Get the Advantage
Most people typically use a real estate agent to sell their homes rather than do it by themselves. Using an agent has many benefits:
A realtor will save you time, frustration and energy.
Agents are professionals who can help you in determining an accurate sale price, give advice on how to properly prepare your home for sale and most importantly, assist when negotiating the contract.
When a house is listed on the multiple listing service, it typically sells faster than a similar house being sold privately. Selling in a timely manner is often crucial. The need to sell is often closely tied to the timing of a new home purchase. The seller may need to use the funds arising out of the sale to complete the purchase transaction.
Hiring a realtor to sell your home means paying a commission based on the sale price – but in the end, we view this as a wise investment. With a realtor’s help, you can usually obtain a better price for your property than you could on your own, sell it sooner and reduce the potential for legal problems.
Realtors can advertise quickly and effectively through an established network of professionals using various kinds of media, thereby increasing the odds that your home sells sooner rather than later.
Realtors can efficiently schedule showings. It is fairly common for a house to be shown many times over the course of a weekend or be featured in "open house" or local, real estate channel advertisements. This gives you a market edge.
Realtors use a brightly colored sign in your front yard to attract drive-by traffic and generate conversation by word of mouth. As more people see your home, chances are good you will receive more offers to choose from. This, in turn, will likely increase the possibility of receiving more money for your home.
Consider that most people working on their own do not negotiate well. As much as we may all like to think that we can "drive a hard bargain," the truth of the matter is most people need help drafting legal documents. Most people need help negotiating essential terms in a contract, such as price or conditions.
We have seen clients sell their homes privately and miss important details in the contract or fail to complete the legal documents properly. Such errors can be costly.
Most people have busy lives. Using a realtor will allow you to deal with other, more important things in your life that need to get done every day. Obviously, it can be difficult to show your home when you work full time, are distracted with obligations, have appointments to keep and family matters to handle.
Selling a home can often be an emotional event in your life. Where many memories exist in a home or if the sellers are elderly, there is a potential for clouded judgment and poor decision making. Having a realtor, especially in these circumstances, will help protect your investment and is therefore highly recommended.
Show and Tell
If you are using a realtor, viewings will occur when you are not at home. This helps put the purchaser more at ease and protects the seller’s bargaining position. When potential buyers are looking at a house, they do not want to feel pressured, be closely followed or otherwise made to think that they do not have any privacy to talk about your home as they view it.
Often the typical mind set that seems to drive people selling a home is "just get it over with." Sellers are usually most interested in receiving the sale proceeds and getting on with life as quickly as possible.
Most people personally find it far more stressful to sell a house than to buy one. There may also be a greater tendency to sell a property "as is." That, in turn, can lead to a lower sale price.
You do not want to convey even the slightest hint of desperation, frustration or anticipation in wanting to sell quickly. Doing so may create unfounded concerns in the minds of potential buyers and discourage them. If a buyer knows a seller is under some kind of financial hardship or other personal crisis, such as marital separation, it will more than likely result in receiving a low Offer to Purchase.
When you sell privately, it can be hard to mask your concerns. Some people are extremely self-conscious of their belongings or of their home in general. Selling privately, you may possess a tendency to point out minor faults where to do so under the circumstances is completely unnecessary.
A realtor is there to showcase the highlights of your home, give a potential buyer "space to look around" for themselves and objectively discuss problems if any arise or are noted. Your realtor will certainly advise what items you need to disclose regarding the condition of your property.
In our view, the most effective way to sell your home is to hire a realtor and follow their advice on how best to prepare your home for showings. This may mean removing toys from bedrooms, cleaning your house, performing yard work or donating unwanted or unused belongings.
A potential buyer typically wants to feel "at home" when they enter your house. The best way to achieve this is by creating a warm receptive atmosphere when presenting your home for viewing. If the home is neat and tidy on the outside, they will be eager to see what awaits them inside.
Viewings are particularly important. They need to occur frequently and be properly planned and coordinated. Using a realtor will help you get the most out of each viewing. In the end, you will likely sell for a higher price than you would have been able to achieve on your own.
Making a Deal
Conducting negotiations properly right from the start is essential. This will affect how soon your home sells and at what price. Know how your home compares with other houses similar to yours.
Sellers can occasionally develop an over-inflated idea of what their home is worth. If your asking price is too high, potential buyers may be reluctant to look at your home and it may end up sitting on the market longer than it should. Major features of a home such as exterior landscaping or interior decor are personal matters of style and are very subjective. What may appeal to you may not impress another. Such intangibles affect the listing price. Get an objective opinion.
When you sell your home, it helps to either obtain a market appraisal of the property or rely on your realtor to set an appropriate asking price. An appraisal will cost approximately $350 to $450 to perform and you can obtain this service by consulting the Yellow Pages or by asking your realtor or lawyer for a recommendation.
When determining a sale price, build in some flexibility for an acceptable price range. Determine your "bottom line" and go from there. Your realtor will need to know how you feel on this particular issue to effectively negotiate with other realtors on your behalf. Be open to suggestions and be prepared to include or exclude certain items when negotiating the overall sale price of the home.
As a matter of prudence, negotiate your contract price in writing. If you do not like the buyers’ Offer to Purchase, make a written Counter-Offer. If your Counter-Offer is accepted, then a binding contract is formed. Once any conditions are completed and removed, your realtor will arrange to have the purchasers complete a Removal of Condition document indicating the sale is final.
Accept only a written Offer to Purchase and make any Counter-Offers in writing. Hard feelings can arise quickly, for example, over whether a chandelier was part of the deal or whether you were contractually obligated to provide the buyers with a surveyor's certificate/real property report.
To avoid such disputes, ensure that all items included in the sale price are clearly indicated as such on the Offer to Purchase or Counter-Offer If there are certain items you specifically wish to exclude from the sale of your home, write these out clearly as well. See a list of suggested items for more detail.
When making decisions such as whether to accept certain terms of an Offer to Purchase, get an objective opinion from someone who knows how to properly draft a legally binding contract. Your realtor is your best negotiator on what to include with the sale and for what price.
A realtor’s expertise in the market is an asset you can tap into for guidance. Take your time and carefully choose the professional with whom you want to list your home. Choose someone you feel comfortable dealing with who is energetic and gives you confidence they will work hard to sell your home. There are many strong realtors in Regina from which to choose.
Ultimately the decision to accept an Offer to Purchase will be yours to make alone. A realtor’s assistance throughout the negotiation process will likely reduce your stress level and help you make sound, well-informed decisions.
Trust the Experts
Many real estate companies can provide you with handy tips to help sell your home quicker and at a higher price. Little things like reorganizing your garage and painting the house can make a big difference and help boost your bottom line. Removing junk from the yard, clearing the patio, sweeping the steps and walkway and planting flowers are just a few of the many ideas you can get from listening to a realtor
One Regina realtor estimates that most potential buyers decide whether a house is right for them within 30 seconds of stepping in the front door! It is extremely important to make a good first impression.
Once you have a potential buyer in a good frame of mind, reinforce that initial good response with positive experiences as they see the rest of your home. Opening windows to let in natural light and fresh air is a good idea as is burning scented candles or baking bread just before your home is shown.
Subscribe to the ‘"less is more theory." Removing knick-knacks and the unnecessary clutter of magazines or flyers throughout your home. Fix dripping taps or silence creaking hinges. A realtor will be glad to suggest other ideas that may be even more helpful. Just ask!
Make Note of the Details
Selling your home is not like selling a used car! There are many details that need attending to. Legal forms must be completed properly and on time. Our experience with ‘For Sale by Owner’ transactions is that sellers need a lot of help properly completing required documents.
Sellers need to be informed regularly of dates that need to be met and followed up. From our view, this makes selling your home privately more difficult and time-consuming at the law office. If a seller hires a lawyer to help with the completion of legal documents and to coordinate the follow-up of important events, you should expect to pay an additional cost for these services.
Using a realtor can save a seller some potential expense in this regard. We have, however, found that some people will insist on trying to do things entirely on their own to save a few dollars. This may lead to problems.
We have seen from experience that when neither a lawyer nor a realtor is directly involved at the time the contract is completed, such basic items like witnessed signatures are often missed or the purchase price is incorrectly set out. If the Offer to Purchase is incorrectly completed, you may not have a legally enforceable contract.
Buyers may not complete the section of the Offer to Purchase form that ordinarily entitles a seller to interest on any amount of the purchase price not received as of the possession date. This could potentially cost the seller money, depending on the circumstances.
There are a number of important dates that need to be considered when completing an Offer to Purchase, such as how long an offer is to remain open for acceptance by the seller before it lapses and the date by which financing has to be securely in place. Other dates involve certain deadlines by which the purchaser must either complete inspections or remove particular conditions.
Perhaps the most important date is the possession date. Careful consideration must go into picking this date or it could cause sellers real inconvenience and additional financial expense.
Completing the legal forms has real-life consequences. A realtor will help you avoid any oversights.