Trish Bongard Godfrey

Keys of Various Sorts

28 March 2014
Trish Bongard Godfrey

House Keys, Key Indicators

The key to a successful buyer's property tour is micro-organization. Toronto traffic is a challenging variable. I recently hired a driver to view several properties. He was focused on route, traffic, and parking, and I was focused on my out-of-country buyer-clients and their feedback and questions. There are loads of distractions when you're showing houses, and because first impressions matter a lot, I like to know what people are thinking even before we walk through the door.

One of the most imperative tasks (obviously) is getting in and out of houses, using keys, and passing through alarms, on a tight schedule, using whatever lock-up system the listing agent has arranged. There are almost 40,000 members of the Toronto Real Estate Board, so you can imagine there are a number of "systems" for getting access to a house. The main thing, though, is to be focused on my client's important first 15-30 minutes seeing a place they might like to call home, or may want to leave after 3 minutes.

On Monday morning at our company's weekly meeting, we had a discussion about real estate etiquette, which was wide ranging and covered etiquette, professionalism, ethics, and manners. Of the nearly 40,000 (many part-time) Toronto Real Estate Board members, there are any number of different ways to interpret these values and skill sets. We discussed our company's "key values" as full service realtors and how we differ from other firms. I place a high value on all that these descriptors intend.

We also discussed the current market, and what are the "key indicators". The Bank of Canada recently indicated that rates will not increase, and some commentary suggests they will more likely decrease. Low borrowing costs are still fueling real estate purchases. Interestingly, our company's preferred mortgage broker reported that "Alt-A lenders" – Alternative to Schedule A Chartered Banks – such as Home Trust, Equitable Trust, and Equity First Financial are making mortgage loans primarily based on collateral value of properties, rather than the borrower's ability to pay. In other words, “They seem unconcerned with the prospect of borrowers defaulting,” because they are confident prices will rise.

Lack of available single family homes continues to be a challenge in the mid-range price point relative to the number of people who want to buy those properties. There is still buying pressure.

Additionally, with the DJII hitting record highs, one might think that some people will cash out of the stock market and buy real estate.