Friday, March 28, 2014

What Are Your Priorities in a Home

While not as pronounced as in some industries, housing trends are always in some state of flux.  Family needs, changes in consumer attitudes and other circumstances all have an impact on housing choices and the places we call home.

  Owing to the severe winter we have had, Enbridge (gas) has applied for and has been approved to implement a 40% increase for natural gas effective April 1st. That is a heft increase and will increase the average heating bill by about $400 per year.  We all know about the cost of hydro and Collingwood has just announced user rate increases for sewer and water.  Where or will it all end?

  I read a recent real estate article that summarized what new home builders in the U.S. are finding with respect to consumer demands and not surprisingly, energy efficiency is high on the list. See the accompanying graph I have prepared ranking what home buyers place an importance on.

  Today I came across another article titled 4 Trends That Predict The Home of Tomorrow.  In this article, "extreme energy efficiency" was ranked as the #1 trend for homes of the future.

  Increasingly, I am finding that energy efficiency is becoming more and more of a priority with Buyers in our area.  Electric heat is especially frowned upon and a house where someone was killed may be viewed by some Buyers as having less of a stigma than the electric baseboards.

  What are your thoughts?  How high does energy efficiency rank on your list of priorities with respect to a home?  Take my online survey to the right above and I'll do a posting sharing the results.
 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

5 Tips To Help Sell Your Property

 Contrary to what you may or want to believe, successfully listing and negotiating the sale of  your home or other property is much more of an art than it is luck.  Below are five proven tips that if followed, will help you get the best price in the most reasonable amount of time.  While it's no guarantee and other market factors may be working against you, these are nonetheless proven factors in successfully getting the inevitable sale results you are hoping to achieve.   

Create Great Curb.  Like the saying says “you only get one chance to make a good first impression.”  Most home buyers want homes which look great from the outside. It's not just a question of curb appeal it's also about buyer perception. If a home looks good from the street it probably means the property has pride of ownership, has been well cared for and is ready for a new occupant without a lot of cost or aggravation for the new owner(s). Buyers have less interest in a home that doesn't appeal to them from the street and some may not even get out of the car to look inside.

De-clutter Your Home.  I am often amazed when I show properties just how much clutter there can be.  When your home is for sale, it is not the time to be showcasing your beer bottle collection or Elvis memorabilia.  I always ask myself, “why is the listing REALTOR® not addressing this with the owners?”  A clutter-free home offer fewer distractions allowing the buyer to visualize there furniture and belonging there.  It will make interior spaces look larger and eliminates the need to get rid of stuff when you are in the midst of moving.  Sometimes it may make sense to donate unwanted items or otherwise reduce clutter before a home is placed on the market.  Rent a small storage unit perhaps to put excess "stuff."  This is not only a good marketing initiative but it also serves as a practical step toward relocation.  If you are really committed to a move, start packing now.

Good Working Mechanicals.  
Make sure that your home's systems such as the furnace, air conditioner, central vacuum and others are in good repair and that they function properly.  This will help to ensure they meet the scrutiny of a professional home inspection. Homes with good mechanicals are much more appealing to buyers that are fearful of major repair expenses.

Seek Pre-qualified Buyers.  While many sales may be for cash, the majority still require financing.  At one time, mortgage financing was somewhat of a given but times have changed.  It is frustrating to enter into a sales contract with a potential buyer who ultimately cannot obtain the required financing to purchase your home.  Have your listing REALTOR® determine if the buyers that are contemplating making an offer or have made an offer on your home have been pre-approved.  While still not a guarantee, pre-approval of a buyer(s) is a much strong indicator that the financing condition in an offer will be fulfilled.


Price and Negotiate Properly.  Pricing your home correctly at the outset means everything!  In addition to overall economic and market conditions, such factors as location, amenities and condition are just some of the characteristics that impact the price.  When an offer is received, the terms in that offer should be given equal consideration as to price.  A strong price along with a myriad of conditions and a long closing date may not be as attractive as a cleaner offer with fewer conditions, a shorter close and lower price.  These are all things to consider and need to be discussed with your REALTOR® during offer deliberation and subsequent negotiations.  

Send me your selling and or buying questions on Facebook and I will be glad to provide answers to you without obligation.   

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

10 Things You Need To Know When Making An Offer

  As we get closer to spring, many of you may be contemplating a home or other type of property purchase.  Once you have found a home that you’d like to submit an offer on. The next and most important question you ask yourself and your REALTOR® is how much do we offer? 
  The following are 10 things that you need to know in order to help you formulate an offer and a negotiating strategy.  I have separated these 10 things into two distinct categories.

Market Conditions

- What are the list and sale prices of similar properties, preferably sin the same 
   general area?
- What is the current trend in prices, up, down or stable?  What is the ratio     
   between the list and sale prices.
- What is the current supply and demand in the area you are looking? In a high \
   demand low supply market you may be faced with competing offers.       
   Conversely in an area or price range with lots of inventory you are not.
- What is the absorption rate ie: the number of month’ supply of inventory in the 
   area? Less inventory in a given area can make for a more competitive market for 
   Buyers.
- What is the “average time on market?” Because listings expire and properties are    often re-listed for sale, the cumulative time that a property has been on the 
   market is important.

Property Facts

- Is the property you are considering well kept, up to date and in good condition   
  of are substantial repairs and upgrades needed?
- What sis the cumulative length of time on market for the property?  Substantial 
  days-on-market can signify slow market conditions, a pricing issue with the 
   property or some other form of problem such as location, deficiencies in the 
   home etc.
- What is the seller’s motivation?  Often it is not possible to find this out and the 
   REALTOR® that has listed the property is obligated to keep his Seller client’s 
   motivation private.  They may however have an offer on something themselves 
   or are otherwise anxious to get the property sold so you can always ask.
- What terms is the Seller looking for?  The cleaner the offer with fewer 
   conditions the better.  Having pre-approval of your financing or being able to 
   make a cash offer with a short closing gives you a lot more leverage to negotiate 
   with.
- What is the sales history for the property?  While what someone paid for a 
   property is somewhat irrelevant, it is very easy for a REALTOR®  to check 
   land registry records in order to see what a property last sold for.  Using that 
   information, plus allowing for increases or decreases in market values plus the 
   cost of any improvements that have been made will assist you in determining a 
   fair price for the property today.
  
By obtaining answers to these 10 questions, you will have some valuable insight into preparing an offer and then further negotiating the process that will allow you to arrive at a purchase price that represents fair market value for both you and the Seller.  Contact me to learn more.    

Friday, March 14, 2014

What Kind of Story Does Your Home Convey?

  I was cleaning up some things around my house the other day, and is usually the case with most of us you come across all manner of things.  Old photos, clothes, miscellaneous things picked up on trips, things that belonged to my kids, my ex-wife, my parents and so on.  Essentially, I came to the conclusion that our homes, the places we live, really tell a story about our lives.

 Whether you are thinking about selling your present home or buying a new one, there is one important question to be asked in either scenario.  What story does your home or the property you are considering buying convey?  Is it a happy story?  Is it a story that reflects pride of ownership, care and fond memories or is it a story about neglect, despair or other less apparent negative connotations?  I am by no means a suspicious person but I’ve had occasions over the years when I walk into a house and it just gives off a bad vibe.  There were holes in the doors or drywall perhaps suggesting some family violence, a bad smell permeated the place or it was just in otherwise poor condition.  Different stories can have a significant impact on the sale of a property including the price, how long it takes to sell and perhaps even if it sells at all.

  Being the author of a positive story about your home is especially important for sellers.  If you indeed really do want to move and sell, success in attracting a buyer and maximizing your investment with depend on you being the author of a compelling story about your home that conveys a positive message to buyers.  That message will reassure them that the home has been well cared for, that it will continue to serve as a place where enjoyable living and fond memories will be ensured for you and your family.

  There are many things you can do to create a positive story about your home but let's just start with the basics.  Read my 10 things to do before you list your home for sale or Contact Me and  I would be happy to visit your property without obligation to give you some pointers on what you might need to do in terms of creating a great story about your home.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Winter's Cold Grips Our Local Real Estate Market

Our adverse winter weather is continuing to have an impact on local real estate sales and while activity improved significantly in February, year-to-date sales remain well behind last year.

  Sales reported through the MLS® system of the Southern Georgian Bay Association of REALTORS® in February reflected a 3% decrease from one year ago with 122 properties selling during the month compared to 126 last year.  February’s dollar volume however was up 11% due to an increase in higher price home sales.  Sales in several price ranges between $500,000 and $1 million posted significant gains over last year leading to the higher dollars among 
lower unit sales.

  Year-to-date MLS® unit sales for the first two months of the year are down 14% with 205 properties changing hands compared to 239 in 2013.  MLS® dollar sales for the year of $65.9 million are down 9% year to date.  Sales activity in 2014 is also lagging behind the first two months of 2012 with MLS® unit and dollar sales down 5% and 7% respectively.
 
With the exception of Grey Highlands which is showing an increase of 67% in MLS® units
sales year-to-date, every other area municipality are lagging behind 2013 and weather appears to be the culprit.  Severely cold temperatures, excessive snowfall and road closures have resulted in cancelled property showings leading to less activity and reduced sales overall.  On a year-to-date basis, single family home and condominium unit sales are both down 19% from one year ago.  Conversely, we have seen some renewed interest from Buyers looking for vacant land as lot sales are up 38% this year with 22 MLS® sales reported compared to 16 after the first two months of 2013.     

  As in prior months, we continue to see a reduction in the number of new listings coming to market and expired listings are also down as well.  The monthly listings-to-sales ratio for February reflects a somewhat balanced market, and while with only being two months into the year this is not reflected in the year-to-date results, I anticipate that overall, stable market conditions will prevail through the balance of 2014.  Within certain areas and price ranges there will be exceptions.  As of this posting there are 102 active listings on our local MLS® system for properties priced above $1 million.  Based on the rate of sales for properties of this value, that represents approximately 48 months worth of available inventory.  With this amount of housing stock, sellers of properties priced above $1 million can expect much longer days-on-market and pricing expectations may have to be tempered.


Whether you are buying or selling, I am well versed in all aspects of our market so as to effectively assist you.  Please do not hesitate to contact me for a confidential no obligation discussion about your particular real estate circumstance.    

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.