My Review of the Homebuyers.com Preconstruction App

Take a drive in downtown Toronto and you’re guaranteed to see two things: cranes and sandwich boards for condos!  Problem is, neither really tell you much about the projects they’re promoting.  Alas, a solution is here!

Homebuyers.com has just rolled out it’s user friendly iPhone and iPad app!  I downloaded the app today and took it for a test run to see how well it works.

The download from the app store was quick, seemless and took seconds to load!  The first step is to either sign-in under your Facebook or Email account.  I started by skipping, but I’d highly suggest doing so as more features are available once logged in.

After asking for your location, a “Google map” based screen loads up with your current location and near by pre construction projects! With a pinch or pull of the screen the user can zoom in or out from the given area. Pink and blue pins represent the different condos.  Each pin has a starting price of remaining units.

Clicking on a pin will take you to the individual listing of the building. It’s a very clean and simple layout that features a rendering of the building, starting price, mortgage caluculator, favorite button, priority registration, info, models (some contain floorplans and some renderings), current promotions, notes and contact button.

When the user clicks the star button the building get’s added to your “favourite list”.  The pin on the main screen is changed to yellow, this helps keep track of what you’ve seen and to narrow down the process.

The mortgage button is a handy addition to the app that gives the user 5 financing scenarios.  You can go into each option and customize the scenario.  Once done, you can email the results!  In future updates, a deposit calculator would also be helpful.

The descriptions of the buildings are short and concise, skipping all the normal broker babble and cutting straight to the goods!

The “models” and “promotions” tabs still require a lot of updating (at time of writting this). For some buildings, the “promotions” tab shows model suites and in others – floorplans.  A tab just for floorplans would be incredibly powerful.  Most promo tabs don’t have any specials listed, but as more builders take note of the app, I could see that changing.

The “My Notes” section does exactly what the name describes!  Users can take and store notes for each building.  You’ll need to have an email account activated in order to use this part of the app.

Lastly is the “contact” tab… users can email the developer directly from the app! The address and (sometimes) phone numbers are also listed under this section.

For an even quicker search you can narrow the criteria by a ton of variables such as location, price, type, bedrooms, square footage, status (coming soon, under construction, move-in now etc) and developer!

I was most impressed with how fast the app loaded.  Typically with map based apps there’s an annoying lag before the user can even start the search.  With the homebuyers.com app, you’re up and running right away! I love that the individual listing pages are so easily shareable through other social media sites like twitter and facebook.  In a time where developers are still creating incredibly hard to navigate websites, this app saves a ton of time getting you the info you want.  There’s even the option to sign up for priority registration… this will notify you when new projects open up to the public!

The only criticism I could offer about the app is that I didn’t really see the point of having a “regular” vs “featured listing” option but hopefully there’s a bigger plan for it down the road. Also, a few of the smaller builders were missing from the list and a couple of projects were not yet available. My small comments aside, For it’s first version I give the app 4 high-rises out of 5!

Download the app here: http://app.homebuyers.com/

 

 

Bold Towns Launches with Prices and Floorplans

Bold Towns

The wait is over for The Bold Towns at Broadview and Danforth!  Floorplans and prices for the project were just released to the public.  In total only 14 towns will be built on the site. The collection is comprised of 6 different configurations.  Each town comes with a parking spot (included in the price), a rec-room, a terrace, and 3 bedrooms.  The master bedroom makes up the entire 3rd and comes with a walk-in closet and a private ensuite with a separate shower, tub and bathroom!

Preview pricing has homes starting at $809,990. Purchasers are required to put down a 15% deposit on the towns. Move-in date is scheduled for approximately Spring 2013. You can preview the floorplans below:

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River City Penthouse Collection Now Available

Penthouse Collection

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River City Penthouse Collection Coming Soon

River City

River City has been making a lot of headway these past few months, and because of it, they’re now gearing up for the release of their penthouse collection!  We still don’t know all of the exact details but some key features I was able to find out are: 10′ ceilings, Saucier and Perrotte signature staircases, large rooftop terraces with stunning views of the city or open green space and gas hook ups!

River City under Construction

As you can see from the photo above, construction of phase 1 is well underway! Even driving through the area you can see signs of the new public spaces, parks and roads coming together! [Read more...]

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.

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