Neighborhood Profile: Gretna Green, Miramichi NB

Location: Just Off King George Highway, Miramichi, NB

Welcome to Gretna Green Subdivision. This executive neighbourhood boasts underground power, fully serviced lots, curbs,  and excellent location.

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Schools:

Elementary: Gretna Green Elementary

 Middle: Harkins Middle School

High School: Miramichi Valley High School

 Amenities: shopping, schools, banking, medical centres

 Lot Prices:  starting at only $33,500.00

To book a Discovery Session and start planning your new home in Gretna Green, call Andrew today at 506-251-1681or by email adunn@themartellexperience.com.

Selling Your House Under 5+ Feet Of Snow? sNOw Problem!

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Thanks to Luke Betts of Moncton for this fantastic photo of his house today!

Two weeks ago we shared our thoughts on why your home isn’t selling (read more here).  At the end of that post, I promised to follow up with some actionable steps that you can take to create more value and get your home sold.  While my original focus was on general steps to increase value, I couldn’t help but be inspired by the 5+ feet of snow staring at me through my front window (and my Facebook feed).  So, if you’re home is currently for sale, here is what you need to know….

1.  SHOW ME A SIGN

I’m willing to bet that your lawn sign is currently buried… First thing being first, get outside and see whether the sign can be dug out and made visible from the street.  If so, great!  Whether you dig it out or your Realtor does, well that’s up to you BUT at the very least make sure your Realtor knows that the sign is buried and whether it can be dug out.  If your sign has no chance of being dug out because of where the snow is being thrown, then you need to contact your Realtor right away and get a new sign.  I don’t generally recommend jamming a new sign into the top of a snowbank for safety reasons but, find a high visibility location to place it like ON the house/porch, etc.

2. SALT & SHOVEL 

Before you call me captain obvious, hear me out.  I don’t mean basic snow removal.  If your home is for sale, you have to take your snow removal to the next level.  If potential buyers have to walk sideways between their car and the banks to get up your driveway, they are automatically feeling discomfort and are associating that feeling with your home.  It is essential that you take the time to widen paths and walkways and, if possible, salt them down until they’re bare.  If buyers can plant their feet firmly on the ground, they will automatically feel more confident with the property.  If buyers are waddling, arms outstretched, on ice… well, they’re not looking at your house.  They’re actually just trying not to fall.

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If buyers are trekking through this, they will be feeling emotional in all of the wrong ways.

 

3. FEELING HOT, HOT, HOT!

The temperature inside the home is such an important component of presenting the highest value for the property.  If buyers are cold inside your home, they are uncomfortable and, again, they associate that feeling with the home.  Further, consciously or subconsciously, they’re likely running through a list of all of the reasons that the home could be cold: Poor insulation? Defective/old heat system? Bad windows? And the list goes on… don’t put your home (or yourself) through the added scrutiny and turn the heat up a few hours prior to showing.  Remember, you may choose to wear slippers and sweaters inside a la Fred Rogers, but your buyers may not.

4. WINDOWS (and everything) CLEANER THAN CLEAN

Have you ever noticed just how bright the world is when it’s covered it snow?  The extra brightness reflected in the snow makes every spec of dust, dirt and grime show much more obviously that normal.  As such, Winter is the perfect time to get the cleaners in or throw in extra elbow grease and get your windows, floors and flat surfaces absolutely spotless.

5. CLEAR DECKS, PATIOS AND PORCHES COMPLETELY

This one isn’t so obvious.  A huge part of the living space that your home offers is the outdoor living space.  But if buyers can see it, you can’t sell it!  So, get out on your porch, deck and/or patio and shovel it completely so that potential buyers can visualize what the home will be like beyond winter.  And let’s face it, just about every New Brunswicker is currently longing for summer.  Show them that your home is going to give them the summer living spaces that they’re currently dreaming about!

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6. SPEAKING OF SUMMER… UPDATE YOUR PHOTOS! 

If the online leading photo of your home shows a lush green lawn, replace it with a photo that shows the home in the snow.  WHY?  Because a photo of your home with a green lawn will stand out like a sore thumb and buyers will assume that the home has been sitting on the market forever… then they will ask why and likely assume the worst! Don’t risk it… the photo that you’re using to market your home should be a reflection of how it looks today… not 6 months ago.

What other winter selling challenges can you add to this list?

Heat Pump Probs?

photo (17)Ahh, the beautiful, snowy East Coast.  Personally, I LOVE snow but I know that it’s got many other New Brunswickers feeling down. With so much snow on the ground (and more on the way tonight), it’s not surprise that we’ve gotten a few calls from past clients whose heat pumps are not operating.  A very common problem with an abundance of snow (and nowhere to put it) is snow in your heat pump condenser.

We spoke to our buddies at ConAir Ventilation here in Greater Moncton are here are the steps that they advise you to take prior to making a service call:

STEP 1- remove snow on and around the condenser. We’re talking REALLY clean it out here… (The condenser is the unit outside the house).
STEP 2- clean as much inside the condenser as possible.
STEP 3- pour hot water in the condenser to remove excess snow inside.
STEP 4- turn heat pump breaker for about 15 minutes then turn it back on.
If this process does not work, then it’s time to make a service call.
Good luck & stay warm!

 

 

 

The Only Reason Your Home Isn’t Selling.

I’ve been toying with writing this post since 2012… that was the year that it became much more challenging to sell your home in Greater Moncton.  And, if your house isn’t selling, this post is directed at you.  So before you read on, I want you think about how badly you want to sell your house.  Also, please remind yourself that my only intention in writing this post is to help you sell your house.  Period. I’m sure you have great taste & style! 🙂

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I’m no stranger to what it takes to sell a home.  I’ve been marketing and selling homes for 11 years (as a former Realtor and now a builder).   I even completed a home staging designation and have overseen complete transformations of my client’s homes to ensure that they get the most money when they sell. So here’s the kicker… I’m not a Realtor any longer but I still hear my clients’ disappointment when they can’t start their new home project because they can’t sell their current home!

Why Isn’t Your House Selling?  It’s simple really…. you haven’t created enough VALUE for the buyers. Period.   

Marketing 101:  Value = Benefits/Cost

How do you create value?  Follow the simple equation above and you will see that once benefits outweigh cost, in the mind of buyers, you’ve achieved value and your home will sell.  The problem that you’re having is that the benefits to the potential buyer of your home have not yet outweighed the cost.  To sell your home, you need to start thinking like a marketer and of your home as a PRODUCT! Buyers don’t have the sentimental attachment that you do, so it’s best to save the nostalgia for the photo albums and take it out of the home.

To shift the value equation and sell your home, you have two options:

  1. Increase the benefits
  2. Decrease the cost

In this post, I will to consider each way that you may not be maximizing your home’s value.

Increase Your Home’s Benefits

You really need to be in tune with what buyers are looking for on the market to understand what your home may be lacking.  Particularly in a buyer’s market, there is so much choice out there that you cannot afford to have a home that is just average.  In our market, your home will often be competing with brand new construction homes so you need to recognize your best assets and let them shine.

1. What is special about your home already? Scream it from the rooftops. 

Does your neighbourhood have mature trees? Do you have an oversized lot? Are you close to an amazing school? Can you walk downtown?  What does your home have that it’s competitors lack? Buyers need to be told what makes it special. (Remember, the home is a product).

2. What is not so special about your home? Fix it.

Flooring and paint make over this kitchen.

 

Remember, this post is for people who REALLY want to sell their homes.  This is the single hardest hurdle to overcome with home sellers.  I’ve had to convince clients to stain their floors, paint their wood cabinets, change their siding… you name it, my clients have done it.  And their houses sold.

There are a few reasons that I see people list homes that are not “market-ready”.

1. Many sellers will not change things about the home because they personally like the house as it is.  This is a dangerous way to approach your home sale in a buyers market.  Have a look at the homes that are actually selling in your price point.  If those homes all have dark modern hardwood and your home boasts a golden oak, it’s time to consider the idea that your flooring is not appealing to buyers and needs to be changed if you want to sell (see image above).

2. Another argument against doing the work up-front: “Why would I change the house? I don’t know what the buyers will want.”  The reality is that the majority of buyers have already looked at photos of your home.  If you haven’t given them a reason to come see it in person, they simply won’t.  You can’t afford to look dated/average in a buyers market.

Decrease Your Home’s Cost 

Market value does not lie.  Buyers are only willing to pay the price that they are willing to pay and overpricing your home can be dangerous to the selling process.  Frankly, it’s great if you think that your home is worth $500,000.00 but that doesn’t change anything if buyers value your home at $350,000.00.  Overpricing a listing simply means that the buyers who would have considered the home are not even visiting because they perceive the home price out of their budget.

The price of your home should only be set using a Comparative Market Analysis- a set of stats showing what other comparable homes are selling for.  If you’ve done a CMA and your home still isn’t selling, you may be experiencing a market shift and should consult your Realtor regarding whether a reduction in price would be helpful.

Over the next while, I’ll follow up with some specific actionable steps you can take to work on increasing the benefits of your home.  Have you had success updating your home to sell it?  What worked for you? I’d love to hear.

-Natalie

 

Moving To Moncton Monday: Take It Outside (Your Skating That Is)

There is something whimsical about strapping on a pair of skates and taking it outside, isn’t there?  One of my absolute favourite discoveries about Moncton has been the abundance of outdoor skating rinks!  In fact, there’s one just two blocks from my home, in gorgeous Victoria Park.

While weather outside can have so many of us wanting to pull up the covers and zone out to Netflix, outdoor skating has some amazing benefits!  In addition to the calories burned and the balance control, getting outside in the winter also helps with depression.  Seriously, how many people have you ever seen on skates with a frown? (The NHL aside).

Take a drive around the city after school or on the weekend and you’ll see kids & adults alike, gathering to share some winter fun!

So, where are Moncton’s rinks?  According to the City of Moncton, they are in almost every neighborhood:

Outdoor Rinks

Mapleton Place (90 Candlewood Drive)

Prince Edward Park (25 Burlington Avenue)

Sunny Brae Park (45 Centre Street)

Hamilton Heights Playground (120 Evergreen Dr)

Roxborough Park (140 Barrington Crescent)

Other Outdoor Rinks:

Centennial Park Pond
Centennial Park Kaboom Rink
Mapleton Park
City Hall
Victoria Park (Weldon at John Street)

Have you been using any of our city’s outdoor rinks?  Which is your favourite and why?

Building Hope in Uganda (And How We Need Your Help)…

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It’s been a whirlwind few months at Martell Home Builders and we couldn’t be happier.  Our founder Pierre Martell & his fiancee Jess Boudreau have been busy expanding the Martell Home Builders family, by 17 people!  Have a look at what they’ve been up to:

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One of the best parts of the CHAT program, beyond the lives that they’re saving in Uganda, is the way that they’re impacting the lives of Canadian kids.  Literally, we are raising a generation of Canadian kids who are global activitists, entrepreneurs and philanthropists.  The future is BRIGHT for these kids!

Obviously, we’ve got a big job ahead of us in raising the finds required to DOUBLE the amount of children whose lives are saved by CHAT to the Future!

How you can help? Teachers/parents: is your school a CHAT school yet?  http://www.chattothefuture.org/teachers/

Everyone else: we can’t start construction until we’ve hit our funding goal….We need to raise some funds and we need everyone to see this video!

1. PLEASE SHARE this with your network and as many people as you can!

2. Please, please, please consider opening your heart (and wallet) to this amazing organization and help us impact that many more children: http://www.chattothefuture.org/invest/ (Click Build)

How are you giving back this Holiday Season?

Fall 2015: Our 5 Hottest Custom Home Trends

With more and more options for fixtures and finishes available in the custom home market, clients are really able to have their home reflect anything their heart desires!  As we look back on one of our busiest Fall custom home seasons ever, I thought that it would be great to recap the trends that our clients are going “ga-ga” for.

1. Barn Doors: These days, almost every client we meet with is looking to implement a barn door somewhere in their home.  We’re particularly fond of using barn doors in areas that do not require sound detonation (as in, you don’t want to put a barn door on a bathroom).  The image below offers an amazing option in using the barn door to offer separation for a pantry.

Image Source: http://www.thekitchn.com/

2. “Anything-But-MDF” Mantles: Traditionally, MDF is the material of choice when building mantles in new construction homes.  Lately however, our clients have been really looking for creative options when it comes to their fireplace mantles!  While one set of clients brought us an antique wooden beam, another set recently opted for stainless steel (see below).  We think that the position of a mantle and it’s location as the focal point in a room makes it the perfect place to let your style shine!

Image Source: www.themartellexperience.com

Image Source: www.themartellexperience.com

3. Faux Cedar Shake: When it comes to exterior finishes, the trend has been to get away from traditional vinyl siding.  That said, few clients want to absorb the additional cost of wood siding or cedar shake.  This leaves many clients choosing to outfit the exterior of their homes in faux cedar shake which allows them the maintenance-free benefit of vinyl while offering a more upscale look.

Image Source: themartellexperience.com

Image Source: themartellexperience.com

4. Composite Decking: One of the hottest items that we’ve worked with this year is composite decking as an alternative to wood.  Composite decking is a maintenance free product that stays looking new much longer than wood.  While this product is more expensive than wood, many clients are making the investment in this long-term product.

Image Source: thisoldhouse.com

 

5. Dark Ceilings: For clients looking to up the drama factor without darkening their room, dark paint on the ceilings is the way to go!  Light continues to reflect off of neutral/light coloured walls while the darkness of the ceiling gives the illusion that the ceiling is much higher than it really is.

Image Source: themartellexperience.com

 

Why New Brunswickers Are Thinking Twice About Natural Gas In New Homes….

In the run of an average week, I usually field a question or two about natural gas as a fuel heat source for new construction.  In my previous life, I sold homes in Ontario where natural gas was the standard.  Here in NB however, that is not the case.  In fact, the amount of our clients who choose a natural gas heat system is declining year over year.  I feel that there are 2 major reasons for this.

1. Your Neighbour Probably Doesn’t Have Natural Gas

I’m going to use the Toronto Area as an example because it’s one that I know best. The GTA is similar to many urban, developed areas of Canada in that there is a long established history of natural gas usage.  In fact, according to Statistics Canada as of 2011, 50% of all homes in Canada were heated by natural gas.  I have been searching high and low for stats on NB homes heated by natural gas but can’t seem to find any (if you do, please send them my way).  That said, there are drastically fewer homes in NB heated by natural gas than in many other Canadian cities.

There is a high cost to delivering natural gas to our region and that delivery cost is being absorbed and shared by a small number of customers (myself included).  The smaller the base of consumers, the higher the cost. As such, I am paying a much higher rate for natural gas in Moncton, NB than I was in Oakville, ON.  With natural gas rates staying where they’re at and often rising, many of our clients are option for the alternative of ducted air-to-air heat pumps which offer a similar upfront cost but keep power rates low throughout the cold season.

2. If You’re Building In A New Development, Natural Gas In Likely Not On Your Street

According to Enbridge NB’s website:

“New pipeline is built when there is sufficient demand in an area and where the economics ensure that the capital costs are covered over the long term.”

Looks promising enough.  When I called EnBridge to ask what constituted “sufficient demand” and for more information around the aforementioned economics, they asked me to complete a one minute questionnaire so that they could put me on a wait list. I was told that as soon as enough people in my area were on the wait list, they would then consider extending the pipeline to the street. They couldn’t tell me what number of homes would constitute “enough”.

This process is not terrible if you are considering a renovation or conversion however, if you are building new construction, the very nature of the process is problematic.  Because EnBridge is requiring a “sufficient” number of homes to agree to be natural gas consumers, the assumption is that people on the list can/will wait until the list is full.  When it comes to custom home construction in a new development, it is highly unlikely that homes 1-8 on the list (for example) will wait to build their homes until that 9th person agrees to use natural gas and fills the demand requirement.

Instead, homes 1-8 will proceed to stay on schedule… and that guy who could have been home 9, is back to square one. (Please note that these numbers are for illustration purposes only and were not provided by Enbridge).

I personally would LOVE to see more demand for Natural Gas in NB.  This would not only offer our clients more choice in their heat system but, eventually, they would more competitive rates.  Are you considering natural gas as a conversion or as a new construction home?  Why or why not?

 

 

Moncton Halloweeeeeeen… Twenty Fourteeeeeen!

by: Natalie

Let me preface this post by declaring that I LOVE holidays. LOVE! I love decorating, dressing up, building traditions and having a blast!   So, it should come as no surprise that my family has a jam-packed schedule for the week leading up to Halloween.  As I was planning out our activities, I noticed that there was no list anywhere online with this year’s “MUST-DOs” for Halloween in Moncton.  So, here are mine 🙂

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Yours truly… Halloween 2011.

1. Spirit Halloween Superstore Plaza (Main Street).

Granted, I have not yet tried out the other Halloween stores around town but this place was the bomb! It took 20 minutes for us to even get into the store as my kids toured the very exciting decor display.  We’re talking electrocutions, mad scientists, attack dogs and even a little zombie girl on a swing.  **WARNING** My kids are 6 and loved it but they would have had nightmares if we brought them when they were younger.

2. 131 Broadview (Old West End).

I absolutely the holiday people who go all out (a la Clark Griswold)… whether their thing is Halloween, Christmas, Easter, whatever….  That’s why the people at 131 Broadview probably think that I’m some sort of stalker.  From Oct 1-31,  I try to pass by this fantastic display as often as possible.  On Saturday, they’re hosting a Halloween block party from 3-6pm and will be accepting donations for the local food bank.  I spoke with the resident of this home and he told me that they see 400-500 trick or treaters every year!   We are so sad that this is their last year doing their display.

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Photo by me… driving by during daylight to see everything better.

 

3.  Boo At The Zoo

This will be our first year at Boo At The Zoo and I’m so excited!  Open Sat & Sun from 11am-5pm, they promise inflatable fun as well as a scarier area for the parents.  With admission, you also get to do your rounds of the animal displays.  Be sure to wear a costume… Parents too!  This one’s likely to be my kids’ favourite event.

4. Keillor House Halloween Tour

By far, my favourite event of the season is the Keillor House Tour!   Open Friday and Saturday night from 7-9pm.  Honestly, if you haven’t been, it is a MUST see.  My kids begged to join us this year but there would be way too many nightmares and tears at their age.  As you tour this historic mansion, live actors engage with you and make sure that every person leaves terrified.  Get ready to scream!!

Imagine this place at night, filled with live ghouls and ghosts…

That’s what we’re up to this weekend.  So, Moncton, did I miss any Halloween “MUSTS”?  Tell me… how are you celebrating the spookiest season?

Neighborhood Profile: Baron Heights

Location: Elmwood Drive (across from the new Moncton High, Irishtown, NB

Ground Breaking: Fall 2014

Image Credit: The Barons, Inc.

Welcome to Baron Heights “country living at it’s finest”. This prestigious, country community is located next to the Irishtown Nature Park offering lots between 1-6 acres, ranging in price between $69,000-79,000.   This gorgeous community is truly going to be the next high-end development in Moncton with admirers comparing it to Rural Estates in the North End,

Features:

  • Golf Course nearby
  • Only 12 minutes from major shopping
  • Walkable to Moncton High School
  • Strong covenants to protect your investment
  • Amenities: Irishtown Nature Park, schools

To book a Discovery Session and start planning your new home in Baron Heights, call Pierre today at 506-871-5237 or by email pierre@themartellexperience.com.