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Advice For Buyers

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When is the Best Time to Start Looking for a New Home in Toronto

By Advice For Buyers

Embarking on the journey of finding a new home in Toronto is an exciting and significant step. However, timing plays a crucial role in ensuring a smooth and successful home-buying experience. In this blog post, we’ll explore each season and list out the reasons to why it may be the best time to start looking for a new home in the bustling real estate landscape of Toronto.

three pink patio umbrella

Spring into Action

Best Time: Spring is widely considered one of the optimal periods to start your home search in Toronto.


  • Blooming Market: Spring brings new life, and it’s no different in the real estate market. With warmer weather, more properties tend to become available, giving you a broader selection to choose from.
  • Curb Appeal: Viewing homes in spring allows you to see properties at their best, with gardens in bloom and outdoor spaces showcased in optimal conditions.

Summer Exploration

Best Time: Early to mid-summer is a favorable window for home searching in Toronto.


  • Extended Daylight: Longer daylight hours mean more time for property viewings, making summer a practical and enjoyable time to explore potential homes.
  • Family Moves: Families often prefer moving during the summer to minimize disruptions to their children’s school routines.

Fall Finds

Best Time: Late summer into early fall can be a strategic time to begin your home search.


  • Serious Buyers: As the summer rush subsides, serious buyers tend to remain in the market. Sellers may also be more motivated to close deals before the winter months.
  • Comfortable Weather: Fall weather in Toronto is generally mild, providing comfortable conditions for exploring neighborhoods and attending open houses.

Winter Advantage:

Best Time: Late winter, specifically February and March, can offer unique opportunities for homebuyers.


  • Less Competition: Winter tends to have fewer active buyers, giving you an advantage in negotiating deals and potentially finding a property at a more reasonable price.
  • Motivated Sellers: Sellers listing their homes in winter often have specific reasons, such as relocation, making them more motivated to finalize transactions.
a city bus driving down a snowy street

Tips for a Successful Home Search in Toronto

  1. Pre-Approval: Get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start your search. It helps you understand your budget and makes your offers more appealing to sellers.
  2. Work with a Realtor: A knowledgeable real estate agent can guide you through the process, providing insights into the Toronto market and helping you make informed decisions.
  3. Research Neighborhoods: Understand the different neighborhoods in Toronto to find the one that aligns with your preferences and lifestyle.
  4. Be Flexible: Toronto’s real estate market is dynamic, and being flexible with your criteria can increase your chances of finding the perfect home.
  5. Stay Informed: Keep an eye on market trends, interest rates, and any changes in real estate regulations to make informed decisions.


The best time to start looking for a new home in Toronto depends on various factors, including personal preferences, market conditions, and lifestyle considerations. Whether you choose the vibrancy of spring, the extended daylight of summer, the strategic timing of fall, or the potential advantages of winter, being well-prepared and working with experienced professionals will set you on the path to finding your dream home in the diverse and dynamic city of Toronto.

My lovely pet

Pet Rules and Regulations for Landlords and Tenants in Condos

By Advice For Buyers, Advice for Landlords, Video Blog

In this blog post, I will provide you with valuable insights into the landlord and tenant relationship when it comes to having pets in condominium buildings. After discussing this topic in a recent video, I received many questions and feedback, so I decided to dive deeper into this subject. Let’s explore how landlords and tenants can navigate this often complex situation.

The Tenant’s Perspective

If you are a tenant who has a pet and is applying to places, it is crucial to understand that landlords are allowed to deny your application solely because you have a pet. Be aware that this decision might not even be based on the landlord’s preference but could be due to the condo rules. In my previous video, I explained that some buildings simply do not allow any pets. Therefore, if you sign a lease and bring your pet into a pet-restricted building, you risk being evicted. It is essential to thoroughly review the condo rules before making any decisions.

Pretty chinese lady freelancer working from home, petting her dog

Now, let’s shift our focus to the landlord’s side of the story.

The Landlord’s Perspective

If you own a unit in a pet-friendly building but do not prefer pets yourself, here’s how it works. When an applicant discloses that they have a dog or a cat, you still have the right to deny their application based on that fact alone. However, if the applicant does not have a pet at the time of the offer, and they later decide to bring in a pet after the lease has been signed, things become a bit more complicated.

In such a scenario, you cannot simply evict the tenant because they acquired a pet after the fact, as long as it complies with the condominium rules. However, there are some exceptions that could potentially lead to an eviction:

  1. The pet is considered dangerous.
  2. The pet continuously disturbs neighbors.
  3. The pet causes considerable damage to your property.

In these specific cases, you have the option to seek an eviction, but you must convince the landlord-tenant board and obtain a written order before taking any further action. It is important to remember that the tenant does not need to do anything until they receive the written order from the landlord tenant board.

Girl and a dog on a sofa / pet lover / friends / friendship

Maintaining a Harmonious Relationship

Regardless of whether you are a tenant or a landlord, I strongly recommend maintaining transparency throughout the process. Living with constant tension between tenants and landlords can be incredibly stressful. Therefore, it is in everyone’s best interest to keep an open mind, be transparent, and strive for peaceful coexistence. Building a positive and respectful relationship with your landlord or tenant can significantly enhance your living experience.


Navigating the landlord and tenant relationship when it comes to pets in condominium buildings can be challenging. As we have discussed, tenants need to be aware of the restrictions imposed by condo rules and landlords’ rights to deny applications based on pet ownership. On the other hand, landlords must familiarize themselves with the exceptions that may allow for eviction if a tenant’s pet poses a danger, disturbs neighbors, or damages property.

Transparency and open communication are key in maintaining a harmonious living environment for both parties. By adhering to the rules and being considerate, we can enjoy our homes, whether as landlords or tenants, without unnecessary conflicts.

If you have any further questions or would like to continue the conversation, please feel free to reach out below!

man in white t-shirt sitting beside white and black short coated dog

Navigating Pet Restrictions in Condo Buildings: A Comprehensive Guide

By Advice For Buyers, Video Blog

Hey pet lovers! If you’re considering buying a condo but also own a pet or plan to have one in the future, this blog post is for you. I’m Joey Virgilio, a Realtor at Sage Real Estate and co-host of the Toronto Living’s Real Estate Podcast. In this blog post, I’ll explain the important aspects of pet restrictions in condo buildings, and what you should consider before making a purchase.

The Importance of Checking Pet Restrictions

When you own or plan to own a pet, it’s crucial to inquire about the pet policies in the condo building you’re interested in. Each condo will have its own set of rules and regulations regarding pets, and you want to make sure you’re aware of them before committing to a purchase. Pet restrictions can vary from building to building, so let’s dive deeper into the three main documents that dictate these rules.

Understanding the Hierarchy of Pet Rules

  1. Declaration: The declaration is the primary document that establishes the condo building as a registered condominium. Some condos may have limitations on the number of pets per unit or impose weight restrictions.
  2. Bylaws: Bylaws are secondary to the declaration and provide more specific guidelines and restrictions regarding pets. For example, they may require dogs to be on a leash when outside the unit or forbid leaving pets unattended in common areas.
  3. Rules: The rules set out further details on how pet owners should navigate their pets within the condo building. They may be based on past incidents or to ensure the safety and comfort of all residents.
two dogs sitting on maroon area rug

Seeking Clarification and Guidance

When buying a condo, it’s essential to ask your realtor for a copy of the status certificate, which includes information on the building’s rules and regulations. Additionally, reach out to the property management to inquire about the pet restrictions and clarify any concerns you may have. It’s also recommended to involve a lawyer who can thoroughly review the status certificate and provide legal advice.

Consequences of Breaking Pet Rules

What if a condo has a pet ban, but you decide to bring your furry friend anyway? In such cases, the consequences can be severe. The worst-case scenario might involve having to remove your pet or even being forced to move out of the condominium. It’s crucial to respect the rules set forth by the condo building to avoid any legal issues and ensure a harmonious living environment.

Pet-Friendly Condos in Toronto

Fortunately, in Toronto, most condos allow pets, particularly dogs and cats. However, there are often weight restrictions, especially for larger dogs. It’s important to thoroughly research and confirm that the condo you’re interested in permits the type and size of pet you have or plan to have.

a small dog wearing a blue sweater and red shoes


In conclusion, if you’re a pet owner or planning to become one, understanding the pet restrictions in condo buildings is crucial. Always inquire about the pet policies, review the declaration, bylaws, and rules, and seek professional guidance during the purchasing process. By doing so, you can ensure a smooth transition into a pet-friendly condo and avoid any unnecessary complications. If you have any further questions or want to join the conversation, feel free to leave a comment or reach out to me using the provided links.

four brown stools

The Importance of Home Inspections: Uncovering Major Hidden Issues

By Advice For Buyers

Buying a home in Toronto is a significant financial commitment and a life-changing decision. While the process can be exhilarating, it also comes with its fair share of stress and uncertainties. One crucial step in the home-buying journey that savvy buyers should never overlook is a comprehensive home inspection. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the reasons why home inspections are a vital investment for buyers, offering peace of mind and protecting your long-term investment.

1. Uncovering Hidden Issues During Home Inspections

A home might look perfect on the surface, but there could be hidden issues that only a professional home inspection can reveal. From structural problems to hidden water damage, electrical issues, or plumbing concerns, a qualified inspector can identify potential red flags that may not be apparent during a casual walkthrough.

2. Negotiating Power After Home Inspections

Armed with the findings of a thorough home inspection, buyers gain valuable negotiating power. If significant issues are uncovered, buyers can use this information to renegotiate the purchase price, request repairs, or even opt-out of the deal altogether. This step is crucial for ensuring that you are making an informed decision and not inheriting a host of expensive problems.

inspector or architect professional woman checking kitchen at construction site. Home improvement
Home inspector

3. Budget Planning

Understanding the condition of a home allows buyers to plan their budgets more effectively. By identifying necessary repairs or maintenance issues early on, buyers can factor these costs into their overall budget, preventing unexpected financial strain after the purchase.

4. Safeguarding Your Investment

A home is one of the most significant investments you’ll make in your lifetime. A home inspection serves as an insurance policy, helping to safeguard your investment by ensuring that you are fully aware of the property’s condition before finalizing the purchase. Investing in a home inspection can save you from potential financial pitfalls down the road. 

5. Compliance and Safety

A home inspection includes an assessment of the property’s compliance with local building codes and safety standards. This is particularly crucial for older homes that may not meet current code requirements. Ensuring that a home is up to code not only guarantees your safety but also avoids potential legal issues in the future.

Plumber man, maintenance document and clipboard for pipeline, home renovation notes or builder inst
Home inspection

6. Long-Term Cost Savings

While a home inspection does come with an upfront cost, it can lead to significant long-term savings. Identifying and addressing issues early on can prevent small problems from escalating into major, costly repairs later. In essence, a home inspection is an investment that pays off in peace of mind and financial security.

7. Informed Decision-Making

Ultimately, a home inspection empowers buyers to make informed decisions. Armed with a detailed understanding of the property’s condition, buyers can proceed with confidence, knowing that they are making a well-informed choice about one of the most significant purchases of their lives.


In the complex world of real estate, a home inspection is not just an optional step—it’s a crucial part of the home-buying process. By investing in a professional inspection, buyers can uncover hidden issues, negotiate effectively, plan their budgets, and ultimately make informed decisions that protect their investment for the long term. Don’t skip this essential step on your journey to homeownership; the peace of mind it brings is priceless.

Mailbox and mail

How To Update Your Address When You Move

By Advice For Buyers, Advice For Sellers

Moving to a new home is an exciting and often hectic time in one’s life. Amidst the chaos of packing boxes, hiring movers, and coordinating logistics, it’s crucial not to overlook a seemingly mundane yet essential task: updating your address. Failing to do so can lead to missed mail, important documents going astray, and a host of other inconveniences. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps of updating your address seamlessly, ensuring a smooth transition to your new abode.

Step 1: Compile a List of Contacts

Before diving into the nitty-gritty details of updating your address, take some time to compile a comprehensive list of contacts. This list should include:

  1. Postal Services: Visit your local post office or go online to officially change your address with the postal service. This ensures that your mail is forwarded to your new address during the transition period. 

    Consider setting up a temporary mail forwarding service with your local post office. This service can be a lifesaver, ensuring that any mail sent to your old address is rerouted to your new one. Canada Post offers a simple program that’ll forward your mail to it’s new address.  You can learn more about it here. 
  2. Government Agencies: Update your address with government entities such as Service Ontario , (perfect for Drivers Licence, Health Card and OSAP to name a few) and the Canada Revenue Agency. This is crucial for tax purposes, driver’s license renewal, and ensuring you receive any important notifications.

  3. Financial Institutions: Contact your bank, credit card companies, and any other financial institutions to update your address on file. This helps prevent any issues with statements, cards, or other financial documents.

  4. Utilities and Service Providers: Inform your utility companies (electricity, water, gas, internet, cable) of your move to ensure a seamless transfer of services.

  5. Employer and HR Department: Update your address with your employer to ensure that important documents, such as tax forms and other employment-related information, are sent to the correct location.

  6. Subscription Services: If you have magazine subscriptions, streaming services, or any other subscriptions, make sure to update your address to continue receiving these services without interruption.

Couple Celebrating Moving To House

Step 2: Online Platforms and Accounts

In our digital age, it’s crucial to update your address on various online platforms and accounts. Some key areas to focus on include:

  1. Online Shopping Accounts: If you frequently shop online, update your address on platforms like Amazon, eBay, and any other e-commerce websites.

  2. Social Media and Professional Networks: Update your address on social media platforms and professional networks to keep your contacts informed of your move.

  3. Online Banking and Financial Platforms: Ensure your address is up to date on online banking platforms, investment accounts, and other financial management tools.

Step 3: Inform Friends and Family

While it might seem obvious, don’t forget to inform friends and family of your change of address. Send out a mass email, create a social media post, or use good old-fashioned snail mail to ensure that everyone is aware of your new location.

Step 4: Plan for Delivery of Forwarded Mail

During the transition period when your mail is being forwarded, plan for the delivery of these forwarded items. Keep a close eye on your mailbox and update your address promptly with any entities that may still be sending mail to your old address. (That’s where that Canada Post link higher up in the article will come in handy)

Step 5: Update Local Services

If you’re moving within the same city or town, update your address with local services such as your library, gym, and any other memberships you may have.

Couple of friends, keys and new home selfie for moving in together for real estate investment. Rent


Updating your address when you move might seem like a tedious task, but it’s a crucial aspect of a smooth transition to your new home. By following these steps and staying organized, you can ensure that your mail, documents, and services seamlessly make their way to your new address, allowing you to focus on settling into your new home without unnecessary hiccups. Happy moving!

Empty white room with laminate flooring and french windows

Understanding Toronto’s Vacant Home Tax: A Closer Look at the New Initiative

By Advice For Buyers, Advice For Sellers, Video Blog

Toronto, like many other major cities around the world, is grappling with the challenges of urban housing. As the city continues to evolve and attract new residents, policymakers are exploring innovative solutions to address the housing shortage and ensure a sustainable and vibrant urban environment. One such solution that has gained traction in recent years is the Toronto Vacant Home Tax.

Understanding the Vacant Home Tax

The Vacant Home Tax (VHT) is a policy aimed at encouraging property owners to put their vacant properties into productive use by imposing a tax on homes that remain unoccupied for extended periods. Homeowners who choose to keep their properties vacant will be subject to this tax and VERY IMPORTANT TO NOTE: residents are required to declare the occupancy status of their property every year, even if they reside there.

In Toronto, this initiative represents a proactive approach to address the housing crisis, promote community engagement, and maximize the utilization of available housing stock. Revenues collected from the Vacant Home Tax will be allocated towards affordable housing initiatives, including the Multi-Unit Residential Acquisition (MURA) program.

How to Declare Your Homes Occupancy Status

Owners of properties in Toronto that are classified within the residential property tax class are required to declare occupancy status every year and can do so by visiting the City of Torontos Vacant Home Tax Portal. You’ll also need the following:

  • Assessment Roll Number, found on your property tax statement
  • Customer Number, found on your property tax statement
  • If applicable, documents required to show your Vacant Home Tax Exemption 

The whole process will take less than 5 minutes, and can save you thousands in unnecessary taxes each year!

Fees Fines and Penalties Related to the Toronto Vacant Home Tax

If the declaration is not submitted by the specified deadline, the property will be considered vacant and will become subject to the Vacant Home Tax. Starting January 1, 2024, a fee of $21.24 will be imposed for failing to submit the declaration of occupancy status by the designated deadline.

Interest charges, amounting to 1.25 percent, will be applied to any outstanding Vacant Home Tax balance on the initial day of default and subsequently on the first day of each subsequent month until the outstanding taxes or charges are settled.

In case of payment default, the unpaid amount will be included in the property tax roll for the residential property and will be collected in the same manner as regular property taxes.

Any payments dishonored by a financial institution will incur a Dishonoured Cheque Processing/Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF) fee.

Failure to submit the declaration of occupancy status by the deadline may lead to a $250 fine. Additionally, making false declarations regarding occupancy status or failing to provide requested information may result in a fine of up to $10,000, in addition to the required tax payment.


Exemptions to the Vacant Home Tax

A property may be left vacant and be exempt from the Vacant Home Tax if one of the following criteria is met:

  1. Death of a registered owner – (need to show death cert.)
  2.  Major repairs – (submit work permits and contractor receipts.)
  3. The principal resident is in long-term care (hospital or supportive care facility)
  4. Transfer or Legal ownership (what we just talked about… submit a copy of deed)
  5.  Occupancy for full-time employment (proof of residency outside GTA and signed letter from employer 
  6. Court order – a court order is made which prohibits occupancy of the property 

Visit the City of Torontos Vacant Home Tax website for more details!

Key Features of the Toronto Vacant Home Tax

  1. Definition of Vacancy: The Toronto Vacant Home Tax identifies vacant properties based on specific criteria. Generally, a property is considered vacant if it is unoccupied for more than SIX MONTHS within a calendar year.
  2. Tax Rates: The tax rates are structured to incentivize property owners to either occupy or rent out their vacant properties. Higher tax rates are typically applied to properties that remain vacant for more extended periods, creating a progressive system that encourages swift action.
  3. Exemptions and Appeals: The policy also considers legitimate reasons for property vacancy, such as renovations or major repairs. Property owners can apply for exemptions, and there is an appeals process in place to address any disputes regarding the determination of vacancy.

Impact on Toronto’s Housing Landscape

The Vacant Home Tax is expected to have several positive impacts on Toronto’s housing market:

  1. Increased Housing Availability: By discouraging long-term vacancy, the tax aims to bring more housing units into the market, increasing the overall availability of homes for residents.
  2. Neighborhood Revitalization: The initiative is likely to contribute to the revitalization of neighborhoods by reducing the number of empty homes and fostering a sense of community.
  3. Revenue for City Services: The tax revenue generated can be used to fund essential city services and initiatives aimed at addressing housing challenges and improving the overall quality of life for Toronto residents.

Challenges and Criticisms

While the Vacant Home Tax is seen as a step in the right direction, it has not been without its challenges and criticisms. Some property owners argue that the tax unfairly penalizes them for circumstances beyond their control, such as personal or family reasons for keeping a property vacant.


Toronto’s Vacant Home Tax is a bold and necessary step in addressing the city’s housing challenges. By encouraging the efficient use of available housing stock, the initiative aims to create a more dynamic and inclusive urban environment. It’s important to remember that the deadline for declaring the status of your property is the last day of February and that the property status refers to the previous year’s history. 

You can get more information on the latest details of tax, as well as declare the status of your home by visiting the City of Torontos Vacant Home Tax Portal.

body of water and high rise buildings under blue sky

Major Changes Coming to the Real Estate Industry in Ontario: Introducing TRESA

By Advice For Buyers, Video Blog

Today, I want to share some exciting news with you. If you have experienced the frustrations of competing offers, confusion over representation, or the complications of multiple representation in real estate transactions, I have some good news. Major changes are coming to the industry, effective December 1st, with the introduction of TRESA (Trust in Real Estate Services Act). In this blog post, I will explain the key changes and how they will impact buyers and sellers.

Competing Offers: More Transparency and Choice

One of the significant changes brought about by TRESA relates to competing offers. Currently, sellers and realtors are not allowed to disclose any information about competing offers, except for the number of offers received. However, with TRESA, sellers now have the option to choose between a blind bidding war or an open bidding war. In an open bidding war, sellers can disclose the price, contents, and dates of competing offers, except for the identity of the buyers. This change introduces more transparency and gives sellers the freedom to make informed decisions. It remains to be seen how this will impact real estate prices, but overall, more transparency and choice are positive developments for all parties involved.

Self-Represented Party: Avoiding Confusion

Another significant change TRESA brings is the introduction of the self-represented party. Previously, buyers and sellers had the option to choose whether to be a client or a customer of a realtor. However, the terms client and customer often caused confusion. Now, by opting to be a self-represented party, individuals can clearly indicate their decision to navigate the real estate process on their own, without formal representation. This change eliminates the ambiguity and ensures that individuals understand the level of support they can expect from a realtor. It also provides a distinction between those who choose full representation and those who prefer to handle certain aspects independently.

Designated Representation: Clearer Roles in Multiple Representation

Lastly, TRESA addresses the complexities of multiple representation, where a brokerage represents both the buyer and the seller in a transaction. Under TRESA, brokerages have the option to choose designated representation or brokerage representation. In designated representation, each agent within the brokerage exclusively represents either the buyer or the seller. This ensures that the best interests of each party are upheld and avoids conflicts of interest. This change brings clarity to the roles and responsibilities of agents within a brokerage, providing a more optimal experience for all parties involved.

These are just a few of the major changes being introduced by TRESA on December 1st, 2024. The real estate industry is constantly evolving, and these changes aim to enhance transparency, clarity, and choice for buyers and sellers. Whether you are currently navigating the real estate market or planning to do so in the future, it is essential to stay informed about these changes and understand how they may impact your real estate journey. To hear more about these topics and join the conversation, tune in to Episode 31 of the Toronto Living’s Real Estate Podcast. 

Modern apartment building facade

Condos and Apartment Heating Systems

By Advice For Buyers, Video Blog

Today, I want to share some valuable insights with you about the different types of heating systems found in condo buildings. Instead of diving into the technical details, I’ll focus on what’s important to condo buyers and the questions they should ask before making a decision. So, if you’re interested in learning more, keep reading

Types of Heating Systems in Condo Buildings:
In the city of Toronto, there are three commonly found heating systems in condo buildings: fan coil system, heat pump system, and package system.

Fan Coil System:
The fan coil system works by heating or chilling water in a main boiler and chiller. This water then runs through pipes that are spread throughout the entire condo building. In each unit, these pipes are connected to a fan, which blows air over the pipes, either heating or cooling the unit. When you walk into a condo unit, you’ll notice the white panels with filters – these are where the fan blows air over the pipes.

Heat Pump System:
The heat pump system, specifically the water source heat pump system, is the most common heating system inside the condo units. Similar to the fan coil system, it also utilizes hot or cold pipes and a fan to blow air into the unit for heating or chilling. The difference lies in how the water in these systems is heated or chilled. However, the important aspect to consider is whether the system operates as a two-pipe or a four-pipe system.

Two-Pipe vs. Four-Pipe System:
In a two-pipe system, there are separate pipes for sending and returning hot or cold water throughout the building. This means that the entire building is either in heating or cooling mode, determined by condo management. As a unit owner, you have to wait for management to switch between the two modes during transitional seasons. On the other hand, a four-pipe system runs both heating and cooling simultaneously. This provides you with control over the system and the ability to switch between modes at any time of the year, without waiting for management. When considering a condo building, it’s essential to know whether it operates on a two-pipe or a four-pipe system to ensure it aligns with your preferences.

Package System:
In low-rise buildings, you may come across a packaged unit, also referred to as a magic pack unit. These systems combine the functions of a furnace and an AC into one unit that is placed within the unit itself. When viewing units, you can identify a packaged unit by checking for a large mechanical closet with a furnace that burns natural gas or uses electricity. If you encounter a packaged unit, it’s crucial to inquire about your responsibilities as an owner. Find out what maintenance tasks you would be responsible for if the system breaks down.

Now that you’re aware of the different types of heating systems commonly found in condo buildings, along with the essential questions to ask, you can make a more informed decision as a condo buyer. Remember to inquire whether the building operates on a two-pipe or a four-pipe system, as this will determine your control over heating and cooling. Additionally, if you encounter a packaged unit, make sure to clarify your responsibilities regarding maintenance.

I hope this blog post has provided you with valuable insights about condo heating systems!