A client recently sent me an “investment opportunity” that wasn’t quite on the same level as the Real Estate Wealth Expo with your boys Pitbull and Sly Stallone, but close.
Unfortunately, this opportunity expired some time ago.
And by that, I mean over 100-years-ago. Take a look at this sales brochure, circa 1914, both in terms of the way houses were marketed as an “investment,” but also the prices, the history, and the character…
Do you like generalizations?
Because I’m about to give you one…
I surmise that just about everybody who attended the 2018 Real Estate Wealth Expo two weeks ago knows a below-average amount about real estate. And that’s being generous.
I would guess that most of these people, who paid up to $2,500 for their tickets, are the most likely to get taken by any sort of con, scam, or gimmick.
I just don’t understand how anybody can listen to that nonsense, and feel as though they’re not being played for a sucker.
Pitbull? Sylvester Stallone? Alex Rodriguez?
Bright lights, fireworks, confetti, dancers, loud music – this is what helps you make an informed purchase decision in one of the hottest real estate markets on the planet.
But what else should we expect?
A sucker is born every day.
Who in the world hears those incessant radio ads about “making money in real estate, without using your own cash,” and thinks there’s no catch?
Probably the same people who put their “used, broken, and unwanted gold” in an envelope and mail it to a P.O. Box from a television ad, for an indeterminate, un-agreed-upon sum of money in return.
Like I said last week, I could write an entire blog on the Wealth Expo, but I don’t know that it would be productive.
Alas, I only wish we could return to a time when marketing “gimmicks” were simpler, and more honest.
So with that in mind, I’d like to show you something.
It’s a brochure, circa 1914, called “An Investment In Houses.”
And it’s the coolest thing I’ve seen in a long time.
I’m a huge history buff, especially when it comes to local history, hence my love affair with Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood, where I’ve lived for the last 12 years.
So I was like a kid on Christmas morning when a client sent me this:
This is, simply put, the coolest thing I’ve seen in a long time.
And that’s coming from somebody who isn’t all that cool…
This is a brochure introducing a new development in Toronto called “Glebe Manor Estates.”
If the name “Glebe” sounds familiar, it’s because there’s a Glebe Road in the Yonge & Eglinton area. Except we call this area “Yonge & Eglinton,” or “Davisville Village,” or “Mount Pleasant West,” to it’s appropriately-named neighbour, “Mount Pleasant East,” on the other side of, well, Mount Pleasant.
But when the area was first developed in the 1910’s and 1920’s, the name was “Glebe Manor Estates.”
Here’s the map they provided in the brochure:
You might recognize that as the area bordered by Yonge Street, Manor Road, Bayview Avenue, and Millwood Road.
Post World War II, this was nothing but vacant land, with building lots, severed by the Dovercourt Land Building & Savings, who were the “exclusive selling agents” for both lots and houses.
The company had many projects on the go, as evidenced by this awkard attempt at a 3D map of Toronto, taken from the harbour, pointing to their other subdivisions:
They had me at “Largest Owners & Developers of Real Estate In Canada.”
I wonder if that’s like the several hundred Realtors who all claim to be #1?
In any event, the brochure for “Glebe Manor” offered this as the inside leaflet:
How is that for a sales gimmick?
“Exceedingly low prices.”
I wonder if the folks at the Real Estate Wealth Expo would have come to the same conclusion…
And the brochure you see above, some 20-pages, came with this wonderful opening, which I’ll transcribe because the print is so small:
An Introduction To Some Attractive Houses
The houses illustrated on the following pages have recently been built on Glebe Manor Estate.
The property is situated on Yonge Street just north and west of Moore Park District, and a little east of Upper Canada College; within 25 minutes car ride from Queen and Yonge
The illustrations were made from photographs and represent the buildings as they actually appear.
The enclosed plan indicates the artistic way in which Glebe Manor is laid out. Winding streets and Boulevards, Park reservations, an excellent view and pure air, make this property an ideal spot in which to live, affording as it does many of the attractions of country life, with city conveniences. The residences are modern in every detail and the workmanship and material are of the best. If you are in the market for a convenient and attractive home or a safe and profitable investment, one or more of these properties should appeal to you.
The object of this little book is to endeavour to arouse your interest in these little houses some of which are being sold much below their market value. We believe that a little of your time spent looking over some of them will prove very profitable to you. Within the next three months these properties will be quoted at very much higher prices than now asked. The demand for homes in this District will then be at its height. An automobile is at your service. Telephone Main 7281.
That’s verbatim, so excuse any grammatical errors.
What I love is this line:
“Within the next three months, these properties will be quoted at very much higher prices than now asked.”
Grammatically awkward, yes. But also the word “quote” as it was used 100 years ago, not to mention the promise of profits.
As for the houses themselves, this is the coolest part.
Each of these houses still stands today, so if you know anybody that lives in them, send them the photo:
So what stands out to you the most?
How about the term itself, “Terms arranged?” An old-world way of discussing financing, and back then, I’m sure the buyer dealt directly with the developer.
How about the “number of rooms?” Nowadays, we only concern ourselves with the number of bedrooms, and the number of bathrooms. Back then, each of these houses likely had one bathroom, so the point was moot.
What does “separate toilet” mean? Is that the lonely toilet in the basement that we see so often in 2018 in these old houses?
I love looking at this old stuff, I get such a kick out of yester-year.
Too many things in life make us feel old, so here’s something that should, at least, make us feel young…