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