How to De-Stress When You Don’t Have Time to Stop (A 3-Minute Read You’re Not Too Busy For)

In the last wisps of summer, it worked out that I got a surprise day off. Oh, magical day!

The minute I discovered I had a day free of emails and phone calls and anything work-related, (a complete rarity for a real estate agent, btw), I grabbed my folding chair and towel and hit the beach. One last time, baby! Here we go!

I drove out to a nearby beach and plunked that chair right in the water, where I sat for the next few hours, sloshing my feet in the cool water and digging my toes deep into the wet sand. I didn’t scroll my phone or even read a book; I just memorized the view, soaking it in, trying to absorb enough to last the winter.

I watched clusters of young children splash in the water. A toddler wandered at the water’s edge near his mom, walking all wobbly and off-balance with raised legs, and plopped face-first into the water. I watched a father and daughter play in the water, tossing a ball back and forth, and smiling. It reminded me of how my husband used to do that with our daughter, tossing a Nerf football, laughing together. Now, years later, each of them still has those memories because they took the time to do it in the first place. I reminisced, people-watched, and may have even dozed off right there in my chair. Eventually, as all good things must do, it ended and it was time to return home. Goodbye, beach. Thanks for the memories. I left with my chair, my towel, and a heart emptied of stress and filled with peace.


Mine is a career of haste. Of dashing. Of chasing down deadlines. Not figuratively, either – I’m literally racing against time in my car to courier time-sensitive legal documents from one place to another all the time. And connecting with people day in and day out at one of the most stressful times of their lives. Mid divorce. Mid bankruptcy. Mid health crisis. Mid-downsize. Many people are swirling in a critical-mass need to sell their home or buy a new one. It’s a hectic pace.

But I love the rush. I do. I love the challenge of racing against time, of problem solving under pressure, and most of all, of helping people through these difficult times in a way that gets the job done and also makes them feel heard. Understood. Not alone.

But it can be stressful, and in all that swirling twirling haste, a person can lose their marbles in a big way if they’re not careful.


How to De-Stress When You Don’t Have Time to Stop

You may not have time to sit at the beach for hours (or anywhere else, for that matter). Me either! But decompressing is critical, and there are quick ways to get it done.

Big De-Stress Tip #1: Don’t wait until “later” or for that ‘big chunk of time’ before de-stressing. It’s  as useful as waiting to win the lottery. Later is a time that never comes.  Instead, sneak moments of rest. Those can be collected from all kinds of corners.


Once you’ve got that down, it’s more about HOW you de-stress than it is about when or where or for how long.

Here are some ideas to get you started:



Yes, I’m serious. For me, singing is a major stress reliever. When I’m working from my home office, I’ll take five minutes – that’s all it takes! – and belt out some tunes that have me dancing, swaying my arms, and laughing or crying. This is what decompression looks like, friend. Even on a drive to deliver a document (especially if it’s a highway drive where people can’t really see you), you can get in some fantastic tunes.

One of my favorite ways to decompress after a long day is to scroll my Facebook feed and check out what my friends are up to. I’ll dote on the photos of their kids, and snicker at a comic, maybe even send an encouraging note to a friend or two, and go to bed feeling connected with people. Loved. Having loved others.
Disclaimer: Your feed may need to be filtered for this. If your feed is a depressing place full of life-sucking drama and negativity, it may be time to block and unfriend. There is no need to tax your already stressful life with more negativity. Just sayin’.


Taking five minutes to ‘check out’ of life can really save your sanity. Being fully engaged every minute of the day is unsustainable. It just is. Take five minutes. Alone. Don’t check emails, don’t return messages.

Be absolutely, completely unproductive.

For me a quick fresh air break is another way I change gears to be “in the moment.” Perhaps a walk to the flower bed and back. Or a moment on the deck. Getting some affection from the dog can put a smile on my face any time of the day!

Play a game on your phone, do a word search, or crack open a comic book. Google something completely weird (that’s not at ALL related to work or personal stresses) – like Flavors of Beer or Weird New Scientific Discovery, or Hairstyles for the Balding.

Let yourself PLAY for a few minutes.

Then, and here’s a big secret people miss – refuse to feel guilty. You did not waste time, you invested it.


What’s a favorite 5-minute de-stressor of yours?

The Chivalry of this Fifteen Year Old Blew Me Away


The silvery-haired woman stepped into the utility room of her new house to receive instruction on how to maintain the furnace and various mechanical doodads.

She’d been recently widowed and had spent the last weeks and months searching for a home for this new chapter of her life. It was a huge undertaking for her to prepare the house for sale, then de-clutter and pack. She sifted through thousands of items, each holding their own memories, and went through the process of letting go of them. Of letting go of the house and all of its memories too. It was a challenging process. And that was just the selling part of it – there was still the process of looking for a new place she had to walk through.

Every step of the way, I was amazed to see her family right there, in the house, helping her with every piece of it. Her sister, her children, even grandchildren pitched in. In particular, one fifteen-year-old grandson seemed to be there often, helping sort and pack her things, helping move.

On this day, possession day, I’d arranged for the home seller to meet with my buyer to give her the rundown of maintenance. There, in the utility room, my silvery-haired buyer stepped up to the water pipes for instructions. The buyer’s sister and the fifteen year old grandson and I all crammed into the small room with her.

The seller bent and pointed to a valve. “Here’s how to release the pressure on this valve…”

It was good of him to take the time and explain it all, but I wondered how much the woman would remember or understand. Through their whole marriage, her husband took care of the mechanical aspects. Suddenly, all this maintenance was dumped on her. Not only did she not know how it all worked, but it was a LOT of detailed information to take in at one time. I wished there was a better way.

The grandson, I noticed, had been watching with intense eyes as the seller pointed to this and that. Then he said something that nearly made me gasp. “How often should I release the pressure on that valve?”

I? As in, he would do this for his grandma?  I glanced at the buyer’s sister, who wore a look of surprised tenderness.  My chest swelled with such joy I thought I would burst. I looked away, afraid I might bawl my head off. The air in the room seemed to thicken with emotion, but the buyer and even the boy didn’t seem to notice.

He was intent on listening to every single instruction. There was no Grandpa to take care of her anymore, and he would see to it she was not left alone and overwhelmed.

Most fifteen year olds would be hanging out with their friends or in front of a video game, but this gem of a person was sacrificing his weekends and summer days to clean, pack, move, and watch over his grandma, perhaps reciprocating her loving protection and guidance of him.

It was a deep joy to witness. One of those moments that floods you with a new hope in humanity.
These are the moments I live for – moments of hope and joy and love.
And what an honor to behold them and be invited into these moments as a part of my work.

In those moments of stress or worry, cling to the good memories. The inspiring stories you’ve witnessed or somehow been a part of. Remembering them will brighten even the darkest day.

What’s a lovely story you’ve been a part of?

-Tina Plett

Sutton Group-Kilkenny Real Estate

Surviving the Storm – Self Care for a Hurting Heart

Recently we got together with our pastor friends. Our conversation was like a breeze of spring air in a stale apartment. It had been a rough week and our visit had been a refreshing oasis. There’s something powerful about connecting with others who are likeminded and who build each other up and encourage each other, isn’t there? Whether in work, relationships, parenting, or our own spiritual, mental, or emotional health, these moments of refreshment are critical.

A Realtor friend and I were talking about life and the stresses we’ve come through or were in, and reflected on how to survive or even thrive in the storms. After some thought, I said, “We have to remember where our strength comes from.”

There is so much stress, competition, rejection, rudeness, and disrespect in this world – it’s bound to pound us into the ground sometimes. It’s in those moments, when the days are hard and long and we wonder if the sun will ever shine on us again (have you been there?) that we need to feed our spirits.

Where does your strength come from?

For me, I don’t have enough strength in myself, so I rely on someone else’s. I draw from God’s strength. If I’m having a day, I’ll crank up some worship tunes, lift my hands, and pray the words with Lauren Diegel to bring to life the dry bones in my life. If you haven’t heard that one, give it a listen! It’s such an anointed piece, spoken passionately and from the heart, it moves me to tears.

 “But we know that you are God, yours is the victory,
we know there is more to come that what we may not yet see
so with the faith you’ve given us, we’ll step into the valley unafraid.

We call out to dry bones, come alive!
We call out to dead hearts, come alive!
Up out of the ashes, let us see an army rise.
We call out to dry bones, come alive!”

These are the words that revive my heart on a day when it’s feeling dry. I’m reminded that regardless of how situations look to me, they’re not hopeless. I’m reminded that everything, even whatever my storm at the time, is in God’s hands, and He is a loving Father who cares for me. This truth has pulled me through the darkest times in my life. Divorce. Single parenting. Death of loved ones. And so many more hard days.


I want to build people up. Being an encourager is who I am. If I’m not doing that, I feel like I’m dry and empty inside. In those storms, when circumstances have tossed me around so hard I feel like I might come apart, it’s impossible to encourage others. Unless I refuel from my Source. With His strength and love reviving me, I can be who I am. Even on those dark days.


If you’re in that storm right now, I just want to encourage you to find your source of strength, and draw again from that pool of refreshment. Take that time to care for yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Connect with people who will build you up and who you can encourage, too.


What has helped revive your heart in your own storms?


“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.”

Isaiah 42:16 NIV


When Helping Isn’t Helping (And How to Avoid Being Taken Advantage of)

Some people have a niceness problem.

And it’s not just Canadians, either.

They’re the helpers. They want to help. And be nice. And for sure be polite. (That might just be Canadians…)

And it can be a problem.

Especially in business.

Especially in a service industry where our whole aim is to SERVE. A person with a heart to help others can easily end up being taken advantage of.

This happened to a couple of real estate agents who, in their desire to help, were taken advantage of by a …  “client” (I use the term loosely). A young man (let’s say) began shopping for houses with an agent and made an offer. Things were looking good. Then, while that offer was still pending, he approached a completely different agent and made another offer with them. Both agents worked hard to serve the man.

What the not-quite-a-client didn’t seem to know or care about was that agents talk. To each other.

So the agents found out they were each working with the same young man who had told each of them, “Yes, yes, I definitely want to work with you.”

If you were the third agent he approached, (and there was a third!), and you knew all of this, what would you do? He’d smile at you and tell you precisely the kind of house he’s looking for. He wants to raise his family there. Maybe he’s even an immigrant or cancer survivor with a story of redemption that will culminate in this first home he’s about to buy. And he wants to buy it with YOU!

It’s a hard thing to say no to, especially for the helper at heart, because it’s a chance to be kind to someone who needs it, and to help them, and to be a part of an important story.

But sometimes being nice isn’t actually nice.
This would be one of those times.

Here’s a free piece of wisdom to take with you: loyalty is a two way street, borne of character and not words.

Maybe you’ve heard it said other ways.
Once a cheater, always a cheater.
Talk is cheap.
Liar, liar, pants on fire.

They all kind of mean the same thing.

But here’s the freeing part. You don’t have to say yes. Even a helper at heart – even a Canadian one! (oh bah!) – can say no.

Listen, if someone of questionable character is smiling and serving you sparkling words and promises, look away. Chances are those beautiful words will burn you. I give you permission to walk away. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.  And it’s completely okay to turn customers away. (In fact, it may be one of the best things you do for your business!)

Do you have a niceness problem? 

Tina Plett, Sutton Group-Kilkenny Real Estate


When Home is Where the Memories Are (Sometimes you CAN Go Back)

My Mom, my sisters and myself in photo.


I just got back from our annual weekend family vacation, and my heart is full. For years my mom’s family has reunited on the shores of Moose Lake. Cabins and campers and tents fill with aunts, uncles, cousins, grandkids – anyone who can make it. It’s our (almost sacrosanct) annual tradition. And with Mom’s family of 13 kids, each with their own big families, it’s a big, bustling gathering full of laughter and memories that fills me so full of contentment and thankfulness and joy I could burst.


The thing is, I don’t particularly care for Moose Lake. It’s a place for boaters and fishermen, neither of which describes me. I’m a beach person. I want to bury my toes in the sand and wade into shallow water. There’s not much of either at Moose Lake. ‘Why can’t we go somewhere else?” I ask every now and then, “The Whiteshell? Grand Beach? ANYWHERE ELSE?”


But I know the answer before the words leave their lips. “Because this is where we always went with Grandpa.”


It’s where he taught his 13 children how to fish. And the grandkids too.
Year after year, it’s where we heard him laugh as he joked and grilled the day’s catch in flour and butter.
It’s where we can look at the dock and see the memory of him walking side by side with a grandson, poles and tackle boxes in hand, heading for the boat.
Here, he is alive. Every camping spot, shoreline, and sunset brims with memories. It’s almost like being together again.


This year I stayed in the very cabin Grandma and Grandpa used to stayed in, right on the lake’s edge. As soon as I swung the door open, it felt like home. Every evening I opened the windows and let the endless lapping of the water against the shore lull me to sleep. In the morning, I’d make coffee and drink it on the porch that overlooked the sun-speckled water. When I was younger, I used to have coffee with them in that same porch. I’d brew pot after pot and serve Grandma, Grandpa, and the aunts and uncles who would gather on the shoreline for their morning schnetke conference.


I sipped coffee on the porch, looking out over the water, and remembered those who were not with us this year.


One time I’d ventured to tell Grandpa some joke I’ve since forgotten. His eyes pinched closed and his mouth spread wide as he laughed this incredible bubbling laugh, sputtering Low German words about how it was ridiculous. Later, he felt badly about laughing at it, which makes me snicker to this day.


Uncle Jake would come up the path carrying a fish he’d caught. He’d hold it up proudly and grin goofily, eager to boast about his prize. Some would be dutifully awed, others would mock its size, neither of which would disappear his grin. He has been gone for years but I remember him every time someone comes carrying a catch. 

I was glad that my Aunt Tina was able to get time surrounded by family. All the changes with Uncle Gary’s passing this year have been exhausting. I hope she got refreshed in every way. Some of my cousins have lost a father recently and some of them have had to lose children. John, Marty, Alicia, my heart has been grieved for the loss they have suffered.


Just last year, cousin Jeff brought his drone to take high tech pictures. As we all gathered around tables for the potluck supper, he flew the drone overhead taking videos and photos. Then we sat around eating while looking at photos of us eating. He grinned proudly, too.
Months later, he passed away. He wasn’t here this year. We did get to see his beautiful wife and children. 


It’s interesting how, even though I don’t see extended family much, as soon as we come together here, we are instantly comfortable. There were so many hugs. It was so… familiar. Like a favorite cozy blanket. I mean, I felt so comfortable I didn’t wear make-up or do my hair at all that week. I felt accepted and cared for just as I was. There’s something about familiarity that satisfies us on a soul level, isn’t there?


It’s that belonging and familiarity that I think we seek when we’re looking for our own homes, too. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard a client say about a house, “It’s perfect. It’s everything we wanted… but … I just don’t want to live here.” or, when they find that homey feeling, they’ll say ‘I don’t know what it is, I just … feel at home here.”


For me, that often happens in a 1 ½ storey home. There’s instantly a feeling of it being a loving place. Probably because it reminds me a lot of Grandma and Grandpa’s place, which was a cozy, familiar 1 ½ storey that filled with good memories with loving people.


Home really is where the heart and its memories are.
It’s where we seek and find belonging with those we love.


What are some places that feel like home to you?

Tina Plett, Sutton Group-Kilkenny Real Estate

Press Release-Tina Plett

Tina Plett Has Been Recognized Among the Top in Her Industry by Noticed©

Noticed celebrates its newest member, REALTOR® Tina Plett


Tina Plett, REALTOR®, Sutton Group-Kilkenny Real Estate, has joined Noticed©, an invitation-only service for distinguished professionals. Plett has been chosen as a Distinguished Real Estate Professional™ based on peer reviews and ratings, dozens of recognitions, and accomplishments achieved throughout her career.

Plett outshines others in her field due to her educational background, numerous awards and recognitions, and career longevity. Having been featured in Top Agent Magazine among other honours, Plett brings a wealth of knowledge to her industry, and, in particular, to her area of expertise, Winnipeg’s real estate market. When asked why she decided to pursue a career in real estate, Plett said:

“I wanted to do something where I could still serve people one-on-one. I was looking at my personality profile, and I knew I was good at sales, so I just needed to find something I could sell. It had to be something I believed in, and real estate, to me, is extremely personal and meaningful, because being able to plant roots and have a place you can call your own is completely life-changing.”

In the last four years there has been a 253 percent increase in people using Google searches to find homes, so they’re not going to each individual brokerage like they used to. When I saw that statistic, I knew I needed to be able to tag my listings to be found on the searches, and I have made sure to stay technologically savvy to be able to do that.



Plett joined Sutton Group-Kilkenny Real Estate in 2010 and has since built a thriving business that is based on client satisfaction. Five years later, she partnered with Eniko Crozier, and together they have developed a mission statement of being “Attentive from Sign Up to Sign Down.” Tina’s success over the years has received numerous distinctions from her company, such as the Director’s, Executive, and President’s Awards.

As a thought leader in her field, Plett prioritized continuing education and has earned various certifications, such as the Certified Real Estate Team Specialist (C-RETS) and the Certified Negotiation Expert (CNE®) certifications. She also attends the National Association of REALTORS’® annual conference to keep up with current trends in real estate. In particular, she noted that there has been a dramatic increase in the usage of Internet searches to find properties:

“In the last four years there has been a 253 percent increase in people using Google searches to find homes, so they’re not going to each individual brokerage like they used to. When I saw that statistic, I knew I needed to be able to tag my listings to be found on the searches, and I have made sure to stay technologically savvy to be able to do that.”

For more information, visit Plett’s profile on the Noticed© website here:

Noticed© has written this news release with approval and/or contributions from Tina Plett. Noticed is an invitation-only reputation management service that is dedicated to helping professionals stand out, network, and gain a competitive edge. Noticed selects a limited number of professionals based on their individual recognitions and history of personal excellence.

Source: Noticed©



Additional Links

Noticed© is a professional success database, featuring the stories of doctors, lawyers, dentists, wealth managers and other professionals who have succeeded and helping them achieve continued success.




Someone is posting houses for rent that are listed by Real Estate Professionals using the professional photos and write up. The house is NOT for rent. Then they are collecting rent in advance to secure the rental. They will take your money and run. You will be left homeless and cashless. 

One of my listings was posted on hellogoodbuy which is a local classifieds site. Someone saw it and reported it to me. I was very grateful to steinbachonline for removing the post immediately when I made them aware of it. They also blocked the user. (Which is a bogus name and different than the name used in response to the ad)

Several innocent local people have been scammed out of large amounts of money this way. Listings from several other local offices were targeted. 

The ads on that website keep coming continually.

How to detect the fraud.

1. Drive by and see if it’s listed. (If it is please notify the agent that it is posted for rent)

2. If the supposed landlord says that he cannot show it to you that would be a huge red flag. Especially if they say they are out of the country. 

3. If they ask for 3 months rent to secure it for 2 years…

4. If they ask you to send the money without meeting them…


  1. The application form is requesting your social insurance number and drivers license.

Actual text from a scam artist. (Address has been changed)


I received your inquiry about my property for rent at 123 Downtown ST, Steinbach, Manitoba, My name is Bishop Ingrid Newman , My family and I just moved down to Sacramento California in our new house due to an international Christian follower’s crusade, We are currently working with the Church of Jesus Christ Of Latter-Day Saint. You can look into our website at: , and  we will be here for 4 to 5 years. My initial plan was to sell the house of which I did a research for an agent to handle it on our behalf and after getting one, we got a deal but later the agent that was in charge of our property was asking too much of an agent FEE and also making it difficult for people who cannot afford to BUY this property, to stay away from buying my property. and so presently, this property is no longer up for sale, under minding the for sale sign on this property which I put there myself before leaving, but I find it difficult to let go this adorable property, and so I have decided to rent this property to a responsible and GOD fearing tenant who is willing to take very good care of it in our absence. Pets are allowed as long as they are not destructive. The rent is $1000 and  security deposit is $1000 and total move-in cost is $2000 and all the utilities are included in the monthly rent,as i am in a governmental programmer that sponsors my utilities on monthly basis and pets are also allowed. my wife Benita has hearing Impaired, Here is the number to text me because of my wife condition, also I do check my email often so i will be the one to talk with you on the phone should you have a question.

Feel free to contact me  +1 (916) 936-0296 . You can drive-by to view the outside and neighborhood of the house and get back to me with the rental application filled out


The RCMP office is aware of the fraud. It is re-occurring just like the CRA fraud. 

The RCMP will not do anything at all. They don’t even want the numbers or the copy of the dialogue. They are not warning the public so I have taken it upon myself to do so. 

They did however give me a very valuable contact. If you become aware of a scam, please report it to;


PH. 1-888-495-8501

FX. 1-888-654-9426


So, I called Canadian anti-fraud centre and they said they have a high volume of calls so I should go to the website. They did not put me on hold. They hung up. 

Then, I went to the website. I had to create an account first. Then I spent approximately an hour filling out the report. Once I submitted the report it gave me this message;

Please be aware that the CAFC is not a criminal investigative agency, we are a central repository for fraud data. Our Operational Support Unit provides support to law enforcement agencies by analyzing fraud data submitted to the CAFC. If you are currently being victimized please contact your local police service immediately for assistance. If you’re already a victim and wish to have a follow from the police, or require a file number for insurance purposes, you will need to contact your local police service to file a complaint.

MY CONCLUSION is that the best way to protect innocent people from being defrauded of rent money on a house that is not for rent is to MAKE THE PUBLIC AWARE of this SCAM. 

PLEASE tell your family, friends and co-workers. THIS IS STILL HAPPENING! The names will be different every time but the tactic will be similar.

Tina Plett, Sutton Group-Kilkenny Real Estate

Privately Selling Your House? Sell Faster and Get More Buyers in the Door [VIDEO & CHECKLIST]

Private home sellers want to know two things: how to get more buyers in the door and how to sell their house faster.

What most home owners don’t know is that over 90% of those currently in serious house hunting mode are already working with an agent. Most of the unrepresented buyers shopping private sales are investors or buyers looking for a house on the cheap.


The best and biggest source of buyers is often overlooked by sellers. That source is agents.

The question is, when a buyer comes knocking, and they have an agent with them, are you open to working with them?


Two Things that Keep Buyers Away


Barrier #1 – Money

Your ‘For Sale By Owner’ sign is up in the yard, and you’re ready for buyers to come knocking. There are other homes for sale in your neighborhood too, you’ve noticed, but they’re listed with agents.

When an agent wants to show homes in your neighborhood, they know that if their client buys a house listed with another agent, they’re getting paid for their work. If their client buys a house that’s privately listed for sale, yours perhaps, the agent doesn’t have that assurance. They might be doing all this work – the research, the time, the tanks of gas – for free.

So… if an agent sees two houses that match their buyer’s criteria, one is listed with an agent, and one is for sale by owner, guess which one they’re more inclined to show their buyer?

The one they know will pay.


How to Overcome It:

Are you willing to pay a real estate pro if they sell your property? If not, expect to continue to miss out on represented buyers. If you are willing however, here’s how to handle it (without having to list your property with an agent): There is a form called a Fee Agreement Between the Seller and Buyer’s agent. Don’t worry, this is not a listing agreement.  The agent has no permission to put up their for sale sign in your yard. You do not have to list with an agent in order for them to complete the sale.

If you and I sign this agreement it means I’m representing my buyer, not you, but you are willing to pay me if my buyer has an acceptable offer for you. It’s a standard agreement.


If a private seller would tell an agent right away “I’d be willing to pay you X% if you write an accepted offer” the agent would  be relieved because they know they’ll get paid. They would also know you’re serious about selling, and that you’re cooperative and willing to communicate with them to get the job done.

That’s a welcome sign for agents to bring buyers.


Barrier #2: Lack of Information

When I show a listing to my buyer that’s listed by another agent, I have access to all the property information that’s needed. I know it’s the agent’s job to supply all that, and they know what kind of info to provide and where to get it. Often, private sellers don’t know the info needed or where to get it. That means more work for the buyer’s agent.

I recently SOLD a listing that was online with a private sale company and was really surprised at the lack of information the seller had. They had paid the fee, gotten the sign, and were apparently equipped by the company to sell, but this company didn’t provide forms to seller, inform them which forms they’d need or where to get them, or even help them understand why all these legal forms were necessary. They gave instructions  online to real estate agents to use the fee agreement I mentioned earlier, but don’t tell the seller what it is or how or why to use it. Which bothered me on the seller’s behalf. They paid good money to be no more educated or informed than the guy down the street with a dollar store “for sale” sign. In addition, the company did not even send someone to view their home to give them an estimate of value.

I was also frustrated on my behalf because I had to educate the sellers on the what, how, and why, and explain every word on the form. Honestly, I kind of resent coming to a private seller in need of information and then being expected to do all the work and research the listing agent would have done. I dished out $143.00 to get information. (not likely to be willing to do that again)

It would be easier to just go sell a listed house.

And that’s exactly the kind of thing that is a barrier to buyers.


How to Overcome It:

This is a fairly simple fix, that I’ll illustrate with a story first.

The other day, I showed another privately listed house. Before I brought my buyer to look I asked the sellers to please have a look at this video I’d made where I talk about the property information we’d need from them. When we arrived, they had typed up all the info and had everything waiting on the counter for us. They were clearly cooperative and prepared; it was a very pleasant experience! In fact, it encouraged me to want to sell it.


Want buyers? A Couple of Tips

  • Real estate agents are not the devil. They are not out to get you. If I’m bringing a buyer and showing you forms, I’m not trying to get you to sign your soul and children over to me. I’m trying to help you sell your house and get money. Keeping an open mind toward agents will help them keep an open mind about working with you too
  • If you have had a bad experience with a real estate agent, I’m sorry that happened. Try not to punish the rest of us though. I know a LOT of high integrity, fantastic agents who are good people. Keep trying. You’ll find one.
  • If an agent brings a buyer, expect to pay. If that agent then needs to do a lot of extra work to help you sell your house (like a listing agent normally would), expect to pay even more.



12 Things Buyers (and their agents) Need You to Provide

  1. A copy of your most recent tax bill
  2. Get the hydro company to give you a printout of the last year’s hydro bills so the buyer has verified utilities costs
  3. Get a Property Disclosures Statement from your lawyer and fill it out.
  4. List of service providers (internet, septic tank, garbage services, plumbers, electricians, etc.)
  5. Survey or building locations certificate (or, if not available, provide the property dimensions and location of boundaries)
  6. If it’s a rural property, let the buyer know what type of septic system it has and if it complies with the Manitoba Onsite Wastewater Management Systems Regulations.
  7. If it’s a rural property, identify the water source and whether the well is shared or owned.
  8. A copy of the Well Agreement if it is a shared well.
  9. Does the property have knob and tube wiring? Aluminum wiring? The buyer needs to know this, as it affects their insurance.
  10. If the property has a woodstove, was it WETT inspected? How long ago?
  11. Does the property have an alarm system? If so, with which company, when does the contract end, what are you paying, and are you willing or able to discontinue the contract with short notice?
  12. What year was the house built? This is critical because CMHC needs to know. Missing crucial information – even small details like the age of a home – can cause a delay in financing.


Here’s that video, too, that outlines this and a bit more.

Tina Plett, Sutton Group-Kilkenny Real Estate



Home Sellers On My Heart (And the Secret Buyer Advantage Most People Aren’t Using)


Normally, getting an offer to purchase on your house is exciting. After waiting all that time for the sale, finally there’s light at the end of the tunnel! Waiting for your house to sell was hard. But do you know what’s even more difficult? Receiving an offer that’s subject to the sale of the buyer’s home. It’s waiting for the buyer’s house to sell before they can buy yours.

My heart goes out to every seller in that stressful, helpless state of almost-sold-but-maybe-soon limbo. It’s a hard place to be.

Recently, my seller client had two offers on their property. Both were subject to the sale of the buyer’s home. An offer was accepted – which sounds exciting, but – then the anxious wait began. They waited for that buyer’s house to sell. They waited, waited, and waited some more. It was anxious for me too, because there’s nothing I can do to help them sell their house. I had no influence on the advertising or marketing that is or isn’t being done for their home or the number of people who are shopping for that buyer’s kind of house. All my house-marketing prowess and fancy tools don’t help the other agent’s client. So we waited…

The weird thing is that those buyers are sellers too, in that same limbo of waiting for their own house to sell, and probably getting the same kinds of subject-to-house-sale offers Emanuel others get. So it can become a domino effect of everyone waiting for everyone else’s house to sell.

And I get it. If I’m wanting to move, I’d want to find a place before selling too. I understand. Then again, after seeing how it all shakes out, maybe I wouldn’t. Those kinds of arrangements are extremely hard on the seller. The tension of living in that almost-sold limbo is unreal.

The Secret Advantage Buyers Can Have

When many offers are conditional on the sale of the buyer’s house, and when that common experience is stressful, someone with no such condition can pretty much rule the world. Well, at least they can have their free pick of what to buy, and maybe even slash the price a bit.

Because any offer that doesn’t make the seller wait for months and months is something sellers (and their agents!) are EAGER for. They’ll LEAP at it. Every single agent is going to prefer an offer without that condition. If you want sellers to accept an offer subject to the sale of your house, expect to pay top dollar for the inconvenience. If you don’t put them through the wait of your sale though, they might take a slice off the price for the certainty of that offer over the others that may or may not end up going through.

It’s a powerful advantage for a buyer to have.

The advantage comes at a cost, though. It means having to sell before buying.  If you don’t find your next home quickly, it might mean moving somewhere temporary while you shop, and moving a second time into that final home.

Why would buyers want to sell first?

The advantage to buyers for this two-move inconvenience is massive. First, it frees them financially and gives them time to search at their leisure. Secondly, it gives them the power to make an offer others can’t – one without conditions – the offer every seller and agent WISHES for. Not only that, but it also gives a competitive advantage over other offers.

Let’s say the house a buyer wants already has an accepted offer subject to the sale of a home. You can put in an offer.  The first offer will then be given 48 hours to remove their condition. It’s highly unlikely that condition will be satisfied in 48 hours, so yours will be the one left standing. You win!

Oh – and let’s not forget that that kind of offer is a powerful negotiating tool to hopefully get the purchase price down a few notches!

Emotional consequences 

You find the property you want. This is it. It’s the one. It has everything you want. Everything pales in comparison. So, you put in an offer subject to the sale of your house. Your house takes a while to sell. Another buyer comes along and writes an offer and they do not have a house to sell. You are given a notice to remove your conditions within 48hrs. You cannot afford two mortgages. You lose the house of your dreams. You don’t find another property like it. LOSS. Now you have the emotional consequences of dealing with losing your dream home.

The bottom line is that buying and selling is a stressful process either way, but you can choose which stress you’d rather: the stress of waiting for your house to sell while you wait for your buyer’s house to sell in order to satisfy conditions on your offer , or the stress of selling first, and risking moving twice while you search for that just-for-you home.

My guess is that you are also more likely to cave to a lower offer on your house when you are feeling pressure and at risk of losing the home you want.

If you’ve got to endure stress anyway, it may as well be with a big advantage in your back pocket.


Have you ever sold before buying? Would you consider it?

When Parents Decide to Downsize (a Peek into my Family Life)

“I want to move while I still have a sound mind,” Mom said. She was in her sixties, and she and Dad knew they wouldn’t be able to stay on their country property forever. “I want to be able to decide where we live and what we’ll take with us and what we’ll get rid of when it’s time.”


My parents had lived in the same homestead they’d raised us in. As adults, now with our own lives, spouses, children, my five younger siblings and I would return to that familiar place we once called home and celebrate together. Christmas. Easter. Thanksgiving Day. We sat with our own children around that same table from our childhoods – the one we did homework on and had breakfast at before heading off to school. We sang in four-part harmony, with some playing guitars, just as we did when I was a child. There’s something special about connecting our pasts with theirs, overlapping memories like that.


But my parents knew it couldn’t last forever and began to prepare for their inevitable move. They took it slow. Over months and years, they took time going through their belongings and preparing for the estate auction sale they’d eventually have.


Finally the day came. It felt strange to watch their possessions be sold piece by piece like that. The old familiar coffee table we’d laughed around, the familiar serving dishes we’d all eaten from together. The paintings I’d thoughtfully stared at as a child. It felt weird, but it was also good for us to be there – I think it gave us a sense of closure and helped Mom, Dad, and the children and even grandchildren with the process of letting go.


That was ten years ago. They bought a condominium in town and have embraced the new chapter of their lives, diving right into the community life of living in town and in a building with others. I love seeing them take hold of it. I love having them near enough that I run into them in a local restaurant or see them go for a walk when I’m driving in town.


We feel the change the most when we try to get together.

We won’t all fit in a condo suite, after all.


It felt like a jarring difference at first to have to rent a facility for gatherings or meet in someone else’s home. But it quickly became the new normal. At Christmas my parents always rent a place for us to get together. They make sure we have a lot of space so that we are able to do some sort of activity together. Usually there’s a place to play sports. They make sure there’s enough room for everyone to eat in one room. Most of all there has to be a place where we can pull out the guitar and sing our hearts out. As soon as we gather around the table to eat or around the guitar to sing songs in that familiar four-part harmony, we once again feel at home together.


Home, we discovered, was never a place; it was the happy experience of being together.


Letting go doesn’t have to be as difficult as one might fear. Especially when we have the blessing of living near each other and being able to get together and love each other.


We are blessed to have the memories of the past and the old homestead. We are even more blessed to continue to spend time together and watch our families grow.


What ‘new normal’ have you experienced, and what felt like “home” to you in it?

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