Paula's Adventures In Real Estate

Let me help you make your next move!

That New Puppy Smell October 30, 2009

Well, we did it. We got a new puppy. After a year of researching different breeds of dogs, attending dog shows, and interviewing different breeders we got a purebred American Cocker Spaniel puppy. We picked him up from the breeder on Saturday and named him “Jasper”. The green in his ear is from his tattoo.

Jasper

If it were just up to me, I probably would have been able to resist the urge of adding yet another animal to our family (we already have 2 cats) but my daughter simply wanted a dog sooooooooo badly. I warned her about all the work that a dog would be and what exactly would be expected of her but this didn’t phase her one bit. Truth is, I already knew that she was responsible enough to take care of a puppy – she’d proven this to us time and time again with how good she was with helping out with her own sibling.

Jasper Sleeping

So now we have this adorable 9 week old puppy in our mix. We are crate training him and so far that’s going pretty well. He’ll retire to his crate on his own now when he’s feeling sleepy. Unfortunately, he’s not entirely housebroken yet. That means that despite our best efforts and regular trips outside to “go potty”, our floors are taking a beating. BTW, thanks for returning my carpet cleaner Cindy!

Jasper outside

Jasper Rope

Jasper & Indiana

In the interest of making this post somewhat relevant to real estate, I thought I’d give some tips and suggestions to those of you who are also dog owners and are trying to sell your house.

1. Make the assumption that every prospective buyer that comes through your home is NOT a dog lover. This will help you to better scrutinize your own home when preparing it for sale. 

2. If at all possible, remove the dog(s) for any and all showings. Some prospective buyers may feel uncomfortable with a dog barking at them from the end of a chain or from within a crate or worry that they may not be as friendly as they would hope.

3. Remove all obvious evidence that you have a dog. Pick up dog toys, stow away the food and water dishes to an unobtrusive location in the house, pick up all the “landmines” in the yard. Vacuum everyday. Do a fresh coat of paint where Fido may have scratched or chipped it away.

4. Get a friend or neighbour to do a “smell test” for you. Dogs often leave a lingering odour that can be offensive to prospective buyers. Treat any pet related stains/odours with an enzyme formula which can be found at any pet supply store. We got a bottle Natural Chemistry’s Smells & Stains from Pet Valu for about $10.  

 

‘Till next time,

Paula

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Can’t Buy Me Love…But Apparently Can Buy Me Listings October 23, 2009

When listing your home, deciding on price is one of the most important factors. You want to get the highest priceDollar Sign possible for your home and ideally in the shortest amount of time possible.  When working with a real estate sales rep to sell your house, make sure to ask them for a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis). This report will allow you to see what other comparable homes in your neighbourhood are selling for and how many days it took them to sell. This is an extremely valuable tool and should not be overlooked.

 

Real estate is not an exact science and the market does change. There are varying reasons why a home may be overpriced which are not automatically the fault of the real estate agent. Sometimes it’s the seller who has set the price or sometimes the market changes due to socio-economic factors, and can no longer support a higher price.

 

On the other hand, sometimes a listing is bought. What do I mean by that? Well, let’s look at the following example: 

About a year ago, I received a call from a woman who wanted to sell her house. She invited to me come out to her home and give a price on it. I did so and after viewing the property, prepared a CMA for her. I went over all the comparable actives, expireds and solds in the area and explained at how I arrived at my final recommended list price. She wasn’t overly happy with my recommendation but did say that she understood why I came to that price.

 

GreedA few days later, she called me again asking if I would list her home for $30,000 more than what I had told her. She went on to explain that after meeting with me, she’d met with another agent who had several more years of experience than I did and who also told her that her house was definitely worth the inflated price. I reluctantly told her that I just couldn’t as I firmly felt that it would be priced much too high and that it would be a great disservice to her if I were to do this. I warned her that a price reduction was going to be inevitable.

 

Well, that other agent got the listing. Eight months and one $20,000 price reduction later, it finally sold for the exact amount I had quoted her. I felt a little smug knowing that what I had predicted had come to fruition but that feeling didn’t last as it immediately sunk in that my reward for doing the right thing would be knowing that the other agent was still going to get the payday. 

 

I did learn something from all of this though. I learned that sometimes it’s okay to let the seller set the list price, even if I feel it’s too high but to compromise by getting an agreement in writing that if there isn’t an acceptable offer within a set upon period of time, then we would do a price reduction to where I feel the property should be listed at. That way, hopefully, everyone can be happy.

 

‘Till next time,

Paula

 

One More Reason To “Love Thy Neighbour” October 16, 2009

Buying a house can be a daunting endeavour. For most people, it is the biggest investment they’ll ever make in their lifetime. No one wants to buy a property with deficiencies but can you always count on the seller to be forthcoming with that type of information, especially if it’s serious enough to potentially kill the sale or warrant a significant reduction in price?

 

One tip I’ve recently picked up is to encourage buyers to talk to the neighbours. Knock on their door or get their phone number (your agent should be able to find out this information for you). A lot of the time, if there is somethingEye on you wrong with the house you’re considering purchasing, the neighbours will be aware of it. Sometimes, it’s because they too are having similar problems (as can be the case with water potability or flooding) or they’ve actually seen evidence of a potential problem (i.e. a well driller’s truck parked in the driveway of a home with a dug well could indicate a lack of adequate water supply). This will also give you the opportunity to break the ice with your prospective neighbours, to find out what kind of people they are and decide if you can picture living beside them in harmony.

 

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t still do your own due diligence by having a home inspection but it does provide one other avenue to gain valuable information about the property before you sign on the dotted line.

 

‘Till next time,

Paula

 

Take My Knife – Please. October 9, 2009

In the world of real estate, to get your name out there is a must. Your career won’t go too far if no one knows who you are! That’s why advertisers make so much money off of us. In fact, I just had a guy in here a couple of weeks ago trying to sell me a small amount of advertising space on a board outside the entrance to a local grocery store to the tune of $800/year. Not having any stats or numbers to provide me with that would support any potential return on investment, I told the gentleman that I’d have to pass – but I knew that another agent would be only too willing to take my place.

 

Radio, television, newspapers, magazines, billboards, direct mail, internet, hell even the disposable paper placemats at family restaurants – if it can be used to promote a real estate agent, it will be.

 

Quite possibly the (hmmm, how shall I put this) “most interesting” idea for self promotion I’ve personally come across in the last couple years came from a company that came in to my brokerage one sunny afternoon. They gave a very lovely presentation in which they were trying to sell me a knife set that I could give as a gift to my clients after a sale.

 

Now you’re probably thinking “A knife set? How impersonal” but you need to understand that this was not just any ordinary set of knives. No. This set was promoted as being extraordinarily sharp and would even come engraved with my name and phone number on it to create “top of the mind awareness.”

 

Ooooookaaay. 

 

‘Cause it makes sense that I would want to make sure that when you think of knives, you think of Paula Hartwick, Real Estate Sales Representative. When you accidentally slice your finger making dinner, I want you to think of me again. When you’re sitting in the emergency room bleeding profusely, I can feel confident that my name will be the first that comes to mind…

Knife in Hand2Paula Real Estate PicKnife in Hand4

 

 

‘Till next time,

Paula

 

Don’t Be A Jerk While You’re At Work October 2, 2009

So I was sitting down on Wednesday evening to watch HGTV’s newest show “Realtor vs. Realtor” and it was great! I have to admit, based on the title of the show, I was expecting things to get a little more confrontational, however, both individuals remained professional and the ribbing that occurred was strictly in good fun. We’ll see what future episodes have in store.

 

This program did make me think though. It seems that no matter what business you’re in or what career path you’ve taken, you’re going to run in to people who see things differently than you do. As my very wise Aunt once told me “different people have different personalities.” Real estate sales are no exception. 

Paper Emotion 1Paper Emotion 2Paper Emotion 3Paper Emotion 4Paper Emotion 1Paper Emotion 2Paper Emotion 3Paper Emotion 4

 

My first month working at the brokerage, I was attempting to negotiate a deal on a property with another agent who didn’t like my client’s counter offer – felt it was too low. My client was the buyer in this situation and the counter offer was based on the recent sales of the comparables in the area which I had reviewed with my client. When I politelyAngry Dog asked the other agent if they could explain to me the reasons why this particular property was priced so much higher than the others, the mood instantly changed. This agent became quite aggressive and starting attacking me verbally, criticizing the fact that I was new to the business (as though that was the reason for the property being overpriced). Although I was quite taken aback and could feel the words “listen, you douche” starting to rise up from my throat, I managed to keep my cool and hold my ground (as well as my tongue).

Cucumber

As cool as a...

 

A few months later, I was speaking with this same agent again (who incidentally no longer had the listing) and they confided to me that they did concur that the price had been too high. Thumbs Down 2

 

Thumbs UpWhile I have to give that agent kudos for attempting to get the best price possible for their client, there was absolutely no reason to chastise me for trying to do the same for mine. I firmly believe that one of the most important relationships you can have in this business is with your fellow agents and I always try to treat my colleagues with the same respect and courtesy that I would expect for myself.

 

A good reputation is very important in this business – not only with the public but also among your fellow real estate agents. Look at it from this perspective…imagine you’ve listed your home with a real estate agent who has a reputation among other agents as being *ahem* difficult to work with. Chances are, they’ll show their client(s) every other possible option before showing your home, just to avoid having to work with that agent. What’s that old saying again? Oh yes, “you’ll get more flies with honey than with vinegar…”

 

‘Till next time,

Paula