Home Selling Tips

Transaction and Paperwork Tips

SOLD

  • Pricing Strategy

    Most people tend to overprice their homes thinking they have room to negotiate down to what they're willing to accept. This usually results in little or no interest from today's educated buyers. The best strategy is to be realistic in terms of price. It's better to be the nicest home in the price range than the worst home in a higher price range.

  • Offers Date Strategy

    Having an offers date following a showing period is the best strategy to generate a potential bidding war as most buyers will write an offer at the same time therefore compete against each other. If no offers come in, asking for 24hrs for a response may give you some time for another offer to hopefully come in before you answer to the first one.

  • Sellers Property Disclosure Statement

    The standard offer to purchase now includes a clause that asks the sellers to provide a Property Disclosure Statement. A buyer may back out of the deal if that statement reveals things the buyer does not agree with. If you're going to provide one, might as well make it available before an offer is made so buyers already know its content.

  • Inclusions

    Sometimes buyers get tapped out by buying a home at the top of their budget. This means there's no money left for new appliances. In that situation most buyers would choose the home which includes all major appliances. Most typical inclusions are Fridge, Stove, Washer, Dryer, Dishwasher, Built-in Microwave, Garage Door Opener with Remotes, and Window Coverings/Blinds.

  • Exclusions

    It is best not to exclude any of the typical inclusions with the sale, but sometimes it may be inevitable due to sentimental value or other reasons. In those cases a specific exclusion should be made, though a better approach is to replace that item before going to market so you can keep the one you want without fear of alienating even one buyer.

  • Western Canadian Conveyancing Protocol

    Moving out of province and need the proceeds of sale right away rather than having to wait for the Land Titles Office typical 4-6 weeks to transfer title before you get your money? Negotiate that buyers close by 'Protocol' and get your money within days after possession. This can also be a throw away negotiating item to get a better price or better other terms.

  • Offers Subject to Financing -- Good or Bad?

    Scenario: Two offers come in at the same price. One is subject to financing, the other is a clean offer. Which is better? The one subject to financing may fall through if buyers don't qualify but you find out right away and you go back on the market right away. The other one may also not close but you won't find out until the possession day, but you keep the deposit. Which is better? Depends on the deposit.

  • Is The Highest Price The Best Offer To Accept In A Bidding War?

    This is entirely up to you. But what if the highest price beats the second best by $1000 yet it has a possession date of 90 days, while the second best offer has a possession date of 30 days? What if the highest offer has no conditions but they only put 5% down, while the second best put 20% down and is subject to financing? Not so clear cut anymore. Let me help so you can make the best decision.

  • Offers Subject To A Home Inspection

    Many sellers fear the home inspection clause because they think the inspector may find something even they didn't know about which may turn the buyers away. Most buyers are well educated and usually have an inspector confirm a potential problem rather than uncovering a new one. You can also have a home inspection done before going to market and disclose everything. Informed buyers don't back out.

  • Survey Certificate & Zoning Memorandum

    Do you still have the Survey Certificate and Zoning Memorandum from the time you bought your home? Make it available to the buyers so they have one less thing to worry about. It's a small gesture but it generates good will especially if you're still negotiating other terms.

  • Utility Bills

    Most buyers are pre-approved for a certain amount before making an offer on a house, but their main concern will still be their monthly budget. Knowing what they can expect to pay for their monthly utility bills can help buyers figure out the rest of their budget and whether they might be willing to increase their price in a bidding war scenario. This can back fire if your utility bills are higher than normal.

  • Time Kills Deals. Or Does It?

    The more time buyers have to think about the offer they just made on your house before they get a response, the more likely they are to experience buyers remorse and question whether they made the right choice. Unless there is a lot of interest in your home and you expect more offers to come in therefore making it advantageous to delay your response, always respond in a timely manner. Many negotiations fall apart due to too much time between counteroffers.

  • Homestead Act Consent To Sell By Spouse Not On Title

    If your spouse is not on title when you sell your home, you still need their consent to sell the house. There is a Homestead Act section in the offer to purchase where a spouse can relinquish their right in the homestead and consent to you selling the house. This is a sworn affidavit and can only be witnessed by a commissioner of oaths.

What you must know before selling a home to attract more buyers and get top dollar for your house,
 perhaps even a bidding war

Showing Condition of Your Home

  • Curb Appeal

    The first thing a buyer sees is the curb appeal of a home. More often than not, the very first photo buyers see of the front of the house will determine if they'll even check out the rest of the details of the listing. The key here is nice exterior facade, and clean, trim, mow, shovel, or rake the front yard depending on the season.

  • Fresh Paint

    A fresh coat of paint is the cheapest ways to improve the appeal of a home and it has the highest return on investment. Neutral colors are usually best although a feature wall in a trendy color can draw the eye more if it's pleasant to look at. Bright colors can be polarizing, but the upside is that it may impact those who love it more.

  • De-clutter

    We all have too much stuff to begin with so de-cluttering is always a good idea, but especially so when you're selling your home. De-cluttering opens up the space making it seem larger and more appealing. Minimalistic decor also quiets down the space making it feel more serene and inviting.

  • Updates / Repairs

    Updates and repairs are usually a matter of math. Does the cost of updates and/or repairs bring in a return, break even or a loss? In the case of a return on investment it's a no brainer unless you don't have the resources to do it. Will buyers like your updates? Shouldn't you let them do it the way they want instead after they buy the house? Most buyers just want to move in and do nothing. So do it if you can.

  • Main Selling Rooms

    The kitchen is the room that has the most impact on buyers by far. Bathrooms come in second. Walk-in-closets always have a good impression on women, while rec rooms in a finished basement will impress the men. Women drive most buying decisions so if you had to choose what room to focus on to get top dollar for your house, then focus on the kitchen. And yes, open concept is still king.

  • Furniture Placement

    Furniture placement goes hand in hand with de-cluttering. When placing furniture, think flow. Buyers must be able to easily flow from one space to another without having to go through a furniture obstacle course. If a room is too crowded with lots of furniture, it makes the space feel heavy and uncomfortable. Too little furniture make the space feel cold. Finding a good balance is key.

  • Rooms with a purpose

    Many homeowners convert certain rooms to rooms of another purpose to suit their needs. But when selling, each room should be shown as the room it was intended to be. In some cases a bedroom is converted to an office to serve the owners current needs, but buyers may need that extra bedroom and will not always be able to visualize the space that way and may dismiss your home.

  • Flooring

    Next to fresh paint, new flooring has the highest impact on buyers impression of a home. And depending on the overall condition of the floors, a good cleaning may be enough to restore them to their former glory. If you were to choose between high end laminates or hard wood, pick hardwoods. Mid grade carpets are usually a good bet. But again your budget will dictate this decision.

  • Depersonalizing

    Depersonalizing your home simply means removing distractions from buyers attention. Art work is great, personal photos, religious artifacts, diplomas, taxidermy and trophies are not. Do you hunt? Put all that stuff away. Hunting is a polarizing subject and does not serve you when trying to sell your home.

  • Air Quality / Odor

    Foul odor can make a buyer walk away from a home they would otherwise love. Find it, eliminate it. On the flip side, if buyers smell air fresheners they generally wonder what odors the sellers might be trying to cover up. Avoid cooking before showings if possible, especially foods with a strong fragrance like curry, or fish. Make sure the kitty litter box is clean too if you have one.

  • Pets

    Pets are cute and most everyone loves them. But do you want buyers to be playing with your cat instead of looking at your house? Also make sure any pet hair and dander is cleaned up. Make arrangements to remove your pets during showings if possible, especially scary ones like big dogs (even if friendly) or snakes and lizards. If you have a fish tank make sure it's clean and free of odors.

  • Showing Flexibility

    Buyers can come at all hours while your house is on the market. Try to accommodate all showing requests if possible. If a buyer can't get into a home at the time they request they generally don't reschedule. And you just never know if those were the buyers who would have been willing to pay the most for your house. If your schedule is rigid, set up a  fixed showing schedule in advance.

  • Neighbours

    Trying to sell your house? This would be the time to make peace with that nasty neighbour or the one with the rusted car on blocks in the driveway and junk in the front yard. If push comes to shove, you may even offer to cut their grass and/or clean up for them until the house sells. You may even take the toothless neighbour rubbing his belly on the front porch out to lunch or a coffee during showings. It won't hurt.

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  • Transaction & Paperwork

    • Pricing Strategy

      Most people tend to overprice their homes thinking they have room to negotiate down to what they're willing to accept. This usually results in little or no interest from today's educated buyers. The best strategy is to be realistic in terms of price. It's better to be the nicest home in the price range than the worst home in a higher price range.

    • Offers Date Strategy

      Having an offers date following a showing period is the best strategy to generate a potential bidding war as most buyers will write an offer at the same time therefore compete against each other. If no offers come in, asking for 24hrs for a response may give you some time for another offer to hopefully come in before you answer to the first one.

    • Sellers Property Disclosure Statement

      The standard offer to purchase now includes a clause that asks the sellers to provide a Property Disclosure Statement. A buyer may back out of the deal if that statement reveals things the buyer does not agree with. If you're going to provide one, might as well make it available before an offer is made so buyers already know its content.

    • Inclusions

      Sometimes buyers get tapped out by buying a home at the top of their budget. This means there's no money left for new appliances. In that situation most buyers would choose the home which includes all major appliances. Most typical inclusions are Fridge, Stove, Washer, Dryer, Dishwasher, Built-in Microwave, Garage Door Opener with Remotes, and Window Coverings/Blinds.

    • Exclusions

      It is best not to exclude any of the typical inclusions with the sale, but sometimes it may be inevitable due to sentimental value or other reasons. In those cases a specific exclusion should be made, though a better approach is to replace that item before going to market so you can keep the one you want without fear of alienating even one buyer.

    • Western Canadian Conveyancing Protocol

      Moving out of province and need the proceeds of sale right away rather than having to wait for the Land Titles Office typical 4-6 weeks to transfer title before you get your money? Negotiate that buyers close by 'Protocol' and get your money within days after possession. This can also be a throw away negotiating item to get a better price or better other terms.

    • Offers Subject to Financing -- Good or Bad?

      Scenario: Two offers come in at the same price. One is subject to financing, the other is a clean offer. Which is better? The one subject to financing may fall through if buyers don't qualify but you find out right away and you go back on the market right away. The other one may also not close but you won't find out until the possession day, but you keep the deposit. Which is better? Depends on the deposit.

    • Is The Highest Price Always The Best Offer?

      This is entirely up to you. But what if the highest price beats the second best by $1000 yet it has a possession date of 90 days, while the second best offer has a possession date of 30 days? What if the highest offer has no conditions but they only put 5% down, while the second best put 20% down and is subject to financing? Not so clear cut anymore. Let me help so you can make the best decision.

    • Offers Subject To A Home Inspection

      Many sellers fear the home inspection clause because they think the inspector may find something even they didn't know about which may turn the buyers away. Most buyers are well educated and usually have an inspector confirm a potential problem rather than uncovering a new one. You can also have a home inspection done before going to market and disclose everything. Informed buyers don't back out.

    • Survey Certificate & Zoning Memorandum

      Do you still have the Survey Certificate and Zoning Memorandum from the time you bought your home? Make it available to the buyers so they have one less thing to worry about. It's a small gesture but it generates good will especially if you're still negotiating other terms.

    • Utility Bills

      Most buyers are pre-approved for a certain amount before making an offer on a house, but their main concern will still be their monthly budget. Knowing what they can expect to pay for their monthly utility bills can help buyers figure out the rest of their budget and whether they might be willing to increase their price in a bidding war scenario. This can back fire if your utility bills are higher than normal.

    • Time Kills Deals. Or Does It?

      The more time buyers have to think about the offer they just made on your house before they get a response, the more likely they are to experience buyers remorse and question whether they made the right choice. Unless there is a lot of interest in your home and you expect more offers to come in therefore making it advantageous to delay your response, always respond in a timely manner. Many negotiations fall apart due to too much time between counteroffers.

    • Homestead Act Consent By Spouse Not On Title

      If your spouse is not on title when you sell your home, you still need their consent to sell the house. There is a Homestead Act section in the offer to purchase where a spouse can relinquish their right in the homestead and consent to you selling the house. This is a sworn affidavit and can only be witnessed by a commissioner of oaths like Zoltan.

       

  • Showing Condition Of Your Home

    • Curb Appeal

      The first thing a buyer sees is the curb appeal of a home. More often than not, the very first photo buyers see of the front of the house will determine if they'll even check out the rest of the details of the listing. The key here is nice exterior facade, and clean, trim, mow, shovel, or rake the front yard depending on the season.

    • Fresh Paint

      A fresh coat of paint is the cheapest ways to improve the appeal of a home and it has the highest return on investment. Neutral colors are usually best although a feature wall in a trendy color can draw the eye more if it's pleasant to look at. Bright colors can be polarizing, but the upside is that it may impact those who love it more.

    • De-Clutter

      We all have too much stuff to begin with so de-cluttering is always a good idea, but especially so when you're selling your home. De-cluttering opens up the space making it seem larger and more appealing. Minimalistic decor also quiets down the space making it feel more serene and inviting.

    • Updates/Repairs

      Updates and repairs are usually a matter of math. Does the cost of updates and/or repairs bring in a return, break even or a loss? In the case of a return on investment it's a no brainer unless you don't have the resources to do it. Will buyers like your updates? Shouldn't you let them do it the way they want instead after they buy the house? Most buyers just want to move in and do nothing. So do it if you can.

    • Main Seling Rooms

      The kitchen is the room that has the most impact on buyers by far. Bathrooms come in second. Walk-in-closets always have a good impression on women, while rec rooms in a finished basement will impress the men. Women drive most buying decisions so if you had to choose what room to focus on to get top dollar for your house, then focus on the kitchen. And yes, open concept is still king.

    • Staging/Furniture Placement

      Furniture placement goes hand in hand with de-cluttering. When placing furniture, think flow. Buyers must be able to easily flow from one space to another without having to go through a furniture obstacle course. If a room is too crowded with lots of furniture, it makes the space feel heavy and uncomfortable. Too little furniture make the space feel cold. Finding a good balance is key.

    • Rooms With A Purpose

      Many homeowners convert certain rooms to rooms of another purpose to suit their needs. But when selling, each room should be shown as the room it was intended to be. In some cases a bedroom is converted to an office to serve the owners current needs, but buyers may need that extra bedroom and will not always be able to visualize the space that way and may dismiss your home.

    • Flooring

      Next to fresh paint, new flooring has the highest impact on buyers impression of a home. And depending on the overall condition of the floors, a good cleaning may be enough to restore them to their former glory. If you were to choose between high end laminates or hard wood, pick hardwoods. Mid grade carpets are usually a good bet. But again your budget will dictate this decision.

    • Depersonalizing

      Depersonalizing your home simply means removing distractions from buyers attention. Art work is great, personal photos, religious artifacts, diplomas, taxidermy and trophies are not. Do you hunt? Put all that stuff away. Hunting is a polarizing subject and does not serve you when trying to sell your home.

    • Air Quality/ Odors

      Foul odor can make a buyer walk away from a home they would otherwise love. Find it, eliminate it. On the flip side, if buyers smell air fresheners they generally wonder what odors the sellers might be trying to cover up. Avoid cooking before showings if possible, especially foods with a strong fragrance like curry, or fish. Make sure the kitty litter box is clean too if you have one. Smoked in homes almost never sell for their full value based on the odor alone.

    • Pets

      Pets are cute and most everyone loves them. But do you want buyers to be playing with your cat instead of looking at your house? Also make sure any pet hair and dander is cleaned up. Make arrangements to remove your pets during showings if possible, especially scary ones like big dogs (even if friendly) or snakes and lizards. If you have a fish tank make sure it's clean and free of odors.

    • Showing Flexibility

      Buyers can come at all hours while your house is on the market. Try to accommodate all showing requests if possible. If a buyer can't get into a home at the time they request they generally don't reschedule. And you just never know if those were the buyers who would have been willing to pay the most for your house. If your schedule is rigid, set up a  fixed showing schedule in advance.

    • Neighbours

      Trying to sell your house? This would be the time to make peace with that nasty neighbour or the one with the rusted car on blocks in the driveway and junk in the front yard. If push comes to shove, you may even offer to cut their grass and/or clean up for them until the house sells. You may even take the toothless neighbour rubbing his belly on the front porch out to lunch or a coffee during showings. It won't hurt.