Friday, December 11, 2009

November another great month!

(Dec 9, 2009) The MLS® residential average price for homes sold in the area served by the REALTORS® Association of Grey Bruce Owen Sound rose to the highest level on record in November 2009. Sales activity was also strong in November, though activity edged back from October’s record levels.

According to statistics provided by the Association, the average price for MLS® home sales in November 2009 was $217,463 – the highest average value ever reported. This is an increase of 14 per cent from November 2008. The large year-over-year gain not only reflects current strength, but also a weak showing last year.

MLS® home sales numbered 146 units in November 2009. This is up 32 per cent from the same month last year, when news of the global financial crisis hammered consumer confidence.

“The strong and sustained rebound in demand has stabilized the marketplace, and we’re seeing that reflected in prices,” said Neil Devlin, President of the REALTORS® Association of Grey Bruce Owen Sound.

The total dollar value of MLS® home sales in November 2009 was $31.7 million, 50 per cent above year-ago levels.

Total MLS® sales numbered 210 units, an increase of 39 per cent from November 2008. The total value of all MLS® properties sold in November 2009 was $45.6 million, rising 62 per cent from one year earlier.

New listings were up 18 per cent from a year earlier to 264 units in November 2009. In contrast, active residential listings on the Association’s MLS® system dropped 11 per cent from year-ago levels to 1,220 units at the end of November 2009.

The number of months of inventory stood at 8.4 months in November 2009, down from 12.3 months in the same month last year. The number of months of inventory is the number of months it would take to sell current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.

The REALTORS® Association of Grey Bruce Owen Sound represents approximately 350 REALTORS® registered with its member offices. The geographical area served by the Association is in southwestern Ontario, bordered by Lake Huron and Georgian Bay including Bruce and Grey Counties, and part of Wellington County.

"REALTOR® is a registered trademark of REALTOR® Canada Inc., a company partly owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association". Trademark use under license from The Canadian Real Estate Association.
Information provided by the REALTORS® Association of Grey Bruce Owen Sound, Copyright 2009. E&OE.

Friday, August 28, 2009


As a seller you must be properly informed about the area market prices. Just because your neighbor got $$$ (which is the biggest cause for overpricing in my opinion) does not mean your house holds the same value. It could be worth more!

The second biggest cause for overpricing is "my family told me what it's worth". That's a shame because you are being given the wrong advice from non-experienced people . I had one the other day say, "my daughter told me....." Their advice was $100,000 over price compared to what has sold in the area within the past year, and they were using comparisons that were totally different/new/much superior features. It hasn't listed yet, but if it does at that price, then the person listing it did not investigate.

As a registered real estate representative, I am trained and experienced in pricing a home correctly. When you don't listen to what an experienced person tells you, you run the risk of over marketing (on the market too long) the home which creates a stigma thus significantly lowering the bottom dollar that you may end up getting.

For example if I told you that your house should list at 239,000 and you decide to list it at $249,000 because you fell into the "249" trap (someone told you that is what it is worth) the chances of a good and fast sale become marginal. If you list at the "market" price, it should sell if it shows well. The biggest reason homes sit for a long time is price. It doesn't matter if it needs a roof, if it's priced to high, it won't sell. If it's priced with the common sense that it does need a roof a potential buyer might agree. If the basement leaks, or it needs new windows, remember to price it accordingly.

Here is another tip....if you are getting more than one valuation on your home, don't tell any of the representatives that you are getting more than one opinion. This way you can be assured of consistent facts/figures.

The third biggest reason a home sits for a long time is marketing. Just a sign will not normally sell your home.(unless you are one of the lucky ones that gets that once in awhile driveby sale) There needs to be a combination of newsprint, open houses, and thorough marketing to get the job done.

"REAL" virtual tours help. Virtual meaning the feeling that you are there. Most tours just provide strategic pictures that spin around the room. My virtual tours are actual video taken of the home with narration of each room and it's features. Those are uploaded to my many websites and social media such as Youtube and House Hunting networks, which capture much more audience than a simple sign and ad in the local paper. If you have a nice cottage to sell, how is an ad in the local paper going to sell need to reach an audience of people that come from areas to cottage here such as the Tri-city area, or Toronto.

When you are ready to list, give Jason Steele a call, you will be glad you did! Have a look at the testimonials on my website, you will see what my clients really think!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Cottage in the Port Elgin area

From Friday's Globe and Mail Last updated on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2009 02:32PM EDT

When Toronto lawyer Doug Harrison tells his friends and colleagues he's headed to his cottage in Port Elgin, Ont., for the weekend, he's often asked, “Huh? Where's that?”
The beach town on Lake Huron in western Ontario is unfamiliar to many Torontonians, who are more aware of Muskoka, the Kawarthas or Prince Edward County as cottage destinations. “It's not on the radar,” says Mr. Harrison. “It's amazing how many Torontonians don't know about it.”
But the days of obscurity for Port Elgin and the neighbouring community of Southampton might not last much longer. “We're starting to notice more people from Toronto coming to the region,” local real-estate agent Brad Angel says. “The Kawarthas and places like that have become quite expensive, and people are looking for alternatives.”
Prices are lower along Lake Huron, although it's no bargain basement. Lakefront properties start at about $450,000, largely because there is such a tight supply. The area has always been popular with families from London, Guelph and Hamilton, and there's little ownership turnover. Cottages are often handed down through the generations.
If the lure of lower prices isn't enough of a draw, the natural beauty is. Wide, sandy beaches interspersed with rugged outcrops, as well as the vast expanse of Lake Huron, are compelling. “You just cannot get better sunsets than on the Lake Huron shore,” says Mr. Angel, the broker of record for Coldwell Banker-The Property Shoppe.
Mr. Harrison's reasons for venturing three hours west of his Toronto home and office are more personal. He grew up in Hamilton, and his wife, Margaret Grottenthaler, is from Guelph.
They spent summers in their youth in and around Southampton, and rented cottages in the area as adults before buying their own land in 2003 and building a modernist beach house. “I think most people gravitate, when they get a cottage, to the area they experienced as children,” Ms. Grottenthaler notes.
Port Elgin and Southampton are about a half-hour north of Kincardine, and an hour southwest of Owen Sound. Port Elgin, whose population includes blue-collar workers, white-collar types from the Bruce nuclear plant, and increasingly affluent cottagers, has a main street that's seen several new establishments open over the past couple of years, including a deli, a pair of yuppie-friendly coffee shops, an English pub and a swank Italian restaurant. Southampton has long had enough upscale shops and services to satisfy city folk.
Still, the area is relatively isolated, and Mr. Harrison and Ms. Grottenthaler hope that never changes. They prefer the slow pace and lack of modern trappings. “In Muskoka, you have to be much more industrious,” Ms. Grottenthaler says. “You have to boat, you have to swim, you have to fix the dock. Here, you don't have to do anything. You just have to get out your lawn chairs and read a book.” For many harried Torontonians, that might be the biggest lure of them all.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Survey Says............


Survey Finds that While Couples Make Real Estate Buying Decisions Together,
Women Make Up Their Minds Significantly Faster than Men

BURLINGTON, ON (August 17, 2009) – It often seems as though men and women are from different planets, but every day millions of couples navigate through day-to-day and even life-altering decisions. Because a home is the biggest purchase most people will make in their lifetime, Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC surveyed 1,000 individuals to discover how much men and women differ in the home-buying process.

The real estate company engaged a third-party research firm, International Communications Research (ICR), to delve into the inner-psyche of men and women, asking questions such as “How long did it take for you to know that the last home you purchased was right for you?” and “If you found the home of your dreams but had concerns about its security, would you still be interested?” Coldwell Banker Real Estate also surveyed couples on additional topics, such as “Who wears the pants in the relationship?” when it comes to making major financial decisions.

“The results were surprising,” said Diann Patton, the Coldwell Banker consumer real estate expert. “Not only did we uncover some of the inherent differences between men and women, but we also pinpointed a number of ways that the two genders are actually the same. For example, both men and women are increasingly concerned with having a space to work in their homes – something we would not have seen 40 years ago.” She continued, “We also found that feeling insecure about a home’s safety is a deal-breaker for most people, regardless of gender.”

Below are some key highlights from the Coldwell Banker study:

Women may be inclined to make up their mind more quickly than men …

When asked how long it took before they knew their home was “right” for them, almost 70 percent of women had made up their mind the day they walked into the house, vs. 62 percent of men. Conversely, significantly more men needed two or more visits: (32 percent of men vs. 23 percent of women).
Women would rather live closer to their extended family than to their job …

55 percent of women find it more important to be closer to their extended family (those that do not live in their household) than to their job, compared to only 37 percent of men.

A home’s security is a deal-breaker for both men and women …

64 percent of women said that if they found the home of their dreams but had concerns about its security, they would no longer be interested. More than half of men agreed (51 percent).
Couples say that no one “wears the pants in the relationship” in terms of major financial decisions …

When asked who wears the pants in the relationship (when it comes to major financial decisions, such as purchasing a home), almost 70 percent of respondents living with their significant other said it’s actually mutual.
However, 23 percent think that they, themselves, wear the pants in the relationship, not their partner. More men than women said this (26 percent vs. 20 percent, respectively).
Men and women agree on how they would use a spare room, for the most part …
When the respondents were asked how they would use an extra 12 x 12 room if it could be anything they wanted, men and women agreed on the top three most popular, and very practical, responses:

Bedroom: 25 percent
Office/Study: 15 percent
Family Room / Den: 11 percent
However, men really do want a “Man Cave”…

Interestingly, out of the 8 percent who indicated they would turn that spare room into an entertainment centre, it was a preponderance of men leading the charge. In fact, four times as many men as women said they would use the extra space for recreation / entertainment.
In addition to providing background on the survey results, Patton is able to offer tips for couples who are currently going through the process of buying a home. “These results further validate how critical it is for couples to recognize each other’s differences and work together, from deciding a neighbourhood to how to use a spare room,” she said. “Online tools and the expertise of a real estate professional can be particularly helpful for couples, especially if they work together step-by-step along the way.”

Methodology: Coldwell Banker Real Estate engaged ICR to conduct an omnibus survey via telephone in May 2009, among more than 1,000 U.S. respondents. Canadians were invited to participate through a Zoomerang online survey

About Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC
Since 1906, the Coldwell Banker® organization has been a premier full-service real estate provider. In 2008, Franchise Times magazine’s prestigious Top 200 issue ranked the Coldwell Banker system No. 1 in real estate for the ninth straight year and 12th among franchisors in all industries. The Coldwell Banker System has approximately 3,500 residential real estate offices and approximately 100,000 sales associates in 47 countries and territories. The Coldwell Banker System is a leader in the industry in residential and commercial real estate, and in niche markets such as resort, new home and luxury property through its Coldwell Banker Previews International® division. It is a pioneer in consumer services with its Coldwell Banker Concierge® Service Program and award-winning Web site, Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC is a subsidiary of Realogy Corporation, a global provider of real estate and relocation services. Coldwell Banker® is a registered trademark licensed to Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. Each office is independently owned and operated.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Friday, June 26, 2009

Jason Steele Broker

Okay Buyers, the time is now, rates are low, afford a home...let me show you how. Your in good hands, when you choose me, my testimonials prove how honest I can be. You will be treated with the unexpected, pure heart, and compassion unlike the political elected (hey it ryhmed!) So when you are ready to make this big choice, let Jason Steele - Broker be your Real Estate VOICE!!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Balanced Market

I sure do appologize for not blogging for some time now. Things have been so busy, I have been focusing on my clients needs.

Could it be that we are heading towards a balanced market?

1) Prices in Saugeen Shores seemed to have stabilized
2) Inventory of homes for sale is not exceptionally high like last year
3) The market is moving in this area
These are certain indications that we are heading out of the buyers market and with rates this low (3.85%) now is a great time to buy.

When and how should I list my home!

If you are thinking of listing your home, now is a very good time. Buyers are out shopping because of interest rates and the weather is making it even nicer to go property shopping!

Listing privately can cause lots of problems, the number 1 being that "are you opening your door to strangers"?
Not everyone knows the value of your home. Neighbors, friends etc may tell you one thing, but you should put your trust to a professional to price your home according to the market conditions.
It's possible that you will get some people that tell you your house is worth more than it really is. The problem is, it will sit on the market and not get the attention it needs to sell.
Others will offer you a great deal, only to lack service.
A "professional" REALTOR® should offer you comparisons of properties currently listed, recently sold and ones that have expired or reduced because they are over priced, their listing services, and their obligation to your home as far as open house times, advertising etc.
Don't fall into the overprice trap!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

....building a high standard of professionalism to the real estate transaction


(April 7, 2009) – For REALTORS® of the REALTORS® Association of Grey Bruce Owen Sound (RAGBOS), March marked their busiest month in half a year.
REALTORS® of the RAGBOS traded 145 residential properties in March for a total value of $27,931,305, representing a 61.1 percent increase over February’s results. This is the third consecutive month that the RAGBOS has recorded an increase in sales from the previous month.
“Canadians still see home ownership as a good investment” says Neil Devlin, President of the REALTORS® Association of Grey Bruce Owen Sound, “and with historically low mortgage rates and improved affordability, first‐time home buyers are getting into the market.” “Despite all the negative news about a sluggish economy, homes sold for an average price of $192,630 last month, which is a 6% increase over the previous month, although a 7.9% decline from the first quarter of 2008 figures.
“It is first‐time home buyers who seem to be moving the March sales figures” explains Devlin. “Homes selling in the $120,000‐$250,000 range made up 45% of the total residential home market activity in March, a 4.3% increase in the proportion of sales occurring in that segment compared to the same period last year.”
Devlin believes that now is a good time for qualified buyers to enter the market. Sellers realize that their home must be realistically priced to attract offers and there is now a good selection of properties for sale.
Combined with a prudent buying public we are now in a “balanced market” situation.
A busy spring market is anticipated, being boosted somewhat by the Federal Budget 2009 incentives to get Canadians into their first home or renovating their current home.
Some of the budget highlights include:
• Providing first‐time home buyers with additional access to their RRSP savings to purchase or build a home by increasing the Home Buyers’ Plan withdrawal limit to $25,000.
• Assisting first‐time home buyers by providing up to $750 in tax relief to help with the purchase of a first home.
• Implementing a temporary Home Renovation Tax Credit that will provide up to $1,350 in tax relief.
• Providing an additional $300 million over two years to the ecoENERGY Retrofit program to support home retrofits.
Sellers who are uncertain about current market conditions should consult a REALTOR® to develop an effective marketing strategy. A REALTOR® knows the local market and can help you decide on a competitive listing price for your home.

If you are buying, a REALTOR® will negotiate on your behalf and guide you through every step of the process. A REALTOR® understands the market and must, by law, look after your best
interests. The use of average price information can be useful in establishing long term trends; however the REALTORS® Association of Grey Bruce Owen Sound cautions that an average price does not indicate the actual value of any particular property. Those requiring specific information on property values should contact a REALTOR®.

The REALTORS® Association of Grey Bruce Owen Sound is made up of over 350 REALTOR® Members.
Its jurisdiction consists primarily of Bruce and Grey Counties, although a small portion of Wellington County is included. Much of its Southwestern Ontario trading area is bordered by Lake Huron and Georgian Bay.

• REALTORS® are trained professionals, licensed by the Province of Ontario and are accountable to the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO).
• REALTORS® are subject to a higher standard than the minimum standard required by the Real Estate & Business Brokers Act (REBBA 2002).
• REALTORS® are members of real estate boards and as such are required to adhere to the Canadian Real Estate Association’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Business Practice.
• REALTORS® have completed stringent educational and licensing requirements and must be of good reputation in order to be licensed.
• REALTORS® are committed to continuing education and consistently refine and improve their skills and professional knowledge through participation in the profession’s Professional Development Program.
• Both RECO and 43 Ontario real estate boards use a comprehensive investigatory and disciplinary process to deal with complaints. REALTORS® who are found to have breached either the legislation or REALTOR® Code are subject to sanctions by their board and RECO.
• REALTORS® are covered by a well-funded errors and omissions indemnity plan.
• REALTORS® use standardized forms and have access to well drafted (and court-tested) clauses and phrases which affords a high level of protection and comfort to their clients.
• REALTORS® are paid when a transaction successfully completes meaning that commissions and fees are not normally paid by the client unless a transaction successfully completes.
• REALTORS® have access to and use the Multiple Listing Service® and listing services – the most successful real estate listing website in Canada.
• REALTORS® are trained marketing professionals – they know how to price and market properties so that they sell for the most money possible in the shortest time possible.
• REALTORS® are trained negotiators. Sellers and buyers do not generally negotiate for a living. This places them at a disadvantage because they can become emotionally involved when they deal directly with an unrepresented buyer or seller.
• REALTORS® are thoroughly familiar with representing buyers and sellers in real estate transactions and understand the pitfalls of the process. Sellers and buyers “doing it themselves” can make mistakes, the result of which can far outweigh any perceived or real financial advantages to be gained in saving a commission or fee.
• Unrepresented buyers and sellers using for-sale-by-owner organizations expect to save REALTORS®’ fees. However, since both buyers and sellers want to save the same commission or fee, their negotiations begin at a disadvantage. Their negotiations are further hampered because they do not have an independent party like a REALTOR® to help them negotiate the best possible deal.
• REALTOR® involvement can protect consumers against the risk of a potential loss due to
misadventure, fraudulent dealings or criminals who case homes during showings. REALTORS®
provide “on hand” professional advice, are adept at advising clients how to avoid any financially
damaging situations and give consumers peace of mind by providing them with a stream of qualified clients.
"REALTOR® is a registered trademark of REALTOR® Canada Inc., a company partly owned by The Canadian Real Estate Association". Trademark use under license from The Canadian Real Estate Association.
Information provided by the REALTORS® Association of Grey Bruce Owen Sound, copyright 2009. E&OE

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Why is it taking so long?

1) What makes a house sell
2) Why does it take some homes longer than others to sell
3) Why use the services of a real estate representative
4) Can one person sell my house quick than another


1) Appeal, price, the sellers motivation
Appeal - the house must show well inside and out. If your representative tells you to declutter, paint etc, you need to listen. They aren't saying just to sound good, they are saying it because it is what sells a house. Take wallpaper for example. Big bright 70's colored flowers! A typical buyer isn't going to say "pretty wallpaper", they are going to say "pretty much has to come down"! If it's one room, not such a big deal, but the entire house, means lots of work to a potential buyer,
Price - it has to be priced within the market, and for what the market allows. Just because you neighbor got that much doesn't hold water for a typical buyer. They want to know why your price is where it is. Did your neighbors house have the same features? Did your neighbor sell in a better market? These are all questions your "licenced" representative can help you with.
The Sellers Motivation - if you really, and I mean really want to list your home, then do it. But if you are testing the market, think twice before doing so. Testing the market can hurt your chances for getting a good price for your home. Most people that do so, list very high to try and get "nibbles" only to see their listing sit and lose interest. People wonder if it has problems. Your agent is there to do a job, and if you are not motivated, chances are it will rub off on your agent.

2) It takes longer to sell some homes over others for most of the reasons above. Price, motivation, and appeal. Sometimes, the sale is done before the "for sale" sign hits the lawn. You see the "for sale" sign go up, then one showing and boom, SOLD. Sometimes there is a buyer just waiting for that exact home or neighborhood.

3) Again, why use the services of a "licenced" real estate representative? Because we are educated, follow a strict "Code of Ethics" and are governed in the province that we practice. We know the market, we provide stats and data on historical trends, we can tell you how to stage your home, we seek title information, municipal information and the list goes on and on and me if you would like more detail. I would be happy to discuss how hard I work for my clients.

4) Can one person sell your house quicker than another? Not likely. The only difference between signs on a front lawn(when you are dealing with National companies) is the level of service that you will achieve out of your agent. Most listings, excluding "exclusive" listings are visible to the general public on which is where more than 80% of home buyers start their search. Wouldn't you want constants updates like graphs, charts, showing details, and communication?
Can one agent market your home better than another to attract more buyers? Possibly. A sign on the front lawn, and an ad in the local paper isn't usually enough in today's market. You need a representative that is internet savvy, tech savvy and one that has strong marketing techniques. In a buyers market, there are so many homes on the market, that your listing needs to be "first" to win the race!
Visit my websites, the many websites and techniques such as Talking House(tm) that I use to promote your listing. The more exposure, the better a chance of selling quicker...period!

Sometimes you see one Brokerage's sign up for a long time, only to be replaced by another Brokerage's sign (another company). This happens because sometimes home owners think that by changing companies they have a better chance of selling. Although in some instances this could be true (where a representative and seller didn't get along) but for the most part this won't usually make a difference. The big difference is listening to your representative, they understand, and have the expertise to help get the job done.
Social Networks are a great place as well to promote and market listings.
Such as this Facebook page click here

Monday, March 30, 2009

A sure sign of Spring!

Raking your lawn, seeing some Robin's, these are all "signs" of spring....

Here is another SIGN of spring placed on your front lawn!

This Years Award!

Recieved this award this morning. I am happy to know that my hard work, and dedication to my customers has once again been recognized. 2007 was Associate Society, 2008 was Sterling Society, 2009 - shooting for President's Society!
Thank you to all of my past, present and future clients. You will never be disappointed in my service to you.

Jason Steele

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Stat Holidays and your offer to purchase

Because your offer to purchase is all about "Title" exchanging hands, one must be able to register the transaction with the Land Registry. Because of that be sure the day that you pick to close your transaction does not fall on a weekend or public statutory holiday! Below is a list of those certain days in 2009 in which a transaction can't be closed.

Holiday 2009
New Year's Day Jan 1
Family Day Feb 16
Good Friday Apr 10
Victoria Day May 18
Canada Day Jul 1
Labour Day Sep 7
Thanksgiving Day Oct 12
Christmas Day Dec 25
Boxing Day Dec 26

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Harmonizing Taxes!

Sales tax harmonization will hurt resale home market

(Toronto, March 26, 2009) Ontario’s REALTORS® say the McGuinty government's plan to harmonize the GST and PST will add over $2,000 to the cost of a real estate transaction, hurting the resale home market and prolonging the housing industry’s recovery from the current economic downturn.

“Now is not the time to be erecting barriers to homeownership,” said Pauline Aunger, President of the Ontario Real Estate Association. “We need consumers to invest in housing to help get our economy going again.”

According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, home sales in the province of Ontario were down 29 per cent in February, compared to 2008.
Under a harmonized sales tax (HST), home buyers and sellers will have to pay extra tax on a range of services associated with real estate transactions such as legal fees, moving costs, real estate commissions and home inspection fees. Currently, consumers only pay the 5% Goods and Services Tax (GST) on these services.
“These additional taxes could price some homebuyers, especially first-time homebuyers, right out of the market,” explained Mrs. Aunger. “Harmonizing will not help homebuyers in any way.”

For a resale house priced at $360,000, a HST could add over two thousand dollars in new taxes to closing costs. In total, a HST will add $313 million annually in new taxes to resale home transactions.

“In the last decade, Ontario’s homeowners have faced a barrage of new costs,” said Aunger. “From municipal land transfer taxes to sky rocketing property taxes, homeowners are being pushed to the brink to accommodate increasing demands from government. A harmonized sales tax is yet another cash grab on Ontario’s already overtaxed homeowners.”

The Ontario Real Estate Association represents 47,000 brokers and salespeople who are members of the 42 real estate boards throughout the province. Members of the association may use the “REALTOR®” trademark, which identifies them as real estate professionals who subscribe to a high standard of ethics and service.

OREA serves REALTORS® through a wide variety of professional publications, educational programs, advocacy and other services. A division of the association, the OREA Real Estate College, provides real estate registration education courses in Ontario.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Help with Downpayment!

The information below was borrowed from the Bruce County website to help promote that the end of the program is coming to a close.....hurry before it's too late.

Home Ownership - Realize Your Dream of Owning A Home

This program ends March 31, 2009.
All applications must be approved by March 31, 2009, closing date may be later.
Are you currently renting and dreaming of owning a home, but you don't have the down payment in the bank? The County of Bruce is participating in the Canada-Ontario Affordable Housing Program. (AHP)The Federal and Provincial governments have committed more than $28 million to make homeownership affordable for low and moderate-income households across Ontario. The Homeownership program provides up to 5 percent in down-payment assistance to eligible applicants to assist them in purchasing a home. Applicants must be renting, be at least 18 years old, have a gross household income at or below $64,900 and be eligible for financing from a financial institution. The selling price of the home must be at or below $205,315.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Your First Encounter with a Real Estate Representative

What should your first encounter be like with a Broker or Salesperson?

First thing an agent should be asking you is "are you working with any other agent?"

This should be asked anytime there is contact with a new customer, whether walking into an open house, or into their office. There are a few reasons for this, but the most important reason is ethics. If you have been working with someone else, you should continue to do so, as that agent has invested the time and effort into finding you a property. The exception would be if you are not happy with their service. The other important reason is that if you have a "buyer agency" with one agent, you could owe them a commission on the property you purchase depending on how the agency contract is written.

The next thing an agent should be providing is "Working with a Realtor®". This pamphlet describes how we work for you. Whether a Seller, Buyer, Multiple Representation or customer service, this information is spelled out in this document and should be given at the earliest practical time in the relationship.

And the most important thing when meeting a representative is feeling comfortable with them. Knowing that they are going to work hard for you, and that there is trust between both parties.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What is Buyer Agency? Why Buyer Agency and why do some reps ask for one up front? Who does it protect? Why a Holdover? Are there risks?

1) Buyer Agency is a contract between a Buyer and their Brokerage. This Form is a contract between a Buyer and a real estate company that gives the real estate company permission to act on the Buyer’s behalf in the purchase of a property. Assuming the Buyer is a Client of the real estate company, the Real Estate Council of Ontario (Ontario’s governing body) REBBA Code of Ethics requires that salespeople have a written Buyer Representation Agreement presented for signature prior to an offer being presented on behalf of the Buyer.
2) Representation agreements can be written, oral or implied. However, your broker or salesperson is required by law to reduce the agreement to writing and provide it to you for your signature prior to entering an agreement to purchase. The agreement should be in writing in order to protect the interest of all parties. It establishes agent responsibilities, commission arrangements and provides the foundation for negotiation and offer drafting. This form, which is commonly used in the real estate industry, provides that the broker is entitled to be paid commission if the buyer enters into an agreement to purchase any property, during the running of the agreement. If the seller does not pay the commission(in the case of a for sale by owner), or all of it, the buyer is required to pay it. Many agents ask for this form to be signed before any showings take place to protect their interests which include time invested, and their ethical and fiduciary duty to protect the client. If you have yet to sign this form, you are a customer, not a client. There is a great deal of difference with regards to that.
3) A perfect example: Customer calls agent to view property. The agent sets up the showings and meets the customer at the location to view the income property. The customer decides they want to see further property. The agent then sets up showings for various times, dates, locations. Many days, sometimes weeks, or months go by, showing after showing sometimes having to return because they want a contractor to see it, or a spouse wasn't available. The agent even introduces them to a series of different builders as he wants to further provide all suitable properties to their customer, hoping they will become a client. A hard working reputable agent will not only show property, but fact find, including visits to the municipality, registry office etc., to get all pertinent information on the subject properties. It’s called due diligence. This represents many days and days of work which costs time and money. Then one day, the agent that has done all of the work finds out that his customer has decided to work with with someone else because they didn’t realize how things work in this industry. The other agent didn’t ask if they were currently working with another agent.
4) This form protects both parties. The Brokerage(sales rep) and the client. When entering Agency, A buyer’s agent promotes your interests and represents you throughout the home-buying process, beginning with the search for the perfect home until you have the keys in your hand. A buyer’s agent can provide you with many important benefits such as knowledge of the local market, negotiating skills and expertise in working with contracts. It sets out what kind of property you are looking for and in what geographical location. A Buyer’s agent has a Fiduciary duty to protect the interests of the Buyer once this form is signed. Remember, we do follow a strict Code of Ethics, and without this form we still have a right to protect you with honesty and fairness.
For many agents in this industry, this is their sole means of income. They do not get paid unless they find you a property, and you put the offer through with them. Without implied or written Agency, the representative that did all of the work on your behalf has no claim to the commission that is to be paid.
5) A Holdover clause specifically addresses what happens when the contract comes to an end. Some agents don’t use a Holdover, while others do. The time of holdover is not specific and can range from days to months. What it means is that anytime after the contract expires, and while in the “holdover” period you purchase a home to which you were first introduced by that agent, commissions would be owed to that brokerage. You have to understand that some people do use the agents time to find property then wait to try and save money on the purchase of the home by not having representation at the time of offer. This isn’t fair to any of the parties involved as the process of purchasing and selling is complex.
6) There should not be any risks involved when signing a Buyers Agency Agreement. You can add anything to the pre-printed sections of the agreement, which takes precedence, so if there is something you want to add such as “exclusions on homes you have already seen”, or “commission payments” then have your agent add it, and agree by both parties signing the changes. Buyer Agencies can also be mutually cancelled at any time. Talk to your agent, they understand.

So, rather than getting to a point of risk such as implied agency commission payouts, discuss any issues with your agent, be open and honest and chances are if there is a problem it is just lack of communication. Realtors® are educated professionals and are supposed to follow strict ethical guidlines.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Attached is as current an interest rate update as I can provide today. Rates and policies both are very fluid!

The best 5 year rate is now around 4.34% meaning someone can pay just $434 for a $100,000 mortgage over 35 years. Let's look at it another way.

Assume you know someone who is paying $1200 a month for rent right now. If we assume $2000 a year for property taxes and $55 a month for heat estimate for qualifying purposes only, that $1200 a month could be carrying a mortgage in the amount of $226,000.

If your job is secure - if you live and work in a stable community - this is a very affordable time to be obtaining debt.

It could also be a very attractive time to consider refinancing or renewing early - we are developing a simple five minute mortgage check-up to answer the question - is it the right move for me now?

This information was provided by but is not meant as advertisement for:
Jim Cook
Mortgage Agent
Mortgage Intelligence
519-396-6800 - Kincardine
519-389-6900 - Port Elgin

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


It is so interesting watching people wait for prices to hit rock bottom here in Canada! The problem is that the media is indicating recession, and that prices are falling. Let me share a little historical trend for you. Last year our board reported the 2008 stats and comparing them to 2007, I can tell you that prices have not dropped the way that the media is reporting. Sure in some locals it may be relevant, but in areas such as Bruce County, where employment, and economic concerns are not as bold, prices remain stable. So what then makes this a perfect BUYER opportunity? Selection, interest rates and small price drops!
Consider a house price in 2007 at 195,000 and the same house now at 200,000. Although some may think it's costing them more to purchase really it is not.

On average, interest rates in 2007 were 5.7% and today in February 2009, 4.6%

Assuming a fixed Term of 5 Years and a 25 year amortization

Mortgage 1 $200,000 @ 4.6% would have a monthly pmt of 1118.09
Mortgage 2 $195,000 @ 5.7% would have a monthly pmt of 1213.06

Mortgage 1 would pay almost $43,000 interest and $24,117.64 in principal
Mortgage 2 would pay over $52,000 interest and $20,570 in principal

So as you can see, Mortgage 1 which is at todays home price and lower interest than last year, actually costs you less in monthly payments, interest and your are putting more of your hard earned money towards principal. So, what makes more sense, waiting for prices to fall and interest rates to rise?

Rate Drop!

The Bank of Canada prime rate is now it's lowest EVER, and fixed rates are very low right now also. People are split between taking a 5 year mortgage at 4.49% or a 1 year at 3.5%. So speaking of "split", why not split your mortgage and take advantage of both great rates. In the meantime, get shopping for that home as many buyers are out there already looking to scoop up a deal, and spring pricing could see a rise in price before long. Call Jason Steele for your real estate needs. I will "listen to you". 519-377-2147 cell