FAQ FOR HOME SELLERS

WHY ISN’T MY HOME SELLING?

That’s a tough question, and there are so many different factors that come together to result in a home sale. Generally, a home doesn’t sell for 1 or more of 3 reasons: 1) it’s overpriced  2) it’s not marketed well enough 3) it doesn’t show well to prospective buyers.

Talk honestly to your real estate agent about what the issue could be.  Do a re-evaluation of your home and look at the recent sales, currently active properties, and expired or terminated houses that have been taken off of the market. How does your home compare? Do you think an adjustment is necessary? If both you and your agent agree that you’re reasonably priced, then start taking a look at the marketing that has been done both online and offline to see if your realtor can improve. Also take a look at the home itself! How the home shows and the emotional connection people make with it when the walk in the door is extremely important. Assess and see where you can make improvements, and ask your realtor what the feedback has been from the public and other realtors that have already come through.

SHOULD I SELL BEFORE BUYING, OR VICE VERSA?

This answer is situational, depends on your home, your goals, and the current state of the real estate market. If you’re buying an in-demand property and selling a less desirable one, or (for example) moving from the suburbs to an urban market, you’ll likely want to sell before buying. Keep in mind, just because you sell doesn’t mean you need to move right away. From the accepted offer to the completion date, we find that standard dates are within 45-60 days. However, this is of course all negotiable, and we’ve seen dates as long as 9 months and as short as 2 weeks!! Another way to think about it is: how comfortable do you feel carrying two mortgages vs. do you have alternate living options if your home sells before you find something you like. Think about both “worst case scenarios” when selling first or buying first, and figure out which one is more liveable for you and your family.

DO OPEN HOUSES WORK?

In a hot Greater Vancouver market, it is common for showings to begin at the open house, have an open house Saturday and Sunday, and have the offer presentations on Monday. In this scenario, open houses are the main attraction when it comes to selling your home, and odds are that your new buyer will be coming through. When you take the long term average, among a variety of markets and seasons, open houses account for roughly 4% of home sales, although our team stats are significantly higher. As a seller, you want to make it easy for buyer’s to see your home, and open houses are a great opportunity to get people in the door in the least intimidating way. The people that come through open houses are all over the map. Some are qualified buyers with realtors, others are qualified buyers without realtors, others are just looking around, and a few of them are probably nosy neighbours. A good real estate agent will be able to qualify every person that walks through the door, and sift through the “lookie-loo’s” and find the golden nuggets! In almost every circumstance, we’ll recommend a well-advertised public open house the first weekend of the sale.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO SELL MY HOUSE?

Real estate in Greater Vancouver is seasonal, with the slowest times because November, December, & January. The market always picks up again in the spring by March. While a number of possessions and completions occur in August, in terms of home sales August tends to be a slower month, with a pick up again in September. However, you also have to keep in mind inventory and the amount of homes that you have competing against you. Depending on the type of property that you own, less competition may be a huge advantage for you. It’s best to discuss timing and strategy with an experienced real estate professional.

DOES MARKETING MATTER? WON’T MY HOME JUST SELL IF I PUT IT ON THE MLS?

In short, marketing most definitely matters. If just putting your home on the MLS was enough to sell a home, I can guarantee you there would be a lot more realtors in business! Furthermore, if sheer availability determined whether or not something would sell, then all companies – big or small – would save their marketing dollars. Large companies like Walmart have entire teams devoted just to marketing. Why do the same in real estate? On average, buyers are looking at 12 other homes before or after they even walk in your door. A strong marketing campaign will reach buyers both online and offline, in a busy or soft market. 92% of Buyers search for a home online, so it’s critical that they are finding your home, and that once they do, the quality of print and offline marketing makes it stands out from the crowd.

DO I NEED A REAL ESTATE AGENT TO SELL MY HOUSE?

No. You do not need a realtor to sell your house, you have the ability to sell it yourself and price, market, show, negotiate offers, and facilitate closing by yourself. We find that without the knowledge of a realtor, the result of many “for sale by owners” is 2 extremes: either they sell their home well under market value, or they’re priced extremely over market value. One of these results in lost profit, and the other results in a home sitting on the market for long periods of time with no offers. Over 90% of home sellers do use a realtor, and find that the expertise, saved time and higher sold prices are worth the cost of commission. Knowledge is power – but of course, we’re biased. (:

CAN I FIRE MY REAL ESTATE AGENT?

When you list a home with a real estate agent you will sign a listing contract. This contract will state the length of the contract with an expiry date. In Greater Vancouver, we find that most of the listing contracts are between 4-6 months in length but the minimum amount of days as per the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver’s rules is 60 days. If you feel that your agent isn’t performing to your standards, but you’re still under contract, start by having an honest conversation with them. If you feel you still aren’t getting anywhere, you can also contact the agent’s brokerage and ask for the managing broker. At Bridgewell we offer a satisfaction guarantee, and if our clients aren’t happy then we aren’t either. If there’s a problem, let us know and we’ll try to do everything within our power to remediate the situation. If we still can’t solve it, we will release you from your contract. We don’t believe that you should be held to a piece of paper if you feel we’re not performing. For more information on this you can read our satisfaction guarantee here.

WHO PAYS PROPERTY TRANSFER TAX (PTT)?

The buyer of the property pays the property transfer tax when you sell your home. Therefore, when you go on to purchase a home you will be the one paying property transfer tax.

IF I COUNTER AN OFFER AND THEY SAY NO, IS THE PREVIOUS OFFER STILL ON THE TABLE?

No. The most important thing to know about counter offers is that when you (or the other party) counters, then the previous offer is nil.

IF SOMEONE SENDS ME AN OFFER DO I HAVE TO SAY YES TO IT? CAN I REJECT IT?

You do not have to say yes to the offer, you can reject it altogether. If someone sends you an offer you have 3 choices: you can accept it as is, you can counter offer, or you can reject it.

DO I NEED TO LEAVE MY HOUSE WHILE IT’S BEEN SHOWN?

It is best to leave your house when it’s being shown. The purpose of the buyer being there is to have them picture themselves living there, and think in the mindset that it could be their house! We find that when the owners are home it can often make the buyer’s feel uncomfortable and like they’re intruding. They’re often rushed, and feel like they can’t look at details the way that they would if you were absent. Showings typically only take 15-20 minutes. Take that time to go for a drive, enjoy a nice walk, or grab a coffee and have some down time.

CAN I TRY TO PRICE MY HOME HIGH FIRST - CAN’T I ALWAYS BRING IT DOWN LATER?

Many sellers believe that if they price their home high initially, they can always lower it later. However, the first couple weeks are vital to the sale of your home. This is when realtors and buyers will sit up, take notice, and make a first impression in determining your personality as a seller and if they want to view the house or not. Gradually, once the price does come down to market value, by that time it’s been on the market for too long and some buyers will be wary and reject the property. For those that do make an offer, they tend to low ball it as they believe they have negotiating power knowing that your home is experiencing little activity.

IF I PUT $150,000 INTO RENOVATIONS, THAT MEANS MY HOME IS WORTH $150,000 MORE IN PRICE RIGHT?

Although every scenario is different, the general “answer of thumb” is no. You don’t always increase the value of your home exactly proportionate to the amount that you invested in your renovation. Thus your return on investment (ROI) is not always (actually…rarely) going to be 100%. There’s a number of reasons for that, and how much your home increases in value can be affected by factors such as what your place looked like prior to the renovation (your starting point), the quality of the renovations, the neutrality of the colour schemes you’ve chosen, and whether or not the style appeals to the average buyer. (to name a few)

Our top areas that we recommend a renovation or upgrade on on are the roof, interior paint, kitchen, and bathrooms. Based on our experience and the Appraisal Institute of Canada, here are the following ROI:

Replacing a roof: 50-80%
Kitchen or Bathroom upgrade: 75-100%
Interior paint: 50-100%

Other noteworthy renovations include upgrading your furnace/hot water tank, installation of hardwood or laminate flooring, and doors and window replacements. All of which will yield around a 50-75% ROI.

SHOULD I PRICE MY HOME FOR A BIDDING WAR?

Every home and its pricing strategy is different. Pricing your home for a bidding war depends on what kind of home you have, your local market, the macro market, the time of year, your personal goals, and whether or not you’ve bought a home already. For pricing strategies, it’s best to have a real estate consult come over for a quick tour, show you comparable sold, expired, and active properties, and discuss what’s best for you from there.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO SELL MY HOUSE? WHAT SHOULD I ACCOUNT FOR?

When budgeting the cost of selling your home, you’ll need to take in to consideration real estate commission (sellers pay a gross commission, that of which is split between the listing agent and the buyer’s agent), cleaning, staging, or prepping services, legal fees/disbursements, and potentially a mortgage penalty depending on how far along in your term you are. Bridgewell offers a “Prepping Your Home For Sale” guide that outlines a number of ways you can improve the value of your home all by yourself. We suggest that duties like carpet cleaning and home staging are done by a professional if necessary. Not sure if your home needs the works? Just give us a ring and we can come through for a quick 10 minute tour and give you some pointer tips.

DO I NEED A FOR SALE SIGN IN MY LAWN?

No you do not need a for sale sign in your lawn. However, we find that a number of times the buyer is right in your own neighbourhood. They may be looking for an investment property themselves that is close to their current residence, or they may have friends or family that are looking to move in to the area. A lawn sign is an easy way to market your home and make sure you gain exposure on your property.

WHAT IF MY DATES FOR MY SALE AND MY PURCHASE DON’T MATCH UP?

This question ties in to whether you should sell first or buy first. Ultimately, it comes down to what you’re more comfortable with given the extremes. On one side, if you purchase a home and yours doesn’t sell right away, how comfortable do you feel with carrying two mortgages? On the other, if yours sells quickly but you haven’t found something that you would like to live in, do you have alternative living options so that you can take your time to shop?

Additionally, if your purchase completion date falls before your home sale’s completion date, then you will most likely need to obtain bridge financing from a lender. Typically, there is a set-up fee and then a daily fixed rate which you will be charged for the interim dates. Keep in mind that bridge financing can only be obtained if you have an accepted offer that is firm on both your purchase and sale. You will want to talk to a mortgage broker about this, so that you can plan and budget accordingly before making your decision.

“Mariko is one of the most hardworking and motivated people I know. Starting out as a first time home buyer can be tough, but Mariko’s seller and buyer guides have made the process understandable, comfortable, and easy. I have never seen this offered by another realtor before. When I am in the market for a new home, I will definitely be coming to Mariko for help!”

Barbara YuFirst Time Home Buyer

“…you have been so patient and helpful throughout this process. A big thanks to both [Mariko & Radner] for all of your support!  You went above and beyond what was expected and I will happily refer to you all of my friends and family that are looking to buy or sell in the future.”

Shairoz MeraniHome Buyer & Seller

“You are the best realtor ever. You pay attention to detail, always communicate, and I never had to worry about you missing anything, not even once. I will definitely be using you when I make my next move to a detached home! Thank you so much.”

Roxana GordonHome Buyer & Seller

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