All I want for Christmas is a house!

Yes Virginia..oops, I mean you, there is a Santa Claus.

Look, full disclosure, I’m not 100% sure there is a Santa Claus, but I’m also not 100% sure there is NOT a Santa Claus.  Call me overly cautious, but I figure that leaving out some milk and cookies is a decent investment in maybe getting some sweet presents on Christmas morning.

It used to work all the time when I was younger, but since I moved away from home to go to university, it hasn’t worked nearly as well.  I guess Santa doesn’t value higher education?

I can tell you that in real estate, buyers can get a very nice present at Christmas time.

It’s because real estate deals are done between people. Continue reading

The October real estate market has less of everything

On this chilly Friday afternoon, with the first snow fall of the year on the ground, I’ll invite you to partake in one of my favourite activities – a detailed analysis of multivariate statistics.

Wait, come back!

I know that sounds a bit boring.  I just mean, we’re going to simultaneously observe and analyze more than one outcome variable to understand the relationships between the..WAIT, DON’T GO!

I’ll make you a deal, I do that thing I described above, you grab a cup of coffee or hot chocolate and I’ll share the three most interesting things about October’s real estate market.

Deal?  Deal. Continue reading

Of course I remember you!

First off, when I say of course I remember you, I’m not talking about YOU.

I could never forget you.  Why, we’ve known each other since <INSERT DATE>, back in the day in <INSERT TOWN OR SCHOOL>.  I particularly remember how we <INSERT MEMORY> and how even when the police picked us up, we refused to give each other up.  You and I are solid <INSERT AFFECTIONATE TERM>!

When I say “Of course I remember you!” I’m quoting something I often say to people I’ve had interactions with over my career in real estate. Continue reading

When inspections go wrong

I’ve taken the liberty of setting you up with a new career.

I know what you’re thinking.

“Jeff, I’m perfectly happy in my current career.  Well, reasonably happy.  Well, I don’t hate it.  Well, most days, I don’t hate it.  OK…tell me more about this new career of mine.”

Here it is.

New Career Home Inspections
“We look at stuff you don’t like to look at”

We’ll get you some snappy cards, some postcards and I’ll introduce you to all my Realtor friends and even my Realtor enemies. Continue reading

Three ways to kill a negotiation

Let’s assume for a moment that I want something from you.

Say we ran into each other, grabbed a coffee and as we’re catching up, I notice your watch.

You’re talking about how money is a little tight but I start tuning out what you’re saying as I stare at your watch.  Look at it – all shiny and fancy, making you look like a person of worth and value.  With that watch on you, you seem taller, thinner, your hair is fuller and your teeth are whiter.

I begin nodding to myself, saying, “Yes, Jeff, that’s the ticket, you need a watch like that.  A watch that tells people you meet you’re upstanding and successful and know the time.  Not just know the time, but you know what’s going on, what’s going down, what’s happening.”

I look up from the watch and you’re gazing at me with a bemused expression.  You shake your wrist and say to me, “You like the watch?” and I pounce on the question, ready to make your watch, my watch. Continue reading

Less me and more we.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about teams.

For the last seven years, I’ve been working as a full-time Realtor on my own.

The first couple of years were with a discount brokerage where I struggled to get started and spent a lot of time reinventing the wheel.  I didn’t know many people at the brokerage, I had no one who I could ask about best practices and I had to figure out what worked on my own.

The last five years have been with Keller Williams and I’ve seen again and again how working together helps elevate the experience for buyers, sellers and real estate agents.

I’ve taken on leadership roles with my brokerage – teaching courses, mentoring new agents, helping agents I’ve recruited into Keller Williams grow and succeed.  I’m on our leadership council, working to raise the productivity, growth and calibre of the 150 agents within our office.

One thing that has become clear to me is that none of us is as smart as all of us.  The idea that teamwork – which simply stated is less me and more we – is what allows the highest level of service. Continue reading

The September real estate market is up – but it won’t last.

Whoa…that sounded a little ominous.

When I say that the September real estate market is up but it won’t last, I’m not trying to scare you.

I’m just reacting to what is going on with some key stats and doing my best to extrapolate some meaning from the numbers.

As I say, the numbers for the September GTA real estate market are up pretty much across the board. Continue reading

The First Rule of Real Estate

Over the last year, I’ve had heated discussions with other Realtors about two important topics.

The first is the question of photos on business cards and whether it is better to be smiling and happy or unsmiling and stern.  If you’re smiling and happy do people think you can’t be a tough negotiator?  If you’re all stern and serious, do people assume you’d be no fun to work with?  It’s an eternal topic among Realtors and I don’t know if it will ever be solved.  Throw in whether we should hold props like cellphones, or dogs, or shotguns and things get even more heated. Continue reading

Pumpkin spice real estate, with extra foam!

Today is the start of Fall and that means that pumpkin spice everything will start appearing.  Lattes may be first but soon they’ll be muffins and waffles and perfume and tacos and oil changes and so much more.

I thought it was high time that Realtors jump on the pumpkin spice bandwagon, so I’m urging all my colleagues to start marketing their listings with it for the next couple of months.  I just did a quick search and of the 13,251 properties currently for sale in the Greater Toronto Area, not a single one is capitalizing on the pumpkin spice craze as of yet!  Oddly enough, four listings did choose to highlight the fact that the home being sold had a spice drawer.

While we wait for pumpkin spice real estate to become a thing, let’s talk about the three things that Fall means to the real estate market. Continue reading

What two questions do buyers need to answer?

I know what you’re thinking.

Another Friday and here Jeff is, going on and on about real estate.

At a certain point, it becomes sadly obvious that I am obsessed with real estate.

I mean, I know we are all somewhat obsessed with real estate.  If you don’t believe me, next time you’re with a group of friends and the conversation lulls, throw this conversational bomb out there.

“I hear the real estate market is crashing.  What do you think?”

Then sit back and watch for the next hour or so as your friends get into a heated conversation that will culminate in your one friend telling your other friend he doesn’t know what the hell he is talking about.

You see, real estate is a fascinating topic!  Sure, I may talk about it more than most people.  OK, more than everyone.  It doesn’t mean I don’t have other things in my life. Continue reading