Articles for Sellers
At one point, we have all seen a real estate show on TV. Whether it was Love It Or List It, Property Virgins, or The Property Brothers. Some of us have wondered what it would feel like to have our home featured on a show. How we would like our home to be renovated or remodeled, and what it would look like after. Then we thought about the show and how much our home would be worth after a reno job was complete.
The shows spark our imaginations and they let us look at our homes, and sometimes we start noticing what we would like to have changed about our home. Then we contemplate; well, maybe it is time to sell this place and get something else. If this is the case, then we have some great news for you. We have been asked by the producers of the Property Brothers: Buy and Sell, to feature some of our clients on the Tv show. The show airs on the W Network and HGTV. Our sellers: both house and condo sellers, interested in this must know the following:
- The renovations will not cost you anything.
- You need to be serious about selling your home.
- We require, a compelling story, as to why you would like to be on the show/have renovations done to your home. (Must be e-mailed to us)
- You need to be willing to be featured on national television.
- The last thing to know is; this is only for sellers not under contract by another brokerage, and is exclusively offered to our clients.
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Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 and is filed
The time has come for you to sell your Mississauga condo. You have an option to sell it by yourself, often referred to as “for sale by owner” AKA “FSBO”, or you can hire a Realtor for the job. Since over 95% of condos in Mississauga are sold through agents, most people decide to list their homes for sale with a real estate brokerage. That said, there are over 35,000 licensed Realtors on TREB (Toronto Real Estate Board) and thus, choosing the RIGHT real estate agent for the job can prove to be a challenge for some. In this blog post, I want to help those looking to sell their property, by providing some insight on selecting the right listing agent.
Who To Work With
When asked – “How does one find a good real estate agent to sell a house?” Most commonly the answers given, are to find an agent who 1) works in the area, 2) is very active 3) does lots of open houses and 4) is advertising.
Agents Who Know The Area – I would agree that this point is important. How can someone sell a property, when he or she cannot answer the basic questions about the neighborhood to a potential buyer? Furthermore, agents who work in one particular area are more aware of the market conditions in that area. Finally, the same agents get to know all the major Realtors in that area, and this networking can potentially sell your property faster.
Active Agents - The term “active agent” is in fact very misleading as it means different things to different people. Just because someone has a fancy billboard or plasters bus shelters does not mean he or she is doing better than someone who does not utilize these means of advertising. At the same time, an extremely busy agent, may or may not be attentive to seller’s specific needs and requests. If you contact the agent and he takes 24 hours or more to get back to you, it probably isn’t a good sign. Make sure to do your due diligence by researching the agent.
Agents and Open Houses –This may be a reality check for some sellers, but open houses DO NOT sell your condo. Your condo is already listed on MLS and exposed to all potential buyers and their agents. Open houses are more often than not used as a means of advertisement not to sell your condo, but for your agent to attract new buyers for different properties. Agents that are not busy often volunteer to do open houses, for other listing agents, as a marketing tool to attract new potential buyers.
Agents and Advertising – Similarly, flyer advertising does NOT sell your condo. When a Realtor sends 5000 or so “just listed” flyers to all the nearby condos, those flyers end up in the junk. Think about it; nobody who lives in a nearby condo will sell their own condo, in order to buy your condo. So, why bother sending the paper advisements? In reality, the only purpose of the flyer is to generate more publicity and brand awareness for your agent, not your property.
What Really Works
The way I see it, this whole business is based on honesty and hard work. Ultimately, the best agent is someone who will tell you the truth about pricing your property right, will provide the best marking plan, and who truly operates a real estate business, not a real estate job or career. If you are actually interested in selling your property, you have to be realistic about your price and prepare the house to a sellable condition.
Interested in selling your Mississauga condo? I can help.
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Sunday, March 3rd, 2013 and is filed
The kids have moved out, there are way too many bedrooms in the house and it’s just the two of you and maybe the family pet. The Husband is getting tired of mowing the lawn, doing the plumbing and fixing the roof, whereas the wife keeps complaining about having to clean a big house on her own and she’s getting tired of having to carry the groceries through the long hallway and passing three rooms before she gets to put them down on the countertop.
It’s time for a nice relaxing vacation, yet there is so much to think about before you leave. You have to go to your friend’s house and give him/her the keys, and maybe even leave the family pet there because you can’t possibly leave a pet and a house for a week or two on its own. Some concerns that come with owing a house are; What if the wind blows over all of your flower pots in the backyard, or it rains onto your garden furniture? Somebody needs to come by, pick up the mail for you, water the plants and make sure that you haven’t left the patio door open for someone to come in. The house is too big, the vacation takes more preparation than it really should, and you’re just sick and tired of it all.
Now more than ever, people are making the switch from living in a big house to moving to a much smaller condo. Here are some useful tips if you are interested in downsizing from a house to a condo.
1. You can compile a list of things you “want/need” to hang on to and a list of items you “no longer need/haven’t used for a longer time period”. After this list has been composed, you can start by putting all the things you no longer need/haven’t used in boxes and then you label each box.
2. Now that you have created more space and cleaned up, you may want to decide what to do with those things. Some of the “old stuff” you can give away to charity, like Goodwill perhaps, and some things like books, electronics, appliances and even the still good nail polishes you could sell on Kijiji or by holding a garage sale in your front yard.
3. There is more room now, it’s neat and it will be easier to clean your house and it’s also easier to sell now. It proves to be a challenge selling a house that looks like the next episode of hoarders. Keep in mind that a presentable house, nicely decorated (put those pillows neatly on the bed) will sell faster, than a messy and unorganized home.
4. You should also see what furniture you can and can’t take with you. Keep in mind that you are moving from (example) a 2000 sq ft house into an 800 sq ft condo. The furniture that is in your family room, kids bedroom and guest room can be sold for a nice profit. It’s hard letting go, but in the end the rooms are no longer used and the things become dust collectors.
5. You should sketch out the new layout of your condo, write down measurements and pencil in how you wish to decorate and arrange your old furniture. If you notice that you still have things left over and you can’t squeeze that side table anywhere then you should really think about selling these items.
6. Some things that most people forget is that you don’t have room for your dining room table set of 6 in the new condo. Get rid of it! Invest in a smaller one if possible. Your 5 flat screen TVs are an overkill for your new condo.
7. Space – closet space, storage space, basement space, and garage space all come with a nice big house, unfortunately the condo does not. This might seem like a headache, but in reality, for some, it’s a great thing. In the house you accumulate all kinds of things over the years, thinking “I will wear those boots next week, or I will use that treadmill tomorrow morning.” Reality: If it’s been in the basement space – you will never use it again, so you might as well get rid of it. The condo will make you hold on to only the things that you really need in your locker, storage or closet space.
8. Don’t stress so much! All this de-cluttering, selling and moving can be a stressful process but in the end imagine all that comes with a condo lifestyle. You are moving into a condo that comes with luxury living. The wife does not need to spend hours cleaning and the husband no longer needs to do another fixer upper. Now the family has more time, money and energy to do the things they love. The Mississauga condo lifestyle allows you to experience more of what life has to offer.
Are you thinking of downsizing from a house to a condo? Contact me, I can help.
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Wednesday, September 5th, 2012 and is filed
Are you planning on selling your Mississauga condo yourself within the next 3 months? Do you have a condo listed privately and you are not getting the results you anticipated? Are you a potential condo buyer looking into private condos, because you are hoping to save some money? If so, this article is for you!
Selling Your Condo Privately
I have a lot of respect and admiration for those that are taking on the complex task of selling their home by themselves. These sellers, often referred to as FSBO’s (For sale by owner), choose not to work with a listing agent for perhaps several reasons, but mainly because they want to escape paying high commission fees. Traditionally speaking, most sellers who work with a Realtor in Mississauga can expect to pay anywhere from 1% to 3% to the listing agent and 2.5% to the buyer’s agent (known as the co-operating brokerage). This percentage is common practice rather than a fixed number.
However, selling your condo privately is easier said than done. By selling I do not mean putting up a $15 Kijiji ad, or a $299 listing on MLS and waiting around for a buyer. Selling includes: pricing it correctly, figuring out your target audience, designing a specific marketing plan, booking showings, finding buyers, qualifying buyers, answering detailed legal questions, negotiating your price, understanding all the legal terms and conditions, closing the deal and making sure your best interests are always put first.
Currently over 93% of people who choose to sell their home, do it with the help of a Realtor. For the few who choose to sell privately, their success relies on previous experience, as well as educating themselves about all the pitfalls of private sales. Having said that, it does not come as a surprise that more than 75% of sellers, who decide to list privately, eventually end up listing with a Realtor, considering that they have failed to sell their home on their own. At times they do not end up selling their property at all.
Why Your Condo Is Not Selling Privately
As I have mentioned numerous times on this Mississauga condo blog, the number one reason why a property is not selling is because of its price. Sellers (for sale by owners) price their properties based on a perceived value on what they feel their property is worth, as well as how it compares against other similar properties currently on the market. However, pricing a condo correctly is a bit more intricate than that. When a Realtor prices a property, they not only compare the subject property to the similar active listings in the area, but also to the comparable listings which have sold in the past and properties which have expired. A list of recently sold properties should provide a rough idea of what a seller should be expecting to get as a final figure for their property. A list of expired properties should guide the seller to ensure that they do not overprice the property. Thus, establishing the correct listing price, should be the number one priority of any seller looking for a successful private sale.
I would argue that the co-operating broker commission is almost as important as the listing price. The co-operating broker’s commission is the amount paid to an agent who brings a buyer to your property. Since most potential buyers have their own Realtor, it only makes sense to pay fair compensation to the Realtor who brings you a potential buyer. For this reason, well over 95% of the Mississauga condo properties listed on www.Realtor.ca pay a co-operating broker commission of 2.5%. Once again, this percentage is common practice rather than a fixed number. Based on my observation, properties which are listed on www.Realtor.ca and do not pay the appropriate co-operating broker commission are known to have less showings, less exposure and ultimately sell for a lower price, than those who compensate the buying agent.
The third reason which prevents your condo from being sold is your marketing plan. In today’s market, an MLS listing and professional photos are the bare minimal. A good Realtor will have a detailed marketing plan which he can show you on paper. Every property has a specific audience which they should be targeting. A condo which is promoted better will get more exposure and ultimately can sell for a higher price.
Buying A Condo Privately
Many Mississauga condo shoppers believe that private sales are the best deals since the seller is not paying the commission to a Realtor. However, this is only a myth. FSBOs list properties privately, because they want to avoid paying commission fees and are known to nickel and time to the last penny. Therefore, negotiation of price can be challenging since both seller and buyer are looking for an extreme deal. Also, as explained above, private deals are often overpriced as the seller is unaware of the correct pricing of the property. Explaining the correct price and finding common ground to meet can be next to impossible. For this reason, many Realtors simply refuse to work with private deals altogether.
By using a Realtor to buy a condo in Mississauga, 99.9% of the time it does not cost a penny to buyers. On the contrary, the buyer gets free qualified real estate advice, access to all the listings before they appear on MLS and most importantly a party which ensures that the buyer’s interest are always put first. To check out more advantages for my buyers click here.
Tried to sell your Square One condo privately with no luck? Contact me and I can help you out.
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Monday, June 11th, 2012 and is filed
1. Buying a Condo Based On Its Interior/Décor – When you are purchasing a Mississauga condo, you are not buying what is inside the unit but the unit itself. You need to look past the furniture, wall colours and décor and focus on square footage, as well as measuring the unit to make sure that your possessions fit how you envision your unit to look like at the end.
2. Waiting Until Spring To Sell Your Condo – Sure, spring is a very busy season in real estate, however, your condo will sell for its value the rest of the 365 days. It is simply a myth that it will sell quicker in the spring time. People purchase all year round. Just ask yourself – Do people move to Mississauga in the winter? Of course.
3. Not Having A Real Estate Agent – A real estate agent will make sure that your property is listed on MLS. Otherwise, other agents will not know that you are selling your property. At the same time, a realtor can explain everything to you and ensure that you get a fair value for your property. I often see Square One condos listed for sale privately for long periods of time without success. Not surprisingly, the moment the seller lists their condo with an agent, the property ends up selling quick.
4. Purchasing What You Want, And Not What You Need – Before you purchase your next Mississauga condo, you should ask yourself – “What do I need?” This could be, for example, a bigger closet, a larger master bedroom, maybe a balcony etc. It is a good idea to write some options down and tell your real estate agent what you are looking for.
5. Looking At The Perfect Kitchen/But Forgetting Your Finances – Sometimes, we like a property and it’s perfect. Perfect kitchen, big balcony and a spacious master bedroom. Yet, what we should really do first is get pre-approved for a mortgage. Keeping in mind how much we can spend, we can hunt for the perfect property that fits the budget.
6. Believing That Your First Offer Will Get Accepted – The Square One condo market is hot and you cannot expect to make an offer and immediately get the property. This should not discourage you.
7. Being Indecisive – It’s the first property, you like it, but you do not put on an offer because you believe you will find something even better. This way of thinking will make you lose your dream home. It’s never going to be perfect, a 100%. If you like everything but the kitchen cabinets, then you should definitely go for the unit. The cabinets can be upgraded.
8. Trying To Time The Market – Waiting for the best prices in order to buy, or sell. One may be able to predict the market at the minute, or a few months down the road but not in the future. If a financial crisis hits the country or a tornado hits, anything can happen. If the market was predictable a lot of us would be millionaires.
9. We Have To See The Condo To Buy It – This applies to Mississauga pre-construction condos. Developers sell units before the project is complete. Some people say that they cannot use their imagination when looking at floor plans, and that they would rather wait until the condo is built and ready to move in. However, one should keep in mind that prices of units are higher once the condo is complete and ready to move in, as opposed to, when it’s in its first stages.
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Sunday, April 15th, 2012 and is filed
What is a Status Certificate?
A condominium status certificate is a detailed report about the status of a Mississauga condominium. It outlines valuable information including but not limited to; the amount of money in the condo reserve fund, whether or not any major work needs to be done on the condominium, any claims or law suits made against the condominium, any special assessments made against the unit owners, the condo budget, insurance information, number of units leased and more.
Also included within the documentation is the exact cost of monthly condo maintenance fees as well as any outstanding payments.
The status certificate not only includes the above financial statements but also the condo declaration and condo bylaws. The declaration outlines all of the rules and regulations of the condo. For example the pet provision which states whether or not pets are allowed in the building.
Why is a Status Certificate important?
The financial statements within the status certificate are a good indication of a corporation’s financial stability. For example if a high rise condo in Mississauga only had $50,000 in its reserve fund, any cost accrued over $50,000 would have to be covered by the residents by either raising the maintenance fees or in the form of a special assessment.
The status certificate is also important to obtain before you buy a re-sale condo in Mississauga because it outlines the rules which are applied to that condominium. This can include bylaws portraying to condo repairs, visitors and use of common areas.
Where to get a Status Certificate and how much does it cost?
Typically speaking, the sellers are responsible for obtaining a valid status certificate for any real estate transaction. However, this clause must be included in the purchase and sale agreement. The status certificate can be obtained from any condo corporation in Mississauga and it can cost anywhere from $12 to $100 CND. Once ordered, it can take up to 10 days for the documentation to arrive. I can be also ordered from here: https://www.statuscertificate.com/
How do I know if my Status certificate is valid?
First and foremost, you should always have a lawyer review your status certificate. In addition, make sure your status certificate is recent (less than a month old). Always seek qualified legal advice for anything you do not understand.
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Saturday, February 25th, 2012 and is filed
It’s all over the news! As we say goodbye to 2011 and enter a new year, we once again hear the debates about the Canadian real estate market. The news are speculating that 2012, with too many building constructions going on within the GTA and putting the buyer in the driver seat, the market will go soft; stating that there are too many condos and not enough people buying (CTV news- CEOs sound alarm over Toronto, Vancouver condo markets ). Other sources such as CMHC, predict stable market conditions with the national average of a house hovering around the $368,900 benchmark.
Despite all this, as I stated in my previous article, there is no shortage of buyers for Square One condos. Properties are disappearing fast from the market and are being sold to distant buyers. Just last week alone, two of my buyers where both in a multiple offer situation and both were forced to pay over the asking price for the unit they wanted. I discussed this phenomenon with my colleagues and they shared similar encounters. Seeing multiple offers in the first 2 months of the year is uncommon, as it’s generally seen as the slow real estate season.
Mississauga’s condo market is still a baby compared to other places like Toronto and Vancouver. Over the next 15 years there will be over 20 new condominiums constructed. The question that is often raised is whether or not there will be an oversupply of condos in the market which can in turn perpetuate a real estate crash.
Is this a real estate bubble waiting to burst or a great investment opportunity?
My prediction, and of course this is only my personal opinion, leads me to believe that there will be no real estate crash in Mississauga anytime soon. My reasoning is based on the following key points.
1. Interest Rates are Low – For the past few years interest rates have been at historical lows. Many condo owners took advantage of this by selecting extremely low variable interest rates. Also, a few weeks back BMO and a few other banks introduced an all time low 5 year fixed rate at 2.99%. By no means am I a mortgage broker or interest rate expert, but for me this signifies that interest rates will probably continue to stay low for the next little while. Having low interest rates, means the cost of borrowing is cheap; hence people can afford to buy real estate.
2. Tight Lending Practices – Unlike our US counterpart, the Canadian banking system is a lot more strict and conservative. In order to qualify for a mortgage, a person has to prove his income in various ways by providing T4′s and bank statements.
3. Most Eeal Estate Predictions are US Based – Most speculations of any type of real estate crash are US based. As stated above, Canada has much tighter lending practices in place, which would prevent a real estate collapse like the one that occurred in 2008 in the United States.
4. Rent in Mississauga is Not Cheap – Rent prices for a newer one bedroom condo in downtown Mississauga starts at about $1,300 per month. The demand for vacant condo units is high and anything that is rented slightly below market value disappears off the market the same day!
5. Real Estate is Local – Just because Vancouver condo prices might dip does that automatically mean the Mississauga real estate market will follow? Of course not. Mississauga has been seen as one of the fastest growing cities in Canada over the past few years; providing a lot of jobs, a stable economy and steady growth.
6. People Love this City! There are more people who move to Mississauga than move out of Mississauga. People from different parts of Ontario (and other parts of the world) are amazed with the well planned out infrastructure and architectural design of Mississauga. I am having prospected clients from distant places contact me with inquires into purchasing a condo unit for investment purposes.
This is not to say a real estate crash is completely out of the question. As other real estate professionals, such as Andrew La Fleur pointed out; the only way a possible Mississauga real estate crash might occur is if we see:
1. Rapid rise in interest rates – Interest rates would have to almost double in 1-2 years.
2. A major economic catastrophe – An example on a global scale would be the US going into a very deep depression
In conclusion, indicators suggest that the chances of a Mississauga real estate market crash happening anytime soon are rather slim. Low interest rates, tight lending practices and other key factors all contribute to a steady 4-7% per annum real estate growth as seen in the last decade.
Questions or comments? Please contact me.
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Tuesday, February 14th, 2012 and is filed
1 . Establish the Correct Listing Price- Establishing the right price for your property is the most vital thing when selling your Mississauga condo. If your listing price is to high, the property may stay too long on MLS and not get sold. If it’s too low, you don’t receive your fair market value. Also, if the price is too low, buyers might walk away, believing that there is something wrong with the property.
2 . Correct Listing Information - Your listing agent should make sure that everything is filled out correctly. This includes professional pictures, correct square footage and an accurate description.
3 . Allow the Lockbox and Easy Access- Access via lockbox is certainly the industry standard. The code to your lockbox is only released by our office to real estate agents in order to minimize any risk to you. Prospective buyers don’t have direct access to your home and are always accompanied by their representative agent. It is also important to make your home accessible during afternoon and evening times, not just certain hours of the day. You do not want to make it too difficult for prospective buyers to make an appointment to see your home. This will allow for more showings and your home will disappear much faster from the market.
4. Spring Cleaning and Decluttering your Condo- Make sure that your home is clean and inviting and that there is no unwanted mess. This makes it easier to walk through and to give prospective buyers a better idea of the home, the size and the location of let’s say the walls. If there is too much clutter, buyers will be scared off and it is likely that they won’t come back. Last week, I have viewed a nice home unit in the Onyx, with a very good price. Yet it was a mess! My buyers did not even wish to step inside the unit!
5. Make Unit Cozy and Inviting- This falls under the cleaning category. However, sometimes it is nice to put up a few extras. Whip out those scented candles and put up nice pillows on your bed. Sometimes the extra effort makes a whole lot of difference. Think about it! If you walk into a new place that you are willing to buy and everything is well presented, it will catch your eye.
6. Allow Good Balance of Light- Buy mirrors! Mirrors reflect light, so it helps to brighten your small space. Another way is to make sure that enough light goes inside your condo. Make your windows bigger than usual, but not in the sense that you’re inviting burglars over for a shopping-spree. You can have your windows in full height, or have it as big as you want it to be. Complement these with nice and simple curtains.
7. Smell - This is one of the most important factors. Venting your home is very important due to cooking smells or pet smells. No one wants to walk into a smelly home! Open up those windows and spray some febreze.
8. Rented Out Condos - A lot of the Square One condos have rented out units. Make sure that you give the tenants 24 hours notice for showings.
10. Market the Property Well – It’s about having a knowledgeable expert representing you and your best interest. A Realtor is familiar with the legalities involved, with current market conditions, and with the most promising selling and marketing procedures both in print and online. Check out my 26 point marketing plan and how I can sell your condo fast and for top dollar!
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Monday, February 6th, 2012 and is filed
Over the past 2-3 weeks I have been working with several buyers, all looking for a condo at or near Mississauga’s downtown core. The universal problem I am experiencing is locating a property, that fits my clients’particular criteria and which doesn’t sell within the first 5 days, while on the market. By the time my clients get to see the condo, think it over and give me the “go-ahead” to make an offer; that property ends up being sold. Just last Saturday, I had 9 showings booked ahead of time, only to be told that there are no more viewings for 4 of those condos as the properties were already sold conditionally.
What does that mean for Mississauga condo buyers? The Mississauga condo market is hot and time is of essence. If you see a property you like, consider the fact that it might be off the market in a few hours. Also be prepared to go into a multiple offer situation and don’t be surprised if a unit ends up selling over asking price.
The next interesting fact which I would like to point out is the current residential locations of my potential condo buyers. I am having clients contact me from London (Ontario), Hamilton, Brampton, Barrie, Ajax and even Ottawa and Montreal, all hoping to find a condo in downtown Mississauga. When asked why they want to move to Mississauga, I am given a number of reasons ranging from economic growth to believing that Mississauga is a good investment in terms of both personal and private aspects.
This of course is a great sign that people do in fact want to move to Mississauga, since they see the city as, fast paced, expanding and hence with arising opportunities as compared to the city they currently reside in. I do expect this trend to follow in the coming months.
Questions?Comments? Please contact me.
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Monday, January 30th, 2012 and is filed
Statistic Canada released information today, stating that home prices in Toronto gained 0.3 per cent from August to September.
Re/Max conducted their own study and found some interesting results. The Re/Max study was based on 16 major house markets (including GTA, Vancouver and Calgary) across the country. Between the years of 2000 to 2010 the value of Canadian homes has doubled. Back in 2000, the average home was worth $163,951 and 10 years later the nation’s average of studied homes was worth $339,030. The study also showed that condos have become more and more popular as freeholds become less affordable
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Tuesday, November 15th, 2011 and is filed