The Literal Sale, Literally

Dufferin Grove / Bloorcourt Village

Every so often we realtors have the task of selling a property that has some, shall we say, “limitations”. From a six lane highway opposite your bedroom window to backyard sinkholes, there are some things that scream “caveat emptor” and make finding a buyer very challenging. Some properties I've been asked to sell fall into the “challenging” but sellable category. The key to selling a “challenge” is to come up with a clever advertising campaign and tackle the limitation literally. And, it's the right thing to do so that the seller and realtor will be operating in the spirit of full disclosure.

For those of you who have been reading my Innovative Space Ad Column in the Globe and Mail these past 20 years, here are a couple of past real-life examples:

We listed a semi-detached house that, along with its attached neighbour (and many others in the neighbourhood), was built on landfill over what was once Garrison Creek. The property was so tippy that an egg wouldn't sit on the counter without rolling off. Until the owner and the neighbour agree to knock down the attached houses, they will forever be stuck living on the tipping point. However, by converting the house into two apartments, it would command a reasonable rent from university students who find the tilt amusing (for a year, at least). As a result, it wouldn't be a bad income property for the money.

What was our ad?


Two unit semi near U of T. 

Great return on investment.

A place you’d always rent  (inferring that you probably would never live here!)


Here’s another: Since 1966, a huge swath of homes located over the Bloor-Danforth subway line live with the trains running underneath about every 2 to 5 minutes for 19.5 hours a day. The rumble is omniscient but you do get use to it, even if the spoon in your coffee cup rattles all day long.

So what was my ad?


An easy commute downtown.


Detached, on the subway line!  (as in literally!)


Finally: The listing is a vintage victorian located right in the heart of the city. What was once a residential neighbourhood over a hundred years ago is now called “The Entertainment District”. Most buildings are commercial, but this quirky victorian remains residential, and rather nice at that. The challenge? It's located right next to a popular nightclub that closes at 3am, at which point the drunken revelers spill onto the sidewalk either shrieking, puking, or peeing on your stoop.


So what was my ad?


Be where the action is.

For those who love entertaining.

Vibrant neighbourhood.


Being literal is a good way to go.

Other industries also apply the concept of being literal. While I realize this is a very forced segue, check out this “literal”  Total Eclipse Of The Heart Video Clip that has nothing to do with real estate. Nevertheless, it's an absolute hoot and will make your day.

I smile every time I watch it!

~Steven and the urbaneer team

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