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Real Estate

Real Estate

For full Toronto real estate listings listings, click here.

The Toronto Real Estate market has made headlines in the news for a number of years as real estate in Toronto has been quite active and many have profited in the Toronto market. Activity has occurred in both the areas of selling and buying real estate in Toronto.

The Toronto Real Estate Board maintains certification and licensing requirements for Real Estate Agents and the multiple listing areas within the Toronto area. The Ontario Real Estate Association governs real estate agents working in the Toronto area and the rest of Ontario.

There are many types of properties to be considered in the real estate market in Toronto.

These include Toronto property for rent and for sale:

  • Freehold detached single homes
  • Semi-detached homes
  • Townhouses
  • Apartments
  • Condominiums

Toronto Business property listings may also include land, restaurants, office space, and other such properties. Toronto enjoys a diverse variety of living options for its residents as well as spaces to do businesses for those interested.

When an owner wishes to sell or lease property in Toronto, one can often access the information via the Toronto Multiple Listing Services (MLS) on the internet.

This is an option if the owner has listed with a registered agent. Many are listing their own listings on other social media entities like Facebook, Twitter, etc. Both homes and business listings can be found for sale or for lease on many given websites.

How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Toronto

In order to become a certified real estate agent, one must take a series of courses regulated and offered via the Ontario Real Estate Association. These agents then have access to the Toronto Real Estate Board and Ontario Real Estate Board functions and supports.

These supports include a board wide liability/insurance coverage, the multiple listing service, and a plethora of standard forms. Once an agent becomes a licensed realtor, their business name and contact information is also listed in the real estate board listings.

Obtaining the services of an MLS agent is one option for completion of a real estate transaction. MLS agents generally charge a standard 5-6% commission on the sale of residential properties. Corporate listings are rated based on the value of the transaction. This is considered the area of Industry and Commercial Services. (ICS)

Once a property is listed, a sign can be placed in view for public awareness. This is usually done somewhere on the outer parameters of the property being listed. The sign offers details of the agent and agency involved in the sale of this property and will include a name and contact information.

Sometimes a box is attached with further property details inside for passer-bys to pick up. Much of this information including virtual tours is now available on various websites.

The Multiple listing website has divided Toronto and the GTA into various MLS neighbourhoods with each listing identified with an MLS number. Standard information on each property is requested on a standard real estate association form. This would include the listing number, an address, the physical measurements of the lot, and the number of bedrooms, bathrooms and rooms.

Appliances and inclusions or exclusions are also included along with the dimensions of each room. Sometimes a total square footage of the space is given – if it is a home with a basement and garage, the basement and garage do not count in the spatial total. Annual taxes, major intersection, and f applicable, maintenance fees are included on the listing sheet.

In recent months, there has been discussion regarding the commissions offered to MLS agents and the exclusivity of agent access to MLS. With the growth of modern technology, many individuals are able to list properties on other free sites. Many have posted virtual tours on Facebook and sold their properties via eBay. The agents’ livelihood is being reviewed as consumers become savvier.

Vacation properties, Toronto lofts, shared accommodation, and student housing can also be accessed via the routes as mentioned above. Whether you are a buyer or seller there are many details of which you should be aware. One of course is the added expense that can occur when changing or acquiring a new location and living address in Toronto.

Once a home is purchased, there are other fees to consider. Moving expenses include the cost of a moving company and any storage that may be required if one is moving to a smaller space, or perhaps there is a gap between homes. Or perhaps, the need for more furniture if a larger space has been acquired. Legally there are also fees such as land transfer taxes and government taxes. Changing the name on the title of the property as well as utility accounts are often done by a real estate lawyer.

These are areas that an experienced real estate agent may be able to hold your hand through, although it is not common practice. Many find they must take care of this on their own as well and hope to find reputable resources from either a professional association or once again via internet sites.

Architects in Toronto

As the centre of business and largest city in Canada, Toronto is home to number of architects and architectural firms. For those looking for an architect, the options range from individual designers who focus on small renovations to large firms building hundred-million dollar skyscrapers, and everything in between.

While Toronto has not always been considered a major player in the architectural world, it has still managed to attract its share of projects by world famous architects. 

Frank Gehry was born in the city, and was behind the recent redesign of the Art Gallery of Ontario. The famous (or infamous, depending on your viewpoint) renovation and expansion of the Royal Ontario Museum on Bloor Street was the brainchild of Polish-American architect Daniel Libeskind, whose design beat out 50 other entrants in an international competition. 

On the local level, there are many large architectural firms based in the city, often backed by big-name designers. These groups tend to focus their efforts on larger buildings and projects, such as skyscrapers, museums and municipal buildings.  

Of these companies, several have made a name for themselves designing some of Toronto’s iconic buildings and attractions.

Likely the most famous structure in the city, the CN Tower was designed in the 1970s by WZMH Architects and John Andrews Architects, who are based in Toronto and continue to take on projects here. 

Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects (KPMB) is behind a number of new structures in the city, including the Gardiner Museum and the Bell Lightbox Theatre

Zeidler Partnership, founded by German-Canadian architect Eberhard Zeidler, was the firm that designed The Eaton Centre and Ontario Place, as well as more recent buildings including the Queen’s Quay Terminal project and the upcoming Trump Tower.

To get a sense of the best architectural work going on in Toronto, check out the Toronto Urban Design Awards, handed out by the city every two years (2011 is the next award year). 

The categories include small, medium and large buildings in both the private and public context. The awards make an effort to highlight the architects behind the work, as well as provide a detailed explanation as to what made a certain project so good.

Moving down the scale from massive real estate developments, there are a variety of choices of architects for both residential and commercial projects in the city. 

Despite the unfortunate name, Superkül Inc. is a respected company behind several new structures in the city including one that won a 2009 Toronto Urban Design Award for a “low-scale building.” 

Quadrangle Architects Limited has also won a TUDA, and they have particular expertise in the conversion of existing buildings, historical restorations and renovations.

These days, one of the important factors to consider when looking for an architect is the ability to incorporate green technology and energy-efficient materials. 

Also known as “sustainable architecture,” this can include geo-thermal exchange systems, grey water reuse systems, and solar hot water and electricity. 

TO Architecture are two such companies with a focus on sustainable technologies. Green Home Builders Toronto is a good resource for browsing further architectural companies.

  

Regarding smaller-scale projects, there are plenty of excellent architects in the city, although some may find that with so many options the decision can become daunting. 

There are a number of resources online, but when choosing an architect your best move is to speak with previous clients. Any reputable company should be more than willing to direct you to them.

Among the city’s popular design firms for house and building renovations is Reno Coach, who pride themselves on walking clients through the entire design and construction process. ARCHITALCAN is another similarly well-reviewed Toronto company, as well as Memar Design.

Other resources for people looking at architects and designers include The Globe and Mail and the National Post. Both newspapers have extensive real estate sections that often discuss some of Toronto’s best architects. 

There are also many websites available, but as always be wary of what you read on the internet. Look for real estate and architectural sites with real feedback from clients, which can give readers a better perspective.

You can find more great architects and ideas through Totally Toronto.

Condos

Toronto condos have almost become a more popular option than purchasing a house. The sense of community within the condo buildings – and shared maintenance costs – make it so condos can offer more to the buyers through amenities, location, and desired surrounding atmosphere. 

Toronto is a city constantly growing. Over the years, the city has started to grow upwards instead of outwards. One reason is because of the demand of living spaces in the city area – plus Greater Toronto Area (GTA) – and another reason being the convenience / cost effectiveness of building condos compared to houses. 

Toronto condo amenities are usually the same in all building complexes – give or take a few. Majority of the time, each room is equipped with its own washer and dryer. Other amenities for the community includes; saunas, pools, gyms and fitness rooms, meeting spaces, and a variety of party rooms.

The new Luxury Toronto Condominiums are pushing the amenities forward with offering things like virtual game rooms and even theatres. Don’t want to drive anymore? Some luxury condos have a shuttle service available just for that community – talk about saving money and the environment. 

Toronto condos have literally popped up in almost every neighbourhood in the city and in each neighbourhood brings varying amenities, sizes, architecture, and cost of purchasing / cost of living. Something to look at before purchasing is what neighbourhood you prefer – and can afford – since the communities change from region to region.

The best place to start – since the number of Toronto neighbourhoods is huge – is if you want to live in the east end, west end, uptown or downtown section of Toronto. Even these huge divisions are different from one another in price, culture, and style.

Condos in the east end include neighbourhoods such as the Beaches, Greektown, Riverdale, and Little India (Gerrard Street). The condos here have a nice variety of upscale and moderate pricing. The community of this division is based off middle-class and comfortable living, as well as some great cultural neighbourhoods. 

Condos in the west end can be found in neighbourhoods such as Little Italy, Koreatown, Portugal Village, High Park, Mirvish Village, Little Poland / Roncesvalles, and Bloor West Village. This division of Toronto has expanded over the years, and condos have become a major part of its real estate. Prices for some west end condos can be up in the millions, but as with the east end there is a good variety of price points.

Condos uptown Toronto are high end and luxury, especially compared to the west and east end. It also has some of the oldest Toronto neighbourhoods, such as Rosedale, Forest Hill, Summerhill, Yonge & Eglinton, Lytton Park, and Davisville Village. Find the best in luxury condos in any of the uptown neighbourhoods as well as nice sized spaces. It is like you are living in the heart of downtown Toronto but with more living room!

Condos downtown (central) Toronto have quickly dominated the real estate market. In the past few years, the big developments in the city of Toronto have been the waterfront condominiums facing Lake Ontario. They have quickly become a prime location for those who can afford it. 

The amenities in these Luxury Condos are top of the line, and are often connected with neighbouring condos in some way. The condos can be on the small side compared to those in the east or west end, but when you walk outside you are in the centre of Toronto.

Condos in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) gradually have been built up. The regions of the GTA include; East York, Scarborough, Etobicoke, North York, and York. You can find a broad range of condominiums in pricing, amenities, square feet, and communities.  

Renting condos in Toronto is becoming increasingly popular. You get all the great amenities, beautiful living space – not to mention ensuite washer and dryer – for a fraction of the cost. It is a really convenient option for someone coming to Toronto or wanting a living space for just a few months. Since you are dealing with the owner of the condo instead of a landlord, there is a huge amount of flexibility.

If you are a condo owner looking into renting yours out, be sure to promote not only your buildings amenities but also the neighbourhoods. Potential renters will be looking for items such as; parking spaces, close public transit TTC, grocery stores, medical facilities, nearby entertainment, and other shopping facilities. 

Condos in Toronto are becoming a better option for many different people and lifestyles as each Toronto neighbourhood has their own with differing prices and amenities.

For Sale

It doesn’t take you long to realize that everything in Toronto is for sale. When it comes to the real estate market, Toronto is consistently one of the hotter spots in Canada. Whether you are looking to rent or to buy, the city has potential options that cover the entire spectrum.

For the investor, there are a multitude of opportunities to buy condominiums, detached homes, apartment buildings, office and commercial buildings across all neighbourhoods of the city. 

By Location

For the potential entrepreneur, there are so many great locations for a store, restaurant or other business. For the residential renter, Toronto’s offerings run the gamut from musty basement apartment to gleaming new two-bedroom lofts overlooking Lake Ontario.

However, lesson one of Toronto real estate is this: everything in the city is more expensive. No need to dance around the subject — for better or for worse, Toronto is the bustling economic and social capital of Canada and real estate prices reflect it. 

This is a potential boon to investors, but new residents may find that the cost of rent somewhat higher than they’re used to.

From an urban planning standpoint, the city of Toronto is a laid out in relatively simple gridiron fashion. The core of the city, and consequently the most valuable real estate, runs north from the waterfront of Lake Ontario roughly from Spadina Avenue in the west and Jarvis Street in the east. 

The downtown waterfront is characterized by new public spaces and large developments of shiny new condominiums. 

Beyond the commercial core lies a ring of older residential neighbourhoods, which are themselves criss-crossed by commercial real estate that lies along the city’s major arteries. 

Running east-west are a series of key roads including King Street, Queen Street, College Street, Bloor Street and St. Clair Ave. Roads like Dufferin Street, Bathurst Street, Avenue Road and Yonge Street run north from downtown all the way to Highway 401. 

Outside central Toronto, the region is characterizes by a series of sprawling suburban communities connected by 400-series highways, often identified as the 905 region (after its telephone area code). 

Here real estate prices tend to be lower than downtown Toronto, but vary depending on the proximity to transportation links, green spaces, and the waterfront of Lake Ontario. 

It may not be downtown, but potential investors would be remiss if they did not consider the strong demand for real estate in these areas, particularly with so many people choosing to live there and to commute in to the city every day.

Other Things to Consider

They say the first rule of real estate is “location, location, location,” and Toronto is certainly no exception to this rule. The price to buy or rent real estate can vary significantly depending on its whereabouts in the city. 

The closer one gets to downtown, the higher the prices rise. But other factors to consider include proximity to public transportation, particularly the TTC subway lines. 

Since these provide quick and easy access to the rest of the city, renters will tend to pay a premium to be within walking distance to a station.

Real estate in Toronto can also vary significantly from neighbourhood to neighbourhood. 

For example, areas just west of downtown like The Annex, Little Italy and Bloordale are populated by lower-density retail, modest houses and smaller apartment blocks. 

A neighbourhood like Yonge and Eglinton however, is characterized by higher-density commercial and larger apartment buildings.

Toronto has seen a lot of construction over the past decade, which presents both problems and opportunities for potential investors. 

Large condominium developments have sprung up all over – particularly in the lands close to the waterfront. Entirely brand-new neighbourhoods are found along Queen’s Quay, in the Distillery District, and on Fort York Boulevard, located west of Spadina Avenue

Demand right now is high for real estate in this area, but some questions linger whether demand can continue to keep up with supply.

The construction of new buildings has not been limited to the downtown core, as apartment buildings and commercial developments have also sprung up in suburbs outside of the city along the major freeways like Highway 401 and Highway 407. 

Clusters are found along Sheppard Avenue just north of the 401, in the east-end near Scarborough Town Centre, and near the western terminus of the Bloor-Danforth subway line at Kipling Station.

There are a wide variety of online real estate resources that exist to help prospective tenants and investors. Some of the better sites for checking out rentals in Toronto include www.viewit.ca and www.myhood.ca

They provide a wide range of search options, although they tend to feature properties owned by larger companies, especially large apartment buildings. All of the major real estate companies have websites displaying properties for sale as well.

For those looking to invest in larger scale real estate like restaurants, apartment buildings, office buildings and the like, larger commercial firms and brokerages are the best resource to use. 

There is a wide range of companies in Toronto, so if you’re looking to buy, your best bet is to enlist the help of a trusted real estate company with specific experience in the area you’re looking into.

Apartment Buildings for Sale
Apartments for Sale
Commercial Sales
Condos for Sale
For Sale by Owner
Foreclosures
Houses for Sale
Luxury Homes for Sale
New Homes for Sale
Restaurants for Sale

Moving Companies

There is so much to consider when you move; cleaning up your existing home, hiring a real estate agent, hiring a lawyer, dealing with all the paper work, and of course, deciding how to move all your worldly possessions.

There is a long list of well-established Toronto moving companies to help you through the transition. Most moving companies in Toronto recommend that you plan ahead, particularly in the spring and summer months.

Not all Toronto moving companies are alike; some handle large volumes of clients, while others are small neighbourhood run businesses. There are moving companies that offer extras like packaging materials and special tools to assist you on the big day. 

A little research can go a long way in making sure that your move goes smoothly.

Moving Checklist

Before you settle on a moving company you might want to go through a checklist like the one below:

  • Get 3 estimates
  • Make sure the company is insured
  • Find out what the company’s record is like? Can they give you references?
  • Do they follow the “Good Practice Guidelines for Canadian Movers”?
  • Do they have a Worker’s Compensation Certificate so you don’t have to pay for employee injuries?

There are dozens of Toronto moving and storage companies that are able to answer most of the questions above. But if you want to be thorough, you can read Toronto moving company reviews at www.homestars.com/on/toronto/moving-storage and at www.yelp.ca.

International Move

If you are relocating to or from a foreign country, there are companies that specialize in assisting you. Starting with companies that have a long operating history is a good idea. 

You will want to make sure that whatever Toronto international moving company you deal with has bonded staff, a sophisticated monitoring system, climate controlled storage, professional packing and consulting services and a strong global reputation. 

Moving Costs

Most moving companies operate in the same way; the more stuff you have, the more expensive your move will be. Toronto moving companies generally charge by the hour and long distance moves are usually calculated using a combination of weight and distance to your final destination.  

Keep in mind that some items may require special packing that typical moving companies are not equipped to handle. In other words, you may have to hire another company to help you. 

An example might be taking apart your gym equipment and transporting. Make sure you ask about items like this.  

Warnings

Be weary of any quotes that seem too low. Toronto moving companies have a good reputation, but every city has fallen victim to scams. Getting the 3 estimates allows you to compare prices and weed out potential problems. 

The website www.canada-movers.ca allows you to get quotes from several moving companies at the same time. As added protection, you might want to consider checking the moving company’s record through the Canadian Better Business Bureau.  

You can also check out www.MovingScam.com, a site that includes a message board where consumers write about bad moving experiences. The site allows you to post questions and gain valuable insight.

Some real estate agents tell their clients that it is a good idea to keep valuables with you. If you don’t have enough room in your car, you can always bury the items in a miscellaneous box. 

Remember to check with your insurance company to determine whether or not you need extra coverage should the moving company lose or damage any items. 

The best way to find a good moving company is by asking local real estate agents. They have the experience and knowledge to lead you in the right direction. 

Local real estate agents know what companies can get you moved on time and on a reasonable budget. If you know someone who has moved recently, talk to them and ask what their moving company was like.

Moving is a huge undertaking whether you are going a short distance, across the country or to an international location. Researching and planning your move takes time, but you will discover that it is time well spent. 

Hiring one of Toronto’s many outstanding movers will allow for a stress fee experience. 

Real Estate Board

In most cases an informed decision is the best decision, especially when you are talking about buying or selling a house in Toronto. 

The Toronto Real Estate Board was established to help you gather all the details you need when it comes to the real estate market.

In addition to assisting consumers, the real estate board is an organization that represents thousands of agents. In fact, the Toronto Real Estate Board is the largest board of its kind in the country with more than 30 thousand members. The board was established close to 100 years ago. 

Board’s Role

The board’s role can be broken into four primary areas: marketing, lobbying, advocating and guiding. The organization was originally formed in 1920 to help market real estate offerings and protect the interests of Toronto real estate agents

Over the years the membership grew and the role of the board did as well. Today the board has a large group of members with savvy marketing skills and property knowledge. 

They work on behalf of members, sellers and buyers. While they do not recommend specific realtors, they can tell you where to go to get good recommendations. You can visit the board at www.torontorealestateboard.com.

The Toronto Real Estate Board of Directors and the members work tirelessly to protect the privacy of consumers, as well as the quality of service that realtors offer. 

It is not uncommon for the board to lobby the government for improved buying and selling regulations. In recent years the board has been working to make sure that real estate listings on the web do not jeopardize the privacy of sellers. According to the membership, they want to ensure that all sellers have a safe and Hassle free experience. 

The board has strong roots in the community and a reputation as a highly professional organization. If you ever have a problem with a real estate agent, the board wants to know about it. 

They strive to educate both the agent and customer, but sometimes personalities clash or visions differ so if you have a problem with an agent and want to act, the board can guide you in how to issue a formal complaint. 

Even if you already have a Toronto real estate agent representing you, the real estate board can be a huge help when you are house hunting in Toronto. 

They can provide with tips that can go a long way in getting you the home you want and the price you want. Sellers have often commented on advice they’ve received from the board that enabled them to sell their house quickly. 

If you are from out of town, the Toronto Real Estate Board can offer you detailed maps of all the jurisdictions within the city. As well, you get information on hospital, education and transportation services for each of the jurisdictions. 

Eye on Market

The board knows the market well and keeps very close tabs on what is happening with both sales and rentals in Toronto. They release monthly housing figures and data on real estate trends. They include rental information in their market updates for those who prefer not to purchase. 

The board has a strong relationship with the Canadian Real Estate Association. The Association sponsors MLS; the multiple listing systems for properties. 

MLS is a great way to introduce new properties to real estate agents. The Toronto Real Estate Board is also a member of the Ontario Real Estate Association

If you are more interested in a house or condo on the outskirts of Toronto, there are smaller real estate boards you can turn to for guidance.

  • Brampton Real Estate Board
  • Orangeville and District Real Estate Board
  • Mississauga Real Estate Board
  • Durham Region Real Estate Board

There are some communities close to the city of Toronto that don’t have their own board. In those cases you will find that you can turn to the Toronto board for help.

Community Outreach

Although the Toronto Real Estate Board is large, the organization has managed to maintain a community feel. The board is very active in all neighbourhoods in the city. For example, the group supports a number of community charities throughout the year. 

If you are thinking about buying, selling or renting a home or condo in the city of Toronto, the Toronto Real Estate Board is a good place to turn to gather facts, information and help that will make your real estate transaction an easier task.

Real Estate Districts

Toronto has a variety of diverse real estate districts and neighbourhoods. Whatever the type of residence you may be seeking, chances are that you will find it in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

In the city of Toronto the range of homes vary from living:

  • in the downtown Toronto core
  • in a condo
  • highrise or townhome style
  • Toronto loft apartment
  • lakefront duplex
  • condo
  • even aboard a boat

These types of Toronto homes can be found in the:

  • Financial district
  • Entertainment district
  • Harbourfront district
  • Palace Pier district
  • Liberty Village district
  • Distillery district

In the heart of downtown Toronto, these residents have quick access to the highways, subways, airports, buses, and of course an endless supply of taxi service.  Shopping, dining, tourist activities, water sports, beaches, and culture are all at the fingertips of the residents living in the core. 

Walking distance to such attractions as Rogers Centre, the Air Canada Centre, Canadian National Exhibition, Museums, the Toronto Island, Ontario Place, the CN Tower and many Theatres makes this area an extremely busy place to be in high tourist seasons. 

The prices can vary quite dramatically in this neighborhood and it seems like every day a new building is going up.  

Currently this is a high-demand neighborhood, with people lining up for days in order to bid on a new condo.  These line-ups have even led to legal disputes as the crowd mentality sets in.  There is a concern that there will soon be a condo glut and the prices will plummet as the new-builds are so numerous.  This has been rumoured for over a year and yet there is no relief in sight.

Across the Lakeshore, residents and tourist both are able to enjoy the waterfront trail.  This is a biking, running, and blading trail that spans from Niagara Falls right through to the Ontario, Quebec border.

There are older areas that have been revamped and updated with many renovated properties.  There are established beauties scattered about High Park, Old Mill, and The Beach.  A drive up to Bloor Street will take you to the trendy areas of the Annex, Bloor West Village, High Park, Royal York and the Old Mill.  

East of here one will find themselves in the more upscale Yorkville, Rosedale, and Forest Hill locations. Again this area offers a variety of price ranges; however, most targeting a thicker pocketbook.   The shopping is unique and varied for each of these neighbourhoods.  Dining is ever bustling and a number of trails for running in parklands numerous.  The Humber River winds its way around much of these neighbourhoods as well as many ethnic blends.

Downtown Toronto provides in its Trinity Bellwoods, Roncesvalles, and Cabbagetown a bit of eclectic living.  These once run-down neighborhoods are turning themselves around to some trendy hot spots.  There have been an influx of younger couples moving in with some capital which has changed the demographics.  

The home prices, therefore, have seen an significant rise over the years, though a fixer upper can still be had at a fairly reasonable price.  The catch is the amount you save may have to be put in fixing it up.  This is a slow but noticeable effort.  Included in these areas are their own ma and pa type variety stores, flower stores, and unique restaurants.  Here there may be many basement apartments and such for rent as well. 

Slightly north of the Annex, it is hard not to notice the Casa Loma neighborhood.  Yet another luxury established residential gathering for those with old money.  Rich in architecture and grandeur as the castle itself, this area does not only find itself on a hill with a landmark castle, but there are parklands, trails, and an area of shops and cafes.  This is a very expensive area of the city to live in, as a brown stone may cost well over $1 million.  

As you head further away from the core of the city, the properties become generally more spacious and the square foot one can attain for the same dollar is much greater.  Bridlepath, Mississauga Road, and the York Mills areas are a couple other areas to note as luxury home destinations.  While Etobicoke, Scarborough, and East York is much more affordable.

Real Estate in Downtown Toronto
Real Estate in North End
Real Estate in West End

Toronto MLS

The business of buying and selling real estate in Toronto has come a long way over the years. A lot of industry experts agree that the system known as MLS has been the biggest and best change to hit the market. 

MLS stands for Multiple Listing Service; a well organized way of presenting properties for sale to a wide consumer market. Before MLS was established, people looking to purchase a home in Toronto often had to rely on sketchy information in their local newspapers. 

Today, Toronto MLS provides real estate agents with direct access to detailed information on multiple properties. Agents can then pass the information on to their clients. 

History

MLS was established in 1951 and was originally referred to as “Photo co-op Listing”. It officially became M.L.S in 1962. The Multiple Listing Service is sponsored by the Canadian Real Estate Association, but the Toronto Real Estate Board runs MLS for the city and Greater Toronto Area.  

Every month the Canadian Real Estate Association or CREA puts together a report on properties sold through the Multiple Listing Service. 

They include buying and selling information, tips on how to present your property, information on market trends and articles on market projections.

Benefits

There are many benefits to using the MLS system. Because the information that goes along with each property is comprehensive, as a buyer you have the chance to learn a lot about the houses for sale in Toronto and the GTA. 

For example, the Multiple Listing Service shows how long a home has been on the market, whether there have been previous offers that have fallen through, high quality photos and detailed descriptions of each room, as well as features on the outside of the house. Real estate agents say that MLS is great when you want to compare properties that are similar. 

Accessing MLS

According to real estate studies, 90% of house sales are done through MLS.  Accessing the system has become easier in recent years due to the internet. 

Often times, Toronto real estate agents make MLS listings available through their own websites. You can also request listings through the official website, www.realtor.ca

The best way to get the specific information you are looking for is to reach out to a real estate agent. The MLS is constantly being updated and they will know about the latest listings and about properties that are about to be entered into the system. 

How to List

When you want your property listed on MLS you need to contact an agent. You will be required to pay a small fee for the posting. In the past a posting meant that you had to enter into a business relationship with an agent and pay him/her commission. 

However, in the fall of 2010, CREA voted in favor of a deal with the Federal Competition Bureau that would allow brokerages to charge a minimal posting fee to consumers without having to use any agent services. If you are selling your property on your own (for sale by owner) you can still have your home listed on the MLS. 

MLS Language

The Multiple Listing Service in Toronto comes with its own language. Agents to try to include as much information as possible on each property and that means they have to use what space they are allocated carefully. 

Due to the high volume of information, abbreviations are used to help describe different facets of the houses up for sale. Below is a list of some popular MLS abbreviations you will come across.

  • Apx (Approximate)
  • Acc (Access)
  • B/T (Built in)
  • CAC (Central air conditioning)
  • Comb (Combined)
  • Dft (Deal fell through)
  • Dom (Days on market)
  • Feat (Feature)
  • RSA (Room sizes Approximate)
  • Upgr (Upgrade)

Understanding the abbreviations will help you decide if a property is worth viewing in person. There are many other buying and selling terms that you will come across. Your agent should be familiar with all of them.

The MLS system has come a long way since its inception. Today, real estate agents say they can’t imagine working without it. It helps them respond quicker to clients’ needs, provides sellers with an opportunity to reach a large number of real estate agents and potential buyers. 

Lastly, it gives buyers a wide range of properties to consider. For more information on Toronto MLS you can check out www.torontorealestateboard.com.

Find more on Toronto real estate through the Totally Toronto website!

Residential Rentals

If you are looking for a rental living arrangements in Toronto, there is certainly no shortage of options. There are a wide variety of apartments, houses, townhouses and other dwellings available to rent in both the short and long term

While prices can be all over the map depending on what type of rental you might be looking for, this article will try to give you a sense of what you can expect.

They say the first rule of real estate is “location, location, location.” Toronto is no exception to this rule, the price to renting real estate varies depending on its whereabouts in the city. 

The closer one gets to downtown the higher the prices rise, to the point of doubling or tripling rates of options further out from the core. Another factor to consider is proximity to public transportation, particularly the TTC subway lines. 

Since these provide quick and easy access to the rest of the city, renters will tend to pay a premium to be within walking distance to a station.

The downtown core has seen a sharp rises in residential rental space over the past decade or so as condominiums have sprung up like glass and metal dandelions, filling in every spare patch of land. 

The majority of condos and apartment buildings are found in an area that forms a ring around the business district centered on Yonge Street and Bay Street

Of those areas, the lands close to the waterfront have seen the most construction, with huge developments along Queen’s Quay, in the neighbourhood of the Distillery District, and on Fort York Boulevard, located west of Spadina Avenue

Prices here tend to be the highest, with a one-bedroom apartment going for anywhere between $1300 and $2000 a month, even more. Two-bedroom rentals routinely range above $2000 a month and even towards the $3000 mark. 

Of course, while the prices in the core are the highest, the majority of these buildings are quite new and feature a variety of facilities, including gyms, pools and 24-hour security.

Outside of the core, residential rentals in Toronto tend to vary significantly depending on the neighbourhood. For areas just west of downtown like The Annex, Little Italy and Bloordale you will find it is populated by modest houses and smaller apartment blocks. 

These dwellings have lower prices that attract students and young professionals, especially in The Annex. Here a basement or bachelor apartment might run as low as $700 or $800, while one-bedroom would be in the $950 to $1150 range, and two-bedrooms in the $1400 to $2000 range. 

Rentals for larger groups of people, such as an entire four or five bedroom house, are also common.

As you move further from downtown, prices tend to drop. Neighbourhoods north and south of Danforth Avenue in the east-end have similar housing and pricing to the west-end areas just mentioned above, albeit a bit cheaper. 

Residential rentals can certainly be found just about anywhere in the city, but it should be noted that certain districts have more available options than others. 

Higher-density apartment blocks are found in neighbourhoods adjacent to major roads such as Yonge Street, Bloor Street/Danforth Avenue, Queen Street and Eglinton Avenue

Depending on the building, a typical one-bedroom apartment in the Yonge and Eglinton area will cost you $1000-$1500 and a two-bedroom $1300-1800. The Beaches, near Queen Street East, have prices similar to The Annex and Little Italy, while the west-end neighbourhood of High Park is a bit more expensive. 

Prospective tenants there can expect to find prices routinely hit the $1400 to $2200 range. Liberty Village, on the western edge of King West, features one-bedroom for around $1300 to $1700 and two-bedrooms up to $2000. It is also worth noting that every area has its luxury rentals as well, which will always cost you a pretty penny more.

As mentioned before, Toronto has seen the construction of a lot of rental units in the past decade or so. However, the location of these is not limited to the downtown core, as large buildings have sprung up in suburbs outside of the city along the major freeways like Highway 401 and Highway 407

Clusters are found along Sheppard Avenue just north of the 401, in the east-end near Scarborough Town Centre, and near the western terminus of the Bloor-Danforth Subway Line at Kipling Station

Many buildings here are as sparkling and new as those on the waterfront, but somewhat less expensive (and with cheaper parking). A one bedroom apartment can go for between $1150 and $1400, while two bedroom rentals would rarely be found above the $2000 mark.

There are a wide variety of real estate websites that exist to help prospective tenants. Some of the better sites for checking out rentals in Toronto include viewit.ca and myhood.ca

They provide a wide range of search options, although they tend to feature properties owned by larger companies, especially large apartment buildings. 

Online marketplaces like Craigslist and Kijiji are also good resources, as they tend to provide a good place to look for rentals in houses or smaller buildings.

Find more on residential rentals from Totally Toronto’s real estate section.