This post by Melanie Piche, real estate agent at Sage Real Estate in Toronto, was originally published on www.getwhatyouwant.ca.
Looking for the inside scoop on selling your home? Here is some of our best advice for Sellers:
Be socially discreet.
Savvy Buyers (and their agents) are apt to creep Sellers before putting in an offer. Don’t announce on Facebook that you bought a new house before your current house is sold. Don’t Instagram the leak in the basement (but yes, you’ll have to disclose that to your REALTOR). Don’t tweet about the poor sucker you sold your house to whose offer was 80K above everyone else’s. Don’t announce to the world that you are finding the selling process stressful, that you’re 2 weeks away from having a baby or that you’re getting divorced. Don’t in any way imply that you’re desperate to sell your home. Don’t think it happens? Those were all true stories.
While your home is on the market, pretend you don’t live there (or better yet, move out).
Yes, it’s a pain to make your bed everyday, wash the dishes, take out the garbage, put away your clean (and dirty) clothes, clean the litterbox and wash the floors every day, but keeping your house or condo in tip top shape is ESSENTIAL to getting top dollar.
Stop it, Stop it Right Now.
Don’t even think about smoking in your home, and if you smoke on your balcony or deck, hide the evidence. Put away your sex and drug paraphernalia. We won’t judge you, but I can’t say the same about potential Buyers.
Remember that your REALTOR is on your side.
If you’ve chosen to work with an ethical agent, don’t lie to them. Tell them the real reason you are selling (even if it’s a divorce or you’ve gotten yourself into a financial mess). Disclose the good AND the bad about your home. Tell them what you really want – or need – both financially and from the selling experience. Your agent works for you and their only job is to protect your interests. If you don’t trust your agent, fire them and hire someone else.
Don’t get greedy.
Your agent should be able to show you how much your property is worth and why. Over-pricing is a dangerous game where the Seller almost always loses. Truth: every Seller thinks they live in the best condo or house on the block and thinks their property is worth more than everyone else’s. It’s a proven fact that properties that have been over-priced sit on the market longer and generally sell for less than they would have had they been priced accurately in the beginning.
The agent you choose to hire matters.
With over 42,000 agents in the Greater Toronto area, there are all types of agents, with all types of experiences and skill sets. Don’t put your biggest financial asset at risk by selling with the wrong agent. There are lots of talented and experienced agents out there – interview agents before hiring them, ask questions and ask for references.
There’s more to marketing your home than putting it on the MLS.
Exposing your home to more potential Buyers unequivocally brings in more money. Ask where your home is being marketed and ask for weekly updates of how well that’s working.
Be flexible with showing times.
Most Buyers house-shop after 5 pm and on weekends. Make it convenient for them to see your home. When you say ‘no’ to a showing, recognize that those Buyers rarely ever re-schedule, so you’re really saying ‘no’ to a potential Buyer buying your home.
Set realistic expectations and remember that only the exceptional stories make the news.
The average time to sell a property in Toronto in 2014 was around 30 days, so don’t panic if your home isn’t sold in the first week. And remember that not all houses sell over-asking or get the bidding war the Sellers were hoping for. And no, there were not 32 people at all those bidding wars – that only ever happens a couple of times a year and that’s why it makes the front page.
We are hard at work this month on a brand new website where we’ll be sharing even more of our secrets for Sellers. Stay tuned!