Monday, February 11, 2019

House Hunting Etiquette by Guest Blogger Samantha Bell

Hey all you "Keepin it Real Estate" readers! This great blog was written by the fabulous Samantha Bell who is an award winning REALTOR in Fredericton NB. I just loved this information and thought you would too, so rather than trying to recreate this, I asked Samantha to give us a chance to take advantage of her knowledge and learn about her top tips for buyers out shopping for a new home! 

For many, walking into someone’s home when they are not there can be uncomfortable, you suddenly forget what to do with yourself. These Do’s and Don’ts have come from questions I often get when buyers start viewing houses for the first time.
Time to book an appointment 
If you have ever sold a house before you know how much work it can be to prepare for a showing and if the seller has pets or children the workload can double. If possible, try to schedule the showing at least the day before, the more notice the better. Same goes for cancelling, of course emergencies come up out of our control, but if you plan to cancel a showing doing so at least the day before can save the seller a lot of work.

Arrive on time 
I know this becomes even more important when I am showing multiple houses in one day, although you’re viewing many, the seller is only aware of their house being shown and typically they are asked to leave for 30-60mins, if you don’t arrive on time for the first house, this can impact the houses later down the list and now the seller has to stay even longer out of their home.
Watch for furry friends at the door
Always keep an eye out when you’re entering the house for pets that should not be let outside. This is the same for pets outside, don’t let an animal in the house if you don’t know it belongs there.
Shoes off please 
You never know what’s on your shoes, please remove your footwear at the door so you don’t track anything in. If you’re not comfortable going in your sock/bare feet, another option is to bring your own slippers to wear inside the house.
What’s behind door number one? 
You’re there to view the house so absolutely opening kitchen cabinets/drawers, bathroom cabinets and bedroom/storage closets are necessary to see the type of storage the house has. But do not open any furniture doors and drawers or touch any personal items or collectibles.
Viewing a new house can be very exciting for kids, lots of new things to look at and take in. Have a conversation with your child before entering the house to explain that you’re visiting someone’s home and they cannot touch anything or sit on the furniture. Be sure to bring plenty of things for your child to do, books, games etc. this can give you the freedom to look at the home without distraction. If you think your child would struggle with this, sometimes it’s best to leave them at home for the first viewings and bring them in when it’s time to pick their bedroom.
Ask your Realtor® first before you take any photos of the house you’re viewing. The seller may have requested certain items to be out of the photos for the public.
When you gotta go…
Sometimes you can’t avoid it and you find yourself needing to run to the washroom while viewing a house. Be sure to use the guest washroom and leave it how you found it, clean:)
Maybe a member of your family came along to help you look for things you wouldn’t know to look for. Please ask them to keep their ladder in the truck. First viewings are not the time to do a full inspection of the house, this should be scheduled at a later time with the seller’s permission.
Samantha Bell | Realtor®

Thanks so much for your insight Samantha! Looking to buy or sell in Fredericton NB? Check out Samantha Bell and tell her you read her guest blog post here! 

Monday, January 21, 2019

Maritime Hospitality

I have had a heartwarming few days, despite the snow and rain plaguing us here on the east coast. I am constantly reminded of the genuine warmness and caring values of people here, and it is one of the most appealing things about living in the Maritimes.

I recently heard a story of several Nova Scotians that were travelling with an upper level show horse from Quebec, they encountered truck trouble in Northern NB trying to stay ahead of the most recent storm and were desperate to find a place that they could stop with their horse, get the truck fixed and bed down for the night to ride out the awful weather. Not an easy task late at night!

The girls put out a plea on social media asking for help and through an outpouring of support, found someone in Edmunston NB that went above & beyond for these total strangers. The homeowners were working at the time but enlisted the help of a nearby neighbour to meet them several kms away and guide them to a place where the horse could rest safely, allowed the girls to their home and a local mechanic even let them bring the truck in at 10pm!

I have travelled quite a bit in my life and I can honestly say that Maritime hospitality is among the warmest anywhere in the world! I am so very proud to be from a place that can extends such genuine caring to anyone and everyone, especially in negative circumstances. Having lived in several provinces and states in my adult life, I have never felt more at home than here in Nova Scotia.

If you are thinking of making a move to Nova Scotia (as an astounding number of people are from many places recently) I would love to help you find a community and property that makes you feel as at home as I do here. You won't find a warmer welcome anywhere else!


Thursday, January 10, 2019

Energy & Carbon

Going in as many homes as I do and talking with both buyers and sellers about home heating is a big part of my day to day routine. You may know that I am a huge fan of heating with wood (full disclosure, my husband owns a Hearth store locally so I know my stuff when it comes to the ins & outs of heating).

Did you know that burning wood is actually the only net zero carbon emissions way to heat your home? There is a lot of false impressions that burning wood is dirty or bad for the environment. Think of it this way, a tree in a forest contains a finite amount of carbon. That carbon will be released into the atmosphere no matter if the tree falls over and rots or if it is burned for home heating in a wood stove. And the sustainable management of woodlots allows smaller trees to absorb more carbon as they grow when older trees are harvested. 
Oil and coal on the other hand will not release the carbon they contain unless they are extracted from underground. 

Oil pipelines and sustainable energy are hot topics as of late and there can be a lot of misinformation floating around, get educated on what type of heating is going to be the most desirable for your family and energy requirements. Perhaps it is a combination of sources, perhaps a passive solar home design would suit, look into where and how the electricity that a home draws from is produced when considering a property to purchase.
If you are thinking of relocating to Nova Scotia from out of province, you will need to get information on the local trends and costs of heating sources as they can differ significantly from other areas.

Lastly I will touch on efficiency, insulation, windows, doors etc. There isn't much point in talking about heating without talking about heat retention! There are many different programs in NS offering rebates to homeowners to offset the costs of heating and efficiency upgrading. Additionally there are different ways to structure a mortgage to allow extra money to do necessary work up front, so if we find a home that fits your needs but could use some efficiency work, don't cross it off the list before we have a chance to talk about getting these programs and products working for you!

Do you have questions about buying or selling? Get in touch, I am here to help! 902-680-2736

Megan White REALTOR®

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Kings County Market Trends

The market in the Valley is bonkers, especially in Kings County. I have been discussing the trends quite a bit lately and I wanted to put it out there in a blog post for everyone. People have been asking what the heck is going on, here's my take on it.

I am seeing a LOT of out of province buyers coming to the area. People from Ontario & BC are selling while the selling is good and bringing their cash here to buy way more that they ever could in other provinces.

This is creating several waves in the market. First of all these buyers see our prices as very reasonable and are willing and happy to pay our prices for what they want. A property is worth what someone is willing to pay for it and these trends are driving the property values up locally.

Secondly these buyers are new to the area, they sold elsewhere and are buying here. This is causing a shortage of available properties - as we all know supply & demand can have massive impact on prices causing them to rise noticeably as well as drastically shortening the average days on the market.

The third trend I am seeing is in the way that these buyers are purchasing. They are coming from extremely hot markets where buyers are making cash offers, no conditions and even bidding at and above list price. Seriously it's like in the real estate shows on HGTV. This aggressive approach is throwing local buyers off as this type of negotiation has not been the norm here.

With these huge changes in the way the property is being bought & sold locally, I can confidently say that buyers and sellers really need an experienced agent on their side. Further to that, the agent needs to be confidently versed in virtual transactions and technologically advanced. The dinosaur days of faxes and handwritten offers are gone, if you want to be competitive in this market you're going to need an up to date professional on your side. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Falling Into Place

If I have learned anything in this business, it's that there is no such thing as a transaction just falling into place. In my 6 years of selling real estate, I have leaned something new in every deal that I have been a part of.

Buying or selling a property is a complicated process at best and there are always exceptions, those usually end up being on the exceptionally complicated side of the equation.

Recently I have seen several really whacky things that, even my brokers stop to scratch their heads about when I must explain. There's a running joke when I call the main office that I will most often have some sort of zany question, I don't usually end up at the boring end of any story. People ask me how I deal with the constant 'putting out of fires' and daily upheaval, the truth is that I kinda like it. I enjoy problem solving and being able to make things work out for the best when, for others involved, it may seem like insurmountable odds are being faced.

In this business you need to be flexible, keep a level head and most of all be up for a challenge! I seldom back down from anything and I have always taken great joy in making people happy. When I was in a management position in retail and fine dining, when I was a professional athlete competing horses for other people, and now as I simultaneously help multiple clients with their own very specific set of requirements and needs in property sales. When others feel like throwing up their hands in despair I often find myself saying "don't panic yet, we can figure out a solution!"

So what I am getting at here, is that the home buying & selling process is inherently going to throw curve balls. There are just way too many possibilities of how something could go down to be able to predict the outcomes 100%. Things do not just fall into place, it takes careful consideration and staying ahead of the curve to be able to keep things from going off the rails, but it's a challenge that I love to take on every day. Bring it on!