Stupid, lazy, or just a butt ugly listing?

They say, “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression” and most of us accept this as true. It’s certainly the case in marketing homes. Your listing is really only “new” once for a very brief time. It is the time during which you have the greatest opportunity to attract the largest amount of attention from Realtors® and prospective buyers. It’s also the time during which you have the best chance of getting the highest offers on your home. When that new listing period passes your home becomes part of the listing stock, one of many active listings waiting to be bought.

When an agent submits a new listing to the Saskatoon multiple listing service® (MLS®) there are a few wonderful opportunities that can be effortlessly captured or just as easily squandered. The MLS® data server is a busy little computer that spends its day accepting data on Saskatoon homes for sale. There’s a special place in its digital heart for brand new listings.  It believes that one of its most important jobs is to notify people about great new listings that may be of interest to them. Several times each day, it packages the new data and sends it places. The first day your home is added to the MLS® database it could be seen by hundreds of potential buyers either in the form of an email update (“there’s a new listing that matches your requirements”) or displayed on one of many websites that accepts this data including

As a home owner, if you can have any say in the matter whatsoever you’ll want to ensure that your home’s listing isn’t sent out looking like the one pictured on the left. I won’t bother explaining why, because that would be condescending to people like you who have common sense. You already know why this listing is a perfect example of a massive fail. So, why does it happen nearly every single day? Why do we so commonly see brand new listings being marketed with no photos and with very limited listing detail?

As a prospective home buyer or a home seller under contract you might come to one of a few conclusions.

  • The listing agent doesn’t care about the quality of his or her work or how it impacts on you.
  • The listing agent is too lazy to gather three megabytes of data in one place and complete a twenty-minute task in a single session.
  • The listing agent lacks the common sense to understand why images and information are important.
  • The house being marketed is so butt ugly that it’s best that people don’t actually see it.

In most cases, none of these things are actually true. It’s far more likely that the agent is simply busy with a million and one other things competing for his or her attention. This important marketing task isn’t insisting that it should be immediately attended to and therefore, it becomes one of those little tasks that we can get back to later when time permits. But, this is not cool. It’s not cool at all.

This terrible fail is the result of a lack of planning and every home seller deserves better. While I rarely speak directly to other real estate agents on this blog I’d like to share some very simple thoughts on rolling out a new listing to help sellers capture the “once in a new listing” opportunities that exist.

Dear real estate agent,

Here are just a few things that you might want to be thinking about when you take your next listing.

  1. Your listings are your inventory. They are presented with your name attached to them and they are a reflection of your professionalism, your organizational skill, the level of care that you apply to your work, and your ability to manage details. If you can’t effectively handle this simple part of the process, how can a seller have confidence that you’re capable of handling a contract?
  2. Your new listings deserve a rollout plan. If you’re too busy to roll it out properly, don’t take the listing.
  3. Timeliness is important, but the quality of your presentation should never be sacrificed for speed. Any seller is best served by having their listing rolled-out properly tomorrow, instead of poorly today.
  4. Most of the tasks associated with a new listing can be performed by another competent individual who trades their time for money (assistant or virtual assistant), so don’t be afraid to delegate, but it’s your job to ensure that the tasks are completed correctly and once started, without delay.
  5. Decide with your seller on a launch date for the listing.
  6. Gather all of the important data about the property including a full compliment of photos (interior and exterior) prior to the rollout date.
  7. Write an attractive description, post-process images and prepare virtual tours in advance of the rollout date.
  8. Share your photos and your description with your seller to reduce errors and to improve the quality of your work.
  9. On the rollout date submit your listing using broker load and include all of the information you’ve gathered in a single session. Do it early in the morning. Nothing else will be competing for your attention at 6:00 am so you’ll have plenty of time to see the task through to completion, and to proofread and correct errors before the system starts to send data out around 10:00 am. Your listing will also show up on the “new listings” page of the MLS® all day, instead of just a few hours.
  10. Continue on with your other electronic marketing tasks while you’re in front of the computer with all of the data handy.

It really is that simple.

Home sellers; don’t be afraid to set the bar high in terms of your expectations in the rollout of your listing. Ask your agent for a rollout plan and some assurances that the presentation of your home will be handled with the great care it deserves.

Related posts

A compelling case for more photos on your home listing
If a picture is worth a thousand words…

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.

Real estate geeks can follow our daily updates on Twitter @norm_fisher.

Our Saskatoon home search tool offers MLS® listings represented by all real estate brands, presented with more detail than you’ll find anywhere else. Check it out here.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

Discriminatory real estate ad attracts media attention

This post makes the “just for fun” category for the featured video’s surprise ending. If you start the video, please see it through to the end.

By way of Brendan King’s Twitter stream.

As a licensed Asian, I found this particular misunderstanding quite amusing and so did the other Asians in my office, but discriminatory practices are no laughing matter and fair treatment for all human beings is a cornerstone of a civilized society.

The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code was written to protect people from discriminatory practices. The following are “prohibited grounds” for discrimination under the Code;

(i) religion;
(ii) creed;
(iii) marital status;
(iv) family status;
(v) sex;
(vi) sexual orientation;
(vii) disability;
(viii) age;
(ix) colour;
(x) ancestry;
(xi) nationality;
(xii) place of origin;
(xiii) race or perceived race; and
(xiv) receipt of public assistance.

Section 10 and section 11 of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code deal specifically with discriminatory practices in the sale or leasing of real estate.

Discrimination in the purchase of property prohibited

10(1) No person shall, on the basis of a prohibited ground:

(a) deny to any person or class of persons the opportunity to purchase any commercial unit or any place of dwelling that is advertised or in any way represented as being available for sale;

(b) deny to any person or class of persons the opportunity to purchase or otherwise acquire land or an interest in land; or

(c) discriminate against any person or class of persons with respect to any term of the purchase or other acquisition of any commercial unit or any place of dwelling, land or any interest in land.

(2) Repealed. 2007, c.39, s.4.

(3) Nothing in subsection (1) prohibits the sale, the offering for sale or the advertising for sale of a place of dwelling for occupancy by persons over 55 years of age exclusively.

Discrimination in occupancy of commercial unit or housing accommodation is prohibited

11(1) No person, directly or indirectly, alone or with another, or by the interposition of another shall, on the basis of a prohibited ground:

(a) deny to any person or class of persons occupancy of any commercial unit or any housing accommodation; or

(b) discriminate against any person or class of persons with respect to any term of occupancy of any commercial unit or any housing accommodation.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to discrimination on the basis of the sex of a person with respect to housing accommodation, where the occupancy of all the housing accommodation in a building, except that of the owner or the owner’s family, is restricted to individuals who are of the same sex.

(3) Subsection (1) does not apply to discrimination on the basis of the sex or sexual orientation of a person with respect to the renting or leasing of any dwelling unit in any housing accommodation that is composed of not more than two dwelling units, where the owner of the housing accommodation or the owner’s family resides in one of the two dwelling units.

(4) Nothing in subsection (1) prohibits the renting or leasing, the offering for rent or lease or the advertising for rent or lease, of any housing accommodation for occupancy by persons over 55 years of age exclusively.

The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code is here.

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.

Follow our daily updates on Twitter @Norm_Fisher.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

Potential resale returns on various home improvements

People are often curious about how certain home improvements will affect the value of their homes. The chart of percentages displayed here presents some findings compiled by the Appraisal Institute of Canada from their 2008 membership survey. It is intended to give the homeowner a very general idea of the potential that certain improvements have in adding value to your home.

Sky lights 0-25%
Swimming pool 0-25%
Landscaping 25-50%
Fencing 25-50%
Brick walkways 25-50%
Home theatre 25-50%
Block paving 25-50%
Concrete paving 25-75%
Central air conditioning 25-75%
Deck 50-75%
New windows and doors 50-75%
New exterior siding 50-75%
Flooring 50-75%
Basement renovation 50-75%
Addition to dwelling 50-75%
Fireplace 50-75%
Garage 50-75%
Roof replacement 50-80%
Heating system/furnace 50-80%
Interior paint 50-100%
Kitchen renovation 75-100%
Bathroom renovation 75-100%
Energy efficient features Avg. 61%

Other considerations

  • Improvements that are commonly found in the area the home is located in will almost always deliver the highest returns.
  • Renovations in homes that have a lower market value when compared to other homes in the area generally see a higher return from home improvements.
  • Poorly done renovations have a smaller upward impact on the home’s value, and can actually have a negative affect on property value.
  • Renovations done on a home that is generally in poor repair overall have a minimal impact on its market value.
  • It’s rare that renovations recover their full cost in added value. Home owners should understand that there is some value associated with enjoyment of the improvement.
  • Not all improvements are created equal, even those that might fit in the same category. For instance, in a bathroom renovation a “spa type shower will add roughly 36% of it’s cost, while a Jacuzzi or whirlpool type tub recovers approximately 65% of its cost.

Obligations and rights of tenants and landlords when ending a tenancy in Saskatchewan

You may have read the Star Phoenix story in yesterday’s paper regarding two tenants of the Barry Hotel who successfully appealed their eviction notices allowing them to continue to reside there until May 31. It’s important for tenants and landlords to understand their rights and their obligations when it comes to the termination of a tenancy. Here’s a quick look at the legislation as outlined in the Residential Tenancies Act.

Under Section 60 of the new Residential Tenancies Act:

A landlord may end a periodic tenancy respecting a rental unit if:

(a) the landlord enters into an agreement in good faith to sell the rental unit;

(b) all the conditions on which the sale depends have been satisfied; and

(c) the purchaser asks the landlord, in writing, to give notice to end the

tenancy on one of the following grounds:

(i) the purchaser is an individual and the purchaser, or a close family

member or friend of the purchaser, intends in good faith to occupy the

rental unit;

(ii) the purchaser is a family corporation and an individual owning

voting shares in the corporation, or a close family member or friend of

that individual, intends in good faith to occupy the rental unit.

A landlord may end a periodic tenancy respecting a rental unit if the landlord has all the necessary permits and approvals required by law, and intends in good faith, to do any of the following:

(a) demolish the rental unit;

(b) renovate or repair the rental unit in a manner that requires the rental unit to be vacant;

(c) convert the residential property to condominiums pursuant to The CondominiumProperty Act, 1993;

(d) convert the residential property into a continuing housing co-operative as defined inThe Co-operatives Act, 1996;

(e) convert the rental unit for use by a caretaker, manager or superintendent of theresidential property;

(f) convert the rental unit to a non-residential use.

Also under Section 60:

(8) A notice pursuant to this section must comply with section 63.

(9) A tenant may dispute a notice pursuant to this section by applying for an order pursuant to section 70 within 15 days after the date the tenant receives the notice.

(10) If a tenant who has received a notice pursuant to this section does not apply for an order pursuant to subsection (9), the tenant:

(a) is deemed to have accepted that the tenancy ends on the effective date of the notice; and

(b) must vacate the rental unit by that date.

Regarding proper notice, Section 63 states:

To be effective, a notice to end a tenancy must be in writing and must:

(a) be dated and identified as originating from the landlord or tenant giving the notice;

(b) give the address of the rental unit;

(c) state the effective date of the end of the tenancy;

(d) state the grounds for ending the tenancy; and

(e) when given by a landlord, be in the approved form.”

Additional Tenant Rights

Having received a notice of a termination of the tenancy, a tenant has the additional right to end the tenancy earlier by giving the landlord at least 10days written notice and paying the proportionate amount of rent.

In the event that the landlord does not carry out the intended purpose stated in the Notice, a tenant may seek compensation for having moved.

A form which is approved for use can be found here on the province’s Justice and Attorney General website.

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.

Follow our daily updates on Twitter @SaskatoonHomes.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

If you want me to act quickly don’t give me all the time in the world

This is the lead statement in the general comments of a property first offered for sale on February 5, 2008.

Act quickly!! Offers will be accepted until February 20th 2008.

I have to ask myself, “Why should I act quickly?” It would seem to me that I have at least two weeks to get over there.

Most of us can understand a seller’s desire to leverage a seller’s market.

In my opinion, this is a good example of a seller shooting themselves in the foot, and most likely failing to achieve what they’re hoping to accomplish. It’s terribly difficult to generate a lot of excitement around a property that isn’t even really for sale. This property will be old news before the seller is anywhere near ready to look at offers. Many buyers will probably be reluctant to even give it the time of day.

Last year, while this was going on I did my best to keep my sellers focused on two day time periods. This is plenty of time to reach the most motivated buyers and create a bit of a buzz around a property. Any longer and time begins to work against you.

Read also: Seller’s will review all offers…someday

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.

Follow our daily updates on Twitter @SaskatoonHomes.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate