How to Improve the Chances of Getting a London Ontario Condo Sold For What It is Worth & In a Reasonable Time Frame
Selling a condo for hundreds of thousands of dollars is not something you do every day and for most people, it is the largest investment or, for a few, the largest liability you have!
Over the years I have helped hundreds of condo owners sell their properties and most, if not all, had fears, some had poor information or even false information and all had concerns about pricing , how long will it take, what will it cost and choosing the right brokerage and representative to guide them.
The decision to list your condo on MLS can involve a number of stresses and strains. Many home sales are motivated by job relocation, family challenges, financial issues, divorce or the need for a house, a better neighborhood, schools, etc.
So there comes a day when it’s time to move on. You have taken the time to reflect on old memories, and prepare to build new ones.
You have decided it is time to leave the past behind for a new future. It’s no wonder why buying or selling a home is often emotionally charged and potentially overwhelming.
Here Are Ways You, a Condo Seller, Can Go About Selling Your Condo & Get The Net Results You Deserve!
Before getting ready to put your property on the market, there are a number of things to think about, to prepare for, and to organize. Below are seven of the many steps you can take, implement to ensure you are making the right choices.
Right Step #1: Dress Your Condo for Sale
Buyers look for HOMES, not condos. They want to buy a condo in which they FEEL they would like to live. One of the major factors in getting a condo to sell quickly is very simple: make it feel like home!
Most buyers select their condo based on emotions. Once their decision is made to buy, they justify their purchase with logical reasons: facts and figures.
So, it’s most important to make a condo appeal to all senses. Your property is not the only condo the buyers will see, in fact, the average buyer may see between 10- 16 condos before making a choice. You are competing with all the other condos for sale in London in your price range or even neighbourhood.
The Way You Live In a Condo, And the Way You Sell A Condo Are Very, Very Different!
When showcasing your condo for sale, it’s going to look very different from the way it looks when you’re living there. Here are a few tips for showcasing your condo for sale:
- First impressions set the tone for a buyer visit, and they’re LASTING! Approach your condo in your car like any buyer would. Examine the outside as you’re approaching. How does it look? Are shrubs away from the walkways? How clean is the foyer? How does the grass and landscaping look? Cluttered looks detract from the architecture of the property. A clean, polished neighbourhood says your area and neighbours care about their units and keep them well-maintained!
- Take a look at your actual building. Is the paint fading or chipping? Is the colour outdated or impersonal? How does the roof look? As you drive up to or away from your condo, what do you see first?
- Now go inside just like a buyer would. You want to be aware of four senses: smell, touch, sight, and hearing. Go through room-by-room and test all four senses. Check flooring and carpet for stains and odors.
Most importantly: Pack away all counter appliances, get rid of excess furniture, put away unused dishes, and make your home neat and orderly. If you’ve ever visited a model home, you’ll notice it’s clean and uncluttered. You have to move anyway, so you might as well pack early, and make your home more saleable. If you have a garage, make sure it’s tidy.
- Perhaps hire someone to professionally clean. Top to bottom! Cleaning and cosmetic fix-ups, especially in the kitchen, bathrooms, and master bedroom can many times yield you up to $10 in extra sales price for every $1 you invest.
- Pets should be out of sight (and smell!). Get rid of pet odours for showings. Remember the four senses. Also, some people are uneasy around pets, and they may distract attention from the features of your home.
- Pay particular attention to lighting. During the day, open all your blinds and curtains. If it’s cloudy out, turn on all lights for showings. At dusk, leave your front drapes open and turn on all the lamps and lights.
At night, do the same, but close your blinds and curtains. When showing your home, turn off all appliances, television, radio, and anything that will distract attention from your home. You might want to play a little light music to enhance the emotional experience for your buyer.
If you wish, you can download “101 Ways to Show Your Home like a Model Home” to help you.
Right Step #2: Pricing Your Condo Correctly
Every seller wants to realize as much money as possible when selling his or her condo. The natural inclination is to price high, thinking you can always come down in the future.
But a listing price that is too high frequently nets the seller LESS money than an original price at market value. Why is this? Because, when most people looking for condos in your price range, they will reject your place in favour of others in a reasonable price range.
Buyers know prices, they may have already been in 6-10 places, they can compare and in the long run, the buyer will decide if your condo is priced right! No offers on your place after 30 days, what do you think the reason was?
And here’s the real clincher: Sales Representatives who would readily bring buyers through will automatically cross it off their showing schedule because it’s priced too high. They’re only motivated to show properties with the highest probability of selling.
A lot of weak agents simply will not show overpriced units because they work by commission and do not have the confidence to make a less than asking price offer!
So you price your condo high, thinking you can come down. Problem is, the Realtor and buyer community do not look at it that way. They see it as an overpriced condo. After a few weeks go by, a few open houses, signs, agent tours…and not a nibble. So you decide to lower your price again. But it’s too late…your unit has already been “branded” by the agent community. So you reduce your condo a little more. And little happens.
Finally, in order to attract attention back to your condo, you’ve reduced your price more than you ever thought you would, and you’re now netting much less than if you had priced it correctly in the beginning.
And think about this:
The money you lost is not just the lower sales price, but all the extra interest you paid on your mortgage…all the future property taxes, condo fees and other carrying costs that accrue while your condo is waiting to sell. I’ve seen it happen time and again!
I call it chasing the market or to be subtle, like falling off a cliff in the night, you know you are going to hit the bottom but you don’t know when!
Real Estate Fact: The Seller Is Solely Responsible For How Much, and How Quickly Their Condo Sells!
Overpricing almost always increases time to sell, and adds to your carrying costs.
The most common mistakes sellers (and Realtors) make when choosing a price.
- Not choosing the right price when a property is first listed. In other words, thinking “We can always come down”.
- Putting the property on the market at an unrealistic price. A property must be priced on a comparative basis to the other properties which are similar. (I should add, everyone thinks their home is different but buyers and their Realtor doesn’t think so.)
- Not relating marketing time to price. Generally, the quicker you want to sell, the less you should be willing to take.
- Calculating brokerage fees on top of the sales price. A home is worth what it is worth, with or without a commission.
- Thinking that buyers aren’t comparing your home, on a dollar-for-dollar basis, with every other home on the market
Below are 5 things to think about:
- How you can set the asking price to maximize exposure for a profitable sale?
- How to truly define and compare market value between all the other condos out there?
- How the total market performance can affect your sale – positive or negative and what to do about it?
- How and why the first 10 days of your listing is critical?
- How to handle buyers during showings & offers to help yield the highest price?
Once you understand these important issues, you’ll know how to price and sell your condo for the fastest, most profitable sale. Also, with this information, you’ll never pay too much for any real estate for the rest of your life.
Right Step #3: Maximizing the Marketing Exposure of Your House
The most obvious marketing tools everyone uses (Open Houses and classified ads) in 2016 is not very effective anymore. Successfully marketing your home (getting the highest price, at the right time, and with no hassles and problems) requires much more.
Not surprisingly, less than 1% of homes are sold at an open house! Realtors use open houses to attract buyers, not to sell your home. And marketing studies show that less than 3 % of people purchased their condo because they saw it in an ad.
That’s why a listing champion will have a broad spectrum of marketing activities, emphasizing the specific strategies that will work best for YOUR particular property or area
ONE MORE THING… Did you know that most home buyer inquiry calls come in during business hours when Realtors are away from their offices? Even when I want to take out my client’s to see a property, I have experienced some who respond 12-24 hours later or even 2 days!
Knowing that 96.1% of home buyers search on line for a condo to buy, that if they see a condo they like they then appreciate professional pictures, a virtual tour and a proper description of the unit, is that not where your place should be exposed?
You see, marketing a condo takes more than just sticking a sign in your yard and putting your property up on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service) and praying and wishing it will sell, anyone can do that! It takes aggressive, innovative marketing to sell your condo in today’s market place!
What do I mean?
Well… in today’s market place there are only so many buyers out there who are ready and able to purchase. So, if you want to sell your condo, your Realtor® has to aggressively identify these potential buyers before others “get their “hands on them” and guide them into a different property.
The fact is, when you enter the market to sell your home, you enter one of the most competitive businesses in existence… anywhere! Competition can be fierce and if you’re not ready for it… your condo just sits on the market. So, the first major key to effectively marketing your condo is to identify potential buyers.
Remember, there are only so many buyers to go around… and your listing champion has to find those buyers first – before one of the hundreds of other real estate sales people out there reaches them and guides them into a different property!
So, how does a champion lister identify these “hot” buyers before the competition? This is where the “rubber meets the road”! This is what separates the weak average sales person from the alert, business-minded marketing professional you want to hire.
A REALTOR® Absolutely Must Have An Aggressive Marketing Strategy!
The best Realtors® use every available marketing tool, technology, approach, contact or potential avenue to generate prospective buyers for your property!
One key element is they understand the value of “effective” marketing! They realize that in today’s competitive market they can’t just splash their name out there and expect people to call… they have to craft their message… and give buyers a compelling reason to call.
So, how does the Realtor® you’re considering separate him or herself from competitors?
If you pick up any real estate magazine or flyer, all content look virtually the same. There is 2 -6 homes in a little box and a huge picture of him or her and #1 this, #1 that, or a member of you name it club. Or, (I can see your eyes rolling now!), they say stuff like, honesty, integrity, we care etc. Well, they better care, they better be honest and they better have all of that and more, it’s your home and your money!
So, what’s unique about your Realtor® that’s going to grab buyers and get them to pick up the phone and call? In today’s market place, it’s tough! Potential buyers have been harassed, high-pressured and pushed around so much… it’s no wonder it’s hard to get them to call! I’m tired of pushy salespeople too… I can relate!
They use razor-sharp strategy & cutting-edge technology as THE ADVANTAGE!
The champion lister overcomes this huge obstacle with a razor-sharp marketing strategy, (not the usual 3 bdrm, 2 bath, beautiful home, nice floors, clean, good neighbourhood and close to schools. Put’s you to sleep doesn’t it?
Your home has a story, it is your past and the marketing of your home must reflect the feel and energy of your home, not necessarily the quantity of rooms. Most people who can afford to buy a home can count!), combined with cutting-edge technology, to generate buyer after buyer!
Now, everyone says they have technology but then they lack the personal touch or hide behind their keyboard. Or, what really gets me is that it is like pulling hen’s teeth for a return phone call ( in a reasonable time frame) Wow, they have a home listed and they don’t return calls? It’s bad enough not calling a real estate person back for information, but, not calling a potential buyer back? Think I’m kidding?
In a recent Canadian Real Estate Association poll, the biggest frustration potential home buyers had been the tardiness or never even getting a return call.
Remember, the major key to generating a buyer for your home is to reach your buyer first. And to reach buyers first, a listing champion will use an up to date automatic response notifier, virtual tour system, great marketing copy personalized for your home, neighbourhood reports and calls to action.
So again remember, the first one to reach your buyer wins the sale. So, if you want to get your home sold… don’t settle for anything less!
The first two questions then are: 1. How are you going to make the phone ring with lots of new buyers for your home? and 2. What’s going to give them the edge and get them to the “starting line” first?
Right Step #4: Knowing That an Appraisal, an Assessment or What Your Uncle Harry Says Is Not the Market Value of Your Home
An appraisal is an opinion of value for an entirely different purpose than selling your condo. Usually an appraisal is to provide bank or mortgage institution information to fund a loan. If a lender is motivated to loan you money, their appraisal may come in higher than the true market value of your property.
When a buyer looks at a home, they look at all the factors: foreclosures, distressed sales, bankruptcies, divorces, and area fluctuations. Don’t make the mistake of thinking the “appraisal” value of your condo is what a diligent buyer would pay.
A real estate listing champion will show you the facts of the market and because true information is king, not being swayed by the ‘outside experts’ like well-meaning relatives or co-workers perceive what your market value is.
Right Step #5: Understanding Your Rights and Obligations
Real estate law and regulations can be very complex. When you sign an offer for the sale of your property, it’s a legally binding document. An improperly written offer can create many problems for you: a sale could fall through, cost you thousands in forced repairs, inspections, and remedies for items included or excluded in the purchase offer.
You must understand what repairs and closing costs you are responsible for in a contract. Have you disclosed everything? The courts do not accept “Oh, I forgot to mention that” as a defense.
You also need competent review of your title, and whether or not your property is in conflict with local restrictions or laws. (I just recently helped a buyer purchase a home and there were 3 outstanding work orders from the city that were 4 years old. And get this, the seller did not even know they existed. So, 2 real estate people and 2 lawyers did not do due diligence. All I did was check city hall, it is just one of the to do’s on my check list!)
If you have to remedy these items yourself, you can spend thousands on legal bills, fines, contractors, and other costs. In the above case, it was $5318. 43! Using a competent listing champion up front can help identify and avoid these issues before they become “problems.”
Right Step #6: When You Sell, Do You Know Where You Are Going?
Notice that I did not start out this Choice # 6 by “If you sell, do you know where you are going?
This may not be an issue for some but what about?
- You have found your dream home but you cannot finance it until your home sells. Do not be misled with this statement “Oh, not a problem, your house will sell or should sell within a week or in a month” Really?
- You make an offer on your dream home but the sellers will not take a conditional offer on you selling yours, or worse, the sellers take your conditional offer with a 24 hour or 48 hour bump clause and you get bumped! That hurts.
- You are counting on clearing or netting x amount of dollars from the sale of your home and you either get no offers or the offers you get are nowhere what you thought you were going to clear. Not Good.
- You have bought another home without the selling of your home clause and that home is going to close at the end of the month, now what?
These are only a few scenarios that can crop up and I could name you 31 more that I have seen or heard of.
Don’t go there.A professional champion real estate lister will not let you gamble with your largest investment of your life, will not give you false hope or convince you to take what could be a very expensive risk on your part.
A true professional will explain the pros and cons of the options available and if you choose that professional, your house will sell for the market price in the time frame you want and you can move with confidence.
Again, choose wisely!
Ty Lacroix A House Sold Name
Right Step #7: Choosing a Real Estate Professional Who will Sell Your Condo, Not Just List It!
There is an old riddle that goes, “What do you call the person who graduated dead-last in their medical school class?”
Well, it’s the same with real estate professionals. Someone with vast experience and extraordinary professionalism usually costs the same as someone with little or no experience, or with compromising standards. You need to know how to tell the difference up front.
Bringing competence and experience into your transaction may mean the difference between a higher negotiated sales price and losing money, selling in less time or in more time (costing you potentially thousands in added interest), and experiencing problems and hassles or a problem-free transaction.
Some do not do much business so they will tell you anything to get a listing or a sale. Overpriced listings happen and then 30 days after they ask you to price the home where it should have been in the first place.
Experience is like fashion, it changes and what worked ten years ago, five years ago or last year may not work today to attract buyers to your home!
Focus In On the Major Key Issues, Be Realistic, And… Most Importantly! Choose the Right Person to Help You
Then comes the next question. How sharp are the sales person’s negotiating skills? What kind of results have they produced for past clients? This is so crucial!
Most people think that selling a home is like being a tour guide. Show the buyer around, ask if they like it and write up the paperwork. Well, if that’s all there was to it, any Realtor could sell your home!
Your Realtor Absolutely Must Have Strong Fundamental Negotiating Skills!
If you want to get your home sold, your sales person absolutely must have a deep understanding of “The Art of Negotiating”. These skills are vitally important! Without these skills, you could lose big! With these skills, your listing champion will ensure you get the highest possible price for your home.
So, how do you find out about your prospective Realtor’s negotiating skills? Meet with them! Do they have testimonials from past clients?
Suggested Questions for Real Estate Agents When You Interview Them
- Do you work as a full-time Realtor?
- How Many potential buyers and sellers do you talk with in a week? A month?
- Of those you speak with, how many actually contact you as opposed to cold calling?
- How many buyers are you currently working with?
- In what ways will you encourage other Realtors to show and sell my home?
- What can you tell me about the real estate market in this area?
- What price do you recommend for my home, and what is it based on?
- What are your average days on market?
- What is your list to sales price ratio?
- What kind of marketing do you do?
- May I see some samples?
- How often will my home be marketed and updated, and where?
- Will there be a virtual tour?
- How do you attract buyers from outside the local area?
- Will you prepare an informative feature sheet for my property?
- May I see a sample?
- Where and how will the feature sheets be distributed, and to whom?
- Do you have a system to follow-up with other agents and brokers so that we get valuable feedback after every showing?
- Can you show me a sample?
- How often, and in what way will I be kept informed?
- Are you associated with a national referral network that refers their buyers to you and gives you the opportunity to refer me to the top agent in the town or state I may be moving to?
- Do you have a Team to help with the details, or are you a one man / woman wonder show & do it all yourself?
- Do you have a Specific Marketing Plan designed to sell my property quickly and for top dollar?
- How does it go beyond placing a sign in my yard and notifying the Multiple Listing Service?
- May I see a copy of your last listing as it appears to other Realtors on the MLS? (Called a “Realtors Full Report”)
- How many homes have you sold in the past 6 months? Year?
- Do you have references that I may call?
- What happens if I am not happy with your service?
- Do you have a 100% satisfaction guarantee policy?
- Do you have a flexible commission fee structure to fit my budget?
In today’s market, buyers are increasingly savvy. Many sellers are “testing the market” resulting in a high number of listings. This means the competition is stiff!
What that means to you is…
Your home will sell at highest profit and in the quickest amount of time when all the ingredients are combined perfectly.
If only one ingredient is left out of the formula or is out of proportion to the others…
Your home will take longer to sell and will, quite possibly COST YOU MONEY
So, in conclusion, really think these things through! This is such an important decision. Get prepared! Really fire away with questions when interviewing a Realtor®. Make them stand the test of fire… the best thrive on it!
They can’t wait to tell you all about the innovative methods that separate them from the others that’ll poke a sign in the ground and act like that’s enough!
In today’s market, it’s most definitely not enough!
The need for ever more skilled & knowledgeable real estate professionals continues to grow because our population is increasing while land is not, hence, the pressure of people on the available space will intensify, leading to more & more complex real estate arrangements!
My Last Ten Condo Sales
|Our List Price
||Actual Selling Price
||% 0f List Price
The average in London is 97.4 %, my average 100.3%, so, would getting 2.9% more for your house or condo make a difference for you?