Contrary to what many people believe, there isn’t any “one” time that’s the right time to sell a house. There’s a lot of talk about waiting for the spring or fall markets, which are traditionally the busiest times by far. However, the reality is never black and white, and all bets are off in 2022, where we saw unprecedented sales volume in the winter, which tapered off in the spring.
The real secret to a successful sale isn’t so much about the timing as it is strategy. You will always get the best results when you understand the market, know your strengths and weaknesses, and use all resources available. Here are just a few ways you can maximize the value of your house at any time you choose to sell.
Understand the Market
If you follow real estate at all, you have undoubtedly heard the terms “buyer’s market” and “seller’s market.” Recently, we have been trending towards what we call a “balanced market.” What do these terms mean, and should you wait until conditions change?
- A buyer’s market is when the market favours those looking to buy a house. Plenty of listings are available, homes take longer to sell, and prices can fall as a result.
- A balanced market is when there are approximately an equal number of buyers and sellers. It’s the healthiest market for the industry overall, but these situations rarely last long.
- A seller’s market is when not enough houses are available for those looking to purchase. When this happens, multiple offer scenarios and bidding wars become frequent, as was the case in early 2022. The housing boom was a fantastic time to sell a house, but not sustainable in the long term.
Obviously, a seller’s market is the easiest time by far to sell a house. Your listing will generate massive interest the minute it hits the market. You’ll have multiple buyers competing for your property and can often sell your home far above your asking price.
Understanding the market is the first step to maximizing the value of your house. Here are some other real estate concepts that will help:
- Everything Sellers Need to Know About Offers
- What is a Pre-Emptive Offer?
- Our Frequently Asked Questions for Sellers
Why Timing Isn’t Everything
This brings us to one of the most misunderstood concepts about getting the best results in any market. Instead of trying to time it perfectly (which is impossible), aim to sell in the same market you buy in. For example, homeowners rejoice during a housing boom, where they sell their homes for unheard-of amounts.
However, they will have to pay top dollar once they reenter the market as buyers.
When it’s a buyer’s market, it’s impossible to earn as much as you would when conditions favour sellers. On the other hand, you’ll reap the benefits as a buyer because you will also pay far less for your new home.
By buying and selling in the same market, you negate any loss or gain from temporary fluctuations. Instead, you benefit from the long term equity growth you build over time.
How do we compare with other real estate agents in the area? The numbers don’t lie. Find out more about our success rate right here.
Success in an Off Market
Regardless of what happens in the market, you can still enjoy a successful sale with a good strategy and a lot of patience. When it’s slow, it helps to remember that even though fewer buyers may be searching for a home like yours, those in the market are highly motivated. Their lives have changed for whatever reason, like a marriage or separation, and they want to find a house quickly. Here are some of the things you can do to ensure maximum exposure for your listing to reach these motivated buyers.
- Set your price right the first time. Over or underpricing are the two worst mistakes homeowners make when selling. Both are based on outdated advice as to how negotiations work. The best way to set your price is based on a thorough home evaluation and an understanding of what other houses in your area have sold for.
- Consider advertising your “coming soon” listing. You may have seen signs with riders on them proclaiming that the house will soon hit the market. Why do this? Done right, it can be a way to generate excitement about your home and gain attention from the maximum number of buyers. Your real estate agent can tell you more and help you decide if this strategy might work for you.
- Market your house extensively and take advantage of your real estate agent’s network. Listing your home on the MLS® is a great place to start. In a busy market, it may be all you need to find the right buyer. In an off-market, you’ll want to be more aggressive. You can advertise on social media, promote on real estate websites, and use beautiful print materials. However, you’ll be surprised at how often the buyer will come through your agent’s extensive network!
What is your next step after moving to a new home? Here are some ideas to ponder:
What to Update, What to Leave
When your home is presented in its best possible light, buyers will take notice. Even during the housing boom of early 2022, homeowners who prepared tended to outearn those who sold as-is. That said, you don’t have to worry about investing in extensive renovations to maximize your results.
Every neighbourhood and micro-market is a little different. However, these updates have been proven to get results almost every time:
- Clean, organize, and declutter. Scrubbing and decluttering your house so it shines from top to bottom is a subtle effect, but it is compelling. A messy house creates an instant negative impression. However, with a little time and effort (and no cost), you can make your home appear brighter and even bigger.
- Paint. We will never cease to be amazed at what a fresh coat of paint can do to refresh the appearance of any room. If time is limited, focus on the rooms of your house that have the most impact, such as the kitchen, living room, bathrooms, and bedrooms. This is where an investment of a few hours and a couple of hundred dollars can translate into a much higher sale price.
- Minor hardware updates. New handles on cupboard doors, updated lighting fixtures, and attractive kitchen backsplash are easy to perform and can help sell your house faster.
If you’re looking for renovation ideas that can increase the value of your home, you’ll find them right here.
To Stage or Not to Stage
Real estate professionals can debate endlessly about the merits of staging your home before selling. In most cases, some level of staging can help your home sell at a higher price. It’s simple marketing. The better your house looks, the more desirable it becomes. In a busy market, it can mean the difference between multiple offers. During a slow market, it can determine whether your house sells at all!
The question is whether you can do it yourself or if you should hire a professional staging crew. If spending $2,000 on a redesign can add $10,000 or more to your final selling price, it is well worth it. Your real estate agent can review the data in your neighbourhood to help you decide what level of staging will help you earn the best results.
Choose Your Real Estate Agent Wisely
Currently, there are approximately 140,000 agents registered with the Canadian Real Estate Association. At first, the decision may seem overwhelming. How on earth can you begin to narrow it down? Here are a few things to remember when selecting a professional to represent you.
- You can eliminate many based on experience. While new agents can often offer excellent service and unbridled enthusiasm, there are better times to engage them than a slow or off-market.
- Work with someone who has experienced all markets. It’s one thing to be a successful agent during a busy seller’s market when no real marketing or negotiation skills are required. It’s another story when things slow down, and potential buyers start hesitating. You want someone to represent you who has successfully handled every situation, especially during an off-market.
- Find an agent with extensive knowledge of Toronto’s neighbourhoods. Knowledge of the market at large isn’t enough. Every neighbourhood has its own quirks that only a true local can understand.
At the Erica Reddy Real Estate Team, our goal is to provide over-the-top service and consistently exceed our clients’ expectations every time. If you have any questions about how we work or the neighbourhoods we serve, please reach out to us by email at ERICA@ERICAREDDY.COM or call 416.443.0300.