Tag Archives: Fall

Fall Has Arrived!


Fall is my favourite time of the year! I officially have my fall décor out and am burning my fall “pumpkin spice” candles in my office as I catch up with my paperwork. I’m enjoying a breather the last 2 days catching up on 3 months of paperwork! Looking back I can’t believe we made it through the craziness and last few months of spring/summer.

Back in the spring we were staging/de-staging every day. Many days we were doubling up and de-staging one and staging another in the same day. Logistically, this is very challenging keeping straight what’s coming back and what’s going out without mixing anything up! We did have a few times when we grabbed the wrong bin/ bag of goodies and someone would have to chase back to the shop for the right décor. Thank goodness we moved into the new warehouse earlier this spring before things got really crazy! We had the space to sort multiple jobs and keep them packed and ready to go days in advance if necessary.

Things very briefly slowed down right around the end of the school year then we were going non-stop until the end of July. As fast as were setting up and completing a stage another one would sell! It’s really been non-stop for months now! We completed 9 stage jobs in the last few weeks before school started and we have already had 3 of those sell! 2 sold within hours and one sold the following day. One sold for $15,000 over list price on the first day showings started! Yes, bidding wars are still happening. Fast sales are still happening. On a street of 7 listings, our staged home was the first to sell. Others are still for sale months later and a few have been removed from the market, unsold. Homes have to be fairly priced and in very good condition for a fast sale. Of course, staging is a huge benefit. The staging makes the buyers connect emotionally with the home when they see it! As the number of listings increases, competition continues to grow, and sellers are making more of an effort to get their homes sold.  

Small repairs or improvements that sellers previously refused to complete, now are done without question if they want the home sold fast. Staging is becoming much more common is all price ranges. Literally we’ve staged homes anywhere from $200K all the way up to the 1.5 Million price point. As always homes in the lower price ranges sell faster. There are just a much higher number of qualified buyers below the $350K mark than there are in the $500K price point. As a result higher priced homes often take longer to sell.  Add the number of available new builds in that price point and the market is highly competitive for sellers in the mid – upper price points.

If you are thinking of selling this fall/winter or spring take the time now to complete all exterior work.  Pressure wash stucco, siding, eaves and fascia. Get you exterior windows cleaned. Trim back and shrubs or overgrown trees/plants. Pressure wash driveways and sidewalks. Repair and old decks boards and treat with a new coat of paint while the weather still allows! Exterior maintenance goes a long way to showcasing a well maintained home and sends a fabulous first impression! The key is to get that fabulous first impression and then continue to impress the buyers more with each new room they explore! Get all the outside work done this fall while you still can. The impression it makes on Buyers in the winter months will be well worth the effort now.

Home staging is about getting people’s attention! It’s about making them want to see your house rather than the one down the street. More importantly, it’s about all the preparation that goes into getting your home ready for buyers to see! From the first time we come in for a consult, we address all exterior and interior aspects of preparing a home for sale. Everything from trimming trees/shrubs for a great street appeal to pulling weeds and washing driveways and sidewalks. Cleaning windows and a complete cleaning inside the house. Interior cleaning is everything from lights to walls to baseboards. I even insist Sellers wipe down the dust on the hot water tank and furnace. Mechanical equipment that is caked with years of dust does not look well maintained. Mechanical equipment that is sparkling clean looks well maintained and gives sellers a sense of confidence. Of course, any repairs or maintenance issues that need to be addressed before the home is listed. Once the home has been de-cluttered, cleaned inside and out, it is ready for staging. We then come in with the final touches and leave your home ready for the photographer and for the Buyers to fall in love with!

Home staging is not just about furniture and accessories – it’s the whole package! Everything you need to do to get your home sold fast and for the best possible price! 




What Does a Buyers’ Market Mean for Sellers?

house for sale

In the last few months, I have received numerous calls from Sellers who are in a panic. They have their home listed and they have not received a single offer on their home. In some cases, the home has only been listed for a few weeks! However, there have been cases where the home has been listed for a number of months. The pendulum of the real estate market has certainly swung in the opposite direction, and rather quickly!! So what exactly does a Buyer’s market mean for Sellers?

Gone are days when sellers could do nothing in the terms of getting their homes ready for sale, ask top dollar and still sell a dated home in a bidding war over the weekend. Am I saying this will never happen, of course not! However, that is now a rare exception and no longer the norm. There is simply more available inventory for Buyers. This means Buyers can take their time making a decision and be more selective. From what we’ve seen over the last few months, they have certainly become much more selective!

Now Buyers are paying close attention to all the details and imperfections and “potential” problems. If they don’t like what they see it will cause them to walk out the door and they’ll be off to the next house. In the past, even if they saw the “issues”, they were willing to overlook them because there was so little else to choose from. Now, there is substantially more inventory so they have the luxury of time to look and see what else is available without the panic of the bidding war or the offers date.

We do still see homes with offers dates. They will typically be homes that are priced very aggressively and are hoping to attract multiple bidders. However, this strategy has backfired a number of times and resulted in no offers, or only one offer at well below what the home owner was hoping to receive. This can become very risky. If you list low, then receive no offers, it’s next to impossible to up the price to what you really want. Yet, we have seen this happen. Most Buyers that may have been interested and were waiting to see if there was a bidding war, will simply walk away once you raise the price. If they were marginally interested in the lower price, the chances of them being interested in a higher price are really not great!

So the number one rule, is that pricing your home fairly and properly for its age condition and location becomes critical in the success of the sale. Even if you overspent on your home when purchasing, gambled in a bidding war, or over-improved it with the hopes of better returns in a market that was seeing double digit market increases for years, you may have to make some tough choices, if you really need to sell it now. Depending on your circumstances, it may be better to wait things out a few years until you can get your money back. Or if you are not in that position, it may be best to minimize your losses, take what you can get and move on as quickly as possible. What may have been realistic and expected a few years or even months ago is no longer realistic. The rules have changed! Just like buyers struggled for years, so now must sellers take their turn as the pendulum swings in the opposite direction. Just because a neighbors’ home sold 2 years ago for an outrageous amount, that doesn’t mean you will get the same price. Don’t expect it and blame the Realtors because they are telling you, your home’s evaluation is below what you hoped or expected. Isn’t it better to work with someone who will be honest with you up front? There are some who will promise you the unrealistic list price you want, then once they have the listing, continually drop the price by tens of thousands of dollars until it is sold. This is not in your favour! It’s nothing more than a strategy to secure a listing.

I recommend, you discuss the top asking price and the lowest asking price you are comfortable with before you list. Nothing bugs me more than someone who promises a ridiculously high price, knowing it’s over-priced, just to get the listing. Then they proceed to drop the price $40,000, $50,000, $60,000 or more, until it’s sold. This is not sales, its trapping someone into a contract and seriously under delivering in service, just to get a commission. Rather than dropping the price repeatedly, consider staging. We could do a real top notch stage job for well under $5000 in most cases, so why drop the price $10,000 or $20,000 before looking at all the other options?

When your Realtor asks for a price drop, they often recommend this based on the feedback of other Realtors and their clients. However, if they have dropped the price substantially and repeatedly on you, it may be better to withdraw the listing and once the waiting period has expired, look for a new Realtor. Depending on the price of your home, a drop of 5-10% may be quite reasonable. However, a price drop of $60,000 on a $250,000 property is not! It simply wasn’t priced right to begin with!

Pricing will be the first key factor to get people’s interest. So make sure you are priced fairly. If your Realtor recommends $299,900 and you want $310,000 to pay for the Real Estate Commissions – you have just eliminated all the buyers who were looking at $300,000 and down. It also means your home will now be competing with the other homes in the 300,000 – 350,000 price range which may be nicer than yours, bigger, or have some other important features that justify the additional price. When buyers compare your home to these, it will come up lacking because it’s in the wrong price range for comparable properties. However, if you’re Realtor suggests $299,900 it’s because your home is in the top of its comparable price bracket. This means your home will look more desirable than others in the price range. It will have more features, square footage or a better layout that buyers are willing to pay more for than the other homes. Chances are it will sell faster and closer to the price you are asking. So don’t out price yourself, or you may not be selling your home anytime soon.

There are many things sellers can do to get their homes sold, quickly and at a fair market price! Take the time to get your home ready for sale. Cleaning, de-cluttering and basic repairs and maintenance may have been able to be overlooked in the past, but no longer! If every other home you are competing against has made the effort and yours is only minimal effort (or none at all) – it will show and buyers will move onto the next home! These will continue to be discussed over the next few weeks as now more than ever, it takes 2 things to sell a property – the condition and the price!  

A Little Bit of Everything….Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!

fireplace3 front door pumpkin terene

Ever find yourself on what I called “perma-hold?”  That’s when you’re waiting on hold for a customer service rep (or just some live person) to speak to you while music plays on and on and on…. Anyone else have issues with perma-hold!?!  If a company can take my money – they should have a person there to speak to me within a reasonable amount of time! Ok – done with my rant J However, as with any Professional Multi-tasker, I’m planning Thanksgiving Dinner, writing a blog and thinking about the links for the upcoming week as I’m waiting on hold, so thought I should just write it! Nothing like making good use of “on-hold” time! Thank goodness for speaker phone!

So this week we started the complete office re-design for Royal Le Page Prime. It’s so exciting! As always I can see the finished project in my head and cannot wait for it to unfold with the new paint, flooring and the furniture so everyone else can envision what I see! Just a few more weeks now for phase 1! Although everything was well planned far in advance there are always last minute details that require attention at the start of a project. It’s all part of the excitement and attention to detail that is required for it to all come together beautifully to everyone’s satisfaction! I’ll definitely be posting pictures once the first phase is complete!

The holidays have sure gotten here quickly!  Fall is one of my favourite times of the year! I just love the different colors outdoors and cool crisp air. We can enjoy our sweaters and heavier clothes without the sloppy mess of snow. Don’t get me wrong I love winter too – but this is just a beautiful time of the year to work. It’s not too hot. It’s not too cold. There’s no sloppy slush or mess outside. The drive back home is amazing as the colors change every day!! It’s perfect weather for a nice walk outside! Besides – It’s just so much fun to decorate with fall colors inside and out!

My front door usually has a collection of large friendly spiders; a scarecrow; a goofy witch and pumpkins! Inside I have everything from decorative pumpkins, gourds, and fall leaves to beautiful autumn colored candles in scents of apple cider; spiced pumpkin; pumpkin pie, and autumn glow, etc. You rarely walk into my home without some tantalizing fall smells assailing your senses!  I really do have fun with this time of the year. My cottage is no different, just scaled down a bit but same décor and same wonderful smells wafting through the home, only those are mixed with more baking smells – nothing like fresh baking at the cottage. Sorry weight watchers – I will just have to indulge for one day this weekend!

My favorite space this year is my new collection of Autumn décor from Pier 1 on my new rustic fireplace. Back in January we bought a new mantle for our living room fireplace. It’s a very beautiful and rustic slab of a red cedar tree. My Dad expertly refinished it and sealed it and we recently mounted it above our old fireplace. I have just ordered a new mirror for above but have a small one there for now. The rough bark is still on the edge and it just looks stunning!! I’ve been redecorating my own home in stages and am slowly getting my living room and library/piano room to near completion. My family just loves the new space and it works so much better for us as a family!

While I’m cooking up a storm and baking pumpkin pie (and of course, apple pie for my little girl – her favourite food!) this coming weekend, just wanted to reach out and wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving! Thank you for sharing my blog and giving me your precious time. I do really appreciate everyone who takes the time to read and respond. Take some precious time with friends and family to enjoy the beautiful fall colors and perfect weather!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!