Home Seller’s Guide
You need a professional on your side when you decide to sell your home. From the home evaluation, to the marketing & photos, to the preparation, to the sales and negotiation – we’ll take care of it and you won’t be disappointed. Below is our Home Seller’s Guide, but Why Sell with Us? Take a look at the reasons to use LiveKitsilano’s Real Estate Team to sell your home.
We’ve started a blog offering Information for Home Sellers. Check it out often as we’ll constantly be adding more information, and feel free to ask us any questions – if you’re wondering about something, someone else out there is too!
Our Marketing Strategy
To ensure that your property receives maximum exposure and is able to sell for top dollar, you need a strong marketing plan. Here is the marketing plan we use to sell your home. When we meet in person to discuss the process, we’ll bring some of our materials to show you the quality and thought we put into our process.
- Prepare a detailed market analysis to outline market trends and comparable sales in your neighbourhood. This helps us set an optimized pricing strategy together.
- Conduct a home staging consultation to accentuate your home’s potential and maximize its appeal to potential buyers. We also have an inventory of decor items that we can offer free of charge to help with the finishing touches.
- Utilize professional photographs, detailed floor plans, 3D floor plans and video tours to ensure that your home looks its very best online.
- Develop a broad web presence through web partnerships. This web presence helps to direct both local and international Buyers to your listing, which is vital as more than 90% of new Buyers are starting their search on the internet.
- Schedule regular open houses for the first three weeks your home is on the market. Open houses will also be scheduled after any price reductions or status changes.
- Display a highly prominent FOR SALE sign in front of your home to attract neighbourhood interest and take advantage of the strong RE/MAX brand.
- Capitalize on local and niche neighbourhood blogs to directly promote your property to a highly targeted demographic.
- Make use of our experience and reputation. With two Medallion and RE/MAX Platinum agents behind you, you are in good hands. We are well known and respected within the industry, which helps us draw in clients working with other real estate agents.
- Leverage a strong social media presence that includes Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and several regularly maintained blogs. Think of social media as an extended relationship network. Each relationship offers exposure to a vast network of local and international buyers.
- Create an attractive buyer’s information package that helps Buyers to write an offer and helps property stand out above other comparable properties listed for sale. The more readily available the information and forthcoming the answers, the more it puts potential buyers at ease when it comes time to write an offer.
- Make it is easy for you. Once you have hired us to sell your home, all you need to do is keep your home clean and ready for showings. We do the rest. All of it. And we will never come to you with additional costs. All marketing expenses are included.
Process of Selling
Properly Pricing Your Home
Setting a realistic price for your home that reflects current market values will help sell your home quickly and for top dollar. When you price your home properly, you increase the chances that your property will sell quickly and for the most money. The first six weeks on the market is an extremely important time for your home, as this is when the bulk of the marketing buzz will be in place and the time when buyer traffic peaks.
While pricing your home on the “high-side” and “testing the market” may seem tempting, it is important to note that the longer a property stays on the market, the less it will ultimately sell for. A property priced 10% higher than current market value suggests is significantly less likely to sell within the 6 week window than a property priced close to its actual market value. Sellers will usually over-price their homes by this 5-10% margin if, either, they firmly believe the home is worth more than what the market indicates, or if they want to leave room for negotiation. Either way, if you choose to over-price your home, you run the risk of increasing the amount of time your home spends on the market, and decreasing the amount of money you’ll ultimately receive.
At the other end of the selling spectrum are Sellers who price their homes below fair market value. Under-pricing often occurs when the owner is interested in a quick sell. You may find that this strategy attracts quick or multiple offers and sell at—or above—the asking price. However, if multiple offers are not attracted, you do run the risk of Buyers coming in and trying to negotiate on your already low price.
The market will always influence a property’s value, regardless of the state of a home, or its desirability. Pricing strategies are different for Seller’s markets, Buyer’s markets and balanced markets.
Other Factors that will affect the pricing strategy include:
- Condition of the home
- Comparable properties currently available
- Do you need a den or office to work from home?
Based on a variety of market conditions, recent sales and your needs, I will discuss the various pricing options available to you, discuss the pros and cons of each, and help you decide which will be the right fit for you.
During the process of selling your home there are several costs that you should be aware of:
Pre-Payment Penalty (Mortgage)
If you plan on paying off your mortgage after selling your home, you may be subject to pre-payment penalties if your mortgage term has not expired. Please talk to your bank or mortgage broker to clarify what these costs may be, as they can be significant.
Staging Costs: ~ $2500-5000
If you decide to stage your home, costs are billed monthly. The first month will typically range from $2500-5000, including the initial consultation and move-in, while subsequent months will cost less.
Before putting your home on the market, there may be some minor repairs or updates that you want to do to help your home show its best. This might mean putting on a new coat of paint, repairing that leaking faucet or doing some landscaping in the front yard. These costs can range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars depending on what needs to be done.
Legal fees: ~$700-950
To handle the final sale of your property, you will need a lawyer or notary to act on your behalf.
Real Estate Fees
To give you a quick example, here are some common sale prices and applicable commission amounts. These amounts are shared roughly 50-50 with the real estate agent representing the buyer.
$400,000 = $14,500 + HST
$500,000 = $17,000 + HST
$600,000 = $19,500 + HST
$800,000 = $24,500 + HST
$1,000,000 = $29,500 + HST
$1,250,000 = $37,750 + HST
$1,500,000 = $42,000 + HST
$2,000,000 = $54,500 + HST
Should you Buy or Sell First?
If you are considering looking for a new home, and are a current home-owner, then you are probably wondering whether you should wait to find the perfect new home before you put your current home on the market or sell first and then look around.
By selling your home before you buy, you will know precisely how much money you have to work with on your next purchase. With a concrete price range, you’ll be able to narrow the pool of houses before you begin looking, and negotiate accordingly. This will grant further negotiating leverage as Sellers tend to take offers without financing subjects more seriously. The flip side of this scenario is that if you don’t find the right property before the closing date of the house you’ve already sold, you may have to look for temporary housing until you do find what you’re looking for. Ask yourself how you would cope with living in a transitional home for an undetermined period of time.
Buying a new house without having sold your current home may occur if you come across a home you love unintentionally or just don’t want to deal with moving twice. While this can often be more convenient, beware of the risks. If you buy another property and aren’t able to sell your current home quickly enough, you could end up having to finance both homes and shoulder the extra debt until you sell. Since your selling price is unknown, jumping into a purchase could be a gamble, particularly if your budget is tight. Make sure you’re familiar with all aspects of the financial risks this scenario would create before you move forward.
An additional option involves making your offer to purchase conditional upon the sale of your current property within a specified period. Conditional offers usually include a clause that allows for the Sellers to keep their property on the market and remain open to other offers while you try to sell your home. If the Sellers receive another attractive offer before you’ve sold your home, they may accept and ask you to either remove your condition and firm up your offer, or concede the property. A conditional offer grants you the most protection from financial risk while still allowing for the convenience of only moving once. The drawback of the conditional offer is that Sellers tend to take them less seriously and will leave you with less negotiating power. Some Sellers may simply turn down an offer that is subject to sale. Even if your conditional offer is accepted, there is no guarantee another Buyer won’t step in and overthrow your offer before you have sold your current home, which would put you back at the starting line.
Home Staging Tips
“You never get a second chance at a first impression.” We’ve all heard this expression before. And now, while you are preparing your home to sell, it should not be far from your mind. The decision to buy a particular home is fueled by a mixture of logic and emotion, with emotion often winning out. Buyers are searching for a “home” — a place in which they will feel comfortable, secure, and happy. Keep in mind, this impression will not only influence whether or not they make an offer, but also what they consider to be the value of the property.
When homes create this immediate type of emotional appeal, they tend to sell quickly and for more money. Use the following tips as a starting point to get your home into selling shape before you put the property on the market, and you’ll be well on your way to a successful sale!
It seems obvious, but it is amazing how often we take clients into cluttered homes. You want the potential buyer to feel like the space is open and ready for their design ideas. Remove extra furniture, minimize your closets, clear your counters, tables and shelves. Rent a storage locker if you need to – the return is worth it.
In this case, put aside your personal design preferences to think neutral and minimalist. Mass appeal is the name of the game.
Although those weddings pictures or shots of the kids are meaningful to you, for potential buyers it creates the feeling of being in someone else’s home. You want them to be able to visualize their own personal belongings in your space and imagine that this could soon be their home.
Another consideration is to remove any items that may invoke strong beliefs or reactions. Examples here would be religious or political paraphernalia, provocative art or pet toys.
Again, it sounds obvious, but when we say clean, we mean SPOTLESS! The cleaner the home, the less work it feels like the buyer will have to do to move in. Again, when it comes to first impressions, you don’t want any negative thoughts to stick in the Buyers mind.
Anything that will cause the buyer to wonder “What else is wrong in here?”, needs to be fixed. Leaky faucets, loose knobs, cracked tiles, etc. Even if something seems minor, we do not want to raise any alarms for prospective Buyers.
If you live in an older home, find little ways to make it more modern. Update electrical plugs, light switches and thermostats. Replace old light fixtures. Change door knobs and cabinet handles. Re-paint in the season’s trendy colours. You get the idea…
Add Some ‘WOW’
Fresh flowers, new towels, a set dining room table… Make your home feel good to walk into. The little things make a BIG difference. The goal is to create a warm emotional reaction for potential buyers.