Selling a Home: A How-To Guide

Selling a home can seem like a daunting task when getting started. We’re going to break down the process below and give you a step by step guide on how to deal with the process. With the right help and a solid plan you can sell your house fast and for top dollar.

Deciding to Sell

Deciding to sell is one of the largest steps in the entire process. There can be a lot of emotional attachment to your current home, it’s also possible that the reason you are selling is due to a tremendous life change, whether that be positive or negative… Marriage, kids, divorce, death are all emotional situations that can bring about the need or want to sell.

It is important that whichever real estate agent you decide to work with, he/she is empathetic to the situation and has experience in dealing with sensitive situations and potentially sensitive information. Your well-being and protection should be at the forefront of anyone you choose to represent you.

Choosing The Right Vancouver Realtor

With everyone knowing multiple realtors, there is no lack of choice when it comes to selecting a real estate agent to represent you. These are some things that can set real estate agents apart…

    • Experience
      Particularly in the segment you are selling.
    • Education
      The real estate licensing exam is probably not the most rigorous test of someone’s mental aptitude.
    • Peer Referrals
      With so much information available on the web, you want to see what other individuals have to say about the agent you are deciding on.
    • Marketing Strategy
      Does the agent have a good plan and broad reach to get your home showing perfectly and in front of as many people as possible?

A good real estate agent will be able to help you with every step of the selling process from the very beginning, so it is good practice to make this selection as early as possible… The more help the better!

Evaluate & Review the Market to Set a List Price

Whether you are selling an acreage property, a highrise condo, or a luxury detached home, a qualified realtor will be able to provide you with all the information needed to set an appropriate list price.

What is happening in the Market today? Is everything you’re reading in the paper about the market reflective of your home? Is the condo market hot as well as the single-family market? What’s happening for unique units such as penthouses? How many downtown Vancouver condos for sale right now? What can I sell my home for? Can you sell my house fast?

There are many questions and factors to consider when pricing your home: MLS recently sold homes, market trends, home pricing index, inventory levels, time of year, how many MLS active listings are on the market, how much time do you have, and so much more.

With the help of your qualified Vancouver realtor, you can answer all the pertinent questions and review all the relevant information to come up with your pricing strategy. There is definitely a science to determining local real estate trends and prices for effectively selling your home.

Get The Home Ready

Getting the home ready for sale involves some hard work and a little elbow grease. These preparations will provide the largest return on investment when selling your home…

    • Deep Cleaning
      This very obvious step is a must for getting your home prepared for the markets.
    • De-Cluttering
      Nothing gets a buyer’s attention more than clutter and chaos.
    • De-Personalizing
      Buyer’s don’t want to think about who’s living there, they want to picture themselves there. Try to remove any family photos, religious decorations, etc.
    • Fixing Anything That’s Broken
      That loose door handle or burnt out light should be fixed prior.
    • Staging For Photos Vs. Staging For Showing 
      The way you prepare for a general photo shoot of your home versus for the showing may vary slightly.
    • Paint/Touch-Ups
      No one forgets the house with the pink wall, don’t be remembered for the wrong reason.

Beyond that, sellers are frequently concerned about renovations. Nine times out of ten, the renovation will not give the return needed to cover the costs. But this should be discussed with your realtor as there are some improvements that can be done to increase the value.

Marketing Strategy

Now that your home is perfectly set up, quickly call the camera guy before the kids wreck it again! Most people’s homes never look better than when they get it ready to sell, but the extra effort in the prep will go a long way in finding a qualified buyer quickly who will pay top dollar.

As you found out when you interviewed your selected realtor, they had a detailed marketing strategy that hopefully included:

    • Professional Photography
    • High Quality Videos
    • Custom Floor Plans
    • Various Online Marketing (Organic & Paid Ads)
    • Mail-Outs
    • High Quality Brochures & Handouts
    • And Much More

It is important to utilize all marketing materials and follow a schedule of how your home is market. Comparable to a called play in sports to be successful. What day will you go to market (is it better on a Monday, Tuesday, etc.)? What marketing should be prepared and released before we go to MLS? Should we hold Open Houses (public events, realtor events)? Should we entertain offers any time, or should we set a date? Don’t just be another MLS listing… you want your property to shine!

Showings & Open Houses

Now that you have thousands of eyes on your property via mail-outs, online marketing and advertising, you must show it in real life. Creating the showing schedule with your realtor, it is crucial to be as flexible as possible and open especially during the first couple weeks your home is on the market.

A top realtor will be ready to take incoming showing requests at anytime. Being accessible and available should be a top priority when selecting your real estate agent. Have your home available to show on short notice, as sometimes the first calls you get from those keen buyers and their agents are the liveliest prospects. It is good to ask your realtor who will be conducting the showings. If they operate a large team, is a new agent going to be showing your home? Will they know how to romance it properly? Will they be able to answer specific questions and touch on the details that make your home fantastic?

Open Houses are also a good source of traffic. Generally with High Street Marketing, we will hold four open houses. One realtor open house (this timing varies on the area of Vancouver but will be on a weekday from 10am to 12pm), one sneak peek evening event (normally on a Thursday early evening), and a pair of public open houses on the weekend.

Offer Presentation , Negotiations & Acceptance

The offer presentation can be a very different process depending on what is happening in your specific market at any given time. During the writing of this, the condo market is as hot as hot can be. A condo listed at a reasonable price is sure to receive multiple offers, and how that is handled is very different from the “more traditional” single offer.

In a multiple offer situation you are reviewing the offers received and comparing them on prices, dates, subjects (if any), deposit, included items and a handful of other factors that will help dictate how you will formulate a response. Handling this type of situation requires the utmost care and professionalism and you definitely want an experienced realtor in your corner to help.

During a multiple offer, the seller holds all the cards as all of the potential home buyers know that they must put their best foot forward if they want an opportunity to buy your home.

In a single offer situation, it generally involves more negotiating as the buyer will not come to the table with their best offer (even if they say they are). Negotiating the term of the offer is a skillful art. A quality realtor like Orville Yu, at High Street Marketing Group always negotiate to have everything possible included for his client using pretty much any means necessary. Once the offer has been negotiated and all parties have agreed and signed off, you now have an accepted offer!

Subject Condition Period & Subject Removal

Once the offer has been accepted, the buyer will have a set amount of time (as negotiated in the offer) to work through their subject conditions. Depending on the type of property and the current market, the subject conditions could include the buyer receiving financing approval, the buyer obtaining a home inspection report, the buyer reviewing strata documents, the buyer scanning for an underground oil storage tank, subject to the buyer selling their current home etc… in some cases their may even be clauses to the seller’s benefit. For example, subject to the seller clearing probate (when dealing with an estate sale). It is important to fully understand what all these subjects mean to you and the possible sale of your property before you agree to them in the previous step of negotiating the offer.

If all goes well, the buyer will remove their subject conditions and in most instances, this is when the deposit (roughly 5% of the purchase price on average) becomes due and is paid to the buyers agent’s trust account generally. You now have a firm and binding offer and can tell your friends your home is sold!

Document Conveyancing & Transfer at Land Title Office

Once we have the firm and binding contract in place, we will hand it off to a lawyer or notary of your choice. They will prepare the necessary documents to discharge and pay out any mortgage, then transfer ownership from yourself to the buyer.

Other documents to review with the lawyer will include the statement of adjustments, which will break down to the penny the cost born by each party. Who owes who for property taxes outstanding? Are the strata fees prorated for your mid month completion? Did you get the tenant’s damage deposit transferred over? And everyone’s favourite… How much property transfer tax do you owe?

The cost of your lawyer or notary will vary slightly based on the complexity and the number of charges on the title that need to be addressed. For a simple straight forward transaction you can budget roughly $1000 and go up from there. You will need to meet with the lawyer a few business days prior to the completion date (the actual day the home will transfer ownership).

On the possession date, which occurs after the completion date (sometimes later the same day, sometimes a few days later – very important to understand and negotiate this when the offer is being discussed) you will hand over the keys to your clean and empty Vancouver home and start the next chapter!

This is a very simplistic overview of all things involved in home selling, if you have any further questions, Orville would be happy to discuss any questions you may have regarding the points above. As a recommended realtor by many, Orville prides himself in providing the highest level of service possible.

If you’d like to find out how much your home is worth and how you can achieve the highest price possible, with the least amount of stress to you, fill out the contact form below and he’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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