Deal Of The Century! (conclusion)


4 minute read

March 14, 2008

There are 52 weeks in a calendar year, and only ONE of those weeks would have enabled my clients to get this house for the price that they did.

Timing is everything… 


After losing out on two houses in Leaside in the span of two weeks (ironically, the houses were two doors apart), I told Sarah & Peter about a bungalow in Leaside that just came up for sale.

The house on Sutherland Drive, priced at $589,000 was a detached bungalow on a 30 x 134 foot lot.

The difference between a semi-detached house and a bungalow has to do with future use.  A bungalow can be torn down and a large, new 2-storey house can be built in its place.  Since a semi-detached house is joined at the hip with the house next door, there is very little you can do to expand.

For this reason, bungalows in Leaside are a huge attraction to builders who have visions of selling the next $1,400,000 new-build in Leaside.

Before I took Peter & Sarah to see the bungalow on Sutherland, I told them that the last three bungalows in Leaside sold for $725,000, $751,000, and $768,000.  This bungalow on Sutherland backed onto a low-rise condominum building, and thus perhaps this took some of the value away, but not much.  Perhaps the $768,000 house up the street on Sutherland made this one worth $700K, or $675K.  They understood the situation, and we went and looked at the house.

With 2-bedrooms, 1 bathroom, and a finished basement, the house was more than enough space for them to both live and work out of the house.  There were a few things that could be done to renovate such as adding a basement bathroom or opening up the kitchen-living space, but the point was moot if they didn’t get the house.

So where does this “amazing story” come to be amazing?

Well, let me ask two questions: 

What is going on this week?

What was going on last weekend?

Two answers: 1) March Break, 2) a blizzard.

That’s right.  The listing agent for this property elected to review offers during March Break, which makes absolutely no sense considering Leaside is a family neighborhood!  I know that most of the “big” agents in Leaside are on vacation, and all the families in the city are taking time off.  With few agents to show properties in the area, and few families to view properties, the buyer pool had been significantly diminished!

Secondly, the blizzard last weekend meant that most people didn’t even leave their homes, let alone stroll around on Saturday & Sunday afternoons in search of open houses and properties for sale.

The combination of these two factors, and the listing agent’s….um….”style” resulted in the ultimate deal for my clients.

While contemplating my pricing strategy, an agent in my office told me a story about a sale he had during the same time last year.  25 Bessborough Drive was listed at $849,000, and was expected to fetch well over $900,000.  The listing agent reviewed offers during March Break, and low and behold, the agent in my office had the only offer.  The house sold for $849,000, and the outcry began…

I wasn’t optimistic that this would happen to me and my clients, but nevertheless, I prepared FOUR offers just in case.  Listed at $589,000, we prepared an offer of $626,217 in the event that there were one or two competing offers, and then we signed two blank offers where we could write in the price just before we present (I swear by this strategy!)  Then we signed one offer at $589,000, just so we could dream…

All day I called the listing agent’s office and kept asking how many offers there were, and all day they would reply “none registered.”

I didn’t tell my clients, because I didn’t want to get their hopes up.  Five o’clock came around, and I headed over to the listing agent’s office.

My clients were prepared to go upwards of $650,000, which was their absolute maximum.

I thought a builder would pay upwards of $700,000 for the property.

But when I arrived at the listing agent’s office, ours was the ONLY offer!

I wanted to lock the front door or call in a bomb scare down the road, just to ensure no agent could pop in during the last second and shake us from our dream, which was now becoming a reality.

But the door never opened, and the phone never rang.

I presented our offer of $589,000, and the listing agent told his client to take it!

Now this is where I have some reservations about saying things that perhaps I shouldn’t.  The listing agent is a really terrific guy, and I feel guilty in saying what I’m about to say….but….I think he could have handled this differently.  Just because we were the only offer didn’t mean he had to take it!

Last week, an agent in our office sold a house on Merton Street, listed at $589,000, for $610,000…..with ONE offer.  He simply told the buyer’s agent, “Look, we were expecting multiple offers, and we didn’t get it.  So, we’re not selling for less than a price that might suggest there were multiples.  We don’t have to sell this house if we don’t want to.”  The buyer’s agent had no choice; pay $610,000, or walk.  In the end, his clients paid.

The listing agent for this little bungalow on Sutherland simply sat there with a smile on his face and acted like everything was okay!  It’s not okay to leave $40,000 on the table, which is what the agent and his client did.  Two weeks from now, I’m convinced this house would have sold for at least $625,000, possibly much, much more!

If not for March Break and the weekend blizzard, this house would have received a lot more attention, and there is no way it would have sold for just the asking price.

My clients were through the roof, and rightfully so!  They could now pay for their renovations, and buy a new car with the money they saved due to what I call “extenuating circumstances.”

Nobody at my office could believe that we paid $589,000 for this house, and I got several calls from agents around the city asking me “what the hell happened???”

One agent even called me and asked “So, when do you move in?”  She assumed I bought the house for myself, sensing weakness and opportunity in the market.

Timing plays a huge role in real estate.

But I have never seen anything quite like what I experienced with Peter & Sarah on Sutherland Drive.

And I’ll probably never see anything like this again…

Written By David Fleming

David Fleming is the author of Toronto Realty Blog, founded in 2007. He combined his passion for writing and real estate to create a space for honest information and two-way communication in a complex and dynamic market. David is a licensed Broker and the Broker of Record for Bosley – Toronto Realty Group

Find Out More About David Read More Posts

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