Volume 16, Issue 2
Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.
William B. Sprague
Spring must be coming soon!??! Though I love the snow, Bella and Mickey are less than enthusiastic about the icy paths in Sorauren Park! I was fortunate to miss the worst of the storms during our trip to Turks & Caicos for a relaxing vacation. We loved staying at Windmills Plantation on the remote Salt Cay Island. Mary and I then proceeded to Bahamas to celebrate the National Chairmans Club award with Royal LePage. As well as enjoying the Atlantis Cove, Mary and I were treated to a visiting with a local orphanage that we supported and where we met all kinds of awesome kids. We also heard the amazing inspirational speaker David Chilton - the Wealthy Barber author who reminded us that we have so much to be grateful for, with such full lives and are truly blessed. Check ou the many inspiring stories from our clients in the Chit Chat column as well! Despite enjoying skiing with Cassidy this winter, KJ has said goodbye to the February blahs by taking the family down south to Florida.
As the busy spring market really heats up, and we happily help clients - just to let you know, as we work in such quality neighbourhoods in the core of the city of Toronto, our experience is that the real estate market is still going strong with multiple offers on well priced freehold properties despite some concerns about a possible slow-down. There is a lack of inventory, meaning not as many houses on the market, (also because of the snowy February), so the demand is still there.
We continue to work together to upgrade our systems and stay ahead of the curve by providing you with exceptional service. One of the new features we've added to our dynamic marketing plan for our sellers is our Vimeo Tour - much more than a virtual tour, it's a personal walk-through movie of your home with detailed narration by Nicole, posted on the internet and our website on-line feature sheets. Prospective buyers can experience your home by seeing and hearing how all the features benefit them! This month we bring you TWO amazing Kontests (who says real estate can't be fun?) March is our annual Grand Prize Kontest posted on our website - enter to win your choice of 3 fab prizes at www.juliekinnear.com by March 20, 2008. The other Kontest is especially for kids! See enclosed our 1st annual Kool Easter Kolouring Kontest!
Elise is pursuing her real estate license and will be writing her first exam next month - I'd say 'wish her luck', but she doesn't need it. Her quick learning and strong grasp of real estate has been evident since she joined the Team last summer! Jen has been taking Nessy to obedience training, an adventure for both after Nessy recently recovered from several surgeries to remove a number of porcupine quills - Jen's been spending lots of time up at her cottage in Caledon and horseback riding in the quiet woods. Nicole has been adjusting to her new home with partner Mark and finally settling in after a challenging move - she's loving the extra space & the great Riverdale neighbourhood, and best of all are the delicious meals prepared by Mark in their new kitchen!
Hope you enjoy all the splendour life has to offer this Spring,
- Bill Vlaad is in training to participate in an amateur charity boxing tournament called the "Bay Street Brawl 2"! Proceeds go to Believe to Achieve - Thursday, April 17th at 7pm at the Arcadian Court. More details about the event can be found at CounterPunchPromotions.com. Seating is limited, you must RSVP if you'd like to see the Bay Street types beat on each other!! For details please contact Bill at www.vlaadco.com
- Jasmine Akbarali is about to be a published author! She has contributed an essay to an anthology which will be published April 1, 2008. The book is called The Lucky Ones: Our Stories of Adopting Children from China, by Ann Rauhala (editor), published by ECW Press. The Lucky Ones is available for purchase online already at Amazon and Chapters. All proceeds go to charities benefiting children living in China's orphanages.
- Richard Reiner will be climbing 14162 ft. Mt. Shasta in late spring in order to raise funds for Big City Mountaineers charity. BCM is active in Canada & US helping inner-city teens improve their life prospects through mentorship programs. He is committing $1000 himself, in addition to his own travel, climbing, and equipment costs - but this is only a small part of his total fundraising commitment. Any help you can provide to BCM by supporting the climb will be much appreciated by the kids, and you will receive a tax receipt. Please visit Richard's climbing website to help.
- Chris Jones is serving on the board of the Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People (was formerly the Young People's Theatre) and highly recommends their fun, educational & inspiring childrens' programming.
- Johanna Reynolds & Zach Kellum have a business called the depARTment - take a look at their website if you're looking for amazing creative marketing solutions for personal & business needs!
- Sue Seaman just got back from her 3rd glorious Mexican vacation in the Mayan Riviera and stayed at Barcelo Colonial. One warning for prospective travellers: a lot of beach erosion has occurred because of the hurricane 2 years ago near Playa del Carmen so be careful when choosing a resort near there.
- Brian and Margaret Reid and extended family have virtually all been clients of ours! Amazingly all three kids have decided to have their weddings in 2008, in June, August, and September. Brian is looking forward to his welfare cheque in October - All three live in the Toronto Beaches.
- Rolando Alvarez Giacoman has 2 pieces of acting news! To see him play a human cat like those on the fun Whiskas commercials, please visit Whiskas.ca and adopt a virtual cat (remember to register) You can also see Rolando in the new #1 film in the nation JUMPER as the Mexican driver.
- Jimmy & Tracy Ioannidis have finished tearing down and rebuilding their new home on Hastings and have moved in. Jimmy is on paternity leave and Tracy's back at work - busy times considering son Finlay will be 1 in April!
Are you feeling like Giving Back?
- Q: How do you achieve lasting satisfaction that money can't buy?
- A: By supporting a great cause!
Our charity of the month is IFAW, the International Fund for Animal Welfare - actively supported by Jen & Nicole of our Team, and it's the organization Jen adopted her dog Nessy from.
Did you know...
Go Green, Go Portable
Besides being sleeker, portable and far cooler, laptops consume one-eighth the power of a traditional desktop. If everyone in the house had laptops they could be downloading music and updating their blogs all at the same time and still not be using as much power as one clunky desktop! Add to that the fact that notebooks spend less time plugged in, and a portable computer is the smart green choice.
At $385,735, the average price in the GTA rose seven per cent compared to $358,533 recorded in mid-February 2007. Within the City of Toronto, the average rose 11 per cent to $434,657, although pockets within the East end rose at the more affordable pace of around five per cent. As well, properties are remaining on the market fewer days.
The average number of days on market is currently 31 versus 35 days at the same time last year. "We are optimistic that we will see a strong spring market because the economic fundamentals remain in place," said Ms. O'Neill. "Prices are still particularly affordable in Toronto's East end."
The strongest activity last month took place in Toronto's Central and East districts. The Danforth (E03) experienced a 30 per cent increase in transactions compared to last January, driven by strong sales in all housing types.
Strong condominium apartment sales also lead the Downtown Core (C01) to a 19 per cent overall increase in transactions compared to a year ago.
The JKT-List: A Few of Our Favourite Things!
- Jen can't get enough of The Boiler House in the Distillery District - she went to a private function and they had the top floor all to themselves - great venue. Also a great place for dinner.
- Elise adores Cineplex Odeon Carlton. Maybe it doesn't have the gigantic screens that are expected at a Cineplex or Silver City, and you're limited to basic popcorn, instead of Pizza Hut or New York Fries, but as a trade off you get to see lesser-known flicks with an audience that appreciates movies. Regular admission is a couple bucks less than most theatres, and Tuesdays are known for $7.95 tickets
- Nicole raves about Alex Chang, Dipl.Ac, Dipl. S.T., CST - the amazing acupuncture/shiatsu treatment she received from Alex has helped with several chronic problems, and you wouldn't think you could fall asleep with needles in you, but it is possible and even probable in the soothing treatment room. Book on www.teocampbellshiatsu.com or call 416 453 9686
- Julie fell in love with Style at Home Magazine - getting great ideas for planning her home reno, and loves the practical articles.
[Hey where's KJ?! Men have favourite things too! He'll have to catch up next newsletter!]
See a For Sale Sign/Sold you were wondering about? We are happy to let you know about houses in your neighbourhood - feel free to contact Nicole directly at:
The Julie Kinnear Team's GEMs (Genuine Evidence of Merit)
I've been checking out your listings and watching your videos of the homes. Brilliant idea and you do a great job! You guys are so ahead of the times, I'm so pleased to be your client'
What They Got! A continuing column of the Julie Kinnear Team's Sales
39 MacLean Avenue
Asking Price: 1 999,000
Selling Price: 1 965,600
201 Clinton Street
Asking Price: 529,000
Selling Price: 500,000
211 Pacific Avenue
Asking Price: $489,000
Selling Price: $553,000
Are you a soft target for identity thieves?
The advent of Web 2.0 and user-generated web content has provoked a rise in online identity theft 'phishing' or key logging, increased dramatically between 2004 and 2006. And hackers are increasingly targeting users of social networks, such as Facebook and MySpace, in sophisticated, customised attacks.
While being completely anonymous online may not be possible, there are steps you can take to protect your identity!
In 'phishing', criminals often pose as legitimate organisations and use forged emails and fake websites to trick people into providing confidential information, such as bank account or credit card numbers
If you receive an e-mail from a company, usually a financial institution, requesting information or action, do not click, reply or provide any information. Contact the company directly to verify the validity of the request or to report fraud.
When shopping online, make sure you're dealing with a trusted and reputable seller. And when you enter your account information to make a purchase, check that the URL of the page you're on is the same as the vendor's. In a method called 'spoofing', criminals divert users to websites that pose as legitimate ones to phish for personal information.
Don't flaunt your e-mail address
Email harvesters make money by selling e-mail addresses to marketing firms or spammers. They collect addresses from chat rooms, public forums or any website where an e-mail address is posted.
To protect yourself, avoid signing up for free newsletters or other offers from dubious companies. Don't forward chain letters or reply to spam mail - even to ask that they stop.
Practice information withholding
Providing too much information on websites - even when you think they are private - may be a threat to your identity. Now that Facebook profiles can be Googled, make sure to change your privacy settings so that only "friends" are allowed to search for and view your profiles.
- Don't join a large network in which many users can see your profile.
- Use third-party applications with care - they can access almost all user info, and they're even able to read information from your friends' profiles.
- Never put your phone number or home address on your profile.
- For extra security, don't include your complete birthday, which can be used to access information like bank accounts, or your e-mail.
- Even your political views and movie tastes can be used by knowledgeable criminals to craft personalised e-mails enticing you to download malicious software or visit a phishing or spoofed site.
Another way that criminals try to gather personal information is with spyware. These applications are secretly installed on your computer and gather information without your knowledge. Spyware software can track your movements online as well as access your system information. This could take the form of, for example, a keylogger program that logs your keystrokes to steal passwords and other sensitive information. Check regularly for spyware using anti-spyware programs such as Norton Internet Security. These programs can also help safely remove spyware or other malware from your computer. Also download Windows security updates whenever they are available to ensure your protection tools are current.
You can outsmart hackers by employing these simple safety measures and staying up-to-date on the latest Internet fraud tactics!