I was driving on my way to a showing appointment when I saw a sign - For Sale by Builder - and another underneath it - Builder Open House.  Now this in of itself is not particularly remarkable.  What was remarkable to me was that the signs, honestly, looked like they had been written with crayon! There were three different pieces to the two signs, they were sort of tacked up on a fence with some sort of squiggly arrow.  The arrow was pointing to a house that was probably in the 650k range - that's a rough estimate as I eyeballed it driving by - not an inexpensive home.  The writing on the sign had big letters and small letters, some capital letters, there were a couple of different colours, though it looked more like the sign maker had run out of one colour so moved on to the next.

Here's the thing.  This was a "Builder".  If I'm looking to buy a property in Victoria and see a sign like this "constructed" by a builder, how confident can I possibly be with the house that has been built by this guy.  The sign tells me that there is no attention to detail, very little planning and little pride in work done.  Even if the inside of the property shows well and the outside looks nice, I'm going to be worried about what i can't see.  Probably so worried that even if I think I might like the property, I probably will not go far with it.  All because the "builder" was too lazy or cheap or stupid to go and get a for sale sign made for $40.00.  

I see this all the time with For Sale By Owners.  I have no problem with folks trying to sell their own home , but for heaven's sake, if you're going to go to the trouble of trying and selling your own property, at least make the effort to get a proper sign!  Trust me, it will make a difference!

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Sellers all want feedback from showings.  It's a fact of life that every seller wants to know how every showing went.  That's fair enough.  But here's a simple test you can take to see how that showing went.
Did you get an offer?
If yes, then the showing went well.  If no, then the property was not for that particular buyer.
But why didn't I get an offer? 
The why doesn't matter. 
If you really want to know, here's a list of why you didn't get an offer:
  • The price is too high
  • The layout didn't work for the buyer
  • The location was lacking
  • The house is a dump
  • The buyer liked something else better
  • The buyer hasn't made a choice yet
  • The buyer didn't like the neighbours
  • The yard is too small
  • There's no storage
  • There's no garage
  • The garage is too small
  • Parking is an issue
  • The road is too busy
and so on and so on and so on.
Ask yourself, am I priced right?  Is the property clean?  Does it present well?
If the answer is no then why are you suprised when you get no offers?
If the answer is yes then why are you looking for feedback from people who don't want to buy it?  Are you going to change anything?  If you're like most sellers, then no, you aren't going to change anything - consequently any feedback is unimportant.
If you focus on pricing the property correctly, making sure it is clean and presents well, then you will get the feedback that you really want-an offer!
The rest really doesn't matter does it?
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Went to the Victoria Fall Home Expo today.  The event seemed well attended though it didn't feel crowded.  While there were a lot of typical exhibitors there I noticed a couple of things.  

First, there weren't any real estate companies there.  There was one builder, G.E. Miller, who does excellent work, and one FSBO company that shall remain nameless.  But that was it.  It could be a sign of the times or it could be that these events are simply not fruitful for real estate agents.  I don't know, I've never done one myself, if anyone reading this has any input I'd appreciate it.

The other thing was the obvious emphasis on "green" building trends.  From hugely efficient heat pumps, (neat), to mops of the future being touted as green because they use less refills than a swiffer, (not so neat).  Everything was green.  Hotubs were being pitched as green somehow, window replacements for energy savings, (in this climate doesn't make sense on that level), efficient flooring products and on and on.  

One of the exhibitors was City Green Solutions.  This type of company has been popping up recently specializing in energy efficiency assessments.  This is due in large part to legislation that has been passed but not proclaimed that will require all properties that are being offered for sale have an energy audit conducted on them in order to establish their energuide number.  100 being perfectly efficient and 0 being not so much.  This audit currently costs around $400.00  It is essentially an air escape test.  In order to become an energy efficiency assessor you must undergo 2 rigorous training sessions of 2 days each and conduct some assessments in the field with an experienced assessor until you are deemed capable of doing it yourself.  Draw your own conclusions.  

I am opposed to this.  Not the tests themselves, but to the idea that they are going to be mandatory.  I suppose an argument can be made for new construction, but for existing stock this should be left to the homeowner to decide whether they want to market this particular aspect of their property or not.  In the 10 years I've been selling homes I can count on one hand the number of people who factored in energy efficiency in any meaningful way into their buying decision tree.  I'm not saying its not important or that it's not something that more people may be interested in as we go forward.  What I'm saying is that this is an area where the government should not be sticking their noses in.  If someone wants to market their property as energy efficient, and someone else wants to market their property being in a great neighbourhood, let them. I can just imagine the bureaucracy of energy efficiency we have coming our way.

Victoria has actually been the site of a pilot project the past year or so for this program.  The real estate board supports it. (Of course they do, I suppose they have to find somewhere else to spend our money instead of just sticking into our reserves, but that's another article.)  My question to the committee and to the ministry running the project, more than once, was how can I quantify the difference between say a 59 and a 75?  What is the dollar figure?  Just saying 75 is better than 59 is stupid.  Is it a linear scale, geometric, some sort of undisclosed algorithm?  No one called me back. My sellers have all declined to participate.

I wonder why?


David Langlois - Cornerstone Properties Ltd.- (250) 858-5575begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (250) 858-5575      end_of_the_skype_highlighting direct 
(250) 475-2006
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www.victoriacityrealestate.com - David@agentdavid.com  www.agentdavid.com - www.cornerstoneproperties.bc.ca - @realestateinvic 

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