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Selling a home is one of the biggest and most important financial transactions that one would make in their life. Doing it alone would be unwise, which is why home sellers seek out the services of a real estate agent.
A good real estate agent can actually make a substantial difference. They know the market inside out, have direct access to MLS, and have the right network of contacts to help home sellers through the real estate transaction. On top of that, they are excellent negotiators, so they can get the best possible deal out there.
The key for any home seller is to not only find the right real estate agent, but a great one. Here, the home seller should be keen on finding a real estate agent who will always have their best interests at heart.
Here are fifteen questions every home seller should ask a real estate agent in order to determine not only how good they are, but also if they are the right fit.
1. How long have you been selling real estate?
2. What is the percent of sellers compared to buyers that you serve?
3. May I see your resume?
4. What systems do you have in place that will keep you in constant contact with me during the listing and the transaction?
5. Are you fully automated with your own personal computer, fax machine, copier, mobile phone, etc.?
6. May I see all the paperwork that you are going to ask me to sign?
7. What professional designations do you have?
8. How much time and money do you invest each month in professional training?
9. Why are you personally motivated to sell my house?
10. Why should I list with you rather than any other real estate agent?
11. What kind of experience and training do you have in negotiations?
12. How many homes do you sell in a year?
13. Will you personally be there when contracts are presented and handle all the negotiations?
14. Do you have a web site?
15. Will you directly market the property online?
Usually, in order to find the right fit, a home seller may have to interview several. The best approach is to actually talk with friends and family and seek a referral.
An interesting note is that in real estate, someone who has sold many homes for sale usually costs roughly the same as someone who is inexperienced.
The sale of a home could well be the most important financial transaction a home seller has ever been involved with. The person selected to overlook that transaction can be the difference between a satisfying and profitable experience, or a terrible one. The bottom line is that it is the home seller’s choice, and they should make that choice, very carefully.
Success in real estate, whether it is buying or selling a house, comes down to negotiations and getting the best deal possible. Negotiating is an art, one that requires both experience and knowledge, and one mastered by agents at Search Realty. The catch is that when it comes to the sale of a home, both the buyer and seller, want to feel as though the outcome favors them, or at the least, represents a fair balance of interests.
In most cases, neither party gets ‘everything’ they want, but a good balance is key to a successful negotiation. Search Realty knows how to develop a strong bargaining position, which can help get the most from any real estate transaction. Search Realty lists three tips to help develop a successful negotiation strategy.
1. Understand the market.
As with everything else, the real estate market is constantly changing. Sometimes it’s a ‘buyers’ market, and at other times, it’s a ‘sellers’ market. It’s quite obvious that the home seller or home buyer will want to be in the market when it favors their position.
However, there are times when it is possible to go against the market, and still be successful, and this includes when one has ‘leverage’, more than the market would seem to allow.
A good example would be homes for sale in a desirable neighborhood. Here, the home seller may be able to get a better deal than home sellers located elsewhere. On the other side, for a home buyer who is willing (and able) to quickly close a deal, they gain significant leverage in the eyes of many home sellers. Those who are willing to make it a quick deal by closing faster are utilizing a key bargaining chip, especially if the home seller is in need to sell the home as quick as possible.
Leverage is vital in negotiations. Home values don’t always offer the leverage desired and if the home buyer knows that the home owner is desparate to sell (maybe because they lost their job, or found a job in another city and need a quick sale), regardless of the home value, the home buyer has little leeway in the negotiation process. On the other hand, if the home buyer is one of many vying for the home, the home seller then gains the upper hand. Leverage means everything in negotiations and both the home seller and home buyer should be aware of where they stand before stepping in to the bargaining process.
Real estate transactions involve a trade, a house for money, and the house is obviously there, but what about the money?
Home buyers who are ‘pre-qualified’ have at least some idea of their ability to finance a home and can be assured that they are at least likely to qualify for some loan programs. This means that the ‘pre-qualified’ home buyer represents less of a risk to a home seller. This becomes key in negotiations as well. A home seller is less likely to accept an offer from a home buyer who has unknown financial strength.
More buyers mean more demand, thus more leverage for the home seller and this can easily occur when there is a lower interest rate. Alternatively, high rates or even rising rates may drive buyers from the marketplace—and that’s not good for anyone.
It is important to understand that property price and home value are two separate things. Property price is the price that the home is transacted at between a home buyer and a home seller. Home value (or property value) is concerned with how much the home is worth in the real estate market after an assessment by valuers.
That being said, there are situations whereby both the home value and property price are the same or similar.
When it comes to the home buyer and the home seller, their views on the actual home value will inevitably differ, as the home buyer is looking to purchase for the lowest price possible, and the home seller wants to make as much money as possible off the home for sale.
That is why a valuation can give both the home seller and home buyer an indication of the parameters within which to work with, so that they can agree upon a property price.
eSolds reveals four proven factors that affect home value.
1. Property location
Location, location, location! A property falls in a certain area, and that very area can simply be worth more than other areas. Selling a condo on the outskirts of the city is different from selling a condo that is right in the middle of the city. That’s why it is important for both home buyers and home sellers to understand that the location of a property plays a vital role in the valuation of that property.
More so for condos and apartments than homes, but the view is actually one of the first things that any potential home buyer will check out when visiting the property for sale for the first time. A home with a great unblocked view will obviously have a higher value than a home that has a blocked view. Nobody has the desire to be able to see the neighbor’s kitchen or washroom (especially if they lack drapes) every time they step outside or go on the balcony. View is the very reason why condos at a higher floor level actually value higher than those at a lower floor level. A condo on a higher floor may be in the same area, but it has a better view, thus a higher property value.
The neighborhood in which a home is situated can have a great impact on home value. Close proximity to schools, malls, highways and such are a vital aspect for potential home buyers and can actually be attractive enough that a buyer is willing to pay a high price for the property. A note here is that planned projects (ie. A new mall, or new place of worship under construction) can also increase home value as well and make a home for sale much more attractive.
4. Nearby Real Estate Transactions
Recent real estate transactions in the neighborhood actually provide comparable prices to better assess a home’s value. If a similar home which is down the street, sold for $500,000, then the home in question being valued, most likely would fall within that range (so long as the home itself is similar).
There are, in actuality, many factors at work, when it comes to home value, but the value of recent transactions in the same neighbourhood can help provide a rough guideline as to how much a home’s value falls under. And of course, the view, location and neighbourhood can provide an argument that can go both ways as well.
There are certainly other factors that come into play in terms of home value, such as amenities, whether the home has a pool, one or two-car garage, and more. One thing is almost always certain though. That the home owner’s thoughts on their home’s value is almost always more than what it is actually worth.
In 2011 eSolds Inc. was founded with the purpose of providing 3rd party real estate services to smart home sellers, buyers and realtors. eSolds Inc. has come up with an innovative new product that is going to change the way real estate is bought and sold in Canada.
The product is eCertificates. eCertificates serve one purpose, and that is to simply create confidence for the home buyer and allow leverage to the home seller. Together, buying or selling an eCertified home creates an educated decision-making process.
The goal for eSolds is to make the home purchase transaction a more satisfying experience. By eliminating any buyer’s remorse, an eCertificate provides confidence within the buyer to submit an offer, and at the same time, it markets the home for sale in an innovative way, keeping customers ahead of the competition.
Based on the premise that properties for sale should be certified, just like cars are certified, eCertificatesare meant to be irrefutable proof that buyers will get what they have been promised. This means that the home seller can provide reassurance that the home being sold and put on the market is actually what it claims to be. Sellers benefit from this because it increases the salability of their home. Real estateagents benefit in the fact that they will be able to sell homes faster. Home buyers will benefit in the security of knowing that they are getting exactly what they paid for.
Home Sellers can have a home certified by submitting three documents to eSolds.
1. The first document is a Comparative Market Analysis, or a Letter of Opinion prepared by a licensed and insured real estate agent. The comparative market analysis needs to be done by a real estate agent and must also be dated within the last 30 days.
2. The second is a Home Inspection Report or for condominiums, a Status Certificate provided by a Home Inspector. The home inspection report is carried out by a certified home inspector that is fully insured and bonded. In order for the report to be accepted it must be dated within the last 30 days and the inspector needs to be verifiable by appearing on a list at 411.ca, Canpages.ca or at YellowPages.ca.
3. The last document needed is Seller Property Information (SPIS), which is a current document by the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA).
The eCertificate is issued only after a thorough review of all the documents above. Once issued, the home seller is assured of having something to show to not only real estate agents, but potential home buyers, that will assure that the home for sale, as listed, is exactly what it says it is.
The benefits of eCertificates are clear for the main parties involved in a real estate transaction. With an eCertificate, the home seller receives more offers for the home, and the home is sold at the best price possible, as well as being sold faster. For the home buyer, eCertificates provide protection against expenses that are unforeseen during negotiation and the listing process.
The difference between a property that has an eCertificate and one that doesn’t have one is it is able to stand out from the rest of the crowd. This is the one crucial thing that leads to more offers and a higher selling price than anything else. When others notice a home and decide they want it, things can heat up very quickly with buyers scrambling to put in an offer. With an eCertified home, not only is the home sold faster, but at the best price possible, and in the end, both the home seller and home buyer, are left satisfied.
Selling a home isn’t the easiest of tasks. But it doesn’t have to be the hardest as well. ESolds provides a list of ten things that every home seller should know when putting a home for sale on the real estate market.
Pack up those family photos and personal belongings. These should be put away so as to avoid distracting potential home buyers. Religious objects fall under this category as well. A potential home buyer is deciding on what could be the biggest financial decision they have ever made, and even the smallest of things could derail their interest.
Maintenance is another important thing that must be done in order to sell a home for sale. A house that is even in the slightest disrepair can quickly turn off potential home buyers and make the home for sale that much harder to sell. Home sellers should work on even the smallest of tasks to ensure that the home is prepped and ready for sale. Here, both interior and exterior matter. Outside, gutters should be cleaned, lawns cut and weeds pulled. Inside, furnace should be cleaned, as well as fireplaces and light bulbs should all be functional, and if not, replaced.
An important key to selling a home is to have the home appear spacious. In order to do this, a home must be de-cluttered. It gives the perception of space to potential home buyers, thus makes the home more appealing. De-cluttering a home also creates the benefit of acting as a head start to packing when the home is sold as well.
Know the Neighborhood
Knowing the neighborhood is important, but what’s even more important is knowing what homes are selling in that neighborhood. Knowing what is selling in the neighborhood is key to understanding if certain homes for sale are appealing or possibly need some work done in order to get it sold. Knowing what isn’t selling is just as important, as it can lay out the exact reasoning as to why certain homes aren’t being sold.
Price your Home Right
The home seller should ensure that they do not price the home for sale too high. If it’s too high, all the hard work listed above, will be for nothing. Home buyers not only won’t make an offer, they most likely won’t even take a look at the home. Home sellers should always remember that the longer a home is on the market, the less desirable it appears. If the price for the home for sale is within the right range, then the home will inevitably sell.
ESolds offers these five tips as an aid to home sellers, but advises that perhaps the best tip for any home seller is to find the right real estate agent. Someone who is knowledgeable, friendly, motivated and dedicated to selling homes and who will assist the home seller in every way possible.
When the time comes to sell a home, the home seller can easily get tempted to pursue the do-it-yourself approach, with the hope being that they will save on the real estate commission they’d otherwise pay with the use of a realtor. ESolds advises that in most cases, selling a home without the services of a professional, will not necessarily save the home seller money, and could also inevitably lead to problems that would otherwise not be faced when using a professional.
ESolds advises that anyone selling a home look over the following five tips, before doing so.
- Is the home seller a good negotiator? This is what ESolds agents do, they negotiate, like a sports agent, always keeping in mind the best interest of the home seller and only the home seller.
- Most home sellers lack a genuine network of contacts, which real estate professionals such as ESolds do. As a real estate brokerage, ESolds possesses the right set of contacts that can produce potential home buyers for the home for sale, but moreover, will be able to block out unqualified prospects, who could possibly waste valuable time within the home selling process.
- Does the home seller have enough knowledge of the current market to price the home properly and put it on the market at a price that will be attractive to both the home seller and any potential home buyers? Again, this is highly unlikely, but not for professionals such as ESolds.
- Does the home seller have the time to show the home to potential home buyers and is the home seller available seven days a week? Most likely not, but here, again, ESolds, 24-hours, around the clock, is available.
- Does the home seller have the necessary skills and finances to advertise and market the home for sale effectively? Here, ESolds not only has the skills and financial resources to advertise, but ESolds is also available on a 24-hour basis to handle calls. Another key point, and one of the biggest, is that only a realtor can list a home on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to ensure that it receives the widest possible exposure, and thus the best possible price.
There are many other things that a home seller should understand before deciding upon the do-it-yourself approach. Closing a sale involves many steps, there a legal issues, such as a legally enforceable contract that ESolds is ready to handle, but most likely, the home seller is not.
ESolds’s advice is simple. To get the best possible value and also avoid undue stress that comes along with the sale of a home, the home seller should leave it to the professionals, and just sit back, relax, and wait for the offers to start rolling in.
Home staging is simply the preparation of a home for sale in the real estate market. The goal of this home staging is to make the house more appealing, thereby helping in selling the house more quickly and also at a fair price. The key to staging is to improve the home’s appeal by turning the home into a welcoming and attractive environment for potential home buyers.
ESolds provides three staging tips that if implemented, will help sell a home for sale faster and at a fair price.
Home buyers want two main things out of a potential home. They want it to be spacious and they want to be able to picture themselves living in it. Neither of these things can occur if a house is full of belongings. A home seller should make sure that they clear out at least 50% of personal belongings, thus opening up more space in the home and reducing clutter. The home seller should take down family photos (as these would not allow a potential home buyer to personalize themselves with the home). Closets and bathrooms are two areas that should be reduced by over 80%.
This is perhaps the most important staging tip of all. If the house isn’t clean, the house will surely appear unappealing, and thus that much harder (if not impossible) to sell. When it comes to cleaning, it is important to note that every inch counts. Whether it’s the grime in the shower, dirty doorknobs or cupboard doors, every inch of the home should be cleaned so that the home basically appears almost brand new. A thoroughly clean home will increase the appeal of the home to home buyers exponentially. A key note with this staging tip is that the cleaning must be done again and again, until an inevitable sale is made. This staging tip involves an investment of time, but can also reap the most rewards.
MINOR REPAIRS AND UPKEEP
A simple burnt out light can change the perception of a home to potential home buyers. Whether it’s changing a light bulb, fixing small holes in the wall, repairing screens, or painting the garage door, all of these minor repairs and upkeep can play a vital role in helping in the sale of a home. The most important note here is that if a potential home buyer sees that the home seller is maintaining the small things, then they will automatically deduce that the home seller is maintaining the more important things such as the roof and furnace.
Utilizing these three staging tips, a home seller can assure that the home for sale is more appealing to potential home buyers, but moreover, the home seller can be comfortable with the fact that they are doing everything and anything possible to sell their home.
Some previously owned homes that are on the real estate market have at least one major defect. It’s obvious that the longer a home has been occupied, the higher the chance of disrepair. Almost all homes that have been lived in for over ten years require at least some repair, improvement or upgrades.
ESolds advises that for those looking to purchase a home, it is vital that they understand exactly what they are getting into. Buying a home for sale is a major investment, and measures should be taken to ensure that that investment is sound and secure.
Here are the seven most common serious home defects.
1. Defective roofing
2. Undersized electrical system
3. Mixed plumbing
4. Environmental hazards
5. Horizontal foundation cracks
6. Insect infestation
The good thing is that all of the above listed defects can be repaired. The bad thing is that depending on the specific problem, the cost of repair could be substantial. Sometimes, substantial enough so that the cost of repair could lead the home buyer into looking at other options for homes to buy.
A key for the home buyer is that if they enter into negotiations to purchase a particular house, their agent should provide a provision for renegotiating or backing out of the contract if a home inspector finds any major issues.
A home inspection can cost anywhere from $200 to $400. More important than cost, is finding a qualified home inspector. The home buyer should get referrals from friends, and/or speak with their realtor, to ensure that the home inspector is qualified to do the inspection.
Another important thing to remember for home buyers is that once an inspection date is set, the home buyer should be there throughout the inspection. The purpose for this is that as the home inspector examines various systems and components of the home, the home buyer can ask clear questions and ask for the home inspector to explain what problems may be encountered down the road, what signs to look for, and how to prevent them.
The bottom line for home buyers is that a pre-purchase inspection is their best protection against buying a potentially bad investment. Previously owned homes are more prone to having serious defects, and if the home buyer is aware of these defects, they are also aware of what to look out for when thinking about purchasing a home.
An important question in the mind of home owners is how long they should stay in their current home, in order to build up equity, before dipping into the real estate market and investing in a new home. A good approximation would be five years, as this gives the home owner enough time to build up sufficient equity to cover the future costs of closing on a home while still having enough equity available to make the purchase an affordable option.
eSolds offers three important tips to those home owners thinking about investing in a new home.
The first thing the home owner should understand is that when buying a new home, there are certain expenses that will need to be covered. These include legal fees, moving costs, cost of a home inspection, related fees and more. It is vital that the home owner makes certain that they have these costs covered, so that they don’t end up losing money in the transaction.
The second tip is actually something that the home owner should already be doing. Paying the mortgage on time, all the time.
The home owner should remember that when they first applied for a home loan, it was more than likely a lengthy and cumbersome process. The second time around shouldn’t be, so long as the home owner has been making mortgage payments on time every month. The hassle that the home owner may have endured when trying to get their first mortgage, should no longer be an issue if the home owner has proven themselves fiscally responsible. The home owner should be aware that, in most cases, it is a lot easier to step up to a second home than it was to make the giant leap forward to buy the first home.
Timing is everything when it comes to real estate. If a home owner needs any help deciding whether now would be a good time to reinvest in a new home, their best bet is to first talk to a real estate expert. Sometimes, the wait is worth it, but at other times, it would be beneficial to take the leap forward and invest in a new home.
A key concern of many home owners looking to sell a home is the exposure that their home will receive. The main thing is to ensure that the maximum number of people see the property so as to get the best possible deal for the home for sale. More importantly however is to ensure that the maximum number of people who see the property are actually qualified and motivated home buyers.
The best way to do this is to list a home for sale on MLS, which is the Multiple Listing Service.
MLS is a co-operative marketing system that maximizes exposure of properties for sale. Most homes that are sold within the Greater Toronto Area, and most of Canada for that matter, are sold via MLS systems, which are operated by various real estate boards across the country.
DATA, DATA, AND MORE DATA
MLS consists of a sophisticated computer database of properties that are indexed by a number of factors, including price, location, type of home, number of bedrooms, etc. Fundamentally speaking, MLScontains a registry of properties that are used by realtors to match buyers with homes for sale.
ALLOWS REALTORS TO DO THEIR JOB, BETTER
The greatest benefit of MLS to home buyers is that it allows realtors to use their skills to the fullest. A realtor’s job is to simply determine potential buyers ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ in a potential home, and then connect that home buyer with the ‘right’ potential home. Basically, the realtor is there to find properties that meet the home buyer’s needs. With the use of MLS, the realtor can quickly search the database for homes with specific ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ that the home buyer is looking for, and put together a short list of suitable homes. This means that the realtor doesn’t have to waste the time of the home buyer by looking at homes that don’t meet their standards, but rather only show homes that meet the home buyer’s specifications for a potential future home.
MATCHES HOMES FOR SALE WITH THE RIGHT BUYERS
When it comes to the home seller, MLS is equally as important, if not more. The main obstacle a home seller encounters is finding a qualified, motivated home buyer. MLS overcomes this obstacle by matching the home for sale with the requirements laid out by a potential home buyer. MLS cuts through the various complexities associated with selling a home by linking the ‘right’ homes with the ‘right’ people. It exposes the home for sale to those most likely to purchase it, thus ensuring that no time is wasted on the home buyer’s end, nor the home seller’s end, and fully utilizing the capabilities of the realtor who is there throughout the entire process.
ESolds highly recommends that when the decision comes to sell a home, the home seller lists the home on MLS, as MLS will ensure wide exposure of the home for sale to not only the maximum number of people possible, but more importantly, to a broad range of both interested and qualified home buyers