The Edmonton real estate market has been surprisingly stable in the past couple of years, even though the province of Alberta overall has been going through some significant economic turmoil. We were intrigued by this and wanted some 2017 Edmonton real estate predictions. We reached out to expert broker Sara MacLennan of Liv Real Estate. Her answers offer plenty of insight into this, and invaluable advice for agents.
Tell us a few words about Liv Real Estate and the role you are playing in it.
Liv Real Estate is a small but growing family-run brokerage in Edmonton. The company, founded in 1975 by Ken Johnston, was originally known as K.W. Johnston Real Estate. The Liv Real Estate brand was born in 2012 and reflects our focus on providing excellent service for our clients.
As marketing director, I provide our agents with the right tools to excel at selling real estate. I’m a REALTOR®, but I’ve never sold a house. I make our Brokerage easy to find and do business with. Today Liv Real Estate has some of the most visited websites in Edmonton, getting over 3.5 million page views/month!
Making Liv Real Estate this ‘visible’ online is not easy; we put in a lot of day-to-day hard work, building a quality brokerage, with relevant and useful content for our followers, and training agents to better educate their clients.
Have you spotted any interesting trends in the Edmonton real estate market recently?
As everyone knows, Alberta has been going through some tough times, but average home prices in Edmonton have remained stable since the recent peak in 2014. Average prices, however, do not reflect the prices of individual homes.
It turns out the average size of homes sold over the past two years has been steadily increasing. This at least partially explains the stable average prices in Edmonton while sales have been dropping.
While the value of most properties has declined, buyers still qualified for the same amount of money (up until the recent mortgage rule changes), and were able to buy larger properties, keeping the average sale price stable. Now that most buyers will qualify for a lower amount, the average price should start to decline.
In the past few months, have you spotted a rising interest in one particular area or neighbourhood? If so, which one is it? Why do you think this is happening?
In terms of online traffic, the newer neighbourhoods of Windermere and Summerside get twice as much traffic as any other neighbourhood on our site (10,000-12,000 page views a month). This is partly because they are large neighbourhoods with lots of listings, but also because they’ve been developed in a way to attract a variety of people, with properties ranging from affordable 1-bedroom apartments, to multi-million dollar properties.
There is a lot of interest in newer “infill” properties closer to Central Edmonton, but they are very pricey when compared to similar homes in newer neighbourhoods. Different buyers prioritize different things when choosing where to live.
What is the single most difficult part of a real estate professional’s job?
Time management. Time is a real estate agent’s single most precious commodity; wasting it costs money. Every agent needs to find a work/life balance that is sustainable, so the time that they dedicate to ‘working’ needs to be spent wisely. Make a business plan, write down your goals, know what you’re worth an hour. How much is saving $10 on a courier really costing you, when you have to hand-deliver a cheque across town, during rush hour?
What would you recommend to beginners in the industry?
When you start working on your Real Estate License, also start researching brokerages. Some brokerages may not want to hear from you until you’ve completed the course. Some will be eager to offer mentoring and training tools while you’re still studying, so that once licensed, you’ll hit the ground running.
There is a world of knowledge not covered in the licensing courses that you will need in order to succeed in this business. Find a real-life mentor, outside of the classroom, with experience in the Industry to draw from. When you’re considering joining a brokerage, talk to other agents that work there. Find out how much support and training new agents get before you make any big decision.
With over 15 years of Corporate Level and Residential Marketing Experience, Sara MacLennan knows exactly what it takes to make a great Real Estate Agent. The one imperative skill that is often overlooked, or not exercised to its full potential, is ‘marketing.’ As Co-Founder and Marketing Director of Liv Real Estate, she provides agents with the right tools to excel at selling real estate.