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Over the past six months, Real Estate Agents across Canada have seen a huge surge in sales catching many Realtors off guard.Debbie Leah, Realtor for Royal LePage Allstar says even though many Realtors predicted a busy summer, many didn’t anticipate the volume of transactions we are currently seeing. “What we are experiencing right now, we haven’t experienced in years.”
Besides the market picking up, Leah shares there has also been a shift in what homebuyers are looking for. “People now, are looking for homes they could see themselves being quarantined in. Things like office space so that if they are working from home now on, they aren’t having to work at the dining room table. A lot of our acreage properties are also finally being sold. Acreages have had a hard time selling the last couple of years, but they have been selling quite well as of lately, and it is because if you are getting quarantined at home you want more space and privacy, you just don’t want to be around a lot of people."
With some homes even entering into bidding wars, Leah states buyers need to be ready to go. “Definitely people need to be getting pre-qualified and don’t spend to the maximum of your budget. Make sure you have room, don’t go overboard on spending, and just be really choosy with the product or the house that you are looking for. Last year, we had a lot of product on the market and now we don’t have as much anymore, especially within the Cochrane area.”
Even though there are plenty of new homes or incentives from ‘new’ home builders, Leah says don’t discount purchasing a pre-owned house. “There are a lot of incredible properties that are pre-owned and I think you will see more and more houses coming onto the market from people that have tried to sell before and they couldn’t. Now that they are seeing an increase in activity, all those people are going to be reconsidering trying to sell.”
If you are thinking of putting up your home for sale, Leah shares getting a home evaluation is a great first step in determining your home’s value based on the current market trend.
The real estate market is not the only thing that is hot right now, shares Leah, rentals are limited especially in the Cochrane area. “I recently went on Rent Faster and I was really quite surprised. There are very limited places to rent right now in the Cochrane area.”
Additionally, if you are listing don’t waste a bunch of money on complex renovations but instead quick, cheaper wins. “If the basement needs to be reno’ed or finished, I say don’t do it or don’t spend the money on redoing your kitchen. There are little things you can do that are very cost effective and have a big impact. Things like a fresh coat of paint can do wonders to a house, but all the major things you likely won’t see the return on.”
For those looking to buy or sell in the near future, Leah says people should be aware of some new protocols that she predicts will likely become the new normal. “People are better with showings, but the behaviour of people viewing the property has changed a lot.”
From limiting the number of people attending a showing, including children, there is a new level of respect toward sellers. Besides Realtors asking clients to sanitize before entering a home, she has noticed many are keeping their hands to themselves. “I have noticed many buyers will generally keep their hands in their pockets and that is definitely different. Before you would have people opening up doors and drawers, and looking inside, where now we find most sellers will leave certain doors open so that there can be limited touch inside the home.”
While it is difficult to say with one hundred percent certainty, Leah believes the market will remain quite healthy for coming months and a preference for viewing homes virtually will stick around. “I don’t think we will see a lot of changes other than our inventory is going to increase a bit over the next couple of months because people are going to see that they can actually sell their home now, but in the same mindset there are a lot of buyers out there. I believe we are very much going to see a balanced market and it will be healthy for the next little while."