What Do Buyers and Sellers Expect From Their REALTOR®?

Change is constant, but it is never more evident than when looking at what consumers expect from their service providers. The other apparent constant is the slow response of suppliers to their consumer.

Real estate is no exception. Today’s consumer expects to have access to all the information they want regarding a property, whether it be the current price if it’s on the market, or the sale price of a home they were interested in, or assessment, or taxes, or… the list goes on. It seems that the keepers of the information, even if they wanted to share the information are restricted from doing so either by government laws, or by rules within their industry. Also, quite often, the keepers of the information are leery of sharing, in case they lose control, which I believe has been a problem in the real estate industry until just recently, when REALTORS® and their associations decided to make access easier for the consumer. I am sure the consumer still believes we could and should still provide more information (remember my first paragraph).

Another area where change has been slow is delivery of the information. It wasn’t that long ago that we actually were unable to provide a computer print out of information, in fact using printed material that was out of date before it even got into the REALTORS’® hands much less out to the consumer. Now that the internet has made the transfer of information so much easier and quicker, many are still slow to provide the immediate response that consumers are looking for.

Moving on from providing information, the consumer is looking for a number of other services, such as
All but instant response to texts, email and telephone calls. Many REALTORS® are slow to respond, with many not answering emails at all.
Listings that have plenty of photos and video tours so they can get a feel for the property prior to viewing it
REALTORS® that have websites, both to provide information about the REALTOR® themselves and also to promote the consumers listings or provide them with listing information
One stop shopping. Consumers expect their REALTOR® to provide access to financing, home inspection, insurance, staging and more.
REALTORS® who know their job! Keep up to date and provide informed service. Consumers do not want surprises because their REALTOR® just didn’t know to ask the right questions.

These are just a few of the changes in what consumers are looking for, and as a REALTOR® I know we all need to keep up to date and acquire the skills necessary to provide what our consumers want.

WHAT WILL BE THE BABY BOOMERS’ TREND IN REAL ESTATE?

For quite some time real estate “experts” have been predicting that there will be a glut of single family homes coming on the market as the Baby Boomers sell off the family home and downsize. Now that the first wave of Boomers are hitting the retirement age, are we seeing all the downsizing that was predicted? Let me share with you a few observations regarding Boomers.

First, we are not seeing the rush to sell the large home and downsize to a smaller residence. Many Boomers are continuing to work into their retirement. Some do it because they need to financially, and others, such as small business owners continue to operate as there is no one to take over their business. Therefore many of these Boomers are staying put.

Another scenario is the one where the adult children return home after university because it is more difficult to find good jobs or they are continuing their studies while remaining at home. As a result Mom and Dad still need the larger home. In this case, are Mom and Dad going to stick to their initial downsizing plans, not likely.

Many Boomers are struggling to make sure they have enough money to retire while others are very comfortable due to savings and investments, inherited money or both. Some Boomers are actually upsizing after all the children have left, to the house of their dreams. Maybe it’s the one with the gourmet kitchen, or the main floor master bedroom with full ensuite, the all on one floor home, or maybe it’s the waterfront home with their boat in their front yard.

Whatever the trend may be, we as REALTORS® need to make sure we are ready for that Boomer client for whatever choice they make, upsizing, downsizing, making a lateral move or just staying in their current home.

To all you Boomers out there, if you are contemplating a move in the future, be sure to consult a Coldwell Banker Real Pinnacle Real Estate professional to help guide you through the process of selling and buying your home. After all it is probably your largest single investment.

Real Estate Market Trends? Really?

trend art copyAre there trends you can really count on?

In the past, we always spoke of the annual real estate trends, you know, the spring market starts the beginning of March, people buy so that they close at the end of school year, and of course buy so that they are settled before school starts again, they don’t buy in the summer, they don’t buy over the holiday season, and more. I am sure you have heard them all over time.

I believe that these ‘trends’ are passé. The spring market has some years started on January 2nd. We were hardly finished recapping our holiday experiences, and were back at work helping people buy and sell homes. We’ve also had years where April was well underway before we noticed the uptick in the market. There is no longer any hard and fast rule about the ‘Spring Market’.

More often than not, our winter market trends seem to be if it’s an open winter, we are busy all the way through, with no particular break other than for the holidays (and that might not even happen), OR, we have either very cold weather or lots of snow, and we have lots of time on our hands.

As for buying and selling around the school year, summer break is no longer the primary time to move. Parents quite often decide that they can drive their children to school for a period of time, or they decide to move in March or April so their children can develop friendships at their new home prior to the summer holiday time. Many families are well equipped to cope with changes during the school year… It just doesn’t seem to be a hard and fast rule as it was in the past.

As for not shopping in the summer, some of the busiest market times are July and August.

Holiday slowdowns are also a trend of the past. Serious buyers and sellers are in the market years round. Yes, it may be a little slower at the holidays, whether it be Spring Break, long weekends, or Christmas and New Years… but there is still business happening.

The real estate market in recent years has been more at the mercy of the banking system and the government. Changes in amortization time periods, increases (or decreases) in the interest rates, HST, and other changes have affected the attitude of buyers and sellers far more than any of the traditional trends.

So, join in bucking the ‘trends’ and get in the market! If you are looking to buy or sell, it is always a good decision to call a Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate sales professional. They are the best at what they do – Help people buy and sell homes!

TRENDS IN REAL ESTATE – ARE YOU ONE?

There seem to be many trends happening in the real estate world today, such as, upsizing, downsizing, lateral moves, adult children not leaving home or moving back home, to name but a few.

I thought I would talk about the trend of having one of your parents move in with you. My wife and I are going through this process as we speak and hopefully I will be able to give you a few ideas to consider when making this decision.

First you have to confirm with the parent or parents that this is something they would like to do. Sometimes the parents would suggest it or as in our case we suggested it to my father-in-law. When my wife asked him, he immediately agreed. It was like he was waiting for us to ask.

Then you need to discuss it with your siblings to see if they are in agreement. You certainly don’t want anyone’s nose out of joint. You know the old joke, “Mom or Dad always liked you best!”

The next thing you need to consider is what type of living arrangements you want. Does your parent want to be totally independent with their own kitchen etc., or do they just want to share in the daily family activities, such as dining, watching TV or whatever and just have a room of there own.

You also need to have a discussion with your children as this will affect how they go about their daily routine. In our case, all our children were supportive of having their grandfather living with us, but two of our three children did not want to move. We haven’t made our decision as yet, but if we decide to move forward we will be moving, as our house is not conducive to this sort of situation.

The list of things to consider goes on and on… Are stairs an issue? Do the bathrooms need to be altered?

This decision can be a little overwhelming but remember you can always count on your Coldwell Banker Pinnacle real estate professional to help guide you through this very emotional decision.

Will it be a Good Fall Harvest?

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Time once again to dust off my crystal ball.  The real estate market has been quite strong through this summer, and many are asking Will This Continue?

My crystal ball is telling me that we are in for a good fall market.

The economic reports tell us that we are doing better than anticipated.  The ‘experts’ say that we are in for a steady market for the balance of this year and through 2014.  The lower Canadian Dollar is helping with exports, which in turn helps the economy.

As for real estate specifically, there continues to be a slower than usual supply of properties coming on the market, which leads to price increases.  This also has lead to a larger than normal number of properties receiving competing offers, which in turn is driving up prices in certain areas.

The Bank of Canada has not increased our prime lending rate, which is holding our mortgage rates at all time low levels.  This is great for the first time buyers, and also for the buyers looking to move up.  The cost of housing has not been this affordable in quite a long time.

In the Hamilton area we are also fortunate to benefit from the fact our housing costs are lower than many of the surrounding areas, in particular Toronto.  This has sent a number of buyers to our area, as they are able to purchase the home of their dreams for a fraction of the cost it would be in Toronto.  Now if we could get the transit issues worked out, we would truly be off to the races.

To answer the question I posed, I think we are going to have a great fall harvest.  If we could get a little more yield in the properties coming on to the market, I am sure we have enough consumers out there to buy them up.

For REALTORS®, now is the time to step up with the farming, and get the product to market!

For consumers, if you are thinking about moving, now IS the time to get your house on the market.  Start by calling one of our Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate professionals, and find out what your home is worth.  Remember, real estate is a local business, so find out what your specific area is doing, don’t just read the headlines.