The Friday Rant: Recent Real Estate Pet Peeves

The Friday Rant

5 minute read

November 2, 2018

There are a lot of ways in which I could take this blog post!

Real estate “pet peeves” could apply to just about anything.  The inner-workings of organized real estate, interacting with cooperating agents, or even the day-to-day grind that comes with this job.

But today, I want to look at what we see on a daily basis on MLS, and how they bother me, not so much from an obvious or pathetic standpoint, like my “MLS Musings” blog posts, but rather from a less obvious standpoint; things that perhaps only bother me, because I see right through them.

Cynical, sarcastic, and salty.

Yes, salty.

It’s one of my favourite terms, and I use it on a daily basis to describe a couple of the people I work with, and of course, myself.

This just about sums it up:

So let’s do this.

My favourite number is seven, so let’s randomly select that as the number of pet peeves to look at, all of which I collected this week alone!

1) Advertising things that are illegal, with zero recourse

Think back to when you were a child, and a commercial for G.I. Joe came on TV.

Well, I suppose if you were a child in the 60’s, you’re thinking of the full “doll size” figures, but that’s my mistake.  I mean “think back to when you were a child…..if you were a child in the 1980’s.”

When they advertised an action figure, and that figure was being played with by a kid who was bouncing the figure off a GI Joe base, or ship, or truck, they’d put up the disclaimer, “Vehicles Sold Separately.”

There used to be an understanding that you must distinguish between what’s for sale, and what isn’t.

Well how about on MLS?

If you took a photo of a terrace, with a highly-illegal feature prominently displayed, would you be liable?

You don’t need to be a fire marshal to know that not only is that chiminea prohibited by the condominium corporation, it’s also illegal!

Do the seller and listing agent take zero responsibility for this?

You can’t just take a photo of two people freebasing heroin on the terrace with a police officer standing by and applauding, put it on the MLS listing, and not give the impression that it’s somehow okay.

2) Extreme hyperbole

We can see this on almost every listing, but it’s the poorly-written listings, that start with awful hyperbole, that are my pet peeve.

Take this one, for example:

This listing is for a unit in a building where 21% of the units have been posted for sale in the past two years.

I wouldn’t call that “rarely available.”

Not only that, adding “don’t miss the opportunity” to own something that is over-priced, in a crappy building, a miserable location, and, as we know from the above, is not at all rare, is like saying, “Don’t miss the opportunity to let me run you over with my car.”

Hyperbole runs rampant on MLS, and it reeks of agents that have no idea what to write in their 463 characters.  Read the rest of that description – it offers nothing about the unit that’s for sale.

3) Seeing your “den” and raising you the “family room”

Are you familiar with all my rants about condo “dens?”

I’ve written a lot of posts on this subject before!  Here are two, just for fun:

October 20th, 2009 – “What The Heck Is A ‘Den?'”

September 15th, 2017 – “Making Sense Of The Condo Den”

And of course, my sarcastic 2015 look at the condo “den” in my series, What If The Whole World Worked The Same Way As The Toronto Real Estate Industry?

Upon watching that now, it seems YouTube has altered the sizing, which is too bad, since now my head is cut off in every frame…


I hate how the non-existent “den” always finds its way into the MLS listing, and most of the time, it’s a nook or an alcove.

But this week, I saw something that I have never seen before in a small 1-bedroom condo.


The family room!

That literally is a den.

At best.

A sliding door, a 6-foot depth, no window, no closet – the perfect “den” in 2018.

But this seller and/or agent decided to take it a step further, put a TV inside, and call it a “family room.”

I know this isn’t egregious, but my problem is that this wasn’t just referred to as “family room” in the remarks – it was actually labelled “Family Room” in the descriptions and measurements, and the box to check, for “Family Room, Y/N” on the MLS listing was ticked!

Now I’m ticked.

4) Over-simplifying

I’ve made mention of this before many times.

MLS captions that read, “Currently Large One-Bedroom, Easily Converts Back To 2-Bedroom Layout!”

Sure, if your definition of “easy” happens to be: ripping up flooring, installing wood or aluminium frame, drywalling, mudding, sanding, painting, potentially including electrical, reinstalling flooring, etc.

But how about this one, which made me laugh:


“Easily,” they say?

Folks, this listing is for land value.

It’s for a house that basically consists of four walls, and a roof.

How does that “easily” convert to a dream home?

And “convert?”  Really?  Maybe “easily” isn’t the problem here.  Maybe it’s “convert,” which is closely-associated with the synonyms “change” and “turn.”  You’re not “converting” raw land into a completely different home, after 8 months of construction!


5) Inanimate object photos that also demonstrate poor-performing features

Perhaps this is one I could have included in my “MLS Musings,” but either way, you know I just hate photos of inanimate objects.

A close-up of the sugar jar on the kitchen counter, a photo of the clock on the wall, or a picture of the microwave with the door open.

How about the kitchen faucet running?  I hate that too.

But what do you make of this:

Not only can you see that, just with the faucet running, it’s splashing water all over the basin (which isn’t actually a basin, but rather a concave piece of glass), but you can also deduce that by placing your hands under that running water, and lathering, you’re going to splash water everywhere.

There’s also an outlet about 2 1/2 inches from the basin, with no GFCI, but that’s not the point…

6) Listing agents actively demonstrating how bad they are at their jobs

Have a look, and tell me if you see what I see:

So this agent is “holding back” offers, right?

This agent has, presumably, under-priced the property and is looking for multiple offers, to obtain the highest price possible according to a time-tested strategy.

But then, the agent shoots himself in the foot by saying, “No offers with financing conditions.”


If you’re a listing agent, and you’re holding back offers on a listing, you know that you need as many offers as possible!

Offer conditional on financing, review of status certificate, and lawyer’s approval?

Offer conditional on the sale of your house……… Moncton?  No problem!

Offer conditional on the sky not being blue?  We’re interested!

You want those 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th offers, even if they’re terrible, because it means, potentially, that the first few buyers will offer more, because of the volume of offers.

This listing agent just showed how awful he is at his job, and how clueless he is about the daily-workings of the Toronto real estate market.

Tell me again how all agents are the same…

7) Refusing to do any work and trying to pass the buck

If you’re a listing agent, and you specify monthly maintenance fees of $550.75 per month on the MLS listing, sell the condo, and then the buyer finds out the fees are actually $750.55 per month, you can, and will be sued.

Even if the buyer had the opportunity to verify the fees his or herself, you’re still liable, because you made a representation, and it was incorrect, and cost the buyer.

It always gets my back up when I see crap like this:

There is nothing legal about this.

This has absolutely zero standing.

The thirty seconds it took somebody to type this into the listing was a waste of time.

A listing agent can’t just say, “F%&$ you, go do my work, yourself,” and expect this to hold water.

And the bigger question remains: why would a listing agent do this?

Can the listing agent not complete the most very basic of tasks?  Asking his or her seller-client for the up-to-date maintenance fees, taxes, et al?

Mr. Hudak & Friends – if you’re working on OREA’s next pet project, take note of “professionalism” like this.  And who’s the guy at TREB who called me out for my January, 2018 blog post on the number of transactions that the average Realtor does each year, and suggested that I was off base on my descripton of “average?”  What do you think now?


Have a great weekend, everybody!

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. JG

    at 10:51 am


  2. Laurie

    at 3:14 pm

    There is a 4.25M house that backs on to Humber River currently on the market that advertises a Family Room in the room listings. Looking at the virtual tour, that family room is a few extra feet added to the kitchen, where they slapped a fireplace on the one wall and staged two chairs in front of the fireplace. Thing is? Those chairs are facing the kitchen counters, there’s not enough room to put those two tiny chairs side by side facing the fireplace.

    I’m sorry, but for over $4M, my family room should be big enough for a giant sectional big enough to actually fit my family and room for a big TV and not a space that isn’t even big enough to call it an eat in kitchen…

    1. Housing Bear

      at 3:32 pm

      One man’s broom closet is another man’s billiard room

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