55+ Steinbach Real Estate
I work with many interesting people, but one senior couple I found particularly fascinating.
I hesitate to call them seniors because their years were so many they were beyond senior. We’re talking nearly a century of life experience here – each. Ready to sell their home and live with their children (wow, I love that!) they listed with me. I have to tell you I really admire this couple – their gentle way with each other, the smiley eyes they still make at each other, and their proactive, common sense approach to managing health, family and finances.
But when a low-ball offer came in, they really got interesting.
The offer was much lower than asking price, and the couple had reduced their price already (however unnecessary I thought it was – ultimately they are the boss after all). The husband’s response to the offer was simple. “I can accept that offer.”
These people have worked hard their whole life, and are now selling the last thing they have. This will be all the money they’ll have to live on for the rest of their lives. You’d think they would fight for every penny. I certainly knew negotiations would yield more, and encouraged them to counter. Even his wife gently questioned his decision. Still, his response was simple. “You know what? I want to sell my house. That’s my goal.” No games, no greed, just matter-of-fact goal accomplishment. So that’s what happened, and everyone walked away pleased.
Had this been a couple in their thirties or forties, it would have been quite different. There would have been much offense taken at such a low offer. Indignation and outrage would close that and all future negotiations with any person who would offer such. Months of complaining would ensue, and bitterness take root.
Over an offer.
Real estate can get pretty emotional and dramatic sometimes. This couple demonstrated well how unnecessary all that drama is. Greed, fighting and game playing just to eek out a few extra dollars are not worth all the stress and hassle. Not really.
This couple understood something few do – fighting over money doesn’t pay. If it comes down to a choice between money and peace, it’s wise, beneficial to everyone, and amazingly simple to choose peace.
I followed him* through each room, making notes and taking measurements. My client had requested a home valuation, and we were about to enter the Great Room. He waved a hand across the room as though revealing a King’s dining hall. It wasn’t.
The mid-century home had, at one time, been owned by someone my client greatly admired. He eyed my notes, hinting I should include that tidbit as a selling feature. The “timeless classic” was adorned in brightly colored floral wallpaper, as was the style at the time. He hiked his eyebrows and eyed my notes again.
Room by room I was shown mid-century ‘original features’ which, I gathered from the arched eyebrows and wide grin, he assumed added value to the home. To his surprise, it didn’t.
The 20-30 year old buyers who will most likely purchase an older house like this, don’t dig ‘dated’. They do not worship the historical roots of floral wall paper, and experience little nostalgia because of panelled walls, or arched stucco doorways. If they buy the home it will be in spite of these things, not because of them.
If I may, I’d like to offer a few quick tips about what does NOT add value to your home, no matter how passionately you believe they should.
- “Original” or “Classic” are names for Barbeque sauce, not to be mistakenly assigned to shag carpet or floral wallpaper. If it is not the current style, it is dated. Dated décor is the opposite of a selling feature.
- Dated Architecture is, in general, not a selling feature. No, yours is not the exception unless it is an historical landmark to the general population (not just ‘owned by grandpa and built with his own hands’), and has remarkably sound structure not in need of a ridiculously expensive overhaul. Most likely, that’s not you.
- Sentimental Features. Anything that was ‘built by hand’ by a relative of yours, or was brought over from the Mother Land or Old Country… anything that is valuable to you because of sentiment does not convert to a higher price tag. Sorry. I know this is hard to hear. It just doesn’t. (Would you pay more for a home because someone’s great grandfather brought the fireplace mantle from England a hundred years ago? )
Look, styles change for a reason. It’s the rare buyer that wrings their hands wishing to find an old house – the tinier the better – that still has original windows and vintage wallpaper, with a side of timeless vinyl flooring. It is rarer still that a buyer would expect to pay more for these ‘features’.
The best bet, if you’re selling your house anyway, is to let go of the emotional attachment to it.(or at least the hope that the new buyers would pay extra because of it) No one will share your emotions about the house. If you’re wanting the extra dollars, renovate it to meet current buyers’ expectations. Add modern features that will attract modern buyers. THEN we can talk about how those affect the valuation, deal?
*not meant to reflect a specific person. This is a ficticious character created from a combination of my experiences.
This job is so personal. We see the inside of people’s homes – from their bookshelves and master bedroom to how they and their children behave. We act differently in our own homes than we do in public, don’t we? Real Estate agents get to see the inside of someone’s home and life like most people never will. We’re the outsider on the inside.
It’s a unique perspective to have.
There is so much pleasure in glimpsing the personal lives of people. Hang on – I`m not talking some kind of creepy voyeurism here. What I mean is that I love seeing those couples that joke with each other, and respect each other. It’s a joy to watch their children play together, help each other, and be awesome. (The opposite of how movies and commercials depict children.) I also delight in the whole process of helping these wonderful people find their dream home.
The thing about pleasure though, is that it often mixes with pain. Sometimes what`s behind the scenes is painful. Homes get sold because of divorce, death or financial desperation. People struggle so hard sometimes, and it’s difficult to watch -especially from that up-close view we get sometimes. Those are the moments I sometimes wish I didn`t care, and could heartlessly go about the business of buying and selling.
Do you ever wish you could stop feeling pain? If so, I just want to encourage you with what helps me in those moments. It`s okay to feel sad. More than that, it`s actually necessary -how would we know joy without sorrow? They are inseparable.
“And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?”
-Khalil Gibran, “On Joy and Sorrow“
What also helps is, after I give myself permission to feel the sadness of it, I then make myself find the joy. What am I thankful for or glad about. And I move forward with both tucked in my heart. If you are discouraged or sad this week, know it`s okay. Sad is allowed.
The secret is not to stay there.
What helps you step out of sadness?
Many people wonder what succession planning is. Succession planning is simply the process of transferring your business to your children. However, there are many different ways of doing it.
As parents we all want what’s best for our children and we want them to be treated fairly. This is probably one of the hardest things to do when it comes to succession planning. The children that are not involved in the business usually feel left out and that when the business is transferred they will not receive anything which usually leads to family quarrels or the business being sold to a third party. The key to any plan is communication between parents and all their children. Lack of communication will certainly lead to fighting within the family. There is an efficient tool that can be used to financially take care of the siblings that are not involved in the business upon succession and it’s called life insurance. Most people will stop reading at this point because life insurance for most is a negative thing when in fact it is one of the keys to a great and efficient succession plan. The reason life insurance is such a great tool is because it is the cheapest way to pay out the other siblings that are not involved in the business and it comes at the exact time that it is needed. In every succession plan I’ve done the insurance was always cheaper than getting a loan and because the cost is so low it does not affect the cash flow or equity in the company to allow it to continue to grow until the succession plan needs to be settled. I would be happy to explain in detail and show examples of how the entire process works as there are many other aspects to a succession plan such as proper valuation of a company, taxes, capital gains, as well as the legal and accounting process to complete the plan.
Bourgouin & Associates
2A – 423 Main St.
Steinbach, MB R5G 1Z6
F: (204) 320-9167
100+ Chocolate sleighs were assembled by volunteers in Steinbach on Friday Dec. 6 and will be given away as gifts at the Christmas Eve Event in Steinbach. When Linda Wiebe, a coordinator at Fernwood Place heard about this idea, she was quick to offer the multi purpose room at Fernwood as a place to invite the public to do this craft. The 55+ residents enjoyed being able to work together with women, teens and children and were astounded how quickly these festive sleighs took shape. I am so grateful to all the women who brought their glue guns and participated! When the guests arrive on Christmas Eve they will find a one of these delightful gifts at their place setting. It will brighten the room and hopefully the guests will understand that they are special and that they were worth all this effort. Somehow I am filled with hope believing that the time and efforts of so many people will make those who are alone aware that there is still compassion in this world for the lonely!