Realty Executives of Sudbury Ltd.

The Caswell Team

The Caswell Team

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Summer Vacation? What Is That?

(Published on - 7/28/2019 6:02:26 PM)

So, before I get too deep, I must give a bit of the back story and say that being self-employed is an amazing thing.  This is not me complaining but more about sharing the importance of taking time to be with your family and rejuvenate regardless of your career.

My husband was the first one to start his own business almost 13 years ago and I followed suit shortly after.  Due to the nature of the construction industry and winter’s limitations in Northern Ontario, his job is very demanding in the summer as he is a General Contractor and owner of Carniello Contracting.  He has to work ridiculously long hours during the good weather months cause of this.  And, although my career can be slower during the summer, that is certainly not the case with this summer’s market conditions in Greater Sudbury. 

Because of our hectic, self-employed schedules, we have never taken a summer vacation in 13 years. Seriously.  It’s just a known thing that we have come to accept. Sure, we’ll take the odd long weekend, but never a whole week.  We all know how quick long a weekend flies by and how exhausted we feel after them!

This year, when my husband said “hey, let’s take a week off in August”, I fell to the floor.  Realizing any of either of our clients could call us at any moment to book that week in, I quickly picked myself up and booked something so he couldn’t change his mind!  

Now that we have two little ones running around, it’s more important than ever to take that time off and just be with your family. We’re watching them grow so quickly that we’ve come to realize that we don’t want to miss a thing and want to look back on these times with our grandkids on how much fun we had with their parents when they were their age!  We don’t want them to share stories with their kids how they never saw us in the summer and how we never did anything as a family……

Regardless of whether you are self-employed like us or working for someone else, all jobs have their times of stress and demands.  This is why it’s so important to take that vacation and not feel guilty about it.  We all need a recharge sometimes and a vacation with the family, trading in the phones/laptops for ice cream cones and smores, is just what the doctor ordered…

Biggest bonus for me is knowing my clients won’t miss a beat while I’m off in recharge mode.  Thanks to being part of a strong team, I have the ability to let go and know that all the pieces of the puzzle are still moving while I am away, and I can simply slide back in without missing a beat.  And return fully revitalised to serve my clients.

No matter who is on vacation, we've always got our team of experienced and fully interchangeable Realtors® ready to help with all your real estate needs.  You can reach us any time at caswellteam@realtyexecutives.com, check out our blog for other great articlesbegin your search here checking out all the MLS™ listings or browse through our website for great info on buying or selling in Greater Sudbury and surrounding areas.

Contributed by:

Amanda Gervais

Cell - 705.929.1930

agervais@realtyexecutives.com

 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other salespersons, staff or affiliates of Realty Executives of Sudbury LTD. Brokerage, Realty Executives International, the Sudbury Real Estate Board, Ontario Real Estate Association, Canadian Real Estate Association or any of their subsidiaries.  For any concerns pertaining to the content herein, please contact us immediately at caswellteam@realtyexecutives.com.


SCAM WARNING!

(Published on - 7/22/2019 1:09:25 PM)

Scams suck. 

Every day we hear about a new scam that shady people are using to detach good folks from their hard-earned money.  It’s safe to say, by now, you’ve received plenty of emails about your deceased family member’s multi-million dollar fortune is sitting in the UK or how a prince in Nigeria needs you to accept a billion dollars into your account to help them transfer it over and you’ll get to keep a big chunk.  And, of course, there’s the phone attempts from “Canada Revenue” that need your credit card asap or you’ll be arrested.

Let’s face it – the people that perpetrate these scams are jerks.  But that’s little satisfaction to the people that fall victim to these scams.  It is nauseating to think of the people who were bullied by some belligerent person demanding payment from them and the people fearing what they’re being told is actually happening.  It truly is scary.

We’re using this week’s blog to address a problem that has recently surfaced in the local area that involves our industry.  We’ve had two listings lately where we started getting calls from as far away as Vancouver asking about the ad they saw to rent the property.  Neither of these houses were listed as a rental – one was never offered for rent and the other already has good tenants in it. 

We were sent the listings – one was on Craigslist and one was from the Sudbury Star classifieds.  We were also forwarded the email replies and actually tested the contact button ourselves to get these emails.  They are unbelievable – literally.  They talk about how the “owners” had to move quickly out of the country to help in a mission or church in the U.S. or overseas.  Honestly, as I was reading the email, I couldn’t believe people would think this is real. 

Then came the “contract” to print off and fill out, which was actually just typed into the body of the email.  Anyone who is unaware should know that all lease agreements in Ontario must use the new MANDATORY Standardized Lease Agreement that came into effect in April of 2018.   You can see how someone from B.C. may not know this, but everyone should know that “what hobbies do you have?” and “do you drink?” are not common, or legal, questions that a landlord can ask on a lease.

How these “wonderful” people are creating this scam is by scraping our listings off of www.Realtor.ca.  They take our MLS™ listings and photos and create an ad they post in the rental section on local classifieds.  They add in some extras on the write-up, like saltwater pools and ensuites with steam showers, that makes the rental look too good to be true.  Which it is.

In the email reply, they state that you can’t view the property until you get the keys and you have transferred your first and last rents into their account.  You can’t call them because their “wife is hard of hearing, so only text or email”.

Honestly, it is scary how many people contacted us assuming this was legitimate.  I find it funny how people, like my wife, will take four days of research and reading reviews to purchase $7 golf socks on Amazon™, but people are willing to transfer thousands of dollars to someone they’ve never met for a property they’ve never walked into and assume it’s an above board agreement.

If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.  If you see a rental advertised in the classifieds that has watermarked pictures with the Realtor® logo  or that say “Sudbury Real Estate Board” on them, it’s probably a scam.  If you find a rental but also see it listed on www.Realtor.ca, contact the Realtor® on the listing to see if it’s legitimate.  Like in our case, if you see a write-up that talks about a “saltwater pool” on a waterfront property, you should find it strange that the ad doesn’t include pictures of the pool.

These things are annoying but, after the amount of people that contacted us, physically drove by the properties and were ready to send money, it’s actually scary.  Make sure to spread the word and look for the call signs that are pointing to “this looks too good to be true”.

I’m sure it wasn’t exclusive to just our listings and we’d be happy for other agents to tell their stories in the comments section on Facebook or at least share this to their profiles so we can put a stop to this.  Don’t ever be shy to reach out to us for any questions you may have, be sure to share this blog post widely and definitely don’t be shy to report these situations.  You may save someone from a major financial loss and some serious headaches.

We’re always available at caswellteam@realtyexecutives.com, continue to check our Caswell Team Blog for more great articlesyou can search all the MLS™ listings in Greater Sudbury by clicking here or check out website for great info on buying and selling in Sudbury and surrounding areas.

Contributed by:

Steve Caswell

Cell - 705.561.8767

caz@realtyexecutives.com

 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other salespersons, staff or affiliates of Realty Executives of Sudbury LTD. Brokerage, Realty Executives International, the Sudbury Real Estate Board, Ontario Real Estate Association, Canadian Real Estate Association or any of their subsidiaries.  For any concerns pertaining to the content herein, please contact us immediately at caswellteam@realtyexecutives.com.


Picture This.....

(Published on - 7/15/2019 3:06:13 PM)

In today’s world of real estate, it is estimated that over 90% of buyers start looking for their new home online.  That is a huge number!  That’s why, when our team is listing a new home, we hire a professional photographer to take interior and exterior shots of the property to capture the positive attributes of the home and professionally portray the listing in all the online marketplaces.  This attracts buyers to want to view the property and helps position the listing immediately to look better than others out there. 

Photos are extremely important when listing a home and, as I have mentioned in past blogs, decluttering and staging makes those pictures look even better.  Although professional photos and pretty rooms make the listing very appealing and gets buyers through the door for all those sellers out there, this blog isn’t targeted to sell our listing capabilities to the sellers.  Where I’m going with this is actually for the buyers…..

It is important for all buyers to try not to get too wrapped up in just the pretty pictures that are posted.  To often we get calls from clients saying “why didn’t you send me this new listing?  It looks great!  Let’s go have a look asap!”  What they didn’t see in the important info was that it was a one-bedroom home that would probably be a little too “cozy” for their family of four, doesn’t have the garage they said was mandatory and it’s 30mins away from the neighbourhood they wanted to target.  But the kitchen looks really nice!

Buyers need to look deeper into the details of the property to make sure that the other aspects of the home are suitable.  Pictures are nice to look at but layout, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, size, age, yard, price and, as I discussed in my last blog, location are the important factors that should be taken into consideration when shopping for a home.  You must remember that all that pretty furniture, art, accessories etc., that the seller has used when they “decluttered and staged their home for those sexy pictures” belongs to them and will be going with the seller when they move.

This is where you can’t discard the homes that have not had professional pictures taken, that are not staged and are not showing well online.  Every buyer wants a “deal”, and these are where some good deals on great homes with “solid bones” can be had as other buyers are only looking at the pics and electing not to view from the comfort of their couch.  Due to the pictures and what looks to be “datedness”, these sellers are often positioned to take less for their home than they possibly could’ve been offered had they taken the time to properly prepare for listing.

Honestly, it happens all the time where we forward our clients a new listing and they have no desire to go and view it even though it is in their price range, preferred location, has the right number of bedrooms and bathrooms, a finished rec room and has the garage they wanted!  But these houses have photos of an unmade beds, boxes everywhere, a ton of counter clutter, furniture from the 70s with a bold paint colour or funky wall paper.  Remember, beds can be made, and that bedspread pattern is leaving with the seller, boxes are leaving, clutter will be gone (until you replace it with your clutter!), furniture will be gone and replaced with your style and paint is a quick and inexpensive fix that makes a huge impact and helps you personalize to your taste.

The reason I’m writing about this now is we recently had clients that almost missed the perfect home cause of this.  We happened to be out touring and saw an ad in a window of another brokerage while we were going for dinner to discuss an offer on another home we had just viewed.  We called up the listing on MLS™ and the pics weren’t the best.  They were dark, the kitchen looked original from the 70’s and the rooms looked small.  We said, “it’s right around the corner, let’s go have a quick look after dinner just so we know you’re buying the right one”.  The clients admitted afterward that, if we had not been nearby at that moment, they wouldn’t have even gone to look at it based on the online pics.  To all our surprise, the house showed impeccably in-person, the kitchen was fully upgraded, and it was the perfect house for them.  They fell in love with it instantly and now take possession in September of a home they never would’ve considered looking at based on the listing pictures on MLS™……

Next time you’re surfing our website for all the MLS™ listings, or we send you a picture of a new listing, try and have an open mind and let’s go check it out.  Looking is free, sellers want you to come see their listing and it is never a waste of our time if the property details fit in closely with your search parameters.  You never know, it might just be the one!

Our team has tons of experience helping buyers look past those cosmetic issues to realize it’s the right home for them.  And we also have the right marketing plan for sellers to make sure those 90% of buyers who start online don’t skip right over your listing!  Never hesitate to reach to us at caswellteam@realtyexecutives.com to see how we can help you out, be sure to check out all our other great blog topics on here and visit our website for all the MLS™ listings and great info about buying and selling in Greater Sudbury!

Contributed by:

Michelle Caswell

Cell - 705.507.1229

mcaswell@realtyexecutives.com

 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other salespersons, staff or affiliates of Realty Executives of Sudbury LTD. Brokerage, Realty Executives International, the Sudbury Real Estate Board, Ontario Real Estate Association, Canadian Real Estate Association or any of their subsidiaries.  For any concerns pertaining to the content herein, please contact us immediately at caswellteam@realtyexecutives.com.


Love Thy Neighbour

(Published on - 7/7/2019 3:14:59 PM)

Recently, we were at a great event at our good friends’ place on the water.  Weather was perfect, their setup is awesome for hosting, the company was fantastic, and it was just an all-around incredible day. 

But, before I get too deep into this blog entry, it’s important that I warn the readers there is some strong language in this article.  For those that know me well, I am a passionate writer and sometimes I firmly believe that the appropriate word required to properly portray the situation goes outside the realm of “politically correct”. 

So, back to the party.  When we got down to the dock for the typical sauna/swim, I saw the neighbour’s “swan containment area” in the water.  I had never seen this before and was curious.  It was a square of pool noodles and painted red stakes well into the water with a fake swan tied up in the contained area.  Was it to fend off the geese?  Were they trying to trap bait fish?  Did they need a setting for their fake swan to feel comfortable?  Apparently, none of these are the case.

Turns out the neighbor is simply one of those “lovely” neighbours that we all hear about.  Ya, I’m probably getting a bias side of the story, but, when you see stuff like this, they’re proving the point all by themselves.  What the neighbour was doing was trying to protect “their property” by showing his neighbours where his lot line is so they couldn’t park their pontoon boat on that side of their own dock even though it wasn’t even close to the “lovely” neighbour’s dock.

Sure, some people may think, “there’s two sides to every story” and I’m showing favourtism - and it is possible - but we know our friends well and just can’t picture them being too tough to live next to.  And this wonderful person next door has caused them all kinds of problems when trying to improve their property by putting in complaints any chance they can.

Maybe someone should call in complaints on them as there’s a whole slew of problems with what they’re doing.  First off, they only own to the high-water mark for the last 100 years.  No waterfront property extends beyond this and no one can own “the water”.  Secondly, they can’t block a waterway with their pool noodles.  Anyone with a kayak, small boat, hip waders or a bathing suit has every right to swim, paddle or fish in this illegal containment area.  Third, I highly doubt the bright red paint that was used for the stakes before they were driven into the bottom of the lake is a real “eco-friendly” blend.  Guessing more of a Tremclad™ style.

Our friends don’t want to complain – they just ignore the neighbours as much as they can and deal with the nonsense on a case-by-case basis.  They are very patient and, I’m sure, plenty of us wouldn’t be this easy going about things.  But, by doing so, they’re also avoiding the “escalation” problem where these situations can sometimes lead to very stressful, serious and precarious circumstances.

We’ve all heard stories like this, and we’ve also heard stories that are the complete opposite.  We sell our clients a house and check in on how they’re doing a few months later to find out they’ve already created a great friendship with the neighbours.  “They’re so nice and they snowblow the driveway for me!” or “if my kids aren’t home, I know they’re next door with their kids” and then there’s the neighbour who always has the tool you need to finish the job and they’ll even come over with a six-pack and help you finish it. 

The way I look at it is we, and our neighbours, all fit into one of three categories:

1.)  The great neighbour that is super friendly and you would be devastated if they moved,

2.)  the good neighbour who you barely know but they always politely smile and say “hello” with a quick analysis of the “great weather we’re finally having” while minding their own business,

3.)  and, finally, the ASSHOLE

I capitalized and bolded the third entry because a mild case of “assholeness” is extremely rare.  Going from “good neighbour” to “asshole” requires a complete nosedive and to remain committed to forever making life miserable for the person next door.  It takes a certain type of passion to dedicate your spare time to trying to ruin someone else’s, so I will give the “assholes” out there some credit for their devotion.

One of my experiences with this was at a young age while I was playing road hockey in Winnipeg.  We lived on a great, family friendly street and the nets rarely left the roadway regardless whether it was winter or summer.  99% of the neighbours loved us being out there and would give us the “thumbs up” when we’d move the nets for the “CAR!” coming by.  Lots of dads would even join in on the games.

A single guy moved into the house directly across the street from ours whom no one ever really saw.  He was in the #2 category at first where he would politely wave at the adults as he made his way from his car to his front door and vice versa.  Then, he took that rapid nosedive into the #3 category.

It was a nice summer day and we had a full game going on the street.  This #3 category’s newest member decided he had had enough of us running onto his front lawn to fetch the ball that had wandered onto his property from an errant pass.  So, he decided he was going to park his car right in the middle of our game to teach us a lesson.

As bratty kids, we opted for an intermission due to the obstruction in our “rink area” and proceeded to all sit on his car.  Some on the bumpers, some on the hood and even a couple got onto the roof.  Well, this didn’t go over well with this guy at all.  Now, you might be saying “who would be happy about this?”, but you’re probably not the type of asshole that would do this to kids having fun either…..

This “#3” comes bursting out of his house and B-lines straight for my Dad who was up to his usual woodworking hobbies in the driveway.  My Dad saw how this all transpired, put down his tools and took off his safety goggles to handle the approaching hot head. 

This guy went off about how us kids were misbehaving while “massacring” his lawn and now damaging his car.  My Dad just kept nodding his head while this guy laid it all out.  When he was finally out of breath from his rant, my Dad put his hand on this guy’s shoulder and calmly said, “I completely understand where you’re coming from.  Where I grew up, we had an ASSHOLE just like you on our street”.  This guy was in utter shock as my Dad just stood with a smirk that was basically saying, “now, get off my property”.

Thinking my Dad was his only foe, he tried to go to our next door neighbour’s house.  That’s where my friend “Bobby” lived, and his parents were full Greek and could barely speak a word of English.  After the whole street heard the front door blasting of what I can only assume were the Greek versions of every swear word ever spoken, this “asshole” tucked his tail between his legs, pulled his car in the driveway and went into his house.  The next day, before noon, there was a For Sale sign in his yard…..

If you don’t like kids playing road hockey, don’t by a house on a family friendly cul-de-sac with a park at the end of the street.  If you hate the sound of jet skis or snowmobiles ripping around a lake, then find a quiet lake or don’t buy on the lake.  If you want your kids to have a place to play and be noisy, don’t buy a condo in a building geared towards the older lifestyles. 

They say your friends are the family you get to choose.  Neighbours are like family – you don’t get to pick them, but you still have to live with them.  But you can also choose to be friends with them and make both your lives better in the process. 

If you have a neighbour that is being difficult, try to “kill them with kindness”.  If that doesn’t work, simply ignore them as much as possible and be very composed whenever you have to deal with them.  And, most importantly, be a good neighbour yourself.  At all costs, avoid escalating the situation.  Your home is supposed to be your sanctuary – don’t help turn it into a place you cringe every time you come back to it.

In closing, as a moral to the story, there is one simple saying that is most important to remember for all of this:

If everyone around you is an asshole, chances are you’re the asshole.

Have you ever run into a #3?  After reading this, is there a chance you've been an asshole?  We'd love to hear from ya and maybe we can come over and see how any issues can be solved.  In the meantime, don’t forget to check out all our other great blog topics while you’re here, browse our website for great info on buying and selling in the Greater Sudbury area and never hesitate to reach out to us at caswellteam@realtyexecutives.com or 705.586.3334 if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

Contributed by:

Steve Caswell

Cell - 705.561.8767

caz@realtyexecutives.com

 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other salespersons, staff or affiliates of Realty Executives of Sudbury LTD. Brokerage, Realty Executives International, the Sudbury Real Estate Board, Ontario Real Estate Association, Canadian Real Estate Association or any of their subsidiaries.  For any concerns pertaining to the content herein, please contact us immediately at caswellteam@realtyexecutives.com.


Selling Your Home With "Tiny Humans"

(Published on - 6/30/2019 2:33:20 PM)

You’ve come to a point where you have to sell because you’ve outgrown your home since you and your partner have now added kids (or “tiny humans” as we refer to them in our house) into the mix.  With these “tiny humans” comes a ridiculous amount of baggage. Oh man, the baggage! (Insert eye rolling emoji here).  

So, what do you do to get your house show ready and make it look like your home isn’t a playhouse with primary colours taking over every square inch?  Here’s some advice coming from a working Realtor® mom of two “tiny humans” and a husband (sometimes, and often, referred to as child #3) 

Step 1

Involve your children as much as possible.  My kids LOVE helping with everything, so why not put them to work and make them think it’s a game.  You know how much I can get done when I tell them we’re playing a game?

“Alright let’s play a game. Who can hide the most toys?”  By “hide”, I mean pack away in boxes.  Packing as much as possible is probably the best thing you can do to get your home show ready.  Your plan is to move, so why not get that head start now?

Step 2

Hide all the boxes packed with toys.  I made the mistake of prepping recently for a neighbourhood yard sale and taking the old toys and sending them into the garage. No problem there, until we went to play outside, and I opened the garage door and the kids thought Santa had come!  

The easiest thing to do is remove them completely from the home so there’s no evidence.  I understand that may not always be the case but leaving a couple “essential to keeping the peace” toys is not a big problem either.  As Michelle mentioned in her staging blog where she explains "less is more", this speaks volumes when you have to sell your home with small children.  So, if you cannot remove it completely, then maybe keep it contained to the middle of a room in the basement, or away from “adult’ spaces, making sure you leave plenty of floorspace for potential buyers to see and walk around the entire room.  Packing the boxes into one corner may seem like a great idea but buyers automatically assume you are hiding something.

Step 3

Remove the gross parts about having these wonderful “tiny humans” around.  If you have a diaper pail in the nursery, it’s probably a really good idea to empty it well before viewings or hide it away somewhere.  Same goes for the potty.  Just like the “big humans” potty, it’s always good to make sure it’s clean and the seat is closed.  

All those bottles, sippy cups, plates - remove them from the kitchen counter.  I know that’s where they're all hanging out because it’s easier access for the independent “slightly less tiny human” who wants to do everything on their own, but we want the kitchen to show for adults.  For a short little while, just let them know it has to get put away so potential buyers don’t think about the same reason you’re moving – that they’ll outgrow your home as well…..

Moving can be a stressful time for you and it’s just the same for the little ones.  Depending on their age, this may be the only house they know and the thought of moving from their safe place could be scary.  Making this a fun and exciting time while encouraging them to “help” with all the preparation will ease them through the transition into the new home as well as help you keep your sanity through showings, selling and moving!

We have tons of experience helping families transition from their starter homes and into the next chapter of their lives.  We’re here to help right from the start, so don’t be shy to have us come over and provide our guidance to alleviate the stress during these life changing events!

In the meantime, never hesitate to contact us with any questions, comments and suggestions, including any topics you’d like to see us discuss on here.  You can reach us anytime through our team email account – caswellteam@realtyexecutives.comkeep checking back on our Caswell Team Blog for more great articles and check out our website for tons of info for buying and selling in Greater Sudbury.

Contributed by:

Amanda Gervais

Cell - 705.929.1930

agervais@realtyexecutives.com

 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other salespersons, staff or affiliates of Realty Executives of Sudbury LTD. Brokerage, Realty Executives International, the Sudbury Real Estate Board, Ontario Real Estate Association, Canadian Real Estate Association or any of their subsidiaries.  For any concerns pertaining to the content herein, please contact us immediately at caswellteam@realtyexecutives.com.


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