The REALTOR® Hunt: The Buying Side. Looking at homes can be one of the most exciting aspects of real estate. If you aren’t on a tight timeline, it can be a downright romantic experience! Having the right REALTOR® by your side is a game-changer. How do you find your Unicorn REALTOR®? Here are some tips!
Did you know that about 90% of the time (ok, we’re guessing), the Seller is the one paying the commission and the Buyer does not? Yes, there are instances where this is not the case, but it’s infrequent and your REALTOR® can guide you through this process. Guess what this means? You benefit from expert advice without having to pay cash for it.
Did you know that if a Buyer and Seller are represented by the same agent, that REALTOR® can no longer negotiate on either’s behalf? It’s a conflict of interest. They can’t take sides and they can’t offer expert advice. Having your own representation allows you and your Agent to develop a strategy to get you the absolute best price for the home.
When first starting the home buying search, the list of possibilities can be huge! However, a great REALTOR®, like the Natalie Berthiaume Group’s Agents (shameless plug) will quickly narrow that list down. Often we hear people say they looked at 50 plus homes before they chose one. Do you know what we hear when they tell us this? They were confused.
An educated buyer can eliminate properties that aren’t a good fit. An excellent REALTOR® can eliminate even more (with YOUR approval, of course). We do the leg work for you. We know certain things that you likely do not. This is why you rely on us! Backing onto a busy road? You may not like that, but why wait until you’re there to find this out? Most expensive house on the block? Maybe not a good fit if you’re planning to sell in the next couple of years.
Need a painter? We have one. Carpet expert? Roofing specialist? A straight-shooting Mortgage broker? An honest lawyer (for real)? We have great people and NEVER take a kickback. We want to work with the best, not the ones paying us to refer them. Didn’t know this was a thing? It is.
Looking for that really unique property? We have ways to find it. A great REALTORS® gets along with other great REALTORS® and we talk to each other! We can often get you into homes before they even hit the market. Sometimes it really is all about who you know.
A great REALTOR® sees things you will miss. We know to look for things and find the clues that would be valuable to you. Messy people? We can tell, even if it’s cleaned up! We look at finishing work, the neighbours, the plumbing components, and the functionality of a home. We see past the staging and can find the real pain points in any home. We’ve sat through countless home inspections and can tell you where the clean-out is, whether the basement is professionally finished, how the grading looks, signs of moisture in places you might not think to look, and so much more.
It’s no joke that you can form a great connection with your REALTOR®. Finding one that is sharp, knows the business, and can negotiate like hell for you is magical. If they share your love of dry humour, The Office, and wine, it can be even better than magical.
Contact us now to learn more about our tried, tested, and approved Buying Process! Not sure? Read our reviews to learn more about us! We’d love to help you complete your search for your Unicorn REALTOR®.
Airdrie Real Estate — Let’s talk COMMISSION. Many people do not realize that Realtors® do not have a “standard” commission rate that they charge. In Airdrie, and in fact, in all of Canada, we are not allowed to do so. The Competition Bureau of Canada strictly prohibits this and maintains that it is up to every individual agent to determine what they will charge.
For this reason, we believe it is extremely important to ask your agent not only what commissions they charge but MORE IMPORTANTLY, what services are included in that commission fee.
There is no right business model, but it is important to find the business model that makes you feel that you are getting the absolute best value. Don’t be afraid to interview a few Airdrie Realtors®.
1. What is your marketing plan? Does that include a digital marketing strategy? Can you clearly outline it and do you have a budget for this?
2. How do you plan to get my home “sale ready”? Do you have a team of experts that will assist with furniture placement, accessorizing? Do you have a handyman at the ready? Cleaners?
3. Do you have a system in place to ensure incredible communication? What kind of updates can we expect and how often will this happen?
4. Can you tell me what experience you have and in addition, what negotiation strategies are you familiar with and which do you typically use?
5. Are you resourceful and why?
6. Can you tell me what you think the strengths of my home are and what the weaknesses are?
7. Is there a marketing angle for my home?
8. How familiar are you with Airdrie homes and the communities within? How can this positively impact your selling strategy?
1. Do I like this person? Believe it or not, this really matters! Trust your gut.
2. Did the person adequately answer the above questions.
3. Would they walk through a jungle safari naked with raw steaks around their neck if I asked them to? Just kidding, I just wanted to check if you made it this far.
At Natalie Berthiaume Group, we do things a little differently. Need a locksmith? We have one. Need cleaners? We have them (Hey, Airdrie Lathered!). Need to know where to get the best pasta in town? We know! (Mmm Ferraro Truly Italian). We also have designers, decorators, painters, mortgage brokers, furniture companies, digital strategists, and an online coordination system to name a few.
We believe in a full-service, boutique-style, Airdrie focused, real estate experience (read our reviews, people love us!). We love the personal touch that only a truly committed professional can offer. We also like relaxed, happy people, and we make it our mission to get our clients to that happy place.
To learn more about who we are and what our values are, click here!
Your Airdrie Real Estate Group
My Tax Assessment — is it accurate? When I go to listing appointments and discuss the market value of a home with my clients, often they will reference the tax assessment. I am here to tell you that, very rarely does a tax assessment reflect the market value of a home. In fact, Realtors rarely pay attention to it! There is no general rule either, it isn’t always higher or always lower than the true value.
1. You didn’t get a basement permit. If you finished your basement but did not pull a permit, the city doesn’t actually know this. Therefore, it won’t be reflected in the value. P.s. it’s easier to sell a house with basement permits!
2. All those renovations you did? Again, the city doesn’t peek into your home when they do the assessments, they don’t know that you renovated the kitchen. The only way they find this out is if you pulled permits and gave them an estimate on the cost of the work.
3. They are basing their assessment on the assumption that your home is in decent condition. If there are holes in the wall, rotting decks, cat pee in the carpet, leaking appliances, etc. your home won’t sell for the same price the neighbours did that have everything in mint condition…unless you start fixing things up!
4. Market fluctuations. The assessments happen once per year. For example, your assessment was sent in January of 2021. This is based on sales from July 1st, 2019 – July 1, 2020. So it’s going as far back as 18 months ago. They time adjust it to July 1, 2020, which in my opinion adds a complicated layer. I understand that a blanket formula is needed for this kind of valuation but rarely do we as agents, time adjust (there are circumstances though where it’s necessary, but that’s another article). Guess who never typically goes this far back to determine value? Realtors. Guess what else wasn’t happening 18 months ago? COVID!!!
The City has a great method of determining a value for the purpose of collecting taxes. What I am here to tell you, is not to confuse this with market value (what your home can sell for today).
We are happy to come by to give you an honest assessment. It doesn’t matter if you’re not planning on selling. If you just want some peace of mind, we’re happy to help.
Here’s another tip, if you believe your home is worth substantially less than the City’s assessment, you can contact the City’s assessment department at 403-948-8855 to initiate an in-house review. This is where an assessor will verify property details, review the market value against comparable properties that have sold, and if an inspection is required/requested, that will also be completed.
If you would like access to more recent comparable sales to back up your claim, call us. Again, we are happy to help!
If you are still not satisfied with the result, you can file a complaint. Here is the link to the form you will need. If you have trouble getting the PDF to load (like I did), I can send it to you.
There is a time limit for filing a complaint, so you want to get the ball rolling sooner rather than later if you have concerns.
Here’s your last tip, lower assessments mean lower taxes. Don’t hold on to a high assessment because you think it will validate you in believing your home is worth more than it is. It doesn’t mean sh*t when you want to sell your house.
As always, I’m happy to filter the stress with unfiltered honesty.
Thinking of moving to Airdrie from Ontario? Right now, we are seeing such an influx of buyers from other provinces and the reason seems to be affordability. Airdrie is a fantastic family-oriented city that thrives on its resident’s love for shopping locally. If you’re looking for a little more info on what Airdrie is like to live in, search no further!
If you’ve dreamed of your children being able to walk to school, this is the place. With speed limits of 30 km/ hour on residential streets, children can safely walk to school, and worries over busy intersections are pretty rare. There are French-speaking schools here, public, Christian, and Catholic options as well as a private school.
Several prominent builders in the area are extremely reputable and build long-lasting quality homes. Of course, your local Airdrie agent can guide you in the right direction. Some of these include Genesis Builders Group, McKee Homes, Trico, Shane Homes, and NuVista. Often, they have tell-tale custom touches that a Realtor familiar with the area will recognize (like us).
Airdrie has experienced a ton of growth in the last ten years and most of the homes built here have gone up in the last twenty years. You are mostly dealing with newer homes and functional floor plans.
Shopping-wise, we have major name-brand stores like Wal-Mart, Superstore, Safeway, and Sobeys. There is also a Costco about ten minutes away (and it’s a pretty quiet one!). On a more local side, we have Homegrown Pantry, which showcases many local options for food, decor, and toiletries. We also have The Store Upstairs which has great women’s clothes and some great gift options. There are too many local shops to name, and they are all worth exploring.
Ferraro Truly Italian makes their noodles from scratch and their Foccacia and tomatoes are deadly good. Main Street BBQ offers some amazing smoked meat options, don’t even get me started on their pork belly! If you love a good burger, Abe’s Diner should not be missed. We also have some great sushi, Vietnamese, and Chinese food restaurants.
If you like beer, we have three breweries in town to quench your thirst. Fitzsimmons, 948, and Balzac Brewing keep us watered year-round. If you’re more of a wine -lover, Highlander Wine is the place to go. They have so many choices and the staff knows what they’re talking about.
Airdrie also has a minor league Hockey, Baseball, Soccer, and Basketball Association. Youth sports are an integral part of our community and we have some pretty great teams!
Supremely located you are close to the Calgary Airport and the mountains are only a quick trek away!
If you have any questions about why Airdrie is a fantastic place to live, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We are your local experts and are happy to guide out-of-province buyers so they are able to make the very best choice for their families!
As a local expert in Airdrie Homes with over 10 years of being licensed as a Realtor, I’ve put together the things I wish you knew prior to meeting with our team. So without further ado, here you are, my fellow Airdrie people!
1. We are not the buyer. You don’t need to clean for hours before we come. We can see past clutter and dirt. Don’t waste your time and energy on this. We have a full suite of partners that we include as part of our listing package that is designed to assist you in these areas. We will help you every step of the way to get your home into that pristine condition for when it hits the market.
2. We probably don’t need a copy of the photos you took in the summer. Unless you’re a professional photographer, the photos will likely not make the cut. However, if we know in the summer that we’ll be listing your home in the winter, we’ll send our professionals out to do the job properly when things are in full bloom. Curious about what our listings look like? Click here to see our latest listings!
3. We like wine.
4. We have kids, dogs, and are juggling careers too. We’re not here to judge you. In fact, we can probably relate to you better than you think when your toddlers race through the room pantless or when your dog jumps up and licks our face…with dirty paws. We’re on your side every step of the way, hopefully with some laughs here and there to lighten things up.
5. It’s best to tell us. You might not want to tell us that the dishwasher is leaking, or that you don’t like your neighbours, or that traffic is awful during school drop-off times, but trust us, the more we know, the better we are able to help you. We pride ourselves on being solution-minded and creative in our marketing. If we know all the angles, we can craft the best strategies.
6. We like wine.
7. You don’t need to tell us you’re not in a rush to sell. If we had a dollar for every time we heard this, we’d be rich. When you work with us, we commit to getting you top dollar coupled with unparalleled service, but we also know a secret. The secret is that the longer a home sits on the market, the less desirable it becomes, and hence, the less that people are willing to act. Having a strong pricing strategy at the outset is the key to getting the highest price. The newest home on the market is always the most desirable.
8. Expect to put the work in. We work differently than most other Agents. We want you to put the work in before going on the market so that once that For Sale sign goes up on the lawn, you can put your feet up. We are huge believers in cultivating incredible first impressions. This means that we want the home to look spectacular and we know how to make it happen. We bring in the designers and cleaners and you, in turn, commit to the process.
9. Have we mentioned we like wine?
10. We don’t always know the answer. The longer we are in this business, the more we realize that the learning never stops. We promise however that if we don’t know, we will certainly find out. We don’t believe in lazy guesses, but rather pride ourselves on finding the facts and accurately presenting them.
If you’re in the market to sell your Airdrie home, please consider getting in touch with us. We’d love to hear from you and we might even bring you some wine!
Choosing to buy a home is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in your life. It’s a complex ordeal that requires a lot of planning and of course, having a great Agent with expert local knowledge is key! Here is our simple Step by Step Guide to Buying.
It’s important to set goals when starting your search & knowing what you can afford is a key factor. Therefore, if you need help, please ask me! I have some great mortgage partners.
In order to get to where you want to go, it’s important to look at your timelines. Some things to consider are whether you’re in a fixed-term lease, whether holidays will affect the future possession date and whether the property is occupied or vacant. We can discuss average possession day periods & how best to leverage your options so that you are in the best possible position.
The time has arrived for our first initial meeting (whether in-person or virtually). In addition, we will discuss all of your wants, needs, hopes & dreams…because, why not? Do you love a bungalow or a two-storey? Is a busy street a deal-breaker? Are you planning for children and because of this, are schools important to you? Our team has over 100 specific questions that we ask our buyers in order to really drill down exactly what style of home and what Airdrie neighbourhood will be the best fit for them.
Now that we’ve established our criteria, we’ll want to set you up on a search through our Pillar9 system that leaves no stone unturned. From there, we’ll review the local listings together & ensure they match what you are looking for.
This is the fun part! Together we’ll pound the pavement and see if the Airdrie homes we viewed online match what we discover in person. Like online dating, some homes look better in pictures than they do in person! And others may not be quite as photogenic, but we connect with them in person. Our team is also known for throwing in “wild card” listings that we curate for you and surprise you with. It makes the house hunting experience feel like a really positive adventure.
At this point, you’ll be feeling educated enough to write an offer. This is when things get really fun! We will be there every step of the way to guide you and ensure that you are strategically positioned to get your dream home for the best possible price!
In conclusion, we truly pride ourselves in helping our clients find the absolute best home that is right for them. We are locally based in Airdrie and we know the communities inside and out. We work hard, research a ton, and do the leg work so you don’t have to. We are also armed with a ton of amazing resources and are always happy to point you in the right direction.
Let your Airdrie real estate search start today!
Here’s why you need a Realtor® when you build. You are thinking of building a home in Airdrie. Did you know that our team often represents buyers? Do you know why?
Did you know that many Builders will pay Realtor® commissions so you don’t have to? This is a great opportunity for a Buyer and at no cost to them!
Read below to understand the value a great Airdrie Realtor® brings to the build process:
1. Pricing! We can help you negotiate a great price. We also understand the values in your community and will ensure you’re not overpaying or over-building.
2. We have an expert understanding of resale value. Knowing whether the road will be busy in the future, whether the backyard will get any sun, or whether the garage size is adequate for the community, are all things that can help you to build a home that will not only serve your needs; but will also offer you a great return on your investment.
3. We are a great asset for the final walk-through. We have a keen eye for deficiencies and can point out what’s acceptable and what’s so it’s not all left to you and your experience.
4. We can help you with the contract jargon. Default, Binding Agreement, Apportionment of Price, no biggie. We can also question terms that aren’t clear to us to ensure you know what you’re signing.
5. We have built homes before. Having built a home personally and been through the process, we know some of the things to expect. We also know some common mistakes that get made (an open office, no bonus room, north backyard, etc.)!
6. We understand floor plans. We can look through them and see where some issues might arise. Maybe the stairs could be wider, perhaps the kid’s room is too small. We can help!
7. We are working for you and only you. We aren’t employed by the Builder which means that we are free to act entirely in your best interest. There is NO conflict. A Builder’s representative works for the Builder. This doesn’t mean that they are bad people, in fact, there are some amazing builder representatives out there and we know them well! But the truth is, they cannot advocate in the same way a Realtor® can.
Did you also know that great Builders encourage Realtors® to be a part of the process?
Here is a funny quirk in the process that a lot of people don’t realize: If you walk into a Showhome unaccompanied (without your Airdrie Realtor®), some Builders will construe this to mean that you are not working with a Realtor® and they will then be unwilling to allow the Realtor® to be a part of the process (or pay us any commission which puts us in a tricky spot).
This is incredibly frustrating for our industry because Buyers like to window shop (don’t we all?) and often like to do so on a whim! This doesn’t mean they don’t want expert advice when they’re ready to act though.For this reason, a good rule of thumb is to call your Realtor® to let them know if you are planning to visit a showhome. From there, they can either plan to meet you or they can call ahead to the Builder to find out their protocol.
Here is what a great Builder’s representative helps us with: knowledge of the floor plans, an understanding of the custom options that are available, some excellent ideas for adjusting floor plans, an understanding of the inventory, and putting together an offer that complies with the Builder’s requirements, to name a few. In short, they are an amazing asset and a huge, necessary part of the process! Working in tandem with a Realtor® and a great Builder representative is absolutely the best possible outcome for a Buyer looking to get the most value out of the process.
We have worked with some excellent builders in Airdrie & surrounding areas already this year and we can truly say, they offer an exceptional product. They also welcome Realtors®. These include Broadview Homes, Genesis Homes, and McKee Homes.
If you have any further questions, feel free to reach out!
Natalie & Lindsay
Your local Airdrie Realtors®