Poison pen letter for condos or investor resource?

TheDirt.co allows people to share information about condos (old and new), including building reviews, construction update and pricing. Similar to Trulia and Zillow in the U.S., property enthusiasts can “follow” a development, upload photos of a building under construction or reward them with a “prop” (think “Like” button for condos).

With “Big Brother” having an eye on a development’s progress and fuelled by the opinions of the online community, buyers will be armed with a lot more ammunition when negotiating.

Justin Kua from Platinum Estates thinks such rate websites will expose the “crap developments” that have littered the city of Toronto in recent years.

“There are a lot of bad developers and buildings that should be exposed for their work and this is one way that they will get found out,” he says.

Despite concerns that Internet trolls may deliberately damage a condo’s reputation by posting negative comments, Kua believes buyers know what a “genuine” rating is.

“Buyers are educated enough to recognize and know when someone has an axe to grind as opposed to offering a good review of a building. If there are genuine negative comments, it’s up to the property managers and developers to address that.”

TheDirt.co currently only focuses on the Toronto market, but has already amassed 429 condo buildings and 78,423 units on its database.

But condo sellers should not be overly concerned about such websites, says Maya Jurasz, sales representative with Remax, which also owns the website, rateyourcondo.ca

“Buyers have always gone online to look for a property’s verification and general information on specific areas as part of their research,” she says. “They will take into consideration the opinions of others and the ratings provided, but they still go to the Realtor for professional and precise information. That will not change.”

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