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The Home Sellers’ Guide

When it comes time to sell a home, the list of things to consider can get quite long. Do you want to use a real estate agent or not? How much do you list your house for? Is it best to wait until you’ve found a new home before selling your old one?

Not to mention all the contracts, home inspections, and open houses to wade through. Selling on your own is a whole other challenge, particularly when the market favours the buyer. With a real estate professional, there’s someone to pave the way through all those challenges—someone who can get you the best price for your home while doing all the heavy lifting.

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1. Why Choose A Real Estate Professional

When you have decided to buy or sell a home, the services of a qualified real estate professional are of utmost importance.The ideal sales agent will have a good working knowledge of local real estate market conditions, be prepared to deliver a high standard of service to customers, and have the support of a large real estate company. Most importantly, a good agent will save you time and money.

Here are the advantages of working with an agent:

When selling a house

  • An agent knows real estate values in your neighbourhood and will help set an agreeable and competitive price on your home.
  • An agent will establish a marketing strategy for your home ensuring that your property is exposed to scores of potential buyers.
  • An agent takes care of the many tasks involved in selling a house (from placing your listing to putting up the for sale sign). This ensures that the transaction is simple and low-stress for you.
  • An agent is an expert in the home selling process and as such will advise you of your rights, options and obligations.
  • An agent is an experienced negotiator and will work for to get you the best price possible price

2. How to Set the Listing Price

Setting the list price for your home involves evaluating various market conditions and financial factors. During this phase of the home selling process, I will help you set your list price based on:

  • pricing considerations
  • comparable sales
  • market conditions
  • offering incentives
  • estimated net proceeds

When setting a list price for your home, you should be aware of a buyer’s frame of mind. Consider the following pricing factors:

If you set the price too high, your house won’t be picked for viewing, even though it may be much nicer than other homes on the street. You may say, “Bring me any offer. Frankly, I’d take less.”  But compared to other houses for sale, your home simply looks too expensive to be considered.

If you price too low, you’ll short-change yourself. Your house will sell promptly, yes, but you may make less on the sale than if you had set a higher price and waited for a buyer who was willing to pay it.  For the hot/normal market, it could be another marketing strategies to create multiple offer situation, that may possibly eventually sell higher than the offer price, even the market price due to competition.

TIP: Never say “asking” price, which implies you don’t expect to get it.

No matter how attractive and polished your house is, buyers will be comparing its price with everything else on the market.

Your best guide is a record of what the buying public has been willing to pay in the past few months for property in your neighborhood. I can furnish data on sales figures for those comparable sales and analyze them to help you come up with a suggested listing price. The decision about how much to ask, though, is always yours.

Competitive Market Analysis (CMA): The list of comparable sales I brings to you, along with data about other houses in your neighborhood that are presently on the market, is used for a “Comparative Market Analysis” (CMA). To help in estimating a possible sales price for your house, the analysis will also include data on nearby houses that failed to sell in the past few months, along with their list prices.

A CMA often includes a Days on the Market (DOM) value for each comparable house sold. When real estate is booming and prices are rising, houses may sell in a few days. Conversely, when the market slows down, average DOM can run into many months.

I can tell you whether your area is currently in a buyer’s market or a seller’s market. In a seller’s market, you can price a bit beyond what you really expect, just to see what the reaction will be. In a buyer’s market, if you really need to sell promptly, offer an attractive bargain price.

Some sellers list at the rock-bottom price they’d really take, because they hate bargaining. Others add on thousands to the estimated market value “just to see what happens.” If you want to try that, and if you have the luxury of enough time to feel out the market, sit down with me and work out an advance schedule for lowering the price if need be.

If there haven’t been many prospects viewing your home after three weeks, you may need to lower your list price. If that doesn’t bring any prospective buyers, you may need to lower your list price again. Plan on doing that regularly until you find a level that attracts buyers. Make a written schedule in advance, before emotion takes over and you’re tempted to dig your heels in.

Sometimes cash incentives are as effective as lowering the price, especially in the lower price range where buyers may be “cash poor.” You may offer to pay some or all of a buyer’s closing costs and discount points required by the buyer’s lending institution.

If you haven’t had much traffic through your house and you’re in a hurry to sell, you may want to add the offer of a bonus to the selling broker, in addition to their commission. An example of the wording for such an offer may be “to the broker who brings a successful offer before Christmas.”

Once you’ve been given an estimate of market value by me, you can get a rough idea of how much cash you might walk away with when the sale is completed. This can be particularly useful when you start looking for another home to buy.

To estimate your net proceeds, from the estimated sales amount, subtract the applicable costs in the three sections outlined below: seller’s costs, buyer’s/seller’s costs and closing costs.

Seller’s Costs: Subtract the following costs as applicable.

  • payoff figure on your present loan(s)
  • broker’s commission
  • prepayment penalty on your mortgage
  • attorney’s fees
  • unpaid property taxes

This is where an agent comes into play. We know how to look into these questions to determine the price, particularly by looking at your financial needs, carrying out a comparative market analysis (CMA), and factoring in renovations and upgrades. We can look at your home through an objective lens and evaluate it based on our wealth of experience in the Edmonton real estate market. As agents, we keep our eyes on the market every day, so we know which little details will impact the value of your home.

Want to get a leg up on determining your home’s worth? Use our

Free Home Evaluation Tool
 today to get a free comparative market analysis.

3. How To Market Your Home

When real estate markets transition from seller’s to buyer’s markets, agents tend to put a lot more money and work into selling listings. However, I believe that employing strong marketing techniques is just smart business, regardless. In seller’s markets, good marketing can bring higher prices and, in buyer’s markets, it could mean the difference between sold or expired. Good marketing might not sell your house, but it will make the phone ring. Because if buyers don’t call, you won’t sell.

We’ve all heard about how “bad” the real estate market is. But what’s bad for sellers can be good for buyers, and these days, savvy buyers are out in spades trying to take advantage of the buyer’s market. Here are 13 thing you can do to help sell your house.

1. Audit your agent’s online marketing. 92% of homebuyers start their house hunt online, and they will never even get in the car to come see your home if the online listings aren’t compelling. In real estate, compelling means pictures! A study by Trulia.com shows that listings with more than 6 pictures are twice as likely to be viewed by buyers as listings that had fewer than 6 pictures.

2. Post a video love letter about your home on YouTube. Get a $125 FlipCam and walk through your home AND your neighborhood, telling prospective buyers about the best bits – what your family loved about the house, your favorite bakery or coffee shop that you frequented on Saturday mornings, etc. Buyers like to know that a home was well-loved, and it helps them visualize living a great life there, too.

3. Let your neighbors choose their neighbors. If you belong to neighborhood online message boards or email lists, send a link to your home’s online listing to your neighbors. Also, invite your neighbors to your open house – turn it into a block party. That creates opportunities for your neighbors to sell the neighborhood to prospective buyers and for your neighbors to invite house hunters they know who have always wanted to live in the area.

4. Facebook your home’s listing. Facebook is the great connector of people these days. If you have 200 friends and they each have 200 friends, imagine the power of that network in getting the word out about your house!

5. Leave some good stuff behind. We’ve all heard about closing cost credits, but those are almost so common now that buyers expect them – they don’t really distinguish your house from any of the other homes on the market anymore. What can distinguish your home is leaving behind some of your personal property, ideally items that are above and beyond what the average homebuyer in your home’s price range would be able to afford. That may be stainless steel kitchen appliances or a plasma screen TV, or it might be a golf cart if your home is on a golf course.

6. Beat the competition with condition. In many markets, much of the competition is low-priced foreclosures and short sales. As an individual homeowner, the way you can compete is on condition. Consider having a termite inspection in advance of listing your home, and get as many of the repairs done as you can – it’s a major selling point to be able to advertise a very low or non-existent pest repair bill. Also, make sure that the little nicks and scratches, doorknobs that don’t work, and wonky handles are all repaired before you start showing your home.

7. Stage the exterior of your home too. Stage the exterior with fresh paint, immaculate landscaping and even outdoor furniture to set up a Sunday brunch on the deck vignette. Buyers often fantasize about enjoying their backyards by entertaining and spending time outside.

8. Access is essential. Homes that don’t get shown don’t get sold. And many foreclosures and short sale listings are vacant, so they can be shown anytime. Don’t make it difficult for agents to get their clients into your home – if they have to make appointments way in advance, or can only show it during a very restrictive time frame, they will likely just cross your place off the list and go show the places that are easy to get into.

9. Get real about pricing. Today’s buyers are very educated about the comparable sales in the area, which heavily influence the fair market value of your home. And they also know that they’re in the driver’s seat. To make your home competitive, have your broker or agent get you the sales prices of the three most similar homes that have sold in your area in the last month or so, then try to go 10-15% below that when you set your home’s list price. The homes that look like a great deal are the ones that get the most visits from buyers and, on occasion even receive multiple offers. (Bidding wars do still exist!)

10. Get clued into your competition. Work with your broker or agent to get educated about the price, type of sale and condition of the other homes your home is up against. Attend some open houses in your area and do a real estate reality check: know that buyers that see your home will see those homes, too – make sure the real-time comparison will come out in your home’s favor by ensuring the condition of your home is up to par.

11. De-personalize. Do this – pretend you’re moving out. Take all the things that make your home “your” personal sanctuary (e.g., family photos, religious décor and kitschy memorabilia), pack them up and put them in storage. Buyers want to visualize your house being their house – and it’s difficult for them to do that with all your personal items marking the territory as yours.

12. De-clutter. Keep the faux-moving in motion. Pack up all your tchotchkes, anything that is sitting on top of a countertop, table or other flat surfaces. Anything that you haven’t used in at least a year? That goes, too. Give away what you can, throw away as much as possible of what remains, and then pack the rest to get it ready to move.

13. Listen to your agent. If you find an experienced real estate agent to list your home, who has a successful track record of selling homes in your area, listen to their recommendations! Find an agent you trust and follow their advice as often as you can.

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4. How To Negotiate The Sale

Now that you’ve enticed a buyer, you’ll need to negotiate the offer of purchase. Not only will you need to consider the final sale price, but you’ll also need to give special consideration to the contingencies. If you’ve chosen to sell on your own, take a good look at the purchase offer. If you have even the smallest doubt, consult a real estate lawyer prior to signing.

This is where a real estate agent can be an essential asset in the process of selling your home. We can suggest which contingencies to take and which to turn down, as well as provide advice on adding your own contingencies. We want the offer to benefit you.

5. Where To Go Next

Closing the sale doesn’t mean it’s all over just yet. We’re more than happy to recommend professionals, such as moving companies, to help make your move easier. And if you’re ready to venture into new real estate territory, we’ll be there to help you buy your next home.