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Archive for April, 2014

A Real Estate Pedigree

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014


To say real estate is in Kate Hobson’s DNA might be overstating it a bit.

But just a wee bit.



The Toronto native grew up surrounded by stories of land development and real estate thanks to her father, a successful land speculator. Her older brother is an architect and her younger brother is a successful realtor in the city.

Given that lineage it’s no surprise that the 39-year-old chose to land on Real Estate Avenue two years ago after stints in advertising, home and office renovations, and her most challenging assignment of all, motherhood.

“I’m just coming out of the woods,” jokes Kate when speaking of her five-year-old son and six-year-old daughter. “But really, I’d been thinking about going into real estate for years.”

In her early career, Kate worked in advertising for a few Toronto agencies in production  and client services. She loved the fast-paced, cutting edge atmosphere of the ad biz but left it behind in favour of an opportunity to work on a land speculation project with her father. The work would lead to other project management opportunities such as overseeing residential and commercial renovation projects.

Project management allowed Kate to work from home, which was ideal when her children were very young. But real estate beckoned.

Kate had heard about Freeman Real Estate thanks to her father, who years ago had dealt with the firm’s founder Barry Freeman. She interviewed with five or six brokerages because she was determined to find that right fit. Confident that career success would come quickly, Kate wanted to ensure that she signed on with a brokerage that was willing to offer a fair bit of support. At Freeman, she found what she was looking for.

“Not to sound corny, but the office environment here was unexpected and  it’s pretty amazing” she says. “People are willing to offer advice and help each other out. At other offices they’re  both physically and culturally more closed and everyone has their little pod.  Here, people don’t necessarily have to come in to the office, but they do for the camaraderie.”

Besides many of the pluses of working for a small, family-owned boutique realtor, Kate also enjoys the office’s dog-friendly policy. Her new pup, a Welsh spaniel named Birdie accompanies her into the office and rather enjoys the interaction with other Freeman dogs.

Kate was awarded two prestigious Freeman awards last year, the President’s Club Award in recognition of sales achievement and the Dare to Soar Award for record-breaking achievement for a new salesperson.  This year she was awarded the Freeman Real Estate Ltd. Award of Excellence – Platinum Level 2013,  for grossing +$10 Million in Sales over the last 3 years.  Not bad, considering 2013 was only her second year in the business.



What to Avoid When Showing Your Home

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014


If you’re selling a home in Toronto, you’re lucky. A sale likely won’t take that long in today’s red-hot market so putting up with the inconvenience of having strangers parade through your bedroom shouldn’t last too terribly long.

There are ways to make the showing more productive for all involved. And remember what worked years ago, may be somewhat redundant today. For example, hanging around your house while a prospect is being shown through is not going to win you any prizes no matter how excellent the hor d’oeuvres and cabernet.

Curiosity can get the best of us, but you are best to corral up the residents in your home and head to the nearest coffee shop to wait out the viewing. Prospects never feel fully at ease knowing that the seller is lurking around the corner. They’re not as apt to express interest or apathy about a certain feature if they think you can overhear them and as a result they are likely to sweep quickly through your home without giving it the proper time and attention it deserves.

If you have to be home during a showing, be as inconspicuous as possible. If the weather is nicer, perhaps you can wait outside. No matter how winning the prospects are don’t follow them from room to room. Since house hunting is time consuming work, you don’t want to get engaged in drawn-out conversations about the pluses and minuses of the neighbourhood – that’s the realtor’s job.

In fact, if there are certain traits about your street – perhaps Peter Mansbridge lives three doors down – tell your realtor and he or she can pass on the info. Engaging in too much chit chat with a client is unwise as you could end up saying the wrong thing without even knowing it.

There are other rules to follow that will help you sell your house. When it comes to smells watch out. Yes, you can bake bread or muffins before a showing. This lends a homey atmosphere to your kitchen, but given the rash of allergies people suffer today you might want to do so with restraint. Plenty of people have gluten sensitivities and that could affect their olfactory glands, too. Freshening your home with deodorizers and other fragrances can also offend prospects that prefer a scent-free atmosphere. Try not to cook anything too terribly aromatic or spicy just before a showing.

If pet smells are an issue try to air out your space well before the scheduled showing. In addition, be sure to clean up after your pets by wiping the dog slobber off the screen door and emptying the kitty litter box. If you can, try to take your pets with you. Prospects don’t easily warm to your yappy cocker spaniel no matter how cute and cuddly.

Though time is tight try to tidy up. Make your beds as this always makes a room so much more inviting. Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink. Hide them in your dishwasher and if you don’t have one, gather them into a bin and place them inside your oven – just don’t forget about them later.

Keep lights on both inside and outside your house as this lends a happy and welcoming vibe. Open your curtains and blinds unless, of course, your view is an eyesore. If you have a gas fireplace, light it. Play soft music.

All of these guidelines contribute to setting a mood in your house. The more welcoming and cheery, the quicker the sale. It’s as simple as that.


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