Seller’s Guide

So you’re looking to sell your home? Whether you’re looking to sell your home to climb the property ladder, downsize or sell an investment property, let’s make it happen! Vancouver is a fast paced, educated market, so you need a good realtor on your side to ensure the property shows it best and it marketed properly so it can be sold to the right Buyer for the best price. The reason for your sale and your future plan will dictate certain parts of the sales process, but I hope this guide gives you an idea of what to expect.

For a more personalized approach, contact me at Kristi@RealEstateVancity.ca or 778-387-7371 so we can start talking about your property, your next steps and what you can expect from me.

The Steps Involved in Selling a Home

ONE / Deciding to Sell your Home & Costs Involved

TWO / Home Evaluation

THREE / Preparation for the Sale

FOUR / Pricing Strategy

FIVE / The Sale Process

SIX / Negotiating an Offer

SEVEN / Buyers Due Diligence

EIGHT / An Official Sale

NINE / Celebration!

Let’s get started!

ONE / Deciding to Sell your Home

This is always a big decision as it affects many aspects of your life. You’ll need to understand that for a few weeks while your property is being prepared to be listed, you’ll need to repair some minor things around your home, and while it’s on the market, you’ll need to keep the home clean. You’ll have to be ready to show the home given some notice, and we’ll be doing weekend Open Houses to get Buyers through. We’ll also have to talk negotiation when offers come to the table and will perhaps have to start the buying process for your new home. Regardless, I’ll be guiding you through the process to make it as stress free and successful as possible.

The best first step is to get in contact with me, whether through an email (kristi@realestatevancity.ca) or phone call (778-387-7371), or through my website: Get Free Home Evaluation. I’ll take it from there. 

Do you Buy First or Sell First?

One of the biggest considerations to make when you’re thinking about selling your home to move to a new one is whether or not you should buy your new home before selling your current home or sell your current home before buying your new home? 

Sell First

By selling your current home before you buy your new home, you will know precisely how much money you have to work with on your next purchase. With a concrete price range, you’ll be able to narrow the pool of houses before you begin looking, and negotiate accordingly. This will grant further negotiating leverage as Sellers tend to take offers without financing subjects more seriously. The flip side of this scenario is that if you don’t find the right property before the closing date of the house you’ve already sold, you may have to look for temporary housing until you do find what you’re looking for, which would also mean moving twice. Ask yourself how you would cope with living in a transitional home for an undetermined period of time. This is often harder for families with kids.

Buy First

Buying a new house without having sold your current home may occur if you come across a home you absolutely love or just don’t want to deal with moving twice. While this can often be more convenient, beware of the risks. If you buy another property and aren’t able to sell your current home quickly enough, you could end up having to finance both homes and shoulder the extra debt until you sell. Since your selling price is unknown, jumping into a purchase could be a gamble, particularly if your budget is tight. Make sure you’re familiar with all aspects of the financial risks this scenario would create before you move forward.

Buying and Selling Concurrently

The most secure way, though one that isn’t particularly easy, is to buy and sell concurrently. With this strategy we will list your home for sale and then you can start offering on properties to buy “subject to sale of your current home”. This means that you would not be obligated to purchase your next home if your current home doesn’t sell. This strategy is tough because there are many home sellers that don’t take offers “subject to sale” seriously, especially if their property is in high demand, and you lose some of your negotiating power, so it can be hard to get an accepted offer on your next property with this clause in the contract.

When we’re chatting about your potential sale, I can give you an idea of how marketable and in demand your current home is, and how common your ideal next home is to help you decide if you want to buy or sell first.

Real Estate Selling Costs

Before you sell, you should also understand the costs involved in selling your home. These include:

  • Pre-Payment Penalty (Mortgage): Varies – If you plan on paying off your mortgage after selling your home, you may be subject to pre-payment penalties if your mortgage term has not expired. Please talk to your bank or mortgage broker to clarify what these costs may be, as they can be significant.
  • Capital Gains Tax & Substantial Renovations (GST) Tax: Varies – These taxes may be applicable on your properties, including homes that were not your principal residence or were renovated (house flippers take note!). Talk to your accountant about whether or not these taxes (or others!) will be applicable and to figure out an expected range of costs.
  • Staging Costs: ~ $1500-5000, once – If you decide to stage your home, costs are billed monthly. The first month will typically range from $1500-5000, including the initial consultation and move-in, while subsequent months will cost less. Staging is a great idea for homes that are vacant, or homes that don’t show as well as they could. Because staging makes your home look so much better, it’ll often increase the final sale price of the home. I’m happy to contribute to the cost of the first month of staging (you pay upfront and I give you a discount in my commission fee) to ensure your property looks it’s best online. 
  • Basic Repairs – Before putting your home on the market, there may be some minor repairs or updates that you want to do to help your home show its best. This might mean a big clean and purge of your things, putting on a new coat of paint, repairing that leaking faucet or doing some landscaping in the front yard. These costs can range from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars depending on what needs to be done.
  • Legal fees: ~$700-950, once – To handle the final sale of your property, you will need a lawyer or notary to act on your behalf. These fees can increase for unique situations. 
  • Real Estate Fees: Depends on the Sale Price, but typically 7% on the first $100,000 and 2.5% on the remainder. – These real estate fees are shared roughly 50-50 with the real estate agent representing the buyer and include all of my marketing and services. 
  • Empty Homes Tax and Speculation/Vacancy Tax: Keep in mind that you could be liable for these taxes if they haven’t been paid or if the Government determines that the tax should have been applicable.

TWO / Home Evaluation

To ensure that your property receives maximum exposure and is able to sell for top dollar, you need a good marketing plan and up-to-date information on the current market. This process starts when you contact me for more information. It’s best if I can come through the property to view in person, but if that’s not possible, I can still give you an idea of value and your next steps. 

Once I know you’re interested in selling, I will:

  • Prepare a detailed market analysis to outline market trends and comparable sales in your neighbourhood. This helps us set an optimized pricing strategy together – whether that means pricing on par with the market, pricing a bit high to give you some negotiation room or pricing a bit low o remain competitive and push for a quick sale and potentially multiple offers.  I can also suggest a more optimal time to sell and whether or not it’s worth it to do some home renovations prior to selling. 
  • Conduct a home staging consultation to accentuate your home’s potential and maximize its appeal to potential buyers. I can suggest home staging companies if the property needs a full stage, or we can work together to ensure your current furniture is arranged to make the property looks its best. I have a selection of items to finish of any staging, including towels, pillows, art, and more. I am happy to contribute to a portion of the staging costs. 

Keep in mind the market analysis generally only applies to the current market. If you decide not to sell immediately but look to revisit the possibility in a few months, my analysis and suggestions might change depending on what’s been happening in neighbourhood.

THREE / Preparation for the Sale

If you’re keen on selling – whether now or a few months from now – get started on the prep work. This might include small home reno jobs, interior or exterior painting, decluttering and staging. This process can be as quick as a few days or as long as a few months, depending on what’s required and what you’re planning on doing.

Easy Home Staging Tips

“You never get a second chance at a first impression.” The decision to buy a particular home is fuelled by a mixture of logic and emotion, with emotion often winning out. Buyers are searching for a “home” — a place in which they will feel comfortable, secure, and happy. Keep in mind, this impression will not only influence whether or not they make an offer, but also what they consider to be the value of the property.

When homes create this immediate type of emotional appeal, they tend to sell quickly and for more money. Use the following tips as a starting point to get your home into selling shape before you put the property on the market, and you’ll be well on your way to a successful sale!

De-clutter

It seems obvious, but it is amazing how often we take clients into cluttered homes. You want the potential buyer to feel like the space is open and ready for their design ideas. Remove extra furniture, minimize your closets, clear your counters, tables and shelves. Rent a storage locker if you need to – the return is worth it.

In this case, put aside your personal design preferences to think neutral and minimalist for a mass appeal. 

De-personalize

Although those weddings pictures or shots of the kids are meaningful to you, for potential buyers it creates the feeling of being in someone else’s home. You want them to be able to visualize their own personal belongings in your space and imagine that this could soon be their home.

Clean

Again, it sounds obvious, but when we say clean, we mean SPOTLESS! The cleaner the home, the less work it feels like the buyer will have to do to move in. Again, when it comes to first impressions, you don’t want any negative thoughts to stick in the Buyers mind.

Repair

Anything that will cause the buyer to wonder “What else is wrong in here?”, needs to be fixed. Leaky faucets, loose knobs, cracked tiles, etc. Even if something seems minor, we do not want to raise any alarms for prospective Buyers.

Modernize

If you live in an older home, find little ways to make it more modern. Update electrical plugs, light switches and thermostats. Replace old light fixtures. Change door knobs and cabinet handles. Re-paint in the season’s trendy colours. You get the idea…

Make your home feel good to walk into. The little things make a BIG difference. The goal is to create a warm emotional reaction for potential buyers.

Marketing

Once you’ve finished any prep work, I can get started on the marketing. Good marketing means ensuring the property looks it’s best online to appeal to Buyers and show the unit’s highest potential.

I use professional photographs, detailed floor plans and video tours (for large properties). The photos will be bright and appealing. These photos will be used online and on the high quality sale brochures I offer to all Buyers who come through the property. My intention with these brochures is to help your property stand above the others and gives Buyers (and their agents) appropriate, positive information to put them at ease and give them confidence in the property so they choose your home over their other options. 

Once the property is listed, it will be on every real estate website you can find for a broad web presence to ensure every buyer can find it. I also hold a professional account with REW.ca, the top Vancouver Real Estate website aside from Realtor.ca, to ensure that your listing looks better than other listings and is easier to find. In addition, the property will be marketed on Instagram and Facebook, directly to Buyers and other realtors in the city, as well as directly to the agents at Stilhavn, a top producing brokerage. 

Once you have hired me to sell your home and done some initial staging work, all you need to do is keep your home clean and ready for showings. I do the rest! For more information about my marketing plan, check out My Marketing Plan!

FOUR / Pricing Strategy

Properly pricing your home for sale will affect the final price you receive as well as how long it’s on the market. My job is to get you the highest possible price under the best terms, but this doesn’t always mean pricing it high. You have a couple options when it comes to pricing your home:

Pricing Your Home Reasonably based on the Current Market 

Setting a realistic price for your home that reflects current market values will help sell your home quickly and will garner interest from Buyers. When you price your home properly, you increase the chances that your property will sell quickly and for the most money as it gives Buyers a little more trust in your intentions, which helps them make their decision. The first six weeks on the market is an extremely important time for your home, as this is when the bulk of the marketing buzz will be in place and the time when buyer traffic is highest.

Pricing High

While deciding to price your home on the “high-side” and “testing the market” may seem tempting, it is important to note that the longer a property is for sale, the less it will ultimately sell for. A property priced 10% higher than it’s current market value is much less likely to sell within the 6 week window than a property priced close to its actual market value. Sellers will usually over-price their homes by this 5-10% margin if, either, they firmly believe the home is worth more than what the market indicates, or if they want to leave room for negotiation. Either way, if you choose to over-price your home, you run the risk of increasing the amount of time your home spends on the market, and decreasing the amount of money you’ll ultimately receive.

Pricing Low

At the other end of the selling spectrum are Sellers who want to price their homes below fair market value. Under-pricing often occurs when the owner is interested in a quick sell. You may find that this strategy attracts quick or multiple offers and sell at—or above—the asking price. However, if multiple offers are not attracted, you do run the risk of Buyers coming in and trying to negotiate on your already low price.

The market will always influence a property’s value, regardless of the state of a home, or its desirability. Pricing strategies are different for Seller’s markets, Buyer’s markets and balanced markets, but we’ll ensure it’s properly priced and marketed to elicit interest from Buyers.

Other Factors that will affect the pricing strategy include:

  • Location (near amenities? near parks? in a good school district? away from any busy roads? etc)
  • Property (does it back onto a lane? is it a standard lot size? have a garage? views? zoning? etc)
  • Condition of the home (renovated? original condition? clean? etc)
  • Comparable properties currently available and recently sold (what have they sold for? how long were they on the market? etc)

Based on a variety of market conditions, recent sales and your needs, we will discuss the various pricing options available to you, discuss the pros and cons of each, and decide which will be the right fit for you.

FIVE / The Sale Process

Once your property looks great inside and out, and we’ve decided on the list price and dates, I’ll get to work! I’ll go through the listing documents required to get the property on the market, I’ll do research into the building and I’ll ensure that I know as many details of the property and neighbourhood as possible. It’s my goal to be the expert to ensure all Buyers and their agents know the benefits and features of your home so they can feel confident that it’s a good option for them. I will follow up with any potential Buyers or agents who inquire about the property to keep the line of communication open so your home remains an option for them. 

We’ll plan Open Houses for the weekends, and I’ll let you know when I receive showing requests to you can ensure the property is clean. I also have extra information available with me during showings – which includes the high quality brochures, information on the neighbourhood and up to date information on recent home and building maintenance (whether detached or strata).

We’ll review the listing every week to go through interest levels, common Buyer concerns and anything else so that we can adjust your sales tactic accordingly.

SIX / Negotiating an Offer

After fielding questions, calls and appointments to view the home, we’ll talk about and negotiate any offers that come to the table so that the result is in your best interest. When we do receive an offer, you have three choices:

  1. Accept the Offer as is – when the dates line up, the price is right and the terms are good.
  2. Deny the offer – when the offer doesn’t make sense for you and isn’t worthwhile to counter. 
  3. Counter the offer – hanging any part of the offer that isn’t ideal for you, whether that is price, dates or terms. 

I’ll take you through each of these choices, along with our negotiation tactics so you can be assured that you’re making a good decision. I have a strong understanding of contracts and the legalities around contract clauses and terms, so rest assured, you’ll know your responsibilities with regards to any accepted offers. 

Once we have an accepted offer, the Buyer will start their due diligence.

SEVEN / Buyers Due Diligence

Once you’ve accepted an offer, it’s time for the Buyer to start their due diligence. You don’t have to do much during this period aside from answering any odd questions they may have that I don’t know the answer to, and allowing access to your home for the property inspection. I’ll manage this process to mitigate any issues and keep the Buyers confidence high.

EIGHT / An Official Sale

Once the Buyers have done their due diligence, we’ll be waiting to hear if they’ll be going through with the purchase. At this point, if we haven’t already fielded specific questions or concerns, we should have a pretty good idea of what’s happening, but you never know. I’ll stay in contact with the Buyers agent and will let you know as soon as I hear anything.

Keep in mind that when the Buyers submit their deposit, it is held by their agent’s brokerage. You don’t receive any funds until the Completion Date.

If the Buyers choose to go through with the purchase they’ll submit to us a document indicating that they’ll be “removing the subject clauses on the contract” to create a firm Contract of Purchase and Sale. Once the buyers submit that subject removal document, along with their deposit, it’s a done deal!

I’ll send you a short list of the tasks you need to complete before the Completion Date (as noted in the contract) and you can start planning your move!

NINE / Celebration!

This is the easiest and best step in the process – take some time to let the sale sink in and celebrate! You’ve worked hard to get to this point. Visit your favourite coffee shop or restaurant a few more times, enjoy the neighbourhood and starting getting ready for the move.

This process is always best explained in person, so let’s plan to chat about your expectations and any questions you have. Contact me at kristi@realestatevancity.ca or 778-387-7371 to get the process started.