When it comes to offers, its not always about price

When considering multiple offers to purchase for your home, there is no doubt price plays a huge role. After all, if Offer #1 is $10,000 higher than Offer #2, that’s a big difference. 

However, price isn’t the only thing to think about when comparing multiple offers.

For example, if Offer #1 is conditional upon the buyer selling his current property, then what if that doesn’t happen? You could end up with an offer that falls apart and be forced to list your home all over again.

In that circumstance, accepting the lower offer may be your best move.

There’s also financing to consider. If you get an offer subject to obtaining financing, that may not be the right offer to choose even if it is for a higher amount than the offer where the financing is for sure.  

The possession date is another important factor. Offer #1 might propose a possession date that’s perfect for you, while Offer #2 is four weeks later. If you’ve already purchased another home, you might require a month of bridge financing if you accept Offer #2. There’s nothing wrong with that necessarily, but the costs and additional hassle are factors to consider.

As you can see, assessing competing offers isn’t as easy as it looks.

Fortunately, your REALTOR® is on your side. I can anticipate all of the pros and cons to an offer, explain what they will mean to you, and help you make the right decision for your circumstances. 

How long should it take?

How long should it take to view a home?

Figuring out how much time you should spend viewing properties for sale is a little like asking, “How long should I spend trying on shoes?”

The answer seems obvious: As long as it takes to make a decision!

Buying a home is significantly more complex than purchasing shoes – and the stakes are higher too! You need to make sure you have all the information necessary to confidently make the best decision.

There are basically three stages to viewing a property:
1. Macro
2. Micro
3. Professional

When you view a home on a macro basis, you’re looking at it from an overall perspective. For example, you may do a general walk-through to get a first impression and determine if the property has the basic features you need, such as the number of bedrooms and the size of the backyard.

Macro viewing is often the fastest stage in the viewing process and can sometimes take just a few minutes.

If you like what you see, then it’s onto the micro stage. At this stage you take a closer look at the details of the property. You might, for example, spend extra time in the master bedroom imagining how your furniture would look and fit.

The micro stage takes longer simply because the home is now on your shortlist. You’re interested and are considering making an offer.

Finally, the professional stage involves getting a qualified home inspector to go over the property with a fine tooth comb. That typically occurs after you’ve made an offer.

As your REALTOR®, I will guide you through a viewing so you’ll know what to look for and can make a smart, informed decision. Call me today.

Did you sell a home in 2016?

sold sign.jpg

Did you sell a home in 2016?

Did you know that effective January 1, anyone who sells a home, even their personal residence, needs to report it on their income tax return. They still get the personal gain exemption but if they don’t report the sale they could be fined.

More info here: http://globalnews.ca/news/3309206/did-you-sell-your-home-in-2016-let-the-cra-know-or-else/

How DO buyers find homes?

Do you ever wonder how most people find the homes they eventually buy?

You might imagine them driving by a “For Sale” sign and getting intrigued.

Or maybe you think they'll see an ad for a home in the newspaper and then call to enquire.

Of course, some buyers do find out about properties in these traditional ways. But, according to research by the US National Association of Realtors, there are many other — sometimes surprising — ways buyers find their next dream home.

For example:

• 88% of homes are brought to the buyer's attention by a real estate agent  
• 90% of buyers saw their home online (such as viewing a property’s profile on the agent’s website)
• 69% of buyers searched for a home using Google, using a specific local term like “Bridgwater Lakes homes for sale”
• 29-46% of buyers attended an Open House 

Overall, the research shows that buyers are using a multitude of online and offline methods to find homes.

What does all this mean to you?

If you're buying a home, it sounds like you need an agent! In the swift-moving market, where good homes will often have bidding wars, you definitely need solid representation to secure the home you want at a fair price. But it sounds like from this data, with 88% percent of homes found by the realtor, you'll be a lot more likely to find a home you actually want to buy with a dedicated pro on your side.

Secondly, it means that if you’re preparing your home for sale, you need to ensure your marketing plan not only takes into account all the ways buyers are currently finding properties, but incorporates new technologies like social media, hashtags, and videos, so that your home will be on the cutting edge, and be seen by the maximum number of buyers. 

Contact us anytime for more info about how we can help you buy, sell, or invest today. 

Spring Home Maintenance

Isn't it just the best when spring finally arrives?  Beers on the deck, steaks on the BBQ, longer days, warmer air....and a long list of home maintenance tasks to shake winter's nasty grip off your humble abode. 

No question the maintenance part is one of my least favourite parts, but unfortunately for homeowners, it's a fact of life. 

I always like to make life a bit easier for you, so I've condensed it all into a handy list. I'd bet you can tackle 90% of the list in a few hours, and 100% of it over a weekend or two. 

A reminder that spring is also the best time to list your home, so if you are considering selling, or have friends or family that are thinking about it, please contact us NOW. The market is hottest from March-June and this is prime time! I am never too busy for your referrals and always treat them like gold. 

Spring is also the time to plan for summer or fall renovation projects such as fences, decks, basement renovations or kitchen/bathroom upgrades.  The Winnipeg Renovation Show is in January and the Winnipeg Home & Garden Show is in April, and these are great places to get good ideas. I have some excellent contractors I can refer you to if you would like an assessment or quote on a project.

Spring Maintenance Checklist:

  • Clear out snow from basement window wells so they don’t fill with water.
  • If you have a skating rink in your backyard like I do, Priority 1 is getting the tarp up ASAP.
  • Test your smoke alarm & check expiry date.
  • Once past the risk of freezing temps, attach the discharge hose to your sump (making sure its free of obstructions) and set the hose up to run away from the home. If your sump pump was off for the winter, plug it in and always check basement for possible leaks when first used.
  • Turn your humidifier off, or switch to “summer” setting.
  • Check that your AC unit is clear of leaves or garbage, and vacuum it to remove dust.
  • Check that your eaves troughs are attached, not leaking, and are free of leaves & debris. Also check that water is running away from the house.
  • Walk all the way around your house, taking a good look at your roof, exterior walls, foundation and windows. Also watch for small holes that rodents can use to enter the home & fill them.
  • Have a look at your deck & fence. Repair any damaged or missing areas.  Purchase a deck cleaner for your decking material, and wash the deck. Open wood decks need to be sealed every 4-6 years, so make a plan for that if its due, but wait at least 2 days after washing to do so.
  • Give your BBQ some sparkle! 
  • Sharpen lawn mower blades and change the oil.
  • Stay off your lawn until the soil is dry. Once the lawn turns green, give it a cut to remove the dead tips.  Fall is the best time to over-seed bare patches and aerate, but if you missed it in the fall you can do it in the spring.  There’s a good window for over-seeding when the soil is approx. 10C so aim for that.
  • Check and replace your furnace filter.
  • Check your exterior dryer vent, clean out excess lint.
  • Clean and reattach screens to window and doors.
  • Pop open a beverage of choice and pat yourself on the back for being such a diligent & responsible homeowner!

Will an Open House sell your home?

You’ve probably seen signs in your area for Open Houses. You may have even attended a few.  But now that the time has come to sell your home, you're wondering whether you'd like an Open House held at your home.   

Scott & are big believers in the power of Open Houses, and I will tell you why. 

Were you expecting to fall in love on the day you met your spouse? Chances are you weren't, but the key event was that you met each other, which put the wheels in motion.  

Buying a home is a similarly emotional process. Casual buyers are not necessarily expecting to fall in love on that particular day with this particular home, but given the opportunity, suddenly they do. Hence, the magic of an Open House! 

Here are some other advantages:

  • An Open House provides a low-pressure opportunity for people to see the home. There are many buyers that prefer to see homes this way and simply won't call to book an appointment if no Open House is scheduled. Result: more people see your home. 
  • An Open House showcases features of your property that may not come across well in advertisements and listing descriptions. 
  • Being in the home and imagining themselves living there, making dinner, playing with the kids, etc, bonds potential buyers to the home. Having your buyer attached to the home bodes well when it comes time for negotiations. 
  • It generates a buzz about your home.
  • It creates a sense of competition among buyers, increasing the chance of an offer.
  • It allows us to give potential buyers a beautiful full-colour brochure about your home that they can review later, keeping your home top-of-mind.

Despite all these advantages, many vendors worry it will only attract nosy neighbours.

While people who aren't serious buyers may attend, we can assure you that with the type of advertising we do for our Open Houses, the number of serious buyers that attend will be significantly greater than the number of tire-kickers.

Plus, Scott and I are pretty darn good at converting tire-kickers into serious buyers, and we have definitely sold more than a few homes to immediate neighbours over the years!  

As you can probably tell by now, my answer to whether an Open House will sell your home is: Absolutely!  

Contact Scott or myself if you have any questions about how an Open House can help you!

Have you heard of Oak Bluff West?

oak-bluff-west.jpg

Have you hear of Oak Bluff West yet? Located at the perimeter and McGillivray Blvd, it is a really hot new area!

People just love this area because its got a quiet country feel, with larger lots, beautiful naturalized lakes, and sweeping prairie vistas, plus important community amenities like a K-8 school & ice rink, yet is literally only minutes from SW Winnipeg's shopping hub at Kenaston & McGillivray.

You really don't have to drive very far to score a new home built by a top builder, on a huge lot, for way less than you'd pay in the city proper--with the added bonus of lower property taxes too!

You can learn more about everything this wonderful community has to offer here.

I've got a new listing in the area at 16 Blacksmith Road, listed for $699,900, that has a combination of craftsmanship, finishing work and location on a huge lake lot, that would run you a million plus in areas like Bridgwater or Sage Creek! 

I've got an Open House planned for Sunday February 26, 2017 from 12:00-1:30pm at 16 Blacksmith Road. Stop by and have a look for yourself!

Pantone 2017 Colour of the Year

So Pantone has 'Greenery' as the 2017 colour of the year. Initially, I was not on board. But this is a nice use of green, don't you think? Nevertheless, my pro tip is to DEFINITELY consult a designer before using green in your home if you've got resale on the mind. I'm in no mood to sell around a whole bunch of green living rooms this year, lol!

Does anyone even live here?

Preparing Your Home for a Top-Notch Photo Shoot

I use professional photography for all my listings--because it works. When your home is photographed to look bright & inviting, more people want to see it in person. More viewings in person equals more offers. Simple.  

My photographer is the best in the biz, but in order for him to work his magic, we need a bit of legwork from you.

Everything you do to prepare your home for your photo shoot (and later for showings) should be to create the impression that actual people don't live in the home. You want your home as clean, clutter-free, and beautiful as humanly possible.  

If the humans in your life make this impossible, consider kicking them out during the 1st week or so of showings. When I've sold my own homes, I've always made sure that my young family (AKA enemies of all that is clean and/or organized) hits the road so that I can showcase my home in its full magazine-style glory. 

Nobody lives here. For sure. 

Nobody lives here. For sure. 

Start by removing almost everything from all surfaces, such as bedside tables, kitchen countertops, bathroom counters. It is OK to leave a few simple & beautiful items, but when in doubt, just put it away.

Nothing fancy. Just clean, organized and totally impersonal.

Nothing fancy. Just clean, organized and totally impersonal.

It can be nice to have a few pops of colour--a glass bowl filled with granny smith apples in the kitchen, a single red umbrella at the front door, or a tidy stack of colour co-ordinated books on the nightstand. Fresh flowers are always lovely. But if this is intimidating, don't worry about it. At the end of the day, simple and clean always wins. 

Fresh flowers are bright, cheap & impossible to screw up. 

Fresh flowers are bright, cheap & impossible to screw up. 

In the kitchen, your coffee maker and toaster should be put away unless they are extremely high-end and basically works of art (most aren't). Make sure your appliances are spotless inside and out. It can be tempting to lay out place settings or do funny things like leave poured glasses of wine on the counter--but don't! These things are distracting in the photos and cheesy in person. Keep it simple & clean. 

If your kitchen looks like this, you're good. If not, copy the way they've displayed the objects on the counters.

If your kitchen looks like this, you're good. If not, copy the way they've displayed the objects on the counters.

In the bathroom, all soaps, shampoos, cleaning products should be put away. Fresh white towels are statistically proven to be appealing to buyers. Try to make it look like your bathroom is a hotel. 

Perfect. 

Perfect. 

Finally, ensure that all bedding and draperies are straight & without any wrinkles. 

Neutral bedding on a sharply made bed conveys calm, clean and new. 

Neutral bedding on a sharply made bed conveys calm, clean and new. 

You probably need to put away 90% of the items in your kids rooms. Not joking--kids have way too much stuff! Of the remaining 10%, pick the nicest stuff and group it together in like-with-like arrangements. Group red stuffed animals on one shelf, toy cars on a ledge, organize books by colour on a bookshelf, etc. But again, keep it simple. 

Although there is a lot going on in here, it is organized & colour coordinated, so it works.

Although there is a lot going on in here, it is organized & colour coordinated, so it works.

Finally, just before your appointment with the photographer, do a complete survey of the home and set aside anything unsightly--items like mousetraps, space heaters or dehumidifiers absolutely must be removed. Personal items like make up, toilet brushes and medical devices are distracting and off-putting to buyers.

Organized shelves, pop of colour with the blanket. Nicely done. 

Organized shelves, pop of colour with the blanket. Nicely done. 

And last but not least, let in the light! Every single light in the home should be left on, for the photo shoot and for open houses & showings. I also strongly recommend you clean every window in the home, inside & out. 

Then pour yourself a nice glass of wine, oh, except actually don't, because you might make a mess. Just kidding! My final piece of advice is that it's never perfect. Just do your best and have confidence in your home. You fell in love with it, and you've got the best REALTOR in town on your side making sure someone else will too. 

Market Update: Bridgwater

Hi neighbours, I am a realtor that specializes in the Bridgwater area & I also live in Bridgwater Lakes.

Thought you would be curious for an exciting little market update about our area.

Since the signs have gone up at the Town Centre and its starting to look "real"--whoa, what a difference! Let me tell you, buyers are noticing our little area and they are getting excited!! The increase in the attention on resale homes in Bridgwater over the last month has been MAJOR.

One set of buyers that actively didn't want Bridgwater--too far away from extended family to the East of the city--has done a full 180 flip since seeing the progress of the Save-on, and is now talking to me about how great it would be to walk over for groceries!!

For those of us here on the ground floor, this will bode really well for our property values in the future, and as controversial as the growth fee has been, it is going to keep the values for resale homes high, which is good for us too.

Inventory is low in Bridgwater right now and I've got a line up of buyers waiting for the right house so please reach out if you've got a house to sell in the future as I might already have someone for you.

And if you have any questions about the market or property values, feel free to reach out any time.

Best of 2016 Halloween Home Decor!

Every day in October I shared a new great idea for decoration your home for Halloween on my Facebook page--with the criteria being that it had to be funny, creepy, or easy to do--but preferably all three. 

Here's the best of the best--my 12 faves of 2016!  

Bidding Wars Are Back!

The snow is melting, the sun is shining, the geese are back....and so are the bidding wars!

It is heartbreaking to "lose" a house in a bidding war, and nerve-wracking to "win" one if you fear you overpaid.

Here is my advice about how to create the strongest possible offer--without going all the way to crazy and overspending. 

Start 4-6 months ahead. Start going to open houses 4-6 months ahead of time. If you're familiar with the market and have seen enough duds to recognize a real gem, you'll be way more capable of pouncing when that perfect house comes up. The biggest problem with buyers that are brand new to the market is that they believe good houses are a dime a dozen.  Buyers that have been beaten down by 6+ months of trying to replicate the house that got away when they first started looking will tell you differently. 

Get pre-approved. Get a letter from your lender that states the amount that you are pre-approved to spend. This doesn't guarantee to the vendor that you can buy the home, but its the next best thing because it shows you have started the process already, have your ducks in a row, and can theoretically afford the home.  

Even better, get rid of your financing condition. If offer A is for $300,000 and offer B is for $305,000 with a condition that they have 5 days to cancel the deal if they can't obtain financing, which would you choose?  Most vendors will take the security of Option 1, even though its for a lower amount. With a condition on your offer, you'll usually have to be $5k to $10k higher than an unconditional offer to get the home.  In other words, having a condition on your offer costs you real money. Send the MLS information to your lender and find out if you can make an offer without a financing condition, and up to what amount. 

Do the home inspection first. Particularly in Winnipeg with so many older houses on the market, the condition of a home inspection scares vendors silly. It basically gives you carte blanche to walk away from the deal--for good reason (the foundation is shot) or not (a lightbulb was burnt out) which means that vendors perceive the offer to be shaky. For an older home, you will probably need to outbid an offer without a home inspection condition by more like $10-$20k to get the home. Even though a home inspection costs around $500, if you're serious about the home and know you can afford to offer a realistic amount above the list price, you should do the home inspection before the offer night, and submit an unconditional offer. 

Find out the seller's preferred possession date and do everything in your power to meet it. If you can't meet their possession, at least indicate openness to correct whatever's preventing you from meeting it--let them know you'll try to sublease your apartment, or when your house sells you'll try to move the possession up. 

Write a letter to the vendors.  This can be a nice way of trying to connect with the sellers, and can help you personalize any elements of your offer that may not be perfect.  "We need a long possession date because our children will be switching schools."  "We own our current home outright so financing won't be a problem--we just need a few days for paperwork." Or just the plain old personal touch:  "I grew up across the street and can't wait to raise my kids here too." From my experience representing vendors choosing between multiple similar offers, I can tell you this works. 

Price it right.  Of course everyone worries they are overpaying. The first thing you need to do is get a knowledgeable and experienced realtor who can give you a good idea in advance of what the likely selling price will be. You should always go into a multiple bidding situation with a very clear idea of what you will offer, which should be based on the evidence your agent has provided you.  You should never be surprised by how much you end up spending in a bidding war. Your realtor should give you 3 numbers:

  • Fair value. Homes are often underpriced as a technique to generate a bidding war. Your realtor need to analyze the comparable sales and give you an assessment of the true market value, which could easily be significantly more than list price. 
  • The premium price. Particularly for hot homes in hot areas, you need to pay a premium to secure the home as fair value often won't cut it. If you're planning for the home to be a lifetime home, 25 years from now the extra $10k you had to spend to get the home will be a drop in the bucket compared with a lifetime in the perfect home. 
  • The crazytown number. Your realtor needs to give you a good idea of what the all-the-way-to-crazy number is, so you can stay well beneath it.  Either without good advice, or with too much emotion on board, people do overpay for houses.  If you lose out to someone who overpays, its OK because you didn't want it at that price, anyways.  

Winning in a multiple bidding scenario is not hard with good strategy, real preparation, and sound advice. Meaning that you don't have to lose out on so many homes that you end up overpaying for the last one just to get it over with.  

The final tip? Call me. You need good, sound advice, which I can give you. 

Keep it simple!

Here's a shot from Google street view of a home I sold last week.

Now why on earth is Scott Moore, 100% advocate for professional real estate photography, using google cam images, you ask?

Its an interesting story....

This beautiful bungalow on a park-like lot with AMAZING inground pool belongs to some awesome clients of mine who were ready to downsize. They found the perfect place last week, and then were ready to sell.

Knowing the house would be coming to market eventually, I had talked up their home to other agents and clients and so we had a couple buyers waiting in the wings.

Bingo! We sold their home to the first family that viewed it, and my clients then went on and bought their next perfect place.

Very big congrats and thanks to everyone involved. Selling & buying homes are one of life's biggest and most stressful transitions and I just love it when it goes smoothly like this!

And a special congrats to my clients--I wish you years and years of health & happiness in your new home!