When should you sell your house? There are many reasons WHY people may choose to sell their house; whether for downsizing, career path changes, or to cash in on investment returns, but how do you know WHEN you should sell your house? You should consider the below hierarchy of needs:
  1. Your needs come first – Life always goes on with or without any preconceived notions of when you may think the best time is to sell your house property. Whether you have a baby on the way or are prepping for a lifestyle change, you should plan to sell your house at a time that meets your personal needs first. This will ensure that there is as little stress as possible when you make your transition.
  2. Timing is everything – Real estate is and always will be a seasonal game. Late summer and late winter tend to have the fewest amount of buyers looking to purchase a new house. As a SELLER you should always try to put your house for sale outside of these quiet periods to ensure that you have maximum demand and exposure to interested buyers (which can be helpful for creating price boosting bidding wars). So when should you plan to sell home? Assuming it works with your personal needs – aim for the peak seller’s markets that occur in February, March, April, September, and October when buyers are typically the most motivated.
  3. Know your niche – and the competition – Keep in mind though that there may be many other sellers out there listing house properties very similar to yours – especially in peak seller’s markets – which can affect your amount of showings and possibly result in a lower sale price. What makes your house unique: Does it have 4 bedrooms, modern renovations, and an attached garage? What amenities does your neighbourhood offer: Is your property close to schools, grocery stores, or leisure facilities? If you know these things, that’s great! Before you list, have a look at other properties in the area and see if any match or come close to the unique value your property brings to the table. If you see many houses similar to yours and can afford to hold off, this could be a factor in deciding to hold off on your listing.
  4. The ever changing real estate market – Does it pay off to follow the real estate market trends? Of course! The basic laws of supply and demand constantly affect real estate transaction frequency, which in turn affects other decision-making variables like mortgage interest rates. Understanding the market can be a bit daunting but it can help you to know when the best time to sell your house is from a financial standpoint.
How to prepare your house for listing When preparing your house for sale, keep these 3 goals in mind:
  1. Decluttering is Key. It is your home and you have it just the way you like it – but this doesn’t mean the décor and space that are comfortable with will be appealing to potential buyers. They best thing that can be done is to return each room in your house to as neutral a state as possible. This means storing loose personal items and functional furniture like laundry hampers. Negative space conveys taste and sophistication, so consider swapping out overly large furniture with more compact items to help make rooms appear as large as possible. The declutter process doesn’t mean shoving loose items into closets or basements either. Buyers WILL look everywhere! Getting ready to sell your house is a great time to clear out or donate some of those old items that are lying around – it will boost the buyers experience when viewing plus it means less items you need to haul around when you move.
  2. Staged for Success – You may covet your Star Wars themed games room but not all buyers have such specific taste. Consider converting some or all of your spare rooms to neutral bedrooms while the house is listed for sale. The same thing goes for other unconventional uses of rooms (that model train in the dining room has to go!). Try and match furnishings to room spaces so that they have maximum appeal to your viewers. If you have special features like basements or balconies, ensure that these are highlighted in a way that demonstrates added value. If your basement could be used for a renter tenant, ensure that this feature is highlighted and obvious to your viewers.
  3. The Outside Experience – They say you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. While this may be true for your home, many home buyers will pass quick judgment on the quality of your house just from the way it looks when they pull up. The porch, door, walkway, gardens, and backyard WILL set the tone for how a buyer feels about your home. Ensure that the siding on your house is clean and blemish free and try to repaint any cracked or weathered trim board, this will make a huge difference. Also, think of your backyard as a private outdoor sanctuary. By adding plants or modern patio furniture, remodeling your deck or updating the landscaping you can potentially make or break your buyer’s attachment to the property.
  4. Clean, Tidy – and did we mention, Clean? The cleaner your house is, the faster it will sell. Buyers won’t just glance around – they’ll look at all the fine details inside cabinets, your kitchen drawers and your bathroom vanity. What does the state of your house’s cleanliness say about the state and quality of the property in general? You may spend hours on a big overhaul cleaning session, but remember that you need to continue to update this cleaning every time you get a viewer for optimal impact.
What you should know about your house before selling
  • Mechanical components – While features like quartz and built in wine fridges are great in terms of “wow” factor, big mechanical aspects of your house should be in good working order. Let us know in advance of any upcoming maintenance or ongoing issues regarding your furnace, air conditioning, hot water heater, electrical, plumbing, roof, or insulation so problems can be anticipated in advance.
  • Renovations & repairs Put together a comprehensive list of a list of all updates and fixes since you have owned the house. Ensure that you make a note of any DIY reno’s – electrical, plumbing, and structural work done without a certified tradesman can potentially cause issues down the road so it’s better to put everything on the table.
  • Get a home inspection– The last thing you want is someone telling you that you’ll need to invest a large amount of money in updates like a new roof right? True but better them then the buyer or their inspector! Getting a pre-list home inspection will empower you to make an informed decision about how to approach your listing. Being aware of potentially unnoticed problems like termites, rodents, or mold will allow you to improve your houses marketability in advance. In general, pre-listing inspections promote faster and more frequent offers because they support buyer confidence and demonstrate that you are willing to go out of your way to show them the quality of your property.
  • Make an extra set of keys – You have the option to have a lockbox at your house so that real estate agents can show your home to their Buyers, so make an extra set of keys. Our preference is to have one of our team member’s available on site at each and every showing, this helps us ensure your property is represented as best as possible.
  • Make a folder of key documents – Make sure you get photocopies or scans of your bills including electrical (hydro), water, heating, and property taxes. These will be needed.
Pricing Your House for Sale Learning to know how to price your house in Vancouver is a tricky proposition at best. You always want to capitalize on your investment but in the end if your price misses the mark for your ideal buyer or perceived house value then your property could sit on the market. With plenty of foreign investment and wide ranging of area types from upscale urban to rustic rural, the lower mainland is a dynamic place to own property. Carefully consider the following factors to find your sweet spot:
  • Comparables: what have other houses like yours sold for in the area?
  • Who are you marketing to? Are you looking to sell to affluent investors or young families looking to buy their first home?
  • What time of year are you selling? If you are listing during a BUYERS market when sales overall are quieter, you may need to adjust your price accordingly. Interest rates can also have an impact on how motivated your buyers are to make a purchase above their intended budget.
  • How desirable are the aesthetics and quality of your home? Where are you located? Will it create instant attachment in a large percentage of potential buyers?
  • What bonus features make your house stand out from the crowd? A rentable basement living suite, generous parking, access to transit?
How to make your house stand out in the market A great house with a ton of desirable features will only go so far. As your realtor, one of our primary roles is to put forth a 360 degree marketing campaign that includes both print and digital assets that will generate buyer leads and make people form an attachment to your property.
  • Open houses – Attracting everyone from curious neighbours and casual shoppers to seriously qualified home buyers, open houses are still the #1 way to market your property and create buzz. Skilled agents will prioritize driving people to your house in order to showcase all that it has to offer and inspire them to form an emotional connection to it. We will usually recommend holding an open house on a Saturday or Sunday when most people are available to browse properties in person. Be prepared to leave your home for 2-5 hours to allow potential buyers an ample window of time to travel to and view the property.
  • For sale signs – A For Sale sign on the lawn is always a must when thinking about how to bring buyers to your property. Many house shoppers will cruise neighbourhoods looking for beacons like this. However, there have been instances where the property owner does not want a sign displayed out on the lawn, this is not standard practice as it does limit the visibility to interested buyers.
  • Professional photos/video – Professional photography is critical to marketing your house in the online world! Time and attention is short when people are browsing through the sea of listings on MLS or other listing databases, you need to stop people in their tracks and make them connect with your property through engaging photos that capture their attention. Wide angle photography is absolutely key to creating photos that show off your house in the best light possible. Regardless of your budget and sale price, we work a professional cinematographer to capture the lifestyle a buyer could potential have if they lived in your property.
  • Email blasts and social media – We have a network of potential buyers we can reach via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and email. You can help in this promotional aspect of the marketing by sharing photos and the MLS page for listing with your own network as well.
  • Print marketing – Depending on your needs, we often print feature sheets for your home to allow potential buyers to have pictures and details to take-a-way after viewing the property. In some cases, we may use postcards or advertise your property in real estate magazines to gain additional visibility.
Showing your property When prospective buyers book times to view your house, please consider the following tips on how to make your house showing successful:
  • Give buyers their space – When buying a new appliance, nobody likes the pressure of a salesperson hovering around them constantly. The same goes for home shoppers; make sure you leave your house during showings to put buyers at ease and give them the space they need to consider your property to it’s fullest extent. Ensure to bring pet friends like cats and dogs along with you if possible as sometimes they can be just as distracting for some who may not love them as much as you do!
  • Be flexible – Try and accommodate a wide range of showing times to give buyers options and show them that you value their time. Evening showings can be tough but we have seen many successful deals take place on nights before open houses or sometimes before a house even goes on the market. If your home is popular with buyers, you could have several showings every day. Going on a weekend getaway or staying with friends or family can make all the difference in giving us the flexibility for showing your home while allow you to stay sane!
  • Keep your house tidy and clean – Regardless of that major clean you did before you put your house on the market, you will need to constantly keep this up to leave your potential buyers with a stellar impression. Keep counters clear, dishes washed, beds made, interior spaces clutter-free, and exterior spaces trimmed and neat throughout the sale process.
Offers (and counteroffers) Assuming that your property falls within the majority of housing sales scenario and receives a single offer at a time, it is likely that this offer will be conditional to either the buyer obtaining financing or performing a professional home inspection. Beyond these common caveats, other points of negotiation can include price, closing date (the date the buyer takes possession), inclusions (appliances, chandaliers, etc) and deposit (usually 5% of the purchase price in Vancouver, paid within 24 hours of the offer being accepted). Depending on your wants, needs, and timing, you may choose to present a counter offer or compromise on the terms and conditions of the offer deal. In recent years Vancouver has seen a surge in it’s housing market demand which has created a higher frequency of offers on property listings. Other factors like the popularity and features your house offers can also create scenarios with multiple offers on your home at a single time (referred to as a bidding war). Offers presented against multiple others will generally be “firm” (without conditions) so that they can be competitive. Working in the sellers favour, bidding wars can dramatically increase the price of your house or reduce the amount of uncertainties within offers you have on the table. Talk to your agent about the various strategies to help encourage multiple offers. Closing the deal The big day has finally come! You’ve sold your house and now you and your assigned lawyer need to take care of a few final details, including informing utility companies of your property transfer, notifying the city to ensure you no longer pay taxes on your sold property, and cancelling your home insurance. Ensure that all of these amendments are set to take effect after the sale has been confirmed in full. A day or two before your closing day, you’ll need to visit your lawyer and sign a whole lot of papers. When the property is transferred to the new owner, you will get the money via your lawyer (less real estate commissions, legal fees and any adjustments). Still want to know more about how to sell your Vancouver house? Connect with us and we would be happy to answer any questions you have.