Full article first published by Heather Laura Clarke in The Chronicle Herald

The world feels a bit different these days, but the fact is that people still need to buy and sell homes — and that’s happening at a surprising rate, given the COVID-19 pandemic.

“These are unprecedented times, but real estate is still very much open for business — it just looks a little different right now,” says Chris Peters, President of the Nova Scotia Association Of REALTORS® (NSAR).

A trusted REALTOR® helps you prepare, list and market your home to potential buyers and then — once someone has fallen in love with your home—your REALTOR® guides you through the offer process.

If you’re thinking about putting your home on the market but aren’t sure how that works during COVID-19, here are five ways REALTORS® will help you market your home while maintaining proper social distancing:

They’ll ask you about your comfort level.
Peters says everyone’s adjusting to the changing restrictions differently, and it’s a REALTOR®’s job to make sure they’re serving their clients in a way that makes them feel comfortable.

Some homeowners are nervous about having anyone in their homes, so they prefer their REALTOR® organize virtual showings and use apps to virtually sign documents. Other homeowners are eager to invite their REALTOR® inside to have them manage the photography, and host showings.

Peters says REALTORS® will adhere to regulations set out by our government and talk with clients about which additional precautions they would like them to  take if they’ll be showing the property in person.


They’ll leverage virtual tours.
If the pandemic had struck back when most people still had dial-up internet and flip-phones without cameras, buying and selling homes with social distancing would have been nearly impossible.

But, with Zoom video conferencing and cell phones that can take high-resolution photos, Peters says there’s so much a REALTOR® can do to market a home without ever setting foot in it.

They’ll use social media.
Social media was already an important tool for REALTORS® but Peters says it’s become even more useful since the pandemic started. Social media use skyrocketed as people went online to feel connected and read about updates, which has made it easier for REALTORS® to catch people’s attention using listing photos, videos and virtual tours.

They’ll arrive prepared.
If your REALTOR® shows up in person, they’re going to arrive with everything they need to keep people safe.

These days, Peters always keeps his vehicle stocked with essentials like disinfectant wipes, gloves and bottles of alcohol-based hand sanitizer. There’s always a reusable mask for himself — his favourite is a colourful print of specialty beer bottles — as well as a stack of reusable masks for clients who might need them.

“In today’s world of buying and selling homes, this is just part of what the new normal looks like,” says Peters. “When I’m out with buyers or sellers, it’s always about what we can do to help keep as many people as possible safe.”

Despite these strange times, Peters says Nova Scotia’s real estate market is hot — especially for sellers — and most homes aren’t listed for long before they’re snapped up.

If you’re thinking about selling your home, Robert Realty Team is here to help - contact us to get started !

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Yesterday, the CMHC announced that they have tightened their rules for qualifying buyers for an insured mortgage. As of July 1st, the minimum credit score for at least one applicant will be increased to 680 from 600. The total debt service ration will be lowered from 44 to 42, while the gross service debt ratio will be lowered from 39 to 35. Additionally, applicants will no longer be able to borrow money from a financial institution for their down payment. While the CMHC recently hinted at increasing the minimum down payment from 5% to 10%, this was not included in their official announcement.

So if you have been looking at buying a house, you may want to do so by the end of the month if you are able to. Find out how we can work with you to help you throughout the process: https://toprealestatenovascotia.com/buying.html

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Despite concerns due to COVID-19, so much to do with selling your house can be done online in today's digital age. While others are playing catch up, Robert Realty Team has always embraced the latest technology, so we are well-placed to carry out real estate activities while adopting the current social distancing practice. On top of our usual listing services, we are offering the following to help keep everyone safe:

✔️ We offer video consultations to discuss your needs, take a tour of your property, and answer any questions you may have.

✔️ On top of hiring a professional photographer to ensure your house looks its best in listing photos online, we also provide virtual tours for our listings, so that buyers can get the full 360° view online from the comfort and safety of their home.

✔️ We use electronic signatures for all paperwork, so everything can be done remotely.

✔️ We will make sure anybody who views your home in person are following all COVID-19 safety measures.
The real estate market is still very active - in fact it's become a seller's market, with demand from buyers outpacing available listings. While the low inventory is helping those who choose to list now, we predict that when normalcy returns, there will be a surge of inventory, as people who are currently holding off will all be putting their house on the market at the same time, which will shift the market to become favourable to buyers, at least in the short-term.

So if you're considering listing your property, contact us to schedule a phone call or video consultation !
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According to a 2019 study by Angus Reid, Canadians owe $1.78 to creditors for every $1.00 of disposable income. With stats like this, it's more important than ever to make sure your credit health is on track, especially for first-time buyers planning to buy a home. Here are a few tips to get on the right track 

  • No credit history can be as detrimental as bad credit, so be sure to establish credit.
  • Don't max out your credit cards, make sure to leave room on them.
  • Avoid having too many credit cards, even if you don't use them.
  • Pay off your credit card balance every month.
  • Save up as much as possible for your down payment.



Source : https://www.livabl.com/2019/02/first-time-homebuyers-guide-building-healthy-credit-history-homeownership.html

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Your home's energy efficiency is a key factor in your heat & utility bills. From windows to heating systems or appliances to light bulbs, there are so many elements at play.

Energy Nova Scotia offers many programs and services. You can schedule a consultation to find out how to improve your home's efficiency levels, get discounts on energy efficient products, and even receive some free energy efficient products such as light bulbs and drying racks. 


Visit their website for full details: https://www.efficiencyns.ca/

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