Seller tips and strategies for Ottawa winter showings

winter showing tips and strategies

There are some important decisions to make with your listing broker to help you plan to accommodate winter showings, in this busy sellers’ market in 2019/2020.  Here are just a few:

Initial showing period:
How will you manage access to accommodate the largest number of buyers to your property?  High demand and low listing inventory right now means properties are highly sought after and buyers will want to see the property as soon as possible after it is listed. 8 to 10 showings a day (or more!) in the first few days is not out of the question.

Some buyers are even vacating their properties for the first 4-7 days to provide for easiest access for buyers.

Are you holding offers?
If you are holding offers back to a certain date, you will want to take this in to consideration also.

Do you want to schedule overlapping showings?
Realtors normally book a 1 hour showing window.  Do you want to allow for potentially overlapping showings where more one buyer and their agent may be in the property at the same time?  This is a quite normal practice but if you want individual buyers to enjoy a private showing, you may request that your listing broker does not schedule overlapping showings.

What part does an open house or open houses play?
Open Houses work for most properties and provide a scheduled time for buyers to visit.  When trying to maximize or optimize the number of visitors in a short time frame, they can be very strategic.  We often hold dual open houses on listing launch weekends, as this gives buyers two choices to visit plus it may help us, if a winter storm impacts a single open house day and time.

Do you continue showings after a conditional sale?
Do you continue with buyer showings (and open houses) if you have signed an agreement for a conditional sale on the property?  Sales cancellations are at an all-time high of 10-15% of conditional sales, so it may be a good idea to continue accepting showings and holding any already scheduled open house, just in case, the buyer financing does not come through or for some other reason the buyer chooses to opt out of the agreement.

Do you have any time-of-day restrictions you wish to add to your listing?
In most cases, you want to make the property as accessible as possible for buyers but there are circumstances like children’s bedtimes, shift work schedules and other family matters may dictate a time window where showings cannot be accommodated.  Discuss these with your listing broker.

What is your pet management plan for showings?
Discuss with your broker, how best to manage pets to accommodate showings.

Here is an update to a previous post with specific tips for prepping for buyer visitors in winter:

Here is a checklist to things to consider when prepping for winter showings:

  1. Please shovel the driveway, walkway, front porch, decks and patios and make sure it is both accessible and safe for visitors. Ditto for snow or ice on roofs, eaves, overhangs or garages. Also, please make sure all windows and patio doors are frost and ice free and can be opened by visitors, if they wish.
    check to make sure the house numbers are visible as is the real estate “For Sale” sign and not obscured by snow, ice or snowbanks.
  1. For evening showings, please leave an outdoor light on so it is quick and easy to access the lockbox and then open the front door.
  2. Leaving all house lights on, saves time and shows your home to its best. Best to turn off the security system for scheduled showings also.
  3. Please make sure there are ample floor mats and boot trays to accommodate visitor footwear, especially for Open Houses.
  4. Please keep floors dry and clean! Few things are more irritating or distracting than walking through a puddle or having to walk through a dirty basement.
  5. Keep a moderate temp in the 19-20 C range (65-68F).  Many vacant properties are like meat lockers temperature wise and this does nothing for a buyer trying to “warm up “to a property, particularly when walking through in their sock/stocking feet on a cold floor. Visitors are wearing coats at this time of year, so please don’t make it too warm, either.
  6. Keep curtains and blinds open to admit as much natural light as possible, this is especially important in our low light winter conditions.  Light, bright homes show better and buyers are very much interested in this.
  7. Have a pet management plan which includes daily removal of any pet droppings that are emerging through the snow and ensure cat litter boxes and the area around them are cleaned regularly.
  8. Check for cooking, pet or other odours (hockey equipment?) and ventilate the home using your HRV, as home odours are more noticeable during the winter when houses (particularly newer more air tight ones) do not get as much fresh air from opening windows and doors. Moisture control is also important, as excess condensation on windows can be a worrying sign for buyers.
  9. Minimize distractions:  we don’t need cooking smells, music, vanilla on the stove, excessive air or carpet deodorant, personal photos, etc.
  10. Leave out some good colour photos of what the house and yard look like in the summer time, this really helps a buyer “see” the property.
  11. Have a plan for any fireplace.  Wood burning fireplaces don’t need to be lit but should be clean and with wood or fire log ready to light.  Gas fireplaces should also be clean and ready to turn on with directions on how to do so but resist the urge to leave the gas fireplace “on” or a wood burning fire going.
  12. No smoking…even in the garage!14.don’t run dishwasher or laundry when showings are anticipated
  1. Leave out copies of any pertinent neighbourhood information, your property survey or other items that may be potentially of interest for buyers or their representatives.
  2. Don’t be afraid to post a note about turning off lights or not locking inside garage door.

We would love to share our other thoughts on how to get your property sold, so feel free to give us a call at 613-435-4692 or oasisrealty@rogers.com , if you are not already working with another real estate professional.

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

For a great list of top real estate blogs in Canada, check here: https://blog.feedspot.com/canada_real_estate_blogs/

Other benefits to sellers: Open Houses part 2

More open house benefits for sellers

We wrote a little while ago about the benefits of our dual open house strategy (see that post here: http://blog.oasisrealtyottawa.com/dual-open-houses-great-strategy-sellers/ )  and here is a follow up piece with a few more thoughts on this topic and real estate open houses in general.

Motivates buyers to book a showing:
Quite often we find that buyers will choose to book a showing in advance of a scheduled open house.  This may be just a matter of scheduling or it could mean they want to get in early to take a look at the property and potentially get first crack at it.  Getting buyers in to the property is always a worthy goal and we do believe that the scheduling of an Open House does spur other buyers to get in to see it asap.

Aggregates showings and saves seller time and trouble: Buyers will schedule a private showing at random times throughout the day and in our hot sellers’ market, this can mean a lot of private showings on a daily basis.  So much so, that some sellers even vacate their properties for the first 3-5 days to allow the buyer/showing frenzy to happen without totally upsetting their lives and schedules.  By scheduling an Open House, some of these buyers may choose to attend that event, rather than booking a private showing thus alleviating the need for the seller to vacate the home. (and making sure it is clean and tidy when the do)

This really works well for families with small children or pets that can spend less time tidying up for multiple showings and also removing pets.

We get feedback:
When we get a chance to chat with buyers about the house or hear their comments to one another, we are getting valuable feedback for our own knowledge and for the sellers.  What do the buyers really like about the property?  What don’t they like?  When we here the same things consistently, it helps clarify where the property and price fit in the marketplace and may help us tweak our marketing strategy for the sellers.  If all buyers have a similar issue or concern then it helps us build a strategy to overcome that objection and/or discuss remedies with the seller.

We get to know our product better:
Even though we may know the property quite well, the more time we spend there and the more feedback we receive-the better we fully understand the property.  After all, in most cases, we may get a couple of 10-15 minute tours through the property with the owner which is certainly not enough time to commit every detail to memory or notice the level of details that buyers may wish to have explained.  We often find little things that a seller can do as a result of our time in the home during an Open House.  We can often find corrections to listing information that may been incorrectly supplied by the seller or through a typo on listing input. Ie the age of a furnace, air conditioner, windows or some other important system or component.

Events drive activity and greater activity usually means more sales opportunities:
Open houses are great events for a listing agent to advertise around and focus their marketing efforts to gain the best possible reach and exposure.  Because there is a time deadline, it should focus those potentially interested in the property to have a good look at it.

Even if they are unsuccessful, they still work:
Huh???  We have had a lot of blockbuster open houses that result in multiple offers and sales and we have had just as many that are total duds.  As a listing agent, there is nothing worse and more boring than feeling like the Maytag repair man for a couple of hours on a weekend afternoon when no one is coming to see you!  After spending time and money in scheduling and prepping for the open house and getting the sellers to vacate for 2 or 3 hours and investing one’s own time, it can be more than annoying when the turnout is poor.

It really does force one to have a good look in the mirror, though and a critical look at the property as well.  If one is getting good online activity and reasonable private showings then one should get decent open house turnout as well.  If not, one has to assess how well the event was advertised/marketed and if the listing, photos, presentation and pricing on the property are correct.

The more focused activity early in a listing should bring great attention from buyers, since the listing is new and they have not seen it before.  If hundreds or thousands are looking at the property online but not booking private showings or coming to an Open House, then there is some kind of disconnect.  Buyers are not seeing enough appeal or value at the price level to take the time to come and see the property in person which is not a good sign.  It does however, give us some good comparative data and perhaps some feedback from buyers who did view the property.  On that data and feedback, we can often have important discussions with sellers or amend some portion of our online presentation, marketing or pricing.

Other open house types:
Some listing agents have had success with the “neighbourhood”  or “ commuter” open house.  These may be along the “sneak peek” marketing line and advertised locally.  The commuter open house will typically run 5-7 PM when buyers can pop by on their way home from work and typically occur very early in the listing when it appears it is a good first chance to see the property.

The oft flaunted “Brokers’ Open” one sees on HGTV or Millionaire Listing tv shows, is rarely practiced in our market. (talk about the Maytag repairman!)

Use of open houses can be a contentious topic:
There are quite diverging opinions on the value of open house marketing, with some realtors being strongly opposed to their use.  Just look online and you can find dozens of articles on why sellers should never consider holding an Open House.  We feel completely the opposite, of course, but the bottom line is that sellers can make their own choices and if they don’t see the value then of course, are not required to hold one.

We have many thoughts on why these other Realtors so strongly “DIS” open houses and we will cover these in a future post. Plus “How so many Realtors sabotage their own open houses”, coming soon!

 

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

Hello world! Ottawa Real Estate Guide 2.0

This is version 2.0 of our Oasis Realty Ottawa blog and we are keen to get it ramped up again. (we lost about 5 years worth of posts due to a misunderstanding between us and our website supplier…ugh! …not all their fault but it was surprising there was no way to go back and repatriate the content)

We think we can have a valuable role in creating a forum for consumers and Realtors to discuss real issues in today’s Ottawa real estate scene.  Many professionals in the business don’t have time to blog or don’t have much latitude, due to employee contracts, corporate brokerage policies or management practices.  Many others prefer to focus strictly on marketing and lead generation using their blog.

We hope to emulate in some small way, the super blog by a Realtor colleague in Toronto, David Fleming who has done a fantastic job in “telling it like it is”  in Toronto real estate.  He doesn’t pull any punches, either….something that is not possible for 95% of Realtors out there who are effectively muzzled or controlled, since everything they write or post, is subject to some management or corporate policy, scrutiny or legal potential.  We encourage everyone to check out https://torontorealtyblog.com/  for an interesting perspective on the GTA market and real estate in general.

We think we have some real insight to offer, with over 15 years of industry experience and 12+ years running our own small brokerage.  We have worked with 2 major corporate franchise brokerages prior to launching our own brokerage, so we feel we offer an interesting perspective.

We encourage you to submit questions and issues you would like to hear about it and we will address them, if we believe they are topical and of interest to other consumers.  So what are your thoughts on the Ottawa real estate market?  What have your experiences with Realtors been? What surprises, confuses, entertains or ticks you off about how real estate is done?

We look forward to hearing from you!

 

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