The Julie Kinnear Team of Toronto Real Estate Agents Toronto real estate with personality. Thu, 20 Jul 2017 12:16:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Super busy and looking for a specific condo? Tue, 18 Jul 2017 14:15:23 +0000 [This post contains video, click to play]

Happy Client Kunal knew exactly what he wanted and that’s why he chose The Julie Kinnear Team:

These guys are really good at what they do, I specifically sod them out because I knew exactly what I wanted and Tyler and the Team had been awesome helping me through the process and making it as simple as possible because honestly, I don't have a lot of time. So midnight emails and all that kind of stuff, super fast turnaround on the contract, on the actual offer, all through that, the Team has been amazing.


July Krazy Kontest Winner Fri, 14 Jul 2017 15:12:55 +0000 The winner of our July's Krazy Kontest prize - a $25.00 Baskin Robbins' gift card is...

[This post contains video, click to play]

Conor Smith! Big congrats from The JKT & enjoy your ice cream!

The Big Debate: To Renovate Your House Or To Build A New One Thu, 13 Jul 2017 09:34:07 +0000

You’ve found the perfect property in the neighbourhood you’ve been dreaming of living in for years. This could be your forever home! But when you think about the actual house, you wish that the facade wasn’t so outdated, the bedrooms were larger, the living/dining space had a more open concept, and that the bathrooms were just different. That backyard though - it is absolutely amazing! You could easily envision you, your family, and your friends spending many a summer night back there for years to come.

Holly Chandler, a sales representative on the Julie Kinnear Team, has seen many clients buy a property with the intention of building new:

Toronto’s housing stock is pretty old, especially in the High Park area where most homes were built between 1900 and 1940. There are often a lot of surprises behind the walls and this is why most contractors will say that it is easier to just build anew.

When you began looking for your new home, you never even thought of buying a house only to tear it down and build a new one. Is this something you can do? Is this something you even want to do?

The answer to the first question is "yes!" More and more people are choosing to demolish the existing structure on the property of their dreams in order to build from scratch. This growing trend is significantly changing the ever-evolving streetscapes of many Toronto neighbourhoods. Taking a walk through the side streets of areas like Little Italy will reveal a rich tapestry of both historic and contemporary architecture.

The answer to the second question can really only come from you. While choosing to customize your house to fulfill your "forever home dreams" is an exciting prospect, it is also a very daunting one. There are many things to consider, especially the added work and stress that the project will inevitably add to your current life.

Where To Start

If you're considering building a new home from scratch, it is important to understand the work involved in such a project.

  • The first thing that you’ll want to do is find out if your property is included in the Heritage Register or designated under the Ontario Heritage Act. If it is, then demolishing the building isn't possible. Heritage properties can be renovated, though, but there are strict laws and guidelines to be adhered to.
  • Next, you will need to obtain a Residential Demolition Permit with Replacement Building from the city of Toronto. The costs associated with this type of permit in 2017 total $3098.12.
  • Prior to submitting the building permit, you will also have to apply for a Zoning Certificate to make sure that your project is compliant with all of the applicable laws. The fee for the Zoning Certificate will be deducted from the above permit as long as it is for the same project and is submitted within the year.
  • You will also have to make sure that the demolition is in compliance with the Building Code Act and that it will be carried out in an environmentally safe way.
  • A Municipal Road Damage Deposit will have to be paid to ensure that no sidewalk, curb, or road will be harmed in the demolition. This also covers mud being tracked onto the road as well as snow that isn’t removed during construction.
  • Finally, it is important to remember that in Toronto, you must complete the new building within two years of the demolition or face a $20,000 fee.

When asked about the barriers Holly's clients have faced during this process, she felt that:

Obtaining the permissions can be the biggest challenge. The actual demo doesn't take long.

The Cost And Time

In Holly's experience:

My clients will often know that they intend to build new when looking for a property and so they will already have the design planned. With a rebuild they have the option of larger spaces and a more modern layout without being limited to the confines of the existing structure.

The next part is the fun part - you get to design the forever home you’ve been imagining! Many home builders offer services that include both the design/architectural and building components. The total cost of the home will vary, based on the design detailing, high-end customizations, and home comfort systems you’d like to add.

Holly's advice to her clients:

The first thing to do is find a builder who comes recommended and take the time to interview them.

According to Harlequin Homes, a local custom home builder, the average cost of building a home in Toronto is $250 per square foot. That means that building a 3000 sq. ft. home would cost approximately $750,000. This estimate includes permit costs as well as fees for architecture and design. It also factors in both the hard and soft costs. Hard costs include labour and materials, while soft costs include things like the supply of temporary power and insurance.

Although there will certainly be many things to consider as the project continues, the last main consideration at this stage is the length of time it will take from start to finish. Building a new home can take anywhere between eight to twelve months. The demolition itself will take under a week for the existing structure to come down and the debris to be fully removed from the property.

Renovation Is Always An Option

Holly recently completed a major renovation on her own home and when asked why she chose to renovate, she said:

My house is a semi which would make it complicated to tear down! It was built in 1922 and I like the character and the look of the home, so even if it was a stand alone I probably wouldn’t have torn it down.

If understanding the laws, applying for permits, demolishing the old structure, designing a new home, and then dealing with all of the challenges that may arise throughout the process feels like an overwhelming undertaking for your life at this time, you may want to consider renovating instead.

While this can seem like a less daunting option, Holly still found the process challenging:

I bought the house spontaneously and thought a coat of paint would go a long way, but soon after I realized that it needed more. Because I didn’t take the time to plan in advance, I went way over budget on the whole renovation. I got quite involved and at one point the general contractor said that it would be better if there was only one of him. It took me a minute to realize who he thought the second general contractor was - it was me!

You can do things like update the facade, open up the living space, change the layout to make the bedrooms larger, redo the bathrooms, and even add another floor. If your must-haves would leave more than half of the home unchanged, then renovating may be a better option for you. Keep in mind that renovations come with their own set of rules and challenges as well.

Holly's advice to those choosing to embark on a home renovation:

The process will be smoother, the budget will be easier to adhere to, and the results will be better if you take the time to plan ahead rather than opting for instant gratification.

Overall, rebuilding is doable. Just count the cost beforehand because by the time that you realize that you didn't, it'll be too late and that's no way to start the adventure involved in your forever home.


In case you missed it – JKT June News Wed, 12 Jul 2017 09:00:58 +0000

Farmers’ Markets in Toronto: Cabbagetown

The Cabbagetown Farmers’ Market, first opened in 2001, continues to celebrate this bond between its vibrant community and& local, sustainable food. Supporting ecological food growing and production methods, this market emphasizes working with farmers from Southern Ontario to keep it as local as possible! See the full photo essay here!

May 2017 Toronto Market Report: Housing Market is Cooling

We all took a little break from the hot Toronto market while home buyers benefitted from a better supplied situation in May 2017 in comparison to the same time last year. See all the numbers here!

Urban Gardening: Lend and Share Your Unused Backyard in Toronto

If you’re a person with more yard than you know what to do with, or someone who misses the comforts of tending to a garden each summer, garden sharing might be a great fit for you. Sarah Nixon, a garden sharing professional, has some tips on how to build a sense of community in Toronto’s urban areas. See the full article here!

Done Deals: Zoning flexibility of Dufferin Grove triplex widens its buyer pool

Nearly hidden amid Bloor Street storefronts is a semi-detached triplex with both commercial and residential zoning. It was an intriguing option for end-users and business operators, including some who tried to win over the seller at an offer presentation event in March. See the full deal here!

So You Want To Be A Landlord? Part Three: Dealing With Tenants

Finding responsible tenants, collecting rent and property upkeep are equally important when you’re a landlord. You also need to understand that when it comes to the tenant-landlord relationship in Toronto, the tenant holds most of the power. Read the full part III of our Landlord guide here!

Canada’s Pride Month 2017: Celebrating Toronto Dyke March

Carrying on the tradition from the first Canadian gay Pride March in 1972, the annual Dyke March and Pride Parade are demonstrations of power, strength, diversity, and passion, aiming to create political and visible space, where participants can reflect on history and honour the accomplishments. See the full photo essay here!


Starting a Business and Looking for a Live/Work Space in Toronto? Tue, 11 Jul 2017 14:07:07 +0000 [This post contains video, click to play]

Happy Clients Adam and Erin found the perfect house for running a home-based day care. They enjoyed working with Holly Chandler and trusted her opinion. They're fans of The Julie Kinnear Team:

We trusted Holly’s opinion on the right buy because we had a pretty specific idea of what we were going to do with the house because I wanted to open up a daycare. And this house, that we bought, was absolutely perfect for it! Everything just worked out beautifully. But just being able to ask Holly questions about the details and value of the property that we were determined to buy, it was nice just to be able to trust her opinion and her experience with selling houses.

Interested in your own Live/Work space? Read our full guide here!


June 2017 Toronto Market Report: Decisions On Hold Fri, 07 Jul 2017 12:47:18 +0000 Greater Toronto Area REALTORS® reported 7,974 sales through TREB’s MLS® System in June 2017, which is down by 37.3 per cent in comparison to June last year.

June showed us that on one hand, many Toronto households are interested in purchasing a home in the near future, but some of these would-be buyers are putting their decision to purchase temporarily on hold while they are waiting to see the real impact of the Ontario Fair Housing Plan.

And on the other hand, we have existing homeowners who are listing their home because of the feeling that price growth may have peaked.

This situation resulted in a better-supplied market, where the number of new residential listings entered into TREB’s MLS® System was up by 15.9 per, and a moderating annual pace of price growth, with the average selling price for all home types combined representing a 6.3 per cent increase compared to the same month in 2016.

As Jason Mercer, TREB’s Director of Market Analysis and Service Channels, adds:

Recent Ipsos survey results suggest that home-buying activity in the GTA will remain strong moving forward. On the supply side of the market, it certainly looks as though buyers will benefit from more choice in the second half of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016.


Are you a first-time homebuyer looking for the perfect family house? Tue, 04 Jul 2017 09:56:31 +0000 [This post contains video, click to play]

Happy Clients Harry & Melissa are happy about Holly's guidance:

The process was pretty much a non-stressful event, just because we felt that Holly really knew what we were looking for and she was able to, when we walked it into a place, really able to gauge whether or not we would be suited for that place, if it was suited for us. The whole process was very educational from the beginning, to buying, to after the purchase, just walking through everything we needed to know as first-time homebuyers.


JKT Spotlight: Anne Kinch Mon, 03 Jul 2017 10:32:56 +0000

Some people are born teachers. Not only do they follow a path to their calling, they recognize that education is an important resource that should be accessible to everyone - no matter how they learn, no matter where they live.

Anne Kinch (Tessier) has always been passionate about teaching and learning. She is a primary school specialist, librarian, social adjustment, physical education and classroom teacher, and has taught every grade from junior kindergarten to grade eight. Anne's work with the York Region District School Board combined with her training as a Reading Recovery teacher led her to analyze how children performed tasks in mathematics. After her five-year long research project on this, she applied her studies to help children improve their abilities and confidence in both mathematics and literacy.

Most recently, Anne has broadened her reach beyond Toronto and Canada to Ghana, Africa where, as part of the organization Our Children Africa (co-founded by her daughter Shannon), she trains teachers in the Every Child’s Path program.

Our Children Africa is a Canadian organization whose mission is to provide quality Africentric education with an emphasis on literacy, leadership development, and reproductive health education. Its goal is to empower children through education to remove the barriers which prevent them from escaping the cycle of poverty.

What inspired you to begin Every Child's Path?

When I was trained as a Reading Recovery Teacher, founder Marie Clay's words really spoke to me: "children who make slow progress in reading, haven't learned how to look at the print." This means they are missing some of the details they need. Next, I began thinking about why we don't have math recovery and thought about how I would do that, especially since I saw many of my reading recovery students getting extra help in mathematics, in addition to literacy. I pondered this aloud to my superintendent, and she asked me about my thoughts on this at the time and we revisited it a year later. This is when it became more personal for me, and something I knew I had to act on. My superintendent helped me get involved in an action program in York Region where I worked with other teachers also doing research.

Almost the first day of my research I was introduced to the work of Doug Clements, a math professor, who has determined that it's easiest for children to learn to see things like print or numbers, in a sequence of frameworks like a box, then a row (reading and writing), and finally a circle. That for me was huge because I knew that we have to show children how to look at print no matter what it is (letters, numbers, patterns) in the box.

When I combined the work of Marie Clay with the work of Doug Clements, I developed a new program where children learn to look at print in a box (or mat) framework.

What are some misconceptions you've seen in terms of the way children learn?

I find that the biggest misconception is from teachers who think that children understand basic concepts when they don't. I don't know if there is enough time for teachers to explore different methods of learning that will work for everyone.

Howard Gardner of Harvard has identified seven distinct intelligences that influence how people can learn (visual-spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, linguistic, and logical-mathematical). When we introduce a new concept to students, it is best to show what this looks like in many different ways, since we all learn differently. Unfortunately, most teachers don't have the time to practice this to determine what method of learning works best for each child. If we don't explore all options, odds are we'll miss someone.

Can you tell us about your training as a reading recovery teacher and what that means?

The goal of reading recovery is to provide learners with one-on-one tutoring for half an hour each day and within 12-20 weeks to bring their ability up to their grade level, so they'll be able to work within their current grade effectively and independently.

I was trained how to analyze what children are doing and the mistakes they are making. Each week you'd watch a teacher through one-way glass and then talk about the lesson. You learn how to design individual programs for each child based on what he or she already knows.

When creating Every Child's Path I wanted to give as much reading recovery information as possible to help teachers help children who are having difficulty and be able to put it into a workable lesson plan for their entire class.

Another thing I was really aware of in creating the program was how active children are, and incorporating that into my lessons. With the mats, I can teach with no papers or pencils, and kids are actively involved in their learning.

How do you use mats to teach the structure of a box?

A mat (box) replaces a paper as the children learn how letters, numbers, words, sets, subsets, patterns and sentences work and fit inside that box. When I start to focus on my program I am looking to spend four to five months to work on spatial awareness in all subjects.

The mat itself is a noticing mat. Children start by noticing things on the mat, an object or a toy, and you start asking questions. A big part of my program is asking questions to get kids to think; I call it guided noticing. It brings out a lot of language and the children have to answer in complete sentences. So many people in Ghana speak tribal languages, but by having children answer in complete sentences it was helping them improve in their national language, English.

They aren't using pens and papers but are learning a lot. It takes months to work through the basics. I ask a lot of questions like "how do you know?" and "why do you think?", so they are also becoming critical thinkers.

Next, I like to think of the mat as a map with a grid and a legend and a direction indicator. When we give children a paper they have no framework. I'd point to a corner, so I'd help them develop language around a corner and direction on the mat. It was a discovery method, so we'd find corners. When I ask questions their minds are thinking and they can get on and touch and jump on the corners. They are so engaged in the program, the behaviour isn't an issue.

So we'd work on edges by seeing the edges with objects in the corners. We'd name starting edge on the left, stopping on the right. This is how we build a framework as to where things (like letters and numbers) are placed. Next, we start naming top left as the starting corner, and on the diagonal at the bottom is the stopping corner. The other two corners are just called the top and bottom corners. So it's an easy framework.

Then I'd just bring wool and we can make a number 2 on the mat and children can line-up and look where it starts or stops. The children can walk along the wool beginning from the starting edge and going along to the bottom corner.

How has education evolved since you first began working with children?

When I was completing my research to create Every Child's Path, I explored how much of the kindergarten curriculum involved spatial awareness. I discovered that this important element in literacy is sadly only covered for about a week or two of school.

I haven't seen much change, however, the biggest development I've seen is how there is so much more curriculum taught nowadays. This gives teachers very little time to delve into other areas of interest with their students, which is unfortunate.

How do you keep yourself educated and up to date on trending issues and research in education?

I am looking at it from a different place since I am exploring methods that will work in remote villages with very little teaching supplies. So when I'm looking, reading the paper, hearing word of mouth or on the internet, I am looking at how to work the program in disadvantaged areas.

I recently explored a math program that looked good at first, but it had have so many computer-based lessons connected with it, it is difficult to translate to somewhere without this technology. When I work with some village schools we can go to the market, get a mat and some string or wool and that's all of the supplies we really need. I am currently re-working my book, getting rid of technological supplies such as overhead projectors in favour of a more simplistic approach.

What suggestions do you have for a parent of a child learning to read and write?

Really work on alphabet sounds and lower case letters and the sounds they make. There are alphabet books where the letter looks like the word. Lower case magnetic letters are a great way to get children to form words, move them apart, and then practice putting them back together.

Another key thing I saw happening when I taught grade one was that the boys were falling behind because they couldn't print quickly because of a lack of fine motor skills. So when I taught kindergarten we started a cutting club with paper and scissors to help build these small muscles. We'd cut across the paper and then zig zags to big curves and the kids would work on these before other activities. Then we'd continue building on this strength developed in printing club.

Tell us about your favourite projects.

In Ghana, I have worked with teachers who have a high school education and they have become passionate and wonderful teachers. I am so proud of the fact that they come up with such great ideas. They are training other teachers how to teach was well.

We started with one school years ago, and today have trained over 400 teachers who have taught thousands of children. I wanted to empower teachers to show them how to teach those who struggle, because once you can do this, then you're truly a teacher, and seeing this happen is so rewarding.

In addition to this training, we are building a school, and paying for teachers to get more education (two are learning about Montessori teaching). I can't wait for the school to be finished so I can be there and observe everyone learning.

What is your educational motto?

Before Every Child's Path, I took a primary education course and learned the teaching concept of never letting a child sit down with a wrong answer. Instead, help the child feel successful so they'll want to try again. From reading recovery, I learned to make children feel like they're stars because they won't get that a lot of the time. Let them understand that they are good, they are smart, and they are capable of doing all of this.

The quote: "nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care," has been key to my successes. People participate in the program because they know how much I care. When people see me going to Ghana every year to teach seminars they know how much I care and want to get involved.

Support Our Children Africa by donating here - for example an annual tuition for a child is only $33!


July Krazy Kontest Fri, 30 Jun 2017 19:44:27 +0000 Happy 150 Canada! This month's winner can enjoy a $25.00 Baskin Robbins gift card. Good luck!

Just answer the following skill testing question for your chance to win!

One correct answer to the following skill-testing question will be drawn:

“Strong and Free” is the official motto of which province or territory?

Newfoundland & Labrador

This contest has closed!

We won’t let you lose sight of what your goals are Tue, 27 Jun 2017 14:54:04 +0000 [This post contains video, click to play]

Happy Clients Rhys & Meredith loved working with Holly:

Holly was the first person that actually went to every single viewing we went to, and saw the houses that we were looking at, and told us objectively what was good about them, what was bad about them. What structurally needed work, what to look out for, kept top of mind the things we were looking for, because when you're looking for a house you can lose sight of what your goals are, and what you need in a house. You get overwhelmed by decorative details or location, and then you lose sight of the things like why you're moving from your current house or your new house.