cleaning Home Buyers Real Estate Service Providers spring

The Importance of Indoor Air Quality During Spring Cleaning in Toronto

Indoor air quality is a crucial aspect of maintaining a healthy home environment. Poor air quality can cause various health problems, from respiratory issues to headaches and fatigue. During spring cleaning in Toronto, many homeowners engage in activities that can significantly impact indoor air quality.

In this blog, we’ll explore the importance of indoor air quality during spring cleaning and provide tips for maintaining clean, healthy air in your home.

The Benefits of Good Indoor Air Quality

Prioritizing good indoor air quality is crucial for maintaining a healthy home environment. In this section, we’ll explore the numerous benefits of clean air, including how it can improve physical health, enhance the quality of life, and increase productivity. Understanding these benefits is essential for recognizing the importance of indoor air quality during spring cleaning and beyond.

  • Better health outcomes

Good indoor air quality has been linked to better health outcomes. Poor air quality can aggravate respiratory illnesses like asthma and allergies and can also lead to headaches, fatigue, and other health problems. On the other hand, clean air can reduce the risk of these health issues and promote overall physical well-being. By prioritizing good indoor air quality during spring cleaning, you can create a healthier living environment for yourself and your family.

  • Improved quality of life

Improved indoor air quality can lead to a better quality of life. Clean air can lead to better sleep, increased energy levels, and reduced stress, among other benefits. By breathing in clean air, you can feel refreshed and rejuvenated, enhancing your overall well-being. Prioritizing good indoor air quality during spring cleaning and beyond can help create a comfortable living environment promoting a higher quality of life.

  • Increased productivity

Good indoor air quality can also increase productivity. Clean air promotes focus and mental clarity, leading to better performance in work and other activities. By breathing in fresh air, you can feel more alert and energized, increasing productivity and efficiency. Prioritizing good indoor air quality during spring cleaning and throughout the year can help you create a productive living and working environment that supports your personal and professional goals.

Common Spring Cleaning Activities That Affect Indoor Air Quality

During spring cleaning, many common activities can significantly impact indoor air quality. Three of the most common spring cleaning activities that can affect air quality are dusting and vacuuming, using cleaning products, and opening windows. Let’s take a closer look at each of these activities and how they can affect the air quality in your home.

Dusting and vacuuming

Dusting and vacuuming are essential for removing dirt, dust, and other particles from your home. However, they can also kick up dust and allergens, leading to poor air quality. To minimize the impact of these activities on air quality, use a vacuum with a HEPA filter that can capture small particles and dust.

Using cleaning products

Many cleaning products contain harsh chemicals that can emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air, leading to poor air quality. To minimize the impact of cleaning products on air quality, use non-toxic cleaning products or make your own cleaning solutions using natural ingredients like vinegar and baking soda.

Opening windows

While opening windows can improve ventilation and bring fresh air into your home, it can also introduce outdoor pollutants like pollen, dust, and exhaust fumes. To maximize the benefits of opening windows while minimizing the impact on air quality, open windows with good outdoor air quality and use window screens to filter out particles.

How to Improve Indoor Air Quality During Spring Cleaning

While spring cleaning can hurt indoor air quality, there are several steps you can take to improve air quality during this time. Here are some tips for improving indoor air quality during spring cleaning:

  1. Use non-toxic cleaning products: Instead of using harsh chemicals that can emit VOCs, opt for non-toxic cleaning products or make your own cleaning solutions using natural ingredients like vinegar and baking soda. This can help reduce the amount of pollutants released into the air during cleaning.
  2. Properly ventilate your home: Proper ventilation is essential for maintaining good indoor air quality. Open windows and doors when weather permits to increase air flow and improve ventilation. You can also use exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens to remove moisture and odors.
  3. Regularly change your air filters: Air filters can become clogged with dust and other particles, reducing effectiveness. Regularly changing your air filters can help improve air quality by removing these particles.
  4. Clean your air ducts: Over time, air ducts can become filled with dust, dirt, and other pollutants, leading to poor air quality. Cleaning your air ducts can improve air quality and help your HVAC system operate more efficiently.

With these tips, you can improve indoor air quality during spring cleaning and beyond, creating a healthier and more comfortable living environment for yourself and your family.

Find Help Improving Indoor Air Quality on Souqh

If you need help improving your indoor air quality during spring cleaning and beyond, Souqh is here to help. Souqh is a marketplace where you can find professional cleaners, HVAC technicians, and organizers who can help you improve your indoor air quality and maintain a healthy living environment.

With Souqh, you can easily find and connect with service providers who can help with tasks like air duct cleaning, HVAC maintenance, and home organizing. By enlisting the help of professionals, you can ensure that your home is properly maintained and the air quality is optimized.

To get started, simply visit the Souqh website and browse the available service providers in your area. You can read reviews and compare prices to find the right service provider. With Souqh, you can eliminate the hassle of improving indoor air quality and enjoy a healthier, more comfortable living environment.


Real Estate

The 5 Fastest Ways To Make Money In Real Estate

Real estate is among the top four industries that are more likely to make you a millionaire. Long before the internet and software produced the Jeff Bezos’ and Larry Ellison’s we all wish we could emulate, the real estate industry was minting millionaires every year.

With a growing population and a diminishing stock of homes available for rent or sale, real estate remains a magnet for people looking to strike it rich. The only difference this time is that we want to get rich faster. So in an industry that demands more patience than most, how do you make money fast in real estate?


5 Fastest Ways To Make Money In Real Estate

Here are the 5 quickest ways to profit from real estate today:

1. Flipping Houses


Do you have some renovating experience? If so, you could make money renovating and flipping houses. This business involves buying distressed homes in good neighbourhoods and then updating and then selling them at a profit.


Flipping houses can be very profitable, but there’s a learning curve. You have to know what you are doing, including choosing the right contractors as you will not be able to do all of the work yourself. Identifying houses with renovation potential is another skill you will have to master as that is where the value is.


Ideally, you want to spend as little as possible on renovations while making sure the house has all the features buyers look for in houses in that neighbourhood. Spend too much renovating the house and you may end up in the red when you finally sell. You can also run out of funds before you finish renovating.


But for people who have done their homework, have enough working capital, and know how to spot fixer-uppers with potential, flipping houses is a good way to make quick cash. By the way, you can also do this with commercial property. 


But what if you don’t have the money to buy the fixer-upper?

2. Contract Flipping

You will be surprised to learn that you can make money in real estate without investing any of your money. So those with poor credit or who can’t raise the deposit required for a mortgage shouldn’t feel locked out of the real estate market. With the right skill-set, you can try your hand at contract flipping.


Contract flipping is where you match property sellers with buyers and claim a portion of the sale price for your efforts. What you do is identify homeowners whose circumstances may require that they sell their homes to avoid foreclosure or some other negative circumstance. These could be people who are struggling to keep up with mortgage payments or some other distressed owner.


While it may not be easy to find distressed homeowners, finding a motivated buyer isn’t as difficult especially if the price isn’t too high. Essentially, you will be leveraging your negotiation and selling skills for profit. With ears in the right areas, it certainly is possible to make money this way.

3. Invest in a Rental Property


One of the traditional ways to make money in real estate is to simply buy and hold. With residential property prices in Canada rising every year, increasing 23 percent year-over-year in January 2022, this is as lucrative as most investments you can make today. 

So you could make a tidy profit by simply buying a property and waiting a year before selling. Or you invest in a rental property and collect rental income while its market value appreciates. Depending on your city, short-term rentals are also a lucrative option. Websites like Airbnb have taken most of the pain out of marketing your rental and collecting payments.


With a rental property, you can start making money from your investment immediately and still be guaranteed a healthy profit if and when you decide to sell up. Make a few renovations or cosmetic touch-ups and you could bump up your profit even more.

4. Invest in Land

Not many of us can raise enough money to buy or have sufficient credit to finance a home or commercial building purchase. That doesn’t mean we should give up on our real estate dreams. At least not for those that can raise enough to buy land.


Normally investors buy land to develop into some kind of property. If you lack the capital to build, another way to build equity or squeeze value out of land is to just let the land sit and gain value. After a year or two, you should be able to sell for a profit.


There are other ways you can make money from your land, including leasing a section for cell towers or any temporary structures a business may put up there with your consent. That, however, depends on the location of your lot. Location is also key for any land that you may want to lease out for agricultural use. 

5. Offer Ancillary Support Services

You don’t have to actually own real estate to get your own piece of this lucrative market. The industry needs support services that don’t have the same barriers of entry in comparison. If you grind, you can make just as much money as you would with an investment property, perhaps even faster.

The trick is to find a service you can offer to property owners and investors. You could offer cleaning, photography, staging, and a myriad other services sellers need to prepare their properties for sale. 

The real estate market has never been riper for investment than it is now. There’re fortunes to be made for those willing to put in the hours. Before you invest your hard-earned money, though, do your research, seek qualified advice, and think all your options through. 

So which of the ways of making money out of real estate we have discussed seem like a good fit for you?

Real Estate Realtor

Should You Rent Or Buy A Home? (The 5% Rule)

Buying a home is a big life decision for the majority of Canadians. So big that it’s worth asking whether the time or price is right. Right before buying, it’s not a bad idea to pause and ask if you should buy this specific house or continue to rent.

Perhaps you should continue renting until you find a home whose mortgage you can service more comfortably! Maybe it is cheaper to continue renting than buying the house you are considering.

So how do you decide what’s best between renting and buying a home?

A simple way of answering the rent vs buy question is by comparing the monthly rent with the monthly mortgage repayment. But Canadian portfolio manager and Youtuber, Benjamin Felix believes that approach is flawed. His 5% rule introduces the concept of ‘unrecoverable costs’ that he argues should inform the decision to buy or rent a home.

What Is The 5% Rule in Real Estate Investing?

According to the 5 % rule, the yearly unrecoverable cost of homeownership equates to 5% of the property’s total purchase value. By dividing that value by 12 you will then get the total monthly cost of owning your home. According to Felix, like the monthly rent you pay, this is money that you pay for accommodation that you will not get back.

For example, if a house costs $600,000 to buy, by multiplying that value by 5% and further dividing by 12, we will get $2,500 as the monthly homeownership cost. That becomes our breakeven point when deciding whether it is best to keep renting or buy a particular house. 

To apply the 5% rule, it will be better to keep renting if the rent for a similar house is less than $2,500. But if the prevailing rentals are above $2,500, it will be a more financially sound decision to buy this house than to keep on renting.

What Makes Up The 5%?

Expressed as an annual value and derivative of a home’s purchase price, the 5% is the sum of the unrecoverable costs of owning a home. In other words, it is what you would expect to pay to maintain the home and service the mortgage. The 5% breaks down into three costs:


  • Home maintenance (1%)
  • Property tax (1%)
  • Cost of capital (3%)

Real estate experts generally agree that it costs about 1 percent of a property’s purchase price to maintain it per year. Property tax in Canada is also 1 percent of a home’s acquisition price. For our example, both would be $6,000 per year or $500 per month.

That leaves us with the cost of capital. This is where it gets a little complicated because the cost includes the mortgage interest as well as the opportunity cost you lose when you decide to put money you have already saved towards a downpayment for your mortgage as opposed to investing it in stocks.

The average mortgage interest rate in Canada averages 3%, so again that is a straightforward cost to calculate. That is the cost of debt, assuming that you are putting down 20% percent of the home’s price from your own savings, with the mortgage loan financing the remaining 80%.

The cost of equity you invest in the home, or what you are giving up by paying the 20% down payment represents the opportunity cost. According to the 5% rule, that cost is also unrecoverable and must be factored into the rent vs buy decision.

It is the assumptions behind the cost of equity that critics find most problematic about the 5% rule. More on that later, but the argument is you will lose the opportunity to earn more on your mortgage down payment by investing it in a home instead of buying stocks. The stock market has traditionally outperformed the real estate market by 3%.

At 3%, the opportunity cost of the potential returns lost on the money you put towards the down payment is the same as the cost of servicing the mortgage loan. Add that 3% to the 1% for maintenance costs and the other 1% for the property tax bill and you will get 5% of the home’s purchase as the annual unrecoverable costs of owning a home.

Weaknesses Of The 5% Rule

Though a generally useful framework for determining what’s the sound decision between buying a home and renting, the 5% rule makes a few questionable assumptions. We will debunk them below:

People generally don’t serve unless forced to

The first contestable assumption of the 5% rule of home buying versus renting is that one would still have saved money even if the plan was not to put the savings towards a home deposit. People generally save for a goal, which in this case is the mortgage down payment. Without that goal in mind, there’s no telling if one would have saved the money.

Another angle to the assumption is that even if one did save an amount equivalent to a mortgage down payment, they would invest it in stocks because the stock market offers better returns. As humans, we don’t always act rationally. Most people would spend those savings on something that has a lower or no return at all, and not necessarily on stocks.

In reality, people are more motivated to save for a home deposit than for a stock market investment. The pain of saving for something like a house is somehow more bearable. So the prospect of homeownership forces most people to save.

Maintenance costs aren’t completely unrecoverable

It can be argued that home maintenance costs are actually recoverable because they can add to the value of a home. At the very least, they help to protect a home’s market value as a poorly maintained home will gradually lose its value.

A few cosmetic touch-ups prior to putting the house on the market can actually add a value bump to the property. That is to say, some home repairs have an ROI – they add more to the value of a home than they cost.

Pride of homeownership

There is a lot of fulfillment and pride that one can get out of the home buying process, from getting approved for a mortgage, viewing homes, and closing the home purchase. 

Owning a home itself provides a sense of community and feelings of independence and stability. While this differs from person to person, you cannot put a monetary value on it. 

And not everyone wants the benefit of mobility that renting offers. Those who are keen to start a family, in particular, prefer a ‘forever home’ where they can plant roots and raise their children. 

In the end, for many people, it does not matter much if buying a home will cost them a couple $100 more than they would spend if they were renting. The 5% rule also ignores the possibility that a homeowner can rent out part of their home for income, which will offset some of the costs of homeownership.

In the context of the red-hot housing market in Toronto, buying a home will also cushion you from the ever-rising cost of rentals. By choosing to buy you are also locking in the said unrecoverable costs of homeownership, which you can’t say about rentals that aren’t guaranteed to stay at current levels.

Need A Real Estate Agent To Help You Through The Home Buying Process

With the prevailing housing shortage and the ever-rising house prices in Canada, it can be tough to find a home that you can afford in your desired neighbourhood. Now more than ever before it is critical to enlist the services of an experienced real estate broker who knows your local area well.

Souqh is a real estate and home services marketplace where Canadians can search for professional services and contractors. Searchable by location, Souqh has tools that help you compare quotes and connect with real estate agents and other home services professionals in your local area. Search for a local real estate agent here.

Home Buyers home renovations

Flipping Houses For Profit [A Guide For Beginners In Canada]

If you have been watching the Canadian real estate market and seeing prices go through the roof, you have probably wondered if you are not missing a trick by not investing in a few properties yourself. Flipping houses is an especially hot trend right now. 

Before you cash out all your investments and go all-in on flipping houses for profit, know that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Like all other investments, you can lose money if you don’t do your homework.

We prepared this short guide to help you understand what flipping houses is and the factors you need to consider before buying that fixer-upper for flipping.

What Is House Flipping?

House flipping is where you buy an old, distressed house and repair and update it with the intention to sell it at a profit. ‘Flipping’ itself refers to the process of repairing, renovating a house to bring it up-to-date with current trends and at times to add square footage and features that make it livable and more appealing to buyers.

When the time comes to resell the house, you want the total spend from buying the property, renovation costs, and any applicable fees and taxes not to exceed the expected value after repairs. Now, in a market such as Toronto where home prices are going up all the time, your chances of selling at a profit are conceivably good.

Many beginners will take out a mortgage loan to finance a house purchase. If that’s you, you need to find a mortgage broker that understands this business and your local market as a first step.

The second and perhaps better option is to deep into your savings and pay cash for the house, the renovation/repair, and all the other costs involved. 

With so much money on the line, you have to know what you are doing for a flip to be profitable. Here’s what you need to keep in mind before you start flipping houses:

What You Need To Know Before Buying A House To Flip

There’s money to be made flipping houses. But one thing you need to know, though, is it’s not as easy as they make it look on HGTV. There is a lot of work and money involved, some of which can go down the drain if you don’t take note of the following:

1. Flip With a Target Buyer in Mind

The best way to approach flipping houses is as you would any other business. You start with a customer need in mind and then work out how to satisfy it in a way that is profitable to you. In this case, the need you are hoping to meet is that of suitable, affordable housing for a specific type of home seeker.

If you blindly buy and renovate properties without any idea who your potential buyer is, your chances of success are slim. The flip can take too long to sell, resulting in you incurring carrying costs that will eat into your profits. In the worst-case scenario, you may be stuck with an expensively renovated house that no one wants to buy.

So you need to identify a target buyer first to get an idea of the type of house you need to flip. This could be old couples downsizing to a smaller property or young professionals looking for a family-size home to plant roots. These people prioritize different features and amenities in a home. Also consider a specific location’s proximity to schools, shopping, health facilities, sports and entertainment venues, and clubs.

2. Draw a Realistic Budget

With a clear idea of the type of house and location you have to shop in, you can now draw up a realistic budget for this flip. Because you have profiled your target buyer and know which features are important to them, you can know the first time you inspect a potential flip house what renovations it will need and how much it will potentially cost.

It is quite easy to neglect some costs, which can only derail the project and cost you money later. The obvious costs will be the property’s purchase price and the renovation costs. But there are other costs involved in a house flip, like building permit fees, capital gains tax, staging and other selling costs.

Unless you already have a buyer waiting in the wings, you also have to budget for the house’s carrying costs. These are the costs that a homeowner pays, including the mortgage, utilities, property taxes, insurance, and general maintenance. You pay carrying costs as long as the house remains unsold, so you must have an allowance for them in your budget.

3. Know the True Renovation Costs Before Buying a Fixer-upper

The savviest house-flippers are those that can identify homes that only need a few repairs and cosmetic touch-ups to bring them up to date. The less you spend on repairs the better your chances of turning a profit. 

If you spend a lot on the renovation, the problem is the house will be too expensive than buyers are prepared to spend for houses in that neighbourhood. This point highlights the need to engage a knowledgeable contractor. 

An experienced contractor will know after a careful inspection how much work and investment it will take to bring a house to a livable, modern condition. A wall may need to be knocked out, windows enlarged, the roof raised, and floors replaced to improve energy efficiency and ease of maintenance. 

Just recently, Canada experienced a crippling lumber shortage that saw prices rising to record highs, so always factor in changing market conditions when going into this business.


A good local contractor will have a better understanding of the current prices of materials and the general logistics of carrying out a renovation like the one you are planning. So resist the urge to go the DIY route and hire an experienced local contractor.

4. The 70% Rule

There should be no room for sentiment when reviewing houses for flipping. No matter how good the location is and how much demand there is for that type of house, do not overpay on the purchase price.

The 70 percent rule of flipping houses is when buying a fixer-upper, you should not pay more than 70% of the after repair value (ARV – the home’s value after it’s repaired) minus the repair costs. Pay more than 70% APV and your chances of selling at a profit or recouping your investment reduce.

5. Flipping Houses Requires a Significant Time Investment

As well as capital, it takes a significant amount of your time to find a house to flip, renovate, and sell it. It could be months before you close a sale on your flip.

Even where you have hired a good contractor to do the renovation work, you will still need to manage them to ensure the work finishes on time. It’s worth sitting down and considering if you will have enough time to manage the flip, especially if you have a full-time job.

Finding the right property can also be a game of patience. You have to have the fortitude to wait as long as it takes to get the right property. With more flips, it will get easier to identify houses to flip and negotiate good purchase prices.

6. Hire the Right Skills

We have already talked about the importance of engaging an experienced local contractor. We should probably have led with how critical it is that you work with an experienced local real estate agent.

To succeed with flipping houses, you need to first identify and acquire the right property. A real estate agent with local experience will know how to pick the right property, in the right neighbourhood, and at the right price.

A realtor also knows the taxes applicable to your real estate investment, can tell at a glance if a property can be flipped successfully, and what features the renovation must prioritize. 

Is Flipping Houses Profitable In Canada

The flip-for-profit business is growing rapidly in Canada. You would therefore assume people are driving good returns from it. The market conditions are certainly right for the business, seeing that there is a general shortage of available houses, even as prices keep rising.

Again, you need to do your homework. Just as there are people profiting from flipping houses there are many who are losing money. When starting out, concentrate on buying, renovating, and reselling one property at a time and slowly build your knowledge and experience. 

Your goal at first should not be to maximize profit but to sell as quickly as possible to minimize risk to your capital.

Where To Find Experienced Local Realtors And Contractors

The secret to making money flipping houses as a beginner is building a team of capable local professionals who will plug your skills gap. A core team will have a go-to mortgage broker, real estate agent, and experienced contractor. 

In Canada, the safest place to find these skills is on the Souqh real estate and home services market. Besides these professionals, you can also search Souqh for painters, real estate lawyers, plumbers, and all manner of real estate-focused services and contractors.The 70% Rule

Real Estate

7 Reasons For Toronto’s Rising House Prices (Why Young People Should Be Concerned)

Toronto’s red hot real estate market is not showing any signs of cooling. And for young people, in particular, the increasing scarcity of affordable housing means the dream of owning a home is slipping away fast. Rental prices are just as high too, which means merely finding an affordable place to live has become a big challenge.

The income level needed to cover the homeownership costs and absorb mortgage repayments keeps rising. To put a figure on it, homeownership costs in Toronto are currently 66.1 percent of average household income.

Homeownership costs only become a concern if you qualify for a mortgage. Many young people face a battle building their credit to just qualify. Young professionals with low incomes and very little in the way of savings have essentially been priced out of Toronto’s overheated housing market.


Different reasons, and not many solutions, have been offered for the soaring home prices in Toronto. And with Canada’s friendly immigration policies, Toronto’s status as one of the best cities to emigrate to, and with thousands of young people entering the job market every year, merely increasing interest rates doesn’t seem like the fix many have touted it to be.


The big question is whether this ‘real estate bubble’ will burst, resulting in a correction of prices. We will look at the prospects of a correction (or market crash) later. First, let’s consider the reasons why home prices in Toronto can’t seem to stabilize.


Why Home Prices In Toronto Keep Soaring

Home prices in the Greater Toronto Area have risen more than 450 percent since 1996, which is much faster than most prospective homeowners can build up their savings. 

While the rising property prices are good news for investors, it’s made Toronto one of the most unaffordable cities in the world. It’s become such a contentious issue that it has become a major campaign topic for the 2022 election.

Here’s are some of the factors that have been cited for Toronto’s overheated housing market:

1. The Influx of Foreign Buyers

The high returns offered by the real estate market in Toronto have attracted the interest of foreign buyers. Many of these are wealthy businesspeople looking for assets to hedge against risks in their own countries. 

Because they have more disposable incomes, these foreign buyers aren’t put off by the high prices in Toronto. And as home prices rise as a result, it’s young Canadians that are eventually pushed to the fringes of the market.


2. The Impact of Immigration

To a lesser extent, the influx of immigrants has also led to a shortage of affordable housing. Canada is among the most immigrant-friendly countries in the developed world, welcoming deep-pocketed investors, skilled professionals, and refugees from across the world every year. A lot of these arrivals prefer to settle in Toronto.

Many immigrants eventually qualify for permanent residence. And among their first biggest purchases will be a family home. This boosts demand and drives up house prices for everyone, making accommodation less affordable for young Canadians still looking to clear student debts before building up their credit. 

3. Growing Interest From Property Lnvestors

The rich pickings from Toronto’s booming housing market continue to draw the attention of investors. By some estimates, up to 25 percent of buyers in Ontario are people who own more than one property. 

Just 10 years ago, investors were the smallest segment of the housing market. Now they are the largest – a grim reality new homeowners must confront. For those saving up to buy their first home, it’s a perpetual catch-up game with soaring prices. As soon as one has enough to buy a home, prices rise again.

Even where a first-time homeowner has saved up what should be enough for a home, when forced into a bidding war with an investor, they typically don’t stand a chance.

By many people’s summation, the Toronto housing market has become a speculators’ paradise. And where speculators play, prices are never stable, which means housing affordability is quickly morphing into a full-blown crisis.

4. Historically Low Interest Rates

Interest rates are the lowest they have been in a long time in Canada. The Bank Of Canada cut interest rates in 2020 to help the economy recover from the stresses caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

With lower interest rates, it was suddenly much cheaper to borrow. It meant that many first-time homeowners could now afford a mortgage. And with the immense returns offered by the Canadian housing market, it wasn’t long before investors flooded the market.

All that interest from buyers was, unfortunately, not met by the same level of supply. There simply wasn’t enough stock of housing units, especially the coveted detached family homes, to go around. Prices soon went through the roof and have barely slowed.

5. Low Stock And Supply Of Family Size Housing Units

It is no secret that the most desired type of housing is detached family units. They are the preferred option for young couples looking for a forever home to raise a family. 

While detached family-sized units make up the bulk of the available stock, they are in desperately short supply, with very few older owners choosing to downsize to smaller units. And even if more of these came on to the market, they are the most expensive, which means young buyers wouldn’t be able to afford them anyway.

Because developers prefer multi-unit urban condo projects that offer better returns, detached family-sized units will remain in short supply. That means, for the foreseeable future at least, prices will continue to rise.

6. Shortage (or hoarding) Of Land

Forget the curious fact that Canada is the second-largest country in the world, the country is running out of land for new housing development. At least that’s what the developers say. 


Some researchers, however, are of a completely different view, opining that there’s enough land to build two new Torontos. The Greater Toronto Horseshoe region has 125,600 hectares of land available for development, which is twice the size of Toronto.


As noted in this article, Canada actually ‘runs out of land’ every time there’s a housing shortage. The real culprit in this are developers who sit on undeveloped land and only allow a small number of new housing units to drip onto the market, which drives up prices.

7. The Influx of Dirty Money

According to an investigative report by the Toronto Star, as much as $20 billion worth of anonymous money was invested in Toronto’s housing market in 2019. This is money whose source can’t be traced.


Toronto’s real estate market and Canada’s laws, in general, do not make it difficult enough for criminals to invest their money. The market has therefore become a haven for money launderers, and this laxity in regulation and surveillance has begun to attract international criminal syndicates too.


As long as they can launder their dirty money without problems, crime syndicates will not be put off by the rising house prices. The net effect is prices will keep soaring, pushing clean, harder-to-get money out of the city altogether.

Will House Prices Drop in Toronto?


Canada’s skyrocketing home prices are causing inflationary pressures, so much that the Bank of Canada has hinted at a rate increase soon. Will that cool the real estate market in Toronto? 


In Toronto, it is tough to conclude that an interest rate hike alone will slow soaring house prices. There are just so many factors at play that it will take a cocktail of measures for home prices to stabilize.


An equally red-hot job market will continue to attract new talent from within and outside Canada. Millions more people are forecast to move to Canada, with Toronto the most preferred destination. A growing population means more demand for housing.


The more effective solution will be to fix the supply-side issues. The City of Toronto will do well to speed up the development of low-cost multi-unit townhouse projects that can close the supply gap faster. They can do this by approving projects faster. 


Another measure that has been proffered by the NDP party is an annual speculation and vacancy tax on residential property that would apply to owners who neither live in the home nor pay taxes in Ontario. The tax would drive away investors who buy homes in Toronto for purely speculative purposes. It would also encourage investors to rent out their properties, helping reduce the housing shortage.

Experienced Local Realtors Have Never Been In Higher Demand

The sad reality for many young people in Toronto is that the housing market is unlikely to crash any time soon. At least as long as the demand for new houses continues to outstrip supply. A rate hike and all the measures being suggested may help stabilize prices, but housing will continue to be out of reach for many people in Toronto.


Should you stop chasing the dream of owning your own house in Toronto? We think not. Not with all the opportunities and dynamism this great city offers. 

What we suggest is working with a savvy local realtor that has their ear to the ground all the time, listening and sniffing for every affordable property that becomes available for sale. And Souqh is where you can find a connected local realtor you can trust with your house search. 

Search Souqh for a local real estate broker here and take the time to browse through the many storefronts. The realtors on our real estate and home services marketplace all come with different levels of experience and focus, so you should be able to find one that fits your needs.


Home Buyers Real Estate

Here’s How to Handle Home Buying Stress

Have you noticed recent discussions about home buying seem to focus on how tough it is to become a first-time home buyer? Or how competitive the market is? Or how stressful the real estate process is in general? It’s no wonder home buying stress is at an all-time high! 

The process is often even more stressful for first-time home buyers learning to navigate the world of real estate.

Becoming a Home Buyer with Less Stress

If you’re looking for ways to handle home buying stress, this is one post you can’t miss! Although these tips are geared toward a first-time home buyer, they also serve as great reminders for those who have gone through the process before. 

Get clear about your budget

When you’re very clear about your budget before you begin your journey, it can save a lot of headaches along the way. It’s also important to remember that your budget will need to include more than just the listing price of a house. 

For example? There are several closing costs and legal fees to account for, and be sure you’re ready to pay them.

That’s why it’s essential to consider what you can truly afford, rather than just what you’re approved for. 

So, even if you’re approved for a $600,000 mortgage, for example, it doesn’t mean you should buy a house for that much. You’ll need to consider the monthly payments that come with it and ensure you’ll still be able to furnish your home and cover other costs. 

Take a look at this post next to learn more about the hidden costs every home buyer needs to know about. 

Create a detailed plan

Isn’t “buy a house” enough of a plan? Not exactly! The budgeting portion of the home buying process, including getting a mortgage pre-approval, can take a few weeks, to begin with. Then, you need to plan to view several homes, find a realtor you trust, pack up your current house, and more.

(Can you list six of the biggest mistakes new homebuyers make in Canada? Visit this post next to see them!)

Here’s a list of some of the things to plan for when you’re buying a house

This includes things like:

  • Mortgage pre-approval
  • Storage for your belongings
  • Hiring movers
  • Affording your down payment
  • Planning for home inspections
  • Relocating out of province or to a new city
  • Listing your current home and preparing it for sale

Working with a real estate agent you trust is a great way to ensure your plan includes all necessary details. And that brings us to our next point!

Work with a real estate agent

Working with a real estate agent is one of the most effective tools at your disposal for managing home buyer stress. Experienced realtors have seen and done it all, and they can help guide you through the process with ease. This is only one reason it’s best to work with a real estate agent rather than buying a home without any professional help. 

(Visit this post next to find out if you really need to hire a real estate agent if you’re buying a house from a friend)

As for finding a real estate agent, you can trust? We’ve made that easy for you! With Souqh, the complete home buying journey is right at your fingertips, anywhere, anytime. Our online storefronts help you find trusted service providers that match your unique needs, along with verified ratings and testimonials from home buyers just like you. 

Click here to sign up for free.


Did you learn a lot about handling home buying stress in this post? Here are three more posts to read next: 

Real Estate

Buying A House From A Friend Without A Realtor [The Pros And Cons]


Don’t we all like to have a permanent address? A forever home, where you can plant roots and raise a family? As anyone will tell you, buying a home is big achievement. For most of us, it is also the biggest financial transaction of our lives, one that involves several important decisions. One of these is finding the right property to buy.


It is not uncommon to wait months before you can find the right property to buy. There may not be good houses available to buy in your desired neighborhood and in your price range. But what if a friend just also happens to be selling their house and the house ticks all the important boxes for you?


Since you are buying the house from a friend, it is a good opportunity to save some money by not engaging a realtor, right? On the surface, yes, but there are some serious pitfalls you have to be aware of.


Can You Buy A House Without A Realtor In Canada?


You are not mandated to use a realtor when buying a property in Canada. You can represent yourself in the transaction, from negotiating the sale price, filing all the necessary documents, and closing the sale. That said, there are several reasons why this may not be the best way to proceed.


Before we discuss the reasons you may be better off engaging a realtor when buying a house, it is prudent to consider the situation where there may be positive outcomes to go it alone, especially when the seller is a friend. 


Firstly, since you are friends with the seller, you can rely on your personal relationship to negotiate terms that benefit both parties. Secondly, you may already be familiar with the property and feel you don’t need realtor to come in organize an inspection and a viewing. 


It is possible you may also be familiar with the area and contend that you have a good idea on the prices of comparable properties. Armed with that market knowledge, you may even feel you are in a position to negotiate a better price than the realtor.


In some cases, buyers simply don’t trust agents, concerned that they may push them into quickly buying a specific property so they get their cut of the commission. The worry is you may end up buying the wrong property or simply pay more than you should.


Not hiring a realtor usually does not save a buyer any money


The most common reason why some buyers choose to not hire a realtor is the assumption that you will save on the realtor’s commission. We say assumption because not hiring a realtor will not necessarily save the buyer any money. That is because it is the seller that pays the realtor’s commission –  both yours and theirs.


Why Buying A Home Without A Realtor May Be A Bad Idea


Jim and Pam looking at a clown painting


Over 80 percent of homebuyers buy through a real estate agent. There are very good reasons why they do this. Even if the seller is your friend, it may still be in your best interests to hire an agent. Here’s why:


The home buying process is complicated


If you are buying a property for the first time, you may be biting more than you can chew by trying to navigate the home buying process by yourself. Buying a home is not as simple as agreeing a price and signing on it. The process is complicated and time consuming.


To start with, you have to sign a purchase agreement that spells out contingencies on what to do in the event of certain eventualities. For example, if the home inspection turn up previously undiscovered repair and structural issues, the purchase contract must have explicitly worded provisions that allow you to withdraw from the purchase agreement.


There are also state and local regulations you must meet before closing the purchase. Failure to complete and properly file certain documents may cost you money and time. A person not familiar with the homebuying process may also underestimate the amount of time, expense, and hustle it takes to follow the process through.


Negotiating the right price takes skill and expertise


The fact you are buying from a friend may prove to be a handicap when negotiating the price. Because you share a relationship with the seller that you are keen to protect beyond the transaction, you may not be able to aggressively pursue a better price.


An agent on the other hand, is unshackled from any sensitivities and best positioned to negotiate the best price and terms for their client. In the case where your friend is represented by an agent, you can even find yourself at a disadvantage. 


The seller’s agent will have the experience and can use the tricks of the trade to secure the best deal for their client. For a fairer price negotiation, it is best you also have an agent representing you. 


Even when you feel you know an area so well that you have a good idea what a good price will be, it is still wise to buy through an experienced realtor. They are best-placed to match your needs and wishes with the right property.


Get guidance on important technical matters and disclosures


Unless you are buying a new house, you should expect that there will be repair and structural issues the seller will need to disclose and take care of even after the sale has been agreed. Examples could be fixing a leaking toilet, a bad roof, or replacing a broken gate. 


You may even allow the seller to keep some of their belongings in the garage on the promise that they will collect them at a later date. Without a legally binding, explicitly worded agreement, problems will arise if the seller fails to make good on their promises. The same friendship that was the basis of this transaction may be ruined as a result.


Though they are legally binding, verbal agreements are difficult to enforce. To protect yourself, it is critical that all agreements with the seller are memorialized by a communication trail and protected by a written contract. If the other party reneges or defaults on their promise, you then have a viable recourse. 


While you may easily neglect to have all your agreements with the seller written down, an experienced realtor will make sure to cover all bases as that is part of their fiduciary duties. 


Property lines are also a common cause of conflict. An experienced realtor will know not to take the seller’s word in terms of where the property line is. They will arrange to have the property properly surveyed and marked so you don’t run into disputes with your neighbors down the line.


Why Using A Realtor Is Important


Buying a house is a complicated process with many potential sink holes. It is not the type of transaction where you want to cut corners and neglect certain steps no matter how trivial they may seem. If something goes wrong the hit to your pocket may be substantial. 


To protect yourself, it is critical to have a realtor navigate the process for you. They know the ins and outs of the real estate market and the home buying process itself and will save you from wasting time and risking your hard earned money.


Search Souqh for the best realtors in your local area, wherever you are in Canada. Souqh is a marketplace for real estate service providers, from realtors, real estate lawyers, to contractors. Our platform simplifies the homebuying process to save you time and money.


6 Costly Mistakes New Homeowners Make In Canada

The home buying process in Canada can be quite overwhelming for first-time buyers. In the stress of it, many inevitably make mistakes. Costly mistakes. Naturally, this is a popular topic of discussion in real estate circles and a lot of advice is available on how to avoid these mistakes.


But perhaps less highlighted are the mistakes first-time homeowners make in the euphoria of closing what for many is the biggest purchase of their lifetime. The mistakes you make in all the excitement can come back to bite you and can even affect your home’s resale value.


Now that you have been handed the keys to your new home, you should be enthusiastic to start putting your personal stamp on the property. Tread with caution; the mistakes we will highlight below can quickly deflate your enthusiasm and punch a large hole in your pocket:

1. Over-personalizing Renovations


Every new homeowner longs to see themselves when they look at their new homes. The challenge though is your wishes for a home that truly represents your tastes and style can be too far removed from what is practically achievable.


In your attempt to personalize your new home, you may end up overdoing it. Instead of a tasteful modern home, the final result could show a mess of mismatched colours, poorly chosen fixtures, and awkward room layouts. 


That would be OK if this is your forever home. As you will realize, though, very few are. Potential homebuyers may find your quirky decor taste entirely unfashionable. So always consider how a potential buyer may perceive the space and avoid being too bold when renovating. 


Besides interior designers, the best people to consult on colour selection are professional home painters. Because they have worked on many similar projects before, home painters have a good idea of what colour schemes appeal to most people. 


Crucially, unlike interior decorators, painters are more likely to consult for free if you ask politely and especially when they know they’re getting the painting contract. Search Souqh for a curated selection of professional home painters in any city in Canada.

2.Making Major Renovations Too Soon



As a new homeowner, you will have a lot of ideas on what the home must look like. Oftentimes this entails making both cosmetic and structural alterations to the home. 


But it’s important not to rush into any major renovation or remodel and give yourself time to settle in and get a full appreciation of the home’s features. This way you will know what you need to prioritize to improve both the efficiency and curb appeal of your new home. You will likely find that a new roof or more energy-efficient windows are a more urgent project than a new bathroom. 


So for the first year at least, it may be wiser to focus your budget on smaller repairs. Get a home repair and maintenance professional to come in and access the condition of the home and identify repairs and maintenance areas the previous homeowner may have neglected. 


After you have lived in the new home for a while, you will be better acquainted with its features and problem areas and, thus, more prepared to tackle a major renovation or remodel with confidence.


3. Under-budgeting


Another issue you will run into when you plow into a major renovation project too soon after moving into your new house is not budgeting enough money. Because you have not given yourself time to fully acquaint yourself with your new home, there are issues you will only discover after you have already started the project. These are issues you will not have budgeted for.


For example, remodeling the kitchen when the roof above it leaks badly. Whether or not you discover that the roof leaks during or after the kitchen remodel, you have to get it repaired. Otherwise, the leak will ruin the new ceiling, walls, and floors. Needless to say, this throws your budget off, which can derail the entire renovation project.


4. Spending Too Much Money On A Renovation Project


wasting money


Renovations and remodels are costly and can often run beyond their budget. This is especially true for new homeowners who lack prior renovation experience. The issue here isn’t necessarily that you will run out of money before the project is completed. Rather, the danger is you may spend more than you can recover if you decide or are forced to sell the home.


Spending more than you can recover represents a financial loss. So as a new homeowner, it is important to take a step back and work out how much you will have to spend to bring the house to your desired level of comfort, luxury features, overall efficiency, and curb appeal. Then decide if it is an investment you will be able to recoup.


After all, a house is ultimately worth what someone is willing to pay for it, not how much you have invested in it. Factors like location and the current state of the market all intervene and mean some renovations don’t always guarantee a return.


5. Not Pulling Required Permits


At Souqh, we invest considerable resources in vetting and verifying service providers that list on our platform. We do this to make sure you get the best advice and service in your city. We know how many new homeowners have ended up on the wrong side of planning permission bylaws after trusting the advice of inexperienced and fly-by-night contractors.


One of the common mistakes new homeowners have been misadvised into making is not pulling permits before tackling remodels. Depending on several factors, local bylaws may require you to pull building permits and request planning permission before undertaking certain home renovations projects. Not doing so attracts fines and, in some cases, demolition orders that can ruin you financially.


6. Not Hiring A Professional




Of course, failing to obtain building permits may be entirely your fault. In most cases, it is because you take the DIY route and neglect to check with the local city authority and find out if or not you will need a building permit for your project. In other cases, you simply bite more than you can chew.


That’s not to say there aren’t home renovation projects you can tackle on your own. Many may fall right within your wheelhouse. That said, a professional contractor will do the work faster, more efficiently, and as a result, possibly at a lower cost. 


More importantly, you can utilize a professional contractor’s experience and consult with them on issues including building permits, scheduling of the renovation, and where to get cheaper raw materials. 


When you work with the contractors in the Souqh database, you can be sure that they will only start work after every necessary permit has been pulled. They do this because their reputations rest on that efficiency and due diligence. Furthermore, you will know that the work will be done right the first time.


[Bonus] Unfinished Renovation Projects



The costliest consequence of biting more than you can chew, under-budgeting, and failing to obtain building permits is that the project may stall. This setback may prove too much to overcome. 


When a renovation stalls, not only do you risk the money you had already sunk into the project, but the unfinished home may also become less livable and end up consuming too much energy. The unfinished parts of the house may also become safety hazards.

Simplify Home Ownership With Souqh


Finally opening doors to your first home is a major milestone and achievement for anyone. It feels particularly sweet when you consider all the struggles you went through saving up for the deposit, securing the mortgage loan, and filing all the paperwork you had to submit. 


But that can all turn bittersweet if, in your excitement, you make the mistakes we have highlighted above. Fortunately, Souqh has all the contractors you need to create the home of your dreams in one place. 


Search Souqh for all the home repair and renovation services you need and enjoy all the benefits of homeownership without spending too much money.

digital marketing for contractors

5 Questions To Ask Before Joining An Online Marketplace


The toughest job for any service provider or contractor is finding clients. What makes it harder is that regular marketing channels are either saturated, too expensive, or take too long to bear fruits. As a result, even industry veterans go through dry periods, where they can hardly find any work. 


To improve the odds of getting that first, or next customer, you may need to get more visible to potential clients. Joining online marketplaces is one way of doing this. 


Online marketplaces are a tried and true lead generation tool. But seeing there are quite a few of them around, which ones should you join? You will be committing quite a bit of your time there, so it’s a decision you should think through. 


To help you with the decision, we have 5 questions that you should ask yourself before joining an online marketplace:

Ask Yourself These 5 Questions Before Joining An Online Marketplace


thinking emoji1. Does my target customer shop there?


There is no point in joining a marketplace that is frequented by millions of users that do not need the services you offer. Identify your target customer and then find out if their profile would fit with the audience of the marketplace you’re considering.


Souqh, for example, is a place where home buyers and homeowners come to find service providers. Homebuyers can search the marketplace for realtors, real estate lawyers, mortgage brokers, and movers, among other service providers. 


On the other hand, homeowners can rely on Souqh to connect them with contractors. These could be electricians, handymen, or plumbers. Souqh is a perfect fit for any of these contractors and professional services because it’s built for the same people they’re targeting – home buyers and homeowners.



2. How Much Visibility Will I Get?


At the end of the day, you are joining the marketplace to boost your visibility to target prospects. So, first, it should be easy for them to find your listing on the marketplace. Secondly, there should be enough real estate for you to showcase your brand, list all your services, and promote your business to prospects.


Souqh, for example, will give you your own storefront where you can list your services, display your reviews, and start a conversation with interested prospects. 


A search feature on the homepage helps prospects find you, first by your service and, secondly, by your city. As long as you have properly optimized your storefront, it should not be difficult for customers to find you. By paying a small fee you can also get your storefront featured on the homepage, which boosts your visibility.

3. What Are The Costs Involved?


Some online marketplaces are free to use while others are paid. Some payments are one-off joining fees while others are monthly subscriptions. If you have researched the marketplace well, it could potentially bring a lot of business your way, so a small fee should be a small price to pay.


That said, you should weigh the cost of listing on the marketplace against the potential benefits. Search and find out how many businesses like yours are listed on the marketplace. If you find that there are quite a few, it is possible they are getting their money’s worth and that you may too.

4. What Tools Does The Marketplace Provide?


If the marketplace is not free, you will want to know what you are paying for exactly. If it’s just to get yourself in front of more people, then there better be warm leads. Otherwise, you should expect the marketplace to at least provide tools that help you automate some of the work. 


Some marketplaces integrate with social media platforms so customers that have been satisfied with your work can recommend you to their followers with a simple click of a button. Some allow you to advertise on the platform at a low cost.


For its part, Souqh is built as an end-to-end platform for home buyers and owners. A home buyer, for example, can find mortgage financiers, lawyers, and movers all within the platform. They can even send an invite from within Souqh to their preferred service provider if they find they are currently not on the platform. That benefits everyone, including service providers. 


For service providers specifically, Souqh allows you to create, share, and e-sign your documents in one secure portal. Not just that, all your communications with clients can take place right within your Souqh store. 


More importantly, clients can pay you right within Souqh using a payment method that works for both of you. This reassures prospects of the security of their data and their privacy, which helps to close deals faster.



5. Are There Any Incentives For Users?



It is great that the marketplace provides tools for service providers to find prospects, negotiate and close deals, and receive payment in one secure portal. But what about the prospects – the reason that brought you to the marketplace? What incentives are there to keep them coming back?


Users typically don’t pay to use marketplaces so they can easily go look for service providers elsewhere. Souqh gets this and has an automated system where users earn credits every time they transact or invite a service provider to the platform. 


The credits users earn can be used to pay for future services. So users are motivated to use Souqh more frequently because there is a direct financial benefit.


Find Customers And Grow Your Business On Souqh


Are you a contractor or professional services provider like a lawyer, realtor, or mortgage broker? Souqh can connect you with potential clients and help scale your business at a more manageable expense. Get started with Souqh here.

General Contactor Mortgage Broker Realtor Service Providers

5 Tips to Elevate Client Experience in Real Estate

Don’t let the crazy times sway your focus from improving your real estate business.

Yes, the stress level is skyrocketing when it comes to overall economic health, but you can turn it around. Be proactive. Create an opportunity for your business by elevating your clients’ experience

It’s all about empathy. Knowing what they need is the core of it all which you’ll know further through the following five tips. 

Why is client experience important for your real estate business?

Don’t ever second guess it. Real estate at its core is a customer service industry. 

The longevity and quality of your relationship with your clients determine the long-term success of your business. Try to imagine your mission statement. Make personalization of your service be the heart of your business.

It can reveal a lot about you and your company -how you foster client experience in your services. Think brand loyalty, building trust, which can equate to real estate referrals. 

5 Helpful Tips to Create Ultimate Client Experience in Real Estate

It’s never about looking perfect. Amplifying what you can do for your clients is what’s worth the effort. It’s about benefits more than the features, as stressed by these five tips we’re sharing with you.

1. Look At Your Website’s Low Points

Do you also groan with frustrations when websites are failing to serve their purpose?

That’s one client experience down the drain. A landing page or an entire website should be consistent in which property listings match the photos, are aesthetically appealing and are super easy to navigate.

Avoid unnecessary actions at all costs. Assess your website if they are serving your kind of clients. Suppose their clicks and scrolls are letting them see the listing and images efficiently or not.

2. Know Which Demographic to Attract

Where does your target market hang out? What do they eat? What do they watch? Where do they shop?

These are your lifeline questions. Understanding the nuances of your audience can take a bit of effort. That’s market research for you, but oh-so-worth-it!

To sell homes or your ability to sell properties is more than just about selling. There’s no prime secret here. Start by knowing your strengths, so you’ll determine which demographic you target.

3. Build Client-centric Relationships

Before the dawn of real estate digitization, brokers and agents were the driving force of the scene.

For years, that shifted many a time, and like every other business in the land, the relevance is now focused on clients. The element that could launch a thousand commissions is called relationships.

The avoidance of a salesy approach is strong in the digital era. Building a client-centric relationship means becoming authentic in every aspect of your business—that and consistency.

4. Streamline Processes

There’s no better time than today to utilize automation.

What makes a client smile is efficient and effective processes. To name a few of how you can streamline your workflow are canned responses, smart email workflow, automated notifications for team tasks, and smooth integration of real estate apps.

After all, time saved is money saved.

5. Get Data-Driven Insights With

Invite your clients to where the comfort of homebuying is right at their fingertips.

Lead generation can be laborious but through digital magic, it’s bound to be quick and easy. is your prime platform to get data-driven insights where your clients look for help and where you deliver exemplary customer service and experience. It’s your go-to access to digital strategy and support towards higher conversion rates through data-driven marketing campaigns on Souqh.

Intrigued how can take your real estate business to greater heights? Click here