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Buy a House on Amazon

Tue, 27 Aug by Pauline Relkey

Amazon dives into home sales with new $105K property

With 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, the new home dwarfs the tiny homes Amazon began selling earlier this year

The latest offering is a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home. Titled “The Cliff” and manufactured by Estonian wooden structure distributor Q-haus, the property, which boasts an open kitchen, dining room and sauna, dwarfs the guest houses and backyard pool cabanas that previously sold on Amazon.

The home weighs 44,000 pounds and arrives in two modules that can be assembled by “two skilled workers,” according to the listing.

Furniture and appliances are also included.

While the home is currently unavailable on Amazon (without a timeline on when it will be), the notion is that interested buyers will be able to add it to their cart and get it delivered. According to Q-haus, buyers sign a contract of purchase, after which it will take approximately 3 months to produce and ship. The house has been designed by architect Kertti Soots and went up on Amazon last week.

Currently, Amazon offers an array tiny homes on its site, including a build-it-yourself garden house and a 12-foot transparent igloo dome. Due to the uniqueness of these designs, the homes are typically ordered on demand rather than kept in stock.

Saskatchewan Crime Watch Advisory – Fraudulent attempts to rent properties for sale

Mon, 19 Aug by Pauline Relkey

This applies to anyone that has a property for rent or for sale and also for people looking to rent. Home owners, google your property address regularly and look for false ads. If you find any, contact your local police or RCMP. Renters, google the rental address you are inquiring about to see if it is listed for sale also. If so, contact the realtor to see if this is a false rental ad.

The following advisory went out this past weekend:

This is a message from the RCMP Saskatchewan Crime Watch Advisory Network.

Fraudulent attempts to rent sale properties – Yorkton RCMP file # 20191183436.

It has been brought to the attention of the Yorkton RCMP that culprits have tried to secure damage and rental deposits for sale properties which are not theirs.

This is a reminder to exercise caution when replying to ads for rental properties. Ensure you speak directly with the REALTOR® or homeowner. Do not e-transfer, wire or mail any money if you can not verify the property representative’s identity and information.

Thank you.

If you have information related to this advisory please call 9 1 1 or 310-RCMP.

To sign up please go to www.saskcrimewatch.ca.

The Difference Between a Banker and a Broker

Tue, 26 Feb by Pauline Relkey
A mortgage banker works for a bank or similar lending institution which actually provides you the money for the mortgage. A mortgage broker works with many lending institutions to shop for a loan for a specific individual. The broker is a middleman between you and the lender.

The difference between a banker and a broker comes down to the products each can offer and where their allegiances lie.

While using a mortgage broker seems like it would save you money because they have access to many lenders and programs, brokers are paid commissions by the mortgage company and some lenders pay more than others or offer perks. When working with a Bank, that loan officer only has access to their own mortgage  programs and mortgage rates. A banker is paid by the bank, to make the bank money, by selling you services, while a mortgage broker is paid by the lender they choose for your mortgage provider.

Either way has its pros and cons.

Both have access to various mortgages. The broker might have more companies to work with, but banks and credit unions are becoming more flexible with their products in order to compete.  You still need to shop around. Word of mouth from a trusted friend or family or from your realtor is a good way to start. Friends and family do mean well, but as a Realtor I can tell you that I have come into contact with many bankers and mortgage brokers over the last 28 years and always try to find you the best match.

You will likely have to meet with either a mortgage banker or mortgage broker, as they need some basic info about you and your income and expenses.  You typically don’t pay either for their research or time. When you choose your mortgage and get it in place, either will then be paid.

You will still negotiate on terms and rates with either.

Renewal Time?

If you have a mortgage up for renewal, or you would like to refinance, it is always in your best interest to check around with a mortgage broker and/or with the lender who currently holds your mortgage. Just because they were the best option previously, that doesn’t mean they will be the best option in the future.

If you or someone you know is considering a new mortgage or renewal, let’s connect to get you the best mortgage options available!

Want to be on TV?

Tue, 24 Apr by Pauline Relkey

I have been contacted by CBC to see if I have owners selling houses/looking to downsize/interesting stories/also if anyone is buying a cottage and what that experience is like for Canadians across the country.

The casting call will be sent out soon.

Four days of filming.

Selling between June and October 2018.

Let me know.

8 Things to Consider Before Selling Your Home

Mon, 26 Feb by Pauline Relkey

As winter moves closer to the finish line, the annual spring real estate market heats up. There are many things to consider before you put your home on the market – here are 8 of the more critical ones.

1. Budget

Know what you can afford so that you don’t stretch yourself thin. Talk to your mortgage person.

2. Know the costs.

There are plenty of expenses when selling your home. Some are straightforward such as renovations and paying for movers. Others may not be as obvious – nor who pays for them – such as land transfer taxes (buyer pays), real estate agent commissions (seller), mortgage insurance (buyer), legal fees, bank fees and possibly capital gains taxes.

3. Find out your home’s worth.

Knowing how much you’re likely to get for your home can dictate how much you may be able to afford when buying another house. Do your research by checking what similar homes have sold for in your neighbourhood. The best way to do this is to meet with your Realtor who will be listing your house for sale.

4. Choose a real estate agent.

You can choose to sell your home yourself to save the commission fees – but you also incur all the responsibility for writing legal contracts. Of course, I suggest that you choose a trusted real estate agent who knows your area and by asking for referrals. If your Realtor helped you find your present property and has stayed in touch with you, give her/him a call.

5. Decide when to sell.

Do you sell during the traditional peak markets of spring and summer or or off-season? Selling during the peak means more buyers and possible bidding wars, while selling off season means fewer homes competing with yours. As the saying goes, 6 of one and half a dozen of the other.

6. Add visual appeal.

Creating curb appeal is an obvious benefit, but don’t forget to freshen up the interior as well. Make any minor renovations, declutter and consider staging, because professionally staged homes typically sell faster and for more.

7. Get a home inspection done.

While buyers will probably get their own inspections done, having one ready says that you’re confident in your home and have nothing to hide because you have taken care of what work is needed – it provides peace of mind for everyone.

8. Coordinate closing dates.

Being able to move from one home to another on the same day can be hectic and cause you stress. Hopefully you can take possession of your new place before you have to be out of your present one. If not, you may have to either rent another home short-term, put belongings in storage and generally cause unnecessary upheaval in your life. Talk to your bank about bridge financing.

Apply for a $5000 Grant

Fri, 23 Feb by Pauline Relkey

The Mission of the Association of Saskatchewan REALTORS® (ASR) Quality of Life Program is to demonstrate REALTOR® care and commitment to all communities in Saskatchewan.
The ASR Quality of Life Legacy Grant Program supports that mission by awarding $5,000 grants each year to one charitable organization in each of six regions in the province:
• Region 1: Saskatoon & area;
• Region 2: Regina & area;
• Region 3: Moose Jaw / Swift Current & area;
• Region 4: Estevan / Weyburn & South East area;
• Region 5: Lloydminster / North Battleford & North West area;
• Region 6: Prince Albert / Melfort & North / North East area.
Applications are currently being sought from registered charitable organizations that support the following activities that align with the ASR Quality of Life principles and priorities, as follows:
• support shelter-related services in our communities
• enhance environmental sustainability, protection and conservation of natural areas
• promote safer neighbourhoods and improved community services
• enhance and promote community development and better opportunities for “at risk” populations
• support populations and disadvantaged citizens

DEADLINE IS MARCH 18, 2018

Click here for all the info and application form.

I saved 2 lives!!

Wed, 07 Feb by Pauline Relkey

Yes, believe it or not this really happened to me. Here is my real life story.

A couple months ago, I was going to pick up an item I had agreed to purchase on Varagesale. Varagesale is an app that connects with Facebook and enables you to buy and sell stuff locally.

As I was walking up the outside stairs of this house, I thought I could detect a natural gas smell which usually means there is a leak nearby. It could come from a gas furnace or gas fireplace or gas appliances, etc. The mother of the girl who was selling the item answered the door and when I told her why I was there, she said she would get her daughter. I told this lady that I could smell gas and she should probably call our local gas company and have them come out and check. There is no cost for this and it’s for safety reasons. The lady either didn’t seem to really care or wasn’t comprehending what I was saying when I told her this. The daughter came out and we exchanged money and the shirt that I was buying and I left.

When I got back into my vehicle, I thought about what just happened and got the impression that the lady would not place the call so I took it upon myself to call the gas company. The person that answered my call was a bit surprised that I was calling about someone else’s property and not my own. But I explained to her that I am a Realtor and have smelt this a few times before when I had gone into properties and recognized this smell again. So this lady said they would look into this situation.

Very shortly after, I received a phone call from one of the employees of this gas company who said that he was outside this property and got a reading of 2 which he said was very high to get outside and it meant that the whole house was full of gas. He said that the people inside weren’t answering the door when they knocked and he didn’t even want to call them on the phone because that could set off an explosion. So I went back on Varagesale and messaged this person to answer her door and to get out of the house immediately as there was a gas leak and it was dangerous to be there.

She did message me later to say thanks. The gas employee also told me that I basically saved their lives by calling in the gas leak. I was both happy that no one was hurt and freaked out that something like this could have ended up in a tragedy.

So there, to all my friends and family that critique my use of Varagesale.  By using Varagesale, I saved 2 lives!

PS How do you detect a leak? Follow your senses!

Use your NOSE
SaskEnergy adds an odour to natural gas so you will quickly know if there’s a problem. If you smell an odour that is similar to skunk or rotten eggs, there may be a natural gas leak.

Use your EYES
You cannot see natural gas, however if you SEE a vapour, ground frosting, or a significant area of brown vegetation, that could be an indication of a natural gas leak. As well, if you SEE continuous bubbling of wet or flooded areas, or dust blowing from a hole in the ground during drier conditions, there may be a natural gas leak.

Use your EARS
If you HEAR a high-pitched hissing or roaring noise, there may be a natural gas leak.

TAKE ACTION!
If you suspect a leak indoors or outdoors:

  • Leave the home or area immediately
  • DO NOT use any electrical switches, appliances, telephones, motor vehicles, or any other sources of ignition such as lighters
    or matches
  • Call SaskEnergy’s 24-hour emergency line from a safe place
    1-888-7000-GAS (427)
  • DO NOT assume that the issue has already been reported or
    that someone else will call.

$25 Gas Detector Rebate

The most common way to detect a natural gas leak is using your sense of smell. The use of a gas detector is an additional and/or alternative safety measure for detecting a natural gas leak.

  • Most gas detectors also detect carbon monoxide. These detectors are appropriate for your home.
  • You may want to consider purchasing a second gas detector for your garage, keeping in mind that a carbon monoxide detector is not appropriate for a garage.
  • Smoke detectors do not detect natural gas.

If the warning alarm on your gas detector goes off, be sure to follow the same precautionary steps as indicated above – leave the area immediately and phone 1-888-7000-GAS (427).

Gas Detector Rebate Form

Gas Detector Rebate – Questions & Answers

How will SaskEnergy respond?

In the event of a natural gas emergency, SaskEnergy and local community response teams will:

  • Respond to the suspected site immediately
  • Assess the source of the problem and ensure the site is cleared of anyone whose safety may be at risk
  • Communicate and advise customers regarding a resolution plan

Lessons learned from Adam Carolla

Tue, 23 Jan by Pauline Relkey

Some of you may have watched his show called To Catch a Contractor.

Before launching a successful career as a TV and radio personality, Adam Carolla was a master carpenter and home builder, so he knows the work of skilled craftsmen when he sees it. Likewise, he can spot shoddy construction, and in this series he trains his eye on building blunders and the contractors responsible for them. With the help of no-nonsense builder Skip Bedell and his wife, private investigator Alison Bedell, Carolla seeks retribution for homeowners who have experienced a construction nightmare, by tracking down unscrupulous contractors and forcing them to face the wronged parties. The contractors are then given a chance to redeem themselves by fixing messes they left behind — all while under Adam’s and Skip’s watchful .

I watched a few of his shows lately and was pleasantly surprised by some of the lessons that rang so true for me.

The first lesson hit home – Don’t work out of your area of expertise.  This is so true for most, if not all occupations.  If you’re not sure of what you are doing, get some help from an experienced person or refer the job/client to them.  I have experienced this situation many times over the last 26 years in real estate and I do feel badly when I have to tell one of my clients, “No, I don’t work in that area of real estate, but I can connect you with someone good that does work in that area.”  I have chosen to work residential in Regina and close areas around Regina, but real estate in commercial, acreages, cottages is not my area of preference or expertise.  Yes I was licensed quite a few years ago and even though my license does include those specific areas, I have not pursued them because I don’t have the interest in them and haven’t pursued more training in those areas.  I let the people that know what they are doing in these fields handle the clients.

Another lesson he talked about was “Don’t undercut your competition to get the job.”  So true.  Real estate commissions are a high number and we turn blue explaining why (our costs from advertising to insurance to memberships to our split with our company and with the buyers company, etc.)  The costs are a lot of money and thankfully they usually come from the sale price of the house as most property sellers don’t happen to have that amount of money just hanging around, waiting to be spent.

Undercutting happens a lot in my business and it hurts all of us.  Usually the agents that undercut other agents will also undercut their work for their client.  Maybe they don’t advertise as much as others, maybe they don’t spend time following up on showings and leads, maybe they don’t keep in contact with their seller, don’t keep on top of the real estate market and share that info with their clients, etc.  Unfortunately the seller doesn’t find this out until it is too late and they have listed with the agent who offered the lowest commission.  Food for thought – if that agent was so quick to give up their money (commission), how quick do you think they will be to give up your money (sale price of your property) when an offer comes in?  I’ve always believed in the saying, you get what you pay for.  Thanks Adam.

What Home Inspectors Want Buyers and Sellers to Know

Fri, 08 Dec by Pauline Relkey

The home inspection process can be terrifying to go through, whether you are the seller or buyer.

For sellers, it’s like having your annual physical and you are being reprimanded by your doctor for not eating right and not exercising, etc.

For the buyers, it can be like finding your soulmate then discovering they are already married.

Don’t let the inspection stress you out. That’s not what your inspector wants either. All he wants is to do his job and provide you with an inspection report so that you are a happy customer.

Work with your home inspector to make the process easier and more effective. Knowledge is key! Here are 7 essential things you should keep in mind.

For sellers

1. Move your pets
We know your puppy/cat/snake is adorable and totally considered a family member, but even if your home inspector loves dogs or cats, pets on the loose while the inspection is happening makes the job much more difficult. For example, inspections require opening exterior doors, offering pets far too many opportunities to run out the door. Or the home inspector is afraid of your pet. When you leave the premises for the inspection—and many inspectors and agents ask sellers to do so – please take your pets with you.

2. Don’t forget to clean
Whether you plan on being there for the inspection or not, make sure to clean up beforehand. No, you don’t need to turn your house into an isolation ward by cleaning like a mad person — an inspector won’t ding you because your fridge has fingerprints on the door. But all that clutter? Yeah, that’s all got to go. It makes a huge difference when the inspector walks into a property where everything is put away.

For buyers

1. Any property will have issues/problems
Your home inspector will likely come up with a seemingly endless list of problems after the walk-through. Don’t panic! The inspector has been hired by you to do his job and report on what he discovers.  Put it all in perspective.  If you have never owned property, you might be overwhelmed, but speak to a home owner and they will totally understand. Every property including the realtor’s and the inspector’s, have problems and/or maintenance things. You are not alone. But there are times when you should worry, as in a major, costly fix (foundation, roof, etc). But not every issue is critical. Your inspector will explain which problems you should tackle first and even give you an idea of the approximate cost.

2. Almost anything can be fixed
There are a few scary home inspection terms that seem to be in everyone’s vocabulary: mold, basement walls and asbestos. Yes, they are scary, but no scarier than a roof that needs replacing. Don’t worry so much about mold and radon! Everything is upgradable, fixable, or replaceable. You just need to have a list of what those things are and decide how you want to address them. That’s another of the many reasons you should have a realtor on your side helping you. We will explain all your options at that point.

3. One thing you should worry about is water
Here is one issue that you might want to stress out about (just a little) – water. No, it’s not a deal breaker. Remember that part where I said almost anything can be fixed? But it’s important to address any water-related issues before the deal closes—or at least immediately afterward. Make note of issues such as water marks, mold and leaky ceilings. And give special attention to the basement. Addressing water problems in the basement can be an expensive and difficult proposition.

4. Home inspectors can’t predict the future
You might want to know how many more years the roof will hold up—and while your inspector might be able to give you a rough estimate, he can’t give you a precise timeline. Inspectors don’t have X-ray vision to see through walls or examine the motherboard in that funky new fridge that talks to you. He can’t tell you how long some things will last, but he can comment on the shape it is in, but remember that is relevant to the age of what he is talking about. Yes a furnace might be old but if it’s working fine and doesn’t need major repairs yet, then keep using it until you are ready to buy a new one.

5. Find the balance between your emotions and facts
I see this happen a lot with buying couples. One buyer is emotional at the beginning and the other is practical. Then after the purchase, they  reverse roles and the emotional one becomes practical and the practical buyer becomes emotional. It’s easy to forget your love for the home when you’re counting the dollar signs and hours you might have to spend on repairs. Just remember to take a deep breath, think rationally, and consider whether it’s a smart investment in your future. The justification can sometimes be a horrible process, because our brains are all about money and time and thinking about ‘What kind of mistake am I making?”

Barring any major renovations needed—such as a new roof or mold removal—your inspector’s visit will simply provide a to-do list. But not everything needs fixing immediately, so don’t let a long list dampen your love for the home. Just take things one at a time.

House prices down in Canada

Tue, 18 Jul by Pauline Relkey

Take a look at what the Canadian Real Estate Association said about Canada’s housing situation.

CREA said home sales fell by 6.7 per cent last month compared to May — the sharpest monthly decline since 2010 and the third straight monthly contraction.

For the report, please click here.

The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the Association of Regina REALTORS® Inc.. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.