Not For the Faint of Heart


I've never been a fan of roller coasters! While I am a bit of an adrenaline junkie and have had some unique death defying experiences like Death Road cycling, extreme zip-lining in Peru, rock climbing without equipment, and countless other thrill-seeking adventures, the most action-packed adventure was the Real Estate Market in 2017. In 28 years of buying and selling real estate, I had never experienced anything like it and neither had my clients. Everyday I prepared for battle. My office became the Command Centre and every offer required a customized strategy, a brave and unflinching Buyer, a meticulously written contract, speed and endurance, and unrelenting mental focus. Prices were no longer set by historical comparables or recent sales data, in actual fact, they were not set at all. Prices were changing by the minute, solely dependent on what the next Buyer was willing to pay and how many Buyers showed up at the table. It became the norm to submit 10 or more offers for a Buyer before lady luck found in their favour and the house was theirs. But their offer would contain no conditions on finance or inspection, and the condition on the sale of a house quickly became extinct. For Sellers it was like wining the lottery, quick sale and net proceeds far exceeding anything imaginable. Enter...Toronto Buyers and Agents. This is where things really got chaotic. Toronto Buyers brought their Agents, and their Agents brought their own set of rules and practices that would have us scrambling to adapt our current practices to match this new style of aggression. The Toronto Buyers flocked to Guelph with deeper pockets and with Agents who were accustomed to working in "cut throat" markets, forcing prices up higher than many Guelphites could afford. Many first time Buyers were forced North to Mount Forest and West to Listowel. Market momentum kept building with no end in sight. But just like every roller coaster ride, it came to an end, and abruptly at that. Media hype about the Government's "cooling off" initiatives instilled fear among Buyers as they headed for the nearest fence, waiting in anticipation of a more sane and balanced market. Banks became nervous, and in the fall, Buyer's and Agents waited anxiously for bank appraisals to complete their purchases, many falling short of their enthusiastic spring bids. In Toronto law suits became the norm as frantic Buyers with cold feet ran from their purchases, leaving large deposits in their wake. The day of reckoning was here. As we transition into a calmer market the possibility of one more crest lies just around the net corner. The new mortgage rules coming into effect in January could be the last peak before the coaster pulls into the station, as Buyers scramble to get an offer accepted before their buying power is decreased in January. As exciting as 2017 was for Consumers and Agents alike, I find a balanced market more palatable for all concerned. In other words, I am glad the ride is over.