The Worst Listing I’ve Ever Seen

Business | January 22, 2020


I’ve got a real doozie here today, folks!

Maybe this isn’t the worst listing I’ve ever seen, but it’s close.

I mean, how can we really bestow that honour upon any one listing?

The subjectivity alone opens the door for endless debate, and after sixteen years in this business, it would almost be unfair to knight one listing with the “worst ever” tag.

I will say, however, that this is, without a doubt, the worst listing I have seen in years.

And that’s saying a lot, since I have a monthly feature called “MLS Musings” that sheds light on the awful practices that are so prevalent in the Toronto real estate industry.

But as you’ll see below, this is brutal.

Let’s not waste any more time here, let’s get right into it.

Below is the listing with the items I want to draw your attention to boxed in red, with a corresponding blue number beside them so I can make explanations below.

Have a look:

 

(click to enlarge)

 

I thought about playing a “game” and providing a copy of the listing without my notes, and then letting you try to find the mistakes.  We all played enough of those “Spot the Differences!” puzzles when we were kids.

But to make this exercise fun simply undermines how serious a matter this is.

Some of you may find this amusing, but I’m insulted as a colleague of the moron who listed this property.

Let’s go through the issues/mistakes one at a time…

1) Photos

These photos do not fit the MLS parameters.

This is not unusual, of course.  Many agents use photos that are vertical instead of horizontal, and that’s even worse.  But that white gap at the top shows that this agent didn’t size his or her photos, and since I expect perfection, this is a flaw.

2) Missing Unit Number

This is insane.

Absolutely, positively, inexcusable.

Imagine if you lived at 128 Parkhurst Boulevard, and your agent listed your house simply as “Parkhurst Boulevard.”

How in the WORLD can an agent miss something as integral as the goddam unit number?

So what do people say when they’re calling the listing brokerage to inquire, or to book a showing?

3) The Price

This isn’t up for debate, folks.  I’m not here to discuss the current temperature of the market.

I’ll let the last three sales of this unit do that for me:

So this unit, in January of 2020, is worth…………..$825,000?  $850,000?  Maybe if it were cleaned, painted, staged, marketed, listed exceptionally well (none of which happened, of course), it could sell for 12% more than the same unit only ten months ago?

Well, we know what it’s not worth.  It’s not worth $1,050,000.

4) Taxes

The taxes are not $0.

This is inexcusable.

In fact, it’s against TREB rules to put $0 for taxes.

This is one of a few exceptionally lazy displays of behaviour by this agent.  All you have to do is ask your client, or, look it up online.  It’s easy.

5) Photos

See “1 of 6” photos.

MLS allows you twenty.  Any agent who doesn’t use the allotted space for 20 photos is not doing their job.

6) Property Management

This is incorrect.

7) Seller

The listing agent only listed one seller on the listing, when in fact, there are two on title.

It is not binding for one of two owners to sign an Agreement of Purchase & Sale, unless that person has a power of attorney, which would need to be noted in the listing.

Let’s call this what it is: laziness, inexperience, and indifference.

8) Kitchens

There are not two kitchens in this condo.

How does one even make this mistake?

9) Occupancy

This unit is vacant.

So then how is it so difficult to do anything correctly with this listing?

10) Status Certificate

The agent has not ordered the Status Certificate yet.

I order the Status for every single one of my listings, two weeks in advance, so I have it for the listing.  Not only can I use it to help market the property, ie. showing that the building is in exceptional shape, but it also speeds up the process by allowing for shorter conditional periods, or often, unconditional offers.

The Status costs $125.

Most agents won’t order it in advance because they want to ensure they sell the property first.  Pathetic.

11) Assessment Roll Number

This is mandatory on MLS.  You must provide either the PIN or ARN.

I have no idea how this listing got on MLS.

The PIN or ARN links the property to Geowarehouse and Public Records, which again, are tools that can be used to market the property.

12) Maintenance Fees.

The maintenance fees are not $0.

This is inexcusable.  Just like the taxes.

Pathetic.

13) Square Footage

This is, as Sheryl Crow says, “my favourite mistake.

Why?

Because this condo is 889 square feet.

With properties selling between $900 – $1,000 per square foot, the listing agent has short-changed his seller by a hundred-grand!

Oh, wait, it’s $200,000 over-priced, so…

14) Seller

I can guarantee the one source, on planet earth, that this square footage did NOT come from is the seller!

“Seller” is what a lazy agent puts on MLS when he or she has zero source for the square footage.  It shouldn’t be allowed.  Only “MPAC” or “Floor Plan” should be permitted.

15) Measurements

Why bother, right?

Eff-that.

It would have taken three minutes, and who has that kind of time?

16) Brokerage Remarks

This is where essential information about the listing is provided to buyer agents.

As you can see, nothing is provided…

As for the “Remarks” section, I have underlined my favourite parts:

Amazing Unit In A Newer Building.”  That’s what you say when you have nothing to say.  “Newer” is ridiculous.  This isn’t marketing.

Bright.”  Really?  Check out the view, as I beg to differ:

Ontario Lake View From Living Room.”  Again, I encourage you to look at the above photo.

Master Bed Room And 2nd Bedroom.”  Sure.  But are we just pointing out things in the unit now?  “Fridge And Stove.”  Or “Floor And Ceiling.”

Then come the photos, oh boy…

I like this one, which shows us that the listing agent has a nice lens on his camera:

Then there’s this one, where he’s decided to crouch down and get his head 90% out of the frame:

Then again, he could have been down there puking in the toilet, since the lid and seat are up.

Honestly, folks, this makes me so goddam angry.

It’s not entirely because I take pride in what I do.

It’s also because I can’t believe this listing is allowed on MLS.  There are multiple infractions here, but does it really need to come to that?  Where’s the common sense?  Where’s the professionalism?

I know that if somebody emails dis@trebnet.com, and says that there are no taxes noted on the listing, then TREB will fax a notice to the listing brokerage, requesting the listing brokerage to update the listing within 48 hours.  But, again, does it really need to come to that?

Maybe I’m inviting a grey area here, but if somebody at TREB sees this listing, even without the “$0” for taxes, they should enact a judgment call and simply tell the listing agent to get this crap off MLS.

Find me a worse listing out there, and I’ll treat you to whatever vegan-meat-bean-burger Tim Horton’s will be adding to their menu next month, then promptly removing.

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23 Comments

  1. Pingback: The Worst Listing I’ve Ever Seen | Real Estate News Group
    1. Ed

      at 9:03 am

      Assuming it is not a brand new building. Then you use last years tax numbers with a notation.

      1. Michael

        at 10:31 am

        David said the building is 6 years old. Taxes were assessed a long time ago. But even if they weren’t, this doesn’t excuse the other fifteen mistakes on the listing. And we shouldn’t give this joker the benefit of the doubt either. This is a case of guilty until proven innocent.

  2. Kyle

    at 9:35 am

    LOL, in the first pic of the bathroom the toilet seat is down, but in the second pic of the bathroom the seat is up, so he must have lifted it. The Agent definitely wizzed between shots.

  3. Chagit Peled

    at 10:51 am

    Chagit Peled
    10:36 AM (14 minutes ago)
    to David

    Hello

    I’m watching your weekly videos for a while
    find them funny and educational – thank you for that.

    I’m sure you are familiar with this Versace video:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rF-hq_CHNH0

    recently I looked to invest in a condo, hoped the rent will cover the mortgage and expenses
    quickly found out that this is impossible to achieve in the city.
    I tried to be creative and to find other ways to get into the market. ended up with 2 bedrooms co-ownership property on Bathurst.
    I’m still not sure if it was a smart decision….will be happy to get your opinion on this.

    Thank you.

  4. Marina

    at 11:51 am

    Yikes, I can only imagine how an actual sale would go down. How has this guy not been sued?
    Although I guess with his marketing and pricing techniques, he hasn’t sold anything, ever.

    David, I would love a post along the lines of “how to sell a standard condo”. Like, if you have a listing for a completely fine but unremarkable condo, how can a seller and/or agent maximize on price. With an example 🙂

    1. Verbal Kint

      at 3:24 pm

      David’s patented selling system:
      1. Stage it with that same tiny “desk” and mirror you always use.
      2. Hire a photographer to take good pictures. It’s just too difficult as an agent. You might accidentally get your head, or the toilet, or your head in the toilet.
      3. Mention a better nearby neighbourhood. If the condo is in Moss Park, start the listing with “Welcome to the St. Lawrence Market!” Don’t forget the exclamation point!
      3. Price below recent comps. Not a little below, a LOT below — they’re not YOUR floors.
      4. Set an offer date.

      1. Jenn

        at 3:49 pm

        Verbal’s love for David is so cute.

        He’s like a 9-year-old boy who throws rocks at the girl he has a crush on.

          1. RPG

            at 1:57 pm

            Are you finally ready to confirm your identity as a jealous real estate agent? Can’t wait for David to tell us how many (few) transitions you complete each year.

  5. Joel

    at 3:36 pm

    This is just sad. I am not sure what type of seller would allow their property to be listed like this. Why would anyone not want to maximize their return by having a proper listing with staging and correct information and pricing.

    Good way to have a listing sit and sell for less, while the owner pays their mortgage, condo fees and property tax.

  6. Appraiser

    at 8:39 am

    Speaking of dealing with quality Realtors, the former ComFree discount real estate broker now known as …

    “Purplebricks Canada Offered Employees Days Off For Made Up 5-Star Reviews”

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/emanuelemidolo/2020/01/22/purplebricks-canada-offered-employees-days-off-for-made-up-5-star-reviews/#6bbdb87c7182

    In a business where size definitely matters, you better have margins on your side as well. Purplebricks Canada appears to have neither – despite a massive and costly TV ad campaign.

    My amateur and partially informed guess is that head office (located in UK) is bleeding buckets on this side of the pond.

  7. Libertarian

    at 10:02 am

    To tie this back to Friday’s and Monday’s posts, it will be interesting to see if this listing sells and for how much. If it sells for asking or more, then that shows how obsessed we are with real estate in this city, which lends credibility to what Siddall and Keesmaat wrote about.

    My guess is that it will sell for more than asking because as poor a job the agent did putting together the listing, there is likely a crappy buyer agent out there who will convince their client that this is a good deal, especially since condos have been so hot for the last year or so.

    David, I totally agree with you in bashing your industry for its unprofessionalism, but nothing will change if listings like this keep happening and they are successful.

  8. Jack

    at 12:06 pm

    Just on the idea of ordering a Status Certificate…

    David, if you’re representing a Buyer and the Status Certificate has been ordered, let’s say three weeks before the offer presentation date, do you advise your client that any potential issue arising in those three weeks will not be reflected in the document? I know that would be really unlikely… but what if???

    1. David Fleming

      at 1:03 pm

      @ Jack

      Yes, but as you note, it’s highly unlikely that an issue arises in three weeks. Not only that, ordering a Status three weeks before the listing means that Status would likely be completed and dated ten days later. So we’re splitting hairs here.

      I suppose the better question is: what constitutes and “issue?”

      Any increase in fees or special assessment levied would at least be noted as a discussion point in a previous Status Certificate. So too would discussion about a lawsuit, presence of Kitec plumbing, etc.

      There are few true “deal breakers” in the Status, but they do arise. In a building I’m familiar with, I’ll know in advance of obtaining the Status if there are issues. If I’m selling in an older building, or one out of the core, I would be extra diligent.

  9. peggy

    at 3:20 pm

    There is such a difference between 700 (lowest potential price) and 899! Lazy and sloppy!!

  10. Max

    at 8:23 pm

    I’m in a different fields.. but I can confirm stupidity reigns strongly in every field, unfortunately. There’s no escape!

  11. Pingback: Offer Dates: Either You "Get It," Or You Don't - Toronto Realty Blog
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