Are You Thinking of Buying or Selling? Here are 5 Reasons You Should Hire a REALTOR®


When you buy or sell a home, often you are starting down a path you have never travelled before.  You need an experienced Real Estate Professional on your side to ensure you attain your goal.  It may seem easy to either sell or buy privately, with access to the information provided by The following 5 Reasons to Hire a REALTOR® are even more important today, with all the options available through the internet and the information/misinformation that is out there.

  1.  Preparing and interpreting all the paperwork. There are many forms that need to be completed to buy or sell a home.  Also, there are many terms and conditions to consider to protect yourself in the transaction.  The last thing you want is a legal problem because something was missed.
  2. If you are buying, what do you do when you find your dream home? There are many considerations when you prepare an offer to purchase a home, from the decision of basics such as what is included in your purchase and moving dates, to what terms and conditions do you need to protect yourself in the purchase, and ensure that the  home you are buying is all that you think it is. Do you know the professionals to contact to have your new home inspected or to arrange the best financing?
  3. Are you a good negotiator?  Can you buy it for the lowest price possible or conversely sell it for the highest? Do you have the information you need to know what the home should sell for?  Can you remove your emotions from the negotiations?
  4. What is your home really worth?  Do you know how to price your home to attract the most buyers and generate the most offers?  We are currently experiencing a very robust market for sellers.  You want to maximize your sale price!
  5. Do you know what is really going on in the market? More particularly, do you know what is going on in your neighbourhood?  You need to know the specifics of the neighbourhood in order to know what price you should offer your home for sale at, or to know what to offer for your dream home.

By hiring a real estate professional you will have someone that will help you make an educated buying or selling decision.  They will tell you the facts, not what they think you want to hear.

Thinking of buying or selling?  Call one of our professionals at Coldwell Banker Community Real Estate.  They will provide you with the help you need.

Time to Renovate? or Time to Sell?


Did you know that in our community, renovating is becoming one of the largest sectors of discretionary spending?

The discussion around renovating your home, often becomes a discussion of whether you should renovate and sell, or maybe renovate and stay. Often when families start to discuss moving, it is to correct problems they see in their current home. Sometimes these issues can be fixed by a simple renovation, such as a bathroom that needs a facelift, or refinishing a floor. Other problems such as not enough room, or needing one floor living when you own a two storey home can be more complex. When you begin to consider building additions, or repurposing main floor living spaces, it pays to fully consider your options. The cost of renovation may well out pace the value of the renovated home.

Another time families discuss renovating is when they have decided to move. Many times families downsize, or decide they want to enjoy condo living instead of maintaining a property, or perhaps just a change of area. In these cases, much thought should be given to renovating to place your home on the market. Studies show that some renovations will result in you increasing the value of your property by the amount you invested. Two examples of this are kitchens and bathrooms. You should always keep in mind that this is not always the case.

You should always consult with a professional when you are considering spending money on your home before selling.  Often buyers have entirely a different idea on how they would renovate your home if they were to buy it.  A larger percentage of home renovations are completed by people after they buy a home – ususally within the first 12 month of living there….

If you have questions, or are considering a move, call one of our real estate professionals.  They know their community and can help guide you in the right direction.

Should you wait until after the Holidays to list your home? this time of year, many homeowners think they should wait until after the holidays to put their home on the market. Also, some homeowners who have had their home on the market decide to take it off the market until after the holidays.

If you are in this dilemma, here are six things to consider:

  1.  Buyers who are looking during the holidays for a home are serious buyers, and are ready to buy.
  2. You are in control of the showings on your home.  You can decide when your home can be shown or not.
  3. Homes often show better when decorated for the holidays.
  4. There is less competition from other sellers at this time of year, as many do decide to hold off selling until after the holidays.
  5. Buyers who are being relocated by their employer are always out there.  They will be looking to get into a home quickly to get their families settled.
  6. The supply of listings generally increases after the holidays.

These six items all suggest that there is a benefit to the seller who decides to move forward with selling their home during the holidays.

As always, you need to consider your particular circumstances and needs. One of our professionals at Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate will be happy to help you determine what course of action would be best for you.  Why not call one today?

How to Win in Competing Offers

With the strong Seller’s market we are currently experiencing, this seems like a good topic to touch on.

If you are currently in the process of buying a home, you have likely come across a competing offer situation, whether you chose to compete or not.  The low inventory of homes currently on the market, and the ideal conditions to buy, have created a lot of frustration for buyers.

If you have found a home you would like to purchase and discover you are competing with others to buy the property, here are some suggestions:

  • Include as few conditions in your offer as you can.  If you wish a home inspection, consider having one done before the offers are presented. That way you know if you really wish to proceed with the purchase, and it also offers added assurance to the seller that you are sincere in your offer.
  • Be sure your finances are in order.  Don’t assume you can obtain the mortgage. Go to your bank/mortgage broker and have them do the complete approval for you.  That way there are no surprises for you or the seller.
  • Keep the time frame for your conditions as short as possible.  A couple days ensures the seller that you and your agent have done your homework, and it is just a case of final approvals, not full application.
  • If possible, try to match as many of the terms the seller is requesting, whether it be closing date, chattels they have offered to include, deposit amount etc.
  • Speaking of deposits, at times, offering a substantial deposit can assure the seller that you are a serious buyer.
  • Keep in mind that you most likely have only one chance to be the accepted offer.  Make your first offer your best.
  • When deciding how much to offer, don’t get carried away. Keep in mind that if you are financing your purchase, the appraisal will be what the bank looks at when they are determining how much mortgage they will advance you.  If you are getting an insured mortgage, the lending guidelines may be even more stringent.
  • Listen to your agent.  They have expertise in helping people buy homes.  They will help you make the right decisions, and will endeavour to negotiate your purchase on the best possible terms for you.
  • Don’t let frustration drive you to overpay for a home.  I have heard of buyers making offers on 8-10 homes before being successful in having their offer accepted.

Keep in mind that winning in competing offers is not always being the one that gets the offer accepted.  I believe it is only a win if you buy the right home at the right price.  Buy a home you really like, but don’t fall in love with it until you move in.  If you keep that in mind, you will not be in the mind frame of ‘buy at any cost’.  You can remain in control of your purchase.

If you are thinking of buying, be sure to have a skilled professional to help you. Call a Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate – with our Ultimate Service Guarantee, we will always put your needs first.


The Diary of a Disappointed Seller


Many of you are aware I have been trying to sell my house for about the past year.

Is your house sold? must be the most frequently asked question when you have your house on the market. Take my word for it, if the house was sold you would be tired of hearing about it. The great price I got, the house I bought for of course a really low price, ad nauseum. I know, people are curious and assume it is sold and are just making conversation…

If you have never been in the ‘expired’ situation, you can’t appreciate the stages a homeowner goes through. Try to imagine the entries if one kept a diary.

Dear Diary:  I’m so excited!  We’ve decided to move!  There’s a few things we need to do to get ready, but it won’t take long

Dear Diary:  We’ve been working on the house for 7 months but we are finally ready to get it on the market. I hear houses are selling pretty fast!

Dear Diary:  Wow, just a few days and already we’ve had lots of people through!  How wonderful. Just waiting for an offer.

Dear Diary:  It’s been a month now, no offers yet, but the REALTOR® says the house shows great and the feedback is good.

Dear Diary:  3 months now… Never thought people made appointments then were an hour late, or worse yet didn’t show up!  Or those REALTORS®… Book a preview and don’t come “it was just a preview” they say.

Dear Diary:  Exciting! A REALTOR® just called. They have a buyer who must see the house immediately. They need to buy today and he thinks the house is perfect!  I  rushed home and got things all spiffed up. It looks great! Oh- got to stop. They have arrived early.

Well, that was a waste. Here 5 minutes. Didn’t want a one storey house… Didn’t the REALTOR® know that?

Dear Diary:  Open House today. Been cleaning all day. Hope someone comes and likes it.

Dear Diary: Well, it hasn’t sold, and it’s been 6 months…maybe we should just stay…

Yes, those entries reflect reality…

My house is off the market at least for now. Many tell you now is a great time to sell as there is less competition and houses show nice when decorated for the holidays and snow can hide some ‘issues’…

Well, I look at the flip side. Less competition – fewer buyers too, so less motivation to make an offer. As for decorations, if you need decorations to sell, maybe some staging would help. As for snow… What a mess with boots etc especially when you are all cleaned up and decorated for the holidays.

Disappointment aside, we will be going back on the market.  I just hope the ‘diary entries’ are fewer and more positive this time around.

And perhaps a heads up to my fellow REALTORS® out there. When we make appointments, let’s consider how we might feel if we were the home seller waiting for the showing, or getting the house ready …

Oh, and once the house is on the market again… don’t bother asking if it’s sold. You will know when it does… believe me

How to Get Your Home Into “Listing Condition”

Many homeowners ask us “What do I need to do the get my house ready to list?”.

When it comes to getting a home ready for sale, sellers should create a warm, inviting yet neutral atmosphere that will appeal to as many potential buyers as possible. The good news is, sellers don’t need to do a complete design overhaul to get a great result.

If you are getting the urge to move, here are seven simple staging secrets to help boost your home’s appeal and give you a competitive edge to help sell your home.
• Stage rooms with one purpose. Rooms that have many uses can confuse or even deter homebuyers, so staging rooms with one purpose is vital. Determine who your most likely target market will be, whether its young professionals with no kids, families, or even empty nesters. Then present your areas to fit their needs. If you’ve been using a room as a guest room/kids playroom/home office, pick the one use that best suits your buyers.

• Tackle the easy “do-it-yourself” projects. In a Coldwell Banker consumer survey of first time buyers, the vast majority said move-in conditions are very important in their search. Spruce up your home by replacing outdated kitchen and bathroom fixtures. Add a fresh coat of paint. Repaint or refinish kitchen cabinets and update with new hardware.

• Focus on the living areas. Potential buyers should envision themselves entertaining friends and family in the living areas of the home. Make sure those areas feel as spacious as possible by removing any unnecessary furniture to allow for easy traffic flow.

• Make sure the master bedroom appeals to both sexes. Remember that the master bedroom is a room that a couple will be sharing, so the décor should appeal to both sexes. It should feel like a calm and peaceful refuge, not a frilly boudoir. Remove any feature that seems too gender-specific and paint the walls a neutral colour.

• Clear away family photos and mementos. Buyers want to picture their family living in a home, not the previous owners. Put away family portraits, personal collections and knickknacks. Removing these items will also eliminate clutter and ensure that people are focusing on the home, not the photos from the last family vacation.

• Furnish the home, but don’t overdo it. While an empty house may look spacious, it’s often hard for buyers to visualize their belongings in a home if they’re just looking at bare walls and floors. Leave the basic components that allow the viewer to define each room.

• Don’t forget the outside spaces. First impressions can play a key role in a consumer’s decision-making process, so don’t neglect your home’s curb appeal. Make sure the home’s exterior is inviting by trimming the bushes, mowing the lawn and painting faded window trim. Buyers will appreciate the seller’s efforts with the yard work, and will tend to assume that the same attention to detail has been devoted throughout the property.

I hope these tips are of help if you are thinking of moving.  Be sure to call a Coldwell Banker Pinnacle sales professional. They will help you by providing suggestions specific to your home to maximize your sale price.

What are Home Shoppers Looking For Now?

What do you think are the most popular trends? I recently read an article outlining the currents house hunting wants and was surprised by some of what I read.

Not surprising, buyers are still looking for large great rooms and spa like bathrooms.

The ideal home is now open concept, with the great room encompassing the entertaining area of a living room, the secluded space of a technology work area, likely at least two eating areas, and a large very functional kitchen. People want to be more connected to what is going on in the family.

We are seeing this in renovations that are being completed, and in some areas, in the new home designs that are being put forward. Many of these homes no longer have the halls to each separate area of the house, which traditionally was used for privacy between the different use areas. These hallways added considerably to the square footage of the home, and prevented the free flow that home owners are now looking for.

The sought after design today allows you to be part of the party when you entertain, even when you are doing the prep work. Your breakfast bar area serves as a buffet area, and you likely have a small eating area for casual meals, and a larger space for more formal/large family get togethers. Home owners don’t worry about guests being able to see the prep area. Likely that’s where everyone was gathering anyhow! Kitchens have always been the gathering place at the party.

And bathrooms… apparently we all want the spa bath from the high end hotel. Soaker/jetted tub, separate glass shower with multiple shower heads and a seat, heated floor, modern vanity with double sinks, showpiece mirrors… I don’t know about you, but I feel relaxed just picturing that.

What I did find surprising, is that the average square footage of the home that many buyers are looking for is 1800 to 2400. It would seem that everything mentioned above, plus 3 bedrooms can be accommodated in that space when you lose the halls.

Don’t take this to mean there are not buyers looking for larger homes with the same features, but about a third of buyers are searching for what I described above.

Are you in the buying phase? What are you looking for? Let us know if the housing gurus have it right…