What Determines Market Value? -The Art of Pricing


Deciding a property’s market value is not a precise science.  And no one wants to hear that. It’s numbers for Pete’s sake – what’s so mysterious and subjective about that?

Determining a property’s market value though, is no quick math problem.  Many factors must be considered. It’s more like… magic. The rabbit-in-a-hat trick can be performed by many a magician, and requires the same basic elements but some pull it off with greater success than others.

How DO we arrive at the Market Price of your property?

I’m about to reveal the inside of the hat from whence market values come. (Forgive me, fellow magicians). The basic elements of this trick are simple:  it takes local comparables, general saleability, and a bit of optimism.


Comparables are past listings. This information, accessible only to REALTORS®, reveals what similar properties were listed for and sold for recently, and how long they were on the market. This knowledge gives the agent a good idea of a realistic price range. It is also a fair gauge of how long one can expect a listing to stay on the market.

General Saleability:

This has to do with how desirable the property is. Whether or not it has outstanding selling features or a highly desirable location affects value. Recent renovations or upgrades will also factor into market value.


The level of optimism about markets and the property itself does affect market value. Let’s say a realistic price range is $159,900 for a property. Other similar properties have been selling quickly at this price. An optimist might up the price just a little, willing to test the market a bit. Sometimes it pays off, sometimes not.

Each of these basic elements is combined to perform the magical feat of pulling a market value out of a hat. In general, it’s a simple, commonly known trick that doesn’t surprise most people. The real trick is performing it to perfection every time.





The end result of following my heart!


My heart goes out to people are alone at Christmas. I followed my heart to meet a need. I just wanted to keep people company. The response was overwhelming. 92 people in Steinbach attended the Don’t Spend Christmas Eve Alone event. 

5 Ways to Sell Your House FASTER


I don’t know if I’ve ever met a client who didn’t want to sell their property quickly.  Well, maybe one or two. Mostly, people just want to sell fast. Here are a few suggestions on how to do that.


Choose a Foot

First impressions matter, especially when hundreds of thousands of dollars are involved. Put your best foot forward with each impression. Marketing photos are most often the first thing people see. Next, the yard and exterior – so shine them up! Weed flower beds, shovel the walks, re-paint the garage door if it’s peeling. And the last first impression a prospective buyer usually gets is the entrance. So shine it up, make it smell great.

If It Ain’t Broke… Great?

Something as simple as a cracked window can become an obstacle to a sale. Sometimes a home repair is not about ‘getting the money back out’ as much as it is about helping make the sale in the first place. A cracked window or ancient furnace can be enough to repel a buyer. A new window and furnace though, may just help make the deal. Fixing what’s broken removes obstacles to a sale.

Empty or Furnished?

In my experience, an empty home is more difficult to show – for a few reasons. An empty room makes for poor marketing pictures, which then makes for a poor first impression. It is also difficult for prospective buyers to imagine the rooms furnished. An empty home is also not … homey. Listing while furnished or to hire a home stager are both methods that have proven to be well worth the effort.

For more suggestions on how to increase your chance of a sale, check out this post – and do exactly the opposite of what it suggests!





Should I List at Christmas or Wait for the New Year?

christmas-1386412991onL (1)When everyone else’s calendar fills up with Christmas event bookings, a REALTOR’S calendar tends to empty. Listings can be few and far between in December, most would-be clients believing that to list in the New Year would be better.

Is It Really Better To Wait to List in the New Year?

People look for houses in December. House hunters are out there, but listings are slim. As a house hunter it’s not great news that people are waiting for the New Year to list. As a seller though, this could be an opportunity to take advantage of. Get your listing out there before others! Your property may become even more desirable amidst December’s stark listings.

But let’s look at it logically, weighing benefits of each.

Benefits of Waiting to List:

  • No showings during Christmas

Benefits of Listing in December

  • Your property becomes an option when options are few
  • The sooner it’s listed, the sooner it may sell. (It is impossible to sell when not listed)
  • Meet ad deadlines to be in papers for all of January
  • The house is decorated for Christmas, so is extra beautiful for showings

Based on this list it seems logical to me to list in December. Are there any other benefits you would add to either list?




100+ chocolate sleighs assembled by volunteers

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!

“Don’t Call The Listing Agent?” … Really?!

money fightIf you read my latest post about the Biggest House Hunting Mistake you’re probably wondering what kind of advice I give exactly when I say “don’t call the listing agent”. Did I really mean that I don’t want people to call me when I’m the listing agent?  Yes and no… allow me to clarify.

Yes, Call the Listing Agent When…

–        They are your agent already

–        The agent is someone you know and trust

–        You’re willing to be represented by that agent (remembering that they represent the seller too)

–        You haven’t called any agent yet. About anything.

No, Don’t Call the Listing Agent When…

–        You have no intention of buying or selling with that agent

–        You have an agent already

–        You have already called another agent with even one question (read why here)

–        You do not want the listing agent (who represents the seller’s interests) to represent you too.

–        The agent is not of good reputation

If, according to these lists, you shouldn’t call but do anyway, it creates opportunity for chaos. It invites trouble for you, the agents, and others too.

For example, if you call the listing agent even though you have a REALTOR® you usually work with (perhaps because you’re trying to be ‘helpful’ and not waste your own agent’s time), here’s what happens:

a) you waste the time of the listing agent.

b) you compromise the commission of your own REALTOR® by establishing an “Implied Relationship” with the listing agent (do you really want to make your REALTOR® beg and fight to get paid for working for you?

c) the chances of litigation go up (see below)

Conversely if you call ‘when you should’, the agent you hire does not have to fight for their commission, and there is clarity about who is representing who and what their motives are.

One more thing – at the workshop I’m attending, we learned this shocking statistic. Of all the Real Estate litigation cases, 53% are where the agent represents both the buyer and seller. An additional 33% of those cases arise when someone from the same brokerage represents the other party. That’s 86% of legal actions taken when there is joint representation. (Does that make you as a buyer prefer your own representation?)
I know I’m really hitting this point hard but, like I said, it is the BIGGEST mistake house hunters make.  One phone call or email legally creates an ‘implied relationship’ between you and the REALTOR®. Do yourself (and everyone else) a favor – think before you call.


Free Event – Don’t Be Alone This Christmas Eve!


Tina Plett EventYou know how much I love people, right?  It pains me to see when people are taken advantage of, hurt or lonely. It especially tugs at my heart to see people lonely at Christmas. I’ve been there.

I used to ADORE Christmas – think ‘crazy Christmas lady’ and you’re close. I’d decorate early, play music and bake cookies… I’d be the one beaming crazily in the store (maybe even giggling) as I shopped for gifts.  And I L-O-V-E-D spending Christmas Eve with my family.

But divorce changed it – took it all away. Christmas Eve became the loneliest night of the year for me. I understand now why some people don’t like Christmas – it can be excruciating for the lonely. It can be positively joyless.

But I’m taking the joy back! No more lonely Christmas Eves for me – and hopefully, not for you either. For the second consecutive year, I’m hosting a free, public  event for anyone who is alone on Christmas Eve. Adults are welcome to attend this free Christmas dinner. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people, get together with friends, and surround yourself with people. You are not alone! Come on out to the Lions’ Club on Christmas Eve from 6:00-10:00pm. Admission is free, and all adults are welcome. The feast will be supplied by Pioneer Catering, there will be gifts too! You are invited! Please come out and join us.

Don’t be alone this Christmas.

The BIGGEST House-Hunting Mistake (You’ll NEVER Guess This One!)

call meYou need to know this secret. It’s the biggest house hunting mistake, and well-meaning people make it all the time. I do mean all the time. House hunters don’t even know this one decision they make can cause chaos for themselves and among REALTORS®. House hunters also don’t realize that this one simple decision can cost hard working people thousands of dollars, essentially robbing them of their pay check.

You won’t believe what it is. Are you ready? The biggest mistake is to call the listing agent. (I told you you’d never guess…) How can that very common, normal act cause such chaos, right? Isn’t that what people are SUPPOSED to do?

Why Not To Call

1.  They’re Not On Your Side!

The listing agent represents the SELLER. Their whole purpose is to SELL that particular house, and it doesn’t matter to whom. Their goal (as it should be) is to sell for the highest price. It is NOT their goal to get you a great deal or even the kind of house you want. They don’t represent you, they represent the seller. I’ve seen A LOT of buyers suffer remorse after caving under pressure from the selling agent. Happily, it’s completely avoidable – just don’t call the listing agent!

2. Your phone call “Implies a Relationship”

This is the hugest secret! It doesn’t impact you much, but it sure causes chaos for every agent who ever spoke to you – even if you’ve had a long-standing relationship with them! Basically, this is a rule for REALTORS® that whoever first established a ‘relationship’ with a buyer is the one entitled to the commission. A phone call or email is enough to legally “imply” a relationship.

Think about it –if you phone a listing agent, and then phone ‘your’ agent to make an offer, the agents now have to duke it out for commission. ‘Your’ agent could do all the work, invest the time, serve you well, and the the person you first called could steal away the commission because of your phone call which ‘implied relationship’. This is how it works. this is especially true when you view the home with one agent and write an offer with another! (Ever notice how, if you call a Real Estate company, they will ask if you’ve already spoken to someone in the office? This is why.) If you already work with an agent, do them a favour – call them first! 

3. You Don’t Need To 

Your agent – the one representing YOUR needs and goals – can show you ANY property. Listing agents do not have ‘special access’ and you do not need to get their permission, REALTORS all have access to MLS listings. Also, your agent welcomes you to call them. It is not a waste of their time as some worry. What might be a waste of their time is calling a host of other agents (listing agents) and then coming afterward to get your agent to do all the work, risking that they might not get paid because of all the many ‘implied relationships’ made.


I know it’s counter-intuitive, with all the ‘call me’ signs at driveway ends, but seriously – resist the urge! Please call one agent – your agent – to work for YOU. Get YOUR agent to represent YOU as you search for that perfect property. It will keep your interests protected, and also guard your hard working agent against having to duke it out for a pay check.

Happy Hunting!