Why use an agent?
Selling a home takes more than just putting a "for sale" sign out front. You need an agent with experience and training to help you determine the right price, come up with an effective marketing strategy, and anticipate and solve any problems that come up during the selling process. A real estate professional can help you with every part of selling your home, and offer you a smoother, hassle-free experience.
When you’re selling your home, there are a number of advantages to working with an agent:
Pricing your property right
If you price your property too low, it may sell quickly, but you’ll lose out on money. If you price it too high, it may not sell at all. Your agent can help you figure out the best asking price for your home.
The benefits of the right price
A well-priced property may generate competing offers, which will drive up the final price. Other real estate professionals will be enthusiastic about presenting your property to their buyers. Your home will sell faster because it is exposed to more qualified buyers.
Listen to the market
As part of your pricing strategy, your agent will put together a comparative market analysis, which is a good indicator of what today’s buyers are willing to pay. It compares the market activity of homes similar to yours in your neighbourhood:
The elements of an offer
Here’s a quick reference to everything you need to know about accepting on offer on your home.
Depends on the market and the buyers, but generally, the price offered is different from the asking price.
Shows the buyer’s good faith and will be applied against the purchase price of the home when the sale closes.
3. TermsIncludes the total price the buyer is offering as well as the financing details. The buyer may be arranging his/her own financing or may ask to assume your existing mortgage if you have an attractive rate.
These might include "subject to home inspection," "subject to the buyer obtaining financing," or "subject to the sale of the purchaser’s property."
5. Inclusions and exclusions
These may include appliances and certain fixtures or decorative items, such as window coverings or light fixtures.
6. Closing or possession date
Generally, the day the title of the property is transferred to the buyer and funds are received by the seller, unless otherwise specified (except in Manitoba and Quebec).
Renovating for resale
Renovations don’t have to be expensive or extensive to offer you a good rate of return. In fact, a quick coat of paint can go a long way to boosting your selling price. Just make sure your new décor is tasteful, with shades of white and tame versions of popular colours.
The kitchen and bathroom are your best bets for renovation with the highest payback. Take a look at these average rates of return for home upgrades:
Preparing your home for an inspection
If you’re selling your home, be prepared for a visit from a home inspector, who will be checking out the property on behalf of possible purchasers. Take a look through your home using these steps, and repair any problems to ensure that your inspection is a success.
1. Make sure the structure is sound. Check to see if any renovations have damaged the structure. Look for termite damage. Ensure that "settling" hasn’t caused damage to the foundation or support beams and joists.
2. Check if electrical and wiring systems are safe. Loose wires or incorrectly installed or wired receptacles, switches or electrical box problems are hazardous and should be fixed. All homes should have a minimum of 100 amp service.
3. Look for leaks. Water can leak into unexpected places, causing extensive damage over time. Examine the underside of sinks and dishwashers, along ceilings, on floors or along basement walls. Plumbing fixtures, water-using appliances, drain pipes, water supply inlets and outlets, basements and roofs can all be causes and sources of water damage.
4. Resolve safety issues. Make sure windows open easily and lock securely, and entrances/exits can be securely locked. Correct hazards such as hidden curbs, loose railings and stairs, uncapped wells, etc.
5. Check plumbing. Faucets should run easily and shut off completely, bathtubs should be properly caulked and grouted, toilets should be bolted down securely, drains should be clog free, and the water heater should be in good working order.
6. Make sure your heating and cooling systems work. Make sure they are up to date, clean, in good working condition and have clean filters. Check refrigerant in air conditioning units.
7. Have a friend take a look. A general, unbiased overview of your home by a neighbour or friend may reveal issues you might have overlooked.
Getting your home ready to show
If you’re planning an open house, or are expecting buyers to be looking at your home, make sure their first impression is a good one. Here are few hints for making your house look great to potential buyers:
Signing a Listing Agreement
The first formal step in selling your property is entering into a Listing Agreement with your Royal LePage agent. The Listing Agreement is a contract in which Royal LePage commits to actively market your home for a specified period of time. It also commits you to a pre-established marketing fee that is to be paid upon the successful closing of the sale.
As part of the Agreement, your agent may require the following documents:
Plan of Survey or Location Certificate. A survey of your property which outlines the lot size and location of buildings as well as details of encroachments from neighbouring properties. This may be required in certain areas to complete the sale of your home. Your legal professional may recommend a survey, especially if significant changes have been made to your property.
Property tax receipts. Most Listing Agreements require that current annual property tax assessments be shown.
Mortgage verification. Few homeowners know the exact balance of their mortgage as it is paid down. You will be asked to authorize your mortgage lender to provide the figures required.
Deed or title search. This document is a legal description of your property and the proof that you own it.
Other documentation. In some instances, it may help the sale of your property if you can provide prospective buyers with information on such items as annual heating, electrical, and water expenses, as well as any recent home improvement costs. Some provinces require that you sign a property condition disclosure statement.
Understanding market conditions
The real estate market is always changing, and it helps to understand how market conditions can affect your position as a seller. Your agent can provide you with info on current conditions and explain their impact on you.
The supply of homes on the market exceeds demand.