Download My Seller's Guide
Selling Your Home
Your home or investment property is usually one of your most valuable assets, and I recognize that the decision to sell is a big one with many factors to consider, both logically and emotionally. I appreciate you considering entrusting this important task to me, and thank you for your time. This booklet is designed to help answer some of the more common questions that may come up and help prepare you for the journey. I hope you find it helpful and informative.
Good photos matter.
As more and more buyers are being introduced to properties online, professional pictures and videos matter. Ensure your home has been properly de-cluttered and consider staging tips that will make the rooms appear larger.
An MLS listing isn’t enough.
Your home needs to be effectively marketed to the right home buyers – whether that is through advertising, social media, the Internet, or direct mail. It is important that your home is viewed by as many potential buyers as possible in order to maximize the revenue return.
Is your price right?
A home is likely to attract the most interest within the first two weeks it is listed. If the home is overpriced, buyers will move on. Be realistic when you set a sale price. Check out the competition and see what recent sales have occurred in the area.
Access and availability.
You never know when a potential buyer will want to see your home. Having a comprehensive schedule of available viewing times can make all the difference.
Understand the possible downfalls.
It’s never easy hearing negative remarks about your home, but knowing is half the battle. Feedback will be provided from potential buyers who have seen your home. This could be helpful in the next showing.
Choosing the right agent.
Never forget the agent you choose is there for you. They are your number one ally. The right agent will guide you through the selling process and answer any questions you have. They have just as much invested in the sale of your home as you do. If they can demonstrate why they are the perfect agent for you, then hire them. Always trust your instincts.
1. Define Your Goals
Determine why you are selling your home.
Before you start to think about all the things that need to be done, take some time to reflect on why you are selling and clearly define your goals. Everyone has different reasons. As you start to go through this process of discovery, focus on what is important to you and your family, this will help streamline the process.
These are six important questions to ask yourself:
- Is there a timeline?
- Are you relocating?
- Are you looking for a bigger home or to downsize?
- Are you looking for a different neighbourhood? More city, more suburban?
- Are you looking for different amenities?
- Are financial considerations relevant?
FIVE IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS
- Do you understand the associated costs?
- Is this the right time for you to sell?
- What are the present market conditions and the implications to your sale?
- Does your home’s equity give you an advantage?
- What are the current mortgage interest rate options compared to your rate and commitment?
Recognize that every market is different and the selling process can be a sprint or a marathon – be prepared for both.
2. Select a REALTOR®
Consider the benefits of having a professional on your side.
ACT AS YOUR MARKETING MANAGER:
Deciding who represents you is the most important decision you will make in the home selling process. As a Stilhavn real estate representative, I am here to help you.
ACT AS YOUR SALES COORDINATOR:
- Set a competitive market price.
- Advise you on how to showcase your home and highlight its best features.
- Develop a professional and personalized marketing strategy.
- Communicate with you regularly, and provide feedback on influences that may impact the market value of your home.
INTRODUCE QUALIFIED BUYERS:
- Work with the industry’s most productive Buyer’s Agents.
- Confirm each buyer has been pre-qualified prior to viewing your home.
SERVE AS YOUR EXPERIENCED NEGOTIATOR:
- Advise you on the merits of the offers submitted.
- Represent your best interests at all times and keep your goals in full view.
ACT AS YOUR CLOSING COORDINATOR:
- Send all documents out on time.
- Deliver the keys to the buyers after title has transferred and funds are ready to be issued by your lawyer or notary.
- Follow-up with any loose ends prior to and after moving day.
- Provide you with helpful tips on moving that can make the day go smoother.
3. Price Your Property
The first thing buyers want to know is the price. With that in mind, we need to ensure that your property is on the market for a price that will attract buyers while still providing you with a good return.
WHAT IS MARKET VALUE?
Deciding on the true market value is where my expertise will come into play. Regardless of its original price, or even the improvements you’ve made over the years, the market value is based on what buyers are paying at the time your home is on the market.
OVERPRICING YOUR HOME
The rule of thumb is that buyers look at about twelve properties before they make an offer. This will give them a great idea of whether or not your property is well priced. If it’s priced too high, you’ve just lost a potential buyer. If the home has been priced too high and later you lower the price they may wonder what is wrong with your home. Pricing your home reasonably the first time is critical to attracting the right buyer at the right time.
4. Prepare the Home
Begin this process with one simple idea: “This is not my home; it is a house.” For this Seller’s Guide, I have broken down this process into three levels. We can discuss what level is required to get the most value for your home.
LEVEL 1: THE BASICS
- Deep clean
LEVEL 2: BEYOND THE BASICS
- Paint the walls neutral colours
- Change room decorations and themes
- Make minor repairs as needed
LEVEL 3: WAY BEYOND THE BASICS
- Major renovations
- Finish the basement
- Consider professional staging
- Other repairs
- Think of this process as a head start to packing.
- Even though some repairs seem minor, they can become a major factor in determining whether the buyer will actually buy.
- Pay particular attention to rooms that smell – odours are completely disenchanting.
- Don’t forget about the outside – this is the first impression.
- Scrutinize the home. If you were a buyer, would you want to buy this home? You have lived here and you know all the pros and cons. Highlight the pros and help eliminate the cons
5. Market the Home
A sophisticated and professionally prepared marketing plan is essential to maximizing exposure; it needs to be carefully prepared and strategically implemented.
- Yard Signs and Directionals
- Marketing Collateral For Your Home
- Public and Private Showings
- Local Advertisements
- Networking and Referrals
- Virtual Tours through Online Video Marketing
- Web Exposure
OUR DIRECT APPROACH
Professional promotional materials that are directly mailed are one of the most powerful ways to spread the message that your home is for sale. Your neighbours will be first to tell their friends and family about your home – they already love their community and are your biggest advocates!
6. Show the Home
Sellers place a lot of pressure on themselves when showing their property. Here are a few things to keep in mind to generate the best first impression and increase your chances of receiving those all-important offers.
- Let Your Agent Handle It
- Be Flexible
- Quick Clean
- Climate Control
- Animal Care
- Light the Way
- Communicate with your REALTOR®
TIP: keep a box for personal items. When these are not in use, keep them in a closet or drawer.
THE “SHOW HOME” READY CHECKLIST
YOU HAVE 10 MINUTES:
- Make the beds
- Grab a basket/box and throw all personal items of clutter and put it in the back of your car
- Empty all the garbage
- Make sure the bathroom towels are clean, straightened, and match
- Put down all the lids to the toilet
- Wipe down all countertops and sinks
- Turn on all the lights in the house
- Make sure the house temperature is comfortable
- Make sure the home smells good
YOU HAVE ONE HOUR:
- Do everything on the ten-minute list, PLUS
- Vacuum all carpeted areas
- Sweep all surfaces
- Clean all mirrors
- Give the toilets a good clean and wipe down
- Clear kitchen counters and wipe down
- Laundry should be clean and put away
- Sweep the front doorway and shake out the mat
7. Ask for Feedback
It is important to hear feedback on your property, whether it’s good, bad or ugly. The information provided could be helpful in the next showing. Following an open house or buyer showing, talk with your REALTOR® to measure your home’s reception and consider recommendations.
- Are you getting a steady stream of people to open houses and brokers opens? What is the typical number for comparable homes?
- Find out what feedback was given to your REALTOR®. Use this feedback to enhance your home’s presentation for future showings. Your REALTOR® may have some ideas on how to spruce up your home’s presentation factor.
- Could your home use an incentive to entice more buyers to come for a look? What other marketing strategies does your REALTOR® suggest to attract more buyers?
- It is important to keep things in perspective following an open house or a buyer showing. Remember that home shoppers need time to process what they have seen and maybe time to look around at other homes before making such a big decision.
- Be patient. Be open to feedback and continue to maintain an open dialogue with your REALTOR®
8. Prepare for Offers
The most complex moment in the sales process is when you get an offer on the home. There are many components to an offer and your REALTOR® will explain the entire process so you are comfortable with all the steps involved. There are two types of offers. An offer with or without conditions: an offer without conditions is known as a firm or subject-free offer, and one with conditions is known as a conditional or subject offer. You can reject or accept the initial offer. If you agree to some points of the offer but not others then you can submit a counter offer. Offers can be countered back and forth between the parties until one of you accepts or rejects, ending the negotiations altogether.
Counter offers are generated by the seller after a buyer has submitted an offer to purchase. Typically, counter offers will state that the seller has accepted the buyer’s offer subject to particulars such as:
- A higher price (if buyer’s offer doesn’t match sale price)
- Increase the amount of the deposit
- Refusal to pay for certain reports or fees
- Altering closing and/or possession dates
- Modifying the contingency time frames
- Excluding personal property
9. Remove Subjects
Once both parties accept the sales contract and its subjects, they will start to work towards removing these conditions within a specific time frame. Your REALTOR® will advise you on what subjects can be removed based on the results once the appropriate due diligence has been completed. Ideally, both parties should have been able to negotiate a reasonable time to remove these conditions. Your REALTOR® will be able to advise you on the right course of action should the subjects not be removed by its due date.
10. Close the Deal
Once all subjects have been removed the sale is considered final. The final documents will be sent to your lawyer/notary to prepare the necessary documentation pertaining to the sale of your home. Your lawyer/notary will forward these important documents to the buyer’s lawyer/notary for final execution. Your lawyer/notary will arrange with the buyer’s lawyer/notary to pick up funds and then you will be notified when the sale is complete. Your REALTOR® will contact you to handle any further requirements, such as transferring the keys to the new owner.
Common Mistakes Made by Home Sellers
- Not Hiring a Professional – You need the expertise of a REALTOR®. Sellers who try to sell their home themselves take longer to sell and for far less.
- Not Pricing The Home Correctly – Overpricing or underpricing can be a costly mistake. It’s critical to know the market and review comparables to know what price your home needs to be set at to sell.
- Neglecting Necessary Repairs – It will always cost you less out of pocket to fix things ahead of time rather than having buyers request that you fix it through their vendor of choice.
- Not De-cluttering – One of the least expensive improvements you can make to your home is to declutter and create a sense of space throughout your home.
- Getting in the Way of Negotiating – Too many sellers take negotiating personally and lose out on creating a win-win deal.
- Failing to Complete a Full Set of Disclosures Prior to Closing – Be upfront about any of your home’s issues; this will save you money and time.
- Overlooking Fees and Extra Expenses – Request a list of fees and expenses before closing. Review these with your REALTOR® and discuss them ahead of time.
- Not Hiring a Professional Photographer – 95% of all buyers start their home search online so make sure you leave a great first impression.
- Not Trusting or Communicating with Your REALTOR® – They are your biggest ally. Trust them to guide you through this process. Be open and honest as you can and allow them to do their job.