For you new readers of this blog, I’ve been chronicling a real life million dollar purchase in Oakville in a POTL (Parcel of Tied Lands) or “Common Element Condominium” as it’s referred to in the Condo Act.
I’ve already outlined how flagrantly misrepresentative the builder (Sunrise Homes) proved to be on their web site. The facts are that Sunrise Homes could NOT have proven more the exact opposite to the professional lyrics of the song they bought from their ad agency.
I’ve also blogged about how misleading their sales material has proven to be.
I’ve reserve chronicling on the overwhelming lack of experience in building, lack of ethics and lack of respect for buyers presented by Sunrise Homes in this Case Study awaiting the long overdue Turn Over Meeting.
For anyone unaware of what a Turn Over Meeting is, in a nutshell it is “when the condo corporation is literally turned over to the owners“.
For all of those who been following this “modern day tragedy“, that is designed to serve as an actual “what has gone on in the real world of buying a home for consumers” and will be set out in my upcoming book “Crisis in Condoland“.
So, today I”m addressing what is usually the “latter stages” of consumers relationship with the builder or developer (whomever it is they dealt with in the purchase of their home).
This entire development has been a literal nightmare since square one, as a result of an inexperienced builder who has proven more comfortable lying to the people buying homes from him, than simply dealing with integrity and honesty.
Now, I’m not picking unfairly on this builder. I am simply stating the facts as they exist relating to the purchase of a new home.
Today, each purchaser, for the first time in the sad history of this site, is the first day that they have had any control over their lives, with respect to their community in which they live.
Many of the attendees at last evening’s “Turn Over Meeting” have been forced to live in what can only be described as “hell” as a full function construction site operated around them, something that contradicted a specific Schedule in a Subdivision Agreement that was consciously “withheld from purchasers” despite being stipulated within the body of the Agreement of Purchase and Sale.
This Case Study navigates its way from all the artfully crafted misleading propaganda used in their sales process, and worse it chronicles how this builder has used “the system” (the Condo Act, Tarion Warranty, etc.) to exploit their “customers” (consumers)!
The strength of this Case Study is that it is NOT just me that is dumping on this company that has proven itself to be the “Poster Child for consumer abuse in Condoland“!
Despite all of the insult and abuse handed out to these families, the confidence in knowing that “the three most important considerations in buying real estate . . . . . . location, location, location‘”, has been met at Bronte Harbourside.
So as an investor you calculate location plus underpriced, and you have a notified winning formula!
It has long been my position that this inexperienced and unskilled builder, who simply bought the sites in a development undertaken by another major builder (“Fernbrook Homes”) had price them considerably “under market value”.
I’ve long said that any idiot with money can call themselves builders and this guy sets a new standard of incompetence. Fortunately he stumbled onto a sub-contractor who knew how to build a quality house, but he walked off the job and left the finishing to a new guy who ended up skilled only at bull shit!
His job was simply that of a “yes-man” willing to promise anything and deliver nothing and not feel bad about it.
I had been aggressively searching out a quality residential investment all over the globe and when this one presented itself I pounced, buying in on Christmas Eve 2014 on the phone from Florida!
I could not have fabricated any more contemptuous and offensive behaviour that is disappointingly not even considered unique in the world of Condoland, that the material given to me by Sunrise Homes.
It is not that I have ever hidden the fact of my intentions to publish this real life Case Study. I actually informed them of my identity (“simplycharles.com“) and intentions to publish the entire process from purchase to delivery of “title”, prior to buying it.
I comically even introduced myself as a “prick” to add emphasis but reassured that positive commentary by me about anyone on my blog consistently brings more buyers.
When I returned from Florida, (by that time fully aware that this guy had no idea of what he was doing) and a little upset about his having lied to me about $50,000 premium on my lot, I was quick to tell him that “he was fortunate that I hadn’t put any of my global investor clients into his site or I would be crawling all over him (with my blog)” reminding him, once again that I was publishing a “true life accounting on every step of the way throughout the buying process that involves the single largest investment in their lives”!
So please, no mail suggesting that I am taking unfair advantage of this guy.
I am not and I have not been offended or upset by any of his egregious conduct and/or actions as I’ve really seen it all before!
The location alone made it a good investment for me!
And when your investment IS your home, well . . . . nothing else simply compares!
Equity-growth in your principal residence, in my professional opinion is the absolute best investment on every can make!
Having that home paid off is the best next investment.
But as you will see reading Crisis in Condoland, the turf is a virtual land mine field.
Despite all the reassurances floating around out there misleading consumers to believe that there are protections built into the process for them, this only further proliferates the fleecing of consumers.
Two weeks ago I received an email information package from our “Property Manager”, who introduced himself and his company and the fact that the “Turn Over Meeting was scheduled for March 7th”.
That struck me funny, as I have badgered the developer for quite some time, dating back to the 10 day rescission period when I purchased asking for a copy of the property management agreement and this was the first time that I had ever heard of a property management company.
It struck me as offensive when I reflected on the torment that this builder had handed out to his earlier purchasers by withholding the Subdivision Agreement, despite it being referred to in the Agreement of Purchase and Sale and even me chasing him for over a year to get my hands on it.
Had he fulfilled his legal obligation and delivered these “critical documents” these buyers would have read Schedule “M” clause 36 and 39 and realized that the builder’s “Occupancy Permit” CONTRADICTED THAT VERY SUBDIVISION AGREEMENT!
Again! Sunrise Home chose to withhold this document despite it being attached to and forming a part of the agreement into which it entered.
Despite these clauses (within the founding documents) consumers who bought in good faith, were “REQUIRED TO ACCEPT OCCUPANCY” (move in!) despite the builder’s unethical withholding of disclosure. I’m certainly not a lawyer but that could prove grounds for civil action!
Now, I don’t know what they call that in all our schools of higher learning but I can tell you, out in the street where I gleaned my PhD, we simply call that “being bullied into a bad deal“!
So, last night I finally get to meet our previously non-existent property manager and seem confused that I was not impressed. They were quick to blame everyone else but apparently didn’t see any blame coming their way despite having been involved (intermittently according to their spokesperson).
They had sent out the Notification of the meeting but it just arrived in the “off-site mail location” (contradicts Subdivision Agreement) on the same day as the meeting. That was demonstrably acceptable with and to them, as our “professional property manager” I guess.
As a shareholder in this Condo Corporation that has employed them, they seemed unimpressed that I would voice my opinion. I’m not known for seeking out popularity contests especially in Condoland.
Again, I don’t take this indifference personal or even interpret it as offensive as it is, as I don’t mind and actually enjoy a good intellectual exchange of contradicting ideas.
I really don’t think that I could have been less impressed with bit boss. His subordinate appears efficient and administrative but I found his boss, flat out offensive and lacking respect for his audience, an audience that has been poorly treated, by design, for over a full year now.
He was less impressed when I told him so.
He didn’t like when I became agitated with their rehearsed orations and dialogue. I simply wanted to “cut to the chase“! After all I’m an owner volunteering my time and he works solely for us owners.
He corrected me continually while he was quite wrong in his interpretation of what I was telling him and then became visibly offended when I had to straighten him out.
I asked why I had not been given the courtesy of receiving a copy of the management agreement, long promised to me by the builder but never delivered.
It took me about five seconds of scanning to observe why my reasonable request was refused (by the manager that my monthly fees pays for!).
The builder’s lawyer was there dodging reasonable requests for disclosure.
It is sad to see how the system leaves the consumer so isolated and ill-informed.
Volunteer boards of directors can hardly be expected to be able to deal with the well oiled machine that is Condoland!
Now, I didn’t attend University, nor would I ever try to mislead anyone to believing that I’m some kind of a “rocket scientist“.
I must confess that I was born at night . . . . . but it wasn’t last night.
I jumped to the “Budget” and see our monthly maintenance fees being increased by 50%+ (and we have yet to have our “Reserve Fund Study” conducted which usually increases maintenance by 100% over the following 3 years!)!
So, we had what some might say was a “contentious meeting“. I felt that things went quite well as everyone understood the picture as I saw it.
The logical question is: “as a newly formed condominium” are we as shareholders prepared to have our property manager handle our affairs in the manner by which they have for the builder to date” (they were his property manager “since 2014“)?
I am extremely impressed with our new Board of Directors (on which I have agreed to sit as President) and just as impressed with each owner that participated in the meeting last evening.
Unfortunately out of 18 homes, only 7 or 8 owners attended.
Sunrise Homes had proven incompetent in selling them (even at below market pricing!) and had bailed out selling of 8 lots to other builders adding to the confusion and chaos.
As owners we are truly fortunate to have two other owners volunteer to sit on our board of directors. Without this type of participation as a community, most such developments end up mediocre at best! Our shared goal is to make this community “exceptional”.
I’ve seen a lot of boards of directors of condos over my almost five decades of condo experience but I haven’t seen two more qualified and committed volunteers that these two with whom I will be honoured to serve.
In our brief new board meeting after the turn over meeting both showed themselves as committed to a singular purpose which was making their new community the best that it can be.
Very little information was received last night and a great deal of work sits before us as a board and as a community.
Fortunately, the mess is as a direct result of a builder who insists on lying about everything to everybody and I do not say this lightly but my assessment is fully supported by an Affidavit of another owner who served Notice of intention to sue him for documented behaviour that simply should not be able to go on, especially in such an emotional situation as the purchase of a home (while all the time professing that “consumer are protected in Ontario“). They are NOT!
Stay tuned, as we’ve got a long way to from here.