Steps To Selling Your House

Selling Your House MSrealestate.ca

Step #1: Set The Date

The timing of the sale of your house should be based on when it's right for you.

Spring and early summer remain to be peak selling seasons, and then pick up again in the fall. This time of year typically features the best weather to be able to showcase your house. Keep in mind you will also have more competition during the peak selling seasons. If you're thinking about selling your house in Oakville, check out our blog about 'The Top Two Months To Get The Most Value For Your Home."

The best time for you to sell your house is when you are ready to move.

Your decision on when to move should be based on your personal situation and your family’s needs, when the timing is right for you, whether having to relocate because of a job promotion, finances, downsizing, moving up, or lifestyle changes.

Step#2:  Choose The Right REALTOR®

Most sellers use a REALTOR®. You certainly don’t have to, but there are good reasons why most people still do:

  • Pricing is a real art. The biggest factor in determining how quickly your house sells is the price, and deciding that price is trickier than it seems. Even 1% more for your house can mean thousands to your bottom line.
  • Negotiating can feel uncomfortable. If you want someone to negotiate carefully on your behalf, you need a REALTOR®.
  • Marketing is more than MLS®.  To get the most for your house, you need as many buyers interested as possible. According to REALTOR.com, 82% of real estate sales are the result of REALTOR® contacts.
  • Showings and paperwork are a pain. There’s more to the legal side of a home sale than you might think, and showing your own house is not only awkward, it can really complicate your schedule.

A REALTOR® takes away the burden of all these things, and works to get your house sold for the best price in the fastest time.

Step#3:  Price Your House Right To Profit More

Setting the price for your house is challenging:
  • Too low, and you leave money on the table. 
  • Too high, and you scare away buyers to other properties.
To complicate all this, your house is an emotional asset, and it’s hard to see it objectively.  Pricing is something REALTOR®s spend their careers refining and mastering. They combine intimate local and national market knowledge, an exhaustive study of similar houses for sale, and an analysis of past sales to come up with the optimal list price. 

It’s no easy task, but it’s a critical one. Pricing your house right the first time results in more exposure, more showings, more offers, and ultimately, the highest price for your house. 

If you want to get as much for your house as possible within a reasonable time frame, you need to get the price right.

First, it is important to understand that only the market can determine the ultimate value of your house. Choosing the optimal list price is essential to maximizing your house’s value. If you price too low, you risk not getting as much as you can for your property, but price too high and you risk losing potential buyers who may think your property is out of their price range and you help your competition sell faster.

Step #4: Prepare Your House For Sale 
After price, the condition of your house is the single biggest factor determining how fast and for how much your house sells. 

REALTORS® repeatedly find that people cannot visualize the potential of a house. They have to see it. That means that how your house shows now is how people see themselves in it. They can’t see past the chips, leaks, clutter and stains. In fact, they tend to focus even more on those things. Luckily, you can dramatically improve how your house sells with few quick steps:
 
  • Clean: Inside and out. It matters.
  • De-clutter: Give it away, throw it away or store it away, but get it out of your house. Consider PODS for storage.
  • Make minor repairs: Chipped paint, cracked tiles, squeaky hinges, leaky faucets. Fix as much as you are able to.
  • Consider staging: According to the National Association of REALTORS®, staged houses sell 49% faster, and for 7-11% more money.
  • Clean again: It’s that important!
 
Sound overwhelming? You don’t need to do it overnight. Your REALTOR® can point you to someone who can help, or you can break it down into just one small task a day. Think of it this way, everything you remove from the house, clean or repair puts money in your pocket. You’re getting paid to do it!

Step# 5: Get Your Documents Together
In preparation for listing your house, you will need to gather up a few things: 
  • A copy of your survey ( if you have one)
  • Your most recent annual property tax assessment
  • The average cost of utilities (electricity, hydro, water)
  • Details of recent improvements or renovations
  • A list of items you would like to exclude from the sale
  • Pictures of seasonal features (i.e. gardens in bloom
  • Receipts and warranties for recent home improvements
  • Other relevant information (any upgrades, copy of floor plans, builder plans and/or model name)
  • Extra set of keys for showings 

For condominium owners:
  • Maintenance fees and a list of maintenance/fee inclusions
  • Parking and locker numbers
  • Pass key to the building
  • Status Certificate
  • A list of by-laws and restrictions

Step #6:Maximize Exposure To Buyers
Once you’ve found a price for your house and put it in showroom condition, there’s one more critical piece of the puzzle that needs to be in place before buyers begin flocking in to see your finished product. You need to get the word out and capture their attention.
 
Getting the word out about your house matters for two critical reasons. First, buyers can’t be interested if they don’t know your house exists. More importantly, the more home buyers you have interested in your house, the higher the potential sale price, and the faster the sale.
 
Marketing your house to the biggest audience possible takes more than a sign on the front lawn. The best and fastest home sales use a combination of many of the following: online marketing, professional photography and videography, social media marketing, print marketing and more.

Step #7: Showings
As interest in your house rises, so will interest in seeing the real thing. It’s time to show off your finished product to prospective buyers. A REALTOR® will take care of almost all of the details, but here are a few tips to maximize the showing experience:
 
  • You should leave. Buyers want to be able to look around and discuss your house candidly. They won’t be comfortable if you’re there.

  • Is it inviting? In addition to the usual tidying, make sure your house is inviting. Turn the temperature up or down, and let some natural light in.
  • Does it smell clean?  The sense of smell can sway a home buyer when it come to viewing your home. A clean smell and a deodorized smell are two different things. Take care of the root cause of the stink rather than masking the smell. Taking the time to clean your entire home can make a positive impact on the scent of your home. Adding scented candles or deodorizers can make buyers think you’re masking a smell or they could find the scent appalling. Use one clean simple fragrance in your home like orange or lemon.
  • Set additional information that’s helpful. Property brochures, floor plans and contact information.
 
  • Flexibility is key. Be as flexible as you can, and try to accommodate the buyer’s schedule.

Step #8: The Offer
Now this is where things get exciting. You’ve got an offer or maybe two at once! In most cases, your house’s list price won’t be the selling price. When it comes to settling on that final number, you’re going be negotiating. There are some key strategies for home owners:

  • It’s a conversation. Don’t be offended by low offers and conditions. No one is forcing you to accept them. Think of it as a starting point to have a conversation.
  •  Price isn’t the only thing. You can negotiate on price, offer conditions, assets in the home. Don’t get stuck on one thing. Remember, even 1% more for your house can mean thousands to your bottom line.   
Once you agree, the buyer provides a deposit cheque to be held in trust until the conditions are met. The conditions usually have a set time for removal and usually include things like an inspection and mortgage financing. Once the conditions are met and mutually agreed upon, the deal is firm. Your house is sold, and all documents are sent to your lawyer to prepare for closing.  
 
Step #9: Closing Costs
How much do you get to keep? There are a number of closing costs to consider.

Real Estate Brokerage Commissions. For most home sellers, the biggest fee sellers will have to pay are the commission fees to the Brokerages involved with the sale of the property. Commission is agreed upon prior to listing the property for sale. H.S.T is added to the fees.

Legal Fees. Lawyer’s fees vary, but often have structured fees for the purchase and sale of houses posted on their websites. Sellers pay in the area of $1000.00 for a lawyer to look after the legal details necessary to close their home. Click on RealEstateLawyers.ca to find out what your legal fees would be.
 
Mortgage Fees. Check with your mortgage lender to determine if any costs will occur when transferring or releasing your mortgage. There is sometimes what is referred to as a discharge fee to remove the mortgage from title that can range from $200 to upwards of $350. Ratehub.ca offers more information about costs of mortgage refinancing, and a Mortgage Penalty Calculator.

Disbursements. These fees cover additional legal expenses such as travel, copies, couriers, registration fees and preparing document transfers. Disbursements can range upwards of $500, but can sometimes be built into your legal fees. 
 
Adjustments. It’s difficult for a home seller to calculate exactly how much money is owed to which utilities on closing day. Your lawyer will ensure that any overpayments or deficiencies on rents, mortgage interest, property tax and utility charges will be corrected, and the buyer and seller will be credited or charged accordingly.
 
Moving Costs. Moving costs vary based on location and the amount of possessions being moved. If you’re moving yourself, you should factor gas, rental vehicles and moving supplies.
 
To estimate your net proceeds, see the Home Seller's Net proceeds Worksheet.  

Step # 10: Closing Day

When closing day comes around, you will finally let go of all responsibility towards the property and celebrate. 

You will meet with your lawyer to go over all the legal steps of the sale. You will also visit your lawyer a few days before closing to sign documents. Home Seller's Checklist

Once the Buyer has paid for the property and title has passed to the Buyer, it is the Buyer's property and you must vacate the property.  Vacant possession of the property is given, all furniture and personal belongings are removed from the property, leaving the property for the Buyer in the same condition that it was purchased in. 

Congratulations! 

If you have any more questions about selling your house, feel free to contact us. Happy to help!