Valley Relocation Team

Real Estate ... to a higher standard!

1 (902)844-1494

As I have mentioned in my BIO, I served for 23 years in the military. I enrolled in the militia in 1985 with the West Nova Scotia Regiment at Camp Aldershot. During my career I was posted to Ottawa, Halifax, Ottawa, Lahr Germany, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, Greenwood, Cold Lake, Petawawa, Borden, and finally Greenwood. While in Lahr I worked in the R&D section and we were responsible for all of the moves for Military and Civilian coming back as we closed the base down. We booked movers. Flights. Car shipment. Payment of legal fees, CMHC, Realtors, Lawyers, etc.


I know military moves; from Administering moves to moving 12 times; first as a single person and then each time with a larger number of chiildren than the previous. (6 in total) and I moved with horses, eventually retiring with a hobby farm.


When you find out you are moving, the first thing you should do is ask your friends for REALTOR recommendations. I would avoid asking on Facebook. It is actually quite comical to follow some of those posts. It has nothing to do with who is best for you. It is a popularity contest. On one post, the person asked who to use as a REALTOR in Greenwood. There were two recommendations for a REALTOR that had only been licensed for two weeks.  


Once you get a couple names you should interview them. You can come up with a list of questions to see if they are the right fit for your family. You can even do this by email. Ask them about their experience. Ask them where they live. Ask them what their specialty is. If you have kids, ask them about schools, recreation, clubs. If you have animals, ask about what areas are friendly to the type of animals you have. 


Remember you only have 5 days to find a home, negotiate a deal, get a home inspection, water test, find a lawyer, etc. If you have someone not familiar with the process it could easily eat up a couple of days.


Happy moving!

Read full post

We have been active in purchasing rental properties over the past few years. There are a lot of misconceptions when listing a rental property. First of all it has to be legal.  Just because you build an apartment in the basement doesn't make it legal. We make it quite clear when a potential seller contacts us about listing their rental property. We are going to check with the county to make sure it is a legal rental property. Our job as REALTORS is to protect our clients; whether they are a buyer or seller. A bank will only lend money on the legal portion of a property. An appraiser will only appraise the legal part of a property. 


In the Annapolis Valley there are several duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes that are listed that are not approved for that many units. In our advertising we always state that we are looking for legal rental units, and that we are going to check.  We have several active clients that are looking for rental (investment) properties. Every rental property that gets listed on MLS goes through a thourough checklist by our team the day it goes on the market. We call the county to ensure it is legal (or legal non-conforming). The second step is we have a spreadsheet in which we put in the rental numbers, and expenses to calculate what the return on investment would be.  For instance, if a duplex is listed for $250,000 and is renting each side for $750 per month, it isn't going to pass our checklist and doesn't get passed on to our buyers. 


If you are thinking about purchasing a rental property or selling one; make sure your REALTOR know their way around rental properties. Not everybody that is a licensed salesperson deals in all types of properties. Ask for references!



Read full post

In Nova Scotia it is now mandatory for buyers to sign a Buyer Brokerage Agreement.


This is to afford the buyer with the same rights and protections as the seller. All Real Estate boards across Canada are trying to get away from the "Double End". That is the situation where the REALTOR is working with the Buyer and the Seller on the same deal.


At first I thought this was crap, and that the Real Estate Commission was trying to take away part of our livelyhood. But then I had a couple deals that just didn't feel right.  When you sit back and look at it; how can you get the seller the best deal and the buyer the best deal at the same time? You can't. Where does your loyalty sit? Of course you listed the home and the buyer "should" know that your picture is on the lawn, so naturally you are working for the seller? 


Some REALTORS survive by double-ending properties. I really never clued in to it when I was on my House Hunting Trips in the military. But thinking back, some of my REALTORs only showed me homes they had listed. Some of them showed them to me even though they were above my set price range. When I moved to Edmonton back in the late 90's I actually fired my REALTOR because I told them what my price limit was and the first 10 homes were priced much higher than my maximum. So on to the next REALTOR to see if they listened......and they did!


Because of my experiences moving across Canada several times, we have decided that we will no longer "double-end" on a sale. We have a plan in place with a non-affiliated REALTOR to provide buyer representation when required.


If your REALTOR is only showing you their listings.........time to move on


If you decide to buy a home that is listed with your REALTOR.......get representation from another REALTOR. One that will protect you.


You deserve your own representation.

Read full post

I get a lot of people asking me what I mean when I put #nofakenews on some of my advertising. As most people know, our friends south of the border came up with that hashtag. Because their fearless leader spouts off non-truths every day. Our team will not make up a story just to get attention. Honesty and integrity run deep in my military background and with Kevin as well. Our business cards and advertising are true likeness of us. We do not use photoshop to make ourselves look better. Our photographer that we use does not make our listings look fake. We do not go onto social media and tell people that inventory is low in the valley If there are 800 homes for sale; inventory is not low. And my favourite is saying that you are fresh out of listings because you sold all of your listings. If you only had fa handful of listings, that is not an accurate statement in my books. These are tactics to make people think you are doing better than you are. One of the reasons I like working for EXIT Realty is that we don't have made up awards. You get an award for the number of sales for the year, the number of listings, and the amount of commission earned. We don't belong to any circles or clubs. Again, those are tactics to make it look like you are performing better than you are.


As our slogan says: Real Estate to a higher standard.

Read full post

I was driving around last week. The weather is improving. The sun is shining. The snow is melting. There is an increase in homes being listed. There are alot of new REALTORS(r)  this year. And most are starting to put their image on their signs. When I decided to put my face on my sign back in 2014 I was one of very few. I waned to do something different than the norm. I chose the black sign because nobody else was doing it. Anyway....back to my story. I could not believe how different some people look in their signs. I would say some are even unrecognizable. I moved more than a dozen times when I was in the military. And I know personally I would have been disappointed if I showed up on my house hunting trip and my REALTOR didn't look anything like what they are advertising. Don't get me wrong. I colour out he grey. I shave for my picture. But I can tell you when you meet me, I look the same as my picture. Looking for your thoughts. Email me at james@sellwithexit.ca with your comments.
Read full post