Having personally bought and sold as many as 17 of our own homes combined, as well as represented our clients in the sale of their own properties, we know firsthand what it takes to sell a listing successfully, profitably, and to have an amazing experience throughout the process as well.
We won’t lie. Behind the glossy brochures and snacks offered at open houses, there is a ton of work and energy that goes into successfully selling a home and providing the Seller with a seamless experience.
We recommend an initial consultation where we can provide a wide range of information, such as information about us and our company, present our marketing package and services, a complimentary assessment of value of your home, discuss how we would approach the sale of your home, and review our listing / seller representation forms and accompanying documents.
Overview of Our Approach to Selling
Below is a general guide to how we approach selling residential real estate, though keep in mind that for each property we sell, we develop a unique marketing plan consisting of tailored strategies and tactics to maximize profitability.
Every Home Has a Story
Every property is different and unique. Each home has its own story, feeling, and vibe. Our objective is to tell a story that will attract not only the most buyers, but also the right buyer for your property. And when it comes to luxury and high end listings, that story matters exponentially more as there are fewer buyers, but many other similar properties at those price points. Elements of a great story The story that leads to an extraordinary selling experience is one that appropriately executes these five pillars of a successful listing:
- Preparation & Staging
- Stunning Photography and Comprehensive Property Information
- Setting an Effective List Price
- Marketing & Promotion
- Reviewing of Offers and Negotiation
Preparation & Staging
Preparing the home is a critical step so that it will create the best possible first impressive and make the buyers immediately see themselves living there, thereby turning an interested buyer into one that makes an offer.
There is no one-size fits all way to prepare a home for sale and it starts with offering a complimentary consultation with a staging consultant who is ideally suited to your type of property.
The staging consultant will review your home and provide a report that will detail a task list of items that must be addressed, a staging plan, and a timeline. The more closely this report is followed, the more profitable your home sale will be.
Task list. This list can consist of any number of a wide range of activities, such as:
- Reorganizing belongings
- Storing select items off site
- Repairs and maintenance (e.g., changing a light bulb to replacing a broken tile)
- Deep cleaning (e.g., steam cleaning carpets)
- Landscaping or enhancing curb appeal
Many of these tasks can be completed by using your own trades. Otherwise, we do have our own extensive pool of home service providers whom we know and trust, such as personal organizers, movers, carpet cleaners, handymen, electricians, painters, landscapers, cleaning people, etc.
The goal is not re-build the property, but to ensure that the buyer is not distracted by defects that may lead him or her to feel that the property has not been well maintained.
Staging. Staging is not always required depending on how the home appointed. When needed, staging recommendations can consist of any number of the following activities and would be completed by the stager:
- Repositioning and rearranging your own furniture and accessories
- Installing lamps, artwork, and accessories where needed
- Placing additional pieces of furniture where needed (for example, to change the current use of a room or to furnish a vacant room/house)
- Provide additional life and colour with fresh plants and flowers
Typically, additional furniture and accessories are rented for a monthly fee. The goal is to use your own items wherever possible and add rental items only when there is a real need.
Having prepared our own homes for sale too many times, we highly recommend hiring the right people to get this work done so that this step is as painless and as efficient as possible. It will be the best money ever spent and will translate into a more profitable sale. And, of course, we are here to help at every step.
Documenting & Showcasing Property Features
Photography, Virtual, and 3D Tours
Beautiful and stunning photography is critical to highlight the most important aspects of and distinguish your property from the myriad of listings and incite potential buyers to view your property. The feature sheet that is taken away should also contain the most memorable photos so that the Buyer can continue to remember the property’s details and reflect further. Therefore, we always use the best local photographers to capture and tell the best story with captivating photos of your property.
It is now also possible to create 3D representations of a property whereby buyers can immerse themselves in a virtual experience that feels so real, it’s like being there.
Where ever practically possible, we make sure a floor plan of the property is also available for two important reasons:
- Listings should contain room dimensions and these dimensions must be accurate (per MLS® Rules and Regulations, Competition Act);
- Prospective buyers use floor plans to better understand the spatial layout so they can determine whether the use of space fits how they live and visualize changes, if any, they would like to make.
- Prospective buyers use room dimensions to determine whether the rooms can fit their belongings.
Top notch listing details
We take great pride in learning as much as possible about your home. This information is used for the MLS®, our website, and features sheets. There are many reasons for this:
- Property detail and information must be accurate (per MLS® Rules and Regulations, Competition Act);
- The more details that are included, the more likely the listing will appear in the right prospective buyer’s online home searches;
- The more information and details we include in feature sheets, such as specific upgrades, the more the buyer can appreciate the property
- We can better answer buyer questions related to the property that might be important to them.
Creatively crafted property descriptions
The MLS® Listing description is brief, and will contain essential characteristics of your home not captured elsewhere that will be of particular interest to potential buyers.
Where we can really get creative is with our own website and advertising tools, where we can craft description and ad copy that tells the viewer what they are going to experience when they come through your front door.
Setting an Effective List Price
The market price for a home is what a willing buyer will pay for a property and what the seller will accept for it. The market price of homes in any given area will inform what similar homes in the same area will sell for.
Market value is an opinion of what a property would sell for based on comparisons with the market price of recently sold similar homes in the same area.
There is an art and a science to setting a list price that will attract informed buyers while being competitive with other properties now on the market that offer similar features and/or benefits. Experience and judgement are required to yield the highest price assuming a reasonable exposure of the property to the market.
Setting the price too high will only leave the property unsold or sold below market value. Specifically:
- Buyers will avoid or overlook the property.
- Buyers will use it for comparison purposes with other homes that do interest them.
- The property will sit on the market for too long.
- Several rounds of price reductions will be necessary.
- Market staleness creeps in and people assume there is something wrong with the property
- An overlooked property will not yield offers and/or a sale below market value.
Setting the price too low could result in offers, but not close enough to what the market could bear, thereby not maximizing profitability.
So how does one pick an effective list price? It starts with preparing a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) that compares your property with similar properties that:
- Are currently available for sale: Your property will be compared to these listings.
- Have recently sold: Offers will be based on comparisons to these properties.
- Have recently expired listings: Informs on how not to price to have a successful sale.
We also assess if your property has any unique features setting it apart from the competition, e.g., a penthouse unit with unobstructed views, or a modern house located on a traditional street. The more unique the property, the fewer comparable properties might exist, and the more creative one needs to be in assessing market value.
Finally, we examine current community market trends and conditions, supply and demand forces, & the time of year the property is being listed. After assessing all the factors, and keeping in mind the preparation of the home, stunning photography, the marketing plan, and our negotiating abilities, we will arrive at a recommended list price for your property.
Marketing & Promotion
In today’s sophisticated marketplace, you never know where your buyer will come from. It could be a neighbour, or it could be someone from across the world. Hence the need for a robust and comprehensive marketing plan that includes both internet-based and real world tools.
Where Buyers Found The Home They Purchased (NAR 2016):
- 44% Internet
- 33% Real Estate Agent
- 9% Yard Sign/ Open House
- 6% Friend, Relatie, Neighbour
- 6% Home builder
- 2% Directly From The Seller or Knew The Seller
- 1% Print Newspaper Advertisement
This comprehensive approach includes a marketing mix of both inline and offline tools specifically tailored to the property being listed in a manner that targets the appropriate demographic(s) for your property. These tools are listed below.
Internet based marketing is tantamount to 24/7 advertising of your listings. To this end, we have partnered with a digital marketing company to help create top-notch quality content and advertising paired with a professional designed website that will draw buyers to our listings using proven marketing techniques. With most home searches happening online, it is critical to maximize exposure across as many online channels as possible, including:
- The Multiple Listing Service (MLS®)
- Cross-posting to multiple Realtor® and third party websites
- Our Brokerage Website
- E-mail marketing to our database of prospective buyers
- Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+)
- Online Advertising (Google and Facebook)
- Online classified listings such as Craigslist and Kijiji
As that one buyer for your property can come from anywhere, it is also important to market in the offline world as well. Some of these channels include:
- For Sale Real Estate Yard Signage (not always possible for condominiums)
- Just Listed Postcards
- Newspaper Advertising
- Feature Sheets and Brochures
- Phone calls to our database of prospective buyers
Making the property available to be viewed by the Buyer
Any prospective buyers and their Realtor® representatives interested in your property will want the opportunity to view and fully inspect the home. Permission to do so is given in the listing agreement. Viewings can happen via any of the following:
- Individual Showings
- Open Houses – Public
- Open Houses – Realtor®
While the home is being marketed for sale, it will be important to have the property “showing ready” on almost a daily basis. While some Sellers have the opportunity not live in the property while it is listed, for others, this is not possible, and so this will be the most difficult part of the entire listing process.
Flexibility with showing appointments is important. As much advance notice for showings will be given. It is possible to identify those times when all showings should be avoided.
When it comes to potential buyers view the home, whether via individual showings or open houses, we appreciate that privacy and security may be a concern. We will address with you how these can be addressed and decide whether, for example, an open house may or may not be the right approach for your needs.
Other Considerations When Listing Property For Sale
The are a wide range of other factors to keep in mind when deciding to list your property for sale. These are important considerations that we can discuss in further detail during an initial consultation and/or when crafting the selling plan. These include:
- The best time to sell
- The best time to start marketing
- Exclusive vs MLS listings
- Offer Date: Yes or No?
- Pre-inspection Report
- Disclosure of Material Latent Defects
- The Buyer Experience
- Stay in the Home or Move out during the Listing
Reviewing Offer(s) & Negotiation
We will notify you as soon as you receive an offer on your property. Typically, the next step is a meeting with you as soon as possible to review the terms and evaluate next steps. The most important points include:
- Offer price
- Deposit Amount
- Irrevocable date and time
- Closing date
- Chattels and fixtures
- Conditions and other clauses (e.g., financing, home inspection or status certificate if a condo)
We will review and discuss how best to respond: reject outright, counter by modifying terms in the offer or adding additional terms, or accepting the offer as is, making sure to stay within the irrevocable dates and times as needed..
We assist you in many ways during this stage:
- We provide counsel and advice
- We answer questions you may have
- We will professionally prepare and convey the counter offer making sure to negotiate favourable terms and conditions with the Buyer given the current market conditions and circumstances
- We will present in a timely manner any counter offers being mindful of the irrevocable date and time.
Prior to conveying counter-offers, we always recommend that a seller obtain expert advice, such as legal, accounting, environmental, or other appropriate expertise if needed during the selling process.
When competing offers present themselves at the same time, this is a very enviable position to be in. Handling offers will be similar; however, how we respond to buyers will require extra care and skill so as to net the highest possible selling price for your property.
We will always keep you informed regarding the progress of the transaction.
Accepted Agreement – With Conditions
We will continue to professionally prepare and convey counter offers and other required written documentation throughout the negotiation. An accepted agreement may be conditional on one of more items. These conditions will need to be addressed by the buyer within stipulated timelines before a firm deal can be established, or the property rejected.
An accepted agreement with conditions is only conditionally sold. The deal is not yet firm. Therefore, while one may or may not continue to allow showings during this period, it is important to keep the property showing ready because the deal can still fall through at any time.
We will always keep you informed regarding the progress of the transaction.
Accepted Agreement – No Conditions
An accepted agreement that has no conditions is a firm deal, i.e., you just sold your property! This is when you breathe a sigh of relief and your life goes back to normal. If the property was staged, rental items will be collected, and your belongings can be re-arranged to how it was before the sale.
It is important to keep in mind that Buyers often include additional visits between the accepted agreement and closing. The purpose of these visits can be varied and include:
- Measurements to be able to plan furniture layout
- Visits with designers and/or contractors if renovations are contemplated
- To make sure that the appliances and any items included in the purchase price have remained with the property and continue to be in good working order.
Therefore, while there is no need to keep the home in “listing ready” condition, it is best to keep it in the same condition as it was in when the offer to purchase was accepted until completion.
Closing The Transaction
Closing is largely handled by your real estate lawyer, but we typically work with the lawyer to ensure a smooth closing and work through any problems, if any, that may arise.
Your lawyer will complete the draft deed (to be forwarded to the buyer’s solicitor), prepares any other required documentation, resolves issues and performs other tasks that arise as a consequence of the requisitions from the buyer’s solicitor.
The seller’s solicitor reviews all draft documents provided by the buyer’s lawyer to ensure compliance with the terms of the agreement and discusses any items requiring clarification and/or resolution with the buyer’s solicitor. He or she also prepares a final reporting letter following closing setting out transaction details from the seller’s perspective; e.g., statement of adjustments, details of any seller take back, discharge of existing financing and payment of real estate commission.
We always recommend moving out prior to the day of closing to ensure vacancy on the day of closing. It is important to keep the property in the same condition as when the property was sold.
To be compliant with the terms of the agreement of purchase and sale, kindly note the following:
- Removal all personal belongings, i.e., chattels, unless the agreement specifically included one or more specific items, in which case these need to be left behind;
- Do leave behind all fixtures, unless the agreement specifically excluded one or more specific items.
The end of a transaction is always bitter sweet for us. We will periodically check in on you to say hello. Know that we are always here to serve your needs and provide our services to help you achieve your immediate and future real estate goals.