Monday, October 16, 2017

When Should You Lower the Asking Price of Your Home?

In a buyer's market, it can be difficult to sell a home. While you can't control the market, there are a few things that you do have power over, the principal one being your asking price. It's not something many sellers would like to do, but sometimes it's the best course of action. Here are a few signs that you might consider reducing your asking price.

One of the most blatant signs that something is wrong is a high amount of interest in the home, but a low amount of offers. You might get a lot of lookers at your open houses and showings, but no offers. In that case, lowering price is likely a good idea. A recent article from Houston Neighborhoods demonstrates that a lack of offers doesn't always mean a lack of interest:

High traffic but no offers

Yes, you’re not getting any offers for your home and that’s obviously a clear sign that no one’s interested, right? Not exactly. You should definitely dig deeper when you get high traffic during open houses and private showings and you have yet to receive an offer. High traffic indicates that people find your property appealing but the asking price is simply too high.

There are also cases when there are no scheduled showings because local brokers think the property is overpriced and are not showing it to their clients. Real estate agents suggest that you should reduce the selling price if a month has passed without a scheduled showing. Via

Overpricing is most likely why traffic isn't doing you any good. This is why it's worth reducing the price: if offers start coming in, you know you've made the right decision.

[caption id="attachment_27525" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Deadlines are good reasons to lower your asking price[/caption]

If you're selling your home because you've been transferred to another location by your employer, or any other time-sensitive event, it can be difficult to sell your home at the price you want in time. Lowering price will generate the interest needed to sell the home before it's too late:

You have a deadline

Home not selling? That could happen for a number of reasons you can't control, like a unique home layout or having one of the few homes in the neighborhood without a garage.

If you’ve got to sell soon because of a job transfer or you’ve already purchased another home, it may be necessary to generate buyer interest by dropping your price so your home is a little lower priced than comparable homes in your area. Remember: It’s not how much money you need that determines the sale price of your home, it’s how much money a buyer is willing to spend. Read more at

When you just need the house sold quickly, it's advisable to consider lowering price, especially if your house is more expensive than other homes in the neighborhood. That brings us to the next point.

Before listing, it's worth checking what other, similar homes in the area are selling for, or have sold for. There's little reason for buyers to choose an expensive version of the same house, and in a buyer's market, they have the benefit of choice:

Lower Prices for Comparable Properties

No matter when you put it on the market, if there are a lot of listings of similar properties with lower prices, you should rethink your price. If you are in a rush to sell the property, lowering your price will keep you competitive. However, if you aren’t in a rush, just let the price sit where it is and let the competition sell off (although, waiting for this to happen may take many months or even years).

If the area you’re selling the home in is experiencing a lot of new home construction at lower prices, you will probably not be able to wait out the market and be forced to sell at a lower cost. For example, if a buyer is looking at a brand-new home with the same features as yours with a lower price point, why would they choose the older and more expensive version? h/t

If the difference in price is just too high, it's unlikely the house can sell at that price point. In that case, we recommend lowering price, or simply waiting for the market to improve (which could take a while).

Overpricing is just one reason why a house may not sell. Sometimes, with the right marketing, reducing the price may not even be necessary. If you're looking to sell your home at the price you want, contact us at the A-Team.

The article When Should You Lower the Asking Price of Your Home? is republished from

124 Bruin Bay | $389,900

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Saturday, October 14, 2017

112 Chalifour Street | $

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“Special Homes” in Fort McMurray: Should You Buy One?

Okay, so this is another thing I’ve really just made up. But it’s useful!!

There isn’t a real thing called a “special home”; it’s a phrase I use to describe a home that is, well... special…and in a good way.

It’s not a euphemism for a weird house (I call those weird houses), or any other type of house for that matter (we tell it how it is here at The A-Team).

What is a Special Home?

They are AWESOME homes that usually have a few of the following features:

  1. Large lots: 7,000+sqft
  2. Larger homes: 2,300+sqft 2-story or 1,600+sqft bungalow/bi-levels.
  3. Unique, positive features
  4. Located on a park, pond or woods
  5. A great street: Burns Place, Wood Buffalo Way, Torrie Bay/Crescent, Westwood Drive, Woodward Lane/Bay, Becker Crescent, Berard Crescent, Brosseau Crescent, MacLaren Crescent, Burton Place, Lindstrom, Wild Rose, Trillium Road, Castle Ridge Lane. Or these lesser known ones: Sicamore Place, parts of Thicket Drive, Marten Place, Dickins Close, parts of Brett Drive.
  6. Well built: Try jumping up and down and seeing if the house makes a noise or moves. Silence is golden.
  7. I find a lot of special homes are 2-story homes with front attached garages.
  8. Additional garages/shops
  9. Generally built before 2000, though there are some newer gems hidden out there (for example on Wild Rose, Trillium, Eagle Ridge)
  10. Custom built or high-quality builder

...these are the homes that drive Facebook crazy.

Here are some images of special homes that we have sold in the last few months (we don’t have photos of the ones we’ve helped our clients buy):

fort mcmurray luxury homes

In summary, a “special home” is the home that everyone wants because it has a combination of features that make it stand out from the crowd. Executive homes are different, but there’s a lot of overlap.

Like executive homes, these are the homes in which you would quite like to spend the rest of your life.

That leads me on nicely to the next section…

Should YOU Buy a Special Home?

Let’s assume you’ve decided to buy a home.

At our buyer consultation we help by providing you with lots of information so you can make the best decisions for you and your family (whether to buy, when to buy, budget, types of homes) etc. There are a few important things to consider when deciding on the type of home. Here are some examples:

  • Budget
  • Needs/Wants
  • Your family (is it changing?)
  • Your lifestyle
  • How long you plan to live in the home for
  • Your risk tolerance
  • How much you are putting down as a down-payment

Let’s look at perhaps the most important three considerations:


One thing about special homes is that, because they have popular features, they do tend to be more expensive than entry-level homes. Today, we find them starting in the $600k’s and $700k’s (in the past they started at $800,000). Entry level homes are found in the $400k’s and $500k’s.

It is quite possible that you simply don’t want to pay that much money, even if the bank pre-approves you for it. That’s okay. We always encourage our buyer clients to be faithful to their budgets. It may be an option for you to move up later (sell and buy when you feel more financially comfortable) - but do also be aware that this is a costly process.

Either way, we’ll be coaching you to purchase a home that meets your needs, but is also really resaleable.

Risk Tolerance

Buying a special home is an example of making a luxury purchase. You are buying something awesome because you love it. Do be aware that the value of luxury goods tends to vary slightly more than the value of basic goods, over time. This is especially the case when we are talking about really special homes with high price tags.

On the flip side, however, there is a lot to be said for buying something that everyone wants, especially if those features are enduring, like street, location, underlying build quality, lot size etc.

How Long You Will Stick Around

If you are here for 5 years and your family today doesn’t need the features of a special home, there is a lot to be said for avoiding a home like this and keeping things basic (save that money!)

However, if you are a “lifer” with housing benefits from your employer, these homes were literally built for you so you might want to think seriously about going for it. Your kids (and possibly your kid's kids, will love that backyard and thank you for it).

Consider a special home if you are planning to start or grow your family over that long time period. It may seem a way off now, but when you have teenagers of your own, it’s highly likely that you will enjoy them living in the basement.

What Now?

That’s it really.

Know that if we help you or your loved ones buy, we will look after them and coach them to get a great deal and a fantastic home. As buyer’s agents, if someone comes to us with a high budget we systematically target special homes so that they can have an awesome life AND an easy journey when it’s time to one day sell.

Please enjoy reading/sharing our blogs. We’ve written about pretty much everything related to Fort McMurray real estate at this point, so type something into the search box and see what comes up!

“Special Homes” in Fort McMurray: Should You Buy One? Read more on: The A-Team, RE/MAX Fort McMurray

Friday, October 13, 2017

Around Town: Fort McMurray News (Week of October 13)

It’s time for another edition of our weekly column from the A-Team. We hope you had a great Thanksgiving weekend. Here is some important news for this week.

Community recovery from the wildfire is underway, as the number of home rebuilds completed reaches 150 as of September 22. Building permits have also been rising since the month of April, according to Jaryn Vecchio of Mix News:

Finished Homes Rise Over 150, Around 1,100 Building Permits Issued

As of September 22, 158 homes have been completed – up 41 when the numbers were updated on August 11.

Nearly one-third of the completed rebuilds have been in Stone Creek – a total of 51.

Abasand, 29, Waterways, 27, Beacon Hill, 25, and Wood Buffalo, 15, are the other neighbourhoods with at least 10 rebuilds.

Meanwhile, the number of started rebuilds are also rising.

Right now, 1,110 building permits have been handed out, a number which has risen ever month since April, 2017. Via

If these homes are listed for sale, it will have the effect of increasing supply in the market. So far, however, we have been surprised by how few of these homes have actually been listed for sale.

[caption id="attachment_27520" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Credit: Jaryn Vecchio of Mix News[/caption]

18 may be the legal voting age, but the Youth Voices Rising action research project is aiming to give youth a way to voice their opinions and influence decision makers. Specifically, through social media. From My McMurray:

Research project give RMWB youth a voice

The campaign is part of the Youth Voices Rising action research project with the ResiliencebyDesign Research Innovation Lab at Royal Roads University.

Tamara Plush, with the Resilience by Design Lab told MyMcMurray that they chose to do the project in Wood Buffalo because of the long-term effects of the 2016 wildfire.

“We are looking at how young people are engaged in the post recovery decision making,” said Plush.

The campaign was launched on Sept. 29 and runs through until Oct. 27. To follow along and engage in the conversation you can check out #youthvoiceswb on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. h/t

Running alongside the municipal elections, the campaign is a fitting opportunity for youth to have their say on what they believe the community needs to do to improve.

Finally, a First Nation south of Fort McMurray is set to receive piped water and sewer services after an agreement with the RMWB. The installation costs will be $25 million in funding over five years by Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada. From Cullen Bird of Fort McMurray Today:

First Nation to get piped water, sewage

Fort McMurray #468 First Nation, located near Anzac and Gregoire Lake Estates, has reached an agreement with the RMWB to connect to the municipality’s water and sewer lines once its own water and sewer infrastructure is completed. The First Nation's installation costs for the reserve's piped water and sewer infrastructure will be covered by $25 million in funding over five years from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.

"If I had to identify one thing that helped make this successful, it was a great relationship that the nation and the municipality committed to building between those two entities," said Roni-Sue Moran, director of the Industry Relations Corporation, which reports to the FMFN 468's chief and council.

The First Nation has 708 members, 262 of which currently live on reserve, Moran said. The partnership was partially made possible by the fact that Highway 881 - and the municipal utilities corridor that runs alongside it - crosses right through the middle of the reserve. Read more at

This partnership will lead to more business opportunities for the residents, improved utility services for on-reserve school and better roads for the First Nation.

That’s all for this weeks’ roundup. Check back on The A-Team blog for more news and updates on Fort McMurray.

The blog post Around Town: Fort McMurray News (Week of October 13) was originally published to The A-Team Real Estate Blog

Monday, October 9, 2017

How to Stage Your Home to Sell

Once you decide to sell your home, the most important thing you can do to help speed up the sales process is to stage it for sale. For that reason here are a few valuable home staging tips that you can apply which might help you in selling your home fast.

Before putting too much work into staging, the best thing to do first is to declutter the house. Clearing kitchen counters and living room floors go a long way in making your house look great. A recent article by Katie Garrett of Ideal Home supports the importance of decluttering:

Remove all clutter

Staging a home refers to preparing and decorating a house in a way that will make it the most appealing to potential buyers. That means more than just getting rid of dirty washing, tidying up your kitchen counters and giving the place a really thorough clean.

Rule number one of home staging: get rid of all the clutter in your home. Either throw it away or store it neatly out of sight. All floors and surfaces should be clutter-free, while cupboards should be neatly organised in case sneaky guests start peeking. Via

Clutter can distract buyers and give the impression of reduced space, so removing it is essential.

Once you have the inside clean, it's time to focus on the outside. First impressions are everything for buyers, especially when many of those impressions are made online. If your home's exterior doesn't speak to them, they'll move on quickly. You want your listing to have that "wow" factor for buyers:

Make an entrance

It’s important that the entrance looks appealing, as this is the first thing that potential buyers will notice. It’s known as “curb appeal”: if your property doesn’t have it, there’s every chance that a prospective buyer will drive straight past your home without even stepping foot inside. “Add simple things like potted plants and a welcome mat at the door,” suggests property expert and educator Jennie Brown. “If you have no distinguishable entrance leading to the front door, you may also want to consider placing a few large pavers in the grass.” Read more...

It may set you back a few bucks, but curb appeal is what brings home shoppers into the house.

[caption id="attachment_27478" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Get rid of your personal items! Credit:[/caption]

If you spend time looking at homes online, you'll notice that many photos avoid including personalized items. When selling your home, it's important that your buyers imagine themselves in your home, and personal items detract from the effect. A recent post from The Rug Seller explains the need:

Depersonalise Items

Buyers need to be able to envision themselves in your home, so remove all the family photos, items with family members’ names on them, heirlooms and refrigerator art.

Also, even though there may be families with children looking at your home, but just because they have kids too doesn’t mean seeing toys strewn everywhere will sell them on the place. When people are house hunting, they are imagining a fresh start.

Show them that in this house, it is possible to have a beautifully organised kids’ room, and they might be swayed. So, make sure to put away all the toys and anything else that is highly indicative of the home’s current inhabitants. Read more at

The process of de-personalizing not only attracts potential buyers but also gives you a headstart in leaving your home.

Home staging can take a bit of time and effort, but when combined with world-class marketing, your home is sure to sell easily.

The following blog post How to Stage Your Home to Sell was first published to