Stories of bidding frenzies and houses selling hundreds of thousands above asking price have become legendary in recent years in Toronto, but one realtor is taking it a step further and charging people just to look at a house that’s for sale.
Royal LePage agent Dagmara Lulek is asking prospective buyers interested in a $5-million home in Toronto’s Beach neighbourhood to pony up $50 to look at the property.
The property listing asks for a “$50 charitable donation required/accepted prior to showing,” with the money going to the SickKids Foundation.
But it’s not about charity -- it’s about keeping gawkers off the property while the house is being sold.
"This is somebody's home. We can't have people coming through the home just to be curious," Lulek said, as quoted by Yahoo News. "That's not what it's about. It's about people that are in the market and people who want to see the house because they're interested in buying it."
To be sure, people would have plenty of reason to want to check out the property. According to the Toronto Star, it’s just one of a dozen or so homes in Toronto that have private access to Lake Ontario.
And Lulek describes the view from the cliff-side house as “the best in the city.”
“This is a marketing technique that benefits everyone,” she told the Star. “When you list a home of this calibre for sale, all the neighbours are curious. We’d have a lineup 24/7.”
Lulek admits the move has drawn some complaints from real estate agents, but the Real Estate Council of Ontario told Yahoo News it views the practice as acceptable so long as the donation requirement isn’t false or misleading, and is done with the seller’s support.
Though seemingly modest by comparison to other homes in its price range, the house at 1 Fallingbrook Rd. features seven bedrooms and five bathrooms, a two-story guest house, a wrap-around porch and “a few dozen weather-beaten stairs” leading to the beach, as the Star put it.
Lulek says so far the donation requirement hasn’t dampened interest in the property. And given the asking price, it’s a good bet a $50 fee won’t scare away buyers. After all, property taxes on the house alone will run you $25,000 a year.
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