The Price is Right!

When you are ready to sell, determining what price to offer your home to buyers at can be much like playing The Price is Right with Bob Barker.

If you ask 4 people what your home is worth, you will get 4 different answers, no doubt one so low you will scoff at their judgement and one so high you only hope they are right.

In our current market, pricing your home right when you put it on the market is very important. The buyers who have been looking for a home, and likely have made many offers without success, have seen all the homes comparable to yours, and are very educated on price. When they see a home come on the market listed much above current market value, they tend to not even consider it. They believe either the seller is being unrealistic, or that they have time to wait for the price reduction.

It can be difficult as a home owner to look at the prices being paid for homes, and not think you should list yours at the price just attained by the house down the street. Well priced homes are currently attracting multiple offers, which tends to drive the final sale price up, sometimes to levels not previously achieved by similar homes. At times, if a property is the only home available, and has very desirable features, it will obtain an unrealistically high selling price, only because it is the only one available.

When a REALTOR® provides you with a Market Evaluation of your home, they take into consideration what has sold, what is currently available, and what has been rejected by the market. They have the expertise and knowledge to look at the sale prices of properties, and the events surrounding the sale to determine how they compare to your home. Combining this knowledge with information regarding other properties that are currently for sale (your competition) and also considering properties that have been on the market for a longer period of time (seemingly overpriced) they can provide you with a recommended range in which to offer your home for sale.

Many sellers are concerned that the suggested price range is too low. They see a similar house that sold for maybe $50,000 more that the price being recommended to them. The other home may have received 15 offers, driving the price higher. As a seller, you must price your home to attract the competitive offers in order to realize the highest sale price. Pricing at top dollar may very well discourage a number of the potential buyers of your home, and possibly make competition unlikely.

If you are considering selling your home, and would like an honest opinion and marketing plan, call one of our Coldwell Banker Community Professionals representatives. They will provide you with a comprehensive evaluation, and help you make the right decision.

Has the Real Estate Market Run out of Steam?

ee080e912907e1b1fadad2edfff41c39I believe we are experiencing a traditional August. We just have forgotten what that is!

It seems that people always believe that the spring market is the hottest, the summer market is the slowest and the fall market runs until December when everyone quits looking for houses as they prepare for the holidays. I think this year is falling into a category of its own.

Our spring market started out brisk, with lots of buyers and not enough homes to sell. We thought it was a pretty strong sellers market and that buyers would need to be aggressive to be successful in home buying. In the back of everyone’s mind was that the thought that the market would ease up a bit after the initial rush, and buyers would find what they were looking for… We are still waiting for the market to ease up a bit and provide properties for all these buyers who are waiting.

Spring was not our hottest market. So far this year, and we have yet to see our fall market, the May, June, and July markets were crazy. Prices are up and the number of available homes is decreasing. Sellers have hesitated to put their home on the market fearing that they will not be able to find a home themselves…

This August has provided the slowest market so far this year, letting everyone catch their breath. I think maybe the buyers are worn out, and have taken the last few weeks of summer to regroup and prepare to do battle in the fall market.

As parents prepare to get their children back to school, REALTORS® are busy helping sellers prepare to put their homes on the fall market, and helping buyers fine tune what they are looking for. I don’t know what the fall market will bring, but if the first part of the year is anything to go by, we should be in for a busy time!

If you are considering buying or selling, call one of our reps at Coldwell Banker Community Professionals. They are well prepared to help you meet your housing needs. Find out how our Ultimate Service Guarantee can provide you with peace of mind in your real estate experience.

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

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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 realtor.ca. 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.

WHAT DOES A FOR SALE BY OWNER (FSBO) NEED TO KNOW?

There is a lot of talk out there about whether or not a home owner should sell their home themselves. I would like to share a few facts with you that may make a difference in your decision on using a REALTOR®.

Home owners have been using REALTORS® for well over 100 years. In today’s society nothing lasts that long unless there is undisputed value.

Buyers who shop For Sale By Owner properties only do so because they think there is a deal to be had. They believe they can get a huge discount on the price because the Seller doesn’t have to pay a commission. The Seller will always have to pay a commission – either to the Buyer or to the REALTOR®. If you are going to be paying a commission anyway, why not use a real estate professional and have them do all the work and take all the risk.

The Law of Supply and Demand states that the more buyers you have wanting to purchase the same product, the more they are willing to pay for the product. When you list your home on the Multiple Listing Service® or MLS® with a local real estate professional, your home is exposed to a huge number of potential Buyers. In our area, there are approximately 2,700 REALTORS® and approximately 40,000 REALTORS® in the neighbouring GTA. If each of those REALTORS® only had ONE Buyer client, that is an astounding number of potential Buyers for your property. How many potential Buyers would the FSBO be able to attract on their own? The odds are that a REALTOR® could probably sell it faster and for more money.

One of the most important roles of the real estate professional is negotiating on behalf of the Seller. The REALTOR® will negotiate with home inspectors, appraisers, lenders, etc., and the Buyer, or the Buyer’s representative to ensure the Seller gets the best terms and conditions on the sale of their largest single investment.

So if you are thinking of selling, talk to one of our Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate professionals to help guide you through the challenges of selling your home.

Exactly What is Our Company Product?

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What does a real estate company really sell?

I am sure most people would say we sell houses/businesses
and the like. That may be the way of the past, but I don’t think that is true any more.

The true product of today’s full service real estate company (which we are) is the ability to interpret the information available to maximize the return on your investment. (i.e., the commission you pay a REALTOR® for that ability).

With the availability of information regarding asking and sale prices, along with the advent of fee for service companies, truly anyone can put their home on the market.  I believe the difference a full service company brings to you is the ability to know what the market in your particular area is doing.  Are prices increasing? Are there competing offers happening in the area? Is there a development (good or bad) in the area that may affect price? What are the trends in the market? Is there a current shortage of supply? What is happening with mortgage interest rates? Are there any government policy changes that may affect the saleability of a home, or the ability of a buyer to qualify for financing?

If you add to that the specific knowledge and training that REALTORS® have regarding marketing/promoting properties, I believe REALTORS® supply a very important product in their knowledge, interpretation, and implementation of information.

When you are looking to buy or sell what may be your largest financial asset, would you not hire a professional?  If you were thinking of investing $100,000 would you check the internet and make a decision, or would you check with someone who specializes in investing large sums of money, whether for the potential growth it might provide, or to ensure the security of the investment?  Many real estate sales today involve far more than this amount.

Keep in mind that fees are always negotiable.  Be sure to purchase the right real estate product for you – and I’m not talking about the four walls and a roof.

Be sure to call one of our real estate professionals and discuss the product they offer… you may find it’s more valuable than you anticipated.

WHY SHOULD I HIRE A REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONAL?

Why should I hire a real estate professional? This is a question REALTORS® get asked all the time. There are numerous reasons to hire a real estate professional but today I am going to highlight some of the more important reasons.

Who looks after all the paperwork?

Over the years I’ve heard horror stories about buyers and sellers doing a transaction on their own and the paperwork goes bad. They don’t use the right forms for the right action, the paperwork is not forwarded to the lawyer on time, or they don’t adhere to the time limitations stated in the contract.

Who do you negotiate with?

Most buyers and sellers believe they are good negotiators. Most often they let their emotions take over and negotiations go sour. They also don’t realize they need to negotiate with upwards to 10 people during the course of the transaction, such as home inspectors, lawyers, contractors, etc.

What is the home really worth?

What is the home you’re buying or selling really worth? Many people rely on “experts” who don’t actually buy and sell houses as a profession to tell them what their house is worth. A buyer or seller needs to analyze what houses are actually selling for in their neighbourhood. They must also uncover other information that may affect the value of the home such as new schools or school closures, public transit, location of amenities, etc.

Do buyers and sellers really know what’s going on in the market?

We are bombarded every day with information on the housing market, interest rates (up or down), actual home sales statistics and so on. The real estate market is different from neighbourhood to neighbourhood. Buyers and sellers need to know what is happening in their backyard, not across town, provincially, or nationally.

These are just a few reasons to hire a real estate professional. After all, why would anyone make one of the most important financial decisions of their life without the help of professionals.

If you work with a Coldwell Banker® Pinnacle Real Estate professional, he or she will take care of all the details to ensure a successful transaction.

 

 

Real Estate How To’s

chck copyAs a blogger, I follow of number of Blogs to find out what people are talking about, and to share ideas with fellow bloggers.

This month Gary and I have had the underlying topic of How To ____?____. I decided to fill in the blank this month with “Obtain some really good advice on real estate”.

One particular Blog I find interesting is The KCM Blog. It covers a variety of real estate related topics, some directed at REALTORS® and some at the consumer. I have pulled 4 recent posts that are directed to the consumer. I think they have some good suggestions. I hope you will read on, and see if you agree…

3 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Home
If you are thinking about purchasing a home right now, you are surely getting a lot of advice. Though your friends and family have your best interests at heart, they may not be fully aware of your needs and what is currently happening in real estate. Let’s look at whether or not now is actually a good time for you to buy a home.
There are three questions you should ask before purchasing in today’s market:
1. Why am I buying a home in the first place?
This truly is the most important question to answer. Forget the finances for a minute. Why did you even begin to consider purchasing a home? For most, the reason has nothing to do with finances. A study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University reveals that the four major reasons people buy a home have nothing to do with money:

  • A good place to raise children and for them to get a good education
  • A place where you and your family feel safe
  • More space for you and your family
  • Control of the space

What non-financial benefits will you and your family derive from owning a home? The answer to that question should be the biggest reason you decide to purchase or not.

2. Where are home values headed?
When looking at future housing values, we like the Home Price Expectation Survey. Every quarter, Pulsenomics surveys a nationwide panel of over one hundred economists, real estate experts and investment & market strategists about where prices are headed over the next five years. They then average the projections of all 100+ experts into a single number.
Here is what the experts projected in the latest survey:

  • Home values will appreciate by 4.3% in 2014.
  • The cumulative appreciation will be 28% by 2018.
  • Even the experts making up the most bearish quartile of the survey still are projecting a cumulative appreciation of over 16.8% by 2018.

3. Where are mortgage interest rates headed?
A buyer must be concerned about more than just prices. The ‘long term cost’ of a home can be dramatically impacted by an increase in mortgage rates.
The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), the National Association of Realtors, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have all projected that mortgage interest rates will increase by approximately one full percentage over the next twelve months.

Bottom Line
Only you and your family can know for certain the right time to purchase a home. Answering these questions will help you make that decision.

Next…

4 Things You Need from Your Listing Agent
Are you thinking of selling your home? Are you dreading having to deal with strangers walking through the house? Are you concerned about getting the paperwork correct? Hiring a professional real estate agent can take away most of the challenges of selling. A great agent is always worth more than the commission they charge just like a great doctor or great accountant. You want to deal with one of the best agents in your marketplace. To do this, you must be able to distinguish the average agent from the great one. Let us help.
If we were hiring an agent to sell our home today, we would require that they:

1. Understand the timetable with which my family is dealing
You will be moving your family to a new home. Whether the move revolves around the start of a new school year or the start of a new job, you will be trying to put the move to a plan. This can be very emotionally draining. Demand from your agent an appreciation for the timetables you are setting. I am not suggesting that your agent can pick the exact date for your move. You just want the agent to exert any influence they can.

2. Remove as many of the challenges as possible
It is imperative that your agent know how to handle the challenges that will arise. An agent’s ability to negotiate is critical in this market.
Remember: If you have an agent who was weak negotiating with you on the parts of the listing contract that were most important to them (commission, length, etc.), don’t expect them to turn into Superman when they are negotiating for you with your buyer.

3. Help with the relocation
If you haven’t yet picked your new home, make sure the agent is capable and willing to help you. The coordination of the move is crucial. You don’t want to be without a roof over your head the night of the closing. Likewise, you don’t want to end up paying two housing expenses (whether it is rent or mortgage). You should, in most cases, be able to close on your current home and immediately move into your new residence.

4. Get the house SOLD!
There is a reason you are putting yourself and your family through the process of moving. You are moving on with your life in some way. The reason is important or you wouldn’t be dealing with the headaches and challenges that come along with selling. Do not allow your agent to forget these motivations. Constantly remind them that selling the house is why you hired them. If they discover something needs to be done to attain your goal (i.e. price correction, repair, removing clutter), insist they have the courage to inform you.

Make sure you let your agent know what you and your family expect from them.

Next up…

Difference Between a ‘White Lie’ and Lying
Growing up it seemed ‘white lies’ were okay while lying was a sin. As children, we sometimes had difficulty understanding where the line was. As we matured, we realized there most definitely was a difference.

If a husband or wife asks if it is okay to invite their parents over for dinner, the spouse would probably say ‘sure’ even if it wasn’t 100% the truth. That was a ‘white lie’. If a young boy dresses up as a monster on Halloween and asks his father if he looks ‘really scary’, it was okay for his dad to say ‘YES’! That was a ‘white lie’.
In both cases, the person telling the ‘white lie’ was saying what the other person wanted to hear. In both cases, there was no harm in not telling the 100% truth. In both cases, it was a ‘white lie’. However, if we are not telling the 100% truth in order to save someone’s feelings AND IT HURTS THEM, we are lying.

What does this have to do with real estate?
We believe there are some in the real estate industry more worried about a homeowner’s feelings than they are about telling the truth about the current value of their home. These agents are not necessarily malicious. They just realize they may disappoint a seller at a listing appointment by telling the truth about what the house will sell for. They find it difficult to deliver tough news. To make sellers feel better, they lie.

Good agents can deliver good news. Great agents know how to deliver tough news.

In today’s real estate market, you need an agent that will tell you the truth, even when you don’t want to hear it. You need an agent more worried about your family than they are about your feelings. You need an agent who can get the house sold!

What this means to you
If you are interviewing potential listing agents, demand they tell you the truth. Don’t hire the agent that tells you what you want to hear. Hire the agent that tells you what you need to know. Reward their honesty.

And finally…

The Two Things You Don’t Need to Hear from Your Listing Agent

You’ve decided to sell your house. You begin to interview potential real estate agents to help you through the process. You need someone you trust enough to:

Set the market value on possibly the largest asset your family owns (your home)
Set the time schedule for the successful liquidation of that asset
Set the fee for the services required to liquidate that asset
An agent must be concerned first and foremost about you and your family in order to garner that degree of trust.  Make sure this is the case.

Be careful if the agent you are interviewing begins the interview by:
Bragging about their success
Bragging about their company’s success

An agent’s success and the success of their company can be important considerations when deciding on the right real estate professional to represent you in the sale of the house. However, you first need to know they care about what you need and what you expect from the sale. If the agent is not interested in first establishing your needs, how successful they may seem is much less important.
Look for someone with the ‘heart of a teacher’ who comes in prepared well enough to explain the current real estate market and patient enough to take the time to show how it may impact the sale of your home. Not someone only interested in trying to sell you on how great they are.

You have many agents from which to choose. Pick someone who truly cares.

I hope you found these interesting. The statistics quoted were from U.S. sources, but the Canadian numbers are very similar.

If you are thinking of Buying or Selling, I am confident that all of our Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate professionals will provide you with the answers and the service outlined above. We all believe that The Customer is number one, not us.

If you would like to follow the KCM Blog, the link is
http://www.keepingcurrentmatters.com