Pumpkin spice real estate, with extra foam!

Today is the start of Fall and that means that pumpkin spice everything will start appearing.  Lattes may be first but soon they’ll be muffins and waffles and perfume and tacos and oil changes and so much more.

I thought it was high time that Realtors jump on the pumpkin spice bandwagon, so I’m urging all my colleagues to start marketing their listings with it for the next couple of months.  I just did a quick search and of the 13,251 properties currently for sale in the Greater Toronto Area, not a single one is capitalizing on the pumpkin spice craze as of yet!  Oddly enough, four listings did choose to highlight the fact that the home being sold had a spice drawer.

While we wait for pumpkin spice real estate to become a thing, let’s talk about the three things that Fall means to the real estate market. Continue reading

What two questions do buyers need to answer?

I know what you’re thinking.

Another Friday and here Jeff is, going on and on about real estate.

At a certain point, it becomes sadly obvious that I am obsessed with real estate.

I mean, I know we are all somewhat obsessed with real estate.  If you don’t believe me, next time you’re with a group of friends and the conversation lulls, throw this conversational bomb out there.

“I hear the real estate market is crashing.  What do you think?”

Then sit back and watch for the next hour or so as your friends get into a heated conversation that will culminate in your one friend telling your other friend he doesn’t know what the hell he is talking about.

You see, real estate is a fascinating topic!  Sure, I may talk about it more than most people.  OK, more than everyone.  It doesn’t mean I don’t have other things in my life. Continue reading

The August real estate market looks kinda…normal.

I’m not talking about the new normal.  I’m talking about the old normal.  Which is the new abnormal.

Let me start again.

Over the past couple of days, we’ve seen a flurry of news reports about the latest real estate stats.  The Toronto Real Estate Board released their latest stats and media outlets picked up the press release and started writing stories about the data.

I’m beginning to see a change in the focus of these media reports.  Go back six months and the monthly stories were about the crazy market and how crazy it was and asking when will this craziness ever end.  Over the last three months, the tone has been almost gleeful as the stats show drops in sale price, volume of sales, number of new listings and so on.

Depending on where you get your news (apart from my absolutely unbiased opinion of course) the stories over the past couple of days are either focused on the continuing collapse of the market or the fact that the numbers show the correction is slowing down or plateauing.  Continue reading

Does it matter if your agent is local?

There’s a very well known phrase in real estate.

Location, location, location.

It’s apparently the three most important things when buying a property.

I actually agree that location is crucial – in fact, I discussed it at length in an article from three years ago and I haven’t changed my mind since.

Today I want to talk about a different aspect of location, namely whether it matters if your real estate agent is local.  Please note, I said local, not loco.

It’s a question I deal with all the time because of how my business works.  I’ve been a full-time Realtor now for over 7 years and the majority of my business comes from repeat clients and referrals from people who know and trust me.

Let’s examine those two for a moment. Continue reading

Three problems with new construction

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I love real estate.

Whether you’ve been reading my thoughts on different aspects of real estate for a few months or a few years, I hope my enthusiasm for real estate comes through pretty clear.

It’s a great field to work in and the clients and the Realtors I work with (well, most of them) are a huge part of why I enjoy it.  Helping people make important decisions, using my experience and skill to get them what they want and seeing real estate every day – I just love it.

If you ask me which types or real estate are my favourite, I can go on for hours about what I like about buyers, what I enjoy about sellers, why detached homes are really appealing, why I love seeing condos and so forth.

On the other hand, if you ask me which type of real estate I like the least, it puts me in a bit of an awkward position.  Just like when my dad is asked which of his sons is his favourite, it is important to balance being honest with not hurting feelings.  By the way, my dad handles that question by announcing that the son who is not with us at that moment is his favourite son.  It really keeps me and my brother on our toes. Continue reading

I know you’re worried about me.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve had a few emails and calls from concerned clients and friends.  The concerns seem to fall into three broad camps.

  1. The real estate market just collapsed, right? Are you homeless yet?
  2. I hear lots of deals aren’t closing. Did you have to start all over with the sales you’ve made?
  3. I drove by your house and the front lawn appears to be a jungle now. Did your lawnmower break or are you just trying to annoy your neighbours?

I appreciate the concern and I thought I’d nip this in the bud by addressing your concerns. Continue reading

The July real estate market started getting balanced.

We all agree that balance is a good thing, right?

Whether it is your diet, the amount of time spent on work versus the rest of your life, or walking across a tightrope, balance is good.

We call a real estate market balanced when there is a good amount of homes on the market.  Sellers aren’t a rare commodity and buyers aren’t far and few between.  A quick and easy way to see how balanced a market is can be found by looking at the months of inventory available.  Continue reading

I like commercials.

I’m not ashamed to admit I like commercials.

Commercial properties that is.

If you thought I was talking about those things that used to run between programs, then no, I don’t like commercials.

You remember commercials right?  Way back when people watched one episode of a show at a time.  When I say “a time”, I mean one specific time when it aired and you better not call the home phone and make me get up and go into the kitchen and miss part of the episode.

I’m talking about commercial properties, specifically retail properties.

I’m currently working with a couple of commercial clients looking for space for their businesses.  Continue reading

I made a mistake.

I know that’s hard to believe.

After all, in all the time you’ve been reading my articles, I’ve been pretty much flawless.

  • Predicting the recovery of the Nortel stock I bought at $40 per share? Nailed it.
  • Deriding the internet as a temporary fad? Dead on.
  • Proclaiming that frosted hair tips on men is a timeless, classic look? Damn straight.

So as hard as it is for you to believe, I made a mistake recently. Continue reading

What’s going on in Ajax?

You ever hear that saying that real estate is about three things?

That’s right – location, location, location.

While that might be a bit of an over-simplification, it is definitely true that real estate markets are inherently local.

What’s happening in one part of the city can be quite different than another part, and when you look at a broader area like the Greater Toronto Area, you really see some differences in real estate prices and trends.

I am pleased to say that the majority of my business comes from repeat clients and referrals.  Whether it is family, colleagues or friends, a number of my clients who loved working with me refer people they like who want to buy, sell or invest in real estate.

These referrals are often located in different parts of Toronto or the GTA and if I am confident I can service the client effectively, I love learning about a new neighbourhood or city.  I’ve developed a comprehensive approach to quickly gaining a comprehensive understanding of a local market. Continue reading