Who is your real estate agent looking out for?

Who is your saskatoon real estate agent looking out for

If you’ve visited my blog before, chances are you’ve caught on to the fact that I’m very concerned about a practice which is occurring regularly which I believe is deceptive and hurtful to both buyers and sellers. It goes like this; the agent lists the seller’s property and promises to give the home full exposure to the market including all kinds of advertising and more importantly, MLS® service. He then does whatever he can to hide the listing from the market while he makes his best effort to sell the property himself, hoping to pocket the entire commission. Perhaps he lets a few of his best buds from the office in on the game, but for the most part he tries not to let anyone know it’s for sale unless he or someone else from his office has the chance to show it to the buyer.

Why should you care? Well, if you’re a home buyer it robs you of the opportunity to see and consider homes which were supposed to be listed MLS®. It limits your options. If you’re a seller, you should care because these practices are almost certainly going to cost you money; lots of money. Every agent knows that there is a pretty direct relationship between the number of prospective buyers for your home and the price at which your home will sell. If an agent pulls this trick on you, he has no shame. He is a deceptive, selfish person who thinks nothing of stealing from you. He certainly has no regard for the fiduciary duty which he owes to you as your agent.

At first, I was reluctant to bring it up. Now, I’m like a raving lunatic who can’t be stopped until this evil practice is dead. J Please forgive my rambling but I do take this business very seriously.

I did a little research today on Saskatoon and area real estate sales dating back to February 15.

Here’s what I found.

  • A seller is more than twice as likely to receive an offer which is above the list price if the buyer is represented by another real estate company (or brand). Last week the average overbid exceeded $6,000 and we’ve seen offers as high as 15% over list price in the past few weeks. As a home seller, you probably want to maximize the chances that it will happen for you.

  • Where a listing sold for less than the asking price, the average discount was just .4% if the buyer was represented by a different real estate company (or brand). The discount jumped to 2.4% when the same company (or brand) represented both the buyer and the seller. On a $250,000 home, the difference amounts to an additional $5,000.

I believe that this massive disparity is the result of agents who engage in the practice I’ve described. I can’t think of another reasonable explanation and I’m seeing it happen every day.

There is nothing wrong with entertaining offers from buyer who is working with your agent, or your agent’s company. However, if there aren’t any agents from other companies inquiring on your home, you may want to find out if your agent is playing “hide the listing.” We are currently experiencing the hottest real estate market I’ve ever seen. Make sure your agent is helping you take advantage of it, and not robbing you blind.

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

Saskatoon real estate: Week in review (February 19-23 2007)

Here’s a brief statistical overview of residential sales as reported to the Saskatoon Real Estate Board MLS® system for the past week.

Notable changes over the previous week:

The percentage of listings which sold at the list price or above the list price increased from 48% to 56%.

The average selling price of a home exceeded the average listing price in four of five areas*.

The average overbid where listings sold over their list price increased 27% from $4,735 to $6,037.

Saskatoon real estate stats

Largest overbids

  • 864 square foot Lakeview condo sells 10% over list at $113,000.
  • 1,000 square foot Dundonald house sells 10% over list at $198,000.
  • 975 square foot City Park house sells 10% over list at $170,000.

See a Google map displaying the boundaries of Saskatoon real estate “areas” here
Data collection and calculation for our statistical reports

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

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to sell a house in this market

It Doesn't Take a Rocket Scientist to Sell a home in the Saskatoon Real Estate Market

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Anyone can sell a house. Anyone! If securing a private sale on your home is your only goal you’re likely to find it a snap in this hot Saskatoon real estate market.

Take this lovely little Fairhaven, Saskatoon home for example. It was offered up on the private market about one week ago for $145,000. Rumour has it that it sold to the first warm body that walked through the front door. Check today’s classified section of the Saskatoon Star Phoenix if you’d like to have an opportunity to buy it from the first buyer for only $165,000. Act quickly. It looks like a reasonably good buy to me.

There’s another story floating around the Saskatoon real estate community. I have no idea if it’s true or not. These stories are often jazzed up a bit for dramatic effect but this is what they’re saying. A private seller negotiated a deal on his home for approximately $190,000. The offer was subject to a satisfactory appraisal of the home. The appraiser visits the home and after he conducts his inspection of the property the seller asks him, “What’s it worth?” The appraiser tells him it’s worth between $220,000 and $230,000. He’s no longer interested in selling to this particular buyer. We can only wonder if his lawyer will find a way to get him out of the deal but you can bet it won’t happen without a fight.

Selling a home in this real estate market without an experienced, competent and trustworthy agent could be compared to learning to drive at the Indianapolis 500. You’re likely to learn some lessons but those lessons will come at a price.

Ask me what your home is worth today. I’ll most likely tell you that I can’t be sure. I can tell you that I’ll make darned sure it’s properly introduced to a huge number of prospective buyers and that you’ll likely have several offers to choose from. My last listing brought 38 showings and 16 offers. The one before that had 23 showings and 10 offers. Both homes sold at a premium price. Neither of these happy sellers had any doubts about the true market value of their home when the dust settled and they were both pretty darned happy to pay me for the effort. I believe you’d feel pretty good about it too. Give me a week. If I can’t deliver an offer that truly excites you, I’ll give you back the listing and be on my way.

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

Saskatoon real estate bidding wars: How much is too much?

Saskatoon Real Estate bidding wars

If you’ve been shopping in the Saskatoon real estate market for longer than a couple of months I don’t have to tell you that the rules have changed this year, and they’ve changed dramatically.

At the close of 2006, resale inventory had dropped to an all time low of around 250 active listings and while we’ve started to see more homes being listed for sale they are getting snapped at a pace which hasn’t allowed inventory levels to rebound at all. Today, the Saskatoon MLS® system shows 244 active house and condo listings across all price ranges and in all Saskatoon neighbourhoods. 60-70% of those properties probably have offers pending and the majority of what remains are the laggards which most prospective buyers have passed on for one reason or another.

New MLS® listings are attracting attention and viewings quite quickly and in many cases they’re generating multiple offers resulting in a bidding war. Last week, almost 25% of the homes which were reported sold on the Saskatoon MLS® showed sale prices which were above the asking price. The amount of overbids ranged from a low of $10 over list to a high of close to $30,000 above list price. The average overbid in most areas was less than $5,000.

Nobody wants to pay too much for a home. One might look to the aforementioned sale which went close to $30,000 above list and ask, “Are those buyers’ nuts?” I’m going to suggest that they just might be a little sharper than you think. See, these folks now own an interest in some Saskatoon real estate. While the other 37 buyers who viewed this home continue to struggle to find a place in the market, these buyers have locked in and any gains that the market experiences over the coming months will be theirs. If you believe that the market is going to continue to grow at its current pace, you might feel okay about paying a bit too much today in an effort to avoid paying much more tomorrow.

I’m not suggesting for a moment that a $30,000 overbid will be the prudent thing to do in most situations, but you will likely need to think beyond what the home is worth today if you truly want to be the successful buyer in a bidding war. Try to give some thought to where you think the market is going for homes in your price range. Will prices increase 10-20% over the next few months? How many opportunities will come up over the next few months? How might rising prices and limited inventory affect your ability to secure a suitable home at an affordable price if you miss out on this one? Is the property you’re considering under priced for today’s market (some are)? Ask your agent for his or her thoughts on what price the home will sell for when all of the offers are in.

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

School’s out for Saskatoon Briarwood residents

They expected schools and playgrounds would eventually occupy the vacant space that sits at the center of Saskatoon’s Briarwood neighbourhood and some paid a premium for the opportunity to be close. Now that those plans have been scrapped by both school boards there are some lingering questions about what will become of this land.

North Ridge Development Corporation and Boychuk Construction Corporation are both proposing a rezoning of that land to accommodate residential development. North Ridge would like to develop 17 lots in the northeast corner of Briarwood Park and Boychuk has their eye on a parcel across the park for 27 new homes.

Residents seem most concerned that the city takes some measures to soften the blow of the lost schools by insisting that the development takes into account the fact that many of these homes were constructed to enjoy a park view, and not the backyards of neighbouring homes.

They’d like to see some green space to provide a bit of a buffer between the new and existing homes. The Municipal Planning Commission seems to be somewhat onside and has sent a memo to city administrators saying they won’t support the plan without changes which include adjusting North Ridge’s proposed orientation of the new homes and incorporation of linear or pocket parks.