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Robyn Fisher

Robyn Fisher

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The Current Market Determines the Value of a Home.

(Published on - 5/1/2018 5:47:40 PM)

Setting a realistic price for your home is critical if you want your home to sell. So what do I mean by “realistic”?  Basically, it’s a price range that gives you the greatest chance at actually selling your home while also getting as much money as possible.  We all know that if you price your home too high it won’t sell and if you price too low it will probably sell but you will likely leave some money on the table.  

Determining a realistic price for your home requires understanding the current market.  You need to know what buyers are actually paying for homes in your area after shopping around and looking at similar homes.  If buyers can find a home that is very similar to yours for less money, they will likely choose that other home.  Not always, and not if your home offers additional value, but generally. 

This is where the knowledge and experience of a REALTOR® can make the difference.  We are trained to help you find that “sweet spot”, where a realistic price will help you realize your two competing goals: (1) actually selling your home, (2) for as much money as possible.  We know how to analyze market information and we know how to adjust for the differences between homes to arrive at a realistic price range. 

We understand that many sellers want to “test the waters” and list their homes on the high end of the range.  Sellers may think that it gives them more room to negotiate, or they may want to see if that one right buyer is out there.  Sometimes it works and, depending on the home and the price, it may be a really good idea to try to list on the high end, at least for a while.  But the market will always tell you if your price is reasonable or not. Remember – buyers are always comparing properties and if one home is priced quite a bit higher than similar homes then they probably won’t even look at it.  Buyers often assume that sellers don’t want to come down much on price.

As a REALTOR®, I want your home to sell AND I want it to sell for as much as possible.  So when it comes to price, making a good decision requires being properly informed.  Not just about the current market, but about the risks of pricing too high for too long, and of pricing too low as well.  

 

The risks of pricing too high for too long include:  

  1. The home might not show up in searches.  People often search by price range in $50,000 increments.  So, for example, if your home is likely to sell for $385,000 and buyers for such homes are searching up to $400,000, then pricing it at $415,000 will take your home out of the searches of the most likely buyers.   
  2. Buyers may not even want to view a home that is priced too high, no matter how great the marketing may be.  They compare features in detail and many will have REALTORS® who are helping them understand which homes offer the best value for the dollar.  
  3. Pricing high means the property will likely stay on the market longer and it will begin to seem “stale”.  Buyers often assume there is something wrong with homes that are on the market for a long time. 
  4. Even if a buyer is willing to pay the high asking price the deal is still unlikely to go through.  This is because most financial institutions will only lend based on the market value.  The lender needs to know that they will get their money back if the buyer doesn’t pay and the lender has to sell the property on the open market.  Appraisals are often done to see if the home is worth what the buyer is asking to borrow and if the market value is below what the buyer wants to pay, then the buyer will have to come up with the difference themselves.  In most cases, such buyers do not have enough money to do that and the deal falls through.

If the need to sell your home is less pressing and you can afford to wait, then listing high on the off-chance it sells high may be something you wish to consider.  However, if your desired price is markedly higher than your competitors then you should be prepared for your home to stay on the market for longer than average, with very little by way of showings or interest.  You should also be aware of the risk that your property may become “stale”.  

If your main objective is to sell your home within a limited time frame then the best strategy would be to list your home at the lower end of the suggested price range.  If your home is priced aggressively, then it is far more likely to generate strong interest quickly.  It may even be the case that an aggressive price leads to multiple offers, in which case your home may actually sell for more than the asking price.  However, even though a sale is likely it can be risky because you may be passing up the chance to sell for more money.   

Having a detailed discussion with your REALTOR® will help you understand your pricing options and how they relate to your home selling goals.  We are here to help!


How to design and or buy a home in Edmonton with your Pets in Mind

(Published on - 4/2/2018 8:05:13 PM)

How to design, buy or sell a home with your pets in mind.

 

 

Frustrated with that big complicated cat tower in the living room window or the giant, poofy dog bed that takes up too much floor space? The dark spots on your light colored rug that you just can’t get out and the layer of pet hair that never seems to go away? It's time to face the fact that if a house doesn't work with dogs or cats, it won't work with children or guests either. But don’t despair!  If you keep these tips in mind, you can have the showroom condition home and a fur friendly environment too! 

 

But first, a little bit about my background and my experience with making homes pet-friendly.  I used to work in new home sales and I am familiar with the wide variety of products and finishes used in homes (who knew it would stick after all this time!).  I have also built multiple new homes for myself and I am an experienced REALTOR® who just happens to love cats and dogs, including acting as a foster mom for many furry friends.  So I have personally experienced the difficulties with pets in a home, and I have personally tried these solutions so I know what works. And I’d like to pass these on to you! 

 

Use stain-resistant fabrics. 

Some people say a leather chair is fine for pets, but beware if you have cats. My dogs are fine on my firm leather couch, but they also only weight 15 lbs combined. Large dogs may tear holes in leather sofas and chairs if they are allowed up on the furniture. A dog's nails are blunt instruments compared with those needles at the end of kitty toes. Cats will scratch almost any upright surface that lets them dig in.

 

For them, microfiber is the key, with the bonus of feeling as smooth as suede and being extremely moisture- and stain-resistant. Ultra-suede is a fancy name for a particular microfiber that's machine washable. It comes in dozens of colors and can be made into pet beds, pillows, and sofa and chair slipcovers. This means you pick which designs and colors compliment your decor ideas and dreams. 

 

 

Match colors to your pet? Possibly…

Use your pets as design inspiration and see what magic you can create. Start with the pet bed, choosing a black one for your black Lab or a cream-colored one for the Siamese. When your pet sheds, the fur or hair will blend in and not seem so messy all the time.  This is especially useful for those of us that were born with OCD and clean freak genes. Look at furniture covers for more coordination. It saves your furniture and keeps the area looking cleaner.

 

Use washable, fur-friendly bedding. 

If you are like me then your fur babies sleep with you. You will definitely want to be able to wash the duvet, comforter or bedspread. Some coverlets are surprisingly durable, with tight quilting that resists pet toenail snags and looks good after multiple washes. Choose white sheets no matter what. I am a firm believer in bleach!  I only buy white towels too.  You can always use color on top with coverlets and accent pillows. It can go a long way to brighten a room and disguise pet hair.

 

 

Rethink wall-to-wall carpet. 

I know it’s cheap, but there are better, more cost-effective alternatives. All carpets absorb odors, trap pet hair and soak up stains. If you must have carpet, choose a low pile and a stain-resistant synthetic fiber. Stay away from continuous loop carpet because pets' claws can catch in a single loop and easily unravel a wide area.  Hardwood floors are simple to clean and add warmth, but large dogs may leave visible scratches all over the floor (heck, even your furniture can scratch wood floors). I dropped my T.V. remote and it left a small nick in my soft maple floors.

 

I prefer the new vinyl plank floors. They look like hardwood or laminate but are super durable and great for large and small pets. They handle spills and traffic like a breeze and add warmth when compared to a fully-tiled home.  Tile is still a great option however, given its durability, but it can be expensive.  And be careful with other surfaces like marble, granite and other natural stones; they are porous even if they're sealed, and are susceptible to stains.

 

Set up an entry space with pets in mind. 

Make sure they can come in from outside to an area where you can deal with the dirt and moisture before they come into the rest of the house. Even small condos can accommodate a bench with cubbies for towels, leashes and treats. Consider special mats that are very absorbent and will soak up wet feet. I personally don't have a bench or cubby, but I hung hooks on the walls for leashes, poop bag holders, harnesses and a pet cloth that hangs from a hook. This way, all their items are accessible but tidy and it’s also great in case of an emergency and you need to vacate the property you can grab the items needed for your pet on the way out the door!

At the end of the day we want to make sure our homes are comfortable for everyone and look clean and organized.  This is especially important when you are trying to sell a pet-friendly home!  Following these tips can help with anxiety, unexpected guests, short notice showings, and make life so much easier for you and your furry family members!

 

 

 


7 Common Myths about Real Estate Agents

(Published on - 2/23/2018 5:36:33 PM)

Just when you think you've found out everything you need to know about how to hire the right real estate agent, someone  will give you their “two cents” worth of info and have you reconsidering your choices over and over!

 

Here are 7 common misconceptions to remember in your decision making.

 

1) Agents make too much money.

 

May as well deal with the big one head on!  Many agents get paid by way of a commission that is often a small percentage of the sale price of a home.  So yes, commissions can be high because even a small percentage of a large asset can be a significant amount of money.  I could try talking about the hours that agents often spend working for clients, the expertise provided and the expenses paid to be able to provide services to clients, but I know how that sounds.  It sounds like a sales pitch and, at the end of the day, if a client feels like they did not receive the kind of help that they wanted then they will feel like the agent didn’t deserve their commission.  There are many professions where this is the case and real estate is no different.  Just like those other professions however, there are many business models and agents that you can choose from.  So if you are looking for an agent and you want to make sure you are “getting your money’s worth”, ask around, check out testimonials online, interview agents and find out exactly how they will EARN what they expect to be paid. We know that the onus is on US to show our value to YOU and this is what should guide your choice of real estate professional.  A good agent will have no problem demonstrating their value.  And considering the things that can go wrong when people buy or sell the most expensive asset they will ever own, a good agent will be worth every penny.  

 

2) Agents want you to pay more for a home because then they make more. 

 

Again, I want to deal with this head-on.  If an agent is getting paid a commission based on a percentage of the sale price then yes, the more a house costs the more the agent will make.  It may help to see the real impact of this by using an example however.  Let’s say a client wants to look at a house that costs $400,000.  If the agent gets paid a typical commission rate (3.5% on the first $100,000 and 1.5% of the balance), that agent will make $8,000.  If we apply that rate to a home that costs $450,000 (a huge leap in price), then the agent could make an extra $750.  I don’t want to suggest that this is nothing.  But that is not an amount worth losing a client over.  A good agent knows that getting their client into the home that is right for them matters a lot more, and that pressuring a client is a great way to lose that client.  And not just that client – all of their friends, family and potential referrals too!  I recognize this, which is why I would never push a client into a higher price range.  I am concerned about helping you find the home that makes sense for YOU.  Happy clients come back and happy clients refer others and that’s where the real success is in this industry. 

 

3) The less you offer to buyers’ agents when you sell, the more money you keep.

 

In most cases, the agent representing the buyer will get paid a commission offered by the seller (and the seller’s brokerage).  So offering a low commission amount may seem like a good idea, but it comes with risks.  Buyers who have agents will have entered into what is called a “Buyer Brokerage Agreement”.  This is a contract between the buyer and their agent and it will often specify a commission that the agent must be paid.  If the agent does not receive that amount from the seller, then the buyer MAY be required to pay the difference.  Buyers may instruct their agents to only look at homes where the amount being offered will cover the amount required by the Buyer Brokerage Agreement.  It may also be the case that if a buyer has to choose between two otherwise similar homes, they may lean toward the deal where they are not going to be out-of-pocket directly themselves.  So it may actually become a competitive disadvantage to try to save money that way. 

 

4) You can call any agent and get them to show you houses.

 

A good agent will expect to have a contract in place before providing services.  Nobody likes working for free and real estate agents are no different.  Although it is possible to enter into a “non-exclusive” agreement (where you can have service agreements with other agents), there should still be an agreement in place so the relationship is clearly understood.  We want to invest a lot of time and effort into representing you and helping you, and in return we just want to make sure the expectations and obligations for both parties are agreed to.  Even if you are just starting out looking for a home, it’s better for both you and the agent if that is clearly understood up front.  For me, I would love to help you out even if you’re just getting started.  Client satisfaction is EVERYTHING in this business and I want to help you every step of the way. 

 

5)  Agents want you to use their home inspectors just to make a sale.

 

A good agent may be able to refer you to several qualified inspectors but they are only guided by what is best for their client.  Why?  Because they are primarily concerned with YOUR best interests, not a quicker payday.  And there is a selfish reason too; a client who is unhappy with their home or who feels misled or pressured will never use that agent again, nor will they refer their friends and family. I know that my buyer clients are always better off knowing the truth about a house.  Also, the inspection agreement would be between the client and the inspector, and a good inspector will not want to risk liability and lost business by “colluding” to make a sale happen.  Like with your agent, ask around and check references!  

 

6) Agents price homes to benefit themselves.

 

Sometimes, sellers feel that their agent either (a) made them list for a low price for a quick sale, or (b) TOLD them their home was worth a lot to GET the listing, only to see it sit for a long time and sell for a lot less.  When it comes to pricing your home, there are two important things to consider: 

  • A buyer will not overpay for a home if they can get something similar for a lower price; and
  • Most buyers have agents who are giving them detailed market information to they can compare purchase opportunities.

A seller’s agent cannot MAKE people pay a certain price for a home.  The numbers don’t lie, and a good agent will show you the applicable market activity to support their market value estimate.  The choice about the listing price should then be up to YOU, based on YOUR circumstances.  You should be able to clearly understand how the agent arrived at the market value price range they show you.  Once you are informed you can then make your decision.  Listing high may mean your home will be on the market longer, but you may end up making more money (although it may also lead to “low-ball” offers if buyers see that it has been on the market for a long time; they may think you are getting desperate).  Listing low may mean a quick sale, but for a lower amount than you might otherwise have obtained (although it may also lead to multiple offers and a higher sale price).  Ultimately, the “proof is in the pudding” in the sense that the number of showings and the number of offers is the market talking to you.  If a home has been on the market a while and there are few showings and no offers, then chances are buyers are seeing better opportunities elsewhere and it MAY mean that the home is priced a little too high.  Similarly, multiple offers within days of listing MAY mean that a home was priced very aggressively.   Yes, the market can be very complicated, but a good agent will be able to SHOW you how different pricing strategies may work, help you find the “sweet spot”, and then let you make the call.  I am happy to spend as much time as you want going over market trends and the sales data to back up any home evaluation I provide.  I want you to understand the market like I do. 

 

7)  Agents will say anything to make a sale.

 

A good agent will always look out for their clients best interests.  Not only is that better for business, it’s the law!  Agents who lie to their clients or act against their best interests may be subject to complaints and even lawsuits.  Ultimately, an agent could even lose their license.  Like most agents, I take my professional responsibilities to my clients seriously because this is my career and my livelihood. Even more than that though, this is my passion.  There is no feeling like a “thank you!” or a referral from a satisfied client.  I know I won’t get those if a client feels pressured or “taken” in some way.

 

I know there are negative perceptions of real estate agents out there.  But a good agent will have no trouble demonstrating their value and making their clients feel secure and well-represented.  So take the time to shop around; get recommendations from friends and then interview agents and check their references.  You want someone who will inform you, respect you, and work FOR you.  As I said above, a good agent can be a lifesaver when you set out to buy or sell you next home!   

 

 

 


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