There are certainly no shortage of "For Sale by Owner" signs around the Calgary urban sprawl. Something I have noticed time and time again is the propensity of these home owners to make their own signage to advertise their listings. I would like it to be known that I am certainly not against someone trying to sell their home on their own, although I do feel strongly about the success rates of licensed realtors and the power of the MLS. However there are some very important considerations that should be kept in mind (namley signage).

I came across this again yesterday when driving past a neighborhood in the south west, where in the middle on an intersection was a cardboard sign with white poster paper on it. The sign was weather beaten and dirty with the information drawn on by hand. My immediate thought was, why wouldnt you prepare a clean and professional looking sign to advertise an asset that is worth at least $450,000 (given the area where the sign was).

My main point here is that even the small details can turn away potential buyers and professional looking signs that are clean and well maintained are an easy way to project an early positive image of the property before it is even viewed (consider product packaging). so if you are considering trying to list your home on your own, dont overlook something as simple as the sign you are using to advertise it.

-Asheton Coultman
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There is no doubt that in the last 5 years the internet has seen some major advancements namely in the area of social media. Whether its face book, Twitter, Stumble Upon, or websites like Dig.com, there is an overwhelming sense that the way we communicate not only personally but in business as well, is changing.  These sites offer an easier more effective way of staying in touch in a way reminiscent of the invention of the cell phone. Advancements like these, so amazing in their effectiveness and viral nature are forever changing how we do business and more specifically business in real estate. There are waves of people taking advantage of these medians to help boost home exposure and buyer receptiveness in the marketplace. Naturally the question of whether or not this booming trend is as effective as it’s cracked up to be arises, however in my own opinion I would say most certainly yes!

Real estate has always been about communicating, advertising and marketing and this new paradigm shift online is making it easier to do by the day. Utilizing these social media sites is an excellent way to get in touch passively to hundreds of thousands, heck even millions of people around the world who could potentially be the right match for a home you are trying to sell. On the other hand buyers now have even greater access to properties at the click of a button.

So what are the downsides to such marketing tactics, in my opinion it is hard to find a reasonable answer except for real estate agents and homeowners who are not taking advantage of it. Considering the way the last 2 years has been more creative and innovative ideas will always be a help, even if only a little. Whether its utilizing Youtube for video exposure of your property or advertising on Facebook to increase your homes exposure, this social media mindset needs to be taken advantage of for the simple fact that it’s not going anywhere (not to mention how effective it is).

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With the increased levels of listings in Calgary many buyers, especially first timers are being very cautious in their decisions to buy a home. With such high inventory the market has sided with buyers offering opportunities to pay less than list, which a recent Royal LePage survey helps confirm. This expectation, citing the survey, outlines that 71% of Albertan buyers expect to pay less than list price which is above the 65% of people nationally.

These numbers simply reinforce what many already know about the market situation in our city. With the reduced number of sales year-over-year and so much inventory sellers are going to have to be more in tune with their listings. Over pricing in a market like this will no doubt result in a long term “stagnant” listing, with buyers opting for more competitively priced homes. This is an obvious mistake and could result in a seller “chasing the market” so to speak with gradual price reductions which will only lessen their market exposure. The fact that only 26% of Albertans surveyed said they would pay asking price for a Calgary home offers insight for sellers and should prompt them to be very objective when listing.

If you are selling your home in this market an intuitive approach to the process will greatly increase your chances of selling. Overlooking minor repairs or anything else that could leave a negative impression (cluttered house, paint chips, scent of animals etc..) will only deter buyers who as we know, have no lack of product to choose from.

Highlighting all the best your home has to offer is paramount because the features and unique touches of a property are often times what sway a buyer to purchase a specific home. Highlight absolutely EVERYTHING that you have enjoyed about your property and make it easier for a buyer to want it more than your competitors. In short effective pricing, staging, and high exposure marketing should be a home owner’s main focus now more than ever to gain an edge over competing listings. The market will turn around and gain pace as it always has, but if you are selling your home, now is always better than later.

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