Quick Hits!

Another week, another half-dozen quick observations to make.

This week’s edition of quick hits seems to have a pet-friendly theme, and contains just the right amount of hindsight

Keeping Up With The Joneses

A small house on Jones Avenue was listed the week before the long weekend, and it seemed like an exceptionally low price – $319,000.

Like every other property in the city, this house had a set offer date, and I figured that it would go berzerk.

$319,000 for a HOUSE?  We just had this debate yesterday – house versus condo – and while the debate was left unsettled, I think that most people would agree any house priced this low in the central core (or just east of it) is worth considering.

The house was quite small, but it was still a 3-bedroom with a decent-sized living space.

On a very tiny 14 x 75 foot lot, the property was attached at both sides (a rowhouse) and had only one bathroom, but $319,000!  Imagine!

There was no oil tank to worry about, no radiant heat, and no old wiring or plumbing.  This was a gas heated house with forced air ducts AND central air conditioning!

The furnace was put in during the year 2009, and the roof was only seven years old.  There was a brand new back deck, perfect for BBQ’ing as the weather gets better!

They were reviewing offers the day after the long weekend, which I found very strange.  You really don’t want to take any risks when selling real estate, and the Tuesday after the biggest long weekend of the Canadian calendar seemed like a day that many buyers and Realtors might take off.

I still thought this house would fetch upwards of $400,000, even being on a busy street, even being on a tiny lot.

But never, ever, ever, ever, did I think that they would get one offer and sell it for the asking price.

List: $319,000
Sale: $319,000

Somebody got an unbelievably good deal.

I’m not in the market for a crummy little house on Jones Avenue, but I would have bought this in a heartbeat if I thought it could be had for asking!

Happy Cats?

Every listing presentation is different, and every seller has a different set of objectives.

Majority of the time, it’s all about price.  What else could it be about?  The seller wants to know who you are, what you do, where they’ll get value for their 5%, and what you propose to do in order to sell the property for the maximum attainable price.

But sometimes, sellers have slightly different goals.

A colleague of mine went on a listing presentation this week and the sellers had only ONE goal in mind.

It had nothing to do with price, and it actually had nothing to do the house itself!

They asked my colleague the following: “If we decide to list our property with you, how can you promise to guarantee the happiness of our cats?”


My colleague was somewhat shocked, as she waited for them to say, “Just joking.”  But they went on to say, “Our only goal during the course of this listing is to ensure that our cats remain happy.”

So here is my question: How do you know when your cat is happy?

I think my colleague suggested that they put the cats in a kennel for a week while they sell the property.  She never heard back from the sellers…

Happy Dogs?

This is the best thing I’ve seen in an MLS listing in a long time:

Sorry For The Inconvenience But Most Weekday Daytime Showings Don’t Go In The Beautiful Backyard. Territorial Dog Roams Free. Evenings And Weekends Ok Or 2nd Showing To Be Arranged And Dog To Be Removed.


I can’t figure out what’s better – the fact that they say “Don’t go in beautiful backyard,” or the fact that the dog is “territorial” and roams free.  Telling people not to go in the beautiful backyard is like saying, “Don’t eat the incredibly delicious candy,” or “Try not to stare at my gorgeous, Miss America 2011 wife.”


Actually, perhaps this is the best thing I’ve seen in a listing in a long time:

Backyard Includes A Chicken Coop That Sellers Will Easily Remove If Desired

Now why would ANYBODY want to remove a chicken coop?

That’s just crazy talk…

Cozy Cushions…

I finally bought one of those “Conversation Sets” at Home Depot – you know this one:

I had one objective upon placing this beautiful (and affordable! $299!) set on my patio, and that is to avoid being that crazy guy that always brings the cushions inside when it’s raining.

You know those people?

I had a friend once who was always on alert for the first drop of rain.

As soon as a cloud rolled in, he’d put himself on code-red.  If he felt even a single drip of precipitation, he’d frantically yell, “Honey, we have to get these cushions inside, NOW!”

Like a madman, he’d tear up the cushions with no regards for the people sitting on them, and bring them into the dining room – leaving them out of harm’s way, but still…..in the friggin’ dining room!

He’d always sight, “Phew!  That was close!”

I never want to be one of those guys.

In fact, I watched the rain pour down the other night on my new cushions, which are rain-repellent, and my dining room remained unscathed.

I’m sitting on them as I type this…

Multiple Mania!

It’s very rare to see multiple offers on a condominium in the $1,000,000  and up price point.

The housing market is different, with properties in Leaside, Lawrence Park, and North Toronto routinely selling for hundred-thousand-dollar premiums above one-point-something-million-dollar asking prices.

But condos?  Does this ever happen?

A couple of months back, one of the most unique properties in the city came out on the market at Candy Factory Lofts, priced at $1,595,000.  It was a thrill just to be inside this condo, and during one hour that I was there with my client, I saw some of the city’s cultural elite make their way through the unit.

They ended up getting three offers on the property, and selling it for over $1.7M.  I can’t say I was surprised at the price, but rather I was surprised at the interest!  I’ve only ever seen multiple offers on $1.5M condos a handful of times.

I was also surprised to hear a story from a colleague of mine who went to price a condo on Bay Street, and the seller told him “I want to price this thing for mulitples.”  The condo is worth around $1,300,000, and isn’t in the kind of building where you would ever see multiple offers.  As I said – it’s rare to see mulitples in this price point for condos, and it only happens when you have a very unique or sought after space.

My colleague told the owner that under-pricing would not necessarily bring in the traffic, and that he’d be better off pricing it at market value.

The owner didn’t listen, and priced the unit low, with another agent.

No surprise – he came back out on the market $150,000 higher after “offer night” which clearly produced unsatisfactory results…


The Hangover Part 2 was one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen in my life.

I’m not trying to be one of those film buffs that calls mediocre movies “the worst movie ever,” but what I mean is that I was restless and continuously looked at my watch, and tried to sleep at one point with my arm resting on the empty seat next to me.

I laughed once during the whole movie.  ONCE!  But how can you not laugh when we find out that (spoiler alert) Stu slept with a Thai lady-boy?

This movie was a replica of the first one, with recycled jokes and no creativity.  Did anybody not expect them to magically “find” a camera at the end of the film and show photos from the night they forgot?  The whole movie was telegraphed, and it was awful.

I wanted to walk out, but again – I didn’t want to be “that guy” who walks out of movies.

For the record, Hanna was one of the best movies I’ve seen in years.  This was a film, not just a movie.  I clapped at the end.  Yeah – I was that guy who claps…


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  1. Richard says:

    I loved Hanna, too! Fabulous film.

  2. BillyO says:

    Nothing about the record $28M Four Seasons sale? Or will it be a longer blog post? We need to hear your thoughts!

    If you haven’t seen it already, here is Brad Lamb’s take:

    “It’s a stupid price. I could not conceive of anything in the city of Toronto worth $3,100 a square foot today,” said Brad Lamb, founder of Brad J. Lamb Realty Inc., and a well-known Toronto condo broker.

    “That price, $3,100 a square foot, competes with the most expensive condominiums in the city of New York. It competes very well. I’m sorry, I love Toronto, I think it’s a great city, and I think the Four Seasons is amazing, I think it’s an amazing property, but someone paying $3,100 or over $3,000 a square foot in Toronto for a condo needs to get their head examined.”

    Mr. Lamb was not surprised to hear that the purchaser was foreign to Canada, adding that they likely compared the price with similar properties in more expensive markets such as Hong Kong, New York or Paris.

    “I think that a local, someone who had earned that money in Canada locally, would probably say thatls too much money. I think they’d be more aware of evaluations than foreign buyers.”

    full article here:


  3. Mila says:

    I just moved in to a condo with a large enough balcony to put a patio set – and I admit I’m one of those people that would bring the pillows in to avoid it being rained on. So far I am proud to say that not one drop of rain touched my new outdoor pillows.

  4. JG says:

    I think Bridesmaids will be the ‘hangover pt 1’ for this summer. Havent seen it yet, but i am told its absolutely hilarious!
    And its NOT a chick flick!

  5. Mike says:

    The chicken coop would be perfect for you.. talk about fresh eggs!