Selling Your Home
Now that you are selling your home, you are in for an experience that can be either positive or negative. Selling your home maybe a new experience and you may not know what to expect. I’m going to prepare you for the experience of selling your home by discussing the process and the different possibilities that could happen.
Sometimes other agents are negligent for their lack of professionalism, which can be disturbing. For example – you just did a quick cleaning because there is going be a showing. Then the agent and their buyer doesn’t show up or even call to cancel. Do you think that you may be a little upset? Now, if you knew the possibilities of this happening, you may just shake your head and shrug it off and make selling your home a pleasure.
What to expect when selling your home:
- Paper work, staging, pictures, brochures, advertising, for sale signs, lock box.
- Qualified Buyer Showings
- Keeping your home in tip-top shape.
- Buyers coming in and out of your home and leaving when they come
- Leaving for Open houses
- Other agents leaving the lights on
- Agents and their buyers making a no-show, or not showing up on time.
- Dealing with pets.
- People knocking at your door
- Timing of Offers and factors that affect them
- Sold Conditionally
- Sold Firm
1. Paperwork, staging, pictures, brochures, mls, advertising, open houses, for sale signs, lock boxes
- You’ve signed all the paperwork.
- Your house gets staged so it shows in the best possible way.
- The photographer takes the pictures.
- Brochures are made up.
- Your home is listed on mls based on an agreed date (unless delayed for some reason) and your home is now on the market.
- The for sale sign is installed.
- A lock box is put on your home.
- Your house is advertised on over a 1000 web sites and also put into magazines, etc.
- We set a date for open houses and do them.
- And your house starts to get showed.
2. Qualified Buyer Showings
What I find amazing is the way the system works and how each potential buyer that comes to see your home is usually a qualified buyer.
Here’s how the procedure works:
- Agents have buyers. They show their clients mls listings. They pick a few that interest them and let’s say your house is one of them.
- The buying agent calls our office (us being the listing brokerage), and request a viewing within the time perimeters that we previous agree upon.
- Our office contacts you the seller.
- You confirm the appointment, it may be agreed to previously that all you need is for us to leave a message of an appointment as long as it’s in the permitted time and that you don’t necessarily need to confirm the appointment.
- Our office then calls the office of the buyer’s agent, not the agent directly. Their office in turn confirms the appointment with their agent.
This process ensures that there is an actual agent on the other side because we call their office and not the agent directly.
Also, most agents don’t want to waste their time showing houses that don’t fit the criteria of their clients, and your house should fit their criteria, somewhat.
3. Keeping your house in tip top shape and factors affecting the time it takes to sell
The toughest issue I’ve found among many sellers is having to keep the house in tip top shape, especially when you have young children. So consider this, if you overprice your home and it doesn’t sell within a reasonable time, you may get frustrated because of the constant cleaning and the disruption of your life.
Also, this can affect the amount of money you may get for your home. For instance, when an offer comes in and you are in negotiations, you may compromise and accept a price that you may not have under different conditions, you just want to get it over with already.
4. Buyers coming in and out of your home and you leaving when they come
Many buyers feel more comfortable when no one is home and that they can speak more freely with their agents. They also feel more comfortable to take their time and really check out the place.
In my personal view, I would recommend my sellers to stay if you’re at home. Just move to a different location when the buyers and their agents walk into the room you’re in. For example consider this scenario: you have 4 appointments let’s say from 5 pm to 9 pm, do you want to keep leaving your premises? And if you have kids, it makes it even more troublesome.
If a potential buyer really likes your home and they are considering putting in an offer, they can arrange to see it again and request that you are not at home. At least, you now know that you have a serious candidate and its worth going out for about an hour.
5. Leaving for open houses
When you have open houses, you should definitely not be there. Open houses are usually on weekends for 2 hours each day.
6. Other agents forgetting to shut the lights
You would think that other agents should know to shut the lights. Unfortunately, some don’t have the capacity to remember to shut them. When an agent makes an appointment to show a property we always request for them to shut the lights, remove their shoes and leave a card.
This is an area that some sellers get very frustrated about. So if you can keep in mind that it is just a temporary situation.
7. Not Removing Their Shoes
Thank god this doesn’t happen too often.
7. Agents and their Buyers making a no show or not showing up on time
The buyer decides that they don’t want to see your home or something comes up. It is common and professional courtesy to call our office to cancel, so we can call you and let you know. There are agents that either forget to call or just don’t care. You’re waiting for them to come or you went out. I can’t tell you enough how frustrating this is. Although, this doesn’t happen too often, it happens. When it does, I not only call the agent and let them have it, I also call their manager. So if this happens, I understand your frustration.
It’s also possible that they are running late and instead of calling to let you know, they just show up late, expecting you to let them in. If this happens, you can tell them that they can’t come in, and to contact your agent’s office to reschedule or you can allow them to come in. This is your call.
8. Dealing with pets
Many people have pets. If a pet is not vicious, which most aren’t, then the buyer’s agent should be able to deal with the pet. We will tell the buyer’s agent if there is a dog or cat, etc. For cats we just tell them not to let it get away outside. For dogs, they have a choice, either let it stay inside and not let it escape, or that they can enter before their clients and let the dog out into the yard and not to forget about it, and let the dog in after they finish. Although some can forget.
This is life, and the buyer’s agent should deal with it. If they have an issue with this they can book an appointment when you are home and you can deal with it.
9. People knocking at your door
It happens very little if it does and it’s something to be aware of.
If someone knocks at your door, and asks if it’s ok to see your home, I would say no and that they should call your agent, regardless of whether it’s an agent with their client or a person off the street who has seen you’re for sale sign.
Do you want to let a stranger into your home? Do you know them?
If they are serious, they will go through the proper channels.
10. Timing of Offers and factors that affect them
Statistics on the number of days it takes to sell a similar home in your area will give you an indication of what to expect in regards to timing. Keep in mind that the stats include price decreases for some of the homes. If a home is priced right you should have an offer fairly quickly. A home that is priced too high will sit on the market longer. In our market (GTA) if you haven’t had an offer within two weeks, I would consider a price reduction.
Determining factors that will bring offers depend on certain criteria:
- Time of year – December usually the slowest and May the busiest.
- Type of market – are we in a seller’s market, a buyer’s market or a balanced market.
- Price of your home – this is relative to the condition and neighbourhood – a home that is a dump will attract buyers that are looking to renovate and a home that is done up and looks amazing will attract buyers that are willing to pay more. The price should be reflective for the condition of the home and based on comparables in the subject neighbourhood. Keep in mind that in a seller’s market just because similar homes sold for one price in April, doesn’t mean that it won’t necessarily sell for more in June (supply and demand).
Usually, when a house is listed you get the most viewings the first week and it starts to slow down after that.
11. Sold Conditionally
When a home is sold, it is usually with conditions. The two most common that will either make or break the deal is: The buyer arranging financing and having a home inspection. It’s common to allow the buyer 5 business days (this is what financial institutions recommend), although, an inspection can be done faster.
When a home is sold conditionally, the mls listing is changed to say it sold conditionally with the date that the conditions must be waived by. Basically, you can say that your home is off the market for that time period because most agents won’t want to show your home.
The buyers must waive the conditions within the 5 days or whatever time is specified; if not, the sale becomes null and void and is back on the market.
Also, when your property is sold conditionally they have a choice in regards to the deposit. They can give the deposit when it is sold conditionally or a deposit within 24 hours. It must be a money order or certified cheque. Usually, within 24 hours is the norm.
If the buyers don’t waive the conditions and the deal doesn’t go through, the deposit is returned to the buyer in full.
The balance of the monies owed is paid at closing. The balance is the sale price less the deposit.
There is no set amount required for a deposit. As a matter of fact legally you don’t have to make a deposit. By giving a deposit shows good will. The bigger the deposit the better the good will. If a buyer doesn’t give a half decent deposit, I would suggest not dealing with them.
12. Sold Firm
Conditions waived, the sale of your home is now firm.
We send all the paper work to your lawyers directly, and the lawyers deal with it.
They will contact you to let you know that they opened a file and what to expect. You will meet with your lawyer a few days before closing to sign required paperwork. The buyer’s lawyer will check title on your home about a week before closing, to make sure that you have no registered liens against your property, as well as any outstanding permits, etc. If there is a lien, the lawyers will arrange how to deal with it.
Basically, the lawyers deal with everything. Like the gas bill, the heating, etc. and arrange who’s responsible for what.
The day of closing you will be notified by your lawyer that the deal has closed and the buyers can pick the keys up from their lawyer.
The lawyers also deal with the money and where it should go. They pay off the financial institution if you cashed out, pay required misc. bills, then you are issued a cheque. If you bought a new home, then do the required paper work and handle where the funds go etc. They look after the deeds, etc.