Real Estate Word -- How to Get the Most Out of Your Agent February 2019   

Strong communication between you and your agent will help ensure you receive a top-notch real estate experience. This month’s article shares a few tips on how important team work is in your real estate transaction.

A current real estate market update is included for your information.  If you have any questions, or are interested in the value of your current home, or one you are interested in, just give us a call, email, or text.  We are happy to help.

There are also a few tips on how to make this the best year ever by stepping outside of your comfort zone, as well as some simple yet effective travel packing hacks!

With the bitter cold weather we are experiencing, I have included one of the "comfort foods" of our family.  I hope you enjoy it.  

Thanks so much for checking out this month's newsletter. Please get in touch if you have any questions or comments regarding the articles, or real estate in general -- it'd be great to hear from you!

Best Regards,

In this issue...
Year over Year Average Home Price Declines 
Year over year average sale price was down 12% in January at $302,412. By comparison, the average price in January of 2017 and 2018 was $341,260 and $344,720 respectively. The challenge with averages is that the numbers can be skewed in a given period and are therefore not a reliable reflection of pricing. For this reason, the Canadian Real Estate Association created the MLS® Home Price Index (HPI) for major cities to give a more accurate reflection of pricing trends. The HPI establishes attributes for a handful of typical housing styles; Single Family, One Storey, Two Storey, Townhouse, Apartment and a composite of all five. It then establishes a base value to each with the starting point of 2005. From that starting point, changes in value are recorded over time to get a better sense of what is happening to pricing and where prices may be trending. For example, the MLS® HPI value for a typical Single-Family home in January of 2005 was $140,400. This value reached its peak in May of 2015 at $329,500. At the end of January 2019, this value is at $304,300, down from $307,300 in last January. This indicates a less drastic decline in year over year values. By comparison, five years ago this benchmark price was $320,800 and ten years ago $268,200. 

The total MLS® dollar volume for sales in the Saskatoon Region for January was $84M down 6% from a year ago and comparable to 2017. In spite of this dollar volume decline, January residential home sales on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®) in Saskatoon total declined by only 1% in January with 199 transactions. The region surrounding Saskatoon had 60 MLS® sales in January, only five less than last January and 18% more than January 2017.

Residential MLS® listing totals for January was the lowest in the past six years with 555 new listings introduced to the market, 10% lower than last January. For the market surrounding Saskatoon, the number of new MLS® listings was unchanged from a year ago with 216 units listed on the market. “New listings to the market are not always houses being introduced for the first time to the market.” comments Jason Yochim, CEO of the Saskatoon Region Association of REALTORS® (SRAR). “Often new listings are homes that did not sell in the initial listing attempt and are relisted, often at a revised price.” The total number of active listings as at the end of last month was 1,450 compared with 1,529 last year. “It’s positive to see the overall number of active listings decline to prepare the way for prices to recover.” adds Yochim “some price ranges with still have a good supply to choose from while others will not. It’s important to remember that REALTORS® have the greatest access to available property” he adds. 

*Above statistis received from Jason Yochim CAE, CRAE
Chief Executive Officer – Saskatoon Region Association of REALTORS® 

How to Get the Most Out of Your Agent 
Teamwork makes the dream work when you’re out house hunting!

The relationship between you and your real estate agent should always be productive and honest which is why having an open line of communication is absolutely critical to ensuring a win-win partnership!

Once you’ve discussed and agreed on your agency relationship, it’s time to start working on ways to communicate effectively. Communication is a two-way street, so both parties need to be open and honest at the outset.

Start with the basics by discussing your contact preferences. For instance, specify whether or not you can be contacted at work should your dream home suddenly hit the market. Clarifying these details ahead of time will result in fewer miscommunications down the road.

Also, be clear on which features are essential for your new home. Ranking your priorities will help your agent conduct a more efficient search. However, always try to keep an open mind as it can sometimes be a good idea to “look outside the box” and view homes that don’t entirely match your criteria.

If you're selling your home, make sure you discuss any issues that could either help or hinder the sale. Agents can offer great advice on staging so show them everything no matter how insignificant. For instance, that tiny crawl space you weren't even thinking of mentioning could be marketed as a unique selling feature!

Finally, let your real estate agent know if your needs change and don't ever hesitate to ask questions. If for whatever reason you're not completely satisfied with the way things are going, be completely honest so you can resolve the problem straight away before any hasty decisions are made.

The key to any successful relationship is communication, and the partnership between you and your agent is one that will hopefully continue long after you’ve landed your dream home. That said, please don’t ever hesitate to get in touch with any real estate related questions you may have.

Jump Outside Your Comfort Zone 
If we don’t leave our comfort zone, we’ll never realize our full potential.

If you want to make 2019 your best year ever, you’ll need to dive (or at least step) outside of your comfort zone. Here are a few ideas to help get you started:

  1. Risk vs. Reward - Fear keeps us safe, but it also limits our potential. Make it a habit to take a risk every day as it will challenge your brain and allow you to move forward in exciting new ways!

  2. Just Do It - Tackle a "to-do" you've been putting off by taking small, steady steps. Your newfound confidence will then make it easier for you to achieve other goals.

  3. New You - Take up an activity that excites yet scares you. It can be something thrilling like rock climbing or perhaps enrolling in a new class that pushes you outside of your comfort zone.

  4. Visualize Success - We tend to obsess over potential problems that come along with trying new activities. Instead, focus on the positive aspects and how amazing you’ll feel when things go smoothly!

When you step outside of your comfort zone, exciting changes will start to happen. If you replace negative, fearful thoughts with positive ones, you'll begin to naturally expand what you feel comfortable with, which will continuously fuel your personal growth!

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” - Joseph Campbell

Space Saving Packing Hacks 
These packing hacks will help you make more space in your case!

Packing always seems like a chore as fitting everything you need into a suitcase can be a real challenge! Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your case.

First off, divide and conquer your suitcase with the help of a few packing cubes as they’re great for organizing and maximizing space.

Also, stuff socks and other small items inside your shoes and roll up clothes rather than folding them. A sunglasses case is great for storing charging cords or earbuds while pill bottles are perfect for storing tiny items like earrings or sim cards.

Finally, your suitcase will likely receive a fair amount of roughhousing so place a strip of plastic wrap under the cap of your lotions before sealing them up in Ziploc bags to protect other items from getting ruined. Hopefully, these tips will help you maximize space and become a pro packer. Happy travels!

3-cheese baked spaghetti casserole (serves 6) 
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound (450 g) ground beef
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 small white onions, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
3 14-ounce cans (396 g) diced tomatoes
6 ounces tomato paste
1 teaspoon parsley
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons basil
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
8 ounces (226 g) angel hair pasta (thin spaghetti)
8 ounces (226 g) grated mild cheddar cheese
8 ounces (226 g) grated provolone cheese
6 ounces (170 g) Parmesan cheese

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saucepan. Once heated, add the ground beef, garlic, onions, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaf. Cook until the beef has browned.  Drain and return to heat. Pour in the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, basil, parsley, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer for 40 minutes to an hour.

About 20 minutes before the sauce is done, put a large pot of water on to boil. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cook the angel hair pasta according to package instructions. Drain.
Once the sauce is done, spoon a layer of sauce into the bottom of the casserole dish. Over the sauce, layer one-third of the provolone cheese, one-third of the cooked pasta and one-third the cheddar cheese. Repeat these layers (sauce through cheddar cheese) twice more. Sprinkle the top of the casserole with Parmesan cheese. (You can freeze any remaining sauce for later use.)

PS Are you frustrated by scouring the paper and MLS sites looking for homes? Tired of playing telephone tag with agents only to hear the home's already sold?  Sit back, relax and let me do the work for you!  Just visit my website and check off the features you're looking for.   Whenever a home matching your criteria hits the market, it'll be automatically flagged and emailed to you so you'll never have to worry about missing your dream home. This service is free and there's no obligation! Click here to get started.

Not meant to solicit clients already under contract.