By: Mary Boone – Zillow Blogs
Granite is great. No one is denying that.
Its use in residential applications has skyrocketed in recent years. A 2012 survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of The Marble Institute, found that 75 percent of homeowners who intend to remodel their kitchens in the next two years indicated they want granite countertops.
Granite’s durability, longevity and good looks make it ideal for kitchen countertops and other heavily used surfaces, including table tops and floors. Still, it’s expensive (typically $60 to $100 per square foot installed), it’s extraordinarily heavy (requiring reinforcement of base cabinets) and requires considerable upkeep.
Beyond granite, there are a multitude of countertop options available and their number just increases over time. If you’re in the market for a kitchen makeover, you may find one of these great, non-granite surfaces is just what you need:
Marble is softer than granite, which means it stains and scratches. “But it creates its own patina when it does that,” says Alan Zielinski, immediate past president of the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) and president and CEO of Better Kitchens Inc. in north-suburban Chicago. “That aging process gives the marble a nice, warm look. That warmth appeals to some people – if you’re not one of them, you probably should avoid marble.”
Wood countertops are enjoying a resurgence in popularity, largely due to their durability and style. Adding a wood top to an island, while using a contrasting material for perimeter counters is a great way to add interest to the kitchen.
Butcher block is the most common type of wood countertop, but slabs can be crafted from a variety of woods, ranging from cherry and bamboo to zebra wood and iroko. Wear will give wood counters a charming patina, but you’ll need to periodically oil them to prevent drying.
Soapstone is a smooth, matte natural stone that comes in a hues ranging from soft grey to charcoal. It is one of the only natural surfaces that is not affected by acids, so spilled coffee or orange juice won’t leave a stain. Soapstone is also heat resistant.
No special cleaners are needed to keep soapstone clean but mineral oils can be used to enhance the stone’s natural beauty.
Although some quartz countertops are actually made of quarried slabs of stone, the new engineered material is created through a manufacturing process that mixes approximately 95 percent ground natural quartz with 5 percent polymer resins. The result is a super-hard, low-maintenance, natural looking countertop that’s available in a wide range of colors.
“Because quartz is a composite material, it brings with it both the practicality of natural stone and the consistency of a manufactured product,” says Zielinski. “It’s resistant to scratching, but it can be scratched and it’s resistant to heat, but you don’t want to set a hot frying pan on it.”
New colorizing and stain techniques have made concrete counters more popular than ever. Skilled craftsmen can create beautiful concrete countertops in any color, shape and size. Embedded stones, tile or even silicone chips can be added to the mix to create a piece of art. The result is a beautiful counter that’s durable as well as scratch- and heat resistant.
The counters, which can be extremely heavy, are susceptible to damage from acidic liquids and must be sealed and regularly maintained to resist stains.
Glass countertops can endure high heat without cracking or scorching, they won’t stain and they’re non-porous, which makes them very hygienic. “I really like glass because it’s so versatile,” says Zielinkski. “You can laminate three pieces together and use a crackled surface or other art layer between the top and bottom. They can be painted on the back, or lit. They’re very high-end and very versatile.”
Glass counter tops are typically three-quarters to one-and-a-quarter inches thick. Glass is tempered; polished square edge finishing or edge banding is generally recommended. Under-mount sinks are not recommended due to the transparent nature of glass.
Stainless steel countertops can be found in any style of kitchen, from contemporary to traditional, because they complement many of today’s appliances. Stainless steel is stain- and heat-resistant but it can be scratched or dented. Of course, steel isn’t the only metal countertop material on the market. You might also consider copper, pewter or zinc.
Solid-surface countertops can look like natural stone but they’re generally less expensive and require less maintenance.
“Another big advantage,” says Zielinski, “is that solid surface counters can be created with virtually no seams. That can be a plus not only in terms of appearance, but it also makes cleaning much easier.” These counters are heat- and moisture-resistant and easy to clean. They can, however, be scorched and scratched.
Where style meets comfort, choice meets convenience and all the best things in life come together. Welcome to the new vision of condominium living in the heart of Woodbridge. Centro Square will be a dramatic new addition to the Woodbridge skyline and an exciting gateway to the emerging new City of Vaughan. Combining the next generation, sustainable condominium living with opportunities for spectacular shopping and diverse commercial choices, Centro Square aims to redefine the way people live, shop, work, play and entertain in Vaughan.
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By: Chris Seepe -Special to The Globe and Mail
Despite the long list of potential hazards, the possible rewards of being a landlord often outweigh the downsides. Here are the top 10 reasons why you should become a landlord.
1.) You use tenants’ money to pay your mortgage and build your equity. You can raise the rent each year (with restrictions) and adjust for current market rent rates when a property becomes vacant. Long-term investors buy real estate that generates positive cash flow, and either hold it until the tenants have paid off the mortgage or until there’s a compelling reason to dispose of the income stream in return for a lump sum; for example, to buy something bigger/better or to create a retirement annuity income stream.
2.) Real estate assets can be leveraged to bargain for additional real estate investments. Unlike stocks, mutual funds, term deposits, etc., you do not have to pay for the whole real estate investment yourself. Lenders will give you the extra money you need (mortgage) in exchange for receiving interest and the property as collateral if you default on the scheduled payments. When the property’s value has increased enough, some lenders will let you borrow against that value (your equity), which you can use as downpayment to buy another property.
3.) Real estate is tangible and more easily collateralized than most other types of investments. Ask ex-shareholders of Northern Telecom, Enron, Bre-X, and other “blue chip” failures. Lenders generally offer a higher ratio of loan amount versus the value of a real estate property than they would offer on a portfolio of stocks, for example. The building and/or land will still exist if the worst should happen. Mainstream lenders also love the low-risk appeal of rental housing properties insured by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, and offer very attractive interest rates.
4.) A modest increase in rental income and/or decrease in operational costs can have a significant positive impact on property value. For example, increasing net operating income (by reducing costs and/or increasing rent) by $1,000 per year and applying a 6 per cent capitalization rate (better-than-average in today’s southern Ontario market) can add about $16,650 to the value of a property, using the Income Approach. This does not include appreciation for other reasons such as high demand for, and low supply of, rental space, improvement in the neighbourhood, etc.
5.) Several current tax policies (RCCA, capital gain, etc.) discourage longterm owners from selling their rental housing properties because the proceeds of a sale may only equal the cash flow they would receive from keeping the property for a few years. Combine this with the discouraging rent control policies which make investors/ developers unwilling to tie up their money in building a rental property. They may have to wait a decade or more for a return on their investment, when they can build a condominium and get their money back– often with a huge profit–in just a few years. So what’s good about that? Rental housing inventory is shrinking, resulting in high investor demand and high sale prices for existing inventory (seller’s market), and increases in average rent rates (low vacancy).
6.) A well-maintained and fully occupied rental property rarely depreciates. Unless they have been damaged by stigmatism or an eroding neighbourhood (eg. increase in crime), values have traditionally increased over the long term.
7.) If the very worst should happen, you still have a low (or no)-cost place to live.
8.) Legitimate and reasonable expenses reduce your taxable income. Tax deductions include mortgage and credit card interest, depreciation, a reasonable salary with employment deductions, a percentage of your local travel expenses, relevant long-distance travel (eg. trade show), portion of home office and workshop costs, etc.
9.) Despite the perceived stereotype, many landlords enjoy the satisfaction of helping to provide good-quality housing to self-sufficient people in need.
10.) Multi-residential investments are arguably the most stable, depression/recession-resistant, and relatively secure type of real estate investment you can make. Everyone needs a place to live; not everyone needs a place to work. Buying a place to live is not possible for many young people and remains elusive for many adults too. Some adults choose the apartment living lifestyle for its freedom from housing related issues.
Treat your investment like a business, and your tenants like valued customers; know your rights and those of your tenants; maintain tight control on your cash flow; act promptly in everything you do; surround yourself with high-quality industry professionals, and you’ll experience the success you’ve dreamed was possible, especially if you can expand your holdings.
ME Living Condominiums at Markham & Ellesmere is launching this week and NewCondoMart.com has been blessed with the opportunity to allow our clients to purchase before the general public and all other realtors. Priced from ONLY $149,990 for a 1 bedroom suite, ME Living offers fantastic value!
Magnificently Master Planned Perfectly Designed
ME Living has been envisioned by The Lash Group of Companies to be everything you could imagine in an exceptional urban community. Significantly one of the largest GTA projects to be introduced in 2013, ME is a meticulously designed community of condos, townhomes, shops and parks.
Inspired by world class Turner Fleischer Architects Inc. and the award winning interior designers Tanner Hill & Associates. This master planned complex will be a fusion of contemporary excitement and sleek architectural design.Building highlights include dramatic livable interiors, carefully designed amenities and a chic private landscaped rooftop oasis.
Arriving at ME Living – Impressive Entrance
Designed to be a self contained oasis, with its tree lined courtyard entrance with scenic water feature. Here landscape features abound, including our highlighted seasonal pond and skating area.
Welcoming ME Living – First Impressions
Here your new lifestyle begins the moment you arrive into the grand designer-inspired lobby with concierge and the dramatic coloured glass water feature. At ME we understand that first impressions are lasting.
Winning ME Living – Sports Lounge
At ME, you can also enjoy a truly remarkable variety of amenities, from the interactive Sports Lounge with Games area, billiard table, bar and multiple plasma screens, to cutting edge fully equipped fitness and yoga room. Ground floor amenities also include multi-purpose Demonstration Kitchen, Private Dining Room, spacios party room, Hollywood style theatre and convenient guest suites. ME is designed to take you to great heights with its spectacular professionally landscaped podium rooftop deck highlighted by a custom outdoor fireplace feature.
Look Up To ME Living- Up On The Roof
A breath of fresh air, the rooftop deck is a remarkable vantage point for connecting with the great outdoors in a completely private setting. Enjoy a refreshing swim in the outdoor pool and soak up the sun in the tanning areas complete with BBQ areas with spacious private dining and comfortable lounge areas. Up on the roof is where you’ll want to be at ME!
Convenient To Everything
Strategically located in close proximity to Hwy 401, ME residents can be on their way both east and west of The City in just moments, and downtown Toronto is easily accessible via the Don Valley Parkway. The TTC is almost at your doorstep. Moments away is the soon to be new LRT transit system. Great schools abound, including the University of Toronto Campus and Centennial Campus along with multiple primary and secondary schools. The area also offer parklands, bicycle trails and golfing nearby. Toronto’s magnificent Scarborough Bluffs with its dramatic scenery is a short drive away along with the Scarborough Town Centre.
Where Else Can You Find a Project That Offers So Much for So Little…
1 Bedroom from $149,990 – $192,990
1 Bedroom + Den from $219,990 – $299,990
2 Bedroom from $302,990 – $307,990
2 Bedroom + Den from $319,990 – $349,990
Parking Included (Limited time for 1 Bedroom + den and up units)
Locker included (Limited time for 1 Bedroom + den and up units)
To Receive First Access At This Friday’s Event:
647 267 1967!
V.I.P. Sales Event
Saturday, April 20th
The city’s biggest green space is yours to explore every day. Walk, run or ride through the lush greenery. Picnic on the grass. Spread out a blanket and sleep in the sun. Get away from it all without actually going anywhere. All this and more is possible at this stunning new development situated in one of Toronto’s most desirable neighbourhoods; High Park. Priced from the $300,000′s, The High Park Condos offers residents:
- 11 Storey Boutique Residence
- Built with Natural Sustainable Materials
- 9 & 10 Foot Smooth Ceilings
- Choice of Designer High Performance Flooring
- Contemporary Kitchen Cabinetry
- Stainless Steel Appliance Package
- Granite or Corian Countertops + Island
- Steps to High Park TTC Station
- Porcelain Backsplash
- And Much Much More
Don’t miss this one of a kind opportunity to view the High Park Condos sales centre before the general public and receive the lowest prices and first suite selection among many other great incentives. To register and to receive the floor plans:
Visto Condominiums; Your Life. Your Way. Starting from only $219,900. Get ready to discover Toronto’s ultimate destination for stylish urban living at Visto.
Coming to the corner of Keele and Maple Leaf in North York, Visto offers steps to public transit and within minutes you could find yourself at your desired destination. Visto residents will experience a quiet getaway to call home with only 144 units in all over 9 sprawling floors. Centrally located, Visto is
Visto Condominiums by ZZYed Project Management is only weeks away from its V.I.P. Sales Event. Register Today & Receive Pre-Public Access Plus:
- The Lowest Prices Guaranteed
- Best Suite Selection
- Fantastic Incentives
- No Lineups
- Our Unlimited Expertise
By: TORONTO — The Canadian Press
Average prices for three common types of housing were up year-over-year in most Canadian markets in the first quarter, national real estate company Royal LePage said Thursday.
Royal LePage said the average price for a standard two-storey detached house was up 2.2 per cent in the January-March period compared with a year ago, while the national average price for detached bungalows rose 2.4 per cent.
The average price for condominiums rose 1.2 per cent from first quarter of 2012. Some local markets didn’t fit the national pattern, however.
For example, Vancouver, Victoria and Saint John, N.B., had year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter price declines in all three categories.
According to the Royal LePage survey, the national average price for a two-storey house was $407,044 in the quarter, the bungalow average was $364,857 and the average price for a condos was $246,071.
Vancouver remained by far the most expensive market in Canada with the average price for detached two-storey houses and bungalows above $1-million while the average condo price was $481,250. Toronto, the country’s most populous city and often considered the second-most expensive after Vancouver, followed the national trend to higher prices in all three types of housing.
The Toronto two-storey average in the first quarter was $671,252, the bungalow average was $565,700 and the condo average was $359,671.
Royal LePage president and chief executive officer Phil Soper says the Canadian housing industry is in a very unusual situation.
“The combination of very low mortgage rates and flat home prices, against a background of general economic improvement across the nation, is not something we’ve seen before,” Soper said Thursday.
“Typically one of these variables is moving hard in an opposite direction.”
Soper acknowledged that there have been warnings of impending market upset and dramatic price decreases but said there’s no evidence of that.
“The current environment is very supportive for housing,” Soper added.
The survey’s findings of continuing, but slower, year-to-year price increases in most markets is consistent with other real estate reports.
However, Royal LePage also found that in most cities there were also increases between the last quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013 – in contrast with some reports that have shown month-to-month decreases since last summer.
Axiom Condominiums Private Sales Centre Preview
460 Adelaide Street East
Be among the first to view Axiom Condominium’s newly completed state of the art sales centre. You will receive a first hand tour of the scale model, model suites, features and finishes and much more.
Join us this Thursday April the 4th and experience true downtown living at a very affordable price.
Axiom boasts fantastic amenities, features, floor plans and prices, starting in the low $200′s.
For The Official Axiom Brochure: CLICK HERE
647 – 267 – 1967
Coming soon to Markham and Ellesmere is a vibrant master planned community of urban Condominiums and Townhomes.
ME Living is Centrally located in Scarborough and offers direct access to public transportation, restaurants,
ME living offers 3 dynamic condominium towers boasting 700 units in all and an array of fabulous amenities for your enjoyment.shopping and is within minutes from downtown Toronto.Priced from only $149,900, ME Living offers fantastic value. The average price per square foot is only $400.
ME Living residents will experience shorter commuting times with access to both Subway, RT and Go Trains in the vicinity.
Built by the highly reputable LASH Developments, whom is a family oriented developer who have been a presence in the GTA for over 50 years. LASH is known for their higher standards in quality, design and construction.
You may have already heard the news that music legend Bon Jovi listed his New York City penthouse for a mere $42,000,000 (that’s a lot of zeros!), but have you seen inside this spectacular piece of real estate that he calls home. We now offer you the opportunity to get a sneak peak look into Bon Jovi’s paradise in the sky.
The rock star purchased the home in 2007 and reportedly invested millions of dollars in renovations.
Now, the swanky SoHo duplex is on the market for $42 million.
Located at 158 Mercer St, New York, NY 10012, the 7,452-square-foot home has 5 bedrooms and 5.5 baths. According to the listing provided by The Corcoran Group‘s Deborah Grubman, “the journey begins when you step off the elevator into the lower-level foyer.”
A large great room with posh furnishings, including a sparkling chandelier and glass dining room table, set the tone for the space. The journey continues into a modern chef’s kitchen and up a sleek staircase into spacious bedrooms and three landscaped terraces.
But perhaps the most notable feature of the space is glass. Surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows, the penthouse provides 360-degree views of SoHo and beyond.
“This one-of-a-kind apartment is for the discerning buyer who can appreciate fine craftsmanship and all the modern conveniences,” Grubman writes in the for-sale listing.
Bon Jovi invested heavily in the penthouse, which he reportedly purchased for $24 million. But the singer-songwriter is more focused on investing in his family now, opening up about dealing with his 19-year-old daughter, Stephanie Bongiovi, overdosing on heroine last November.
Meanwhile, Bon Jovi continues to be a music machine, cranking out catchy songs on his band’s 12th album, “What About Now.” He’s also made recent TV appearances, performing live on “American Idol,” even though he reportedly turned down the opportunity to judge this season’s singing competition.