Windsor’s sizzling real estate market is seeing a slight slowdown — and it means sellers have to up their game to draw people in.
Prices are still high in Windsor-Essex but realtors say more listings over the last several months are leading to fewer offers on individual homes, putting buyers in a better position with more options and less competition.
“When buyers have more choice, sellers have to do a little bit more to stand out from the crowd,” explained Danial Malik, a broker at ReMax Preferred.
“They have to do more in terms of professional photography, videography, staging. They want to make sure there’s as many eyes as possible on their property, so it gets sold for top dollar.”
The average price of a Windsor-Essex home in September was $552,186, according to data from the Windsor-Essex County Association of Realtors. That’s 27.4 per cent more than September of last year.
Listings have also doubled from what we saw at the beginning of the year (1,035 listings in September compared to 475 in January).
One home stager says business has doubled
“Things have picked up quite a bit,” said Julie Kapitan, owner of Lemon Tree Living, a home staging company in Windsor-Essex.
At the start of the year, there was a “buying frenzy,” and homes were selling quickly with or without staging, she said.
“But something shifted I think in May and June and the calls started to come in,” Kapitan said.
Her business has doubled since then.
She said it helps people imagine living in the space.
‘Property has to stand out’
Aditya Soma with the WinCity Real Estate Team says staging is “crucial” for any sale.
“There is more inventory,” he said.
“That means your realtor and your stager, you know, have to do a fantastic job by pricing it right, by presenting it well to attract as many buyers as possible.”
Soma added that some sellers list their homes and try to sell without a stager, and later realize they need to “revamp” their approach in order to get the offer they’re hoping for.
Malik explained that he’s also seeing more cancellations of listings in recent months. That’s because, given the trend of the last year or so, expectations are very high for sellers.
“They’re trying different realtors or they’re trying different strategies to get that dollar amount, whereas the property … may not be worth what they’re asking for,” Malik said.
WATCH | Broker Danial Malik on what the current market means for buyers:
Hence, there’s a stronger lean toward marketing tools like home staging — though it can be a pricey option, depending on what you need.
Kapitan explained that staging could start at $1,000 if accessories are the only items required by the seller. However, if furniture is required, home staging could cost $5,000 or more depending on the size of the home.
She also works with house flippers in the community to help them get the best possible price.
Flippers turn to stagers
Jami Jacklyn, a partner at M & J Doors Ltd., a St. Thomas company that flips houses, recently acquired a Windsor home that cost them close to $200,000, they invested between $30,000-$50,000 into renovations. After listing the home for $199,000 and using Kapitan’s home staging service, it recently sold for more than $100,000 over asking.
“Previous, in my real estate career, I didn’t think it was important, to be honest. I’ve sold houses before,” Jacklyn said.
“Now that we’re doing this in more volume, I have a massive respect for stagers and it has helped my business tremendously.”
Jacklyn explained that her company tries to choose “eyesores” in the community to flip in order to improve the neighbourhood, while still being able to sell the renovated property to first-time home buyers, even though the work on the home drives that price up.
But with or without a stager, Kapitan suggests depersonalizing your home by removing family photos, de-clutter, avoid patterns, use white linens and white towels, and clean so that your home is spotless.
Meanwhile, even though the lull in the market puts buyers in a better position, it’s still a seller’s market.
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Members of the Sarnia-Lambton Real Estate Board presented a cheque for $2,000 to the Inn of the Good Shepherd as part of Realtor’s Care Week celebrations on Nov. 19.
During the national week, local realtors are encouraged to do good turns in their community.
Funds given to the Inn will help feed the 170 individuals in the care of the Inn, up significantly since the beginning of the pandemic.
Representatives of the Inn thanked the realtors for their donation as well as for their involvement year round in activities such as the annual CANstruction fundraiser as well as food drives.
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