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Optimizing the sale of your home

Optimizing the sale of your home

Expert tips for selling a home
Original article appeared in The Gazette, Saturday, May 12

With the Montreal real estate market being hotter than anytime in recent memory, sellers are regularly receiving offers above their asking price, and finding their properties at the center of a bidding war. And while it truly is a great time to be a seller in the city, that’s not to say that buyers are willing to settle, or lower their standards. So how can sellers help ensure a quick and successful sale of their properties? The Gazette sat down with two experts specializing in different areas of the city to find out. 
 
The current low inventory environment means that most buyers will have to compromise to some degree, and many homes will sell well despite not showing their best. 
 
“That said, our mandate as real estate brokers is always to maximize value, and doing the right things to prepare a house for sale can increase value even more in a vibrant market,” said Jay Deakin real estate broker and co-owner of Deakin Reality, a longstanding brokerage that specializes in luxury homes in the west island. “Sellers who put the right resources into preparing their house for sale can often see a significant return on their investment by converting early interest into multiple offers.”
 
Even if buyers are compromising in order to be the top bidder on their property of choice, the hot market hasn’t changed the fundamental rules of real estate.
 
“In most cases, buyers still buy with their eyes, and their gut feeling,” said Saguy Elbaz, real estate broker with Sotheby’s International Realty Québec, who specializes in properties in Westmount, Outremont, Cote-Saint-Luc, Hampstead, and surrounding areas. “Not everyone buys based on cost per square foot, many buy on the feeling they get when they walk into a home; so depending on the price point, some buyers will have trouble seeing past an ugly light fixture, a white fridge, an old couch, or a grimy home in general.”
 
There are many basic steps sellers can take to help ensure a quick and optimal sale of their property, and no matter the price point or location, it always starts with presenting a clean, tidy, and de-cluttered home. 
 
“Put yourself in the position of the buyer; would you want to walk into an unkept home and try to envision yourself living there? Probably not,” Elbaz said.
 
“The expression cleanliness is next to godliness holds true in real estate and while buyers will accept some older renovations and can budget for small updates and repairs, most have a hard time seeing past dirt and grime,” Deakin said. “Doing a proper cleanup is by far the single best investment a seller can make before listing their house; hiring a cleaning service, washing windows, steam cleaning carpets are all well worthwhile, and the same applies to the exterior: pressure wash dirt and debris from the siding, and always mow the lawn and tidy gardens with fresh earth and mulch.”
 
Decluttering a property by purging any excess belongings, staging with clean and neutral furniture, and doing small repairs that may be unsightly to buyers is next on the list.
 
“Touch up paint on any scratches, repairing damage from an old leak, fixing that kitchen cupboard that doesn’t close all the way, and so on,” Deakin said. “These are small details, but can often distract buyers from taking in the positive features of the house. So have a walk through of the house and fix anything that catches your eye, you will be rewarded for this when selling; pay close attention to the front walkway, door and entrance because first impressions really do go a long way.”
 
In determining whether or not to invest in larger projects before selling, it’s best to consider how much longer you plan to stay in the property, and whether or not you’re comfortable opting for very neutral designs and colours for any upgrades as these tend to do better with a wider range of buyers. 
 
As for the elements beyond design and style, many brokers would recommend investing in a proper inspection, which is something that used to be typically done only by buyers.
 
“I believe every seller should conduct a pre-inspection before considering listing their home,” Elbaz said. “If any of the issues that are brought to light affect the status and value of the home, or could bring about doubt in buyers, the sellers should correct them right away.” 
 
After considering all of these elements, pricing a property accurately is the next step in preparing a home for a sale. Typically, real estate brokers are immensely helpful with this process as they have the experience necessary to consider factors like comparables, market forces, the state of the property, and so on.
 
Lastly, sellers should try to be as accommodating as possible, as the selling process often involves visits at inconvenient hours.
 
“It’s so important to be a collaborative seller,” Elbaz said. “Of course it can be tough schedule wise, but try to work with your real estate professional by letting them take the lead, keeping a tidy home, not being present for client visits, and overall keeping the big picture in mind throughout any minor headaches.”

Deakin Realty achieved the best possible result: a lease that pleased both landlord and tenant. We were so impressed with Nancy and her team that we asked them to work on another project for our company.

Richard King - Owner – Elm Plaza

Ali a été d’une aide précieuse pour nous trouver LA maison qui nous convenait, ainsi que pour nous aider à miser sur les atouts de notre maison pour la vendre au bon prix. Il est à l’écoute des besoins et est d’une grande intégrité.

Andre & Martine

You are truly awesome. Pointe-Claire is a very lucky place to have you guys at the heart of it.

Katy

Jay, I know you did a lot of hard negotiating to arrive at a mutually satisfactory solution and we need to congratulate you for that. Thanks for your very significant effort.

Mike & Anna

You are a true angel in disguise. We can never express our appreciation for the knowledge, service and kindness you have shown.

Jane & Larry

I couldn't have imagined this going any smoother than it did. Thanks for a well thought out plan and execution.

Marcel & Liz

You listened and went far and beyond what any other real estate organization could or would do. We are happy to say that we consider you a friend and look forward to working with you again.

The Adrian Family

We appreciate all the efforts, dedication and patience you are putting into finding us a house. Thank you for everything that you are doing for us.

Martin, Natalie & the girls

Deakin Realty displayed great professionalism in every aspect of their work and in all cases they made sure the transaction was good for all parties.

Patrick

Jay, you truly could not have handled this tricky sale better and we will sing your praises to everyone we know.

Jen & Dave

Nancy, thank you for all your help and invaluable guidance!

Katy & Kevin

Thank you for your prompt advice and help. It was nice to feel welcome to call you and have your support.

Eric & Janice

Thanks again for your good work, Nancy - you were right about the price and the timing for the sale! A celebration is in order.

Louis-Robert

To the Deakin team - thank you for going above and beyond!

Lynda

Thanks for finding our perfect house. We were out of town and trusted you to make an offer without actually seeing the house. Serious trust and you never let us down.

Brian

Thank you for your sensitivity and kindness. We also appreciated your level of professionalism and knowledge in the handling of our file.

Bruce & Lillian

Deakin Realty met all of our objectives and helped make our condo project a success. They are proactive, highly professional and capable of adjusting to changing conditions.

Marc-Andre Legault - Developer - Les Cours Sherbrooke

I'm not sure we can ever fully express how much we appreciate all you have helped us with. It has been a stressful time but was made much less so through the referrals you gave us.

Sandee

Thank you for everything you have done. It was a wonderful experience selling my house with your help.

Camille

As a non-profit agency, our survival is linked to those people in our community who have the kind of dedication & commitment shown by Deakin Realty. Keep up the good work.

Amcal Family Services

The Deakin team made our relocation from Halifax a pleasurable experience. Their professionalism and knowledge of the real estate market helped us find the perfect home.

Jason & Shannon

You are incredibly professional even in the throes of an emotional and stressful decision. Thanks for your patience - we are thrilled with our new purchase!

Namta & Sara

I appreciated your expertise, competence and advice. These confirmed that my insistence on having you as the sole agent for my property was the right decision.

Clara

We just wanted to thank you so much for all you've done for us over the last year and a half. We always felt like you were sincerely putting our best interests first throughout this entire process.

James & Amanda

Thanks for everything, as you can imagine we have every reason to be grateful for your help.

George & Martha

Thanks again for all your help with everything! You were fantastic, and Stef and I are thrilled that we were able to have you as our broker.

Matt

Thanks for treating us like family!

The Halls

Thank you for everything John. You have been so dedicated and helpful throughout our journey!

Amanda

You are a marvel as Mom is so very comfortable with you and John. You are stars and much appreciated.

Cydney & Les

Deakin Realty provides their clients with total professional, businesslike, and enthusiastic care. They talk to you. They get results. What more could you look for in a real estate firm?

Walter & Pamela

Merci pour tout! Ça a été un vrai plaisir de vendre par votre intermédiaire!

Catherine

We would like to thank you again for helping us find a great home and for all of your advice over the past couple of months. We'll definitely recommend you to our friends...

Christina & Rob

Thanks again for all your help... attention to detail... sanity checks... moral support... hand holding... i.e. the usual wonderful Nancy Deakin service!!

Sandra & Larry

Thank you for taking care of my mother ‘above and beyond the call of duty’

Kim

Jay’s knowledge of the housing market was critical in helping manage the sale of our condo and the purchase of our new home. His practical and helpful recommendations made things easy on both ends.

Rob & Sonia

Thank you very much for all your help in our transactions ... it was a delight working with such a professional!

Patrick Ducharme - Banque Nationale du Canada

Merci d'avoir pris soin de ma mère et ce plus que votre travail ne l'exigeait.

Kim

Thanks for understanding our needs and finding our family a great home! We would highly recommend Deakin Realty to anyone who is interested in buying or selling.

The Brown Family

Thanks again for everything you have done to help us through this difficult (more difficult than normal in this case) process, and for your patience with me.

A & M

I would not consider making a sale or purchase in the West Island without involving Deakin Realty

Gerry

You were understanding, professional and endlessly patient throughout this sometimes challenging process. You went out of your way to make it work out, both for us and for our "perfect" buyer.

Barbara

We really enjoyed working with Ali... we never felt pressured... He listened and respected our priorities... he also looked out for our best interests... Thank you so much for all your help.

Joy & Richard

In our business, referrals are important to both the referring party and the receiving side. Thanks so much for a job well done. I hope to refer your family more business.

Peter Blanchard, President - Terramont Real Estate Services

As a first time buyer, I had a lot of questions and you took the time with me. Not all agents would have done this - I know, since I dealt with others before meeting you.

Dawn

Your help & professionalism throughout the buying process, and your ‘words of wisdom’ during our selling process have been greatly appreciated.

Sophie & Mark

Hey John, we really wanted to take the time to properly thank you. You were always there for us, and put alot of time into our home with all the advice and visits. We really appreciate it! You'll always come highly recommended by us.

Jason

Thank you so much for all your time, help, advice and patience in getting my house sold. I really appreciate it!

Jan

Nancy, thank you for all your hard work and patience, and for not giving up on us during this house hunt.

Stefano, Melissa & Zara

You thought of every detail inside and out - a job well done to you and your team!

Maureen

Encore merci pour nous avoir guidés tout au long de ce processus. Vous offrez l'équilibre parfait entre professionnalisme et humanité.

William

This is just a quick thank-you for all of your wonderful help in finding our first home. We really appreciated your patience, honesty and attentiveness. You may all rest assured that we will recommend Team Deakin.

Sonjali & Devi

Merci pour tout votre support et votre patience!

Donald

Thanks ever so much! It was our lucky day when we met you. You can always count on us as reference for your future clients.

Serguei

We are so very appreciative of all your efforts in selling our home and finding a new one. The Deakin Realty family is truly professional.

Kathy & Brian

I was really worried about finding the "right" person to work with my Mom. Your approach, patience and sense of humour won her over right away, and your follow up has given all of us a lot of comfort through this. Jay, I could not imagine a better fit.

Michael

Having such a well organized group looking after us made our house hunting trip all the easier…those added touches you do really make all the difference between ‘good’ and ‘the best’.

Laura & Daniel

Thank you once again for guiding us through this process. Your ability to balance professionalism and the human aspect of this process is top drawer.

Bill

Thanks for everything you have done. It has truly been a pleasure selling through you.

Catherine

Merci beaucoup Nancy pour ton dévouement et ta patience. Nous sommes très heureux d'avoir fait cette très belle acquisition!

Carl

Thanks to you and the Deakin team for everything you did for us. We really appreciate working with knowledgeable and experienced business people.

Fred & Lynn

Thanks again for all your help, advice and patience during the purchase process. You really went above and beyond the average real estate broker's duty.

Matt & Anita

I just wanted to thank you for making all of this as easy and painless as possible. Your professionalism, initiative, positive attitude and willingness to take time to explain the process made the deal unfold very smoothly.

Bob

Thank you for a job well done. We’re both so excited to have clinched the deal of the year in Beaconsfield.

Denise & Gary

You have a way of treating your clients as they are you only client. You always responded within hours of a call. That is what I call great customer service.

Dawn

Jay, the whole experience dealing with you was efficient, seamless and painless. You are a true professional and a good advisor. I felt I was the only client you were dealing with.

Janice

We realized that we were dealing with a real estate “advisor” - who not only knows the local market and homeowners themselves, but an individual that thinks outside the box and brings creativity and enthusiasm to a profession that he truly loves.

Mark & Kelly

You and Jay did everything we asked for and more, and talked me off the ledge more than once. We were so impressed, and we wouldn't hesitate to recommend you to others.

Pamela & Doug

We would like to thank you so much for all your hard work in finding our first home. Your patience, professionalism, friendship and perseverance was greatly appreciated.

Christina & Kevin