Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Home sales in the Hamilton-Burlington Area are down a whopping 27.2% in January compared with the same month last year according to the most recent report released by the Realtors Association of Hamilton-Burlington. It’s no secret when the market is hot homes sell faster and buyers are more inclined to overlook minor deficiencies in a home. However, when the market is not – selling a home becomes more challenging and it can take longer to sell. So what can you do to make sure home sells in a reasonable amount of time during a market slowdown?
1. Price Your Home for the Current Market—the most important first step when selling in a slow market is to price your home correctly. Last year homes in the Hamilton area were selling like hotcakes with multiple offers and bidding wars. Those days are gone and home sellers need to understand the new realities of the market and price accordingly. Make sure you have a local real estate agent familiar with the market provide you with an up-to-date market evaluation.
2. Proper Exposure—Make sure your home is listed on the local real estate board MLS (Multiple Listing Service) to ensure you listing is getting maximum exposure. If your home is not listed on the local real estate board it may be missed by potential home buyers working with local agents.
3. Make Sure Your Home Stands Out from the Competition—first, clean, clean your home from top to bottom! If you are too busy hire a professional cleaning company to take care of it. Painting is another simple and effective low cost method of improving your home—get rid of any bold colors. Do fix any overdue repairs, update outdated light fixtures, door hardware and appliances. Replace worn out carpeting or flooring.
4. Get Professional Photographs—often a buyer’s decision on whether or not to schedule viewing of your home is based on your listings photos. Make sure your real estate agent hires professional photographers to take photos of your home. Blurry, dark and crooked photos taken with your agent’s cell are not acceptable.
5. Consider Staging Your Home—if your home is vacant you may want to consider staging your home. Vacant homes are more difficult to sell as potential buyers have a hard time visualizing themselves and their furniture placement in the home. Also, if your home is cluttered or the furniture placement is not optimizing the living space you may want to consider staging.
6. Be Prepared to Lower Your Price if Necessary—When the market is slow it is important to make sure you are positioned well on price relative to your competitors. The market is dynamic so if your home hasn’t sold in a reasonable amount of time you may need to consider lowering your price. Talk with your agent and make sure you are receiving timely updates of recent nearby comparable sales and new listings entering the market.
7. Be Patient—above all remember the market has slowed down and it is going to take a bit longer to sell your home. Try to be your Zen self and not worry or panic—rest assured if you follow the above steps your home is going to sell.
Monday, May 16, 2016
You may think that in a hot real estate market that selling your home privately or through a low cost/service brokerage that merely lists your home on the MLS would be easy—however, here are some compelling reasons why you should hire a full service Realtor®.
- Pricing Your Home—when the market is hot, prices are dynamic and ever changing. A realtor® can provide valuable inside information on current inventory levels, recent comparable sales and provide forecasts on where the prices are heading.
- Offer Strategy—in a Seller's Market many real estate agents employ a “no offers until” strategy whereby they postpone offers until a certain date. The goal is to create maximum interest and exposure on your home and try to generate multiple offers. This strategy would be difficult selling privately—think about it most sellers have never dealt with one offer let alone multiple offers. Also, if you take the first offer you receive on your house you could seriously be limiting the price it could potentially sell for.
- Property Viewing's—are you available to show your home at all hours of the day?—most people are not. In a hot real estate market you could be overwhelmed with number of showing requests you receive. When you list your home with a realtor® the brokerage coordinates and schedules all appointments for agents to show their clients who have already been vetted and pre-qualified. Also, do you really want to invite complete strangers into your home?
- Buyer Agents Still expect to get paid—finally, if you decide to sell privately or list with a low cost brokerage you should understand how commission gets paid. First, when a home is listed on the MLS usually it is the seller that pays the commission—an amount that is shared between a Listing Brokerage and a Co-operating-Buyer Brokerage. Today most buyers use a real estate agent/brokerage to purchase a home—87% according to a recent NAR report. This means that they are contractually bound by a real estate brokerage and—you guessed it—the brokerage expects to be paid for their services! With this in mind if you decide to sell privately and are not offering to pay a co-operating brokerage commission the onus is then on the buyer to pay. I can tell you from experience that most buyers do not want or expect to have to pay commission when they purchase a home. In fact, some buyers may choose to simply overlook your listing faced with the prospect of having to pay the commission which could limit the number of buyers who see your home.
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
- Your House is not Clean
Having a clean home is one of the easiest and least expensive ways you can improve your homes marketability. Make sure your home is thoroughly cleaned from top to bottom —think spring cleaning—making sure it's absolutely spotless! If you don't have time to clean yourself then hire a professional cleaning company to do a deep clean before listing your home for sale.
- House Funk
There's nothing worse than walking into a house and the first thing that smacks you in the face is "wet dog" smell. Other offending odours include cooking, cigarette or cigar smoke, musty smells and unkempt litter boxes. Try to understand that just because you can't smell it doesn't mean that the odour is not there. Ask a close friend or someone you trust to give you an honest unbiased opinion if you suspect that you may have a problem. Please don't shoot the messenger—if your realtor® tells you that you have an odour issue—just thank them for pointing it out.
- Awkward Furniture Placement
Make sure your furniture placement is well thought out and creates purpose for each room. Try to avoid placing furniture in such a way that it blocks the natural flow of the home. Potential buyers should never feel as though they are navigating through an obstacle course. Make sure the size of the furniture suits the shape and size of the room. Oversized furniture can make a room appear smaller than it actually is. Also, try to keep areas in front of all windows unobstructed.
- Creative Paint Colours
So your favourite colour is "Big Bird" Yellow—hey were not judging you—and you want to show off that new sponge painting technique you picked on HGTV. Just remember your home must appeal to a very broad audience so try to stick with neutral paint tones. Painting is one of the least expensive improvements you can make with the highest ROI so say bye-bye Big Bird!
De-cluttering is another easy and inexpensive way to increase the marketability of your home. Not only is clutter unsightly it can divert a buyer's attention away from the positive features and space of your home. That's right, so go down to your local U-Haul or Home Depot now and purchase a bunch of boxes—remember your moving—and declutter every room.
- Musty Basements
If you have a musty smelling basement one of the first things potential buyers are going to wonder is—is there water leaking into the basement? This is can be very disconcerting to buyers because it can be a potentially major expense to repair it its true. However, this may not be the cause of your funk or musty smell. Perhaps you are not running a dehumidifier in the summertime or it's coming from that retro 1950's shag carpet that has seen way too many parties. Whatever the cause make sure you figure it out and solve the problem.
- DIY projects
So you like to do things yourself—good for you! Some projects just scream DIY—they are so obvious to buyers that it's almost comical. Whether it's hardwood flooring that's been installed incorrectly or basements that are finished poorly. The only thing a buyer sees with bad DIY projects are dollar signs wondering what it's going to cost to un-do your mistakes. So unless you're a licensed contractor—or experienced at doing small improvements—make sure you hire a professional. And please, for the love of God don't try to do your own electrical work—unless of course you're a licensed electrician—as your just jeopardizing the safety of others.