Trish Bongard Godfrey

September Market Update

25 September 2018
Trish Bongard Godfrey

I have always been optimistic about Toronto real estate
It would take a lot to shake my conviction that this as an excellent place to invest, and to live. We are just so darn lucky to live here in Toronto, Canada, with our diversity, employment opportunities, excellent housing stock, health and fitness clubs, restaurants, arts communities, and even the dynamic debates we can have about our future. We certainly have challenges regarding house prices, but I would argue that is a function of our success, not our failure, as a city.

I want to emphasize one more very specific reason why Toronto is a great place to work and live: our hospitals, access to health-care, and specifically the concentration of world-leading medical research and specialists. We tend to forget that people from outlying areas of our own province and country do not necessarily have the same immediate access to specialized diagnostics, or acute and long-term care. They often have to travel long distances, and are not offered the same choices we have. 

I think we Torontonians are perhaps quite used to knowing that some of the best medical researchers are living and working on our midst, have children at our schools and socialize in our crowd. I see it as a big added value to life in this city, and I can argue that there is a direct correlation between the access to, and value of, health-care and property values. If you are thinking of leaving the city for lifestyle or intend to downsize your real estate exposure, talk to me about how you might maintain a toehold here.

New Property Sold Price Rules
Recently, the Toronto Real Estate Board lost its seven year fight with the Competition Bureau to keep the sale price of pending and past MLS property sale values somewhat confidential.  Specifically, it means that the price that property that has sold for on MLS - even before it has closed - will be more readily available to the public. The case was long in the making, and pertained to the conflict between making this information publicly available, and maintaining confidential information. I won't elaborate on the case, but I will comment a bit on how it relates to my clients and me.

I have heard some arguments made in the talk-media by brokers that buyers were previously disadvantaged because they might not know what a neighbouring property sold for when they went to bid on a property. Hello? Who buys anything in Toronto without doing some homework? I can assure you that this does not happen to my clients.  I have always dug in deep to gather and interpret appropriate data and compare properties and sale prices for my clients - both buyers and sellers - before they bought or listed.  They get this in writing, whenever it is needed or requested, and of course buyers and sellers always have the advantage of being able to inspect properties and form their own opinions.  Value, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. That's why we have a marketplace, negotiations, and not everything sells for the same price.

The truth is that good agents always provided recent and relevant sales information to their clients. Nosy neighbours could always find out what a house sold for.  It is just the broad, easily accessible bulk of data that was not directly available to the public. This ruling does not open the door for an Uber-like real estate service, in my opinion. 

I'm not particularly happy about this decision because I feel sellers should have a right to some privacy. 

However, I have been asked what it means for my business.  Not much, other than the fact that some laws seem in conflict with other laws, and I am still required to comply with all TREB By-Laws, Rules and Regulations; PIPEDA (federal privacy legislation); the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act (REBBA), as well as the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) Rules and Regulations; respect the Do-Not-Call Lists and applicable City of Toronto By-Laws, and comply with Chestnut Park's and Christie's International standards and guidelines. I expect more interpretations from TREB as we go forward. If you have questions about what this means for you, call me.

I feel the value of my services is in my experience, my interpretation of the data, my hands-on client care, property preparation advice and coordination; pricing tactics and strategies; my communications, due diligence and negotiation skills; and the benefits of my firm, Chestnut Park and Christie's International.  We are a full-service, high-end-services boutique real estate brokerage with arguably the worlds' best-recognized luxury brand and best international exposure. We have an incredible full time marketing and design group and legal team of three, as well as a deep field of agents' experience to draw from. The public availability of sold prices will not impact my business. If anything, as more layers of rules are applied, and the business gets more complicated, I expect that people will recognize the complexity of the work I do, even more. 

Virtual Office Website (VOW)
To be compliant with the court decision, I will be making the sold information available on my website through a VOW (Virtual Office Website)  or VOW Sign-up.

I have had this VOW available for a couple of years.  You can use to see more properties than would be on, and soon you will be able to access some sold information as it becomes available from TREB.  Please feel free to visit my website and sign up. My website has good information about neighbourhoods and is great source of information regarding my own sales* and buying record (*those properties that where traded on MLS and were not sold Exclusively), as well as offering information about other properties you may have seen.  Check it out.

Exclusive Listings  
Sometimes home sellers want to fly under the radar. Sometimes they don't want to have to deal with the full-on marketing exposure that an MLS sales program involves. For that reason, people may decide to have a property listed exclusively.

That means, for example, that they can have a property offered for sale through one brokerage, but not on MLS, where the sold price would be immediately available.

At present, I have access to over 300 Exclusively listed properties through our network.
We at Chestnut Park often have many, many properties listed exclusively, and sold with happy results.  We can still market the property through our extensive, but selective broker and agent networks, but we can better control who sees the property, and when. I am not suggesting this is a better way to go, but it can be very effective in the right circumstances. Keep this in mind if you are looking for an off-market property, or want to consider selling more "quietly".

Listing or Buying?
If you are thinking of listing or buying a property in the near future, please contact me for a no-obligation market evaluation.  I'll also provide you with a proposal for a full marketing and sales program and describe the services and differences that I, Chestnut Park and Christies will deliver to you.

Trish Bongard Godfrey
Sales Representative