I’ve been blogging for over fifteen years now, sharing my “in-the-street” analysis of Condo Land (Toronto’s residential condo market).
I’ve been involved living in Condo Land most of my adult career, which for anyone unsure as to just how long that’s been, dating back to 1979 when I stumbled upon a developer (Canada’s infamous Reichmann Family) who needed “professional sales skills” at their failing high end condo development on the lake in the heart of the business district of the nation’s financial nucleus.
Talk about a “turnkey shoot” for a top gun sales professional. I thought that we were meeting to have me recruit and train sales reps and I ended up accepting the gig myself.
Condos had just come into existence in law. Prior to this enhancement in real estate ownership, you could only buy into “Co-ops“, buildings collectively owned by individual shareholder owners who do not receive “titles” to their units but rather share in the ownership of one titled property and enjoy the use of their apartments.
The had been marketing these truly unique residences for months and were failing miserably specifically because those that they entrusted to sell the units, didn’t have a clue about professional selling!
Well, selling them was a “turkey shoot” for me, selling two on the first day, with all paperwork and deposit cheques, something their “marketing expert” had tried to explain to me “simply does not happen with a product like this“.
They really should have been successful as it was, and remains to this day, one of the greatest possible sites for a mixed use (commercial retail, office, residential) sites in the city!
It has held that reputation to this day. The Reichmann’s were the last “class act” developer that I’ve seen in the business in my almost four decades.
I became so offended with how condos were being sold a what developers could get away with, twenty five years later that I finally became a Realtor, getting my license and launching simplycondos.com, in 2000 while introducing “Buyer Agency” to Toronto.
The rest is history starting with over 40,000 “Hits” a day! and immediately linking with real estate investors all over the world.
Way back before the Internet became into existence, I had produced an interactive multimedia CD-ROM (in DOS in 1991!) introducing the first Realtor.com-type digital real estate application, connecting upper net worth residents of Hong Kong concerned over the 1997 reversion of the Colony to the Communist Chinese, to Toronto investment opportunities (individually titled residential condos).
It took me about a minute when meeting the Reichmann’s to identify their problem and come up with the remedy. It was right there at that time that I saw the “ultimate purpose for residential condos”, which up until then had been envisioned as “homes”.
I concluded that we should shift our focus internationally, to investors and to make sure that throughout every step along the sales process of these “luxuriously appointed million dollar cement boxes in the sky“, professional was exhibited.
Today, I’m living through a disappointing experience of buying an expensive new home in Oakville’s high demand and very expensive Lakeshore “Bronte” community.
Houses start in the $1.25 Million range and run anywhere up to about $15,000,000.00, so I was thrilled to be able to afford to live in this area, with its marina, lakefront beach, restaurants,grocery store, etc. all within walking distance of these to-be-built luxury homes.
I’ve had it with condo life and I’ve had it with Toronto. Oakville truly does offer something different and it’s right up the lines of what I’ve always wanted to find.
Since buying it a year ago (I was supposed to move in this September 7th but it has yet to be even started) I’ve had the most stressful and disappointing experience with the developer.
I’m not going to disclose the developer’s name here as I don’t want to get thrown off track answering frivolous threats of law suits and other industry related challenges, but would recommend anyone thinking of buying presage in houses now too, to contact me before making any moves.
This experience is so reminiscent of what all condo (and now obviously new detached home) buyers are confronted with.
The manner by which developers like this allegedly reputable builder falsely advertise their company, their track record, their experience, their intentions and integrity is simply unacceptable in a society that claims to be governed by laws and requiring “fair business practices”, yet developers can hogtie buyers into contracts (that are ridiculous in and of themselves) and literally shut them out to take whatever they hand out!
Buyers at Churchill Park Condo (for example) where I bought and lived, learned this when that arrogant and offensive developer (lawyer turned developer) totally ignored all reasonable requests for communication from his buyers and chose to arbitrarily refuse to co-operate with reasonable requests from his buyers.
It is no secret that he (a lawyer masquerading as a developer) came after me threatening to sue me and I had to answer his frivolous and false claim by simply stating that his communication “clearly proved that someone always has to graduate at the bottom of the class” drawing considerable acclaim to me from other buyers in the building whom I had never met.
I’m working on my book “The Real Condo Game” and will be exposing a bunch of these types of bazaar and offensive true stories from Condo Land and this guy will be getting his own chapter, so I won’t drag on about him here.
The developer that I’m working with (or tolerating to say it best) here is a much more relevant Case Study.
I’m also working on a “Success Training For Realtors” Series of Podcasts in an effort to assist Realtors all over the country and globe to “professionalize”!
Realizing the horrendous commissions these people make, you would think that professionalism would abound in the real estate industry but I’ve found it totally on the contrary.
The National Association of Realtors says that “87% of its member are FAILING” and in Canada our real estate associations have stated that “90% of their transactions are conducted by just 10% of their members”.
So, if developers are so outrageous, and the greater majority of Realtors not knowing what they are doing, do you see the “risk” inherent in “street fighting in Condo Land“?
So, I’m going to now publish the entire, in-depth experience that IS the purchase of my new home in Oakville here on simplycharles.com, in the form of an ongoing Case Study.
Despite having been offended on numerous occasions by this totally unprofessional “little fish pretending to be a big fish” by publishing false corporate identities and trying to perpetuate what at least has the appearance of a “Bait & Switch” while living within the established rules of Condo Land.
I am more than confident that once you’ve read this Case Study you will be well equipped to jump into the deep end of the Condo Land pool and swim with the big fish!
And that’s truly what it takes to survive in Condo Land.
I’m juggling a bunch of things right now so be sure to tune in frequently as I can’t blog every day.