HOW CHANGING COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS ARE IMPACTING THE REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY IN NOVA SCOTIA (Updated May 10th)
With COVID-19 cases surging in Nova Scotia, there have been a few changes that impact the real estate market in our province. On Friday the NS government announced that the NS border would close to those moving to NS until the end of May.
While the purchase and sale of real estate can continue, there are a few things that will affect buyers.
Buyers cannot come to Nova Scotia to house hunt, even with isolating, until the border restrictions have been lifted. Only people who have a new permanent address are allowed to enter, and they must self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival.
Restrictions also affect buyers currently living in Nova Scotia, as buyers are not permitted to attend a viewing or an inspection if the property is outside their community, which is defined as their municipality. An Agreement of Purchase and Sale does not fall under the travel restriction exemption for legal reasons.
We have also been asked to limit real estate activities to those deemed essential - i.e. if you are a renter and your lease is expiring this would be deemed essential but if you are shopping for a vacation property this would not be seen as essential and you should put your plans on pause until after restrictions are lifted.
Fines for not following health regulations are as high as $2000 per person as of Sunday.
Relocating to Nova Scotia? Here is some additional information just for you:
Moving to Nova Scotia - The Exceptions
On Friday the NS government announced that the NS border would close to those moving to NS until the end of May. As of May 10th, the Province announced that compassionate exemptions to enter Nova Scotia for individuals who have a:
Send your compassionate exception request to email@example.com and include the following travel details:
Planning to travel to NS, please review the Provincial website here: https://novascotia.ca/coronavirus/restrictions-and-guidance/#compassionate-exceptions
Once individuals have entered the province, they must continue straight to their new home to isolate themselves for 14 days. This means that you’ll need to come prepared with everything you need for those 14 days or make arrangements to have supplies dropped off in a contact-free method.
What’s Stayed The Same
In the Real Estate Industry, we stay committed to making sure our clients, and the public as a whole, are safe.
5 reasons to build over buying
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result."
— Albert Einstein
This quote has come to mind a couple of times over the last few months—typically 6 months into a housing search or around offer number 8 for my buyer clients.
It's after several disappointments and stressful multiple-offers situations when it becomes apparent that we need to regroup and try a different strategy as the market continues to heat up.
Maybe it's paying down debt to increase their purchasing power, looking a little outside their desired neighbourhood, or becoming open to taking on a few more renovations (hey, pink carpet isn’t that bad).
A few weeks ago, I was standing inside a 3-year-old home on a very undesirable lot—no privacy, super long driveway, drainage ditch in the middle of the front yard—a home that would be very tough to sell in any other market, but in this market would sell for $50,000 over asking.
This was our 'time to regroup' moment. I realized they could build this home, brand new, on a nicer lot for the same price that this home would sell for.
If you are looking to make a move but don't want to wade into the current resale home market, here are the top 5 reasons to consider building in 2021.
Shrinking Inventory of Resale Homes
There are very few resale homes on the market; the number of active listings is actually at a 30 year low.
This limited selection of homes means you could be waiting a very long time for a home that suits your needs to come to market.
Choosing to build a custom home means that you can work with a builder to design your dream home or tweak existing plans to get exactly what you want – no need to wait for the perfect home to hit MLS
Avoid the bidding wars
Where multiple offers have become commonplace in the resale market, the supply of available lots in most new neighbourhoods exceeds the current level of demand. Meaning you can skip the bidding war and purchase a home for list price.
New construction homes are priced based on the market value and cost to build, meaning it's unlikely that you will overpay for a home.
Skip the renovations
When shopping for resale homes with buyers, there are very few times when a buyer walks in and says “I love absolutely everything about this house.”
They often have a laundry list of items that they plan to change after purchasing the home, whether it's something small like paint colour or something much larger like the layout.
By building, you have the opportunity to choose the finishes including flooring, cabinets, siding, trim, and paint colour to ensure the home is uniquely you, right from the start.
One of the most challenging aspects of buying a home in 2021 is trying to plan, especially if you have a home to sell—putting you into tough competition with new homebuyers moving from apartments at the home seller's convenience.
It's hard to know when the perfect resale home will come to market or if you will be the successful bidder. Building gives you the certainty of knowing what your next step will be and often gives you 8 months to plan.
Gain peace of mind
Most builders are partnered with a new home warranty program.
This often includes a 1 year bumper to bumper (or deck to deck) warranty which covers any issues that may arise in your first year of ownership plus a 7-10 year warranty on major structural defects, giving you peace of mind on your investment.
Planning your March break staycation in halifax
It's March again and this year's March Break is stacking up to be a #Staycation instead of a vacation off in sunnier locals. That doesn't mean it can't be an adventure! One of my favourite parts of being a Realtor is exploring neighbourhoods across Nova Scotia, so here are my top picks for family-friendly March Break activities around the HRM.
downtown halifax art walk
Did you know that there are over 20 murals located in Downtown Halifax? A self-guided tour of these murals and other public art pieces can be found on the Downtown Halifax Business Commission’s website:
Downtown Halifax Art Walk
Because it's outside, this activity would make for a good chance to join up with close family friends for a walk downtown in the warming temperatures.
I recommend starting your exploration at 5151 South Street where you can pick up one of Rousseau Chocolatier's house hot chocolates before heading to the core of downtown. Make sure to have your camera ready!
Weather not cooperating?
The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia will be open for extended hours —March 11-21, consecutively— over March Break. You can explore their current collections including Gigante's Mechanical Eye: Views Of 19th Century Naples which is running from February 1st to May 9th alongside their extensive regular exhibitions.
Photo by @pie_humble on Instagram
Lunch In Downtown Dartmouth
Looking to make a day of it? Take the Ferry to Downtown Dartmouth where you can grab a Humble Pie to refuel, before checking out the 15 public art pieces on the Downtown Dartmouth Art & Selfie Walk.
Photo by @adelenatalieb on Instagram
Skating at the oval
Enjoy a skate time at the Emera Oval. Over March Break, The Oval will be offering 6 one-hour skates per day. Skaters can register up to 48 hours in advance of their desired skate time, meaning if you hope to skate at noon on Wednesday you can book as early as noon on Monday.
You can book online here or by calling 902 490 6666 between 8:30 am- 4:30 pm daily.
Photo by @acorn_art_photography on Instagram
Take a Drive to Peggy’s Cove
The winter is the perfect time to enjoy this iconic Nova Scotia tourist attraction without all the crowds! Bundle up and head out to watch the waves and explore the rocks. On the way, stop by the new coffee shop/café Labour Day Picnic Café located at Paul’s Hall in Glen Haven. Grab a soup or sandwich off their “Lunch(ish) Menu” or a coffee and a sweet treat from Lure Caramels for the road.
Photo by The Discovery Centre
Visit The Discovery Center
Explore over 40,000 sq ft of fun, hands-on learning experiences or check out their latest feature exhibit, JoyLab!, and discover how your surroundings can spark joy. The Discovery Centre may just be the #1 Stay-cation March Break Destination
Tickets for March Break, March 13-21, can be reserved on a 72-hour rolling schedule. Meaning you can book up to 72 hours in advance of your desired visit date. Tickets will start selling on March 10th at 8:30 am for visits on March 13th and will continue on a rolling basis for the duration of March Break.
Make it an overnight stay
Looking to make your visit to the Discovery Centre extra special? You can pair it with a downtown hotel stay. Check out this great package from the 4 Points Sheraton.
DISCOVERY CENTRE PACKAGE (From $129 per night):
- Overnight Stay
- Free heated underground parking ($25.00 value)
- Discovery Centre family pass ($48.00 value)
- 2 $5 vouchers for Cabin Coffee
Bonus Tip: Dine around Halifax has been extended until the end of March! Check out my top picks for Dine Around Here.
Guest Post: Home Staging for The Real Estate Market with Maureen Kennedy, USC™ of stagehomesright.ca
Stage Right is both a Home Staging and ReDesign service. They work with homeowners, real estate professionals, investors, and builders to provide quality home staging that will bring top dollar sales in your target market. Here's what they had to say about staging your home for listing:
Staging is about making your home visually appealing and welcoming to prospective buyers. In many homes only minor tweaks or temporary adjustments are needed to make your home presentable.
Here are 5 major tips & tricks I always tell my clients:
Our homes are filled with memories that tell our story, but we don’t live in our homes like we sell them. Remove personal items such as family photos, trophies, and sentimental items. Maybe paint that bright coloured wall to neutralize the space, so that prospective buyers can see the chapter of their story as soon as they walk through the front door.
The biggest reason people give for moving to a new house is lack of space in their current house. They feel they have outgrown the space. They are therefore looking for a home that gives them that space, and more to grow into. If they come to your home and see that you are running out of space, it’s the biggest turnoff you could give. Simple decluttering will really make all the difference. Simply pack away items that you don’t need until after the move, to make more space in the house.
A clean home shows potential buyers that you've taken good care of the property. Ideally, you should clean every part of the house, from the floors to the ceilings—and everything in between. Make sure your appliances are spotless inside and out. Likewise, make sure your bathrooms sparkle, from the corners of the tub, to the sink drain, to that spot behind the toilet you don't think anyone can see. Your goal should be to make everything look new.
4. Making the Most of your Space.
Every room should have its own purpose and function as it was originally to be. An example, if a dining room is being used as children’s playroom, then the children’s toys should be moved to another location in the house and proper dining room furniture be set up. Only 10% of the population can see the rooms potential if being used for an alternative purpose.
5. Curb Appeal:
Before a buyer even steps through your front door, you’ve created a first impression. Keeping the outside of your home clean and tidy improves your home’s curb appeal and will make a difference when you’re looking to sell. Simply paint the front door, replace old hardware, tidy your garden and spruce up your entrance by placing a chair and small table to the side of the door.
Listing Cheat Sheet:
The New Year is the perfect time to reflect, so I wanted to take a look back at 2020 in Real Estate. Below are the top trends that dominated the Halifax Real Estate Market last year:
1. Record Prices
I started my first market update of 2020 with a series of news headlines:
In 2020, we saw the average house price in Halifax rise by 14.6% (compared to the norm of 4-6% annually) leaving first-time buyers with fears of being priced out of the market.
What didn’t happen: Back in the spring, CMHC CEO Evan Siddall forecasted a 9-18% drop in average house prices over the next 12 months. This prediction was based on the belief that we would see a high number of foreclosures once homeowners were no longer able to defer mortgage payments.
With prices on the rise and increasing homeowner equity, it is unlikely we will see a high number of foreclosures as sellers in financial trouble will opt to sell rather than foreclose. Several Canadian economists have spoken out and said the CMHC Housing Market Forecast is no longer relevant.
2. Record Low Inventory Levels
We started 2020 with record low inventory levels in Halifax, entrenching the sellers’ market that had been building in our city since 2018.
Add in a pandemic and we saw the number of new listings drop between 65-70% each week as sellers held off on listing their properties amid uncertainty in the market and fear of community spread.
What’s causing these record low inventory levels? Millennials.
The Demographic cohort following Generation X and preceding Generation Z, are now 27-40 years of age and have entered their peak home-buying years. Millennials make up 31% of the population in North America and represent 45% of new mortgage applications. What we are experiencing is termed the Millennial Draw Down.
As such a significant portion of the population enters the housing market for the first time, we are seeing Millennials buy up home inventory at a faster rate than the inventory comes to market.
What slim pickings mean for buyers: Low inventory means you need to be on your toes when you go house hunting—the best homes will likely be snatched up fast. Check out my post on buying a home in a seller’s market for more tips.
3. Spring Market?
The timing of the first wave of COVID-19 in our province disrupted our Spring market which is usually considered the hottest season for real estate. We often see the highest number of new listings and highest number of sales in the spring, but this year people pushed pause on their real estate goals—unable to take advantage of the buying or selling process as it once was.
The lack of a traditional spring market didn’t hurt our overall annual sales numbers. A surge in home sales toward the end of 2020 actually made up for the spring market losses.
13,923 properties sold in Nova Scotia over the course of 2020. This was an increase of 13% from the same period in 2019 and marked the highest level of any year in history, beating the previous record set in 2019 by more than 1,500 sales.
4. Home Became More Important Than Ever
With Canadians spending more time at home, 2020 was the year that 'home' became more important than ever.
It became the office, the school, the gym, the restaurant, the movie theatre and even the bakery—as it seemed that record numbers of Canadians learned to bake sourdough during 2020.
What this meant for the Real Estate Industry is that we saw an increase of potential buyers shopping for homes online as they became keenly aware of the issues with their current home; visits to Realtor.ca were up 35% in 2020.
The type of home searched for shifted. We saw an increase in demand for bigger homes, further from the urban core, that provided the space for the multiple uses we began demanding of our home in 2020.
Commute time mattered less as offices transitioned to work from home – some permanently. And outdoor space became extremely valuable in the wake of public green spaces being shut.
Looking back on this year, 2020 will be seen as the year home became more important than ever.
How to get the best price for your home in 2021
Over the last few weeks, I have been taking calls from several homeowners who are looking to take advantage of this sellers’ market. But maximizing your sale price during a hot market means more than sticking a “for sale” sign on your lawn and hoping for the best.
In order to maximize your sale price, you need to create a high level of demand when listing and position your home for multiple offers. Below are my top tips for sellers hoping to score multiple offers.
In a sellers’ market, there is always the temptation to push the envelope on pricing; to price slightly above the market and set a record price for your home and the neighbourhood.
However, pricing your home above market value will decrease the number of showings your home gets when it hits the market—and the key to getting multiple offers on your home is having multiple showings.
When you price your home slightly lower, it can often create a frenzy among buyers and drive up the price.
Have you ever watched an auction? It's like that, where everyone wants to acquire the home for a bargain, but the demand and attention it gets from other buyers increases the resulting sale price and maybe sets a record price for your neighbourhood.
This doesn't mean you have to give away the farm. When looking at recent solds for your neighbourhood, it’s best to list your home as a slight discount—not at a slight premium—to attract the most buyers' attention.
2. Give potential buyers and agents lots of time to view.
As I mentioned above, in order to maximize the sale price—we need to maximize the number of showings.
You don’t want to miss a qualified, motivated buyer because you had too many other showings booked or too many restrictions around showing your home.
Only a year ago it was common for homes to list and accept offers on the same day. Which sounds great in theory, but this limited the number of agents and buyers who were able to view the home before offers were reviewed and accepted.
Accepting the first offer to come in limits the opportunity for multiple offers and can prevent you from maximizing your sale price.
Is each day your home sits on the market inconvenient? Yes. Frustrating? Sometimes. A challenge to keep the place clean and ready to view? Absolutely.
I recommend listing your home and setting a specific day and time to review offers. And then make yourself scarce for those days in between.
That means you can get your home show-ready once, and don’t need to re-clean and re-stage in between each showing.
This also gives potential buyers lots of time to view your property. Thursdays are great days to list as buyers often have more flexibility to view homes on the weekend.
3. Preparation! Preparation! Preparation!
In Real Estate, they say Location! Location! Location! But as a seller looking to maximize your sale price, the phrase should be Preparation! Preparation! Preparation!
You're not trying to create a situation in which your home barely edges out the listing down the street in the hearts and minds of your target buyer. If you want multiple offers, you need multiple buyers to fall deeply in love with your home—enough to bid above the list price and enough to compete with others for it.
And this work starts weeks before you hit the market.
To generate multiple offers, prepare your home by ensuring it is:
And get ready to sing your homes’ praises. If you've done any major home improvements or replaced any appliances or systems lately, market that! Show off how immaculate, adorable and move-in ready your home is now—and tout its great working condition for the long run.
4. Expose it to the market.
Have a plan to maximize your property’s exposure on the market. The first step is sharing your property BEFORE you list.
‘Coming Soon’ messaging can double your marketing exposure and have buyers lining up the day it lists.
Coming soon or pre-list marketing could include a “for sale sign” with a coming soon rider, a social media teaser campaign or direct mail to your neighbours since they already know how great it is to live on your street.
With effective pre-list marketing, you can start racking up the showing requests even before you hit the MLS.
Pro tip: Host an agent pre-view the day before you hit the market. Agents love the opportunity to share off-market properties with their clients so an agent pre-view can help generate that buzz you’re looking for.
If you’re thinking of listing your property and you aren’t sure if right now is the best time, I’d love to chat about some things you can do to prepare your home for listing.
I’ve talked about how to take advantage of the seller’s market to get the best price for your home, but what if you’re on the other side of the equation? Navigating a home purchase can be stressful on its own—but in a hot seller’s market, there’s even more to consider.
In a seller’s market, there are more people shopping for homes than there are listings for sale giving sellers the upper hand. A seller’s market is characterized by:
As a buyer, you need to be ready to move fast, negotiate generously, and prepare for rejection. Maybe more than once.
Having an agent working to support you makes the process easier, so here are my top tips for buyers looking to stay competitive in a seller’s market.
Get pre-approval before you start shopping
In competitive offer situations, the first thing the listing agent wants to know is if the buyer is pre-approved.
Being able to send in a pre-approval letter with your offer proves that you are serious and gives the sellers confidence that the deal won’t fall apart on financing down the road.
While you’re at it, be sure to gather the income documents your lender requires (proof of income, proof of assets, and employment verification) in advance of submitting an offer.
In order to make your offer more competitive, you will want to shorten the condition deadlines as much as possible, which doesn’t leave much time to track down these documents after your offer is accepted.
I’ve talked about lending questions with Alex Lavender, Mortgage Broker previously and you can find out more about getting pre-approved here.
Shop all winter long
Having a little less competition can go a long way in landing the right home. Some buyers tend to hibernate during the winter months in favour of waiting for the infamous ‘spring market’ when the real estate industry kicks it into high gear for the warmer months.
Winter is a great time to shop as sellers who list mid-winter are often more motivated and you’ll face much less competition.
Stay alert. Sign up for an e-notification.
This ensures that you get an email alert the minute a property that matches your search criteria hits that market. You don’t want to miss out on “the one” because you went out to grab a coffee on your work break instead of checking Realtor.ca.
Schedule house tours ASAP
Once a property you like becomes available, it probably won’t last long. Make sure you give yourself an opportunity to get in on the action by going to see it as soon as possible, even if it means being a little flexible in other areas of your schedule.
Write a strong offer
Unfortunately, a seller’s market is not the time to try and score a deal.
Ask yourself how upset you’ll be if you lose out on this house, and then write your offer accordingly. If you really love it, don’t be afraid to go in above the asking price. (And a heartfelt letter to the sellers included in the offer never hurts.)
Hire an Expert
Don’t get swept up in the seller’s market. Hiring a neighbourhood expert means having someone working in your best interest, so you’re not overpaying for a property or relying on over-offering to get the property you love.
There are lots of ways to write an attractive offer and working with a professional means having insight into the market to so that you can write a winning offer
Not sure where to get started in your house search? Set up a free buyer's seminar to learn what you can do to find a home in the current market.
Last minute gift guide for Nova Scotia
Giving can be one of the most rewarding parts of the Holiday season, but finding the perfect gift can also be quite stressful.
So if you're finding yourself in a situation where you need to grab a last-minute gift for your sister-in-law in time for dinner on Friday, I've got you covered. These are just a few of my favourite local gifts to give—and don't fret, I've already checked ahead to see if they still have gifts available for you!
Gift boxes from Obladee
Their Holiday Gift Boxes make the perfect gift for friends, family or colleagues to enjoy that holiday party vibe at home in their own bubble. Each box includes: a bottle of wine (choice of Sparkling, White or Red), 3 x 150g wedges of Cheese (that’s a lot!), their house-made Cold Snap Pear & Cranberry Chutney, house-made Chocolate, and their own Sea-Bound Coast Crisps. All tied up with a ribbon and personalized gift note! You can also upgrade your wine to a special Cellar Selection for $20 more.
Order yours here by December 22nd to receive it on the 23rd.
GIFT BOXES FROM Lucky penny
Lucky Penny is one of my go-to coffee places when I need a pick-me-up between showings. Their gift boxes feature locally made goods including freshly roasted coffee, local preserves, house-made granola and the hard-to-find King North chocolate. These gift boxes are great for giving the experience of a cozy morning cup of their favourite beverage when you can't be there to enjoy it together.
They have boxes for the coffee lover and tea lover, as well as one for the maritime pantry box for sending to friends away from home. You can check them all out right here.
Greeting cards and gifts from Inkwell
Nothing says Christmas quite like taking a stroll down to Inkwell to pick up greeting cards. I had mine custom created by Hello Sweetie this year, but if you're looking to get your hands on cards or gifts by local makers, Inkwell supports over 200 independent artists in this one location. They curate their products with a focus on illustrative items, the boutique showcases an array of handmade products—art prints, homewares, ceramics, textiles, jewellery, apothecary and other great gift ideas—that would make a perfect last-minute pick. Check out their website for details on how to arrange your order for curbside pickup or stop by in person.
Just be aware they're only allowing for 3 people in at a time and, as always, masks are mandatory. (Find there's a bit of a line? Check out Taiyaki52 next door for a warm cup of tea or coffee while you wait).
holiday bundles from good robot
Good Robot is a staple for summers in Halifax. Their beer garden is located at 2736 Robie Street in Halifax and their retail hours are between 12 pm-9 pm daily. While the taproom is currently closed, you can still pick up your favourite brews safely. If you have someone who loves craft beer, you can surprise them with Good Robot beer, gift wrapped and delivered right to their doorstep.
The last day for delivery is December 22nd so make sure you grab yours asap.
Gin Royal from compass distillers
You might know the name Compass Distillers from the beginning of the pandemic when they started producing hand sanitizer to help with shortages across Halifax. In a normal year, they're better known for Artisan Craft Spirits made from scratch, with locally sourced ingredients, by people who have a passion for the process and the result.
For the gin lover in your life, I recommend their Gin Royal.
Gin Royal is distilled with Nova Scotian wheat and classic gin botanicals. Slightly sweetened with royal jelly & local honey, this royal blue gin derives its regal colour from an infusion of butterfly pea blossom and a dollar from every purchase helps protect the bees!. Limited retail hours available for pick up.
Wine from benjamin bridge
Nothing says celebration more than sparkling wine and Benjamin Bridge makes internationally recognized sparkling wine right here in Nova Scotia. Produced essentially the same way as Champagne, with all the labour intensive rituals, craftsmanship, and care, their NV Brut is a premium sparkling wine for a fraction of the cost of Champagne. Enjoy a glass with your turkey or as a toast to 2021.
The winery is located in the Gaspereau Valley but for those in the Halifax Metro, they offer contactless free delivery, right up until Dec 24. Order online right here.
Gift boxes from Lightfoot & Wolfville
Lightfoot & Wolfville is owned and operated by the Lightfoot family who have been farming in the Annapolis Valley for eight generations. This year I've been enjoying their gift boxes, since it takes a lot of guesswork out of delighting my friends and loved ones. Gift boxes range in price from $50 - $100 dollars and include a bottle of their fantastic wine and some Lightfoot & Wolfville merchandise. Their soy wine bottle candle in Chardonnay, Lemongrass and Tea Tree is one of my favourite housewarming gifts. They are offering contactless delivery in HRM, the Valley and South Shore. The cutoff for Christmas Eve delivery is Tuesday at midnight.
Books from nimbus publishing
Nimbus produces more than fifty new titles a year on a range of subjects relevant to the Atlantic Provinces— children’s picture books and fiction, literary non-fiction, social and cultural history, nature photography, current events, biography, sports, and cultural issues.
I recommend 'If I Had an Old House on the East Coast.' for anyone who loves old houses or who might be away from home this holiday. With a deep appreciation for the East Coast, This book shares a dream of falling in love with an old house and breathing new life into it and is beautifully illustrated by Nova Scotia artist, Kat Frick Miller They're open until noon on the 24th via the Open Book Coffee next door who stocks their titles!
After a year that marked one of the hottest real estate markets on record in Nova Scotia, I'm looking forward to safe and happy holidays with my family while these local companies help with the contactless delivery of gifts to friends and loved ones across the province.
7 Tips for selling your home around the holidays
When you think about the holidays, buying or selling a home might not be at the top of your holiday list. But here in Nova Scotia, the market has continued to see strong demand from buyers and many homeowners are taking advantage of the market to get the best price for their home. If you're thinking of listing this holiday season, here are my top tips for selling your home during the holidays.
One of the advantages of selling your home over the holidays is that cozy decorations can make your home feel extra welcoming. Wrap a string of twinkling lights around the bannister, drape a garland over the mantelpiece—but be careful not to overdo it. Large decorations can crowd your home and distract buyers.
Bonus tip: Pack away some of your year-round décor before adding any holiday decorations to avoid overcrowding.
Your home’s exterior can appear starker and less inviting in the winter months. Take advantage of this warm late-fall weather to enhance your home’s curb appeal by touching up paint, cleaning the gutters, and sprucing up the yard.
And be sure to keep buyers’ safety top of mind if we end up with a 'White Christmas' by keeping stairs and walkways free of snow and ice.
Bonus tip: Take it easy on the inflatable lawn decorations and Griswold-style light displays. Less is more when it comes to exterior decorations. Simple string lights can help play up your home’s architecture and won’t come across as tacky.
Now is not the time to save a few dollars on your heating bill. Make sure you crank the heat to make your home feel warm and inviting for buyers escaping the cold. A cozy home will encourage buyers to linger and admire your home’s best features.
In a seller’s market, it can be tempting to try to push the envelope on price but around the holidays, when fewer buyers are searching, you run the risk of spending too many days on the market and making it harder for serious buyers to find your home.
Looking for more information on pricing? We did a whole newsletter on different pricing strategies: Read it here.
Homebuyers are pickier about booking showings when they start to hibernate during the colder months. Make a good impression by offering lots of flattering, high-quality photos of your home.
Bonus tip: Have spring and summer photos of your home available so buyers can see how your home looks year-round.
Life can be hectic during the holidays, and it may not be convenient to show your home if you’re cooking a holiday meal or if you have plans to celebrate with your bubble. It’s better to block off times that you are unwilling to show your home in advance so that buyers can plan accordingly versus declining showings after you have received the request.
You may receive fewer viewings during the Christmas period—but viewing requests are more likely to be from committed buyers. Remain cool, and refrain from jumping into the first sale.
As we work our way toward the holidays, I'm looking forward to coming up with even more great articles for you to read in the new year. Is there a question we haven't covered yet? Comment below with your top questions on buying and selling homes in Nova Scotia!
Real Estate Advisor based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I help people buy and sell homes with Engel & Völkers.