Quick Hits!

Quick Hits!

5 minute read

November 23, 2011

I just got home from a rainy night of showing properties, and I witnessed a few questionable business practices that are making my blood boil!

Let’s throw ’em out, one at a time!

Increasing Price, Decreasing Interest…

I’ve talked about this before at great length, but it’s getting ridiculous…

I’ve seen a half-dozen properties in the last month re-listed at a HIGHER price after failing to achieve multiple offers and/or over-asking on “offer night.”

It’s a joke.  The sellers are a joke, and the listing agents are the biggest jokes of all.

When you figure your house is “worth” around $675,000, and you price your home at $649,000 with a hold-back on offers, you have to be very prepared for the fact that you may only receive ONE offer, and it might be for $649,000!

If you really want to under-price and attract multiple offers, then list at $599,000.  It still comes with risk, but you have a better chance of creating a bidding war.

The sellers that sit on the fence and try to split hairs over the price are the ones that get burned.

Last week, I showed a house that was priced at $799,000, and my clients and I hated it.  The home was gorgeous, but it was on a very busy major street, the area is still transitional, and although the finishes were near top-of-the-line, it felt extremely over-built.  We agreed that even at $750,000, this just wasn’t the right house.

The day after “offer day,” the house was re-listed at $843,000.  The listing agent called me to ask if there was any interest, and I told her that it was $150K over what we would pay.  She had some words of wisdom for me, and I kindly thanked her before she could dig herself into a deeper hole.

That’s not the way to sell real estate in Toronto.  Re-listing at a higher price and then telling off your cooperating agents isn’t going to get you anywhere.

Every week, another property in Toronto holds an “offer night,” comes up empty handed, and then increases the price.

When will people learn that B+ houses don’t always get multiple offers, and that the market determines the value of their homes?

“Designer” Anything…

What constitutes a “designer” renovation?

Let’s say that you hire an interior designer with 30-years experience, who charges $500 per hour for her time.

Now let’s say somebody else hires a friend that reads a lot of designer magazines on the couch, and who will work for a loaf of bread.

Is there a difference between your designer and the other?  Apparently not in the eyes of the people involved in selling real estate!

I saw a house tonight that was potentially one of the worst renovations of the year.  These people couldn’t hang a light fixture without making a giant hole in the ceiling that was twice as large as the fixture.

Case in point, they don’t know how to properly join two pieces of trim together:

Let’s try to ignore the fact that they can’t properly mud the drywall seams, or that they don’t know how to sand, or even that they can’t paint worth a damn.

What’s eating away at me is that the very first line of the MLS listing reads, “Fabulous Designer Renovation!”

There’s nothing to stop people from making claims like that, no matter how bad the property is.  You could list a back-alley dumpster for sale, say that it was “Meticulously Renovated By A Renowned Designer,” and nobody could touch you.

Has the word “Designer” lost all meaning?

It has in the context of selling real estate…

Stretching……The Truth

A client emailed me a property this week in the east end and asked if it was worth seeing.  I took one look at the listing and said, “This is only a 12 1/2 foot wide lot!”  But my client figured that it was worth a look, considering there was a parking pad out front, and the house had been renovated.

We went to the property, and the parking pad from the photo was actually a walkway!

The listing agent had taken a photo of the house, stretched it horizontally to show about 2-3 times as large, and created an incredibly false representation of the home that was actually for sale.  Think about how wide 12 1/2 feet is, now think about a walkway – about 3 feet wide, running up the front lawn.  Now consider how screwed up that photo must be to make the walkway look like a driveway!

We had a really good laugh, and the house was such an awful renovation that we enjoyed ourselves.  Otherwise, I might have been upset that I wasted a half hour of everybody’s time…

Integrity at $650/sqft

I received an email newsletter from a Toronto Realtor (clearly, I’m in the market for a buyer’s agent…), and I was shocked at the few of the claims she made.

Now I know this might sound hypocritical – me accusing others of making radical, ridiculous claims, but I couldn’t believe when she reviewed a new King West project and said, “Prices at $640 – $650 per square foot are very competitive.”

Good Lord!

Talk about selling your soul!

I know that some people believe my political musings have no place on my blog, and I know that I’m very aggressive in my opinions, but I would never lead people astray like this.  Never.  I pride myself on putting all of my buyer clients into properties that I value myself, and I don’t consider myself a “salesperson” first.  I don’t show ten condos and like ALL of them.  My clients are lucky if I suggest that two are viable options.

Isn’t this what we’re hired for?

To say that $650 per square foot, in pre-construction, for a project that will be delayed and won’t be ready for five years – when there are existing resale properties next door selling at $570 per square foot – is highway robbery.  It’s nothing but lies sliding off a silver tongue.

To say, “Prices at $640 – $650 per square foot will smash every conceivable sales record in the history of the area” would be far more honest.

Man, I’m worked up…


This blog post has contained a lot of quasi-bitching-complaining.  That wasn’t my intention, I promise!

During the course of a week, I’ll jot down anything worth mentioning on a blog post, and if 5-6 issues are too small for a whole post, I’ll throw them all into a Quick Hits.  I guess this week’s version just contained a lot of questionable practices amongst my industry colleagues.

Well, I apologize – both for the sleazy things we Realtors do, as well as for my negativity.

However, I have to throw this last one in here…

What Is The World Coming To When…

1) A Toronto public school principal bans all sports balls – soccer balls, softballs, hardballs, footballs, tennis balls, and the like.  Saturday Night Live beat me to the punch here, but when I read about this on Friday, it made me embarrassed to be part of society in 2011.  What kind of world are we creating here?  What kind of message are we sending to our kids?  Should we expect them to sit motionless at recess and be on guard for renegade leaves falling from trees?  Should we warn them about the perils of snowflakes melting on their coats and turning into water?

2) Pakistan’s government has given cell phone providers a list of over 1100 terms and phrases that are banned from usage during text messaging.  Many of these terms are swear-words that we hear every day, and others make no sense at all.  Eight different synonyms for “feet” will be banned altogether.  Is it possible that people over there are doing crazy, illegal things with their feet?  Entire phrases are banned too.  “Flogging the dolphin” is no longer to be typed from one person to another within the Pakistani border.  Seriously – if you’re using the term “Flogging the dolphin” to describe anything, sexual or otherwise, it just means that you’re an incredible nerd, and you have bigger problems…

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

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  1. Moonbeam!

    at 8:30 am

    David — please take more photos of the faulty and poor design, workmanship, and decorating faux pax that you come across, Might as well educate us about these eyesores and no-no’s that you see often but we might not…..

  2. Joe Q.

    at 9:13 am

    Every week, another property in Toronto holds an “offer night,” comes up empty handed, and then increases the price.

    Just one of the reasons why many people feel the Toronto real estate market has turned into a game.

  3. Steve

    at 11:00 am

    Have to agree with “Increasing Price, Decreasing Interest”. I put in an offer last night (offer night) on a semi, we were the only bidders and offered at ask, no conditions. They were expecting a bidding war and are now going to relist $50k higher, total joke.

  4. buk

    at 8:48 pm

    Increasing Price, Decreasing Interest – Are you also referring to a certain property on Manning St?

  5. JC

    at 9:42 pm

    My favorite of the day is a listing in downtown Toronto in C08, at Jarvis and Wellesley. The sign went up last Thursday, and now sign has a SOLD insert on top of it. I looked on Toronto MLS/Stratus and it’s showing available. Not so much as an SC. Just for sh*ts and giggles I called. Sold firm and waiting for a cheque.

    So WHY isn’t it indicated as SC on the system? She probably hopes to get a few more calls to drum up business.

    1. David Fleming

      at 11:16 pm

      @ JC

      Exactly! The property won’t be marked SC until the agent has satisfied his/her quota for sign calls.

      Rental agents do this a lot. They’ll leave rentals on the system for MONTHS after the property has been leased. Nobody at TREB cares about leases!

      1. jeff316

        at 8:24 am

        What’s an SC?

      2. Joe Q.

        at 9:45 am

        … which makes it incredibly frustrating to look for rentals on MLS. As a consequence, most people don’t even bother.

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

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