Buying Real Estate a Bad Idea?

You don’t always make money when you buy your home. The costs associated with owning real estate can quickly add up.  There are transfer taxes, closing costs for a lawyer/notary, property taxes, city utility fees, replacement insurance, mortgage insurance, mortgage interest fees and finally real estate agent fees. Picking the right house can be crucial to better your financial position when owning real estate and picking an agent can help you pick the right home.

Typically Buyers don’t pick buyer agents.   The majority of the time the Buyer agent tries to “pick” a client and this happens either through an online inquiry, phone inquiry or open house. Occasionally a Buyer will be referred to an agent and a few times a buyer goes actively looking for a buyer agent themselves.  When you go looking for an agent you quickly realize that there are 100’s of agents and we all say the same thing.   Background information on agents are usually missing or minimal so it is normal for buyers to wind up working with an agent they did not choose.

The value the buyer agent brings to a Buyer, generally speaking, is as follows:

  • Buyer agents make it easy for Buyers to look at multiple homes and keep their identity private rather than having to contact multiple sellers or seller agents. This means the agent needs to be available even on short notice.
  • The Buyer agent makes it easy to write an offer on a property.  Generally a custom legally binding contract can be created within an hour of looking at a property, any day of the week.
  • They give advice and have a fiduciary duty regarding contractual subjects and conditions on any one particular property.  In this respect Buyer agents give Buyers assurance backed up with actual liability insurance usually up to $3 million dollars.
  • The buyer agent can connect the Buyer with reputable sub contractors, mortgage specialists, and home inspectors to help ensure that the home buying process goes as smoothly as possible with minimal stress.
  • They give advice about general market conditions as well as specific advice down to a single segment and single property, ideally speaking, helping the buyer ultimately find the right property for them so that the buyer can have the best chance of building wealth.

The first two points are probably the most important practical values a buyer agent can bring to the table and these two points also require the least amount of knowledge/experience.  Just by doing these two points, a lot of Buyers appreciate the services of their agent and just these two points can mean the difference between securing a great property or getting ‘stuck’ with a not so great property or renting. These are the passive things an agent can help a Buyer with.

The last three points generally require more knowledge and experience to do well.  The agent becomes more of an advisor than a passive participant.  These points require more of an active approach where the agent tries to actively ask questions that can help them better understand the needs of a particular Buyer. Outside of being available, typically the biggest difference between one agent and another one has to do with these last three points.

Picking the right agent can save you a lot of time and be the difference  between finding a property you want to hold on to and build wealth or buying a property that could literally lead to financial trouble. The difference can be based on who you decided to use as your buyer agent.

Are you looking to buy a property in and around Kamloops?  If you would like some help feel free to contact me when you are ready.

Andrew Thompson

andrew.thompson@century21.ca

Call or text: 250-320-0154

Office: 250-377-3030

It Sucks to Sell Your Home!

You have put down roots, made great memories, have friends close by, but now you have to sell. The costs associated with selling are not small by any measure – moving costs, lawyer or notary fees, transfer taxes (on your new purchase), and real estate agent fees quickly add up.

Real estate agent fees are one of the greatest costs, but despite this, not a lot of people (less than 5%) try to sell their property themselves. Most people decide to use a real estate agent to sell their home for the same reasons they use a mechanic to fix their automobile or a lawyer to deal with a legal matter. It is possible to sell your property yourself,  but what you save in commission you could lose in sale price and there’s a chance you can expose yourself to legal issues.

As you know, real estate agents provide the following services:

  • answer questions;
  • prepare listing documents;
  • Sell your property
  • keep you at arms length from potential buyers so that you can maintain your privacy and not get emotionally involved with a potential buyer;
  • offer insight on current market conditions and provide real estate advice when needed;
  • help your property standout;
  • limit your liability;
  • Give advice on how to negotiate a good price for your property;

Based on my experience, generally speaking, this is the order of importances most people have when deciding who to use as a real estate agent or brokerage and why most people just rely on a referral from a friend or number of listings agent has to sell their property.

The real estate industry is big business. For example, in Kamloops with a population of about 95,000 on average there is about $75 million of transactions per month in our real estate market. Collectively, real estate agents are trying to make that number as big as possible. Real estate agents are like the managers of the real estate industry and for their services they charge Sellers a commission usually of no more than 4%.  In return, Sellers hopefully get a good management team that consistently makes their wealth improve by more than 5% to offset this cost. I say management team because when you hire one agent you are indirectly hiring all agents. In theory, your listing agent is trying to help you achieve the highest sale price while a buyer agent is trying to help buyers achieve a lower sale price.

What Should you look for in a good Agent?
Every consumer is different but in my experience, marketing and real estate advice are typically not a top concern for most consumers when it comes to picking an agent. Typically, Sellers rely on referrals or superficial metrics like how many listings an agent has when determining which real estate agent/brokerage to hire.

When choosing a real estate agent, Sellers should look for good management skills and an entrepreneurial spirit. Good managers not only have good people skills, work hard, and are honest, but they also look for ways to make things more informative and transparent. Good entrepreneurs always have the energy to try to become more efficient and effective. When you are seeking a real estate agent keep these managerial skills in mind because they should be at the heart of any good real estate agent’s business. One way to show entrepreneurial spirit is to be proactive in marketing a home with high quality pictures, and even videos that give your property a story so that there is a great first impression of the property.

Obviously selling your home doesn’t suck.  But chances are you would not have read this article if I called it, “Sell your property with me for top dollar quickly!”.

 

Andrew Thompson,REALTOR(R)

andrew.thompson@century21.ca

Call or txt: 250-320-0154

Office: 250-377-3030

 

 

 

Kamloops Real Estate Update for May 2016

 

 

Here is an update on the May real estate numbers for the Kamloops area. This update is meant to give you a general sense of the market. We are continuing to see an active market, with a trend of more sales but we are starting to see the number of listings increase. To get the whole picture let’s take a look at the raw data gathered by local real estate agents, like myself, and published by our real estate board. One of the best ways analysis the market is to measure home buyer demand against home seller’s supply to come up with a rule-of-thumb measurement. Generally downward pressure on prices in Kamloops occurs when this measurement dips below 9% and upwards pressure on prices occurs when this number gets to 15%. You will notice from this graph provided by the BC real estate association that during 2005 to 2007 when prices were going up substantially year after year this rule of thumb measurement was well above 15%. So let’s look at last months numbers. Overall the market in Kamloops inched further into a seller market to 21% from about 19% for April. The market has been steadily improving from the start of the year. The improved numbers that we saw compared from last month seems to have predominately come from segments of the market other than single family which is a good news for those other segments of the market. Taking a closer look at the different segments of the market gives us a better understanding of which are stronger than others. This can give us an idea of why one property might stay on the market longer than an other property. We can even look at which areas of town were hottest last month….First, lets look at the different types of properties: Single family detached homes represents the biggest segment of the market and it is one of the strongest too, giving us a figure of 25% last month. Representing a smaller sample size: Townhouses are at 21%. Then there are condos at 15% and finally there are full duplex/triplex properties that remained very strong at 22%. Now lets look at activity in different areas of town.  We get these figures from the single family sales and the approximate number of listings in a given area. Here is a break down of the different areas of Kamloops. Sahali jumped to 79%, Aberdeen improved to 69% and Juniper Heights did really well at 59%. South Kamloops came down to 26% in part probably because of an increase in Sahali listings/sales. One of the hottest segments of the market is older type single family homes and homes with a suite that are priced less than $440k. The areas with the highest numbers have more of these types of homes. The good news from a buyer’s perspective is there are lots of these types of properties out there so the chances are decent that eventually something will pop up. With this amount of activity in that strong sector of the market it could be a good time to downsize into a condo or upsize into a higher priced home because both of those segments are a little softer. Thanks for watching if you are thinking of buying or selling give me a call when you are ready to make your move.

 

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March 2016 real estate Market Update

March real estate numbers are out and here is a video detailing what is happening in the Kamloops market!  Find out which areas of Kamloops are the hottest right now and what types of properties are in demand the most.

How Marketing Homes has Changed – Kamloops Real Estate – Efficiency in the Selling Process

As the old saying goes…”Times change.”  That is never more true than with the real estate business.  Back before there was internet marketing running ads in the newspaper for your home became a vital part of the selling process. Newspaper ads were vital in getting the word out that a property was for sale.  Buyers were far less sophisticated and at the mercy of the local information that was available to them and that information was limited to their individual agent or brokerage that they were dealing with at the time.  Buying a home back then could be a lot harder and depended greatly on brokerages to give out information.

Since the internet age the marketing of a well known product, like a house, has been dramatically streamlined and made easier. The internet has allowed organizations to easily gather information and sort it so that it can be easily viewed and analyzed.  Everyone knows that if they want information on a certain topic they can “google it” and answers to their questions will magically appear before their eyes.   As real estate professionals in Canada we enter listings into a large data base following strict guidelines that keeps track for past sales, expires, and active listings.  We even made it easier for Buyers looking for homes to find them, no website is required, just an email account. In fact, properties that meet a Buyer’s criteria can get emailed to them directly as soon as they hit the market or change in price.

Before the internet it was not hard to see where the value was in using a brokerage to sell your house. Today the value of real estate agents have shifted to analysis of the data that is now available and analysis of the buying processes itself. Today, just like in any established industry, the value of a good real estate agent is all about making the home buying process more efficient.  There are a lot more options out there for the average buyer and a lot of potential risk they might run into. Prices of homes have dramatically gone up and there is an expectation of transparency from the public to insure that confidence remains as high as possible.  It is now the real estate agents job to insure that Buyers are treated with VIP treatment and guided to make the right choice(s) when it comes their home purchase.  Every buyer has their own needs that is based on their particular personality and lifestyle. As a sophisticated real estate agent I know it is in everyone’s long term interest that they find a house that best meets their needs so that financial freedom and not hardship can be had through real estate ownership.

Interested in finding more information on the Kamloops real estate market?

Sun Peaks Resort to get a New Hospital?

For those of you with limited knowledge of Sun Peaks resort you may not know that there is a Health centre there right now that is manned during the winter on limited hours after the ski day is done. It services lots of local employees and a few unlucky visitors. The visitors that get mildly banged up during the course of a day of sking or snowboarding.

Sun Peaks became a municipality about 2 years ago and right now there is talk about building a 3 million dollar facility that will eventually house a more substantial health centre.  In the mean time there is talk of relocating municipal offices to this new building.

In my opinion, I am not sure if Sun Peaks is ready for this kind of an investment.  Currently there is a fair share of empty commercial space in Sun Peaks as the resort has been predominately a one season resort. Recently that has started to really turn the corner and Summer attendance has started to drastically improve.  I am sure it helps to hold great free concerts through out the summer like Sun Peaks has done in the last two years!

Based on my knowledge of the Sun Peaks, from being a resident there and selling real estate there for the past 5 years I think the Resort and the Municipality would do very well to consider putting in a West Morrisey Chair lift instead of proposed future health centre.   There is two main reasons they should consider this option:

  1. Sun Peaks has been know as a family friendly resort with lots of beginner and intermediate runs.  The west morrisey terrain has some of the best snow conditions and steepest terrain on the mountain.  Opening this area up will no doubt make Sun Peaks more attractive for ski enthusiasts looking for gnarly terrain.
  2. Adding this chair would make Sun Peaks as whole a true ski in/out Resort and they could advertise it as such! Locals and visitors alike seek out the convenience of ski in/out locations.  By adding the west morriesy chair lift it will increase the cities revenue from nightly rentals and property taxes from the real estate around that area.  Currently there are lots of lots for sale in that area that I am sure the city would love to see developed! If a chair would go in there would be a lot more demand for this location that already features some of the best views on the mountain.

I would love to see Sun Peaks really take off because I think it has lots to offer to anyone seeking a special place to call home. What Sun Peaks decides to do in the near future will have an impact on just how fast Sun Peaks develops.  I am a Kamloops real estate agent, or Kamloops Realtor and would like to learn about your real estate needs.

Kamloops Sahali Condo – Highlighting Summit Place

If you are considering buying a condo in the Kamloops area for an investment or your primary residence you are not alone.  Because of the relative low maintenance and healthy demand for rentals condos make a lot of sense.

Summit Place is located at 1810 summit drive and offers some great features that are hard to find in other comparable properties.  This is an older complex but a well maintained one. Summit Place has one of the largest common properties available in sought after area of Sahali. Because of all this space developers have present offers to purchase land from this complex.  Aside from this obvious positive, the units themselves all have great views and above average storage space.  To the point where all of the units have room for in unit laundry.  There is a great hiking park close by that allows you access the downtown core.  It is not surprising that investors looking to invest in multiple rental units have bought up properties in this complex.

Summit Place Kamloops BC, 1810 summit drive

Kamloops BC Condos for Sale

If you are considering buying or selling a condo in Kamloops contact me today!  Make an informed decision and get the results you want.  I am a Kamloops real estate agent, or Kamloops Realtor and would like to learn about your real estate needs.