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!

 

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!

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

 

 

 

 

Selling next spring? ….why time may be running out!

You’re kidding me right? We are not even at the end of August, yet “time may be running out”.

Well, think about it, there are only a few weeks of summer remaining (sorry!)  with weather warm enough to do a lot of outdoor prep that you will not have time to do in the early spring, because of cold or damp weather. This is true for anyone who may be contemplating a sale anytime between November and May but especially so for military personnel that are expecting a “posting notice” out of Ottawa which means an April listing.

Here are some sample projects that will help you get ready for a spring sale now:

Any outdoor painting, caulking, staining, sealing, parging or other concrete repair

Repair or replace any tired fencing or decking.

Thin out, weed and mulch gardens and plant new spring bulbs for colour.

Trim hedges, shrubs and replace any plants, trees or sod affected by bugs or heat.

Aerate, top dress and overseed the lawn and fertilize, so it will look great next spring. Hire a professional lawn service company or landscaping company if your lawn and gardens are in really poor condition.

Hint: extra watering in the fall right up to the time the snow flies is a great way to have lawns, trees, shrubbery and gardens look good early in the spring.

Clean out the eavestroughs once all the leaves are down this fall.

Get the windows cleaned inside and out.

De-clutter garage, garden shed and remove any extraneous items or materials from outside spaces.

Replace any tired outdoor furniture or accessories.

Dig out your home inspection manual and see if there are any outstanding items on the list that have not been completed.

Hint: consider a pre-listing home inspection right now! This may uncover things that need to be addressed and it may save a sale later. Many inspection items are a lot less expensive to fix before listing than after. A general home inspection may also conclude that a roofer, HVAC, foundation, WETT or other household system may require professional servicing or further inspection.  Better to find it now than later!

If there is a swimming pool, have it professionally closed and inspected this fall and keep copies of work orders, invoices and any repairs or quotes.

Get your driveway sealed, so it will look well maintained come spring.

You could also take some photos of the exterior of the house and yard, garden, shrubs, trees etc.  right now, as they probably look better right now than any time until early May.  Having some nice color photos to use for online in in home presentation during listings, is a great tool and allows prospective buyers to see the summer state of the exterior landscaping or other features.

This is by no means a complete list and you have not even started inside yet! If you would like to discuss what you need to do to be 100% “listing ready” for a spring or winter sale, by all means give us a call, if you are not already working with another Realtor.

 

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

A lower commission brokerage

Tick-tock: why the clock is ticking on getting a property listed, sold and closed in 2017

 

Forgive us if it sounds a little odd to be “counting down” on real estate sales and closings for 2017 but in reality, this is the case as we approach mid-August. How so, you say?

There are several key factors that create this tightening timeline:

1) Seasonal slowdown:
Our market unit sales volume steadily eases from its peak in April, May and June to the start of winter hibernation in mid to late November when things are really quiet for 60-90 days. Sales are progressively lower for each month following the end of June to the end of year and unit sales are lowest in December and January. Most buyers don’t want to move in during the winter (if they have a choice) and seeing properties in the winter and making a buying decision is more challenging.

Many buyers also like to get moved in time to enjoy Xmas season in their new home or before the snow flies, in early to  mid-December.

2) time-to-sell and time-to-close
Typical selling time in our strong market for midrange properties should be 30 days or so and remember one must add at least a week for a buyer to firm up their conditions.

Most buyers are looking for a 45-60 day closing period, particularly first time buyers or those coming from rental properties where 60 day notice to the existing landlord is required.

3) prep and lead time to get a property on the market:
There are always a few more things to do to get ready for professional photos and for the onslaught of strangers visiting your home at the outset of a listing period. Realtors need time to schedule photography, sign installation and marketing, so this “prelist” phase in most cases, will be at least 7-10 days.

While every property and sale will differ, adding the above takes somewhere in the order of 75-100 days, so the typical property listed by the end of August, is most likely to sell and close somewhere between mid-November and mid-December.

These timelines may be further skewed or lengthened if the property being sold is a higher priced or unique property or presents some selling challenges.

The best thing a prospective seller can do is to check with a Realtor and see how these timelines apply to their own property and what the likelihood is for success in line with the seller’s expectations. Though we have a strong market this year and listing inventory is much lower than in recent years, it is important to remember that rate of sale for the balance of the year is quite different than what we have seen in the last 3-6 months.

If you are not currently working with a Realtor, please feel free to give us a call and we will be happy to provide a no cost no obligation market evaluation of your property and how we might be able to assist. For more information or to get check out more information on Ottawa real estate, please see our online co-ordinates below.

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
613-435-4692 or 613-371-9691
oasisrealty@rogers.com   oasisrealtyottawa.com
https://www.facebook.com/  oasisrealtyottawa/

@oasisrealtyOTT   http://blog.oasisrealtyottawa.com/

A lower commission brokerage, 11th year in business

Let’s dispel a major myth about Ottawa real estate in the summer!

Let’s dispel a major Ottawa real estate myth: that summer is “dead” in real estate

It has long been held that summer is dead in real estate and things pick up in the fall…but is it really true?

….not so much, as our research has proven! (See monthly unit sales chart)

We hear this all the time from sellers, home owners and even other Realtors who seem to think that there are two “prime” or “peak” seasons in Ottawa real estate: spring and fall.  We hear statements like “everyone is on vacation” or “gone to the cottage” etc. thus explaining why real estate “dies” off in the summer and somehow is magically reborn and “things pick up after Labour Day”.

While it is true that summer sales do dip compared to the super peak season in May and June, July and August are the next best sales months the market will see until the following April, so serious buyers and sellers should not put their real estate plans “on hold” until the fall’s purported “2nd season” in the Fall.

Summer unit sales: July and August 4th and 5th strongest months

Sales in July and August are some 20-25% less than those in April-May and June but are still usually well ahead of sales in September and October which are a further 10-20% lower, followed by November when sales start to go in to the winter hibernation phase of Ottawa real estate.

New Listings and total listing inventory are also typically higher in the summer months than in the fall and winter, so it is a great time to be buying also.

How did this myth get started?
…hard to say but possibilities include:
After a busy spring season, some Realtors may be looking for a bit of a break themselves, which is hard to do when one has to be “on call” and readily available close by to support a new listing or buyer client. So if a buyer or seller plans can be deferred a couple of weeks, the Realtor can sneak in some summer vacation time for themselves.

Also, some Realtors may feel that for whatever reason, a certain property may get more attention in the fall or they may simply be trying to save some business activity to anchor the balance of their business year, especially with the typically slow winter season approaching from mid-November on.

There may be some valid reasons in terms of market circumstances, competitive listing inventory, seller vacations, property preparation for listing and so forth but let us be perfectly clear: don’t delay listing your property in July or August because you think business is stronger later!

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
613-435-4692 or 613-371-9691
oasisrealty@rogers.com

One of Ottawa’s best liked/followed real estate pages: https://www.facebook.com/oasisrealtyottawa/

Our real estate guide/blog: http://blog.oasisrealtyottawa.com/

2 experienced brokers working for you…11th year in business!

 

 

Why “discounter” shouldn’t be a dirty word in real estate

do discount brokerages work?
do discount brokerages work?

We took a different path from most in organized real estate when we started our own independent brokerage. We had previously worked with two large international franchise brokerages and felt we could offer a very viable service at much lower commission than is necessary to support the infrastructure a large franchise brokerage requires.

We have done this successfully for 10 years now and our sellers pay 20-40% less than the typical 5% commissions charged by most of those working for brand name brokerages.  This can add up to thousands in $ commission and HST savings for those who work with us, particularly as house prices continue to rise.

How we can do it:
We have been able to provide excellent service and save our sellers a lot of money because we don’t have the overhead of the corporate franchise structure, so we can afford to provide the same level of service at a much lower price. Sounds like a win for the consumer, right?

So what’s the problem?
The problem is far too many consumers are led to believe that “discounter” is a dirty word (if not even a lower life form!) when used to describe a salesperson/brokerage that does not charge the more typical 5% commissions. Somehow the perception has been created that such brokerages offer lower levels of service and are “not as good” as the higher priced brokerage.

Realtor school 101:
Within the first month or two a new Realtor will attend a seminar or sales meeting on “handling the commission price objection” and they will all be taught the similar FUD (fear-uncertainty-doubt) to explain to a prospective seller why they should pay a much higher fee rather than go with the lower priced service provider.

“These firms don’t last long”

“These firms don’t advertise”

“Other Realtors won’t sell your listing”

“You get what you pay for”

Without going in to detail, these types of statements are simply untrue and disparaging a competitor in this fashion is contrary to Realtor codes of ethics and may be anti-competitive, too-yet it happens every day over kitchen tables, in blogs/websites and on radio shows… “ya gotta watch some of these discounters” might even be a tag line for some 5% Realtors.

Who wouldn’t like lower commissions?
Our experience tells us that most consumers would like to see lower commissions yet many are afraid to embrace the dreaded “discounter” because of continued fear-uncertainty and doubt spread by the higher priced agents.

Shop your local, independent brokerage!
Smaller and independent brokers are more likely to have a viable and lower cost MLS® listing model, since administrative, management and franchise fees are all lower for these firms and there are many good smaller brokerages here in Ottawa.

So if you believe that real estate commissions should be lower then don’t be swayed by corporate FUD and choose a lower commission or discount broker for your real estate needs. Many firms like ours are out there and offer some innovative service models that might work for you….so don’t be afraid to work with a non-name brand firm or affiliated Realtor.

To take advantage of our low cost programs for full service MLS® listings or buyer representation services, give us a call at 613-435-4692 or check us out online at the co-ordinates below. Excellent preseason listing rates of only 3% or 3.5% currently in effect.  The cash you are saving is your own!

(subject to change without notice, some conditions apply, not intended to solicit existing listings)

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker Oasis Realty Brokerage
613-435-4692 or mobile 613-371-9691
oasisrealty@rogers.com oasisrealtyottawa.com

One of the highest ranked and “liked” real estate pages on facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/oasisrealtyottawa/

Follow us on Twitter for “all the real estate news that’s fit to post”  https://twitter.com/OasisrealtyOTT

One of Ottawa’s best real estate blogs: http://blog.oasisrealtyottawa.com/

A full service, boutique brokerage with lower listing fees

When should I list my Ottawa home or condo? (part 2)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Should I wait until summer to list my house?

This is a question we often hear and the answer depends on the individual homeowner circumstances and objectives. Quite often the “best time to list” discussion is determined by other factors but here are a few items to consider in a listing and timing strategy:

Spring is King:
The April through June period is by far our busiest sales time here in Ottawa and our ratio of new listings to sales is also strongest during these months. Competition is also the heaviest then as well, so sellers with overpriced listings may not realize it until it is too late to react to market feedback.

February-March are great lead in months:
Open houses are full of buyers in February and March, so this can be a good time to be listing also.  If buyer feedback suggests listing tweaks there is time to adjust before peak sales season.

Don’t avoid listing in Summer!
Contrary to real estate myth, the 2nd best selling season is July-September based on monthly sales.  While one often hears that “real estate is dead” in the summer and “things pick up in the Fall/after Labour Day” this is totally inaccurate when one looks at monthly unit sales history.  So don’t avoid listing in July or August, because of this Realtor equivalent of an old wives tale.

Listing timeline most often tied to purchase:
Quite often the listing timelines are dictated by when one can find their “dream home”. This can rarely be preplanned, as it is subject to the whim of what becomes available on the market and a buyer being able to successfully secure a purchase on that property.
A key issue in the purchase of a property is always the sellers’ timeline and desired closing date, so one cannot always pick when their new home will be available.

Resale property vs new construction:
Resale properties are typically available within a 45-60 closing time frame. New construction is typically much longer (except for inventory homes or model home sales) with 4-6 month lead times or longer.  This can especially complicate listing timing for a new built home that is going to close in January-March which means selling an existing home later in the year which is the slower time for the resale market.

How long will it take to sell my existing property?
Most are enthusiastic and assume their palace will sell very quickly and at the price they expect and plan for. This is quite often not the case, unfortunately.  Just over 40% of new listings sold on the Ottawa real estate board during 2016-so a fast sale is by no means guaranteed.  In fact, the average residential property took 56 days on the market to sell in 2016 and the average condo 70 days.

What are the competitive issues that will affect my sale?
The level of competitive listing activity from resale homes and new construction will vary by area and time of year but obviously have a huge effect on when and whether to list. Overall inventory levels have come down quite a bit over the last year, so this may be a pretty good year to list compared to previous years, assuming we continue to see the slightly better demand level we experienced in 2016.

Can I list my property now for a closing in 6 or 8 months?
Most resale properties close within 45-90 days of a sale on average, so by trying to listing for a much longer closing, one is decreasing the number of potential buyers and hence demand and possibly market value.

How do I “time” the market?
If peak sales are April-June, does this mean one should list in April? Or get a head start by listing in March?  Most properties look their best in mid-May or June, once leaves are back on the trees and gardens start to bloom, but is this too late to be listing?
If one thinks in competitive terms: the first person to list has the advantage of being available to buyers in the market at that time but also has the disadvantage that those listing later will be able to price their listings knowing the listing price of the earlier listing.

Do I sell first or buy first?
Age old question which varies with buyer circumstances and both have their pros and cons.  A high % of buyers with existing homes typically find their new dream home first and then put the existing property on the market but it is not unusual for someone to sell first, particularly if planning to buy in a high neighbourhood.

Bottom Line:
There are many factors which affect the timing and marketing of a property and a Realtor is best equipped to consult on all factors specific to an individual property and neighbourhood.

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
613-435-4692 or mobile 613-371-9691
oasisrealty@rogers.com
oasisrealtyottawa.com

One of the highest ranked and “liked” real estate pages on facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/oasisrealtyottawa/

Follow us on Twitter for “all the real estate news that’s fit to post”  https://twitter.com/OasisrealtyOTT

One of Ottawa’s best real estate blogs: http://blog.oasisrealtyottawa.com/

A full service, boutique brokerage with lower listing fees

When is the best time to list my Ottawa property?

Here is a chart we have compiled from monthly Ottawa real estate board published unit sales results (residential and condo property unit sales/month) for the last 5 years. This demonstrates a pretty consistent annual pattern in the Ottawa market.

Spring is key:
April through June are typically our peak sales months and this will come as no surprise for most. Government employees are relocating and families looking for a summer closing and move before the next school year, give this season a major boost.  Each year Ottawa real estate handles some 800-1000 moves in to town by government personnel with an equal number moving away from Ottawa.  The highest % of these are military and RCMP relocations.

Summer surprisingly strong:
There is a significant myth that “real estate is dead in summer” and this table shows this is totally incorrect! July and August are typically the 4th and 5th busiest sales months of the year, so those who “wait until the market picks up in the Fall” are really doing themselves a disservice.

March, September and October:
These are “shoulder” or transition sales months. March activity is increasing for the busy spring and September and October are marked by erosion of peak demand heading in to the slower fall and winter season.

November-February:
Ottawa sales take a breather, as fewer people want to move during the winter time and seasonal vacations, holiday activity and weather all play a role in making house buying not quite as active. A lot of planning and preparation for the peak season can be done during January and February, so still an active period-just not as many sales.

Personal Objectives most important:
What dictates selling or buying times is often based on a specific property being available and this then drives the sale of an existing home. Those with homes to sell will want to consider their buying and closing timelines in a way that optimizes selling an existing property if at all possible. For example, buying a new home that closes in February means one is selling an existing property in late fall in order to co-ordinate the new home purchase.  This however, is not the best-selling market for the existing property-so the seller will have to take this in to account when doing their pricing and listing plans.

When will my property show best?
Most properties will not show their best until mid-May when leaves are on the trees and everything has “greened up”, so some may wish to time their listing (and photo) plans accordingly. For example, a house with a pool will look much more inviting when the pool is open and warmer temperatures occur.

Is my property ready to list?
It can take longer than one thinks to get a property in HGTV condition for listing and selling, so this must be planned in to the listing cycle.

Competition also a factor:
The quality and number of head to head competitors to the property being sold (both new and resale) also factors in to the timing decision.

How long will it take my property to sell?
Sellers will have to factor in both selling and closing time in to the planning timeline and these can vary widely by location, price point and property type.

Bottom line:
There are a lot of variables to be considering in the listing, marketing and selling process and your Realtor is best equipped to help facilitate the process and optimize results based on all these factors. If one is planning a purchase or sale this year, January and February are the ideal months to sit down and have a planning discussion with your Realtor and any other key 3rd parties ie mortgage broker, stager, trades people.

If you are not already working with another Realtor, we are happy to provide a no cost, no obligation market evaluation of your property to help you with your real estate objectives.

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
613-435-4692 or mobile 613-371-9691
oasisrealty@rogers.com
oasisrealtyottawa.com
One of the highest ranked and “liked” real estate pages on facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Oasis-Realty-Brokerage-Ottawa/209265863918

Follow us on Twitter for “all the real estate news that’s fit to post”  https://twitter.com/OasisrealtyOTT

One of Ottawa’s best real estate blogs: http://blog.oasisrealtyottawa.com/

Fed/Brookfield IRP contract cuts Realtor commission to 3.7%

for-sale…does this cause a risk to those selling to relocate?

The federal government is cutting commission rates for Realtor services on the National Integrated Relocation contract (IRP) and Ontario Realtors will share a total of 3.7% for listing and selling a relocating government employee’s home, as of January 1, 2017. (down from the previous rate of 4.1%)

While some will cheer the move, it may not be quite so popular with relocating employees if they see a decrease in service levels or lower buyer agent interest in their listings, due to the lower compensation offered.

What are typical real estate commissions?
In Ottawa, typical commissions remain around 5%* with 2.5% going to the listing sales person and brokerage and 2.5% going to the agent and brokerage that represent the buyer. Commissions are highly competitive and are open to negotiation but most typical fees will be in this general area.* commissions are negotiable and can vary by the individual salesperson or broker and many do charge less, including Oasis Realty.

How does it work with the Federal relocation contract?
Brookfield Relocation Services (affiliated with the parent company of Royal Lepage real estate) manages the federal government Integrated Relocation Program (IRP) nationally and has done for many years. Just a few years ago, this program paid Ottawa Realtors 5% with the usual 2.5%/2.5% split.  On the last contract this dropped to 4.1%, with listing and buyer agents each receiving 2.05% over the last few years. (a decrease of 18%)

With the new fee/compensation structure coming January 1st at 3.7%, the listing representative and buyer representative will each receive 1.85%, if the 50/50 split continues (a further decrease of 9.7%)

Toronto is not Ontario and real estate is “local”:
We are not sure how these fees are established or negotiated but we strongly believe that “one size does not fit all” in real estate fees and by having one set fee for all of Ontario, this does not take in to account the vast regional and local differences. Toronto is its own market, as is Ottawa.  Smaller but important centres for Federal employees such as Trenton, Petawawa etc. may have an even bigger problem if their local prices and volume of transactions normally requires 6% fees to support.

While Toronto prices have continued on the elevator ride up to atmospheric levels, our prices in Ottawa have certainly not followed suit and even this year with solid unit sales our average prices continue to be pretty flat and at or below inflation level. So Realtors are not making up the difference in the average price of houses being sold here, as they might be in Toronto.

What risks might a relocating government seller be facing?
1) fewer Realtors may be interested in listing properties on the program, given the compensation level.
2) Realtors may also ask employees to “top up” the government paid fees, so they can achieve their usual %. This happens regularly today with those selling or buying a private listing or FSBO where a significantly lower commission rate is offered to a buyer representative.  The standard Buyer Representation Agreement signed by most buyers provides for the buyer paying incremental Realtor commission if the seller does not pay an agreed upon fee level ie 2.5%.
3) If one believes that Realtors are significantly “coin operated” then sellers may also see less interest from buyer agents in their properties, as those representatives may favour properties where the buyer representative commission is more robust. Getting paid 27.7% more on property “B” than government listed property “A” is a pretty compelling advantage.  This amounts to about $2,600 on the average $400K sale or purchase.
4) Listing agents will certainly have less budget monies for advertising and other costs to support their government listings when one considers they are also splitting commissions with their brokerage.
5) properties may take longer to sell if satisfactory “full commission” alternatives are available.

Bottom line:
Government employee sales will continue but there may be a few service wrinkles given the now “discount” fees being paid by the Federal government.

This commission change was hotly debated on a Realtor forum late in 2016, before the Board moderator cut off discussion on the issue, so there are clearly many who feel that this lower rate combined with their brokerage splits, dues/fees and other expenses makes this business less viable for them.

Oasis Realty Enhanced IRP Listing offer for government sellers!

We will offer a 2.5% co-operating buyer representative rate out of the 3.7% contract commission and this will ensure that the listing is on competitive ground with other listings in the area.  Since all Realtors can manage with a 2.5% buyer rep commission there is zero worry for the seller!
Any relocating government employee who has concerns should know we have a program that will totally eliminate any potential risk and in fact, will help make their property even more attractive. For details on our program or for a no cost, no obligation evaluation of your property, please give us a call at 613-435-4692 (not intended to solicit those with existing representation agreements)

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
613-435-4692 or mobile 613-371-9691
oasisrealty@rogers.com oasisrealtyottawa.com

One of the highest ranked and “liked” real estate pages on facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Oasis-Realty-Brokerage-Ottawa/209265863918
For “all the real estate news that’s fit to post”  https://twitter.com/OasisrealtyOTT

One of Ottawa’s best real estate blogs: http://blog.oasisrealtyottawa.com/