The Graff Girls Say Definitely worth it! We had a pre-home inspection on a home we just sold. The buyer read the report but decided to have their own inspection done.
Their agent called to say thank you for having a pre-home inspection as there were no surprises and her clients firmed up the deal without any hesitation!
SO, SAY YES TO HOME INSPECTION! The home inspection familiarizes the buyer with the mechanics of the home and what to be aware of in future years. For a seller, a pre-home inspection informs them of anything that may need to be fixed prior to putting the house on the market to avoid a buyer asking for rebates after negotiating a deal!
Have you ever worked with someone — a lawyer, an accountant, a contractor — who dropped the ball when it came to communication? Perhaps they failed to return your phone calls promptly or didn’t get back to you when you had a problem or concern.
We can only imagine how frustrating that must be.
In fact, you worry about that very thing when it comes time to select a REALTOR®. So, let us tell you how The Graff Girls work:
We return calls and emails promptly.
We get back to our clients quickly when they have a problem or concern.
We explain everything clearly and answer questions fully.
We keep our clients in-the-loop, so they always know what’s happening.
Our clients are Our priority.
By communicating effectively, we are able to ensure our clients have a better buying or selling experience. That’s important to us.
So, in the spirit of good communication… call or email us, if you have any questions. We will get back to you right away.
You have decided to install new flooring in your condominium or update the flooring before you move in. What to buy?
There is more to consider when dealing with a condominium than simply how the floor will look. First, you have neighbors beside, above and under you, and it’s not just how much they might hear you, but how much you might hear them.
Before you start shopping for flooring, The Graff Girls suggest you check into your condominium bylaws.
“With older condominiums, many Boards will absolutely say no to hardwood floors.” You really need to speak to the Board before you do anything else.”
Noise control is the next consideration. No one likes listening to their neighbors’ pace across a room in high heels or listen to their pounding music. The type of floor and underlay you choose can greatly reduce the sound that travels through the floor.
The key to soundproofing is in the underlay. The Graff Girls suggest you talk to your installer and the sales team if buying a new condo to get their recommendations.
A newer product to the market getting lots of attention is Flexilastic - it is a peel-and-stick sheet coating that reduces impact and airborne sound transmissions. It works great with ceramic, porcelain and natural stone tile where sound absorption is really needed.
Although carpeting will provide your condo with the best soundproofing, The Graff Girls admit most buyers do not want it, too but if they do, customers seem to go for a tightly woven wool carpet.
Manufacturers are also creating synthetic carpeting that is more environmentally friendly and a few are actually producing fabric combinations that take softness to a whole new level.
As far as carpet color is concerned, condo owners are sticking to the organic neutrals – greys, and whites but no beige, which “is passé.”
Laminates vs. Hardwood
The biggest craze in condo flooring, hands down is laminate. Today’s laminate looks so much like hardwood, many people would be hard-pressed to know the difference.
There are faux-wood laminates, produced in Europe and in China, that you can’t even tell they aren’t hardwood. They look amazing. Most of our clients are going for the long, wide planks.
The faux hardwood laminates come in a huge selection of colors and options.
The great advantage of laminate flooring is that not only does it have the look and feel of hardwood, but it costs a fraction of the price.
In newer condos, engineered hardwood is not the driving force anymore. Hardwood will always require a lot more maintenance. The Graff Girls have had clients who say their first and only choice is hardwood but, when we show them the laminates, they change their mind.
However, some homeowners will never be convinced away from hardwood, the beauty and feel of hardwood are hard to beat.
Tiles that look like concrete are super-hot right now in Europe and gaining momentum here in Canada
These tiles look great and they feature minimal grout joints, so they are easy to clean and almost seamless.
The Graff Girls have noticed the use of tiles that look like hardwood. Another hot trend is decorative tiles for accents.
They look fabulous in larger bathrooms and kitchens. What is vogue right now is moving toward “modular” sizes – rectangular tiles or 12-by-24-inch Size
As a condo owner, you are probably thinking that is way too big for small spaces. Not true. If you avoid dark colors, large tiles can actually make a room look bigger.
A side benefit is that with bigger tiles there are fewer grout joints, so less cleaning.
Vinyl… the word alone conjures up 1950s cheap flooring. Today’s vinyl is gorgeous and can be pretty pricey.
Although some vinyl flooring choices are quite affordable and look great, others can cost from $18 to $22 per square foot or more.
Vinyl is easy to install and maintain and The Graff Girls recommend it for recreation rooms, offices, gyms or playrooms.
Cork: Yes or No
Made from tree bark, it’s a natural and renewable resource, so it’s environmentally friendly. But is it trendy?
It's not durable at all, and the style is a little outdated.
More questions about flooring? Feel Free to comment below or email or call us here.
What does “sibling rivalry” have to do with the sale of a family home?
As it turns out, quite a bit.
In fact, in our experience, this has proven to be a key part of our work with families who hire us to sell their elderly parents’ home.
In the last 10 years, we have experienced a significant rise in the number of adult children who have consulted and then retained us to list, stage, sell and close on their parents’ home, either after they have moved into a senior’s residence or, G-d forbid, passed away.
The sort of work that we have done with families is highly specialized. Often times, there are many different emotions at play which can influence and sometimes hinder the sale process. Luckily, as a mother/daughter team, we have decades of experience helping adult children and their elderly parents manage the sale of their home - successfully, speedily and with the least amount of stress.
We have faced the presence of sibling rivalry play out in our work, which has caused us to become sensitive, skilled and capable in managing the family dynamics.
As we know, siblings generally spend more time together during their childhood than they do as adults. The sibling bond is often complicated and is influenced by factors such as birth order, gender, personality and the relationship that each child had with the parents. We have witnessed particularly intense family dynamics surrounding the sale of the family home. At times, this is influenced by financial issues such as inheritances. At other times, the intense emotions stem from unresolved past issues, the loss of the family home or, even worse, the unexpected loss of the parents.
Whatever the underlying issues may be, an experienced realtor who is skilled in family dynamics, diplomacy and estate sales is critical to ensuring that all members of the family are treated equally, fairly and respectfully, whatever the outcome of the home sale is.
If you are facing the prospect of selling your parents’ family home and/or moving them to a smaller residence such as a condominium, The Graff Girls would be pleased to assist you in transitioning your parents to their new home.
With Colder weather upon us if air is not circulating well in your home or condominium condensation will occur.
WHAT IS CONDENSATION?
The air contains moisture. The temperature of the air determines how much moisture it can hold, and warm air contains more moisture than cold air.
When warm, moist air comes into contact with either a surface or air that is colder than it is, the warm air is unable to retain the same amount of moisture as it did and the water is released either into the cold air or onto the colder surface, causing condensation to form, quickly followed by mould.
Here are some methods to prevent condensation inside your home:
1) Turn your bathroom fan on when showering and leave on for a few minutes when done
2) Turn on your exhaust fan when cooking
3) Open a balcony door or window slightly to provide fresh air into the home
4) Circulate air using a fan
5) Move plants away from windows as Plants release moisture
6) Run a dehumidifier
The Graff Girls don not just help people BUY and SELL homes they help them keep them living in comfort and health!
Is there an advantage to buying a new condo from the builder versus using my own realtor?
Purchasing a new condo is different from buying a resale condo. Realtors with expertise in condos make a huge difference in protecting buyers, maximizing their purchase and minimizing their cost.
As one of Toronto's top realtor teams since 1995, clients regularly have Cheryl and Samantha Graff represent them from the early stages of investigating all of the different condo options, to viewing the different sites and floor plans, to studying the historical reputation of the builder and their ability to complete construction on time and to the level of satisfaction of buyers, and then track the progress until closing and occupancy permit. Their expertise is so widely known that they have strong working relationships with the GTA’s builder's agents.
It's a good idea to have your own real estate agent accompany you on your first visit to the new condo sales office. There’s no cost to you. Why? Because the builder (aka the seller) will be responsible for paying the commission. This commission is built into the sale price and the buyer does not save when there is no realtor.
As experts in condos, Cheryl and Samantha will help you as follows:
Negotiating extras: Want upgraded counter-tops or appliances in that new condo? Need a wall removed or added? What about preferred paint colours?
Recommending financing: Cheryl and Samantha can assist you with a wider roster of mortgage lenders than from the builder.
Overseeing a home inspection: Tempted to forgo ahome inspection in a new construction? Don't do it! The number and severity of new-home defects often rival resale home problems.
Cheryl and Samantha are available to assist you and protect your interests when buying a new condo. They are knowledgeable about the neighbourhood, construction quality, industry standards, prices and available amenities. Allow Cheryl and Samantha to give you peace of mind and be in your corner.
Many people struggle with the decision of whether to buy a condo. The stage of your life has a lot to do with the answer to this question. For those in their 20’s and 30’s, the only property that they can afford to own is a condominium. For empty-nesters, it makes most sense to sell the family home and move to a condo. There are many lifestyle considerations that guide this decision.
The following is a list of the advantages and disadvantages of buying a condo.
Amenities: Condos come with underground parking, concierge service, mail service, pools, exercise rooms, party rooms, libraries, computer rooms, business centres, etc. How nice would it be to have a pool for your friends, kids or grandkids to swim in? How about walking into a warm car in the middle of the winter?
Community: In condo living, you get to know your neighbours. Many condos hold social events, classes, card games and shows where you get to meet your neighbours.
No more maintenance: The days of mowing the lawn, shovelling the driveway or fixing the shingles on your roof are over. This is especially ideal if you travel for business or pleasure. You just lock your door and leave all your worries regarding your property to the condo managers.
Location: Although condos are available everywhere, many people are motivated to purchase condos to move into the city and enjoy city life. Very few people can afford to live at the most prestigious locations such as Avenue Road and St. Clair, Yonge and Bloor, King and Bathurst, or Yorkville. There are fabulous condos throughout the city and new ones under development.
Security: Entry into condos is very secure. Guests need to be authorized to enter. Anyone else is unable to enter without the approval of a condo owner. Almost all condos employ lobby security guards.
Comfort: Young or old, healthy or compromised, condo living is for everybody. Parking is underground. Access to all floors is by elevator. The entire space is on one floor. No more stairs, floors or basements.
Affordability: Condos are available in all sizes, neighbourhoods and levels. There are high-rises and low-rises. There are adults-only condos and family-friendly condos. There are condos that permit pets and those that don’t. There are condos on the subway and condos outside of the city. Maintenance fees vary from building to building depending on the number of units and the amenities offered. Condos usually cost considerably less than a home. Choosing the right condo requires careful investigation and research. That is why most people find the right match by using realtors who are most familiar with the condo, the condo manager and the original condo builder. Realtors like The Graff Girls are extremely knowledgable and familiar with condos in Toronto so that your particular lifestyle and economic needs are met by the right condo.
Condo Fees: All condos levy a monthly charge on its owners for services such as maintenance, services, security, garbage removal and landscaping. Condos with lots of amenities have high condo costs. There can also be special assessment for unforeseen expenses. Condos with many units spread the expenses amongst many owners and can be lower. It is critical to seek advice on the quality and quantity of the particular condo’s services when considering options.
Parking: Parking is generally limited. Normally each owner is granted 1 or 2 parking spots. Although there is guest parking, some condos charge for guest parking and prohibit overnight parking.
Elevator: In some condos, the wait for the elevator can be long and frustrating. Moving furniture or large items can be challenging. The elevator always needs to be reserved in advance.
Less Privacy: In condos, walls, ceilings and floors are all shared with your neighbours. Although most condos are constructed with noise prevention, there are cases where the noise from the neighbour is heard. For some, this could be distracting and frustrating.
Rules & Bylaws: Condos have lots of rules. Condos have rules for guest parking, barbecues, door hangings, balcony use, etc. Most of the rules are created in order to ensure a consistent and uniform appearance, as well as the safety and security of the occupants. But for some, the rules could be annoying.
In conclusion, condo living can be amazing, exciting and comfortable. However, in a city like Toronto, with so many options for condo living, it is critical to be guided and advised by a realtor who has the experience, familiarity and expertise in condominiums. The Graff Girls have represented buyers and sellers of condos for the last 25 years and are able to ensure that you make the right choice, to buy the right condo, in the right place, from the right builder, at the right time.