“Little bit ‘a lotta things” today, as they say.
They who? I don’t know. But it sounded good when I wrote it.
I’m going to cover five or six topics today, all noteworthy & newsworthy, all free for your commentary. Although I think I already know which one will get solicit the most opinion…
How Can You Put A Price On Emotion?
If you didn’t read about this story a couple of weeks ago, then I’m so happy to be the one bringing it to your attention.
Sellers of a Beaches home have decided that they will not sell their property to the highest bidder, but rather, “a deserving young family who will benefit from the neighbourhood and preserve and enrich the community,” as the MLS listing states.
Here’s a Toronto Star article from May 15th:
“This is about putting a nice young family in there. We’re not interested in a bidding war or anything like that,” the deceased seller’s daughter said.
As soon as this article came out, however, the reaction was just oh-so-perfect for the confusing times in 2018, in that the peanut gallery took a positive, and turned it into a negative.
That’s right; the peanut gallery started to call discrimination.
It is, I suppose.
Accepting the highest offer is an easy way to pick a winner. But when you start examining people, their personalities, their lives, their values, and start putting a value on their self-worth, then surely that does become, by very definition of the word, “discriminatory.”
We’ll never know how the sellers decided to pick the winner, and for many, that’s the problem.
Personally, I think it’s the sellers’ right to sell to whoever they want, for whatever reasons.
But what if behind closed doors, they never intended to sell the house to a person of a particular race, age, demographic, sexual orientation, etc?
Wow. Do you see what we’ve done as a society? Our glass is half empty. We create “what-if” scenarios, and then debate them. I miss the 1980’s…
In any event, the clamouring died down a little bit, and the sale went forward.
Low and behold, the house sold for the asking price, and no more.
I wonder what it’ll be like for that new family, with everybody in the neighbourhood asking, “What did they do, or who are they, to ‘win’ that house?”
Who Doesn’t Love A New Tax?
Wasn’t this simply a matter of time?
To the surprise of just about nobody, one of the taxes at the top of the list is a land transfer tax.
For those youngin’s out there, I do recall a time when the sale of properties in Toronto only had one land transfer tax!
Ah, the good old days! When buying a $900,000 home only came with a $14,475 raping of the wallet, for absolutely no reason.
Then along came David Miller, who didn’t realize that “2 x 1 = 2,” and the tax doubled overnight.
Now it’s almost $30,000 to simply move.
Tell me I’m biased because I’m in real estate, but this tax, in my opinion, is the most bizarre tax I’ve ever seen. The tax isn’t tied to anything! Garbage pickup, hydro, sewer and water – all the services associated with a home are paid for via property taxes! What is the land transfer tax tied to? It’s a nothing tax.
In any event, York Region councillors are demanding that the government of Ontario give them power to increase, and create new taxes. They’re facing a $220 Million budget shortfall, and while a fiscal conservative like myself might suggest reducing spending, the obvious answer for anybody in government is simply to increase taxes.
I think it’s prudent to keep in mind just how hard York Region has been hit with the decline in real estate prices in the last 12 months.
May I remind you of the chart from a blog post earlier this month:
(yes I know that chart is prettier than my usual screenshots from Excel, but I gussied it up for the Toronto Life presentation last night…)
York Region prices are down 20.6%, April YTD.
Adding another land transfer tax isn’t exactly going to help stabilize real estate prices, but perhaps the government doesn’t care?
F*** The Rich!
This is old news, but it was recently brought up again via an interaction I had with a buyer client.
This client is looking to purchase for $4,500,000, and was last active in November of 2016.
He’s been away for 18 months, and when calculating the expenses associated with his purchase, he was using his old spreadsheet – from 2016.
Little did he know, the government’s rebate on land transfer tax for first-time home buyers in 2017 was offset by an increase in land transfer tax for luxury homes.
Do you guys even remember this? It’s like it almost didn’t make headlines.
Land transfer tax was increased from 2.0% to 2.5% on the portion of purchase price over $2,000,000.
That means an additional $12,500 in land transfer tax payable.
Really? Am I making a fuss about this?
$12,500 in the context of a $4,500,000 house is a rounding error!
But what if I told you that the total amount of land transfer tax payable on this purchase was $197,950? What then?
It’s tough to define the word “fair” in today’s world, especially in the context of politics and governance.
But I’d love to know what you all think. As I alluded to in the previous point, people don’t really “get anything” for their payment of land transfer tax. Is shelling out nearly $200,000, fair? And would any of you subscribe to the simple theory that “These people can afford to pay it?”
Have You Seen My Agent? I Can’t Find Her…
This is a great story.
And by “great,” I mean it’s entertaining. But in reality, it’s sad, and pathetic.
I was set to receive offers on a listing last week, and I got a call around 5:30pm from a young lady who asked, “What time are offers?”
I told her we were going to review offers at 7:00pm.
I asked, “Are you an agent?” since I assumed she was. But she said, “No, I’m not, but I’d like to submit an offer.”
I wasn’t sure if she meant through me, or not. So I simply asked, and she said, “Maybe, I’m not sure yet.”
I dragged the situation out of her – it seems that she had a buyer agent working for her, who works out of Oakville, but she couldn’t get ahold of the agent. She said she had been trying “all day,” and she knew “something was wrong” when her agent didn’t email her on the morning of offers (let alone, the night before…) to tell her that offers would be reviewed at 7pm, remind her she needs a deposit cheque, etc.
You hire somebody to represent you, and they do anything but.
“What about somebody at the brokerage?” I asked her. “If your agent is away on vacation, surely she has somebody to look after her business, right?”
“I don’t know,” she told me. “I’m not sure how she runs her business; she’s often hard to reach. What can I do here? What are my options?” she asked me.
“If you want to make an offer, that can happen,” I explained. “You can do so through any agent, any brokerage, whoever you want.” I told her.
She asked if she could make the offer through me, and I explained that I was representing the seller, and while it’s technically possible, I don’t like multiple representation, and I’d rather her work with somebody from my brokerage. Or another brokerage. It was totally up to her.
I further explained the buyer representation rules and regulations, and explained the difference between a Buyer Representation Agreement and a Customer Service Agreement and that’s when she said something amazing: “I’ve already signed a buyer representation agreement with my agent.”
“For me to speak to you about this property, a potential offer, and your options, technically, is interfering with a buyer under contract,” I explained. “The B.R.A. is signed with the brokerage, not the agent,” I told her. “So you can make the offer through anybody at the brokerage.”
Then I asked her, “Which brokerage is it?”
Even more amazingly, she said, “I don’t know.”
“You don’t know?” I asked. “Re/Max, Royal Lepage, Homelife, Century 21, Chestnut Park, Keller Williams,” I went on, and on, and on.
“Nothing rings a bell,” she told me.
So I told her quite honestly, “You’re under contract with a brokerage, working with an agent that you can’t get in touch with. I honestly don’t think I can help you.”
And this isn’t about commission, in case you’re wondering. The truth is, I’m not sure if I could have even drafted the offer for her to sign, and submitted it on her behalf – with the full understanding that she was working with another brokerage, and they would receive the commission. I just can’t interfere with somebody else’s client. It’s very simple.
I felt bad for the girl. I told her to call the brokerage, and ask for the manager or the broker of record, to see if they could help.
Then she reminded me that she didn’t know which brokerage it was, and I essentially gave up.
I don’t know that there’s a moral of the story, a conclusion, or any takeaway her. It’s just really unfortunate.
“What Goes Up Must Come Down……Most Of The Time”
We see a lot of real estate “fluff” columns in the newspapers, so I love seeing something new and interesting; something I haven’t read about before.
Shane Dingman from the Globe & Mail wrote an interesting, albeit depressing piece last week:
According to the article, condominiums have the lowest rate of elevator “availability” at 93%, which translates to 25 out-of-service days per year.
But the really interesting part of the article was about one specific building in Toronto: 59 East Liberty Street.
Apparently none of the elevators were in service at one point, and residents were without options – other than the stairs.
One of the three elevators has been out of service for a year!
And what of the board of directors?
They told residents not to voice any displeasure; not to “tweet, talk to the media, or make waves.”
What a mess.
The article is a solid read – click the link above.