Buy-It-Now Buttons On Real Estate Websites. Why not?

Buy it now buttons on real estate sites

Will there ever be a “Buy it Now” button on Real Estate Websites?

First they said the Internet was a fad, then they said nobody would ever shop online, then they said Social was a fad, and now many “This is how it’s always been done” real estate minds are saying the internet can never replace the human in a real estate transaction. Well, whenever someone says that a “thing” is never going to happen, it tends to trigger something in my brain that asks: “Why not?”

In our experience, some Sales Reps and Brokers actually get in the way of a transaction with their own emotions or sheer laziness and unprofessionalism. Wouldn’t an emotionless website remove those obstacles and streamline the Buying process? 

Right now, the answer is NO. No, only because the leaders in real estate technology haven’t quite figured it out yet but many are trying. Real Estate moved online a decade ago so when some Sales Rep is sitting in your living room telling you that you should hire them because their (insert big box brand here) will give your home all sorts of exposure on this fancy new thing called “The Web”…guess what? I’ll bet my itty bitty brokerage has more relevant digital reach than you…nana nana na na!

Back to the point, many registered Brokerages (which shall go unnamed here) have gone completely digital. They offer online real estate searches that are better than the MLS (ours is seriously the best…check it out here). We even want to be able to publish SOLD data but we can’t publish that yet so the only way you can get that is by signing up for our weekly sold report here.

So with all of this information out there what do you still need a sales rep or broker? What do we bring to the table when you can do all the research yourself, get all the information right when you want it where you want it? Honestly, if a sales rep or broker doesn’t have a hyper-focused niche that they work day in and day out, in our opinion, they add no real value beyond what’s available digitally right now.

The only way the human sales rep or broker is still relevant in a real estate transaction is with super specific, hyper-focused, geographic or demographic knowledge (that’s how our sales reps roll at Spring). It’s really that simple. I’m sure this will ruffle some Real Estate feathers but hey, when you stand for something and shout it from the rooftops it tends to create some tension with some.


Selling your Toronto home? You MUST Go To Market. You Must.

Unicorn of Investment Properties Sells Under The Radar

You’re a damn fool if you don’t go to market when selling your Toronto home (unless you’re a covert CSIS operative or something). You’d expect a Listing your Toronto home with flexible commissionscompany who profits from selling peoples’ homes to say this so I appreciate you being a bit skeptical about what I’m about to say. I don’t really care actually, if you’ve read this blog you know that this is a no BS zone and we spit the truth and nothing but the truth.

We get it…the idea of not having to deal with getting your home ready for sale is appealing but is it appealing enough for you to leave $100K in cash on the table? This is what may have happened to a home recently listed in Toronto. Because of the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act I cannot mention anything about the specific listing Broker or the actual home so I’ll do my best to describe the situation.

The Situation

An out-of-area REALTOR recently listed a house and immediately changed the status to SOLD CONDITIONAL. Meaning, she sold it under the radar to a random buyer in a secret deal. Great for the BUYER because it likely sold at list price but is valued at, at least $100K more. A detached TRIPLEX that would yield positive cash flow with a million dollar purchase price and 25% down. The home has three beautifully renovated apartments, parking, and laundry in each unit. The freaking unicorn of investment properties. This definition of a turn-key property would have had a line up around the block of buyers from investors with all levels of experience, renovators looking to convert back to single family or ME who would have bought this place and lived mortgage free. (see now you know why it’s really got under my skin…this was to be MINE!)

I wish I could show you the property details but I just can’t. We’ve got enough heat from the regulatory bodies due to our stance on open data and Real Estate.

Why a Fool?

Money is fairly easy to borrow for qualified Buyers in a good cash position, inventory is VERY LOW, and the streets are crawling with HGTV fueled rookie investors looking to become the next Donald Trump. Investors are trading their high cap rate expectations for higher quality multi-residential units with more secure tenants. A good trade off for the long term. So if you have one of these properties don’t let some lazy REALTOR convince you to sell under the radar and pocket the quick commission. For goodness sake, GO TO MARKET.

Investors are trading their high cap rate expectations for higher quality multi-residential units with more secure tenants.

If you offer your investment property (or your home) for sale on the open market (aka our MLS system): You will most likely get more money than you expected. Any money you think you’re going to save on commission or effort saved on prepping for sale isn’t worth the risk. Don’t worry, we get that commissions are flexible. Just ask us.



When Should I Sell My House? Hint – Not Springtime

You will get more money for your house now than you will in the Spring.

There hasn’t been a traditional spring market in nearly a decade yet many misguided Sellers are instructed to wait until the Winter - SpringSpringtime to sell. Now you’re probably thinking: “Ya ya, you’re just telling us this so we list with you now so you can make money in the off season” – valid point and in the Sea of Real Estate BS that’s out there we can see how you’d be skeptical.

Fact is, there is literally nothing of quality available for our Buyers to buy right now. Nothing. We know of many agents holding properties that will be hitting the market in the Springtime (many similar ones too) but nothing now.

We’re getting calls from Sales Reps and Brokers daily asking if we have anything coming up for sale. We have actual proof that Buyers are out there but they have nothing to buy. Now, listen up homeowners: If you are going to sell your house, NOW is the time to do it (actually over Christmas was a great time too). We have the resources to have your house fully staged, painted, and ready to hit the market in less than 8 days. Is your house already gleaming and ready for market? We get to market in 2 days and it’ll cost you less.

We took a look at sample market snapshot in North and South Riverdale to compare the numbers. We thought that the numbers would be a little stronger to support our “on the front lines” experience but it turns out that this Winter has only outperformed this past spring/summer market by 1% when comparing sale to list price ratio. We think this year is going blow away last years numbers considering there’s literally NOTHING available for our Buyers right now. The lack of housing inventory combined with the BoC’s decision to slash lending rates even further creates a perfect storm which will undoubtedly blast prices through the roof (pronounced ruf!)

What is interesting however is that for 3 years in a row now we’ve seen the most expensive homes sell in the Winter months and we’ve also seen the HIGHEST Sale to List price ratio in the Winter months.

The lack of housing inventory combined with the BoC’s decision to slash lending rates even further creates a perfect storm which will undoubtedly blast prices through the roof

Contact us now to get started. If you’re not ready yet, you can join our Neighbourhood Sold Report to keep on top of local values, or get our Market Stats monthly OR get the newest listings in your inbox daily.


Houses ridiculously close to a subway station for under $500K

If you can afford a home near a Subway, buy it. Houses in Toronto Ridiculously Close To

What’s the one thing every Buyer requests? Subways. They want to be close to the subway. Who wouldn’t? The Subway is the quickest way to get around Toronto and if you want to live close to a station, be prepared to pay for the privilege.

I decided to take a look at the 416 this morning and see just how many homes are currently for sale within walking distance to a subway station for under $500,000. I wasn’t too surprised when our search tool only presented us with 11 options. Only ELEVEN!!! Just to be clear, this covers the entire subway system from Kipling to Kennedy, the 401 to the Lake. You can view those here. You might want to save this link. It’s updated in real time even before the MLS get’s em.

What happens when I add a hundred thousand to the budget? Well, we’re then presented with a total of 26 options. You can view those here.

Want to be notified the second any new ones hit the market? Sign up for our market watch and we’ll let you know before it even goes on the public MLS.

Oh and we are 100% in favour of the Downtown Relief Line. Join the conversation here.

toronto relief line subway

[TRUTH] First Time Buyers Need To Make Sacrifices

Breaking! Toronto Buyer gets chewed up and spit out by Toronto Real Estate Market.

FML Listings, The Mash (To be fair, The Mash isn’t a doom and gloom site) and a handful of other real estate doom and gloom sites have gained in popularity over the years as people like Garth Turner (love his insights though) and a handful of other economists run around screaming “The Sky is falling the sky is falling!” With oil prices coming down, who knows, maybe there is something around the corner but these people have been screaming for years, decades even!

Melissa Hart, founder of FML Listings and host of Toronto’s most recent pity party was recently featured in a Toronto Star article Want some cheese with that whine?called “Stuck on the Sidelines”  Go read it and come back.

Back? Good. Now we’re not an unsympathetic bunch here at Spring Realty. Honestly, we’ve seen clients come and go. Some have bought some have waited till the “crash” so they can save a bunch of money (still waiting) and some have sucked it up and bought in a neighbourhood that wasn’t their first choice but that’s what had to be done to get their foot on the property ladder.

What’s happened here is we’ve got a Buyer who’s neighbourhood expectations are out of whack with the Toronto Real Estate market.

Hart states that she’s been approved for $600K mortgage. Yes, a fully renovated house in Leslieville or really anywhere that’s super hot right now isn’t going to work but what about neighbourhoods like Birchcliffe Village? That’s a BOOMING community where we’ve actually sold two detached bungalows for under $500K in the past 3 years. You can still get in there for under $600K. What’s happened here is we’ve got a Buyer who’s neighbourhood expectations are out of whack with the Toronto Real Estate market.

When you’re a first time buyer, you don’t get to have everything. You haven’t earned it yet. Sacrifice is part of the game and you need to feel some pain before you’re rewarded with that dream home. Sure, some are luckier than others but when you have to struggle to buy your first home, you make some neighbourhood compromises, you make size compromises, you make any compromise you can as long as you’re keeping your family safe to make that first deal happen.

When you’re a first time buyer, you don’t get to have everything. You haven’t earned it yet.

Sorry, Mrs. Hart. We don’t feel sorry for you. Had you spent as much energy on finding a neighbourhood you could afford and aligning your expectations with current market conditions instead of focusing on the negative you’d be on your way to your dream house by now. You still have options. You really do.

[Before & After] Your wallpaper is ugly.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Hope you’ve all recovered from your BIG turkey dinners and are ready for a booming new week ahead! So let’s talk quickly about Selling your home and a couple things you need to trust us (the experts) with:

We’re usually not as blunt as the title of this post but that’s because we know how to not be dicks during listing presentations. I mean, we do the work for you and pay for it anyway so the only thing you need to do is allow access…simple right? So why do so many homeowners resist our design suggestions?

We’re in the business of actually selling properties…not having them sit on the market or sell for below market value. Some of your design choices (that are awesome in their own way) are turning Buyers off. I know it’s silly to think that someone won’t buy a place because of the colour of the paint, or the room full of chachkies that you adore. It may just be a colour or clutter but people make purchasing decisions emotionally (whether they know it or not) and if your home doesn’t allow for a strong emotional connection or doesn’t elicit some feeling other than WTF…you’ve lost them. Get it now? So next time we suggest improvements….just let us do it. We pay for it anyway (along with full staging). You’ll get more for your home and it will sell quicker. See this one below? It was on the market for 3 months until my crew got all over it and sold it in a week with a serious transformation.

Before After 3 Before After 2 before after 1

Hey house flippers: Get more creative, or else!

Flipping houses 101 – $#!^ just got realugly house reno

We’ve just about had enough with the generic bullshit that wanna-be house flippers are slapping together these days. Seems as though this hot Seller’s market has tickled the lazy bone in investors.

Guess what: Buyers see right through you and aren’t making offers on your crappy renovations! Home Buyers have been through a lot in the past decade. Well, we’ve reached a tipping point and Buyers have become more educated. Not only are they making stronger buying decisions, they’ve started to realize they may have a bit more power than previously thought.

East of the DVP was prime for flipping a few years back and many took advantage with their boring “home depot” renovations with little thought to how people actually use homes. Now we’re seeing unique, well designed, and thoughtfully planned homes sell for absurd amounts of money…and rightfully so. Why shouldn’t the creativity of a savvy flipper be rewarded? After all the Buyer is being rewarded with a well built, efficient home right?

A warning to you flipper/investors: Get more creative or lose your Buyer and lose your shirt. Stop cutting corners. Spend more time and money in your architects and engineers and hire general contractors that share a common vision. We promise you’ll be rewarded with Buyers’ hard earned money…well the banks mortgage money anyway.

Happy flipping!

Spring is the best time to sell right? Um, no.

Leslieville & Riverside Low on Condo/Loft Inventory

This happens every year yet most Agents stick to the same story: “Sell in the Spring”. Well, that’s not always the best plan. We’ve had more success selling properties when inventory is low. Oh and sorry we keep calling your homes inventory.

So there is no cookie cutter answer to when you should sell but we can say that typically inventory is lowest in the late Summer/early Fall and in the dead of Winter. We saw more multiple offers and sky high prices this past Winter than we saw this Spring.

Right now we haven’t had any GOOD new condos/lofts or detached houses on the market East of the DVP to Coxwell since we had this place up at 233 Carlaw and this one at 118 Galt Ave. The same 29 stale listings of overpriced, cookiecutter, or poorly marketed properties keep showing up on my daily feed.

What does this mean to you?

Well, it means that if you have a condo at 233 Carlaw, 68 Broadview, 747 Queen St, 245 Carlaw, or even a larger space at 88 Colgate it’s time to get that sucker on the market. Here’s what’ll happen: You will get an offer, you will sell it for more than the previous sale, and you’ll move on to bigger and better things.


Stay in control of your investment. Buy Re-Sale.

People buy real estate for various reasons. There are Investors which include: Flippers, Landlords, and speculators. Then there are the End Users: Buying real estate for you and your family to call home. Both types of Buyers ask us the same question:

How much will this place be worth in a couple years?

Since we haven’t invested in a crystal ball yet, we really can’t answer that question. Fact is, it could be worth more, could be worth less, or could be just the same. If you’re buying as an investor or end user, you should be prepared to hold the property for as long as possible. Sure, there were the days where you could buy a pre-construction condo and make an easy $100K a couple of years later upon completion but the sun has set on that little gem. In fact, buying pre-construction as an investment is not that great right now.

Prices of most new developments have either caught up to resale or even exceeded them in some cases. Think about it, these developers want you to put in up to 20% down over the course of 270 days. Most entry level (under 600sqft) condos will cost you about $330K (sure there are less expensive options out there but we’re talking downtown here). As in investor you’re coughing up $66K that’s going to sit in a lawyers trust account for 4 years while the place is being built not providing any sort of return. Even a Canada Savings bond is a better investment! You can put that same cash into a resale property and have it earn you rental income from day 1. Pretty easy decision there. If you rally really really want to buy pre-construction for an investment, be prepared to hold on for a long time. By the time you’re done paying occupancy fees, development charges, upgrades etc… you may not get your money back on resale for a while. Just get a tenant in there and start building some equity.  Want positive cash flow? Sorry pal, not happening. You need to invest in a multi-plex for that. (see below)

Fact is, it could be worth more, could be worth less, or could be just the same.

Looking at that same purchase from an end user perspective we come across different problems that most buyers ignore. Say you’re 26 years old and you put your hard earned $66K on that same sub 600sqft condo (if you have 66K). Do you think you’ll want to live in a 400sqft condo when you’re 30? A lot can change in your life from 26 to 30. Buy resale, enjoy your 20’s then move on when you’re ready. You’re in total control, not the developer. Now if you’re lucky enough to be able to buy your dream condo or townhouse pre-construction that’s a different story. A place that you’re going to call home for the long run and you’re willing to wait knowing you’ll be staying there for a while…go for it! Just be prepared for tens of thousands of dollars in upgrade charges and thousands more in developments charges over and above typical closing costs. The sales rep will tell you not to worry because they’ll cap the closing costs…think again, the cap doesn’t cover everything.

Be prepared to pay an additional $16,608 in development charges for units under 685sqft – $25, 944 for units under 1350sqft – and $33,044 for units larger than 1351sqft the “cap” offered by most developers will help reduce some of these charges but not by that much in most cases. Contact us for a break down of what’s included in these charges.

Bottom line: Stay in control of your investment, buy resale.

Looking at investing in Freehold property (non condo)? That’s a different ball game that requires much more capital and some balls. For experienced landlords the name of the game is Cash Flow and you don’t get cash flow in single unit properties (like a single family home or a condo), unless you’ve paid an unnecessarily large down-payment. Cash-flow is commonly associated with multi-unit investment properties starting at triplexes and above. A solid duplex may get you some positive cash flow but nothing to write home about. These investors could care less about what the place may be worth in a couple of years, they buy and hold and take their cheques to the bank each month. Barrier to entry is high here with entry level prices are well over $600K in most cases.

Lastly, the End User, the people keeping this hot market going and going. They’re always concerned with how much the place will be worth in a couple of years. Listen, if you’re spending your last penny on a home and think you may need to sell in a couple of years: DON’T BUY. You will not make money, you may even lose money when you factor in closing costs. If you’re buying a place to live, buy the appropriate place that suites your (your family’s) lifestyle and be prepared to ride out dips in the market for as long as it takes.

Love talking about this stuff so contact us to start the conversation.


Check out these Toronto Real Estate Resources:

1. The Worlds Greatest Toronto Real Estate Search Tool (shhhh, we give you more info than the MLS)

2. The Worlds Greatest Guide to Investing

3. The Worlds Greatest 1st Time Buyers’ Guide

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