how to pay less real estate commission and get full service

The savvy seller can find a quality agent and broker and still get full service at lower commission rates.

What is normal commission?
The accepted norm for real estate commission is 5% of the sale price of a property.  Typically, the listing agent and the buyer representatives (and their respective brokerages) split this amount equally with 2.5% going to each.  With average prices continuing to climb, this adds up to a fair amount of a seller’s equity to cover the cost, as sellers normally pay both ends of the commission.

Don’t forget the HST! The average residential real estate transaction in Ottawa these days is almost $450,000, so this requires a commission payment of $22,500, using the 5% model…but wait…there’s more!  The HST is charged on the real estate services, adding another 13% or $2,925 to bring the total to $25,425.  So this is clearly and expense that a prudent seller will want to optimize.

As one can see from the photo enclosed, this seller paid only 3% commission which would be a savings of over $10,000 in commission and hst in the example of the typical $450,000 property above…that’s worth considering, right?

Typical commission splits between the sales person and the brokerage:
Most large brand name brokerage sales agents need to charge the 5% rates to cover their corporate overhead.  Though individual Realtors are able to determine their own listing fees as independent contractors, most are constrained via contract, company policy and management practice plus they also need to maximize their earnings, accounting for the split they must pay to the franchise and corporate real estate company.  These splits take 10-30% of the commission revenue earned in *most cases. (splits vary greatly across the industry)

Optimizing real estate commission:
There are many different commission approaches out there these days, many of them available from smaller or mid-size brokerages such as ours.  (to be fair, some agents with larger brokers also have variable commission fees but they are very hard to find-since they are typically not permitted to advertise their commission rates)

The challenge most sellers face is how to get a lower commission cost without having to sacrifice the level of service received.  Even the “for-sale-by-owner” companies (who misleadingly advertise “no commission”, IMHO) do most often require a commission payment to the agent and brokerage representing the buyer on top of the fees charged to “sell it yourself”.  Almost all buyer agents expect 2.5% (+HST) when providing a buyer and facilitating the transaction on behalf of both parties.  So “ for-sale-by-owner”  is not commission free and though it may cut down the total commission being paid, the seller does not have the same level of representation or service they would have had by engaging a listing sales person or Broker.

Mere Posting services:
There are some brokerages who offer very low “ listing end” fees but for limited services and of course, the buyer agent/representative is still looking for their 2.5%, so while this works for some, it may not be ideal in this high paced market.  While intuitively, our sellers’ market would suggest it is easier to sell and therefore marketing and service effort should be less (with commensurately lower cost)  this is not the case.  This market puts a lot of pressure on Realtors to get the price and marketing strategy right and manage a complex set of issues to get the best deal for their client.

The happy medium:
The growth of small and medium sized firms has proliferated in recent years, as many Realtors choose to lower their costs and also become more independent, away from the umbrella of the somewhat restrictive corporate franchise broker.

Firms like ours are able to offer lower commissions and more flexible programs, as we do not bear the overhead of the larger brokerage entities.

Types of commissions that work for sellers:
A seller who also buys with the same agent should expect to get some level of discount on the selling side.  We charge only 3% or 3.5% in this situation) A seller whose agent represents both the seller and a buyer of that property should also expect to pay less, since there is no other agent to pay. (we charge 2.5 or 3% only in these circumstances)

Day-in-day-out lower fees:
We offer the government contract rate of only 3.7% (+HST) for residential properties and 3.99% for condos or country residential properties on well and septic systems.

 Flat fees:
Some firms offer flat fees on the listing end ie $2,995 but typically there will also be a % charge for the buyer representative/brokerage, too.

Volume discount or negotiated discount:
Each property is different and each situation is different, so there may well be some discounts available based on the situation that can be negotiated.

Tips on commission hunting:
Make sure you know what services are being offered.  If you expect the typical suite of Realtor services, make sure these are being offered at the reduced price.  Ie if no professional photography, online marketing, showing feedback or open houses are included, you may not be getting the same value.

Make sure you know the commission rate being offered to the buyer representative who brings the buyer of your property.  Many lower commission plans also drop the % paid and this can have adverse consequences to a seller.

Make sure you know the distinction and are getting a full MLS® listing, as some agents offer a lower commission rate package on what is called an “exclusive listing” but this listing does not get published on MLS and the individual agent is often trying to sell the property themselves (like a pocket listing)  and not have to pay another Realtor for the buying end.  While this lower commission may be attractive, the power of MLS is that all listings go on realtor.ca and all Realtors and their buyers are exposed and engaged to get the listing sold to the widest possible audience. (2 million+ visitors per month)

Is the firm and individual offering the value priced commission experienced enough to manage your listing and are you comfortable with them?

Get all commission rates and service levels committed in writing and included as an addendum to the listing contract and that way you know what you are paying and what you are getting in return.

There are dozens and dozens of independent firms covering every corner of Ottawa, so don’t be shy about seeking one out and using them for your listing brokerage!

For more information about our boutique brokerage services, feel free to give us a call at 613-435-4692 or email oasisrealty@rogers.com  (not intended to solicit those working with other Realtors)  You can also find more Ottawa real estate information and tips at our social media accounts and blog below:

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage Ottawa, ON

Oasisrealtyottawa.com
https://www.facebook.com/oasisrealtyottawa/
https://twitter.com/OasisrealtyOTT
http://blog.oasisrealtyottawa.com/

12th year in business!

 

April 2018 poised to break monthly sales records?

3rd largest sales month:
April is typically the 3rd largest unit sales month of the year and this year looks to be no exception.  Despite an ever lingering winter, sales have been strong through the first 3 weeks of the year.
Our totally unofficial numbers suggest a sales increase that will be at least in the 10-15% range for the month which would take us over the 2,000 mark for combined residential and condo monthly sales.  (last year there were 1,795 properties sold in April and the 5 year average was 1,613.)

New listings:
April is typically the 2nd largest month for new listing activity and listing activity looks pretty strong this year also and should be equal to or greater than the number of new listings in April 2017.  Given our very tight listing inventory situation, this would be some good news for buyers, as new listings have trended down for much of the last 18 months, but with sales trending strongly up, sellers’ market conditions are expected to continue.

Total listing inventory:
Our current overall listing inventory is not even enough to cover sales for two months, when normally a balanced market would be 4 or 5 months of listing inventory, so no respite foreseen from our current tight inventory with the number 1 (May)  and #2 (June) sales months next up.

Sales to new listings this month:
Again unofficially, our numbers show that the ratio of sales to new listings (and key performance indicator in real estate) is 70.4% during the month of April thus far.  For reference: a balanced market is said to exist when sales: new listings is between 40-60% and a buyer’s market when the ratio drops below 40%.

Sales cancellations continue on the higher side:
Typically, about 5-6% of conditional sales fall through and do not “ firm” up and result in a completed sale.  Our current run rate on this stat is more like 10-12% or double the normal.  Financing and inspection issues are the principle cause but good old fashioned buyer’s remorse may also be a factor in a hot market where buyers have little time to consider whether to purchase or not.

What to expect?
Expect to see a lot of exclusive and “coming soon” listings, offer dates, “ bully”  offers and multiple offers. The next few weeks are also the main time for out of town buyers (mostly military, RCMP and other government employees relocating) to be in the market, so activity will be fast and furious.

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
613-435-4692 oasisrealty@rogers.com

Moving to Ottawa in 2018? …here’s how to get ready:

 

It could be “slim pickings” for buyers in 2018 Ottawa real estate:

The Ottawa real estate market has been improving steadily since spring 2016 and 2017 was probably the best year in a decade, with overall unit sales up 10.2% and prices up 6.8% for residential properties and 3.4% for condos.

The good news is Ottawa is still very affordable compared to many places across the country and one of its most stable markets.

Average selling prices 2017:
Detached single home: $ 451,306   +7.6%
Row townhome:            $ 343,958    +4.9%
Semi-detached home:   $ 420,042    +5.7%

Apartment condo:         $ 298,537    + 3.7%
2 story town/condo:     $ 230,141    + 2.9%

Tougher news for buyers will be scarcity of listing availability in 2018 and definite upward pressure on prices, as listings have fallen to very low levels all across the city.

New listings were down 8.7% over the course of 2017 and that trend is worsening already in 2018 with new residential listings in January down 30% compared to the 5 year average. Overall listing levels are down 21.7% for residential listings at year end and 27% for condos.

With increasing numbers of sales and lower numbers of new listings, the supply-demand balance will be swinging even more in favour of sellers, so buyers will have to be very aggressive and prepared for a tough seller’s market.

Here’s some things to do to be ready to buy:
1) have your team in place, so you are 100% ready to buy: Realtor, mortgage broker, insurance broker, inspectors, lawyer.  Make sure you and your spouse/partner are on the same page concerning priority level of housing features.

2) know your financial plan and pre-qualification levels before even looking at a property. Know whether you will need a property appraisal and if the new 2% qualification threshold applies to your file. Understand home operating and utility costs, as this may vary from your existing geographic location.  For example:  property taxes may be higher or lower and ditto for heating, electrical or water costs.  Ottawa has much higher property taxes than Toronto per $ of assessment, for example and we also have rental hot water heaters which those from out of Ontario may not know.

3) have a realistic target of home by type, area, features and price and narrow that as quickly as possible. No sense chasing rainbows in a tough market for buyers.  Wishing you can get the $525K house for $475K will not make it so.

4) have a plan for multiple offers. Well priced new listings will be attracting multiple offers, so discuss your position in advance with your Realtor.

5) consider builder quick occupancy inventory, as many builders are building some homes on spec to be available for peak delivery months ie summer.

6) search online for exclusive listings and other non MLS® posted properties. Many are “trying” listings out on 3rd party sites and social media before posting on MLS®, so you may find listings on social media groups or via search engine alerts.

7) drive through your geographic areas regularly (if possible) to look for new lawn signs popping up. New ones may have toppers that say:  “coming soon” or “exclusive” listing.  These may be good choices if you can find them before other buyers.  The fragmentation of listings from the central MLS® system makes it difficult for buyer agents to stay on top of all new listings appearing in your areas of interest and one cannot be satisfied that electronic means will be sufficient in getting you in to see the hot new listings, before other buyers.

If we can assist with your Ottawa purchase plans this year or answer any questions, please do not hesitate to call 613-435-4692

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record and Principal Broker
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
oasisrealty@rogers.com

https://twitter.com/OasisrealtyOTT https://www.facebook.com/oasisrealtyottawa/   http://blog.oasisrealtyottawa.com/

 

How overuse of exclusive listings undermines MLS®

 

Given our existing low listing inventory situation, many Realtors are convincing their buyers to “try” an exclusive listing to sell their property. While anything a seller and listing agent choose to do is up to them, it does have some consequences for the overall market, including that particular seller.

These exclusive listings are often flagged with sign toppers that say “exclusive listing” or “Coming Soon…” and we believe many listing agents wish to cash in on the listing scarcity for their own marketing and prospect generation purposes. What better way to entice a buyer to contact them than to offer something they may not be able to access otherwise?

Seller cannot be sure they actually get full market value for their home/property:
Selling to a small subset or “VIP” audience of buyers does not necessarily generate a full market value offer. Full market value can only be obtained by the widest possible exposure of a listing to the full MLS® market over time and this does not happen with these grey market listings.
The bottom line is that if the seller is happy with the price they get…then so what? …but just like the seller who sells quickly and then wonders “ should I have listed higher?” the exclusive listing seller may wonder the same thing.

No oversight on “exclusive” listings:
These listings are not on MLS® and therefore not subject to the extensive policies and processes administered by our Ottawa Real Estate Board to ensure fairness and equal access. The Board has no authority to investigate such listings and the 63 pages of OREB MLS® rules do not apply, so though not probable-abuses are possible.  Ie. Might a listing agent choose to give preferential access to their exclusive listing to their own buyers?  Or to their own small circle of Realtor friends or preferred Realtors?  One of the reasons MLS® works so well is that it is available to all 3,000 plus Ottawa Realtors and their buyers with equal access.

Loss of listing inventory may artificially inflate demand in the MLS® marketplace:
Further limiting supply in the listing starved MLS® market, will only enhance demand and potentially push prices higher. Our Ottawa market has been successful over the years by being steady and not as subject to the peaks and valleys of some of our Canadian neighbours.  Spiking demand and driving prices up to double digit increases, risks a longer and flatter market when demand eventually does level off.

Loss of listing data hurts buyers, sellers and Realtors:
By selling a property on the open non MLS® market, the MLS® system gets no data capture from that transaction and that information cannot be used by future buyers and sellers (and their agents) to assess their own buying and selling plans. MLS® data (and photos!)  is critical to helping the marketplace judge what market value should be and losing out data makes that process more difficult.

Searching listings for buyers is a real challenge in this marketplace and the more places a buyer or buyer agent has to sift through to find new listings, makes the search process that much more difficult and frustrating.

MLS® listings should not be “old news”
If a large % of listings get advance marketed as “exclusive” listings for 2-4 weeks and then ultimately get listed on MLS® for full exposure then MLS® listings run the risk of being deemed “old news” which is not good for the credibility and integrity of MLS® as “the” place to go for new listings.

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should:
Just because online marketing and social media presence make it easier and more immediate to market properties today than in the dark printed past, doesn’t mean one should short circuit the central MLS® system.

While many coin operated Realtors may choose to find the shortest, quickest way to a closing and a commission cheque, most will realize that continuing to utilize the MLS® system and protecting its integrity, is still the best way to market listings. Trying to short circuit the system for marketing advantage ultimately weakens our MLS® system and makes losers of us all.

Why is the listing agent proposing an exclusive listing?
We are clearly not in favour of the widespread use of exclusive listings and we certainly didn’t see too many of them when we had a buyers’ market back in 2015 or 2015. So most sellers should have the discussion with their listing agent and try to really understand what it is they are selling and why.  Ultimately, whatever seller and listing agent agree is fine but both parties should be aware that they could be missing out on “top dollar” by not marketing the property first on the full-fledged MLS® system where all buyers and their agents can easily find and consider the property on an equal access basis with well-defined policies and procedures in place.

If you wish to discuss this or any other residential real estate matter with us, we are happy to do so! Feel free to give us a call at 613-435-4692.  You can also follow other items of real estate interest on our website, blog and social media below.

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
www.oasisrealtyottawa.com   http://blog.oasisrealtyottawa.com/

https://twitter.com/OasisrealtyOTT   https://www.facebook.com/oasisrealtyottawa/

now at 1,500+ facebook “likes” and 12th year in business!

Are Realtors sabotaging MLS® with “grey market” listings?

We have experienced a relatively strong market over the last 18 months and listing scarcity has become an issue, as many areas have only a month or two of listing inventory. Listings in 2017 were down approximately 25% from the previous year (35% over 2 years) and with healthy sales, this made things difficult for buyers and their agents, especially those with an existing property to sell.

“Grey” market listings abound: (non MLS®)
In the face of dwindling listings, many Realtors (and their sellers) are getting creative about how they plan to market the listing to the best advantage of seller and Realtor. This includes the use of “exclusive” listings, “pocket” listings and future sale listings.  In most of these types of listings the listing agent does not publicize the listing widely/openly on the MLS® system.  (or at least initially) Instead these Realtors market via social media and a variety of 3rd party online sites.   Have you seen those “Coming Soon” or “Exclusive Listing”signs on front yards in your neighbourhood?  This is most likely an indication of a grey market listing.

How is this advantageous? (and to whom?)
Realtors do this for a number of reasons in our opinion:
-Realtors leverage the listing to potentially generate other buyer or seller prospects
-Realtors have a chance of “double ending” the listing, if they are able to find a buyer without having to pay another Realtor.
-The listing agent in many cases will have used these marketing concepts, combined with a lower listing commission to help close the listing in the first place.
-Realtors may be able to avoid the cost and time involved in some steps of the listing process ie professional photography, staging and also get to a sale sooner.
-are all the above consistent with the Realtor pledge of “first duty to client” or is the Realtor’s own marketing and prospecting activity subverting their principal duty to their seller client?
-some sellers may prefer not having a “wide open” MLS® listing where everybody and their brother are free to book random appointments to see their home.

So what’s the down side?
-these “ secret” listings become a bit of a holy grail and many Realtors really play this up:  Ie “ deal with me and I will get you the inside scoop on all the new listings, so you get to consider them BEFORE they hit MLS®.  Nobody, has access to all the “secret” listings, no matter how strong they may be in the neighbourhood.  The fairest and most democratic way is for all listings to make their way to MLS® where they can be considered by all buyers and their agents.
-all buyers do not get to consider the property and therefore demand is generated by only a small portion of the overall market.
-Buyers may be encouraged in to making a more impulsive offer, given the relative scarcity. This can result in buyer’s remorse and more conditional sales falling through which has been a factor in our market.
-these grey market listings that do not get to MLS®, also then further diminish the level of listing inventory available to MLS® buyers and therefore enhance the supply shortfall and help cause prices to rise.
-MLS® in recent years even includes most of the FSBO listings, so it is a fantastic central repository and marketplace. By withholding listings from MLS®, Realtors are not doing their seller, buyers or Realtor colleagues any favours.  Think for a moment if there was no MLS®?  Would you want Google or facebook to decide what listings you got to see?  MLS® is still ad free, too!
Do you want to have to scour hundreds of websites daily to find and stay on top of new listings in the marketplace?

Selling scarcity is nothing new:
Realtors, buyers and sellers will always adapt to scarcity and attempt to find ways to take advantage and this is no different, unfortunately, it can also lead to further scarcity in MLS® listings and possibly further demand spikes and price increases which is not good for buyers. It also removes some credibility from the MLS® system, if “ new”  listings are deemed to be old news by the time they are published on MLS®.

Seller choice:
A seller may find a deal without having to go through the full-fledged MLS® prep and marketing process and if they are happy with what they get, then so be it. Clearly, however, the best market value is to be obtained with the widest possible exposure to all buyers and their agents and that only happens with a listing on MLS®

Proponents will argue that they are only “getting the best deal” for their seller client but in many cases, we believe Realtor marketing and differentiation are the principal reason for use of these “grey marketing/non-MLS®” listings and that on balance this is not good for the overall market as it fractures and weakens the  central source of MLS® supply and exacerbates already existing supply problems.

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage 613-435-4692  oasisrealty@rogers.com www.oasisrealtyottawa.com

12th year in business as a lower cost brokerage

 

Almost 3,000 fewer listings than the same point 2 years ago!

Listings (or lack thereof!) continue to be the dominant story in Ottawa real estate based on 3rd quarter results through the end of September.

Almost 3,000 fewer listings than at the same point only 2 years ago!
New listings in September are down 10.5% for residential properties and 20.3% for condos vs last year and 22.6% and 26.8% vs 2015.
Total listing inventory at month end is down this year 20.1% for residential listings and 24.1% for condos. Compared to 2015, listing inventory is down 35% for residential and 33.6% for condos.  Combined this means the current market has a 2,922 fewer properties available for sale at the end of September than the same point in 2015.

Sales up, inventory down, scarcity looms
With total sales demand up 12.1% vs 2015 for residential and 24.6% for condos, it is easy to see how we are seeing average prices rise and more multiple offers.

Residential sales: price growth fuelled by demand
Unit sales were actually down 1.8% in September but average selling price was up 8.2% to $416,464. On a year to date basis, residential unit sales are up 6.6% and the average selling price is up 7.2% to $425,139.

Condo market continues to show strength:
2017 has been one of the best condo markets in many years with unit sales thus far up 23.5% and the average selling price up 4.6% at $272,220.

Who benefits:
Sellers benefit in this market but of course, those who are also buying face a challenge on that end. One of the basic facts of real estate is that those who own a home are stuck both buying and selling in the same market conditions, so while one may gain on one side, they suffer on the other.

Buyers face more multiple offers, a very fast moving market on new listings and limited decision making time.

Builders have had a record year from anecdotal reports and we can certainly confirm that builder prices have been increasing and buyer incentives decreasing in the face of strong results and limited listing inventory in new construction also. Buyers are encouraged to keep an eye on new lot or phase releases or in demand inventory homes.  Also take your Realtor with you to the sales centre and consider asking for a “hold” or “reservation” for a short time from the builder, if possible.(though builders may also be tightening up on their willingness to accept such good “faith” agreements)

Bottom line and what to expect:
Though mortgage rates are creeping up with the Bank of Canada recent rate changes and there are continuing steps to tighten mortgage qualifications, our market appears pretty solid and poised for more growth.

Investors are still trying to figure out how new rental rules from the provincial government may affect them, so we could see some slackening in demand from this sector as a result.

As long as the federal government does radically alter their headcount and spending plans going in to the latter half of their mandate, our local economy should continue to be fairly buoyant and allow us to continue with the positive real estate trend lines which have been strengthening for the last 18 months.

This could be the best fall and winter in the last decade to be listing a property, given all the foregoing, so sellers should be reasonably confident they can find a buyer even in our historically seasonal hibernation between mid-November and mid-February.

Buyers should keep a close eye on the market as there may be some off season listing gems hit the market from sellers who have been awaiting a new build completion and have to list in the off season to accommodate their move in plans.

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
oasisrealty@rogers.com
www.oasisrealtyottawa.com  blog.oasisrealtyottawa.com
https://www.facebook.com/oasisrealtyottawa/
https://twitter.com/OasisrealtyOTT

11th year in business as a lower commission brokerage

 

Know condo rules before listing

We recently ran in to an issue with a condo and a fairly cranky Property Manager.(at least initially) We had agreed with the seller that based on the location of the townhouse condo, it made good marketing sense to have 2 sets of “For Sale” signs; one right in front of the unit itself and the other at the entrance off the main road.

Immediate removal and repair of “damage”!
Little did we know that the condo had restrictions on where signage could be placed and both of our signs were inappropriate and required immediate removal or repositioning.
The condo limits the location of real estate signage to one small grassy area at the far end of the development from our listed property, so with the clients help we removed the incorrect signage and reinstalled the other one appropriately.

Why do condos have such rules?
The principal reason is to facilitate grass cutting, snow removal and other maintenance and perhaps cluttering up the common areas is an issue, too. (we would probably ban signage altogether but that is a topic for another day)

Mea culpa:
The Property Manager was 100% correct in saying that we either should have known or should have checked prior to installing our signs, so this is a good tip for both sellers and realtors when listing condos. Though not justification, in our defence:  the seller was a new owner who had just purchased the property for renovation and resale purposes and we had not listed a property in this complex for some time, if ever.

Also, we had seen at least one other sign in place in front of another unit listed when our client originally purchased the property, so perhaps that influenced our thinking.

Other condo restrictions:
Lockboxes:
Placement and duration of lockboxes at condo apartment complexes is an ongoing issue for property managers and realtors alike. Take a look around at the proliferation of lockboxes on railings near condo entrances in larger complexes and just think: what could go wrong?

Parking restrictions:
there may be parking limitations or restrictions that make it difficult for realtor showings and open houses

Security matters:
security may also play a role in limiting access, particularly for open houses, as some condos require visitors to be escorted, once inside the building.

Open Houses and signage:
there may be specific regulations aimed at Open Houses and open house signage which owners and realtors should know and support.

In building marketing or posting of flyers or promotional material:
I have seen marketing information posted on condo bulletin boards and also seen flyers dropped outside unit doors. Most condos will have some kind of guidelines for such practices.

Every condo is different:
Also remember that every condo is different and may have varying rules and restrictions, depending on ownership and Board wishes.

A word about property and building managers:
Property managers and in-building managers are very important resources for condo owners and realtors alike. They can be invaluable assets and sources of information and provide critical services, so it is always best to have a good relationship with them.  So do everyone a favour and make sure to check out all condo rules, policies and procedures to facilitate the listing, marketing and sale of your condo property.

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
oasisrealty@rogers.com
www.oasisrealtyottawa.com  http://blog.oasisrealtyottawa.com/

https://www.facebook.com/oasisrealtyottawa/

https://twitter.com/OasisrealtyOTT

11th year in business as a full service lower commission brokerage

Why are so many conditional sales falling through in 2017?

We have noticed a marked increase in the number of sales that have “fallen through” this year and not firmed up, once conditionally sold.

A conditional sale is reached after an Agreement of Purchase and Sale has been agreed to and signed by both parties and typically calls for a conditional sales period during which the buyer satisfies their purchasing conditions such as inspection and financing. This period is generally 5 business days for most properties but may run to 10 business days or more if additional inspections are required or in the case of condominiums where buyers must wait for the property manager to produce up to date condo status documentation.

What metrics do we have on the issue?
Unfortunately, this data is not recorded, reported or available in any meaningful way by our real estate board or realtor system. On our realtor dashboard, we have a section of the screen that keeps us informed about the number of new listings, price changes, conditional sales, sales, listing cancellations and the telling “back on market” category.  (here is what a section of our realtor dashboard looks like and our only source of data)

 

New Listing (111)
Back On Market (18)
Price Decrease (48)
Price Increase (1)
Conditional Sale (100)
Sold (87)
Expired (21)
Leased (0)
Cancelled (34)
Rented (13)
Suspended (2)

Back on market listings are those that are returning to active status and are mostly made up of those that were previously conditionally sold and are now being returned to “active” sales status.

Historically, this “back on market” category runs about 5% of new listings in our experience over the last several years. This year however, that number is more like 8-10% or more which means that the number of sales falling through is approaching double what it had previously been.

What causes sales to fall through and why so many more this year?
Good old fashioned “buyer’s remorse”
Buyer’s remorse can always be a factor in sales falling through. One partner may have liked the property more than the other or perhaps the buyers are just not prepared enough or on the same page regarding key buying criteria.  When this happens, unfortunately, many other parties are affected and their plans sidelined.

Because of our stronger market this year, many buyers may feel rushed to put in an offer before they are really ready, as they fear “missing out” on the property if they don’t.

Seeing a property once for a 30 or 40 minute visit may not be enough to get a full grasp or comfort level, so we may be seeing some impulsive buying decisions as a result. We recommend at least two visits to a property for buyers but this market doesn’t necessarily allow time for that level of investigation and research..

This can be especially so for buyers shopping high demand areas and price points who may have lost out on other properties or multiple offers by not being “quick enough”.

Inspections:

Inspections are the number 1 cause of sales falling through, because hidden or pricier to fix than expected items in a home, once understood, often lead to a renegotiation of a selling price which means there is a chance for the deal to fall apart.

In our market favouring sellers, many sellers may believe that there are lots more buyers out there waiting to buy their property, so may not be motivated to adjust the agreed selling price or fix issues pointed out in inspections. This is very true for properties which sell fairly quickly after listing or those sold in multiple offers.

Buyers in these circumstances may be feeling they are paying a premium price for a property and therefore can have an expectation that certain things should be addressed by a seller, so there is good potential for a disconnect between buyer and seller.

Financing:

As mortgage qualifications have tightened (and now with rising rates) more buyers may be getting surprised when the time comes to get the final mortgage approval during the conditional sales period. If there are hiccups in mortgage approval, some buyers may have to walk away from a house they really love.

So why is this is this a worry in a strong market?

Sales that fall through waste a lot of time, energy and money. A seller’s property is effectively “off the market” during the buyer conditional period and they may lose other qualified buyers who buy something else in the interim.

The seller’s plans are totally “on hold” and they cannot go forward until the sale firms up, so it can be a stressful waiting period for all involved. Realtors meanwhile, get no extra compensation for having helped buyer or seller through a transaction that does not complete.

Stigma on conditionally sold property:

Like it or not, there is a bit of a stigma attached to a property which has been conditionally sold but then falls through. So much so, that the real estate board allows the record of that conditional sale to be expunged from the sales history record, so as not to prejudice future buyers and their realtors.

Most buyers and Realtors will be suspicious and assume there was some inspection issue that surfaced.

Can you imagine how many fall through in private sales?

If a large number of sales are running in to problems with professional realtors advising both buyer and seller, can you imagine what the factor might be in the private sale arena?

Bottom line:

This is an offshoot of what is essentially a very healthy market with strong demand and enthusiastic buyers possibly jumping too soon for fear of losing out on a new listing. It also tests realtors who must do their utmost to make sure their buyers are fully prepared to complete conditional sales and negotiate the inevitable rocky patch that may occur between conditional sale and firm.

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
oasisrealty@rogers.com
www.oasisrealtyottawa.com  blog.oasisrealtyottawa.com
https://www.facebook.com/oasisrealtyottawa/
https://twitter.com/OasisrealtyOTT

11th year in business as a full service lower commission brokerage

 

 

Why fall and winter may be the best time of year to buy a new construction home

Our Ottawa real estate season tends to “bloom” in the spring with the greatest portion of resale transactions being done from March 1st to September 30th.  We do not have access to stats on new construction sales but we suspect they may follow a somewhat similar pattern.

A strong argument can be made that fall and winter may be the best time to purchase a new construction home from a builder. Here are some of the factors that work in favour of buyers purchasing during these somewhat quieter months of the year.

Less frantic buying environment:
When it is peak selling season (or a major launch) builder sales centres are packed and this puts extra pressure on buyers to “make a deal now” before someone else reserves that special lot. This can result in an almost timeshare or boiler room atmosphere which is not conducive to well-reasoned and researched decision making.  Buyers may be swayed more by a “fear of loss” motivation and thus make some hasty decisions.  This is fine if one has done one’s homework but it can also produce impulsive and immature buying decisions.

This environment and the genuine risk of losing out on an opportunity should be slightly less during quieter selling months.

Closing date a critical factor
Most new home deals being signed in the fall or early winter, will call for deliveries in the summer or early fall of the following year. Buyers will really want to consider all aspects of how this availability date impacts their individual situation, as there are both pros and cons and builders have limited ability to adjust scheduled deliveries to meet buyer criteria in a significant way.

Sale of existing home timeline is also critical
Those with an existing home to sell will want to be able to sell their property during the peak selling season, if at all possible. Understanding the timelines is important: ie. When should I list my house to meet the builder closing date?  How long will it take to sell?  How long will it take to close?  How much am I going to get from the sale of my home? A Realtor can help with all of these items and more concerning a new construction home purchase.

Design Centres may also be less busy and stressed
A critical stage of the home buying process is getting the design centre options researched, decided and planned. This timeline can be daunting for those who have not done it before and if a builder design centre is super busy or understaffed this can impact the process and the quality of the buyer decisions and ultimately, the finished product.   Since you only have a short window to get these choices right, it may be advantageous to do this phase in a quieter time of the business year for the builder.

First time buyers RHOSP “double dip”
First time buyers using their registered home ownership savings from their RRSP, may be able to make a savings deposit for the current fiscal year and qualify for that year’s tax deduction, as well as being able to utilize those funds for a purchase the following year. There are some rules around this, as funds must be present in the RRSP account for at least 90 days, before they can be withdrawn for home buying purchases.  Check with your mortgage professional to check on each specific situation.

Saving and planning time
Having several months to plan a move, allows time for additional saving, facilitates scheduling and also allows time for the purchase of new furniture, appliances or household items.

Don’t forget your Realtor!
Many new construction buyers forget to get their Realtor involved early in their new construction home buying cycle. A Realtor can be a really good “Coach” in helping plan and execute a new home purchase. Those buying new construction for the first time and those with an existing home to sell can very much benefit from Realtor experience and counsel. So…”don’t go to the builder sales centre without them”

New construction is one of our core areas of involvement and we are always happy to discuss and advise for those who are already not already working with another Realtor. We feel we have a bit of “inside track”, too-as we have been listing new construction homes for a major Ottawa builder for7 years now.  So give us a call at 613-435-4692, if you have some questions about how the process can work for you.

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
oasisrealty@rogers.com
www.oasisrealtyottawa.com  blog.oasisrealtyottawa.com
https://www.facebook.com/oasisrealtyottawa/
https://twitter.com/OasisrealtyOTT

11th year in business as a lower commission brokerage

 

Why there are a lot fewer open houses on long weekends

Good time or bad time for an open house?
There is a very strong inherent bias against doing open houses on long weekends by many real estate professionals. The party line goes: “everyone wants to spend time with their families and won’t take the time to come to my open house”. You can also expect such sentiments to be heard from the “open houses don’t matter” crowd.  We believe that the reality is, many Realtors also prefer to have the weekend off (albeit probably well deserved!) with their family and thus pooh-pooh the notion of there being any value to holding an open house.  To be fair, many sellers may prefer to have family time, especially if their property has already been on the market for a while.

One can expect to see more open houses happening either the weekend before or the weekend after a long weekend. But does this mean one should avoid holding an open house on a long weekend?

In our opinion, absolutely not! If it fits the schedule and marketing plan for widest and timely exposure of a listing, there is absolutely nothing wrong with scheduling an Open House on a long weekend.  While it is true that many potential buyers will be spending time with their families or travelling, if a home purchase is a high priority and the property fits the buyer purchase criteria, we believe most will find a way to get to a pertinent open house.  In fact, the most highly motivated buyers may well be those that show up at these, though one should expect fewer visitors overall.

It is equally true that many buyers or out of town buyers may use the extra day of a long weekend to focus on their home search or at least include it in their plans.

Why there are even fewer open houses in 2017:
We have a strong market in 2017 with limited listing inventory. Consequently, things are selling faster and Realtors have to hold fewer open houses to showcase listings.

This can be a challenge for the casual “I’ll-know-it-when-I-see-it” buyer or those not engaged with a Realtor, as quite often homes will be sold or conditionally sold, before the first open house even rolls around.

So how are we spending this long weekend?
A very recent listing is ideally suited for showcasing this Labour Day weekend, so we are scheduled Monday 2-4 PM at 5K Banner Rd. This is avery reasonable townhouse condo near Algonquin College that has been fully renovated. Check it out! http://oreb.mlxmatrix.com/matrix/shared/5Z7Hy8fgMh/5BANNERROAD

Buyer top: search for all Open Houses being held this weekend on MLS® at www.ottawarealestate.org ….although there are just over 100 to choose from this Labour Day.

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
oasisrealty@rogers.com
www.oasisrealtyottawa.com  blog.oasisrealtyottawa.com
https://www.facebook.com/oasisrealtyottawa/
https://twitter.com/OasisrealtyOTT

11th year in business as a lower commission brokerage