Pump & Dump

“You take that last right?”  
A deafening silence along with a guilty face.  
“You missed it didn’t you?”  
“I’m sorry Boss.”  
When someone is thirty minutes late in this business it means you’re getting stiffed. “Take the next one, we’ll come around the other way.” Respect, ya right… and they made the damn appointment!  
“Lots of construction going on in this neighborhood.”  
People talk a lot of bull in today’s Real Estate World.  
“Everyone wants to make money and this is definitely the place to do it.”  
Broker. Agent. Buyer. Seller. And of course Builder.  
“These places are huge.”  
Plenty of hot air that’s for sure… that’s what happens when you make millions in twenty months for simply signing a deed.  
“No expenses spared is what these places should be called.”  
Astute Investors… huh!  
“Ya right… rising tides lifts all boats is more like it”, as the saying goes.  
But it seems Mr. Danny Marcus is the only one who keeps his mouth shut and just keeps moving forward, asking little from The Gods of Rational Thinking. That’s why he put his dream house on the market last week for a number he thought was crazy… but what’s crazy these days! International Players with full pockets don’t seem to think so, ‘Globalization’ they call it – it’s going to solve all our problems.  
Danny started to see this ‘Great Globalization’ thing over ten years ago… when both Government and Joe Public were completely in the dark. Now everyone is up in arms about being shut out of their own housing market. “It’s a bubble.” “We’re being invaded.” “Something must be done.” “I’ll never be able to buy a house.”  
It’s more than all of that, much more… Danny’s story is way too common. In fact you could make a case that Government has turned a blind negligent eye for far too long. 

In 2020 Danny bought his dream house for $950,000, yes there were multiple offers but the world was experiencing the ‘Great Pandemic shutdown’, so no one was venturing too much past the 899 list. His business Partner Jonathan Anand, who is also his Agent and his oldest friend, said there were three other offers – but who knows if that was true? “I think fifty grand will take it”, he pushed. They both looked at each other with a pile of doubt.  
Two hours later Danny’s dream home was his.  

“Detached homes up 8% month over month.”   
Every month since it’s became the same of the same in big bold headlines.   
“Neighborhoods throughout the City up plenty year over year.”   
He bought the right house in the right neighborhood… and now he was going to be a Millionaire beyond his wildest dreams. Who needed an MBA? This wasn’t about hard work, slugging it out building a business – this was about timing, or more accurately luck. 9/11 had made America a much tougher place to tiptoe dirty money into… but not Canada, or England, or Australia; importing offshore riches was now big business. Globalization knew that all this money from various economies with very different laws would be sloshing around the world… right? Danny’s Agent kept repeating incredible stories of blind excess happening throughout this fiercely expanding market. “Something is not right here.” Permanently low interest rates were making it a gas fire. “This is not going to end well.” They looked at each other as if twenty years of experience meant nothing. Enforcement seemed non-existent, while a sophisticated network of ‘certain Accountants’ was now in hot demand; Clients boasted as if they knew some big secret. Cranes littered the sky while floors were being sold to just one buyer. Monster homes were being erected to those same buyers’ kids – ‘Students’ it said on their visa forms. Students with deep pockets!  

Fast forward to 2022 when Danny decided to list his house for $3,888,000; eights are lucky to those from the East, and his neighborhood was full of such affluence. The Wealth, good God, their economy must be humming along nicely everybody thought on quiet Alexandra Boulevard. Globalization meant that all that money was the same… right. Funny though, drive-by any night of the week and many of those homes are now dark, not a sound; Danny soon figured out that his neighborhood had quickly become a parking lot for offshore riches. Although he did see two young kids with backpacks walking out of a house every morning at 8:30.  

Nothing prepared Danny for this… nothing.  

Two days have passed since Danny’s listing went up; his Agent was staging the first open house on the first weekend to display the $1,000,000 spent on renovations… hardwood floors, marble tiles, custom mouldings, waterfall showers, a large granite island placed in the brightest white kitchen anybody could ever dream off… backyard landscaping that was to die for. Even the latest home improvement segment on the six o’clock news came by to gloat with plenty of ooh’s and aah’s.  
Local-speakers paraded around looking at every detail like it mattered. Russian-speakers did a little less. Farsi-speakers even less than that. Far eastern Buyers and their Agents moved around like they could have cared less… barely interested in the level of workmanship that took sixteen months to complete, and put plenty of grey hair on Danny’s head. You renovate, you know. Professionalism is sorely lacking in this industry, but that’s another story… a very long and frustrating story for another day. Danny did not want to believe that his Masterpiece was a tear-down!    

Wait there’s more. 
One night before offer day Danny’s Agent called him at exactly 6:49 pm – “One never forgets something like this”, he later said.  
“I’m really sorry but I just can’t get away, my kid is sick and I can’t leave.”  
“No problem, I got it.”   
Two Agents coming simultaneously from the same Brokerage firm did not strike Danny as odd.  
“Thanks… I really appreciate this.”  
“Should I stay home?”  
“Absolutely, they didn’t give us 24 hours.”  
Danny’s giant tv screen faced the driveway, so he knew he wasn’t going to be too put  out.  
Not twenty minutes later his driveway took-on the look of a loading dock – four white vans, four non-descript white vans started to drive up… and people, lots of people started to walk out… herding-up the driveway like they were all in a rush… file folders in each hand… all with the same colored logo on it. 
“Hello?”  
“I am Penny and this is Mary, we are here with our Clients to see the house.”  
Danny counted seventeen focused buyers as if they were on some type of Real-Estate Tour. 

The next day his house sold for $4,888,888.