Montreal West Island, QC Real Estate News

By Tanya Nouwens, Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager
(RE/MAX ROYAL (JORDAN) INC. / Tanya Nouwens Inc. www.readysetsold.ca)
While last month I wrote about the larger Montreal real estate market and specifically September’s results, this time I’ll focus more specifically on the Montreal West Island real estate market. The chart below shows the West Island* results for the third quarter of 2012 compared to the third quarter of 2011, using statistics presented by the Quebec Federation of Real Estate Boards in their MLS® Barometer.   West Island Third Quarter 2012 versus Third Quarter 2011   Sales Median** Price # Active Listings # Average Days on Market Residential (total) ↓8% (488) n/a ↑13% (1,356) n/a Single-family homes ↓5% (397) ↑5% ($370,000) ↑7% (929) ↑1 (60) Condos ↓21% (81) ↑7% ($225,000) ↑31% (400) ↑16 (83) Overall, the number of residential sales was down in the third quarter of 2012 compared to the s...
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By Tanya Nouwens, Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager
(RE/MAX ROYAL (JORDAN) INC. / Tanya Nouwens Inc. www.readysetsold.ca)
I wanted to share a few home staging before and afters from a Montreal home staging project we did last week for a condo in N.D.G. These shots were taken quickly with my iPhone so the quality is not great, but the results are still there. (I always hire a professional photographer when it is my own listing. I was staging this for someone who was referred to me by a client, but another agent was listing it.) Method to Our Madness We do have a method to our madness in Montreal home staging although, after 5 years in the business, the process is now pretty intuitive. Broken down to its most fundamental, once we know the target buyers for the property, we focus on: 1.Feeling; 2. Editing; 3. Art; 4. Lighting; and 5. Accessories – in that order. 1. Feeling In each room, we determine the feeli...
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By Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection
(Aspect Inspection)
Common Sense? "Common wisdom" REALLY?  ...Choosing The Inspector. "Accepting a referral for an inspector through your realtor is not something I recommend." * *(Quoted from the linked Montreal Gazette article below, A Guide to Choosing Inspectors.) Many consider this to be good advice or just common sense.  But is it really?.... Realtors are commonly asked for such referrals. The agent is someone who you are trusting to guide you though the whole process of making the major financial and investment decisions (often the major investment decisions) of your life. You do need your own real estate agent who will be working for you, the buyer. The sellers will normally have their own agent. A well-informed real estate agent knows the rules, laws and ethical practices that are in place to prot...
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By Tanya Nouwens, Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager
(RE/MAX ROYAL (JORDAN) INC. / Tanya Nouwens Inc. www.readysetsold.ca)
It is telling that these days the majority of calls I get for Montreal home staging come in the form of home stagers looking for work.  I know home staging in Montreal has yet to really kick off.  We Montrealers are not at all impressed with, nor do we feel the need to follow, what our fellow citizens in other parts of the country nor the continent are doing.  It's part of what makes us unique. But it's also part of what makes it tough if you're a Montreal home stager looking for work. I went from being a Montreal home stager to a Montreal real estate broker who stages for my sellers...and I have not regretted the decision for one moment, though during the transition the pocketbook was very lean and my energy reserves completely depleted. Having just completed my second full year in rea...
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By Tanya Nouwens, Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager
(RE/MAX ROYAL (JORDAN) INC. / Tanya Nouwens Inc. www.readysetsold.ca)
I've been working with buyers for a couple of months now, a lovely couple merging two families.  I spent many Sunday mornings with them touring Montreal West Island homes for sale, looking at comparables, discussing neighbourhoods vs price vs features. We had an appointment scheduled on Monday to write up an offer on one particular property, a great home for sale in Beaconsfield, Quebec.  It was going to be a great start to my week. One hour before the appointment, she called, her voice breaking, to say that they would not be coming to the appointment, that they were putting off their home search until next year some time, and that the house in question was definitely out. I know this happens, but still I was devastated - after all that work, all that energy, all that excitement, all th...
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By Tanya Nouwens, Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager
(RE/MAX ROYAL (JORDAN) INC. / Tanya Nouwens Inc. www.readysetsold.ca)
Have you got clutter?  A linen closet that takes a full-on tackle to close?  A cabinet under the kitchen sink that looks like a product testing lab for household cleaning products?  Bin upon bin in the basement that may or may not contain your grade 7 report card? Well then, it might be time to move! I'm only partially kidding here.  A friend of mine is getting ready to put her Baie d'Urfé home for sale (with me as her listing agent - hooray!).  I was at her house on the weekend and she showed me the work she and her daughter were doing to purge, organize and give away the clutter that accummulates after 10 years of living in the same house. It got me to thinking about all the stuff taking any and all available space (and more) in my own house.  It used to be that I moved A LOT.  When I...
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By Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection
(Aspect Inspection)
Up Up And Away! ...Scuttle Hatches........Part 3: Insulation as Air Filter This is something that I see quite regularly. Most people forget that the modern attic is not a storage area of the home. It is a structural service area and is a cold zone. It is outside the thermal envelope of the home. For all intents and purposes it IS outside the home (It's just rain sheltered.) So what does this mean to home owners. Unfortunately, from the evidence I've seen, to a great many, it doesn't mean a thing. Why do I say that?  What evidence an I seeing? Well, consider what's shown in the photo above. Yes, it's an open attic hatchway with the ladder positioned and prepared for the inspection. Already, I haven't even entered the attic yet, but I can see evidence of a chronic problem.  I can see the...
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By Tanya Nouwens, Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager
(RE/MAX ROYAL (JORDAN) INC. / Tanya Nouwens Inc. www.readysetsold.ca)
Did you consider location before your flip flopped?  I didn't think so. When you first saw the house on MLS, it was probably too good to be true.  Or rather, it was so bad it was good.  But here's the thing: Even when you flip houses, the 3 most important things in real estate are still location, location, location. So it doesn't matter how well you did the wood floors.  It doesn't matter that you put in new bathrooms.  And it doesn't matter that the paint is fresh and lovely. What matters is that you invested all of that time and energy - and your MONEY - into a house that sits on a busy street and faces the highway.  And that's why it's been on the market for months and hasn't yet sold. Home buyers will pay a premium for homes that are move-in ready. Home buyers will deduct a premium ...
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By Tanya Nouwens, Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager
(RE/MAX ROYAL (JORDAN) INC. / Tanya Nouwens Inc. www.readysetsold.ca)
A funny cute charming annoying thing has happened as I age [ahem] "gracefully": I have developed a mid-day shine on my forehead.  Call it the development of combination skin commonly associated with women of a certain age, if you must.  Better yet, just hand me a napkin and tell me to wipe it off.  Which is exactly what I'd like to tell homeowners who paint their ceilings in a high-gloss paint.   I can imagine how it happens.  You scrape the Christmas tree across the ceiling one year, leaving a nice stripe, and then you suddenly notice scuff marks where the outdoors-only street-hockey ball hit the ceiling, and where you tried to wipe off what you thought was dust but was really an incubating insect.  Then you realize you might as well paint the whole ceiling and - Hey! You just happen t...
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By Tanya Nouwens, Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager
(RE/MAX ROYAL (JORDAN) INC. / Tanya Nouwens Inc. www.readysetsold.ca)
Last week, a writer from PropertyWire.ca interviewed me for an article on home staging and its impact on the home selling process.  PropertyWire is a new Canadian on-line community of real estate and mortgage professionals. The PropertyWire article on home staging, "Staging as Added Value to Your Business," is geared more toward real estate agents, but anyone buying or selling a home may be interested to see home staging discussed from the viewpoint of industry insiders. For the record, though, I'm not big on the whole cinnamon / baking cookies thing before a buyer comes to visit.  It can seem so contrived. And I don't think all family pictures need to be removed either.  This is one of three common home staging myths that are referred to, but not linked to, at the end of the article.  ...
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By Tanya Nouwens, Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager
(RE/MAX ROYAL (JORDAN) INC. / Tanya Nouwens Inc. www.readysetsold.ca)
I have a love/hate relationship with January.  I love the feeling of renewal and fresh beginnings that comes with the first month of the year.  But by the last week of this torturous, outrageously long, cold, dark, icy month, I'VE HAD IT! And so it was that last night I dragged my sorry, grumpy self out of the house for dinner with some of my girlfriends at a local restaurant, Steak et Frites, here in Kirkland, Quebec.  This is a group of women I lovingly call my Ya-Yas, so named after the book Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells.  (If you haven't read it and you're a woman, you must run and get it immediately.) My Ya-Yas are an amazing group of women who care, listen, laugh, share, complain on occasion, and fight the good fight.  And we do it all together every 6 we...
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By Tanya Nouwens, Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager
(RE/MAX ROYAL (JORDAN) INC. / Tanya Nouwens Inc. www.readysetsold.ca)
"All the home staging in the world won't sell an over-priced home."  That's what Nairn Friemann, a great New York home stager, told us during my first day of home staging training back in 2007.  I was reminded of those words today as I went out to preview homes for sale here in Montreal's West Island and saw a beautiful house that's just come on the market.  The home is gorgeous: not too country and not too modern, well-renovated kitchen, nice lot, no loud colours to turn off buyers, no disproportionately large furniture eating up entire rooms, stylish accessories, lovely art and lots of light. But it's over-priced...by quite a bit.  And the agent knows it. The owners of this home have undoubtedly heard from all of their friends that their house is absolutely stunning.  And it is. But f...
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By Tanya Nouwens, Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager
(RE/MAX ROYAL (JORDAN) INC. / Tanya Nouwens Inc. www.readysetsold.ca)
I'll take a month of doing better over 12 months of doing the same, any day of the year. That's a mouthful, I know.  Let me explain. For every keen, eager and, OK, sometimes naive person who embraces the New Year ritual of setting resolutions for the year ahead, you'll find a wise, learned and, yes, more pessimistic soul who shakes their head at the futility of setting goals that are likely to be broken before the calendar even flips to the next month. I'm in the former camp: keen, eager and maybe naïve.  And I have no intention of going anywhere.  I know that some of my resolutions will not be followed for more than a few weeks.  But I also know that some will. And the bottom line is, I'll take a month of trying to do better over 12 months of doing exactly the same. I'll take the posit...
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By Tanya Nouwens, Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager
(RE/MAX ROYAL (JORDAN) INC. / Tanya Nouwens Inc. www.readysetsold.ca)
I've always been proud of what I did for a living.  I was a criminologist for 18 years, and though I sometimes got flak for working for the federal government, people usually had the impression that what I was doing was honourable, that it would help make our world a wee bit safer.  When I stayed home for 5 years to raise my two sons, that too was honourable. When I left criminology and started my Montreal home staging business, that was at least interesting and gutsy.  I thought it was honourable too - helping homeowners get the most from their investment, and helping buyers see the true potential in a property. And then I became a Montreal real estate agent.  And something changed.  Now, when I tell people what I do for a living, I usually get one of three reactions: Suspicion.  I see...
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By Tanya Nouwens, Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager
(RE/MAX ROYAL (JORDAN) INC. / Tanya Nouwens Inc. www.readysetsold.ca)
Home stagers do not hide problems!  I know many of you believe that we do, because I've seen the surprise on your face when I refuse to do it. And who can blame you for believing this when even the revered Mike Holmes, TV star and general contractor extraordinaire, puts out an article in The Montreal Gazette stating "...staging suggestions...hide real problems."  (Which is too bad, because the rest of his article on getting your home inspected before it goes on the market was bang-on.) Oh for the love of God.  Enough already. If your home stager suggests that you hang a piece of art in the upper right hand corner of the wall so that it will cover the hole your sons made playing baseball in the family room, RUN AWAY!  Fast.  This is not the person you want preparing your home to go on th...
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By Tanya Nouwens, Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager
(RE/MAX ROYAL (JORDAN) INC. / Tanya Nouwens Inc. www.readysetsold.ca)
I was out walking my dog yesterday, and since it was 4 pm on November 28 in Canada, it was getting dark already. A young man was approaching me on the path. He had a dark hood over his head and long dark hair.  His eyes were focused on the ground.  He looked if not menacing then, at the very least, brooding. As I often do in these situations - unless my spidey-sense says otherwise - I decided to disarm him.  My weapon of choice?  A word and a smile. As my dog Maggie approached him, I said, with a huge smile, "It's OK. She's very friendly." And the brooding dark man looked up, right into my eyes, broke into a huge smile, and said, "Oh thanks. It's OK though. I'm not afraid."  And in that instant, he went from a dark brooding man to the friendly teenager he actually was.  We both continue...
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By Tanya Nouwens, Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager
(RE/MAX ROYAL (JORDAN) INC. / Tanya Nouwens Inc. www.readysetsold.ca)
What's the next best thing since jeggings, you ask?  Well, it could just be a calendar that answers the world's most asked question: What's for supper? An artist friend of mine, Jennifer Boudewyn, and her friend Jodi Steinberg, a chef, have come up with an ingenious product: Jen and Jodi's Friendly Kitchen Calendar and Recipes. This calendar suggests menus for supper Monday to Friday of every week of the upcoming year, complete with recipes, side dish suggestions and...get this...a grocery list for shopping for everything you need!  AND, they assure us that it will NOT mean cooking every night of the week since some dishes are cooked in bulk, frozen and used later (they tell us when). The calendars are illustrated by Jennifer, a most talented artist with a bright, beautiful and happy fl...
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By Tanya Nouwens, Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager
(RE/MAX ROYAL (JORDAN) INC. / Tanya Nouwens Inc. www.readysetsold.ca)
You've found the perfect home for you and your family. You and the seller have come to an agreement on price.  And as a responsible home buyer, you get the property inspected.  While in the garage, and then in the basement, the inspector says, "Hmmmm, those cracks in the floor may be due to pyrite. Better get it tested to know for sure." At this point, you and the seller of the home will likely have one of two reactions: "Pyrite?  What the heck is pyrite?" Or "OMG, pyrite?!  My world has come to an end." What is pyrite? Pyrite is a natural mineral.  Traces of it are found in the rock used to make crushed stone which is used for backfill in construction.  Backfill is used under the concrete slab in the building of garages and basements. What's the problem? Pyrite oxidizes when it comes i...
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By Tanya Nouwens, Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager
(RE/MAX ROYAL (JORDAN) INC. / Tanya Nouwens Inc. www.readysetsold.ca)
Have you ever had reason to be at the West Island Palliative Care Centre?  If not, consider yourself lucky.  So many have, and yet what I hear from anyone who has lost a loved one who got to spend there final days there is, "That place, and the people who work there, are amazing." This Saturday, October 23, there will be a party at Bourbon Street West with all proceeds benefitting the West Island Palliative Care Centre.   The party is in honor of Michael Charles (my friend Tanya's brother) and all others who fought hard and lost their battle to cancer.  In the words of Tanya Charles: I will be there to honor Michael, Claudine's Dad, Delphine's mom, Lori's mom, Tanya's (that'd be me) mother-in-law and everyone else who lost life. The band Crave will be playing, as well as a great DJ and ...
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By Tanya Nouwens, Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager
(RE/MAX ROYAL (JORDAN) INC. / Tanya Nouwens Inc. www.readysetsold.ca)
Here in Quebec, Canada, we've apparently just experienced the highest retention rate of real estate brokers/agents since 1994, the year when the provincial association* for real estate professionals was created.      The cut-off date for renewal of our licenses was September 15, 2010.  Notices were sent out to almost 20,000 real estate brokers** in the province of Quebec, advising us (and then reminding and reminding us) that the deadline was coming.      According to the October 6, 2010, edition of Proactive: The Newsletter for Quebec Real Estate Professionals, about 87.5% - or 17,448 - of us renewed our licenses.  That's pretty high, no?      Quebec experienced a relatively stable real estate market (emphasis on the word "relatively") despite the global economic situation which had a ...
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