Keep Calm and List On


There is a very famous poster from 1939 that the British government produced in preparation for the Second World War.  Here it is.


The purpose of the poster was to strengthen morale amongst the British populace in the event of a wartime disaster such as mass bombings.

In the last 10 years or so, it’s been turned into a meme where people take the poster or the saying and adjust it a bit.  My personal favourite used to be Keep Calm and Drink Beer but I’ve got a new favourite now. Continue reading

Three things that happened in September’s real estate market.


In the first week or so of each month, the Toronto Real Estate Board releases market statistics for the previous month.

It is an exciting time for Realtors everywhere when this happens, brokerages filled with the buzz of gossip and speculation.  New Realtors often burst into tears at the sheer drama of it all, only to be comforted by seasoned pros, telling them to not worry, the MLS Home Price Index will soon be available.

In all honesty, it is always a very interesting read.  Continue reading

This is how the new mortgage rules affect you. Yes, you.


I’ll get right to the point because the clock is ticking.

In 10 days from now, new rules kick in for mortgages.

Starting October 17, 2016, all buyers with less than a 20 per cent down payment must qualify based on the five-year benchmark posted rate, which is currently approximately 4.6%.

So this means that a buyer works with a mortgage broker or talks to their bank, finds or negotiates a low rate such as 2.39% and then after October 17, 2016, we all have to pretend the rate is actually 4.6%.

The buyer needs to have the debt ratios and income to support a rate of 4.6%, which they aren’t going to have to pay.  If they do qualify at that mortgage rate, they get approved and pay the actual rate the lender is offering, such as 2.39%.

If they can’t qualify with a rate of 4.6%, then they get approved for less money.  It is estimated that buyers will lose approximately 20% of the purchasing power, which means they get approved for 20% less than before.

On November 30, 2016, some more changes kick in, where Continue reading

Three ways to price a property


I know that we’re constantly told the GTA real estate market is just bonkers right now.

Even other real estate agents I talk with say prices are crazy, that it’s multiple offers for anything put on the market and unless you go in for 130% of asking price you won’t win.

There seems to be a general consensus out there that the is no logic or realistic valuation going on these days and that one day we will be in for a rude awakening when the market adjusts.

Please note as a Realtor I am contractually forbidden from using the word “crash” before or after the word “market”. I saw an agent say it once in a meeting and the Real Estate Council of Ontario broke down the door and took him away. No one has seen him since.

My take on what is going on is a bit different. Continue reading

Does a 2% difference really matter?

Most of the time, two percent doesn’t matter much either way.

Order a drink and they pour two percent more liquid than normal and you probably wouldn’t notice.  If you do notice, it’s clear to me that you really need that drink.

In fact, I think that percentage differences really only matter at either low or high numbers.

If someone gets a 44% on an exam or a 46% on an exam, it doesn’t much change the outcome.  You my friend, are going to redo that course.

But when it we’re at the low end or the high end of a scale, two percent makes a big difference. Continue reading

Should I include my first-born child in the offer?


I haven’t actually been asked that question yet, but I feel it is only a matter of time before one of my client’s offers their future progeny in order to get a home.

Buying a home these days can feel like an insurmountable challenge

I say “these days” but it has been going on a while.

Back in February, 2012, I wrote an article about how to buy a house in a seller’s market and it still holds up pretty well four and half years later!  Mind you, I wrote it on February 29, 2012, which I think means it has technically only been a year and half.  Damn leap years ruining my prognostication bragging rights.

One of the most common questions I get from my buyer clients is “How much is this property going to sell for?”

It is a tough question to answer, in part because one of the hallmarks of our seller’s market has been the increasing trend to holding back offers for properties. Continue reading

This is what happens in the Fall real estate market.

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I know you’re upset.  I know.

This was supposed to have been the summer that it all happened.  You were going to golf more, get to the cottage more, buy a boat, spend time at the park with the kids.

Yet here it is….September.

Fall is upon us and I didn’t even manage to have a garage sale.  I’ve got a garage full of junk and I’d look like a fool trying to sell it now.  I imagine it will be worth more next year, because old stuff you don’t want becomes more valuable the longer you leave it in an unheated garage, right?

The one upside to the arrival of Fall is that the real estate market once again speeds up. Continue reading

Here are the secret Realtor codewords.

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I imagine this post will be taken down by the secret association of Realtors Protecting Realtorspeak (the benevolent order of RPR) pretty quick, so make sure to read this one right away.

If my undergrad studies in sociology taught me anything, it’s that specialized vocabulary (or argot) is one way for a societal group to distinguish members from non-members.  If you’ve ever gone with a significant other to a get together of people in their industry, you’ve experienced this first hand.

Realtors have their own way of speaking and you can often tell new agents from experienced agents from the way they describe various aspects of a property.  Without further ado, here are my favourite examples of Realtorspeak. Continue reading