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

Patio

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

310 burnhamthorpe

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

223webbdr

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

160308161657-transformed-apartments-super-169

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

hello

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

4006-50-absolute-ave-small-014-3-5d-30013-666x444-72dpi

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

image-axd

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

flooring-300x219

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

power_hero_lowres

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!