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Pricing Psychology and Selling your Home

Have you ever seen a product at a store and thought, “Whoa. That price is outrageously high. It’s just not worth it!” Conversely, you might have also reacted to another product with, “That’s awfully cheap. The quality must not be good.”

Welcome to the psychology of pricing!

According to research, people tend to draw conclusions about a product based on its price. If it doesn’t reflect the perceived value of the item, people become hesitant to buy. This occurs whether the item is priced too high or too low.

What does this have to do with selling your property?

When you set the list price, you want it to help attract the right type of buyers... buyers who are looking for your kind of property, in your neighbourhood, and within that price range.

If you set your price too high, you risk having buyers see your listing as too expensive relative to comparable properties.

If you set the price too low, you might attract more buyers. In fact, in some circumstances, that can be a strategy for generating quick interest in your listing. But, you might also cut out otherwise qualified buyers who are searching within a higher price range.

So, when selling your home, consider the importance of pricing psychology.
 



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STRONG DETACHED SALES LEAD THE SEVENTH CONSECUTIVE MONTH OF ABOVE-AVERAGE SALES IN SASKATCHEWAN

Saskatchewan reported 776 sales in January, a year-over-year gain of 24 per cent and nearly 18 per cent above long-term, 10-year averages. The seventh consecutive month of above-average sales in the province was primarily driven by strong detached home sales in January.

Strong monthly sales were met with declining new listings, resulting in 4,562 available units in inventory in January, the lowest level reported in January since 2010.

Inventory levels declined by 18 per cent year-over-year and remain over 36 per cent below long-term, 10-year trends. As seen in prior months, much of the inventory decline was driven by homes priced below $400,000, a segment of the market that remains extremely competitive. Alternatively, properties priced above $600,000 experienced inventory relief in January, though more was needed to offset the declines in lower price ranges.

“Higher lending rates have driven many purchasers to seek out more affordable products, resulting in further inventory declines in the more affordable segment of our market,” noted Association CEO Chris Guérette. “January failed to bring new listing relief to this area of our market, and prospective buyers can continue to expect tight market conditions when searching for more affordable properties.”

Prices rose across all property types on a year-over-year basis in January, with the most significant gains occurring in row/townhouse-style properties. Saskatchewan reported a provincial benchmark price of $319,600 in January, up from $319,300 in December and nearly 1 per cent higher than January 2023.

“While real estate is local and market conditions vary based on property type, price range, and location – our biggest concern is the lack of inventory across many markets in our province,” said Guèrette. “Despite persistent inventory challenges, the predicted easing of lending rates and favourable economic conditions should continue to support stable demand for home ownership in Saskatchewan.”

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Regional Highlights

All regions of the province reported increased year-over-year sales activity in January, with the largest gains occurring in the Regina Moose-Mountain and Saskatoon-Biggar regions.

Meanwhile, inventory levels remained below levels reported last year, resulting in many regions reporting declining months of supply. The Saskatoon-Biggar region continues to report the tightest conditions in the province, with under four months of supply.

Price Trends

January price movements ranged from a year-over-year increase of 10 per cent in Melfort, to a year-over-year decline of nearly 3 per cent in Swift Current.

The communities of Estevan, Humboldt, Meadow Lake, Melfort, Melville, Moose Jaw, North Battleford, Prince Albert, Saskatoon, and Weyburn all experienced year-over-year price gains – while Regina, Swift Current, and Yorkton experienced a slight decrease in prices.

City of Regina

The City of Regina reported 179 sales in January, a year-over-year gain of over 35 percent and 25 percent above long-term trends.

New listing growth in January was not enough to offset strong monthly sales, as inventory levels dipped by nearly 19 per cent year-over-year and remain over 33 per cent below the 10-year average.

The City of Regina reported a benchmark price of $301,900 in January, up from $299,800 in December and nearly 2 per cent below January 2023.

City of Saskatoon

The City of Saskatoon reported 245 sales in January, a year-over-year gain of 22 per cent and nearly 16 per cent above long-term, 10-year averages.

Strong sales relative to new listings prevented a significant change in inventory levels, which decreased by 26 per cent year-over-year and sit nearly 50 per below long-term, 10-year averages.

The City of Saskatoon reported a benchmark price of $372,800 in January, down from $374,100 in December and over 2 per cent above January 2023.

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Should you Worry about Competing Listings?

Imagine you’ve been waiting for the right moment to sell your home and you’re finally ready to list it. But, just as you’re about to put up the sign, you notice that a few other FOR SALE signs have unexpectedly popped up in the neighbourhood.

Oh no! Now there are competing listings. Does that mean you should put your plan to sell your property on hold?

Not necessarily.

Just because comparable homes are for sale in the area doesn’t mean it’s not a good time to make your move. In fact, even if there is a sharp increase in local listings, active buyers might still outnumber properties available.

In that scenario, you’d likely get several interested buyers.

And, even if it’s a buyer’s market, this might still be the ideal time to sell, especially if your home has desirable features buyers want. You may even have an advantage over other listings on the market.

In addition, a large part of a successful sale is in how a property is marketed and promoted. With effective marketing, your home is more likely to be noticed by the right type of buyers... buyers who are actively looking for a property like yours.

So, waiting for the perfect moment to sell your home rarely makes sense. In most cases, the best time to list is now.
 


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What’s the “Emotional” Return on Investment of a New Home?

Chances are, you’ve heard the expression, “Your home is your biggest investment.” For most homeowners, that’s true. So, when you’re shopping for a new home, it’s important to consider the financial opportunity of any purchase. Ideally, you want a home that is likely to increase in value over time.

In other words, you want a home with a strong potential return on investment.

But dollars aren’t the only type of return you should look for in a new home. Real estate is unique in that the “emotional” return is just as important as the financial return — and, in some cases, even more so.

Say, for example, you’re thinking of moving to a neighbourhood that is closer to work. In fact, you’ll cut your commuting time by an hour each day. Financially, that return on investment means little beyond some savings on gas. However, the emotional payoff can be very high, especially when you consider what you can do with that extra hour each day. Imagine what it would mean to spend more time with your kids or workout out at the gym more often.

So, considering the emotional return on investment when you’re moving is essential. It has a huge impact on your lifestyle and your enjoyment of the property.

How do you factor that in when selling your property and searching for your next dream home?

When you see a listed home you like, make a list of all the emotional benefits of living there. That list might include having a park nearby, living closer to friends or family, having a home office that isn’t the kitchen table, having more space to accommodate a growing family, and so forth.

Then, factor that list into your decision of whether or not to buy.


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SASKATCHEWAN CLOSES 2023 WITH SIXTH CONSECUTIVE MONTH OF ABOVE-AVERAGE SALES

Saskatchewan is reporting above-average sales for the sixth consecutive month, with 757 sales across the province in December, a year-over-year gain of 19 per cent and 13 per cent above long-term, 10-year averages.


Year-over-year sales gains in the second half of 2023 failed to offset earlier pullbacks, as the province is reporting a 3 per cent sales decline compared to 2022. While the year-to-date sales decrease was forecasted as the market returns to pre-pandemic sales levels, much of the decline was driven by slowing detached activity. Meanwhile, apartment and semi-detached sales levels improved and continue to contribute to strong monthly sales.


Above-average sales were met with a decline in new listings, resulting in declining inventory levels throughout the year. Inventory levels across the province dipped by over 16 per cent year-over-year in December and remain nearly 35 per cent below the 10-year average.


“Higher lending rates continue to push prospective buyers to seek more affordable options within our market, while inventory levels within that market segment remain extremely tight,” said Association CEO, Chris Guèrette. “When paired with declining new listings in more affordable properties, there simply isn’t enough inventory in lower price ranges right now.”


The shift toward more affordable products has increased price pressures for apartment, row, and semi-detached property types. Meanwhile, detached homes, which account for the majority of sales activity across the province, reported similar prices compared to last year. Saskatchewan reported a benchmark price of $319,300 in December, down from $324,400 in November and nearly 2 per cent above December 2022.


“Saskatchewan’s housing market continues to benefit from the economic success in our province, including a strong labour market and record population growth,” said Guèrette. “Supply challenges, specifically in the more affordable segment of the market, remain our biggest concern when looking ahead to 2024 and are likely preventing even stronger monthly sales numbers.”


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Regional Highlights

Despite a slight dip in year-to-date sales across many regions of the province, year-over-year sales activity increased across all regions except for the Northern Region and remain significantly higher than long-term averages.


The decline in new listings across the regions in 2023 continues to drive inventory levels well below long-term, 10-year trends. The Saskatoon-Biggar Region (4.42 months of supply) and the Regina-Moose Mountain Region (5.43) continue to experience the tightest conditions in the province – while the Swift Current-Moose Jaw Region (8.65), Yorkton-Melville (8.84), and Prince Albert Region (8.43) saw a shift to more balanced conditions.


Price Trends

Benchmark prices varied across the province in December, as the communities of Humboldt (+6.2 per cent), Meadow Lake (+4.2), Melfort (+0.7), Melville (+4.8), Moose Jaw (+1.4), Prince Albert (+2.3), Saskatoon (+5.5), and Yorkton (+1.8) all reported year-over-year price gains.


In contrast, Estevan (-7.5 per cent), Regina (-4.1), Swift Current (-4.9), and Weyburn (-5.3) reported year-over-year price declines.


City of Regina

The City of Regina reported 188 sales in December, a year-over-year gain of nearly 25 per cent and 24 per cent above long-term trends.


Despite significant new listing growth in December, the number of new listings decreased by 12 per cent in 2023. This resulted in further reductions in inventory levels, which remain over 33 per cent below long-term averages in the Queen City.


Strong sales and below-average inventory were not enough to prevent price adjustments in December, as the City of Regina reported a benchmark price of $299,800, down from $308,500 in November and 4 per cent below December 2022.


City of Saskatoon

The City of Saskatoon reported 230 sales in December, a year-over-year gain of 14 per cent and 10 per cent above long-term, 10-year averages.


Strong sales were again met with a pullback in new listings, resulting in further inventory declines, as inventory levels in the Bridge City are nearly 45 per cent below the 10-year average.


Tight market conditions supported modest price growth in December, as the City of Saskatoon reported a benchmark price of $374,100, up over 5 per cent from December 2022.

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Protecting your Home Gadgets from Hacking

Imagine your coffee maker switching on by itself, staying on for hours, overheating and becoming a fire hazard. That’s not science fiction. As more and more appliances incorporate Wi-Fi, the opportunities for hackers to play havoc with your home gadgets increase.

How do you prevent that from happening? Here are some safety tips:

If your gadget uses a password to access the settings, change that password frequently. Ideally, change it once every 3 months.

Some gadgets, such as alarm systems, come with their own connection to the internet. Learn how to turn that connection off if it becomes necessary to do so.

Don’t leave an internet-connected appliance or other gadget on constantly unless it’s required. For example, you don’t need your home speaker system connected to your digital music providers all the time.

Baby monitors with video are a common target for hackers. Use a password unique to that device and change it often. Never leave the monitor on when not in use.

Never share passwords with anyone unless it is absolutely necessary. Most home Wi-Fi systems have a “guest” feature with a separate password and limited access. Use it.

In this age of internet connectivity — from coffee makers to stereos and even washing machines — it’s smart to play it safe. Know what’s connected and protect yourself.

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FIVE CONSECUTIVE MONTHS OF ABOVE-AVERAGE SALES DESPITE INVENTORY WOES

There were 1,006 sales reported across the province in November, a 10 per cent year-over-year increase, marking the fifth consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases in Saskatchewan. Much of the monthly sales gains were driven by rising activity in the Regina and Saskatoon Regions. As seen in previous months, year-to-date sales remain well above long-term, 10-year trends, as the province continues to report strong sales.

A slight year-over-year increase in new listings was not enough to offset above-average November sales, causing further retractions in inventory levels, specifically in homes priced below $400,000. Inventory levels decreased by over 16 per cent on a year-over-year basis and remain over 30 per cent below long-term, 10-year averages.

“Saskatchewan’s housing market continues to benefit from a strong economy, record employment and population growth,” said Association CEO, Chris Guérette. “These factors, when paired with our relative affordability, continue to support above-average monthly sales and stable demand in home ownership.”

The months of supply rose above five months in November, slightly higher than levels reported earlier this year, but still over 40 per cent below the 10-year average. Despite a slight gain in the months of supply compared to October, nearly all of the growth was in higher-priced products, as the more affordable segment of the market continues to face significant inventory challenges.

In line with typical seasonal factors, Saskatchewan reported a slight decrease in the benchmark price of $324,400 in November, down from $327,300 in October and up nearly 2 per cent from November 2022.

“Our market continues to outperform many regions across the country, as we once again report strong sales levels and prices that are holding relatively steady,” said Guérette. “Where we are similar to other markets, however, is that we are experiencing persistent inventory challenges, specifically in the more affordable segment of our housing continuum.”

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Regional Highlights
Despite monthly fluctuations, year-to-date sales activity eased across all regions in the province in November, with the steepest decline occurring in the Swift Current-Moose Jaw Region. While year-to-date sales have decreased, the Regina-Moose Mountain, Saskatoon-Biggar, Swift Current-Moose Jaw, and Yorkton-Melville Regions are reporting sales well above long-term, 10-year trends.

The Saskatoon-Biggar Region continues to experience the tightest conditions across the province, with just over 3.5 months of supply reported in November.

Price Trends
Benchmark prices varied across the province in November, as the communities of Estevan, Humboldt, Melville, Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Weyburn, and Yorkton reported year-over-year price gains. Meanwhile, Meadow Lake, Melfort, North Battleford, Regina, and Swift Current reported year-over-year price declines.

City of Regina

The City of Regina reported 240 sales in November, up nearly 16 per cent year-over-year and 14 per cent above long-term, 10-year trends.

Strong sales and a decline in new listings failed to offer any supply relief in November, as inventory levels were down 21 per cent on a year-over-year basis and remain over 30 per cent below long-term, 10-year trends.

With only 3.5 months of supply, Regina continues to experience significant supply challenges in the more affordable segment of the market. Despite strong sales and relatively tight market conditions, the Queen City reported a benchmark price of $305,000 in November, down from $308,500 in October and nearly 3 per cent below November 2022.

City of Saskatoon

The City of Saskatoon reported 314 sales in November, a year-over-year increase of 18 per cent and nearly 10 per cent above the 10-year average.

Despite a slight year-over-year gain in new listings, strong November sales prevented significant supply growth, as inventory levels were nearly 50 per cent below long-term trends.

Tight market conditions continue to support price growth, as the City of Saskatoon reported a benchmark price of $380,000 in November, down from $382,700 in October but over 5 per cent higher than November 2022.

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Start the Home Selling Process this Month

What’s that old saying? The early bird gets the worm! In this case, by starting the process this month, you’ll be in excellent shape when you’re ready to list in the spring.

Here are just a few examples of what you can do in December to get the process started:

• Walk your property and note any maintenance issues that need attention.

• Decide which items to stow or sell to declutter your home.

• Determine what improvements you’ll need to make in order for your home to look great to buyers.

• Find out approximately how much your property will likely sell for in the spring market.

• Clarify the kind of new home you’d like to move into, including ideal neighbourhoods.

• Look into your financing options, so you’ll know the price range you can afford.

• Connect with any professionals you may need, such as contractors, a mover, and a real estate lawyer.

• Take advantage of any December shopping deals for products you may need, such as home improvement project materials, packing supplies, etc.

As you can see, the more prepared you are this month, the more stress-free and successful the home selling process will be in the spring.
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Tips for “After Dusk” Viewing Appointments

When you’re selling your property, you want buyers to see it at its best. But, a percentage of potential buyers will only be able to see your home in the evening. If it’s getting dark by the time they arrive, your home may not look as good as it does during the day.

Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to compensate.

Start with lighting. Make sure your home is well lit during an evening viewing. It doesn’t need to be so bright that it’s blinding! You’re looking for pleasant lighting throughout the home, including in traditionally darker spaces such as closets. Professional stagers say turning the light on above the stove is a good idea too.

Also, make sure the curtains are open, especially if there’s an appealing evening view. Open curtains add to the sense of spaciousness.

People tend to equate evenings with relaxation. Put on soft background music during a viewing and avoid anything loud or energetic, such as the television.

Finally, buyers are particularly sensitive to seeing clutter when viewing a home after dusk. As much as possible, try to make your home “guest ready.”

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How to Sweeten an Offer without Raising the Price

If you’re making an offer on a property, obviously the price you go in at plays a big role in whether or not you get that home. That’s especially true when there are other competing offers. However, while the price is important, it’s not the only factor. There are other ways to make your offer more appealing.

For example, the closing date may be important to the seller. They may be relocating out-of-town and need to move on a specific date. If you can accommodate the closing date, that’s likely to be an attractive benefit to the seller.

Having your financing in order and being able to attach a pre-arranged mortgage certificate to your offer will also sweeten the deal. Knowing there is unlikely to be financing issues will make the seller feel more comfortable selling to you — as opposed to someone whose financing is less certain.

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STRONG SALES CONTINUE IN OCTOBER DESPITE PERSISTENT INVENTORY CHALLENGES

Saskatchewan reported 1,259 sales in October, a year-over-year gain of 11 per cent and nearly 13 per cent above long-term, 10-year trends. Above-average October sales in the province can be attributed to gains in the detached, apartment and townhouse/row-style sectors. Despite year-to-date sales remaining slightly below levels experienced last year, Saskatchewan continues to report sales activity much stronger than the 10-year average.

As seen in prior months, supply challenges continued to persist across many regions of the province in October. Inventory levels fell by over 15 per cent compared to last year and remain over 30 per cent below the 10-year average. Adjustments to sales and inventory levels, paired with declining new listings, resulted in the province reporting below five months of supply in October, a 23 per cent year-over-year decrease and over 40 per cent below long-term, 10-year averages.

“Higher lending rates continue to impact both demand and new listings in our market, which is likely preventing even stronger October sales numbers,” noted Association CEO, Chris Guérette. “Prospective move-up buyers are facing challenges amid higher interest rates and ongoing inflationary pressures, and we’re seeing a trickle-down effect with limited supply growth in the lower price ranges, which remain extremely competitive.”

With 4.5 months of supply, the province is reporting the tightest conditions heading into November since 2007. Despite tight market conditions, home prices remained relatively stable this month. Saskatchewan reported a benchmark price of $327,300 in October, down from $328,000 in September and up nearly 2 per cent from October 2022.

“Our market continues to demonstrate its resilience, as many have predicted, and we’re once again reporting strong sales despite inventory challenges, inflationary pressures, and higher lending rates,” said Guérette. “Saskatchewan is affordable, we’re growing at the fastest pace in over a century, and we’re well positioned for stable demand in home ownership.”


Regional Highlights
Apart from the Melville-Yorkton Region, all regions across the province continues to report year-over-year sales activity above long-term, 10-year trends. Additionally, on a year-to-date basis, the Northern Region of the province is the only region not reporting an increase in sales.

With just over three months of supply reported in October, the Saskatoon-Biggar region continues to experience the tightest conditions in the province, along with the highest year-to-date growth in benchmark price.

Price Trends
Benchmark prices continued to vary across Saskatchewan communities in October, as Humboldt, Meadow Lake, Melfort, Melville, Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, and Saskatoon reported year-over-year price gains. Meanwhile, the cities of Estevan, North Battleford, Regina, Swift Current, Weyburn, and Yorkton reported year-over-year price declines.

Despite some monthly variations, year-to-date price movements have ranged from a decline of over five per cent in North Battleford – to a five per cent gain in Humboldt.

City of Regina

The City of Regina reported a record high 312 sales in October, a year-over-year increase of 24 per cent and 29 per cent above long-term, 10-year trends. While the Queen City experienced a year-over-year gain in new listings, record October sales prevented inventory gains, as Regina continues to report inventory levels nearly 30 per cent below the 10-year average.

Regina is once again reporting below three months of supply, and the more affordable segment of the market continues to be extremely competitive. Despite record sales and tight market conditions, Regina reported a benchmark price of $308,500 in October, down slightly from $308,700 in September and 1.2 per cent below October 2022.

City of Saskatoon

The City of Saskatoon reported 382 sales in October, a year-over-year gain of 20 per cent and 12 per cent above long-term, 10-year trends. New listings failed to offset a sixth consecutive month of above-average sales, resulting in the lowest October inventory levels reported in the Bridge City since 2007.

With just over two months of supply in Saskatoon, we continue to see upward pressure on home prices. The benchmark price reached $382,700 in October, up from $381,900 in September and nearly 4 per cent above October 2022. Year-over-year price gains were reported in all property types, ranging from one per cent in semi-detached properties – to an eight per cent increase in townhouse/row-style properties.



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There’s no doubt that an effectively “staged” home is likely to sell faster and for a better price. Studies in real estate sales consistently prove it. However, you might be asking, “Is it better to do the staging myself? Do I need to hire a professional?”

Let’s look at the pros and cons.

If your home is already in demand and likely to get multiple offers, you might get away with doing the staging work on your own. In that case, it’s still advisable to get professional advice rather than “guess” your way through the process. There may be specific staging approaches that apply to your home, that only a professional would know to recommend.

There are, of course, some downsides to doing it yourself, such as the extra work involved, as well as the fact that you may not have the experience or materials (such as staging furniture) to do a professional job.

By contrast, when you hire a professional, or at least get professional advice, you take advantage of the latest staging best practices to make your home more attractive and desirable to buyers. That is especially important in a balanced or a buyer’s market.

So, when it comes to staging, remember that homes that show better tend to get more and better offers.

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