The Spring Market: What is it?

Posted by Ryan Coffey under: Buying; Nanaimo Real Estate Market; Selling; Uncategorized; When to Buy and Sell.

We've had fairly busy start in the Nanaimo real estate market this year. I've always found that it's during the spring market that us Realtors start to get a good feel for what kind of year it's going to be. The world seems to be starting to shake off the funk of the recession and in the real estate marke

t as well as other kinds of markets in the world there is a bit more optimism than there has been for a few years. It shows in the statistics, but more importantly it is showing in how Buyers are acting.

Buyers and Sellers alike will frequently ask me if they should be buying or selling during the spring market and perhaps as frequently they will tell me that this is when they plan to do it. I don't think this is a bad idea at all, but as usual I like to describe the deeper story because I see informing clients as being a central part of my work.

The spring market is, with few exceptions, the busiest time of year for real estate. By the end of June, us Realtors will have done around 70% of our business for the year. There is no calendar date when it starts or ends but I can feel it start every year soon after the weather starts to warm up and the skies get clear. This is the beginning of a sense of optimism. People start to feel better about life and want to try new things to improve their lives. Making a good transaction in real estate is one of the ways you can do that. I'm told by car sales professionals that the same seasonal dynamic is there for them as well, so my current understanding is that this seasonal optimism is something that applies towards the big things in life. It's not emotional though, it's also practical. Many people have children that are in school and they want to get things organized during the spring and do their move during the summer while the kids aren't in school. This way they are ready for the fall.

This is motivation. Anyone who has ever worked in any kind of sales job knows that finding the thing that people want (whatever motivates them) is crucial in getting anything done. This time of year has built in motivation and of course that means that the market gets busier. What this doesn't explain is why you have been told that it's during the spring that you should be buying or selling.

I don't mind being a little controversial if it's in the name of accuracy or honesty so  I'm just going to speak my mind here. I know it is likely to go against the grain of what people in my profession have been spouting for decades (centuries?) I want to be clear that I am not saying that they don't know what they're doing or that they were trying to take advantage of anyone. I think that in our line of work we can very easily flood the minds of our clients with info that may or may not apply to their specific situation and all of that info has to be stated in a way that is understandable. I happen to have this blog which gives me a venue to provide deeper info on certain matters.

Again, let me say that I see no meaningful problem with buying or selling in the spring market, but I don't think it's quite true to say that this is the best time to do it either. Like so many things in life, it's a bit more complicated than what 'common knowledge' lets us believe.

The way I see it, seasonal timing is not going to make a huge difference in the sale price of a property... unless the plan of attack that leads up to that purchase or sale fails to take seasonal factors into account.

There are many things going on, some are subtle and some aren't but this post is about to get harder to read because I have to choose between making it really long and readable or concise to the point of being hard to follow. I've chosen the latter so re-reading may be necessary.

If you are selling, your home will look much nicer in the listing photos and if we are lucky we will get nice weather on the day the photos are taken. I have learned the hard way that photos can make a property look a lot better (or worse) than the property really is so whatever time of year or weather we are working in this must be taken into account. A sunny spring day with flowers in bloom and a green lawn is as good as it gets. It's bright, it's airy, it's colourful and so on. This gives a visual advantage over places that were listed when there was still snow on the ground which will generally mean that people are ore likely to book a showing for this property. More people through the door improves chances of an offer, but keep in mind that if the property is not the best priced among comparables it is not the one that will sell. Nothing trumps good pricing.

There are lots more Buyers out there in the spring, but there are also lots more listings too. There's a lot more action, period. Realtors are a lot more busy in the spring so although we will do all the same things to make sure our clients interests are properly taken care of, we have less time to spend going out for coffee with our clients to share the deeper knowledge with them. For most people, this makes little difference in the end but if you are the sort of client who needs a fair bit of time/guidance and would like to have a series of long conversations before going ahead with anything or not you may prefer working with us in the summer or winter.

I don't really see better or worse deals in the spring, there is just more action. For a Buyer, this means that there is more to choose from but at the same time there is more competition for all the choices that are out there. The very best half a dozen in a given category will sell faster than at other times of year so you need to be quick to decide on just one lest someone else makes an offer first.  That said, as there is more inventory overall there are more alternative choices which may suit your tastes should the one you liked already be gone.

Buyers should be aware that as we live in an environment that has wet winters, water ingress and pooling is a major concern in property maintenance in these parts. Generally speaking issues with this won't be as obvious in the spring as it is in the winter. There is a bit less rain and as it is warmer things dry up faster. For example, that backyard may be muddy all winter but lovely green come April and by August be bone dry and brown. That south facing living room might be soothing and warm in the spring, yet sweltering hot in the summer. On the other hand it makes heating the home in the winter a little more affordable.

In the end, there are many in and outs and a good plan is one that is balanced in approach that takes whatever the current situation is into account. People are not made to spec in factories, neither are the properties they buy and neither are the contracts and negotiations that bind them together.


Ryan Coffey

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How Not to Choose Your Home

Posted by Ryan Coffey under: Buying; Myths Of Real Estate; Uncategorized.

A few years back, I wrote this post about how not to sell your home. It was a little tongue in cheek as is the below but it is worth knowing about. There are certain ideas or habits that some people have when buying real estate that are detrimental to their own best interests. The irony is that most of the time people are doing these things because they are trying to save money rather than waste it, but like nearly everything in life, there is a balance point and being too much on one side or the other of centre has a way of causing issues. Other times people do the below simply because there are various things they don’t know the real estate world.

Here are some things you should NOT do, or even consider, when choosing your home:

1. Be cavalier about getting pre-approved for a mortgage in the price range and type of property you are looking at. You know what you earn and you know what you can afford.

More here

2. Call the Realtor whose name is on the sign of the first property that catches your eye and let them sell you that property without showing you any others or maybe just some of their other listings.

More here

3. Rely on the photos to get a feel for the property. You don’t need to see it to know if you like it or not. All the info you need is in the listing. Only look at the one that looks just right in the listing and buy that one.

More here

4. When you see a listing you like, in person or in a listing, wait. Think it over for a week. Just because it looks like a good idea to you, it doesn’t mean that anyone else has the same criteria, price range and tastes. It will be there waiting for you when you’re ready.

(I don’t think I’ve written about this one previously.  Might become a future post.)

5. Don’t get an inspection from a qualified home inspector. Your brother/buddy/aunt has worked in construction since forever and knows all the ins and outs of property maintenance and will do it for free. It’s just not worth $400.

More here

6. Have a very specific idea as to what your ideal property is and stick to it even though places like that are out of your price range or are extremely rare. Your ideal home will reveal itself sooner or later and be affordable. No one else will buy it before you get to it because it’s destiny.

More here and here

7. Focus on foreclosures because they are such amazing ways to save a ton of money.

More here

8. Don’t take any advice from your Realtor. Only listen to your friends and family.

More here

9. Wait until you hear on TV that real estate values are going up. Until then, keep renting.

More here and here and here and here.


Ryan Coffey

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Does it Have Good Bones?

Posted by Ryan Coffey under: Buying; Uncategorized.