Not only did January 2012 home sales set new records, but also clearly show a “strong” real estate market with no signs of slowing down. According to the Toronto Real Estate Board, sales volume went up 8.8% across the GTA, and price growth was up almost 9% in comparison to January 2011-Translation; The market is heating up and if selling your home is on the horizon, then stop sitting on the fence and get it on the action-hint,hint: it’s a seller’s market!
So what is driving the market you ask? Well, there are several factors influencing current market conditions which favour both Sellers and Buyers. Sellers can really cash in by getting top dollar for their home relatively quickly, due to the increased Buyer demand and low inventory levels, and Buyers can reap the benefits of “record low” mortgage rates which MAXIMIZE their buying power, plus allow them to compete in the marketplace with other buyers and buy with confidence.
There is something for everyone in the current market, and with the much anticipated “Spring Market” around the corner, the market is bound to sizzle. As long as demand stays strong so will the market, so if buying or selling is on your “To Do” list this year, this is a great time to do it.
With Milton showing growth at an astounding rate of 56.5% according to recently released 2011 Census figures by Statistics Canada, it’s no secret that demand for housing here is high and home prices continue to climb.
January 2012 kicked things off to a great start with a total of 86 sales, and set the stage for what promises to be a prosperous year in real estate.
This one is a controversial topic and always open for debate in our industry, whether it be at the monthly office meeting or when meeting home sellers. More often than not, sellers “question” how effective open houses really are to the overall promotion of the home and to having a successful sale. Homeowners sometimes express concern about having the annoying “nosy” neighbours come by and people who are just curious “lookers” who happen to be driving by or have nothing better to do on a Sunday afternoon. So here is my honest opinion: Open houses don’t sell houses. There I said it!… and I am going to tell you why.
You can promote the heck out of an open house and use the most ingenious tactics to entice people to show up, but unless you’ve got the ”right people there it’s all useless.” An Open house is unfortunately an “Open Door policy” to everyone and anyone that wants to view the home. As an agent, besides being able to properly I.D. people at the door and having them sign the guest registry, I am not properly able to determine their true “Buyer Worthiness”. Therefore, am I really doing the homeowner any favours? Sure, asking questions helps to determine the motivation of open house guests but as we all know people can and will lie. I have done my share of open houses where neighbours posing as “buyers” came in to get the full scoop on the house because they were listing theirs in a couple of days. I have also had my share of “looky loos” who come in either liking everything in the home or being designer critics.
I have always said that if someone is actively looking for a home and fully qualified to do so they will hire a Realtor. Why wouldn’t they? You wouldn’t buy a home without a lawyer right? So, why would spend thousands of dollars on a house and not get proper representation? Also, “unrepresented” buyers looking for a deal will make a proper appointment for a private viewing with the listing agent if they are truly interested in the home and will be willing to disclose personal information if they are qualified to buy.
So in the end, what service does an Open house do the marketing of the home?
I truly believe in Agent Open houses, because Realtors are the ones that make real estate move. Realtors are the ones that qualify buyers and can give positive and professional feedback as to the overall pricing and presentation of a property. Having an Agent Open house is a great idea as soon as the house is listed for sale. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for the Public Open Houses. Its no surprise that listing agents are often scouting the office roster for rookie and part-time agents to host their open house.
Want the “insider scoop?” The truth is that public open houses are a way for an agent to self-promote in the neighbourhood and “potentially” get future prospects. I could think of more effective ways of doing this than wasting mine and the sellers time on a weekend afternoon. I would rather spend more time, marketing dollars and efforts on marketing the seller’s home to qualified buyers than creating hype about an open house that will try to sell to lookers.
What do you think of open houses?
Have you ever had a good/bad open house experience?
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So you’ve embarked on your home buying journey and have hopefully hired the right agent that will “exclusively” represent your interests, understands your needs and what you can afford.
Whether you are a first time buyer or a move up buyer, there are many factors to consider when buying your new home. Unless you are buying an investment property, emotion is a variable that will likely come into play when finding your new home. After all, your home is ultimately your personal space, your sanctuary and a reflection of who you are, so its no surprise that we become emotional when it comes to buying a home.
Unfortunately this is one variable that can sometimes “blur your vision” of the bigger picture that revolves around your new home purchase. Location, demographics, amenities, schools and other local dynamics will surely play a role in your daily lifestyle when you live in the home and directly impact its future resale value.
This is when having the right Realtor by your side will make all the difference. Having access to exclusive resources like Land registry records, MLS records, and Assessment and Zoning information, can give you an objective view into the “true present value” of the home you are considering, plus give you a hint of its future value. Many factors can be detrimental to the appreciation of a home, and knowing these upfront will empower you to make an informed decision before you buy.
Take Milton Ontario for example; when it was named “the fastest growing community inCanada” by the 2006 Census, it sparked tremendous growth in population, construction and commercial development. People have flocked here to live, work and play. The population has grown by 71.45% since 2001 according to Statistics Canada, and the town’s current population of 80,000 is expected to double by 2021! Now that is growth! So do you think that buying a home inMilton,Ontariowould make a sound investment? You bet. With growth of this magnitude you can count on demand staying strong and house values rising. Factor in State-of the Art facilities like the “Milton Centre for the Arts” and the “Milton Sports Centre” plus the establishment of theWilfridLaurierUniversityat the foot of the escarpment and you’ve got a winning recipe for a thriving investment.
Choosing the right home for you begins with evaluating the local amenities of the neighbourhood it’s in and how these meet your current and future needs.
Have you ever gone to a store and bought something you didn’t actually need or would have chosen if it wasn’t on sale? Well buying a home based on “price” alone is the same thing.
I often meet people that are the end of their rope with the extra long commute to work every day. In the end, they end up spending thousands more on gas and car repairs, not to mention countless stressful hours behind the wheel. The point here is, be true to yourself. If you can’t afford to buy the “right” house for you in the location that suits your needs, it is best to re-evaluate your buying options. I have had clients go into a condo rather than a freehold home in order to be where they need to be.
Location should be the number one factor you consider when buying. Heading home in the right direction starts with evaluating everything that affects the home you are buying from its surroundings to the lifestyle it has to offer. Make sure you do your homework before you fall in love with the wrong house.
What is the most important factor for you when buying a house? Would love your comments.
So you’ve hired the “right” agent, done the necessary home prep and staging and now you are ready to show your home to the world. Making the best first impression, and creating that “WOW” factor that sends potential home buyers into “Gotta have it mode”, is now all up to you.
Strategic and aggressive marketing can bring the buyers to your door, but if they leave without having that memorable experience while touring your home, they will quickly shuffle it to the bottom of their list. When buyers enter your home they want to visualize themselves living in your home. They are looking at your home with discerning eyes and will usually put a hefty price tag on any upgrades or repairs to be done.
From my experience I can tell you that the Kitchen is a huge selling point since it is the “heart” of the home and that you will be greatly rewarded for any upgrades you have done here. Of course you have de-cluttered and cleared up the kitchen counters of any knick knacks right? And of course you have straightened out cupboards (you know they’ll look in there!) and taken out the garbage and there are no dirty dishes in the sink!
Bathrooms are next in terms of upgrades and appearance and of course the main living areas.
Remember buyers see an average of 5-6 homes at once, so its important that they tour yours comfortably, safely and that they leave impressed.
Here’s the top 5 tips for showing your home:
YOUR SHOULD NOT BE HOME! There is nothing worse than homeowners following and watching potential buyers while they tour their home. Let the showing agent do their job and answer any questions the buyer may have. You have the right to remain silent and anything you say can and may be used against you!
LEAVE THE LIGHTS ON AND CURTAINS OPEN Buyers have limited time to tour your home and trying to figure that “tricky” light fixture or find that light switch behind the wall isn’t fun-plus, it’s distracting! There is rarely enough time to open curtains or blinds throughout. Buyers will leave remembering how dark your house was-so let the sunshine in!
IT’S HARD TO SELL IT IF YOU CAN SMELL IT! No one wants to walk into a house and get a sudden whiff of “what died in here?” Fish, pet odours and other pungent smells are distracting, unpleasant and will raise questions about the overall care and maintenance of your home.
SPARKY AND FLUFFY SHOULD NOT BE HOME! or at least confine your furry companion to an area during the showing. Unfortunately not everyone is a pet lover and a jumpy dog or cat can be distracting and even annoying for some. You want the Buyer to focus on the “features” of your home not your super cute pet!
CREATE A PLEASANT AMBIANCE Whenever possible leave soft music playing, set up air fresheners throughout and put out fresh flowers. Remember you want buyers to fall in love with your home…so knock their socks off!
Now you are ready for the Show! Remember that during the selling process your home is the stage and that everything is under the spotlight. Always ask yourself if you would “buy your own home” if you were currently looking for a house in today’s market.
Preparing your home for sale and showing it “at it’s best” are 2 out of the 3 key ingredients for MAXIMUM RESULTS. Do you know what the third ingredient is? What do you think is the most important thing when preparing for sale?
You’ve heard it before, the #1 rule to real estate; Location, Location, Location. But how do you know if the house you love is in the right location? While many will say that “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, it’s important to remember that one day you will be showing that home to potential buyers who will be viewing your home with discerning eyes. So what you may have thought was irrelevant or didn’t bother you-like train tacks in the backyard-may have a negative impact on the value of your home and your pocket! Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you consider these 7 prime location indicators:
High Owner Occupancy-a neighbourhood where most properties are owner-occupied is highly desirable as the general assumption is that tenants do not upkeep properties as well as property owners do. So knock on some doors and meet the neighbours before you buy!
Low Turnover-neighbourhoods which always have a low inventory of homes “for sale” usually indicate that they are desirable places to live, and usually have buyers “standing by”, ready to buy when a home comes on the market.
Green=Green-homes located around mature trees, large green spaces, and built on mature large lots are highly sought after and command prime status and higher prices.
Heritage Designations-homes tagged with special designations are considered prime acquisitions and are always in demand as they are rarely available. Owning a little piece of history can have its pros and cons, so make sure you know all the facts!
NO=YES-overall; absence of train tracks, crime, high traffic and rentals, highly contribute to a neighbourhood’s prime status. Also, say YES to homes with low proximity to highways and busy streets, located on cul-de-sacs and courts, as they will always be sought after and highly desirable.
Amenities-being closely located to desirable amenities like private schools, golf courses, resorts and country clubs, and high-end shopping centres among others, will raise property values and attract a white-collar demographic.
H2O Rules!-waterfront properties, especially those with “riparian rights” have luxury status and are available only to a small demographic that can afford and is willing to pay the hefty price tags.
Location should be the #1 factor on your list for choosing a home. It is better to buy a bad home in a great neighbourhood than the best home in a bad neighbourhood. Lead with location as your guide and it all will fall into place…
Your Realtor is your #1 go-to person and your best ally when trading real estate.
How does your home rank on the “prime locale scale”? Have you considered these indicators before purchasing?
Great, you’re back for more! So with summer just around the corner, you must be wondering where the heck is market is going? Well, as in previous years the summer trends have shown us that the next 4-5 weeks are critical for Home Sellers’s as we all prepare to go into “Holiday Mode”…which by the way reminds me have you made your holiday plans as of yet? Continue Reading →