Top 5 Renovations to get you top dollar for your home

When renovating a home to sell when you are the owner-user getting it ready for sale can be a confusing process. This is in part due to so many “gurus” online and TV shows that show a very distorted view of how the value is really derived for the larges population of buyers in any market, at any part of the real estate cycle.

Common mistakes are to change things that will not really affect the re-sale value of the home compared to the cost of those changes/improvements.

Here are the top 5 picks for dollar in to dollars back OUT which is the most important metric that matters!Paint – modern and neutral colors or even white/off-white shades can work amazingly well to make a smaller space seem larger. This item can get you 1-1+ dollars back in value. This really changes the feel of a home that helps the property show in its best light

1. Paint – modern and neutral colors or even white/off-white shades can work amazingly well to make a smaller space seem larger. This item can get you 1-1+ dollars back in value. This really changes the feel of a home that helps the property show in its best light

2. Kitchens – updating an older dated or less functional kitchen will make a huge impact on the re-sale of the home bringing a modern feel and often adding new cupboards/drawers or a pantry will add a lot of value for the investment. This will be a more expensive change, but the time that we spend in the kitchen is huge and having this entertaining and meal-prepping area present the wow factor will help a home sell faster every time

3. Bathrooms – we spend a lot of time in the bathroom and just like a hotel having white towels so that it feels clean, fresh, comfortable having updated flooring, vanities, fixtures, dual-flush water saving toilets will help a home sell faster and for more money. Smaller investment than kitchens, huge impact for the whole family. Ninja trick – add his/hers sinks this will help avoid domestic arguments between kids and parents alike!

4. Flooring – having scratched, stained, old – looking flooring will really drag the price down for the property. Buyer’s know that this can be an expensive change (however done right it does not have to be) and they often don’t want to do it themselves because it is a hassle to have all the floor disrupted while living in a home, trust me I have been there – no fun at all! This change will add a lot of value, hard floors such as vinyl plank are very popular due to the lack of maintenance and durability. Hard wood is still popular in higher end homes – look at the area trends to see if that is the right fit for updated homes in the area.

5. Fixtures – I do not just mean light fixtures! Lighting, door knobs, drawer pulls, hinges, switch covers/outlet covers. Having brass door knobs and art-deco knobs on all the cabinets do create a vintage/dated feel for a home and changing all these elements can be very cost effective, yet have a large impact on the overall feel of a home.

If you have any questions on this or any other real estate topics, contact our team today, all things real estate we are here to help!

To your success,

Tim Reid

-respect the hustle

Timing and Motivation Client Immutable laws

Today I had what I would expect is a common challenge most business owners in real estate fact often, that challenge was the matter of timing. We have all heard the phrase “timing is everything” and I would agree that timing is the most important business force surmounting any other.

The client that I had a booked meeting with, albeit several days ago by the team – which in today’s faced paced real estate market might as well have been a lifetime ago …. had already bought a house. Now, this could result in frustration, anger, resentment, or many other colorful emotions and expletive language to go along with it! (the mental battle was touch and go for a few minutes there)

A better tactic is to ask yourself “self…what am I meant to LEARN from this experience?” Which was what I did to analyze the chain of events that lead to the outcome I didn’t want because if you constantly focus on what you don’t want you tend to get more of that.

Looking back through the booking process, sending the calendar invite (not accepted but that’s common), sending the zoom invite, text message the invite to be sure they got it, then as is my custom – the phone call 15-30 minutes beforehand to confirm they have it all and will by by the computer and not driving or walking the dog so I can garner their full attention to the meeting. I did not see many improvements that could be made in the system, other than calling the day before on a holiday weekend to ensure the meeting time still works.

Then I thought a bit harder, and I was reminded of the fundamental truths of sales: it could have just been the timing or motivation of the prospect. In this case the motivation was there clearly – just not the timing of our sales presentation. That is something that no salesperson or staff member can change. If someone does not have the problem your product solves or they have said problem and are unmotivated to solve it, you could have the cure for cancer and they will not pay attention let alone pay for that product or service!

Whether your business is in real estate investing, rocket ship repair, forestry, or IT timing and motivation is something you need to explore/ nail down/work within or you will have a real task on your hands wasting cycles attempting to convert those who are not in the end of the buying journey.

Thinking of investing in real estate in Calgary or other markets in Canada? Contact our team to book a discovery call to find out how building wealth for 3 generations could be easier than you think.

To your success,

Tim Reid

-Respect The Hustle

Calgary Real Estate Market Heating up?

The Calgary Real Estate market for buyers, sellers, investors is certainly a strange place over the last couple months. Everyone thought that after all the deferrals were done there would be a flood of foreclosures. Are they still waiting in the wings? Could be, but the low inventory situation that we find Calgary in right now has created an atypical surge in sales.

Low interest rates and much higher than average savings in Canadian bank accounts due to pandemic lock downs have allowed many families to inadvertently save up a down payment! Now, not all sectors of real estate in Calgary are moving fast:

  1. Luxury homes are slow moving over 1.5M in most areas of Calgary – some areas of aspen have seen motivated sellers drop prices 100’s of thousands of dollars to get the homes sold
  2. Condo market for apartment style homes in the inner city has been a slow mover, with inventory here being far higher than demand.
  3. Older un-renovated homes under 1000sft which are normally sold to developers are slow to move because spec-home developers are being very cautious on their purchase prices for lots.

Single family and semi-detached homes are moving quick, also demand for half-duplexes with no condo fees has skyrocketed due in part for the buyer now seeing the possibility of adding a basement suite for having that extra revenue. I had a younger client recently tell me that that type of property would be great for his first home so that he could rent out the 2 suites when he decides to upgrade – what a smart young man! I wish I was thinking in those terms when I was younger, things would be very different now if that were the case.

We are seeing CS properties before I can get clients in to view them, properties going 50K over list price, and even private deals which we specialize in normally not having as much competition…we got outbid by a neighbor for a private seller of a lot I was working on selling to a builder contact of ours! Ouch – losing out on a private deal in a great location is not normal operating mechanics for Calgary real estate.

The stats won’t support this opinion, but I am seeing a balanced market at the moment in Calgary and if we don’t see a volume of inventory hit the market by spring when it gets warm and everyone wants to move….then we could have a seller’s market on our hands.

What do you do in a sellers market VS a buyers market? Good question – contact us and we are thrilled to help advise/answer questions on what could be the best strategy for your goals.

To your success,

Tim Reid

-Respect the hustle

Top 3 Reasons to flip a house in Calgary

WOW 2021 is off to a roaring start with investor inquiries! We have a list of over 12 buyers most of them cash buyers in the Calgary Market looking for houses to buy, fix and sell. Flipping houses is not generally the go-to strategy for investors in a buyers market – everyone can flip a house when you have prices going in the up trend which is certainly not the case in Calgary.

There are pockets of the city that are just flying off the shelf that need work, how I feel there are a few reasons for this: first being the low interest rates and people that just want a larger place than a rental and they can now get into home ownership due to the lower interest rates.

Secondly, I think there are a lot of investors that are looking for deals due to the economic downturn in Alberta that has gripped the larger centers for a number of years now. Lastly, investors are looking to diversify out of an over heated stock market (and some have made a killing here in 2020 but savvy investors know what goes up must come down).

The top 3 reasons to invest in a flip project in Calgary right now are:

  1. Low interest rates – helps the buyers buy as well as the investors, also you can pull equity out of existing properties at a low cost of borrowing in this lending environment which increases your margins.
  2. Deferred maintenance properties will have a hard time getting a good price on the current market, we are advising all of our listing owners to do basic repairs/updates to get a quick sale for more money – however not all owners have the budget for that work these days and will be forced to sell for less.
  3. Buyer pool has been expanded by the lowered rate of the stress test, and work from home shifts have caused many buyers to want to have a proper space for the home office, and have a larger space for their family in general than a rental closer to the core due to remote work options.

There are many analysts that predict that over 30% of workers will remain working from home after the pandemic is over, now I know the co-working space owners will not want to hear/believe that but I would tend to agree with them. Also, live work animations to properties will be a large value add for properties to create real differentiated value.

Contact us for a discovery call to learn more about animation options for animation to property to drastically increase its value as a rental/owner user buyers alike.

To your success,

Tim Reid


Who Controls YOUR Business?

When we start a business in real estate, or any business – we start off with a plan (well generally!) which is more like a theory and go run out into the marketplace with that plan. After getting customer feedback we adjust that plan and keep going back to the customers getting more feedback called the “feedback loop” very aptly named by Eric Ries in his book the lean startup which is a must read for any business owner real estate or otherwise IMHO.

After using some industry best practices and armed with our customer feedback we settle upon some of the holy-grail elements in business called SYSTEMS (not always, but more on that in a future post!) which are what actually create freedom in business – sometimes we think that getting into business for ourselves in the first place is what creates freedom….wow is that ever wrong! I think that any veteran entrepreneur in real estate can attest to the fact that the business unto itself dos NOT create freedom, actually quite the opposite some days/weeks/months.

While the systems in the real estate business are being built/re-built and learned that takes up a massive amount of time, energy, and cash because a lot of that process (without expert guidance/coaching) is trial and error. That’s ok because that is the part of the trill of creating your own thing, testing and measuring to figure out how to create a better mouse-trap for yourself and your customers.

We have all heard the draconian phrase that “the customer is always right” correct? Well, in my past corporate world we often said in our meetings that in fact (well in operations anyway maybe not sales) the customer is often WRONG and they pay us to tell them that in a tactful way!!

This may be an avant-garde opinion, but before you start throwing stones I suggest to you that you consider the following question: Why does the customer come ask you for help? The most basic answer is that they have a problem that needs solving and the solution is your product or service correct?

Now, if we can agree the above is true – then would your systems not be the glue that hold your company together? Do you not wish to serve your customers all to the same level or better as consistently as possible? Well, if that is the case then your systems, methods, order of steps you take and the reasons why you take them is your special sauce that gives the customer what they want correct?

There will be customers that want to control the process or feel that they might know better than you (the expert that can solve their problem)….does that make any sense? That would be equivalent to asking the butcher to come into your kitchen and tell you how to fix a leaking tap! So when the customer asks you to change your proven, tried, tested, and approved systems that get results – respectfully tell them NO. Now, I am not suggesting that you be harsh or to not be accommodating to customers needs – I am suggesting that you can’t help everyone and not everyone is your ideal client.

When you consider the 80/20 rule that 20 % of your customers make up 80% of your revenue, and the rest cost a lot in cycles/money that focusing on the more delightful and profitable group just simply makes good sense for your bottom line and your sanity. Keep control of the wheel on your business, you wouldn’t let your passenger steer the car going 140K down the highway…I suggest you don’t let the customer steer your processes you know how to get the results they need.

To your success,

Tim Reid


New Year New Deals in Calgary

Happy new year’s everyone! (yes I am aware that it’s Jan 18th already!) There is so much activity in Calgary Real estate right now, despite what you may hear in the news overall the market is VERY active right now. I got outbid on a foreclosure for on of my realtor clients by over 30K!

There are segments of the market that are having a rough time for sure, higher priced homes have taken a hit – 1.5M+ buyers are well aware that it is a sellers market, and when those owners need to sell….well they NEED to sell due to financial changes in their world and they need to slow the burn so their mortgage doesn’t eat up all their savings

I mentioned “one of my clients” – that is because we now offer Realtor services through real estate professionals inc. I am the “investor first realtor” because I was an investor for over a decade before I started the realtor gig, as an addition to our other services. This allows me to have both conversations with private sellers because frankly, a lot of clients just need to sell and not get creative and do an investor style deal such as agreement for sale. (we also just won #1 last month in our brokerage!)

I get asked all the time how the market is doing, well based on demand and the amount of inquiries we are getting from investors/sellers/buyers fueled by the low rates and buyers market – I tell them that the market is very busy overall. Now, condos sales and investors looking for condo investments has certainly shifted, AirBNB was a hot topic in 2019/early 2020 now that demand has greatly reduced (not gone) and inventory is high so sales will be lower but everything sells for market value…what someone is willing to pay for it.

Those who are new to the game of flipping houses would do well to stick to ARV up to 525K that way you will get a quick sale and not have all your profit eaten up by holding costs. Those with more experience and can keep the time/budget for construction under control, then there are a few projects here and there that could be taken on up to he 700-800K ARV range – now the higher the price for the home the pickier the end user who is going to live there so keep that in mind for your flip project and budget accordingly.

The question we hear is should I invest in real estate in Calgary? Well that depends on your goals, certain things work here in this part of the market cycle. When you are getting used to the game of real estate, it’s best to do it in your back yard – if your looking to expand there are better markets for certain strategies contact us for a discovery call if you are looking to branch out of Calgary real estate into other centers.

To your success,

Tim Reid


Top 5 Reasons to buy a house in Calgary Winter

  1. Less Competition – there are are fewer choices (lower inventory) so that you can refine quickly the homes you like and don’t like a lot faster. Real Estate is a cycle throughout the year, winter sucks in Calgary most of the time weather wise so the seller’s don’t want to move any more than you do but you can get a better deal not having as many competing offers.

2. Pricing/Motivation Sellers who have kept their home on the market into the winter OR are STILL on the Calgary marketplace have motivation, otherwise they would wait for spring (which is a form of speculation thinking they will get a better price). Sellers who sell in the winter on average have much higher motivation – also supply of buyers is less so demand goes up for their offers – even if they are aggressively in your favor

3. Tax advantages, there are an infinite number of tax scenarios in people’s lives – often that is affected by the end of the calendar year. What this means for you is that having a quick close in December could help the current owner save money on taxes, we all want to keep money out of the hands of the feds when we sell our homes in Calgary or anywhere in Canada for that matter.

4. Bankers get paid bonuses based on quarterly results. What this means for you is that a branch manager, district manager, national manager at a mortgage financing company has their bonus check at the end of December directly tied to “production” and they will be more incentivized to push mortgage approvals through and get them closed before year end – giving them a reason to approve your loan/make exceptions they might not at a different part of the calendar year. Getting a mortgage to buy a home in the winter can be easier than any other time of the year. Do keep in mind everyone can go into holiday mode after the first half of December, so things do slow down before the holidays.

5. Properties are looked at based on their physical interior features and structural integrity, the “curb appeal” factor does not really apply with snow on the ground in Calgary and no flowers/gardens to look at. This factor does help a buyer look at the property closer, get full inspections, which help negotiate better pricing and forces buyers to think about the value of a home inspection, when they are thinking about how old the furnace is and how much heat/water leaks could be a problem. The sellers are also thinking about these things too if they are dated and would be more willing to make concessions. Creative financing deals are also easier to negotiate during the winter months in Calgary because they want a NOW solution and would rather not wait until spring to sell the home and get out right away before the sleigh bells ring on the rooftops!

To your success,

Contact us to learn more about how to find the best deals in the winter and all year round.

Tim Reid

Respect The Hustle

Credit Repair Mysteries – how do I fix my credit?

Credit is a mystery for most people that are not in banking or finance. For most people, if they have a good job and never defaulted on a credit card bill (the bane of many a millennial that didn’t know better and said screw telus/rogers/bell when they were 14 and then find out that really screwed up their credit when it was brand new) then you would have been able to get credit cards, car loans without too much trouble.

Then when you first think about buying a house you go into your bank (not my recommendation) and the cheerful banker asks you to sign some forms and fill in an application then plugs a bunch of numbers into a database tool and it spits out a number you can qualify for. That number was shockingly low for most people that are middle class, just like I was a bit shocked with I first tried to buy a property for myself – about 180K was my approval….which at that time in Calgary could have bought me a beautiful single story outhouse in a bad part of town!

So it was at that time I decide to buy a nice car because a house was out of the question, and after all I couldn’t drive the house to work…so that made sense to me at the time. Looking back is always easier than looking forward, was the the best financial choice? Maybe, maybe not – but as luck would have it that was just prior to the top of the market in the 2005-2007 era right before the crash. So, sometimes things work out even when we don’t have all the info to make the informed decision.

Now, some people might get a different answer from the banker’s little software – congrats you can afford 400K! If only your credit score didn’t suck and it is below their allowable guideline (typically 650+ for the “big 5” in Canada). At this point is where most people learn for the first time that your credit score is a big deal – unfortunate timing when you have a lease ending and you want to go house shopping!

The banker will know very little about credit and possibly give you some terrible device – so beware banks are not in the business of credit scores they are in the business of banking! Talk to a specialist or an amazing mortgage broker who knows about credit repair.

What to do? There are also many credit counseling advisors out there, which can give you good habits to follow. What we suggest is that you talk to a credit repair specialist that knows real estate and how to fix credit fast – because who wants to wait another 2-3 years? That will help expedite the process, contact us and we can recommend rock stars in this field.

Credit matters – why they don’t teach this somewhere in schools is unfortunate. We are here to help, also dispel myths about home buying such as: if you go bankrupt you can’t buy a house for 7 years. That is total BS and if that’s you give us a call because we have options. Home ownership could be closer than you think.

To your success,

Tim Reid

-Respect The Hustle

Book review by one of the greats

I love to read, as some of you may have seen from my posts – I have crushed a number of book since covid, frankly not driving around as much being stuck in traffic in addition to getting more sleep has really helped the book/month ratio. I will be including a comprehensive list from my book shelf here shortly.

Mr Bruce Firestone founder of the Ottawa Senators is one of my mentors and here is one of his latest blogs taking a review of corporate mergers which are not always the best for the employees…see the full article here

Let’s Talk Goals

a goal wothout pa plan is just a wish

With school now back in session for 2020 and a lot of uncertainty in the air, the last thing on the mind of a lot of business owners in real estate and others is their goals for the last quarter of the year.

Just because it is hard to see the horizon, does not mean you can skip having a destination! Imagine for a moment the mayflower not having a destination of coming to Canada…” North America or thereabouts” would not have got our ancestors here to our great nation!

We often think of the things we DON’T want as opposed to what we DO want:

  • I don’t want to go broke
  • I don’t want to get divorced
  • I don’t want to lose my job

What you put out into the universe (or god of your understanding) is what you will get back – having your focus on your intentions and GOALS consistently will move you toward them. It has been said that “what you focus on expands” so if you constantly focus on what you DON’T wand then you will get more of that.

Having goals is very important, however often they wind up like resolutions – never accomplished and only done once or twice per year. Thinking about your goals ALL THE TIME and re-visiting them and re-evaluating them to get valuable data on how well you doing (or not doing sometimes) is key to making them happen.

We have all set goals that maybe we didn’t meet in the timeline that we set out….sound familiar? The conclusion our lizard brain can make in this scenario is that “setting goals doesn’t work, I never meet them anyway” which is of course not true just feedback that there are adjustments that need to be made.

When setting goals it is important to make them around things you TRULY want, have them be specific, time-bound (with a realistic timeline), and measurable. If these ingredients are not present then you have a recipe for disaster! When you can’t measure your progress you feel like your never going to get to the destination, when you set unrealistic timelines then running out of time/stress/anxiety will follow, and if what you are working on does not move your closer to something you are passionate about then how often will you make consistent action toward it? (not very often, just like the treadmill collecting dust of the gym membership not getting used).

We suggest having both short term and long term goals, in all areas of your life: personal, spiritual, health, work/business, financial, creative ETC – whatever sectors of your world that you want to improve, for some there are areas that are humming along great and no significant changes needed.

When creating your goals, be conservative with your goal/timeline – be kind to yourself. The motivation to keep working on them is derived from having confidence that through consistent action you CAN achieve them if you surpass them or crush them early then FANTASTIC! This outcome is much better than reaching your goal date and only being half done and discouraged – which is not helpful, remember to adjust and re-set the goal self- beatings are not conducive to motivation for goals!

What are your goals for the last mile of 2020?

Contact us and let us know, we would love to hear your vision for your world over the next few months.

To your success,

Tim Reid

-Respect The Hustle