House for Sale Steinbach

Why January Is Spectacular

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It’s over.

The rich taste of eggnog and aroma of delectable spiced ginger cookies have faded away.

Some people think that once the tree and lights are put away, winter’s sparkle is gone, and the grey must inevitably settle on us. Buckle up, it’s all dim and sad until spring…

Here’s the thing.

They’re wrong.

January shimmers with the romantic splendor of no other month.

At each country property I show, soft white snow trims the evergreens. Snow stretches atop fences like a garland and frost sparkles on branches like crystal fireflies. It’s almost as though the properties heard we were coming, and excitedly dressed up in their Sunday best.

It’s impossible to feel grey and dull when glimpsing that kind of dazzling display.

The other day the most stunning sun dog blazed in rainbows around the sun. I stopped in my tracks to admire them. It amazed me to think that their incredible beauty is simply light reflected by ice crystals.

That’s what I want. I want to reflect Light – to be the clean, clear crystal that reflects all the colors light contains.

What the heck does that mean, right?

I guess to me it means sharing. I want to share what I know and how I live and work so that my colleagues can gain success. Watching my peers grow and succeed gives me great joy. The joy is immensely more if I get to participate by helping somehow – even if it’s as an example seen from afar.

January’s clean, crisp freshness is its splendor.

I feel … like January.

I’m clean and free of the clutter of resentment and bitterness I once carried.

Before me is 2016 – a fresh layer of snow on which I get to make new tracks.

Wait – do you smell that?

*deep breath*

Yep, it’s adventure.

This is gonna be good…

What new tracks do you hope to walk this year?

If Home Sellers Did This With Their Restaurants, They’d Go Broke

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Real Estate is full of anomalies that would never fly in any other industry. It’s not just because of agents either – sometimes it’s the clients themselves who pull crazy things that would never fly anywhere else.

The buyers and sellers I work with are, for the most part, fantastic. I love helping them, working with them, and discovering who they are. But some people – you know, other agents’ clients – I don’t know what happens to their brains when they decide to sell their house. Suddenly they’re not acting like people who have something to sell, but rather like spoiled royal heirs to whom all others must bow. It’s bizarre. All I know is that their salesmanship would bankrupt any restaurant.

If Home Sellers Did This with their Restaurants, They’d Go Broke  

We’re Open… NOT

You enter the restaurant, eager for the kind of sauce-laden burger you’ve enjoyed there before. A waitress rushes to greet you at the door, “Sorry, but we’re closed.” You argue that the open sign and hours of operation posted on the door suggest otherwise. She folds her arms and shakes her head. “We’re closed.” You point to the staff wandering about the restaurant serving no one, and to the chef who stands in the kitchen with nothing to do. “Well, I don’t care about any of that,” she argues back, “I have a headache and don’t feel up to this today, so we’re closed. Try again tomorrow.” She then proceeds to shove you out the door. Try again tomorrow? Fat chance.

Super Price Me

Still salivating for a big, saucy burger, you see a diner across the street. It’s an unheard of hole-in-the-wall place, but they have a burger on the sign, so you go in.

You open the laminated two-page menu to discover a wide selection of burgers. Prices start at $50 each, fries are extra. You summon the waitress, and explain there must be some mistake. You have never heard of such burger prices in your life. Others sell for $8. “People can sell their burgers for whatever they like. Mine start at $50.”

You scratch a dried ketchup stain from the menu, and ask what makes these diner burgers so special. “I made them from a recipe handed down to me through four generations. I have great sentimental attachment to each burger I make, and that’s what makes them so valuable.”  You really, really wish you could eat a burger, but cannot bring yourself to pay obscene prices. Alas, you must move on and leave the woman with her beloved burgers.

Do You Have The Time?

Wondering if you’ll ever get to eat a burger, you discover another restaurant and try once more. The place is, in fact, open, and the prices on the menu are reasonable. Hope sets in as you wait for your server to arrive at the table. Other customers at tables crane their necks, searching for the server who is nowhere to be seen. Finally, she bursts in and dashes table to table. She takes no orders, she delivers nothing. She only leans in, says a few words, and moves to the next table.

She approaches you, breathless, “You wouldn’t believe the day I’ve had. Between the traffic, meeting the banker and returning calls, it’s tough to find time to work!” She ignores your attempt to get a word in, “So anyway, I have to bring my cat to the vet and pick up some groceries, but then I’ll be back to take your order. Thanks for understanding my demanding schedule.” Her swift exit leaves you puzzled, infuriated, and realizing you may never again taste a restaurant burger.

 

You might think I’m exaggerating, but these are actual attitudes and behaviours agents and buyers must endure. Please help spread the word that the kinds of numbskullery illustrated here help no one sell their house.

As a buyer or agent, which of these situations have you encountered in your attempt to buy a home?

Don’t Be a Sucker About Getting “Top Dollar”

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Every seller wants top dollar, and every buyer wants to avoid paying top dollar.

Your agent – whether buyer’s agent or seller’s agent – wants the best dollar for you and them.

Is it win-win-win, or does someone have to end up being the sucker?

If you’re the sucker, would you know it? 

 

You Might be a Sucker if… (4 Ways To Tell)

If you think “Market value” is a fanciful figure plucked from thin air that is greatly affected by nostalgia, sentiment or greed-inflated estimates… you might be a sucker. 

Market value is a calculation based on factual research – this is about real numbers and trends in a specific locale. Think fact, not fiction.

 

If you think your house is worth more than everyone else’s just because you’re you, and if you don’t mind your family, friends and neighbors seeing your sky-high price… you might be a sucker.
You have been made a fool by pride, and everyone can see it on your price tag.

I have done this next one and not only did I not get a sale, neither did my sellers so it didn’t do anyone good.

If you are an agent who, desperate for a listing, agrees to list a house way above market value just to appease a client who will not heed the voice of reason … you might be a sucker.
People don’t just see your client’s sky-high price, they see your reputation on that sign too.  Keep it real, folks.
If you hire an agent because they promise you a higher sell price than any other agent… you might be a sucker. Market value is market value. Not even agents can change that. Price is only one small factor when hiring an agent.

 

Have you been a sucker lately?

 

 

Dear Marketing Campaign – A Love Letter

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As business owners, we expect a lot of our marketing, don’t we? We imagine this perfect, seamless, one-time event that requires no money, no time, and yields astounding results. Perhaps we have watched too many documentaries about how some people managed to somehow bumble into success. Maybe we’ve seen too many blogs and Pinterest posts that showcase all the best moments, and have begun to believe these to represent reality. Or maybe we’re just impatient or cheap.

Whatever it is, business owners seem to treat marketing like a fling instead of a long term relationship.  That’s an interesting thought actually. If it were a relationship, what kinds of love letters do you suppose business owners would write to their beloved marketing campaigns? I imagine Miss Marketing Campaign would have many suitors…

 

 Dear, Sweet Marketing Campaign, 

After we met at the conference last weekend, I can’t stop thinking about you. In our brief time together, you won my love.
Your mystery intrigues me, and my heart flutters at the thought of your broad reach. I melt in the warmth of your powerful
sales content. I hesitate to confess it, but I am a simple pauper. I offer only my love and the few farthings in my marketing
budget to gain your hand in marriage. Can you see, dear, sweet marketing campaign, how merry our match would be though?
With your infinite supply of free advertising, and my undying affection, I just know we would have all the sales, brand
awareness and consumer loyalty one could ever want! Say yes, my love – and I will forever adore you and your immeasurable,
boundless abilities to get massive results with a single effort, even from these few farthings. There is no other campaign for me.
I need you and you alone.

-Your devoted pauper

 

Marketing is not some fling, it’s a commitment – a long term, continual investment.

If marketing were a relationship, there would be a whole lot of business owners out on the curb…

 

Playing Your Power Card in a Changing Market

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The local market has slowed a bit, and it’s making people nervous.
Real estate agents are leaving the profession.
Sellers are nervous. And cautious, fearful remarks are being made about people not being able to do in this market what could be done last year. Some plan to spend less on marketing to weather the year.

May I suggest an alternative?  Whether you’re a developer, REALTOR® or an investor, this could actually be your best year yet. Know why? Because while others are busy being afraid, you can play your power card.

Consider what you were awesome at last year:

Did you invest in marketing your business?

Did you learn new ways to serve your clients well?

Did you market for your clients like crazy?

Did you deliver high quality service?
If you’ve got all those (or even some of them) you’re ahead in the game already.

 

Here’s the deal. You are the same business person you were last year. (maybe even better!) And no matter what the market, two things are sure: people are always buying and selling, and they want high quality, professional service.

 

Your power card is your unique offering. I’m not talking about ‘sell with me and I’ll give you a free widget’. I’m talking about what you do better than anyone else.

If you’re a trained ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative), that’s something unique to offer in a buyer’s market.
If you’re specially trained to serve seniors, (you have a SRES® perhaps), that’s a niche market you can serve too.

In a seller’s market, being highly trained in Seller Representation (SRS® designation) can be an asset too.

Maybe your edge is that you are highly mobile or an authority in your industry.

If you are continuing to learn, and striving to serve your clients excellently, you have an edge.
There is something you have that others don’t. That’s your powercard. And when everyone else is cowering in their boots, holding back and hunkering down, that’s the time to play it.

Play that power card, baby.

What’s your power card?

 

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Investing The Nest Egg

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Right around the time the kids venture out on their own, we get weird new thoughts about the future, don’t we? We wonder how long it will be before grandkids bless our home with their sticky little hands. We wonder if we will need a nursing home one day, and if anyone would come visit if we did. And we may even wonder how we can leave an inheritance for our kids, especially when the nest-egg and the interest rates on savings are both a whole lot smaller than we thought they’d be.

I have a suggestion. It’s not for everyone, but for those who dare, I highly recommend buying a second property.
Wait – hear me out.

A second property can, in a single swoop, accomplish… 

  • Providing you with a monthly income as a rental
    Rent will cover all expenses – mortgage, insurance, taxes, maintenance. What’s left over is money in your pocket. Every month.
  • Being the awesomest savings account ever
    Property values generally climb. In this area, I have seen values go up, often by $100,000 in the last ten years. That’s a return you won’t find from a bank account.
  • Giving you a free house
    Tenants buy your house for you. After they live in it, providing you with that extra monthly income, you still have the house. Sell it, refinance it, rent it, or pass it on to the kiddos – so many options.

Also, you can include the second property in your life insurance coverage. With the right policy insurance would, upon your death, pay out the mortgage. This property could then be given, debt-free, to your children as their inheritance. (All on the tenant’s dime by the way!) Your children could choose to sell, live in it, or continue renting it out – they would have options and means.

 But What If….?

I know, this can seem scary and there are lots of things to consider. But we can troubleshoot a bit with those…

Don’t want to deal with tenants?

Though you can, you don’t have to manage your property. Property managers can be hired for 5% of the rental income. You need never personally deal with a client ever.

What if there’s an emergency 5 years down the road?

If, for whatever reason, it doesn’t work out, you are not stuck. The mortgage may be for 25 years, but you can sell your property anytime you want or need to. (you will still be financially ahead with all the monthly income you’ve gained, and the property value increase by the way.)
When Investing Is A Bad Idea

Like I said, this isn’t for everyone. If you have great anxiety about it, and this kind of thing would cause you great stress, it would not be wise to inflict that on yourself. If this is going to rob you of sleep and make you unable to eat, this is not for you.

If this does sound like something you’d like to explore, I’d love to help with that! Call me, and we’ll discuss if over coffee.

Do you already have a rental as part of your nest egg plan?

 

Hijacker – A Real Estate Adventure

I’m doing something quite different today. This time I just want to tell you a story- a two part fictional tale set in the grand world of Real Estate.  Enjoy 🙂

 

Rain pelted the windshield as she sped down slick highways. She turned onto the gravel road, and slowed to maneuver around potholes and bump across wash-board patches. Even so, she arrived early at the little farmhouse her client wanted to see.

 

Ellie eyed the farmhouse as wipers continued to sweep the windshield. It was smaller than the other houses they’d seen – a lot older too. She opened a file folder and calculated how many hours they had spent looking at different houses – and they were different. They’d seen two new condos, two older bungalows, each in a different town, a log cabin in the boonies, a new build in the suburbs, and now this little farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. All these wildly differing homes did have one thing in common: research, driving, (oh, the driving!) and the actual showing itself, together took about 3 hours for each. She sighed at the math of it. As Celia’s car approached, Ellie tried to push from her mind the bills that needed paying, and focus instead on Celia and the farmhouse.

 

*          *          *

 tall-skyscraperThe next week, Celia set her sights on a two-storey house in the sticks. Her close friend Alexis insisted that they both go meet the listing agent, who happened to be Alexis’ REALTOR®. Not one to say no, Celia agreed. Now, as the two sat across from Gary in his huge office, Celia began to have doubts.

Celia shifted in the leather chair with an awkward squeak, and smiled sheepishly. Gary seemed to tower behind his desk. He leaned forward and grinned a wide, white smile. Even with her friend Alexis seated next to her, Celia felt small in his office, seated at the over-sized desk across from his looming frame. Alexis had been a client of Gary’s for years, and had insisted Celia come see him.
“Whatever questions you have about that property, Gary can answer them.” Alexis smiled, waving a hand across the desk in an oddly dramatic introduction. He waved and grinned.

 

“Thanks,” Celia offered a muted smile, “I don’t really have a lot of questions I guess. I really just wanted to look at the property, I-“
“-Absolutely!” Grinned Gary, checking his calendar, “When would you like to see it?”
“I’m already looking at properties with Ellie. I don’t know-“
“-I completely understand,” One palm clutched his calendar, and the other he pressed against the desk. He leaned forward, arching his tie, “Here’s the thing. That’s not going to work for the seller. They really only want me to show it, and don’t want other Real Estate Agents in their house, you know?” He smiled and cocked his head slightly to the side as one does when explaining the obvious. Alexis breathed a chuckle, and nodded in apparent agreement. Celia had never heard of such a thing, but wasn’t about to say so.

 

…Stay Tuned for Part II 

 

By the way – how would you respond in Celia’s position? 

 

ADVERTISING Is the responsibility of the agent!

Experience in real estate has allowed me to observe a variety of thoughts from many agents on the subject of advertising. Before I share, allow me to say that each thought has a point. Just because I think differently and make my choices differently from other agents, does not mean that I don’t see their point of view.

Here are some statements that I have heard from competing agents:
* The house will sell regardless, so why spend money on advertising?
* I put an ad in there once and I did not get any calls, therefore it is useless
* It’s too costly!

Here are a few reasons I choose to advertise:
* My seller has entrusted me to work on their behalf to market their property. I have access to advertising opportunities that a private seller does not have. Any agent can put a listing on MLS and put a sign on their property! I want to give my seller’s home maximum exposure!
* The seller does not just want a sale. The seller wants the sale to bring them maximum profits in the least amount of time! I don’t want to sit back and wait for someone to call, I want to entice the buyer to call!
* Well over 90% of buyers are beginning their home shopping on line! That statistic is reason enough to be strategically searching for the maximum online presence! If that’s where the buyer is, then that’s where I will go to attract the buyer!
* The age group that buys the most houses is 25-34 year olds! This young generation is tech savvy! I absolutely love working with first time home buyers and young people. This was motivation for me to become tech savvy and speak the language of the young. It can be a quick step to get more information on the house I am marketing! The mobile generation appreciates that I am a mobile friendly agent. I make myself accessible through social media and I am willing to respond in a timely manner.
* Complacency is offensive to me! It is upsetting to me when a seller is paying 5% or more of the sale price to an agent to market their home and they get no marketing exposure in return!
* I am grateful for the business!
* I want my sellers to be completely satisfied so that they will refer me to other sellers!
* MARKETING IS MY JOB! I chose this profession because I enjoy serving people and marketing is one of my skills!

My methods bring results!

Tina Plett, Sutton Group-Kilkenny Real Estate