Read this page if you are considering selling your home|
1. Pricing your home.
2. You need to know if the market changes immediately.
3. Current market trends.
4. Old News: Winter 2003, the booming market of 2002.
5. Homes selling for more than List Price.
6. Selling your home on your own.
7. Buyers' Exclusive Agency (read this).
8. Quick advice.
9. "Selling Tips"
10. Exposure determines profit.
11. Modern Marketing - invisible web sites.
12. Traditional Marketing - advertising should sell your home; not get more business for the Realtor.
1. Pricing Your Home:|
A low price is not the only way and definitely not the best way to get a sale.
Most people are working with yesterday's news and working with information that is not up to date.
You should be ahead of the trend and plan your selling strategy around today's market conditions.
You will always get the best deal on your property if you are working with the latest information and real facts.
I take the latest information about real estate and devise a strategy that makes Buyers want to buy your home.
2. What if ?|
If the market starts changing, who will tell you immediately?
To do the best you can, you need to be ahead of the trend, not behind it.
Don't be left in the dust, wondering what happened.
There is too much at stake to be asleep at the switch.
I give my clients my cell number so they can reach me directly as often as they would like.
3. MARKET TRENDS|
Many Sellers do not realize this year's market is different from last year's. Listings are sitting on the market longer. The economy has slowed a bit so Buyers are a bit more cautious. Recent price increases mean First Time Home Buyers are expected to pay over $150,000 for a home that was well under $120,000 just a few years ago.
The traditional reasons for homes not selling quickly are price and condition. If you want to sell your home, my standard advice is update your research and take the time to de-clutter, touch up and clean.
WHO'S BUYING NOW?
Real Estate Agents have Buyers looking for properties in every category and price range but this year they have the opportunity to shop and get better deals.
Buyers are moving and transferring to Edmonton because of our job market.
Rather than waste money on University Residence or rent, parents are purchasing accomodation for post secondary students.
Graduate students are buying homes as well.
There are still a lot of First Time Home Buyers.
More and more people want to own a RENTAL PROPERTY.
Edmonton home owners are taking advantage of their home's equity and low interest rates to purchase their dream home.
And... the carefree lifestyle of Condominium ownership continues to attract a large number of Buyers.
October 12, 2003
4. OLD NEWS|
This was a very unusual Summer. Prolonged, hot, dry weather made for a great summer holiday but also meant forest fires in BC and grasshoppers in the fields. The market was more normal. Not really a Sellers market. Prices remained up but Buyers and Sellers had time to make rational decisions. As usual, homes priced right and in great condition sold instantly.
People are moving to Edmonton from all over. They need housing and they know they will have the jobs to pay for it. Prices are affected by the lowest interest rates in years. Buyers still base purchase price on their monthly mortgage payment. Sellers base their asking price on what they want to spend on the next one as well as what their neighbor got for his home.
A huge influence on today's market is RENTAL PROPERTIES. People want to invest in something substantial. Mutual funds are out of favour and interest on your savings is negligible. It's a popular retirement plan. I plan on posting more information on rentals in SPECIAL REPORTS.
Is Spring here yet? What a strange year. The Iraqi war really stalled the market. Three days after the Americans arrived in Baghdad, it was going strong. Again now you have to be quick to get the best results. I get so many calls on my listings that are already sold from Buyers that are "looking for themselves". They are calling and calling and driving and driving and always missing the home they want. I suggest they choose a realtor to look after them - to give them new listings daily. My Buyers are finding homes and satisfied with the price they paid.
I also get calls from Sellers who have been trying to sell their property themselves. One fellow actually paid $700 to Comfree. That's not free! After paying his mortgage for three months on a vacant townhouse, spending money on advertising, spending days holding open houses and watching 3 other units in his complex sell - for more, by the way, he decided to list his property. The last two condos I listed sold in a week for more than the Sellers expected.
This long cold winter means the Buyers who do venture out to view homes are SERIOUS. Just what Sellers want - who wants busloads of people "just looking" at their home?
Some listings receive multiple offers but not to the extent of 2002.
Realtors would still like to see more homes for sale as there are still more Buyers than quality listings. Right now, its a win win situation: Buyers can find decent homes for a decent price and Sellers get a very good dollar for their homes.
The key for Buyers is to have everything in order so if they find the right home they can jump to it - make an offer and get the home they've been dreaming about.
Because of the shortage of listings, Sellers do not have the competition they'll face when more listings come on the market. As always, putting a home in showhome condtion pays off with better offers and the convenience of a relatively fast transaction.
Spring will be interesting. More Buyers and hopefully more listings.
The market is considered "normal" and "good". No longer a Sellers' market.
It is much nicer to work in this market now. Buyers and Sellers can make
decisions more rationally since there isn't so much of a rush.
The pressure last Spring was not pleasant for anyone.
Sellers were being pushed: "Sell NOW".
They were not considering every ramification and aspect of selling. Rash decisions can cost a lot of money.
Now Sellers have time to find out what is really going on and take advantage of their knowledge by listing SMARTand negotiating SMART.
On the other hand, Buyers can look at several properties, make an intelligent evaluation of their value to them and then make an offer.
There are more listings than earlier this year. You probably realized that when you drove by all those JUST LISTED signs.
More listed homes is an indication the Sellers' Market of early spring is ebbing.
WHAT I SAID SEPTEMBER 2002
September usually means a bit of a lull in Real Estate.
Parents are busy registering kids in school and sports .
Running around getting supplies and equipment.
There are always people that really NEED A HOME IMMEDIATELY.
To sell right now you must make your home appeal to that Buyer.
Traditionally the market improves towards the end of September.
As I mentioned, Edmonton Real Estate has slowed down a bit.
Fewer people are trying to sell their homes without a Realtor.
WHAT I SAID JULY/AUGUST 2002:
The market has been a bit more relaxed thanks to people going away for holidays, children being out of school and the unbelieveable heat.
WHAT I SAID WAY BACK IN APRIL/MAY:
It is a Sellers market in Edmonton this Spring. So if you are selling, there are several unique options when it comes to pricing your home. I always want you to get what you want from the sale of your home.
5. SELLING FOR MORE THAN ASKING PRICE:|
Everyone has heard of properties listed and sold immediately for list price or more. Especially Spring 2002.
You should ask:
What is the downside to the Seller of this scenario?
Did the Seller get all the money that was available?
What is the advantage to the Seller when his home sells quickly?
I want to make sure you get what you want.
I can show you the pros and cons of every selling plan.
You have to decide what you want; I will do my best to help you get it.
Please let me know if you would like my help when you are ready to market your home. In the meantime, you can get a feel for the current market. If you want any data about the market in your area, you are welcome to call me or email me.
6. FOR SALE BY OWNER:|
You won't be believe what happens when Sellers try to sell their homes themselves - most of them end up with Realtors anyway but only after wasting a lot of time and money. Sometimes the market changes or the peak selling period passes. Experienced, slick buyers take advantage of people trying to sell their own homes..
The Seller can save the commission.
The idea is for the Seller to keep the commission money - not give it to the Buyer. What is the point of doing the work if you don't get paid? People get an evaluation and then put their home on the market for less.
The Seller does the Realtor's job: evaluating, marketing, advertising, making appointments, showing the home, negotiating an agreement, preparing documents and holding deposits.
The home is not "listed".
The Seller must rely on his own resources to protect his interests.
The Property cannot get as much exposure as a Realtor (MLS or Real Esate Weekly).
Buyers will not have as much competition purchase the property as fewer people will know about the home being on the market.
Lack of exposure & competition can keep the Selling Price down.
Pricing is crucial. You want to get the most money so you have to list it high enough. You can't set the price too high or the Buyer that will pay the most for your home may never even see it.
You wouldn't believe what happens when you call a FOR SALE BY OWNER! Try it.
No one answers. Sometimes no answering machine.
Often the call is not returned for days.
Amazing. How will they sell their home if they don't speak to potential Buyers?
Sales can be cancelled if you do not complete the proper paper work in time.
The biggest problem a private seller has is EXPOSURE.
People trying to sell homes by themselves must compete with the Real Estate Boards' Mulitple Listing Service, their well-known websites and Real Estate Weekly advertising.
How many people see FOR SALE BY OWNER signs on quiet side streets?
How many motivated Buyers drive up and down streets looking for signs? Who has time? What about out of town Buyers?
Sellers get the best price when Buyers have a sense of urgency knowing there is competition to buy it.
When a home is on MLS, Buyers can't afford to dawdle - Edmonton's 2000+ Realtors with their thousands of Buyers know the property is available.
Home owners get tired of having strangers walking through their home.
People make appointments but don't show up.
People make you show your home but they can't qualify for a Mortgage.
Or they don't plan on buying this year.
It's frustrating. Maybe that's why people with FOR SALE BY OWNER signs stop taking calls.
A professional Realtor will not waste Homeowners' time with unqualified Buyers.
FOR EXAMPLE: I set up an appointment with a Mortgage Broker to have my Buyers approved for a mortgage. Before showing homes. I ask how soon the Buyers need to find a home so home owners time isn't wasted by people who are "just looking". I don't show homes that do not fit my Buyers "want" list.
SECURITY: Please remember that not everyone is like you.
Criminals prey on people who naively let them into their homes.
People learn a lot about you, your home & valuables in a half hour. Please read STOP THIEF!! for security tips.
NEGOTIATING face to face can cost you PROFIT.
You may divulge more than you should. Owners talk too much.
Owners may try to avoid a tough question or try to say what they think the Buyer wants to hear by not being completely truthful. (lawsuit)
Buyers working on their own are worried and scared. They look at Sellers skeptically. They use their impression of the home owner to decide whether or not to purchase the home. A Seller may seem too tough or greedy or eager. The Buyers imagination runs wild. Sometimes its something totally irrelevant - like your lifestyle or clothes. Fear and Money brings out the worst in people. And there is no one there they trust to bring things into perspective.
People tell horror stories of trying to sell their home themselves.
Owners have been taken advantage of by people stringing them along but not completing the sale.
Bills of Sale are signed but the home is not sold.
The market changes and they lose money.
They don't sell their home fast enough to get the new home they wanted.
Most homes "FOR SALE BY OWNER" are sold by Real Estate Agents. True.
If you decide to sell your property yourself, do it right:
Do not use emotion to determine the value of the home.
Get information on all recent sales of similar homes.
Get the required documents prepared immediately.
Get an answering machine and a cell phone.
Return calls promptly.
Be friendly and polite to everyone.
Make sure Realtors that call really do have a Buyer for your home.
Qualify the people that call without alienating them.
Make sure they are looking for a home like yours.
Show your home effectively. Learn what to say and especially what not to say.
Do not neglect your own security and safety.
Learn to negotiate an agreement.
Get your lawyer to teach you to write a Bill of Sale that is binding.
Learn the Law that applies to Real Estate transactions.
Learn key phrases and words to use and especially the ones never to use.
Be careful not to make a commitment that you do not or cannot keep.
Homes have been sold twice.
Beware of the consequences of your statements.
Arrange to hold the deposit "in trust".
Expect to pay commission if a Realtor sells your home.
If you do not spend time and energy doing it right, you could end up getting less money than you would have if you had an Agent look after your interests. It happens.
7. BUYERS EXCLUSIVE AGENCY:|
Realtors often have a written Agreement with their Buyers.
TheRealtor must look after the Buyer's interests.
Purchases must be handled by that Realtor.
This reduces the number of Buyers that can buy unlisted homes.
The Buyer's Realtor calls FOR SALE BY OWNER.
The owner agrees to pay commission
The owner acknowledges the Realtor represents only the Buyer's interests.
The Realtor shows his Buyer the home and may write an offer and negotiate the purchase for his Buyer.
8. QUICK SELLING ADVICE:|
My motto: "Look at the big picture"
You will be much more successful SELLING YOUR HOME if you look at the entire process from the Buyer's perspective rather than looking at it only from your point of view.
If you want the most money for your home, each step must be as pleasant as possible for the Buyer. This will make the sale enjoyable for you as well.
MAKE IT EASY
Make it easy for the Buyer to find out your home is available.
Make it easy for him to view the home.
Make it easy for him to make an offer.
Make it easy for him to get the approval of his spouse, bank and home inspector.
When it is difficult for Buyers to purchase a home, the home doesn't sell in a reasonable amount of time. The Seller realizes something is not right. The first thought is to lower the asking price.
Price solves everything.
Wouldn't it be better to do everything to sell the house except lower the price?
9. My Selling Tips:|
Please note: Many of these tips can be modified when you have a Realtor looking after you.
"YOUR BEST BUYER": the person that can and will PAY THE MOST MONEY for your property
1. Marketing. How can you sell something if you keep it a secret?
Your goal is to make sure your Best Buyer - knows that your home is available.
To make the most money, you must make sure your home is exposed to as many Buyers as possible.
The Buyer that will pay your price must be made aware the property is available.
Your Best Buyer may find your home through any media:
print (Real Estate Weekly, Homes & Land, Journal, Sun, Neighborhood, Specialty)
Multiple Listing Service MLS (owned by the Real Estate Industry)
word of mouth.
Why limit advertising to only one medium or just a few?
Your Buyer might not hear about your home.
How will you decide which media to use?
The Real Estate Market is changing.
Which media is effective now?
Why waste time & money on media serious Buyers never use?
Which media are used by Agents to get future clients and which ones introduce Buyers to homes they buy?
You need to reach Buyers that want to buy a home like yours.
DID YOU KNOW THAT MOST WEBSITES ARE INVISIBLE TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC?
Think about it. How would your Buyer find out about them?
Are you familiar with current Real Estate laws and practices?
Do you know that many Buyers have written agreements to use a particular Realtor's services when they purchase a property?
Do you know how that affects you and your potential Buyers?
2. You have less than five minutes to sell your home.
Buyers never get over that first impression. Your home must be ready for your Best Buyer the first time he drives by.
How to do it right:
Park across the street from your home. Look at your property. Look again.
Imagine that you are the Buyer husband, sitting in the car. She made you come out to look at houses. You were all set to watch that game. The remote control is still in your hand. You don't even want to move! That husband is looking hard at your home. He is trying to see a defect he can use as an excuse to refuse to go in to see the inside.
Look at your home with that attitude. See what he sees. Let's make it easy for the Buyer wife to get her husband inside.
Force yourself to look at your home with new eyes. Have you been walking past little problems? Not "seeing" things that will make Buyers reject your home or discount your price? Make it easy for the Buyer to like your home.
Take a hint. Your friends - even your Realtor may not want to insult you by being too direct about the things you need to correct.
When Buyers see small flaws, they assume big important things have been neglected as well. Let your Buyer see you have cared for your home.
Sometimes Sellers focus on their new home or that great job they are moving to. They just cannot force themselves to work on the home they are selling. Reminds me of cars you see deserted in farmers' fields. They could have been sold but there was a new car in the driveway.
Know this: Selling a home that needs (even a little) TLC will cost you money.
Sometimes it means NO SALE.
Ask exactly how much not doing those fix-ups will reduce the selling price.
Isn't $10,000 or $3000.00 or even $1000 worth getting those little jobs done?
Why make your Buyer try to figure out how much time and money it will cost to repair those little drips and chips?
Buyers overestimate cost and exaggerate the hassle of fix-ups.
Price goes down.
The cash return on small touch-ups and upgrades is much greater than you would expect.
Don't waste time and money on things that won't affect your sale or increase the selling price.
Spruce up your home the right way.
Are you sure Buyers appreciate new fixtures more than perfect woodwork ?
Clean. Hire a cleaning service.
A few hundred dollars can mean the Buyer will buy your home for more money.
An untidy home can even mean not selling at all.
No one wants to clean someone else's dirt.
Make it easy for Buyers to see how large your home is.
Remove extra furniture.
Help Buyers see the features of your home at its best.
No Buyer is looking for a messy home.
Do not put your home up for sale until it is ready.
It will cost you money. Buyers do not believe you will finish that work. Would you? Do not expect Buyers to return to see if the work is completed and buy your home.
All this effort is a waste of time without effective marketing and advertising.
Selling your Home:
NB You need to follow the most important advice which is:
NEVER communicate with Buyers directly - it will cost you every time.
Every Realtor tells homeowners they will sell their home for more money in less time if they leave the property during showings. Buyers feel like they are inconveniencing the owners. It inhibits the conversation. If a couple can't discuss a home as they view it, the impact and potential of the home is usually wasted. Some Buyers refuse to view homes if the owners won't leave. They don't want to take anything, they want to buy the house.
If you are trying to sell your home yourself, here are some pointers:
Make it easy for Buyers to get information about your home. The Buyer wants you to return his calls asap. Get an answering service and cell phone.
To sell your home for the most money, learn to answer Buyer's questions effectively.
You must learn to use questions to sell your home's value.
The Buyer must be able to contact you easily for a convenient appointment. The Buyer should not feel he is causing you any inconvenience.
Showing a home is an art.
Without compromising your security, it should be easy for Buyers to view your home. To generate the most profit, your Best Buyer must be able to look at your home in private.
He should never feel like he should hurry.
The Buyer should be made aware of the property's features that are important to him (not what is important to you).
He should not feel uncomfortable because people are hovering around him.
Do not reel off a long list of improvements. What if you and the Buyer do not have the same wish list?
Your list could make the Buyer think the price is based on things that aren't important to him. In the Buyer's mind, that is a reason to reduce the price. No one wants to pay for something they don't want.
The home is best presented by someone that knows your Buyer's wish list and will help him appreciate the value of your home.
The Purchase Agreement: You and the Buyer must negotiate a good legal purchase contract. The agreement is complex and legally binding. The Buyer must feel comfortable with the document so he can agree to it. You both need to be aware of what you are signing. We all know the pitfalls of a poorly written offer. Mistakes can cost you thousands of dollars or even the sale. If you have any choice, have someone deal with the Buyer on your behalf.
FINANCING must be arranged without causing the Buyer to have "Buyer's Remorse" ie. second guess his decision or doubt the value of the home. The Buyer may not feel comfortable dealing with a Bank you recommend. A neutral financial source would be more acceptable but then you are gambling on the experience and ability of the mortgage broker.
INSPECTIONS: The Buyer must feel that the Inspector is unbiased. There are good inspectors and bad inspectors - it is difficult to make sure the Buyer deals with a good inspector without making him feel like you are pushing him towards any particular company.
The transaction must be completed. You and the Buyer have obligations that must be met within definite periods of time in a particular manner or your deal can collapse. This is very important to both of you. The Buyer must not feel pressured just reminded.
There is a Buyer for every home.
I work for my clients every step of the way!
When it comes time to sell, I want my clients to be able to relax and not fret over details. I continually market, sell and buy homes. Over and over. Each home and every selling experience is different but the steps are the same. I have the experience and tools to meet the demands of a highly competitive, modern market. My combination of skill and technology ensures that I can help my Clients achieve their goals.
I work hard to make sure Buyers that are willing and able to make the best offer knows my client's home is for sale. I use media that is effective for selling property not media that will get more clients for me.
Your choice of Realtor should always be determined by what the Realtor will do for you.
Get the details.
The Realtor works for you; you should know what he is going to do for you.
11. INTERNET MARKETING:|
Listing your home on a website no one knows about is like advertising in a magazine that never leaves the printer.
You need your property listed on well-known websites.
You wouldn't advertise in a paper with no circulation or with the wrong readers.
Why would you put your budget into a website that no one will ever see?
It is obvioud websites are ineffective if no one goes to them or if they are only visited by the wrong segment of the market.
Websites have a place in marketing Real Estate. But they should not be your only media.
Contrary to predictions, the latest figures show that the internet has not caused any drop in the use of Real Estate Agents. In fact the percentage of closed transactions involving Realtors has gone up.
Make sure that your property is on the right websites. Very few individuals or even companies can spend the huge sums of money necessary to market websites to make them effective selling Real Estate.
I believe putting your property on MLS.ca and the RE/MAX sites are the best way to get your home exposed to the people that can and will buy it. Those sites funnel Buyers to my personal websites where more pictures and details on my listings are available 24 hours a day. When I am contacted by Buyers, I can determine where they heard about me or the property that attracted them so I keep tabs on the effectiveness of the sites I use.
My online marketing system allows me to respond immediately and directly to each and every prospective buyer. Plus a beautiful full-colour brochure of your home can be e-mailed to prospective buyers.
Through Personal Home Searches, where your home meets their criteria, your listing can be sent by e-mail to every prospective buyer.
My listings also appear on other Realtors sites, the Real Estate Board sites and the sites of effective Real Estate magazines and papers.
12. Traditional Marketing:|
Please do not assume an ad with a Realtor's picture is the best way to sell your home.
What do you notice first? Right.
So what is being sold?
Your choice of Realtor should be determined by what the Realtor will do for you.
I carefully decide where and when to advertise your home.
As your Agent, I believe it is my job to get as many of the right people to know about your property as quickly as possible.
I put selling your home above finding more clients for myself.
If you request specific advertising, I will discuss the advantage for you and the advantage for me.
As soon as you list your home with me, I enter your home in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) database (unless instructed otherwise by you).
Immediately over 2000 other agents (on behalf of the thousands of Buyers they represent) have access to information on your property.
Of course, your property will be included in any printed MLS books and the Real Estate Weekly.
Every Step Of The Way...
Remember, I will be working for you every step of the way helping you get what you want as you sell your home.
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