True Stories from the radio show

Inside Real Estate with Irv Tremblay

There are always exceptions to the rule, and this story is one of them.  I listed a property that really showed like a show home, it was very nice.  It was an older home, in a smaller subdivision.  When I talked to agents about the price of this home, they just laughed.  They told me that I would never get that price, in that subdivision, in this market.

I went on to sell these agents on the property, and remember, that is my job to sell" the agents who are working with buyers.  We sold it the first day it came on the market to an agent that I talked to a week prior.  I can't give out the address before it goes on the market, but I told them how great the property was.


I had a client who had to sell by the end of the month.  We had reduced the price, and made it very competitive.  An agent brought us an offer, and was offering way below what we were asking. This agent didn't do a good job of telling their buyer that the price was recently reduced, and was a very good price.

We rejected this offer, without countering, or even responding.  The buyer was very surprised, and my seller was a bit concerned about losing this buyer.  I explained that it didn't matter, because we are going to get closer to asking price.  A lot of agents don't do that, they want to counter, but in this case, we would have shown our hand if we countered.  We would have been telling them that we were willing to accept less than asking price.

In the end, they re-wrote and offer, we rejected it again, and then they wrote a good offer, which we accepted.


I featured a property at Pasqua Lake on the radio show.  This really is the jewel of the lake.  We listed it at $700,000, and sold it for $700,000 in 3 weeks.  We had a virtual tour on the web for it, and big signs on the lake, but that's not what got it sold.

It is my job to sell the other agents on the property, and on the price.  I talked to one agent 2 days prior to selling it.  I sold him on the property, told him how we arrived at the price.  That agent brought the buyer who ended up buying the property.  Of course, there's more to it than that, but it was me working with the other agents that got the deal done.

In this area, most of the property listings have no information on them.  The listing agent wants you to call them and have them represent the seller and the buyer, because they want to get both ends of the commission.  That is an example of where the agent is not really thinking about the client.


This is a success story about NOT listing a house.  I went out on an appointment, and I really do want to help people out, so this is an interesting story.  This person bought a house from a friend, and paid, what I think, was too much even a couple of months a go, and now the market has slipped.

They're ready to take possession, and they're going to put their house on the market.  Their house has slipped about 15% - 20% from where it was a few months ago, and I told them that.  They asked me to do a market on the house they bought, and I told them that they paid $60,000-$70,000 too much.  Now they're about $120,000 off where they thought they were on the difference between these homes.

They were able to not purchase the new house, so they came out ok.


A client called me up, and said that they had an offer on a property.  The buyer had some advice, and wrote an offer.  They asked me what I thought, and I told them that I could probably do about 3 times better, triple the price.

I listed the property, but prior to the listing, I did some work talking to agents about their buyers and essentially, selling the agents on this new property without disclosing the address.

The day I listed it, we listed it at 3 times the price that they were going to take.  Within a half an hour, we had an offer that was full price, with no conditions, the right possession, and a good deposit.

Some people might think that this was an easy sale, but they don't see all of the work that I did behind the scenes, prior to listing, talking to the agents, selling this house.


This is a success story for my client, the buyer of a property, but unfortunately, it is not a success story for the seller.  Some people still think that it is a good idea to list a home, then only accept offers on a particular date, at a particular time.  They believe that this will cause a bidding war, and drive up the price.

Here's what happens in a case like this.  I had a buyer who was interested in the property, but they were simply not interested in waiting around for 7 days, hoping that their offer would be accepted.  If their offer is not accepted in 7 days, then they have lost 7 days of buying opportunities.  They were willing to write a good solid offer right up front, but like many buyers, they were not willing to wait 7 days.

My buyer did not write the offer, as they were not comfortable with the wait, so we sat back and watched.  When the date came up, the house had not sold.  What does that say about the property and the price?

Based on this, my buyer wrote an offer for $15,000 LESS than they were originally prepared to write a week earlier.  It turns out that this great idea" of having an auction on a fixed day cost this seller $15,000.


I'm going to list a great property, and people in the neighborhood know that I am going to list it.  The sellers get all kinds of calls telling them don't list with an agent!  We will give you in the range of $350,000, save the commission".

The problem here, is that these buyers don't want you to have an agent, because they don't want you to have expert advice.  They are trying to get you to sell the house for as little as possible.

These sellers had several private" offers, and they said no, they are not going to do this alone.  They wanted a professional agent to maximize their return on the sale.

I put the house on the market, and sold it in 2 days.  We had multiple offers.  I was able to get them $70,000 more than these private buyers were offering.  This means that after they paid me the commission, they put an extra $50,000 in their pockets!


Here's an interesting condo story.  I called up a seller, a group of investors, who are trying to sell 2 condos on their own, and he offered to pay me 1% if I showed his condo.  I asked him why I would do that, since I am listing one of these condos already.

He asked me how much I was listing it for, and I told him that I am listing if for about $40,000 more than theirs.  He laughed at me, and told me well, good luck with that".  I told him, I'll tell you what, I'll call you next week, and here's what's going to happen.  I'm going to sell my condo for $40,000 more than yours, I'm going to sell it quicker, with conditions removed next week... and I'm going to call you next week.

Here's what happened.  I did sell my condo in 2 days, for full price.  I did call them up, and guess what, they still haven't got them sold!  If you want to know how I did this, give me a call.


This is a story about a private seller who has been trying to sell for one month.  They have had a lot of showings, but no meaningful offers.  This is because, only 4% of all lookers are fully qualified, and able to buy their property.

So, they called me, and interviewed me, and I told them what I will do differently.  I listed the property on Thursday, and sold it on Sunday, for top market dollar.  We got them the particular possession that they wanted, and NO conditions.

The deal was done because we are in that great 4% pool of buyers.


It's an interesting market today.  I recently listed a property, and the person selling the home was trying to do it on their own.  They wanted to list it on their own, and save the commission.

They got it on a website, and put an ad in the paper, and they did get some buyers to come and look at it.  These folks are good communicators, but they are not experienced at selling houses.  I've done this 2500 times, so I really should be able to do a better job at it than they can.

When you go on these for sale by owner" websites, they tell you that no one knows your home better than you do, so you are most qualified to sell it.  But... they ended up talking so much, and they told me this, that they ended up talking the buyer out of buying it.

They did get some action, and did get some showings, but they ended up calling me and asking me what I could do differently.  I came to see them, made a presentation, and listed their property.

I got them 4 offers within 48 hours, and ended up getting them 4%-5% over the very aggressive list price, and I got them the possession that they wanted.


There was an owner who was trying to sell their house on their own, in the high $280,000's, and they wanted a really long possession.  I talked to them a while ago, and they hadn't had any offers.  The market had gone up since then, and they wanted to bump up their price into the $300,000's.

I went out to see them and I actually tacked on about $25,000 more than they were thinking of listing it for, and they still really needed a long possession date.  They were quite skeptical that we could do this.  We were able to sell it in 4 days, for almost asking price, so they were quite happy.


We had a house that was on the market a little longer than we initially thought it would take.  Most agents would have suggested that we reduce the price, but you have to read the market.

I knew that there was less and less competition for this type of house.  A good agent will always follow up on all showings to find out why we didn't get an offer.  From gathering information from the showings, I knew that it wasn't a pricing issue.

We ended up selling it for almost full price, and with the possession that the sellers were looking for.


This is a great story about being in a hot market, and people wanting to sell their house on their own.  In this market, anyone can sell their house on their own, but its about how much money you put in your pocket.  In other words, its about how much money you get AFTER you pay me the commission.

I read a lot of private selling websites, and my view of these websites is that they are selling the website, they are not really selling your home.  I see some pretty simplistic examples on these websites as to why you should sell on your own.  For example there are stories like My sister listed her house at $250,000, and got 245,000.  If she had used an agent, she would have only got $235,000 so they made an extra $10,000 that the agent wouldnt have worked for.

Now, here's a great example of what I can do.  I met some who were selling on their own.  They did all the usual things, on a website, ads, etc.  They need a long possession date for their own personal reasons.

They get an offer of $250,000, and they like the offer, but they don't like the possession date.  They are not experienced real estate agents, so they couldn't negotiate the long possession that they needed.  That's what people pay me for.  I talked to them and told them that I could do a lot better for them.  They were skeptical, thinking that they were already getting top dollar.

I listed the property, and got them in the $280's, which netted them in the $260's AFTER paying me the commission, and I got them the possession date they were looking for.  That's a cool $16,000 more in their pocket than they were going to get selling on their own with a website, and I did all the work.


This success story relates to the pool qualified buyers who are already working with agents.  I listed 2 condos in December.  Many people say that December is not a good month to sell, but when I market homes, one of the things I consider is supply and demand, so I didn't agree that December was a bad time to list.

These people had been trying to sell on their own for a couple of months.  I ended up selling both of them in 2 weeks.  One of them, I got them triple offers, that's 3 offers at once, and the other one, I got them 2 offers.  In both cases, I got them a great price.

I was able to put these deals together because I sold the other agents on the property, and I got them into the best pool of buyers.  I was also able to sell them on upping their offers once they knew that there were competing offers on the property.


This is a great story about always doing the best thing for your client, not the best thing for the agent.  I have a great agent, who works for me, named Barb Sokalofsky.  She had a property that she was selling the other day, and she brought a buyer to the table, and wrote an offer on her own listing.

At the same time, another offer came in from another agent.   Now, Barb would make a lot more money putting her deal together, since she would make commission on both sides of the deal.  But, she went through each of the conditions, and the risks, asked the agent probing questions.  She gave her advice to the seller, not to take her own offer, and to take the other agents offer because it was better for her client.

That is a great agent, who is looking after the clients best interests, and not her own interests.


All of the success stories that I have this month, have to do with people who tried to sell privately.  They were on a private website for selling your own home, and they had a lot of pictures.

I eliminated most of these pictures, and got their properties sold.  The longest it took me to sell one of these properties was 14 days.  Some of them were on these websites for 1 month, 2 months, and even 3 months.

The reason that I was able to sell them so quickly, after being on the market for so long, is that I got them a better pool of buyers.  By eliminating most of the pictures, I was able to get these buyers into these homes, even though they didn't like the purple shag rug.  Once the buyers got into the home, they realized that they liked everything else, and so they wrote an offer.

I put them on the MLS®, defended their price, and sold the other agents on the property.


I listed a property for some people who had tried to sell on their own. They had originally had an agent, but didn't interview them first. It turned out that they were dissatisfied with their agent, and so they decided to go on their own. They felt that since the agent didn't sell their house, they couldn't do any worse on their own.

They tried to sell on their own for several months. They did get some offers, but of course, you don't get the best pool of buyers when you are selling privately. These buyers all had homes to sell, and so they wanted it conditional to their house selling.

I talked to them a few times, and they interviewed 4 agents. Now, when you've had a bad experience, you tend to get a bit more savvy. They were very tough in the interview, and they had a lot of tough questions. The top agents like that, but some of the agents they interviewed did not like these questions.

Through the interview process, they chose me, and I thank them for that, and we sold the house for top dollar, in less than 14 days.


Often people give you advice, and these people aren't responsible for the outcome. I listed a property not long ago, where the seller really wanted to hire an agent. In fact, they wanted to hire me, but I didn't know that at the time.

Their relatives and friends wanted them to sell on their own. The seller was not comfortable with this, they recognized that this is not their area of expertise. The seller was talked into selling on their own, and got an offer on the property.

The building inspection was done, and there was an issue with the inspection. Now you have a seller without a professional agent, and a seller who is not guided by an experienced agent. The buyer talks to "who knows who" about the inspection, and is now backing out of the deal. The seller has never negotiated the sale of a home, and can't hold the deal together. Remember, the relatives who talked the seller into going it alone are not responsible for this failed deal.

A few weeks later, this seller has to sell the home right away. They call me up, and I list the property. We sold it in less than 14 days for top market dollar.


I listed a home recently, and they had already bought their new dream house without selling their old house. Unfortunately for these folks, they did not have an agent, and so they did not have a solid plan in place to manage this risky process.

They were selling on their own, and were not getting it sold. Unfortunately, when you haven't hired an agent, you often don't know why you are not getting offers. Most buyers are not comfortable with telling the seller why they don't like their home. It is your agents job to gather this information from each showing, and then make adjustments to get your house sold.

These folks hired me, and in a short time, I found out why their house was not selling. I did the research, and spent a lot of time talking to the other agents, and gathering the information. The bank is telling them that they can't go through with their purchase without selling their old home, and they are in danger of losing their deposit.

We made the adjustments, and got them a great offer, got them the possession they wanted, and got them out of a tough position.


I listed a house 14 days ago that for a client who had been trying to sell on their own for 2 full months.  They had tried everything, websites, public open houses, etc.  They had not received a single offer in these 2 months.  They had already bought a house, and they were in a tough situation.  They were going to lose the house if they couldn't get it sold in 3 weeks.

I listed the property, through the MLS® system.  I listed it and in 14 days, we got them 14 showings through the MLS®, and sold it for almost full price.


We listed a property for some people who had been trying to sell their house for 90 days.  They had tried a variety of methods including websites, and ads, etc.  It was a terrific property, a real one of a kind, but they couldn;t get it sold.

They listed the house with me, and we sold it for a record price, almost full list in 14 days.  It was a more expensive home, but we got them the quick possession date that they wanted, and it was a very clean offer.  They were extremely pleased.


I went to see a client who wanted to sell their home.  They had just had an appraisal done by a professional appraiser.  That appraiser based their price on recently sold properties, as they usually do.  I looked at the market, and I determined that they didn't have a lot of competition at this time.

I look at houses differently from appraisers, and some of the other agents.  I look at it as if I was a buyer.  It isn't just about square footage, and the style of garage that you have.  It is also about the feeling, and about how the house shows.  This is how buyers look at a house.

This house showed great, it smelled nice, it was clean and modern and there wasn't much competition.  I wanted to bump up the price, and they were nervous about that.  I bumped it up even more, and sold it in a day for more than full price!


I had a past client who I sold a house for about 16 months ago, got multiple offers on it, and got him out of a tough situation.  He had another property to sell, and we met on it about 3 weeks ago and decided on a price.  We couldn't list the property yet for a variety of reasons, and 2 weeks later he called me to list the property.  He wanted to list it at the price we had decided on 2 weeks ago.

As all agents should do, I re-did the market evaluation, and raised the price by about $8000.  He was surprised, but he took my advice, and we listed at the new higher price.  We sold it within 24 hours, and for more than full price!  That's the second time I've done that for him now.


I listed as property for some past clients of mine.  These were clients who were trying on their own, and were not successful.  This was about 2 years ago, and they had a lot of people calling them, but they were not getting good offers.  I sold their house for them, and got them a great price.  They really liked what I did, and I kept in touch with them giving them.  They did not want to list on their own, based on what I had done for them the last time.

I had sold a house around the corner a couple of months ago for an absolute record price.  In this case, I was able to bump the price up even more over this record setting house, and got them asking price within one day.


This is a story about one of the quickest turnarounds I have ever seen.  These people bought a home, and it was a pretty quick possession.  They took possession on the weekend, and were partially moved in when something personal happened, and they had to sell the property.

They called me, and were very concerned about losing 10s of thousands of dollars in the resale process.  This is very difficult when you are turning a house around this quickly, so they were prepared that we might not get all of their money out.

I listed the house, and I had 3 offers by that night, and 1 the next morning.  With the sellers permission, I talked to all of the agents and told them that we had multiple offers.  A couple of the buyers rewrote their offers, and we ended up selling the house for substantially more than the asking price, with a very clean offer.

Instead of losing money, the seller ended up making $8000-$10000 on the deal.


Here is an example of a complication that can, and did arise for one of my buyers.  They wrote an offer on a property, and they are dealing with one of the top lending institutions in Canada, with a very large mortgage department.  They have 8 days to remove finance conditions.

On the 8th day, at 11:00am, the financial institution calls me and says that they have now determined that they have to send out their property appraiser.  This is on the day that conditions have to be removed!  I said "no problem, send them out".  Unfortunately, their appraiser can't come out for 6 days.

I reminded them that conditions have to be removed today, and they told me that I should get an extension on the offer.  I explained that there are multiple offers on the home, and that my buyer would certainly lose their dream house if we can't remove conditions today.

If you are buying on your own, without an agent, I don't know what you would do.  Often times, the websites will tell you that your lawyer can handle any issues that come up.  Let me assure you that a lawyer can not handle this type of problem.  The bank can't even solve it, and they are in the business of approving mortgages!

I asked if we could use another appraiser, if I can get one in this afternoon.  They said that they would have to check with their supervisor and call me back.

They got back to me at 2:00pm, and said that I could use a different appraiser, BUT they said that there is no way I can get anyone, since they have called everyone already.  AND it is 2:00, and the appraisers are done at 5:00.

This is where a great agent, with all of their connections, can make a difference.  I got on the phone, and I had the appraisal on their desk at 3:30!  If I hadn't done this, then my client would have lost their house!  The bank couldn't do it, a lawyer wouldn't have been able to do it.  This is why you need a great agent.

I had to pull a lot of strings.  The client was ecstatic .  Not all agents are created equal.


I have a terrific agent who works for me by the name of Joe Palmier.  He was driving down the street, about a month ago, and saw a gentleman pounding a sign in his lawn.  Joe is a well trained agent, so he stops and introduces himself and asks the man what he is doing.  He tells Joe that he is going to list his house himself for $290,000, and save the commission.

Joe lets him know that he can put a lot more money in his pocket, so he invites Joe in, and Joe gives him a presentation, and they agree on listing the house at $324,900.  Joe lists the house and after 2 weeks, it has not sold.  The seller wants to lower the price to $315,000 but Joe says: wait, I've analyzed the showings, and I don't think you need to do that.  It isn't price.  Joe was able to convince the seller that he should stick to his price.

Joe ended up selling the house for $345,000, so the seller ended up putting a lot more money in his pocket, even though he paid Joe his commission.

That's the difference between hiring a great agent, and doing it on your own.  Websites for selling privately will tell you that if it isn't selling, you need to reduce the price, but you don't know why it isn't selling, it may not be price.  Joe understood why it wasn't selling, that it wasn't price, and knowing how buyers are acting in this market, there was no need to lower the price.


Here is a great example of what happens when you are working with a great team.  I've got a great agent who works for me.  Her name is Bernice Lee.  She wrote an offer a few weeks ago and called the agent, who I know, and said that she has an offer she would like to present.  The agent told her that there are multiple offers, and they are presenting at 5:00 pm, just put it in an envelope and send it to me.

Bernice is a very good agent, and she is well trained, so she says that she wants to be there, to present the offer herself, so that she can tell the seller about her buyer.  The selling agent told her that they were not doing it that way, and to just send it in an envelope.

Bernice did the right thing, and called me, her manager, so I called up the seller's agent.  I told him that he is hindering our ability to represent our buyer.  We want to tell the seller, our buyer's story.  I think that that is an advantage to the seller, and their agent.

Bernice arrives to make the presentation, and her buyer sits out front for one hour with her.  When Bernice goes in, she tells a great story about her buyer, how badly they want the house, and shows them that her buyer is right outside in her car.

Her offer was $10,000 less than a competing offer, but since they were there, Bernice was able to get a counter offer, and her buyer got the house.  If they hadn't shown up, and presented in person, then her buyer would not have bought the house.

Two good questions you should ask any agent before you hire them, are:

   1. Will you present my offers in person?
   2. Is your manager available to you to help out when you need it?


I got a call from a past client of mine, I had sold quite a few houses for him.  He was with a buddy of his who was going to sell his house for around $175,000 to somebody privately, so he recommended that they call me.

They made an appointment to see me, and he was just about to sign a deal to sell his house privately for $175,000.  He thought that this was a great deal, since he would be saving the commission.

I listed his house for $214,000, and got a cash offer in 1 day for $214,000, with no conditions.  He could have saved the commission, but he would have left a lot of cash on the table.  It is important to focus on the net.  You want to put as much money as possible in your pocket when you are selling, and we have access to a lot of qualified buyers, who are pre-approved, and are prepared to write good offers in a competitive market.


A lot of people ask me about timing.  They want to know when the best time of year is to sell their house.  Many people think that spring is the best time, since there are a lot of people selling then, and so there are a lot of buyers.

Heres a great example of timing.  I sold a house in Woodland Grove in January.  They had a couple of agents out.  The sales last year were $230,000, so they thought that an increase to $245,000 was good, since the market was hotter now.

The day I went out to list their house, I read the market differently.  There wasnt a bungalow for sale from $220,000-$300,000 in the entire city.  If you are moving to Regina, and you want to buy a bungalow, there isnt one for sale!

Based on these conditions, I listed the house for $284,000, and sold it in 1 day.

In another case, I listed a house in an area where the average sale was $260,000.  Again, I read the market differently from the other agents, and I listed it for $299.000.  It sold in 2 days.

Market timing is very important, let your agent guide you.  You want to be on the market when you have the least competition.


I had a client call me off the radio show, so the first thing they did was listen to my show.  They wanted to list an acreage.  In the area their area, there have been only 2 sales in the last 9 months, so it will be a challenge.

They listened to everything I said.  We got the property appraised, because buyers are often suspect of how the seller determined the price on acreages.  Many agents' egos won't allow them to bring in a second opinion, but that is critical.  Then I did a market and we listed it at appraised value.  We had a lock box so that agents could show it, and we had a sign.

We sold it in 2 weeks, for almost full price, because we did all of the right things.


I listed a house, we had several showings, and we accepted an offer.  During the inspections there were a few things that the buyer didn't like and wanted to re-negotiate the deal down about $2500.  The seller agreed, but I didn't tell the other agent yet.

I went back and called the previous agents who showed the property, and found another buyer who was interested in buying it.  I was able to get them to write a backup offer on the property.  Once we had this, we went back to the original buyer, and told them that we weren't willing to negotiate, and that if they didn't remove conditions, we were ok with that. 

They decided to remove conditions, and not re-negotiate the price, so I saved my seller an additional $2500.


Irv Tremblay Irv Tremblay Realty Inc.
4420 Albert Street
Regina, Saskatchewan S4S 6B4
Tel: (306)529-5267 Fax: (306) 525-1433
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