Theres an App for That

In the years before the internet, real estate was all about the lawn sign, advertising in the Saturday paper and weekend open houses. The internet age has changed how we do business.  Before even meeting with a Realtor, a buyer can spend hours at home watching 3D interactive virtual tours, mapping out preferred search areas and narrowing down the best local agent. Most buyers and sellers know exactly what they are looking for before picking up the phone or stopping by an open house.

With apps galore and ample information at our fingertips, you would think all questions in real estate can be solved with a Google search. Sadly this is not the case, real estate is one of those industries that requires research and hands on experience. I can think of a handful of services well beyond visual marketing, that would be beneficial to agents and our client base. A Streamlined list of condo building and the pet restrictions would be at the top of our list!

You love your pet, but does your future condo building?

With investment buyers, downsizers and many first time buyers being shut out of the freehold market, Maura and I are doing more condo sales than ever.  By far the hardest information to track down on a condo is the pet policy. Listing agents don’t know the policy, hard to reach property managers don’t know and have to look up policy in the declaration. Even condo status certificates can have multiple pet policies with discrepancy between the original declaration and the condo corporation rules.

Restrictions can vary from no attack dogs- essentially banning breads, size restrictions such as no dog weighing over 25 pounds to only one pet allowed per unit. In the fast moving condo market it can sometimes take 2 days to track down the rule and by then the unit has sold, frustrating buyers.

Worst of all, pet policies can change. We were working with a young couple this spring offering on a hip condo townhouse. They loved the unit, location and development. The dog policy was fairly broad with 2 pets maximum as the restriction. Seven other buyers also loved this unit and unfortunately our client didn’t have the highest bid. A month later the unit next door came on the market, we were prepared to pay this time, we did our diligence by reviewing the status certificate with the lawyer again. However, the dog policy had changed within the month. putting a 30 pound weight restriction on all new dogs. This is not a common occurrence, but a heartbreaking turn of events.

There has to be a better way to source pet policy info on condos. We are currently building our own pet policy database to help our clients rule out buildings in advance. It is a lot of work, but our hope is to source enough buildings to to make it public in the future.

As I said above, there are a number of areas in real estate where single sourced streamlined information would be valuable (next on my list would be street parking permit availability). Despite the power of the internet, working with an experienced agent who will be thorough and take the time to check verify information is still the best approach in navigating the real estate market.