Purchasing House Biggest Investment

by Monica Black

Most of us at some point in our lives are faced with the prospects of buying or selling a house and for the most us it will be the single biggest investment we make.
Just how important the search for the right house is to the individual is a matter well understood by one Kanata resident who has specialized in residential sales in our community for the last twelve years. Joan Smith is a name familiar to many. Invariably we see her “Open House’ sign posted on some corner, on the weekends, advertising the fact that she is on duty, but also attesting to a rare commitment that extends beyond the normal weekday load. Her competence in helping individuals choose their future home reveals itself in her impressive credentials.

Since 1973 up to the present, Joan has achieved the highest annual sales production in her office and she has led the Ottawa area offices in residential sales.

For the last five years, since the inception of Royal Trust’s National Success Club, she has qualified as one of its top sales- people, and received life membership in 1982, At present, She serves as a Director of the Real Estate Institute of Canada, Ottawa Chapter. while formerly having served as a Director of of the Ottawa Real Estate Board.

In the business of selling your house, before the contract is signed with the real estate agent, an assessment or appraisal of its value will have been initially established. For those unfamiliar with just how this dollar value is arrive at, Joan cites two basic types of market appraisals, The first, the comparison appraisal, is most often made in areas such as Kanata where houses of a similar design and construction are to be found and therefore compared. Such features as lot size and landscaping on the lot, whether it enhances the particular lot size and shape, will he taken into consideration.

Even if the lot is small, good presentation may be the determining factor and not lot size, Extras added to your house, for example, shelving for books or a finely-crafted recreation room, may add value. Your own deco- rating ideas may increase the resale value of your house The addition of a swimming pool. if it does not take up the entire back yard but allows for a privacy area, may also increase the desirability of your house. Its appraisal value will be placed at 50 per cent of the cost of installing a new one at the present

The second type of market appraisal is usually made on an older property where there are no other similar housing designs. The market value is reached by calculating what it would cost per square foot to rebuild the house. Both systems or market analysis, Joan feels, work out well, unless the market is completely flat and nothing is selling. Then it is up to the purchaser to set a new market value.

Since 1970, Joan has seen two distinct five-year periods in the real estate market, with substantially large housing gains occur- ring in each period. Our gain in the Kanata-Ottawa are have never swung as dramatically as they have in Vancouver and Toronto. We have more or less held back, with last spring representing a “catching up phase” With housing construction at a 22-year low across the country, the value of the resale house should remain relatively stable.
The more affordable condominium market in Kanata has been very healthy this past year, due, in put, to tile tight rental market throughout our region, which has the effect of forcing people into retail housing. Larger, single houses have tended to suffer on the market in this same period because of the difficulty of managing the large P.I.T. outlay. In general. this market has been erratic. with time frames for selling ranging from six weeks to nine months. The current more reasonable interest rates will, of course, encourage those buyers who prefer the larger house.Just what keeps Joan in the real estate business? The answers to that reveal something of the character of this soft-spoken, but deliberate and capable business woman. She admits that the financial rewards of her career and being Number One are “very thrilling”.It is, however, the very large personal rewards that sustain her interest and commitment; the different personalities of the people she meets and the challenge of working with them. Her involvement, she states, goes much deeper that selling the house, for during the period of sale she is an important personality in the home of those she represents.

She may be caught up in the situation that gave rise to the house sale, for example, a death in the family, a family splitting up, or the more happier prospects of a promotion for the head of the household.

Joan attributes her success to knowing the real estate business thoroughly and never begrudging the time she spends at her work. Being a good listener, as well as being able to tell sore cone when they are wrong, she considers very important.

Would, as one might suspect, her clients and her houses loom over her bed side and torment her in the dark, quiet hours? Not so, declares Joan. “If I know I have done everything possible to service my clients, then I don’t worry and I sleep at night.”