Frequently Asked Questions About Selling Your Home
At some point in life, it becomes inevitable that you think about upgrading to a larger house to accommodate an expanding family. More room space, better amenities, and closer schools become the priority, but for this new lifestyle to take shape, you will need to sell your existing home.
However, when it comes to selling a current home, there are many questions clients have but often find answers difficult to come by. Therefore, Tracy Phelan, Broker RE/MAX Garden City Realty Inc., wants to arm you with the most accurate information available to help you put your house on the market and find a buyer. To do this, we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions about selling your home.
1. What is a seller’s market?
A seller’s market occurs when there are more interested buyers than there are available properties. A real estate seller’s market puts the seller in a better negotiating position. This market type typically results in multiple offer situations, higher prices, and homes selling quicker.
2. What is a buyer’s market?
A buyer’s market occurs when there are more available properties than there are property buyers. It puts the buyer in a good position as it provides more options and a better-negotiating power when making an offer.
3. Is there a best time to sell my house?
Property sells all year-round, but supply and demand and other economic factors need to be taken into consideration. The month or season choosen to sell can make a difference in the amount of time it takes to sell and the final selling price.
Generally, the real estate market picks up in the early Spring. During the summer, the market usually slows. The end of July and August is often the slowest month for real estate sales. The strong spring market often places upward pressure on interest rates. Many prospective home buyers and REALTORS® take vacations during Mid-summer.
After the summer slowdown, sales activity tends to pick up again, but less vigorously, and usually lasts until the end of November. The market then slows again as buyers, sellers, and REALTORS® turn their attention to the holidays. Then mid-January, things start to pick up again to be able to move in the spring market.
4. What should I do to get my home ready to go on the market?
The way an individual lives in a home and the way they sell a house are two different things. First and foremost, home sellers must “declutter” countertops, walls, and rooms. Too many “things” make it challenging for buyers to see their possessions in the seller’s rooms or on the walls. That said, it’s not necessary to strip everything completely, or it will appear stark and inhospitable.
Home sellers need to clean and make attractive all rooms, furnishings, floors, walls, and ceilings. They must organize closets and ensure the bathroom and kitchen are spotless. Then they need to test the essential appliances and fixtures to see if they work and get rid of leaky faucets and frayed cords. Make sure the house smells good by having spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove and baking an apple pie. Hiding the kitty litter and possibly putting vases of fresh flowers throughout the house can enhance the charm of the place. Pleasant background music is also a nice touch.
The second important thing to consider is “curb appeal.” People driving by a property will judge it from outside appearances and decide whether or not they want to see the inside. Sweep the sidewalk, so mow the lawn, prune the bushes, weed the garden, and clean debris from the yard. Clean the windows (both inside and out) and ensure the paint is not chipped or flaking. Also, make sure that the doorbell works.
5. What are some tips for seniors looking to downsize?
Your downsize doesn’t have to be stressful, sad, or scary. Stay positive and get excited about a simpler life in a new place with less clutter. Most seniors know that there will come a day when they’ll have to downsize to simplify their lifestyle, cut costs, be closer to grandchildren, or address medical needs.
First off, talk to your family and your real estate professional, and then take your time, and don’t try to sort through your entire house in one day or weekend. A couple of weeks to a month is a more realistic timeline. Take it one room at a time, and take breaks throughout while disposing of things you will never use again.
Secondly, If you’re moving to an apartment or townhome, you might not have a garage or office space. Nearly everything in those spaces will need to be sold, donated, tossed, or relocated to other rooms. These areas might also be good items for consignment or garage sales.
6. Should I sell my house before I purchase another one?
The problem is that homeowners can sell in a seller’s market, but where do they go?
Option #1: Choose a more extended closing date to have more time to find the perfect home.
Option #2: Opt for a “rent back” (renting the house to the new buyer while securing the next house).
Option #3: Explore the other temporary living options—renting nearby, house sitting, living with family—and consider how each situation would look for a month to up to a year. Also, have a plan B in case the reality of the new stay is not what was anticipated.
7. How can I win a bidding war against multiple offers?
Firstly sellers should always have an agent looking out for their best interest. The second thing is to write a cover letter or send a video about one’s family and how much they would love to own their home. This may set them apart from the other offers. It would help if the seller always went in with their best foot forward regarding price and conditions. They have to ask themselves, at what price am I willing to lose this house?
8. Is it wise to list a home for sale at a high price, so there is room to negotiate the price down?
In the real estate market right now in Niagara, unless the property is exceptional, unique, or rare, pricing it too high could be a bad idea. Buyers are comparing the data to see the selling price of similar homes. A savvy seller will agree to price their home at market value or just below to create more of a buyer frenzy to create a higher selling price, and the house will not stay on the market as long as an overpriced home.
If you have any more questions about real estate, contact Tracy Phelan, Broker RE/MAX Garden City Realty Inc. As a professional realtor in St Catherines, Niagara Region, I put my thirty years of experience to good use by providing a client-first approach. Therefore, I listen carefully, offer expert advice and work hard to deliver results using up-to-date marketing techniques.
I serve clients across St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, Thorold, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Welland, Lincoln, Lincoln, Grimsby, Beamsville, Vineland, Fort Erie, Jordan, Port Colborne, and the surrounding areas.