Friday, 2 June 2017

Cornel and Hannah

Cornel and Hannah recently closed the deal on their first home. All things considered, we really didn't spend all that much time shopping to find the right one. And it really is the right one! It's a lovely home, in the perfect neighbourhood for them!
  But that doesn't mean their story is a short one. Cornel and Hannah first approached me almost a year ago. They were about to get married, and were hoping to start their new life together in their own home. After we sat down and looked at the numbers, and what they were hoping to get, unfortunately the timing just wasn't going to work out. They made the decision to rent for a couple of years or so, get their life moving, and go from there.
   Then, much to my surprise, almost exactly a year later they called me again and said they really didn't want to be renters anymore, could we meet again and see how things look now? Of course I said yes, I do love working with first time buyers!
   After our (second) initial chat, I got them set up with an excellent mortgage broker, and they found out the picture looked pretty good! They took another month or so to get a few financial things in place, while also watching the market a bit. Very soon, after some excellent work and planning on their part, we hit the streets in earnest to find that home, and get them out of their apartment before they needed to sign a new lease.
   After some interesting experiences with showings (their very first showing ever was in a tenant occupied home, that we expected would be empty, only to find a very grumpy tenant still in the house!!), and a few duds, we found what we thought could be the right one. It was even an easy walk to the local Dairy Queen! A big selling feature! It had been on their list for a bit, and had even gotten past an offer date (no competition!), so we checked it out. It did need a few minor fixes, but nothing a handy guy like Cornel couldn't handle.
   After two looks, and some debate, we pulled the trigger. A bit of negotiation later, and we had an accepted offer! But the story doesn't actually end here. Now we needed to get the financing fully approved. Things were looking great, but then we hit a minor bump. (Through no fault of anyone, just one of those weird things that can happen.) Fortunately Cornel and Hannah made the choice to work with a group of excellent professionals every step of the way, and we got it done.
   I couldn't be happier for the two of them. They can now move forward with the plans they had originally thought would need to be put on hold for a few years. But through some very smart planning on their part, they were able to make it happen. It was real joy for me to be a part of it.
  It was a pleasure working with Cornel and Hannah, they were the best kind of clients a Realtor could ask for, and I'm very sure they will enjoy their home for many years to come! Congrats you guys!

Thursday, 2 March 2017

It's All About the Image

Let me start off by saying I would LOVE some feedback on this post.
   I've recently been reading a fascinating book called The Millionaire Next Door. At risk of oversimplifying it, the basic premise is that there is a difference between actually BEING wealthy, and just LOOKING rich.
  It speaks a lot about how society today is geared toward looking rich to the rest of the world, even if it's at the expense of actual, long term wealth planning. Buy the big car and the big house now, even if you don't have any retirement savings, versus living well below your means, but having a much higher overall net-worth. It even lays out ways and plans that you can become a millionaire, even if you make a relatively low income.
   While I've the whole book to be very enlightening and thought provoking, one item struck me personally, as a professional for whom my public image matters. They talked about how certain jobs an industries lend themselves to the high-consumption style of living due to the fact that there seems to be this societal idea that unless they LOOK rich, these people must not be good at their jobs. As an example, they talked a lot about lawyers. How they often are expected to drive the high end cars, and wear expensive, tailored suits, and if they don't, they must not be good lawyers.
   It struck me that the same can happen in real estate. And this is where I'd love to hear your thoughts on the topic. If you called two Realtors to interview, and one showed up in a fancy, tailored suit, and driving a brand new, top of the line Mercedes, and the other showed up wearing nice, professional (but off the rack!) dress clothes, and driving a few years old say Chevy Impala, which one would you be more likely to hire, BEFORE you talk to them?
   Does the one in the fancy clothes and car tell you that they are obviously very good at what they do, and so you NEED to hire them? Or are you maybe put off, or even intimidated, by that, and think maybe "they don't need me, they'll just be looking down on me".
   Or does the one looking a little more "middle class" tell you that they maybe haven't "made it" yet, and aren't ready to do what you need, or do you feel that maybe "this is a real person, like me, that can relate to me and my needs"?
  Now, I imagine people's responses to this may well be different, based on where they are on the "income scale" and stage of life. But I want to hear from everyone and anyone, no judgement, just dialogue and discussion! (And even value tips for me to help hone my image!)
   Thanks in advance everyone! And, as ever, if you, or anyone you know, has real estate needs, please feel free to call or email any time! 204-990-3457,

Monday, 13 February 2017

January 2017 Market Stats

-                      -           -
January MLS® Sales Drop 2%
WINNIPEG  - Condominium sales showed a marked jump in activity compared to January 2016 with a 36% increase. They are also up 17% over the 10-year average for January condominium sales. Overall, MLS® sales were slightly off last January’s total – ten sales to be exact. And similarly since residential-detached on WinnipegREALTORS®’ MLS® is by far the most dominant property type, there were sales of 400 compared to 409 in January 2016.

New MLS® listings coming on the market in January were down slightly too with residential-detached much the same and condominiums seeing a 5% increase over January 2016. It can be said a pattern is emerging where new condominium listings have steadily increased in January since 2012 and part of the explanation for this development is having more new condominium projects available on MLS®.

As a result these newly built condos are increasing their market share in terms of monthly sales. This January 29% of condos sold were new units where in January 2016 their percentage market share was 17%. Even with stronger condo sales in January the over 600 listings going into February are still elevated when you compare them to previous years. The only exception is last year where January condo listings were up 4% over this January.

It should also be noted the impressive showing of condo sales in January was borne out in the fact close to 20% sold for above list price in comparison to only 4% in January 2016.

“While one month does not make a year, it can give you pause to reflect on what may be around the corner,” said Blair Sonnichsen, president of WinnipegREALTORS®. 

He added, “One thing to monitor will be whether the more stringent qualifying mortgage rules and even the City of Winnipeg impact fees coming in to effect on May 1, 2017, will affect the condominium sales activity.”

In summary, January MLS® unit sales of 561 were down less than 2% from the same month last year while dollar volume of $153 million was up nearly 3% compared to January 2016. The 1,502 new listings entered on the MLS® market in January decreased 1% and it left a little over 3,000 listings available for sale going into February. This active listing inventory is down 9% from 2015 and 2016 levels of just over 3,400.

Based on fewer MLS® sales in the first quarter of the year, the projected time of absorbing all of the existing inventory if there were no new listings coming on the market is five and one-half months.  This compares favourably to last year at this time as it would have taken six months.

“One of the positive take-aways from January is the pick-up in condominium sales since the inventory remains elevated compared to its long term average.” said Peter Squire, market analyst of WinnipegREALTORS®. “It has also come to our attention that new condominium construction supply is coming down so builders are making adjustments to account for overbuilding in the condo market.”

The most active price range in MLS® residential-detached sales in January was the $250,000 to $299,999 price range at 21% of total sales. Tied for second busiest at 15% were the two lower price ranges of $200,000 to $249,999 and $150,000 to $199,999. The average days on market to sell a residential-detached home was 45 days, one day slower than January 2016.
The most active price range in MLS® condominium sales was from $150,000 to $199,999 at 29%. The next most active price range was from $100,000 to $149,999 at 15%. The average days on market to sell a condo was 48 days, 14 days or 2 weeks quicker than January, 2016
Established in 1903, WinnipegREALTORS® is a professional association representing just over 1,850 real estate brokers, salespeople, appraisers, and financial members active in the Greater Winnipeg Area real estate market.  Its REALTOR® members adhere to a strict code of ethics and share a state-of-the-art Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) designed exclusively for REALTORS®. WinnipegREALTORS® serves its members by promoting the benefits of an organized real estate profession.  REALTOR®, MLS® and Multiple Listing Service® are trademarks owned and controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association and are used under licence.

For further information, contact Peter Squire at (204) 786-8854.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Another Happy Buyer!

    I love working with first time home buyers. Don't get me wrong here, I love all types of clients. Buyers, sellers, people doing both at the same time. But first time buyers hold a special place for me.
    This was proven to me again with Jenna Lutz. When we first met to get things started, I think she walked away a little overwhelmed by everything presented to her. But we dove in, and as we worked, she learned. And in no time at all, she was used to the process, and we were rolling along. We viewed a number of homes that seemed, at first, to fit, but just weren't right. While Jenna was a little disappointed, we used this experience to learn a few things, made some adjustments, and dove right back in.
   Soon after making the changes, we found one she really liked. But there was an offer date, so we expected some competition. By the time offers were presented, there were more than just a few. Needless to say, we lost by a fair bit. But Jenna did the right thing, and didn't get caught up in it, went with her offer, and stuck with it. Once again, some disappointment, but Jenna handled it very well, and got right back out there.
   After a pretty quiet stretch during the Christmas holidays, I came across a listing that was just a little bit above our target budget, but thought there might be some room to negotiate, so I sent it over to Jenna. She decided it was worth a look, knowing the risks of looking over budget. Turns out this one was as close to perfect as we could get! It was even better than the one we lost before. We immediately put an offer on paper. Unfortunately, before we had a chance to have our offer presented, someone else jumped on it as well. Once again, competition. And once again, we lost. This time it hurt even more. We were really hopeful. But, again, Jenna handled it like a pro. Out we went again! That same week, we found another one that was close. Not as good, of course, but decent. Jenna decided to take some time to consider it before jumping on it. Turns out that was a VERY good decision!! Remember that perfect house? Well, the deal that beat us started falling apart. I got the call from the other agent on a Saturday afternoon. I jumped on the phone with Jenna immediately. Obviously she was excited! I went straight to her place, we re-wrote the same offer as previously, and away we went!! Needless to say, Jenna is thrilled, and so am I!
     So, why do I love first timers like Jenna? Because there are few feelings quite like helping someone find their first home, and seeing that look of sheer joy mixed with just a little bit of shock and fear.
  So, thank you, Jenna, for allowing me the privilege, and honour of helping with this next stage of your life, I'm sure you'll be thrilled with your home for many years!

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Why REALTORs Push Pre-Approvals

If you've ever called a REALTOR before, you've likely been asked some version of this question: "Have you taken the time to get pre-approved for a mortgage?"
   I know I ask any new potential client this question. People often get at least a little defensive when this comes up, as if we are invading their privacy. I've seen responses that range from "Oh no, not yet, but we're just getting started, so we want to see what's out there, and we'll figure that out when we find the right home" or "No, but we've run the numbers ourselves, so we know what we can afford!" to "That's none of your business!" Well, I'm afraid it's very much our business, and if you disagree, I'm afraid you'll have a hard time finding a home!
   As far as the other answers, given one of these, most REALTOR's will push back on this, and strongly recommend that you get yourself pre-approved BEFORE you get started. Which isn't to say that we won't work with you, it just means that we need you to take the steps in the right order!
  Again, it's not that we don't want to work with you. In fact, we can often put you in touch with the right people to get you to that next step. The reasons we push to get the pre-approval done are many-fold, but let me explain two of the biggest.
  1. Are you sure you know everything that goes into a mortgage calculation? What if we started running around, looking at $300,000 homes for weeks, and then you get that pre-approval, and for some reason, you can't afford as much as you thought you could. If you've already seen $300,000 homes, you'll never be happy with a $250,000 one. It's important that you know (and stick to!) your budget right from the outset, so you're not disappointed. Never mind the time you've wasted!
  2. Even if you are "just getting started", or you "aren't that serious yet", what happens if we were to go look at a few homes, and you happen to find the one that is just PERFECT for you, but now you have to go running around getting your mortgage lined up, and someone else sneaks in and puts down an offer before you're ready? That would suck. And we don't want to see our clients in either of these positions.
  So, the next time a REALTOR asks you if you're pre-approved, don't be upset, or defensive. We aren't trying to be rude, or invasive, and it's not (just) about not wanting to waste our own time. It's also very much about not wanting you to waste yours, or seeing you in an awkward, or  painful situation!
   And remember, if the answer is "no", that doesn't mean we'll hang up on you! In fact, it's just another way we can provide our clients with a deeper level of care, by setting them up with the right professional to get that taken care of as well!
    So, even you're "just thinking about it", please do feel free to call me, and let me help you, with everything you'll need!

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

303A - 693 St. Anne's Rd

Come check out this wonderful condo now on the market! 303A - 693 St. Anne's Road is an absolutely great location. Starbucks right across the street, close to shopping, St. Vital Mall, and the perimeter, as well as all the other amenities the St. Vital area offers.
  It's a secure, professionally managed building, with a caretaker. It's very well maintained, with newer windows, and it has an elevator, so no stairs for all those groceries!
   the unit itself is a great two bedroom, upper floor unit. The kitchen has ample counter and cupboard space, with all the appliances included. The living room is spacious and inviting, featuring a gas fireplace. Next, you'll love the enclosed balcony with views on three sides. A great place to enjoy your morning coffee!
  The two bedrooms are both an excellent size, with large closets, and warm, wall to wall carpet. The bathroom is large and fully updated. And then there's the in-suite laundry, so no wandering the halls with your basket of clothes! All of this for $174,900
   So whether you're looking to get into the market for the first time, downsizing to get out of the maintenance of a home, or anything in between, this unit is worth your time. Call me at 204-990-3467, or email to arrange your private viewing.

Friday, 5 August 2016

July Stats

July Sales Down 3%; Dollar Volume Off 2%

WINNIPEG  -  July sales finished slightly above the 10-year average of 1,330 MLS® sales for this summer month. However they fell short of last year’s near 1,400 sales and the record year of 2014 when July sales reached close to 1,500. Despite the year’s July numbers, year-to-date MLS® sales activity is ahead of any previous year with 5 months to go.

Both new listings coming on the market in July and the inventory at the end of the month were down 8% from 2015. Yet they would be considered elevated especially in comparison to the 10-year average. For example, the 5,291® MLS® properties presently listed on the market for August are up 28% over the 10-year average.

“WinnipegREALTORS® experienced its strongest sales result ever for June and the first six months, so to start off in a more restrained fashion in July is no cause for concern,” said Stewart Elston, president of WinnipegREALTORS®.  “Summer months are never as busy as the spring which is not surprising given Manitobans’ penchant to take advantage of our glorious weather and all of the seasonal activities that come with it.”

MLS® sales of 1,350 were down 3% from July 2015 while dollar volume fell short by 2% in comparison to the same month last year. But year-to-date MLS® sales are up 7% and dollar volume has increased 9% over the same seven-month period in 2015.

Given the run-away dominance of residential-detached sales at 74% of total MLS® sales and condominiums contributing over 12% of sales, other property types comprise far less market share and consequently are all in the low single digits. Having said that, it should not detract from how well other property types are doing in comparison to 2015.

With the exception of rural and duplex classified property types, which are only keeping pace with last year, most other MLS® property types are experiencing double-digit increases.  Vacant land with building is up 155%, town houses - 93%, mobile homes - 25%, commercial - 24%, vacant land - 18%, and resort property - 12%.

“As we always caution buyers to look beyond the headlines and dig deeper when it comes to their specific interest in the local real estate market, this applies to all property types,” said Elston. “2016 is showing real strength and growth in the lower profile property types so it shows buyers are not only calling their REALTOR® about homes or condos.”

The most active price range for residential-detached sales in July 2016 was from $250,000 to $299,999 at 22% of total sales. 15% of the  sales activity was from $200,000 to $249,999 and close behind at 14% was the $300,000 to $349,999 price range.

The highest sales price was $1,275,000 while the lowest was only $15,000. The average number of days to sell a home was 30, 3 days faster than July 2015.

The most active price range for condominiums in July 2016 was from $150,000 to $199,999 at 34%. The second busiest price range was from $200,000 to $249,999 at 19%. Only 7% of condo sales in July went for over $350,000. The highest one sold for $899,000. The average days on market for condominium sales in July was 44, 3 days slower than July 2015.
Established in 1903, WinnipegREALTORS® is a professional association representing over 1,900 real estate brokers, salespeople, appraisers, and financial members active in the Greater Winnipeg Area real estate market.  Its REALTOR® members adhere to a strict code of ethics and share a state-of-the-art Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) designed exclusively for REALTORS®. WinnipegREALTORS® serves its members by promoting the benefits of an organized real estate profession.  REALTOR®, MLS® and Multiple Listing Service® are trademarks owned and controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association and are used under licence.
For further information, contact Peter Squire at (204) 786-8854.