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Agency Relationships and the Role of Your Agent

When buying and selling a home it can be confusing who represents your best interests. One of the first things I talk about with you - my client is agency relationships. As a real estate agent, I am an agent for the brokerage I represent. Even though we spend all of our time together and form a great relationship the actual formal relationship you enter into is with the brokerage. There are 3 types of agency relationships - single, limited joint and customer. The most common is the single agency relationship wherein the brokerage represents one party, limited joint can occur when 2 connected parties are involved and a customer relationship occurs when there is limited services rendered but a formal agency relationship is not formed. So single agency is when your sole interests are represented as a buyer or as a seller. Therefore, there are buyers’ agents and seller's’ agents and a real estate agent can function as both when helping you purchase a new home or sell your existing home. Limited joint agency can occur when the same brokerage represents both parties at the same time. An example of this can be if you as my buyer client purchase a home from a client of another agent within my brokerage. Disclosure of this dual interest is made and then you have the option to sign a form acknowledging this limited joint agency relationship. This situation can occur quite often and is generally not a problem when all involved are aware of the situation and act in a professional manner. The most important message I wish to share is the fact that the REAL ESTATE AGENT ON THE FOR SALE REPRESENTS THE SELLER. Therefore if you are a Buyer it is strongly recommended that you DO NOT have this agent represent you as they cannot adequately represent and  protect your interests as a Buyer. Please seek out your own agent - a Buyer’s Agent. This agent will do thorough research on the property, comparative market evaluations and help you negotiate the best price. If you were getting divorced would you choose to work with the same lawyer as your future ex spouse? This is why it’s important that you work with the real estate agent who can function in the role of Buyer’s agent. Please feel free to reach out to me anytime to discuss this situation or any other real estate related question. 

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Top Winnipeg Neighbourhoods

Having lived in all quadrants of the city, I recognize that there are many great neighbourhoods in Winnipeg making it really difficult to pick just 5. So here are today’s picks and I’ll plan to post others in the future.

Tuxedo has the reputation of being one of the most desirable, exclusive and expensive areas (Old North River Heights included) in Winnipeg. Properties tend to be larger and more distinctive. One interesting fact is that there are more modern architectural homes found in this neighbourhood than neighbourhoods located in both Calgary and Chicago where I lived previously. Tuxedo definitely has a unique upscale feel with wider tree-lined streets and a more central, SW Winnipeg location. It’s also home to Assiniboine Park, Winnipeg’s most beautiful and well-known park patterned after NYC’s Central Park. This park includes an internationally recognized, architecturally designed conservatory, outdoor stage, pavilion, children’s playground, duckpond, picnic and sports areas, zoo, sculpture and floral garden, walking and biking trails and more.

Lindenwoods located in the SW part of Winnipeg, is a great established family-friendly neighbourhood. This area boasts mostly larger traditional 1980’s - 1990’s homes with more detailed exterior finishes such as brick and stone. The community is very family friendly in it’s planning and design with neighbourhood schools, community centres, sidewalks, parks and man-made lakes with picnic areas. 

Island Lakes is another family-friendly area located in SE Winnipeg. As denoted by it’s name, this neighbourhood is dotted with man-made lakes and was established in 1981. Homes range from grander to more modest in size and style. This neighbourhood has many bike trails and parks and has easy access to major highways for commuters. 

Royalwood is another southeast Winnipeg neighbourhood located just W of Island Lakes. Another highly desirable area established in 1992. This area has lots of greenery and boasts an incredible ecosystem. There are great walking, jogging and bike trails connecting to very interesting forested areas where one can discover creeks and some very unique one of a kind, custom-tree carvings. Homes tend to be larger and traditional in style. The area is quiet and tucked away from busy streets but easily accessible to major traffic routes. 

Norwood Flats in unlike any of the previously outlined neighbourhoods, located in the heart of the city but yet providing the quiet and restful feel of the suburbs, this area provides the best of both worlds. This smaller community runs along the Red River providing spectacular river city views, river home properties and walking and bike trails. This historic neighbourhood offers unique housing options with both old and new, expensive and affordable. Lots tend to be smaller with some having a common greenspace. A great family neighbourhood for those who desire an old-fashioned community feel and a higher walkability score. The “Flat's” is close to everything downtown, St. Boniface hospital, Old St. Boniface historic district with easy access to St. Vital and beautiful St. Vital Park where you can launch a boat, visit the duck pond, have a picnic or walk the many forested trails. 

Here’s the review of 5 great Winnipeg neighbourhoods. I’ve only touched upon the great offerings of each one. If you are planning a move to Winnipeg or planning a move within the city give me a call and we can talk more about the great and affordable living opportunities and other great neighbourhoods and hidden gem enclaves. 

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New Year New Brokerage Old Fashioned Values

Being able to adapt to change is a crucial quality for a successful real estate agent. However, what sets apart an exceptional real estate agent is their ability to guide clients through these changes. I am thrilled to announce that I am now a part of Vivico Real Estate and I am eagerly looking forward to the endless possibilities that lie ahead. My previous broker at Realty Executives First Choice has decided to embrace the benefits of semi-retirement, and I couldn't be happier for him and his wife as they embark on this exciting new chapter in their lives. Saying goodbye to Realty Executives First Choice would have been difficult, considering the incredible work environment and the friendships I have formed there. Fortunately, I didn't have to bid farewell completely. The culture of integrity, dedication, care, and client-oriented service that I cherished at REFC continues to thrive at Vivico. The new brokers are former REFC sales agents who are committed to maintaining a full-service boutique brokerage by providing personalized and dedicated service to our clients. So here's to 2024! I am overjoyed to begin this new journey and I am excited to continue working with all of you, my amazing clients. Happy New Year!

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Condo Market Beginning to Rebound in Winnipeg
There was a time not very long ago when condominium units would sit on the market for many days and months without a sale. The pandemic has changed the landscape considerably. With the increased demand for single family detached properties and lower inventory, home buyers are now reconsidering the benefits of condo living. Newer projects are now offering many amenities such functional and aesthetically-pleasing common outdoor and indoor spaces, well-laid out open and versative floorplans, indoor parking (Who wouldn't find that appealing living in Winnipeg?) and countless other full-service type options. The condo is definitely making a comeback with demand increasing and even multiple offers to purchase on many updated premium units. So whether considering a condo sale or purchase this may be a time to take action since home ownership and building equity can definitey be a benefit over spending your hard-earned dollars on rent each month.
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Ottawa Announces $5000 Incentive for Home Energy Upgrades

There's certainly no end to the options when it comes to home renovation projects. Which project should you tackle this year? Well, the federal government announcement may help in your decision. Could you use financial help to make your home more energy effecient? Perhaps new windows, doors or even solar panels installation is something you've been considering to keep you warmer this winter while reducing energy bills and contributing to a greener planet. The response to this incentive program has been overwhelming so expect delays when contacting the government department with questions. The program will be around for awhile so perhaps delaying this renovation may be the option for you? There is a cost for an energy evaluation prior to moving forward and some specific guidelines that have to be followed in terms of details of the covered expenses. So depending on the home upgrades you have in mind you may wish to see if you qualify for the federal rebates.  

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Pro Home Renovation Tips
Recent home projects have served as reminders of the importance of obtaining references for tradespeople (if a larger project I would suggested a minimun of 3). Also ensure you ask for a quote, an outline of work to be done and a projected schedule for job completion.  Trade estimates can vary wildly sometimes even in the 1000s of dollars! When you do the preliminary screening, asking questions and seeking referrals you are more likely to have success with your home projects. Happy Renovations!
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Setting the Stage for Success

With numerous personal moves, a couple of major home renovations and preparing homes for sale, I have gained invaluable skills in planning, organizing, packing, moving and relocation just to name a few. One area in which I have particular interest and success is in the staging of a home. My spouse is an architect with specific focus on art and design. As a former teacher, I have always had an interest in art and although not professionally trained, was referred to as the unofficial "resident art instructor" at the elementary schools where I taught. My husband and I had to unexpectedly relocate from Chicago, Illinois to Winnipeg, MB. We had been living in our home for only 11 months and therefore, had not done any renovations or upgrades. We still had some college furnishings and the master bedroom did not even have furniture. My husband and I were sleeping on a mattress on the floor while we hopefully tried to save some money for new furniture in the near future. Being fairly recent college graduates and sinking our funds into our dream home we did not have a lot left over for extras. So on a shoestring budget of $500 we went to work to decorate and stage our home. A little paint, a few key items and a whole lot of creativity resulted in an appealing, tasteful and universally desirable looking home. The first potential purchasers through the home loved it and it sold in under a week! Subsequent renovations and home staging experiences resulted in the same results. We are now putting our knowledge and expertise to work for others. We provide guidance and advice to home sellers who are following the direction and/or having us personally prepare their homes for sale by assisting in the staging resulting in their homes selling with mulitple offers in under a week! A recent home sold with an offer of 40k over list price!  I LOVE helping people and seeing the look on the homeowner's face when they see the final results. The risk is to do the job so well that the home seller falls in love with their "new staged home" and thinks twice about selling. Wink   

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City of Winnipeg Education Property Tax Credit

It's always good to keep up with information that benefits my buyers. Today I thought I would post the self-service process changes that the City of Winnipeg made back in 2018. A reminder to new homeowners that being informed can save you $$$. 


SPECIAL ALERT


Re: Education Property Tax Credit (EPTC) Self-Declaration Form

The City of Winnipeg has recently changed their administration process with respect to the provincial Education Property Tax Credit.  In previous years, this credit was automatically “transferred” to the new purchaser(s) of the property as long as their mailing address was the same as the property address.  Basically, the City of Winnipeg assumed that it was the purchaser(s) principal residence and automatically applied the credit on the tax bill for the future tax years.

As of December 27, 2018, we have noted that the City of Winnipeg has posted on its website that its administration process has changed requiring all purchasers to complete and return a Self-Declaration form to the City of Winnipeg in order to have the credit added to the property tax statement.  In order to apply to have the credit added to your property tax bill, you need to complete and return the form to the City of Winnipeg, Assessment and Taxation Department by March 15th.  

In order to qualify for the Education Property Tax Credit Advance on your property tax bill:

  1. The property must be your principal residence.
  2. The property must be assessed as a single residential dwelling.
  3. The homeowner cannot be receiving the credit on another home elsewhere in the Province.

If you do not receive the Education Property Tax Credit on your property tax bill and you are eligible for the credit, you can claim the tax credit on your income tax return.


If you have any questions with respect to the Education Property Tax Credit, please contact the City of Winnipeg Assessment and Taxation Department by telephone at 311 or email at 311@winnipeg.ca.

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Pandemic Ponderings

The phrase "unprecedented times" has become common place but also the best way to describe this new normal in which we now find ourselves.I have a glass head on my entry table affectionately named "Ursula". Ursula serves as our family mascot. My spouse likes to have Ursula hold his sun glasses for him, she has donned Santa Hsts and sported ball caps. In the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown I felt it only appropriate to have her wear my I-95 mask. Over the past few months my spouse worked from home and I was home on a leave from real estate. Spending so much time at home made me fully realize how much I LOVE where I live. Home represented more than just four walls and a roof it was indeed a peaceful refuge from the storms of life. A place to unwind, relax and rejuvenate in both mind, body and spirit. My husband is now back at work and I am now back to real estate with an increased appreciation and understanding of the significance of home and the importance of the unique fit of personal space to taste, lifestyle and culture. I have come out of this experience with the desire to help others find their own unique and perfect place. Perhaps these past months have caused you to realize that you need a change of scenery, a smaller home, a bigger home, a patio, a finished basement or bigger yard ....Whether it's buying or selling it would be my pleasure to help you make that sale or find that perfect fit.

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