Buying a House, Calgary and Airdrie Realtors, The Beautiful Homes Team, Tammy Forrest and Shayna Nackoney Skauge

25 Home-Selling Tips

Because your home may well be your largest asset, selling it is probably one of the most important decisions you will make in your life. Through these 25 home selling tips you will hopefully be able to discover how to protect and capitalize on your most important investment, reduce stress, be in control of your situation, and make the most profit possible.

“…discover how to protect and capitalize on your most important investment..”

1. Understand Why You Are Selling Your Home
Your motivation to sell is the determining factor as to how you will approach the process. It affects everything from what you set your asking price at to how much time, money and effort you’re willing to invest in order to prepare your home for sale. For example, if your goal is for a quick sale, this would determine one approach. If you want to maximize your profit, the sales process might take longer with more prepping of your property before it hits the market – thus determining a different approach.

2. Keep the Reason(s) You are Selling to Yourself
The reason(s) you are selling your home will affect the way you negotiate its sale. By keeping this to yourself you don’t provide ammunition to your prospective buyers. For example, should they learn that you must move quickly, you could be placed at a disadvantage in the negotiation process. When asked, simply say that your housing needs have changed. Remember, the reason(s) you are selling is only for you to know. And you’d be surprised sometimes how small our world is – people talk and you want it to be in your best interest, especially with such an important valueble asset.

3. Before Setting a Price – Do Your Homework
When you set your price, you make buyers aware of the absolute maximum they have to pay for your home. As a seller, you will want to get a selling price as close to the list price as possible. If you start out by pricing too high you run the risk of not being taken seriously by buyers and their agents and pricing too low can result in selling for much less than you were hoping for.

Setting Your Home’s Sale Price
If You Live in a Subdivision – If your home is comprised of similar or identical floor plans, built in the same period, simply look at recent sales in your neighbourhood subdivision to give you a good idea of what your home is worth.

If You Live in An Older Neighbourhood – As neighbourhoods change over time, and homes get more and more renovated each home may be different in minor or substantial ways. Because of this you will probably find that there aren’t many homes truly comparable to your own.

Either way a comparative market analysis from an experienced local realtor is an important part of the process, they will show you all of the recent sales and show you how they compare to your property. Be sure to ask plenty of questions and ask for actual facts! Many realtors will try to tell you what you want to hear and gloss over the facts and stats to buy your business. Don’t be fooled – ask to see the numbers and how they best compare to your property.

4. Do Some “Home Shopping” Yourself
The best way to learn about your competition and discover what turns buyers off is to check out other open houses. Note floor plans, condition, appearance, lot size, location and other features. Particularly note, not only the asking prices, but also why they are actually selling. Remember, if you’re serious about getting your home sold fast, don’t price it higher than your neighbour’s.

5. When Getting an Appraisal is a Benefit
Sometimes a good appraisal can be a benefit in marketing your home. Getting an appraisal is a good way to let prospective buyers know that your home can be financed. However, an appraisal does cost money, has a limited life, and there’s no guarantee you’ll like the figure you hear.

6. Tax Assessments – What They Really Mean
Some people think that tax assessments are a way of evaluating a home. The difficulty here is that assessments are based on a number of very generalized criteria that may not be directly related to property market values, so they may not necessarily reflect your home’s true value. Tax assessments are also likely a year outdated and a lot can change in a year pertaining to market values.

7. Hiring a REALTOR®
When deciding on a REALTOR®, consider two or three to interview. Be as wary of quotes that are too low as those that are too high.
All REALTORs® are not the same! A professional REALTOR® knows the market and has information on past sales, current listings, a marketing plan, and will provide their background and references. Evaluate each candidate carefully on the basis of his or her experience, qualifications, enthusiasm and personality. Be sure you choose someone that you trust and feel confident that they will do the best job on your behalf. A good realtor can make a huge difference to your final selling price so select wisely. It is often worth it to pay a bit more for an experienced realtor to get you a higher final selling price than it is to go with the cheapest option.

8. Appearances Do Matter – Make them Count!
Appearance is so critical that it would be unwise to ignore this when selling your home. The look and “feel” of your home will generate a greater emotional response than any other factor. Prospective buyers react to what they see, hear, feel, and smell even though you may have priced your home to sell.

9. Invite the Honest Opinions of Others
The biggest mistake you can make at this point is to rely solely on your own judgment. Don’t be shy about seeking the honest opinions of others. You need to be objective about your home’s good points as well as bad. Fortunately, your REALTOR® will be unabashed about discussing what should be done to make your home more marketable.

10. Get it Spic n’ Span Clean and Fix Everything, Even If It Seems Insignificant
Scrub, scour, tidy up, straighten, get rid of the clutter, declare war on dust, repair squeaks, the light switch that doesn’t work, and the tiny crack in the bathroom mirror because these can be deal-killers and you’ll never know what turns buyers off. Remember, you’re not just competing with other resale homes, but brand-new ones as well.

11. Allow Prospective Buyers to Visualize Themselves in Your Home
The last thing you want prospective buyers to feel when viewing your home is that they may be intruding into someone’s life. Avoid clutter such as too many knick-knacks, etc. Decorate in neutral colors, like white or beige and place a few carefully chosen items to add warmth and character. Home-decor magazines are great for tips. Part of our Beautiful Homes Team is a home stager that will work with you room by room to maximize the space and ensure it gives buyers the best first impression. You need to arrange your funiture so it flows smoothly starting from the entrance and into each and every room.

12. Deal Killer Odours – Must Go!
You may not realize but odd smells like traces of food, pets and smoking odours can kill deals quickly. If prospective buyers know you have a dog, or that you smoke, they’ll start being aware of odours and seeing stains that may not even exist. Don’t leave any clues.

13. Be a Smart Seller – Disclose Everything
Smart sellers are proactive in disclosing all known defects to their buyers in writing. This can reduce liability and prevent law suits later on.

14. It’s Better With More Prospects
When you maximize your home’s marketability, you will most likely attract more than one prospective buyer. It is much better to have several buyers because they will compete with each other; a single buyer will end up competing with you. This is also an important aspect to consider when you are selecting the right realtor to list your property – you want as much exposure as possible for your property to get the most out of it.

15. Keep Emotions in Check During Negotiations
Let go of the emotion you’ve invested in your home. Be detached, using a business-like manner in your negotiations. You’ll definitely have an advantage over those who get caught up emotionally in the situation. It sometimes helps to negotiate outside of your home, it may help keep your emotions more removed from the process.

16. Learn Why Your Buyer is Motivated
The more you know about your buyers the better you can use the negotiation process to your advantage. This allows you to control the pace and duration of the process. As a rule, buyers are looking to purchase the best most affordable property for the least amount of money. Knowing what motivates them enables you to negotiate more effectively. For example, does your buyer need to move quickly? Armed with this information you are in a better position to bargain.

17. When the Buyer Would Like to Close
Quite often, when buyers would “like” to close is when they need to close. Knowledge of their deadlines for completing negotiations again creates a negotiating advantage for you.

18. Never Sign a Deal on Your Next Home Until You Sell Your Current Home
Beware of closing on your new home while you’re still making mortgage payments on the old one or you might end up becoming a seller who is eager (even desperate) for any offer.

19. Moving Out Before You Sell Can Put You at a Disadvantage
It has been proven that it’s more difficult to sell a home that is vacant because it becomes forlorn looking, forgotten, no longer an appealing sight. Buyers start getting the message that you have another home and are probably motivated to sell. This could cost you thousands of dollars.

20. Deadlines Create A Serious Disadvantage
Don’t try to sell by a certain date. This adds unnecessary pressure and is a serious disadvantage in negotiations.

21. A Low Offer – Don’t Take It Personally
Invariably the initial offer is below what both you and the buyer knows he’ll pay for your property. Don’t be upset; evaluate the offer objectively. Ensure it spells out the offering price, a sufficient deposit, amount of down payment, mortgage amount, a closing date and any conditions and terms involved. This can simply provide a starting point from which you can negotiate all relevent items.

22. Turn That Low Offer Around
You can and should counter a low offer or even an offer that’s just under your asking price. There are many factors involved in negotiating the best price and a buyer very rarely offers you their best offer to start with. A good realtor will help walk you through how to turn a low starting offer into a perfectly acceptable one – even a great one!

23. Maybe the Buyer’s Not Qualified
If you feel an offer is inadequate or the buyer may not be able to follow through, now is the time to make sure the buyer is qualified to carry the size of mortgage the deal requires. Inquire how they arrived at their offer and if they are prequalified for their financing.

24. Ensure the Contract is Complete
To avoid problems, ensure that all terms, costs and responsibilities are spelled out in the contract of sale. It should include such items as the date it was made, names of parties involved, address of property being sold, purchase price, where deposit monies will be held, date for loan approval, date and place of closing, including any contingencies that remain to be settled and what personal property is included (or not) in the sale. You also want to ensure it is legally binding and protecting your best interests.

25. Next step…give us a call to help answer any other questions you have and to help you effectively sell your property for its highest value and on your terms!

If you are thinking of selling your home or looking to purchase a home that is more suited to your needs (but also a good investment) contact us today, we would love to have a chat.

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