Selling strategies to make your home sale a success story
Here are a few time-tested strategies sellers can use to mitigate the downside of a slow market.
Step #1: First Impressions Are Key
A first impression is often a lasting one and this applies to how buyers first see your home. You want to really leave an impression—a good impression—that means preparing your home to look its best.
This is the point where many sellers will ask whether or not they should invest in some home renovations in order to increase their sale price. To this general question, there is a standard answer: No.
Quite often, when a seller renovates simply for resale, the dollar invested isn’t a dollar earned. For instance, a major kitchen remodel (which ranges from $30,000 to $150,000 or more) will earn you $0.53 to $0.59 for every dollar spent. Renovate a bathroom to offer a more luxurious experience and you’ll probably earn about $0.53 for every dollar spent.
Despite the appalling returns on these so-called home-reno investments, there are still some smart places to spend money. For the biggest bang for your home reno buck invest in your home’s curb appeal. Redo or clean up your home’s gardens and lawns, power wash pathways (as well as the driveway) and consider painting the exterior of the place, if this job hasn’t been done in over a decade. You can also spend smartly inside the home, such as updating old-fashioned light fixtures, wall plates and drawer knobs to more contemporary selections. Replace carpets (or, at the very least, get them steam cleaned) or pay to refinish rough or stained hardwood floors.
Lastly, nothing will appeal more to a buyer than the idea that your home is fresh, clean and feels “new.”
Step #2: Declutter and depersonalize
Want to add $5,000 to the sale price of your home? Remove clutter. By removing clutter and personal belongings, a buyer can focus on the home’s qualities rather than the homeowner’s lifestyle. So, rather than focusing on family photos, your spoon collection and kids’ artwork on the fridge, buyers can focus on how spacious the family room is or how much light the kitchen gets in the morning hours.
Step #3: Get a killer agent on your side
Insert selfless plug (yes, we are awesome!). Before picking us to represent you, we recommend that no matter how you interview at least three, if not more, before making a selection.
Once you have selected a handful of agents, we recommend you do the following:
Ask each agent specifically what they will do to market your home, who will be working with you, and how many clients they work with at any given time.
You want an agent that will work to earn their commission and that means a real estate professional who takes the time to learn the best strategies and stay current with the market while maintaining respectful, honest relationships with their clients.
Avoid agents who promise a fast sale or guarantee an above market price for your home. No one can guarantee this. It’s just a cheap ploy to get your listing.
Step #4: Analyze current market dynamics and trends
National sales activity averages and median Canadian prices won’t help. You need to go beyond general national statistics and drill down into precisely what is selling in your specific geographic location, and when.
In general, the Toronto real estate market (and the GTA market generally) is more active in the Spring and Fall than in the Summer or Winter. Often, you will get more action during the peak seasons.
However, the decision to sell is highly personal, and depends on your needs. If you are moving in the Winter and need to sell your current home for financial reasons, it may be better to sell in a down season than put off your move. Also, the Toronto real estate market is generally strong, so even during the slower months, I can get great offers for most homes in a reasonable timeframe.
Step #5: Price it right
Perhaps the single most important factor when selling a home in any market is to list it at the right price. Price it too high and your home will sit on the market, becoming a comparison "show-home" that helps sell other properties on the market.
To set the right price, sellers need exact information on properties that recently sold, the similarities and differences in those properties to their home and the market conditions for their community and property type.
For all sellers, you can find sold information on many real estate brokerage sites, including Zolo.ca (virtually nationwide), Bungol.ca (restricted to the Greater Toronto Area), as well as HouseSigma (restricted to the GTA).
If you opt to work with us, we will provide a comparative market analysis (known as a CMA). Many agents will limit the number of properties used in the CMA, in order to not overwhelm their clients. If you’d rather have more information and more comparisons, then we are happy to provide them for you. Good agents are only too happy to help engaged and motivated sellers.
Step #6: Use pictures, video and 3D (vitual) tours to your advantage
Most buyers begin their search online—and survey after survey shows that buyers consider photos as the single most important selling tool.
That means you do not list your home without photos. Period. Full-stop. No exceptions. Some agents, in their rush to secure a listing, will try and pressure you to list a home before pictures are available with the rationale that you can always add the images at a later date. Don’t do this. Your home will be 100% fresh only once - and that is the first time it hits the market. This is when it will first go out to buyers who subscribe to new listing newsletters and buyers interested in homes listed for sale within certain areas. Don’t blow this opportunity by listing a home with no photos.
Step #7: Always, always negotiate
We always recommend responding to all offers, even if the buyer offered an insulting low-ball bid. Remember, most buyer traffic will come in the first several weeks of a listing, so it’s never a good idea to ignore a bid even if it does feel like a bit of an insult.
While a low-ball offer may hurt, it’s still a clear indicator that a buyer is interested in the property. Keep that interest going until you can help them see that your price and terms are reasonable (assuming you priced the property competitively in the first place).
Since a formal counter-offer can legally bind you to negotiate with just one seller, consider talking to us (your agent) about how to keep your options open. We may be able to have informal chats with the buyer’s agent about possible terms and conditions that both parties will agree to; or we could add in a clause to a formal counter-offer that frees you up to negotiate with other possible buyers, as other offers come in.
Either way, we advise all clients to not ignore an offer based on a hope that something better will come in. Instead, be proactive and be smart and negotiate your way to a better sale price.
There will always be stories of sellers who lost tens of thousands on the sale of their home. Perhaps this seller bought at a high point and was forced to sell after the market corrected. Perhaps this seller made a few poor decisions throughout the process of selling. Regardless of the reason, selling a home doesn’t have to equate to a loss. If you choose One Percent Homes to sell your home, we will do the homework, put in the necessary time, and sell your home for a profit, in every market cycle.