Modern Family Realtor — How to Invest in the U.S. Market?

MFR Real Estate Update – December 2015

Be a part of Modern Family Real Estate – the team that treats clients like family!

How to Invest in the U.S. Market?
MFR’s Florida property has been our most successful investment to date.  With a high capital appreciation and strong ROI each year as a rental property our retirement home by the beach will be ready when the cold Toronto winter soon approaches.  As a former senior tax consultant at Deloitte Los Angeles I want to share with you my expertise on investing in the popular U.S. market.

1.  Why invest in U.S. real estate?

  • Looking for a retirement home, investment property or even a family vacation destination the U.S. market is huge and has many exciting opportunities!
  • Even with the lower Canadian dollar, U.S. real estate is significantly cheaper than Toronto and is appreciating each year, so don’t wait any longer.
  • Snow birds have been doing it for decades to escape our cold winters so why not join in.

2.  How to invest in Florida?

  • First take a vacation to your favourite U.S. destination (i.e. Florida – Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Orlando etc)
  • I will refer you to some top real estate agents to help you with your search.  The process is very similar to Canada except they still have some deals including short sales and foreclosures.
  • If you are a TD Canada Trust Bank customer, join a local U.S. TD Bank and you can merge accounts to get access to your Canadian credit to finance your mortgage.
  • I will assist you with your U.S. tax implications as well as filing your tax returns every year.  It is not as scary as you think.  You just need to file the right forms and pay your taxes which are lower in the U.S.

3.   Are you ready to be a real estate investor?

  • Do you own your principal residence?  Do you have cash and investments to cover a 20% down payment?  Do you prefer owning real estate vs stocks and bonds?  If you answered “Yes” to all 3 questions please give me a call at 416-705-2444 to start the process.

4.  Holiday Brunch Reminder – December 20 12pm – 3pm

  • A celebration for a successful 2015 with all clients, family, friends and referrals!
  • Please RSVP to with your guest names before December 13 to be entered to win a FREE trip and other giveaways.

5.  Winter Incentives

  • Winter is traditionally a slow season according to the Toronto Real Estate Board stats but it could also mean less competition and better value if you are looking for your dream home.
  • New clients who buy or sell with MFR this winter will receive a free all-inclusive trip down south or a $2,000 cash rebate.  Limited time offer.  Sign up before December 31, 2015.

If you have any real estate questions, please contact us at 416-705-2444 or visit our website for more information and listings

Enjoy the holiday season!

From Your Modern Family Realtor Team – Paul, Ewan and Jasmine

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Inside Right At Home’s New Office Branding

right-at-home-low-quality-1074x483“We’re investing heavily not just in technology but in our work space,” says Howard Drukarsh.

By Susan Doran

Canada’s largest independent real estate brokerage, Right At Home Realty, is about to open its new flagship office next door to the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB). And that’s definitely not a coincidence.

When it’s pointed out to Howard Drukarsh, Right At Home’s co-founder/president/broker of record, that being TREB’s immediate neighbour in Toronto’s Don Mills neighbourhood is bound to be helpful in the recruitment of sales reps, his tongue-in-cheek reply is, “Oh really? I never thought of that.”

The truth of course is that, as with most of its endeavours, Right At Home has definitely thought things through.

“Our new flagship Toronto office is literally eight feet from TREB. It’s a competitive business and we were smart enough to get that location,” says Drukarsh. “Why not be next door to TREB, where everyone who’s a member has to go to take orientation?”

It’s a savvy move and there’s no mistaking the “in-your-face” factor. Drukarsh, a TREB director himself, is well aware that his company’s new office can’t possibly be missed by TREB members.

Right At Home can be excused for flaunting its own success. The company’s business model (which rather trah-2han commission splitting involves agents paying only low transaction and monthly fees) initially led many to dismiss Right At Home as merely a discount brokerage. Now, with the company’s success and multiple offices, people tend to mistakenly think that Right At Home is an American franchise, Drukarsh says.

He and the rest of the management team are keen for the company to be recognized for what it is, and are taking steps to be sure that happens.



We are wholly Canadian owned and operated,” Drukarsh says. “Since 2013 we’ve been TREB’s No. 1 brokerage for combined units sold….We’re the largest independent in Canada – I’d like to see anyone prove otherwise….We are extremely well financed and run as a corporation, with a board of five experienced successful business people… At 3,000 agents, there are no other independents our size, and other independents are not multi-office corporations like we are. So there is no competition in our space. There is lots of opportunity left for us.”

The firm’s new 2,400-square-foot flagship office, scheduled to open by the end of this year, is part of a major re-branding drive currently underway at the company. A similar and equally stunning design treatment is planned for Right At Home’s five other offices, located throughout the Greater Toronto Area.

“We are adding more value to our proposition,” Drukarsh says, adding that each of the office redesigns will cost “many hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

The company plans to expand into new offices and areas as well.

Leading-edge office design is a pivotal component of the branding effort and will include big bright glass spaces; huge video walls; iPads mounted around the reception area; and impressive work areas and client and training rooms.

“When we started out in 2004 we had a limited budget and our offices reflected that,” says Drukarsh. “Now we are a retail-like brand with offices on busy streets or in busy malls. There’s a sense of difference in this – in not looking or feeling like a real estate office.”

Many of the re-designed, strategically located storefront-type spaces planned are relatively vast – 3,000 square feet for the Burlington office, and 4,000 square feet for the Mississauga office.

“That’s like a small Loblaws in size,” says Drukarsh.

“We want new. We want awareness,” he says “We think we are designing the future of the real estate office.”

In today’s world, technology is a big part of that future.

“In addition to the systems we place in our offices, we’ve invested in the most recent methods for agents to use the Internet and process transactions. And we have our own, very active call centre that allows us to control quality,” says Drukarsh.

“We’re investing heavily not just in technology but in our work space,” he continues, “going from office to retail space – and not just retail space, but very unique retail space and all the benefits that entails.”

One anticipated advantage is increased walk-in traffic. Rather than being invisible at the back of the office, agents’ work stations will be at the front where they can be seen by passersby, with the hope that this stimulates interaction.

“We’ll have offices where people will actually want to come in and talk,” says Drukarsh. He’s referring to both consumers and sales reps, since with the dominance of the Internet, many agents don’t come into the office much anymore.

But Drukarsh says that when they do, at Right At Home they will hopefully find that the long “community tables” where they can work on their own or collaborate with other sales reps will promote a sense of belonging.

“We looked at how successful retail operations like Starbucks do it,” he says. That’s the kind of atmosphere Right At Home is aiming for in its offices.

Drukarsh is aware that in many ways, Right At Home is going against a growing trend to close/consolidate offices.

“We started out as a game changer with our business model and now we’re looking at technology as a game changer as well as our physical space,” he says. “We started out changing the way people do real estate and now continue to do so, and to do the things we do well.”

Toronto Ranked Best City in the World For Young People

Posted by Amy Grief / NOVEMBER 23, 2015

Toronto has already been named the best and most liveable city in the world this year. Now, we can add another superlative to our roster because apparently Toronto has the best economy for young people, according to Accelerating Pathways (PDF), a new study commissioned by the Citi Foundation.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetThe report, completed by the Economist Intelligence Unit, ranked 35 cities on a Youth Economic Strategy (YES) Index based on 31 quantitative and qualitative factors, such as cost of living, ease of opening a new business and gender inequality. Toronto did well in many categories, and ultimately took the top spot ahead of New York and Chicago.

“These results reflect, and arise in part from, a recognition of the importance of the youth economic environment to the city as a whole,” reads the Accelerating Pathways report.

However, as the Toronto Star reports, the study showed that Toronto has a relatively high youth unemployment rate. And, it also indicated that our young people are rather pessimistic about their economic prospects.

What do you think of these results? Let us know in the comments.


MFR Real Estate Update – November 2015

Be a part of Modern Family Real Estate – the team that treats clients like family!

3 Key Winter Updates

1.  Why work with us?

  • Over $2.25 million in sales within the past 6 months.
  • Dedicated team of professionals committed to getting you top dollar for your home and negotiating the best price for your next one.
  • First class customer service 7 days a week guaranteed.  We take care of you from our initial consultation to moving day and beyond.

2.  Holiday Brunch – December 20 12pm – 3pm

  • A celebration for a successful 2015 with all clients, family, friends and referrals!
  • Please RSVP to before December 13.

3.  Winter Incentives

  • Winter is traditionally a slow season according to the Toronto Real Estate Board stats but it could also mean less competition and better value if you are looking for your dream home.
  • New clients who buy or sell with MFR this winter will receive a free all-inclusive trip down south or a $2,000 cash rebate.  Limited time offer.  Sign up before December 31, 2015.
  • Refer a client before December 20 and get a ballot to win a free trip.

If you have any real estate questions, please contact us at 416-705-2444 or visit our website for more information and listings at

Enjoy the holiday season!

From Your Modern Family Realtor Team – Paul, Ewan and Jasmine

York Region Homes See Largest Price Jump in GTA

Nov 05, 2015|Markham Economist & Sun

York Region was the hottest real estate market for the sale of existing homes in the Greater Toronto Area in October 2015, a month the Toronto Real Estate Board is calling their best October on record, according to its monthly market report released this week.

GTA realtors reported more than 8,800 home sales in October, TREB president Mark McLean said.

The MLS Home Price Index Composite Benchmark was up by 10.3 per cent year over year in October. Over the same period, the average selling price for all home types combined was up by 7.3 per cent to $630,876.

The biggest increase was seen in York Region, when the overall increase was 14.7 per cent. Single family detached, attached and townhouses in York Region all saw hikes in excess of 14 per cent, according to TREB’s numbers. By comparison, the City of Toronto’s composite or overall average increase for all property types was 8.2 per cent.

The average price of detached homes sold in York Region last month was $972,000. By community the average price for a detached home was: Georgina $405,192, Newmarket $708,155, Aurora $824,553, Whitchurch-Stouffville $949,636, Vaughan $957,781, Markham $1,097,684, King $1,130,559, and Richmond Hill $1,216,834.

A total of 905 detached homes, 129 semi-detached homes, 73 condominium townhouses, 218 condo apartments and 212 attached row townhouses were sold in York Region in October, according to TREB’s stats.

“It is clear that many GTA households remain upbeat about home ownership because owning a home represents a high quality, long-term investment. We will see a big, new record this year for home sales reported through TREB’s MLS System,” McLean said.

Recent reports suggest home buying in the so-called “905”, the area code outside the city of Toronto, is helped by the fact buyers  in these communities do not have to pay a second municipal land transfer tax.

“Despite the record October result, I must point out that the Government of Ontario could hamper home sales in the near future,” McLean said in a media release.

“The Wynne government is seriously considering allowing municipalities throughout Ontario to institute a second land transfer tax on top of the existing provincial tax. Recent polling has shown that the great majority of Ontarians oppose this tax and would consider delaying a move if they were forced to bear the additional upfront cost.”

Overall, TREB said price growth continued to be driven by the low-rise market segments.

“Record sales coupled with a constrained supply of listings in many GTA neighbourhoods has underpinned very strong price growth throughout 2015.” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s director of market analysis. “Even if we do see a greater supply of low-rise listings in the marketplace over the next year, market conditions will remain tight enough to see continued price growth well-above the rate of inflation.”

High Demand, Limited Supply Pushes Vancouver House Prices to New Highs

VANCOUVER — The Globe and Mail

Toronto Experiencing a Traditional Fall Market – With Some Unusual Bumps

The Globe and Mail

Because of wonky market, real estate agent Sandra Pate decided not to set an offer date for this hard loft in Leslieville.

Toronto’s fall real estate market continues to roll towards the end of the year in its own strange rhythm.

Houses are still selling briskly in some cases and sitting in others. One house that didn’t get a single bid on offer night drew three competing buyers a week or so later – with a higher asking price.

The Toronto Blue Jays playoff schedule often conflicted with offer deadlines and open houses, but committed buyers found a way to negotiate a deal while also keeping track of the score. The federal election may have created some uncertainty, but likely not enough to throw off buyers, agents say.

So that leaves the possibility that the market has returned to a more traditional fall pattern.

“In previous years, it’s always been a mini-market,” says real estate agent Sandra Pate of Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd., Johnston and Daniel Division.

She says more listings are still arriving on the market and bidding wars are unpredictable. Buyers willing to consider an unrenovated house or one without parking might find a deal but properties that tick all the boxes are still sparking competition.

“The buyers that want everything are having a hard time because those houses are still hot.”

Ms. Pate and her partner Lina Risi recently listed a semi-detached house for sale on Browning Avenue in the city’s east end with an asking price of $789,000. They turned away a bully offer but then didn’t receive any bids on the scheduled offer date. They listed the house again with an asking price of $864,000 and said offers were welcome any time.

The buyers still held back until the agents cut the price to $829,000. That action immediately drew three competing bids and the house sold for $850,000 – or $61,000 above the original asking price.

The following day, Ms. Pate was still receiving calls from disappointed potential buyers inquiring about the status.

“It all comes down to luck and timing,” she says.

She points to a Riverdale house that received three offers this week and sold for more than $200,000 above the asking price of $1.549-million.

Ms. Pate wonders if the combination of Blue Jays games and election talk did distract buyers at times. She recalls heading out to one offer presentation when the streets were oddly empty.

“I was driving across town at rush hour and there was no traffic.”

Meanwhile, a renovated Edwardian at 59 Woodlawn Ave. W. went up for sale with an asking price of $1.949-million. Listing agents Sue Mills and Sarah O’Neill of Royal LePage Signature Realty say the day after they hung a “for sale” sign, workers on heavy equipment arrived to rip up the street.

That caused a bit of a kerfuffle for the agents’ open house but by the weekend the pavement had been restored.

Last Wednesday, the house received two bids and sold for $2.035-million.

Ms. Mills says she had considered reviewing offers on Tuesday night but she knew a Blue Jays game was scheduled for that evening. She had already chosen Wednesday night when she learned that the Jays would also play on that day. But that game was earlier and therefore less likely to be a distraction, she says.

She also didn’t want to wait until Thursday because a delay also poses a risk. Buyers sometimes become jittery if they have to wait too long before bidding, she says.

“It’s an emotional process when you’re buying and it’s stressful putting in an offer.”

As it happened, the Blue Jays won their game against the Kansas City Royals that night and the city erupted.

“Everyone was in a super good mood,” says Ms. O’Neill, adding that all of the participants were checking their phones for updates on the game. “We definitely didn’t lose anyone to the Jays game. Everyone came to the table.”

With the market so patchy, Ms. Pate decided not to set an offer date for a hard loft on Carlaw Avenue with an asking price of $949,000.

The I-Zone is one of the original hard loft conversions that began the transformation of a gritty industrial area into the popular Leslieville neighbourhood.

Ms. Pate says the work-live lofts often attract artists and photographers. This two-storey unit makes a good space for a home business because it has a private entrance directly from the street, she adds. It’s recently renovated and also offers the potential for a rooftop terrace.

“It’s a pretty cool unit,” she says.

She adds that the owner is moving out of the city so he’s selling the loft with the art, furniture and light fixtures included.

Still, activity has been slower than expected, she says. After two weeks, the loft is still on the market.

Possibly the market is becoming more balanced, she says, which is a change she would welcome after the frenetic pace of recent months.