I learn a lot from my clients. Here are five things I’ve learned about Kitchener Waterloo from my Toronto clients
A few weeks ago, on the podcast, I mentioned that it took me longer to get to my brokerage office in downtown Toronto than it did to get to the Galleria Mall in Buffalo New York.
Toronto traffic sucks.
But I still like visiting Toronto and I suppose I would like to live there if only they had a decent subway system. Of course, I don’t have to move there because Toronto is coming to us. We are the destination at the western end of the innovation corridor. We someday will have all day GoTrain Service to the Big T.O. And we have some Torontonians moving here, though not as many as the internet and the news media would have you think.
I work with two or three families moving from the Greater GTA every year. They move here for several reasons. Some are cashing out of their houses in Etobicoke or Streetsville and are looking for a bigger house and a quieter lifestyle. Some are in tech and don’t need to be in the Toronto area. Some have been bouncing around other cities and countries for the past ten years and are ready to settle down and raise the family (this is the biggest group – they aren’t really from Toronto, they just happen to be there now). Most have children. Many are in tech. Some are moving here to be close to family. I have not had a client yet who has said that the first reason for relocating here is because they cannot afford to buy in Toronto. That may be a reason. But it is not at the top of the list.
What I have learned
I learn a lot from my clients. I have a Socratic style of showings and sales and it gets them thinking and talking about what is important to them in a house and a neighbourhood. Here is some of the things I’ve learned.
We use a lot of vinyl siding in Waterloo Region. I suppose we do because we can. Our builders got away with it. Toronto clients like all brick houses, especially the front.
Green space and parkland
In Toronto, I’ve had clients tell me that you really can’t get away from it all. Having a backyard that backs onto green space is a rare luxury. Toronto clients are always impressed just how much green space and parkland and neighbourhood trails we have here.
Toronto clients are always surprised when they see backyards here that are not fully fenced. I suppose real estate is so expensive in Toronto, the first thing you do when you buy it is put a fence around it.
And side yards are actually part of backyards in Toronto. In KW we will most usually connect the fence to the back of the house but according to some recent Toronto clients, they would run the fence between the houses and connect it to the front of the house.
We are fond of saying here in Waterloo Region that everything is twenty minutes away. With the LRT construction, it isn’t really true recently but it will be. Of course, Toronto is famous for it’s bad traffic. So bad that residents are reluctant to go anywhere. I have friends who live in Unionville and Markham who rarely leave Unionville and Markham. Here we just have to figure out how to best avoid the LRT construction.
Twice the cost
And programs for kids cost twice as much, I’ve been told.
Having it all
I get the feeling from my Toronto clients that living in Toronto is full of compromises. If you want to go downtown, you have to endure the traffic and pay for parking. If you want to put your kids into a summer program, you have to pay the big bucks. If you want privacy, you can’t have it.
I don’t know, maybe I’m just meeting the Toronotians that have had enough. But I will say, here in Waterloo Region, you can have it all. (I should run for mayor I’m so positive.)