The Key to Selling Your Home!

Linda's Blog


 

3 Reasons Why a House Isn’t Selling
 
Have you ever driven by a For Sale sign and wondered, “That house has been on the market for a long time, I wonder why it isn’t selling”? You might have asked that question because you were worried the same thing would happen when you put your own house on the market!

Often a home doesn’t sell for one of three reasons:

1. The price is too high.
Sometimes a homeowner will set the listing price exceptionally high in the hopes of getting lucky. What happens instead, however, is potential buyers stay away. In today’s real estate market, a house usually sells at a price that is close to its market value. Fortunately, the current market value of your house - and, hence, its approximate selling price - may be higher than you realize. It’s worth getting a free market assessment.

2. The house doesn’t show well. 
Sometimes a house is strategically priced for the market but doesn’t show well. It’s difficult for buyers to look past issues, such as clutter, and see the potential. In those cases, prospective buyers who view the property, don’t like what they see, and move on. If you put your house on the market, make sure it looks its best for prospective buyers.

3. The listing is poorly promoted.
Clearly, buyers won’t become interested in a property if they don’t know about it. The listing must be promoted effectively, and that involves more than a For Sale sign.

Want more tips on selling your house? Call me today.

Judgements Buyers Make in the First 30 Seconds
 
You’ve probably heard the expression, “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.” When it comes to selling your home, that is definitely true. In fact, a buyer will come to several conclusions about your property within the first few minutes of seeing it. That’s why it’s so important to make a good first impression.

How do you do that?

One of the best techniques is to pretend you’re a buyer. Drive up to your home. Open the door. Step into the foyer. Take a quick look around. Then ask yourself, “What impressions am I getting from this property so far? What stands out? What impresses me? What concerns me?”

Of course, you want to get a sense that the home is attractive, spacious, and clean. You want to emphasize the enticing features, while minimizing the less desirable qualities. There are many great tricks that can help.

For example, if your foyer is small, eliminate furniture and other items in that area in order to make it look a bit more spacious.

If you have a fantastic kitchen, show it off to the buyer. Make sure the appliances sparkle. Set the table with your best dishware. Make it look like a showcase in a kitchen store. You want the buyer to see it and say, “Wow.”

Buyers make judgements about your home very quickly. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a buyer to make a comment about your property, like - “I love the high ceilings” - within the first few seconds of coming in the door. Don’t underestimate the importance of that first impression.

Of course, serious buyers will scrutinize your property more closely, especially if they have an initial interest. What you want to do is to make sure to peak that initial interest.

Want the latest tips in showing your home effectively, so it sells quickly? Call today.

Will Your Furniture Fit?
 
When you’re viewing a property that’s on the market, you’ll probably try to imagine how your furniture will fit and look in that space. Where will your desk go in the home office? How will you position the sofa and chairs in the living room?

First, it’s often larger furniture that creates the most concern. Make sure you have those measurements on hand when viewing a property. That way, you can use a measuring tape to get a clear idea of how that particular piece of furniture will fit in the room.

Second, there are many online tools you can use to plan and position furniture for a particular size and shape of room. By using a site such as http://www.roomsketcher.com, you can position your furniture - and see how it fits, in just a few minutes.

Finally, when viewing a home, confirm that larger pieces of furniture can be moved into the rooms. A large, wrap-around sofa may not easily make it up or down narrow, winding steps. Knowing that in advance gives you the opportunity to plan accordingly.

notable, quotable... quotes!
 

“It is best to disregard talk and judge only actions.” 
Dorothy Day

“You always pass failure on the way to success.” 
Mickey Rooney

“What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down.” 
Mary Pickford

How To Deal With Competing Offers
 
Ideally, you want to be the only buyer who makes an offer on a particular property. That way, assuming your price is acceptable to the seller, you’re almost certain to close the deal.

But, it doesn’t always work out that way. In the case of highly desirable homes, it’s very common for there to be competing offers.

So, what do you do if there’s a competing offer on a home you really want?

First, don’t panic. Just because there are other buyers interested in the property doesn’t mean you won’t get it. There are many factors that influence a seller’s decision to choose one offer over another.

For example, sellers are generally skeptical of offers from buyers who do not have a pre-approved mortgage, or have not yet put their own home on the market.

Conditional offers based on these factors are often a red flag. Most sellers will readily accept an offer conditional on a satisfactory home inspection. However, if there are other more stringent conditions - such as an offer conditional on the buyer selling his own home for a particular price, or an offer conditional on arranging satisfactory financing - many sellers will be reluctant to accept the offer.

Of course, it isn’t always possible to avoid including these kinds of conditions. That doesn’t mean you won’t get the home. A solid presentation of the offer along with my skilled negotiation can make all the difference.

Remove Emotion When Selling
 
Most real estate experts agree that being too emotionally attached to your home can lead to poor decision making, such as over-pricing the listing and making hasty choices based on feelings rather than facts.

Of course, removing emotion from the home selling equation is easier said than done. After all, it is your home. It’s only natural to be emotionally connected to it. So, how do you ensure that emotions don’t get in the way of selling your house quickly and for the best price? Here are some strategies:

  • Think of selling your property as a business transaction only. Focus your emotions on the new home you’ll be moving into soon.
  • Stow as many personal items as possible, such as trophies and family pictures. Turn your home into an attractive product.
  • If a buyer makes a negative comment about your property - “I hate the deck colour.” - don’t take it personally.
  • Avoid judging offers to buy your house based on whether or not you like the buyer.

Finally, whenever you make a decision during the home selling process, ask yourself: “Am I making this decision based on fact or emotion?” If the answer is “fact” then, chances are, you’re on solid footing.

Make Your House “Picture Perfect” For Buyers
 
When you walk into a nice hotel room, what do you usually notice first? It may be the large, often beautiful picture hanging above the bed. You’ll probably find a smaller, equally attractive picture hanging in the bathroom. Often there will be at least two more adorning other walls.

That’s no accident. Hotels know that pictures are the simplest, surest way to make a good-looking room look great.

The same thing holds true when preparing your house for sale. According to home staging experts, hanging a few quality pictures can transform the look of just about any room - even a washroom!

Chances are, you already have pictures hanging in your home. Do you need more? That depends. If you have a room that seems dull, and there is open and empty wall space, try adding a picture. You don’t have to buy one or hang one - just have someone hold up an existing picture. If the look of the room improves, consider adding a picture in that spot.

Pictures don’t have to be expensive; they just need to be of good quality. Many retailers sell good-looking, nicely-framed pictures at affordable prices.

notable, quotable... quotes!
 

“Failure doesn’t come from not reaching your goal, but from having no goal to reach.” 
Benjamin Mays

“No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings.” 
William Blake

“You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do.” 
Henry Ford


Take a Walk on the Boardwalk (or Sidewalk)


 
If you’ve played the game Monopoly, you’ve probably picked up the Chance card that reads, “Take a walk on the Boardwalk. If you pass Go...”

That’s good advice when shopping for a new home. When you see a property you like and you’re thinking of making an offer, spend some time walking around the neighbourhood. This will give you a better sense of what it’s going to be like to live there.

After all, the last thing you want is to buy a dream home only to find out later that there are issues with the neighbourhood that make living there miserable. 

If you have kids, see how far a walk it is to local parks, playgrounds, schools and community centres. 

If you commute, you might also check out the route from the neighbourhood to your place of work. Is there a left turn that is likely to get backed up in the mornings?

Also check out how well the neighbours take care of their properties. Homeowners tend to keep their homes looking good if they enjoy the neighbourhood.

As you walk, listen. Are there noises from nearby high schools, industrial areas, or highways that are going to be unpleasant for you? Find out if the neighbourhood is near an airport flight path, or if there is a railway in the area. 

If you get a chance, talk to some of the neighbours. Ask them what they like most about living in the area. You’re likely to get some candid - and useful - answers.

Finally, spend some time visualizing living in the area. Can you see yourself enjoying what the neighbourhood has to offer?

If so, then buying a home in that area will likely be a good choice for you.
The Importance of Showing Your Home Often
 
Imagine coming across a “Home for Sale” listing on the internet. It’s in a neighbourhood you’re seriously considering. You and your family are excited. You can hardly wait to view the property and see if it could be your next dream home.
Then, there’s a problem. 

When you contact the agent, she says the homeowners are busy people and won’t be able to show the house until next week. Even then, the only time available is at noon on Wednesday, when you’ll be miles away at work. How about viewing the property on Saturday? Forget it. The homeowners are having company over that day.

Chances are, you’ll lose interest long before you ever get a chance to see that property! 

This may sound a little extreme, but it does illustrate an important point. 

If you don’t make your home readily available for buyers to view, many simply won’t view it, and your property may not sell.

That doesn’t mean you have to be inconvenienced each day by a steady stream of buyers stomping through your property. However, you do need to be flexible.

When buyers become interested in your home - by seeing the listing online, for example, they want to view it as soon as possible. The longer they have to wait, the more likely it is that another property will capture their interest.

They may even make an offer on another home before they get a chance to see yours! 

That’s why as your REALTOR®, I’ll work with you to arrange the dates and times that your home can be shown - a schedule that’s convenient for you as well as for potential buyers.
Deciding Whether to Stay Or Sell
 
Deciding whether to stay in your current home or look for a new one is tough. So tough in fact, that there is a reality TV show about it!

If you’re struggling to make that decision, here are some tips that can help:

  • Find out the current market value of your home. This will give you a clear idea of how much your property is likely to sell for in today’s market.
  • Find out how much you can afford to invest in a new home. This is calculated, in part, by how much of a mortgage you qualify to receive.
  • Determine whether your current home still suits your needs. Do you need to move up to a larger place? Downsize to a smaller property?
  • Figure out whether this is the right time to move to a neighbourhood that you’ve always dreamed of living in.
  • Assess whether your neighbourhood has changed in a way that you don’t like.
  • Decide whether you are still happy where you live. Is it time for a change?

As your REALTOR® I can help you answer these questions and provide the information you need to make the right decision.

notable, quotable... quotes!
 

“The road to success is always under construction.” 
James Miller

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” 
Vincent Van Gogh

“Be the best. If others don’t see it, who cares?” 
Oprah Winfrey


What to Look For, Room by Room


 
When viewing a home for sale, many buyers look at the property from a “macro” perspective. They ask themselves questions like: “Is it large enough?”; “Are there enough bedrooms?”; “Is it in a nice neighbourhood?” While those questions are important, it also pays to consider a potential new home from a “micro” perspective.

Here are some things to consider:

Living room and family room. Are they large enough to fit all the furniture? Are the rooms conducive to family get-togethers and entertaining? Do you need a separate living room and family room?

Kitchen. Is it important to have enough space to eat comfortably in the kitchen as well as the dining room? Does the kitchen have all the cupboard and other storage space you need? Will your fridge fit?

Bathroom. Is the main floor bathroom uncomfortably small? Does the ensuite bathroom have all the features you desire, such as a large tub and/or separate shower? Do you need double sinks?

Bedrooms. Is the master bedroom large enough to fit the bed and other furniture? Does it have the closet space you need? Are the other bedrooms large enough for your needs? (It’s a good idea to get the measurements of these rooms as it can be difficult to judge measurements during a viewing.)

Storage space. This is particularly important if you’re shopping for a condo. Does the storage space or locker have the space you need?

Closets. Are there enough closets for your needs? Is there a linen closet?

Garage. Homeowners use the garage for more than just cars. If you plan to use this space for storage or hobbies, check that the garage will be suitable for those purposes.

Want more tips on selecting your next dream home? Call today!

Don’t Forget Home Insurance
 
When you’re buying or selling a home, there are so many details to look after that it’s easy to miss something. One thing you don’t want to forget is insurance.

Once your property has sold, you’ll need to contact your insurance company to let them know the date that ownership of your property will be transferred (the “closing date”). They’ll arrange to cancel your insurance once you’re no longer the owner of that property.

If you’ll be taking possession of your new home, and leaving your current property vacant for a period of time, you’ll need to make sure both properties are insured. This may also apply to a condominium even if the unit is completely empty. (Contact your insurance company to ask about continuing liability coverage while discontinuing the insurance on contents.)

When you purchase a new home, don’t leave the insurance to the last minute. Contact your insurance company right away. Make sure they are aware of all the features of the new home that may reduce your premiums, such as alarms, and wired-in smoke detectors.

Things to Check During the Weeks After Moving Day
 
When you purchase a new home, the most exciting day is closing day. That’s the day you take possession of the property and, in most cases, move in. But the process isn’t necessarily over. There are still some important details to take care of in the weeks and months after the move.

For example, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re getting all your mail. Ideally, you will have made arrangements with the post office prior to your move to have your mail redirected to your new address. However, that service will eventually expire. Here’s a tip: Introduce yourself to the new owners of your old property. Ask them if they wouldn’t mind holding any of your mail that has been inadvertently delivered to them and you’ll make arrangements to stop by periodically to pick it up. Chances are, they won’t mind.

Also in the weeks after the move, you should take care of any repairs or other maintenance issues that were identified before you purchased the home. In the busy days leading up to moving day and in the excitement of settling in, these issues are easy to forget. You don’t want them to become bigger issues later on.

notable, quotable... quotes!
 

“Happiness depends upon ourselves.” 
Aristotle

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” 
Norman Vincent Peale

“Mistakes are the portals of discovery.” 
James Joyce


Are You Ready to Buy Up?


No matter how much you love your current property, you may be dreaming of the day you can buy up into a better home in a better neighbourhood.

Is that day today, or, is it a few years down the road?

Here’s a quick way to make that assessment.

First, make a list of all the practical reasons why it might be time to move up. Those reasons might include features such as: more bedrooms, proximity to work and school, a larger backyard with trees, nearby parks and walking paths and better access to things you enjoy like theatre.

Next, make a list of the emotional reasons for making such a move. Those reasons might include memorable get-togethers with friends on a more spacious deck, an easier and less stressful commute to work, more family time with the kids and enjoyable Saturday golf at a nearby course.

Finally, take a financial snapshot to determine if you can afford to move up. You’ll need to get a good idea of what your current property will sell for in today’s market, average price of homes in your desired neighbourhood, and how much mortgage you’ll need.

Once you have all that down on paper, you’ll have a clear picture of your readiness. If the practical and emotional reasons for buying up are compelling, and you can afford to make the move, then you have your answer.

The time is now!

By the way, if you need help in making this determination – especially figuring out what your home will likely sell for, contact me today at linda@buying-selling.com

 


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