Monday, April 30, 2012

Watch, Listen and Learn

 Real estate professionals in Ontario are regulated by provincial law under the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act 2002 (REBBA 2002). The Act was amended in 2002 with various changes brought forth including the category those that practice real estate hold of which there are three. These are: Salesperson or Sales Representative, Broker and Broker of Record with the latter being owners of a real estate brokerage.

  As soon as it was legally possible, I obtained my Broker license. The reasons I wanted to attain this are many and I have since taken additional courses and added other designations to my credentials as well. Why? The function of today’s REALTOR® has changed some of it brought on by technology some of it brought on by changes in consumer behavior and demands. Essentially, REALTORS® are no longer sales people. I do not want to be thought of as a salesperson. Perhaps REBBA 2002 needs to be amended to reflect a new category that better reflects the role and responsibilities of today's REALTOR®? I know of no other profession where sales people are required to procure a license. REALTORS® are in fact advisors much the same way consumers have a financial advisor, a legal advisor and so on. As advisors, it is our responsibility to know intimately the market in which we trade in, the legal requirements of buying, selling and leasing real property in Ontario, zoning, environmental issues and a host of other matters in order to be able to "advise" consumers with respect to real estate related transactions.
  In addition to requiring the knowledge associated with the aforementioned topics, one other trait stands out in my mind as being essential. For today’s REALTOR® to be a “trusted advisor” you must be a good listener. The fact is, being a good listener applies to most areas of our lives personal and professional. Being a good spouse, parent, employee etc. is heavily reliant on being a good listener and this often starts with asking the right questions. How many times have you had someone try to “sell” you something without even finding out what you want or really need?
  If you are in the midst of or are contemplating a real estate or other major purchase or transaction, it’s best to determine if the party your are working with is a good listener and to do so requires being one yourself.
  As a former business executive turned REALTOR®, I have followed the rise, fall and rise again of Donald Trump. Like him or not he’s been a great success and the following quote is worth noting.
“Watch, listen and learn. You can’t know it all yourself, and anyone who thinks they do is destined for mediocrity.”



– Donald Trump


Friday, April 27, 2012

It's Not Location, Location, Location but Price, Price, Price That Sells Your Home

  When it comes to selling your home, there is one thing and one thing only that matters….price!  That may seem on the surface to be a bold statement but it's true and here's why.

  As of this posting, there are 1,101 single family homes listed for sale on the MLS® system of the Georgian Triangle Association of REALTORS® (GTAR). Single family home sales for the 1st quarter total 287 individual properties which means that with over 1,100 homes currently on the market, we have over 11 and a half months of inventory available for sale. Essential 1 out of every 4 homes listed for sale sells. Not very good odds when you think about it. Without the proper asking price, your home may end up falling into the “expired listing” category of which there were over 3,200 such properties in our market during 2011.

 Sure, you can argue that location, size, condition, your landscaping, recent improvements you’ve made and a host of other factors make your home better or worse that others on the market but at the end of the day, all those factors boil down to being a factor of price.
 
One of the most important tools in helping both REALTORS® and homeowners arrive at a suitable “market” price for their property is a thoroughly prepared Comparable Market Analysis or “CMA” yet I find it’s something that is often missing. Too often Seller’s focus on asking questions about the rate of commission, the method of advertising the REALTOR® is going to use, will they do a “virtual tour” etc. While all of these add-on initiatives are important, they will not contribute to selling a property that is over-priced.
 
For those that may be uncertain as to what a Comparable Market Analysis (CMA) should include, I have a hand-out (pictured herein) that covers what you should look for in a CMA. Not only will this assist you in understanding what you should look for when determining the pricing of your home, knowing what a thorough CMA consists of will assist you in knowing what to look for when selecting a REALTOR® as well. Contact me for your complimentary copy of “What To Look For in a CMA” and follow my blog for further tips on selling your home.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

4th Annual National Garage Sale for Shelter

  On Saturday May 12th, 2012, myself and my associates at the local Royal LePage offices collectively - All Real Estate Services, Locations North & Trinity Realty will be participating in the 4th Annual National Garage Sale for Shelter, in support of the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation.

  Our offices are hosting a Garage Sale at 499 First St, Collingwood from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. on that day (May 12th) and it is certain to be a great event that will “drum up” lots of people and hopefully money – all for a worthwhile cause! Face painting, balloons, entertainment, a bake sale, food – oh and not to mention the garage sale itself! Lots of fun for the whole family!
 
  We are asking for your support in the way of a donation to be used as part of our Silent Auction. A voucher or a gift certificate to be used towards local goods and/or services would be a great idea or you might prefer to make a cash donation to The Royal LePage Shelter Foundation. We would be happy to promote your business and involvement in all of our advertising!   All the proceeds of the auction will be donated directly to our local Women and Children’s Shelter – My Friends House.
  If you would like to participate in the Garage Sale, yourself, you can purchase a table for $25 to sell any unwanted or unused items from around your home. Come spend the day with us in support of a great cause and get of that stuff you have been wanting to dispose of.
 
The Royal LePage Shelter Foundation is Canada’s largest public foundation dedicated exclusively to funding women and children’s shelters and violence prevention and education programs. We believe in the importance of giving back to the very community we as REALTORS® make our livings from.  As
such, Royal LePage is the only Canadian real estate company to have its own charitable Foundation. Attached please find information regarding the Shelter Foundation. At last year’s sale, Royal LePage nationwide raised an astounding $ 425,000 - the largest charity Garage Sale ever held in Canada.  Locally, we raised $ 3,000 for My Friends House – and we hope to surpass that amount this year!
 
We certainly appreciate any help you could provide. Should you require further information, please contact our Garage Sale Coordinator Caitlin at 519-599-2136 or contact myself rickcrouch@propertycollingwood.com.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Beware of Short-Term Property Rental Bylaws

I recently read an online news article pertaining to short-term cottage rentals in Wasaga Beach which is worth passing on to my readers.  A spokesperson for the website www.atthecottage.com  feels a bylaw passed in 2003 but seldom enforced will affect cottage rentals and hence tourism in the popular beachfront community.  
The issue of short-term rentals is nothing new to the area as the Blue Mountains has been grappling with short-term condo and chalet rentals in close proximity to Blue Mountain Resorts and other area ski clubs for years.  Often, property buyers in the area place their condos and chalets in formal rental programs or list them with real estate brokerages in order to generate revenue to offset their ownership costs.  Many of these properties sit vacant for a good portion of the year any so this practice makes perfect sense.  As with anything however, a few bad actors can spoil the situation and all too often a rented chalet, cottage or condo becomes an out-of-hand party that causes havoc in an otherwise quiet neighbourhood.    What constitutes a "short-term" rental?  Typically the rental period is less than 30 consecutive days. More often than not, short-term rentals in the area are only for a week or a weekend with a family coming up to ski, golf or to simply enjoy the area as a whole.  Out-of-town and even local kids have been known to pool their resources in order to rent a property for the weekend in order to have a party which otherwise would not be allowed in their parent's homes. With texting and online social media, these parties can quickly swell in numbers with the rental property taking the brunt of it.  Upon visitng one of my condo listings a few years ago, I discovered it had been the scene of a bachelorette party the night before and the place was littered with amongst other party favours, plastic penis whistles. 
  Many condominium developments in the area frown on short-term rentals fearing they will compromise the use and enjoyment of adjoining units belonging to neighbours.  Subsequently the rental issue has been addressed in the condominium corporation's rules and regulations.  But what about neighbourhoods comprised of single family homes?  That's where the local municipalities have and continue to take issue with short-term rentals by passing bylaws prohibiting them. 
  For those thinking about purchasing a recreational property "anywhere" with the intent of renting it out either through a formal rental program  or even on their own, it's best you consult a REALTOR®
 in order to determine if there are any restrictions that could thwart your plans.  For addtional municipal informtion regarding short-term rentals in the Blue Mountains click here.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Upper End Home Sales Lagging in 2012

  Despite stronger real estate sales activity throughout the area in the first quarter of 2012 overall, sales of higher priced properties in the region seem to have taken a sabbatical. 
  Last year at this time several $1 million plus sales had been registered through the MLS®
 system of the Georgina Triangle Association of REALTORS® (GTAR) this despite the fact that record snowfall last year had everything buried from the buyer's view. 
  As noted in the accompanying graph, we are seeing significant sales gains in all price segments up to and including the $599,000 price point.  I suspect many of these sales are move-up buyers purchasing larger homes than what they currently own while others are secondary properties being bought for recreational use.  Either way, these buyers are no doubt taking advantage of the low mortgage rates we continue to enjoy. 
  Above the $600,000 price point sales remain very soft.  In particular, sales in the $700K to $799K range are down 57% with 7 sales in the 1st Quarter of 2011 and only 3 this year.  Sales between $900K and $1 million total just 1 sale this year compared to 5 in 2011.  Lastly, up to the end of March there have been no sales over $1.5 million whereas last year there were 3 MLS® sales reported in this price range plus I myself  sold a $2.75 million waterfront property that did not go through MLS®.  For the most part, buyers in the upper price ranges are not affected by mortgage rates as these transactions are largely cash. Seemingly, their cash is being retained at this point reflected in the weak demand we have seen for pricier properties in the 1st Quarter of 2012.  Perhaps the affluent know something we don't?






Monday, April 9, 2012

Real Estate Demand Strongest in Grey Highlands & Collingwood During 1st Quarter 2012

As outlined in my prior posting, area real estate sales for the 1st Quarter of 2012 are up 16% overall  from the same period last year.  Looking at the various municipalities that make up our area there is a mixed bag of sales results year-to-date which are as follows.
The Municipality of Grey Highlands and the Town of Collingwood showed the strongest demand for residential homes in the first Quarter of 2012 with MLS® sales activity up 61% and 45% respectively versus 1st quarter 2011.  Clearview Township and the Town of Wasaga Beach had significant increases in MLS® sales activity in 1st Quarter 2012, up 28% and 22% respectively versus 1st Quarter 2011.  Residential sales in The Blue Mountains for the Quarter were essentially unchanged from 1st Quarter 2011 with 35 MLS® sales reported both this year and last.  Lastly MLS® residential sales activity in the Municipality of Meaford continues to remain soft with sales down 5% in the 1st Quarter of 2012 versus the same Quarter last year. 
  Note, all of the above results are for single residential family homes only.  Condominium sales activity in the 1st Quarter remained consistent with 2011.  A total of 66 MLS® condo sales were reported in the first three months of the year one more than in the first three months of 2011.  Vacant land sales continue to remain sluggish in our area and the reason for this may be the high level of single family home inventory on the market for buyers to choose from.  A total of 20 vacant land sales have reported through the local MLS®  system this year as compared to 27 in the first three months of 2011.  In my next post I will review year-to-date sales activity in the various price ranges throughout our market.  In some instances there has been a significant shift in sales form this time last year. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

1st Quarter 2012 Real Estate Sales up 16% Over 1st Quarter 2011

Although area real estate sales dipped slightly in March versus March 2011, MLS® sales activity reported through the Georgian Triangle Association of REALTORS® posted a healthy gain of 16% for the 1st quarter of 2012 with 403 properties changing hands in the first three months of the year versus 347 in the 1st quarter of 2011. Overall, 1st quarter sales volume in 2012 totalled $117.9 million reflecting a 6.4% increase over 1st quarter 2011 sales of $110.9 million.

  Sales activity in several price ranges showed a marked improvement in the 1st quarter of 2012 compared to the same period last year. Unit sales below $250,000 totalled 209 in the 1st quarter of 2012 marking a 12.3% increase over 1st quarter 2011 results; in the $250,000 - $499,999 price range, 1st quarter sales of 154 properties represented a significant 30.5% increase over the 1st quarter of 2011. In the $500,000 - $999,999 price range, 1st quarter sales of 31 properties reflected a slightly weaker demand in this price range for 2012, compared to the 33 properties sold in the 1st quarter of 2011. Lastly, sales activity in the $1 million plus price range during the 1st quarter of 2012 totalled 9 properties, compared to the 10 homes sold over $1 million in the 1st quarter of 2011.
 
The number of new MLS® listings during the 1st quarter of 2012 totalled 1,628 units, up 8.9% from the 1st quarter of 2011. The number of expired listings year-to-date 2012 totalled 802 properties, up 16.2% over the same period last year. First quarter's statistics reflect the fact that 1 in every 4 houses listed for sale actually sell.  Despite sales being up, we still have a lot of slow moving, over-priced properties on the market that buyers are refusing to make offers on.
 
The month of March was the strongest month for new listings in the first quarter, with 618 new MLS® listings and 172 sales.  This is typical once spring arrives as most sellers believe their properties present themselves better once the snow has gone and yards begin to green back up.

  In my next post I will review sales activity in the various municipalities around our area year-to-date compared to one year ago.

Contact Me

Royal LePAGE Locations North (Brokerage)

330 First Street, Collingwood, ON L9Y 1B4



Email:
rickcrouch@propertycollingwood.com



Direct: 705-443-1037



Office: 705-445-5520 ext 230




Website:
www.rickcrouch.realtor















My Profile

Rick relocated to Collingwood from Toronto in 1985 through a transfer with Goodyear Canada. In 1987 Rick was recruited by a major client of Goodyear’s, managing their Canadian business based in Barrie before moving to Chicago in 1992 as Vice President of Sales & Marketing. Upon returning to Canada in 1996, Rick ran an industrial products manufacturing company in Stratford, Ontario. In 1998 Rick returned to Collingwood with his two children. Rick is a licensed real estate Broker with Royal LePAGE Locations North in Collingwood and holds his MVA designation (Market Value Appraiser-Residential). He is an active volunteer in the community serving several years on the Board of Directors with the Collingwood Chamber of Commerce as Treasurer, 6 years on the Board of Directors for the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® of which he is the Past President (2008) and currently serves on a committee with the Ontario Real Estate Association. Rick is a diverse executive manager with extensive experience in strategic planning, manufacturing, finance, human resources and quality assurance management.