Tricks with listings 

Real estate sales heavily depend on advertising; some legitimate, some hidden as info-ads and some that's very deceptive. here are some examples.

What they got: Condos
17 August 2012
The Toronto Star features a regular real estate column where they show photographs of recently sold condos, gives the selling price, compares it to the asking price and then gives a brief listing of the selling features.

Location: 21 Markbrook Lane, Suite 312, Kipling and Steeles

It took under two weeks for this two-bedroom condo suite in a midrise north Etobicoke building to sell for 96 per cent of the listing price.

“This property has great space — over 1,000 square feet with two bedrooms plus a solarium, selling for under $200,000. This was a perfect opportunity for first-time buyers,” says listing agent Mary Semen. “This condo attracted many parents sending their kids to York University as a great alternative to residence living. With a good down payment, the low taxes and $503 maintenance fees, it was pretty competitive with resident living. The suite also has an extra bedroom, which could be rented out to a second student.”

It is located close to the TTC, York University, Kipling subway station and a plaza.

My thoughts
A salesperson needs to hype their listed properties but in reality, this building is not close to anything except a bus stop. It is miles and miles from the Kipling subway station.

What is more troubling is that the agent is saying this building is a great alternative to residences at York University and the owners can rent out the spare bedroom to another student.

Most likely the declaration states that the units in this building are restricted to single-family occupancy and that provision is being ignored by the board. Even so, a second, third, fourth or even more unrelated students living in a unit are not permitted. If a condo is allowed to becoame a frat house, property values drop.

Perhaps that is why prices seem so low for such a large unit in such a nice looking building.

Listings for condo townhouses
Sometimes there are clues in the MLS listings that there are problems. Here are excerpts from listings for three units in the same condo corporation.

MLS®: W2731689
Beautiful And Well Kept townhouse. Good For Investors And 1st time home Buyer's. Potential to get some rent from basement.

(The Declaration states that the units are only for single family use. You cannot legally have renters.)

MLS®: W2747738
Special Assessment Of $8,500.00 has been paid. This unit is free and clear.  Seller Will Assist In Financing. This complex has had problems in the past but is now on the path to growth again. Great property for investment.

(A special assessment? $8,500.00?) If there was one special assessment, there is a good chance more are on their way. "Has had problems in the past"? I would want a lot of information on what exactly those problems were/are and why I should believe that they have all been solved.)

MLS®: W2713259
Please Note - Owner already paid off in full existing Special Assessment Approx, $8,000.

(Another heads up about the $8,000 plus special assessment. I suggest that any buyer still interested after reading this should read the complete Reserve Fund Study and carefully examine current audited financial statements.)

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