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Interview: Kimberly Sears of Menkes

A chat with Kimberly Sears of Menkes Developments

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A chat with Kimberly Sears of Menkes Developments

Kimberly Sears is director of condo rentals for Menkes Developments and oversees the company’s Rental Suite Management division.

Kimberly has a background in hospitality and more than a decade of experience in real estate investment management.

Condo Life: Menkes offers condo owners rental management services… What does that entail?

Kimberly Sears: Menkes Rental Suite Management offers a full range of landlord services to owners renting out their suites. We want to be there for our purchasers, rather than just walk away after delivery, and we noticed a real demand for landlord assistance from our purchasers.

CL: What are some of the services you offer?

KS: We offer condo owners a wide range of services, including assistance with leasing, tenant screening, accounting, insurance claims, sourcing affordable repairs and HST rebates. We also help coordinate moves. We have an online 24-hour portal with access to each unit’s accounting and statements. In some circumstances, we also help mediate difficult situations between owners and tenants, helping determine each side’s responsibility to the other.

Harbour Plaza Penthouse
Harbour Plaza Penthouse

CL: What’s the benefit to using these services over dealing directly with the tenant?

KS: Owners get the benefit of a professional and knowledgeable team overseeing their investment, like a financial planner does with an investment portfolio. We also extend full privacy so owners can remain anonymous should they choose. Owners can feel more relaxed about their investment. We’re also familiar with the trades, warranties and have access to some of the best service pricing.

CL: What are some of the biggest challenges that homeowners face when renting out their suites?

KS: Inexperience, lack of resources and time. Most people already work full time, and being a landlord is a huge commitment, so this allows condo owners to be more hands-off and enjoy what little free time they have.

Finding the right tenant can also be challenging, so we provide some guidance in that area and alert our owners of possible red flags to look out for. The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) in Ontario is very pro tenant and rather strict on the landlord’s rights and responsibilities, so you really want to ensure you choose the right tenant.

CL: What are some of the ways to avoid or overcome these challenges?

KS: Hire a professional service. You hire an accountant to do your taxes, a hairdresser to do your hair and a mechanic to fix your car, and purchasing a home is one of life’s biggest financial investments, so it’s definitely a good idea to work with a professional. Do you really want to take a risk on such a large asset?

CL: What’s something you think people often forget to consider when renting out their suite?

KS: It’s important to be aware that your tenant is not responsible for everything, so you need to assume general wear and tear to the unit. I suggest budgeting some of your rental income for maintenance and repairs – five per cent for units less than two years old, and 10 per cent for units that are three to 10 years old.

Try not to be short-sighted or stubborn when it comes to setting rental fees. Remember that vacancy can cost you more than a lower rent.

It’s also important to note that the rental rate is not established based on your monthly payments, but off the market, which changes monthly.

CL: What’s the biggest misconception about condo investors?

KS : People assume that condo investors are foreign investors, when more often than not, this isn’t the case. In our experience, 80 per cent of our management properties are owned by Ontarians. Quite often, these individuals are the average person; someone who saved up to make their first investment purchase, teachers planning a retirement or parents investing in a place for their children.

We are so grateful that people trust us with their biggest asset and we want to make it successful for them.

Visit Menkes Rental Suite Management for more information or call 416.775.7500.


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Harbour Plaza

Harbour Plaza

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Harbour Plaza

Luxury reaches new heights in Menkes’ soaring penthouses

The excitement and curiosity about the new residential landmark by award-winning builder Menkes Developments has grown since the completion of construction at Harbour Plaza. With the final phase of occupancies expected this spring, the ultra-luxurious penthouse suites are buyers’ last chance to join the developer’s incredibly successful waterfront project – but just a few select suites remain. Located in the South Core, the city’s most popular new neighbourhood to live, work and play, Harbour Plaza stands proud with two stunning 66 and 70-storey glass towers.

A Prime Location with a Wealth of Amenities

“Harbour Plaza has been a winning project from the first day of sales,” says Mimi Ng, vice-president of sales & marketing at Menkes. “Buyers are drawn to this project for so many reasons. Here, you get an amazing location just steps from the waterfront. But at the same time, with the direct connection to the PATH system, you can walk to work indoors anywhere in the Financial District, plus you can access TTC subway and regional train service from Union Station.”

Buyers at Harbour Plaza will enjoy all amenities and conveniences of living in Toronto’s vibrant downtown community. With direct access to the downtown PATH system, residents will have indoor, weather-protected access to the largest underground shopping complex in the world – covering 30 km (19 miles) and approximately 1200 shops and services – and connections to over 50 buildings and office towers in the Financial District.

Located in Toronto’s South Core district, Harbour Plaza is part of an exciting new mixed-use neighbourhood that combines leading-edge office development, architecturally-stunning residential skyscrapers and world-class restaurants. Top it all off with close proximity to entertainment venues such as the Air Canada Centre, Ripley’s Aquarium, the Rogers Centre and the Metro Convention Centre.

Luxury Penthouse Suites Now Previewing

Menkes is now previewing an exclusive collection of Penthouse Suites on the top two floors of Harbour Plaza starting from $2.3 million. With gorgeous unobstructed views of Lake Ontario and the city skyline, luxurious features and finishes, and spacious layouts, these residences promise to be the most desirable address in Toronto.

Working closely with award-winning interior designer Cecconi Simone, the Penthouse Suites at Habour Plaza were thoughtfully-designed, with generous and functional living spaces. Buyers will find layouts that give them the flexibility to entertain guests and host social gatherings, or to simply retreat and enjoy the tranquility of their home. The penthouse residences range in size from 905 sf one-bedroom plans up to 1907 sf three-bedroom plus library layouts.

The Penthouse Suites at Harbour Plaza will incorporate the finest features and finishes, including soaring 10′ smooth finish ceilings, engineered hardwood flooring and gas fireplaces. Gourmet kitchens feature custom-designed cabinetry, soft-close drawers, a separate pantry, and premium built-in appliances by Miele. Spa-inspired bathrooms feature custom-designed vanities with full-width mirrors, a choice of porcelain or stone tile flooring, luxurious soaker tubs and semiprivate water closets.

The amenities at Harbour Plaza make it difficult to ever want to leave home. Residents will be able to enjoy a state-of-the-art fitness centre, a relaxing indoor pool, a fireplace lounge, games room, and party room. An expansive outdoor landscaped terrace with a reflecting pool, will offer lounge seating, barbecues and dining areas.

Menkes is one of the most well-known and trusted home builders in Toronto, with over 60 years of history and more than 25,000 units built. The company has been recognized as one of the top builders in Ontario for quality and customer service, and is also the builder of the super-luxury Four Seasons Hotel and Residences in Toronto’s Bloor-Yorkville district.

Visit the Menkes Condo Centre, located at 770 Bay Street. The Condo Centre is open from noon to 6 p.m. from Monday to Thursday, and from noon to 5 p.m. weekends; closed Fridays.



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