Real estate agents
I have found that real estate buyer agents, like most sales staff on
commission in any industry, fall into three categories:
1. There are the ethical, knowledgeable professionals who do work hard
to find good homes at reasonable prices for their clients. They know
what condominiums have satisfied residents, are priced right and are
maintaining or increasing in value and which ones are poorly managed,
are poorly maintained and have dropping property values.
2. There are the average agents who do an adequate job helping people
buy and sell their homes. They may not get you a bargain but they will
not knowingly do you any harm either.
3. Then there are the dregs of the industry that are interested only in
their commissions. They will knowingly sell you a home in a
“distressed” building where there is little chance that you will see
any return on your investment.
Thirty-five years ago, I listed my condo with an agent from a local
real estate office. He told me that when he was showing a house in a
once prestigious but now declining area of Mississauga, he would take a
route that hid the neighbourhood rental apartment buildings and
I then knew that it was okay listing with this man but I certainly
would not buy from him. As this Internet posting shows, this old trick
has not gone away.
bought a condo a little over two years ago down the street from 200
Wellesley above the Rabba store.
When we first
went to see our condo, the realtor would only show it during the
morning and he gave us a detailed map that clearly showed a route
avoiding the 200 Wellesley building and Blecker Street, which he
clearly wanted us to avoid.
He also made a point of talking to us more when we were inside the
condo so we were rarely looking at 200 Wellesley during the viewing.
Even some of the pictures he first showed us had 200 Wellesley
digitally removed with Photoshop.
We were completely misled. We had no idea the area was full of HIV
positive intravenous drug users, crack heads, prostitutes and drug
I don’t even live in 200 Wellesley and it has affected me hugely. My
wife, daughter and myself are all in therapy because of it. After we
moved in we witnessed drug deals daily during the day and night and
still do 24/7.
My wife got robbed at 7:30 pm going to the Rabba store at gunpoint a
couple months ago. At that point we started looking for other living
We plan to sell or rent the unit out but we will be honest with whoever
by an owner struck my curiosity. I looked up his building using a
couple of search
engines and all I found was pages upon pages of listings by real estate
agents trying to sell units in this condo. This one seems typical.
This is a very nice building but it is situated in a rough part of
town. The selling agents will not mention neighbourhood street crime,
prostitution, drug dealing or the neighbourhood homeless or 200 Wellesley; the
nearby notorious large public housing complex.
Quite a promise
Here is a description of a condo unit that I found on the Internet.
"Great fees for years to come." Really, that is quite the claim.
At the time this listing was on MLS, (Jan 2014) it was true that this
condo corporation had no fee increases in the previous five years, but
it just went through a special assessment of $9,000 a unit,
maintenance has been neglected for years, there is no money in the
reserve fund and the old board was in court
fighting the new board in an attempt to get back in power.
How come I didn't read any of that in this sales pitch? (By the
way, a short time later, the monthly fees at this condo went up 86%.)
So who can you turn to to guide you in making a wise home purchase? I
suggest that you use a credible buyer agent that knows the
neighbourhood you are interesting in and who's sole duty is to look
after your interests.
The listing agent works in the seller's best
interests, not yours.
some work yourself
a look at the building and around the neighbourhood in the late
afternoon when people are coming home from work. Walk through the
condo's hallways during dinner time and shortly after. Check for
excessive noise, loitering and cooking odors. That will help you
decide if this is the building for you.
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