Sellers Hot Tips
Our teams approach to getting your home sold
- Extensive online marketing program
- Maximum Exposure to the Toronto MLS service as well as the Kawartha Lakes MLS service
- Excellent service with follow up
- Personal integrity & Honesty
With these advantages, we will help you sell your home as quickly as possible, we’ll price it to your best advantage within the real estate market to get you top dollar. Tell us what you enjoy most about your home and share your special memories and it’s positive attributes of your home with us, we can pass this along to potential buyers.
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 or cottage, prepare for the tax man!)
Wondering whether to Buy or Sell First?
Which comes first, the purchase or the sale is the greatest dilemma facing homeowners planning to move.
If you choose to buy first, make sure the offer to purchase is conditional on selling your current home. That way, if you sell your house, both transactions proceed and if you don’t sell it, you’re not stuck with two houses. 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.
Selling first does have several advantages, though. You’ll know exactly how much money you’ll be netting out of the sale of your home, you’ll have a closing date to work with and you’ll have extra leverage when making an offer to purchase your next home. Remember, selling first allows you to negotiate the purchase more vigorously, since unconditional offers carry a lot more weight with sellers.
And there’s always a chance that you’ll be “bumped” on a conditional offer (a second buyer could come along with a firm offer and force you to firm up or let the house go).
Choosing the Right Real Estate Agent
Your home is probably the most important asset you own. Don’t just list it with anyone. Make sure that you are dealing with an experienced, full-time real estate agent with an impeccable reputation in your area.
Here’s what to look for when choosing an agent:
- One who knows your local market, the homes that are currently listed for sale and the ones which have recently sold.
- One who has a strong network of referrals – both satisfied past clients and other agents.
- One who has a track record of selling homes in your area, experience counts.
- One with whom you feel at ease trust that your agent has your best interests in mind.
- One who can negotiate skillfully one who understands basic mortgage financing.
To find a good real estate company, ask friends, relative and coworkers for referrals, or take a look at your local paper and your neighborhood for signs of who is active in your area. Take the time to talk with those agents and find out if they know the market, whether you feel they’re good listeners and will be able to best represent you in the sale of your home. Ask how they plan to market your home for the best possible sale price at the least inconvenience to you also if they can save you commission dollars.
What is the Best Time to Sell?
In addition to supply and demand and other economic factors, the time of year you choose to sell can make a difference both in the amount of time it takes to sell your home and in the ultimate selling price. Weather conditions are less of a consideration than you might think. Most of the time, the real estate market picks up as early as mid January, with the strongest selling season usually lasting through November when the market slows again as buyers and sellers turn their attention to the holidays. Sellers often wonder whether or not they should take their homes off the market for the holidays. Generally speaking, you’ll have the best results if your house is available to show to prospective buyers continuously until it sells.
Establishing your Asking Price?
Your asking price is likely the most difficult and crucial decision you’ll make when you put your house on the market.
To help you determine your asking price, your agent should do a comparative market analysis of other similar properties sold in your area in recent months and current listings that would likely be competition to your own listing.
If you get several opinions of value, go with the consensus. Watch out for agents whose opinion is considerable higher than the other. Their overly optimistic view might end up costing you money in the end if it means you need to reduce after a period of time when your house hasn’t sold. Also, look at market trends. The real estate market is constantly changing and fluctuations have an effect on property values. It’s important to set your price based on the most recent sales in your neighborhood. If the listing price is too high, you’ll miss out on a percentage of buyers looking in the price range where your home should be. Thinking that the buyer can always “just make an offer”, may mean the buyer never even sees your house, much less makes an offer to purchase it. Chances are he offers won’t even come in, because the buyers who would be most interested in your home have been scared off by the price and aren’t even taking the time to look at it.
The most important advice: Be objective and realistic in setting your list price!
Making Your Property Appealing
Most buyers have certain priorities when they shop for a house. By the time the finally make an offer, the may have seen a number of listings. What makes them choose one home over the others?
Once the basic needs are addressed, choosing a home becomes an emotional issue for many buyers. The home they feel most comfortable in, the one they can envision themselves living in, is the home they’ll offer to buy.
Appealing to the five senses does make a difference.
- A fresh scent of flowers or the aroma of freshly baked bread or cookies is easy to create. Avoid overly strong smells, though.
- Have pleasant music playing softly. Avoid noise from the television while the buyers are looking at your home.
- Give the impression of spaciousness by removing bulky furniture & clutter. Open the curtains or blinds and turn on extra lights, even in the day time.
- Display color photographs of outdoor views during the different season, especially in the wintertime when landscaping is covered up by the snow.
- Add warmth wherever possible, light a fire or candles.
- Avoid smoking or cooking with strong smelling spices while your home is on the market.
Try to leave the house when it is being shown. This gives buyers and their agent an opportunity to explore your home at their leisure, without feeling like they are inconveniencing you or prying through your belongings. If you can’t leave, make yourself scarce. Don’t follow them around from room to room, pointing out features you think they’ve missed. Keep a low profile and let them look for themselves.
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.
Negotiating the Offer
After one or several visits, a buyer may make an offer to purchase your home. Usually presented by the buyer’s real estate agent to you and your REALTOR®, this offer is a formal written contract that sets forth the terms under which the buyer is prepared to purchase your home. It includes details such as the price, the proposed closing date, the down payment, mortgage details and chattels and fixtures to be included in the sale. An offer also carried a time limit. If you fail to respond within the specified time frame, the offer expires. Depending on the circumstances, the time limit could be as short as a few hours and as long as several days. Once you have reviewed the offer with your real estate agent, you will have several options. You can:
- Accept the offer as is
- Submit a counter offer
- Reject the offer entirely
If the buyer has made a serious offer, most sellers will try to negotiate the terms by submitting a counter offer. Each counter offer will stipulate an expiry time and date.
You can propose a new asking price, a different closing date, or make any changes which will make the offer acceptable to you. The buyer’s agent will then have the same options you’ve had, accept, counter offer or walk away all together.
Both the seller and the buyer can submit as many counter offers as they wish until an agreement is reached or one party or the other chooses to end the negotiations.
While you might strike a deal in principal with a buyer, there may be some conditions which have to be met before the sale can be completed. A conditional offer is one in which the sale of the property is agreed to by both the buyer and seller, subject to outstanding conditions such as buyer financing, a home inspection, a survey being provided or the sale of the buyer’s home.
If the conditions are met within the allotted time frame, the offer becomes firm and binding. If not, the deal is off and the deposits are returned to the buyer.
If there is a lengthy condition involved, such as a month or two for the sale of the buyer’s current home, the seller should have an escape clause in the offer, allowing the property to remain on the market and available to other potential buyers.
In the event a second acceptable offer comes along, the first buyer must either waive the conditions and close the sale, or forfeit the deal to the second buyer.
No home is perfect. Realizing this, buyers today are encouraged to have a home inspection done by a qualified inspector as a condition of finalizing the sale.
The inspector’s role is to identify any structural problems that might affect the value of the home today or in the future and if any are identified, to give the buyer an estimate of the necessary repairs.
The buyer can accept the defect as is, renegotiate the offer or revoke it altogether.
A building inspector can protect both the seller and the buyer by providing both parties with full disclosure of the condition of the home at the time of the sale. This eliminates any latent defects which could affect the closing or create legal problems after the buyer has moved in.
Adjustments are designed to settle any expense incurred (or income earned on rental properties) by either the seller or the buyer as of the day of closing.
Municipal property and school taxes, utilities, insurance, condominium maintenance fees are all adjusted to the actual day of closing.
Any expenses prepaid by the seller will be reimbursed by the buyer and any shortfalls will be credited to the buyer.
Closing costs can be substantial and be factored into both the buyer’s and the seller’s affordability calculation and the seller’s expected net proceeds.
Calculating Your Net Proceeds
Although the buyer is typically responsible for most of the closing costs, the seller will also have some debts to discharge.
- Legal and disbursements fees plus GST
- Real estate commissions plus GST
- Adjustments owed to the buyer
- Mortgage balance along with any associated prepayment charge or penalties for early discharge if you’re not taking the mortgage with you to the next home you buy
After you find the Agent
Once you find an agent, you must decide whether or not their right for you. Watch for obvious problems such as personality clashes or basic differences in outlook. In addition, you want to be sure that the agent isn’t so aggressive that they overwhelm you. You want to be able to control your agent. Not the other way around. Make sure you ask if they provide you with a easy exit listing guarantee which puts you in control .