Thinking about selling your home? Here are some tips to consider when preparing it for sale:
Understanding the Market
It is no secret, Waterloo Region is currently in a sellers’ market. A seller’s market, for those of you unfamiliar with the term, is when there are too many buyers for the number of actual properties available. It’s a supply and demand issue. Unfortunately, making it difficult for the millennial generation of first time home buyers, to break into the market because of the soaring prices these days.
Selling a home in a seller’s market is completely different than selling in your typical buyer’s market. Now is a great time to sell if you need or want to offload your home. Not only will your days on market be a lot fewer, but you will likely receive multiple offers that could drive up the final sale price.
It’s generally a good idea to take advantage of the high demand as that is what is driving the market. The lack of homes available per buyer is far few and in between. We have a lot of buyers migrating here from more expensive markets from further cities as their real estate markets are also exploding. It’s essentially a domino effect. Those home sellers are finding our market extremely affordable meanwhile pushing the prices up as they compete. Not to mention the amount of Millennials entering the market and baby boomers downsizing. This creates a high demand.
Some properties benefit more than others in a seller's market including those that: are more unique; have been less well-cared for; or are more challenging to sell due to a unique floor plan or smaller principal rooms, etc. These type of homes generally stand a better chance in a seller’s market. However, the best and nicest homes will attract the most attention and likely a large number of competing offers- if of course priced correctly.
How to Attract Multiple Offers in a Seller’s Market
I know from talking with many homeowners that it's a misconception that anyone can sell their own home in this market. This is a time when some sellers get confident about selling their own home without the help of a realtor. Most people might think that all you have to do is stick a sign on the front yard and let the market do the rest. While it might be easier to sell in a seller's market, it does takes a lot more than putting up a for sale sign and market place ad.
You need to properly prepare your property for sale, inside and out. This is a deep clean from top to bottom, decluttering and furniture placement for optimum flow – I work with a professional home stager thats guides my clients through the process room to room to help with this. First impressions are everything. Buyers may overlook small defects in a seller’s market because they have no other choices. However, your home will sell faster and for more money with new carpeting vs. your old, worn-out dusty rose carpets. If you’re willing to do some upgrades and or updates, I always recommend to do the upgrade to my clients because you will get your money back. If you’re that seller that just wants to sell it as it is, go for it – but please keep in mind you have one opportunity to get the most money possible when you sell your home in a seller's market, why wouldn't you hire an agent who can help you maximize your investment. A well connected agent, like myself, has a full web of contacts, to make it all happen.
Pricing your home – in a seller's market, it is all about being the best home at the best value. Buyers are extremely educated and have researched the hell out of realtor.ca and know a good deal when they see one. If you set your list price a hair under its market value you will be sure to get a lot of attention. You will likely get a flood of home showings and the hype is real. We call this hype marketing. Limiting showing hours, setting an offer date but not for too long – this could drive some buyers away or you could potentially lose them to another home that came up in the meantime. A multiple offer scenario is the best case for you as the seller because now they have a few to consider (top price, ideal closing date, limited conditions, etc). But sellers beware, the buyers are putting time limits on their offers so it is not like you have a lot of time to think about the offers and go back and forth a hundred times. Buyers are emotional. And they are smart. They want an answer quickly so they can move on and not miss the next home that comes up for sale. This is where you need an experienced realtor to help you negotiate the best price and terms and the strategy behind dealing with multiple offers.
Reviewing Multiple Offers
After all the offers have been received, your realtor should be making notes on each offer so the seller knows not only the offer price but other terms and conditions such as:
Amount of deposit – the good faith the buyer is putting down to hold their place till the closing date.
- Whether it’s a condition-less offer (firm offer) or conditional offer and what those conditions are and their timelines
- Financing terms
- Closing date
- The offer expiry time
- What’s included in the offer (appliances, furniture, pool accessories, etc.) and what’s excluded
- Any unusual requests or allowances.
Sometimes it’s been known that some buyers will try to play on the sellers' emotions by sending in a heartfelt letter with their offer as a competitive edge. They will try to introduce themselves or somehow try to relate to the seller in hopes that this might be a deciding factor when their offer is similar to another. While this is all great, it is important to stay focused and eliminate the emotion – and again this is why you hire a realtor, to keep you on track and not distracted by these so-called love letters. At the end of the day, you want the most money with the best terms and conditions that fit you!
After the seller has reviewed and digested all the offers that came in, the seller can:
- Accept the one the seller likes the best
- Counter the offer the seller likes best
- Ask all buyers to resubmit highest and best offers
- Reject all, adjust the list price and look for other offers
In most cases, the seller can work out an acceptable offer. There are a lot of factors that can drive a seller to accept one offer over the other. It’s not always the highest offer that wins. Sometimes a seller may choose a firm offer over another offer that has a financing condition. For the seller, knowing that the buyer is confident with their financing and the fact that the seller can move forward with their sale today is more valuable. Also keeping in mind that most homes are financed and seller believing the price is sufficient to meet the buyer’s lenders appraisal value. If the home doesn’t appraise at the price offered, it generally does matter how much more the buyer offered. Financing won’t cover it, and not every buyer is willing or can bridge a shortfall in an appraisal.
Before you can really get the process started, you need to accurately evaluate what your home is worth. That’s where a trusted and respected real estate agent comes in. I have helped people living in Waterloo Region since 2006 to get the best possible prices for their home. Contact me today and find out just how much return on investment you can get out of your home.
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