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5 pro-tips that would make the representatives of 'Million Dollar Listing' proud
We admit it: Real estate reality shows have become our new guilty pleasure, especially those featuring luxury real estate, such as Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing. The gorgeous interiors, the personal dramas and the antics of the fast-talking, charismatic real estate agents… it all adds up to pure entertainment.
When it comes to selling your own home, however, entertainment is probably the last thing on your mind. For most people, it’s a stressful exercise fraught with emotion. After all, you’re parting with your home and any offer for less than you think it’s worth can be downright insulting!
But selling a house is a business transaction. While home may be where the heart is, selling it requires you to rely on your head, not your heart.
Fortunately, we’ve got some tips for you to do just that, thanks to the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO). Focus on these and you’ll be on your way to a closing party… MDL style!
5 tips to sell your house like a boss
1. Hire the best in your ‘hoodMany people are tempted to DIY their home sale in order to save on commissions, and sometimes it makes sense to do so. However, a great agent will earn her own keep by providing you with invaluable expertise and guidance. Choose someone who knows your neighbourhood well, may have a few potential buyers in mind, and has recent experience successfully marketing a property like yours. Pro-tip: Ask friends and family that have recently bought or sold a home for recommendations. Meet with a few prospective agents, ask about their experience and how they would market your home. Social media has become a huge selling tool, so check out potential agents on Facebook and Twitter to see if you like their style.
2. Help your agent help youRead through your listing agreement carefully, ask questions, and make sure you understand the fine print when signing with a brokerage. Then help your agent out by providing information about your home’s features, including renovations you’ve done and any appliances or chattels you may be willing to sell with the house, like the fridge, washer, dryer and light fixtures. Pro-tip: Dig out those renovation permits and product warranties.
3. Be open to the open house - but not too openRemember that opening your home to outsiders requires a thoughtful eye and meticulous preparation – especially when a very real ‘open house’ is planned. While open houses can be a useful way to attract buyers, you want to make sure you do it right - i.e. maximum appeal for visitors, while ensuring protection for your property and valuables. First off, the protection: Before you open up your home to potential buyers, take the time to safeguard your valuables. Lock away anything of value or personal significance, shut down computers, and remove personal files such as financial statements and bills. Secondly, the presentation: Remember that buyers are attracted to sparkling clean, neutral spaces with ‘good energy’, where they can envision their own furnishings, not yours. While you may feel strongly that the hand-painted belly casts of your children add charm and the collection of vintage whiskey bottles adds character, remember, your agent is not selling your lifestyle, she is selling a house. Pro-tip: Discuss with your agent how the open house will be run and set any ground rules that may be important to you, like having a sign-in sheet for visitors or having someone escort attendees at all times.
4. Know what you’ll give and takeBe clear with your real estate professional about your priorities, expectations and limits. Is the most important factor selling by a certain date or getting a certain price? Your agent is your lead negotiator and will have candid discussions with other agents, so she needs to know where you stand. When offers come in, she will help you weigh the benefits of each and provide advice on sign-backs. Pro-tip: It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of an offer. Your agent can be an impartial guide, “keeping it real” and helping you to make clear-headed decisions.
5. Pay attention to the closing detailsYou may not like talking about money, but it’s your real estate professional’s job to talk about it. So don’t be squeamish and ask for help estimating a budget to include all the costs of closing - such as staging, commissions, legal fees, and moving expenses. Pro-tip: If the closing date on your sale doesn’t match up with the move-in date of your new home, you’ll need to factor in storage costs and rent (unless you have some very kind relatives).
The most important thing to remember is that when you engage a real estate professional to sell your home, you are entering into a partnership. And like any partnership, things go more smoothly when there is plenty of communication, respect and trust. While we can’t promise the process will be as entertaining as Million Dollar Listing, with the right partner, it will certainly be a lot easier and more enjoyable for you.