December 22, 2016 | 2016
I have always been a big fan of a good countdown. And as the year comes to a close, we tend to look back on the year that was, and make a few predictions on the year that is coming. So, in the spirit of Casey Kasem, David Letterman and MuchMusic, let me offer up my five most surprising real estate experiences of 2016:
I’ve worked on some pretty visually impressive listings this year, but I was truly surprised when one of my listings sold to a buyer who had purchased the property sight unseen. By that, I mean the property was purchased by a buyer who did not even step foot on the property. The buyer had simply viewed the property on a video that I created, and made an offer. That was a first for me.
I have been in A LOT of bidding wars this year. It didn’t matter if it was a condo, an emerging neighbourhood or an established one, competition was everywhere. There was one property though, that really brought in an exceptional number of offers. And by exceptional, I mean 23 offers for one property. It is not my record of 39 offers, but it’s still nuts. In part, this number of offers resulted in a list price well under the market price, and a location in a high-demand neighbourhood for a house. It’s a lethal combination these days. I’m sure it was no easy task to go through all of the offers. Luckily, my clients and I were put out of our misery early, We weren’t even close to the final sold price. The good news is the same clients bought a property a week later not so far away. They were the only offer.
Sold Way Over Asking
Now I should start off by saying that I did not believe the price tag on this home was listed way below market value. In my opinion, it was not. And we did not have any thing close to 23 offers. Still, I did have a listing that had a sold price exceeding the expectation of sellers and salespersons alike. I thought we were close to market price when I listed it, but it seems the market had a sudden and significant shift. With the right amount of seriously interested parties for this pretty spectacular house, we were able to get 39% higher than the asking price. Again, proof that this year’s market was on the move.
Not The Highest Offer
I was working with a pleasant couple who put an offer on a downtown corner unit condo. There were five other offers. We waited a very long time to hear back as to whether our offer would be accepted or turned down. It turns out that we did get it. We later found out that we were not the highest offer in terms of price. Not even close, in fact. I guess it just goes to show you that it does not always come down to numbers to achieve an accepted offer, but other factors too like how much the seller likes you or believes you have trustworthy buyers.
Under $700K For a House in a Coveted West End Neighbourhood
This west end neighbourhood has gone well past the terrain of first-time buyers as far as houses are concerned. Or so I thought. I had been searching for a client who needed to buy under $700K to land a house. We were looking in areas in west Toronto like Caledonia, north of St Clair and west of Dufferin. It’s an area you may find a starter house for under $700K. Even then, it may be tough. To our surprise, we found a house that I thought was poorly marketed and surprisingly on the market longer than it should have been. Yes, it needed some work and yes it looked terrible! Once she owned the property, my client sprayed the walls the clean them and they bled dark brown cigarette streams down the walls! Still, as far as neighbourhoods go, it’s well within the borders of a thriving neighbourhood and not too far from the subway. Renovations were needed, but not a gut job.
Perhaps some of you may be curious about more details on what properties these could be. For privacy purposes, I cannot disclose too much detail about the property addresses. Still, I think the point comes across about what kind of year we had as far as Toronto real estate is concerned. It’s been a year where you need to be very strategic and smart about buying properties. It is easy to lose in a bidding war this year. On the sell side, you needed a strategy too to outshine the competitors coming to market the same week.
I’m not sure what 2017 has in store, but 2016 was a year of increasingly tighter inventory of houses and condos and another big year for price gains. 2017 may start off looking a lot like 2016, but it may take a different path a few months in (0r not). Time will tell.