How To Transform Your Condo Balcony

When you live in an apartment, you give up a ground-level yard for a concrete floor and metal railings. By transforming your balcony into a pleasant space, you can enjoy a more inviting environment and find yourself spending more time there.

RUNNEN Floor decking, outdoor IKEA Floor decking makes it easy to refresh your terrace or balcony.


That cold, dull concrete floor is not a welcoming sight. By disguising the floors you can change the mood of the space immediately. Place outdoor flooring and create a warmer tone with wood lookalike decks (shown above: Via Ikea.com). They’re made out of plastic so you would not have to worry about any weather damage. Cover the entire floor or just a part of it, it’s up to you. By elevating one section of the floor, defines a separate space.  Add a rug for mixed textures, choose a flat-woven kind for weather resistance.


Chances are that your condo is situated in the midst of a concrete jungle. However by adding some greenery to your balcony, you can enjoy lush greenery. Make sure to buy plants which are suited to the atmosphere of your balcony (ie. the amount of sunlight that hits your balcony, shade etc.). If you have a larger space then create a flower bed, and raise it above the ground, so it showcases the aesthetic of your flowers. For smaller spaces, use containers of different shapes and sizes.


In general try to avoid plastic furniture to avoid a cheap look. If you do go for plastic, go for higher quality cushions and fabrics to jazz them up. Try wicker and wood for a cozier environment. By placing cushions on each piece, it creates an inviting atmosphere. Depending on what you want to use your balcony (a living room or a dining room), choose simple furniture to save space.


For the most part, natural lighting would help a great deal, the balcony being typically the best lit (depending on which direction it faces). However for the evenings and nights you wish to spend, ambient lighting is needed. Drape some fairy lights on the rail, or around a potted plant. You could even install solar lamps, standing them in the flowerbed soil.

5 Ways to Declutter Your Garage

For most of us the garage is treated as a storage space for both big and small items. No one likes going in there to find something, so we’re going to help you change that!


           A lot of vertical space goes to waste. The whole point of this is to maximize the wall space in your garage. Typically garages have high walls, so why not make use of that space? Using a track system with hooks and baskets, you can store smaller items such as tennis balls, or larger items such as bicycles and even lawn chairs.



           Some items are not meant to be stuffed in drawer. Using wall hooks or a rod stuck between the cabinet and the wall, hang spades, shears, and other gardening tools along the space. It provides easy access to the tools when you need them and allows them to dry off after washing. Additional boxes can be stored underneath the rail to maximize space.




Putting up shelves in your garage is another way of maximizing vertical space. When horizontal storage is lacking, think upwards. The best place to install them are common empty walls such as above your recycling and garbage cans. Keep a stepladder nearby so that nothing is out of reach. You can also store bulk household items, such as paper towels, toilet paper, dish soap etc.



Remember those big boxes in your garage? Do you actually know what’s in them? Don’t waste time by rummaging through them looking for that picture frame your aunt gave you, and label each box. Use specific labels, if the box surface has blank spaces then use that to list the items in them. If you want to take it a step further you can print out a list and tape it onto the box. Ideal for holiday decorations or other seasonal objects. You can also use clip on labels for shelves, putting them into laminate shelves to ensure durability.



That’s right, a caddy. Using a shower caddy or some kind of basket, you can put your core items into that. Whether it be for cleaning your car, your cleaning supplies or your gardening tools. You could have one (or three), one for each occasion! This makes it quick and easy to grab what you need instead of searching through everything else.


June 2017 Market Watch


For this month’s episode of Market Watch we will be talking about what the June market looked like. The Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) released their market watch report for last month, and we’re keeping up at the halfway mark.


We’ve come halfway through the year and the 2017 market has taken unexpected turns. The number of new listings we’re seeing are up by 15.9% in the year-by-year comparison as seen on TREB. A more moderate rate of growth as opposed to what we saw in May.

As shown in the graph above, June has dropped lower in sales with 37.3%, now reaching the sales percentage rate of 2013. In terms of pricing, the decline (in comparison to last month) is still in effect. In the past few months we’ve seen the average price for a home steeply increase month by month, but the past two months are showing a steady decline. For June 2017 the average price sits at  $793,915 , a little less than $70,000 decrease.  This price is still 6.3% higher than the same time last year, but will it reach a lower point in the year-by-year comparison?

For those who are unaware or need a refresher as to what months of inventory are, it refers to the time it would take to sell all current listings with no new listings being added. As seen in the graph above, the average inventory for the GTA area for June 2017 has increased by 0.1 months since May.


The increase in supply, is a result of the government policy changes that are soon to be in effect. Many potential buyers are staying their seats to see how the Ontario Fair Housing Plan will affect the real estate market. BUt at the same time, sellers are listing their homes in order to gain advantage of the peaked price from a few months ago.


The average day on market (DOM) for both the City of Mississauga and the City of Toronto now sits at 15 days. The former is stocked with 1.1 months of inventory while the latter has an increase of 1.2 months of inventory. Properties of both areas are experiencing a longer duration on the market, as expected from the increase in supply.


As of June more listings to pick from, and with the decrease in pricing there’s more to grab within your budget. However sellers may still be trying to achieve prices we’ve seen a few months ago, however with highers days on the market negotiations will be crucial.


This is why it is so important to choose the right agent; Sellers must choose someone who can provide guidance in the current situation and understands what their expectations from this transaction. Buyers must find someone who can advise them, and knows when to push and when to hold back.


Steven Ho is the ideal realtor for any client, and here’s why: In a townhouse complex, Steven sold 30% of the 9 listings available, whilst 6 separate agents sold the remaining 6 listings. The average DOM for the 6 listings was 14 days, whilst for Steven’s listings the average DOM was only 9 days.


In terms of sold prices, the 6 other agents sold for roughly $489,000 while Steven Ho sold for $533,000, a difference of $44,000! A significant margin that is potentially lost with other realtors which could go to the payment of your next home. Here’s another reason to go with Steven: The other agents sold their listings for 102% of the asking price, which is a fair amount to gain no doubt. However Steven outperformed the other agents once again by selling his listings for 106% of the asking price. An additional 4% on a $500,000 home is $20,000!  


People think all agents are the same, but different agents yield different results; picking Steven Ho will help you get the best results.


Source: All statistics are taken from the Toronto Real Estate Board 2017.


Let’s Go To Toronto Ribfest 2017!

Rathwood is home to many parks, including one of the biggest: Centennial Park. Centennial Park is a vast provincial park that boasts a wide variety of recreational facilities. The biggest festival to be held at the park is, hands-down, Ribfest. Not only is it the biggest event to be held at the park but it is one of the biggest Ribfest festivals held in the Greater Toronto Area. The event has been held by Rotary Etobicoke as a fundraiser for humanitarian organizations here and worldwide.


It will be running from June 30th (Friday) 11 AM to 11 PM till July 3rd (Monday) 11 AM to 9 PM. This means the food festival will be held on Canada Day! The standard festival features multiple stages with music, Zumba, and Karaoke. Some important things to remember: Vendors will only accept cash, so bring cash with you or use one of the ATMs on the grounds. Alcohol will be served on the premises, which is why outside alcohol or beverages are not permitted along with pets, thrown objects (football, frisbees etc.). For more info check out:  http://torontoribfest.com/pdf/Ribfest_FAQ.pdf . And do not worry, kids will have their share of fun too: free face painting, Ferris wheels, magic shows, stilt walkers, and much more!


Not only are all the above activities available throughout but a spectacular display of fireworks will be showcased on July 1st (Canada Day). So if you have no other plans, this is the perfect spot for you and your family! Since the event will be during Canada Day weekend, there will be many ways to celebrate Canada’s birthday at the festival such as a Pledge Ceremony, ‘formal’ Citizenship Induction and many other Canadian heritage featured events.

Parking can be found in the Centennial Park parking spaces or the local area, however the area is quite vast so wear comfortable shoes when walking to the festival. The Hollycrest School parking lot is set aside for Ribfest attendees as well. However, please be considerate when parking on residential streets. For those who will be using public transit to attend, the TTC will be providing extra service on the Rathburn 48 route especially for the festival.

If it’s going to be your first time at Ribfest, be prepared for the big crowd, long lines and smelling like BBQ smoke for the rest of the day.  Despite all that it’s an experience worth taking part in in your local area!

Quick and Easy 5-Ingredient Recipes You’ll Love

Posted by: in Uncategorized
Date: June 22, 2017

Like cooking but hate the hassle? This may help you! Here are some quick and easy five-ingredient recipes (Everyone has salt, pepper, and oil in their kitchen so we didn’t count those in).

Chicken Quesadillas


The shortcut we’re taking here is wait for it… rotisserie chicken! While they’re not the most flavourful by itself, we’ve all picked up a chicken at the grocery store for a quick dinner solution.


What you’ll need:


  1. Roast chicken
  2. Flour tortillas
  3. Spinach, Bell Peppers, or Cilantro
  4. Mushrooms or Onions
  5. Monterey Jack Cheese


Debone chicken and chop meat and save around 2 cups. Freeze or chill the remaining for later use. Spread chicken evenly on one half of the tortillas, then top with the other two chosen ingredients and finally top with cheese. Fold tortillas in half and heat both sides on griddle till cheese is melted and both sides are browned.

Spicy Shrimp Pasta

Spicy Shrimp Pasta


Last minute company on the way? Grab these 5 ingredients and get cooking!


What you’ll need:


  1. 12 ounces of Shrimp (peeled and deveined)
  2. 8 ounces Linguine or Spaghetti
  3. 1-2 Jalapeno peppers (finely chopped)\
  4. 2 Cloves Garlic (minced)
  5. Cherry tomatoes (halved)


Rinse shrimp and pat dry with paper towel. Cook pasta according to packaging instructions, then drain, return to hot pan, cover and keep warm. In a large skillet over medium-high, heat oil then add jalapeno peppers, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook and stir for 1-minute. Ass shrimp and cook for 3 minutes until shrimp are opaque. Stir in tomatoes. Add pasta to shrimp and gently toss. Serve with cheese if desired.


Parmesan Chicken


Everyone’s favourite chicken dish simplified!


What you’ll need:


  1. ½ Dried Breadcrumbs
  2. ½ Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  3. 1 Egg (beaten)
  4. 4 Skinless Boneless Breasts
  5. 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a bowl mix the breadcrumbs, italian seasoning, and Parmesan cheese. Coat chicken breasts in egg and then dip into breadcrumb mixture. Place chicken in a baking pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or till juices run clear. Turn chicken over 5 minutes before removing from oven.

Quick Skillet Lasagna

Skillet Lasagna


What you’ll need:


  1. 3 cups mini lasagna noodle
  2. 12 ounces ground beef
  3. 126 ounce jar tomato-base pasta sauce
  4. 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  5. ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese


Cook pasta according to packaging instructions and drain. Cooke meat in a non-stick skillet until meat is brown, then set aside. Wipe skillet with paper towel. Spread half of pasta on bottom of pan, then layer with half of sauce and all the beef. Add layer of mozzarella (1 cup of it) on top. Add remaining pasta and sauce on top again. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella and add parmesan over top. Cook covered for 5-7 minutes over medium heat until cheese melts. Remove from stove and let stand for 1 minute.