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June marks my seventh year in real estate!  This is hard to believe, as it feels like just yesterday when I received my letter from the Manitoba Securities Commission!  Although in this time I have had two babies, received my MBA in Marketing from the University of Manitoba, bought and sold my own home, become an aunt two times over, and got my broker’s license.  So I guess more time has passed than I realize!  Anyways, to commemorate this anniversary, I thought I would put together a list of the seven things I have learned in my seven years in real estate:

 

1. Real estate is a relational business, not a transactional business

People truly don’t care what you know, until they know that you care. For the first few years of my career, I was so focused on being professional.  Rigid would be a good way to define my personality in the early days. Sorry to these clients, it must have been very boring to work with me! Realizing that you can be professional while also being personable was a game changer.  Now, sharing my life with my clients, as they share their lives with me has made my job much more enjoyable, and resulted in many long-lasting relationships!

 

2. There are two ways to build the tallest building in town

I know, this sounds weird, but there are two ways to look at business: 1. You can tear down all of the businesses around you to become the tallest building, or; 2: You can just build the tallest building.  This can be a tough industry as my colleagues or friends within the business are often my competition, and an industry set up such as this can lead to dissension amongst peers and sometimes downright dirty tactics to obtain clients.  But karma exists. Always choose to build the taller building.

 

3. Build a solid team around you

Amy started with me after my first year in the business.  It helped that she had some knowledge and experience already in real estate.  However, had she not, recruiting her still would have been an easy decision.  You see, I truly believe that anything can be taught.  However, character cannot be learned. So build your team with quality people that want to see you succeed, and the rest can be figured out as you go! As we have continued to grow the team, and form partnerships with others, this strategy has remained at the forefront and it has not steered us wrong yet!

 

4. Communication is Key!

There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes.  A lot of the time silence is mistaken for inactivity.  Whether it be good news, bad news, or even no news, keep in touch with your clients! Sometimes it may be uncomfortable, but people will appreciate you for making the call.

 

5. Honesty is the best policy

For most people, a home will be the largest asset they ever own.  So be honest in your dealings with the public.  Throughout the buy and sell process there are a lot of questions and decisions that will come up, so delivering truthful information is key so that buyers and sellers can make informed decisions.  Sometimes the truth isn’t what people want to hear, and delivering it can be painful.  But your clients and fellow Realtors will thank you for it in the end.

 

6. Education is paramount

Goodness, the things that I didn’t know when I started are scary to me.  But the only way to learn is to latch onto every education opportunity you can find.  Whether it be following a home inspector around, to tricking other Realtors to go for lunch with me so that I could pick their brain, to enlisting in webinars from other Realtors, to reading a new book, to enrolling in courses (online and offline), or to deciding to take up an MBA in marketing mid-career, there is an abundance of things that we can all learn.  Always be willing to share your knowledge and education with others as well. 

 

7. Trust that life usually works intelligently

Over prepare then go with the flow. If things don’t seem to work out at first, there is usually a good reason for it. Things will inevitably go sideways.  Buyers will get declined for financing, home inspections will fail, you will have clients get outbid on a property.  But after doing this for several years, I have learned that if it is meant to be, it will be.

 

 

Looking back, it all seems like it went by so fast!  It has been quite a ride, many happy and hilarious memories have been made, and many life milestones achieved. I wouldn’t have it any other way and can’t wait to see what the next seven years will bring!

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I cannot tell you how often we are asked by a client whether or not we think they should paint.  The short answer: YES!  

 

The next question we get asked: but what colour?  Stick to neutrals! That appeals to the widest group of buyers.  Yes, we acknowledge that this is boring and cookie-cutter, but there is a reason that so many people do it – it works!  The neutral palettes are less distracting and it makes it easier for buyers to imagine moving their belongings into the space.  If you are dying to sneak some colour into the home, do so with your décor (accent pillows, statement pieces, etc.).

 

Even if your house is already a neutral palette, you may still want to think about painting.  With time walls can get damaged and scuffed-up, which gives the impression to buyers that the home is dirty or unkempt.  Nothing that a fresh coat of paint can't help!

 

You do not have to paint the whole house either.  A quick cheat is to paint the living space and kitchen for the most dramatic effect. If the kids’ rooms are neon green and fuchsia, don’t worry too much about it — they are secondary rooms and do not affect the sale as much as the primary rooms would. I would only recommend making a change in those rooms if the colours are making the room feel smaller or if the walls are particularly banged up.  Of course if you have a lot of time on your hands (yeah right) you could paint these secondary rooms, but the return on dollars and effort spent will be negligible.

 

As a bonus to our loyal following, we are going to offer you three of the paint colours we most frequently recommend!

 

Greys are really in right now.  For a nice light and neutral grey, we recommend: Benjamin Moore Classic Gray OC23 because it is as neutral as it gets with its slightly greige (beige) undertone.  This means that depending on the room and exposure it will flex from the gray end of things to the beige end without committing 100% to either.  Also, for those of you that have painted a room in a neutral tone only to have it look purple or pink in the daylight, rest assured.  This paint does not have any purple undertones in it!

 

Benjamin Moore Classic Gray OC 23Benjamin Moore Classic Grey OC 23 on wall

 

 

For those that want to go the more traditional route with neutral tans/beiges, we recommend: Sherwin Williams Canvas Tan SW7531.  This colour works well in all rooms (including smaller ones) and looks gorgeous with almost all wood colors and white trim.  It is a nice warm and inviting colour too!  Just beware that this color looks horrible with pink hues. 

 

 Sherwin Williams Canvas Tan SW 7531 Swatch

 

 

Another trend we have seen is one toward slightly off-white colours.  For this, we recommend: Sherwin Williams Creamy SW7012.  It is hard to believe, but white can be one of the most difficult colours to paint your home.  The wrong shade of white can make your home look sterile or dirty.  This colour however is the perfect off-white with warm undertones.  It also has a neutral base to calm it down so that it isn’t overly yellow or orange looking – it’s more like a very light ‘cream’.

 

 

There, now you know all of our secrets!  Does anyone have any paint suggestions they would like to add to this list?  We are always open to new suggestions!

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Spring marks the award season in real estate.  This year I was graced with a Silver Medallion Award by Winnipeg Realtors, which means Amy and I were within the top 3% of Realtors in terms of sold dollar volume in Winnipeg for 2014.  I was also lucky enough to receive a Platinum Club award from RE/MAX International.  I find awards such as these reminders of how truly lucky I am.  I get to do what I love on a daily basis, while meeting some of the most amazing people.  It never feels like work for me! 

 

Thank you to all of my amazing clients for making successes like this a possibility!

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