What a Realtor can do for you

I met a woman last week that was trying (unsuccessfully) to sell her home. I began to explain what a realtor can do for her and she was stunned. She honestly believed that realtors just put a sign in the lawn and hope for the best. Sure some do that but not the majority.

I’ll admit when I started in real estate I didn’t realize how little people think of realtors. I have heard realtors being compared to used car sales men, snake oil sales men and various other professions that people have little regard for. This has given some people the impression that realtors aren’t useful.

We are in an age now where selling your house without the aid of a realtor is becoming quite common.

I have had the pleasure of meeting several people that have tried to sell on their own or with the use of companies like ComFree.

The comments I heard most often about why they chose to sell on their own was that they didn’t want to pay the commission and that they can do anything a realtor can do but better.

Here are a few facts for you:

98% of all FSBO (for sale by owner) listings end up working with a realtor on the buyers end

Listing through a realtor will sell your home faster than selling on your own

Listing through a realtor can net you 27% more than selling on your own

So let’s dive into a what a realtor can do for you….

After the sign goes in and your listing has been put on MLS, the work really begins.

realtor work

1. Pricing
The sale price of a home isn’t a random number. Before listing a property a realtor will do a comparative market analysis of all the sales in your area over the past few months to a year. They compare similar builds with similar features, for example, 2 bathrooms, a pool, number of bedrooms etc. This helps them come up with a suggested selling price.
2. Marketing
A realtor will come up with a plan to market your home. Whether through print ads in the newspaper or posts on Facebook, your realtor is going to get people to pay attention to your listing and try to draw in as many people as they can.
3. Open houses
Many home owners feel that open houses are a crucial  part of the home selling process. They do get a lot of people through. Some are nosy neighbours, some are serious buyers and some just go to open houses as a hobby. Open houses generally last for 2-3 hours and are often held on the weekend. I have met more then one FSBO that has said they do not like doing open houses. I have also met more then one buyer that said going to a FSBO open house can be extremely uncomfortable. 
4. Negotiating
Congratulations you got an offer! Now what? If you are selling on your own you will probably ask a lawyer to look over the offer and make sure everything is in place. Thing is lawyers know real estate law they do not deal in real estate as a profession. They do not know the ins and outs of offers, they will not help you with home inspections or necessary repairs, nor will they help you negotiate on your behalf, but a Realtor will. It is our job to get you the most money possible for your house.  Realtors can negotiate everything from price, to closing dates to whether or not to include the family cat as part of the sale (yes it happens) and everything in between. Like I said, it is our job to negotiate. If we can’t do our job we don’t get paid.
5. Arranging inspections
Home inspections are pretty important. They give both the seller and the buyer peace of mind.  For a seller a home inspection allows you to rectify any issues that may come up prior to closing which will ensure that the buyer can not back out of the deal. On the buyers end they feel secure that the home they are buying is a sound investment.
6. Searching for new properties
Your house is sold and you are still searching for your new home but you can’t find one that you like. Yipes! A Realtor can help with that. We will search for you, arrange times to view the properties, and prepare an offer for you if you find a house you love.
7. Act as a therapist
Realtors are not trained in the art of therapy but on a regular basis we are talking people down off the ledge. Real estate can be terrifying and stressful for some. There is a lot of money on the line and remorse can set in the second that you accept an offer or purchase a home. Since your Realtor has no emotional ties to any house they can give a calm and unbiased opinion of the situation.
Agents often suggest staging using what you already have. Simple tricks like rearranging your furniture, removing personal items, and removing clutter can add thousands of dollars to your bottom line. Realtors are also in contact with professional stagers. They can bring in rented furniture and do all of the work for you. 
As you can see Realtors do a lot aside from putting in the For Sale sign. We take pride in our jobs and only want the best for our clients. 





10 tips to help you sell your home

There are some houses that sell the day they hit the market and there are others that languish for months. In amongst the real estate folk it is often said that you can think of listings as being a swamp. In the first two weeks you are floating on top and easily visible but as time progresses you sink to the bottom and are forgotten. Nobody wants their house to be at the bottom.

So how do you stay on top?

Well there are some simple tips that anyone can do to help up the resale value of your home and help it to sell quickly.


tips to sell

1. Clean

Yep it’s that simple. Clean like you have never cleaned before. Buyers are superficial and judgmental and not because they are terrible people but because they are spending a ton of money and want to know that you take pride in your home and that it is well looked after. The smell of Pine Sol goes a long way.

Of course you will tidy up before prospective buyers come through, but do you go the extra mile and clean around the bottom of the toilet? Make sure everything is spotless. Clean the finger prints off the oven door, mop behind the toilet, dust your baseboards and clear your fridge of art work, school notes and schedules. It’s those little details that show buyers that you care about your home.

2. Clear the clutter

This goes hand in hand with cleaning. People want to see your home not your stuff. Put away the stack of magazines on the coffee table, remove your children’s art work from the fridge and clear the counter tops in the kitchen and bathrooms. Storage is something that buyer are always looking for. If your home seems cluttered they will assume that if there isn’t room for all your stuff there won’t be room for theirs and they will move on.

A perfect example of a cluttered room is my office. Things pile up quickly and I don’t always put things away when I am done with them. A buyer needs to see how big the work space is, not how much junk the desk can hold.

3. Use storage containers

If your closets are barely able to close because you put all of your clutter into them it will turn a buyer off. Instead use storage bins. It keeps everything looking clean and organized and as an added bonus you will be getting a head start on packing.

4. Open the windows and let in the light

Fresh air and sunlight are synonymous with happiness. Showing off all the natural light your home gives your house a warm and welcoming feel. If you don’t have a lot of natural light turn on accent lighting or any decorative lights you may have.

5. Make your home smell good

I have had experiences where I have walked into homes and been knocked over by the smell of pets or a musty basement. It is not pleasant. A simple trick is to simmer some water, cinnamon sticks, apple slices and vanilla on the stove. I use that in the winter. In the spring and summer I simmer lemon grass oil, lemon slices, vanilla and rosemary. Both smells are fantastic and cover up any odours that some people may find offensive. Try to avoid room sprays as many people are allergic or sensitive to them.

6. Have a plan for your pets

I don’t mind going into a house with cats as they usually keep to themselves. I do take issue with being knocked over by an excited or protective dog. Please take your dogs with you. Most showings last 15 minutes to 1 hour so take Fido for a walk to avoid a potentially unwelcome interaction.

7. Outdoor maintenance

Some quick weeding and mowing the lawn can make a huge difference in the curb appeal of your home. Clear the sidewalks and driveway of obstructions such as snow, leaves and children’s toys. Make sure that if there is any rot on your porch or pillars that it is taken care of before you list your house.

8. Finish the unfinished

This is a picture of my kitchen ceiling. It has been like this for over a year. There was a leak but it has since been repaired and Chris hasn’t gotten around to finishing it off. If I were selling my home this would probably raise more than a few red flags for a buyer. Not only does it look awful but it makes buyers think that there are plumbing issues.


9. Stage your home

Make sure your home is staged to appeal to buyers. Keep the décor neutral and make sure your whole house is organized. Place throw pillows on the couch and add a couple of blankets for a comfy look. set your home apart from other houses the buyers have looked at. Arrange the furniture so that your home has a good flow. If necessary hire a stager or rent furniture that you think will showcase your home best.


10. Leave

This is so important. If you are lingering during a showing the buyers will not feel comfortable. If they don’t feel like they can properly inspect the home they may take a pass on your house. That being said it is your home and if you do not feel comfortable with having strangers in your home then please sit outside or in a room that the buyer isn’t in.

Trying these quick and easy tips should help you sell quickly and end up with a few more dollars in your pocket.



I need to tell you something… Buying and selling tips from a Realtor

Last night I was watching a show about a couple trying to find the perfect home. It was filled with all kinds of drama. “Will we ever find our perfect home”? They did.” Will our offer get accepted”? It did. The tension was palpable. As a realtor I find those shows about real estate make buying and selling a home look either like a piece of cake or like making a deal with the devil. The reality is somewhere in between. Of course those shows never tell you the most important things about buying or selling real estate.

I wanted to share a few things with you to hopefully help you out the next time you are in the midst of a real estate transaction.

The most important thing to remember in my opinion, is  whether you are a buyer or a seller is that these are legally binding contracts that you are entering into. This isn’t a time to fudge numbers to get a bigger mortgage or to cover up a leak that happened several years ago in the basement. The truth always comes out and when it does it can be a nightmare. Have I scared you yet? I don’t mean to. I just want to impress upon you the importance of having a game plan before you buy or sell and how to avoid a potential legal mess.  Here we go…

Lets start with the buyers.

Buying a home is a big deal. For the majority of us it will be the biggest purchase we will make in our life time. So lets talk about how can you make sure that the transaction goes smoothly and that you get the home of your dreams.

The first thing a buyer needs to do is talk to the bank. Getting pre approved should always be the first step in the home buying process. When you contact your realtor about viewing homes they will most likely ask you if you have been pre approved and for how much.

Now here is what not to do…go shopping for new furniture, a car, or put any large purchases on credit.  Many deals have fallen apart because buyers went on a spending spree before getting the loan documents signed. So please make sure that your loan has been officially approved, documents have been signed, and that the financing clause has been removed from your offer to purchase the home before putting anything (aside from your groceries) on credit.

Another important thing for a buyer to consider is their wants and needs. Make a list of what is important to you and show your realtor. If it is crucial that you have a three bedroom home, with a pool, and an eat in kitchen then let your realtor know so they can narrow down the search for you.

Of course as your search for a home goes forward your wants and needs may change, and that is okay. Just keep your realtor in the loop so they can do their best for you.

As I said before buying a home is a big deal. People get cold feet or have buyers remorse immediately after signing the offer. You wouldn’t believe the amount of times I have heard “what if it gets accepted?” in a panicked tone. Well isn’t that why you put an offer in? So you could buy the house? My final word of advice to a buyer is talk to your realtor. I mean really talk to them. Real estate is a fast paced game. One minute a house is for sale, the next minute it’s sold. It can be high pressure. Discuss your strategy with your realtor before putting in an offer. In fact discuss your strategy before you even look at one house together. Make sure that you are both on the same page. If you feel like your realtor might pressure you to buy something out of your price range, or they aren’t putting forth an honest effort to work in your best interest, then find a realtor who will do the job you need them to do.

Okay sellers now it is your turn…

Much like buyers the first thing you need to do when you start to think about selling is talk to your bank. How much do you still owe on your mortgage? Will there be any penalties incurred for selling before a certain number of years? Discuss with them what will happen if you find a home you love and want to offer on but your house hasn’t sold yet. Will you still qualify for a mortgage? Make sure that your financial needs are covered before you list your property.

Did you put a new roof on your house or re do the plumbing? Prove it. Keep all warranties, work orders, permits and receipts to pass on to the next owner and to prove that this work actually did happen. It’s easy to say plumbing was updated through out the entire house because no one can see through the walls. Buyers want assurance that renovations were done by a professional and that if something goes wrong they have a warranty, or at least the name of the company that did the work so they can remedy the situation.

Finally, the price of your home. Every seller has a number in mind when it comes to the value of their home. For the most part the value is subjective, meaning it has value to the seller but not necessarily a buyer. If you put a pool in for twenty thousand dollars you may feel that your house is now worth twenty thousand more then it would be without the pool. This might not be the case. Your house is only worth what a buyer is willing to pay for it.

This is where a realtor comes in. They can give you an objective view of your home. They have information on what has listed in your area, and what has sold. What market trends are like  and how quickly homes in your area are selling. Listen to your realtor. They aren’t there to insult you by telling you a number that might be lower then what you thought it should be. You might think your home should list for a million dollars, but if similar houses in the area are selling at eight hundred thousand then there is a good chance that your house will be on the market for a very long time.

I hope these tips will prove helpful for anyone that is thinking of buying or selling real estate. While there is a lot of money and legality  involved in these transactions it really doesn’t have to be a stressful,l nail biting experience as it is portrayed on television. It should be fun. It should be exciting, and most importantly it should be about you getting the home of your dreams.



Things to remember when showing your home to potential buyers

So you have decided to list your home. Congratulations! Many sellers believe that once their house is listed with an agent their job is done, aside of course,  from tidying up when there is an open house or showing. That is not always the case. Some houses show beautifully and are sold within hours, others may take a few weeks to a few months. How can you ensure that your home is set apart from the pack? Here are some easy steps…

1. Make a great first impression. The exterior of your home is the first thing a potential buyer lays eyes on. Make sure that your gardens are weed free and not over grown. Your lawn is mowed and that the siding, stucco or brick of your home shows minimal wear and tear.

2. Think about a buyers safety. You know the ins and outs of your home, a buyer doesn’t. So while you know to avoid the extension cord that runs between rooms a buyer does not and if they trip and fall they will not buy your home.

3. Make sure your faucets don’t leak and that your sinks are clear of rust stains and hard water marks. There are many products on the market that can take care of that in a matter of minutes.

4. Try not to be home during an open house or showing. If you are there a buyer doesn’t feel free to take a good and thorough look through the home.  If they can’t feel at ease in the house they will not buy the house.

5. Invest in minor upgrades. A few gallons of paint can lead to major appeal. Change out faucets that look old and grungy.  Invest in new light fixtures that can stay with the home. A few minor details can add up to thousands of extra dollars in your pocket.

6. Don’t hide all your junk in the closets! Buyers want to know that the home has plenty of storage space and that your closets are big enough to handle all of their stuff. Clutter turns off buyers.

7. Put your stuff away! A clean and tidy home tells a buyer that you care about your home.

8. Last but not least. Make sure you remove your pets from the home during an open house or showing. While you love your animals some buyers may not, or they may have allergies. If someone is  afraid of dogs and you have Bruiser the doberman  waiting at the front door you can bet that you just lost a sale because that buyer isn’t setting one foot into your house.

I hope these tips help any one looking to sell their home. They aren’t difficult to do and can result in a speedy and most importantly profitable sale of your home.