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It’s because people care.

Posted June 12, 2018 by Paul in Messages from Paul

Earlier in my career, I was working with an established Toronto developer who had a hunch : that (in his words) “people would pay for good design”.

The entire concept struck me as self-evident, and I was always puzzled by how a leader in the new construction field in Toronto considered this statement unproven and untested.  I wholeheartedly admit that my curiosity with design has slipped into every facet of my life, and perhaps more so than some people, but I always felt that the individuality of design that many people seek in clothing, watches, furniture, artwork etc was naturally directly connected to the way in which they saw their living environment.  That, ultimately, design not only mattered, but that most people would identify value in homes that were considered and unique.

So, now perhaps a decade later, I’m quite proud of two things that have come of this conversation.  The first is that my developer client has gone on to design some astonishingly beautiful projects in the city, at both a high rise and low rise level.  We could argue (as we likely would) that some of their ‘product’ is still mildly banal, but then again not everything can stand out.  The second consequence of this is the explosive growth of profoundly interesting and at times arresting design in single family homes, modern residences, infill properties, laneway properties, midrise condominiums and finally (yes finally) high rises.

Hands down, people will pay for good design.  Because people who care should demand great design, and seek out the builders, architects and developers who place value in the quality of progressive and challenging thinking, and who care enough to consider what the quality of design and build means for the owner.  To me, it means a lot.

Get the balance right

Posted September 6, 2017 by Paul in Messages from Paul

Despite being a fan of Depeche Mode, I didn’t see their recent concert in Toronto. But this particular song title reminds me of something that I believe pretty profoundly – that a truly healthy real estate market is one in which there is a certain degree of balance. In the 10 years I’ve spent in the business, I’ve come to understand ‘balance’ in terms of shared degree of disappointment – where sellers are mildly disappointed with the sale price of their property, and buyers are mildly disappointed that they paid a bit too much. This of course seems a tad…

Get the balance right

Posted by Paul in Messages from Paul

Despite being a fan of Depeche Mode, I didn’t see their recent concert in Toronto. But this particular song title reminds me of something that I believe pretty profoundly – that a truly healthy real estate market is one in which there is a certain degree of balance. In the 10 years I’ve spent in the business, I’ve come to understand ‘balance’ in terms of shared degree of disappointment – where sellers are mildly disappointed with the sale price of their property, and buyers are mildly disappointed that they paid a bit too much. This of course seems a tad…

“My life is now forever changed after seeing this house.”

Posted June 24, 2016 by Paul in Messages from Paul

These, the words of a teenager who sheepishly asked to tour through one of our listings, during an “agent only” event. How glad I am that we invited her in. There was a certain elation in her statement, as she headed for the door to leave.  But also a simplicity in what she said that reminded me of precisely why our business is so profoundly enjoyable: because houses do indeed change lives.  And perhaps because it is the “commerce” of the agent to assist in buying and selling, the risk remains that we occasionally forget the impact that a home…

Buckle in, this should be fun…

Posted September 7, 2015 by Paul in Messages from Paul

It’s inevitable, being involved in residential real estate, that the conversation of market health with come up – frequently.  Utterly understandable, really.  When I was a food & wine critic, I became rather accustomed to “Oh, so what’s your favourite …” and so today I’m equally at ease responding to “what do you think will happen …”. For the purpose of being emphatic and hopefully clear, let me say here, now, the following : my crystal ball is on the fritz, but geez are things looking outstanding.  The meta-concerns of the market (inflation, consumer confidence, interest rates, monetary supply and other…

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…

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…

© 2018 Unique Urban Homes Paul Johnston

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

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