Things I Learned Last WeekIt may be snowing outside, but there’s no doubt the spring market is here. While we juggled a record SIX negotiations in one day and showed countless homes throughout the week, here’s what I learned last week:

Lesson #1: Frozen Pipes Suck (and Can Happen Even If You’re Home)

With the unprecedented cold stretch, many Toronto home owners found themselves with frozen pipes last week. While you might believe that pipes only freeze while you’re on a beach in Florida it can – and frequently does – happen while you’re at home too. Last week, we heard reports of frozen pipes in houses and restaurants, and there was even a burst pipe in a vacant apartment in a condo tower (and yea, it caused flooding on 3 floors).

Here’s some advice from Drainworks about what to do to prevent frozen pipes:

  • Make sure that you’ve properly drained all outside water pipes/hose faucets using their shut off valve to bleed out water remaining in the line, look around the home, for areas where your water lines may be vulnerable due to a lack of insulation or heating such as in basements, attics, garages and crawl spaces. The water lines serving or running through these areas are definitely at risk and should be insulated to avoid this from happening.
  • For an economical option, homeowners can wrap towels around the pipes to provide insulation; however in the event that you want a more professional finish to this, there are several products on the market that can be used to help avoid the freezing of pipes, which should be handled by a plumbing professional to ensure efficiency and safety.
  • In colder weather, keep bathroom and kitchen cabinet doors open to enable the hot air to circulate more freely in the home, thereby reducing the possibility of a freeze. In instances of a real deep freeze, you can run your fixtures at a very slight trickle as the temperature of the constantly running trickle is above freezing 
  • In the event that your pipes still freeze, you have a few different methods of dealing with the problem. The first step that should taken, is to turn off the water at the shut off valve. One of the simplest and safest ways to deal with a frozen pipe is to go at it with a hair dryer. In doing so, make sure that you open the faucet and are heating the piping working back from the piping to the frozen blockage. Another item you can try, is to use a small portable heater. Do not try to use an open flame on the frozen pipe.

    If all else fails, call in a plumber.

Lesson #2: It Feels Like April (Despite the Cold)

We tend to see the same patterns in the real estate market every year: February and March are superb times to be Sellers (but not at all fun if you’re on the buying side). As spring approaches, Buyers get more aggressive with their offers and are more likely to try to circumvent the bidding war process with bully offers. And usually in April, bidding war fatigue sets in and Buyers decide to stay home to avoid bidding on a house they can’t afford.

Interestingly, we’re already seeing April Buyer behaviour in February, with big bids and bully offers. We’re also seeing popular houses only getting one or two offers as Buyers decide to sit on the sidelines and watch (only to be disappointed when the house sells for within their price range).

So what’s a Buyer to do? Don’t get intimidated by the process. Don’t get desperate. Don’t get scared off. Find the house you love, work with an agent who knows the game and put in an offer for what the house is worth to you. Your house is out there.

And of course, if you’re a Seller, get out there and get on the market.

Lesson #3: Help Is On The Way!

We’ve built our business around the fact that we know buying and selling is stressful, and our job is to make it easier. We provide our Sellers with a ridiculous amount of home preparation coordination and staging and it was gratifying to hear from two of our Sellers last week, that our pre-listing help was the highlight of their experience with us.

We’re excited to announce that we’ve hired a new Marketing Coordinator and a full-time Stager and Client Concierge, who’ll be joining our team in a couple of weeks. Help for our clients…help for our team…does it get better than that?

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