Now that the busy spring Windsor Ontario real estate market is just a month or so away, I have been inundated with questions from prospective buyers and sellers on what to expect in 2014. For those homeowners that are listing their homes, they want to know how they can sell their property quickly and get the best price. For buyers, especially those first time buyers, they want the best home at a good price. Everyone is watching their pocketbook very carefully, and rightfully so. We are seeing cautious optimism in the market this year and as a real estate agent, my perfect sale is when both parties walk away happy.
Here are the most common questions I have received so far this year in regards to the busy spring buying and selling season:
1. After sitting on the sidelines for several years, I am now ready to sell my home. However, my agent and I disagree on the price. I feel it should be higher because of the extensive remodeling. Your thoughts?
Homeowners are often emotionally attached to their home and are often shocked and upset when an agent suggests a price that is much lower than anticipated. Home prices are based on neighbourhood comps, homes that are similar to yours in square footage and style. True, you may have expensive remodeling and updates, but not all repairs are equal when selling a home. If you have interviewed three agents and they have all come back with a similar price, then chances are, this is what your home is worth based on today’s market. Now you can certainly price your home at whatever you want, but buyers will not make offers on homes that are overpriced. More than likely, it will sit there and you will need to drop the price at some point. The longer a home sits, the less likely it is to sell at a price that you want.
2. I’m a first time home buyer and have a very strict budget. How can I find a seller that is motivated?
Finding a motivated seller is a great way to cut costs. Some sellers will drastically cut their price or help with closing costs or other expenses. The key is to hire a real estate agent that knows the area and neighbourhood well where you want to live. An experienced, well-connected agent almost always knows homeowners that need to sell quickly, either due to financial issues or job transfers or other personal matters. Look for homes that have been on the market for a long period of time and that have taken several price cuts.
3. I have spent the last two months getting my home ready to sell. Besides curb appeal, decluttering, staging and pricing the home correctly, what else can I do for a quick sale?
Hire a real estate agent that has developed a marketing plan for your target audience. Nine out of 10 buyers start their search on the Internet. Make sure your home is photographed well, contains as much information as possible, including details and special features and location (if it is in a great area and close to top quality schools this needs to be highlighted as it is a strong selling point). You want a real estate agent that will promote your home online through various social media accounts along with quality brochures and materials. Ask your agent for feedback after every showing and take note if too many buyers make the same negative comments.
4. I made an offer on a home, but lost out in a bidding war. What can I do to make sure this doesn’t happen again?
This is always disappointing when a client loses a home in a bidding war. When a home is getting lots of interest from buyers, I always tell my clients to make sure their first offer is their best one. Also, a “pre-approval” from your lender is a great way to get the attention of the seller. This letter shows that the bank is backing up your offer. For many sellers, these piece of paper speaks volumes and often gives them the edge from other buyers who have not been approved yet. But if you lose out on a home, I tell my clients there are plenty of homes out there from which to choose. It’s safe to say that the majority of buyers find homes they like even better than the ones they lost. It’s hard to believe, but after 25 years in the real estate business, I promise this is true.