Okay, so you have been considering selling your home. Your family has out grown your home and you need more space. Maybe you do not want to cut grass anymore, or you just want to downsize into a smaller space. No matter what the reason, do you know whats involved? Use the following guide to help you decide:
1. Decide When to Sell
Is it a buyer’s or a seller’s market? When there are lots of people looking for homes but not many for sale, this is called a “seller’s market.” When there are more homes for sale and not many people buying them, this is called a “buyer’s market.” A REALTOR® is the best person to consult about the timing and condition of the market. In a seller’s market, top price and a fast sale can go hand-in-hand. In a buyer’s market, more sellers are competing for your potential buyer. If you have to sell right now, you may wish to lower your asking price a bit to speed up the sale. REALTORS® are masters at figuring the price-to-listing ratio and know how to attract offers without going unnecessarily low.
Generally the real estate market picks up in the early spring. During the summer, the market usually slows. The end of July and August are often the slowest months for real estate sales. The strong spring market often places upward pressure on interest rates, many prospective home buyers and REALTORS® take vacations during mid-summer. After the summer slowdown, sales activity tends to pick up for a second, although less vigorous season, which usually lasts into November. The market then slows again as buyers, sellers and REALTORS® turn their attention to the holidays. The supply of homes on the market usually diminishes because sellers often wonder whether or not they should take their homes off the market for the holidays. Consider this; there are still buyers in the market place! Taking your home off the market means those buyers have fewer homes to choose from. Those homes on the market at that time have considerably less competition. Generally speaking, you’ll have the best results if your house is available to show to prospective buyers continuously until it sells. In this case, you don’t really have to worry about playing the market. If you sell your existing home for a low price, you’re probably also buying at a low price.
If you are upgrading to a larger home, this actually works to your advantage. Imagine when your bigger home is on the upswing. If you’re downsizing from a bigger home to a smaller home or a condo, you need to pay a bit more attention to the market. Many people are able to time their sale and purchase so they happen on the same “closing date.” Buyers can make their offer “conditional” on the sale of their existing home, to make sure they’re not left paying for the upkeep of two homes. When selling, you can try to extend the “closing period” to give yourself more time to find your next home. REALTORS® are very skilled at this sort of negotiation, and can make your transitional life a lot easier. Talk to your existing mortgage lender. You may be able to arrange “Bridge Financing.” This is when your lender (the bank) is confident your existing home will sell quickly, and they agree to lend you the down payment for your new dream home.
2. Find a REALTOR® Who is Right For You
Choose a REALTOR® that you believe will get the job done, not the one that quotes you the highest selling price. Things to consider when choosing a REALTOR® are:
- Did you work with a REALTOR® before?
- Think locally
Sticking with a REALTOR® just makes sense. If they did a good job helping you buy your home, they’re probably the best candidate for helping you sell it. They already know the home inside and out, and they know you, so you’ll save time two ways. A REALTOR® that works and lives locally knows the market area of your home the best. They know all the positive conditions of your neighborhood. At RE/MAX LifeStyles Realty our weekly office tours showcase your home to all of our REALTORS®, allowing them to see first hand your home, so that they can expose it to buyers quickly. We work together as a team to get your home sold! A REALTOR® that works for a well established brokerage firm, such as RE/MAX LifeStyles Realty is guaranteed to achieve the results that your hoping for. Our market share speaks for itself, we sell 40% of the homes in the Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows area. This does not happen by accident, it happens with the committment of the top negotiators in the industry and a strong marketing campaign designed to help you sell your home. You can see that commitment whenever you watch TV or listen to the news, RE/MAX advertises more then any other franchise. At RE/MAX we want to get your home sold!
3. Sign a Listing Agreement
The “Listing Agreement” authorizes your REALTOR® and their brokerage to market and sell your home. This agreement serves three purposes:
- It defines your relationship. Every detail of your work together, including the limits of your REALTOR’S® authority will be clearly defined.
- It provides detailed information about the home. This information can then be placed on the board’s Multiple Listing Service®, to help potential buyers find you.
- It forms the basis for drafting offers on your home. Any formal offer on your home starts with the Listing Agreement.
Highlights of the Listing Agreement are:
- “Exclusive Listing” means that only your brokerage can find a buyer for your home. REALTORS® generally recommend a “Multiple Listing”, which allows them to put your home on the Multiple Listing Service®.
- “Multiple Listing Service®” means that you’re REALTOR® will place your home on the MLS® service, which is paid for and operated by REALTORS®, so it can be used to spread the word to other REALTORS® to help you find a buyer. A “Multiple Listing” gives your home maximum exposure and your commission stays the same. It really is the better way to sell.
- Selling price
- Real estate commission
- A physical description of your property
- Legal information of your property
- Financial information, like the minimum deposit you require with any offers. If you have a mortgage that can be assumed (taken over by a buyer) that information should be listed because it could make your home more desirable, especially if you’re locked into a lower interest rate than what is presently available.
- Completion date.
- How the home will be shown
- What exactly is included in the price
- Completion of the Property Disclosure Statement, to accompany the listing agreement
At RE/MAX LifeStyles Realty, we broker load your listing. Your property will appear on the MLS® usually the same day that you complete your listing agreement. This puts your home on the “hot list” quickly, and allows a head start over homes where this service is not offered. We also have a virtual office. What does this mean? With a participating REALTOR®, you are able to access all documents related to your property online, at anytime.
4. Determine Your Home’s Asking Price
How much is my home worth? A REALTOR® will prepare a free comparative market analysis on your home. A “CMA” is based on recent sales and listings on the market that will compete with your property that are similar in size, style and location. A REALTOR® will adjust their calculations according to differences from your home and others on the market. Your REALTOR® is experienced in the market conditions of your area and neighborhood. They will help guide you to choose a competitive price for your home.
- You don’t want to set your price too low or too high.
- Setting too low a price means you could miss out on thousands of dollars that some buyer would have happily paid.
- Setting too high a price can scare away willing buyers and leave your home on the market for too long. When you lower the price, people may assume you are under pressure to sell, and lower their offers even further.
- Your goal is fair market value. “Market Value” is a term that simply means the maximum amount of money that interested buyers are willing to pay for your property. Remember, buyer’s comparison shop, especially for something as expensive as a home.
For more information about pricing your home: Are you priced right?
5. Add a Lawyer or Notary to Your Team
You probably have worked with a lawyer or notary in the past. A lawyer/notary will handle all of the documents for the sale of your home, including the discharge of any mortgages that you may have on your property.
6. Prepare your home for sale
What should I do to get my house ready? The way you live in a home and the way you sell a house are two different things. First and foremost, “declutter” counter tops, walls and rooms. Too many “things” make it difficult for the buyer to see their possessions in your rooms or on your walls, however don’t strip everything completely or it will appear stark and inhospitable. Clean and make attractive all rooms, furnishings, floors, walls and ceilings. It’s especially important that the bathroom and kitchen are spotless. Organize closets. Make sure the basic appliances and fixtures work and get rid of leaky faucets and frayed cords. Make sure the house smells good, hide that kitty litter!
Don’t forget the outside “curb appeal.” People driving by a property will judge it from outside appearances and make a decision then as to whether or not they want to see the inside. Sweep the sidewalk, mow the lawn, prune the bushes, weed the garden and clean debris from the yard. Clean the windows (both inside and out) and make sure the paint is not chipped or flaking. Also make sure that the doorbell works.
Should I make repairs?
- Minor repairs, such as painting before putting the house on the market may lead to a better sales price. Buyers often include a subject “inspection clause” in the purchase contract which allows then to back out if numerous defects are found. Once the problems are noted, buyers may attempt to negotiate repairs or lower the price with the seller. Any known problems that are not repaired must be disclosed on the property disclosure statement. You do not have to repair the problem, only reveal it and the house should be appropriately priced for that defect.
- Major repairs, such as replacing single pane windows with double pane may not be cost effective. Consider the potential return on the outlay you are planning, if the repair will not significantly increase the sale price of your home then it is not worth pursuing.
Property Disclosure Statement: As the seller your are required to disclose any major problems with your property. These items may include: strata property fees; whether or not work done on the house meets local building codes and permits requirements; plumbing problems; roof problems. Remember that disclosing them at the time of the listing will mitigate a potential lawsuit in the future.
7. Let your REALTOR® Market Your Home
Selling your home is a joint effort between you and your REALTOR®. Each of you have a responsibility to the other to work together to achieve your ultimate goal – the sell of your home! Here’s what you may expect:
When selling your home you can expect your RE/MAX LifeStyles Realty REALTOR® to use some or all of the following marketing tools:
- The “For Sale” Sign
- Print media
- The MLS®
- Personal Websites
- Brokerage Website
- RE/MAX Websites
- Sphere of influence
- Multimedia techniques
- Open houses
- Office tours
- MLS® tours
- Newspaper advertising
What can you do to help?
- Keep your home clean and uncluttered
- Avoid strong odours
- Don’t be there at showings
- Be flexible about times and lengths of showings
What do I do if my house isn’t getting activity?
Even in a slow market, price and condition are the two most important factors in selling a home.
- If a home is not getting the activity it needs in order to sell it is probably because it is overpriced for the market. The first step is to lower the price. Then go through the house and see if there are cosmetic defects that you missed that can be repaired.
- The second step is to make sure that the home is getting the exposure it deserves through open houses, broker open houses, advertising, good signage and a listing on the Multiple Listing Service® and internet.
- A third option is to remove the home from the market and wait for overall housing conditions to improve and catch up to the price your asking.
- Finally, frustrated sellers who have no equity and are forced to sell because of a long term illness, divorce or financial considerations should discuss a short sale with their mortgage lender and their REALTOR®. A short sale is when the seller finds a buyer for a price that is below the mortgage amount and negotiates the difference with the lender.
8. Prepare your finances
A REALTOR® will prepare a net sheet for you, using the information that you provided at the time of the listing. They will calculate the approximate amount of proceeds that you will receive, from the sell of your home at closing. This is an estimate only, and the actual will be calculated at your lawyer’s office at the time of close. Things to consider about your proceeds:
- Is there a penalty?
- Do you owe property taxes?
- Paying your REALTOR®?
Is it possible to sell for less than my mortgage?
A “short sale” is for home sellers who are upside down on their mortgage. The home’s value is less than the amount of the mortgage. A hardship must exist, then sometimes home owners can negotiate with lenders and split the difference between the sale price and loan amount, which still must be paid. A short sale is often complicated.
9. Receive an offer
You listed your house at the optimum price, it’s been clean and shiny for weeks, now you have an offer. This is the hardest part of selling your home. You are now faced with one of the biggest decisions in your life. This is where your REALTORS® negotiating skills are at there best.
This is what you can expect:
- You will be presented with an offer by your REALTOR® from a perspective buyer
- When the offer is presented you will have the opportunity to:
- Accept the offer
- Reject the offer
- Counter the offer
- Upon acceptance of the offer your home is SOLD!
- Your REALTOR® will then ensure that the appropriate documentation is provided to your lawyer for the completion of your sell.
What are your options with an offer?
- Accepted offer: You agree to the sell price, closing dates and conditions of the offer.
- Reject the offer: The offer was to far away from you asking price, or the conditions were unacceptable to you.
- Counter offer: You are close to an agreement, but maybe the price is still not quite what you wanted, or the closing dates are not convenient, or the conditions of the offer are to stringent. A counter offer may go back and forth several times, before it is accepted or it completely lapses.
At RE/MAX LifeStyles Realty we are experienced team of negotiators will act on your behalf to help you to achieve the best possible price for your home.
10. Close the deal
You now have an accepted offer, and a legally binding agreement. Your home however is not quite sold yet, it still must go through the process know as “closing” to complete the transaction. This part though is handled by the professionals. So what happens, and what do you have to do?
To close your property:
- Inform your REALTOR® who your lawyer is (that’s it!)
- Your REALTOR® and their brokerage will handle all the documentation between you, your lawyer and the buyer’s lawyer. This team will strive to make the process as painless as possible to ensure, the close of your property, payout of any obligations and the final registration of transfer of title.
- Satisfy any conditions or subjects to the sale that require action on your part
- Notify your utility companies
- Inform your insurance company
- Prepare an address change
- Hire a mover, or rent a truck
Congratulations! You have sold your home, (with a little help from us)! You have completed one of the most stressful tasks that you may experience in your lifetime. At RE/MAX LifeStyles Realty are team of experienced negotiators will help you get through this exciting, challenging time. We will walk you through each step of the process, and explain to you fully any questions or concerns you may have.
For more information click here or call us at 604.466.2838