I have a few things to talk about today, but there’s no one “big” topic per se.
Just a lot of random occurences, questions, annoyances, and/or discussion points. A little bit of something for everyone.
And, I mean, who doesn’t want to talk about lockboxes again? It’s the topic that always stays sexy, am I right?
A client of mine emailed last week to ask about the pros and cons of installing solar panels on the roof of his home.
The reaction to that above sentence really only comes in two forms:
1) How can there be any “cons” to solar panels, duh?
2) Ewww. Solar panels are ugly.
And therein lies the rub…
Installing solar panels on the roof of your home will pay off, no question about it.
As hydro prices continue to soar (or will when Kathleen Wynne’s debt-refinancing BS 8% hydro savings plan is up…), I believe that alternative forms of energy will gain serious momentum.
So solar panels seem like a no-brainer, right?
Not so much.
The problem is – they’re ugly. They’re unsightly. They stand out.
And in the context of Toronto real estate, where home-owners are always concerned about curb appeal, the cost savings associated with solar panels might be mitigated by a buyer’s distaste for the look and feel of the home.
Is that crazy or what?
You would think that spending money on a feature of your home, that saves you money, would add tremendous value to the property, and help marketability. But there is something called a “superadequacy” in real estate, which is a feature of your home that you pay more for, than what it’s worth.
Just because you value a 24K gold toilet, doesn’t mean the next buyer will.
Or from a more realistic perspective, does spending money on solid-core doors increase the value of a simple 1-bed, 1-bath condo? Do those buyers care? Do they notice?
Solar panels aren’t quite the very definition of superadequacies, but they’re close. They’re something that, at least in the present, save money, but offend the delicate senses of much of the buyer pool.
What’s the deal with artist’s renderings?
Has anybody noticed that the artist’s renderings for new condo developments are getting more and more unbelievable?
Or maybe they’re the very definition of believable, since the people they “paint” in their little silhouette’s in the marketing brochures are actually who they’re attracting in the end.
They’ll show the lobby, the party room, or the pool, and everybody is good-looking, in shape, young, and well-dressed.
They all seem to be on their phones as well. So maybe this is an accurate artistic representation?
I’m not sure.
But I do know that most pools at Toronto condos don’t look anything like this, nor do the people dress like this:
Is that girl on the right knitting? Or just rummaging in her Louis Vuitton purse for some beeswax lip balm?
Come to think of it, the topic of “artist’s renderings” is a blog post unto itself. Leave this with me…
I was in a condo the other day, preparing for a listing, and I asked the concierge “What’s the lockbox protocol here in the building?”
Once upon a time, Realtors just stuck the lockbox in the stairwell near the unit, and gave instructions to buyer agents accordingly.
Today, as condo managers have grown to understand the need for clear guidelines when it comes to the sale, and viewing, of real estate, there’s usually a procedure in place.
But not in every building…
I was told by the concierge last week, “We don’t handle lockboxes,” which I took to mean that they don’t keep them at concierge.
I asked, “Is there a dedicated location for them? Down in P1, around the corner in the hallway, or on a rack outside?”
He said, “Lockboxes are not allowed on site.”
I asked, “What about the stairwells near the unit?”
He simply said, “Lockboxes are not allowed on site,” and added, “If they’re found, they will be removed.”
I know some buildings are trickier than others, but surely in this building there must be some understanding of how agents access the building.
So I asked him, “What do real estate agents, or the sellers, do when they want to have buyers and their agents access the building?”
He said, “We don’t care what they do. We’ll have none of it.” And then he said, “If we see a lockbox anywhere on site, or near the building, we’ll cut it off.”
Okay, now he’s saying “near” the building? So I asked him to clarify, and he pointed outside: “See that bike rack right there? If we find lockboxes on there, we’ll cut them off.”
He was almost proud about it.
I went into MLS and looked up the last few condos that had sold in the building, and called one of the listing agents who I knew. She told me, “David, they’re psychotic in that building. It’s like they’re living in the 1980’s. Their expectation is that a buyer will go pick up the key from the seller or some nonsense. I had a lockbox on the fence twenty feet away from the front door, and they cut it off! I had to put it down the alleyway on a random door handle at the back of a restaurant!”
It makes no sense to me.
The property manager enforces rules that were decided upon by the board of directors. The board of directors own real estate. At some point, they’ll sell, and all the while, they should want the property values to increase.
So how does going out of your way to ensure properties are difficult to show, make any sense?
Hey TREB, what the hell are we paying you guys for?
If you think that the Toronto Real Estate Board works for Realtors, you’re sadly mistaken.
It’s so hard to believe, but they tell us what to do, even though technically, they work for us.
And folks like myself, who are living in 2018, think that the people in charge are stuck in 1999, marvelling over the “World Wide Web,” when all the while, our technology is so far behind.
My issue today has to do with open houses.
While you might think that www.realtor.ca is somehow linked to our own www.torontomls.net, alas, it is not.
So if you want to post your listing on “open house,” it matters not what you have on MLS, but rather you have to go an external site.
Check this out:
So once I’ve gone outside of my MLS listing, where I’ve already specified the day/time of my open house, I post it as shown above.
And then amazingly, it takes TWO DAYS to update!
How in the world is this not automatic?
Post the open house on Friday afternoon, and it might not show up for the public to see, at all.
We need some fresh blood at TREB, not to mention CREA.
Some younger blood too.
I did something yesterday that I haven’t done in a long, long time.
No, it has nothing to do with the Superbowl, but rather, I went to open houses on a Sunday.
When showing houses to prospective buyers, I always try to avoid 2-4pm on Saturday & Sunday. What buyers wouldn’t want the house to themselves when trying to make a decision about the largest purchase of their lives?
Yesterday was an absolute mad house in three straight properties.
Looking at properties during the open house hours on a weekend comes with about five or six standard observations and experiences, all of which happen in sequence.
First, you pull onto the street, and there’s not a single place to park on that entire block. There are cars up on the sidewalk, cars double-parked in the driveway of the house, and some people even park in front of fire hydrants and just “risk it.”
Second, you see a host of people loitering out front. Buyers waiting for their agents, agents waiting for their buyers. People waiting for their partners to arrive, and people waiting outside for their partners, stuck inside.
Third, you see enough shoes in the front foyer to start a department at Nordstrom’s.
Fourth, you get a soaker when you take off your shoes or boots. It’s absolutely unavoidable this time of year, and most real estate agents working the open houses do nothing about it.
Fifth, there’s an agent inside, losing his or her mind. Caught halfway between trying to pick up buyers and get “digits” like a frat boy, and actually looking out for the seller’s best interests and protect their home, the agent is bouncing off the walls, trying to figure out what to do.
And last but not least, you get caught going up the stairs, coming down the stairs, moving in and out of a bedroom, and just about anywhere else three or more people can bump into each other, with no idea where to move so that somebody can get by. It’s like Black Friday at the Mall of America.
The sheer volume of people must discourage any buyer in this market. Not all of them are going to make offers. But just the idea that even a crummy house can attract 200 people on a weekend speaks volumes about the Toronto real estate market, and the future of this city.
A word about the Superbowl…
I’d be remiss if I didn’t give my two cents on the Greatest Show on Earth.
I used to hate the New England Patriots, like everybody else who watches football. I thought Tom Brady was soft, I didn’t like how he complained every time he got touched, and yes, I put him in the category of “pretty boy.”
But when Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were the target of a witch hunt in 2015 with the laughable “Deflate-gate” saga, and I saw how people around North America reacted, I was stunned.
Instead of realizing how “deflate-gate” was being used in a power struggle between a couple of exceptionally rich old white men, dragging their nonsense through the Supreme Court, people used it as an opportunity to take down Tom Brady – and this was before it became acceptable in 2018 to take down anybody, any time, for any reason, through social media and mainstream media, with no due process. But that’s just an aside.
Random fans of awful teams – be it Miami, be it the Jets, be it Tennessee – all started clamouring about how Brady’s legacy was forever tarnished, he was a career cheater, and his records shouldn’t count, and he should have Superbowls stripped, and his children should be sold as slaves, and just about anything else you can think of.
I was amazed at how people could turn nothing into something, all to justify their own teams’ failures, and take down the greatest football player of all time.
So you know what?
I went from being a hater, to a fan. And I started to cheer for Tom Brady and the Patriots. I was that turned off by how people piled on to the farce that was “deflate-gate.”
Now, I don’t know what happened in last night’s game. I do know that two Philadelphia touchdowns would not have been touchdowns two weeks ago, and even though I don’t agree with the interpretation of a “catch” in 2017’s NFL, I think you have to keep the game consistent.
It seems to me, the rule (which had to be addressed this off-season, since it was so ridiculous), was silently changed two days before the Superbowl, or dare I say during the Superbowl.
Nobody wanted New England to win, and it just felt that way, at every turn.
Don’t get me wrong – the outcome was far more meaningful than a sixth Tom Brady win would have been. Philadelphia has never won the Superbowl, their city and their fans deserve it, and there’s a lot of great stories via the players on that team.
I just didn’t care for how the outcome came about.
Well that’s all I’ve got for this crisp Monday morning.
And remember to look around your office today and see who called in sick. Could there be anything more obvious than somebody who came down with the flu, the morning after the Superbowl?
Oh, and don’t look now – but the market is starting to heat up again. As unimaginable as it would have seemed, conditions in some segments are eerily reminiscent of this time last year. Perhaps we’ll talk about that on Wednesday or Friday…