The Con: Part 3 of 5

( If you missed Parts 1 and 2, click here. )

signs-1172208_1920The CON!

Why have a whole list of negative crap? Because just as important as knowing what you DO want, is knowing what you DON’T want!

Have you ever been in the position where you are SINGLE and Looking?  Did you have a List? Real or in your mind?

Deal Breakers: Married, Unemployed, No Car, Divorced, whatever….many of us had a list.

You knew what you DIDN’T want, and that helped to identify what you DID want.

It brought clarity to the dating relationship. It also helped challenge you to defend what you thought you wanted. EG: don’t’ want to date a divorced person. Got it. Then you meet this amazing person and find out he is DIVORCED! So you challenge your own thoughts on why that was important to you and realize maybe that CON is not as important as you thought. So off the list it goes!

Same can be true of your CON list for your NEW FOREVER Realtor. Maybe on your con list is: New Agent. But once you interview someone, you find they ACE Every quality you want, except they are new to the industry. Yet they have an action plan in place with a seasoned agent, that you like as well, and it covers all your fears.

Moral of the story, Pro and Con lists evolve over time. Remember when I said there is no right or wrong?  This is what I meant.

The con list will help you see the red flags in your interviews. It will help bring clarity in the midst of information overload!  At the very least it will give you food for thought.

Having a con list will give you a set of fluid rules to guide you to creating the type of real estate experience you want! Remember the example of choosing the type of holiday form the earlier PRO Blog?  (You can read it by clicking here.) If you are choosing a holiday, do you want a totally relaxing week on the beach? Or a back packing tour of 4 Asian countries in 8 days? Both are great experiences, but will require different things from you, AND leave you with a different aftermath. Energized, Relaxed, Exhausted, Inspired….You get to create the experience if you consciously choose it and plan accordingly before you book it! Same as in your real estate adventure. Which is why I had you start here. With a PRO and CON List.  Rather than clearing off the coffee table, or scaling  Mt Laundry! Don’t worry we will get to that… sorry, but it will need to get done eventually.

A word of caution. Once you have done both lists, focus on the PRO list 80% more than the CON list. Yes, the CON list in important to define what we don’t want, but once we have awakened that part us, let it go for the most part and focus on the PRO list. Focus on what you want to create. What type of home selling experience you want to create, and with what type of person? We attract what we focus on, so focus on the good crap 🙂

Stay tuned for part 4….


part 2 of 5: Your New Forever Realtor

(You can read Part 1 of 5 here)pros-and-cons-2028471_1920

So you have your PRO and Con list done, and your feet are comfortably wedged on the coffee table between your Nivea Creme, the stack of mail, yesterday’s coffee mug, the vase of dead flowers and the dog’s leash. (Yes, I can see through this computer screen…)

No, why did I have you start here?

Because currently we are closing in on 50,000 real estate agent in the Toronto Real Estate Board, and choosing ONE to be your NEW FOREVER REALTOR is no easy task. You need to have a plan to tackle this mission. Enter your PRO and CON list. Pat yourself on your back for having made it this far.

I am a firm believer that it is important to know what type of experience you want to create BEFORE you start creating it. Take booking a holiday for example.  Is your next holiday booked? If it is, did you book a totally RELAXING holiday at an All Inclusive  Resort in the Caribbean where your biggest decisions will be Pool, or Beach? OR did you book an adventure holiday backpacking through 4 different countries in 8 days? Both holidays sound amazing, but will give you completely different holidays. One may recharge you, on may exhaust you. Neither is right or wrong. But you get to create your experience by booking the type of holiday you want!

So back to picking your NEW FOREVER Realtor.

Your Pro and Con list will help you define what is important of you during the experience of selling your house. Sure you might think selling a house is easy, and sometimes it does appear that way. Because everyone is selling in a few days right?

Not so much.  Even for those that do sell in a week or less (and not everyone does), weeks of planning and work went into the project before you ever saw a For Sale sign go up. 

So your relationship with your realtor is important. You need to KNOW, LIKE and TRUST them with what you want to accomplish, and be on the same page with how to get there. You and your Realtor are ON THE SAME TEAM! Working together! Not against each other. Makes sense right?

By deciding in advance what you WANT ( the Pro list) in a Realtor will go a long way with helping you identify the Right Realtor when they are sitting across the table from you. You will know what to ask and what to check off your list. The Pro list will bring clarity to you at a time when you maybe a bit overwhelmed at your choices. It will bring you back to centre, pointing at what is important to you.  And don’t be afraid to add to the list on the fly.  You dont’ know what you don’t know. And once you know something you can now add it to either side of the Pro or Con list!

Speaking of which, read the next blog….THE CON! coming soon…..

Your New Forever Real Estate Agent

chaos-227972_1920So you have decided to sell your house. Congratulations!

By now you have looked around and panicked and realized that you will actually have to clear off the coffee table for the first time since the baby was born if you are going to having people look at the house! AND fold and put away LAUNDRY MOUNTAIN! So where do you start?


Okay, maybe clear off the coffee table. But really those things are NOT a priority. The very first thing you should do is find your ‘new forever’ real estate agent. “What? New? Forever? What are you talking about?” Stick with me. Grab a pen and paper. I will wait.

Okay, now I want you to draw a line down the middle of the page. At the top of one side of the line write PRO and the other side write CON.

On the PRO side, start writing down all the things you want in a real estate agent. There is no right or wrong way to do this. You might start with qualities like Honest, Punctual, or Funny. Why funny? Because you are choosing to work with this person in a potentially stressful situation. Do you want to have some comic relief along the way?  Maybe, maybe not. But if you do, do you want a Realtor who has permanent RBF  (resting bitch face)and a sense of humor to go with it? Okay, so that may not be high on your list of PROs for a Realtor, but worth some thought. Did you also notice how entertaining and funny this blog is? Maybe put that down on the PRO side! (I am rooting for me!).

Some other qualities or traits you may consider are:

Member of the local Real Estate Board

Winner of awards

Volunteer work

Works a set schedule?

Recommend by recent past clients (whom you can actually contact as references)

A Realtor who actually has a plan to market the property beyond putting it on MLS, putting up a For Sale sign, and holding an open house.

A track record of successful sales

Someone who is easy to get a hold of (do they answer their calls, or return messages promptly? Define promptly! They may think promptly is by the end of the day, or they may think promptly is within 5 minutes.

Accountability to your desired result

Do they have a Plan B?


Do they understand what you are trying to accomplish with this move?

That should be enough to get you started….

Now On to the CON side.

Basically, it can be the OPPOSITE of the PRO side.




Sour faced (RBF), no sense of humor

No experience (or no backup of a Realtor with experience)

Days off?

No market plan, or too basic

You don’t like them!

No references

Don’t do what they say they will do

Not listening to you

Great! You have your list. Now push aside the stuff on the coffee table, put your feet up and read about WHY this list is the place to start with you have decided to sell your house. (This blog is the first is a series of 5. Check back for #2, or sign up to be emailed when it comes out!

Are Chinese Investors really buying this?

I came across the ad below today (copy of ad below). It says : CHINESE INVESTOR LOOKING FOR PROPERTIES TO BUY!   

“I am a real estate investor with Chinese buyers looking for properties in Toronto. Please contact me if you have inventory that is below market value“. (Italics mine)

It begs the question. Who responds to this type of ad?

Maybe someone desperate for cash? But if they are cash strapped and own a home, wouldn’t they just put in on the market, get it sold in a week or so, and get the MOST out of their house? Why would they sell it for below market value?

Okay, so rule out the cash strapped home owners.

Who else?

Someone who doesn’t need the cash? A financially comfortable home owner. Why would they sell below market value?  Bingo, they won’t.

So rule out financially comfortable home owners.

Who else?

People who know something is wrong with the home that affects its value in a significant way and would rather not disclose. Now that sounds plausible. Maybe a grow op, home used for purposes of crime, or a home where a criminal act occurred (assault, murder etc). Would they sell below market value? Absolutely! These properties carry what we call, a ‘stigma’. They will always go below market value.

So follow this train of thought for a moment. The ad is asking for people who have an ‘inventory’ of homes, below market value, to call them and they will buy them as an investment, because, after all, they are Chinese Investors. Really. I can’t make this up. I know a few investors who are from China. They are very savvy and educated about real estate investment. Why would Chinese investors buy homes with a significant stigma, even if they are below market value? Quite simply, they won’t.

If I were a Chinese investor, I might be offended by this ad. But then again, a Chinese investor isn’t trolling for below value homes on Kijiji.

Conclusion: This ad is trolling for buyers who read the ad and say “Oh, look! This person might be able to find us a below market value house too! Let’s call then! ”

This ad is not looking out for sellers. At all. It is a three dressed up as a nine. A confusing ad, without a clear focus. Another ad giving our industry a poor name.

But I have to go now. I am showing some great investment properties to some investors. Whos country of origin, by the way,  really doesn’t matter. Great properties are a great investment even at FAIR MARKET VALUE. Every time.

PS. If you are looking for smart investment opportunities, contact me below or visit our Investment page. We can guide you to ensure your money is wisely invested!


Are you too smart for your own good?

win lose          Guilty as charged.  Let me explain.

I like to research. Whether it is researching real estate trends, home values, or our next vacation, you will often find me on the computer researching.

When it comes to researching our holidays, in some ways, I feel I know more about our destinations than residents!

And sometimes that comes back to bite me. Because although I may know more about tourist attractions and pending weather patterns than locals, I don’t know the specific nuances that only residents would know. Where is the best place to get a home cooked meal? A reasonable priced massage? A trustworthy mechanic? What areas of town to avoid during what hours of the day…. There are certain things that only residents would know. So while I can think I have a good grasp of the destination, my knowledge is limited by my very position as a tourist.

And this scenario happens more often that I like, in real estate. You see, home owners and buyers alike, often do a lot of research online. As they should! This is a huge investment and knowledge is power. And sometimes, sellers and buyers, do enough research, and ask enough questions, that they think they know enough to ‘help themselves’ and choose not to use a trusted Realtor.

This scenario recently presented itself to me yet again. And it just leaves me feeling sad. Not for me, although the business would have been nice. Not for the buyer. But for the seller. There were three potential people to be involved in the transaction. Buyer. Seller and Realtor. And only one person won. The buyer. They made off like a bandit. In a successful real estate transaction, we strive for a Win-Win-Win. This was a Lose-Lose-Win. (If you came to this blog via my e-newsletter, this is point where the seller lost $100,000 Crazy right?!?!)

Call me a ‘right fighter’ but this just irks me. Someone ‘won’ off the back of someone else. And it was not necessary. The scenario could easily have been Win-Win-Win. But someone thought they knew ‘enough’ to help them self.

Please, if you are reading this because you are doing your research, work with a Realtor that you know you can trust. Interview. Ask questions. But in the end, a great Realtor working along side of you won’t cost you what you think. Because what you don’t know, that is what really can cost you. Ten of thousands of dollars.

Contact me anytime. Let me prove to you the value of a great Realtor.





Where smart investors are buying!

Take 30 minutes and listen to this interview with our personal investment Realtor Rachel Stempski. She is one SMART cookie! Listen to this interview and then call me if you want to discuss it more fully.

FYI…Welland is where we are investing 🙂