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.

Tips for Renovating and Remodeling Your Condo – Shawn Gandhi

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Depending on the age of your home or the features it had when you bought it, you will probably want to update the condo’s appearance at some point. Before you run out and start ordering materials for your renovation project, it is important to ensure you follow a specific set of steps. Otherwise, you might yourself in trouble with your condo association and have to spend even more money to redo areas of your home to ensure they satisfy your board’s rules and regulations.

Step 1: Review Your Condo’s Rules and Regulations

Even though you might think the interior of your home is yours to do with as you please, you would be surprised by how many people mistakenly make renovation, only to discover later, they violated their association’s rules and regulations. Certain elements within your unit could actually be considered common elements.

While you are reviewing the rules and regulations, it does not hurt to make a list of questions for any areas you are not clear about or need further clarification, and submit these in writing to your association. Having written communications will protect you later, should there be a dispute about your renovation/remodeling project.

Step 2: Draw Up Your Plan

Once you have determined what renovations you are allowed to make, the next step is to draw up the plan. You could create the plan yourself or retain the services of an interior designer or contractor, who specializes in condo renovation and remodeling projects. Once you have your plan completed, it is always in your best interests to submit it, along with a written explanation of the work to be completed, to your condo association, even if you do not need their approval.

In some cases, even if you do not need permission to make alterations, your association could however, require they be given access to make inspections at some point. By providing them with the plans and written details, it ensures everyone is protected and will let you know whether inspections are going to be necessary.

Step 3: Be a Good Neighbour

It does not hurt to let your neighbours know you will be doing remodeling/renovation work, especially if there will be excessive noise. Most associations have specific work hours you must follow. If you are using a contractor to do the work, make sure they know what days and times they are allowed to work.

Furthermore, if your project requires hauling in a large amount of materials, talk to your onsite maintenance staff and get permission to use freight elevators, if your building has them. You will also want to find out where materials can be unloaded and take the time to secure parking for your contractor, if necessary. In addition, provide onsite security, door people, and other staff a list of who will be coming and going from your condo during the project.

By taking the time to properly prepare for your condo remodeling or renovation project, you will avoid costly mistakes and violating your association’s rules and regulations.

If you are in the market for a new condo in Square One Mississauga or other location within the GTA, please feel free to contact experienced condo realtor, Shawn Gandhi at 905.795.1900 today!

Mississauga Welcomes Provincial Legislation to Impose Ban on Door-to-Door Sales

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The City of Mississauga is pleased the Province of Ontario has taken an important step to protect consumers by introducing new rules for home inspections, door-to-door sales and payday loans.

Last spring, Mississauga City Council unanimously passed a motion brought forward by Ward 2 Councillor Karen Ras. The motion called on the Province to impose a ban on door-to-door sales activities in the home services sector.

The motion also urged other municipalities to join Mississauga in calling on the Province to protect consumers. Since Mississauga passed the motion, more than 25 municipalities, from Thunder Bay to Toronto also passed similar resolutions.

“As a Council, we want to inform and protect Mississauga homeowners and ensure they know their rights when it comes to door-to-door sales. Too often we hear stories of people who have experienced unsolicited, aggressive and misleading sales tactics at their door,” said Ward 2 Councillor Karen Ras. “We look forward to the details regarding the regulations to ensure they are focused on dealing with the problem consumers are facing: unsolicited door-to-door sales activities.”

The proposed new rules are part of the government’s Putting Consumers First Act, and are aimed at protecting consumers in transactions with common household and financial services.

How to Remodel Your Condo Flooring on a Budget – Shawn Gandhi

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Buying a condo is a big deal, especially if it is your first condo. Second to buying your first condo is making it feel like your home. As you well know, how much you pay for your new condo will impact the work and budget you’ll need to put into remodeling your new place. When funds are limited, it’s best to take remodels slowly so that you don’t go housebroke. It’s also important to think about making updates that will make your condo feel unique to you AND add value in the event that you plan to sell in the future.

One upgrade that will always add value – whether it is a condo or a house – is new flooring. Traditionally, hardwood flooring helps homes sell faster and for more money. Likewise, hardwood flooring tends to come with a slightly higher price tag if you go the route of solid hardwood. And, that price increases if the wood you’re looking at is of a more exotic type or comes in a trending look and/or color. Fortunately, there are also many other flooring options for budget-conscious renovators to consider. For some ideas on wood-look flooring, check out the variety of vinyl flooring options.

In order to find the best flooring choice for you, follow these five steps:

Step 1: Research Your Options

flooringThere’s more to new flooring than simply hardwood. When you’re replacing your flooring on a budget there are lots of options to choose from, including engineered wood, tile, laminate, luxury vinyl plank flooring, and more. Luxury vinyl plank flooring has grown in popularity due to its realistic wood look, texture, and easy-on-the-wallet price tag. In addition to price, you also need to know the pros and cons of each type of flooring you’re considering. For example, vinyl plank flooring compared to wood flooring and most laminates is water resistant and easier to maintain.

Step 2: Determine Your Installation Preference

Flooring has advanced to the point where DIY-friendly options are now widely available for homeowners, which helps reduce costs by removing the need for professional installation teams. DIY flooring options, such as Click-Lock vinyl offered by GoHaus, do not need to be adhered to the subfloor and lock into place with an interlocking mechanism around each vinyl plank.

Step 3: Sample Your Favorites

Once you’ve done your research on companies and materials, you need to do your due diligence and get samples of the flooring you think is best for your condo. Samples are the single best way to know for sure if you can live with (and walk on) the flooring for years to come.

Step 4: Understand Your True Cost

This step is most important in staying within budget and is often overlooked by first-time renovators who are then surprised by all the extra costs that creep in during the project. True cost applies not only to the cost of the product, but also includes items such as shipping & handling, installation tools & materials, and professional installation (if you go that route). All of these costs totaled add up is the true cost per square foot of a remodeling project such as flooring. This is the cost you use when you shop and compare various flooring solutions.

Step 5: Verify Your Supplier’s Reliability

Once you’ve gone through these four steps and narrowed down your flooring choice, there is one more step before it’s time to place your order. Use your online tools to verify that the supplier you picked is reliable and will stand behind their product for years to come.

Preconstruction Condos versus Existing Units – Shawn Gandhi

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When you are shopping for a new condo in Mississauga, you will be presented with two general options: Invest in a preconstruction condo or buy an existing home. Both of these options have their advantages and disadvantages. It is important to carefully weigh these in order to determine which purchasing decision will be best for your particular situation.

Pros: Preconstruction Condos

There are several new condo construction projects either under way or getting ready to break ground. The main benefit of considering a unit that has not yet been built is it gives you more flexibility in choosing from a variety of floor plans, interior design and décor options, and other features that best reflect your own personal tastes. Plus, everything will be brand new once the unit is finally built and you close on the sale.

Pros: Existing Condos

With already-built condos, the main advantage is not having to wait for the unit to be built. Existing homes are also a wise choice for people who want to move into their new home now. You can shop from a variety of homes on the market, some of which are brand new units in several of the newer communities. Once you find the home you like, you can complete the purchasing and closing processes fairly quickly in most cases.

Cons: Preconstruction Condos

The main disadvantage of preconstruction units is having to wait for them to be built. In some cases, the builder has not even broken ground on the project and it may be a year or longer before your unit will be built. There is also the risk the project could be delayed past the original anticipated time frame for when your new home would be completed. However, your Mississauga real estate agent can help ensure you have protection clauses in place to protect your interests should this occur.

Cons: Existing Condos

One disadvantage of existing condos is most have already been lived in by someone else. In older units, it is even possible the unit is being sold by the second or third owner. Another drawback is related to the age of the unit and community and the amount of work required to make the home your own. Although, you could get a great bargain on the home and have the power to negotiate a lower sales prices.

As you can see, preconstruction and existing condos both have their benefits and drawbacks. Other things to consider while shopping real estate listings in Square One and throughout the GTA are:

  • How Much Home You Can Afford
  • Amenities Offered by the Condo Community
  • Convenience to Shopping, Dining, Parks, Entertainment, and Public Transport

To check out the current real estate listings for both preconstruction and existing condos, feel free to contact me, Square One real estate agent, Shawn Gandhi at 905.795.1900 today. I have an extensive knowledge of the condominium market and will do everything I can to satisfy your needs and help you find your new home!

 

 

Mississauga to Host 10 Tower Condo Project – Shawn Gandhi

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A parcel of land bought in the 1960s by Ted Rogers in farm country at the western edge of what is now downtown Mississauga is to be transformed into a 10-tower condo development hailed as a fitting tribute to the telecom pioneer who passed away in 2008.

Rogers Real Estate Development Limited, a private holding company owned by the Rogers family, along with Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie on Tuesday unveiled a $1.5-billion, 15-acre, 4.3-million-square-foot project that promises more than two acres of public parkland downtown.

“Rogers has an enduring history with the City of Mississauga,” Edward Rogers said, noting that his father originally planned a radio transmitter for the site he bought for just over $170,000 a generation ago.

“We believe in the city and in the vision that was set forward in Downtown21,” he said, citing Mississauga’s strategy embracing a more pedestrian-friendly core with community squares, outdoor markets and abundant green space.

Called M City, the Rogers project is on part of the tract that was coveted because it offered wide-ranging reception to transmit signals from broadcast stations being assembled by the progenitor of Rogers Communications Inc., including Toronto radio outlet CHFI, whose transmitter is now located atop the CN Tower.

In an interview Monday, Edward Rogers said much of the land had been sold off, but the family held a long-standing ambition to develop the remaining acreage. He called M City a first foray in real-estate development that could pave the way for further projects down the road.

The project will be anchored by an iconic design, will prioritize public spaces and parkland, and offer residents the best in wireless, high-speed Internet and cable-TV technology now and into the future, he said.

Plans call for 6,000 units to be available for rent or for sale at prices ranging from around $200,000 up to $750,000. Some 700 units are envisioned for the first phase, with construction to begin in late 2017 or early 2018 and to continue in stages as units are pre-sold or rented and as the Rogers family retains ownership of the land.
While his father did not live to see the development finally take shape, his son said “it feels as though he is a part of it.”

“It’s a wonderful project,” Edward Rogers said. “It will be built to specifications that would have made Ted proud.”

According to architectural renderings, M City features will include extending existing city streets on a unique, angular plane to create a fine-grained network of blocks, enabling a pedestrian-friendly environment. Typical residential blocks will provide two-way roads with on-street parking, generous sidewalks and residential frontages.

“Rogers has put forward a bold, exciting and forward-looking vision for Mississauga’s growing, thriving and promising downtown,” Crombie said in a statement.

“These new planned developments by Rogers are consistent with the City of Mississauga’s commitment to build a livable, walkable city, home to mixed-use residential and commercial developments that are connected to an extensive public transit network.”

New York-based urban design firm Cooper Robertson was brought on board to design the framework for M City while Cooper Robertson partner Donald Clinton was the lead designer on the project.

Architects delivered a winning design that will “redefine Mississauga’s skyline with a striking, undulating tower that rotates seven typical floor plates in repetition as it rises 51 storeys,” said a press release outlining the development.

“Rogers, because they’re not builders, they’re a renowned Canadian corporate entity that doesn’t have to squeeze every penny out of this, Rogers is creating a legacy here,” said the area’s councillor, Nando Iannicca.

Rogers will partner with a construction management company and a highrise builder on the project, which Iannicca said will be a defining feature of Canada’s sixth-largest city. The towers will house privately owned condos and rentals, with a wide variety of leased commercial properties on the lower floors.

The Toronto-based holding company’s plan describes a signature tower just west of city hall and right next to the downtown loop of a future $1.3-billion LRT to be fully funded by the province. The land has sat as a vacant field for decades, while vertical development has exploded around Mississauga’s city centre.

The project is being assembled by the Rogers family independent of Toronto-based Rogers Communications, the telecom and media giant founded by Ted Roger’s father, Edward S. Rogers.

Amenities – Shawn Gandhi

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What Influences a Condo Community’s Amenities?

In the past few years with the improvements in Mississauga’s city centre, the popularity of Square One, and several new condominium communities, one has to wonder what influences what amenities each community offers potential buyers and current residents.

There are two key factors that help determine the list of amenities: the neighbourhood and buyers. When the city centre revitalization began, it created opportunities for new condo projects, restaurants, retail stores, and other businesses. With easy access to shopping, dining, entertainment, walking and biking trails and more a short distance from a condominium, these amenities were an added bonus for new buyers.

Beyond these amenities everyone gets to enjoy, buyers have influence over what they expect when they are shopping for a new condo. If a particular community does not offer specific amenities they desire, they are going to look at other properties that do. As a result, it is often beneficial for new project developments to compare what is currently being offered and take note of what amenities people are demanding.

Some developers are even offering new and innovative amenities to attract new condo owners. Amenities being offered at various condo homes and new project developments include:

  • Shared Public Spaces (Restaurants, Lounges, Shops, and Courtyards)
  • Central Green Spaces for Residents
  • Community Gardens
  • Fitness Centres
  • Children’s Play Areas
  • Resident-Only Restaurants/Bars/Lounges
  • Full Court Gymnasiums
  • Private Community Rooms for Special Events
  • Residential Libraries
  • Spas
  • Swimming Pools
  • Outdoor Grilling Areas
  • Pet Washing Facilities
  • Pet Daycares and Spas
  • Rock Climbing Walls
  • Arts and Crafts Studios
  • Kitchen Appliance Libraries
  • Music Studios
  • Resident-Only Seminars and Demonstrations

The goal of condominium developers is to get residents to enjoy their community and have access to the things they like doing without having to go far from their front doors.

Some developers, like Liberty Development Corporation, are taking things even further. This developer is building the first-ever rooftop condominium observatory as part of its Cosmos Condominiums in Vaughn. The observatory is not only the first one of its kind in the GTA and Canada, but all of North America.

What’s the Cost of Amenities for Condo Owners?

One question condo buyers have is just how much all of these wonderful amenities are going to cost them? Most people are surprised to learn only a small portion of their monthly condo fees actually go towards amenities. Amenities are discretionary costs, which means they tend to require a large upfront investment by the developer and have low upkeep and maintenance costs for residents.

Depending on the property, about 15% on average goes towards amenities. The other 85% is used for building maintenance, insurance, paying energy bills for common areas, cleaning, landscaping, setting funds aside in the condo reserve fund, and so on. Some communities even include some or all of the condo’s monthly utilities as part of the monthly fees residents pay.

To easily find out what condos in Mississauga and the GTA have the amenities you desire, please feel free to contact me, Shawn Gandhi, Square One Mississauga realtor, at 905.795.1900. I look forward to helping you find your dream condo!

 

Chef Massimo to open up shop!

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Look out Mississauga! Chef Massimo Capra and his signature ‘stache and big personality are coming our way. Chef Massimo is finally opening a restaurant called Capra’s Kitchen in his hometown of Mississauga in the former Villa La Bella space along Lakeshore Rd. in the Clarkson neighbourhood.

Chef Massimo is temporarily operating under the Villa La Bella business name with a (temporary) brunch menu that he’s developed.

You will find a number of Chef Massimo’s signature dishes such as eggs Massimo (2 eggs in a savoury tomato sauce, bacon or sausage, home fries, grilled tomato and toast) and Natale pizza (as seen in photo above has roasted squash, fontina, parmigiano, cranberries, walnuts and roasted onions). You will also find pasta, soup, salad, Panini’s, coffee based beverages and mimosa on the menu.

In the interim, Villa La Bella will continue to be open daily from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm until the renovations start which could be anytime soon. “We are under renovation alert and may shut down sooner [to start renovations] rather than later”, says Chef Massimo.

His plans are to completely renovate the space with an estimated opening date sometime in the spring under the new name Capra’s Kitchen. It will be a brand new restaurant concept with a brand new menu offering lunch, dinner and weekend brunch.

It’s a good time to pop in to try some of his signature dishes and witness the transformation from what it looks like today to what it will become.

Chef Massimo is an accomplished celebrity chef, TV personality, author and Saugaboy who has an extensive resume. Starting from the ground up, his career began when he first started toiling in kitchens in Italy. He made his way to Toronto in the early 80s and worked in a few notable fine dining establishments in the city.
In the late 90s, he opened Mistura Restaurant and Sopra Upper Lounge in Toronto. On the literary front, he is the author of One Pot Italian and co-author of Three Chefs. He has contributed to The Globe and Mail and has appeared on numerous TV shows, including Food Network’s Restaurant Makeover and Chopped Canada and City TV’s Cityline and Travel + Escapes Gourmet Escapes TV Series.