So, the time has come to sell your home. Maybe you need a bigger or a smaller space? Maybe you need to move closer to family or work? No matter what the reason, do you know what’s involved? Use the following guide to help you decide.
1. Deciding When to Sell
Property sells year round. It is mostly a function of supply and demand, as well as other economic factors, including the following considerations:
- Is it a buyer’s or a seller’s market? A “seller’s market” is when there are lots of buyers looking for homes for sale, but there are few homes for sale. A “buyer’s market” is when there are lot of sellers looking to sell their homes, but few buyers looking for homes. A REALTOR® can help you determine the current market conditions.
- How quickly do you need to sell your home? Homes typically sell more quickly in a “seller’s market”, although well-priced homes can also sell quickly in a “buyer’s market” in certain cases.
- Seasons: The Spring season (March to May) is generally the busiest time of the year for the market, with the most sales. The Fall season (September to November) can also be busy. Holiday season (around Christmas time) and popular vacation times (July and August) are slower markets.
- If you’re also buying a home: If you are upsizing to a larger home during a hot market, price increases may make the price gap between your home and the properties that you are looking to buy larger. However, if you are downsizing to a smaller home during a hot market, price increases can help you make a larger profit on your current home.
- Buy first or sell first? If you choose to sell your home first, financing will likely be easier for your new home because you will have the sale proceeds readily available. However, if you find your new dream house before selling your old one, you may still be able to arrange “Bridge Financing” in the interim. This is when your lender (the bank) is confident your existing home will sell quickly, and they agree to lend you the down payment for your new dream home.
2. Find a REALTOR®
Choose a REALTOR® that will do the best job selling your home, not necessarily the one who provides the highest selling price quote. When choosing a REALTOR®, consider the following:
- Did you work with a REALTOR® before in buying your home? If the REALTOR® helped you to buy your home, they already know the home inside and out, which will help in your sale.
- Think locally. A REALTOR® that works and lives locally knows the market area of your home the best. At RE/MAX® LifeStyles Realty – Langley, our weekly office tours showcase your home to all of our REALTORS®, allowing them to see firsthand your home. We work together as a team to get your home sold!
- Branding/Brokerage. A REALTOR® that works for a well-established brokerage firm, such as RE/MAX® LifeStyles Realty – Langley will achieve the results that you are hoping for. Our market share speaks for itself, we sell X% of the homes in the Langley and Pitt Meadows area.
3. Sign a Listing Agreement
The “Listing Agreement” authorizes your REALTOR® and their brokerage to market and sell your home. This agreement serves three purposes:
- It defines your relationship with the REALTOR® and their brokerage (i.e., real estate company). Every detail of your work together, including the limits of your REALTOR’S® authority, will be clearly defined.
- It provides detailed information about the home. This information can then be placed on the board’s Multiple Listing Service®, to help potential buyers discover your home.
- It forms the basis for drafting offers on your home. Any formal offer on your home starts with the Listing Agreement.
Highlights of the Listing Agreement are:
- The legal relationship between you and the real estate brokerage, and it sets a time limit for the REALTOR® to sell your home.
- “Exclusive Listing” or “Multiple Listing”. A “Exclusive Listing” means that only your brokerage can find a buyer for your home. A”Multiple Listing” means that your home will be put on the “Multiple Listing Service®” and REALTORS® from other brokerages can find buyers for your home. REALTORS® generally recommend a “Multiple Listing”, which allows them to put your home on the Multiple Listing Service®.
- Selling price
- Real estate commission
- A physical description of your property
- Legal information of your property
- Financial information, such as the minimum deposit you require with any offers.
- Completion date.
- How the home will be shown.
- What exactly is included in the price.
- Completion of the Property Disclosure Statement, to accompany the listing agreement
At RE/MAX® LifeStyles Realty — Langley, we broker load your listing. Your property will appear on the MLS® usually on the same day that you complete your listing agreement. This puts your home on the “hot list” quickly, and allows a head start over homes where this service is not offered. We also have a virtual office which means that you are able to access all documents related to your property online, at any time.
4. Determine Your Home’s Asking Price
A REALTOR® will prepare a free comparative market analysis on your home. A “CMA” is based on recent sales and listings in the market that are similar to your property in terms of size, style and location. Your REALTOR® is experienced in the market conditions of your area and neighborhood to help you choose a competitive price for your home.
- You don’t want to set your price too low or too high.
- Setting too low a price means you could miss out on thousands of dollars that some buyer would have happily paid.
- Setting too high a price can scare away willing buyers and leave your home on the market for too long. Also, if you set your initial price too high, you may need to lower your price. When you lower the price, people may assume you are under pressure to sell, and lower their offers even further.
- Your goal is fair market value. “Market Value” is a term that simply means the maximum amount of money that interested buyers are willing to pay for your property.
5. Add a Lawyer or Notary to Your Team
You probably have worked with a lawyer or notary in the past. A lawyer/notary will handle all of the documents for the sale of your home, including the discharge of any mortgages that you may have on your property.
6. Prepare your home for sale
The way you live in a home and the way you sell a house are two different experiences. First of all, “declutter” your home. Too many “things” make it difficult for buyers to picture themselves in your home and can make your home seem smaller. However, don’t remove all items or it will look too “empty”. Clean all your rooms, especially the bathroom and kitchen.
Remember first impressions and “curb appeal”. Don’t forget the outside “curb appeal.” People driving by a property will judge it from outside appearances and make a decision then as to whether or not they want to see the inside. Sweep the sidewalk, mow the lawn, prune the bushes, weed the garden and clean debris from the yard. Clean the windows (both inside and out) and make sure the paint is not chipped or flaking. Also make sure that the doorbell works.
Should I make repairs?
- Minor repairs, such as painting before putting the house on the market may lead to a better sales price. Buyers often include a subject “inspection clause” in the purchase contract which allows then to back out if numerous defects are found. Once the problems are noted, buyers may attempt to negotiate repairs or lower the price with the seller. Any known problems that are not repaired must be disclosed on the property disclosure statement. You do not have to repair the problem, only reveal it and the house should be appropriately priced for that defect.
- Major repairs, such as replacing single pane windows with double pane windows may not be cost effective. Consider the potential return on the outlay you are planning, if the repair will not significantly increase the sale price of your home then it is not worth pursuing. For more information, please visit the Home Improvement page on our website (link here) or contact one of our REALTORS®.
Property Disclosure Statement
As the seller you are required to disclose any major problems with your property. These items include but are not limited to: strata property fees; whether or not work done on the house meets local building codes and permit requirements; plumbing problems; roof problems. Be honest with your disclosure to avoid future lawsuits from upset buyers.
7. Let your REALTOR® Market Your Home
When selling your home, you can expect your RE/MAX® LifeStyles Realty — Langley REALTOR® to use some or all of the following marketing tools:
- The “For Sale” Sign
- Print media
- The MLS®
- Personal Websites
- Brokerage Website
- RE/MAX Websites
- Sphere of influence (friends, other clients, etc.)
- Social media
- Multimedia techniques (virtual tours etc.)
- Open houses
- Office tours
- MLS® tours
- Newspaper/magazine advertising
You can help this “marketing process” by keeping your home clean and cluttered and being flexible about the timing and lengths of showings.
If a home is not getting the activity it needs in order to sell, it is probably overpriced for the current market. The first step is to lower the price. You may also want to go through the house and see if there are any cosmetic defects (e.g., peeling paint) that you can repair cost-effectively.
It is also important for your home to get proper exposure through Multiple Listing Service® listing, open houses, the internet and other forms of advertising.
If the market conditions in general are difficult (e.g., buyers market), you can also remove your home from the market and wait for overall housing conditions to improve and catch up to the price you are asking.
Sellers who have no equity and are forced to sell because of a long term illness, divorce or financial considerations should discuss a short sale with their mortgage lender and their REALTOR®. A short sale is when the seller finds a buyer for a price that is below the mortgage amount and negotiates the difference with the lender.
8. Prepare your finances
A REALTOR® will prepare a net sheet for you. A net sheet is an estimate of the approximate amount of proceeds that you will receive from the sale of your home at closing. The actual amount of the proceeds will be calculated at your lawyer’s office at the time of close.
Some of the factors related to sale proceeds include:
- The amount of your existing mortgage payment remaining, including any penalties.
- Property taxes, special levies, and other items owed.
- REALTOR® fees.
In most cases, the net proceeds will be positive. However, in some cases, the proceeds are negative (i.e., the mortgage value is greater than the value of the home). This is also called a “short sale”. If a hardship exists (e.g., due to illness), then sometimes home owners can negotiate with lenders and split the difference between the sale price and loan amount, which still must be paid. A short sale can be a complicated process.
9. Receive an offer
Receiving an offer can be exciting, but the handling of the offer by you and your REALTOR® must be done carefully. This is what you can expect:
- You will be presented with an offer by your REALTOR® from a perspective buyer.
- When the offer is presented you will have the opportunity to:
- Accept the offer
- Reject the offer
- Counter the offer
- Upon acceptance of the offer, there still be maybe subjects/conditions that need to be satisfied (e.g., inspections). Once the subjects are satisfied and your Brokerage has taken the deposit from the buyer, the sale is said to be firm.
- Your REALTOR® will then ensure that the appropriate documentation is provided to your lawyer for the completion of your sell.
What is in an offer?
- Accepted offer: You agree to the sell price, closing dates and conditions of the offer.
- Rejected offer: The offer was too far away from you asking price, or the conditions were unacceptable to you.
- Counter offer: You are close to an agreement, but maybe the price is still not quite what you wanted, or the closing dates are not convenient, or the conditions of the offer are too stringent. A counter offer may go back and forth several times, before it is accepted or it completely lapses.
RE/MAX® LifeStyles Realty — Langley REALTORs® are experienced negotiators who will act on your behalf to help you to achieve the best possible price for your home.
10. Close the deal
You now have an accepted offer, and a legally binding agreement. Your home is not quite sold yet, it still must go through the process known as “closing” to complete the transaction. This part though is handled by the professionals. So what happens, and what do you have to do?
To close your property:
- Inform your lawyer that you have sold your home.
- Inform your REALTOR® who your lawyer is (that’s it!)
- Your REALTOR® and their brokerage will handle all the documentation between you, your lawyer and the buyer’s lawyer. Processes handled during this process include the close of your property, payout of any obligations and the final registration of transfer of title.
- Satisfy any conditions or subjects to the sale that require action on your part.
Get ready to move!
- Notify your utility companies
- Inform your insurance company
- Prepare an address change with Canada Post
- Hire a mover, or rent a truck
Congratulations! You have sold your home, (with a little help from us)!
For more information, call us at 604-466-2838.