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But like... What Does That Even Mean?!

Some terms you might find helpful

You’re just starting to look into buying or selling a house and you’re sitting like, “I have no clue what that means.” Trust me, you’re not the only one.

 

Real estate lingo can be tricky to understand at first, but as your realtor I make sure I breaking things down so you’re completely in the loop of what’s going on with your sale or purchase. To give you a head start, I’ve created a little cheat sheet of common real estate terminology you’re going to come across when you’re starting to buy or sell your next home.

 

Buyer Agent

 

When you’re looking to purchase a new home, a buyer agent is someone who is with you every step of the way from looking at available houses that meet your needs, to signing on the last dotted line and getting your new set of key. And the best part? As the person buying a house, having a buyer agent doesn’t cost you a penny. Wait…we don’t have pennies anymore. Well, it doesn’t cost you a nickel! The fee of a buyer agent comes from the price the seller gets from selling you their home.

 

Mortgage Broker

 

A mortgage broker serves as a liaison between you and the place you’re getting your loan from for your new house. They help you find the best mortgage package that suits your needs, and serves as a great resource because they have connections with multiple lenders from different banks, to private institutions you might not have access to otherwise.

 

Square Footage

 

A lot of people don’t know this at first, but the square footage of a house refers to the number of square feet of the living space above ground. This calculation doesn’t include the space of a finished basement.

 

Asbestos


Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that often looks white and fluffy. It sometimes builds up in the walls of your home and can often be harmful to your health. When these fibers are released into the air they can get into your lungs making it difficult to breathe, and can have other long-term effects like lung cancer. Similar to introverts, asbestos is mostly dangerous when it's been disturbed, not when it's been left alone! To test your home for asbestos you’ll need to hire a professional

 

Disclosure

 

This is a document provided by the seller of the house that discloses any and all known issues with the house whether they’re current, have occurred in the past, or might occur in the near future. It’s illegal for a property owner not to disclose these issues when they’re selling their house. If any defects were forgotten or left out of the initial disclosure statement, the seller is required by law to submit a revised copy to ensure the buyer fully understands the condition of the property they’re about to purchase.

 

Title

 

Title refers to a legal document that states your full or partial ownership of property. Did you know you don't actually "own" a property when you take possession!?!?! The title doesn't transfer over in Manitoba until 3 or 4 weeks after you take possession, so if you're planning on doing major renovations you need to wait until the property is officially yours! Then you have the option to make changes or additions to it.
 

Closing Costs

 

Closing costs are the final fees owed at the end of a buyer/seller transaction, and are separate from the cost of the actual house. These fees include things like the costs of appraisals, property taxes, mortgage application fees, etc. If you want to budget for these costs I generally say plan an additional 2.5% of the cost of the house you're planning to buy!

 

There are so many other real estate terminologies that are sometimes hard to navigate. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask your realtor (**cough ME cough, cough**) for extra clarification.

 

Find your Realtor Match- Speed Dating Style

On June 21st I’m going to be part of a super original event here in Winnipeg!
 
The event idea came from Nicole Haucault. In April we got together for coffee and she casually mentioned the idea of getting a few Realtors together to do “speed interviews” with people in the public who are trying to find an agent! Immediately I thought it was an awesome idea and I was SOLD! (oh yes, a real estate pun). 
 
I have always been an advocate for choosing your Realtor based on a referral from a friend/ family member, or meeting the agent in person. You can tell immediately if you’re going to click with someone, if they're good at communicating, and if they have the qualifications you're looking for.
 
The next step was recruiting Realtors who were up to the task! This kind of thing isn’t for everyone. It involves time, money, and most of all a sense of humour. It takes a special sense of mischief and adventure to stand yourself beside your competition and see who comes out on top! We wanted to have a variety of agents from different offices, backgrounds, and experience. Both men and women, young and old (and in between). Through careful consideration Nicole and I embarked to find these individuals.
 
The Line Up:
Nicole Hacault- Realtor with Royal LePage Top Producers
Ben Theissen- Realtor with Re/Max Executives
Jesse Deloli- Realtor with Royal LePage Top Producers 
Amanda Agostino- Realtor with Royal LePage Top Producers 
Paul Scinocca- Realtor with Royal LePage Top Producers 
Dana Graham - Realtor with Royal LePage Alliance


OK, so a lot of these Realtors came from the same office. BUT Ben and I will represent the remaining real estate brokerages out there! 

The idea behind the evening is to provide value to home purchasers and sellers:
 

  • Many people interview a few Realtors before listing their home to see who has the best marketing plan for their home. So this event brings 6 agents to the table, without having to schedule 6 different times for interviews
  • It will be a great environment as well for people who are not interested in being “sold” to. The participants will be in control of the questions and won’t feel obligated to “pick” an agent at the end of the event! 
  • It gives a good side by side look at the differences between each agent and what their skill set is! You can ask the same questions to each person to make things consistent, or mix it up depending on the person!
 
Most of all, I think it’s a relaxing, fun evening that will likely provide tons of laughs. I’m looking forward to having a fun evening and meeting some new people (and getting to know the other Realtors a little better!). I love doing things that are a little out of the box, and seeing what comes out of it! You never know what kind of connections you’ll make, or what kind of interactions you’ll have.
 
 
Evening Details:
 
Location: Inn at the Forks (Second floor)
Time: 6:30-8:00pm
Cost: $8.99
BEVERAGES AND SNACKS WILL BE PROVIDED (if that's not enough to get you to come, I really can't understand where you're coming from...)
 

Ultimate Wingman (or in this case, Wing WOMAN!)

Picture this- you walk into a bar and see someone who immediately catches your eye. You want to engage but you don’t know where to start. “Come here often?” - too cliche. “What do you do for work?” - too boring. “Soo.. I see you like beer”- too dumb.

 

If only you knew their likes and dislikes, at least you’d have a few talking points! Or better yet, if you could at least facebook stalk them before heading over, you would know whether it’s worth pursuing in the first place.

 

Enter- Wingman/ Wingwoman. Someone to go over ahead of you, feel out the situation and get some information before you dive head first into potential disaster. Because they have nothing at stake the wingperson can ask all the important questions like “where do you work”, “where did you go to school”, and “on a scale from 1-10 how tired are you of Kanye West”.

 

Well, this is exactly what a Realtor does for you, except with homes!! Bet you didn’t see that coming (but if you read the title then you totally did!). We can find out information on each home before you look at it. Of course the simple things like number of bedrooms, size of the yard, and style are all things we look for to match up the right home for you. But the beauty is in the details- before I take my clients to see a home I look up the history of the home on the market, tax assessment, and whether permits were pulled for renovations! These are things that might not initially come to mind but can be deal breakers down the road. The real estate equivalent of a full blown social media stalk!

 

Because your realtor spends time helping you figure out exactly what you want and need in your next home, you can cut down on the time you would normally spend looking at houses that aren’t the right fit. If it doesn’t meet your non-negotiable requirements, isn’t in a neighbourhood that satisfies their needs, and is out of their price range, then it doesn’t get shown. Your time is valuable and should only be spent on homes that are right for you and your future. If only dating was that simple..

 

That way, when you see a home in person and fall in love with it, you know the dirty details of the homes past. And if you can accept it’s past, then you’ll have a long happy relationship!

 

You want a real estate match made in heaven and there’s nothing wrong in admitting that you need a little, okay maybe a lot of help to make that happen. Make sure you’ve got a Realtor that understands with your next home, you’re in it for the long haul – not a one night stand.

 

Shots, Shots, shots shots shots SHOTS!

The Winnipeg chill is slowly going away (at least I think it is), and the humans are starting to come out of hibernation and spend time with other humans. Soon it will be time for backyard BBQs, bonfires, cocktail parties – Winnipeggers celebrating good weather for 2 months of the year.

 

If you’re someone who likes to entertain and you’re searching for your next home, there are a bunch of things you’ll want to consider before putting a bid on your new digs.

 

Let’s take the party outside!

 

Neighbourhood

 

Sure you’re technically allowed to make all the noise you want before 11:00 p.m., but if your home is in a relatively quiet community, your neighbors are likely to complain about excessive noise no matter what time of day it is. Neighbourhoods with a younger community or in high traffic areas are more likely to accept you blaring Kanye at 9:30 p.m. than ones with a high population of retirees. And don't get me started on condos...

 

Spacious Backyard

 

Make a wish list of all the things you’ll want to have for backyard entertaining to map out how much yard space you might need. Start with the basics like a BBQ and patio furniture, then work your way up to bigger things like a gazebo or a hot tub. And hey, who doesn’t love a pool party on a hot summer day, am I right? Not all properties have space for a pool so even if you’re not ready for one now but want one in a year or two, you’ll definitely want to make sure you have the space for it. Deciding ahead of time whether you want an above or in-ground pool can also make all the difference when choosing your new home.

 

Parking

 

For some properties you have room for one or two vehicles, and that’s it. So what about your guests? Some areas have plenty of street parking, whereas others are pretty sparse. This likely won’t make or break your decision when choosing your next home, but it’s something to consider.

 

So you planned an outdoor party and wadda ya know, Mother Nature decided to literally rain on your parade. That’s Winnipeg for ya.

 

Time to take the party inside.

 

Party Space

 

As a host or hostess with the mostess, you probably want a decent space in your home to entertain your guests. Whether you want to create a casual atmosphere where guests come over for appetizers and to watch the big game, or you’re hosting a fancy schmancy cocktail party, you want to have a space in your home that can be transformed into any occasion. A good-sized basement, loft, or even a sunroom for smaller gatherings can be transformed in so many ways.

 

Happy Hour

 

If you want to brush up on your mixology skills, you’ll probably want a bar somewhere in or near your main party space. Sangria is super fun. But you know what’s not fun? Spilling red wine and other food all over your carpet. Yikes! Some guests are neat and tidy, some not so much. If your circle of friends is full of droppers and constantly cleaning carpet stains is not your thing, you might want to opt for a home that has more flooring than carpet. You can always add flooring or carpet later down the road, but the more boxes on your wish list you can check right away, the less changes you’ll have to make later.

 

When I’m helping you find your next home, we talk about your hobbies, habits, and plans for the future so I can help you get a clearer sense of what you’re looking for. Sometimes there are things you haven’t considered yet, so I’m here to help you fill those gaps. As your real estate matchmaker, I want to make sure your new home provides you with everything you need and is your ultimate happy (or happy hour) place!  

Say YES to the House

Buying a house is like buying a wedding dress.
 
For those of you who are married/ engaged (or let’s be honest, anyone who has watched “Say Yes To The Dress on TLC) you know what I’m talking about.
 
It’s a good idea to be prepared when you’re house hunting. When I meet with my clients initially before  starting the house hunt, I always ask for lists. Lists of needs, lists of wants, lists of areas, and lists of deal breakers. I ask for their budget and we start the search.
 
Similar to the show, I send over homes that I think match your criteria- sometimes they are promptly scratched off the list and I get a better sense of what is important to you.  When you find a home you like, you want more eyes and feedback on the house! So you bring along your family and sometimes trusted friends. This can go the opposite way you planned it with feedback like “I don’t like anything about it” and “it makes you look fat” (or other hurtful things).
 
Maybe when you were making lists, you thought you liked more “traditional” homes, you didn’t want a home that was too modern. Or you wanted a “statement” home and something that was going to stand out from other homes.
 
It should be fairly straight forward to find a home. You have a set budget, and then you have a list of needs. If you can find a house that checks all of your boxes at a price that you can afford then that’s the house for you! Simple.
 
But in the end, it’s a small voice inside you that says “yep, this is the one”. And sometimes it’s not at all what you thought you wanted. No amount of lists, or other peoples opinions can make you change your mind. It’s a feeling of excitement, of seeing your future self living there and being awesome.
 
It’s your job to get that feeling, and it’s my job to make sure that all of the lists and budgets and home inspections and paperwork help you be awesome in that house!
 
And then you buy it, move into it and the honeymoon is over.  Responsibilities and adulthood consume you, not to mention your new mortgage payments. Welcome to your new “independent” life (just to keep things real). 

Desperate Plea to Open Housers

OK, so almost every weekend in Spring I am busy with open houses. There are a lot of emotions that go into an open house- it’s kind of like planning a party.
 
First- you schedule the time and place. This is a relatively easy step! Secondly, you advertise. An open house is the hardest kind of party to plan because there are no RSVP’s. You put up a sign and put an ad in the local Real Estate News. You create a post for social media and share the crap out of it. Put up an ad on kijiji in SEVEN spots (houses for sale, events, real estate services, condos for sale, land for sale, entertainment, friendship and networking). Then you sit back and pray.
 
The day arrives; feature sheets are printed and you’ve got a stack of 100 business cards (just in case). You think to yourself “how will this open house stand out from the rest?”. You want your open house to be memorable, and you want to show case the house in the best way possible. I KNOW! I will pick up some snacks and some water bottles for my guests! On your way to the address YOU PICK UP 12 TIM HORTONS DOUGHNUTS (this is an important detail for later in the story). When you get to the house, you put up more directional signage to attract people who are just driving by. Set out your feature sheets and donuts, put on some lovely instrumental music and wait.
 
Now, I kid you not. Whether there were 100 people at my open house, or 1 the doughnuts are never touched. I am a reasonable human being. When there are doughnuts put in front of me- I eat them. But open house attendees are a different type of person, their restraint is incredible.
 
I have a plea for all of you out there who have ever attended, or plan to attend an open house. If there is food there- PLEASE EAT IT! I promise it’s not a ploy to woo you into purchasing the house. There is no obligation to spend $300,000 on a house because you ate a $0.50 doughnut. It’s not a police interrogation where eating the doughnut means you’re softening up to a confession. Imagine throwing a party and then after everyone leaves you notice that no one touched the food. You would wonder if people had a good time, if people even liked you. Save me and every Realtor out there from this roller coaster of emotions and eat the doughnut.
 
Thank you.
 

How the H*** Does Commission Work?

Ok, so there’s always a big elephant in the room about how real estate agents get paid. No one wants to talk commission especially with friends and family, so I’m going to lay it out here for all to see. No pie charts, no bs.
 
When you list a house with a real estate agent they will discuss with you a percentage that you will pay them upon the sale of your house. The percentage is based on the amount your house actually sells for, so for example if your house is listed for $50 (maybe it’s a doll house ok?!) and your house sells for $60 (it’s a HOT market for doll houses)- you and your real estate agent decided on 1% of the sale price. So your real estate agent will get paid $0.60. This payment structure makes sure that you and your real estate agent are working towards a common goal: you want the most money out of your house, and so does your real estate agent (because they get paid more).
 
You ALSO HAVE THE POWER to ask your real estate agent for what’s called a flat fee commission. That means that you decide on a set amount of money that you’re willing to give the agent to sell your house- regardless of what it sells for. So whether your doll house sells for $50 or $60 you still pay your real estate agent $0.55. This can be a good system if your on a budget and want to calculate ahead of time what your closing costs will be ahead of time because the fee does not fluctuate.
 
Once a seller (you) and listing agent (me) have agreed to a percentage, then they must agree to a percentage or fee that will be offered to outside agents to bring their clients to the property. So if you and your agent agreed to 1% commission, then say 0.5% will be offered to a cooperating agent to bring their buyers to the home and encourage a sale. TOTAL COMMISSION is still 1%, just half of it is going to another agent. That is how buyer’s agents get paid!
 
Services included in the commission you’re paying may vary- make sure to ask your real estate agent to outline what you’re paying them for! There may also be hidden benefits to using a real estate agent throughout the process such as covering part of your legal fees or inspection fees. I always encourage my clients to ask the tough questions and communicate openly throughout the process! If you don’t know what you’re paying for, or don’t know what to expect then the selling and purchasing process can be very difficult. As long as there is open communication the experience is less stressful and ultimately more enjoyable.
 
There you have it. If you need a doll house sold, you know who to call! 

My Team

Every real estate agent has a “team”. People that they work well with, and that they trust to help with every home sale or purchase. My team is made up of people who can be described as follows:

  • Supportive
  • Trustworthy
  • Reliable

Another word to describe them is friends. They are the bread to my butter, the jam to my scone, and without them I would go crazy on a daily. My team includes: Three mortgage advisors, one home inspector, one photographer and one lawyer (the usual suspects).
 
I forgot to mention my number one team member though… My Clients! You are the oil that makes my engine run. When you’re on my team it means that you’re someone who has all of the above qualities and you’re trusting me with helping you make valuable decisions. But you’re also helping me! The client team member has my business in their hands. What they say about me ultimately makes or breaks my success! Without you I would just be driving around Manitoba unlocking doors and turning on lights until I die.
 
My team is inclusive, it’s supportive, and we are winners. Sometimes winning means buying a $1.2 million dollar home, sometimes it means selling your house and moving into an apartment. Everyone on my team has a role to play and has their area of expertise:

 
  • Mortgage advisor: mortgages
  • Lawyer: contracts
  • Home inspector: spotting house defects
  • Clients: determining future plans
  • Me: making those plans a reality.
 
Que: “We’re all in this Together” – High School Musical
 
Team Work Makes the Dream Work people!

Another Blog on How to Save Money

I’m sitting here at 3:00pm on Thursday watching New Girl and attempting to write my first blog. I want to be honest… this is NOT another blog on how to save money. If that’s what you wanted, then head over to Google.
 
Nothing bothers me more than those articles, like as if they have some untold secret about how to save more. Maybe THIS time I can finally start saving money instead of spending it all by the end of the month/year/5 years.
 
In reality we all know how to save more. It’s a simple equation of making more money than you spend and if we could just wrap our heads around it we’d have it made.
 
LIFE HAPPENS! Experiences happen, and opportunities present themselves and we need to spend instead of saving. And that’s ok. Even if that opportunity is spending $40 in the McDonalds drive through at 3am on chicken nuggets. Are you nowhere near saving enough money for a down payment on a house (or for groceries for that matter)? That’s OK! Did you save all of your money and buy a house before you turned 20? THAT’S OK! It’s time we stop comparing ourselves to other people. Period. Whether you decide to spend your money on Starbucks, or trips, or buying houses- stop putting pressure on yourself! You’re right where you’re supposed to be.
 
Buying a house is not the “end all be all” of success, and renting is not going backwards. YES, this is still the real estate agent talking! Let’s get past the B.S. and judgement about being an adult and just… be. Yep, I have goals but do I have my life figured out? Nope.
 
Welcome to my blog, where I’ll be writing lifestyle and real estate truths twice a month.