NORTH VANCOUVER — On Aug. 22, it'll be the most fun you can (legally) have on Lonsdale.
City of North Vancouver council has voted to revive the Car Free Day street festival in Lower Lonsdale and add to it a 300-metre (1,000-foot) water slide running all the way from Keith Road to Third Street.
If the plan comes to fruition, city staff will block off the intersections below Keith Road and redirect traffic and buses for the day-long festival, while Utah-based for-profit company Slide the City operates the slide.
Council largely gushed at the plan - particularly over the water slide.
"This is an opportunity for us to have an event that puts the City of North Vancouver on the map as being someplace that's fun to be and come and hang out," said Coun. Linda Buchanan, who added that not only were her kids excited to hit the water slide, but so was she.
Mayor Darrell Mussatto characterized the plan as a "21st century soap box derby."
"I think we used to have soap boxes down Lonsdale at one point in time and this is going to sort of kick it up a notch," he said.
Mussatto said he'd work on his courage about heading down the slide himself.
The slide won't be free. If the company uses the same price structure it has in other cities, a single slide starts at $15 if you pre-purchase your tickets. Participants must be at least five years old and 117 centimetres tall.
The estimated 45,000 to 75,000 litres of water needed to run the slide can either be flushed right into storm drains, collected and taken for treatment or used to water city greenspace. The company also donates a portion of its profits to dig wells in underdeveloped countries and will kick in an extra $7,000 to $10,000 in donations to the Canadian Cancer Society, according to a city staff report.
For its part, the city was willing to put up $2,500 for extra policing costs.
Car Free Day festivals typically see merchants and food vendors opening stalls on the street, along with live music stages, kids' games, sports and hobby demonstrations, performance art, informational booths from community groups and glad-handing politicians.
Under the North Vancouver plan, Esplanade and Third Street will remain traffic controlled intersections throughout the day.
Last year's events on Vancouver's Main Street, Fourth Avenue, Denman Street and Commercial Drive drew about 250,000 people, according to Matt Carrico, a representative of the Vancouver Car Free Society, which pledged its support for the event.
These psychedelic schemes will take your home on a magic carpet ride.
Created by graphic designer Thibaut Sld. More info here.
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Yours for only $23,300.
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Photo: Travis Price Architects
More spectacular shower designs this way.
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From designer Richard Clarkson. Read all about it here.
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For Alice in Wonderland-themed tea parties.
Longer days, brilliant sunrises, breathtaking sunsets. Spring sprung early in Vancouver this year, and warm weather is here to stay giving Vancouverites time to soak up all this city has to offer.
From now until June, here is our guide to Spring time in Vancouver.
Vancouver is home to many cherry blossom trees. You can find thousands of them all over the city, but we’ve outlined the 21 best locations to get your cherry blossom fix in Vancouver.
Transit shapes our future, and without it the city will take a step back. We’ve outlined 15 reasons why you should vote YES and also outlined 6 reasons the NO side argues. The decision is yours to make, Vancouverites.
The largest annual celebration of all things marijuana takes place at the Vancouver Art Gallery on April 20. If you don’t like the smell of marijuana, it’s best to avoid the area surrounding Robson Square and the Art Gallery.
Turn off the lights and unplug for an hour! Let’s see if we can get Vancouver nearly dark this year.
Every Monday, Juno Kim takes over the 33 Acres tasting room creating a unique meal. Kim has been given the reins to be creative; pair this with a good brew and your Monday night just got a lot better.
Great food and all the funky cartoon socks you can handle! The market opens up in May and runs into October so you’ll have plenty of time to check it out.
The other Richmond night market (near Home Depot). This one will start one week earlier than the previous night market.
Every Friday night at the Shipbuilders’ Square, check out some great food, live music and take in a little shopping.
Those familiar with the monthly Hawkers Market are in for a treat. Not much is known right about Hawkers Wharf, but if you love food then you’re going to want to check this out many, many times when it comes. Look for a late Spring release of the brand new Hawkers Wharf.
Vancouver’s newest ice cream spot is doing things differently, they’re taking a softer route to success. Check out Soft Peaks in Gastown when the weather gets a little warm.
BC Place and Centerplate, the venue’s food and beverage provider, has expanded their partnership with local celebrity chef Vikram Vij to bring new menu items and open up two new food concessions as well as a mobile food cart.
People were packing patios towards the end of winter. Once May rolls around, patio season will officially kick off in Vancouver. Check out our guide to patios in Vancouver.
The 9th annual Spot Prawn Festival returns in May to Fisherman’s Wharf near Granville Island.
There are quite a few farmers markets going on in and around Vancouver:
Trout Lake Farmers Market – Saturdays
Kitsilano Farmers Market – Sundays
West End Farmers Market – Saturdays
Main Street Station Farmers Market – Wednesdays
Kerrisdale Village Farmers Market – Saturdays
Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market – Sundays
Yaletown Farmers Market – Thursdays
Hastings Park Farmers’ Market – Sundays
Oak Street Farmers’ Market – Wednesdays
River District Vancouver Farmers’ Market – Saturdays
On Thursday, March 26, restaurants around Metro Vancouver will be participating in Dining Out For Life, an annual fundraising event in support of local men, women and children affected by HIV/AIDS.
The EAT! Vancouver Food + Cooking Festival has expanded to a full week of delicious eating, drinking and learning, and will bring together a stunning array of culinary talent from across the city and country.
From April 26 to May 3, the festival will showcase a multitude of local, national and international culinary culture through workshops, meals and events, all culminating in a three-day tasting show at BC Place Stadium.
The Fourth Annual Vancouver International Tequila Expo (VITE) is Western Canada’s largest festival dedicated to Mexico’s number one export spirit. The festival aims to increase the presence of tequila and mezcal in Western Canada.
The public park next to Empire Fields in East Vancouver is being built by the Vancouver Park Board and is part of the 20-year redevelopment of Hastings Park and the $10-million Plateau Park project. The park will be ready in April.
Whether you rent or own, you have to do this route at least once. If you’re looking for another, be on the lookout for best biking routes in Vancouver article coming soon.
The Chief is one of the more popular hikes, but there are plenty of other hikes in Metro Vancouver for you to attempt. Slap on some sunscreen, put on your shorts, grab some water and prepare to take on mother nature.
There is no doubt that the seawall along Stanley Park and downtown Vancouver is the most scenic and active running route in the city, and one of the most beautiful in the world.
The run is flat for the most part, making it the perfect spot for runners of all skill levels.
Ride cycle clubs are all the rage in the fitness world these days – from the logo, to the gear, to the club-like ambiance, complete with candles, it’s a whole experience. There are quite a few that have opened up in the city for you to check out.
The alternative to the Grouse Grind? Go up 593 steps to the lookout of Vancouver’s iconic Harbour Centre.
The Grouse Grind is one of those Vancouver things you have to try at least once in the summer. Attempt to beat your time or just make it to the top without stopping (unless a tourist gets in your way). The Grind will likely open in May.
The festival takes place from Friday, April 3 to Saturday, April 4, with the flagship event set to take place at the Pacific Coliseum. The event will grow to two days and feature headlining sets from Mad Decent impresario and world renowned tastemaker Diplo on Day 1 (April 3). This will be followed by the legendary Swedish progressive house producer Eric Prydz on Day 2 (April 4).
The hottest ticket this summer make sure to get your tickets for this massive music festival featuring Drake, Sam Smith, Kaskade and more.
There are many theatre productions going on every week in the city, check out our extensive coverage in our Arts section.
From small to large, we have listed some of the best concerts coming to Vancouver in our Concerts section.
Don’t want to venture all the way into downtown Vancouver to get some excitement. The Hard Rock Casino Vancouver offers plenty of entertainment options.
Just an hour and a half drive from Vancouver is the annual World Ski & Snowboard Festival in Whistler.
The escape game phenomenon has arrived in Vancouver and there are plenty option in and around Metro Vancouver.
FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ will be held in Canada this year with nine games in Vancouver. Matches start in late Spring and carry on through early summer.
After almost a year of careful planning and design, Blueprint announced the launch of its newest nightlife project, M.I.A., located at 350 Water Street.
We have highlighted the 5 best spots in Vancouver to check out all the Cricket World Cup action.
Hundreds of cyclists will be riding nude on Saturday, June 13 for the annual Vancouver Naked Bike Ride, which will, no doubt, catch a few Vancouverites off guard.
The annual Dragon Boat Festival at Creekside Olympic Village brings out thousands of spectators in world class dragon boat racing.
Head on over to the Improv Centre at Granville Island for some laughs courtesy of Vancouver Theatre Sports League.
Camp grounds around British Columbia are now open for reservation.
Outdoor enthusiasts and summer-lovers can go online or call in to make a reservation at 115 campgrounds in 99 provincial parks up to three months in advance before the summer rush begins.
This spring is the Canadian premiere of the groundbreaking exhibition Sea Monsters Revealed. This highly anticipated exhibition will take you on an exciting journey to discover some of the world’s most amazing sea creatures.
Comic book and Sci-Fi fans will descend upon the Vancouver Convention Centre for the annual Fan Expo Vancouver.
The annual renewal that takes place outside, in the canopies of our parks and avenues of our beautiful city.
Celebrate with the South Asian community in Vancouver’s Little India at the annual celebration that marks both the New Year and the anniversary of one of Sikhism’s most important events, the establishment of Khalsa in 1699.
Easter long weekend is a perfect time to spend with the family. If Easter egg hunts and treats is your type of thing you’ll want to check out the Easter Train at Stanley Park and the egg hunt at VanDusen Gardens.
Canada’s largest indoor carnival with over 45 rides and attractions is back at BC Place! Feel like you’re floating in air with the Zero Gravity ride, be spun around on the new open air cars of the Ring of Fire and be flung into oblivion on the Super Shot. Popular favorites such as 1001 nights, The Ferris Wheel and the Zipper are all back to be enjoyed.
It ends on March 22 so hurry and go before it’s gone.
A vibrant cultural street festival, it spans 13 blocks and shares all that is Italian in a day-long celebration with Vancouver’s diverse and multi-cultural community. Held annually on Commercial Drive (‘The Drive’), the district represents a rich history of over 50 years of Italian heritage and is synonymously recognized as Vancouver’s original ‘Little Italy‘, making it the ideal event venue.
On April 4, Vancouverites will descend on downtown Vancouver with a pillow in hand as they embark on a journey to the Vancouver Art Gallery (Robson Street side) for International Pillow Fight Day.
For a limited time only, you will be able to visit the United States’ beautiful natural and urban landscapes at FlyOver Canada’s virtual flight ride experience.
A 10 day dance and music celebration showcasing the songs and dance from Punjab, India.
One of Vancouver’s premiere festival’s, the annual jazz festival is full of programming and is growing every year.
Live in an apartment building and don’t have a backyard? That’s okay, just gain access to the roof.
Photo: Bulle d’R
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More unique hammock designs this way.
More tree house designs right here.
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All you need is a couple hundred yards of industrial plastic sheeting, dish soap and a hose.
I love animals – and have a particular soft spot for dogs, especially my own wonderful rescued welsh terrier – so keep in mind that the advice in this post is all about helping you get your house sold, not neglecting your little furry family members. But as an experienced real estate professional, I have to admit: pets and home sales just don’t mix.
I’ve bought and sold many homes over the last few decades, and whenever I put a house of my own up for sale, I prearrange for my pets to have a little holiday with friends and family. Come list day, when your home first hits the market, you might consider boarding your pets elsewhere; at the very least, make sure they’re absent during showings and open houses.
Here are seven other reasons to reconsider keeping pets on the premises if you’re trying to sell.
I’ll begin with a personal anecdote: if a burglar were to climb through a window in my home, my dog would likely come over, sit by his feet, and try to play. Yet, my sweet, mild-mannered pup gets whipped into a frenzy whenever someone comes to the gate and rings the bell. One day when I was selling my last home, my realtor arrived unannounced with two very interested buyers. But when he rang the buzzer, my dog went berserk – barking, howling, and yelping. Needless to say, the buyers were so thrown, they wouldn’t even enter the house despite my realtor’s pleas – and they never came back. Remember, you only have once chance for a first impression.
Pets are a very personal part of your home, and your goal should be to depersonalize your space prior to sale. You wouldn’t leave your Uncle Frank sitting in a rocker in the living room while buyers wander through the house, so why would you leave your pets running around? After all, they’re family members, too! Just as you remove personal photos and mementos, you also should remove all pets.
The last thing you want is to attract the perfect buyer, one in love with your house, who also happens to be highly fearful dogs, snakes, or other critters. In cases like this, if your pet is still in the home, that perfect buyer may not get much further than the front porch. Any other time, your pet can rule the roost, but during the critical selling period, be hyper-aware of potential anxieties and aversions – and plan accordingly.
Even when the furry friends have left the building, some of them remains. Be mindful of allergy-causing dander by super-cleaning your home from top to bottom – especially the carpets – to remove all traces of hair and dust. And don’t forget to remove the litter box, which can also be a trigger.
Avoid them by insisting that the realtor gives you at least one hour’s advance notice before a showing so you have time to get out of the house and take the pets with you!
Many sellers will make the mistake of thinking that they can simply lock their dogs and cats (and bunnies and ferrets) in a bedroom, basement, or garage during a showing. First, this restricts access for potential buyers who can’t see the room that’s on pet lockdown. Second, confined, unhappy pets will make noise distracting buyers. And most importantly, if the buyer or the realtors decide to take a peek in the off-limits room, your pet could be out and about in a heartbeat.
Let’s take a moment for all the lizards, snakes, geckos, spiders, and other exotics out there. For some buyers, these types of animals are a little… out there. And I can promise you, after they’ve seen ten other properties without pets, those crawling critters will be the thing about your home that they remember, branding it in their minds as the ‘Lizard House.’ Please don’t let your love for rare pets overshadow the attributes of your home.
British Columbia’s economy is expected to advance by a nation-leading three per cent this year, according to a new report from the Conference Board of Canada.
“British Columbia will be among the economic growth leaders, with Manitoba and Ontario, over the next two years,” said Marie-Christine Bernard, the board’s associate director, in a release. “The lower Canadian dollar, the acceleration in US economic growth and stronger consumer confidence will provide the foundation for these provinces to easily outpace the Canadian economic growth of less than two per cent this year.”
And that’s good news for the province’s housing market.
“The housing market slowdown expected nationwide will not be seen in British Columbia, as gains are forecast in both new and existing homes,” the report reads. Low inflation, new federal fiscal measures, and lower fuel prices will boost after-tax household incomes while inter-provincial migration, on a net basis, is expected to be positive again this year and next, the board predicts.
In 2014, BC’s economy grew by 2.8 per cent. In addition to three per cent growth in 2015, the outlook remains bullish for next year — with real GDP growth forecast to advance by a further 2.7 per cent in 2016.
Still, while the outlook is generally positive, the board says there remains considerable uncertainty surrounding the development of the liquefied natural gas industry in the province, because of lower LNG prices in Asian markets.
Photo: Kat R/Flickr
In January, the Bank of Canada’s decision to bring down the already low key interest rate of one per cent to 0.75 per cent blindsided many economists who were predicting a rise in rates in 2015. But will Stephen Poloz, the Governor of Canada’s central bank, lower the rate even further in his upcoming announcement on Wednesday, March 5th?
The interest rate shakeup came after years of steadiness: the one per cent rate had gone unchanged from September 2010 until early 2015. The January rate cut was framed as a way to help cushion the blows to the economy, such as the declines in employment and income that are expected to accompany falling fuel prices.
Speculation about another rate cut in March was rampant early last month when Carolyn Wilkins, Senior Deputy Governor, made a speech at the Ottawa Economics Association.
“Our inflation-targeting framework gives us flexibility on the timing to achieve the inflation target while also taking into account other important dimensions of the economy – such as financial stability and the economy’s potential,” she said.
“Stifling the rebuilding phase of the recovery could mean lost economic opportunity. That being said, if potential output growth turns out to be lower than we think, we have the tools to bring inflation back to target.”
The reference to the “tools,” namely the overnight lending rate, was interpreted as a sign that the central bank was willing to lower the rate yet again if the economy continues to falter.
In the daily snapshot of economic trends and events for February 24th, the Bank of Montreal (BMO) noted that oil prices declined three per cent that week. Sal Guatieri, Senior Economist, stated this “would also aggravate Canada’s economic slowdown…giving the Bank of Canada another reason to cut rates next week.”
But a speech made by Poloz at the University of Western Ontario in late February changed many analysts’ predictions for March.
“Our decision to lower the policy interest rate last month was intended to take out some insurance against both sets of risks. It gives us greater confidence that we can get back to full capacity and stable inflation by the end of 2016, instead of sometime in 2017, and it will cushion the decline in income and employment, as well as the rise in the debt-to-income ratio, that lower oil prices will bring,” said Poloz.
“The downside risk insurance from the interest rate cut buys us some time to see how the economy actually responds.”
Today, the Bank of Montreal said the governor’s speech “quashed expectations of another cut in March.” However, they haven’t ruled out further cuts in the future.
“We now look for an April rate cut assuming the data weaken, oil prices fall further or the Canadian dollar strengthens (absent an accompanying rise in oil).”
TD Economics echoed the belief that the rate will remain the same in March thanks to the governor’s speech. Economist Brian DePratto pointed out that crude oil prices “have recovered somewhat” and “it appears that a rate cut next Wednesday is not set in stone.”
Those looking to design their homes to raise the values of the property are advised by real estate professionals to start planting some colorful flowers, applying repairs, and de-cluttering. According to Home Gain, home improvement can be achieved at only under $1,500.
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Home Gain has a Home Sale Maximizer feature that identified some affordable home improvements recommended by real estate professionals across the United States, as per Realty Times.
1. Cleaning and De-cluttering - Costs $290 - $1,990 price increase - 586% ROI
All personal items must first be removed before putting the house up for sale. Apart from personal belongings, closets must be organized which means homeowners looking to sell need horizontal poles for hangers. All pieces of wooden furniture and mirrors must be completely polished as well.
All areas of the house, which includes both its interior and exterior, must also be thoroughly cleaned. The air inside the house must be freshened up, which will make an air freshener very handy.
2. Home Staging - Costs $550 - $2,194 price increase - 299% ROI
Fresh flowers will help increase the value of the house as it give the ambiance a more colorful look and an environment-friendly appeal. Adding new pieces of furniture to certain rooms that are relatively lacking also falls under Home Staging. Sellers who do not want to spend for new props can simply move some from one room to another.
Post Crescent also says that simply hiring a home stager can do the job right. This agent or friend can easily walk through the house and give objective comments on what must be added or removed. In this manner, the factors that can potentially sink a sale are removed.
3. Kitchen and Bathroom - Costs $1,265 - $3,435 price increase - 172% ROI
According to a recent survey conducted by Remodeling, kitchen and bathroom renovations are among the top ones that can successfully generate a quick return of investment. One tip revealed by a separate Realty Times report would be to incorporate crown molding to the wooden cabinets.
Crown molding is an "architectural wood millwork" that gives further detail to walls and upper cabinetry. Contrary to what many might initially think, it does not necessarily have to be in the shape of a crown. It comes in a multitude of designs, which can be used to add visual depth to the woodwork in the kitchen and the bathroom.
Houses for sale must be portrayed in the best light. Majority of today's would-be buyers search for homes that have already been prepared and move-in ready.
Dog City Life: The benefits of a professional dog walking service and what to ask when hiring someone.
Contributed by Tail-Waggers
Life in the city can get busy and the truth is, your dog will spend long hours at home alone while he waits for you to come back from work or school. I heard you! Your dog can hold it. Of course he can if he has no other option. A break in the middle of the day where your dog can go out for a brisk walk will provide him a job. Yes a job!
Dogs need daily mental and physical stimulation to be in a balanced state of mind. This will help avoid boredom and destructive behaviour such as excessive chewing, separation anxiety, lack of socialization and overweight.
After several years in the pet service industry, I know of many clients who retained dog walking services, even if they work from home. They know how beneficial and important those mid day walks are for the health and happiness of their dogs. If you are the type of pet parent that has a 9-5 job, knowing your pooch has been out for a break will give you the peace of mind in case you get stuck in traffic or have a long day at work.
Now, the question is who can you trust to visit your fur kid and your home? Asking neighbours, friends or kids is tempting, especially considering they may do it for free or at a very low cost. Also, you know these people; you trust them and you would rather have them come into your home to care for your dog than a “stranger” right?
However, what if they get sick or have an emergency and can’t come? What if they slip or fall or get injured on your property? (No liability insurance so it has to go through YOUR insurance) What if there was an emergency with your dog? Would they know how to handle it? Also, keep in mind if something does go wrong your relationship with this person will never be the same again.
Thus, I strongly recommend to look out for a professional dog walker in your area. I suggest you ask yourself what type of service are you looking for. Are you okay with someone taking your dog to the dog park knowing dog fights can happen? Do you rather someone taking your dog to a forest and let him run off leash? Is your dog good on recall? Or do you rather have someone doing on leash walks only? Is your dog friendly and would benefit of of a group walk?
Also, know well what will suit you better. Hiring someone that works solo or hiring a company with employees. If the first option works better for you, make sure to ask about backup plans for emergencies and holidays. For the second type of company, inquire about employee training, who keeps the keys? Will you be assigned a primary dog walker or have someone different every visit? Are the walkers employees or independent contractors?
Finally, the key questions once you've decided what type of company suits you better are:
1) Are they insured? What company?
2) Do they have criminal background check?
3) what is the backup plan for emergencies and holidays?
4) How do they take payment? How do they invoice clients?
5) Do they have a city license?
6) How do they introduce a new dog to the pack?
7) How do they pair dogs for groups walks?
8) Do the dogs get driven? For how long?
9) Make note if they ask for vet records and emergency contact information.
10) Do they offer a free meet & greet?
I hope you find this post helpful and don't forget to give your dog a JOB!
Real Advice. Real Inspiration. Real Experts. The BC Home + Garden Show is the most trusted resource for every home improvement project, inside and out. With Canada’s favourite home, horticulture and landscaping specialists including HGTV’s Bryan Baeumler and design darling Janette Ewen, seminars and live demos from Vancouver’s culinary masters, and more than 425 exhibitors and features designed to whip any home or garden into shape, there’s innovation, inspiration and expert advice at every turn.
The Canadian real estate market continues to hum along. You may be one of the many people out there who have decided to take the plunge and become a homeowner, or maybe you are looking to sell your home.
Your friends have tried it, so maybe you decide to go the route of a private sale of your home, embarking on your property search using the tools such as MLS, rew.ca or craigslist to help you. But what happens when you find that the process stalls and that you are not getting what you want out of the situation?
Has the promise of technology and ease been exaggerated in your case? Could the narrow exposure that your private sale offers keep potential buyers from even knowing about your home? And what about when you find your dream home…but can’t make an appointment to see it without a realtor to represent you in the process?
These are just some of the scenarios that can stand in the way of you buying or selling. If you find yourself in these situations, perhaps it is time to find yourself a good realtor.
For a quick overview of why realtors are invaluable for buying and selling your home, check out the infographic below.
Realtors offer experience and a network of connections that can be hard to find if you are embarking on this process alone.
A realtor has a large network of associates, colleagues and mechanisms that will allow you to sell or buy faster and with better results. If selling, your property will be exposed to many more potential buyers through the power of mls.ca, as well as through other important channels such as social media, the agent’s home website and company website, and through word of mouth through the agent’s network of peers.
“Realtors have access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which they can access 2 days before the new listings are available on the public MLS website. And having access to the sales history of the property, tax assessment, recent price adjustments, sales history in the area and other critical information can be vital in negotiating the best price for clients.”
A real estate agent will bring his/her experiences to the table. They are privy to much more data and information than we could obtain through private channels. For example, if you are a young family looking for a great neighborhood to raise your children, a realtor can help you find the perfect area. They do so by using their knowledge regarding the schools, parks, shopping and other amenities in the area.
A real estate agent can also help their buyer make informed decisions about all aspects of the building or structure that they potentially could own, such as any problems with structural integrity, liens on the property, strata rules and regulations etc. Finally, when it comes to the negotiating and legal side of buying or selling, a realtor has all the skills and paperwork needed to ensure that you are making the best and most confident decision possible.
When you hire a realtor, they are at your call to help you view that home you love in a timely manner so that another buyer doesn’t snap it up. They are there to negotiate the price on the sale of your home so that you get the best amount possible, and the same goes for when you finally decide to put that offer in on your potential new home.
“one of the most important key points (that a realtor brings to the table) is honesty and integrity.”
Though many sales take place as a result of website and social media exposure, the majority of real estate transactions continue to occur thanks to the powerful channels of communication between agents. In fact, if you are thinking of buying or selling a home, hiring a realtor may be the wisest decision that you will make.
The promise and ease of the online world for buying and selling a home has shifted the power firmly in the hands of you, the consumer. Realtors are no longer the gatekeepers to vital home information they once were. However, the numbers don’t lie.
Despite the advances in technology and availability of alternative sales model options, Canadian realtors continue to play a dominant role in the buying and selling of homes in Canada.
Consumers are always looking for ways to save money, and paying real estate commissions can amount to tens of thousands these days. Not an insignificant sum to most people. Is it worth it to hire a full-service real estate brokerage over a discount service? Reasonable question. It's one I hear often. And the answer is it depends.
Type of Marketplace
MLS and the Internet
I cringe when I see new listings hit MLS without a photograph because I know that agents and buyers are passing them over without a second thought. themultiple listing services accept 20 photographs nowadays. For that reason, many full-service agents hire professional photographers and shoot double the photos required.
When I see a photograph taken by the multiple listing service instead of a pro or the agent, I also see a lazy real estate agent who doesn't care enough or isn't getting paid enough to properly market her client's property.
Lots of mom 'n' pop operations and discount brokerages don't spend money on professional signs because they don't believe in it or they can't afford it. Good signage is free advertising. Many full-service firms will advertise:
Full-service companies tend to project quality, and that means four-color flyers and four-color direct mail pieces. The days of hiring neighborhood kids to toss photocopies on neighbors' front steps are gone. Full-service marketing is first class.
Not all homes are right for an open house, but those that are require finesse. This means working the buyers who come through by pointing out impressive features of the home without making the buyer feel oppressed or hounded, and that in itself is an art. It requires the service of an experienced sales person. Many discount brokers refuse to hold homes open.
Full-service agents counsel sellers. They find out what made the seller decide to buy the home and how that moment happened. Then, they employ that knowledge at open houses. For example, suppose a seller said that moment came when she first stood gazing out at the pool. When she turned to her husband and gasped, "I can't believe we can afford to buy this home." Good sales people at an Open would ask buyers to stand in that same spot by the pool. Then, they'd share the seller's first experience verbatim.
Real estate is an extremely competitive business, and there are many agents fighting for the same listings. A full-service agent who wins the listing is probably a good negotiator, a person you want on your side during offer negotiations. Think about it. Agents who can persuade you to pay what they feel is reasonable, will probably persuade a buyer to pay your price. Ultimately, that means more money for you.
Final Sales Price
Sometimes full-service agents lose listings because the seller was promised a higher price based on hot air and a lower commission. It's these listings that often show up in MLS a month later with reduced prices. The amount of the price reductions, not surprisingly, tend to exceed the difference in commissions between the dualing agencies! In these scenarios, sellers received fewer services and ended up losing money on the sale as well.
If you can't decide between an agent who charges 1 or 2 percent less than another, think about how you would feel if you had to reduce your sales price, say five percent, to get the house sold. Ask the agents to show you their last 24 months of price reductions and compare them.
How Much Do Agents Make?
Agents are paid by brokers. Brokers retain a portion, sometimes 50%, and pay the balance to the agent. From that, the agent pays her overhead and taxes, which can easily amount to 50% of the net. A listing agent's true salary ranges from 20% to 30% of one-half the commission. Full-service agents typically spend more on overhead than their competitors; by refusing to compromise service, they tend to charge more.