Yes, You Can Sell Your Own Home

Selling your own home can be such an intimidating process. It seems so daunting with all of the costs and the seemingly overly complicated steps. This is something that you can do yourself. Be aware that this process can’t solely be done on your own as you do need the assistance of a real estate lawyer, and we suggest a mortgage advisor. You just need the due diligence and the proper research to proceed with the transaction. Approximately, less than 2% of homes are sold privately in Canada, so this definitely is a possibility. 

The first hurdle you need to get over are your emotions. It’s understandable to have such deep attachment after years of love and effort. It’s difficult not to want to cling to something you’ve filled with memories, but this is new to the potential purchasers. Your feelings have nothing to do with the price, terms or conditions. When it’s on the market, you are not selling your home, you’re selling a house. It’s important that you understand that distinction to generate a successful sale. A potential buyer has no interest in buying your home, they want a property they can make their own. You need to look at it through a buyer’s eyes so you can position it and repackage it in a way that appeals to the average consumer.

Pricing

It’s an absolute necessity to not just know the market, but the market for your specific neighbourhood. Great market research produces great results. This is the best way to overwhelm the competition and compel people to buy what you’re selling. It’s best to utilize the assets of your home, make it stand out among the rest. If your house is the only one in the area, then you can sell for more than if there is a dozen with similar features. Your house may be different than the others, but if everyone is looking to sell, prices will generally drop. No matter what the market is, the laws of supply and demand apply to any product. It’s up to you to discover what is selling in your area and for how much. Be aware that different areas sell for different prices, as location is obviously a huge factor in real estate. 

You must understand the time frame in which to sell your home. How many days, weeks or months do you have? This will help you choose the right listing price. Sellers can lose thousands or have their house sit unsold for months if they fail to understand the market conditions and timing required to govern a suitable sale. A big factor in determining the price is how many days you are able to put it on the market. If you can have it up for 90 days you will have the opportunity to negotiate better.

You can utilize the Land Registry Office to get an overview of the property of the area, but this does come with fees. This will tell you the necessary information of what has sold in your area, how long it was on the market for and the price it went for. You’ll need a complete list of homes that have sold recently that are comparable in location, size and layout to best understand how to price the home.

Marketing

Your property can be priced correctly, but if it doesn’t look right it’s not going to sell. What do you always notice about model homes? All colours and furniture is kept at a more muted tone, with a lot of open space so others can envision themselves living in that space. Home buyers purchase what they see, like and can afford in that order. Even if it’s priced right and you’re advertising was appealing, your property won’t sell if they don’t like what they see or feel. 

As a home seller, the biggest merchandising mistake you can make is assuming that potential buyers will take your home as is or will like the things you’ve done to alter it to your particular tastes. Over-personalizing your home is a common and costly mistake. The harder it is for the potential buyer to envision themselves in the property, the harder it will be to sell. It’s all about giving people the potential to imprint on your home. 

Another common error is the failure to recognize the weaknesses of your home. It’s difficult to be objective when it comes to something that you put so much energy and affection towards. In order to maximize profits, you need to look at the property from an impartial eye. Train yourself or hire someone to go through your home to look for the things you cannot or refuse to see. You must take an active role in decreasing the negatives and accentuating the positives. This may require a professional cleaner, a painter to touch up the walls or even a stager. These expenses may seem large upfront, but create the potential to have a higher selling price. 

Staging is vital in your marketing strategy, this is how you present your home. Utilizing soft colours, smells, lights and sounds are the best methods to make your home as attractive as possible. When you decide to put your home on sale, it’s time to decorate it as you would a model home. Eliminate all visual impact of your life there, bring out the basic features, emphasizing the appeal that made you want to buy it in the first place. Think back on the features that made you want to purchase in the first place.

Most people find and buy their homes through real estate agents. They benefit from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) where they can see any house that is on the market or has been sold since its creation. This is partly why 98% of all homes are purchased through real estate brokerages. You can utilize the Land Registry Office instead, which provides the data you need on pricing. They have the expertise, but you are able to get all the necessary tools.

A for-sale sign is the second most common way that buyers find a home. The combination of an attractive sign with an immaculate front yard, nicely trimmed shrubbery and finely decorated landscaping lets people know that this is a home worth buying. Hanging flyers or having an ad in the newspaper are great ways to build awareness. Place a weather-proof box filled with brochures and a number of directional signs letting people know there is something worth getting. Find the most high-traffic areas and guide interested parties to your home. 

The third most common way buyers find homes is through online advertising. You want to ensure that your ad is located on a high traffic site, it might be beneficial to put some money into it to receive more traction. Without utilizing a real estate agent, it’s fair to say that it will cost money and definitely a fair amount of time. You have to weigh how much this will cost you and what your time is worth. Don’t write another generic ad that won’t register with people. Unless you’re a talented photographer with a good camera, get professional pictures to demonstrate that this is a serious sale. Make the unique features of your home apparent. Entice people with an extra-large master bathroom or an exquisite family room in the advertisement. Make it exciting. “Barbecue and relax while others work. Beautiful, four-bedroom ranch style home with brand new deck and free Jacuzzi.” “Beautiful three-bedroom townhouse with finished basement all ready to rent out. Great opportunity for first-time home buyer.” It all comes down to being creative and thinking what would make you want to buy the property. There are so many features in your home and so many ways you can spin it to appeal to the general consumer. Utilize all websites that traffic this type of information, including: Kijiji, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist and forsalebyowner.ca. It’s all about using all the avenues you can to get the word out. The better your exposure, the better the results. 

Negotiating

When qualifying buyers you must be confident while discovering their requirements, but also avoid being intrusive or overbearing. REC advises you have a separate phone line as you may not be comfortable having your personal number for all interested parties to see. Have a landing page so you can keep track of prospective buyers. When you start receiving requests for showings, schedule them at certain times and certain days, this way it gives the appearance of it being more desirable to purchaser. The more traffic you get at these times, the greater sense of urgency you provide, which can result in a quicker sale and/or more offers. 

For security purposes, we suggest you ask for a copy of the buyer’s license as well as mortgage pre-approval. This is to let you know that they are qualified to be searching in the price range of your home, but also that they are serious buyers. 

When showing, step out for about 15 – 20 minutes to let people relax within the home without any undue pressure. The next day it would be wise to follow up with a phone call, asking: Are you interested in purchasing the home? Do not ask them to give you an offer as this indicates you priced it incorrectly. If they say yes, move onto the next step of authorizing an agreement of purchase and sale. If they said no, ask for feedback. How did the home show? How well do you think it’s priced? Are there any comments you can give that might be helpful?

As soon as you receive an offer from an interested buyer, thoroughly review the documents. It’s best to work with a real estate lawyer before putting your home on the market, as they charge a one-time fee. This way you have the lawyer on call to review the documents before you sign anything. It’s not their job to comment on whether the price and terms are fair, that research is all on you. 

The majority of buyers will have made the agreement conditional on doing a home inspection. If it’s a condo, they would make it conditional on reviewing a condo status report. As a seller, if you did not do a pre-listing inspection, expect the buyer to have a home inspection. The sole purpose of this is to find the deficiencies within the home, this takes roughly 3 hours. If there are any substantial problems, expect the buyer to renegotiate the terms of the agreement. 

If you and the buyer don’t come to an agreement for whatever reason during the 10 day due-diligence period, you both have the option to cancel the arrangement and return their deposit. The buyer can also use the financing condition to walk away from the deal. The lender of the mortgage will request to do an appraisal of the home to confirm the address and the state of the home. Should this impact the amount or the terms of the mortgage offered to the buyer, they can choose to rescind their offer and you would again be obligated to return the deposit. For a condo, if after reviewing a status report, the buyer, the agent or their lawyer feel it is not satisfactory they can walk away from the deal as well; within the conditional period stated in the agreement. Our advice, if you are presented with an offer which has one or all of the above conditions, counter offer with tightening the time allotted to complete the tasks. The majority of buyers would have tried to negotiate in 5 business days, but we advise minimizing this, therefore lessening the time your home is potentially off the market. Keep in mind that the market for which you are selling in will determine how much power you have in the negotiations. 

Once the conditions are satisfactory to you and the buyer, they will send you a waiver or a notice of fulfillment and your home is now sold. The buyer generally requests in the offer to see the home 2 times in order to take measurements, also to see that the property is clean and vacant.

Team 

A day before closing, you will meet with your lawyer to sign off on the sale. After receiving the funds from the buyer on or just before the closing date, the lawyer will pay off any outstanding mortgage payments, liens and any realtor fees associated with the transaction. Lastly, you will be given a cheque for the remainder. 

We strongly advise enlisting the aid of a mortgage advisor. When selling, you can offer the purchaser discounted financing, special terms or conditions. This is a strong way to entice purchasers and gives you the advantage of potentially having more interested parties. This is something that works very well for us, and something that realtors don’t do. 

 

If you take all of these factors into account, along with researching the necessary information and actively pursuing your goals, you’ll be well on your way to selling your home. If you price it properly, market it well, negotiate smoothly and build a solid team, you have nothing to worry about. Assess how you would do this, then proceed with the transaction. You shouldn’t do this process entirely by yourself, but you can sell the property itself on your own merits.

Written by: Spencer Maxwell