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Events, Life
Free Metric Concert in Union Station, Toronto
August 3, 2010 at 4:57 pm 0
Metric That's right. What's better than free stuff in the city in the summer? According to the Toronto Star Metric is putting on a free show this Wednesday, August 3rd at 7pm at Union Station. Here's the full story directly from the Toronto Star Entertainment Reporters Ben Rayner and Bruce DeMara: Hot Canadian rock band Metric will play a free concert outside Union Station on Wednesday night. Samsung Mobile announced the show on Tuesday without naming the band. But a source within the band’s camp confirmed Metric was it. “It’s true. It’s all happening. It’s not really a big secret or anything.” And details of the event — going down at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Union Square Plaza — were leaked via Twitter and readily available online mere hours after Samsung started dropping hints on its own Twitter feed. One clue read: “I wonder who this band is going to be? Is it The Beatles or could it be the Rolling Stones?” That brings to mind Metric’s hit song “Gimme Sympathy,” which includes the lyrics, “After all of this is gone / Who’d you rather be? / The Beatles or the Rolling Stones?” Apparently, the only reason Metric’s identity was kept secret was to appease city officials worried that a giant crush of people would wind up on Front St. That will almost certainly be the case now that the cat’s out of the bag. Drivers, you’ve been warned.
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Life
How To Get The Most Out Of Your Real Estate Investment
June 29, 2010 at 11:28 am 1
oz_house_streetlevel Today's post is from guest editor, Julia Stepanova, a local real estate expert who has done some great investments herself, and is on board to help guide us in our wealth building activities. --- In Toronto the real estate market has not been as affected as it is in the USA. In fact we've had a hot market for the past few months. Our 2010 Forecast called for a strong first half in sales and a slower second half due to three factors. Factor One - the introduction of the HST (which will NOT impact prices in the resale market but will increase the cost of services and new properties over $400,000). Factor Two - we are expecting a bump in Bank of Canada interest rates in the second half of the year, which will make it harder for some people to afford (and therefore fewer people will buy). Factor Three - more listings are coming to the market (particularly in the condo segment). Right now the market is still hot but will be softening towards the end of June/2010. And if you like to take your time looking for a place and multiple offers is not your thing this means it is your time to shine. If you are looking to get into the real estate market it's a great time. But how do you get the most out of it? First, make sure you're taking the right steps. 1. Get yourself preapproved by going to your local bank. 2. Decide on the area. 3. Write your wish list. 4. Find an agent specializing in your preferred area. 5. Do not forget to allocate 1.5% of the purchase price towards the closing cost. If you want a steady return on your money, houses can be a sure bet and it have two strong things going for them as an investment. First, any capital gains on your principal residence are tax-free. If your house appreciates by 6 per cent, you get to keep every cent of your gains. Now 6 per cent may not sound like much, but in terms of how much you end up with, you'd have to earn as much as 12 per cent on a fixed-income investment such as a GIC to match that return, after tax. Second, you don't have to come up with the full purchase price, meaning you're able to harness leverage. The conventional mortgages require a down payment of 25 per cent of a house's appraised value. Where as the High Ratio Mortgage, requires only 5% down payment. For example, if you buy a $200,000 home, you need to come up with around $50,000 for a conventional mortgage. If the home's value rises to $220,000, that's an increase of 10 per cent. But what's really happened is you've put up $50,000, and made $20,000. Your real gross return on your invested funds is around 40 per cent. But notice the word “gross”. Don't forget that your real return will be less. Buying a home and having a mortgage is also a tremendously powerful forced savings program. You need to pay for housing, whether you are renting, leasing, or paying your mortgage. So why not put your money towards a mortgage, and if you invest wisely when you sell you will get it all back. If you rent, you never get anythign back. ---- Julia is a real estate agent with Re/Max Condos Plus and you can find her here.
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Life
Women And Real Estate Investing
May 13, 2010 at 9:19 am 3
oz_house_streetlevel For many women the dream of owning their own home, having a successful career, and some solid investments is very appealling. Recently we've been receiving loads of questions on investing, women and money, and how to build a solid little nest into a big bag of cash! This month we're thrilled to have Julia Stepanova, a local real estate expert who has done some great investments herself, and is on board to help guide us in our wealth building activities. Here's Julia! --- When I was a money struggling student in England, my dream was to finally finish studying and to get a nice job. That day arrived: the end of university, but most importantly a job that provided me with a paycheck once a month. Like any other woman I spent it all on clothing and shoes! The next paycheck was used for new clothes and new shoes (a temptation impossible to resist). I soon enough realized that I was turning into a Carry Bradshaw; I mean how many shoes can I have? What happened to my dream of owning a home? I wanted to get married and have children, of course, but first on my list was building my own personal success and aquiring some solid investments including real estate. It’s an essential part of your life and makes you feel an accomplished woman. Since those struggling years 10 years ago, I got married, I had a child and guess what? I own a unit that has tripled in price since I bought it! Talk about an investment! I rent it out and it provides me with an income that I spend on… yes, shoes, clothes, and spa treatments. The thing is: real estate investing is easier than you would think, and can often reap some hefty rewards. If you're not convinced check out this story here. It's true that there is some risk associated, and there are no guarantees, but like any risk the reward can be huge, and all indicators are saying that things are a-ok in the real estate market here in Toronto. Right now, Toronto real estate continues to move towards balance and for someone looking to buy that's great news. There are lots of listings (i.e. choice for you) and now over 1,100 downtown condos for sale. The sale-to-list ratio (sales to active listings in a month) that was at one time over 80% is now down to 50% and will soon approach the 25-35% range of a balanced market. If you have already been thinking of buying, go while the interest rates are still low and the market is turning into the Buyers market. Don't be afraid, owning a home is one of the most liberating things a woman can do for herself. --- Julia is a real estate agent with Re/Max Condos Plus and you can find her here.</a
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Life
Lovely City Spaces – Allan Gardens
November 17, 2009 at 12:51 pm 0




In Toronto we have some great city parks, but one of the most gorgeous city spaces is Allan Gardens downtown. There is a huge arboretum with several different rooms and climates. You can sit in one and feel like you're on a tropical vacation, or go to another and be in a desert, or go to another and watch the fish swim in the pond with lily pads and other water plants. Outside of the arboretum there are lots of beautiful old trees and little paths around the area. There's also a little church on one of the corners. But there’s a new addition to this small and historical city park. The super charming dog park areas. They have a cute little blue dog for the small dog park, and a cute green dog for the big dog area. The little blue dog is my very favourite. It makes me want a puppy!
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