Selling a Home In Niagara
The decision to sell your home can be emotional or it can be part of an investment plan. Whatever your reasons and reactions, these are the steps you will likely have to follow:
- Most crucial, of course, is deciding when to sell your home. Is the current market advantageous? Are people looking for larger family homes when you’re selling a condo? If possible, it’s best to hold out until the market will support your sale.
- Find a REALTOR®. Quite often you will return to the REALTOR® who sold you your home in the first place, or perhaps someone else in the same agency. The temptation may be there to act as your own agent, but unless you have the legal acumen to negotiate the contracts, the time and patience to devote to the marketing of your home, the thick skin to stand by and listen to potential buyers run down your home’s faults, you will likely be better served by having a real estate agent.
- Sign a listing agreement. This binds both you and the Broker into the terms of how long they will represent you and spells out what you can expect from them and their agency.
- Determine your home’s asking price. Your real estate agent will have statistics on the market, on other homes in your area and what they’ve been sold for, as well as the ability to forecast what changes may be coming in your area.
- Lawyer up. You will need a lawyer to finalize many of the sale details and it’s better to get them on the team sooner rather than later.
- Prepare to show your home. The thought of people coming through your home can be daunting, but we have some quick tips to make showing your house painless and your home pleasing:
- Clear the clutter – get rid of extra furniture, store items you won’t be needing until after you move (think things like ice skates & winter coats in summer; lawn mower & beach gear in winter)
- Make a clean sweep – clean your home, really deep clean it. If you can afford it, think of investing in a maid service for a one time deep clean of your home. Once it’s clean, keep it tidy or able to be tidied with ten minutes’ notice. You never know when company’s coming!
- Fix it, toss it or replace it – if you have broken or damaged articles in your home, fix them, get rid of them altogether if you can do without them or replace them.
- Depersonalize your home – people want to imagine themselves and their families in your house, and seeing your pictures or nick knacks will spoil the illusion. Put them away with your clutter, or better yet, pack them in preparation for your big move!
- Put on a coat – of paint that is! It’s amazing how a coat or two of a nice bright neutral colour will liven up a room, giving it a fresher look and making it appear larger and more gracious
- Give it the ‘Better Homes and Gardens’ touch – think of things like potted plants, decorative mirrors, little accents that add something to your home to make it ‘homier’ without making it ‘someone’s home’. Think of the way rooms look in magazines.
- Don’t home improve yourself to the poorhouse! – Some improvements are cost effective and will add value to your home. Others are more costly and really will do nothing to improve your final selling price. Your REALTOR® will be able to advise you on the difference.
- Let your REALTOR® get to work. A sign will likely go up on your front lawn, but that’s only the beginning of the marketing tools at your REALTOR®’s disposal. There will be ads in newspapers and in local neighbourhood leaflets, as well as online on the MLS boards. Your REALTOR® will also do a considerable amount of networking with other agents in the area on your behalf, spreading the word about your offering and encouraging any interest she can cultivate. There will likely be at least two open houses held: one for real estate agents and one for the general public. We have some suggestions in our FAQ section on how to prepare your home and yourself for an open house.
- Show me the money! So you have an offer. You don’t have to accept it. Your real estate agent will go over all the details very carefully with you and explain your options. In general, you can do one of three things: you can accept the offer outride, you can reject it, or you can sign it back, which means you strike out any conditions you aren’t willing to accept and offer your own terms instead. With luck they will accept and you can move on to closing the deal and moving out of your house. Here are some handy tips on how to make the most of your move!