Friday, April 26, 2013

Wind Turbines Reduce Property Values

 Across the Province there has been widespread opposition to proposed wind turbine installations which has given new meaning to the term “not in my backyard.”
  Earlier this week an Ontario court ruled that property owners located near established or proposed wind farms have suffered diminished property values.  A lawyer for such landowners say that this recent decision will open the door for legal action against both wind farm developers as well as those parties that lease their properties out to such developers.  This of course has drawn criticism from wind power proponents claiming that the evidence heard was speculative.
  The decision was in fact made relative to a proposed wind farm development here in the Collingwood area.  A group of local landowners had sued WPD Canada Corp as well as a farm corporation that had signed a lease agreement with WPD for a proposed wind farm along County Road 91 west of Stayner in Clearview Township.
  The claim against the defendants was dismissed given the fact the wind farm has not yet received environmental approval nor has it been built.  However, the Judge presiding over the case ruled that damage to the plaintiffs had already been done in that diminished property values had resulted by the mere fact the wind farm project was announced.
  Just how much a neighbouring wind farm diminishes property values remains to be seen.  Some estimates put the number at 20% to 50%.  As a REALTOR® in direct contact with Buyers, I would argue that the  acceptance of and or the willingness by a Buyer to purchase a property near a wind farm is a far greater issue than price.  Some Buyers would not even remotely entertain purchasing a property next to or perhaps even within sight of a wind farm no matter how good a deal it was.  As a Market Value Appraiser I believe it may prove impossible to put a number on how much a property’s value diminishes with a wind farm close by.  This is certainly a subjective question and one that will vary from Buyer to Buyer.
  Needless-to-say, this will not be the last we hear on the controversial issue of wind turbines and I invite you to take my poll on the matter.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Smoking Can Significantly Reduce A Home's Value

For many Canadians real estate represents a significant portion of their equity and net worth.  Whether it is their principal residence and or a recreational or secondary property, an investment in real estate is regarded as a safe nest egg to fund their future retirement.  As such, enhancing the value of that property through various improvements is viewed as a way of enhancing that investment and for those do-it-yourself types it is a past time they enjoy as well.
  There are also lots of things that will reduce the value of your property as well and I could write for days on that subject.  One notable example however is with respect to the habit of smoking.  A recent survey concluded that a home's value may be impacted by as much as 29% if the homeowner(s) is a smoker.  With the average home price in Canada standing at roughly $370,000, a 29% reduction would amount to a hit in excess of $100,000.
  Several years ago I had a home listed whose owners were both smokers.  In addition to the smell, there was extreme evidence of smoking throughout the home.  Yellow stains on the painted white trim work, black tar on the blades of the ceiling fans, a smoke film on the inside of the windows etc. etc.  Despite tactfully raising the issue with the sellers, my pleas to stop smoking inside the home, have the place thoroughly cleaned and painted among other initiatives fell on deaf ears.  Every party that viewed the property made the same remark after stepping through the front door, “…smokers live here.”  The question in their minds was can we get the smell out and at what cost?
  In the end long after I abandoned the listing, the home sold for 66% of the original $719,000 asking price.  What was equally as bad, the house was on the market for 1,719 days (4.7 years).  The buyers paid a price which reflected what they thought it would cost them to remedy the situation both in terms of smell as well as eliminating the potential health hazards associated with second hand smoke.
  I have never been a smoker and certainly I do not criticize those that do, it’s a matter of personal choice.  We are however in a world where smoking is becoming increasingly more regulated in public places.  We can’t regulate what goes on in a person’s home but the evidence is overwhelming that the health of humans and the value of homes is adversely affected by the practice of smoking.   

Friday, April 19, 2013

Local Real Estate Association Announces Merger Plans

Over the past 10 years I have had considerable involvement with the organized behind the scenes aspect of real estate serving in a number of positions with The Georgian Triangle Association of REALTORS® including that of President in 2008. As such I have some very good insights into the inner workings of the real estate community, the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®) and the changes that have and will continue to take place affecting the industry.
  After several months of investigation and dialogue, members of the Georgian Triangle Association of REALTORS® and the Southern Georgian Bay Real Estate Association have announced their intent to  merge, following a membership vote on Wednesday April 17, 2013.  The following is an excerpt from a press release that was issued by both parties.
The merger discussions were initiated by both local real estate associations with the assistance of the Ontario Real Estate Association’s Centre for Leadership Development.
According to the Georgian Triangle Association of REALTORS® president, Andres Paara, the goal of the merger is to assist in accomplishing shared objectives by pooling resources, tools and expertise.
“By combining our assets, we will be able to provide more valuable services to our members and most importantly, to the communities that our members serve – communities in which we live and work and want to see thrive.”
“There’s strength in numbers,” adds Paara. “This merger will elevate the level of professionalism and service from our local REALTORS® throughout the Southern Georgian Bay area.”
To Southern Georgian Bay Real Estate Association president, Gray Watters, “The merger is a perfect fit from a demographic (and geographic) perspective but more importantly, we have a shared ethos and that is supporting our neighbours and building our communities.”
The proposed new name is the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® with a membership of over five hundred REALTORS®.
  In my opinion this is a win, win, win scenario. It certainly strengthens the resources of the two associations not only financially, but more importantly from the perspective of providing added education, support and  broader services to REALTOR® members and the brokerages they work under.  Consumers will in turn benefit from this merger.  As a result of this merger, local REALTORS® will have at their disposal, a broader range of information covering an increased geographic market stretching from Meaford in the west, south to the Creemore, Mulmur Hills area and around Georgian Bay including Midland and Penetang.  Changes have an will continue to impact both our profession and the real estate market as a whole including, the advent of new technologies, regulatory changes not to mention economic factors.  By providing a greater level of service, tools and support to the local REALTOR® community, we too will be able to adopt and transfer these benefits while serving consumers
  Our goal at Royal LePAGE Locations North is to provide Personal, Professional and Progressive real estate services.  The merger of the two associations that currently serve the southern Georgian Bay region will assist us with meeting this goal in serving our valued clients now and in the future.
  If any of my readers have questions or comments about this change, please do not hesitate to Contact Me.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Finding That "Special" Buyer

  In the world of selling luxury or high-end properties, a Seller will often say "you just need to find that one "special" Buyer.  The same can be said however for any property or any product for that matter that is uniquely different from what one might consider to be outside the norm.  Is finding that one "special" Buyer enough?  My answer is no.
  Whether selling a property regardless of the price, a piece of artwork, a collector car or anything for that matter, finding that one "special" Buyer is essentially having just one Buyer.  Having only one Buyer puts the Seller, no matter what the product is at a real disadvantage.  They have no leverage.  Having only one Buyer does little to demonstrate the value or desirability of the product.  Further, while it lessens the leverage a Seller has to be able to effectively negotiate, the fact only one Buyer exists creates an element of doubt within that Buyer.  In terms of real estate, they're asking themselves why has no one made on offer on this house?  What's wrong with it?  Is it over priced?  Two or more Buyers validates the property as being desirable, is priced within reason and is worth going after.
  Personally I feel  the same about receiving a low-ball offer on a lisitng.  Even a low priced offer demonstrates or validates the desirability of the property.  Often I will be asked by another REALTOR® "have you had any offers?"  I would far rather have received a low ball offer allowing me to answer yes to the question than having to say no.  As with having only "one special buyer" you are also at a disadvantage in negotiating when you have had no prior offer.
  In order to get the best price for a Seller you need to "fill the room" so-to-speak with parties interested in the property.  While selling real estate is not an auction perse, creating an auction atmosphere with multiple potential Buyers is what is requird to get the job done and this is especially important when marketing a unique, one-of-a-kind high end listing for which the potential Buyer market is very small.  Focusing your efforts on finding that one "special" Buyer will seldom result in a successful sale and that's one of the most significant benefits of marketing a property online.  You're reaching a global audience, an audience that collectively can deliver several "special" Buyers at the same time.

Contact Me

Royal LePAGE Locations North (Brokerage)

330 First Street, Collingwood, ON L9Y 1B4


Direct: 705-443-1037

Office: 705-445-5520 ext 230


My Profile