Frequently Asked Questions From Home Sellers

Selling your home can be such an overwhelming process. There are so many minor and major details to consider in every step at either side of the real estate transaction. Through our team’s culmination of over a century in the business, these are the questions that we get asked the most frequently from sellers.

When Is The Best Time To List My Home For Sale?
As soon as your ready to move. If you want to get the best value for your property, the key is to give yourself as much time as possible to sell. More time means more potential buyers will probably see the home, likely resulting in more offers. This also gives you additional time to consider other options if the market or initial interest is slow.

Is There Any Seasonality To The Market?
Peak selling seasons vary from year to year in most market places and weather usually has a lot to do with that. Often early spring and early fall are the prime listing seasons as houses tend to “show” better in those months than they do in the heat of summer. Be aware that there are also more houses on the market during the prime seasons, resulting in more competition. While seasonality is a factor, it’s not something that should dominate your decision on when to sell.

What Makes A Home Sell?
A successful sale requires you to concentrate on five considerations: price, terms, conditions, location and market exposure. You cannot control all of them, you may have to overcompensate in one or more areas to offset a competitive disadvantage in another.

What About Market Conditions, Price Trends, Interest Rates And The Economy In General? Should They Have Any Bearing On When I List?
If you’re considering the sale of an income property, there are only two things to consider: the cash flow and, if you do sell, where is the money being invested. If you are just moving your investment to the market to get better cash flow, any time is good. If you are taking the money out of the real estate market to invest somewhere else, don’t forget to take capital gains taxes into consideration. This is something I would advise checking along with an accountant.

How Long Should It Take To Sell?
The average listing times vary from 30–180 days, according to the market conditions in a particular neighbourhood, the type of property and the price range. Of course, price, terms, conditions, location and exposure play an even greater role. Selling in any market is easier if you keep time on your side. Most professionals will tell you that pricing, conditions and aggressive marketing will shorten this greatly. If you are selling in a seller’s market, pricing for multiple offers can help you sell in just days.

What If I Can’t Sell My Current Home Before We Move?
This situation can arise for any number of reasons. Such as, getting the job promotion you’ve been waiting for may mean having to quickly relocate. You may even finally find your “dream home” and need to put an offer in before it sells to another buyer. Whatever the reason, don’t panic. You have some viable alternatives to the potential nightmare of double mortgage payments. If you don’t have to sell in order to buy a new home, renting your existing property may be a suitable option. Consider the advantages (additional income, income security) and disadvantages (maintaining tenants, not getting the equity and funds for the home). If you’re being transferred, you may be able to obtain a short-term rental in your new location while you’re becoming familiar with the new area.

What If I Decide To Sell My Home First?
We always advise that in a buyer’s market, you should sell your property and make sure to negotiate a longer closing. This will allow you time to be able to find another home to purchase without feeling rushed. In a seller’s market, one should buy their next home first. This should be done with a longer closing of 120–150 days (if possible) to allow time to sell your home in the interim. You should arrange for the possibility of bridge financing in the event that the closing date of the sale of your property is longer than the closing date of the purchase.

What Renovations Can I Do To Increase The Value Of My Home?
Renovating your home for your own personal tastes is very different from renovating to increase its value. Installing an inground pool because your family can enjoy it for years has its own value, but when it comes to selling you may not get back your investment. If you are considering doing renovations to increase value, this list will help you focus on the necessary sections:

  1. Kitchen: This is the most important room when it comes to valuation and it can make a significant impact on the value of the property. When considering a renovation, think modern and fresh. Update your cabinetry, install under cabinet lighting and install new appliances. To save on costs, look at options like Ikea as opposed to custom cabinetry.
  2. Bathrooms: The second most important room(s) when it comes to valuation. Upgrading cabinets, counter tops and hardware for a fresh and modern look will increase your home’s marketability. If you can add an additional bathroom where there is dead space it will increase your home’s value even more. Do not sacrifice useful bedroom space for a bathroom.
  3. Flooring: You will see an immediate increase in your value by installing hardwood floors. For cheaper fixes, consider refinishing existing hardwood floor or removing carpet and adding engineered laminate flooring throughout. In the bathroom, you’ll always see higher demand for tile over laminate.
  4. Fixtures: If you can’t change the cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms,consider updating the cabinet hardware, light fixtures, counter tops and faucets. This gives the appearance that a full renovation has been completed, this can change the look and feel of your home.
  5. Income Suite: The biggest and most effective way to add value to your home is to build an income suite within the property. Consider converting your basement into a rental and advertise your home as an investment property. Ensure that your neighbourhood has demand for this type of offering before you proceed.

Can I Sell My House Myself?
Some people have this notion that they can save a considerable amount of money by selling on their own. They look at the average commission on a house and think of friends and family who managed to get through the process with seemingly little trouble. It can be done, so why can’t I try? Approximately 1–2% of Canadian homeowners handle their own sale. But in order to join the ranks of successful salesperson, you need to realistically assess exactly what’s involved. The routine parts consist of pricing your home accurately, determining whether or not a buyer is qualified, creating and paying for your own advertising, familiarizing yourself with enough required real estate knowledge to understand (and possibly even prepare) a real estate contract, and coordinating the details of a close. The greatest downsides are the demand on your time, and the possibility that a mistake may cost you the money you’re trying to save. Listing agents know about the market trends, houses in your area, and those who are most likely to buy there. They also know how to reach the largest interested audience, trained in screening and negotiating potential buyers. They are almost always on-call and work on the weekends; being available to the whims of others.

Written by: Spencer Maxwell

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