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So You Want To Buy An Investment Property. But Are You Ready To Be A Landlord?

May 23, 2014 - Updated: May 23, 2014Buying Real Estate

buy investment property

Why do you want an investment property?  To make easy money right!  Here are some things to consider when you are buying an investment proeprty.


Positive cash flow

How profitable will being a landlord really be?  The landlord has to ask themselves if they want positive cash flow and figure out if the money earned will exceed the money spent on being a landlord.  Consideration to the local rental rates especially to similar properties is required to properly ascertain potential gross income.


Will a reasonable rate minus the cost of leasing the unit be worth the while?  Costs can include regular maintenance costs, condo fees, insurance, property taxes, mortgage payments cost of gas travelling to and from the leased unit and realtor fees. If after all this accounting is done for all the potential and likely cost and the numbers are in the black then you will have positive cash flow.


If the landlord is buying an investment property they must consider the consequences to personal income tax; if it’s a condo apartment, what rules may not allow for the rental of the unit or make living there more difficult for potential tenants (i.e. not pets allowed); if the landlord is a new home buyer, are they aware they will lose first home buyers benefits when buying their first home to live in; if buying a house to rent out, does the house meet zoning rules, municipal bylaws and health, fire and safety codes.


When buying an investment property the landlord needs to consider what tenants are looking for and what they will pay higher rents for.  Do you buy a turnkey situation where the condo or house is already updated or do you get affixer-upper and do renovations which will save you money on the sticker price but will cost thousands to bring to standards?  Depending on the landlords ability to do construction themselves or to get it cheaply done perhaps buying the turnkey property is more appealing.


How will you go about in getting a tenant?  The landlord has to consider trying to find a tenant by themselves or through the use of a real estate sales person.   If the landlord tries to rent for themselves they have to find ways of marketing their property so potential renters will find them.  The landlord will have to qualify potential tenants, do negotiations and right legal documents by themselves.  If the landlord is inexperienced they might make critical mistakes which can lead to big headaches, legal cost, time spent away from work etc…


 Using a realtor does cost money for their service, but on the other hand they qualify potential tenants, market the property through the realtor network by using the MLS and at the local brokerage.  They make arrangement for other realtors to show the unit to renters in the form of showings.  And finally they help the landlord with the legal paper work and negotiations.


Tenancy agreement

But wait! Do you need a written tenancy agreement?   The quick answer is “no”. However, the proper answer should be “yes”.  Look at it in this way.  If a problem arises which leads to having to go to court, not having a written agreement becomes harder to prove who’s right and wrong.  With a written lease clearly laid out, it should be very clear to all parties what their obligations were.


The tenancy agreement is therefore very important and hiring a realtor will aid in making an iron clad agreement as they would have the expertise to know what “rules” are allowed and which are not.


Landlord’s responsibilities

Who is responsible to maintain the unit?  The landlord is responsible to maintain the unit and ensure it’s in a good state.  This is true even if the tenant was aware of problems before they rented the unit.


To try and get around this some landlords put a clause stating it’s the tenant’s responsibility but the law does not see it that way.  It’s still the landlord’s obligation.


But, the tenant is obliged to keep the unit clean and to a standard that most people consider ordinary cleanliness.  Also, the tenant must pay for or repair damages to the unit caused by the tenant or their guests/other people living in the unit.


What about snow removal?   The Act generally states the property must be kept such that it can be safely entered and exited.  Failure to keep the property clear of snow might be a breach of the Act.


Garbage removal is a point of negotiation between the landlord and tenant.  Once an agreement is reached it cannot be changed without the consent of both parties and if the change results in less service for the tenant than a rent reduction can happen.


Does the landlord have to renovate the unit?  The answer is no.  The law does not force the landlord to “update” living conditions such as replacing carpet or freshly painting the walls.  The landlord is however responsible for keeping the unit safe and habitable therefore in certain circumstances, renovations might be necessary for safety reasons.


Entering the tenant’s unit

When can the landlord enter the tenant’s unit?  The landlord may only enter the tenant’s unit under specific circumstances.  Mostly the landlord will give the tenant 24 hours written notice, which will state the when and why they will enter.  Exceptions to giving notice are in an emergency or if the tenant agrees to allow the landlord to enter the unit.


Can the tenant refuse to let the landlord in after giving notice?  The Act allows the landlord this lawful right thus a refusal by the tenant can lead to the landlord giving them notice of termination and lead to the eventual eviction of the tenant.


If you can read through all of these questions and after answering them for yourself you are still positive about being a landlord then go for it.  If you come away y thinking that seems like too much work which you might not be willing to commit to then there are other ways to making money in real estate which might be for you.


Getting rid of bad tenants

What happens if you lease to a bad tenant?  There are rules to be followed and every circumstance is treated individually.  If after trying to work with your tenants to correct the “bad” situation and the circumstance continues I would recommend that you contact the Landlords and Tenants board for advice on how to deal with the situation.



Buying an investment property can at times be very profitable and very easy if the right tenant is found. A real estate agent can help you to find the investment property (for free as the seller pays the agents), place an offer for it, negotiate and prepare all necessary paperwork and walk with you through the whole process.  Realtors will also be able to help you to get qualified tenants reducing the risks of getting a bad apple, do the paper work and negotiate for a small but reasonable fee usually one half months’ rent.


Being a good landlord can also help you keep good tenants which means less headaches, less turnover and less time and money wasted.  Remember if you treat people with well they probably will treat you the same way back.


By Todd Lee

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Tagged with: investment landlord rent tenant condo house

Should You Compete In A Bidding War?

May 10, 2014 - Updated: May 10, 2014Buying Real Estate


Some of the most dread words for a home or condo shopper to hear are: “multiple offers”.  The first thing my buyers think is… “I am not going to compete in a bidding war because I don’t want to over pay”.  That logic is pretty standard as I don’t know anyone one who willingly wants to over pay for anything.


Obviously people still engage in this seemingly cavalier behavior and end up winning the bidding wars despite this.  Do they have regrets?  I’m sure some do.  I’ve heard from people who felt the agent involved gave them the wrong advice and made them offer way too much money and in retrospect they could have offered less to win.


On the other hand perhaps some people may have the opposite feeling, one of happiness because they were the victor.  In this scenario the asking price may have been priced low and therefore the well informed buyer makes a conscious decision to give an offer higher than asking price but in reality they are still paying market value.


A third scenario can also be true.  Sometimes there are extraneous circumstances which prevail and the buyer has no choice.  I had a client some time ago who needed to buy an apartment next door to their own so their family can be close by for medical /safety concerns.  So they waited and waited until the neighbor finally decided to sell.  These buyers would have to decide on how important it was to own the unit next door vs. if they would have to compete in a bidding war.


The condo or home shopper really has to consider several things when shopping these days.  Does there budget meet the asking price of what they want or is it more realistic to find something cheaper.  How do they know their budget?  Did they get a real pre-approved mortgage or did someone ask them 3 or 4 basic questions and gave them a rough idea?  Confidence plays a huge role in a buyer’s strategy in multiple offer scenarios.


Many of my clients lately have been shopping at the top end of their budget.  They find homes they like but guess what other parties like the same homes too.  The thing is these clients are stretching to make an offer and are relying on negotiating the price down to be able to buy.  With all these multiple offers out there they will almost surely not be able to compete should the bidding war happen.  Now they have to look at a condo or home maybe in a different area to get the price to match or sacrifice something else.


Should the buyer wait until something else comes onto the market?  Maybe it does maybe it doesn’t.  I recall one time a client of mine found THE perfect condo.  They waited to see if the owner would reduce the price and before they made an offer someone else did.  They didn’t want to engage in a bidding war and lost their chance.  It’s been 3 years and they still haven’t found anything like the one they lost.  And the kicker is prices have gone up so much since then it would have been better to have at least tried to win a bidding war.


The usual manner for which a multiple offer is conducted is as follows.  The seller agent will inform the agents representing the buyers there is indeed multiple offers for the property.  The buyer agents are usually invited to meet at the seller agent’s office to make finally offers to the seller(s).  This is done for transparency.  The buyer agents can feel confident they are not being played because they are able to see all the agents present to make offers.  But, no one knows what the other’s offer is so the buyer is asked to bring their best offer forward.


After the seller is presented the offers they will discuss with their representation the merits of each offer and reach a conclusion as to which is the best offer.  The best offer is not always the one with the most money offered.  Other variables are at play such as the deposit amount which too low could mean the buyer is not as serious, the closing date may or may not be good for the seller and the clauses for finance and inspection may be waived making the deal more “firm”.


If you are an informed buyer and can understand you budget, need and your timetable requirements are tight then go for it.  You probably won’t have regrets afterwards.  For those who know you don’t have the budget then don’t bother wasting people’s time and energy and move on to something more realistic.  For those buyers who can “wait” years just understand prices are only going up and if you factor in the price increase over years you might be wiser to buy now.  In the end you win some and you can lose some.  But if you want to be the last man or woman standing you have to at least try.


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Tagged with: bidding war buying multiple offers mississauga real estate blog condo condos houses homes

School Is In When Buying Mississauga Homes

April 22, 2014 - Updated: April 26, 2014Schools

Get schooled when buying your Mississauga home

    Many of my clients search Mississauga homes for sale right on their computers to begin the process of buying a house or condo.  It’s indeed a great way to become familiar with the asking prices of the homes in the areas where they would want to live in.  But when they contact me there seems to be a question one type of client always seem to ask.  That type of client usually has a family and would like to know where the best schools are and the homes for sale in those specific areas.  In fact some proactive minded clients already know the schools they want their children to attend and are seeking help to get a home within that particular school district.

    For those who are searching for a Mississauga home to buy but know you will be eventually moving in 1-5 years.  You should think about the type of people you may eventually sell to and what they might be interested in.   The motivation for parents to put their children in the best schools is very high.  I have personally dealt with many buyers who will only consider moving into the area of a highly rated school while sacrificing other options elsewhere to do so.  The motivation is so strong that I find these buyers are more likely to compete in a multiple offer situation where as other type of clients would walk away.  Wouldn't you want that type of buyer for when you are selling your home?

  While I don't claim to be an expert on grading schools, I have a sense that good schools have not only good teachers good administration and goo building, but also have good parents who take an active role with their children at school by volunteering.  However, I will leave the grading of schools to the Fraser Institute who claims to be an independent and non-partisan research and educational organization in Canada.  It is also worth noting that schools rank can change based on performance or lack thereof.  So just because a certain school is ranked highly today it may not some time in the future and vice versa.  There are 5 year rankings available by the Fraser Institute, but for the purpose of this article I will only be looking at the current top 10 schools and excluding all schools not governed by the public and separate school boards.


The Top 10 Elementary Schools as of 22/04/2014 for Public and Separate School Boards

Rank School Name Ontario Rank Score out of 10 Neighborhoods in School Boundary
1 St. Timothy 39 9.5 Cooksville / Mineola
2 St. Edmund 53 9.2 Applewood / Lakeview
3 St. Martha and Mary 100 8.8 Rathwood
4 St. Rose of Lima 100 8.8 Central Erin Mills
5 St. Mark 118 8.7 Erin Mills
6 Millers Grove 118 8.7 Meadowvale
7 St. Jerome 185 8.4 Erindale
8 St. Dunstan 215 8.3 East Credit
9 St. Dominic 215 8.3 Mineola / Port Credit
10 St. David of Wales 247 8.2 Creditview
10 San Lorenzo Ruiz 247 8.2 Hurontario


The Top 10 Secondary Schools as of 22/04/2014 for Public and Separate School Boards

Rank School Name Ontario Rank Score out of 10 Neighborhoods in School Boundary
1 John Fraser 24 8.6 Central Erin Mills
2 St. Marcellinus 32 8.4 Meadowvale Village / East Credit
3 Glenforest 32 8.4 Rathwood
4 Cawthra Park 39 8.3 Cooksville / Mineola / Lakeview
5 The Woodlands 39 8.3 Creditview / Erindale
6 Gordon Graydon Memorial 46 8.2 Lakeview
7 St. Aloysius Gonzaga 62 8.1 Central Erin Mills / Meadowvale / Streetsville
8 Port Credit 80 7.9 Cooksville / Erindale / Port Credit / Mineola 
9 St. Joan of Arc 87 7.8 Churchill Meadows
10 John Cabot 87 7.8 Applewood / Hurontario / Mississauga Valleys /Rathwood 


    Follow these links to find the boundary maps for seperate school board and public school board. Unfortunately, the school boundry's don't really match up well with the various neighborhood boundary's in Mississauga. Buyers follow these links  to search for a suitable Mississauga home or Mississauga condo

By Todd Lee

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Tagged with: mississauga homes for sale buying mississauga homes best schools public schools separate schools elementary schools secondary schools schools

Top 5 Count Down: Most Expensive Mississauga Houses 2013

April 14, 2014 - Updated: April 22, 2014Houses

Mississauga has more than its fair share of luxury mansions.  In this the first ever www.ToddLeeTV.com Video Top 5 Count Down I present to you The Most Expensive Mississauga Houses bought In 2013.  If you are wondering what other multi-million dollar mansions are currently for sale please visit my Mississauga Detached Homes for Sale website.  

By Todd Lee

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Tagged with: top 5 count down houses mansions video detached

Buying Real Estate Can Save You Some Tax Money

March 22, 2014 - Updated: April 22, 2014Buying Real Estate


So it’s been some time since I last wrote to this blog and for that my apologies.  Here’s to a happy belated new year everyone.  It’s March and many people are happily thinking of their taxes right about now.  Ok that could be an exaggeration, but I’m sure no one is appreciating the winter we are still going through here in Mississauga, Ontario.  On the brighter side for all you home owners or people who will be soon home owners, I know several ways for you to either save on taxes or get money back from the government.

Home Buyers' Plan (HBP)

The Government encourages people to save for buying homes. The Home Buyers Plan allows you to withdraw (as a loan) up to $25,000 from your registered retirement savings plan (RRSP) to help with the purchase or construction of a home. Certain conditions apply. You are required to submit a request by completing the T1036 tax form that is available. You must then repay the loan, without interest, over a period not to exceed 15 years. 

First-Time Home Buyers' (FTHB) Tax Credit

Buying a home for the first time can seem to be a very complicated and expensive process.  The Federal government wants to encourage people to own homes. The First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit was created to help with this financial burden.  For 2009 and subsequent years, the FTHB is a new non-refundable tax credit of $750  based on 15% of amounts up to $5,000, for first-time home buyers after January 27, 2009.

Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit (Ontario Trillium Benefit)

This is a tax credit for low to medium income home residence or renters to help pay for energy costs and relief for sales and property tax.  For the year 2014 you can get up to $973 if you are a not senior citizen and up to $1108 if you are a senior.

Ontario Senior Homeowners' Property Tax Grant

This grant helps qualified persons to get up to $500 each year to help with the costs of property taxes.

Rental income deductions

Revenues earned are included on an accrual basis. Expenses incurred in earning rental income must be reasonable. These would include advertising, insurance costs, interest and fees related to borrowing, legal fees preparation of lease documents or collection of overdue rents, maintenance and repairs, management fees and fees to rental agents to manage the property, office expenses, property taxes, travel and utilities.

Business use of home expenses

If as part of your employment you are required by your employer to work from home and you qualify, you can deduct expenses you have paid that are business related so long as you employer does not reimburse you.

If as a part of your self-employment business you use work space in your home as your principal place of business or you use that space only to earn your business income you qualify to deduct a portion of expenses incurred.  These include utility costs, maintenance of your home, telephone, supplies, property taxes, mortgage interest and home insurance. 

GST/HST New Housing Rebate (Seek advice directly from CRA authorities)

Buying a newly constructed or substantially (90%) renovated house used as the primary place of residence, enables the purchaser to be rebated part of the GST or HST paid in most circumstances.

I always recommend when it comes to paying taxes you should consult the CRA and a qualified tax consultant as I do not intend to represent this article as giving financial or tax advice.  By all means contact a CPA, CMA or CGA or the person working at the local mall helping to file tax returns. Base your decision on how complex your needs are.  If you don’t have someone currently doing your taxes you may want to contact a very experienced tax professional.

By Todd Lee

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Expenses you can deduct http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/bsnss/tpcs/rntl/bt/rprt/xpns/menu-eng.html

Work space in the home expenses http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/tpcs/ncm-tx/rtrn/cmpltng/ddctns/lns206-236/229/slry/wrkspc-eng.html

Business use of home expenses  http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/bsnss/tpcs/slprtnr/rprtng/t2125/ln9945-eng.html

First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit  http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/gncy/bdgt/2009/fqhbtc-eng.html#q1

Building, Purchasing and Selling new Houses Building, purchasing and selling new houses http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/bsnss/tpcs/gst-tps/cnstrctn/bldngsllnghms-eng.html

Ontario Energy and Property Tax Credit  http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/credit/oeptc/index.html

Ontario Trillium Benefit  http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/credit/otb/index.html

Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit  https://www.ontario.ca/taxes-and-benefits/healthy-homes-renovation-tax-credit

GST/HST New Housing Rebate (Seek advice directly from CRA authorities)GST/HST New Housing Rebate http://www.servicecanada.gc.ca/eng/goc/gst_new_housing.shtml

Tagged with: tax buying ownership rebates home save money

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