First-Time Home Sellers

How to navigate the process with your sanity intact

Home Selling Facts for First Time Home Sellers

At first, selling your home can seem daunting: You haven't done this before, the market looks complex, and you’re hearing horror stories all over the place about unsold homes, unqualified buyers, and real estate agents who don’t have your best interests at heart.

Boardwalk Hotel by John Morgan
Boardwalk Hotel by John Morgan

What steps should you take to confidently go forward with your home sale – without the anxiety and worry?   Consider the following:

  1. It has been done. More than 80,000 homes were sold in the GTA in 2010 – that’s well over two hundred homes per day.  If so many homeowners have done it, then so can you.
  2. Define your ultimate scenario. Do you want the highest possible sale price, or is there another essential factor for you, like closing on a certain date to coincide with the purchase of a new home for example?
  3. Shine it up.  Isn’t it a drag when you go to the supermarket and aisles are cluttered, disorganized or dirty?  It doesn't happen often, because the grocery store knows how to present its goods.  You must do the same.
  4. Mechanics matter.  Buyers expect everything to work.  Home inspections are now entirely common, so what buyers may miss, home inspectors won’t. Fix things now so they won't be an issue in the future.
  5. Set the stage.  When buyers see your home, it's show-time.  They want an environment they can picture themselves actually living in; so give them a show where everything is painted, arranged, and attractive.
  6. Know the market.  Real estate is local.  The more research you do, the more you feel in control of the process. Your Realtor® can explain current market trends in your community, including what's selling, what isn't selling, and why, so you can set the optimal price and terms.
  7. Know the competition.  Your property will probably be competing with other homes for buyer attention.  Ask your real estate agent how to be competitive, and then listen to his advice.
  8. Be realistic.  Markets differ according to neighbourhood and many other factors. When interest rates are low and so is housing inventory, it's great to be a seller.  But homes sell under all conditions.  The trick is to be realistic about what market conditions will allow.
  9. Know the plan.  Real estate marketing involves far more than a sign in the yard and an ad in the paper.  Successful Realtors® use a variety of methods to attract and qualify buyers, including the latest Internet and social media marketing techniques.
  10. Expect it to be a bit nerve-wracking.  When buying your home in the first place, you were probably a bit scared, though that feeling probably took a back seat to your excitement and plans for the future. But when the time comes to sell your largest investment, it’s normal to feel some doubt about the process and about the future.  Talk to Jamie about these concerns so he can address them for you.

Advice for Selling Your First Home

When it’s time to sell your home, you need sound guidance and advice – and not just on the financial side.  Selling your home isn’t as cut and dried as that, because it’s normal to feel emotional about where you live. You’ve celebrated holidays there, entertained friends and family within its four walls, and hopefully you have some great memories.

However, as soon as you make the decision to sell your home, the distancing process begins:  your home is now a financial asset, one that you won’t be living in much longer. It’s something to be marketed to others; you begin to move yourself out of it the day you choose to sell.  It’s not easy to deal with when your home becomes just a property – with a numbered MLS listing, no less – but as hard as it is, try to set aside your emotions and concentrate on the sale of your property.  After all, you will be moving somewhere else, which will be your chance to make another house – hopefully an even better one – into the place you call home.

If you’ve priced your home correctly, made sure it’s in good showing condition, and hired the right listing agent to guide you safely and comfortably through the process, your home should sell in a reasonable amount of time.   But you still cannot control the open market.  Relax, maintain your home’s show-ready condition, and consider making adjustments to the price or other terms if market conditions and feedback call for it. Don’t become too distraught if it takes a little longer than the Toronto average days on market to sell your property. You’ve done all you can to successfully sell your home, and it will sell!

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