Realtor Team Specializing in South Winnipeg


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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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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