What is it Like to Work with Me?

May 25th, 2016 by cherylkurek

I’ve been selling real estate in Sherwood Park and Edmonton for over 11 years now, and a question I often get asked is, “What sets you apart from the rest?” Now, I can tell you how great I am, but I am sure that would come across as being pretty cheesy, not to mention immodest. So, what is it like to work with me? Thanks to my wonderful clients over the years, they have provided me with feedback, both verbal and written, as to why they work with me again and again.  Here are some of the things th17424845_sey have said:

1.) I’m straight and to the point.  When I work with clients, I put honesty front and center. I don’t tell you what you want to hear, but I do tell you what you need to hear.  Sometimes it’s an ugly job, and sometimes people don’t like it.  My clients know that I will always be honest and back up what I say with facts, not emotion.  At the end of the day I build my reputation on honesty, because I want clients that value honesty as well.

2.) I truly love my job and the people I meet.  For me, selling homes is a career I am very passionate about.  With passion, you enjoy what you do and have a good attitude and energy even when the going gets tough.  I left a 13-year teaching career because after about the 10th year I lost my passion.  Not so with real estate! Every day is different, and there is always something new to learn, which is exciting for me. I can’t think of anything more satisfying than helping people with their real estate goals.

3.) I am loyal and look out for your best interests.  If you are buying, I make sure to help you get all the information you need even if it means losing a sale. Getting you a good deal that makes you happy makes me happy and leads to future business with you.  Selling your home for top dollar means you know I work hard to market your property and get great results, no matter what shape the market is in. I am not about getting the deal done, but the deal you want. That’s what really counts in the end.

4.) I’m patient and hardworking.  They say that patience is a virtue and in real estate, this can mean showing multiple properties, and preparing a listing for sale involving additional steps.  I understand that purchasing or selling IS kind of a big deal, so I take the time to do what is needed in each particular transaction to make sure the job is done right. Because of this, I sell a larger-than average percentage of what I list.

5.) When you work with me, you gain a Realtor you can TRUST. I often say, I don’t sell houses, I build trust. Making a house purchase or selling one is a big financial decision. You want to hire someone who is knowledgeable, experienced and skilled. Furthermore, you want someone who engages in ethical practices and does what is promised, and more.  I am proud to say that I don’t distribute flyers, ads, or bus benches about how great I am or that I am number 1.  I am not number 1, YOU are.

Want to work with a trusted professional in Sherwood Park or Edmonton? Contact me, and let’s get to know one another.  I promise to not be pushy and I will be happy to answer any questions you may have!

To Stage or Not to Stage? 5 Great Reasons to Hire a Professional Stager

March 21st, 2016 by cherylkurek

6151925_sAs a Realtor (R), I often get asked about professional staging services, particularly when a home is vacant. I get asked questions such as “How much does it cost? How much faster will my house sell? Can I get more money for my house if I stage it?” Below are some tips and things to think about if you are considering staging your home in Edmonton or Sherwood Park before you put it on the market!

Tip#1: Hire a professional Stager and request samples of their work – before and after. Professional Stagers receive extensive training on how to select and place furniture, artwork and accessories to make a room more visually appealing to buyers. A Stager can pick out the best assets of a home and use staging techniques to emphasize those features, while drawing the eye away from less desirable ones.

Tip #2: Start with a clean, well-maintained home. No house is perfect, but it is important to remember that a dirty house with numerous repairs needed that is staged is a bit like putting lipstick on a pig! You can dress up a room, but if problems are obvious, then it looks like the staging is attempting to hide something, which is NOT what you want!

Tip#3: Think of staging is an investment, not an expense. Staging IS expensive – for an average home with a few rooms chosen, expect to pay anywhere from $2000 – $2500. However, in the vast majority of cases, it will help a property sell faster and statistically will sell for 5 – 10% more money! That is a pretty good return on your investment, and also a lot cheaper than a $10,000 price reduction if the house does not sell.

Tip#4: Stage for one month and get quality photos. The bulk of the cost of staging lies in the monthly rental fee for furniture and accessories, which is why most builders purchase furnishings for their show homes instead of rent. In most cases, the house will likely sell before the one month is up. In my opinion, you will only need to stage for one month, and you have the photos and/or Virtual Tour already on the MLS. Just make sure the photos are great quality with good lighting. There is no point in spending the money on Staging when the photos are less than professional!

Tip #5: Hire a Stager who promotes your property once it is listed. Many Stagers have their own Website and use Social Media to promote the work they do. Make sure your home is promoted – a win-win for all!

Do you have further questions about staging your Edmonton or Sherwood Park home, and want to know who the good ones are? Contact me, and I will be happy to help out!

Should your Goals for 2016 Include Real Estate?

January 16th, 2016 by cherylkurek


As 2016 begins, we often reflect on the successes and failures of the past year and look forward to new beginnings by creating Resolutions as a fresh year unfolds.

Typically most people’s goals include getting healthy, travelling more and getting more fun out of life. Sometimes these goals can be financial ones, such as eliminating debt or saving up for a desired purchase. It may even include real estate. Perhaps you are thinking of “right-sizing” to a home that better fits your needs and current lifestyle.  Yes, you heard me correctly: buying a larger or smaller home can bring more happiness into your life!

I recall when I moved last year, it was to enjoy a better lifestyle. My home had to have a bigger yard ( my hubby and I love to garden!) and have enough guest rooms to allow family or friends to stay overnight. We also wanted less stairs for when we became older and stairs might be difficult.  The solution? a renovated bungalow on a large mature lot, with plenty of parking for my two kids.

So what about you? How does real estate fit into your goals for 2016?  Here are some ideas to get you started!

1.) A New Home can Give you More Space

I know, this one is obvious, but a lot of people put up with a lack of space for far too long. Not having dedicated spaces for everyone can be stressful, particularly when people come to visit. Parking can also be an issue when children get older and start to drive. You can make a large space smaller, but it is difficult to make a small one bigger.

2.) A new Home can Provide Simplification to Your Life

As we age, the needs we require in our home change too. Perhaps the house that was perfect for a family of 5 is now too large to manage when it is just the two of you in the house. Downsizing can ensure that you are maintaining only the amount of house you need. With that comes less upkeep, less property taxes and utility use, and more free time. Why make things complicated?

3.) A New Home can be a Better Fit for your Hobbies and Interests

Perhaps you like to putz around in the garage. Or your family loves to watch movies together on a regular basis. Hobbies such as scrap booking, cooking, woodworking and tinkering with old automobiles necessitates a dedicated use of space that may not be possible in your current home.  This can provide additional enjoyment without encroaching on your everyday living space.

4.)  A New Home can Bring you Closer to Friends and Family

People often want to live close by to people they know and enjoy.  After you move, you can’t change your neighbors, so if you move to a place where you have friends, that is icing on the cake! Or, maybe you have a neighbor you don’t get along with?  Either way, you are making a move that makes sense!

5.) A New Home can be a Source of Pride

I believe everyone should be proud of their home. It doesn’t have to be the biggest house, or the fanciest house- it just has to be a good fit for you!  Whether it’s  for aesthetics, functionality, or a neighborhood with amenities you enjoy, your choice of home should reflect a source of pride – a place you are happy to call home!

Is owning a new home in Edmonton or Sherwood Park part of YOUR Resolutions for 2016?  Contact me, and lets discuss some options!

Will Realtors Ever be Replaced by Technology?

November 10th, 2015 by cherylkurek

33822080_sA lot has changed in the last 20 years or so in Real Estate. It used to be that Realtors were the Gatekeepers of Information. Back then, in order to find out which house was for sale, and the details involving that property. the only way to get information on a property was to contact a Realtor!

Today, the Public has access to a tremendous amount of information on Real Estate.  What was previously considered private information is now public, thanks to technology and websites.  Furthermore, almost all of it is free!

So, why use a Realtor, you ask? There are plenty of reasons why a knowledgeable and experienced Realtor won’t be replaced by a technological tool or widget any time soon.  Here are some to consider:

1.) Buying and Selling is an Emotional Process  Think about it: buying or selling a house involves a great deal of emotions. In most cases, a home is your most valuable monetary asset. In other cases, your reasons for buying or selling could be emotional too.  Perhaps you are expecting a baby, getting a divorce, or facing a job loss. Or maybe you have spent a long time raising your family in your home and have become quite attached to it. In any event, this transaction becomes an emotional one due to the high stakes involved or by the circumstances you find yourself in.  An experienced and compassionate Realtor can help you sort through your feelings and emotions and help you make the best decisions possible in a stressful time, by helping you consider BOTH the pros and cons of a decision.

2.) Face-to-Face Contact is Important  When I sit down with clients and discuss their Real Estate goals, a lot of communication involves body language. What we express with the way we hold our bodies, facial expression, intonation, and  interaction with others holds a lot of meaning in the overall message we convey. So, while texting and emailing are time-saving measures, the face-to-face interaction can often provide more information in the communication process.  Communication is key! This is why Realtors often prefer a face-to-face meeting with clients, particularly for the first time.  It also establishes trust, another key component in any relationship. And that is something you cannot get from technology!


3.) Interpretation of the Facts  There is a plethora of information available to buyers and sellers alike on the internet, and it can sometimes be overwhelming.  However, information alone is not enough.  How that information is interpreted is even more important.  For example, you may read that your area has 4.5 months of inventory, but what does this mean? How does this affect you as a Buyer? As a Seller? A Realtor can explain facts and how they pertain to you in a certain area, and in a certain market.


4.) Other Tools  A Realtor can also assist with other things, such as recommend a local expert to replace your counter top, or suggest a qualified and certified house inspector.  In most case, this Realtor has either used this person, or know someone who has, and was happy with the results.  This can save you time, money, and frustration.


5.) A Relationship to Last a Lifetime.  Relationships are built on trust and good experiences, so it is no surprise that when you find a great Realtor you have also found a friend!  This person will be your “go-to” person between homes and will be referred time and time again by you to your family, friends and colleagues.  A good Realtor will also stay in touch and provide you with valuable information along the way and be ready to help you whenever you need it!

Looking for that Personal Touch? Contact me today and allow me to provide you with the Service You Deserve!




Understanding Absorption Rate – How Does it Affect You When Selling Your Home?

September 22nd, 2015 by cherylkurek

In Real Estate, statistics are examined monthly, yearly, even daily, in order to determine overall trends and general health of the Real Estate Market.

44309522_sFor those of you who know me, I rely a great deal on numbers and statistical data to do my job. Numbers are an objective measure to help determine a house’s value, and numbers don’t lie!  Whether you are purchasing a home or selling one, it is important to understand the role the data play in determining the relative value of a home and in determining how many properties may be directly competing with that home as well.  One way to determine this is to calculate the Absorption Rate in a given market.

What is the Absorption Rate?

Simply put, it is an indicator that demonstrates the Supply and Demand in the marketplace. It is the number of months of inventory on the market, and the length of time it could take to sell the current inventory, based on a specific set of parameters, such as house style, age, size and location.


Why is it Important?

You all heard that Supply and Demand affects price. Supply and Demand are variables that we can do nothing about as consumers – they fluctuate up and down depending on the current market.  The variable we can control, however, is price. That is why setting the right price is CRUCIAL  to achieving good results when selling. Conversely, overpricing will hurt a seller’s overall objective – to sell for the most money possible.


How is it Calculated?

First, establish the specific parameters for the market you wish to examine, such as a particular neighborhood, house style and size. Second, find the total number of sales for the past year. Third, take this number and divide by 12 to calculate the total number of sales per month. Next, take the CURRENT number of homes available (not sold and within the same parameters) and divide this number by the average number sold per month. This final number will give you the Absorption Rate in months.


What Does this Number Mean?

If you get a number that is, say 4.6 months, that is generally considered a Balanced market, where Supply and Demand are basically “even” and do not favor either the Buyer or Seller.

If you get a result in the 3’s or lower, that means we are in a Seller’s market, as there are less months of inventory to choose from. Properties tend to spend less time on market, and there may be a greater likelihood of multiple offers, as buyers are competing over fewer properties.  If these conditions persist over a period of time, it may also result in a higher average sale price as well.

If the number that you come up with is 7 or higher, it is safer to say you are in Buyer’s market.  Properties take longer to sell and may sell for less money if these conditions continue over a period of several months. It is critical to price a property accordingly or it will sit on the market and  depreciate over time, becoming less valuable to the Buyer.


If you would like to know the Absorption Rate for your area, I would be happy to help! Contact me, and I will pull the data for your area, help you determine what kind of market you are in, and advise accordingly!









Are YOUR Financial Ducks in a Row?

August 27th, 2015 by cherylkurek

14586556_sYour home is quite likely your most valuable asset. We live in a time where Interest Rates are low, and inventory is (relatively!) high. You might be thinking of buying a home in Edmonton or Sherwood Park for various reasons. It might be due to change in lifestyle, such as the kids moving out of the house, a new baby on the way or any number of factors. But without having your financial ducks in a row, it can be increasingly difficult to purchase a home. Here are some questions you need to consider, during during or before getting pre-approved for a mortgage:

1.) What is your credit score?
Banks and lenders use this score to determine your financial worthiness when obtaining a loan. It is a 3-digit number that is basically a measure of how trustworthy you are with money. The higher the score, the more banks/lenders will like you and be willing to work with you in securing a mortgage. If your score is low, there are steps to take to improve your score. But, it won’t happen overnight, It takes time.

2.) How much equity do you have in your current home?

Equity is the difference between what you paid for your house versus what it is worth now. Generally, over time your equity will increase. However, if you bought at the wrong time and your house is now worth less, or if you have been borrowing against the equity of your home to pay off debt, you may find yourself with little equity left, and this will affect your purchasing power.

3.) What is your current home worth?
If you own a home already, having an idea of what your current home may sell for is very helpful in the pre-approval process as mentioned before. Be sure to get a professional opinion from a licenced Realtor (R) as property assessments may not be accurate. Your perceptions may also not be accurate. Knowing the approximate value of your home beforehand will provide a more realistic picture of the equity you may have after selling your home.

4.) What kind of lifestyle do you want?
Knowing what kind of lifestyle you want to have is key. Do you like to travel? How many vacations do you want to take in a year? Do you have kids going into Pose Secondary School? Are you expecting to expand your family? You don’t want to put all your eggs into one basket (your house) and leave little room for any of the finer things in life. These are just of the questions that only you can answer, and need to ask yourself when analyzing the amount that you want to spend on your next home.

5.) Do you have an Experienced Mortgage Advisor?

Having an experienced Mortgage Professional who handles your mortgage can make all the difference in the world. Carrying out a thorough pre-approval can prevent disappointment and wasted time for everyone. A true pro can handle most situations with ease and will keep you informed throughout the process, leading to a positive outcome for everyone! I can help you with recommending someone who will help get the job done with knowledge AND experience!

Do you have more questions about whether you are financially ready to take the next step? Call me today and let’s get the process started!

What is it REALLY Like to be a Realtor?

July 29th, 2015 by cherylkurek


I remember, many years ago, sitting in a classroom with 26 other students working to get my Real Estate Licence. Near the end of the course the Instructor informed us, according to local statistics, that only 1 in 4 of us would still be in Real Estate after about ONE year of working in the business.

We all gasped, looking around the room and mentally calculating how many of us would still be in the field after only one year. Only 6.75 of us would remain working as Real Estate Agents! In 5 years, that number would dwindle to about 3. That is a pretty low success rate compared to other careers.

Now you may ask, why is that? I mean, being a Realtor is easy, right?

Wrong! Like a lot of professions, selling Real Estate for a living is a lot tougher than it looks. Forget what you see on TV, forget the stereotype of every Real Estate Agent dressed in bling driving a Mercedes, having decadent lunches with friends and having copious amounts of leisure time. The truth is, you might be a Real Estate Agent if:

1.) Your Career is a Lifestyle, Not a Job. Agents are self-employed entrepreneurs, meaning they work long hours even when it is inconvenient to their personal life. Imagine sitting down to a family dinner and you suddenly get a call that an offer is coming in on a listing of yours, and it needs to be dealt with immediately. Or, a buyer calls you excitedly and has found “the house” and there is already a line-up at the front door. Realtors do not work 9 to 5. They are on call, working for their client; often weekdays turn into weeknights, and weekdays turn into weekends. The intrusive nature of this business is not for everyone – you have to be flexible to meet the needs of others.

2.) You Get Paid on a Contingency Basis. Imagine going to work and not getting paid for the time you put in. That’s Real Estate! You only get a pay cheque once a successful deal has closed, and only when the cheque arrives. No salary, no benefits, no paid holiday time, no pension or retirement plan.

3.) You Have a Huge Amount of Expenses. Most people think the average agent makes a bucketload of money. In reality, the average agent sells between 6 and 7 homes a year. Subtract from this the monthly expenses, such as marketing, Office fees, Brokerage fees, gas, etc., and you get the picture. Mark my words, the more you make, you more you have to spend, especially as a Listing Agent. This is also why you defend your Commission. In order to stay in business, you have to make money.

4.) You Hold a Great Deal of Responsibility. Whether you are working with Buyers or Sellers, there is a lot of money involved in a transaction and a lot can go wrong. Because you are licenced to trade in Real Property, you are held to a higher degree of accountability than an ordinary salesperson and must carry Insurance for Errors and Omissions. You are in charge of making sure your clients’ interests are protected, even if it conflicts with your own. That’s called Fiduciary Duty.

5.) You Can’t Imagine Doing Anything Else for a Living!! Even though the job is tougher than it looks, there is nothing you would rather do than see the smiles on your clients’ faces when they sell their home or find theur Dream Home! You are helping them achieve a very important goal, and there is no better feeling than that! That is why we do what we do!

I LOVE my job! Let me help you achieve your Real Estate goals. Contact me today!

The Importance of Curb Appeal

June 19th, 2015 by cherylkurek


The old adage, “You can’t judge a book by its cover” does NOT ring true in Real Estate! I have had, on occasion, pulled up to a property to show to prospective Buyer clients only to hear, “Sorry, let’s skip this one – I don’t like how it looks on the outside”. While this happens infrequently, it illustrates the fact that a house’s curb appeal CAN have a major impact on a buyer’s decision to go inside, which could make or break a sale.

What DO Buyers look for when sizing up a home from the outside? Here are some tips on some important areas to address:

1.) Condition of Landscaping   Make sure the lawn is free of weeds, is neatly trimmed, and that shrubs and trees are properly pruned and manicured. Make sure that trees and shrubs do not obscure the front of the house. While this may provide privacy to the home owner, too much shrubbery may make the house look small and insignificant by comparison.

2.) Condition of roof and eaves  While there is always work to be done on an older home, make sure the roof and shingles are in good condition. If the shingles are curling and show excessive wear, many buyers will walk away, knowing that it could cost $4000-$8000 (or more) to replace the shingles, assuming there is no damage underneath. If you live in an area with mature trees, make sure the eaves are clear of debris and that trees are not too close to the house, as this could damage the roof.

3.) Check the maintenance of trim and entry/exit points  Is the trim on the doors and windows painted or capped? Very few buyers like to do this job, as it can be quite tedious. Freshen the paint on any wood trim and  check to make sure that vents, and entry / exit points are properly sealed or covered. This prevents moisture from penetrating as well as insects or small rodents entering the home, which can be a deal-breaker for many buyers.

4.) Check the front door  Think about it – the front door is the buyer’s first and last impression. Make sure it is in good condition, is clean and that the hardware works properly. Nowadays, with many people entering their home via an attached garage, this is very important, and often overlooked! Make sure those impressions are good ones!

5.) Accent with the right decorating  In summer, accent with some planters and hanging baskets. And PLEASE, take down the Christmas lights after Christmas is over. Decorating should enhance but not distract from the appearance of a home. And when in doubt, ask a neighbour.  It is the simple little things that can make a difference.

Want more tips on preparing your Sherwood Park or Edmonton home for sale? Contact me and I can help you get ready to SELL!

Questions to ask the Realtor BEFORE Listing Your Home!

May 26th, 2015 by cherylkurek

28264579_sNow, more than ever, Home Sellers are interviewing agents – sometimes as many as 4- before choosing to list their home. Many agents offer similar services, but what sets apart the excellent from the good? Here are some questions you should ask your prospective Listing Agent BEFORE hiring!
1.) What is your Sales-to-Listing Ratio?
Simply put, this is the percentage of homes sold that were listed by that agent last year. Your Realtor should also be able to tell you how that percentage compares to the local Real Estate Board average. You want the agent you hire to be BETTER than average!

2.) What is the Average Days on Market (DOM) for Listings Sold?
Again, you want this number compared to the Board average. Fewer days on market means the Agent is pricing the home to sell under current market conditions. Overpricing a home means more time on market and less money for the Seller.

3.) Are You Familiar With My Neighborhood?
Hiring your cousin or uncle isn’t necessarily a good thing. Whether an Agent is the neighborhood “expert” or not, that person should be familiar enough to answer questions that a potential buyer may ask, such as: Which schools are nearby? Where are the nearest bus stops? What is the dominant demographic in this area? Remember, the agent is selling the neighborhood, not just your home. Research is a must!

4.) Marketing Plan
Your Realtor should be able to predict the kind of Buyer who is most likely to buy your home, and tailor the Marketing Plan accordingly. The Marketing Plan should also highlight Special features of your home to make it stand out from the competition, and attempt to eliminate possible objections in the eyes of the Buyer. The Plan should also accentuate the positive so that Buyers see the value of your home, want it, and be willing to pay top dollar for it as well.

5.) Do I Like This Person?
This is based on your gut instincts. You must be able to trust that person and have confidence that he or she will do the best job possible.  Is this person approachable and friendly? Easy to communicate with? Does this person pay attention to details? Is this person a good listener and considers what you are looking for in a Realtor? Asking lots of questions and hearing the response will often give you a good feel for the person you want to hire. Also, make sure there is a written guarantee that if you are not completely satisfied, you can terminate the listing Contract. Very few Realtors offer this, but a true professional will want to make sure you are happy! It is, after all, your home!

Selling your greatest asset is a big task. No matter who you choose, make sure to ask lots of questions to make sure the Realtor you hire is a right fit for YOU! Contact me, and get the answers to these questions and more when you are selling your Sherwood Park and Edmonton home!

Lessons I Learned by Selling my House This Spring

April 6th, 2015 by cherylkurek

T14615253_shis year, my husband and I decided to put our Sherwood Park house on the market. Now, you would think this would be a piece of cake for me, After all, I have been trading in Real Estate as a Realtor (R) for almost 10 years now, so you would think I would have this down pat. Well, the truth is, I now have a new found appreciation for Sellers after seeing the selling process from a Seller’s perspective. Here are some insights I gained along the way – enjoy!

1.) Your house can never be “too clean”.
This is something I obsessed about constantly to the point where my teenaged daughter called my “Psychotic” because I was constantly cleaning the house. Does it have to be perfect? No, but it is sure something to aspire to minutes before the buyers arrive!

2.) It’s a real hassle when you have a pet.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my dog. She is part of the family. But driving around in the car while your dog is anxiously wondering where you are taking her (only to return home!) is fine for about 10-15 minutes. Not an hour.

3.) You really start to notice how much cr*p you have.
All that junk you have stored in your basement? Yes, it was taking up precious square footage of your home all this time. Some of it may still be in sealed boxes from the last move! But…. it is sooooo therapeutic to purge it out of your house for good. Just DO IT!

4.) You can NEVER have too many boxes!
It’s amaziing how many boxes you need to move just one room of a house. So, get as many boxes as you can get a hold of, and contact people who have recently moved and offer to pick up their boxes as they unpack. It can save you hundreds of dollars and make the whole process of packing easier. I did purchase a “China set” moving kit this year, and it was worth every penny. Saving time also saves money.

5.) Even though you are looking forward to good times in the new house, you will feel sad about leaving old friends and neighbors behind. Bricks and mortar may make a home, but it is the memories from the people you interact with that matter the most. I watched my girls grow from young girls to teenagers in this house. I remember when they rode on their bikes in the cul-de-sac and played tag in the front yards with their friends, and made s’mores over the fire in the back yard.  Those days are long gone now, but the memories remain.

Is it all worth it? Yes, it is! Let me help you with your next move, whether you are moving to a different community, upgrading or downsizing, I would love to help you sell your home and find a new one! Contact me, and let’s get started!

The data included on this website is deemed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed to be accurate by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton. The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS® and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.