Tell the Truth or Make a Sale? The Great Dilemma…
Real Estate Agents are notorious for being INCREDIBLY positive people:
Small rooms = “cozy”
Fixer Uppers = “equity building properties”
Sketchy Neighbourhoods = “up and coming”
I know. We never want to say anything negative about anything, because it might hurt our chances of making a sale.
But me, that’s not how I roll. I have gained far more respect telling the whole truth, and advising people about EVERYTHING they need to know to make the best purchase decision for them; including the good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s my job to get to know my clients well enough to provide advice based on their needs and likes. People hire me tailor my expertise to their goals, and that’s exactly what we do here at The Village Guru.
Lorne Park is STILL Better….
It wasn’t too long ago that only a few prestige neighbourhoods boasted million dollar homes. That’s because those areas were distinctly better for a variety of reasons. Now, since the “Great Real Estate Panic of 2017”, almost every single neighbourhood, regardless of its calibre, has hit the million dollar mark. I’m sorry, but every village is NOT the same nor has the same value. I know the current market seems to say it does, but the truth is that many neighbourhoods have been inflated from surplus demand and lack of inventory. That Million Dollar Threshold no longer tells the whole story. So if you don’t know Mississauga very well, you had better hire a true expert willing to tell you the difference.
How Different are the Neighbourhoods, Really?
So yes, my title is a little over dramatic. It’s not that any neighbourhood in Mississauga is terrible, they’re just not on par with others, and shouldn’t been seen as such. The danger of working with a sales agent who isn’t an expert in the area, is that you might think you’re looking in a better neighbourhood than you really are. You can look at a home in Streetsville, which is a great area, and then look at a home in East Credit, not 1 km away, and you don’t realize the shift. The East Credit home might also be nice, but the neighbourhood is quite different. Often buyers can’t pick up on the differences between neighbourhoods in the short hours they are out house hunting. These homes are not as comparable as they seem on the surface, but you may end up paying a Streetsville price for an East Credit home. This is what has been happening all over Mississauga, especially with out of town buyers, and it’s part of why the prices of homes have been rising everywhere, regardless of location.
A Chocolate Croissant is not a Pop Tart
Don’t get me wrong, pop tarts can taste mighty good when you’re craving them. But if I’m asking you for a croissant, you can’t hand me a pop tart and tell me “It’s pretty much the same”. Let’s take a closer look at how you might mistake the value and quality of certain neighbourhoods to be comparable, but in reality they are quite different.
West Erin Mills – It’s not Sawmill Valley
Although both areas are part of Erin Mills, and both have large brick homes that are mostly well taken care of, they have 1 distinguishing difference.
My wife is from Burlington and so when we bought our home together in Mississauga, she asked me why not West Erin Mills? These all-brick homes were big and beautiful. Most were very well maintained, and in a great location. What’s the issue?
Even then, there were a lot of basement apartments, which means a denser population of people. Renters can come and go, and some people feel renters are not as connected to their community like a homeowner is. And when you think of the big-home suburban dream, some people just don’t want to live in an area where most of the neighbours have basement rentals. The city now has a new plan to further encourage basement apartments as part of their affordable housing plan, so this area will continue to see more and more basement rentals.
As well, there is a housing complex off Ridgway that has not developed a good reputation for itself. If you were driving the neighbourhood you might never see it, but if this were a concern for you, you should know about it.
Credit Woodlands – It’s Not Mississauga Road
Living along the Credit River is always a good thing, so you might not think being on the east side or west side makes much difference. And if you don’t know the area, they seem to have the similar characteristics.
Credit Woodlands is a small area within Erindale Village. There are streets along the river with unique custom homes, and lots of mature trees. But, unlike Mississauga Road, it also has many multi-family homes. This area is in high demand for investors, but for family oriented clients looking for the “white picket fence dream”, the fact that most homes have been duplexed does not appeal to them at all. I have taken many clients to this area because it looks quite nice at first glance, but in the end they always end up choosing elsewhere.
Also, along Dundas, there are some rather undesirable apartment buildings that have built a reputation that is not positive. For people who want to walk around to do their chores and so forth, this isn’t always the area they want to do that in.
Park Royal – It’s Not Lorne Park
If you don’t know the area, it can be quite confusing to know what is Lorne Park and what is Clarkson. On Google maps, if you click on a neighbourhood name, like “Streetsville”, a blue map of the area will pop up to show you the boundaries. But nothing shows up with Clarkson and Lorne Park, showing even Google isn’t quite sure where one ends and the other begins.
If you go to the map made by the Toronto Real Estate Board, they have done a good job setting the boundaries, but the public remains largely unaware. The problem begins when realtors keep stretching the Lorne Park boundary further and further to where I see homes in Clarkson labelled as Lorne Park, because we all know how valuable a Lorne Park address is. Whatever the reason, it can further add to the confusion of values. This is from realtor.ca a few days ago, and I see it all the time. This is a Clarkson home near the border of Lorne Park. The phrase “close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades” comes to mind.
East Credit – It’s Not Streetsville
This is a huge area that was created by Toronto Real Estate Board, which rolls together some lovely areas of the city together with some less prime areas. The best sections are a small handful of streets nestled right along the Credit River, including an enclave of homes called Credit Point at the south west corner of the village. The rest of East Credit is not at all the same.
If you look at West Oak Trails in Oakville, the home styles are the same as the north end of East Credit, which used to be called Heartland. But the feeling couldn’t be more different. Sadly, the difference is the condition of the homes. The amount of care and maintenance that owners put into their home truly does show. It shows in whether exterior wood gets painted or left to chip off, if driveways are re-coated, if concrete builder stoops are replaced with stone or stamped concrete. Are gardens tended and trees planted? I’ve even seen cars parked on lawns and boulevards, which really hurts the image of an area. When showing these homes, many of the interiors are missing the standard of upkeep that many buyers desire. There certainly are a small percentage of owners who do put a high priority on their home, but the majority of the area feels disappointingly lacking.
Churchill Meadows – It’s not Erin Mills
There isn’t much comparable to Churchill Meadows, given the time that it was built and the design of the village. It’s probably most comparable to newer areas of Milton and Brampton, but with a fantastic Mississauga location. And with homes that are often even nicer in architecture that Central Erin Mills, you might consider it as an upgraded option to the older village.
What my clients have found in Churchill Meadows, time and time again, is that the curb appeal is noticeably poor for an area that is only 10-15 years old. Builder lot signs still hang on the homes, old builder cement steps sit crumbling and wobbly. Many lawns sit overgrown and few plants have been dug in. Although the builder made most of these homes low maintenance, the doors are in need of fresh paint and the cheap entrance handles are rusting out. There are some homes that have been well maintained, and they stand out like a fish out of water. When viewing the inside of the homes listed for sale, my clients are also not impressed with the interior upkeep of these young homes that should be sparkling. Coupled with the small lots, small driveways and streets loaded with cars, most decide to buy elsewhere. There are certainly good aspects to the village, but the negatives and perceived obstacles tend to outweigh the good points of the area to most of my clients.
Overall, the entire GTA is going to continue to increase in value over time, there is no doubt about that. But these areas mentioned above, I believe, will continue to face challenges before they improve. When these neighbourhoods reach a point of disrepair or transiency that doesn’t warrant the land values, a correction will be made. Just like in Toronto, neighbourhoods change from generation to generation, and Mississauga will be no different. Government policy, demographic shifts, and school performance all play a part in the calibre of these neighbourhoods. But for the time being, regardless of whether or not the homes have broken past $1 million mark, these neighbourhoods still have a long way to go before I’ll consider them on par with other premium neighbourhoods.
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