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What a spring we are having in Winnipeg/Manitoba this year! The amount of calls and questions we have had from clients and potential clients about water entering the home is higher than any year that I have been a realtor, and rightfully so.


The weather conditions in Manitoba this year are causing a number of water related issues to many homes. A quick read through the news and you will see info about the river, ponds and other water bodies in the City of Winnipeg and rural municipalities overflowing with water.


While this can be a trying time for many of the people experiencing these issues this is also the perfect time to find problems and remedy them. I am going to go over some of the issues with water that we have encountered recently and what you can do if any of these situations are happening to you.


Foundations: Due to the extreme amount of snow we received last winter along with the large amount of rain we have been experiencing the past few weeks many people are having issues with water in the basement. Some of these issues related to the foundation of the home can be attributed to a build up of snow, frozen ground and continued precipitation.  The biggest thing to do is to find out what the actual issue is.  This may require removing some of the interior walls in basements if the basement is finished.  While not a fun job it is imperative to find out what exactly the issue is so that it can be repaired correctly.  The chances are that if you have water seeping into the walls from the exterior there is high likelihood that there is a crack in your foundation. Now don’t get too freaked out, a foundation repair can be an easy fix. Finding out the extent of the damage will determine how it can be repaired and what exactly needs to be done. There is also the potential for water to get into a foundation if there is just standing water at the house. Some things to check: is there any water pooling along the foundation walls? What does the grading look like? Is it graded so that the water is running away from the house or towards it? While preventative maintenance is best done in the summer and fall to prepare for spring melt, if you know there are issues that can be fixed now then it is best to get on them.


Top Realtors in Winnipeg talk Spring MaintenanceDownspouts: good operating downspouts/eavestroughs are extremely important for getting water away from a home. Checking that your eavestroughs are not frozen, or clogged with debris is a maintenance item that should be tackled throughout the spring, summer and fall. On the downspout portions it is important that the downspouts are functioning and that they are extended at least 6-8 feet away from the house.


Sump pumps: if your home has a sump pump (typically any home built after 2000 will have one, earlier than that may not) it is important to check and ensure that it is operating correctly. On the exterior of the home you want to have the drain hose connected to the discharge pipe and you want it to be extended a long way from the foundation of the home.  Inside you want to make sure that the pump is operating as it should be, that there is nothing in the pit that could cause a clog in the pump or could cause the float switch to malfunction.


Window wells: checking window wells for water is an important part of keeping your basement water tight.  No matter how good a window you have if there is water pooling up against it, it will leak. Window wells are designed to drain water through weeping tile in the window well down to the weeping tiles at the base of the foundation. Making sure that the bottom of your window well is not covered in debris, leaves, or frozen with snow an ice will help keep it operating correctly. If you find that it is pooling water then you may want to find a pump and drain it of water while we wait for warmer weather.  When the time comes in the summer you may need to see if the weeping tile in the well is operating correctly and if not it may need replacement.


Roof and siding: with all of the snow we received this winter there was the potential for drifts and piles to build up on roofs and in areas that do not typically get wet other than a heavy rain. Checking shingles and any extrusions (chimney, venting) in the roof for damage and water seals will help keep your roof dry. The same thing goes for siding, if there was any water infiltration over winter and any freeze/thaw cycles happening there was the chance for siding to pull away from the home and could leave an opening for water to get in. Checking your siding for any damage, loosening or shifting and that any caulking seals are still flexible and not cracked or broken.


Any home extrusions: any type of extrusion from the basement wall should be sealed.  This could include: A/C piping and cables, ductwork, fan vents, sump pump piping, etc. you should ensure that the openings are sealed, if it is a small space caulking will likely work but if it is larger you may need to have expanding foam or other sealing options.


While this is not the be all end all for issues with water and how to fix them, we know that these issues can cause some major headaches for people. Also know that all houses are susceptible to these issues, not just older houses.  Although older houses have more potential for them even new houses require maintenance to keep them watertight.


If you are having issues with water and do not know who to reach out to we have a list of contractors we have worked with over the years or clients have been pleased with.  We have seen many of these issues over the years and typically most are easy fixes.  The goal is always to have your home as functional as possible and keeping it watertight is one of the best ways to do that.


Hopefully we have some real spring weather on the way and we can look towards hot dry summer days!


best realtor in winnipeg manitoba#AgentLogan


Logan Queen

Tel: (204) 226-1261
Email: Logan@JenniferQueen.com

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There are a variety of options to market a property – and the recommendations that we give will really vary on a case-by-case basis.  I often find that the most commonly understood type of listing is the MLS listing.  These are the listings that you will see popup on the MLS listing history.  If you are setup to receive notices by your Realtor, you will receive a notice whenever something that matches your criteria pops up.


Another option that Realtors have at their disposal is the exclusive listing – oftentimes called many other names such as a pocket listing, or off-market listing.  Essentially, it means that a Realtor has been given permission to market a property for a seller – and only they have the right to sell the property (as in, they have exclusive listing rights). Now this does not mean that this particular Realtor is unwilling to cooperate with other Realtors.  We have sold a number of exclusive listings in which we would market to our fellow realtors, as well as offer a cooperating commission for anyone bringing a buyer.  The goal (at least in my opinion), is to still ultimately get the house sold for the most amount of money with the least hassle to the seller.


An exclusive listing does tend to have less exposure.  By not being put into the MLS system, which is the number one resource that buyers and their Realtors search, you are definitely limiting the number of eyes that might land on said listing.  However, there are certainly times when using an exclusive listing agreement is appropriate.  Here are some situations in which we have found there to be good reason to list a home with an exclusive listing contract versus an MLS listing agreement:

  • Personal situation of the vendors (oftentimes the desire for a discreet sale)
  • Wanting to test price without having an MLS history of price reductions
  • Concerns about the home itself and not wanting to have too many days-on-market
  • Having greater control and oversight over the buyers coming through
  • Luxury listings in which marketing to the general public isn’t always the best use of resources
  • Privacy concerns in the case of higher-profile individuals


The majority of our clients do end up going with a full MLS listing and it is often more advisable to do so.  However, every sale is different, every seller is different, and thus selecting the alternative that is best has to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.


There is no right or wrong option for listing your house in Winnipeg – there really is just a “right for you”.  Please feel free to call us anytime to consult on whether or not listing exclusively (or as a pocket listing) is right for you, or if we would advise utilizing the MLS listing system. OR, sometimes we even do a hybrid variety of both, so that you are able to take full advantage of both strategies.  Again, feel free to reach out for more information.  We are always happy to talk strategy for your specific situation.


If you would like to be added to our exclusive listing list to that you are notified anytime we have a new listing available (that isn't on the MLS), please email us at Jennifer@JenniferQueen.com.  We have a number of waterfront Linden Woods properties set to hit the market soon!


Best realtor in Winnipeg Manitoba#AgentJen


Jennifer Queen

Phone: (204) 797-7945
Email: Jennifer@JenniferQueen.com

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The strategy of listing or purchasing a luxury property in Winnipeg can vary from that of the traditional home purchase or sale route. Associating yourself with a Realtor that specializes in this market, is paramount to your success.


First, we should really begin by discussing what is considered a luxury property in Winnipeg.  At the time of writing this blog, the average home price in Winnipeg was hovering around $375,000 – and oftentimes a luxury home in any Canadian market is considered double that amount (so around $750,000).  To be honest, I wouldn’t personally classify homes in Winnipeg priced for under $1,000,000 as luxury homes – but you can still purchase VERY nice homes from that $750,000 - $1,000,000 range.  For instance, you can purchase a new construction, custom-built home in some of the newer developments such as Sage Creek, Bridgwater, East St Paul, Headingley, Ridgewood West, for under $1,000,000 and you might even have some lakefront options at that!  The square footage for these homes would typically be around 2000 square feet.  The majority of these homes are often listed on the MLS system and are easily discoverable.


Where I find the market changes is once you start to get over that $1 million dollar mark.  The market in Manitoba for homes in the price point is much more exclusive and becomes even more exclusive as you travel upwards on price.  I can tell you that of all the listings or buyers that I represented within the last year that transacted in home purchases over $1.5 million, every single one of them was never listed on the MLS system.  And there is a reason for this!


When you are transacting in this luxury price point, you are often dealing with many high-profile clients.  Oftentimes, these clients appreciate absolute discretion and value their privacy. Exclusive listings allow a listing agent to shop the property out to fellow agents with known clients, it also allows them greater control over who tours the property.  I have had a number of extremely private sellers that just did not want everybody able to view their home online, or to try and book showings if they weren’t qualified.  And I can absolutely appreciate that!


In theory, the overall process for selling a luxury property doesn’t vary greatly from a typical home, what often changes is the type of marketing, ad copy, and digital assets that are developed for the luxury property.  Oftentimes, the timeline for preparing the marketing also needs to be extended.  However, there are still some key factors that cannot be overlooked:

  • Pricing is still paramount – and oftentimes the comparable property sales are not in abundance.  Having an agent that has toured the competition, is willing to call their fellow agents to get details, and spend hours upon hours of massaging the data is a key to pricing properly.  So be certain your agent is well connected in the luxury home market.
  • Staging is of utmost importance.  A lot of people seem to think that if they are listing their home exclusively, it saves them from the prospect of staging, etc.  However, it is just the opposite in our opinion.  Proper preparation of your home allows you to show the home in its best light, minimize its flaws, improve upon overall flow of the property, and sell the actual lifestyle that owning your home would bring.
  • Marketing is so vital.  If you are planning on listing the exclusive route, you still need to reach the right people.  Having a strategic marketing that includes solid ad copy, pictures in a variety of lights and stages through the day, as well as virtual tours is a top priority.
  • Timing is important too!  There are a variety of factors impacting any market, and having a strategy that will take advantage of seasonality for your home is another key consideration.


We have developed a strategy that involves a two-phased approach to maximizing dollar for our seller clients.  It first begins with an exclusive listing strategy in which we send targeted ad-copy to our peers and client database, we often invite them to a Broker’s Open House, and then allow for private showings. There is obviously a lot more that goes into this strategy, but in essence we keep a small, yet qualified, group of individuals in the know about the property.  These individuals are able to submit their offers prior to the listing ever going into the MLS system.  Should no offers be forthcoming that the seller finds acceptable, then the next phase is to enter the listing into the MLS system and offer the property to the more general public and holding an offer date. 


We have sold a number of waterfront homes this past year, and as a result are often being contacted by buyers to see if we have anything else coming up.  This buyer pool is able to act quickly, and also understands the scarcity that exists in our luxury market.  Oftentimes they are quite willing and comfortable in bidding on property even if that means adding $100,000’s of thousands of dollars to their offer.


I’ll tell you this though: In 2021, we had a number of luxury listings that never hit the market.  ALL sold prior to ever hitting the MLS system.  ALL sold at or above list price, too.  There is something to be said for an exclusive listing strategy when used properly.




Here is a video from one of our more recent luxury realtor open houses. This house ended up receiving 4 offers after this Broker’s Open House and a price $150,000 over the list price. 


Luxury realtor in Winnipeg Manitobaluxury real estate agent in winnipegFor our luxury home buyers, rest assured – there will be a number of options “popping up” in 2022.  And by “popping up” I don’t mean the MLS system.  In fact, the majority of luxury homes selling over a certain price point in Winnipeg sell off the MLS.  So be certain that you are getting a Luxury Realtor that is well connected, has experience dealing in luxury listings in Winnipeg, and is happy to educate and advise throughout the process.  There are also additional qualifications to investigate.  Are they a member of the Luxury Home Institute?  This qualification requires them to have established a track record of selling a certain number of luxury homes every year, and has also put them through rigorous testing process.  The RE/MAX Collection set of Agents is another association in which membership is only granted if you have enough listings over a certain price point within your market.  I happen to be a member Realtor in both of these associations and would be happy to help in your journey should you need representation.  Reach out and we can have a quick consult.  If you are looking for a Luxury Realtor in another market, please reach out as I likely know someone that can be trusted and can make that connection for you!


And finally, if you are buying or selling a luxury home in Winnipeg, congrats to you and best wishes for your continued success!


Luxury Realtor Winnipeg

#AgentJen


Jennifer Queen

Phone: (204) 797-7945
Email: Jennifer@JenniferQueen.com

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We always seem to have a number of people moving to Winnipeg from other cities, provinces, countries and sometimes continents! This year, we have had an abundance of questions from people moving here on what summer activities there are for kids.


We endeavour to make this list as exhaustive as possible.  These are the options that we have either had our children participate in, or past clients have recommended - but if there are any missing please let us know!  We would love to have a comprehensive list for a variety of activities as well as age groups!


Without further adieu, here is what we have thus far:


Summer Camps for Children in Winnipeg 

Gymboree Summer Camps – For newborn to 5 years: https://www.gymboreeclasses.com/en/locations/MB/South-Winnipeg/# 


University of Manitoba – Mini U: https://umanitoba.ca/mini-u 


GymKyds (Gymnastics) – Ages 3 and up. - https://gymkyds.ca/summer-camps/ 


MyGym summer camps for children ages 3 to 12 years.  https://www.mygym.com/stvital/camp# 


WISE Kid-Netic Energy STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Day Camps. Kindergarten to Grade 12. https://www.wisekidneticenergy.ca/


Aquatica Synchro Club. Offer 3 camps this summer for children ages 5+ to 19+.  Activities include: artistic swimming skills, games and crafts to explore our theme, creating and performing an artistic swimming routine, flexibility and strength training. For all skill levels starting with 5 year olds who are new to the shallow end.   www.aquaticasynchro.com

 


Assiniboine Zoo, Zoo Camp.  Ages 6 and up.  https://www.assiniboinepark.ca/programs-and-tours/zoo-camp 


Fort Whyte Alive Day Camps for children from 4 years old to Grade 8. https://www.fortwhyte.org/families/day-camp/summer-camp/ 


Mad Science for children ages 5-11.  https://manitoba.madscience.org/parents-camps 


Gateway Community Centre – Summer Combine Camp for children born 2007-2015).  https://www.excessivespeedhockey.ca/summercamps 


Manitoba Children’s Museum.  Ages Kindergarten to Grade 4 in upcoming school year.  https://childrensmuseum.com/visit/calendar/spring-summer-day-camps 


Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG) – programs for children aged 6-12.  https://www.wag.ca/learn/family-youth/ 


Sami Jo Small Hockey Camp.  Children ages 7-17.  https://www.samijosmall.ca/winnipeg 


Winnipeg Conservatory of Music.  Offering three summer camps in July.  Vocal Jazz Camp for Adults, Musical Theatre Camp for Youth ages 9 to 15 years, and Fiddle Sessions open to all ages.  https://wcmus.com/summerdaycamps/.
 
 

Sagehill Stables for children wanting to learn about horses and riding.  Ages 8 to 14.- https://www.sagehillstables.com/spring--summer-day-camps.html 


YMCA Camps (including day camps and overnight camps): http://www.ywinnipeg.ca/programs/camps/day-camps/ 


Red River College: https://www.rrc.ca/youth/camps/ 


Manitoba Paddling Association summer camp: https://www.mpa.mb.ca/content.php?navigation_id=4609 



Please be sure to email us: Jennifer@JenniferQueen, if you feel there is something that could be added to this list!


Best Realtor in Winnipeg, Manitoba#AgentJen


Jennifer Queen

Phone: (204) 797-7945
Email: Jennifer@JenniferQueen.com


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Relocating: When Your Loved Ones Need You Closer

There are many steps you can take to try to ensure your senior loved ones are being taken care of when you don't live locally. However, there may come a time when you may find yourself wondering if it's time to move closer to them. If that time is closing in, check out these tips from the real estate experts at The Jennifer Queen Team.

Moving a Senior Loved One

Staying in their own home may be important to seniors. Uprooting a senior may be difficult because they've become accustomed to their surroundings and the community they've built. You'd need to plan on packing or selling many of the things they've accumulated and build new social relationships. 

When You Decide to Move Closer

Consequently, it may be easier for you to move closer than to try and move your elderly parent or loved one. You might want to move them in with you or simply be closer to make things easier and allow them to keep their independence.


In this case, you'll want to look at options for buying a new home. Your mortgage lenders will look at your debt-to-income ratio to figure out what an affordable home for you might cost. Once you crunch the numbers, be mindful in your home search.


Your real estate agent will guide you along the way, but with a competitive market, it’s easy to be lured in by a great deal with a fixer-upper. However, an as-is property can bring a fair share of problems that you don’t need with this type of transition. Carefully explore properties that will match up with the lifestyle you’ll be managing.

Monitoring Your Loved One

Once you've decided to move closer, you can look for homes or upgrades that let your loved one visit you safely or make their move with you easier. It could be as simple as adding nightlights around their room and walkways to make it easier for them to see. You'll also need to consider grab bars, putting down non-slip mats, and removing potential hazards. Think about the impact any pets might have as well, whether yours or theirs, and make adjustments accordingly. 


You'll want to consider not just their physical well-being but their emotional and mental health too. Having children and grandchildren closer and a bigger part of their lives may help your loved one's emotional well-being. You'll also want to make sure their daily living requirements, such as bathing and feeding, are being met.

Hiring Help or Becoming a Caregiver

When planning your move, you may be thinking about whether your loved one will stay home, move in with you, or move to an assisted living facility. You'll also need to decide whether you will do most of the caregiving or hire someone else so that you can avoid caregiver burnout and offer the most support.  Finding caregivers and services locally may be easier when you're close by.

The Best Options Can Be Easy

If your loved one doesn't want to move to be closer to you and moving them could be more difficult, you may decide to move closer to them. This keeps their schedule and community intact while allowing you to still be part of their life in their later years. And if you need help selling your home in the Winnipeg area or buying a new one to do so, contact The Jennifer Queen Team to help with the process.


Written by: Claire Wentz

claire@caringfromafar.com

http://caringfromafar.com/

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As I sit here in my at-home office in St vital and reflect on what was 2021 and look ahead to 2022, I can’t help but feel grateful and a sense of relief.  Yes, 2021 didn’t go exactly how I wanted it to but I am finding ways to see past what wasn’t and celebrate what was.  I am going to share a few highlights from 2021 and what I see for myself in 2022.


2021 was a year like no other for me. Work was the busiest it had ever been and clients kept coming. The market surged and it just kept climbing (it still is). I struggled with a work-life balance (like any mom or dad working full time). Although I did my best, there were times that I felt I should have been elsewhere. When I was working, I should have been home and when I was at home, I felt that I should be working.


The past year definitely gave me a different perspective on myself. I found myself thriving and loving my work like never before. I always enjoyed real estate but 2021 showed me that I could take on more than I ever thought possible. I don’t want to get too deep into anything but for the last couple of years I have felt a little lost in life, like someone without an identity. Let me spiral for a second…… growing up I was athletic. I found a love for hockey and rode that wave all the way to university. So naturally being a highly competitive hockey player was my identity for a loooong time. But after I left university and hockey, I wasn’t sure what was left. I found my way into real estate a couple years later, but it took a couple years to find my groove. I became a Mom in 2018, which I always dreamed of being and then that became my identity, which I was very grateful for and wouldn’t change for anything. Being a stay-at-home mom wasn’t in the cards for me, so I went back to work after 11 months and it really wasn’t until after my son that I found the confidence to believe in myself and believe I could thrive in real estate. I really do think that I have found a career that I will be in for the rest of my life. That’s something pretty special to happen in a year filled with so much negativity!


Best real estate agents in WinnipegIn 2021 my son Gavin turned 3 years old. What’s that saying… Terrible Twos and Treacherous Threes. Need I say more? Yes, I absolutely love my son and often find myself watching him only to put a smile on my face. He is such an incredible, smart, funny, creative, methodical, particular, adorable, sweet, kind human being but damn the threes are hard! Everyday seems like a struggle. I know it is just a stage and he will grow out of it and I can’t wait until he does, but at the same time, I don’t want him to grow anymore. I want him to stay so young and precious forever – even if the attitude stays too – what a whirlwind of emotions.


My husband and I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary (we’ve been together 15 years), which is pretty incredible considering we are both working from home AND we decided to take on a major renovation too (finish our basement, which we’ve been working on for 6 months now). Nothing like a challenge on top of a challenge on top of a challenge, am I right?


I surpassed all my work goals for the year and also achieved a RE/MAX award, 100% Club. 


There were so many other amazing things that happened in 2021 but honestly, it’s really about the little things for me. Waking up to the sounds of my son voice saying “Mommy, is it wake up time yet?”, morning coffee with my husband (in silence because I like my mornings quiet), one on one meetings with my clients where I get to know them a little more every day, helping families find homes where they will raise their kids, helping retirees sell their family homes and move onto the next chapter of their lives,  picking my son up from daycare and him wrapping his arms around me, Lego building, book reading, endless play time, supper as a family.


Now I am dreaming of what 2022 will bring. I haven’t officially made my goals yet, this real estate market is keeping me busy, I can only wish it will be the same as last year. Time spent with family, hopefully more time spent with friends, the ability to form new relationships and be able to do what I love to do, which I now know is to be the best Mom and Realtor I can be.


Cheers to a happy and healthy 2022. Stay Safe Everyone. 



Great realtors in Winnipeg Manitoba#AgentAmy


Amy McDermid

Phone: (204) 470-5356
Email: Amy@JenniferQueen.com

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I have had the pleasure of helping many people buy and sell homes on water within Winnipeg over the years, and it seems that the same questions often come up, so let’s go through them now!


Understanding the Challenges with Riverfront Living

Firstly, living on the Red River in Winnipeg, is very different from living on a lakefront or man-made lake waterfront home within Winnipeg. A river is constantly moving, oftentimes damaging or slowly eroding the riverbed. Secondly, and for those not from Manitoba, we are not built on bedrock here.  Our landscape is a full mess of what we call “Manitoba Gumbo” which is essentially sand, silt, and clay.  The stuff that rivers can more easily move around than bedrock or granite.  As such, maintenance of the riverbank is critical to not losing your yard over time. I want to preface this blog by saying that I am not an expert in this area – because I am not, at all! However, Logan and I do live on the Red River and we have sold a number of homes along the Assiniboine River, Seine River, La Salle, and Red River as well as the smaller creeks (Bunn’s, Omand’s, etc.) here in Winnipeg.  The degree and effort you are going to be required to put into your Riverbank Stabilization will greatly depend on the current or flow patterns coming past your property and which side of the river you are on. The Red River flows north, and depending on the curvature and current coming toward your property, the impact might be minimal. The river tends to remove soil on outside curves but it deposits it on inside curves. However, if you are on a heavier flowing area, the amount of work required for maintenance can be substantial. 


riverfront property in winnipeg manitoba

Oftentimes, the loss of lot is not something that people can foresee.  A super high-water year led to a group of residents along Dunkirk Drive losing large chunks of their yard in 2020.  Keep in mind too, that this is not something that insurance companies are willing to cover. In this particular instance, the residents all banded together to repair their riverbank at a cost of around $1 million. Another key consideration for those living along the river is that you often need permits from the City of Winnipeg to do any sort of riverbank stabilizing project.  As part of being approved for said permits, you often will need an engineer’s report that addresses the erosion issue.  These studies are quite costly and oftentimes take a significant amount of time to complete.  Not to mention the city permitting process adding to that timeline.  Some patience will be required here.



At the Mercy of Due Process

The next hurdle you are going to have is to actually address what the engineer’s report says.  I have seen circumstances where the recommendation was to add a significant amount of rip-rap (this looks like large stones along the riverbank).  This helps reduce erosion.  However, this can come at a significant cost.  I have seen some of the bills for this type of work and would say that $100,000 per household often seems to be the going or starting rate for the more significant projects.  Imagine spending that on rocks instead of some fun renovation within the home!


Interestingly enough, I have actually had a client that had the exact opposite issue brought to their attention from the engineers.  In their case, the home they were purchasing was putting too much weight on the land, and they were told to move the home back, away from the river, remove additional dirt from the lot and move it further back.  So, they did all of this work – moved their house further back, actually added onto it, removed dump truck after dump truck of dirt, and the erosion stopped.  I still don’t understand the actual logistics of how this theory worked, but it was cool nonetheless.  The property they built was absolutely beautiful.  Their neighbour, who couldn’t afford to “lighten” his yard unfortunately continued to experience the same erosion and has much less yard now.


There are things you can do though to prevent erosion on your own property without having to go all the way to hiring engineers and getting permits.  One of the cheapest and easiest options is to plant some trees.  Choose trees with deep root systems, that will hold soil in place and withstand some erosion.  There are also many shrub varieties that also offer dense and deep root structures that you can plant to as not to obstruct those river views.  Also, I see no harm in doing annual work along your property line to prevent erosion.  Perhaps some smaller forms of the huge rip-rap projects, brought in every few years just to maintain what you currently have, instead of having to try and rebuild lot that you have lost.


 

Personal Experiences from Living on the Red River

Just some other negatives from having lived on the Red River – Logan and I have almost always had dogs – often times Labradors which are water-lovers. There are many a time our dog has taken herself for a “dip” and coming out of the Red River is not the same as coming out of a clean lake.  There is often an additional bath required after this “dip”.  Also, the river moves fast – and it is terrifying when your children are young.  Our yard is fenced and our children know not to go outside of the fence unless there is a parent present.  We are also very hands on with the education and stress every time we go beyond the borders of the fence just how dangerous the river is. A lot of the time, you can’t tell if you are standing out on a dirt plank because the ground underneath has eroded.  So, if we are out for walks along the riverbank with the children, we stress the importance of staying several meters back from the edge. 


We have also discovered when applying for permits for work on the exterior of our home is that we have to go through two rounds of permitting.  First, we apply for permission from the City of Winnipeg to do our project.  But then we have to apply for a second permit from Waterways to get permission prior to commencing any construction.  These rules apply to anyone that is within 350 feet of the summer water levels of the Assiniboine River, Red River, Seine River, La Salle Rivers, OR within 250 feet of the summer water levels of Bunn’s Creek, Omand’s Creek, Sturgeon Creek or Truro Creek.  This is if you are within City limits.  This process changes if you are outside of the City of Winnipeg limits.


 

Pros to living on Winnipeg Riverfront

living on waterfront property winnipegPros of living on the Riverfront in Winnipeg are great though, here are just a few:

  • The neighbours – we are on a deep river lot with neighbours on either side, but I find that riverfront lots often tend to be wider and more spread out, so we feel like we have a ton of space and privacy from our neighbours. We particularly enjoyed this during the early stages of COVID where we could walk to the end of our yard and then along the riverbank for hours without seeing neighbours.
  • The views. The river offers lots of beautiful scenery – beautiful glistening sunlight reflections on hot summer days, or huge icebergs to watch float on by in the winter months.  We are east-facing so we also enjoy some of the most beautiful sunrises in our house.
  • The wildlife.  Living on the riverbank means you are likely going to encounter a fair bit of wildlife.  I would be lying if I said I didn’t see a deer, daily.  I think every time we sit down at our table for a meal, at least one deer will walk by.  There are very few predators within city limits, so the deer seem quite comfortable walking on by even when we are outside.  We do on occasion see the odd fox or coyote trying to track down one of the neighbourhood bunnies.  Also, and this could be added as a con, but we do get some nuisance animals. We have seen a number of raccoons (although we haven’t had any negative experiences with them).  However, we – actually our dog – have had a nasty bout with a skunk on more than one occasion.
  • Fishing – truthfully, we have never done it.  But I see people pull up in the green spaces in our area to fish the river and it seems to be the same group that comes back again and again, so I am assuming we could likely catch some fish right from our backyard. I grew up on Lake of the Woods though, so river fishing is a foreign concept to me.  Perhaps one I will explore one day!
  • Recreation activities – our family’s fitness or recreation activities thus far have been mostly walking along the trails of the river.  However, I have witnessed neighbours putting a kayak in and getting what I would assume is a good workout in! But be careful with this.  You need to know the river, the current patterns, and you need to be a strong kayaker.  Also, please always wear a life vest.  That water can move fast and I’ve heard of even the most seasoned kayakers getting into trouble.
  • Travel – We have never done it, as we are scared of hitting dead logs in the river as we travel, but I always thought it would be so cool to hop in a boat and drive down to the Forks.  Maybe one day!  I have had clients just across the river from us that kept a dock in the river all summer, and would hop in their boat frequently and go for a cruise!

 

Pros of living on a Lakefront or Waterfront Property in Winnipeg

lakefront property in winnipeg manitobaNow these pros and cons work for riverfront property in Winnipeg, but there are further benefits to owning a Waterfront home in Winnipeg on a man-made lake.  Not only would you get all of the above benefits, but when you are on a slower-moving body of water, there are additional perks:

  • In the winter, you can build an ice skating rink right on the water surface.  Something that is often not possible on parts of the river due to the quick flow and thin ice.
  • Putting a kayak into these bodies of water also isn’t nearly as scary.  The water movement is much more controlled so even those less experienced kayakers can paddle in piece.
  • Less overall maintenance.  A Lakefront property in Winnipeg on a manmade lake does not require anywhere near the riverbank stabilization that a home built on the river will need.  With basic, annual maintenance, you should be able to enjoy your shoreline for years to come.
  • Less building restrictions – if you aren’t on one of the aforementioned rivers, you have one less layer of permitting that you will have to go through too!


I hope you have found this foray into Lakefront property for sale in Winnipeg, useful.  There is much to know, and many considerations to be made.  Again, I say all of these horrible and scary things about riverfront living in Winnipeg, yet I live on it.  So either I am crazy, or to me, the beauty and peacefulness is worth the headache. You be the judge!  If ever you are looking for help in finding a lakefront or riverfront property in Winnipeg, please reach out.  We are happy to help and we will speak from our honest experiences!



Realtors specializing in riverfront property winnipeg#AgentJen


Jennifer Queen

Phone: (204) 797-7945
Email: Jennifer@JenniferQueen.com

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It's a question I get asked often - should I sell my home on my own and save the commissions, or should I list with a Realtor?  I get asked this enough and have also seen enough people lose a significant amount of money selling on their own, that I figured why not write a blog about it!?  I'm sick of seeing sellers step over dollars to save pennies. So here are my tips for how to sell your home privately.


Full disclosure: you ARE on a Realtor’s Blog here, so while my opinion on the subject may be biased on why you should hire a Realtor, I also don’t want anybody out there getting taken advantage of, or worse – getting sued, so I am going to try and put together a must-know guide on how to sell your house on your own.


Another request: If you intend to sell your house on your own, please do not call a Realtor to ask them to come and walk through your property, give you a valuation and tips for preparing the home for sale.  That isn’t fair to them.  You are in effect saying you value their expertise and skill, but not enough to pay for them.  Just. Don’t. Do. It.  If you want a valuation, I highly recommend reaching out to an appraiser.  They will charge you upfront for their assessment - but then you have some comparable sales for your property and aren't leaving yourself exposed to underpricing or worse, overpricing!


So let's start there: Pricing. 

Pricing is one of the most important considerations that you need to make.  It will either attract or repel purchasers.  Overpricing can be an absolute insult to a purchaser and result in more days on market, price reductions, and ultimately selling your property for less than you should have gotten.  Underpricing can result in not achieving the numbers you should, or in giving the perception that there is something wrong with the property.  There is a very narrow window of price tolerance with buyers, and finding that number will be paramount to your success.  Look at what comparable properties in your neighbourhood are listing at.  Look at your upgrades vs. theirs.  What about square footage, basement finishes, garages, etc?  Be sure to properly adjust for those different features.



Preparing Your Home is PARAMOUNT

Selling a home privately and stagingNow first thing is first.  When you are selling your home, you do want to prepare that canvas so that it is picture ready.  We usually send through our stager at this point, to walk-through room-by-room with you and give advice.  BUT I just checked and there are many how-to videos on YouTube advising just what types of projects you should be undertaking, or how to dress up a room for staging.  In general, the most effective staging will:

  • Improve the flow as you walk through the property
  • Present a blank canvas for your purchaser so that they can envision themselves living there
  • Reduce buyer objections
  • Result in a higher net price to your bottom line

Some key points in the staging process are often depersonalizing within the home, removing clutter, improving traffic-flow with optimal placing of furniture, and organizing.  Also, as a rough rule of thumb, no more than 3 items on any flat surface, and anything smaller than a cantaloupe should be eliminated! Sometimes you should bring pieces in – which we often do.  If you have friends or family that could loan you pieces, that is a great place to start.  Or, a lot of the inventory our stagers carry is from Home Sense – as they have beautiful options in there!



Importance of good photographs 

Next up, you need to get great pictures.  A word from me to you: your cell phone will likely not take these pictures.  Cell phone technology has gotten much better over the years, and the pictures are better than a lot of our former cameras – but you need GREAT quality pictures.  Oftentimes with a wide-angle lens so that you can see the corners of the room as well as all the detail within the room.  So that those viewing your home online can make their own assessments as to whether or not their furniture would fit, what type of windows are in the home, what type of flooring is pictured, whether or not your bedroom has an appropriately sized closet, etc. The list goes on – but the number of things that buyers are determining from your pictures prior to choosing to tour it are significant.  So, don’t lose those buyers by having poorly taken pictures.  I learned this early on in my career after attempting to take some of my own pictures for my listing – I am not a skilled photographer – and I should pay someone to highlight our listings in the best possible light.  You will NEVER regret having good pictures to use for your listing.  The majority of buyers (62%) rely predominantly on the pictures from the online listing - they won't even read your ad copy. So don't cheap out here!


Get on the Video Trends!

Pictures are done – but have you considered video yet? You may have noticed that the world is transitioning toward video.  The apps with some of the biggest growth recently are TikTok (short form content), Instagram (both short form via Reels but also longer form content), as well as YouTube (long form content).  This isn’t just a one-off.  This is truly because more and more people are choosing to consume their information via video, and to “stop the scroll” you need something that is eye-catching and animated.  Also, when it comes to advertising on these platforms, the algorithm is much more favourable to video than it is to static images. So, your marketing dollar and reach goes much further when using video.  Now, just another suggestion.  Completely ignore everything I have said if you are incapable of producing a good-quality video or if your video is simply going to be a slideshow of pictures to music.  That will not entice your buyer enough to watch your video and will likely even turn them off.  In this case, it would just be better to scrap the video altogether.  BUT, if you are willing to expend the money on a good videographer to piece together a video that effectively shows the features of the home as well as layout, then I would say the investment is well worth it!


The Ad Copy is ALL about lifestyle and important detail!

After pictures and video, the third most scrutinized thing in a listing is the actual writeup for your listing. Be SURE to have really good ad copy written up. You are going to want to keep this short and sweet.  Making it too long means the buyer will lose interest as they read.  Having it too short though means you have likely missed important details.  Put together a list of the upgrades you have done within the home in the last 10 years.  If you’ve done many, you might want to eliminate some of the more innocuous details (ie. Painted bathroom 3 years ago).  Again, the goal is to not overwhelm the buyer. This is also a good time to highlight what it actually “feels” like to live within the home – you are going to want to touch upon some points that evoke emotion within the buyer.  For example: “curl up in front of this natural gas fireplace on the coldest of winter nights”.  Highlight some of your favourite parts that you have enjoyed about the home here. Home buying is an incredibly emotional process for buyers, so giving a vision of what their life could look like if they lived here, is paramount.



Reach and Exposure - Time to Push that Ad Out!

how to sell a house privately in manitobaYou have your house prepped, you have it professionally photographed, you have a great video and good ad copy.  Now it is time to start rolling out your advertising!  A word to the wise – over 92% of buyers now say they originally found their home online.  The remaining 8% is a mix of print advertising, for sale signs, word-of-mouth or other/miscellaneous.  As a result, you are going to want to split up your advertising budget accordingly.  Now, the BULK of the people saying they found their listing online do say that they used the MLS (Realtor.ca) system, but you likely aren’t going to have access to that if you are truly selling your home privately.  If you are using brokerage houses though to list your property while you handle the rest, such as FairSquare Winnipeg (formerly Purple Bricks Winnipeg and prior to that, ComFree Winnipeg), then you will have access to the MLS system.  Just keep in mind that then you aren’t selling your home privately.  These are licensed brokerages and you are signing a listing contract to be entered into the MLS and paying a set fee to do so.  I will touch upon this a bit further later.  Listing in the MLS alone isn’t enough though – you are going to want to use other digital marketing as well as social media marketing to your advantage.  The reach that you can get, just from a $100 ad spend is significant if you know how to use Facebook Business Manager for targeting both your Facebook and Instagram accounts.  I would advise spending more than $100 – it is just the amount of exposure and targeting that you are able to do per $100 far surpasses any other digital marketing option (in my opinion). Also, put that listing everywhere – put it on Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji, Homes.ca, etc.  Take advantage of all the free advertising too.  There are over 100 Websites that you can advertise your house for free on as well as other strategies, but I won’t get too technical here.  Feel free to call me for a list.  I would also still advise getting a professional sign outside your home, as it is a low-cost option that may result in a call – and heck, you never know!  The wider you spread that net, the more likely you are to find your buyer (or hopefully, multiple buyers)!


The Importance of the Showing Experience

Now if you can, clear out.  Get OUT of the house and out of the way for your buyers.  I know this may sound alarming, but the biggest complaint I have had from purchasers when showing them Privately Offered, or ComFree or Purple Bricks or now FairSquare listings in Winnipeg, is that the sellers are home and it makes them uncomfortable to tour the home.  I know, you think you are being helpful by telling them how the new heating system worked, or what your favourite part of the home is, but buyers oftentimes feel this is too “pushy”.  They are used to inspecting and touring at their own pace, and having the owner right there really interrupts that flow.  Truthfully, I have found some of the quickest tours with buyers to be the ones in which the seller is home – because those buyers just can’t get out of there fast enough.  If you are able to make arrangements with buyer’s agents prior to showings, or you are able to install a lockbox on the property (can be purchased at Canadian Tire or Home Depot), that is oftentimes the way to go.  Now, that being said – you also need to be sure you are only letting QUALIFIED buyers into your home.  This is where I guess things could get awkward.  If the purchaser has their own agent that is discussing the tour with you, they will have verified a pre-approval and the identity of their purchaser, so there is some confirmation there.  However, if you are dealing directly with a purchaser it may be awkward to ask for proof of a pre-approval letter prior to showing, but in all honesty, I would still request it.  You are allowing complete strangers into your home, so it is important to vet them properly.


Are Open Houses Worth It? 

Decide if you want to host an open house.  A lot of private sellers do host these, however what we have found, particularly during COVID when we went for long periods of time without open houses, is that they are pretty ineffective at finding qualified buyers.  A lot of the traffic through the open house seems to be neighbours, or people out on a Sunday drive that just happen upon the listing.  The statistic prior to COVID was that 1 in 50 homes might sell from an open house, but I think that statistic is likely far worse.  That being said, it is a good option to get additional exposure for your home should you not be great at presenting an online presence.


Offers start to come in!

You’ve had some showings.  Depending on the market, you may have set yourself up for an offer date even.  But just how long to hold off those offers, or how many showings you should have before reviewing offers is something that is neighbourhood specific, time-sensitive, and seasonal.  Look to the MLS, see what other listings are doing.  Are they holding a showing window period of 5 days?  10 days?  What seems to be working?  You won’t be able to see the prices people are getting from the public MLS, but you might be able to see what kind of traffic your neighbours are getting, just how quickly the sold sign goes up, and you could approach them just to get a feel on activity and how things went.  You also want to be careful to not hold an offer date on the same day as a competing listing.  There is strategy on whether or not you should book your offer date before or after a similar listing and it will depend on how yours shows in relation to the other.  But determining an appropriate offer date to review offers, is paramount to your success.


Options when reviewing offers

You will receive your (hopefully) stack of offers – and now you have options.  You can either: Accept, Counter, or Reject. Just a few words of caution here: be careful how you negotiate if you are countering offers.  Be sure to not extend more than one counteroffer at a time – because in Manitoba, you can essentially sell your home twice (and I don’t think you have two of the exact same homes to sell)!  It is good to be versed in what conditions are normal and the regular timelines for these conditions – so that you know if something seems out of line.  Oftentimes having a good real estate lawyer that can advise on this would be a great start. While it is not common for properties listed with a Realtor, it might be in your best interest to insert a condition that benefits you to allow for lawyer review.  The last thing you want is to sign a contract without being sure what every single line-item means.


Other Important Considerations Affecting the Market

Top Realtors in Winnipeg ManitobaI prefaced this email with my bias toward hiring a Realtor, and I still truly feel that is the best way. But here are some items I just want to touch upon, so that the whole “selling privately” experience isn’t a surprise for you.  In January of 2022, it became mandatory that buyers sign Buyer Service Agreements with their Realtor.  Within these service agreements is usually a pre-stated amount of commission that the buyer agrees their Realtor should be compensated with upon closing.  This is normally covered by the seller as part of the proceeds from the sale.  However, if the Seller is unwilling to cover these fees, this agreement often states that the buyer is to cover the commission themselves – and may make private sales less attractive for the buyer as it represents a larger cash outlay for them.  If I were a private seller, I would personally advertise a commission to cooperating buyer’s agents, and perhaps factor that into my listing price.  My understanding is that the brokerages that list homes on the MLS for a flat fee give similar advice and do recommend offering a cooperating commission.


I also have come to learn over the years that people are most concerned with REMAX Realtor Commission Rates – and that they may be some of the highest as we are one of the larger brokerage houses and are known for heavy marketing, etc.  I would argue that this isn’t the case, and rather that our commission structures are competitive.  I would also say that our marketing reach is likely some of the most extensive given the platforms that REMAX Winnipeg has built.


There are circumstances where people do not wish for their house to be listed so publicly – sometimes death, divorce, etc. In situations like this, we recommend Exclusive Listings.  This keeps your house off the MLS listing service, but still allows your Realtor to provide real estate services to procure the sale.  You can opt to not have a for sale sign, and to handle the whole sale a bit more discreetly under this method. If requiring more discreet, exclusive listing Winnipeg services is what you are looking for, I would STILL recommend hiring a Realtor – as their reach and exposure even just from their network will likely net you more even without being on the MLS.


As a final statistic, and keep in mind this comes from the National Association of Realtors, but on average those homes listed privately do sell for approximately 18% less “FSBO homes sold at a median of $260,000 last year, signi´Čücantly lower than the median of agent-assisted homes at $318,000.”.  Source: https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/research-reports/highlights-from-the-profile-of-home-buyers-and-sellers.  Oftentimes, it is for lack of exposure, improper pricing, or buyers factoring in the cost of paying commissions out of pocket regardless. 


Prior to being a Realtor, I always thought I would sell my home on my own.  However, after being a Realtor and navigating both buyers and sellers through the process thousands of times, I would say that those working with a GREAT Realtor, always seem to come out ahead. Just my two cents.  If you've read this far, thanks for taking the time. If listing with us sounds of interest to you, great!  Please feel free to reach out.  If the for sale by owner route sounds better to you, I truly wish you well on your journey!  There is no one-size-fits-all approach for anything in life, and you have to make the decision that is best for you!


Happy Selling, folks!


Best Realtor in Winnipeg Manitoba#AgentJen


Jennifer Queen

Phone: (204) 797-7945
Email: Jennifer@JenniferQueen.com

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We recently had the realization that we talk an awful lot about home buying and selling, but have touched upon condo buying and selling very little on this blog – But YES, we help people buy and sell condominiums, too, and we are actually very well versed in it!



Now keep in mind that the process for buying or selling a condominium varies from province to province or state to state, so what I will be going through on here is from a Manitoba perspective, but much of the theories are still the same.



So, without further adieu, let’s get into it!  First of all, the condominium market is a VERY different market from our residential market.  In Winnipeg, we are currently experiencing a very strong seller’s market when it comes to houses.  However, when it comes to condominiums it could be likened to a balanced or potentially even a buyer’s market.  For condos, there is a lot of inventory, it does tend to sit for longer, and oftentimes we see several price adjustments before a unit finally sells.


Why is our Condominium Market more akin to a Balanced or Buyer's Market? 

Well, we first started seeing this slowing of the market in 2014 and 2015.  Much of this was due to incoming legislation that was to take effect February 1, 2015.  There were a few key parts of this new legislation that really changed the landscape of the selling process for condominiums.  The first, was the change in what we called the “Cooling Off Period”.  Prior to this, all purchasers were given 48 hours to review the condominium documents and they could change their mind for any reason.  With the new legislation, this time was now extended to 7 days.  Now 7 days is a really long time in the real estate world for one to change their mind. Say a new property came up that was more appealing, it gave the buyer ample opportunity to explore that opportunity and perhaps, change their mind.  It cannot be waived, it is mandatory. Also, to add insult to injury, now if there was a “material change” to the condo rules, this cooling off period would actually be reopened and the buyer would have yet another 7 day period to change their mind, without any penalty.  If they back out, they get their deposit back. So say you sold your condominium 2 months ago, the buyer is planning to move in in a few months and you’ve already packed your house up.  Pretend your condominium corporation now announces that they have made a new special assessment as it turns out, the roof is rotten and they need all of the unit owners to chip in $3000 toward this new project.  You then go to notify your buyer and hope that they still decide to proceed.  It’s kind of brutal – a sale doesn’t necessarily mean a sale. We are all waiting on baited breath until that possession occurs.


The second thing that changed was the requirement for corporations to do reserve fund studies every five years so that a corporation knows where they stand, financially.  Prior to this, condominium boards were determining themselves just what kind of funds they should have set aside for upcoming capital projects. Now however, they were required to hire professional companies versed in assessing appropriate reserve fund amounts to come, view the property, and assess upcoming capital expenditures for the corporation.  Guess what this revealed!?  Almost every condominium project showed a reserve fund balance that was UNDERFUNDED.  I have yet to see a complex that had the reserve fund balance that was recommended within their reserve fund study.  Once these studies started to come in, many boards increased the monthly condominium fees to try and bring their balances up to the professional recommendations.  What this started to mean though, was that fees for most condominium projects went up significantly – much more significant than a 3% inflation rate.  Some complexes instituted special assessments – which is oftentimes a one time fee, but more substantial – say that $3000 example I gave above. 


Now, it isn’t unreasonable to say – all homeowners -whether it be a house or condo will incur unexpected costs.  A furnace can go, a roof can leak, etc. and those all represent a large cash outlay.  What I find people to find most upsetting though when it comes to condominium ownership, is they have less input over the final outcome. It is a voting process in which perhaps things don’t always go your way.  You are making plans through consensus, and if that sounds awful to you, condominium ownership may not be for you!


There were a number of other document changes that came into effect in 2015, the majority of them just to do with the sheer number of documents that are required before that 7-day cooling off period can begin, but the two most notable changes were the extending of the cooling off period and the reserve fund study requirements – which often led to escalating monthly fees.


Other Factors Impacting the Market: 


There have been a couple of other changes worth noting here too.  Around this same time, we were also instructed that we could no longer advertise condominiums as 55 plus.  It became a human rights issue – as in, you can’t discriminate based on age.  I do still see this in rental apartments, and I’m not sure how they are allowed to do it there, but in condominium world, this became a huge no-no.  Condos that once advertised as being exclusively a 55 plus community, now saw younger residents moving in. But gone are the days of advertising 55 plus condos for sale in Winnipeg!


Another factor that has been eating into our condominium market in Winnipeg, is the number of new construction options.  Regardless of where you live, you are going to find condos for sale in South Winnipeg to north, east, and west.  There has been a ton of development, which often is more desirable than the older, pre-existing options. Oftentimes, because the monthly fees in those new complexes are far lower than more established (read: aging), complexes.  Condos in Winnipeg are slowly cannibalizing one another, in terms of resale value.


Another factor that seems to have impacted the resale of condominium is the baby boomer behaviour.  As a Realtor, I am finding more often than not that my clients are either opting to just live in their homes for longer – the idea of living in a condominium is far less attractive to them, OR, they are oftentimes selling their home and moving into an apartment – so that they have more free cash flow from their home sale.


Steps to Selling A Condominium

Anyways, that is enough on why I think the market is oversupplied – at the end of the day, it is what it is.  What is important though is the plan you formulate to sell your Winnipeg condominium.  So, let’s start with where your Realtor comes in.  The first step, is to have your Realtor come and do a comparative market analysis. This is where they look at comparable properties, make adjustments based on the amenities of your unit, and go through a valuation process.  For me personally, I always give more weight to the units within the same complex.  I find that even neighbouring buildings might have completely different management, amenities, and condo fees – so the more you can compare from within the same building, the better.  Sometimes that isn’t an option, and you have to expand out to other complexes – which is totally okay, too. 


Once you have arrived at a price and strategy, the next part, which in my opinion is the most important, is preparing the house for pictures.  The goal is to paint as neutral of a canvas for a buyer, so that they can envision themselves living there.  I’m not talking about removing all of your belongings and selling it vacant – rather, staging the space so that it is welcoming and inviting and so the buyer can envision themselves within the space.  For this part, we send through our stager and she goes room-by-room with you to assess what should stay, and what should go (she says “edited”).  Oftentimes we bring some pieces in to dress things up and add to the appeal.


Once the unit is properly staged, it is time for pictures and video! One of the biggest concerns of a buyer, are that a unit is going to be dark.  So having all lights on, all blinds open, and oftentimes strategically placed mirrors (part of the aforementioned staging), to brighten the place up as much as possible.  We can make things super light in pictures, but it is much harder to “brighten” a dark unit in video.


Around this same time, we should also be discussing the condominium documents required for the sale.  Remember when I said that the cooling off period can’t begin until you have handed ALL of the required documents over to the purchaser?  It’s no joke.  And I promise that you will get an offer on your property quickly, if you don’t have those documents prepared.  It is inevitable!  I prefer to organize the condominium documents myself, just because it is something I deal in daily, I know what I am looking for, and I am versed in identifying what is and isn’t necessary.  Some buyers want to handle the documents themselves, and that’s okay too.


Condominium Documents Required for a Sale in Manitoba 

The condominium documents that you should be preparing is extensive – the list is 18 documents long.  You will likely have some of the documents already in your possession from when you purchased – but there are documents that are time-sensitive such as the Disclosure Document, Financial Statements, Budgets, etc.  Keep EVERYTHING the condominium complex sends to you – it might seem innocuous at the time, but trust me, when you go to assemble these documents you will be so glad that you kept everything.  There will be some documents that are unavailable – but in general, you will need to produce about 12-15 of the documents on the list.



As a Purchaser, Pay Extra Attention to the following items:

If you are a purchaser receiving this list, there are some things that you should be on the lookout for:

  1. Condo Fees – there will be fees that often cover general expenses, maintenance, management, any amenities in the building, as well as a contribution to the reserve fund. Things to question: Just what is included in these fees and what will you be responsible for paying for separately? Are the fees in line with the fees you have seen on similar projects?  High condo fees are oftentimes signs of past mismanagement.
  2. Special Assessments – in the disclosure document you are provided, it will oftentimes discuss whether or not there are any further upcoming special assessments.  Sometimes, if there is word of an upcoming special assessment, but nothing has been formalized yet, you won’t find this in the disclosure statement though. There are other ways to find this information out though.  Asking for past meeting minutes or talking to other unit owners are great ways to get additional detail.  IF there is a special assessment coming, discuss it with your Realtor.  It COULD be a sign of mismanagement, or it could be something within reason.  Oftentimes, you can negotiate that the seller pays for this special assessment too.
  3. Reserve Fund Study – This is one of the required documents and provided your complex is at least 3 years old, one should be provided to you. These reserve fund studies are also required to be done every 5 years.  Give this a thorough read through – it may be long and dry material, but it will talk about the building, it’s condition, and foreseeable projects.  In the back, it will usually provide three different proposal amounts for ideal reserve fund balances and how to reach them.  Look at the balance of the reserve fund stated in the disclosure and compare to this.  Is the corporation on track to set aside the appropriate amount?  If not, it could mean escalating condo fees or special assessments.  The newer the building, the lower the reserve fund contribution portion, but as the building ages those payments should increase.
  4. Voting Rights and Ownership Interest – This is one more tidbit covered in your disclosure document.  It talks about just what percentage of ownership within the complex, but it also talks about your voting rights.  Most complexes split the percentage of ownership based on your square footage of ownership within the complex.  Say there are 100 units in the building, all averaging 1000 square feet.  But your unit is 1200 square feet.  We could say that your percentage ownership is 1.2%.  However, voting rights don’t always stay the same from complex to complex.  One complex might give you 1.2% of the voting rights.  You pay your special assessments, condo fees, reserve fund contributions based on that amount.  However, other complexes will give each unit the same amount of voting rights – so if there are 100 units and you own 1, you could instead have 1% of the voting rights, even though your percentage ownership, and thus fees, are higher.


I am going to stop here, mostly because this has become one of the most long-winded posts on our blog, EVER.  But there is a lot more to share about both buying and selling a condominium, and I may need to expand upon that in other posts.


But let me know if you found value in this.  If you are enjoying information on condominiums, I am always happy to write about this in greater detail!


Best Realtor for condominiums in Winnipeg Manitoba#AgentJen


Jennifer Queen

Phone: (204) 797-7945
Email: Jennifer@JenniferQueen.com

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A lot of people question whether or not they should be selling their home during this holiday season, and the short answer is YES!  No inventory means some of the most aggressive bidding wars we have seen in 2021, which has already been a year of the most aggressive bidding wars on record! Here are some additional reasons:


Additional staging opportunities.

Staging has a huge impact on appeal of your home to buyer – and the holidays represent a time of year where we can perhaps go even a little more aggressive in our décor than usual.  For instance – have a fireplace in your home?  Dress it up – add a beautiful garland, some stylish stockings.  Help the buyer to picture themselves waking up in the home on Christmas morning with their own children by showing just how they could use the space.  Have high ceilings?  Get that 12’ Christmas tree to show those “soaring” ceilings.  Just a side note about the tree, don’t get one that is too bushy, as you don’t want to make your space feel smaller.  Curb appeal is also important – put a beautiful wreath on your door and some white Christmas lights.  Think stylish, HGTV, neutral decorating – like pine cones, white and sparkly décor, but minimal colours. But for now, none of the big inflatable Christmas decorations.  Curb appeal is so important – and oftentimes all those bright and loud colours come off as just a bit tacky.


In addition to appealing to a buyer’s sense of sight, there are also other senses we can appeal to as well.  Perhaps some Apple Cider going on the stove to make the place smell of apples and cinnamon.  Perhaps a plate of sugar cookies that were freshly baked (also a great scent) that they can help themselves too.  Or what about some light holiday music playing in the background, to create a welcoming ambiance?


Now there is a fine line between just how far you might want to take some of these design ideas, so always consult with your Realtor about what your ideal buyer would be, and how best to prepare your home to appeal to them.

   

Less competition

I have found year-after-year that listings that may have been sitting in December all of a sudden sell through in the three weeks following Christmas. 


Why? Because inventory is SO limited at this time of year.  A lot of people seem to take their home off the market during December – mostly because they don’t think that there will be buyers out there looking, or because they don’t want to deal with the inconvenience of having some showings during their holiday gatherings - but that doesn’t mean that buyers stop looking!

   

The most serious buyers!

The buyer’s out there are likely the most serious – who wants to interrupt their holidays with house hunting, unless it is absolutely necessary?


There are buyers out there who have leases ending, or who have sold their home and NEED to find a new home, like yesterday.  Or after a year like we’ve had, with limited inventory, they’ve been bidding on homes for months and just keep getting outbid. 


Nobody wants to move twice – especially in the winter.  So it isn’t uncommon for these buyers to be willing to pay a premium just to have a place that they can move into.


Just some final notes:

While selling during the holidays has many advantages, one of the greatest disadvantages would definitely be handling showings over what is often a full holiday schedule. 


We recommend talking to your Realtor in advance and setting up a showing schedule.  Do you have particular dates that you just cannot accommodate showings?  That’s totally fine, black them out!  It would be unusual for people to try and show the home on December 24th or 25th, but not unheard of.  So black out the dates that simply won’t work for you and your family.  Having this prepared in advance allows people to book around your schedule while not interrupting your plans.  While it is important to keep the home as accessible as possible, it does not have to be to the detriment of your enjoyment of the holidays.


I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season filled with love, laughter, family, and friends.  And from my family to yours, Merry Christmas!







Best Realtor in Winnipeg Manitoba#AgentJen


Jennifer Queen

Phone: (204) 797-7945
Email: Jennifer@JenniferQueen.com

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I get asked this question a lot right now, from friends, family and plenty of potential clients,



What is the market like right now?



Heading into the Christmas season and the new year is typically a bit of a slower spot in the Winnipeg real estate market, however in 2020 it wasn’t and now again in 2021 it is not looking that way.



The market situation we have here is that the mortgage rates are still fairly low compared to recent years which is allowing purchasers to leverage more money towards a purchase. The other big factor in the market is that there are limited options for houses, as the inventory on the market is coming and going so quickly it requires quick decisions and often an increased purchase price significantly higher than the list price to secure the property.



In the past few months (not unlike the past year and a half) many of my clients are competing with 5-20 offers on each home that they decide to write offers on.  While I understand this is not the same for every property on the market it does represent a large proportion of the options available to many clients. If it is a single family detached home that presents well and appears to have little to no required work necessary then you will generally see offers flooding the property on the offers date. This is also the first year in my career that I have been involved with multiple offer situations for purchasers and vendor clients when working with Condominium sales!



So, what do I say? Honestly, I tell people that it is CRAZY! The prices we are seeing some houses sell for literally blow my mind.  As a professional Realtor my job is to analyze the market and identify what properties should be worth in the given market, but many times there just isn’t a number that you can place on how badly someone wants a home. I have personally had clients offer on up to 10 houses, losing them all in multiple offer situations. Doing everything in their power to make offers more attractive: over list prices, no conditions, vendors ideal possession dates, and still being outbid by tens of thousands of dollars. It usually comes to a point in the process where they just say we will pay just about anything to get this house! And that is one of the reasons we are seeing such large price increases in our market.



When you are up against 10-20 offers there are not a lot of options to make your offer stand out.  It usually comes down to purchase price, as the other top offers in consideration will more than likely be written without purchase protection conditions and anything else the vendors want.



What I am saying is that the vendors do hold a lot of the cards right now, making it a strong seller’s market.  BUT with all of these bidding wars and increased prices happening I will say that I find many buyers to be more in tune with the process and more educated.  There are still clients who are new to the home purchasing game and those ones are generally a much longer learning experience than they used to be, but there are a lot of people who have been paying attention to the market over the last year and understand what is required to secure a property right now.



Some things that are not selling quite as well right now are:


  1. Flips. If people can see that you purchased a property a year ago (I think the shortest turn around I have seen for a flip is 3 WEEKS!) did some work to it, didn’t pull any permits and the work done looks sloppy then they are not inclined to offer quickly. Alternatively, if there are permits in place, and the work is done well then people will pay a pretty penny for them.
  2. Homes with serious structural issues.  A fact in Winnipeg is that there are a lot of homes that require some form of structural repair.  They can be big or small, but due to our substrate there are a lot of homes that have some need for a structural or foundation repair.  This dry year only proved how many actually do need some work.
  3. Overpriced homes. As I said above people are much more attuned to the market, and if a property is trying to stretch a list price in the current market they are not moving as quickly, the issue here is that a lot of vendors are going with extremely low list prices instead, which also adds to the amount of offers coming to a home as there are many people who can not actually afford the home if it was listed more accurately to begin with.



So, would I recommend buying a house right now? I guess it’s a bit of a complicated question, if you are the type of person who is a major saver and likes to get a deal then 100% NO, this is not the market for you. If you are in need of something different for your family or life situation and you need to purchase a home then again, it’s not exactly a great time, but Winnipeg’s market has never really had a BEST time to buy a house.  We are typically pretty stable and slightly increasing year over year. Here are some tips to help with the purchasing process right now:



  1. My best advice would be to get a good feel for the market early if you are going to be purchasing.  Watch what homes are listing for and what they are selling for you likely need to be in contact with a realtor to get the inside scoop on the selling prices.  But knowing them will let you see the difference between what things APPEAR to be selling for and what they are ACTUALLY selling for.
  2. Have a solid deposit saved up.  While your deposit goes towards the down payment for your home purchase, having a larger deposit to give with your offer gives the impression that you have strong finances and may shoot your offer to the top of the pile.
  3. Speak with your lender! Let them know the situation, while a pre-approval is good giving an in-depth assessment of the home you want to purchase and asking for a quick 1-2 day turn around may give you an edge if it is necessary to have a financing condition on your offer.
  4. If you need a home inspection to feel comfortable then pay the money up front to do a pre-inspection on the home prior to writing an offer.  It will allow you to get all of the information that you would get from a typical home inspection but you would be paying it out of pocket whether you get the home or not.  It will allow you to make a more informed decision on how much you would be comfortable paying for the home and will likely alleviate any surprises on possession day. Also, an offer with a home inspection condition right now is like a kiss of death, the vendors will likely move to another offer if they see that you have a home inspection in your offer.
  5. Write a letter. If it is the home you feel to be the perfect home then write a letter to the vendors, it doesn’t always work as there is very rarely a vendor who will choose a nice letter over $10-20K more dollars, but if your offer is one of the top offers it could push it over the edge as the winner.


Again, I will re-iterate that the market right now is CRAZY but if you want to talk more about your options for buying or selling, I would be happy to take your call, text or email and have a candid chat about what could work best for you.



Top realtor in Winnipeg Logan Queen

#AgentLogan


Logan Queen

Tel: (204) 226-1261
Email: Logan@JenniferQueen.com

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Over the last year I have helped several families move into this amazing Province and it really got me thinking about why I love this city. Initially, I moved to Winnipeg from North Western Ontario (NOW) to attend the University of Manitoba and play hockey. I was never keen on the idea of living in Winnipeg mostly because it was too close to home and at the age of 18 you feel like you need your own space to grow. However, the city grew on me very quickly and honestly, I can’t imagine living anywhere else, even when it is -40! There are so many things to love about Winnipeg but here are a couple of my favourites!


Best Restaurants in WinnipegThe Food Cultural: I love food. I love cooking. So, the fact that Winnipeg is known for its food culture makes me very happy! Everywhere you go in this city there is a restaurant waiting for you. There is such a variety from Asian, tapas, traditional Indigenous, French, Italian, American, Indian, honestly you name it, you can find it in Winnipeg. I wish I had more time to explore more restaurants. Often times we get stuck in what is easy and comfortable, but I try and make a goal of trying a new restaurant every month in hopes of keeping it interesting! My most recent favourite is Harth Mozza and Wine Bar.


 If you’re wanting to be more hands-on and experiment in your own kitchen, try taking some cooking classes. There are a number of different organizations that offer speciality classes. Something I have always wanted to do but never done. Maybe I’ll make it part of my 2022 goals! If you have any suggestions, please send them my way.


Real Estate: Yes, I realize I might be a little biased on this one, and I’m sure you have heard it before, Winnipeg is one of the most affordable cities in all of Canada. Yes, we aren’t a major hub like Vancouver, Calgary or Toronto, but if you are looking to put down some roots, start a family, start investing or expand your investing portfolio - Winnipeg is an exciting and affordable city to do that in. The average price for a single family detached home in Winnipeg is coming in just under $400,000. While other cities like Calgary or Halifax have much higher average prices for homes of closer to $500,000, and don’t even get me started on Vancouver and Toronto where you would need a much large commitment of $1M plus just to break into the market. Winnipeg has always seemed like a smart and safe investment to me!


The Nature Trails and Parks : As you know by now I grew up in NWO. I spent a lot of time outdoors, camping, fishing, sports, etc. Nature and getting outdoors is something that is very important to me and my family. Winnipeg (and surrounding area) has spectacular parks and trails. Parks like Assiniboine, St Vital Park, La Barriere are popular destinations for my family as well as many fellow Winnipegers! They always have so much going on. You can choose to get caught up in the excitement of the crowds or relax and enjoy the serenity. I also have a couple parks closer to home that I take my dog, Provie, and my son, Gavin, to on a weekly basis. There are so many parks with lovely walking trails, I feel guilty for not exploring them more but honestly there are so many it is sometimes hard to choose!


Fort Whyte Alive is something I haven’t explored enough but it needs to be highlighted. It is 660 acres of green space in the middle of the city. They provide programming, natural settings, and facilities for environmental education, outdoor recreation, and social enterprise. In so doing, FortWhyte promotes awareness and understanding of the natural world and actions leading to sustainable living. They have endless things to do: tours, biking, water sports, snowshoeing, ski trails, skating, fit pits. Honesty, there is no way I could fully explain what Fort Whyte Alive is, you need to explore it for yourself.

 

Culturally Diverse: Winnipeg is one of the most diverse cities in all of Canada. We have a lot of larger industries that attract people with all kinds of backgrounds; manufacturing, aerospace, agribusiness, creative industries, energy and environment, financial industries, information, communications and technology, life sciences, tourism, transportation, distribution and the list goes on. Did you know that there are at least 100 different languages spoken here?  Incredible! Folklorama is a terrific two-week annual festival that explores the multicultural diversity of Manitoba. It allows all of the cultures within our province to showcase their uniqueness during the festival in August. I usually get to 1 or 2 of the pavilions each year and I have never been disappointed!



Realtor working in South WinnipegManitoba Museum: The Manitoba Museum is the province’s largest, not-for-profit centre for heritage and science learning. They pride themselves on the interpretation of Manitoba’s rich and diverse history and do a wonderful job at it. There are also Planetarium shows, and Science Gallery exhibits, which I haven’t visited yet but need to in the near future. The Museum’s collections are based off the heritage of Manitoba and other regions of the world. There are nine interpretive galleries to explore each with their unique qualities and attractions. The Museum is known for its three-dimensional walk-through galleries. One of which is a full-size 17th-century sailing vessel, and the Urban Gallery, which takes you back in time to Winnipeg during the 1920s. Full disclosure, I hadn’t been to the Manitoba Museum in about 10-15 years but I went a couple weeks ago with my 3-year-old son and it was amazing! I thought my son would only be interested in the “big ship” but he was interested in everything. They have done an amazing job renovating and upgrading the facility. We could have spent the entire day in there – the ship alone is pretty spectacular!


The Forks: This one is a classic and I think most people have heard of this meeting place but I need to mention it. The Forks is such a special place. It is located at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers. The area as been transformed over the last 30 years, from Indigenous trading grounds to abandoned railyard and now The Forks. Their goal:


“The Forks shall be developed as a meeting place a special and distinct, all-season gathering and recreational place at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, through a mixed-use approach including recreational, historical and cultural, institutional and supportive commercial uses.”


Everyone should experience The Fork at one time or another in the life, and may I add in every season! The grounds have so much to offer in the spring, summer, fall and my favourite - the winter!


So please join me, in exploring Winnipeg and if you have any other recommendations, please be sure to share in the comments section below!


Top Realtor in Winnipeg Manitoba#AgentAmy


Amy McDermid

Phone: (204) 470-5356
Email: Amy@JenniferQueen.com

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2020 and 2021 were both years of great change.  One of the most notable changes was how we began to look at, and use, our own personal residences.  Things that were once important, became much less important – like our commutes to work.  On the other hand, things that once weren’t that important, became much more important – home offices, home gyms, green space, etc. 


With these changes in lifestyle, we saw an increase in the amount of people looking for bigger spaces, perhaps further out of the city core.  Living within a 20-minute commute from work was no longer such a driver in motivation.  Now having functional space was.  Naturally, the tendency was for people to move further and further out of the city – many electing for suburbs near the perimeter, some electing for more rural properties.  


Now rural living is fabulous, and if you dream of owning acreage, or seclusion and privacy, or just a space for the kiddos to run, then this is an avenue definitely worth exploring.  However, it is not a decision that one would want to take lightly.  There are many challenges that come with that sprawling land.  Here are some considerations that often come up when we have clients considering these homes:


1. Winter Accessibility

We live in a province known for some harsh winters. If you are considering homes on private roads, you are going to want to talk to the neighbours, see if there are agreements in place to provide for the clearing of snow and maintenance of the road.  When it comes to your own personal driveway, an investment in a snowblower or even a quad with a plough are popular decisions. Keep in mind too, that we live in the prairies, and snow drifts can be quite substantial. It is not uncommon to have to shovel yourself out just to go somewhere in the winter.


Water Testing with Best Realtor in Winnipeg2. Water

If you are beyond municipal lines, you are going to be dealing with a well.  Sometimes shared with another neighbour, depending on your location, or a private well for your residence only.  These wells can have high levels of contaminants, some more notable being E.coli, arsenic, or even radon. When considering a home with its own well system, be sure your Realtor takes a water sample to be tested for water potability.  Well water can be less than appealing to drink, even with a satisfactory test result.  I have found that most people elect to purchase a water cooler and purchase their drinking water.  It is still important to know that the water you are using when brushing your teeth, having a shower, etc. is safe.


3. Septic Systems

There is a lifespan on any system within a home, and the septic system is not excluded from that.  There are two components to a septic system, and I’ll try to be as brief about it.  There is a tank component that is buried underground to collect sewage and wastewater.  This tank then connects to a septic field that eliminates the grey water and allows it to disburse safely into the ground.  Even with this removal of grey water, you will still have waste that collects in the septic tank.  For this, you will need to have a septic company come and pump out your tank every so often.  The frequency of which will really depend on your family size and water usage.  I would say the average pump-out for a family with a well-functioning system, is every 1-2 years.    It is worth noting though, that there are still some properties out there in which there is just a tank and no field – with nowhere for the grey water to escape, those tanks need to be pumped much more frequently.  There are also some communities in Manitoba in which there is no field, but the tank connects to municipal services, so the grey water is removed that way.  One more thing worth noting are ejector systems.  If you see a listing that notes there is an ejector system as part of the septic system, please talk to your Realtor about what that could mean for your potential purchase, as it could be a real crap shoot for you (sorry, had to).


4. Planning Ahead

Did we all have that friend growing up that lived far away, and once they would get home for the night their parents would say “we are not going back into town!”? I know I did.  It is of utmost importance to make those lists and check them twice – you don’t want to make a second trip to the grocery store!  Also, it is worthwhile investing in a backup generator. Rural properties do experience power bumps like the rest of Manitoba when a nasty storm hits.  However, rural communities are often the last to have their power restored as MB Hydro prioritizes based on population density.  Having a generator ready to go with some electric heaters would be ideal.  Or better yet, your home has a wood stove and you have stockpiled a huge pile of wood! But either way, it is important to plan for the worst, and hope for the best when it comes to rural living.


5. Trash and Recycling

Depending on the community, perhaps setting your garbage and recycling bin at the end of your driveway may or may not be an option.  In the event it isn’t, your next option is going to be transporting your waste to the dump on a regular basis.  Composting is another great option for rural living though as it results in nutrient-rich soil and will reduce the amount of the trash you are schlepping to the dump!


6. Maintenance

With a great amount of land comes a great amount of responsibility.  This might be obvious, but I will say it anyways.  The bigger the yard, the more responsibility.  Fence repairs, lawn maintenance, driveway maintenance, etc. can take a lot more time and money when in the country.  Consider investing in a riding lawnmower to cut down on some time.  However, that riding lawnmower will also need its own maintenance. 


7. Wildlife

Buying property in Manitoba that is ruralEven within city limits, we experience a fair bit of critters – rabbits, foxes, deer, raccoons, skunks, squirrels, mice, coyotes to name a few.  The same can be said for country living – but perhaps with greater frequency.  Sometimes, these animals can become quite a nuisance, if they are chewing their way into your outbuildings to seek warmth in the fall and winter months.  It is not uncommon to have a mouse in the house when it comes to rural living, and proper mitigation and monitoring is incredibly important to make sure nothing ever arises to the level of an infestation.



8. Property Lines

It can be next to impossible to know the lot lines when you are touring a rural property.  Oftentimes, many assumptions are made, like “you own to that tree line to the north, the ditch to the south, etc.”.  However, it would be a great shame to purchase a rural property only to discover there is a discrepancy between expectations and reality.  Getting a copy of the land survey is a great way to tell where the lot lines are and whether or not there are any encroachments, easements, or potential issues.  It is also important to have on hand to avoid any possible land disputes.  Sometimes a survey can be obtained through the previous owner should they have a copy of one.  However, the most accurate and up-to-date can be obtained by hiring a reputable surveying company to do a fresh survey for you.


9. Connectivity

I have shown many a rural property in which my cell service did not work.  This can sometimes be fixed by switching carriers.  Or, another option might be to purchase a cell phone range extender and have it installed on your home.  However, it may not be a perfect solution. I have had clients that could only commute via text if they were within their home in Wi-Fi range. Which brings me to my next point – Internet.  If you are planning to work remotely, then internet is going to be a HUGE deal.  Not all rural communities have the best internet options, although most are getting better (thank you, Elon Musk).  However, it is important to discuss with the local providers exactly what your options are, and what kind of internet speeds you can expect.


The Takeaway

I sincerely hope I have not deterred you, especially if country living is the dream.  Country living is hard work, but very rewarding too. There is a relaxing peacefulness to being away from it all. I have had many clients over my career move to the country and swear that they will never move back – and I totally understand why!



Rural realtor Manitoba #AgentJen


Jennifer Queen

Phone: (204) 797-7945
Email: Jennifer@JenniferQueen.com

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As most of you know the 2020-2021 market has been something of a rollercoaster, especially for buyers. With almost every home selling with multiple offers and over asking, the financing condition has become a large topic of conversation between my clients and I. My sellers ask why it is necessary if the buyers are stating they are already pre-approved and qualified and my buyers are getting frustrated when losing to a lower offer because the other offer did not have a financing condition written in. Today, I am going to talk about the importance of the financing condition if you are taking out a mortgage on a home and why I still strongly encourage it, even in this market.


First off, lets start by talking about what the financing condition is. The financing condition is there to protect the buyer in the occasion that the lender (bank, credit union etc.) or the mortgage insurer (we will go in more detail about this later) does not approve the buyer for the amount necessary for them to purchase the property. Without this condition, if the lender does not approve the mortgage, the buyer still technically bought the property under contract and is at risk of losing their deposit and even more, the potential of being sued by the seller for breaking contract. Usually deposits range from $10,000.00 to $20,000.00 here in Manitoba but in a market like we are in, some buyers will increase that amount to make their offer stronger, thus resulting in a big hit to the pocket book if financing doesn`t end up working out.


Now most buyers are probably thinking, “Well that all sounds a little scary, but I`m pre-approved so why wouldn`t the lender approve me?” There are many reasons why even after getting your pre-approval that financing can still fall through and it is very important that you understand all of these risks before writing an offer without the financing condition in it. 


Buying a Home in Winnipeg ManitobaAppraisals: Banks and other lenders rely on the “appraised value” of a home to deem if it is worth the amount you are asking them to lend you. They will often times send in their own appraiser to the property after the offer has been accepted to determine its value as they want to make sure if you default on payments, they will recoup their investment. In a market where buyers are offering 80K over the asking price, there is always a chance that the appraised value and the amount offered do not match and, in that case, it would be the buyer’s responsibility to make up the difference in value IN CASH. Unfortunately if there is no financing condition and the buyer does not have the cash to make up that difference the buyer will not be able to come up with the cash necessary to close resulting in a loss of their deposit and once again the chance of being sued by the seller for breaking contract.


Changes in financial buying power: Buying a home can be long process for some and life still continues to go on while you are in that process. Unexpected bills, job loss and large purchases are just some of the reasons why your buying power may have changed between being pre-approved and getting an accepted offer. Just because the bank told you 6 months ago that you were pre-approved for a certain amount does not mean that after purchasing a brand-new vehicle that they will still lend you that same amount of money. I always recommend getting a new pre-approval every 3 months to ensure you are still qualified for the necessary amount to purchase the property we are offering on.


Interest Rates: Most lenders will lock you in at a certain interest rate for 90 days once you go through the process of being pre-approved but like I had just mentioned, sometimes the process can take longer. If interest rates have changed between when you were first pre-approved and when you receive an accepted offer you may no longer be qualified for the amount necessary to purchase the property you offered on, ESPECIALLY if you are writing at the top of your budget.


New “Stress Test” guidelines: Have you ever heard of a stress test? This is a “test” in where a lender will have to qualify you at a higher interest rate than you are currently being offered so that if interest rates rise in the future you will still be able to afford your monthly payments. During busy markets, like the one we just experienced, the government may impose an increase to the amount they are testing you at to limit the buying power of buyers so that the sale prices of homes can equalize or level out a little to keep the market more consistent.


Mortgage Default Insurers: This is a big one. Mortgage default insurance is required by the Government of Canada when a home buyer is putting less than the 20% down payment typically needed to qualify for a conventional mortgage. If you are putting down less than 20% not only does the lender need to approve your mortgage but the mortgage default insurer does as well. Mortgage default insurance insures the lender NOT the buyer in case of default. There are 3 mortgage default insurers in Canada; CMHC (Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation), Sagen (formerly Genworth Canada) and Canada Guaranty. Each one of these insurers have different qualifications on which properties and which buyers they are willing to insure and which they wont and for the most part we are completely blind to what those qualifications are. In my experience, this is where financing falls through the most often and unfortunately the hardest to predict. I have seen them deny financing based on outdated electrical, shared well systems, location, asbestos and a multitude of other factors that we cannot control.  The financing condition really comes into play here.


Competing Offers in Winnipeg

Due to the market we are experiencing I am unfortunately seeing more and more buyers writing offers without the financing condition even though they are taking out a mortgage. As I have now explained, this can be a huge risk to the buyer but also to the sellers who may need to put their home back on the market if the buyer ends up not being able to close. If you are selling your home and there is an offer without a financing condition make sure your agent is asking the right questions; are the buyers taking out a mortgage or paying cash, if they are taking out a mortgage, do they have a back up plan if they are not approved? How much are they putting down?  Have they been pre-approved? These questions can help you assess the risk involved in accepting that offer.  Also, you will want to make sure they have put down a big enough deposit to cover any costs that may arise from the deal not closing due to the default of the buyer, this is especially important when you’ve received multiple offers as you may be declining offers of more qualified buyers that have financing conditions.


Now buyers, there are ways we can still write a strong offer even with a financing condition. Making sure you have an up to date pre-approval is a must. We can include your pre-approval letter in the offer so that the sellers are able to see you have done the work and are qualified to purchase their home. We can also make the deadline for financing as short as possible by staying in close contact with your mortgage specialist/broker prior to writing an offer. Here in Manitoba we typically see financing deadlines within 2-3 business days of the offer being accepted, although I have had some superstar brokers get it done in less than 24 hours! We can also write in detail (and should) a summary of how much you are planning on putting down vs how much you will be taking out as a mortgage. The more information the seller has the more confident they will be moving forward with your offer.


After everything I just touched on, unfortunately it might still come down to removing your financing condition to get you the house of your dreams. If that is the case, you now know all of the risks involved in doing so and you can be prepared to make an educated decision on how much risk you are willing to take. I always recommend having a back up plan in the event financing doesn’t go your way but sometimes you need to just take the risk in life!



Best real estate agent in River Heights Winnipeg#AgentAshton


Ashton Augert

Phone: (204) 781-1767
Email: Ashton@JenniferQueen.com

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Another blog that seems to have come out of necessity!  It used to be that when we would give valuations on homes with pools, that the pool really added no significant value to ultimate price a seller would get. And it makes sense – Winnipeg’s summers can be short, so to really only get to swim in your pool from June until September didn’t make that much sense in terms of the hassle and economics that go with having a pool. However, in the advent of COVID, where people were forced to stay home, having that backyard oasis became far more important, and we started seeing homes with pools actually sell for a premium.


I also have another theory for what has contributed to the increase in sales prices for homes with pools. Winnipeg has had some of the hottest and driest summers that I can remember over these last couple of years and it may just be that global warming could actually be improving our summers here.  I did no research on this and have made many assumptions in arriving at this conclusion, but these are the late-night thoughts of a sleep-deprived mother of three. I swear it is getting hotter, and warmer for longer here.  Anyways, I've selected some of my favourite pools from our recent sales to highlight here.  Because who doesn't love a beautiful pool or yard!?


Before you take the plunge (literally):

buying a winnipeg house with a poolNow here are some things that you need to know before you make the pool commitment!

  • Balancing a pool is a science.  Many clients think that you just dump some chlorine in and the pool will be good to swim for the week.  However, there is a lot of balancing that needs to be done to keep the water in your pool healthy.  If you have a long stretch of hot weather in the summer, you will often need to increase your use of chemicals.  If you have a large party with many bodies jumping in and out of the pool, perhaps some kids relieving themselves (gag), you will also find that the pool needs to be more regularly balanced.  I have found that most clients find hiring a pool company to be incredibly beneficial.  The monthly quotes that I have heard for this maintenance begin around $250, but can go up quickly from there.  Oftentimes though, I find that my clients will hire a company for their first year, learn the ropes, get comfortable with the process, and manage the balancing of the water themselves moving forward.
  • Other regular maintenance.  There are many tools you will want to invest in (if your house did not come with pool equipment).  A pool skimmer is incredibly important to keep debris out and depending on the trees within your area, might be a very regular occurrence.  Purchasing a pool vacuum is also an option many people choose to keep the bottom clear of debris.
  • Ongoing pool ownership costs.  In addition to that monthly maintenance cost, you have to look at other costs such as heating of your pool, or the cost to fill your pool.  The water costs are not substantial after your initial fill, as you leave a lot of that water in your pool over the winter and just top it up again the following year. However, you will find you often need to do some touch ups. You will likely want to pay for the springtime opening of the pool as well as the winter closing of the pool, too.  Again, this is a cost you could likely eliminate if you are comfortable doing the work yourself.
  • Types of heaters.  There are gas heaters for pools but there are also heat pump systems for pools (similar in some theories to a geothermal system).  Both have pros and cons.  The gas heater can heat up your pool on demand – if it is a cool spring day but you want to have a pool party, crank up the heat and hop in!  The negative though is that all of this natural gas does come at a cost.  On the other hand, the heat pump system takes the ambient air, converts it into heat, and then uses that to heat the pool.  The cost is much lower as it is using natural resources to heat the pool.  However, once your temperatures in the evening start dropping to around that 12-degree Celsius mark, there just isn’t enough heat left in the system to heat the pool enough during the day.  So, your season with this type of heating is much shorter. True Story – I once had clients that would crank their pool on (they had a gas heater, obviously) every March for a “St Patrick’s Day Party”.  They said they would crank it up to like 40 degrees and the water would just be steaming in the cool air. I think they said their bill for that month was always close to $800 but it was “SOOOO worth it!”. 
  • Liability/Safety – pools are an attraction for many – and young children are no exception.  Doing whatever you can to prevent access to young children is paramount to keeping your neighbourhood safe.  If you haven’t already invested in a locked gate, be sure to do so.  There are some great products out there, including substantial pool covers for those winter months (the advertisement for those products shows an elephant standing on the pool cover).  These pool covers oftentimes require deep grommets to be drilled into the ground, however the safety factor is worth it. There is also a company called “Protect a Child” that offers pool fences that are super cool and unique and can be set up quickly and taken down even more quickly, if you want a more movable fence within your existing fenced yard. Here is a review I found on it on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41TCt5yjg0k and my client that had this same fence system raved about it as well.  I have heard of people removing their diving boards as well to reduce their potential liability should anything happen from a dive or jump gone wrong.
  • The big-ticket items are costly.  Major components of a pool, like a skimmer or a liner have a life span of around 10-15 years (at least in my experience).  While you can fix small pool-liner leaks relatively inexpensively, these are often temporary fixes that shouldn’t continue for extended periods of time.  At some point, if water starts getting behind that liner it can absolutely destroy the foundation of your pool.  The cost to replace a liner in Winnipeg is often around $8000 - $10,000 but depends on the complexity of the pool.  Another item I’ve seen fail in a personal pool was the skimmer.  But guess what!?  To change out the skimmer in that circumstance, the seller had to also change out the liner.  So, the costs really do add up!


When you are purchasing a home with a pool, there are some additional steps you are going to want to take to protect your investment.

  • If buying a home with a pool in the Winter, you are going to want to insert a specific clause that allows for a holdback until the spring when you can inspect the pool.  Talk to your Realtor about just how to structure this term so that you aren’t left with unforeseen expenses.
  • Have a thorough inspection done of the pool if it is available to view in full.  Oftentimes home inspectors in Winnipeg are not as familiar with inspecting pools, just because we do see them more seldom.  Having a pool expert come to assess the system is incredibly important.
  • Ask for maintenance history of the pool.  Ask for the age of the pool, although don’t necessarily give this too much weight.  I have sold homes with 44-year-old pools before that were in great condition.  What is important, is the maintenance history of the pool.  Ask the seller if they can allow their pool service company to provide information directly to you, so that you can get a feel for just how well it has been maintained.
  • Get proper training on how to care for your pool.  Some companies in Winnipeg are willing to do a learner course with you, so that you can handle the ongoing maintenance of the pool.  However, knowing how to properly care for filters, properly clean the pool, and properly balance the pool will reduce your costs long-term as they will extend the lifetime of your important pool equipment.


houses with pools for sale in winnipegJust a word or two, from personal experience.  The cost to add a pool is pretty substantial – most starting at around $50,000 for a smaller, 15’ x 30’ pool.  If you are on a sloped lot and will require a significant amount of landscaping, that cost can go up exponentially.  You will likely NEVER get the return back on that home.  So don’t expect to put a $50,000 (or more) pool in, and increase the value of your home by $50,000.  Because it simply isn’t going to happen.  BUT, if this is going to be your forever home – one in which you can see yourself enjoying the pool for years and years to come, and that is worth it to you – I say GO FOR IT!  Or better yet, just buy a house with a pool!


Logan and I really struggled with the decision, personally.  We are both Realtors and for us to take on any project within our home that doesn’t add to the resale value, it feels sacrilege.  However, we have discussed this many times over and have agreed that we are in our forever home.  Our children are young (at the time of writing, 6, 3 and 1), and we know that means there will be many years of enjoyment before they are teenagers and too cool to hang poolside with their parents.  We are also on a larger lot and wouldn’t really miss the green space that a pool eats up.  So for us, we have made the deposit to go ahead and get that pool.  I should also add – with the “COVID Premiums” of 2020 and 2021 on pools – the waiting list became close to 2 years.  We are apparently “lucky” that we are going to be able to get our pool in, in 2022!


Thanks for reading.  If you found value in this, please let me know in the comments below.  I ramble a lot and write many of these blog posts after a glass of wine once the kids are in bed.  Should somebody be taking my computer away?


best realtor in winnipeg manitoba#AgentJen


Jennifer Queen

Phone: (204) 797-7945
Email: Jennifer@JenniferQueen.com

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You may or may not have noticed that I have the letters B.Sc after my name in my marketing, but what you may not know is that graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor’s degree in science and I went back to school to specialize in research dealing with freshwater fish.  I also spent nearly a decade working in the field of natural resources mostly involved with fisheries, throughout much of Northern Ontario, Manitoba and Western Canada.


People who knew me before I became a realtor always ask if I miss my previous career, and tend to point out how much different being a Realtor is from being outdoors catching fish. Truthfully it was just like any other job - it had its pros and cons, and while there are fun things that I miss, there are just as many things that were not so pleasant, constantly smelling like fish for instance, which I do not miss.


So, I thought I would take this time in my blog to talk about the 3 major reasons why I absolutely love being a realtor.


1. Learning about houses and construction

I have always been a person who learns so much better by doing something, and in the past 5 years I honestly can’t tell you how many houses I have toured, how many home inspections I have been part of and how much wider my knowledge of house construction has grown.  You see, I had a good idea of how houses were built from my father.  While not a journeyman in any specific construction field, my dad was trained by an electrician and plumber when he was a young man, and although he didn’t pursue that path for a career, he built most of the home my parents still live in by himself (and friends and family) in the 1980’s.  The fact that he did this before there was internet, YouTube and Google to figure it out still astounds me.  Growing up in that house he always included me, my brother and my sister in new projects and working to make improvements in the home. But it wasn’t until Jen and I purchased our first home in Winnipeg in 2008 (a former grow op, and a story for another day) that I really learned to respect the work put into a home and the effort it takes to maintain it.  Suffice it to say that the inner workings of home construction and planning started to grow in my mind. Now 5 years into my real estate career I still find interesting facts from homes built in different time periods, differences in materials and new changes as the building code evolves.  All of these things are fascinating to me and I love increasing my knowledge of it.


2. Meeting new people

I am 100% an extrovert.  I love meeting new people, rarely shy away from a conversation and can usually talk to anyone, even someone I barely know for at least a short conversation about mutual topics. Real estate allows me to meet so many new people, whether that be clients, other real estate agents, experts in home construction, home inspectors, you name it, we meet a lot of people.  Some of the best days have nothing to do with real estate, even if we are touring a home or negotiating a real estate offer, there are so many times that I just get lost in the conversation and find that I really just enjoy meeting these new people and getting to know them and their families.  Learning about peoples lives, and motivations for their real estate goals really increases the level of the relationship.  Truthfully one of the hardest parts of real estate for me is when clients do find their home, or their listing sells and we no longer spend a few days a week together.  It’s a running joke in our house that all of my client appointments run long, not that I am late for things, I just have to plan around my inability to stop a conversation J


3. Everyday is completely different

Sure, we do a lot of the same things with each of our clients, but no two transactions are ever the same.  Literally every day is different, and your day can turn on a dime.  You can get a call out of the blue that a client wants to buy a cottage lot, you can find out that your clients vacant listing’s furnace just quit in -30 C when you go to check on the home, you can be digging yourself and a fellow realtor out of a 3-foot snow drift after a showing (yes these are real examples).  What I am trying to say is there are ups, there are downs but the work is always eventful. Also negotiating an offer on behalf of your clients and getting them what they want or BETTER than what they want is always such a rewarding feeling.



I guess what I am saying is although I have chosen a different career path in the past 5 years, I couldn’t be happier with my decision.  Thank you to my awesome family who have always supported me in my decisions (except my tattoos….. J), and especially my dad for teaching me how to wire an outlet when I was 12.  To my clients past and present, thank you for trusting in me, spending your time with me and know that even when we don’t see each other for a while I always reminisce about similar homes, or interesting places we toured together. 


“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” – Ursula K. Le Guin


Best realtor in winnipeg, Logan Queen talks career choice#AgentLogan


Logan Queen

Tel: (204) 226-1261
Email: Logan@JenniferQueen.com

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#AgentAmy’s thoughts over the last couple of months…


I read a news article in the Free Press recently about the amount of Manitoba’s taking steps to get their real estate license, my first thoughts were, "I hope they know what they are getting into." Here is a little bit of the Free Press article….


"In the 12 months ending in March 2020, 353 people enrolled to take the first module required in training to be a sales agent. Over the next 12 months, even with an initial dip due to COVID-19, it jumped to 817. In all of 2017, 2018, and 2019 combined, 1,066 people enrolled in module 1; since last May there has been 938 sign up.


The first quarter of 2021 saw 111 people get certified as new agents. Over the first quarter in the previous four years, an average of 48 realtors got started. Throughout the last three quarters, 225 new agents have printed business cards — more than any three consecutive quarters combined over the past five years."


I started in the real estate business about 9 years ago. I had lots of experience in sales but nothing that compared to the real estate industry. I worked for Jen as her unlicensed assistant for about two years and then decided to get licensed and become a Realtor. I have been a Realtor with RE/MAX for 7 years (this seems crazy to me)! I love my job, it is hard, time consuming, physically, and mentally exhausting, rewarding, fun, everchanging, among other things but real estate is not easy. It is talked about a lot in the media. The housing market and how crazy it is and then people just assuming that everyone in the business is making crazy amounts of money because houses are selling so fast and for some much over list price. What you need to understand is that yes, the housing market is crazy BUT it is extremely challenging to work in a market like this. We are working all hours of the day, making sacrifices as well as our families. We put our clients first and hardly take time for ourselves. Our focus is our clients because without them we are nothing in this business.


Realtors working with famillies in Winnipeg

I have had some time to think (some, not a lot) over the last couple of months and what I really want to say is Thank you – short and sweet haha! I want to say thank you to my husband Chris, who works Monday – Friday 9-5 but he does not stop there. There have been countless nights where I am not home for dinner and/or bedtime and he makes sure our son is well fed, happy, loved, read-to and asleep, as well as working tirelessly on our basement renovation. I give him the gears a lot but he is my rock and I couldn’t have made it where I am today without him. We have been through a lot in the last 16 years, its hard to imagine what the universe will throw at us next.


I want to thank my son Gavin, for being the best little boy we could have ever imagine. You are independent, determined, strong willed, smart, caring, loving, adorable, I could go on forever, but you get the idea. I love you with everything I am, and it breaks my heart every time I have to leave the house and you say “Mama, you have to go to a work appointment?” To which I say “Yes, I do” and you proceed to cry. He does not cry so much anymore, which makes me sad because now my leaving is normal to him. I cherish him every chance I get. I also want to thank my parents, who are always there to support me, and I will always be grateful for that. You taught me that hard work will get you far and to always be proud of myself. This past year and a half has been challenging in so may way but not being able to see my parents and sister and her family has been one of the hardest things (they live in BC). The end is in sight, and I can not wait to see you all soon.


I also want to thank Jen Queen, who has always been an inspiration to me. She is one of the smartest, hard working, generous people I know. She has built a booming business in a very short amount of time. I was a little hesitant to join her one-person team 9 years ago, but it was one of the best decisions I have ever made, so thank you for believing in me. She has also built a solid team, that supports one another, which I believe is a key to success.


Best realtor working in Winnipeg#AgentAmy


Amy McDermid

Phone: (204) 470-5356
Email: Amy@JenniferQueen.com

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June marks my tenth year in real estate.  To switch things up this year, I’m going to report what I can remember from each year.  I find each year in real estate has at least one significant or impactful lesson to teach us.  So here we go!


Year 1 (2011):

Lessons: Relationships matter.  Be good to those that are good to you.  Walk away from those that just don’t appreciate you. The majority of my business this year came from ComFree listings (before they were a licensed brokerage – which means I wasn’t breaking any rules).  I had many hang up on me, but those that agreed to list with me turned out to be wonderful clients that I still work with today.! 

Sold 12 homes this year.

Fun story from this year: Sold my first acreage (72+ acres)


Year 2 (2012):

Lessons: Relationships matter (again).  Started to learn about the importance not only of keeping in touch with clients throughout the process of their home buying/selling process, but long after as well.  Many of the clients I worked with in 2012, I am still in touch with today.

Sold 38 homes this year.

Fun story from this year: One of the homes I sold had bullet holes in the side of it.


Year 3 (2013)

Lessons: Not all sales are happy sales.  Sold homes for clients that had previously bought in a happy time, but were now selling for sad reasons (death, divorce, job loss).  This career is full of ups and downs, and our job is to help people navigate our clients through the good times and bad.

Sold 47 homes this year.

Fun story from this year: I sold my own house this year.  Still regret it today (would have kept it as a rental)


Year 4 (2014)

Lessons: The importance of pricing (and ownership of bad pricing).  I had more listings expire this year than ever in my career.  Sometimes it is scary to have conversations about pricing with sellers – you don’t want to offend them, particularly if you were wrong.  Learning how to have those difficult discussions became paramount this year.

Sold 66 homes this year.

Fun Story: I had more homes expire this year than sold.  This line was super embarrassing and cringe-worthy for me to write! 



Year 5 (2015)

Lessons: Have a plan A, a plan B, and a plan C! From selling another personal residence, to having a slightly softer market, it became paramount to formulate multiple plans for selling. 

Sold 93 homes this year.

Fun Story: Logan and I had purchased a former (remediated) grow-op before I was in the business and chose to sell it in 2015.  We “sold” it three times before our third cash buyer came along and was able to close. We also welcomed our first child this year.



Year 6 (2016)

Lessons: Remember your “why”.  After the birth of our daughter, Everly, work-life balance started to become more important.  Parenthood also really emphasized the motivations for why families choose to move.  I thought I “got it” before, but I don’t think I fully understood the brain of a parent until I was one.

Sold 62 homes this year (maternity leave for four months).

Fun Story: I negotiated a complete deal at a table with clients while nursing a poopy baby.  Thank you to the lovely family that encouraged me to bring my baby along… your kindness and acceptance of my situation meant a lot to me.



Year 7 (2017)

Lessons: Be confident in your value proposition and the advice you give.  Stand firm in it and don’t back down.

Sold 107 homes this year.

Fun Story: I was pregnant (again) this year.  I also had to cancel an open house due to an incident of domestic violence as a bunch of walls and doors had been punched through.  Sad all around.



Year 8 (2018)

Lessons: The best interest of your clients always come before your own.  There were a couple of sales this year that involved careful consideration of a clients’ position.  Whether it be helping with some home renovations, doing some pro-bono work, or just advising not to buy or sell, there were a multitude of situations and reasons this year that warranted a different kind of care.

Sold 75 homes this year.

Fun Story: We welcomed our second child, Blaine this year.  He has a very piercing scream that would challenge the strongest eardrum.  I made many calls from my sunroom even when it was -30 outside just so I could sound “professional”.



Year 9 (2019)

Lessons: The importance of a team. Amy was off for most of this year as she was taking maternity with her son, Gavin.  So, we ended up hiring Ashton and Carrie both in late 2018.  Learning to grow and work as a team was so paramount to our future success.  We really missed Amy’s presence and were so happy to have her back toward the end of 2019.

Sold 154 homes this year.

Fun Story: Started listing my first luxury properties (or what I consider luxury property)… SOOO much fun to market!



Year 10 (2020)

Lessons: What we need, is really quite simple.  The year of COVID… where what was highlighted was the importance of such basic necessities – health, family, shelter and love.  We thought that real estate would be dead and that we would need to buckle down for a tough year.  It turned out to be the exact opposite, with record sales.

Sold 168 homes this year.

Fun Story: I gave birth to our third child in June of 2020… and was negotiating in between contractions. The poor agent on the other side of the transaction was so uncomfortable with this that he called my broker for the transaction.  I may have sent out a DocuSign for signatures from the hospital bed…




Well, there you have it, 10 years of lessons, sales, teamwork, amazing clients, and so much joy from this profession.  No two days are alike and I wouldn’t have it any other way! Thanks for reading this far!!  I look forward to another 10 years


Best realtor in Winnipeg, Jennifer Queen talks experience

#AgentJen


Jennifer Queen

Phone: (204) 797-7945
Email: Jennifer@JenniferQueen.com

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Things always happen at the worst time, am I right? You’re one month out from listing your home and your furnace breaks down, GREAT! What do you do? Calling around to some local companies you learn that you don’t need to fork up the $4500.00 all at once to replace the furnace, you can RENT the furnace and pay a monthly fee. Well isn’t that ideal, you are planning on selling anyway, so you should only have a few months of this fee to pay and the rest is the new owners’ problem. Even better, the buyers will be ecstatic to learn that they have a brand-new furnace that they don’t need to worry about for the next few years! Win, win. Or so many sellers think.


Lately, I feel like I have been running into this situation more and more often. I am not sure if the equipment rental companies are just getting better at persuading unassuming clients to be part of their scheme or if we just need to do a better job of educating people about what this means for them when selling their home.  Unfortunately, usually by the time we come into picture, the damage has already been done. So, what do we do now?


How much money should you spend on a homeLet’s start off with what these rental companies aren’t telling you.  Simply, you (or the next owner) will end up paying more than DOUBLE what the furnace would have originally cost once the rental contract is over. Ok yes, once again if you are selling who cares, so let me keep going. The average life span of a new high-efficient furnace is roughly 25 years… and these contracts only last usually 8-10 years. Now remember, this is a rental, so when the contract is up you no longer have a furnace. Therefore, you just paid double to use the same furnace for less than half of its lifespan. So to put it into perspective, if you buy the furnace it will cost you $4500.00 up front and you will have it for at least 20 years; if you rent it you will end up paying close to $10,000.00 all in and only have it for 8-10 years. The math is simple, and the buyers will see that too.


So here it is, for some buyers the extra cost for a rental is a huge expense on top of all the other costs of owning a house, especially for something that most homes already include. Add on to that, the fact that they are technically purchasing a house without a furnace (as it is an extra cost to have one). When comparing to other homes that don’t have this added cost, your home will start to appear less ideal. Unfortunately, what this means for you is that we will either need to adjust the price you are asking for the home to take into account these costs, OR you will have to buy out the contract, and trust me that doesn’t come cheap. Most buyers’ agents’, will advise their clients to not take on the rental and to ask for the contract to be bought out prior to possession. So that initial $4500 you tried to save by renting, BAM it just doubled.


Now of course I am over generalizing, all rental contracts are a little different and the price to buyout may change slightly, but they are all much more than the original cost to buy. Now here is the real problem, some people unfortunately think this is their only option.  A lot of households don’t have the savings set aside for an emergency for these types of situations. BUT there are other programs that can help. Manitoba Hydro has many programs that can help homeowners with these upfront costs and upgrades while charging you very little interest. For more information on theses programs please visit:  

https://www.hydro.mb.ca/your_home/residential_loan/


I have focused mainly on furnaces in today’s blog since they carry the largest price tags, but in real estate we see all kinds of rental contracts. Some other common rentals we see are hot water tanks and air condition units. I have even experienced all three at one listing! That’s one big extra expense for a potential buyer!


The point I am trying to drill into you today is that whichever type of rental you are considering, please take a second to think and do the math.  It may just save you a lot of money in the end, and always remember we are here to help!


Top real estate agent in Winnipeg#AgentAshton


Ashton Augert

Phone: (204) 781-1767
Email: Ashton@JenniferQueen.com

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Spring is here in Manitoba! The weather is nice and warm and we are looking forward to getting out in our yards and neighborhoods for as many activities as possible after our winter hibernation.  Some things to consider when the weather turns from winter to spring, especially in Manitoba, are maintenance items around your home.


I know, I know we finally get some nice weather and here I am telling you that you should get the work gloves out and start laborious jobs on your home. But the truth is now is the perfect time to figure out what sort of maintenance jobs your home may need moving into spring and summer rains.


Right now the ground is still mostly frozen and even though it looks nice and soft at the top deeper down there is still plenty of frost.  This can make for a problematic scenario for some people.  Luckily this past winter came with minimal snow and a pretty gradual snow melt.  However if we have a large rain many people could see issues with water affecting their homes.


The place to start the ground! Take a walk around your home, seems easy enough but how close do you really look at every side of your home?  There will be plenty of things that look different around your home now that the snow has come and gone.


Foundation Checks in Winnipeg ManitobaOn the ground level walk around the foundation and check for areas of damaged siding or low spots in the ground around the foundation.  Every home should have a positive grade.  Meaning the ground should be highest right up against the home, then it should slope away to provide water with a runoff solution that moves away from your home.  Also you should assess the type of material that is surrounding your home.  Rock and stone is one of the worst options for positive grading.  The stones and rock have tons of pores and spaces between them that allow water to easily filter through and go into the ground and foundation. The best materials to use are ones that have limited space between the particles or those that hold water, topsoils and clays are the best and are readily available in Manitoba. It may require some elbow grease to get the grading correct but it is essential to keeping your home dry, even a new foundation with enough water stress could allow seeping.


Check window wells, if your home has them.  Clean them out and make sure that they are not filled with leaves and other debris that can stop water from trickling through the stone and into your weeping tile as they should. 


Check your downspouts.  Has there been any damage from ice/snow over the winter? How far do they extend past your foundation? Ideally you want your downspouts to discharge a minimum of 6-8 feet from your foundation walls, if you can do further then great!


Check for any damage to doors and windows including weather strip seals and the corners to ensure that your house is not allowing a draft through.  This is especially important in older homes that may go through some natural shifting as the seasons change.


If you have a ladder and are comfortable going on the roof then check the shingles to see if there is any damage from wind, snow or ice since the fall.  Make sure the eavestroughs are not pulling away from the house anywhere from snow/ice weight.  Check the areas around chimneys and flashings to make sure that they are still watertight, as these areas typically are failure points for letting water into your home.


Inside the home, one of the best things to do it to check and see if your sump pump is working.  You may need to check the exterior pipe and make sure that it is not frozen, as we are still getting below zero temperatures in the night.  If the pipe freezes and your sump pump still tries to pump water through it you can burn out your pump motor and you could also have an issue with pressure breaks in the pipe.  Ensure that you put your sump pump hose out on the exterior and extend it as far from your foundation wall as possible. Also make sure the pump is plugged in and that the breaker is on in the electrical panel.


If you do have an older home and you do get water in the basement this is also a great time of year to assess the situation and determine the best plan of action to manage or fix the problem.


9 times out of 10 the solution starts with keeping water away from your foundation. And remember an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!


Best real estate agent in Winnipeg, Logan Queen#AgentLogan


Logan Queen

Tel: (204) 226-1261
Email: Logan@JenniferQueen.com

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