Ottawa real estate news, discussion and inside broker information brought to you by Gord McCormick, Broker of Record and Dawn Davey, Broker 613-435-4692 firstname.lastname@example.org www.oasisrealtyottawa.com
…but of course! It’s 2020. Ottawa real estate ended this unusual year with a very strong December. Monthly sales leaped 32.4% in Dec 2020 vs the same month in 2019. While December and January are typically the two lowest sales months of the year ; the sales recorded in December of 1,002 actually outstripped April where only 913 total properties were sold. April is normally the 3rd busiest sales month (after May #1 and June #2) but the arrival of the pandemic in March really put a damper on April sales this year. Sales decreased in April 2020 by 55% vs 2019.
Price increases largest in almost 40 years: One has to go all the way back to 1983 to find a year with larger % price increases than our market has seen this year. On a year to date basis, residential properties average selling prices averaged $582,267 up 20% vs last year and condos sold for $361,337, up 19%. In 1983, a 21.3% price jump moved the average selling price from $71,080 to $86,245.
Super low listing inventory and mortgage rates helped fuel these price increases, plus we believe there has been an increase in out of town buyers, from other major centres.
Listing inventory: the cupboard is still pretty bare: Though the number of new listings has been increasing for a few months, the sales demand is absorbing those easily on the residential side, where the number of available properties is 59.2% lower than a year ago, suggesting there is no letup in sight for bidding wars and above average price increases, The condo market is in slightly better position for buyers, as we end the year with 26.6% more listings than we did a year ago.
Unit sales increases not staggering for total year: With a strong 2nd half of the year, we finally recovered the big decreases in April (-55%) and May (-44%) in unit sales and ended the year with total residential unit sales up by 3% for the year, while condo sales were 1.5% lower than 2019.
What will 2021 bring? Royal Lepage is predicting that Ottawa will continue with solid average sales increases of 11.5%, while Re/Max sees more moderate price growth of 7%, so stay tuned!
Gord McCormick, Broker of Record Dawn Davey, Broker 613-435-4692 email@example.com www.oasisrealtyottawa.com
Ottawa’s market continued red hot through August with the average selling price of residential properties during the month rising 22% from a year ago to $592,548. Residential sales recorded a 21.8% increase in transactions, while condo sales grew at just over 2% but recorded at 24% increase in average selling price to $383,640.
Some good news on new listings….but… We had our strongest month of the year for new residential listings which grew 18.6% vs 2019 but alas, residential sales growth pretty well absorbed all those new listings.
New condo listings for the month were also up 41.4% for the month.
Month end inventory still scarce for buyers: At month end, we still have a huge deficit with residential properties down 49.8% vs August 2019 and the number of condos available for sale down 17.6%. Though each grew slightly from the figures posted at the end of July this year.
The only significantly growing month end inventory area is rentals which were up 31.6% vs a year ago.
Key performance indicator: sales to new listings ratio This metric compares the number of new listings during the month to sales. In August 2020 this ratio came in at a super high 83.2% for residential properties and 72.5% for condos. A balanced market would see this ratio in the 40-60% range. By comparison, the Toronto Real Estate Board, reported a sales to new listings ratio of 58% and with a surge of new listings of 56.8%.
Do I buy? Do I sell? Do I wait? Tough conundrum on many levels for those considering a move in real estate. Will the economy worsen? What factors am I risking by buying or not? Will prices ease, if the economy softens or will government spending and support programs keep the economy rolling and with cheap mortgage money and scarce inventory of housing, the average house has been going up some $20,000 per quarter in 2020. Am I a fool to miss out on this market?
Aug 2017 vs Aug 2020 pricing snapshot: Can you believe that the average residential selling price in Ottawa only 3 years ago during August was $420,337. This means average selling prices have grown 40.9% over just 3 years when comparing this August 2017 figure to our current month which saw an average residential selling price of $592,548.
Still room to grow? This seems super high by Ottawa standards but when one compares it to Toronto at $951,404 and Vancouver at $1,038,700, our prices still seem to offer pretty good value. Our blended average price, once condos are added is $542,872 during August
No one has a crystal ball? We all wish we could accurately predict where this market is headed and it could certainly take some widely divergent directions. While one intuitively, cannot see these kind of price increases continuing, our market is still growing and our price levels are still significantly lower than major centres.
We do not yet have the Municipal Land Transfer Tax (MLTT) or the Foreign Buyer Tax or vacant property tax, so that makes our market attractive for foreign investors. There is some concern that immigration may stall with COVID and limited housing requirements for new Canadians or those with visas coming to study or work here.
Will the Federal Government follow through with the rumoured capital gains tax on (some?) residential home sales?
New government in town? Government action (or lack thereof) can have a profound effect on housing and our Ottawa market is even more reliant on government activity than other markets. If the current Federal government minority continues with its social aggressive benefit plans and other spending, our market should continue to rock and roll. We believe that for every government headcount added, at least one more job or full time equivalent is added in the private sector. Should a sea change on spending occur at the Federal level due to political pressure or a change in government, then one might expect some kind of budget tightening exercise which could impact Federal headcount and program funds. Every headcount lost also has a ripple effect in the Ottawa economy, too and further dampen market outlook.
On the surface, the current Liberal-NDP coalition seems likely to likely to continue which probably means good news for Ottawa real estate. But as the 1990’s demonstrated in spades, even Liberal governments have to wield a budget axe, if sufficient political and market pressure is applied and that is another scenario we would prefer not to encounter again.
Even if our market plateaus or flattens, Ottawa is still a very safe and reliable real estate market. Prices tend to be “sticky” (i.e they don’t drop that much, regardless of market conditions) What tends to happen is that the whole market simply stagnates, demand dries up and the number of sales transactions drop, should economic or job uncertainties appear to be greater or banks or governments tighten lending practices.
Buyers and sellers will have to assess a lot of factors in making their decisions and Realtors are here to help with the most up to date statistics that can help make better long term decisions. The key stats to follow are the sales to new listings ratio and the overall listing inventory, as these will often signal a swing in market supply and demand factors.
Gord McCormick, Broker of Record Dawn Davey, Broker Oasis Realty Brokerage 613-435-4692 or 613-371-9691 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ottawa real estate continues to baffle just about everyone. While sales plunged again in April, (transactions were down 44% vs May 2019) average selling prices surged 11.2% for residential properties and 15.5% for condos. So what gives?
Listing inventory down by 50.4% The number of listings available dropped an incredible 50.4% from the same time a year ago. Compared to May 2015 (much slower market then) available listings are 81.4% lower…that represents over 8,000 fewer listings! No wonder buyers and their representatives are pulling their hair out and we are still seeing fairly significant multiple offer activity.
New listings also down significantly: New listings during the month were also down almost 50% vs last year, with 49.2% fewer residential properties being listed and 47.2% fewer condos, so there is no let-up in sight and no sign that listing activity is strengthening. Anecdotally, some realtors report having lots of listings ready to go but these sellers cannot find anything to buy.
Average prices up strongly for the month and year to date: The average residential property sold for $548,140 in May, an increase of 11.2% over last year. The average condo sold for $343,589 a 15.5% increase. On a year to date basis, the average residential selling price is up 13.8% and the average condo is up 17.8%.
Dark Forecast from CMHC and toughening of mortgage qualifying July 1. Contrast these statistics with the gloomy forecast by CMHC (the federal housing experts) who have predicted a 9-18% price drop (over the next 12-18 months) and you can see why many buyers must be confused that instead of a COVID-19 “discount”, prices continue to escalate on the back of dwindling supply.
CMHC warning: On top of their prediction of a 9-18% national price drop over the next 18 months, CMHC also announced several new measures restricting qualification for insured mortgages. (those with less than 20% down) These changes are fairly significant and one mortgage industry source has suggested that this will curtail buying power by between 9 and 13% for this category of homebuyer. This will likely seriously impact the first time home buyer market and as they account for something like 30 or 35% of sales, this could really hurt the market. If the supply of new first time buyers dried up, how can those who wish to move up to a larger home to so, if there are fewer buyers for their existing home. This bears close scrutiny in the months to come.
Expect a wild June: With the tightening of the CMHC qualifying rules, low cost of mortgages and low listing inventory levels, we can expect to see a wild month of June with lots of bidding wars and frantic activity, as many buyers seek to get a deal done prior to the July 1st cut-off date for the new CMHC rules. (Happy Canada Day, eh?)
Golf Analogy: “hit the ball where it lies” The best way to tackle this market is not to have too many pre-conceived notions about how the market should be functioning but rather playing to the market conditions. Just because some headlines are blurting doom and gloom, doesn’t mean those are correct, so play your shot according to the conditions you see at the time of sale or purchase and your Realtor is your best caddy for helping you make a good score! If market indicators shift then one can adapt to the changing conditions.
Gord McCormick, Broker of Record Dawn Davey, Broker Oasis Realty Brokerage 613-435-4692 www.oasisrealtyottawa.com
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:
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.
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.
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.
Please make sure there are ample floor mats and boot trays to accommodate visitor footwear, especially for Open Houses.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Minimize distractions: we don’t need cooking smells, music, vanilla on the stove, excessive air or carpet deodorant, personal photos, etc.
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.
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.
No smoking…even in the garage!14.don’t run dishwasher or laundry when showings are anticipated
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.
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 email@example.com , if you are not already working with another real estate professional.
A “pre-listing” home inspection is just like a regular home inspection but is completed by the homeowner/seller prior to listing the property for sale. Buyers are very familiar with the advantages of a home inspection when buying a property but few sellers take the time to have a “pre-listing” home inspection done. Here are a few thoughts on why this rarely happens and why it is probably a very good idea in this market.
Is this a good idea?
Doing such a home inspection prior to listing is an excellent idea for a number of reasons. It can be part of listing preparation and a sensible piece of due diligence to perform. Most home inspectors are happy to do these and generally, they would be conducted well enough in advance of the listing date, to allow time to rectify any significant issues discovered. (Or at the very least, to obtain professional quotes to understand the cost of remedies that can be built in to pricing strategy or negotiations)
In our sellers’ market one might say “what’s the point? there are lots of buyers out there” and forgo such an inspection and the associated cost. However, having a home inspection report on file and available for serious buyers and their buyer representatives can be a very handy tool.
Some buyers may choose to forego the need for their own home inspection, if the report on file is deemed satisfactory. This can mean a “cleaner” offer and possibly a quicker firming up date which benefits both buyer and seller. It might also mean more offers in a multiple offer situation.
It can also provide buyers with confirming data on the property under consideration which can add to their confidence level or inform them of details that they may not have known. This may help prevent a sale “falling through” or being cancelled during the conditional period. Because of our sellers’ market, we are seeing extraordinarily high levels of such sales cancellations and these really hurt the seller, so on this basis alone, a pre-listing inspection is warranted.
If a general pre-listing inspection suggests more specific, expert consultation then a seller may choose to further investigate the matter and obtain additional reports, quotes or information that will help facilitate a sale or negotiation. If done well in advance, then a seller has the opportunity to address some of the items pointed out and thus ensure success when a buyers’ home inspection is conducted.
A Professional Inspectors thoughts: Mike White, owner of Homepro Inspections here in Ottawa and a very experienced home inspector, says perhaps 3% of his total inspections annually are pre-listing.
“I do several of these a year. Many are estate sales where the sellers are really not aware of any information about the house.
Most of the issues found are the same for any other inspection. Asbestos is something that many homeowners have no idea is in their homes.
The main difference when I am performing a pre-listing inspection is that I will typically give the sellers some tips on preparing their home for the next inspection. This would be information beyond what some agents provide in their services.
Some of this would be:
– Cleaning the furnace, or changing filters.
– Recommendation of increasing attic insulation
– Caulking and other general maintenance which can give potential buyers an impression of how the home has been maintained.”
You can reach out to Mike for a variety of home inspection related services at: https://homeprocanada.ca/ or by calling 613-860-4848
Why don’t more sellers and listing agents do these?
Quite often sellers are on a tight timeline to get a property listed and there just isn’t time to get a pre-inspection done. Inspectors are in high demand in peak season and may or not be as readily available to do such inspections during the busiest months in the spring.
“Don’t-ask-don’t tell” or “don’t poke the bear”
Most sellers are also very familiar with their homes and either don’t feel a home inspection is necessary, don’t want to shoulder the cost (approx. $500) or don’t want to “poke the bear” and potentially find out some negative aspect of the property that could affect their selling process. Many listing agents also apply a “don’t-ask-don’t-tell” principle to the pre-listing inspection, as anything significant discovered by that inspection may be a material fact which must then be disclosed to buyers or may delay the listing process. “Why ask for trouble? many listing agents may ask themselves.
Today, only the most cautious sellers are having pre-listing home inspections done in our market and in many cases, probably only upon the suggestion of their listing agent/broker. Some brokers may choose to include the cost of this inspection in their listing fees. Homes that have had (or have) some specific issue, (ie foundation, structural, latent defect) are good candidates to show buyers what needs to be done and what it will cost or to prove that the issue has been resolved. Often, a trade specialist or Engineering inspection and report may be provided for this purpose.
We believe that doing such an inspection protects both seller and listing broker and paves the way for a smoother sales process overall but don’t expect to see a much higher % of listed properties being supported in this fashion. Those contemplating a sale, should at the very least discuss this with their listing broker and determine if there are sufficient reasons to proceed.
Gord McCormick, Broker of Record Dawn Davey, Broker Oasis Realty Brokerage 613-435-4692 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Ottawa Real Estate Board (OREB) results for November show another strong sales month, despite the early onset of wintry conditions. Unit sales and average home prices both approached double digit gains, compared to November 2018. The market shows no trends of flattening out, except for the usual seasonal fluctuations.
Key average price milestones reached this year: The average detached home price has sold this year for $510,975, an increase of 8.4% or $39,693, breaching the $500K mark for the first time.
The average residential row townhome has sold for $408,905, an increase of 9.8% or $36,620, topping $400K.
The average residential semi-detached home has sold for $489,656 an increase of 9.5%. or $42,447
The average condo sold this year has topped $300,000, coming in with a 9.1% price increase to 303,817 which is up $25,459 from a year ago. Apartment condos lead the way with an average price of $324,459 up 5.7% while row units and stacked condos also showing similar $ price gains at $268,613 and $274,860 respectively.
Listing inventory continues to languish: The number of new listings in November are pretty flat with a year ago, so while they are not getting any worse, they are not improving, either. This means our supply/demand imbalance should continue for the short term, at least-given the strong sales demand.
At the end of November, our residential listing inventory was 22.6% lower than last year at the same time and condo listing inventory was 43.9% lower.
About the only listing category that was higher was the number of rentals that are MLS® listed, which are up 53.9% vs 2018. Year to date rentals done via MLS® are basically flat vs last year, so that category is not seeing the same growth as the resale market.
City policy on short term rentals may put more inventory in the market:
Though there will no doubt be ongoing appeal action via OMB or other legal avenues, there could be a slight bump in available listing inventory and long term rental properties, from investors losing their ability to rent their (non resident occupied) properties via Airbnb or VRBO. Numbers are not readily available of how many housing units fall in this category but this could have help the condo and urban market inventory where most of the short term rental properties are located. Airbnb totalled some 4,600 listings in Ottawa over the last 12 months, so the number of investors involved might easily be 500-1,000 (or more) which would be welcome in the long term rental or resale markets. Stay tuned!
New home construction: New home sales continue to flourish and with the upward trajectory in the market, many new home buyers feel they are kind of “doubling down”, in that both their current home and the one “on order” or “to be built” are appreciating in price, while they wait for the new home possession which typically is 8-12 months or more, down the road.
Cost of waiting makes buying even more expensive: Strong markets like this make it tough on all buyers, particularly first time buyers and those that are “fence sitters”, who are considering a move but don’t really have a compelling reason to do so, until they find the “right” property. The upward price trajectory, however, makes the cost of waiting potentially significant. For example, even if current prices only increase by 6% over the next months (a Re/Max projection for Ottawa), the average prices overall could look something like this:
The average detached single home will jump to $541,633 and a further hike of $30,000+ over current prices.
The average two storey single detached home could top $600,000 next year, with a 6% hike from this years’ average price of $567,456.
The average townhome would jump to $433,439 up $25,534
The average condo would increase to $322,026 overall and the average apartment condo to $343,926, each up almost $20K.
This means more down payment needed to qualify for appropriate financing, more to generate 20%+ down payment for investment properties, higher land transfer and mortgage insurance costs and a longer period to pay off mortgages taken out against these purchases.
These also represent only “average” price increases and higher priced properties could easily be going for $50-$100K more in the immediately foreseeable future, especially, if the current inventory shortage continues and the market generates another 8-10% price rise.
Stittsville has experienced a building and population boom in recent years and is now approaching 35,000 inhabitants. Quite a leap from being “just beyond the fringe” that was a popular radio commercial tagline back when Stittsville was a quiet village removed from both urban and suburban Ottawa with a population of 3,000 or so. In fact, when combined with Kanata, the area has the largest population and number of residences in the Ottawa metro area and is the fastest growing. Stittsville is projected to have close to 60,000 residents within the next decade! So with all the new construction going on, it is no surprise that real estate has made strong gains in 2019.
This year’s residential numbers: We are using the residential resale numbers for the 3 main Stittsville MLS® zones, though October 2019.(does not include any condo sales)
Stittsville North MLS® zone 8211 for sales north of Hazeldean Rd
Stittsville Central MLS® zone 8202 for properties between Hazeldean Rd and Abbott St.
Stittsville South MLS® zone 8203 for properties south of Abbott St.
For comparison purposes, the Ottawa MLS® as a whole has recorded sales increases of 3.8% in unit sales and an average selling price increase of 8.4% for residential properties to a price of $484,891.
North Stittsville (8211) is rocking! This area closest to highway 417 has had and continues to have growth and new construction with a good variety of residential housing to cover many price points. It also offers best access for commuters who rely on the 417 for commuting purposes.
Unit sales are up a strong 20.1% this year and the average selling price is up 11.9% to $473,866
Central Stittsville (8202) sees strong price growth but inventory limits unit sales: Unit sales in Central Stittsville are actually down this year by 3.2%, perhaps reflecting the lack of listing inventory available. Still, good demand has pushed the average price in this area up 13.6% to $552,472.
South Stittsville (8203) unit sales up 7.1% and the average price sold this year is $579,098, up 8%. Most of these unit sales are resale homes and we have no visibility in to the numbers of new homes being sold in Stittsville but it is obviously significant at the present time, with most of this growth in the eastern section of Central Stittsville and in South Stittsville.
Outlook for 2020:
Expect to see continuing sales and price growth as all the fundamentals continue to look good with the local economy and the pace and range of new home construction in the area is significant and pretty compelling for a lot of homebuyers, who may also feel that they should buy now, before prices escalate any further. Those who have existing homes to sell then of course, offer that existing property for sale to co-ordinate with the new home possession date.
So it should continue to be “all systems go! For Stittsville real estate in 2020.
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!
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