I want to share a story about a home I recently sold in Mississauga, and how it gives a good example of the ethical dilemma’s faced by real estate professionals every day.

The Background

Just recently I listed and sold a 3 bedroom, detached house located in Central Mississauga. The home showed pride of ownership, but aside from that it was a typical house for the area. It wasn’t the largest, and it wasn’t the most upgraded.

Our first step in the home selling process was to research the property and comparable sales.

What we discovered was that on average, similar homes were being listed just under $700,000 and selling for $720,000-$740,000.

Whenever I list a home, the first step is to determine market value of the home ‘as is’ meaning what it will sell for today without doing anything. Once the baseline value is established, an important part of our documented approach is to identify areas where we can raise the perceived value of the home and help our sellers make more money on the sale.

Over the years, we’ve developed a proven system that when implemented, allows for our sellers to easily make an extra $30,000+ on the sale that they otherwise wouldn’t have. In this case, I was confident that if our seller followed the plan we created for her, she would get her a top dollar sale, with my goal being closer to $770,000.

Our seller was all-in; she agreed to take care of all minor repairs and upgrades we identified in the initial assessment, do some paint touch ups, have the kitchen cabinets updated, change light fixtures and do a massive declutter. Once that was complete Stephanie came in and staged the home with furniture and props in order to prepare it for sale.

When it came to a pricing strategy, we decided to list the home at $699,000 with the goal of maximizing the exposure that a competitively priced home would get.

The Unrepresented Buyer

Within an hour of the home being listed for sale on the MLS, I received a call from a prospective buyer named ‘Bob’ (name changed for privacy reasons) who wanted to see the property. Since I was going to be stopping by the home later in the day to drop off feature sheets, I agreed to meet ‘Bob’ and his wife at the home.

Bob and his wife were a nice couple in their mid 30’s, educated and currently owned a freehold townhouse. We chatted for a bit, and then proceeded to tour the home. They were financially qualified, and both had good jobs. They loved the home, and wanted to put in an offer immediately.

“Jeff, let’s go back to your office a write up an offer for $735,000, no conditions”

Bob didn’t have a real estate agent, and wanted to use this to his advantage in negotiations. The only reason he contacted me directly was the hope that I would work harder for him, to ‘double end’ the sale and earn an extra commission.

It’s important to note that ‘double ending’ is how many real estate agents make a living. They use their client’s listings to barter more business for themselves. This is a common practice taught by many trainers and coaches in the industry, however it can easily lead to misrepresentation on the part of the real estate agent.

Aside from the verbal offer Bob made, within 2 hours of listing the home on MLS, we already had 15 home showings booked by other real estate agents. To be fair and transparent, I explained to Bob that the home had very high amount interest but that I would talk to my seller and call him later that afternoon with an answer.

I called my client and told her exactly what Bob discussed with me what he was offering. Not only is keeping our client informed the right thing to do, but as a Realtor we are obligated to do so. One of the fundamental duties in a client relationship is full disclosure, while at the same time protecting our client’s personal information and motivation from others.

Taking into account the high level of interest on the home, my client instructed me to continue with the showings and that she would not look at offers until the offer presentation date as originally planned. I also explained the potential conflict of me representing both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction, and my client indicated she did not feel comfortable with me representing both her and the buyer.

I then called Bob and let him know my client’s wishes. I encouraged him to bring his offer on offer day and referred him to a very good realtor that would be more than happy to assist him in submitting an offer on the house.

2 Days Later

The showings were going extremely well, our advertisements were bringing in buyers and agents from all over the GTA. That evening I received another call from ‘Bob’. He wanted to level with me; he didn’t need the agent I referred him to speak on his behalf.

“Jeff, we are prepared to offer $745k right now, so your client gets 45k over asking price, and you get the double commission. Also, we have a house to sell and if we get this home we will use you to list our house for sale…”

Bob knew what he was doing, he was now dangling the possibility of 3 commissions, hoping my desire for more money would get me to ignore my duty to protect the best interests of my client. 

Now before I continue with the story, I receive ‘offers’ like this almost every time I list a home for sale, which tells me that this strategy works well on most listing agents. It’s sad that this is a strategy being employed by many realtors but the fact is that the average real estate agent only sells a handful of houses a year, so the temptation of 3 deals would be too much to resist.

For me, I would sooner quit the business and do something else over selling out my integrity. I was raised to be ethical and I just couldn’t live with myself knowing that I’m short-changing my clients.

I believe that the number one job of a real estate agent is to protect the interests of their clients above everyone else including their own. 

I thanked Bob for his continued interest, but reiterated from our previous conversation that my client would not entertain a verbal bully offer and that she was not comfortable with me representing both parties.

The Outcome

On offer day, my client was rewarded for her patience, and we ended up selling the house for $835,000. That’s $90,000 more than if she took the bully offer being proposed by Bob.

Bob did bring in an offer with a completely different agent, one who is known in the area for bait and switch tactics and unethical business practices, however it fell well short at $745,000.

On a daily basis, real estate agents are confronted with situations where they have the choice to act ethical, or to act in their self-interest. My job was to get my client the most money possible on the sale of her home and that’s exactly what I did, and what I do with every one of my clients.

before and after kitchen remodel for selling

In this case study, we examine the steps we took in this Kitchen Remodel to transform a kitchen on a very tight budget. Learn the classic techniques we use to make a space feel fresh and contemporary, while keep costs in check.

This was a large executive home in Erin Mills that held such incredible potential. The owners had owned the home for decades and had a very strong personal style. When we met with them, they did recognize that the home was decorated how they liked, and might not appeal to our target buyer. This is music to our ears, because they were eager and willing to update their home to showcase it in a light that reflected today’s style and preferences. The story of this home was mostly a paint story, as most of the dramatic changes occurred by toning down the wall colour and transforming the kitchen and bathroom cabinets. The second task was to refresh the rest of the kitchen fixtures on a reasonable budget, and address the flooring throughout the main floor. As with every job, this large home had a tight budget, and we are always ready to roll up our sleeves and get greatest results out of every single dollar.

Before the Work Started

When Stephanie, our resident Decorator and Stager, arrived at the house, she knew what her starting point was. “The home had a massive centre hallway that connected to the large kitchen at the back of the home, and it was all covered in black marble tile. It currently felt dated due to all the other finishes in the home, but I knew I could turn it around to be the foundation of a new modern look. I knew it was not in the budget to replace it, so knowing what you need to work with, and build a plan from there is the key.” It’s very easy to create a beautiful design when you have a blank slate, but we find the real rewards happen when you have restrictions and challenges that force you to be creative and flexible. Click on the pictures to enlarge them.

Building the Plan

We were very excited to work on this home because we could see in our mind’s eye what it could look like once it was finished. But we don’t expect home owners to have the vision. As long as they are willing, we do all of the legwork to pull the look together. Since this project was a good size, and the owners wanted to do a lot of the work themselves, Stephanie went the extra step in pulling together a project proposal, above and beyond her staging report, to help kick off the plan and the vision.

Click Here to see the Proposal: Home Staging Proposal RV Erin Mills

Once the owners saw the proposal, they gave her the go-ahead to start sourcing materials to bring the vision to life. This is all part of our concierge service. We bring the options to you, and help you make the best decisions. No need to feel overwhelmed or overworked. This process can be a lot of fun when you have the help to do it. As you can see below, Stephanie sourced paint colours, tiles, counters and new wood floors to show the owners.

Focus on Priorities

Also included with our service is…..us! We don’t disappear while you’re in the middle of all of this work and upheaval. We are there, checking in often, helping to solve problems, and keep our priorities on track. Its common to start seeing 1000 things that need fixing when you start into a home project, and our job is to keep you focused on the things that will get you a return on your investment. Despite this, the home owner still found the time to re-caulk all of his exterior windows because that’s just the kind of attention to detail guy he was. We always provide a home staging report to all of our clients to help keep them on track, something of a to-do list. Together we edit and adapt it as we go, but as you might know, having a good plan as a starting point is the key to any success

Click Here to See Stephanie’s Staging Report: Home Staging Report RV Erin Mills

We often forget to take progress pictures, but here’s one to show you what a dramatic difference paint can make.

This is just the primer but still a big difference!

This is just the primer but still a big difference!

It took the home owners about 3 months to do the work, since they didn’t want to feel rushed and they did most of the work themselves. We are not here to rush anyone into a sale or to add to their stress level, and we are happy to work with anyone with any budget and timeline. We only stipulated that they should not miss the spring market if possible, as that is the best time to sell a family home such as theirs.

Final Results

In the end, we completely transformed their kitchen, and all of the other rooms on the main floor were updated with new wood floors, new paint colours and Stephanie’s accessories and small furniture. It was not feasible to change up the staircase, as in the original plan. It was a 3 level staircase and they were quoted $15,000 to do the job. Would they have gotten the money back out of it? Yes, and then some, given the prestige of the house. But after all the work they did do, it was just to much money and too big of a job to want to tackle. So we are always flexing and shifting to keep working towards our end goals of getting the home sold for the best price. Below are the final results of all of our combined hard work, and in the end they owners sold for one of the highest prices the street had ever seen. Click on the pictures to enlarge them.


Are you interested in working with us to sell your home for Top Dollar? We are always looking to work with eager, positive-minded clients

Contact The Village Guru Today

Tell us about your home to sell and how you want us to provide an experience that exceeds all of your expectations. If you’re looking for real service, we’re looking for you.


 

home staging a small space

home staging a small space

This was a town home belonging to a client of mine who had recently found the woman of his dreams, and his bachelor life was soon coming to an end. They both had their own homes and there was no need to keep his home any longer; it was time to cash out. The common problem with a bachelor pad is…..that it looks like a bachelor pad. Although the house was quite new, it had some rough spots, such as stained carpets, holes in doors, a missing dishwasher, a broken toilet lid, and general scrapes and marks on the walls. Having already moved many of his belongings to his fiancée’s house, he was emotionally disconnected from the home. He felt he didn’t need to be involved in the home staging process, but was 100% supportive of whatever we wanted to do. We are content to work with any level of involvement from the client, from working side-by-side, to silent partner. Whatever scenario suits you best, we always get the best results due to our systemized approach about communicating with you every step of the way about what we’re doing for you.

Below is the before and after photos of the master bathroom.

Not an 'Acceptable' standard for sale

Before: Master Bathroom

Art, a new shower curtain and small accessories bring a new life to the bathroom

After: Art, a new shower curtain and small accessories bring a new life to the Master Bathroom

Clean Up And Start Fresh

Although none of these signs of wear and tear are huge issues by themselves, combined together they have an effect of putting a potential home buyer in a negative frame of mind – not the best way to attract solid offers. In this particular case our client had no budget to address these issues, so our goal here was to prepare the house cheap and cheerfully. In a perfect world I would have liked to see a new dishwasher and the carpets replaced with a quality laminate or wood floor, but our goal was to PROTECT every dime of his equity in the house by avoiding rock-bottom offers, or no offers at all.

Article continued below

With this in mind, we simply asked him to clear out all the excess items (as per the plan we provided) and to deep clean the house. He did hire a cleaner, which is always a great idea that pays for itself in terms of its value. He had not much more than some living room furniture, a bed and a few key art pieces. We treated this listing the same as a vacant home project.

Before: The Living/Room only had a couch and it made the space feel smaller

Before: The Living/Room only had a couch and it made the space feel smaller

We provided furniture and accessories to help buyers see the potential of the space

After: We provided furniture and accessories to help buyers see the potential of the space

His walls were already painted neutral with dark teal accents, so we made that the starting point of our design. We brought in furniture, artwork, bedding, lamps, greenery and accessories. Our aim was to inject enough style and layers to keep the buyers’ eye focused on the size and potential of the home.

Master Bedroom Before

Before: Master Bedroom

Staged Master Bedroom

After: Master Bedroom

We wanted buyers to gloss over the minor flaws by providing them an image of the lifestyle of the home. Another challenge was that because this was only a 2 bed home, we had to make the most use of the space to avoid the ‘it’s too small’ objection by buyers.

We had to get rid of the 'crash pad' feel of the second bedroom

Before: We had to get rid of the ‘crash pad’ feel of the second bedroom

Art and Accessories help the space

After: Art and Accessories help the space

Keeping the Buyer In a Positive Frame of Mind

If we had done nothing, all of those minor flaws would have stuck out like a sore thumb and have been the focus of the buyer’s attention. What we achieved was to ensure it no longer looked like a bachelor pad. It looked like a warm family with a presentation that kept the buyers thinking positively and wanting to make offers.

Bright and Decluttered Kitchen

Bright and Decluttered Kitchen

Bachelor Pad Results

In this case, our client spent next to nothing to prepare his home for sale.

Even when budget is non-existent we can work our magic. When you take a look at the before and after picture, do you think that he got more money for the property than if he listed it as-is? The answer is an undeniable yes. We got him a solid market price and freed his equity to move forward to his new life. Click the pictures to enlarge.

 


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When we took the challenge of doing a light makeover of this Mid Century Raised Bungalow for sale the mission was clear: Update the 50 year old home that had good bones but at the same time was in need of a pre sale update. This home was located in a high demand area so it was important to maximize the lifestyle appeal of a turn key, bright and open concept home. As is the case with many areas in the GTA, buyers are willing to pay more for a home that’s turn key and it’s our goal to increase the selling price of every home we list.

Background

From our very first meeting it was clear that the owners liked and trusted me and that we would work well together. While this is the ideal situation, many potential sellers are understandably nervous when we talk about preparing their home for sale. Most homeowners know that a properly presented home will garner a higher sales price, but there’s fear about the added stress and potential complications that are worrisome. It’s natural to wonder whether the work you do will pay off…

These are all concerns that many homeowners have and I completely understand. That’s why we have a documented approach and a system for preparing homes for sale, so we can go step by step to maximize the selling price and experience.

Depending on the home, the amount of work and the prep time needed to get the highest price possible can vary from a few days to several months before we list. If you have any niggling feelings that you home might need work before you list it for sale, it’s in your advantage to meet with us early on so that we can determine the scope of work and timeline that is reasonable and achievable for you. Whether it will take one week or two months, we’re working with our clients from day one.

Our approach is to take as much time as is necessary, because rushing the home to market, something that many other realtors push for, can loose a seller tens of thousands of dollars on the sale.

The Makeover Strategy

The first step was to book Stephanie (owner of her own design & décor company, Style by Stephanie) to do the initial staging consultation. In this case, both Stephanie and our clients felt that making some cosmetic updates would improve the appeal of the home. We set an appropriate budget based on market research so that our sellers were confident they would recoup their investment in the sale price, focusing on the items that would provide the greatest impact and return on investment. Within this budget, we were able to refurbish the wood floors, add tile to the front entry, kitchen and bathroom, paint all the trim and walls on the main floor, and update the light fixtures. As is the case with many owners who live in a home for a long time, they also had a lot of furniture and other things collected over the years so Stephanie went through everything to try and work with as much of the home owners items as possible.

Flooring

The first step was to re-finish the hard wood floors as they were looking worn and dated. The home owners were going to refinish the floors in their natural colour, but Stephanie suggested they choose a darker walnut shade for two reasons. First, it would ensure any remaining stains were covered over in case the contractor couldn’t sand them all out and second, the darker shade is a more contemporary and popular colour choice.

floor-before

(Before) While still in decent shape, the 50 year old hardwood floors were showing their age

Sanding and a dark stain modernized the floor, allowed the grain of the wood to show and helped to hide small imperfections

(After) Sanding and a dark stain modernized the floor, allowed the grain of the wood to show and helped to hide small imperfections

We also had the floors in the kitchen and front foyer tiled, which involved removing all of the lower base cabinets in the kitchen to install the floors properly. If the kitchen had stone counters, we would not have done this work, for risk of disrupting and breaking the counters. But since they were butcher block, we knew improving the floors from vinyl added significant value and appeal. We don’t recommend doing anything if it cannot be done properly, and we always work with excellent trades people who take pride in their work.

The high polish grey tile went perfect with the simple white kitchen

The high polish grey tile went perfect with the simple white kitchen.

Bathroom

The next step was to modernize the main bathroom, and we did this by choosing a light coloured marble mosaic floor tile for the bathroom. Stephanie went with our clients to Olympia Tile (a fantastic showroom) to help pick out the tile for the house, all of which was a very reasonable price when working with a contractor. She also has many haunts where she finds high end product at reasonable prices. This is all part of the concierge service we offer for anyone who is listing their home for sale.

Using a more interesting floor tile can add luxury and interest to an otherwise small bathroom space

Using a more interesting floor tile can add luxury and interest to an otherwise small bathroom space

Paint

When preparing a home for sale, a neutral paint colour on the walls is key. Neutral doesn’t have to mean brown, Stephanie often uses muted shades of grey, blue and green to create a calm yet interesting backdrop to the room.

“For this home, the view out the large windows and the refinished floors were the big selling points, so I wanted to use a warm grey (Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Grey) to let these features take centre stage. Again, it was critical to infuse colour into the accents to ensure the listing photos popped and that buyers were attracted enough to book a viewing,” said Stephanie.

A punch of colour adds interest to the staged room. 'I find that staging can sometimes be too boring, so I always try to add a pop of colour' says Stephanie.

Colour is an essential part of Stephanie’s Home Staging Formula. “I find that a lot of staged homes look bland and monotone, so I always try to add a pop of colour to draw attention to focal points” says Stephanie.

Lighting Makeover 

Stephanie sourced a contemporary chandelier that was a major upgrade from the original. Almost every home is lacking the proper amount of lighting to make the home feel as big and bright as it possibly can. In many dining rooms, they can feel boxy and plain, so we use a chandelier as a focal point to really draw the eye to something beautiful.

We almost always recommend lighting upgrades because they always provide more than 100% return on investment.

'You don't have to break the bank when shopping for a chandelier. There are many options in the $200 range and that is very cost effective way to create an interesting focal point in a very important room' says Stephanie.

“You don’t have to break the bank when shopping for a chandelier. There are many options in the $200 range and that is very cost effective way to create an interesting focal point in a room that might be lacking enough architectural interest” says Stephanie.

Fireplace Surround

The original fireplace surround was dated, and some of the tiles on the surround were broken. Given that the fireplace was an important feature and focal point for the room, it was important that it looked in good condition. The home owner was nervous about replacing the floor tile for fear of damaging the wood floors around it. So we focused on the damaged area and covered the fireplace surround with neutral granite slabs. Working with a customer focused tile store like Olympia Tile really helps to ensure we found the best looking options that didn’t risk complications during the installation. We staged the fireplace with an eye-catching piece of art to ensure the buyers focused on the positive features of the room.

fireplace

An attractive fireplace is the focal point of any living space, buyers eyes are naturally drawn towards it.

Pulling it all Together

When everyone is eager and on board, the best things happen. You can see from the pictures that the house was on-point after the makeover was complete. We brought in all the accessories, bedding, art, etc. One of the best selling features of the home was that it was a wide lot home, so it was critical to take advantage of the amount of light the house received. Also, because it was a bungalow, furniture placement was critical to ensure the home felt spacious.

Setting up the floor plan and flow is critical. 1. This Teal wingback chair adds additional seating without blocking the flow to the dining room. 2. The Sleek, minimalist chandelier bring elegance to the space without be over bearing. 3. Mirrors and art help round out the sace

Setting up the floor plan and flow is critical. 1) This Teal wingback chair adds additional seating without blocking the flow to the dining room. 2) The sleek, minimalist chandelier brings elegance to the space without being over bearing. 3) Mirrors and art help round out the space.

If at all possible, try to avoid empty rooms as they make it harder for the buyer to judge the space properly. These two additional bedrooms were vacant, so we furnished them with beds, art and bed coverings from our staging inventory.

The key to superior presentation is to set some small areas of interest. Accessories can tell a story of lifestyle, and tap into a buyer's emotions.

The key to superior presentation is to set some small areas of interest. Accessories can tell a story of lifestyle, and tap into a buyer’s emotions. Using the proper accessories is a huge factor in the success of a makeover.

Final Thoughts

This home is a great example of doing simple upgrades to make the home feel much more contemporary. Our clients understood that it wasn’t about presenting the home in their own personal tastes, because they weren’t the likely demographic of people who would buy the home. Once we identified who would be the target buyer, we made sure all of our effort and choices for the home were geared towards meeting that buyer’s expectations and desires. We were all happy with the outcome of this makeover and our clients were able to cash out and move to thie city.


testimonial


Are you interested in working with us to sell your home for Top Dollar? We are always looking to work with eager, positive-minded clients

Contact The Village Guru Today

Tell us about your home to sell and how you want us to provide an experience that exceeds all of your expectations. If you’re looking for real service, we’re looking for you.


 

Julie and Mike were recently married last summer and after saving for a few years, are ready to ditch their city condo in Toronto for a modern 3 bed house in the ‘burbs’. Julie works as a nurse at a local hospital in Mississauga while Mike is self employed and works from home. They are looking for a modern, open concept space that is good for entertaining. Mike’s biggest must have is a home that has good appreciation potential and Julie’s greatest concerns are: 1) finding a community that is safe with excellent schools and 2) being within a 25 minute drive MAX of her work. While both of them originally grew up in Erin Mills in Mississauga, their first choice to live would be Oakville however they are open to either Mississauga or Burlington if the right opportunity presented itself. Budget is $650 Max.

The 3 areas I will have them look, based on her initial indicated housing style preferences, .

West Oak Trails- The Suburban Dream

Since I’m dealing with a young, educated and upwardly mobile couple who place a high value on schools, I couldn’t possibly leave out West oak Trails in Oakville. Located in the North west area of the city, West Oak Trails is one of the hottest family destinations in the west GTA. West Oak Trails is known for it’s parks, trails and excellent schools. It’s a very safe and quiet community where neighbours take care of their homes and the area has a  ‘keep up with the Jones’s’ feel which appeals to many upper middle class families.

West Oak Trails Pro’s

  • Excellent area for families.
  • Top schools and plenty of family friendly amenities including parks, trails and community centres.
  • Homes are typically in good condition and the neighbourhood itself shows pride of ownership.
  • The new hospital being built at Third Line and Dundas will help keep demand high in this area.

West Oak Trails Con’s

  • Price. Even with a healthy budget of $650,000, they might not be able to get what they are looking for.
  • Related to price, layout may be a problem also. Sure there are open concept homes in this area, but it may be tough to find them at this price point.
  • Even homes that may need work are selling at a premium, meaning that it may not be financially worth it to buy a home in this area and invest thousands fixing it up.

 

Clarkson- The Village With Great Potential

Everyone likes the idea of having a walking friendly community, complete with shops, parks and nightlife. The challenge with the urban village is that since everyone likes them, they are getting extremely expensive. That’s why I’ve chosen Clarkson and a possibility. Yes, I think that Port Credit and Old Oakville are fantastic and I know that’s what comes to most aspiring home buyers mind when they think of where they want to live but the reality is that on the budget we have to work with they just aren’t feasible. Based on this scenario I am recommending Clarkson in Mississauga as suitable urban village with a high upside for appreciation.

Clarkson has been undergoing tremendous price growth over the past decade as the demand for real estate near the water continues to increase. Mature tree lined streets, good sized lots, close to amenities and transportation make this an opportunity to look.

Clarkson Pro’s

  • Go train is only 20 minutes to downtown Toronto
  • Residents are close to excellent lifestyle amenities including Port Credit, Clarkson Village, Rattaray Marsh, Jack Darling park and the lakeshore.
  • Depending on where you live in Clarkson, the schools ran very high.
  • There is huge opportunity for buyers not afraid to do fixer uppers to add equity.

Clarkson Con’s

  • Depending on what area of Clarkson you live in, the schools can either be great or ok at best.
  • The most desirable areas of Clarkson have become very expensive and anything that falls within the Lorne Park School district will always be in high demand.
  • This area is older than most suburban areas, and older homes deter many home buyers who are looking for something more turn key. The true value in this neighbourhood is finding a home to update.

Headon Forest- Suburban Affordable

Since Mike and Julie indicated being open to Burlington, I will recommend exploring options in Headon Forest. The area is a safe, family oriented area where you can still get bang for your buck when compared to Oakville. There are many classic 1980’s era homes with double car garage, and nice layouts. There are some great homes available within their budget and also options that exist below their max budget which would leave them room to add their own personal touches.  

Headon Forest Pro’s

  • A quiet family area with good schools.
  • While the demographics are similar, homes are more affordable when compared to Oakville.
  • While still more affordable, Burlington has experienced tremendous price growth over the past few years as the GTA continues to expand.
  • Mature area with parks and trees.

Headon Forest Con’s

  • Located in north west Burlington, Headon Forest will be pushing the commuting limit to Mississauga.
  • If you buy a home in this area, there’s a good chance that there will be some upgrading involved.
  • The backyards are typically wide but shallow in this area, so if the home doesn’t have a lot of trees you can feel pretty close to the neighbours.

 

Julie and Mike are a good example of home buyers that I regularly work with. Young, professional, upwardly mobile, looking for a great home in an excellent community. While I would show them 3 options based on our initial conversation, there are many more options that exist within Oakville, Burlington or Mississauga that would work for the lifestyle they are seeking.

Looking for a home in Mississauga or the west GTA? Let’s Talk!

 

Sara is 29 years old first time home buyer.

After university, Sara travelled and worked abroad before retuning to Canada and landing a nice job at a major pharmaceutical company in the Meadowvale Business Sector located in the  north west Mississauga. Ready to jump on the property ladder and start building her own equity, Sara is aiming for a newer, freehold townhouse that is close to the highway and also has access to walking trails and outdoor spaces where she can jog and walk her dog. Budget max budget is $620k.

The 3 areas I will have her look, based on her initial indicated housing style preferences, are Lisgar, Churchill Meadows and Milton.

Lisgar

If staying close to her work is a priority, the first area I would recommend Sara look is the community of Lisgar located in North West Mississauga.

Pro’s:

  • Lisgar would be a 10 minute drive from her work.
  • While there are no condo high-rises, Lisgar does have a number of Freehold town houses and low maintenance condo townhome developments that will fit her budget.
  • Lisgar has a good number of parks, outdoor spaces such as Osprey Marsh and walking trails which will be perfect for her lifestyle.
  • There are a number of big box outlets and shopping within a short driving distance.
  • Lisgar has excellent highway access, it’s within minutes of highways 401, 403 & 407.
  • Lisgar is one of the most affordable areas in Mississauga. Average Freehold Townhome sold price in Lisgar for 2013 was:  $388,094

Con’s:

  • Depending on Sara’s lifestyle, Lisgar may prove to be too quiet for her. The area is almost completely residential and there’s not much in the way of nightlife. She would have to drive to areas like Mississauga City Centre or Downtown Toronto.
  • Being a family oriented area, it may be harder to find similar neighbours like herself to make friends with.
  • While not old, the town homes in Lisgar will fall into the 5-15 year range. Many will require some cosmetic upgrading to meet her décor taste.

Churchill Meadows

Located further south in Mississauga, Churchill Meadows is another option for Sara.

Pro’s

  • Still within a 15 minute drive of her work.
  • Homes are newer on average, meaning a better chance at getting a unit with modern décor that needs little maintanence.
  • Churchill Meadows has very nice design, and the community looks very nice aesthetically, which appeals to today’s home buyer.
  • Churchill Meadows is closer to more amenities, including walking distance to Erin Mills Town centre, and very close to highway 403.
  • There will be more people like her in the area, especially in the Daniel’s stacked townhomes.
  • Easy access to transit and Sqaure One.
  • Condo’s in Churchill Meadows are newer, have modern décor and low maintenance fees which is ideal for a first time home buyer.

Con’s

  • Just Like Lisgar, Churchill Meadows is more geared to families and while there are more amenities, it still may prove to quiet for the single lifestyle.
  • Prices are more expensive in Churchill Meadows compared with Lisgar. Average Sold Price for a freehold townhouse in 2013 was $458,626, way above her budget. Even a 3 bed condo townhouse would be too high, coming in at $402,794. She would be looking at a 2 bed townhouse or low rise condo.

Milton

Newer like Churchill Meadows although more affordable than Mississauga, Milton is another good option for Sara. A little further away, she would be looking at a 20-35 minute commute depending on what area in Milton she chooses.

Pro’s

  • There are many options available in Milton that are newer and affordable. Areas I would recommend include Hawthorne Village and the north east section of Milton near Derry Rd and James Snow Parkway.
  • The newer areas of Milton are master planned and have access to walking paths and parks.
  • Located off of the 401, Milton has good highway access and plenty of big box stores and shopping nearby.
  • Over the past few years Milton has attracted a lot of younger home buyers from the surrounding areas of Mississauga and Oakville, due to more affordable home prices.
  • Milton is the land of freehold townhouses, with too many sales to count. It’s safe to say that she can well afford a nice freehold townhouse in Milton for under $380,000.

Con’s

  • Milton is a small town growing in to a big city, so most people commute. Traffic can be heavy at times.
  • Just like the areas in Mississauga, Milton is more of a quiet family area. Main street has some nice shops and restaurants, but it’s small. Aside from that she’s looking at chain restaurants.
  • Prices are more affordable for a reason. Milton is further away and if she likes visiting downtown Toronto often than she’s looking at a 1 hour commute either by Go Train or driving.
  • Much of the new home construction happening in Milton now is occurring in the south west area, near Bronte Rd. For someone like Sara who commutes to Mississauga, she will have to seriously consider the added commuting time of driving across Milton.

The Analysis

After looking at all 3 areas, you might have noticed that while all of these areas will deliver the home described by our buyer, all of them have some disadvantages and might prove a little dull and boring for a young single person. This scenario is very typical among home buyers I work with, who may be searching for a specific home based off of what they’ve been told to look for by friends and family. The truth is that in this instance, Sara will have to make a sacrifice in lifestyle to do this and this is why I always say that searching for your preferred lifestyle is just as important as the searching for the home.

Often, this is where I step in to show other options that offer great potential for building equity and appreciation (makes the parents happy) but still will also give her access to a more vibrant lifestyle. If Sara is willing to consider a condo town home or apartment, she can now consider other areas such as Mississauga City Centre, Port Credit, Clarkson or even one of the many communities in Oakville.

 

I hope you enjoyed the first instalment in my Home Buyer Profile series. No two home buyer profile’s will ever be exactly the same, but hopefully this will point you in the right direction and show you how I work with my clients. Looking for a home in Mississauga or the West GTA? Let’s Talk!