The City of Orillia Building Department is a very busy place. Not only is there a lot of construction underway at the west side of Highway 11 but there is also a fair bit in the main part of the city as well .


In Westridge, Stoneridge 9 will be the next project to begin with 112 single family homes –this is in addition to the almost 500 homes constructed in the last several months. There is also plans for a hotel north of Costco and a variety of commercial spaces including new locations for Hydro One and OPP.

In the North end, at the old Atlas Block location, North Lake has plans for Phase 3 to build an additional 22 condominium townhomes on a private road.

In the South end, there will be 23 condominium townhomes on a private road on Orchard Point.

A big draw for people moving to the area is the availability of homes where you can walk downtown. There are plans for another apartment building at Barrie Road and West Street which will have 162 apartment units—convenient to the ne recreational centre as well. One of the most challenging areas being converted is at the bottom of Elgin St. –there are plans for 53 townhomes here. These are close to the lake and downtown shopping. This entire area is slowly getting a face lift.

Are you part of the ‘Sandwich Generation’ –caring for aging parents while you still have kids of your own at home? Whether or not you have kids at home, many Boomers find they must take on the care of an aging parent.

When one parent passes away, the other may have a hard time staying in their home on their own. Unless that person is in a strong financial position and can afford to live in a seniors’ residence, the next logical choice will be for them to move in with a child.

For many, this means setting aside a bedroom and possibly a bathroom for the parent. If the parent is still in good physical condition and the home allows, an ‘in-law’ apartment could be set up in the basement. The Government of Ontario has grants to help with that.

Healthy Homes Renovation Tax Credit– This is a permanent, refundable tax credit of up to $1,500 per year to help seniors with the cost of making their homes safer and more accessible. It can be claimed by senior homeowners and tenants, and people who share a home with a senior relative.

If your home is in one of the Simcoe County Townships, you may be allowed to construct a ‘Garden Suite’. These can be built on the property, usually with a maximum of 100 sq. metres and its own bath—but no cooking facilities. Each Township has slightly different rules and the unit may need to be removed when the person(s) it was intended for are no longer using it or after a set amount of time. You would need to check your individual Township for their specific parameters.

One of the strongest tends affecting the real estate market is downsizing. This occurs when the kids have moved out and Mom and Dad don’t need as much room, when one spouse is left alone through death or divorce and when people reach retirement age and want a smaller home so they can use some of their funds to travel more.

Most people make this decision with the long term in mind—they want to stay in their home for as long as they are able. With that in mind, there are some things to consider when purchasing a home or doing upgrades. Here are some of the home improvements researchers list as the most popular projects for homeowners aged 55 to 75+:

>Adding pull-out shelves in kitchen cabinets so it is easier to reach items at the back

>Changing door knobs to lever handles because grip can be affected by ailments such as arthritis

>Installing a Smart fire detection system, Smart security system and Smart thermostat that can be controlled from your phone

>Installing comfort height toilets—easier if you have knee issues

>Installing grab bars in bathrooms for safety

>Adding extra or brighter lighting because our eyes require more light as we age

If you are purchasing a new home, you may already find some of these as standard features. Bonus: they are a great addition for younger people too, when you are finally ready to sell.

Home design colours go in and out of style just like fashion. Benjamin Moore has set this year’s colour of the year as Metroploitan AF-690 which is an elegant silver/grey shade. It is supported by a co-ordinating palette of 15 ‘harmonious hues’. To my mind they are still basically earth tones but there are a couple that add warmth and depth. If you are thinking of selling your home, it shows insight if your paint and decorating colours follow the current trend. You probably don’t need to paint the whole house, but only add some accent colours on trim or with curtains or cushions. Even if you are not selling, it is fun to play with the latest colours!

Benjamin Moore Colour Trends 2019


THE NEW CANNABIS LAWS now coming into effect have different concerns for different groups of people.

Parents are worried their teens will start using it (minimum age is 18, same as tobacco)

Employers are concerned that employees will come to work after smoking marijuana and it Is hard to prove but can affect job performance

Landlords have several concerns: complaints from other tenants and neighbours that are being disturbed by    smokers; indoor smoking and growing plants can be very odiferous and can leave lasting effects  in the rental unit  (if rental units are ‘non-smoking’—this applies to both tobacco and cannabis)

General public: some find marijuana has a stronger, more offensive odour than cigarette smoke; breathing second hand smoke of any kind is not healthy

Realtors: although individuals are allowed to grow 4 plants per household unit, plants can be quite large and leave strong odours behind which will affect the resale of a property; plants emit a lot of moisture  into the air which can lead to mould (90% of mould is hidden). Inspections and disclosures will become a bigger part in the offer process in order to protect the buyer.

Insurance companies: may increase premiums due to security, electrical and ventilation concerns

Police: are looking at ways to determine if drivers have been smoking—smoking just prior to or during driving can render the driver impaired

I can see a lot of time and effort is going to be spent on discovery, disclosure and protection


property taxes are based on two main components:

  • The assessment of a home’s value, as determined by the provincial authority. While the criteria and frequency for value assessment can differ between provinces, it generally accounts for a home’s location, the values of comparable homes in the neighbourhood, land characteristics, the age of the home and whether it has received any upgrades.
  • The residential tax rate (also known as the mill rate), which is set by local municipalities on an annual basis. As property taxes in turn fund municipal services and projects, the rate will be set depending on the city or town’s projected expenditures for the year.

A property’s assessment is exhibited on a property  listing. Most times now, the assessment is far below the asking and/or selling price. A seller is never going to complain that his assessment is too low but a buyer should be aware that assessments will be adjusted, usually within the 4 year period following a sale, and they always go up. Therefore the amount of taxes charged will also go up.

With Georgian College and Lakehead University both succeeding in Orillia, the potential to make some extra income from renting to students is still strong. Students pay from $500-600 per month for a room in a house. The rule in Orillia is “No more than 4” which can still offer a nice income for investors.

Here are some topics to consider if you are considering renting for the first time:


  • you will get more attention with videos of the house, room and amenities that you will with just photos
  • having a digital lease agreement will simplify the process as it is more convenient and everyone gets an immediate copy
  • today’s young people don’t use cheques so on-line payment of rent (e-transfer) is the best option
  • the next generation “Z” will expect everything to be done on-line–they will be coming along in the next 4-5 years so you have time to get youself digitized


  • Places4Students reports the results of a survey of over 7,000 students showed only 32% were willing to travel 5+ miles from campus
  • if you are further away you may have to offer an incentive such as lower rent and you will most likely need to provide a parking space if transit is not available


  • there are 2 start-up times–the winter/spring session starts in January and the fall term starts in late August/September
  • students start looking several months ahead for the upcoming term


  • since they are usually the ones providing the funds, parents have a say in the decision–they may want to interview you as the landlord
  • the most important features for parents are Security, Privacy and Location so be sure to address these in your advertising to get their attention


  • one survey found approximately 76% of Millennials owned a cat or dog so if you don’t allow pets you may be limiting your pool of potential tenants
  • that said, if you do allow pets, be prepared for a certain amount of damage from odour, scratches to walls and flooring etc.


  • the government has decided a standard lease is a must if you are going to have one—you can find it on their website http://www.forms.ssb.gov.on.ca then type ‘standard lease’ in the search bar
  • Places4students has a basic lease template on their website as well


  • if you have good tenants it is worthwhile to try to keep them long term as it is costly to replace them
  • for this reason make sure any complaints are handled quickly


  • kijiji is an inexpensive way to look for students but it is very general
  • note– social media advertising is not as successful for this age group
  • Places4students offers a listing for a fee and a limited term
  • you could also try a tenant referral program from previous or current tenants by offering a small rental discount or a gift card for a referral resulting in a signed lease
  • there are a small number of other types of renters looking for a room that you might consider such as Casino or Ski Hill employees that keep a room here during shifts or winter but keep a home with their family in Toronto

People have all sorts of stories to tell about their rental experieinces. Taking  care in choosing your tenants and treating them well will most often result in a good situation for both parties.