In this interview Patrick Rocca who is an agent active in the Leaside Real Estate market, shares his top tips for how both buyers and sellers to get the most value for their hard earned dollars. He also goes into advice for a first time home buyer trying to get into Toronto’s real estate market and some of the pros of renovating your existing property, potentially putting an addition on versus selling and getting into a new property. To listen click below!
Jeffrey: I have with me Patrick Rocca, a real estate agent based in
Toronto. Patrick, maybe you can tell me a little bit about your business
and the type of clients you serve.
Patrick: Sure, I am a broker with Bosley Real Estate. We are located here
in the central core. My market predominantly is the east side, the
Davisville, Moore Park area. I am the top agent in that area, I deal in all
price points from $600,000 up to the $2.5/2.6 million range.
Jeffrey: First question. What are a few key things that both buyers and
sellers should consider to get the best value in their new home?
Patrick: Well, it is interesting. Value for a buyer today is all relative
because it is a sellers’ market, specifically in the lower end. The higher
end homes, the newer construction homes there is a bit more of a
negotiating ability on the buyers’ standpoint. But we are in a sellers’
market, so sellers usually get in most cases what they are asking for and
what they want. Now that being said, like I said, if you get into the 1.5,
6, 7 and higher range, those homes traditionally will have some play on
them, and buyers are able to get a bit more out of the seller.
Jeffrey: And have you been aware of any changes over the past number of
months that affected the mid to high end property range?
Patrick: I am not even sure the mid properties have been affected. The
high end definitely. I think it is a couple of factors. Everybody keeps
saying it is the mortgage lending rules that have changed. I don’t see that
having had any play in the high end. Because if you are buying a $1.5 or $2
million home I am not sure those lending rules would affect you. I think it
has to do more in the high end with the economy, the Bay Street situation
right now, and that type of thing.
Jeffrey: It is interesting. And one of the things which I would think
about would be people thinking about selling their homes in a sellers’
market and think about bypassing use of an agent. Can you tell people why
you think that using an agent, even in a sellers’ market, is going to
Patrick: Oh, absolutely. I always say this to people, fortunately, in my
market we don’t deal with people that are selling their homes privately
because they understand, they are educated, they get the value of an agent.
I always say to my clients, “Listen, if you can put a sign on your lawn,
you can sell your home.” Anybody can sell your home. You know, Jane Doe
from ABC Realty can sell your home, but it is always best to deal with a
specialist, a top agency in the area. They know the market. They know the
marketing that it will take to get your home sold. They have the
negotiating skills. They have the exposure.
MLS is huge, and you know what? There are brokerages now that are doing MLS
for like nothing. But if you look at the listing online, you’ll understand
why, and a lot of the times I get approached by those people after their
properties have been sold. I look at them and I’m like “Wow, look at this
is, the way that your listing was positioned, there is no description,
there is no room measurements. What’s the point of having it out there if a
buyer doesn’t know what they are getting?
Jeffrey: Yeah, precisely, and that’s some of the things we talk about to
our clients, People can go into renovations or even construction on their
own, but what we really do is we really help them through the process
because it is complicated. There is a lot of factors to consider, and you
definitely do want to get the best value because you don’t make this
decision lightly. You don’t make it very frequently.
Patrick: Yeah, exactly, and a lot of people look. It is very interesting. I
am sure you deal with it in your business. It’s all about value, and it’s
all about service, People look at okay, four or five percent is a lot of
money and it is, but I can show you statistically that I’m going to get you
more than that four or five percent that you think you are saving.
Jeffrey: Yeah, and obviously long-term. Do you really want to be managing
all of the details on selling your property when you could have somebody
whose professionals’ experience manage all of those details for you?
Patrick: Correct. Yeah.
Jeffrey: Perfect. Now let’s switch over to the buyers’ side. What advice
would you have for a first time home buyer that’s looking to get into the
Patrick: Well, obviously make sure you have a mortgage pre-approval. Make
sure you are ready to go. Make sure you are working with an experienced
realtor who knows the area and can keep you apprised of listings as they
come up or even listings before they come up. A lot of people will
approach me because I know of stuff that’s coming onto the market before it
And be prepared, unfortunately, to maybe lose a property or two because the
reality is as I mentioned in the $600, 500, I mean even in the condo $3,
400 range up to a million, $1.2, we are consistently seeing multiple
offers. And a lot of times a buyer will lose a property or two before they
strike the right one.
Jeffrey: And buyers obviously have to be psychologically ready for that.
They can’t get too attached to those properties.
Patrick: Well, I mean, they can’t get too attached, but if they find
something they want they’d better be prepared to react quickly. I had a
situation last week where I put the property on the market on a Thursday
and offers were scheduled for this Monday evening. And we got what’s called
in our business a pre-emptive offer, or a bully offer on the Friday,
significantly over asking more than we expected on the Monday night.
And there was people that called on Saturday and were like, “I thought
offers weren’t until Monday”, but you know I had changed the listing. I had
called everybody who had shown it, but if you don’t act quickly you can
lose out on a property, and as a buyer you have to be able to react
Jeffrey: And again, it shows the value of that experience working with
someone who is familiar with the market and the nuances of offers and how
the whole process works.
Patrick: You got it. Yeah.
Jeffrey: Excellent. So finally, what would you recommend for someone who
has an existing home and is thinking that they don’t necessarily have
enough space? What are some of the pros of renovating their existing
property, potentially putting an addition on versus selling and getting
into a new property?
Patrick: That’s such a great question, and it’s one that I can answer,
regardless of the situation I have explained to you.
I have just met with a client yesterday, similar situation. He has a
bungalow. He does not have any family. It is just him and his wife, and he
needs more space. But he doesn’t need necessarily 26-2700 square feet. So
you know, the discussion we had was number one, based on his location,
based on what he was going to put into it. A lot of the times it makes
sense if you’ve owned a home for a long time. This gentleman paid $300,000
for this home, I don’t know 10, 15 years ago. The home is now worth in
access of $850-900. So to replace that home it would cost him that much. Do
you know what I mean?
So we talked about the renovation side. If he was to do renovation, we
would say $5-600,000. So he would be ahead of the game if he did that or
even on what that bungalow would worth today. But his location isn’t the
best, so the upside there was he’d probably save some money, but he would
still be in a less than average location. So he wanted to move closer, more
central into the community.
We talked about the upside of that, and there was a greater upside, and my
gut tells me is that he will move further into the community, buy a lesser
house in terms of size, and sell his bungalow. So every situation is
different. In some cases I’ve gone and met with the client and say it’s a
no brainer, renovate. I also explain to the client that renovating, yeah,
you save a hundred or two possibly, but you got to have the mental strength
to go through a renovation because, as I am sure you know, it’s not easy
and there is hiccups, and there is overruns, and there is always problems.
You got to be prepared for that. You got to be prepared to uproot your
family for six to eight months, and do the whole thing.
So there is pluses and minuses. Like I said, I have told people do it, and
I have also told people, “You know what? You are better off to sell this,
buy something else, take the spread.”
So it really depends on the situation.
Jeffrey: Yeah. Super. And again like you mentioned, if you are in a great
neighborhood and you love the schools, it might make sense to stay put, do
the renovation, and stay with what you know.
Patrick: Yeah. And this individual that I met with yesterday was in a great
neighborhood, but it was on the periphery, I can’t even speak, he was on
the outskirts of the neighborhood, so not in the best location. So my
advice to him was, “I don’t think you should renovate because I think your
value isn’t there as much as it would be if you moved into the central part
of the community.” So again it depends on. . . and he was sort of wishy
washy on whether he wanted to stay in this location as well. So again,
yeah, it’s all about community. It’s all about location within the
community that really factors into it.
Jeffrey: Oh, great. Patrick, I really want to thank you for your time
today. It’s been fantastic, and I think that everyone listening has really
appreciated your insights and your viewpoints.
Patrick: My pleasure. Any time.
You can contact Patrick at 416-322-8000 or you can check out his website www.patrickrocca.com