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.

16 February 2015 ~ 0 Comments

10 Ways to Avoid Distractions and Stay Focused

Sometimes it seems that for as many hours there are in the day. We all know the feeling of being overwhelmed by distractions. In order to get a little clarity and quiet the buzz in your brain, there are strategies that will help you keep a quiet focus. In addition to feeling calmer and more focused, you’ll probably be more efficient too.

Turn off the background noise
What you thought was “white noise” from the TV or radio could be a bigger distraction than you realize.

Have a calming mantra
Post a sign or post-it near your workspace that says something along the lines of “quiet mind.” That will be your signal to take a deep breath and try to relax.

Clean up
Organize space so it’s attractive, well organized and well lit. Make sure your office or desk is orderly, comfortable and well lit, so you are in the optimal space to be productive. Outer order contributes to inner calm.

Take it one thing at a time
If you feel that you are getting pulled in different directions, just stop and focus on one task until it’s completed.

Switch off your cell phone
Or if you can’t turn off your ringer for whatever reason, shut off the tweet/text/e-mail alerts, especially if you know you jump every time you hear it. Hearing your cell phone ring is a big source of jumpiness. Turning off your email for some parts of the day will also help.

Take a break
Go through your to-do list and prioritize. Ask yourself, does this really need to get done today or can I do it tomorrow?

Use the Internet sparingly
If you know you’ll only need it for a specific bit of research, get it out of the way and then unplug while you do the rest of your work. This will help you avoid the urge to go down a browsing rabbit hole.

Stop counting
Avoid looking at clocks, contracts, bank statements, bathroom scales or anything that has to do with numbers in order to let the other part of your brain take over.

Taking regular breaks is good for focus, but within limits. Consider taking a short walk every hour or so, or stretching at your space.

Flee temptation
It’s important to have dedicated space in which to think and work.

12 January 2015 ~ 0 Comments

How to Keep On Track with Your New Year’s Resolutions: 10 Do’s & Don’ts

It’s about time to get your resolutions in order — if only so you can have a quick answer to the only question you’ll be asked after New Year’s Eve. Once you’ve identified your big goal this year, make it last with these tips to keep you positive and on track.


Start right now
Whatever your resolution is, there’s no sense in binging on your bad habit prior to beginning your “good” behaviour. It’ll just make your goals more difficult to achieve. You are at your most motivated when deciding to take on your resolution so ride that wave and get going immediately.

Set specific goals
Set goals that have accountability. For example, instead of “lose weight”, try “lose 20 lbs.” If your resolution seems overwhelming, set smaller, manageable goals to build on throughout the year, like “lose 2 lbs a month.”

Think about HOW you’ll accomplish those goals
You need a step-by-step plan, addressing all parts of your resolution. If you want to lose 20 lbs, take a look at your diet plan and figure out an exercise routine. Figure out exactly what you will do when so when it comes time to put your plan into action, it’s a no-brainer.

Write down your plan
You’ve gone over every detail and you know your plan by heart. Even so, write it down. The act of writing will help it sink in that much more and having a copy to refresh your memory during trying times will come in handy.

Make yourself accountable
Now it’s time to share your plan. You can tell everyone or tell just one understanding person, but getting support — a sympathetic ear, an encouraging voice, a sensible opinion — is an essential part of accomplishing your goal.

Reward yourself when you reach a goal
After your initial rush of motivation fades around February, you will need something to keep you going. A periodic reward may be just the thing to keep you honest, all year long.


Make it complicated
Don’t make things harder on yourself than they need to be. Choose a simple, powerful resolution so you can really focus on it and get it done. 

Beat yourself up if you get off track
You will eventually make a mistake but the real test of your character is how you respond. Do you let one little slip up drag you down for the count? Rebound the very next day and pick up where you left off with no guilt.

Let others’ failures lead YOU to slide
When other people get off track, they might try to mitigate their disappointment by tempting you to give up, too. Don’t fall for it! Even though they look like they’re having fun, indulging in all the things they’d resolved to give up, don’t let it cloud your resolve.

Ignore small accomplishments
It may be hard to get excited about finishing a tiny sliver of your goal when you have the bulk of it looming ahead, but you must remember that this is a year-long process so giving yourself a pat on the back when it’s due will keep you positive and motivated.

This article was re-printed from an Apartment Therapy article written by Jennifer Hunter, Assistant Editor at Apartment Therapy.

11 December 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Fun Family Winter Activities

‘Tis the season for winter activities! One of the best things about the holidays is spending more time with the family, and Toronto has some of the best attractions you can enjoy with your kids. Here are 10 winter activities to do with your kids during the winter season. Bundle up and enjoy!

Go tobogganing at Riverdale Park
With panoramic views of the city, this is Toronto’s top choice for tobogganing hills. Kids (and adults) alike will like the straight path down at pretty steep speeds. Kids will tire themselves out trekking back up the hill and you’ll no doubt get a decent glute workout in pulling them back up when they get stuck halfway. Go to nearby Rooster Coffee for a warm-up after.

Hit the ice
Whether you’re looking for a local skating rink, an outdoor game for shinny or a plush locker room, there’s a something for everyone in Toronto. Skating at Maple Leaf Gardens isn’t always open to the public, so check their website for new dates and times. Eglinton Park has a quality rink with boards and lights for northern nighttime access, as does Greenwood, with their weather resistant roof and open air trail. Harbourfront has excellent programming for kids (or parents) learning to skate. Check City Rinks Toronto for a rink near you.

Go fish
If Shark Week has you and your brood hungry for more, than a trip to Ripley’s Aquarium is definitely in order. The best time to go to avoid the crowds is 9 or 10am, before the legions of school buses choke the sightlines out and you’re stuck bottlenecked around a double stroller. After 3pm is also relatively empty, and if your kids can stay up late without turning into pumpkins, then book in for a night when the aquarium is open until 11pm.

Get a dose of science
The Ontario Science Centre is a perfect way to blow through a freezing cold day, with four floors to dazzle even the most fickle youngster. There’s loads of hands on exhibits including KidSpark, almost a full floor dedicated to kids under eight including a makeshift grocery store, water lab, music maker and full on foam castle. Live demos explain the science behind electricity, physics, space and more, so you can feel smug about educating your kid, while secretly getting a little refresher.

Read at a local library
Toronto’s libraries have your best bet for boredom busters, but it doesn’t stop with the latest Captain Underpants novel. With matinee movie features, hands-on science fun with drop-in experts and an ongoing roster of story time classes, your local libraries has the cure for the winter blues, even if it’s just for a silent game of hide and seek. Check their website for deluxe new classes on everything from 3D printing to video editing, or learn how to write workshops for kids led by published authors.

Play indoors
Indoor playgrounds are a perfect fit for an energetic kid on a cold day. While some city-run locations like Playground Paradise are cheap and easy, you can break the bank (and the rut) and front up the cash for a membership to a place like SproutkidsTimBUKtu or Amazon Indoor Playground or Planet FunKidville offers classes geared towards promoting independence and helping you survive separation anxiety on a more scheduled basis and Playloft has play based learning classes year round. For smaller children, check out your local Early Years Centres for free play and drop-ins.

Hit the slopes
Skiing in Toronto may sound like a contradiction, but Centennial and Earl Bales parks run some cute hills that will still prove to be slightly daunting to the novice skier. Private course Uplands is a quick jaunt north of Finch station and offers some decent runs as well. Choose between skiing or snowboarding and sign your kids (or you) up for lessons with a pro, or meander down the bunny hill at your own pace. Buy a season pass for only a few hundred bucks, or pay per go at pretty accessible prices.

With three locations (in Little Italy, Leslieville and Markham), Paintlounge offers not only kiddie classes for your mini Monet, but the superb concept of actually (gasp!) creating art together. Paintlounge has a few different motifs for you to attempt, like Kandinsky Circles, Birds on a Wire and Drip art. Prices run cheaper than a canvas and paint, with no mess to clean up after.

Go bowling
Five-pin bowling gives kids the challenge of throwing a ball that’s bigger than their hands, and bumpers will keep the game action-packed. Most five-pin locations will feel like you stepped back in high school, with NewtonbrookBathurst BowleramaDanforth Bowl and Thorncliffe Bowlerama seemingly unchanged since they opened decades ago.

Get cultural at the ROM
The ROM is the ultimate mashup of art, animals, sculptures and history. The first stop should always be to the corpse mummy on the third floor, just to make sure she’s still not breathing. Explore the world through their many galleries, or just hang out in the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal and wonder if this is what Superman’s house looks like. Sign up for ongoing classes (ROM Moms or Tiny Tots) or drop in for one of their stellar exhibits like the upcoming Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

17 November 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Prices To Rise in 2015!

housepriceOne of the most frustrating things for prospective buyers to hear is that house and condo prices are continuing to rise.

We’ve become so accustomed to constant news about the lack of housing supply (with the exception on the new condo sale side) that buyers cringe, knowing this typically translates into bidding wars!

Last week a house in Riverdale was listed for $1,100,000 with an offer date a week away. Seven days and twenty offers later a sold price of $1,725,111 was achieved.

To me there are many concerns with this, but for now, I want to highlight that there were twenty offers on an under-listed million dollars plus home!

You don’t have to look far to see CMHC, Bank economists and other housing commentators saying prices in Toronto will rise in 2015, albeit maybe not at the same pace (8.9% across our city this year).

In highly desirable neighbourhoods (where many of my clients currently live or want to move in to) it will clearly be evident.

On the flip side, if you or ANYONE you know feels that they overpaid for their house in the past few years, call me immediately! There could be a window of opportunity available in early 2015.

14 October 2014 ~ 0 Comments

10 Haunted Places to Visit in Toronto

gooderham_worts_jimuTruth or scare? Toronto can be seriously spooky, and we’re not just talking about its politics. Although Toronto is a relatively young city by international standards, we seem to have crammed a decent amount of murder and mayhem into our brief but vivid history. Throughout the city, there are ghostly hauntings all year round. With Halloween right around the corner, here is a list of ten places in the city that have a reputation of being haunted. Visit if you dare!

Gooderham & Worts Distillery
Now known as the Distillery District) has such a great name for a haunted location, it would be a shame if it wasn’t. Luckily (or unluckily, depending on your perspective), James Worts apparently continues to show up for work at the former mill, opening and closing doors (and occasionally walking through them), banging around, playing with the lights, and giving workmen and visitors some scary surprises. (Near Parliament and Mill streets.)

Glendon College
Glen College (including Glendon Hall, the Hilliard residence and the Wood manor) has been the site of numerous seemingly supernatural occurrences, including sightings of a mysterious female figure in the rose garden by the library, voices in the basement, the “sense” of a hanging body at the staircase, and a residence room where occupants wake up to find unexplained markings on their legs. (York University, Glendon Campus. 2275 Bayview Avenue)

Queen’s Park
Before it was home to the Ontario legislature, the grounds of Queen’s Park belonged to a psychiatric hospital. Three different apparitions, all women, are rumoured to haunt Queen’s Park: a sorrowful ‘white lady’, a maiden in a checkered dress who holds her apron over her face, and a hanging woman in the long tunnel in the basement. There have also been reports of a regimental soldier descending the grand staircase of the main hall. (111 Wellesley Street West)

The Keg Mansion
Built in 1868, this grand house on Jarvis St. was once the home to Toronto’s most elite families, the McMasters and the Masseys. The Keg bought it in 1976 to turn it into a restaurant. Ghostly encounters have occurred around the central staircase and the second floor women’s washroom. Hearing phantom footsteps and seeing a male ghost child playing on the stairs may be included gratis with your steak dinner. (515 Jarvis Street)

Old Fort York
Old Fort York (including the Garrison, the Centre Blockhouse and the Officer’s Quarters) saw much horrible carnage over three separate battles, and visitors and staff have reported odd noises, presences, and visitations—including a ghostly woman visiting the Officer’s Quarters, and a red-coated guard near the entrance and in the barracks. (100 Garrison Road)

Spadina House
Staff and visitors to Spadina House have been treated to some benign supernatural appearances, including—in the non-public areas— a grey, ghostly mass that may or may not be associated with, of all things, a taxidermist’s mounted wolf that’s on display. (285 Spadina Road)

Ryerson Theatre School
Ryerson Theatre School, formerly a pharmaceutical college with an on-site morgue, has long been the site of whisperings, voices, presences, cold spots, light fluctuations, and occasional sightings of the figure of a woman in white. (44/46 Gerrard Street East)

St. Michael’s Hospital
St. Michael’s Hospital is Toronto’s preeminent haunted hospital, with reports of a male figure walking up and down through the back filing room in the medical records office, and numerous encounters with a faceless nun—Sister Vincenza or “Vinnie” to her colleagues—who visits the patients of the seventh floor, pulling blankets over them and keeping watch through the night. (30 Bond Street)

University College
University College at the University of Toronto is home to one of the city’s great enduring legends, the untimely death (and apparent return) of cuckolded stonemason Ivan Reznikoff, who attempted to murder his co-worker and romantic rival Paul Diablos with an axe and fell from the building’s tower to his demise. Sir Allen Aylesworth supposedly spoke to the unsettled spirit when he was a student, which lends this colourful tale some much-needed credence. (University of Toronto Downtown Campus)

Old City Hall
The spirits appear to be a little more aggressive in their attention seeking at Old City Hall, where judges have felt unseen hands tugging at their robes and staff have heard moans in the attic. One of the courtrooms is reputed to be haunted by those who were among the last to hang in Canada. (60 Queen Street West)


12 September 2014 ~ 0 Comments

How to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal

curbappealFirst impressions are everything – at least when it comes to selling your home. You may have an updated, modern kitchen and an amazing spa bathroom, but no buyer will see either without first getting through your front door. Your home needs curb appeal, but it does not have to cost a fortune!

The home’s exterior – including the front entry, yard, driveway and sidewalk – should serve as a snapshot of what’s to come when potential buyers enter your home. Here’s how you can improve your home’s exterior appearance to attract potential buyers without breaking the bank.

Take a Step Back and Take a Snapshot

Walk across the street from your home or far enough down the driveway to get a good view of the house and its surroundings. Then, take photos of the home’s exterior. Tip: view the photos in colour and black and white, as it’s easier to see problems when colour doesn’t affect our senses. Consider the following:

  • What is your first impression of the house and yard area?
  • What are the best exterior features of the house or lot? How can you enhance them?
  • What are the worst exterior features of the house or lot? How can you minimize or improve them?

Clean Up and Repair

Make a list of the problem areas you discovered. It is best to clean up and repair chores first, then put some time into projects that will make the grounds more attractive.

  • Kill mold and mildew on the house, sidewalks, roof, or driveway.
  • Stow away unnecessary garden implements and tools.
  • Clean windows and gutters.
  • Pressure wash dirty siding and decks.
  • Edge sidewalks and remove vegetation growing between concrete or bricks.
  • Mow the lawn and get rid of weeds.
  • Rake and dispose of leaves.
  • Trim tree limbs that are near or touching the home’s roof.

Improve Evening Curb Appeal

Examine your home again at dusk, as it isn’t unusual for potential buyers to drive by houses in the evening. One quick way to improve evening curb appeal is with lighting: string low voltage lighting along your driveway, sidewalks and near important landscaping elements. You can also add a decorative street lamp or an attractive light fixture on a front porch.

A Few More Curb Appeal Tips

  • Consider landscaping decisions. There are times that adding elements to your landscaping can improve curb appeal, but there are other times when removing something is even more effective.
  • If you can budget it, a fresh paint job will improve curb appeal tremendously. Find colour schemes that are appealing.
  • Install a more attractive front door, or improve your existing one by replacing a plain doorknob with something more attractive. You may also chose to repaint or stain the door and polish the hardware.

12 August 2014 ~ 0 Comments

End-of-Summer Fun in Toronto


The city (and particularly, Toronto’s lakefront) offers lots of opportunities for end-of-summer fun!

The most fitting description of the Canadian National Exhibition might be that it has “everything but the kitchen sink.” The Ex, as it’s affectionately known, is a carnival, agricultural fair, culinary smorgasboard and outdoor performance event rolled into one and then spread over 18 end-of-summer days (it starts on August 15). More than one million attendees make their way to Exhibition Place each year for the fun (rides, midway games, live shows), the thrilling (a zip line, daredevil stunt demos and the Canadian International Air Show), and even the unusual (butter sculptures, deep-fried beer, a cat show).

Though the Toronto Islands are accessible year-round, summer is a quintessential time for a visit. Ferries shuttle visitors from the mainland to docks at Centre and Ward’s islands and Hanlan’s Point. From there you can head to the beach (modest folks should note that Hanlan’s Point Beach is clothing-optional) or family-friendly attractions including Centreville Amusement Park—complete with a log flume ride and a carousel that dates back to 1907—Far Enough Farm and the Franklin Children’s Garden, and landmarks like the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse, the oldest surviving lighthouse on the Great Lakes.

Officially it’s recognized as The Beach, but depending on whom you ask it’s also called The Beaches. No matter how you refer to it, this east-end neighbourhood is a hub of warm-weather activity with sun worshippers, families and active-minded folks jogging or rollerblading down the boardwalk or playing beach volleyball along the sandy shore. Soak up some rays or cool off in the lake at Woodbine and Kew-Balmy beaches. The lengthy Martin Goodman Trail also passes through the area, and is ideal for a scenic bike ride.

24 July 2014 ~ 0 Comments

If Selling Your Home By Yourself Is So Easy, Why Do The High Majority of People Hire A Professional?

Couple in real-estate agency signing property loan contractOkay, I am going to put all of my cards on the table. Almost everybody I know likes to save money. Is this shocking? Probably not.

I too like to save money, where I can. But more important to me is getting value for my money when I spend it.

Take for instance the money I spend yearly on a financial planner. Can I invest on my own? Maybe? If I’m diligent, dedicated and extremely resourceful, as well as having the time, I’m sure I could do okay with my investments.

But would I be able to outperform my professional financial planner who has spent thousands and thousands of hours honing his skills and craft, being connected to the most up-to-date information that pertains to his livelihood. No way!

This simplistic example can be debated much further and into greater detail for sure, but I think my point is pretty clear. Utilizing the skill and expertise of a qualified professional (note the emphasis on qualified) should always net you more of what you are looking for. And if not, most likely you have chosen the wrong professional.

The statistics on consumers relying on the skills of a Realtor to help them buy or sell a house or condo is near 90%. This figure includes a private seller who lists their home for sale, and a Realtor co-operates and brings the buyer.

Handling a sale from start to finish (there are over 160 items on my task list to do when I list a property for sale) as well as handle the legal responsibilities (not only is the contract a legal agreement but what you say or don’t can be a legal liability), is both time and knowledge intensive.

Put this task in the hands of an inexperienced Realtor or an emotional amateur seller and its a recipe for disaster! This year alone I have handled three sales for clients who are Lawyers. If they see the value in using an exceptional professional to handle such an important task, shouldn’t everyone?

Are you thinking of making a move? I’m happy to have a conversation with you on how I can be of help. I can be reached at 416-930-5969 or via email me.

26 June 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Summer is Here; Let the Festivals Begin!

summerfestThere’s something on the calendar to please everyone this month, whether your family loves music, food, nature, or a good old-fashioned carnival. You can’t go wrong with any of these awesome activities, and many are free! So grab the family, slap on some sunscreen, and kick off summer at one of these great festivals taking place in and around the city.

Cultura Festival
July 4, 11, 18 & 25, 2014
Now in its fifth season, Cultura is a free weekly Friday night festival in July that celebrates music, art, food, and film. Cultura features unique performers and artists, international street food vendors, creative and interactive art installations, and evening film screenings under the stars in Mel Lastman Square. Free.
More info

Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival Toronto
July 17 to August 5, 2014

Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival Toronto is an exciting three-week cultural explosion of Caribbean music, cuisine, revelry, as well as visual and performing arts. Ticketed event.
More info

Habari Africal Festival at HarbourfrontCentre
July 18 to 20, 2014
It’s impossible to define what exactly is African culture, music, food, film, fashion, and art. Join us for a weekend of exploration and engagement with the art, sounds, and tastes of Africa.
More info

Beaches International Jazz Festival
July 18 to 27, 2014

Toronto’s signature Jazz event, attracting millions of people, is filled with great music, large crowds, and an engaging atmosphere. Free.
More info

Annual Toronto Chinatown Festival
July 19, 2014 to July 20, 2014 – 12:00 pm until 8:00 pm
There will be sweet and savoury specialty foods from the Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Greek, French, Caribbean, Malaysian cultures, and many more. Keep your eyes peeled for the dragon parading around the streets of Chinatown as well as lively lion dances during the Festival hours. Free.
More info

Salsa on St. Clair Festival
July 19 to 20, 2014

St. Clair Avenue West will be transformed into a showcase of Latin Life where live music, dance, fiery food, and fun take over the street. Free.
More info

Taste of Thailand Festival
July 19 to 20, 2014

The biggest Thai community event in downtown Toronto with lots of activities and attractions. Free.
More info

Brickfête LEGO Fan Festival – Toronto 2014
July 19 to 20, 2014
Does your child love LEGO? Join us at Brickfête – a LEGO fan festival for the whole family.
More info

July 19 to 20, 2014

BIG ON BLOOR celebrates arts, culture, and small businesses with a unique community and city-building festival featuring hundreds of events, activities, exhibitions, and a play fair for kids. Free event.
More info

BrazilFest: Toronto International BrazilFest
July 20, 2014

Canada’s largest Brazilian culture event dedicated to showcasing Brazilian culture including its food, dance, and music. Free.
More info

July 20, 2014

Youth Day is a multimedia festival put on by those 14 to 29 years of age for Toronto. It celebrates the positive achievements of young people by showcasing their music, dance, art, and photography. Free.
More info

11 June 2014 ~ 0 Comments

CMHC’s Recent Changes Adding More Confusion?

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation recently added more changes to what it will insure and whom they will offer their products to.

They no longer will be offering mortgage insurance to developers to finance new construction projects.

They are still insuring individual purchasers who purchase a unit from these builders, and this is where I am finding there is some confusion.

Recently I have had a few clients ask me what impact will these changes have on the condo market? The questioning seemed to be coming from the position that it might be a negative one?

I think the changes will be minimal worst case and maybe even positive since the policy is being put in place to offset the pace of new condo development. Policy makers seem to believe that the pace of new construction projects that are coming on board are too many.

Be smart in what you buy, whether it’s for investment or a condo for you to live in and you will be fine.