#BurlON til Sept 19

September is the perfect time of year to get out and enjoy the great outdoors….

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#BurlON til Sept 19

Real estate and virtual reality

Virtual reality technology has made a huge leap forward over the last few months. The Oculus Rift, now owned by Facebook, the HTC Vive, Samsung Gear and Sony Play Station VR are all vying to be the virtual reality leader. It’s a technology that lends itself perfectly to real estate and REALTOR® groups are wasting no time in jumping aboard.

Sotheby’s International is using Samsung’s VR kit to allow shoppers to view multi-million dollar homes in LA, the Hamptons and New York City.

They’ve reserved the technology for higher-priced properties as the cost of scanning a home for VR ranges from $300 – $700. The process involves setting up multiple cameras to capture a 360-degree view. This gives the buyer has the same intimate view as buyers shopping in person. The realtor can not only lead the VR tour remotely and also see where the client is looking, so if the client is admiring a back-splash, the realtor can comment on that feature.

Virtual reality is also ideal for touring pre-construction properties. Clients can gain a better sense of the layout, inspect finishes and understand the dimensions more fully.

The developer, Lifestyle Custom Homes has already incorporated a virtual tour into the sales presentation for its Toronto development, One6Nine Jones.

VR is particularly handy in cities with high volume traffic where getting around to multiple properties is difficult. Clients can visit a realtor office, view a range of houses, and decide which to see in person.

There are likely a myriad of ways to use VR. As use becomes more widespread the costs will come down and more real estate groups will be able to access the technology.

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Real estate and virtual reality

Condo challenges: The particulars of the condominium market

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Condo challenges: The particulars of the condominium market

Serving buyers in the pre-construction phase

I started my real estate career working for a marketing company that represented many reputable builders of new homes and hi-rise condominium projects. Initially I was representing builders. Since then, as a REALTOR®, I have also helped home buyers purchase pre-construction units. My exposure to both sides of the transaction leads me to believe there is room for greater transparency and due diligence to serve our buyers better.

In a resale transaction, we are trained to do our due diligence as buyer representatives. We strive to protect our buyer’s best interests by obtaining a home inspection, land registry search, insurance claim history and so on. However, the sales process is very different when the actual product is not yet built. The old saying comes to mind: “If you can’t touch it, don’t buy it,” yet pre-construction prices may save buyers thousands of dollars or get them the best choice of suites or lots in a sub-division. With that in mind, here are some issues to watch for.

Closing Dates and Occupancy Dates: As industry professionals, we know that new home and condo projects are often delayed, yet consumers aren’t always aware of this. Ask the developer about potential delays in closing dates and manage your buyers’ expectations accordingly to save a lot of anguish. You can also ask about pending approvals to understand what hurdles lie ahead for this project. In my experience, high-rise condominium projects are more likely to face delays than low rise projects.

“The more approvals the builder has received, the less likely that drastic changes will confront your buyer.”

Marketing Hype versus Reality: The marketing for any new project includes glossy brochures, stunning architectural renderings, high-resolution photos with panoramic views, and so on. However, during the actual construction phase, there is a huge possibility of disconnect between the architect’s vision, the developer’s approved plan, and what is structurally possible. Before the buyer signs the Agreement of Purchase and Sale (APS), ask the builder’s representative about everything that can possibly change in floor plans, renderings, amenities, parking, etc. You should also research existing and future buildings nearby that might obstruct the view from your buyer’s unit once built. The more approvals the builder has already received for a project, the less likely it is that drastic changes or nasty surprises will confront your buyer.

Expectations on Space and Finishes: I have witnessed first-time buyers’ expressions of surprise when they finally took possession of their new condo. The actual room sizes did not match the amount of space they had imagined, their furniture didn’t fit, or the ceiling heights had been measured from the sub-floor. Buyers said they felt helpless because they got much less than they bargained for. There were also instances when the entire floor plan was flipped to the opposite orientation, changing their unit’s layout in a way they did not expect.

Buyers often expect their unit to match the dimensions of the model suite at the builder’s sales centre. However, model suites are not always built to scale and can appear larger due to extra lighting, condo-sized furniture and the absence of a ceiling. As well, many buyers assume that “what you see is what you get” — not realizing that model suites can contain upgraded finishes and extras that are not part of the standard package offered on signing.


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Closing Costs: These can be another surprise for buyers who don’t fully grasp the range of expenses they may encounter. I have seen buyers stunned by the final bill for development costs, HST on new appliances, utility hookup fees, sub-meter charges, and other expenses for which they had not budgeted. During the 10-day rescission period, I urge my buyers to get the APS and condominium documents reviewed by a lawyer who has experience dealing with pre-construction transactions to understand any possible charges and fees that can arise during closing. As diligent REALTORS®, we are within our realm to ask the developer about anticipated costs and to negotiate caps on levies for our clients.

Educating Buyers: Now that I am a REALTOR®, I work hard to put myself in the shoes of my buyers. I try to anticipate possible hurdles that might be thrown their way when purchasing a unit still in the development stage, and these vary with each project and developer. During the initial consultation, I explain and educate them on the process, timelines, costs, possible delays, deposit structure, etc. I also ask about their lifestyle and expectations from this purchase to make sure this project works for them. I also recommend that my buyers talk to other consumers who have been through the complete purchase cycle on a new property to understand potential hurdles and challenges.

I accompany my buyers to the project’s presentation centre to help them visualize the finished space of the actual property or even show them a resale condo unit with a similar layout.  I ask many questions about timing, closing costs and upgrades to help them to figure out the bottom line on all expenses. I also explain the Tarion warranty for new homes and condos and I specify the key dates, putting particular emphasis on what is covered under the builder’s warranty and what is not.

VIP Launch Events and Limited Time Offers: The marketing of new properties can be extremely slick, and I advise buyers not to succumb to developer tactics that urge them to sign something, right here, right now, in a limited time offer or because there’s a so-called “lineup” of other buyers and the units are “almost all sold out by now.” In these instances, buyers end up hardly having time to think, and they get caught up in the moment. As a REALTOR®, I don’t give in to these pressure tactics and I urge my buyers to take time to review things with me and with their lawyer. Builders do not use OREA forms, but that does not change the fact that most parts of the agreement are negotiable.

Builder’s Reputation and Industry Regulation: I feel that checks and balances must be put in place on the new home industry to reduce the likelihood that consumers will feel misled. Currently, developers can start marketing and selling a project on paper even before all the necessary approvals have been obtained, leaving the door open for many changes to the final product. Also, purchaser deposits for low-rise freehold products are not held in trust, nor is there a 10-day rescission period.

Some reputable builders value customer loyalty over the bottom line. These developers have taken voluntary steps to improve transparency, point out upgrades in model suites, and obtain approvals on many levels before they market a project. Yet other developers use the status quo to their advantage. I value my relationship with developers, and I realize that they may pay commissions to co-operating agents. However, we as REALTORS® can’t allow a potential commission cheque to cloud our judgement. Our buyer’s interests must always come first and we must do our due diligence at all times.

As REALTORS® who are representing our client’s best interests, it’s up to us to help our buyers navigate the process. As an industry, we all benefit when our buyers are well briefed, get what they expected, and have no surprises.

Arun Kumar Rajalingam is a Toronto REALTOR® and a volunteer on the marketing and communication committee at the Ontario Real Estate Association.

Originally posted here: 

Serving buyers in the pre-construction phase

Work Life Balance

Vacations, Long Weekends, or Holidays

We have to remember that we all have to take time to recharge our batteries. Let’s get rid of the stigma surrounding taking time for yourself. Although this might sound counter intuitive sometimes you can be more successful if you take a break and nurture the relationships in your life.

Talk to your spouse if they are interested in listening about your day. Talk for 5-10 minutes and then drop it. This may prove to be therapeutic because you have gotten any residual frustration out before it manifested itself into an argument. We interact with people every day, if you talked someone having a bad day, you do not need to bring that negative energy home.

You live once make sure it is how you want to live your life, no regrets.

I have been fortunate to be able to travel a bit and I have made memories that I wouldn’t trade. Take time and make those memories, you and your families deserve them.

Balancing work and life is important as it leads to

Healthy lifestyle
Healthy relationships
Improved mood, and quality of life
Reduce stress
No regrets
More Smiles

Don’t bother testing the old saying “something has got to give” or “bend till it breaks” share your strategy for dealing with stress and making time for your family.

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Work Life Balance

National Access Awareness Week celebration continues at Oakville Town Hall

Wednesday, May 28, 2014 – for immediate release

National Access Awareness Week celebration continues at Oakville Town Hall

Art collection of Tsochoy Go at Town Hall until May 30

The wide variety of accessible programs and services offered in Oakville was the highlight of the Lifestyle Expo and Art Showcase at Town Hall on May 26, 2014. The event was held to celebrate National Access Awareness Week — a week dedicated to encouraging Canadians to think about the barriers people with disabilities face, and to find ways to help remove them.

“Council is committed to enhancing accessibility across Oakville,” Mayor Rob Burton said. “The Lifestyle Expo and Art Showcase at Town Hall was a great way for residents to learn more about what we’re doing as a town and as a Council to demonstrate our commitment to accessible programs and services.”

The Lifestyle Expo featured information and interactive displays from:

Community Living Oakville
Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides
Special Olympics Ontario: Oakville
Charterability (pontoon cruises on Sixteen Mile Creek)
Halton-Peel Cruisers Sports for the Physically Disabled
March of Dimes
Voices 4 Ability – Canada’s first radio station for, about and by people with disabilities
Town of Oakville
Oakville Transit
Oakville Public Library

In addition, bronze medalist Karl Ludwig from Canada’s 2014 Paralympic sledge hockey team attended the expo to talk to visitors about sledge hockey and what a Paralympic athlete has to do to compete at an elite level. The Oakville Accessibility Advisory Committee was also there and Mayor and Members of Council also dropped by.

The Art Showcase, which continues to be on display at Town Hall until May 30, features work by a talented artist Tsochoy Go — a student with autism studying at the Joshua Creek Heritage Art Centre. From war-like aliens and dragons, to landscapes and flower, Go brings life to everything he draws and has said “When I am sketching I feel I am in a solitary place expressing my ideas.”

National Access Awareness Week was established in 1987 following Rick Hanson’s 40,000 km Man in Motion World Tour. “As part of the legacy of the Man In Motion World Tour, the Rick Hansen Foundation provided strategic leadership to create and implement National Access Awareness Week (NAAW) in partnership with federal and provincial governments across the country. The purpose of the program was to promote better community access for people with disabilities.” — Rick Hansen Foundation.

As part of its commitment to become the most livable town in Canada, the Town of Oakville has a Multi-Year Accessibility Plan 2012-2017. Created in consultation with Oakville’s Accessibility Advisory Committee, the plan sets out the steps the town will take to implement the requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act’s Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation, and includes a detailed list of actions by town departments to demonstrate the town’s commitment to providing accessible programs and services for all.


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National Access Awareness Week celebration continues at Oakville Town Hall

What’s happening at Town Hall – May 26 to 30, 2014

Friday, May 23, 2014 – for immediate release

What’s happening at Town Hall – May 26 to 30, 2014

Do you want to know what’s happening at Town Hall? Are you interested in participating in local government? Here’s a highlight of what’s happening May 26 to 30, 2014.

May 26

National Access Awareness Week and Lifestyle Expo and Art Showcase 
Location: Town Hall, 4 to 7 p.m.

Council 
Location: Town Hall, Council Chamber, 7 to 10 p.m.

Discussion items:
Oakville Hydro Appointment of Board of Directors
Notice of Intention to Designate – Oakville Arena
Preserving Canada Post Door-to-door Delivery
Business improvement areas – partnerships and strategies
Commercial Parking and Way-Finding
Potential Lease of former Post Office Building at 193-197 Church Street

May 27

Heritage Oakville Advisory Committee 
Location: Town Hall, Palermo Room 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Special Planning and Development Council – Midtown Oakville 
Location: Town Hall, Council Chamber, 7 to 10 p.m.

Public hearing items:
Midtown Oakville Strategy 2014 and Public Meeting Report, Official Plan Amendment (Livable Oakville) and Zoning By-law Amendment
Midtown Oakville Transportation and Stormwater Environmental Assessment – Draft Study Report

Midtown Oakville Statutory Public Meeting 
Location: Town Hall, Council Chamber, 7 to 10 p.m.

Committee of Adjustment 
Location: Town Hall, Trafalgar Room, 7 to 10 p.m.

What’s happening at Town Hall provides an overview of upcoming Town of Oakville meetings and other events. The public is welcome to attend these meetings. For agendas and copies of reports, please visit the agendas and minutes page. For more information and additional upcoming meetings, please visit the Council calendar or news and notices page.

For more information

Kathy Patrick
Supervisor, Council and Committee Services
Town of Oakville
905-845-6601, ext. 4235
kpatrick@oakville.ca


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What’s happening at Town Hall – May 26 to 30, 2014

Celebrate Access Awareness Week at Lifestyle Expo and Art Showcase

Thursday, May 22, 2014 – for immediate release

Celebrate Access Awareness Week at Lifestyle Expo and Art Showcase

Meet bronze medalist Karl Ludwig from Canada’s 2014 Paralympic sledge hockey team

If you want to learn more about the many accessible programs and services available in Oakville, visit the National Access Awareness Week Lifestyle Expo and Art Showcase this Monday, May 26, 2014. Running from 4 to 7 p.m. at Town Hall, this expo will feature information and interactive displays from a number of groups and agencies. You can even try out a sledge and talk with bronze medalist Karl Ludwig from Canada’s 2014 Paralympic sledge hockey team.

“This week encourages Canadians to focus on the barriers people with disabilities face and to find ways to help remove them,” Mayor Rob Burton said. “The expo is a great way to learn more about what we’re doing as a town and as a Council to demonstrate our commitment to outstanding accessible programs and services.”

The Lifestyle Expo will feature:

Community Living Oakville
Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides
Special Olympics Ontario: Oakville
Charterability (pontoon cruises on Sixteen Mile Creek)
Halton-Peel Cruisers Sports for the Physically Disabled
March of Dimes
Voices 4 Ability – Canada’s first radio station for, about and by people with disabilities
Town of Oakville
Oakville Transit
Oakville Public Library

The Oakville Accessibility Advisory Committee will be in attendance at the expo. Mayor and Members of Council will also be dropping by.

The Art Showcase, on display from May 26 through May 31, 2014, will feature work by a talented artist, Tsochoy Go — a student with autism studying at the Joshua Creek Heritage Art Centre.

National Access Awareness Week was established in 1987 following Rick Hanson’s 40,000 km Man in Motion World Tour. “As part of the legacy of the Man In Motion World Tour, the Rick Hansen Foundation provided strategic leadership to create and implement National Access Awareness Week (NAAW) in partnership with federal and provincial governments across the country. The purpose of the program was to promote better community access for people with disabilities.” — Rick Hansen Foundation.

As part of its commitment to become the most livable town in Canada, the Town of Oakville has a Multi-Year Accessibility Plan 2012-2017. Created in consultation with Oakville’s Accessibility Advisory Committee, the plan sets out the steps the town will take to implement the requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act’s Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation, and includes a detailed list of actions by town departments to demonstrate the town’s commitment to providing accessible programs and services for all.


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Celebrate Access Awareness Week at Lifestyle Expo and Art Showcase

Oakville celebrates National Access Awareness Week with Lifestyle Expo and Art Showcase

Tuesday, May 06, 2014 – for immediate release

Oakville celebrates National Access Awareness Week with Lifestyle Expo and Art Showcase

Come see what programs and services our community has to offer people of all abilities

The Town of Oakville will celebrate National Access Awareness Week on Monday, May 26, 2014, with a Lifestyle Expo and Art Showcase. Each year, National Access Awareness Week encourages Canadians to think about the barriers people with disabilities face, and to find ways to help remove them.

“Council supports everyone having the opportunity to fully participate in our vibrant community,” Mayor Rob Burton said. “Visit the Lifestyle Expo and Art Showcase to learn more about the many accessible programs and services that are available in Oakville.”

The Lifestyle Expo, which runs from 4 to 7 p.m. at Town Hall, will feature interactive displays and information from:

Community Living Oakville
Lions Foundation of Canada Dog Guides
Special Olympics Ontario: Oakville
Charterability (pontoon cruises on Sixteen Mile Creek)
Halton-Peel Cruisers Sports for the Physically Disabled
March of Dimes
Voices 4 Ability – Canada’s first radio station for, about and by people with disabilities
Town of Oakville
Oakville Public Library

The Oakville Accessibility Advisory Committee will be in attendance at the expo. Mayor Burton and Members of Council will also be dropping by.

The Art Showcase, on display from May 24 through May 31, 2014, will feature work by a talented artist, Tsochoy Go — a student with autism studying at the Joshua Creek Heritage Art Centre.

Everyone welcome!

If you have any accessibility needs, please let us know one week before the event by contacting the accessibility coordinator at 905-845-6601, ext. 3660, daniel.sadler@oakville.ca or by filling out the accessible online feedback form.

National Access Awareness Week

National Access Awareness Week was established in 1987 following Rick Hanson’s 40,000 km Man in Motion World Tour. “As part of the legacy of the Man In Motion World Tour, the Rick Hansen Foundation provided strategic leadership to create and implement National Access Awareness Week (NAAW) in partnership with federal and provincial governments across the country. The purpose of the program was to promote better community access for people with disabilities.” — Rick Hansen Foundation.

Town of Oakville Acessibility

As part of its commitment to become the most livable town in Canada, the Town of Oakville has a Multi-Year Accessibility Plan 2012-2017. Created in consultation with Oakville’s Accessibility Advisory Committee, the plan sets out the steps the town will take to implement the requirements of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act’s Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation, and includes a detailed list of actions by town departments to demonstrate the town’s commitment to providing accessible programs and services for all.

For more information on Oakville’s Accessibility Plan visit the Accessibility page.


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Oakville celebrates National Access Awareness Week with Lifestyle Expo and Art Showcase

Oakville celebrates receiving provincial grant with free family skate

Ontario Sport and Recreation Communities Fund supports Make Your Move initiative

To celebrate Oakville receiving a $104,310 two-year grant from Ontario Sport and Recreation Communities Fund (OSRCF), the town hosted a free Make Your Move Oakville family skate today at River Oaks Community Centre.

“This generous funding will help build on the success of the town’s Make Your Move initiative,” said Oakville Mayor Rob Burton. “Our Council is continuously striving to provide new opportunities for recreation in our community. This grant will help us do just that.”

Make Your Move Oakville is the town’s public education and awareness program that promotes the benefits of healthy lifestyles, and encourages residents to get more active through sport and recreation. Since 2007, the Town of Oakville has received over $300,000 in funding from the Government of Ontario for its Make Your Move initiative.

“This provincial funding will help Oakville promote the benefits of a healthy lifestyle by creating more opportunities for residents of all ages and abilities to participate in recreational activities,” said Oakville MPP Kevin Flynn who noted that “the upcoming Pan-Am Games will promote a legacy of encouraging residents to get more active through sport and recreation.”

With support of OSRCF funding, the town will expand its Swim to Survive Program over the next two years. The enhanced program will help families with children aged five to 12 develop the minimum skills required to survive an unexpected fall into deep water, and increase physical activity once individuals are comfortable in the water.

The town will also launch the “Road to the Podium” program by offering badminton, basketball, soccer, and tennis lessons to raise awareness of the upcoming 2015 Pan-Am Games. These parented programs will target families with children aged five to 12 with special focus on fundamental movement skills and increasing active family time.

Oakville will also continue to enhance active programming on its more than 200 kilometres of trails. Guided walks will be held on trails where wayward signs were installed as part of the previous Make Your Move grant, and will include warm up/cool down exercises, trail safety tips, and how to get the most out of your walk/hike.

In addition, Oakville community volunteers in recreation will be able to take part in the Active Leadership Workshop Series including the HIGH FIVE Principles of Healthy Child Development Certification; PREVNet’s Healthy Relationship Training Module (Bullying Awareness); and Developmental Assets.

Over the next two years, the skate and helmet rental service currently offered at River Oaks Community Centre will be expanded to Maple Grove Arena and Sixteen Mile Sports Complex to increase access to affordable and accessible recreational opportunities.

“This is absolute cause for celebration,” said Nina de Vaal, director of Recreation and Culture for the Town of Oakville. “We’re excited to enhance our programming to the community and thank the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport for supporting Oakville.”

For more information about Make Your Move Oakville visit the Make Your Move page.

Media contacts:

Janine Ivings
Senior Communications Advisor
Strategy, Policy and Communications
Town of Oakville
905-845-6601, ext. 3005
jivings@oakville.ca


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Oakville celebrates receiving provincial grant with free family skate