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Buyer Beware? No, Buyer be Informed

Posted April 14, 2015 by Paul in Messages from Paul

“Buyer Beware”.

Seems like really useless advice to me, because it’s a catch-all for anything and everything that may go wrong.  In truth, it always struck more more as an ass-covering device, to pull out after something had gone totally amiss, only to demonstrate that the person who uttered the warning might have known better.  With a little finger wagging.  Along the lines of “I told you so”.  And just pray it wasn’t uttered in the latin, elevating the statement to pure snottiness.

“Buyer, Be Informed”.

We receive numerous calls from buyers looking at modern properties throughout the city, seeking some guidance and assistance in evaluating the properties worthiness.  I applaud the people who reach out for advice, because it demonstrates a commitment to caution, and a desire to make as good a decision as possible about one of the most dramatic and consequential purchases: a home.

When it comes to pre-construction modern homes in particular, I implore people to consider the following: pedigree, experience and authenticity.

Let’s start with the last, as much is being made at the moment of authenticity, especially in the arena of luxury goods.  Many consider the Hermes bag to be one of the highest expressions of true luxury, as it stands at the epicentre of the brand’s experience, and continues a tradition of hand-made craftsmanship which is the foundation of Hermes’ brand.  It is hand stitched, hand rubbed and built with the knowledge gained over many generations of leather work.

So what is the corollary in modern homes?  I can assure you, it isn’t the myriad examples of torturously ‘faux modern’ properties that some developers have inflicted on the marketplace in an effort to capture the modern home buyer.  There are simply too many individual properties and developments that are simulacra or pastiche – they stand in for the authentic product, much like a bags on Canal Street in nyc.  Except, those bags at least look tolerable.

Ask first about the authenticity of the project: is it the product of an architect, designer, builder, consultant and team that can demonstrate a capacity for the creation of truly modern properties?  Is the home part of a longer lineage (perhaps not as long as Hermes, but all things are relative)? Is the home part of the larger, authentic conversation and dialogue surrounding modern properties in Toronto?

Which then naturally speaks to experience.  It’s essential to understand what proven experience the team has in the field, and how many examples of gracious / striking / stunning developments they can point to where they played a role as architect, sales consultant, builder, developer… How did they help inform the craftsmanship and beauty of a development or home, and how does that stand today.

Because, at the core of experience and authentic is what I like to identify as ‘pedigree’.  Pedigree is to me where compassion, accomplishment and pride intersect, and is the very moment where you know that someone’s effort is constantly being directed towards achieving greatness.  There are builders, designers, architects and firms in the city who aspire to contribute to the vitality and beauty of the city, by introducing homes that are brilliant examples of the modern form.  These people bring with them a pedigree of success and aspiration, which at the end of the day are the very hallmarks of a magnificent home.

So sure, beware when you explore the realm of the modern home.  But do more than that, by questioning and investigating the team behind your home.  It’s the single greatest means of better understanding the motivations and potential outcomes of any new construction opportunity.

Buyer Beware? No, Buyer be Informed

Posted by Paul in Messages from Paul

“Buyer Beware”. Seems like really useless advice to me, because it’s a catch-all for anything and everything that may go wrong.  In truth, it always struck more more as an ass-covering device, to pull out after something had gone totally amiss, only to demonstrate that the person who uttered the warning might have known better.  With a little finger wagging.  Along the lines of “I told you so”.  And just pray it wasn’t uttered in the latin, elevating the statement to pure snottiness. “Buyer, Be Informed”. We receive numerous calls from buyers looking at modern properties throughout the city, seeking…

Authenticity and Credibility

Posted by Paul in Messages from Paul

“Buyer Beware”. Alarmingly useless, isn’t it?  Seems more like a provocation to feel like a complete idiot upon the discovery of something untoward when it’s much too late, than anything approaching sage guidance.  It’s even more snarky and elitist when issued in the latin… “Buyer Be Informed” is how I prefer to think about it. And when it comes to modern homes across the city, there’s absolutely no better guidance that can be given to anyone consider purchasing pre-construction properties. Be informed, and be clear about the integrity, provenance and experience of those who propose to you a modern home. We…

Our Avenues are Getting Crowded – thankfully…

Posted November 2, 2014 by Paul in Messages from Paul

Our Avenues are Getting Crowded And let me tell you, I think that’s a great thing. It wasn’t long ago that we spoke of midrise development in fairly vague terms. Mainly about the lofty ambitions of lining core arteries with sensibly-scaled, “city building” structures.  There were city guidelines produced, discussion panels, a flood of newspaper profiles and the kind of urban design chatter and enthusiasm that I saw the first modern townhome projects give rise to.  But 5 years ago there were only a handful of pionering midrise buildings underway, and I had the pleasure of helping to bring many…

Shock of The New : not so shocking after all…

Posted April 11, 2014 by Paul in Messages from Paul

I giggle a little bit when a neuron misfires and I’m suddenly connecting what I do today for a living, with what I studied in university. Let’s go back… Most people think I must have studied architecture, or graphic design, or some equally visual field. Fact is, I laboured through a 4 year BA while simultaneously promoting bands, djing, throwing raves and scouting nightclub locations. But back to my communications degree, and these wonderful ‘quasi texts’ that I swallowed whole. One was Neil Postmans’ “Amusing Ourselves to Death” (hardly academic, but as close to analytic poetry as writing gets), another…

Modern Niche is Really Growing in Toronto

Posted July 6, 2013 by Paul in Messages from Paul

It’s amazing how a ‘niche’ can grow so extraordinarily quickly. Only a few years ago, I was helping to bring the very first new wave of modern housing design to the city – seemingly fairly alone in the wilderness with only a few brave pioneers. A few homes at a time… Today, to my delight, modern and distinctive properties are top of mind for so many buyers in the city. So much so, in fact, that for two years running our new developments have been awarded “Project of the Year” for low-rise at the BILD awards – the building industry’s…

The Truth About Toronto Real Estates

Posted February 14, 2013 by Paul in Messages from Paul

There. I’ve gone and done it. A snazzy headline to catch your attention which suggests some long-winded and divinely accurate analysis of the future of Toronto Real Estate. Heck, keep reading, we might even invite you to buy a book or attend a seminar… Ahem, sorry for any disappointment. As my past clients know, when the conversation of investment comes up, I really try to focus attention on what I believe to be the true consideration: what will living in a particular home, in a particular neighbourhood, truly mean to you? What kind of ‘investment’ in your own happiness and…

Will You Keep on Building Higher, ‘Till There’s No More Room Up There…

Posted November 8, 2012 by Paul in Messages from Paul

If you are of a certain age, I challenge you to keep that song out of your brain for the next hour. Not so easy, is it? As a teenager and into my early 20s, I worked fairly consistently as a dj. While my true love was early house music – and I sought any opportunity to fill my crates with obscure 12″ tracks, picking up gigs at such illustrious venues as the Lizard Lounge or Rockit – what ultimately paid the bills were good old high school dances and weddings. I was not a wedding singer, but the next…

Where Do We Go From Here?

Posted September 29, 2012 by Paul in Messages from Paul

I’m asked with enough frequency “where do I see the market going”, that I’m able to hopefully provide a fairly considered response. Entirely accurate? Well, ultimately only time will tell. The two greatest developments of late in my business have been the emergence of consequential infill “at grade” housing, and some very exciting mid-rise developments. I’ve had the honour of helping to bring some exceptional developments to the market, some of which we are now seeing ’emulated’ by other builders. That’s entirely flattering, of course, but it also creates a challenge for the buyer: trying to identify the authentic from…

The Future of Midrise in Toronto

Posted June 26, 2012 by Paul in Messages from Paul

One of the most rewarding aspects of this career is the simple act of helping people find “home”.  I don’t ever want to think of what I do as the banal trade of commodity – as though I am negotiating pork futures or esoteric investment vehicles.  Rather, in my finest hours, I know that I help people find the comfortable, well lit space in which to go about the joys (and pains) of daily life. The places where celebratory memories will be made, where neighbours will become friends, where local shops will become familiar purveyors.  Home, and family, and neighbourhood…

What’s Next? Unique Urban Homes

Posted January 14, 2012 by Paul in Messages from Paul

I’ve been extremely privileged to be part of a number of teams that have brought modern infill housing to the city. It’s been an exceptional few years – working with passionate developers, architects and designers. The success of these developments, from block to inhabit claremont to trinity bellwoods townhomes has been a testament to Torontonian’s desire to live in engaging and exciting neighbourhoods in the very core of the city. We want to live in the vibrant city core, in neighbourhoods that are thriving and growing. 2012 is full of exciting opportunities: a new home development in west queen west,…

© 2015 Unique Urban Homes Paul Johnston

All Rights Reserved
Paul Johnston, Salesperson, Right at Home Realty Inc Brokerage
895 Don Mills Road, Suite 112, Toronto, Ont M3C 1W3

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