This is the best real estate market we’ve had in six years…for some.

If you ask your real estate agent if it’s “a good time to buy, or sell” and they simply say “yes,” you may be getting bad advice.

It’s interesting how markets that highly favour sellers are almost always characterized as “a good real estate market” while those that favour buyers are commonly referred to as a “bad market”. In fact, there are three kinds of real estate markets; those that favour sellers, those that favour buyers and those that are more balanced with neither the buyer or the seller having a distinct advantage, one over the other. Given that buyers and sellers have divergent interests, a good market for sellers is a bad market for buyers. The reverse is true when market conditions favour buyers. Crocodile tears for sellers (I wanted to use ‘dog lips’ here, but a quick look at Urban Dictionary said, “no!” Yikes! I am getting old and the meaning of things keep changing).

Often you can find more than one of these markets at play in a specific geographic region. For instance, through much of last year, small condos were in abundant supply, and as demand softened this created a buyer’s market for small condos. Buyers found a greater selection of properties to choose from and seller’s became more flexible in negotiations. Upper end condos (larger, finer finishes, underground parking, etc.) saw a better balance between supply and demand leading to more balanced conditions. A seller asking a fair price could expect reasonable offers. Finally, single-family homes valued at $350,000 to $400,000 (a bit on either side of the average for this area) were still in short supply and seller’s had more clout at the bargaining table, at some points, still experiencing a seller’s market. Let’s call these different markets, micro-markets.

For those of you inclined to buy or sell it’s imperative that you understand what kind of micro-market you’re operating in and how you can best leverage that knowledge. More importantly, you should understand that perceptions of a micro-market are often completely false, and you can use those false impressions to your advantage as well. For instance, a seller who owns a home that would still fit the “balanced market” supply/demand test might assume it’s a bad market for all sellers and agree to sell to you for less than he/she should (His or her agent may fall under the same false impressions due to a sudden reduction of caloric intake due to falling sales). Conversely, a seller who does an amazing job of preparing their home for sale can sometimes create a feeling of scarcity around their property by presenting it in a manner that makes it look better than all of the others for sale. You don’t need to have the only house for sale if you have what’s perceived to be the nicest, or the best one for sale.

Understand the micro-market that you’re operating in by learning exactly how much supply exists, relative to demand. Total available inventory, divided by sales in the most recent 30 days will produce a number known in the business as “months of supply”. If the months of supply are fewer than four, this is generally considered a seller’s market. You won’t find many seller’s markets in Saskatoon right now, though that could change as we move towards spring. If months of supply are between four and six, you have balanced market conditions. Finally, if months of supply is greater than six months, buyers are in the driver’s seat.

Got it?

I’m always happy to answer your Saskatoon real estate questions.  All of my contact info is here. Please feel free to call or email.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Vidorra

How virtual reality will soon change the way you see the world forever


When my stepfather Clarence Fisher passed away in 1998 I recall marveling at all he had seen over his 80 years, from a time when he may have been more likely to travel by horse than by car, to the early development of the web. He saw the advancement of the automobile, the airplane, television, space craft, and digital imagery to name just a few; all technologies that would allow man to satisfy his curiosity about things and places that he might not otherwise see or experience.

Last week the world changed in a way that my dad couldn’t have ever imagined. A door was opened that will very soon allow you and I to experience virtually anything, and any place.

For most of us, virtual reality is a strange idea, something for the future, a future that we’ve been hearing about for a long, long time. Last week the future samsung_gear_vrarrived as Samsung, in cooperation with Oculus released Gear VR, the first virtual reality headset intended for the consumer market. There have been several developer prototypes released over the past few years, but now, for less than $150 users of select Samsung phones can strap on some gear that will transport their minds to another place.

The possibilities are endless, really. Your Gear VR headset can simulate a home theatre experience that few could ever imagine, or it could take you across the world to explore the ancient city of Machu Picchu all without leaving your home. I expect that before long virtual reality will allow you and a friend who resides on the other side of the globe to share a virtual space and experience, as if you’re actually together. Imagine, my son in London, England and me in Saskatoon, getting together to watch a Sunday Rider game in a virtual reality space that emulates my living room, or his dorm room, or our favourite pub for that matter.

Should virtual reality replace the actual real life experience of visiting Machu Picchu, or enjoying a Rider game (I know! It’s been difficult to enjoy a Rider game lately) in the presence of a friend or family member? Of course not, but it can really expand the numbers of people who have the opportunity to enjoy these experiences when they might not otherwise be practical. Soon, anyone with access to a smart phone will be able to enjoy experiences that they had only dreamed of.

Virtual reality can go a long way to simplify life in other ways. You could take a virtual walk through at your favourite clothing boutique and look at the fall fashion line-up from home. You could look around that new downtown dinner spot before you make your booking. You could shop for a new house.

House hunters will tour homes from the comfort of their own living room before heading out to see the one or two that they like best. The physical process of looking at prospective homes will be reduced from days to hours. Home sellers, I’m sure, will be equally appreciative of fewer disruptions at home.

The real estate business got its first serious look towards a virtual future when Matterport released a “3D-Scanner” in July of 2014. The renderings that it produces are mind blowing allowing buyers to explore interior spaces like never before. Of course, I bought one of these scanners and we shared that innovation with the Saskatoon market in the news story below.

I experienced a virtual reality tour made from a Matterport rendering through an Oculus Rift developer head set that a friend shared with me months ago. It was a bit crude, but remarkably effective. The Gear VR moves the experience from crude to spectacular and it won’t be long before our listings are also available to explore in a virtual reality environment, so stay tuned.

While I reflect with wonder on the breadth of my dad’s life experiences, and where we’ve come since then, I can’t help but think that we haven’t seen anything yet.

If only technology could find a way to reconnect me with my dad.


Five Declutter Tips To Help Sell Your Home

moniqueNothing can kill a prospect’s interest in your home like clutter. Please welcome Monique, also known as the Clutter Ninja, as she provides some tips to get you started in decluttering your home for a quick and painless sale. We’ve worked with Monique on a few real estate projects and can testify to her awesomeness.

Five Declutter Tips To Help Sell Your Home

If you have plans to sell your home this spring, you may want to take a look around to see if you need to declutter first. Decluttering can help your home to sell because when people shop for homes, they want to picture how the home would look with their décor and personal touch; it can be difficult to visualize that if the home is cluttered.

Here are 5 declutter tips to help sell your home:

1. Determine your time frame. Do you have time to go through the work of setting up a garage sale? If not, donate items to charity (many will pick up for you). This can speed up the decluttering process immensely and is a lot less work than having a sale.

2. Decide if you need help. Decluttering can be overwhelming, and can take some manpower. Decide if you can do the project on your own, and if you can’t, ask family or friends, or a Professional Organizer to help.

3. Focus on one room at a time (storage areas can be a good place to start). Categorize items into things you’ll keep, sell, donate, toss, or recycle. Keep going until the project is complete, don’t stop half way! Your future self will thank you.

4. Depersonalize the home as much as possible. Taking down family photos or personal touches will allow potential buyers to see how their things would look in it. Home staging can also be of great help when selling.

5. Keep it clean. When a home is cluttered, it can be hard to clean and potential buyers pick up on that instantly. Sometimes a showing can come up with little notice. Decluttering can help you to keep your home tidy and clean so it’s always ready for a showing.

Decluttering and downsizing your belongings can not only help your home to show better, but can also make moving a simpler process. Why go through the task of moving belongings you don’t use, need, or want any longer? Deciding to move into another home is a fresh start… Take only what you enjoy with you.


CBC News covers Royal LePage Vidorra's 3D Scanner

Just sharing the video from the CBC television news story that ran recently about Royal LePage Vidorra’s 3D scanner that its agents are using to capture and display interior spaces. Pretty cool stuff.

Take a virtual walk through of this Daytona Homes show home to experience it for yourself. Think Google street view as you work your way through the home by clicking the circles. It works exceptionally well on mobile devices.

If you’re interested in having your home marketed using this technology reach out to anyone on our team.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Vidorra

TeamFisher brings 3D scanner technology to Saskatoon market

Back in the fall I bought a very cool new tool that I think could eventually change the way real estate is bought and sold.  This baby has been in the box waiting for me to complete the new Royal LePage Vidorra office that we’re operating in now. I wanted to use it fort there. Developed in cooperation with Google, the 3D scanner allows us to present our listings in a way that just can’t be experienced any other way, without making a physical trip to the home.  It’s like Google street view for interiors. Look for the translucent circles on the floor as spots you can navigate to with a click allowing you to view these rooms from nearly any position.

I said, “eventually change the way real estate is bought and sold” because we are likely a long way from full adoption. When that happens, and it almost certainly will, a buyer will be able to do virtual walk throughs of all available properties to narrow down their hit list for actual physical viewings.

In the mean time, this is one heck of a cool tool that can make your home stand out from most others on the market. A 3D scan eliminates any need for an open house and allows buyers to view the interior of your home from every angle without ever having to ask you to leave. It should mean only the most interested prospects come through the front door.

Are you interested in having a 3D scan done on your home? Talk to any of our sales and service specialists about having TeamFisher represent you in your next sale. We WILL sell your home!

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Vidorra