You are browsing the archive for 2014 February.

Garage Break-in and Attempted Car Theft

February 24, 2014 in Neighbourhood Alerts Blog

Report from Northern Dancer Resident on Feb 18, 2014 – GARAGE AND CAR BREAK-IN:

I wanted to let you know that our garage was entered last evening and our car was broken into.  It appears that the person(s) forced something into the sun roof (since it was partially open and is now bent so that it will the cover will no longer fully close).  When I entered the garage, I noticed that all of the four windows were down in the car so that alerted me to trouble.  Someone must have disturbed the person or persons as nothing was taken; however, the sun roof is now bent and will have to be repaired. 

 I had forgotten to lock the garage as I was carrying in groceries.  I have called the police and they are sending a car to take a report as they consider it a break and enter. 

 I have previously sent you an email about asking neighbours, who leave their recyclables and garbage in the lane all of the time, to refrain from doing so not only because it attracts raccoons but also frequently attracts people who sort through the bins and can be watching to see what type of car is in the garage, who is coming and going etc.   The day before this incident, I drove up our lane and a older man was standing right by our garage going through the neighbours bin, and he stopped and watched me open and enter the garage.  Probably a coincidence, but I am convinced that leaving these bins in the lane attracts a lot of traffic to the laneway that would not otherwise be there and increases the possibility of criminal activity. 

Things can go drastically wrong when real estate agents don’t do their homework.

February 18, 2014 in Latest Community News Blog, Real Estate Blog

This is a prime example of a real estate agent not doing his homework and almost costing the seller, who in this case is the city of Toronto, a lot of money in a lawsuit. This prime ravine Toronto Community Housing Corporation property on Balsam Avenue in the Beach was put on the market earlier this month.  In the comments on the listing, which would also be on public websites such as, the agent said: “Best For Investors, Renovators, And Builders. Excellent Lot To Build A Big House”.  The problem is, the ravine lot is actually city owned parkland and building a “big house” is not permitted.

Three potential buyers put in offers on the property but the sale was halted, when TCHC was made aware of the error by, it looks like, journalist Sue Pigg of the Toronto Star, who was writing the article. The property has now been taken off the market.

It’s nice to see that at least one agent, Jillinda Greene, who I’ve known for some 25 years, did her due diligence before submitting an offer and spared her clients the agony of having to go through the process and disappointment.

Here’s Sue’s article that appeared in the Toronto Star:

Loblaws in Kensington Market? Why not?

February 6, 2014 in Real Estate Blog

An online petition to stop Loblaws from opening on College Street, just 400 metres from Kensington Market, is in full swing.  We’ve seen opposition similar to this in areas such as the Danforth.  I remember back in the late 1990s when I was with the National Post, and my assignment was to cover the opposition of the proposed Tim Horton’s at the corner of Logan and Danforth in Greektown.

Neighbours were opposed to big chains coming into the area, afraid it would change the flavour of the neighbourhood.  They were also afraid it would open the door to more franchises taking over the Danforth strip.

The owner of the building, who owns the pool hall on the upper floor as well, told me that it was his turn to cash in on a high rent that he had lost for decades.  The building was once a real estate office, then later sub-leased to a dollar store for about $2,000 a month.

He told me that Tim Horton’s was offering him something like $10,000 a month and would do all of the lease hold improvements which would add substantial value to his building.  Of course, it was a no-brainer for any property owner to take the offer.

The owner also said to me that all of those people who oppose the Tim Horton’s will probably someday be their best customers.

Some 15 years later, Tim Horton’s is a huge part of The Danforth and is thriving.  However, I can’t verify if any of those people ordering coffees with paper bags over their heads originally opposed the idea. If you walk along the strip, you’ll see a McDonald’s, a St. Louis Bar and Grill and even a Shopper’s Drug Mart.  All of theses franchises have contributed to the needs of the neighbourhood and most everyone I know, still call the area Greektown and enjoy it for what it is.

Anyway, here’s Edward Keenan of The Grid’s view about the marriage of Loblaws and Kensington Market:

Home Inspections. Are they worth it?

February 5, 2014 in Legal Advice Blog, Real Estate Blog

Home Inspections

Most offers include a home inspection clause.

A Good Home Inspection – Worth its Weight in Gold

A good home inspection can be worth its weight in gold to a buyer, if only because it provides crucial information about the approximate age and condition of things like the roof, the windows and the furnace. Some reports include anticipated replacement costs for such items which permits a buyer to do some helpful budgeting. On some occasions, a home inspector picks up some really serious issues and helps buyers avoid a disaster.

The best home inspection, however, has limitations.

No inspector will comment on what he can’t see because it is closed in. And there are times when additional inspections may be necessary. For instance:

(i) If a house is in a known termite area, for example, you should have a termite inspection as well. Termite damage is very expensive to repair. And even if there is no damage, an inspection will indicate if a house has been properly treated to withstand termites; or

(ii) If a house is on well and septic instead of municipal services, you should have a separate inspection for each of these. In the case of a septic system, a leak or malfunctioning septic tank can create a huge expense and in the case of a well, an inspection can reveal problems with flow rate.

The Seller’s Side

For a Seller, home inspections can be problematic.  Often, a Buyer will try to use the findings of a home inspection to renegotiate an agreed upon sale price downwards. If a problem is significant, this may be warranted.  If not, it is a nuisance.

To minimize the possibility of renegotiation, I suggest the following to Sellers:

(i) Before you list your home for sale, invest in your own inspection report(s). Once informed. you can then choose whether or not there are items you want to deal with yourself. You can also make it available for review by potential Buyers. Once a Buyer is informed as well, it is harder to come back to you for a price reduction. A Buyer may still want to get his/her own inspection report done, but it will still be easier for a Seller to resist a price renegotiation;

(ii) There are different inspection clauses in use today. When you receive an offer, make sure you know exactly what the inspection clause says and what a Buyer’s escape routes are. With the assistance of your realtor or lawyer, you may wish to amend the clause to be more favourable to you;

(iii) If you are aware of an issue with your home, the counsel of perfection is to disclose it to a Buyer and have the Buyer acknowledge and accept it.

The foregoing is intended for information purposes only and is not legal advice.

What would you like to know more about? If you have a question that you think would make an interesting topic for a future article, please submit it to Garry!

NIMBYism, Racism or Just Too Big?

February 5, 2014 in Real Estate Blog

A Muslim condo proposal in Thornhill is trying to be halted by neigbhours.  Thousands of people have signed a petition in hopes of stopping this project from being built.

In this Toronto Star article, people quoted are concerned about property values diminishing and one person even went so far as to say she didn’t want to live next to “refugees.”  In Toronto and surrounding areas, it’s not unusual for neighbours to be concerned about proposed developments.  These concerns are usually about size, height, sightlines and if the development actually fits into the overall look of the neighbourhood.  But when someone is quoted as saying that she doesn’t want to live next to “refugees” ( and these so-called “refugees” are spending millions of dollars on the development), you just can’t help but think there are other motives at play.

Here’s today’s Toronto Star article.