My Agent Mike

Hi! I'm Mike Rapkoski.

Sales Representative, Keller Williams Referred Urban Realty Inc., Brokerage

I have spent the past 18 years assisting clients build their wealth through making wise choices with their real estate buying and selling. I am passionate, dedicated and committed to providing world class service to my real estate clients.

03 January 2017 ~ 0 Comments

5 Home Design Fads That Are Out in 2017

Shiplap and white-on-white kitchens may finally be falling out of favor. The two trends have dominated home design in recent years, but® says they’ll be fading fast in 2017. Here are some of the home design trends® predicts will fall to the wayside in the new year.

  1. Gray. Once the hottest color, gray is now looking gloomy. “It’s been overdone,” says Tanya Campbell of Denver-based Viridis Design Studio. “Diversity in the palette will strike a contrast. We may even see a transition from gray color palettes to warmer mochas and taupes.”
  2. The glam look.This style’s signature is bold whites, bright silvers, and deep blacks, which have been popular in kitchen and bathroom designs. “We’re going to leave the glam era behind. That slick, stark, severe minimalism will be replaced with warmer elements,” says interior designer Bea Pila. “At the end of the day, we’re seeking a deeper comfort level in our personal spaces. That perfect showroom feel we were once into doesn’t make this possible.”
  3. Shiplap. Shiplap surged to popularity as Joanna Gaines, host of HGTV’s “Fixer Upper,” turned to it as her go-to remodeling piece. But® notes: “If you’ve ever wondered what 2016’s version of tacky wood paneling would be, look no further than this trend that seems to have overtaken TV design shows.” It’s difficult to remove, and designers now say it often makes little sense to use, particularly in a Colonial or Tudor home style.
  4. White-on-white kitchens.White everything in the kitchen — from countertops to cabinetry and even the floor — is fading fast. “It’s just too much,” says Sara Chiarilli, a designer at Sarasota, Fla.-based Artful Conceptions. “This trend started to go in 2016, but you will find it completely gone in 2017.” That said, Chiarilli predicts that whites will stick around, but they will take on more depth and tones in kitchens in the new year.
  5. Copper. Expect to see less of this heavy metal in 2017. Copper fixtures are another trend on the chopping block in the new year,® notes.


Source: “10 Interior Design Trends That Are So Completely Over for 2017,”® (Dec. 29, 2016)

22 December 2016 ~ 0 Comments

As 2016 Comes to a Close

As 2016 comes to a close, I would like to take this time to thank each and every one of you for your support and trust in making me your Realtor of choice. It’s been a record year in receiving new client referrals from all of you and this further fuels our commitment to our vision of, “looking after our clients’ needs as we would that of our loved ones.”

Oh, by the way, I’m never too busy for your referrals! ☺

This year, there have been many changes both locally and internationally that will have untold ramifications on Toronto’s real estate market (look to early 2017 newsletter for my thoughts regarding this). December will finish out what will be a never before seen record number of sales in the Toronto Real Estate Board as well as average house prices. Whoever would have thought we would see the value of an average detached home price across Toronto reach above $1.3 million!

2017 is looking like it could be a formative year for Toronto real estate. I look forward to continuing to be your trusted resource, and that of your friends and family, for timely and valuable information regarding Toronto’s real estate market.

Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday season!

Mike Rap

14 November 2016 ~ 0 Comments

I’m Moving to Ireland to Live in a Castle!

With the United States election finally behind us, many have posted the question, “where can those who want to flee from the land of the free, under a Donald Trump regime, go?”

Well, for starters, the entire world is becoming a lot less friendly with fewer options to live in. With England and their Brexit vote, not as much of an option for our American friends to the south.

Canada gets much talk and on the surface, it makes a lot of sense given our close proximity. On election night, Canada’s immigration website actually crashed (or was taken offline depending on who you listen too ☺), with hoards of Americans looking to flee. Snoop Dogg, you are always welcome. Kanye? Sorry, we’re full. In reality, I don’t think we will see many Americans come north for a few reasons…

One, Toronto and Vancouver are very expensive markets to live in – costlier than most American markets. Vancouver has added a 15% foreign buyer tax, which is pretty much Canada’s version of a wall. The high cost of housing, food, transit, and taxes make Toronto a non-starter for many. The east coast is an option, but unlikely. I think that the most logical choice would be Montreal. Known for its world-renowned culture, affordability (although ask a native about this and you will be scoffed at), and thriving metropolis – but, with some pretty serious political issues of its own.

How about Ireland? The gateway to Europe I recently read has Castles for sale starting from $1.35 million (U.S.) to $4.95 million (U.S.) A Castle sounds nice! Of course with Brexit you may see an increase of ex-pats returning but imagine what it would be like to throw a massive “castle party”! This, I could get excited about! Oh, wait. It’s Americans looking to flee, not Canadians. Now, back to reality.

Australia and New Zealand are both beautiful places to live… If you have mountains of cash! You would certainly get pretty far away from having to watch Ivanka, Eric, and Don Jr. help Dad with his “transition” planning. Who would have thought years of sitting around the boardroom table-practicing saying, “you’re fired” to C level celebs may come in handy.

So where does this leave the many Americans who want to flee the United States for something better? You tell me. I’m sure we all feel our Countries are the greatest places on earth to live in. I think that when the dust settles, very few will choose to relocate as the options abroad are tough at best. Maybe better to just stay put, and be the change you wish to see.

04 November 2016 ~ 0 Comments

High Rise Trumps Low Rise In Sales

Condo owners are rejoicing as the Toronto Real Estate Board released their monthly market statistics for October 2016 and condo sales activity (units sold) as well as sold prices saw healthy increases in Toronto proper.

Sales of condos were up almost 20% from last year this time and prices went up a whopping 12.9%! The average condo is $459,199.00 and although this pales in comparison to the $1,102.738 average for semi and detached houses where averages increased about 21% in value, the gap is closing.

Another positive for condo owners is that unit sales were greater than the combined of housing type (detached, semi-detached and townhouse) for the month. Buyers who have been priced out of the low-rise house market are now turning their attention to the condo market.

It will be interesting to see how November’s numbers come in to see if this is more of a trend and not just a blip in Toronto’s housing market.

22 October 2016 ~ 0 Comments

The Real Estate Market Went Kaboom!

Everyone knows how hot the Toronto real estate market has been of late. But unless you’ve been trying to buy something in 2016, you don’t know how truly crazy of late it has become!

Many of my buyer clients can relate to the fast-paced, multiple offer frenzy that has become the norm in most parts of the GTA over the past ten years.

A long time ago, there was moderate civility around the listing of a house or condo, even when an offer date was specified to review offers. Yes, the occasional jackass seller’s agent who would go all cowboy and treat buyers and their agents as pawns with unscrupulous tactics existed (I’ll save this for another post). But for the most part, great Realtors knew the way to a successful sale was by treating everyone with respect, ensuring that not only the property was sold for favorable terms on offer night, but that a smooth closing would be had on title transfer day, and a happy buyer and seller would ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after.

Fast forward to the present. Today, we have many agents who have entered the industry in the past 5-7 years, who have experienced nothing more on the selling side then get a property listed (often way lower in price then what’s realistic for the property), have a boatload of showings that turn into an offer, have a bunch of buyer agents who are inexperienced with the process (training sucks in the real estate industry in almost all companies) show up to present the offer, and then often defy any reasonable logic on price. And then be held out as heroes for a job well done! Yay, you got it! Good for you, rock star!

This is not a supply-demand phenomenon, as the industry would like you to believe. Maybe this is a low supply, high demand and very high amount of inexperienced, fully commissioned sales people on both sides of a home sale transaction doing mostly what they think is right, without really knowing if it truly is?

Are all real estate agents like this? Do all sales in the market play out like the example above? Of course not. It’s fairly easy to distinguish who the experienced professional agents are; they are the ones who ensure that mutual respect is exchanged during the process, which often culminates into a warm embrace or long handshake after the professional negotiation of an offer. It’s out there; you just have to look for it.

So what does all this mean and where does it leave us? What lies ahead? These are serious questions, for sure.

I for one am totally on side with the extreme measures the government has enacted of late. The real estate brokerage side does a very poor job of preparing an agent to run their business and compete in the marketplace. This has been the case for years. It’s entirely left in the hands of the agent to seek training, education, and even guidance. Most agents (approximately 80% according to recent statistics in production) are in what I would call ‘survival mode’. Agents have mortgages to pay and their children’s education costs to fund; the same bills and challenges most people have. Very real and valid concerns, indeed.

I do think that we are going to see many more lawsuits against agents and even possibly the brokerages that the agent works for (I will note that this is highly debatable and the brokerage-realtor relationship is under increased scrutiny by regulators). Is it enough to just shrug and claim, “well, they are independent contractors after all?”

A cooling of the market by any means necessary and you won’t have to worry about the real estate agent influence on the market so much. Previous attempts have been made to cool the market and ensure a soft landing from this long, drawn-out real estate cycle with limited to no effect.

I’m all for a free and open market and I hope for the most part that I’m off base with my observations. I know plenty of hardworking, ethical, professional sales representatives – both experienced and new to the industry. I network with a lot of highly successful agents throughout North America and I can’t help but feel that almost everything our wonderful neighbours to the south went through before the flattening of their housing market looks eerily familiar in some ways to what’s currently happening in Toronto. What do you think? Only time will tell, so plan accordingly.

19 September 2016 ~ 0 Comments

CRA On The Hunt For Real Estate Tax Cheats

This past week I attended a presentation that covered tax implications when doing assignment sales, buying fixing, and flipping property and selling pre-construction condos.

Often we hear of friends or family who have made money in some form of one of the above scenarios, but we don’t talk much about the tax implications that are triggered when doing so.

Canada Revenue Agency has a new state-of-the-art computer system that is designed to review every sale of residential property. This to me is not shocking to say the least, as I would expect our government to use modern tools and techniques to recover the taxes owing when investment or speculative sales occur, of any nature.

What did make me sit straight up in my seat were the underhanded ploys, dishonest goading and straight up trickery to get what I suspect are mostly honest but ill-informed taxpayers to part with substantial sums of money.

The CRA seems to use tactics that resemble some of society’s worst case stereotypes when it comes to scamming people out of money. I understand this tactic when used on someone who clearly is trying to cheat the government out of paying tax. But to be a blanket approach strategy that is meant to fling poop against the wall and see what sticks, seems fairly shady to me.

I always advise my clients whenever they have questions or need tax advice to consult the appropriate professionals for expert guidance. There is the potential to make amazing gains in buying and selling investment real estate. You should certainly always factor in the tax payable before you sell and even often before you buy!

If you have any questions around this matter feel free to reach out me and I will gladly share my resources, or contact your tax advisor or related professional.

18 August 2016 ~ 1 Comment

The Value of Continuous Learning

Some of you know that I recently returned from San Diego after attending yet another training and learning session. I write ‘yet another’ as from time to time, I’ve been asked by some friends and colleagues: why after 20 years of being a successful Realtor do I still go to such events? What else is there for me to learn? My usual response is this: I learn plenty! Read on and I will explain why for myself, I would not use the services today of ANY professional that isn’t committed to continuous learning!

For starters, I believe that in the world we live in today, with such ease to information (and much misinformation) there is always something of value to learn. While I haven’t attended more basic levels of education in many years, I have over the past 15 years attended conferences, coaching, training, and educational sessions on a variety of real estate, business and personal matters (note: each and every one of these are completely different) that are both of value to me and the clients I serve.

Amongst the sphere of professionals whom I interact with – brokers and Realtors from within my brokerage as well as outside of it, lawyers, mortgage professionals, financial planners and condominium boards, I am often sought out for my opinions on the real estate industry. I typically stay away from media requests for my own personal reasons, but I am committed in doing my part to raise the bar of my profession in ways that I can.

Commitment to learning is not cheap. We are all aware of the expense of higher learning. With the amount I have invested in my growth I am certain I could have bought 2-3 MBA’s, but this is life as we know it today.

In my industry alone, there have been more advancements and changes in the past 3 years than there have been over the previous 50 years! Digest that for a moment and then look around at what industry you are in. How and what will it look like 3 years from now?

Is all change good? Relevant? I don’t think so. But gaining an informed opinion through access to more than one side, I have personally found to be invaluable. And adding value is what we do. Without this, we are average. In an ever-competitive world where average can be replaced easily and inexpensively in most fields of work, what are you doing to become irreplaceable?

Now is the time to act on it! Change isn’t easy, I’ll be the first to admit that. I recently went through a business change that was solely based on going from successful to significant. A change that most people I know possibly won’t even notice, but I am committed to being invaluable to those that I serve and who depend on me.

No one succeeds alone. All success comes with the help of others. I’m always here for you and happy to share my thoughts if interested – just reach out!

18 July 2016 ~ 0 Comments

TREB Appeals Tribunal Decision And Maintains Privacy Position

The following is a press release originally published by TREB on July 11, 2016:

The Toronto Real Estate Board is appealing the decision ordered by the Competition Tribunal to release property sold data and pending sold data (where the transaction hasn’t yet closed) for broad dissemination on the Internet without requiring the explicit informed consent from the consumer.

TREB asserts the Tribunal erred in fact and law in determining that TREB has lessened competition. TREB does not compete in the real estate market. Its rules are designed to foster
competition among its 45,000 active Members. TREB has always supported competition among its Members, as reflected in the market place.

Privacy laws and decisions of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada are clear in their requirement for consumers to provide their consent prior to the release of their personal financial information and specifically the sold price of your home. The new Digital Privacy Act which came into force in 2015 further buttressed the privacy rights of consumers. Canada’s privacy law regime requires that any disclosure of personal financial information for uses not previously identified to the consumer requires the consumer’s informed consent. It is TREB’s view that the decision of the Competition Tribunal, with respect, does not respect this right of consumers within the GTA.

Furthermore, when disclosing sold and pending sold information, REALTORS® must comply with the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act, 2002 (REBBA 2002), Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) rules and guidelines, and contractual obligations. REALTOR® compliance protects consumer personal financial information to avoid compromising the position of property sellers and buyers. Moreover, TREB has copyright in the TREB MLS® System as supported by case law in Canada and the United States.

To ignore any of these laws is wrong. Any disclosure or release of personal financial information
without explicit informed consent is against the law. When consumers within the GTA entrusted
TREB REALTOR® Members as the custodians of their personal financial information, broad
dissemination, as ordered in the Competition Tribunal decision, was not a contemplated use.
While some may dismiss these concerns, there are others who feel strongly about keeping their
information private for personal and other legitimate reasons. TREB, in accordance with the law,
respects this choice. Why should homeowners in the GTA be entitled to less privacy protection
over the personal financial information than those homeowners elsewhere in Ontario, elsewhere
in Canada?

“This order provides little protection for the consumer and opens the door to misuse and abuse of their sensitive personal financial information and the content of an Agreement of Purchase and Sale contract that has not closed. The consumer has privacy rights and only the consumer should be the one to determine, with clear understanding, when and where their personal financial information is disclosed,” said John DiMichele, TREB’s Chief Executive Officer.

If the Tribunal’s order stands, TREB cannot prevent personal financial information or other
confidential information of residential property sellers and buyers within the GTA, such as pictures from being copied, sold, or misused once this information is made available on the Internet. The Tribunal acknowledges and agrees that once this data is online, it is gone. The laws state, and TREB believes, that buyers and sellers have a right to privacy – a right that only they may waive. In TREB’s view, this case is about protecting personal financial information of consumers within the GTA by adhering to Canada’s privacy laws and respecting consumer privacy rights. The Tribunal also accepted TREB’s claim that the display of “pending sold” information would expose home sellers to being targeted by unsolicited approaches by other service providers, or even unsolicited offers by other purchasers. Yet, the Competition Tribunal is ordering this personal financial information of consumers within the GTA be broadly disseminated on the Internet. Once that information is available on the Internet, its use for other purposes cannot be controlled or protected.

The Competition Tribunal recognized in its decision that there is a high degree of competition in
the market, and the focus of the Competition Bureau in this matter is on non‐price competition.
TREB believes that the GTA has a very competitive housing marketplace and there is substantial innovation being applied by Realtors® to market their services while abiding by Canada’s privacy and consent regime.

“The issue for TREB is about duty of care and professional responsibility. TREB has grown to more than 45,000 Members across the GTA and does not discriminate between business models used by its Members. In fact, we welcome and support all innovation and business models. Make no mistake, this decision should raise concern for all consumers about informed consumer consent and disclosure of confidential content within an Agreement of Purchase and Sale contract that has not closed. TREB believes the case law is clear and the Digital Privacy Act and Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) are very specific on consents. TREB believes it’s the consumer’s information and they have a right to choose. Choice and consent with respect to personal financial information does not impede innovation,” Mr. DiMichele continued.

This matter has been flying under the radar a little. I would love to hear your thoughts on below in the comments or via email at

17 June 2016 ~ 0 Comments

When Will Toronto’s Market Cool Off?

With so many headlines about the crazy hot real estate markets happening in Vancouver and Toronto, It’s easy to get caught up in the momentum of the conflicting theories that deluge us on an almost daily basis.

For starters, let’s look at the Vancouver conversation and how it’s becoming incredibly impossible for locals to own real estate there. Vancouverites, speak to natives of Hawaii – you have a lot in common. It’s also worth noting that many other communities across Canada (both big market and small) are doing okay when compared to their historic norms.

Now let’s look at Toronto, where there seems to be confusion and uncertainty. Just ask any knowledgeable Realtor about unaffordability in the market place – they could probably chew your ear off on how many of their buyers are maybe hitting 50% of what their expected wants or wish list had when they started their search.

There is even a joke floating around about the Barenaked Ladies hit song, and what it would sound like if it were released today: “If I had a million dollars, I would put me a down payment on a detached house in Toronto…”

The unaffordability signs are everywhere, yet the demand – and trust me, the demand is very high for both houses and condos in Toronto – is nowhere near letting up anytime soon.

I do think we are seeing some buyer fatigue in the market, where fewer buyers are recklessly placing offers on properties, but the viewings are not down. Earlier this week in the Toronto Danforth area, I had a house listing that had 10 fewer showings on it all compared to all of the combined sales year to date!

No one can predict when the market will actually cool (sorry TD Bank with your inconsistent attempts). As always, the key is to pay attention to what’s happening overall in the local economy across a variety of key indicators.

The reason people want to know when it will cool down is mostly due to their own agenda – mainly, when can we expect or be able to move and or to buy something? This conversation is truly an individually-based one. Good Realtors are becoming more advisory/consultants to buyers on aligning when the right time is to buy or move. There are so many things to contemplate than simply, I want to own my own home.

For now, the frenzy will continue in Toronto, so reach out to your trusted Realtor as to what this could mean to you. And I say trusted because today, you need an advisor/consultant, not a traditional salesperson who is going to just ‘sell you a house’. You need to fully understand: when is the right or wrong time for me to buy or make a move?

24 May 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Want to Airbnb Your Condo? Think Again.

The rapid growth of property sharing sites such as AirBnB have started to change the way investment properties are being evaluated. Not so much on the selling side as of yet, but astute property investors on the buying side are starting to calculate R.O.I. (return on investment) in ways that make some traditionally ‘unattractive’ rental properties look like goldmines.

One targeted group who have been quick to quick to adapt to the Airbnb demand are condo owners. For various reasons (mainly ease of setup and operation), condo investors and some owner-occupied units have decided to cash in on the ‘rent-from-me’ craze.

What most condo owners are unaware of is that they are breaking the law – specifically the condo by-laws that they willingly agreed to when they purchased their unit.

Most condos have restrictions in place when it comes to rental timelines, which generally run from a minimum of six months and can go up to one year. I’ve seen few that allow for less than six months, but they do exist.

A problem that has started to pop up in downtown Toronto (and I’m sure across many similar sized cities) is the criminal element that use condos rented through Airbnb as their mobile crime dens – the attractive female who is ‘visiting’ Toronto for the weekend and sets up her escort shop, or the drug dealing couple who plant themselves inside a unit in the heart of the entertainment district – make it extremely difficult to police.

Next weekend it’s a different building, or even a different floor in the same building… You get the idea. Regardless, the owner of the unit is not only breaking the by-laws, but are legally liable for any damage or harm caused. This is a very serious matter that has drawn little attention, while government and condo managers and boards figure out what to do to stop it.

The takeaway is this: make sure you are completely aware of your responsibilities as an owner and protect yourself accordingly. I see many condo boards coming down heavy on condo owners who are knowingly breaking their by-laws.