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Oasis Realty Brokerage, Ottawa Real Estate
Gord McCormick Ottawa, ON K2S0H6
Cell: 613-371-9691
Work Phone: 613-435-4692
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Should I be listing my Ottawa home or property in the winter?

While the credo of professional real estate would suggest “there is never a bad time to list a house/property”, there are certainly a number of issues to be considered in marketing a property in the Ottawa winter. This is particularly true in 2014/15’s more challenging market environment.  Here are a few items to consider:

The case for listing in the winter:
Most years, the assumption has been that while there are fewer buyers in the market there are also fewer sellers.  With listing inventory levels running at historical highs, this will not be the case for this winter. There is significant competition for both residential properties and condos from both the resale and new construction markets.

Get a “jump” on the spring market?
There is also a case to be made that while buyers may not be “buying” (in large numbers), they have already started shopping and doing their online research in advance of the season.  There is some validity in this position; particularly as we get to mid-February when “cabin fevered” Ottawans are looking ahead to spring.  Open Houses also see a pickup in activity, especially when we get a warm(er) and sunny day.

It is equally as likely that a REALTOR® may be trying to “get a jump” on the spring market by securing a listing but that is another discussion.

Should I continue to list it over the winter?
Those who have had their property already listed during 2014 often feel they “may miss a buyer” by taking their property off the market.  This may be true but it is more likely that a property which has already been listed for any significant period of time (60 days or more) may have some other issues inhibiting the sale and continuing the listing over the winter is not likely to produce a better result.

Continuing to list a property for an extended period can make the listing become “stale” and buyers tend to wonder; “what’s wrong with it?  Or “why hasn’t someone else bought it already?

Remember that online buyers have the attention span of a “gnat” and if they have not been interested at first glance; then the likelihood of their coming back to revisit a property deemed not to have measured up the first time is slim.  So the seller is left to wait for only those new buyers who enter the market.

Sales are definitely slower:
November through February is the slowest sales period of the year and while sales don’t cease completely, they do drop off to only 33% to 66% of average sales during the other 8 months.  This is especially true of December and January. (see monthly unit sales at www.oasisrealtyottawa.com a few posts below)

Competitive disadvantage with those listing later:
By having one’s property exposed to the market earlier, those in the market get to have a look at the property and compare it to determine their potential interest.  However, equally true is that sellers who plan to list later on (and their REALTOR®) have a chance to plan their pricing and marketing strategy by knowing what the competition is.  (kind of liking seeing a competitors' poker hand)  Subsequent listings will do their best to take advantage of this knowledge and present a more attractive marketing package for buyers.  This is why we see many new listings sell in the first week or two, as these sellers have adjusted and improved their offering compared to the existing already listed competition.

Buyer challenges:
Visiting properties in winter can be awkward/ difficult and many do not want to move in the depths of winter.

Many buyers also have a property to sell and therefore face the same slower market in trying to get a deal done on their own property.

Curb appeal and outdoor features suffer:
When we are mired in our 90 to 120 days of Ottawa snowbanks and deep freeze, most homes will not show their best, particularly those with key outdoor features such as decks, patios, pools, gardens, interlock, trees and privacy.

Also buyers are unable to as carefully inspect roofing, foundations, decks, fencing, sheds, air conditioning, swimming pools or other outdoor features and amenities.

Some negative features may stand out:

Properties with older or poorly designed heating systems may expose themselves in winter and focus buyer attention on cost of replacement and utility costs.

Older windows may emit drafts or show moisture/icing

Cool floors, bedrooms or basements may be highlighted
low light conditions may make some homes seem “very dark” or devoid of natural light which can be a big issue for buyers.

Street parking, snowbanks, driveways and walks and their maintenance needs in winter are all highlighted.  We see properties with large icicles hanging from the roof and eaves in winter, pointing to another inspection issue.

Homes that do not have eavestroughing may have glaciers forming on walks and driveways, depending on their exposure.

Homes or condos without indoor parking may be less of interest to buyers on a cold, snowy and windy day.

Full disclosure:
In the interest of full disclosure, we point out that we travel regularly in winter which inhibits our ability to consider new listings, if these are immediate.  This is also true of many in our profession who take vacation, training or have corporate or other industry events during this quieter business time of the year.

We are certainly available to discuss listing requirements and plans for 2015 at any time and look forward to hearing from you!*  Or by all means contact another REALTOR® to help assess the right time for marketing your property.

* not intended to solicit those with existing representation agreements


Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
oasisrealty@rogers.com   www.oasisrealtyottawa.com

experienced professional real estate services!



Pre-listing tips for savvy sellers

Pre-Listing tips for savvy sellers in a challenging market:


With listing inventories currently running 30% higher than the 5 year average (based on April 2013 listing inventory compared to 2008-2012) and builders offering some pretty interesting incentives on new construction properties; sellers are facing a very competitive marketplace at the present time.  Every little edge could make the difference between getting a quick sale and achieving your financial selling objectives and therefore should be considered.  Here are what we feel are some underutilized pre listing activities:

1) Prelisting home inspection.  Having a professional inspector complete a prelisting inspection will mirror what a buyer’s home inspector may find at time of sale and this way the seller can address any issues.  Very inexpensive and could save a sale later.

2) Professional staging.  Good stagers do a lot to optimize property presentation which is critical to both online photo presentation and in person viewings. 

3) Prelisting 3rd party appraisal.  Getting a bank type appraisal by a 3rd party who is not in the business of selling properties is a very inexpensive way to get both a sanity check on list pricing strategy and also potentially a piece of marketing collateral, depending how the appraisal compares with the listing price strategy.

4) Condo owners should order the condo status certificate package available from their property manager, review it for any surprises and provide it to your listing sales person.

5) Check on when you last had all systems professionally checked or serviced ie. Furnace, duct cleaning, AC, HWT, HRV, fireplaces/woodstoves (WETT inspection)

6) Professional painting is probably the least expensive tune up one can do on a property to give it a nice fresh look and well maintained appearance.  You’ll get most, if not all of this investment back and it will help facilitate a sale.

7) Professional window cleaning and eaves trough cleaning.


Gord McCormick, Broker of Record

Oasis Realty Brokerage




Seller's Strategies in a Buyer's Market

While it is not yet official, there is no question our residential real estate market has cooled and demand and price increases have flattened out.  After many years where sellers have been in an advantageous position, we may well be seeing the signs of more of a buyer’s market in the future.  So how should sellers prepare to go to market in this environment?  Here are a few strategies we believe will be helpful: 

1) “Buffer” expectations on expected selling price by at least 5-10%.  Don’t assume you will be able to repeat the sales prices of previously sold properties in a slowing market.

2) make sure you do everything you can to make the property “move in ready” for listing.

3) Don’t assume your property will sell quickly because it may not.  Also buffer your marketing and selling critical path timelines.

4) Be very careful about buying first (without a first refusal condition) particularly for closings that are several months in the future. 

5) Don’t automatically list with the REALTOR® who suggests the highest price.

6) Be especially mindful of the risks of selling by owner in this environment and be prepared to pay a reasonable fee to a buyer representative.

7) Pricing is critical, so “sharpen your pencil” on original list pricing and do your utmost to attract the most buyers in the first few weeks of listing.  If however, you get to 30 days and have not sold-take some significant pricing action. (at least 5% decrease) and try to expand the pool of potential buyers.

8) At all costs avoid the appearance of a “lame duck listing” which has been on the market a long time.  These types of listings make buyers wonder what is wrong with the property and why someone else has not bought it.  These types of listings can tend to draw bargain hunter buyers who will offer even significantly less, assuming that the seller is in a difficult position and motivated to “give the property away”

9)  In choosing a REALTOR® look for some creativity in marketing programs and or cost savings.  Does the REALTOR® offer any competitive pricing programs that can save you selling costs?

10) the number one question a seller should continually ask themselves is “what will this market pay me for this property?”  Not: “why can’t I get what I want for this property? 

While some headlines are preaching doom and gloom in the real estate market, (Vancouver in general and the Toronto condo market) we think that a slowing market is not a catastrophe and a return to more modest gains in real estate has been inevitable for some time.  Our Ottawa market has long been one of the most stable in Canada and we expect that to continue.   We suggest buyers and sellers adjust to what our real time local market experience tells them, not what the headlines read or suggest.  There is no reason to put off a purchase or sale to meet your changing lifestyle needs and if you need some assistance and support in making that happen, please give us a call.


Gord McCormick, Broker of Record
Dawn Davey, Broker
Oasis Realty Brokerage
613-435-4692 or 613-371-9691