FML Listings – Telling It How It Is

FML Listings

Sick and tired of all BrokerBabble online and in the blogosphere?  Can’t justify paying $1,000,000 for that one bedroom bungalow? … you’re not alone!

Last week, @BigVeech suggested I check out FML Listings – an anonymous Tumblr blogger who shares their opinion on everything from the high prices of buying in the city to the broker exaggerated choice of words in the listing. The blog launched this month and already The Grid TOBlog TO,  TorontoistMove Smartly have picked up on their postings!

I reached out to FML Listings and asked a varitey of questions about their thoughts on the current state of the TO market.  Check out our chat below!

How long has the blog been up for?

The blog has only been up for about two weeks. There are about 2 or 3 pages of listings at this point, and I’m finding more and more each day, along with all the amazing submissions people have been sending in. I had no idea there’d be this much content, and it’s almost sad in a way that I have about 20 listings ready to go up as I type this.

What made you start FMLL in the first place? Was there one listing that pushed you over the breaking point lol?

Well, I’ve been looking for houses on and off for a couple years and lately every listing I see is just crazier than the last. Then a few weeks ago I saw one that just killed me—it was a really old run down (and tiny) semi-detached house near the Danforth (listed as “in the beaches”) being sold for almost a million dollars, and I just couldn’t keep that one to myself. I wanted everyone to see how insane that was. The feedback I got when I posted it was so overwhelming; it made me realize that a lot of people didn’t know what was going on with real estate in this city. So I just kept posting more listings, and unfortunately there are tonnes of them.

Is there a goal to the blog?

Mostly for personal sanity. Every time I go to an overpriced open house, I tell myself “no one’s going to buy this.” Then it actually sells for at least asking price. So, seeing all the feedback I’ve been getting agreeing that the market is completely out whack makes me feel just a *little* bit better about the situation, and a little less crazy. That’s always great.

But more so, now that it’s getting so much exposure, I just love that word is getting out on what’s going on. I feel like a lot of people don’t realize how insane the market has gotten, so my ultimate goal would just be to spread the word to as many people as possible, and start that conversation of “wait a minute, is that house really worth a million dollars?”

Realtors loooove to promote the level of sales they’ve achieved through titles with very little value to the public (like platinum broker, 100% club etc) Have you considered giving an award of your own for crappiest listing?

Haha, that’s a great idea!! I would love to do that, but I think about 70% of the listings would win that award. It’d be so hard to narrow it down. When I write each listing out it seems I always start with “and this one is my favourite of all time!!” Then, as a new candidate comes along, I have to take a step back and tell myself that they all can’t be my favourite.

Any examples of listings done well?

It’s hard to say, but I’ve seen a couple good listings here and there. Recently I saw one out in the west end that was overpriced because the owners had just renovated it, but it was beautiful and the realtor was honest and upfront about everything, which is a nice change. But more often than not, most listings I see are very poorly done and rarely represent the actual home and price the home *should* be.

What do you expect out of your realtor when listing your home?

Well, I’d first and foremost expect honesty. I think in this market, agents are just getting lazier and saying whatever they want to make the quick sale. I first used an agent over 5 years ago to buy a condo, and they did a lot of work for me. But now I feel like the market just sells itself, and some agents are taking all this commission and not doing much work for it. I mean right now, I’m about to put my house up for sale (it’s a semi-detached in Richmond Hill), but I’m finding it so hard to justify paying a Realtor $25,000 commission to put a typo-filled, incorrect information, skewed-imaged listing on MLS and just wait for the offers to come in.

What your biggest pet peeve with MLS listings?

Just the lack of honesty in the listings, or the abundance of errors. I mean, if you look at some listings, they’re mapped in the wrong area, have incorrect photos (or none at all), or completely incorrect information. I’ve had agents tell me that to carry a million dollar property I was in, it would be $1600 a month, which I know just isn’t true. Or other agents say in their listings that houses in Newmarket are only 10 minutes to downtown Toronto. Have they ever driven on the 404 during the morning rush hour?? They’re selling inexperienced people a lifetime of debt they can’t afford, and a lifestyle they’re not prepared for. There needs to be some accountability there.

Can others send crappy listings to you?

Yes. I added a submission page for people to email me listings. So far the response has been overwhelming; the content is just overflowing at this point. It’s great that I have blog content, but more so it really makes me upset that there even are this many unaffordable trash houses. And now I’m getting listings from people in Brampton, Mississauga, and other 905 areas. So now it seems like it’s much more than just a Toronto problem.

Have any Realtors contacted you about seeing their listing on the blog?

Not yet, thankfully. I’ve actually had a lot of Realtors contact me praising me for what I’m doing! It’s an amazing feeling, and so validating. I mean, the back-story is that we’ve been looking at houses for years and we just never understood what was going on. Surely agents must know that these properties are overvalued. So to see these realtors email me and praise the site, it’s a great feeling.

  • Jim Marshall

    Interest website, but in contravention of the terms of use and copywrite. I’d be pretty ticked if as a realtor or home seller, I found one of my listings on the site.

    • Rob

      I wonder if the instigator of this blog has priced her house in Richmond Hill “reasonably” of if she had taken advantage of the market increases since she bought it 4 years ago?

  • Sunil Deonaraine

    To be honest about the whole thing, we also sell a lifetime of debt to experienced people.

    • Anonymous

      I entirely agree with you and we are all of us the principal motor of this cost of living inflation.

  • Anonymous

    Very well done blog. I do agree on a lot of points except that potential buyers are the main culprits in the actual situation.
    First of all, when buying a house, buyers are totally irresponsible and they don’t listen the arguments that make sense. This is the north american disease you would find in the impulse purchase, like: cars not adapted to the budget and the use of the household (SUV, 4X4, Vans, expensive foreign imports, etc…), empty monster homes with all the gadgets, Ikea furniture but 1.5 to 2 hours from the workplace, kids enjoying all the latest toys, practicing several expensive sports because of the club fees, the equipment, the fashionable clubs where one has to be seen, the yearly Caribean cruise, the timeshare in Collingwood, 55″ LED TV, Ipads, etc…
    People have been brainwashed by magazines, HGTV, big box stores; they want everything now even if they can’t afford it.
    People are obsessed by certain locations (even if they are not convenient), by specific items like granite counters and stainless steel appliances in the kitchen and hardwood floors, then it has to be an open concept kitchen. You can have the nicest house, well built, sound from the basement to the roof, nice layout, large bedrooms, nice bathrooms, excellent location in walking distance of KIng and Bay and the Eaton Centre, maintenace costs of less than $500/month (including taxes, water, gas and hydro), ready to move in at $600,000.
    The house won’t sell because the purchaser’s wife considers the lack of granite counter is a deal breaker??
    So the seller’s real estate agent shall push his client to invest $4,000 into a new granite counter and a S/S fridge and he’ll bump the listing price by $12,000.
    The prospect buyer misses an excellent deal and complains about the inflation in the real estate market.
    There are several hundred of excellent houses to buy in Toronto. Do your home work yourself.
    There are several sites of houses for sale by owners. Among the listed houses are excellent deals. Screen them, visit them, assess their potential. The seller shall share with you the money he saved in commissions. It’s easy to spot a good, well maintained house. If not sure ask for an inspection to assess the eventual work to be done.
    You have plenty of times to change the counters, the floors and the color of the walls. You’ll do it at your pace with you future financial resources. At least you won’t have to pay interests to the bank if these renovations are part of the mortgage.
    This is how the previous generations have built their savings. by living within their means. They did not want to leave in the kitchen with the smell of food and the dirty dishes; they uses the car for weekend trips and rode the buses or streetcars.
    Either the new generations are stupid and lazy or they want to show off they can buy what they can’t afford.
    Same thing is happening in the condo market. People buy insane shoebox condos for $399,000 with $500 condo fees + hydro, gas and taxes. They can’t even fit a queen size bed in the “master” bedroom… and they keep on buying these “hell on earth” poorly built.

  • JAW

    I read the article in the Toronto Star this Saturday. Let me get this straight. You own a home in Richmond Hill but you don’t want to sell that to move downtown. So you’re upset that the current real estate market doesn’t allow you to own multiple properties on mid-level white collar salaries? This has nothing to do with being able to do what our parents did and everything to do with an extraordinary sense of self entitlement.

  • Stephenscanlan

    Hi Melissa – I am sympathetic to your plight and have no vested interest in the topic. I still find it hard to believe that there are not decent houses out there for under 500K. I have found several – many are sliver lots or semis but not all. Attached is a link to what looks like a great little bungalow in east york for under 500k – 50 by 100 foot lot. I have no interest in this property and just spent 5 mins on MLS after reading the article in this weekends globe. Have a look and get a better agent! Maybe you focus too much on finding the ripoff deals – good luck

Sage Logo PNG copy Mark Savel - Sales Representative - Sage Real Estate LTD., Brokerage - 1820 Bayview Ave. Tor, Ont, M4G 4G7 - 416-483-8000

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