News Articles & Blog

Pricing Your Home

 Friday, February 2, 2018     Judy Marsales, Broker of Record     Local Hamilton Market Conditions

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The top question on everyone's mind when talking to a Real Estate person is "What's my house worth now?" This question is further developed when considering selling. Every homeowner wants to achieve the best return on the sale of their property. Various articles have reported and suggested many different strategies to achieve the highest sale price in the market but what is the "Sweet Spot" in pricing your home to sell? We have heard and seen many commercials… but what is the reality between the one property that attaches to the "bragging rights" and all the other sales in the marketplace which are not identified? The local real estate market has seen many changing dynamics over the past few months. My concern is that often a homeowner does not drill down in the discussion to identify the context, timing, or relevancy of some of this information.

In the past year, the real estate market has gone from one of the strongest Sellers' Markets to a more balanced market to arguably sliding into a Buyers' Market. Each of these markets require a well studied analysis of the facts to bring forward the best strategy for the home owner looking to sell. Every property is different and potential purchasers may respond to each property in a different fashion. Therefore, one must consider all the options when pricing their home. The value obtained by the home owner up the street is not always the "bench mark" to guide your decision making. Your home could establish a new value level if priced properly to maximize the "Buyer Attention". However, the reverse is also true. I have heard some of these thoughts: A) Pricing a home too high can deter people from viewing it. B) Pricing a home at the low end can attract multiple offers and thereby boost the sale price… not always possible. C) Market and Price the home to attract an "out of area buyer"… i.e. perhaps from Toronto where the average house price is higher.

There is no "sweet spot" pricing. A homeowner should consider all the facts and determine what the suggested honest range of value for the property is in the existing market area. The market conditions, including the economic landscape will contribute to the outcome. Based on that range of value and the potential time available to "test" the market, start with a list price which maximizes the possible interest from buyers and has the potential to achieve the highest and best value on the sale. Know the facts. Work with one of our knowledgeable Sales Representatives to achieve the best outcome.

If you would like a free no obligation estimation of your home's value please complete our simple online Home Evaluation Request form.

Bay Observer Article – written by Judy Marsales, Broker of Record, Judy Marsales Real Estate Ltd. Judy is a frequent contributor of articles on the Bay Observer website.

A Different Perspective on the Mortgage Stress Test

 Wednesday, December 13, 2017     Judy Marsales     General Real Estate Advice

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There has been a lot of negative chatter on what has become known as the “Stress Test” when applying for a mortgage.  Essentially what this means is that the buyer must qualify for a mortgage as calculated on the current interest rate as well as a potential increase in the interest rate of around 2 extra points. 

Please understand that I am sympathetic to the buyers who have been challenged by this process.  However, as someone who was selling houses when the interest rate was 22%.... I am going to put on my “Mom Hat” and suggest that it is far better to be prepared for an economic change then to have it thrust upon you.  If the interest rate were to rise quickly, would you be able to handle the increase at that time?  We have enjoyed historically low interest rates over the past couple of years and our tendency is to get comfortable and think that these rates will not change in the foreseeable future. 

However, history has shown that interest rates and the economic picture is always subject to change.  The economic cycles can be short or long but they are never stagnant.  There are currently a number of changing dynamics  – from the demographic shift to unknown global factors – we should be prepared for change. 

Our home should be our “comfort spot” …. not our financial breaking point.  Ideally, we want to enjoy our home regardless of the instability of the market or the economic swings. 

Let’s build our future on a solid financial analysis of affordability.

Today's Real Estate Market - Strengths and Weaknesses

 Friday, December 8, 2017     Judy Marsales     Local Hamilton Market Conditions

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Communication today is often fast and short such as 140 characters.  Tweet, text, or email brings us immediate information but not always completely informative.  In the current changing real estate market, the drama clouds the facts.  The strength of buying real estate in any market, if properly thought out, is that it provides us with a roof over our head and a “home” to enjoy.  Try to stay warm with an investment certificate over your head.  Over time, real estate has proven to be a very good investment but there are always swings in the value depending on the economic circumstances of the day.  Sadly, these changes have often been forgotten in the frenzy of headlines and tweets. For example, I can remember selling real estate when interest rates were 22% but the interesting thing is that for those individuals who were brave enough to purchase back then, they did very well on the sale value of the property down the road.  Every market has its benefits and distractions.    However, during theses ups and downs in market conditions, your house is still a home.  What other form of investment gives you this basic life comfort?  The real estate market has strongly favoured the Sellers over the past couple of years – remember the “heady” bidding wars, multiple offer headlines, and “holding offers” strategy?  The current sales information indicates we have moved out of this phase of negotiation to a more balanced market for both buyers and sellers.  The good news is that offers on homes can now include “conditions”.  You may ask why is this good news?  Well, as a Seller wouldn’t you rather know in the first 30 days that your Buyer can not finance the purchase of your property and not on the day of closing which leaves everyone in a bind and the seller potentially owning two homes with a variety of legal complexity to sort out.  As we move through this economic change, we may slide into a Buyers market shortly.  Again, every market offers us good news and in a Buyers Market, we start to see renewed interest by buyers – young and old who have experienced the frustration by the previously identified antics exhibited when there were far too few homes available.  As a Buyer, you were previously competing for a property and stretching your affordability at times.  Believe it or not, a Buyers Market can also be a good news story for a seller who now will have potential buyers considering the cost of some upgrades or renovation in their budget and taking the time to make sound decisions, providing more stability to your sale and the market in general. 

The key to any market is working with the most up to date information and statistical data that will provide the necessary support for making an informed decision.  A home is a fundamental element in your economic future…. use all the tools available to support your decision whether you are buying or selling.  Buying or selling, always review the current sales data, current listings, financial data, and of course, the most important part, your personal goals, wants, and expectations.  We want you to come home to a place of comfort and not undue stress due to financial stretching.  We are here to help you with all the information needed to assist you to the best of our ability.  We can provide you with a no cost Opinion of Value to further assist you in making an informed decision.  Please call us, text us, email us…. or walk into one of our three offices and talk to us.  Imagine a “face to face” conversation.  We are here for you.

Real Estate - Change and Confusion

 Tuesday, October 31, 2017     Judy Marsales     Local Hamilton Market Conditions

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Change, change, change… sometimes welcomed changes and sometimes scary.  The past few months have witnessed a dramatic shuffle from one of the strongest “sellers’ markets” to a market identified as “more balanced”. What does all this mean??

Let’s reduce the confusion to basic economic theory which talks about supply and demand.  This economic theory relative to real estate can suggest that when a market has approximately 3 listings for every sale, we are experiencing a balanced market.  In the past year or so, our inventory of available homes for sale was dangerously lower then that equation. At times, inventory of available homes was fewer then one home to one sale which identified as a very strong sellers’ market.  Almost everything offered for sale, sold in a short period of time with considerable activity in the form of multiple offers or bidding wars.

However, real estate times have changed… inventory has dramatically increased and buyers are nervous about the daily economic information coming their way.  Young buyers are concerned about employment certainty, interest rates, and life styles.  Baby boomers and older are concerned about their future lifestyle changes.  Concerns may be around retirement income, moving potentially to a recently built condo that is too small for their comfort, or the cost of seniors’ accommodation in a retirement home which exceeds their budget.

The good news is that a more balanced market affords everyone an opportunity to consider all the necessary facts and to make a good decision for their future before jumping into something.  Informed decisions make for less stress.  We are happy to review all the market considerations and statistical data to inform your decision and to help you move forward just call us, email us, or drop by one of our offices!

Moving With the Changing Real Estate Dynamics

 Tuesday, October 3, 2017     Judy Marsales     General Real Estate Advice

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The real estate dynamics have changed over the past few months.  Earlier this year, we experienced one of the strongest "Sellers Markets" ever as a direct result of a very low inventory of available properties.  However, with some economic uncertainties and the demographic shift that has started, many home owners decided to put their home on the market.  The result has been a substantial increase in the number of available properties for sale thereby pushing the market into a more balanced level between supply and demand. 

The good news with respect to this change is that potential buyers have more choice of properties to consider.  Another good aspect is that there is adequate time through conditions to have home inspections, second viewings, and proper financial approval. These conditions can also be a positive aspect for the Seller who can move forward with more confidence knowing that the Buyer has completed their due diligence and is happy to purchase their home. 

When markets go through some change, it is very important to have all the latest statistical information on which you can base your decision whether buying or selling.  A seller wants their home to achieve the highest and best return but does not want to price their home out of the market based on past information.  A buyer needs to know that they do not need to feel pressured to make a decision based on the past market of multiple offers and bidding wars. 

Current information is the key to a good decision.  Call us, email us, or drop by one of our offices for the most up to date real estate information.