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July Market Recap: “Condo Buyers, You May Want to Act Now (While You Still Can!)” If you haven’t checked out our latest market report, click here!

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What’s On in Toronto This August.

With so many festivals and outdoor events happening all month long, how will you choose? Here are our top two pics:

This year, you can’t talk about August in Toronto without discussing CNE 2017. With midway games, rides, and out-of-this-world food creations all in one spot, this is one iconic Toronto tradition you shouldn’t miss, from August 18 to September 4. “Let’s go to the Ex!” More: CNE 2017

What happens when two music legends come together? You’ll have to buy tickets for Lionel Richie: All the Hits with Very Special Guest Mariah Carey to find out. They’ll be performing together at the ACC, “All Night Long,” on August 24. More: Lionel Richie: All the Hits with Very Special Guest Mariah Carey

Are Driverless Buses in T.O.’s Future?

Is it possible that Torontonians could one day hop a TTC bus to find there’s no driver at the wheel?

According to TTC CEO Andy Byford, we’ll just have to wait and see.

However, a recent Toronto Star article by transportation reporter Ben Spurr notes, “the TTC would be happy to become a leader,” if driverless buses do become available.

Some companies have been able to develop autonomous transit vehicles that operate on closed courses, but this has yet to be developed for use in more complex environments like a busy city street.

When the technology becomes available, TTC will weigh the pros and cons of introducing driverless vehicles to its fleet. Potential benefits include cost savings, increased schedule reliability, stress reduction for operators and fewer collisions. Disadvantages are “expensive upfront costs, customer service challenges, and the possibility of cyber attacks against the transit system.” There’s also the nagging problem of our snowy winters-driverless vehicles have yet to perform well in inclement weather conditions.

Pros and cons notwithstanding, it can happen here. And sooner than you’d think, according to Spurr’s article: “It’s certainly on the horizon,” Ross McKenzie, managing director for the Waterloo Centre of Automotive Research at the University of Waterloo, tells Spurr. “Is it going to happen 20 years from now? … No, it won’t take that long.”

Rules Differ in a Condo Remodel: Here’s How.

You’re ready to renovate. Your creative juices are flowing, and you’re excited to create that perfect space.

But wait. Are you remodeling a condo? If so, this requires some special considerations. The game rules differ from those for a detached home. Here’s the playbook:

Read the regulations: Condos come with associations. These come with rules. The association has put certain standards in place to maintain the best possible conditions for your building. Before forging ahead with any plans, read through the regulations of your association and consult with your board or property manager for anything that will need the association’s approval.

Consider condo limitations: Your unit may be linked to others, so you may not be able to alter certain aspects of your home: plumbing fixtures might have to stay where they are; you may not be able to remove walls that support the structure, or install pot lights in ceilings. But don’t let these limits stifle your creativity or dash your renovation hopes. Just keep them in mind as you plan.

Plan ahead: If your renovations are extensive and the space small, your contractor and workers may require an extra space in which to work. Ask if there is a workshop or outside space they may be able to use.

Don’t fear the painter: One of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to transform a space is by painting it. However, many condo owners are concerned about personalizing their walls, especially with deep, dark colours. Unless you’re renovating for an immediate sale, go ahead and make the space your own. Enjoy it while it’s yours. When you are ready to sell, you’ll likely need to apply a fresh coat of paint anyway, and you can make it neutral then.

Get out: For your own sanity, stay with a friend or relative during construction, or treat yourself to a hotel.


Ask an Expert a.k.a. Us!

Should I get a reverse mortgage?

If you want to increase your income in retirement, a reverse mortgage may sound appealing. But there are pros and cons:

With a reverse mortgage, you’re essentially borrowing against the equity you have in your home. You don’t make monthly mortgage payments; instead you receive the money from the lender either as a lump sum or in some other form. The amount depends on several factors, including the equity you’ve built up. The bonus: you still own your home; a reverse mortgage isn’t paid back until you move, sell, or die.

The cons? Fees are typically higher than for a conventional mortgage, and they along with the interest that builds up reduce the equity in your home. And there may be other financial considerations. While your retirement may be worry-free, your heirs may be faced with a big mortgage when you die. Is it for you? Be wise: discuss it with an advisor.

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