“Coming Soon”, Online classifieds


Dear David,

A For Sale sign labelled “Coming Soon” was posted on a condo unit in my complex last week. A friend of mine was interested in buying the property. She called the agent, who wasn’t ready to show it yet, but mentioned that there was significant interest. The sign disappeared a week later and we can’t find the listing on Realtor.ca. What happened? – DISAPPOINTED

DEAR DISAPPOINTED: I checked that particular address on the MLS system, and found no record of it being for sale. It’s possible that the owner changed their mind and took it off the market, or it may have been preemptively sold (in other words, sold before it was officially on the market). It’s not unusual for properties to sell quickly, especially those in high demand that generate plenty of buzz. My guess is that the agent could have been bombarded with inquiries and when the condo was ready, it received an offer very quickly. If your friend has their heart set on a particular condo complex, I suggest they enlist an experienced agent keep close tabs on it. Should another unit become available, this may improve their chances of being “in the loop” and able to act quickly.

Pro Tip: When I have a client in this type of scenario, I connect directly with the listing agent to ensure we are on the inside track. If an opportunity to snag their dream unit becomes available, I do everything I can to be first out of the gate.

Dear David,

My partner and I have a rental property. Our current tenant is leaving, so we’re searching out a replacement. I posted the property for rent on a popular online classified site. Since then, I’ve been bombarded with dozens of inquiries, most of which seem unqualified. How do I find someone reliable? – FEELING OVERWHELMED

DEAR OVERWHELMED: I suggest you make sure that your rent is in line with today’s market rates. Judging by the response you are receiving, I suspect it may be a bit too cheap. Vacancy rates in our region are hovering at around two percent, while rents have risen dramatically in the past few years, in keeping with market values. Together with the new stress test, the jump in housing prices has temporarily sidelined some first time home buyers, making the competition for rentals even more intense.

In my practice, I pre-qualify candidates by asking them to submit a credit application and credit report (either Equifax or TransUnion) before they see the property. Because the rental market is so competitive, it’s unlikely a good tenant will be surprised by this request. Using a standard rental application streamlines the process for everyone. A renter needs to fill it out only once, and it should give the landlord all the information they need to be able to make an informed decision.

Pro Tip: As a general rule, rental properties listed on the MLS system tend to bring in extremely qualified tenants, executive relocations, etc. Because these renters are working with a Realtor, they are quite often pre-qualified and may represent a different demographic. Listing a rental property with a Realtor does involve a fee, though owners may find the investment worthwhile if they’ve had a harrowing experience with online classifieds. #AskDavid