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.

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.

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.

3 Questions to Ask Before Buying a Home

kcm copyThis is an interesting post on the  KCM blog just this week…

 

 

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, Home Price Expectation Survey provides a fair assessment. 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% in 2015.
The cumulative appreciation will be 23.5% by 2019.
Even the experts making up the most bearish quartile of the survey still are projecting a cumulative appreciation of over 15.1% by 2019.
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.

IS IT A GOOD TIME TO SELL YOUR HOUSE DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON?

In a word, YES! Many home owners are reluctant to put their house up for sale during the Holiday Season because this is a very busy time of year. However, there are several advantages to the seller if they do decide to sell their house during this very busy time.

First, there is less competition as most home owners do not want the hassle of selling their home over the holidays. Less competition means a higher sale price.

Second, when does your home look its best? When it is beautifully decorated for the holidays, of course. It is a fact that homes sell for more money when they show well.

And let’s not forget the Buyers. All home sellers only want serious buyers to view their homes. Traditionally most buyers that are looking for a home during the holiday season are serious buyers and need to move, otherwise they would be spending their spare time enjoying the season with friends and family.

Putting it all together, less competition, a great looking house, and serious buyers you end up with a winning combination.

If you are thinking of selling, you might think about putting your home on the market now to maximize all your opportunities. Call a Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate professional to help you achieve all your real estate goals.

 

10 Steps: How to Make a Successful Relocation Move

Gary HerronIn the most recent Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC) newsletter there was an article about making a successful relocation move and I thought this would be good to share with our readers. These steps can be applied to any move you may be making. 

 

Moving to a new, unfamiliar community can be stressful and demanding. To make your transfer go smoother, consider these suggestions:

1.  SELECT THE RIGHT REAL ESTATE AGENT. 

  • Working with a good agent is one of the most important aspects of a successful home purchase. Key qualities to look for: experience with relocating clients, strong local market knowledge and solid communication skills. If your agent has earned the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation you’ll know they also have special training in representing buyers.

2.  GET PRE-APPROVED (NOT JUST PRE-QUALIFIED) FOR YOUR MORTGAGE.

 

  • Pre-approval means your application has already been processed and final approval is only contingent upon an appraisal and other issues.  Mortgage pre-approval puts you in a more favorable negotiating position with sellers and allows you to make faster decisions.

3.  SEPARATE YOUR NEEDS FROM YOUR WANTS. 

  • The difference may seem subtle, but this makes it easier to quickly narrow your options and find the best home for your needs.

4.  KEEP COPIOUS NOTES. 

  • You’ll probably see many homes in a short of time. Detailed notes, photos, and listing sheets can help you recall each property after a busy “home shopping” trip.

5.  THINK ABOUT SELLING WHILE BUYING. 

  • Transferees often face future relocations, so it’s important to consider a home’s resale value. If your agent is pointing out a home’s flaws, they’re probably looking out for your future best interest.

6.  LEARN THE MARKET. 

  • Buyers can gather an amazing amount of information online about the markets they’re considering for their new home (Although an experienced agent will always have a stronger pulse on local market prices than any website). Do your homework and rely on your agent to add key perspectives.

7.  BE PREPARED TO MAKE FAST DECISIONS.

  • Many markets now favour sellers or simply lack adequate home inventories, causing buyers to quickly regret momentary hesitation on a desirable home. Consider making an offer right away, even if you plan to view additional properties.

8. BEFORE PLACING AN OFFER, REQUEST A QUICK CMA.

  • Agents can produce a comparable market analysis on any home in a matter of minutes. This is also where an agent with local market expertise can be a real plus.

9.  BE PREPARED FOR EMOTIONAL UPS AND DOWNS.

  •  Negotiating an offer can be a draining experience. Try to remain calm and maintain perspective as offers and counter offers are exchanged.

10. LEARN FROM HOME INSPECTORS.

  • The level of detail in home inspections has improved dramatically. If at all possible, attend the inspection in person. You’ll also gain many valuable tips about maintaining your home in the written report. As far as renegotiating on repair items, remember that in strong markets, sellers may be unwilling to make any concessions based on the inspector’s report.

So if you are thinking of making a move, contact Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate and ask to speak to one of our sales representatives with the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation.

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.

ARE YOU READY TO CLOSE UP THE COTTAGE?

My family and I recently came back from our annual vacation at the cottage. We have been going to the same cottage resort for 20 years. While driving home I thought about all the cottage owners out there who have to start thinking about closing up there vacation home for the winter months.

I came across some basic tips from the Canada Safety Council that I would like to share.

Water Supply

If your cottage is not winterized, you can take steps to prevent your water supply line from freezing during the winter. You don’t want to arrive there next spring to discover the consequences of not having drained the pipes before you close up this fall. Frozen pipes can burst, causing damage and meaning you’ll have no running water.

Pipes can be fully drained when you’re closing up the cottage. The water supply line can be filled with non-toxic anti-freeze made especially for supply pipes. And pipes that are carefully wrapped at key junction points are better protected against the cold.

As part of your maintenance routine you should also check the inside of your hot water holding tank for residue that can affect water quality and get caught in the faucet screen. Also, you should have your water analyzed regularly by a lab to ensure its quality, especially if the water suddenly shows a yellow or brown tinge. A filtration system can significantly increase the purity level and lessen the wear-and-tear on your cottage water system. This is also the ideal time to thoroughly check your plumbing and faucets after a summer’s wear-and-tear.

Wildlife

Damages from small animals such as mice and squirrels are a concern to cottage owners. Avoid using poisons to keep out these critters that love to move in when you move out. You should remove all food from cottage before you close it. Bats, mice and squirrels can wiggle in through the smallest of holes. Inspect the building inside and out to make sure there are no small openings for them to enter. Place a wooden cover on the chimney to discourage birds and small animals from entering, and to stop any rain or snow. Tightly close your fireplace damper to prevent animals from getting in.

Electrical system

Some people choose to shut off electricity to their home in the off-season by throwing the main switch at the fuse box. If you do this, be sure to turn off all major appliances, your water heater, and electrical room heaters before you turn off the main switch. This will ensure a smoother and safer start-up when you re-open your home.

If you leave your electricity on to operate security systems or lighting, you should turn off the power supply to your major appliances at your main panel. Turn off the power supply to any space heaters. Otherwise they may turn on during cold weather.

To ensure the stove, fridge and other electrical equipment are not used in your absence, remove fuses and hide them in a safe place.

Visually inspect your hydro metre and power lines for damage. If a power line is down or damaged, stay clear and call your Hydro Company. Inspect visible wiring to outdoor lighting fixtures, water pumps and other equipment. If wires are damaged, remove the fuse to that circuit or turn off the circuit breaker, and call a qualified electrician.

Check all household appliance cords. If damaged, unplug the appliance and do not use it until the cord is replaced. If your electrical panel uses fuses, make sure they are screwed in tightly and that you have spares. Don’t use fuses higher than 15 amps in normal receptacles and lighting circuits.

Boat Motors and other power equipment

When storing power boating motors and other power equipment do not drain gasoline from fuel tanks, instead use a fuel stabilizer (available from your dealer or auto parts store). Winterize your engine(s) away from the water. Store boat motors, lawnmowers and other items with engines in a dry, weatherproof place. Cover anything that may rust over the winter with a coat of oil.

If your cottage is in a heavy snow area, consider installing temporary supports to protect the roof from caving in. Another option is to hire a reliable local person to shovel the snow off the roof when necessary.

I hope these tips were helpful and remember that time spent in preventative measures now will pay significant dividends next spring when you open the cottage for next year’s season.

 

 

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.

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!