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Getting ahead of the (real estate) market
Posted on Wed, 13 Mar 2013, 05:09:08 PM  in Home buying tips,  Marketing strategies
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The real estate market in Toronto is still red hot and if you are looking to buy a home or condo I have some tips that will save you time and energy (and money!) and put you in a favourable position to buy in today’s market.

First and foremost - don’t get caught up with the newspaper headlines. You’ll still hear about the “house that got 36 offers” or on the flip side about how “the market is poised for a slowdown”.  Ignore the “noise”, and with my help as your real estate agent and become a local market expert.

Here is what you can do to arm yourself  in today’s market:

Be knowledgeable. Once you’ve narrowed down a neighbourhood to buy into, get to know the inventory. Study the sales history over the past several months and understand the trend in that particular neighbourhood. Keep track of the houses you view and understand their eventual sale price.  The list price in today’s market can be deceiving and bidding wars are still very much prevalent. Understanding value of the product you’re buying into is key.

Be prepared. Get all of your ducks lined up and make sure you’re prepared with your mortgage financing. Meet with your mortgage broker ahead of time and understand your mortgage options. Also, make sure you have all of the documentation in place to get your mortgage approved.  A good mortgage broker is vital in today’s market.

Be flexible. You may not get everything on your house hunting wish list, so make sure you’re realistic of what you can get in today’s market. After seeing the 10th home or condo, compare your wish list with the properties features you’ve seen thus far.

Be aggressive. In a seller’s market you sometimes need to use your elbows to get to the front of the line. Consider your options with me and I will evaluate the various strategies with you. Consider submitting a pre-emptive offer (before the offer review date) to beat out other offers. Also think about doing a home inspection prior to submitting an offer to understand the home’s deficiencies ahead of any offer.

Be patient. You may make several offers before securing your “perfect” house or condo but using the above strategies will help you tremendously and have you better prepared.

If you have any friends or family that are thinking of buying a home or condo in today’s market please feel free to forward them these helpful tips. I would welcome the opportunity to speak with them.

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The truth about open houses
Posted on Tue, 12 Feb 2013, 02:08:22 PM  in Marketing strategies
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I know I’m not going to be popular with some of my real estate colleagues with this blog post, but the truth is, an open house won’t help sell your house.

Often, when I am interviewed as a candidate to list a property for sale, I often hear the “main marketing plan” of other agents is centered around the open house. I’ve even heard realtors suggest spending lots of marketing dollars on promoting the public open house through local newspapers.

However, a recent study from the National Association of Realtors found that less than 2% of buyers actually came from an open house. Not what you expected isn’t it?

So why is it that open houses are so popular if the likelihood of finding a buyer for your home is so remote?

Having an open house serves a very important purpose - for the real estate agent - it gives them a database of potential clients.

If you think about it, at an open house, you get all kinds of people walking through the home. Some people might want to get a sense of how much their home might be worth… Others walking through might just want to get a look at what's on the market. This is a great environment for a realtor to build his database of buyers and sellers.

The reality is, if you’re serious buyer – you’ll book an appointment to see the house. If you’re ready to buy and shopping around for a home, the last thing you want to do is go through an open house when there are 5 other people walking through at the exact same time. Virtually all serious buyers want to take their time to view the home and see if it is the perfect fit and they will want to do that (privately) without all of those other people there.

I won’t deny that there was a time where the open house was an important marketing tool to sell the property, but I believe the internet and the way people shop for homes today has significantly changed.

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The New New Rules of Real Estate Marketing
Posted on Tue, 15 Jan 2013, 08:44:42 AM  in Marketing strategies,  My services
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The rules of the marketing game change all the time. With the advent of the internet, email and social networking, the competition for your attention has never been greater.  Marketers need to differentiate themselves from others or risk becoming irrelevant.

Think of what you’re doing to market your house, your product or your services. It needs to be different to capture the attention of others… how does your customer distinguish your product from all the others that you’re competing against? Think outside the box!

Not too long ago, I had the thought to try something different with one of my rental properties: re-rent the property using a high quality video tour.

The results were startling.

I’ve used professional videos with many of my client’s homes for sale and achieved great success… so why not use the same blueprint with my rental property?

In the end, I rented the property at a higher rental amount, my property rented significantly faster and I had to spend a lot less time marketing the property to qualified tenants.

For a property I plan to own for many years, I now have a high quality marketing video that I will be able to re-use every time I have a vacancy!  Well worth the initial cost and effort in my opinion.

With my real estate brokerage, I’m also constantly looking to stay ahead of the marketing curve. One strategy I follow is to borrow marketing best practices from other industries and apply these to my real estate brokerage.

Today, I will leave you with this to think about… Have you considered borrowing marketing ideas from other industries and applying them to your business?

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What you can learn from Starbucks when selling your home
Posted on Tue, 11 Dec 2012, 08:49:09 AM  in Home selling tips,  Marketing strategies
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December is one of my favorite months of the year… Lots socializing… with many parties and get togethers, it’s just a nice time to catch up with friends and family. What I love about this time of year is that everyone is happy and in a good mood!

So how do you capture some of that good mood and translate that into your home or condo getting sold?

The homes or condos on the market right now are usually what I call the “left overs” from the Fall. It’s easy to tell the moment you walk into a “stale” listing… The sellers (and agent!) aren’t putting the same effort in selling the home as they were when the property first came on the market.

What do you do if you HAVE to sell your home in December? Why not steal a strategy from one of the best retailers on the planet… Starbucks.

What does Starbucks have to do with selling houses?

I think Starbucks does a brilliant job at marketing, especially at this time of year. They’ve got the red coffee cups, holiday themed drinks, as well, all of their coffee shops are (tastefully) decorated in the holiday spirit.

As a seller you have to do your best to create an emotional connection with the buyer. Make the buyer feel very much at home and have them envision themselves in your home.  That is exactly what Starbucks does! They’ve created a very strong emotional connection with their customers and have made their stores very cozy and inviting.

I believe there is nothing more inviting than going into someone’s home who’s decorated their home tastefully for the holidays. I am amazed at how few sellers actually follow this strategy. It’s not that’s difficult!  Don’t go overboard, but adding some holiday décor to your space will go a long way.

I know what most sellers are thinking right now… Why should I decorate for the holidays when I’m moving in a month or two? Well, if you don’t decorate you run the risk of not selling your home at all!

If you want to steal another page right out of the Starbucks manual, why not host a themed open house for buyers and realtors where you serve some hot chocolate and gingerbread cookies.  (I mean who doesn’t LOVE gingerbread cookies, right?)

If you’re considering buying or selling this winter, there really is no need to put off a decision until after the New Year. December can be a great time – I am here this holiday season to help get your property sold!

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