Property investor’s ‘trick’ backfires on homebuyer

Down to the wire to find a home for her family, one North Vancouver resident turned to an old investor trick that would ultimately fail to win her nothing but disappointment.

"I photocopied 250 (flyers)," Kate Whyte, 48, told the CBC. “I papered neighbourhoods. I hung them in the community centre, I put them in the coffee shop – anywhere I could put a piece of paper."

The canvassing effort was all about finding someone in North Vancouver to sell their home, before listing it on the MLS and agreeing to sell it to Whyte and her husband.

That favourable outcome never came about despite the fact Whyte had a $1.1 million budget to work with, having recently sold a larger home in the area for $1.3 million.

In fact, her billeting blitz actually turned off the most likely sellers, elderly homeowners ready to downsize.

"I had a lot of elderly people tell me I was crazy," Whyte said, recalling several conversations as she moved from door to door this summer. She would ultimately buy a fixer-upper idling on the market – one that was anything but her “dream home,” Whyte said.

The flyer campaign – long considered a go-to for investors looking to entice homeowners into selling – has now been picked up by homebuyers, but not necessarily used successfully.

There’s a good reason for that, say seasoned investors. They point to homeowners who have simply become more sophisticated about real estate, especially in tight markets such as Toronto and Vancouver. They now view these kind of marketing campaigns as manipulative attempts to win unfair price reductions by tugging at the heart strings.

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