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President's Toronto SUN Column

TREB President's Column as it appears every Friday in the Toronto Sun's Resale Homes and Condos section.

TREB: Don't Wait To Get Into The Housing Market

June 2, 2015 -- If you’re puzzling over whether now is the right time to buy a home, my advice to you is unequivocal: don’t wait. Canada’s economy seems to be on a relatively steady footing and borrowing costs remain very low. Becoming a homeowner isn’t just about buying a house, it’s an investment.

While employment and interest rates should factor chiefly into your decision to buy a home, it’s also important to consider the potential for long-term appreciation of your real estate investment. Torontonians should be proud that we have built a world class city that holds its own in numerous global rankings, measuring such characteristics as quality of life, opportunity and resiliency, to name just a few.

If you have not yet made the transition to a homeowner you may find it a daunting thought, but in fact there’s no need to be discouraged.

Provided that you can produce a down payment equivalent to five per cent of a home’s purchase price, and qualify to receive an insured mortgage through your lender, today’s low interest rates provide for very manageable carrying costs. Of course, coming up with a down payment for an average-priced home may seem difficult, but there are efficient strategies you can employ to make that mark within reach.

As a starting point, try setting aside approximately one per cent of the value of your future home into a tax-free savings account (TFSA). 

Generally permitted to hold similar investments to that of an RRSP, a TFSA allows you to make tax-free withdrawals of your funds at any time. Provided you are at least 18 years-old, a resident of Canada, and have a Social Insurance Number, you can contribute up to $5,500 per year to a TFSA, and your contribution capacity accumulates each year after the age of 18. Because you can invest your money in different ways within a TFSA, you may want to consult with a financial advisor.

If setting aside one per cent a month seems ambitious, simply reduce it to a manageable amount, recognizing that it may take a little longer to reach your goal.

Regardless of the amount you set aside, the key is to stay on track, and to help you do so, you may want to set up an automatic electronic transfer of funds into your TFSA on a regular basis.

Keep in mind as well, that the GTA has a wide range of attractive housing options, you may have to adjust your expectations a bit, but once you become a homeowner, you’ll wonder why you didn’t make the move sooner.  

To learn about the many alternatives available to you, consult a Greater Toronto REALTOR®, and for the latest updates on the market be sure to visit


TREB: All About Renos

June 2, 2015 -- Living in Toronto and renovating homes seem to go hand in hand. One of the major ways we build equity in our homes is by adding a new bathroom, kitchen or family room. Families grow, space must be maximized, and keeping parents close to work and children in their favourite schools often means, "Honey, It is time to renovate...again!"

Buying a fixer-upper can be a great way to get into a desirable neighbourhood at an affordable cost. It’s important to recognize though, that all renovations involve some inconvenience and a lot of elbow grease. While you’re rolling up your sleeves, it’s wise to maximize your efforts, go green, and remember that what may no longer suit your lifestyle, might be of use to someone else.

Renovating Benefits Others as Well!

A great way to renovate while supporting a charitable cause is to consider your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. This building supply store accepts and resells quality new and used building materials. Funds support Habitat's building programs while reducing the amount of used materials that are headed for overflowing landfills. Check ReStores online at

Regardless of the upgrades you undertake, keep in mind that you can reduce the amount of waste you generate by donating or recycling construction materials. Certainly don’t dismiss the old for the new. If there are items to be reused, refurbishing them can add greater character to your home.

If you are looking for some great tubs and sinks, you may have to go no further than your current bathrooms and kitchens. Techniques for resurfacing, and countertops made of more recent materials like Caesar Stone, recycled glass, concrete, steel, stones, and the myriad of tiles, will give you lots of options for upgrading the look without replacing the whole bathroom or kitchen.

Greening your Renovations!

Energy efficient lighting, appliances, faucets, toilets and showerheads are a few of the options for increasing the green factor in these two essential rooms and you can watch your monthly expenses drop.

When it comes to flooring, cork and bamboo are among the greenest options, as they are derived from renewable resources. While bamboo is also an excellent choice for cabinets, wood that is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council of Canada is another responsible option.

When purchasing windows, look for low-E argon-filled units with the Energy Star symbol to achieve the highest thermal efficiency. Note: if you wonder how old your Thermopane windows are, most are stamped with the year and month they were made on the metal piece between the panes of glass.

Replacing an aging roof may prevent a bigger problem from happening, like water damage. Fortunately, roof shingles made from a variety of recycled materials are widely available, and sometimes the life expectancy of your new roof is worth paying the extra costs. Housing is a long-term investment.

Heating systems and central air conditioning are wise investments for your home for a couple of reasons. Investing in high efficiency doesn’t just benefit the environment, but as a homeowner, you will experience savings for your household when you choose models with the Energy Star symbol.

While decorating choices may be subject to taste, you’ll find that when it’s time to move again, energy efficient, money-saving upgrades have universal appeal. Renovating can be helpful to you, others, and reduce your carbon footprint all at the same time. Enjoy!

For greening, renovating or finding the right home, talk to a Greater Toronto REALTOR®, and visit for neighbourhood profiles, open house listings, market updates and more.



TREB: Events Help REALTORS Connect With The City

June 2, 2015 -- Although the Greater Toronto Area REALTOR® community is as diverse as the city itself, we all share a common interest in connecting with others and fostering a decent quality of life in our city. It is no surprise then that thousands of Greater Toronto REALTORS® turned out at two recent events with these aims, which will reap benefits for our city.

On May 6 and 7, the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) held its annual REALTOR® QUEST conference, assembling the greatest collection of real estate speakers ever in Canada. To keep your REALTOR® up to date on the latest trends and issues in the profession, 44 different professional development sessions were held, and a range of new products and services were on offer at Canada’s largest real estate trade show, with 252 exhibitors spanning 85,000 square feet of space at the Toronto Congress Centre.

In addition to continuously exploring new ways to better serve you, Greater Toronto REALTORS® came together for an Annual Meeting at the conference where it was decided to continue with support of the Ontario REALTORS Care® Foundation. Through the Foundation, last year alone, TREB Members provided grants totaling $485,410 to 60 different shelter-related charities across the Greater Toronto Area. Organizations like Habitat for Humanity Greater Toronto Area and Ronald McDonald House Toronto received our support, as did countless other organizations that assist various groups in need, such as women in transition, new immigrants, and homeless youth, to name just a few.

Included with the conference’s entertainment quotient was a silent auction, with proceeds being donated to Camp Winston, a charitable organization that provides recreational opportunities in Muskoka to children and teens with neurological conditions such as Autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity and Tourette’s Disorder. In addition to giving campers an important sense of belonging with their peers, it helps them build gross motor skills through activities such as kayaking, ropes courses and theatre. It also offers year-round sessions to families and caregivers, counselling them on how to foster their children’s development.

Camp Winston was also the beneficiary of a very successful networking event held April 29 at CUBE in the Queen Street West District. Dubbed TREB FEST, the event brought together more than 300 Greater Toronto REALTORS® for a night of dancing, refreshments and specialty entertainment such as an astrologer, a handwriting analyst, and a henna artist. In total, more than $8,000 was raised to help give Camp Winston kids an unforgettable summer experience. For more information on this very worthwhile organization, visit

These are just a few of the ways that the GTA’s more than 41,000 REALTORS® use their strength in numbers to make ours one of the world’s greatest cities. Each and every one of us cares deeply about the quality of life in our city and about helping you build a prosperous future through home ownership. It is, after all, the only investment that you can live in while it appreciates.
To learn more about the GTA housing market and how a Greater Toronto REALTOR® can help you on a path to a better life, visit

Paul Etherington is President of the Toronto Real Estate Board, a professional association that represents 40,000 REALTORS® in the Greater Toronto Area.

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April 21 TREB: Home Ownership a Marker of Success
April 2 What Modern Homebuyers Want
March 6 Home Ownership Builds Strong Communities
January 20 TREB Gathers to Discuss Affordable Housing
December 5 Social Impact of Home Ownership
November 14 Deciding When To Sell
October 21 Now Is The Time To Buy In The U.S.
October 10 REALTORS® Lend A Helping Hand To Aid Refugees
September 19 Condo Living An Affordable Alternative
September 5 Be Aware Of Extra Costs When Moving
August 29 Think Of Home Ownership As Forced Savings
August 22 Real estate will always be a great investment
July 18 Homeownership Is A Great Investment
July 4 Don’t Delay Buying A Home
May 23 REALTOR® QUEST Bring 6,500 REALTORS® Together
May 2 Furniture Bank Offers A Helping Hand
April 4 Everyone Has A Right To Quality Of Life
March 7 Home Prices Continue To Trend Upward
January 31 Land Transfer Tax Exposes Budget To Risk
November 1 Staging A Home Is A Good Investment To Make
October 18 Helping Communities To Build Better Lives
September 27 Working Together Towards a Better Toronto
August 23 A REALTOR® Will Represent Your Best Interests
August 16 Finding A Vacation Property Is Easier Than You Think
August 2 Simplifying The Homebuying Process
July 19 Cottages Are Investments In Memories
July 5 New Beginnings At The Toronto Real Estate Board
June 21 Awards program will recognize Toronto’s best buildings
May 31 Inspired By The Volunteer Efforts Of REALTORS®
May 10 REALTORS® QUEST To Be The Best
April 26 Prep Is Key For Selling Success
April 12 Long-Term Outlook For Real Estate Remains Positive
March 22 Real Estate Profession Has Much To Offer
March 8 New Roadmap Is Valuable For Homebuyers
February 8 New Online Tool Brings Efficiency To The Household
January 25 It’s Never Too Early To Plan Your Move
January 4 Award-Winning Buildings Are Deserving Of Recognition
December 21 Transactions Take A Dip
November 30 Navigating Your Way Through Canada’s Housing Market
October 12 Buyers Always Benefit
September 21 Education Is A Lifelong Commitment
September 14 Learn About Up-And-Coming Neighbourhoods
September 7 Emphasis Will Always Be On Professional Services
August 24 Torontonians To Get Things Right
August 17 Resale Home Activity Continues At A Solid Pace
August 3 REALTORS® Have Access To All Kinds Of Information
July 20 Let's Recognize Those Who Do Good Work
July 13 New Mortgage Rules Won’t Hurt Affordability
July 6 It’s all about growing along with our clients
June 29 A look at Mortgage Lending Guideline Changes
June 22 Expect Number Of New Listings To Increase
June 15 Working To Repeal The Land Transfer Tax
June 1 TREB Announces Commercial Building Awards
May 25 Serving Others Is The Highest Honour Of All
May 18 Standing up for Homeowners’ right to privacy
May 4 REALTORS® offer key to a better life
April 20 Affordable Homeownership Benefits Us All
March 30 Keep Your Home Insurance Costs In Line
March 2 It Pays To Lower Your Expectations
February 24 Homes Continue To Sell Quickly
February 17 New Tool Measures Price of Home
February 10 New Building Awards Will Benefit Our City
January 27 Tightening market will mean higher prices
January 13 Expect demand to be strong in 2012
December 30 Finishing the year on a high note
December 8 It’s Time to Lend a Helping Hand
November 25 Helping those less fortunate
November 18 Building up to National Housing Day
October 28 First-Time Buyers Have Lots Of Options
October 21 Using A Realtor To Buy A New Home
October 14 Celebrating Many Years Of Service
October 7 Renovation Rebate Would Benefit Homeowners
September 30 Land Transfer Taxes Unfair to Home Buyers
September 23 Energy Rebates Should Be A Priority
September 16 Tell City Hall to Target Waste, Not Home Buyers
September 2 Realtors ride for a great cause
August 26 Strong economy sees numbers boosted
August 19 New Web Site Easy to Use
August 15 Learn to keep termites at bay
August 9

Public and Businesses See Eye-to-Eye on Municipal Finance Issues

July 22 Know when it's time to renovate
July 8 Treat first-time buyers fairly
June 17 Time To Repeal The Land Transfer Tax
June 10 Take a tour of the virtual office
June 3 Parking red tape should be streamlined
May 27 Helpful Advice Is Keystrokes Away
May 20 Taking a walk through REALTOR® QUEST
May 13 The social side of real estate
May 6 Staying on top of municipal issues
Apr. 29 Expect demand to remain strong
Apr. 22 Know what to look for in a condo
Apr. 15 Choosing between new and resale
Apr. 8 Learn to use the tools of the trade
Apr. 1 Expect demand to remain healthy
Mar. 25 City needs to cut parking red tape
Mar. 11 Select the right neighbourhood
Mar. 4 Consider investing in a fixer-upper
Feb. 25 Expect homes to remain affordable
Feb. 18 REALTORS® help clarify parking rules
Feb. 11 Learn the benefits of going online
Feb. 4 Increase the value of your resale
Jan. 28 Know the value of a REALTOR®
Jan. 21 Move is on to repeal an unfair tax
Jan. 14 Choose a home that fits your style
Dec. 17 Working Hard to Make a Difference
Nov. 19 Sorting out HST misconceptions
Nov. 12 Give more thought to going green
Nov. 5 All signs point to a healthy market
Oct. 29 Green your home and save money
Oct. 15 Keeping your best interest in mind
Oct. 8 All signs point to a healthy market
Oct. 1 Condos have become a way of life
Sept. 24 Setting the HST record straight
Sept. 17 Coming to 'Terms' with Real Estate
Sept. 10 Growing Up and going green
Sept. 3 Keeping your best interest in mind
July 16 Charity begins and ends at Home
July 9 Saving the HST with Resale Housing
July 2 Recognizing Our Volunteer Efforts
June 25 Getting to know all your options
June 18 Embracing Diversity in the GTA
May 28 REALTORS® need to know quite a lot
May 14 April transactions nearly met record
May 7 Shopping for the best deal in Town
Apr. 30 The Hidden costs of moving
Apr. 23 Knowing all the local options
Apr. 16 Many ways to cut energy costs
Apr. 2 It pays to renovate before you sell
Mar. 26 Working in your best interests
Mar. 12 Growing Tax burden is taking its toll
Mar. 5 A Professional Touch
Feb. 26 Registry links buyers to homes
Feb. 19 Mitigating the HST tax threat
Feb. 12 Expect strong start to 2010 to continue
Feb. 5 Helping those in desperate need in Haiti
Jan. 29 Having a green home provides savings and peace-of-mind
Jan. 22 REALTORS® assist with Rentals Too
Jan. 15 REALTORS® Give Back
Jan. 8 Why our REALTORS® are the envy of the world
Dec. 11 Making the jump to home ownership
Dec. 4 Your kind of town, Toronto is
Nov. 27 Emerging Neighbourhoods
Nov. 20 Mid-Month market report: The economic recovery continues
Nov. 13 There's More to us than MLS
Nov. 06 Fix-up Frenzy
Oct. 30 A Taxing Issue: Let's call on future mayor to roll back LTT
Oct. 23 Where to buy
Oct. 16 Value Added
Oct. 10 Market report
Sept. 25 NO sense of harmony
Sept. 18 Vertical City - The GTA is growing up and going green
Sept. 11 Go Site-seeing
Sept. 04 A changing shade of grey
August 28 Gateway to the World
August 21 Vertical City – Toronto is Growing Up
August 14 A new way to hunt for homes
August 7 Home Away from Home
July 31 The Canadian Dream
July 24 Move or Improve
July 17 Weathering the Storm
July 10 Mid-year market report
June 26 Making the Right Connections
June 19 Condo City
June 12 More co-op on grow ops
June 5 Investing in Real Estate
May 29 The News is Good
May 22 Ownership Housing Plays Important Role
May 15 REALTORS® Invest Time to Improve
May 8 REALTORS® take message to Ottawa
May 1 REALTOR® Education
Apr. 24 Community Spirit Alive
Apr. 17 Tech tools of the trade
Apr. 10 Public Wants Toronto Land Transfer Tax Repealed
Apr. 03 Invest In Future
Mar. 27 Agents of Change
Mar. 20 Harmonized Sales Tax Would Hurt Home Buyers
Mar. 13 Actions Speak Louder than Words on Affordable Housing
Mar. 06 Market review: 2009 so far
Feb. 20 Scholarships offered by real estate board
Feb. 13 Make Home Owners Priority of City Budget
Feb. 06 Federal Budget Helps Home Buyers and Owners
Jan. 30 January's Resale Housing Market Report
Jan. 23 TREB to Feds: More help to Homebuyers
Jan. 16 Lifestyles in the 416 and 905
Dec. 19 Be prepared for closing costs
Dec. 12 Toronto Land Transfer Tax Costs City's Economy $170 million
Dec. 5 Understand your privacy and rights
Nov. 28 Seasons of Real Estate
Nov. 21 Setting the Stage for a Sale
Nov. 14 The Ins and Outs of Inspections
Nov. 7 Outlook still good for GTA
Oct. 31 Taking Advantage of Taxes
Oct. 24 The Ins and Outs of Insurance
Oct. 17 Fighting Back Against Fraud
Oct. 10 Local Market Holds Steady
Oct. 3 Show Good Form During a Deal
Sept. 26 Using Equity to Your Advantage
Sept. 19 Choices Abound but Choose Carefully
Sept. 12 GTA Housing Market Stable
Sept. 5 Points to Ponder This Fall
Aug. 29 Don't Take This For Granted
Aug. 22 A Helping Hand
Aug. 15 A Market Report for July
Aug. 8 A Primer on Attracting Buyers
Aug. 1 Returns on RENOs
July 25 New Federal Mortgage Rules
July 18 Revitalizing the Big Smoke
July 11 Condos Changing the GTA
July 4 Feeding the City's Future
June 27 Recognizing Volunteers
June 20 Buyers, Be Aware of the New Rules
June 13 The Market Remains Healthy
June 6 Reasons to Pick a REALTOR®
May 30 The Power of MLS
May 23 Greening Up Resale Homes
May 16 A Quest for Knowledge
May 9 Lobbying Goes a Long Way
May 2 Toronto Compared
Apr. 25 Beware of Hidden Development Charges
Apr. 18 From the President
Apr. 11 Guarding Against Grow-Ops
Apr. 4

The Importance of the Budget

Mar. 28 Another Way to Invest in Real Estate
Mar. 21 Federal Budget Misses Opp
Mar. 14 Prepare Now for a Spring Move
Mar. 7 Remember to Budget for City's Budget
Feb. 29 From the President