Happy Birthday TRB: Toronto Realty Blog Is 10-Years-Old!

I guess many of you can relate to the thought, “Oh My God, I can’t believe it’s been ten years,” when it comes to your kids who seem to “grow up so fast.”

Well, for the longest time, Toronto Realty Blog was my baby.

And for the life of me, I can’t believe the blog is officially ten years old.

It seems like a lifetime ago that I decided to shake up the real estate industry and start posting (gasp!) opinions on real estate, rather than following the army of robotic salespeople who refused to do anything different.  It was a rough go at first, but after ten years, I think we’re here to stay…

HBDTRB2

Go ahead and tell me if you’re one of the very few long-time-readers, who can remember reading TRB in 2007, 2008, or 2009.

My very first post was July 1st, 2007, although to be completely honest, I put up the blog on July 14th, and back-dated a bunch of posts to make the site seem like it had already been up a while.

It was somewhat pointless, since nobody was reading anyways.

My, times have changed.

In 2017, my average blog post is 1,927 words.

Back in 2007, I was told that blog posts “should” be about 200-400 words.

And when friends of mine read my first handful of blogs, I remember them saying, “It’s cool and all, but it’s just too damn long.

I suppose I don’t take constructive criticism easily, since I decided to set out to make them longer, not shorter.

A young agent in my office told me, no word of a lie, that when she started at Bosley last year, she started reading my blog, from the beginning.

That’s well over 2,000 blog posts, and for the love of God, I don’t know where she found the time.

It took her six months, but she literally read every single post I have ever written.

She made four observations, having read an average of over 300 posts per month:

1) Your posts have become MUCH longer.
2) You are far more cynical today.
3) You go on a lot less rants now.
4) You have an insane use of ellipses…

#3 is a bit odd to me, since my entire life is a complete rant, but I digress…

So not having read anything that I wrote ten years ago, in quite some time, I decided to go back and read the very first blog post from July 1st, 2007, and I’ll share it with you guys now:

 



Condo BUST?  I Don’t Think So!

July 1st, 2007

If ever there were an indication that the condo market isn’t “about to implode” as many media sources and your roommate with absolutely no knowledge of real estate whatsoever, have speculated, it was last week with the launch of 83 Redpath.

The Benvenuto Group’s new 21-storey condominium project east of Yonge/Eglinton sold out in only two days, with about 200 units turning over. Buyers were literally lined up outside, and several buyers even slept over the night before, I kid you not. This is how badly some people wanted to live in 83 Redpath starting in 2010, or, how good an investment some buyers think this condominium project will be.

83Redpath

A few weeks ago, Menkes Developments launched The Four Seasons Private Residences in Yorkville which even at $600 per square foot sold over 70 units the first weekend. Even more impressive, is that over 10 of those units were purchased by Registered Real Estate Salespersons. When the people who know the most about the real estate industry are investing in its future, that is an excellent sign that the condo market is healthy.

People often ask me “don’t you think there are too many condos in Toronto?” The answer to that question is “yes and no.” There are too many crummy condos in Toronto, and not enough good ones.

For example, next time you drive along the Gardiner Expressway near Skydome, and you see all those horrible condos they’ve built—those are the crummy ones. The buildings are all 50-storey monsters with no character, oddly layed-out units, and the worst part is that the view is of….another condo! There is no surrounding infrastructure, unless you count Subway and the drycleaners…just in case you get meatball sub on your new suitcoat.

I just purchased a unit at 230 King Street in a modest 16-storey building. The unit contains a 450 square foot outdoor patio. There are only six of these units in my building. Likewise, I sold my brother and his fiancée a unit at 168 King with a 330 square foot patio. There are only four of those units in his building.

I think buying a generic, cookie-cutter unit on the 38th floor of 12 Yonge Street is a bad investment, and yes, I think there are too many of those condos and perhaps they won’t keep their value. But there aren’t nearly enough good condos in happening areas with character, functionality, and that certain extra quality like a sweet patio.

Take my optimism with a grain of salt perhaps, as I sell real estate for a living. But keep in mind that I have purchased two condos so far this year, and there are still six months left…

 


 

I know what you’re thinking – that’s it?

How entirely unsatisfied would you be if your morning TRB read was only 449 words, like that piece of crap above.

But that’s how things were ten years ago!

And I’m reading this now laughing at the idea that $600/sqft was a lot for a condo at Four Seasons, since the average price per square foot is now around $1,500, give or take.

But a lot changes in ten years, as each of us can attest to, personally and professionally.

And the best part about that blog?  A “plant” comment from one of my friends, who helped me start the site:

GregKComment

I don’t know that it was meant to be serious, but knowing my friend’s sense of humour, I still laugh when reading it.

I posted a long history of TRB when I hit my 1500th blog post over two years ago, so if you’re interested in the blog’s humble beginnings, have a look at that link, and I’ll save the rest of you from reading the story a second time…

And yes, I suppose I do use a lot of ellipses.  But my writing style has always been conversational in nature, as I feel like I’m speaking to an audience.  And so often in life, we get bored of listening to each other, change topics, or don’t finish thoughts, which results in a natural trailing off…

In any event, (a phrase I’m told I also over-use), I figured I’d have some fun with the TRB 10th anniversary, so here’s what I’m proposing:

Starting this Monday, every weekday for ten straight days, I’ll post a question relating to the blog’s history on Facebook and Instagram.

The first person who can successfully answer the question gets a $100 Home Depot Gift Card.

Every weekday, for ten days, starting on Monday, July 17th.

I’ll post the #TRB10 trivia question between 12pm and 1pm when hopefully many of you are sipping Booster Juice’s on a picnic bench, and may the best man or woman win.

In the meantime, I welcome suggestions for new features as we move into Decade #2 here at TRB.

I’d love to revive my “What If The Whole World Worked The Same Way As The Toronto Real Estate Industry,” since that was about the most fun I’ve had in my 13 years in the business.  But oh, the time it takes!  And this 8-month-old child is already killing my golf game, just imagine trying to revive that series???

Some people have asked me to include more active listings on my blog, and while I do feature the house/condo/loft of the week, which are hand-picked from the rubble of what MLS has to offer, others have suggested I install a “widget” for the whole monty – all the listings out there.  But I wonder, isn’t that what MLS is for?  Or if that’s too slow for your liking, then Zolo, Zoocasa, or whatever other better mouse-traps have popped up?

And here I thought the attraction to TRB was my honest, overly-cynical, mildly-right-wing thoughts and opinions on real estate and just about anything else that pops into my insane mind…

Folks, I’m open to suggestion.

But I promise to continue bestowing upon you a 2,000 word essay Mon/Wed/Fri, and 25-minute video every Thursday, until the day I die and/or make it to the Senior PGA Tour.

And what I’d love more than anything, if you guys could please do me one favour, is for the regular readers to post below: what year did you start reading TRB?

I know most of the regular commenters will partake, but what about the rest of you?

Sidebar here for a moment – I ran into somebody at the gym last week who said, “You’re David, right?  I read your blog!”  I asked him what I ask everybody who tells me they read my blog: “Do you comment?”

His eyes widened with a slight tinker of fear and he waved both hands across his chest and said, “Oh no, no, no.  I can’t get into that mix.”

So to all you “regulars” on here – you scare the crap out of people.

But to the whole lot of you, thank you for your readership, comments and interractions with each-other, and continued support on TRB.

I’m looking forward to the #TRB10 trivia next week.

Have a fantastic weekend!

 

38 Comments

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  1. Paul says:

    I first heard of your blog around 2010(?) or so in an article in Eye Magazine / The Grid listing “the best real estate blogs in Toronto”. I back-read the previous entries and now I read the blog at lunch time and have not missed many since. I prefer to hear about the tales of crazy clients, unusual situations, terrible agents and so on. I posted a comment once which I thought was a well constructed valid point only to have another poster jump all over me with a put-down or two. No posting comments for me anymore. I don’t need the put-downs. Thanks David.

  2. Jordan says:

    Started reading around 2013 – and like your new agent, I worked my way through the entire back catalogue. That’s how I learned about the horrors of the “exclusive” listing.

  3. Marina says:

    Congratulations! I’ve been reading since 2011, but I also at the time went back and read every post since the beginning – we were buying our first home, and I considered this my essential education. I still recommend it to friends who are buying to live or invest.
    My favorites are always the client story blogs – I learn the most from other people’s trials 🙂

  4. Frosty says:

    Congratulations, David!
    I’ve been holed-up in my parents’ basement fallout shelter until this madness subsides (have enough canned goods and anti-radiation ointment to last until 2049, BTW), but just wanted to say hello and wish you continued success. Tap three times on the bunker door when it’s a buyer’s market. 🙂
    Frosty

  5. Condodweller says:

    Congrats on 10 years! I’m a bit late to the party but thought I should comment. I came across your blog through a google search on some real estate related topic a few years ago. I started reading/commenting around 2014 I believe, and I truly appreciate your candidness and critical views about the RE industry. As you can tell from my comments I also like to call a spade a spade political correctness be damned. It is definitely something I identify with. Cheers and keep up the good work.

  6. Moonbeam!! says:

    Hi David – congratulations on the 10-year birthday of TRB!! I think I’m your most devoted and loyal reader (since the very first post!) and have been an occasional commenter. You are a trailblazer and a badly needed breath of fresh air in real estate. Your blog educates and entertains your readers, you are passionate and opinionated, and you have a flair for writing that is often funny, personal, and so addictive!
    Thanx for mentioning me now and then in the blog, and showing my house in a couple of your videos (great value in Scarborough!)
    Keep up the great writing, (and your commenters too!) And I love your weekly Pick 5!

    1. Parkhurst.Bessborough says:

      I feel like I could be related to Moonbeam. She expressed my sentiments exactly!! You are a trail blazer and your blog is a testament to that. Kudos on 10 successful years of writing, and looking forward to the next 10.

  7. Kevin says:

    You’re giving away $1,000?!?!

    That’s slightly better than the cactus that most home buyers receive from their agents.

  8. Jonnathan says:

    Since 2009

  9. Libertarian says:

    Congrats David! I’ve been reading for about 5 or 6 years. You taught me a lot about how condos work. I wish I was reading your blog before I bought my condo in Spring 2010.

  10. keith says:

    You are my favourite real estate blogger. Keep up the great work.

  11. Patty says:

    I started reading in 2012 and even though I moved to Kelowna 5 months ago, I am addicted to reading every posting.

  12. Lisa says:

    I think I started reading in early 2010 after I moved to the city. I bought my first condo with David in 2011 and then sold it in late 2016. I might not comment often, but at least both transactions ended up as content on the blog?

    Congrats in 10 years!

  13. Gregoryyyz says:

    Congrats on 10 years!
    My earliest memory of TRB was the Youtube video of your new Westside Loft PDI..so nearly 7 years ago!
    Just watched it again to celebrate! I bought one condo from plans 20 years ago and once was enough for me!
    Thank you David for the enjoyable, entertaining and informative blog!
    Keep up the good work!

  14. GinaTO says:

    I started reading in 2009, back-read to 2007, and following ever since 🙂 Happy 10th David!

  15. Ashley says:

    Reader since 2013 and this is my first comment! You’ve motivated me to get involved!

    The one thing I will say your blog has done for me is changed my outlook on expectations. Four years ago, I had finished undergrad and moved out of my parents house, and like aaaaaalll the millennials you complain about, I too thought the market was “unfair” and that I deserved better. Then I spent four years working my a$$ off and saving money, while watching the rest of my friends travel and party. Now I feel nauseous when are articles like the Global News story fr today about the young woman who wants “a house with a backyard.”

    So if I have your blog to thank for anything, it’s the cynicism!!!

  16. RPG says:

    Reader since Christmas of ’08 when I had a lot of time on my hands!

    And I plan on winning all those gift cards so others need not bother trying! 🙂

  17. DJL says:

    Found your blog last year. Been reading ever since.

  18. Mark N says:

    Congrats David on 10 good years! In 2014 I Googled the address of a loft building on Carlaw and came across a Globe & Mail article about a realtor who had advised his clients not to close on a sale after he had seen the status certificate and was concerned. David got a lot of flack for that and for giving up a sale, but he also stood out as an honest man with oodles of integrity in an industry that could use more honesty, integrity, and transparency. As soon as I read that article I knew that I had found the right realtor for me. I have tilted at windmills at times in my own career, and seeing someone do the same inspires confidence. I wonder how many loyal clients David gained as a result of that incident? Not only did I start reading every blog post since (and watch Pick5 regularly), I bought my home with David’s help. David is an incredible resource about the Toronto real estate market, and an absolute joy to work with. Here’s to many more years!

  19. Francesca says:

    Congrats David on the blogs 10 th anniversary. Your blog is as old as my daughter. I can’t remember the exact year I started reading your blog but it was circa 2012-2013. I look forward to reading your blog every other day while I have my breakfast. Thanks for all your hard work and your insights. To 10 more successful blog years to come!

    1. @ Francesca

      But is your daughter as cynical as my blog???

      Don’t worry – there’s still time!

  20. JG says:

    I’ve been a long time reader. I dug back into my emails, and I came across my first email to you after finding your blog – September 25, 2008. Had I stuck to my intentions in that email, I would be a property mogul today!
    You were a gentlemen and a scholar than, and you still are today. I can’t believe its been 10yrs. wow!
    Congrats, and here’s to looking at the next 10yrs and what adventures they will bring.

  21. McBloggert says:

    Hmmm – I think my readership of the blog pre-dates the blog itself. Back in those days I and a small group of people had exclusive listenership to the blog, which up until that point had been oral in nature only.

    Back in 2007 there was hardly any real commentary about real estate and certainly nothing that infused humor with actual insights unvarnished by someone trying to sell something. The blog was unique then and continues to hold a unique place among all the other real estate outlets who either pump the tires, sell something or scream the sky is falling.

    While I still hold the opinion that 200-400 posts are awesome – there is no arguing the success TRB has had!

    My only complaint – when I check the blog at 5:45am – I expect to see that day’s post up. If I am up with my 1.5 year old, I expect TRB to be there with me : )

    1. @ McBloggert

      Great comment, re: pre-TRB commentary. And you lived and breathed all the trials and tribulations with me from 2007 onwards. Most people back then thought I would lose my real estate license for “speaking the truth,” it was just insane! Nobody had ever said anything negative about ANYTHING in real estate before!

      BTW – I schedule every post for 7:00am the next morning, as that is the earliest I could fathom ever waking up, outside of an airport ride.

      I can have it up at 5:45am from now on!

      1. Marie says:

        Please do!!! 🙂
        (I should have asked before lol ~ had always been wondering why it was posted so “late” during the day)

  22. Kyle says:

    Congratulations on 10 years David! I was a very early reader, probably started 2008-ish, and began commenting a year or two after that. As others have already mentioned your blog is an excellent resource for Toronto real estate information (for buyers/sellers/watchers/et al of all levels of expertise). As well it is a constant source of entertainment.

    Something that often goes unmentioned, is that to put out the quantity and quality of posts that you do must require an enormous amount of work. I for one appreciate and look forward to reading your posts each week. Thank you to you and anyone else behind the scenes that brings this content to life. Keep up the great work!

    1. @ Kyle

      I don’t have a “#1 Reader Award,” but if I did, I think you’d be in the running with 1-2 other people.

      Your comments each and every day add tremendous value to the blog, and I’m incredibly grateful.

  23. Joel says:

    I think I started reading around 2012 when I moved to the city..

  24. Geoff says:

    congrats – I actually find most people who comment here respectful of each other’s opinion (unlike I don’t know, some blog run by some weird bearded dude). PS that house I was watching on up the street from me sold – don’t know how much sold for, but it sold in I’d say about 5 weeks which is admittedly twice as long as I thought it would, but it’s sold. So rumours of toronto’s death march into real estate are at least overstated.

    1. Kyle says:

      You can see what it sold for (rounded to the closest $1K) if you want here:

      http://www.mongohouse.com/

      You need to register, but otherwise it’s free.

  25. Shannon says:

    Happy 10 years! I never comment but I’ve been reading since 2010 when I was renting and first considering buying. Thanks for all your work, I’ve learned a lot. Just purchased my first home last week as it happens 🙂

  26. H.G. says:

    Happy 10 years David. I never comment but really love your blog! I’ve been reading since Sept 2013 when a friend sent me your pick 5 video where you mentioned the house I had just bought as “unbelievable value”. It gave me more confidence while signing the scary paperwork!

  27. Julia says:

    Started reading in 2008, before buying my first condo with David in 2009! I started reading because I was looking to get opinions on Toronto real estate beyond the generic “the market is going up/down”.

  28. Westender says:

    I don’t regularly comment but I’ve been reading since 2012. I saw the Daddy Divorceville video you did on a Leaside newbuild series of townhouses and I was hooked! Congrats on 10 years David!

  29. Ed says:

    I started reading here in 2012 I believe. I saw a reference to this blog on Greater Fool. Since then I’ve recommended this blog to others like me who are in to house porn. I’ve even recommended you site to others on Greater Fool but I stopped doing that because they are a bunch of nuts. Happy Anniversary.

    1. mordy W says:

      I have been reading for a long time – but I can’t remember the year…
      Definitely my favourite real estate blog and I love to watch your videos
      In defense of those who don’t post- I get your blog on a feed at Inoreader so I never miss a post. Problem is – I don’t end up on the actual website very often- so I don’t comment.

      1. Appraiser says:

        Congrats David! Here’s to 10 more. Great blog. Otherwise…well, I wouldn’t be here.

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