Quick Hits!

Quick Hits! | May 25, 2011

Sure, let’s try this as a new weekly feature!

The whole world seems to be into Twitter, I’m not sure why, but perhaps breaking everything down into small bites instead of large meals is the way to go.

So here is another round of quick hits

(Don’t) Lock The Door Behind You…

I did a home inspection last week whereby the inspector had a small problem…

I met “Bob” at the property, took the key out of the lockbox, opened the door for him, and handed Bob the key.  I said, “See you in three hours,” and left.

About twenty minutes later, Bob called me to say that he had locked himself out of the house.  Apparently, the front door automatically locks, and after he had gone back to his truck to get a ladder, he wasn’t able to re-enter the house.

I called the listing agent and embarrassingly explained the situation, and he told me that there was a “hide-a-key” on the property somewhere and if the home inspector called him, he would lead him through the steps on how to find it.

“How to find it?”


What is this – American Gladiators meets Amazing Race?

“Okay Bob, I want you to hop over the fence, and make your way through the prickly-hedge.  Now shimmy down the drain-pipe, and then army-crawl along the grass and under the back deck.  Under the deck, you’ll find a few tennis balls that you’ll need to throw at Lazer, Ice, and Storm on your way to the finish line.  Now use the burlap that’s covering the cedar tree to wrap around your wrist, and break the glass window pane without cutting yourself.  Good – now reach in for the house key, and then lay down inside this coffin as we fill it with spiders….”

Something like that…

Bob got the key and continued the home inspection, but what would have happened if that hide-a-key wasn’t present?  The home-owners had gone to Niagara Falls for the week!  Perhaps we actually would have had to break that pane of glass…

Completely Absolved From Liability?

I received an email last week from a reader who told a tragic tale.

This unfortunate soul was the victim of false advertising, poor ethics, and an all-around shady Realtor who could never make an argument that he “misunderstood” a situation when he downright lied.

The Realtor told the buyer that the land behind the house they were interested in was “Environmentally Protected Land”, and mentioned this as a feature in both the MLS listing as well as the feature sheet.

The buyer ended up purchasing the house, and within a few months, construction began on a new sub-division.

Not only was this land not environmentally protected, but it was actually zoned for residential construction before the subject property was ever even listed!

The reader asked me if he had any claim to a lawsuit, and I told him to check for this clause in the Agreement of Purchase & Sale:

“The Buyer acknowledges that Feature Sheets, Marketing, and MLS documents provided by the Listing Brokerage are for information purposes only.  The Seller and the Listing Brokerage make no representations or warranties regarding their content and no representations or warranties with respect to the condition, defects in workmanship, state of repair, zoning, or lawful use of the property.  The Buyer acknowledges that the Buyer has relied entirely upon the Buyer’s own inspection and investigation with respect to quantity, quality, and value of the property.”

This clause essentially (tries to) absolve the listing agent, listing brokerage, and the seller in any and all respects.

Read it carefully, and it basically says, “Anything we have said might be incorrect, and we take no responsibility.  Further, you agree that any of your decisions were based on your own information, and if that happens to be misinformation, then it’s your fault.”

Every brokerage has their own “Schedule B” with their standard terms and clauses.  Buyers often take these clauses for granted, and even worse – the buyer agents often just gloss over the Schedule B and explain, “Oh, these are just standard…..it’s the brokerages clauses….no biggie.”

Would you want to sign an agreement with the clause above?  Maybe you have no choice; maybe you’re in multiple offers and crossing that clause out could cost you the house.

But keep a sharp eye out for this clause, and avoid it at all costs.

My reader who emailed me last week checked his Agreement of Purchase & Sale and said that this clause was NOT included, and thus I told him to get up, walk out the door, and keep walking until he found a lawyer’s office…

“Million Dollar Listing”

Where is Chad?

And who the hell is Josh Altman?

I used to hate Chad (actually – I used to hate the whole show!), but now watching the current season of Million Dollar Listing, I realize that Chad carried the show!  This Josh Altman character is pathetic.  He makes a ton of money (they all do), but he’s boring.  His arrogance is uninteresting.

Back in the days of Madison, Josh, and Chad, the show had a purpose and it had a great flow back and forth between the characters.  Each segment made you long for the next character, and so on.

But now without Chad, I hate ALL the characters on the show!

Madison is pathetic and boring, Josh is focusing more on himself and his memoirs than actually selling real estate, and despite the fact that Josh Altman does more deals than any other character, he isn’t playing “the bad guy” well enough to enjoy his presence.  I feel like changing the channel every time he comes on.

Got Gum?

I’m not a fan of the Wrigley Lofts on Carlaw Street.

In fact, I have yet to see a loft at 245 Carlaw Street that I like.  I mean, don’t get me wrong – there are some great spaces, but not for the asking price.  The units are too plain and sterile, and a little too “hard” for my liking.

The windows in the building are original, and unlike the loft buildings immediately south which have all new windows, 245 Carlaw Street relies on the 100-year-old industrial windows to keep heat from escaping……of which they do a very poor job!

Put your hand next to the window and you can almost feel the heat transferring!  Consider that hydro isn’t included in the monthly maintenance fees, and then consider that the ceilings are 14-feet.  Expensive, much?

Prices CHANGE?

I lost a listing in my neighbourhood this week as I saw it come onto the market with another Realtor.

I called my would-be-client to ask her what I could have done differently to earn the business, and she said that she felt I was trying to rip her off!  I didn’t understand – I asked her to elaborate, and she said that the price I quoted her was far too low.  She listed at $299,000, with a hold-back on offers.

I was a bit confused, as I didn’t remember quoting her a price.  She said, “Remember – back when we had coffee!”

Again, confused, I asked her when we recently had coffee.  She said, “Oh, no, this was like almost two years ago.   You told me that my condo was only worth $270,000!  It’s worth way more than that and I KNOW it!”


So I tell her in the summer of 2009 that her condo is worth $270,000, and she takes this to mean that it will only EVER be worth $270,000.  Right.  Because prices don’t go up or down.

Well, I guess based on her lack of common sense, she might prove difficult to deal with and perhaps it’s a client I wouldn’t have wanted.  Except, I know how easily I could have sold her condo, and seeing it listed on MLS with no professional photos, no virtual tour, no video, and not having received any marketing about the unit – I know I could have done a better job.

I guess from now on when I tell somebody what their property is worth, I should add, “But this could go up over time – like in 80 years, it likely won’t be worth the same as today.”

Boys of Summer

My kids baseball team is 4-1 so far this year, which I guess is okay.  That one loss came against a rep team who doesn’t play in our league, so perhaps we’re doing alright.  Sam Lee is hitting the cover off the ball – batting .750 overall, and Arieh is pitching the lights out with a 2.56 ERA.  Even Whitey, a 16-year-old punk who I admittedly don’t like, is hitting .625.

I have seven rookies this year, and each one is smaller than the next.  Was I that small at fourteen-years-old?

But these kids can play!  And they don’t complain to their parents when I complain about the socialist state of our public school system.

Do I smell another championship?

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  1. Moonbeam

    at 7:41 am

    Beware self-locking doors! my baby grand-daughter was locked inside one warm evening when her parents sat on their back deck — without a key or cell…Took hours for them to locate a friend with a spare key…. Oh dear…. And my elderly mom has also locked herself out due to a self-locking door….

  2. Billy Frank Vickers

    at 8:31 am

    The only thing Twitter is useful for is keeping up on the day to day activities of your favourite adult film star. David, you strike me as a Lily Thai fan. Don’t you want to know what she had for breakfast?

    The price change story was hilarious. I don’t know how you’ve managed to keep such a lush head of hair. I figured all the terrible clients out there, you would have pulled all your hair out by now.

  3. Ian

    at 10:51 am

    Re the “Completely Absolved from Liability” clause.

    Interesting – if that clause were included in your reader’s particular scenario (non-“environmentally protected” land behind the purchased property), there’s still an argument that it wouldn’t cover the realtor’s misleading listing.

    The disclaimers in the paragraph you quoted all disclaim liability for statements, representations, etc., they may regarding “the property”. It says nothing (arguably) about representations and statements they’ve made about ADJACENT properties.

    Still worth taking to one’s lawyer in that case to see what they think.

  4. Ralph Cramdown

    at 12:19 pm

    #1 Self locking entrance doors are against the Ontario Building Code, so it would be interesting to see whether the inspector noted it in his report.

    #2 A broker cannot contract out of the code of ethics in REBBA 2002.

    “Fairness, honesty, etc.

    3. A registrant shall treat every person the registrant deals with in the course of a trade in real estate fairly, honestly and with integrity.”

  5. Clifford

    at 6:34 pm

    I think Josh Altman makes the show. The other Josh used to be good but I don’t know what happened to him. I think the downturn humbled him. Madison is a weak pushover. He always gets bullied.

    I think they need to add a female agent or two to spice things up and give me something to look at.

    1. David Fleming

      at 7:14 pm

      @ Clifford

      I bought Josh Flagg’s book. I don’t know why, but I did. I should be reading it in 2-4 weeks…

  6. Craig

    at 10:19 am

    Chad was the freak factor of the show and the guy you loved to hate. Bringing in a second agent also named Josh doesn’t work – unless he’s Evil Josh.

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