I’d like to introduce Refined Real Estate.

A couple of months ago, I talked about how I’ve been considering forming a real estate team of my own.

I mentioned this to a friend of mine and he quickly got down to essentials.  “What are we talking about here, Jeff?  Baseball?  Hockey?  Do you need a goalie, because I know a guy.”

While I am clearly a gifted natural athlete, there shall be no real estate sports team in my near future.

Real estate teams or groups tend to be a natural evolution for agents who have reached a certain level of expertise and success in real estate.  When you are a busy, active Realtor, other Realtors notice and start to ask you questions.

With lots of new Realtors entering the industry each year, the question I keep being asked is if they can work with me.  Up until now, my answer has been no.

Starting in January, my answer is going to change.  Continue reading

What do you expect?

As you probably know, as of today, we’re only three days away from Christmas. That means four days from Boxing Day and a mere ten days until it’s New Year’s Day.

While I’m sure my ability to read a calendar is impressive to you, I point those days out because they are all holidays in Ontario.  Banks aren’t open, lawyers aren’t available, most businesses aren’t open and that includes real estate brokerages.

In addition to the national or provincial statutory holidays, lots of people work reduced hours over this period.  It’s a bit of a vicious circle, where people say they can’t get much done because lots of other people whose help they need aren’t working, so they take some time off themselves.

The holidays in general are all about expectations.  When you’re a child, you expect to get all the presents your little heart desires.  When you’re an adult you expect to have a joyful, Norman Rockwell type holiday celebration, with good will and peace on earth.  Maybe even a sing along by a fire?

Expectations are tricky though. Continue reading

The November real estate market went down

It’s always a challenge to come up with a pithy title for my monthly market reviews.

Do I go for accuracy and make it less impactful?  I could have titled the review like this.

November market shows minor average sale price decrease in the Greater Toronto Area coupled with drops in inventory levels of all housing types

Doesn’t have quite the same ring, does it?

I also could have gone for a click-bait style title that takes one point and dramatizes the hell out of it.  Something like this.

Detached homes are for losers

If you saw that and read the article to discover I’m referring to a drop in number of sales of detached homes as well as average sale price, would you feel tricked?  Throw your hands up in the air and tell your friends “That Jeff guy has lost it.  No ethics anymore.” Continue reading

That, my dear, is a private matter.

One thing I have learned while working with clients over the past 7 and half years is that different people consider different things private.

I’ve had clients who wanted a firm line drawn between me and their financial information.  I’ve also had clients who logged into their bank account with me and then went to make us coffee while I reviewed it.

Some sellers want to make sure no buyer or buyer’s agent is ever left alone in the house.  Others are fine with people coming in and out of the house whenever is most convenient.

I think that in most cases whether something is considered a private matter differs depending on who you ask. Continue reading

How did it get so late so soon?

It’s December now, which makes me think of poem by my favourite doctor, Dr. Seuss.

How did it get so late so soon?
It’s night before its afternoon.
December is here before it’s June.
My goodness how the time has flewn.
How did it get so late so soon?

Now that the holidays are suddenly almost upon us, it’s the season for some time-honoured traditions.

One such tradition that I have is that each year, I put up our Christmas Tree on December 24th.

By tradition, I mean I don’t get around to doing it until the last possible moment.  I compensate for it going up so late by leaving it up until early summer. Continue reading

It’s Black Friday…for real estate?

Let’s put all our cards on the table, shall we?

I currently have about 14 browser tabs open, on 10 different websites, trying to decide if any of the Black Friday deals they have are worth buying.

I’m actively considering items I have absolutely no need to buy, because they are a hell of a deal.  If you end up receiving a Christmas present from me that makes absolutely no sense as a gift to you, it’s because I bought stuff I didn’t need and now feel guilty.  You’re welcome.

I will likely buy a couple of things that I’ve been planning to purchase for a while as they are on sale today.  Isn’t that the best?  When something you were ready to buy at normal price is suddenly on sale?

Of course real estate isn’t like retail shopping and sadly we don’t have one day where you can buy a semi-detached at 30% off regular price.

The Black Friday frenzy did make me think about ways in which you can identify properties that are likely to be a very good deal.  I talked last week about how Christmas and the dead of winter are a very good time to buy.  Today I’m focused on how to identify specific properties that you might be able to buy at a great price. Continue reading

All I want for Christmas is a house!

Yes Virginia..oops, I mean you, there is a Santa Claus.

Look, full disclosure, I’m not 100% sure there is a Santa Claus, but I’m also not 100% sure there is NOT a Santa Claus.  Call me overly cautious, but I figure that leaving out some milk and cookies is a decent investment in maybe getting some sweet presents on Christmas morning.

It used to work all the time when I was younger, but since I moved away from home to go to university, it hasn’t worked nearly as well.  I guess Santa doesn’t value higher education?

I can tell you that in real estate, buyers can get a very nice present at Christmas time.

It’s because real estate deals are done between people. Continue reading

The October real estate market has less of everything

On this chilly Friday afternoon, with the first snow fall of the year on the ground, I’ll invite you to partake in one of my favourite activities – a detailed analysis of multivariate statistics.

Wait, come back!

I know that sounds a bit boring.  I just mean, we’re going to simultaneously observe and analyze more than one outcome variable to understand the relationships between the..WAIT, DON’T GO!

I’ll make you a deal, I do that thing I described above, you grab a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and I’ll share the three most interesting things about October’s real estate market.

Deal?  Deal. Continue reading

Of course I remember you!

First off, when I say of course I remember you, I’m not talking about YOU.

I could never forget you.  Why, we’ve known each other since <INSERT DATE>, back in the day in <INSERT TOWN OR SCHOOL>.  I particularly remember how we <INSERT MEMORY> and how even when the police picked us up, we refused to give each other up.  You and I are solid <INSERT AFFECTIONATE TERM>!

When I say “Of course I remember you!” I’m quoting something I often say to people I’ve had interactions with over my career in real estate. Continue reading

When inspections go wrong

I’ve taken the liberty of setting you up with a new career.

I know what you’re thinking.

“Jeff, I’m perfectly happy in my current career.  Well, reasonably happy.  Well, I don’t hate it.  Well, most days, I don’t hate it.  OK…tell me more about this new career of mine.”

Here it is.

New Career Home Inspections
“We look at stuff you don’t like to look at”

We’ll get you some snappy cards, some postcards and I’ll introduce you to all my Realtor friends and even my Realtor enemies. Continue reading