If you’ve decided you definitely want to sell your home and make a change — whether relocating, upgrading or downsizing — the best place to start is with a home selling plan.
Your plan may look something like this.
1) Revisit your reason(s) for selling
Your primary reason for selling your home determines the urgency, and urgency can affect the pricing. What made you decide to sell? Desire for profit? Location? The condition of the property? A need for more or less space? The design or style? Accessibility?
It can be more emotionally taxing to sell a home than buy one. You have memories and probably some attachment to the old place. It’s important to have firm reasons you can refer back to.
2) Choosing a REALTOR®
It’s important that you don’t select a real estate agent based upon the largest suggested listing price discussed. An overpriced listing can quickly go stale, making it very challenging to sell. There’s also a much smaller buyer’s pool. A longer stay on the market, for homes that started too high, can also result in lower offers and eventually having to sell well below market value.
Under-pricing your home is equally problematic. You could be losing part of the potential return on your investment. Buyers can also gain a negative perception of the property in the area, from a low price, encouraging even lower offers.
An experienced neighbourhood specialist will advise you on the best price to ensure the home sells quickly, with the highest return you can expect in the current market. Don’t be afraid to ask for a comparative market analysis and the marketing strategy your prospective agent has in mind for your home.
3) Evaluate your finances
It’s important to calculate expenses that will be incurred during the process of selling your house. The final price you are able to accept should reflect both your costs and the potential profit you hope to realize. Some of the costs may include commission to be paid to the agent, special reports and property inspections, conveyance and transaction fees, staging and advertising costs.
You should notify your mortgage lender of your plans to sell the home. You will need to know how much is outstanding on your mortgage and if there are any early redemption penalties. Your Realtor should have given you an idea of your property’s worth and you can calculate how much will have left after the mortgage has been paid off.
The figures will only be approximate at this stage, but it’s important to begin painting the broad strokes of your plan. If you are buying another home, you will want to speak with the mortgage lenders and perhaps even secure pre-approval for your new mortgage.
4) Preparing your home for showing
Obvious maintenance issues should be addressed. Some repairs and renovations aren’t a good investment. An experienced real estate specialist will be able to advise you on which repairs and upgrades can increase the perceived value of the home enough to more than offset the costs.
You can get more for your home if it’s staged. You could hire a professional stager, or ask an experienced Realtor to make recommendations that help you stage it yourself.
Make it sparkle2
Clean or paint the walls and ceilings. Clean the lights, fixtures, fans and flooring. Repair any plumbing leaks. Depersonalize; prospective buyers can’t see themselves living in the home if all of your photos and family memorabilia are everywhere. A brighter home makes a better impression. Turn on all the lights and open the drapes on days the home will be shown.
Boost your curb appeal3
The condition of your property affects not only the price you get, but also the time it takes to sell your place. First impressions matter. Keep the trees and hedges trimmed and grass cut. Clean up any clutter. Apply some fresh paint to the front door and any wooden fences. Clean the windows inside and out. Pressure wash or point the exterior. Make sure any trim, gutters, railings, etc. are firmly attached.
5) Net profits from selling
It’s a good idea to have two net sheets prepared, with a low price and high price. These sheets allow you to prepare for the worst, while hoping for the best. If the lowest net price will let you buy the next home you want, it’s time to find financing.
6) Accepting an offer
Someone’s made an offer… how exciting! Your Realtor® is required pass all offers on to you, even if they’re ridiculous. If you’re not willing to accept the offer, you can reject it outright in the hopes of receiving a better one, or ask your agent to counter. Your Realtor will often come back higher than the price you’re willing to accept, in the hopes of negotiating a final price both parties can live with somewhere in middle.
7) Moving out
You can move out whenever you like, but it’s usually a lot less stressful to move before the day of completion. At the time of completion the property has to be in the condition agreed. It’s a lot easier to give your home a thorough final cleaning and go down your final checklist when it’s empty. The buyers will often come by with their agent between the time you move out and completion to make sure everything is ready.
8) Completing the sale
Completion is when the change of ownership takes place. Payment is accepted and you hand over the keys. The money and deeds are transferred between conveyancers or solicitors. Your conveyancer/solicitor then registers the transfer of ownership.
9) Paying off the mortgage
Your mortgage company will have given you or your conveyancer/solicitor the precise redemption amount of your mortgage for the day of completion. The buyer has transferred the money to your conveyancer or solicitor, and they will pay out the mortgage on your behalf.
10) Settling up with the solicitor/conveyancer and real estate agent
After completion, your conveyancer/solicitor will provide you with an account that covers all of their costs and disbursements, the sale price of the house and redemption of the mortgage. If you are selling and purchasing at the same time, your conveyancer/solicitor could settle up for both transactions at the same time.