LISTEN: Real Estate Reality: Man sells million dollar home on Kijiji in 15 minutes
Crowded. Competitive. Unaffordable. Untenable.
They're some of the words that have been used by experts to describe Toronto's housing market in recent months.
The provincial government has promised a series of measures to help cool things down. Among them, a 15% non resident speculation tax, a tax on vacant homes and tighter control on rent increases.
Today NEWSTALK launches a series of your stories, "Real Estate Reality", focused on selling, buying and renting homes in the Greater Toronto Area.
Joe, who does not want his last name used, was stunned to learn just how hot the market is. He was able to sell the Milton home he bought four years ago for $575,000 for just under a million dollars without the help of an agent in about the time it takes to cook a frozen pizza.
"From the time I listed it on Kijiji to the time I sold it, it was about 15 minutes," Joe tells NEWSTALK 1010.
Joe didn't expect to sell so fast. "I've had a lawn mower on there for two months for 200 bucks that I haven't been able to sell," he jokes.
Joe planned to leave his home listing up for a few months, maybe get a sense of what he needed to change to fetch more than the $929,000 he was starting at.
But almost immediately Joe heard from a desperate-sounding buyer--a man who said he had missed out on other homes and wanted to see Joe's that night. With his nephew's hockey game to catch, Joe tried to put the would-be buyer off until the following day but he persisted. Joe told the man he could have a tour if he could arrived in 15 minutes.
Sure enough, there was a soon a knock at the door.
After a quickie tour with his wife, the man again insisted on negotiating sooner rather than later. He eventually agreed to Joe's offer of $980,000 with $50,000 down and no conditions.
Joe and the seller drew up a contract together modelled on their own previous home sales. Both men's lawyers checked the paperwork over, corrected a mistake and within a day, Joe had a certified check in hand.
"I woke up at two in the morning and I'm like 'what the hell did I just do?'"
Joe is now looking to move to Niagara and live mortgage-free. But he hasn't sworn off professional help after his quickie do-it-yourself sale. Joe still plans to use a real estate agent to sell rental properties he owns in Ottawa.
While she believes some homeowners can sell on their own, Heather Holmes a broker with RE/MAX Hallmark Realty says it's not the best option for most.
"The majority of people listing on their own maybe don't have the experience to know the pitfalls that could happen."
Desmond Brown, a sales representative with Royal LePage understands that people want to go it alone to save money on commission, but the tradeoff is perhaps not pulling in as much as they might have with an agent.
It's a sentiment echoed by Tim Hudak, CEO of the Ontario Real Estate Association and NEWSTALK 1010 host.
"I think it's particularly risky in a hot market like we have today because prices are moving quickly. You can look at old data, but you're not going to know what the house that sold last week in your neighbourhood of a similar value...right now, you don't use a realtor, the risk is you leave a lot of money on the table or you're buying a property that you haven't done that good of research on."
Holmes encourages anyone considering working without an agent to at least sit down with one so they can give you a sense of what sort of problems may arise.