Tips For Selling Your Home
There are usually a multitude of reasons why home owners are selling a home. Whether it be to purchase a larger or more affordable home, relocate for employment or to capture equity from the home. No matter what the reason, for every seller it’s always important to sell quickly and for as much as possible. Here are some proven home selling tips to improve the chances of selling your home quickly, as cost effectively and to command a higher selling price.1
Lose The Selling Agent, Save Thousands
I would always recommend using a buying agent when buying a home. A real estate agent can provide valuable insight, give you a buffer between you and the seller and help protect you legally and financially. Best of all, as a buyer you pay nothing for this service. On the other side, if you are capable of implementing the advice listed in this article I seldomly feel a real estate agent is a huge asset in selling a home. The right pricing, the buyers agents and MLS.ca on the other hand, are the dominating influence in getting your home shown and sold. For years MLS was restricted to only licensed real estate agents. Due to recent regulatory changes in Canada, you can now list your property on MLS through Flat Fee MLS Listing Services without the use of a selling agent. Listing your home on your own can immediately save you a 2.5% commission PLUS GST/HST (depending on your province). Thats at least a $10,000 savings on a $400,000 home. The home seller can choose what rate they will offer (if any) to a buyers agent. Although it is completely possible to list your home on MLS and offer a 0% buyers agent commission, this will likely reduce the chances of a quick sale and discourage agents from showing your home. The whole point of listing on MLS is to get your home found and shown to as many potential buyers as possible. You may even lose money by trying to save a 2.5% commission as desperate home sellers with little traffic lower their price and have less chance of getting competing offers. You can find Flat Fee MLS Listing Services in your province with a quick Google search. Many provide a 90 day MLS listing for around $400 and offer you assistance with completing the paperwork.
The ideal time to sell is March through to the fall with prices peaking in September. Selling during this season will ensure you get more prospective buyers and increase your chance of receiving a bid closer to your asking price. Check out Teranets historic home price index to see home price trends across Canada.2
Fix It First
While a small segment of home buyers are looking for a ‘fixer upper’, most potential buyers are looking for a home in move in condition. Buying a home is expensive, especially for those just starting out. There is often little money left over in a buyers budget to commit to things that need to be repaired, especially if they are costly. Taking care of any issues that is obvious to potential buyers before listing the home gives you the potential to sell your home faster and will likely increase the final sale price.
If you don’t have the time or skillset for certain jobs, hire a contractor. Contractors are often hit or miss as some are fantastic and some will outright rob you. Never pay 100% upfront. Get a detailed and signed contract outlining all of the work to be completed, the schedule of when the work will be completed and the fee structure. To find a qualified contractor based on consumer reviews check out HomeStars.com3
Price It Right
One of the biggest mistakes you may make when selling your home involves pricing. Price it too low and you lose out. Price it too high and your house won’t sell. Because of personal attachments many homeowners tend to overvalue their home. The ‘personal touches’ you have added to your home, the ones that make your home ‘unique’ may not create the same value for buyers as you assign to them. When you are determined to sell your home quickly while ensuring top dollar you need to obtain recent comparables sales data. These comparables should be based on homes that have sold in the last 6 months, in your neighbourhood, with similar features (detached versus semi detached, square footage, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, lot size, and condition). You only want to compare homes sold and not value your home according to the prices of homes listed for sale. As mentioned, sellers can overvalue a home but buyers are the ones that set the price. Comparables can be obtained from the MLS flat fee listing service or a friendly real estate agent. Another method to obtain the property’s accurate valuation is through an appraiser. An appraiser can be hired for between $275-$400. Homes are never identical so when comparing completed sales data, value must be added or deducted when comparing different properties. An appraiser will do just that. Compare similar properties sold recently in your neighbourhood and factor in the feature differents accordingly. One thing to keep in mind is appraisers are generally conservative. They will always value a home a little lower then what the home will actually sell for.
Zoocasa has a great tool called Zoopraisal that can give you a rough value for the size, style, age and area your home is located in. It is an automated too and more for a ballpark figure. I would highly recommend using a real estate agent and an appraiser for more accurate valuations.4
Increase Your Chances of Selling Fast
Prospective buyers want to visit your home to inspect and decide whether they can make it their home or not. Remove family photos and any personal belief items that may offend anyone, in any way (poilitical, religious, etc.). You want the buyer to imagine their family in the space, not their family in your home. Make the home as neutral as possible so that it appeals to as many people as possible.
Curb Appeal – Make sure the lawn is mowed and any weeds are pulled. Prune any trees, shrubs or bushes that have grown to unsightly. Some mulch and garden bed edging can make your front yard look brand new. Worn and weathered front doors are off-putting, consider painting or replacing your front door with something stunning. If your home features a front porch, think about adding potted containers that can be hung or placed around your front steps.
Declutter – When selling your home, always think of it as a show home. The interior furnishings should always be displayed as if you were living in a model home. Remove all unnecessary items and clutter from view. This includes anything stored on top of your fridge, artwork and magnets. Remove any items stored on countertops. An empty countertop means MORE counterspace to prospective buyers. Keep furniture to a minimum so that rooms do not appear smaller. Consider moving things to storage even for a short period of time. Decluttering does not just include the living area, this also includes the yard, basement and garage.
Cheap Ways To Improve The Interrior 1) Replace caulking around sinks and tubs. 2) A fresh coat of paint on the walls will make your house look new and smell fresh and clean. 3) Clean like you’ve never cleaned before! This includes all appliances, mirrors, light switch covers, light fixtures, cupboard doors and handles and bathroom vent covers.
Here are more tips to improve curb appeal.5
Showings + Open Houses
When your house is for sale, you have to essentially relinquish its homely aspects in exchange for a place that’s primed for show. If you have an agent, leave when the house is being shown. If you are selling it yourself, you need to strike a balance between being helpful and crowding the buyer. Here are some tips to help ensure your showings and open houses are a success:
- 1. Make sure your home is immaculate.
- 2. Open all blinds, drapes and turn on any lights that improve the appearance.
- 3. If your basement is damp or musty, get a dehumidifier.
- 4. If you have a pet with a litter box, ensure the litter box is clean or ideally hidden.
- 5. Leave out hydro and gas bills for prospective buyers.
- 6. For those on a septic system and/or well, leave out inspection and maintenance information.
- 7. Put out some fresh flowers, set the thermostat at comfortable level and empty garbages.
- 8. Consider baking cookies just before showing. The smell of the cookies triggers prospective home buyers subconcious memories of happy times and a sense of home.
Do a walk through of the home from the buyers prespective from curb through to the interrior, around the home and back out. Try and find things that may be cleaned, fixed or better organized or decluttered.