Laird Estate Has Moved

My business has grown and so has my blog.  I hope everyone who is following Laird Estate, will sign up to receive the same up to date news and information on Ottawa’s real estate market from my new site, 613homesandcondos.com.  Thank you very much for your continuing support and I hope you like the new site. Click the thumbnail below to head over over.



If you think Ikea is even kind of cool…

As the price of Ottawa’s real estate rises, the spaces in which we inhabbit are shrinking.  Nations in Europe and around the world, have of course been living in limited spaces for decades.  It is no wonder that we are now looking to these places for inspiration to make our small spaces feel a little more roomy.  Shoeboxdwelling.com is a fantastic website that was created by design journalist, Natalia Repolovsky, to help people see the efficientcy in their small spaces, rather than the limitations.   Below are few things that I think are pretty awesome, but for many more ideas check out her website high-lighted above.  Seriously, check it out.  Some of the stuff is amazing.

 

We, urban folks, love our bikes. And because the space is scarce in city apartments, we try to store them vertically, which means making holes in our walls. Well, not anymore. This brilliant bike stand from Public allows vertical storage without the nasty wall mutilation part. It has the easiest installation process imaginable. Just lean the stand against the wall, and gravity does the rest. The piece provides convenient storage for one or two bikes and works with the most bike shapes and sizes. Genius!

Mono dishwasher, designed by Daniel Simonini, is smaller than your average dish rack. Yet it can hold 4 plates, 4 glasses (or cups), and a set of flatware. Inspired by sea sponges, the piece has a smooth exterior and slick design that can agree with any space. But the best feature, in my opinion, is the fact that the pressurized water, used for cleaning the dishes, is also employed to power the device’s battery making it carbon-neutral. Perfect for an eco-friendly urban apartment.

Our seating furniture is a notorious clutter magnet. Its demoralizing coziness compels us to pile more and more things closer to our bums, so we don’t need to bother getting up. Design firm Quinze and Milan and backpack manufacturer Eastpak took this desire quite literally and created the Backpack Sofa, a transformable piece of furniture with unlimited storage possibilities. The number of pockets and compartments is impressive and will allow storing books, DVDs, periodicals, iPads, and all other toys and spoils you like to keep close to you. Beautiful and at the same time dangerous idea…

Here is an example of extreme space-saving from Valencia based designer Daniel Gantes. His La Cool Vie Bohème dining table is reduced to its raw function. The piece is nothing more than a foldable pine wood stand that holds all your necessary dining paraphernalia -  plates, wine bottle, glasses, napkins, even a flowerpot. Envisioned as a mobile dining solution for someone who lives on a shoestring budget, the table will be just as useful to those who live in a shoebox space…

I am happy to announce that another cool iPhone alarm clock is here to tempt us. Called c/dock, this sleek new toy needs our help to be produced. Here is how the designer describes it on Kickstarter: ‘A handsome thick piece of solid walnut with either a brushed aluminum or glossy resin face plate with a six foot long black usb cable. The ultimate mix of modern design and convenience.’ The idea is simple – you slide your phone into the fully enclosed sleeve to dock and charge it, while it is running your favorite alarm app. And when you are awake, you can use it as a photo display or as a media player. Sweet!

It seems that there are two basic types of aircons on the market today – ugly and hideous. Aside from that – all of them play real havoc with your electric bill and negatively impact the environment. This impressive concept from designer Rami Santala is envisioned to address both problems. Visually stunning piece, called Foliage, is small enough to fit on a windowsill and smart enough to detect sunlight and use it to power the device. Inspired by houseplants, Foliage transforms the shape of its ‘leaves’ to harvest more light. Another reason why this idea makes perfect sense is that we mostly need air-conditioning during the summer, when the sunlight is abundant. So, there you have it – the air that is clean and cool in all senses of the word.

When it comes to bathroom storage we, small space inhabitants, are not spoiled with the abundance of choice. Which is why this collection from Royo Group is so exciting. The Keops Evolution series feature functional drawers and shelves around the bathtub itself. This elegant solution allows for much needed product/towel storage while taking virtually no extra space. It also provides for easy access to your beauty spoils. Thoughtful… The bathtub finishes are available in white acrylic and walnut and the furniture part can be chosen to be white or black.

Source: shoeboxdwelling.com

For more information on real estate in general, or for a free report on the 6 things you should avoid when buying home, please send me an email or give me a quick call at 613-614-0412.  Thanks for reading.

Ottawa Versus THE WORLD

A recent trip to New York City and a brief conversation with one of its residents, has inspired me to look a little a deeper into the world’s real estate markets.  Boy am I happy to be living in Ottawa.  The average cost per square foot in down town Ottawa is roughly $465.00, making a 550 sqft space approximately $255,750 with out parking.  Now let’s take a look at what that 550 sqft of space would cost you around the world.

So next time you out looking for a home and begin to think that the prices are little unreasonable for such a small space, take a deep breath and think back to this post.  For a complete list of all homes under $300,000 in Ottawa, please send me an email.  Thanks for reading.

July In Review

Members of the Ottawa Real Estate Board sold 1,326 residential properties in July through the Board’s Multiple Listing Service® system compared with 1,116 in July 2010, an increase of 18.8 per cent. The five-year average for July sales is 1,377.

Of those sales, 307 were in the condominium property class, while 1,019 were in the residential property class. The condominium property class includes any property, regardless of style (i.e. detached, semi-detached, apartment, stacked etc.), which is registered as a condominium, as well as properties, which are co-operatives, life leases and timeshares. The residential property class includes all other residential properties.

“What a difference a year makes. Last summer the real estate market was reeling from the implementation of the HST that saw many buyers and sellers move up their purchases to the winter and early spring. 2011 is a different story, one that looks a lot more like the average year for Ottawa’s resale housing market,” said Board President-Elect Ansel Clarke.

The average sale price of residential properties, including condominiums, sold in July in the Ottawa area was $341,330, an increase of 6.2 per cent over July 2010. The average sale price for a condominium-class property was $270,933, an increase of 11.3 per cent over July 2010. The average sale price of a residential-class property was $362,539, an increase of 4.8 per cent over July 2010. The Board cautions that average sale price information can be useful in establishing trends over time but should not be used as an indicator that specific properties have increased or decreased in value. The average sale price is calculated based on the total dollar volume of all properties sold.

Source: Ottawa Real Estate Board

10 Inside Tips for Selling Your Home Yourself

If you ask anyone who has ever tried to sell their home themselves they’ll tell you that from the moment the “For Sale by Owner” sign goes up, the phone begins to ring. Unfortunately, many of those calls will not be from prospective buyers, but rather from real estate agents looking to obtain your listing. Obviously the idea of not having to pay a commission to a real estate agent is attractive to any home seller. But because of all the issues involved in the process, selling a home on one’s own can be challenging as many home sellers will attest to.

The key is to be properly prepared. If you are not, your home could remain on the market longer than you expect because you are not attracting and getting offers from qualified buyers. This can be a point where many homeowners become frustrated and consider giving up their dream of selling their home themselves. However, there are sellers who accomplish selling their own homes, very well. You can be one of them.

This post has been especially prepared to assist home sellers, such as yourself, understand the elements involved so you, on your own, can sell your home quickly and for the most amount of profit. To help you prepare, here are 10 inside tips that you should be aware of before you make the decision as to whether or not this is the right approach for you.

1. Price it Right

Correctly setting your asking price is critical. Setting your price too high can be as costly as setting it too low. Home prices are determined by fluctuations in the marketplace not by your emotional attachment or by what you feel your home is worth. In order to establish a realistic price for your home, objectively compare the price, features and condition of all similar homes in both your neighborhood and other similar ones which have sold in recent months. It is also important for you to be familiar with the terms of each potential sale. Terms are often as important as price in today’s market. Carefully budget your selling costs and prepare a net proceeds sheet to calculate your best estimate of what you will take away from your home sale. Prospective buyers may also request this kind of analysis of buying costs.

2. Prepare Your Home for Sale

First impression is crucial. Make sure your home makes a positive statement by carefully inspecting all details and viewing it through the objective eyes of a buyer. Don’t gloss over needed repairs and fix-ups, as your prospective buyers won’t. Your job is to ensure that your home stands out favorably from the competition.

3. Prepare Yourself With All Necessary Legal Documentation

Not surprisingly, there are many important legal contracts and documents which you must assemble, complete and understand. A partial checklist of forms that you will require for prospective buyers and for legal documentation is as follows:

  • Mortgage Payoff
  • Loan Application
  • Deposit Receipt
  • Property Profile Fact Sheet
  • Buyer’s Cost Sheet
  • Closing & Settlement
  • Personal Property
  • Exclusion List
  • Property Survey
  • Sellers Statement /Plot Plan of Representation

4. Market Your Home Effectively

Beyond the sign you will put on your lawn, you should find effective ways to spread the word about your home. Local buyers can be reached through the newspaper, but this is only a small part of the market you are after. Be sure you include the many buyers who could already be working with a Realtor®. To locate them, target as many top agents as possible in your market to see if the criteria of their buyers matches that of your home’s. Because out-of-town buyers are also an important target, you should create a strategy to reach these people as well. Above all, you should be very service minded and make it easy for pre-qualified buyers to view your home. Ensure that there is always someone available to answer the phone, pick up messages promptly, and be ready to give qualified prospects a tour of your home as soon as possible.

5. Remain Objective During a Showing of Your Home

Keep emotion out of the sale of your home, and the best way to do this during a showing is to remain physically in the background. If a prospective buyer says something negative about your home, it is better to counter-balance this point of view by illustrating the positives rather than becoming defensive.

6. Pre-Qualify Your Prospects

Don’t waste your time entertaining buyers who could never afford your home. Research their financial steadiness with respect to job security, salary, debts, liabilities and credit standing.

7. Negotiate Effectively & Knowledgeably

There will be many details to resolve before a sale can be considered final: price, terms, inspections, possession date, buyer concerns and objections. Make sure you fully understand the contract you have drawn up so you can in turn explain details and ramifications to the buyer and make any amendments to the sale that are necessary. The contract you use should be thoroughly examined by your real estate attorney. Some real estate brokers may be willing to help you do this. While this is going on, manage the buyer’s interest in your home so that it doesn’t wane during negotiations.

8 . Know Your Buyer

Your objective during negotiations is to control the pace and set the duration. Try to determine what your buyer’s motivation is. Does he or she need to move quickly? Do they have enough money to pay your asking price? Knowing this information will give you the advantage in the negotiation because you will know up front, what you will need to do in order to get what you want.

9. Don’t Move Out Before You Sell

Studies have shown that it is more difficult to sell a home that is vacant. It looks forlorn, forgotten, simply not appealing. It could even cost you money. If you move, you’re also telling buyers that you have a new home and are motivated to sell fast which can, of course, give them an advantage at the negotiating table.

10. Know Why You’re Selling and Keep it to Yourself

The flip side of “understanding your buyer” is to “understand yourself”. Your reasons for selling will affect everything from your list price to how much time and money you will invest in getting your home ready for sale. Your motivation will help you determine what is more important to you: the money you walk away with, the length of time your property is on the market, or both. Different goals will dictate different strategies. As someone who wants to sell without a real estate agent in an effort to save the commission, it is likely that money is one of your primary considerations, (see, “How to Assess Your Net Gain” below). Whatever your reasons, however, it is very important to keep them to yourself so as not to place yourself at a disadvantage at the negotiation table. When asked, simply say your housing needs have changed.

How to Assess Your Net Gain

To analyze whether or not you will end up ahead by choosing to sell on your own, consider the fact that most buyers do use a real estate agent because it doesn’t cost them anything for this service (i.e. the seller pays the agent’s fee). Be cautious as buyers, investors and speculators who seek out For Sale by Owners are typically those in search of a bargain. The low-ball offers from these types of buyers will often net you much lower in the long run. What you will have to judge for yourself is the following:

  1. Be as prepared as possible with your marketing, negotiations, evaluations, showings and all legalities.
  2. Consider what it will cost you to effectively market your home and assemble all necessary materials from the “for sale” sign to any contracts.
  3. What price will a buyer offer you as a For Sale by Owner minus the costs identified in point 2 above. Is this net price higher than the price an experienced agent could net for you minus his/her commission?

For a free home evaluation to ensure that you price your home correctly, please feel free to give me a call at 613-614-0412 or send me a quick email.

My Customer Service Guarantee

This is how happy I am with my experience.

Customer service is pretty much dead, but we have known for that for years.  We always complain about how slow the service was here, or how inept that person was there, but we should also recognize that some people/companies go above and beyond to ensure a fantastic experience.  Even though it really doesn’t have much to do with real estate, I am going to take a second and do that now.

Last weekend, I installed the new Apple operating system, Lion.  Due to an error of my own, I erased half of my hard drive, including every piece of paper work, of every real estate transaction I have ever been apart of.  Thankfully, I have all of the hard copies at the office.  After a half-dozen phone calls and then finally  a trip into the Apple store (You’re the man Beau),  I finally now have a fully operationally Macbook Pro, running both Lion OSX and Windows 7.  Every single person that I dealt with along the way did everything they could do, to help me solve my problem.  Even though my warranty expired, they said “because I downloaded new software” they would be able to extend my warranty so that they could help me for free, which they absolutely didn’t have to do. When I called windows for help, they told me in order to speak to support, I would have to pay $59.00. My experience was phenomenal with Apple and from now on, I will only buy Apple products. You should too.

This process got me thinking.  In real estate, there is nothing more important than having open, honest, and prompt communication with your agent.  With this in mind, I’m going to pledge to make customer service one of my top priorities. This is my guarantee to you.  If you are working with me and I do not get back to you with in 24 hours of your phone call/email/text/BBM with an answer, I will pay you $100 cash on closing for every single time this happens.  So call me and lets get to work.  Have a great day.

If it feels good, do it!


The average buyer has about ten items on their wish list when they look for a home or condo:

1. Price
2. Location
3. Number of Bedrooms
4. Number of Bathrooms
5. Amenities
6. Views
7. Finishes
8. Layout
9. Style
10. And…..the X factor

Unless your budget is limitless, you will not find the “perfect” home.  While most buyers and agents focus on number one on the list as the starting point, it is usually number ten that seals the deal. Buying a home is largely an irrational act, and driven by an emotional connection to the property. So, to make the search easier, perhaps you should focus more on how you feel about the home and less about how it conforms to the other list of requirements.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.