It’s More Than Putting A Sign On Your Lawn
Just as much goes into selling a home as it does into buying one.
It’s a bit of a science actually. You want to get the best price, but you can’t be out of line with market conditions. What to do? Start by being as informed as you can and by choosing an experienced agent who knows your neighbourhood inside out.
Since 1913, Royal LePage has been helping Canadians sell their homes and guiding them through every step of the process. From showing you how to increase the appeal of your home and setting a price that will maximize your profitability to discussing offers and closing the sale. Below, you’ll find it all outlined in eight simple steps.
Deciding to Sell
Everyone has their own reason for selling their home. One thing, however, is universally true: the desire to get as much as you can for your home. There are a lot of ways you can add value that you might want to consider, such as:
- Renovating – this can be something as simple as freshening up the walls with a coat of paint or updating your door knobs and lighting with more contemporary styles all the way to major renovations like installing a new kitchen, bathroom or hardwood floors. Before you do anything though, it’s probably wise to know how much value a renovation or remodel will actually add to your sale price and how much other comparable homes in your neighbourhood are selling for. A Royal LePage agent is a great source of information. They can give you an assessment on your home so you don’t embark on expensive renovations before knowing
- Enhancing curb appeal – first impressions mean a lot. Which is why you want your home looking its very best when a potential buyer is standing at the bottom of your driveway or simply passing through the neighbourhood. So, make sure the lawn is cut and raked. If there are some dead patches of grass, overseed or sod. Trim bushes and trees, even add a few brightly coloured flowers. Touch up any peeling paint around exterior windows and doors, stain the fence or deck, clean up your garage or shed and ensure that your home looks just as enticing at night by making sure it’s well lit
- Getting a home inspection – the last thing you want is for the deal to fall through due to an unpleasant surprise. It’s also highly likely that the buyer will ask for a home inspection anyway. So you may want to consider taking the initiative yourself. That way, if there are any major repairs that need doing now, it won’t jeopardize the sale of your home or force you to lower the price later on
So, now you’re all ready to put that For Sale sign on your front lawn. What’s next? Find out in Step 2…
Hiring an Agent
Now that you’re ready to sell, the next thing you should do is list your home with a real estate agent. Because the reality is, selling a home involves a great deal of research, paper work, effort and most importantly, trust. Ideally, you should seek out an agent that has a good knowledge of your neighbourhood and local market trends. A good agent will provide a wealth of knowledge and breadth of services that will help you accomplish your goals. At Royal LePage, we’re committed to helping you and our agents have a fiduciary duty to act in your best interests, to be completely transparent and accountable.
Listing Your Home
Your home is about to make its big debut on the market. And there’s more to it than sticking a sign on your lawn and doing an MLS listing. Establishing a home’s true worth can be tricky. A Royal LePage agent will be there to make sure your home is poised for success. Here’s how they can help:
- Set a price – this isn’t as easy as you might think. Price your property too high and buyers won’t be motivated. Price it too low and you stand to lose thousands. A Royal LePage agent can help by doing a complete property profile of your house, including current condition, location, surroundings, special features like a view from the property or high ceilings; a comparative market analysis that will show you what houses in your area have sold for in recent months, and a total market overview. Your agent will take into consideration as many factors as possible to accurately assess the fair market value of your property so it sells fast while maximizing your profit
- Market your home – no matter how well your home is priced you will need a sound plan to attract buyers. That’s where your Royal LePage agent will offer invaluable experience. Aside from newspaper advertising and listing your home on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), they will work with you to create a “features sheet” or video to make your home stand out from the pack. They will also market it through blogs, social media channels, various websites and their own personal peer network. Royal LePage agents also have a national network of 14,000 on which to draw upon for contacts and referrals
So now you’re fully committed. It’s time to make your home shine. But how to show it in the best light? Keep reading…
Showing Your Home
The way your home looks to prospective buyers can make a striking impression. The goal is to get buyers to feel like they can already see themselves living in your home. There are a few tricks of the trade that can help you do this:
- Home staging – this literally means, getting your “set ready” for buyers. In other words, cleaning your home from top to bottom including carpets and drapes, kitchen and bathroom tiles, walls, ceilings and trim. Next, dispose and declutter which entail getting rid of those items in your home that make rooms feel smaller than they actually are. Then, organize. Tidy up cabinets, bookcases, closets and toys and put away personal items such as photographs, souvenirs and other memorabilia. If your home has empty rooms, stage it with the right furniture. You may be able to borrow some nice furniture from family or friends. There are even places to rent furniture for staging. Keep it simple and classic, nothing too trendy that could potentially turn off a buyer
- Prepping for an Open House – a successful open house is key for generating quick interest in your home. Some last minute tips? Make your rooms bright and airy by opening blinds and windows and turning on lights in darker rooms. Help the buyers imagine themselves in your home by setting the dining table or putting out some fresh flowers. Light a scented candle. Leave some refreshments out. And for your own security, make sure you store all your valuables. When the open house is over, ask for feedback so you can make a few tweaks before the next one
So, the crowds are pouring in and loving your home. It won’t be long until you get an offer…
Receiving an Offer
Not all offers are created equal. Fortunately, your real estate agent is there to help you review an Offer to Purchase and discuss all the details. Here are a few things you should do:
- Get to know the terms – the main factors on most offers will include the price the buyer wants to pay, details about the offer and financing as well as any conditions, inclusions or exclusions the buyer wants to make contingent on the closing. These offers can be “firm” which means that they’re willing to buy the home exactly as it is. Or, the offer could be “conditional” on things like a home inspection, approval of financing or the sale of their existing home
- Review every detail – it’s not just about price. The buyers may have asked for other things to be included like appliances, draperies or chandeliers. They may have even requested some minor renovations like reshingling your roof or repairing your driveway. Some buyers may have asked for longer or shorter closing periods or made it contingent upon something else like selling their current home. All these factors influence what the offer truly looks like. An experienced Royal LePage agent will help you decide whether to accept, reject or make a counter offer
If you accept, congratulations. If not, then it’s time to move onto the next step…
Negotiating and Counter Offers
Perhaps the price was lower than you were expecting. Maybe the buyers have asked for some extra inclusions. In some cases, you may have multiple offers from different buyers to entertain. This is one stage where you’ll be glad to have a Royal LePage agent by your side to help. Here are some things to consider now:
- Counter offers – take a good look at what the buyer is asking for, then ask yourself, “Is it worth losing a sale for a minor inclusion like a rug or drapery?” Maybe not. So, the best strategy is to have one. Know ahead of time what you’re willing to compromise on and, as far as price goes, how much. Finally, if you feel you’re not going to be able to come to terms, don’t be afraid to reject the offer
- Multiple offers – you may be in the situation where you receive offers from several buyers. Now, you have the opportunity to compare and decide which offer, based on price and conditions best suits you. Things that could make one offer more attractive than the other are pre-approved financing, the buyer has already sold their existing home or they’ve agreed to all conditions of sale without exception. One thing to keep in mind though is that patience and respect are paramount. Your Royal LePage agent will certainly provide sound advice in this scenario to arrive at the best outcome for you and the fairest to all parties
Now, even though you have a signed the Offer to Purchase, it’s not quite done yet…
Closing the Sale
For sellers, closing day is payday. However, in order for your home to be officially sold, there are a few remaining things that you need to do:
- Pay closing costs – these are the fees you need pay by or on the closing day. They include the real estate agent’s commission, legal fees and disbursements, utility and property tax adjustments, mortgage prepayment or discharge fees and more
- Hire a lawyer – the costs above come with a mountain of paperwork. And when there’s a lot of money on the line, you want to make sure you hire a professional to take care of those complex legal documents. Your Royal LePage agent will be a great source for recommending a lawyer who specializes in real estate
Now, it’s time for the final step…
The Big Move
The day has arrived. And although there’s bound to be a bit of sadness about leaving your old home behind, there will be just as much excitement moving into your new one. Here are some tips for a smooth move:
- Make a moving checklist that details a plan for things that need to be done weeks before you move all the way up to moving day itself
- Plan for packing by clearly labeling boxes with the rooms in which they belong. You might even want to provide a small floorplan for the movers so they know exactly where to take them
- Make sure you get competitive quotes from reliable moving companies. Or, to save money, find out how much it would cost to hire a moving van yourself (And bribe your friends to help you)
- Cancel your cable and utilities and transfer any rented appliances (like water heater or furnace) to the new home owners. While you’re at it, make sure to have the gas, electricity, cable and phone hooked up at your new home
- Inform your key contacts – work, Canada Post, doctors, friends, pharmacy, etc… – of your change of address
- If you have children, make sure you talk to them and explain why you’re moving and reassure them that the friends they’ve made can continue to be their friends. Ask for their opinion too on things like what colour to paint their rooms. Try and make it exciting for them
- On moving day, plan an easy meal like picking up some take-out. Moving is stressful enough without having to cook
Congratulations. You’re all moved in. Enjoy your new home!
Whether you’re moving across town, across Canada, or across the world, Atlas Van Lines can get the job done. Royal LePage customers can take advantage of Atlas Van Lines’ exclusive Right Move program.