My Message And Commitment To Sellers
Home sellers who work with a dedicated agent to put together a targeted marketing plan are much more likely to sell their home for more money in less time. The resale of your home is likely going to be the largest single financial transaction of your life, and I’m here to help you make the most of it. Your home has built wealth, stature, and security for you and your family, and it is my goal to guide you through the process of continuing that trend. I will strive to ensure that your experience is both enjoyable and rewarding, and think you’ll find I offer a tremendous value proposition. Let’s get started!
Best regards, Peter.
“Always The Right Move”
Deciding To Sell Your Home
Whether you are selling a home for the first time or have done it many times, there are always several considerations to take when making the decision. Perhaps the family is growing, you need to downsize, or you’re moving for work or getting closer to family or friends. Maybe your equity is needed for other investment purposes. Whatever the reason, you should discuss the situation with all involved and make sure it’s being done for the greater good, and for the right reasons.
What is your biggest motivation to sell your home? __________________________________________
The One Decision Is Actually Three
OK, you’ve decided to sell your home. Before making the full commitment however, you need to know exactly where you’re going. After all, you have to live somewhere, and you have to make sure you find something very soon after you move out. It is possible to find interim accommodation, but it’s not ideal, it can be costly, and it adds an element of stress that should be avoided if at all possible. There is a great amount of detail for buying your next home in the “Home Buyers Kit”, so please refer to it as well if that is the case. Either way whether you’re buying next or renting, you need to determine now where you are moving to, and by when you need to be there.
I want to move to_____________________________________________________________
I want to be in my new home by__________________________________________________
What Can I Get For My Home?
In the previous section you figured out where you want to live, now it’s time to figure out where you can afford to live. The unfortunately reality sometimes is that we cannot afford what we want, but with good profession help, you might be surprised at what can be achieved. The pinnacle of most real estate experiences is when dreams can be turned in to realities.
The Value Of Your Home
The best place to start is by doing some research on your own to get an idea of what your current home is worth. You can gain some appreciation by looking at your latest property tax assessment, or surfing the listings of similar homes for sale in your area. Keep in mind that this will only provide a rough idea about the value of your home, but it’s a good measure of your expectations.
I estimate the value of my home to be $______________________________________________
The Competitive Market Analysis
Something is only truly worth what someone else is willing to pay for it. For several reasons, the prices that homes are actually trading for are not made known to the general public in a way that they can be easily found. A professionally trained real estate agent however has access to this information and can conduct a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) on your home. Research is done on recent market trends, market activity in your neighbourhood, long term outside forces that my affect the value of homes in the area, what prices homes are coming on and off the market with, and the most important factor of all, what similar homes have actually sold for in your area. CMA’s are provided free of charge with no obligation and are essential in the home selling process. A poorly conducted or nonexistent CMA can result in missing out on thousands of dollars, or worse yet, not being able to sell and move in the time frame that’s needed. A professionally done quality CMA should be a comprehensive document which also provides detailed information about the factors in selling your home, how to select the right REALTOR®, and how to prepare your home for sale to get the highest price in the shortest amount of time.
I have had a professional CMA conducted and fair market value of my home is $____________________
The Fees and Expenses
The largest fee associated with selling your home is usually the commission that the seller agrees to pay the brokerage firm when the house sells. Marketing a home takes considerable upfront investment, a lot of which is made personally by the real estate agent you are working with. As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. Don’t make a decision based on the commission rates charged, but the complete bundle of services, marketing, and exposure you are getting in exchange for the commission. Take a hard look at the marketing plan offered to you in exchange for the commission, and also see if it’s comparable in your area. Use the “Triple Play Marketing Plan” I offer as a guide of what to expect. Generally speaking though, full service from a full service brokerage, requires full commission. Below are some of the other expenses sellers can expect:
- lawyer or notary fees to execute documents can start at around $1000
- any mortgage pre-payment penalties that may exist on your existing mortgage
- real estate commission plus GST
- mortgage discharge fees
The real estate agent I selected charges commission of __________________________________
I have contacted and retained legal services from________________________________________
Listing Your Home
Everything is in order and it’s time to put your home on the market. Hopefully by now you’ve found a really great real estate agent to work with and they will guide you effortlessly through the forms and contracts required to start the process. You can expect to be asked to sign forms acknowledging your working relationship with a real estate agent, forms to prove your identity, data entry sheets for the MLS system, property disclosure statements, but most important the listing agreement.
The Listing Agreement
Listing agreements are usually 3-6 months in duration, but that can vary depending upon the nature of the market. In hot markets less time is usually required, and in soft markets sometimes longer is required. It also depends on how much upfront investment your agent is making to market you home and how much you hope to sell it for. The larger the marketing plan and higher your price expectations, the longer the listing agreement will usually be. The other information in the listing agreement covers the details of the property being sold, the list price, the commission rate, the rate split to an agent representing a buyer, and a commitment of services provided by the listing brokerage.
The Property Disclosure Statement (PDS)
Before the house hits the market, you as the seller are asked to disclose any known defects to the property. This is to protect both buyer and seller so that there will be no foreseeable surprises in the future. Anything in regards to defects with the home, services, land, or permits, can often result in lengthy and costly court proceedings if they were known to exist prior to the sale of the home and not revealed. No matter what the situation is, you can protect yourself and all involved by one simple rule of thumb, Disclose, disclose, disclose. As long as everyone knows, it’s not a problem. The list of items required to comment on in the PDS is quite lengthy, but for the most part it concentrates on any issues and defects to the physical structure and systems of the home. Your real estate agent will guide you through this form.
Getting Ready To Show Your Home
Your agent will take care of most all of the marketing details required to sell your home. They will take professional quality pictures, and virtual tours. They will prepare take measures and write descriptive advertising copy about your home. All the information will be uploaded to the internet and made available to the buying public through various forms of print media. A for sale sign will grace your front lawn for all to see. Last but not least, your agent will coordinate with you showings of your home. The question is, are you ready?
The Preparation Is Key
Prospective buyers don’t expect everything in a house to be perfect, but the more appealing you make your house, the faster your house will sell and for more money. Keep the overall perception of you property positive and remember that the more you put in, the more you will get out. As overwhelming as some tasks might seem, always remember that there are professionals that your real estate agent can recommend to help out in several areas if you require it. Some general things to check off your list include:
- Clean your home from top to bottom including bathrooms appliances and carpets
- Put subtle deodorizers in each room
- Fill in cracks or holes in walls and ceilings
- Re-paint, re-wallpaper, or touch up, as necessary
- Wash off any dirt or mold – use a power washer, if necessary
- Apply a fresh coat of paint, if necessary
- Fill in any obvious holes or cracks
- Wash the windows
- Clean the front door, walls, porches, decks, and patios, and make sure they’re free from clutter
- Fix broken screens, lamps, etc. & replace light bulbs, as necessary
- Check gutters and downspouts to make sure they are clear and functioning properly
- Landscaping and mowing as required
- Add a few colourful plants to make the place seem livelier
- Put all valuables in a safe place
- Pre-pack and store anything you don’t need – including trinkets
- Does your home give a ‘welcome’ appearance?
Now that your home is in the shape you want it to be, showing it off is the key to selling it. Very rarely does anyone buy anything sight unseen, and your home is no exception. The nature of showing homes is that they can be somewhat disruptive to your daily routine, as it’s customary for the seller to vacate during a showing. Buyers feel much more comfortable discussing with each other and their buyers agent things about your home when the owner isn’t around.
Be patient and cooperative during this showing cycle as the more accommodating you are, the more people can view your home and the greater the likelihood of attracting a buyer sooner. Along with showing to the general public, all other agents in the office you listed with will be invited to see your home as part of a regularly scheduled office home tour. Your agent will notify and schedule this with you. Throughout this process your agent will keep you informed as to what the number of showings and what the feedback on your home has been.
Someone Loves Your Home As Much As You Do
And then it happens, someone who’s seen your home puts in an offer. Again you turn to your real estate agent to walk you through the stages of negotiating with your best interest in mind.
The Offers That Are Presented
Offers are legally binding contracts detailing what you are willing to accept in exchange for turning over possession of your home. While this may be a daunting and stressful experience to go through alone, this again is another way in which your agent’s experience and advise will make the most of the current market situation and make it work for you. Make sure you and your agent are clear on the strategy you are going to use when receiving offers, as there are upsides and downsides to the different ways of handling them. Your motives, time lines, emotional attachment to the home, and market conditions, and possibility of multiple offers will dictate what strategy is best for you.
Be prepared for some negotiating back and forth. Most often negotiations are done between the buyer’s agent and seller’s agent, but they are of course based on direction that you the seller give. For the most part this is why you have hired a professional, to negotiate the best deal possible and keep your best interests represented. It is quite common for offers to be rejected and countered, and this process continues until one party either accepts an offer, or quits negotiating and walks away. Keep in mind that it’s the perception of your ability to reject an offer that gives you a position of strength and power when negotiating.
The details of the offers you receive will be determined by the specifics of your home and the personal situation of each individual buyer making the offer. You will have to carefully determine the price you are willing to accept, how much of a deposit is on the table, any extras that are being asked for, the closing and possession dates, and any conditions to the offer.
Conditions or subjects are there to protect the best interests of the parties to a contract, but the majority are for the buyer. From the seller’s perspective, conditions are a request for you to temporarily take your home off the market for a certain period of time while the buyer looks in to certain things. The more common subjects used are, the buyer securing financing, obtaining house and title insurance, having a site survey reviewed, reviewing the property disclosure information, and completing a home inspection. Again, your agent will advise if the conditions are reasonable to accept or not. If you do accept the offer and all its conditions you allow the buyer the time, usually a couple weeks, to remove them. Sometimes conditions don’t get removed and deals fall apart. Everyone tries their best to avoid this from happening, but from time to time it does. However, once a buyer is satisfied and all the conditions of an offer are removed, you just sold your house. Congratulations!
Often times there is a lag time between the acceptance of an offer and actual change of possession of the home you just sold. This is purposely done for the benefit of all involved to allow for the logistics and preparation behind your move to take place, both physically and on paper. During this time there is a lot going on both in the forefront and behind the scenes. You will meet with your conveyancing lawyer to discuss details of the title transfer and any tax issues. You’ve made arrangement to cut off the cable, phone, and other utilities. You’ve started cleaning and packing….
The Big Day
It’s the big day, the day on which all the legal and financial arrangements set out in the offer are fulfilled by the lawyers and financial institutions. Your lawyer receives your money, the home gets transferred out of your name, and your real estate agent picks up the keys from you. It’s been a good home filled with great times and memories, a home that will serve its new owners well. Now it’s on to your new residence, to build some more great memories in a place that you will soon too call home.