R.E.S.T. Real Estate Straight Talk – The Early Bird

R.E.S.T. Series – Early Birds, Worms and Real Estate

Hey Everyone and welcome to our series where we talk about the career that we love… real estate.

What does R.E.S.T. stand for? real estate straight talk – where we give you the heads up, the real deal, real scenarios, myths and myth busting, the rules, the ethics, the process, the expectations – what you really need to know. Let’s dive in to today’s episode.


We’ve run into more than a few occasions when clients will call us and say “Hey! We’re ready to list our house – can you have it on the market tomorrow/ in a couple of days?”

We could certainly make it happen, and we have, but there are a few KEY points we want to make about when to actually get in touch with a REALTOR® in order to put your home on the market – it’s often the difference between more money in your pocket and a faster sale! – Yep, you heard it right….getting in touch last minute can affect your bottom line.


Before you even THINK about picking up that hammer…or calling a contractor that will…give your REALTOR® a call. Ultimately you are going to do what you want, but there are renovations that will bring you a return on the investment, and some that won’t. The basic rule of thumb for a renovation is that you “should” get a 40-50% return on the initial investment. Things like kitchens, bathrooms, flooring and lighting often get the highest return, followed by landscaping and additions. But the maximum return is often only offered when the renovation is functional appealing, and timeless.

We can’t tell you how many times we have been in trendy kitchens that one year got a 70% return on investment and only 20% the next because it was now out of style. Having been in thousands of homes, and seen thousands of renovations – a good REALTOR® can at least give you suggestions on the resale/investment value of what you are thinking.

Because you did hefty renovations may lead you to believe that you can get all your money back – so getting in touch with your REALTOR® before your reno, and well before you sell will help you understand the roll and price value your renovations will have on the market in your city…you don’t want your REALTOR® surprising you WHEN you are ready to go on the market – and we don’t like giving you that surprise!!


Improvements to your home is kind of a sub-category to renovations. It can include flooring, light fixtures, a new roof, new windows, added insulation in the attic. Improvements follow the same rule as renovations, but with a slightly lower ROI. What is critical to know here is that Buyers won’t necessarily pay a higher dollar for a new roof, or improved attic insulation – it is just an improvement that makes them feel more solid in their purchase, knowing you as the owner has taken care of the home. Improvements usually have more weight in the time it will take to sell your home. Confident buyers tend to move more quickly on homes they feel have been well taken care of.

The other side to improvements is this – the nanosecond you are thinking of selling your home – get in touch with your chosen REALTOR® so you can have a discussion on improvements you have already made, or improvements that you SHOULD make in order to get top dollar for your home. Sometimes something as simple as a fresh coat of paint that would cost you your time and a few cans of paint ($500) can get you an extra $5,000!!

A professional REALTOR® will be honest and forthright with their list of items that would be best to tackle before going on the market – and will outline the cost differential of doing it or not doing it when you sell.


Calling a professional REALTOR® early has other added bonuses. We know how a house should look for showings. We normally meet with you 3 or 4 times before we even decide on a time for the sale. We help you prepare lists of things to do, what to put away, what to keep out, paint colours, furniture placement etc. All this prep work usually makes for a much faster sale, closer to asking price as we help you keep the Buyers focus on the house and not the items in it.


Another reason to be an early bird with your REALTOR® – you have reasons for moving. Whether it is time to move to a bigger house, a smaller house, out of town, downsizing you will have priorities about your sale – when you want your closing or possession date to be, how long you are hoping to be on the market, what times you prefer your showings – the more you communicate your needs to your REALTOR® the less stressful the process becomes. If you call last minute, you and your REALTOR® may miss something critical to you – it helps your REALTOR® guide you, understand your needs and ultimately helps them negotiate much better on your behalf. The REALTOR® you pick should also be asking these questions no matter WHEN they meet you, if they aren’t concerned about your priorities, that’s a big ole red flag!! That worm is likely rotten 😉


Being an early bird in your communication with your REALTOR® will also help in picking the best time to put your home on the market. Every town, city and province is different in their busy/slow seasons, so the more time you have to plan for “BEST” timing, the better!


Our last point is that early communication will allow you and your REALTOR® to examine market conditions, both current and past – likely over the course of the last 6 months to a year. This strategy session gets you up to speed on what the market is doing. Is it a Seller’s market where properties are selling quickly and for more money? Is it a Buyer’s market where prices are lower and properties take longer to sell? Knowledge is power – but it takes some time to absorb it – so the earlier you contact a REALTOR® the faster they can help you read the market and know what to expect.

Personally, we love it when folks call us 6 months early so we can provide them with real time data all the way up to the time they go on the market – that way, they have watched the market with us and know what is likely to happen.

So if you have just started talking to your spouse, partner or friends about moving – IT’S ALREADY TOO LATE…just kidding – add your REALTOR® to the conversation, or start interviewing REALTORS® so you know what to expect from the process.


Real Life Real Estate Minute – Small 3 bedroom condo townhouse. I had sold it to them. They got in touch 6 months before they wanted to sell.  Tenanted – components sound, paint awful, bathroom dated, floors scratched.  Market value with no work – $195,000. Market value with $5,000 of work (paint, refinish wood floors, re-fresh bathroom (new vanity/sink/tub surround) got a sale price of $220,000 – $20,000 profit.

As always – if you liked what you heard, saw or read subscribe to our podcast, YouTube channel or Like our Facebook page to be notified of the next time we have some straight talk. Thanks for listening…and REST easy!

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Address:3B-2160 Montreal Road
Ottawa, Ontario
K1J 1G4


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