Elise Stern's February 2014 Newsletter

Posted by: Elise Stern, Created date: February 10, 2014

Welcome to freezing February!
Do you know what’s funny? Even though the winter winds are howling, the snow is blowing, and we haven’t seen a temperature above freezing in weeks, the spring real estate market has already started.
How is that possible? It’s very simple: prices are on an upward climb, and demand far outpaces supply. There simply aren't enough homes on the market to keep up with buyer demand, particularly in the hottest parts of the city. This is leading to multiple offer situations throughout the G.T.A. You need a good real estate agent more than ever.
If you'd like to discuss how I can help you fulfill your real estate goals, please give me a call or send me an email anytime.


Elise Stern, LL.B.

Real Estate Salesperson



Winterlicious (to Feb 13)
This winter, explore the finest flavours in the city during Toronto's most anticipated culinary celebration. Winterlicious is the perfect opportunity to discover diverse cuisine in a variety of local restaurants and to take part in unique culinary events.

TIFF Next Wave Film Festival (Feb 14-16)
The third annual TIFF Next Wave Film Festival, programmed for youth aged 14 - 18, brings the best in film from around the globe, along with an exciting slate of special guests, interactive workshops and a 24-Hour Film Challenge for young filmmakers. Select screenings are free for high-school students. Select screenings are accompanied by Q&A sessions with directors and special guests.

Canadian International Auto Show (Feb 14-23)

This year's show brings you technologies that integrate and connect us to our vehicles in ways that go beyond expectations. The show will feature a variety of exhibits like the World's Finest, Auto Exotica, A Tribute to Ron Fellows, Muscle Car Alley, and a new feature: AutoConnect.


The theme in the Toronto real estate market last month, now that we can see the Toronto Real Estate Board’s January numbers, was competition. The number of homes listed for sale in January was down 16.6% year-over-year from January 2013, while sales numbers declined only 2.2%, and the average home price in the GTA rose over 9% year-over-year. 

What does this mean? There are many more buyers than sellers in this market, leading to increased competition among buyers. And, of course, increased competition means multiple-offer situations - like one in the Junction that resulted in a sale more than $200,000 over asking. 

However, this shortage of listings may not last. “Looking forward, it is possible that strong price growth, and therefore an increase in home equity, will act as a trigger for more households to list their homes for sale.  This is especially the case for households whose lifestyles are changing, including those with an expanding family looking for a larger home or empty nesters looking to downsize,” said Dianne Usher, President,Toronto Real Estate Board.

The message? If you want to buy right now, you'd better bring a good offer to the table - and you'd better have a good agent who will advocate for you!

If you're thinking of buying, selling or leasing a home, please feel free to give me a call or send me an email at any time. I'd be happy to help!



 Are you considering a renovation? We can't blame you -- when you're stuck inside during the winter months, it's easy to start wondering about how to pretty up those same four walls.

The most common renovations are in the kitchen and bathroom. These are also the most expensive, and require the most work. But beautifying your space and making it more functional will increase both its resale value and your enjoyment of it in the years to come.

But inevitably, when renovating a kitchen or bathroom, you will have to face one very important question: Should I really splurge on the finishes?

Finishes can be both cosmetic and functional, but they're an area where beauty will definitely cost you extra. From hardwood floors to marble counters, finishes can get you -- and your budget -- in serious trouble. So… how do you decide how to spend?

First, do a DIY design audit of the room you'd like to renovate. Make a list of the items you use and the surfaces you interact with on a daily basis. Add check marks next to the item each time you use it. For example, the sink, taps, cabinet doors and door pulls will likely have a lot of check marks. But the backsplash? Probably not so many.

The bathroom is a small enough room that even major expenses can shrink in proportion to the space. Marble countertops and heated floors in a master bathroom can make the space luxurious while not taking up too much real estate or too much money. You can even make a small bathroom feel larger with a monochromatic colour scheme and vertical décor.

By contrast, the kitchen is a bit trickier. There's more area, and the appliances involved are usually expensive. But there are ways to keep costs down while spending on the things that really matter. Custom cabinets and energy efficient windows can make a huge difference in the kitchen space, while lighting can often be inexpensive. But if you must have new appliances, try shopping in the late summer or early fall.

Further, keep in mind how you use your kitchen. If you plan on entertaining, you’ll want to create space for your guests and create a welcoming atmosphere: a table and granite countertops. If your kitchen is your favourite place to be alone and focus on a project, maybe your money is better spent on specialty appliances to help you get the job done. 

Whatever you choose, keep in mind that your space must remain functional. A beautiful room with poor organization is ultimately an exercise in shallow design. Think about how you use the space, and then decide how your budget can improve that use.



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