Tales from the Trenches: This Market is SO Unpredictable!

If you've been paying attention to the market for the last few years, you know that calling it HOT is an understatement, lol! And yet, sometimes, some homes, don't sell! Well they WILL eventually, lol...just not according to the original plan!

There's a home that I showed a couple of weeks ago, great neighbourhood, quite spacious, showed reasonably well & in that $300-$350k price range that is SUPER HOT right now!

From what I've been told, 2 offers were presented on Offer Night, both of them above the asking price. Unfortunately, the seller has a hard number that they need to achieve with this sale in order to move forward, & neither of these offers met it. Now you may say, "well that's the problem right there, it's over-priced"! Except that the most recent comparable sale in the neighbourhood was for $10k MORE than the seller's hard number & that home didn't have as much to offer as this one! It's a head-scratcher!

Think Social Media Is Free? Think Again!

Venting? Have some feedback you MUST share? If you take it too far, be sure it's worth the cost...

Someone once told me that I was the most politically correct person they knew. The context wasn't that it was a good thing, but rather a criticism of who I am as a person. I must admit that the comment stung a little because I think a lot of politically incorrect things all the time, lol...but there's usually a reason that I can't or don't say them out loud!

I've been self-employed for almost 20yrs, first with my home daycare business and now in real estate. And there are lessons you learn along the way when YOU are the product you're selling:

With daycare I learned very quickly that people scrutinized & judged every aspect of my life from my appearance, to how my children behaved, to my home, even the types of vehicles that my husband & I drove...and THEN they looked at the types of services that I offered.

With real estate, you might say that the product I'm selling is houses, and that's partly true. But I'm selling MYSELF to potential clients as the right choice to help them buy & sell those houses. So, many of the factors that I was scrutinized over in daycare, carry over into this industry as well.

Perception IS reality. And there are rarely second chances when you work or volunteer in a service industry, particularly in a trust or authority position...having a bad day or making a bad decision or saying the wrong thing, at the wrong time, or in the wrong place, can cost you money & much worse, affect your reputation.

People's perception of me & what I have to offer affects whether I can earn a living or not. And that can be a little scary! Certainly scary enough to have me watching my P's & Q's (most of the time), that's for sure! And yes, choosing political correctness as well.

So you may be asking yourself what is the point of this post? The Canadian Real Estate Association released an article yesterday about a legal ruling in BC regarding being held liable for not only your own Social Media Posts but those of your "friends" who may subsequently comment on those posts. Read the CREA article HERE and the details about the incident it relates to HERE. I think this story would be a good addition to the ugly portion of last week's post about Neighbours - The Good, Bad & The Ugly!

The article brought to mind 2 examples I've seen online in the recent past.

The first were comments made in a private Facebook group. They were needlessly confrontational & some were needlessly rude as well, and the author of those comments eventually deleted them...maybe they were told to by the group admin, or maybe they realized themselves that they were ill-advised...who knows. But everyone in that group read those comments before they were deleted, and deleting them didn't change that. The end result? There are now fewer members in that group. Not a dire consequence by any means, but there are also some who think less of the author now as a result of their comments & so it does affect their reputation to a certain extent.

And the 2nd one was on a Facebook page, a much more public venue. And that's where I learned first hand, the consequences of making an unpopular decision in this age of instant feedback through social media. I learned that sitting at a keyboard, or behind a screen, causes many people to lose their filter, if not their minds, lol. That it's far too easy for a mob mentality to take over & that no amount of reasoned explanation will slow down the eventual spin out of control. Those that disagree with the "mob" will not jump in to offer a different point of view, for fear that the "mob" will turn on them as well. They will, however, provide support behind the scenes & report back on information that is circulating privately in addition to what's online. As helpful & appreciated as it is, that leaves only 1 point of view in the public domain. When there is no opposing view it becomes accepted that this is everyone's point of view.

Eventually, we had to start deleting personal attacks & blocking people from posting to the page. And that caused another backlash over censorship & calls that we were handling the situation poorly...but you have to draw the line somewhere, & in this case that line was when there was no more constructive discussion AND we were getting into slanderous territory.

When people don't get what they want, they get angry...and angry people lash out. The difference is that nowadays they have a bigger audience to whom they can voice their displeasure to. Up until now there weren't any meaningful consequences, but the court ruling in BC should be a wake-up call to everyone. What you put on the internet lives forever. I still have a copy of every post that was made on that thread & who made it, thanks to my notification settings, they were all emailed to me.

That experience was a painful reminder of what I already knew & made me even more acutely aware of how I need to be ever-vigilant in the future. Not because I (or we) did something wrong in that 2nd example, because we didn't, but to be better aware of what the perception may be of my words, decisions & actions. Or the words, decisions & actions that I may be linked to. Unfortunately that incident DID cost me not only business relationships but personal relationships as well.

Do I need to be politically correct to a certain degree? You betcha! Am I always? Nope! Am I careful what I say on social media? Always! AND who I have on my friends list? Now I Am! I think you have to put yourself out there in the first place to understand what the consequences are when you're not. And sometimes you may feel that those consequences are OK, and sometimes, whether you want to or not, you have to make a different choice.

Have a fabulous day!

Where is Clarington's Starbucks???

Pickering has 1...Ajax has 2...Whitby has 4...Oshawa has 3...There's even one at the ONroute in Port Hope, which is in Northumberland county...so where's Clarington's Starbucks??

|       Why has Starbucks deemed us unworthy?       |

We actually did have one for awhile, located in the Target in Bowmanville & for 16 glorious months we were blessed with the frothy goodness of their yummy concoctions....but then they took it away :(

Courtice has Tim Hortons, 3 of them in fact. Bowmanville has 2, with a 3rd opening soon & Newcastle has 1 as well. There are also some nice independent coffeeshops in both of these towns but if Santa Fe Springs, CA has 560 Starbucks locations in a 25-mile radius, why can't Clarington get just 1?

A few years ago there was an article that was making the rounds about the effect that Starbucks has on the neighbourhoods they're located in. Even how Starbucks knows the next hot neighbourhood before anyone else does...so given the enormous growth & real estate price increases that the various communities of Clarington have enjoyed in recent years, where is Starbucks to really put us on the map?

South Courtice could really use some amenities so that residents don't have to hike up to Hwy 2 for everything, & this could be a perfect spot! In my mind it could be part of a great "centre point" to make the neighbourhood more walkable.

What about the area around Green Rd & Hwy 2 as you enter Bowmanville? This area continues to be built up & a Starbucks could be a great addition to the overall shopping experience in this location.

The Port of Newcastle has the same problem as South Courtice with no amenities nearby...Hello! Prime location to create a neighbourhood hub!

Even if you're not a fan of their coffee, and many are not, if the research holds true in Canada like it does in the US, then we should all want one in our neighbourhood for what it will do to the local home values!

What do YOU think?

Have a fabulous day!

Weird Starbucks stories:



Neighbours - The Good, Bad, & The Ugly

If you've got neighbours, then at some point, in some way, they're going to have at least some sort of impact on your life. Some will enrich it, but unfortunately, it's all too possible that some will make it miserable.

Here are a few #truthbombs about neighbours:

Trying to hide something when you're selling your home? One of your neighbours will probably rat you out...

The condition of your neighbour's property can affect YOUR home's value.

Fighting with your neighbours is costly both emotionally & monetarily.

Today's subdivisions have people packed in quite tightly & good-sized yards have been sacrificed for larger homes. It's no wonder that one of the biggest requests I get from buyers is to find a property that doesn't feel like they're living in a fishbowl. And why homes with no neighbours behind, command such a premium.

Want to Increase Your Home's Value? Start Outside!

It's going to be a beautiful sunshiney day today so it feels like the perfect time to talk about switching your focus to the great outdoors when it comes to adding value to your home! The return on investment for outdoor projects is overtaking the more traditional "kitchens & bathrooms sell houses" mindset in a really big way so it's something all homeowners should consider, regardless of the price-point of their homes. To maximize your return just be sure to keep your improvements in-line with WITH your neighbourhood & the price-point of your home.

I have a client who bought a 1-year-old home last year and she said that she would probably stay there for 5yrs before she'd make her next move. We talked about how that home, in that location, would get her the best bang for her buck when it came time to sell, vs another home in a different location that she was also considering. The price for a similar home in that area is up almost $100k since then so it's safe to say that she made a good decision! At the time, we also talked about improvements that she could make that would help to force the appreciation even further and those were to replace the countertops (both kitchen & baths) with a more high-end product and to focus on curb appeal & the backyard. I think I mentioned that improving the shower in the master suite could be a good project as well...

The Downside of Beautiful Decor...aka...What's Included?

The beautifully presented home...we all love it. It's so easy to picture ourselves living in it, living the lifestyle that we imagine goes along with it. And really, that's the intention when it's staged (you already know this because you read my post on the HGTV Effect right?) and some people even live like that all the time! Perfection is hard to maintain but there are some people who can pull it off...not me personally, lol, but kudos to those who can & do!

But wait! None of it is included? It's all an illusion? That gorgeous light fixture in the dining room...nope! The fantastic high-end appliances & the window coverings...nope, nope! Once you strip some of these features away, does the house still hold the same value? Well, that depends on what you're taking away AND who you're asking...

Everyone's perception of value is different, it's going to depend on individual circumstances & more often than not, the need to put out cold hard cash. I always tell my buyer clients that you can write anything you want into an offer, but should you?

I've had Sellers who were adamant about excluding the decorative mirrors they installed above the bathroom vanities in the home they were selling, but be equally adamant about the same type of mirrors being included in the home they wanted to purchase...clearly a bit of a disconnect!

The Bully Offer - Welcome to the Wild Wild West!

The Wild Wild East is more geographically accurate but it doesn't have the same ring to it, does it, lol...Bully offers have become commonplace in our area as Buyers search for any advantage that will put them on top! Sellers too are trying to take advantage of it as we often see right in the listing that offers are set for a certain date but that they reserve the right to look at pre-emptive offers.

What is it?
A Bully offer, otherwise known as a Pre-Emptive offer, is an offer that is submitted by a Buyer ahead of a set offer date. It's an attempt to gain control of a situation where Buyers are not typically in control due to our current market conditions. For example, a property is listed on Monday with the Broker remarks indicating that offers will be reviewed on Friday, as per the Seller's instructions. However on Wednesday morning a Buyer submits an offer that is only good until Wednesday night...and the Seller has to choose whether they want to entertain the offer or follow the plan and wait until Friday.

Buyer Fatigue: Should You Give Up On This Real Estate Market?

Look Familiar? :(
No question, it's a tough time to be a buyer right now! But what's the alternative?

Wait until rates rise? It's predicted that we will continue to have minor fluctuations over the next year or two but that there's not a huge rate hike looming in our foreseeable future.

Wait until the market crashes? There have been buyers waiting for many years for this to happen & they've gotten priced right out of the market. Hindsight is a cruel b$tch!

Keep renting & build somebody else's equity? Or stay in your current home that doesn't meet your family's needs?

None of those sound like particularly attractive options, right? But I get how frustrating & discouraging it can be for my clients to be on this rollercoaster ride of low inventory & multiple offers that is the current real estate market, because I'm right there with them! I work for free every single day, for every single client, until we successfully buy or sell a home so I've got skin in the game too!