Saturday, April 14, 2007

Saturday Open Houses

Managed to get off work earlier than usual today and we had time to spend together, so we headed out into Fernwood, Cedarhill and Gordon Head/Mt. Doug to check out some open houses.

Fernwood Leaner: this is the second house we've walked through in this neighbourhood where we've felt like we were going to fall over. Nice yard, looked OK from the outside, inside not so much, no suite potential, needed "$50K or so" according to the realtor. No one else walking through with us, but as we arrived the mid-50s couple leaving said to each other, "lot's nice, how much to tear down and build a new one?" Considering they'd pay close to $375K for a below average lot I hope they don't bother.

CedarHill Flipper: this house was an obvious flipper job. No furniture in the place, scent of building materials/new paint, updated fixtures, appliances, door knobs, closet organizers. It was as though they read that TC article from three weeks ago and got to work. The quality of finish was cheap; new baseboards had nail holes filled but not sanded; no caulking so you could see the un-evenness of the walls. Basement was suited out (tiny suite 7 foot ceilings) but you'd need to spend at least another $5K to finish the tiny kitchen/laundry/entrance way (yes, the same room). When I see stuff like this--how much would it have taken to sand and paint the baseboard and run some caulk?--I can't help but wonder what else didn't get done right?

Much more activity in this place: people chatting in the kitchen with the realtor, several families walking through etc. But at $520K for 2100SF, which incidentally is $130K over assessment, will it sell quickly?

MT Tolmie FSBO: nice house, 1800SF, $500K, one bed "mortgage helper". Don't have anything bad to say, gorgeous really, nice owner, answered our questions, just well out of our price range. Couple people walked through while we there, quietly. Family of four adults outside talking when we arrived, still there when we left.

MT Tolmie Family Home: Another really nice house. Quiet. No one going through with us. Obviously well kept, updated but not recent (maybe last 3-4 years as opposed to last 6 months). No realtor present, just assistant. $575K though for 2000SF.

MT Tolmie Condo: above average condo, above average price at $315K. Not something we'd be interested in long term. Lot's of walk throughs, though no 'buzz'.

Gordon Head Flipper: signs were up all the way out on Shelbourne too, but nobody home. I'd call this a flipper home too for the same reasons as above: no furniture, obvious new work done especially to the outside, but the quality was definitely there. This could well be a house that was updated to sell by the previous owners but not a flipper house. No idea of the price. Guessing $625K plus.

Mt Doug Family Home: One of three for sale/sold on the street by a low fee realtor. Really nice house, backs onto Mt Doug Park. "Staged" well for an open house being conducted by the owner. Cookies baking, music on, lights on in the nice rooms, lights off in the rooms that need work. Somewhat steady traffic through, though again, no 'buzz'.

Some general thoughts: surprised that there weren't more open houses advertised today, but looks like Sunday is the preferred day for these. Not really surprised by the lack of 'buzz'; if the market is as hot as the pros would have us believe two things would be happening. First, there wouldn't be an open house. Second, if there were, it would be a feeding frenzy would it not? But then again, the salespeople weren't exhibiting 'hungry' behavior so the feeding has been good lately.

I'm guessing what we walked through was the high end prices for homes in these categories. We came out of this experience feeling indifferent: though we both looked at each other in the car on the way home and wondered why we didn't get in 5 years ago to get out now.

I don't think the average person is aware of just how much there is to choose from right now. If we can, we'll get out and do this again in the next 3-4 weeks to see if things are different. I'm guessing that come mid-late May, the open houses will have a different feel altogether--maybe even have the realtor there to 'sell' us on the place.


Vicguy said...

Doesn't sound like the frenzied market we keep reading about in the hype reports out of the Vancouver Sun. I would say Victoria is a good barometer of whats to come and I sense we are at the beginning of the downturn. I always figgered when they start baking the cookies at the open houses then the boom is over for sure,where would you find the time to bake cookies while you have to deal with all the multiple bidders lining up ?

Anonymous said...

In today's TC they have quite the open house on a place in Toronto. $139,000 will buy you a 300 sq. ft. house. What a deal!
Is it getting ridiculous out there or is it just me?