5 costly mistakes to avoid when selling your home in a buyer’s market

We all know that GTA’s housing prices have been increasing rapidly over the last few years. Due to high demand and low supply sellers have been getting away with making mistakes when listing their property and were still able to get great returns.

However, now the tables have turned and the GTA, for the most part, is becoming a more balanced market and in some neighbourhoods even a buyer’s market. Buyers are still out there, in smaller numbers though, and they have a lot more inventory to choose from. So if you’re a seller and you want to sell now, I’ve put together 5 of the most common (and most avoidable) seller mistakes. Learn to identify and eliminate all of these, and you can save yourself tens of thousands of dollars.

1. Overpricing your home

When the market turns as it has in the GTA in recent months, many home sellers are refusing to accept that in March and April they could’ve gotten up to 30% more for their home than they can in the present time, admittedly there are many real estate agents that are not skilled enough to recognize this either. Quite often over the last few months, I’ve heard something like this from potential sellers “I’m not just going to give my house away” While I feel for those that have missed the “gravy train” in earlier parts of this year, there’s not much anyone can do about it. So if you do want to list and sell your property NOW you have to price it according to what the value is TODAY.  In order to achieve that sit down with your real estate agent and have them thoroughly assess comparable homes in your neighbourhood along with current trends (a supply and demand analysis which often can be assessed by looking at months of inventory).  Hey, you’re still ahead of the game, as prices are still up from this time last year.

So what are the repercussions of overpricing your home? Well for one, you might miss out on very motivated buyers that might have made a good offer on your property, but decided to go after another property that was priced in line with the current market. Secondly, your home becomes stale and there’s a bit of a stigma with properties that sit on the market for too long.

  1. Hiring a Realtor® that doesn’t spend money on marketing the property

Whether you are interviewing several agents (highly recommended) or if you’re just going to work with the first person you meet ask them about their marketing plan!!!  I see lots of listings agents that don’t even have professional pictures taken of the property and for the life of me, I can’t understand why. I’ve worked with a lot of buyers in the past and what I’ve found is when I send them listings via email if the photos aren’t making the property stand out, chances are it’s not getting looked at in person. Will there be an HD virtual tour of your home (and I don’t mean just a slideshow of the photos that were taken)? What kind of paid ads will be done to market the property? Does the agent do staging or a staging consultation? Will your property have a dedicated property website? So many questions, I know, but they are important especially in the currently tough market for sellers.

  1. Not preparing the home to be show ready

Once the decision has been made to sell, it’s understandable that you may want to get your home on the market immediately. However, taking the time to get your home ready for sale is one of the most important steps in the selling process. Take the time to paint, make minor repairs, change the lightbulbs, door hardware, declutter, tidy up and clean, clean, clean your home. Of course, it would be highly recommended to have picked out a real estate agent to assist you with this process as they will be familiar with what the most important factors are.

QUICK TIP: The presence of your family can make prospective buyers feel like intruders so if you can, leave the home during showings. If you cannot leave the home during showings, try to be very low-key.

  1. Choosing the wrong Realtor®

In the GTA there are over 40000 agents and just like with any profession, there are great agents, mediocre agents, and below average agents. When you are looking for an agent to sell your home, make sure you are interviewing at least 3 Realtors® and don’t be shy to ask them tough questions. After all, this is one of your biggest, if not the biggest, financial transactions of your life. Here are some questions to ask, which can greatly improve the chances you hire the right agent!

Some of the top real estate interview questions to consider asking include;

  • Do you sell real estate full-time or part-time?
  • What real estate marketing strategies do you use to sell homes?
  • How many homes per year, on average, do you sell when representing home sellers?
  • Do you have past clients who would be willing to talk with me about their home selling experience?
  • In the case of real estate teams, who will be working with me for the most part? Will it be the agent that is at the interview or someone that has a lot less experience and knowledge?

QUICK TIP: Be aware, there are some agents that use certain techniques just to get you to list your home with them. One of the more popular ones, especially in a downturn market like ours is in now,  is to promise you a much higher sale price than your home is actually worth and then after a few weeks, they try to get a price reduction. Make sure that any agent that you are interviewing has a detailed market analysis as well as the valid reasoning for wanting to price your home that way. Remember the first point in this post talks about overpricing and how an overpriced property can create a stigma around that property which can cause it to eventually sell for less than you could have gotten with if you priced the property correctly right from the beginning.

  1. Negotiating offers emotionally  

This often occurs when a low-ball offer is received.  It’s important if you’re selling your home that you know how to handle low ball offers since it’s possible you may receive one.  The worst thing that you can do if you receive a low-ball offer is to get offended by it and not even consider negotiating it. This is a business transaction and you have to keep that in mind. It’s important to understand that some home buyers feel the need to submit low ball offers (especially in this current market, in March or April I would strongly advise you not to consider any low ball offers as mostly everything was selling for well above asking price) regardless if a home is priced well or not. So you may have a serious buyer that is just fishing for a good deal and may be willing to spend a lot more. Your agent can also leverage that low ball offer and maybe get another buyer to submit an offer as well. Often times, something that appears to be desirable can cause this type of reaction from other buyers. 

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Igor Veric

Igor Veric

Sales Representative
CENTURY 21 Heritage Group Ltd., Brokerage*
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