions to ask: 

    1. IS THERE ANYTHING ABOUT THE HOME THAT CONCERNS YOU?

    Sellers might not tell you everything you need to know about the home. Your buyer agent however, will know a bit more about properties than an average person. Take time to ask your agent if there's anything about the house that could be a potential problem. 

    2. DO YOU REPRESENT BOTH BUYERS AND SELLERS ON A SINGLE TRANSACTION?

    When an agent represents both the buyer and seller, this is called a dual agency or multiple representation. This type of representation often presents a conflict of interest. A dual agent can write an offer but cannot provide you with any advice since the agent cannot advocate for you and the seller. Therefore, a dual agent may not have your best interest in mind. 

    3. HOW LONG HAS THIS HOME BEEN ON THE MARKET?

    When going out and seeing properties with your agent, an important question to ask is how long the home has been on the market! Note that if the home is very new to the market, you'll have less leverage when it comes to negotiating the sale price. Also, if the home has been on the market for a long time, you should ask why. There's a possibility that the listing price is too high! 

    4. WHAT ARE THE TERMS OF THE BUYERS AGENCY AGREEMENT?

    Working with a buyer agent is beneficial in that the agent has your best interst in mind and is working only for you! Once you decide to work with a particular agent, you will most likely need to sign a contract that gives the agent the exclusive right to show homes to you. This contract is called a Buyer Agency Agreement, or a Buyer Representation Agreement. This agreement can last anywhere from 3-12 months. Before signing the agreement, you will want to find out the conditions of the agreement, so make sure you ask the agent! 

    5. WHAT IF I AM NOT SATISFIED WITH YOUR SERVICE?

    There could be a chance that you might not find your agents service all that great. Ask your agent if he or she offers a satisfaction gurantee if you're unsatisfied with the service provided. 

    6. WHAT ARE SOME THINGS YOU LIKE ABOUT THIS HOME?

    Remember, a Real Estate Agent has more knowledge about homes than an average person. Make sure you ask for the agent's opinion on some things he or she likes about the home. This is helpful because it can be easy to miss some details during the exciting and hectic process of buying a home. The agent might mention some features or neighbourhood amenities you overlooked. You could be so overwhlemed during the home tour that you fail to notice extra storage space, or your favorite store down the road! 

    7. IS THIS A REASONABLE PRICE?

    Unless you're working with a dual agent, you should be able to get a fairly honest answer when it comes to the listing price. Considering the agents expertise with the market, he or she should be able to tell you if the sellers asking price is within a reasonable range. 

     

    Have Questions regarding Real Estate? The Iris and Evelyn team are here to help! With their countless years of buying and selling Real Estate Properties, their experience and knowledge can help you make the right choice!

    Visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/irisandevelynteam/?fref=ts

Contact Me

Iris Khodkar & Evelyn Lee Sales Representatives
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage Independently owned and operated
148 King Road
Richmond Hill, Ontario   L4E2T4

Office 289-234-8552Toll Free 1-866-787-1629