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How Buyers, Sellers & Agents Adapt to Toronto Housing Market Changes in 2024

We are now entering the spring market!

Historically, spring is a very busy time in Toronto real estate.

The weather is much warmer and people are getting out of their winter hibernate mode and just become more active on everything.

Buyers are much more eager to go out there and check things out and sellers are more motivated to get their homes ready for sale.

This year, we are also expecting a very busy spring market despite the high interest rate.

But, things are different.

People are shifting their mindsets.

Things are changing so fast these days and we have to constantly make changes to our lifestyle and mindset to adapt.

In the current market, buyers, sellers and agents are all changing.

That’s why I want to share my exclusive observations with you so you understand what kind of changes are happening and how you may need to adapt.

Give me a like and subscribe if you enjoy the front end observations that you can’t find anywhere on the news!

#1 The Buyers

Last week, we talked about the shift in buyers’ priorities.

Nowadays, the most important things they look for are certainty and stability.

Since it is impossible to time the market anyway, they would prefer getting into the market sooner rather than later.

This reminds me of the popular saying “date the rate, marry the house”.

Like a marriage, buying a house is a long term commitment.

But with the mortgage rate, whether high or low, can very well be temporary.

With more people aiming for long term stability, we start to see more and more active end user buyers in the market.

They would calculate their affordability based on today’s high interest rates, not a potentially lower rate in the near future, and that often means buying cheaper and smaller.

That being said, buyers in the current market are typically more picky, after all, they are buying at a high interest rate.

There are 2 types of homes that get sold much quicker than others.

One, homes that look appealing to the buyers, that often means nicely staged homes in well-kept conditions.

Two, homes that are priced lower than the comparables.

In the current market, a home that falls into one of these two categories would likely attract multiple offers.

Prices are still very reasonable at this point, we can more or less gauge what the winning bid would be in a multiple offer situation.

Whereas in a crazy market, you are often surprised by the winning bid.

You probably heard recent stories saying some homes attracted 20, 50 offers, those are homes that fall into the two categories.

On the other hand, there are definitely homes that have been sitting on the market for a long time.

And this brings us to the interesting discussion of

#2 The Sellers

During the crazy times, if you get any agent to list your property on MLS at whatever price you have in mind, it would probably still get sold anyway.

But if you are still doing the same thing in today’s market, you better be prepared to sit for a while. 

A potential buyer typically visits 5 or more properties in one day, so if your property doesn’t leave a good first impression, it will be immediately forgotten.

For me, I’ve seen thousands of units, so a vacant unit or a staged unit doesn’t make any difference to me.

I can also see through some crappy stuff because I know what kind of difference renovation can make, and how much it costs.

The majority of buyers won’t be like me.

When they see a vacant unit, especially for condos, there’s not much to see and they can’t imagine the space.

They typically end up thinking the space is very small, nothing interesting and they leave.

When you put furniture into a vacant space, people can sit at the dining table, chill on the couches and see if it feels like home.

People buy on emotions and it is very hard to have emotions with a vacant space.

You see, the real purpose of staging is to arouse the emotions of your potential buyers.

That’s why it can make your home sell faster and at a higher price.

Yes, staging does cost money, but if you can make more money from that, then it is a good investment and it doesn’t make sense not to do it, right?

So if you have a vacant unit to work with, you should definitely stage it.

We are not in a seller’s market at the moment, so only the attractive listings will get attention.

I would say probably only around 20% of the available listings are attractive and the 20% would get 80% of the buyer attention.

Here’s the thing.

If you are serious about selling your unit, you want to make sure you get into the 20%, by quality or by price.

With the current high interest rate environment, some investors are selling because they are running into negative cash flow and things become especially challenging when the unit is tenanted.

It is hard to control your tenants’ behaviour.

They may be very messy and they may deny the showings to potential buyers.

Some end user buyers may also be hesitant to buy a tenanted unit, what if the tenants refuse to leave?

Indeed, things can get very tricky with tenanted units.

Tenants know their rights and they often go to the Landlord and Tenant Board to pursue them.

So you have to make sure you do things right, you serve the right notice at the right time so you don’t get into trouble with the LTB.

This is where experiences and tenant negotiation skills really make a difference.

In fact, a lot of agents make a mess when they handle tenants.

Let’s get to:

#3 The Agents

Toronto Star recently published an article saying that 45,000 workers in Ontario left the real estate industry because of the market downturn.

And that includes licensed real estate agents, property management, leasing and office staff.

In a crazy market, every agent is a Michael Jordan, anyone can sell.

You probably think that agents don’t do much and just make a lot of money, I don’t blame you.

Last year, Toronto experienced the lowest number of sales in 23 years.  

There were 73,000 agents but only 65,000 sales were completed, that’s less than one deal per person.

I personally know many agents who changed their careers because of the market.

This is the time when knowledge matters, sales and negotiation skills matter, marketing channels matter, relationships matter, they all count.

I have people who come to me for help assigning their units because they can’t even find the agents who they bought the unit with, probably left the industry already.

I have people who come to me because their agent can’t sell their units for months.

They want to leverage my branding and my channels.

One of my very popular channels is Deal of the Week, the emails have connected many buyers and sellers.

By the way, if you are a potential buyer or seller, you should definitely subscribe at the link below.

In terms of property management and leasing, it is the toughest market segment to stay profitable.

It is a lot of work for very little money.

Over the years, our rental management portfolio has grown to 700 rental units and we have come across all kinds of tenants.

Don’t worry if you need to sell your unit with tenants, we have all the expertise to handle them properly.

Things are constantly changing in this era, especially in the real estate landscape, but you will still see me here for a long long time because I really enjoy what I’m doing.

So if you need any help with your real estate decisions, you can schedule a call with me at the link below.


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