Saturday, May 04, 2019

Tales From the Trenches

There are times in your life that can be extra special, the times you will look back on for years to come with vivid memories of how things went down. There are also times that can be extra stressful. Buying and selling real estate is usually a mix of both.

Recent statistics show that Nova Scotia real estate prices have jumped over 13% over this time last year (that's the second highest in Canada). Negotiations, multiple offers, deadlines, high stress and emotions all mix together to make these times really memorable, for better or for worse. As a seasoned agent I have seen a lot over the years and it's my job to keep a level head and keep things on track.

At times there are fierce competitors on both sides of the transaction and I have seen negotiations go sideways more than enough to know that emotions and money don't always mix well. Occasionally both sides get to point where the end goal gets lost amongst the small arguments. A big picture outlook is key, and sometimes difficult to grasp, especially if one side feels that they are getting 'bulldozed' by a particularly aggressive/unreasonable opponent.  

As a professional I always go to bat for my clients, my job is to represent them to the best of my ability with a big picture mentality in order to ensure the end result is as favourable as possible for them. Sometimes this means mediating, sometimes it's allowing extra time for the process to play out, and occasionally it's putting my foot down and saying 'enough is enough'. This week I have played every one of these roles while negotiating over $2,000,000.00 in sales and closings. Some of those deals went as smoothly as I have ever been a part of, and some of those felt like a battle the whole way.

In the end we need to be able to take a step back from the emotions, and really scrutinize what battles to fight in order to win the wars that are important. All of my clients that won their wars this week, and I salute you all for putting your trust in me, realizing not everyone operates on the same ethical scale, and ultimately coming out as the winners once the dust has settled (and the dust is still settling in a few places). I appreciate every single one of the emotions that were and are still being processed, and ultimately will be felt for many years to come. I see you, I know what you are going through, and I am with you every step of the way!! 

Monday, April 15, 2019

How To Get Ahead of The Real Estate Market NOW!

We all know the the real estate market in the Annapolis Valley is hot, it has been for a while with no signs of stopping. That combined with Spring Fever is causing a shortage of properties in the area. Have you noticed properties selling in record time, almost as soon as they are listed? Yup, this isn't an illusion.

I always chat with agents from all the brokerages and what I am hearing is that the larger brokerages like Exit Realty Town & Country are getting the lions share of the listings. Because we collaborate with each other closely, the hot properties are often getting buyer action before they hit MLS. We have the listings and we have the buyers.

As a Seller this is an advantage because it can cut down the 'tire kickers' coming through, we carefully preview buyers before they come to ensure they are ready and able to purchase. Prepping for showings is time consuming and stressful, we can help alleviate this and cut down the showings to high quality, low quantity... perfect!

For a Buyer, you need to be aligned with an agent that is ahead of the curve so that you get a jump start on potential properties to avoid the possibility of missing out on something you have been waiting for. Big Disappointment!

I attended the Kentville Home Show this weekend and was able to chat with a large number of people thinking of buying and selling. I have attended this Show for 7 years now and this one was really outstanding in this regard. There are more people seriously talking about buying & selling than any of the years past that I have gone!

If you are one of these people, get in touch with me! I have the connections you need to get ahead of the game!

Megan White REALTOR®
Exit Realty Town & Country


Friday, March 22, 2019

The Sea Bound Coast

I have always been proud to say I am from the Annapolis Valley, I have travelled extensively all over North & Central America, Europe and Asia and I always appreciate this place more and more every time I return.

There's a change in the air here, and the world is watching this beautiful little corner of Atlantic Canada. I started seeing it about ten years ago when I moved home from Ontario after having lived away for some time. There was a trend at that time that had been brewing for many years prior towards the wine & grape growing industry. I worked as a server/manager at Le Caveau Restaurant (in Grand Pre a UNESCO World Heritage Site) which was named one of the Top 20 Restaurants in a Winery in the World by Wine Access Magazine while I was working there. It was an exciting time and paved the way for the exploding Tidal Bay Wine Region to emerge as an exceptional tourist destination.

Pair this draw for foodies and wine lovers worldwide with the stunning natural beauty and scenery and you've got a pretty awesome recipe for drawing people here to share the enjoyment! An easy jaunt up towards Scots Bay will take you to The Look Off for a breathtaking view of the Valley below (check out the farthest point down to the left that juts into the water, I got married on that bluff overlooking the Minas Basin). Did you know the Cabot Trail is known to be one of the most spectacular scenic drives on the planet? It is often featured in motorcycle and luxury car magazines as a top destination!

All over Nova Scotia you can find fabulous tours and adventures, active adventure seekers love hiking Cape Split. One of my personal favourite things is hopping on a whale watching excursion with Mariner Cruises, they even have a B&B so you can arrange a package getaway deal. I have sailed with this outfit 4-5 times, they always find multiple whales and are very respectful of the marine habitat and environment, which I find exceptionally important. The first time I saw a humpback whale up close I cried, it's a moving experience.

I have said it before and I will continue to be amazed by the number of people coming to Nova Scotia from out of province, there are so many fantastic properties and opportunities here!

If you are thinking of listing, there are buyers out there just waiting for their dream property to come available, I work closely with out of province buyers and have perfected the art of making these big moves as seamless as possible. 
If you are looking for a new opportunity here in NS, I have residential, agricultural, commercial and mixed use properties listed in some of the most fantastic areas of the province! If I don't have it listed, I will find it for you!

Megan White REALTOR®
Exit Realty Town & Country

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.