A Step By Step Guide
The Decision to Sell:
Deciding to sell and where you’re going to move next is one of the biggest steps in the process. It can be very emotional, complicated and confusing.
For example it could be a marriage, divorce or death in the family. Complicated issues might be “how much will the sale price be?” What is the mortgage penalty? What are the lawyer’s fees and real estate fees? It can be confusing to decide whether to sell first, then buy, or buy first then sell.
Choose a Realtor
Select an experienced Realtor you can communicate with to make the process as stress free as possible. Many sellers are surprised that after signing the listing documents with a Realtor, their dealings after are with assistants or people in “the team”. This is where the lines of communication can break down leaving you wondering if your needs are being met? Remember, the Realtor you choose should have developed strong, professional relationships with others in the industry as those Realtors will most likely be bringing their clients as a buyer for your property. Empathy and experience in dealing with sensitive situations is a must when choosing your Realtor. They should talk candidly, listen intently and offer sound advice. What you don’t want is for them to list your home at any price, put a sign in the lawn and disappear for the remainder of the listing term.
Price it Smart with a Proper Market Evaluation
Determine your price based on fact. Take a look at what has sold in your area comparable to your home and you’ll see a pattern of sale prices. We all want as much as possible when we sell our home and it is your Realtor’s responsibility to use their past experience and market knowledge to help guide you in the right direction. Asking for more does not necessarily mean you will get more. In some situations having a lower asking price will get you more and allow you to be in a position on power. A large part of negotiating successfully is having control of a situation. If you’re priced properly, there is no need to consider lowball offers!
The last point on pricing is that on average, buyers are comparing your home to 15-20 others. If your house is not one of the better priced among similar type homes, you could miss out on a sale.
Get it Show Home Ready
We would like you to get top dollar with the least amount of hassle so we’ve developed a guide called “Preparing Your Home for Sale” that gives suggestions on what important things to do as you put your home on the market as well as helpful tips on showings.
If some of our suggestions for getting your home ready are unrealistic for your circumstances, at least make sure your house looks, feels and smells its best. You’re competing with many other homes for sale. Buyers purchase on emotion… let your home be the cleanest, freshest and cheeriest and you’ll have a much better chance at a faster sale… and at a higher price!
Showings and Open Houses
Like many people, our house is lived in. You might find paperwork on the coffee table, a plate on the kitchen counter or grooming products on the bathroom vanity. When you have a showing or an open house, you want to make your home look “not” lived in. That might mean putting a toaster that you have on the counter away or the mess on your kid’s dresser gets put in their top drawer for this brief time. I think our “Preparing Your Home for Sale” guide goes over this quite well.
If at all possible we would ask that you not be present for open houses and showings. People are more comfortable when the owners are not around and sometimes will emotionally “move themselves in” during an open house.
Now that your home looks as good as it can, let’s start getting it ready to market with some high quality professional photographs. These great photos will be used for marketing on the MLS system, Realtor.ca and our website ( garyandloriprince.com). High quality property brochures get the buyers attention! We use the photos in newspaper ads, our Facebook page and strategic Facebook ads. This is the starting point for all our listings. From here we personalize a marketing plan just for you. We will go over this in detail before moving ahead. We will have a sign professionally installed and sometimes if the home is tucked away we will have a 4’x8’ sign built with a full picture of the hidden home. On acreages we may include important features of the property including its size, use and outbuildings. We may install a lockbox so we will never miss a showing. With your approval we will hold impressive open houses. Other marketing ideas we’ve used over the years include… professional floor plans for larger houses, drones, Realtor tours and video tours.
Finally, with the new real estate laws in B.C. another Realtor is almost certainly going to be bringing the buyer/offer. While Realtors roles are adversarial by nature, we take pride in having developed good working relationships with other reputable agents through hard work, proper due diligence, keeping commitments and fair dealings. You won’t miss out on a sale because we’ve been difficult to work with in the past.
The Offer, Negotiations and Acceptance
Great news!! We have an offer!! What do we do now? Well, there are a few ways to present an offer and as we’ve said previously, with the province’s new real estate laws, the offer will almost surely be brought by an agent other than us. They may just email the offer to us or they may request to present it in person. This is usually to give you a better idea of who the buyers are on a personal level or allowing for a quicker response to the offer. We’re fine with either way as long as you are comfortable with the process
There are also many ways to negotiate. Some buyers want to start very low (maybe it’s because their dad taught them to do it this way) but eventually end up paying a much higher price. Others will come in at or near their maximum and move very little from their original offer. Despite what the other side may say or do, our only interest is to listen to your needs and goals and do everything in our power to help you attain them.
When we arrive at the point where we have an offer that is acceptable to you, (acceptance) we have completed the first stage of getting your house sold!
Subject Condition Period/Subject Removal
When an offer is written, there are usually conditions or subject clauses written into the contract that need to be met by a specific date ( usually 7-10 days ) in order for it to be unconditional. This is all for the buyer to take care of. Things like financing, home inspection, insurance, property disclosure statement and title search approval. During this time the bank may order an appraisal and there will most likely be a home inspection. The appraisal is usually quick but the home inspection could take up to 4 hours depending on the company and they will need access to the attic, crawl space, electrical panel and under sinks and vanities. It is highly recommended that you not be present but we will be.
After all conditions/subjects have been met, the buyer makes an amendment to the contract that removes all these conditions/ subjects and now what you have is an unconditional contract. That is when the deal is considered “firm” and the sold signs go up. Congratulations, your home is sold!!
Document Conveyancing and Transfer of Title
Now it’s time to choose a Lawyer or Notary. From the time your deal goes unconditional until the time money changes hands can be as short as 2 weeks or as long as 3 months depending on your contract. From here most of what goes on happens behind the scenes until you are asked to come to the lawyer’s office and sign the transfer documents. This is usually a few days before completion. Any documents needed are handled by the 2 real estate offices and the 2 lawyer’s offices. It usually takes a few days after completion to receive your money from the lawyers and possession usually happens a few days after completion.
Now the truck has arrived. The hard stuff is done right? Time to move on to your new home! You would have been advised by us to start packing as soon as the sold sign went up with a list of many helpful suggestions. We often get asked “What condition should I leave the house in?” A good rule of thumb is the golden rule. Leave it in the condition you would like your new house to be in when you arrive. Also, if you had it looking like a show home when you sold it, it should be in the same condition for the new buyers. If you sold a rental property that was messy and rough around the edges, the standard is lower but the new buyers should not have to take anything to the dump or put anything in the garbage. That would be your responsibility. Only leave the new owners exactly what they asked for on the contract. Makes it easier on all of you.