Tag Archives: International Home Marketing Group (IHMG)


The smart trends to add value where it counts

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The smart trends to add value where it counts

Even with the rise of home makeover tv shows and savvy online real estate advice, many homebuyers still need to be shown the potential for a new home purchase.

Whether you’re looking to get max value for your home, or you just want to create a wow-factor for your own enjoyment, keeping on top of trends is a must.

In 2019, there are excellent trends to add style and value throughout your home. Find the ones that feel like the right choices to enhance your space below.


Two toned kitchen colour pallets are going to be big in 2019. Consider a warm neutral for your primary colour and use bold splashes on the cabinetry and trim to create a space that is simply unforgettable.

You can tone down your accent colour by using a matte finish, which is another hot trend for the year.

Quartz countertops are timeless, but add a prestigious presence to any kitchen that is just lacking that special something.

In a move toward clean minimalism, open storage gives a fresh, airy feel and a better sense of what is in your panty at the same time. Finally, integrated kitchen appliances such as built-in stovetops, or refrigerators that match your cabinetry, are also great options this year!


Consider re-organizing the bathroom to that your soaker tub and glass shower enclosure can sit side-by-side. This creates a spa-like ambiance that you’ll appreciate whether you’re selling your home, or just looking to pamper yourself.

Many designers are also bringing more wood elements into the bathroom this year. This creates an organic, zen-like atmosphere that helps cultivate the sense of tranquility that so many of us have been looking for.

Continuing the theme of tranquility is the predominance of neutral whites and greys for the bathroom colour scheme. These low-key colour choices have a Scandinavian energy that exudes understated elegance and intelligence.


The Great Room is where most families come together to watch movies, play board games or just enjoy quiet time together. Any trend for this room would do well to create a sense of vibrancy and openness, to welcome everyone in the family into their shared space.

Light natural flooring is one excellent current trend to cultivate the fresh, open vibe. Add a pop of energy with bold jewel tones as your accent colours, such as emerald green and navy.

More families are also choosing to bring in a minimal, eclectic look throughout the space, incorporating artisanal light fixtures, mixing period styles and having statement pieces that reflect your unique personality.

Vanessa Bellemare is  Vice-President, Sales and Marketing, at International Home Marketing Group.


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Perspectives: Is A Custom Home The Right Choice?

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Perspectives: Is A Custom Home The Right Choice?

It’s becoming a more popular option, just be sure you know what you’re getting into

Many people have been asking what to do with their homes given how volatile the Toronto housing market has been for the last number of years. Most are opting to just stay in a home that no longer works the way they want rather than risk moving somewhere else. However, just because you decide that it’s better to stay put than to jump into the ever-fluctuating market, you don’t need to stay in a house that isn’t for you.

I’m going to explain some of the different options you have available to you that will allow you to stay in the house and neighbourhood you’re comfortable with that includes all amenities you’ve grown to know and love, without sacrificing the home that you truly wish you lived in.

Recently, I have noticed many new “smaller owned” custom homebuilders pop up in and around the city, paving the way for homeowners to make their dreams come true.

I’ve spoken to a number of people who chose to stay put and build rather than move and I’d like to share a few of those experiences with you. There are two things to keep in mind before you start:

  • A custom home renovation can truly be a blank slate. If you have specific ideas in mind, they can always be realized. If you are more comfortable leaving things in the hands of professionals that can be an option, too. If, however, you are really risk averse, the best option might be to consider buying an existing home.
  • Always make sure you find a reputable custom homebuilder who can take you through the entire building process from the initial draft to the final stages.

My first story comes from a woman who loved her neighbourhood and simply wanted to upgrade the home she already lived in. The builder allowed her to help in the design phase so the house would be exactly what she wanted. She lived in the home for the first six months during demolition and then had to move to a rented space while the project was completed.

It’s important to factor these potential costs in when beginning a project. Also, if you’re going to take a handson approach, be prepared to take time off work to help pick out flooring, tiles, paint, etc. so timelines stay intact. In the end, the woman fell in love with the addition and says that she would try and better prepare herself for any added stresses if she were to do it again.

My second story comes from a very hands-off homeowner. He met with an architect and they agreed on a budget and a style. The owner and his family moved out for two years while the house was rebuilt using designs, styles and innovations adopted by the architect. When construction was complete, the owner was thrilled with the results and had no stress issues.

While these are just two people’s experiences, hopefully you can learn a thing or two from them and apply them to your own views. Plus, before you start making any major changes to your living situation, here is a list of eight key things to consider first:

  • Know what you are getting into.
  • Hire the right people.
  • A designer is a must; knowing how much furniture and the placement early in the design phase is key.
  • Plan, plan and plan some more. Communicate everything and never assume.
  • Things look worse before they look better.
  • Mistakes will happen; have a backup plan.
  • Get to know your trades, they are on your team.
  • Listen to the professionals but know when to trust your gut.

If you think this list is manageable, maybe a custom home is the right choice for you. Just remember that the right team will make all the difference as to whether your custom home experience is a dream come true or a renovation nightmare. When you do select a builder and architect, make sure to ask for references, see examples of previous work and do a little bit of research online to make sure that there are no major red flags. When you follow these tips, you dramatically increase your chances of creating the home you’ve always wanted.

Vanessa Bellemare is the vice president, sales and marketing, of International Home Marketing Group (IHMG), a fully integrated sales manage and marketing company.



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Perspectives: Townhomes: Not What They Used To Be

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Perspectives: Townhomes: Not What They Used To Be

There are entry-level units as well as large luxurious townhomes

While looking for inspiration for this month’s article, I found myself first glancing back at the articles that have been written over the years in this publication. I find it interesting how trends evolve and then some return, while others just disappear. I also like to look at how many predictions have come true over time; we have managed a pretty good track record of getting it right so far.

We have seen many design changes over the years and our industry has worked very hard to adapt to the demands of the marketplace, while always trying to deal with the affordable housing question and making sure that the goal of homeownership stays alive and well.

Nowhere is it more evident than in the move of first-time buyers to now start off in condominiums, affording them entry into the housing market. Traditionally, for as long as I can remember, the first purchase was a townhome. Styles did not vary to a huge degree and the biggest difference was usually in square footage. We worked within a parameter that dictated our design philosophy and, after all, it was just a starter home. Fast forward to today and we can see that the townhome is a product with many variations and price points to suit every purchaser’s needs.

Through careful planning and innovation, we have brought to the market stacked, also know as urban towns, back-to-back towns, front-load (garage in the front) and rear-lane townhomes (garage in the back), just to mention a few. Builders offer homes with single- and double-car garages, some homes have underground parking, some with backyards and some without, some with roof decks and balconies to allow for personal entertainment and amenity space. There are entry-level products with just one bedroom right up to larger super-luxury townhomes.

Features and finishes of all levels are also available in the marketplace — if it’s an elevator you need or desire, that can be accommodated. I guess what I am trying to say is that there is something for everyone and in all price levels.

As consultants to the developers and builders throughout the GTA, we are listening to the demands of the buying public and working with amazingly talented architects to develop new plans and products to meet every families needs.

This fall promises to be a busy one with many new sites opening, showcasing some of the newest innovations in townhome design and use of space. We look forward to introducing you to many of these new homes in some of the best locations. Stay tuned for more information coming soon.

Elliott Taube is the president of International Home Marketing Group (IHMG), a fully integrated sales manage and marketing company. IHMG.ca


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Perspectives : The Best is Yet to Come

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Perspectives : The Best is Yet to Come

International Home Marketing Group celebrates a singular vision resulting in 25 years of success


Fraser Wilson, vice president at International Home Marketing Group (IHMG), has a passion for the business. Co-founded in 1992 by his late father, Michael, Fraser joined the company after several years building a company abroad after studying for a business degree from Dalhousie University.

By the time Fraser joined the company, the senior Wilson had already assembled a strong and skilled executive team, which now includes president Elliott Taube, Vanessa Bellemare, vice president of sales and marketing, and Lisa Chester, vice president of sales.

Fraser has brought a wealth of experience, perspective and insight to IHMG, which has helped it adapt to an ever-changing marketplace. The company’s approach to sales and marketing goes beyond the conventional and it is able to bring greater success to their clients as a result.

The IHMG team looks for white space “outside the box.” For example, when Pier 27 was launched at the foot of Yonge Street, IHMG had sailboats cruise around the harbour with the Pier 27 logo on them. IHMG was also instrumental in bringing Chef Nobu Matsuhisa — and Robert De Niro — to Toronto, which in turn created an unprecedented excitement and demand for the Nobu Residences by the Madison Group. It might be noted that the launch broke the Internet that day. The company was also behind the global architectural design competition that lead to the creation of the Absolute Towers in Mississauga, often referred to the Marilyn Monroe buildings.

“Combine this with all that IHMG has to offer,” Wilson says, “and at the end of every development, homebuyers and developers will say to our team, ‘It was a pleasure working with you and we look forward to the next one.’ ”

In each issue of Condo Life’s sister publication, HOMES Magazine, Fraser and other members of the executive team will share their knowledge of the industry in a new column, “Perspectives.”


FRASER WILSON – is vice president of International Home Marketing Group. IHMG.ca




International Home Marketing Group was founded in 1992 to service a void in the market, but IHMG didn’t “start” there. Prior to this, cofounder Michael Wilson — my father — was considered a pioneer in the industry. It’s hard to believe that condos didn’t exist in Toronto, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that they came to be. It was then that Michael helped bring the very first condo to market (with Campeau Corp. and Bramelea) and the way the industry markets condos and lowrise homes was created.

Unfortunately, the late 1980s brought a significantly more challenging market and many of the city’s largest developers were unable to weather the storm. However, with the bad comes the good and, like many success stories, IHMG began as an opportunity carved out in a downturn. The crash resulted in several small development offshoots and they either did not have the experience nor the size or interest to carry an internal sales and marketing department. IHMG was born.

Since then, IHMG has grown and continues to work with the best developers in the country. An integral component to any development team — from the point of land inquiry and acquisition through to closing — IHMG has helped its clients improve their bottom lines. We do this by adhering to the principals that the late Michael Wilson’s reputation was founded on — a superior experience for our builder clients and homebuyers and knowledge combined with energy and enthusiasm for every facet of service.

From left, Fraser Wilson, Vanessa Bellemare, Lisa Chester and Elliott Taube.

By 2009, Michael recognized that planning the next chapter of the IHMG story had to beg in, though retirement was far from his mind. Thankfully, he began the process of succession early because he would be diagnosed with cancer in 2011 and battle it long and hard for three years, until his death on April 8, 2014.

It was in 2009 when he began mentoring Elliott Taube, now president of IHMG. Meanwhile, I was living abroad, putting my skills to test in Central America working to transform a small exporting business into a fully-integrated manufacturing, export, retail and service operation. Upon learning of my father’s health, I made the decision to return to Toronto and join the team at IHMG.

Most fortunately, and not surprisingly, Michael had assembled an incredible team and reputation. The business was built on this solid foundation, but much uncertainty was still looming in a business that relies on the personal expertise of the person at the helm. I recall standing at his memorial in front of my family and hundreds of friends, colleagues and clients thinking to myself: “It’s on us now. He carried, protected and established this and now it’s up to us to make him proud.”

And that is what everyone has done. We have all banded together and kept his legacy and our company going. Our longstanding clients stayed with us and recommended us to several new ones. Our head office team, sales team and executive team all leaned in, and four years later, we can proudly say we are still doing it with some of our best years to date.

It hasn’t been all roses. Our first two project launches were soft — the market was very small, competitive in pricing and locations. We had to do nothing more than look inward and ask ourselves: “What would Michael do?” The answer to that question is always to roll up your sleeves, burn the midnight oil and push forward with no excuses. Grinding out those first few projects certainly wasn’t easy, and we learned to respect his accomplishments and resolve more than ever.

Fortunately the market has been robust recently, but that, too, comes with new challenges. How to provide added value? How to improve customer experience, both for the buyer and builder? Being proactive and anticipating needs helps us to evolve and keeps us on our toes, and our ability to do just that is why our incredible team deserves all of the credit.

We have continuously found that the earlier we can be involved in a project, the better the results. Our longest-standing clients have learned this too. From there we work together on the best product type, design, size, price point, timing, as well as marketing and sales programs.

From Great Gulf at Hullmark, home: Power & Adelaide.

Ultimately, it is listening — to the experts, to the clients, to the market, our team and our own sites — that is our greatest asset. Our sites represent a microanalysis of the general marketplace every day. Whether townhouse sites in Stoney Creek, or multi-tower developments in downtown Toronto, or stacked towns in Pickering, or a detached housing development in Markham, we get to see exactly how products, prices and the market are trending and use that information to adapt.

“Adapt to survive” is a common phrase in this industry and our twist on this is to get ahead of it by being proactive. Adapting is reactive and we like to be one step ahead. With a constant focus on research and a willingness to try new things, we are raising the bar on the experience for developers, agents and homebuyers.

Other initiatives we are happy to announce are the formation of our own in-house brokerage to better define our business and simplify systems, modernize our branding and build the quickest worksheet and APS producing software in the business. This is going to be a great year.

The success of our business is no easy task. In fact, it is a process that continues to evolve. We are proud to say that we’ve come this far and have never been more excited to see what the future holds.

Branthaven Homes
The Conservatory Group
Decade Homes
Fernbrook Homes
Fieldgate Homes
Garden Homes
Great Gulf
Greenland USA
ICON Homes
Kalexia Developments
Kubo Developments
Liberty Developments
LiVante Developments
Madison Group
North Star Homes
Sundance Homes
Urban Capital



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