I get to see behind many a closed door.
My profession requires entering into a person’s home – often a stranger’s – and look into every room. Sure, I see the foundation, square footage, and other technical things necessary to perform the task. But the most fascinating thing I see is the people – and in a way most don’t ever see. (not even their friends!)
Sometimes the house is empty. Still, the books and pictures – or lack – tells a story about the people who live there. The toys, the calendar, the picture of a missionary on the wall, it all gives a private peek into a life that is not available to the general public.
Other times the families are there, and I see how they interact with each other. You know how you behave differently in your house than you would in the mall? That’s the at-home personality I get to see when people are there.
I recently went to a client’s house to get a signature. The young family was at the supper table when I arrived. They welcomed me in, and I joined them at the table. Their toddler was in a high chair eating some kind of beef and rice dish with a tomato sauce base. Rice was stuck to his cheek, and sauce smeared on his chin, and he smiled and cooed, eagerly waving a spoon. Apparently his meal was delicious.
The mom, trying desperately to feed the boy while containing her laughter, abruptly turned her head away and covered her mouth to contain herself. She exchanged looks with the proud daddy and his wide grin didn’t help her suppress the laughter at all. She turned back to resume feeding, and completely lost it, disintegrating into bubbly, joyous laughter. All three of us gave in, laughing together.
When the laughter subsided, she said, “It’s his first time eating with a spoon on his own!” The parents beamed proudly as they watched the boy spread more sauce on his highchair tray with one hand, and grab a fistful of rice with the other.
I am so honored and overjoyed to have experienced that joy with them. They didn’t see me as an intrusion in this special moment, but instead invited me in to join them. We had spent enough time together that we were comfortable with each other.
Days later, as I prepared to leave the house, a grin crossed my face as I relived that precious moment with that family. I feel truly blessed to see these special family moments. These are the most precious and memorable parts of my day, and those relationships are exactly why I do what I do.
Seriously, the people are my favorite part – of pretty much everything. I think everything -work, life, faith, business – is not so much about tasks as it is about character and relationships.
Thank goodness life,. and real estate too, is a people thing.
We reserve the right to refuse service.
We reserve the right to choose if we want to work with you. We reserve the right to terminate a business agreement.
We, Tina Plett and Eniko Crozier, are service oriented at heart and we have been known to go the extra mile and serve our clients beyond their expectations. We delight in pleasing our clients. We are consistent. We strive to be on time. We invest ourselves emotionally, mentally, physically and FINANCIALLY to obtain the objectives of our clients.
We are passionate about what we do and deliberate and strategic in how we do it.
We offer to work seven days a week and we can do that because we are respectful to each other and we take turns giving each other a day off and time off when needed. Eniko has her day off on Tuesday. Tina has her day off on Wednesday.
When you meet with one of us for a seller consultation or a buyer consultation we will tell you more about the services we offer.
So why this bold Opening statement?
We respect ourselves and we want to be treated with respect. We have no interest in abusive relationships even in business. The commissions we receive from a sale are not worth losing our integrity or self respect. We will not tolerate abuse in any form.
Our time is valuable. Our spouses and children sacrifice time with us so that we can Serve you.
We have no interest in being a tour guide. We are real estate professionals. Give us one good reason why we should spend our evenings and weekends with you driving around looking at houses unless we are the ones getting paid. How would you feel if you put in 40 hrs of work and then find out that someone else got the paycheck?
So let us save you some time. If you want to list your house and want us to lie about it having been a grow op, then don’t call us. We refuse your business. If you want to go shopping for houses with five different real estate agents so that you can go every night of the week with someone else, then don’t call us. We will refuse your business. If you want $600,000. for your property after we have shown you proof that the market stats show that it is worth $180,000. then we refuse your business.
If you think I am exaggerating to make a point you are mistaken. If you think we are out of line to draw these boundaries for our business then we are not a good fit to work together.
We may request to meet with you before we show you a house. We may ask to see your identification. We may ask you for a pre approval letter from your mortgage broker before we start showing you houses.
Working with a real estate professional should be a mutual decision. The seller or buyer should not allow themselves to be bullied into doing business with an agent. The agent need not feel obligated to take all business opportunities.
Some opportunities that have come our way have been out of our area of expertise. For example, we decline commercial listings. We decline condo listings. We are happy to refer you to a competent agent who is qualified to work in these fields.
However, we can’t wait to hit the road and come over if you are asking us to list a rural property. We will list and sell in Steinbach and Winnipeg and everywhere in between.
We specialize in residential resale homes and have experience in new home sales.
In conlusion, we want to enjoy our work. We want to be safe. Your jobsite may require steel toe boots and hard hats. Our safety is in three words. No thank you.
Do you ever think you’ll never be able to buy a house?
You’re not alone.
Raising the down payment is the most difficult part for the first time home buyer. Climbing house prices only make the joy of home ownership seem even more impossible. With the average house price in Manitoba hovering around $250,000, a 5% down payment of $12,500 can feel unattainable.
Some are lucky enough to have the down payment gifted to them by family, though it robs them of the joy of accomplishing it on their own, and they never develop the financial skills it takes to earn it. (… so I’m not sure how lucky they really are)
For most though, the down payment must be worked for. And it’s tough. (That’s why there are so many rentals!)
If you’re one of the many who struggle with even believing the joy of home ownership is possible for you, I have some good news.
These three little-known secrets will propel you toward that down payment faster than you though possible. Ready?
Pay your bills on time.
It doesn’t sound like much, but paying bills is not a private matter. Late payments and arrears affect your credit rating. The bank who will one day fund your home purchase will look at your bill payment history to see if you’re able to pay on time every time. If you are, they are much more likely to give you a mortgage – another bill to pay – and trust you to pay it back.
It might sound weird, but it takes money to borrow money. In decades past, a person without debt was seen as a wise financial steward. That is no longer the case. These days, a person who has never borrowed money looks to be incapable of managing debt, so why would anyone lend to them? It’s one of those chicken-egg conundrums. You can’t borrow if you don’t have debt, and you can’t have debt without borrowing.
The solution? Borrow small amounts of money – secured loans and credit cards are available – and then demonstrate your financial savvy by paying it off on time every time.
For the uninitiated, a secured loan would look like the bank using your car as collateral, or a credit card company keeping $500 of your cash in exchange for a $500 credit line. In that case, you’re essentially buying credit. Not to worry though, they return your cash once you’ve demonstrated you are trustworthy.
Save, But Just a Little.
Everyone knows a down payment needs to be saved up. But it doesn’t necessarily have to look like rice and beans sacrificial living, or getting a fourth job. (Though if you can hack that, power to you!)
For most, it’s unrealistic to expect that of ourselves. That’s why I’m a big fan of saving small. And there are a bunch of ways to do it.
Every time you break a dollar bill, keep the change in a jar. When the jar’s full, deposit it all in a separate down payment savings account.
Dedicate certain side income to your down payment fund. Garage sale proceeds, selling produce from your garden, overtime, tips, whatever extra you can skim off without really noticing, do it.
You can also skim on a schedule, having 5% of each check automatically deposited into your trusty savings account. Quick math: 5% of $40,000/year net earnings = $2000/year from that one effort alone.
Scotia Bank’s Bank The Rest® Program
If you are a Scotia Bank member, you have another option. In effort to help Canadians save more, they launched the Bank The Rest® savings program. This allows you to round up your purchases to the next multiple of $1 or $5 as you decide, and the difference is automatically transferred to your savings account.
You know how the interest on an overdue bill can add up quickly? If you combine all of these elements, the money starts adding up just as fast. We’re talking thousands of dollars in your account every year.
Before too long, you’ll be well on your way to a healthy down payment. As a bonus, along the way you will have increased your credit rating, and developed some killer financial skills that your peers will envy.
Yes, I know it will take time.
But how much more time will it take if you wait to start?
Yes, I know it will take work.
But let me ask you something: What worthwhile thing have you ever had that didn’t require work?
You must gain control over your money or the lack of it will forever control you.
Real estate agents facilitate millions of dollars in transactions each year.
And we get a cut from each one.
…So we must be rich, right?
By that logic, car salespeople, furniture sales staff, and the Tupperware lady must all be raking it in with the value of sales they make. After all, they broker thousands of dollars in sales – tens of thousands even – and get a cut from each sale! They must be rich.
But, they’re not.
I’m afraid we real estate agents are about as rich as anyone else in any other industry who earns a commission.
For some reason though, people continue to assume real estate agents are rich, and should give up their over-stuffed commission to benefit the little guy. (Which is apparently everyone else.) It’s bizarre. In no other industry I’ve worked, have I been asked to forego my earnings (translation: the deserved paycheck I worked hard for!) just because. But it happens in this industry – sometimes as casually as one says hello.
I recently received an email from a complete stranger, who immediately asked a favor. “I’m interested in one of your properties… can you help me with the down payment?” To clarify, this person was asking that I “help” by giving up my commission. This person I’ve never met was asking me to forfeit my paycheck. (Has anyone asked for YOUR paycheck after you put in the time?)
It’s a big ask, even for a family member who loves you dearly. To ask it of a complete stranger is beyond a favor. It’s downright offensive.
If you, like this person, assume real estate agents are too rich and just a bunch of greedy hoarders who for no reason at all owe you a living, then I guess you wouldn’t understand how such a request could be remotely offensive.
If you work hard for what you have though, and a stranger walked up to you and required your thousands of dollars just because they wanted it… I seriously doubt you would smile and fork it over just to be “nice”.
Well, reading that email did not inspire any nice thoughts. I imagined all kinds of things I could say to “educate” the person who sent it. But I know better than to open my mouth when I’m upset. Once I cooled down, I thought back to the days before I owned a house.
Saving up the down payment is about the most difficult part of buying your first home. It takes diligence, discipline, and a whole lot of work and time.
It’s hard. I get it. Been there.
That’s why I’ll write about how to build up that down payment in a future post.
Today, I just wanted to highlight once again that real estate agents are not some uber-wealthy race of robots whose earnings belong to the human collective.
We are your average working Joe.
We are your average mortgage holder.
We are you.