Tips for Preparing to Sell Your Condo – Shawn Gandhi

Condo

Tips for Preparing to Sell Your Condo

The condo real estate market in big cities and their surrounding areas, like Toronto and Mississauga are currently very strong. Condo ownership provides many benefits to traditional single family homes, like being able to live close to public transport, parks, entertainment venues, and more.

It is important to take the time to understand how selling a condo differs from traditional homes so you can make your home attractive to numerous potential buyers.

Step 1: Hire a Real Estate Agent with Experience in Condos

One of the most common reasons some condos do not sell successfully is selecting the wrong real estate agent. Sure, any licensed realtor can list your condo, but not all are successful at knowing how to market it to attract buyers, like one with expertise in selling condos.

Step 2: Review the Selling Process

There are specific processes required to sell a condo that do different from traditional single family homes. Your real estate agent will review these with you in greater detail. Make sure to ask any questions if you are unsure of any process.

Step 3: Review Condo Association Regulations, Rules, Assessments, and Fees

It is beneficial to obtain a copy of the current condo association regulations and rules and have these available for potential buyers. In addition, you should note any special or annual assessments you pay annually, as well as monthly fees in the listing.

Step 4: Prepare Your Home for Sale        

Work with your realtor to correctly stage the home for potential buyers. This is also a good time to make sure all maintenance is up-to-date on appliances. Additionally, make any minor repairs and do a deep cleaning of the home.

Step 5: Prepare for Inspections

Home inspections are part of selling a condo and you need to be prepared for these. If you already took the time to complete Step 4, you should be in pretty good shape.

Step 6: Retain the Services of a Real Estate Lawyer with Experience in Condos

At some point you will need to hire a real estate lawyer to assist with closing processes. The sooner you retain one, the better, as they can assist with reviewing sales proposals and other documents related to the sale of your home.

Step 7: Trust Your Realtor and Their Marketing Expertise

Part of selling your condo is how it is marketed, which if you chose a realtor, who specializes in condos, you will be covered. Aside from listing the home through multiple channels, open houses can be beneficial to attract more potential buyers.

Step 8: Decide on a Listing Price

Working with your realtor, you can determine how much to list the condo for initially. Part of this price has to do with comparing data from comparable condos in your area that have sold recently. Another factor that determines listing prices is the current real estate market in your area.

For more information about how to successfully sell your condo or to check out the latest listings if you are looking to buy a condo, contact me, Square One Mississauga realtor, Shawn Gandhi, who specializes in condo selling and buying, by calling 905.795.1900 today!

The Difference Between Pre-Approved and Pre-Qualified When Purchasing a Condo or Home – Shawn Gandhi

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Whether you are shopping for a traditional single-family home or a condo, there are several differences between being pre-approved and pre-qualified for a mortgage loan. Unfortunately, people often confuse pre-approval and pre-qualified and assume they mean the same things, but they do not, and these are major differences between the two terms.

It is important you understand these differences and how they can affect your buying experience, so you can determine which one is the best to use to fit your particular needs. Once you have learned the differences, you are sure to avoid any confusion and guarantee your home buying experience is fun and exciting while remaining stress-free!

Pre-Qualifying for a Condo or Home

The first step to securing, and being approved for an actual mortgage is to get pre-qualified. It is not too difficult and only requires minimum documentation. At this stage, you provide your bank or other mortgage lender with a general overall picture of your current financial situation including your current housing costs, debts, assets, and income.

The lender will review this information and put together an amount to give you an idea of how much of a mortgage you could be approved for, along with how much money may be needed for a down payment. Oftentimes, this step can be completed either over the Internet or the phone and does not require an actual face-to-face meeting.

However, and this is where you need to take note: Pre-qualifying for a mortgage DOES NOT review your credit history. As you probably can guess, this means the initial amount you pre-qualify for and the type of mortgage program could easily change once you get ready to apply for actual financing. As such, being pre-qualified is not as significant for sellers compared to being pre-approved.

Pre-Approval for a Condo or Home

The second step to securing a mortgage is getting pre-approved. Even if you were already pre-qualified for a loan, you will still need to take this step. Pre-approval processes take a more in-depth look into your financial situation and DO review your credit history. You WILL complete an actual mortgage application to get pre-approved.

The main benefit of pre-approval is the lender will issue you a conditional approval letter that details an exact loan amount and anticipated down payment amount. Once you have found the home you want to buy, you supply the actual purchase price and other details to the lender and your pre-approved mortgage becomes a completed loan application.

In addition, once you have this amount, you can focus on condos and homes within your pre-approved price range. Furthermore, sellers place a greater value on pre-approved buyers since they are only a few steps away from closing on the home once an offer is made.

Keep in mind neither process takes into account certain costs, such as home appraisals, inspections, and closing costs, so you will need to make sure to budget accordingly. For assistance in finding the perfect condo or home, contact experienced Square One Mississauga realtor, Shawn Gandhi today at 905.795.1900!

A full list of housing measures announced by the Ontario Government – Shawn Gandhi

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TORONTO — The Ontario government has announced what it calls a comprehensive housing package aimed at cooling a red-hot real estate market. Here are the 16 proposed measures:

— A 15-per-cent non-resident speculation tax to be imposed on buyers in the Greater Golden Horseshoe area who are not citizens, permanent residents or Canadian corporations.

— Expanded rent control that will apply to all private rental units in Ontario, including those built after 1991, which are currently excluded.

— Updates to the Residential Tenancies Act to include a standard lease agreement, tighter provisions for “landlord’s own use” evictions, and technical changes to the Landlord-Tenant Board meant to make the process fairer, as well as other changes.

— A program to leverage the value of surplus provincial land assets across the province to develop a mix of market-price housing and affordable housing.

— Legislation that would allow Toronto and possibly other municipalities to introduce a vacant homes property tax in an effort to encourage property owners to sell unoccupied units or rent them out.

— A plan to ensure property tax for new apartment buildings is charged at a similar rate as other residential properties.

— A five-year, $125-million program aimed at encouraging the construction of new rental apartment buildings by rebating a portion of development charges.

— More flexibility for municipalities when it comes to using property tax tools to encourage development.

— The creation of a new Housing Supply Team with dedicated provincial employees to identify barriers to specific housing development projects and work with developers and municipalities to find solutions.

— An effort to understand and tackle practices that may be contributing to tax avoidance and excessive speculation in the housing market.

— A review of the rules real estate agents are required to follow to ensure that consumers are fairly represented in real estate transactions.

— The launch of a housing advisory group which will meet quarterly to provide the government with ongoing advice about the state of the housing market and discuss the impact of the measures and any additional steps that are needed.

— Education for consumers on their rights, particularly on the issue of one real estate professional representing more than one party in a real estate transaction.

— A partnership with the Canada Revenue Agency to explore more comprehensive reporting requirements so that correct federal and provincial taxes, including income and sales taxes, are paid on purchases and sales of real estate in Ontario.

— Set timelines for elevator repairs to be established in consultation with the sector and the Technical Standards & Safety Authority.

— Provisions that would require municipalities to consider the appropriate range of unit sizes in higher density residential buildings to accommodate a diverse range of household sizes and incomes, among other things.

Mississauga to Receive $58 Million in Public Transit Infrastructure Funding

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Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced $58 million in Government of Canada funding for transit services in Mississauga through the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund (PTIF).

City projects approved through PTIF include the acquisition of up to 80 new 40 and 60-foot buses, the rehabilitation and replacement of more than 200 buses, improved pedestrian and cyclist access to Mississauga’s Transitway and GO stations, improved and enhanced MiWay stations and systems as well as trails and sidewalks.

“On behalf of the City of Mississauga and Members of Council, we welcome today’s news that the Federal Government has allocated unprecedented funding to help Canada’s cities, like Mississauga, press ahead with important city-building priorities like breaking gridlock and building transit,” Mayor Crombie said. “Mississauga’s Council-approved pre-budget submissions to the Federal Government repeatedly advocated for increased funding to build transit and infrastructure and we are seeing the priorities of Canada’s sixth-largest city reflected in today’s announcement.”

The PTIF program is an equal cost-share funding program that will see the Government of Canada and the City of Mississauga each contributing $58 million to complete the 51 approved Mississauga projects.

“I am pleased about the funding Mississauga has received through PTIF. This substantial infusion of funds enables us to deliver projects that maintain and enhance the City’s transit infrastructure, assets and systems; helping deliver on our Strategic Plan by having transit influence and shape the form of the city,” said Janice Baker, City Manager and Chief Administrative Officer. “Mississauga, like many cities across Canada, is looking to the federal and provincial levels of government to provide predictable and sustainable funding.”

The PTIF program is part of the first phase of Investing in Canada, the Government of Canada’s $120 billion plan to support public infrastructure across Canada over the next 10 years. Under the program, the Government of Canada will contribute more than $200 million for the 312 projects approved in Ontario, representing 50 per cent of the total eligible costs.

“The City is pleased to receive this news. In anticipation of this announcement, we’ve carefully planned and built this funding into the 2017 Business Plan and Budget,” said Gary Kent, Commissioner, Corporate Services and Chief Financial Officer. “The timelines for the program are tight so with Council approval, we’ve already begun many of the projects on our list. We will be working closely with the Federal Government who has indicated there is some flexibility on the completion dates for the projects.”

Tips for Renovating Your Condo’s Patio or Balcony – Shawn Gandhi

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Choosing the right furniture, lighting, patio tiles, and so on is an important aspect to updating your patio or balcony. The possibilities and combinations of options are endless and only limited by your own imagination, tastes, and preferences. You will want to keep several things in mind, when selecting the materials you want to use for your patio renovation project.

What procedures must you complete before starting your renovation?

Each condo association and building has its own specific requirements for making improvements to outdoor patios and balconies. You will also need to obtain approval from your condo association ahead of time prior to starting any work.

How much do you want to spend on renovating your patio?

You need a project budget to ensure you have the necessary funds to complete the renovation. Your budget should include how much you want to spend on lighting, furniture, decorative items, flooring, and so on, as well as the costs of labour, if you intend to hire a contractor.

What work hours are allowed by your condo association?

Most condo associations have specific hours and days where you are permitted to work on renovation projects. Make sure to verify these with your condo association prior to starting any projects, as this can influence your decisions whether to do the work yourself or hire a contractor.

Do you want to hire a contractor or do the work yourself?

There are benefits to hiring a professional contractor to do the actual labour involved with a patio renovation. One of the main benefits of using a contractor is they will provide you with a schedule and anticipated completion date, weather permitting, so you will know exactly how long the renovations will take.

Which types of materials are suited for exposure to Canadian weather?

If you want to protect the look, appearance, and finish of furniture, lighting, tiles, and other materials you want to use to remodel your patio or balcony, verify they are designed for outdoor usage. Furthermore, keep in mind some materials may require various forms of preventative maintenance to help keep them protected and preserve their original appearances.

Renovating your patio or condo will add years of enjoyment to this outdoor area of your home. Additionally, the improvements you make could increase the value of your home and will benefit you should you decide to sell your condo in the future.

If you are considering putting your condo on the market or are shopping for a new condo, please feel free to contact me, Square One Mississauga real estate agent, Shawn Gandhi by calling 905.795.1900. I have a comprehensive knowledge of every condo building in the area and will know exactly how to help you sell or purchase your next home!

What To Look For In Your New Condo – Shawn Gandhi

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When looking for a condo for the first time, there’s a lot to consider. You may not know where to start. In fact, you need to check things out before you even set a foot inside the unit for sale.  Here are some helpful hints for when you decide to start shopping for your new condo.

Learn about the neighbourhood — Walk around the block and see if you would be happy living in the area. How is access to the type transportation that you’ll need daily? Are there stores and services you’d use nearby? Does it look safe? Do the other buildings on the block look well-kept or run-down?

Do you like the way the building looks — When you do arrive, the exterior is important. And not just for aesthetic and curb-appeal reasons. Remember that when you buy a condo, you’ll be part of an Association that owns and is responsible for the upkeep of the exterior of the building, as well as all common areas.

Look at the lawn (if there is one) — Is it well maintained? Inviting? What about the façade of the building? Does it look fresh and updated? Or do you notice peeling paint? Is the brickwork crumbling? These aren’t just cosmetic considerations. If the Association neglects to take care of a roof with missing shingles, or a façade that needs pointing (repairing damaged brick and mortar), these can lead to serious structural problems. Eventually these types of issues will damage your unit and drag down your resale price, or will result in everyone in the building paying a special assessment for much larger repairs.

Are there any business units in the building — A few nice stores downstairs not only add to the building’s convenience, but are also paying rent. If the building is in a prime retail location, this income can significantly lower your maintenance payments. Caveat: a food service business, be it a restaurant or a grocery store, brings noise and can attract mice and other vermin.

Pay attention to the entry and the hallway — Is the door securely locked if there is no doorman? Are the entry and hallway areas clean and well lit? What about the elevator? Does it work? Do you feel comfortable riding it? If the building is a walk-up, are the stairs and guardrails in good condition?

How is the building’s staff treating you —If there is a doorman, is he acting in a professional, courteous manner or is he on his cell phone while sneaking a cigarette around the corner? If you need to see the super, is he helpful and knowledgeable? These people will be an important part of your everyday experience in the building, and will be the first impression your guests get.

Keep your eye on the future. Since this is your first condo, you’re likely to move again in a few years. Therefore, appearances are important, and you need to think how the neighborhood and building would impress a future buyer, since you’ll eventually want to sell.

Could Your Condo Community Benefit from a Social Committee? – Shawn Gandhi

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As the number of new condo owners continues to grow, social committees are becoming a vital aspect to enjoying condo living. Social committees should not be mistaken for your condo association and the types of amenities ownership provides such as:

  • Dog Runs
  • Pet Washes and Grooming Areas
  • Private Parks and Outdoor Areas
  • Fitness Centres
  • Swimming Pools
  • Laundry Services

Rather social committees consist of residents, who volunteer their time to plan and prepare different events for the entire community.

The goal of social committees is to help residents find neighbours within their community who share similar interests through various activities and events. They help people and families feel more connected to their community and make it easier to find new friends. The range of events and activities social committees host includes:

  • Cookouts
  • Biking
  • Jogging
  • Walking
  • Team Sports
  • Game Nights
  • Cooking Classes
  • Book Clubs
  • Yoga Classes
  • Family Nights
  • Singles Nights
  • Couples Nights

If your condo community does not currently have its own social committee, one can be formed following specific processes. The best place to start is to attend a condo board meeting and bring up the topic of forming a social committee. If some of your neighbours also feel the community could benefit from a social committee, make sure they attend the meeting with you to show the board there is already an interest.

During the meeting be prepared to present different ideas about the types of events that you are considering hosting. If the board is receptive to the idea of a social committee, ask their support and approval to form one. Once approved, the next step is to make residents aware of the new committee and attract volunteers to help grow the committee and lend their time in planning and preparing events.

For your first event, try to pick something that does not involve a huge expense and could take advantage of shared common areas, like hosting a community “pot-luck” dinner. Another option is to request a “reservation fee” to help offset the costs of food, like $5 per person, so you will have an accurate head count of the number of attendees.

It is also a good idea to keep board members informed of the progress and success of events. As support grows for the social committee, your next step is to ask the board to establish and approve an annual social committee budget. Contributions to the budget would be separate from the monthly/annual dues owners pay.

A good starting annual contribution amount is $50 per unit, but should be adjusted based upon the size of the community and number of events you intend to host, as well as be optional. In addition, you could also offer individual event costs, so households that want to attend, but may not want to pay the per unit cost, can still take part in the events they want to attend.

To ensure the success of your new social committee, remember to listen to feedback from residents about what types of events and activities they want. Not only will you help bring people together by listening to their needs, but also find interest in the social committee will continue to grow.

For assistance in finding and purchasing a condo or selling your existing unit, please feel free to contact me, Square One Mississauga realtor, Shawn Gandhi at 905.795.1900 today!

Maximizing Square Footage In Your Condo – Shawn Gandhi

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Square One Realtor Offers Tips on Maximizing the Square Footage in a Condo

One growing trend in the Square One Mississauga real estate market is the demand for smaller condos. There are several benefits of choosing a smaller unit over a larger one. First, smaller units cost less and are a great investment for individuals, couples, and single-parent families shopping for an affordable starter home in the highly sought-after Square One area.

While there are larger units available that offer 1,000-plus square feet of space, for most people, their condos will average around 500 to 800 square feet, depending on the condo project and available units. Maximizing this amount of living space requires creative thinking about how you want to arrange your new home.

There are several areas within the unit that often go unused and wasted living space. To ensure you are getting the most benefit from every square foot, consider the following tips and suggestions:

  • Underneath Beds – The floor space under the beds gets overlooked and can provide additional storage space of clothing and other items. Consider adding drawer units or pull out storage containers under this area to take advantage of this space and prevent overcrowding in the bedroom.
  • Install Sliding Doors – Sliding doors on the closets and entry ways frees up the space a traditional door needs to swing open into the area. By replacing these with sliding doors, or requesting sliding doors, if you are purchasing a pre-construction unit, it allows you to use the space for other purposes, like a sitting chair or wardrobe. Remember to choose wardrobes that have sliding doors on them, too.
  • Underneath End Tables – Just like the space under the bed, the space underneath end tables often goes unused. You can find attractive cube-like storage pieces to fit your décor and use it for storing away extra pillows, blankets, books, magazines, and other such items.
  • Living/Dining Areas – In most units, this area of the home is open to provide flexibility in how you want to place furniture pieces. If you want to have separate areas, use folding or sliding room dividers to divide the two living spaces into their own rooms.
  • Select Multi-function Furniture Pieces – Some coffee tables and sofas are designed with additional storage space inside to store less used items out of the way. You can even find bench-style seating for kitchen tables that have storage underneath the seat.
  • Walls – The walls inside your unit can be used to mount shelving units of varying sizes and give you more storage options, while at the same time, offer a flat surface on top for displaying various objects and items.
  • “Murphy-style” Desks – There are desk units which open and close like a murphy bed and are great when you want to be able to close it up to free up space for entertaining or guests.

Remember to have fun as you decorate your new home to maximize every square foot of living space! For assistance in finding the perfect condo in Mississauga or elsewhere in the GTA, please feel free to contact Square One realtor, Shawn Gandhi at 905.795.1900 today!

Getting Pre-Approved for a Condo Mortgage: Why It Helps – Shawn Gandhi

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The condo minimum housing market continues to increase and grow in popularity in the GTA, with Square One, Mississauga being a trending and upcoming area where everyone is wanting to secure a condo! Aside from Mississauga, other areas that are currently hot with both traditional home and condo buyers are Brampton, Oakville, and Durham.

With such high demand, and often a limited number of properties for sale at any given time throughout the year, taking the time to go through the pre-approval process for your mortgage will save time later, once you find the perfect new home you want to buy as it lets the seller know upfront you have already taken care of the steps to secure financing, and essentially are ready to complete the sales process now.

Rather than the seller having to wait several weeks or longer for you to obtain financing, the seller knows with confidence, you have the means the buy their home. This alone, can help you secure your dream condo and edge out any competitive offers the seller might have received, especially if they want to sell the home quickly.

Another benefit of being pre-approved is it lets you know how much home you can afford and how much money your lender is willing to finance towards the purchase price. Furthermore, you will have an idea of the interest rate, and in some cases, are able to lock in this rate at the same time.

However, it is worth stressing getting pre-approved is not the same thing as pre-qualifying for a mortgage. Pre-approval processes will require you to provide the necessary documentation, such as proof of income, debts, and so on. Whereas with pre-qualification processes, you start the mortgage process, but delay the actual approval processes until later.

The drawbacks to pre-qualification are the lender only provides you with an estimated amount you could be approved for, which is not guaranteed, and cannot lock in the interest rate, if this is available as an option through pre-approval processes.

In recent years, first time buyers are discovering it can be easier to obtain pre-approval for a condo mortgage compared to a traditional home mortgage. The reason for this shift, largely has to do with the increased demand in condos, as well as the liquidity of condo associations. As demand for condos has increased, condo projects have also become more financially stable.

Liquidity refers to the ability of the condo association being able to pay shared bills and have money to upkeep the property, which is paid for through monthly condo association fees be all owners. With more people buying condos, this translates to the association having more money available to ensure proper building maintenance and ensure all shared bills are paid. Not to mention being able to offer residents a wider range of amenities and perks!

For more information about current condos for sale, pre-construction sales, and help finding your dream home, contact Square One Mississauga realtor, Shawn Gandhi now by calling 905.795.1900.