Step-by-step guide to help you sell your home

 
  1. Deciding To Sell 
    Everyone has their own reason for selling their home. One thing, however, is universally true: the desire to get as much as you can for your home. In real estate, timing can influence your home’s selling price. Factors like how quickly you need to sell, whether it’s a buyers or sellers market and seasonality all play a role in your home’s final selling price.  Although timing is important, it is not everything. You may want to consider the following to potentially increase the amount of money your home will sell for.

Renovating – this can be something as simple as freshening up the walls with a coat of paint or updating your door knobs and lighting with more contemporary styles all the way to major renovations like installing a new kitchen, bathroom or hardwood floors. Before you do anything though, it’s probably wise to know how much value a renovation or remodel will actually add to your sale price and how much other comparable homes in your neighbourhood are selling for. Contact your Realtor to give you an assessment of your home so you don’t embark on expensive renovations before knowing.

Enhancing curb appeal – first impressions mean a lot. Which is why you want your home looking its very best when a potential buyer is standing at the bottom of your driveway or simply passing through the neighbourhood. So, make sure the lawn is cut and raked. If there are some dead patches of grass, overseed or sod. Trim bushes and trees, even add a few brightly coloured flowers. Touch up any peeling paint around exterior windows and doors, stain the fence or deck, clean up your garage or shed and ensure that your home looks just as enticing at night by making sure it’s well lit.

Getting a home inspection – the last thing you want is for the deal to fall through due to an unpleasant surprise. It’s also highly likely that the buyer will ask for a home inspection anyway. So you may want to consider taking the initiative yourself. That way, if there are any major repairs that need doing now, it won’t jeopardize the sale of your home or force you to lower the price later on.

 
  1. Find a REALTOR® who is right for you
Now that you’re ready to sell, the next thing you should do is list your home with a real estate agent. Selling a home involves a great deal of research, paper work, effort and most importantly, trust. Ideally, you should seek out an agent that has a good knowledge of your neighbourhood and local market trends. A good agent will provide a wealth of knowledge and breadth of services that will help you accomplish your goals.
The REALTOR® who helped you buy your home is a good place to start. They already know your home and they know you, so you’ll be saving time right from the start. Or look for names on “For Sale” signs in your neighbourhood or ask your friends and family.

 
  1. Sign a Listing Agreement This authorizes your REALTOR® and their brokerage to market and sell your home. It will define the legal relationship between you and the real estate brokerage and also set a time limit for your REALTOR® to sell your home.
     
  2. Determine your home’s asking price The right asking price will attract buyers and pay you a maximum return. Setting too low a price means you could miss out on thousands of dollars. Setting too high a price will scare away buyers. Your goal is to find fair market value.
     
  3. Add some specialists to your team Similar to when you bought your home, it’s essential to have a notary public or a lawyer handle all the various documents that change hands and make sure your best interests are being protected at all times.
     
  4. Prepare your home for showings The way your home looks to prospective buyers can make a striking impression. The goal is to get buyers to feel like they can already see themselves living in your home. There are a few tricks of the trade that can help you do this:
     
Home staging – this literally means, getting your “set ready” for buyers. In other words, cleaning your home from top to bottom including carpets and drapes, kitchen and bathroom tiles, walls, ceilings and trim. Next, dispose and de-clutter which entail getting rid of those items in your home that make rooms feel smaller than they actually are. Then, organize. Tidy up cabinets, bookcases, closets and toys and put away personal items such as photographs, souvenirs and other memorabilia. If your home has empty rooms, stage it with the right furniture. You may be able to borrow some nice furniture from family or friends. There are even places to rent furniture for staging. Keep it simple and classic, nothing too trendy that could potentially turn off a buyer.

Prepping for an Agent Open House – a successful open house is key for generating quick interest in your home. Some last minute tips? Make your rooms bright and airy by opening blinds and windows and turning on lights in darker rooms. Help the buyers imagine themselves in your home by setting the dining table or putting out some fresh flowers. Light a scented candle. Leave some refreshments out. And for your own security, make sure you store all your valuables. When the open house is over, ask for feedback so you can make a few tweaks before the next one.  
 
  1. Let your REALTOR® do what they do best Your home has never looked so good and now it’s time for your REALTOR® to market it to potential buyers. This happens with a “For Sale” sign, open houses, newspaper ads, a listing on the MLS®, the internet, and, of course, through your REALTORS®’ relationship with other REALTORS®.
     
  2. Prepare your finances Will the buyer “assume” your mortgage or are you “discharging” it? If you’re buying a new home, is your mortgage “portable”? What taxes are involved? These are important questions to ask your REALTOR®, your mortgage lender and your notary public or lawyer.
     
  3. Receive an offer Although your REALTOR® will walk you through the process, be prepared for some stress. You will see every offer since it’s required that your REALTOR® show you every offer that’s submitted. You will have three options: you can accept, you can reject or you can “sign back” or “counter”. Ask your REALTOR® what these terms mean.
     
Get to know the terms – the main factors on most offers will include the price the buyer wants to pay, details about the offer and financing as well as any conditions, inclusions or exclusions the buyer wants to make. These offers can be “firm” which means that the buyers are willing to buy the home exactly as it is, without any conditions. Or, the offer could be “conditional” on things like a home inspection, approval of financing or the sale of their existing home.

Review every detail – it’s not just about price. The buyers may have asked for other things to be included like appliances, draperies or chandeliers. They may have even requested some minor renovations like re-shingling your roof or repairing your driveway. Some buyers may have asked for longer or shorter closing periods or made it contingent upon something else like selling their current home. All these factors influence what the offer truly looks like.

Happy negotiating!

 
  1. Close the deal You were successful and have drafted a legally binding agreement. Are you done? Not quite yet. Contact your lawyer or notary public, contact your lending institution and consult your REALTOR®. Immediately start satisfying any conditions of the agreement that require action on your part. On closing day, your lawyer or notary public will finalize all the details and give you a cheque for the net proceeds.
     
  2. The Big Move
The day has arrived. And although there’s bound to be a bit of sadness about leaving your old home behind, there will be just as much excitement moving into your new one. Here are some tips for a smooth move: