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It’s All Just Politics, Baby

I’ve been to two different ‘VIP Agent’ type selling events in the past week  and I have been once again reminded that buying condos in this town can be a bit of a shell game. The lineups for these events are now at late 2007 levels all over the city. People are camping out for days, and literally clawing over each other for units. Agents are clamoring to get their clients’ the best units before they all sell out.

Here are 2 recent examples that should serve as reality checks to anyone left who still thinks that the process of buying in a brand new development is (or should be) ‘FAIR’:

  1. I waited in line all day for an event where there was supposed to be approximately 75 units priced around $200-$250K, and an additional 150 units priced above $250K. I was #27 in line, so I thought I stood a very good chance of getting a unit in that range for my client. Turns out that in actuality I was probably #57 or even higher as large number of at least 30 agents and their clients just showed up at the start time and by-passed the lineup completely (this was obviously pre-arranged ahead of time). When we finally were brought inside, they were virtually sold out of all units under $250K!
  2. Because of my reputation as one of the top agents downtown, I was granted a ‘priority number’ for a VIP sales event several days ahead of the actual event (regular agents were forced to wait outside for hours/days). Even though I was #3 in line, when we were invited into the sales area to buy, we saw there were several people already signing deals and low and behold, all the units we wanted to buy were already sold! Surprise!

In the final analysis, the words of a Realtor acquaintance of mine who managed to get to the front of the line (in example #1) without waiting while I froze my butt off outside sums up the current state of the VIP-buying Toronto Condo Market when he said, “It’s all just politics.” It’s a game of who knows who, who owes a favour to whom, and who knows how to work the ‘back channels’ the best.

Think twice before you believe any Realtor who claims to have ‘VIP’ access to every project in town. It’s simply not possible. Even a top agent like myself (top 1% of all agents for condos sales, member of various ‘Platinum/VIP’ Agent Clubs) cannot promise EVERY buyer first access to EVERY development. No matter how ‘VIP’ you think you are, there is always someone more VIP than you!

My advice for those looking to buy at these VIP events: choose an agent you trust, and who has a solid track record of sales. Choose someone who will put your best interests first, who understands how the game is played, and will use every resource available to get you as far to the front of the line as possible. Above all: Never.Give.Up.

Questions or comments? Contact me.

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