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Salt Spring Island Real Estate

The Salt Spring Island Real Estate Game

As we all know, there are two sides to the Real Estate game, buying Real Estate and Selling Real Estate. As part of this there are two very different personality types with the associated Realtors®. The buyer wants all the details, the good the bad and the ugly, take the makeup off and show me the blemishes and then get me the best price you can. The seller doesn’t want to hide the blemishes but focus the attention on other aspects that may overshadow the weak points of their property. The designer dress or well tailored suit enhances the positive attributes and minimizes the less than perfect aspects. The buyer wants a down and dirty straight shooter and the seller wants a bit of song and dance. While any salesperson has to be somewhat of a Chameleon, there is a limit to what they can pull off. People are pretty adept at seeing through a false front. Personally I have been in sales my whole life and have learned to be true to my nature. I actually sold door to door vacuum cleaners 40 years ago but had the flim flam knocked out of me pretty quick. I’m a blue Chevy. I can be shades of blue but I will never be red or white. Here comes the conundrum. I am primarily a buyers agent. I’m fussy about details and will investigate things to death. This is great for buyers but problematic for some sellers. Hence, I am not a big listing agent. Sellers don’t want a straight shooter, they want a song and dance man. The problem comes in getting in contact with buyers. In the beginning of their property search, potential buyers will call a listing agent for more information. If that agent is good, they will switch hats and become a buyers agent if that property is not the right one for the client. They will then suggest other properties to the client that might work. This is how the game is played. If you have a lot of listings, the odds of you making contact with buyers goes way up, even if you never sell one of your own listings. It has been known that they will use the listing as a bait and switch. That is a listing that attracts a lot of attention but never sells as the Realtor® uses it as a launching point to get clients to sell other listings. Not common but it does happen. Also the more listings you have, the more successful you look and you attract more listings. Real Estate on Salt Spring Island is no different than other places, it’s just a smaller gene...

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Speed, Price, Quality……..Pick Two

Speed / Price / Quality and equation that applies to almost everything that is bought or sold. My family had a very large family reunion in Hawaii. Someone decided we should have T-shirts to commemorate it. We went to the local T-shirt shop in Kona and explained to the “surfer dude” running it that we wanted a good quality shirt, with “I survived the ?????? reunion” on it. We wanted good quality shirts and we needed them quick as the party was almost over. Because we wanted a large quantity, we deserved a very very good price. The “Dude” pointed to a sign behind the counter that said “ Speed / Price/ Quality……pick two” With regards to selling a house, for the most part the quality is what it is. This includes all the attributes of the house and property including size, bedrooms/baths, age land size, view etc etc. It also includes the condition of the house and property. Some of that can and should be improved or presented at it’s best but odds are you are not going to do major changes or improvements. This leaves us with Speed / Price as our balancing equation. If you want it to sell fast, the price better be very attractive. If you want the best price, it may take a while.  You can’t have both. Of course there are extremes to both of these. In the Salt Spring marketplace, even if you put it on at half the market value, it would take a few days, a week, probably  more to sell it. It’s the nature of the market here. On the other end of the scale, if you want 40% or 50% more than the market value it will never sell. In the previous decade with ever rising prices, eventually the market would rise to your price and it would sell but those days are over. It may and probably will happen again but probably not for many years to come. It’s a  buyer’s market at the moment. The solution is to present the property at it’s best, make it easy for the buyer to see,  and price it as close to the REAL market value as possible. List it with...

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Spring Has Sprung

Spring Has Sprung

Spring has sprung the grass has rizz a garden of New Listings for the Real Estate Biz Springtime on Salt Spring is traditionally the time to put property up for sale. Everything looks better with some flowers in the garden and potential buyers are back from the south and starting to look again. At the time I wrote this article there were 110 new listings on Salt Spring for 2013. With 23 sales for this period, the competition is growing. Taking a closer look, of the 110 “new listings”, 36 of these are re-lists of properties that expired in the fall. Sellers tend to take a breather over the winter. That means we have 74 new listings. If last year is any indication, up to 100 new listings will come up in April and May, with many repeats from last year. There are as many interpretations of these stats as there are Realtors® on the island. It will be interesting to see if the re- listings come on higher, lower or at the same price as before. If they didn’t sell last year the odds of them selling at the same price or higher this year, are not good. Unfortunately it is like an auction for the Realtors®. Many times the listing goes to the highest bidder as if the Realtor® were the one buying it. Remember, it is not the Realtor® that is buying it. The market will dictate what your property is worth. No Realtor can guarantee a final selling price. Being realistic about your property’s true value in this current market is key to its sale and both the positives and negatives should be brought to light, evaluated and incorporated into its asking price. Everyone wants the best price for their property in a ‘reasonable’ selling time. There is an old sales adage: ‘Speed, Price, Quality … Pick two’. The quality of the property is pretty much set. The variables are Speed and Price. As we are in a flat market for price inflation, the concept of holding out for that special buyer that will pay a high price may take many years… or not at all. Stats show that starting high and chasing the market down nets a lower final selling price. Hence, a Seller must be realistic about the true quality of their property, price it accordingly and it should sell within a reasonable time...

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Why should I get a Comparative Market Analysis done on my property? I KNOW what it’s worth!

We all have a general idea of our property`s value because we know what we paid for the property, the improvements we’ve done and what our tax assessments say. But what is your property worth in THIS market? It is very important to get a realistic idea if you would like to sell. In doing a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to determine the current value of your property, the Realtor takes many factors into consideration. Comparable properties that have recently sold are the best way to determine the value of yours. In the city, it is very easy to find comparables, since there are average city lots, with average city construction. On Salt Spring, most lots are completely different from each other in every respect, from size to topographical features. Not only are the lots extremely dissimilar, but as we all know, construction and architectural styles vary as much as the people here do! You never know what you’re going to find behind anyone’s door. That is one of the many charming aspects of Salt Spring. To find commonalities among properties to define the value, we consider lot size, number of bedrooms and bathrooms and age of the home, for example. When we find similar homes that have sold with similar criteria, we can determine an average selling price. Another method we use is called ‘Bricks & Mortar’. This approach considers the land value and then the value of improvements . To do this type of evaluation, we look at the current replacement building costs and depreciate those values, given the age of the buildings. The level of upgrades, modernization and maintenance are all factors here. Finally, tax assessments. These become a sensitive point with some people, who may every year have protested the assessment of the tax department so as to lower the property tax payable. When they sell, they play the “undervalued “ card. Property tax assessments often appear out of line, and when you take an average of assessed values to sold values, you get a good picture of how ‘out of whack’ assessments really are. We continue to see that homes on Salt Spring are selling anywhere from 60% to 160% of assessed value. CMA’s are not a perfect science. But they DO give Realtors and home owners alike a realistic idea of current market values. Thinking of selling your home? Call Claire or Cade today for your free...

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Listing in the Winter – Why should I list my house for sale in the winter months?

Salt Spring winters can be long, rainy and monochromatic. Winter is the time to cozy up by the fire with a good book and a cup of tea. Why would that be a good time to put a house up for sale? There are a few good reasons. As we all know, an onslaught of homes come onto the market in the spring time. At this time, there is a mad rush of Sellers who compete for advertising space and Buyers’ time and attention. The presence of your home for sale in the winter months would be noteworthy, while during the April-June listings blitz, properties can get lost in the backdrop of comparable homes. Why would you want to be put in direct competition with other homes, time-wise, if perhaps your home has many similarities to others? It is advantageous to stand out and get on the market before the rush. A common belief is that spring and summer are when the buyers start prowling around the island. It is true that there are many more people on island in the summer, some serious buyers but also a lot of what we call in the biz ‘looky-loos’. In the summer, you get an even mix of the two sections, but the winter is when you get more serious buyers. It would be a shame if your house got missed by the more serious buying section, just because you were waiting for spring to list it. On Salt Spring, instead of open houses, we have Realtor tours. This takes place on Wednesdays and is open to all Realtors on island to participate. The tour is a way for Realtors to see and get educated on the new-to-market properties. Realtor Tours happen all throughout the year. Therefore, no matter the season you list your house, it will be seen by Realtors whose aim is to sell your home. It is a Realtor’s job to match homes to buyers, so with fewer houses on the tour, yours would remain a prominent property in their mind. There are excellent reasons to list your property for sale in the winter season. If you’re thinking of selling your property, please give us a call to list your property or get a free Market Analysis done. Call Claire or...

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