The Grass IS Always Greener Over the Septic Tank – Erma Bombeck was right

 

grass-is-always-greener

Most home owners may not have ever experienced this phenomenon, but those who have lived with a septic system know this is a fact…

If you are thinking of selling your home, curb appeal is especially important, as many buyers make up their mind whether they even want to look inside a home by driving past first. Whether you live in the city or on a rural property, keeping up your lawn and gardens can be a challenge, especially during summers like we just enjoyed.

Buyers are looking for well cared for homes, with lush, cared for grass. If you have gardens, they like to see them well tended, weeded, edged up, perhaps with a mulch cover to discourage weeds. Most hope for a finished driveway, whether paved, concrete, or interlocking block, that has been well maintained. In a rural setting, a gravel drive is common, but it still must be cared for, with a good gravel cover, distinct edges and no weeds.

If you are a true gardener, your efforts will garner attention. Many buyers love to see the gardens, and hope to become proficient at taking care of them. Buyers especially like to see perennial gardens, believing them to be lower maintenance.

Your lawn can be a big seller. That lush grass you can find over the septic tank appeals to buyers. If you can’t count on the septic bed to make your lawn look pretty, and you are planning to sell your home, prepare to keep your lawn well watered. You don’t need a weed killer company at your home, but regular maintenance to keep the weed population under control is necessary.

If you have a rural home, the lovely expanse of front lawn can make buyers anxious to see more…

If you are looking for more tips on how to make your home ooze curb appeal, speak to one of our Coldwell Banker Community Professionals. They have lots of tips and tricks up their sleeve to help you get top dollar for your home.

At Coldwell Banker Community Professionals, we don’t strive to be the biggest, we strive to be the best.

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.

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.

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.

 

 

WHAT IS ULTIMATE SERVICE®, REALLY?

Ultimate-Service-new-smaller copySince Ann and I have started this blog we have talked about  Coldwell Banker® Pinnacle’s ULTIMATE SERVICE® on several occasions. We have talked about our 98% Customer Satisfaction rating which we have achieved for the past 17 years. I wanted to take this a step further and ask the question, “What is ULTIMATE SERVICE®?

Let’s start with the definitions from the Encarta Dictionary for North America:

Ultimate – greatest, most nearly perfect, or highest in quality

Service – work done by somebody for somebody else as a job

Well, based on these definitions, I would say Coldwell Banker® Pinnacle Real Estate is doing just that – providing ULTIMATE SERVICE® to their clients.

How do we do that, you might ask? The following are a few tips of an ULTIMATE SERVICE® provider that can be used to improve any business, or to seek out when choosing a REALTOR®.

Friendliness – Most consumers are looking for companies and people they can trust. First impressions are very important. Does the client even like the person on the phone or behind the desk or service counter? If you are not coming across as a friendly voice or someone they can feel comfortable with quickly, you may not have a chance to get to the next level.

Smile – Did you know you can hear a smile over the phone? How about a frown, a smirk, or even lack of interest? If you want a potential client to believe in you, you have to earn their trust. As a service provider you need to make sure your enthusiasm and desire to work with that particular client are matched by your attitude and what you say. So put a smile on your face, it can go a long way to earning the trust of your client.

Communication – The #1 Complaint from consumers about REALTORS®, according to the National Association of REALTORS®, is lack of communication. Most REALTORS® are afraid to be the bearer of bad news so they are reluctant to call their clients. Studies show the quicker you communicate the better for everyone. If the REALTOR® has delivered the information, good or bad, the stress of making the call has been relieved and the client is now fully informed on the situation and the sense of trust will grow. Communicating in a timely fashion is a huge reason consumers remain loyal to individuals and their companies. They know they can trust the company or person to keep their best interests their #1 priority.

Listen – I think listening is the most important part of communicating. We’ve all heard the saying, “you have two ears and one mouth – use them proportionately”. Listening is a skill. To be successful service providers you need to learn and practice being a good listener. Consumers want to know they have been heard and you fully understand their concern or frustration. Knowing how to respond correctly is another skill. You need to show some empathy and allow your client to explain themselves fully before you try to solve their problem.

Exceed Expectations – Before you can exceed expectations you need to set expectations with your clients. Always do what you say you are going to do. If you can’t do it don’t say you will do it. In today’s real estate environment the level of expectations by consumers is so low you can rise above the pack by just doing what you said you would or following up when you said you would. Want to take it a step further? How about answering a query from your client tonight instead of tomorrow like you told them or sending a personal note or card saying how much you appreciate their business? Little touches like this will definitely set you apart from the pack!

Our Coldwell Banker® Pinnacle Real Estate professionals excel in all these areas and that is why we have had 98% Customer Satisfaction for the past 17 years. If you are looking for a brokerage who provides this kind of service or if you are a REALTOR® who would like to belong to a team who provides this high level of service please feel free to contact us anytime.

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!