Are you considering selling your property?
A lot of Sellers underestimate the time, energy and – if their objective is to garner the highest dollar – the costs associated with showcasing a property for sale to its target markets. In today’s sophisticated real estate market, it’s no longer about simply tapping up a ‘For Sale’ sign and baking chocolate chip cookies. It’s about presenting a property for its unique qualities, its lifestyle benefits, and its highest potential – both practically, emotionally, and aesthetically. This requires providing as much information as possible.
Here’s a synopsis on what you might considering doing – and the information required – to present your home in its optimum light to a highly informed and educated market.
First, at Urbaneer, when we meet clients who are selling their property, regardless of circumstance, our objective is to steer them gently to realizing the highest price in the shortest time possible. Selling a property is an exciting but disruptive process to your daily life. After all, you’ve got to keep your home in ‘showcase condition’ and vacate for Buyer showings.
Although Toronto’s property market is still piping hot, how fast your place might sell – and at what price – can have a lot to do with the property type, its location, the state of your property, and competing listings on the market that are similar to yours. After all, few of us have the perfect panoramic penthouse in the most desirable neighbourhood with a terrace and two-car parking! However, if selling your home quickly and for top dollar is your objective, and you don’t want to leave your fate in the hands of shifting market dynamics, your success will rely almost exclusively on wisely choosing the right realtor. At the end of the day, they’re the ones who are both equipped and responsible for implementing an aggressive successful selling strategy specifically tailored to your property and your needs. At Urbaneer, we employ proven actionable steps that have been gleaned from – and distilled by – over twenty-five years of experience.
To facilitate the listing process, here’s a summary of what we do to prepare a new listing for the market, including the information that we require from our clients.
(46 Herbert Avenue – Recently Sold By Urbaneer)
Small Steps For Big Results
The very first thing you have to do? Purge, purge and purge some more. Not only will de-cluttering help enhance your available space – but it will also speed things up when it comes time to move! So, get rid of as much as you can (donate! donate! donate!). It’s also crucial to neutralize the space by removing anything too personal (or taste-specific), though I am a huge fan of seeing some photos and personal mementoes. I personally applaud seeing a property where the Sellers have expressed their personal sense of ‘home’, but remember, Buyers are not just looking for a property; they are seeking a place to lay down their own roots, define themselves, and create life-long memories. Your space must allow these Buyers to easily envision themselves living there, which includes creating a sufficiently neutral canvas (but not devoid of personality) that they can easily see as their own. If you need assistance, we can recommend companies that can help you organize your contents and remove any items that won’t be coming to your next property.
Though it might sound obvious, make sure that your house is squeaky clean (don’t forget inside drawers and cupboards too). And, while now is not the time to take on major renovation projects, ensure things are in good repair (fix those broken handles/leaky faucets etc.) will go a long way.
Finally, a small but meaningful step towards getting your house sold super-fast is actually as simple as a coat of paint and/or new broadloom! A fresh paint job and contemporary broadloom will refresh your space and give it new life. While complementing your furnishings, be sure to select neutral colours that will appeal to the broadest customer base.
Need assistance? A realtor who is well-connected can make all the arrangements, and even help choose on-trend fittings, fixtures and furnishings to get your property on the market lickety-split! Our Urbaneer team includes a reliable roster of tradespeople who can assist you promptly. Even the trickiest of transformations can often be executed quickly and efficiently when you have a well-connected realtor. Ours includes a staging firm, a sparkling cleaning company, our exacting contractor whom we’ve used for the past 18 years, and even retailers who provide us with a discount for furnishings and accessories. Remember, choosing the right realtor should include a firm ready to assist you through the entire home preparation and selling process so you can focus on other matters, ensuring it’s easy-peasy and stress-free for you.
(132 Mona Drive – Recently Sold By Urbaneer)
Styling For Success
Undoubtedly, in our HGTV-obsessed society, you are familiar with the concept of staging. With the proliferation and popularity of this media stream, buyers have expectations of a well-staged home as a baseline. For a more in-depth understanding of this phenomenon, check out our blog, ‘Behold The HGTV Effect On Toronto Real Estate‘ as well as the more recent ‘Dear Urbaneer: My Obsession With Design Media Is Hampering My House Hunt!‘ They’re both worth a read.
The sense of ‘home’ is a crucial intangible that is key to a successful sale of your home, and involves striking that delicate balance between a space that looks happily lived-in and a space that is styled to have broad appeal. Urbaneer can help you, room by room, to make sure that each space is neutral and expressing the best use of its space. Once we guarantee your home is well-lit, sweet-smelling, and generally appealing we bring in our professional photographer to create a compelling portfolio of photographs.
Creating a memorable impact for the buyer as soon as they cross the threshold relies heavily on the multi-sensory experience that staging and style enhancement create. It’s always essential, but even more so if you are on a strict timeline for your sale. One of our favourite stagers is Jessica Richardson of GYS Interiors, both for her fresh style sensibility and the quality of her furnishings. Once your place is enhanced, we also have our preferred company come in to measure your home and create a thorough, annotated floor plan.
(6 Walmsley Boulevard – Sold By Urbaneer)
Guided Pricing Strategy
Pricing is another crucial factor when determining how fast your home will sell. Obviously, you want top dollar, but you have to be careful not to be too unrealistic or greedy; having predetermined expectations can stop a sale in its tracks; a fair price will also help you get the most money possible.
We accomplish this by drawing on comparable sales. We recommend pricing your home either near these prices or slightly below. If you are competing against similar properties on the market in the area, it can be strategic to price your home more aggressively. Other factors to consider include the state of your home (i.e. Is it modern and up-to-date? Are renovations needed? If so, how much will those cost the future Buyer?).What about the location (it’s fair to charge a premium for a AAA location that is close to amenities)? Does your home boast any unique features that could be a selling (and pricing premium) point? Having pioneered the Innovative Space Market in Toronto through the 1990s and 2000s, we’re well-versed in pricing properties with unusual qualities and features; we’ve also got our fingers on the pulse of the latest styles and design trends to counsel you on how to present your property to your target market.
(77 Avenue Road – Sold By Urbaneer)
Specific Strategy for Condominium Sellers
Attention condo owners: this last point is particularly relevant when looking at selling a condominium, where Buyers will happily pay a premium for unique qualities, good finishes, and a thoughtful floor plan – anything that can help set your space apart from the conventional will serve you well. Take a moment to read a past Dear Urbaneer post called “Dear Urbaneer: How Do I Boost The Value Of My Condominium?”
(537 Palmerston Boulevard – Sold By Urbaneer)
Timing is Everything
Did you know there are Seasons To Real Estate? When you come to market for sale can have a large impact on the value and your pricing strategy. If you come to market in the slower season (i.e. during a Holiday) there will be less stock on the market, but less competition and a smaller pool of Buyers as well. However, it’s important to point out that the typical seasonal market dynamics don’t always apply to the hot Toronto property market. Toronto operates in line with its own unique set of variables, which is yet another reason to enlist the support of a knowledgeable, experienced realtor, like Urbaneer! Check out our most recent seasonal Toronto Real Estate Market Forecasts on urbaneer.com, which reflect our efforts to keep a finger on the pulse of the market!
A swift response to ‘timing the market’ can translate into a swift and profitable sale. We can explain who your target market is so you can factor it into setting your asking price.
Ready to sell?
HERE IS THE INFORMATION WE’LL NEED FROM YOU –>
The best selling experiences are those that involve the client in the experience. Effective communication as to what we require from you to facilitate your sale right from the beginning is just one of our operational pillars. Here is an easy-to-follow checklist:
1) A Summary Of Inclusions and Exclusions: Given we like a Buyer to know from the get-go what is included in the purchase of any property, it’s important to have a list of chattels and fixtures in your residence that clarifies which are included and excluded. We can tour your house together to compile a list, but you might want to start thinking about this in advance.
Here’s an example:
Inclusions: Sub-zero fridge, Wolf stove and hood, Miele oven/microwave, Miele steam oven, Miele dishwasher, washer/dryer on second floor, beverage fridge in built-in beside kitchen banquette, lower level wine fridge in as-is condition (requires freon), all appliances in lower level including fridge, stove, dishwasher, microwave, washer/dryer, all washroom fixtures and fittings, all closet shelving and rods, all custom kitchen shelving, all bedroom shelving units, middle bedroom wardrobe, custom built-ins in master walk-in, all custom shelving and gas fireplace in living room, all windows coverings and rods, all broadloom where laid, kitchen banquette, all electric light fixtures including recessed lighting and upgraded dimmers, wall mirror on lower level landing, gas fireplace in family room, 3 attached flat screen tvs (kitchen, master and lower level) Crestron media system/lighting with built-in speakers (kitchen living dining garden, master bedroom), 2 Noritz hot water on demand systems, smoke detector and alarm system (buyer to arrange own control), high-efficiency hot water boiler, humidifier, central air conditioning system, central vacuum system with attachments, 2 sump pumps, hot tub and equipment, all potted evergreen trees, half moon planters on trellis, in ground lighting and irrigation system, garage shelving
Exclusions: All exterior furnishings and plantings in pots, barbecue, kitchen bar stools, any fixtures and contents belonging to lower level tenants.
2) Property Information and Expenses: This information includes an existing survey, latest property tax bill, any property assessment, and operating expenses for one year (gas, hydro, water/sewage/garbage, and property insurance)
3) Renovations And Upgrades: When selling a home, you are well-served to demonstrate your commitment to your pride of ownership, as well as how you’ve maintained the property or upgraded it. This can best be done by including a list of property improvements you’ve executed, in addition to the year that they were completed. And, if available, any warranties that might accompany them. For example, you may have warranties for a new roof or windows, as well as for appliances or your heating/cooling systems.
4) Existing Services and Contracts: Do you have any services or rental agreements for your house, like an alarm system (owned or leased, monitored or not, contractually bound or collapsible), a rental hot water tank (often Enbridge Gas), satellite dish, or lawn maintenance/snow removal contracts (a buyer might welcome continuing their employ), which should be disclosed to buyers? Whether the accounts are cancelled or can be transferred, all of these contracts should be left for use by the new owners upon closing, along with any appliance and technology manuals.
5) A Note From The Owner: It’s hard to capture that intangible essence of “Home”, but a personal connection from you helps. At Urbaneer, we like to provide a letter – prepared by you – which shares what you love about the neighbourhood (including your go-to amenities), the house (like how the space plan suits family life, or how the house is enveloped in natural light, or the way the sun lands in the garden – and the unobstructed west vista), and why you’re moving (the kids have grown). We find the ‘Note From The Owner’ effective – and well-received by prospective Buyers – because it paints a personal story of the house as a home, including qualities that only a long time owner would come to know and cherish, or insights – like how many young children live on the street now – or if the neighbours have an annual street barbecue etc. Including a ‘Note From The Owner’ not only offers the Buyer a break from the overtly but necessary ‘real estatey’ promotional content and the mundanely practical yet critically essential information a property prospectus should include, but reminds and then reinforces to Buyers that ‘these bricks and mortar, now offered for sale’ is far more than just a commodity being exchanged: it’s a Home. Incorporating a letter – in the Seller’s own words – is an expression of sincerity that resonates more deeply with Buyers. We believe Buyers appreciate and value an owner who has taken the time to share some of the special. And, as realtors, we believe a Home is far more valued by Buyers (it’s priceless really) than simply being promoted as shelter.
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM US –>
We have a checklist of our own to help market your home most prominently.
1) Floor Plans: In a competitive market, Sellers are well-served when their listing broker provides more, not less, information for Buyers to review in advance of actually crossing the threshold of a property. Influenced heavily by the visual, we appreciate a listing which has a floor plan. We can instantly determine if the circular concrete support column in a modern loft is situated in a location that will make furniture arranging a challenge, or if the master bedroom in a darling house can fit our Buyers’ king-size bed. A floor plan helps convey whether an open concept space plan will fit a big dining table, or if the kitchen has room for a breakfast nook. As far as we’re concerned a floor plan is both essential and an amazing sales tool. That is why we make floor plans part of the comprehensive service that we deliver at urbaneer.com. Here’s a blog where we talk about the Importance Of Floor Plans.
2) Professional Photographs: Are you really taking photos of your listings with your iPhone? As Dr Phil says, how’s that working for you? According to a 2010 Redfin study, homes that are professionally photographed sell for at least $934 and as much as $18,819 more than homes photographed by an amateur. The study also shows that homes photographed by a professional garner 61 per cent more online views. For a taste of what can happen when photography is sloppy, take a look at our past blog entitled, Terrible Real Estate Photos. Yikes! There is an art to good photography, and the skilled professional knows how to use composition, colour and lighting to make a photo more appealing.
3) A Presale Home Inspection: There was a time when the most stressful clauses in an offer for a Seller were the ones associated with the Buyer obtaining financing or the Buyer selling their home, but over the last decade, this has changed. (Termites For Our Anniversary) Obtaining a home inspection has become the industry norm, and it’s been standard for the Buyer to make an offer conditional for a period of time to obtain his/her own inspection report.
Benefits of Having Your Home Pre-Inspected Before Listing
• Facilitate a faster sale for more money.
• Eliminate last minute fall throughs or 11th hour re-negotiations.
• Be aware of existing issues, giving you the chance to address them now with competitive pricing.
• Protect yourself from over-inflated buyer procured estimates. [Pre Inspected] • Get advise on the final report if there are items you wish to repair.
• Reduce your liability with full disclosure
• Provides purchasers the comfort of an unbiased 3rd party opinion.
• You can assist the inspector during the inspection, unlike the purchaser’s inspection.
• The Home Inspector will be able to provide the Buyer with a review or actual secondary inspection to review repairs and deficiencies.
4) A Status Certificate For Condominiums: The status certificate is a document, as per Section 76 of the Ontario Condo Act, that provides basic and essential information concerning the financial status of a unit and of the condo corporation. Its main focus is to inform a prospective owner of the fees, of any large increase that is going to come into effect, of any special assessment that is being contemplated by the board, and any arrears or lien that a particular suite might have. In addition, it contains the condo declaration, by-laws, budget, reserve fund, insurance, management contract, rules, minutes of the last annual general meeting, and mention of any lawsuit involving the corporation Read this blog first – you’ll be glad you did: Five Points to Ponder Before Buying a Condominium.
5) Style Enhancement: One of the services we take pride in offering at urbaneer.com is called a Style Enhancement. The key here is the word “enhancement”, where we work with sellers and their possessions to elevate the positive attributes of their property. In our comprehensive, multi-faceted Style Enhancement service, we guide homeowners on how to prepare their home for sale in a fresh, current style that will help it show to its maximum potential and best use. Our client base is diverse, which means that Urbaneer has had the opportunity to tackle different property dilemmas, relying on our savvy style and near three decades of experience, all with the common result: top dollar and positive property experience. Here’s one of our recent style enhancements: A Beauty Boost On Bay.
When setting out to sell your home, it is important to be mindful of the perception of the buyer; they are looking not just for shelter, but also for a place to throw down roots, and call “Home”. By taking the time to adequately prepare your home for sale, you not only enhance the opportunity to grab your buyer’s heart but also increase the likelihood of acquiring your asking price!
Here’s our follow-up post – Marketing Your Property With Urbaneer – which explains our marketing program while your property is on the market, and – Marketing Your Home With Urbaneer: Social Media – which outlines our promotion campaigns.
Are you wanting to sell your property quickly while achieving top dollar? With solid strategies built on experience, tactical planning, market trends, and a superior skill set, please know we are here to help!
Like what you’ve read? With a comprehensive understanding of the complexities of real estate, a desire to expand awareness in all manners of housing and home, and a commitment to serve both our unique Buyers and innovative Sellers, consider enlisting our services. Marrying a multi-disciplinary education in housing, over twenty-five years of real estate experience, and a sterling reputation as one of Bosley Real Estate’s Top Producers, my team and I welcome the opportunity to be of assistance to you, or someone you love.
Steven Fudge and the Urbaneer Team
Bosley Real Estate Ltd., Brokerage • (416) 322-8000
http://www.urbaneer.com • email@example.com
– earn your trust, then your business –
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