Ottawa broker rant: real estate listing photos

is this really a key feature of this home?

 

 

 

 

 

 

We really do have a lot of excellent people in our profession and it is on behalf of all these quality sales people and brokers that we offer the following rant on what we feel are really poor real estate practices by some that should not reflect poorly upon us all!

The “snow in June” listing photos:
C’mon guys!…how tough is it to pop by your listing and get a photo update? How is one serving the seller by telegraphing that the listing has been on the market for quite a while…sheesh!

The 1 photo or no photo listing:
Do you think that this is going get people’s attention or that they will come back to check out the listing later?….keep dreamin’!

Too many listing photos:
6 photos of the front door or the bowl on the dining room table….who needs this? There are very few properties that cannot be effectively shown with 25-35 quality photos that show the layout with some perspective.  Some artsy photographers get carried away but few consumers (and trust me, way fewer buyer agents) want to click through 100+ photos!)

The focus on something you’re not buying photos:
How many listings do you see where the focus is the flower arrangement, the staging, the accent wall, the furniture, the artwork, the dining room table, the knick knacks, etc. Do I really need to see a close up of a vase in the middle of a table when I can’t see the room it’s in?

The (old) cellphone photo:
Some of the listing photos we see look like they were taken with an old flip phone. I guess it works for those going for the dark and fuzzy look…but it does nothing for the online viewer and even less for the seller.  This works especially well (not!) with text that brags about the “bright, airy space with lots of natural light”.

The companion photo set is the one from the agent with the latest and most expensive phone but you can tell they took all the listing photos in about 2 minutes (while walking through the property-hence the blur), since they had to rush off and get the Beamer detailed, pick up their commission cheque or get to their mani-pedi, workout or yoga.

The missing photo scam:
Do you really think that smart consumers won’t figure out the yard is ugly, there are hydro towers or an expressway in the backyard, the garage is falling down, the roof is doomed or that the Army Corps of Engineers are needed for kitchen and bathroom renos?

The super wide angle photo:
…don’t you just love the ones where the fridge or stove looks 6-8 feet wide?

The “why-is-this-in-the-photo?” photos:
Sometimes you just have to shake your head at the unusual things that catch your eye in listing photos. The pet, the diaper pail, the garbage can, the Realtor reflection in the shower door or mirror, the car in the driveway, dishes in the sink….anything that distracts the buyer from assessing the house for their needs is bad news.

The-too-many-too-few conundrum:
Condo listings specialize in this awful practice: you get 3 photos of the unit and 12 of the view, the building complex, lobby, gym, pool, or neighbourhood/surrounding area.  Sure you have a great park or bike path down the street but I want to see the darn place I may be buying!

The “why bother” photo set:
Tenant occupied properties lead the way but are not the only source of incredibly messy, disorganized properties that are clearly not ready for prime time. To be honest, some are so scary; you hope you never have a customer call who might want to see one of these suckers!  You are not doing yourself or the seller any favours by listing those in this condition…so why bother?

Shame on you for not investing in professional photos!
Our industry in Ottawa is serviced by many excellent and reasonably priced photographers who do fantastic photography and hosting services at very reasonable rates. If you are listing someone’s property and asking them to pay $15,000-$20,000 (or more) in commissions and won’t shell out $150 to get some decent photos done? …sorry, you shouldn’t be in the business! Oh, and by the way…shame on your brokerage and manager, too!

The “I-forgot-what-the-point-was” photo spread:
The objective of the exercise is to have the prospective buyer see enough of the key features of the property that they will want to come and see it in person and soon! The photos should highlight the critical features, be consistent with the text and be just enough to keep them wanting more.  Too often, these simple objectives seem to be forgotten.

More of the same (and worse!) in the video world:
All of the above issues and more are present in the now ever present video/Utube/social media marketing which is far from an exact science for the amateur productions too many turn out to be.

If we have forgotten any mind boggling real estate photo practices that you see regularly, please let us know!

 

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

A full service, lower commission brokerage

 

 

 

 

 

Ottawa real estate “stellar” midway through 2017

 

 

 

 

 

The Ottawa Real Estate Board (OREB) June results report another strong month of sales and price gains. Virtually every indicator is positive and suggests continuing growth in the months to come.

Average prices and unit sales continue upward trend:
Our best average price increases in many years with the average residential selling price up 7.2% to $427,721 and the average condo up 6% to $274,974 through the first half of 2017.

Unit sales:
Residential unit sales are up by 10.8% and condos by 26.2% on a year to date basis.

Listing inventory plummets:
 The one somewhat challenging statistic is the continuing decline in new listings (-10.3% year to date) and the overall listing inventory at the end of June which shows the number of residential listings down 27% from a year ago and condos down 22.2%.  (compared to historical highs at the end of June 2015, residential listings are down 36.4% and condos down 28.1%)  This is a good situation for those selling but not so much for buyers.

These inventory levels suggest continuing strong demand for the foreseeable future.

New home sales up 44%
The Ottawa Home Builders Association reported that housing starts are up 44% this year to date, compared to last-so builders are seeing very strong activity also. Accordingly, builder prices have bumped up this year and buyer incentives have generally decreased from a year or two ago.

More sales falling through:
Conditional sales that do not firm up normally run about 5 or 6% but we notice that this is up to more like 8 or 10% this year. This may be caused by buyers who make an offer quickly and then have some buyer remorse.  Another possibility may be that sellers are less inclined to adjust prices after home inspections discover some latent issues, thus causing buyers to walk on signed conditional agreements.  Tighter mortgage qualifying rules may also be a factor.

These sales “fall throughs” are worrisome, as they effectively take a property off the market for 5-7 business days and then potentially leave a stigma as to why the deal did not proceed which may turn other buyers away from the property.

More offer dates and multiple offers:
We are seeing many more offer dates or “no offers before”, as listing agents try to ensure as many buyers as possible get exposure to the property to optimize value for their sellers. Ottawa has always been more of an “early-bird-gets-the-worm” type of market but listing scarcity and stronger demand are forcing more agents and sellers to hold back offers. Note: while multiple offers have certainly increased this year they are not the norm, generally only a small %  (perhaps 5%) will see multiple offers and over listing price sales., although this may be higher in very high demand neighbourhoods.  There is a tendency for some in our industry to be over enthusiastic and make it sound like every property is selling overnight and with multiple offers and an over list price result.  This may lead to faulty expectations and perhaps some impulsive buying and selling decisions.

The average days on market to sell a property (though improved) is still 40 days for residential properties and 60 days for condos.

So it is a strong market which brings some different challenges than we faced a year or two ago and buyers and sellers are encouraged to stay engaged with their industry professional to be fully on top of the market dynamics.

Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
613-435-4692 or 613-371-9691 (mobile)
Oasisrealtyottawa.com

Quality brokerage services at lower commissions, 11th year in business

 

 

 

 

 

Could Ottawa real estate be poised for a breakout year in 2017?

925-plante-sold-1With renewed local confidence and lots of government activity at all levels, 2016 was a turnaround year for the local real estate market and many key indicators suggest we could be in for a great year in 2017.

Positive key indicators:
Unit sales growth:
Unit sales improved by 6.3% overall with residential sales (which is 81% of the total units) increasing by 5.5% and condos coming in with a welcome 9.6% unit sales increase to the end of November vs the year before.
New listings:
The number of new listings decreased by 7.4% in the first 11 months of 2016 and this certainly helped move the supply/demand balance closer to a balanced market and away from some historically high inventory levels (and buyer’s market conditions) 2014 and 2015.
Current listing inventory at year’s end is about as low as it has been in 4 or 5 years and this is a very positive sign, unless there is a backlog of chronic listings that sellers have carried over the winter and will relist in spring.
Builder new construction sales:
The last report we have seen suggests that builders have had a good bounce back year and have recorded a sales increase of 15-20% which is great news, although may be influenced by a larger number of new projects coming online and adding to the sales numbers.

Neutral indicators:
Overall price increases:
The average residential property sold in Ottawa through November 2016 sold for $396,700 an increase of 1.2%. The average condo sold for $260,880 virtually unchanged from 2015.  These numbers continue the trend line in our market over the last 5 years where average prices have been mostly inflationary level.  These pale compared to the price levels and average price increases which dominate the news and online media that we hear about from Toronto, Southwestern Ontario and Vancouver but is simply a sign of our stable market and the fact that real estate is very local in nature.
Sales: new listings ratio:
Our sales to new listings in Ottawa through November 2016 stand at 40.9% by our calculation which is right on the borderline between a balanced market and a buyer’s market. (40-60% is considered “balanced” with lower ratios favouring buyers and 60%+ favouring sellers) With current lower levels of listing inventory this ratio should continue to improve and provide us with balanced market conditions in 2017.

Bottom line:
We are in the best position we have been in for some time and if sales demand continues or increases, we should see another positive year in 2017, although modest price increases are still most likely.

Lots of key factors to consider and there are many reasons why 2017 would be a good year to move on your real estate plans. Stay tuned for a future post on what may shape our market in 2017 and feel free to give us a call to discuss your own housing plans, 613-435-4692 as now is a great time to get a head start on a spring or summer sale.

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

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