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


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


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


1. Learning about houses and construction

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


2. Meeting new people

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


3. Everyday is completely different

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



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


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


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


Logan Queen

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

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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


Top real estate agent in Winnipeg#AgentAshton


Ashton Augert

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

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The year 2020… should I say anything more? Thinking back to last spring, I really didn’t know what this would mean for the Real Estate market here in Winnipeg. The news seemed all but damming. With more people working from home, wages and jobs being lost, and restrictions on how we could conduct our everyday business, I really thought we were in for the worst. Turns out, I was very, VERY wrong. More buyers than ever were being qualified to buy as the interests rates plummeted, people’s priorities were changing in what they were looking for and house prices were going through the roof (no pun intended). 2020 was one of the strongest markets in recent history.


How did that happen you wonder? You would think job cuts and restrictions would mean less people buying and more people staying put, but that isn’t exactly what happened. People who had job security were saving more money as they weren’t going on trips and spending on entertainment, and buyers looking to get into the market saw their chance as interest rates hit an all time low. The demand was high, and the supply…. well the supply was slim to none. While Buyers saw an opportunity, a lot of sellers (especially at first) were hesitant. The fear of a market crash was looming and a world wide pandemic was here. Letting strangers into your home wasn’t on the top of everyone’s list, and who could blame them! The high demand and lack of supply tipped the scale in favour of a seller’s market and the rest is history. Bidding wars, high sales prices and emotions flying, COVID-19 impacted the real estate market more than we could have ever imagined.


The market itself wasn’t the only thing that changed, what buyers were looking for also changed. The COVID-19 restrictions turned our everyday lives’ upside down. All of a sudden, gyms were closed, restaurants were closed and we were spending 99% of our time at home. So naturally, people’s wants/needs in homes changed along with them. These are the areas where we saw the biggest change:



Home Offices: No surprise here. With a lot of the population now working from home, home offices have been on the top of the wish list. What this means is buyers are now looking for homes with either a finished basement or an extra bedroom to set up their home office in.


Houses with pools in WinnipegBigger Yards & Pools: Buyer’s are gravitating to larger outdoor spaces. Less travel, means people are spending more time in their own backyards. Why not make them your own private getaway? Here in Manitoba, pools weren’t always a priority as it is winter 7 months of the year. Not to mention there is a large population of Manitobans who own a secondary vacation property (cottage etc). Due to the travel restrictions we saw a big uptake in the demand for properties with pools.


More space in general: Spending more time at home with our family (although we love them) can make your house feel tight! One of the biggest requests we had in 2020 when talking to buyers is that they “just need more space!”


Home gyms: Between binging Netflix, snacking and zoom calls it’s nice to have a place to let out some of that pent-up energy. With gyms closed and as the temperature drops and we aren’t able to spend as much time outdoors, we have seen a large increase in demand for homes with space for a small home gym.


Detached Homes: We’ve seen a shift from properties with shared living spaces due to COVID-19. Properties with shared amenities saw a dip as health concerns grew.


As we gear up for a what we expect to be a similar 2021, we are taking into consideration a lot of these changes. Not only in what buyer’s are looking for but how to navigate the market in general. We are expecting another year full of bidding wars and high sales prices as there is no evidence of interest rates rising anytime soon. If you have been thinking about selling there is no better time, if you are planning on taking advantage of these low interest rates and buying, we are here to guide you through it.


So, buckle up, we are in for another busy year!




Best Real estate agent in Winnipeg, Ashton Augert

#AgentAshton


Ashton Augert

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

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