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Dreams of home ownership in a pandemic has shattered lives

Guelph realtor Jide Atilola helps clients avoid a financial nightmare
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Jide Atilola has seen ups and downs, but he’s never seen the market go completely haywire, as it has during the COVID-19 pandemic (supplied photo)

In 9 years of being a real estate agent in Guelph, Jide Atilola has seen ups and downs, but he’s never seen the market go completely haywire, as it has during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I recall the day everything shut down," said Jide. "Agents had to brace their clients for the unknown. We didn’t know how this pandemic would affect the market or our jobs.”

Initially, listing activity did slow, but when lockdown restrictions were eased last summer, the floodgates opened. Limited inventory and demand for more space, resulted in soaring home prices, insane bidding wars and cancelled dreams. Homes were selling at six figures over the asking price. Records were being broken in every neighbourhood across Southern Ontario, but this kind of activity had a calamitous effect on many lives. 

“Every home was getting multiple offers and the competition was intense. Some clients had to bid 10 to 15 times with up to 50 other offers on a single home.”

The fear and panic among buyers have led to rash, spontaneous and dangerous home-buying decisions. 

“People think realtors love pandemic selling, but I am one realtor who does not. I saw a lot of suffering. I saw a lot of people get hurt and for me, that’s a problem.”

It has been difficult navigating these uncharted waters. Jide’s seen cases where individuals purchased a home and financed a monster mortgage only to lose their job months later. He saw couples going through a divorce who sold their home quickly, but couldn’t buy another home they could afford, or even wanted. Some individuals were forced to rent, while others faced the risk of being homeless.

To make a successful bid, potential buyers were forced to forgo conditions such as a home inspection or including a for sale of property clause. Many felt pressured to sell their home, not knowing what or when they will buy, or buy a home, not knowing what their house will sell for.  Jide said, “I am a firm believer that buyers should have the right to do their due diligence when making such a large, life-changing purchase.”

Instead of allowing clients to go forward with a financially risky purchase, Jide often told them to wait until the market balances out, even though that advice meant he would not be making a commission.  He said, “If I put myself first through all of that, they will suffer. My clients come first.” 

Jide is going to tell his clients the truth. “For me, it’s always about integrity. One sale won’t make my career, but the right sale every time, conducted with empathy, compassion and the truth will mean I will never have issues selling houses.”

If you would like to contact Jide Atilola, please call (519) 546-9221 or visit: