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Do Open Houses Still Help to Sell Homes?

by Claire Franceschetti
Technology has changed the way property is bought and sold. Over 90% of buyers use the internet to start the search for a new investment property or to check out the competition before deciding to list a property for sale. Keeping up to date with new marketing tools is crucial, and a major part of my role as a selling Realtor. 

But buying and selling property is still very much a people business and I believe there are valuable opportunities for investors, sellers and Realtors to connect at open houses.

When you start your hunt for a new investment property, you may need to collect ideas of what you want. Listings online or on paper only tell you so much. Getting a sense of a property's space is one important aspect, but so too is the neighbourhood.

If there is an open house in the neighbourhood in which you want to buy, I recommend that my buyers attend. Even if you don’t love that particular house, it's an opportunity to see what your budget will buy in the area and to question the real estate agent about the local scene and amenities. If you are lucky, you may even overhear comments from other attendees about the property, neighbours and neighbourhood.

Doing research on the many housing styles, neighbourhoods, and by questioning several real estate agents in the area will also help you better define your needs and housing wish list when it’s time for you to put in an offer.  

Open houses have been a corner stone of selling property for many, many years. It’s a tested and true methods of selling a home and meeting potential buyers. I have met a wide variety of people during open houses – from the nosy neighbours and open house junkies to first-time buyers and some who later became my new clients.

The "looky-loo" type of house buyer does exist at open houses. But that shouldn't be used by agents as an excuse against open houses and that shouldn't deter investors from going to an open house to learn more about the property and the neighbourhood.

There may be people who are just attending an open house  to pass the time, but for every one of those types, in my experience, there are more attendees who are genuinely looking for a new property or for ways to improve their own before listing it for sale.

Adapting sales strategies to meet the changing demands of the online market is one aspect of real estate success, but so is connecting with people. Open houses are a great way to do that because you never know when you’re going to walk into your next investment property.

"Claire, How's the Market?"

by Claire Franceschetti

 

Real Estate Market Still Healthy!

Well, I just did my monthly review of the February sales numbers for the Toronto Real Estate Board today. The numbers in general, are still very strong in the GTA. 

Sales have dipped slightly compared to 2012. In February 2013 there were 5,759 sales reported on TREB which is lower by 15% off the 6,809 reported in February. Last year February had 29 days so there was an extra day of sales

Inventory has gone UP year over year.  The are 15,969 homes for sale on TREB which is up by almost 10% over February last year. With 15,969 homes for sale and 5,759 sales in February, this gives us a 2.8 months supply of inventory. Generally speaking we are still in what is considered a “Sellers Market”. There are of course some areas and price ranges that are really hot and others are more balanced. What’s interesting is that the number of new listings coming on the market has slowed down this February over last. I’ll keep an eye on this as we’ve been dealing with a tight inventory supply and it’s been a welcome relief to have a few more homes on the market.

What’s going to happen? My opinion hasn’t changed at all. Sales will remain healthy and prices will increase slightly over the year. With the increased inventory in many areas, buyers will have more choices and so sellers will need to be careful to price their homes right. As far as I’m concerned, these are perfect market conditions right now.

Who do you listen to? There is so much confusion out there with mixed messages being reported. If  want to get a clearer picture, please give me a call. And remember, if you know anyone who needs help with real estate and is looking for an agent, I have a good one in mind!

Newest Kleinburg Exclusive Listing: 175 Donhill Cres.

by Claire Franceschetti

 

Please enjoy my latest Kleinburg Listing. This beautiful, mature property is only being offered Exclusively. If you would like to see it, please give me a call!

And remember, just like these sellers, if I sell you home, I will move your for Free! Please check out the Move for Free tab for more details.

Enjoy!

What's the Market Doing?

by Claire Franceschetti

I know there have been many conflicting reports and the media has been spinning some very negative stories in the news. Well, the market is still chugging along and sales are UP!

Greater Toronto REALTORS® reported 1,469 sales through the Toronto MLS system during the first two weeks of January 2013. This result represented an increase of 2.4 per cent over the 1,435 transactions reported during the same period in 2012.

I’ll keep an eye on things as the month progresses and report back to you early in February. What we ARE seeing is that the number of new listings coming on the market is a bit higher which will increase the inventory and give more choices to the buyers. Sellers and their agents will need to be aware of this. The great news is that the sellers who stick close to the real market value, still have a great chance of selling ... contrary to what you may hear or see in the news.

Who do you listen to? There are multiple opinions on what’s going on out there. If you’re confused and want to get a clearer picture, please give me a call. If you know anyone who needs help with real estate and is looking for a good agent, I have one in mind!

How Buying Your First Home Is Like Your First Day of University

by Claire Franceschetti

First-time homebuyers often experience total excitement, frustrating setbacks and overwhelming anxiety much like they may have encountered on their first day of university.   These two experiences are remarkably similar.  Buyers are often searching for the perfect home.  They have high expectations of finding an affordable house with great schools, a big yard and character.  Beginning university students are also motivated to use their money wisely, tackle all of the challenges that higher education presents and earn high scores – all while working.  Along with wild expectations, there are five more blaring similarities between the two experiences. (Above, is a picture of my UofT Experience: Woodsworth College.)
 

1. Lifetime Milestone
 
Remember the excitement of the first day of University?  Finally, students move away from home and explore a whole new city away from their family and friends.  These 18 year olds get to take on more responsibility and fully enjoy their new freedoms.  Going to University is a rite of passage for many youth in Canada; it’s a huge transition.
 
For buyers, owning a home is a momentous transition into adulthood.  Homeownership is a major commitment of money and time.  When buyers purchase a home they are planting roots in a community for at least a few years.  They can finally unpack all of their boxes, settle-in and call one place home.  Buyers accept the responsibility of home maintenance and payments.
 
Both of these experiences are milestones at different stages of life.  They indicate a major transition and an increased level of responsibility.  Going to college and buying a home are both accomplishments representing maturity.
 
2. Underestimating the Lengthiness of the Process?
 
Getting into the right University can take months (if not years!).  Teenagers study for tests to qualify for acceptance, go through the application process and then wait.  Upon acceptance, students have paperwork and orientations to go through.  Finally, on the first day of class, students have to travel all around a foreign campus to get from class to class.  Even the most prepared student may underestimate how long it takes to walk or bus from class A to class B.  Getting in and adjusting to this level of school can be a stressful process that tests patience and confidence.


 


The home-buying process also takes an enormous amount of patience.  Buyers should be pre-qualified for a loan before their house hunt begins.  Finding the right home requires persistence to attend open houses, search online and stay in contact with realtors.  Buyers can be out-bid or turned down.  Once a home is selected and an offer is accepted, the process continues.  There is an inspection, tons of repeat paperwork and rapid exchanges between the buyer and lender.  After the papers are signed, the money must be issued to the seller and the deed recorded before the purchase is final.  Buyers may feel at times like they will never see the keys!
 
Lots of front-end work must be completed before finalizing acceptance into a college or the purchase of a home.  When one stressful step is completed, another begins.  The question of getting into a college or a home can be emotionally discouraging.  Both processes can be ongoing and require persistence.
 
3. Learning Curve
 
Think back on that first day of University.  Remember how every reference to a class, a department, a building or a book was expressed as an acronym?  No matter how many times new students reference their orientation manuals, those acronyms just don’t seem to stick.  Eventually, students become comfortable explaining that they live in B.T. eat lunch in the V.U. study their G.U.R.s and plan to complete a B.A. in G.S.  Even if students have all of their books on the first day and show up with every supply imaginable, these acronyms can make them feel confused or behind.
 
Similarly, first-time home buyers may feel like they know all about loan options and mortgage rates before meeting with their lender.  When all of the numbers are in front of them and all of the answers are provided in real estate jargon, it can be mind-boggling.  The choice of loan program can determine the next 30 years of a buyer’s monthly costs.  It can be distressing to make such long-lasting decisions without clarity.
 
It’s important to ask questions and do research.  Whether it’s the first day of University or the beginning of the home buying process, questioning the experts is the best way to get pointed in the right direction.  Studying the processes and topics that present challenges is another good way to get back on track.  Lacking confidence can make a student or buyer feel unprepared to move forward.  However, in time, these topics will become familiar and second nature.
 
4. Studying To Catch Up

Some professors use the first class of a semester to hand out syllabi and discuss how the course will progress over the next few months.  Other professors jump right into lecture.  Such rapid adjustment to topics can overwhelm new students.  They are often left wondering if they already missed an assignment and hoping the professor doesn’t call on them.  Alternatively, that fast approach can motivate students to read their books to get up to speed so they do not find themselves unprepared again.
 
When a buyer’s offer is accepted, he can hire an inspector to evaluate the condition of the home.  Inspections can last several hours, and the buyers are recommended to be present.  The inspector references building codes or points out structural inaccuracies.  After the findings are compiled, the buyer can decide whether he wants to proceed with the purchase or negotiate deductions.   For first-time home buyers, this step can be well above their knowledge base.  New homeowners rarely know how much it would cost to correct an electrical panel, fix some water damage or replace the roof.  Buyers may find themselves studying that night to find out if the fixes are worth the trouble.
 
A student’s first day of an intense college class or a buyer’s first home inspection can be overwhelming.  Both student and buyer should research the material to be better prepared and educated in the future.  However, even when topics are above an individual’s knowledge base, diving right in can motivate him to catch-up and become better informed.
 
5. Buyer’s Remorse
 
After students have experienced the first day of class, they may feel like they have taken on more than they can manage.  The course load could be too intense or the balancing of a job may be unachievable.  Once the tuition check goes through, it’s difficult to go back on the commitment.  The feelings of hopelessness or fear can sometimes be explained as buyer’s remorse.  All of that money is gone and applied to something that seems unattainable.
 
First-time home buyers may also experience such remorse.  Buyers go through such a long process of completing one step after another that their focus may not be on the final purchase until it’s complete.  The size of the mortgage payment can be shocking and saving money for each payment can be stressful.
 
A University education is invaluable, regardless of the career path graduates choose.  Education sets an individual up for a successful future.  A degree opens the door for more professional opportunities and higher standards of pay.  Buying a home doesn’t make perfect sense for everyone.  For most, it’s a financially sound decision for their future wealth.  Whether the home is purchased in downtown Toronto, Vaughan, Brampton or Richmond Hill, it’s a long-term investment that appreciates in value.  Although the purchases of education and a home are some of the most expensive in an individual’s lifetime, they are generally quality investments with high returns.
 
In conclusion, try to soak up the pride associated with these comparable milestones.  Stay persistent through the long processes and adapt as each presents challenges.  Begin as prepared as possible and study if the steps seem confusing.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions of experts, family, friends or the web.  When it’s finally complete, appreciate the degree and home that were worked for so diligently.  Not everyone is steadfast enough or financially sound enough to complete University or purchase a home.  Be responsible for the commitments made and relish in the accomplishments.

Buying an Old Home in Vaughan: Buyer Beware!

by Claire Franceschetti

Who can resist the charm and character of an older home?

 

Before you buy, here are some common issues that may prevent you from securing insurance.
 

 

Wiring:

Knob and tube wiring, may be considered a fire risk. If a home inspector finds this wiring, the insurance company may require updating the electrical system.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Galvanized or Lead Pipes:

These older pipes are more susceptible to rust build-up and blockages. Because of the risk of flooding from bursting pipes, you may need to upgrade to modern copper or plastic pipes.
   

Heat source: Details will be required about age, location and condition of oil tanks, often used in older homes for heating
   

Wood Stoves: Often the source of house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning, wood stoves will most likely need to be inspected before an insurance policy will be confirmed.

Re/Max Supports Sick Kids:Video

by Claire Franceschetti

I have been touched personally by the amazing work done by the men and women of the Sick Kids Hospital Network. I am forever grateful to Sick Kids for helping my son through a terrible sickness when he was only 3 weeks old. It was a miracle that he made it.

When I joined Re/Max, I was thrilled about the opportunity to support Sick Kids: I have supported this organization on every home sale since I began at Re/Max, and I continue to contribute a portion of every home commission.

Together, Re/Max has just reached the $10 Million mark. I'll continue to support this Sick Kids charity for as long as I'm selling homes!

More than ever, people are asking me about the market, and when I speak with my colleagues the general feeling is that sales are slowing down, and we might be heading into a period of balance.

Welcome news to those of you who are looking to buy property without the pressures of multiple offers and buyer frenzy. Sellers are also having to adjust their expectations, as there are more properties on the market, and they are sitting for longer periods of time.

Here's Toronto Real Estate Board's economist Jason Mercer with a recap of the housing market in the GTA for October. Enjoy!

 

Kleinburg Pumpkins ROCKED this Year!

by Claire Franceschetti

Despite the rain, the kids and pumpkins were out this year! We only got about 30 total kids, which is much lower than last year's 120 head count.

Unfortunately, due to Sandy the Hurricane, the rain never let up and we ended up with umbrellas all around.

During our neighborhood tour, I took pictures of the creative pumpkins.

I won't tell you which one is mine, but let's just say, I sell houses better than I carve pumpkins. (Must have missed that class!!!)

 

Check these ones out! Which is your favorite?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you a Part Time Buyer? Well, Of Course NOT!!!

by Claire Franceschetti

Part Time Sellers? Part Time Buyers?

Are you a part time seller or a part time b
uyer? Of course not. When you're looking to sell or find a new home, there is no half way about it.


Let me share a story that will demonstrate the possible liability of using a part time agent. Recently I sold a condo just north of Toronto.

When I received the offer, I was surprised to see that the buyer had excluded all the stainless steel appliances, window coverings, and light fixtures.  Although not common, occasionally buyers want to purchase their own items, and don't want any "used" chattels at all. In this case, this exclusion
totalled about $9000 worth of of washers, dryers, fridges, stoves, dishwashers and light fixures for the entire home. I suspected that the agent made a mistake and excluded all these items in error. Perhaps the agent had intended to include them in the offer?

Acting as the agent for the seller, I explained the offer as it was submitted, and explained that my client was in a position to keep all the appliances for her next home. This was ideal since she was building a new house, and would need to purchase new appliances when the project was completed. We discussed the possibility that this was anerror on the part of the buyer's agent, and that it was likely a major oversight.

My client (such a lovely lady!) decided that rather than accepting the offer as written, she directed me to verify whether the buyers really wanted to exclude all the appliances etc.

Sure enough, the agent had excluded all chattels in error and her clients wanted every inclusion. She suddenly realized that the seller was in a position to accept the offer and keep close to $10,000 in appliances. I am certain that the agent would have been held liable for this mistake, and would have to pay for all the missing items.

 

Now, a $10,000 error can be corrected with some effort, but there many liabilities involved in Real Estate transactions. I have to ask people who are using part-time agents: What part of professional service is not important?

For a list of important questions to ask an agent before hiring them, check out my blog on Interview Questions!

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 22

Contact Information

Photo of Claire Franceschetti Real Estate
Claire Franceschetti
Right At Home Realty Inc.
190 Marycroft Ave.
Vaughan ON L4L5Y2
Direct: 416-918-6325
Office: 416-391-3232
Fax: Fax: 416-987-8001