Wednesday, February 18, 2009

9 Secrets to Selling Your House Fast in a Slow Market

Selling a house in a slow real estate market can be difficult. In times like these, it's not enough to simply list your home and wait; you actually have to sell your home. No one really wants to sell anything when the market is bad, however, it's not impossible to sell your house in these conditions. It just takes a positive attitude and a different kind of game plan.

Even though the market's not favourable to sellers and widespread economic recovery may be months, even years off, there are a number of tactics available to increase the likelihood of a sale.

1. Know your market
One of the most important things you can do to get your house sold is to learn your market, the value of your property and your competition. Most sellers operate in the dark, simply offering the property for the price they want, without regard to what other homes have sold for and are currently selling for. Undervaluing or overpricing your home can cost you tens of thousands of dollars.

2. Price your home right
With homes sales slowing and prices plunging, there's little doubt that selling for a good price in today's market is going to be tricky. The median existing home price dropped more than 7% compared with the same month last year, according to the National Association of Realtors. So if you try to ask as much for your property as your neighbour got a year ago, you're going to turn off potential buyers. Instead, price your home conservatively by looking at similar houses currently on the market. Also look at the homes that aren't selling. Chances are those owners priced their homes too high.

If you really want to stimulate a sale, you should under price your property by just a little. Trimming the price by a few thousand dollars can generate more foot traffic and create a buzz.

3. Make your home presentable
Keep your house looking good at all times, repair things that are broken, and replace things that are rundown. Add a fresh coat of paint (neutral colors preferred), freshen up landscaping, trim trees, clean up clutter and remove personal items, so that prospective buyers can picture themselves in the home rather than seeing you there.

To guarantee a quick sale, consider using a professional home staging service. Your property must make a strong, positive impression. Staging a home is the cheapest way to make a house look different from your competition so it becomes the most memorable one that the buyer saw.

4. Market your home aggressively
In addition to using the multiple listing service, advertise in local papers and be sure to include beautiful photos. Each photo should showcase something interesting and unique about the property.
Place numerous signs and flags in front of your home so that your house is easily seen. Consider placing a well designed flyer in front of the house. Make sure the flyer has great photos of the property from all angles, inside and out, as well as a link to a web site where people can take a "virtual tour."

5. Be flexible with showings
It only takes one Buyer to get your home sold. Don’t make your Realtor feel as though their request for a showing is an inconvenience.

6. Play up your home’s best features
If you have fireplaces, make sure that you have fires burning so that there is a beautiful warm glow and the sound of crackling. If you have a gourmet cook’s kitchen, have some great-smelling treats baking in the oven. Turn on soothing music. Set all lights and lamps if the home looks dark or feels heavy. Lighting is crucial. Do the same as if you were having a formal dinner party - the house will certainly sparkle.

7. Offer buyers incentives
A low price may be incentive enough for some buyers, but others might be holding out for something more. This is where creativity can really take over. Perhaps you can throw in a new set of kitchen appliances, or a 3-day paid vacation in Mexico. There are a ton of incentives that speak to the heart of the buyer; be creative and see which one speaks to yours.

8. Offer flexible terms
Often, the best way to sell a home more quickly in a buyers market is to adjust the terms of the sale instead of the price. While it may sometimes be necessary to adjust the asking price downward, or to negotiate a lower price with the buyer, sometimes offering help with closing costs, or an extended settlement date, will go a lot further.

9. The first offer rule
If you get an offer within the first few weeks, the tendency is for sellers to try and hold out for a better offer. This is generally a mistake. The biggest fish usually bite first, so keep in mind that your first offer will often be your best. Lastly, keep a positive attitude!

Give me a call at 403-564-4518 if I can be of any assistance.

John Prince, Alberta licensed real estate agent, MaxWell City Central – Crowsnest Pass. Serving the Crowsnest Pass and area. Call me directly at 403-564-4518 or by email at:

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Selling Your Crowsnest Pass Home in a Buyer's Market

I will be the first to admit this is not the best of times to be a seller in the Crowsnest Pass area of southwestern Alberta.

I spoke with a potential buyer this week. They had purchased their home at the height of the seller's market several years back. But they understand the situation. Their attitude is...

We will make it (money) on the new home.

Sure, they will be keeping their current property as a rental unit until the market changes (and it eventually will!). However they know that there are bargains to be found and, over the long haul, hope to see a return on the new home later. Of course there is no guarantee that property will gain in value but it almost always does! (And with the vast potential the Crowsnest Pass has, it most inevitably will.)

So, if you are looking to sell in the Crowsnest, there are a couple of things to be aware of from the start.
  • Prices are lower now than they were a year or two back.
  • There are still builders out there who are selling new construction at some very attractive prices.
  • And, lastly, it is ALWAYS PRICE!

It is not impossible to sell in this buyer's market. As long as you are aware of the environment in which you have chosen to sell.

If you are considering selling your Burmis, Bellevue/Hillcrest, Frank, Blairmore or Coleman home, I would be honoured if you contacted me. I would welcome a chance to discuss my marketing efforts on your behalf.

John Prince, Alberta licensed real estate agent, MaxWell City Central – Crowsnest Pass. Serving the Crowsnest Pass and area. Call me directly at 403-564-4518 or by email at:

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Monday, February 9, 2009

Torch Relay kicks off games

Posted By Joni MacFarlane, Reporter
Crowsnest Pass Promoter

Commemorating the theft of fire from the Greek god Zeus by Prometheus, the Olympic flame has long been a symbol of athletic competition.

The Crowsnest Pass witnessed its own symbolic flame on Wednesday, Feb. 4 with a Torch Relay to celebrate the community’s participation in the first ever Alberta 55+ Winter Games.

Chinook Lake/Allison Trails has been chosen as the venue to hold the cross-country skiing competitions on Feb. 20 and 21.

Organizer Wayne Street of Lethbridge said holding the torch relay in places where the races are held gives those communities an opportunity to participate in the event and generates excitement and awareness of the games.

Lethbridge, Pincher Creek and the Crowsnest Pass are host cities.

Runners Rick and Pam Somerville, and Flora Griffith took part in the four-kilometre relay from the ATCO Gas building in Blairmore to the municipal office in Coleman.

ATCO is a major sponsor of the Torch Relay and the Alberta 55+ Winter Games.

To volunteer for the winter games, contact the Crowsnest Pass Cross Country Ski Club President Neil Chalmers for details. Crowsnest Pass to host ski event

John Prince, Alberta licensed real estate agent, MaxWell City Central – Crowsnest Pass. Serving the Crowsnest Pass and area. Call me directly at 403-564-4518 or by email at:

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Your Professional Link to the Real Estate Market

First-time home buyers’ credit
First-time home buyers who acquire a qualifying home after January 27, 2009 may be entitled to claim a new non-refundable tax credit up to $5,000 and worth up to $750 ($5,000 × 15%).

To qualify, neither the individual nor his or her spouse or common-law partner can have owned and lived in another home in the calendar year of the new home purchase or in any of the four preceding calendar years. The credit can be claimed by either the purchaser or by his or her spouse or common-law partner.The credit will also be available for certain home purchases by or for the benefit of an individual eligible for the disability tax credit.

Home Buyers’ Plan threshold increased
The budget increases the amount that first-time home buyers can withdraw tax-free from a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) to purchase or build a new home to $25,000 (up from $20,000). The new limit applies to withdrawals made after January 27, 2009.

Home renovation tax credit
Under a new temporary renovation tax credit, home owners can claim a 15 percent non-refundable tax credit for eligible expenditures over $1,000 but not more than $10,000, for a maximum credit of $1,350 ($9,000 × 15%). The credit is available for eligible costs of work performed or goods acquired after January 27, 2009 and before February 1, 2010 (unless the expenditure is made under an agreement in place on or before January 27, 2009).

Family members (spouses or common-law partners and their children under 18) are subject to a single limit based on their pooled expenditures. The credit is only available for a dwelling that is eligible to be the family’s principal residence or that of one or more of their other family members.

Expenditures will qualify for the credit if they are incurred in relation to a renovation or alteration of an eligible dwelling, provided the renovation is of an enduring nature and is integral to the dwelling. Examples include new furnaces, windows and decks. Eligible expenditures include labour costs, professional fees, building materials, fixtures, equipment rentals and permits.

John Prince, Alberta licensed real estate agent, MaxWell City Central – Crowsnest Pass. Serving the Crowsnest Pass and area. Call me directly at 403-564-4518 or by email at:

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