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What a difference a few months can make!  Back in July, Winnipeg had 500 active listings at any given day, and would see approx. 1,100 sales in a 30 day period.

Now, in November, we see around 1300 active listings, and have approx. 600 sales in a 30 days period.  These are figures for sales of homes inside the perimeter of Winnipeg.  That is a significant change.  As a home-owner, what can YOU do to make your home stand out?

Lets examine why we NEED to do anything at all:  In a "Sellers Market", as we had seen for the past 4 years, there were usually multiple buyers offering on the same house.  In order to make their offer stand out, buyers would do any number of things, such as

  • write unconditional offers
  • offer huge deposits and downpayments
  • offer well above asking-price

Often they would do all of the above.  But that was the "Sellers Market", where buyers had to compete and stand out.

Now, enter a "Buyers Market", although we do not know how long this hiatus will last.  For now at least, it is the Home SELLER who has to compete for a limited number of buyers.  It is now the SELLER's job to make their home stand out, because buyers do have choices now.  So what can we do to make the home stand out?  Here are a couple of rock-solid tips!

Take lots of pictures:  MLS allows for up to 10 pictures, and buyers are suspicious of any listing which only shows 1 photo.  I recently sent 34 listings to a buyer-client, some of which had only 1 or two photos.  Since my buyer can not look at all 34 listings (a fact for which I am grateful  :-)they chose the ones which looked the best in the pictures.  A natural progression of this tip is to do a 'virtual tour' of the home, enticing buyers even more.
"Stage the Home": While this has been very popular in Ontario, it is starting to catch on in Manitoba.  Since the goal is to make your home stand out, staging it with nice furniture is a great way to spark the buyers imagination as to what can be done with the space.
Advertise the home in a variety of places:  I've said it before:  Its no longer sufficient to plunk a sign in the ground and declare "Home 4 Sale", and count on the throngs of buyers to come knocking on your door.  I've personally been contacted by several disgruntled and disappointed Private Sellers who have learned that "Nothing is FREE",  or, as our parents always taught us "You get what you pay for".  Choose a Realtor who advertises beyond the MLS, and has his/her own website, and uses magazine and newpaper ads to the full extent possible. 
Make sure the home is spotless:  Fresh paint, clean carpets, working lights and spotless counters go a long way to leave a good first impression.

Despite the 'doom 'n gloom' newsreports, Winnipegs market is going strong.  No, not as crazy as it has been in the past few years, but nice homes still sell at a good pace.  Most of us actually like this market:  our buyers have the chance to go for a second look, get a home inspection, and other reasonable conditions.  No, houses are NOT selling for 25% off (unless they had been wayyy overpriced to begin with), but then, we have not enjoyed 30 to 40% increases every year either.

So if you are a home buyer, enjoy this lull: no one knows how long it will last. 
If you are the Seller, make sure your home stands out from the competition, ...and make sure your Realtor does as well!!! 


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