Rule #1 in Condoland . . . “Believe Nothing That You Hear And Half Of What You See”


With over a hundred “Buyer Agency” transactions (the majority being pre-construction) a year for over a decade, and having over 3,000 blogs specifically on Condoland (my Condoland is in Toronto but there’s a Condoland in every major city in North America) you would think that I would have run out of things to write about.

In 1979 I was brought in to turn around faltering sales in the then new concept of residential condos,specifically with the “Queen’s Quay Residences“.

This exclusive collection of 78 residences (still the best I’ve ever seen) on Toronto’s harbour front (at that time, a desolate abandoned area between the Gardner Expressway, the city’s only east/west expressway and the lake) was actually the only time I saw condos sold as “homes“.

The concept had been built on “owners being able to live right down town with enviable amenities that delivered a unique lifestyle“.

I knew nothing about condos at the time (they had just been enacted into law) but all the Reichmann’s wanted me to do was sell them and sell them I did.

They had this marketing person who knew nothing about professional selling but thought that she should “educate me” about how to sell them.

She actually told me that “people don’t buy this level of product without going home and thinking about it“.

She was shocked when I told her that “with all due respect she didn’t know what she was talking about” and when I turned in two completed contracts with deposits on the first day at the site, my reputations was established.

It was at that very first condo sales site that I discovered that “condos are investments moreso than homes“.

We targeted international investors and sold units at a record pace.

That really was the on of the few times that I saw a developer who actually cared about the consumer.

Over the years I’ve realized that there is no-one who actually “cares about the consumer” and that includes “the consumer“.

The consumer is actually the one most at fault for the offensive one sided game that is Condoland.

Many Developers hold an outright contempt for buyers!  I know that it is hard to believe because it is illogical but I can assure you from repeated experiences with developers that many actually dislike those whom they are “dependent upon to get paid“!

I was just reading through the brochure published by the Developer whom I recently purchased an expensive new (reconstruction) home from.

You must know that developers hire advertising agencies to produce these full colour high gloss sales pieces. And remember what I’ve been telling you for years: “believe nothing that you hear and half of what you see and you’ll be alright in Condoland“.

So The cover tells us that there are “18 exquisite homes. Close to the water. As rare as their Oakville location“.

Flipping to the opening page, you read: “an exclusive collection of detached homes in Oakville’s most prestigious neighbourhood. With the ultimate in traditional craftsmanship combines with the very latest in contemporary design and finishes to create luxurious homes of exceptional quality“.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, this is what advertising is all about!

And I wouldn’t find it so offensive if any of it were actually true, or even the intention of the Developer.

But do you know what?

For this to be even remotely close to being true, you’ve got to upgrade absolutely everything in the home.

I have caught this Developer in so many lies to me (starting with the brochure, to the way they unethically sold me into the deal, to misrepresenting to me that there was only one lot remaining and it carried a $50,000 “premier lot” fee, to switching out our floor plan completely, shaving off 80 square feet per floor, and the list just keeps going on and on)!

I had specifically asked, in writing (this isn’t my first rodeo and I do thorough due diligence on every purchase that we’ve made) for confirmation that the countertops were all stone, ceiling heights, door heights and construction, etc., and was given confirmation on interior doors being 8′ and solid core but did not receive answers regarding countertops in bathrooms and kitchen.

The questions about countertops were avoided so I called and was given assurances from the Developer’s C.E.O. and C.F.O, that “they would be stone“.

Turned out that they were “laminate” and I am someone who does not want laminate anywhere in my home.

This disclosure came only months after the deal was firm and we could not get out. This is a consistent ploy played by developers.

It ends up that the doors by contract are only 83 inches and I have not yet discovered if the other houses got solid core or hollow core interior doors (something else I will not allow in my home).

Only because I had appended the Developer’s initial email confirmation of doors being “8′ and 9′” (I have no idea where he came up with this but he confirmed it in an email response to my questionnaire prior to buying) was I entitled under law to them.

If something is not set out in the Agreement or Amendments to that Agreement, regardless of what has been told to you . . . it does not exist!

This is one fundamental aspect of law that you had better get straight when buying in Condoland.

So, I ask you to go back to the opening of this blog and recall the description of these houses and ask yourself if “laminate countertops in bathrooms, above mount sinks, base quality appliances,framed shower doors, ceramic tiles, etc.” come anywhere close to that description?

My point is that the entire system in Condoland is such an uneven playing field that you’ve got to conclude that it has been set up to exploit the consumer.

With all of the excessive profits enjoyed by Developers in perpetuating this “Bait and Switch Game” I just wish that the consumer would at least get what they bought!

With our Oakville house, this equated to about $50,000, an amount that we would have happily paid to get the house that was being “sold to us“.

The Developer’s web site was one continuous lie. The manner by which they communicated with me during the buy was all false. Their brochure is absolutely misleading, misrepresentative, and a lie.

The Developer had told us that it took them 5 years to get approvals and I have found that they are not even the developer. Another developer had developed the land and these guys are just builders subcontracting from the other Developer (masquerading as the “developer“).

Well, I’ve managed to turn the cart completely around with this guys masquerading as developers by simply understanding contract law and having read and understood the Agreement of Purchase and Sale (something apparently these guys did not take the time to learn).

I’ll be writing soon about how I turned this mess around because every consumer can do the same, if they know what they are doing.

Most, unfortunately, don’t invest the time to know what they are doing and that’s why I say that “the consumer’s worst enemy is the consumer” and then it’s the “Buyer’s Agent” that doesn’t know any more than that consumer!

I’m Charles

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