Monthly Archives: October 2015

TRUST Your Realtors’ List Price!!

Maximum Impact Plus

Maximum Impact Plus

The Realtors I work with are true professionals. They go into a complete, full depth analysis of your property before they give you a valuation or recommended asking (list) price. This number is what they feel the “market will reasonably offer” given the features of your home and the current market conditions in your immediate area. Keep in mind, I’ve been selling investment homes for over 20 years, so I am very familiar with the process and being on the sellers’ side. I’m not only a Home Stager, I sell a couple of houses a year on average myself! 

First of all, there will always be Realtors who will start off suggesting a higher list price than other proposals you receive. Their “sales” strategy is to lock you in to a listing agreement for as long as possible and then convince you to keep dropping the price until the home sells! These are NOT the Realtors I work with or recommend to my clients. However, as with every industry, there will also be some less than desirable people looking for a quick buck. Just beware, once you sign a listing agreement with someone it is not as easy to fire them and hire someone else. When you are presented with an offer to list your home and the price is substantially higher than other proposals, get the dollar signs out of your eyes and start asking hard questions. Such as why so much higher? Marketing strategy? Expected days on the market at this price? Comparable properties that have sold IN YOUR IMMEDIATE area at this price, and HOW MANY and WHAT YEAR? The comparable should be within the last 6-8 months and in your immediate neighborhood and be a similar age to your home and have similar upgrades and should consist of more than just one property that sold over list in a bidding war. Beware, the goal is to dazzle you with a BIG number and lock you into a listing agreement contract and then drop the price until it sells.

The number one lesson is to choose your Realtor very wisely! It would be reasonable for you to ask for a list of their sales over the last 3 or 6 months and find out what the list price was and what the home actually sold for! This will weed out the Top Professionals in their field! Thankfully there are many excellent Professionals to choose from! 

When it comes to setting the list price, tryst your Realtor. Now if your Realtor recommends a price of $450,000 and you insist on $460,000, you are basically fishing. Some Realtors will proceed at the higher list price in order to appease their clients. However, they usually set a time limit on it, say 2-3 weeks. If there is no interest at the higher price, then the agreement is to drop it to the Realtors’ recommended price. This accomplishes 3 things: First, the Seller won’t spend the rest of their life wondering “could we have sold it for a higher price”? Second: When as offer does come in, it’s likely to be that much closer to the price the Realtor recommended in the first place! Third: When a property sits on the market for a long time, people begin to think there is “something wrong with it”. This turns people away and can in fact encourage low ball bids from investors. Neither option is particularly great for the seller.

Finally, the recommended list price is the price!!! That is the sale price your Professional Realtor feels your home will best attract a buyer and potentially sell somewhere in that price range. Please, please, please DO NOT add Realtors commissions onto the recommended list price! If you Realtor suggest $499,000 – keep it at that number! Don’t bump it up to $514,000 to cover the cost of Realtor fees!!!! Search engines use price as one of the MOST critical screening factors. If a couple is looking up to $500,000, your property will never come up in the searches!!! The valuation of your home is what it is worth! Buyers will not pay more than it is worth because you listed with a Realtor! This is just another common example of over pricing yourself! Don’t’ do it! Realtor commissions are a cost of the sale process and need to be included in the sale price. 

By pricing your home at Market Value + Commissions, you are telling all other Realtors and Buyers that you expect the BUYER to pay for the Realtor commissions! You’ve just turned off a lot of buyers who may have been interested in your home.  Let’s face it the market has become much more competitive. Buyers would rather deal with a Seller who is reasonable and will be easy to work with. Setting your price + Commissions just tells everyone you are very demanding of the buyer and very inflexible. Off they go to look at the house down the street while yours sits with no showings…..sigh. Chances are, when you receive an offer it will be below asking price anyway, because your home isn’t worth that much. For the months you’ve kept it listed at the higher price, you continue to pay mortgage, utilities, insurance, taxes, interest on your mortgage, plus any staging costs… so did you really end up any further ahead after taking these costs into account? Once you take the additional carrying costs into account, did that extra $14,000 in asking price make you money or cost you money with the additional time it took to sell, if it did sell?!! 

When it comes down to it, TRUST your Professional Realtor! They understand the conditions in the market and can best advise you how to get a reasonably quick sale for the best possible sale price. After all, that’s what they do every day. You would never dream of going to the grocery store and having a “mark-up” for the transport company that delivered the groceries! Yes, the cost of transporting your groceries is built into the sale price, just like the Realtors’ cost of selling your home is built into the sale price of your home! Remember, you want to attract Buyers and keep them away. Trust your Professional Realtor for a quick and happy sale process.


Set Realistic Expectations for Time to Sell Home

POSTED PicMonkey Collage 16 

Most people realize that homes are taking longer to sell. Although, as recently as September 2015, we had a home sell on the first date of showings. We had a number of homes sell in less than 2 week over the summer. To generate this outcome, many factors must come together perfectly! In most cases, bidding wars are now very rare. A majority of houses are not receiving multiple offers. It’s critical to set realistic expectations for how long your home will be on the market. How it compares to others in your area for sale and home it’s priced (for what it offers) in comparison to others in the immediate area!

Days on the market is a statistic that tracks real estate sales in great detail. Depending upon the area of the city and the price of your home, the average DOM (days on the market) will change. Before you list your home. Find out what the average DOM is for homes in your area and in your price range. Ensure your Realtor uses the DOM for your immediate neighborhood and selling price and not the average overall for the City of Winnipeg. Get detailed information where it affects you most, in your own neighborhood! Obviously “average” indicates there are homes that sell faster and there are homes that take much monger to sell. However, once you have the accurate “average DOM” you have a statistical number to base your expectations on.

Statistics tell us that the homes selling fastest are those that have been well maintained and/or recently updated. Most buyers are looking for a “move in ready home” rather than a “project”. They want to move in and enjoy and settle into their new life and home and get back to normal life routines as quickly as possible. So before you decide to sell, ensure you take the time to make your home as appealing as possible. Take care of the mechanicals – routine maintenance goes a long way to peace of mind. Touch up paint in areas where it may be dated or in need of repair. Replace old worn or dated flooring. Replace out of date counters and flooring and a quick paint job can give new life to a room at a fraction of the cost of a complete reno job! I never recommend a complete kitchen or bath gut and redo before sale. Statistics tell us you rarely get more than 58-64% for baths and 78 – 84 % for kitchens ROI in these cases, depending on how high end you go. However, I have never seen someone lose money when doing just the basic maintenance and updates to make a home more appealing. It is critical to know what to do and how much is necessary for a fast sale, without overspending and leaving good money behind!

We have been in a number of homes in the last few months that have spent BIG money on brand new kitchens and luxurious baths but have windows that do not open or with broken seals that steam up. Windows is a huge expense to replace. Mechanicals is one of the most important upgrades people can do. Newer shingles; windows, furnace; plumbing; etc – these are important and costly repairs. People want to purchase a home with confidence that mechanicals are in order. Even if you have a fabulous kitchen but the roof leaks – buyers will look elsewhere. At bare minimum replace the windows that have obvious problems or be prepared for your home to sit longer than the average number of days to sell in your area before you receive a discounted offer. Buyer will always discount offers if they have “repairs or work” required upon possession! One additional word of caution, know the features and benefits as well as the potential negatives of your home. If you have an older home, with windows that do not open well, and has no air conditioning, it’s better to list your home in the fall, winter or spring rather than in the oppressive heat and humidity of summer. If you have any seasonal features of your home that YOU do not like, that is the WRONG time of the year to sell your home! If you don’t like your home then, chances are pretty good other buyers will not either! On the other hand, if you have a time of the year when you LOVE your home and find it most appealing that is the time of the year to show your home for sale! If you LOVE it best then, chances are the buyers will too! That’s why I’m always amused that people sell seasonal cottages in the fall or homes with swimming pools after summer. Everyone wants to enjoy one last year …. But I always wonder if they would get a better price if buyers were sold on how much fun they could have if they saw you enjoying it?

Finally price is a key factor. If you have your home priced at the top of the comparables for your area but your home actually compares better to those in the mid-range or lower range of homes in your area, then it will sit for a long time. The market has changed and we must re-adjust our thinking for the new market we now have, not the one we’ve enjoyed for a number of years. The reality is, there are a lot more homes to choose from than in past years.  Many of these homes are in all different price ranges. Buyers can look at your over priced home, with few updates and older mechanicals or they can look at a brand new home for the same price. Which do you think is more appealing? If you are not prepared to update and maintain your home to make it comparable, you’ll have no choice but to settle for a lower price or a long time on the market and then eventually a lower price than what you hoped for. It’s less frustrating and costly if you are just realistic with the price from the start. That’s why it is so important to review the comparable DOM of properties in your area. Your Realtor can analyze and tell you why they’ve been sitting too long. They can also tell you why your neighbors sold so quickly. One last work on price, the higher the price, the longer it takes to sell. There are simply fewer buyers who qualify to purchase a home in the upper price range and they tend to be very picky! They have a lot of inventory available to choose from so you had better be offering them something fabulous and keep the price reasonable!

There are a lot of factors that affect how quickly your home will sell. Time of year if your home has any very positive or very negative features. The asking price you list it for must be appropriate for its condition. Know what the average DOM is and prepare for the average Days on the Market as a realistic time to wait. If it’s less that fabulous – but if the average DOM in your neighborhood is 100 and you begin to panic after 2 weeks – that’s just not realistic! Especially if you have not taken into account any other factors. So do your due diligence. Know what the competition has to offer and at what price. How does your compare? What is a realistic average number of days to sell in your area and price range? Then with your expectations realistic, let your Professional Realtor do their job and listen to their feedback! The right buyer always comes along!

Fall Decorating Ideas


Fall has always been my favourite time of year. The colors are beautiful. There are almost no bugs. Weather can still be quite warm and pleasant. The crunching of the leaves and the smell of fall in the air – all bring a sense of calm and deep appreciation for the beauty around us.

I am often asked about decorating tips. I still enjoy decorating my home for the changing seasons. Pumpkins are a must! They suggest a celebration of a successful harvest but they also symbolize a happy and well enjoyed summer for me! I use gourds and pumpkins both inside and outside my home. I have planters in front of our garage and by our front door. In winter I have Christmas trees lit up; in spring I’ll put branches with pussy willows; summer of course is a profusion of flowers all around my home; fall has pumpkins and occasionally dried corn stalks, bales of straw, and a few scare crows for good measure. At Halloween I usually add my witch and ghost and large spiders for some additional character! You have to have fun and enjoy the changing seasons!

Decorating inside the home can be just as simple. Changing décor to coincide with the season is not only fun, it is festive! I love my pumpkin soup tureen which is the centerpiece on my buffet table this time of the year. I have ornamental leaves and plastic gourds to compliment my soup tureen. A few small dried stalks of corn on the cob add just the right touch for a beautiful fall arrangement. 

I have lovely fall centerpieces on my kitchen and dining table. As well as many scented fall candles throughout my home. Everything from pumpkin spice to apple cider and every other wonderful fall scent I can find. The candles not only add beautiful accents with their colors and the candle holders, I love the fall smells wafting through my home when I burn the candles, which is almost every evening!

Decorating a festive table can be done at any time for any occasion. Many of us get very creative with our table décor for holiday gatherings, but the truth is you can enjoy a creatively decorated table at any time and for any occasion. Better yet, you can surprise your family and guests with no occasion at all.  Just for “fun”. Between the different options for plate colors, napkins and their holders, a multitude of creative options for centerpieces, there is really no limit to how creative you can become. 

Another of my favourites are accents and throw pillows. If your décor is neutral it is easy to change up small inexpensive decor to add a festive touch to any room! Whether its fall themed candles and towels in the bathroom or Christmas décor and throw pillows to match your tree skirt or bright spring colors after a long winter, adding a touch of seasonal décor to your home is fun. The best way to ensure you can easily change up seasonal décor is to ensure your basics are neutral. Then it’s a simple matter of changing your seasonal décor so you are always “in season” and current.

My fireplace mantle is another of my favourite decorating tools. There is always seasonal décor on my mantle! Right now its pumpkin scented candles and pumpkins candle holders and metal owls and the odd Halloween piece. I will bring out my Witches’ house and ghost candle holders and Gourd tealight house and my black cat décor pieces and spiders this weekend for that lovely touch of Halloween. 

If you enjoy cooking, there seem to be an endless assortment of festive dishes usually found at Home Outfitters, Pier 1 or Homesense. So many beautiful accents to choose from for just the right dish! I bake a lot of pies and love to experiment with different themes and ingredients and fall is harvest time! So many fun options for me to bake!

There is something about the change of the seasons that always signifies a new start for me. It’s fresh and new and is always something to look forward to. To me, the changing of the seasons is cause for a little extra celebration! After all life is busy and stressful enough. Relax and have a little fun with some well-chosen décor to make your home that much more enticing. Say good-bye to the season we just completed and hello to a bright new season full of promise and new opportunities!