My name is Martha Stanton-Smith. I grew up in rural Manitoba, and lived in Winnipeg for over thirty years.
I've had a life long obsession with houses. As a child I spent hours drawing floor plans and sketching rooms, as well as drawing many other subjects. I investigated educational opportunities in artistic fields and took first year Environmental Studies (pre-architecture) at University of Manitoba.
But then, for practical reasons, I went to work for the City of Winnipeg. During my 30 year career with the City, I obtained a Certified General Accounting designation. I worked in the Audit and Budget departments for the most part of my career. This experience cemented my abilities to "crunch the numbers" and I can put that to good use when priorizing recommended improvements to your property.
Marketing and Business Experience
In 1998 I started a home business in Winnipeg marketing ladies clothing. This was a very special experience, satisfying my love of working with new people and educating me in the principles of marketing.
Moving House Experiences
During my life I have lived in 8 rented accommodations, and owned 10 of my homes. I have experienced short and long distance moves, do-it-yourself, and working with professional movers.
Personal Real Estate Experience
I have prepared 9 of my 10 homes for sale, some with extensive renovations and decorations. I've done work myself and I've dealt with contractors. I've done my own designs and I've also worked with interior decorators.
I have been involved with purchases of all 10 homes and many other negotiations and offers that either fell through or had to be rejected on unsatisfactory conditions. I have toured countless homes of all types. I've worked with real estate agents, and I've purchased homes directly from the vendor without agents.
Experience as an Estate Executor
Acting as executor for the settlement of my Dad's estate, which included several parcels of farmland, machinery and buildings, gave me an appreciation for the process. Although I don't pretend to have any legal expertise, what I do have is an acquaintance with the procedures and an appreciation for the number of decisions an executor has to make. This exposure helps me serve clients who are preparing estate property for disposal more effectively.
Home Preparation and "Staging" Experience
I've also been involved with the sale of 8 of my 10 homes. Before each sale, I've gone through the same process that I'll be recommending to you. Most of the sales were completed by listing with an agent, but twice I've sold my own homes by listing with a "for sale by owner" organization. On only one transaction did we lose money. Sometimes making mistakes is the best teacher. On the rest we made money, sometimes a surprising amount. On my last property, I had multiple offers, all above the asking price.
Since moving to Kingston in 2004, I have been consulting for friends and family. I have recently renovated, redecorated and staged 3 rental condo's for my son's business. Prospective tenants gave us very positive feedback on the touches we added to these apartments, and all 3 were rented very quickly for top rates compared to other similar apartments in the same buildings.