As experienced Realtors in Nanaimo, we’ve helped many sellers list & sell their Nanaimo homes.
Your home is likely the biggest investment you have ever made. With that in mind, it is important to educate yourself on the selling process so that when the time comes to sell your home, you feel prepared.
As a home seller in Nanaimo, there are many things to know.
Below you will find an outline on the steps to selling your home.
- Determine if now is the time to sell
- Choosing your Realtor
- Preparing your house to sell
- Final steps before listing
- Pricing your house to sell
- Marketing your home
How to know if it’s time to sell your house?
If you are considering selling your Nanaimo home, you likely remember that there were a lot of moving pieces during the home buying process. The home selling process is no different.
- State of the real estate market – What’s going on in the market right now? How are interest rates? Is it a Seller’s or Buyer’s market? These are all important considerations as they are indicators of how sellable your property is at this point in time.
- Personal Timing - What’s going on in your life? Have your space requirements changed since the kids moved out or are you adding to the family? How do the amenities and location of your neighbourhood serve your current needs? Have you built a lot of equity in your house and want to cash in on it? Are you ready to downsize? Or, maybe you simply want to or need to make a move.
- Renovations are required – Your home needs a facelift, and you just don’t want to do the work. Maybe you’d prefer to put the renovation funds toward a new property instead.
- Home maintenance – Has the maintenance of your home just become too much or perhaps you just don’t want to do it anymore?
What’s your competition? – How much competition is currently out there for homes like yours in your neighbourhood or similar neighbourhoods? If competition is low now may be an ideal time to sell. Low competition may mean that there are multiple buyers out there looking for a home like yours.
Choosing your Realtor
Sometimes a home sale can take a long time. With that in mind, its important to choose a Realtor for the long haul. Ask friends and family for referrals. Once you have narrowed down a few, check the agents’ websites and check Google for reviews. Once you have chosen your favourites set up a meeting to get to know each other.
Some questions you may want to ask the Realtor are; How long have you been a Realtor? How many transactions do you do in an average year? What is your process for pricing a home? How do you market your listings? Do you do professional pictures and floor plans? How much are your fees and what services do you offer?
Preparing your house to sell
Now that you have decided to proceed with listing your home its time to make it show its very best. It can be a little overwhelming to get your house ready to sell but it is worth your effort. A well-prepared home can command more money, appeal to more buyers, and sell in a shorter period of time.
If you can afford the time, then plan to take a few weeks to get your home ready.
Here are a few items to put on your To-Do list.
- Declutter, depersonalize, and minimize – Go through closets, drawers, the garage, and the basement. Decide what items you do not need anymore and plan to donate them. Once you have completed that task then focus on depersonalizing the house by packing up family photos, knick-knacks and where possible remove some furnishings and place in storage. The goal is to make your home look spacious and uncluttered. Don’t forget to declutter toys, too.
- Make necessary repairs – If you are unsure what needs repairing you may wish to consider a pre-inspection. Most homeowners are not aware of issues with their electrical, plumbing, roof or problems in the attic or crawl space. A pre-inspection is money well-spent as it gives homeowners an opportunity to make necessary repairs before a buyer does an inspection.
- Paint & touch up – Paint can make a huge difference to how well a house shows. For a modern look it makes sense to paint the walls in a neutral tone. If your walls are already neutral then go room-to-room and touch up the paint where needed on walls, doors, baseboards, window, and door frames. If touch up isn’t required make sure to wash down walls, light switches etc.
- Pay attention to your curb appeal – Curb appeal is a major factor when selling a home. Try to view your home through a buyer’s eyes. Does it show well? If the yard is looking untidy then cut the grass, weed eat, trim hedges, and weed the flower beds. Paint the front door if its looking tired. Buy a new welcome mat and add a planter and maybe a hanging basket at the front entry. Other curb appeal items to look at and upgrade if necessary are the address numbers, the door handle and knocker, and mailbox. If your garage door looks shabby then consider repainting or replacing it.
- Clean your house from top to bottom – Now that you have done all the hard work its time to deep clean your house. If you can afford to hire professional cleaners it will be well worth the money. Everything should be cleaned including baseboards, windowsills, windows, walls, doors, light switches. Don’t forget to clean all the appliances both inside and out. Wash down the insides and outsides of your cabinets, drawers, and closets. Yes, buyers will open closets and cabinets when looking at your home. Make everything sparkle!
- Be aware of odours including pet odours and strong food odours. Do what needs to be done to alleviate these odours. A bad smelling house can be a real turn off to buyers.
Staging your home
Many Realtors will allocate some marketing funds to assist the Seller in getting a staging consultation from a professional stager.
Staging doesn’t need to be expensive. In fact, there are many ways that you can stage your own home. Here are two things to remember:
- Divert – The trick here is to divert the eye from anything that may be distracting. For example: a small room can be made to look larger with mirrors and small furniture pieces.
- Cohesion – The key here is to aim for consistency. Keeping the same theme throughout the house such as: minimalism or a select colour scheme throughout the house.
Here are a few DIY staging tricks to try:
- Style your dining room table so it looks inviting
- Try some area rugs. Be sure not to use rugs to cover up damaged floors.
- Move your living room furniture away from the walls and try to create an inviting, cozy conversation area.
- Go neutral with colours. In the master bedroom aim for a gender-neutral feel.
- Give each room a purpose. If you have extra rooms which you use for storage, change them back to their original purpose.
- Don’t forget the outdoor space. If its not the dead of winter then get out the hammock, garden furniture, fire pit and set them up in a welcoming way.
- Don’t forget about lighting. A well-lit home will brighten those dark corners and accent those parts of your home that you want to highlight.
Final steps before listing your home
When we work with buyers their intention is to know as much about a house as possible before writing an offer. This is where the seller can help.
The week before your house is to be listed is the time to go through your household documents.
- Put a file together of appliance manuals, warranties, receipts for big purchases such as roof, plumbing, fireplace, and wood stove.
- Prepare a list or copies of average hydro, gas, and utility bills. Add photocopies of these to your file.
- If you have a site survey for the property, please get this out.
- Make a list of upgrades and repairs, including dates, that you have made on the house and property.
- If you have had a pre-inspection, discuss with your Realtor whether you plan to make this report public.
- If you do not have an extra key to the house have one cut for use in the lockbox.
Pricing your house to sell
Oftentimes, several weeks or even months have elapsed since you originally sat down with your Realtor. The market may have changed dramatically since your original meeting.
To make sure that you are listing your home at the right price, so you don't have to do a price reduction later, its important to do a current market valuation that reflects the current market activity.
This is the time that your Realtor will prepare a market valuation A.K.A. a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis).
Most Buyers choose to work with a Realtor. Before they write an offer, their Realtor will prepare a market valuation on the home they wish to buy, to assist the buyers in deciding how much to offer on a house.
Your Realtor will review homes that can be considered comparable to yours in size, age, location, sq. footage, style of home, parking and number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
A CMA includes the following information to come up with a suggested list price:
- Active listings in your neighbourhood that would compete with your home
- Recent sales in the neighbourhood as a whole and specifically in your immediate area.
- Information on the current market conditions
This report will come up with a suggested price range for you and your Realtor to discuss.
Marketing your home
Now that the listing paperwork has been signed it’s time to start marketing your home.
We are proactive when it comes to selling your home. We are aware of the importance of a prominent, online presence.
According to NAR (National Association of Realtors in the US), in 2020 the share of home buyers who used the internet to search for a home increased to an all-time high of 97%.
Our marketing will focus on getting your listing in front of these online shoppers. We do this with a combination of online and traditional marketing, including:
- Professional photography. With most home buyer’s viewing your listing online its important that we catch their attention. Professional pictures will highlight your home, so it shows its best.
- Floor plans done up by a professional floor plan company. Buyers really appreciate viewing a floor plan before viewing a home to make sure that the layout will work for them.
- Proper signage with sign toppers.
- Launch weekend open house. The best time to do an open house is the first weekend that the home is listed.
- Online marketing. Your home will be available to view on many online sites including our website, other Realtor websites that have listing feeds from the MLS (Most Realtors do these days), MLS (Realtor.ca), other syndicated listing sites.
- Social media presence through Facebook and Instagram.
- Printed feature sheets to be distributed in the house and in the feature sheet sign box on the signpost.
- Promote your listing on the exclusive, Realtor only, Facebook page.
Showing your home
Now that your home is on the MLS and available for showings here are a few things to keep in mind.
The first week of showings can be intense. An intense schedule of showings can be hard on a family. To keep disruption to a minimum it would make sense to speak to your Realtor about available showing times.
It is best to allow the house to be shown as much as possible, but you still need to live there. You may decide to have showings all day but nothing after 8:00. It is best for you not to be in the home for showings.
Be prepared with plans for your kids and pets. If possible, you may even want to move out of the house for a few days. Before you do that make sure the house is spotless and avoid any cooking of strong-smelling foods at least two days before showings start.
Here are a few steps to take before you leave the house for showings:
- Open blinds and drapes and turn lights on, even if it’s a sunny day.
- Leave the heat on at a comfortable temp. There is nothing less inviting than a cold home.
- Take out garbage.
- Remove pets and put away pet beds.
- If weather is poor, leave a mat for wet shoes.
- Leave out heating bills etc.
- Turn off TV, dishwasher, clothes washer & dryer, and other noise makers.
- Make beds up with pretty spreads, put toilet seats down and display newer towels.
- Set your dining room table.
You’ve just received an offer. Now what?
Receiving an offer can be both exciting and stressful. However, your Realtor will be there to guide you.
Maybe you have been lucky and are holding more than one offer. However, unfortunately, not every home receives multiple offers. Either way, you are now holding an offer and you will need to review and consider it.
What should you be looking at?
The price will likely be the first thing you will look at. It’s important to also review the terms of the contract which include the proposed closing dates, included, and excluded items, size and terms of deposit and the subjects or conditions of the offer and the date on which these subjects will be removed.
The 5 most common conditions are: Finance, inspection, insurance and reviewing the title and property disclosure statement.
The offer will have an open until time and date. You will have until then to respond to the offer.
Once you have reviewed the offer you have the following choices:
- Accept the offer as-is and sign it
- Make a counteroffer. You can counter back on price, dates and sometimes the conditions.
- Reject the offer and do nothing
The Buyer’s Realtor will take the counter offer back to the buyer’s and they can agree to your terms and price, or they may counter back on your counteroffer.
Sometimes this process is a bit like playing ping-pong. It can go back and for the for a while until the Buyer and seller agree or, in some cases, it becomes obvious that the two parties cannot agree, and the offer expires.
Once an offer has been accepted then you have what we call a “conditional offer” which means you have an offer on the house contingent on the buyer’s being able to remove their subjects by the date specified in the contract.
Once the subject removal date comes the buyers will either remove their subjects or collapse the offer if, for whatever reason, they are not able to remove them. Once offers are successfully removed then your home is officially SOLD.
The Buyer is now legally obligated to complete the purchase of your house, on completion day.