Heather Rovet‘s background as a wardrobe stylist for the television and film industry has honed her keen aesthetic eye so as a real estate agent she is about truly listening to the functional needs of her clients as well as understanding a person’s vision. With a love for the unity of beauty and order within a space, Heather feels that our homes are the place in which this can be reflected and defined; she brings those two key elements together to find the right solution. During her real estate career, Heather realized that she had an affinity for capturing the needs of career women with purchasing power (for whom finding the right cosmopolitan lifestyle was paramount) and recently started her blog HomesandHighheels.ca. Today we talk to Heather about what she has learned from working with this growing niche market and how we can all aspire to finding and creating our own perfect settings.
1. What inspired you to start your blog Homesandhighheels.ca?
I wanted to create a blog that really speaks to my clients – independent, professional woman who are buying homes and condos on their own. Today’s woman is sophisticated, educated, stylish and not waiting for marriage to make wise real estate decisions. I also wanted my blog to not just be about the real estate market, or mortgage rates or what properties I have listed or am open housing at. I wanted something more engaging and entertaining as well as informative on my levels.
My friends have been joking that I am the “Carrie Bradshaw” (Sex in the City) of real estate. I write about a variety of topics that all tie back to the home. I think the topics I choose to blog on are informative, interesting and current. I am just as interested in new condo projects as I am in fashion trends and lifestyle issues so I think these articles speak to many and I hope that I am adding some value back to the community by educating others on a variety of informative topics.
2. How does your background in wardrobe styling translate in your current career?
I definitely have a natural eye for style and this allows me to share with my clients the potential within any space and to help them envision their dream space. I think though my years as a stylist has taught me to really listen to my clients and understand them and their needs and desires. I know some of my clients love the high-rise condo towers with all the amenities, while others love boutique buildings that are small and intimate. Some prefer to be in quiet neighbourhoods while others love the hustle bustle of downtown. One has to ask the right questions. The same goes for buying clothes. Some people want a classic style while others want current trends. It is about asking the right questions and then putting all the information together. People often comment that I am very patient and I guess this just comes from years of experience working directly with people!
3. What are some innovations you’re encountering in the realm of technology that you’re seeing more and more real estate brokerages embrace?
I couldn’t imagine doing this job without a smart phone! That is a given. I recently got an iPad and I love it for work. I bring it with me and my clients can browse listings and comparables right on the spot.
My brokerage, I feel, is leading the way in new technology and social media. All of our listings are truly accessible – each listing has its own website and all of the marketing material for the listing has the QR code on it (so it takes one back to the website which contains all the relevant market information). We seem to be becoming more and more virtual, wireless and paperless. Between my smart phone, iPad and my brokerage’s tech savviness, I feel confident that I am going in the same direction where the real estate industry is heading.
4. What advice would you give to a first-time home buyer looking at purchasing a pre-construction unit? What should one be on the look out for in terms of both pros and the cons?
Purchasing a pre-construction unit is great if someone has time on their side as sometimes it can take years from the time purchasing begins to actually moving in. But if time is a luxury or the unit being bought is for an investment, that should not make a difference. There are many pros and cons to take into account and there are also many things that will be out of one’s control; ultimately being educated and well-informed on the project is the best place to start. I always provide my clients with as much information as I can gather on the project, the builder, the architect etc., including their past and current projects as well as other market comparables.
Several years ago pre-construction prices were the biggest pro as they were often below market value. Today though, I am not sure if the same can be said as many of the new and current developments are very high-end and are starting with prices that reflect this. However, one does not have to pay the full price of the unit right away and most have a good payment schedule. Another pro is that even after you sign, you have a 10-day cooling off period where you can change your mind if you decide the project is not for you and your deposit is refunded.
The biggest clear disadvantage is the time line as the builder may say one date and it could still be several months later that you are waiting to move in! Again, being educated and well-informed on the project is a must.