DelRentals.com Tridel Rental – THE EXPERIENCE

Avani DelRentals

We received this email from our tenants that just moved in and we wanted to share it with you:

Moving from our beautiful home city of Auckland, New Zealand to the big bright city lights of Toronto our first step was to find a place we could call our new home away from home. I had been to Toronto before although it was the first time my wife had been to the home of the Blue Jays, Raptors, and poutine. When asking around about places to check out Tridel kept coming up as must see. I had heard about their professionalism and their reputation from previous visits to Toronto as one of Canada’s leading condominium builders. There was only one direction we were heading in and that was a Tridel Built Condo.

My first step was to contact a Del Condominium Rentals Leasing Representative and to arrange a time to get the run down on what it would take to get into a condo. We couldn’t have met a nicer person. Laurie was an absolute gem to work with. Her energy and enthusiasm together with her professionalism made the experience a whole heap of fun. She arranged for us to see multiple condos that were available in all of the Metrogate buildings. She also advised us that Avani had just been completed and that there was an opportunity to lease a condo in a brand new building within the Metrogate Community. Laurie is everything great and epitomises what the Tridel brand stands for in every way.

My wife and I loved the Avani condo and the many amenities which were presented to us. Being new to the country it provided us with a sense of security knowing we would be in a safe, new, modern premises. It was very evident to see Tridel’s core values of innovation, quality, and sustainable features as we explored the Metrogate Community. The location was ideal being close to public transport, the 401 and many other shopping precincts. It really was a no brainer!!

Laurie took care of all the details and the process was a breeze particularly as we were new to the country. She made sure we were kept up to date with how our application was going and was always there to help. It was fast, informative, and easy.

The Tridel community gave us a place we would be proud to call our new home and a base for us to explore the many wonders that Canada has to offer. Thanks a million!!

Shoayb & Mashhuda

 

 

 

Rent Long-Term or Short-Term? We Help You Decide

Long Term Rental Short Term Rental

It was Pan Am Games time, world-class soccer, and perhaps more idiosyncratically, a surge of interest within the rental world in short-term rentals.  With Toronto residents hoping to make some cash housing the influx of sports fans while they themselves make tracks out of town, the Games has spiked condo and apartment listings on Airbnb—enough to make the news. However, the decision between renting to short-term tenants and leasing long-term is one to consider carefully.  We’ll lay out the pros and cons for renting your investment condo short-term or long-term, so you can make the decisions that are right for you.

Know your condo building’s rules—and your insurer’s

Your condo board will likely have a thing to say, positive or negative, about short-term rentals, and any plans you make can be easily wiped out by a condo board policy that prohibits short-term tenants in the building.  Before sinking time into starting up a short-term listing, make sure your building is on board with the plan.  Many aren’t, for solid reasons: maintaining security of the overall building and a string of recent destructive incidents that, while likely not as common as people fear, have taken the shine off short-term rental for property managers and boards.

Just like when you rent to a long-term tenant, you’re obligated to inform your building management and board, and make sure the chain of responsibility is complete in case anything goes wrong.  You’re also obligated to report the change in unit status to your insurance company.  While Airbnb’s Host Guarantee will cover up to a million dollars in damage, your own insurance company policy may not cover damage sustained under a owner-occupier or long-term tenant policy if you switch to short-term renting without letting them know, and there may be implications for your insurance relationship or the legal status of that contract.

The easiest way to prevent disasters is to make sure your groundwork’s in place.  So first and foremost, check if the powers that be are amenable to short-term renting, and if not, make other plans before a bad situation hits you all.

Set your budget for rental income

You know what income targets your investment condo has to hit to make it an investment—and not a money sink.  Instead of gearing your condo rental strategy toward a perceived lifestyle, start with the numbers, and think about your goals.

With a debate raging in real estate circles over rental condo vacancy rates and whether the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. number of 1.3% actually reflects how many applicants you’ll get through the door, there’s good reason prospective landlords might consider short-term rental.  Condo rents are trending downward as the need for affordability catches up to everyone, and at first glance, collecting over a hundred bucks a night as a hotel-style rental can be an attractive solution to fill the gap between what you expected to get for that place and what might be feasible in the current market.

It’s important to do full research into both your lease term options, and do it with the numbers—and the business model—in mind.  When listing your suite for short-term rentals, your business competition is hotel rooms—and hundreds of other condo landlords in the city, not to mention apartment sublets from travelling tenants.  The Pan Am Games have, according to the CBC, vastly increased the number of people looking to “rent their apartment ‘just one time, for the Pan American Games,'” and the predicted shortfall in business for all those hotel rooms and one-time units is massive.

If considering the short-term route, know how many vacant nights you can afford, how much cleaning will cost you, and what reserve you have for potential damage to be repaired quickly, before the next renter arrives—and factor that into your calculations the same way you’d hold a reserve fund to quickly replace a stove or fridge if it died on your long-term tenant.  Also, make sure you factor in the brokerage fee: The cut services like Airbnb take for matching you up with your short-term tenant.

Remember, any idea to capitalize quickly on a situation is likely one most of your colleagues have had, too.  Make sure you’re planning toward your personal financial goals, not trends, and regularly run your numbers: Once you know what kind of income you need to make that condo mortgage—and how that condo fits into your personal financial picture—it’ll be much easier to look at each business model and decide what’s best for you.

Consider the furnishing cost

Not all long-term rentals require furnishings—in fact, outside the luxury business travel market, people would rather use their own furniture—but short-term rentals definitely do.  Cost stable, solid furniture that keeps the space attractive and welcoming without being too hard to clean, and make sure your calculations reflect the startup expense of furnishing that condo for guests.

Know your tolerance for management work

One of the highly visible differences between long-term and short-term rentals is the management work that turning over a tenant every week or less requires: While short-term rental matching services happily match you with new renters, unless you’re keeping a cleaning service and property manager on retainer, they’re not processing those applications, arranging a handover of the keys, running your schedule, making sure your property’s kept clean, washing and changing the bedsheets, or taking out the garbage.

There’s a certain amount of daily management necessary for maintaining a quality short-term rental—or making sure, with services that require the tenant to leave the suite clean, that the unit’s actually been left in proper condition.  Knowing whether you thrive on that or are frustrated by it is key to making the decision about how to rent your space, and how you want your space to interact with your daily life.

In short: Whether you’re renting long-term or short-term, it’s best to be thinking long-term.  Weigh your options, make a plan, and remember your unit’s a business—one that you design to work best for you and your tenants both.

Best of luck!

Unpacking Like a Pro

Unpacking

You’ve found your new condo, packed everything, changed your addresses, turned in your keys, hired your movers, and your move is officially eating your dust—right?

Not so right.  You’ve still got to unpack and set up your new place, and since the rest of the world considers Moving Day the end of your move, getting from New Pile of Boxes to New Home can be a little trickier than we’d like.  But it doesn’t have to be, if you’re organized and just a little bit wily.

So with that in mind, here are some quick tips to make unpacking easy and efficient—and get you straight to the enjoying-margaritas-on-your-balcony part of the program.

Know where the essentials are

You’ll want certain dishes and items right away once you shut your door, for the first time, in your new condo unit.  If you pack with a plan, you can unpack those essentials first: bedsheets and pillows, a pot or pan to fix dinner, soap, a towel, a toothbrush, and a change of clothes for tomorrow in case the first thing you need to do after Moving Day is go headfirst into bed and stay there.

Set up your bed, your dinner, your shower, and tomorrow morning’s needs first thing, before tackling any of those boxes or bags, and you’ll already have a little piece of home to work from—and seriously reduce your chance of lying awake on your first night in your new home wondering where the toothpaste might be.

Organize your boxes into zones

If you’re planning ahead before you move, one of the best things you can do for your unpacking days is label everything, by room and contents, while you’re still packing it up.  If you’re feeling utterly fancy, you can buy packing tape that’s labeled by room, but regular masking tape and a marker will do exactly the same thing.

Whether your movers are friends or professionals (or both!), it’s perfectly all right to ask them to keep an eye on which box goes where and deposit your stuff in that general area.  Moving in with your furniture and boxes already sort of in the right places can be a massive help, and save you a lot of time and sweat right at the beginning of the job.

If that somehow doesn’t work out, sorting your boxes is a great first step: Don’t unpack a thing before having everything in the general room or location it belongs.  A general sorting job will still save you a bucket of time in looking through each box for more kitchen stuff, or keep you from trying to manage and organize bookshelves at the same time as the linen closet just because that’s the next box in the stack.

Unpack, room by room, for your daily needs first

If you eat takeout four nights a week, maybe that kitchen can wait.  But if you’re a secret condominium Iron Chef, you’ll want to start with the pots, plates, and pans.

Now that you’ve got your boxes sorted by room, pick the one you use the most—or are going to need fully functional first—and focus on it.  When you unpack by the room rather than looking at whatever comes to hand, you’re able to keep the shape of the room or area you want—the finished product—in mind as you go.  That means you’ll be working to a vision, rather than just trying to get things away, and you’re that much less likely to have to do major redecorating and reorganizational jobs three weeks into your residence.

Organize as you go

That said, do the organizing as you go.  While you’re unpacking and setting it up is the perfect time to organize your closet or shelve your books by author instead of which book you grabbed first.  The organization you build in now will carry you through later, and mean you’ll create a home that’s in its best possible state right off the bat.

Deal with bulk you can tuck away

Once you’ve got your most important rooms set up, look at what you’ve got the most of.  Whether it’s books, DVDs, a fabric stash, or action figures, look at what’s taking up most of your boxes.

Most importantly, look at what bulk item has a storage space it’s headed for.  It makes much more sense to reduce fifteen boxes of DVDs to two compact, tucked-away shelves before unpacking anything that’ll take up active floor space, or not have a place to be put away.  The more mass you can give good, compact, permanent homes, the more work space—and living space—you’ll have, sooner.

Have a plan for your empty boxes

Just like you had to plan bringing boxes and bins into your life when you did your packing up, have a plan for getting rid of them as you unpack.

Find out in the first few days where your condo building’s recycling area is, so you can flatten and dispose of your empty boxes as you unpack, keeping your space livable and clear.  Or if you’re renting environmentally friendly bins, set a specific space to stack them that doesn’t block your closets or workspace, so you don’t find yourself trying to unpack winter coats into a space that’s behind a wall of already-empty bins.

Pace yourself

At the end of a move, no matter how organized and efficient you were, you’re going to be tired.  Moving’s a big change in our lives: learning new neighbourhoods, routines, and spaces while still keeping up our day-to-day responsibilities at work, with our friends, and to family.

In short, it’s a lot, and while it can feel really good to get everything done at once, sometimes it’s not practical.  If you’re finding yourself overwhelmed, set a practical goal—one or two boxes a day, after dinner—that will help you feel that you’re making measurable progress without ending up barricaded in your unit with boxes, missing out on your social life or catching up on your post-move sleep.

Remember it’s your home, and ultimately, you want to be comfortable in it as soon as possible—and sometimes comfort means taking a week or two more to unpack because that means having your life in order that much sooner.  As always, knowing your tolerances is key.

Have a plan, follow it—and be flexible about what you need—and you’ll be settled in before you know it.

Best of luck!

How to Detect—and Avoid—Rental Scams

Rental Scams

Rental vacancy rates in Toronto are low—and even lower for Toronto condominiums, where just 1.2% of units are ready to be someone’s new home.  With the urge to jump on that excellent rental before someone else snags it away comes an unfortunate side effect: a rise in rental apartment and condominium scams.  Here’s how to sniff them out and not get taken in by those questionable folks who’d rather take your money and leave you hanging on moving day.

Know Your Average Rents

Any scam requires bait, and a rental rate that’s too good to be true is your first—and major—red flag.  There’s such thing as an absolute steal when it comes to renting in Toronto, but if someone’s offering a downtown one-bedroom for three-quarters the cost of every single one of its neighbours, unfortunately it’s more likely that something doesn’t add up.

Once you decide which neighbourhood you’re looking to settle into, look at a few sets of rental listings as well as news articles to get a sense of what the average condo in that area rents for.  It’ll not only help you pick your neighbourhood and budget well, but that’s the knowledge that can most easily keep you from getting drawn into a rental scam.

The Invisible Condominium Problem (or Landlord, or Lease)…

So you’re all set to see this condo unit, but there’s one problem: The landlord doesn’t live in town—the classic phrase is “I’m a business person who travels abroad”—and only wants to communicate by email.  There’s nobody local to show you the place.  Or your prospective landlord has met you outside for a showing—but doesn’t want to show you around inside.

All these flags?  They spell trouble.

Yes, they might have pictures.  But in a 2014 scam which hit renters from Toronto to Vancouver, in which the fake landlord sent pictures of the inside of a third-floor condominium unit—but the catch was, units at that address started on the fifth floor.  Photos of a unit can be lifted easily from real estate listings or plainly faked.  One quick way to check if those photos are legit is to run a Google image search to see if those photos show up anywhere they don’t belong—like on a real estate site, or rental listings for multiple other addresses.  If so, you’ve just found a scam artist, not a landlord.

On the whole, if the potential landlord gets a little too nervous about letting you inside the property, makes excuses to avoid it, or cancels viewings without explanation, it’s quite possible that the front of this building is exactly that, a front, and they don’t own this space at all.

Make sure, whenever you’re renting a unit, you physically see the inside of that unit—or if you’re renting a property from out of the city to move into for work or school, have a trusted friend or colleague check it out in person, or look into hiring a reputable rental agency to be your eyes on the ground and pre-clear any property before you consider it.

Lease First, Payments to the Back

Beware—strongly—of anyone who wants you to write a cheque—or especially wire or pay cash—for a first and last month’s rent without having signed a paper lease.  It’s never, ever a good idea to put down money for any upfront deposit before the lease is signed.

If you feel like your prospective landlord is pushing for money upfront, or if they say those magic words—”We don’t need a lease”—pick up and get right out of there.

Furthermore, if you’re being asked to wire money—which is less recoverable than cheques, especially when sending overseas—that’s a significant red flag.  While it’s true that many Toronto condominium rental units are owned by overseas investors, landlords who are business-minded enough to keep a rental condo in another country are also business-minded enough to hire a management or leasing company locally to manage it, and there should be a manager or agent available in the city.

Professionalism is key

It’s the inconsistencies that sometimes can mark someone who’s not so much renting a condominium but playing a part.  Does the email address that writes back to you match the name of the contact?  Do your contacts with this landlord come from multiple email addresses?

Likewise, while “I’m a travelling business person” is the standard for apartment scams, does this person act the part of who they claim to be?  Are they asking you for references, a credit check, letters of employment, and the other tools they could use to make sure you’re a good tenant?  If they’re a little too eager to skip the steps that protect a landlord from bad tenants, they might not be interested in having you as a tenant at all—just in your deposit.

Further, if a landlord solicits extra personal information—”Tell me about yourself, so I can decide if you’re the kind of person I want to rent to!”—but don’t want to give information back, be careful: that’s more a rhetorical tactic than a question, designed to create a situation where you’ll worry about being the kind of person who can get this condo unit—and not ask the hard questions of the prospective landlord.

Ask Questions.  Lots.

As always, when looking at a potential home, more questions—and more detailed questions—are your friend.  Ask about the landlord, their plans for the property, its history, the rent and utilities; anything you’d normally ask.

If anything about the process feels rushed, off, or gives you an uneasy feeling—wait.  And ask the landlord for an extra day or two.

If your prospective landlord gets a little weird and evasive—or a lot weird and evasive—when you ask questions about leases or proper legal procedure, or if they can’t quite answer questions about the area, the property, or their plans in concrete detail, check out all the rest of the signs of a scam and see if they add up.  Most people aren’t actually built to lie happily or well (it’s science!) and the best-laid con game can fall apart because human beings, as always, are only human.

So, if you’ve run into a rental scam, what to do?  Report, report, report.  Drop a line to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, file a report, and help make sure nobody else gets caught in this particular trap.

Stay smart, and happy renting!

When Renting a Condo Makes Sense

Renting a condo

Toronto real estate is having its hottest—and most reported on—spring and summer in approximately forever.  With the argument between purpose-built rental, private rental, and putting down that money to buy a place right this second raging in the papers, it’s harder to get a sense of when renting a condo—or buying—makes good sense for you.  So if you’re torn between hitting the real estate pages or the rental listings, here are some considerations to help you decide what’s best for you right now, right here.

When you balk at the cost of real estate

It’s the big one: Article after article through 2014 and 2015 have laid out how expensive real estate is getting in Toronto, with bidding wars and skyrocketing prices talked over in excruciating detail.  Find a handy online mortgage calculator or talk to your financial advisor about what sort of mortgage terms you’re eligible for with your projected down payment, and if they’re worse than what you can pay for monthly rent—which skips the condo fees, repair bills, and more—it might be in your best interests to renew the lease rather than buy.

Likewise, look at the price point for units in your neighbourhood of choice.  As sellers have got wind that it’s their market in Toronto right now, real estate prices have gone opportunistically up.  If the cost to buy in your neighbourhood outstrips the cost to rent there, prudent investments might be a better destination for the cash you’ve saved.

When you don’t have concrete plans for permanence

You don’t know whether you’ll stay at your company in a few years—or if they’ll transfer you for a stint at an international office.  You don’t know if you’ll stay single, childless, or at your current family size forever.  You don’t know if this neighbourhood is where you want to plant your permanent roots.

That’s when it’s time to hold off on buying a home.

One of the primary benefits of renting a home is its flexibility: If you need to pick up and move to another city, a bigger space, or another neighbourhood, it’s as simple as giving your legal notice and hitting the rental sites.  Selling a home is a much more complicated endeavour, and if your life still hasn’t set in shape in certain ways, it’s a simpler and much less expensive proposition to settle down before you physically settle down.

When you haven’t budgeted for the fine print

Buying and selling houses isn’t a fee-free, tax-free transaction, unfortunately.  When one buys or sells a property, some of that money goes to land transfer taxes, your real estate agent, your lawyer, home inspectors, and more.  If those necessaries of doing real estate business aren’t in your budget, it’s best to hold off—and not get hit with a bad surprise.

If you’re not prepared for maintenance

One of the best things about owning a home is you can do pretty much whatever you want to it, as long as that’s within city building codes and you don’t make the house fall down on your head.  And one of the best things about renting one is that if something starts trickling down toward your head parts, it’s not your financial responsibility to fix.

Home maintenance is an ongoing, lifelong responsibility, and it’s the kind of thing you want to do right: hire qualified contractors, make long-term decisions, use the best materials.  If you aren’t financially or emotionally prepared to sink time, money, and effort into keeping that home in great shape, this can produce a whole lot of stress and grief, and considerable life disruption.

If the thought of hiring roofers gives you hives, it might be best to stick to a rental situation, where any repairs land straight on your landlord’s desk.

Property taxes and insurance

Home ownership also comes with the question of insurance and property taxes.  If the property values in your neighbourhood go up—and Toronto’s property values don’t seem to be inclined to go down—that shows up in your property tax bill, if, unfortunately, not your pocketbook.  If you’re unsure you can carry the year-to-year load of property taxes and insurance on top of your other responsibilities, it might not be the right time to buy a home.

As your stern grandpa would say: A home is a responsibility.  The tradeoff we make for permanence and equity is a whole lot of financial juggling and the burden of making sure everything is legal and works right.  There’s no stigma in not being up for fitting that into a busy life just yet—or, bluntly, ever.  Consider the factors, make the decisions that work for you, and don’t look back.

Best of luck!