How a Paralympian sold their home from the podium

Selling a home can be a very busy time. Now, imagine you’re training and competing in the Winter Paralympic Games! Para-alpine skier Chris Williamson, one of the most decorated in the world, was training for Sochi when he needed to sell his home.

Williamson is a father, an athlete, and is sight impaired, which leads to unique considerations when moving.

“My old and new home both have fireplaces but the placement is important because I have to sit very close to the TV. So, having it over the fireplace does not work,” said Williamson. “Placing the TV beside the fireplace also does not work, as I would be almost sitting in the fireplace to watch TV!”

Williamson doesn’t allow his disability to stand in the way of everyday life, so a major feature of a home is its location.

“For me, that means being close to a good transit system so I have mobility. It also has to be walking distance to my kids’ school and daycare so I can help with parental responsibilities.”

A home’s storage space is an important consideration for athletes, especially for an equipment-based sport like alpine skiing.

“However, probably the most important home features for all athletes are proximity to training centres, airports, and trails for running or riding your bike. And, we need the space to do training at home,” said Williamson.

While in Sochi, Williamson could have faced major hurdles when selling his home, like the difficulty of getting a signature or input with time differences, or that he could be out on the ski hill and unavailable for eight or more hours. His REALTOR®Mark Phipps of CENTURY 21 Millennium Inc., found unique ways to allow Williamson to focus on the slopes and his Paralympic mission.

“Chris, his wife Jen, and I were able to discuss strategies before Chris left for Sochi. With the time difference and heavy training schedule, communication back and forth would have been very difficult,” said Phipps. “Fortunately, Chris was able to give all signing authority over Jen via POA. This helped make the process a lot easier.”

“Mark [Phipps] was continually available through text, email, and Facebook while I was away and on the road, so communication was never an issue,” said Williamson.

“I also gave them a big homework list of things that they could do to help maximize the price,” said Phipps. “They were absolute troopers and they conquered everything on the list ─ even the kids pitched in!”

Williamson not only made Canada incredibly proud ─ bringing home a Sochi Paralympic bronze medal in Men’s Slalom, Visually Impaired ─ but he sold his home in the process!

“As a result of their efforts, we sold their home very quickly and for the highest price ever paid for a town home on that street,” said Phipps.

“In essence, we won the gold medal!”

Visit Chris Williamson’s website to learn more about his Paralympic success.

7 Real Estate Tips for Special Needs Families

We’ve lived most of our adult lives inside the world known as “special needs.” The behaviours we’ve adapted to as normal and necessary seem odd and different to those without experience living with special needs members. So it is too, when it comes to real estate.

Here are 7 tips to create a positive real estate experience for your special needs family:

  1. Talk with your REALTOR®. Explain your family situation and talk about modifications to scheduling and accommodations. If your REALTOR® doesn’t understand ─ find someone who does.
  2. Talk with the members of your family who have special needs. The word “routine” is part of the everyday lexicon. Start discussing the changes in their environment and the positives of moving to a new home.
  3. Include the family member with special needs and take them with you to view homes. Let them ask questions and allow them to experience the joy of picking out their room, their house, their yard.
  4. Plan a second viewing. Use one visit to let your individual with special needs see the home, and then another by yourself. This will give you the opportunity to review the house before making a decision.
  5. Whether buying or selling, build a schedule that suits your needs and make it less of a burden and more of an adventure. Ensure your REALTOR® knows the schedule and is adaptable to it.
  6. Take your time. Understand that this long process is going to take even longer and give your family time to adapt to the idea and to the actual move.
  7. Have fun and enjoy the experience! Happy buying and selling!

CENTURY 21® Canada is proud to support Easter Seals camps for children with disabilities, click here to learn more.

Open House Weekend Blitz Winner Gets Outdoor Overhaul (video)!

Who won the incredible $10,000 curb appeal boost for their home? *Cue drum roll* Congratulations to Brandon Doerntlein of Pickering, ON, winner of the CENTURY 21® Canada Open House Weekend Blitz!

“I am just so thrilled that this has happened!” said Brandon.

Nelson Raposo, manager at CENTURY 21 Percy Fulton Ltd. congratulated Brandon as he received a visit and design consult from celeb outdoor designer Carson Arthur, host of the HGTV series Critical Listing. Brandon also received:

  • BlackDecker outdoor tools
  • A MicroPro Sienna wood deck or pergola
  • A Rinox stone fireplace small patio to set it on

Thousands of entries were received from open houses across Canada. Thank you to everyone who participated!

The “Great First Impression” Home Sellers’ Checklist

Home Seller Selling tips

Why do some homes sell quicker than others? There are many factors including price, location, time of the year, condition of the property, and buyers’ preferences. More often though, it has to do with the impression that your home leaves.

Follow this checklist to help put your home ahead of the rest:

  • Pick a date to list your home on the market prior to the date that the “For Sale” sign goes up. Preparing your home for potential buyers takes time, and delays do happen.
  • Have a REALTOR® come into your home and give you advice on what upgrades would be most beneficial. Certain upgrades will give you a great return on your investment, while others won’t.
  • Your home’s first impression starts outside. Clean the exterior of your house including your siding, yard, driveway, and windows! Revamp your garden with new life and colourful flowers, and ensure that your eaves and downspouts are debris-free.
  • On the inside, concentrate first on de-cluttering. Remove excess furniture and photographs, and organize overcrowded garages, closets, and storage spaces.
  • Freshly oil all hinges and locks to prevent creaky doors or cabinets. 
  • As bathrooms and kitchens are often the most important rooms, ensure that they shine! Make sure that all of your light bulbs are working and faucets are leak free. 
  • Consider re-arranging your furniture to accommodate a more open concept that makes it easy to “flow” between rooms.
  • To those with pets, remember to empty out litter boxes daily while showing, place pet food in airtight containers, and keep kennels clean.

First impressions are often your last impressions with prospective buyers, so make sure your home makes a great one!