Choosing a Realtor

Here is a 2nd article given to us by Stacey Haluka of Staging Spaces. This article talks about when thinking about hiring a realtor to sell your home, what to look for and questions to ask.


Choosing a Realtor

Having made the difficult decision to sell your home, you now face the daunting task of selecting a realtor and agency. And there are MANY to choose from. Just as you shop around for a vehicle or new home for yourself, you should shop around for the right agency and agent to represent the sale of your home.

We have comprised a list of questions to ask yourself that may aid you in the process.

1.     What type of listings does the agency/agent typically list?

2.     What is the sales history for the agency/agent?

3.     How long have they been in business/been a real estate agent?

4.     What particular target market buyer is the agency/agent most successful selling to?

5.     What particular target market listing is the agency/agent most successful selling?

6.     Is the agency/agent a leader in customer service?

7.     If I choose to list with this agency/agent, how long is the contract for and what conditions apply?

8.     How does the agency/agent determine asking price? How does the agency/agent handle reducing asking price?

9.     How will my property be advertised?

10.      How many listings does the agency/agent currently handle? Are they capable of giving my home the attention it requires?

11.      Is the agency/agent capable of fielding multiple offers to my best advantage?

12.      What is the commission rate?

You may be asking question 12 first, because our first worry is always about the costs involved with selling our home. However if you’ve determined the worthiness of the agency or agent in the first 11 questions, you will have a better idea of the VALUE you are getting for the commission costs.

When searching for a realtor, look for someone with experience and a solid sales track record for your home’s area. A realtor or agency that primarily lists or sells large farming operations may not be the best choice to sell your luxury adult condominium. Likewise, realtors who list and sell vacation homes or resort property may not be the optimal choice to sell your fixer-upper. By selecting a real estate professional who is familiar with the target buyer as well as your location, you will have more accurate listing prices and how your home will show compared to similar properties.

Watch for realtors who list your home for a significantly higher amount as this may be a “listing hook”. They are appealing to you as a seller. Some realtors may then reduce the asking price within a short amount of time to appeal to buyers. This loses the advantage of the buyers who look at your property with the higher price but walk away. They may not come back after the price has been reduced. This applies to staging your home as well.


Pictures should be clear, taken after the home has been staged and take advantage of the best features of your home.

Lastly, if an agency or agent has many listings on the go, they may not have the time to give you and your property the proper attention required. Ensure that you will be informed of inquiries, interest or lack thereof. You are paying a considerable fee, make sure they earn it!

Stacey Haluka
Staging Spaces

Location! Location! Location!…That’s What You’ll Get at 10 Ramlee Road

UPDATE: This property has been sold!

Please use our online complimentary St. Catharines Ontario real estate search to find similar available listings.

Enjoy the comforts of this beautiful home that sits on a quiet, tree-lined street backing onto the ravines in Walkers Creek district.


Priced at $259,900
Down payment only $12,995
Great private northend location
3 bedroom, brick bungalow, approximately 1,150 square feet
Single, attached garage with double driveway
Walkway from 3rd bedroom to sun room that overlooks an
inground pool, hot tub and private ravine backyard
Finished recreation room with gas fireplace set in a brick hearth
2 bathrooms, 1 with jacuzzi and sauna room


Sisters seek help for sweet baby Riley

Here is an article about clients of mine (Tom & Stacey Marazzo) with their son Riley and his daily battle with Autism. This article was recently published in the St. Catharines Standard.



Stacey Marazzo and her sister Niki Moore are hoping to raise funds to help Stacey’s son Riley with his treatment for autism. Niki sells jewelry made by Stacey at her In Touch day spa in Virgil.

Penny Coles
Local Features – Saturday, November 03, 2007 Updated @ 4:58:31 PM

Niki Moore has successfully created an elegant, tranquil atmosphere at her In Touch Day Spa in Virgil, and the jewelry she displays, also elegant, seems like a natural extension of a business with an intended goal of pampering its clients.

The story behind the jewelry, however, has nothing to do with pampering, but is instead a story of a mother’s attempt to help her very special little boy.

Niki’s sister Stacey Marazzo and Stacey’s husband Tom have an adorable and active toddler, now 17 months old, named Riley. On the go constantly, Riley seems like any normal, healthy and busy little boy, but he has had a difficult start to life, and faces more problems in the future.

At just two days old, he was rushed by ambulance to the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, where he was diagnosed with a number of life-threatening heart defects.

After enduring many painful tests, procedures, heart failure and open heart surgery by the age of eight months, he continues to require ongoing medical appointments to monitor his condition while he waits for the second stage of his “repair”.

Between the ages of two and four years, Riley will undergo another open heart surgery. Although his heart will never be fixed, his parents hope he will continue to do well for many years, but eventually, he may need a heart transplant, says Stacey.

Because of his health problems, they never leave him with babysitters—anybody who cares for him would require CPR training,know the signs of heart failure and what to do in the case of an emergency—and that’s just too much to put on someone else, says Stacey. With Tom in the Canadian Armed Forces and away for long stretches of time, Stacey faces all the challenges of a single mom, and then some.

Because while she was watching Riley go through the trauma of treatment for his heart defect, she noticed something else that concerned her. He was taking a little longer than normal to learn how to crawl, but that was to be expected—she had been warned to expect some developmental delays—but she found he was also not responding to his name, wasn’t smiling, wasn’t making eye contact, and was displaying repetitive behaviours that are symptoms of autism.

At first her worries were dismissed by her pediatrician, but an assessment by a developmental specialist confirmed her fears. Riley, in addition to all his physical health challenges, has autism.

Stacey’s premonitions at least led to an early diagnosis, but at this stage, that isn’t proving to be the benefit to Riley that is should be.

Stacey and Tom have been told that early intervention would give their son a fighting chance at a “normal” life, but they are slowly finding he is too young for many of the typical types of therapy provided for autistic children, and it may be two years or more before he can start the intensive treatment he needs.

In the meantime, Stacey hopes to be able to travel to Massachusetts for the training she needs to begin to work with Riley using the Son Rise treatment program, a program designed specifically to help children with autism progress to their full potential.

Hence the jewelry, which Stacey makes when Riley sleeps. It is an escape for her from her worries, an opportunity to take her mind off what has become an almost constant struggle, and by selling it through In Touch, is a source of fundraising for the expensive treatment he needs.

In addition, Niki is turning to the NOTL community to ask for help. She is hoping a local organization might offer a location free of charge to hold a fundraiser for her nephew, “a one-of-a-kind, very special little boy.”

The money will be used to finance Stacey’s Son Rise training in Massachusetts, which she hopes to attend in February.

The event is scheduled Jan. 19, although they don’t yet have a venue, and anyone interested in helping Niki can email her at or call 905-468-2391.

Enjoy This Downtown Cutie Located at 6 Hetherington Street…

UPDATE: This property has been sold!

Please use our online complimentary St. Catharines Ontario real estate search to find similar available listings.

Enjoy the comforts of being in walking distance to schools, shopping and buses when you purchase this beautiful home.


Priced at $99,900
Down payment only $4,995.00
Great home for the First Time Buyer’s or Retiree’s
This bungalow has a downtown location
2 bedrooms, 1-4piece bathroom
Eat-in kitchen
Full basement
Walking distance to shopping and schools


Current Mortgage Rates

5-Year Fixed 5.99%
3-Year VRM 5.75%, Prime minus 0.50%

Quote of the Week

“Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them.”
Ann Landers

Paul Croteau
Mortgage Specialist
BMO Bank of Montreal
ph: (905) 321-3230

Well Cared For Bi-Level Available at 40 Ventura Drive…

UPDATE: This property has been sold!

Please use our online complimentary St. Catharines Ontario real estate search to find similar available listings.

Enjoy the comforts of this new home which includes a gorgeous year-round fish pond, peace garden and beautiful landscaping.


Priced at $159,900
Down payment only $7,995.00
Downtown location
Bi-Level with approximately 900 square feet
Well maintained, maintenance free exterior semi
2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
Finished recreation room with gas fireplace
Oasis of a backyard, simply beautiful


Leadership Requires More Than a Title

This article was recently in the St. Catharines Standard talking about leaders in our Community.


Leadership requires more than a title

– Donald Quinn Dillon

True leadership comes from business and the community, not politics.

Elections are an exercise in looking for true leadership. During campaigns, I often feel disappointed at the display of some belligerent candidates spouting like emotionally frustrated toddlers.

These would-be political leaders are asking to be entrusted with hundreds of thousands – or even millions – of dollars and yet in an open debate may display discourteous and immature behaviour. As a result, the key issues at hand are subverted to the hooting and hollering of the irate candidates. They seem somehow convinced that we, the voters, will be impressed by this display.

Do Canadians watch Saturday night hockey for the expertise displayed in the game or to see a fight break out? In the same vein, are citizens looking for a real leader or do they wish to be entertained by a Saturday night slug-fest?

Although there are many diligent civil servants, I would suggest the hot-headed candidates model themselves after people displaying real leadership in our local businesses and community. These leaders are not elected, but must continually work to earn the trust and confidence of their organization, the marketplace and the community, whether they come with an official title or not.

These leaders must earn the position through visionary leadership and a solid history of taking decisive action. And when business leaders don’t live up to their promises, the marketplace makes a sharp statement by taking their dollars elsewhere. In business, strong leadership is mandatory.

Some businesses go outside of their own concerns for profit and productivity to become leaders in the community. St. Catharines real estate broker Timothy Salisbury has launched a “will sell real estate for food” campaign, donating $100.00 to the Community Care of St. Catharines and Thorold for every house sold between October 1st and December 15th, 2007.

Walker Industries, our local waste management company, contributes resources to many local charities and causes. Walker initiated an EARTH 1st program to provide an environmental mandate to its workplace ethic. Imagine a waste management company with green initiatives!

Rankin Construction has actively organized and contributed to a number of local projects benefiting the people of Niagara, including the Rankin Run for Cancer.

Recently Rankin was granted a contract for a plan that will use water from the Welland Canal to generate electricity. Three power station generators situated at locks in the canal will generate enough megawatts of power to supply 5,000 homes. This is the equivalent of taking 8,420 cars off the road, or preventing the injection of 38,900 tonnes of greenhouse gases into the air.

Jane Hanlon, project co-ordinator for community group Climate Action Now and a fellow Niagara Voice, organized an urban tree-planting campaign. Her group of volunteers went door to door, urging residents to ask the city for “street trees,” those planted in front of residential properties on municipal land.

Hanlon’s group is educating the public about this free, beneficial service offered by the municipality in an effort to bring more tree cover to the city. Community benefits include decreased energy requirements for heating/cooling our homes, more available oxygen and clean air, and better eco-systems for local birds and other fauna.

Will these businesses, organizations and people benefit financially from their goodwill and public exposure for good deeds done? Maybe, but so what? Good work is being done for local people by local people. These individuals and businesses are not waiting for regulations or incentives to make a real difference in our community. They are showing strong leadership and making it happen.

Leadership requires more than a title or a position in office. It requires emotional maturity and a clear vision for the common good, coupled with decisive action.

Donald Quinn Dillon is a St. Catharines massage therapist, speaker, and author of two books and over 50 articles in the massage therapy industry. He is a member of The Standard’s community editorial board.