That’s inappropriate.

I often get asked by my clients for advice on what to fix in a home before we put it on the market.

It’s a great question and one that I’m well positioned to answer as every day I see homes for sale.

Over the years I’ve developed a very good sense of what features enable homes to sell and what deficiencies cause homes to not sell.

At it’s most fundamental level, I tell my clients that the work they do needs to be appropriate to the home.  By appropriate, I mean that it is in keeping with the rest of the home, with the neighbourhood (or building in the case of a condo) and with the overall price point for their home.

How do you know what’s appropriate for the home?   There are three fundamental rules. Continue reading

RED Day 2017!

Once a year, Keller Williams celebrates what we call RED Day.

RED Day (Renew, Energize and Donate) is an initiative dedicated to celebrating Keller Williams Realty’s year-round commitment to improving our local communities.  Each year, on the second Thursday in May, tens of thousands of associates from across the United States and Canada and beyond participate in a wide range of projects, devoting their time to renewing and energizing aspects of the neighborhoods in which they serve.  Continue reading

Three Things to Know about April’s Real Estate Market

It probably won’t come as a huge surprise to you that when people take the courses to become a Realtor, there is little to no emphasis on understanding market statistics.

The initial courses are pretty focused on teaching students the fundamentals of real estate, such as property ownership, planning and land use, structural types and components, valuation and financing and so forth.

As time progresses, the courses focus on transactions, including forms like the Agreement of Purchase and Sale that serves as the backbone for buying and selling real estate.

Finally, before graduation, there is an in-depth review of the best way to pose for the photo we use on our business cards and signs.  Do you hold your phone for the picture?  Lean sideways against a wall?  Smile and give a thumbs up or stare down the camera to show you’re a tough negotiator?  For many, this is the most challenging part of the courses.  If you’ve ever met a Realtor without their picture on their card, it’s because they just couldn’t handle this aspect.  Don’t judge them, but don’t mention it.

This lack of focus on market analysis means that Realtors often just say things like “Spring is the best market to sell!” and don’t get into the details.

When we look at what’s happening on average, we can miss some valuable insights into what’s going on in specific areas, housing types or price points.  Let’s get into the latest numbers about the GTA real estate market. Continue reading

Here’s how you pay less in real estate commissions.

This is not going to be a bait and switch article.

I’m not going to start out talking about lower commissions and then try to convince you how a good Realtor earns their commission.

I believe that to be true, but if someone has had bad experiences with Realtors who don’t do much to earn their commission, then it isn’t true for them. Continue reading

How is this Ontario Fair Housing Plan going to impact me?

For a number of months now, I’ve been saying that the government is going to intervene into the housing market in the GTA.

Less than a month ago I wrote an article, cheerfully called The End is Nigh  where I recapped what I had been saying and reiterated my belief that the government would be stepping in with a number of changes.  When that happens, I said, we will see a shift in the market.

I don’t mind telling you that this didn’t go well with everyone.

Realtors I had known for years called me a fool.  One even called me a ninny.

People I walked by on the street muttered and glared at me.  One old woman made the symbol of the evil eye at me.

While I was strong on the outside, on the inside I worried.

Was I in fact right?  When I advised buyer clients to stay calm, a shift was coming, was that the right thing to do?  With my seller clients, when we discussed timing and I raised the issue of coming changes, did I push them to list earlier for no reason?

It all came to a head yesterday when the Ontario government announced the Ontario Fair Housing Plan. Continue reading

And…a 1,2,3!

Let’s talk about timing.

There is a case to be made that life is all about timing.

Ask the right question, to the right person, at the right time…and your life can change.

Whether it is a business decision, a relationship issue or a family situation, the same action can have dramatically different results at different times.

In real estate, timing is crucial.

As a loyal reader of my articles, you are now smarter than the average bear when it comes to real estate.  I bet you’ll ace this quiz below. Continue reading

Three Things to Know about March’s Real Estate Market

A few days ago, the Toronto Real Estate Board released market statistics for March, 2017.

I think the term “released” is particularly appropriate given the content.  I say that because I can imagine the good folks at TREB wanting to hold on to the data a bit longer.

I bet the conversation between the Director of Market Analysis and the Board of Directors went something like this. Continue reading

The End is Nigh

In retreospect, that sounds more than a little dramatic.

When I say the end is nigh, I don’t mean the end of the world.  We all know that the lizard people don’t invade until the summer solstice that coincides with a major earthquake that drops most of the west coast into the ocean.  So, we’ve got at least 20 to 30 years for that.

The end I’m talking about is the end of the seller’s market that has been going on for a number of years now.

Is it because rationality is finally settling in?  Are we all collectively realizing that when home prices are unaffordable for almost all buyers, it is a bad idea?

Nope, but the government is about to step in and make some changes. Continue reading

I don’t know, looks a little high maintenance.

Have you ever heard a friend refer to someone as high maintenance?  It’s usually said after a compliment of some sort, where the person is attractive in some way, but high maintenance.

The idea behind that sentiment is that the positives of the person are outweighed by the negatives.  While it may look good on the surface, you have to do a lot of work in order to keep it from all falling apart.

I’ve known a few high maintenance people (not you of course, you’re wonderful) and it can be a challenge.  It can get even worse over time as the positive aspects diminish and the negative aspects keep right on going.

The same holds true in real estate and it is most apparent with condo apartment buildings and maintenance fees. Continue reading

Three Things to Know about February’s Real Estate Market

Earlier this month, the Toronto Real Estate Board released market statistics for February, 2017.

As you would no doubt expect, it showed a slow down in real estate, with lots more properties coming on the market and a more balanced market arriving.  People can sell homes for a fair price and buyers can move without worrying about for how much they can sell their oldest born child.

Sorry, I drifted off there for a second into a pleasant day dream.  Where was I?

Ah yes, the February real estate market.  Continue reading