Author Topic: Growing a stache in toronto?  (Read 4421 times)

danzabar

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Growing a stache in toronto?
« on: February 28, 2013, 08:18:28 AM »
Hello everyone,
I'm curious about any general tips for a young couple who will be moving to Toronto on faily moderate salaries. We currently live in Ottawa but my girlfriend will be doing an internship in toronto so we will be moving by September. I am expecting a salary bump from 60k to roughly 70k depending on job offers while she will be making 45k during her internship year. Any tips on neighborhoods, food options, general frugality in toronto would be fantastic as I am aware of how expensive a city it can be. I am expecting to sell my car prior to moving which will offset some of the cost of higher rents but anyone with tips on neighborhoods to look in, preferably close to the TTC would be greatly appreciated!

N.

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Re: Growing a stache in toronto?
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2013, 11:29:27 AM »
Stay on the subway lines. Shop the ethnic markets. Beware the twenty-something Friday and Saturday night free-for-alls. If you're renting, neighborhoods don't matter so much as being able to commute quickly and cheaply. Save your pennies for a purchase down-payment down the road.

Pathetic advice, really, and applicable almost everywhere, but there it is.

(I'm a western-suburbner, so what do I know?!)

GuitarStv

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Re: Growing a stache in toronto?
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2013, 01:16:51 PM »
Our house is in the east end of Toronto - near the zoo, and I have been using my bike to do 95% of my grocery shopping/errand running all winter without much problem.  I do a bike commute to work which is near the intersection of the 401 and the 404 (about 19 km away from our house) once or twice a week too.  My advice would be that TO is a decent city to bike in, drivers aren't tooo bad when you're on the road.  Definitely a much more hospitable climate for pedalling around in than Ottawa.

Toronto definitely has some challenges . . . renting or buying a house anywhere near the subway is going to cost ridiculous amounts.  Our public transit system sucks, and we've got no real plans to improve it over the next 20 years.  (My 19 km bike commute takes less time than using a bus would.)  I found that the cost of living down town is much higher than in the suburbs (grocery prices are inflated, gas prices are inflated).  We do have a very kickass library system with pretty awesome selection, so figure out how to get to and from the Toronto Public Library for cheap entertainment.

Most neighbourhoods in Toronto are really pretty safe.  I'd stay away from the Jane & Finch area though . . . that's probably the most dangerous section of the city to live.

Matte

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Re: Growing a stache in toronto?
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2013, 02:23:39 PM »
If its like Vancouver, all I can say is its tough!!! I think prices there are better then out west.  Transportation is big, also monthly shopping trips in the states for all your staples.  That saves you so much, pretty much anything else can be bought at farmers markets or ethnic markets. If you can get a downpayment I would buy a house and rent half of it out, pay your mortgage, bills, and be putting some in the bank.  It may make more sence to rent the top or fancier half out and live in your own basement. with a 400k house, your mortgage interest will be roughly $500 a month, taxes $200, utilities, $300, your at about a thousand, a month in expenses, that you could offset by whatever you rent your suite out at.  say you rent the basement for $900 you would be living with all expenses paid for $100/month, perhaps you rent the top out for $1400 you would be raking in $400 per month equity.  I look at the principal portion of my mortgage as MY money that I am putting in like a savings account.  Don't forget you can write off repairs to the home/interest/utilities whatever percent of your home that is rented, so that makes the rental income near tax free, you will get money back if you spend lots on the place fixing it up.

KimAB

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Re: Growing a stache in toronto?
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2013, 02:40:59 PM »
say you rent the basement for $900

Can you seriously rent a basement suite (or anything?) for $900/ month in Toronto?  That will get you a one bedroom apartment here. 

Matte

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Re: Growing a stache in toronto?
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2013, 03:53:25 PM »
It is what I rent my bedroom+den suite for in Maple Ridge BC, a distant suburb of Vancouver, closer to the city I would think you would not have any problem.

Gerard

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Re: Growing a stache in toronto?
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2013, 05:27:00 PM »
I've lived in both Toronto and Ottawa and I would have to say the main reasons Toronto seems more expensive are high single-family-home prices and just the size of the place (i.e., living a mile from downtown in Ottawa is like living 3 or 4 miles from downtown in Toronto). Value for dollar, I would say Toronto is better for food.

Lots of good advice on here already -- ethnic grocers and restaurants, live near the subway, exploit the library, ride your bike. I would definitely rent a place rather than buying, especially if you have no kids and aren't sure where you'll end up after your sweetie's internship. There's a lot of good cheap rentals around the Main Street and Victoria Park subway stations, if you don't mind the un-hip-ness of the neighbourhood or the ride downtown. Great grocery stores, and you can easily bike to ravines or the lakeshore. The bike path between Dawes Road and the forks of the Don is one of the city's under-used treasures.

NotAnExpert

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Re: Growing a stache in toronto?
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2013, 11:13:15 AM »
We are renting out the basement of our home in Toronto for $970 inclusive, but that is probably under-priced a bit, since it never takes me longer than a weekend to rent it out, and my tenants usually stay for 2-4 years.  So far, every one that moved out went to a condo that they bought.
Growing our 'stache in Toronto has proven very hard, although we have two school-aged kids and a travel habit.
However, the 'stache shortage is more than offset by our home equity, which would make for a very nice 'stache if we moved somewhere cheaper, however that is proving to be a very hard sell with the wife and kids...
All I can suggest is don't try to get into the real estate in Toronto right now, it seems to be really overpriced. Some areas can be very good value in terms of rental apartments, as they have a reputation for being run down so you get cheap rent, but are actually gentrifying pretty rapidly, so you end up living in a nicer place than the reputation suggests.  I think the Parkdale area is like that, basically the King St./Jameson Ave. area - very good place for downtown commutes on the bike, and still pretty cheap rent.
Good luck!

I Love Cake

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Re: Growing a stache in toronto?
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2013, 12:09:24 PM »
If you don't have kids you can live anywhere in Toronto. Having kids means finding a good school (IMO)

Parkdale is good but many apts/rentals have bedbugs so be careful. And many areas are dodgy

How about The Junction which is south west still Parkdale but a really cool area. And along TTC.

I know  rents are reasonably priced around Caledonia Rd and Eglinton. Or Eglinton and Dufferin-again not the nicest areas but close to transit

You can rent near Yorkdale mall or Lawrence/Dufferin-super close to subway-again not great area

I agree with our public library-order anything online and they call you when it is ready.

Lots of bike paths, huge parks to romp in, I think the ROM or AGO has some half price days. AND the TO public library gives out tickets for FREE for AGO or ROM or other museums-I think they get new ones every Saturday first come first served. Not sure if all do this but check

You also have the luxury of tons of discount grocery stores all close to each other and they price match so you can always get a best price for groceries

Deano

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Re: Growing a stache in toronto?
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2013, 03:30:41 PM »
If you don't have kids you can live anywhere in Toronto. Having kids means finding a good school (IMO)

80% or more of schools in Toronto are just fine, it's the perception of them that defines a "good school". There has been a concerted (and conservative) effort to rank schools. Privatizing education is the goal. The real estate industry has been hot on this as well, as it has been helping to drive sales and prices in certain areas.

Be critical...I've taught in "good schools" in Ontario. They can be miserable places. A school is more than the sum of it's test scores (to paraphrase someone, probably Greek).

Dynasty

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Re: Growing a stache in toronto?
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2013, 11:50:10 PM »
If you can get a downpayment I would buy a house and rent half of it out, pay your mortgage, bills, and be putting some in the bank.  It may make more sence to rent the top or fancier half out and live in your own basement. with a 400k house, your mortgage interest will be roughly $500 a month, taxes $200, utilities, $300, your at about a thousand, a month in expenses,

That would be ONE HUGE downpayment on a 400k house to have housing expenses at only 1000/month.  And also assuming the house has a finished basement. If not, there is another 25K plus to finish it to be livable.

Wouldn't property taxes be considerably higher than 200 a month on a 400K house?

GuitarStv

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Re: Growing a stache in toronto?
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2013, 09:44:37 AM »
If you can get a downpayment I would buy a house and rent half of it out, pay your mortgage, bills, and be putting some in the bank.  It may make more sence to rent the top or fancier half out and live in your own basement. with a 400k house, your mortgage interest will be roughly $500 a month, taxes $200, utilities, $300, your at about a thousand, a month in expenses,

That would be ONE HUGE downpayment on a 400k house to have housing expenses at only 1000/month.  And also assuming the house has a finished basement. If not, there is another 25K plus to finish it to be livable.

Wouldn't property taxes be considerably higher than 200 a month on a 400K house?

We pay 3k a year (250$ a month) on our 420k house.  Our mortgage payments are under a grand a month, although yes . . . we put down a big down payment.

danzabar

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Re: Growing a stache in toronto?
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2013, 09:32:15 AM »
Thanks everyone, I really appreciate the advise. i will update this august when I make the transition!