cleaning kitchen Service Providers spring

Spring Cleaning Your Toronto Kitchen: A Pro Guide to Deep Clean and Organize for a Fresh Start

Spring is a great time to give your kitchen a thorough cleaning. Over time, dirt, grime, and clutter can accumulate in your kitchen, making it unhygienic and disorganized. Spring cleaning your kitchen can help you eliminate unwanted items, deep clean surfaces, and create a more functional and enjoyable space for cooking and entertaining.

A clean and organized kitchen has many benefits. It can reduce stress, save time, and make cooking and entertaining more enjoyable. A clutter-free kitchen can also inspire healthy eating habits and make it easier to prepare nutritious meals.

Spring cleaning your kitchen involves decluttering, deep cleaning, organizing, and maintaining the space. We will walk you through these steps in detail to help you achieve a sparkling clean, and organized kitchen.

Why Decluttering is Important

Decluttering your kitchen can make navigating, reducing stress, and increasing productivity easier. It can also help you identify no longer useful or needed items, making room for more functional and necessary items.

Tips for Decluttering

Start by setting a goal and creating a plan. Inventory everything in your kitchen and categorize items into keep, donate/sell, or toss piles. Be ruthless in your decision-making process, and consider donating or selling items in good condition that no longer serve a purpose in your kitchen.

Items to Declutter

Common items needing decluttering in your kitchen include expired or unused food, duplicate kitchen tools and appliances, old dishware and utensils, and unused or broken gadgets. Get rid of anything taking up space without adding value to your kitchen.

Deep Cleaning Your Toronto Kitchen

Deep cleaning your kitchen involves cleaning every surface, nook, and cranny. Start by removing everything from your kitchen, including appliances and furniture, and clean from top to bottom. Dust the ceiling, walls, and light fixtures, and then clean the countertops, cabinets, and drawers. Clean the appliances, sink, and fixtures, then mop or vacuum the floors.

Essential Cleaning Products to Use

The right cleaning products can make cleaning your kitchen easier and more effective. Stock up on all-purpose cleaners, glass cleaners, stainless steel cleaners, oven cleaners, and floor cleaners. Microfiber cloths, sponges, and a scrub brush are also helpful tools.

Tips for Tackling Tough Cleaning Challenges

Tough cleaning challenges in the kitchen may include removing burnt-on food from pots and pans, removing stubborn stains on countertops, or removing grease from the stove. Try using baking soda and vinegar to clean these tough spots, or consider hiring a professional cleaning service to help you get your kitchen sparkling clean.

Organizing Your Toronto Kitchen

An organized kitchen can help you save time, reduce stress, and make cooking and entertaining more enjoyable. It can also improve the functionality of your kitchen by making it easier to access and use the items you need.

Tips for Organizing the Kitchen

Start by categorizing items and designating a specific storage space for each category. Store frequently used items in easy-to-reach places and less frequently used items in more out-of-the-way spaces. Use drawer dividers, cabinet organizers, and shelf risers to maximize storage space and keep items easily accessible.

How to Create Storage Solutions for Small Spaces

Small kitchens can present unique challenges when it comes to organization. Consider using vertical storage solutions, such as hanging pots and pans from a ceiling rack or installing shelves above cabinets. Use under-the-counter storage, such as pull-out drawers or baskets, to maximize space. Consider using multi-functional items, such as a cutting board that doubles as a storage container or a kitchen island with built-in storage.

Maintaining Your Toronto Kitchen

Maintaining a clean and organized kitchen requires a few strategies, such as creating a cleaning schedule, doing dishes immediately after use, and staying on top of clutter. It’s also important to regularly review your kitchen’s organization to ensure it continues to meet your needs.

Daily, Weekly, and Monthly Maintenance Tasks

Daily maintenance tasks include wiping down counters, doing dishes, and sweeping or vacuuming the floor. Weekly tasks may include cleaning appliances, wiping cabinets, and deep cleaning the sink. Monthly tasks may include cleaning the oven, wiping light fixtures, and cleaning the refrigerator.

Tips for Getting the Whole Family Involved in Kitchen Maintenance

Involving the whole family in kitchen maintenance can make it easier and more fun. Assign tasks to each family member, create a cleaning chart with checklists and due dates, and reward yourselves for completing tasks on time. Encourage everyone to take pride in the cleanliness and organization of the kitchen and make it a fun family activity.

Find Professionals to Help You Achieve Your Spring Dream Kitchen

If you need professional help with deep cleaning, organizing, or renovating your kitchen, consider checking out Souqh’s marketplace. Souqh is an online marketplace that connects homeowners with trusted and reliable service providers.

Whether you need a professional cleaning service to help with your deep cleaning needs, an organizer to help you get your kitchen in order, or a home renovation expert to help you transform your kitchen, Souqh can help you find the right service provider for your needs.

Souqh provides homeowners with an easy and streamlined process to find the right professional for their real estate and home improvement needs. This includes browsing quotes and vendor profiles, selecting the most suitable match, scheduling the service, signing documents, and making payments upon job completion. Homeowners can also leave ratings and reviews to help others in their community make informed decisions.

Visit Souqh’s website today to browse service providers in your area and read reviews from past customers. With Souqh, achieving your dream kitchen has never been easier.

Join to book a service and get started.

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?

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.

Insurance Broker

Top Marketing Challenges Toronto’s Insurance Brokers Face Today

The insurance industry – like many others – is rapidly evolving. It is no different whether you sell auto, business, or home insurance. Thankfully, there is more consumer data available for insurance companies to innovate new products and better ways to serve customers.

The rapid evolution we are seeing in the insurance industry opens exciting prospects for the sector, but it also presents marketing challenges for insurance brokers. The challenge is consumer needs are evolving just as fast as the insurance industry itself. That calls for new ways of attracting prospects and retaining customers.

The regulatory environment has also changed a lot over the years, with new laws that protect consumers against invasive marketing tactics. The challenge of trying to stay on top of all the changes in the insurance industry is one that should concern every insurance broker looking to grow their business in Toronto’s competitive market.

This article identifies three main marketing challenges insurance brokers in Toronto face today. We will also propose a quick digital marketing solution brokers can use to generate leads and roll with all the emerging marketing challenges.

Changing Demographics


Insurance is one of those things that consumers know they need but never actively go out to purchase unless they are forced to. For example, when buying a car or when applying for a mortgage loan. That makes it a hard sell, especially when you are using the same marketing tactics for consumers whose demographics have changed.

Generation Z consumers will, for example, overtake millennials as the most economically active age group in the developed world. But the two generations have different tendencies and expectations, to the extent that insurance agencies cannot successfully target them with the same marketing messages or channels they have always relied on.

Generation Z consumers are more technologically savvy and more conscious of their evolving needs than millennials, which means they present a greater marketing challenge. The global Covid pandemic has also had a big impact on consumer behaviour, including how and where they prefer to work and live. This again has forced the insurance industry into a state of flux.

The overarching effect of the shift in demographics is the increasing dependence on digital media. Whether baby boomer, millennial or Gen Z, consumers will do most of their research and purchases online. This demands a shift in marketing strategy from offline to online channels.

Greater Demand For Personalized Products

Consumers today have more options than they need for almost every need. If you don’t serve their needs to their satisfaction, they will switch to another insurance provider. And it also happens that consumers are more demanding than ever, with an increasing abhorrence for one-size-fits-all solutions. In a way, insurance has effectively been de-commoditized.

To stay relevant in today’s marketing landscape, insurance providers have to innovate with more personalized, flexible insurance options. Selling those policies will also demand addressing consumers as individuals and not as large homogenous groups.

As an insurance broker, you have to show a deeper understanding of the challenges your prospects face so you can target them with relevant content and offers. You will need to aggregate data from multiple sources and draw insights on how to structure your marketing messages in a way that appeals to the needs of increasingly diverse prospects.

The Challenge to Constantly Improve Customer Experience


It is no longer enough to just gain a customer and make a sale. In insurance, the ultimate value in a client shows in how long you are going to retain them. The bigger goal should be to ensure current customers renew every year.

Insurance brokers should, therefore, spend as much or more time serving the needs of current customers in a way that makes them feel heard and appreciated. This produces a customer who is more likely to renew and is more amenable to upselling. In short, it is essential to constantly work on the customer experience. 

The best way to improve customer experience is by understanding who your customers are and what their pain points and goals are. That is only the start, though. It is essential to manage your ongoing interactions with policyholders throughout their customer journey. 

Yes, great companies do not fixate on attracting new clients and invest a greater effort and resources in retaining old customers. But customers only stay with brands they are happy with. And it takes only one bad experience for some clients to leave you. So it’s critical to cultivate a great experience for customers. Avail yourself more, respond to queries faster, and be generally helpful.

How Insurance Brokers Can Meet The Challenges Of A Dynamic Digital Marketing Landscape

It is not an exaggeration to say that the modern consumer is hard to please. They don’t feel any obligation to stick with a brand, no less brands that don’t prioritize them and effectively respond to their evolving needs. 

To survive this challenging marketing landscape, insurance brokers have to rejig their marketing and ditch outbound for inbound tactics. This demands a shift towards channels that consumers prefer. In other words, you must serve customers and find prospects where they prefer to hang out, which for many is online.

Being active on social media helps to tap into conversations people are having about insurance, which informs your decisions on both old and new products. Learning SEO will open a window into the needs and pain points of prospects, including their knowledge gaps. All this is intelligence you can use to craft more targeted content and product offers.

An All-in-one Digital Marketing Solution

We can think of other digital marketing tips for Toronto’s insurance brokers, including email marketing and PPC. But for a tactic that can pay off right now and for which you need minimal investment, where most of the legwork has already been done for you, nothing beats joining an online marketplace like Souqh.

Souqh is a platform where homeowners and homebuyers come to find solutions for specific problems. Souqh gives you a digital storefront and a pre-segmented audience of warm leads that are actively shopping for specific service providers. This makes it a great place for home insurance brokers to find leads.

We are the digital equivalent of a shopping mall where store owners are guaranteed foot traffic almost as soon as they open up shop. With this digital storefront, most of the SEO and promotion are already done for you, unlike building a brand new website that will take time to rank for your target terms. 

Souqh has features for electronic document sharing and signing, chat, and data protection features that streamline customer interactions and promote safe commerce. We believe ours is one of the fastest ways of building your digital brand and generating leads online. 

Listing on Souqh now means you get in and build authority before others wake up to the opportunity. Explore Souqh’s excellent features and register here.

Insurance Broker

How Home Insurance Brokers Can Get Free Leads In Toronto

A constant stream of free organic leads is the marketing holy grail. But in a mature insurance market such as Toronto’s, the very concept of free leads can be easily dismissed as fanciful.

If you are an insurance broker trying to hawk home insurance policies in Canada’s most populous city and economic hub, you will know leads rarely ever call you up out of the blue. You canvass and work your socks off for them.

But if there could really be such a thing as free leads, digital marketing is the most viable way you could get them:

Digital Marketing For Home Insurance Brokers

Every type of business is looking at digital marketing as a way of scaling their lead generation and reducing their overall marketing spend. In terms of reach, no other marketing channel has the reach of digital media. 

Traditionally, insurance brokers have found leads by going door-to-door selling policies. That is a hard way of selling. Just as hard is cold calling homeowners, many of whom grew resentful of these calls.

Again, traditional insurance brokers were always pressed for time as most of their selling happened face-to-face with prospects. To increase the lead count, they focused too much on their products and offers and generally ignored the customer. That again made selling harder than it should have been.

The insurance agent of the future nurtures their leads and waits until they are ready to consider their offer. They feed the prospect with enough informational content so the prospect can make a more informed buying decision. 

When properly identified and nurtured, leads convert into better quality, long-term customers. Yet this is impossible to scale using offline channels, which is why digital marketing is a natural fit for Toronto’s insurance brokers. 

The insurance brokers who will ace their digital marketing will disrupt the market to their advantage because the insurance industry has been built on gate-keeping tactics that are underpinned by a strong resistance to change. 

The staid nature of the insurance industry is a market opportunity that has been exploited by insurtech startups but which still has wide scope for innovation. But you don’t need VC backing and fancy software to cut your own slice of this large cake. You could do that by simply following an intentional digital marketing strategy.

Let’s look at how a digital marketing strategy may look like for a home insurance broker:

buyer persona

1. Develop A Buyer Persona

A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer. When properly researched, your buyer should show the prospect’s demographic profile, goals, and challenges. As an insurance broker, you can even segment your buyer personas according to the different policies you sell.

A buyer persona focuses your market research and allows you to create more targeted content. It helps you identify the challenges specific subsets of homeowners face when shopping for insurance. That way you improve your appeal and are in a better position to sell more policies and build a brand.

Speaking of content:

2. Build a Website

After developing your buyer personas, building a top-notch website is the next logical step. A website serves as your digital home. This is the hub through which all your digital marketing goes through. If you have Paid Per Click (PPC) ads as part of your marketing stack, your website is where prospects will land to be sold to after they click on your ad.

Your website is where you showcase your brand and publish your content and display all the information prospects may require about your insurance brokerage. Armed with all the data you gathered when you researched your buyer personas, you should develop a website that makes it easy for people to find what they are looking for.

Above all, a website helps to portray a professional image of your business. It is a trust seal that says your business is a going concern that can be relied on for consistent service quality. But if your website is not going to end up as one of the 100s of millions that no one visits, you need to have a clear SEO strategy:

3. Implement an Effective SEO Strategy

There are an estimated 1.7 billion live websites that are all vying for consumers’ attention. To have any success with digital marketing, even when you are paying for traffic, your website content must be optimized around topics people are searching Google and other search engines for.

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO in short, identifies the insurance topics that target prospects are most interested in. It surfaces their FAQs and helps you map their buying journey. With 71 percent of consumers saying they research online before buying insurance, there’s no shortage of search data with which to optimize your content and make sure it’s targeted to the right prospects.

Content that is optimized around topics and answers that people are searching Google for has the greatest chances of being read by the right people. Otherwise, you will just be creating content and just pushing it out there without any idea of the potential size of the audience it will get or if it will get read at all. 

Insurance brokers will do well to add SEO to their skills-to-have list. But SEO is a long game. It may be a while before you see your web pages ranking for your target search terms and prospects signing up to your email list. What if you don’t have the time to wait that long? And because SEO isn’t entirely free, what if you don’t have the budget?

A Free, Done-For-You Digital Marketing Tool For Insurance Brokers

A landline and word of mouth have long ceased to be effective ways of acquiring leads for insurance brokers. Consumers now trust Google more than their neighbors for their research before making important buying decisions. 

Even better, instead of pogo-sticking between the SERPs and different providers to find an actual insurance broker and not just a piece of content that ranks for the term, homeowners would rather go to an online marketplace that is specifically created with their needs in mind. 

Get Warm Insurance Leads on Souqh

A marketplace like Souqh gives prospects the benefit of choosing among many insurance brokers who are segmented by location. They can compare quotes and offers from multiple insurance brokers without leaving the platform. They can do this without any obligation and only make an inquiry after determining that a specific broker more closely matches their needs. Consumers love this.

By listing on Souqh, you get a digital storefront and access to warm, pre-segmented leads. You save yourself the time and expense of building a website and learning SEO if you choose not to. At the very least, Souqh gives you a digital marketing tool you can use immediately while your website content ranks for your target keywords. 

On Souqh you have the guarantee that homeowners will come, oftentimes to buy the very thing you are selling. Even if they are looking for something else, they may discover you and make a mental note for when they need home insurance, which is as good as a lead. 

Because the digital marketing infrastructure and SEO is already in place for you to use right away, Souqh saves you time, cuts your costs, and enhances the overall client experience. It is the closest you can get to acquiring free leads for your home insurance brokerage.

Discover the digital marketing secret other insurance brokers are using to find prospects and sell more policies in Toronto by listing on Souqh. Get started here.