Are You As Confused As The Rest Of Us?

Yes it’s a great time to sell your house… No, don’t sell now, prices are going up!

It seems every time you read an article in the media, you get a different story regarding how the real estate market is performing. The most important thing to remember when you are reading these articles is that real estate is LOCAL. Most articles provide information based upon Canada wide data, which does not reflect what concerns home buyers and sellers have about their own situation.

Some parts of the country are experiencing a decrease in prices and activity in the real estate market, whereas other areas, such as the Hamilton/Burlington area are experiencing a strong market, with stable activity and prices.

Government intervention has influenced the local markets this year. Policy changes such as the foreign buyer’s tax, and changing the mortgage rules for individuals trying to qualify for mortgages has made home buying a challenge for many. Further changes have been proposed for mortgage qualification that may affect still more buyers.

If regulations remove buyers from the market, it will have a levelling affect on home prices, as buyers leave the market. Also, as interest rates rise, the number of qualified buyers looking for homes will also decrease.

As for prices going up, I think most are in agreement that prices are levelling off, and competition for home purchases is happening far less frequently than it did earlier this year.

If you are planning to move, now is a good time to place your home on the market. The Fall is traditionally a strong market, lasting through to late November. The most buyers will be in the market prior to any further government intervention, and prior to any further mortgage rate increases.

Be sure to consult with a real estate professional prior to placing your home for sale. They can provide you with valuable information to help you receive the most money for your home, in the shortest time, and with the least hassle.

Our professionals as Coldwell Banker Community Professionals are always ready, and very able to help you out. Call one today!

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.

Thinking of Buying a Home? 3 Questions Every Buyer Should Answer First

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If you are thinking about buying a home, you are likely getting lots of advice from friends and family. They no doubt have your best interests at heart, but there are three questions you should ask yourself to decide if NOW is the right time.

 

 

1. Why am I buying a home in the first place?

This is the most important question you should ask yourself, as if will determine if you should be buying, and if so, what is most important to you in your home buying process. Financing doesn’t matter if you don’t know what you really need.
Many studies have been conducted, and 4 major reasons consistently turn up. These reasons are:

  • 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 that space

What does it mean to you to own a home? What benefits will moving provide you with?

Once you have answered this question…

2. Where are home values headed?
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s outlook for 2016 indicates that the Hamilton-Burlington area will experience a moderate price increase this year. This area is an exception to the general expectation that prices will cool across Canada. For an in-depth review of the local market, be sure to speak to your REALTOR®

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 even a small increase in mortgage rates. If you have been watching the news lately, you will notice that a couple of the large banks have already increased their mortgage rates. While the increases are small, and likely will have a small impact on affordability, you should ensure that your financing plans consider the possibility that rates may increase over the next few years, as that could affect the affordability of your mortgage payment when your current mortgage comes up for renewal.

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

Be sure to speak with one of our real estate Professionals. They will advise you on the current market conditions, and help you make an informed decision.

It’s All About Community!

I am so excited that our company has chosen to change its name to Coldwell Banker Community Real Estate

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We have been established in the area for over 35 years, and our main focus has always been on helping our community grow and flourish. Our REALTORS® are always working to help families find the right community to live in, and to ensure they have all the services they need to stay and raise their families.

Our company has also always been involved in the REALTOR® community, volunteering on various committees at the local real estate association, provincially and federally.

We believe we have a unique culture at our company, where everyone is ‘part of the whole’. We work together to ensure everyone succeeds, creating our own community under the company umbrella.

Also, at Community Real Estate we have always tried to give back to our community, whether by participating in fundraising events, sponsoring festivals, collecting for local food banks, just to name a few… Our most recent project has been our “Christmas to Remember” where we are helping families, and children in particular, have the Merry Christmas so many of us take for granted.

We gave a lot of thought to what we stand for as a company, and what makes us who we are. As a result, we have adopted a new mission statement that we feel best describes who we are and what we do. WORKING TO BUILD STRONG COMMUNITIES.

If you are looking for a company that is involved in where it lives and works, and gives back to its community, give us a call.

 

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REAL ESTATE IS A LOCAL MARKET! WHAT DOES THAT REALLY MEAN?

Every day we are bombarded with news and information regarding the real estate market. The Canadian real estate bubble is about to burst. Canadian homes are 20% overvalued. There will be a soft landing in real estate. Canada is due for a major price correction. You’ve all heard these comments time and time again over the last couple of years.

The crazy thing is all these statements are true! The problem is these are just the headlines. These headlines sell newspapers. If you read the whole article it will refer to specific markets. When talking about overvalued homes or overheated markets they are usually referring to housing markets in the major centres such as Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto.

Let’s look at the Hamilton-Burlington real estate market for example. Our local REALTOR® association reports sales statistics on a monthly basis. They report such things as average price increases/decreases, number of sales increases/decreases, what is selling better this month, detached homes or condos. This is all great information but this data represents a large geographic area.

What you have to remember is the real estate market can be different in each area. For example: Ancaster vs Burlington, Dundas vs Hamilton, Lower City vs Hamilton Mountain, Stoney Creek vs Grimsby. It can even be different from neighbourhood to neighbourhood.

So what is really happening in YOUR neighbourhood? You need to call one of our Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate professionals to analyze all the statistics and information that is floating around out there. They will provide you with all the necessary information to help you make the right decision when it comes to buying or selling real estate.

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.

 

ARE YOU USING THE RIGHT PRODUCT?

Last week Ann talked about what our product was at Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate. Today I want to talk about choosing the right product for you.

 

There are many different business models in the real estate industry today, from Fee for Service to Full Service and everything in between. You need to do your due diligence to ensure you get the level of service you need.

 

For example, there are REALTORS® who are telling investor clients to call the listing sales representative to view the property and if they want to buy the property to call them back to put in the offer. Do you really think that REALTOR® can give the proper advice to their client if they haven’t seen the property themselves?

 

Be careful when dealing with a seller that has hired a Fee for Service Brokerage just to get their listing posted to REALTOR.CA and is handling all the other details themselves. These sellers do not have to follow any Code of Ethics or timelines etc. An example would be, telling you there are competing offers, when they don’t actually exist just to get you to increase your offer.

 

Many critics of the real estate industry say the REALTOR® is going the way of the Dodo bird. In reality, according to the National Association of Realtors® most recent Home Buyers and Sellers Survey, the REALTOR’S® role is even more important. The consumer needs the REALTOR’S® expertise to sift through the mounds of information, and as Ann put it, “interpret the information available to maximize the return on your investment.

 

If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate, do your research and make sure you get the level of service you need. Talk to a real estate professional. Better still, talk to a Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate Professional. Good luck!

 

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.

BIDDING WARS – ARE YOU A “SMART” BUYER?

I read a couple of real estate articles in the past two days regarding multiple offer situations or “Bidding Wars” as they are commonly known.

 

The first article, published in the Toronto Star on April 28, 2014 about a house in the Yonge and Lawrence area selling for almost double the list price. The house was listed for $699,000 and sold for $1,366,000 or 195% of the list price after receiving a total of 72 offers.

 

This article dovetails with the second article I read about the results of a recent survey by the Real Estate Council of Ontario which stated that slightly more than half of today’s buyers are influenced by emotion when making real estate decisions. The top factors when purchasing a home are as follows, price 96%, functional fit 95%, structural integrity 91%, and neighbourhood quality 91%.

 

However, 51% of home buyers admit to having been influenced by emotion when buying their home. According to the survey, this number jumps to 64% for younger home buyers, who are emotionally and financially vulnerable. This is what I call buying with your heart instead of your brain. I made that mistake myself when I bought my first home.

 

First time home buyers need to be extremely careful when they enter into a “Bidding War”. They need to make sure their REALTOR® provides them with all the information regarding comparable sales of the same type of home in the immediate area to enable them to make a SMART DECISION.

 

Buyers often times refer to their buying experience when there is a “Bidding War” as winning. In my opinion, the only time you win in an auction type situation is when you purchase something for under market value. Paying 30, 40, or even 50 thousand dollars higher than the most recent sale in the neighbourhood is not winning.

 

Some people refer to bidding wars as the “School of Fish Mentality”. Just because everyone else is willing to pay more for a particular house, buyers seem to think it is OK and the house will be worth it.

 

The Real Estate Council of Ontario is launching BE HOME SMART – a public education campaign to remind Ontarians of the tools, resources and protection available to help them make smart home buying and selling decisions.

 

When in doubt, call one of our Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate professionals to guide you through the buying or selling process.