paul@pauljohnston.com 416.897.5480
Salesperson, right at home realty inc. 416.391.3232

Buyer Beware? No, Buyer be Informed

Apr 14, 2015 by 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.