The Friday Rant: Don’t Believe Everything You Read

Don’t believe everything you read,” said one commenter on Wednesday’s blog about 201 Carlaw Avenue.

I agree.

Don’t believe everything I say, and don’t believe everything he says.  Do your own research, gather facts, educate yourself, and make an informed purchase decision.

Not that I want to fuel the fire, but I believe a follow-up post to Wednesday’s blog is in order.  If ever a blog post could serve as a cautionary tale, I think buyers can learn a lot from this experience…

AbeL

Since I clicked “submit” on my blog post on Wednesday morning, several residents of 201 Carlaw Avenue have emailed me personally to complain, a couple people called my brokerage, and one person filed a complaint with RECO Ethics.

If I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.

An agent from another brokerage called me yesterday, and he started in on me with “you’re irresponsible,” he called me “reckless,” and hinted that there could be legal repercussions.

I didn’t want to argue the validity of the information I presented, or the logistics of how legal action works in the real world – outside of what we see in movies and on television.  But I did ask him a question:

“Did you ever ask yourself WHY I wrote that blog?”

He really couldn’t say.

I told him, “I’m not a monster.  I’m not a mean person.  I don’t have an ex-girlfriend in the building, and I’m not out to get anybody.  You don’t even know me, or anything about me, or how I run my business.”

Nobody ever really stopped to ask WHY I wrote what I wrote.  Instead, residents of the building were quick to dispute the facts I laid out, with false information of their own (we’ll get to that), and defend their homes in a knee-jerk reaction, without asking WHY.

Why?

I’ll tell you why, and excuse the rant…

I love real estate, but often I hate the industry in which we work, and the lack of regulations that govern us.  Our business is over-saturated with 40,000 agents, many of whom only care about their next paycheque, and couldn’t possibly care less about their own clients.  There are no barriers to entry, and the talent pool is being watered down with every unemployed person who says, “I think I’ll go into real estate!”

The City of Toronto constantly issues approvals for condominium towers that are too tall, complexes that are too dense, areas that have no infrastructure to support them, all in the name of their precious development charges, and additional property tax base.

The Province of Ontario hasn’t revised the Condominium Act in nearly two decades, allowing builders to run the province, specifically in downtown Toronto.  Today’s Toronto developers build terrible products, with no real guidelines or structure, and no repercussions for their actions, and the consumer ends up on the losing end.

The pre-construction condominium industry is corrupt, crooked, and the chips are stacked against the consumer, who is wide-eyed, and clueless, because they often don’t do their own research, or they don’t have accurate representation from their Realtor.

I started Toronto Realty Blog in 2007 with one mission: to be the most honest, outspoken, transparent Realtor in Toronto, and for lack of a better phrase, “to tell it like it is.”  I will write about a number of topics that ruffle feathers, whether it’s a practice I don’t like in the industry, or a building that has issues.

I want to provide a forum – for FREE, where I can educate buyers and sellers, and provide them with information on every conceivable topic in real estate, as well as keep them informed and up to date.

THAT is why I wrote Wednesday’s blog post.

And there is a lot be learned from the problems at 201 Carlaw Avenue, whether you’re looking at this building, or others.

The facts I laid out in Wednesday’s blog are indisputable, but that didn’t stop the residents from trying to dispute them, and I don’t blame them.  As one commenter pointed out – you can’t just call your mortgage broker, or CMHC, and ask them, “Is 201 Carlaw Avenue insurable?”  A mortgage insurer will not give you this information unless you are submitting a deal to them, to be approved.

I stake my reputation on the fact that you cannot obtain mortgage insurance in this building for a mortgage of greater than 80% LTV, as of today.  Maybe you could have in November, and maybe you can next week, but as of today, you cannot, and if your mortgage broker tells you differently, it’s because he or she didn’t speak to a senior manager at all three mortgage insurers, after presenting a financially qualified applicant, with an Agreement of Purchase & Sale signed by a buyer and a seller.

But I’m going to move on from that…

The concept of “but I know somebody who bought in this building last month” really bothers me, because in my opinion, it means that this buyer had an agent and a lawyer that didn’t do his or her job.

I heard the case of a unit at Printing Factory that sold in the past three months, where the original buyer walked away after reviewing the Status Certificate, and another agent, who had a very interested buyer, subsequently jumped in and submitted an unconditional offer.  I believe that this agent was reckless, irresponsible, and screwed his or her buyer client, who is now in a world of financial trouble, since that buyer can’t close the deal if he or she doesn’t have 20% down.

The residents of Printing Factory want to paint me as the bad guy because I aired their dirty laundry, and let their secret out of the bag, but it’s interesting to note that when one resident of the building called a colleague of mine on Wednesday (and you know who you are, because you posted on this blog), she said in reference to the above situation, “We were sooooo glad when that unit sold!”

THIS is what bothers me about the business of real estate.  We have Realtors out there that will sacrifice their own buyer-clients all in search of a paycheque.

Residents of the building can say, “Well David, that’s up to the buyer to decide!  You have such a hate-on for this building and you’re ruining it for us!”  But that’s an emotional response.  I think if any responsible, experienced Realtor made an offer on a condominium on behalf of a buyer, that agent would include a condition on the lawyer’s review of a Status Certificate.  On this, there is no debate.

I have worked for Bosley Real Estate for ten years, and in those ten years I have learned that we truly are a different breed here.  That’s not to say that Sage, Chestnut Park, Royal Lepage – or other companies aren’t the same, but what I mean is that with 40,000 Realtors working in the GTA, and only 200 at Bosley, we hold ourselves to higher standards.

Toronto is full of new agents, with no experience, who work for crummy brokerages, with no training – who run around the city making mistakes, all in search of a paycheque.

Bosley runs a 6-week training program for new agents.  Our management team consists of the former Presidents of CREA, OREA, RECO, and TREB.  I discussed Wednesday’s blog post with one agent who is on the RECO Ethics Committee (and one former chair as well), one agent who is a Director at Large for TREB, and agent one who was previously TREB President.

What I do, and how I do it, is different from the bulk of Realtors.  Not all, but most.  And I work for a company that hand-picks agents who will lead by example, and not misrepresent the industry.

I consider myself a consumer advocate, and my blog is a forum for learning and discussing.

I want to put everything out in the open!  I want to empower the public!  I want buyers to have information and knowledge that can assist them in their purchase, and help them avoid mistakes.  I want to discuss some of the unethical practices that exist in our business, whether it’s the concept of “under-pricing” listings for multiple offers, or “double-ending” a listing via multiple representation.

That is why Toronto Realty Blog exists.  It’s not to ruin the lives of people to live at 201 Carlaw Avenue, but rather to bring to light issues that affect Toronto real estate, and open it for discussion.

So, why don’t we do something positive with this situation at 201 Carlaw Avenue?  Let’s use this, or “a property like it,” as a cautionary tale, and see what we can learn from this.  As I see it, there are three important issues for buyers to understand:

1) The importance of the Status Certificate.

We Realtors are to blame for the monster we have created in today’s Toronto market, with multiple offers, pre-home inspections, offer nights, and a flurry that often precedes the delivery of an offer on real estate.

And with a condominium purchase, you are completely blind, with your arms and legs cut off.  You have no idea what’s really going on in the building, and that’s why every offer MUST be conditional on a review of the Status Certificate.

If a Realtor made an unconditional offer on a building like Carlaw, then that’s irresponsible.

And if a lawyer reviewed the Status for a building like Carlaw, and didn’t advise his or her client to walk away, then that lawyer isn’t worth his or her salt.

This brings up another issue: don’t use your friend’s friend’s dad from Ajax to review your condo purchase in Toronto.  Sure, you can save $1,000 on the fee, but imagine if you went ahead and bought in a building where you can’t get financing, or a building with a massive financial albatross hanging over its head?

Realtors need to explain the importance of the Status Certificate review to their clients before they ever step inside a condo with that buyer, otherwise that buyer might make an emotional attachment at the wrong time.

2) TARION

You know – you just know that when units at 201 Carlaw Avenue were being sold in pre-construction 5-6 years ago, some young 20-something agent, with 6-months in the business, had a buddy from his days as a Queen’s Golden Gael, who walked him into the sales centre and didn’t explain TARION.

Part of the reason why there are issues at 201 Carlaw Avenue are because TARION didn’t provide a warranty, and that is something that should have been addressed before purchase.

But lil’ Johnny B. Good, in search of his 4-5% commission for selling in pre-construction, with little to no knowledge of real estate, probably didn’t take the necessary time and effort to explore the potential ramifications of buying in a building with no TARION warranty, and thus never explained it to his client.

See why it’s important to have an agent who actually has experience?

3) Board Decisions

I’m not here to tell the board at 201 Carlaw Ave what they should have done.  It’s true – I have no knowledge of what went on in those meetings.

But I am here to tell you that a board of directors, a condominium corporation, a property manager – or all three, can affect your largest investment.

I rant and rave about the goings-on in my building at 112 George Street all the time.  The concierge is a total dick, the rules and regulations that the board just put into place do nothing to help the residents, and everything to hinder them in their day-to-day lives, and the board of directors is a “clique” who hasn’t had a new member since the building came into existence.

The decision of whether or not to: a) levy a special assessment, or b) take out a $2M loan, was something that the residents of 201 Carlaw Avenue likely did NOT take lightly, and there is always input from the lawyers, the property manager, and the board of directors on a decision like this.  But don’t forget about proxy votes for absentee owners, which the board usually takes on.

It is imperative that condo-owners attend every single meeting that the condominium corporation holds, and reads every single notice they receive in the mailbox.  Once you start stuffing those notices in a drawer, you’re the creator of your own misfortune.

I practice what I preach.

And without quoting my personal sales statistics, or resting on my laurels, I will say that people read Toronto Realty Blog on a regular basis, and come to me to transact in real estate.  And of course, some people hate what I write, and would never use my services in a million years.  But that is the difference between myself and most agents: I’m not afraid to take a stand.

Most agents want to satisfy ALL segments of the buyer/seller pool.  I just want to work with like-minded folks, who respect my opinions, and like what I have to say.

I didn’t say anything about 201 Carlaw Avenue that is untrue, malicious, or unfair.  I essentially reported the news, and I’m in no way surprised that the residents took issue with me bringing their condominium’s finances to light.

But that’s my job.  It is my job to investigate issues affecting buyers and sellers, and it’s my own personal mandate to inform the buying public.

A colleague of mine told me yesterday, “When the movie ‘Lone Ranger’ came out in 2013, Walt Disney spent about $250 Million on producing the film, and it was expected to make $500 Million gross.  But as soon as it came out, film critics started panning the film, and saying ‘Save your money, don’t see this movie – it’s awful,’ and that cost the studio hundreds of millions of dollars.”

My colleague was essentially telling me that my comments and opinions on a particular condominium in Toronto are tantamount to a film critic, or a food critic, offering an opinion.

When a financial analyst issues a “sell” rating for the stock of Google Inc., the company and its shareholders don’t line up and threaten legal action against that analyst.

What I write on my blog is opinion, and nothing more, so feel free to treat it as such.

And above all: don’t believe everything you read

55 Comments

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  1. Brian says:

    I find it curious that you constantly complain about the high number of Realtors in the GTA.

    The truth is, your profession is wildly overpaid, and thus the draw is irresistible. Everyone knows this. Embrace the competition. Feed off it. After all, the Bugatti’s and Ferrari’s mean nothing without a context of Corolla’s and Neon’s.

    I’m jumping into this RE game myself this year. Far too much money not to give it a go. As you said, low barriers to entry. I’ve got a background in marketing and advertising (run a baby boutique agency) so that part is solid. Interestingly it’s also where the Bosley’s, Chestnut Park’s and Sotheby’s often drop the ball.

    Should be fun.

    Anyway, just an observation. Your insecurity seeps through often in your posts. And it seems wholly unjustified. You’re personable, knowledgeable, and honest. Use those strengths to deliver a service experience unlike any other agent.

    Start now, before its too late.

  2. Cliff says:

    More people should speak out and expose the issues that plague a lot of these newer condos. The condo market is one of the biggest scams anywhere. The CBC “Condo Game” documentary barely scratched the surface. The developer and the city work hand in hand to suck as much money out of purchasers as possible. The building codes are archaic and do not have the purchaser’s best interest at hand. Tarion is a complete joke (funded by builders). I would never buy a new build condo because I’d say the great majority of them are built for the sole purpose of maximizing profits and absolutely no intention of building an actual livable home. Hence the sh*t quality. Guess who’s left to put back the pieces? The residents. Toronto’s Condo Boom will go down as one of if not the biggest scams this city has seen. Guess a building will have to topple over before anything is done.

    Keep doing your thing, David!

  3. ABB says:

    DAVID — Have you ever Googled the names of the directors listed on a status certificate, to get a sense of who they are?

    I think at a minimum, all buyers should examine the board of directors at some level to understand whether they are a bunch of dopes, crooks, lazy-asses, or perhaps actually competent!

    1. Paul nbm ( new board member) says:

      A condo board is a weird animal to say the least. I am a director on a board of a 550 unit building and have no professional reason to be there. I am however honest, dedicated and smart enough to realize that there are things I do no know. so I find out what I need to know. we are all volunteers ! several hours a week of thought and research invested to try and make a competent and relevant decision on projects that cost many tens of thousands of dollars.
      the stuff involved is unfathomable at times. From the colour of lobby chairs to if we inject some weird concoction into water pipes to stop pin holes ! who knew you could even do that !
      what does irk me with your comment is that you start with the negative and derogatory assumption. Granted some directors have no business to be there, others however well intentioned a just not capable, but they are voted on by their relevant owner’s meetings.
      plus if you google me, I don’t exist in the ether world of the computer.
      in my humble opinion, a board of directors , the way most of them seem to be set up seems o be recipe for disaster, as I transpires in way too many cases.
      sort of like the adage that a camel is a horse designed by a committee

  4. ABB says:

    It does not take a lawyer to interpret a status certificate. A buyer must read and understand what it says. They are not hard to follow! The lawyer’s opinion should be received by the buyer, and then a discussion occurs. The interpretation of the certificate is not always black/white decision!

  5. Peter says:

    Hi David, if you had a listing at 201 Carlaw for sale , would you still have written about the same issues with the building ? Could you?

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  7. Tommy Gavin says:

    DF does a great job of illustrating/illuminating the RE industry for the rest of us plebs.
    Keep it up.
    I am amazed at how much you can say about your industry without getting bitchslapped by your firm or the regulatory idiots etc. etc.
    I am, in fact, quite jealous.

    Good work, Sir.

  8. jeff316 says:

    I’ve always been a big fan of the blog, the always timely and pertinent topics, the honesty with which David posts, and the very informed discussion he generates.

    I think posts like this, or the one from years back on Dupont get a big vitriolic response because people have a very real financial and emotional stake in their properties. The responses may not be rational in content, but they are rational in terms of expected behaviour.

    But what I think takes it to a level further is that David’s comments are not tantamount to those of a food critic or movie critic.

    This isn’t a great example by any means because it is a qualitative assessment, but I remember a month or so ago there was this hullaballo about Bobby Ryan not making the US Olympic hockey team. The real incident was Brian Burke on camera in a documentary saying that Ryan had no intensity.

    It’s one thing for a sportscaster or journalist to say that Bobby Ryan has no intensity. But it’s another thing for someone working directly within the industry, and doubly so for someone currently managing a current NHL franchise – both due to the perception that their insight carries more weight than an independent analyst, but also because the statement, potentially, may not be independent of other factors and the intent or rationale behind it can be much questioned. There is a reason he apologized. Probably because the Sens called USA Hockey and the NHL the minute the first screening of the documentary finished.

    Now, I truly honestly believe that David is beyond reproach in this regard. And I would not hesitate to use David if I were to need the services of an agent. And I would never want to compare anyone to Brian Burke.

    But a movie critic’s income is independent of whether their public opinion of a movie influences that movie’s gate receipts.

    A restaurant critic’s income is independent of whether their public opinion of a restaurant influences that restaurant’s sales.

    A real estate agent’s income is independent of whether their public opinion of a development influences that development’s sales. Wait, oops, not so.

    So I don’t blame people for throwing their toys out of the pram on these posts, particularly people who are new to the blog and new to your style.

    1. ScottyP says:

      Interesting, and well-written, comment. Except that the comparison you made to Brian Burke, while a good ol’ college try, is irrelevant to the discussion.

      Brian Burke was *directly* responsible for the Team USA member selection for the Olympics. Meanwhile, David is not in charge of the selection of anything, except of those properties which he feels may or may not befit his clients — and, as an extension, his readers — on a self-admittedly subjective basis.

      These are two completely different things. I agree that David is not exactly equivalent to a movie or food critic, but he is far from being responsible on a “buck stops here” level for a direct selection process (and, if you want to get really technical, a direct supply of elite labour) a la Brian Burke.

      Again, I appreciate the effort. But effort alone doesn’t cut it when addressing a volatile issue such as this. As one of the more respected and informed commenters on this blog, you can do better.

      1. jeff316 says:

        Actually, the puck doesn’t stop with Burke. USA Hockey is responsible and its Board of Directors is responsible for selecting and submitting the team. They’ve hired out the task to a GM of international programs (Johannson), hired a GM of the men’s team (Poile) and hired a player personnel guy (Burke) but in the end all they provide is advice and the buck stops with the national hockey organization.

        In the end, if Poile or the Board want Ryan on that team (as a marginal former pro I can’t imagine Johannson has a say but who knows) it’s not Burke’s call. What is Burke’s call is whether or not he stays with the process and the team despite having his client ignore his best advice. Much the same as would be for David if he and I had a BRA and despite his best (and I think correct) advice I still wanted to buy at the print factory lofts. And yes, the buck does stop with the real estate agent – once you’ve signed a BRA it’s up to them to release you from that contract or you’re not buying anything for x months.

        It is absolutely David’s job to advise his clients of what he thinks of the print factory lofts. As a blogger on real estate, it smart and useful and valuable to his readers to learn of situations like this one. And if he wants to present this situation in detail, using real names, real numbers and real addresses, all the better for me as a reader.

        But only because I have no skin in that game.

        David has contractual relationships with buyers, with sellers and his livelihood is dependent on those relationships. To boot, he also has a relationship with his brokerage, which has an additional web of contractual relationships with buyers and sellers.

        So David’s words aren’t just that of a real estate blogger. Or a guy who writes columns for the Grid. Or who appears on the odd TV show or interviews for news segments on real estate. Or a guy that’s become the public face of hard-hitting, fair and insightful real estate commentary in this city.

        His words can influence public perception, individual behaviour and even sales prices – a measure of influence that less scrupulous agents could easily distort or pervert for strategic individual gain.

        Sometimes, I’m not sure David gets how much of an impact his word could/can have – which is ultimately a massive compliment, if you think about it.

        (PS – Just because the pile on is led by idiots doesn’t mean that they don’t have one-sixteenth of a valid point.)

        1. ScottyP says:

          Fair enough. My viewpoint still stands.

          Bottom line, David did nothing wrong (a point to which I believe you’d agree, jeff316). More to the point, he should be *encouraged* to be this open and informative in future posts, and not feel that he has to back down in the face of uniformed, emotional backlash or RECO-led clown shows. The fact that the idiots may have 1/16 of a valid point shouldn’t sway him at all, as 1/16 of a point is tantamount to the piece of jam-flecked crust that I threw away after breakfast this morning.

          I completely agree that his words do have impact — as they should. Heck, someone has to instigate change, for we all know that waiting for our legislators or regulatory bodies to do what needs to be done would make Godot look like Usain Bolt after a Venti Americano.

          As for David’s contractual obligations and those of his brokerage, I for one am comfortable with letting him determine how to best navigate those seas. Clearly, David’s number one obligation is to his clients (both current and past); he has said before that he values loyalty above all else, and I see no reason to question this statement.

          As long as David continues to be careful about getting the facts right in the first place (unlike my ill-informed Brian Burke comment, heh), then I say more power to him. He has my unqualified support, and I hope that he continues to have yours… idiots be damned.

  9. Keith Tarswell says:

    David I have read your blog on and off for years. I know you to be a man of honesty, integrity, compassion and courage. I appreciate your intelligence, dedication, desire to do the right thing and your humor. Sometimes your blogs raise a lot of hackles and sometimes a lot of smiles. I admire how you press on with what you believe needs to be commented upon. I know that when you write a blog you check facts as any good journalist would. On the very rare occasions when you are in error you have been quick to say so and make amends.

    I’m proud to be in the same Industry and at the same brokerage and to be able to call you a colleague. Keep up the good work!

    Keith Tarswell

  10. ANoder says:

    Public announcements can be good and even be great advertisements for salespeople. It stands to reason that those with no vested interest in this building would take no umbrage to your two posts David, but there’s the other side of the coin which neither they nor you may not be seeing. When a brokerage enters into a client relationship with a buyer or seller, fiduciary obligation, which has no expiry date (contrary to what many believe), is imposed and jointly binds the brokerage and all of its Realtors to the protection of the clients’ best interests.

    Sometimes the best way to impart information is to deliver it one on one to actual clients and customers – the very way you delivered it to your brokerage’s client.

    You knew you would get backlash from unit owners, but before you wrote these two pieces and more to the point, the below, did you check to see that there are currently no unit owners in the building who purchased it as a client of your brokerage? If there are just imagine how much more significant the backlash could be to from those owners to your brokerage and your fellow brokerage members who represented them.

    I bet Bosley checked its clientele database.

    “The concept of “but I know somebody who bought in this building last month” really bothers me, because in my opinion, it means that this buyer had an agent and a lawyer that didn’t do his or her job…

    The residents of Printing Factory want to paint me as the bad guy because I aired their dirty laundry, and let their secret out of the bag,…

    I have worked for Bosley Real Estate for ten years, and in those ten years I have learned that we truly are a different breed here. That’s not to say that Sage, Chestnut Park, Royal Lepage – or other companies aren’t the same, but what I mean is that with 40,000 Realtors working in the GTA, and only 200 at Bosley, we hold ourselves to higher standards…”

    1. Schmidtz says:

      ANoder you wussy little bitch.

      “You knew you would get backlash…” This is absurd. Did he? If someone realizes they will get backlash should they not write the article? To the contrary, backlash and challenging conventions should be ENCOURAGED. You’re gonna play the card that it was confidential information? This is the weakest, substance-less argument I have ever heard. None of the things David disclosed were confidential, financial statements etc. I could get those if I wanted.

      Stop reaching. Smarmy mutant trash.

    2. ScottyP says:

      So, to paraphrase:

      “If anyone ever legally and openly imparts with potentially combustible information that is not only truthful, but of immense value to the consumer, let’s scour the fields for a potentially injured party who is willing to take semi-legitimate offense.”

      Or, more succinctly: “Why say anything useful to anyone, when it’s safer to say nothing at all?”

      Gotcha.

  11. The BeesKnees says:

    Well done David!
    3 years in, a ton of training under my belt & I still feel that I become a better Realtor each time I read your blog posts, keep up the good work!

  12. Weirdy says:

    The owner reaction to David’s 201 Carlaw post is exactly what CBC’s “Condo Game” documentary underlined in relation to negative condo publicity in general. Condo issues are often a well-kept secret because those who speak out, risk being unable to sell or take a price hit. Awareness clears the fog when it comes to property’s values and people get very upset when you tamper with their ability to find a greater fool.

    so when you realize you’ve been had, shut up and find the next sucker
    all the while being told how awesome toronto real estate is

  13. Alex says:

    Great post. I’ve been reading your blog for a while and it’s always been great at waking me up at work when I’m doing something repetitive or boring, or for killing time waiting for other people or slow processes. More importantly, I feel like it’s given me a lot of great information on the real estate market. I want to eventually buy in Toronto, but considering it’s an investment of hundreds of thousands of dollars I wanted to be a little more informed before doing so. Your blog has really helped me learn a lot about real estate and what to look for when buying. When I do eventually decide to stop renting and buy I’ll definitely be giving you a call David.

  14. JeanGuy says:

    Serious question – should the Board have reasonably known about potential mortgage insurance issues when they took the loan out over a year ago, or is it the law of unintended consequences at work? Are there any comparables (i.e. other developments in the same leaky boat)?

    1. Paul nbm ( new board member) says:

      I am a new board member on a 400 unit tower. you must also realise that board members are NOT always qualified for such an onerous task. I know I am not ! I am learning fast, which is how and why I found this blog.
      the board may have acted in good faith, truly believing that what they were/ are doing is the right path. It could be they got bum info from someone with an agenda. It could be they sought no advice. It could be they are just plain stupid ! I would hazard a guess that they just put down that in a few years they would pay 1.8 million off instead of putting in the whole payment schedule without realizing the consequences.
      The system of boards running a condo is brutally insane. The board has immense power without the knowledge to wield it.
      Whatever the truth in this story is, it is a learning moment to say the least.
      The sadder point here is that this blog is in the bind of preaching to the choir. Everybody reading and responding, obviously already cares enough to find out about this crap shoot called condo living.
      Mr Flemming is making it easier for us to learn something
      thank you

  15. Floom says:

    Slow clap for David’s follow-up. Absolutely love the pretend realtor’s comment “one of the most sought after…” …David is a very honest guy, so much so that he’s often politically incorrect, he often layers his blog posts with personal info (sometimes TMI), which, if he were so calculating and out for just a paycheque, he wouldn’t do. He is smart enough that if he just wanted attention/platform/publicity, there are many subjects he could touch on which would not make him vulnerable to lost business, threats, law suits etc (“Well-known Realtor David Fleming says Condo Prices to Rally 20% in 2014!” – a headline you won’t see)…The due wears his heart on his sleeve and calls it like he sees it – but not everyone has to agree with his view. All I know is that via his blog, I feel I have avoided some very costly mistakes and by using his services & following his advice, I feel I made a s*** load of money. That is all.

  16. Future Outlook says:

    How does one confirm if CMHC has black listed a building? I called CMHC and they wouldn’t say yes or no that printing loft was blacklisted. How were the owners of the building able to confirm this information? I want to believe them, David, because I love this building and am looking for a unit in it. Advice?

    1. @ Future Outlook

      When I referred to a “blacklist” it was metaphorical. Unfortunately, there is no sacred scroll somewhere with a list of buildings on it.

      To be perfectly blunt, I believe that most of the owners in the building that “confirmed” this did absolutely no research, and are just posting whatever they want, because there are no repercussions. Now as for people who actually DID research this, as was noted in today’s blog, by calling your bank, mortgage broker, or CMHC/Genworth/CG, they aren’t going to tell you whether or not you can get insurance in here until you have an Agreement of Purchase & Sale in front of them. Only THEN will they tell you, “We are turning down this loan because of A, B, and C.”

      Most of the comments in yesterday and today’s blog will confirm this.

      Feel free to read and believe what you like, and I encourage you to do your own research. But I stake my reputation on the fact that a high-ratio mortgage will not be insured in this building, as of today.

      As for the building, I feel your pain. This was one of my go-to buildings in the Leslieville area for the last couple years. I have four clients next door at 233 Carlaw Ave (Garment Factory), and I’ve shown a dozen units at 201 Carlaw Ave. It’s an A+ location, in a booming area. But sometimes buildings have problems, and the risks for the potential buyer have to be weighed.

      Good luck!

      1. Future Outlook says:

        “the risks for the potential buyer have to be weighed”

        I could put my pennies together and offer 20%; therefore, not require CMHC or others to insure me. I believe this building is undervalued, even with the 6000-9000 potential pay out per unit if the lawsuit does not favour the building.

        I was aware of the lawsuit before. The CMHC information was a surprise.

        What would these risks be?

        1. @ Future Outlook

          Correct – you can buy into this building with no problems if you have a 20% downpayment.

          The risks are inherent in the renovations/repairs needed over time, the special assessment that is needed to pay back the loan, the legal fees and lawsuit, and the potential damage to resale value due to the entire situation.

          I agree that the building is undervalued, and it may very well be because of the financial issues. If you’re looking long term here, you’re not risk-averse, and you feel you can get a great deal on a unit, then it doesn’t remove this building from consideration.

      2. Joel says:

        David,
        Does this mean that the deal fell through on a financing clause or on a review of the status certificate clause? Would you then only recommend purchasing if you have both clauses in the offer? (Or are they tied together?)

        Thanks

        1. @ Joel

          A lawyer will tell you, “Out out, is equal to two outs, or four outs.” If you have an out-clause, you can get out, for any reason.

          The way clauses are worded these days, you don’t need to provide an excuse. If you change your mind, you simply don’t sign a waiver for your financing clause, or inspection, or status, etc.

          This deal fell through on the lawyer’s approval, since the Status Certificate basically reads like an exam where you have to highlight areas of concern. Regardless of whether or not the buyer was able to get mortgage insurance, the lawyer never would have allowed the buyer to proceed with the purchase.

          So to answer your question: the financing clause and status certificate clause are independant, and not tied together, however the issues in the building (status) affect the ability to get insurance (financing).

          1. joel says:

            Thanks!

  17. Paul nbm ( new board member) says:

    Lem must be a walking miracle ! lets assume that he left school at 16 years old, and became a realtor immediately , 94 years experience as a realtor, uh ….. that makes him 110 years old
    pretty good going I’d say

    1. Lem says:

      It was sarcasm directed at “The Truth about David Flemming” and his lame comment. But I’ll try to be less subtle next time

  18. OMG says:

    2400 words.

    Say whatever you want about David Fleming, but don’t EVER doubt his passion and work ethic.
    2400 words!! This would have taken anybody 2-3 hours to write, more to edit, and more to get opinion from management or legal counsel or whatever.

    Show me another Realtor in the city that is this passionate about real estate, I dare you.

    The people at Printing Factory have resorted to complete fabrication and lies in their responses, and when David crafts a 2400 word response, he doesn’t even need to call them out. The passion does it for him.

  19. Wow says:

    Funny seeing folks attack Fleming as dishonest. Why exactly is he a bad guy for pointing out that PFL took out a 2M loan and it may be harder to get mortgage insurance there? As a realtor isn’t that his job to know this stuff and inform people?

    The clear truth is the situation at PFL is unlike most of the 1000’s of other condo buildings in Toronto and David turned it into an interesting blog post. You better believe after reading this blog any perspective buyer (David’s or not) will be asking new questions and be better informed when making a condo purchase anywhere in the city. Exactly what a realtor should encourage.

    I get some of the current owners at PFL are unhappy. I wouldn’t want previously obscure details about my building widely available. I also don’t like it when my buddies tell hot woman at the bar that I’m “less than endowed” down there. If I reacted like the PFL owners here I guess I should have yelled at them, accused them of filling the bar with lies and got my lawyer on the phone. . . instead I shrug and suggest to the woman that while what they say may be true, if she comes with me for a more intimate review she’ll be pleasantly surprised . . .

    PFL owners here would do well to point out the awesomeness of their building rather than tear down a realtor who is advising caution on a building that is literally in one of the most unique financial situations in Toronto.

  20. TRBFan says:

    Thank you David,

    This is why I have been reading your blog for years, and ultimately chose to hire you when I was ready to purchase a condo. As someone who has personal experience working with David (unlike most of the commenters in his recent posts), I can assure you that he is honest, ethical and straight-forward.

    The facts are the facts, people – as I said in a previous comment, I loved the unit at 201 Carlaw and thought the location and building were incredible. I was excited to purchase the unit and looking forward to moving in, until the status certificate reared its ugly head. I have an excellent credit history and was pre-approved for a mortgage significantly higher than the price of 201 Carlaw. The ONLY REASON I couldn’t purchase was because no mortgage insurer will touch this building. I know this because I’m the only person on here who actually submitted an application!

    David – keep doing what you do! Though you may be only one voice in this insane industry, you are an important one to listen to.

  21. Lem says:

    Hello

    I am a trusted and senior realtor with 94 years of experience but I’ll choose not to leave my name. But trust me, I’m awesome.

    I can say that David Flemming is the shizzle and this “The Truth” guy is a clown. There aren’t too many realtors who go out of their way to act in the best interest of consumers at risk of their own personal income. Case in point: David has been an outspoken critic of certain development industry practices, which are very obviously not in the best interest of consumers. Does he do this to become one of their “Platinum VIP” agents flogging their POS buildings? Obviously not. David is one of a small handful of realtors who does NOT spin but tells it like it is.

    And I’m fully qualified to say that given my 94 years of experience. Haters gonna hate!

  22. The Truth About David Fleming says:

    The Truth About David Fleming
    I am a trusted and senior member of TREB and RE agent in GTA for 19 years

    But first lets get to the FACTS about 201 Carlaw Avenue:
    1) 201 Carlaw Ave is a fully insurable property. (Im not saying David Fleming pre fabricated a lie but he received some terrible information)
    2) 201 Carlaw Ave is one of the most sought after addresses in Toronto to live in for sometime now and continues to be.

    It is these two points (the first being a false point) that gave David Fleming the fodder if you will to create these blogs of unethical proportion to create a buzz for his own name. It is people like David Fleming that give a bad name to all Real Estate agents. They are just in it for themselves and a pay cheque. This blog is so ironic in that sense as he tries to present the opposite picture for himself; yet any intelligent person can see through his used car salesman tactics.

    I feel sorry for all RE agents as it is such a tough job and David is right. Several of the down and out unemployed turn to RE because theres nowhere else to go. Nonetheless several of his blogs are made to incite rather than educate. They incite comments and talk about David Fleming, which is why he must in some cases create falsities in his blogs so he gets his name out. Again this piece is so ironic but it is these types of blogs and the people that write them that give false hopes and promises to their respective clients. David Fleming is nothing new he wants to be different, he wants to be heard. People there are respectable real estate agents out there, try and stay away from the ones that write blogs based on untrue facts. David Fleming is out for a paycheque and will create these fake and false blogs to do it! Oh and don’t believe everything you read.

    1. DK says:

      Wowwwww! Look at this guy, he’s been a Realtor for 19 years!
      Except, he didn’t have the balls to leave us his name so we can check out his website, his sales statistics, his RECO record, etc.
      And he also copied a bunch of your lines from the blog and basically used it against you.
      So how many clients do you think he’s buried in that building? Do you think he lives there himself?

    2. Daniel says:

      Dude, kudos to you for leaving this comment up here! It shows you’re not afraid of the BS you take on a daily basis, and since the proportion of agree/disagree is always like 10/1, it’s nice to see when someobdy does disagree.

      I don’t think anybody reading the last two blogs would take this guy seriously. Jealousy is rearing it’s ugly head.

      Any clue who this person is? Can you track an IP address or see when/if they’ve commented before? This could easily be somebody from 201 Carlaw Ave just feigning as a realtor with 19 years of experience.

      1. @ Daniel

        He left his email address (I can see the emails in the back end of the site), and I Googled him but can’t find a real estate agent with that name. There’s also nobody registered with TREB by that name (we can search TREB members on MLS).

        Whether he is, or isn’t a Realtor, doesn’t really matter to me. He said his piece, and he’s entitled to do that.

        1. Graham says:

          David, that’s my real email address, don’t sign me up for weird mailing lists.

          Great week on the site: http://i.imgur.com/RRiz3.gif

    3. Schmidtz says:

      You sir, are a tool.

      As a mortgage broker, I can tell you with confidence that:

      1) WRONG. It is not insurable. I 1000% guarantee this.
      2) WRONG. Anyone with a brain that reads the reserve report and financials has been and will continue to RUN away from this place.

      You are a typical, naysaying, lemming of an idiot.

      and you are WRONG!

    4. Peter says:

      There’s no way this guy is a real estate agent. The math just doesn’t add up.

      He says: “201 Carlaw Ave is one of the most sought after addresses in Toronto to live in for sometime now and continues to be.”

      This means that either:

      a) He’s flat out lying, and he can’t be a Realtor since we know Realtors don’t lie. 🙂 (sorry – had to!)

      b) He is out of touch, uninformed, has no clue what’s going on in the market, and/or he believes that “sought after” refers to a building with no reserve fund, a massive loan, special assessments pending, lawsuits pending, construction deficiencies, and where high ratio mortgages can’t be insured.

      I’m willing to bet this is just a Carlaw owner pretending to be a Realtor to have some credence.

      But whoever this person is, he or she doesn’t realize that the readership of TRB is very astute and informed, and when a comment like this is posted, people are going to rip it apart (as they have done, and will continue to do).

      David, I gotta hand it to you pal, you just keep going, like the Energizer Bunny. Nothing stops you, and you must have the thickest skin in the world to take this kind of heat and keep going. You’re a rock star, my man!

    5. Paully says:

      TREB = Troll (on your) Real Estate Blog
      RE agent = Reality Exaggerating agent

    6. ScottyP says:

      Major Red Flag #1 (or, How You Know Someone is Lying):

      When someone calls him- or herself “a trusted and senior member” of anything, and isn’t being ironic.

      (There’s that word again: “ironic”. So you like Alanis too, eh Truth?)

  23. Huuk says:

    ‘But, But, you Narc’ed out on 201 Carlaw, you bastard!’

    Good rebuttal to a bunch of sour of owners that realized they are screwed and are pissed that someone reported the news that they would try so dearly to hide.

    I think Woodward and Bernstein would be proud.

  24. Duncan Scott says:

    Very well said David!

  25. Yes, Do Your Own Research says:

    “I didn’t want to argue the validity of the information I presented…” So we have a person who has written two very long-winded blog posts that contain questionable information. Time to do some actual fact checking of your own and stop reading blogs. Waste of time.

    1. RPG says:

      He didn’t want to argue it ANYMORE.

      He didn’t want to argue it anymore because you guys don’t listen, and won’t accept reality.

      He’s already made an indisputable case, and has documents to back it up. What do the PFL owners have? Nothing but hope.

      It’s almost as if the owners at PFL can’t read.

      1. ScottyP says:

        PFL = Probably Flunked Literacy.

  26. Paul nbm ( new board member) says:

    evil prospers when good men do nothing ….. fortunately you appear to be a good man
    thank you for your gutsy stand. let me know when your building evicts you, you are invited to where I live (and i’m on the board )

  27. Schmidtz says:

    anyone pissy about David’s previous comments on the condo simply cannot accept reality. It hurts sometimes. Deal with it, and stop being little whiny bitches!

  28. Paully says:

    Hear! Hear! Great post!

    One of my old condo neighbours bought a different condo with no conditions. The Status Certificate ultimately showed that the previous property manager had stolen from the reserve fund. He was long gone with the money, but with no conditions, it was too late for her to get out of the deal! Hello Special Assessment!

  29. moonbeam! says:

    In a nutshell: buyer beware… be informed… get a lawyer to review the Status Certificate….
    great post, David!

  30. myeo says:

    Thanks for shout out to the Queen’s Golden Gaels.

  31. patrick rocca says:

    well said david!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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