“Marketing” Your Assignment Sale

I know, I know – you’re way ahead of me.

You know that I put “marketing” in quotations because I don’t believe most people put any effort whatsoever into marketing, advertising, or actively selling their assignments.

So let’s take a look at a “new listing” that came out on MLS this week, and the “marketing” that went into it.

You’ll laugh, then you’ll sigh, and then you’ll shake your head.  But what else is new?


“Who buys this crap?”

That’s what I was asked by a new client last week, when she was browsing MLS and noticed the ridiculous amount of assignments listed for sale.

“I’m not sure, to be honest,” I told her.  “But logic would dictate that somebody, somewhere, must be interested in this stuff, otherwise why would people keep listing it on MLS?”

Would they?

Selling an assignment is an impossible task.

They do sell, but the success rate is probably about 1% when compared to resale listings on MLS.

So with this in mind, don’t you think that somebody looking to move their assignment would hire the best agent, spend the most money, do the best job marketing, and go above and beyond?

Yes, you would think that.  As would I, or anybody with half a brain.

But in reality, we rarely see little more than the bare minimum, and often we see listings that are absolutely littered with errors, incompletions, and other laughable items.

Below is an active MLS listing for an assignment at Ice Condominiums by Lanterra Developments (you know that name from falling glass…) that is a classic example of the “efforts” that go into selling assignments.

I’ve highlighted ten items in red that we should address and discuss:


Okay, here we go!

1) The price is wrong.

This unit wasn’t meant to be listed at $4,149,000, unless the sellers are looking for over $8,000 per square foot.

The price is supposed to be $414,900, but what’s a mere $3.6M mistake?

So nobody looking for assignments on MLS, if there actually is anybody, will find this listing, until the listing agent fixes the price.  Let’s keep an eye on this, because I wouldn’t be surprised if this remained as such for a few weeks.

2) No photos.

I know that this is an assignment, and there’s no photos of the inside of the unit, since it hasn’t been built yet.

But you get NINE photos on MLS, so why not use them?

Show photos of the model suite, or from the brochures and marketing material.  Upload a copy of the floor plan, or the neighbourhood, or the CN Tower – something!

What does “Photo Not Available” say about today’s average listing?  How can you possibly have any leverage as a seller when it’s obvious that you put no effort into the listing?

3) #Shares%: 100

The listing agent had no idea what to put here, so he or she put “100,” even though this doesn’t apply.

This section is for cooperatives, where you own shares in the building, and not your own condo.

But the mistakes continue…

4) PSCC/0

What the heck is PSCC?

You mean TSCC?

As in Toronto Standard Condominium Corporation?

Maybe it’s a typo, or maybe it was filled in by somebody who doesn’t know what they’re doing…

5) Property Management: To Be Announced

Yeah, I’d say so.

I mean, the building isn’t registered, so yes, we get it – there isn’t a property management company yet…

6) Maintenance Fees – $0

Why put down $0?

Why not disclose the “low low” fees that the builder undoubtedly advertised when marketing these units?

It’s not rocket science.  The brochures will usually say “Maintenance fees estimated to be $0.42 per square foot,” so get out your iPhone, and multiply 0.42 by the square footage, and VOILA!

Too hard?  Yeah, fine, just put $0.

7) Square Footage: 500-599

MLS gives you a range, but they also give you an opportunity to detail the EXACT square footage.

So why didn’t they do that on this listing?

In a building where they’re looking for about $800/sqft, a 500 square foot condo and a 599 square foot condo are two VERY different animals!

This is like advertising a REIT for sale, but not advertising the dividend yield.  Or maybe it’s like selling a pair of jeans without the waist size, and length of the pants specified.

8) Room Sizes

This is blank, but I can’t say I’m surprised.

They have a floor plan somewhere, so why not fill this section in?

I don’t understand.  This is an impossible sell, as is, so why make it harder by leaving entire sections blank?

9) Occupancy Sometime in 2014

Could you be more vague?

Every condo has a target completion date, and a target occupancy date.  So get out your stack of documents and papers, and FIND IT!

The difference between January 2014 and December 2014 is…..well……..I gues it’s like the difference between a 500 square foot condo and a 599 square foot condo….

10) 2.5% Commission

This one really makes me laugh.

The developer is offering 4% minimum for the units that are still for sale, and yet here’s somebody that wants to sell an assignment – a very difficult task on its own, and pay out a 2.5% commission.


Ask yourself, “Why is an agent going to enter into a convoluted, complicated third-party transaction for 2.5%, when that agent can walk into the sales centre and get 4% for doing little to no work?”

I mean it – ask yourself.  Because I can guarantee the person who listed this assignment never considered this.  It’s like if you don’t admit it to yourself, it’s not real!

Come on.

Is this really what passes for “selling real estate” these days?

40,000 Realtors are licensed in the GTA, and the above listing is a good example of just how low the barriers to entry are in this industry.

I’m amazed that any person smart enough to generate income to purchase a condo in the first place can be stupid enough to list it with a Realtor who does THAT to the listing.

A new low?

It certainly looks that way…


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  1. emma megan says:

    Very informative post.With the explosion of condo developments in Toronto today, more and more assignment transactions are taking place. An assignment is the transfer of a contract before occupancy. It means taking over the contract of the original buyer with the developer for Condo Assignments Toronto.it would be wise to home buyers to seek legal advice and professional real estate advice before entering into any contract.

  2. Imek says:

    I have successfully sold a pre-construction condo as an assignment sale. I was suspicious of the process so I used a real estate agent the unit sold in 2 days after posting it on MLS with multiple offers. I was surprised at how many people wanted assignment sales. There are advantages to assignments for those who do not wish to wait 3-4 years to move into a unit.

  3. Trevor says:

    14 York was sold out a long time ago… If you want to buy in that building, you would have no choice but to buy an Assignment, so there’s nothing wrong with the 2.5% commission.

    Also, 2.5% is standard commission for selling an Assignment, regardless if the builder still has units or not. Typically, if the builder had the same floor plan, it might be on a lower floor, etc. and the person selling the Assignment would be matching or beating the builder’s price.

    To answer Penguin Party – the reason why the builder allows 14 York to be posted on MLS is because they’re sold out… Usually the builder won’t allow it unless they only have a couple units left or until closing.

  4. AndrewB says:

    The only thing worse than putting no pictures, is willfully and intent fully putting crappy pictures that are dark, with low resolution, and of course, just putting in pictures from the show room promotional material.

  5. Penguin Party says:

    Question 1: It does not seem like you are a big fan of the Yonge corridor where this condo resides. Why is that? It is such a central location to both work and entertainment without having to live in either of the above areas.

    Question 2: They allow assignments on MLS?! I have been Googl’ing / Kijiji’ing all this time for nothing?

    Question 3: Prices for these assignments seem to be overly optimistic at $800/sqft. Prices seem to be all over the map right now on the assignment market. What’s generally better? Buying an assignment before closing or waiting for the flood of units to show up on MLS before buying?

  6. G___ says:

    PSCC = Peel Standard Condo Corp, i.e. in Region of.

    Perhaps we may assume that the listing agent is a 905er playing downtown? As well as a moron,

  7. Paully says:

    What amazes me more is that you say that some of these things actually do sell on occasion. Unbelievable!

  8. nancie says:

    Pathetic. Irresponsible. Lazy. Sloppy. Unprofessional. Negligent………
    It has got to be in violation of at least one of the 1001 RECO rules and regulations…..where are all the whistle blowers????

  9. Concerned says:

    Thought builders prohibited listing assignments on MLS…

  10. Potato says:

    To be fair, few precon contracts spell out the room sizes or square footage. They likely won’t have that detail until close to occupancy.

    1. bugeyedbrit says:

      mine did, , I also had a floor plan, it wouldn’t have been impossible to include these with the usual caveats about subject to change etc etc….Its just astounding that someone wants paying to represent someones interests in this deal.

  11. Joe Q. says:

    “40,000 Realtors are licensed in the GTA, and the above listing is a good example of just how low the barriers to entry are in this industry.”

    Preach it, brother!