Why the Fall market is cooling, but we’re just heating up!

Ahh November, that lovely month that’s not quite Fall and not quite Winter. The colourful leaves have fallen, and where the air typically feels like snow in our wet November, this year Mother Nature has granted us a (very) premature January freeze. In Canada, it’s not our prettiest month of the year but with it comes the eager anticipation of the upcoming Holidays, the sweet smell (and taste!) of Pumpkin Spice and – for many – the tangible slowing of the Real Estate market.

However despite this typical Fall slow down, we are busier than ever. After hosting over 200 friends and clients at Graystone Brewing in September at our 6th annual Client Appreciation Event, we got to work. You may have noticed our team has been growing over the past couple of months and we wanted to take this opportunity to introduce you to them formally. You know the duck that swims calmly above the water but underneath it’s peddling its little feet like crazy? Meet the Syroid Group 🙂

What started as a dream for 4 of us as individuals, has become a reality in the form of the Syroid Group. With distinctly different backgrounds in mortgages, insurance, relationship management and sales, we are cohesive in our approach and core values. Who are we?

  1. We are moms and dads, of both human and fur variety.
  2. We are Fredericton and surrounding area born and raised.
  3. We are not only supportive, but inclusive and proud of our cultures, including LGBTQIA2+ and other members of our communities.
  4. We are believers in healthy body, mind, and balance.
  5. We are proudly Canadian; we are Royal LePage.
  6. We are servants to our city and community.
  7. We are authentic individuals and uniquely “us”, and we attract like-minded clients.
  8. We are committed to giving back and to helping women and their families suffering from domestic violence.
  9. We are Real Estate, marketing, and communication experts.
  10. We are loyal members of the locally owned Gardiner Realty family.

At the Syroid Group we work together but not in the standard team format. When you choose one of us as your representative, that’s who you’ll work with from contact to contract to closing day. We support each other and lean on our respective strengths, further enhancing the one-on-one, individualized attention from your advisor. The power of four, the comfort and communication of one.

Seven years ago the prospect of having a dynamic, service-minded, marketing savvy team composed of people we truly enjoy spending our time with, would have been a dream. And frankly it still is. We sold over $20 million in local Real Estate in 2018 alone, and our trajectory only continues to climb. While our team dynamic has changed, our service model has not. We’re leveraged to continue to operate the same way we always have: one-on-one service, expert advice, clear strategy, and properties that move.

We are Karen, Brittany, Bradley and Chris. Now please, someone remind “7 years ago us” that all of this would be possible, because this is truly a dream come true and a realization of expectations far surpassed.

Thinking of buying or selling? You’re in the right place. Call, text or email our team anytime. We’re absolutely sure we’ll find you the perfect fit.

Buying My First Home: What I Wish I’d Known!

A couple of years ago, I “finally” found a home I was ready to buy! The experience was exciting, thrilling, and insanely stressful. Having had the pleasure of working with Karen over the 2 past years, there are many things I’ve learned about the home buying process that I wish I’d known when I was going through it… All which would’ve have saved time, effort, and headaches!

So, since “sharing is caring”… here are a few tips whether you’re buying your first home, or your first home in a while!

 

1. Get the Real Lowdown on Mortgages
Before you begin your search, meet with a mortgage broker. Online calculators help set a range for what you can afford, but there’s much more to it. Take the time to sit down with a mortgage broker/specialist to find out more about the options that currently exist, and how much you can actually afford.

Don’t be afraid to ask a LOT of questions. Like “what happens if I decide to sell next year?” You never want to be surprised by additional fees, penalties, etc.

Also take into account additional home buying costs, listed HERE!

 

2. Don’t Search On Your Own, Work with A Realtor®
Having witnessed many #daysinthelife of a Realtor®, I can vouch that they do MUCH more than oversee the transaction of getting an accepted deal together. They bring a wealth of knowledge that can save you big bucks, help you avoid massive mistakes, and make the entire home purchasing (and selling) process MUCH easier and safer.

Great Realtors® know their local markets, they know the inside scoop (incl the homes that have been listed far too long, or the hidden gems you would never have considered!). In addition, they can show any home that is listed on the market, and often know of some that aren’t publicly listed yet- and who doesn’t love exclusivity?!

They’ll come up with a list of homes that fit your “wants & needs” list.

And, as a buyer, it doesn’t cost you a penny upfront to search with their help. This is all pre-negotiated between the seller and the seller’s listing agent. The service of having a trusted advisor and friend throughout the entire process, is free!

So don’t waste any more time searching online and by driving through your favourite neighbourhoods: contact a Realtor® right now. Not sure who? I know of a great team I’m happy to recommend!

 

3. Look beyond the aesthetics
When you begin viewing homes, ONLINE OR IN PERSON, please don’t ever get caught up on the aesthetics of the home. By that I mean: don’t dismiss the house that has ugly paint colours, old shag carpet, or especially the one that has hideous furnishings. Repainting is easier than you think, replacing old carpet is cheaper than ever (have you seen all the flooring options out there?!), and those furnishings are probably leaving with the homeowners.

When reviewing homes online, remember that the photos may not do it justice. It may have been a gloomy day, the “photographer” may have used an old iPhone 4… there are so many reasons bad photos turn up on real estate listings. You need to step inside to see and feel the space. So many missed opportunities happen when you judge a book by its cover! My home had grey carpets, salmon pink walls, and matching pink fabric vertical blinds. On the flip side, it had 9+ foot ceilings and the open concept living area I dreamed of. Under the carpets were beautifully kept original hardwood floors, and 2 coats of paint later the walls are a nice neutral tone.

 

4. Search for The Sun
My mom ALWAYS said to me – pay attention to where the sun is. Honestly, I heard it repeatedly, but never really paid attention to it. I lucked out. The sun rises on one side of my home, letting the rays stream in through my dining room and master bedroom in the morning. It leaves me smiling every. single. sunny. day. In the afternoon, it plunges my back deck with gorgeous warmth, leaving me with the perfect spot to get a solid dose of Vitamin D.

I never thought I’d care about having natural sunlight throughout my home as much as I do. The older I get, the more I truly appreciate it. Sunshine doesn’t have to be a deal breaker, but keep it in mind.

5. Manage your Emotions
Many, many tears and tissue boxes later, I learned this. The home buying process is an emotional one, whether or not you want to admit it. It’s one of, if not THE, largest investment in one’s life, it’s where we live, where we make memories – it’s “where the heart is”.

All that said, try to keep emotions to a minimum when house shopping. Don’t let yourself fall in love too fast, stay somewhat guarded – you’ll be thankful you did. When you think you’ve found the one, ask yourself if it truly meets your needs/budget. Let your Realtor® play your devil’s advocate. They’re along for the ride with you and can be an amazing and objective support.

 

6. When You Make an Offer, There Are These Things Called Conditions
When you’ve found “the one”, your real estate agent will draft up the offer with you. You may think this just means price (I did!), but there’s more to it than that. There are these little gems called conditions. Why do I refer to them as gems? Because they’re meant to protect you.

Conditions are items that need to be completed by a certain deadline, usually within a week or two of your accepted offer. Once they’ve all been met, the house is then sold, and you just have to wait until closing day to get the keys. Conditions can include everything from financing, to inspection, water potability, radon testing, and several others.

Financing is a great example: you may be 100% sure you can afford this home, but the bank could decide not to fund your mortgage if they feel the value of the home doesn’t match what you’re borrowing. The finance condition allows you to ensure that not only can you afford the home, but your bank will actually lend you the money and your mortgage insurer (for anyone who has less than 20% downpayment) will underwrite your policy. Without that, you could end up owing big $$, without having the funds to back you up.

Your Real Estate agent should work with you to identify which conditions matter to your purchase, and when you’re required to fulfill them by – don’t hesitate to ask questions if you’re unsure about anything!

 

7. Say Yes! To a Home Inspection.
No matter what, get a proper home inspection. It’s a condition that is meant to protect you, and it’s a worthy one. Hire a professional inspector. They aren’t typically experts in any one area of homes (like a plumber or electrician would be, for example) – they are generalists who search through every nook and cranny. It’s money well spent. If all looks good with the house (and trust me, every house has something!) – you’ll have not only peace of mind, but also an education on how the house functions and what you’ll want to maintain on an ongoing basis.

If your opinion of value has changed upon uncovering unknown (latent) defects following the inspection, you’ll have the option to:

• Ask the seller to fix certain things or help cover the cost;
• Walk away from the deal;
• Go ahead as planned, but have a list of things in your back pocket to consider fixing once the home is yours. Surprises can always arise after you’ve moved in…but at least you’ll have done your due diligence.

 

8. Closing Day, What?!
So once you’ve offered on a home, reached an agreement with the sellers, and met all conditions – you have to wait until closing day before the home is yours. Technically the home is sold, but it’s not yours yet. Even when closing day arrives, the home isn’t yours at 12:01 am.

Tips for closing day:
• Don’t expect to have access to your home at 9 am! Sometimes it can take several hours, and if glitches happen, days, to “close” a home. Don’t book a moving truck (or plan a house warming party!) first thing in the morning – wait until late afternoon or the next day.
• Don’t access the property before then, without consent from your real estate agent. It isn’t yours until your lawyer calls to congratulate you and advise you to pick up your keys!
• Expect to have to meet with your real estate agent that day or the night before to do a final walkthrough, and you’ll meet your lawyer to sign paperwork the week leading up to closing.

Oh yeah, and if the lock box and/or sign remain on YOUR property (once it’s closed) – call your real estate agent. Neither are yours to dispose of. As much as Realtors try to stay on top of things, it’s like anything else, sometimes, they forget a sign or two! They’ll appreciate you not destroying their belongings. Lock boxes and signs are much more costly than one would imagine.

 

All in all, have fun. Home buying doesn’t have to be stressful. It’s exciting enough when you’re able to begin this process – make it the best you can.

Happy Shopping!

Liz Xo

 

Post-Thanksgiving 2016 – What I’m Thankful For!

October Blog Karen Syroid Syroid Group Thankful Thanksgiving

October 2016

Turkey, stuffing, family, BLUE JAYS, food comas (and a baby on the way!?)…This year’s Thanksgiving has been an extra special one for our family, and to say we’re grateful for our health, and our friends, family, clients and team today and everyday, is the understatement of the year.

 

A year ago this weekend was the beginning of the most challenging time our family has gone through, with regards to my father’s health.  He wouldn’t mind me saying this because today he feels better than he has in 30 years, and his health scare literally changed his life and perspective for the better.  Surrounded by family this past weekend, with an abundance of food and a genuine like for one another, a year felt like a lifetime ago. To sum up what’s changed over the past year, here are some of the not-so-little things that I’ve been most thankful for:

 

Time – “There’s never enough”.  They say if you need something done, ask a busy person.  There’s always enough time, what needs to change are your priorities.  Once they’re aligned, you’ll have time to spare.  I’ve felt a relief in my schedule over the past year that I can’t say I’ve had previously in my professional career.  And, I’m busier than ever on the heels of a record breaking year in Real Estate.  Time is precious, and you’ll have more of it once you learn to prioritize productive and meaningful commitments (i.e. lunch with a friend, a glass of wine with your spouse, a family vacation, nailing a stressful work deadline) over other things.  This has been a huge lesson that I’m incredibly thankful for!!

 

Unscheduled visits – My parents bought a house down the street from us recently.  They PROMISED to keep theirscreen-shot-2016-10-11-at-3-54-07-pm distance and not to drop by unexpectedly or to invade our space.  Over the past 2 months I’ve found myself slowing down when driving by their house, just in case they’re gardening or working in the garage so I can give them a friendly “beepity beep beeeep!”  We are our parents’ kids no matter what age we grow up to be. Having them close by has been a blessing, and the one thing that makes me feel most at home, is when they swing by to offer to take Bella for a walk, or just to have a cup of coffee and catch up on the day.  Not getting so caught up in the “busy-ness” of life is so important.  An unscheduled (proverbial or not) knock on the door from someone you love,  grounds your day and reminds you of what you’re working so darn hard for.  

 

Karen Syroid, Syroid Group, Family

Pets and Spouses – My husband would LOVE that I put these two in the same category, but hear me out.  Unlike family who love you unconditionally even when you’re being a cranky B, spouses and pets are the ones that choose you.  They don’t have to love you, but they do anyway.  Mascara-running, morning-breath toting, irrational thinking (at times…), YOU.  That they came into your life at the exact moment and place when you needed them, and they needed you, and that you loved them and they loved you back, is nothing short of a miracle.  Being loved by someone who has a choice in the matter and who chooses you every day, is one life’s greatest gifts.  Plus, puppy kisses.

 

Faith – So little in life is within our control.  Surrendering to that is one of the most liberating things we can do to be happy.  My clients have taught me so much about having faith over the past years.  When an offer doesn’t come together, it’s because a home that’s more aligned with their goals is just around the corner.  When you’ve been married 6 years and haven’t started a family yet, it’s because it wasn’t the right time.  Breathe, there’s a plan.  Having faith, hope and love in your life are irreplaceable, and last a lifetime.  Which leads me to this:

 

Surprises!  – Pink or blue, one thing is true…the anticipation of a baby turns even the burliest (and tallest) of men into mush.  I may look like I’ve been eating too much turkey this holiday BUT…

Dave and I are excited to announce a little bundle on the way, due April 2017!  

I think life has a way of saying “Hey!  Don’t forget about the big stuff!”  when you’re busy doing other things.  If I blink it’s our wedding day 6 years ago, and if I close my eyes I’m right back to our first date nearly 4 years earlier on the rooftop of the Snooty Fox.  Where did the time go??  Our greatest commitment to date is on the way, and while time is standing still on the one hand, on the other I’m unbelievably grateful to have learned that with the right priorities, there is always time. After all, the most important things in life aren’t things.  Just don’t blink!!

 

Whatever you’re thankful for this Thanksgiving and every day, from our family to yours, we are wishing you abundance in all of the things.  

Xo Karen

 

PS, for other Fredericton Real Estate blogs, click HERE!

Breaking News! The Syroid Group

breaking-news

 

BREAKING NEWS!

KarenSyroid.com is now SyroidGroup.com!

 

At the start of my 5th year in the Real Estate industry, I could pinch myself at the prospect of the business growing as quickly as it has.  I just held my 4th annual Client Appreciation Event this past weekend, where 140 clients and referrers joined together in community and friendship.  How cool is that!?  Every year (and day) is a new adventure, and going into 2017, it’s time once again to expand in order to continue offering our signature “Real Estate, Re-defined” service to our growing client base.

 

The brand you already know and love – brought to you by the talented Liz McCleave who is the genius behind our marketing – is not just a look and feel, but an attitude.  Our listings sell because they stand out. Our communication stands out because it’s different.  Our service is different, because we nurture relationships not sales.  And our sales are “Diamond / Top 10 Atlantic” award winning because our clients have learned to accept nothing less, and when they achieve results they tell their friends.  It’s not rocket science, it’s simply Real Estate, Re-Defined.

 

On that note, I’m excited to officially announce a new addition to my team – Brittany MacKenzie, Realtor®.   Brittany exemplifies what we stand for, and is excited to build her own business under the Syroid Group’s already successful brand.  With her infectious personality, her vivacious energy and strong background in Sales and Relationship Management, this talented Realtor®, wife and mamma has already successfully helped many clients realize their Real Estate goals.  “I pride myself on my easy-going demeanour and informal communication style. I do not have a cookie-cutter rule book or instruction manual when working with people because I know that every home and every client has a unique set of circumstances. My goal is not a transactional one, but to help people achieve their goals and plant their roots.”  Yep, sounds about right 🙂

 

Next stop – painting the town purple!!  For more about Brittany and the rest of the team, check us out on our website HERE! And as always, THANK YOU for your support.  You’ve turned what started as a dream job into a career reality, and we’re only just getting started.  So happy to have you along for the ride 🙂

 

xo Karen

 

(PS – Want to get social?  Check us out below.  We’d love to connect!!)
Elizabeth-Anne McCleave – Marketing Manager, The Syroid Group
Brittany MacKenzie – Realtor®, The Syroid Group
Karen Syroid – Realtor®, The Syroid Group

 

 

 

A job less ordinary!

August 29, 2016

 

We are:  A Real Estate team with a brilliant marketer and stand-out brand.  “Re-defining Real Estate” is more than our motto, it’s our currency.  Daring to be different, investing in our clients, celebrating our successes and embracing our “no two days alike” 14 hour-a-day lifestyle like it’s our job.

 

 

You are:  A high-energy individual who gets as much satisfaction from putting together a streamlined filing system as you do eating a double fudge sundae. “It’s not my job” doesn’t form part of your vocab, and you’d be happy cleaning a client’s home for a last minute showing one minute, and putting together a Social Media campaign the next (you’ve at least heard of WordPress and can maneuver around it). You can keep both paperwork AND people organized, which is no small feat. You can start next week (jk – but not really).

 

 

Hours and pay to be determined based on candidate’s experience.  Send resumes asap to chris@gardiner.nb.ca.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


City dweller & Country seeker?

As we get prepare to celebrate our country’s 149th birthday, I can’t help but reflect on how lucky we are to live in such an extraordinary & diverse country.  

 

This past weekend I experienced my first cricket match at the city’s Loyalist Rugby & Cricket Club.  Cricket in the city? Who knew!  On top of a fun day of cheering, cold ones, and sunburns – I couldn’t help but notice the cultural diversity that surrounded me.  Players and spectators included a mix of Canadians and immigrants – from countries as far as New Zealand, Australia, India, South Africa, and many more.  

 

Each person has his/her own story of how they ended up living in Fredericton.  Whether attending one of our local universities, working in our growing tech and start-up industries, following a loved one, or any of the many other reasons: most arrived here with a short-term plan, but have decided to call Fredericton their forever home (my Husband included!).  They love this city and all that it has to offer.

 

Conversations with the players and spectators made me realize something so very important: No matter the distance travelled to get here, how lucky we are that within a 10 minute drive, we can experience two polar opposite, yet internally sought-after, Canadian lifestyles that will appeal to both the City dweller & the Country seeker.

 

Fredericton embraces the city life: With over 88+ kms of walking/biking trails, city bus transit system, and developed road ways that span the entire city, everything is always just a few minutes away and traffic is never too crazy (ok, this Regent Street redo is a bit of a fiasco.. but it’s still not as bad as Toronto’s every day rush hour.. Right?!).  The city offers a plethora of amenities: sought-after grade schools and post-secondary institutions, malls, local shops & vendors, farmers markets, restaurants offering local and international cuisine, festivals, government and private sector employment, activities for kids and adults of all ages, and So. Much. More.  

 

Within 10 minutes of the city centre, including (but not limited to!) Hanwell, Killarney, Charters Settlement, and all places in between and around, the revered country life is alive, with everything from larger treed lots that offer privacy from neighbours, to nature that surrounds these homes and neighbourhoods.  An abundance of flora & fauna, walking trails, ATV & snowmobiling trails.  Each area has its own sense of small community, where kids can play ball hockey in the streets, neighbours are always ready to lend a hand, and your backyard is a true private oasis where you can kick up your feet and enjoy the sounds of nature, stargazing (you can see full constellations!), and neighbourhood bonfires on any given Saturday night.

 

A perfect example of these two lifestyles, both currently priced at ~$329K, are 355 Oxford Street, centrally located on the coveted “Hill”, & 30 Rose Way, in a peaceful family area just past New Maryland, buzzing with a small community feel, in Charters Settlement.  

 

Two completely different lifestyles, same price, minutes away from each other.   So, what’s your preferred lifestyle?  Tell me on Facebook, and you’ll be entered in a draw to win $100 Gift Card to a local business of your choice. Draw will be made Monday, July 4th at 5pm AST.

 

Happy Birthday, Canada & Happy Canada Day to you all!

 

Your friend in Real Estate,

Karen xo

 

PS, for this and other Fredericton Real Estate blogs, click HERE!

How a good neighbour taught me to never, ever sell.

March 2016

My husband, dog and I recently moved into a new neighbourhood in Fredericton.  We haven’t met many neighbours and have yet to have most of our friends over, so it’s still pretty fresh.  The (literal) paint is still wet. Lotta paint.

 

Last night at about 6:30pm, while I was cooking supper and Dave was out for a walk with the Bellanator, there was a ring at our front door.  The sweetest kid stood there, cheeks pink from the cold, and went into a perfectly rehearsed spiel about the magazine subscriptions he was selling as a fundraiser for his school – “anything from sports to fishing, fashion to home décor and more”.  Precious.

 

Almost out of habit after listening to his pitch, I said to him, “oh sorry sweetie, we don’t subscribe to magazines but thanks anyway, and great job”.  He sort of shrugged his shoulders and started to turn, and he said ok well. . . Welcome to the neighborhood”.  He got me.  I asked him if he lived nearby, and he said that he used to play with the kids who lived in my house previously.  He went on to say that he was going to approach the house across the street but it’s for sale, and he didn’t think that neighbors who would be eventually moving out would want a magazine subscription.  “I’ve been out here fundraising since 3:20pm and only got 3 bites”. He was working so hard.

 

We chatted more about the fundraising efforts that are going towards a playground at his school, and at this point I’ve hauled out my VISA.  Canadian House and Home décor magazine can surely be considered a necessity for work purposes, right?  

 

We didn’t need a magazine subscription, but this kid, perfectly mannered and out for hours selling magazines for the betterment of his school, got me the moment he stopped trying to sell me something. He remembered that I was just a person, a new neighbor, a wife whose dinner was starting to burn while I was at the door.  He hadn’t been trained in sales techniques, or rehearsed how to meet objections.  He wasn’t looking for ways to close the deal.  Once the spiel ended, he welcomed me to his neighborhood and opened up a conversation that had nothing to do with magazines.  

 

Salespeople can often forget that like them, we are all just people.  All of the books, training, role playing and objection handling preparation….don’t hold a candle to warmth, charisma, intuition, emotional intelligence, reaching common objectives and straight up caring about the person – and not their money.  

 

Just like a neighbor, the relationship you have with a good Realtor® is symbiotic.  It’s a friendship, and one that is fostered and grown through proverbial “cups of sugar”.  No one is keeping track, or tallying who borrowed how much.  A trusting relationship is never transactional.  People want to know that you are working for them, in their best interests and for their protection.  This trust is essential to a successful relationship.  You give your neighbor a house key for emergencies, because you trust that your home is in good hands with them.  The same goes for your Realtor®.  Who you choose to give that key to, or who you put your confidence in to negotiate the purchase of your next home, is one of the most important decisions you can make.  When you start feeling like your purchase or sale is transactional, the relationship falls apart.  No one likes to be sold to.  We are all just people, after all.

 

When I was signing the magazine order form, he went in for the kill. “So would you only like to subscribe to one magazine today or are there any others that interest you as well”?  He brought me back from the brink of “no”, to asking if I would like several subscriptions and not just one.  Kid’s a hustler.  

 

Your friend in Real Estate,

Karen xo

 

PS, for this and other Fredericton Real Estate blogs, click HERE!

The ‘Scent$’ of Smell

Heyyy, good lookin’!  Whaaaat cha been cookin’?

February 2016

With February listing season in full force in Fredericton, buyers are starting to jump on opportunities.  Your friendly neighbourhood realtor has been putt putting around, showing and selling all kinds of properties – and proud to say we are in the process of putting the cherry on top of our 13th sale since January 1st 2016!  

To sell a home every 4-5 days in our market (2015 and 2016 YTD), I see a LOT of houses.  And every house, every showing and every client reaction is a learning experience.  This year, what’s been on my radar based on buyer tours, is something we don’t need a home inspector to find.  We all come with this built-in detector, and it’s uncovered by none other than the good ole olfactory glands.  The sniffer test.  The ‘smell tell’.  The 4th sense.  If a home doesn’t pass this preliminary test, you’ll never reach the offer phase (which is kind of a key step to the selling process!)  

If you’ve gone “nose blind” to the smells in your home that could potentially turn away a buyer, you’re going to need back-up.  You need to phone a friend – the kind of friend that tells you that you have spinach in your teeth or that they hate your new haircut?  That one.  We are so conditioned to our own environments that a no-holds barred perspective is in order.  As Realtors® this comes part in parcel with the job, but from discussions I’ve had with other Realtors® around the country, this sensitive topic is not always brought up by listings agents.  It could be that they don’t want to jeopardize their professional relationship with you, or it could be that they’re in competition for the listing and they would rather have the business than risk offending you, and not getting the listing.  Choosing the listing agent that would rather address the sensitive topics and see you SOLD, than the one who’s just trying to put their name on your sign, is so important.  But just in case you don’t have blunt friends and your Realtor® is one you’re hiring as a favour to your mother-in-law’s neighbour’s cousin….here’s a simple plan from yours truly, to you:

1-  Cigarette smoke:  In the past 4 years, I’ve only shown a handful of homes where the ol’ sniffer picked up cigarette smoke.  That’s a great thing in our modern market, as our population of cigarette smokers in Canada continues to be on the decline (per https://www.statcan.gc.ca/).  Every single time, my clients have either refused to walk through the door, or we’ve flown through it quickly with our shirts over our noses.  It’s not just that it’s unpleasant to someone who doesn’t smoke.  So many of us have allergies and sensitivities that are quickly affected by being around the chemicals emitted from cigarettes.  As well, and this is last but definitely not least, the perceived cost to removing the odors and staining in the home are so cost prohibitive that the buyer immediately adds these costs to your price, often making the home less accessible financially.  In fact I read a stat a couple of weeks ago that a home where the sellers smoke inside sells on average for 25%-35% less than a comparable home without.  If that’s not motivation not to, I don’t know what is!  A professional paint job including BIN or KILZ primer, on all walls and ceilings, a thorough cleaning of all wood floors, trim and cupboards, removal of all carpets and washing of furniture and draperies, will instantly add value to your home.  In my opinion, truly the only way to get beyond this buyer objection is not to have it in the first place.  You won’t get a 2nd chance!

2 – Pets:  I gave feedback recently to a seller that the buyers were turned off by the smell of dogs in the house.  These sellers kept an absolutely impeccable home.  Pride of ownership doesn’t describe it, they were unquestionably meticulous.  The feedback was so shocking and insulting to them that I don’t think they would have accepted an offer from these buyers had they come in guns blazing with full asking and a dream closing date.  They were MAD, and I get it.  Pets are family and after time their smells are our smells.  The only thing that makes pets smell worse, is trying to get rid of pet smells! (AKA wet dog smell mixed with cleaning solution).  Here are a couple of tips to minimize the pet grumblings from buyers.  

a – Remove pets from home for showings.  Seeing pets make people smell pets.  We humans are complex creatures.  

b – Same for pet “stuff” like beds, food and water bowls, “beware of dog” and “cat lover lives here” signs.  Don’t even tip off buyers that you have an extended fur family.  They won’t just be sensitized to their smells, but they’ll instantly find scratches on the floors, and they’ll wonder what kind of condition the grass is in under the snow.  On that note, absolutely no dog rockets allowed.  You know…doodoo.

c – Clean furnishings, throw pillows, carpets and rugs, bedding with natural deodorizers such as baking soda and vinegar.  Don’t use scented shampoos or you’ll get the dreaded soapy-smelly combo.  Floors should sparkle, no hair/furballs.

3 – Food smells:  I’m not talking about the sweet apple pie or the freshly baked cinnamon bread smells.  Those evoke nothing but thoughts of family gatherings and the proverbial “good old days”.  Cooking with heavy, lingering spices such as curries (my favourite), and strong flavoured foods such fish, cabbage and boiled eggs, does not a positive reaction make!  It sounds trivial but I assure you, it’s not to a buyer.  They worry that the paint and carpets are going to absorb the smells over time, and if you try to cover up the scents with perfumes or candles, they question what you’re hiding.  It’s a lose-lose.  Getting cozy with the fresh food department at your local grocery store will not only be good for you, but for your sale too ?

Don’t forget to checkout previous blog posts for more tips & tricks, and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions!

Cheers,

– Karen

 

Do & Ditch – 2016 Edition

January 2016

I read a stat the other day that was both shocking and believable at the same time;  people spend more time researching what Smartphone to buy or planning their upcoming vacation, than they do researching their next vehicle, and even less on their retirement savings plan or Real Estate investment.

The article stated that “If people are not comfortable managing their assets, they’ll shy away from it.”

This got me to thinking.  What good is your friendly neighbourhood Realtor® if I don’t take it upon myself to help?  I may not spend a whole lot of time deciding which Smartphone to buy and I’m a hopeless label shopper when it comes to wine, but as someone who works full time in Real Estate and puts in over 80 hours per week in our very local Fredericton market, you can imagine I’ve learned a thing or two.  As the manager to your greatest asset, it is my duty and responsibility to study the market and to advise you of trends that I see coming and going, in order to help you to choose (and spend) wisely.  

Here is a handy list of things that I recommend will impact our market, and your shopping and selling experience, in 2016!

DO DITCH
Efficiency improvements. Today’s buyer, and Millennials in particular, aren’t looking for the biggest house on the street. Efficient use of space, clean and subsidized heating (HEAT PUMPS, woodstoves), insulation, new windows and shingles, are of most importance to the new buyer. Look for infrastructure spending. It’s the stuff that you don’t see that costs (and saves you!) the most.      NB Power is currently offering a $500 rebate on the installation of a heat pump!

 

Oversized homes with formal and informal rooms don’t speak to today’s modern buyer. Less is more. Less costly to heat, less costly to renovate, less room to have to clean and maintain. Homes with purposeful spaces will always appeal.
Composters and Garden Boxes. You don’t need to have a lot of space to be able to harvest a gorgeous vegetable or flower garden in your yard. Inexpensive to build and with a small area to maintain, you’ll love the reward-to-work ratio of these gardens. Composters are in because, you know, planet-saving. Huge backyards. Depending on the buyer and location, many could feel the opposite BUT, a trend I’m seeing is that young buyers don’t intend to spend their days and weekends mowing, raking and bagging leaves. Smaller yards are often in higher demand than the titanic ones. What the modern buyer desires in their backyard, is privacy. A hedged property line, a gazebo with a couple of lazy outdoor rockers…heaven. Have a big yard and looking to sell? Not to worry. Focus on creating a space where one can imagine oneself relaxing. An outdoor oasis. It doesn’t have to be big – just present.

 

Green energy solutions. ICF basements, Styrofoam insulated walls, spray-sealed joists and amped up attic insulation (many of which are new building code as of Jan 1st 2015), means you can spend less money heating the house. What’s more, paying a bit more upfront not only impacts your monthly expenditures, but helps with your resale value and marketability down the road. Check out this home that’s currently For Sale as a smart choice! Two toned kitchens. Painted cabinets, especially over oak or heavily grained wood which ages a home, are almost always preferred by buyers. However the trend of painting uppers one color and bottom cabinets another, is going to be “very 2012” very soon. Solid wood cabinets can be re-painted to suit your taste (and approx. 85% of kitchens today are white), but if the kitchen cabinets are made of MDF or lacquered, this could prove to be costly to change down the road when the trend is over.

 

Full tub + walk-in shower. Parents need a tub for the kids, and you can’t relax with a nice glass of wine in your shower ? When I show a home with no tub, it’s an unbelievably hard objection to surpass. Even if you don’t have kids now, or you’re “not a tub person” (egads!!!), having a separate tub and shower speaks to the practicality and the feeling of luxury to a buyer on resale. Soaker tubs are still in, while Whirlpool tubs can trigger buyers to worry about the cost of future repairs down the road. Keep it simple!   Dark espresso and grey-toned floors. These may look great upon viewing in-store or when cleaned, but the dark floors are notoriously hard to keep clean, and trust me you will be cursing them daily the moment they go in. Grey floors were on trend for about 5 minutes in 2012, and although they don’t show the dirt like the espresso, they do limit the paint colors, furniture and other elements that go into a home. I predict over time, this is one (expensive) piece of your home you’ll want to change to something more classic.

 

Clean, white walls. Colour is in in a big way, but not the way it used to be! “Grey-is-the-new-beige” no more, leave the colour to the artwork, furnishings and personal décor like fun throws and pillows. A classic (warm, not cool) white will always be in style and has made a comeback in a huge way. I believe that Pantone got it wrong this year with their pink and blue pastels. Ugh.

 

Wall decals. “All because two people fell in love” over the bed makes for a beautiful sentiment, and it’s important that you make a house feel like yours while you own it. When selling however, these decals are distracting. This trend has been over in my opinion for several years, but we Frederictonians are resilient! 😉
Natural materials. Butcher block countertops, bamboo flooring, linen window treatments. There is something so zen about a home made from materials that live and breathe. Granite. Don’t shoot the messenger! Granite is costly and is without question an investment. Buyers MAY pay more for houses with granite countertops. But, granite is cold, and much of it is heavily patterned. Corian, quartz, soapstone and butcher block are often less costly and more appealing to today’s buyer. Buyers will not want to pay a premium price for an expensive counter they don’t like. Your costly improvement in that case, could cost you the sale.

 

 

If you’re planning to invest into your home, your Realtor® is a great source.  The right advice now will help you to realize your best possible equity down the road.  Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’d like some personalized advice! 🙂  

Cheers,

Karen

Ahhh Christmas…

December 2015

Nothing says The Holidays like a warm Starbucks, I mean Timmy’s snowflake cup, the bustle of shopping (and the cursing of Fredericton drivers), the crisp winter air and the excitement of the first snowfall.  

Every Family, and every Home, have their own Holiday traditions, and in honour of our 1st annual “Home for the Holidays” Christmas campaign, it got me thinking…What does “HOME” mean to you?  

Anyone who has ever bought or sold a home with me knows one of my favourite sayings…A house consists of Bricks or Mortar, but a HOME is a place where memories are made being around the people you love.  For the Syroid-Geris-Stutt-LeRoy crew, here’s my interpretation of what makes our House a Home, especially over The Holidays:

  • Home is where we watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and we can recite every word.  Coincidentally our parent’s house looks exactly like the Griswold’s, every year without fail our tree takes up half the living room, and we even have our very own Cousin Eddy (I won’t say who, but you know who you are!)  

GriswoldScreen Shot 2015-12-01 at 1.50.24 PM

 

  • Home is where we gain 15 pounds over a Holiday baking-infused weekend, and when we make comments about our pants shrinking in the dryer, no one says otherwise but we know what they’re all thinking.  Blissful ignorance!
  • Home is being surrounded by people who know everything about us, and they love us for all of it without judgment or prejudice.  Home is forgiving each other’s mistakes, and speaking in a language only we and our family understand because with time, our entire existence has become an inside joke.  (“Hi Honeeey!!!” – See?  Not funny to others but if my family is reading this they know exactly what I’m taking about!)
  • Home is where there is always a cold beer and a lending ear, a roaring fire on even in +10 degree weather and where our Mum forgets the cat’s name (now affectionately known as “Cat”).  Coincidentally we are a dog-loving family; see below ?

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  • Home is laughter, family, gratitude, pitchers of rum & egg-nog and hands-down the best turkey dinner this side of Saint John.  Home is our Dad doing crosswords at the kitchen table and never wanting to say goodbye so he follows us to our cars as we’re leaving and continues to wave and yell “take care now” as we turn the corner.  Home is that kind of love.

In the spirit of Christmas, our listings have received a sprinkling of Merriness this week as we kick off our “Home for the Holidays” campaign.  Stay tuned for more exciting info and how we hope to help those in need this Christmas.  And keep your eyes peeled for these Festive signs!!  Recognize any!?  IMG_0095

So, raise your Moose Mugs and ask yourself…what does Home mean to you over the Holidays?

From our family traditions to yours,

Karen