In Toronto, It’s A Seller’s Market – But Sellers Can’t Find A Place To Buy

Great article in www.TheGlobeandMail.com 

The winding streets of a tranquil enclave near the Humber River were swarming with house hunters last week when 18 Langmuir Cres. went up for sale with an asking price of $949,000. Early this week, the Cape Cod-style home on a ravine lot sold for $1.102-million after five parties vied to live there.

“That’s an unexpectedly big number,” says the homeowners’ agent, Theodore Babiak of Royal LePage Real Estate Service Ltd. The house is a project, he says, and will likely undergo a renovation or expansion.

Last week, I wrote about 442 Winnett Ave., a tiny bungalow near Eglinton and Avenue Road. It later sold with 10 offers tabled. The final price was $685,100, or $136,100 above the asking price of $549,000.

Listing agent Ira Jelinek of Harvey Kalles Real Estate says a builder was the winning bidder. He plans to tear down the bungalow and build a spacious, modern house.

While Mr. Jelinek was pleased with the outcome, he would prefer that the market be more balanced. “My buyers lose out on bidding wars.”

Amy Polson of Royal LePage Estate Realty echoes that sentiment. She submitted an offer on behalf of her buyers for a house in the $850,000 range near Bayview and Eglinton. Late that night she hadn’t heard a word, so she contacted the listing agent only to find out the sellers were still making their way through a deluge of offers. She knew then her buyers didn’t have a chance.

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Think Carefully Before Suing Your Neighbour

Great article in www.TheStar.com   

Many times, what starts off as an innocent disagreement between neighbours can escalate into something major. It can be a spat about noise, boundary issues, trees or fences.

But if you are considering suing your neighbour, think about a few things first. Whatever hard feelings there are now, they will get much worse if you go to court.

So here are a few tips:

* Try to settle it as diplomatically and amicably as possible. Remember, the worst settlement, is in my opinion, better than the best lawsuit.

* Consider checking the title of your neighbour’s property first, to see how big their mortgage is and whether they can pay if you win your case;

* Maybe it is better to just move than start a fight. You don’t know how the person may react to a lawsuit.

Here’s an illustration of why you want to avoid a suit at all costs:

In 2007, Pickering homeowners Bill and Anna Squires became involved in a boundary dispute with their neighbour David Fitzpatrick. The dispute quickly escalated. On November 12, 2007, Squires found the bloody carcass of a coyote on the hood of his pickup truck.

Police were called and Fitzpatrick was charged. The case was later thrown out because it could not be proved that Fitzpatrick put the coyote on the car. A video camera installed by the Squires had been disabled the night before.

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Is It Time You Thought About Downsizing?

Great article in http://blog.newinhomes.com

Condominiums are the bookends of homeownership: for many people, they make the most sense as first-timers and later, as downsizers. Both demographics are generally more cost-conscious than those in between, less likely to be living with children, and disinclined to spend their weekends doing all the things single-family-home ownership requires like yard work, shovelling snow, mending fences and mucking out eavestroughs.

But while there are certainly intangible considerations when diving into the housing market for the first time — am I ready to give up some of my disposable income and stay home on the weekends if that’s what it takes? Am I ready to be tied down to a mortgage? — the questions faced by those thinking about downsizing are considerably more fraught: Should I downsize now, before my mobility declines? What if I wait too long and it becomes burdensome for my family to help me? Can I continue to manage a house if something happens to my partner? Not to mention the quality of life questions, like how do I want to spend my time? What can I do with money I free up by downsizing?

While a first-time buyer can likely make up income shortfalls or property value dips easily over time, it’s a lot harder for those whose highest-earning years are behind them. Especially for those whose retirement savings are largely tied up in home equity, trying to time the market can be an exercise in sleep-depriving anxiety. What if I wait too long and the housing market bubble bursts? What if I don’t wait long enough and lose out on equity?

To the first question, Milborne Real Estate vice-president Mark Partin says, “There is no housing bubble.” He says that though the market did go through a period of “adjustment and stabilization” in 2010 and 2011, which led to some overselling in the condo market, the 10-year trend says we’re right on track. “Toronto doesn’t have a lot of empty houses sitting around waiting for people,” he says. “The city is full. You need to build 40,000 new spots each year just to keep up with people moving in. Most people who move to the city rent first, but because there’s no new rental housing being built, investor-bought condos become the new de facto rental supply.”

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Free Tour of any Condo or Home

Free Buyer and Seller Reports:

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Toronto Condo Hot List For The Week Of Feb.17 ,2014

Here are my Top Picks for the Week:

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36 Rushholme Pk. Cr #34

Price: $549,900 Beds: 2 Baths: 2 Sq Ft: 1250

Executive 2-Storey Townhome In A Private Gated Community. The Home Itself Has 2 Bedrooms, 2 Baths And Is Upgraded With Kitchen Granite Counter Tops, Refinished Hardwood Foolrs And Laminate Flooring. Two Decks. Built-in Garage. Inclusions: Fridge, St…

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50 Lynn Williams St. #1204

Price: $359,900 Beds: 2 Baths: 1 Sq Ft: 750

Sunny Two Bedroom Condo In The Heart Of Liberty Village. Southwest Corner Suite With Lots Of Natural Light And Amazing Views Of The Lake. Freshly Painted And Brand New Modern Laminate Throughout. Large Eat-In Kitchen And Two Walk Outs To The Extra L…

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165 Legion Rd. #1021

Price: $299,999 Beds: 1 Baths: 1 Sq Ft: 575

Brand New Del Mar Model Unit. One Bedroom + Den 575Sqft With 105 Sqft Balcony. Corner Unit. Bright And Beautiful Unit With Rare 10 Ft Ceilings. Potlights. Modern Rangehood, Custom Cabinetry. Deep Soak Bath-Up. Very Spacious And Functional Layout. In…

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110 Charles St. #1610

Price: $347,500 Beds: 1 Baths: 1 Sq Ft: 550

X Condos. Sun-Filled Open Concept Living/Dining Room. Kitchen Includes Island And Granite Counter-Tops. Floor To Ceiling Windows. Spacious Private Balcony. Walk-Out From Living Room. Endless Storage Space. Inclusions: Fridge, Stove, Dishwasher, Micr…

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319 Merton St. #507

Price: $379,000 Beds: 1 Baths: 1 Sq Ft: 684

Monarch Quality Built Luxury Living Conveniently Located In Davisville Village. This Gorgeous Turn Key 684 Sq.Ft + Balcony Suite Offers A Great Open Concept Space With 9Ft Ceilings. Granite Counter Tops & Breakfast Bar. Oversized Master Bedroom That…

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Top 10 Things to Look for in a Pre-Construction Condominium

Great article in http://blog.newinhomes.com

The decision to purchase a new condominium in the Greater Toronto Area is a wise one, with a multitude of choices out there beckoning with incredible beauty and value. There are always completed inventory suites available for those who need quick occupancies. However, purchasing pre-construction has a lot of benefits including attractive pricing and the best selection of designs. If you do decide to go pre-construction, especially if you are a first-time buyer, here are a few things to keep in mind.

1.      The real estate landscape changes from time to time, but what remains the same is the importance of location, location, location. This is usually tops on everyone’s list. Select a location that is handy to your workplace, and remember family, friends and groups that you travel to frequently.

2.      Of course, price always plays a critical role in a new home-buyer’s decision. Your purchase price is only part of what you will be expected to pay. Be sure to find out about upgrades, and keep in mind that closing costs can amount to anywhere from 3 to 5 per cent of the purchase price.

3.      Look into the reputation of the builder/developers of the condominiums you are considering. Choosing a developer with a proven track record offers confidence, plus you can visit previously built communities and condominiums to examine the quality of the finished product.

4.      Area amenities play a big role in your day-to-day condo living. Look around at what is within walking distance of the condos you are considering. When in doubt, go to www.walkscore.com, punch in the address, and you can find out just how convenient it is. Some urban locations are so convenient that owning a vehicle is an option rather than a necessity.

5.      One of the major advantages in choosing a condominium is having wonderful amenities under your roof, as well as in the vicinity. These uncommonly beautiful “common areas” are essentially extensions of your living space and add value to your new home investment. Explore what the various condominiums offer in the way of amenities and discover what is important to you.

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Remodeling? Be Smart About Updates And Recoup Your Investment When You Sell

Great article in http://realtytimes.com​

Before you pour your savings into a new kitchen and a rainforest shower for the master, think about whether or not you’ll be able to recoup your investment when it comes time to sell.

If you have equity in your home, you can make improvements, but don’t go over the limit of what other buyers can spend for a home similar to yours in your neighborhood.

While it’s tempting to make your home more beautiful, you have to consider the rest of your neighborhood. If most residences in your neighborhood are three-bedroom single-story homes, buyers are unlikely to shop in your area for two-story four-bedroom homes.

Buyers want to shop for a home where there is the most selection of homes that fit their criteria. If they want a swimming pool, they’re going to look in neighborhoods where many homes have pools. They won’t be aware of your home if you have the only pool in your subdivision.

That’s why over-improving for the neighborhood is a bad idea. Not only will you not get your money back for some updates, your home my be harder to sell because of them.

Another reason buyers don’t tend to pay as much for updates as you might think is broad differences in taste. Your updates may include choices your buyer wouldn’t have made because of several reasons:

You only improved one or two rooms, leaving the rest of the home looking unfinished.

Your updates were too radical, such as cold minimalism in a traditional setting.

Your updates masked a problem but didn’t solve it, such as a kitchen that’s too small. If the kitchen is still too small after you’ve put in granite counters, don’t expect buyers to care.

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How To Find Out If Someone Died in the House You Want To Buy: Weisleder

Great article in www.TheStar.com   

Unless you ask a seller point blank, you are unlikely to find out whether their home was the scene of a murder, suicide, grow operation, or if there’s been water damage or flooding.

Most would agree that this type of information would affect the value of the property. Here’s an example. A house at 934 Ossington Ave. in Toronto took 16 months and multiple listing agents before it sold in 2013 for less than the list price during one of Toronto’s hottest real estate markets.

The property was the site of the murder of Allan Lanteigne on March 3, 2011. Lanteigne’s husband, Demitry Papasotiriou, 32, was later arrested and is charged with first-degree murder. The case has yet to come to trial.

The property was listed eight months after the murder for $973,000 and finally sold for $900,000.

If a real estate agent knows about a murder, they are obligated to disclose this under their Code of Ethics as a material fact. The problem is if the agent doesn’t know about it, there is nothing to disclose.

More and more people are turning to the Internet to try and find answers. Tenants are checking bedbugregistry.com to make sure the building they are interested in has not been reported as having a bedbug problem. Buyer and real estate agents are going to Homeverified.ca and Iverify.com to see whether a property was ever listed as a grow-op or meth lab and whether a prior owner had made an insurance claim on the property for fire or water damage, or sewage backup.

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Here is what you can do next:

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Let’s Meet for a Coffee: Free Buyer Planning Session.

Free Buyer and Seller Reports:

Please contact me direct at 416-520-6746 or by email, David@DavidStoddard.ca

Maximizing Your Down Payment in 2014

If you are planning on moving into your first house or condo sometime in 2014 now is the perfect time to do some serious planning on how to best maximize the money you’ll need for your down payment.

What is the Home Buyer’s Plan? (HBP)

The HBP is a Federal government program initiated in 1992. The HBP has helped millions of Canadians to purchase homes and to build homes and therefore has played and does play an integral part in Canada’s economic growth .

Simply, the HBP allows you to use your rrsp money as part of your down payment funds to purchase a home or to build a home.

Think of it as an interest free loan to yourself paid back over 15 years interest free in equal instalments.

Here are some of the HBP,s main criteria:

  1. You cannot have owned a home as a principal residence in the last 5 years.
  2. If you have already participated in a HBP the balance is zero on Jan.1 of the year you plan on making another withdrawal . ie. you cannot have more than one plan open.
  3. The funds must be in a designated rrsp account for a minimum of 90 days.
  4. The money must be used no more than 30 days after your closing date.
  5. The money must be paid back over a 15 year period using straight line amortization. eg. If you  withdrawal $15,000 then each year for 15 consecutive years  you must repay $1000.?
  6. You have to have an Agreement of Purchase and Sale in place in order to use the HBP.?
  7. You have to be a resident of Canada?
  8. The maximum withdrawal per person is $25,000?
  9. You have to complete form T1036 for each eligible withdrawal.

Important Points:

  1. Prior to utilizing your rrsp’s it is very important that a personal budget be prepared. Remember you have to repay an equal amount yearly for 15 years. If the repayment does not fit into your overall personal budget as a homeowner  then it is not advised.  Some of my clients use their rrsp’s and some do not. I have a standard personal budget form that my clients use as a worksheet. Email me for a copy.
  2. It is important to determine in advance if your rrsp’s qualify for the HBP. Ask your rrsp provider.
  3. If you want to maximize your rrsp contribution under the HBP then there are ways to do this with liquid cash and/or with an rrsp loan. Email me for details.
  4. Any funds that you put into an rrsp account will generate a corresponding tax refund and this too can be added to your down payment funds as well.

To learn more about how you can use your rrsp’s as part of your down payment please come to a FREE Buyer Planning Session.

Even if you a year plus away from purchasing a home a Buyer Planning Session will provide you with the framework for an organized home purchase plan.

At the Buyer Planning Session we will discuss your personal budgeting, preparing for your mortgage application, mortgage financing, credit management, the real estate market and the home buying process.

How do we know our planning sessions are helpful for our clients to achieve their ultimate home buying goal? Our clients have told us so. Check out what are clients are saying about us.

Please contact me direct at 416-520-6746 or by email,David@DavidStoddard.ca

Toronto Condo Hot List For The Week Of Feb.3,2014

Here are my Top Picks for the Week:

 

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90 Park Lawn Rd #2302

Price: $289,900 Beds: 1 Baths: 1 Sq Ft: 550

One Year New. South Beach Condo On Toronto’s Waterfront. Gorgeous 1 Bedroom Suite With Beautiful Finishes On A High Floor. West Exposure. Balcony. Perfect For Young Professional Or First Time Buyer. Features 9’Ceilings. Open Concept Design. …

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1 Shaw St #821

Price: $338,000 Beds: 1 Baths: 1 Sq Ft: 550

Urban Loft Inspired 1-Bedroom Corner Suite In The Popular DNA Building Located In Trendy King West. Functional Open Concept With 9 Foot Ceilings. Beautiful Wood Floors. Living/Dining Space Open To A Kitchen With Granite Counter-tops . Floor To Ceili…

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2191 Yonge St #2209

Price: $449,888 Beds: 1 Baths: 1 Sq Ft: 750

Quantum 2 By Minto. Fully Upgraded 1 Bedroom+Den. Private 22nd Floor Open Balcony. Large Kitchen Cabinets. Breakfast Bar. Hardwood Floors. Inclusions: Stainless Steel: Fridge, Stove, Built-in Microwave, Dishwasher. Stacked Washer and Dryer. Gym, Poo…

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33 Mill St #620

Price: $559,000 Beds: 2 Baths: 2 Sq Ft: 885

Welcome To An Incredible 2-Storey Condo In Pure Spirit Lofts At The Bustling Distillery District. The Main Floor Boasts 10′ Exposed Concrete Ceilings And Features The Living Room, Dining, Kitchen And 1/2 Bath. Second Floor Houses Two Large Bedro…

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100 Western Battery Rd #1507

Price: $469,000 Beds: 2 Baths: 2 Sq Ft: 838

Liberty Village. Monarch Built. 87 Walkscore. Artfully Decorated & Meticulously Kept Corner Two Bedroom Unit With Two Full Baths. Excellent Split Layout With 838Sf Of Living Space And A 100Sf Balcony. Open Concept With Floor To Ceiling Windows . Pan…

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Please contact me direct at 416-520-6746 or by email,David@DavidStoddard.ca

GTA Real Estate Condo Market Report Q4 2013

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Greater Toronto Realtors reported 4,586 condominium apartment  sales through the MLS in the fourth quarter of 2013. The number of transactions represented a 21.0% increase compared to 3,789 transactions reported for the fourth quarter of 2012. In the City of Toronto, which accounted for 70% of condominium apartment sales, sales were up by 17.7%.

The number of new listings reported in the fourth quarter was  down by 0.6% compared to the same period in 2012.

“This time last year many were predicting that the condo apartment market would experience a downturn, both in terms of sales and selling prices. While there was a temporary lull in sales and price growth in the first half of 2013, we saw an about face in the second half of the year as buyers realized home ownership remained affordable. As the demand for condos rebounded, competition between buyers increased and the pace of price growth accelerated,” said Toronto Real Estate Board President Dianne Usher.

The average selling price in the GTA for Q4 was up by 6.5% from the same time last year to $353,665. In the City of Toronto the average price was up by 8.3%

“If market conditions in 2014 remain similar to what we experienced in the last six months of 2013, we will continue to experience year-over-year average price growth for condominium apartments above the rate of inflation. However, there was an increase in condo completions last year. the degree to which investors list their newly completed units for sale and the degree to which these units are absorbed will play a large role in dictating the pace of price growth,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s Senior Manager of Market Analysis.

Other notable statistics include the average days on the market for Q4 at 36 days. Active listings were 4,482 in Q4-down 4.1% from Q4 2012.

Sellers are looking for market value for their property. I prepare a comparative market analysis (CMA) for all of my Buyer clients prior to submitting an offer to determine the property’s market value range.

Real estate is very building  specific. The numbers as reported above are GTA averages. Results in one building do not indicate that all other buildings are experiencing the same results.

The condominium apartment rental market became better supplied in some parts of the GTA in the fourth quarter of 2013, particularly in the City of Toronto. The number of condo apartments listed for rent increased at a greater year-over-year pace compared to rental transactions.

Growth in average rents for the popular one-bedroom and two bedroom unit types was mixed. Average one-bedroom rents dipped slightly on a year-over-year basis, whereas average two-bedroom rents increased at an annual rate greater than inflation.

Please contact me direct at 416-520-6746 or by email,David@DavidStoddard.ca

If Your Neighbour’s Tree Falls In Your Yard, Who Pays?

Great article in www.TheStar.com 

A man walks under a tree blocking Wellesley Street East following the ice storm in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 23, 2013.

During last month’s ice storm your neighbour’s tree fell and damaged your house. So, who pays?

For most of us, this should be covered under a homeowner insurance policy, whether the branches are from your trees or your neighbour’s. If you have all perils coverage, you may also claim for any damages caused to your car as well.

But it’s not always that clear-cut, as the following case shows:

Ted Doucette and Daina Parent were neighbours in Sturgeon Falls, Ontario. During a late November windstorm in 1991, a 60-foot poplar in Parent’s yard, about five feet from the boundary, snapped. The tree fell on Doucette’s fence, his snowmobile trailer and his motor home. He sued for damages.

A court later heard that an arborist believed the tree broke because of internal decay. You would not have been able to notice this by looking at the tree, even though it did have some dead branches.

In a 1996 decision, Justice George Valin of the Ontario Superior Court ruled that Parent was not responsible for the damages.

Click here for more.
Here is what you can do next:

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Free Buyer and Seller Reports:

Please contact me direct at 416-520-6746 or by email, David@DavidStoddard.ca

Toronto Condo Hot List for the Week of Jan.27 ,2014

Here are my Top Picks for the Week:

 

2230 Lake Shore Blvd W #3502

Price: $399,900 Beds: 2 Baths: 1 Sq Ft: 750

Gorgeous 2 Bedroom Corner Unit,   Floor To Ceiling Windows, Functional Layout, Stunning Unobstructed S/W Lake   Views From Two Balconies! Great For Entertaining, Popular Kitchen Colours,   Granite Counters, Hardwood Floors, Stainless Steel Appliances, Sof…

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1171 Queen St. W #1112

Price: $389,500 Beds: 1 Baths: 1 Sq Ft: 650

Impressive Miami Style Condo At   The Bohemian Embassy. This Fantastic 1 Bed + Den Is Loaded With Unique   Upgrades & Features Great City & Lake Views With Spectacular Sunsets.   Hardwood Oak Floors In All Rooms, Pot Lights & Ceiling Mounted TV’s In   T…

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2191 Yonge St L14

Price: $559,000 Beds: 2 Baths: 2 Sq Ft: 1050

Rarely Offered 2 Bedroom 2   Bathroom Loft In Minto’s Quantum2 Tower. Open Concept And Light Filled   Layout. Floor To Ceiling Windows (11Ft Ceilings!) Walk Out To Balcony From   The Living Room. West Sun. Exceptional Upgrades Include: Dark Hardwood F…

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60 Bathurst St. #602

Price: $429,898 Beds: 1 Baths: 1 Sq Ft: 750

Sun Drenched And Unique This   Modern One Bedroom Plus Den Loft At ‘Sixty Lofts’ Offers Fantastic And   Private West Views From Its Extra Large Terrace. Soaring 10 Foot Ceilings And   Hardwood Flooring Throughout Amid Stunning Open Concept Living/…

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59 East Liberty St. #705

Price: $359,999 Beds: 1 Baths: 1 Sq Ft: 624

Welcome To Liberty Village! This   Affordable,Bright And Spacious 1-Bedroom Condo Has An Amazing Open Concept   Floor Plan;Beautiful Laminate Floors,Granite Kitchen Counters,Stainless Steel   Appliances, Slate Floor And Marble Counter In The Washroom. Wal…

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Please contact me direct at 416-520-6746 or by email, David@DavidStoddard.ca

Buying A House? Here’s How To Get A Big Tax Refund

Great article in http://Business.Financialpost.com    

The $25,000 Ottawa allows you take out of your retirement fund to buy your first home sure doesn’t go as far as it used to.

Under the home buyers’ plan, Canadians can take $25,000 out of their registered retirement savings plan and pay it back over the next 15 years without incurring any penalty. For a couple that means $50,000.

But the dollar amount has been stuck at $25,000 since 1999 while house prices have continued to escalate. At $50,000, you’re barely making the  minimum downpayment if you are buying a home in Vancouver with a mortgage backed by the government.

The Canadian Real Estate Association says the average price of a home will climb to $391,000 next year, meaning that $50,000 is less than 13% and not enough to avoid costly mortgage default insurance.

“I don’t know how effective the plan is now, so I’m not sure what would happen, if you increase the amount,” says Don Lawby, chief executive of Century 21 Canada.

It’s not just the amount. The tax-free savings account is now just as an effective savings vehicle. As of 2014, Canadians were allowed to contribute $31,000 and the amount increases every year. You can also withdraw money from a TFSA and put it an equal amount back later.​

Click here for more.
Here is what you can do next:
Free Tour of any Condo or Home
Let’s Meet for a Coffee: Free Buyer Planning Session.

Free Buyer and Seller Reports:

Please contact me direct at 416-520-6746 or by email, David@DavidStoddard.ca