Why Realtors Hate Listing Condos

Selling freehold homes and selling condos are two very diffrent things. In fact, many Toronto Realtors would prefer not to list condos because of the marketing challenges they present. One of the most simple obstacles to marketing a condominium is that most condominium corporations do not allow Realtors to install “FOR SALE” signs. At condocommandos.ca we have innovative solutions to deal with the “No Sign” problem. If you are thinking of selling your condo, call us and let us show you why for the Condo Commandos; No sign is No problem.

7 Arnold Avenue

Welcome to 7 Arnold Ave. This charming 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home is in the Rockliffe-Smythe neighbourhood which was recently rated one of the top 4 neighborhoods in Toronto to buy a house under $500k. Arnold Ave. is a great family friendly street, that dead-ends overlooking a park. This house is near the new stockyards mall and has easy access to the TTC. With an asking price of just $559,000, this house offers great value for growing families. If you would like to take a look at this house, call or text Condo Chris Borkowski at 416-0854-6198.

95 Parkhurst Blvd in Leaside

Hi I’m Chris Borkowski, you know me as “Condo” Chris and I’m a Broker with Remax Hallmark right here in the City of Toronto.

Welcome to 95 Parkhurst Boulevard. A charming home in the Leaside area situated on a rare corner lot facing Hanna Road. This fully detached house has three bedrooms and two bathrooms. A finished basement, high efficiency furnace and beautiful hardwood flooring. This brick house features a nice wide layout that’s ready to enjoy as-is or if you’re a contractor it’s the perfect renovation project.


77 Cameron Crescent in Leaside

Hi Im Chris Borkowski, you know me as “Condo” Chris and I’m a Broker with Remax Hallmark right here in the City of Toronto.

Welcome to 77 Cameron Crescent in trendy Leaside. This 4+1 bedroom house has 2 bathrooms and a fully finished basement. The interior contains a warm blend of classic Leaside charm with modern upgrades. Featuring all original leaded glass in the front and hand-restored gumwood trim throughout, this house also has an open concept kitchen, large modern laundry room and a large 3rd floor extension that serves as the master bedroom complete with fireplace and skylights. This family home is located just a short walk from Bessborough Public school and Leaside High school.

CondoChris Merry Christmas and A Happy New Years: Predictions for 2014

Hi I’m Chris Borkowski. You know me as “Condo Chris” and I am a broker with RE/MAX Hallmark right here in the city of Toronto.

Now, If you watch my blogs you’ll remember when I revealed that I was using “Crystal Ball” technology to predict the future of the real estate market. I do this because I found that i was often being asked questions like “whats the market gonna be like next year?” or, “whats my house going to be worth in six months?”. Last year I used the crystal Ball to make a few predictions, lets recap: “crystal ball – Are the leafs going to win the Stanley cup in 2013? (wha, wha, wha…….) Well, you heard it here first folks: There will be no real estate crash in 2013 AND the leafs are not going to win the Stanley Cup either”…. Ouch. Well we all know what happened to the Maple Leafs in 2013 AND there was no real estate crash either. In fact, across the board in the City of Toronto prices were up over 10%.

So, now we come to the time of the year when we look into the crystal ball and make a prediction for 2014. Now we could ask about the leafs again, but we don’t really need a crystal ball to see where that ones going, do we? So, instead lets ask about the upcoming municipal election: “Crystal Ball, who is going to win the upcoming municipal election in the city of Toronto in 2014” …. Rob Ford! Well, you heard it here first folks, the crystal ball doesn’t lie – Rob Ford will win the election in 2014 and maintain his title as the Mayor of the city of Toronto!

I’d like to take this time to thank all of my clients, colleagues and friends for their patronage and support this year and I would like to wish everyone a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR. ALL THE BEST IN 2014!


Today I’m at 81 Navy Wharf. This is my newest listing and it’s gorgeous- overlooks the Sky Dome!

I’m here to talk to you about the future. I’ve been reading a lot of blogs and newspapers. There’s a lot of people out there predicting a real estate crash. “Oh, a crash is coming, a crash is coming!” In Toronto in 2013. They think there’s too many condos!. I’m here to tell you absolutely, 100%, unequivocally, there is no real estate crash coming in 2013!

Now, you’re probably saying, “Hey, Condo Chris, how do you know this?” Do I know this because I’m up at 6:00 in the morning reading papers, watching interest rate announcements? Is it because I’m sitting in nice condos like this or houses uptown (my listings)? I see how many buyers are coming through, how many agents are brokering appointments. You know, one of the coolest things I do is I talk to real estate mortgage brokers that I know and I ask them, “How many pre-approvals do you have lined up?” Pre-approvals are people waiting to buy that haven’t bought yet. You know, most of the ones that I know have a stack this big.

There’s lots of buyers waiting in the wings.

Now, do all of these things lead me to make an educated guess that there’s no crash coming in 2013? Or maybe it’s something more fantastical? Like maybe a crystal ball? Maybe that’s how I can tell the future because I have a crystal ball. Well, today I’m here to tell you the truth. Do you want to know what it is? It’s a crystal ball! I wasn’t lying. To Hell with reading the newspapers. You know, in my world as a real estate agent, I’m constantly being asked, “Hey, what’s my house going to be worth in six months?”, “Hey, where is the market going to be in six months?” or, “What’s going to happen two years from now?”
You know, I thought, I’m sick and tired of trying to answer these questions without a crystal ball. I went out and invested in one! It’s not an iPad or anything fancy like that, but this is low-tech and it works like a charm. For predicting the future, this thing is dead nuts accurate. Listen, why don’t we ask it a question right not and get an answer?

Crystal Ball, will the Toronto Maple Leaves win the Stanley Cup this year? Oo, sorry folks. You heard it here first: there’s not going to be a real estate crash here in Toronto in 2013 and unfortunately, the Toronto Maple Leafs aren’t going to win the Stanley Cup either. You know, if your realtor isn’t using crystal ball technology, maybe it’s time you found a realtor who did.

My name’s Chris Borkowski and I’m realtor with Re/Max Hallmark right here in the city of Toronto. If you’d like to come take a look at this property at 81 Navy Wharf or if you have any real estate questions for me or the crystal ball, feel free to give me a call at 416-486-5588. Thanks for watching!

If you have any questions, or you’re looking for a great Toronto real estate agent, Toronto real estate investment, or office space, call me at 416-486-5588 or email condochris@gmail.com.

86 Cambridge Ave.

SOLD $617,000. Thanks for watching!

Hi there. Welcome to 86 Cambridge Ave. This is my newest listing and it’s in the EO3 district in the Plater Estates community. Now, 86 Cambridge is a nice three-bedroom semi-detached and it has a lot of upgrades. It’s got hardwood floors throughout the main floor, it’s got a Scarlett O’Hara staircase, the kitchen has been completely renovated and it’s modern, as is the bathroom upstairs, and the backyard is just gorgeous. Now, if you’re a parent, this is in the Jackman school district, so that’s also highly desirable when you live downtown. Now, enough of me talking. Follow me and let’s take a look at this property.

Taken some pictures inside of 86 Cambridge here, signed the papers, and we’re ready to go! Last thing is to put this “open house” sign in. Now, the grass is a little bit frozen. I’m going to try this without a sledgehammer, pogo-stick style we call this. Oh! It’s working good! Here we go, it’s in there. Oh, people are stopping already. I don’t even have the sign up and people are stopping.
Sharp looking, aye? You might want to put one of these on your lawn. You don’t even need to be for sale if you want to put one of these on your lawn, I got a couple extras, just put it out and let me know if anybody calls.

Thanks for watching our little tour of 86 Cambridge Ave. Although this home has been sold since I first did the video, give me a call at 416-486-5588 if you’d like to find a property like it in the Plater Estates area. Or feel free to e-mail me, Condochris@gmail.com.

Welcome to The Junction

Looking for Townhouses for sale in Toronto?

Today I’m in the Junction area. Now, I just read an article a few days ago that said the Junction was looking like it may become the next Liberty Village. Now for anyone’s who’s got experience with the Junction, they might think that that’s a far-fetched idea, but I’m going to give you a few ideas and a little tour and show you why this neighborhood has the potential to be the next Liberty Village.Now, for the purpose of this blog, I’m going to call the Junction from Bloor Landsdowne up to Saint Claire and Landsdowne, across to Saint Claire and Keel, down to Keel and Dundas West.Now, the Junction’s famous for having what’s called fuzzy boundaries because it’s actually not bordered by streets but by train tracks so it’s very hard to determine where the exact boundaries are. In fact, Junction proper probably follows Dundas West to where it meets College because that’s where the actual junction of the train tracks are.

So how is the Junction compared to Liberty Village and why do people think it may be the next Liberty Village? The first thing you can look at is the retailers here on Dundas West. You remember how Queen West used to be before the H&M’s and the Gap’s moved in? It was like this. Funky bookshops, funky furniture shops, small, independent cafes, and cool new restaurants. You’re not going to find this on Queen West anymore, but you do find it in the Junction.

So right now (in the video) you’re facing west. Come with me and take look north. If you look north up Keele here, you’re going to see there’s already heavy condo development happening. These are new buildings, they’ve only been there for a few years, and they’re bringing a lot of new blood into the neighborhood. Now, right behind those buildings is a big, empty track of land that’s already been bought by developers and they’re planning a mixed use residential-commercial neighborhood right up there. This is why people feel that the Junction is developing like Liberty Village. I’m going to take you up there, I’m going to show it to you right now. Let’s go! (watch the video).

I’m at the bottom of Perth Street here, Sterling Road. I had to put my snow shoes on to get you guys this story because we’re deep in the shit right now. Now, I don’t know if you guys remember Liberty Village before it was developed, but it was a lot like this. Just a barren industrial wasteland that really needed some mixed use residential-commercial to come in. So, a developer has indeed bought this tract of land here. In my mind it’s probably about the same size as Liberty Village and they’re going to be putting in nice townhouses, nice condos, and some mixed use retail in here, which is going to blow the roof off this neighbourhood.

Now, I’m going to take you after this just slightly north of here to the Wallace-Emerson district. I’m going to show you two groups of townhouses, tell you what their values are like, and show you how those townhouses are set to appreciate once this development pops off.

Okay, follow me, (watch the video), let’s head up to Wallace and check out the brownstones. Okay! So here we are on the bridge at the end of Wallace. This is the eastern edge of the Junction. If you look to my left you’ve got the brownstone townhouses. Just up the road here slightly on the right is the Davenport Village, another group of townhouses just recently built. So I took a look at sold comparable listings both up here in the Junction and Downtown in CO 1 King West area. I looked at most recent sold townhouse comparables. In the Junction here there were about sixteen of them that have sold since December. I averaged them out roughly to $350 per square foot. I took a look at the last twenty sold comparable townhouses Downtown, they’re roughly $475 to $525 a square foot. So, you’re talking about $150 difference there per square foot on a 1000 square feet- that’s a big difference. Furthermore, if you’re looking for more than a 1000 square feet, let’s say 1300, 1400, very tough to find down in CO 1, but you’re going to find lots of listings up here in the Junction that have that type of square footage.

So, thanks for joining me on my little tour of the Junction here. Now, it may not be Liberty Village yet, it may never be Liberty Village. But there’s a lot of potential here and a lot of room for it to move up. So if you’re thinking about buying a Toronto townhouse, I really suggest you take a look at the Junction. If you want help with it, give me a call. My name’s Chris Borkowski, they call me Condo Chris, and I’m a broker with Re/Max Hallmark here in the Junction. Thanks for watching.

If you have any questions, or you’re looking for Toronto townhouses for sale, a Toronto condo, office space, or rentals call me at 416-486-5588 or email condochris@gmail.com.

HOW MUCH was that Listing?

Today I’m in King West Village to talk to you about pricing Toronto real estate.

Now, you know when you walk into a store and you see a product listed at $3.99, you know it’s really a $4 product but they listed it at $3.99 to try to trick your brain into thinking that it’s cheaper than it really is. Now, that’s a technique that marketers have been using for generations and it’s worked fairly well for them. They call this a heuristic tendency. That’s a shortcut your brain uses to determine value.

I’m going to tell you about a study that Cornell University just did and they published it in their journal Marketing Science. They looked at buyer attitudes towards precise numbers. They took these subjects and they showed the strings of numbers and they asked them to rate them in terms of value; which one looked highest, which one looked lowest. Surprisingly enough when they showed them this number ($511,534) it consistently rated as appearing lower than this number ($510,000). Why? Because it’s a precision number. Even though it’s higher, it appeared to their brain as lower. This number over here ($401, 298) consistently appeared lower than this number ($400,000). Same reason, because it’s been rounded off.

They call this the precision heuristic. A heuristic is a shortcut your brain uses to make a snap decision about something. In this case, value. When your brain looks at a number, it has to make a decision quickly as to what it’s worth. When the number’s rounded off, it’s easier to figure out. When it’s a precise number, it takes your brain a moment to juggle it around and figure out what it’s worth.

In the marketplace they looked at about a thousand listings in both Florida and New York City. All these listings sold under asking, so there’s some negotiation involved. Consistently, the listings with the precision number sold for 0.75% higher than those with a rounded off number. On a $500,000 house that’s over $3700. Does it matter to you? You tell me. It should, because it’s going to make you more money.

Their number one tip: don’t use zeroes. Their number two tip: don’t use nines.

Listen, if you need help pricing your property, give me a call. My name’s Chris Borkowski. I’m a broker with Re/Max Hallmark here in the city of Toronto.

If you have any questions, or you’re looking for a great Toronto condo, Toronto real estate investment, or office space, call me at 416-486-5588 or email condochris@gmail.com.

The TRUTH about Open Houses

Today I’m downtown Toronto on King West to tell you the truth about open houses. You know, Toronto open houses are really popular. They’re standard in the real estate industry and it’s the number one thing that clients tend to ask me when I list their place: “When’s the open house?” After the open house: “How’d the open house go? What kind of results did we get?”

Listen, I’m here to tell you one thing. The truth about open houses is this: open houses don’t sell properties. Open houses are a figment of the days before Internet. Before the Internet, how did you search for properties? You woke up on the weekend, you loaded your family into the car, you drove to the neighborhood you want to live in, and you drove around looking for these things: open house signs. When you see one, you get to check out the property. There was no other way to do your research.

Nowadays, you don’t drive to properties, you surf there. That’s how qualified buyers find listings: they search them on the Internet. You know, your most qualified buyer isn’t someone who’s going to walk in willy-nilly off the street and buy the biggest purchase they’ve ever made in their life on a whim. Qualified buyers, the ones that are going to bring you the best price for your property have already been qualified by mortgage brokers so they know what they can spend. They’ve already done their research online, so they know about your property, and generally they have an agent representing them.

So who’s coming to these Toronto open houses, then? You do an open house, who the heck is showing up? I’ll tell you who’s showing up: nosy neighbors! Why do they show up? Who cares. They want to see what your place looks like, they want to compare your place to their place, they want to see your wallpaper, but most importantly, you know what they want to know? What’s their property worth? I’ll tell you what else, agents love open houses. Why? Not because they think they’re going to sell your property, they get to meet your neighbors. Your neighbors come in, oh, someone’s listing their place for this much? How much is my place worth? Great, let me take a look at your place and I’ll tell you. Next thing you know, we’ll have your place listed snap, bang in a hurry.

So do yourself a favor. If you’re stressed about your open houses, if you’re worried that there’s not enough or that you haven’t had enough response, you haven’t had people coming through, or you’re trying to pile a bunch of them in weekend after weekend after weekend, tone it down, take it easy, relax. An open house is probably not going to sell your Toronto property.

If you have any questions, or you’re looking for a great Toronto condo, Toronto real estate investment, or office space, call me at 416-486-5588 or email condochris@gmail.com.

Make Money from Your Garage!

You probably think I’m in a killer loft or Toronto condo downtown.

Do you know what this is?

This is a garage in the back of an investment property that I sold my client a few months back. Initially he had thought of turning this into a parking pad or tearing it down and turning it into a lawn for his tenants, but when we looked at the bones and saw what was here and there was enough space to do it, he decided that he would turn this into a functional space.

Check out the stairs in the video. Aren’t they great? These are by a company called ARTE. You can find a link on my website. This is a totally modular stair system. You can make it in a spiral, you can do it on an angle, you can do a lot of things with this staircase. You can use it in very small spaces like my client has done here. Initially when we bought my client this house, he had thought about tearing this structure down. He thought about maybe making pad parking or potentially putting a lawn back here for his tenants to enjoy during the summer. Once we took a look at the footprint and realized it was a solid brick building, he thought maybe with a little bit of ingenuity and a little bit of money, he could renovate it and turn it into an income producing portion of his property. As of this afternoon I know that he is interviewing a potential tenant who’d like to use it for an office and I believe his asking price right now is about $650 a month.

The total cost of this improvement to this particular structure was about $10,000, so if he does manage to get his $650 a month that he plans on renting it out for, this structure will pay for itself in less than two years and after that it’s all gravy. $650 is a much as a part time job to most people, so that’s quite a bit of money and in my mind it was a great investment for him.
Now, there’s no kitchen in here, but you can see in the video that what he has done is added a simple bathroom so this space now functions perfectly for maybe a recording space, someone who’s got a small business to run can do it in here no problem and actually there’s free parking out there on the streets, so even though this is in the east end, it’s way more cost effective than renting out a space downtown Toronto.

If you have any questions, or you’re looking for a great Toronto condo, Toronto real estate investment, or office space, call me at 416-486-5588 or email condochris@gmail.com.

Help! My Lockbox is frozen!

Here I am in the centre of Toronto, in the middle of March and it’s really, really cold out and this brings me to a problem I’ve had a few times over the past weeks and that’s with frozen lockboxes.

This time of year the temperature goes up and down a lot, you get moisture in the lockbox and you can’t open it.  It’s too damned cold out here to be fiddlin’ around with it in the middle of Winter

When you’re selling a condo you generally put your lockbox outside.  These lockboxes are for real estate agents, their not for the general public.  Some skateboarding hooligans can’t come buy, take your key out and have a drug fuelled sex orgy in your house.

Your real estate agent wants to show your property for sale, or he wants to show you a property that you might buy.  He calls ahead, he books an appointment and he’s given the code.  Once he has the code he can show you into the property or he can show a prospective buyer your property.

As you can see in the video there are lots and lots of locboxes out here and one of the biggest joys that I have as a real estate agent is the constant game of hide and go seek that you need to find the lockbox that you need for the unit that you want to get into.

Today in this video, I’m going to be installing one of my own lockboxes, I’m going to show you what I do to keep it looking unique and I’m going to show you what you can do in the case of having a lockbox stick.

First thing you want to do is identify your own lockbox, you can put your card on the back of it, you can put your name on it, you can paint it a funny colour.  In the video you’ll even see an example of a lockbox within a plastic bag.

I like to use a bright orange zip tie.  That way you’ll always know it’s mine and you can see it from a distance.

I’d also like to show you an example of what happens when a lockbox freezes. You know it’s March out here in the City of Toronto and there are a lot of temperature fluctuations.  The temperature goes up, the temperature comes down.  When it comes down you get moisture inside the lockbox.  Generally during the day you get some sun on the lockbox, you get water into it, it freezes.  At night when you’re trying to show a property, let’s say 6 or 7 o’clock, the sun’s gone down, people are coming home form work and they want to see your property.  You’ve got to go and try to get the lockbox open after it’s been in the hot sun all day and now it’s frozen and won’t work.

So here are a few things you can do to get your lockbox unstuck;

As a Toronto Realtor, I carry a $3.00 bottle of lock de-icer with me at all times during the Winter.  If the lockbox is stuck, simply spray a little of the lock de-icer in the lock, spray some in the mechanism, give it two minutes and I swear you will be able to open this lockbox like you just bought it yesterday.

If you don’t have lock de-icer with you, the next best thing is simple windshield washer fluid.  Either the all season, or Winter type will work.  Pour a little of the windshield washer fluid on your lockbox, give it a minute or two, you may have to jimmy it a bit, but that lockbox will come unstuck and free soon enough and you’ll be able to get your clients into the house.

So let’s say you don’t have windshield washer fluid. It’s the last second, your clients are getting pissed, they’re about to go home. You need to open this lockbox! How are you going to do it?  HOT COFFEE!  It’s not pretty!  It’s messy!  It can be dirty but it works. Pour a little bit of hot coffee on your lockbox, let it sit in, let the lock thaw and sure enough you’ll be able to get the key.  It’ll cost you about 3 bucks (for the good variety), but it’s worth it because you got to show the property and your clients are happy.

I’m Chris Borkowsky…they call me Condo Chris, I’m a broker with ReMAX Hallmark in the City of Toronto.  If you’re looking for a Condo in Toronto give me a call at 416-486-5588.