Warming temperatures and melting snow jump-starts the real estate market here in Halton Hills. For Sale signs will be hammered into lawns and home buyers will start coming of hibernation in droves.
With all this action, spring is a great time to sell. You’ll avoid having to leave the house for showings in the cold winter weather, and beat the typical summer slow-down when vacations and gorgeous weather distracts home buyers away from their hunt. In addition, you’ll be taking advantage of all the extra buyers who want to buy in spring and move in summer to avoid disrupting their kids’ school year.
However, if you want the quickest sale with the most money in your pocket, it’s more important than ever to stand out among the other homes and strategize for spring.
Here are 4 tips, courtesy of Bill & Lia McNally, to get ready for the spring market:
Clean, clean, clean! Clean houses are preferred by the majority of buyers. The only buyer who truly doesn’t mind a dirty home, is the one who plans to offer you less money. Remember, a dirty home can give the impression that the rest of the house has been neglected of essential maintenance, which translates into lower offers. Don`t let this happen! Give your home a deep spring cleaning, sell faster, and pocket more money. If you don`t know how to clean, call in the professionals. It’ll be money well spent.
Paint Peeling paint on the deck? Hunter green or peach coloured living room walls? It’s time to freshen up and add value to your home. Painting is relatively easy and inexpensive when compared to the value it adds to your home. If you don’t know what colour to choose, browse through decorating magazines like ‘Style at Home’ or ‘Canadian House & Home’ for inspiration (always pick a neutral colour that will appeal to the greatest number of buyers) or talk to a helpful salesperson at a local paint store.
Chose an expert to sell your house. Why risk one of your biggest investments with a crappy, inexperienced Realtor when you can easily hire one with a proven track record? There are many, many things that can go wrong during real estate transactions. An experienced Realtor is your best bet to make for a smooth transaction and the best deal possible. Follow these tips to select a great Realtor:
Don’t choose the cheapest option. There is usually a reason these agents are offering rock bottom prices- usually because they are not very successful at selling homes. Going cheap on an inexperienced Realtor can end up costing you, if their knowledge, negotiating skills, and marketing is lacking.
Don’t choose the Realtor who gives you an unrealistic (but deceivingly flattering) list price for your home. They are attempting to “buy your listing” and plan to get you down in price at a later time. Pricing should always fit in with the current market and be backed up with statistics. It should never be a random number.
Personality- Does the Realtor make you feel good or like you need to have a shower? Remember, this is the person you are getting to represent you. A good personality is easier to work with, both for you and for all the other people who will be involved in the transaction. An unpleasant demeanor can actually repel buyers, cause problems, and cost you money.
Sales statistics- Don’t hire someone who only sells a handful of homes. Hire someone with statistics to prove they know their market and job well. You wouldn’t go to a surgeon who only performs three surgeries a year. The same is true with your real estate agent.
Marketing- Google your agent. What do you find? If your realtor doesn’t have a solid, optimized internet presence, you’ll be missing out on the buyers who start their home searches on-line…that would be an astonishing ninety percent!
References- ask your agent for recent references. When you talk to people who have recently sold through this particular agent, you will get a sense of what to expect, by way of marketing and service, and whether this agent keeps promises and gets results.
Avoid Overpricing: Don’t take the highest price within the price range your Realtor gives you and then tack on an extra ten, twenty, or thirty thousand dollars to the price.
“Trying” for a high price just deters serious buyers and allows your house to sit and become a stale listing. It’s a common misconception that people will “just make an offer” no matter where you set your price.
Think of it like this: what if a gas station decides to set their gas prices 50% higher than the rest of the gas stations in town? Most people will shake their heads and move on to a gas station with normal prices. They will not stop to argue about the ridiculousness of the situation with the attendants, preferring to avoid the hassle.
The same is true of home prices. If you price your home higher than other similar homes in your area, you’ll appear to be unrealistic and difficult to deal with by other agents and potential buyers alike.
Don’t worry about your agent under pricing your home. If you choose an agent based on the criteria above, you’ll be working with someone you can trust. Besides, even if you manage to land a buyer with no common sense, most lending institutions will not approve mortgages for an overpriced home.
Follow these tips and you’re sure to have a great experience. Happy selling!
For more information on selling in the spring or real estate in general, please contact Bill McNally, author of this article and Realtor at Johnson Associates Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage at (905) 877-5165. Bill has been among the top sellers at his brokerage since he began his real estate career in 2007. Market evaluations and advice are always free.