How to Buy Yourself
7 Steps to Home Buying Success
So you’re thinking about buying a home?
Fantastic! It may be your first home, or perhaps your fifth, but no matter how many times you’ve been through the process, one thing remains the same: It’s a big job, involving a great deal of effort, time, and of course, money. But you’re not alone — lots of Canadians are doing it! According to Statistics Canada’s National Household Survey, 69% of Canadian households own their home.¹
Every buyer has unique needs but the questions they ask are very similar:
- How do I know how much I can afford?
- Do I need an agent or should I go it alone?
- What’s the best area to buy in?
- How do I negotiate the best possible price?
The best approach to buying a home is to be informed. This guide will help you answer those basic questions, outline what to expect in the key steps ahead, and boost your confidence in finding the right home for you. In the Resources Section at the back of this guide, you’ll find worksheets and checklists to figure out your dream home requirements; common costs for closing, moving, and settling in; who to contact with your new address and how to pack your belongings for a stress-free move.
BUYING A HOME IS A DREAM COME TRUE. LET’S BEGIN!
Step 1: Deciding what you want
Logically, the first step to finding the right home is to determine what you’re actually looking for. There are a lot of homes on the market at any one time, and looking at them all is not the best way to spend your time.
To make your home search more efficient, ask yourself these three focus questions:
1. Where do I want to live?
This is your first decision. What communities or neighbourhoods do you want to consider? Is it important to be near schools, shopping centres, recreation facilities, places of worship, hospitals, or other amenities? Will you require public transportation?
2. What type of home do I want?
What style of home is best for you? It could be a detached, a semi-detached, a bungalow, a split-level, a two-storey, a duplex, a townhouse — the options are endless! You may also want to consider your ideal lot size and the age of the home.
3. What are my must-haves and deal-breakers?
What are the most important features for you in a home? A basement? A garage? A pool or a fireplace? How many bathrooms? Bedrooms? Do you have family members with special needs? What do you absolutely not want in a home?
Step 2: Get pre-approved for a mortgage
When it comes to buying a home, getting pre-approved for a mortgage is a very important step. Not only does it help you understand exactly how much you can afford to spend on a home, but it often allows you to lock in an interest rate for a period of time which could potentially save you thousands of dollars for years to come.
Here are 4 simple steps to a mortgage pre-approval:
1. Talk to a mortgage specialist.
Whether it’s your bank mortgage specialist or an independent mortgage broker — talk to someone with expertise who can help you compare rates and terms as there are hundreds of options to choose from. Note: A 2014 report by the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals suggests that more home buyers are choosing fixed-rate mortgages for their purchases (74%, compared to 20% who had a variable or adjustable rate, and 6% who had a combination mortgage rate)².
2. Complete an application to find out how much you qualify for.
There are many factors that go into determining your eligibility for a mortgage. Two of the primary practices are calculating your GDS (Gross Debt Service) and TDS (Total Debt Service) ratios. These factors determine how much you can comfortably afford to spend based on your down payment, income and other financial obligations.
3. Gather your financial information to finalize pre-approval.
Your bank or mortgage professional will require documentation to support your application such as income and down payment verification to finalize the pre-approval process.
4. Get a copy of your pre-approval.
This is a powerful negotiating tool. It’s extremely frustrating for sellers to lose a sale because of financing. A pre-approved buyer means sellers have one less thing to worry about. Even though many offers are conditional on financing, the seller of your dream home will see you as a more attractive buyer when they know you are pre-approved.
²“Canadian Housing Observer 2014,” Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, last modified April 2, 2015, https://www03.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/catalog/productDetail.cfm?lang=en&cat=122&itm=27&fr=1436556988656.
Step 3: Agent or no agent?
Most buyers today work with a real estate agent rather than go at it alone for many reasons. In most cases, your home is your most valuable asset, and it makes sense to use a professional. A great real estate professional will provide key market insights, sound advice and save you endless hours of time and money – all while helping you reduce the stress of a large purchase so you can truly enjoy the experience of buying your dream home.
Top 5 Reasons Why Most Homebuyers Choose to Work with a Real Estate Professional
1. It’s free.
In almost all cases, commission is paid by the seller so having an agent working for you is essentially free.
2. Avoid overpaying for a home.
If you’re like most buyers, you want to know, with certainty, that you are paying a fair price. Quite often, sellers overprice their homes to “see what happens.” A great real estate professional will educate you on the price of current competitive properties as well as similar homes that have been recently sold to help you make an informed decision on how much to offer for your dream home.
3. Represent and protect your interests as a buyer.
In any transaction, it’s important to understand that the seller’s agent is bound by contract to work in the best interests of his/her sellers. As a buyer, you also need representation (an agent), someone to work exclusively in your best interests. Engaging the services of a real estate professional to assist you in the home buying process means you now have someone to work solely in your best interests to provide you with:
- Confidential advice that addresses your needs first.
- Loyal and diligent “full disclosure” care, FREE from any conflicts of interest.
- Access to all listings including MLS®, bank-owned properties, distress and estate sales, even homes that were previously on the market where the seller might still be interested in selling.
- Expert advice on useful clauses such as home inspections and financing to protect you fully.
- Expert negotiation of the offer to purchase, to achieve the best possible price and terms.
- Expert advice on market value, inclusions, location, as well as help you decide when you should walk away.
- Discovery and disclosure of all information about the property including liens, warranties, disclosures, seller’s purchase price, market and planning activity in the area.
4. NEGOTIATE the best price and terms of your most valuable asset.
Negotiating requires expertise and skill, period. A great real estate professional is a masterful communicator with expert negotiating skills whose job is to help you decide what to offer, what to include, what to give up and most importantly, when to walk away if reasonable terms cannot be reached.
5. Manage the countless details and mountainous paperwork.
Ensuring the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed and that no balls are dropped from start to finish (and after) is a heavy load off any buyer’s plate. From the moment of engagement, your agent will ensure smooth sailing and guide you effortlessly through any obstacles along the way.
Step 4: Start searching
Now the fun begins! Most searches begin online. In fact over 90% of buyers start their home buying process on the internet. The most comprehensive website for property searches is Realtor.ca, a Canada-wide database of all active properties for sale, also referred to as the MLS® or Multiple Listing Service. This website allows you to narrow your search to a specific area, price range, key features and even displays the properties on a map.
The internet can be very helpful for you to get a sense of what’s available but keep in mind, it’s not a complete picture of the market or all potential properties available. A great agent, working on your behalf, will do an in-depth needs analysis to find all the properties suitable for you, set up a time to view the homes and guide you through the selection process.
HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN’T SEE ONLINE
1. Homes in hot markets that haven’t made it online yet.
These are desirable homes in great areas, at great prices that often get sold before a property listing is loaded online. The only way to know about them is through an agent.
2. Expired listings or private sales not found on MLS® .
A savvy real estate professional is on the pulse of all potential homes for sale, listed and unlisted.
3. Insight and an insider’s edge.
An agent not only has access to more data than what is available online, but he/she brings expertise and a wealth of knowledge so you can be confident in knowing you have a complete picture of each property you are considering.
Step 5: Make a smart offer & negotiate
You have found a house you love. Fantastic news! Here’s how the offer process typically works:
Step 1 – Decide on price, terms and conditions.
Your agent will conduct a Comprehensive Market Analysis (CMA), complete with comparable active and expired listings, recent solds, and other historical data to determine the market value of the home. This is extremely helpful when it comes to negotiating a fair price. You also need to decide on a closing date and if there will be any conditions of the offer such as home inspection, appraisal, water tests etc. Your agent will guide you.
Step 2 – Prepare the offer.
Your agent will create a legal document (Agreement of Purchase and Sale) that protects you, follows your instructions, and matches your schedule and needs. Of note, many tech savvy, eco-friendly agents today are using the convenience of paperless transactions. E-signatures are becoming more and more common today for their ease of use and online, secure document storage.
Step 3 – Review the offer.
Your agent explains the details and terms of the offer, and suggests options for specialty clauses so that you know exactly what you are agreeing to.
Step 4 – Present the offer.
Your agent will present and negotiate the offer on your behalf.
What happens next? One of three things:
- The seller accepts your offer. Congratulations!
- The seller rejects your offer. This isn’t common, but it can happen and your agent will work to find out why.
- The seller countersigns. Changing the terms of the offer, and presents the offer to back to you. Your agent will continue to negotiate on your behalf to reach agreeable terms. Your agent will also advise you if it’s clear that an agreement cannot be reached and it’s time to walk away.
Step 6: Condition removal & inspection
Okay, you have agreed on the price and terms and now have a firm or a conditional offer in place. If you have conditions, now is the time to start the process of satisfying them in order to meet the deadline and firm up your purchase.
One of the most common conditions of an offer today is home inspection. Home inspections allow you to scrutinize the details of the home and potentially save you from any unpleasant surprises.
HOME INSPECTION TIPS
- Choose a qualified professional. A member of an association can reassure you are getting an experienced, knowledgeable professional.
- Ensure the home inspector checks for visible issues with plumbing, electrical systems, roof, insulation, walls, ceilings, floors and windows, and the condition of the foundation. They can also check that the home includes chattels like furnaces and air conditioners, are in working order.
- Ensure your home inspector gives you a close and personal look at your new home. It takes about three hours to go through all the systems, and if there are any problems, you will see them with your own eyes. They will also give you maintenance tips and easy fix-ups, if necessary.
- Ensure that in the end, you receive a detailed report that summarizes the condition of your home.
Step 7: Preparing for closing day
Typically you will have anywhere from 30 to 90 days before closing day. The closing date can be the same as your move-in date, however, this is now always possible. Check with your lawyer or agent to find out when your keys will be available on the closing date. It is normal that the exchange of money and title be complete before keys are released which could be late in the day.
Remember, this is an exciting time! Being organized well in advance will pave the way for a much more enjoyable journey. Here are a few details to take care of before your closing date:
Legal Stuff and Paperwork
You and your agent will need to provide your lawyer with all the necessary documentation for your purchase. Your agent usually takes care of the agreement, waivers, survey and any other purchase documents. However, you may need to provide your lawyer with some additional information: insurance, down payment information, adjustment payments, and other signed documents your lawyer may request.
Down Payment and Closing Costs
Make the necessary arrangements to have these funds available a week prior to closing or when the lawyer has requested funds.
Moving Arrangements & Change of Address
Whether you are using professional movers, renting a truck, or getting a bunch of friends together, plan and organize it early.
Arrange for home insurance before closing and request a proof of insurance at your financial institution in advance. Provide your insurance agent with the listing information and details such as age of the house, pool or no pool, type and condition of the roof, condition of the furnace, electrical and type of exterior.
Contact the local utilities to coordinate the change of billing on closing. Including phone, internet, cable, gas, electricity, water, and any rental agreements. Don’t forget to cancel the services at your old address.
Inform your children’s old and new schools about the move and arrange any necessary record transfers.
MY DREAM HOME WORKSHEET
Here are a few key questions to help narrow down what you want in your home.
- What type of home are you looking for? Detached or semi-detached?
- What style of home is best for you? Two-storey, bungalow, split-level, duplex, townhouse?
- What about the age of the home? Does the home need to be brand new?
- How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need?
- What are you looking for in a kitchen? How about a family room? Do you want a separate dining room? What is your preferred layout?
- What are your high-priority features? Appliances, ensuite, fireplace?
- What other rooms do you need? Main floor laundry room, home office, hobby room?
- What about storage space? Basements? Lockers?
- Do you need a garage or extra parking spaces?
- Is energy efficiency important? Newer windows or a high-efficiency furnace?
- How long is your daily commute? How easy is it to get to the places you need to go?
- How close do you need to be to transit, shopping, schools, places of worship, and hospitals?
- Are there any important location factors? Backing on to parks? How about road traffic? Do you need to be on a quiet street?
- What size of yard are you looking for? Is the backyard important, or is a side yard enough? What about the front yard?
- What other landscaping features are important? A fenced yard, play areas, a pool, gardens, a patio?
- Is it important that the house faces a certain direction?
- Who are you sharing this home with and what are their needs? For example, pets might need a fenced yard, or extended family may want a separate entrance.
- How long do you plan to live here? This decision can impact the type of home, the location, and how much you will spend.
- How much do you want to invest beyond the purchase price of the home—both in terms of money and effort—if you can’t find all the features that you want?
COMMON COSTS FOR BUYERS
No one likes unexpected bad news – especially the financial kind! This worksheet can help you prepare for the cost of closing, moving, and getting settled into your new home.
Common Closing Costs:
- Balance of down payment after initial deposit with offer
- Mortgage loan administration and/or appraisal fees
- Points or loan discount fees paid to receive a lower interest rate
- Credit report fees
- Mortgage insurance premiums
- Land transfer tax and title registration fees
- Title insurance policy premiums
- Survey expense
- Legal fees and related costs (couriers, photocopies, etc.)
- Pro-rated amounts for your share of any prepaid costs, such as utility bills and property taxes
- Packing supplies
- Vehicle rentals
- Ancillary expenses (food, hotels, etc.)
On average, a Canadian home buyer may spend approximately $1,325 on moving costs.³
- Changing locks
- Painting, minor renovations, and repairs
- Furniture for additional rooms
- Lawn care and landscaping
On average, a Canadian home buyer may spend approximately $3,550 on general household purchases, $6,575 on furniture and appliances, and $9,525 on renovations.³
³Altus Group Economic Consulting, “Economic Impacts of MLS® Home Sales and Purchases in Canada and the Provinces,” The Canadian Real Estate Association, last modified May 14, 2015, http://crea.ca/sites/default/files/Altus%20Report%20Economic%20Impact_OS_En.pdf
CHANGE OF ADDRESS CHECKLIST
Utilities, Bills, and Other Vendors
- Natural gas
- Cell phone
- Water delivery/treatment
- Credit card company
- Insurance (car, life, home, and health)
- Pension plan
- Car loan
- Other loans
- Reward programs
Legal and Identity Documents
- Driver’s licence
- Health card
- Tax documents (Income tax, Canada Pension Plan, Old Age Security, etc.)
- Professional associations
- Alumni associations
- Other specialists
14 TIPS FOR PACKING LIKE A PRO
This may seem hard to believe, but many people thoroughly enjoy their moving day and the time leading up to it. The secret? Being organized. Make sure you have the right tools—packing tape, permanent markers, sticky notes, and lots of boxes on hand will make your move much easier. Start early and work steadily. Make progress every day with your packing instead of leaving it all until the last minute.
- Develop a master “packing/to do” list so you won’t forget something critical.
- Purge! Get rid of things you no longer want or need. Have a garage sale, donate to a charity, or recycle.
- Before throwing something out, remember to ask yourself how frequently you use that item and how you would feel if you no longer had it.
- Pack like items together. Put toys with toys and kitchen utensils with kitchen utensils.
- Decide what, if anything, you plan to move yourself. Precious items, such as family photos, breakable valuables, or must-haves during the move, should probably stay with you.
- Use the right box for the item. Items packed loosely are more likely to be damaged.
- Put heavy items in small boxes so they are easier to lift. Keep the weight under 50 lbs., if possible.
- Do not over pack boxes — boxes that are packed comfortably will be less likely to break.
- Wrap each fragile item separately and pad the bottom and sides of boxes.
- Label every box on all sides. You never know how they will be stacked and you do not want to have to move other boxes aside to find out what is inside.
- Use colour-coded labels to indicate which room each item should go in. Colour-code a floor plan for your new house to help your movers.
- Keep your moving documents together, including phone numbers, the driver’s name, and van number. Also keep your address book handy.
- Back up your computer files before moving your computer.
- Inspect each box and all furniture for damage as soon as it arrives. Remember, most movers won’t take plants.
How to Sell Yourself
A Roadmap to Selling Your Home
Your Step-by-Step Guide to a Successful & Profitable Sale
The advantages of being an educated seller
If you’re thinking of selling, you probably have a myriad of questions.
- What’s my home worth?
- Should I use an agent or go at it alone?
- How do I make my home attractive to buyers?
And, of course, the big one: How do I get the most for my home?
This website will help.
We have structured it as a kind of “roadmap” because selling your home is a journey, and the more informed you are about what to do and expect, the more successful your home sale will be.
Ideally, you want that journey to end with your property selling quickly and for the best price possible.
This roadmap will get you there. And please think of me as your expert guide along the way. If you have any questions, just ask. Ready to make your home sale painless and profitable?
Let the journey begin!
Step 1: Getting ready for success
The first step in the journey is to simply get started. Studies show that the earlier you begin the process of selling your home, the more successful you will be.
So where do you begin?
Start by educating yourself on how the selling process works. Getting the facts will demystify things, make it easier and less intimidating, and help ensure you make the right decisions.
In fact, that’s what this ebook is all about!
The important thing is to get the ball rolling. Make the decision to list. Even if your planned move is months away, now is always the best time to begin.
And remember. You don’t have to go at it alone. Your home is probably the biggest asset you will ever sell, and the most complicated. Don’t make the mistake of trying to do everything yourself. Talk to a good agent.
3 WAYS TO MAKE HOME SELLING EASY
- Start now. The earlier you begin the process of selling your home, the more time you will have… and the less stressful the journey will be.
- Understand the steps involved. The more you know about what to expect, the less intimidating the process will be. You will make better decisions, too.
- Talk to a good agent. He or she can answer your questions, determine what your home will likely sell for, and help you every step of the way.
Step 2: Working with the right agent
Most sellers use a real estate agent. And for good reason! A skilled agent can ensure your home sells quickly and for the best price, while making the entire process much easier for you.
- Pricing is a real art. The biggest factor in determining how quickly your home sells is the price, and deciding that price is trickier than it seems. It takes experience and even 1% more for your home can mean thousands to your bottom line.
- Negotiating is hard. Not just hard to do, but it can feel uncomfortable. If you want someone to negotiate fearlessly on your behalf, you need an agent.
- Marketing today is much more than MLS®. To get the most for your home, you need qualified buyers to see it. That requires an agent who knows how to create a marketing plan to get as many qualified buyers as possible to find out
about and view your property.
- Showings are a pain. Showing your own home is not only a huge inconvenience to you, it’s important to know that most buyers feel uncomfortable viewing a home with the homeowner present.
- Paperwork takes expertise. If you think doing your own taxes is a challenge, try navigating the paperwork for a real estate transaction! It takes experience and expertise to make sure everything is done correctly.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN AN AGENT
The best agents are highly skilled, real estate experts.
They are on the pulse of all local market activity and have intricate knowledge of active and past inventory. They keep you informed and are by your side every step of the way.
Great agents are marketing geniuses.
They know exactly how to set the ideal price for your property, so that it sells quickly and for top dollar. They also know how to promote your listing effectively, to attract the most qualified buyers.
Great agents are skilled negotiators.
Negotiating requires expertise and skill, period. Great agents have mastered this art and bring confidence and calm at offer time. They guide you through the negotiation process helping you understand what to include, what to give up and most importantly, when to walk away if reasonable terms cannot be reached.
Finally, a great agent makes things easy.
They dot the i’s, cross the t’s and handle all the details. They recommend reputable movers, contractors, and other professionals you need. They will give you tips and ideas. They will do the heavy-lifting, so you don’t have to.
So when choosing a REALTOR®, make sure they meet this profile. It makes all the difference.
Agent? Or No Agent?
- 82% of real estate sales are the result of agent contacts.¹
- Majority of buyers prefer to see a home with an agent, not the homeowner.
- On average, agents get 12.6%ore for a property than owners who sell without an agent.² (Based on median home sale prices.)
Need Help? Choosing the right agent is an important decision. Call me anytime to ask questions or set up a get-acquainted meeting.
¹ Source: SIRVA Home Benefits Report
² Source: Using VAR Research To Connect With Clients, 2015 report published by National Association of REALTORS®(NAR).
Step 3: Price smart
Setting the list price of your home is an art. Too low and you leave money on the table — perhaps thousands. Too high and you scare away buyers — perhaps forever.
To complicate this, your home is an emotional asset. It’s hard to see it objectively, as a “product” for sale.
Finding the optimal price requires a combination of expertise, analysis, and old fashioned street smarts.
Great agents are incredibly savvy at setting a price that maximizes the price and minimizes the time it takes to sell.
In fact, pricing is something agents spend their careers mastering. They combine intimate local and national market knowledge, an exhaustive study of similar homes for sale, and an analysis of past sales to arrive at the optimal list price.
And then they combine that with your unique needs to pick a price that fits you.
It’s no easy task, but it’s a critical one. Pricing your home right the first time results in more showings, more offers and ultimately the highest price for you home.
If you want to get as much for your home as possible within a reasonable time frame, you need to get the price right.
The most important thing to understand is that the market rules. Buyers want to purchase your property at or near its actual market value — which may differ from the sentimental value you place on your home.
That said, choosing the right list price is essential to selling for the highest price possible. If you price too low you risk not getting as much as you could have for your property. In fact, you could lose thousands. But if you price too high you will lose potential buyers who may think your property is out of their price range.
It all sounds complicated, and it is. The good news is, a great agent will help determine the true market value of your home and price it just right.
Pricing is Tricky
- Home for sale in the $250,000 – $500,000 range.
- Price set just 15% too high. Few qualified buyers bother to see it.
- Price set just 15% too low. Risk of losing $37,500-$67,500 on the sale.
Need help? Want to find out what your home will likely sell for on today’s market? Give me a call.
Step 4: Preparing to wow buyers
Once you have set the price, your next step in the journey is preparing your property so that it looks attractive to buyers. Ideally, you want your home to look like a showcase. This is more important than you might think. REALTORS® repeatedly find that people can’t visualize the potential of a home. They have to see it. That means that how your home shows — today — is how people see themselves in it. They can’t see past the chips, leaks, clutter and stains. In fact, they tend to focus even more on those things.
The 3 R’s of prepping your home for sale:
- Remove. Get rid of as much clutter as possible. Give it away, sell it at a garage sale, put it in storage, or take it to the dump. Just get it out of the house. You want your home to look spacious and tidy.
- Repair. Chipped paint, cracked tiles, squeaky hinges, leaky faucets. Fix everything you can. If you need a contractor, your agent can recommend one.
- Renew. Clean, clean and clean again. (It’s that important!) You want your home to look guest-ready. Organize each room so that it looks like a showcase. A fresh coat of paint can go a long way to dramatically improving the look.
Sound overwhelming? You don’t need to do it overnight. Your agent can point you to someone who can help, or you can break it down into just one small task a day.
And here’s good news: Everything you remove, clean or repair helps to sell your home faster and for a better price. So it’s like getting paid to do it!
Remember the last time you visited a high-end furniture showroom or a new model home with its gorgeous living rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms? That’s staging. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, staged homes sell 49% faster and for 7-11% more money. In fact, you can expect nearly half (49%) of the buyers to be positively impacted if your home is staged.³ You can hire a professional stager. Or you can follow some basic staging tips yourself. Either way, your agent can help.
Staged homes sell 49% faster for 7%-11% more money³
Need Help? I would be happy to help give you a few staging tips and ideas. Call me anytime.
³Source: 2015 Profile On Staging published by NAR, http://www.realtor.org/reports/2015-profile-of-home-staging
Step 5: Getting the word out
Now that you have made your property look its best, you want as many qualified buyers as possible to see it. In other words, you want to get the word out. To everyone. These days, marketing requires more than an MLS® listing and lawn sign. You need a strategic action plan to promote your listing so that all the right buyers find out about it, get excited about it, and — most importantly — come to see it.
Homes that sell fast and for a top price tend to use a combination of the following:
- MLS® – A detailed listing on the largest database of available real estate.
- Photos – A picture really can paint a thousand words so be sure to have professional photos that complements each room and feature.
- Video – A behind the scenes, online look at your home and neighbourhood. More than 1 in 5 buyers will watch such videos when searching for a home.
- Websites – Over 90% of buyers start their home search online.4 A great agent will ensure your home is showcased on as many websites as possible.
- Social – Facebook and YouTube have the largest user base, but Instagram, Twitter & Pinterest are gaining ground.
- Prospecting – Great agents tap into their network of eager buyers and proactively call or door knock neighbourhoods to discover potential new buyers.
- Feature Sheets – Great photos, inspiring descriptions in professional take-away form are a great reminder for viewers who are still deciding.
- Open Houses – A good way to showcase your home to agents and potential buyers.
- Print – Print ads in local newspapers are not as effective as they once were but they are still used today. Postcard drops informing the local area of a new listing are also an option.
And that’s just a partial list! It’s unfortunate when a home doesn’t sell because a qualified buyer never finds out about it — and ends up purchasing a competing listing. But that happens every day. Don’t let it happen to you. Work with a great agent who can create the right plan for selling your home.
The Power of Promotion
The higher the number of qualified buyers who find out about your listing, the more likely you are to sell at a top price.
- Poorly promoted listing. Few qualified buyers find out about it.
- Moderately promoted listing. About 50% of qualified buyers find out about it.
- Expertly promoted listing. Nearly 100% of qualified buyers find out about it.
Need Help? Want some initial ideas on how to get qualified buyers flocking to see your home? I can help. Give me a call.
Step 6: Showing it off
At this stage in the journey, it’s getting exciting! You have qualified buyers coming to see your property. One or more may fall in love with your home and make an offer.
How do you turn lookers into buyers? Follow these guidelines:
- Don’t be there. Buyers want to feel free to look around and discuss your home candidly. That’s why, according to the research, they prefer to see a home with an agent rather than the homeowner. If you’re at home during a showing, buyers may not feel comfortable viewing your property thoroughly and, as a result, not come to appreciate all your property has to offer. So go for a walk, have lunch out, anything. Just be away when a buyer sees your home.
- Be flexible when scheduling. Restricting viewings to “Saturdays 3-6” will seriously limit the number of buyers able to see your home. Yes, showings can sometimes be a pain, but the potential is getting an offer. So be flexible. Schedule viewings as often as possible. Also, be willing to have a buyer see your home on short notice. (They are often the most eager to buy.)
- Make your home inviting. Ever notice how model homes are always neat and tidy — and never have closed doors! That’s because the more inviting a home is the more likely the buyer is to make an offer. You don’t have to do much to prepare. Make sure your home is clean. Put away personal items like family pictures (that way a buyer can imagine themselves living there.) Leave lights on and open curtains and blinds, where appropriate. Make sure pets are cordoned off or, better still, take them out. And don’t forget the yard. Cut the grass, trim the hedges, and sweep the walkway. Often, buyers will form an initial “good or bad” impression by the time they have entered your front door.
- Have helpful information available. These include property brochures, floor plans and contact information. If you are selling your home in the winter, summer pictures help buyers visualize how great your home looks in the sunshine. Got a great neighbourhood? A list of area features — parks, schools, running paths — will give buyers a clearer picture.
Where good impressions are made
- Curb appeal – How your home looks from “the curb”. Make sure what they see looks great.
- Foyer – What the buyer sees as soon as they walk in the front door. Make sure this area is clean, uncluttered and spacious.
- Kitchen – Often the first room a buyer sees! Ensure countertops are cleared and everything shines.
- Bathrooms – Store away personal items, such as toothbrushes and cosmetics.
Need Help? If you would like some practical ideas for making your viewings more successful, give me a call anytime.
Step 7: Negotiate like a master
When you get an offer — or ideally multiple offers — you are this close to selling your home. But, as they say, close only counts in horseshoes! Skilled negotiation is required to ensure that the deal is made for the highest price possible, with ideal terms and conditions. Negotiating is a skillset that is difficult to master. That is why it is important that you have a skilled agent handle this for you — someone who works in your best interests. Chances are, an offer will be higher or lower than your asking price. Don’t be concerned or offended. It’s normal. In fact, the best way to think about an offer is as a starting point to a conversation. The buyer is interested. They have proposed a price. The conversation has begun!
Some things to keep in mind:
- Counteroffers are normal. Expect some back and forth. They offer. You counteroffer. You eventually come to an agreement.
- Momentum is important. Things happen fast at this stage. That’s why having a good agent to represent you is vital.
- Price isn’t the only thing. You can negotiate on conditions, closing dates, assets included with the property. Don’t get stuck on one thing.
Once you agree, the buyer provides a deposit cheque to be held in trust until the conditions are met. The conditions usually have a set time for removal, and usually include things like a home inspection and financing. Once the conditions are met, the buyer signs a waiver and the deal is done. Congratulations. You have sold your home!
The power of savvy negotiation
Just 1% more for your home can mean thousands more in your pocket.
- $300,000 range = $3,000
- $400,000 range = $4,000
- $500,000 range = $5,000
Need Help? It’s important not to underestimate the power of a skilled negotiator. If you have any questions about the process, I’m here to help.
Step 8: Wrapping up the details
Once the deal is made, your journey isn’t over. There is still paperwork to be done and calculations to be made. If you are working with a great agent, they will handle all those details for you, and ensure everything is done properly, including coordinating with your real estate lawyer. So although there are many t’s to cross and i’s to dot, a great agent will take care of those details. What a load off your shoulders!
How Much Do You Keep?
Once the sale is made, you will want to know how much you get to keep. There are a number of closing costs to consider.
- Legal fees. Lawyer’s fees vary, but often have structured fees for the sale of homes posted on their websites. On average, you can expect to pay $1,000 for a lawyer to look after the legal details necessary to close your home.
- Mortgage fees. Check with your lender to determine if any costs will occur when transferring or releasing your mortgage. There could be penalties for discharging your mortgage earlier than its term and there may be a discharge fee to remove a mortgage from title that can range from $100 to $250.
- Disbursements. These fees cover additional legal expenses such as travel, copies, couriers, registration fees and preparing document transfers. Budget about $500.
- Adjustments. It is difficult for a homeowner to calculate exactly how much money is owed to which utilities on closing day. Your lawyer will ensure that overpayments or deficiencies on rents, mortgage interest, property tax and utility charges will be corrected, and the buyer and seller will be credited or charged accordingly.
- Moving costs. These vary depending on location, distance, and amount of possessions to be moved. If you are moving yourself, you should factor gas, rental vehicles and moving supplies.
Need Help? Step-by-step, I stay by my seller’s side to ensure everything goes smoothly before, during and long after the sale. To learn more about my approach to working with clients, give me a call.
Are you ready to buy/sell your home? Or simply have a few real estate questions? Call us today for your FREE consultation with one of our real estate professionals. Let us assist you in finding your dream home, in a neighbourhood that’s right for you at the price range you want. Or if you are interested in selling a property, we can help you get the quickest sale at the best price! We look forward for the opportunity to work together with you!