Welcome to our latest installment of “Dear Urbaneer” where we contemplate thoughtful questions and queries brought to us by our clients.
This time around, our client is toying with the idea of putting his home up for sale, but wants some advice on how to proceed.
It seems as though every time I open the newspaper or flip on my tablet, I am greeted with headlines about the heat of the Toronto real estate market. Even around the water cooler at work there's chatter about bidding wars where sellers are turning a tidy profit. It would seem that now is an opportune time to put my home up for sale. What do you think?
Seller on the Fence
Here's our response:
Dear Seller on the Fence:
Depending on your property type and some key location variables (like proximity to green space, village amenities and public transport), the downtown Toronto market is very much currently in favour of Sellers. It does indeed represent an opportunity to reap a profitable return when extracting the equity on your real estate investment.
No question, market conditions do matter, but they are only part of the puzzle. Selling your home can be an intense experience and, if you're trying to get top dollar, it's much more time consuming than just tapping a 'for sale' sign onto your front lawn. Selling is a multi-step process. So if you are engaging simply because the “market seems right”, you may find yourself disappointed or dissatisfied if you're not willing to execute the sale process correctly.
Much in the same way as purchasing a home is different than the experience of home ownership, so is the decision to sell based solely on market conditions. Strictly from a financial point of view, there does represent a positive opportunity – but a positive overall experience (and once that makes sense for you now and in the long run) is a little more complex and is based on an individual’s needs at a given time.
So What Is Your Motivation To Sell?
In many areas of your life, no doubt your success begins with the setting of a goal. This starts with you determining why you are selling.
Is your lifestyle changing? Do your space requirements command a bigger or smaller property? Or perhaps you’d like to be closer to work, or you’ve decided that you’d like to trade in your current property type for another. If your decision to sell it to buy another property, we'd encourage you to become educated in what your options are first before selling.
Are you getting divorced? Getting a big promotion at work – or maybe getting downsized? Maybe your decision to sell is strictly financial. Your home is an asset, and maybe your financial situation has changed. Selling because you need liquidity is a just reason.
Determining the “why” behind your selling decision can very much determine the “how”. Different motivations call for different strategies.
If your motivation is simply to 'cash out' of the market because you think it's at the top end of a bubble, consider first where you're going to go. And if you've got a sizable nest egg coming from the proceeds of your sale, perhaps you should determine in advance how you will invest those funds. Will they give you a return on investment that's been as lucrative as the housing market? It is one thing to think now is the time to sell because the market's 'hot', but what if it doesn't cool down? Could your strategy to cash out now fail?
Your reason for selling will likely call for a different course of action. As your realtor we'll discuss different options on timing, pricing, and the aggressiveness required to execute a sale flawlessly amidst a sea of Sellers who are each seeking to garner top dollar for their properties. And why not? For most, your home is your biggest asset, in addition to the place that you throw down your roots and evolve your life. It’s worth a great deal to you both financially and emotionally, and that importance should translate to investing some time, energy and capital into getting the highest price possible.
Move Towards Being a Seller
Once you’ve determined your reasons to sell, it is time to move towards active selling. You can start by preparing your home to go to market, which can take some time – so the sooner you get at it, the sooner you can get the ball rolling.
But first, visit your lender to find out about financing and what sort of equity you can expect to extract after the sale. Find out if there are penalties if you are paying out your current mortgage, or how these might be deferred or lessened if you are taking out a new mortgage. If you are looking to move up the property ladder, determine what sort of budget you’ve got to work with so that you can set to finding your next property.
Buyers these days have expectations when they enter a home, thanks in part to a 24 hour loop of HGTV and the proliferation of design media.
In order to achieve your selling goal, you need to subscribe a bit to buyer psychology. It is all about moving that buyer from mere interest to decision to purchase – and to purchase at top dollar.
At home, look at your property with the critical eye of a potential buyer and start getting your house ready. Pare down on belongings. Give away or sell unwanted items and put non-essential or seasonal items in storage. Clutter with make your space seem smaller.
Determine if there are any repairs that need to be done (minor cosmetic fixes or more major projects)?
Clean, clean, clean. A home that looks (and smells) clean not only looks good to prospective buyers, it underscores the sense that your home is well taken care of.
Here's one of our past newsletters called 'Strategies To Help Sell Your Home'.
We also offer a FREE urbaneer Style Enhancement which is a little different than traditional staging where you remove your belongings and a company brings in 'model furniture'. A Style Enhancement is about presenting the best version of your space with your personal items, along with some urbaneer suggestions. And, if required, we'll bring in some of our own pieces to help elevate your property at no additional charge.
While market conditions do certainly favour those who wish to cash out of their existing property, we believe there are steps and strategies – each with their own articulated beginning, middle and end – that can ultimately serve your objective if you're choosing to sell. However, as realtors who have invested two decades building credibility through experience, we'd want to analyze your circumstances in detail first before we counsel you accordingly which, in some cases, may include our recommendation to not to sell at all.
Are you considering whether now might be the time to sell your property? As we’ve mentioned here, there is far more to the process than simply deciding to sell. One of the key ingredients to your eventual success is having a savvy, skilled partner along with way to help guide you through the stages and steps, delivering you to your end goal.
At urbaneer.com, we have more than two decades in helping both buyers and sellers determine and achieve their housing dreams. We understand the nuances of the market, and the human factors behind the decision to enter it. We take care and time to match each client to the proper selling strategy, as well as help them find their way up or down the property ladder.
Want to know more? Please know we’re here to help!
~ Steven and the urbaneer team
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