Debunking seven Ottawa real estate myths

The scorching hot Ottawa real estate market is cooling due to increased interest rates, according to one veteran realtor.

“We’re seeing sales are down across Ottawa 25 per cent,” Marnie Bennett from Bennett Property Shop Realty told CTV News at Noon. “April certainly has been slow compared to normal and we’ll just see how it plays out.”

Bennett says record prices will hold though due to the shortage of housing and the demand.

“Prices are not going to go down but they’re not going to escalate like we’ve been seeing in the past at 27 per cent. We’re likely going to go back to more normal times, maybe nine or ten per cent. …  It won’t be the crazy circus that we’ve had.”

Bennett says that circus environment has led to pervasive myths in the real estate market.  These seven are the most common she says she hears regularly.

Seller myth #1: Sellers believe no preparation is needed in today’s market

 “A lot of sellers think ‘My home will sell, who cares if it’s dirty or messy or falling apart?’ That’s not what’s going on. You should always have your home looking professional.

“You’re going to get 30 per cent less if your house is messy and dirty and not well cared for.”

Seller myth #2: There’s no such thing as a crazy price for my home

“In today’s market pricing a home five to 10 per cent below market value creates excitement in the market place.

“Along with not properly preparing a home for sale, sellers think they can defy the odds of selling and set an overly ambitious asking price. Nothing could be further from the truth.

“Buyer audience in this market will react very quickly if a home is way overpriced. There will be no showings, no offers.

“When a home lingers on market then a stigma is created. A price reduction raises eyebrows of other buyers and sends a desperate signal.”

Seller myth #3: Selling “as is” is easy

“Sellers who want to sell ‘as is’ with unfinished projects or home systems that are not updated i.e. broken A/C, a leaking roof, water damage, electrical issues. This can all be a dealbreaker for buyers and attract low, low bids.”

Seller myth #4: Buyers must waive conditions

“Buyers have different risk tolerances.   It’s the single largest transaction of their lives.  They have a ton of anxiety already.   Buyers want to have at least an inspection.” 

Buyer myth #1: Buyers say ‘I will wait until prices fall or the market crashes’

“Buyers waiting for a crash is like banking on winning the lottery for retirement.

“Meantime prices are up 57% or more in the last two years.

“Interest rates up nearly two per cent in the last year – which means less buying power. A one per cent increase reduces buying power by 10 per cent.

“This is not the U.S. There won’t be a crash. We have one of the best banking systems in the world.”

Buyer myth #2: Buyers believe they should work directly with the listing agent

“The worst mistake a buyer can make is working with the listing agent.

“In fact the government does not support this and discourages realtors from doing this.

“Buyers’ interests and legal rights are not being protected.  The listing agent works directly for the seller.  Is paid by the seller.

“It’s a total conflict of interest – seller agent is obliged legally to tell the seller everything that the buyer has said.”

Buyer myth #3: Buyers believe it’s better to buy through a private sale

“Sellers are savvy today.  They don’t have to follow real estate law and could hide things from you. They are not obliged to tell you. Buyer beware!

Bennett says the real estate market shifts and changes.

“We are in a shift now. Listings are up 105% since last year.”

“With each shift or cycle there are different challenges and myths.”

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