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HOW TO SELL YOUR HOME IN THE WINTER

How to sell Your Home in the Winter?

 

Have you ever seen a postcard of a charming Old Quebec City street in the summer? It appears next to an exact angle of the same street in the winter. The summer version looks nice, but normal. But in the winter, the seasonal lights and decorations, carefully groomed snow drifts, and frost-glazed windows add this … Je ne sais quoi … to the environment, and you could swear that there is more charm and “warmth” there, than what is captured in the summer photo.  That is “How you Sell your Home in the Winter”.

      

 

Now let’s transform these intangible sensations into practical ideas for selling your home in the winter.

The thought of selling your home at all may already be a chilling thought for some. Historically in Southern Ontario, strongest listing seasons have been the spring and fall. Seasonal sale activity slows somewhat in the summer months, as it does in the middle of winter. If not careful, selling in the middle of winter could freeze out potential buyers, and ultimately, the best sale price.

REMEMBER: Your listing agent may not be as busy during winter months. Bonus for you! They should have more time to work on your deal!

So what winter magic can lure a buyer away from their winter’s den, and into your home’s warm embrace?

Exterior:

ALTERNATIVE PHOTOS:

If you know a few months in advance that you will be placing your home on the market in the winter months, try taking exterior photos of your home with green grass and fall leaves still on the trees. Your home under bright sunny skies and lively fall colors can be a nice alternative perspective for your listing.

Take another set of exterior photos as you get closer to listing day, especially on a sunny day after a snow fall. Sculpt the exterior grounds for a tidy appearance. AVOID: brown grass and stripped trees, against a drab sky.

NOTE: If the first picture you have doesn’t cut it, you don’t have to stick with it. Take a new picture at a later date under better conditions, and replace the old one.

Provide listing agent with both winter and alternative weather images and insist that they post both images on the MLS, or at least on the agent’s private site for your home, to inspire potential buyers.

TIP: Take exterior photos with plenty of sunshine, blue skies and with interior and exterior lights on. Clear snow from driveways, and walkways. Cover gray or black snow with fresh powder. Dress it up! Pretend it is a movie set!

COLORS ARE A COZY FACTOR:

 

Make sure that your home seems like the warmest place to be this winter.

Add a splash of colour with seasonal conifers, or shrubbery. Local gardening stores can provide you with plenty of seasonal options. AVOID: Over-decorating for Christmas or Hanukkah at this time. However, a cute snowman during a visit, in the front yard, may be a welcoming touch, and humanizes the place in your absence.

NOTE: I still see MLS listings in the spring with a drab old winter exterior photo as primary image. If your home doesn’t sell in the winter and your are heading into spring, get new, fresh photographs of your home (preferably inside and out) with updated seasonal staging. If you don’t update your listing, it shows laziness and a lack of interest from you and your agent.

Interior:

LIGHTS ATTRACT BUYERS

When photographing or showing your home, turn on all your interior and exterior lights – even in the day time. Light the fire place ahead of a showing, and heat the house to a comfortable temperature. This is not the time to conserve energy.

EMOTIONAL TIES

Reheat a banana loaf, or seasonal pie in the oven, even if you don’t plan to eat them. Warm sensations are more powerful and effective when they come from within. Attack all senses. Visitors should be tempted to stay in your home longer, rather than go back out. AVOID: Playing seasonal music during showings.

PRE-SELL YOUR HOME

Give prospective buyers and their agents plenty of reasons to visit your home. A good online presence, additional photos and story prior to posting the deal on MLS could manifest the urgency and fear in a buyer that others may get to your house before they do.

Facebook, Blogs, stand alone sites are all good at making new connections with buyers. You will get more buyers doing more intense website shopping in the winter, to reassure themselves that your home is worth braving the weather. Use those sites to tell the entire story! Make each room more than ordinary by writing a short description about each image.

NOTE: MLS allows up to 9 photographs. Make sure to take extra photos for alternative marketing sites. Stage each photo. AVOID: Rooms that don’t look great, or are cluttered.

SEND OUT EXTRA E-MAILS AND CALL OTHER REALTORS

Before the home hits the market, announce to everyone you know and everyone your agent knows, in advance, that your home is about to go up for sale, even while you are still getting it ready.

EXCLUSIVE SHOWINGS

Offer exclusive showings to potential buyer and their agent, so that this visit appears like an extra effort by you, the listing agent, and the buyer’s agent. Advise the other side that you will be leaving them some hot beverages and sweet snacks for their visit when they arrive. How can they stand you up when you make such an effort?

EARLIER AND LONGER OPEN HOUSES

Sun sets earlier in the winter. Choose a noon to 3 PM open house on both Saturday and Sunday. Weather is erratic in the winter, so consider an Open House both Saturday and Sunday, in case one of the days sees bad road conditions. AVOID: Do not be present during showings of the home, even if you did bake, and want to personally see if the shoppers like your offerings. You want the buyers to see themselves in your home, and not to picture you there.

WINTER-FRIENDLY LOCATIONS

Play up the positives: Certain types of properties are best for winter living. You may actually have an easier time selling those homes during winter than in warmer seasons.

Be careful not to make the conclusion that just because the property is winter-friendly that it would sell itself. Emphasize the winter-friendly aspects: Display to the fullest snow shoes, skis, and snow mobiles, in and around your home. Sheds that store additional winter gear should be staged. Mud rooms should be equipped for handling snow covered boots and coats. Make available maps to local attractions and trails for buyers to review. NOTE: try arranging an activity to the buyer after they visit your home. This may help create emotional ties.

WINTER FRIENDLY CITY HOMES

In some cases condominiums have their edge over single family homes. Aside from maintenance-free living, emphasize proximity to public transit, underground passages and shopping. A sauna, indoor heated pool, or even an outdoor heated pool accessible in the winter may be perceived as a bonus.

Attached garages could be favoured in the winter by expecting mothers, young families or older buyers who prefer to stay out of the elements.

Winter selling presents its own set of challenges, but also has its many advantages: There are typically less homes listed, so your buyer may have an easier time zeroing in on the home they really want: yours. So make that search an easy one for them. At the same time, don’t assume you will have a hard time selling in winter. Many homes do sell in the winter time. Just make sure you execute as many ideas as you can to make your home stand out online and in person.

Surprise the winter house hunter: Bring that Old Quebec winter charm to your home.

(ORIGINALLY WRITTEN FOR AN PUBLISHED IN “RESALE HOME AND CONDO GUIDE”, by Yan Gurevich)

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West Queen West – Property Review

WQW Wild West Queen West (Februaray 23. 2018)

Follow Yan through home previews in the West Queen West Corridor of Toronto as he shares his insights about new listings.

You’re too busy to see some of these homes, so I will do it for you and give you some feedback.

As a realtor in the Queen West Corridor, I adore seeing any type of home. Nothing is too weird, ugly, difficult or impossible to work with.

I spend time with end users and home renovators, developers and flippers in the Queen West Corridor guiding them on finding value in each property for their needs.

In these Blog Posts I will share my insights about newer listings in the West side of Downtown Toronto.

Want my commentary on a home you’re interested in? Why wait? Give me a call and I will be happy to navigate the Wild West Queen West real estate world with you.

 

IN THIS REVIEW:

90 & 222 Markham, 53 Palmerston, 194 Argyle, 38 Foxley, 46 Cowan

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REAL ESTATE AGENT INTERVIEW

HOW TO INTERVIEW YOUR REAL ESTATE AGENT, may be the most critical decisions you will make in selling, or buying your home.  A Real Estate Agent Interview Questionnaire could be the difference between a great experience, or the most expensive and unsettling mistake in your real estate adventure.

 

When was the last time you gave anyone a gift of $50,000 – $150,000???  Have you ever cut a check that size to a friend, or family member, without expecting it back?  If you were on trial for a crime that you didn’t commit, and all the lawyers in the country charged the same fee, would you hire a relative, or the best qualified lawyer to defend you?

 

Well, every day people choose to use unqualified real estate agents instead of the best person for the job.

So how do you narrow down your choices without a rating system?  

Why not Interview real estate agents by using our Real Estate Agent Interview Questionnaire?  It comes with a Comparison Form at the back!

Real Estate Agent Interview Questionnaire - Form

HINT! Don’t wait until a week before you want your property to hit MLS to hire your agent. Your property marketing team should actually understand the difference between “Selling”, and “Marketing” your home.  If your agent understands how to market, they will also require more than just a few days to get the word out about your property, and build up the “Hype”.  Ask Us about our WQW Property Marketing Methods that do just that!

 

 

How to use your “Real Estate Agent Interview Questionnaire?”

We love it when our own potential clients use the “The Real Estate Agent Interview Questionnaire” to interview us.

The Questionnaire contains numerous key questions Sellers should consider when hiring an Agent.  It also includes well-timed challenges for the agent you are interviewing, just to try to get them off their game – to see how they may behave in adverse situations when your house is on the line.

 

⇒REQUEST YOUR REAL ESTATE AGENT INTERVIEW QUESTIONNAIRE HERE!

 

WE WILL SEND IT TO YOU IMMEDIATELY IN PDF FORMAT

 

 

(Here is an article we wrote for the “Resale Home and Condo Guide” to get our point across…)

“Heed the Warning and Choose your Realtor Wisely” Written by Yan Gurevich

Juliette lived in her parents’ house since she was 3 years old: a bungalow in a forest of post-WW2 single story family homes. With her parents long gone, Juliette was now married with 2 kids and a large SUV that didn’t fit in their garage. Watching her girls playing in the driveway sent waves of memories of simpler days, like frothy bubble baths she took in her parents’ en-suite tub. But it was time to move on.

 

Empowered by their two incomes, she and her husband needed help finding a newer, modern home.   She set up interviews with local and recommended agents. When the doorbell rang, Juliette gazed back at her husband… “I wish mom and dad were here to do this…”

 

Dear Juliette, here are some non-standard qualities your parents would look for, if they were interviewing agents with you.

 

Thanks for the memories: No agent can help you write the next chapter of your life, if they don’t care or respect where you have been.   Do they care enough to learn about your family life so far, and how to minimize shock of the move on you and your children? LOOK OUT: Agents who feign interest. Say what you want to hear.

 

Shut up and Listen. Not you…The agent… Do they know how to listen? Are they only trying to impress you with their knowledge and success stories, or are they asking you the right questions that should help them determine how best to help you? LOOK OUT! They don’t let you finish your sentences? They are not writing things down. Pushing you into making decisions quicker than you are ready.

 

Deliver on Short Term Promises. All agents should arrive prepared with material and information about the neighborhood, market and the home you are trying to sell. But you should prepare one or two assignments that are relatively easy to accomplish by the agent within a few hours or a day; a piece of information, an analysis, a list of services … then see how they get back to you? LOOK OUT: General answers. Excuses. Responses that don’t address the assignment.

 

Busy Agent vs. Free Agent – Some may show you all their awards, but pass your deal onto a junior agent. A less experienced agent may give you all the time in the world, but may lack the skills and experience to do all the right things. Who is going to handle your deal and will they be open to asking for help if they get over their head during the process?

 

Name that Brokerage – Remember, your Listing, or Buyer Agreement is not with the agent, but with their Brokerage. Pay close attention to the brokerage’s reputation. Are they established, reputable, a name you recognize and can trust? Will you be comfortable calling the broker of record and request better, or different service, which may, or may not include the agent you chose. LOOK OUT! The broker of record won’t call you back. They don’t offer much information about their agent.

 

Tough Love – Your agent must be – amongst many things – an expert negotiator. Plan two or three points of contention during your interview and watch the agent’s response. Are they adept at dealing with adversity? How will they fare in the trenches when they argue price, unique conditions, fees?

 

Your NINJA move when interviewing real estate agents is in your interview as well as the feedback you get after your interview.  That’s why I urge all my clients to use this  “REAL ESTATE AGENT QUESTIONNAIRE”

Here is the first page of the most requested publication we have ever produced.

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READY TO GET YOUR FULL COPY OF YOUR OWN REAL ESTATE AGENT INTERVIEW QUESTIONNAIRE, AND RATING SHEET?

 

⇒HERE IS THE REQUEST FORM AGAIN!!!!

 

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St Anne’s Church, West Queen West

St Anne’s Church features the only works of religious art ever produced by members of the Group of Seven.

St. Anne's Anglican Church

Saint Anne’s Church is one of the most understated and under appreciated National and Provincial Heritage sites in West Queen West Toronto.

St Anne’s Anglican Church happens to be one of the prettiest, and friendly churches on the West side.  Located at 270 Gladstone Avenue, its Byzantine styling offer unobstructed views of every corner of this magnificent edifice.  With around 800 possible seats, this Church takes full advantage of its layout to provide incredible annual concerts, Christmas events and theatrical performances, offering art and entertainment at prices all community members can afford.

I first met the Rev. Gary van der Meer, Pastor & Incument at our monthly Community Liaison meeting at 14 Division.  He was kind and unpretentious, with a great deal of motivation to bring all members of the community together.  Even his own Biography on the Church’s website starts with his personal commitment to Community building.

The artwork demands attention and respect. 2 of the Group of Seven contributed to St Anne’s Church incredible display or original art, with their only religious artwork ever produced. The site is a Provincial and National historic site. Loving West Queen West.

Incredible Windows at St. Anne's Church in Little Portugal
Murals – St. Anne’s Anglican Church, Little Portugal
St. Anne's Anglican Church, WEST QUEEN WEST Church, at 270 Gladstone Avenue,
Artwork at St Anne’s Anglican Church includes Group of Seven Works

The kindness and intention of the leaders of this Church is about community building first.

All 800+ seats deserve to be full each Sunday here. http://www.saintanne.ca

 

My team at West Queen West Homes Real Estate Marketeers will be working on fund raising and holiday events in conjunction with the organizers at St. Anne’s to raise funds for the Parkdale, Little Portugal and the West Queen West Community with the purest intentions. #westqueenwest #queenwestcommunity #spiritual #Byzantinechurch #westqueenwesthomes #StAnnesChurch

 

If you love what we are doing for St. Anne’s Church or for the West Queen West Community and how we Market real estate in this area, please offer your YELP review here

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OSSINGTON (OZ) – WEST QUEEN WEST

Behind the Emerald Curtain: An Introduction to Ossington – the Oz Strip

Ossington from Queen to Dundas is what pelple think of when you mention Oz.  But these days the appeal of Ossington extends right up to Ossington and Bloor.  This is a neighbourhood on the up, a patch of the city that is eclectic, soaked in duality and energy. The neighbourhood stands at the west-central portion of the city’s inner heart, marking the transition from the core to the first steps of the West end.

Oz is defined by its fluidity. The Portuguese and Italians who came in the 60s and 70s have built handsome houses, well-kept markets and butcher shops. Both groups sprinkled the area with the effects of European handiwork and attentiveness. Newer arrivals from East Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean have added the exotic aspects of diversity Toronto loves and molds into itself with such Bay Street efficiency and effectiveness.

Oz is genuine and real. The authentic feel of the area has attracted waves of younger, more culturally diverse crowds. This trend brings scores of hip, urbane millennials and professionals; they range from the newly tenured university professor, and corporate lawyer, to musician and the aspiring artist. With this re-awakening sprouted classy espresso shops, crisp clothiers, and even art galleries that double as idiosyncratic dance halls. The young are regularly lured to Oz with pop-up stores by iconic designers. There are bars of every variety, and gourmet restaurants taking over with regularity, where tired storefronts were once the norm. Part of the West Queen West draw, Ossington is now the abode of the real and the unpretentious.

Ossington has soul in a city desperately itching to shed the outdated criticism of being a “pretend city”.  While the City has shown all the traits of maturation, soul is something you can’t buy, or fake. Oz has it, and is proud of its openness. The great mystery is what shape this neighbourhood will take in the decades to come? It could well become the next sizzler, the place everyone goes to and everyone wants a piece of. But Oz is in no rush, it marches on steadily and slowly, taking its time. Oz has just opened its eyes, and all are welcomed.

 

Contribution by: Dino Alic