CHOOSING THE RIGHT AGENT
Your agent is a trained professional who knows all aspects of the real estate market. An agent will save you time, money and aggravation.
As with purchasing a home, you want to list with the agent who is the expert in your location. After all, potential purchasers will be calling this “area expert” to inquire about houses for sale. There will be a few of them who are knowledgeable about your neighbourhood. Call them up and interview your potential agent. You need to feel comfortable with him or her, after all, they will be working for you.
SHOULD YOU GO WITH A NON-EXCLUSIVE OR EXCLUSIVE LISTING ARRANGEMENT?
If you enter into this type of arrangement with your agent, you are giving him or her the exclusive right to find a purchaser for your home. With this type of agreement, no other agent will bring potential buyers to your home, because only the listing agent is entitled to the commission.
You may consider this type of arrangement in a Sellers’ Market during which time there are more people interested in purchasing a home than there are homes available.
UNDERSTAND MARKET CONDITIONS
The real estate market is in constant flux, not only as a whole but in particular areas as well. Knowing what is going on in the overall and local real estate markets will help you understand how these conditions can affect the sale of your home. We’ve designed the following chart to help give you an overview of the three significant market positions. When you meet with your agent, ask about the current state of the market.
1. Buyers’ Market
The supply of homes on the market exceeds demand.
Characteristics: High inventory of homes. Few buyers compared to availability. Homes usually stay on the market longer. Prices are stable or perhaps dropping.
Implications: Buyers spend more time looking for a home, and when they negotiate, they usually have more leverage.
2. Sellers’ Market
The number of potential buyers exceeds the supply of homes on the market.
Characteristics: There is a smaller inventory of homes with many buyers. Homes sell quickly. Prices usually increase.
Implications: Prices may be higher or perhaps climbing. Buying decisions must be made quickly. Conditional offers may be rejected.
3. Balanced Market
The number of homes on the market is roughly equal to the demand.
Characteristics: Demand equals supply. Sellers accept reasonable offers. Homes sell within a reasonable time period. Prices generally remain stable.
Implications: There is less tension among buyers and sellers. There is a reasonable number of homes to choose from.
DO YOU HAVE ALL OF THE NECESSARY DOCUMENTS HANDY?
Gather the documents you’ll need to sell your home.
- Mortgage documents: you may wish to meet with your loans officer to discuss transferring, discharging or paying out your mortgage. This is a good time to begin negotiations on the terms of your next mortgage.
- Property survey: be sure to inform your agent if there have been any changes to your property that could affect the accuracy of the survey.
- Your deed or transfer of title document.
- Tax assessment documents.
- Utility bills.
- Other claims relating to your home:
- separation agreement or court order
- will or probate documents
- unpaid judgments against you
- unpaid taxes
- unpaid utilities
- pending litigation
- Pertinent condominium documents (if you live in this type of home).
- Maintenance history (include repair receipts).
- Items and information that will make your home more marketable:
- photographs or videos of your home with the garden in bloom or your pool open and beautiful
- conceptual ideas for upgrades or renovations that you have considered
DETERMINE YOUR ASKING PRICE
Before you put your home up for sale, you must set the price. And before you can do that, you must know what the house is worth. That doesn’t mean what you paid for it, or how you upgraded it. Determining worth is simply finding out what someone would pay for it.
The steps in determining worth are: 1. Understanding market conditions 2. Getting the details about recent sales in your neighbourhood
Agents have access to all of this information. Plus, they can objectively see the big picture and tell you what makes your home unique.
Once you’ve determined you home’s worth, you and your agent will determine the asking price. Most often, the price of a home is set slightly higher than its worth, to give a little “bargaining space.” Of course, if it is set too high, it may deter prospective buyers.
If you’re in a rush to sell your home, setting the asking price a little lower than what your home is worth will attract a lot of attention. But beware, if the price sounds too good to be true, buyers may be skeptical. They may even offer less than the asking price anticipating problems with the home down the road.
You will have a legal relationship with your agent. When you complete the listing agreement, you are giving your agent the authority to put your house on the market for a specified period. If your house is sold during that time, you will pay the agreed to commission. What’s more, if the house sells shortly after the specified period because of your agent’s efforts, you are still obligated to pay the commission.
Should You Offer Any Additional Items? You may choose to include your appliances in the sale, or you may offer a redecorating allowance. You may also be able to offer creative financing. You may also consider purchasing a home warranty (covering major appliances and systems) to make the home more attractive.
- Mortgage documents
- Property survey
- Your deed or transfer of title document
- Tax assessment documents
- Utility bills
- Other claims relating to your home
- Pertinent condominium documents (if you live in this type of home)
- Maintenance history (include repair receipts)
- Additional sale enhancing items and information