Selling a home isn’t as simple as planting a sign in the ground any more. It involves preparation, timing and strategic advice. If you don’t do all of the above, do not be surprised when your home does not sell while others in the area are doing so.
Here are some common mistakes:
1. Good photos matter
More and more, buyers are being introduced to properties online. Pictures and videos matter. Before you take any picture, make sure your home has been properly de-cluttered, inside and out, and consider staging tips that will make the rooms appear larger. Pictures from your own iPhone will not impress anyone. Make sure all photographs are taken by professionals.
In addition to the MLS, your home needs to be marketed on social media and should be directly advertised to other real estate agents, here and abroad, who are more likely to bring a buyer to your home. Foreign investors want Canadian real estate, as they view it as a safe investment. You need to reach every potential buyer.
3. The price isn’t right
A home is likely to attract the most interest within the first two weeks it is listed for sale. If the home is overpriced, buyers will move on. Be realistic when you set a sale price. Check out the competition and see what recent sales have been in the area. Remember, the longer a house sits on the market, the more likely that people will start asking whether something is wrong with it.
4. Buyers can’t get in to have a look
You never know when a potential buyer will want to see it. It might be late in the evening or at other times that are not convenient for you. If you say no, the buyer will typically just move on to the next home for sale, where the owner is more accommodating.
5. Your timing is wrong
Most buyers like to close before the beginning of the school year, to avoid too much disruption. Since closing usually happens 60 days after the offer is signed, you want to try to time your sale to happen between April and June. People generally go on vacation in the summer.
6. The house has a stigma
Sometimes two homes look similar, but one backs on to a ravine and the other to a hydro line. Make sure your agent asks for feedback from people who have seen your home but have decided not to put in an offer. If there is something outside the home that is bothering buyers, either figure out how to address it or adjust your price. If your neighbours know about prior problems with your home, be upfront and tell buyers in advance. They are going to ask the neighbours anyway, as part of their due diligence.
7. You have the wrong agent
When you interview agents, it should never be about choosing the one with the cheapest price. You have too much money riding on this choice. Ask any agent you interview about their own marketing plans and social media presence, and above all, get references. In addition, ask a simple question: Why should I hire you? If they can’t demonstrate why they are different, move on.
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