Funny Real Estate


I’ve been corresponding with some prospective Buyers who recently emailed saying they’d been referred by their friends who successfully purchased their ideal property under our guidance and support. The circumstance of their friends mirrors their own stage of the life cycle, namely; getting spatially prepared to start a family. Like many of’s clients they made the following query: “Where, in the City, can they purchase a decent turn-key spacious dwelling located in reputable-school shopping-convenient ttc-access neighbourhood for a sum south of $1million?”

Like their friends, soon to be featured in our August “Home Of The Month Post” (click HERE to see July’s fascinating home-hunting tale), has the answers and can help. It’s very much our bailiwick.

But first, like all new relationships that begin with the written word, we’re currently, and tentatively, courting each other.

Through our internet mailboxes.

Email is the modern equivalent of the Olde Timey Days when, instead of it taking six months for your ink and quill letter to make the passage by boat, train, horse and carriage into the hands of your recipient, in a matter of minutes one can tap out a thoughtful response to present, qualify and demonstrate how well-suited you are for each other.

“Are we as good a match for each other as our matchmakers think?”

I think we secretly hope so. Or, at least I do.

In qualifying whether fits the bill as their realtor of choice for their next property purchase, they recently asked our opinion on a handful of properties that they had seen on which had caught their intrigue. We welcome this, as it provides an opportunity for us to illustrate how we assess property in the city, and what types of properties we warm to based on our client’s needs, wishes, wants and objectives.

The pickings are slim however. Given it’s summer’s last hurrah and the majority of Sellers are holding off on listing their property until the Fall, there’s a whole bunch of Ho Hum on the market and a shortage of sizzle. Basically realtors are scouring for the hidden gems right for their Buyers, if they themselves are not vacationing right now.

As I reviewed their list of picks, I couldn’t help but celebrate one property’s highly desirable Riverdale location. It’s a great neighbourhood. But there was one mitigating factor. The house literally sits on top of the Bloor Danforth subway line, the city’s major east west transit artery that spans the breadth of the original City of Toronto and beyond. “Sure it’s an amazing vibrant community,” I replied, “but your house also vibrates every few minutes, for nearly 20 hours a day.”

Yes to vibrant, no to vibrate.

As I wrapped up my real estate assessment, I referred these prospective clients to a past post I wrote in April 2010. It’s called “The Literal Sale, Literally“. Rather than ask you to click on that post, I’ve replicated it below because this truthful tale makes me laugh every time I reflect on how we’ve navigated through the challenge of selling the unusual, including those properties perched on the subway.

So welcome again, to The Literal Sale, Literally:


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 we’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 17 years, here are a few past real-life examples of ads we’ve published:

First, we listed a semi-detached house that, along with it’s 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 would find the tilt amusing. At least for a school year. 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 our ad?


An easy commute downtown.


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


Finally: The listing was 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 remained 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, vomiting, or peeing on your stoop.


So what was our 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” video clip that has nothing to do with real estate. Nevertheless, I smile every time I watch it!



Did you watch the video clip link spoofing Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse Of The Heart from 1983? I hope so. It’s hysterical.

Now for another segue. When I included a link to ‘The Literal Sale, Literally’ in my response to these prospective clients so they could get an accurate idea of my sense of humour (**Newsflash** we’re meeting this weekend!!!), while I watched the YouTube video it directed me to check out a NEW Literal Video. So I did.

Click HERE to see a Literal rendition of Rebecca Black’s FRIDAY, which is a bubblegum pop song released as a single in March 2011 that went viral and garnered over 200 million views on YouTube and countless parodies, including this.

The story of Friday’s ferocious online popularity lay in the ability for us to correspond at a speed far faster today than in Olden Times. In fact, did you know that we live in a world where two days of video are uploaded every minute? While this is moving farther and farther from the topic of real estate (though stay tuned for’s foray into video in the coming months), if you can spare seven minutes you really should watch this amazing TED Talk (a brillaint ‘Worthy Website’) by YouTube Trends Manager Kevin Allocca called Why Videos Go Viral. It offers the amusing tale on how the Friday video went viral and, to come full circle as I eventually do, provides additional insight on how we court each other’s attention in contemporary culture at a pace significantly more faster than in yonder days.

We love the use, and benefits, of technology at If you have questions about real estate, don’t hesitate to contact us here!

~ Steven

Amusing Ads – Globe & Mail
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