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.”
Optimizing the sale of your home
Expert tips for selling a home