Buying or selling a home in today's market requires a lot of work and a lot of knowledge about sales and real estate.  It's one of the largest purchases or biggest business transactions many of us will ever make.  It doesn't pay to depend on blind luck.

Whether you are a buyer or a seller, there are distinct advantages to using a Realtor.  A Realtor, is a licensed real estate professional who is a member of a local real estate board, as well as the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and, in BC, the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA).

This individual has the experience and qualifications needed to successfully conduct a purchase or sale.  In BC, you can expect strict adherence to provincial law and a  code of ethics. This ensures you receive the highest level of service, honesty and integrity.

If you are a buyer

In today's busy, complex world, purchasing a home can be a lot more time-consuming and complicated than other business transactions.  First-time buyers, especially, quickly discover that theres a lot more to buying real estate, than deciding what vacation to take or what car or suit to buy.

Using a Realtor from the start can provide you with the sound , effective advice and professional services you need to get the best deal possible.  Once a Realtor has a clear understanding of what you want and what you can afford, their knowledge can save you a lot of time looking at homes that aren't right for you.

A Realtor can pre-screen properties so that you should only have to visit a handful of homes to make an informed and wise selection.

Much of the early search with a Realtor can be done through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and preliminary discussions.  As you visit and react to each home you see, the realtor will have an increasingly better idea of what you want and don't want.

A Realtor will also be able to advise you on the various options available for financing a home and tell you when to bring in other experts such as a lender, home inspector, lawyer and insurance agent.

If you are a seller

Sometimes a seller will be tempted to sell their home on their own, believing it will save them the cost of the real estate commission.  But, selling a home is a very complex procedures, involving large sums of money, stringent legal requirements and the real potential for very costly mistakes.

Just as most of us lack the knowledge to do a major repair on the family car, most sellers lack the depth of knowledge, experience and amount of time needed to sell a home on our own.  A Realtor not only has the qualifications and expertise, but is committed to spending the time it takes to get the best deal possible.

Selecting a Realtor

Before you make a Realtor part of your team, it pays to shop around and sharpen up those interviewing skills.  The realtor you select should be someone who knows the neighborhood you live in or want to live in; who can provide you with sound, effective advice; and who has broad and current knowledge of today's real estate market.

Begin by identifying several candidates and interviewing at least two or three before making a final decision.  If you were pleased with the services provided by the Realtor who helped you make a previous sale or purchase, he or she may be your best choice.

Jot down the names and telephone numbers printed on "For Sale" signs you notice around the neighbourhood, in local real estate ads or publications.  Also, ask friends, family and business associates to recommend some names.

Interviewing Realtors

The realtor you select should be someone who shows genuine interest, knows the current real estate market and has a good track record in the sale and purchase of properties you're interested in.  This individual should make you feel comfortable and that they have your best interest in mind.

Be sure to get a resume and references and to ask questions such as:

  • How long have you and the firm been in business?  How many homes have you sold in the last six months?  How close were the sale prices to the asking prices? What price range of homes do you generally handle?
  • Do you provide multiple listing of your property through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS)?  (This service provides access to a much broader base of potential buyers.)
  • If selling: How will you market my property?  Will the marketing plan include an open house for other Realtors and regular open houses for prospective buyers,  advertising and flyers?  How did you establish the suggested selling price for this home?  Was my home compared to those sold recently in the neighborhood and to those currently on sale?  What tips and hints can you offer to make my  home show better.
  • What will using your service cost me?

If the Realtor looks enthusiastic about selling your home or helping you buy one, and appears confident in their ability, consider hiring them.  But first check their references or talk to people who have recently sold or purchased property through them.  Most people who have had a positive experience will be quick to express it.

Article Provided by: David Pusey Personal Real Estate Corporation

Source: OREA


April 3, 2014

Okanagan-Shuswap Housing Market Bounces Back in March

Kelowna, BC –

The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) reported March sales activity of all MLS® property types was up 28% compared to the same month in 2013 – rallying after a pull-back in February.

"The Okanagan-Shuswap housing market bounced back during March from somewhat dampened results in February when sales were up 8% over 2013 compared to January’s 30% year-over-year gains," says Darcy Griffiths, OMREB President and active REALTOR® in the North Okanagan.

"During the past year, the local market has maintained a slow but steady upward trajectory and experienced a moderate recovery from the cyclically low sales levels at the start of 2013. While other BC markets have been on a downward trend for the past four months, all three OMREB zones have seen modest to strong improvement in sales for various property types. "

Griffiths adds, "It is encouraging to note that the board-wide demand for single family homes showed marked improvement during the month of March -- increasing by 40% year-over-year to 321 units from 231 in 2013 -- especially since sales of single family residences declined considerably in February compared to this time last year."

The North Okanagan saw a 73% year-over-year increase in single family home sales after a 20% decline in February, while the Shuswap reported a 48% improvement following a 13% drop, and the Central Okanagan posted a 26% gain over last year after a 5% dip the month before.

"Moving into spring, we are hopeful that activity will pick up as the weather improves and buyers are spurred by the drop in long-term mortgage rates," says Griffiths. "Considering that all aspects favour buyers, now is the time to get into the market while there is still a good selection of properties to choose from. Despite a declining inventory, prices remain stable with more balanced market conditions, and low interest rates continue to be available."

The competition for buyers can be a challenge for sellers so proper pricing remains critical, Griffiths maintains. "Market conscious and competitive home sellers are sharpening their pencils and seeing results. Being realistic about the market value of your home, setting an attractive list price right out of the gate and willing to negotiate for the best offer are the keys to a successful sale."

Sales activity tends to vary among property types zone-by-zone and month-by-month with ups and downs at different times and locations within OMREB’s three diverse market areas. It is important to look at prices within property types and sale price trends within different price points in order to fully understand the overall picture of the current residential market in our Board area.


(Peachland to Revelstoke):

Overall sales of all property types reported in OMREB’s Board area during March improved by 28.0% compared to 2013 -- to 621 units from 485. Total residential sales for the month rose 27% to 554 units board-wide compared to 436 last March -- up 79% compared to 309 last month (February 2014).

The 1,517 new listings taken board-wide for the month were down 6.8% compared to the 1,627 listings posted in March 2013, while inventory (active listings) was down 9.2% over this time last year – to 7,217 from 7,950.

Central Zone

(Peachland to Lake Country):

During March, overall sales in the Central Zone were up 22.9% to 403 units from 328 in 2013. Total residential sales for the month improved 20.8% to 360 units compared to 298 last year at this time. The sale of single family homes was up 26.0% over March 2013 (to 194 from 154), and days to sell dropped to 70 in March compared to 99 last year.

The 939 new listings taken in the Central Okanagan during the month saw a 3.7% dip compared to 975 in 2013, and total inventory was reduced by 10.5% to 3,864 units from 4,316 last March.

North Zone

(Predator Ridge to Enderby):

Overall sales for March in the North Zone improved 32.4% to 143 units compared to 108 units sold last year at this time. Total residential sales for the month were up 36.1% over last year with 132 units sold compared to 97. Single family home sales (90 units) were up 73.1% compared to March 2013 (52), and days to sell dipped to 117 days from 132 last year.

While the 363 new listings taken for the month were down 12.1% from the 2013 level of 413, inventory for March saw a 9.4% drop to 1,918 from 2,117 last year.
Shuswap Zone

(Salmon Arm to Revelstoke):

During March, overall unit sales in the Shuswap-Revelstoke Zone improved by 56.3% to 75 units compared to 48 in 2013. Total residential unit sales for the month were up 51.2% over last year at 62 units compared to 41. While the sale of single family homes jumped 48.0% over March 2013 (to 37 from 25), days to sell rose to 181 compared to 139 days last year at this time.

New listings taken in the Zone were down 9.8% compared to last March -- to 213 units from 236. Overall inventory dipped 5.4% to 1,428 from 1,510 during the same month in 2013.

How REALTORS® can help when buying or selling a home:

•BUYING OR SELLING – Home values vary based on type and location:

It is important to consult with a REALTOR® about how your property type is currently faring locally, and how it compares to similar listings in your particular neighbourhood.

•SELLING – Pricing is crucial when listing your home: Serious sellers recognize that their properties must be priced within the current market conditions. Homes that are priced well are the ones that are selling, as has been evident this year.

•NEGOTIATING – For a successful purchase and sale: The professional negotiation skills of a REALTOR® bring buyers and sellers together for a successful sale.


Monthly Sales statistics are based on the sales reported by real estate offices on or before the last day of the month. Sales not reported by month end and collapsed sales are reflected in the subsequent month’s statistics.


Today, more then every, Real Estate sections of public libraries and the Internet abound with ideas on selling your home privately and the opportunity to "do-it-yourself. In addition to pointers on sprucing up your home for maximum sale ability or the color of a sign, they may provide homeowners with tips on the "psychology of showing a house." Yet, most homeowners choose to sell through a Realtor.

Here are some points to ask yourself....

How will I show the home? Do I really want to face a potential buyer myself? What negotiation experience do I have? How do I know what my house is really worth? am I selling too cheap? What if they bring a Realtor? What about advertising on the Internet? What don't I know and what risks am I taking on? What if I sell my own home and something goes wrong?

Realtors provide a service which takes the worry out of many potential risks and provides a separation between you and potential buyers and other Realtors. Also, Realtors have experience which goes far beyond that of an average homeowner in terms of knowing the laws and rules surrounding Real Estate and has ongoing training in many areas including law, negotiation, specialized markets and much more. Also a Realtor has access to a huge database of Tax assessments, Sold, Active, Withdrawn and Expired listing data to help properly price your home for sale.

Selecting a Realtor

Finding the right real estate representative takes some time and care. Do you know someone who has had success with a Realtor? Who is the best person for the Job? The answer is not always simple but a few considerations listed below may make it a lot easier.

1/ Is the Realtor experienced in high-level and advanced negotiations?

2/ Is the Realtor professional?

3/ Does the Realtor give you confidence in their ability to meet your needs and expectations?

4/ Does the Realtor have a track record of success?

5/ Do they answer telephone calls and e-mails promptly?

6/ Do they have layers of people to get through before you can talk with them directly?

It's important that you feel comfortable with your Realtor. This person will probably become part of your life for a couple of months and will be a big part of the negotiations  - and it can be emotional.

Developing a plan of action

Once you've decided on a Realtor, you'll want to know what his or her marketing plan will include. How often will there be open houses? Will he or she be listing your property on a Multiple Listing Service? How does he or she plan to advertise the house?

You'll also need to decide whether to list exclusive with one firm or go with the MLS? Generally, the more people that see your house, the likelier it is to sell quickly at the price you want.

Many sellers are anxious to sell their homes quickly. These sellers usually choose the MLS system over an exclusive listing because the property gets greater exposure.

Professional real estate salespeople know how to separate the "lookers" for the "buyers". They can determine a qualified buyer. A couple's income, lifestyle and the date they must purchase helps establish their housing requirements.

A Realtor will give you a detailed comparative analysis of features and prices of houses selling or sold nearby. This helps determine a realistic price.

Whether or not your home shows well to prospective buyers can make a difference in terms of how long it stays on the market, and what it sells for. Realtors can also give clients tips on how to improve their home to create a good first impression. Fresh paint, new wallpaper and flowers are all elements in the sales effort. Sometimes, rearranging the furniture and taking out extra pieces is all that is needed.

Real estate professionals are experienced in arranging financing and closing deals. A Realtor can assist in negotiating a better offer act as a mediator between buyer and seller and draw up a legally binding contract.

A professionally trained Realtor may be able to sell your home quicker at a better price than you could get privately because he or she has greater access to potential clients. Furthermore, you'll be able to go through the transition period with less worry and inconvenience.

Article Provided by: David Pusey Real Estate Corporation


When consumers choose a Realtor to help them buy or sell a property, they are placing their trust in someone who is knowledgeable and who will protect their interests. A Realtor's role is to provide clients with sound, effective, timely advice and professional service.

More than ever, in today's fast-paced, high-tech world, Realtors are being challenged to continually improve their professional standards by keeping informed of developments and trends in real estate. Buying and selling a property today is a complex undertaking that involves large sums of money, stringent legal requirements and a tremendous depth of knowledge and experience. Along with accountability and high moral conduct, education has become a cornerstone of the real estate profession.

Real estate licensing changes

Realizing the need for real estate education that emphasizes consumer protection and the development of increased skills and knowledge, a new integrated learning system for real estate licensing education was recently introduced in Ontario. The new system, spear-headed by the Ontario Real Estate Association, recognizes the need to standardize learning across all provinces and incorporates innovative techniques, new program designs and diverse delivery systems.

Already serving as a model for other provinces, Ontario's new system includes a Real Estate Encyclopedia and CD Rom (which integrate all textbooks and materials into one easy-to-use resource), course changes and a new curriculum. The system places an emphasis is on multi-media communication and hands-on learning.

Keeping standards high

Public expectations of the real estate profession today are higher than ever. Ontario's new approach to real estate licensing education and emphasis on ongoing educational development by real estate practitioners continue to uphold the profession's commitment to fair dealing and high integrity.

The individual receiving his or her real estate licence today has been through an intensive process of interactive learning, self study and examination. People are going into real estate today with ever-increasing levels of education. A recent U.S. study showed that 30 per cent of people entering the real estate profession had a college degree and 20 per cent had a graduate degree.

The purchase or sale of property is a business transaction of tremendous complexity. There are distinct advantages to having a Realtor who is well-educated, knowledgeable, experienced and sincere. A Realtor also has access to an array of services, including the Multiple Listing Service, which can provide you with instant, thorough and accurate information on properties that might interest you or issues that concern you.

If you are selling, a Realtor will not only fairly assess your property, but listen to you and develop a marketing plan that best meets your needs. He or she will give you tips on how to improve the marketability of your home and make a first good impression to potential buyers.

If you are buying, a Realtor will act as an intermediary and help you deal at arms length with potential vendors. He or she will assess what you can realistically afford, target appropriate neighborhoods, provide facts on the costs of running a home and what to look for when considering a particular property.

A Realtor can also provide you with a list of lenders, lawyers, mortgage brokers and other professionals whose expertise you may require to complete a real estate transaction. In addition, he or she can help you evaluate all the mortgage options available today to help you obtain financing at the most attractive prevailing rates and terms.

Article Provided by: David Pusey Personal Real Estate Corporation

Source: Ontario Real Estate Association


When you dream of your dream home, what do you see? Each of us has a vision of what it will be, but getting as close to that vision as possible is a practical, step-by-step process that begins with finding a Realtor. A Realtor is your best ally throughout the home buying process. He or she can provide expert advice and help you determine how much you can afford, what kind of home you can buy in that price range, and where it may be located.

You've no doubt heard the phrase: location, location, location. That's because it's the most important factor in making any real estate purchase. To find the right location you must think of where you want to live both in broader terms and in more detail. First of all what type of area do you want to live in?

Urban: Urban communities offer the broadest range of housing types, but generally at higher prices than similar-sized homes in non-urban locations.

Suburban: The suburbs are typically made up of newer neighbourhoods, schools and shopping centres. Prices may or may not be lower than those of the central city, but you often get more square footage, larger rooms and bigger lots.

Smaller towns and cities: A slower-paced lifestyle and lower taxes and housing prices are often big draws to Ontario's smaller communities. There are fewer types of homes available and the number for sale could be limited.

Rural: A stream flowing over a few acres sounds appealing and your housing budget will often buy you more in a rural setting than any alternative above.

Features Once you've considered the broader location options above, it's time to think about the features you need and want in a home. Prepare a shopping list. How many bedrooms and bathrooms? One or two-car garage? Large backyard or small? List the features you are looking for as needs or wants.

Comparing homes and locations Now you want to match the type of home you'd like with the location. Start reading the real estate ads in local newspapers and Realtor-produced publications. These ads will give you an idea of the communities that best match your criteria for home and location. Drive through the communities that are likely candidates.

Check out the types of homes available, how well the neighbourhoods are maintained, the availability of schools and shopping, recreational and religious facilities. Be aware of drawbacks: highway noise, train tracks, airports and large industrial centres. Drive through the neighbourhoods at different times of the day.

Attend open houses in the areas you are exploring. You'll begin to understand which best suit your needs and which are in your price range.

Open houses also provide an excellent chance to meet the Realtors hosting the events. Chances are that you'll select a Realtor from among those you meet at these open houses.

You'll find the services of a Realtor invaluable in helping you locate the home that's right for you.

Article Provided by: David Pusey Personal Real Estate Corporation

Source: OREA


More than Just a Sign on the Lawn

If you're thinking of selling your home in the near future, you may think that all that's required is a "for sale" sign strategically placed on your front lawn -- but any real estate professional will tell you there's much more to it than that.

While a sign on your lawn is of paramount importance to the sale of your home, a well-thought-out marketing plan is also essential. Your Realtor, of course, is another vital component in the process, and one of the first things he/she will discuss with you is a marketing strategy designed to give your home maximum exposure.

Keep in mind that effective marketing of your home requires a lot of communication between you and your Realtor and there are several things you can do to make sure your home gets the best possible exposure.

Be Candid with Your Realtor

First of all, disclose everything you can about your property and the neighbourhood in general. This information will help your Realtor a great deal and he/she can choose how and when this information can be related to prospective purchasers. For example, there may be something about your home or the area you live in that you may take for granted, but that characteristic could be a major selling point for your home -- such as its close proximity to local schools and recreation facilities.

It's also wise to be candid about any potential drawbacks as well, so both you and your Realtor can be realistic in arriving at a suitable list price. Where possible, your Realtor is likely to have some suggestions as to how these problems can be improved upon.

As well, your Realtor may notice some serious flaws in you home or even some basic elements that are missing. They may not bother you, but could work to your detriment when it comes to selling your home. As a result, your Realtor is likely to make helpful, reasonable recommendations that will enable you both market your home successfully. It's important to keep an open mind and follow his/her advice.

Operating Costs

It's also a good idea to have information on hand that will give the Realtor an idea of the costs of running your home -- annual heating bills, along with documentation of any recent major repairs or upgrades -- such as a new roof or new wiring or plumbing. These can be very effective marketing tools.

Open House

Your Realtor will also tell you that an open house can be another effective marketing tool. While some homeowners are adverse to this idea, it's one you should discuss with your Realtor if you really want your home to receive maximum exposure to interested buyers. During an open house or prearranged showings, it's a good idea to make sure that you and any other members of your family (including pets) are absent. Many buyers are intimidated by the presence of homeowners and tend to rush through a home as a result.

Clean and Clutter-Free

Before any showing or open house, it's imperative to make sure your home is clean and uncluttered -- both inside and out. Get rid of junk (don't forget the garage) and any unpleasant odours from smoke, cooking or pets. A neat exterior is inviting and a clean and neat interior just makes good, plain marketing sense.

Consider having your home painted. It's a relatively inexpensive way to show it in its best light.

Financing and Closing

Financing is another area where you may be able to help market your home more effectively. You can make your home more attractive to some purchasers by taking back a mortgage. It's an excellent marketing tool, especially if you're trading down to a less expensive home.

Flexibility on the closing date is another important factor in the successful marketing of a home. Real problems can arise when vendors and purchasers can't agree on a closing date. Again, it's important to work with your Realtor and listen to suggestions. Some deals are lost simply because the vendor and purchaser can't agree on a closing date.

Stay Informed

Your Realtor should keep you informed by following up after each showing and providing you with a weekly update on how the marketing of your home is progressing. By the same token, if you have any questions or ideas, don't hesitate to share these with your Realtor.

You'll find that a team effort, combined with a realistic approach will help you market your home much more effectively.

Article Provided by: David Pusey Personal Real Estate Corporation

Source:  OREA


Buying or selling a home is no simple business transaction. It takes a team of experts and professionals you can trust to achieve your goals and protect your interests.

Bringing in the right experts at the right time will ensure your purchase or sale goes smoothly and you don't pay a big personal and financial price. The experts you need may vary, but usually include the services of a Realtor, a lender, a lawyer, a home inspector and an insurance agent.

Selecting your team

Whether you're selling or buying, the first individual to get on your team should be a Realtor. In BC, a Realtor is a licensed real estate professional who is a member of a local real estate board as well as the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and the BC Real Estate Association (BCREA). This individual has successfully completed an intensive course of study and has skills, knowledge and experience that most buyers and sellers don't have.

Having a Realtor act on your behalf has many distinct advantages. The key benefit is that he or she can negotiate on your behalf, advise you on how to proceed with your purchase or sale and when to bring in the other experts and professionals you'll need.

The Realtor you select should be someone that knows the neighbourhood you live in or want to live in, has a good track record and will handle your sale or purchase as if it were their own.

One of the most important decisions you must make as a seller is deciding the asking price of your home. A Realtor can help you analyse your home and compare it with similar properties for sale or recently sold in your area. A Realtor will also develop a marketing plan for your home that may include open houses, advertising and listing options. As well, a Realtor will provide you with tips on small improvements you can make to help your home "show" better to prospective buyers.

Few people buy a home for cash. Most usually combine savings with money borrowed from a lender through a financial arrangement called a mortgage. Your search for a lender should begin with your search for a home.

Your Realtor can assist you in evaluating the many mortgage options and getting financing at the best available interest rates and terms. When deciding which financial institution or lender to deal with, begin with your own bank, credit union on trust company -- they already know who you are. But shop around and compare what different lenders have to offer.

Whether you are a buyer or a seller, it's important to have a lawyer to represent your interests. That's why you should have one on stand by before you put your home on the market or begin your search for a new home. Real estate documents, such as the agreement of purchase and sale, are complex and should be reviewed by a lawyer who specializes in real estate transactions.

As a seller, it's wise to have a lawyer review an offer to purchase before signing anything. As a buyer, when an agreement is reached with a seller, a lawyer will help ensure you receive valid title to the property and that it is clear of any registered claims. Your lawyer will also calculate the amount of land transfer tax you will be required to pay as well as any adjustments to compensate the seller for prepaid bills.

If you are a buyer, you can avoid a lot of expensive surprises by bringing in a home inspector as a condition of your offer to purchase. The older the home you plan to purchase - even if it has been substantially upgraded - the more potential there is for problems. Being aware of any structural defects can help you decide whether you want to buy the property at all, or for the price you are considering.

For purchasers, another key member of the real estate team is the insurance broker. Creditors and mortgage lenders, almost without exception, require insurance on the home you buy before any purchase can be finalized. Start by approaching the same broker you use for other insurance policies - often, you are able to negotiate a better rate. But still shop around and ensure you get the coverage you need for what you want.

Article Provided by: David Pusey Personal Real Estate Corporation

The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are member’s of CREA. The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by CREA and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.