Monthly Newsletter: February 2005

I’d like to welcome all the new readers of this newsletter that we met this past weekend at the 2005 Financial Forum.  We had the opportunity to meet many new potential real estate investors at our booth as well as at the three seminars that we conducted over the four days.  I have been informed that our real estate and financing seminars had the highest attendance of all the seminars that were held during the show.  This shows me that there is still a very strong appetite for investing in real estate in Toronto, and that members of the general public actually prefer learning more about real estate than they do stocks, mutual funds and precious metals.  I’d also like to thank Mortgage Marcus once again for putting in the time with us over the four days and for his very insightful presentations.

I’m pleased to announce that Shannon Long has joined the Plex Realty family.  She is taking over Katrina Cripps’ role as our deals secretary and operations manager.  We all look forward to working with Shannon in the weeks and months ahead and wish Katrina all the best at her new job.

Before I get started I just want to briefly chat about how the real estate market in Toronto has been performing thus far in 2005.  In the first two weeks of January, sales of single-family dwellings went up 18 per cent to 1,310 over the same period in January 2004, which in my opinion is quite substantial. Prices were also higher during the first days of 2005, rising to $301,372 from January 2004’s end-of-month figure of $295,989. Strong early numbers in January bode well for a good start to 2005 as the market begins to gear up following the holiday season. The beginning of the spring season for the real estate market is generally considered to be the end of January, at which time sales volumes often tend to rise even higher. Meanwhile, the latest numbers from Statistics Canada show that the national unemployment level fell 0.3 percentage points in December to seven per cent, the lowest level since 2001.  In Toronto, 1000  jobs were added over that same time frame.  Despite some analysts’ predictions that Canada’s economic growth will slow somewhat from the pace of 2004, on the whole the situation is quite favourable. In my last month’s newsletter I talked about how interest rates will likely not rise too soon – this seems to be the case as I have already begin to hear rumours that they may drop even further before they start their inevitable rise.  I still feel there is no urgency to lock in your mortgage to a fixed 5 year rate as we will continue to enjoy these record low rates for quite some time yet

This month I will be talking about a variety of third party support services that Plex Realty offers to our investor clients. I’ll provide a brief description of how these services may be of benefit to you as a landlord and where to get in touch with these leading professionals.  If you haven’t been to our website (www.plex.ca) in awhile, take a look at our Toolkit where you’ll find many online resources.  I’d like to summarize a few of these third party companies that we at Plex deal with on a regular basis that we can strongly recommend to you.

Property Management Services:  Velco Property Management specializes in the rental and management of single homes, smaller condominium and apartment buildings.  Trouble-free ownership, optimizing operating costs, upgrading real estate assets, communicating effectively with owners and tenants and maintaining a consistent level of service has been an important cornerstone of Velco’s philosophy.  Contact Murad at 416-488-3024 or murad@velcoproperties.com

Tenant Locator Services:  Traditionally, I would always recommend the Toronto Star as the lead source for placing ads for an apartment for rent.  When it comes time to rent out your vacant apartment, I strongly suggest you consider www.viewit.ca.  This is a fantastic Internet service that is quickly becoming the place to go to when you need to find quality tenants.  For a flat monthly fee, this company will come to your rental suite and take several pictures that it posts on a customized page on their website.  The traffic and results are very impressive.  The benefit to landlords is that apartments rent faster, their ads are cheaper than newspaper ads, less time is wasted showing apartments since potential tenants can view the rooms online and overall much more relevant detail is provided.  Activation and deactivation is instant and the company is a pleasure to deal with.  Contact Brian at 416-461-6289 or brian@viewit.ca.

Fire Retrofit Consultants:  Many income property owners are often faced with the dilemma of whether to fire retrofit their buildings.  P-C & Associates has been providing fire safety solutions to the residential and commercial industry since 1985 and have active affiliations with such organizations as The Ontario Municipal Fire Prevention Officers Association, The Ontario Building Officials Association Inc., Ontario Fire Marshals Office and municipal fire departments. This company doesn’t perform any of the required upgrades to attain compliance; rather they provide only an expert opinion on the status of a property in regards to Fire Code Compliance.  Contact Paul at 905-884-4423 or paul@pcfirecode.com.

Mortgage & Financing Services: I recommend to all my clients that where possible use the services of a mortgage broker.  A mortgage broker is not tied to any one particular capital source and as such can find the right financing based on your particular requirements.  Like realtors, they are compensated only when they make a successful match.  There are many mortgage products and a myriad of lenders in the marketplace today both private and institutional, some of whom are better suited to lend on investment properties.  We recommend several different mortgage brokers.  One of our lead suppliers is Mortgage Marcus, a division of R/E Active Mortgages who continually is able to offer rates lower than most banks.  It is always a good idea to stay current with interest rates and have a good understanding of the different financing vehicles that are out there.  Contact Marcus at 416-766-9000 or marcus@mortgagemarcus.com.

I would also be happy to recommend home inspectors, architects, real estate lawyers, and insurers as required.  We can also help you with tradesmen for your renovations as well as accounting assistance for tax planning and setting up your ownership structure.  At Plex Realty, we strive to be a full-service company, where all of your real estate needs can be fulfilled under one roof.  Please remember that we have many other resources and links to other key suppliers, regulatory bodies and information sources on our website.  As always, we are happy to answer any questions that may arise and are eager to help out wherever we can to make your experience as a landlord an enjoyable one.

See you next time.

P.A.

paul@plex.ca

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