CMHC is Getting More Expensive

On Friday CMHC announced that it was increasing its Mortgage Insurance Premiums. Canadians looking to purchase with a Down Payment that is less than 20% should be prepared to see a slight increase on the price they get charged for Mortgage Insurance. 

Interest rates are still really low; both on the Fixed Rate and Variable rate Mortgage Products. We have been seeing a lot of activity running up to this Spring Market and expect that the really low interest rates will more than make up for any increase in Insurance Premiums. Contact Me at 416-704-9111 for more information...


Real Estate Investment – What are the Risks, What are the Rewards?

Real Estate Investment – What are the Risks, What are the Rewards?



Recently, we have been inundated with a plethora of books, TV shows and financial self-improvement seminars that all tout the benefits of investing in real estate.  They promise quick money, and lots of it.  They make it seem easy, and some even suggest that you don’t need much money or good credit to get started.   

There is no doubt that real estate investment can be lucrative.  But can it really be as easy as these books and shows suggest?  If you are considering investing your hard earned money, it pays to know just what you’re getting into.

5 Tough Truths You Need to Know About Real Estate Investment:

  1. You aren’t going to get rich quick!  It takes time to become a successful real estate investor, just as it takes time to become successful in any other field.  The only people who make quick money in real estate are either incredibly lucky, or incredibly wealthy.
  2. Real Estate investing is hard work!  Don’t expect to generate $10,000 per month in passive (i.e. no work required) income.  It’s an unrealistic financial target and it’s an unrealistic life style goal.  Every deal takes work, and the more properties you own, the more work you have to do!  If you are looking for an early retirement plan, consider investing in lottery tickets.  The real estate game is not for you.
  3. Real Estate investing is not easy!  In fact, it can be downright difficult, costly, and extremely frustrating.  There are many things you can do to simplify the process, but there is no magic pill to make you easy money.  Success in the real estate game requires hard work and dedication!
  4. Lots of people, even good people, lie.  You can’t trust what someone says just because you like their TV show, or agree with the info in their book.   As a prospective investor, it’s your job to do your homework, research all potential investments or investor programs and keep your BS meter running high.  If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  5. If you have little-to-no income and little-to-no credit, it’s simply not possible for you to buy a bunch of properties.  Schemes that promise you easy financing with no bank approvals necessary are just that – schemes!  Instead of looking for quick money and an easy way into the game, focus on developing a solid and well-researched plan to slowly and cautiously ease your way into real estate investment.  Above all else, you need to protect your own interests – no one else is going to!

If you haven’t been scared away from the property market yet, then good news!  Investing in real estate can be extremely rewarding.  If you have realistic expectations, a solid financial plan, and a safety net for when things go wrong (things will go wrong!), you could eventually find yourself living the dream – personal, professional, and financial freedom!  

How Can Landlords Retain Deposits?

How Can Landlords Retain Deposits?



No Landlord or real estate investor ever wants to get stuck with a problem tenant but, regrettably, they are out there and you may not be able to avoid them completely.  It is important to protect yourself – check backgrounds and references and make sure you have a legal and iron clad written lease agreement.  Unfortunately, even when you’ve done your due diligence, you may still get stuck with a lemon of a tenant.

If you are considering investing in real estate or renting your property, it is important to know your rights.  There are 5 main situations that will allow Landlords to keep some or all of their tenant’s security deposit. 

  1. Non-payment of Rent:  Except in certain specific circumstances, non-payment of rent is considered a breach of lease.  When a tenant does not fulfill their contractual obligation to pay their monthly rent, you are usually allowed to keep a portion of the security deposit to cover the lost rent.  A real estate law professional will be able to give you more insight into your specific circumstances if required.
  2. Early Termination of Lease:  Your lease agreement will dictate a minimum lease period (usually 12 months) and a minimum notice required prior to move out (usually 30 days).  If your tenant breaks the lease and moves out early, you can withhold as much of the security deposit as required to cover the expenses associated with this breach.  You may also be able to sue the tenant for additional back rent, legal fees, and damage to the property if you have taken legal action against them.
  3. Damage to the Property:  The security deposit cannot be withheld to cover normal wear and tear on the unit, but it can be used to cover repair expenses.  Some examples of damages that can be billed to the tenant are: multiple / large holes in the walls; stains or holes in the carpet; water damage to hardwood floors; damaged counter tops or vanities; broken windows or doors; missing or damaged light fixtures, CO2 or smoke detectors or other fixtures; and keys not returned at end of tenancy.
  4. Cleaning Costs:  Tenants are required to leave the property “broom swept clean”.  You can’t retain the security deposit to clean normal wear and tear, but you can keep a portion of it to cover your expenses if they have left trash and belongings all over the unit.  You can also deduct your expenses from the security deposit if the tenants have left the carpet (or other specific area of the apartment) excessively dirty.
  5. Money Owed to you for Utilities:  If your tenants are required to pay utilities as part of the lease agreement, you may be able to keep some or all of the security deposit to cover missed payments.

While these are the most common reasons a landlord could retain the security deposit, it is not an exhaustive list.  Consult with a real estate law professional for advice pertaining to your specific circumstances.   

Should the City of Toronto Phase Out the Land Transfer Tax?

Should the City of Toronto Phase Out the Land Transfer Tax?



The municipal land transfer tax here in Toronto has always been controversial.  Proponents insist that the MLTT is an essential source of revenue that generates millions of dollars each year for the city, but many real estate professionals feel that the Land Transfer Tax is nothing more than a money grab at a time when home buyers can least afford it.

In 2010, Mayor Rob Ford built his campaign on the promise to reduce taxes in Toronto and specifically promised to reduce and phase out the MLTT.  Cut to 2014, the municipal budgets have just been decided and the tax is still in effect, with no plans to reduce or eliminate it. 

Toronto is the only municipality in Canada to charge a municipal land transfer tax and it needs to be paid in addition to the slightly higher Provincial Land Transfer Tax.  While there are some rebate programs to help first time buyers enter the housing market, they often don’t offset the full amount of the tax.  These taxes must be paid up front, and cannot be included in a mortgage.

Polls conducted by the Toronto Real Estate Board indicate that over two thirds of all Torontonians oppose the land transfer tax, but according to Rob Ford in a speech to the Board in June, “Many councillors love this tax.  They want to keep it and keep spending the millions of dollars it brings in.”

Ford suggests that change is possible, but only when people are willing to take a stand and speak out against the tax.  “Folks, you must get in your councillors’ faces,” he said.  “You must visit your councillor, call your councillor, write to your councillor.”

The Toronto Real Estate Board actively opposes the Municipal Land Transfer Tax.  If you would like more information about their efforts, you can visit their website at

Pros and Cons of Owning an Income Property:

Investing in real estate can be a great way to build equity and increase your monthly income.  Our current economy has left many people in a position where it makes more sense to rent a home than to buy one.   As house prices and interest rates remain low, many investors are moving fast to capitalize on these conditions and break into the rental market.  If you are considering purchasing a rental property, it pays to consider all the advantages and disadvantages you may be faced with prior to making your purchase.


  • Rental properties offer you a regular return on investment and the potential to generate a regular monthly income, provided that the monthly rent exceeds the monthly expenses.
  • The Property will likely appreciate in value over time, provided it is well maintained and market conditions are favorable.
  • Rental Properties can be purchased with borrowed funds.  The property secures the debt, so you usually don’t put your own home at risk if you default on the loan.  You can build equity and have your tenants pay down the mortgage over time.
  • You can deduct certain expenses from your income, thus reducing your tax bill.  Furthermore, if your monthly expenditures exceed your monthly income, you may be able to deduct your losses from your income taxes.


  • You take on the responsibilities and obligations of being a landlord.  Tenants are not always easy to deal with and you are responsible for all necessary repairs – sometimes on an emergency basis.  If repairs are not handled appropriately, the property is not maintained to code, or if tenants are not treated fairly and legally, you can be held liable in court. 
  • Rental properties are concentrated assets.  You need a substantial initial investment – a down payment of at least 20% is needed to qualify for a mortgage on your second and each additional property and this may not leave you much room to diversify your portfolio.
  • Investment Properties are not liquid assets.  You cannot quickly and easily sell them off to generate quick cash.  Market conditions change over time and you may be faced with hefty real estate or legal fees when you are selling your property. 
  • Unexpected expenses are the reality of owning property and they are magnified when you own multiple pieces of real estate.  You may also find it difficult to find a good tenant and any prolonged period of vacancy can turn your dream of a monthly rental income and tidy retirement nest egg into a money pit nightmare.

Like all other types of investments, investing in rental properties comes with risks and rewards.  Knowledge is power, so make sure you have a clear understanding of the federal and provincial landlord – tenant laws, have a home inspection prior to purchase, and consult a real estate professional for more detailed advice and suggestions.

Waiting For the Right Opportunity

Everyone wants a quick sale when they put their property on the market, but sometimes real estate doesn’t sell right away.  As frustrating as this can be, you must resist the urge to pull your home off the market.  Generally, there are three reasons why a home may not sell as fast as others: location, condition, and asking price.

Obviously, you can’t change your home’s location, but you can take simple steps to improve the condition of your home.  By removing clutter and unnecessary personal effects, repainting your property in a fresh, neutral colour and completing obvious repairs, you can quickly and affordably increase your home’s appeal.  You may even consider having your home professionally staged.  Your realtor will be able to advise you on your best course of action. 

If you have already done what you can to improve the condition of your home and it has still not sold, you may need to consider adjusting your price. Throughout the listing process, you need to constantly compare your asking price against those of similar properties in your area.  Review your selling strategy regularly with your listing agent, who may help you answer the following questions:

  • Is your home priced competitively?
  • Is it staged to its best advantage?
  • What have similar homes in your area sold for?

At the end of the day, if you and your real estate agent feel that your home is correctly priced, it has been aggressively staged and marketed, and you have done everything you can to attract prospective buyers, it simply becomes a waiting game.  There is a buyer for every property, so don’t give up hope, be persistent, and don’t settle for a sub-par offer.  Eventually you will find the right buyer!

Industrial Commercial and Investment Real Estate

What does ICI stand for? Industrial Commercial and Investment Real Estate




ICI stands for Industrial Commercial and Investment Real Estate. It also encompasses investment in land, farms and businesses.



Buying an investment property with good income stream and potential of capital appreciation is every real estate investor's dream.

You can find such an investment on your own or seek assistance of an established Real estate agent. For an agent to help you, he will need to know your investment guidelines such as but not limited to your credit score, cash available for investment, your ability to finance and capacity to carry an investment property, time horizon and property management abilities.

The more you share with your broker, the more he will be able to help you and negotiate in your favour. Agents working for buyers have three possible choices: They can represent the buyer exclusively, called single agency, or represent the seller exclusively, called sub-agency, or represent both the buyer and seller in a dual-agency situation. You can decide as to what kind of representation you would need.

More often financing is required for the purchase of an investment property. The appraisal of the real-estate intended for collateral will be obtained by the bank / financing institution during the processing of the loan .You are obliged to ensure that the appraiser gets full access unhindered to the real-estate.

The appraisal is not public and it remains the property of the bank. If you want to get a copy of the appraisal report , you should arrange that with the bank prior to appraisal.

For more information on Industrial Commercial and Investment Real Estate contact me , Nargess Giahi at 416-704-9111. 

Is the Canadian Real Estate Market Slowing Down?

Is the Canadian Real Estate Market Slowing Down?


Nargess Giahi Real estate

Are you planning on buying or selling property net year? 


Currently, statistics indicate that the Canadian real estate market may be slowing down following unexpected growth in 2013 and concerns that the market may be overheated.  While this is unlikely to impact your ultimate decision to buy or sell, understanding these trends can certainly help you to get the most bang for your real estate buck!

According to the most recent quarterly forecast published in September by the Canadian Real Estate Association, national activity is expected to continue to rebound and grow throughout next year, though slowly.  This forecast reflects gradually increasing sales activity, continued economic recovery and only slightly higher mortgage interest rates and it indicates that growth will be in-line with the 10-year average.  This is good news, as an overheated market and inflated prices could result in even tougher mortgage lending rules across the country!

So what does a slower market mean for the average real estate consumer?

Well for one thing, average home prices are expected to remain firm and an average increase is expected nationwide.  This is good news for home sellers, particularly here in Ontario where home prices are expected to rise in line with the national average, with Toronto area home prices expected to surpass that number.

A slower market nationwide will almost guarantee that the bank of Canada will maintain the current super-low interest rates at least for another couple of years.  This ensures that everyone, from the first-time buyer to the experienced real estate investor, can feel confident purchasing property.

The one thing that all home sellers do need to be aware of in a down market is that you will likely need greater exposure to successfully sell your home at a price you like.  A top-notch real estate professional can help you ensure your home is displayed and marketed as professionally as possible and that will certainly help you to make the right move.

Contact Nargess Giahi, a real estate broker with track record of top 1% across Canada since 1988. Nargess Giahi sells and buys commercial, residential real estate listings in Central Toronto, North York, Thornhill, Richmond Hill, Maple, Stouffville, Vaughan, Aurora  and Newmarket.  Contact her today at 416-704-9111!

Additional Costs When Buying a Home

Additional Costs When Buying a Home



The purchase price of your home is only one of the costs you'll encounter. Here are other possible costs you need to consider:


  • Mortgage loan insurance:
    If you are putting less than 20 per cent of the house value down, you're going to need mortgage loan insurance. Depending on the lender, the premium can be added to mortgage payments.
  • Appraisal fee:
    Lenders typically loan a percentage of the home's purchase price or the market appraisal of the property. Cost depends on the size and complexity of the assignment.
  • Land survey:
    The lender may ask for a current survey or certificate of location before signing off on the loan. There can be a substantial cost for having a new survey done on the property.
  • Deposit:
    A deposit normally goes with the formal offer to purchase.
  • Insurance:
    The lender will require proof of property insurance for the replacement value of the house and its contents from the day you take ownership.
  • Title insurance:
    Provides coverage in case of problems with the property title among other things. The cost is relatively low, usually a few hundred dollars.
  • Application fee:
    Some lenders will pass on the cost to process your application. These fees vary and some lenders will waive them entirely if you have other accounts with them.
  • Mortgage broker's fee:
    If you use a mortgage broker, a fee may be charged to arrange a mortgage on your behalf.
  • Home inspection fee:
    An inspection protects the buyer by revealing any problems in the property that you'd want to know before you move in.
  • Legal fees:
    You can save some of the legal fees usually charged by the lender if your lawyer draws up the mortgage. You'll also pay for disbursements which are the costs involved in drawing up the title deed, conducting a title search, and preparing and registering the mortgage.
  • Land Transfer Tax:
    Use the land transfer tax calculator accessible from the home page of this website to calculate both your Ontario and City of Toronto (if applicable) land transfer taxes. First time home buyers qualify for a maximum $2,000 (LTT on a $227,500 home) provincial rebate and a maximum $3,725 (LTT on a $400,000 home) City of Toronto rebate.
  • Goods and Services Tax:
    Resale (used) homes are exempt from GST but it does apply to newly constructed homes and may qualify for a partial rebate depending on the sales price and if the home is going to be your primary place of residence.
  • For new homes costing $350,000 or less, you will receive a GST rebate of 36% of the GST paid to a maximum of $8,750. The rebate for new homes costing between $350,000 and $450,000 declines to zero on a proportional basis. GST also applies to most of the services provided in completing the real estate transaction.
  • Other costs:
    These include moving costs, fees charged by utilities for service hook-ups, property tax and other adjustments (an adjustment takes place when the seller has already paid for something in advance and wants to be credited for the unused portion on the date the house becomes yours), and ongoing maintenance (condo fees, etc.), and utility costs. 

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