Friday, April 23, 2021

Come From Aways

 "Where are all these people coming from??"

I have been getting a LOT of questions regarding the influx of people to NS recently. Here's whats up. Most of the new people moving to NS are from Ontario, some from BC and other provinces too. Let's unpack this a bit and break down why it's happening and what that means for us locals. 

So people in other provinces haven't fared as well as us (big thanks to Dr Strang for the swift and aggressive approach to how we have dealt with Covid 19 here in Nova Scotia). We have been able to live a relatively 'normal' life here with a few changes, and I am proud of Nova Scotians for stepping up and looking after each other! Because our numbers have been so low, people have taken notice. I always said Nova Scotia was the best kept secret in Canada, and now word has gotten out! It's safe, friendly and the pace of life here has attracted a lot of attention. 

People in other provinces desperately want out, so they search for affordable real estate in Canada, being close to water is another huge draw. Many people have found they can work remotely, but in the future may need to be within a reasonable distance to an International airport (Halifax is the only one in the Maritimes). Then they start to look for things that are appealing like beautiful scenery, space to have a garden and a property with some land... even the wineries are a draw and let's be real, having so many gorgeous vineyards and restaurants has put the Annapolis Valley on the map years before this pandemic. 

Retirees are coming too, and they want to be within 30 minutes of a major medical centre, hello Valley Regional Hospital! So in short, the Annapolis Valley has the space, proximity, beauty and amenities that everyone is looking for. Bonus points for all the locally owned/one of a kind cafes, shops, restaurants and the ability to get responsibly produced food practically outside your door. 

I am finding for the most part that it's the rural Ontarians that are drawn here the most, the city people are moving to the country, and the country people are moving here. Cities aren't fun if they don't work, and just imagine being locked down in a high rise for a minute. You would be searching for alternatives too. 

Yes, our real estate prices are rising, but we have been far below average for a long time, and we are now catching up. What does this mean for local people trying to buy? It's tough... really really tough. I get it. First time buyers don't have the selection or budget reach they used to, and thinking of selling is terrifying if you don't already have an alternative. 

Is this a "Bubble" that's going to burst? Not anytime soon in my opinion. Prices rise and fall, it's inevitable, but I don't think we are going to see a massive crash here or a mass exodus in the future. We are experiencing some pretty significant growing pains right now, but growth is good and we are in it for the long haul. 

If you have questions about the current market, please do reach out. I am happy to discuss your personal situation and I know I can help! 


Tuesday, January 26, 2021

The Wild East

It's been way too long since my last Blog!! I won't go on about 2020 being "unprecedented" again like everyone else... that's old news. Let's get on with it and talk about 2021! 

We are experiencing a serious shortage of available listings in NS, significant inter provincial immigration/influx of out of province buyers has created a Sellers Market and there aren't enough properties to satisfy the demand. What does this mean for you? Let me break it down. 

If you are a Buyer - properties are selling fast, often in competing offer situations, and while we haven't gotten to the point where most buyers are offering without standard conditions like inspections and financing... there have been winning offers that omitted these! You are going to need a proactive agent searching for off market homes and one that is the right mix of aggressive and methodical. Choose wisely, and be ready to jump when you see a spot you like. 

If you are a Seller, be mindful of pricing. While it would seem you can ask whatever you like in this market, buyers are savvy and making sure you price the property just right will often garner a stampede of qualified buyers and more than a few offers to consider! Keep in mind that you may become a buyer very soon after you list and speak to your agent about covering you in case you cannot find something suitable to purchase in the future! 

Strategic planning regarding when you go to market, what (if any) your competition will compare like, and what your next few steps are moving forward is key! 
Need a more specific plan to your exact requirements?

Give me a call, I can help.


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!