Canary District

So I haven’t posted in a while but I would like to turn your attention to mortgage rates and the booming real estate market.  It is with no surprise that developers are putting up condos and homes as fast as they possible can.  With mortgage rates so low it has been very affordable for the last 5 years to become a home owner.  Ah that is were the american dream starts, with a home!  But owning a home is just the beginning, how about an investment property to have a little passive income trickle in at the end of every month.  I have been investing for quite some time now and I have a really good formula that has made me a fairly successful investor.  First start with a quality project, do your research and make sure you know what you are getting yourself into.  There are plenty of developers that cut corners to save a buck or two, you may want to stay away from those so you don’t jeopardize your future investment.  So lets take a look at some potential great investments that are coming to the real estate market in Toronto.

First on my mind are the Canary District Condos being brought to you by Dundee Kilmer, a builder known for its quality workmanship.  Dundee Kilmeer has teamed up with Ellis Don, KPMB Architects and Munge Leung an interior design firm.  With this collaboration Canary District Condos will built with the utmost quality and design, everything was literally checked three times before it was put to paper.  I believe the project will be well worth it and a very smart investment to anyone, especially if you can grab a unit in the pre construction phase.  If you can you will get your unit at the lowest price possible, and heck who doesn’t like saving some money when they are making such a big investment.  I am sure you will be happy with this property, and you may not know this but all the Pan Am athletes of 2015 will be housed here for the entire games.  Shortly after the departure of the Pan Am games the tenants will slowly move in to their new units and lofts.  There is now a new phase coming soon that will be available for purchase.

Please click on the Canary District link if you are interested in reserving a unit.  I am certain that sales will go fast due to the overwhelming demand of this project.  Sign up today and have our sales association contact you with the details and everything else you will need to purchase a unit for yourself.

Mortgage lawsuits coming?

You may have heard about the House Bill that would allow mortgage holders to sue Wall Street for relief from mortgages that they’re not able to repay. The New York Times covered the story here. Reading this article reminded me of a conversation I had with a mortgage broker friend of mine a few days ago.

We were talking about the current state of the mortgage industry and we agreed on two points. 1) Predatory lending does exist and it has trapped a lot of people, and 2) Some consumers share in the blame for being financially irresponsible. It’s the second point that I’d like to discuss.

First of all, like I said above, there is no doubt that there were and are some shady people in the mortgage industry and any kind of reform for them would be welcome. Those who put money ahead of serving their clients are sadly all too common. But there are two sides to every deal. The broker on one end of the table and the consumer on the other. Each has responsibilities in the loan acquisition process and each should be held accountable for their actions.

I can’t make the blanket statement that every consumer is to blame. But the fact is that many people went into negotiations with one thing on their mind – what will my monthly payment be NOW. With some research, shopping, and education, many could have saved themselves from the trouble they now face. Too many are quick to blame the mortgage broker that drew them into a deal, and too few admit that they got into a home when they shouldn’t have. They knew they couldn’t afford it but the payment was great at the time. The broker told them that the rate would reset but they did it anyway because they wanted that home.

We can’t change the past but we can do something about the future. We now know that it’s absolutely necessary to be familiar with all sides of a deal before we get into it. If you are thinking about buying a home, educate yourself first as to what you know you can afford. When you go in to talk about mortgages, ask questions until you understand every little detail. It’s an exciting process and you just want to get into the house, but make absolutely sure that you know the deal inside and out.

Making your home green – where to start

There is so much information going around now about going green. We hear it in so many different places and in so many different ways – it can get a little overwhelming. So I’ve tried to simplify and make a list of where to start inside and outside of your home to get going with a green lifestyle. The list is in no particular order – just all good things.

1. Replace the light bulbs. This one is obvious and easy to do, and will save you a bit of money on your power bill. Chances are you have been buying the cheapest bulbs at the store, but their lifespan is usually terrible. The kind you will want to buy are ‘compact fluorescent light bulbs’. They cost a few dollars more, but you’ll save a lot in the end. For more in depth info, look at this Lowe’s light bulb buying guide.

2. Replace your shower head and faucets with low flow versions. This is a great way to save money on water bills, and you don’t have to pay very much for the fixtures. Some people think that low flow means barely any water pressure, but you can find faucets and shower heads that don’t sacrifice any pressure, while still saving water. If you want to go even further, there are toilets that save on water too, although you may have to pay a bit more to replace those. Before you make your decision on which ones to buy, look at this Consumer Reports appliance rating page from the Division of Water Resources.

3. That last link also had reviews of washers, which brings me to the next point. If you are buying appliances for a new home, or you have enough money to replace existing appliances, Buy Energy-Star appliances. You can find them everywhere now, and they’ll save you 10%-30% on your bills. Refrigerators, air conditioners, furnaces, water heaters – they all come in energy efficient models. Also remember to have furnaces and heaters checked every few years to make sure they’re running their best. Change the filters often too. Here is another link to a really good page that will guide you through energy efficient appliances: Lowe’s Energy-Star informational page.

4. Eliminate the drafts. Heating or cooling will decrease energy efficiency if there are drafts or air leaks in the house. Air leaks in windows can be remedied with caulk and weather stripping. The front door might also have problems, in which case you may need a door blower test to find any cracks that are letting out air. In addition, make sure your insulation is sufficient, especially if you own an older home. Many older homes don’t have insulation in the attic, so start there. In sum, any spots in the home where you feel air might be getting in or out, should be looked at and fixed.

Moving outdoors:

5. Xeriscape some of your yard. Xeriscaping saves a lot of water by removing moisture sucking grasses and plants and planting native water-wise plants. Most people love at least a little grass – I do too – but it’s not necessary in every corner of your yard. Many people have opted for water-wise plants in their parking strips or in front yards where there is not a lot of use for the grass. By cutting down on grass, you save water, gas from the lawn mower, and time used up by mowing.

And before you get the idea that your yard would not look as beautiful without all that grass and water-sucking plant life, look here at some water conservation gardens and see how nice it really can look.

6. Plant a shade tree. This will protect your home from some wind and will cool it in the summer. This is kind of a sore subject for me since the house my parents live in in South Jordan had a huge Cottonwood shade tree for 25+ years until last winter when they had to cut it down. It was a sad day because I love shade trees. I think you would too.

7. Don’t turn on the sprinklers in the middle of a hot day, or right after it has rained. How many times do you see sprinklers spraying away on a 100 degree day in the middle of the afternoon? Instead, turn them on at night when the water won’t all evaporate instantly. And if it rained nicely the day before, there’s no need for the sprinklers.

Take the leap – hire that home stager

When it comes time to sell your home, there’s one thing that will have to be dealt with sooner or later – the clutter.

Everybody acquires stuff after living in a place for a few or many years, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It only becomes a potential problem when you put out that ‘For Sale’ sign, and people begin to tour your home. Your stuff is your stuff, and therein lies the problem.

Too many sellers think that their furniture is in just the right place. They think that their stuff is placed exactly where it should be. And for them, that’s probably true. But it might not be true for anybody else. And the reality is, when you make the decision to sell, your opinion no longer matters.

This may be a good time to hire a home stagger. They’ll come in and arrange your home so that almost everybody will find it visually appealing. It takes some courage to invite that stagger in and give them free reign, but it should be done. They don’t share the attachments to your stuff that you do, and they’ll get rid of what needs to be gone. You might not like everything that they do, but remember that they do this for a living, and they have seen what works. Putting your home in the hands of a good stagger could be the difference between the sale or the sit and languish on the market.

Buy Low Sell High

When it comes to investing in real estate, these are the most common terms you will see. Everyone wants to buy low and sell high!

In today’s market, buying low is quite an easy step. It’s the sell high that can be challenging! This brings me to long term real estate investing. When thinking about long term, you think about rentals or fixing up and living in the property until values rise. With this type of mind set the terms “Buy Low” is all you need to be successful and make a nice profit.

With all the hype around the Fix and Flip TV shows, it seems everyone is taking a swing at this type of investing. Let me be the first to tell you that the smart real estate investor in today’s real estate market sees long term profits. Buying and owning a rental right now is the safest form of real estate investing there is right now.

With prices being at a low point, interest rates being at the lowest point in 15 years you can buy a 3 bedroom 1 bath home and have a mortgage payment in the $700 range. This same home may command a monthly rent of $900 per month. That is a $200 per month positive cash flow, this does not even include the tax benefits of having a rental property. Then when you combine the fact that 5 years down the road the property has gained 17% in value again, the $200 per month cash flow, and the principle being paid down on the property you are talking a hefty profit!

Creativity and a good game plan is the key to having a successfull real estate investment. Think long term right now instead of short term and you could benefit greatly from the reality of today’s real estate market.

The Eglinton Condo now registering at

The Eglinton Condo Project Details

Development : The Eglinton Condos
Developers Name : Menkes Developments Ltd.
Building : Condominium
Ownership : Condominium
Address :  161 Eglinton Avenue East
City : Toronto
Sales Website : Http://
re construction
Status : Registering Now
Total Storeys : 34 storeys
Architect Firm : Giannone Petricone Associates Inc.
Interior Designers : Mike Niven Interior Design Inc
Here is a rendering of The Eglinton
Visit to register an intent to purchase a unit

Visit to register an intent to purchase a unit

The sales agent is now waiting for your registration form to move forward!

River City 3

Now Selling for VIP Investors, this is a pre construction sales event.  If you are a serious investor and are planning on purchasing one ore more units please contact us immediately.  This sale will be a first come first serve event, don’t be left behind closed doors.  Units are selling fast and there are only limited numbers available until the general public has access to this event.  At this point the price per square foot will rise drastically and you many not save the thousands of dollars available today.  We have provided you with a link to the official sales site, follow the text that read just below.  Do not delay, this may be your final chance at grabbing unit.

River City Condo Phase 3 has been announced and sales are starting now. Please click on the following link to register for pre-construction promotions.

River City Condo Phase 3 is a much anticipated development by Urban Capital who have partnered with Saucier + Perrotte Architects and ZAS architects to bring you a a 30 storey building.  River City 3 will be a sleekly designed condo which will be essential part of a much bigger billion dollar revitalization of West Don Lands.  River City 3 will have beautiful views of the lake, of the park and the Toronto downtown skyline.

Investors are excited and are lining up to get a unit or two, largely due to the success of phase one and two.  There is already a buzz surrounding the project and buyers are eager for a piece of the action.  The building will come with some great amenities which will include pristine  landscaping, a large outdoor pool with a dining area an a BBQ section.  A 2 storey glass lightbox party room which will house a lounge, and two fully equipped gyms and furnished quest suites.

This up-and-coming neighborhood will also be home to the athletes of the 2015 Pan Am games. Residents can expect a whole slew of restaurants, lifestyle amenities, supermarkets and more coming with all of the residential construction.

River City 3 Project Details

Name : River City 3
Architect : Urban Capital Property Group and Waterfront Toronto
Type : Condo
Address : Eastern Avenue & Saint Lawrence Street
District : Toronto
Province : Ontario
Postal Code : M5A 3N1
Construction Status : Registering/Pre construction
website : now selling serve a unit today now selling serve a unit today

So you are ready to move into a condo? Well you have picked the best one in the real estate market.  As I see it this project will be the top of the line and investors have a keen interest in acquiring several units at time.  The location is amazing and the surrounding communities are just as good.  This condo complex will suit any persons needs, from some bachelor to huge penthouses.  You will be pleasantly surprised with all the available green space surrounding river city phase 3.  Our agent is standing by, all you have to do is visit our official site and sign up.  Hope to see you soon.

Interview With Luxury Home Designer

As one of the top luxury real estate agents in Tampa Bay I have had the pleasure of being in hundreds of high end homes.  Some of these homes are truly breathtaking and beautifully designed.  A common theme I have noticed of the breathtaking homes is a large amount of them have been designed by Thomas Everett Lamb, known as Tommy by his friends.  Tommy has really put his mark on Tampa Bay and I thought it would be interesting to learn more about him.

Greg:  What types of services does Thomas Everett Lamb Design & Development offer?

Tommy: Thomas Everett Lamb Design & Development, Inc. specializes in ”high-end”, luxury homes designed from conception to completion.  In the past almost 20 years, we have done everything from helping clients locate the perfect piece of property, design new custom homes, design major renovations to existing homes, design the interiors and decorate homes, fully outfit and accessorize homes, to recommending services, schools for client’s children, and social networking for those new to the area.  In fact, we often find that we are helping to design a client’s entire lifestyle, not just their home!

Greg:  Your name is synonymous with estate sized luxury homes in Tampa Bay for the uber rich.  What about smaller jobs like additions or remodels, is that something you would handle for someone?

Tommy:  I do a wide variety of projects ranging from design consultation to the design and supervision of the construction of very large homes.  Thomas Lamb (Tommy) personally designs each and every one of his projects and attends every meeting.  Client’s are never passed off to an assistant or a draftsman.  It’s not just about developing projects, but developing relationships with interesting and fun people.  I only want to work with people who are going to enjoy the process and help make my job fulfilling.  Again, no job is too small, it really depends on who it’s for!

 Greg:  How many homes have your worked on?

 Tommy:  Over the past 19 and 1/2 years, I have worked on over 150 homes.

Greg:  Do you like to work within one particular style or can you design in all styles and architecture?

Tommy:  My education in architecture from Notre Dame is highly classical, and by demand, the majority of what I am asked to design is Mediterranean.  I do, however, enjoy contemporary design, but I am able to design any style.  I double majored in Art and Architectural History, so when I am asked to design a particular style, I am generally well versed in the associated details, but I still research that style “to death” as I do NOT like to design “pseudo” anything.  I prefer that a particular style be as authentic as possible, down to the last detail.  Also, even though I am able create exacting period interiors, I do prefer a more eclectic blend of styles and tastes – I feel that it makes for a much more inviting and comfortable setting.

Greg:  Do you work on homes outside of the Tampa Bay area?

Tommy:  Most of my work is in the Tampa Bay area, but I have designed homes in Dade City, Sarasota, Anna Maria Island, Palm Beach, Miami, New Orleans, St. Louis, Dallas, Colorado, North Carolina, Georgia, the Bahamas, and as far away as Brazil.

Greg:  What was the most outrageous, unique, or “cool” thing you have every done for a client?

Tommy:  Hard to say what the most “outrageous” thing is that I ever designed – We keep our client’s privacy ”under wraps”!!!! More often than expected, however, I have been asked to design a home from beginning to end with little to no input from the client.  All my client had to do was bring his clothes and his toothbrush, but in one case, we supplied the toothbrush as well!

Has the Condo Market Hit Bottom?

Has the condo market hit bottom?  Recent developments by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are pointing to YES!  To explain lets first discuss the cause of the price declines.

As everyone who hasn’t lived in a cave for the past several years knows the condo market was drastically over built. A large portion of the demand was from speculators and investors which in many cases didn’t have the financial qualifications to rent a garage apartment from their mother but none-the-less had purchase contracts on multiple units in hopes flipping the contracts for large sums of money.  This business model worked well for a while until demand could no longer keep up with supply and those “investors” were actually expected to close on these units which of course never happened.

That was the start of the fall but what made it worse was the banking crisis when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac who purchase most of the loans from banks decided to dramatically lower their risk.  Fannie & Freddie stopped buying condo loans from banks unless the buyer had a 25%+ down payment, A+ credit, and the condominium association had to be approved by having 70% of the units owner occupied and less than 15% of the units could not be in default .  As we all know there weren’t too many associations that would qualify under those rules and there were even less buyers that had 25%+ to put down.  That in turn lowered demand even further which continued to bring prices down.  Of course when the prices came down further that put more people in trouble who could no longer sell their condo.

The actions that Fannie and Freddie took to lower their risk actually caused even more short sales and foreclosures.  HERE’S THE GOOD NEWS – They are finally realizing that to lower their risk the market needs to stop going down!  To stop going down they need to create demand and to create demand they need to make money more easily accessible!  We’re not talking brain surgery here, it’s simple supply demand!  Effective yesterday Freddie Mac will now buy loans in troubled condo developments as long as the seller’s loan is already securitized by Freddie Mac.  Fannie Mae is currently reviewing hundreds of condo projects who don’t currently qualify for their loans and buildings deemed stable after their review will receive special approval and lenders will be able to offer loans in those buildings again. In my opinion we are turning the corner on the condo market and real estate market in general.

Luxury Home Market Rebounding to 2005 Levels!

 According to an article in the Wall Street Journal we are seeing sales of luxury homes at levels not seen since 2005.  Homes priced between $2 million and $5 million are up 32% from last year totaling 2,461 for the first quarter of 2014.  The strong luxury home market is largely attributed to the stock market rebound over the past couple years.  The general real estate market is tied very closely to employment unlike the luxury home market which is largely determined by the fluctuations in the stock market. 

Other reasons that are helping to fuel the luxury home market are buyer confidence and sellers being more realistic on pricing.  In parts of New York and California the amount of $2 million+ homes sold actually exceeded what was sold in 2005.  These statistics are paralleling what we have been seeing in the real estate market.  As for the general real estate market another indicator that it’s  heading up is for the first time in 4 years the unemployment rate in Florida fell. 

Real Estate is doing better than the state with an interest rate of 11.9% down from 12.8% while the state’s unemployment rate fell from 12.3% to 12%.