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


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


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


1. Winter Accessibility

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


Water Testing with Best Realtor in Winnipeg2. Water

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


3. Septic Systems

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


4. Planning Ahead

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


5. Trash and Recycling

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


6. Maintenance

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


7. Wildlife

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



8. Property Lines

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


9. Connectivity

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


The Takeaway

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



Rural realtor Manitoba #AgentJen


Jennifer Queen

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Competing Offers in Winnipeg

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


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


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



Best real estate agent in River Heights Winnipeg#AgentAshton


Ashton Augert

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

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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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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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July has been and interesting month for Jen and Me.  We came off one of the busiest months of our careers both for the Winnipeg market as a whole as for our team.  Jen and I together did 28 deals in June, which definitely kept us on our toes.  We also capped off the month with a new addition to our family.  Our son, Asher Logan Queen, was born at 12:26 am on June 30th, which put the icing on the cake for an amazing month for our business and our family.



We have been adjusting to life in this Covid-19 era just like many of you have. We have adjusted a lot of our business to be from home, or to limit our exposure to others as much as possible.  Which is not easy when your careers literally mean meeting new people all the time and leaving the house to view properties.  We have been granted some tools to help us though.  We have been granted the ability to digitally sign documents for the first time in Manitoba.  They say that it is only temporary but they are going to have to pry it from my cold, dead fingers! It is so much more convenient for agents and clients alike!Realtor Family in Winnipeg


Other changes you may have noticed if you are actively looking for a home or watching the market is that Winnipeg has been a strong Seller’s Market.  There are a significant number of homes selling for over list price, similar to what the market was seeing back in 2008!  Personally, I have had a bunch of clients have to compete in multiple offer situations and in my honest opinion it is not a lot of fun.  I truly think the only people who enjoy it are the vendors.  Even as the realtor representing a multiple offer sale you have to deal with a lot of scrutiny and a lot of uncomfortable phone calls, messages and conversations with other realtors who are attempting to get the home for their clients. 


That being said there are some tips for people who are trying to buy and are having a hard time dealing with competing offers. Here are some of mine:


  1. Get a Buyer’s Agent to represent you.  The best way to go into an offer situation is to be prepared.  Having an agent represent you who knows the market and can give you the best advice for pricing on a home is a great place to start.
  2. Make a plan.  I know that sounds silly, but a multiple offer situation with 2 offers is different than one with 10.  Speak with your agent about the possibilities of the offer and what could potentially happen on offer date.
  3. Make your offer as attractive as possible.  What does that mean? To be honest the best way to make your offer attractive to a buyer is to leave out as much uncertainty as possible, which usually means less conditions.  Some people are comfortable writing offers without conditions and some are not.  You have to assess the risk involved with writing offers without conditions and what could happen if something went sideways. If you need to have conditions for the purchase, then finding other creative ways to make your conditions look less uncertain helps.  Feel free to contact me if you want some ideas!
  4. Be patient.  I know that some people are on deadlines and don’t want to wait, but truthfully, I don’t believe this can last forever.  The market will shift again and there will be changes that allow buyers to have a more reasonable opportunity to purchase a home.


So what can be said about the current market in Winnipeg? Well I don’t think it has turned out the way anyone thought when COVID struck earlier this year.  Record months, record sales numbers, multiple offer situations and lots of demand for homes were definitely not projections made by many real estate professionals in Winnipeg and throughout Canada.


That being said if you want some help navigating this crazy market we would love to help you.  We are always just a call, text or email away!


winnipeg real estate agent#AgentLogan


Logan Queen

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

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Having a backyard oasis is one of my life goals! My family and I have  been spending  A LOT of time outside! My husband and I are currently trying to transform our backyard into something beautiful so I thought other might be able to benefit from our experiences. Now that the worms are gone we can finally start tackling some of our projects. This year we are planning some big exterior projects; shingles, soffit, fascia, eavestrough, grading, and a garage. In past years we have painted our exterior stucco trim and all, grading, added flower and vegetable gardens! I know our summer is a short season but undertaking the projects little by little you will be able to achieve that beautiful backyard oasis! 


Here are a couple exterior projects to help you add value and enjoy your outdoor space!


PaintJust like the interior of your house, paint can be a great way to spruce up curb appeal without breaking the bank. Keep it neutral and add that splash of colour with flowers, planters or a freshly painted front door! A great tip if you don’t want to spend a bunch of money on exterior paint, visit some paint store and ask about their mis tints. They sell them at a reduced rate and you might just get lucky! My husband and I did this a couple years ago and ended up getting a white mis tint! We were able to tint it any colour we wanted for a ¼ of the price!


Landscaping This is a big one. Landscaping and grading are very important. While a level yard and pretty gardens make your yard aesthetically pleasing, they also serve a very important role in the overall maintenance of your house and foundation – water management. You always want to make sure you have positive grading, which helps direct water away from the foundation. Installing gardens around your foundation helps absorbs excess water and adds extra curb appeal!


Add or Fix Driveway Adding or Fixing a driveway isn’t always the cheapest renovation but it will go a long way. If your home already has a driveway, make sure it is clean and eye appealing. There are companies in Winnipeg that help fix uneven driveways so just because your driveway has a couple cracks and dips in it make sure you researching and look at all your options before you hire a company to tear up the old driveway and add a new one!


Decks and patios Adding a deck or patio area to your backyard is an important step to creating that oasis! Having a deck or patio area is a valuable addition to your home and can act like a second living space during those summer months. It is a great space for entertaining, eating,  playing, relaxing, etc. This is something my husband and I don’t have and I dream about it all the time! Hopefully we can find some room in the budget this fall or next spring.


Top Real Estate Agent in Winnipeg

#AgentAmy


Amy McDermid

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

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If you would have told me a year ago that I would be writing a blog on how to keep yourself motivated during times of uncertainty as most of the world would be on lockdown, I would have thought you were crazy.  But, here we are.


This has been a learning curve for all of us and if you are anything like me, a very hard lesson. Being a Realtor, it’s always go, go, go. ESPECIALLY during the spring months here in Winnipeg. Although the market has not come to a standstill, people are being more careful (rightfully so!), which means, I am spending a little more time, well, with me. 


At first, I went stir crazy, my usual routine was no more. My husband was now working from home, open houses canceled, clients taking a step back and reassessing and no social interactions from outside the home. So, what did I do? I panicked. We had just come back from our honeymoon in Bali, I hadn’t worked in 3 weeks and now the world is going on lockdown! I didn’t know where to start. 


It took me at least a week to realize, what I should have seen sooner, we have been given an opportunity to Get. Things. Done.  I finally decided to take advantage of the time we were given to focus my energy on bettering my business, tackling the list of to do’s and plan a FULL house renovation. Now, you may think that is a little on the extreme side, but accomplishing even little things everyday has been how I have made myself feel, for lack of a better word, normal.


If you are feeling any of the same emotions I had felt, you are not alone. With the world in a state of uncertainty, you are entitled to those feelings, but by accomplishing little things everyday hopefully you too can get a little normalcy back in your life. Here are some ideas to help you get started: 


Tackle that pile of odd jobs you have been putting off for years.

You’ve been staring at that patched wall now for what feels like a lifetime, today can be the day.  Head over to Home Depot (BUT remember to book extra time to wait in that infamous line), grab a can of paint and get it done! That pesky eave that has been leaking? Replace it! Every task you check off, give yourself a pat on the back.


Real Estate Tips for WinnipegPlant a garden.

Finally, the sun is shining. Why not get out there and build yourself a little vegetable garden. Taking care of your new-found hobby will give you something to get excited about every day!


Organize the basement.

We’ve all been there, you just keep piling and piling things into that storage room and think “I’ll get to it next week”. Well, that day has come. Get in there, go through those boxes you haven’t seen in 5 years… who knows, maybe once all of this is over a garage sale may be in order!


Yard Work.

Yes, I said it, spring has sprung and your yard looks less than ideal. Get that rake and go to town! Having an outdoor space that you can enjoy will make being stuck at home all that more enjoyable.

 

Spring clean.

Who knows what the heck has been living behind your fridge all winter? Make your home feel fresh and clean by doing a thorough deep clean. Next step, open up your windows and bring in some fresh spring air and relax.  


Redecorate.

House feeling dated? I know I’m not the only one with a Pinterest board remodeling every single room in my house… why not give yourself a few DIY projects to pass the time as well as spruce up your home!


Start and exercise routine.

Go for a walk, a bike ride or rollerblade. Whatever it is, start moving. Trust me, I know how tempting that couch can be, adding a little physical fitness to your daily routine will hopefully help boost your mood!


Winnipeg Real Estate and COVID-19Read a book.

That book your co-worker gave you 6 months ago is calling your name. Get inspired. Learn something new, or just read something that makes you happy.


We will always remember COVID-19 and how it impacted society as we know it. Days can all start to blur together without our usual routines, so let’s try our best to make each one memorable. On the bright side, it looks like things are starting to look up here in Manitoba! Hopefully adding a few of these things to your week will help getting you to that finish line that much easier.


To quote one of the best, “Just keep swimming” – Dory.


Top Realtor for River heights Winnipeg

#AgentAshton


Ashton Augert

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 Sherwin Williams Canvas Tan SW 7531 Swatch

 

 

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

 

 

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

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