Does Size Matter?

And so it begins…

Bit of a blog break here, I’ve been rather occupied with a life challenge—I’ve been through the downsizing of elderly parents but I’m tackling my own, twenty-five years early.

Four years ago we sold our small, rather typical, but fabulous, Toronto semi in the east end (always an east ender here) to shuffle off to lovely Dundas Valley, and a much bigger house, for elder care—four years later we are trading in the four bedroom home with yard, large cedar deck, wood burning fireplace and so much more for a Toronto condo. Dundas truly is a gem but I’m a Torontonian at heart, have been for decades, I love the energy and all that comes with big city living, I’ve missed it dearly. And…I’ve decided to do something I’ve not done—live in a small space surrounded only by the things I really love ’cause that’s all I’ll have room for.

We’re going for the full urban experience, high walkability, Distillery District virtually at our door, a new streetcar line, our bikes (and bodies) will get a regular workout, we’ll drop to a one car household and with a gym in the building is there ever an excuse?

We’re downsizing ourselves, and a senior parent living in my house, we have to prep our lovely Dundas home, sell said home and set up life in the new Canary District Toronto!

Follow, post, suggest, share, it’s gonna be a ride 🙂

Late night sorting…






Baby, It’s Cold Outside!


And what if you want to sell your house?

In real estate talk the focus is often on the red hot spring season and the hot, but perhaps not red, fall season, it’s when we tend to be busiest ’cause it’s when the market is busiest.

But, what if you decide or need to sell in winter?

Is it too slow?

Are we all hibernating?

While we may be doing that when possible it’s still a perfectly viable time to market your home and without the same level of competition. Sales happen every single day, every weekend, every month, every season. There are always buyers out there, people find any number of reasons for a move, new job, new city, space too tight, space too big and perhaps winter presents an opportunity.

Remember February 2015? It was a record cold month. In my area alone, Hamilton West (Dundas) the frigid February 2015 sale transactions were up 13.9% from February 2014…clearly winter did not deter. And prices—the average freehold home (i.e. not a condo or condo townhouse) sale price in February 2015 was 10.1% higher than the same month last year. The Hamilton/Burlington region has been so strong ongoing with low inventory ie number of listings, a time of year with less competition might just be a good strategy.

Yes perhaps your home looks best in summer (don’t we all really?), you can’t show off your gardens or stage your deck but shovel your snow, get an urn or two, add some greenery, make sure all your outdoor lights are working—we live in Ontario, we’re all dealing with the same.

Inside, cozy it up, turn up the heat a little, toss a soft throw on your sofa, it gets dark early so make sure your lighting suits. If you’ve got a fireplace we may be firing that up at open house, perfect!

Something we do for clients who think they may be selling in winter is take some exterior pictures during the summer so we can show off gardens, yard, trees, deck and the pool if you have; if you’ve got some pictures on file we can definitely put those to good use.

If you’re contemplating a move and thinking spring is your time, well, it’s definitely hot, and it happens early, people get the itch to start shopping as soon as we all sense that maybe, just maybe, winter is nearing an end. But if you’re considering this winter, buyers don’t take the season off…winter could well be a little kinder this year!

buy. sell. relax.





If You Build It They Will Come


It’s not yet spring and the market in the Hamilton area is keeping pace with recent seasons i.e. we’re hot, multiple offers abound—our last several offers have been in competition, it’s mid-January! Burlington, with its crown of #1 mid-sized city in which to live, is always solid, and, for my Toronto friends, you know your market sizzles, always.

This isn’t just a market update here, we’re talking about fixer upper properties—if that’s on your radar, Hamilton has such an array of potentially fine old homes just waiting for some attention. We currently have clients who are looking at a first buy and fancy a character fixer upper they can make their own; we have clients who see the solid upward movement in the market here and want to invest in ‘new Hamilton’ in the form of a rental property; and there are others who see potential in taking on a property needing some 2015 attitude and then flipping.

Given we here at core have extensive experience in renovating and flipping we thought for the next couple of posts we’d dig into house flips and offer up some tips if you’re feeling inspired to dive into your own. Flipping can be lucrative with an educated approach but there are considerations:

First off,

  • Burlington holds great appeal for home buyers—it’s a fantastic waterfront city with beautiful neighbourhoods, a bustling downtown, all the conveniences of urban life while being surrounded by natural beauty and an easy GO Train commute into Toronto. Burlington is a destination city, oftentimes these are homebuyers with the finances but not the time to do the job. These homeowners quite often prefer that someone else complete the home for them so it’s move-in ready, and, they are willing to pay for that convenience.
  • Hamilton is a city in quick transition. It has a large number of potentially fine old homes in established neighbourhoods that have aged with little attention to upgrades; now these homes are ready for new owners to transform, to bring a fresh 2015 perspective. Hamilton is hot, it’s proven in recent years to be the target of Toronto area home buyers looking for space and value, first timers and investors looking to add a rental property to a real estate portfolio; whatever the case Hamilton has consistently rated one of the hottest and most solid real estate markets in the country. And it’s a prime candidate for the flipper.


1  Find out how much capital you have to get started. If you’re getting a mortgage be prepared, there are different rules when purchasing a secondary property and if you’re flipping a bank may or may not want to finance it for you. Short term lending=not much interest for them.

Be sure to find the right realtor to help you with the process, this is key. If they’ve gone through this process they will know what to look for as far as areas to focus on and the right style of property to buy. You might think it’s all about the house but keep in mind that lot, location and amenities can make a big difference. You need to know your target market on the selling end.

3  If you’re aware of what you can expect to sell the property for at the end of the project it will determine how much you’ll be investing into the renovation. You may as well maximize your return right? Plan ahead, and, know your market.

Stay tuned to our upcoming posts for more tips; we’ll highlight some of our Before & Afters too!


Attic space? You can carve out additional living space and highlight charming character elements like the crossbeams in this conversion.



Contemporary fireplace update—better!


Yes, we’re off our game, our game being our blog schedule. Sorry about that.

It’s been a busy time here at core— —the market here continues to ramp up showing no signs of slowing. If you’re buying your first home, moving up, or if like several of our clients you’re looking for an investment property, time to get in.

If you’re looking to sell, to take advantage of this house heat, don’t forget we have a free staging offer If selling is on your mind you may as well put your best self, your best home self that is, forward.

And we want to remind you: if you’re sitting in your lovely home thinking you might want to hit the market early on in spring, now’s the time to make your list, make some decisions, are you considering renovating a bathroom, will a full renovation offer payback or do you just need to paint and tweak… line up your people ie your workers, prepare for success. We can help with that too 🙂


Random: are you still eating Halloween candy? Down to the dregs here…  imageedit_7_9774105679