Seller Advice

Congratulations on taking the first step to selling your home!

We provide our professional knowledge and experience to successfully sell your home. We will work in partnership with you to help develop a marketing plan including putting your house on the MLS to make sure other agents know about it, do Open Houses and listing it regularly in the local media.

How do we set the price?

This is the single most important decision in the whole process of selling your property!!!

Since most activity happens in the first month or so of putting your home on the market, we put a lot of thought into what the asking price should be. We think strictly in terms of what the highest price is that we can get for you when we compare it with other similar properties.

You may look at it emotionally. For example, when selling an estate, the family is putting a price on their memories. This is very understandable, but a buyer does not have that connection and values the property by comparing it to other similar homes. We understand how difficult it can be, but remember two things. Those memories will always be with you. They are priceless anyway.

How do we decide on the price of your home?

  • Sometimes there is an urge to set the price too high to leave lots of room to bargain. We call this the "we can always come down" syndrome.
  • You may lose a big percentage of buyers when you do this. They have shopped around and know similar properties and they will compare. If the price is too high, they may not choose to look at the house. A high price may scare prospective buyers away.
  • Other agents may also be hesitant to show the house.
  • The banks will not lend a buyer more money than they think the house is worth. They have it appraised. Therefore, buyers cannot get enough financing to buy your house for more than the market value.
  • You also help to sell other properties by making them look like a bargain.

Fact - the longer a property is on the market, the lower the selling price will be. We want to sell it in a reasonable time.

When it has been for sale for too long, buyers think that there must be something wrong or someone would have bought it. They never consider that maybe the price was just too high and it is a perfectly sound house. Or they think the seller is just too unreasonable to try to bargain with.

Things that do not change the value of your home?

  • The amount of money you need to have in order to buy your new home or pay bills, etc. Your house is only worth what it is worth.
  • The total value of all the repairs and updating that you have done to the house. Some updates such as new kitchens and bathrooms will give you an excellent return. Others will only make your home more appealing but will not get all the value back for you. Some improvements may not increase the value of your home. For example, a pool that cost you $20,000 to install may not be as valued by some prospective buyers. Below is a chart of average percentage values of home improvements. Buyers have some expectations about a house. They expect a roof that doesn't leak and a furnace that works etc .So although a new roof or furnace is very desirable, do not expect to get 100% of your investment back.
  • You may have paid too much for it when you bought it, and/or the market value of homes in the area may have dropped since you bought it.
  • What it would cost to rebuild it. This doesn't a lot take into account depreciation.
  • What it is insured for. Your insurance company figures the cost to rebuild which would be the case if you ever had a fire.
  • Your memories. Remember your memories will always be with you. No one can buy them anyway. Thankfully.

What is market value?

  • Market Value is the highest price which the property will bring to a willing seller if exposed for sale on the open market. In other words it's worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it.
  • Although "location" is still very important in determining market value, the right price can overcome that.
  • Whether it's a Buyers or Sellers Market has a big effect on asking prices. A Sellers Market is when we have lots of Buyers and not enough homes to sell them. This will raise the value of your home.
  • We will compare your house with other similar houses that have sold recently. This will give us an indication of the price that buyers are willing to pay. We also look at similar homes that are for sale now to see what their asking prices are. These are your direct competition. We will look at similar listings that have expired. These were usually overpriced. Together, we will decide on a price for your home.

We will need the following when we list your home.

  1. A survey if you have one.
  2. Your heat & hydro bills for the last year.
  3. Any leases you may have for the hot water heater etc.
  4. Any rent to on contracts for such things as a water softener or security system showing the monthly payments and balances owing and the date the contract has been completed.
  5. Any inspection certificates for the woodstove.
  6. A building inspection report if you have one.
  7. A list of any upgrades you have done and their value.
  8. Any energy saving features?
  9. What will be included in the sale such as the drapes or appliances.
  10. What will not be included in the sale such as the dinibng room chandelier which was a wedding gift from your late grandmother.
  11. All of your phone numbers both at home and at work and emergency numbers so we can reach you if we have an offer and you are on vacation.
  12. Ten Home Improvement Projects that add value from HGTV.ca

Painting

If you're only going to do one thing, paint. Interior/exterior painting is one of the very few improvements on which you are likely to realize a profit‚ as long as you choose tasteful, current, neutral colours and the work is very professional. Payback: As much as 300%

Kitchen remodeling

Typically one of the most expensive improvement projects, and you can quickly run up a huge bill. Careful planning and shopping will help minimize costs here. When remodeling the kitchen, remember to keep the project in line with the style and quality of the rest of the house and neighbourhood. Just as there's no point in putting a pricey granite countertop on dated-looking 1970s cabinets, there's no point in installing a $50,000 kitchen in a $200,000 house. Payback: 68-120%.

Bathroom addition

If your home has only one bathroom and is meant to house more than two people, a bathroom addition should be one of your top priorities. If most homes in your neighbourhood have two, three or more bathrooms, and yours has just one or one-and-a-half, you will definitely increase your property value by adding a bath. Payback: 80-130%.

Bathroom remodeling

Upgrading a pokey bathroom will enhance the value of your home and add to your daily comfort and enjoyment. White porcelain is the safe, timeless choice here. Payback: 65-120%.

Finishing unfinished space

Whether it's an attic or a basement, by finishing these spaces you add significant value to your home, increasing square footage without having to build. Payback: 50-90%.

Window/door replacement

If your windows or doors are wasting energy or simply decrepit-looking, replacements can be an excellent use of your home improvement dollars. Stick to standard styles; odd shapes and highly customized arrangements do little for resale value. Payback: 50-90%.

Deck addition/improvement/expansion

Decks are one of the few exterior improvements with any significant return, apart from painting. Payback: 65-90%.

Addons

Additions of bedrooms, family rooms, sunrooms, conservatories, garages, etc. Increasing square footage is almost always an excellent use of remodeling dollars, but don't expand your home so much that there's little outdoor space left. Payback: 50-83%.

Home office remodeling

This project is becoming increasingly popular. Be sure to plan for plenty of electrical and cable outlets to accommodate all the required machines and gadgets. Payback: 60-73%.

Energy efficiency retrofits

If your primary concern is return on investment, proceed with caution. Some retrofits, like better insulation and high-efficiency furnaces, pay for themselves relatively quickly. Others, like solar panels, heat recovery ventilators, and tankless water heaters, may take years to pay for themselves. Payback: Highly variable.

Two projects that are unlikely to pay off at resale: swimming pools (which may even adversely affect your property value) and excessive landscaping (buyers may admire it but few will pay extra tens of thousands even if that's what you spent to improve the grounds. They're also afraid they won't have the time or no-how to look after it all).

And remember that badly done remodeling/renovation projects will cost you in two ways. You won't pay just for labour and materials; you'll pay when buyers see a project that has to be redone.

Performance Warranty for Sellers

To the best of our knowledge we were the first company to offer this to our clients. If for any reason, you are unhappy with our service & we cannot rectify the situation, we will gladly release you from your listing contract.

Getting your home ready to sell

You only have one chance to make a good first impression!

Look at your home the way a buyer would.

  1. Start with the outside. Does it have "street appeal"? Make sure the grass is cut, the snow shoveled, and that the driveway and walkway are free of toys etc. During the summer months, keep the flowerbeds weed free. Fix any sagging eavestroughs and check to see if any paint needs to be touched up. Make sure that garbage is in a container and out of sight.
  2. Inside, think clean, clean, clean. Nothing will sell your house faster than than having it spotless. Include the closets and kitchen cupboards on your cleaning list, as buyers will be looking in them too. A neat clean house tells people that you have taken good care of the place and can make a difference of up to $20,000 on your bottom line.
  3. Put away the clutter. Less is more. An overfurnished room will look a lot smaller than it really is.
  4. Think light. Clean the windows so the sunlight can shine in.
  5. If you need to paint choose neutral colours.
  6. Think carefully before making any major repairs. Talk to your realtor about whether or not you can get your money back for them.
  7. Fix the small things i.e. loose doorknobs, hinges etc.

GETTING READY FOR SHOWINGS

Buyers will make up their minds within 15 seconds of entering your house!

  • Make sure your home feels bright and spacious.
  • Keep it spotless and neat.
  • Remove any shoes at the door & clear the counters of clutter and appliances. This will make it seem larger.
  • Turn on the lights. Open the drapes (if daytime). Let the sun shine in. Start the fireplace. Create a good mood.
  • Remove your pets if possible. As silly as it may seem to you, there are people who are afraid of even the friendliest cats and dogs. If they're adorable, they can also be a distraction so that the buyers only remember the pets and not the house.
  • Some people prefer to leave while the showing is happening. Buyers feel freer to talk when the sellers are away.

Selling Mistakes

Buying or selling a home or property can be a stressful and confusing process. Not only is it very expensive to 'learn from your mistakes' but very few people move often enough to gain the needed experience. Although there is no substitute for doing your homework (start by asking your family and friends who have recently moved for their experiences). The following list of common pitfalls may be helpful.

Pricing Incorrectly (too high or too low):

Make sure you "price it right". If your asking price is too high, many buyers won't even look at it. Not only does this limit the pool of potential buyers but it also increases the chances that your home will sell for less than its actual value. This is due to the "discount" often associated with properties that have been on the market for a longer than average time. Buyers are often overheard asking their Agent ... "What's wrong with that home? It's been for sale forever". Alternatively, if your asking price is too low, you are literally giving away your hard-earned equity just because you did not know what the market would bear.

Failing to "Showcase" your home

A little work can improve the first impression of your home a thousand-fold. First impressions are lasting impressions and can dramatically affect a property's perceived value. Buyers make up their minds about your house within the first few seconds. If they do not like what they see in that short time, they will often leave without completing the viewing.

Choosing the wrong REALTOR or choosing a REALTOR for the wrong reasons

It is critical that you have full confidence in your REALTOR's experience and abilities. You want a REALTOR who can explain the whole selling process to you, has a good feel for the market, has access to potential buyers, offers sound advice on how to improve your chances of selling, and who will listen to you. Try to avoid choosing a REALTOR on the basis of which one gives the highest estimate of your home's value. In order to achieve the best sale price within a reasonable period of time, you need an accurate indication of what the true market value of your property is. Knowing this allows you to properly price your home, thus maximizing your chances of selling and allowing you to make your future plans with the sure knowledge that your goals can be attained

Limiting the marketing and exposure of your property

Part of what a good REALTOR does is to ensure that your property is showcased and marketed in the best and most productive manner possible. Not allowing a "For Sale" sign on the front yard or limiting viewing times can dramatically reduce the number of prospective buyers seeing your home and have a serious impact on your bottom line.

Being there during showings

It's hard to resist pointing out things about your home if you're there for showings. When you do, buyers might wonder why you are so anxious to sell. Let your home speak for itself. Better yet, allow your Realtor to present your home's features, creating a relaxed atmosphere for the potential Buyer to view the property.

Having pets in the home.

You love your pets. They're part of your family. However, for Buyers it can be a different story. Some have allergies. Some are terrified of them. So are some sales people. So, if possible, take the dog for a walk or have him in a cage.

If you have reptiles, please take them somewhere else until you've sold your house. Most people don't like them at all and as a result will only remember that the reptiles were there and will remember nothing else about your house.

Household odours

Household odours are a big turnoff to Buyers. The two biggest are smoking and pet odours.  Keep the house aired out and use deodorizers. You are used to them, but to someone who doesn't smoke or have pets, they will notice right away. This is why so many people will have freshly baked bread in the kitchen or scented candles going.

Should you sell your home or buy first?

This is always a big question....Should you wait for the right home to come on the market before putting your current home up for sale or should you sell first and then go out and find what you want? The right answer is - whatever you are most comfortable doing.

Selling your existing home before buying another has some advantages. By selling first you know how much money you'll be getting on closing, which helps you establish a price range for the new home. Also, if you've already sold you don't have to make your offer conditional on selling your existing home.

People worry that they may not be able to find a satisfactory replacement before the closing on your current home & might have to find someplace to live temporarily. Or, you may be tempted to settle for something that isn't quite what you want. These problems can be avoided by keeping aware of what's for sale while your house is on the market. If one appeals to you make an appointment to see it. This way when your house sells, you'll know what's out there & can see your favourites again & choose one.

We can also make sure that there's enough time for you to do what you have to do, by asking for a closing date on your present home, that is far enough away for you to accomplish this. Keep in mind that you almost always will pay more when you ask a seller to accept this kind of offer.

Possible Strategies Aside from your own personality and what risks you're comfortable with, when facing the dilemma of buying-first/selling-first, don't forget to take market conditions into consideration. Generally speaking, it makes more sense to buy first in a seller's market ( that is, when prices are rising). The rationale is that if prices are going up, it is preferable to lock in the price of the home you want to buy, meanwhile allowing you to subsequently sell your home at a higher price (assuming the seller's market continues).

During a buyer's market (when prices are falling), generally it makes sense to sell first. That way, you lock in the amount you'll receive for your current home before the market falls further, and you're able to take advantage of further falling prices when you subsequently buy. Of course, knowing whether it's a buyer's market or a seller's market isn't always straightforward and, because it depends on a number of factors, the market can change quite quickly. We can help determine what the market conditions are in your area and in the area in which you are looking to buy.

Conditional offers One way of hedging your bet is to make your offer to buy conditional on selling your current home. With a "sale of Purchasers property" offer, the offer becomes firm and binding only if you sell your current home within a specified period of time, usually 30-60 days & under other conditions that are satisfactory to you. Remember however, that the house will stay on the market & if another Buyer comes along with another offer, the Seller can entertain it. If he likes the new offer, you will be given notice & then have the choice of saying "no" or going ahead with buying it anyway.

Your sales representative does these all the time & knows how to phrase all this. If you're still nervous, you can always ask your lawyer to look it over by putting in a condition i.e. conditional on your lawyer's approval.

Most sellers will look at these offers. It doesn't interfere with other lookers & is really just an insurance policy for them. If you do sell your house, it's a bonus. If you don't, it hasn't cost them anything.

The down side is that if you really fall in love with a house & can't get yours sold in time, it's really disappointing to lose it.

Why Use a Realtor When Selling?

Selling your home is a complex procedure, involving large sums of money, stringent legal requirements and the real potential for very costly mistakes. It requires a tremendous depth of knowledge and experience, as well as a substantial amount of time to follow up on every detail promptly and properly. Your REALTOR has these qualifications and experience and is committed to spending the time it takes to help you sell your home successfully so you can focus on the things you do best and enjoy the most. If you are thinking about selling your home alone, ask yourself these questions:

Will you really "save" the real estate commission?

No. Most buyers will see a bargain. They assume you will sell for a discount because "you don't have to pay the real estate commission."

Do you have the time?

Without a REALTOR's support, you're the one who will have to write and pay for the ads to market your property, remain available day or night for calls from prospects, run open houses on weekends and show your property on short notice, screen potential buyers, fill out all the paper work and do the dozens of other things required to sell a home.

How will you reach potential buyers?

Without a REALTOR, you will not have access to an extensive network of potential buyers. This network includes the MLS or Multiple Listing Service.

Do you really know the true market value of your home?

Setting the right selling price is critical. It requires extensive knowledge and training, as well as access to sophisticated market analysis developed over years of experience. If you set the price too high, prospective buyers will be frightened off; too low, and you could leave thousands of dollars on the negotiating table.

Are you ready to "prescreen" every prospect?

Prescreening prospects is absolutely necessary to weed out the "lookers" from serious buyers. Do you have the skills and experience to ask the right questions over the phone before you let a prospect visit? How are you going to find out whether they're really qualified to purchase in your home's price range?

How are you at selling and negotiating?

Understanding a buyers needs, providing the necessary information about your house, and completing the sale successfully through firm, impartial negotiation are all required.

Do you have a thick skin?

The emotional investment you have in your home may prevent you from dealing objectively with comments from prospective buyers. Hearing every comment a prospective buyer makes about your home could make you defensive and interfere with the sale. And you will encounter buyers you don't like personally but must still consider as prospects.

Are you up to date on real estate law?

Selling your home is a complex contractual and legal procedure. You will have to prepare your own legal documents or translate the language in an offer presented from a buyer. Most of those who sell their home in Canada do so with the assistance of REALTORS. Of the few who do try it themselves, most change their minds and end up going with a REALTOR because the process is too complex, too time consuming, and too dangerous without the help of a professional.