Tough listing decisions, even in our sellers’ market

a lot of key decisions to make before the sign goes in the ground

Our Ottawa sellers’ market continues with limited listing inventory and upwards pressure on prices.  This is tough on buyers and their representatives, as we are seeing many offer dates and multiple offers, especially in the mid-price categories.  So one would think everything is easy for sellers, right?

Though it is a good time to be selling, there are still several important listing decisions to be made by sellers and here are a few of the critical ones:

Who pick for a listing agent?
This is one of the first things to decide and since Ottawa is flush with over 3,100 Realtors and 176 brokerages, there are many choices.  It is important to get this decision done as quickly as possible, so you can establish a good working relationship and work on a cohesive listing and marketing plan.  Scrambling to find an agent after you have found your dream home, may not be the best strategy.

Do I buy first or sell first?
Age old question for those with an existing home to sell and there are pros and cons to each position.  In a buyer’s market or even a balanced market, one may be able to secure a “first refusal” agreement to purchase a property that is conditional on the sale of an existing home.  In these sellers’ market conditions however, sellers are not prone to consider such an offer, unless the price and other offer details are truly exceptional.

When do I list?
Those with a house to sell will probably have the timing dictated by when they find their next dream home, as in most cases, closing dates on the existing property and the new property, will have to line up.

Those with some flexibility, will want to study sales patterns and understand when might be best for their own property.  In a rising market like this, there may be some advantage in listing later but one never knows what market conditions may be even 3 or 4 months down the road.  We have a seasonal peaks and valleys in unit sales, so those must also be considered.

Do I list on MLS® or is it worth considering an “exclusive” listing?
An exclusive listing may save some commission and HST expense but is it really the best vehicle to market the property?  We are seeing more “exclusive” listings these days, although most tend to be of quite short duration.  In some cases it is used as simply a pre-announcement of a pending MLS® listing and in other cases, agents are using it as a means to draw buyer prospects for themselves.

Should I try selling it myself?
There are always challenges in selling privately and even more so in this fast paced market.  Inexperienced sellers potentially face a host of unfamiliar situations such as multiple offers, bully offers or even sales falling through that are best handled by an experienced professional.   In addition, the savings gained are often far less than advertised by the FSBO sales and marketing organizations.

How do I establish my listing price?
Always a critical step and strategies may vary, depending in individual circumstances.  Some may wish to underprice their listing price, in order to generate multiple offers, while others will simply put a strong market price on the property and be prepared to consider offers immediately.

Should I hold back offers?
We are seeing a lot of these “offer dates” this year and this is no surprise.  Holding offers for 5 or 7 days after listing, allows a good opportunity for all buyers to consider the property, have a chance to visit (via private showing or an open house) and decide whether they wish to submit an offer.  While wider exposure is generally good and should generate the best market value offer, many buyers may choose to participate in a multiple offer situation and bypass the property.  Military and RCMP and other government personnel moving on the Federal government Relocation Plan may also not be able to consider waiting for an offer night, given the tight timelines they have to purchase a home. Typically, they have a week or less, so they cannot afford to wait 5 to 7 days for the offer hold back date.

Should I consider “bully” offers?
A “bully” offer is one which a buyer submits during the offer hold back stage ie well before the offer date.  Typically, such an offer will be very attractive on both offer price and terms.  It is intended be so strong that a seller may wish to reconsider waiting for the offer date and consider accepting the bully offer and not waiting for the offer date.  Tough call to make and one best managed jointly with a Realtor.  There are some important protocols to be followed in considering a bully offer and notifying all other parties who have expressed an interest in the property.

Should I put any restrictions on showing times and availability?
In this fast paced market, buyers and their agents will be very active in quickly getting in to see new listings.  Sellers will want to have a strategy for this, including regulating scheduling of private showings.  It can be quite upsetting if the listing is popular to have a half a dozen (or more!) agents and buyers coming through the home at different times of the day.

Should I have an Open House?
Many may feel an Open House is not necessary in this market, yet it may be a way to aggregate or consolidate what would otherwise have been 10 or 12 private showings.  Also, a busy open house is a great way for those buyers to know the interest level on the property.  This is another good discussion to have with your listing agent or broker.


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

Listing strategy and tough seller decisions for 2019

when is the best time to list my property?

While our Ottawa market has been favouring sellers for a year or two now, they still have a lot of important decisions to make in arriving at their listing and marketing strategy for a successful sale and maximizing the equity from their property.  Here are a list of items we think sellers will wish to consider:

When do I list my property?
Always a critical question, of course and one mostly determined by where one is moving and how long a current property may take to list, sell and close.
Our 3 biggest sales months of the year are typically April (#3), May #1 and June #2 which many sellers consider as the best time to sell.  Given our current low listing inventory situation, however, just about any time is probably OK for most properties.

How long will my property take to sell?
Days on market has improved with our strong market and most midrange properties should sell in approximately 30 days (or less!) and close in 45 to 60 days, although this varies with every property, buyer and seller.

MLS® listing or “exclusive” listing?
The best exposure to the most buyers is always via a full service MLS® listing that is exposed widely to all Realtors and their buyers through the MLS® ecosystem, especially Some Realtors are plugging an “exclusive” listing strategy which has its purposes but is not as widely seen and generally not as effective for a seller in maximizing their marketing opportunity.

Pre-market via use of a “Coming Soon” sign on my lawn?
These signs have become quite prevalent, as listing agents seek to both do advance marketing and try to prospect for new clients via this grey marketing of listings that are not widely published via the MLS® system.  Though there are some legitimate uses for such a strategy, in most cases we think is more to the listing agent benefit than that of the seller.

Do I hold back offers until a certain date?
A very common strategy is to hold back offers during the first week or so a property is listed.  This gives as many buyers as possible the opportunity to view the listing in person and determine if they wish to submit an offer.  Multiple offers generally means the best market selling price available at the time but sellers may lose some buyers as a result.

Some buyers are not interested in the multiple offer process which can be stressful and seem like an auction.  Military or out of town buyers may not have the time to wait around until a seller offer date, as they are on tight timelines to identify and purchase a property, so one will lose most of these buyers by holding back offers.

What about a “bully” offer?
A “bully” offer is one that is submitted during the offer holdback period.  Such offers are typically very strong offers and also call for an immediate decision by the seller.  Tough call for sellers to make, as this buyer may come back on offer day or they may move on to the next property on their list instead and a seller may or may not get as good an offer come offer night.

Do I need to have an Open House in this market?
We suspect the number of open houses is way down these days, as properties sell quickly.  An occasional open house may still be useful for that casual buyer who is not working with a Realtor or the “I’ll-know-it-when-I-see-it-buyer”

How much commission should I pay?
There are two important components here: one is total commission to be paid but also the split between listing agent/brokerage and buyer agent/brokerage.  Sellers should understand both carefully, as there are a number of commission plans out there that may offer an attractive lower commission rate but also restrict the amount of commission being offered to the buyer representative and brokerage which may impact the interest level around that listing.

We are able to offer significantly lower commission costs than almost all other realtors, due to our status as an independent non franchise brokerage with less overhead to cover.  Give us a call and we can discuss your plans and how we can optimize your marketing opportunity and transaction costs.


Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage 613-435-4692 

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  oasisrealtyottawa/


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

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