Not long ago, we had a chat with Simon S. Mass, Principal of Insider Condo Club (ICC). The syndicate is known throughout the Toronto region as a great way for realtors to snag the latest scoop on new developments and special pricing for their clients. It’s a burgeoning business with a history of helping realtors with pre-construction condo investments and broker sales extravaganzas.
But there’s a lot more territory to cover. We delved further into what makes ICC tick with another Q&A with Mass, looking into the finer points of what it means to be an ICC member, its benefits to developers and trends in the city’s new construction market.
BuzzBuzzHome: We previously heard about the advantages of using the ICC’s services if you are a realtor. What are the benefits for developers?
Simon S. Mass: This is where it gets interesting. ICC allows developers to accelerate their sales and marketing efforts and get their projects pre-sold in a matter of days versus years. Typical developer sales centres need to be operational for 1.5 to 2.5 years to achieve sales levels that allow them to start construction. With our proven system, we can pre-sell an entire project to any level a developer will permit through a one day sales event so that they can literally be able to advance their project by years. This is truly a win-win situation.
BBH: Are there any fees associated with becoming a member of ICC?
SM: We decided to grow organically and not look to earn club fees or dues from our members. Our business model is based on ensuring that our broker members and their clients receive the best possible deals without any upfront costs associated with their participation.
BBH: For realtors, you have a unique follow-up campaign during the cooling off period of a sale. How does it work?
SM: The proprietary software platform that we have developed takes into account a complete “A to Z” follow up campaign that keep brokers and their clients informed as to the value of their purchases and continues to drive home the benefits of their investment.
There is a continuous educational follow up that assists the members to maintain a much higher than normal closing ratio due to their ability to be on top of any and all questions, queries and concerns of their buyers on an automated and easy to use platform.
BBH: Can you tell us a bit more about The Condo Store Realty Inc. Is it at all connected to the Insider Condo Club?
MS: The connection is important and is something that has allowed us to expand our business enterprise over the past decade from a gross sales standpoint of $100 million per year to $1.5 billion and growing. Our group of companies includes: a full service boutique brokerage (TCS Realty), a developer sales and marketing agency (TCS Marketing Systems), a specialized syndication (TCS), a real estate fund (The Rosseau Group) and now, Insider Condo Club (ICC).
Having the solid and well respected foundation has ultimately allowed us to launch ICC on a massive and grand scale from day one. We can honestly say we have a full service system to cater to the general public, sophisticated investors, real estate developers, private and public real estate funds and now, the brokerage community that wants to specialize in the number one condo city in the world for pre-construction condos.
BBH: In the past few years, we’ve noticed an increased presence for The Condo Store Realty. Are you expanding?
SM: We are expanding internally, but not through the retail presence of opening multiple locations. Many of our peers in the development sector have taken to using a variation of our corporate name, The Condo Store, in many different retail-based locations across the GTA. It gives us great pride and confidence to know that we chose our name well when we see so many “Condo Store” style centres popping up all across the GTA. As the saying goes, “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” and as such, we’re happy to leave it “as is” versus what our lawyers always encourage, that being, sending out a cease and desist order. I think we can rest easily knowing that our clients know who we are.
BBH: What are some trends you’ve noticed in Toronto’s pre-construction condo market in the last few years?
SM: Smaller units and interesting locations seem to be what’s driving the market in the past 24 months. Developers are recognizing that end prices are the most important factor in a typical sales environment and are catering to the demand by having their architects and interior designers come up with higher efficient floor plans.
BBH: How does Toronto compare to some of the other larger markets?
SM: For the nay sayers, and there are so many of them out there for the past decade, no answer will suffice. However, Toronto managed to beat out the entire global recession and not have any significant price drops, market dips or even a mini-crash during the worst recession since the depression of the 1920s.
For our part, we are part of a group of positive thinkers and visionaries who continue to promote Canada globally as a place to live and invest wholeheartedly. With the chaos that is taking place all across the world, Toronto is a city that is safe, welcoming to immigrants and one of the highest per capita cities in Canada. We will only keep growing and as such, we have to live with the fact that the city has to grow vertically through further high-rise developments. We can’t all have the luxury of living an hour out of the city on a large lot and then driving two to three hours per day to and from work.
Major cities all across the globe have realized this phenomenal growth and condo development is part and parcel of the success and continued growth of this wonderful world class city.