Getting your home ready to sell and on the market can be extremely stressful and time consuming. There is lots to be done, and so much to remember. Many people become overwhelmed during this process, which is not ideal. In order to help ease your stress, and hopefully make this process a lot more simple and efficient, we’ve created this ultimate guide to selling your home. Keep reading for more tips and tricks!
Should you consider a real estate agent to sell your home?
A real estate agent or realtor is a licensed professional who buys and sells homes for a living. Seasoned realtors have a lot of experience and can provide guidance that is often worth their earned percentage of your sale. They can also take a lot of pressure off of you by providing up-to-date information about your local marketplace and what you can expect with regard to the sale of your home. They can advise how to showcase your home; they handle the showings and they facilitate negotiations while ensuring the agreement is accurate. All are key factors for marketing your home and selling it at the best price.
Whether or not you decide to use a realtor, the rest of the info in this article will help you out if you’re putting your home on the market.
An overview of real estate markets for home sellers
The first step in your home-selling journey is to understand whether you’re facing a buyers’ or sellers’ market. This is determined primarily by the number of homes on the market and their rate of sale. The number of homes available for purchase is a critical element to determining who holds the advantage in the housing market: you as a seller or your potential home buyer.
Next, you will need to determine your home’s market value. Don’t be too quick to set a price for your home until you know its true value. A comparative market analysis can accurately determine your home’s value. A comparative market analysis (CMA) is often a complimentary, no-obligation evaluation of the current value of any given property. CMAs are generated by considering:
- The tax-assessed value of your home
- How your home compares to nearby properties that have sold recently
- Features in your home
- Significant upgrades and renovations
Which season should you sell your home?
Spring and summer
The spring and summer months tend to be the most active time on the housing market. Due to the higher inventory during this time, there is often more competition with other homes. If you can, try to avoid listing during these warmer months.
However, if you are in a rush, or need to list during this time period, we recommend pricing your home competitively. This will help you get more showings and bids upfront. This strategy can result in a higher closing price due to multiple offers on your home.
There are typically fewer houses for sale in the fall, which makes it a lot easier for your home to stand out. Listing in the fall months is a great option if possible. Many buyers prefer to purchase in the fall so they can spend the winter months “nesting” in their brand new house. Plus, depending on where you live, a gorgeous fall season can help show off the natural beauty of a neighbourhood and the homes in it.
If you plan to list your home during the winter, we recommend that you do so in the very early stages of the season. Many home buyers prefer to see what a home looks like before the first big snowfall, as it’s harder to view the landscaping and foundation when covered in snow. To prepare your home for selling during this time of year, prep your home with extra comforts. For example, pillows, blankets, or an inviting fire to make it look extra cozy.
A checklist for staging your home
Before listing your home in the market, you may want to stage it. This can help your photos look better and stand out compared to other listings. Staging will also give you an advantage when home buyers are viewing your home in person. The more your home looks like it came straight out of a décor magazine, the better. You can hire a staging company or follow this checklist to stage your home like a pro:
- Rent a storage unit to keep your home uncluttered and organized.
- De-personalize your home by removing family photos, collections, and trinkets.
- Paint the walls in neutral colours to make your home more approachable.
- Clean off countertops and tables. Put away small kitchen appliances, toiletries, and even books on your bedside table.
- Replace old or excessively bold linens in bedrooms.
- Maximize unused rooms by staging them as an office, extra bedroom or even a nursery.
- Use lighting to your advantage. Open blinds for natural light during daytime showings, and turn on lights and lamps during evening showings.
- Vacuum, dust, and wipe down all surfaces, including blinds, walls and windows (You might want to consider hiring a professional cleaning company to get your home sparkling.).
- Open windows to air out the home naturally or use odor-absorbing products.
- Tune-up your roof, but only replace it if it’s sagging or extremely damaged.
- Clean out and straighten gutters and downspouts.
- Wash the exterior.
- Freshen up the exterior paint job or siding.
- Paint the trim, shutters, and any railings.
- Patch driveway and walkways.
- Maintain your lawn regularly.
- Add plants to the front of the house.
Marketing the home you’re selling
When creating your online real estate listing, make sure you include all of the following:
- High-quality, professional photos
- Outdoor photos from different seasons
- Information about amenities in the neighbourhood
- Point out favorite details, features, and selling points
Showing your home
You can showcase your house to potential buyers in two different ways: a home showing and an open house. A home showing is when a potential buyer and their agent take part in a private tour of your for-sale home. At an open house, the home is open during a designated time, and potential buyers can tour the home. Typically, the seller’s agent will be present.
When planning and preparing for an open house, here are some tips to consider:
- Alert the neighbors, so they can anticipate traffic.
- Set up a table and chairs with festive outdoor place settings to show that your home’s entertaining space extends beyond its walls.
- In addition to an official listing flyer, write a short note that describes what you love about the home.
Dealing with offers
Sometimes offers include a contingency. A contingency clause is a condition or action that must be met for a real estate contract to become binding. Some of the most common contingencies you will see in an offer can include:
- An appraisal contingency: this protects the buyer and ensures a property is valued at a minimum, specified amount.
- A financing contingency (or a mortgage contingency): this gives the buyer time to obtain financing for the purchase of the property.
- An inspection or due diligence contingency: this gives the buyer the right to have the home inspected within a specified time.
Dealing with multiple offers
In the best case scenario, you will end up with several different offers to consider. If you find yourself in this situation, you’ll have a few different options:
- Accept the highest offer.
- Inform all potential purchasers that other offers are on the table to see if any of them renegotiate their price.
- Counter one offer while putting the other offers to the side, while awaiting a decision on the counter-offer.
- Counter one offer and reject the others
Accepting an offer
If you’ve received an offer that looks amazing and you plan on accepting, make sure you first review every single detail. In some cases, the buyers may have asked for other things to be included such as appliances, draperies or chandeliers. They may also request minor renovations like re-shingling your roof or repairing your driveway. They may even have made their offer contingent upon something else like selling their current home.
Once you’ve carefully reviewed the offer, and everything looks good to go, than you can move forward with accepting it. Congratulations! You have officially sold your home.
Find the right home insurance with BrokerLink
Whether you’re selling your home or buying a new one, it’s important to always protect this asset with the right home insurance. For all your home insurance needs, get in touch with a BrokerLink insurance advisor.
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FAQs about selling your home
Should I stay at home during showings?
While you may be tempted to stay at home while prospective buyers are viewing your house, it is recommended you leave during any showings. You don’t want to risk negatively impacting a sale. If you’re not home, potential buyers will feel more comfortable to look around freely and chat amongst themselves about their feelings and thoughts.
What are the different ways to sell a house?
In today’s market, there are many different ways you can sell your home. You can go with a traditional real estate agent, a flat-fee or discount agent, an instant buyer, or even just sell your home by yourself and create your own listing. You even have the option to trade your home in, using a service that will allow you to swap your old home for a new one.
Do I really need homeowner’s insurance?
If you own a house and do not have a mortgage, or have already paid it off, than you are not required to have home insurance. However, it is highly recommend that you have home insurance in order to keep your belongings and property safe. If you have a mortgage on your house, then it may be required for you to have a homeowner’s insurance policy, as most major banks will only give you a mortgage if you have home insurance. This is because the bank essentially owns a part of your house, and therefore has a major interest in what happens to it. Having home insurance eliminates most risks and reassures the bank that their investment will be protected.