There is no status quo right now in any industry. In real estate, we are pivoting and providing lots of unique options to our Ottawa selling clients. In this case, our clients chose our exclusive option. This allowed us to actively market the property but not have it on the MLS. The seller only wanted very qualified buyers coming through the house. We were able to control that better with our exclusive option. At the time of listing, there were also two end units available on their street (Barrick Hill). Both were the same floor plan. We wanted to wait until they cleared MLS to list ours. We had a very throughout listing strategy.
Through our marketing efforts, we found a buyer who wanted to see it. That buyers agent had them view the 3d tour we had online. The buyer was able to comfortably walk through the home from the comfort of their own. When they came through for their in-person viewing they already knew it was the right house for them. We got a full price offer the next day. Our offer was significantly higher than the other two eventual sales on the street (average of 18k higher). We sold off-market for top dollar with very little hassle. Who you work with on the sale of your home matters!
If you are thinking about selling your Ottawa home, please feel free to contact us. We would love a chance to talk to you about our enhanced marketing services.
“Absolutely outstanding service! I was reluctant to trust realtors again after having a terrible experience on the sale of my first home with another agent. Chris and the team really went above and beyond on both the selling and buying side. I can not recommend them enough!” – Seller of Barrick Hill
The proper marketing of your home has never been more important. We need to get your home exposed to as many people as possible online. We have added in services to make this happen. This additional exposure will help you maximize your sale price.
We have been working on a new process to stage your home virtually. Our stager is phenomenal and will help you prepare each and every room in the house. It will involve a few calls, some pictures back and forth, and will end with a full detailed report for you to follow. It will essentially be a game plan for getting your house market-ready. This work will help you maximize the sale price of your home. Statistically speaking staged homes sell for at least 2% more than non staged homes.
This will give buyers the opportunity to experience a showing from the comfort of their home. Having this tour is paramount in today’s market. Some buyers are purchasing the home just based on this tour!
We will have a professional floorplan drawn up so buyers can see the dimensions of each room and the layout of the space. An integral part in the new virtual world.
In the weeks ahead we will be taking extra pictures for buyers to look at. Our photographer is amazing and you can see her work by clicking on the link. She will also take precautions when photographing.
This will be done to take people through every aspect of the home. We are trying to give every buyer the opportunity to purchase your home without actually seeing it in person. We just started doing this. My partner launched a listing with this feature yesterday. Here is an example: https://quickpageapp.com/p/aku2ny6FBWfECMgfu?cid=dAWQJfWDgdiS4GrS7
We are completing all our agreements via an e-signing program that is easy to use. Stephanie, our listing manager is still working full-time Mon-Fri 830-430. We have lots of support for all our clients. She will be getting all buyers to sign Covid-19 forms prior to any viewing. We are trying to do everything we can to mitigate risk for our clients while making it easy for buyers to get all the information they need on our listings.
Every day I look through the hot sheet from the Ottawa Real Estate board. It is a list of all new properties to the market. One thing that almost every one of them has in common is that they were holding offers. This means the seller is waiting till a certain date and time to review offers. The idea is that they will have lots of showings between the list date and offer date. The hope, of course, being that the seller will have multiple offers to choose from. There are some buyers who do not want to wait until the offer date. That is where the term bully offer comes from.
The bully offer:
I prefer the term pre-emptive offer. Essentially the buyer makes an offer right away and before pre-determine offer presentation. The offer is usually at a premium price and often with no conditions. Example: House is listed for $400,000 and the buyer makes an offer for $450,000 on day 1. This would get the seller’s attention right?! The idea is to make the seller think twice about waiting until their pre-determined date.
A few other things to consider:
The Realtor is often in a tough position here as well. They have a form 244 signed with their clients explaining that there is no conveyance of offers until the specific date. If the Realtor then presents this offer it is in breach of the pre-signed paperwork. Further, other agents who showed the property or have scheduled showings on the property need to be kept in the loop on any change of directions. Our team has been on both ends of bully offers and there is a lot of things to navigate here for sure.
As part of a full-service real estate team, each week I preview and show several properties to various buyers, and host open houses for our seller clients whenever possible. The 2 most common questions I hear day-to-day are:
1) Why are the current owners selling?
2) What is the square footage of the house?
Interestingly, as licensed members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board, we are not permitted to display the square footage on any listing. Whatever the reason behind this rule, the fact remains.
Square footage can be important when comparing the property value of the property with another, or even just to assess if there is enough space to hold all of your current furniture and effects (and growing family members). For appraisals and assessments, it is often measured by simply multiplying the length and width of the exterior walls of the house. When you consider this, overall useable Living Space can become a more essential factor to consider.
What are the reasons that are motivating you to make a move?
Do you need more overall space, more closet space, or a more open-concept space?
Some homes have unique jogs and cut-outs along walls and ceilings, reducing the amount of space you are able to occupy or renovate. An older century home may have a large den, parlour, and dining room, and therefore an increased footprint, yet also have a long hallway upstairs and 3 bedrooms with gabled ceilings that are a nuisance to you and your growing children… and no master en-suite. Or, a previous owner may have blown out a bedroom wall to create their dream en-suite + walk-in closet, and now Mr & Mrs Buyer are handcuffed because despite 2000+ sq ft above grade, what they really need is another bedroom. Or, 4 large bedrooms and a loft upstairs might not be enough if there is no room on the main level for the home office you really need.
There are many things to consider when buying your next home. A deal-breaker to one buyer may be a non-issue to another. A great idea for everyone is to take some time to write a list of your Wants and Needs in a new home, get on the same page with everyone involved, and enlist the service of a licensed Realtor who can help you stick to your plan and make informed, objective decisions in order to achieve your individual real estate needs.
One of the best marketing campaigns I can remember growing up was Head and Shoulders shampoo. Their slogan was “because you never get a second chance to make a first impression”. It is so true in not having dandruff on your shirt and it can also be applied to real estate. Stay with me here. When home buyers walk into your house you want to be feeling good about what they see and excited about what is to come! First impressions are crucial!!
Side note: I looked up that campaign and it was from the ’80s (ageing myself a bit). I still use H&S today because I am petrified of dandruff and making the wrong first impression.
If you are a home buyer what room would make a good impression to you:
Well, I agree with your choice. We suggested the homeowner bring in some rental furniture to outfit this room properly. We then made the room come to life and accessorized it.
Of course, once you commit to the staging you can’t just stop at one room. It all has to come together. In this case, we had a pretty solid plan that the homeowners bought into. We ended up bringing some of our own furniture we use for lots of stagings, to bring it all together.
You will notice the kids room. We felt the demographic buying would be younger families so we showcased as such. That is Aiden’s (my son) old bed and some of his toys/books. 🤫 Don’t tell him! We also brought a desk and chair in for the loft among many other changes.
Why go through all this work?
This is really the big question, isn’t it? Is it really worth it to stage? My answer is, absolutely. Having a fresh, modern, clean look is the key. We want people to feel excited about the house and the possibility of owning it. I bet there are people who would not even offer on the house as it sat before. They might not even realize why. Hard to prove this theory but we have taken over many non-staged homes that could not sell. We keep the prices the same and then like magic! they sell for top dollar. That is why I also invested over $2500 to stage my own place when I sold. Anyways, I am ranting a bit here but it is what I believe with conviction.
Our team has just invested in a moving concierge program that will be a game changer for our clients. This new platform will assist our clients with everything from changing addresses, transferring home services, updating identification, and getting helpful advice. This can include anything from setting up short term Airbnb accommodations to organizing moving company quotes. Each client will have a dedicated concierge agent. We are completely committed to the client experience. We hope this new service will bring value to our clients and make the transition into the new home as easy as possible.
As an Ottawa realtor, I’m often asked by my clients that are both selling and buying a home, if they will have to pay CMHC again. It is an important real estate question and we want our clients to have all the answers before proceeding. What is CMHC?
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation is insurance which protects the lenders and thereby allows buyers to put a lower downpayment on a purchase and in most cases allows more competitive rates.
Now knowing what CMHC is, we know it is applicable depending on the size of the downpayment and whether or not the lender would like the mortgage insured.
Here are some scenarios to help you better understand if CMHC would be applicable to you.
Staying With Your Current Lender
Conventional Uninsured Mortgage – If you are staying with your current lender and your new purchase will have a 20% downpayment or higher, you will most likely not have to pay CMHC unless your current lender requires it as part of their guidelines to be a Conventional Insurable Mortgage. High Ratio Insured Mortgage – If you are staying with your current lender and your new Ottawa home purchase will have less than a 20% downpayment, you will most likely have to pay the top-up premium on the new amount. For example: Your home sells for $400,000. Your Mortgage amount owing is $350,000. You use the equity from the sale of your home for your new purchase of $500,000. This would approximately only be a 10% downpayment and would require you to pay CMHC and the top-up difference. The difference would be $500,000 (purchase price)-$50,000 (downpayment)-$350,000 (previous mortgage amount) = $100,000 (additional new mortgage amount). As of January 15, 2019, with a 90% L-T-V (10% downpayment) the premium on a top-up is 6.25%. So your top-up CMHC premium would be $100,000 x 6.25% = $6,250 (as a new premium would be 3.10% which would be $450,000 x 3.10% = $13,950) Also please note: your mortgage must stay at the existing amortization remaining on your current mortgage for the top up premium to be used in most cases.
Conventional Uninsured Mortgage – If you are changing your lender and your new purchase will have a 20% downpayment or higher, you will most likely not have to pay CMHC unless your new lender requires it as part of their guidelines to be a Conventional Insurable Mortgage.
High Ratio Insured Mortgage – If you are changing lenders and your new purchase will have less than a 20% downpayment, you will most likely have to pay the top-up premium on the new amount or full CMHC on the total loan amount. Whichever is less. This is where having a mortgage broker’s guidance can help answer whether it is better to pay full CMHC or the top-up premium.
As an owner of Ottawa investment properties, the upcoming legalization of marijuana is another element that needs to be considered when finding tenants. When this law is passed it would grant the right for individuals to grow up to four plants in their home. I certainly don’t want them growing those plants in my investment properties. It can pose health risks from the potential growth of mould, fire risk, and the significant damage due to high humidity requires. Most importantly your property value could plummet if the house was deemed to be a “grow op” This is not a label you want. Also, smoking marijuana can be worse than cigarette smell in terms of getting rid of the bad odours.
It remains for the courts to determine if a tenant’s right to smoke marijuana for medicinal purposes is greater than a neighbour’s right to not smell it, and a landlord’s right not to have it happen in their property. Especially since there are alternative forms of medicinal marijuana including pills, capsules and oil. I am sure there will be lots of upcoming cases that examine this complicated legal question. Something to watch for.
So how can you protect yourself?
Having strong clauses in your lease agreement is important. Here is one example:
Smoking, which includes tobacco and marijuana, any electronic versions and anything smoked for medicinal, recreational or remedial purposes, and growing plants of any type or quantity which includes marijuana, cannabis and hydroponics, are not permitted to be grown or cultivated anywhere in or on the premises, including common areas and the tenant’s rented unit.
I also am a big believer that the due diligence process is an important step. To be honest, if I suspect they are smokers I will not rent it to them. Even if they say they would never smoke in the house. I just don’t take the chance. Besides the credit checks, I will ask previous landlords if they were smokers and I often try to find pictures of them through facebook etc to get a sense of who they are. Might sound excessive but once your tenants are in they are hard to get out! For the record there is nothing wrong with smoking weed, I just don’t want people to smoke or grow it in my investment properties.
With the anticipation of Spring, everyone seems to be in a better mood. People in Ottawa will soon come outside again after a long gruelling hibernation. It is also a great time to get a few things done around the house. We are not there yet but I feel we are getting close!
Check Water Drainage
We are fortunate this year we will not have all the snow melt at once. However, April showers bring May flowers but, if you are having drainage issues, they may also bring expensive water damage. Pay attention to the way the melted snow runs off your roof – it should flow away from your home and its foundation. If you notice any issues, such as water seeping or pooling, it is important to investigate further. It is not a good idea to climb onto the roof so use binoculars to look for damage on shingles or soffits. This work can save you thousands down the road.
Clean Out Gutters
This is one that many people forget. A major cause for improper drainage is a blockage in your eavestroughs or downspouts caused by leaves and other debris. Cleaning out your clogged gutters is necessary when seeking to avoid water drainage catastrophes. Since safety is the most important thing, you should only take on this task if you can work safely from a ladder and if your home is no more than one storey. If your roof is any higher than that, you are better off to hire someone to do it. You can hire a service to clean your gutters for around $100.
Small Repairs – Big Payoffs
Tend to chipping paint, crumbling bricks, and small holes in your siding as soon as possible. Making these small repairs can save you money in the long run, not to mention the fact that your home looks newer for longer. These jobs can be done by you or a professional depending on your expertise or comfort level.
I always have my air conditioner serviced in the late Spring as well. If you have any questions please feel free to get in touch.
After our annual client Santa party I was approached by a past client who asked me why I do all this after sale stuff. The contests, newsletters, cards, client events etc. He said he would refer our team business no matter what, and that I really didn’t need to do all this stuff. It was an interesting question. The answer is at the heart of my business. Here is what is on our wall at the office:
We are just living out our mission statement. That is what gets me fuelled up every day and excited to go to work. You see our mission in real estate is to create a raving fan service experience for every client and to bring value long after our clients buy or sell. We will always strive to provide this service to clients if they bought 12 years ago or 12 months ago. As our team grows we are able to offer better services and bring new experiences. I look forward to sharing some new initiatives with everyone in the near future.