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To be perfectly honest I am not sure where to start.  The last few weeks have turned into something straight out of a Science Fiction novel.  Mandatory shut downs, people self-isolating and social distancing. People buying way too much toilet paper, I joke.  Really though I believe this whole Coronavirus pandemic has everyone thinking twice about a lot of things in life. 


I remember watching in January as China had a goal to build a new hospital in 10 days to fight the virus and try to help save lives.  I couldn’t believe that a country could do something that fast.  There is no chance that in Canada, or Winnipeg in particular we would be in a position to do something of that grand scale to battle this crazy illness.  Obviously our governing bodies, both in the province and the country have been watching the spread of this virus and the possibilities that can come from it.  We are lucky that the city we live in has SPACE! Social distancing is something we have the ability to do.  I was in Costco this week, I waited in line like everyone else and got into the store to find roomy aisles, no crowding, no one running carts into each other, it was probably the most pleasant shopping experience I have had in a long time.  People are being smart and while some of that may be an inconvenience it is so necessary.


Agent Logan Queen Top Realtor WinnipegIn our house both Jen and I are Realtors, which as of today was declared an essential service.

This means we will still be working and helping our clients who need to buy or sell a home find what they need.  We completely understand the social distancing and staying home, we have two young children at home, one who’s preschool is closed due to the virus and the other who is usually home with us has a weaker immune system.  So we are not intentionally trying to put ourselves in harm’s way by continuing to work.  We have taken every precaution we know to maintain distance from people, and to keep ourselves and our family safe, as well as our client, and their homes.   


I guess my biggest take away from this so far is how much negativity and doom and gloom there seems to be out there.  Yes we are isolated, yes we are all having to change the way we do things in our daily lives.  However there is a reason for it, and that is to ensure that as many people as possible are able to go back to their normal lives when this is all figured out.  I too can take it for granted when I have two kids screaming at each other because they are bored and want to do something other than be at home, I get it we all would like to have the option to do other things.


However, I choose to look at the good things that have come out of it. Personally I am getting to have a ton of quality time with my family, we are able to eat almost every meal together, prepping and cooking with the kids is a great learning experience and a good test of patience for all of us.  We have been baking, crafting, playing, laughing, crying, but we have been able to do it all together.  We have more time to appreciate our home, yard and neighborhood while we find creative things to do without “going somewhere”.  Finding new games to play with the kids, seeing their enjoyment change day-to-day on what they want to do and how happy they are to just do something out of the norm.  For instance they had an extra long bath in our basement tub (the one with the jets) the Top rated realtor in Winnipeg MBother day with toys they don’t usually get to use in the bath and they loved every minute! For kids it really can be just that simple.


The gist of what I’m trying to say is maybe this is that time to do something you have been putting off, to read a book you have always wanted to read, to build that bird feeder you always wanted to build, or maybe you want to be the best Fornite player in the world.


the point is we have been given an opportunity from a very crazy situation that none of our parents, or even their parents have seen the likes of.  Let’s all embrace it as community, city, country and do what we can to beat this thing. If you can do something to help someone in need, do it.  If you need some help don’t be afraid to ask.  These are unprecedented times and everyone’s needs will be different. Let’s be kind to each other and most of all, stay safe everyone. 








Best Realtor in Winnipeg MB Coronavirus#AgentLogan


Logan Queen

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

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Looking for some ideas for kids activities during this period of Social Distancing? Download our List of 101 Activities You can do at Home with Your Children.  How many have you done already?  How many do you plan to do?


Download the PDF HERE.


We hope you are all safe and well during this time.

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We have had enough inquiries from fellow Realtors, clients, and partners as to what our Coronavirus Protocol is, so we figured we would post the letter that has gone out to our Sellers below:


As the COVID-19 virus continues to dominate the news, we too are determined to come up with a proactive solution to ensure the safety of our own clients. We are firm believers in everyone doing their part to #flattenthecurve. We are watching and planning non-stop. As a profession that spends time inside the homes of our valued clients, we understand that it is our responsibility to play a constructive role in supporting health initiatives.  In light of the recent cases in Winnipeg, we have reviewed the Novel Coronavirus Bulletin and our own practice. In light of the bulletin, we are now requesting that any agent your home follow the following protocol:

  • View the video of your home online in advance of the viewing (one further step to qualify the buyer in advance)
  • To not tour the home if any individuals in the party have traveled abroad within the last 14 days
  • To not tour the home if an individual feels unwell
  • To not touch anything in your home including the restrooms
  • If children are present to please hold their hands during the tour
  • To practice good hygiene: ensuring hands are frequently washed and in the absence of such to frequently use hand sanitizer with at least a 60% alcohol base


If we are able to get our hands on hand sanitizer and gloves, we do plan to provide them to anyone touring your home. Stay tuned!


To encourage social distancing initiatives:

  • We will be postponing open houses to limit the amount of groups in your home at any given time
  • We will no longer allow overlapping showings.  We will ensure all showings are staggered.


Similar to the recommendations listed above, we are also asking our team members to stay home when sick and exercise an abundance of caution when visiting your property.


Other important notes:  All lawyers, as well as our contacts at the Land Titles offices have indicated they do still intend to process deals and title transfers as usual.  Many plan to enact their own social distancing policies which does mean that many will be working remotely.  Some lawyers have indicated that they may have paperwork couriered or emailed to their clients in advance so that clients simply need to sign and drop off completed paperwork to limit in-person communication.  Some banks have indicated they may need slightly longer for financing approvals as a result of working remotely. Please be prepared to see longer contingency periods on incoming offers.


Thus far, there has not been a significant change in the market.  Homes are still being listed daily and buyers are still actively out looking.  That being said, we have noticed higher volumes of cancellations for both showings and listing consultations.  Only time will tell what the impact on the market will be, if any.  But for now we are feeling cautiously optimistic.


COVID 19 and Real EstateAgain, we are watching this situation daily and will likely be making continued changes based on emerging instructions. As more information surrounding COVID-19 is made available by local, provincial and national authorities, we will strive to keep you updated on ways to maintain a safe environment within your home.


Above all else: Be kind to each other. We will get through it!



Realtor Jennifer Queen Talks Coronavirus#AgentJen


Jennifer Queen

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

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The 2020 spring market is about to ramp up and the Jennifer Queen Team (JQT) wants to help protect you and your investments. We pride ourselves on helping people find their dream home, whether it be your first home, or you’re downsizing or upgrading. Whatever situation you’re in, we don’t want you to fall victim to the dreaded home buyer’s remorse. So this month Agent Amy has come up with 8 ways to help avoid home buyer’s remorse.


Let’s start at the beginning… What is Buyer’s Remorse?


Buyer’s remorse is the sense of regret after having made a purchase. We usually see regret more frequently after making a significant purchase, such as a home or vehicle.  Sometimes we find buyers experience remorse because they have purchased something they can’t really afford, including finding themselves in a significant amount of debt to cover the cost of an item. However you can be responsibly managed with a modest mortgage that properly suits your budget. Keep in mind that buying a house is an exciting decision and is nothing to be afraid of if you are well informed and have the proper support where needed.


Understanding the Buying Process

The first step in avoiding buyer’s remorse is understanding the home buying process. The more information you know before committing to a purchase, the less chance of you finding out something you don’t agree with after closing. Knowing what to look for, questions that should be asked and common technical oversights can be addressed with experience. This is where the JQT comes in….

  • FIND A GOOD REALTOR. If you are reading this blog (which you are) then look no further. You have found the best real estate team in Manitoba (that’s our opinion anyways). We go above and beyond for our clients. We have put together a detailed home buyer’s guide to help inform buyers of the process. Want one? Just ask. We’d be happy to provide you one. We have hard copies as well as digital copies.
  • Once you have found a Realtor, ask to set up a meeting. It doesn’t have to be formal just an afternoon coffee will do. At the JQT we truly enjoy our jobs and we would love nothing more than for you to join us for a cup of coffee, where we can talk about something we are passionate about, real estate, and we’re sure you’ll learn a thing or two! It’s a win win!


Examining the Financials

Financials for Home BuyersThe second step is another important one. It is imperative that you obtain a trusted mortgage broker. This can be a bit daunting because just like Realtors, there are lots of mortgage brokers out there. The JQT has compiled a short list of mortgage brokers we have worked with in the past and would recommend to all our new clients. These mortgage brokers are trusted, reliable people who will work hard for you and will do their very best to help you turn the key on a house you love. If you’ve found a mortgage broker you trust, we have no problem working with them as well. Finding the right mortgage broker brings confidence and comfort during a crucial time of the home buying process. Arranging a pre-approval prior to starting your home search will alleviate stress and anxiety during the process.


Patience and support

If you’re anything like me, maintaining patience is a struggle. Once I commit to do something, I want it done now!! As mentioned previously, buying real estate is an exciting time, it’s important that you are able to keep your composure and stay patient. Personally, I found support to maintain my patients in my husband. We are very opposite in this respect. If you can relate with my lack of patients, you might consider bringing someone else along. Whether it be a parent, trusted friend, boyfriend/girlfriend etc. Someone that is willing to see properties (preferably all of them) and have an unbiased opinion, might be a great option for you. If you need someone like this but don’t have anyone in the city, as your Realtor we can play that role, just say the word! Remember that buying a house is a major decision even though there are times the process may seem rushed, take your time and ensure that you are ready and comfortable with the decision, and keep in mind sometimes this can take a while. The JQT is here to wait with you.


Home Buying Tips to Avoid Buyers RemorseThe List - Want vs. Need

A great way to start your home buying search is to come up with a wants and needs list. This one is pretty self-explanatory, but shouldn’t be taken lightly. Write out a list of things you can’t live without -NEEDS- and things you would like to have but could live without -WANTS. If the patience step gives you anxiety you may want to bring your list with you to showings or reference it on a regular bias. As you view houses, you may become inspired to add to your list, be sure to reflect back on your Needs vs. Wants. This will help prioritize the important items to consider in the house.


Home Inspection
Home Inspections in Winnipeg

A home inspection is a great resource in helping minimize buyer’s remorse. It allows you to gain loads of knowledge about your future home before you have completely committed to it. Including a home inspection as a condition within your offer will help you get a thorough view of the property, but also allows you to terminate the contract if you need to. I usually tell my clients a home inspection is a great way to become acquainted and well informed about the property and also helps you make a “to do list” that every homeowner has. Whether deficiencies need to be address ASAP or it is something you need to budget for in the future, home inspection can help prioritize the “to-do’s”. If you are finding yourself in competition with another buyer and feel that writing in a home inspection hinders your chances of getting the property, I would suggest you request to conduct a home inspection prior to writing an offer. Yes, it cost money and the owner my not accept your offer, but I feel a home inspection is worth the risk.


Need a great home inspector? We have a short list of great home inspectors we use regularly. Just ask us for our Recommend Service Supplier List. We’d be happy to share.


Stick to Your Budget

Once you have taken the time to meet and commit to a mortgage broker. Make sure you take some time and go over your expenses and decide what an appropriate budget is for you, and stick to it! Just because the bank says they will give you a mortgage for $400,000, doesn’t mean that’s what you’re comfortable spending. Sit down and thoroughly go through your expenses and come up with a mortgage payment you are comfortable with (considering other bills…) and stick to it.


ASK QUESTIONS!

I truly believe there is no such thing as a stupid question and if you know me at all, you will know that I follow this mantra as well. I ask a lot of questions. If I don’t know something I ask. And that’s what you need to do as well, no judgement here. If you don’t know something about the buying process, ASK! If you don’t know something about the house, ASK! Don’t feel embarrassed that you don’t know something – real estate is what I do for a living, take advantage of experience and expert advice. I am a modest person and recognise I don’t know everything, however I have access to my team, colleagues and other experts in the industry and I will find out. Be reassured that knowledge will give you confidence to buy, the JQT is here to help you through this process every step of the way. 


The spring market is going to be heating up very soon (excuse the pun) and we are trying to make sure clients are ready and educated. Our job is to assist you. The last thing we want is for you to regret the major purchase we just helped you through. So take your time, go step by step and enjoy the process. While the process of buying a home can be stressful, it’s a very exciting time and we want you to remember it as such.


Happy Hunting!


Realtor In Winnipeg

#AgentAmy


Amy McDermid

Sales Associate

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

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Well 2019 was another banner year for the Queen Team! More sales, bigger sales, a larger team, more awards, you get it. But honestly, where did the year go?  As I sit down and look at my calendar from 2019 I see a lot of 14 hour days consisting of team meetings, client appointments, agent mentoring, home inspections, various committees, open houses, etc.  You name it, we did it. We give everyone the funny, the good news, the excitement and the “pretty” on social media. We choose not to post the ugly, because we aren’t expecting people to feel “sorry” for us – it’s part of the job!  There are peaks and valleys in any job and that is what we signed up for! But in truth, the hours can be long, VERY long. There is no “closed” sign for clients – we’re here for them 24/7.


Sometimes we give more to our clients than our own family. We understand that there is a reason and a season, and the simple fact that they chose US, is what keeps our business going.


Milestones for the Queen Team in 2019:

Amy McDermid Top Realtor in Winnipeg#AgentAmy returned from maternity leave! In October, Amy returned to work full time after taking some time off to raise her sweet son, Gavin.  We are so glad to have her back.  She was the first person to ever agree to work with me – the poor soul.  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, including now being a working Mom! She’s more than just a colleague and work wife, she’s become a great friend.


Real Estate Agent in Winnipeg#AgentAshton got married to her amazing husband, Mark!  She managed to handle showers, socials, and the planning of her wedding in 2019 and never broke a sweat! In fact, she had her own banner year in real estate and not only hit the sales goal she set for herself, she surpassed it by 25%.  She continues to astound me and I know that 2020 will bring even more good things for her.  She has a great work ethic, a fun and positive attitude, and her clients absolutely adore her for it.




Realtors in Bridgwater Winnipeg#AdminCarrie continues to be a rock for everyone – her team as well as her family. She is often the first in the office and she runs a tight ship. She has three teenagers; her son just graduated high school and is now in University. Her twin daughters just got their learner permits.  Bless her soul! She has a huge heart, whether it be going above and beyond for one of our clients or team members, fostering dogs, driving all hours into the night to get her kids to their extracurriculars, or working longer hours than she is supposed to just to make sure everything around the office gets done.  The Carrie’s of this world are truly a gift and we feel so lucky to have her.


#AgentLogan and I bought our first two rental properties. We’ve helped many investors over the years and watched as their wealth grew.  Finally we got the nerve to take on the endeavour ourselves!  We have hired a property management company that deals directly with the tenants.  So really, it is a steady stream of passive income.  The goal for 2020 is to buy another 1-2 rental properties. I actually thought that buying rentals was going to be more challenging than it has been, but we have a great bank that has worked closely with us.  All we needed was the down payment and proof that the property rents could sustain the monthly expenses, and we were on our way!  The most important factor is finding the right deal so that the numbers make sense. This is something we are quite capable of doing!


REMAX Realtors in WinnipegWe finally updated our pictures in 2020 as well.  It was time.  My headshot was from the day I got my license in 2011.  I had been reluctant to have new pictures taken as I had a couple of children in that time, gained a few (or a lot) of pounds.  With the picture date in mind I set a goal to lose some weight, and lost 50 pounds in 2020 doing a modified Ketogenic diet.  For a long time I knew that carbs were not my friend, but I love cake.  Knowing these pictures were looming got my butt in gear and kept me motivated.  The goal moving forward is to do more regular updates.  We aren’t secret agents after all!


We finally incorporated our real estate business.  I know this sounds like the most boring piece of information, but it is something I’ve been meaning to do for a few years and was a huge undertaking but now a weight off my shoulders. Fellow Realtors, if ever you have questions about incorporating your own business, please feel free to reach out. I can put you in touch with a good tax accountant as well as a corporate lawyer or just talk to you about my experience with it. There are many tax advantages and strategies that can be implemented to multiply your tax savings!  Some of these tax savings have gone to the down payments for our rental properties!


Realtor Family TeamsOn a personal level, #AgentLogan and I discovered we are pregnant.  Yep, you read that right!  We are expecting our third child.  A lot of people commented when we had our son that we now had the “Million Dollar Family”.  But to us, our family didn’t feel quite complete. I looked at my dinner table in the future and couldn't imagine my life without 3 children. We are both one of three children, and we liked the dynamic that having two siblings brought.  Perhaps that, or we secretly love chaos in our lives.  Being outnumbered by children while running a busy real estate practice – sounds completely sane, right?  RIGHT?


For 2020, we dare to push the limits. 

I’ve written a pretty aggressive business/marketing plan for the year and we want to accomplish more than we have in the past.  We will dream big and aim for the stars. There is no goal we can’t attain and no task we can’t complete. We have exciting new things to come, new members joining and, just like always, creative and innovative marketing strategies to WOW our clients. 2020 - Look out!



Top Realtor in Winnipeg Manitoba#AgentJen


Jennifer Queen

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

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Typically, I love to write blogs about new real estate trends, or how you can maximize your real estate knowledge, but today I wanted to share with you something I discovered this last year that I owe a lot of my success to, in real estate as well as in life.


Last year, on December 4th 2018, I wrote a letter to myself, as my future self. It began, “Dear Ashton Augert…. What a year it has been”. I have to admit, I felt a little silly and not to mention skeptical as I wrote the first few lines. I thought to myself “There is no way ANY of these things are going to happen”. But before I go on, I should first let you know where I was a year ago…


I had just made the big decision to move from my previous brokerage to my current brokerage, and had just began my career with the Jennifer Queen Team.  I had always wanted to be on a team, and when the phone rang with the opportunity of the lifetime, I didn’t hesitate to jump on board. Although I was still fairly new to the business, I was starting to gain confidence in the Realtor I was becoming, and was so excited to be able to join a very successful team, but still had a lot to learn. I had also just recently purchased my first home and was newly engaged. Life was starting to go in the direction I wanted it to, but there were still so many unknowns and goals I wanted to fulfill in the upcoming year.


That was when a little birdie (cough,cough Jen), challenged me to write a letter to myself, as my future self, writing about all of the great successes I had achieved that year. So now here I was, sitting there, writing a letter to myself and thinking, what do I want to achieve this year? And this is what I wanted to share with you. Some of the goals I wrote were so small, that they almost seemed silly to write down on paper, others were so far-fetched at that moment in my life that they seemed more like dreams for another lifetime or at least not feasible in the next year! But the important thing was, that by writing these goals down, and visualizing them as my own future, I was now committed to, at the very minimum, attempting to try to fulfill them (even though I still felt a little silly for doing so).


When I was done writing, I read the letter one last time, signed it Ashton Humphreys (my future last name) and folded it away in a drawer to forget about until the next year.


As I’m sure a lot of you could agree, 2019 came and went in a blink of an eye. Life has a way of making you forget how in only a short period of time, so much can change. Sitting back and reading the letter I had written myself; I couldn’t help but feel proud. The person who wrote that letter a year ago would be amazed to see that I had actually done most of the things I had said I would do, not to mention blew some of them out of the park! We had done the renovations on the house we were planning on doing, our wedding went (mostly) as planned, I sold more houses then I had written down (which seemed unattainable to me at the time) and we did have our new little fur baby. The best part about all of it was it now gave me the motivation to dream bigger.


Motivational Quotes for Real EstateSo, here is my advice to you:

Celebrate the small successes: No goal is too small, seeing the small achievements throughout the year gives you the fuel to reach for those bigger ones. If you don’t quite reach that big goal you set at least you can see that there are so many other things you have achieved, giving you the motivation to keep going.  


Set achievable, yet difficult goals:  Push yourself, if you think you can put aside $5000.00 this year for a down payment, why not shoot for $6000.00? When I say achievable, I mean something that you realistically could achieve. If you are a real estate agent setting a goal of selling 50 houses this year, that is achievable. If you are a real estate agent and your goal for the year is to perform open heart surgery, not so achievable (you get the point). 


Make yourself accountable: By writing down your goals, you will now have to face yourself when the time comes. Just imagine how great you will feel opening that letter a year later and seeing it there in your own writing, all the great things you have accomplished. You may also want to give a copy of your letter to a trusted friend or family member if you need a little more accountability, whatever works for you to keep yourself on track.


Have a good support system: By surrounding yourself with people who also want you to achieve your goals and believe in you will make it that much easier. You don’t have to achieve these on your own.


Reward yourself: It is ok to be proud of yourself. You did it! Give yourself a pat on the back... or maybe treat yourself to that spa day you have been dreaming about. Whatever it is, you deserve it.


Keep going: If you didn’t quite reach the goals you set for yourself this year, keep going. Don’t set the bar lower now because you are afraid of failure. Use it as fuel to motivate you further.


We all have goals; some are smaller such as learning to touch your toes and others are so big that you may not achieve them for years to come. At the Jennifer Queen Team, we truly believe setting goals is the perfect recipe for success. Every Monday we go around the table setting achievable goals for our work and personal lives for that week. The accountability aspect, as well as writing them down motivates us to do the things we may otherwise have brushed off. Setting goals, whether it be weekly, monthly or yearly helps you stay on track.


So, if you are wanting to buy a house in the next year, write it down. If you are wanting to save $300 more dollars a month, write it down. If you are wanting to go see the Eifel tower, you guessed it, write it down. You never know what your subconscious will grab hold of. When you open that letter a year later, you may just be surprised with things you have achieved.


Without that letter to myself, I would not have realized all the small successes I have made throughout the year. It has really given me the fuel to give 2020 all I’ve got. Try it, what’s the worst that could happen?


“By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands—your own.” —Mark Victor Hansen



Top Real Estate Agent in Winnipeg Manitoba

 

 

#AgentAshton


Ashton Augert

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


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They’re here! They’re here! All of your photos with Santa, Anna, and Elsa from the Queen Team Client Appreciation event are ready for download courtesy of Brian at Empire Photography!  


Our link can be found here: https://www.empirephoto.ca/queen/ and should work for 90 days.


Realtors in Winnipeg ManitobaThanks again to all our clients for coming out to Landmark Cinemas, Grant Park to make this a memorable day! It was so wonderful to see all of you, enjoy some treats, watch a couple good movies, and catch up. We were completely overwhelmed by the positive response and it has left us wanting to do this again, perhaps more than once a year!  Thank you as well to everyone that brought a non-perishable food item for Winnipeg Harvest.  Your donations led to a truck full of food for some very grateful families.  Thank you again to you all.  We truly do believe that we have the best clients, and you all proved that yesterday! We love you! We’ll see you all again next year!


Realtors in Winnipeg Manitoba


Agent Ashton Augert in Winnipeg ManitobaRealtor Client Appreciation PartyRealtor Amy McDermid Top Real Estate Team


Top Real Estate Agent in Winnipeg#AgentJen


Jennifer Queen

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

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Welcome to Winterpeg! If you have lived in Winnipeg for a length of time then you can understand why the nickname Winterpeg sticks with our great city.  If you are new here you may have heard people joke that Winnipeg can get cold in the winter and our winters are the longest season.  Now you may have prepared for this and have come ready with long johns and a warm parka but have you considered some of the implications of purchasing a home in the winter months?  There are going to be certain parts of a home that you will want to know about when purchasing that will not be readily visible in winter, for example a roof covered with snow.


To help out with a purchase in Winnipeg between November and March I will lay out a few pros and cons of purchasing a home in the winter season.


Pros

1. Less competition

Winnipeg is known for having a pretty stable market with a mix of both buyers and sellers markets throughout different areas of the city.  When buying a home in the winter months there tends to be less competition as you head into the new year. As people prepare to settle in for Christmas there is usually slow down with their searches of homes and start to wait until the next year. Families who are searching for homes usually slow down their searches until the end of winter because they do not want to move their children in the middle of the school year. This can be a great time for you to purchase! If you happen to find a house that you love then the odds are good that you will have less competition than you would have if you were searching for a home in the spring and summer months. 


2. Listings

Buying a home in Winter in WinnipegAs the year comes to a close you tend to see less movement on the MLS.  Houses are listed less and the ones that are tend to stick around a bit longer than usual.  Just because most people choose to list in the Spring and Summer months doesn’t change the fact that some people still need to list in the winter.  Maybe they have purchased another house and need to sell the one they are currently in, maybe they need to downsize, the point is that houses still need to be sold in the winter but with less competition from buyers this can lead to a better bargaining position and may help you get a better price for the house you want.


3. Purchase price

Winter months can have an effect on the purchase price of a home.   As listed above there are many factors that will depend on the sale price of a home, but generally the longer times on market in the winter and less buyers looking for homes usually give you the ability to negotiate easier than you could in the summer months.  It is not always the case but usually people are willing to negotiate more to ensure they can enjoy the holidays not worrying about the sale of their home.



Cons

1. Viewings

Something that is harder to come by in Winnipeg in the winter months is daylight.  With most people having to view homes in the evening and the sun going down around 4:30pm it makes viewings in daylight more challenging.  Daylight is important for viewing a home, there are things that you will definitely miss about a property when viewing it in the dark.  Whether that be the paint colours showing up different or portions of the property you simply miss because it is too dark.  Seeing a property in daylight is an important part of the process.


2. Snow cover

Winter House Hunting in WinnipegWhen purchasing a property there are things you want to be able to see around the home when viewing it and a heavy amount of snow can hinder this process.  Shingles covered in snow cannot be seen, grading and landscaping can be completely covered by a blanket of snow.  Disclosure statements are especially important when purchasing in the winter as you will need to have the comfort of knowing what you may have to deal with in the spring.


3. Outdoor fixtures

When purchasing a home in the winter it is important to get the proper information and documentation on outdoor fixtures of the home.  When I say outdoor fixtures I mean things like the central A/C system, hot tubs (if included in the sale), pools, etc.  These are systems that cannot be tested in winter, a winterized pool may look fine but come spring could show signs of necessary repair.  An A/C unit cannot be tested in the winter as it will cause damage to the system.  There are ways to protect yourself when writing an offer to purchase in regards to outdoor fixtures so always ask your Realtor how to insert the proper conditions.


Hopefully this has been a quick guide to purchasing a home in the winter.  There are plenty of great reasons to get out there at look at some homes that have been on the market for a while, especially if you want to be in a new place before Christmas.  If you have any questions about buying in winter or want to know more about what to look for give us a call we would be more than happy to lead you in the right direction.


Logan Queen Top Winnipeg Realtor

#AgentLogan


Logan Queen

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

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The new First Time Home Buyer’s Incentive (FTHBI) came into effect in September 2019. The program is aimed at making it easier for young people/eligible Canadians to buy their first home by lowering the monthly mortgage payments. The federal government agreed to a $1.25 billion CMHC First-Time Homebuyer Incentive over three years. It will provide 5% of the cost of an existing home up to a maximum of $500,000 and 10% of the price of a new home. While it sounds like the federal government is providing an interest-free loan, know that they also secure shared equity in your home as it goes through gains and losses. This means the amount paid back to the government will fluctuate based on how much your home increases or decreases in value.

There are a few notable conditions to watch out for;

  • Applicants must have a down payment of at least 5% and no more than 20%. (CMHC insurance must apply)
  • Household income must be less than $120,000
  • The mortgage cannot be more than four times the homebuyers' household income.

Buying Your First Home in WinnipegFor example, if you buy a $400,000 home with a minimum down payment of 5% ($20,000) you would be eligible to receive $40,000 for a newly constructed home through CMHC. As a result, instead of taking out a $380,000 mortgage, you will borrow $340,000. On a mortgage at 3.5% the monthly savings over the 25-year amortization period is more than $200.

  • Applicants must not have owned a house in the last four years – exceptions will be made for those in a "breakdown of marriage or common-law partnership."
  • The loan must also be paid back under two circumstances:
    • if you sell your home;
    • or at the end of 25 years

The current mortgage stress tests for both insured and conventional mortgages remain intact, however, as CREA states in their federal budget bulletin, “The government will continue to monitor the effects of its mortgage finance policies and adjust them if economic conditions warrant.”


In addition to the FTHBI the Liberal government also increased the amount first time buyers are allow to withdraw from their RRSP for a down payment. A $10,000 increase in the federal Home Buyers' Plan to allow a maximum withdrawal of $35,000 from one's RRSPs to put towards a down payment on a home. This allowable withdrawal for first-time buyers has also been extended to apply to Canadians after experiencing a marital breakdown in marriage or common-law partnership. The same repayment schedule applies with home buyers required to pay back their RRSPs over 15 years. 

First Time Home Buyers Incentive

Frequently asked questions about the new incentive:

What properties are eligible?

The new incentive is to help first-time homebuyers/eligible Canadians purchase their first home. Eligible properties include: new construction, re-sale home and mobile/manufactured homes. The residential properties can include up to 4 units. The types of properties include: single family, semi-detached (i.e. side by side), duplex, triplex, fourplex, town houses, and condominium units. The property must be located in Canada and must be suitable and available for full-time, year-round occupancy.

Can I buy a house using the program and rent it out?

No. The incentive is to help first-time homebuyers/eligible Canadians purchase their first home with the intent to live the property. Investment properties are not eligible for the incentive.

What are the terms of repayment?

The homebuyer will be required to pay back the Incentive amount after 25 years or when the property is sold, whichever comes first. The homebuyer can also repay in full at any time, without a penalty. Refinancing of the first mortgage will not trigger repayment.

How is repayment calculated?

  • If a buyer receives a 5%, the homebuyer will repay 5% of the home’s value at repayment.
  • If a buyer receives a 10%, the homebuyer will repay 10% of the home’s value at repayment.

Repayment is based on the property’s fair market value at the point in time where repayment is required.

Are there other costs involved with the First-Time Homebuyer Incentive?

There may be some additional cost associated with the Incentive:

  • Legal fees: Your lawyer is closing two mortgages so you may be charged higher fees.
  • Appraisal fees: You may need to have an appraisal done to value determine the fair market value of your home when thinking about repaying the incentive.
  • Other fees: Additional fees may be incurred throughout the life cycle of the incentive, like switching your first mortgage to a new lender or refinancing your first mortgage.

What are the mortgage details?

  • The maximum threshold for debt service ratios are GDS 39% and TDS 44%. This is only applied on the first mortgage and is subject to requirements by lenders and mortgage loan insurers.
  • Total borrowing is limited to 4 times the qualifying income. The combined mortgage and Incentive amount cannot exceed four times the total qualifying income.  The amount for the mortgage loan insurance premium is excluded from this calculation. 
  • The Incentive is a second mortgage on the title of the property. There are no regular principal payments. It isn’t interest bearing and has a maximum term of 25 years.  
  • The Government of Canada will share in the upside and downside of the property value upon repayment. 

 Is Mortgage Loan Insurance required?

  • The mortgage must be eligible for mortgage loan insurance through either CMHC, Genworth, or Canada Guaranty. The first mortgage must be greater than 80% of the value of the property and is subject to a mortgage loan insurance premium.
  • The premium is based on the loan-to-value ratio of the first mortgage only. That is, the first mortgage amount divided by the purchase price. The Incentive amount is included with the total down payment.
  • Mortgage loan insurance premiums may vary depending on the mortgage loan insurer and may be subject to provincial taxes. 

Can I switch my first mortgage to a different financial institution?

Yes, your first mortgage may be switched to a different financial institution without having to repay the incentive. The terms of the first mortgage may not be altered in this case.

If I decide to purchase a new property, can I port (moving the mortgage to a new property) the Incentive along with my first mortgage?

A Port is considered to be a sale which will trigger repayment of the Incentive.



Do you have a question regarding the new home buyer’s incentive? Feel free to contact me, I’d be glad to answer any of your real estate questions.




Top Realtor Amy McDermid REMAX

#AgentAmy


Amy McDermid

Sales Associate

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

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Your Home is Sold… Now What!?

Congratulations!  You’ve made it from listing to SOLD!  But now what?  I’m going to cover some points that I often go through with my clients once their home sale firms up. 


In my opinion, the hardest part is over.  You have triumphed through showing-after-showing, multiple open houses, some harsh feedback, along with all of the other stresses that come with the sale. Or perhaps you consider the physical packing and moving of your items to be the most stressful.  Either way, things are moving forward and it is best to be mentally prepared!


All of the paperwork that you need to sign with me is now complete.  That's right, you no longer have to see my face.  Unless of course you want to.  Then the feeling is mutual!  But I will not be needing any more signatures on anything at this point, unless you and the buyers agree to amend something in the contract, for instance a possession date.

What you will still need to sign are the land transfer and mortgage discharge documents, etc. usually done with your lawyer a few days prior to possession.  I will have already forwarded all of the paperwork on to your lawyer, so they should have everything they need for your file, apart from your signing hands (and survey certificates if you have them and keys)!  The lawyers will usually get in touch with you about a week prior to possession. So do not be alarmed if you don’t hear from them immediately after the sale.  You only need to give your lawyer one set of keys.  The remainder of the keys can be in the home for the new owners.  The purchasers just need to be able access the home on the date of possession.


Moving Checklist WinnipegThe lawyer will also ask for final meter readings, particularly the water meter reading.  This should be done the day prior to possession.  The lawyer will usually give you instruction on this.  If you do not provide the water meter reading, sometimes the lawyers will do a holdback of funds (usually around $1000), until they receive confirmation from the City that your usage has been confirmed and paid. So it is important to get this reading done prior to possession.  You should also read the hydro and gas meters as well.  For any meter reading, I encourage you to take pictures of the meters, especially with something that shows a date. The purchasers are instructed to take their own meter readings upon possession as well, and then Hydro tends to take the average of your reading and their reading to arrive at a number they feel is fair for final billing.  So far, I have only encountered honest buyers and sellers, but I'm sure there are some that lack scruples and may report inaccurately (hence the picture recommendation).


Other items to keep in mind: It is time now to cancel your insurance.  BUT I would cancel it effective a few days AFTER possession.  Just to be safe.  I've heard horror stories of people showing up for possession and the house having burned down and there being some dispute over when the fire started.  So better safe than sorry.  The extra cost for a few extra days is worth the peace of mind, in my opinion.  


Make sure to change your address on everything (Credit Cards, Schools, Bank Institutions, etc). You may want to look into mail forwarding with Canada Post.  They have options for mail forwarding for several months up until a year.  I have found that there is always some mail that may slip through the cracks (Costco rebate cheques that only Celebrating your home sale in Winnipegcome once a year!).  So if you are feeling paranoid that there is something you may miss, I recommend setting yourself up for mail forwarding.  The Canada Post Website can be found here: https://www.canadapost.ca/cpc/en/personal/receiving/manage-mail/mail-forwarding.page


And my last instructions are to go celebrate.  This one was tough on you guys, but you championed through and you deserve some time to celebrate! CONGRATS!





Jennifer Queen Team - Top Winnipeg Realtors

#AgentJen


Jennifer Queen

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

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The Real Cost of Purchasing a Property

Thinking of buying a house? Most buyers already know there are costs associated to purchasing a home (apart from the obvious purchase price) but what are those costs exactly?


In the real estate world, we refer to these costs as “closing costs”. These closing costs account for all of the extra fees, taxes and more that are required at the time of closing to ensure the property transfers ownership. On average, we tell our clients to set aside 2-2.5% of the total purchase price of the home to cover these closing costs. What this means, is that if you are purchasing a home for $350,000.00, with a 20% ($70,000.00) down payment you would need to have $8750.00 aside PLUS your down payment to close on this property. If this comes as a little bit of a shock to you, don’t worry, you aren’t the only one! Good news is, after reading this article you will be an expert in what to expect when it comes time to writing that big, scary cheque on possession day!


Just a tidbit of advice before I get started, mortgage lenders will usually want proof that you have the amount needed for closing prior to approving your mortgage financing, so having a rough idea how much you will need will help you understand how much you can afford.


THE BREAKDOWN:

Lawyer Fees:

This is the most variable cost of all of the closing costs. Lawyer fees well vary depending on which lawyer you use, the amount of labour needed, what documents are required and much, much more. The majority of real estate transactions go pretty smooth once they are with the lawyers (we have already done the majority of the back and forth!) and if this is your case, you should be budgeting for roughly $800-1200 for these costs.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are NOT using a real estate agent to write the offer, these costs will be significantly higher.


Title Insurance:

We have spoken about title insurance in the past but here is a quick summary once again. Title Insurance is required by most lawyers and lenders when closing on your property. This insurance has replaced the need for a survey of the property. It covers you for encroachments, easements and building permits that were not disclosed to you prior to you purchasing your home. Buyers MUST do their due diligence to ensure this information was not readily available to them prior to them purchasing the insurance. Title insurance will cost between $250-$400 depending on which provider you use.


Land Transfer Tax

This is the big one. This is a provincial tax that is calculated as a percentage of the purchase price of your home. The calculation is a little complicated as it depends on the price of your home. As the purchase price of the home increases, the percentage paid increases as well.  If you would like to see a more accurate calculator you can go to ratehub.ca and go to Land Transfer Calculator and input your information. In Manitoba there is also a registration fee for $70.


Property Tax

Depending on what time of year you are taking possession, and how the previous owners were paying their taxes, you will have to reimburse the sellers for the amount paid already. If they are part of the TTIP program, you will only be reimbursing them for the portion of the taxes they paid for that MONTH after the property transferred. If they paid their taxes in one lump sum in June, you will need to reimburse them for the portion of the YEAR after the property transferred to you. As you can see, this amount can be substantially different depending on how they paid and when. Therefore my advice to you is be prepared to have to pay as though they made one lump sum and there will be no surprises!


Commission

Normally, the buyer does not pay any commission to their real estate agent. The price of the commission has already been built into the purchase price and is paid by the sellers. There are situations where the sellers are not willing to pay commission, when that happens, there is a fee agreement drawn up between the buyer and agent for an amount or percentage agreed to by both parties. This is very rare but does occasionally happen.


Mortgage Default Insurance

This one is an honorable mention, this is not technically a closing cost but it is something to be aware of when purchasing a home. Mortgage default insurance is associated with any mortgage where the buyer has put down LESS than 20% (also called an insured mortgage). This mandatory insurance is tacked on to your mortgage, thus not an upfront cost.


Other costs:

We have covered the fees that will be required on the day of possession but I just want to touch on a few others that may come up during your move!

-          Moving Truck

-          Boxes

-          Internet/Cable set up

-          Renovations 

-          Locksmith

-          Cleaning companies/supplies

-          Storage Locker (depending on when possession is)

-          Painting


Like I had said at the beginning of this article, this may all seem a little overwhelming and not mention expensive. Being aware of the costs to be expected will hopefully take away some of the surprise and prepare you for the realty for what it cost to buy. 


Buying a home in Winnipeg#AgentAshton


Ashton Augert

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

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What fun would August 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. Right-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 to The Jennifer Queen Team's office at 1601 Buffalo Place, Winnipeg MB no later than 11 a.m. on Friday, August 23rd, 2019. Can’t make it here in person? You can email us a picture of your work to Jennifer@JenniferQueen.com


Top Realtor Team Colouring ContestWinnipeg Realtor Colouring contestRealtors in Winnipeg Colouring Contest 




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 MONDAY AUGUST 26th, 2019.

Right-click the image below to print!


Winnipeg Real Estate Team Colouring Contest

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Helping people purchase homes is my specialty yet there are a few things that always come up when dealing with first time home buyers.  One of these things is buyer’s representation.  I get asked all the time “why should we have a buyer’s agent?’ and it is a good question.  Most of the time there is a Realtor representing the home so why not just use them? I am in the industry so the answer to me is clear but I will try and give you my best reasons why I think you should have your own agent for your home purchase.


1. Individual representation

When you see a house you like, whether that be online, at an open house or driving by a sign there is usually a Realtor representing the sale of that home, the Listing Agent.  What you need to know is that the Listing Agent’s initial duty is to the person or persons selling the home.  If you approach the listing agent and ask them to represent you they now have 2 choices: one is to treat you as a customer; and two is to treat you as a client.  If the agent chooses route one then they are still acting in the best interest of the Vendors selling the home and not actually working in your best interest. They may assist you and do owe you honesty and integrity in their dealings, but at the end of the day their loyalty is to the Vendor.  If they choose option two the problem then arises that the agent is now representing both parties, and how easy is it for them to work in the best interest of one party without harming the other? The answer is it’s not simple.  The agent almost acts as mediator between the two parties to come to a mutual agreement. This is one reason why I would recommend picking your own agent before you take interest in a property.


2. Better purchase price


I am asked all the time:  “won’t I get a better deal on the home if I work with the listing agent?”  The answer is almost always no.  If a home is on the MLS there is already a contract signed with the vendors that agrees to pay a buyer’s agent from the proceeds of the sale.  If you decide to purchase through the listing agent all that means is that they receive both the selling and buying commission of the sale, yet as you can see from point 1 that it does not necessarily mean they are representing both sides in the best way possible.  Your best chance of getting a better deal on a home is to have your own agent who is a skilled negotiator and knows the market.  They can fight for what you want.  There is no cost to buyers for using their own agent.


3. Do I need to sign a contract to buy?

This one is a bit trickier as some provinces will not allow people to purchase a home without having what is called a “buyers contract”.  What these contracts do is tie you to a single agent for a home purchase.  Now you may ask why, and the honest answer is: to protect yourself.  You can meet with and interview any realtors you want and if/when you find someone you like you can choose to sign a contract.  This will contractually obligate the agent to help you find a home.  These contracts are not required but IMO are highly beneficial.  Any agent with a signed buyer’s contract is going to work hard to get you what you want.  If you are just seeing things with multiple agents willy nilly, then it is harder for any of them to take you serious and really get you where you need to be for your purchase.


4. Second pair of eyes

Charting the waters of a home purchase can be a daunting and there are a lot of things to look for.  To most people, a home purchase will be the largest purchase in their lifetime.  Yet, we often make these buying decisions in a matter of hours.   Usually people have 1-2 showings before putting in an offer and maybe have a home inspection after that.  That’s it.  Maybe 4-5 hours for something you are going to live in 24/7.  Choosing a buyer’s agent will help you see things you may not think about.  While you may be looking at the sizes of the rooms, the colours, or the layout I will be looking for the potential problems and things that you may overlook.  You have to remember that you are looking at a home and sometimes that emotion can blind you from the necessary diligence needed when going through a home.  Until it is your home it is a house and I will treat it as such.  I will be brutally honest about the flaws, the potential issues, things that need to be fixed.  In any given month I am touring anywhere from 50-70 houses.  I know what to look for and how to write contracts that keep you covered.


I truly think that every person when buying or selling a home should have their own representation from a licensed Realtor.  The benefits to you for protection, knowledge and experience can only be given in its full potential from your own Realtor.  If you have any questions about anything you read above or want to chat more about how a Buyer’s agent can help you, please reach out, this is my specialty after all!



Buyer Representation Agreements

#AgentLogan


Logan Queen

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

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Pictured: My first sale - a condominium for a lovely couple along St. Anne's Road shortly after getting my license. They had tried to sell privately and gave up.



June 2019 marks my eighth year in real estate.  I ALWAYS wanted to be surrounded by real estate.  I remember going to a multitude of open houses just so I could take it all in.  What actually propelled me to finally taking action was a television show on HGTV about a female realtor in Canada that built a successful real estate business, then team, and ultimately brokerage for herself.  I thought, if she can do it, why can’t I? 



ASIDE: Don’t worry Stan, I have no intention of starting a brokerage after observing what you do day-in and day-out for the last eight years. No thank you! Let me sell things!



I am still learning something new every day, even after 550 deals and counting (if my calculations are correct).  I was recently reading Ben Franklin’s Autobiography and found his 13 Virtues still very relevant for today. He was really onto something.  To that end, I have picked eight virtues that I feel are still relevant to what I have learned in my eight years in Real Estate:



  1. Silence.  Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself. Avoid trifling conversation. We must listen openly and honestly to our clients. We all have our own biases and backgrounds, however we are not truly serving our clients best interests if we try to insert our own beliefs and opinions into their decision making process.  Yes, we are there to provide guidance and an education on the home buying and selling process, but not to influence it with our own opinions or biases.
  2. Order: Let all your things have their places. Let each part of your business have its time.  Sometimes it is okay if you respond to your emails at the end of the day.  Focus on the client you are with, they are the priority.  Learn how to prioritize your business to save your sanity (I am still learning this one). I could go on.
  3. Resolution: Resolve to perform what you ought. Perform without fail what you resolve.  Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign resounded with so many because it was simple, and was a message that we all needed.  Do what you should do.  Set your goals, go out and take the steps you need to achieve them.  Whether that be in a new marketing campaign, new listing, or hitting new sales goals. We are often our biggest obstacles, and getting over ourselves and getting to brass tacks is the only way to achieve true success.
  4. Frugality: Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself: i.e., Waste nothing. There are always new shiny objects: flashy marketing ploys, tools for realtors, etc. Some are useful, but the majority do not stand the test of time.  Look at your core competency, constantly work to streamline and improve it, and grow from there. 
  5. Industry: Lose no time. Be always employed in something useful. Cut off all unnecessary actions. Keep it simple.  Similar to point 4 above, work on those core competencies and just get really good at them. Hone in on them.  Revamp, streamline, improve. Learn to be the BEST at what you do. If you aren’t getting better, you are getting worse.
  6. Sincerity: Use no hurtful deceit. Think innocently and justly; and if you speak, speak accordingly. Judge Judy is my guilty pleasure, and one of my favourite lines from her show is “If you tell the truth, you don’t need to have a good memory”.  She is right.  Honesty is always the best policy, especially when it comes to what will be most people’s largest purchase in their lifetime. Sincerity equals longevity in this business.
  7. Tranquility: Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.  Stealing a line from my lessons blog of last year: 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.
  8. Humility.  Which to me means keep your pride in check.  Be humble.  I think to say it most succinctly, “stay hungry, stay humble”. 


So what do the next eight years look like?  I have no clue.  As I write this we sit as a team of four agents and one full-time administrator. We are currently sitting just shy of 80 deals halfway through 2019.  I like the size of this team.  We are small enough that we are all close and know what is going on in one another’s business, but big enough that we can take time off and know that our clients are well taken care of.  We are also the perfect number for two golf foursomes. But growth never came from comfort zones! Stay tuned!


Jennifer Queen Top Winnipeg Realtor#AgentJen


Jennifer Queen

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

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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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