Friday, September 21, 2012

Stage this Home and Sell it...

There are many cliché’s or motivational anecdotes out there that can help us through life.

“you will miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”

"There are two ways of meeting difficulties: you alter the difficulty or you alter yourself to meet them."
"Focus on the critical few, not the insignificant many…. Even the most powerful waves begin as a single drop."

"Some succeed because they are destined to, but most succeed because they are determined to".  
"A positive attitude is a powerful force…. It can’t be stopped."  
"One of the secrets of life is to make stepping stones out of stumbling 
blocks."  
"If you do not believe – you won’t achieve"

One in particular stands out for me because it can be applied to all facets of life – your friends, your business, your job, your yard and your Home.

“You only have One chance to Make a good first impression” 

Think about it as you move through your day working on accomplishing specific tasks, meeting new people, how you are served in a new restaurant you might try or by a service provider – your drycleaner – the appliance repair man.  Whether or not you have a memorable experience you may or may not return.  What about that impression your home made on a Buyer contemplating a move to your area or price range.

Home Stager’s have become a very important and useful service connection for the Real Estate industry and home owners – in all price ranges.  I’e invited one of our favourite “stagers” to share her valuable advice in my Blog today.

Guest Blogger - Kym Tarr with
Prep this House


Home Staging –Get Your Home Sale Ready!

The stresses caused by the showing and selling your home, some say is right up there with a divorce or death in the family.  However things can go much more smoothly if you get your home ready ahead of time so as to impress buyers and get the top price your aiming for.
Preparing your home for sale is a bit like designing a stage for a play. Everything is in just the right place, perfectly arranged, and comfortably set.  If you're skeptical about the benefits of going to all this work or doubt that it will make any difference in selling your home, put yourself in the place of a home buyer.

Have you ever toured through a development of show homes? The paint is fresh, appliances are shiny, there is artwork arranged around the house, and fresh flowers stand on the kitchen counter. Mirrors are sparkling, towels fresh, and there are no toys on the floor. The rooms look spacious and the furniture comfortable.  The kitchens and bathrooms are polished, smelling fresh, and clutter is not to be seen.

Now leave the development of show homes and go down the street where the homes are several years old. Children's toys are stacked in the family room. Boxes are stacked in the garage to the point where you couldn't park even one car there. Clothes fill the bedroom closets. The house isn't dirty, but there are clean dishes in the kitchen sink and toothpaste stuck on the bathroom vanity. Homework is spread out on the dining room table. The family dog is barking because of the strangers in the house and the floors are showing their wear.

With all other things being equal, which house would be more appealing to you? Of course, the first one! The homes may be the same size, but because of the clear layout, the first home would  much larger. The house was prepared to show off all the good points and none of the bad.

So if you just can't see through all your things to the core of your home, consider hiring a professional to stage your home!   By bringing a Home Stager on board, you the homeowner will get unbiased feedback about what does or does not work in a home and how to highlight your homes best features.   Which in turn will likely sell the home for a higher price.


Thanks so much to Kym Tarr’s continued advice and support for our clients and our REALTORS®.

Check out our radio contest with EZ Rock:


Follow this link to enter on the EZ Rock website!

When the going gets "Tough"...just call me.
Susan Tough

Friday, August 17, 2012

TRUST



Trust – do you trust your mother? 

Do you trust your doctor – if you don’t you will likely find a new one.

Do you trust your best friend? Of course

What about your mechanic – you wouldn’t let just anyone work on your BMW, classic Triumph or that very first car you bought on your own.

REALTORS® – do you trust your Broker?  Do you know they have your back no matter what – can you trust they will perhaps not always tell you what you want to hear, but what you need to hear.

Buyers and Sellers – do you trust your REALTOR®?  If you don’t – you really do need to find a new one.  Please don’t buy into the bad press the industry gets as a whole.  If you have a bad dentist, you change dentists – you don’t mistrust all dentists.  It’s the same with REALTORS®.  Don’t paint them all with the same brush.  Give yourself the time you need to find one you trust – a trusted REALTOR® will help you negotiate on the largest purchase or sale you will ever make.  They help you settle into the community, leave a community... turn a house into a home.

I want to share a blog written by one of the industry’s most respected marketing and social media specialist – David Marine - the Senior Director of Consumer Engagement for Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC.  We are blessed to have David as a member of the International team for Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC.


"Changing the Real Estate Conversation...The majority of people that will make a real estate transaction this year are doing so not for investment purposes, but for lifestyle reasons. We’ve become obsessed with home value estimators, but the real value of a home is in how it improves the lifestyle of the owner. Sappy? Perhaps, but it doesn’t make it any less true.
As an industry, we’ve forsaken the dialog of owning a home for lifestyle reasons in favor of mirroring the mood of the media. Stop following the pied piper. Let’s get some trust back.
Regaining consumer trust is no easy task. It’s not a simple five step process, but there are a few things we can do to rebuild what we’ve broken. And it can start online." Read More...

Thanks for giving this some thought  - repost – or share with someone you.  Working through the many facets of your life with your family, friends and colleagues is so much more enjoyable when you surround yourself with people you Trust!                                 

Coldwell Banker® – Where Home Begins.

When the going gets "Tough"...just call me.
Susan Tough


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Sellers, take note:



GROWING FAMILY IS NO. 1 LIFESTYLE MOTIVATOR FOR HOME BUYERS

Coldwell Banker® survey finds Sellers are more willing to make changes to increase buyer appeal; Buyers prefer updated kitchens & open floor plans to trendy media rooms  
A recent survey of 700 Coldwell Banker Real Estate professionals across North America revealed home buyers are motivated by lifestyle needs, with growing families ranking as top motivator on both sides of the Canadian/U.S. border.  Meanwhile, sellers are becoming increasingly aware of the value of presenting a home with buyers appeal, and are becoming more willing to go the extra mile as they compete for buyers’ attention.

Sellers More Willing to De-clutter, De-personalize and Make Repairs


Of those Coldwell Banker professionals surveyed:

  • 94 percent say their sellers are getting rid of clutter and making cosmetic updates, such as fresh paint and minor repairs.  This percentage was the same for both Canadian and U.S. respondents
  • 60 percent of Canadian respondents agree that clients are willing to “de-personalize” the home.  This percentage was much higher in the challenging U.S. market, where 76 percent agree.
  • 59 percent of North American respondents say sellers are even bringing in new home decorations or furniture to help make the home more appealing.  

When marketing your home, it’s important to help buyers imagine themselves living in the property. De-cluttering and de-personalizing is crucial to this process.  Sellers should recognize that while demand for homes remains strong in Canada, their home is still competing with other listings.  If a home is presented with a minimum of clutter and distracting personal items, it will appeal to buyers and improve the chance of a sale. 



Buyer Preferences are ‘Back to the Basics’


Sellers, take note: when it comes to selecting a home, buyers are going back to the basics.  They value new or updated kitchens, bathrooms and open floor plans as the most important features for a new home. 

  • 33 percent of agents surveyed across North America say that a new or updated kitchen is the most important feature to home buyers. 
  • 14 percent say the most important feature to home buyers is an open floor plan, while 12 percent say it is a new or updated bathroom. 
  • Only 1 percent of the real estate professionals surveyed say they believe that entertainment rooms or finished basements are the most important feature.

Home Buyers Moving for Babies and Careers


The survey also drilled down into which life events are motivating the most people to buy homes.  According to the Coldwell Banker Real Estate professionals surveyed, growing families is currently the biggest lifestyle driver for home buyers in both Canada and the United States.  


70 percent of real estate professionals surveyed say a new baby or growing family is the “most common”, or a “very common” lifestyle reason that North American buyers search for a new home.  Other key motivators include: 

  • Marriage - 59 percent.
  • Divorce - 48 percent.
  • Retirement - 37 percent. 

While the majority of survey responses regarding buyer motivators were similar between Canada and United States, and although job reasons was the No. 2 reason overall across North America, there was one marked difference.  Fifty-five percent of Canadian respondents cited job reasons vs. 69 percent of respondents in the United States, where the economy and job market have endured recent downturns.  


For most of us, while a home is probably our largest investment, the fact remains that people move for lifestyle reasons.  Regardless of market conditions, buying a home remains an investment in our lifestyles where the emotional and psychological benefits can hold equal value to the pure economic investment.

Canada vs. U.S. Pricing Variances


The survey also indicated a clear difference between the two countries when it came to sellers’ pricing strategies.  Unlike the stable Canadian real estate market, much of the U.S. market has been challenging for the past few years.  The Coldwell Banker survey indicates that U.S. sellers are ready to ‘get real’ about real estate.  In the United States, 51 percent of those agents surveyed said sellers were more willing to price their home competitively than at the same time last year, while in Canada only 31 percent of surveyed agents said their sellers were willing to do so.    


Canada continues to enjoy a stable, balanced market, with near historic low interest rates, and a good inventory of homes for sale.  This supports demand for housing, and sellers are continuing to price their homes according to our market conditions. 




Your Coldwell Banker professional REALTOR® can help you determine what ‘tweaks’ you can do fairly easily to your home that will attract more Buyers to the table.  Your REALTOR® is equipped with comparable properties and shopping statistics that can make a huge difference in how they expose your home to the market place to have the greatest effect.



When the going gets "Tough"...just call me.
Susan Tough

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Foreclosures: Process and Strategies


In any real estate market you will see foreclosures occur but in a market that has struggled to move forward from a downward adjustment to prices – we tend to see more hit the courts than usual.

Foreclosures are a necessary factor in any market condition.  They help keep communities from stagnating and inventory turning over.  I was in Phoenix last fall. Some neighbourhoods you drive through you find house after house boarded up, dead lawns, and empty pools.  It doesn’t help the community as a whole and stops buyers from looking in particular neighbourhoods.  Banks don’t want to be landlords or property owners.  In the Okanagan we have not had the harsh adjustment to the market that other areas are struggling with but we are seeing more foreclosures than we have over the last few years.

Some home owners' dream turned into a nightmare – some Buyer's opportunity that might not have been available to them.   Foreclosures are not ‘fire sales’.  The courts do have an obligation to obtain as close to market value of current conditions as they can.  Let’s look at procedures and risk.
 
First and foremost – be sure you are represented by a REALTOR® that has knowledge and experience in this process. In my March 22 BLOG I told you about a specific circumstance where one client was successful and the other sadly not.  For the most part, it came down to the successful buyer being represented by a  REALTOR® who knew how to handle the foreclosure proceeding and offer process. The unsuccessful buyer was very poorly represented in that capacity and blind sided by what happened, so check that out.

  • The purchase price offered on the First Contract of Purchase and Sale presented to the listing  REALTOR®  is used to obtain a court date for all future offers that may come in prior to that court date.  
    • That first offer submitted for consideration is public knowledge and on record with the court. That offer becomes the bench mark subsequent buyers’ may use.  I would encourage the first Buyer in and their REALTOR ® to be present in the Court; prepared to submit a second offer should they discover at the hearing that there are additional competing offers present.
  • All Offers into court must be subject free. 
    • All due diligence on the Buyer's part must be done prior to going to court. The Buyer may choose to make the commitment to pay for a property inspection before submitting their offer.  A measured risk for spending some money upfront, confirming the property is something they are sure they want to negotiate on and not a money pit.
    • It’s my opinion the courts would give greater consideration to a buyer that has done a property inspection than one who has not. 
    • It’s important the REALTOR ® acknowledges in the offer, ALL the due diligence items the buyer performs prior to submitting their offer, with simple statements:  “the Buyer has received and approved....... a Professional Property Inspection, title search, plot plan.....”
    • If there is a unique foot print or zoning usage – “The Buyer has verified property boundaries, zoning, property use and easements.”  It is up to the REALTOR ® to assist their client in researching and obtaining confirmation of all factors that could affect the Buyers use and enjoyment of the property.
    • Note that the Buyer is Aware of Property Transfer Tax.  The REALTOR ® needs to ensure their buyer is aware of that added cost as funds need to be available at completion and not financed through their mortgage.
  • Know ahead of time that the Buyer may not get an opportunity to negotiate. 
    • At times, if the courts have more than one offer to consider and find them all too close to make a choice, the judge may ask which parties are present, giving them an opportunity to step out of the room and alter their offers to resubmit later on, in the docket of that day.  There is no guarantee that opportunity will present itself so don’t count on it.  With your REALTORS® expertise on market values, go into a foreclosure offering what you believe to be ‘your’ top dollar to purchase this property.
  • “As is where is” written into the section identified as TERMS reconfirms the Buyer’s acknowledgement of the Schedule A.  The Schedule A, provided by the seller (Usually a financial institution), is always attached to the listing and to the contract of purchase and sale on behalf of the Seller.  Readers Digest's version of the Schedule A:  the Seller provides absolutely no inclusions or makes any warranty representations on the property. 
    • The Buyer must have NO expectations of the condition of the home from the time they last viewed it to the time they take possession.  In my opinion, this is one of the most important factors – or risks – the Buyer has to consider when purchasing a foreclosure.

Strategy:
Higher the deposit – the more it speaks to the Court.

  • The amount of the deposit (which becomes part of the purchase price) is a strong indicator of the financial ability and preparedness of the Buyer.  Not only does the judge want to award the highest offer – they also want to award it to the Buyer that shows the strongest position of actually closing on the property.
    • The Deposit amount, either already in their REALTORS’®  trust account, or Bank Draft present in court with the offer, 
    • And the disclosures of due diligence done by the Buyer has been known to sway the court’s decision towards a lesser priced offer – not always, but it certainly helps.
    • Be sure the deposit (Bank Draft payable to the Buyer’s REALTOR’s trust account) is with your offer to present.
    • We had one buyer (who didn’t intend to finance his purchase) make an offer on a lower priced property and the Bank Draft for the deposit was actually his offering price.  He was awarded the property even though his price was less than another offer presented.

The second or additional buyer to make an offer after the court date has been set does not necessarily have to present their offer to the Listing REALTOR® prior to the court date:

  • Enquire when the court date is and surprise them by showing up in Court (see my BLOG from March 22).  Be sure the REALTOR®  for the Buyer obtains a Schedule A to include with the offer – often the listing REALTOR®  will post them in their listing documents.

It is an absolute benefit to have the Buyer present with you in court in case there is an opportunity given to amend or better their offer in light of more competition that arrives unplanned.  Being present to address questions or make changes can be the winning move for the successful Buyer.  Remember, it’s the court s job not only to award the best offered price but to award the contract to the most qualified buyer - one they believe will actually close on the purchase so the property isn’t back in their court room in two months time.

One last note – if your buyer has intention to register the property in another name or entity, like a numbered company or family member, it is very important to note that the contract must be completed in accordance with the court order.  That means, however the Buyer wants the title of the property to be registered MUST be the same way the contract is written.  Failing to fulfill the court order as written is a costly position to be in.  Changing the court order after the property is awarded is also costly and has the potential to cost the Buyer the deal AND their deposit.

               Happy shopping!


When the going gets "Tough"...just call me.
Susan Tough

Friday, April 20, 2012

“Spring has sprung – the grass is riz….. I wonder where the birdies is?”



 “Spring has sprung – the grass is riz….. I wonder where the birdies is?”  
This is a poem I grew up with and have taught my daughter and soon my granddaughter.  It made me think about those of you getting you house ready to sell and thinking about putting it on the market for the spring traffic in our real estate market.

Your REALTORS® are very likely suggesting you do everything possible to make that good ‘first impression’ on potential buyers.  Helping a future buyer to see how great their future yard can look – with ease – is one good idea. – Street appeal is huge – don’t discount it or the advice from your  REALTOR® .  Traditionally in the spring – the real estate market sees an influx of inventory – you have to do what you can to stand out in the crowd.  A little gardening can go a long way – really.  And it doesn't have to be a huge job.

I know what some of you are thinking, “this woman is crazy, the words low maintenance and gardening go together like orange juice and toothpaste (not well)!” I have tried this before and wasted my money. I am not home enough and simply do not have the time to pay attention to a garden. Excuses Excuses, this time is different. Don’t miss out on the benefits of gardening!  Check out these tips from Coldwell Banker® and give it another go:

Face the Facts: There’s Good News & Bad News
Bad News: Maintaining a beautiful garden often takes hard work. From planning, to planting, to proper maintenance, gardens require one of the most valuable things you have…your time.

Good News: Well thought planning prior to planting can save both time and money and we have the tips to do it!

Do Your Homework
The first step to planning a garden is deciding how you plan to use it. Will you be growing your own vegetables (there is nothing like fresh basil, YUM) or do you simply want a flower garden that will add beauty to your yard? Keep in mind those who will be sharing in the beauty of your garden. Do you have kids or pets that may affect the area where your garden will grow?

After you decide what function your garden will serve it is important to study your yard prior to planting. Note the health of your yard, where do current plants thrive? Do certain areas receive more sunlight than others? Are there any weeds? Is there a place where water accumulates?
Once you assess the current status of your yard, jot down some notes and head to the store to seek professional advice on which low maintenance plants fit the following criteria:

  • Thrives in soil, sun and your climate 
  • Looks good for more than one season 
  • Perennial (A plant that has a life cycle that lasts more than two years) Personally, I've slowly turned my yard into mostly perennials and what a difference it has meant to my time and the success of the plants. 
  • Will not outgrow the space you plant it into 

Keep in mind that native plants grow on their own and don’t require a lot of attention.

Make Smart Choices
Here are ten perennial plants that blogger Marie Ianotti from About.com Gardening suggests as smart choices for a low maintenance garden. (Check with a local garden centre for availability & suitability for your area.):

  1. Blazing Star: Blooms: Mid-summer through fall  Colors: Purples or white 
  2. Coneflowers: Blooms: Summer  Colors: Purple, white, orange, yellow, pink & red 
  3. Coral Bells: Blooms: Late spring / Early summer, but grown for its foliage. Colors: White, pink or red 
  4. Foam Flower: Blooms: Late spring / Early summer Colors: White or pink 
  5. Globe Thistle: Blooms: Early summer to Early Fall Colors: Blue or white 
  6. Hosta: Blooms: Generally mid-Summer Colors: Purples or white   (MY Favorite for shady spots)
  7. Peony: Blooms: Late spring / Early summer Colors: Pinks, white, reds or yellow 
  8. Russian Sage: Blooms: Mid-summer to Fall Colors: Blue (be careful – this will take over it’s area – I pulled mine out)
  9. Sea Thrift: Blooms: Spring to Early summer Colors: Pink, rose, lilac, red or white 
  10. Siberian Iris Blooms: Late spring Colors: Blues, purples or white 

Consider Container Gardening
A great solution for a “wannabe green thumb” that doesn’t have hours to spend on their garden is opting to use the container gardening method. Let your creative juices flow when selecting your container and think beyond planter boxes and hanging baskets. Some of the most beautiful container gardens are grown out of household items that you may look at as junk. A popular, “out of the box”, solution is growing a garden out of the basket of an old bicycle  or use that big broken pot – tip it on its side and let the plants and dirt ‘spill’ out of it..

Other fun ideas include cowboy boots, wheel barrows, bird feeders, dresser drawers and rain barrels.

One benefit of container gardening is that you don’t even need a yard. Decks, windows, balconies and front porches (another personal favorite of mine) can all be used as a starting point for your garden. For more information on container gardening check out “What is container gardening?”  by TLC.

Adding containers or features (like the old stained glass window or concrete piece add character to the space so you don’t have to plant so much to make it look ‘full”                                      

Stick With It
Commit to giving your garden the TLC that it needs and deserves. Be patient and give your garden time to grow before giving up on it. If you see your garden going downhill don’t give up! Seek the help of fellow gardeners in your neighborhood, local nursery or go online and reach out to the garden community.  Share your passion for your garden with a family member or neighbor. Hobbies that are shared with loved ones are always more enjoyable.  The reward of a beautiful garden is well worth the work you put into it.

Good luck and happy planting! The photos in here – I’m proud to say – are from my own garden! – I work a lot and still have time to keep it maintained – the number one must have though is automatic sprinklers.





When the going gets "Tough"...just call me.
Susan Tough

Thursday, April 12, 2012

How great is this!?!


What a wonderful evening was shared by REALTORS® and Staff at the beautiful Quail’s Gate Winery on Boucherie last night.  Some people don’t appreciate or follow the award standings of their  REALTORS®.  Others do very much.


From our point of view – as independent contractors – REALTORS® are effectively in charge of their own business model and career success.  I believe that acknowledging them for the dedication to their profession is a very good thing.  Just like any profession or service providers you come across in your daily activities – there are some that meet your needs better than others.  At Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty – we are blessed with the ones that rise above the industry standard of care and production.  


What that translates to you – the public – is that you can rest easy when you have the benefit of a Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty REALTOR® working with you on your purchase or sale.  The Ultimate Service
® 
program embraced by our licensees is exactly that – a measurement of the top quality service they provide during a very important time of your lives – moving.  What makes this measurement even more valuable is that the results and award winners are acknowledged because of direct feedback the BRAND gets from you – the clients.  You tell us constantly – that your Coldwell Banker  REALTOR®  was amazing, trustworthy, professional, kind, knowledgeable...... the list goes on.  

Thank you from all of us for your kind remarks and feed back – and Thank you for your continued loyalty and trust.

2011 Ultimate Service
® Winners are:

Gary August, Malcolm Bellinger, Allyn Bentz, Ellen Churchill, Leigh Bjornson, Renate Boucher, Marlene Braun, Jennifer Bregolisse, Jaime Briggs, Paige Guernsey, Cecile Guibault, Jane Hoffman, Tracy Lang, Gary Loverin, John Mandoli, Murray Neuman, Roma Niessen, Darcy Nyrose, Blake Roberts, Barret Watson, Ian Watson, Jennifer Williamson

                  

Jane Hoffman Group – #1 Coldwell Banker® team in Canada and #1 team in British Columbia and in the top 10 teams in Canada for total units.


After more than two decades of landmark achievements, Jane Hoffman has firmly established herself as the Okanagan’s most respected and prolific lakefront real estate specialist. Jane has leveraged this experience in leading and inspiring the real estate sales and marketing professionals of Coldwell Banker Jane Hoffman Group.




Cecile Guilbault earned the #1 sales associate award for British Columbia. 

Since 1995, Cecile's been pursuing her own dreams of living in the Okanagan and all the great opportunities it has to offer. When it comes to buying or selling property in this unique area her pride, love and appreciation for living here is reflected in her caring and personalized service.





Commercial Property Manager Shirley Mehus - earned the commercial awards -  Bronze Circle of Distinction & Top Commercial Professional in British Columbia



International Production Designations are important for the REALTORS® as it shows them how their efforts measure up to the International 85,000 Coldwell Banker® sales associates.



Canadian Associate Individual - top 30% in Canada:



Charlene Bertrand   Brian Gatzke             Bill Raine

Al Boyle                      Gary Loverin              Walt Reglin
Mark Boppre              Richard Paterson
Cathy Cherka            Marnie Perrier


International Sterling Society Individual - top 20% of all sales associates in North America

Allyn Bentz             Karen Guy                 John Mandoli
Ellen Churchill       Steven Hampton      Hugh Mervyn
Paige Guernsey     Bonnie Hunter


International Diamond Society Individual - top 15% of all sales associates in North America

Renee Boucher
Murray Neuman
Roma Niessen


International President's Circle Individual - top 8% of all sales associates in North America

Jaime Briggs has been recognized as our #2 producing individual sales associate in the Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty franchise.



International President's Elite Individual - top 3% of all sales associates in North America

Cecile Guilbault 

has been recognized as our #1 producing individual sales associate in the Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty franchise.


International Sterling Society Team - top 30% of all teams in North America

August & Bregolisse - Gary August and Jennifer Bregolisse
Roberts & Braun - Marlene Braun and Blake Roberts


International Diamond Society Team - top 21% of all teams in North America

Dusik, Bjornson & Lang - Greg Dusik, Leigh Bjornson, Tracy Lang and Katherine Dusik
Watson Brothers - Ian Watson and Barret Watson


International President's Circle Team - top 13% of all teams in North America

Nyrose & Associates - Darcy Nyrose, Jennifer Williamson, Dave Sutherland, Dave Sargent, and Jason Koverchuk

In the top ten teams for Canada for total units.



International President's Premier Team - top 2% of all teams in   North America

Jane Hoffman Group - Jane Hoffman, Kristy Huber, Carole Ceron, Lora Proskiw, Dean Simonelli, and Sherrin Stewart


Chairman’s Circle - Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty

John Geha, Coldwell Banker Canada Operations ULC President stated today: “I am very pleased and Proud to have a company of the quality of Coldwell banker Horizon Realty in our network.  For the 10th year they have qualified for the very prestigious award of being recognized as a Chairman’s Circle company within the Coldwell Banker® Brand of Affiliates – which puts them in the Top 1% of Brokerages – Globally! 
This quality is not just reflected in the ownership – it starts with the Sales Representatives, the Management and the staff. A combination of people, professionalism and service are some of the many factors that make a Chairman’s Circle company ...and on top of that – they have qualified for the 15 year as an Ultimate Service® Company – an accolade we are all most proud of as that comes direct from the consumer.  I was very pleased to present these awards and share in the evening with them last night.”


When the going gets "Tough"...just call me.
Susan Tough

Monday, April 9, 2012

Women VS Men - Home-Buying Decisions

Coldwell Banker® recently published a survey about how men and women differ in their home buying decisions.  Here are the results:


Coldwell Banker Survey Finds Women and Men Make Home-Buying Decisions with Head and Heart
PARSIPPANY, N.J. (March 27, 2012) – Square-footage and price are important elements to consider when selecting a home but according to a new survey from Coldwell Banker Real Estate of 1,000 men and women, they both also rely on how they feel and how their lifestyle fits into a home when looking for a place to live. The survey found 28 percent of women and 25 percent of men put more emphasis on their feelings about a home than they do on the layout, square footage, or price. The majority of women (62 percent) and men (61 percent) also know within the first visit if the home is right for them.

“A home is more than square-footage and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and this survey shows just how much emotion can play a role in home buying process,” says Jessica Edwards, Coldwell Banker Real Estate consumer specialist. “When two people are looking for a home together, there are many considerations to take into account.  Of course, price and layout matter, but ‘feeling at home’ is an important factor.”


The survey also reveals insights into the roles men and women play at home and finds some interesting differences between age groups. 
Women Take Charge of Making a House a Home:
  • Over half of women (54 percent) say that they take the lead when it comes to decorating.  However, younger men play a larger role in décor decisions than their older counterparts. Forty-eight (48) percent of younger respondents, age 18-44, say decorating is mutual; this decreases to 36 percent for respondents 55 and over.
  • Women also cook it up in the kitchen. Sixty-eight (68) percent of women say they are the “primary chef” for their household.  Not to be outdone, some men are also putting on the apron – occasionally.  Nearly a quarter of men (23 percent) say cooking is their job.
Age Changes How Men and Women Feel “At Home”
  • Sharing financial decisions may get easier over time. Fifty-four (54) percent of people age 18-44 say major financial decisions are mutual, compared to 60 percent of those 45-54. This increases to 70 percent for people 55 and over.
  •  Interestingly, as age increases, so does contentment with the current status of the home. Almost half (45 percent) of those older than 55 say they are very happy with their home just the way it is, compared to 25 percent of those age 18-44.  More men seem to be focused on making significant changes to the home (9 percent) compared to women (5 percent).

Check out this video from Coldwell Banker highlighting tips for both men and women for buying a home.



    For couples entering the home-buying process, here are Edwards’ tips for harmonious house-hunting:

    • Each person should come up with a list of a few things that are most important and then come together as a couple to decide on a list of the top three to five things that are important for the home. 
    • When looking for a home, communication is key. Consider designating a point person for different aspects of the home-buying process, so that information is not delayed or communicated to just one part of the couple.
    • Don’t get too many people involved; typically more people means more stress and what is most important is that the couple is happy with the decisions being made.
    • Don’t forget to have fun! Remember that this home will be the place to build memories and a life together.
    What has motivated you in your home buying decisions? Whether you are a head or heart person, make sure you are represented by an experienced licensed REALTOR®. 

    When the going gets "Tough"...just call me.
    Susan Tough



    For more information please visit ColdwellBanker.com. 
    Survey Methodology: Coldwell Banker Real Estate engaged SSRS to conduct an omnibus survey via telephone in February 2012, among more than 1,000 respondents. This study was conducted in SSRS’s EXCEL Omnibus. EXCEL is a national, weekly telephone omnibus service designed to meet the standards of quality associated with custom research studies. The EXCEL survey consists of a standard set of introductory and demographic questions supplemented by a changing series of questions on various topics as contracted by participating companies.
    Sample Design: Each EXCEL survey consists of 1,000 interviews, with 50% men and 50% women.EXCEL uses a fully-replicated, stratified, single-stage random-digit-dialing (RDD) sample of telephone households. Sample telephone numbers are computer-generated and loaded into on-line sample files accessed directly by the CRT system. Within each sample household, one adult respondent is randomly selected using a computerized procedure based on the “Most Recent Birthday Method”. Respondents answering questions in an EXCEL insert specifically designed for this survey were 1014 men and women ages 18 and older.
    Margin of Error: Because this is a sample, and not an actual population, an associated margin of error applies. At a 95% level of confidence, the margin of error for this sample of 1014 is +/- 3.08%. This essentially means that we can be 95% certain that, for any percentage result for the total sample, the “true” percentage is within 3.08 percentage points of that which is actually reported.
    Significant Differences: Within this report, significant differences are reported at the 95% level of confidence.

    Thursday, March 22, 2012

    “Are you sure You know what you are doing?”


    The issues that cross my desk are sometimes ordinary, comical and even bizarre.  They will stem from uncontrollable circumstances with clients, with property issues and just plain life.  They can also stem from dishonest parties to the contract (again uncontrollable on the part of the REALTOR®).

    The ones that truly trouble me are the ones that come from ill prepared or uneducated  REALTORS®  working in an area of the business that is beyond their expertise.  The people that suffer are the clients from their loss or circumstance –----- it could have very easily been avoided.







    I’ve asked permission of one of our REALTORS® to share his post from facebook the other day.  I did receive a call from the REALTOR® that is the “hero”  in this, confirming her position and authority to act for her client the way she intended. Confirmation, Preparation, Education, Diligence, and also keeping the clients best interests at heart.  I am very proud to say the Marlene Braun works with Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty.



    I am very sorry for the clients that were not properly represented and lost out on something they likely really wanted only because their REALTOR® didn’t know what she was doing.  When that happens – the whole industry suffers.

    Enjoy the read.

    Quoted from Blake Robert’s FB post:

    This is why you hire a real estate professional with experience who knows the ins and outs of the business:
    This morning at 8:45AM, Marlene Braun gets a call from a client who wants to put an offer in on a property in the Shuswap that is in foreclosure. There is an offer already in from another REALTOR®  that is set to be presented at 10:00AM.
    For those who don’t know how foreclosures work, the first offer in, the once accepted by the bank is publicly disclosed so others can appear in court to write their own offer as well.
    While Marlene scrambles to wrap up an appointment she is already dealing with, I get three offers written... One sufficient to outbid the offer already in from the first REALTOR®, plus two more so we are ready to go head to head against others who may arrive in court or if the first offer written is increased when they learn someone else has arrived in court.
    9:55AM Marlene arrives in court along with her buyer so they are ready for all circumstances.
    The  REALTOR® with the initially accepted offer is in court, surprised that someone else has arrived to compete with the first offer.
    The initial buyer has not accompanied that REALTOR®, nor is there another offer prepared in the event another REALTOR® and client (Marlene) arrives in court.
    This story wraps up by 10:20AM with Marlene’s offer accepted, her client suitably impressed that she worked as hard and efficiently as she did on VERY short notice...the REALTOR® and client with the first accepted offer out in the cold.

    When the going gets "Tough"...just call me.

    Susan Tough

    Thursday, March 15, 2012

    COLDWELL BANKER® REAL ESTATE SURVEY


    COLDWELL BANKER® REAL ESTATE SURVEY REVEALS GROWING FAMILY    NO. 1 LIFESTYLE MOTIVATOR FOR NORTH AMERICAN HOME BUYERS 


     A recent survey of 700 Coldwell Banker® Real Estate professionals across North America revealed home buyers are motivated by lifestyle needs, with growing families ranking as top motivator on both sides of the Canadian/U.S. border.  Meanwhile, sellers are becoming increasingly aware of the value of presenting a home with buyers appeal, and are becoming more willing to go the extra mile as they compete for buyers’ attention.   


    Sellers are More Willing to De-clutter, De-personalize
    and Make Repairs To Increase Buyer Appeal
    Of those Coldwell Banker professionals surveyed:

    • 94 percent say their sellers are getting rid of clutter and making cosmetic updates, such as fresh paint and minor repairs.  This percentage was the same for both Canadian and U.S. respondents
    • 60 percent of Canadian respondents agree that clients are willing to “de-personalize” the home.  This percentage was much higher in the challenging U.S. market, where 76 percent agree.
    • 59 percent of North American respondents say sellers are even bringing in new home decorations or furniture to help make the home more appealing.  

    “When marketing your home, it’s important to help buyers imagine themselves living in the property. De-cluttering and de-personalizing is crucial to this process,” says Susanita de Diego,  Coldwell Banker Canadian Consumer Specialist. “Sellers need to recognize that while demand for Canadian homes remains strong; their home is competing with other listings to get results.  I always advise sellers that if their home is presented with a minimum of clutter and distracting personal items, it will appeal to buyers and improve their chances of a successful sale.”  


    Buyers Get ‘Back to Basics’ ….
    Preferring Updated Kitchens And Open Floor Plans Over Trendy Media Rooms  
    Sellers, take note: when it comes to selecting a home, buyers are going back to the basics.  They value new or updated kitchens, bathrooms and open floor plans as the most important features for a new home. 

    • 33 percent of agents surveyed across North America say that   a new or updated kitchen is the most important feature to homebuyers. 
    • 14 percent say the most important feature to homebuyers is an open floor plan, while 12 percent say it is a new or updated bathroom. 
    • Only 1 percent of the real estate professionals surveyed say they believe that entertainment rooms or finished basements are the most important feature.



    Home Buyers Moving for Babies and Careers
    The survey also drilled down into which life events are motivating the most people to buy homes.  According to the Coldwell Banker Real Estate professionals surveyed, growing families is currently the biggest lifestyle driver for home buyers in both Canada and the United States.  
    70 percent of real estate professionals surveyed say a new baby or growing family is the “most common”, or a “very common” lifestyle reason that North American buyers search for a new home.  Other key motivators include: 

    • Marriage - 59 percent.
    • Divorce - 48 percent.
    • Retirement - 37 percent. 

    While the majority of survey responses regarding buyer motivators were similar between Canada and United States, and although job reasons was the No. 2 reason overall across North America, there was one marked difference.  Fifty-five percent of Canadian respondents cited job reasons vs. 69 percent of respondents in the United States, where the economy and job market have endured recent downturns.  


    “For most of us, while a home is probably our largest investment, the fact remains that people move for lifestyle reasons,” says John Geha, president, Coldwell Banker Canada Operations ULC. “Regardless of market conditions, buying a home remains an investment in our lifestyles where the emotional and psychological benefits can hold equal value to the pure economic investment.”


    Canada vs. U.S. Pricing Variances
    The survey also indicated a clear difference between the two countries when it came to sellers’ pricing strategies.  Unlike the stable Canadian real estate market, much of the U.S. market has been challenging for the past few years.  The Coldwell Banker survey indicates that U.S. sellers are ready to ‘get real’ about real estate.  In the United States, 51 percent of those agents surveyed said sellers were more willing to price their home competitively than at the same time last year, while in Canada only 31 percent of surveyed agents said their sellers were willing to do so.    


    “Canada continues to enjoy a stable, balanced market,” says Geha, “with near historic low interest rates, and a good inventory of homes for sale.  This supports demand for housing, and sellers here are continuing to price their homes according to our healthy market conditions.” 


    When the going gets "Tough"...just call me.

    Susan Tough

    Survey Methodology: Coldwell Banker Real Estate conducted an online survey among Coldwell Banker real estate professionals across North America about housings trends in 2012. The survey was fielded between January 24 and February 7, 2012. 
    The base (sample size) for calculating results varies slightly from question-to-question.  The approximate sample size answering each question was 615.  Maximum error range based on this sample size - at a 95% level of confidence - is +/- 4 points.   Note that standard error calculation applies to random probability samples and is included herein to serve as a guide-only.
    *Some answer percentages in the above may not total 100 percent, if only the most popular responses are listed.  In other cases, respondents had the option to check all that apply, which may mean that percentages total more than 100 percent.