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Elli Davis in The Globe and Mail

POSTED ON January 26th  - POSTED IN Elli's Archives, Featured News, Toronto Real Estate News

Published in The Globe and Mail, 24 January 2013

by Carolyn Ireland

Toronto skyline by elPadawan

Toronto skyline by elPadawan

Of all the zany things happening in Toronto’s real estate market last week, perhaps the most mind-boggling was the melee that erupted over a pleasant yet unremarkable condo unit near Yonge and Davisville.

Seven parties leapt into the competition and pushed the sale price to $420,000 – or 8 per cent above the asking price of $389,000.

David Fleming of Bosley Real Estate Ltd., is one agent who was staggered by the deal. He wrote about it in his Toronto Realty Blog.

Mr. Fleming says there’s too much choice in the condo market right now for it to make sense for buyers to compete over a run-of-the-mill unit.

“I would never in this market tell a buyer to get involved in a bidding war on a condo,” he said in an interview.

“A nice house in Riverdale maybe – but not a condo.”

But that’s just one deal and Mr. Fleming says it could be an outlier. The point is that the market is extremely erratic at the moment.

The numbers from the Toronto Real Estate Board show that sales edged up 2.4 per cent in the Greater Toronto Area in the first half of January compared with the same period last year. The average selling price rose by 4 per cent in the same period.

But the market was – and continues to be – choppy and weird. Some properties stagnate for weeks and then sell at a significant discount of the asking price, while others sell overnight for more. Mr. Fleming raises another example of a house in the west end that had an asking price just less than $550,000, which is a segment of the market that draws lots of buyers.

His clients were primed to make an offer on Tuesday, which was the night set aside for reviewing bids. But before they had the chance, the house was sold late last Friday when a bully offer landed in front of the sellers.

So-called bullies usually offer an amount so substantial that the sellers are tempted to snatch at it. But in this case, Mr. Fleming points out, the bully got the house for $580,000. It’s a great deal for the buyer, he figures, but the sellers left a substantial amount of money on the table.

“I would have bought that house at that price and I’m not even in the market.”

His clients, he says, would have offered $610,000 or $620,000.

“That was frustrating. My clients are crushed.”

Elli Davis, an agent with Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd., cites the example of a house in Moore Park that received two offers and sold for $2.375-million. That marks a $176,000 premium above the asking price.

Mr. Fleming also had a buyer interested in that one, but the house sold within a day of coming on the market – before they even got over there to see it.

“Here I was telling him that I didn’t think the property would move.”

Mr. Fleming says lots of listings are sitting. He can’t imagine another condo unit getting seven offers in the current market.

“There are a million cookie-cutter condos out there that no one cares about.”

Ms. Davis says she tallied eight deals in January, 2012, but so far this year she has only recorded four. Still, she hopes to make up the difference by the end of the month.

“I’ve got a few in the works. Buyers just seem to be taking a little bit more time.”

Ms. Davis says some buyers are speculating that prices may fall and wonder if they should wait. But others are willing to move if they see the right property.

“They want that security that the market isn’t going to totally fall out of bed.”

She’s advising sellers to set a realistic asking price instead of setting an eye-catching price in the hope of sparking a bidding war. But she also cautions against asking too much. Prices have softened a bit since last spring, she says.

“If you’re way too high, people will ignore you and buy something that’s not.”

Mr. Fleming says the lack of snow in January may have helped the market because house hunters had no trouble tramping around. And even the arctic temperatures this week didn’t deter the buyers of 76 Langley Ave. in Riverdale. The home, priced at $949,000, sold Tuesday night for $1,129,000. “So much for the impending real estate crash,” he says. But the volatile nature of the market makes it difficult for agents to predict how the spring will shape up.

“One day you might get five offers on a house and the next week a house down the street gets zero.”

Sold: Casa Loma Home

POSTED ON January 3rd  - POSTED IN Done Deals, Featured News, Toronto Real Estate News

Published in The Globe and Mail, 18 December 2012

39 Wells Hill Ave.

Sold Casa Loma Home

Sold Casa Loma Home

  • Asking price: $950,000
  • Selling price: $1,375,000
  • Listing Agent: Elli Davis, Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd.

This Casa Loma home was deliberately priced under $1-million to attract offers and a quick sale. The strategy worked, with 15 rival bids delivered in 7 days and the winner coming in at $425,000 over asking.

It has been a roller-coaster year in real estate, opening on a residential battlefield that saw sellers clearly with the upper hand. In Toronto, bidding wars for mid-range homes in which as many as a dozen or more eager buyers trumped and re-trumped their offer prices were commonplace. Listing prices in many neighbourhoods were simply a starting point for homes that would eventually sell for hundreds of thousands over asking.

But as fall winds blew and the federal government’s new rules tightened financing requirements, sales – and sale prices – dipped across the country. Vancouver, Canada’s second-largest residential real estate market, was hit hardest and sales tumbled by double-digit percentages. These are a few of the stand-out real-estate transactions we’ve covered this year.

It Only Took 9 Days to Sell This $1.7-Million Forest Hill Home

POSTED ON July 17th  - POSTED IN Done Deals, Elli's Archives, Featured News, Toronto Real Estate News

310 Oriole Parkway

Avenue Rd. and Eglinton Ave. W.

  • Asking price: $1.795-million
  • Selling price: $1.775-million
  • Previous selling price: $768,000 (2000)
  • Taxes: $11,894 (2012)
  • Monthly fee: $489
  • Day on the market: nine
  • Listing agent: Elli Davis, Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd.’

The Action:

Forest Hill Home

Forest Hill Home

More than a dozen buyers requested showings of this three-storey house, which fronts on a busy residential street just a of couple blocks from parks, restaurants, shops and the Eglinton subway station.

What They Got:

The previous owners extensively revamped this traditional centre-hall residence into a more modern 3,515-square-foot space with five bedrooms, six bathrooms and casual and formal entertaining areas, plus a 692-square-foot basement suite with a guest bedroom, recreation area, kitchen and separate entry. Hosting large families and affairs can be easily done in the dining room, a fireside living room with access to a rear deck and family-room addition off the kitchen with glass doors to a heated pool, as well as media room with a 108-inch screen and projector on the second floor. Four-car parking is available on a private driveway on the 50-by-135-foot lot.

The Agent’s Take:

“The house was in excellent condition throughout [as the seller] had done renovations over the years that really enhanced the home, which was a very large home,” says agent Elli Davis.

“It had a beautifully renovated kitchen with a large eat-in area and an open-concept family room, which opened to the backyard with a glamorous in-ground pool and lovely landscaping. It looked like a country club.”

Posted in The Globe and Mail, July 12, 2012.

Women’s Post: Canada’s Top Women in Real Estate, Home and Design

POSTED ON June 28th  - POSTED IN Elli's Archives, Featured News, Toronto Real Estate News

Published in Women’s Post, Sarah Lambert, 18 June 2012.

Elli Davis, Sales Representative, Royal LePage

Even as an elementary school teacher, Elli was constantly reading real-estate ads and going to open houses on weekends.

“I guess I always had a latent interest in real estate without even realizing it was there,” she says.

At a friend’s urging, she took the required courses. That was in 1983.

Within three weeks she had sold her first home.

By 1987, she’d been named the number one agent for Royal LePage and, although the company has quadrupled in size since she started out, Elli still maintains one of the very top positions within the company.

press-womens-postElli has been able to achieve this level of success by following her golden rule: “I always service my customer as I would want to be serviced myself and I truly care about their largest asset as if it were my own money.”

By pushing herself out of her comfort zone, Elli has created a life that she loves – balancing her time between her inspiring career and her family.

“Take a chance, become uncomfortable,” she urges, “If you make yourself uncomfortable, it’s amazing how fast you become comfortable; and if you’re not, then go on and try something else. The minute I started real estate, I knew it was just perfect for me.”

National Post Solds: 76 Garnet Avenue

POSTED ON June 12th  - POSTED IN Done Deals, Featured News, Toronto Real Estate News

Published in the National Post, 9 June 2012.

SEATON VILLAGE

76 Garnet Ave. (Bloor and Christie streets)

Asking price: $699,000
Sold for: $808,000
Taxes: $3,758 (2012)
Bedrooms: 3+1
Bathrooms: 3
Time on the market: five days

DEMAND FOR RENOVATED HOUSE

76 Garnet Avenue

76 Garnet Avenue

Potential buyers liked that this Seaton Village home is detached, renovated and has an in-law suite. It sold for more than $100,000 over the asking price in five days.

The two-storey home has hardwood floors in the combination living and dining room and tile floors in the renovated kitchen. A walkout to a deck from the family room and a three-piece bathroom are other main-floor features.

The master bedroom has his-and-her closets. Two bedrooms and a four-piece bathroom are also on the second floor.

Lower-level features include a kitchen, a living room, a bedroom and a four-piece bathroom.

The home is on a 20x115foot lot that has a two-car garage and a “great backyard,” says listing agent Elli Davis. It’s also close to schools, banks, the TTC and shopping.

Listing Broker: Royal LePage Real Estate Services (Elli Davis)

Toronto Condo Boom Being Fueled by Single Women

POSTED ON May 25th  - POSTED IN Elli's Archives, Featured News, Toronto Real Estate News

Published On Tue May 22 2012.

Elli Davis was a woman well ahead of her time when she bought her first condo 26 years ago.

“It took me about an hour. There were just two buildings to choose from in the (central Toronto) area at the time,” says Davis, who wasn’t even 30.

thestar-logoBut her agent was so awful at dealing with what was, admittedly, a bit of an anomaly at the time — a single woman buying a place on her own — that Davis would become a realtor herself two years later. Since then, she’s seen the real estate revolution firsthand.

Single women now account for about 20 per cent of all real estate purchases and well over 30 per cent of condo purchases, especially in Toronto’s booming downtown core, realtors and condo developers say.

Their significant buying power, and exacting standards, have helped drive the move to granite and stainless steel designer kitchens, better bathroom storage and even lighting — especially over the makeup mirror, says Jim Ritchie, president of Canada’s biggest condo builder, Tridel.

They are looking for locations within walking distance of transit and like the added security of condos, especially concierges who will keep an eye on underground security cameras as they head to their car.

Their style sense has even influenced unit layouts and the look of the lobbies, says Ritchie.

“The good news is, what appeals to female buyers benefits everybody,” he adds.

The average age of Tridel’s female buyers is about 33, says Ritchie, but they’re less likely to buy a unit before it’s built — partly because they want to be able to walk around the place and look out the windows first.

So they tend to buy from investors who are flipping their brand-new units and tend to require less of a down payment, which works well for women who tend to have a harder time coming up with the standard 20 to 25 per cent deposit.

Women see real estate as such an investment in their own future financial security that friends and co-workers are increasingly banding together to buy duplexes or single-family homes where they can share space and costs, says Laura Parsons, a mortgage specialist with BMO Bank of Montreal.

“We’re seeing a mix of all sorts of things on the mortgage front,” says Parsons, “some really different approaches” from women.

Three waitresses pooled their money, as did two nurses, in Calgary’s booming housing market, fearing that if they didn’t buy now they risked being priced out of a home forever, says Parsons.

Many buy with an eye to the future, close to schools for the children they hope to have someday.

And the trend shows no signs of letting up: Among Canadians who hope to buy in the next two years, some 49 per cent are women while just 35 per cent are men, according to the recently released RBC Homeownership poll.

“This is a universal phenomenon,” says Hamilton Re/Max realtor Conrad Zurini, who spoke about the female phenomenon during a BMO roundtable discussion on housing earlier this year.

While exact statistics are hard to find in Canada, the U.S. National Association of Realtors did a study in 2011 that found 54 per cent of all first-time buyers are married couples and 12 per cent are unmarried couples. Single females accounted for about 21 per cent of sales and single men just 12 per cent, says Zurini.

“Women have always made a lot of the house buying decisions, but now they have that mandate more than ever, and they can do it on their own, because they bring sizable incomes to the table,” says Zurini.

“We’ve had to rethink the way we market real estate because this group definitely communicates differently. They text a lot. They ask a lot of questions. They are fact finders. And they really look at where do I want to be in the next few years.”

Crime rates and “walk scores” are also critical: “A guy will just get in the car and not really think about that,” says Zurini. “A woman is thinking, ‘Is there a Starbucks on my way to work? They’re thinking lifestyle and they will sacrifice size to augment that.”

Given that women tend to outlive men, and the first wave of baby boomers are now in their late 60s, the trend of women buying on their own is not only likely to increase, but have a profound effect on housing of the future, says retired architect and urban planning expert Luis Rodriguez who has studied the issue of women’s impact on housing.

They’ll be looking beyond nice kitchens to flexible accommodation that perhaps allows them to share common spaces but also have personal space, much like student housing, says Rodriguez.

“This social trend (of more female buyers) is going to be very important to the housing market,” he adds.

Already they are looking for more durable finishes and turnkey homes that don’t require renovations or extensive maintenance, realtors say.

Even a plaster wall needing repair or missing baseboards in a room can be enough to turn a single woman off buying an otherwise great property, says realtor Sandra Rinomato of the west-end Toronto brokerage Sandra Rinomato Realty Inc. and host of the new HGTV show Buy Herself.

Rinomato spends each half-hour show helping women become homeowners — from the newly divorced to the veteran renter who has nothing to show for 20 years of handing over monthly cheques to a landlord.

Elli Davis was determined not to be there.

She was in her late 20s, had saved up a bit of money and wanted the financial security of owning her own home.

She also wanted a doorman and someplace close to downtown that was easy to maintain.

“Those are the same things that prevail for women today. Except they’ve got a lot more choice.”

Sold: Spectacular View of the City

Wellesley/Bay

1001 Bay St. #1408 (Wellesley and Bay streets)

  • Asking price: $385,000
  • Sold for: $382,000
  • Taxes: $1,951 (2011)
  • Monthly fee: $489
  • Bedrooms: 1
  • Bathrooms: 1
  • Time on the market: two days

“A spectacular view of the city can be enjoyed from this suite, in a luxury condo on Bay Street,” says listing agent Elli Davis.

1001 Bay Street

1001 Bay Street

The one-bedroom, one-bathroom suite has a combination living and dining room, stainless steel appliances in the kitchen and French doors and a four-piece ensuite bathroom in the master suite. The den has an east view of the city.

The suite has an ensuite laundry and comes with one underground parking space and a locker.

Building amenities include a concierge, an exercise room, an indoor pool, a sauna and a squash court.

The suite is within walking distance of the TTC and shopping.

Listing Broker: Royal LePage Real Estate Services (Elli Davis)

Posted in National Post, May 14, 2012

Yonge Street Rarity Snapped Up Quickly

POSTED ON May 14th  - POSTED IN Done Deals, Featured News, Toronto Real Estate News

1177 YONGE STREET #701, TORONTO

  • ASKING PRICE: $649,000
  • SELLING PRICE: $676,000
  • PREVIOUS SELLING PRICES: $475,000 (2003); $455,000 (2002)
  • TAXES: $3,588 (2011)
  • DAYS ON THE MARKET: Two
  • LISTING AGENT: Elli Davis, Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd

The Action:

1177 Yonge Street

1177 Yonge Street

Few suites are listed for sale at The Ports, so when the opportunity presents itself, they sell quickly like this two-bedroom penthouse, which was purchased in a bidding war after just two dozen showings in two days.

What They Got:

On the top floor of a seven-storey building, this 1,361-square-foot unit features large south-facing windows and hardwood floors in most areas, including a living room with a wood burning fireplace and a dining area with sliding doors to a 100-square-foot balcony, as well as granite floors and stainless steel appliances in the sky lit kitchen.

Other assets include a carpeted master suite with a walk-in closet and entry to one of two full bathrooms, a full sized laundry room, in addition to two lockers and two parking spots.

Utilities are not included in a monthly fee of $1,101, which covers recreation facilities and visitor parking.

The Agent’s Take:

“It’s a penthouse that has skylights, so it is very bright and has a gorgeous view down Yonge Street, so you can see the CN Tower,” agent Elli Davis said. “It does need some updating, thus the price was more affordable than some of the newer condominium buildings in Toronto.”

Residents of this roughly 30-year-old building also have easy access to desirable amenities. “The building offers 24-hour security, a tennis court, barbecues and tables in the park area on the east side of the building,” adds Ms. Davis. “Its in a residential area, but it’s on the subway line and steps to shops, so it’s well located.”

Posted in The Globe and Mail, May 4, 2012.

North Toronto Detached Home Fetches $80,000 Over Asking

POSTED ON May 11th  - POSTED IN Done Deals, Featured News, Toronto Real Estate News

31 FAIRFIELD ROAD, TORONTO

  • ASKING PRICE: $895,000
  • SELLING PRICE: $975,000
  • PREVIOUS SELLING PRICES: $799,100 (2009); $705,300 (2004); $332,500 (1999); $264,700 (1996)
  • TAXES: $5,784 (2011)
  • DAYS ON THE MARKET: 15
  • LISTING AGENT: Elli Davis, Royal LePage Real Estate Services Ltd

The Action:

Amid a mix of semi and detached homes – many with three bedrooms – this detached, two-bedroom house received about three dozen visitors before one paid $80,000 over the list price to buy it.

31 Fairfield Road

31 Fairfield Road

What They Got:

A recent homeowner of this roughly 70-year-old house gave it new life by refinishing the maple staircase, installing new hardwood floors in the bedrooms upstairs and remodeling the three bathrooms and an eat-in kitchen.

On the main floor, there is a living room with a wood burning fireplace, an adjacent dining room and a rear family room with double doors to a private stone patio and landscaped garden.

Added bonuses include skylights in the main bathroom and master suite, which also features a Juliet balcony, a guest bedroom in the basement and a private driveway to the side of the 31-by-102-foot lot.

The Agent’s Take:

“There is some redevelopment on the street, so some of the smaller ones are replaced by newer, larger ones,” agent Elli Davis said. “But this was an older home redone, so it retained the older charm and was beautifully done inside.”

The home’s locale was also in demand. “It’s a quiet street close to Mount Pleasant and Eglinton where there are terrific restaurants and shops,” Ms. Davis said. “It’s close to Northern Secondary School, which has a gifted program.”

Posted in The Globe and Mail, May 04, 2012.