Over 600 Lakes!

Over 600 Lakes!
Bat Lake - Minden

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Market gets Tough!

Time to breathe.....December has arrived and Buyers and Sellers start thinking of Christmas,
shopping and family. They have no time for real estate. This is the perfect opportunity for me to step back, review the events of the past season, and plan for a new season.
Haliburton, Minden and The Haliburton Highlands in general, saw brisk markets this year, as did most of Ontario. Our prices did not soar, but it was definitely a Seller's market. Buyers were ready to buy and the number of listings available for them to choose was down.
A fabulous meeting yesterday, sponsored by TD Canada Trust, declared that next year will be close to this year, but a bit calmer due to some of the new lending regulations that came into effect near the end of October.
What does this mean to the Seller? to the Buyer? I wish to take a moment to talk to the Seller. More than ever it is important to pick the right Agent (not the agent that gives you the highest quote for your property).
Here is my checklist (contact me by email or phone if you wish an actual form to use during your interviews):
1) Contact 2 or 3 sales representatives to meet with you;
2) Ask your neighbours if they have heard anything about their reputation;
3) Check each website -  look for quality and resources. Not necessarily number of listings -  some agents with fewer listings can give excellent service because they have more time for you, and they give more value to getting your listing;
4) During your meeting with each representative: a) did they come prepared (done any homework on your property ahead of time?) b) did they bring samples of their work and a presentation package that you can keep? c) do they know the neighbourhood, are they familiar with other sales in your area/on your lake? d) are they relatable? Do you feel comfortable with them, does their approach make you feel like they care about your listing? If they are rattling on about how busy they are - maybe they are too busy for you! e) Ask them about their ongoing education - what courses have they taken lately to keep at the top of their game;
5) Does the agent offer you a price right then and there, or do they get back to you with a price. Beware of off-the-cuff responses to value. Again, it comes down to value, your property is worth more research and preparation than a quick verbal value. A good sales representative will not bow to pressure to give a "general idea" during the meeting.
6) Last but not least -  and this is important.....do NOT simply choose the agent that quotes you the highest value on your property! Especially in a market such as this, where competition between agents for listings is brutal, it is so important to work with the agent that gives you the most comfort level. Most agents, if you disagree on price, will list your property at the price you request - for  a time. They will "try" your price first as long as you are willing to re-evaluate if the results are not as expected. Therefore, choose the right agent - not the right quote.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Agent or Brand?

As I was reviewing the local real estate advertisements this week, I started thinking about different agents in the area and the challenges or benefits they have behind their brand. I picked RE/MAX for a very specific reason, but not everyone believes that brand helps - only the agent's skills matter in getting the job done. Is this true?
I watch new agents on the scene closely....they are up on technology, they are go-getters, and I am often impressed with their efforts and creativity. Is this all that is needed?
In my experience, the complete package is what counts. The sales representative needs to be top of their game, willing to try the latest tricks, have excellent personal exposure. Without brand - no matter how top notch your skills are, for most there is a limit. I am constantly changing, tweeking, refreshing my look, my reach, my internet grasp, but I admit that the brand behind the name gives me a huge boost.
Every company, no matter how good, has it's so-so representatives, just as so-so companies have some excellent representatives. So the search for an excellent agent should include excellent backup by their company. What power does that company offer to backup that ace sales rep? Where does that company stand in social media, internet exposure, training, and all-round reputation? RE/MAX is a leader globally, internationally, and within The Highlands - a triple threat! I am incredibly proud to be a part of this amazing organization.
Next time you think of listing a property - do your homework - is the agent you are considering bringing a complete package? In this ever-changing world of marketing....they had better be! Happy Summer folks - it's half over already!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Did Someone Say CRAZY Spring??

It is now obvious that Real Estate South of The Highlands does eventually affect The Highlands. As I reflect over the last two months, it is apparent that things are changing. Our real estate board statistics show that listings are down 22% this May compared to last May, and real estate professionals are seeing the difference. Buyers are ready to buy....and we need more Sellers.
One of the trends happening right now is the ability for people who were thinking about early retirement to move forward. The market in Southern Ontario is allowing people to take that next step....make a strong return on their city home and have money left over when they buy their retirement property.
Some Buyers are looking to the future, buying their property now and using it as a cottage until they are ready to retire, and others are leaving their jobs and making the move that they have been thinking about. It is a very exciting time. Although prices have increased slightly in The Highlands, property here (and taxes) are still in a very affordable price range and Buyers have money left over to use throughout retirement.
What about properties that are not year-round? Increased equity available to Buyers due to the strong market is also putting a strong demand on these properties also. They are moving fast - it is becoming difficult to find listings to advertise!
Due to the lack of listings, this Spring has seen a marked increase in multiple offers and quick sales. If your property is priced correctly - it will sell.
Bring on the busy season - I am ready, are you?

Monday, April 11, 2016

2015's Market Report...

It is done! After printing, collecting, entering, and studying, I have created my very first annual 2015 Real Estate Market Report. The hard copies will arrive this Thursday, and anyone who wishes to receive one, no charge, is encouraged to give me a call or an email and I can mail one out or organize pickup/delivery. I won't keep your contact info in a database or contact you in the future - truly a no strings attached offer.
I am truly happy with the outcome. Being the inaugral edition, I do not have historical data for the report, but that will simply make next year's even better! If you wish to see the report on-line, here is a link, but a hard-copy will be a much better read! http://bit.ly/2015MktReport
Please let me know what you think of the report....feedback is imperative to making sure next year's is even better. Good or bad...please share your thoughts with me.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Some Exciting News!

I am so excited! Well, it has happened. I am so proud to now be a Member in Good Standing of the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing. What does this mean? I don't know where to start. In order to become a Member, I had to attend a specialized training course which covered such topics as demographics of the affluent, lifestyle segmentation, trends and amenities in today's luxury home product, and creating a marketing plan for the multimillion dollar property. A programme developed by Laurie Moore-Moore, President of the Dallas-based Institute for Luxury Home Marketing and Author of the book, Rich Buyer, Rich Seller! The Real Estate Agent`s Guide to Marketing Luxury Homes.

Most people do not have a million-dollar home, so why do my clients care. Every client is a million dollar client, no matter the price point! Skills learned in this course help me to keep my level of service at it`s very highest. The Luxury Market in The Highlands is still relatively small, growing each day, but I want every client to feel and be treated like a million bucks!
Being a Member gives me some additional perks. Along with the additional training, I have access to tools and resources that other agents do not have for marketing purposes, and super-important -- an amazing network of other highly skilled, trained and respected real estate agents across Canada and the United States for my clients moving from one area to another.

All this, along with the Power of ReMax and the branding of The REMAX Collection (a marketing programme designed specifically for luxury properties), I am ready for this year`s market! If you have questions about either of these programmes, wish insights into the current state of the market in Haliburton Highlands, or my unique marketing plan designed specifically for you, give me a call anytime! My cell phone is always on...705-935-1011.

Monday, January 25, 2016

2015's Luxury Market Review

Last year I did a little summary of the Luxury Market in The Highlands and it seemed well received. Time flies, so it is time to review last year's market.
The Highlands is a technicolour  tourist area! Big, small and everything inbetween. Our 600 lakes provide everything from the quiet, private retreat to big boating. And the area is growing! Minden and Haliburton, the two main towns, have both seen growth this past year but the best part is that even though the area is growing, we will never get too big. This keeps our market stable during tough times, and growing the rest of the time. People who discover the Highlands never want to leave!
 In my previous blog I noted that the Luxury Market, although still young to the area, has been growing in leaps and bounds. Between 2013 and 2014 the market grew 38% in number of sales from 5 sales in the whole tourist area that were over $1,000,000 to 8 sales. In 2015 we had 11 sales over $1,000,000.
The lakes that these sales occurred were all over the map! A small, private lake with pure privacy, mid-size lakes such as Mountain and Kushog, chain lakes such as Twelve Mile, Soyers, and Kashagawagimog, and of course the two larger lakes - Kennisis and Redstone. The smallest waterfront was 95 feet, ranging up to 1,273 feet (excluding the private lake which really skews the numbers). Again, the number of sales in a whole year is small, but looking at the big picture of area and market growth - the luxury market is continuing to climb as more luxury cottages are built. The increase from 8 sales to 11 sales in one year is a 28% increase.
At the beginning of February I am travelling to Mississauga to upgrade my training on latest marketing trends and learning from industry leaders in the Luxury Marketing industry. I am so excited...keeping on top and up to date so that I can offer the best possible service for my clients. I will let everyone know how the training went....stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

2016 - Are You Ready?

As we leave a banner year and start anew, it is "cleanup" time for real estate agents. Review our marketing strategies, reconnect with clients, price properties that may be listed in the coming year, take some courses.....Winter is a time of renewal and I love it!
I attended a seminar with TD Canada Trust last week, and our local Mobile Specialist, Dale Bull presented some excellent material. One tidbit of information is that there is an unusual amount of mortgages coming due for renewal in 2016. Up to 25% of all mortgages are coming due this year.
Gull River - Minden
What does this mean as it relates to real estate? One factor many Sellers do not take into account when they decide to sell is the inevitable "early repayment" fees when they pay off their mortgage. For many, this can be a very significant expense, and depending on your lender. Many Sellers assume there will be no fee because their next purchase will be through the same lender. It does not work that way and even though you have been with your lender for several years, you must re-qualify for the next mortgage and there are fees. Assume nothing - be ready.
Have a chat with your financial advisor when you think you may want to sell. The best real estate transaction is a "no surprise" one, and doing your homework with your lender is a great way to start.
There may be more listings this year with mortgages coming due - it eliminates the early repayment fees. Do you know when your mortgage is due?
More listings due to mortgage renewals and more Buyers due to the continued lower interest rate - another balanced market in The Highlands.