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If you’ve been following Winnipeg’s real estate market at all these past few months, you’ve noticed a high percentage of homes are selling over the asking price. You may be wondering, how are there so many buyers that are willing to pay more than what the owners have asked for!? The simple answer: The law of supply and demand.

What is the law of supply and demand? It is a simple economic theory where when demand exceeds supply, prices will rise, and vice versa. How this applies to the real estate market is when there is a surplus of buyers who are looking in a specific neighborhood and there is shortage of homes for sale in that specific neighborhood, the prices of homes will rise due to demand. Resulting in, yes, you’ve guessed right, every buyer’s worst nightmare: the bidding war.



If you are thinking of buying a home in the near future there are some things you can do to prepare yourself in the event that you may encounter a multiple offer scenario.



 

Mortgaeg pre-approvalFirst Off, Get Pre-Approved. 

Being confident in how much you can afford when competing gives you a huge advantage. This will allow you to feel comfortable with the number you put down on that offer… even if it may be $40,000.00 over asking! Secondly, the time necessary for the lender to approve your mortgage will be cut down drastically, allowing you to put a much shorter time to fulfill your financing condition, making your offer a lot stronger. It is not uncommon to see offers written with 24 hour financing conditions or even no financing condition at all! If you want to compete with those offers, having a dialogue with your lender as well as the pre-approval will give you the tools necessary to do so.


(It is very important that if you decided to write an unconditional offer you ask your mortgage specialist/broker and your realtor all the risks involved in doing so).  A pre-approval means the lender has already done approximately 70% of the work, but still has a few key pieces that they require to get the final approval.


Know Your Market.

This is where you need to listen to your realtor. Find someone who is familiar with the areas you are looking in. See how many homes in that area have gone over list and by how much. This will give you somewhat of an idea to what you may experience when it comes time to put in an offer. Although every situation is different, being educated in what trends are happening in your neighborhood will help you prepare and will hopefully reduce some of the stress involved with these multiple offer scenarios. An educated buyer is the best kind of buyer!


Know the Market Value of the Home.

Comparative Market Analysis Winnipeg

Market value is defined as “the price an educated buyer is willing to pay for a specific property”. In a “hot market” properties may be listed lower than market value to attract more buyers.  Your agent should be doing a ‘Comparative Market Analysis’ on the property to determine market value so you can make an educated offer. This is not to say properties don’t go above market value, there are many factors that go into what something is worth to someone. It may be that it is next door to their best friend or maybe they just NEED it. It is hard to know what a specific property will sell for, you need to determine not only market value, but what the home is worth to YOU.


Have a Plan.

Bidding wars are stressful, no doubt about it. Talk with your agent about all likely scenarios and what you would be willing to negotiate on. Knowing your numbers before they present offers helps to keep emotions out of it. Keep in mind, in Manitoba your agent does not know what the other offers are and what situations may be associated with them. For all we know, the offer you are competing against could be the owner’s sister. Plans change, but having the discussions beforehand will help ease your emotions at that time.


Write a Letter to the Seller.

Some may say this is a little tacky, but from experience, these have been known to sway sellers in different directions. Read more about the power of a personal letter in #AgentLogan’s previous blog. Let them know what you love about their home, who you are and what you value. Connecting with the home owner may just help get you in the front running to negotiations, its worth a try!


Home Inspections in WinnipegDo a Pre-Inspection of the Property.

The less conditions on an offer, the stronger it is when competing. Putting a condition subject to a home inspection can result in your offer going to the bottom of the pile. This is not to say we shouldn’t do one! Usually, there is enough time before the offers date that you can schedule a pre-inspection of the property, allowing you to write an offer without the home inspection condition but still being confident in the purchase you are making. The only downside to this is if you still don’t get the property you’ve paid for the home inspection!


Be Patient.

The last piece of advice I will give you is be patient. It is not uncommon to write 4-6 offers before finally getting the house you’ve always wanted. This a marathon, not a sprint. I have experienced MANY multiple offer scenarios in my career as a real estate agent, they are all different and they are all unpredictable. Having the tools necessary in advance and the right guidance is key to navigating these crazy things called bidding wars.


Good luck!


Ashton's Advice on Bidding Wars#AgentAshton


Ashton Augert

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

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Maybe you have been searching for a house in Winnipeg, or other cities in the past few months and have come across the dreaded BIDDING WAR!  I know, I know if you are a buyer, or a buyer’s agent then you know the heartbreak that can come with losing the home of your dreams to a closed offer bidding war.  I spend a lot of my time working as a Buyer’s agent, and I am not a fan of the offer date/bidding war system.  But hey, that’s the market we are currently in so instead of getting frustrated and hating on the system let me offer you another option that you may think is silly.  THE PERSONAL LETTER!!


Yes I really do mean a personal letter.  And when I say personal I don’t mean something addressed to “the owner of blah blah blah” I mean a personal letter.  “Dear Kim and Dave, (fake names BTW) thank you for considering our offer to purchase your home at 123 Fake street”.  Keep in mind this is just an intro but doesn’t that sound nice? Wouldn’t you have liked to read something along those lines instead of just the offer to purchase form filled out by some random person? I kid you not a personal letter is a very powerful tool when purchasing a home.  Now I will say that this is a very specific case when the personal letter is useful.  If you are trying to get the best deal on a home and are offering below list price, then this is not the situation for you.  If you are in a competing offer situation and it is the home you love, the one you can’t live without, then this could seriously help your potential purchase of your dream home.


The power of a personal letter in real estateLet me tell you a story about a couple I recently helped purchase their first home.  We saw a house that was in their ideal location, in their budget and was truly the perfect home for them to grow and start their life together as homeowners in.  We did a pre-inspection knowing that there was an offer date and we did all the research to understand where it may sell for and if they could fit it into their budget.  We knew that it would be a bidding war, the traffic through was crazy and the house was great.  We spoke about writing a personal letter to the vendor and my clients went for it and knocked it out of the park.  They purchases special paper that had a gold filigree and flower pattern and hand wrote it as careful as they could.  The letter was amazing, honestly I knew how much they loved the house and how perfect it was for them but their letter said it in a way that I couldn’t even convey to the listing agent or owner.  It was truly moving, because everything they wrote was true and heartfelt. 


On offer date we knew it would still be tough because we were maxing out their budget and it still may sell for over that price, and unfortunately it did.  I still had to make the heart-wrenching call that they did not get the house, they were taking an offer for a higher dollar value.  We were all crushed.  Honestly, I felt in my bones that their offer would be accepted everything just felt right.  A few days later I received a call from the listing agent and when I answered the agent told me that the other offer, while being higher, was taking too long to get financing in place and it looked like they would need extra time.  The agent then told me that the vendor wasn’t happy with that outcome and had really been touched by my clients offer.  The vendor wanted to let the first offer lapse as they had their chance to close and didn’t, and come back to my clients because the letter they wrote had literally touched her heart.  In the end they did come back to us and we closed our offer in a couple of days. My clients are now in that house, making it their home and loving every minute of it.


The moral here is not that writing a personal letter will get you the house of your dreams, but if you actually put your heart into a personal letter when competing with other offers you will stand out!  A vendor is much more likely to want to sell their home to someone who has a personal connection with their home.  A personal letter can tell the vendor how much the home means to you, your family and how much you will appreciate and love it in the years to come.

Best of luck out there!


Logan Queen Blog Post

#AgentLogan


Logan Queen

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

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Water in the basement.  Four words that no homeowner ever wants to hear.  Yet, we are hearing it much more frequently this year.  Here is why:




  • Basement Foundation SeepageWinnipeg homes are built on silt and clay, not bedrock.  So the ground here is constantly moving and settling.
  • We had a very dry summer in 2018.  As many of you likely will have noticed, this caused the ground around your house to dry up, crack, and in most cases pull away from the foundation walls of your home.
  • This left larger gaps than usual leaving empty air pockets between the soil and your home.
  • We then had a very cold winter that started with very little snow.  So the ground froze, and it froze more deeply than typical.
  • We then had high levels of snow toward the end of the winter (SO MUCH SNOW!)
  • Up until the last two weeks, the weather has been fairly cold, however now we are suddenly hitting high, well above freezing, temperatures.
  • These high temperatures, while very welcome after this frigid winter, are causing the snow to melt very rapidly.
  • Your house emanates heat, so the soil that melts the quickest will be the soil adjacent to your house. 
  • Water will find the path of least resistance, so it is finding its way into the gaps left by the dry soil conditions of last year and sitting against your house.
  • Eventually this water has to go somewhere.  So if there were snap-ties used in construction of your house that have rusted at all, it may work its way in through those small holes. Alternatively, even if your weeping tile is working water can still find its way up under your basement floor slab and foundation walls (they are separate systems that aren’t connected), and appear as seepage.


So what does this mean? If you have already discovered water, I know how disheartening and concerning it is.  Logan and I have experienced it in our own home in the past.  But rest assured, it is not necessarily a foundation crack, or failing foundation.  So don’t go too crazy tearing down drywall (or wood panelling if you are so lucky) to investigate yet.  Here is what the home inspectors have told us:


  • Submersible Pump for WaterPrevention is the first line of defence.  Prevent that water from hanging out around your foundation.  Try redirecting it for now as it is still too early to do grading work.  You can buy inexpensive pumps that attach to a garden hose to pump pooling water away from your yard and foundation
  • Get remaining snow away from your house.  Yes, the people that shovel their yards do look crazy, but there is method to their madness.  Spread that snow out around your yard and away from your foundation
  • If you have a window well, do not let snow build up in it.  Shovel them out, and get that snow away from the house.
  • Depending on the age of your home, you may want to talk to a plumber about having your weeping tile flushed out.  The weeping tile can become clogged over the years and no longer function properly.  An early indicator of whether or not the weeping tile is functioning properly can be found by checking your main drain.  See if the pipes leading into it from the weeping tile are wet.  If they aren’t, there could be a blockage somewhere along the lines.
  • If you have a sump pump, make sure it is functioning properly, that the exterior hose isn’t frozen, and that the water is being directed away from your foundation.
  • If the water does manage to work its way in, don’t let it linger.  Get a dehumidifier and some fans set up.  Keep the air moving and get the area dry.  The last thing you want is mold forming.
  • Proper Grading Around HouseWhen it warms up, work on improving the grading around your home.  Remember, we always want the ground around your home sloping away from your foundation.  There should be no areas where water can sit and pool near your foundation.  This is an ONGOING homeownership task. The ground is constantly settling, so it is important to check every year to ensure you are maintaining a positive grade away from your home.
  • In the summer, water your foundation.  Yes, you read that right.  If we see dry conditions again this year, in which the ground is cracking and shrinking, it is prudent to water near your foundation wall (usually about 4-5 feet away from your foundation).  We want to keep enough moisture in the soil to alleviate gaps from forming between your house and the soil.  This is all weather dependent though.  In wet years, overwatering may put excessive pressure on the foundation walls.

If you are selling, be sure you disclose the water.  I know, it is not a great selling feature.  But the last thing you want is for the purchaser of your home to discover you have had seepage issues that were undisclosed during their purchase.  These are the types of issues that can come back to haunt you.  A good Realtor will know and be aware of the conditions this year and will be able to explain this to their client to alleviate concerns.


Do you feel there is something I have missed?  Please reach out!


Basement Flooding in Winnipeg

#AgentJen

Jennifer Queen

Sales Representative

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

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The Importance of being an educated Buyer.

Buying your first home is easy, right? You look at houses online, go to a few open houses, write an offer, talk to your bank and voila! SOLD. I mean, of course you know what an encroachment is, title insurance? Closing costs? Differences between a deposit and down payment? Right? Making sure you are truly educated at every step of the process is paramount to a successful transaction. After all, this is one of the largest purchases you will ever make, so doesn’t it make sense to know all the facts first?


I have worked with my fair share of first-time home buyers, helping them to learn along the way and trust me, you are not the only one who doesn’t know how this whole process works. Situations change, deals become more complicated, processes may seem a bit confusing, which is why I must emphasize the importance of asking questions.


Us Realtors, we have done these transactions millions of times, sometimes (and I do mean SOMETIMES) forgetting that this is your first time. If we are explaining things too fast or talking about some condition you’ve never heard of, STOP US! Never feel embarrassed if you don’t understand a term or concept, we LOVE educating our clients, not to sound cliché but, “There is no such thing as dumb question”.


This blog will not answer ALL of the questions that will come up during your real estate experience, but I just wanted to share with you some of the most FAQ I have received from buyers in the past, giving you a head start on your journey! Enjoy!


I went online and filled out a questionnaire with my bank. Am I pre-approved?

Simply, No. There is a big difference between a pre-approval and pre-qualification. A mortgage pre-approval is a detailed letter from your lender letting you know the amount they are willing to lend you as well as the interest rate that they are locking you in at. It may also have conditions attached to it that you must fulfill in order to be approved for the mortgage amount. Before receiving the pre-approval letter, you will have to provide your mortgage specialist/broker with the required documents as well consenting to a credit check. A pre-qualification on the other hand, is something you may fill out online through your bank or financial institution, no documents are required and there will be no credit check. Before a lender will approve your mortgage, they will need all of these documents, so by having a pre-approval you are already ahead of the game when it comes time to securing those funds.


Did I mention it gives you the upper hand in bidding wars? Pre-approvals allow you to move fast when you find the right home, especially if there is someone else thinking it may be theirs as well!


I just started my home buying process and came across a house I love online, I don’t have an agent, is there a difference between using the listing agent or a Buyer’s agent to represent me? 

This one may seem obvious, but you would be surprised by the amount of people who don’t know the difference.

The seller’s agent (or listing agent) is the real estate agent that is listing the property. You will normally see their name on the sign out front, or on the listing online. These agents represent the SELLER. They have fiduciary obligations to their client (the seller), meaning they must disclose conflicts, avoid conflicts of interest and maintain utmost loyalty, as well as providing duty of care and their general obligations. In short form, the Seller’s agent is looking out for the best interest of the Seller.


Now on the flip side is a Buyers Agent. How you choose your agent is your own choice, but I highly recommend finding someone you mesh well with and trust. Whether it be by going to open houses, scrolling online or just someone you know, it is important to form that bond early. A buyer’s agent has the same fiduciary and general obligations to a Buyer as a seller’s agent to the seller. Therefore, the Buyer’s agent is looking out for the best interest of the BUYER.


I want to see a house on the other side of the city, I don’t want to inconvenience my agent, should I just call the listing agent and set up an appointment?

ALWAYS CALL YOUR AGENT. Remember what I just said about Buyers Agency? They are there to look out for your best interests. The seller’s agent still represents the seller even if they are the one showing you the house. If you have an agent who you are already working with, TRUST ME, they want to show you the house, even if you think its an inconvenience for them, its not, so call them, please…. One more time? CALL YOUR AGENT.  All Realtors have access to all MLS listings; therefore, your agent can show you every single one of them. There should never be a situation where you would have to set up a viewing yourself with the listing agent. Leave it to them. There are exceptions if you want to use the listing agent as your own, this is called dual agency, but please ask them to explain this fully to you before signing any agreement.

 

I see there is an Open House happening tomorrow but my agent can’t make that time, can I still go?

Of course, you can! Tell the agent at the open house that you are represented, don’t worry, they won’t mind at all! That agent will then follow up with US instead of harassing (did I say harassing?) you for the feedback.


On a side not, if you are still looking for an agent, open houses are great opportunities to “interview” potential agents and see if they are the right fit for you. Most times, the agent doing the open house is not the listing agent. Ask them some questions, (there is a theme here).


We LOVE it! Who writes the offer? My agent or my lawyer?

Your agent. Whoever is representing you at the time will write the offer for you, with you present and explaining terms and conditions as you go. It is always nice to familiarize yourself with the Offer to Purchase prior to writing an offer as it can look a little intimidating at first. Ask your agent for a spare copy, they will be happy to provide one for you.


People keep warning me about these things called “Closing Costs”, how much should I set aside for them?


Anywhere from 2-2.5% of the purchase price of the home. These closing costs include (but aren’t limited to): Lawyers Fees, Land Transfer Tax as well as Title Insurance.


I’m putting down 5%, my lender told me I have to pay CMHC fees, more fees!? What the heck are those?

This should be explained to you in detail when you are going through the pre-approval process, but I will give you a quick explanation here. If you are putting down less than 20% of the total purchase price as your down payment, you will be getting what is called a high-ratio mortgage. These mortgages have attached to them mortgage default insurance, which you will commonly hear being called CMHC Fees. These fees are not an upfront cost to the buyer but built into your mortgage. CMHCC Fees insure the lender in the case of the borrower defaulting on payments. They are calculated depending on the purchase price of the home as well as the amount you put down. Rate Hub has a great Mortgage Default Insurance Calculator.


What is a deposit? Do I have to come up with MORE money!?

A deposit is a portion of your down payment paid on the day you write the offer. This deposit acts as security for the seller, and lets them know you are a serious buyer.  Your deposit will be held in the listing brokers trust account (some exceptions) after acceptance of the offer. Once all conditions written in the Offer to Purchase are fulfilled, the deposit will form part of your down payment, meaning you will only pay your lawyer the remaining balance of your down payment at closing.  Now, if the conditions aren’t satisfactory to you, the deposit will be returned to you in full without interest. With that being said, there are situations where the listing brokerage will have every right to withhold that deposit, please ask your agent for examples of situations where this may arise.


I’ve heard of this thing called Title Insurance, do I need it?

I personally love Title Insurance, it’s a one-time fee you pay at closing that protects against losses arising from problems related to the title of your property. What does that mean you ask? When you are buying a home, you are registering your name to the title of that property. You want your title to be free from all defects that would prevent you from total ownership such as, unpaid liens from previous owners, encroachments not registered to the title or fraudulent ownership. Title insurance covers you from a number of risks, even if the defect existed prior to you purchasing the property. It normally costs anywhere from $200-$400.  You can always ask your lawyer to explain this further.


Home Inspections? What are your thoughts?

It depends on the situation. For the most part, I always recommend buyers to do a home inspection as they provide a tremendous amount of information in regards to the property. They will look at the structure, the roof, the utilities, the electrical etc. and they will likely get a whole lot dirtier in the process than you will from just a simple tour of the house. We will gladly recommend you to some of the best home inspectors around! Home Inspections normally cost roughly $500.00 and will last anywhere from 2-4 hours. 


I did say that it does depend on the situation though. There are some cases, such as when dealing with multiple offers, where a Home Inspection might affect the strength of your offer. Make sure you have all the questions you need answered before going forward, and always remember we are only here to guide you in this process, you always make the final decision.


I have only just skimmed the surface of what there is to learn when buying your first home. Never be afraid to ask the important questions and remember,


“The man who asks a question is a fool for a minute, the man who does not ask is a fool for life” – Confucius 


Jennifer Queen Team Agent Ashton#AgentAshton

Ashton Augert

Sales Representative

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

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Are you thinking of buying a house? Then this blog is for you! 

You have decided to start the process of buying a house! YAY!  WHOOHOO!


That is serious business and it is also very exciting.  The question is: Where to start?

Now you may respond with “um have you heard of the internet?” and you would be right that is a great place to start, or is it?  Below I am going to run through my 6 steps for purchasing a home from start to finish.


In my opinion the absolute first step in your journey to purchasing your first property is simple:

1. GET A PRE-APPROVAL!!

How do you start looking for treasure without a map to follow? Think of the pre-approval as the paper you use to draw the map, without the preapproval you have nowhere to start. 


It doesn’t matter if you know what kind of house you like, how many bedrooms and bathrooms you want or that you definitely need to have a hot tub.  These things mean nothing if you do not know what dollar amount a lender will actually give you a mortgage for.


Mortgage PreapprovalWhere to go for a pre-approval? The best answer is to do a little research. Most places will do a pre-approval for free, but not all.  You can get a pre-approval from almost any financial institution. Banks, credit unions and mortgage brokers will be more than happy to entertain taking you on as a client.  If you need some names and places give us a call and we can direct you to someone who will help.  Keep in mind this can get in depth.  They are planning on giving you a significant amount of dough so they are going to ask for a lot of documentation and background info.  Don’t worry about what is in your financial past, it is better to be honest than to get a mortgage you can’t afford.


Alright you have a pre-approval! SUCCESS!! That is a big step and the right place to start.


Now what? Realtor.ca? KIJIJI? Points2home? Real Estate News?

YES!!


2. RESEARCH AND BUILD A WISHLIST!

Go online.  Look up things on social media.  Do some research on property types.  Do you want a house? Is a Condo more your thing? Are you handy? Do you want something that is a fixer upper or something you don’t have to do anything to? You may not be able to get everything on your wishlist within your budget, but you should definitely have an idea of what it is that you need.  2 or 3 bedrooms? Two storey or one? Do you need a bathtub?   There are a lot of factors of a home that you may or may not even know that you wanted so look around. Getting an idea of the important things will help guide you when you start to look at properties in person.


3. FIND A BUYERS AGENT!!

I cannot stress enough how important this one is.  You can’t drive past 2 bus benches in this city without seeing the name of a real estate agent and the companies they work for and you should have seen plenty of agents’ names while doing your research about property types. So look into some agents.  A lot of us have our own websites with biographies and other information.  Maybe there is an agent with a similar background to you, maybe your friend’s mom or dad is an agent.  Go to some open houses and talk with the agents hosting them.  The person there is not always the listing agent and in most cases would love to help you on your journey.  It doesn’t matter how you find the agent you want to work with, as long as you do choose someone to represent you.


Pick an AgentMy best advice in this is to be honest with whoever you talk to.  Telling an agent you are working with someone when you are not doesn’t really help anyone.  If you are looking on your own and are not yet represented then say so.  You don’t need to be scared about telling the truth.  At the end of the day we all want to make good working relationships and not everyone will mesh with every agent.  There is someone out there who you are going to feel will best represent your interests.  Tell the agent you are just starting your search and you are not ready to commit to anyone specifically.  Ask for a business card and if you like how they interacted with you, maybe you will ask them to represent you.


As an aside if you are just a neighbor who wants to see the home, say so.  We are hosting an open house anyway so you are welcome to come in, and the best way to feel like the agent is just being themselves with you is to be honest, we can see when you walk up to a property from across the street.  


Ok now you have picked an agent to represent you, AMAZING!!  Have a real honest conversation with them about your wants and needs, and what you can’t live without.  The agent can begin assisting you in your search. Our backend system saves you hours and hours of research as it scours the MLS for anything set up in your own curated search.  They will be the ones drawing the directions to the buried treasure. Not to mention, listings on our system can pop up 2-3 days before Realtor.ca!


It’s time to pick some houses to see.


4. VIEW HOUSES!!

Ask your buyers agent to set up showings for houses you want to view.  This may be one of the most important pieces of information I can give you. Once you pick a buyers agent contact them to do everything.  Every Realtor in Winnipeg has access to every property that is on the MLS so if you see a house you like you should contact YOUR agent, not the listing agent. Thinking they are too busy so you will book with the listing agent is not cool and could get your agent into some hot water.  If you pick someone to represent you, LET THEM.  That is what they want. They want to get to know you, how you feel about the houses, what you like, what you hate.  It helps us fight for your best interests when you do pick a house you love.


Now get into some houses! All of the online areas are great resources but nothing and I mean NOTHING can simulate the way you see a house in person.  The smell, the feel, the textures, the room sizes.  I really do mean nothing is the same in person as it is online.  The #1 comment I get when I host open houses is: “it looked different in the pictures.” And it’s true.  A camera cannot simulate the way you experience a home.  You may think that you like the idea of a two storey home, but when you view it you hate the stairs.  Maybe a carpet looks grey in a picture but it is powder blue in person.  You NEED to see a home to know if you like it, and perhaps love it.


So you have found a house that you LOVE, it has everything you wanted and it’s in your budget, now what?


5. WRITE AN OFFER!

The map is getting closer and closer to the big X.  It’s time to talk with your buyers agent and write up the offer.  They will know what all of the comparable homes in the area have sold for, whether there is room to negotiate or not (maybe it is an offer date and a competition) and how to get your offer from conditional to FINAL.  Your agent will negotiate on YOUR behalf.  Your best interests are what they are working for.  They are going to fight tooth and nail to get you the best price and terms.  This is the reason they got to know you in the first place.




6. CLOSE THE DEAL!

Now it is the home stretch, time to work hard and dig up that treasure.  Your offer was accepted and it is time to finalize your conditions.  Remember the Pre-approval? Well now the lender has turned that into a Mortgage.  Did you request a home inspection? Time to do it, and if you did it will be the best lesson in how to maintain a home and worth every penny in my opinion.  Finalize all of your conditions and the home is yours.  Your buyers agent can help you with the particulars of closing the deal completely by suggesting insurance providers and lawyers to finalize the paperwork.


CONGRATULATIONS!! You have purchased a home. In 6 steps you have been the dream client and found that buried treasure, well done!!!



AgentLogan#AgentLogan


Logan Queen

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

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To decorate or not to decorate? That seems to be the question of the season.  Or at least one that I have encountered enough times that I feel it is blog worthy!


The short and simple answer, YES! Feel free to decorate your home for the holidays.  Here are some of my recommendations for how to get your house on every buyers’ wish list:


The Proper Foundation: Is your home normally clean and tidy?  Would you consider it to be in a “staged state” prior to your decorating?  If so, then adding a few decorations will create a lovely ambiance.  However, if your home is cluttered adding additional nick knacks is a big Ho-No (see what I did there?).


Make it Cozy: I don’t mean jam pack the space so that people can’t easily navigate their way through it.  Remember, less is always more.  BUT the right festive holiday touches can go a long way.  Have some cider simmering on the stove, start a fire (ONLY if you have a fireplace), turn on some flameless candles, leave out some cookies, place a great wreath on the front door – and you’ve created an ambiance that will appeal to any buyer!


Complement Existing Décor:  Are the colours you are decorating your home consistent with the esthetic of the home?  Remember, buyers like consistency.  We do not need to be jarring them with opposing colours or designs throughout the home.


Accentuate the Positive: Done right, holiday décor can be used to dress up the key features of a home.  Do you have a beautiful fireplace?  Then make it stand out as a focal point in a room with beautiful garlands.  Or do you have high ceilings?  Accent that with a large wreath or other décor.


Go Classic with the Lights: Curb appeal is incredibly important as it creates that (hopefully positive) first impression. Stay away from the large cartoonish inflatables or bright flashing lights. They are too distracting and take away from the home itself.  As a side note, I do own an inflatable Christmas Minion that we proudly have in our yard every year.  But I would not put it up if our home was for sale.  Stick to the more classic white/yellow bulbs placed tastefully along the eavestroughs. It adds a look of sophistication and class.


Decorating the Tree: I would advise against getting a wide and bushy tree.  It will make the space feel smaller.  Instead opt for a skinnier version, and similar to the point above about complementing your existing décor, keep the tree décor more consistent as well.  Stick to three colours or less, and no homemade items.  It’s too personal and makes it difficult for the buyer to picture themselves in the home.


A few other points I would like to make for those people that are selling their home this holiday season:

Do your best to keep the home accessible.  I do not expect you to be showing on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day (although it has happened), but try and keep the place as neat and tidy as possible so that it is not such a daunting task to entertain a showing request on December 27.


Competition Dries Up: 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 but that doesn’t mean that buyers stop looking!


Only the Most Serious Buyers: Truthfully.  Who actually wants to look at houses during the holidays?  Only those buyers who seriously need a place.  Whether it be expiring leases or their own home having recently sold or any other combination of unique circumstance, the most serious of buyers are out and looking at this time of year and they tend to be much more decisive and strong in their negotiations.


And finally, DO NOT let selling your home ruin your holiday.  Work with your Realtor to determine blackout dates and even visiting hours that are appropriate for you over the holidays. Quite often they can post the schedule in Realtor Remarks so that other Realtors know when they can and can’t show the property. 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. 

Thank you for reading.  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!


The Jennifer Queen Team

Jennifer Queen

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

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What fun would the last week before school starts be, without a little contest?  None!  Okay, maybe that is a little strong, but we wanted to help you in prepping those kiddos by offering back-to-school prizes!  All your little ones (with your assistance) have to do is:


  1. Click on the colouring contest page below and print it out (we will have copies at our office if you do not have access to a printer)
  2. Colour using your preferred medium, whether it be crayons, markers, or pencil crayons, etc.
  3. Drop off your finished picture at The Jennifer Queen Team's office at 1601 Buffalo Place, Winnipeg MB no later than 11 a.m. on Friday, August 31st, 2018. Can’t make it here in person? You can email us a picture of your work to Jennifer@JenniferQueen.com














One winner will be selected from three different age groups:

Group 1: 3-6 year olds

Group 2: 7-9 year olds

Group 3: 10-12 year olds


The winner from each age group will receive a backpack loaded with the goodies seen above.  Just in time to head back to school!  Happy Colouring!


WINNERS WILL BE ANNOUNCED ON OUR FACEBOOK PAGE BY NOON ON FRIDAY AUGUST 31st, 2018.

Click the image below to print!

Colouring Contest in Winnipeg

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

3. Build a solid team around you

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

 

4. Communication is Key!

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

 

5. Honesty is the best policy

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

 

6. Education is paramount

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

 

7. Trust that life usually works intelligently

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

 

 

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

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A survey of Canadian real estate agents in 2013 indicated that smoking can reduce a home's resale value by nearly 30%.  But this does not have to be the case!

About 88% of real estate agents surveyed said it is more difficult to sell a home previously occupied by smokers. Those same agents said about 27% of their clients will not even consider buying a home in which a smoker has lived. So what do you do if your house smells like smoke and you want to sell it? How are you going to attract a buyer for your property?

 

Have you seen Febreze’s new commercial, about people that have gone “nose blind”?  I have sold my fair share of homes that have been smoked in, where the owners stopped smoking months prior to the sale and believe that in doing so, they have eliminated the smell.  Unfortunately, this has rarely been the case.  The feedback that we receive from subsequent showings is often that “the smoke smell turned off the buyers”. The smell of smoke lingers, and depending on how heavily smoked in the home was, it may need more remedial action.  Third hand smoke is also a term growing in popularity, and as a result, society’s further aversion to the smell of smoke. Here are my top tips to eliminate the smell:

 

Stop smoking in the homeGetting smoke out of your home

I know, it sounds obvious.  Yet so many people think that just one cigarette here and there won’t have an impact – but they do.  There is a compounding effect with each additional cigarette.  And you can’t eliminate something you keep bringing into the home.  Take it outside for now.  Hopefully your home sale isn’t in the middle of winter!  If it is, I promise this step will be worth it!

 

Air it out

Open windows, get fresh air coming through the property if this is in the spring, summer or fall.  If the weather is too cold outside, then you may have to resort to other tactics. Put a couple of drops of vanilla extract on a new furnace filter, and remove the old one.  Have your ducts cleaned.  Then switch your furnace fan setting to “on” instead of “auto”.  This constant movement of air throughout the house goes a long way. The same goes for bathroom fans, kitchen exhaust fans, etc.  Bring that fresh air in and force that stale air out!


Clean it all! 

Cleaning Smoke HomesAny soft surface in your home is likely holding a ton of the smell.  Get your carpets steam cleaned by a professional. Let them know in advance that you are trying to eliminate a smoke smell, as they often have special mixes for circumstances such as these.  Pull down those drapes, wash them if you can.  If you can’t, air them outside for a few days. Hard surfaces still need to be washed too – wood banisters, metal décor or light fixtures, etc. can all be wiped down with a mixture of vinegar and water.  

 

From the Windows… to the Wall!

Wash those walls.  Tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) and water are a powerful combination and will remove a lot of odour, but not all. But at least it is a start! TSP is also good for breaking up the nicotine molecules so that yellow grime will wipe away.  You will also want to wash the windows as the nicotine residue can make them look foggy or stained.  Not something you want to draw attention to when selling!

 

Baking SodaCleaning with Baking Soda

Don’t forget the power of one of the most common odour neutralizers – baking soda!  Just a regular dusting of this on soft surfaces can make all of the difference.  Baking soda naturally neutralizes odors and does so by bringing acidic and basic odor molecules into a more neutral pH or state.  Just sprinkle, and then wipe or vacuum it up, depending on the surface.

 

Spray or Plug-In Air Neutralizers

Please, don’t do it!  There is nothing worse than walking into a home and smelling the fresh chemical scent of Febreze or a similar product.  While these products do advertise that they eliminate odours, I have yet to find a buyer who is not offended by the strong smells that come with these products.  If you want to use these products to eliminate odours, do it when you do not have showings scheduled.  Spray the surfaces and let them air out before any traffic comes through.  Doing it immediately prior to a showing however, will leave buyers questioning what exactly it is that you are trying to cover up.

 

Baking Scents

Baking Scented CanclesYou don’t have to be a great baker, to get some amazing scents.  While buyers seem to find chemical or odour-covering sprays offensive, they do tend to respond positively to baking-scented candles (vanilla scents are usually very safe).  Alternatively, a little bit of vanilla extract put in an oven-safe dish with a bit of water, and then baked for just half an hour will create some delicious (and believable) scents!  Better yet, buy a roll of Pillsbury cookie dough and bake half a dozen cookies before each showing. Bonus points if you leave them on the table for your favourite agent!

 

 

Go Bowling

While I have not tested the legitimacy of this claim, I have had some clients swear by leaving activated bowls of charcoal around the house, to absorb smells.  Alternatively, bowls of vinegar throughout the house can supposedly do the same thing.  With a step as easy as this one, what’s the harm in trying, right?

 

Paint

I know, up until now my suggestions were more on the mild side.  But let’s be honest, even following all of the steps above will likely only make a dent in the smell.  Purchase a high-quality primer such as Bullseye or Killz, they are both known to eliminate/lock-in odours, to prevent anything from seeping through.  If you’ve followed the previous wall-washing step with TSP, then the adhesion of these primers to the wall is even better.  Most experts recommend at least two coats of these primers, as nicotine has a nasty ability to seep through with time.  I realize, it sounds like a lot of work but there is an upside to this recommendation. Interior paint increases your resale value and has an approximate return on investment of approximately 40%, according to a recent study by HGTV.  But please go with neutrals – greys and beiges, or get wild and go greige!

 

Bringing out the Big Guns

There are other products designed to eliminate smoke and other odors (usually pet) from a home, but these are slightly more intense.  I will note some of the ones that my clients have had success with below:

Odoban

Odoban for Cigarette SmellsThis product can be purchased at Home Hardware and Giant Tiger in Canada.  It can also be purchased online through Amazon.  It is often used for fire restoration procedures, and works.  It is sprinkled on to surfaces (soft and hard). Always do a test spot before putting it on any fabrics though!

 

Air purifiers

I have had some success with these machines in the past.  However, there does seem to be a direct correlation with the cost of the machine and the quality of air it produces.

 

Biocide systems room shocker

Biocide Room ShockerI have had clients that had success with this product in the past, however be forewarned.  You set off the fogger, and need to leave the house for a period of time.  I believe in their case it was 2 days, which was fine as they were moving into the home from an apartment.  When you return home, the smells are supposed to be gone.  They said they could smell chlorine, but that was about it. For a 1700 square foot home, they set off six and had great success. They did think it was slight overkill and think they could have gotten away with setting only four off. Be careful not to leave them directly on carpet.  In my clients’ case, there was a nasty bleach-looking stain left behind where they left one of the boxes directly on the carpet.  Their advice was to place a plate under them.  They can be purchased online.  Biocide’s online description: Room Shocker exclusively uses the revolutionary ClO2-DMG Technology that delivers the super odor eliminating power of chlorine dioxide, also known as ClO2. ClO2 is a gas that can penetrate deeper and more effectively than non-gas products. The ClO2 molecules are attracted to the negatively charged odor molecules like a magnet is to iron. It seeks them out and destroys them like a smart bomb. Whether you are dealing with the foul odor of cigarettes, skunks, pets, paint, vomit, urine, rotten food, fish, mildew, mold or even chemicals, Room Shocker will eliminate it permanently.

 

Big D 341 Odor Control Fogger

Another strong chemical product.  Similar in theory to the Biocide systems room shocker – but I have not had clients with experience in using these.  However, their online reviews are quite positive.  You have to buy these online as well.

 

Ozone machines

Ozone Machine for Smoke RemovalThese can be controversial as they are removing the smoke from the air, but leaving their own carcinogens behind.  If all your hard labor didn’t remove the smoke odor as much as you would like, it’s time to bust out the big guns and follow the lead of restoration companies. You can call restoration companies and ask to rent one directly from them.  You will usually need to rent it for a couple of days.  Alternatively, you can purchase one – but they aren’t cheap! These machines emit ozone molecules that attach themselves to the surfaces in the room.  These machines should only be run in empty rooms, away from humans and pets, and be sure to air your house out after running them.

 

Hiring the Pros

There are business that specialize in removing odours from your homes.  But they come at quite a cost, and will use many of the tactics mentioned above.  I have heard quotes anywhere from $2000 - $15,000 depending on the remediation package chosen.  I would say this option is more for the most serious of cases.  I can only think of one house in my career that I would have recommended this as the proper solution.

 

 

Following these steps will hopefully remove the bulk of the smoke smell.  Although, I have had some clients so sensitive to smoke, whether it be because of an extra-powerful sniffer, or serious allergies, that just will never consider a smoked-in home.  However, taking these measures will hopefully reduce the smoke smell enough that the average buyer will not turn their nose up (sorry, couldn’t help but use a pun) at putting an offer in!

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WHAT’S UP IN WINNIPEG: OUR COMMUNITY EVENTS GUIDE FOR FEBRUARY 2018

YOUR SOURCE FOR LOCAL EVENTS HAPPENING RIGHT IN OUR AREA!

 

Don’t let the cold trap you inside.  There is plenty to do in February in Winnipeg.  With that in mind, we have created the following list.  The only criteria: the event had to sound interesting, and cost less than $20 per person.  Many of these options are even FREE!!

 

 

February 2, 2018 | 6:00 - 9:00 p.m. | Mardi Gras Dance and Costume Party. For all ages.  Dress up and partake in the festivities.  Offering plenty of prizes and games for children, teens, and adults.  There will be dancing, pizza, and pop. Co-hosted by knights of Columbus and St. Ignatius Youth Ministry. Location: St. Ignatius Church, 255 Stafford Street, Winnipeg.

 

 

February 2, 2018| 6:00 p.m. | Camerata Nova at Guy Maddin's Temple of Lost Things. Wander down the Red River Mutual Trail to Warming Huts v.2018 Invited Artist Guy Maddin's Temple of Lost Things constructed from Red River ice + driftwood to experience a choral performance like no other. Choral ensemble Camerata Nova will perform inside the Hut, below Queen Elizabeth Way Bridge, providing exceptionally unique acoustics. Location: Red River Mutual Trail

 

 

February 1-4, 2018 | Greendell Winter Carnival.  Offering plenty of activities for all ages including pizza nights, magic shows, socials, pancake breakfasts, bouncers, and more.  Visit greendell.ca for the itinerary.  Location: Greendell Community Centre, 75 Woodlawn Avenue, Winnipeg

 

 

February 1-7, 2018 | La Poutine Week. A weeklong food festival celebrating the great French-Canadian classic – poutine! From the same geniuses behind Le Burger Week!  This year, there are 80 restaurants in Winnipeg participating.  For a list of participants, visit: lapoutineweek.com.

 

 

February 2-4, 2018 | Ironman Outdoor Curling Bonspiel. this is Canada’s largest outdoor curling bonspiel - 88 teams field & 10 sheets of ice. The Bonspiel (est. 2001) is a fundraiser for the Heart & Stroke Foundation. All ages, skill levels and genders are welcome. Location: Beachcombers

 

 

February 3, 2018 | Robert Steen Community Centre Winter Carnival.  Offering activities for all ages, some of which include a family dance, pancake breakfast, interactive learning sessions, bingo, hay rides, and more.  Tickets are $10 (or $12 at the door) per adult, $5.00 per child 10-17, kids 9 & under are FREE. Visit robertasteencc.ca for more information.  Location: Robert Steen Community Centre, 980 Palmerston Avenue



February 3, 2018 | St Norbert Heritage Day. A day full of free family activities celebrating the culture and heritage of our community. Visit stnorbertcc.ca for more information.  Location: St Norbert Community Centre, 3450 Pembina Highway



February 3, 2018 | 2:00 - 3:30 p.m. | Just for Kids Marble Run Mania. Design and build your own marble run using cardboard recyclables, then watch those marbles fly! Experiment with speed, gravity, angles and your imagination. Free. Register online at Winnipeg.ca/library. Location: Louis Riel Library, 1168 Dakota Street



February 4, 2018 | 8:00 a.m. | The Great Skate.  A free 6km race on the Red River Mutual Trail, organized by November Project Winnipeg. Open to all abilities! Location: South Atrium in The Forks Market



February 1-28, 2018 | Ice Castles Winnipeg. You likely have seen posts on social media from others of the expansive acre-sized Winter Wonderland, but you will only have until the end of February to view it.  All crafted by hand! Ticket prices range from $9.95-$20 depending on the day of week you go, if you are purchasing at the door, and your age.  Children under 4 are free. Location: Parks Canada Place at the Forks National Historic Site, Winnipeg



February 7, 14, 21 & 28 | 7:00 - 8:00 pm | The Forks Learn to Skate. Forks Market Atrium Learn how to: Fit, tie and wear skates so they don't hurt your feet,  Balance and stride with confidence on your skates, Stop, turn, cross cut and skate backwards, New skaters, haven't skated in 20 years skaters, and people wanting to improve current skate skills are welcome!  Skate rentals available at Iceland Skate Rentals. Location: The Forks Market Atrium



February 9-11 | The First Annual International Crokicurl Tournaspiel.  Includes tournaments, awards, and free family fun day.  You do need to register your team.  Location: The Forks Market Atrium.



February 10, 2018 | 2:00 p.m. | Folk for Families Free Concert.  Join Sonja Rasmussen as she puts on a free family concert.  For more information visit: WinnipegFolkFestival.ca. Location: Millennium Library, 251 Donald Street.



February 10, 2018 | It’s Not a Pirate Ship! Stories of Modern Day Rigging. A family-friendly event that explores what it is like to be a modern-day rigger!  The Nonsuch Gallery is now temporarily closed for a major gallery renewal – come hear about what’s happening behind the scenes before the Nonsuch re-opens in summer 2018! Your ticket includes all-day admission to the Museum Galleries (before or after the event). Admission $14 General, $9 Child/Student (3-17, or with valid student ID), Kids under 3 get in free. Location: Manitoba Museum, 190 Rupert Avenue



February 10-11, 2018 | Central Canada Horror and Sci-Fi Expo. Formerly known as St Valentines Horror Con, Central Canada Comic Con Presents The Horror and Sci-fi Expo! Manitoba's premier Convention for all of your Horror and Sci-fi needs! Come by and see some amazing attractions, fantastic guest lineups, and ghoulish costumes. With plenty of photo opportunities around the hall, you will be bound to come away with some amazing memories! Weekend pass: $20, day pass: $10. Location: RBC Convention Centre, 375 York Avenue



February 11, 2018 | Half Moon Market.  The Half Moon Market is a craft show with heart, in the heart of the Winnipeg's downtown. Think outside the craft box with 20+ local artisans, free admission, and a comfortable setting. Location: Inn at the Forks



February 11, 2018| 12:00 – 5:00 p.m.| Valentine Pop-Up Farmer’s Market.  A pop-up farmers' market! Local Manitoba food, crafts, clothing vendors, and artists will be there. Find the perfect Valentine's Day gift for your loved one. Location: Union Station – Via Rail

 

 

February 14, 2018| 6:00 p.m. Doors Open, 7:00 p.m. Start | Winnipeg Jets Skills Competition. Winnipeg Jets players compete head-to-head in five events. The first 5,000 fans to arrive will receive a Winnipeg Jets Collectors Cup.  There will be exciting prize giveaways throughout the night for all fans in attendance.  Proceeds benefit the True North Youth Foundation and the NHLPA Goals and Dreams Fund.  Cost: $20, $15, $10 depending on the ticket. Tickets can be purchased at: nhl.com/jets/fans/skills. Location:  Bell MTS Place - 300 Portage Ave. 



February 15, 2018 | 6:30-7:30 p.m.| National Film Board of Canada Film Club For Kids. Especially selected for young audiences, five animated shorts will move and entertain the whole family: Janice Nadeau’s Mamie, Janet Perlman’s Bully Dance, Pierre Sylvestre’s Cot Cot, Bertrand Langlois’ Demon and Marvels and Judith Klein’s Catuor. Register online at Winnipeg.ca/library. Location: Westwood Library, 66 Allard Avenue, Winnipeg



February 16-18, 2018 | Winnipeg Wellness Expo. Learn about many of the new and some ancient products and services available to you to help enhance or improve your quality of life. The Wellness Expo now consumes the entire first floor of the RBC Convention Centre to bring you the ultimate Body, Mind Soul Experience. General Admission: $10.00 per day, Seniors / Students: $8.00 per day, under 14 years old free. Location: RBC Convention Centre, 375 York Avenue



February 16-25, 2018 | Festival du Voyageur.  Could we call this a guide if we forgot Festival?  Heck no!  Every winter since 1970, Saint-Boniface, Winnipeg’s French quarter, is transformed into a winter paradise and becomes host to the largest winter festival in Western Canada. Voyageur, Métis and First Nations histories are brought back to life, not only through the historical interpretation offered inside reconstructed Fort Gibraltar, but also through the many attractions inside Voyageur Park and at the festival’s various official sites. Music of old, traditional cuisine, sensational snow sculptures and captivating shows are but a few examples of the entertainment you can expect to witness during this convivial gathering. Offering a vast array of historical, recreational and educational activities, Festival du Voyageur has something for all tastes and all ages! For more information, visit: festivalvoyageur.mb.ca.  Location: Voyageur Park, St. Boniface



February 17, 2018 | 2:00-4:00 p.m.| Just for Kids Lego Block Party. Test your LEGO® logic by answering skill testing trivia questions, read some amazing LEGO® stories, make your own bookmark to take home...and more! Free. Registration required. Register at winnipeg.ca/library to register. Location: Sir William Stephenson Library, 765 Keewatin Street, Winnipeg



February 19, 2018 | Wild Winter Canoe Race.  Yes, it's a canoe race – in the winter – on the ice. Have a blast and help Inclusion Winnipeg raise money to support the Emergency Card Project for the design of a communication tool to be used by people with communication challenges in situations of distress or emergency.  You do need to register in advance.  For more information or to register, please visit: wildwintercanoerace.com.  Location: Red River Mutual Trail.



February 2, 9, 16, 23 | 8:30 p.m.| Wee Johnny’s Comedy Night.  The first Friday of every month is Women’s Open Mic Comedy hosted by Dana Smith.  The other Friday’s alternate between Stand-up comedy, Sketch Comedy, and Alternative Comedy shows. Price: $5.  Location: Wee Johnny’s, 177 McDermot Avenue



February 23, 2018 | 1:00 – 7:00 p.m. | Blood Donor Clinic. We thought it would be nice to finish off the month with some charitable giving. It’s in you to give! To book an appointment please call 1-888-2-DONATE (1-888-236-6283). Location: CanadInn Transcona attached to Nashville’s.

 

 

Feel that we have missed something?  Please email Jennifer@JenniferQueen.com so that we can have your event added!

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OUR YEAR IN REVIEW – 2017

By Real Estate Sales Representative Jen Queen

Here we are again! A new year, a new momentum, and so much to be thankful for. I still can’t believe another year has gone by. And it feels like it did so in the blink of an eye. 2017 was a monumental year for The Jennifer Queen Team. It stood out for so many reasons, let’s review!

 

Amy McDermid  - Real Estate Sales Representative

#AgentAmy, what can I say about this phenomenal human being. She started with me when I was only a year into the business, and is truly my best-kept secret. When people asked “what do you do differently,” I would always reply, “I have an Amy. You should get one too.” I knew the day would come where she would follow her dreams to be a licensed REALTOR and I am so incredibly proud of the growth I’ve seen thus far.  Just look at her! She is a full time licensed realtor that brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her clients and I know that this year will bring great joys and successes for her, both personally and professionally. Her dedication and commitment as a person shines through in all that she does. She’s more than just a colleague and work wife, she’s become a great friend.

 

 

Logan Queen – Real Estate Sales Representative

Logan initially got into the business to help me find a bit more balance between work and home life.  With his help, I’ve been able to spend much more time at home with our daughter, Everly.  #AgentLogan has shown tremendous growth as both a person and a Realtor throughout his career, and I often find myself commenting that I truly think he has found his calling. His clients love him, and I certainly can’t blame them.  He takes a sincere interest in each and every one of their lives and has built some long-lasting relationships in 2017.

 

 

 

 

Milestones for the Jennifer Queen Team in 2017

This year was time for a brand refresh.  As our team continues to grow, it was important to come up with a logo that would help ensure our marketing was all cohesive.  After much debate early on in the year, we settled on a logo that we are all quite happy with.  This logo is now used in much of our marketing and is the basis for the entries and exits of our listing videos.  For these amazing videos and pictures, I must thank the amazing Jim Todd, who always manages to fit me in – even for a last minute shoot, and is always willing to go above and beyond to make sure our videos properly represent our listings. Outside of being incredibly brilliant in his trade, he is an incredible person both inside and out – even if his Instagram feed seems to contradict that. We are excited to continue this relationship and can’t thank you enough for your hard work and commitment.

 


 

 

 

I was truly humbled and honoured to be asked to sit on a Realtor expert panel for the Realtor Reset hosted here in Winnipeg.  For those of you who know me, you will know that I love to speak to others one-on-one, but speaking in front of a crowd is a huge challenge for me.  Not to mention, the peers that I sat alongside were seriously titans of industry – honestly, agents I never ever thought I would share a stage with when I first entered the business and am still a bit shocked that I was able to do so.  I hope I was able to give valuable answers to my fellow peers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was also a year of awards for our team. We did win our team board award again this year, meaning we have placed in the top 3% of Realtors in Winnipeg based on sales volume, but more importantly, we won two important awards based on votes from our peers and fellow colleagues.  The first award was our Metro Community Choice Award for Favourite Real Estate Award.  I was also awarded by my office with another honour this year, The Carol Parent award.  This award is in honour of a former receptionist at our office that passed all too suddenly, but had a huge impact within our office. Unfortunately, I never had the pleasure of meeting this fine woman, but I am told the award is given to an agent who exhibits her qualities: “Happy, always smiling, makes time for you and goes beyond their daily tasks”.   I could not think of a bigger honour than to have been nominated by our amazing staff, who do so much for us agents, without ever asking for any recognition.

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

This was our highest sales year yet, in terms of closed transactions as well as sales volume.  I remember hearing a quote from a professional athlete as he was reflecting upon his rigorous training that went something like “If you aren’t getting better, you are getting worse”.  So far, every year just gets better.  This is not an easy feat, especially when things get so busy in the spring market, and we feel spread thin, but it is always important to get back to the basics. We stayed true to ourselves, always looking forward to how we could improve, and only looking back to self-reflect on what was working for our team and what was not. We put our clients first every step of the way, and know they appreciated our honest and strategic approach through testimonials and a constant flow of referrals. We never forgot about our community, and volunteered, donated and sponsored local organizations, youth activities and not-for-profit organizations any chance we could. We launched our Holiday Hampers this holiday season to help give back to those people in need within our community. We hope we made their holiday season a little brighter.

 

 

On a personal note, Logan and I discovered that we are expecting our second child in March 2018. Everly will now have a baby brother that we know she will love to pieces.  It is at times like these, that I am ever so grateful for the team I have built.  Because of Amy and Logan, I will be able to have a few months off with our new addition, and know that my clients will be well taken care of in my absence. 

 

For 2018, we dare to do what no one else has done. We will dream big and aim for the stars. There is no goal we can’t attain and no task we can’t complete. The Jennifer Queen Team has some exciting new things to come, new members joining and, just like always, creative and innovative marketing strategies to WOW our clients. 2018 - Look out!

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 Sherwin Williams Canvas Tan SW 7531 Swatch

 

 

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

 

 

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

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Let’s be honest – we clearly have a bias towards one side of this equation.  However, let us do our best to give you the lowdown for both options.  Buying your first home is a major step.  There is a lot you need to know to make the right decisions – and also to avoid making the wrong ones.  The goal of our blog for this month is to make sure that we provide quality content to help you make an informed buying decision (or non-buying decision).  At the end of the day, we all want to feel good about the transaction with the knowledge that you have made a sound decision for yourself!

 

 

Owning Versus Renting

Without question, owning a home comes with responsibilities and risks that you do not have to worry about when you rent, such as a mortgage, taxes, homeowner’s insurance, maintenance and repairs, etc.  However, financial advisors – not to mention homeowners themselves say there are far more advantages to owning:

 

  • The equity argument:  why pay of someone else’s mortgage when you could pay of your own
  • The historical argument:  there are peaks and valleys in any market, but over time home values always increase (while your mortgage decreases).
  • Tax advantage argument:  this will depend on your circumstance, but there are often tax advantages to owning a home.
  • Quality of life argument:  investment in your family’s future.
  • Pride of ownership argument:  you get to make a house a home.  Freedom to renovate or decorate how you like, and personalize it. It really is a great feeling!

 Affordability

Do you have enough to buy a home now?  At a minimum, you should have your 5% down payment PLUS enough set aside to cover closing costs (which are usually somewhere between 1.5-2.5% of the total purchase price).  We have worksheets available – just shoot us an email and we can send you one to work through to figure out realistic costs for your home purchase.

 

Your expenses along with your mortgage payments should not exceed what you are able to afford with your income.  Furthermore, financial institutions will usually suggest that your total housing costs should not exceed 32% of your monthly income.  Once you have accounted for the possible expenses and incidental costs, you can determine what a realistic monthly mortgage payment would be for you.  Can you make these numbers work?  If so, then purchasing may be a realistic decision for you. 

 

At the end of the day, you are paying a mortgage.  Will it be yours, or someone else’s?

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November marked a busy month again in our office. Amy and her husband, Chris, bought what will be a beautiful house in St. Vital. If anyone has any renovation tips, feel free to send them her way! Logan and I had the pleasure of going to Toronto for a quick 10 day visit for his brother’s wedding. The wedding was beautiful, as was the weather. People were still eating on patios! It was awesome getting to see the family and experiencing what big city living is all about (condos, condos, and more condos). Let me tell you, the real estate market is VERY different there! We did arrive back in Canada just in time to experience some of the mild temperatures before old man winter came. What a beautiful November! I hope you are all keeping nice and warm as we head more into the thick of winter!

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There are many exciting things going on this year around our office. In late August, Amy married her long-time boyfriend, Chris. It was a beautiful wedding held on Lake of the Woods in Kenora, Ontario. Now she is back and busier than ever – breaking her all time sales record in September of 2015. You go girl!


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Much change is coming for the Queen Team – in fact, we are growing!  Logan and I are expecting a little girl January 2, 2016. 

Now rest assured, Amy and I will still have all of your real estate needs covered during this period.  I plan on working straight up until the little ones’ arrival.  Amy will be handling my maternity leave for the months of January to April of 2016, upon which time I plan to return full force.

Thanks again for all of your support.  We are overjoyed, excited, and terrified all at once!

 

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It is still not too late to registry for Family Photo Portraits to be taken on June 27 at St. Vital Park.

 

If you haven't used our services yet, no worries. This is for past, current, and future clients. Just RSVP to Jenniferqueen@remax.net on or before June 15, 2015 to secure your spot.

 

Looking forward to seeing you there!

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

 

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

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In the days of the do-it-yourself mentality, many home owners are making the decision to try and sell their homes themselves.  At the end of the day, it really comes down to the question, "What's the best way to sell my home in order to put the most money in my pocket?".  The following questions may help you decide if selling FSBO (For Sale by Owner) is right for you:

  1. Do I know how to price my home so that it is competitive in today's market?
  2. Can I be unbiased about my property's value?
  3. Do I have time in my schedule to market and show my home (This includes weekdays, weekends, and evenings)?
  4. Can I show my home during the day if a buyer wants to see it the same day?
  5. How much money am I willing to spend in marketing and advertising costs up front before I switch to a REALTOR?
  6. Do I know how to effectively market a property?
  7. Do I know the profile of buyer that my property's floor plan, neighborhood and style will attract and how to market to that demographic?
  8. Do I know what wording to use to attract my target market to my property?
  9. Do I have experience and skill in selling a home?
  10. Have I sold before?
  11. Do I know how to pre-screen prospective buyers so that they won't waste my time?
  12. Can I be impartial when showing my home if someone does not like the floor plan, decor, street, price, or they have an abrupt personality?
  13. Do I know what to say and more importantly what not to say to a prospective buyer?
  14. Do I know how to protect myself from liability or misrepresentation when talking directly with a buyer?
  15. Do I know how to protect myself and my home against theft or crime?
  16. Am I current on the latest trends and lender programs when buyers ask?
  17. Do I know what to say to a REALTOR who has legitimate buyer inquiries?
  18. Do I know how to negotiate my property's value in today's market?
  19. Do I know how to write an offer and the wording to use for all the terms and conditions so that a savvy buyer cannot take advantage of me?
  20. Do I know how to handle multiple offers properly?
  21. Do I know what to do if anything goes sideways?
  22. Do I have an experienced person I can call for advice if an issue arises?
  23. Am I the best person to represent my home in today's competitive market?

 

By asking yourself these questions you will be better prepared to know whether or not you can handle the sale yourself.  The list sounds daunting, mainly because it is.  As a REALTOR, I have been trained to handle all situations that may arise during the sale of your home.  Feel free to ask me any question you may have about your home.  Remember, market evaluations are always FREE!

 

Jennifer Queen

RE/MAX Professionals 

(204) 797-7945

My Phone is ALWAYS on[:)]

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