There are a million different reasons why people sell their homes, but every seller has one thing in common: the desire to get as much money as possible from their existing residence as quickly and as hassle-free as possible. (If your home is your principal residence, you won’t have to pay capital gains tax on any profits from the sale. If, on the other hand, it is an investment property, prepare for the tax man!)
Before you begin the selling process, really evaluate why you’re moving. Do you have too few rooms, or too many? Has your job moved to another city and you’re relocating? Are the neighbours driving you away? Or are you simply looking for a change? A complete analysis of your current position will set a good foundation for your next home hunt.
Buy or Sell First?
Buy or sell first? That’s tricky. After all, if you find a purchaser for your existing home, before you’ve found a new one, you may find yourself living out of a suitcase if convenient closing dates can not be negotiated. On the other hand, if you find your dream home before you’ve unloaded your old one, you may be faced with carrying two mortgages for a time.
So how do you manage? Easy. Do your homework and have a good idea about the neighbourhood and type of home you’re looking for. Do an honest evaluation of your family’s needs and budget.
Speak to your sales representative and start your new home search as soon as your existing home hits the market.
If you’ve found a home, before you’ve sold your existing one, use “sale of your existing home” as a condition on your offer. If you don’t sell your house within a fixed period of time, you can choose not to go through with the offer. This, however, is a difficult condition for many vendors to agree upon and you may find that you have to forgo your price negotiating power.
Purchasing a home before you sell could be a risky strategy if you’re counting on the proceeds from the sale.
If you’ve found a purchaser before you’ve found your next home, use “purchase of a new home” as a condition when you sign back the agreement. Again, it will only be for a fixed time. Even if you have not found the ideal next house by the time the deal closes, you may still wish to proceed with the offer. As a buyer with a “sold house” you will be in a better position to negotiate price.
Make Your House More Sellable
While we all believe that our home is our castle, our personal tastes may not appeal to everyone. Your sales representative will work with you to give you an impartial analysis of your home – how it relates to other “competing” homes on the market and how your home reflects current design and style trends. Your sales representative will also take a good look at the general condition and upkeep of your dwelling.
Overall, your sales representative will work with you to position your home on the market so that your sales experience will take place as expeditiously as possible.
Advertise Your Home on MLS®
This service is only available to real estate sales representatives. It is a database of all the homes for sale through sales representatives. Details about your home will be available to other sales representatives searching for homes in your area, in the range of your asking price.
In addition to giving your home the once over with a mop and dust cloth, have your sales representative prepare a home feature sheet. This is a one page synopsis of your home that highlights lot size, room dimensions, features and upgrades as well as utility costs and taxes. Prospective buyers will take a sheet and refer to it while viewing your home. Plus, it makes for a great reference sheet when the buyers are comparing properties.
The Open House: This is usually not a pleasant experience. The upside is that you usually won’t have to be there to act as a guide. The downside is that you might have a series of open houses over a few weeks, with people poking through all areas of your home. And you’ll have the constant pressure of keeping your home looking its best.
The Viewing: When a sales representative has a client who is interested in your home, they will first call to make an appointment with your sales representative. If you’re lucky, you’ll have time for the last-minute tidying. Of course, you can say no if the prospective purchaser wishes to come at an inconvenient time.
During the viewing, make sure you give the viewer and the sales representative a feature sheet and get the sales representative’s business card. Give viewers the freedom to wander around your home by themselves. Following may make them uncomfortable. The sales representative will stay with the prospects to offer some protection against theft or property damage.
Your sales representative is a trained professional who knows all aspects of the real estate market. A sales representative will save you time, money and aggravation. As with purchasing a home, you want to list with the sales representative who is the expert in your location. After all, potential purchasers will be calling this same “area expert” to inquire about houses for sale. There will be a few sales representatives who are knowledgeable about your neighbourhood. Call them up and interview them. You need to feel comfortable with him or her, after all, they will be working for you.
Should You Go With a Non-Exclusive or Exclusive Listing Arrangement?
If you enter into this type of arrangement with your sales representative, you are giving him or her the exclusive right to find a purchaser for your home. With this type of agreement, no other sales representative will bring potential buyers to your home, because only the listing sales representative is entitled to the commission. You may consider this type of arrangement in a Sellers’ Market during which time there are more people interested in purchasing a home than there are homes available.
Understand Market Conditions
The real estate market is in constant flux, not only as a whole but in particular areas as well. Knowing what is going on in the overall and local real estate markets will help you understand how these conditions can affect the sale of your home. We’ve designed the following comparison to help give you an overview of the three significant market positions. When you meet with your sales representative, ask about the current state of the market.
The supply of homes on the market exceeds demand. Characteristics: High inventory of homes. Few buyers compared to availability. Homes usually stay on the market longer. Prices are stable or perhaps dropping. Implications: Buyers spend more time looking for a home, and when they negotiate, they usually have more leverage.
The number of potential buyers exceeds the supply of homes on the market. Characteristics: There is a smaller inventory of homes with many buyers. Homes sell quickly. Prices usually increase. Implications: Prices may be higher or perhaps climbing. Buying decisions must be made quickly. Conditional offers may be rejected.
The number of homes on the market is roughly equal to the demand. Characteristics: Demand equals supply. Sellers accept reasonable offers. Homes sell within a reasonable time period. Prices generally remain stable. Implications: There is less tension among buyers and sellers. There is a reasonable number of homes to choose from.
It simply makes sense to clean up both the interior and exterior of your home before listing it for sale. But that doesn’t mean you have to undertake major home renovation projects on order to sell your home. With a little effort you can increase the perceived value of your home by a great margin.
Here are some simple things to keep in mind that you can do to increase the perceived value of your home and make the perfect first impression.
Exterior of Home
- Keep lawns cut
- Trim hedges and bushes
- Weed and edge gardens
- Clear driveway and clean stains
- Clean out garage
- Power wash home exterior
- Touch up paint
- Plant colorful flowers
At The Front Door
- Clean porch and foyer
- Ensure door bell works
- Repair any broken screens
- Fresh paint or varnish front door
- Repair any damages to the door and/or locks
Setting the Right Mood
- Make sure your home smells fresh and clean
- Turn on lights
- Turn on air conditioner/heater
- Open the drapes
- Light the fireplace
Maximize Open Space
- Clear halls and stairs of clutter
- Clear kitchen counter and stove top
- Clear closets of unnecessary items
- Remove empty boxes and storage
- Put away personal photos so buyers can envision the house as theirs
- Repair leaking taps and toilets
- Clean furnace and filters
- Tighten door knobs and latches
- Repair cracked plaster
- Apply fresh coat of pain or touch up where necessary
- Clean and repair windows
- Repair seals around tubs and basins
- Replace defective light bulbs
- Oil squeaking doors
- Repair squeaking floor boards
- Clean and freshen bathrooms
- Clean fridge and stove
- Clean around heating vents
- Clean washer and dryer
- Clean carpets, drapes and window blinds
- Eliminate pet odors and stains
Closing is a time of packing and organization. Be sure you do not pack anything that you agreed to sell! Unless you specifically mentioned certain fixtures, everything must remain in place.
You are responsible for handing over the home in the same condition it was at the time of closing. This applies to everything that was in the agreement. If the home suffers a major disaster, you are responsible for telling the buyer, at which point the buyer may walk away from the deal and have the deposit returned. The buyer may also choose to close and receive any insurance proceeds. In this unfortunate event, remember not to make any repairs until you find out what the buyer wants to do.
Once signing the agreement, both the seller and buyer are under a legal obligation to close. If you decide not to for whatever reason, the buyer has the right to sue.
If the buyer decides to walk away from the deal, you can claim the buyer’s deposit or sue for damages.