General 13 April 2022

My “Why”

Have you taken the time to sit down, look at your life and figure out why it is that you do what you do? This could apply to your career, home life, reading habits, traveling, eating habits, exercise and the list goes on. Why are you doing the things you do and are you happy with the choices you have made? If you are not happy, what are you doing to change your situation?

Change is difficult. It takes us outside of our comfort zone. It requires effort and it means we have to break the current established patterns we have put in place. Our natural inclination is to leave well enough alone and stay exactly the way we are. But, if you stop and look at it from a different vantage point, you might see that you are holding yourself back from feeling better, being more successful in life and robbing yourself of happiness. In order to change your habits and move in a new direction, you have to get to what I call the “threshold” point. This is where you realize that you need to make a change, the change has to come from you and it has to be now. Once you are at threshold, then making the change is much easier.

I have made a lot of changes in my life in the past few years. My family moved from southern to northern Ontario. We moved for many reasons but the key was to be closer to family. This change led to career changes and the opening of a yoga studio where my wife and I deliver not only good health practices but we also have created a connection with the community. We left behind the corporate world of anonymity where I worked tirelessly for somebody else’s gain and have shifted to a world where we are working for ourselves and delivering a product that truly makes a difference in ours and our customer’s lives.

This is also the reason why I chose to get into the real estate business and why I have stayed in it despite the market going through the worst times it has seen in the past 30 years. Real estate looks like a wonderful job if you subscribe to the shows on HGTV. I can tell you first hand that it is a very challenging career with many highs and lows. More lows than highs recently. The work is worth all of the lows. Having the opportunity to help somebody through the sale and purchase of their home is amazing. This is one of the most stressful experiences people go through in life. They need a competent guide to walk them through the process, make sure they get the best deal possible and be protected financially when the sale is complete. Being a key part in helping another family find a better home (or maybe their first home) is a job that immediately shows you a return on your efforts by making that family happy and accomplished. Helping others is a great feeling and also makes me feel good and validated having provided a worthy service. This is why I do what I do. Both at the yoga studio and out buying and selling homes – I am making a difference in people’s lives and loving every minute of it.
BuyersGeneralSellers 13 April 2022

Best and final offer?

There is a notion that real estate agents might be the lowest form of human being on earth. Right up there with used car salesmen. Recently, I have uncovered some evidence to strongly support that notion!
Obviously this is not true for the majority of us out there trying our best to help people. But unfortunately, there are many agents practicing with no scruples or moral compass and they do things that make your skin crawl. These agents are not looking out for you and really only care about the commission cheque. They also don’t usually last very long in this industry as eventually, their reputation will proceed them.
It is bad enough that we are in such a strong seller’s market that we have to set dates for offer presentations and throw away many of the protective condition statements just for a chance to win a bid but we now have a new(ish) dilemma to deal with. This practice may look different if you are on the seller side of the equation but if you step back and look at it holistically, it feels very wrong.
Here is what is going on. The listing agent will collect all of the offers on a specific date and time. They will then pick the top 3 or 4 offers and go back to the other agents and tell them that they are one of the top contenders but are still competing with a few others. They then ask them if they would like to revise their offer to make it better and maybe push them over the top to win the bid. The listing agent reveals nothing to the buying agent about where they are in the order of contenders and, of course, nothing about the other bids.
When you line up the process to accept all bids at a certain time, that should be your best and final offer unless the seller signs back your offer with a change that you can then contemplate working with. With this new practice, you might end up bidding even more than you did before in fear that you will lose the competition. It adds extra pressure onto an already intense situation. You may have a bid that is way out in front of the others and end up adding even more on top of it when you didn’t need to.
You always have the option of leaving your bid as is and not changing it or even retracting it. You could change it and still not be selected. Or you could end up spending much more than you ever intended to and find yourself in a predicament with your lender if they don’t agree with the appraisal.
To me, this is a slimy thing to do as an agent. A poor way to conduct business by changing the rules midway through the process and adding unnecessary pressure for a few extra dollars. Short term thinking. And it is risky too! The buyers could all walk away leaving the seller with less options.
This heavy sellers market will not last forever. Signs are already showing up that change is coming. Working in a balanced market is much better for everyone and when we get there, this practice will fade away. So too will those agents that have been using this tactic. Integrity is what you need to win the long game in this business.
BuyersGeneralSellers 13 April 2022

Multiple representation

This is something that has caused some debate in the past and something that you should be aware of when involved in a real estate transaction. When you hire an agent, that person has an obligation to act in your best interests and protect your information. There is a buyer representation agreement that is signed by the buyer and the brokerage formalizing this relationship. The seller will sign a listing agreement which sets up a similar relationship for the seller and brokerage.
A multiple representation scenario indicates that the brokerage may be representing more than one party in a transaction. You may have heard of an agent “double-ending” a deal. This means that the agent is selling the house but has also brought a buyer to the table to buy the property. That agent is representing both sides of the transaction. A tricky scenario as the agent must not reveal to either party anything about the other sides motivations, purchasing power or any other bit of information that may influence the purchase and sale. It is obviously in the agent’s best interest to have that deal come together as the agent would then be entitled to the full commission.
There is concern that an agent might take advantage of scenarios like this one and orchestrate the showings such that only buyers that the agent represents come to see the property and make offers. That is, of course, illegal and unethical and the agent would be in a lot of trouble if that were ever proven to be true.
Multiple representation can also occur when the brokerage represents more than one party in a transaction. In this case, it is the brokerage, not the individual agent, that has the multiple interest in the transaction. For example, both agents (selling and buying) may work for the same brokerage. They work together at the same office so it is conceivable that they could collude with each other, and share secrets about the parties involved.
When you participate in a sale or purchase, your agent should walk you through these scenarios so that you understand what could happen. Again, it is in the best interest of the agent and brokerage to properly represent their clients or face consequences. Ideally it is best if you hire an agent that is not the one selling the house you would like to buy.
BuyersFinancesGeneral 13 April 2022

Making your dream home a reality

Buying a home is a big decision – whether it’s your first home or your forever home. There’s a lot more to the home-buying process than searching online for the perfect listing that checks all the boxes. The key is being able to shop with both your heart and your head, and knowing how to differentiate between the two. This is why it pays to have an experienced real estate agent in your corner.
Getting Ready to Buy Before you get caught up in the excitement of searching for the perfect home, consider the following questions:
1. How much can you afford? Crunch the numbers and define your budget. By getting pre-approved for a mortgage in advance, you can go into your home search with a clear understanding of your true affordability, and a competitive edge when it comes to negotiating on an offer.
2. Are you set on a specific neighbourhood? Before you narrow your search down to individual homes, consider what geographical area is best suited for your lifestyle. Keep the convenience factor in mind: how close is it in proximity to the amenities you use regularly?
3. What are your must-haves? Put pen to paper (or pull out your phone) and create a list with three sections: must-haves, preferences, and deal breakers. This will help you gain clarity and you’ll refer back to it often when comparing homes.
4. Who’s on your team? Having a team of trusted professionals in your corner to offer expert advice and guidance will help ensure you make the best decision for your finances and your future. This is why you want to choose a real estate expert who has your best interests top of mind. Your agent should be able to refer you to other reputable professionals as needed, such as a mortgage specialist, home inspector, and lawyer.
Why Work With Us?
When it comes to buying your perfect home, there are many steps and decisions to navigate along the way. By partnering with us, you can rest assured knowing we will:
  • Take the time to educate you on your options.
  • Tailor your search to the homes that best fit your wish list.
  • Stay ahead of market trends and offer professional advice and guidance.
  • Connect you with the right professionals and resources.
  • Help you make the decision that is best suited to your unique goals.
  • Negotiate on your behalf and put you in an ideal position when making an offer.
GeneralSellers 13 April 2022

A Seamless Selling Experience

Your home is your most valuable asset. When it comes time to sell, you want to be sure you are working with a real estate professional who has the expertise needed to get you top dollar for your home efficiently and effectively. We will work with you to position your home on the market in a way that ensures your sales experience is as stress-free and profitable as possible.
Getting Ready to Sell Before putting the sign on your lawn and advertising your home, there are a few key steps you can take to make your home more sellable for which we can coach you through.
1. Remove the clutter Imagine what your home would look like if you removed half of your belongings. In order to make your home more appealing to buyers, it’s important to eliminate personalized items, as well as excess furniture and decorative features. Less is more. A minimal design with few distractions will help buyers see themselves in the space.
2. Patch and paint Pride of ownership is a key selling feature, and you can demonstrate yours with simple fixes to leaky faucets, running toilets or squeaky doors. Adding a fresh coat of paint to the walls, using neutral colours, is also a good idea. It’s a relatively quick and cost-effective way to make your home feel bigger, brighter and more welcoming.
3. Spruce up the curb appeal The outside of your home is what potential buyers see first when they pull up to a viewing, and we know how important first impressions are. Make sure the grass is cut, the yard is landscaped and the exterior looks well-kept.
4. Stage your home Studies show staging your home helps you sell faster and at a higher price point. Small changes can go a long way in making your home look Pinterest-worthy from every angle.
Why Work With Grant?
When it comes to buying your perfect home, there are many steps and decisions to navigate along the way. By partnering with us, you can rest assured knowing we will:
  • Accurately assess the fair market value of your property so it sells fast and for maximum profit.
  • Use the latest marketing tools to make your home stand out from the crowd and find serious buyers who are ready to act.
  • Stay ahead of market trends and offer professional advice and guidance.
  • Connect you with the right professionals and resources.
  • Be transparent and accountable in supporting you throughout the entire decision-making process.
  • Negotiate on your behalf and put you in an ideal position when reviewing and accepting offers.
GeneralSellers 13 April 2022

Sell now or wait until spring?

If you are planning on selling you might very well be wondering if you should get a jump on the competition and sell now or wait until spring when the market is traditionally busier. Here are my thoughts on this conundrum.
Spring time generally does have more buyers but it also generally has more sellers. Many sellers will wait until the spring to sell because they want to hunker down in the winter and not go through the motions for preparing their home for sale when it is cold. Others might be staying in warmer climates and not available to sell from afar. The truth is that there are many reasons why sellers wait. But is that the best thing to do?
The short answer is that the market is unpredictable. Some homes sell quicker than others and some require the right buyer to be looking at the right time. Other homes will sell no matter when they are listed. What we know right now is that homes available for sale are at an all time low. This likely means that selling your home now will result in top dollar. In a few months, things may have changed drastically and there may be a lot more homes for sale. More homes for sale drives your sale price down as the buyers have more choice and are less likely to spend more on your home when another of equal value is available to them.
Closing dates can be set for a few months out giving you lots of time to ride out the winter in your home before you have to move out.
If you would like to discuss your options further and see what your home is worth now, give me a call or book an appointment.
FinancesGeneralSellers 13 April 2022

Home evaluations in a hot market

The past year has seen unprecedented price increases fueled by short supply and low interest rates and many buyers. There is a belief that the housing market will continue to appreciate at these rates turning the housing market into an investment platform to build wealth rather than simply finding a place to live.
Many of the buyers in the market own more than one home and are looking for homes to rent out. Sudbury is a good market for investors as there are lots of students looking for housing and the pricing, although much higher than they have been. are still a deal compared to homes in the south.
All of this makes pricing your home a real challenge. The usual method for pricing a home is to gather all of the similar homes in the neighborhood that have sold recently. The subject home is then compared to the sold homes to come up with a sale price. There is quite a lot of work that could go into this process to get the price to properly reflect the condition of the home, the size, the qualities and level of features. Trying to price your home yourself can result in leaving money on the table or deterring buyers by setting the price too high.
This method of pricing homes is generally what an agent will do when selling a home. The price is what the home should sell for at that moment in time. It would equal or be very similar to what other homes have sold for.
In a hot market in favor of the seller, the final selling price might end up much higher than the evaluation price. This is an unpredictable outcome and one that you cannot rely on. The market can change any day or there may be other factors that result in a sale price lower than your expectations. Generally speaking and from recent experience, the sale prices have mostly been at or above asking when the market is so heavily tilted.
Setting the right price for the current market conditions is what agents are trained to do. We see new homes listed and sold everyday and know what your homes are worth in your neighborhood. Ultimately the market will dictate what the final sale price will be. The right marketing plan and home sale preparations will help to ensure that your home sells for top dollar.
Want to know what your home is currently worth? Book an appointment with me for a no cost and no obligation home evaluation. Link to book is on the main page at
BuyersGeneralSellers 13 April 2022

Not the best time in real estate

By far, the past couple of years has been some of the worst times in real estate. The pandemic forced people to stay in their homes, and stay they did! The number of listings is the lowest it has been in many years. With interest rates incredibly low and many people wanting to get into the market, the demand on homes has gone sky high. A perfect storm generating a very strong seller’s market.

New buyers are quickly having their dream of home ownership pushed away from them as home prices rise. Without an adequate supply of homes to choose from, the ones that do show up are selling well above the listing price and are often subject to bidding wars. In just one year, the price of homes jumped over 20%. i.e. a $300k house at the beginning of 2021 would now fetch about $360k (or more).

It is disheartening to also learn that more than 30% of the active buyers are those looking to invest in rental homes. They usually have more than 2 homes in their possession and buy the homes strictly as rental properties. These buyers typically have a lot more buying power than a first time home buyer and are more able to bid on a house with no conditions – a very risky proposition for most people buying. There are some rumours that there will be some restrictions imposed upon these buyer by the Government shortly to help curb this activity and give others more of a chance. More to come on that.

Sellers find themselves in a catch 22 situation. Many sellers are looking to move up or down and not get out of the home market altogether. So, in order to sell, they need to have someplace to go to. So they find themselves in the buyer column, also struggling with competing offers where a condition on sale of their property will almost never be accepted when others are willing to buy with no conditions. So they must wait it out until their financial situation changes or they are willing to risk the sale without the condition on sale of their current home.

As an agent, we are ready and willing to help out both sides but there simply are not many opportunities available. We also must wait for the market to become more balanced before we can really be effective.

The good news is that things are always changing. This market will adjust and more opportunities will become available again. Policy changes, economic changes and the subsiding of the pandemic are all things that can and will change the market. Let’s just hope that those things that make positive change come soon! For everyone’s sake.

GeneralSellers 13 April 2022

Who has “the file” on your house?

A colleague of mine shared a story the other day that I thought was too good not to write about. It is about a trick that a realtor used to secure the future sale of a home. Even more surprising is that the trick used resulted in my colleague’s own family member using a different real estate agent to sell her house.
It is definitely not a given that a seller will want to use a family member in real estate to sell their home. There are lots of reasons for this. Sometimes they feel like they don’t want their family member to know too much of their financial secrets or maybe don’t want them to know that they have property to sell. That can sometimes cause fights in families and the seller may want to avoid any problems. More often than not, the reason for them not choosing them as an agent comes down to the seller not understanding how the agent is paid. They assume agents receive a salary or other regular compensation and don’t want to be a bother to them. Granted, it is also the fault of the family realtor for not speaking to everyone about their job and asking them to support them for future home sales.
In this case, when the seller had purchased the home, the agent said to her before leaving that if she ever wanted to sell the home, she should come to see him because he had “the file” on the house and it would make things much easier. That little phrase worked. She honestly thought that there was a file that only he had access to for the home. This, of course, was false as every realtor has access to all of the information on the home through the MLS system.
When selling your home, please don’t feel that you have to work with somebody that has sold your home in the past or that tells you a made up story so that they secure your business. You are free to work with whomever you choose. Hopefully that means you will select somebody that you get along with, someone that is honest with you, that you know has your best interests at heart, and that you actually like to work with! And if you have a family member in the business, then you might want to check in with them first.
BuyersGeneralSellers 13 April 2022

Dates and times in contracts

How important are the dates and times in a real estate contract?
When you are going through the process of buying or selling a house, the dates and times that are listed in your agreements are very important. You must pay close attention to them. There is no wiggle room and you could easily lose the deal if you don’t respect them!
Here are two examples of why you need a professional real estate agent (like me) working for you. Especially if you are working with a private seller or if there are multiple interested parties or other complexities of the deal.
My first example involves a deal where the buyer delayed the purchase of a home as they needed more time to sell their home. This used to be a common scenario pre-pandemic where a buyer would make an offer to purchase a home conditional on the sale of their home. They need the money from the sale of their current home in order to purchase the new one.
In this case, the buyer was having a hard time selling their home. They had a few deals come in and fall apart due to the condition of their for sale property. The sellers of the home were getting impatient as the buyer had already asked and been granted an extension to their condition of sale. While waiting for the condition to be met, the seller continued to have showings of their home and accepted a back-up offer.
A back-up offer is one where the offer would only come into effect if the current accepted offer fell apart. If it fell apart, due to many possible reasons (like a missed date/time), then the back-up offer would take its place as the primary offer.
In this real life example, the buyer actually did get an accepted offer on their home, a day after the deadline. There was no extension in place. So, even though they now had an accepted agreement to sell their home so they could buy the new one, the new one was no longer available. It was now being sold to the buyer with the backup offer.
The dates and times are in the contract for a good reason and do often cause deals to crumble. Right away, agreements of purchase and sale have irrevocable date and times that are very important. If the time passes and the offer has not been accepted and signed, then that offer becomes dead and unenforceable. Another critical date is the deposit acceptance date. Usually this is setup for 24 hours or earlier from when the agreement is accepted. If the deposit is not received within that timeline, then again, the deal could be considered dead and no longer binding.
A second example of the importance of dates and times and contract oversight I see a lot is when a buyer and seller try to strike a deal by themselves with no help at all. I have seen it where the seller says that they have the forms that they can use to make the agreement. Sometimes they get them from a kit or a previous sale. Usually they are out of date but mostly can still function to get a deal in place.
The most recent case I saw of this activity had the buyer and seller not actually sign the section of the agreement that stated that they had accepted the offer. There were a lot of other errors as well and a lot of omissions. But the scary part of this is that the buyer thought that they had everything in place and was going to go and sell their home and move up to the new home when in reality, they didn’t have an agreement at all! The seller could have easily sold the home to another party if they chose to do so as this agreement that they had would never have held up in court. Fortunately for the buyer, I assisted them and worked with the seller to get a proper agreement in place.
When you are making a deal where several hundreds of thousands of dollars are on the line, the impact of an error could have gigantic repercussions.