By: Reza Afshar

I recently wrote a blog about what makes an ideal tenant so it only seems fitting to write a blog about what it takes to be a successful and ideal landlord. Investing in real estate has many benefits but the thought of having to deal with tenants can be overwhelming for some. After being in the real estate business and specializing in the sale of downtown Toronto condos, I have helped many investors set up a real estate portfolio of Toronto condos. As a broker myself, I do provide property management services for my clients but I am providing you some of my best tips!

1. Get organized - Keep a binder or folder with all documents and information about your condo unit in one place.  This is also a great place to keep the phone number for the Conceirge and Condo management  and the contact information of your tenant. 

2. Hire an agent  - When you are ready to list your unit for lease, I always recommend to hire a real estate agent. This piece of advice may sound conducive coming from an agent like myself however listing with an agent allows your property to be listed on MLS. It is a known fact that tenants with higher ratings and higher credit scores use MLS to find their rental units. It can be challenging to advertise your rental condo elsewhere on sites such as kijiji or rent now. There is also another huge benefit of having an agent is that they take care of setting up the showings for viewings by potential tenants. Typically, the cost to use an agent for the lease process is one months rent. In the big picture, this fee is minimal for the services you acquire. 

3. Do your homework - Before accepting any offer to lease, dig a little deeper into who your potential tenant is. Verify the employment of your tenant, check their references and even google them to make sure you know who will be staying in your unit. You want to make sure what is put in the application is actually the truth. If you have hired an agent, your agent usually does this leg work for you.  

4. Prepare an information package to give to a new tenant that would include how to arrange a move-in elevator, condo by-laws, how to set up their own utility accounts like Hydro or which internet providers are common in the building. Also include your contact information should the tenant need to contact you in case of an emergency. 

5. Set up online banking to deposit your monthly rental cheques or to receive monthly interact transfers directly from the tenant. I always recommend having a separate bank account for your rental investments so that you can easily keep track of money coming in and money going out to pay for property taxes and maintenance fees. This also allows you to quickly reference if the rent has been paid and when it was paid. 

6. Make sure your condo unit is clean and in great shape. You want your tenant to be happy when they are moving in and this also sets an example for the shape and condition the unit should be returned upon vacancy.   

7. Another great tip is to keep a record of the exact paint used in your rental unit. I also like to keep a small paint can in the closet or laundry cabinet for the tenant to use to match up and picture hanging holes or scuff marks on the wall. 

8. Be the perfect landlord by adding that extra touch by to including a small welcome basket. One of my favourites is to give an assortment of environmentally friendly cleaning products that look great and gives your tenant the tools to keep the unit clean! If the stove top or stainless steel appliances require a special cleaner, this is also a great place to add them. 

9. Set yourself reminders in your calendar of important dates. Know when you are coming up to the 60 day notice of the end of your tenancy agreement.  Reach out ahead of time to ask if your tenant will be extending their lease past the initial agreed time frame. Determine what the allowable government rent increase is for the following year and determine if you will be implementing the increase. As a landlord, you must provide 60 day notice in writing of a rent increase past the initial agreed time frame.  

10. If you and your tenant agree to extend the lease past a one year lease for example, note that the last month rent that is usually given as a deposit gets carried over to the last month of their stay. Therefore this would mean that the tenant would be required to now make a payment for the 12th month and the last month would stay as a deposit. 

Investing in real estate can be a great way to create wealth especially for retirement and managing your rental property can be easier if you have the right tools. Now that you know some of my best tips, finding the right downtown Toronto Condo to invest in to be successful is equally important. For the best kind of properties to invest in, please visit the blog Why first time investors should chose a downtown Toronto condo .  I am always available and can be reached anytime to discuss your goals and available Investment Condos for sale in Toronto that meet your goals.

By: Reza Afshar

What Makes You an Ideal Tenant

The rental market in Toronto saw record lows during the pandemic as work from home allowed people to live remotely. People fled the downtown core for more space and more affordable places to live. Now that the world is getting back on track and fewer businesses are allowing a work from home model, Toronto’s rental market is now high in demand. The downtown core of Toronto is once again a bustling place to live with activity and a great place to call home. 

As I have been selling Toronto Condos for more than 21 years, I have a large group of investors that I continue to manage their rental units. Not only do I sell condos, but I rent condos too. The rise in demand from the backlog of new immigrants coming to Toronto and the returning workforce, many units are now seeing multiple rental offers. This can be very frustrating for a tenant to find a place to live. To better help you secure a rental unit in downtown Toronto, I have compiled a list of helpful hints in making your offer stand out above others.

The first suggestion I would make to a person looking for a place to rent or buy would be to hire a real estate agent that specializes in Toronto real estate. As a tenant or a buyer, there is absolutely no cost to you for the use of their services. The benefits of having someone to arrange the showings, show you available listings for rent and present your offer at zero cost to you is an absolute no brainer!

The second thing is to be prepared with all supporting documentation. As competition is high, offers tend to come in within days and sometimes even hours of being listed for rent on the market. If you find an amazing unit that you want to jump on, you will not have the time to get an employment letter, credit score, proof of employment with pay stubs, reference letters etc. Having it all ready to go will give you an advantage. Speak with your real estate agent for a complete list of paperwork you should have on hand.

The third piece of advice is having your deposit organized. Now in a slower to normal rental market, having a deposit for the first and last months rent is standard. However if you are new to the country and have little to no credit history, this can be a challenge for a landlord to establish risk for you as a tenant. Often to limit the risk, tenants are putting up front higher deposits that cover the first and then more months at the end of the lease. For example they might include paying up front the 8th, 9th, 10th and 11th and 12th month or even offering to pay the full year lease in advance. This eliminates any risk for the landlord of having to chase down payments and also gives a new tenant the ability to build up their credit score and establish credibility as an ideal tenant.

Landlords are always looking for an ideal tenant. In most cases, that is a person who has employment that would secure the monthly payments. However there are other things that are considered. Now I hate to say this as I am an animal person myself, but if you don’t have a pet, don’t go and get one before trying to lease a unit. It is a known fact that animals cause extra wear and tear on a unit. Being a non smoker is also a must. Many buildings in Toronto also have a smoking by-law that prohibits smoking of cigarettes or marijuana in condo units as smoke does travel and effects all residents. See my blog on Smoking bans in Toronto Condos for more info.

Lastly, including a brief letter about yourself is always an added bonus for a landlord. A landlord wants to know what type of person will be occupying the unit and how they will care for their unit. Showing them that you are responsible, organized and respectful helps you stand out above others.

If you are looking for an apartment or condo to rent in downtown Toronto, myself or a member of my team who specializes in rental units will be happy to assist with no cost to you. Finding your first place to live and navigating the process of making on offer to lease can be a challenge. We would be happy to help you find that downtown Toronto condo to call home. Contact the team.

By: Reza Afshar

Canadians Using Record High Rates for Approval

When the pandemic began, extremely low borrowing costs raised concerns that mortgage payments could not be maintained by Canadians if interest rates were to increase higher than the qualifying rates. As of June 1, 2021, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OFSI) implemented a stress test for Canadians to apply for a mortgage. Simply put, the mortgage stress test was to determine if you would still be able to afford the mortgage payments should interest rates rise. This meant that borrowers needed to qualify with a much higher interest rate. 

The minimum qualifying rate that OFSI established was either 200 basis points (2 percent) higher than offered rate or 5.25% which ever resulted in a higher rate.

The problem homebuyers now face is that the bank of Canada’s prime interest rate as of November 17th, 2022 has risen to levels not seen in more than a decade to 5.95%. Depending on the timeframe and terms, the average 30 year fixed mortgage rate in Canada sits at 7.3%. 

Even though we are no longer at record lows, the OFSI rule still applies meaning that you would need to qualify for your mortgage using a rate that is 2 percent higher at 9.3%. The purchasing power of the homebuyer is drastically decreased with higher interests rate to begin with and having the stress test still in place, qualifying now has become very difficult for many homebuyers.

Given that the current economic environment has changed since the start of the pandemic, OFSI should revisit the stress test rules to reflect the current conditions. Affordability in large cities such as Toronto and Vancouver have been a concern for years and high interest rates compound this problem further.  

I recently sold the perfect downtown Toronto condo for a first time home buyer. Located at 22 leader Lane at the King Edward Residences, this one bedroom condo for sale offered high end finishes,  full service building amenities and a superb location in downtown Toronto being steps to the financial district and the King Street Station on the Yonge Subway line. The unit was 555 square feet and sold for $549,800, just under $1000 per square foot.  

In order to avoid CMHC insurance for mortgage default protection, a down payment of 20% is required for an amount of $109,000. The monthly mortgage amount would then equate to $2600 per month. With the higher interest rate, this amount is $600 more than what the mortgage amount would have been at the beginning of the year when mortgage rates 3 percent lower.  A homebuyer also needs to factor in property taxes and monthly maintenance fees, which raises the monthly commitment to almost $4000 per month in order to afford this Toronto condo unit. Now this is definitely not pocket change for many people but if you are able to put money towards owning your own home instead of renting, it is a great way to create wealth by forced savings. 

As always, I recommend doing your homework first by getting a mortgage pre-approval to know your maximum borrowing amount and what monthly payments you are comfortable with making before making a purchase in Toronto’s real estate market. Finding the right Toronto condo for sale or Toronto Home for sale that fits in your budget is key to real estate in the long run. There are many different variables that affect prices of Toronto condos and by balancing criteria like size, location, age, finishes, I am sure we can find the right Toronto Condo for sale that is just perfect for you.

By: Reza Afshar

An up and coming community is finally transforming the east end of Toronto’s waterfront. With a long history of working factories and the sugar mill, the 55-acre seaside master-planned neighbourhood is a welcome change to this previously underdeveloped and abandoned parcel of land. Known as East Bayfront, located along Queens Quay east of Yonge Street, Toronto’s east side includes everything from new residential and commercial complexes to award-winning urban parks and public spaces.

The neighbourhood expects to have 6,000 additional residential units, 3 million square feet of commercial space that includes businesses, stores, public spaces and a number of contemporary condominium buildings with beautiful lake views. The region is connected to downtown Toronto by a waterfront promenade that provides a sunny path popular for rollerbladers, dog walkers, and joggers.

This centrally located neighbourhood is ideal for living, working, and playing.

Condos Designed to Enhance Views of the Toronto Lake and Cityscape.

Aqualina is a 13-acre mixed-use development. This 13-storey built by Tridel contains 363 condominium suites ranging from one-bedroom to three-bedroom residences designed with families in mind. Many amenities come with this beautifully designed condominium, such as a bar, Concierge service, Fitness Center, Yoga Studio, Spin Bike Studio, Games Room, Aqua Lounge, Indoor Lounge, Movie Theatre, Sun Deck, Party Room, Infinity Swimming Pool, Sauna, Whirlpool, and Spa.

The Monde development, built by great Gulf Homes located north of Queens Quay and east of Sherbourne Common, is East Bayfront's first private development. Monde is a mixed-use development with views of Lake Ontario that includes 553 energy-efficient residences, large terraces and balconies, gardens, an 850-square-metre green roof and ground-floor retail space. In addition, the property will be connected to Canada's first open-access, ultra-high-speed internet network.

Menkes and Daniels have also built or in the process of completing both residential and commercial towers and Pinnacle developers have ambitious plans for One Yonge World at Yonge St and Lake Shore that will be made up of 3 buildings 65, 80 and 95 stories tall. There are many great choices to choose from in this up and coming neighbourhood that is becoming a Toronto waterfront favourite. While blending the waters of Lake Ontario with an urban parkscape, these Toronto condominiums’ design promotes sustainable and community living.

Leisure, Recreation, and Lifestyle.

A quarter of the 55-acre neighbourhood is dedicated to parkland and public areas. Along the Water’s Edge Promenade and Boardwalk, residents can take a leisurely stroll or enjoy some peaceful time. Canada's Sugar Beach with brightly coloured pink beach umbrellas is a nice area to unwind, with close views of the lake.

The Harbourfront Centre, just a few minutes west of East Bayfront, hosts a variety of year-round events, and with a short walk to the north lies Toronto's historic Distillery District, which is home to fantastic restaurants and art galleries. When living so close to the heart of the city, travelling to a Toronto’s sport event or theatre facility, along with everything else Toronto has to offer has never been so effortless.

Getting Around Here is Simple, Thanks to a Multitude of Public Transportation Alternatives.

This neighbourhood is bordered by the Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway on-ramps for cars. Bus service runs along Sherbourne and Parliament, connecting you to line 2 of the subway, while the Queen Quay streetcar, which was recently enlarged, takes you right into Union Station.

Many Employment Opportunities

This community is a large art and culture-focused development with office space for arts groups and teaching facilities for both OCAD University and George Brown College. To attract new employers and corporate investors, there will be 3 million square feet of commercial space alongside, resulting in the creation of 8000 new employment opportunities.

Young professionals and executives who work in the city centre and enjoy the concept of returning home to a bustling waterfront culture will appreciate this location. It's a vibrant community built for living, working, and lots of fun. Contact me for condo units for sale in Toronto's east Waterfront community.

If you are looking for assistance to find the perfect Toronto Neighbourhood or condo to live in Contact Reza Afshar today to make your search stress free!