Properties sell year round. It is mostly a function of supply and demand, as well as other economic factors. The time of year you choose to sell can make a difference in the amount of time it takes and the final selling price. Weather conditions are often a consideration in some provinces than in other parts of the country. Generally the real estate market picks up in the late winter/early spring.
During the summer, the market usually slows. The end of July and August are often the slowest months for real estate sales. The strong spring market often places upward pressure on interest rates, many prospective home Buyers and REALTORS® take vacations during mid-summer.
After the summer slowdown, sales activity tends to pick up for a second, although less vigorous, season which usually lasts into November. The market then slows again as Buyers, Sellers and REALTORS® turn their attention to the holidays.
The supply of houses on the market usually diminishes because Sellers often wonder whether or not they should take their houses off the market for the holidays. There are still Buyers in the market place, but now those Buyers have fewer houses to choose from. Those houses on the market at that time have considerably less competition. Generally speaking, you'll have the best results if your house is available to show to prospective Buyers continuously until it sells.
Question 2: Are there important factors to consider when selling a house?
The two most important factors that you can control are price and condition in selling a house. The first step is to price it properly. Then, go through the house to see if there are any cosmetic defects that can be repaired.
A third factor is exposure. It is also important that the house gets the exposure it deserves through open houses, broker open houses, advertising, good signage and listing on the local Multiple Listing Service® system, as well as the internet.
Choose the REALTOR® that you believe will get the job done, not the one that quotes you the highest price - sometimes just to buy your listing.
Question 3: How much is my house worth?
There are two methods many people use to determine the value of their house, an appraisal and comparative market analysis.
Appraisals vary in cost and are defendable in court. Appraisers review numerous factors and base information on recent sales of similar properties, their location, square footage, construction quality, excess land, views, water frontage and amenities such as garages, number of baths, etc.
A comparative market analysis on the other hand is an informal estimate of market value performed by a REALTOR®. It is based on sales and listings that will compete with your property that are similar in size, style and location. A range of values will be determined thus arriving at a probable market value. Many REALTORS® offer a free analysis anticipating they will have a new client.
The analysis or opinion should be in writing and should involve professionally accepted appraisal practices.
Question 4: How long will it take to sell my house?
That is THE question, isn't it! There are three main factors that affect a property's time on the market: Location, condition and price.
LOCATION is the one thing that you cannot control in the house selling process. In conjunction with condition and price, people choose a home based on the location and accessibility of the property. In many cases houses will sell faster in more desirable neighbourhoods because demand is high, your MaxWell Capital REALTOR® can provide information on yours and surrounding neighbourhoods to help you assess this factor.
The CONDITION of your property is also a major contributing factor to the time it will take to sell. When evaluating a house, Buyers will first assess the structural condition of items such as walls, ceilings, floors, doors and windows. They will want plumbing and electrical to work efficiently. They will then consider paint, carpets, and floor coverings. The front and backyards should be in reasonably good shape. If there is major damage or deterioration to any of these items, Buyers will likely hesitate in making an offer. Discuss ways to cosmetically improve your home for a more rapid sale with your MaxWell Capital REALTOR®.
PRICING your property to sell in the current market is absolutely crucial. Obviously, the condition and location of your property should be major considerations when deciding on a price. If your house is priced too high, it will likely remain on the market longer, resulting in a lower final sale. Your MaxWell Capital REALTOR® can guide you on competitively pricing your property.
There are several additional factors that can affect how long it will take to sell your home: local supply and demand, marketing, and closing terms. Is there a surplus of houses for sale in your area? Are your closing terms favourable to Buyers? Your MaxWell Capital REALTOR® will be able to coach you in dealing with each of these things.
Unfortunately, there is no magic time frame when it comes to selling real estate. Some properties sell before a sign hits the front lawn and others may remain on the market for months before the first offer comes in. Your MaxWell Capital REALTOR® can provide you with the average days on market for properties that have recently sold in your neighbourhood; however it is important to remember that the variables affecting this data are not detailed in these comparables. Your MaxWell Capital REALTOR® will most likely be able to discuss specific comparable properties and explain why a specific property sold in the time frame recorded.
Do not get discouraged if a sale takes longer than you anticipated. Instead, try to analyze the reasons your property is not selling ask your MaxWell Capital REALTOR® what you can do to facilitate the process.
Question 5: What should I do to get my house ready?
The way you live in a home and the way you sell a house are two different things. First and foremost, "declutter" counter tops, walls and rooms. Too many "things" make it difficult for the Buyer to see their possessions in your rooms or on your walls, however don't strip everything completely or it will appear stark and inhospitable. Then clean and make attractive all rooms, furnishings, floors, walls and ceilings. It's especially important that the bathroom and kitchen are spotless. Organize closets. Make sure the basic appliances and fixtures work and get rid of leaky faucets and frayed cords. Make sure the house smells good: from an apple pie, cookies baking or spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove. Hide the kitty litter, and possibly put vases of fresh flowers throughout the house. Pleasant background music is also a nice touch.
The second important thing to consider is "curb appeal." People driving by a property will judge it from outside appearances and make a decision then as to whether or not they want to see the inside. Sweep the sidewalk, mow the lawn, prune the bushes, weed the garden and clean debris from the yard. Clean the windows (both inside and out) and make sure the paint is not chipped or flaking. Also make sure that the doorbell works.
Minor repairs before putting the house on the market may lead to a better sales price. Buyers often include an "inspection condition" in the purchase contract which allows them to back out if numerous defects are found. Once the problems are noted, Buyers can attempt to negotiate repairs or lowering the price with the Seller. Any known serious problems that are not repaired must be revealed as a material defect. You do not have to repair the problem, only reveal it and the house should be appropriately priced for that defect. Your MaxWell Capital REALTOR® will be happy to explain the difference between a latent defect and a material latent defect.
Question 7: What are my obligations to disclose?
Items Sellers often disclose include: homeowners association dues: whether or not work done on the house meets local building codes and permits requirements; the presence of any neighbourhood nuisances or noises which a prospective Buyer might not notice, such as any restrictions on the use of property, including but not limited to zoning ordinances or association rules.
Question 8: Must I disclose the terms of other offers?
No, Sellers do not have to disclose the terms of other offers. You may disclose the existence of other offers, so that all parties are aware that they should be submitting their best offer however, that is entirely your choice and you must instruct your MaxWell Capital REALTOR® accordingly.
Question 9: Are there standard conditions in an offer?
Yes, the two basic conditions in a purchase contract are usually financing and inspections.
Question 10: Should I be flexible in granting conditions?
That often depends on if you are in a Buyer's or a Seller's market, the condition of your house, the price you hope to get, how motivated you are to sell, as well as the quality and quantity of the offers you are getting.
Any conditions that are negotiated are written into your contract. Both the Buyer and Seller can place requirements on the table during the negotiation phase.
A frequently seen condition is regarding the sale and closing of the Buyers home before they can purchase yours. Whether this requirement is reasonable, or even achievable, depends on the individuals involved. Financial capabilities usually play a major role in negotiations. Few people can afford to own two homes simultaneously, except for some all-cash buyers.
Question 11: What do I do if my house isn't getting activity?
Even in a slow market, price and condition are the two most important factors in selling a house.
If a house is not getting the activity it needs in order to sell it is probably because it is overpriced for the market based on its condition. The first step is to lower the price. Then go through the house and see if there are cosmetic defects that you missed that can be repaired.
The second step is to make sure that the house is getting the exposure it deserves through open houses, broker open houses, advertising, good signage and a listing on the Multiple Listing Service® system and internet.
A third option is to remove the house from the market and wait for overall housing conditions to improve and catch up to the price your asking.
Finally, frustrated Sellers who have no equity and are forced to sell because of a long term illness, divorce or financial considerations should discuss a short sale in lieu of a foreclosure with their mortgage lender and their REALTOR®.
A short sale is when the Seller finds a Buyer for a price that is below the mortgage amount and negotiates the difference with the lender.
Question 12: Am I priced to sell?
Attracting Buyers is the name of the game. As a Seller, you have two goals:
To achieve the highest possible sale price.
To sell as quickly as possible with the least amount of aggravation to you.
Be realistic. Price is the number one factor that most home Buyers use in determining which houses to view. Although the price is set by you, the Seller, the value of the offer they write on the house is determined by the Buyer and their REALTOR®. Don't allow your enthusiasm to affect your judgment and lead to overpricing - a mistake you can't afford to make.
Here are some factors to consider, recommended by experienced residential specialists to help you sell your house. This information is not all-inclusive and does not replace the expertise provided by a professional MaxWell Capital REALTOR®.
What Affects Your Asking Price?
Urgency. How quickly must you sell?
Competition. Are there just a few or many houses available in your price category and area?
Competitive Market Analysis. Do you know what similar houses in the area sold for within the last six months?
Expenses. What are your selling costs?
What equity you have in your house?
What Doesn't Affect Your Asking Price?
Original Cost. Your price is determined by today's market.
Investment in Improvements. Potential Buyers will evaluate your house (i.e. wallpaper and carpet) and may include the costs to remove or replace such items in their offer.
The Cost to Build Your House Today. A replacement value is determined for insurance purposes only.
Personal Attachment. Prudent Buyers purchase based on their emotions, not yours.
Neighbour’s Claims. Don't listen to what your neighbours tell you should be the fair market value for your house. Other houses in your neighbourhood may not be as similar as you think. Also the terms accepted by both the Buyer and Seller greatly affect the sale price.
What Happens to an Overpriced House?
You'll Help Sell the Competition. The "correctly priced" homes look even better if yours is overpriced. Most Buyers are competitive shoppers.
Your Home Will Stay on the Market a Long Time. Did you know that 80% of your potential Buyers will see your house in the first four to six weeks? If you don't sell them then, it takes approximately three months to replace them with an equal number of newcomers.
You'll Lose Market Interest and Qualified Buyers. Serious Buyers use the value, quality and price of similar properties as deciding factors.
A Negative Impression is Created. People will wonder why your house is still on the market - they'll believe something is wrong with it.
You (The Seller) Would Lose Money. You may have to make extra mortgage payments as well as incur taxes, insurance and unplanned maintenance costs.
You (The Seller) May Have to Accept Less Money. Studies show that the longer a house is on the market, the greater the discount off the list price. Often a Seller will accept less than fair market value in order to sell because of an approaching deadline.
There is the Potential for Appraisal Problems. The appraiser from your Buyer's lending institution must agree that the house is worth the asking price. If the appraiser believes the price is inflated, the loan may not be approved.
Look To a MaxWell Capital REALTOR® When You Need Answers Fast...
As you can see, there are a multitude of factors that determine the asking price of your house. Finding this price yourself can be a long and difficult task. That is why thousands of satisfied homeowners, like you, turn to MaxWell Capital REALTORS®. A MaxWell Capital REALTOR® has the tools necessary to compute the fair market value of your house quickly and accurately while allowing for personal considerations (such as the date by which you must sell). Your residential specialist can also confidently answer your questions about listing, pricing and showing.
Your MaxWell Capital REALTORS® goals are the same as yours:
To get you the highest sale price possible;
To sell your house as quickly as possible;
To make selling your house a pleasant and stress free experience.
When You Want to Price Your Home to SELL QUICKLY...
Turn to a MaxWell Capital REALTOR®
Question 13: Is it possible to sell for less than my mortgage?
A "short sale" is for house sellers who are upside down on their mortgage. The house's value is less than the amount of the mortgage. A hardship must exist, then sometimes home owners can negotiate with lenders and split the difference between the sale price and loan amount, which still must be paid. A short sale is often complicated. If the loan was a low-down-payment mortgage with private mortgage insurance (or PMI), the lender needs to involve the mortgage insurance company that insured the low-down loan. Once all these issues are resolved or negotiated, the house may be sold.
Question 14: How will a foreclosure affect my credit?
Without a doubt a property foreclosure is one of the most damaging events in terms of the borrower's credit history.
Talking to the lender who holds the mortgage note on the property might provide specific answers as the possible courses of action available to the borrower, as well as to the effects those actions might have on that person's credit report.
In terms of the effect on credit history, or a short sale is not as adverse an event as is the forced foreclosure.
Question 15: How long will a bankruptcy or foreclosure stay on my credit report?
Bankruptcies and foreclosures can remain on your credit report for 7 to 10 years. However, there are lenders who will consider an applicant who went through a bankruptcy as recently as two years prior, as long as good credit has been re-established. Much will depend on when the bankruptcy was discharged and what kind of credit a borrower has re-established since then. The longer the discharge occurred previously, the better off a loan applicant will be. Another factor considered will be the circumstances surrounding the bankruptcy. If a borrower went through a bankruptcy because his or her company had financial difficulties due to downsizing or merger resulting in job loss, that means one thing to a lender. If, however, a borrower went through bankruptcy because of overextended personal credit lines from living beyond their means, that is quite a different thing to the lender.
Question 16: Is it possible to refinance after bankruptcy?
Although a good idea, it is usually difficult to refinance after a bankruptcy. If you have been struggling but keeping current on your payments the lender may be accommodating. You first need to contact them and explain your situation. They may suggest or perhaps you can suggest a way to work out alternative payments until you recover.