Home Seller’s Guide
So you have been throwing around the idea of selling your home. I mean you see what’s going on around you, you hear what’s happening in the news. But more importantly your friends and neighbours are putting their homes up for sale, and as quick as they go up it seems they are being sold! Not only are they selling quickly, they are getting top dollar for them!
Welcome to a Seller’s market! Right now our market has been on a steady incline over the past few years, and as everyone keeps saying it’s going to burst, it’s going to burst…the question is; is it actually going to? I mean how long have we be hearing about the bubble that Toronto has been growing for the past 15 years? Let’s not even talk about Vancouver…I’ve got nothing for that one! But what about all the areas outside of Toronto, what about those niche markets like Georgian Bay?
Right here in our area, as Toronto keeps loosening its belt to accommodate the resale swell, more and more families are looking elsewhere to purchase. This is where we come in. Right here, in the centre of Ontario’s playground things are moving down a parallel path. The market has seen some incredible increases in home values, and overall average home sale increases. Just a quick look at the Southern Georgian Bay Association of Realtor’s market snapshot for June 2016, shows a 19% increase from a year earlier… a 19% increase!1 So yes everyone’s home around you and on your street that has been going up for sale and then sold are cashing in! You have heard the old saying, those that wait may, in fact, miss the boat… well, the real estate boat has the engines warmed up and is selling tickets FAST!
But let’s get to the real reason you are here. The Home Seller’s Guide is something that I think a lot of agents don’t provide enough support to their clients for. Everyone is always focused on the buyers and the steps that have to be done in order to buy a home. Like our Home Buyers Guide, this is a ‘Big Picture’ Home Seller’s Guide to point out some of the highlights needed when getting ready to sell your home! I want to throw out a disclaimer that this isn’t the only seller’s guide out there… but it’s a really good one! But again it’s a big picture look and its to help you get ready to sell, it won’t actually sell your home for you.
The Home Seller’s Guide & Checklist
The Home Seller’s guide, The Big Picture view
So you are thinking about selling your home. There are a few big decisions that need to be considered in order for you to make the absolute best decision. How quickly do you want to sell your home? Do you need to buy another home? If so, will it be in the same school district? Do you need to be into your new home before school starts? There are so many considerations!!
It’s a seller’s market!
The first thing you need to understand is; what does the real estate market look like around me? Is it a buyer’s market or a seller’s market? Simply put a seller’s market means that there are more people looking to purchase homes than there are homes for sale. Lack of ‘inventory’ creates demand, demand creates scarcity, scarcity drives up prices. And here’s some great news!! That’s exactly where we are sitting today! It’s great news… maybe not a surprise… it that doesn’t take away from the greatness!
Once you have started thinking about selling your house, things will start to jump up and try to distract you…start to make you feel anxious…avoid them! I’m talking about that loose brick on the entrance pathway that you have learned to step around, the cobwebs on the chandelier that are collecting dust… etc. We will get to these things shortly but first, you need to focus on the dates. The dates are a big part of this. Ask yourself these questions and it will help shape the plan and activity that will drive the sale of your current home!
When do you want to sell by?
Really, this question is the all encompassing question. It will have a bearing on everything else that will come up and have to be completed to have a smooth home sale happen! Unless there is a specific reason that you need to sell your home immediately, then don’t let the seasons impact your decision. Just because fall and winter are coming (which they always do here in Canada) doesn’t mean that people aren’t still looking and buying homes. We are in Ontario’s summer and winter playground, remember? There is always someone looking in this area. Now don’t get me wrong, there are different factors that impact each individual sale and purchase and this is something that I would love to sit down and discuss with you. Something like; if you are upgrading your home to accommodate your growing family. Selling your 1-bedroom condo, and into a 3-bedroom bungalow will have its own challenges not to mention that the step up in price may be a bit overwhelming. The other kicker (and that’s where I come in) is that the markets for these two distinctly different categories are moving in the same direction, but moving differently none the less. This is even more evident if you are upgrading your home into a larger single family dwelling. Don’t worry, we will go over this during this process.
So you have your optimum timing nailed down. In this area as reported by the Southern Georgian Bay Association of Realtors, they say that homes are on the market for an average of 44 days1. Now let’s face it maybe 44 days isn’t something you have seen anywhere lately. But there are homes out there that are unique in their own way, perhaps overpriced, maybe something is hidden in the background…they all have their quirks. There are enough of these homes on the market that skew the data a bit.
Everyone in your position assumes that the timing of buying and selling their homes will go hand in hand with each other and will work out. What if you list your home and it is purchased before you have even started looking for your new home? Don’t worry about that! While you are getting your home ready I will have already kicked our search endeavours into high gear! Let me give you the ins and outs and some of the ways we will ensure that this is a smooth transition and as easy as possible.
Getting your finances in order.
The second biggest part of this decision is getting your finances in order. Have you gone in and spoken with your lender yet? Sometimes selling your home can create some financial opportunities that maybe you were hoping for but haven’t really crunched the numbers. Some of the things you will want to ask about are, is your mortgage portable? Is your mortgage open or closed, and is there a penalty for paying it off early? Can you bridge your current mortgage? Bridging your current mortgage to a new one, while you are either still trying to sell your home, or while your home is sold conditional but the closing date is further out than you had hoped. Seeking information from your lender is one of the most important decisions as it can save you countless hours and heartache searching for you new home! Get the financial facts and rest assured!
Evaluating your home.
Now the fun stuff! So you have committed to the sale of your current home and your bank is ready for you to make your move! So now the focus turns to your home and where to begin? I know what you are doing… right now every episode of ‘The Property Brothers’ and “Love it or List it!’ is running through your head. Before you pop…take two deep breaths and relax. In most instances, de-cluttering and a good cleaning is more than adequate and is all you need to do. My recommendation is to have a family member come over and help you out. Both of you arm yourselves with a notepad and pen and start at the curb. Pretend to be a buyer… Start your home evaluation about this new home that you are about to view and consider buying. How does it look from the road? What is your first impression? Is the grass cut? Do the flower beds look maintained? Write your thoughts down and move into the home. At this point walk through and make some notes. You don’t need to get specific and call out the pj’s that need to be put away, but generally make a few notes about the different areas of the homes, and maybe each overall room condition. Once you and your partner have finished your evaluation, sit down and compare notes. Pick out the ones that really stand out to the both of you, and those are the things you should focus on. The first step should be to de-clutter, reduce, and remove anything that doesn’t need to be there. Second, get it cleaned. I would recommend a good complete home cleaning by a third party. Maybe Molly Maid has an extended spring clean up special, jump all over it! Get the windows cleaned, the front of the counters, walls washed, and rugs and flooring steam cleaned! Even if it doesn’t sell, you will appreciate the cleanliness and it will boost your home ownership confidence. Once it’s cleaned and sparkly, now is the time to add some inexpensive BLING! Some new throw pillows, new curtains (for the windows and showers), maybe even some bedding. You don’t need to spend $30k on a kitchen makeover, especially in this market. The chips of paint that you have been looking at for the past 2 years… not a big issue! Unless your home is dated from the 60’s chances are there is a very minimal investment from you to get it into sale condition.
The next step…
At this point you have your home in showing condition, you have your financing in order, you know the kind of home you are looking for, and you should feel very confident in your home. You have done it, and you should be proud of it and how it will be perceived by potential buyers! I have included a home seller’s checklist for you to use and help with this endeavor. The next step is that we would kick my marketing plan into high gear and start viewing the potential list of homes that meet your criteria and wish list! Sit back relax… maybe go to the beach, or take a trip to the ski hill and let me do the work! Call or email me and let me sit down with you and give you a detailed comparative analysis. I have a list of buyers looking for homes and am more than willing to give you the facts and help you make the best decision. This is your largest investment, don’t settle on your Aunts husbands’ brothers, daughter to sell your home just because she is a realtor! You owe it to yourself to get a second and third opinion!
1 SGBAR president’s letter June 2016 SGBAR market analysis