Selling your home is a big decision, but the process is straight forward. From listing to showing your home to signing on the dotted line, you need to know how to navigate the sale and legal documents involved.
Working with a REALTOR® is incredibly beneficial. They will help you understand the entire process, apply strategies to market your home effectively, and will use their experience to negotiate offers successfully.
Here are 10 steps to help you sell your home and get the highest value with the least amount of stress.
1. Know your current home finances.
The single most important thing to do before you list your home is to visit your mortgage broker or financial institution and determine if there will be a mortgage penalty when you sell.
If you plan to purchase a new property after the sale of your current home, you should discuss mortgage options and go through the pre-approval process for your next home. This way, you know exactly which homes to look for and save time only looking at homes that meet your budget.
Not all banks and financial institutions provide the same level of services. Don’t be afraid to shop around and find the best option for you. Just ensure that you don’t have your credit report pulled too many times as it may hurt your mortgage application.
2. Find a REALTOR® who specializes in your home type and area.
Laws, trends, and marketing strategies change constantly in real estate. It’s a hot market, especially here in Mission, B.C. REALTORS® need to be experts in an area to be able to advise you on how to get the most value for your particular type of home.
A specialist will have insights into key selling features for your neighbourhood, including the location of transportation and schools. More importantly, they’ll be able to navigate typical obstacles to selling your home.
Do your homework and find a REALTOR® you feel you can work with and trust.
3. Price your home.
This is one of the most important parts of the process.
Your REALTOR® will complete a Comparative Market Analysis (or CMA) report that reviews nearby properties like yours that recently sold and assess your competition. From the report, they will suggest a price for your home, explain their rationale, and help you make an informed decision on your home’s listing price. Your agent may also suggest a few small improvements and updates you can make to help further increase the property’s value.
We’ve put together a free online home assessment tool. If you want a sense of what your home is worth in the Mission real estate market today, fill out the form here.
4. Decide whether you are buying your new home before or after selling.
This choice depends on both your financial position and negotiation strategies with buyers for your home and sellers of homes that you want to purchase.
Here are the three common strategies that home sellers use:
First, if you are in a position to buy without selling it provides you the security of having a place to move into before you sell. Your mortgage professional will be able to advise whether this is a possibility for your situation.
Second, you can write a “subject to sale” offer for the home you want to purchase. An offer like this would include a condition that gives you time to sell your house before you commit to buying the new property. However, many home sellers dislike these offers. This can lead to cumbersome negotiations and result in less favourable terms for you as the buyer.
Third — which many clients have success with — is to educate yourself on the local market. Know what homes are available and approximately how long it will take to sell your own. Then, get your house ready and list it. When an offer comes in, negotiate a longer completion date with the buyer. Finally, move quickly to buy a new property that suits your needs. Although it can be somewhat stressful, this is often the most feasible way for families to make a move.
For more information on buying a home, read our article on The 10 Step Guide to Buying Your Next Home.
5. Get your home ready to sell.
Ask for your agent’s tried-and-true advice on making your home most attractive to buyers. Before you can market and show your home, you want it to make a solid first impression.
Your REALTOR® will show you how to declutter effectively. Perhaps putting some furniture and items into storage will open up the space. They may also suggest potential renovations to consider to add value to your property.
Cleanliness is next. Make your home feel spacious and sparkle. Dirty homes can make buyers feel like other, bigger problems might be hiding under the mess. Remember, you want them to focus on your home’s best qualities.
De-personalize rooms. Potential buyers need to be able to feel at home and imagine themselves living there. Put away family photos and personal decorations so that they aren’t a distraction.
For more tips and ideas check out our article on 7 Reno-Free Ways to Increase the Value of your Home.
6. List and market your home.
The process of listing your home can require a lot of paperwork and planning. This is where a good REALTOR® is very helpful. They have a team of people and a solid, tried-and-true system to help make this process easier and ensure you get top dollar for your home.
Most REALTORS® will work with you to arrange professional photos, create marketing material, advertise your listing and reach out to their network of REALTORS® and home buyers. It’s important to sit down with your REALTOR® ahead of time and discuss their plan for marketing your home.
For more advice on selecting a REALTOR®, check out our article on 5 Questions to Ask a Mission REALTOR® Before you List.
7. Host open houses and viewings.
Home buyers can view pictures of your home online but letting them step inside helps them experience what it’s like living there. The more people who view your property, the better. That’s why when you list your home and set up a marketing plan, your REALTOR® will likely discuss hosting an open house.
If you have kids or pets, it’s a good idea to make sure that you are all out of the home during the open house. This also applies to private viewings, as most people feel more comfortable exploring a home without the current owners there.
Creating a schedule with your REALTOR® for open houses and viewings that works with your family will help you maintain a balanced life and give your home the opportunity to be shown at its best.
Don’t forget that buyers want to view homes at all times of the week. Outside of open houses, try and be as flexible as possible with viewings. Private showings are a good sign that there are highly interested buyers for your home, and the more offers made on your property — the better!
8. Receive and negotiate offers.
Your agent is a professional negotiator. Speak with them and devise a strategy to get the most value for your home when bids come in from buyers. Your REALTOR® will use their experience to suggest when to accept an offer and how to present a counter offer.
If there are multiple buyers, your agent will help you consider the conditions that they may have attached to their offers. Perhaps you can keep your brand new appliances when you leave, saving thousands at your new home. Or, maybe you should select an offer that has a move-in date that works for your timeline.
Your REALTOR® will present options, provide advice, handle the back and forth negotiations, and represent your best interests at the table.
9. Take care of the legal details.
Now, you need to complete the legal documentation.
Select a lawyer to process the paperwork, including the Transfer of Property documents. Then, inform your REALTOR®, and they will send the required information to them and ensure all deadlines are met.
Shortly before closing day, the lawyer will call you in to finalize the completed paperwork and sign your home’s ownership over into the buyer’s name.
10.Wrap up the financial details.
As you sign the legal documents, you’ll also be finalizing the financial side of the sale. Your REALTOR®, solicitor and financial institution will help you through this process and make sure that the right people sign the right documents at the right time.
Break out the champagne and get ready to move!
With the right guidance through these 10 steps, you’ll soon be relaxing on your couch in your new home.
If you’d like home selling advice or a Comparative Market Analysis report for your home, please contact me.