Bubble-talk in the Ottawa Citizen

The mainstream media is starting to impinge on the territory of the crazy unwashed blogger.
This article in the Ottawa Citizen seems to be fairly balanced and could be interesting for anyone wondering about the bubblicious state of real-estate around the world, particularly in vancouver. Some interesting numbers at the end as well, I wasn’t aware that average prices in Sidney Australia had dropped 16 percent since 2003. Clearly this must be a typo. Everyone knows real-estate never loses value.

Someone needs to remind the mainstream media to stay away from stories like this. This kind of talk should be left to loony bloggers and conspiracy theorists.

Spice up your MLS listing with glowing adjectives!

So it looks like the real-estate market in vancouver is slowing.. Maybe this is just a summer lull, but what if you’ve got a house, townhome or condo for sale? How can you stand out and get your listing noticed? use THE POWER OF ADJECTIVES!

Adjectives are a powerful sales tool when used properly, magically turning your cramped leaky one bedroom condo into a palace that potential buyers will fight over, poking each other with sticks as they thrust sweaty fistfuls of money at you.

Lets look at an example – lets say the property you have for sale is your typical FTBB (first time buyer bait). Its around six hundred square feet in size and faces a major street. It has granite countertops, an open but small kitchen/dining/living room and a 4×5 storage room. The building had some leak issues in the past, but repairs were done. The suite faces south letting a lot of sun in during the day turning it into a hothouse. A straight forward listing might look like this:

Ground level 600 sq ft. 1 bedroom condo. Loud and hot, but not currently leaky. Open to offers.

Ok. Sure that’s straight-forward, but it sure isn’t going to move your property right? So lets drop in some of those glowing adjectives. It almost doesnt matter which adjectives you choose, or how accurate they are – they just need to be POSITIVE! and make the condo sound FANTASTIC! Use relative opinion-based terms like GIANT! BRIGHT! and QUIET! No one will sue you for a little creative elaboration. Sure it’s hard to sleep with the traffic, but compared to trying to sleep on the tarmac underneath a running 747 its QUIET, and its GIANT if you compare it to a breadbox. It’s also good to throw in promises of the purchase bringing the buyer PRIDE and JOY! So lets have another go at that listing shall we?

Be the envy of all your friends! Gorgeous, beautiful home with amenities galore! This HUGE 600 sq ft garden level condo is BRIGHT and QUIET. FANTASTIC central location with easy access to transportation! Gleaming granite countertops and open kitchen PERFECT for entertaining. Extra room could be home-office or 2nd bedroom in this SOLID reliable building. Act fast, this one won’t last!

So there you go. Just a few glowing adjectives and a little creative stretching of the truth – this will get them in there to look at the place, now all you’ve got to do is get all of your personal belongings out of there and rent some tiny furniture to make it look bigger. Hire a proffesional home stager to really do this right. After all you’re not selling a condo, you’re selling a DREAM!

Lower Mainland Real-estate – Buyer Beware?!

According to this article on CKNW – Vancouver’s hot real estate market is creating conditions where the buyer must beware, particularly in the condo market. Really?? You mean prior to this you could blindly stumble into a purchase costing several hundred thousand dollars, not do any research and be just fine?

That from mortgage consultant Peter Kinch after some real estate developers have been told to stop selling condos thanks to allegations of duplicate sales and missing deposits.

Kinch says potential buyers are too often focused on buying quickly instead of doing more research, “There’s this pending sense of ‘If I don’t get in now, prices are going to keep rising and I’d better get in now.’ People are hearing stories of all their friends who have made so much money in real estate and they’re jumping on the bandwagon and I think these are the individuals that are becoming the most vulnerable.”

..ok, fair enough, but who’s fault is that? I mean sure, interest only loans and the constant blare of real-estate marketing may help to create conditions where people feel the need to buy something they can’t afford to buy before they are unable to afford it, but come on! Just where is the line between someone dumb enough to leap into a deal that they haven’t checked out, but smart enough to be able to sign their name?

The challenge of simply living simply

Condos in Vancouver are getting smaller and smaller which brings to mind the question of living efficiently in a small space. If you’ve got a 500 sq ft. condo, you may find it difficult to find a place for all your things, particularly if you’ve moved from a larger rented property. So maybe you look around at all your things and think “how much of this stuff do I really need?”

..Which is probably a very good question.

What do you really need to live? A bowl, a spoon, and the clothes on your back.. Perhaps a bag of rice to eat, a pot to cook it in and a library card. Now that’s living lean! Living like this could make your 500 feet of floorspace absolutely palatial, and if you ever went bankrupt (god forbid!) you could fit all your stuff into a shopping cart.

But wait.. you’re going to need a cloth to clean your dish, and place to put it while you’re not using it.. maybe even a second dish for when you have a vistor, and you might as well get a couple of chairs to sit in.. Suddenly you find yourself at Ikea, pressed into a sweaty throng of unhappy shoppers trying to figure out if the billy shelf was supposed to be in aisle 7 or 8.

Oh, right.. and you’re going to need a car to get to ikea, and you’ll need a place to put the car while your not using it, cause it sure as hell isn’t fitting into your apartment. You’ll probably also need one of those little pine-tree air fresheners to clear out the smell of particle-board glue after you’ve driven those Ikea shelves home.

See how this happens? Modern life is a snowball of accumulation, once we have the stuff we need we find things we want and pretty soon you’re renting a storage locker in Burnaby to store your overflow.

Anybody else find this to be a problem? How are you dealing with the ‘stuff’ issue? Do you have too much? Not enough? or juuuuust right?

Salt Lake City BOOMING after the Olympics! *and subsequent bust.

Things are looking up in Salt Lake City – Employment is rising and they’re showing a strong retail sector. Vacancy rates are still very high but they’re building a new convention center to bring more people into town. This recovery is very good news, because after they hosted the Winter Olympics in 2002 they suffered a big crash.

..when the skiers and skaters went home, Salt Lake City’s economy went into a tailspin. The host city was saddled with a glut of offices and hotel rooms while apartments went vacant as demand fell.

Last year, the city’s economy rebounded after two years of job losses. But the area’s office and apartment markets still struggle, and its promising retail market may be hurt by a stream of new construction.

With rents in SLC going for about 27% less than the national average this recovery is encouraging – even if Vancouver suffers a similar fate after the 2010 winter olympics it just goes to show that the economy can recover after a few years. By the year 2060 most any condo you buy in vancouver will even be cash positive!

Now thats a good investment!