So you want to invest in Saskatoon real estate

Saskatoon is obviously gaining a national reputation as a hot spot. There is little doubt that our city is doing well and the Saskatoon real estate market is healthy and strong showing several years of decent appreciation. At the same time, many of Canada’s major markets have been showing signs of cooling off, so of course, Saskatoon is standing out amongst them all.

Lately, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of investors who are expressing interest in adding some Saskatoon real estate to their portfolios. My strong Internet presence and high search engine visibility brings me lots of inquiries from serious, and sometimes, not so serious buyers. I’ve dealt with many email inquiries from prospective investors over the last two weeks.

I have a few tips for out of province investors which I sincerely hope will be helpful.

All successful investors which I’ve met have a preference for certain types of properties and specific goals they wish to achieve. Some of the investors I’ve encountered lately seem to be lacking that focus and express interest in everything from $50,000 condos to $50,000,000 shopping malls. It’s difficult for an agent to be effective for you when you don’t know what you want. Be open to discussing your objectives with your agent. It helps us to help you effectively.Talk to some agents on the phone. Your real estate investment is very serious business and email communications often lead to confusion. For something this important, we should be talking. If we can’t do it face to face, let’s speak on the phone. You can reach me toll-free at 1-888-978-6676.

Some of those I’ve corresponded with by email seem to have a need to impress with tales of great wealth. This kind of talk, coming from someone I’ve never met makes me want to proceed very cautiously and sometimes not at all. There are so many scams out there today that we have to be careful. Promises of big business possibilities during an initial email contact are going to be viewed with suspicion.

I’m most impressed by a few thoughtful questions. Even if you already know the answers, doing so tells me that you know what you need to know, and it gives you an opportunity to find out if I know anything. If you don’t care whether I know the market or not, it causes me to question how serious you are.

Be prepared to forward a deposit. As I said earlier, there are buyers all over the place here and most of them are ready to act when the right property comes up. If you and your chequebook are 500 miles away, we really don’t stand a chance. Having an adequate deposit in trust, in Saskatoon is the only way that you can be ready. Real estate trust funds of up to $5,000 are insured by the Real Estate Assurance Fund in Saskatchewan. If you’re dealing with a licensed broker your money is placed in trust where it’s safe and ready to work for you when the time is right.

Be prepared to conduct your transactions in accordance with local customs. Real estate is done in many ways, in many different places. Your offers will be taken most seriously if you seek advice from your agent on how things work in the Saskatoon market.

Do a little bit of research on our real estate market. Lately, I’ve been asked for things which no longer exist in this market, and people have actually been put off when I told them so. 

  • Eastside luxury homes with good rental potential priced between $150,000 and $175,000.
  • Motivated sellers who are anxious to sell at a bargain price.
  • Quality residential revenue homes which will deliver positive cash flow with a 15% down payment.

Unfortunately, none of these things exist in the current Saskatoon real estate market. If that’s what you need to meet your goals, we may as well discuss it now.

Good luck.

Norm Fisher

Royal LePage Vidorra

Saskatoon MLS listings hit record low

I just ran a search of active listings on the Saskatoon Real Estate Board’s MLS ® service. This morning, there is a total of 256 active listings including single-family homes and condominiums within the Saskatoon city limits.

Area 1 – East of Circle Drive East – 57 listings.

Area 2 – West of Circle Drive East to the river’s edge – 52 listings.

Area 3 – Downtown Saskatoon to the far North end – 28 listings.

Area 4 – Idylwyld Drive to Circle Drive West – 103 listings.

Area 5 – Circle Drive West to the West edge of Saskatoon – 16 listings.

I’m going to guess that some 40% of these listings are under contract, leaving approximately 150 homes available to be purchased. I have never seen such low levels of inventory in the 14 years I’ve been in the real estate business. Last year, at this time we had around 500 properties for sale.

This is bad news for buyers and much better news for sellers. If you’re planning on offering your Saskatoon home for sale, don’t waste a minute getting it to the market. You have a golden opportunity to break some price records, I would think.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Vidorra 

Location still key to real estate, even in a virtual world

You’ve heard the old adage, “The three most important things in real estate are location, location, and location.” A location is of utmost importance because it’s essentially the only thing about real property which can’t be changed. You can buy new carpets, add a coat of paint and even improve a floor plan but you’re definitely limited when it comes to improving the location of your property. You can’t take a home which is in a poor location and move it closer to schools, or further away from negative influences. It is where it is, and it always will be.

Location is of equal importance in the world of “virtual real estate” and the criteria that we use to judge the quality of a “location” is very different. When purchasing residential real property, we tend to associate quiet, low traffic locations with quality. When you market real estate online, you look for locations which boast high levels of traffic. You want your home to be situated in a busy place to maximize the level of exposure to active home buyers and having your home marketed “on the internet” doesn’t necessarily mean that it is being seen.

Every real estate agent will market your home on the most predictable online real estate websites. The real value that an agent brings to the process is found in what they do differently. The real question is; what will you do to make my home stand apart from all others which are for sale.

Unfortunately, many real estate websites exist is a baron wasteland. They attract few visitors, and those that do come, never return. They are little more than an electronic brochure promoting the services of an agent. They can be boring and irrelevant at best; definitely not the kind of location that brings you much value as a home seller.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that my passion is online marketing. I’ve worked hard to build a website with quality content, which is well positioned in the major search engines. Each month, thousands of people visit the Saskatoon Real Estate Resource Centre. We recently joined the Point2 Network, the largest real estate network in the world. For the fourth week in a row, our website has ranked in the top 100 of over 100,000 real estate websites in the network. Our association with Point2 also provides us with the opportunity to syndicate your listing and send it to some of the highest traffic locations available to web marketers.

If you’re looking for a quality location to market your Saskatoon home, our website is hard to beat. I’d love to show you how we can expose your home to thousands of potential buyers.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Vidorra

Average house price trends for Saskatoon neighbourhoods

A number of my clients have asked me how homes in their neighbourhoods have appreciated relative to the Saskatoon real estate market in general. The question sparked an idea for my neighbourhood profiles page. I have prepared and posted a graph for each Saskatoon neighbourhood that shows the average house price trend for that area over a ten year period and compares it to the average house price trend for Saskatoon.

Are you curious about how values are changing in your area? 

Visit our Neighbourhood Profile page and click on your neighbourhood.

I am always looking for ways in which I can improve our website. If you have ideas or suggestions which I might use to provide prospective home buyers and sellers with information about Saskatoon, or the Saskatoon real estate market, I would love to hear them. Please, drop me an email at the link below.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Vidorra

Average Saskatoon house and condominium prices by area for 2006

I have completed my updates to the TeamFisher’s neighbourhood pages for 2006. Each neighbourhood page includes details on sales of houses and condominiums in the area including the low sale price, the high sale price and the average sale price for 2006.

I did something a little different this year in that I also included the average selling price of houses and condominiums for the last six months. I plan to update those numbers on a monthly basis so that a more accurate reflection of what’s happening in the Saskatoon real estate market, and within your neighbourhood can be seen at any time. With the sharp increases our market experienced through 2006, the annual average from the previous year was almost useless as we approached the close of the year. The averages shown didn’t really give an accurate picture of current Saskatoon real estate values.

We get a lot of visits from people who live outside of the province, who are considering a move to Saskatoon so these updated profiles are helpful in determining which areas meet their price objectives.

Another feature which will be added soon (hopefully before the New Year) is a graph which shows the change in average selling prices for each area over a ten year period. I have the data put together and we just need to prepare and post the graphs.

Do you know someone who is moving to Saskatoon? Why not refer them to our website? They’ll find it a great resource in their search for Saskatoon real estate.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Vidorra