Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Beer At Last! Beer At Last! Thank God Almighty, Beer At Last!

After years of discussion, zoning changes, bylaw amendments, renovation and false starts, Verdun's first honest to gosh drinking establishment has opened its doors on Wellington St. Here's a report from those nice CBC radio people.

 Plus, a somewhat boring video tour.

Benelux, an authentic brewpub, has taken over the auspices of the former Bank of Montreal, near the corner of de l'Eglise, or Church St., as the old timers say.

A well-placed MontReal Estate reader, reports that for now the pub is only serving its house blonde but that should change as Benelux gets up to full speed.

A great event in Verdun history. The town, then city, then borough of Verdun has been officially dry for about 100 years.  It is a sign of changing times and changing demographics that  an upscale drinking hole is the first, and for now only, bar allowed to operate.

Benelux, a brewpub with an existing location on the lower Plateau, has officially opened in Verdun.

3-Bedroom Cottage in Lachine's Leafy Village St-Louis

Just listed, an impeccable 3-bedroom attached cottage in green and leafy Village St-Louis, a development in western Lachine.

You can check out the full listing on my Century 21 website www.marylamey.com

Village St-Louis was built in the early 1990s by Prevel, one of Montreal's most respected residential developers. Prevel is the company behind the Lowney and Imperial loft projects, the Soeur Grises condos at the foot of McGill St. near the Old Port, as well as a massive development project now underway in Griffintown. They build good stuff.

This development was built on the footprint of Lachine's former municipal golf course, incorporating many of its mature trees, water hazards and pretty fairways into the parks and walking path.

3582 Anatole-Carignan features about 1500-square-feet of living space, excluding the finished basement. The main floor has a entry hall with closet, open concept living and dining, powder room with laundry (which my vendor love love LOVES) and a beautifully upgraded kitchen with walk-out to a trellised deck and nicely landscaped back yard. There's even a vegetable garden.

The kitchen is done in a warm contemporary style  with12x24-inch matte black tile on the floor, offsetting the black granite counter and pearly white marble tile back splash. The cabinets are a warm mid brown and offer tons of storage. It's an easy kitchen for cooking, entertaining and hanging out.

The dining and living room have a bay window and wood fireplace and upgraded oak hardwood flooring.

Upstairs, two of the three bedrooms face the street and feature over sized windows, one with a semicircular fanlight. The master bedroom is big, with a walk-in closet and adjoins the main bath. The bathroom is done in neutral off-white, with a pedestal whirlpool bath set in a big bay window. The houseplants love hanging out there!  There's a separate shower.

The basement has the same upgraded oak floors, tons of room for toys, a library, a man cave, a home office or even a fourth bedroom. There are a few steps up to a patio door out to the back yard.

The asking price is $439,000. The municipal evaluation is $306,700 and the school and property taxes amount to a very modest $3500 a year. 

The vendors have taken excellent care of their home and invested in upgrades like the oak flooring, and classic oak handrail, newel posts and balusters for the staircase, a thermopump with air conditioning and a new roof.

I'm having an open house Sunday, June 2, 2013. 2-4 p.m. Drop by and see for yourself!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Sutton Brokers Were Left $600,000 Short When Their Agency Went Bankrupt

CBC Montreal recently had an excellent report on a group of former Sutton Royal agents who were done out of a combined $600,000 in real estate commissions when their agency was forced into bankruptcy.

The story began with an alleged cheque kiting scheme implicating the agency's director and his executive assistant. Two banks, the TD and National, stepped in when Sutton Royal accounts came up about $2 million short.

When it was discovered that the agency was depositing commission cheques for sales by its agents to a Bank of Montreal account, TD and National  asked the court to seize the money. Last December, the Dollard des Ormeaux agency was forced into bankruptcy.

That's when things got ugly for Sutton Royal's agents. Money they had earned selling homes and supposedly held in trust by their agency, as per the Real Estate Brokerage Act, was gone - poof - sponged up as part of the bankruptcy proceedings. To make matters worse, Sutton Quebec appears to have quietly paid off the collaborating agents (the agents who represented buyers in deals involving Sutton Royal's sellers) while stiffing their own people. Ouch.

I cannot imagine the nightmare these brokers are living. First, the agency they work for collapsed in scandal. Next, their revenue was snatched away - in the case of one agent, $300,000 ! The brokers allege Sutton Quebec president Christophe Folla promised to help them but has not.

An aside. When I was The Gazette's real estate reporter, I had a story about a Sutton agent (they were called agents then, not brokers) at the La Salle brokerage, who appeared to pretty much try to screw an old lady out of her condo. Her daughter came to me with the story. (Quebec's real estate authority later convicted him of breach of ethics and his license was suspended.)

I tried very hard to talk to Christophe Folla at that time. He never once called me back. I hope these agents have better luck. 

Click on the link above to read the whole story and watch the TV report. The CBC promises that a second report is coming up.

Stay tuned, as they say.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Gap Between Asked and Sold Prices, Not All Montreal Neighborhoods Are Created Equal.

 Roberto Rocha, a tech-savvy reporter at The Gazette crunched some real-estate sales numbers to see which neighborhoods in Montreal have the smallest gap between asking prices and sale  prices in this softer than usual market. It makes for interesting reading.

These are are average listing and sale prices for all housing types combined. Nice to see my favorite, Verdun, up near the top of the list. I think it might have done even better had the numbers been parsed more closely to exclude Nuns' Island. The island and mainland are very distinct real estate beasts. 

I do wonder how it can be that Outremont, home to Quebec's francophone business, legal and health care elites and that great bald-headed Cirque du Soleil git Whatshisname, can possibly have an average asking price of $450,000. That will buy you a nicer than average house near the water in Verdun, but certainly not a three-bedroom starter mansion in Outremont. Hmm.

The Plateau, where I do a fair amount of business, remains a hot commodity, with properties selling for just a shade under 95 per cent of asking price.

Westmount trails the pack, with a nearly 10-per-cent gap between asking and sold prices.

Have a look. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

The Stigma of Murder Didn't Block the Sale of this $900,000 Toronto Home

Some people won't buy a house where there's been a gruesome crime. Some people are less bothered. Their agent probably wishes he wasn't quoted in Canada's biggest broadsheet saying "It's a great conversation piece."