Opposites Attract


4 minute read

May 1, 2009

No, this story doesn’t have anything to do with George Clooney.  I just thought that picture was funny!

This is an unbelievable story about a condo my clients were in negotiations to purchase, and didn’t…

…because the exact same unit in the opposite tower came onto the market that very night…


Alan and Andy were two of my loyal blog readers before they ever approached me to help them purchase their first condo.

It took me until our first meeting to piece together than Alan (not his real name – none of the names on my blog ever are) had been posting for the better part of the last year, and it was kind of intriguing to meet eachother.

If there is one thing I can say about Alan & Andy, it’s that they sure know their condos!  At times I wondered if they actually knew more than I did as they reeled off names of buildings, descriptions of floor plans, and prices at will.

They wanted to live down at Harbourfront as they had grown increasingly tired of the city life up at Yonge & St. Clair, and we ventured out to see a whole slew of condos one Saturday.

We started with a waterfront townhouse at 38 Stadium Road (that sold for $50,000 more than the asking price!), and then made our way east seeing 550 Queen’s Quay, 410 Queen’s Quay (Aqua), 270 & 260 Queen’s Quay (Harbourpoint), 30 Grand Trunk Crescent (Infinity), and finally 55 Harbour Square, which is a building that I’m pretty sure pre-dates me!

The following weekend, we returned for a second tour of duty, only this time our time was much more productive as we found a unit that was perfect for Alan & Andy.

It was exactly what they were looking for.

Located on Queen’s Quay directly across from the marina, the condo was a 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom unit totalling 980 square feet with parking & locker for $409,900.  The view of the water from the 25th floor was spectacular, and Alan & Andy were sold.

We drew up an offer for $390,000, and submitted it the following day.

Alan emailed me floor plans of several units in the building (I only wish all my clients had his knowledge and resources!) and we determined that the highest sale ever achieved in the building was $405/sqft and this unit was priced at $418.

Our offer of $390,000 was about $398/sqft, and totally fair.

In our current market place, buyers often “start low” and try to negotiate simply for the sake of negotiating, but I’ve never really believed in that.

Rather than offer $375,000 as  “starting offer,” I told the listing agent that $390,000 was our first and final offer.  I told him that he would be best to push the offer on his clients, because a sign-back wouldn’t get us anywhere.

I hate to say “I told you so,” but that agent should have taken my advice…

The night of our offer, around 1:30AM, Alan emailed me about a property that had just come onto the market that day.

Interestingly enough, it was the exact same unit as the one we were offering on!  It was the same floor, the same layout, the same square footage – the exact same unit, just in the second tower of the condominium complex.

These two units were completely opposite from eachother.

You could throw a frisbee from one balcony to the other!

Alan figured that with the western exposure in the newly-listed condo, the unit would get far more sunlight and have a slightly better view of the waterfront and a living-room view of the CN Tower.

Alan & Andy wondered what the odds were of the same coming onto the open market as we were in the middle of negotiations!

What’s more, is they wondered what they should do.

The next day, the listing agent for the condo we had offered on told us that we were getting a sign-back with an irrevocable of 10PM that night.

The ball was clearly in our court.

We were now free to see the newly-listed condo and compare the two units, while still holding on to the sign-back for the first condo that were were free to accept at any time.  FYI – that sign back was at $399,000, which I had to fight for tooth and nail since they were originally coming back at $405,000.

I told the listing agent that we were going to see the newly-listed condo and that we weren’t sure what we were doing with the offer.

I told him he should have had his clients accept our original $390,000 offer, and he would have had a sale.

He thought I was just “negotiating”…

That night, we went to see the newly-listed condo and sure-as-sugar, it was better than the previous one.  It was the exact same unit, so similar it was rather eerie.  We peered across to the balcony of the other condo some thirty feet away and could actually see another agent showing the unit.

Alan & Andy loved the first unit, but they loved the second one more.

We signed an offer right then and there for the second unit, and I called the listing agent for the first unit to tell him that we were walking from the deal, and we’d let the offer expire at 10PM.

“”You’re doing what?” he asked me.  “I thought you were just talking out of your ass!  I thought you were just trying to use that as leverage; I really thought there was a deal to be made here!”

There was a deal to be made, but it was 24 hours earlier when we had our original offer on the table and before the second, better unit came onto the market.

The listing agent hung up on me, as if it were my fault, and I proceeded to negotiate a successful sale for the newly-listed condo for Alan & Andy.

They got the better condo for less money.

Is there any better ending to a story?

Alan put it best when he said, “Two years ago, who’d have ever thought that you could window-shop for a condo like this!”  He was so right!  We were in the middle of negotiating for a condo, and the same unit with a better view came onto the market for $5,000 less!  We were free to pick and choose like a kid in a candy store!

The only downside to this story is that it left me wishing, can’t they ALL be like this?

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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1 Comment

  1. earth mother

    at 10:54 am

    Everyone deserves at least one most excellent sales adventure — makes a great story to tell at parties!!

Pick5 is a weekly series comparing and analyzing five residential properties based on price, style, location, and neighbourhood.

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