The Toronto real estate market just got an upgrade thanks to the inventiveness of York alumni Daniel Steinfeld (BBA ‘04) and Katie Steinfeld (BBA ‘04) and their new real estate company On The Block Realty. With auctions, On The Block brings transparency to the home buying process, remedying a problem within the real estate market that many homebuyers have had concerns about for a long time.
“We have been living the real estate world for quite some time, and we've seen first-hand the frustrations of buyers and sellers who are just trying to understand what it takes to get a real estate transaction done,” said Chief Executive Officer Daniel Steinfeld. “Buyers have been consistently frustrated with the lack of transparency in pricing and what actually needs to be offered to buy, while sellers have been confused as to what price to actually accept, how to appropriately price a home and what changes in the market actually mean to the current value of their properties.”
Similar to what Uber did for taxis and AirBnB did for the hotel industry, the husband and wife team are shaking things up in real estate – and as York alumni, there are some added perks for listing your property with On The Block Reality, our newest addition to the Alumni Privileges Program.
Since first meeting each other at their Schulich orientation week during their undergrad, to marriage and four children later, Daniel and Katie have had 17 years to test their patience and compatibility working together efficiently and effectively – key factors to a healthy relationship and beautiful family, but also integral to running a business together. Both have been involved in every aspect of On The Block’s success, utilizing their complimentary skillsets tackling everything from the finances, regulations and marketing and sales.
“We understand the balance we need to get this moving the right way, while giving ample attention to our four young kids,” said Daniel. “In a lot of ways, this has been the perfect fit for us, as we understand the requirements of our family as well as our business, and since we are calling the shots, we can effectively manage all of it without compromising anything (except sleep).”
Inspiration for On The Block came from all over the world, where the trend in similar markets (Australia, the U.K. and parts of the U .S. to name a few) has been to include auctions as a method to sell. “The open approach to selling real estate has worked great for sellers, with quick closings, assurance that the highest price is being paid for their properties, and widespread marketing, while buyers are thrilled with the approach as well, because there is no secret of what the cost of the property will be,” said Katie. “It's true open competition and the only way of determining the true market value of a property.”
On The Block differentiates itself through its own online platform, which engages customers through the property auction process globally, and provides more information about the properties available for download and review. On The Block goes through considerable efforts to verify bidder identities and protects sellers from potential fraudulent situations with extensive security measures. Recently, On The Block celebrated with their first auction that included 17 registered bidders and a signed and sold property within one hour of the auction’s completion. Albeit a stressful situation for the company’s first facilitated auction, the process included media coverage with a national news team filming the final hours. Stakes were high, but once bidding was complete, the final price had increased to well above the opening bid, and the seller was pleased with the final price, proving that the concept of auctions in the buying and selling process is effective. “The attention our first sale got was great, but our company's goal is bigger than just closing auctions, it is about creating a new approach for an entire industry that has been rooted in one way of doing things for over a century” said Daniel.
The success of On The Block has proven there is opportunity in selling a less traditional way. But the Steinfelds emphasize that the lion’s share of On The Block’s sales are done the traditional way. Regardless of the method, On The Block boasts a laundry list of key additions that aren’t offered elsewhere, including listings that include a full home inspection, status certificate, staging services and their one-of-a-kind week in a hotel offer – providing sellers with accommodations while their home is on the market, alleviating the stress of constantly cleaning and leaving home while your home is on the market.
Whether you’re on the market or not, learn how two York grads are at the forefront of the industry, leading this exciting turning point in the real estate market in Ontario. On The Block joins the Alumni Privileges suite of offers for alumni with added benefits – learn more about them at our website.