How to Sell Your Home

Selling your home is a big decision. Whether you are looking to move to a bigger home to fit your growing family, to downsize, or to relocate, selling requires careful consideration and as many moving pieces as buying a home.

Where to Start

All home sellers want the same thing - to get the maximum sales price and to sell quickly. Your home value is based on what other homes in your community have recently sold for and current market conditions (supply/demand). To find out what your home is worth, a licensed real estate agent can provide you with a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) which shows the prices of comparable, recently sold homes, homes currently on the market, and homes that were on the market, but didn’t sell.

Complete our CMA form and receive a FREE value analysis of your home delivered by a real estate agent in the HomeBenefit network. With this CMA in hand, you are better equipped to determine a realistic selling price for your home.

Why use a real estate agent? Millions of home are sold each year, and approximately 80% of Canadians use real estate agents to conduct these sales. One of the main reasons is that home selling has become a more complex business than it used to be. New seller disclosure statements, longer and more in-depth purchase agreements and a range of environmental concerns have all emerged in the past decade. Not only are they able to navigate these new regulations, but most also have well-established networks and market in a way that you, working on your own, just won’t be able to do. This will typically result in a much better price for you and less time on the market.

Improvements = Big Return

When you’re getting ready to sell, your goal should be to show the home in the best possible light to attract as many buyers - and as much demand - as possible. The appearance and condition of your home play a huge role in the home sale process. Homebuyers today are savvy and short on time, so it is vital to make a great first impression. Maximizing the space and making your home look its best is a great way to garner top dollar.

Here are a few tips:

Walk through your home and make a "to do list" of projects that need to be done before listing your home. Be objective and look at your home through the eyes of a potential buyer. If the list of what needs to be cleaned, repaired, and painted is long, make sure you prioritize based on the most important items to a potential home buyer.

  • Street appeal is very important!
    • If your home needs a fresh coat of paint, then repaint! This goes for the front porch too.
    • Make sure your grass is cut, put new sod down if required, and spruce up your gardens.
  • Interior is just as important.
    • Painting is one of the least expensive yet most impactful improvements you can make. Stick to neutral tones that will work with a variety of furnishings.
    • Replacing old kitchen cabinets may not make economic sense, but replacing the flooring, updating lighting fixtures or window coverings can make a huge difference.
    • Removing clutter is also one of the most productive things you can do before you sell. Less clutter makes your home appear larger and can help justify the asking price. Also, try to remove as many personal items as possible – you want potential buyers to be able to envision themselves in the space and family photos may not achieve that.
    • Clean the garage to make it look more spacious, and take items offsite if need be.
  • Mechanical Repairs
    • Make sure the built-in appliances, furnace, and air conditioning are in good working order.
    • Check the roof and gutters for needed repairs.

Stage It

Once you’ve cleaned, repaired, and removed the clutter, now it is time to bring the buyers in! First impressions are lasting impressions, so here are a few tips to keep in mind when agents are showing buyers your home:

  • Introduce a pleasing smell with fresh baked cookies or bread
  • Open all drapes and window blinds to let in natural light - this also makes rooms feel larger
  • Put pets in cages or better yet, take them to a neighbour.
  • Make sure the laundry room is free of laundry
  • Clean or replace dirty or worn carpets
  • Put on soft music
  • Burn wood in the fireplace on cold days, otherwise, the fireplace should be clean
  • Place a few vases of fresh flowers around your home
  • Keep the kitchen and bathrooms spotless – no dishes in the sink, no food on the counters (aside from the cookies of course)

Always look at your home from the buyer's point of view. Be objective and be honest. Walk up to your home and pretend you've never seen it before. What do you notice? How do you feel about what you see? Does the home seem inviting? Well-maintained? Would you want to buy this home? Your answer should be an enthusiastic YES! If it isn’t, make the changes that would make it so.

Contract Negotiation & Closing

The primary focal point of a real estate purchase contract is the selling price of the home, but the price alone is not the only thing you need to consider. What is your net bottom-line if you are asked to pay the buyer's closing costs? Is the buyer pre-approved? Does the buyer need to sell a home to buy your home (also called buying contingent)? Is the buyer asking for some of your furniture? Does the buyer have money for a down payment and closing costs? These are all questions you should find out.

The typical residential purchase and sale contract is complicated and packed with legal jargon, but don't use that fact as an excuse for not reading the entire contract. Ask your real estate agent to go over the contract with you before you sign on the dotted line. It is not always about the price. Be prepared to negotiate the best all around deal you can get!