Common Sellers Questions

We know you must have questions - below you will find some answers!
If you have any other questions or would like more information on how to prepare to sell your property please contact us.

Property sells year round. It is mostly a function of supply and demand, as well as other economic factors. The time of year you choose to sell can make a difference in the amount of time it takes and the final selling price. Weather conditions are often a consideration in some states than in other parts of the country. Generally the real estate market picks up in the early spring. During the summer, the market usually slows. The end of July and August are often the slowest months for real estate sales. The strong spring market often places upward pressure on interest rates, many prospective home buyers and REALTORS® take vacations during mid-summer.

After the summer slowdown, sales activity tends to pick up for a second, although less vigorous, season which usually lasts into November. The market then slows again as buyers, sellers and REALTORS® turn their attention to the holidays. The supply of homes on the market diminishes because sellers often wonder whether or not they should take their homes off the market for the holidays. There are still buyers in the market place, but now those buyers have fewer homes to choose from. Those homes on the market at that time have considerably less competition. Generally speaking, you'll have the best results if your house is available to show to prospective buyers continuously until it sells.

The two most important factors are price and condition in selling a home. The first step is to price it properly. Then, go through the house to see if there are any cosmetic defects that can be repaired. A third factor is exposure. It is also important that the home gets the exposure it deserves through open houses, broker open houses, advertising, good signage and listing on the local multiple listing services, as well as the internet.

Choose the real estate REALTOR® that you believe will get the job done, not the one that quotes you the highest price - sometimes just to buy your listing.

There are two methods many people use to determine their homes value, an appraisal and comparative market analysis. Appraisals vary in cost and are defendable in court. They average about $300 for a single family home and more on multi-family dwellings. Appraisers review numerous factors and base information on recent sales of similar properties, their location, square footage, construction quality, excess land, views, water frontage and amenities such as garages, number of baths, etc.

A comparative market analysis on the other hand is an informal estimate of market value performed by a real estate REALTOR® or broker. It is based on sales and listings that will compete with your property that are similar in size, style and location. A range of values will be determined thus arriving at a probable market value. Many REALTORS® offer a free analysis anticipating they will have a new client. The analysis or opinion should be in writing and should involve professionally accepted appraisal practices. Some individuals do their own cost comparison. It may take several hours of research at the county recorder's office, where there will be indexes to match street addresses and parcel numbers. Once matches have been chosen a tax card can be used to find the assessed value, size, style, number of rooms, baths, etc.

The way you live in a home and the way you sell a house are two different things. First and foremost, "declutter" counter tops, walls and rooms. Too many "things" make it difficult for the buyer to see their possessions in your rooms or on your walls, however don't strip everything completely or it will appear stark and inhospitable. Then clean and make attractive all rooms, furnishings, floors, walls and ceilings. It's especially important that the bathroom and kitchen are spotless. Organize closets. Make sure the basic appliances and fixtures work and get rid of leaky faucets and frayed cords. Make sure the house smells good: from an apple pie, cookies baking or spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove. Hide the kitty litter, and possibly put vases of fresh flowers throughout the house. Pleasant background music is also a nice touch.

The second important thing to consider is "curb appeal." People driving by a property will judge it from outside appearances and make a decision then as to whether or not they want to see the inside. Sweep the sidewalk, mow the lawn, prune the bushes, weed the garden and clean debris from the yard. Clean the windows (both inside and out) and make sure the paint is not chipped or flaking. Also make sure that the doorbell works.

Minor repairs before putting the house on the market may lead to a better sales price. Buyers often include a contingency "inspection clause" in the purchase contract which allows them to back out if numerous defects are found. Once the problems are noted, buyers can attempt to negotiate repairs or lowering the price with the seller. Any known problems that are not repaired must be revealed as a material defect. You do not have to repair the problem, only reveal it and the house should be appropriately priced for that defect.

Items sellers often disclose include: homeowners association dues: whether or not work done on the house meets local building codes and permits requirements; the presence of any neighbourhood nuisances or noises which a prospective buyer might not notice, such as any restrictions on the use of property, including but not limited to zoning ordinances or association rules. It is wise to review the seller's written disclosure prior to a home purchase and ask questions if it does not satisfy you entirely. No, according to experts, sellers do not have to disclose the terms of other offers. You may disclose the existence of other offers, so that all parties are aware that they should be submitting their best offer.

Yes, the two basic contingencies in a purchase contract are financing and inspections.

Your flexibility in granting these contingencies often depends on if you are in a buyer's or a seller's market, the condition of your home, the price you hope to get, how motivated you are to sell, as well as the quality and quantity of the offers you are getting. Any contingencies that are negotiated are written into your contract. Both the buyer and seller can place requirements on the table during the negotiation phase. A frequently seen contingency is regarding the sale and closing of the buyers home before they can purchase yours. Whether this requirement is reasonable, or even achievable, depends on the individuals involved. Financial capabilities usually play a major role in negotiations. Few people can afford to own two homes simultaneously, except for some all-cash buyers.

"If you or someone you know is a U.S. citizen (or corporation) that plans to BUY or SELL Canadian real estate, you should understand that Canada, as well as the United States, has specific tax rules which apply.

Sale of Canadian Real Estate: Capital gains realized by a US person on the sale of any Canadian real property interest, regardless if it has been rented, will attract Canadian and US tax. One-half of capital gains are subject to Canadian tax for all investors. IRS forms should be filed to claim a foreign tax credit for the Canadian tax. CRA Information Circular IC 72-17R6 outlines the procedures concerning the disposition of Canadian real estate held by non-residents of Canada. Section 116 of the ITA prescribes a prepayment of 25% on the estimated capital gain on land and building (excluding selling expenses). There is a 50% withholding on recapture of CCA.

Final Tax Liability: One-half of capital gains net of selling costs are subject to tax. For individuals, the maximum rate on a capital gain is approximately 21.46% including the 48% non-resident surtax. "
~ Taxes for U.S. Owners of Canadian Property, Marlies Hendricks, HendricksUSA.com

selling

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Pricing Your Home

Getting top dollar for your home in the shortest possible time – is our shared goal. When You Want to Price Your Home to SELL FAST... List With Us!

Attracting buyers is the name of the game. As a seller, you have two goals:

  1. To get the most money possible
  2. To sell as quickly as you can.
Be realistic. Price is the number one factor that most home buyers use in determining which homes to view. Although the price is set by you, the seller, the value of the home is determined by the buyer. Don't allow your enthusiasm to warp your judgment and lead to overpricing - a mistake you can't afford to make.

  • Urgency. How quickly must you sell?
  • Competition. Are there just a few or many homes available in your price category and area?
  • Available Financing. Does your home come with an assumable loan that is below today's rate? What are the current home loan interest rates? What financing alternatives are available for your home and area?
  • Competitive Market Analysis. Do you know what similar homes in the area sold for within the last six months?
  • Expenses. What are your selling costs?

  • Original Cost. Your price is determined by today's market.
  • Investment in Improvements. Potential buyers will evaluate your home (i.e. wallpaper and carpet) and may include the costs to remove or replace in their offer.
  • The Cost to Build Your Home Today. A replacement value is determined for insurance purposes only.
  • Personal Attachment. Prudent buyers purchase based on their emotions, not yours.
  • Neighbour's Claims. Don't listen to what your neighbours tell you is the fair market value for your home. Other homes in your neighbourhood may not be as similar as you think. Also the terms accepted by both the buyer and seller greatly affect the sale price.

  • You'll Help Sell the Competition. The "correctly priced" homes look even better if yours overpriced. Most buyers are competitive shoppers.
  • Am I Priced To SellYour Home Will Stay on the Market a Long Time. Did you know that 80% of your potential buyers will see your house in the first four to six weeks? If you don't sell them then, it takes approximately three months to replace them with an equal number of newcomers.
  • You'll Lose Market Interest and Qualified Buyers. Serious buyers use the value, quality and price of similar properties as deciding factors.
  • A Negative Impression is Created. People will wonder why your house is still on the market - they'll believe something is wrong with your home.
  • You (The Seller) Would Lose Money. You may have to make extra mortgage payments as well as incur taxes, insurance and unplanned maintenance costs.
  • You (The Seller) May Have to Accept Less Money. Studies show that the longer a house is on the market, the greater the discount off the list price. Often a seller will accept less than fair market value in order to sell because of an approaching deadline.
  • There is the Potential for Appraisal Problems. The appraiser from your buyer's lending institution must agree that the home is worth the asking price. If the appraiser believes the price is inflated, the loan may not be approved.

Sale Price

Are You Priced to Sell?

Be realistic. Price is the number one factor that most home buyers use in determining which homes to view. Although the price is set by you, the seller, the value of the home is determined by the buyer.

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How Long Will It Take To Sell?

That is The Question, isn’t it! There are three main factors that affect a property’s time on the market: location, condition, and price.

Location

Location is the one thing that you cannot control in the home selling process. In conjunction with condition and price, people choose a home based on the location and accessibility of the property. In many cases, homes will sell faster in desirable neighbourhoods because the demand is high. Take into consideration what the demand is to live in your neighbourhood. Your REALTOR® can provide information on yours and surrounding neighbourhoods to help you assess this factor.

Condition

The condition of your property is also a major contributing factor to the time it will take to sell. When evaluating a home, buyers will first assess the structural condition of items such as walls, ceilings, floors, doors and windows. They will want plumbing and electricity to work efficiently. They will then consider paint, carpets and floor coverings. The front and back yards should be in reasonably good shape. If there is major damage or deterioration to any of these items, buyers will likely hesitate in making an offer. Discuss ways to cosmetically improve your home for a more rapid sale with your REALTOR® professional.

Pricing

Pricing your property to sell in the current market is absolutely crucial. Obviously, the condition and location of your property should be major considerations when deciding on a price. If your home is priced too high, it will likely remain on the market longer, resulting in a lower final sales price. Your REALTOR® can guide you on appropriately pricing your property for the shortest listing time with maximum profits.

What Other Factors

There are several additional factors that can affect the speed of a sale including: local supply and demand, marketing, and closing terms. Is there a surplus of homes for sale in your area? Are technology tools and networking resources being utilized to market your property? Are your closing terms favourable to buyers? The right REALTOR® will be able to coach you in dealing with each of these things to ensure the quickest possible sale.

Unfortunately, there is no magic time frame when it comes to selling real estate. Some properties sell before a sign hits the front yard, and others may sit for months before the first offer comes in. Your REALTOR® can provide you with the average days on the market for properties that have recently sold in your neighbourhood; however it is important to remember that the variables affecting this data are not detailed in these comparables. Your REALTOR® will most likely have viewed a majority of the properties included in the comparables and can give you a better idea of why a specific property sold in the time frame recorded.

Do not get discouraged if a sale takes longer than you anticipated. Instead, try to analyze the reasons your property is not selling and ask a Real Estate Professional what you can do to facilitate the process.

This information is meant as a guide. Although deemed reliable, information may not be accurate for your specific market or property type. Please consult a REALTOR® professional for more information on selling your individual property.

Think Before You 'Reno'

The return on investment (ROI) of any given renovation project is a function of local market characteristics, the condition of the residential real estate market when the property is sold, and the quality of the work performed.

Home Improvements

The following information is from a national real estate marketing publication. It should be used only as a general guide to ranking the importance of these improvements. Many factors will affect the appraiser's opinion of these improvements including, location, value range of home, market trends, age of home and quality of improvement.

Percentage of your investment that is recouped at resale:

150%

Remodelled Kitchen - A kitchen update can reward a seller with a sizable payback. Just remember though; splurging on fancy finishing materials or sophisticated equipment may cut into your profit. Keep it simple.

100%

Revitalized Lawn and Garden - A verdant lawn and a modest but colourful flowerbed will entice potential buyers. The few hundred dollars invested may yield several thousands in profit.

100%

Fireplace - Especially if it is energy efficient, such as a gas-powered model, a fireplace holds the promise of cozy family gatherings around the warmth of the hearth.

90%

Second Bathroom - All it takes is a simple 5x9 foot extra bathroom to make mornings more civilized for most families. But don't count on a return on extras like a heat lamp or whirlpool tub.

80%

Room Addition - For the most attractive return of your investment dollars later on, the added room should be today's popular family room or a third bedroom.

< 80%

Remodelled Bathroom - A master bathroom is on many buyer's list, so invest here. If you own only one bathroom, install two sinks or a double vanity to handle the morning crowd.

70%

Expanded Master Suite - To keep costs down, try to find extra space to create this wish list item by combining existing rooms and spaces. Heavy structural work entailed by adding square feet diminishes your return.

70%

Deck - Outdoor living space is a desirable asset no matter where the locale. No maintenance decking material leaves lots more leisure time, too.

50%

Exterior Paint - The most commonly offered curb appeal advice from real estate pros and appraisers is to give the exterior of your home a good paint job. Sprucing up tired siding, trim, etc., can take years off the look of an older house.

50%

Finished Attic - You can expect to recoup more of your investment if you make sure the renovation does not detract from the aesthetics of your home. It is especially attractive as an extra bedroom in a small house.

40%

Finished Basement - This is a great way to gain added living space without building a costly addition. If the basement has an access door to the outdoors, the project becomes more valuable.

40%

Heating Systems - Replace it only if your old system is dysfunctional. Depending upon a buyer's priorities, a new energy efficient furnace may or may not be a selling advantage.

35%

New Windows and Doors - Buyers appreciate changes that improve the look of a house, so attractive new French doors, for example, may be a plus. Energy efficient units are an ecological boom, but may be a resale bust.

30%

Garage - Don't go overboard to blend it into your home's architectural style. Its desirability increases if you live in a part of the country with a harsh climate.

0%

Swimming Pool - Unless you live where the sun always shines, such as Southern California, this luxury item can detract from your resale profit.

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