You might have questions like, What’s my home worth? Should I use an agent, Realtor or go at it alone? What can I do to make my home as attractive as possible? What is the current market like? And of course, the big one: How do I get the most for my home?
The best way to start answering those questions is to be informed. If I’ve done my job right, then this guide should
A) give you answers to many of those questions and
B) make you feel a lot more confident about the whole process.
Choosing a REALTOR in Vancouver
Most sellers use a real estate agent. You certainly don’t have to, but there are good reasons why majority of sellers do:
1. Pricing is a real art.
The biggest factor in determining how quickly your home sells is the price, and deciding that price is trickier than it seems. It takes experience and even 1% more for your home can mean thousands to your bottom line. To analyze, it takes few hours to review all charts and data, comparable, and area trends based on Hope Price Index, Benchmark evaluation, and Median and average sale price. It is also important to navigate all these facts based on the market trend, whether sellers or buyer’s market. As an experienced Vancouver realtor, I’d guide you through all this information for you to make an educated decision on the most important factor of selling your property in Vancouver, “The Price”.
2. Negotiating is hard.
Not just hard to do, but it can feel uncomfortable. If you want someone to negotiate fearlessly on your behalf, you need an agent. As a seller you’re emotionally attached to your home and it is personal and territorial. Negotiation is not only based on the price, but reviewing the offer, you’d have to make sure all subjects and condition of the offer received, is suitable and to your benefit. Let’s not forget the date on the closing and length of subject removals. Let your realtor negotiate it to your terms and keeps you informed of the ambiance of negotiation.
3. Marketing is more than MLS.
To get the most for your home, you need as many buyers interested as possible. 82% of real estate sales are the result of agent contacts. When it comes to selling your home, every 1% counts. Placing a “For Sale Sign” by the agent is 15% possibility of selling your home. Open house is 30% chance. Placing your feature sheet behind the office window, is 1%, but even that 1% can be 1 qualified buyer. At Re/Max, I have a global network in addition to our local market. My guidance of how to expose and market your home is extremely valuable and exposes your property to the most potential Vancouver real estate buyers.
4. Showings and paperwork are a pain.
There’s more to the legal side of a home sale than you might think. The paperwork and making sure how to present your home legally, can be costly. Not only for its preparation, but if it is not done right, the consequence can leave thousands of dollars in home value, in table. Showing your own home is not only awkward, it can really complicate your schedule. Let your agent manage all these and coordinate with your schedule.
An agent takes away the burden of all these things, and works to get your home sold for the best price in the fastest time. After all—you’ve got a life to live.
Price right to profit more
Setting the price for your home is challenging. Too low, and you leave money on the table. Too high, and you scare away buyers to other properties. To complicate all this, your home is an emotional asset—it’s hard to see it objectively.
To find the optimal price—one that maximizes the sale price and minimizes the time it takes to sell—requires strategic thinking.
Pricing is something agents spend their careers refining and mastering. They combine intimate local and national market knowledge, an exhaustive study of similar homes for sale, and an analysis of past sales to come up with the optimal list price. And then they combine that with your unique needs to pick a price that fits you.
It’s no easy task, but it’s a critical one. Pricing your home right the first time results in more exposure, more showings, more offers, and ultimately, the highest price for your home.
If you want to get as much for your home as possible within a reasonable time frame, you need to get the price right.
First, it is important to understand that only the market can determine the ultimate value of your home. That said, choosing the optimal list price is essential to maximizing your home’s value. If you price too low, you risk not getting as much as you can for your property, but price too high and you risk losing potential buyers who may think your property is out of their price range and you help your competition sell faster.
As your chosen realtor, I have all the tools to guide you, including the buyer sale ratio percentage, that shows even $5,000 in price difference, may result in losing a great niche market.
Prepare to amaze
After price, the condition of your home is the single biggest factor determining how fast—and for how much—your home sells.
REALTORS® repeatedly find that people can’t visualize the potential of a home. They have to see it. That means that how your home shows now is how people see themselves in it. They can’t see past the chips, leaks, clutter and stains—in fact, they tend to focus even more on those things.
Luckily, you can dramatically improve how your home sells with few quick steps:
- Clean. Inside and out. It matters a lot.
- Make minor repairs. Chipped paint, cracked tiles, squeaky hinges, leaky faucets. Fix everything you can.
- Consider staging. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, staged homes sell 49% faster, and for 7-11% more money.
- Clean again. Really. It’s that important.
Sound overwhelming? You don’t need to do it overnight, break it down into just one small task a day. Think of it this way: everything you remove from the house, clean or repair puts money in your pocket. You’re getting paid to do it!
In addition, I have a great experience in how to rearrange, and set up your furniture to open up its layout (expand the square footage) and makes it more buyer friendly. You can count on me to provide you with full guidance of what we need to do to make your home buyer’s ready.
Maximize exposure to buyers
Once you’ve found a price for your home and put it in showroom condition, there’s one more critical piece of the puzzle before buyers begin flocking in to see your masterpiece: getting their attention.
Getting the word out about your home matters for two critical reasons. First, buyers can’t be interested if they don’t know your home exists. But more important still, the more buyers you have interested in your home, the higher the potential sale price, and the faster the sale.
Marketing your home to the biggest audience possible takes more than a sign on the front lawn. The best and fastest home sales use a combination of many of the following:
- MLS Listing. The largest online database of available real estate.
- Video Tour. A behind-the-scenes, online look at your home and neighborhood.
- Property Website. Your home’s very own website with all the info a buyer needs.
- Online Exposure on nationally ranked real estate websites. From my background in IT and technology, my main focus is online marketing as 90% of buyers search online to find properties for sale in Vancouver. Based on this fact, your house will be exposed on more than 5000 websites cross board including all other active Vancouver realtor’s personal webpages as reciprocity for additional exposure. Let’s not forget I also have your property exposed in all major ranked sites where every international buyer peeks through.
- Proactive Prospecting. Reaching out directly to people who might be interested.
- 24/7 Direct-to-Text Ads. Instant access to property details right from the “for sale sign”.
- Property Brochures. extraordinary photos, vibrant descriptions in professional take away form. This is one of the most marketing aspect that many miss. Every home has a story. It is best to outline its beauty through spectacular photos that bring its every detail and highlights its attraction. Hiring a professional photographer is costly, but I’m known for this free service despite of the property type and price. Every home is a castle and I’d market it to its extreme.
- 24-Hour Online Ads. On major online sites from Craigslist to Kijji, and usevancouver,com
- Print Marketing. Print ads, just listed cards and more. I must declare, I’m not a believer of off line and paper ads. In our day and age of technology, these are obsolete and a non-necessary practice. You want someone like me for the majority of buyers focus and that is online. Welcome to the new world of technology:
- Social Media. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ and more and these platforms are the ones going to place your home right in front of a potential buyer.
Show it off
As interest in your home rises, so will interest in seeing the real thing. It’s time to show off your masterpiece to prospective buyers.
A REALTOR® will take care of almost all of the details, but here are a few tips to maximize the showing experience.
- You should leave. Buyers want to be able to look around and discuss your home candidly. They won’t be comfortable if you’re there and won’t be able to make honest commentary. Your realtor will provide you with their showing feedback.
- In addition to the usual tidying, make sure your home is inviting. Turn up/down the temperature. Leave the lights on. Open the blinds where appropriate. Leave inside doors open or slightly ajar. Try avoid cooking when you have a showing scheduled, unless you’re baking a cookie
- Leave out any additional information that’s helpful—property brochures, floor plans, zoning type, title, permits, survey certificate, and house feature sheets.
- Be as flexible as you can—try to accommodate the buyer’s schedule. As a realtor, I always coordinate with my seller clients and provide an ample notice time for showings. However, there also last minute requests, which those are the ones that most often brings an offer. It is important to accommodate. If you have rental property or part of your home is rented, it is challenging for the last minute showings as it requires minimum of 24 hrs. But most times, tenants are extremely commendable and as a realtor I always offer them a gift to show our gratitude for their help.
Negotiate like a master
Now this is where things get exciting. You’ve got an offer or maybe two or three at once! In most cases, your home’s list price won’t be the selling price. When it comes to settling on that final magic number, you’re going be negotiating. That’s something your REALTOR® is an expert at, but here are some key strategies for owners:
It’s a conversation. Don’t be offended by low offers and conditions. No one is forcing you to accept them. Think of it as a starting point to have a conversation.
Always counteroffer. Momentum matters. Just the act of moving a deal forward helps make the deal happen. Every offer is valuable. If its low, don’t take it personal and instead let me as your real estate agent to go back and deal with it. I always advise my seller clients not to dismiss or ignore a lowball offer. Always counter.
Price isn’t the only thing. You can negotiate on price, offer conditions, assets in the home. Don’t get stuck on one thing. It’s best to see the big picture.
Remember, even 1% more for your home can mean thousands to your bottom line.
The buyer provides a deposit check to be held in trust at the time when all buyer’s conditions are met. This can be 7-10 business day for buyers to perform and satisfy all the subjects. In most practices in Vancouver the deposit is due 1-2 business day after all subjects are removed. The conditions usually have a set time for removal, and usually include things like an inspection, financing review of all tile, disclosures and other documents.
Once the conditions are met, the buyer signs a waiver known as “subject removal form” and the deal is firm. If you’ve completed all these steps, then you are a successful home seller. At this time as your realtor, proudly, place a “SOLD” sign on your “for sale sign” post. This is my most favorite time and joyful moment for my career.
Calculate your net proceed
Now how much do you get to keep? There are a number of closing costs to consider.
Legal Fees. Lawyer’s fees vary, but often have structured fees for the purchase and sale of homes posted on their websites. Sellers pay in the area of $1000 for a lawyer to look after the legal details necessary to close their home.
Mortgage Fees. Check with your mortgage lender to determine if any costs will occur when transferring or releasing your mortgage. There is sometimes what is referred to as a discharge fee to remove the mortgage from title that can range from $100 to $250.
Disbursements. These fees cover additional legal expenses such as travel, copies, couriers, registration fees and preparing document transfers. Disbursements can range upwards of $500, but can sometimes be built into your legal fees.
Adjustments. It’s difficult for a home seller to calculate exactly how much money is owed to which utilities on closing day. Your lawyer will ensure that any overpayments or deficiencies on rents, mortgage interest, property tax and utility charges will be corrected, and the buyer and seller will be credited or charged accordingly.
Moving Costs. Moving costs vary based on location and the amount of possessions being moved. If you’re moving yourself, you should factor gas, rental vehicles and moving supplies.
I also will provide another detailed article on seller’s expenses, but to mention also the sellers are the cost bearer of the commission paid to the realtor’s brokerage. This commission goes 4 ways. The seller’s brokerage, The seller’s Realtor, The buyer’s brokerage, and lastly the buyer’s agent. The total percentage of the commission to be paid is agreed with your realtor at the very beginning when signing a listing agreement. The BCREA has introduced a new regulation as of March 15th, that all agents are required to disclose the total commission cost to the seller, for every offer and counter offer. This can help the seller to determine their bottom-line.
Prepare to give the key
This is a farewell day to your property. I didn’t call it “your home” since it is a sold property and now is someone else’s. The last step is to clear all belongings, and do an overall cleaning, preparing the property for the buyers to move in. This is another important steps mostly missed. The buyers expect a ready to move in and a clean property. This is the seller’s responsibility, making sure the home is free of any of their belonging (unless agreed in the contract), and is professionally cleaned.
If it is a condo or strata, it is advisable to book a moving out and reserve the elevator to do so. Sellers can move out in the completion date of the contract (Closing date) and the buyers move in on the possession date which is usually a day after closing. This is a great practice to provide both side parties to prepare move-in and out and for their schedule not to collide. As your realtor, I will do a final walk-through with you and making sure all list is check marked. Then I obtain the keys to be given to the buyer agent at the time the title is transferred and you got paid.
Congrats. You’ve done it. This was a heavy lifting, and I’m glad I could help.
Have any questions? Contact me direct. I’d be happy to help.