Monday, April 8, 2013

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

When you list your house for sale your REALTOR® likely explains to you that living in a home and selling a home are two totally different thing. Your home is going to be opened to many other REALTORS® and potential buyers and often these showings occur right in the middle of the kids nap time, dinner hour or as you would normally be getting the kids ready for their soccer game or even bed.

So some of Sellers may say "well, they can come but we will be home because it is nap time", or "we want our REALTOR® present for showings" for example. But is being present during a showing or maybe a home inspection the right thing to do?

Here's our top 3 reasons why we feel the presence of the Seller and/or Seller's REALTOR® may interfere with the sale of the home.

1. Buyers tend to be less comfortable asking questions or making comments about the home when the Seller or REALTOR® is present, as they may be afraid to offend someone. A simple comment like "that paint job isn't very good and I don't like the colour" or "the carpets all need cleaning" may be difficult for a buyer to say in front of an owner or agent. Or asking questions like "is that mold on the wall" or "is that water on the ceiling from a roof leak" may be harder to ask as the buyer does not want to offend the seller.

2. The Seller may say something or answer a question innocently enough that may jeopardize a deal or negotiations. For example when a Buyer's REALTOR® asks a Seller's REALTOR® why the Seller is moving, the Seller's REALTOR® would normally answer that question in a way that would not reveal the motivation of the seller - if they are desperate to sell or just testing the market. But if a Seller was to answer that same question direct to a buyer or Buyer's REALTOR® the result may be different. An answer such as "my husband is being transferred" or "my wife is too ill to handle the stairs to the bedroom anymore" may lead a buyer to believe the Seller is desperate and in turn result in a lower initial offer. Negotiations can change when motivation of a seller is revealed.

3. The presence of a seller and/or REALTOR® may also lead to overselling of your home. The in ground sprinkler system, the "owned" and not "rented" hot water tank, the upgraded light fixtures, the extra deep jacuzzi tub, the raised toilets, and the custom built storage shed that cost the seller extra money at the time of construction does not always add value to the home to all Buyers. Overselling your house may make a buyer feel pressured or nervous. Pointing out these small upgrades will take away from the buyers opportunity to see the important aspects of the house.

In the end, it's important to let the Buyer's REALTORS® do their job and the Buyers have their space. Your home and its features will sell itself and the more comfortable the buyer is in your home the better the chance they will fall in love with it.

So should you stay or should you go? We recommend you go.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

How's the Local Real Estate Market Looking?

Spring may not be here yet but the Tundra Swans have made their appearance in Long Point and my calendar is full of appointments with both Buyers and Sellers. A sure sign of spring!

2013 has been off to a great start versus 2012.

Year to date there have been 145 sales (vs. 125 sales in 2012) of residential properties (including vacant land) reported on the MLS® of the Simcoe and District Real Estate Board.

Lisitngs have dipped slightly to 361 new listings year to date vs. 451 listings in 2012. On the local MLS® the average sale price year to date is up 19.18% from $222,108 this time last year to $264,706. And the list to sale price ratio is up from 83.73% to 93.10% meaning properties are selling for, on average 93.10% of their list price.

People always ask, what does the average sale price mean to me? The average sale price is an overall view of what is happening in the local market. However, many factors play into the average price and can skew the results one way or another. For example. If large farms or large lakefront homes are selling obviously the average sale price is going to appear on the high side. And Norfolk County has many different styles of homes that will affect the average sale price.

Overall, the local real estate market seems to be ON FIRE right now. If you're thinking of buying or selling real estate, now seems to be a good time.

For the buyer's out there, we'd love to help you with your purchase. Visit my website at and click on the "FREE Home Buyer's Guide Logo" and I will send you a complete guide to buying a home.

If you're thinking of selling, contact me today for your free market valuation and I will also send you our marketing package to show you what we can do to market your home for sale.

Good luck with your real estate ventures, whatever they may be!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Power of Small Communities

The old saying “Small Town, Big Heart” has always rang true in my hometown of Port Dover. But not only Port Dover, our entire County is always so generous to give, to share, and to support.

Over the years I have planned many events. From figure skating carnivals and baseball tournaments to buck and does and charitable fundraisers. I have never once been disappointed in the residents and merchants in our great community. They are always willing to sponsor or to donate and help make any event a success. 

But I have three amazing stories about support offered to individuals and their families, above and beyond all the charitable events our locals sponsor and support, that I would like to share with you.

About 10 years ago, when I worked at the local grocery store, I got to know this family really well. Their daughter was a few years younger than me and she was very sick with Lupus. The family had so many medical bills, and car expenses from taking her to doctor after doctor, and I wanted to help. So, I rallied the staff at the store to volunteer their time and some high school girls to help too and we threw together a weekend car wash and barbecue. We were able to raise enough money to help them purchase a hospital bed for their daughter to have at home and new tires for their vehicle to get them to and from the hospital safely every few days.

Needless to say, the support and generosity of the community was amazing. One person even donated $100 just because. Didn’t buy a burger or get his car washed, just wanted to help. Shortly after this event (9 years ago as of February 11, 2013), the mom donated her kidney to her daughter. Today they are both are living happy and healthy and still here in Norfolk County!

Back about 3 years ago, a very dear family friend battled cancer and beat it twice. But the stress on the family from medical bills and travel expenses was immense. So, once again, the Community pulled together to help raise funds to assist the family.

We packed the place to capacity and beyond, had tons of local musicians volunteer their time and talents, amazing door prizes and even better silent auction prizes…all donated from business and locals just wanting to help someone in need.

Unfortunately, our friend once again faced the battle with cancer another two times, and lost that battle in January of 2011. The day we said goodbye to our dear friend is one I will never forget. The local community centre was once again packed to capacity. The love and support that was shown during his benefit to help the family with their debts, was once again present during their time of mourning.

A few months later, the family began planting a farm in which their son had ordered the products for the previous year. Family and friends and a few volunteers that no one really knew, went to the farm to plant their sons dream. All in a days work here in Norfolk County!

Most recently I was told of another friend who was suffering from a very rare disease. After battling cancer and being cancer free since January 2012, he was diagnosed with a very rare blood disease.  Friends informed me that his medical insurance would no longer cover his necessary medication, an extreme monthly expense that very few of us could ever imagine. So, they have decided to hold a benefit for him to help him and his wife and their 15 month old son, be able to pay for this needed medication. They asked for any assistance anyone could give.

Immediately I made a few phone calls to some local volunteers and organizations that are always willing to give. And without question they were on board. Once a facebook page was started, all kinds of people started donating amazing prizes and asking where they can donate to the cause. Again, Norfolk County took my breath away!

Donate for Duke (#donateforduke on twitter) is going to be a huge success, just like the past two events I mentioned, and all because of the kindness, selflessness and generosity of our small community.

So, when people ask me how I can live in the “middle of nowhere” or without all the amenities of the city, I will always think of these three examples of why Norfolk County is forever my home. You’ve probably heard it many times before, but it’s so true…HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS! And there is a lot of heart in Norfolk County.

For more information about Donate for Duke or to donate to the event, you can contact me at any time. The facebook event page can be found at:!/events/543007429073256/?fref=ts or you can chat with them on twitter using the hashtag #donateforduke

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

HELP! I'm Buying my First Home and I Don't Know Where to Start!

Today’s blog post was inspired by a friend of mine who contacted me about buying a house.  She told me she had no idea where to start or what to do or how it works and asked if I could give her some guidance to help her and her boyfriend purchase their first house.  So what better way to help them and help other first time home buyers than to create a blog of my recommended steps to the home buying process.


Everyone is excited about buying their first home.  But during all the excitement you must remember that the bank is going to weigh in on what you purchase, or shall I say how much you spend?!?  The first thing you should do is contact your mortgage broker or banker to get what is called a “preapproval”.  The preapproval will tell you IF they will lend you money, and if so how much they will lend you.  This number is important because it will determine what price range your REALTOR® should look in when trying to find the right home for you.


Although you won’t know exactly what dollar amount you will require for a down payment until you know the exact purchase price of the home you are buying, it is important to ensure you have a savings to make the down payment.  A minimum down payment of 5% is required to purchase your first home.  If the down payment is an issue, you can talk to you bank or mortgage broker about a “gifted” down payment, should you have someone willing to give you the money for a down payment.


When purchasing a house, there will be other costs related to your purchase.  There will be legal fees (contact your lawyer for an estimate), there will be moving cost, mortgage insurance, home insurance, home inspection fee, there could be fees for transferring utilities for a new home into your name and you may need new furniture and appliances for your new home.  Consider all of these items and set aside funds to ensure they are available when the time comes.


After getting your “preapproval”, take your monthly income and start subtracting your monthly expenses.  Items such as: heat, hydro, water, sewer, telephones, internet, cable/satellite, groceries, gas for the car, a little money for some entertainment, and any other monthly expense you may have such as a car loan or student loan.  Some of them may require some “guestimates”.  From there determine how much you have left. 

In your preapproval you should have received you a monthly mortgage payment amount.  Looking at what you have left and the amount they gave you, can you afford the “preapproved” purchase price the bank is willing to lend you?  If not, be prepared to lower the price you are willing to pay for a home.  Too many times we see people strapped after their home purchase and no money to travel or go out for a nice dinner.  Leave yourself some room and be comfortable with your monthly expenses.


Start your home search by creating your “must have” list.  These are things that you cannot live without.  So for example – must be in town, have three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a garage, a basement (finished or unfinished) and a gas fireplace. 

Then create your “wish” list.  For example – would like an ensuite bath, Jacuzzi tub, hardwood flooring, fenced back yard, and deck on the back.

When you start working with your REALTOR® you can provide them with this list to help them find your dream home!


A local REALTOR® is your key to finding the right home, finding it quickly, and being well represented in your purchase.  Many people believe they must call the REALTOR® who has the property listed for sale.  This is not the case.  Any REALTOR® can sell you a property listed for sale on the MLS® system.  So find the REALTOR® that suits your needs.  One who you trust and have confidence in.  Don’t be afraid to ask them questions about their experiences and get to know them to ensure they will be working hard on your behalf. 

Your REALTOR® will do a search of the MLS® system and provide you with a list of homes that match your “must have” list and hopefully even your “wish list”.  Then, you are able to look at them online, view additional photos, and narrow down the search results to the ones that interest you most.  Then start the viewing process!

From there, you are in good hands.  Your REALTOR® will guide you through the rest of the process.  Once you find your dream home, your REALTOR® will help you with all the formalities.  They will provide guidance as to finding a home inspector, getting home insurance, confirming your firm financing approval, assisting you in finding a lawyer, and sending all the documents to your lawyer in order to complete the transaction with no hiccups.

Your REALTOR® will also negotiate all agreements of purchase and sale on your behalf, representing your interests in the purchase.  Your REALTOR® can help you determine the appropriate purchase price for the property based on comparable sales, and offer suggestions for items you may want to include in your purchase price such as the homes appliances.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you aren’t sure you understand what is happening.  The home buying process includes a lot of paperwork and signing of contracts.  Your REALTOR® is there to help you understand what you are signing and to include conditions or clauses to protect you in what is likely the biggest purchase of your life at this point.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Happy 2nd Anniversary Erie's Edge Real Estate!

Today, January 10, 2013 marks the Second Anniversary of Erie's Edge Real Estate. And what an amazing two years it has been.

I found this quote and it's what inspired me to write this blog post.

"If you work just for money, you'll never make it, but if you love what you're doing, and you always put the customer first, success will be yours."

                                                                                         - Ray Kroc

I love what I do.  I love being part of a dynamic team of REALTORS® who always put the customer first.  I love matching people to homes.  I love making dreams of home ownership come true.  And Erie's Edge has helped me love my career even more.

When my husband Ray decided to open his own company I didn't know what to think.  I thought about the amount of extra work it would involve and I didn't know if consumers would "trust" a new company with what is considered to be the largest transaction in a person's life.

But quickly I realized that those fears were nothing but fears.  They were not reality. 

In the beginning we decided to focus on the Local, Mobile and Social aspects of real estate, and we still continue to do so.  No "bricks and mortar" office, large online presence, and some amazing new ideas we were able to pick up along the way.  Suddenly we had new REALTORS® wanting to join the company, and new clients contacting us for our services. 

The past two years have been full of excitement.  We have travelled to different conferences and events and brought back exciting information for our REALTORS® and to help our company grow. 

Since our launch in 2011 our company has grown in many ways.  And I have grown with it.  My career and myself personally have greatly benefited from our new venture.

I can't wait to see what the next two years bring...

In honour of our 2nd Anniversary we're celebrating by giving away a $50 Home Depot Gift Card! Post a photo of your house or your ...favourite room in your house or your dream home (that house in your neighbourhood that you love) on Erie's Edge Real Estate Ltd.'s facebook page. The lucky winner will be the photo that receives the most "likes". (In the event of a tie, a winner will be randomly selected from those photos that are tied). Contest closes January 31, 2013.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Real Estate in 2012 was GREAT in Norfolk County

Well, as I mentioned in my previous blog, 2012 was a prime year for my real estate career. Sales were up, referrals were up and our company was growing and making its mark in Norfolk County.

It turns out that my prime year was not the only prime year. Real Estate across the county was up overall and many areas had an increase in the average sale price and number of sales.

According to residential statistics from the Simcoe and District Real Estate Board sales were up 7.39% over 2011 in the Board's area.

In Delhi sales were up 1.11% but the average sale price was down 3.04% to $183,301.

In Long Point, a community mainly focussed on cottage sales, the number of listings were down by 11.54% but sales were up 75% over 2011.

Port Dover was up in all categories. 361 listings (up 19.54%) resulted in 136 sales (up 24.77%) and an average sale price of $252,608 vs. $242,912 in 2011.

Port Rowan had an increase in the number of listings (87 vs. 81) and total sales were up 8.82% over 2011's total of 34. The average sale price took a dip from $168,850 in 2011 to $155,359 in 2012.

The Simcoe market had a strong 2012 with the total number of sales being up 29.23% over 2011 and the average sale price increasing from $201,805 in 2011 to $213,925 in 2012.

In Waterford the average number of listings increased by 21.30% which led to a 10.91% increase in sales over 2011. The average sale price remained steady with a very slight 0.37% increase to $225,170.

Local real estate representatives listed 2005 residential properties and sold 904 on the local real estate board during 2012. Our local real estate board consists of about 130 REALTORS.  Check out a recent interview I had with the local paper, the Simcoe Reformer, regarding these statistics.

So no matter the area your home is in, chances are 2012 was good to the value of your home! It's not possible to predict the future of the real estate market, but one thing for sure, your local real estate agents sure know how to list and sell real estate!

Congratulations to all representatives on a very successful 2012. Let's aim for another successful year in 2013!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Bring on 2013

Well, today marks day 3 of the New Year!

2012 was a great year for my real estate business. Sales volume was my highest ever, and our company, Erie's Edge Real Estate Ltd. continued to grow and make a mark in Norfolk County.

As we look ahead to 2013, just like every year, it's a big question mark. Will the market remain the same? Will it increase or decrease? Will I be able to maintain my momentum from 2012? It's always unpredictable and I wish I had a crystal ball to show me the answers.

So, not knowing the future, I have to prepare for change. How can I improve my knowledge? How can I improve my communications with my past and present clients? How can I be one step ahead of the game? I think a lot of these answers relies on today's technology and a plan! That's why my New Year's resolution is to be more organized and structured in my career for 2013. Through the use of technology such as this blog, a business plan and a strong database I pledge to be the go to source for real estate information in Norfolk County! That's a big pledge but I know I can do it.

Check back in often for updates on the Norfolk County Real Estate Market, tips and tricks on how to prepare your home for sale, some highlights of some new and or unique listings, video blogs about what's going on in our communities or what I am learning daily about the real estate market, or just an update on how my resolution is coming along!

I truly enjoyed working with all my clients in 2012 and look forward to meeting new clients and in turn making new friends in 2013. Hopefully the market will favour all of us and I can make dreams of home ownership a reality across Norfolk County.

Wishing you and your families all the best in 2013!!