It’s Time to Celebrate!

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Our Ultimate Service Guarantee is 20 years old and we continue to receive rave reviews regarding our Service!

Our Ultimate Service Guarantee is for both Buyers and Sellers. When you list with our company, we provide you with a 22 point guarantee, outlining a level of service that we provide as a MINIMUM standard. If you are dissatisfied with the service provided at any time, you can be released from your Listing or Buying Representation agreement. We survey every client that buys or sells a property with our company and ask them to rate our service in a number of areas. These surveys result in individual sales representatives in our company receiving the Ultimate Service Designation. Our company has also been recognized as an Ultimate Service Provider, as so many of our representatives have attained the Ultimate Service individual designation.

We are very proud of our representatives, and want to share with you some of the comments their clients have made.
“Very happy re communication and work performance. Office staff very helpful and friendly”

“Sandra is awesome! She understood my needs and what I was looking for. She keeps me updated and and she is very diligent with her work. Overall, great experience finding my first home with Sandra and Coldwell Banker.”

“Daniela was very knowledgeable and helpful during the home buying process! We loved working with her and will and have told our friends and family about how great and professional she was!”

“Diane provides exceptional customer service. Responds quickly and very very competent.”

 

If you are thinking of buying or selling a home and want to receive the very best service available in the business, be sure to call one of our Coldwell Banker Community Professional Representatives. We think they are the best in the business!

The Magnificent Seven!

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Movie makers could only come up with seven magnificent cowboys. At Coldwell Banker Community Professionals we have an office full of magnificent individuals.

As part of our Ultimate Service Guarantee, we survey all our buyers and sellers to ask how we did. Many write in to tell us about their experience with our team of professionals, and I have selected some such testimonials to share with you. These are a sampling of the hundreds of surveys we receive back.

“Justin is the kind of agent everyone should have. His professionalism, while he helped and guided us through the purchase of a new property and the sale of our existing residence was greatly appreciated”

“Ozie was exceptional! We were blown away by his professionalism and kindness. Our expectations were exceeded”

“Jeannie was exceptionally helpful and accessible for all our home viewings. She made very helpful observations and was vested in finding the best home for us within our price range. She was, and continues to be prompt with messages. I don’t think we could have found our dream home without her!”

“It was a tough market and Jesse showed above and beyond customer service and PATIENCE! We are extremely happy with our final purchase!”

“As he has in the past, Vince went above and beyond our expectations. He provides exceptional customer service and prioritizes clients like they’re all his only one. I wish I could buy houses every year just to hang out with him more!”

“Amy is a very caring and devoted sales rep – She is looking out for our best interest. I will recommend her to my Friends and Family”

“Rejeanne was patient, understanding and she took the time to understand my needs, and as a result she showed me properties that were within my budget and needs She set me up with the listing alerts and I was able to view properties beforehand. My sales rep accommodated every change (and there were a few), and made every appointment as scheduled.”

“I was referred by a friend, but chose Coldwell Banker based on excellent rapport with Paul. Fast reply time, understood quickly, very patient in explaining everything (more than once). Paul made it comfortable to become a first time homebuyer.”

It’s impossible to pick just 7 magnificent experiences with so many to chose from.

If you are considering buying or selling your home, don’t hesitate to contact one of our Sales Professionals. You will receive the excellent service outlined above from everyone on our team.

At Coldwell Banker Community Professionals we don’t strive to be the Biggest, we strive to be the Best.

How to Win Every Time with Competing Offers

The only guaranteed winner when there are competing offers on a property is the Seller.

The real estate market this year has been inundated with competing offers. It seems the combination of low interest rates, a lack of listing inventory over the past few years, and a strong employment/economic outlook has fired up our market.

Sadly, with competing offers, only one buyer is happy with the outcome, and the rest are disappointed at best, and sometimes downright upset at worst. Many buyers have lost 5 or 6 times before being successful in making a purchase. I believe that if your REALTOR® has explained how competing offers are handled, and what your options are, you may be disappointed, but you should never be upset.

In the Hamilton market, when you are one of two or more offers, you have one opportunity to make your best offer. Your REALTOR® should ensure that they explain the process to you, and help you to determine what is the maximum you would be willing to pay, finding the point where if someone buys the property for $100 more, you will not be upset… you may be disappointed, but you are at the limit of what you are willing or able to pay. They should explain that starting at a lower price and expecting to have an opportunity to improve you offer is not how it works in competition.

Also, it is not always the highest price that wins. It can be the offer with no conditions, or the best closing date for the sellers, or maybe just the buyer that the seller liked the most. The seller can accept any offer they wish, or none.

There are some instances when the seller does not accept any of the offers, telling the buyers to come back with a better offer if they wish. This can happen when the offers the seller receives are very close in price and conditions, and the seller can see no benefit in accepting one over another, or it may happen if the seller was hoping to receive higher offers, and is not willing to accept the price they have been offered.

If you are currently house hunting, be sure your REALTOR® has explained how the buying process works, including how competing offers are handled.

If you are ready to start you home search, be sure to call a Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate representative. They will provide you with excellent, professional service, and ensure that you know exactly what to expect.

Home Buying Myths and Misunderstandings

The following article was recently published by the National Association of REALTORS®, and I thought I would share the information.

Common Myths and Misunderstandings about Shopping for Homes”

You’ve been searching for homes online, driving by interesting properties in your car, and found one that looks perfect.  What do you do next?

Contact the agent featured on the yard sign and the online listing? While that may sound like the most logical step, it’s a common home buying mistake based on several myths and misunderstandings:

Assumption:  It’s best to contact the listing agent because they’re already familiar with the property. Sure, the agent on the yard sign knows that property, but that’s because they’ve been hired by the owners to help sell it.  That’s what listing agents do. Their job is to represent sellers in property transactions, marketing properties to potential buyers and helping sellers earn as much as possible on the sale.

Does that sound like an agent who will be looking out for YOUR best interest? Buyers would be better served if they avoid the listing agent (anything you tell them may hurt your negotiating position) and select a buyer’s agent to arrange a showing – someone who will represent your interests in a transaction.

Assumption:  I’ll save money on commissions if I work with the seller’s agent.  Not true.  Commissions paid to the buyer’s and seller’s agents are predetermined and written into the listing agreement; in most cases, if the listing agent brings a buyer to the table (because the buyer contacted them directly) that brokerage will earn both sides of the commission.

That means buyers don’t necessarily save anything by going directly to the listing agent.  More importantly, when a buyer approaches the listing agent, they’ve potentially lost a vital opportunity to receive loyalty, confidentiality and other fiduciary duties that buyer’s agents owe their clients.

Assumption:  All real estate agents are basically the same, so I might as well contact this one.  Again, not true.  As in all professions, some real estate agents deliver a higher standard of service than others.  One way to make sure you’re working with a professional who’s already received special training in representing buyers is to find an agent who’s earned their Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation – an official designation certified by the National Association of REALTORS®.

As I mentioned at the top, this article is care of the National Association of REALTORS®.  The information is equally applicable in our Canadian market, and there are local REALTORS® who have taken the time to complete the Accredited Buyer’s Representative designation, and are able to provide that higher level of service to buyers. If you are planning to buy a home, be sure to call Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate and ask for one of our ABR® accredited sales representatives. Exceptional service does not cost any more than average service does…

Rate Your REALTOR® – Should You or Shouldn’t You?

rating copyWhy is everyone afraid of this concept?

Whenever this topic comes up for discussion, some REALTORS® start running for the hills. Not at Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate! We have been asking our customers to rate us for over 17 years. Our Ultimate Service program includes a customer survey which is sent to every buyer and seller who completes a transaction with our company. We actually ask people how we did! It’s no surprise to us that we receive a 98% favourable rating from our clients, and have for many years.

Many REALTORS® fear that if you let people rate your service, that the only people who will respond are those who want to complain. Sure, every once in a while, a buyer or seller does not have the perfect experience. That can happen for any number of reasons, and it is not realistic to think that it never will. At Coldwell Banker we just ensure that it is the rare exception, not the norm.

Every day we are now asked to rate our experience. How was your meal? how was the service? how was your stay at our hotel? how was your flight?… I am sure you have been asked your opinion many times, and perhaps responded only a few times, or maybe not at all. Some companies even offer you an incentive, whether it’s a chance to win a shopping spree, or a free appetizer. These companies are trying to improve  your customer experience, and they are not afraid to ask for your feedback.

At Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate, we welcome your feedback. If we can provide better service, let us know how. If your buying or selling experience was not as good as you expected, let us know, so we can improve how we service our next client. Our focus is on making sure that you, the client, receives the best possible service, and that you would recommend us to a friend – the greatest compliment we can receive, and the best endorsement of the service we provide.

If you want the best possible real estate experience, when you are ready to buy or sell real estate, call Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate. Only by working with one of our professionals, will you experience the highest level of customer service. And when we ask you to tell us how we did, please do!

A GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE EXPERIENCE!

This month we have been talking about Coldwell Banker® Pinnacle Real Estate’s Ultimate Service® and what that means for our clients and their home buying/selling experience. Today I would like to share with you a great customer service experience I had this week.

My daughter was home from university and asked if we could get her cell phone upgraded. Immediately I thought, OK that will take an entire evening. So we headed off to the Bell Mobility store to get her new phone.

Upon arrival, we were pleasantly surprised to see there were no cars in the parking lot. My daughter said, “Well we won’t have to wait long.” We were helped by a young man by the name of Marco. Right from the start I’m thinking this guy knows what great service is all about.

First he introduced himself and asked how he could help. My daughter told him what she wanted to accomplish with regards to her new phone. He listened very intently and asked more qualifying questions and again listed very carefully to make sure he had all the necessary information.

After taking this information, Marco provided my daughter with all the options available to her. Not once did he try to sell her on any particular service but rather counselled her on what package would fulfill her needs at this time.

After my daughter chose the new phone and service package he made all the necessary changes to her account as well as transferring all the data from the old phone to the new one. He did this without being asked. No one has ever offered to do that for me in the past. My daughter was very thankful.

So to all the customer service providers out there, including all you REALTORS®, take a lesson from Marco. Listen to what your client needs and wants, and make sure you provide your clients with all the necessary information, and options, to make a sound decision.

If you are looking for a REALTOR® to provide the same high level of service that Marco provided, then call one of our Coldwell Banker® Pinnacle Real Estate professionals.

CHOOSING A REALTOR®

Last year I did a blog about choosing a REALTOR® and I covered a few points to consider. In today’s extremely competitive market I thought I would talk about a couple of more things a home owner should consider when hiring a REALTOR®.

Some home owners will hire their sales representative based on the highest list price presented. The sellers look at each other and say, “He or she thinks our house is worth $400,000 too”. In the real estate industry we call this Buying a Listing. This could be a big mistake because your house gets the most attention when it is a “new listing” , and you have it priced above the market.

If you price your house to high, no one will show it and it will just sit on the market until you reduce the price. After you reduce the price, the buyers who were looking in your area have already purchased a home. You missed out on all those buyers! Pricing your house too high will only help similar houses in your neighbourhood sell faster.

Another thought is you should always ask the REALTOR® for references from recent sales. A good REALTOR® would have names and contact information readily available. Ask the REALTOR’S® clients about their selling experience.

Remember, the length of time a REALTOR® has been in the business isn’t all you should look for. Experienced REALTORS® can grow jaded and not work as hard, while newer ones may make up with enthusiasm and effort what they lack in experienced.

Some sellers base their decision on the lowest commission. We all know the old saying, “You get what you pay for”. This is very true. REALTORS® and brokerages put up their own money to market and advertise your home. This costs money… the lower the commission, the less incentive for a REALTOR® to put up his or her own money to market your home.

Incentive has an important role in sales. A full service REALTOR® earning a full commission will often “drop everything” to handle any challenges that come along – a rep earning a smaller commission doesn’t have that same incentive.

Again, make sure you interview more than one REALTOR® and look for the one that is a true professional.

Good luck to all of you trying to sell your house. If you have any tricks of your own on how you chose your last REALTOR®, please share with your fellow readers.

THIS IS WHAT GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE IS ALL ABOUT!

Since we are talking about customer service this month I was compelled to share this story with you.

This past summer when I was on vacation on Lovesick Lake about 20 miles north of Peterborough I had some car trouble on the Friday morning the day before we were to return home. My battery light came on so I decided to drive my car to the nearest service station, Steve’s Auto Service, which was referred to me by a friend who had needed their service in the past. My car broke down on the side of the highway so I called the garage and explained my situation. The service manager, Alisha was very pleasant on the phone and extremely helpful – a great first impression. She arranged for a tow truck to come and pick up my car.

When I arrived at the garage with the tow truck and my car I realized this was a very busy operation. This is usually a great indicator of a successful business. After explaining to Alisha that I was returning home the next morning and I needed the car repaired as soon as possible she said she would have the car assessed as quickly as possible.

Since they were so busy they never had a chance to look at the car until around 4PM. They discovered I needed a new alternator. The parts manager, Kim started calling all the auto parts supply companies in the surrounding areas only to find out there was no alternator to be found. As it was the Labour Day Weekend the shop was closed for the weekend. I pleaded with Alisha as we needed to get home as we had to move our daughter to university on the Sunday. I asked Alisha if there was anything they could do to get me out of this predicament and this is when the owner Steve Jorgenson got involved.

Steve said he would have the part sent by overnight courier and he would come in personally on Saturday morning to do the installation. He called us at 9am Saturday morning to say the car was ready for pick up.  We were very grateful to have avoided what could have been a very inconvenient situation.

This is a perfect example of someone going the extra mile to make sure the customer is satisfied. I give great kudos to Steve and his entire team as they are perfect examples of what great customer service is all about. So if you find yourself experiencing car problems when you’re in the Lakefield area I highly recommend Steve’s Auto Service.

If you are looking for a REALTOR® who provides this level of service be sure to call Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate and ask to speak with one of our sales representatives. You can reach us at 905-388-1110 or 905-522-1110

Should I Rent or Should I Buy?

When is the right time to buy and when is the right time to rent?

As a REALTOR® I would like to be able to say that a person should always buy a home instead of rent. Sadly that is not always the case. A variety of circumstances could suggest that renting is the right route to go. Here are a few:

 If you are unsure you will be staying in the area for a reasonable period of time – Sometimes people are excited by the opportunities available to buy but don’t consider that they will likely be moving in a short period of time. Perhaps a job transfer is looming, or maybe a marriage with plans to relocate to your new spouse’s hometown is on the near future.  Real estate like any investment has costs involved, and if you are purchasing a home with a minimal down payment, when the time comes to sell you may not have had time to build up enough equity to pay all the selling expenses.

If you have a personal bankruptcy on your credit history that has not been discharged for a number of years – lenders will lend to individuals who have declared bankruptcy, but only after the individual has shown that they have their financial picture back on track for an extended period of time.

 If you are really stretching it to get your down payment and closing costs together – the dream of owning your own home can sometimes overshadow your other dreams. When you are deciding if the time is right to buy a home, consider your other dreams.  Do you want to buy a new car? Do you enjoy going on vacations?  Do you like to go out frequently for meals and entertainment?  I am not saying you can’t do these things and buy a home, but don’t get yourself so committed to mortgage payments that you do not have money left over for the day to day things you enjoy.

Some of the advantages to buying as opposed to renting are:

You are building up equity in your property every time you make a mortgage payment. Part of each payment is applied to paying off the original amount you borrowed, with the idea that at the end of the amortization period of your mortgage you would owe nothing against your home.  This is just a concept, since as a REALTOR® I hope you will move a number of times over the common 25 years amortization period.

As a long term investment, real estate has been shown to be one of the best ways to increase your investment capital. Like most investments, ones that you buy, maintain, and hold for a long period bring you the highest return on investment.  Home ownership has enabled many families over time to keep investing in more expensive homes, utilizing only their initial down payment from their first home purchase. Remember, your personal residence does not attract any capitals gains tax when it is sold, unlike many other forms of investment.

Another perhaps less apparent benefit of home ownership is that studies have shown that the children of families that own homes are more likely to complete higher levels of education, more likely to vote in our federal elections, and more likely to continue the tradition of home ownership.

These are just a few of the things to consider when deciding if homeownership is the right choice for you right now.

If you are trying to decide if this is the right time for you to get into home ownership, I encourage you to call one of our sales representatives.  They are all qualified to sit down with you and review your current circumstances. They will help you decide on your best course of action, and yes, they will sometimes tell you that renting is the right choice for you right now.  But, they will also help you work out a plan to become a home owner, maybe not this month, but at some time in the near future.  Don’t hesitate to ask for information, that’s just one of the ways in which REALTORS®  help.

Real Estate Designations: What the heck do these mean, and why should you or I care?

ABR, SRES, ASA, MVA, FRI, CRES, E-PRO… the list is endless.

All the time you see REALTORS®, and others for that matter, that need lines of type to include all the letters after their name for the designations they have earned. While a lot of time and study can go into these designations, not all of them truly affect how your REALTOR® will help you with your real estate needs.

When you are ready to buy or sell, take the time to interview 2 or 3 REALTORS® before you make your final decision. You should consider these interviews to be job applications. Many times, I think buyers and sellers take more time deciding what colour to paint the front door than they take to decide who will best represent them, and negotiate the best possible terms for them.

When you interview a REALTOR® you should ask them questions about their track record.
• How long have they been in the business?
• What did they do before they became a REALTOR®?
• What is their list to sell ratio? (how many of the listing they take actually sell)
• What is the average number of days they require to sell a home?
• What are they going to do that is different from everyone else?
• What special qualifications do they have that will help you? (this is where the initials after the name may mean something)
• Why should you hire them? If they don’t have a good answer to this question, what is their answer when a buyer asks “Why should I buy this house?” or you ask “is this a good house for me to buy?”

The answers to these questions are not rocket science, nor is there the right answer to every question. Consider the first question, ‘How long have they been in the business?’ A REALTOR® who has just completed the courses may be the best choice you can make. They are up to date on the legal matters regarding a real estate transaction, they are eager and will work very hard for your success. Also, consider their background. That’s where the second question comes into play. A strong sales or marketing background can make up for lack of time in the real estate profession.

If a REALTOR® cannot answer questions about their production, such as list to sell ratio, or average days on market, be wary. This individual does not look at buying and selling homes as a business. They are looking at real estate as one sale at a time. That may be a good way to focus, but it does not always lead to long term success.

I hope when you are thinking about your next real estate move you will call one of our Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate professionals. Yes, we have many that have initials after their names… ask them why they decided to earn the designation. Maybe they are uniquely qualified to help you. If you chose to hire one of our sales representatives, always remember, you receive the Ultimate Service® Guarantee.

By the way, our sale representatives will gladly answer the questions I have outlined above. You be the judge of the answers.