Chris Worth, Real Estate Agent with Royal LePage Supreme Realty talks about how buyers find value in Toronto’s Spring Real Estate Market
Jeffrey: I have with me, Chris Worth, who is a real estate agent with Royal LePage Supreme Realty. Chris, could you tell us a little about your real estate practice?
Chris: Sure. I specialize in two areas of the city, primarily in the east end. Well it’s not really the eastern end. It’s more like in the Leaside area, sort of between Bayview and the Don Valley, and then also in the West End, where my office is located. I specialize in the East, because that’s where I live, and I specialize in the West because, as I say, that’s where my office is.
So we’re down in the Dufferin/Bloor area, Bloordale and in Dufferin Grove areas of the city. Lots and lots of interesting homes in both of those neighborhoods. We’re seeing a lot of rebuilding happening in the Leaside area. And in the Bloordale and in the Dufferin Grove area, we’re seeing lots of older families who had those homes for a long, long time, turning those homes around and turning them over to new buyers.
Jeffrey: And speaking of new buyers and sellers, of course, are there any trends that you’re seeing in this year’s spring market?
Chris: This year’s spring market is going to be an interesting one for certain. There was a lot of reluctance from people through the really, truly cold January and even beginning of February month when people were just kind of locking themselves indoors and saying, ‘You know what? It’s too cold. I’m not going out.’
So lots and lots of people kind of barricaded themselves in, and that’s okay. So we’re starting to see the spring market open up really in the last, I would say, five even to ten days. We’re just starting to see inventory come onto the market where people are starting to say, ‘”Okay, you know what? Spring is coming. I can see it. It’s just down the road, and I think it’s time now to either get out and put my house on the market or get out and start looking for my next new home,” particularly a lot of first time buyers as well.
Jeffrey: Yeah, definitely in terms of weather, we’ve seen weather we haven’t experienced in this area for quite a number of years. But, what are a few things that both buyers and sellers should consider to get the best value?
Chris: To get the best value, certainly from a buyer’s perspective, they need to be looking at a number of things, and again we had so much damage and some nastier weather through this winter that be sure to be paying attention to water damage. And I know this is going to be a big issue this year. I’ve spoken to a couple of contractors in the waterproofing area, and they’ve been overwhelmed with calls.
So because of all of the ice and because of all of the particularly cold temperatures, we’ve seen some cracking in foundations. So be careful and watch out for this sort of thing, particularly in basements, where you might have some water damage, and up to this point a home has never had water damage before. This year might the year that you start to see it happening.
So be aware of it. Just make a note of it. Make sure that you’ve got lots and lots of inspections happening, maybe not lots of inspections, but people coming in and making sure that the house really is in the condition that you think it’s in.
From a seller’s side, if you think you may have had any kind of water damage, definitely get it looked at and be open with people. We’re starting to see more and more people coming back to homeowners where there was water damage and having to settle those differences, either in a court of law, hopefully it doesn’t get to that, but certainly with price reductions.
Jeffrey: And that’s definitely something that we see in our business as well. We’re actually looking at a property right now, that the owners want to consider doing some interior work, but they also know that they have to do some waterproofing as well.
So we’re trying to work with them to decide how we can bundle all that work in, so they get the best value for their dollars. They don’t want to be doing some work in their basement and then, a couple of months later, finding out they need to tear it all out because they haven’t fixed the problem with waterproofing.
Chris: Yeah. And that’s exactly what is happening throughout the city. The areas that, generally speaking, have never had water issues before, we’re starting to see them crop up.
Jeffrey: Now have there been any changes over the past number of months you’ve seen in the market that affect mid to high-end properties?
Chris: Generally speaking, not. For the most part, there has been not a lot of change in pricing. Pricing is certainly running steady, if not increased, with the lack of inventory on the market, lots and lots of homes going well above asking price again, and still throughout the city. We’re starting to see a little bit of reluctance from homes that have been sitting a little bit longer through the colder months, which isn’t necessarily a fair assessment of the home. Simply because it was cold outside and nobody wanted to go looking, doesn’t mean that the house isn’t still valuable.
So we are starting to see a little bit of reduction, even though when we’re starting to see new homes on the market, that’s when those homes are going very quickly. So pay attention to those ones that have been on the market for a little bit longer. There are still good values out there.
Jeffrey: That’s a great lead in to the next question. What are some of the factors that you may bring up with clients so that, either they buy new, or they renovate? Is one or the other a better value for buyers?
Chris: For buyers, it’s really hard to say. I mean, buying new, you know what you’re getting when you’re buying new, simply because, for the most part you are dealing with a Tarion warranty, or that kind of thing, where you can go back to the builder and say, “Hey. You know what? This just isn’t up to standards.”
I’m a big fan of renovating. I like the opportunity to make something my own, and I like being able to put my own fingerprints on it. So for me that’s my own personal bias. I like the opportunity to buy something and maybe renovate it and change it understanding that as soon as I crack into that wall or crack into that floor, I’m up against something that I may not know what it’s going to be, but that’s part of the adventure.
Jeffrey: Absolutely. And that’s some of the advice that we give to clients too. If there is the potential for getting a bit of extra value, we can help them see things which potentially other buyers can’t see, in terms of how they’re able to live in a space or change the space to suit their lifestyle.
Chris: Yeah, that’s absolutely true.
Jeffrey: Fantastic. Well, Chris, I’d like to thank you very much, and let’s hope the spring market continues.
Chris: I’m sure it will.